After the fantasy tragedy that was last week, Week 15 gave us some redemptions, heroes, villains and goats.
Take Drew Brees and Devonta Freeman's pictures down from the dartboard; replace them with Tom Brady and Davante Adams instead.
Quarterback play continues to be a roller coaster with the position so many owners take for granted coming up small this week. Ask Aaron Rodgers or Brady owners if they expected Matt Moore to throw 4x the touchdown passes last weekend. The safe harbors seem few and far between with Andrew Luck owners taking their 250 yards, two scoring passes and just being thankful.
QBs who threw one or no TD passes this week included the likes of: Brady, Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Trevor Siemian, Andy Dalton, Marcus Mariota and Tyrod Taylor. A fun off-season debate will be where we rank QBs and why, for 2017.
With a week to go for most of us, one of the toughest choices will be to stream or not to stream (I nixed the idea of benching Brady for Collin Kaepernick at the last minute in one league and lived to tell about it thanks to my opponent starting Cousins) their QB this last week. And the winner of many a title game might just be decided by whose QB is less bad.
In a week most of us use for the fantasy semifinals, we saw some of the biggest NFL names in fantasy bounce back; others fail miserably and in the strangest twist of all - redemption for a couple more.
The best news was that Drew Brees went back to being, well, Drew Brees after his two game touchdown-less streak. After back to back 300-yard games with three interceptions in each, he posted nearly 400 with four TD strikes - and no interceptions. Also good news was that Brandin Cooks turned in a big performance as did Michael Thomas, combining for three of four scores. Back on the ground, the news wasn't as good. Mark Ingram owners are cursing Tim Hightower's two vultured touchdowns as that time share has no end in sight. But hey, at least his outburst over being pulled at the goal line was also speaking for the fantasy community. #owneradvocate
New Orleans faces the suddenly improved Tampa Bay Bucs this week for the second time in three weeks. Despite what happened the first time - start your Saints against Tampa and its 23rd ranked defense.
A Falcon is a Phoenix
Devonta Freeman rewarded owners who somehow survived with his six yard output last week with a nuclear-hot explosion of 150-plus total yards and three TDs. Freeman is not someone you'd sit in the championship, but start with caution as the Panthers have the third-best run defense in the league. Tevin Coleman has been a fantasy leach, sucking points away from Freeman, but Sunday was an nice reminder that Freeman is the big dog and eats first at the goal line. If anything, Coleman's 58-yard output was a nice karmic blow for owners hitching a ride on Freeman and the Falcons' offensive coattails.
Ty one on
How weird is it that the Packers' best running back this season might have been on the roster all along - but as a receiver? Ty Montgomery has gone from a useful double-position listed flex play with upside to a key fantasy playoff component. With the way Green Bay has been playing; don't let the Vikings defense scare you away this week. Minnesota's playoff hopes are on life support and it travels on the road to play the Pack fresh off getting gashed by Frank Gore who went over 100 yards. In fact, the Vikings sit 19th against the run and have looked devastatingly mortal on defense recently as its 31st-ranked offense flounders.
Bad Bucs, bad
In that game Jameis Winston bounced back but Mike Evans' free fall continues. He's scored once in his last six games and has two 100-plus games in the last month. You seriously And Doug Martin owners have to be happy to see he was primary bell cow back - but less than thrilled at his "production" resembling 42 yards and a 2.6 yards per carry mark.
But the good news is that Tampa heads to New Orleans to play the Saints (ranked 27th in team defense) and the offense should be flowing.
Back from the dead?
In a weird twist the forsaken and forgotten receivers in the bust bin - Alshon Jeffrey and DeAndre Hopkins.
This just in, newly minted Texans starting QB Tom Savage has just made DeAndre Hopkins fantasy relevant. This just in - right in time for the consolation bracket of his fantasy owners. On the bright side, anyone who has a team still alive despite Hopkins' fantasy stock plummet this year, can now consider starting him against the Bengals in a flex role at home.
Alshon Jeffrey is back. Kind of. His successful comeback Sunday after a four game suspension for PEDs means he is back in play for fantasy owners this week. While last week he fell into the "only for the desperate" category this week and is now ... about the same (but with upside-ish). Matt Barkley got him the ball last week but this time out, he'll likely match up with Josh Norman as the Bears play the Redskins, so curb your expectations.
Pick this guy up:
JJ Nelson, Cardinals – He’s scored in back to back games and proven he doesn’t need to be targeted much to have a big impact on games. With Michael Floyd off the team, John Brown slowed by battling health ailments, there are more targets to go around opposite Larry Fitzgerald.
Bilal Powell – With Matt Forte out we advised you grab him last week. He’s still a great value off the waiver wire if you are in a pinch with a hole in your backfield. The Jets, who are at the Patriots this week, have a tough date with the #3 ranked rush defense in the league. But here’s the thing – think total yards. He’s had 16 catches the past two weeks once he filled the starting RB role. Especially if there is a blowout by the Pats, he could catch plenty of check downs from Bryce Petty.
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About the Author:
David Komer is a web producer/multimedia journalist for FOX 2. He is a former fantasy sports columnist for SportsIllustrated.com where he wrote for three years and he has won more than 20 Michigan Press Association awards in news and sports coverage in his career.