Hi, hello & welcome to the most important edition of the AMERICAN Football Column this season. It’s Week 16. Fantasy Football Championship time. Any real league holds their title game this week, simply due to the fact that all the important players sit out Week 17.
My first fantasy football title was in a league with a Week 17 championship game. I had Jim Sorgi at QB. Remember him? He was on the Indianapolis Colts for years as Peyton Manning’s backup. He only ever played in Week 17, because why would Peyton Manning play in Week 17? I felt a bit silly having to resort to that in order to win a fantasy football championship.
A lot of ESPN leagues play in Week 17 because of their two-week semi-final & title game gimmick. I’m in one this year. I don’t like it, but them’s the rules. All you can do is pay attention before the season starts and tell your commissioner it’s a bad idea. Nobody should play fantasy football in Week 17. Don’t expect analysis from me next week.
I might not even make the picks because those have gone so poorly this season. We’ll see how I feel about it next week, after three of my fantasy championship games have been settled. I made the title game in four of my six leagues, which is pretty solid. I’m the underdog in every single one. Not ideal, but they don’t decide the champions based on projections. Let’s see if we can make some history.
Russell Wilson: The Hall of Famer always comes up big in the clutch, and it doesn’t get much bigger than Week 16 of fantasy football. He had a bad showing against the Rams last week, but look for him to get back on track this week against a mediocre Cowboys defense. Always trust the Hall of Famer.
Ezekiel Elliott: If you held on to him all this time or if you were lucky enough to pick him up later in the season, and you’ve gotten to your championship game, you’re a lucky individual. Elliott has risen on Championship Week, and he gets a Seahawks defense that just gave up another touchdown to Todd Gurley. Zeke will be looking to send a message, Jerry Jones will tell Jason Garrett to let him do it, and he just might end up with Gurleyesque numbers this week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: With Antonio Brown out with a calf issue, JuJu looks like the guy that should benefit the most. I’m not a big fan of his personality, as he’s a dirty player with a bad attitude. Steelers fans love those types of players though, so he should have a successful career there. He’ll be successful this week as Big Ben’s top option against a bad Texans secondary.
Zach Ertz: I don’t know why people in Philadelphia & around NFL Nation were freaking out over the idea of Nick Foles as starting quarterback for the Eagles. I figured he would be fine, and sure enough he was fine last week against the Giants. One of the guys he has a good connection with is Ertz, who scored a touchdown last week. The Raiders are 4th worst against tight ends, so look for Ertz to get another TD this week.
Baltimore D: I put them here last week because they were playing the Browns. This week they’re playing the Colts. Works for me.
Dak Prescott: I’m not sure I would call Dak’s sophomore season a slump, but he’s definitely been up & down. He’s had some real good outings and some stinkers. I don’t think he’ll be terrible against the Seahawks, but he’s not going to get a lot of points because Zeke’s going to get the ball early & often.
A.J. Green: Like everybody else on the Bengals, Green has been useless the last two weeks. 4 & 3 points isn’t going to get it done in the playoffs when you were drafted in the late-first or early-second round. I don’t see things getting much better this week, as Green gets a tough matchup with Darius Slay of the Lions. He also still has Andy Dalton throwing to him.
Jimmy Graham: 0 & .10 points the last two weeks. If you trust Graham at this point you’re more of a gambler than I am.
Jamaal Williams: The Minnesota Vikings have allowed the fewest points to running backs this season. Williams is coming off of a stinker against Carolina. It’s not a great combination for success is what I’m saying.
Nick Foles (40%): Dude got 33 points last week. The Raiders aren’t exactly a top notch defense. He’s playing in the last game of the week. Why not introduce some drama to the proceedings?
Keelan Cole (30%): Blake Bortles looks like a competent NFL quarterback all of a sudden. This fella has been one of the main beneficiaries, as he’s had touchdowns his last three games after not doing much prior. The 49ers are a beatable matchup, so expect Cole to find the end zone again.
Tion Green (4%): The Bengals were bad against the run before they quit, and now they’re absolutely abysmal against it. Green is currently the Lions’ RB2 & is their inside runner. Whether he’s running inside, outside or all around, it should work out pretty well for him.
Picks Against The Spread
Indianapolis at Baltimore (-13.5): We’re at the time of year where bad teams have given up and are blatantly mailing their games in. The Ravens are making a playoff push thanks to taking on three of those teams in the final three weeks. It’s not the worst thing in the world.
Minnesota (-9) at Green Bay: The Packers have placed Aaron Rodgers on IR. Brett Hundley hasn’t been terrible, but he isn’t going to make miracles happen.
Detroit (-4.5) at Cincinnati: I can’t believe the spread on this is only 4.5. I’ve seen a lot of bad Bengals teams over the years, but I can’t remember one that has completely given up on their coach like this one has. I also can’t remember one with a coach that gave less of a damn. What a way to celebrate the franchise’s 50th anniversary. It’s kind of fitting when you think about it.
LA Chargers (-6.5) at NY Jets: The Jets actually looked a little froggy last week in New Orleans. Furthermore, I am never high on West Coast teams traveling to the East Coast in December.
LA Rams (-6.5) at Tennessee: People are starting to figure out that the Titans are really a bad football team. They dropped two straight games to bad NFC West teams, and now they get to play a good one. Their offense isn’t in the same stratosphere as the Rams’.
Cleveland at Chicago (-6.5): The Bears played like dog excrement& had the worst game plan in the world last Saturday, but they get the Browns this week. That always helps.
Tampa Bay at Carolina (-10): It’s a good time of year to play the Buccaneers.
Atlanta at New Orleans (-5.5): Could be the game of the week here. Both teams need the win here to control their playoff destiny. The Falcons & Saints have had some close high-scoring games in the past, and I think this will be another one.
Denver at Washington (-3.5):
Miami at Kansas City (-10.5): The Chiefs & Kareem Hunt are back! In this year’s AFC West, you can afford to take a few weeks off and still win the division.
Buffalo at New England (-12): We need the storyline with Tom Brady’s doctor to become a thing so the Patriots can overcome the odds and win another championship. This seems to be where we’re heading, doesn’t it?
Jacksonville (-4) at San Francisco: I think the Jags don’t exactly bring their A game this week with their AFC South title already clinched. The Jimmy G Surge continues in San Fran.
NY Giants at Arizona (-3.5):
Seattle at Dallas (-5): As I said earlier, I think Ezekiel Elliott brings Cowboys fans & his fantasy owners a wonderful Christmas present.
Pittsburgh (-9.5) at Houston: No Antonio Brown? The Steelers still got Bell, Bryant, Smith-Schuster & Big Benny. I don’t know who Houston has starting at QB, and I don’t care.
Oakland at Philadelphia (-9): Fly Eagles Fly
Week 15 Results: 4-11-1
2017 Season Results: 94-121-9