Welcome to the championship week. If you are still here and reading, I am assuming you are still involved in your fantasy leagues. Of course, in any serious league, this means the championship game and not a semi-final or first week of a final. Really, Week 17 folks?
With winning a title in mind, let us take a look at some games this weekend and more importantly, matchups which could help you in your quest. We have seen some break outs in the two previous weeks of the playoffs. Some expected and some not so much. This is why no one, not even the great Matthew Berry or Evan Silva are 100% right. If you are the type of person who takes the advice given in any article as the be all end all and start threatening analysts or their families because of it, re-evaluate your life and especially your morals.
For those of you who play this game to have a great time and maybe win a little cheddar, let us now try to get you that championship.
Phillip Lindsay (RB, DEN) It certainly was not a good game for Lindsay last week in Kansas City. In what looked like a good matchup against a struggling Chiefs run defense, Lindsey underwhelmed to say the least. But this week? Well, this week the Lions come to town. And no one can underwhelm against the Lions. It is an impossible task to say the least. Man, they are bad.
In a home game against a dome team who is in the bottom three in defense in every aspect, Denver is set to explode for a big offensive output. With Drew Lock so far looking to be the answer at quarterback, the entire offense has taken a step forward the last three weeks.
Obviously, last week was not a good showing. But this can be forgiven with the weather the way it was during the game. Not to mention the atmosphere of Arrowhead Stadium with Kansas City in the middle of the playoff race. These factors have taken down better teams than the Broncos. Remember the Monday night game a few seasons ago against the Patriots?
Now Denver has the advantage. Not just skill wise. But weather wise. The Lions are leaving the cozy confines of Ford Field and headed outdoors to Mile High. A trip which Matt Patricia should be making for the one and only time as Detroit’s head coach. But whether it is the only time or not that Patricia makes this trek, it is going to end in a loss. A lot of those points will come on the legs of Lindsay as he runs all over the Detroit defense.
Courtland Sutton (WR, DEN) Sutton did not have a great game against the Chiefs on Sunday. No one on Denver really did. The Chiefs pass defense had a lot to do with this. As did the snowstorm which blew through Kansas City right in time for the game. Despite the stigma, the Chiefs pass defense has been rather good over the past six weeks. The same can definitely not be said for the Lions. Whether it be against the run or the pass, Detroit has been worse than awful. They are slow and have seemingly given up after the loss of Matthew Stafford. This will mean great things for Courtland Sutton who, along with Drew Lock, should get back on track in a big way.
Drew Lock should again get over 300 yards passing after missing the mark for the first time in his career last week. Add to this the bad run defense and the beating Phillip Lindsay should also accomplish and this game should not be a close on in the Rocky Mountains.
Start up Sutton and as already stated above, start up Lindsay. If Noah Fant is healthy, start him too. This could end up like an episode of Oprah. You get a touchdown. You get a touchdown. And you get a touchdown.
Yes, the entire game needs to sit out this week. Julian Edelman included if possible. What do the Patriots do best on defense? Well, everything really. Top three overall in defense as well as against the pass and top 10 against the run. There is not going to be a lot of time for Josh Allen to think. Let alone run the ball or get it out to any of his receivers. Which is another issue. What receivers?
Sure, John Brown had a nice segment of the season. But he has fallen off in recent weeks. Cole Beasley has started taking over, but again he is not a player to worry about in any matchup. The Patriots are not a team to be messed with on defense. Especially in a division, home game while fighting for the title and yet another first-round bye. Anything the Bills can throw or run at them is going to fall short of expectations and with Stephan Gilmore player better than any defensive player in the NFL this season, don’t expect a good day for Josh Allen and company.
When it comes to the Patriots offense. It has been almost as bad as their defense has been good.
Sony Michel had a solid game last week. Finally. But the defense was still the key to the 21-point win in Cincinnati. Tom Brady threw for less than 175 yards in the game and Julian Edelman came out of the game with less than three fantasy points because of it.
The Bills defense is also stellar. Especially the pass defense which ranks third in the league. With Brady having an age 42 season to forget and Julian Edelman fighting through injury to stay on the field, there is not much to be scared of in the Patriots pass game. The tight end position is even more barren than the receiver group and without an elite playmaker like Rob Gronkowski manning the position, teams have been able to exploit the other flaws in New England. Flaws which had been hidden for so many years.
While the secondary of Buffalo is not quite at the level of New England, it is closer than almost anyone else in the league. This game should remain a low scoring defensive battle. Much like the game was the first time around in Buffalo when the final score was 16-10. If either team gets over 30 it would be a miracle. With the game remaining a defensive battle with a lot of long, extended drives leading to field goals, it is better to pick a better game if you are looking to win. Games like the Packers vs Vikings on Monday or even another Saturday battle in Houston vs Tampa Bay would be great pivots away from this one.