Re-Drafting The 2019 NFL Fantasy Draft

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

So, the dust has settled from your league’s Fantasy Championship game.

You’re left with a bitter taste in your mouth after you took Alvin Kamara #1 overall and then wasted your second pick on Devonta Freeman.

But what if we could turn back time (without the bad hair, for all you Cher fans out there…) and redraft the 2019 Fantasy Season?


How It All Played Out


So your top five picks would’ve been something along the lines of:

  1. Saquon Barkley
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Alvin Kamara
  5. Le’Veon Bell

Maybe swap Bell out for DeAndre Hopkins and the top four – as far as I was concerned – were interchangeable. If you got Pick 1/2/3/4 then you were taking one of those players, even if Zeke was holding out.

So how did those five + Nuk fare?

Christian McCaffrey blew everyone away as he was the only reliably functioning part of the Carolina offense for the entire season. A whopping 471.20 points left him miles ahead of the closest challenge from the list above…

Zeke Elliott: Scoring single digits just once this season he was a bright spot in a pretty woeful Dallas season as he racked up 311.70 points.

DeAndre Hopkins was impressive as always with 268.54 points despite sitting out the final game of the season against the Titans.

Alvin Kamara was nowhere near as explosive as we would have hoped for this year, hampered by injury all season he went 12 (TWELVE) weeks without a touchdown but snagging a brace of touchdowns in each of his last two games bumped him to a modest-by-his-standards 248.52 points.

Much like his NFC compatriot, Saquon Barkley struggled with injury this year and missed three and a half games. Also much like Kamara, some late season antics (94.90 points across the final three games) landed him 244.10 points overall.

Finally we come to the man who held out. The man who fled Pittsburgh. The man who landed a deal with the New York Jets to make him the second highest paid running back in the league.

I feel sorry if you took him in the first round. 215 points returned for a man touted to be an RB1. Breaking 20 points three times and just once after September. What a rough year.

BUT.

Let’s turn the clock back to those fateful late August/early September evenings. We’re armed with our Sports Almanac, what does this first round in a 10-team standard scoring league look like?

The 2019 Fantasy Football Re-Draft

With the first overall pick…Christian McCaffrey – Running Back – Carolina Panthers

For reasons above this is a complete no brainer. The man was the highest scoring player in the league by a country mile. Even in blowout defeats he still managed to rack up plenty of yards or nab a couple of scores. The guy was a monster in both the run and pass game (although those passes were essentially screens in the flat but a catch is a catch!).

Run CMC is going to be a first overall pick for a couple of years to come at least.


With the second overall pick…Lamar Jackson – Quarterback – Baltimore Ravens

Congratulations to those who had the wherewithal to draft Jackson early because frankly, I thought the Chargers had figured him out in the 2018 Playoffs by loading the box and sending as many people at him as possible.

What Baltimore did to allow Jackson to flourish was snag Mark Ingram from the Saints and draft Hollywood Brown. This opened the game up for Jackson’s wheels in a way we haven’t seen since Michael Vick.

A fine reference indeed as Jackson broke Vick’s single-season rushing record by a Quarterback and then some. He passed for over 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns, rushed for over 1,200 and 7 scores. By the time we’d reached the end of the season he had amassed 415.68 points. Bravo, Lamar. Bravo.


With the third overall pick…Michael Thomas – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints

Not the Saints player we’d have expected to be drafted in the first round but with a dearth of wide-out options a combination of Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill found Thomas on alarming regularity. So much so that he broke Marvin Harrison’s single season reception record by racking up 149 catches for 1,725 yards but surprisingly only 9 touchdowns.

374.60 points in total, which eclipsed the total from any other wide-out by nearly 100 points.

Peculiar to be drafting just one running back from the first three picks but remember, we’ve got the Sports Almanac here so the usual rules don’t apply.

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On we go and with the fourth overall pick Dak Prescott – Quarterback – Dallas Cowboys

Hang on, another quarterback? Get out of here.

I’m afraid so. Much like Thomas, we weren’t expecting to be picking this particular Dallas player fourth overall but Dak was the length of the field away from hitting 5,000 passing yards in addition to 30 TD passes and another three with his legs.

He struggled in some games (on the road in New Orleans and in Philly) but more than made up for it with blockbuster performances against the Giants, the Redskins and the Lions. Kudos to you, Dakota, 337.78 points overall.


With the fifth overall pick… Russell Wilson – Quarterback – Seattle Seahawks

You talk about players having to carry a team (Run CMC, Dak to name but two in this list so far) and then there is Russell Wilson.

DangeRuss’ options? An injured Tyler Lockett, David Moore (although he’s my namesake he’s not ‘the guy’), an exciting but raw DK Metcalf and having his Tight Ends and Running Backs ending the season banged up or on IR.

The guy still threw for over 4,000 yards and 31 scores as he managed to extend play after play after play after play ad nauseum. He did blow hot and cold on a game-to-game basis in 2019 and suffered down the stretch, failing to score over 20 points after a 39.22 performance against Tampa in Week 9 until scraping it in the final game of the season against the 49ers which took him to 328.60 points.

So of the first five picks, three are QBs who are resetting what we traditionally looked for in a man under centre.


