The best thing most fantasy football leagues have going for them in this bizarre year of 2020 is that there is no team in the league that has a lock on running away and hitting cruise control in the second half of a Week 16 game.
How bizarre is 2020? New Orleans was the first team to clinch a playoff spot and had two losses. Kansas City was second with one loss. The Steelers came into last night’s “Miami Clink” loss to the Football Team unbeaten – and hadn’t locked down a spot yet.
In many seasons, teams with lofty records start looking to the bigger picture. They know they’re going to get a first-round bye, which there are only one of in each conference this year, too. They take their foot off the gas when they can to not burn out their star players in the regular season when there is a bigger goal to achieve. That has killed more fantasy owners than high cholesterol.
This year, you can make a case for a bunch of NFL teams heading into the fantasy football playoffs – those who need to run the table and start their playoffs now to those trying to hold on to their spots. It seems the division between the haves and the have nots is more pronounced this year. That’s good news for fantasy owners, because those with something to prove are good. Those with nothing to lose are better.
Best of luck to all you chasing down a fantasy football championship. The best news is, if you get there, you’re likely doing it on the backs of players with a title of their own within their grasp.
Here is the Week 14 Fantasy Market Report:
Fantasy Football Risers
Wayne Gallman, RB, Giants
One can only imagine where Saquon Barkley would be at this point, but it has been virtually impossible to not play Gallman, despite the fact he isn’t a receiving threat. In his last six games, he has scored six touchdowns and, in the TD streak-breaker last week, he rushed for 135 yards. Are you desperate to start Gallman in the playoffs? The numbers say so.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings
I have been consistent in the fact that Cousins will never respond to a question saying, “I’m going to Disney World!” But, he is consistent. He is one of five QBs in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards and 25 TDs in six or more consecutive seasons. The only others are Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers. In the past five games, Cousins met those milestones by throwing for 14 touchdowns and topping 300 yards in the last three. You could do worse for a guy who barely got drafted in 12-team leagues that take two QBs.
Davante Adams, WR, Packers
Sometimes you just have to honor and respect getting the job done every week. In the last seven games since fully returning from injury, Adams has 61 receptions for 837 yards and 11 touchdowns – at least one in each game. This is comparable to all-time numbers for that span. Those who have him are winning.
Kenyan Drake, RB, Cardinals
An under-the-radar successful guy, he got hurt Oct. 25 against Seattle. In the previous two games, he has rushed 38 times for 224 yards and three touchdowns. He was hitting a groove and got sidelined. After missing a game, he came back to rush for 100 yards. In the last three games, he has scored four touchdowns. He’s far from a bell cow, but he’s delivering the points you need and when you need them.
Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
Once again, tribute must be paid to those who earn their keep. In tight end-mandatory leagues, getting four catches for 50 yards with less than a coin-flip on a touchdown is acceptable. What Kelce is doing is beyond expectations and, for a guy with four straight 1,000-yard seasons, that’s saying something. Even by his standards, his last five games have been epic – 42 receptions for 613 yards and three touchdowns. There is no peer for him to deal with.
Fantasy Football Fallers
Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks
In his first eight games, Wilson never threw for less than two touchdowns, threw three or more six times, easily topped 300 yards five times and had a rushing TD. In his last four – where he couldn’t be benched for any reason, he has thrown for 938 yards and four TD, as well as offering little as a rusher. You can’t bench him, but you know the suffering you’ve endured. Sink with the ship if must, but he’s your captain.
Noah Fant, TE, Broncos
The ark is taking on water, Noah. In the first two games of the season, Fant caught nine passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. Since? 35 catches for 355 yards and no TDs. He’s still rostered in most leagues but has become the Fant in the room.
Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles
Carson’s comedy classics have become a painful reminder of where his value was in August. His only saving grace was that he had five rushing touchdowns to keep him relevant. In his last four games? No saving rush TDs. Six passing TDs and a high-water mark of 235 passing yards. Fly, Jalen, fly!
Gio Benard, RB, Bengals
He’s been a sidekick from the start of his career, but the first bananas have went away and Gio stayed. When Joe Mixon went down and there was no other viable option, it was Bernard’s time to take the spotlight. In six games as “the guy,” he has hit 40 yards rushing once, and, in the four, has 12 catches for 70 yards and no TDs as a receiver. He had his chance. He failed.
David Njoku, TE, Browns
It’s shocking he is on rosters — even in tight end-mandatory leagues. In the last eight games, he has caught six passes for 58 yards and one touchdown – for a team that is on a roll. About time to say no joke to Njoku.