I never thought that a few weeks ago I’d lose a Fantasy Football Championship because of Elijah McGuire, Mohamed Sanu, and Damien Williams, but here we are…
Fine readers of the Going For 2 fanbase my name is @TheBLeagueSays and I am still 100% gutted after going 0-2 in Championship Week, maybe it’s time I take up Bocce or something less stressful or disappointing! Once again please remember that the articles I bring to you will be based on the Pros and Cons of players or scenarios the Fantasy Football Community has split ideas on heading into future fixtures for your matchups.
So before we get started – Thank you, and enjoy!
I probably have the worst memory you’ve ever seen. But you know that already because in Week 4 my #ProsAndCons touched on how everyone was panicking about the Patriots and their slow start and I couldn’t figure out why. I can’t watch a TV series, on any platform unless I watch the recap from the season prior. Names, references, past plot lines – I have no idea. I will never remember. I also suck at any Marvel movie what has been going on for nearly 15 years, why can’t they just end already? Why do I have to remember eight different movies heading into one, are you kidding me? No, I can’t remember a thing about any of them.
But what is equally important as the Fantasy Football season has wrapped up, is remember how we got to this point. What triggered our thought process in the knee-jerk society that the NFL has enabled. So, here we are in the post-season and over the next 4-5 Weeks, I will not only recap the last 16 Weeks of Fantasy Football but go back to all of our Pros And Cons subjects from the preseason. Sometimes, just sometimes when hindsight, retrospect, and recency bias combine it can come up with some great outcomes and predictors for what may or may not happen in the future. Some recaps may be longer than others, bare with me; but let’s crack into it!
WEEK 1 – AARON DONALD GOT PAID, KHALIL MACK GOT TRADED AND LE’VEON BELL… WELL, HE DID NOTHING ALL SEASON LONG:
Prior to the season starting there was a certain aroma in the air regarding three players. Aaron Donald has had an MVP-like year as he was hunting down Michael Strahan’s sack record and Nick Mullens four more times last week. Khalil Mack fit into the Bears Defense and looks to contend with Donald’s L.A. Rams in the playoffs as their Offense starts to find it’s feet again after a few stalled weeks. Then, there’s Le’Veon Bell, who sat out the entire year and rested his feet before heading into Free Agency as probably the most talented name up for grabs. Now, Donald and the Rams to be honest; there aren’t many surprises there. And Mack is one of the most talented and dominant guys playing each week like Aaron Donald. But Le’Veon Bell?
The Steelers were fine using James Conner and Jaylen Samuels, statistically anyway. I get it, Running Backs are extremely replaceable. Damien Williams and C.J. Anderson have proved that over the past few weeks, but for me, the biggest factor has remained overlooked. The Steelers win more games with Le’Veon Bell. It’s a simple and sucky explanation but there it is. Why do we have to overcomplicate it? Why are we trying to break every stat down with over-analysis? Easily, I will take wins over statistics every single day. It’s great that James Conner and Jaylen Samuels proved they could play and be elite – I can’t wait to see what they do next season together. But I’ll take wins over losses every day. Was it 2013 the last time they went 8-8 and Bell was a Rookie? Sorry, not sorry.
WEEK 2 – DALLAS HAD 6 RECEPTIONS IN THE ENTIRE FIRST HALF, THE DEZ FALLOUT, THEY COULDNT LAND A FREE AGENT RECEIVER AND THEIR DEAD CAP MONEY ON 3 PLAYERS WAS BRUTAL:
Dallas found their Receiver after a trade an appalling start to the season by making a move for Amari Cooper with Oakland for a First Round Pick. They won’t be paying Jason Witten, Tony Romo or Dez Bryant next year, which should give them some extra cash to play with while looking to extend Amari Cooper and likely Dak Prescott in the offseason. In Fantasy Football Cooper finished inside the Top 20 Receivers after being traded, while Prescott ended up the QB10 overall after being in the early QB20 range prior to Cooper’s arrival. It’s a case of ‘one hand washes the other’ and have seemingly helped each other careers instantly.
WEEK 3 – KICKERS, JOSH GORDON GOT TRADED TO THE PATRIOTS FOR A FIFTH, THREE WEEKS IN AND JULIO TD WATCH WAS ALIVE AND WELL:
I mean Kickers missing isn’t an unusual thing anymore. And Julio Jones scored a few Touchdowns is this year too!
