I haven’t been writing recaps in a while because I was in a place the last few weeks where I was dominating, but at the same time I was busy. For as high as I was scoring, the weeks were fairly uneventful, a lack of real choices. I was happy to report that my team in each league started performing up to expectations, and in at least my Yahoo league, I’ve been the best team over the last three weeks, quickly climbing the rankings into playoff contention.
But Week 8 proved to be very tumultuous, with some last minute scrambling and real time outcomes that shaped my week dramatically.
Let’s start with the one that didn’t go so great.
|Opponent||The Other Brian’s Team – Brian|
|Outcome||100.30 – 105.22 L|
|QB||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts||18.40|
|RB1||Devontae Booker||Denver Broncos||12.40|
|RB2||Jeremy Hill||Cincinatti Bengals||13.30|
|WR1||Jordy Nelson||Green Bay Packers||15.40|
|WR2||Brandon Marshall||New York Jets||6.80|
|TE||Rob Gronkowski||New England Patriots||16.90|
|FLEX||Terrelle Pryor Sr.||Cleveland Browns||12.10|
|K||Adam Vinatieri||Indianapolis Colts||2.00|
|BN||Terrance West||Baltimore Ravens||BYE|
|BN||Kyle Rudolph||Minnesota Vikings||3.10|
|BN||Jerick McKinnon||Minnesota Vikings||0.00|
|BN||Doug Martin||Tampa Bay Bucs||0.00|
|BN||Jordan Matthews||Philadelphia Eagles||12.50|
Allow me to set the stage. It’s about 4 PM Los Angeles time. The second batch of games are wrapping up in the 4th quarter, and I have about a 20 point lead on my opponent, also named Brian, and also the only person playing in both leagues with me. Remaining players for my team include Jordy Nelson and Devontae Booker, and for him, Melvin Gordon, Matt Bryant and Matt Ryan. I felt pretty good before even these games started, and already looking at a Jordy TD and a Booker TD at this point, I felt confident that I would come away with the win.
First, a note on Booker. I picked him up at the start of the week in both leagues, believing that he’d be a valuable backup running back even with C.J. Anderson healthy. The next day, Anderson is placed on the IR, and I’m looking at a Top 20 RB in both leagues, if not higher moving forward. With a fumble on his first snap of the game and his own banged up performance, it wasn’t exactly the day you were expecting, but 12.40 points is pretty great for an RB2.
So, back to the game. I’m watching the Packers/Falcons game on TV. The first thing I notice is Melvin Gordon slowly creep up in points. He didn’t score, but he improved what looked like a fairly modest 60-odd point day into a 111 rushing game, plus 44 receiving yards, and he didn’t even score today. The headlines after the fact show that in an hour span he racked up a 17 yard gain, 20 yard gain, and a 12 yard game. Where was this guy capable of all these yards after the touch last year when I owned him in three leagues? This is impressive for a guy whose value has mostly been his insane number of goal line carries. Suddenly my lead had been reduced from about 10 points to just about 2.
And then came Matt Ryan. People were doubting him well through the start of the season, and now he’s a complete monster. Sure enough, in the closing minutes against the Packers, Ryan marches down the field and manages a 3rd down 11-yard TD (with an incredible catch by Mo Sanu) to clinch the game, both for the Falcons and my friend Brian. What the hell!
Granted, it’s days like this that we actually play fantasy for. It’s one thing to crush your opponent like a grape, but to make a comeback and be able to watch the Monday or Sunday evening game and that one play that decisively clinches it for your team, it’s a thrilling, exciting moment that makes fantasy amazing. Of course, if it’s happened to you, it will happen against you as it did to me this week. Well played my friend.
You’ll notice that had I started the Seattle defense over Arizona or Jordan Matthews over Brandon Marshall, it would’ve made the difference and resulted in a victory. That’s the sort of strategy that’s so hard to come by, but makes you feel absolutely vindicated when you get it right.
|QB||Kirk Cousins||Oakland Raiders||31|
|RB1||Lamar Miller||Houston Texans||13|
|RB2||Devontae Booker||Denver Broncos||17|
|WR1||Kelvin Benjamin||Carolina Panthers||9|
|WR2||Jordan Matthews||Philadelphia Eagles||23|
|WR3||Mohamed Sanu||Atlanta Falcons||23|
|TE||Rob Gronkowski||New England Patriots||21|
|K||Matt Bryant||Atlanta Falcons||10|
|BN||Jay Ajayi||Miami Dolphins||BYE|
|BN||Derek Carr||Oakland Raiders||46|
|BN||Jamaal Charles||Kansas City Chiefs||0|
|BN||Randall Cobb||Green Bay Packers||0|
|BN||Ty Montgomery||Green Bay Packers||0|
|BN||Jordan Howard||Chicago Bears||29|
I felt that way in my other league, despite leaving some massive amounts of points on the bench.
Early in the week, I had planned on starting both Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb over Jordan Matthews, who I felt would be shut down by Dallas. I had also planned on starting Derek Carr over Kirk Cousins, getting cold feet over the last two weeks of Carr’s points. I also feared that I might be without Lamar Miller this week seeing as he was dealing with a shoulder injury, and I had no confidence in Jordan Howard, preparing to drop him if he laid another egg.
First bombshell was that Cobb was officially ruled out. That meant a quick switch to Matthews. No sweat. Miller turned out to be active, and despite exiting the game and not managing too many rushing yards, found the endzone. Okay.
I also felt pretty good about Kirk Cousins, getting the chance to watch the end of the London game that resulted in a tie, the second in two weeks. 31 points is better than solid, and I had no expectations that Carr would match that. Little did I know Carr would manage some 4th quarter magic and be only the 18th QB of all time to throw for over 500 yards. Oh and he got 4 touchdowns too. No big deal.
Then I got the second piece of big news just before the Packers game started: Ty Montgomery would be out due to an illness as well. Ack! I had no other contingency plan, so I quickly dropped Dennis Pitta on a bye and picked up Mohamed Sanu, thinking he would be a one-week fill in. Of course Sanu had his best game of the season in a week where Julio Jones likely lost some teams their weeks. I was inches away from picking up Cameron Meredith instead of Sanu, and I was inches away from dropping Jordan Howard in order to make that switch.
And now look at Jordan Howard. Just when he looked about to lose the job to Jeremy Langford or Ka’Deem Carey, he chews up the Minnesota defensive line for over 150 yards and a touchdown. I was watching that game and saw his massive 60+ yard run early in the game. I thought it would be a fluke, that he would be shut down the rest of the night, and that the final box score would be misleading. Instead he fought for extra yards on every snap and looked fantastic, a welcome alternative to Jay Cutler forcing bad passes into double coverage to Alshon Jeffery.
Moving into next week, I’m faced with a number of bye week challenges and some choices to make: Lamar Miller, Jeremy Hill, Kirk Cousins, Jordan Howard, and oh yeah, Rob Gronkowski. The downside to dropping Dennis Pitta at the last minute was losing that TE streaming option. And in my Yahoo league, I can’t decide who to drop in order to make that fill in after such a dominant week. Will Montgomery ultimately be worse off than imagined and be held out longer than expected? Is it time to finally cut bait on Jamaal Charles? In my NFL league, I felt that Kyle Rudolph would be a reliable streaming option, but now I may be looking elsewhere. And what do you do about Brandon Marshall? Will he finally get right down the stretch or will he continue to be frustrating despite favorable matchups? You can’t bench Derek Carr at this point, but can he be trusted to have the same great week against Denver? It’s a lot of questions, and I hope answering them will lead to as exciting a week as this past one.