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Week 16 Booms and Busts

Cleveland's passing game has come to life down the stretch and is rewarding fantasy managers in the playoffs. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

If fantasy football is your true passion, the game is a 12-month contract.

You watch every snapshot of the NFL playoffs. Like a pre-op surgeon, you carefully watch a free agent’s every move. They prepare for and even rewatch the NFL Draft the mediocre film by Kevin Costner. You always keep an open ear for news from minicamps and summer camps. You scout the preseason games in case one of your players actually plays 15 seconds.

You’re a mock draft and you’re a best-ball draft. You will learn about the backups and the backups of the backups.

They do everything they can to search for that key, that secret, that crucial ingredient to playoff glory.

And then it’s Joe Flacco, the journeyman from the couch.

Joe Flacco, the fourth Cleveland quarterback of the year (fifth if you count summer camper Joshua Dobbs). Joe Flacco, a man who seemed finally retired, a man who went 1-8 in nine mediocre starts for the Jets over the last three years.

Spin the Sunday tape, Flacco is throwing dimes to Amari Cooper and David Njoku. It’s a beautiful thing.

To be fair, Flacco’s glorious month-long run is more valuable to many fantasy league players as a conduit to unlock Cooper and Njoku. And what an amazing unlock it was. Cooper was at full speed in Houston on Sunday (11/265/2020), setting a team record and delivering the best wide receiver game of the Yahoo Fantasy season. It is only It’s the eighth time someone has broken the 40-point mark this year; Cooper scored 46 points in the standard Yahoo scoring as the Browns handily defeated Houston.

Flacco also fought his way to the top of his position in Week 16, throwing for 368 yards and three scores. He threw two picks, which is par for the course. He had a turnover in all four starts. But he has the arm and the experience to push the ball downfield (and the confidence to throw about 50-50 balls), and that has made Cooper a star again. We’ve come a long way from Deshaun Watson, PJ Walker and Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Cooper has been outstanding before; He went to four Pro Bowls. Njoku’s emergence is all the more surprising considering his sleeper case seemed dated before the year. Njoku finished his second season in 2018 as a TE8, but since then he has been more of an unfulfilled promise than anything else. As we reached Halloween, Njoku had 28 catches and a ridiculous touchdown on the year.

Flacco and Njoku didn’t pass in their first game, but they’ve been cop-past since then. Njoku posted a 6-44-1 line on Sunday and now has 22 catches, 239 yards and four touchdowns in his last three games. He has been TE2 each of the last two weeks and is currently in that spot with four games to go. Keep laughing as you keep starting The Joker.

Flacco is not an automatic start for Week 17 when the Browns play the Jets; This is the first plus defense they have drawn in this phase. No Cooper or Njoku manager will back down, but Flacco supporters have a discussion ahead of them, particularly in deeper leagues and Superflex formats. Is Flacco too hot to sit? Does it matter to you that the Jets were torn apart by Jacoby Brissett in the second half on Sunday and briefly blew a big lead?

Is there such a thing as a Joe Flacco revenge game?

We’ll take care of tomorrow’s problems tomorrow. Today let’s eat, drink, be merry. Let’s watch Cleveland’s highlights on a loop. Let us appreciate what we have just seen and try to remember that the future is still unwritten.

Of course, Flacco isn’t the only backup quarterback playing these days. They are everywhere in the league. Some of them were great this weekend, some were average, some were bad. Appreciate it when the ball bounces your way, because fantasy playoff wins aren’t easy.

The backups provide

Trevor Siemian had two jobs for the Jets – getting the ball to Breece Hall and getting the ball to Garrett Wilson. Mission accomplished. Although Siemian managed a meager 4.4 YPA, the effort helped Hall achieve fantasy greatness (32 touchdowns, 191 yards, two touchdowns) and Wilson PPR relevance (9-76-0). An incredible 31 of New York’s 45 goals went to the two playmakers, and that’s a good thing. That’s where the ball should go. New York’s next test comes Thursday against Cleveland’s defense.