Julio Jones despite everyone losing their minds has had an incredible season. Jones went 170-113-1677-8 on the year but had everyone tilting when he hadn’t scored a Touchdown two games into the season. Which when you think about it, in a team with so many receiving options like Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman, Mohamed Sanu, Austin Hooper, and Rookie Calvin Ridley, Jones still commanded a 27.83% Target share of Matt Ryan‘s passing game. Roughly 10 Targets a game, 7 Receptions a game, 104 Yards per game and a Touchdown just about every second game. Sure we would like that to be more, but we are greedy, aren’t we! Jones finished as the WR5 in Standard Scoring and HPPR.
There is nothing for me to add about Josh Gordon, other than this is completely sad, I hope he seeks the treatment he needs and moves towards a healthy and positive life away from football.
WEEK 4 – EVERYONE PANICKED AS THE PATRIOTS HAD A SLOW START WHICH ISN’T UNUSUAL:
And the Patriots having everyone tilt at the start of the year isn’t as uncommon as you’d think. Funnily, despite not looking like the dominant force of the past, New England has scraped through to an 11-5. They have the tie-breaker against the Texans already, so the Bye Week is put away. Now there are three things to make you question your stance on the Patriots heading into the postseason:
- They own wins against Playoff rivals already against the Chiefs, Colts, and Texans.
- All three wins against the above teams were at Foxboro.
- Every loss they had this season was away from home.
The Patriots have looked unconvincing of late. Tom Brady has looked ‘old’ apparently and Rob Gronkowski looks a shadow of his dominant self. But they’re still winning in an ugly fashion and it’s rare that in the playoffs that Football is less intense and less tactical and it’s the slower and methodical ways that Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and Co can get it done.
WEEK 5 – TIGHT END POST-APOCALYPTIC WASTELAND:
The Tight End position still sucks. O.J. Howard hasn’t played in what? Five Weeks? And he finally moved out of the Top 10 in the position in the final week. What we have seen is a few guys like Austin Hooper, Eric Ebron, Jared Cook, and David Njoku establish better roles in their teams, which is a start. And we know how elite Travis Kelce (over 150 Targets, 103 Receptions, and 10 Touchdowns) and Zach Ertz (second OVERALL for receptions and fifth OVERALL for Targets). But we have a new star born in George Kittle (who broke Rob Gronkowski‘s record of Yards in a season, off of 3 different Quarterbacks of all things, is now set at 1377 Yards). I can’t wait to see the ADP (Average Draft Position) on all three guys next season and the returns of Hunter Henry (potentially this week in the Playoffs after tearing his ACL in May) and Delanie Walker. The position could be on the upswing.
WEEK 6 – FIRST 5 WEEKS RECAP; THE BENGALS AND EAGLES DROP OFF, THE VIKINGS CATCH UP AND THE BROWNS LOOK OK! BUT IT’S THE SAINTS AND CHIEFS THAT TAKE THE CAKE:
So when I dived into the season around Week 6 the buzz amongst reports was ‘at what percentage can each team make the playoffs’, which is crazy, because the Colts were 1-5 to start the year and finished 10-6 and grabbed a Wildcard position. They meet a familiar face in Houston away from home this week who are without Will Fuller or Demaryius Thomas.
Cincinnati hit the wall of injuries with Andy Dalton, Tyler Eifert, A.J. Green all being put on the Injured Reserve (IR), and have just tapped into Hue Jackson to potentially be their next Head Coach next season. Philadelphia snuck in albeit on the hard work of Nick Foles again and not Carson Wentz. The Browns out of all three teams look to show the most promise finishing with a 7-8-1 record and a Quarterback for the future in Baker Mayfield.
But my pick of a Chargers vs Saints Super Bowl from Week 6 (and the preseason) is still intact. So there’s that…
WEEK 7 – WHO NEEDS A QB, NOW OR NEXT SEASON:
Everyone team that I mentioned above were teams that over two months ago I had brought up. Perfectly enough it couldn’t be truer. I think Derek Carr and Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are safe, but there are five teams above that are QB needy which became evident as the season comes to an end. There are a few free agent Quarterbacks that are interesting fits elsewhere along with the upcoming Draft in May if I had a crystal ball it would look like this…
New York Giants: it has to be through the Draft. Nothing else. Keep Eli Manning for one more year, but it has to be as a mentor role only and nothing else.
Washington: they have so much money tied into Alex Smith it’s scary, but could they make a trade for a Backup Quarterback like Jacoby Brissett? Or persist with Josh Jackson as a somewhat capable backup? He showed something, well at least more than what Mark Sanchez did…
Jacksonville: go get Joe Flacco. You have a run-game (maybe, who knows what happens with the Leonard Fournette ‘contract guarantees’ issue and if he is still on the roster when the 2019 season starts), and Flacco can work with Tight Ends successfully as we know and they have capable guys when healthy like Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul, and he can turn mediocre Wide Receivers into at least average Receivers – that wouldn’t cost the team that much. Flacco could be released this offseason as Lamar Jackson takes the reigns in Baltimore, and this keeps him in a starters role for a few more seasons.
