It’s been a fun season, but we are quickly nearing the end. For most of you, this is championship week. You have made it to the championship and it’s time to do battle for a trophy. Or maybe it’s just bragging rights. It could even be some money on the line (don’t worry–I won’t judge). Whatever the case, each choice we make from here on out will be remembered throughout the offseason. Did you pick the right team? Did you sit player A in favor of player B while player A caught 3 touchdowns? These decisions will last a long time as you prepare for your championship games. Week 15 saw a string of proven defenses at the top: the Vikings, the Patriots, and the Buffalo Bills. The Bills were our best choice of the week, and comfortably under-owned at 65%. They had a good matchup, and it came through for us. Outside of the Bills, we also hit on the Eagles and Seahawks–our stream of the week. At a minimum, these choices gave you the chance to stay alive one more week. Here’s how the whole top-12 looked:
|Rank||Team||% Owned||Opponent||Sacks||INTs||Fum Rec||Fantasy Points|
|1||Minnesota Vikings||77%||Los Angeles Chargers||3||3||4||27|
|2||New England Patriots||99%||Cincinnati Bengals||0||4||1||20|
|3||Buffalo Bills||77%||Pittsburgh Steelers||4||4||1||18|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9%||Detroit Lions||2||2||1||15|
|5||Green Bay Packers||60%||Chicago Bears||3||2||1||13|
|6-t||Atlanta Falcons||7%||San Francisco 49ers||1||0||2||11|
|6-t||Kansas City Chiefs||63%||Denver Broncos||2||1||0||11|
|8-t||New York Giants||8%||Miami Dolphins||3||0||1||8|
|8-t||Philadelphia Eagles||78%||Washington Redskins||0||0||1||8|
|10-t||Seattle Seahawks||62%||Carolina Panthers||1||3||0||7|
|10-t||Baltimore Ravens||98%||New York Jets||1||1||1||7|
|12||Miami Dolphins||1%||New York Giants||1||3||0||6|
The Bills looked dominant as they shut down the Steelers in Pittsburgh. They forced four sacks, four picks, and came away with a big win to keep their division hopes alive. Philadelphia really pulled a rabbit out of their butts. Despite playing 59 minutes of bad football, they put up a defensive score in the final minute to save their day. As I said last week, this is not a team I trust. Who knows in the NFC East though. The Rams, who looked so strong against the Seahawks last week, completely fell apart against Dallas. Outside of some garbage time points, they were a disaster. They finished with -4 points and my apologies if you started them. Our streamers were the Seahawks (7 points) and the Lions (3 points). Honestly, all of these choices were solid outside of the Rams. This leaves us with a question: who can we trust in week 16? Who will get us to the championship? Let’s take a look.
Note: My goal this week is to give you more options and let you choose who you trust heading into the end of the season. I will still provide a stream of the week but I urge you to trust your gut with this one.
Buffalo Bills (@N.E., 77%)
I already mentioned last week how much I like the Bills. They secured a playoff spot with their win over the Steelers, and three of their four losses this season were by a single score. Their losses have come to the Patriots (11-3), the Eagles (7-7), the Ravens (12-2) and the Browns (6-8). In their last seven games, the Bills have only allowed 14 points per game. They have averaged almost 4 sacks and one interception per game during that same time. I think the Bills have had this matchup circled for a while, and they would love to knock off the Patriots before the playoffs start. The Patriots offense, for its part, has been struggling badly. They have been outgained in three of their last four games and they are barely averaging 20 points per game over their last five outings. Tom Brady is averaging just over 200 passing yards per game in his last five games. New England has lost some of their “invincible” shine, and they feel ripe for the picking. I could easily see the Bills ‘stealing one’ this week.
Seattle Seahawks (62%, vs Ari)
Seattle is in a four-way tie for the best record in the NFC, as well as their tie with San Francisco for the NFC West lead. It’s safe to say they know how important this game is. Seattle’s defense has been up to the challenge this season, forcing a mountain of turnovers. They average more than two forced turnovers per game over the entire season. Sure, Seattle gives up some points. Sure, they also don’t rack up as many sacks as we’d like either. However, the turnovers have more than made up for it. Over their last six games, Seattle averages more than 10 fantasy points per game on defense. So what do we know about Arizona? They have allowed almost two turnovers per game over the last five outings. They also allow tons of sacks, and three of their last four opponents put up 14+ fantasy points on them. Last time the Seattle defense played Arizona, they scored 16 fantasy points. I like my chances here.
