2020 EYE IN THE SKY NFL SCOUTING REPORTS
Once again in 2020, we are bringing you in-season NFL Team Reports from our "Eye in the Sky" correspondents. These reports represent a local point of view which isn't readily available on the web. We remind everyone, the views expressed within these reports contain speculation as well as fact. It's just another extra bonus from FFMastermind.com to keep all fantasy football fanatics well informed.
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The report for this week has not yet been released.
It seems like an eternity ago the Bengals lost to the Ravens 27-3 on Oct 11.
Now on a 2-game win streak, the Bengals close the season at home against the Ravens on Sunday. Cincinnati has won 8 straight home finales, for what that's worth.
Baltimore needs to win to have a shot at the post-season.
Cincinnati needs to win to provide hope for the 2021 season.
QB: Brandon Allen has provided solid play in the absence of Joe Burrow. Allen is a decent flex play this week if you need him. The Ravens defense held Cincy to 3 in the first meeting but this is not a scary defense, at least not as scary as it has been in the past. Allen is getting more comfortable and with that his numbers are pretty good. No, he's not replacing Burrow at QB any time soon, but if he chooses to stay with Cincinnati he is a solid backup to count on. FWIW, Allen has a QB Rating of 97. Burrow is at 89.8. For 2021, no need to add here if Allen stays. Maybe a free agent to replace Finley but even that might be a waste of a body. A Burrow-Allen duo would be solid for next season.
RB: Gio Bernard had a solid game in last week's win over Houston. Still, he's no more than a spot starter in fantasy. Joe Mixon coming back healthy will do nothing but help this offense get to the next level. Samaje Perine has shown to be a worthy backup, putting together a highlight reel TD run in the win. With Trayveon Williams, Cincinnati should be OK at this position in 2021.
WR: Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are worthwhile plays as Allen improves. They have had solid seasons in Burrow's absence. AJ Green also has become relevant in recent weeks. Will he return to Cincinnati in 2021. That's a big question. I think he like it here. I think the Bengals like him. It may come to money for the Bengals and it may come to contending for Green. If those 2 ideals can meet at a good place, he'll be back and the team will be better for it. If not, it's been a good 10year run. Green or not, the Bengals need help here in 2021. I've seen lots of names floated around that would be good fits for Cincinnati. Corey Davis was an interesting one as a free agent and Devonte Smith of Alabama an interesting one from a draft standpoint. Davis I'm OK with at the right price. Given they'd have to use their first pick to get Smith, I don't like it... unless it's a trade back into the teens to get multiple picks.
TE: Drew Sample is 5th on the team in targets but has done little with that. I once thought he might be a sleeper TE but after Burrow left, Sample was pretty much used as a blocker to help protect whichever QB was back there. Kyle Pitts name has surfaced and if the Bengals miss out on a stud OL early, Pitts would be a monster pick. Maybe fix the OL in free agency and make Pitts the final piece to the offense.
K: Austin Seibert has been solid as a kicker in place of Randy Bullock. He could return in 2021. With a much better offense, Seibert might be worthy as your kicker.
DEF: As a unit, not much here to think about. A good draft on the defensive side with a free agent sprinkled in here or there and you might have something. Hold on to that thought this week. Baltimore generally doesn't have trouble scoring on Cincinnati.
IDP; Last week was a better than usual week for Bengals. Sam Hubbard had a solid game as did corner Darius Phillips. Vonn Bell was steady again. Jessie Bates did not do so well but he's still probably stinging from his Pro Bowl snub. In general, you've not been able to count on individuals, but bye-week flyers like Bell or Hubbard or Bates might have produced for you but were tough to count on.
That's it for Cincinnati in 2020. Looking forward to a better Bengals season in 2021.
In most leagues the fantasy Champ emerged in week 16. For those who compete in week 17 let me fill you in on the 4-11 Texans’ players prospects.
The team does seem to be falling apart here at the end. I am seeing some of the younger talent being given a shot at playing. We saw TE Kahale Warring targeted thrice, didn’t seem that he could hold on to the ball. RB Scottie Phillips took some snaps sans a carry. OT Charlie Heck seemed to run block well, but he can’t for the pass. DT Auzoyah Alufohai played some snaps but not much impact. Same for DT Ross Blacklock and OLB Jonathan Greenard. These guys are not ready for prime time. This collection of new guys needs big time coaching to be ready for 2021.
If you trusted QB Deshaun Watson last week against the Bengals, he rewarded you.
RB David Johnson demonstrated that he could gain big time yards with decent run blocking. The O is having OL fails which dooms red zone success and the health of the QB.
WR Brandin Cooks’ play last week was what the pass game needed. He’s essential; seems like he’s developed a nice chemistry with Watson.
I can recommend starting Watson, WR Brandin Cooks and RB David Johnson this week. The Texans opponent this weekend needs to win. The Titans should be ready. Watson is a bit dinged but should be a go. It would be nice to see the Texans wreck the Titans season. Misery loves company. Go Texans!
Hey there Colts’ fans! Here are my thoughts on this weekend’s regular season finale, a home game against the hapless 1-14 Jacksonville Jaguars with the playoffs on the line.
