NFL Week 15 Hot Takes
Howard Bender gives you the hot takes rundown from all the action fantasy football owners saw during Week 15 of the NFL season.
Oh yeah. Time for some hot takes after this nightmare of a week. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse…
Welcome to the Worst Three Weeks in the History of Fantasy Football
The stories out there are endless -- bad beat after bad beat. It’s been a horror show. Those who dominated their league all year long and eased into the playoffs with 10 or more wins are now sitting on the sidelines watching as the fifth or sixth-seed goes to the championship. What the heck happened this season? Seriously. We haven’t seen this kind of brutality in ages and it’s been relentless over the last three weeks. Remember in Week 13 when the Saints came up empty on Thursday night? When Melvin Gordon didn’t play? When Kareem Hunt got released? Or how about in Week 14 when Derrick Henry scored four touchdowns and we watched in disbelief as nearly every stud’s touchdown got poached by some unknown the rest of the weekend? Or when Odell Beckham sat with a quad injury? Or when James Conner sat too? Well, consider Week 15 the icing on that crap-cake you’re eating as Saquon Barkley , Adam Thielen , Travis Kelce , Leonard Fournette and Tyreek Hill all disappointed. Not to mention injuries to Keenan Allen , Lamar Miller and Aaron Jones . It’s difficult to imagine things getting worse, but if you managed to stay conscious for the Rams/Eagles game Sunday night, you not only witnessed the continued demise of Jared Goff , but you also saw Zach Ertz stink it up and Todd Gurley come off the field with a knee injury. He managed to get back into the game on a limited basis, but you better run to your waiver wire and grab John Kelly if somehow you managed to escape this week’s debacle.
Courtland Sutton is Crazy Overrated
College football is not the NFL. It’s not even close. Take the worst team in the NFL and match them up against the NCAA National Champion and it’s not even a game. It’s a crime scene. Yet still, time and again, you get these fantasy analysts who are college football enthusiasts insisting that a player’s success at the collegiate level automatically translates to the NFL. Corey Davis was a beast at Western Michigan. He’s a fantasy turd with the Titans. Kenny Golladay truthers get two or three decent fantasy weeks out of the former Northern Illinois standout and hang onto them like a terrier on a bone. Let’s add Courtland Sutton to the list, shall we? The Broncos trade Demaryius Thomas and he’s supposed to step up. Does he? No. Emmanuel Sanders gets hurt and Sutton is now supposed to be the new No. 1. Is he? No. Not even close. Physical defensive backs jam him at the line with ease and he could very well be one of the worst route-runners out there right now. Room for improvement? Sure, but let’s actually see him do something on the field before anointing him as the next coming of dynamic wideouts. Right now, this guy is atrocious.
Chris Carson is Crazy Underrated
What the heck is wrong with people? In a time where top running backs are feeding their fantasy owners shit-sandwiches, why are people still asking whether or not to start Chris Carson . And we’re not even talking about something like Chris Carson vs Nick Chubb . No. People are asking whether to start him in their flex over Golden Tate or Adam Humphries . Either people simply refuse to do their own research or they’re just plain stupid. What’s wrong with a guy who averages 76 yards per game and has five touchdowns in his last seven games? What? He’s not active enough in the passing game? You people are nuts. Whether it’s PPR or standard, Carson has easily established himself as someone who should be played regularly. The Seahawks have been a run-first team since Week 3 and hasn’t seen fewer than 16 touches over his last five games. Wake up!
You Should Be Looking Forward to the Bears/Ravens Super Bowl
Who says defense doesn’t win championships anymore? The Cowboys smacked the Saints in the mouth. The Bears smacked the Rams in the mouth. The Chiefs have lost two of their last four and the Patriots have dropped three of their last five. These high-powered offenses that have dominated throughout the season, armed with their 11-2 records are now limping into the playoffs and looking far less dominant than ever. Kind of like your fantasy teams, amirite? Before you start looking at your opponent’s roster and freak out over the fact that it looks so formidable, just look at what’s happening right now – both in fantasy and reality.
