Week 16 Fantasy Revelations
Jerome Harrison: AP
The vacation may have begun last week (and continues through Jan. 4) ... but we're still contractually obligated to attack the Sunday That Was every Monday morning/afternoon. To wit, here are some lightning-fast Revelations from Week 16 -- in the form of 10 Things We Should Remember Come Fantasy Draft Day 2010:
1. Fantasy owners should make a concerted effort to draft QB Matt Ryan (250 yards passing, 3 TDs vs. Buffalo) and WR Roddy White (8 catches, 139 yards, 2 TDs) as a handcuffed tandem in standard-scoring or Points Per Reception leagues next summer. But, in the event of a Ryan injury with Chris Redman taking over in the interim ... White's starting value drops to a flex consideration only.
2. Buffalo would be wise to commit to Fred Jackson (53 yards) as the franchise back next year; and assuming that's the case, F-Jax should be no worse than a Round 5 pick in standard leagues ... and a 4th-rounder in PPRs. Eventually, the Bills will find an offensive identity ... and F-Jax (and his owners) will be there to reap the rewards.
3. Cedric Benson (140 total yards) and Jamaal Charles (124 total yards) have boosted their draft stocks in a big-time manner. Buttressed by Carson Palmer and perhaps the NFL's best run-blocking offensive line, Benson (when healthy) is a reasonable lock for 1,400 rushing yards and 10 TDs next season. On the flip side, Charles may not have the best O-line clearing paths for him (at least now), but he still possesses top-10 potential in PPR leagues -- thanks to his weekly flirtation with 100 total yards, no matter the opponent.
4. Sad but true: Carson Palmer (139 yards passing, 2 TDs, 1 INT) and Matt Cassel (180 yards passing, 1 TD, 2 INTs) are nothing more than backup QBs in 10-team leagues next year. Bottom line: They're just too inconsistent to warrant rubber-stamped starts every week.
5. If the season had 3-4 more weeks, Browns RB Jerome Harrison (148 yards rushing, 1 TD vs. Oakland) could have conceivably played his way into a late-Round 1 draft slot ... but given the uncertainty of Eric Mangini's job prospects and Cleveland's overall lack of talent, Harrison will likely be lumped in with Ryan Grant, Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Joseph Addai on draft day. Still, that's not too shabby for a guy who was mired behind Chris Jennings just three weeks ago.
6. There's no point in drafting a Raiders tailback in the opening 10 rounds next summer -- especially if Oakland continues to view Darren McFadden (78 total yards) as a WR-first, RB-second. Yes, we realize that D-Mac has a long way to go in his adjustment to the pro game, but we also believe he'd be a 1,300-yard back (total yards, not rushing) with Baltimore. Conversely, Ray Rice would be experiencing needless growing pains in Oakland right now, if he had been plucked by the Silver & Black in April 2008.
7. Matt Hasselbeck (198 yards passing, 1 TD, 4 INTs) has become a permanent fixture on our "Do Not Draft" list -- regardless of whether he's back with the Seahawks or flailing with another losing club next year.
8. Even with Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy calling the shots in Green Bay, Ryan Grant (97 yards, 2 TDs) and Brandon Jackson (39 total yards, 3 TDs) should be a top-5 handcuff-tandem next year. In other words, if you invest a mid-Round 2 pick on Grant in standard-scoring leagues, you MUST grab Jackson by Round 7 -- or risk losing in the 2010 fantasy playoffs to B-Jax's giddy owner.
9. Matt Schaub (286 yards passing, 2 TDs) is an automatic starter in 10-team leagues next year. He might even be taken higher than Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, Philip Rivers and the Packers' Rodgers. His partner-in-production, WR Andre Johnson (5 catches, 71 yards, 1 TD), has already done enough this year (1,504 receiving yards) to lock up the No. 1 ranking amongst receivers in 2010 -- regardless of scoring.
10. Given the uncertainty of RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams for Week 1 ... we'd rather have Chad Henne (355 yards passing, 1 TD vs. Houston) over Carson Palmer, Matt Hasselbeck and/or Jay Cutler next year. In fact, it's not even a close race.
11. Jonathan Stewart (222 total yards, 1 TD) should be no less than a late-Round 3 pick next year -- especially standard-scoring leagues. Yes, he benefited from the late-season injury to DeAngelo Williams and, yes, there's a chance that conservative taskmaster John Fox might get the heave-ho in Carolina next month; but if he were the undisputed starter on any other club, J-Stew would be a low Round 1 pick. In other words, fantasy owners cannot afford to pass on that kind of high-end value.
12. Panthers QB Matt Moore (171 yards passing, 3 TDs) deserves the first shot at the starter's role -- unless Carolina trades for a big-name quarterback in the offseason. And strange but true: Moore may have done enough this year to warrant a top-20 QB ranking for next year.
13. Wes Welker (13 catches, 138 yards) will be a high Round 2 pick in PPR leagues next year ... but only a 5th-rounder in standard-scoring leagues. Conversely, Randy Moss (4 catches, 45 yards, 3 TDs) should be a Round 3 selection in standard leagues ... and just a 4th-rounder in PPR leagues.