INJURIES: The big news that broke today is that OT Anthony Costanzo is done for the year. The ankle injury he suffered in practice late last week required surgery earlier today, and he will not be available this Sunday or into the playoffs, should the Colts make it. This is not so big a deal this week with the anemic Jaguars pass rush, but it seriously jeopardizes anything they can do down the road. Veteran OT Will Holden started for him last week, but he has also already been ruled out for this week. The team did sign veteran OT Jared Veldheer today (113 starts in 120 games over 7 years), but it is not clear if he can clear the COVID protocols and be readied to start yet; I do see him as likely to man the key blind side protection slot in a playoff game though. Allegedly the team is considering moving ALL-Pro OG Quentin Nelson out there, and this might be the week to try it without a serious threat. Coach Reich said they have a “Plan A and a Plan B”, and that the preferred plan is something they have to practice this week to see if it will work; this makes me believe that the new position for Nelson is Plan A with rookie OG Danny Pinter starting at guard. Starting OT Braden Smith will be back off the COVID list this week to man the right tackle spot.
QUARTERBACK: QB Philip Rivers should likely move past a few more Hall of Fame passers in several statistical categories this week, including breaking a tie with Dan Marino for the 5th most TDs ever. Rivers did hit high-watermarks in completions, attempts and yards (36-46-363) against the Jags earlier, but he wasforced into a higher volume due to the game script –a factor that theoretically should not occur this week. Rivers does have an exquisite recent history against this team, winning 7 of the last 8 before week 1 and scoring a ton of points; he had 20 TDs and only one INT against the Jags in the last 10 seasons. In 10 career games (including this season) he has six 300-yard games and six 3+ TD games, and has averaged 303 YPG. And the Jags have been getting progressively worse, allowing multiple TD passes in 9 straight games. I expect low volume and moderate yards, but multiple TD passes to make Rivers a high-floor, low-ceiling play.
RUNNING BACK: The Jags are equally as inept in stopping the run as they are the pass, so I do anticipate that the team will use a run-heavy approach as much as possible. Rookie RB Jonathan Taylor is only 84 yards from a 1000-yard season, and I see no reason why they won’t try (and succeed) in getting him there. The only time in the last 6 weeks that the Jags did not allow a 100-yard game to a runner was Baltimore in week 15…but they allowed two different guys to get 70 yards each and a score, plus 50 yards and a rushing score to Lamar added in. They have also allowed 8 straight games with a running back TD, and Taylor has scored in four straight (6 total TDs). The Jaguars also got gashed by RB Nyheim Hines for two TDs and 75 yards in week 1, so there is clearly opportunity there as well. The Colt backs combined for 17 receptions in that week 1 game and this is a liability for Jacksonville, but they have been so bad vs the run recently that teams have not tossed it to backs much. Either way, Taylor is a low end #1 this week and Hines is at least a flex with some PPR #2 potential
WIDE RECEIVER: The Jaguars have allowed the #1 receiver to top 98 yards and have high-reception volume in 11 straight games, which should bode well for WR TY Hilton for sure. Speed has also been an issue at receiver to defend, and after his glorious week 1 shutdown of Hilton, their top corner has really struggled. I look for Hilton to again find paydirt this week, although the yardage totals might not be huge based on the low volume expected. I also have a hunch that rookie WR Michael Pittman will see the end zone this week and to perhaps get more involved in the passing game as they prepare him for a playoff role; he might also serve as a de facto #1 as they rest Hilton down the stretch in this game if they can get a lead. WR Zach Pascal had a big week last week, but it is too hard to get excited about a fantasy play for a guy that generally is not seeing more than half of the team’s snaps at receiver.
TIGHT END: This unit is still not achieving much as a whole statistically, and definitely not individually with so many tight end mouths to feed. And in PPR leagues, note that the Jaguars have allowed among the fewest tight end receptions all season. The last few weeks have seen them get a little more toasted by the tight end though, and they have allowed 4 TDs in the last three weeks, contribution to their league-high 13 tight end TDs allowed. I would say that TE Trey Burton and TE Jack Doyle might have some “what the heck” value in scoring-heavy systems, but I can’t in good faith say that they have a high enough floor to consider them otherwise in your fantasy playoffs. The fact that they may be chipping or helping on the pass rush by left tackle this week might also mean that there are a few fewer routes available as well.
PLACEKICKER: The Jaguars have allowed the most PATs and the 3rd most FGs this season, and a solid 9+ fantasy PPG through week 16. The floor is also high as they have allowed a minimum of 7 fantasy points this season through 15 games – a truly impressive safety net for opposing kickers. This opportunity, plus his accuracy, makes PK Rodrigo Blankenship among the best options across the league this week for fantasy value
DEFENSE: For as inept as the Jaguars offense has been this season, they really have not allowed a ton of fantasy points to opposing defenses, standing in the middle of the pack in that measure. They have not allowed a defensive TD, and have among the lowest number of fumbles in the league. It is worth noting that in the 4 games started by Mike Glennon, they have only allowed a total of 3 sacks and 4 fantasy PPG) , while they have allowed 35 sacks and over 8 fantasy PPG in the other 11 games; Glennon is this week’s starter, and is even less prone to allowing fantasy points. This looks like an obvious play with a 1-14 team and a highly-rated defense, but I do think the ceiling is capped more than one might think.