Denver: John Elway can’t draft a Quarterback to save his life and he can’t really recruit one either, so I would expect nothing to change. They had an injury-plagued back-end to the season and I think they will give Case Keenum one more season and look to the Draft in 2020. Their Offense is so, so young and their five starters (Royce Freeman, Phillip Lindsay, Tim Patrick, DaeSean Hamilton, and Courtland Sutton) were all Rookies this year; I can imagine they will look at the 2018 season as a ‘blooding them in’ type of year and see if they can make ground up on Kansas and the Chargers.
Miami: the Dolphins are one of the most uninspiring teams I can recall so I can imagine they’ll try to keep the fanbase happy by pumping the Franchise up via a hype train in the Draft and take a Quarterback in the First Round. I think they land Will Grier.
WEEK 8 – AMARI COOPER TO DALLAS TRADE WENT DOWN, WHAT HAPPENED TO OAKLANDS RECEIVERS:
Cooper has fit like a glove in Dallas and at times made Dak Prescott look fantastic and helped Ezekiel Elliott by at least making opposing Defenses accountable by noticing a passing game. Dallas has won the NFC East on the back of some inspiring performances, but more off their incredible Defence. In Week 8 this move was incredibly ridiculed because of what they gave up and in turn, made Oakland look almost smart by attaining another First Round pick in next years Draft. Turns out Cooper may be a bargain and Oakland may still be stupid.
WEEK 10 – THE CHARGERS ARE MAKING A RUN AT 6-2, NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT THEM:
It took until three weeks ago for people to really notice the Chargers but for me, a come-from-behind win away at Pittsburgh was pivotal for this team heading into the Playoffs. They blew a chance at pole position in the AFC by bombing at home to Baltimore two weeks ago and will be the team they meet again next week in the Wildcard Playoff matchup in Baltimore. Now the positive is that they have experience against Lamar Jackson first hand which is a bonus, and Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon should be fully healthy. It could be a similar type of score but with a different result.
WEEK 11 – BELL HELD OUT, JAMES CONNER HAS BEEN FANTASTIC – GRAB YOUR HANDCUFFS NOW!:
I didn’t mean to put a hex on James Conner getting injured but it seems to be the way it played out. Weeks before the playoffs took place I was screaming for you to grab as many handcuffs running backs as possible. Heres why in Week 16:
The Top 10 included Jamaal Williams, C.J. Anderson, Elijah McGuire, Damien Williams, and Darren Sproles. While Jacquizz Rodgers and Jaylen Samuels finished inside the Top 20. Everyone was rested last week (Week 16) because their team’s starters were banged up. And guys like McGuire, Williams had claimed their teams starting role. I don’t advocate drafting a backup, but when those Bye Rounds cease and your trade deadline is approaching I can’t stress enough that if you can’t land a deal then this (grabbing your stud Running Back’s handcuff, or the best handcuff possible ideally on a high scoring team) is at the top of the list heading into the Fantasy Playoffs.
WEEK 12 – OAKLAND AND THE GIANTS CANT TANK RIGHT:
And they still can’t. Oakland will finish with a 4-12 record but actually looked ok down the stretch with two good wins in the last few weeks of the season and competitive outings against Miami and Pittsburgh despite losses. While the Giants had a reasonable back end of the season and finished with a 5-11 record.
In a world where Quarterbacks in the next Draft aren’t looking great, I can’t imagine the Giant’s trade back and they’ll likely take a Quarterback, while the Raiders with three picks in the First Round will take the best player available with a potential trade back.
WEEK 13 – MAYFIELD-MANIA OWNS THE BENGALS:
And doesn’t he. Maybe going forward the Bengals just leave Hue Jackson at home when they play Cleveland going forward. Or maybe just leave Hue Jackson instead giving him the Head Coaches role. How about that?
Mayfield is finished as the QB16 for the year which as a rookie is fantastic, considering he didn’t get his first start until Week 3, which had him as the QB14 overall from that point. However, since Hue Jackson was fired after their loss to the Steelers, from Week 9 on Baker Mayfield is the QB11 in Fantasy Football. I can’t help but think with a solid offseason that he could be one of the bigger movers in ADP next offseason for those who opt to wait on Quarterbacks or stream the position.