Which leads us nicely to the sixth overall pick… DeShaun Watson – Quarterback – Houston Texans

DSW was quietly spectacular with the true blockbuster moment coming in Week 5 as his Texans team demolished the Falcons 53-32. Watson scored 41.74 points in that game alone but his season was dealt some serious damage in Week 11 on a trip to Baltimore as we saw the ugly side of Houston.

169 passing yards. 1 INT. 1 fumble lost. No scores. 3.96 fantasy points. Ouch.

Like a lot of his fellow starters, Watson sat out the final game of the season against the Titans which also damaged his total but still enough for a cool 320.98 points. Had he not suffered so greatly against Baltimore and/or started in Week 17 he’d be jumping ahead of Wilson and Prescott for sure.

I’m getting fed up of these Quarterbacks being drafted. Running Backs, where are you?

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With the seventh overall pick…Aaron Jones – Running Back – Green Bay Packers

That’s better. Jones topped 1,000 yards and had just as many scores (19) as Run CMC.

When he was hot, he was scorching. He scored 53 points against the Vikings across two games, bagged a hat-trick against the Panthers in Week 10 and had over 200 total yards in a 41.60 game against the Chiefs.

His true diamond game though, was the four-score (and seven years ago) game against the Cowboys in Week 5 as he hit 49.20 points. The man would win fantasy matchups on his own.

He would also cost you. He had games with 4.90, 3.90 and 3.80 points but such streakiness was emblematic of the Packers season, despite their reaching the NFC Championship Game.

He was still good for 314.80 points and such a year has definitely moved him much higher up draft boards for 2020.


With the eighth overall pick… Ezekiel Elliott – Running Backs – Dallas Cowboys

The fact we have two Cowboys players on here lays bare how badly their offensive superstars were let down this year.

Zeke didn’t really have the blockbuster games of Run CMC or Aaron Jones but he didn’t have the troughs of Jones either. He scored single digits just once this year and was just so consistent for the Cowboys and anyone’s fantasy team.

He got at least one touchdown on ten games this year and the games he didn’t score in he had sufficient yardage to carry him into double figures. Just stunning reliability from a man who had been holding out all summer but thankfully didn’t go the way of Melvin Gordon or Lev Bell.

An impressive 311.70 points for Zeke and I expect this to increase next season as the Cowboys are going to be better coached under Mike McCarthy (see: the cowardice of the game against the Patriots).


With the ninth overall pick… Austin Ekeler – Running Back – Los Angeles Chargers

This is a surprising one seeing as Melvin Gordon’s return would have surely indicated a drop-off for Ekeler but whilst it is true his point-age did decline after a strong first month (39.40, 23.30, 15.10 and 29.20 points) that is just as attributable to the Chargers falling off a cliff and just being horrible for the majority of the year.

For a running back in that team to get a total of 309.00 points across a season is superb and he’s been rewarded with a new four-year deal. Good for you, Austin. Go get paid!

If the Chargers draft a QB to be their starter for 2020 then I’d expect Ekeler to maintain this sort of scoring. Keep him in mind for a late first round/early second next season.

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With the tenth overall pick and the final pick of the first round… Jameis Winston – Quarterback – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I kid you not. #30For30’s Jameis Winston.

The man is the NFL equivalent of Arsenal’s David Luiz. He is absolute box office material and I love watching the guy play purely for entertainment value.

He threw for over 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns but had 30 (THIRTY) INTs. Seeing him throw that 30th INT (a pick six to end a dismal Bucs season in a 28-22 overtime defeat to the Falcons).

The true epitome of Winston’s season was the London game against Carolina where he threw five INTs, one touchdown but still had 400 passing yards!

He ended with 305.36 points overall and was the tenth and final person who scored over 300 points across the season.

I am not expecting Jameis to be a starter next year but I really, really hope he is because at times his connectivity with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin was brilliant. He could be a sleeper later in your 2020 draft but purely for entertainment value he is the tenth overall pick of the Re-Drafted 2019 NFL Fantasy Draft.

Season In Review – Miami Dolphins

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

Time for everyone’s preseason favourite tankers, the Miami Dolphins. It didn’t quite turn out that way, but did the Dolphins do themselves any harm? Depends if your a tank half full or a tank half empty kind of person…


Entering The Season



After two losing seasons under Adam Gase, the Dolphins made a move for Brian Flores from the Patriots to further extend the Belichick coaching tree.

However this was not to be with a view to a galvanisation of the team to lead to a wildcard spot. Quite the opposite. The Dolphins front office put Flores and the team well and truly in the tank.

Laremy Tunsil was sent off to the Texans for a haul of picks including two first rounders and Ryan Tannehill was sent to the Titans for a 2020 4th rounder.

The writing was on the wall. If they could get valuable picks for you and you were playing well, Miami were packing your bags and driving you to the nearest airport.

Were we about to see another 0-16 season in the NFL? Could the Dolphins be historically bad?


During The Season


Week 1: Baltimore Ravens 59. Miami Dolphins 10. 
This could be a long season.

Time for a get right game, right? Wrong. The Dolphins got royally spanked 43-0 with two pick sixes and more punting yards than total offense. The season couldn’t have started much worse for the team whilst the front office were rubbing their hands at the prospect of that first round pick.

