Week 14 saw the end of the regularly scheduled “bye season,”
but a significant uptick in the number of positive Covid-19 tests
(37 on Monday and at least 25 on Tuesday) will make playoff lineup
formation much more difficult. You can’t plan for unexpected
“Covid-19 list byes” as you could for regular bye weeks.
An example of this new dilemma was the four-hour warning fantasy
owners got when Rams tight end Tyler Higbee was declared out for
Monday night’s Cardinals game. Both the Rams and Browns closed
their facilities Tuesday due to Covid-19. Good luck.
I have no trouble with, it's the facts I get all screwed up.”
– Farley Mowat
1) The only way to stop Cooper Kupp in 2021 is likely a Covid-19
We shall see if this virus can slow down Kupp’s record-breaking
season (113-1,489-12). If either Kupp or quarterback Matthew Stafford
get the virus it could be a disaster for fantasy owners. Just
in: Odell Beckham Jr. was announced as Covid-19 positive Tuesday.
The Cardinals held Kupp to 5-64-0 in their first meeting (his
worst of the season), but he got his revenge Monday night with
a 13-123-1 performance. Kupp will face Seattle. Minnesota and
Baltimore for the fantasy playoffs.
2) Ben Roethlisberger may not be the star he once was (26.3
FPts/G in 2108), but his high floor still makes him a viable option.
Though he has thrown for 300 yards just twice this season, including
last week, he’s cracked the 200-yard mark in 11 consecutive games
and tossed a touchdown pass in every game he’s played. Patrick
Mahomes can’t say that. Aaron
Rodgers can’t say that. Neither can Josh
Allen. When/if Roethlisberger retires after the 2021 season
it will be interesting to see who wants to replace him. The Steelers
have great receivers (always) and a star running back in the making
They need to improve the OL, but I’ll bet a number of established
stars would be happy to come to Pittsburgh to finish out their
careers (can you say Russell
Wilson or Aaron Rodgers?).
3) Dak Prescott has not been the same quarterback he was before
the calf injury which kept him off the field in Week 8.
True. Prescott average 27 FPts/G over the first six games of
the season, but since returning in Week 9 he’s averaged
just 20 FPts/G. His accuracy is significantly down from 73.1%
over the six-game start to 63.2% since his return. Even in his
worst season (2017) Prescott averaged 20.4 FPts/G and this stretch
is well below his last two seasons 25.7 in 2019 and 31.2 in an
injury-shortened 2020 season. He’ll face the Giants (23rd
in QB fantasy points allowed), Washington (32nd) and Arizona (5th)
in the playoffs so there is a chance he can turn it around in
the first two rounds.
4) Be wary of declaring the Packers’ Aaron Jones “is back” after
his 21.5 fantasy points in Week 14.
Fact. It was Jones’ best fantasy total since Week 8, but
he managed it on just eight touches by scoring twice. Since Week
7, Jones and AJ Dillon has seen similar workloads (12.3 for Jones
and 13.1 for Dillon). Through the first six games of the season
Jones averaged 17.3 touches to just 9.7 for Dillon. Jones simply
won’t produce as he did in 2019 (19.9 FPts/G) and 2020 (18.5)
because he’s no longer a “workhorse running back.”
Remember this fact at your 2022 draft (if he and Dillon are still
paired together) when he’s still available in the late-second
round. He’s a good fantasy running back, but not a great
one due to reduced volume.
5) Joe Mixon is second in rushing yards (1,036) and third in
rushing touchdowns (12), yet just ninth in fantasy points per
True. Of those in the top-10, only Derrick Henry (18 receptions
but out since Week 8) has fewer catches than Mixon’s 28
(tied with Dalvin Cook who has played three less games). His 15.5
receiving yards per game is the fewest of any top-10 back. It’s
becoming clearer and clearer that to be an elite fantasy back
you have to be a very good pass catcher as well as runner. The
exit of Giovani Bernard from the Bengals backfield group should
have been a bigger boost to Mixon’s fantasy value.
“Facts or opinions which are to pass through the hands of
so many, to be misconceived by folly in one, and ignorance in
another, can hardly have much truth left.” – Jane
1) A Derrick Henry (23.4 FPts/G) return in Week 17 would be
a blessing for fantasy owners who stashed him all this time.
Perhaps not. There is very little chance the Titans put a regular
workload on Henry before the real playoffs begin and even less
likely if they have clinched the AFC South division where they
own a two-game lead and the tiebreaker over the Indianapolis Colts.
On the other hand, if they can continue to win and see a Patriots
loss they could grab the top spot and the only AFC bye. That might
be worth taking a chance of overworking Henry.
2) Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back!
Sorry, not yet. CEH had his first two-touchdown performance since
his only other two-touchdown game in Week 11 of 2020, but his
37 rushing yards was the second-worst of the season (he had 13
yards in Week 5 when he injured his knee). Since his return from
an MCL sprain, he’s averaged just 4.27 ypc versus 4.5 for
the rest of his career.
3) It’s time to give up on the Jags’ James Robinson.
Don’t be hasty even though it looks bad. As a man with
Robinson on his roster I understand your pain. He’s not
running well due to knee and heel injuries and his coach appears
to be “anti-Robinson,” but the schedule for the next
two weeks is as good as it gets. The Jaguars face Houston (ranked
27th against opposing fantasy running backs and the New York Jets
who rank dead last. Now, he just has to overcome a head coach
who appears to prefer the backup (his former Ohio State RB Carlos Hyde). Curious, since Hyde averages just 3.5 ypc to 4.8 for Robinson.
Hyde is 31 years old versus 23 for Robinson therefore Hyde has
no chance of being on this team when it finally turns it around,
but Robinson could be a nice RBBC with injured 2021 first-round
draft choice Travis Etienne.
4) If Bill Belichick had drafted Leonard Fournette on his roster
he wouldn’t have needed his RBBC master plan these last five years.
That’s obviously false as Belichick loves to confuse the
opposition with varying RB strategies. In the meantime, Fournette
is having the best season of his career with Tom Brady at quarterback.
He has a slim chance to catch more balls in a season than Brady’s
“old favorite” James White ever did (87 in 2018) as
he’s on pace for a career-high 81 receptions while still
rushing for a career high 4.5 ypc and on pace for a 1000-yard
season on the ground. Over the past four games Fournette has been
at his best - averaging 24 FPts/G.
5) Hunter Renfrow will be good whether Darren Waller (knee,
back) returns in Week 15 or not.
The number prove otherwise. In the four games where Waller was
not on the field due to injuries (Week 7 and 12-14) Renfrow has
averaged 10.3 targets and 9.3 receptions for 102.8 yards. In the
other games where Waller was on the field, Renfrow averaged 7.2
targets and 5.4 receptions for 51.8 yards. In PPR fantasy terms
that’s 21.1 FPts/G versus 13.3 fantasy points. Waller hasn’t
played since the second quarter against Dallas and has yet to
even practice since before Thanksgiving. For those playoff-bound
owners, it matters a lot whether Waller is out there.