Stars of Week 15
QB: Matt Ryan, ATL: 22-36, 231 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs (3 carries, 18 yards, 1 TD)
RB: Derrick Henry, TEN: 30 carries, 170 yards, 2 TDs
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, HOU: 10 catches, 170 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Garrett Celek, SF: 2 catches, 61 yards, 1 TD
Week 15 was a semifinal playoff matchup for most fantasy leagues, and many of the season’s top performers failed to bring it – at least statistically. Scott Barrett of Pro Football Focus noted on Twitter that a lineup of:
QB: Jameis Winston
RB1: Saquon Barkley
RB2: Aaron Jones
WR1: Adam Thielen
WR2: Tyreek Hill
WR3: Keenan Allen
FLEX: Lamar Miller
TE: Eric Ebron
has had a combined average of 140.1 fantasy points per game when active, while the Week 15 total came to a paltry 29.3. The stars of the week above largely reflect the anticlimactic week that we had. Timing is a critical component of fantasy football success, and much of it is out of our hands.
In any event, Matt Ryan led QBs this week with two TD tosses and a rushing score. That’s a solid game for a QB, but very pedestrian as this week’s leader.
Derrick Henry has metamorphosed into Superman the last two weeks, following up last week’s 4 TD performance with 170 rushing yards and two more TDs against the Giants. I still consider Henry more of a RB3 long term, but perhaps his hot streak will continue next week. DeAndre Hopkins has a case to make as the best fantasy WR in football, and he should find himself drafted in the first round of next year’s drafts.
The 49ers’ tight end position has been on fire, but it was Garrett Celek who outscored George Kittle against the Seahawks this past Sunday. We had a very quiet day for tight ends. The interesting TE question for next year will be where Gronk lands in terms of draft boards, as he’s had a very quiet season. Have injuries and age caught up with Gronk? It’s likely that we’ve seen the best of him, but we’ll see.
Week 15 Special – Projection of First Two Rounds of 2019 FFL Draft
Each week we’ve taken a close look at noteworthy performances and sorted out what they meant for the season and beyond. With the NFL regular season nearing its conclusion, I’m mixing it up this week and throwing in a way too early mock draft for 2019 – the first two rounds of a twelve-team league.
Team 1: Todd Gurley, RB - LAR
Team 2: Saquon Barkley, RB - NYG
Team 3: Alvin Kamara, RB - NO
Team 4: Christian McCaffrey, RB - Car
Team 5: Le’Veon Bell, RB – NYJ???
Team 6: Ezekiel Elliott, RB - Dal
Team 7: Michael Thomas, WR - NO
Team 8: Melvin Gordon, RB - LAC
Team 9: David Johnson, RB – Ari
Team 10: DeAndre Hopkins, WR - Hou
Team 11: James Connor, RB - Pit
Team 12: Phillip Lindsey, RB - Den
Comments: Running backs dominate the first round, with only two WRs joining the fray. You can make a reasonable case for any of the first four guys to be the first overall pick. I’m going on record with a proclamation that Le’Veon Bell ends up joining Sam Darnold and the Jets. Two RBs little known prior to the 2018 season (James Connor and Phillip Lindsey) end up becoming 2019 first round picks. Note the assumption here that Kareem Hunt, with whomever he signs, will face a significant suspension to start the 2019 season and thus will fall out of the first two rounds.
Team 12: Antonio Brown, WR - Pit
Team 11: Davante Adams, WR - GB
Team 10: Adam Thielen, WR - Min
Team 9: Odell Beckham Jr., WR - NYG
Team 8: Patrick Mahomes, QB - KC
Team 7: Nick Chubb, RB - Cle
Team 6: Joe Mixon, RB - Cin
Team 5: Julio Jones, WR - Atl
Team 4: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR - Pit
Team 3: Tyreek Hill, WR - KC
Team 2: Leonard Fournette, RB - Jax
Team 1: Dalvin Cook, RB – Min
Comments: Round 2 is dominated by wide receivers, while we also have our first QB selected. Antonio Brown falls to the top of the second round, and he’s joined by Odell Beckham and Julio Jones as prior first round picks who slip back a round. Patrick Mahomes has clearly established himself as the top QB option, and someone will grab him in round 2, if not in the first round. Keep an eye on Dalvin Cook over these last few weeks, as he’s quietly turned the corner despite running behind a subpar offensive line. The Vikings will surely look to upgrade their o-line in the offseason, and Cook will ascend up draft boards as a result.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we throw out potential free agent pickups from each position, in each case a player available in more than fifty percent of leagues.
QB: Josh Allen, BUF
RB: Jamaal Williams, GB
RB: Kalen Ballage, MIA
WR: Robert Foster, BUF
WR: Robby Anderson, NYJ
TE: Dallas Goedert, PHI
With Week 16 serving as the championship week for most leagues, this will be my last writeup and weekly ranking for the 2018 season. For those of you with your title matchup in Week 17, tweet me and I’ll give you my thoughts on whom to start/sit. Thanks to all of you for yet another great year and for engaging with me on Twitter – it’s been a blast connecting with so many of you and to see you do so well in your leagues! And to those of you competing for titles, I’m pulling for you! Best of luck and talk soon.