Things really didn’t improve for Miami until Week 6 when they started to put touchdowns on the board in a 17-16 loss to the Redskins. Both teams were winless and in what some might have termed a cynical move to lose the game, the Dolphins opted to go for an end-of-game 2 point conversion instead of kicking the XP to tie the game. The defeat took the Redskins to 1-5 and sank Miami to 0-5.

0-5 became 0-6, which became 0-7, which became 0-Hold The Phone It’s An Adam Gase Revenge Game!

That’s right! The 1-6 Jets against the 0-7 Dolphins. A divisional matchup for the ages. Step forward the only man for the job.

Ryan FitzMagicPatrick.

The bearded genius threw 3 touchdowns as the Dolphins secured their first win of the season against an equally hapless Gang Green. This result was reward for Flores and his team after becoming increasingly competitive with a poor roster over the prior month.

Flores and his charges would get further reward a week later with back-to-back wins, beating the understaffed-at-under-centre Indianapolis Colts 16-12.

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Two straight defeats to Buffalo and Cleveland preceded a stunning third win against a Philadelphia Eagles team who were looking to win their division. Miami overturned a 21-14 deficit at the half to win 37-31 to go 3-9. The best part of this game? The trick play with the punter Matt Haack throwing a one-yard shovel to kicker Jason Sanders with an utterly bizarre lineup from the Dolphins. If you haven’t seen it, get yourselves to YouTube ASAP.

Much like the Colts game, however, after a surprising win against a team chasing the playoffs, two defeats followed. This time on back-to-back weeks in East Rutherford against Gang Green and the G-Men to leave Miami at 3-11 and eyeing a top 3 pick or maybe even #1 if, IF, they conspired to lose to the hopless Bengals in Week 16.

What we got in the BurrowBowl/TankForTuaBowl was one of the most entertaining games of the season.

Heading into the 4th quarter the Dolphins lead 35-12 in what was turning into a blowout with FitzMagicPatrick throwing 4 touchdown passes including one to rookie DE Christian Wilkins (more on him shortly).

With 30 seconds left on the clock the Dolphins led 35-19.

The Bengals scored two touchdowns AND two 2 point conversions in thirty seconds! Sixteen points! Merry Christmas!

As you’d expect with these two, overtime went the distance. We had dropped passes, terrible route running, third down sacks and even some great defensive play in there but finally, finally as time expired Jason Sanders hit a 37 yarder to end the game and reward the handful of fans left in Hard Rock Stadium.

If you’re going to give up the #1 pick you may as well do it in the most entertaining way possible and the ‘Fins did not disappoint. Bravo.

As an addendum, Christian Wilkins not only made a name for himself with that touchdown pass but also for the funniest mic’d up moment of the season. Enjoy.

Now for the encore. A trip to New England to close the season out. The Patriots needed to win to secure a first round bye and with the Miami Miracle only twelve months prior surely they weren’t going to let their divisional rivals land another scalp…Surely?


The much vaunted Patriots defense of September gave up 320 passing yards to Wonderlic’s FitzMagicPatrick and even ran in a pick six. Ryan FMP also ran a touchdown in. What is this fresh madness? Miami cost New England a first round bye with their first win in Gillette Stadium since 2008!

I’d even stretch as far as saying that this result contributed greatly to Kansas’ Super Bowl appearance.

A 5-11 finish for a team that wanted the #1 pick will disappoint some but in the second half of the season, Miami were one of the most enjoyable teams to watch. There was a freedom to their play and under Brian Flores I think there are foundations – assuming their draft choices are sound – for a bright future in Florida.


Offseason Outlook


It’s all about the draft. With Tua seemingly recovered from a severe hip injury the thinking is that Miami expect him to fall to #5 if the first four picks go according to plan but with Detroit and New York above them and quarterback hungry teams below, there is a danger a team could usurp them.

Miami have the most selections (12) which include three first rounders and two second rounders. Add on the estimated $93 million in cap space and the room that Miami have this offseason is terrific.

There won’t need to be any trickery with the salary cap, just start rebuilding and maybe even make a big play or two in free agency for a true WR1. Just do one thing for us, Miami. Keep Ryan Fitzpatrick around. The league is better for it.

Next season brings matchups against the NFC West and the AFC West as well as a rematch that will be as hotly anticipated as Wilder v Fury III. That’s right. It’s Bengals v Dolphins back at Hard Rock! Make it primetime, schedulers, Burrow vs Tua? Yes please.

Season In Review – Atlanta Falcons

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

Next up in our series is the Atlanta Falcons. I could have scheduled this for the 28th March but you know, too far to wait.


Entering The Season


It’s a strange and difficult time to be a fan of the Dirty Birds, after that turnaround in The Big Game, they managed to get back to the playoffs the following year only to be defeated in the Divisional Round by the Eagles. They seemed primed to make a run at The Big Game once again in the 2018 season only to be utterly wrecked by injuries.

The goal for this season? Get healthy, stay healthy, knock the Saints off the top of the NFC South and make the most of a favourable schedule against the unreliable AFC South and the Bizarro World that is the NFC West.