The Jets escaped with a 30-28 victory over Washington and narrowly avoided a classic defeat. Jacoby Brissett replaced a terrible Sam Howell and led the Commanders to three consecutive touchdown drives. Unfortunately, the named receivers didn’t do much for Washington, but when Chris Rodriguez Jr. was needed as the emergency back, he hit two touchdowns and racked up 65 total yards. I suspect Brissett will probably start next week, but it’s against San Francisco – good luck with that.

Was it a week of criticism that sparked George Pickens (4-195-2) on Saturday or the play of Mason Rudolph? You decide. The Bengals presented a favorable matchup; Next week there will be an even better matchup in Seattle. Tee Higgins produced on the other side (5-140-1) and, as expected, improved after Ja’Marr Chase’s exit. Cincinnati needs to clean up mistakes from Saturday, but at least Jake Browning gives this offense a fighting chance against everyone.

Fast Hitters of Week 16

It was a matter of life and death for the Packers as they defeated the Panthers by two wins, but most of their angles were on target. Aaron Jones didn’t make it to the end zone, but 135 yards is a passable day, and all three of their quasi-sleepers in the pass receiving zone were productive (Romeo Doubs went 4-79-1, Tucker Kraft was a solid 4-60-0, and one of Dontayvion Wicks’ two receptions was a touchdown. With the Packers’ defense struggling, next week’s meeting in Minnesota could turn into a pinball game.

Speaking of which, here’s hoping Minnesota takes a break from the injury report. Jordan Addison and TJ Hockenson were both injured in the loss to the Lions. Nick Mullens had a very Mullens-esque game – some juicy highs (411 yards, 11.4 YPA) and some eye-opening moments (four sacks, four picks). Ty Chandler did nothing but score a short touchdown, but Justin Jefferson (6-141-1) was back in business. KJ Osborn (5-95-1) makes sense as a backup if Addison misses time.

Detroit clinched the NFC North and most of the offense came from fantasy – Jahmyr Gibbs (100 total yards, two scores) and David Montgomery (69 total yards, one score) let the stress out early, and Amon-Ra St. Brown did his usual thing (12-106-1). Sam LaPorta had a rare quiet game (3-18-0), but it was fun to see Jameson Williams score six times and make five catches, even if they only managed 43 yards. Detroit and Dallas meet next week, followed by a rematch between Detroit and Minnesota. Indoor football, always welcome around the holidays.

Baker Mayfield could have had a better day (283 yards, two touchdowns) if the Jaguars had bounced back sooner. The Buccaneers posted an easy 30-12 win and Mayfield threw a modest 35 passes. The Buccaneers did what they always do – they drove touchdowns to Rachaad White (77 total yards, touchdown), watched Mike Evans score a few spikes (7-86-2) and gave Chris Godwin a ton of scoring (11th). ), but no touchdowns (a 6-78-0 line is still playable). Tampa looks to be the best of a bad NFC South and looks to beat New Orleans next week.

Trevor Lawrence played erratically for the Jags and eventually left the team with a shoulder injury. At least his only touchdown went to Calvin Ridley, and Ridley got a second score from CJ Beathard. Touchdown deodorant saved Travis Etienne Jr. for most of the first two months, but he only had two touchdowns in his last seven starts.

Miami managed just enough to beat Dallas 22-20, but it wasn’t a standout dream day for the Dolphins. Tua Tagovailoa had 293 yards but just one touchdown, and Tyreek Hill (9-99-0) was active but did not score. Jaylen Waddle had a 50-yard catch on four scores then suffered a shin injury. De’Von Achane has been out of sorts and has given us only one strong game since his return from injury. The Cowboys held Achane to 31 yards on eight memorable touches; He’s been a fantasy enigma for two months. A short touchdown catch saved Raheem Mostert, who posted a record of 11-46-0 on the ground.

Dallas is also still trying to figure out an identity. Dak Prescott finished the game with 253 yards and two touchdowns, which isn’t enough in the fantasy playoffs. Most of the effort went to the unstoppable CeeDee Lamb (6-118-1), who absorbed a deserved 10 goals. Otherwise, it was the Dallas story we’re used to: Jake Ferguson was good but not great (4-45-0), and Tony Pollard was a blur (12-38-0 rushing, one catch for five yards ). ). Dallas needs a second pitch in this offense after Lamb if it wants to go deep into the playoffs.



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