OVERALL: Despite the obvious disparity in talent and motivation this week, it is fair to remind everyone that the Jaguars only win this year did come against Indianapolis….and that the Jags have repeatedly owned the Colts in this matchup in recent years, winning 5 of the last 7 games. One might think that the playoff potential is a huge motivator, but the Jags also are motivated to just win a freaking game – and they know that they are not going to jeopardize a draft position as they are locked in at #1. I look for the Jaguars to pull out all the stops, using trick plays and taking chances. However, the one big factor that might trump all of that (besides the Colts’ superior talent and depth) is the fact that their best offensive player is going to sit this one out with James Robinson already an inactive. Without the ability to pound the ball and control the clock, I can’t see Jacksonville being able to hold off the Colts this week. Look for the Colts to get a 34-17 win, and then to scoreboard watch the TEN/HOU matchup. They might already know they are in by virtue of the early games, though; they need to win and to have one of four other teams lose, and BAL, CLE and MIA will have played at 1pm already. They might know they are in the playoffs, but they could be playing for a division title and a playoff home game (such as it is) as well if they win and HOU upsets the Titans.
That is all for this week – and for this year – from the Crossroads of America. It’s the last week of the NFL season, and if you happen to have a game in your fantasy league yet this week of importance… congratulations to you! Best wishes from my family and from the rest of the FFMastermind.com staff for a safe and healthy 2021. Let’s kick this year to the curb!
Denver 16 LA Chargers 19
QB Drew Lock missed throws early but got hot late. Rookie WR Jerry Jeudy had five drops which sealed Denver’s loss. Chargers' Charger QB Justin Herbert set the rookie TD pass record. Even with all the practice squad-caliber players lining up on defense, Denver nearly pulled it out. Broncos K Brandon McManus, missed a field goal earliy in the game, but came through with a clutch, 52-yarder with less than 3 minutes remaining to tie it, 16-16. The Chargers, put together three consecutive first-down plays (two on long runs by Austin Ekeler and kicked a 37-yard field goal with 41 seconds left in the game. Jeudy was open all game long but finished with 6-61 six catches for 61 yards and five drops. Lock threw a deep post route to Jerry Jeudy, who had split two defenders. It bounced off Jeudy's hands for his fifth drop of the game. Jeudy was open all game long but finished with 6-61-0 and 5 drops. Lock's desperation, final-play heave to the end zone was intercepted.
Las Vegas @ Denver
The crippled Broncos take on the slumping LV Raiders at Mile High,. A rivalry, conference game for pride. But make no mistake, 2021 jobs are at stake. QB Derek Carr is an under rated quarterback with the running game duo of Josh Jacobs and Devontae Booker. His passing game is sparked by TE Darren Waller and deep threat WR Henry Ruggs. Denver RB Melvin Gordon needs 107 yards rushing to hit 1,000 yards for the season. The Raiders are favored by 2.5. Expect the unexpected!
Transactions IR’d Shelby Harris. Activated Jake Butt.
QB Drew Lock needs to keep his offense on-schedule, don't turn the ball over, play with poise and command at the line of scrimmage, and execute. 2021.
Drew Lock 15-17
Melvin Gordon III 15-17
Royce freeman 3-5
LeVante Bellamy 2
Jerry Jeudy 9-10
Tim Patrick 10-16
DaeSean Hamilton 4-6
Diontae Spencer 2-4
Noah Fant 4-7
Brandon McManus 6-8
Good luck this final week!
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
14-1 but that 1 in the loss column appears to be in jeopardy in Week 17.
The Los Angeles Chargers come to town for the 2020 season finale, a matchup of little consequence for both clubs. The Chiefs have every possible playoff advantage locked up and stashed away. The Chargers at best or at worse move up or down a rung or two on the 2021 draft ladder depending on the outcome of this one. Coach Andy Reid has already decided what matters most in Week 17 is not the result on the scoreboard versus the Chargers but rather fielding as healthy a squad as possible a few weeks from now when Kansas City’s post game run to a 2nd-consecutive title commences.
QB Patrick Mahomes may be having a better overall campaign in 2020 than his amazing 50TDs-5097 yards performance of 2018. He’s completed a personal best 66.3% of his passes whilst setting his own marks for completions and attempts. Despite throwing more than ever in his young career, Mahomes cut his INTs in half from that 2018 eye-popping season, picked off just 6 times in 2020. Heading into the last game of this current season, Mahomes needs just 10 completions for the 400-mark, 260 yards passing to reach that rare air of 5000 again and 2 TD tosses to enter the 40-TD club of QBs.
WR Tyreek Hill is 1 catch away from establishing his own personal record for receptions in a season, currently tied with his best of 87 set in 2018. Hill has already gone gold with 15 TD catches (his best ever) and 17 offensive scores.
TE Travis Kelce has had a record-setting season both personally and in NFL history. Kelce recaptured the receiving yards in a season record with 1416, overtaking the Niners’ George Kittle. Kelce is a very attainable 84 yards away from 1500 a number that should endure for a very long time.