During The Season


The season did not exactly get off to a positive start with a 28-12 spanking on the road in Minnesota, the Falcons not scoring any points until there were nine minutes of the game remaining. No big deal, a get right 24-20 victory over the Eagles despite blowing a two-score lead with a three game stretch against the AFC South coming up? Could establish a spot in the wildcard spots at this rate, right?

Wrong.

Dead wrong.

TheAthletic.com

At stages against the Colts and Titans the Falcons were down 20-3 and 24-7 respectively. To compound this issue, they were blown out 53-32 by the Texans in Week 5. The return to NRG Stadium only inflamed the bad memories.

By the time the Week 9 bye rolled around, another three-game divisional stretch – this time against the NFC West – came and went the same way as the AFC South trio. Ugly, ugly defeats. A missed field goal as time expired on the road at the Cardinals, a 27-point defeat against the Rams and a loss to Seattle meant that Atlanta’s season was over before Halloween. Nevermind a spooky season, this was downright horrifying from Dan Quinn’s team.

There were more than a few whispers that Arthur Blank was going to take action against Quinn before the season was out, what a staggering fall from grace just a couple of years removed from Super Bowl LI and here was the Head Coach, 1-7 and without any apparent idea of how to stop the bleeding (31.25 PPG given up through the first eight weeks!).

Atlantafalcons.com

Meanwhile, the offensive line was just a whole heap of garbage, first round pick (31st overall) Kaleb McGary had a terrible year and it showed in not only Atlanta’s season overall with 50 sacks allowed, the fifth most in the entire league, but also in the run game which struggled so badly that not one Atlanta running back posted a triple digit game all year. How can a bad defense stay off the field when the offense can’t do anything other than pass? An impossible situation.

Spare a thought at this point for Julio Jones and Matty Ice. Two elite players who did their best whilst everything else was going to hell around them. Even Calvin Ridley chipped in as a solid WR2 and Austin Hooper was a good redzone threat. That isn’t enough, however. The season was basically over by November. What to aim for in the second half? A perfect 2nd half seals a 9-7 record that might be enough for the playoffs but with such a loaded NFC that’s a tall order.

The last thing Atlanta needed coming off the bye week then was a trip to the Superdome to face the 7-1 Saints who were on the verge of running away with the division. This could be the game that finally forced Blank’s hand to show Quinn the door.

Atlanta 26-9 New Orleans. What. The. Heck?

Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A transformed Falcons D smothered a Saints team that had scored 30+ points in five out of their first eight games. The Falcons line broke through and sacked Drew Brees six times and held the Saints to a paltry three field goals. Even Brian Hill (who?!) got in on the action with 71 scrimmage yards and a score. Was this the turning point of the season? A chance to put something together for pride, for their HC who was on the brink not long after being on the brink of winning it all?

Well they went one better against the Panthers, blowing them out 29-3, keeping them scoreless for 47 minutes. They couldn’t go on a run could they? An all-time second half of the season to sneak into the 6 seed?

Nope.

Consecutive home losses to the Bucs and the Saints saw to that, although let’s take a moment to talk about the wild end to the Thanksgiving matchup against New Orleans where the Falcons recovered THREE onside kicks in a row (the first being brought back for a penalty) in a somewhat amusing end to a comfortable revenge win for New Orleans.

3-9 going into December. Season over, time to play spoiler? On the road? Against the dominant 49ers? You betcha.

Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group

A touchdown with two seconds remaining (Julio from Matty Ice, who else?) gave the Falcons a 23-22 lead which would swell to 29-22 on a fumble return on the kick-off. How about that for a feather in your cap, Dan Quinn?!

Atlanta finished the season 7-9, going 6-2 in the second half of the season to achieve a modicum of respectability but the season was doomed after the AFC South fiasco in September.


Offseason Outlook


So where next for Atlanta? They’ve got eight draft picks to play with and need to hope that they land on better selections than 2019’s picks. An edge-rusher is something they’re in desperate need of as they finished with just 28 sacks on the year, tied for second least. If Austin Hooper isn’t to return in free agency then Tight End becomes a priority, also.

Meanwhile that 50 sack year indicates that they need to either coax more out of the O-Line they have or make it just as big of a priority.

There isn’t much room in free agency to pick up pieces either, $7.5 million to play with and not many players who can be sacrificed to make room. Devonta Freeman has arguably been ineffectual for two straight years now but his 2020 cap hit of $9.5m is offset by the fact that there’s $6m in dead money going to him this coming year.

TheFalconsWire.UsaToday.com

A lot of money is tied up in Chris Lindstrom, Jake Matthews and Grady Jarrett this year in what will be important years going forward for them as Atlanta cannot afford to take the cap hit on these guys. It could be a tricky year ahead for the Falcons, despite having a great QB and WR1-2 punch.

Atlanta’s road schedule for 2020? Green Bay, Minnesota, Dallas, Kansas City, LA Chargers, Saints, Bucs and Panthers. Ouch. If they’re going to get out of the NFC South, it’s going to be on the back of being near-perfect at home and steal two/three wins on the road because that is an absolute stinker of a road schedule.