Green Bay Packers (59%) at Minnesota Vikings (77%)
This looks like it’s going to be an excellent game. Green Bay (11-3) and Minnesota (10-4) are both playoff-bound and both have something to prove. The Packers would love to win another championship before Aaron Rodgers calls it a career. The Vikings are stacked and still looking for their first-ever Super Bowl win. Both defenses have been strong: the Packers average 10 fantasy points per game over their last three while the Vikings are averaging 16 over the same span. The problem here is that both offenses are careful with the ball. Green Bay has only turned the ball over twice in their last eight games. Minnesota boasts the same feat. This could very well end up being a dead-end with both teams putting up 20-30 points. However, I am guessing someone makes a mistake. It’s as simple as picking who you think will win the game. If you don’t love either option, keep reading. Personally, I’m avoiding this game.
Houston Texans (@ T.B., 41%, stream of the week)
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. Jameis Winston just put up 450 yards and 4 touchdowns in back to back games. That’s a feat nothing short of amazing, especially considering he was without Mike Evans last week. Jameis Winston is the modern-day Brett Favre, and I have a feeling he is about to pull the rug out from under us. Why do I say this? Jameis has now lost his top-two receivers. I doubt this will stop him from trying to throw the ball into the tightest of windows. He has 36(!) interceptions + fumbles this year…good enough for more than 2.5 per game. Let’s not forget that Winston can destroy his team just as fast as he can save it. With Evans and Godwin out, I expect an egg from Winston. Houston is in the right place at the right time. They are my stream of the week.
Dallas Cowboys (@ Phi, 35%)
The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles took some suspense out of this week by both winning. I was hoping we had a chance at a division winner with a losing record–something we haven’t seen since 2015. Sure, it could still happen. It’s just incredibly unlikely. So what’s to like about Dallas’ defense? They have forced multiple sacks in five straight games. They forced three turnovers in the last two weeks against two capable teams: the Rams and Bears. They are also facing an opponent who is limping to the finish line. Here are the offensive skill players the Eagles are likely without this week: Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson, and Jordan Howard. The Eagles basically lost their entire starting lineup on offense. Sure, Miles Sanders looked solid last week. Also, both Philly tight ends are good to go. They still lack anything relevant at wide receiver, and it is sure to have an impact. I expect a Dallas win, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple mistakes from the Eagles along the way. You could do worse than this matchup.
New York Giants (8%) at Washington Redskins (5%)
This is a game no sane person should watch. We have two dreadful teams–both with 3-11 records–that don’t really have anything to play for. The Giants will possibly be without Daniel Jones again and could limit Saquon Barkley’s workload so as to start 2020 healthy. The Redskins are sitting Derrius Guice for the rest of the season with yet another knee injury. They start Dwayne Haskins, who has been mediocre thus far. I could see either team blowing up here (in a bad way) and I could see either defense sneaking away with a nice week. If I had to pick, I’d go with Washington. They have forced two turnovers per game over their last four outings, and they average close to five sacks per game during the same time. They honestly feel like a better team than the group that started 1-9. Still, realize you are betting on the Redskins here…
Miami Dolphins (1%) at Cincinnati Bengals (1%)
You thought the last one was bad, huh? The Miami Dolphins (3-11) and the Cincinnati Bengals (1-13) are the winner for the worst matchup of the season. Miami was well on their way to the first draft pick before an ill-fated two-game winning streak sunk them. The Bengals, on the other hand, have successfully thrown 2019 in the toilet, winning only a single game against the Jets. Like the last matchup, both of these teams are bad enough that either could find a defensive score or two. I have slightly more faith in the Dolphins. They create more turnovers (interceptions) and this is the quickest way to a defensive score. That being said, this is probably a worst-case scenario option.
(Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire)