Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Fantasy football 2016 -- week 16 recap

Here’s a quick look at everyone on Santa Claus’ naughty list this year:

** The Oakland Raiders: On the way to the #2 seed in the AFC and potentially a real run at the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl QB Derek Carr broke his leg on Saturday on a freak play. But don’t worry, because backup QB Matt McGloin has thrown 11 TDs and 11 INTs in his four-year career off the bench, so I’m sure they’ll still be fine against the best defenses in the league in January.

** Bengals K Randy Bullock: He missed what would have been a game-winning 43-yd FG on Saturday against the team that cut him last year, the Houston Texans. The Texans now head to the playoffs after winning their division. Bullock, who has played for five teams in the last five years, is likely looking for his next job.

** Vikings DBs: Minnesota coaches planned to have a cornerback shadow Packers WR Jordy Nelson for all of the game Saturday to limit his big-play ability. But the secondary got together and overrode the coaches, confident that CB Xavier Rhodes could handle him one-on-one. Nelson finished the first half with 100 receiving yds and 2 TDs in the first half, before a strategy switch was made.

** San Diego fans: In what could be the 55-year-old team’s final season in town, the Chargers managed to lose to the previously winless Browns on Saturday after a last-second FG attempt sailed wide. The team, which can finish no better than 6-10, has only appeared in one Super Bowl in its history (1994) and had its only AFL championship in 1963.

** St. Nick: There are 23 NFL players named Nick, and not a single one scored more than six fantasy pts this weekend. Of those, 14 saw their team lose too.

QB: Aaron Rodgers, 45.18 pts -- started by Joanna
WR: Adam Thielen, 32.35 pts -- on Mom Doyle’s bench
RB: David Johnson, 30.23 pts -- started by Joel
TE: Travis Kelce, 22.17 pts -- started by Jim
K: Matt Bryant, 20.00 pts -- started by Joanna
DEF: New England, 20.00 pts -- started by Mike
D: Malcolm Jenkins, 14.00 pts -- started by Joanna

AAAAHHHHH so close again. To be honest, I have no idea who Adam Thielen is. Allegedly he’s at almost 1,000 receiving yds for the year and had 202 yds and two TDs on Saturday. But he has Sam Bradford throwing to him, so that can’t be right.

Rodgers has had six performances of more than 30 fantasy pts this year and four others above 25 pts, which is pretty good. His ratio of 36 TDs to 7 INTs is also pretty good. And if he can stretch his team’s five-game winning streak into six next week, the Packers will win the NFC North despite sitting at 4-6 in mid November. It’s almost as if he’s pretty good…

“Bad defense” edition

2nd place (tie): Detroit, -5.00 pts -- on Jeff’s bench
2nd place (tie): NY Jets, -5.00 pts -- on the wire
1st place: Chicago, -6.00 pts -- on the wire

The Bears turn in the worst defensive performance possible, allowing 41 pts against the Maryland Racial Slurs and recording no turnovers, sacks or signs of life.

On the other side of the ledger, the Slurs recorded a blocked kick, a sack and five INTs en route to a big win that could propel them into the playoffs. That accounted for almost a 25 percent increase in their turnover total for the year, and brought their yearly fantasy pts total to … five pts more than the Bears. Football ain’t fair sometimes.

** Rams interim coach John Fassel on Monday said that he is optimistic about his team’s chances in next week’s finale against the Cardinals, saying “we’re tough enough to be inspired” for one more week.

“Like we talked about last week, we’re all being evaluated and we’re playing for something,” he told reporters. “Not that we’re looking for the individual accolades in this last game, but there’s things out there that we can strive for that are important to us. So I’m sure the guys will do it.”

That is false. The team’s head coach was fired two weeks ago, the team just lost to the previously 1-13 49ers, and the team is 459 yds behind the second-to-worst offense in the NFL (the Browns). At 4-11, there is absolutely nothing to be “inspired” about.

** During Monday night football, ESPN’s humanoid shrieking alarm clock Chris Berman compared the Brown’s second-quarter blocked FG in their win on Saturday to LeBron James’ game-saving block in the waning seconds of the NBA finals because Chris Berman understands absolutely nothing about sports.

