January 2, 2023, 8:01 pm
Cardinals 19 @ Falcons 20 (Cardinals covered, +4.5 U42)
Key Postgame Storylines
A game with little playoff implications for NFL purposes actually came through with some standout championship winning performances for fantasy even though it was mostly a field goal fest. The latest quarterback on the Cardinals carousel was David Blough who threw for 222 yards and a touchdown but wasn’t really an option for us. James Conner didn’t exactly win our leagues but he didn’t sink us either, running for 79 yards and catching a few passes for 31. Questions were centered around Marquise Brown and other similar plays and he had a decent PPR game, catching six passes for 61 yards while Greg Dortch was a popular play with DeAndre Hopkins out, but he did not pay off catching four passes for just 15 yards. If you happened to start Trey McBride he rewarded you handsomely, catching seven passes for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Desmond Ridder got his first win as a starter but still remained a non-factor for fantasy, passing for 169 yards and running for just nine with a lost fumble. Tyler Allgeier led the way for the Falcons backfield and looked good doing so, rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding a catch for 12 yards. Cordarrelle Patterson carried the ball nine times for 42 yards and a score but it was his usage in the passing game that paid off for fantasy as he caught six passes for 42 yards on eight targets. Drake London caught five passes for 47 yards which has been the kind of line he has been accustomed to over the past few weeks.
TE Trey McBride: McBride wasn’t started by many, but for those who did take the plunge were rewarded with the overall TE2 on the week (pre-MNF).
RB Tyler Allgeier: All week everyone got on board with Allgeier and he paid off as a true league-winner, helping many who needed his spot start services to win their leagues.
RB Cordarrelle Patterson: After being mostly unstartable over the last few weeks, Patterson came through for those playing PPR formats as he scored the combined total of his last three weeks in one day.
WR Greg Dortch: With Hopkins out, Dortch was a popular play as he had performed in the past with him out. That didn’t happen this week when some needed that to happen most as David Blough struggled to get the ball to him, making those that took the chance regret it.
WR Drake London: Over the past three weeks London had scored 15, 14, and 16 points making this nine-point PPR effort disappointing for those that were expecting a floor of double-digit fantasy points.
Bears 10 @ Lions 41 (Lions covered, -6 U52.5)
Key Postgame Storylines
A projected high scoring affair paid off for the Lions while the Bears got going in the first quarter and were blanked the rest of the way. Justin Fields had a big run in the first quarter that saved his fantasy day but struggled to get much done through the air. He completed 7-of-21 pass attempts for 75 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He added 132 yards on the ground with a lost fumble, showing us why he is an elite option for fantasy. The rest of the run game disappointed us as David Montgomery carried the ball just six times for 24 yards and caught two passes for 12. Khalil Herbert actually out-gained Montgomery on the ground, running for 31 yards but neither helped us for fantasy. The receiving game went about as projected as Cole Kmet was the option we were interested in and he paid off, catching two passes for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Detroit ran all over the Bears in a game that they are hoping gets them one step closer to making the playoffs. Jared Goff was an efficient 21-of-29 passing for 255 yards and three touchdowns. With the Lions trying to run the clock out early, Jamaal Williams was the one who got the majority of carries as he carried the ball 22 times for 144 yards and a touchdown while D’Andre Swift had 11 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown with four catches for 39 yards and a receiving touchdown. Amon-Ra St. Brown didn’t really get going, catching four passes for 62 yards with D.J. Chark catching just two for 56 yards. The Lions ran the ball well and played well enough on defense to not need to make plays through the air.
QB Justin Fields: The only player worth mentioning for fantasy for the Bears was Justin Fields who had a horrible real life game but a manageable fantasy one. Even with the poor passing numbers, he scored 20 fantasy points thanks to his running ability and hopefully it was enough to win a championship.
RB Jamaal Williams: Williams came through in a big way for managers trusting his services as the game script went his way early in this one. After four-straight dud performances, he produced 22 fantasy points when we needed them most.
RB D’Andre Swift: Even with Williams producing the way he did, there was still enough for Swift to get his as well. His high efficiency on the ground and involvement in the passing game greatly helped managers in their most important week.
RB David Montgomery: The Bears started trailing early and abandoned the run which was bad news for Montgomery’s managers as he only received eight touches. That just won’t get it done on championship week.
WR Amon-Ra St. Brown: For most receivers, 10 PPR fantasy points wouldn’t be such a bad thing but when we are counting on a receiver that hasn’t scored less than 14 points since Week 9, there is reason to be disappointed given how good of a matchup he had.
Jaguars 31 @ Texans 3 (Jaguars covered, -3 U43)
Key Postgame Storylines
A game that had no meaning for the playoff race featured a single player that helped win championships while we hope you managed to avoid everyone else. Jacksonville met little resistance from Houston as they played a very Lions-esque style of offense, running Travis Etienne nine times for 108 yards and a touchdown. JaMycal Hasty and Snoop Conner got involved as the game was out of hand early and the Jaguars elected to save their players for the most important game of the season against Tennessee. Those who started Trevor Lawrence were disappointed as he threw an interception and for just 152 passing yards before being sat down as the team chose to not risk an injury. The receivers we are invested in for fantasy all disappointed as Houston once again limited passing options, allowing running backs to run free. Evan Engram was a popular start after his recent weeks of success but that was halted here as he caught just one pass for 16 yards.
Houston as a unit has been dreadful for fantasy and if you had to start a Texan this week I’m sorry. Davis Mills threw for 202 yards and nothing else while no one rushed for over 21 yards as the pair of Dare Ogunbowale and Royce Freeman got nothing going. Brandin Cooks caught four passes for 39 yards, leading Texan receivers but even he was a must-avoid player this week while waiver wire sensation Chris Moore caught just three passes for 21 yards. Dameon Pierce may be the only player we care about for this team next season as well.
