Just like that, it is time for playoffs. It is the last week of the regular season for most leagues, and a new season begins.
At least for some. Then there is the rest of us, who failed to make the playoffs. To those people, I say welcome to the club.
For the failures who will not make the playoffs, the rest of the season has no real meaning. However, that doesn’t mean that you cannot impact the rest of the league. So before the normal advice comes forth, here are two ways to keep it interesting if you already are out of the playoffs.
Play spoiler this week: It is possible that your opponent this week has something to play for. Be it a spot in the playoffs or a higher seed, take it away from them. I fully expect Spectrum opinion writer Grant Gloe will have something to say after I do it to him this week.
Cash in: What good is Adam Thielen going to do if he is not in the playoffs? Same goes for Jordan Howard and any member of a non-playoff fantasy team. In the playoffs, everyone is for sale, as long as your league doesn’t have a trade deadline. Make your other league members get creative as they fight for any good players. Personally, whoever offers me the most Oreos wins.
So now, stop trolling the rest of the league, and let’s get down to business.
Let’s take a moment to flash all the way back to Week 5: Alex Smith is the clear leader among fantasy quarterbacks; owners are basking in the plentiful points he brings in each week, posting three 25+ point games in the first five weeks.
Then there is me. Looking back to what I said after that week, “Surely, he can’t keep up the pace, and it will be the week I start him when he falls.”
Well, I have been starting him. So, while my prediction took a couple of weeks, it is here. Smith has become matchup dependent. Thankfully, he takes on the Jets this week, so there is hope.
Philip Rivers meanwhile is on the other side of the spectrum. Coming off a performance of over 400 yards and three touchdowns against the Cowboys, it gets easier this week. Cleveland visits the StubHub Center this week, and the good form from all the Chargers will continue as they look to overtake the Chiefs in the AFC West.
After 12 weeks of football, Joe Mixon finally reached the heights that were expected of him. Mixon registered his first 100-yard game of his career while picking up a touchdown last week. However, there is only one kicker to the stat line — it was against Cleveland. The real test for Mixon comes this Monday when the Bengals travel to Pittsburgh. The Steelers have been a mixed bag this year with run defense. Mixon warrants a flex play this week.
There are two sides when it comes to owning Packers running backs. In one corner, there are the Ty Montgomery owners, who hope he returns from a rib injury this week against the Buccaneers. On the other hand, there are Jamaal Williams owners, who hope Montgomery doesn’t. It is the Williams owners that have the most to play for. Should Montgomery play, then the pair should share snaps, given the production Williams has had. Williams himself is start-worthy, but the situation gets murky with Montgomery’s return.
Sometimes, one player makes a team. For Dallas, that player is Ezekiel Elliot. He, of course, is suspended. A lot of Dallas players have suffered in the last few games, but none more than Dez Bryant. With no touchdowns in his last five games and less than 40 yards in three of those, production has been bad for Bryant. What’s worse, Bryant is coming off a short week and faces coverage by Josh Norman this week. Other options may be better this week, but hold on for the playoff run.
For owners in deep leagues needing a miracle, it may come down to a player with a low floor but very high ceiling. Enter Cordarrelle Patterson. With Michael Crabtree suspended and Amari Copper suffering from both a concussion and sprained ankle, that does not leave much depth in Oakland. Patterson had three catches for 72 yards last week. The high-side kicker, Patterson can get involved in the run game and return kicks too.
Since Ryan Fitzpatrick took over under center in Tampa Bay, Cameron Brate has seen his production drop. He has just one catch in each of his last four games. The task doesn’t get any better this week, even if Jameis Winston returns to action. The Green Bay Packers give up the fewest points to tight ends in the league. Add into that O.J. Howard’s increased snap count, it does not look good for Brate the rest of the season.