A Day of Football
Posted Jan. 02 at 05:41 AM
Playoff fantasy football and dynasty league tidbits, those are the main reasons to have an interest in Week 17 wrapups. So that's what I focused on yesterday in the games I caught the most of.
Packers-Lions: Wow. A little context here: there was almost no defense played in any games yesterday, certainly not in this one. But there's Matt Flynn slinging it around for nearly 500 yards and 6 TDs anyway, making it look like the Packers should franchise him and deal him (New England did it with Matt Cassel, right?), or maybe just deal Aaron Rodgers for some team's next decade worth of first-round picks and then start Flynn next year. Anyway, maybe he's the next A.J. Feeley (or Cassel, or...), but Flynn did make some pretty awesome throws, albeit without facing a ton of pressure and with his receivers getting open over and over again. Powerful offense in Green Bay, but Flynn's going to be starting somewhere next year. I'll guess Miami. ... Kind of a costly loss for the Lions. Not only do they open at New Orleans (I suspect the Saints aren't excited about that either) but they've got to be kind of gassed from racing up and down the field, over and over again, in a demoralizing loss. Oh yeah, their defense didn't look very good.
Jets-Dolphins: Rough game for Mark Sanchez. I'm not buying speculation that the Jets are looking to replace him; he's their starter next season. It can probably be called a make or break year for him, though. He makes some big drives, wins some playoff games, but makes plenty of mistakes. No consistency. Plus the offense looks like it never knows what it wants, which is why Brian Schottenheimer will be gone, probably, by the time you read this. ... Jeremy Kerley is a guy I've had my eye on since the preseason, when the Jets were talking him up as a guy who can just play. I don't think Burress is necessarily back next season, so maybe Kerley is the No. 2. He made plays as a receiver, runner, and passer in this game, and is a guy I'm holding onto in my dynasty league. Hey, maybe he's the next Austin Collie if the Jets make a play for Peyton Manning (as wild fan rumor has it....) ... Saw a Pepsi commercial starring the Jets yesterday, for the first time. Kind of ill-timed if it's a recently aired one.
Bills-Patriots: There aren't a lot of teams that can spot an opponent 17-21 points and yet you still know they're going to win. I'm not even sure the Packers are Saints are as much of a sure thing in that regard as New England. Well, against the Bills and Dolphins of the world, anyway. ... Guess Brady's non-throwing shoulder didn't trouble him too much. ... Has any team ever had two tight ends like what the Patriots are throwing out there right now? For a couple of years in the 90s the Packers were doing good things with Mark Chmura and Keith Jackson, and I seem to remember the Eagles and Chargers having a couple of good ones at the same time a few years before that, but nothing like this. Not that Wes Welker didn't also have a fantastic year, but who needs wide receivers? .... I know the Patriots can't stop the pass and have lost home playoff games in two straight years, but it's tough not to pick them coming out of the AFC. Maybe the Ravens can win up there (again), that's about it. ... Has C.J. Spiller taken away Fred Jackson's starting job? Surely he can't go back to being just an occasional change of pace guy after the way he finished the season.
Titans-Texans: It ended up not meaning much, which is good, because the Titans would have been a pretty unimpressive playoff representative. Not that that hasn't happened before, basically almost every year, but I didn't want to see the Titans in. Among other things, I didn't want to have to read about whether Mike Munchak was going to Penn State or not during NFL playoff coverage, since I could not possibly care less. ... So T.J. Yates got hurt early, bringing Jake Delhomme in. I'm not sure it has much of an impact on Houston possibly winning their first playoff game (but definitely not going any further). Houston's out to prove that a running game still matters in the NFL playoffs, and maybe they'll do it and maybe they won't. But that's pretty much all they bring to the table on offense right now. ... At the end of the game the Titans fumbled while running out the clock and the Texans scored, then went for 2. That was understandable, except when a false start penalty pushed them back to the 7, and they went for 2 anyway. Seemed pretty clear that wasn't going to work, but can't blame them for not wanting to go to overtime. So good thing the game ended up not mattering.
Kansas City-Broncos: My son asks me questions, and I answer them, as if Tebow Time is an actual, concrete time period. "What's the score?" "7-3." "Is it Tebow Time?" "Well, it's the fourth quarter, so yes, I suppose it is." Haven't seen much of it lately, though. The Broncos look like a pretty clear one and done team, although as you know, everybody's 0-0 in the playoffs and anything can happen and it's a new season and all that stuff. Whatever; the guy doesn't throw very well and he'll be facing a really good defense next week. Pittsburgh hasn't exactly looked like an offensive juggernaut lately, though, so maybe it will be a good low-scoring battle where one team pulls it out at the end. To score only 3 points at home against Kansas City however (and even those 3 were after a fumbled punt) doesn't bode well for next week.
Cowboys-Giants: I don't really know why I always feel bad for Tony Romo when the Cowboys get bounced from the playoff picture. He has a pretty good life. Bottom line, the Cowboys don't have the edge needed to pull out tough games, whether it's on the sidelines or on the field. Tough to think Romo is the problem, though. ... Victor Cruz was just sitting out there in my dynasty league early in the year. I was a little slow to buy into him. Shouldn't have been, cause the guy is some kind of playmaker. Week after week, big play after big play. I think you have to draft him ahead of Hakeem Nicks next year, even though most people won't. And with those two guys out there, Eli Manning looks like he'll be a great value wherever he gets drafted, which will be several rounds after the "elite" guys. ... Felix Jones will be the clear No. 2 in Dallas next season. Brandon Jacobs will be the clear No. 2 somewhere.
