If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! This year was full of ups and downs, and like the New Year, Week 17 had to go out with a bang. After letting people down in Week 16 (myself included), Mike Evans put up one of his signature 40+ point games this week, leaving anyone who was playing against him up a creek. We also witnessed Jarrett Stidham put on a clinic against the San Francisco 49ers, Sam Darnold play his way into another contract, and Tom Brady come back from the dead with over 400 passing yards. Folks, this is why we play the game; anything can happen any given Sunday.
Although your season may be over, there are still leagues playing for a championship in Week 18 (note: you should really talk to your commissioner about that), so the hot takes train keeps on rolling to its final destination. There are still a few teams with playoff implications on the line, so that’s going to factor into who you should start and who you should sit as you continue to compete for the championship. After all, you didn’t come this far just to lose, did you? Let’s dive into our final edition of hot takes for this season and win you a fantasy football championship.
The Eagles Drop Their Final Game, Gifting the NFC East to the Dallas Cowboys
The Eagles have been the talk of the league all season long, in large part due to the efficiency of Jalen Hurts and their stellar defense. Over the past few weeks, however, they have taken a tumble, as the injury bug has reared its ugly head. Cult favorite Gardner Minshew looked every bit like the backup quarterback he is this week against the lowly Saints, and the next week, they get a matchup with the Giants. Granted, the G-Men haven’t exactly been consistent, but they showed up Sunday with a pick six against Nick Foles and the cluster that is Indianapolis. With a playoff spot already wrapped up and Hurts still suffering from a shoulder injury, don’t be surprised if the Eagles are once again forced to go with Minshew under center and drop a game to the playoff-bound Giants.
The Miami Dolphins Miss the Playoffs After a Strong Start to the Season
It felt like nothing could go wrong for the Dolphins early in the season, then…it all went wrong. Tua Tagovailoa is out with his third concussion of the year, and Sunday, backup Teddy Bridgewater suffered a broken finger on his throwing hand. The ‘Phins were holding a playoff spot going into Sunday, but they dropped a game to the Patriots, giving up their wild card spot and now sitting on the outside looking in. After Sunday’s loss, they now only have a 56% chance to make the playoffs, and they’re in a must win next week against the New York Jets. Granted, the Jets’ loss today eliminated them from playoff contention, but there’s no way they phone it in against their divisional rivals. Sauce Gardner and company have been playing lights out, and with uncertainty at quarterback, the Dolphins’ passing game could be severely limited. Sorry guys. There’s always next year.
The Jaguars Sneak Past the Titans and Win the AFC South
The absolute humbling of the Houston Texans today didn’t really help fantasy managers much, as Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne were benched in the third quarter, but Doug Pederson and crew are making it interesting in the AFC South. The Jaguars have been on a tear as of late, winning four straight, and with all the struggles the Tennessee Titans have been having, this one is going to come down to the wire. The Jags defense hasn’t been great, to say the least, all season, but they have managed to make some key plays, holding the Texans to just 84 total rushing yards and just over 200 yards passing. If their defense can show up and the Titans woes follow them into Week 18, expect some fireworks for the division title.
Lions Edge out Packers for Their First Playoff Trip Since 2016
I’ve never heard of a Lion biting kneecaps, but that’s exactly what this Detroit squad is doing. After a horrendous start to the season, everything is finally coming together, with the Lions winning four of their last five, and they’ll have to put it all on the line next week against the Packers, who are also fighting to make the playoffs. Detroit is in the top five scoring offenses in the league, averaging 27 points per game, and Green Bay hasn’t exactly been a shut down defense. Aaron Rodgers and crew are going to make it difficult, to be sure, but Detroit’s defense has improved since the beginning of the season, and with Aidan Hutchinson lurking across the line, you can count on Rodgers being hurried and making a few bad decisions to give the Lions the edge. I’m calling dibs now on front row seats for the Dan Campbell interview after the game because it’s going to be legendary.
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