2017 NFL Hot Takes: Week 16
Dan Malin takes a look around the NFL and gives you his hot takes from Week 16 of the fantasy football season.
Happy holidays to everyone in the FA Nation! Christmas Eve was somewhat of a wild ride for those in their championship games! If you’re still alive and relying on either of the Monday night games then best of luck to you! If you were the victim of going against Todd Gurley then maybe you should make a note to try and draft him next year. Now the worst part about a hot take, especially this time of year, is that it almost becomes a “hindsight is 20/20” review. So next week will feature some hot takes for the 2018 season while for now we look back on week 16. Again, happy holidays to you and your family!
Jimmy Garoppolo for MVP
One of the dumbest MVP arguments I hear from the media is when a guy goes down with injury and his team is immediately bad and that makes said injured player the MVP. For example, the Packers without Aaron Rodgers or the Cowboys without Zeke or Tyron Smith. A player gets hurt then the team immediately sucks so it’s appropriate to crown him the most valuable player in the minds of some people. In October 2016 Rob Parker actually said Tom Brady didn’t deserve to win the MVP because he didn’t play the whole season. Interestingly enough, in December 2017 Rob Parker now feels that Carson Wentz is still the NFL’s MVP even though he won’t play a full season. Seems like Rob Parker only wants to use this argument when it’s convenient to him. That’s just stupid to me.
But what if we apply the same method, but with a slight twist in the logic? What if you take a guy who wasn’t on the team before and put him in and he re-ignites a fan base and an organization? The 49ers were 1-10 before handing the reigns to Jimmy G who they acquired in a trade with the Patriots. Since being named the starter Garoppolo has won four straight games including an impressive victory on Sunday over the Jaguars and their top-ranked defense. So my hot takes from last week regarding this game may have been a little bit off. Marquise Goodwin didn’t have a monster outing, nor did Carlos Hyde who at least found the end zone. But Garoppolo showed poise against one of the best teams in the AFC and the game was a high scoring affair as expected. Garoppolo threw for two touchdowns and ran for another while completing 70% of his passes for 242 yards. He may not win the actual MVP, but for those who streamed quarterbacks all season and picked up Garoppolo at the right time, he’s probably the fantasy MVP as a late season addition. And for the record I’m still calling the Jaguars and 49ers to meet in Super Bowl LV in Tampa, FL on February 7, 2021.
Case Keenum Regression Alert
Keenum’s had a nice season by all means. It’s actually pretty wild to consider the possibility of the Vikings playing in the Super Bowl in their home stadium. Keenum’s also been a worthy DFS option because he’s a decent value at the quarterback position. But over the past two weeks he’s thrown for a total of 375 yards and three touchdowns. Now he hasn’t thrown any picks, but he’s been very efficient this season. He faces a Bears defense next week that held him to 140 passing yards on 17-of-21 pass attempts back in October. If your championship goes into Week 17 I’d avoid starting him if I could. The Bears have actually forced ten turnovers over their last five games and could be a very annoying problem for the Vikings in their final game of the season before heading into a bye week for the playoffs. The Vikings are a team that went 3-1 against the Saints, Rams, Falcons, and Panthers. All of which are currently in the playoff picture in the NFC. I’m not confident Keenum can put a team on his back and for a much-needed playoff victory. The Vikings have held four of their last six opponents to under ten points and will have to rely on their defense in Week 17 and beyond.
Week 16: The Week of the Running Back
I’ll preface this section with a little note that yes there are outliers to every statistical grouping. But running backs had a phenomenal week in Week 16, most notably Todd Gurley. However, Dion Lewis, Giovani Bernard, C.J. Anderson, Melvin Gordon, Leonard Fournette, LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Jordan Howard, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida, and even Mike Gillislee all had solid contributions. In his return from a six-game suspension Ezekiel Elliott still managed 15.8 points in PPR formats although he failed to find the end zone. Now going back to the opening sentence there were some burners like Joe Mixon, Christian McCaffrey, Devonta Freeman, and any running back on Saturday night not named Frank Gore. But if you had a team in the finals with good running backs you had a very good week and are likely celebrating a championship.
For those who started certain wide receivers named Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Larry Fitzgerald congratulations! You probably dodged the bullet of horrible pass catchers in Week 16. Josh Gordon, Devin Funchess, Brandin Cooks, Greg Olsen, Dez Bryant, Adam Thielen, Golden Tate, Marvin Jones, etc. all had rough weeks. With no Antonio Brown the down week for pass catchers could continue, and if Le’Veon Bell has a big game tonight it will confirm the running back dominance for this week. All in all it was a good year for running backs. David Johnson suffered an injury early on in the season and that was really the only big name to go down. Joe Mixon came on late and suffered an injury that cost some owners, but for owners that invested in running backs early like Bell, Fournette, Howard, Freeman (to an extent), McCoy, Gurley, Ingram, etc. you were rewarded as the injury bug avoided running backs for the most part this year.
Fade the Jaguars DST
Man this take comes not a moment too soon, right? With just one week to go! For those who don’t know I also contribute the weekly DST Coach piece that comes out on Fridays. A few weeks back I started to push the Jaguars out of my article while adding a brief aside to each piece saying they’re still in play for Cash games. To be fair, and credit to the DFS community, but none of the top lineups in tournaments this weekend featured the Jaguars. Who put up just three points. The defense, formerly known as “Sacksonville,” has just 12 sacks in their last five games. Two-to-three sacks per game is still good, but 20 of their 52 sacks came in two games against the Colts and Texans who don’t boast great offensive lines. The issue with the Jaguars is that they’re very pricey on a weekly basis and they haven’t hit 3X value since Week 11 against the Browns. Sure they’ve come close, but when you’re priced over $4,000 on DraftKings it’s difficult to hit 12-15 points on a regular basis. Now the Jaguars wrap up the season on the road in Tennessee against the Titans next week. Jacksonville didn’t fare too well against them earlier in the season. For those bold enough to play DFS in Week 17, best of luck to you, but I’m avoiding this group like the plague.
Looking to Week 17
What usually stinks about Week 17 may not apply this year. Even the playoff teams are fighting for a home game, a bye week, or home field advantage throughout the playoffs. All games fall on Sunday of next week so it’ll be a massive DFS slate. But the Patriots need to stay competitive against the Jets. If they get a large enough lead early on then they may pull players like Brady, Gronk, and Cooks. The Eagles are in the same boat against Dallas. A lot of fantasy relevant players in the NFC will be in action vying for a playoff spot or seeding. The Rams, Saints, Falcons, Panthers, and Seahawks are all expected to be in action next week with the postseason looming. Over in the AFC the Ravens, Titans, Chargers, and Bills are all fighting for wild card spots. The Chargers are good candidates against the Raiders to put up a high score while the Bengals will look to play spoiler against the Ravens. If you’re still playing into Week 17 you need to do two things: One: Talk to your commissioner because no league should stretch into Week 17. And two: comb through your lineup and try and look at each player you have to see if they could be pulled early. Players on the Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, and Vikings could fit this description as well as teams that are way out of the playoffs that they may not want to risk further injury to their best young players. Week 17 is shaping up to be pretty fun, but if 2017 has taught us anything it’s that we shouldn’t get too excited. Best of luck!
Feel free to give me a follow on Twitter (@RealDANlanta) and throw Twitter tomatoes my way for some of my takes that go awry. Thanks for reading! Stay strong the rest of the way