Week 16 Observations
It does no good to get enraged on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but that didn’t stop me. I had already been wrong on Rams-Saints ATS Thursday night before I left for London, but at least the Jets -3 against the Football Team and Packers -5 at Carolina were good through three quarters, both having double-digit leads. No chance the Panthers offense were capable of a comeback, or the Team would move the ball against the Jets defense.
Of course, we know what happened, but the real kick in the nuts was when the Packers and Jets both won their games anyway. There’s nothing less dignified than surrendering the cover like nutless monkeys, but coming back for the win. If you let those who backed you down on Christmas Eve, you go down with them.
I went 0-5 ATS on my picks which is not easy to do, but the Chiefs couldn’t advance the ball and why not cough up two defensive TDs?
All in all it was a disastrous day ATS, as I also blew the two game lead in my home picking pool (5-11 overall) and now trail by two with two weeks to go.
. . .
It wasn’t all bad though. My Steak League team looks like an eater, or at worst self-buyer, and my lucky Primetime team that had no business even making the playoffs, scored 179.35 points, putting me in 62nd overall with one week to play, 20.2 points out of the money. It’s still a long shot to pass 40-odd teams, but it’s not drawing dead with Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb drawing the Lions this week.
My two defenses were the Lions (at the Nick Mullens Vikings) and the Buccaneers hosting the Jaguars. I had switched the Lions in at the last minute in my other league and thought I had the Lions in the Primetime, so I was cheering on their every pick and sack in the early slate.
At some point in the fourth quarter, after they had amassed about 11 points, I checked and realized I actually had the Bucs going in the afternoon games. I was aghast because I knew I had just moved the Lions in for my other league, and I couldn’t fathom how I had made the mistake of benching them in the Primetime. Did I not press save?
Then I remembered that Trevor Lawrence had been concussed, and I might have moved the Bucs in a few days earlier and just forgotten to switch it back now that Lawrence was in fact starting anyway. (Concussions are apparently not that big of a deal later in the season when the playoffs are on the line.) In any event, the Bucs balled out, scored 16 points, and of course I had meant to go with them all along.
. . .
I only watched intermittently with Christmas festivities going on, so I don’t want to comment too much on these individual games — I probably missed a lot of context, so take what I write with a grain of salt.
Brock Purdy might have ended his MVP candidacy though he didn’t look that bad to me, despite all the picks. He had 8.0 YPA and still made some nice throws. The Ravens defense is good, Purdy made some errors. So long as he’s healthy, I don’t think this a big deal for him or the 49ers.
If the Ravens finish with the NFL’s best record — they still have to beat the Dolphins next week — Lamar Jackson will win MVP. He’s had a good enough season, despite losing his best target in Mark Andrews. They also destroyed the Niners and Lions, the top two seeds in the NFC. I don’t think a non-QB will win unless he’s on the best team in his conference. Tyreek Hill will have a case if the Dolphins beat the Ravens next week on the back of a big showing from him. I think Josh Allen’s a long shot so long as the Ravens are the No. 1 seed. I don’t think Christian McCaffrey would win over a top-seeded Lamar Jackson after the Ravens beat the 49ers in San Francisco, either.
I still think the Dolphins are too soft to win in Baltimore in the playoffs, and to avoid that they’d have to win in Baltimore next week.
My RotoWire Staff Keeper League trade of Travis Etienne for Taysom Hill and Amari Cooper from earlier in the year doesn’t look so bad now, does it?
To be fair, I traded Cooper, Terry McLaurin, Kirk Cousins and Joe Mixon for Jonathan Taylor after I was out of it, so Cooper wasn’t even on my team anymore. Ironically, the team that traded me Cooper for Etienne beat the team to which I traded Cooper in the semifinals. In other words, they traded Cooper to a losing team for Etienne, that losing team (me) traded him to the team they wound up playing in the semis and scored 51.5 points for it, but the Etienne team still won.
Joe Flacco looking like peak Dan Marino while Deshaun Watson looked like trough Russell Wilson shows QBs really don’t matter. And Patrick Mahomes is playing like Gardner Minshew too. No position matters which is the same thing as all positions matter circumstantially to different degrees, and only midwits try to simplify the complex into moronic slogans for clout.
One good thing about Brian Daboll/Mike Kafka last year was the creative play calling and design. It was easier with a mobile Danny Dimes, but this year there are too many handoffs into the teeth of the defense, and not enough screens and involvement of Saquon Barkley in the passing game. Some of it might have to do with needing Barkley’s pass pro skills on those downs, but they could try it on early downs or even set up screens where he begins by blocking. The 4th-and-1 call where Barkley got stuffed for a two-yard loss was beyond bad.
I was so resigned to missing the playoffs in the Primetime I didn’t even build a proper three-week roster. For example, I still have the Colts kicker I picked up during Justin Tucker’s Week 14 bye, never bothered to drop him for an extra WR, TE or D. Knock on wood, but it looks like I lucked into all my starters staying healthy heading into Week 17. I’ll need a 200-plus week to cash, and a truly monster (220-plus) to win the entire thing, but stranger things have happened. Remember, I once got a Royal Flush at the poker table.