This is all very exciting for Chiefs fans and fanballers employing the skillful services of these particular star players, but… not happening!
If you are counting on Mahomes, Hill and/or Kelce to matter in one form or another for Week 17 lineup use (and why are you in a league where Week 17 matters), sorry for your luck. Coach Reid has made it clear the personal marks that set contract standards for players are not bigger than his big picture outlook for this or any other season. To hammer the point of Week 17 being a showcase for the Chiefs bench support units, this is all you need to know…
Sammy Watkins; OUT!
Clyde Edwards-Helaire; OUT!
Kelce is most likely going to make a positive play or 2 early then hit the sideline until the Chiefs next game in the post season.
LeVeon Bell is also either going to take an early shower or not play at all in Week 17.
I’m looking at a starting lineup of: QB Chad Henne.
RBs Darrel Williams and more of Darwin Thompson.
WRs Demarcus Robinson, Mecole Hardman and maybe Byron Pringle. TE is a little bit o’ Kelce and a lot of Nick Keizer.
With all this lineup shuffling going on I’m pretty hot on RB Darrel Williams as a Week17 star. Harken back to Week 17 of last season, versus these very same Chargers in very similar circumstances. Then sharetimeRB Damien Williams burned the Bolts for 154 Yards From Scrimmage (YFS) and 2 TDs on 16 touches. Darrel Williams was on IR at that point of the season but namesake Damien, a similarly styled rusher-receiver, wrecked the Chargers. Mahomes played the full contest by threw just 25 times as he was under protection orders from Coach Reid. It makes sense for Big Red to sit LeVeon Bell in this contest, for whatever fictional reason the creative coaching staff can come up with and have both Bell and rookie Edwards-Helaire ready to go fresh and full blast for post season action. Yeah, Darrel Williams should be in lineups around the fantasy football world in Week 17.
Many of the Chiefs top defensive performers will be following protection protocol similar to the offense in Week 17. Starters like Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Daniel Sorenson, Tyrann Mathieu and the like are all going to be a early call-outs versus the Chargers. Eager and ready to rock young defenders usually come out like rockets when given the chance to showcase their skills and the Chiefs have several exciting IDP opportunists in the year-ender.
For Week 17, eye up:
DEs Michael Danna, Tershawn Wharton (both posted season-bests in tackles last game vs LAC),
LBs Willie Gay Jr. (9 total tackles and a season best 49 snaps last week), Ben Niemann(16 tackles over last 3 games and a season-best 9 vs LAC in Week 2) CB L'Jarius Sneed (6 solo tackles and an INT Week 2 vs LAC), DB Armani Watts (a special teams ace who logged 48 of his 74 total snaps in Week 17 last season).
There’s some fun and exciting young players here that are going to make a few splash plays in Week 17. Best advice is to sit back and enjoy the performances of guys like Darrel Williams, Nick Keizer, Chad Henne, Michael Danna, Teshawn Wharton, Willie Gay Jr, Ben Niemann and the rest of the “B” team for the Chiefs.
Coach Andy Reid wants to keep continuity in game planning so much of the same play-calling should happen here even with the “B” team on the field. And a win is a win… and 15-1 is done and in the books.
Chiefs 29 - Chargers 24.
John Cooney is a senior fantasy football writer for FFMastermind.com.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The “Los Angeles” Chargers beat the Denver Broncos 19-16. However, this week, expect the Chargers to lose to the Kansas City Chiefs. This report will be a review of the win over Denver, as well as a preview of the Chargers at Chiefs game.
QB: L.A. QB Justin Herbert was 21/33 for 253 yards passing and a TD and he also had 4 runs for 26 yards. Herbert has been playing at a high level and deserves QB1 consideration.
RB: It was an okay day for RB Austin Ekeler, who only carried 4 times for 26 yards but did score a TD on 3 catches for 23 yards. Consider him an RB2 and no additional Chargers running backs are worthy of consideration currently.
WR: No Chargers WR scored or did a heck of a lot last week, so I will skip the stats. This week WR Keenan Allen is out due to being on the Covid-19 list. I suppose you could call WR Mike Williams a WR3 for those in need, but overall, I am not thrilled about the Chargers options. At this critical time of the year, I doubt I would start any of them.
TE: Also, on the Covid-19 list is TE Hunter Henry, who remains out this week. His backup, TE Donald Parham, is better than you would think and is a sneaky weak TE1.
PK: As you may know, PK Mike Badgley has had more than his share of kicking problems. He has improved over the last 2 weeks, and against Denver was 4/4 on FGs and 1/1 on extra points. Still, Badgley’s inconsistencies coupled with a tough opponent means that you can probably do better this week.
DEF: Just to be as concise as possible, I do not recommend the Chargers defense against a powerful offense with a mobile quarterback. Avoid.
That is a wrap for the year. Thankfully, 2020 is now over and 2021 has got to be a lot better. Good luck this week, Happy New Year and stay safe!
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants lose a tough game on the road to the Baltimore Ravens 27-13. The Giants were outmatched by a better team who is also fighting for a playoff spot. The Giants face the Cowboys Sunday at MetLife. The winner of that game will win the division if the Eagles can beat the Redskins in Philly on Sunday Night Football. What a crazy season in the NFC East.