Everyone Still Hates the Drake
While you never want to wish injury on a player, Kenyan Drake owners probably found themselves a little giddy after Frank Gore left Sunday’s game with a foot injury. Why wouldn’t they be? Drake was already getting the pass-catching work, so with no Gore, he was in line to see the full complement of touches out of the backfield, right? Wrong. Adam Gase still hates the Drake. So does OC Dowell Loggains and we’re pretty sure running backs coach Eric Studesville hates him too. Why else would the team give 12 carries to Kalen Ballage to just one for Drake? Because the game was well in-hand for the Vikings and they were saving Drake for that all-important Week 16 match-up with the Jaguars? Probably not. In all likelihood, this could be the last year we see this guy in a Dolphins uniform. Drake is finishing up the third-year of his original contract and given how the coaching staff has treated him, unless they all get fired, it looks like they’ll happily part ways as early as this offseason. Maybe they explore a trade, but it’s difficult to imagine they invest any more in this guy than they have already.
So much for the narrative that Kirk Cousins was going to take all that negative criticism and shove it back up the media’s ass this week. He did nothing of the sort. Now granted, the Vikings fired OC John DeFilippo and head coach Mike Zimmer said he wanted to run more, especially against a tomato can run D like that of the Dolphins, but there was no reason to think the passing game would be put so far onto the back-burner that using Cousins in both seasonal and daily would be a problem. We even got duped on the opening drive when Cousins found Stefon Diggs in the end zone for a quick 7-0 lead. But there you had it -- $84M in guaranteed money to had the ball off 35 times and attempt just 21 passes in a losing effort. The Vikings are barely holding onto the No. 6 seed for the playoffs and could very easily get passed by the Eagles, Redskins or even the Panthers. Maybe Case Keenum wasn’t so bad after all? The team could have re-signed Keenum and spent their mega-millions on offensive line repair. Guaranteed a better return than what we’re seeing right now.
Derrick Henry Will Win Fantasy Championships
Laugh all you want, but 408 rushing yards and six touchdowns over the last two weeks just put your worst playoff team into the championship. Likely armed with some combination of James Conner , Melvin Gordon and Kareem Hunt throughout the season, that team was probably mocked incessantly for how their world was about to come crumbling down. But lo and behold, by some miracle, Derrick Henry emerged from the toilet and has now carried that team through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Now here in championship week, Henry matches up with the Redskins who, while they may be fighting for their own playoff life, have allowed an average of 176.3 rushing yards per game over the last three weeks. If you’re facing the Henry owner in the title game, it’s a good thing you’ve got Gurley. Oh wait…
If you still don’t believe in the concept that it’s about the system and not the player, Jaylen Samuels offers you yet another example of how a nutless monkey could be the Steelers starting running back. When afforded the opportunity to be the Steelers bell-cow, Samuels rushed 19 times for 142 yards and caught two passes for another 30 yards. Come on, people, wise up already. Le’Veon Bell, DeAngelo Williams, James Conner and now Samuels – all system-running backs. And it’s not just about the running backs, is it? Just ask Tom Brady , Jimmy Garoppolo and Matt Cassel , right Patriots fans?
Speaking of the Patriots, remember when the Yankees were done with their late-90’s dynasty and their opponents were saying that Aura and Mystique were merely clubhouse strippers and not the edge the Yankees had from playing in their storied stadium? Well, now dancing on the main stage in Foxboro, it’s Aura and Mystique! Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are no more. Plain and simple. You can throw Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski onto the scrap heap too!
Say hello to fantasy savior Alshon Jeffery and goodbye to one of the last remaining tight ends in Zach Ertz . Go back and look at the game logs from last year after Nick Foles took over for Carson Wentz . Who was the beneficiary of the switch? I mean, besides Eagles fans. Yup, Jeffery saw a nice increase in targets while Ertz drifted off into the shadows. Don’t you just love when history repeats itself?
For all you “what are my chances of winning” people out there, give it a rest. It’s a moot point. Just let it play out and see what happens. If there’s a monetary prize at stake, don’t spend the money until you actually have it in-hand, holidays or not. You’re going to drive yourselves crazy for absolutely no reason. Imagine walking into your Week 15 playoff match-up with a roster of Tom Brady , Saquon Barkley , Lamar Miller , Tyreek Hill , Adam Thielen , Jarvis Landry , Travis Kelce , Phillip Lindsay and the Bears defense. You’d feel pretty good about your chances, right? Any analyst would look at that roster and tell you you’re in great shape, right? Well there you go. Look up their scores right now and tell me if you would have beaten your opponent with that roster.