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Sunday, December 18, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 15 WRAPUP

-Golden Tate continued with his second half renaissance Sunday as he caught 8 balls for 122 yards in a loss to the New York Giants.  While he didn't score, Tate was a PPR stud again at the expense of Marvin Jones who continues to be invisible after his insane September.

-Marcus Mariota all of a sudden has gone quiet as he was almost a complete no-show for the second week in a row as he completed just 19-of-33 passes for 241 yards with 0 TD and 1 INT.  Still the overall result for Mariota this season is that he has shown himself to be a prime fantasy football QB as he reached the 25-TD passing mark and also is a very good runner.  He figures to be one of the best QB values for 2017.

-Odell Beckham Jr. has been unstoppable the last few weeks and Sunday was no exception as he caught 6 passes for 64 yards and 1 late TD in the team's win over the New York Giants,  With Julio Jones cooling off under injuries the last month and Antonio Brown himself having seen his numbers drop off, Beckham it can be argued is the top fantasy football wideout in the game.

-Well the return of Adrian Peterson to active duty did not go according to plan as he struggled badly finding room along the awful Minnesota O-line in rushing for just 22 on 6 carries and losing a fumble.  Peterson did not even make up for it as he caught only one pass for 1 more yard.  Those who rolled with Peterson got royally screwed here and his status for Week 16 is not glowing either.  Age and injury looks like they are conspiring to make Peterson a clear shell of his former self.

-Usually by this time of the year, Frank Gore is on fumes given his age and the high mileage on his tires.  Well that wasn't the case Sunday as he rushed for 101 yards on 26 carries, while also catching 4 balls for another 14 yards.  Gore and then entire Colts offense was unstoppable on Sunday and his workload remains as firm as any back in the league.  He can be safely used as a RB 2 in all formats in Week 16.

-Andrew Luck was a stud for his fantasy football owners in the semifinals as he completed 21-of-28 throws for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns in the easy win over the Vikings.  Luck was in total control throughout and only the lopsided score prevented him from earning more points this week.

-With Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood out injured, it was all left to Ryan Mathews to pick up the slack as the precious bellcow back for the Philaelphia Eagles as he rushed for 128 yards and a TD on 20 carries.  Mathews also added one catch for another 5 more yards in putting forth a nice RB 2 outing.  It is always tough to trust Mathews when it comes to his numbers each week given the injuries and up-and-down performance but at least the amount of carries will remain high going into next week.

-It took almost the entire season but Houston Texans ace wideout DeAndre Hopkins finally had the type of game that made him a first round pick in most drafts this summer.  Hopkins caught 8 passes for 87 yards in showing instant chemistry with Tom Savage who replaced the benched Brock Osweiler.  Look for Savage to continue looking Hopkins' way early and often as the QB knows his best chance to stick is to look for his top guy.  While the entirety of Hopkins' season has been a huge disappointment, it is something that he is contributing when it counts the most.

-In one of the darkest days in franchise history (which is saying something), Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles emphatically showed he is not the answer at QB as he completed just 12-of-28 passes for 92 yards with 1 INT, while also picking up a rushing touchdown which put lipstick on a pig.  Bortles has been comically bad this season and he more than anyone helped get Gus Bradley fired.  I said from the start in putting Bortles in our BUST column in this year's draft guide that he was a garbage time specialist a year ago and we are seeing how accurate this assessment was.

-While he didn't light the world on fire, Tom Savage did more than enough to earn the start next week for the Texans as he completed 23-of-36 passes for 260 yards with 0 TD and 0 INT, while also rushing for 3 times for no yards.  Savage did show poise that we have not seen from Brock Osweiler all season and it was nice to see him throw so much to DeAndre Hopkins.  At the very least, all owners of the ace wideout have to be hoping Savage starts again.

-By now we have run out positives to say about Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray who rushed for 89 yards on 18 carries, while adding five catches for another 52 yards Sunday in the team's late win over the Kansas City Chiefs.  The Titans made one of the all-time buy lows on Murray last summer and the results have been spectacular.  Murray has re-established himself as a prime RB 1 in all formats and he especially excels in PPR setups.  What a comeback.

-One of the biggest fantasy football busts of the day was the Baltimore Ravens' Kenneth Dixon who picked up just 36 yards on 6 touches.  Meanwhile Terrance West was firmly back in the team's driver's seat in terms of dominating touches as he rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries and caught 4 balls for 45 more yards.  It is almost impossible to predict what will happen here on a weekly basis but West looks like the guy to own from a RB 2 perspective in the finals.

-Well that went well.  This past Friday I myself picked up Green Bay Packers running back/wideout Ty Montgomery after rumor had it he would be starting for the team.  Well I put Montgomery in one of my WR spots since he carries dual eligibility and was doing cartwheels as I watched him rush for a ridiculous 162 yards and 2 scores on 16 carries.  It was insane how good Montgomery was and now he is a must start for the finals given what we saw.  Montgomery alone likely decided more fantasy football games this week than any other player.

-Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is fully back on track picking up large chunks of yardage and touchdowns as he rushed for 153 yards and two scores on just 19 carries, while also adding 3 catches for 16 yards.  Just like with DeMarco Murray, McCoy has come back and posted a monster season off a tough 2015 campaign.  He is has been a swell value all season and will anchor any roster next week.

-As someone who owns Drew Brees and has ridden him all season, I stuck to my guns and started him on the road against a very tough Arizona Cardinals secondary this week.  I decided to go that route due to my strong belief that Brees would not struggle three games in a row in coming off a 0/6 TD/INT ratio in Week 13 and Week 14.  Well Brees made me look smart and wound up clinching a spot in the Experts League fantasy football championship as he completed 37-of-48 passes for 389 yards with 4 TD and 1 lost fumble.  It was amazing how easy of a time Brees had with the Arizona secondary and now he goes home to a dome to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week.  Yes please.

-Once again it is either all-or-nothing when it comes to Saints wideout Brandin Cooks.  Having an overall disappointing season, Cooks torched Cards CB Patrick Peterson all day Sunday as he caught 7 passes for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Cooks has made it a career of having monster games like this once a month.  This makes Cooks tough to trust in any given week but you have to ride him out now after this.

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