Season In Review – New Orleans Saints

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

This is the first team up in our new article series, “Season in Review”, is the New Orleans Saints.

We will go through EVERY team in the NFL and take a look back their season and what the future holds for each team.

The New Orleans Saints, the Bridesmaids of the NFC Championship game from the past few seasons and they were once again a front runner for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 2019. How did it all pan out? We break it down here:


entering the season


After New Orleans’ second crushing playoff defeat in as many years there were legitimate questions to be asked about whether this team could put it all together again to go one step further and play February football.

Even more concerning was the apparent fading of Drew Brees’ star as post-Thanksgiving 2018 he was poor. Was it a blip or the stunning drop-off we saw from Peyton Manning a few years prior?

The expectation for the Saints would’ve been to go one further and appear in their second ever Super Bowl but with the Falcons seemingly healthy again after an injury-struck 2018 and Christian McCaffery turning in an impressive rookie year it looked for all the world like it’d be a very, very competitive NFC South.

Image result for max unger
Image Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty

A huge factor heading into the new season was the retirement of Center, Max Unger, this was a player who was a figurehead of one of the most impressive offensive lines in the game, with the signing of free agent Nick Easton and the drafting of Erik McCoy in the 2nd Round of the 2019 Draft it seemed far from certain who #9 would be taking snaps from come Week 1.

The other major change for the Saints came in the skill positions as we said farewell to Mark Ingram II who left in free agency to join Baltimore but welcomed in Latavius Murray and Jared Cook from the Vikings and Raiders respectively. I think there was quite a shock when Ingram left and Saints fans weren’t exactly enamoured with Murray as his replacement given the chemistry between Alvin Kamara and Ingram had been a huge part of the near-perfect 2018 season. However, Ingram did have fumbling issues and perhaps it was Payton’s way of trying to freshen up the team.

Jared Cook was a definite upgrade at the Tight End position after Ben Watson left in the off-season and after a few swings and not-quite-misses-not-quite-hits at securing a solid WR2 behind Michael Thomas, it was definitely a sign that the Saints meant business. Especially given that they had never replaced Jimmy Graham since he was traded to Seattle.


During the season


There were so many stories around the Saints in the regular season it is hard to get your head around them all. How about Week 1, Monday Night Football at home to the Texans? The Saints kick a 47-yard field goal to go 27-21 up with 50 seconds to play. Vintage late drive from Drew Brees to seal the game? Not quite. Deshaun Watson uncorks a couple of bombs which result in Kenny Stills of all players taking the ball into the endzone just 13 seconds after the Saints had kicked that field goal! 28-27 and that’s a stunner for the Superdome. But wait…Here comes that vintage late drive…Sort of. The Saints work it to field goal range and Wil Lutz uncorks a bomb of his own to send a 58-yarder through the uprights as time expired. The Saints don’t do anything simply do they?

That would prove to be the case in Week 2 in what was already highlighted on the schedule as The Revenge Game. On the road in Los Angeles. After that non-call just eight months prior that ended the Saints season and allowed the Rams to go and roll over for the Patriots a fortnight later. Surely this is where New Orleans lay those ghosts to rest? Well…

Image result for new orleans saints cam jordan rams
Image Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty

This is where the Saints lose without scoring a touchdown. This is where Aaron Donald bursts through that much vaunted offensive line, gets to #9 who, whilst throwing a pass has his throwing thumb broken/ligaments torn/completely busted. Out goes Brees, in comes Teddy Bridgewater. The Saints lose 27-9 and despite there being a strip sack from Cam Jordan returned 87 yards for a touchdown being denied because the refs had blown the play dead there could be no real complaints from New Orleans. They were beaten. Revenge will have to wait for another season.

So you lose your star Quarterback for 6-8 weeks who, by the way, was not showing any issues that plagued him toward the end of the season. You’ve got six games before your bye week. You have to go on the road to Seattle, host Dallas and go to Chicago alongside some easier games against the Bucs, Jaguars and Cardinals. Hope for 4-2? Expect 2-4? Settle with 3-3?

Image result for teddy bridgewater saints
Image Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty

Nope. Somehow the Saints go 6-0 with Teddy BridgeH2O under center for the first five. They did it in different ways, too. They score 2 twice on D/ST in Seattle, kick 12 points to win 12-10 against Dallas (their first win since 1998 without reaching the endzone). BridgeH2O threw for 300+ against Tampa, they ran all over Chicago and the Defense held Jacksonville to a pair of field goals.

This was a stunner for the NFC as for so long the Saints had been the team that would have to score 30 just to keep themselves in the game as their D would regularly crumble. Now you’ve got them winning games without Drew Brees? Meanwhile in the NFC South, the worries of their divisional rivals putting up more of a fight this season proved to be something of an unfounded concern as they all flopped spectacularly. The South was the Saints’ to lose and even by the time the Bye arrived in Week 9, the Saints were 8-1 and eyeing another Bye Week in January.

So in true New Orleans fashion they get blown out by the Falcons in the Superdome 26-9. This proved to be little more than a flesh wound as they won their next three (all divisional) games no problem. The big one was hosting the 49ers in Week 14 to essentially decide who gets that first weekend of January off.