14. If the drafts were held today, Maurice Jones-Drew (98 total yards) would barely beat out Michael Turner, Steven Jackson, DeAngelo Williams and Cedric Benson for the No. 3 overall slot -- behind Chris Johnson/Adrian Peterson.
15. Kellen Winslow (4 catches, 76 yards) is at least the No. 4 tight end in next year's drafts -- after Antonio Gates, Jason Witten and Brent Celek. And while we're on the subject of the number 4 ... Cadillac Williams (124 rushing yards, 1 TD) would be the perfect RB4 in 12-team leagues next year -- assuming he suffers no injury setbacks during the spring and summer months.
16. If you're going to invest a draft pick on any Rams playmaker NOT named Steven Jackson, the clear choice lies with WR Brandon Gibson (5 catches, 51 yards, 1 TD), who will be a weekly starting consideration in PPR leagues next year. (And yes, that means we're denigrating Donnie Avery's PPR worth in the process.)
17. Strange but true: Anquan Boldin (8 catches, 116 yards) holds greater draft value as the Cardinals' No. 2 receiver next year ... than he would as any other franchise's primary target. In fact, feel free to pencil in Boldin for 1,200 yards/11 TDs with Arizona (minus any contract-related shenanigans once the season starts).
18. Frank Gore (152 total yards, 1 TD) has played himself back into Round 1 for standard-scoring and PPR drafts. And don't be surprised if he outperforms at least three tailbacks selected ahead of him.
19. Fantasy owners should make every effort to land Donovan McNabb (322 yards passing, 3 TDs) and Kyle Orton (189 yards passing, 3 TDs) as a 1-2 pairing next year. Both quarterbacks are durable, operate in pass-heavy offenses and won't cost an arm and a leg on draft day. Boom!
20. Calvin Johnson (7 catches, 96 yards) will be a low Round 3 pick next summer ... but will end up as a top-5 receiver by season's end, assuming Matthew Stafford plays in every game and slowly morphs into one of fantasyland's best quarterbacks for 2011!
1. Alex Smith @ St. Louis
2. Ben Roethlisberger @ Miami
3. Matt Schaub vs. New England
4. Tony Romo vs. Philadelphia
5. Donovan McNabb @ Dallas
6. Kyle Orton vs. Kansas City
Here are the 10 best available free agents for 12-team, standard-scoring leagues:
1. RB Brandon Jackson, Packers
2. QB Chad Henne, Dolphins
3. RB Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers
4. RB Maurice Morris, Lions
5. WR Justin Gage, Titans
6. QB Matt Leinart, Cardinals
7. TE Zach Miller, Raiders
8. RB Derrick Ward, Buccaneers
9. WR Josh Morgan, 49ers
10. QB Vince Young, Titans
1. Chris Johnson @ Seattle
2. Fred Jackson vs. Indianapolis
3. Jason Snelling @ Tampa Bay
4. Frank Gore @ St. Louis
5. Jamaal Charles @ Denver
6. Jerome Harrison vs. Jacksonville
7. Matt Forte @ Detroit
8. Rashard Mendenhall @ Miami
9. Jonathan Stewart vs. New Orleans
10. Knowshon Moreno vs. Kansas City
11. Ray Rice @ Oakland
12. Beanie Wells vs. Green Bay
13. Thomas Jones vs. Cincinnati
It's foolish to guarantee 100 yards and/or one touchdown with tight ends, since their stats -- stars included -- tend to fluctuate wildly from week to week. Instead, here's our top 10 most productive tight ends for Week 17:
1. Jason Witten vs. Philadelphia
2. Vernon Davis @ St. Louis
3. Brent Celek @ Dallas
4. Greg Olsen @ Detroit
5. Fred Davis @ San Diego
6. Jermichael Finley @ Arizona
7. Kellen Winslow vs. Atlanta
8. Heath Miller @ Miami
9. Antonio Gates vs. Washington
10. Shawn Nelson vs. Indianapolis
1. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Green Bay
2. Michael Crabtree @ St. Louis
3. Miles Austin vs. Philadelphia
4. Andre Johnson vs. New England
5. DeSean Jackson @ Dallas
6. Anquan Boldin vs. Green Bay
7. Lee Evans vs. Indianapolis
8. Hines Ward @ Miami
9. Brandon Marshall vs. Kansas City
In case you're scoring at home, here's my dream lineup for Week 17:
QB Ben Roethlisberger
RB Chris Johnson
RB Frank Gore
WR Brandon Marshall
WR Miles Austin
RB/WR Ray Rice
TE Jason Witten
PK Matt Prater
D/ST Denver Broncos (simply follow the strench-trail that is the Rams, Browns, Lions, Bucs or -- in this case -- Chiefs)
... Thank you to all the loyal Clicks readers and Twitter followers) for the season. Happy New Year! (Oh, and be on the lookout for the Fantasy Clicks Year-End Spectacular ... running sometime this week. Just like last year, I'll be joined by my friend, colleague, drinking buddy, radio-show co-host and noted fantasy guru, Jeff Ritter, who is still smarting from his gut-wrenching Fantasy Bowl defeat from Sunday ... all because Redskins TE Fred Davis finished with 29 receiving yards -- and not 30 -- in Washington's shutout loss to Dallas. Bummer!