Quick playoff peek: Texans-Bengals looks like the tossup game....a low-scoring affair between two very good defenses and offenses that didn't play well down the stretch. Houston has the better running game and defense, so it might not matter that they can't pass the ball right now. ... Have to give Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson a puncher's chance in Detroit-New Orleans. Remember Larry Fitzgerald taking over the postseason a few years ago, maybe that will be Megatron this year. But how are the Lions going to keep the Saints in check? Unless they can knock Drew Brees out of the game, they can't. ... Maybe weather will be a factor in Falcons-Giants. I don't think there will be much defense played otherwise. I'll give the Giants the edge, but a big Matt Ryan game wouldn't be surprising. Four great wideouts in this game. ... Tough loss for the Steelers if Rashard Mendenhall did indeed tear his ACL. I think they'll have enough offense to get by Denver; they're not exactly a running team anyway. Their defense is good enough to cause problems for someone in round 2. But the winner of this game probably won't go any further, and certainly shouldn't.
Most people are probably expecting Saints-Packers and Patriots-Ravens, right? 49ers can cause some problems with their defense, but does anyone really want to see that happen? It doesn't always work out this way, but let's hope we get the games everyone wants to see.
Posted by PETER DEBIASE | Jan. 02 at 06:10 AM
Andy: If the Lions defense can not muster up more than they showed yesterday next week in Nawlins, they have no prayer. Brees will carve them up. Matt Flynn is a nice QB but nothing special and he made them look foolish. He has obviously mastered the GB system, but will probably get overpaid next year, ala Cassel and Kolb. And kudos to McCarthy for playing to win the game (I wish I would have known that Nelson would play the whole game; he certainly would have been in my challenge lineup). I expect Saints-Packers and Patriots-Steelers in Championship Games with a Super Bowl rematch between Packers-Steelers. I think the Steelers will find a way to beat Baltimore like they always seem to do and I can't see New England getting to the Super Bowl with the awful defense. I love the Saints, but I can't see them going to Lambeau and beating GB in late January.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jan. 02 at 07:27 AM
Peter - I'm not buying a Steelers team that barely squeaked by Cleveland twice in the final month. If the Texans get by Cincinnati (which I expect), the Steelers/Broncos winner would have to go to New England. I realize Hou-Cinn could go either way.
Posted by MARTIN DONNELLY | Jan. 02 at 07:44 AM
Chauvinism Those who insist on avoiding week 17 fantasy play are pussies. Week 14 - NaturalBornLosers 97 vs Flashbacks 61 Week 2 - NaturalBornLosers 64 vs Barracudas 91 Week 7 - Ontarians 82 vs Derelicts 66 Dough Bowl XXIV - Barracudas 62 vs Tooches 83 Three regular season games yielded a higher total score than the week 17 Dough Bowl. That's slightly more than 1.5% of those games; no other playoff game had as many points. Admittedly this is the record high Dough Bowl score. Also, it's not a representative value as the championship pits the 2 "most" successful teams. But it also embodied all the sissified complaints associated with reasons for that disreputable practice -An abnormally high number of teams playing for nothing -Teams playing for playoff contention vs those not -A top player, the top RB LeSean McCoy, as a late scratch And that scratch didn't even cost the champs the game nor the record score. Neither did having Jordy Nelson being thrown to by his backup quarterback. Perhaps it's all the other bad ideas -- boring standard scoring, idiotic fractional scoring and truly soulless concepts like "team quarterback" -- that make one more week of play so distasteful to so many other leagues. Once again, we have the great good fortune not to be in such straights in the Maddogleague. Looking forward to the 25th season in another 8 months.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jan. 02 at 08:09 AM
I actually agree with you that Week 17 should be used in at least some fashion in most leagues. I think a two-week Super Bowl makes sense, for example. Or maybe something where both teams that make the title game could take turns drafting free agents, so players like Matt Flynn could be selected. I guess the main argument against Week 17 is that it penalizes teams who had the best players all season but then lose those players (Arian Foster, Aaron Rodgers) in a title game. It does seem a shame to waste a week of the season, however.
Posted by BEN HOGEVOLL | Jan. 02 at 08:38 AM
Martin I couldnt agree more!Our leagues week 17 came down to three of us fighting it out.I ended up the loser because i owned Flynn as a handcuff to Rogers all year but picked up McCoy off waivers and played him instead.I wish i would have NEVER goen with this sights week 17 ranking and goen with my gut.Im not going to commit suicide but am really pissed with my self.It really cost me.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jan. 02 at 09:06 AM
Ben were you not able to bench McCoy when he was made inactive? In the Weekly we did say it was risky to count on him playing, given that Reid has held out banged-up players in meaningless games before. But, he practiced fully on Friday so it sure seemed like he'd play, and yeah, he was ranked accordingly on that basis. Tough break, that's unfortunate.
Posted by BEN HOGEVOLL | Jan. 02 at 09:46 AM
Andy Not McCoy! I met McCown! We start one QB, Your ranking had McCown bears qb way ahead of Flynn 12th vs 28th
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jan. 02 at 10:29 AM
Ah, OK. Yeah. Obviously we didn't think Green Bay would put quite so much effort into that game yesterday. Sorry.
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