RB Travis Etienne: If there was anyone you were glad you started in this game, it was Etienne who scored us a nice 23 PPR points closing his productive second season on a high note.
DST Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars defense came up big as well, getting two sacks and recovering a fumble for a touchdown as that marks three straight weeks of value for this unit.
WR Christian Kirk: A player we had higher hopes for was Kirk who fell victim to game script as both teams would rather have the Jaguars run the clock out than do anything else. He is set on a nice contract and should once again be a valuable asset next season, hopefully in more competitive contests.
TE Evan Engram: Engram had four-straight top-five tight end performances before this game where he was also a victim of game script as his services just weren’t needed to win this game.
Broncos 24 @ Chiefs 27 (Broncos covered, +12.5 O45)
Key Postgame Storylines
The Broncos did their best to try and save some dignity after a horrific season by defeating the rival Chiefs but came up just short. Russell Wilson had a solid stat line, passing for 222 yards and a touchdown with 27 yards on the ground and two rushing scores. Most people probably tried to not have to play Wilson, but lines like this are still possible as his talent has flashed in spots this season and he could be a value next year as a result of this horrific season. Latavius Murray didn’t find the endzone but still put up RB2 numbers, rushing for 56 yards and catching four passes for 16 yards while Chase Edmonds was a bit involved and even caught a few passes as we predicted. The Broncos receivers didn’t quite play the way we had hoped as Courtland Sutton caught four passes for 44 and Jerry Jeudy caught seven passes for 38. It was Albert Okwuegbunam who led the receiving core with three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.
The Chiefs avoid a scare from their rivals and remain in contention for the number one seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes was his usual self, passing for three touchdowns and 328 yards while the running game didn’t get much opportunity as the Broncos kept the game close which forceed Mahomes to throw. Isiah Pacheco ran the ball nine times for 31 yards and a touchdown while Jerick McKinnon once again producing from the backfield, catching dump-offs as he finished with five receptions for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Kadarius Toney led all receivers for Kansas City with 71 yards on four catches while Travis Kelce got the receptions but not quite the yardage we were looking for, catching seven passes for 43 yards. JuJu Smith-Shuster disappointed, catching just two passes for 21 yards as the Chiefs inconsistency with an established number one receiver continued.
QB Russell Wilson: Wilson did all he could to try and carry the Broncos back to a victory but his questionable decision-making once again prevented that from happening. He still managed to produce, tying his previous matchup with the Chiefs in his highest fantasy point total on the year.
QB Patrick Mahomes: Mahomes did what he does best which is score touchdowns. The three he threw today gets him to the 40 mark on the year, making him the only quarterback to do so this season.
RB Jerick McKinnon: McKinnon has to be considered a league-winner after the last five weeks he had. Scoring no less than 12 PPR fantasy points over that span including two of them with over 30, there’s no doubt he won people championships.
WR Courtland Sutton: Sutton ends his fantasy season with a slight disappointment as that could be said for his season overall. Being drafted in the third-round of some leagues, it’s safe to say he didn’t quite live up to his ADP this year.
WR JuJu Smith-Shuster: JuJu’s season has been a season of inconsistency as he once again failed to get to 10 PPR fantasy points. He seemed to catch the eye of Mahomes in the second half of the season after a truly horrific first half, but he didn’t pay off when it counted most.
Dolphins 21 @ Patriots 23 (Push, O41)
Key Postgame Storylines
Miami was forced to play this must-win game with backup Teddy Bridgewater and once he went down in the third quarter, Skylar Thompson got the call. Teddy threw for 161 yards with an interception and a touchdown before exiting in the third quarter and Skylar Thompson came in and threw for 104 yards with an interception and a touchdown as well. Jeff Wilson led the backfield in carries as both Wilson and Raheem Mostert were called upon as pass-catchers with the backup quarterbacks. Wilson had 45 rushing yards and three catches for 31 yards while Mostert had 29 rushing yards and eight catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill had a quiet game, catching four passes for 55 yards but a rushing touchdown as well. Jaylen Waddle was quiet himself, catching three passes for 52 yards. Mike Gesicki found the endzone but he hasn’t helped fantasy managers in a meaningful way in a long time.
The Patriots held on for a chance to make the playoffs, but their fantasy options have been scarce this season. Mac Jones threw for 203 passing yards and two touchdowns but hopefully he wasn’t relied upon in your lineups. Rhamondre Stevenson’s fantasy season came to a slow finish as he rushed for 42 yards on just eight carries with two receptions for nine yards. Damien Harris returned and split the backfield, carrying the ball nine times for 32 yards and three catches for 18. Rookie Tyquan Thornton led the Patriots receivers, catching three passes for 60 yards and a touchdown while Jakobi Meyers caught six passes for 48 yards and a touchdown. Hunter Henry got going a bit, catching five passes for 52 yards paying off in PPR leagues.
RB Raheem Mostert: Mostert was used in a non-traditional fashion in this game as he became the pass-catching back which is something he doesn’t normally do. Those who started him in PPR leagues have to thrilled with this kind of performance.
WR Tyquan Thornton: Thornton has looked explosive at points this season and seems like he could be a solid sleeper going into next season with performances like these in his future.
WR Jaylen Waddle: Waddle didn’t really get much of an opportunity as he didn’t have Tua Tagovailoa to throw him his usual passes that allow him to run in space. This is a disappointing performance for sure for those that made the championship matchup with Waddle as a key component.
RB Rhamondre Stevenson: Stevenson has had a fantastic season as the lead rusher showcasing all kinds of talent but when Damien Harris is healthy, the backfield is usually split. An unlucky group who rode Stevenson all the way to the playoffs were likely disappointed when it mattered most.