The review/preview by area are below:
QB Daniel Jones returned and completed 24 of 41 passes for 252 yards, 1 TD, 0interceptionsand a passer rating of 84.6.He was sacked SIX times.
QB Daniel Jones is as healthy as he’s been in the last month. That being said, he will need to be careful if he decides to run but his pocket mobility should be much better. DJ faces the 11thranked passing defense allowing 229 yards per game and an opposing passer rating of 100.0. They have allowed 32 TD passes with9 interceptions and 29 sacks. Since this is clearly a critical time in fantasy, I would not recommend playing him.
RB Wayne Gallman had another quiet game with 6 totes for 27 yards.RB Alfred Morris was not a factor.
Gallman faces the 32nd rated rush defense allowing 161 yards per game and 19 TD’s. Expect 85 total yards with a TD making him a solid flex play due to the favorable matchup. RB Alfred Morris won’t get enough touches to warrant fantasy playoff consideration.
WR Sterling Shepard had 9 grabs for 77yards and a TD. WR Darius Slayton had 2 catches for 26 yards. WR Dante Pettis had 2 receptions for 33 yards.
I don’t think any of these receivers can be counted on for your fantasy playoffs as it is difficult to determine target share. As a result, I wouldn’t start any of them.
TE Evan Engram had 7 catches for 65 yards.
Expect 6 grabs for 65 yards and a TD making him a top 8 play. This guy should be their primary weapon against a decent pass defense.
One turnover and zero sacks is poor fantasy production.
This unit has not produced in the last 3 weeks and don’t expect them to produce now. Keep them on the waiver wire.
PK Graham Gano had 2 FG’s and is still is a top 8 kicker.
That’s all for now and good luck in Week 17 and to those of you in championship games!
Tony de Armas
The report for this week has not yet been released.
Week 16 Recap/Analysis: Bears at Jaguars
If you're reading this, congrats, you've survived 2020! Hopefully 2021 brings better things for all of us. With the last NFC wildcard spot suddenly within reach, the Bears hammered the Jaguars 41-17 in Jacksonville last Sunday. In the process, they scored 30 or more points for the fourth consecutive game, something they haven't done since 1965! That was the rookie year for Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus, which tells you just how inept the Bears have been offensively for most of the past few decades. Their offensive turnaround over the past few weeks has been nothing short of remarkable.
Quarterback QB Mitch Trubisky completed 24 of 35 passes for 265 yards and two TDs with one INT and ran twice for ten yards and another score. As has been the case for the past few weeks, Trubisky played well for the most part but made one very dumb mistake, the INT that he threw up for grabs into a sea of hands in the end zone and cost the Bears at least three points. QB Nick Foles came in for mop-up duty and went 0-1 and ran twice for a loss of two yards.
Runningback RB David Montgomery had 23 carries for 95 yards and a TD and caught both of his targets for 26 yards, no doubt helping many of his fantasy owners win their title games this past weekend (and helping me jump out to a big lead at halftime of my two-week title matchup). He was robbed of another TD when the Bears foolishly tried to get cute from the half yard line and gave the ball to TE Cole Kmet on a jet sweep instead of simply handing off to Montgomery. Kmet of course got stuffed, and the Bears ultimately had to settle for a field goal. You're at the half yard line! Do the common sense thing there.
Montgomery could've had bigger numbers, but with the outcome already decided in the second half, the Bears decided to pull him and give the backups some work. RB Artavis Pierce had two carries for 26 yards and his first NFL TD, while RB Ryan Nall had two carries for no gain. RB Cordarrelle Patterson got zero offensive snaps as the Bears limited him to kick returns because of his knee injury.
Wide receiver WR Allen Robinson caught ten of his 13 targets for 103 yards, while WR Darnell Mooney caught four of his seven for 39 yards and WR Anthony Miller caught two of his three for ten yards. As he always does, Trubisky had radar lock on A-Rob, and the hapless Jaguars could do nothing about it.
In addition to losing three yards on the ill-fated jet sweep, Kmet hauled in two of his six targets for 18 yards. But it was TE Jimmy Graham who showed that he ain't as good as he once was, but he's as good once as he ever was with four catches on five targets for 69 yards and two TDs.
This unit had a slow start, allowing Mike Glennon to look better than he really is for much of the first half. But LB Roquan Smith's big INT just before halftime turned the tide and allowed the Bears to get the three points that Trubisky threw away when he threw his pick. Glennon looked more like himself in the second half as the Bears shut the Jags down for the most part. It certainly helped that the Jags didn't have their star rookie tailback James Robinson due to injury. Smith got another pick in the third quarter, and LB Danny Trevathan registered this unit's only sack.
Kicker PK Cairo Santos hit both of his field goal attempts and all five of his extra points.
Week 17: Packers at Bears
Once again, it's Bears-Packers with a playoff spot on the line. Why must it always be this way? I don't need to remind Bears fans that these final week games against the Cheeseheads usually don't turn out well. The 2010 finale where the Bears could've kept the Packers out of the playoffs but didn't. The 2013 finale featuring the infamous last-minute TD catch by he who will not be named that kept the Bears out of the playoffs. I don't have a very good feeling about this one either, but anything is possible I suppose. Will the Packers play their starters? With the #1 seed on the line, I expect that they will. And with the Rams barely able to field an offense at the moment, I don't think Chicago is going to get any help from them either, so it looks like the Bears are going to have to rely on themselves to clinch this final wildcard berth.
