Monday, December 19, 2011

Upsets rule Week 15, in fantasy and reality

Upsets made headlines across the NFL this week. So it should come as no surprise that several top-seeded fantasy teams were sent packing as well.

Who could have imagined that the lowly Chiefs would spoil the Packers’ march to perfection? Even more inconceivable was a scoreless first half performance by Aaron Rodgers and the most prolific offense in the NFL.

Rodgers managed to finish with respectable fantasy numbers, but Drew Brees, Matt Stafford, Tom Brady and Tony Romo put him to shame when it counted most.

Remarkably, three of the top seeds in my four leagues went down to defeat this weekend, thanks to uncharacteristically pedestrian performances from such stalwarts as Rodgers, Eli Manning, Wes Welker, Percy Harvin, Jordy Nelson, Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Gates. Greg Jennings’ absence hurt as well.

Hey, even the Colts had to win some time, right?

If your fantasy season ended more abruptly than expected due to poorly timed swoons from your key starters, I feel your pain. Over the years, I’ve steamrolled into the playoffs with a seemingly indestructible team, only to watch in vain as my studs wilted on the field.

For every Calvin Johnson owner exulting in his receiver’s overpowering performance against the Raiders, there’s another owner wondering why Megatron had to break out of his mini-slump this weekend. We’ve all been there, buddy.

Ultimate success in Fantasyland rarely comes by accident; but just as rarely is it achieved without a dollop of luck along the way.

Losers, keep your chin up. Momma said there’d be days like this. Winners, don’t get too cocky. Things change quickly around here.


Now that the fantasy postseason is upon us, your starting roster should be fairly settled. But a little tweaking here or there, if only to keep your competition from improving, might still be in order. Here’s a look at a couple of players that could help in the final weeks, and a couple that won’t.

Catch ‘em while you can

Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins. I can’t imagine any scenario in which a title-contending fantasy team would need to resort to a flier at the quarterback position. But if you’re the rare exception, Moore is your man. Not only did he fare well in the snowy conditions of Buffalo on Sunday, but he’ll face the ragtag Patriots secondary next weekend.

Brent Celek, TE, Eagles. His career-best game (156 yards, 1 TD) came against a solid Jets secondary and included receptions of 13, 26, 38 and 73 yards. Now that Michael Vick is reasonably healthy, Celek is a viable receiving option, especially if DeSean Jackson’s elbow injury limits his playing time.

Don’t be fooled

Kahlil Bell, RB, Bears. It’s little surprise that after Marion Barber’s costly mistakes in Week 14, and his modest production Sunday against the Seahawks, Bell was given a chance to shine. The second-year back took advantage of his opportunity, but only if you were banking on Barber should Bell even be a consideration.

Donald Brown, RB, Colts. If you have to own a Colt tailback, Brown is the guy you want. Fortunately, nobody’s forcing you to own one. His 80-yard touchdown run against the Titans was a thing of beauty; but the highlights for this offense, and this running game in particular, are few and far between.

Greg Little, WR, Browns. The rookie flashed some promise earlier in the season, but his size and talent have mostly been squandered in Cleveland’s moribund offense. He broke loose on a 76-yard scoring reception against the Cardinals, which gave him a career-high 131-yard, one-touchdown game. Keep him on your radar for next season’s draft.


  1. How about Vernon Davis last night? He was able to haul in his sixth touchdown pass of the season in Week 15 against the Steelers. Davis was on the receiving end of a 1-yard scoring strike from Alex Smith, which capped off a five-play, 79-yard scoring drive in the third quarter. He finished with six receptions for a team-high 72 yards in the 20-3 victory and had a long of 31 yards. He was targeted 10 times by Smith in the win.

  2. Dear Ladd and Fools Nation..Im in the finals in 2 of 3 leagues thanks to your help and advice! Please help me with these choices below:
    Team 1: RB2-Mendy vs the Rams or M Bush assuming DMac can't go vs KC?

    Team 2: RB2-CJ Spiller vs Miami or M Bush?
    WR3-J Jones (Packers) D Thomas (Broncos) or D Williams (Titans)?

    Thanks and Happy Holidays!