Monday, December 26, 2016

Holiday heroics cut both ways

What could be worse than losing your fantasy championship game on Christmas night?

I guess watching Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe complete a jump-pass touchdown to rub in a playoff-eliminating loss on Christmas night is worse.

It depends on your perspective.

My demise came earlier in that game, when Travis “Freaking” Kelce (his forever name to me now) took a bubble screen 80 yards to the house. Are you kidding me, Broncos defense?

Even though some serious scratch was still on the line, I didn’t even think twice about turning off the television and settling in for a raucous game night with the family. I could tell I was Scrooged.

In retrospect, the writing was on the wall when Antonio Brown reached over the goal line to seal the Steelers’ come-from-behind win over the Ravens. Until then, my opponent’s starting combo of Ben Roethlisberger and Brown had been under control. But after teasing us during a remarkably mediocre first half, Big Ben and AB found their mojo. It seemed inevitable that the duo would connect for the winning score on that fateful, final drive.

Oh well. David Johnson came through in the clutch like a Fantasy MVP must, but even he couldn’t do it all on his own.

For the record, I’m calling for Marvin Lewis to be fired for limiting Jeremy Hill to seven stinking carries on Saturday night. And those who were counting on Doug Martin must share that sentiment about Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter. Don’t they understand what’s at stake for us?

I’ll take some solace in seeing the fantasy gods smite them as well, with both of their teams tasting defeat over the weekend.


To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling gaps in your roster with the occasional waiver-wire acquisition is also important. At this point in the season, the pickings are slim and your best bet is to stick with your regular starters. But here's a look at some players worth considering anyway, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup for the finale.

Catch ‘em while you can

Alfred Blue, RB, Texans. Blue ran well against the Bengals in Lamar Miller’s absence, and he could get the call again in Week 17 to allow the starter to rest his bum ankle for the postseason. Blue caught all four of his targets on Saturday, underscoring his value as a receiving threat as well.

Kenyon Drake, RB, Dolphins. Week 17 always gives us a handful of unheralded fantasy studs as teams rest or limit their starters. With hard-running Jay Ajayi having sprained his shoulder against the Bills, and the Dolphins safely playoff-bound, Drake could be one of those shooting stars against a New England team that has secured the AFC’s top seed.

Charles Clay, TE, Bills. With 18 receptions for 209 yards and three TDs over his last three games, Clay has emerged as a viable late-season weapon for the Bills. Any reservations I might normally have about adding a Buffalo tight end this late are erased by a look ahead to next week’s opponent. Against the hapless Jets, Clay could put up Kelce-like numbers.

Don’t be fooled

DuJuan Harris, RB, 49ers. With the news that Carlos Hyde has torn his MCL, Harris presumably will jump back into the spotlight for the 49ers’ final game. He performed capably earlier this season, but the combination of a tough Seahawks defense and a shared backfield with Shaun Draughn limits Harris’ upside in the finale.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Buccaneers. So we are to believe that Koetter made Martin a healthy scratch because he thought Rodgers would be a “better fit” against the Saints? Super. So who’s a better fit against the Panthers? Rodgers, who put up 129 combined yards against them in Week 5, or Martin, who rang up 251 total yards and a TD in two contests last year? I’d rather not play the RB lottery.

Jermaine Kearse, WR, Seahawks. With the gruesome injury to Tyler Lockett, you figure Kearse will see more action moving forward. But it’s awfully hard to trust a receiver who just caught his first touchdown pass of the season in Week 16 and has essentially been the forgotten man in the Seattle offense.

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