It was a classic. A 48-46 victory for the 49ers on a time-expiring field goal. Another heartbreaker in the Dome but this time there were no contentious final plays. It simply came down to which team had the ball last would win and it broke San Francisco’s way. George Kittle proved once again magnificent he is and Emmanuel Sanders stuck 157 yards and a score on the Saints.

George Kittle
Image Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

What was getting lost amidst all the MVP talk surrounding Lamar Jackson was that Michael Thomas was setting record after record and was arguably in with a shout for MVP. The man did nothing but catch balls all year round and by the time the 49ers had left New Orleans in Week 14, he was on pace to break the single-season record for catches (143, Marvin Harrison).

Indeed, two weeks later on the road against the Titans he caught a pass at the one-yard line for 144 and then followed it up with catch 145 for a touchdown. Michael Thomas was the star for the Saints this year.

New Orleans closed out the season with a 42-10 blowout win over the Panthers to finish 13-3 but as luck would have it, those losses would come back to haunt New Orleans as they finished outside of the top two seeds for the playoffs. An absolute stunner for a team with that record to be playing Wildcard Football but with the 49ers and the Packers both having better inter-conference records the Saints wound up looking at hosting Minnesota then going on the road to Green Bay and then in all likelihood to San Francisco if they wanted to be playing in Miami come February 2nd. It’d be possible, but very difficult.

Lo and behold, the Saints laid an egg against the Vikings as they lost 26-20 in overtime. A scarcely believable result but yet again New Orleans found a new way to blow it in January. They barely deserved to get the game to OT as the Vikings completely outplayed them from first to last. What is a real kicker for the Saints is that the next week the Vikings – much like the Rams in the Super Bowl – turn up the next game and just stink the place out against San Francisco.

Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph held on to a 4-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins to upend the New Orleans Saints, 26-20, in overtime.
Image Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There are so many unanswered questions from the post-season. What would the Saints been like in Lambeau in January? Would we have seen another classic between New Orleans and San Francisco in the NFC Championship game? What would Kansas vs New Orleans looked like in Miami? We’ll never know.

The stars of the season – Thomas aside – came mainly from the other side of the ball, Cameron Jordan, Vonn Bell, rookie Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and most of all, Demario Davis. The OLB played magnificently all season and was rightly named to his first ever Pro Bowl. After Brees went down in Week 2, Davis essentially became the leader of the team and after #9’s return they shared these pre-game leadership duties. A real testament to a player who has come on leaps and bounds since leaving the Jets in 2018.


offseason outlook


Going forward for the Saints, there are decisions to be made at Quarterback.

Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Saints
Image Credit: Clutchpoints.com

Theoretically they could wind up without Brees, Bridgewater and Go-Go-Gadget Taysom Hill on the roster as they’re all free agents (although the only way Brees leaves is if he retires). It is hard to see a world in which all three of these players are on the team come September but if Brees takes another team-friendly deal and Bridgewater fancies his chances of replacing him in 2021 – if not before – then it is possible.

The offensive line will need shoring up as Andrus Peat was a real weakness in the defeat against the Vikings after injuries took their toll up front on both sides of the ball. Look for New Orleans to perhaps draft a Guard.

Another major issue – as ever – is a WR2. Tre’Quan Smith hasn’t done enough. Ted Ginn Jr isn’t getting any younger and it is doubtful he’ll be brought back. Deonte Harris seems to be restricted to Special Teams for now. The Saints will pick at #24 in the first round. I suspect they may use it on a wide-out who can stretch the field because that is the one singular limitation of Michael Thomas is that he isn’t the player that’ll rip off 50+ yarders and it is important to note that he doesn’t need to be that player but New Orleans do need someone else to do that.

New Orleans has roughly $12.4 million in cap space and will likely need to make room for a Marshon Lattimore contract extension that he richly deserves. However, there is the question of Alvin Kamara. In 2018, Kamara was incredible for the Saints but was something of a flop this season by comparison, especially in the scoring column as he went over ten weeks without finding the endzone. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays going forward as he is still on his rookie contract and by all rights, hasn’t done enough in 2019 to demand Ezekiel Elliott money. He becomes a UFA in 2021 so it’s potentially a prove-it season for the running back. Definitely a key thing to watch going forward.

DFS – Week 16

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

The penultimate week although in reality this is the final week for some starters as teams who’ve locked up their playoff seedings/their top ten draft pick will sit their main guys next week.

So let’s enjoy it while we can and maybe make you all some money along the way…


Quarterback – Russell Wilson – Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks – $7,000

Since the bye week, DangeRuss hasn’t performed as marvellously as he had in the weeks prior (see the wild game against Tampa and the superb duel in San Francisco).

However, I don’t see Wilson having a quiet game as he did in Arizona in Week 4. The Cardinals leak yardage and points by the bucket-load and with a first round bye on the line for the Seahawks I expect Wilson and his team to go off in a big, big way.


Running Back – Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles – $7,900

So Dak has a dodgy shoulder and it’s a divisional road game to basically decide who goes to the playoffs. The previous meeting in Week 7 ended up Zeke going for nearly 150 scrimmage yards and a score.

This is a high-price investment but one that is worth making due to the remaining value left further down the pecking order.