The Packers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points/game to quarterbacks, and Trubisky has beaten them only once in his career. I'd stay away from Mitch this week.
The Cheeseheads have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points/game to tailbacks, making Montgomery an automatic start this week. The Bears' game plan needs to be centered around feeding Montgomery early and often and keeping Aaron Rodgers off the field as much as possible.
Green Bay has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points/game to receivers. Despite that, Robinson is still an auto-start (he had eight grabs for 74 yards and two TDs when these two teams met a few weeks ago). Mooney and Miller had only three catches each in that Week 12 matchup and aren't great looks this week.
The Packers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points/game to tight ends. Graham was held to three grabs in Week 12, while Kmet had one. Neither one is a great look this week, but if I had to pick one, it would be Graham because he's always a red zone threat.
The Bears held a walkthrough on Wednesday and estimated that DT Akiem Hicks (illness), CB Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) and CB Buster Skrine (concussion) all would've sat out if there had been a practice. HC Matt Nagy said that Johnson is progressively getting better. If he does not play, I think the Bears have very little chance of winning this game. Of course, if this defense comes out and plays like it did when these two teams last met in Cheeseland, the Bears have no chance. They have to try some different things in coverage to try to confuse Rodgers, and they need to get after him and hit him, even if it means more blitzing. I have this unit as an average play at best this week.
Green Bay has allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points/game to kickers. Santos has been money this season, but I think he's a risky play this week, especially if the Bears fall behind big early again.
Good luck this final week!
Vikings at Lions
QB: If a team uses three quarterbacks in one game, something has probably gone wrong. That was the case on Saturday as QB Matthew Stafford sprained his ankle in the early going. He left the game and did not return. He is now battling three different injuries and if he adds any more tape and bandages to his body we will look like a cartoon mummy. QB Chase Daniel was ineffective in relief, and with the score lopsided, QB David Blough mopped up. Stafford didn’t practice on Wednesday and your guess is as good as mine if he will start on Sunday. By now I think we know not to bet against him, and things are trending toward him starting, but even if he starts I don’t know if he will play the whole game. If you are into milestones, Stafford needs 209 yards to get to 4,000 for the season, so maybe that’s something to shoot for.
RB: We figured RB D’Andre Swift could have a tough time against the tough Tampa Bay defense. He managed to total 70 yards on 10-45 rushing and 4-25 receiving but he lost a fumble. For the most part he has been a bright spot this year but he wouldn’t be the first young back to need some improvement in the ball security department. If you are still playing fantasy or DFS this week and you are looking for a Lion player that could be useful, Swift would be the guy. Everyone saw the Vikings defense struggle badly against the Saints, and I think the Lions would like to see Swift head to the offseason on a high note, so I expect him to have a good game this week. He had 97 total yards against the Vikings earlier this season. I think he should have 100+ and a TD this week. RB Adrian Peterson will probably get a few carries as he will wrap up his one year with the Lions and head to free agency.
WR/TE: With Stafford going out early, the passing game struggled and there wasn’t really anything of note from this group on Saturday against Tampa. As we look ahead to this Sunday, no surprise with WR Kenny Golladay (hip) still not practicing and certainly not expected to play. When the Lions bring in a new GM, they will need to decide if they should franchise tag Golladay and his injury plagued season makes it a tougher call. WR Marvin Jones is also heading to free agency and he has had a bit of a resurgence this year with Golladay missing so many games. Jones is at 68-798-7 to lead the team in all three categories. Assuming Stafford plays, Jones could be on the radar this week, and I would like to see more from TE TJ Hockenson. WR Danny Amendola was busy in the week 9 game against the Vikings with 7-77 on 10 targets but he missed practice Wednesday and Thursday (non injury related) and I am not sure what is going on.
K/DST: The Lions managed to get their first D/ST touchdown of the season as WR Jamal Agnew returned a punt for a TD on Saturday. This was their only score of the day so PK Matt Prater must have been very bored. The Lions offense could barely even cross midfield. And this defense is just wretched, possibly worse than their defense in the 2008 winless season. Sadly, Dalvin Cook is going to miss this game. He ran for 206 yards against the Lions in week 9 and it would have been fun to see what he could have done this week. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings can still plan on little resistance regardless of what they try offensively.
