Week 17 Observations

Week 17 Observations

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

I enjoyed Week 17 for the most part, even though I had a bad day against the spread. I was in one final -- the FSGA league against ESPN's Mike Clay, and while it looked dicey for awhile, I locked it up with the long touchdowns from Deebo Samuel and Mike Williams in the late games. It's a low-stakes league, but it was nice to close out the season that way, and Mike had owned that league for the last four years. 

  • The Kirk Cousins-less Vikings were not worth the 40-minute re-watch.
  • Aaron Rodgers has 35 TDs and four picks. He's fumbled three times, lost none. His team has won 13 games for the third year in a row, is the No. 1 seed for the second straight year and the Packers haven't drafted or signed a receiver of note over that span. Either he's the MVP, or voters punish him for immunization-gate and pick Tom Brady or Cooper Kupp. I got comments last week saying Rodgers is a lock, but never underestimate the pettiness of awards voters.
  • Forget Coach of the Year, Dan Campbell should win Coach of the Decade for getting his team to battle for 60 minutes in a blowout with Tim Boyle at quarterback.
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (2-23-1, 11-8-111-1) has been a league winner during the fantasy playoffs. I'm curious to see his ADP next year -- fifth-round too early?
  • The other league winner in that game was Rashaad Penny (25-170-2, 3-2-15-0.) Don't forget Penny was the 27th overall pick in 2018, and this is the first time he's stayed healthy and gotten an extended chance.
  • Speaking as someone who was in on DK Metcalf (9-6-63-3) this year, oh, now you decide to score three touchdowns in a game? One of my teams that barely missed the playoffs -- sixth seed on won-loss record but fewer points than a lower team (though more points than the four seed!) -- had Penny, Metcalf, Devin Singletary and Rex Beasthead, i.e., might have won the title had I made it.
  • Sam Darnold trying to mount a final drive against the Saints was more doomed than David Koresh's cult.
  • I laid the wood with the Cowboys, even though I knew in my heart of hearts it was wrong. Dak Prescott actually scrambled well but was off with his throws for most of the game. The Cowboys have the best personnel in the league, but they're missing something. Recall what modest returns Mike McCarthy got out of Aaron Rodgers during his final three years in Green Bay too.
  • Kyler Murray played well against a tough Dallas defense, reversing his slide the last few weeks. He's got his mobility back too.
  • Trey Lance looked lost in the first half, but got it together in the second. Jimmy Garoppolo should be back next week, and if he plays well both then and in the playoffs, I imagine Lance would sit again next year, as Garoppolo is still under contract for 2022.
  • Deebo Samuel (7-19-0, 6-3-63-1) was quiet until a 45-yard TD reception in the fourth quarter. He was a difference maker all year, one of most common players on league-winning rosters.
  • Elijah Mitchell (21-119-0, 2-2-11-1) got healthy just in time to matter. Durability, not ability, is the only issue for him. He should be a third or fourth-rounder next year.
  • The Chargers crushed the Broncos after losing to the Texans because that's what they do.
  • Cooper Kupp (7-6-95-1) had a modest day for him, but it was his NFL-record 12th straight 90-yard receiving game. Moreover, his 1,829 yards leave him 135 shy of Calvin Johnson's record, and his 138 receptions 11 shy of Michael Thomas' 149. The Rams play the pass-defense-challenged 49ers in Week 18, so Kupp has a decent chance to break one or both and possibly nab the MVP in the process, should enough voters opt to send Rodgers a message.
  • Odell Beckham, who scored the game-winning TD, is second fiddle, but the Rams were awfully lucky to snag him on the cheap once Robert Woods went down.
  • I don't have much to say about the Team-Eagles game except that I had the Team +3.5.
  • Real Man Antonio Brown pulled a "Slapshot" and left the game before halftime. Bruce Arians purported to cut Brown after the game, but you can't fire a man who has already quit.
  • Tom Brady led an epic drive with no timeouts and a depleted WR corps to beat the Jets. With nearly 5,000 yards and 40 TDs, he'll get some MVP consideration too, but his 12 picks, three lost fumbles and 7.3 YPA make it hard to give him the nod over Rodgers without making it obvious. (Though the more obvious the snub, the clearer the message.)
  • Le'Veon Bell led the Bucs in snaps Sunday (h/t Mike Clay). If Leonard Fournette can't make it back from a hamstring injury for the playoffs, Bell would have a significant role.
  • Damien Harris (9-35-2, 1-1-12-0) appeared to aggravate his hamstring injury against the Jaguars, so Rhamondre Stevenson (19-107-2) took over in the second half and had a huge game.
  • Jonathan Taylor (20-108-1, 2-1-6-0) had another good game, but the Colts lost, and his MVP chances are probably dead on a 9-7 team that needs to win to get in this week. For some reason the Colts have gone away from him in the passing game too.
  • The Raiders have a shot at the playoffs despite (a) having their coach get cancelled early in the year; (b) losing last year's No. 12 overall pick to a tragic drunk driving incident; and (c) being the Raiders. I hope they beat the Chargers next week and get in.
  • So much for the scrappy Dolphins' seven-game win streak. The Titans now have the inside track for the No. 1 seed and Mike Vrabel Coach of the Year -- all they have to do is avenge a loss to the Texans.
  • Joe Burrow, who has 971 yards and eight TDs over the last two games, wound up being the QB to own this year when you include draft cost and the playoffs. Hopefully his knee is okay, but it would be so Bengals to win the division and lose Burrow.
  • Ja'Marr Chase (12-11-266-3) finished the season where he started it -- with a nuclear attack. He's up to 79-1,429-13 on the year, and the only question is whether he goes in the late first or early second next year.
  • The Chiefs got out to a big lead over the Bengals but could not close the deal in the second half, a letdown with potentially big consequences for them as it costs them the No. 1 seed (and the only bye) should the Titans win in Houston next week.
  • Tyreek Hill (10-6-40-0) has 110 catches through 16 games, but his per-play numbers (11.5 YPC, 7.9 YPT) cratered this year.
  • Saquon Barkley (21-102-0) looks healthy again, but the Mike Glennon Giants are not an NFL offense. I'll still take Barkley late second round next year if he has a clean bill of health, and the Giants make some credible upgrades.
  • Now that the Chiefs likely coughed up the No. 1 seed, the Bills have as good a claim as anyone to favorite status in the AFC. I've never seen a conference this wide open.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss was RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio from 2001-2022.
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