Running Back – Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos – $4,900

He’s just been activated off IR and will now be the focal point of the repugnant Lions Offense. He’s a cheap option that before his Week 7 injury was gaining north of 75 scrimmage yards on a regular basis and with his cheap price I think he’s a worthy pickup, the Broncos rank 20th against the run in terms of Fantasy.


Wide Receiver – Terry McLaurin – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – $6,200

It feels like if Dwayne Haskins has a good game it’s because of this guy. Their connection has been the one bright spot in a woeful Redskins season.

The one game that T-Mac has missed this season was against the Giants back in Week 4 but in every other divisional matchup he’s cleared double digits in Fantasy Points. The Chase Young Bowl could come down to which young receiver has the better game: Slayton or McLaurin. I back McLaurin.


Wide Receiver – Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – $5,800

Now that Andy Dalton has returned to the Bengals, Tyler Boyd has seemed back to his regular self with some good games against decent Ds in recent weeks (Steelers, Jets, Browns, Patriots). Okay, maybe not the Jets but still, it’s a promising sign against a Dolphins team that loves to give up yards, points and just about anything else an opposing team will throw at them.


Wide Receiver – Greg Ward – Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles – $4,200

He’s now the WR1 for an Eagles team ravaged by injuries to their wide-outs but its’ not all doom, he caught 7 of his 9 targets for 61 and a score last time out and at such a low price for a guy that is obviously going to be targeted he’s an excellent budget choice because Carson has no-one else to throw to on the perimeter!


Tight End – Jared Cook – New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans – $5,000

We’re finally seeing the Jared Cook that New Orleans thought they were getting in free agency and whilst this could be a run-heavy game, I fancy Cook to continue to take advantage of the coverage afforded to Michael Thomas and bust out a big game.

The Titans rank 23rd against TEs and in goal-to-go situations I see Cook being that threat in the endzone as he was against San Francisco a fortnight ago.


FLEX – Phillip Lindsay – Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos – $5,300

Much like Kerryon Johnson, I don’t see much in the way of passing offense for Denver. Yes, Drew Lock seems superior to David Blough but with Darius Slay likely to be shadowing Courtland Sutton all day that opens up plenty of running opportunities for Lindsay to have himself a big day against the 29th ranked D against the run.



D/ST – Denver Broncos –
Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos – $3,500

When David Blough does throw the ball, I expect this top-5 Broncos D to take full advantage. They’ve forced multiple turnovers in three of the five games since their Week 10 Bye and that was against Quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins, DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. This is…David…Blough.

This is a complete lock for at least one D/ST touchdown as far as I’m concerned.

Good luck with all your lineups, hopefully Santa can bring down a Draft Kings win down the chimney.

Waiver Targets – Week 16

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

Congratulations/Commiserations* . You’re in the final or some horrendous 3rd/4th/5th/6th place* playoff. It’s all on the line and we’re in choppy waters as some players may get shut down for the final weeks of the season. *delete as appropriate

Let’s get to it…

Quarterback – Ryan Fitzpatrick – Miami Dolphins


There is literally no option I like this week who is going to be available for you. If you’re unfortunate enough to be stuck with Tom Brady & Jared Goff then maybe throw a dart at Ryan Fitzpatrick in the Tank Bowl between Miami & Cincinnati this Sunday but the matchups for the QBs that aren’t Top 10 are just pretty unfavourable.


Running Back – Mike Boone – Minnesota Vikings


Dalvin Cook went out of the game against the Chargers with a fresh injury and could miss next week’s huge game at home to Green Bay. With Alexander Mattison also missing Sunday’s game this could open up opportunities for Boone who bagged two scores thanks to those aforementioned injuries.

If – like me – Cook has carried your team to the playoffs then maybe look at snapping Boone up incase Cook can’t go against Green Bay.


Wide Receiver – Terry McLaurin – Washington Redskins


Are we thinking OROY for McLaurin? He’s got to be in the consideration as he’s been a huge bright spot for a team that has had a terrible year.

This week’s matchup is against the Giants and after he went for 5/130/1 against the Eagles I am backing him to have another big week against the G-Men in what we should be calling Chase Young Bowl.


Tight End – Noah Fant – Denver Broncos


I think we can give Drew Lock & the Broncos a pass against a superb Chiefs team in treacherous conditions. I think most QBs would struggle to get any sort rhythm going, let alone against the team who is a lock to be playing the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.

Despite that, Fant had 56 reception yards and I expect that to continue against the Lions who give up a touch under 8 fantasy points per game to Tight Ends.

Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em – JAX@OAK, ATL@SF, LAR@DAL, BUF@PIT

The business end. Squeaky bum time. New Orleans heartbreak-time.

If your Fantasy Playoffs hadn’t started lasted week then they do this weekend. Here are your Starts/Sits for a selection of the late window games.


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Oakland Raiders


RB Leonard Fournette

In a game between two teams who are now just looking to next season it is difficult to look past anything other than a huge Leonard Fournette game against a Raiders team that, when it comes to Fantasy, is a burst water mains.

They allow an average of nearly 20 points per game to running backs  and despite Fournette only having 3 TDs to his name this year I am backing him to have a monster game this week.

