I hate fantasy football. I really do. To me it’s like a random bowl of candy just sitting there within reach. I just can’t resist.
This year I had TEN teams (yes…I know…WAY too many)…some expensive and some absolutely free. In true fashion, I won my two free leagues – The Daily Blender league, for which I will soon receive THE GOLDEN BLENDER I have craved since Fall 2017 when I lobbied to be in it…and THE FANATIC personalities league in which most of them didn’t care when they realized my eventual 16-0 team couldn’t be stopped.
In my other eight leagues, all money leagues…a 2nd, a 3rd, a 4th, and five that missed the playoffs.
In my league, the one in which I’ve failed to win in all 22 years of existence, my team won six straight regular season matchups to end up 10-3. And then what? It just DIED in the playoffs to the tune of 0-2 and a fourth place finish.
So yes…that’s why I hate fantasy football. Is it really a “skill” or just plain old luck? Maybe a little of both.
Derrick Henry did NOTHING all season…until Weeks 14-16 when he was the best RB in the game. Who would’ve predicted that?
I’m bitter…really bitter…and as much as I like the idea of being the owner of a GOLDEN BLENDER, it still doesn’t make up for SO MUCH DISAPPOINTMENT!
At least I had my best picks week of the season in Week 16…14-2!!
Week 17 NFL Picks
Last Week: 14-2 Straight Up (SU), 9-7 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 163-75-2 SU, 127-113 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; home teams in caps)
NEW ENGLAND 27, New York Jets 16 (ATS: Jets +13.5)
The Patriots simply haven’t been all that impressive visually of late. I don’t like their chances in the postseason…in fact I’ll be highly tempted to pick against them in two weeks when they play again. Rookie QB Sam Darnold has impressed of late and keeps this game within the lofty spread.
HOUSTON 20, Jacksonville 17 (ATS: Jaguars +7.5)
Let’s be honest, the Patriots aren’t losing to the Jets and coughing up a first round bye in any possible scenario. Houston needs to win this game as well to win the AFC South. Look for a CLOSE outcome…I don’t expect Texans fans being able to breathe easy this week. Houston wins on a late FG and will host the winner of Indianapolis/Tennessee next week.
BUFFALO 21, Miami 17 (ATS: Bills -3.5)
The Dolphins won this game four weeks ago by a score of 21-17. Buffalo ends the season on a high note with a solid home win of the same score.
TAMPA BAY 30, Atlanta 27 (ATS: Buccaneers -1.5)
Here’s my pick of the week. Jameis Winston is playing for his future in Tampa Bay. An impressive showing might be enough for the front office to keep him around next season. Atlanta makes it close in the end but the Bucs win and cover the very small spread.
GREEN BAY 27, Detroit 21 (ATS: Lions +7.5)
It’s hard to pick my Packers to cover any 7+ point spread these days…heck, they lost at home to the stinkin’ Cardinals a month ago! Aaron Rodgers wins his final game in 2018 and ‘New Coach Watch’ officially begins in Packerland.
NEW ORLEANS 27, Carolina 13 (ATS: Saints -7.5)
Carolina is starting Scottsdale Desert Mountain High School’s own Kyle Allen, their 3rd string QB. New Orleans is starting…oh who cares! Allen is likely playing for a future opportunity in the league. But it won’t matter. The Panthers haven’t won since mid-November and their season ends with yet another thud in the Superdome.
NEW YORK GIANTS 26, Dallas 10 (ATS: Giants -7.5)
I simply can’t see the Cowboys risking the health of Zeke Elliott or Amari Cooper in advance of next week’s playoffs showdown with Seattle. New York beats the preseason version of the Cowboys in a laugher that means absolutely nothing.
SEATTLE 27, Arizona 10 (ATS: Seahawks -8.5)
The Cardinals and QB Josh Rosen are the NFL’s laughing stock at this point. They’ll be better in 2019 with a new coach as Steve Wilks clearly hasn’t cut it. This is a tune up game for the Seahawks before next week’s Wild Card Round trip to Dallas. Arizona fared very well against Pete Carroll’s team under old coach Bruce Arians. We won’t see a repeat of those surprise victories on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers 24, DENVER 16 (ATS: Chargers -2.5)
A tremendously disappointing effort by the Chargers at home last week with a real chance to secure the #1 overall seed in the AFC with a win. Now they’ll be heading to Baltimore in a rematch of last Saturday’s train wreck. Not good. As for Denver, they have totally mailed it in at this point.
Chicago 27, MINNESOTA 23 (ATS: Bears +5.5)
This is probably an awful pick…the fact that I’m picking my preseason Super Bowl champs to MISS the playoffs. But do you trust Kirk Cousins and the Vikings offensive line against the Bears pass rush if the starters actually play? And the reason I think they will play is that Chicago won’t want to face Minnesota in back-to-back weeks which would be the case if the Vikings won.
Philadelphia 24, WASHINGTON 20 (ATS: Redskins +6.5)
Nick Foles…Philly magic…yet again. With a Vikings loss, the Eagles win another close one to set up a first round matchup in Chicago next weekend for the defending Super Bowl champs.
KANSAS CITY 38, Oakland 20 (ATS: Chiefs -14.5)
It was nice seeing the Raiders play well on MNF in what looks to be their final game played in Oakland. But this one is in Kansas City and the Chiefs are desperate to go into the playoffs with some momentum.
LOS ANGELES RAMS 30, San Francisco 17 (ATS: Rams -9.5)
Watch out for the 49ers as a potential playoff team (injuries permitting) next season. For now LA cruises to a home win and the #2 seed in the NFC.
BALTIMORE 23, Cleveland 20 (ATS: Browns +5.5)
I REALLY want to pick the Browns here! Remember how Baltimore stunningly lost to Cincinnati last year in Week 17 which got the Bills into the playoffs. Sorry Steelers fans, it’s not happening again this year. And let me say this…assuming Baltimore gets in, they’re VERY dangerous in the AFC. As for the Browns, they’ll be a sneaky AFC North pick for a lot of people next season…
PITTSBURGH 34, Cincinnati 17 (ATS: Steelers -13.5)
What a choke job by the Steelers…UGH! By virtue of the Ravens close win above, they’ll stunningly miss the playoffs. But they’ll scoreboard watch and continue putting it on the Bengals until the final whistle as they see things remain tight in Baltimore.
TENNESSEE 20, Indianapolis 17 (ATS: Titans -1.5)
I have no idea what to think about this one. Will Marcus Mariota play? If not, Tennessee’s defense will have to play at an other-worldly level to pull out a W. In the NFL’s 256th and final regular season contest in 2018, you might be best suited just flipping a coin. But for overall record purposes, I’m going with the Titans to win the AFC’s #6 seed.
Week 17 Fantasy Football Guidance
‘Boom & Crush’ Record (15+ PPR fantasy points from a non-must start player)
Last Week: 3-0
‘Be Careful’ Record (12 or less PPR fantasy points from a top-15 player)
Last Week: 1-2
I’m guaranteed to finish with winning records in both!
Boom & Crush:
QB: Jameis Winston (TB vs. ATL)
RB: Jamaal Williams (GB vs. DET)
WR/TE: Adam Humphries (TB vs. ATL)
QB: Deshaun Watson (HOU vs. JAX)
RB: Ezekiel Elliott (DAL at NYG)
WR/TE: Amari Cooper (DAL at NYG)
For more NFL analysis and thoughts, listen to The Daily Blender, weekdays from 3-6pm on 1580TheFanatic (starting January 2nd…yes I’m back!). You can tune in here.