The Sack: SB Nation’s fantasy football mailbag gets you ready for your championships
Got fantasy football questions? Come to SB Nation’s Fantasy War Room or tweet @TheSackSBN for answers. Every Thursday, a few will be pulled and answered here. Today, we talk championships, quarterbacks, and I bid farewell to the 2014 fantasy season.
Week 16 marks fantasy championship week, which means I’ll be writing The Sack from a unique perspective.
Every other week I’ve written this column, I’ve been playing along with you guys and gals. I shared the same anxiety about having to draft lower than fifth in my draft this summer, and I also cried when Josh Gordon was handed his suspension. I’ve felt your similar sense of satisfaction in starting once-hidden gems in Martavis Bryant and Donte Moncrief in weeks where they exploded. I’ve suffered the abject dread of a Jimmy Graham goose egg. I screamed at my television in utter confusion after this Robert Griffin III touchdown was overturned, much to the dismay of my next-door neighbors.
But this week, my neighbors will have a more peaceful Sunday, because I’m out. None of my four teams made it to the finals and two were bounced from the playoffs in Week 15. The worst I had done is 7-7.* Not bad, but not the best result.
* It seems like every week when I write this column, I like to provide readers with an out, or a reason to stop reading if they so choose. Last week it was endless puns. This week, it’s branding myself as someone who makes fruitless investments. Read on? Sure, read on.
So this week, the best I can do is help out, even if I have no personal gain from it. It’s been a true pleasure advising you folks throughout the course of the season, and I’m grateful having this outlet to do so. I’ll still be around in the offseason for keeper league advice, especially during the NFL draft. So for one last time in 2014, let’s get to your questions:
— #tim (@tjniebs) December 17, 2014
There were actually some encouraging moments from Griffin’s game vs. the New York Giants last week. He played faster, and had a level of decisiveness that transcended his usual level, which I’ll call “looking legitimately surprised every time the ball was snapped to him.”
But the criteria for putting up fantasy numbers are more than: 1. Knowing when you’re getting the ball; and, 2. Deciding which receiver to throw to. Those are great things for quarterbacks to know, but his overall body of work doesn’t suggest that RG3 can be trusted to improve upon that. After seeing dismal game after dismal game since 2013, Griffin isn’t someone I want to take a chance on in the fantasy finals. If he plays better over the next two games, then maybe he’s worth considering at the end of drafts next season, but for now, I’m not rushing to the waiver wire to pick him up.
Of course, in this case, not trusting RG3 means trusting Joe Flacco, which affirms nothing other than fantasy football is a tortuous, soul-sucking experience. I’m not so much trusting Flacco this week as I am trusting a positive game script for him. When Flacco isn’t making throws like this or this, he can usually be counted on to be the guy to not single handedly screw up a game and salt the earth behind it. “Not screwing up” can get him a lot of points this week, as the Texans will be quarterbacked by a guy named Thad, Case, or maybe even a different guy who still has a lacrosse player’s name (Gunnar? Fleet? Tripp?).
The Ravens‘ defense has a swarming front seven that has me confident that they can get Flacco and company decent field position throughout the game. With no disrespect to what the
Texans have J.J. Watt has done to opposing offenses this season, the Ravens’ offense will capitalize if given enough opportunities. A multiple-touchdown game could very well be in the cards for Flacco this week, and given that RG3 hasn’t done this since before Thanksgiving 2013, I’m going with the Ravens’ signal-caller.
— Matt Kearns (@mkearns7) December 18, 2014
In PPR, Julian Edelman can be considered to have the higher floor of the two, but this week I’m going with Jeremy Maclin. Washington’s secondary is in shambles, and is bleeding fantasy points to wide receivers. Odell Beckham, Jr. just hung 143 yards and three touchdowns on them. Donte Moncrief hung a similar 134 yards and two scores. Mike Evans? 209 and two. The only teams that haven’t had a wide receiver go off against them in recent weeks are the 49ers and Rams, who hate completing forward passes. The Eagles aren’t like them. They’ll get theirs, and I’m confident Maclin will get his.
@TheSackSBN Ingram, SJax, or Latavius for the title? Already have Forsett and CJA locked in
— Chris LG (@chrislagreca) December 16, 2014
Mark Ingram’s predictably tapered off a bit since Pierre Thomas returned to the huddle, but throughout the Jekyll and Hyde-ness of the Saints‘ offense this year, I’d rather have Ingram over your other options. The Falcons have allowed 21 touchdowns to opposing running backs this season, including 18 on the ground. The Saints have no reason not to trust Ingram in goal-to-go situations.
Latavius Murray is a fantastic talent, and I’m really excited about him, but not against the Buffalo Bills‘ “slumping,” but overall stout front. Steven Jackson is far too touchdown dependent for my liking, and even versus the Saints porous run defense, it’s still a gamble I wouldn’t want to take with Ingram in hand.
@TheSackSBN I have Sanchez and Newton. Opponent has Orton, D.Anderson, Manziel. Saddest finals ever?
— Daniel Kelley (@danieltkelley) December 17, 2014
Could very well be, depending on how they do. In one of my leagues in 2013, the two finalists had lineups comprising Dennis Johnson, Nate Washington, Zach Ertz, Danny Woodhead and Danny Amendola. Team Woodhead/Amendola won by .9 points. I didn’t even want to award a trophy that year. Fantasy football sucks.
@TheSackSBN Big Ben or Matty ice…standard scoring
— Matt Faber (@mfabes_10) December 17, 2014
This will be the second time Matt Ryan has faced the Saints defense this season, with the first time happening all the way back in Week 1. A lot can change in 15 weeks, but the Saints’ leaky secondary is one of the refreshing constants that people who fear change can look to for comfort. They’ve been unequivocal crap versus teams with competent quarterbacks this season, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Matt Ryan approaches his Week 1 totals even if a shell of Julio Jones takes the field.
As for Roethlisberger, he will be facing a Chiefs‘ defense that has somehow gone the entire season without allowing a 300-yard passer. Only the Dolphins have matched that effort this season, and even with the Steelers‘ passing attack being a potent one, I wouldn’t want to have to count on them bucking this trend. Not with Matt Ryan already on my team.
Hey guys, thank you for reading this week’s edition of The Sack. There won’t be a column next week, but feel free to tweet me at @TheSackSBN for any advice, fantasy football or otherwise. Be sure to also visit SB Nation’s Fantasy War Room throughout the week as you all get set.
Thanks again for another awesome season, and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Atheist Kids Get Presents Day, and Happy New Year.