My wife gave birth and I took a week off which was really wrong of her. Who gets knocked up heading into the Fantasy Football Playoffs? Hell of a distraction for my teams and articles! Apologies, it won’t happen again! I hope…
WEEK 15 – WHO WAS WORTH WHAT AGAIN?!:
So before the trade deadline hit there were three notable moves that took place. Cooper from Oakland to Dallas for a First Round pick, we have been over this already. Golden Tate from Detroit to Philadelphia for a Third Round Pick. Demaryius Thomas from Denver to Houston for a Fourth Round Pick. If you took to the consensus with who ‘had won’, it was the Eagles with Tate, then Houston getting a Receiver of some elk in Thomas as Will Fuller went down with a knee injury mid-year and then Dallas who overpaid for a failing, albeit talented young Amari Cooper.
In hindsight that didn’t work out as many had predicted. Tate has been all but phased out as Carson Wentz is on the fritz, and they’ve gone back to what works with Nick Foles which is more Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor with plenty of two Tight End sets involving rookie Dallas Goedert with Zach Ertz.
Thomas has torn his Achilles and looked ok prior to getting hurt. Not great. Just ok. But that could be it for him. He could be finished, fingers crossed it isn’t the case…
But Cooper pretty much could be attributed with the honors of being the reason the Cowboys offense finally clicked and how they won the NFC East. Yes, Ezekiel Elliott and the Defense have been fantastic. But I don’t think they get the results they did if Cooper wasn’t there. You can’t tell me they’d have beaten Philadelphia twice (where he had a combined 292 Yards and 3 TDS over 2 games) or Washington (with 180 yards and 2 TDS). The Eagles would have likely won the division and they’d still only be one win ahead of the Giants only. To think they locked up a seed in the playoffs is incredible, considering 7 weeks ago no one thought it was possible at all.
WEEK 16 – WHO GOT LUCKY IN WEEK 16?:
Not me. I lost in two playoff championships last week – congrats to Jason McAninly (of The B League) and Chris Wecht (Going For 2 writers league), you were both much better than me in the game that matters most. And thank you to everyone that voted on my lineup. It really wouldn’t have mattered they way I was tracking.
But no one cares about my Fantasy team.
SUPER BOWL PREDICTION
Odds are given via mybookie.ag, as of 1/2/19
I have been on the New Orleans Saints ($3.25) winning it all with Alvin Kamara doubled down as the MVP of the Super Bowl against the L.A. Chargers ($19.00). I like Chicago ($10.50) and Baltimore ($15.00) as decent outside chances to push them both. But the Saints and Chargers Super Bowl is something I have been riding since the preseason and something I will see out until the end.
We saw so much over the past 17 weeks of the regular season but as the old saying goes ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’, rings true.
Dallas was a big component of Pros And Cons purely because they drove so much interest in how a Franchise can neglect a whole section of their Offense (you know, the part where the Quarterback has to throw it?) and when they finally addressed the issue they took off. What could have been if this was a priority at the start of the year?
The Browns fired a failing coach and had their Rookie Quarterback motivated to prove everyone wrong. But what could have been if it was a different coach in charge when the Draft went down? Could it have been Sam Darnold in Cleveland? Now the Browns are in a Division with a revamped Baltimore, a still star-studded (although at times controversial) Steelers team and Cincinnati who proved that when they are healthy can compete and beat anyone. But going forward their hunt for a new Head Coach is underway and you gotta think what could be if they landed a Bruce Arians to be in charge…
I have been on Philadelphia’s back all season about being one of the most fraudulent champions, ever. That’s partly because I am a Giants fan living in Dallas, my hatred for everyone in that Division has me at my tipping point and I tend to not think rationally. But here we are, with Nick Foles taking the team into the playoffs once again (as Carson Wentz is hurt, once again) and they look as safe and sound like anyone. Yes, their secondary has been banged up all year – but they got there. It makes you think what happens to Foles this offseason and where he may end up going. Because if he can take the Eagles on a bit of a run you would have to think (if you were Foles) what are you actually doing playing the role of the backup to anyone. My money is on Nick Foles heading to Denver in the 2019 season.
There is so much more we can sit back and reflect upon. Where we went right and wrong and all the grey area in between to discuss. Thankfully we have a whole offseason to do that!
Pros And Cons over the next few weeks will look a little different where I will recap all of the players we discussed over the preseason, and I am looking forward to finding resolution with them all as the season winds down.
I want to thank you for getting this far and taking in everything I have recalled from our season. Check out the DFS and Weekly Content all the hard-working staff is pumping out to get you best prepared. Also – download the Going For 2 app, then and rate, review and share with your loved ones. You all deserve it!
You can as always follow and find me at @TheBLeagueSays and offer any view or conversation about this. Let’s all get better together!
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