I hope everyone enjoyed their fantasy season.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Week 16 Review:
As opposed to last week, this was a very good fantasy outing for the Packers. They won 40-14. Helping the Packers was a snow fall that started before the game began. The opposition was unsure of their footing while the Packers played as though they were not bothered. The Packers had 465 total yards of offense – almost equally split between passing and rushing. The Packers scored points on 6 of 8 drives. QB Aaron Rodgers had 21 completions on 25 attempts for 231 yards, 4 passing touchdowns, and 1 interception for a 84.0% completion percentage and a 128.1 rating. He also had 19 rushing yards for 250 total yards for the game. Rodgers season now projects to 4485 yards (4330 passing plus 155 rushing), 50 passing and rushing touchdowns, and 5 interceptions – very similar to last week. Rodgers distributed the ball to 8 different receivers in this game – 4 of them are wide receivers. Our main man, WR Davante Adams had 12 targets for 11 receptions, 142 yards, and 3 touchdowns. Adams projects to 116 receptions, 1415 yards, and 18 touchdowns for the season – which is up a little. The other receiver who had the most fantasy impact, such as it was, is WR Equanimeous St. Brown (EQ). He had 1 target for 1 catch, 21 yards, and 1 touchdown. WR Allen Lazard was targeted 2 times for 2 receptions, and 14 yards. In addition, WR Tavon Austin had 2 targets for 2 receptions and 5 yards. The wide receiver group had a collective 16 receptions on 17 targets for 182 yards and 4 touchdowns. The Packers stayed with the run throughout the game as indicated by the fact that nearly 60% of the offensive plays were runs, but the results were a little surprising. RB Jamaal Williams was not able to play. So the next man up was RB AJ Dillion who had 21 carries for 124 yards (5.9 yards per carry), and 2 touchdowns. He also had 1 catch for 5 yards. Dillion is a strong running back with speed for his size. RB Aaron Jones may have been hurting a little, especially when he left the game limping at one point, but he still had 10 carries for 94 yards (9.4 yards per carry), and 3 targets for 2 receptions and 14 yards in the passing game, but no touchdowns. This gives Jones 104 total yards from scrimmage. Jones projects to 203 carries for 1133 yards and 9 rushing touchdowns, and 46 receptions for 333 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns – for a total of 1466 yards and 11 touchdowns on the year – which is about the same. As a group the running backs had 31 attempts for 218 yards (7.0 yards per attempt), and 2 touchdowns. TE Robert Tonyan and one guy on no one’s radar comprised the total output from the tight end group. Tonyan was targeted 2 times for 1 reception, 17 yards, but no touchdowns. The guy no one heard of is TE Dominique Dafney, who had 1 target for 1 catch and 13 yards. The Packer defense gave up 156 rushing yards and 121 passing yards for a total of 277 yards. On 50 total tackles, they had 2 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 5 pressures, 2 interceptions, 10 passes defended, and 1 forced fumbles. The Packer defense actually held the Titians featured running back to 98 yards. The Titian quarterback had 3 carries for 55 yards, and most of that came on one play for a touchdown which flat out fooled the Packer defense. The Packer pass defense was helped by the field conditions and the pressure on the quarterback. For one of the few times all year I can say they played a whole game in an effective and consistent manner. The Packer defense is ranked 8th in yards given up overall. Against the run they are ranked 11th – against the pass the Packers are ranked 9th. And they are ranked 14th in fewest points allowed. K Mason Crosby connected on 4 of his 5 extra point attempts to give him 4 face value points for the game. He currently has 101 points this year and now projects to 108 face value points on the year. The win puts the Packers within one win to replicate last season’s 13-3 record on consecutive seasons. Never before has a team who improved by at least 6 wins (like the Packers did last year (2019) over the 2018 season) maintained or improved that record the year following (2020 in this case) year. They have always finished with a worse record which explains why the preseason chat was that Green Bay would finish 10-6 or 11-5 this year. I just had to research it when this seemed to be such a hot media issue.
Week 17 Preview:
The Packers will play the Chicago Bears in Chicago in a Sunday late afternoon game. The Packer quest for a first round bye still hasn’t been resolved. So the Packers will play their normal starters. Statistically, the Packer would be favored in almost every category. However there are three reasons NOT to trust those stats – completely. The first is that those stats were built over the entire season and for both teams they are not finishing as they started. The second reason is that this last game was a reminder that December football is different for teams in open air stadiums located in cold climates – like Chicago and Green Bay are. So an ability to adapt to the weather and run the ball is a necessity. Both teams check that box. The third thing is that that a powerful running back is needed. The Packers have RB AJ Dillion and RB Jamaal Williams if they are healthy. The Bears have Montgomery. So both teams check that box as well. In spite of these similarities, there are enough differences that a different result is possible. The Bears have grown a passing game that was not as prevalent in the first meeting. However, the Packers have an improved defense. Also Matt LaFleur did change the formula somewhat against the Titians – on both sides of the ball. And for kickoff returns he put WR Malik Taylor back there and he returned one for 34 yards. I haven’t been saying much about the offensive line. OT Rick Wagner left the Titian game with a knee injury – the severity of which is still to be determined. However, the plug and play line got back a major component in OC Corey Linsley. That did not hurt the running game any last week. The decision fantasy owners who have RB Aaron Jones on their roster and play him will have to make is whether or not to pick up Dillion and play him instead. Of course that assumes RB Jamaal Williams might not be ready. If all three are ready to go, first take an aspirin, calm yourself, then make the decision. Whatever you decide – good luck. Dillion won’t sneak up on the Bears. The first injury report comes out after the Packer practice on Wednesdays. Don’t forget to check the injury lists and the COVID lists to be sure your players will be available to play. I would stick with QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Aaron Jones or RB AJ Dillion, and WR Davante Adams, this week.
