Updated: Saturday at 10:55 PM
We’ve got a bit of fantastic news tonight, but there’s nothing quite like the Vikings’ ridiculously historic comeback today.
Two notable running backs were left out of play on Sunday. Houston rookie Dameon ended his season with just over 1,100 total yards as his Pearce was placed on injured reserve. Stop looking too dirty.
New England will miss Damian Harris in the game against Las Vegas, and rookie Percy Strong Jr. as Ramondre Stevenson is listed as suspect.
We’ll be back in the morning when we start making decisions about questionable leagues.
Updated: Friday at 11:06 PM
Twelve hours before the start of Saturday’s game, big news came out of Baltimore that quarterback Lamar Jackson will miss the showdown between the Ravens and Browns in Cleveland. But as we explained last week, Tyler Huntley will clear his concussion protocol and get the start. He’s a pretty good replacement.
Three marginal fantasy quarterbacks were left out: Denver’s Russell Wilson, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett and Jets’ Mike White.
Four flex-level receivers will also miss this week. Devante Parker of New England, Courtland Sutton of Denver, Chase Claypool of Chicago and Tralon Burks of Tennessee.
On the positive side, Cleveland has top receiver Amari Cooper, but he’s been held back since the arrival of Deshawn Watson.
Original Post: Wednesday at 9:45 am
It’s the weekend when the fantasy football playoffs kick off. It’s a bad time for top-shelf players to play poorly. Or they’re producing numbers well below career averages.
But the same is true when many of the standouts we expected in August come out in January. Case in point: Cleveland quarterback Deshawn Watson.
Many fantasy gurus drafted the suspended Cleveland quarterback simply because they knew he would start by November. And he was. And he was a rusty shadow of his No. 4 we saw at Clemson and Houston.
Since returning, Watson has only one touchdown pass and averages just 200 passing yards per game. And he faces a barely weak Baltimore defense in Week 15. There are at least a dozen better QB options for him this week.
Here are some headliners who may not have win numbers in the playoff opener.
Alvin Kamara (Saints RB) – Since posting three touchdowns against the Raiders on October 30, Kamara has gone scoreless in five games with 137 rushing yards and 146 receiving yards. On the plus side, he’s only facing a thin Atlanta defense on Sunday.
Saquon Barkley (Giants RB) – The Saquads only have 152 rushing yards over the last four games, but have two TDs. But he faces a tough matchup against Washington’s defense in a battle between his two NFC East teams that are clearly going in opposite directions.
Aaron Jones (Packers RB) – AJ Dillon’s prime in the Green Bay backfield is no mere fantasy. Jones has just 109 and only 1 TD catch in his last three games.
Mark Andrews (Ravens TE) – One of the NFL’s top tight ends went six straight games without a TD and averaged just over 35 yards per game over the span. And the Baltimore quarterback situation is a mess with both Lamar Jackson and Tyler Huntley injured.
Michael Pittman (Colts WR) – Since Week 1, Pittman has had only one TD catch and only one game over 100 yards. Quarterback Matt Ryan is leaking oil, showing his aging. Even Viking’s sad defenses probably aren’t enough to risk using Pitman on Saturday.
Mike Evans (Buccaneers WR) – He hasn’t scored since Week 3, despite a lengthy TD being canceled by a penalty during last week’s debacle in Santa Clara. With Tom Brady still struggling, the Bengals aren’t giving up too much on Evans either.
Tua Tagovailoa (Dolphins QB – MVP contender to Budd Tua in just two games on the West Coast. He completed less than half of his passes against the 49ers and Chargers. Orchard Park.
Jacksonville RB Travis Etienne has been chilling lately and won’t heat up much against Dallas. … Baltimore’s J.K. Dobbins says he’s not 100%. So don’t expect too much from Cleveland. …Joe Mixon is likely ready to go to Cincinnati, so Samaje Perrin will be just a backup against Tampa Bay…Miami’s Raheem Mostert will continue to dominate in Buffalo. …Kyler His Murray injury leaves WR DeAndre Hopkins in doubt about start with Broncos. … neither Seattle WR, Tyler Lockett nor DJ Metcalf would be the best choices when faced with his fierce 49ers defense. …two QBs you can ignore: Indy’s Matt Ryan vs. the Vikings and Seattle’s Genno Smith vs. the Niners.
Have you been waiting all season for Indy’s Jonathan Taylor to break out? He might be up against a poor Minnesota defense. … Dallas RB Tony Pollard is a late-season revelation and a perfect bet to add to his touchdown total against the Jaguars. … Someone from Philadelphia is going to face the Bears, and we’re betting on WR AJ Brown. …Green Bay rookie Christian Watson was hot before goodbye, and it will be no different against the Rams…His WR Chris Olave of New Orleans stepped up his Rookie of the Year campaign against Atlanta increase. …and our preferred quarterbacks include the obvious choices (Sincey’s Joe his Barrow vs. the Buccaneers) and the less obvious choices (Jets’ Mike White against Detroit).
Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray ended his season after blowing a knee early in Monday night’s game. … San Fran wideout Deebo Samuel will return before the regular season ends Possibly, but certainly sitting this week. … New England RB Rhamondre Stevenson will be out this week. Players with questionable status include Seattle’s running his backs Kenneth Walker and Deejay Dallas, Cincinnati WR’s Tea Higgins and Tyler Boyd, and three quarterbacks (Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson, Denver’s Russell Wilson and Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett). )It is included.
Rams receiver Ben Skowronk was a favorite for The Loop during his time at Northwestern but turned out to be the favorite for new quarterback Baker Mayfield in last week’s frenetic rally that overtook the Raiders. He caught seven passes for 89 yards and could make an impact the rest of the season now that the Cooper Cup is likely to take the All-World Championship in 2022. On the downside, Skowronek’s next touchdown catch will be his first catch of the season. With no byes this week, there probably won’t be a need to dig this deep into his playoff opening lineup. Still, I offer this tip.
Viking Colts (-4½): Pick: Viking by 7
Seahawks 49ers (+3½): Pick: 49ers by 11
Ravens at Browns (-2½): Pick: Browns by 3
Dolphins at Bills (-7½): Pick: Bills by 3
Until kickoff Sunday, we’ll update the column based on the latest injuries and innuendos. Visit TwinCities.com/theloop.