The final week of the fantasy regular season proved to be one that will have significant impacts on fantasy owners teams. Be it through injuries, coaching changes (Green Bay) or players gaining/losing opportunities; the 2018 fantasy playoff run will be a challenge.
But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 14?
1. Packers Coaching Changes
Many fans have been calling for the ouster of (now former) Coach Mike McCarthy and for good reasons. McCarthy frequently made what many consider to be poor decisions and his hyper-conservative nature often stymied what should be one of the most exciting offenses in the league. With the 2018 season essentially lost, the Packers finally pulled the plug. Joe Philbin will take on the head coaching role for the remaining four games.
Philbin is no stranger to the Packers or Aaron Rodgers, having been the Offensive Coordinator from 2007-2011. His bio is rather impressive, having previously led the Packers offense to peak performance under both Brett Farve and Aaron Rodgers, including the 2011 season that is the third highest scoring team in league history. Philbin was also the Head Coach of the Dolphins when Ryan Tannehill had arguably his best season as a QB. In short, Philbin has a history with Rodgers and a track record of leading strong offenses. I would expect him to try and prove himself as a potential candidate for the job over the next few weeks by releasing the chains on the offense and attempting to post some video game numbers.
2. Rams Clinching a Bye This Weekend
Speaking of video game offenses, the Rams are having a phenomenal season, having already locked up the division title. Now they look to lock in a first-round bye within the next two weeks. There is a chance that a bye limits some of the offensive players in Week 16 during fantasy championships. If your league plays Week 17, it’s highly unlikely that any of the key starters will play. Keep that in mind as you scour the waiver wire these next few weeks. And don’t be afraid to root for a loss so they have to keep pressing to get that bye.
3. How ‘Bout Them Cowboys
After a 3-4 start, the Cowboys were looking like also-rans in the NFC East. After trading for Amari Cooper and their bye week, the Cowboys are 4-1. While they did lose their first game with Cooper on the roster playing in a limited role, they have now won four straight to take over the division lead. For fantasy owners, Dak Prescott was QB21 in Weeks 1-9 and sits at QB6 (QB11 by average points) during this four-game win streak. Amari Cooper is WR9 (WR12 by average) since taking on a full-time role in the Dallas offense. With a friendly schedule of Eagles, Colts, and Buccaneers for the fantasy playoffs, things could get exciting for Prescott/Cooper/Elliott owners.
4. Philip Lindsay, League Winner
The undrafted rookie RB out of Colorado has proven to be a real gem of a find for the Denver Broncos. He’s averaging just under 13 carries per game and on pace for 1,500 combined rushing and receiving yards. He’s scored 9 TDs. But the real beauty of this is the fantasy playoff schedule: @SF, vs CLE, and @OAK. These teams are giving up the 14th, 8th, and 11th most points to opposing RBs, respectively. If you were able to roster Lindsay, congrats. (Now make sure you have Royce Freeman in case of emergency!)
5. Rookie QBs Running for Glory
Over the past three weeks, Ravens rookie QB Lamar Jackson ranks as QB12 in points even though he’s only thrown the ball 65 times for 453 yards and 1 TD. The points are coming from the rookie’s legs, which have produced 265 yards on 54 carries and 2 TDs. Let’s break down how that would look if we converted his rushing points to pure passing points:
*(assuming 1pt/25passing yards, 4pt passing TDs, 1pt/10 rushing yards, 6pt rushing TDs)
Current Passing Yards/pts: 453 = 18.12 pts (453 x .04)
Current Rushing Yards/pts: 265 = 26.5 pts (265 x .1)
Current Passing TDs: 1 = 4 pts
Current Rushing TDs: 2 = 12 pts
GRAND TOTAL (Excluding turnovers): 60.6 pts
Passing Yards Required to Equal Rushing Yard Points: 663 (663 x .04 = 26.5 pts)
Passing TDs Required to Equal Rushing TD Points: 3 (3 x 4 = 12 pts)
Combined As Pure Passing Stats: 1,116 passing yards, 4 TDs
For a comparison of yardage, Patrick Mahomes last three games are just over 1,000 yards. You would need the past four games for Jared Goff to surpass this total, and five games from Drew Brees. This week Lamar Jackson faces the Kansas City Chiefs defense that is allowing significant fantasy points as opposing offensive players attempt to keep up with Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill.
Similarly, but to a less trustworthy extent, Josh Allen has returned from his injury to rush for 234 in his past two games. Will this rushing production continue for both QBs? Will owners be confident/daring enough to start these Rookie QBs in the first round of the playoffs? That is something I’ll be watching for as I am starting Jackson in my home Superflex league!