This is the final game of the season. I hope you all have great off-season. Thanks for reading.
The report for this week has not yet been released.
I think that I picked Seattle to win nearly every week this year. The one that I picked them to lose they won, so I have been wrong 5 times so far. Last week Seattle had a chance to run the ball to win, but went to the short passing game instead. That Rams defensive line is no joke, but I think Carson could have done it with his legs and made the day less stressful.
This is the same as last week. If you need QB Russell Wilson to be at his MVP level to win your fantasy championship, then look elsewhere. Not only will Wilson probably not play at that level, but he may not play four quarters. Seattle needs this win to stay #3 seed and have some home games without fans in the stands. It would be a rare day to have the win secured early in the fourth, but it could happen. And if either Green Bay or New Orleans are losing then Seattle would move up with a win. The 49ers are beaten up but will make this a game. They play every down, every game and this is no exception. Last week Wilson passed for 225 yards, a TD and rushed for 9 yards and another TD. Not a bad day, just not a Wilson level day. But he was sacked 5 times last week and may not even get dirty this week. He is a risky start, but I would take that risk.
Do you hear that? That is RB Chris Carson saying, “Give me the darn ball”. Don’t make Marshawn’s mom call. Carson had 69 yards on 16 carries and caught all 3 passes that came his way for just 10 more yards. He could have taken over the game, in my opinion. And he could against San Fran too. But the smart play would be to rest him and see what RB Rashaad Penny has in the tank. Penny looked good on his 3 carries for 9 yards last week. But his game is to the outside and getting outside against the Rams is not easy. San Fran may be beaten up, but LB Fred Warner could make any running back wish they were somewhere else. If Penny can show enough to win then Carson may not have many snaps. Starting either is a risky move for any fantasy coach. I have been burnt by Penny too many times over the years. I would start Carson if I had him.
On paper, this game looks like it should be all DK all day. WR DK Metcalf toasted San Fran last match up, but he has been missing opportunities due to concentration issues. He still has amazing stats, but they should be even better. He will get there. Last week he caught 6 of 8 for 59 yards in a game which featured the tight ends for the first time. WR Tyler Lockett had only 3 catches of 5 targets for 44 yards. Either of them could go off on San Fran and should be started just for that reason. WR David Moore managed a 45 yard grab for a TD, but he has not shown anything this season really. If I were looking for a WR3, I would pick up WR Freddie Swain and start him. Swain should get reps for the same reason as Penny. Seattle needs to see what they have in Swain before the playoffs because Moore is not a #3. Swain could have a big day.
Last week was the first time all season that double digit targets went to the tight ends. TE Jacob Hollister scored for the second week in a row but he only caught 2 of his 6 targets. TE Greg Olsen is back on the field and caught 1 of his 2 targets for 15 yards. TE Will Dissly caught all 3 of his targets for 17 yards. Seattle should protect Olsen once the game is in hand. I would take a chance on starting Hollister though. He may get the hat trick.
I have said a number of bad things about PK Jason Myers over the years and I have no idea what went wrong last time he was a Seahawk. But he should have been in the Pro Bowl this year. His 8 fantasy points are not great, but in the real game he is money and makes Seattle better. I would expect him to have around 9 to 11 fantasy points this week.
Somehow this defense went from dud to stud. They must be started against San Fran and their third string quarterback with an injury devastated offensive line.
San Fran: 9
Go Hawks! Happy New Year!
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Slaughtered in Seattle! The Rams lose consecutive games for the first time this season falling 20-9 to the Seahawks. It was a costly defeat not just for playoff implications but also for the team’s health as QB Jared Goff broke his right thumb and RB Darrell Henderson suffered a high-ankle sprain. Los Angeles falls to 9-6 and hosts the Arizona Cardinals in Week 17. If the Rams win, they clinch a playoff spot; if they lose and the Chicago Bears beat the Green Bay Packers, the Rams miss the playoffs for the second year in a row.
The offense failed to deliver as Goff threw a horrible interception in the first half killing a drive and Los Angeles could not score a touchdown from one yard out in the second half. The defense was solid most of the game but could not stop the Seahawks in the fourth quarter when they needed to. Goff and Henderson are out this week so the Ram’s playoff hopes rest on QB John Wolford. I think Wolford has a good game and leads the team to victory. Congrats to my Brother Strat who won our Keeper Championship and to Rex and Del for winning the Non-Keeper League. Thanks and congrats to Kurt for winning our Dynasty league and securing the first pick of the 2021 Draft for me!
Fantasy owners may want to consider starting RB Malcolm Brown and WR Robert Roods this week. That's about it.
2020 was so crazy in so many ways and we need to learn from it rather than run from it. Find positive and good things as best as you can and cherish those moments. Pray for and work on better days and a safe and wonder New Year to all of you. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!
The Definitive Fantasy Information Service
FFMastermind.com Wins Another Experts League Title!
Monday, December 28th, 2020
Team FFMastermind.com led by Michael Nazarek took down the prestigious 2020 FFWebMasters (Fantasy Experts) League Title! FFWebMasters is a Re-Drafter 14-Team Non-PPR Experts League. Overall, theTweets by @FFMastermind