Sunday’s Eagles game against the Cowboys is meaningless in the standings for both teams, but could take on historic importance in the rivalry as the last appearance in a Dallas uniform by Tony Romo. The Cowboys’ Toy Moron has posted a 9-5 record against the Eagles over the last decade, but has also come up with some wonderfully memorable moments worth savoring one last time:

** Thanksgiving 2014: The Eagles travel to Dallas and thump the Cowboys on national television 33-10. Romo’s two interceptions and four sacks help sink the Dallas offense, as Philly QB Mark Sanchez proves to be the best passer on the field.

** Christmas Eve 2011: Both teams entered the game at 7-7, but Romo exited the game two passes in after breaking his hand on the helmet of DE Jason Babin. The Cowboys are not penalized despite the blatant assault, but lose 20-7 anyways.

** Halloween 2011: Earlier that same season, Romo offered a much better performance -- four sacks, one interception and no points until a TD pass halfway through the fourth quarter. Cowboys lose 34-7.

** Dec. 28, 2008: Likely Romo’s greatest performance in the rivalry. With the winner heading to the playoffs and the loser heading home, Romo tosses one interception and fumbles twice en route to an embarrassing 44-6 win. Both fumbles were returned for 70-plus-yds defensive scores.

** Dec. 16, 2007: One of Romo’s earliest late-season collapses. The Eagles managed only 10 points in this road game, but Romo’s three interceptions limited the Cowboys to only six points and an embarrassing loss.

It’s going to be weird watching Romo in a Broncos uniform next year, but I’m pretty sure I’ll still be able to root against him.

The Eagles win over the Giants Thursday night handed the division title to the hated Cowboys, which was the ultimate no-win situation. They now enter the post-season as the league’s top seed, making for at least one extra week of evil spreading into 2017. As if that wasn’t dire enough, just look what their season-long triumph portends:

Dallas clinches another NFC East title before Christmas
** The fires of hell amass, blast necrotic rant, scald the nice

Remember, you can’t spell Dallas without “all sad.” Merry Christmas, and may God have mercy on us all for allowing this.

** Annnnnd Dad does it again, picking up two more games in our weekly picks to pull within three entering the final week of the season. I was up nine with less than five weeks to go. This has all the makings of an absolutely classic collapse by me.

** But enough about my failures -- I won the Capitol Hill defense reporters league this week, thanks to ridiculous performances by QB Tyrod Taylor, RB David Johnson and WR Jordy Nelson. I was the top points getter all year but finished the regular season in second, then had to sweat out a divisional playoff game before trashing my opponent in the championship. My key to success -- no Eagles the whole year. Because I wanted to win.

** The NFL has 16 games slated all for Sunday and none of them are going to be as good as the two college football playoff games on Saturday night (Go Buckeyes!).

Week 16 standings

1 -- Gronky Tonk Man (Joel), 2023.94 pts
2 -- Cosby's Sleepers (Mike), 1941.16 pts
3 -- QBs for Everyone! (Jo), 1886.87 pts
4 -- For Who? For Wentz? (Ant), 1873.13 pts
5 -- Blue Collar Killers (Jeff), 1814.88 pts
6 -- Not with that Attitude (Sam), 1742.29 pts
7 -- North Dakota Reaches (me), 1731.76 pts
8 -- Who's on First? (Dad), 1718.49 pts
9 -- Tiny Trump Gloves (Jim), 1704.61 pts
10 -- May Pay Attention (Paul), 1692.40 pts
11 -- Yelp for help (Mom Doyle), 1654.71 pts
12 -- Last exit 2 Kutztown (Bob), 1543.59 pts

Joel becomes the first team to break the 2000-pts mark, and seems all but certain to win the league. Anthony, who just a few weeks ago looked as if he could threaten Joel’s coronation, has drifted all the way down into fourth place after another dreadful performance.

I’m within striking distance of the top half of the standings, Mom Doyle could climb all the way into 10th with a good performance, and Bob informed me this week that he does in fact remember that he has a fantasy team. So, all good news.

ONE WEEK LEFT. But it’s the screwyist week of the year, with starters getting benched, rookies getting practice time and still somehow playoff spots being decided. So anything can happen until the Awesome Cup gets engraved a week from now.

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