RB – Josh Jacobs

This is prefaced on the idea that I am expecting very little from Oakland this weekend after they’ve been blown out the last two weeks.

If it looks like going that way again I expect Gruden to pull his stars from the game again and that’s before we even take into account that Jacobs is banged up and could even see a limited snap count for a meaningless end of season game. This is not a statistical sit ‘em but if it comes to garbage time offense I don’t expect to see Jacobs on the field.


Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers 


D/ST – SF 49ers

Yes, they gave up 46 points against the Saints. Yes, Matt Ryan is a great QB.

However, who’s he going to throw to other than Austin Hooper? I expect Jones is going to be double covered and he’s not gone above 100 receiving yards since Week 8. Ridley has been shut down for the year and I’d be amazed if the 49ers gave up anything close to 46 points in their own stadium.

This is an absolute lock of a start if you have them.

RB – Devonta Freeman

In the game where he recorded his first rushing score of the year, Freeman also picked up a knee injury in the blowout win over the Panthers.

I expect him to play come Sunday but much like Josh Jacobs for the Raiders, I expect a limited snap count if he’s good to go.

Add in that the 49ers D and the Falcons O Line is absolute garbage and it’s a pretty potent mix for Freeman having another poor week.


Los Angeles Rams @ Dallas Cowboys


TE – Tyler Higbee

Two straight 100+ yard games for Higbee have made him a viable playoff option if – like me – you’ve got a Questionable Mark Andrews/Noah Fant issue.

The Rams have all of a sudden become a viable playoff contender after their embarrassment at the hands of the Ravens and they face off against a Cowboys team who are…underachieving? Not very good? Still leading their division?!

The Cowboys allow an average of just over 7 points per game to Tight Ends but when they’ve faced some viable top ten TEs they’ve struggled. They gave up two scores to Kyle Rudolph in Week 10 and I’d argue their D hasn’t got much better since.

Some Fantasy matchups could come down to that extra catch from your Tight End and I’d back Higbee ahead of most other TEs this week.

K – Kai Forbath

Brett Maher is gone after a series of whiffed kicks and in comes a Kai the Guy whose kicking this season is 1/1 on FGs and 1/2 on XPs. Rusty? I’d say.

This is another that is not stat-based as there isn’t enough to go on with Forbath but if you still had Maher in your team, a) what were you thinking and b) sign anyone else to replace him. You can’t trust Forbath – or even the Cowboys in general – to come good this week when a Fantasy Playoff Final appearance hangs in the balance.


Buffalo Bills @ Pittsburgh Steelers


RB – Devin Singletary

A pretty stellar game against the stifling Ravens D for Singletary last week gives a good indication that he could repeat against the Steelers this week in what should be another Defense-heavy game as both these teams look to take a step towards the playoffs.

He’s topped 100 scrimmage yards each of the last three weeks and given how stingy the Steelers secondary is I expect him to have plenty of touches this Sunday night/Monday morning, he had 17 carries and was 6/8 on targets against the Ravens.

WR – James Washington

In a dead rubber Fantasy matchup last week I started Washington, just to test the water about if he’d be able to repeat his brilliant Week 13 performance in a favourable matchup against the Cardinals. Plot spoiler: He didn’t. Post credits scene: I started him ahead of Emmanuel Sanders.

If he’s not going to break off big points against the Cards then don’t expect him to do anything against the Bills who, much like the Steelers secondary, are stingy, stifling and downright superb.

This Sit ‘Em can apply to any Pittsburgh pass-catcher, frankly. 


Best of luck to you all this weekend, if anyone wants to tell me that Ryan Tannehill will get found out against the Texans and Saquon Barkley is going to finally turn a big performance in then I’m all ears!

Waiver Wire Week 14

by Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

For some of you, your playoffs have already started or start this week. For others, it’s do or die, now or never. Let’s get into who you should target for that final push…


Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers


At face value this could be a bit of a stretch against a New Orleans team that has been a real strong point for the Saints this season and arguably carried them through the Brees-less stretch earlier in the season.

However, a lot of their success has come from stopping from the run and they are liable to give up chunk plays (see DJ Moore’s TD two weeks ago). They hover around mid-table for passing yards given up per game as well as passing TDs against per game so if someone binned Jimmy G off due to the tricky 49ers schedule, this may be a wildcard grab for you to consider.


Running Back – Rashaad Penny – Seattle Seahawks


This is an absolute must after he and Chris Carson ran all over the Vikings on Monday Night/Tuesday Morning Football.

Penny got over 100 scrimmage yards off 20 touches with two scores to boot, that’s two big games in a row after the bye week and a matchup against the Rams seems to be favourable after their struggles against a similar team in the Ravens recently.

After the Rams this week the Seahawks face a favourable trip to the Panthers and a home game against the Cardinals so this is a player you can bank on for the duration of your season.


Wide Receiver – James Washington – Pittsburgh Steelers


This is partly predicated on JuJu not playing. However, if the WR1 does take the field against the Cardinals I assume Patrick Peterson will cover him for the majority of the game leaving Washington carry on his good form from the last couple of weeks.

It’s evident that Duck Hodges is the better QB for Pittsburgh’s offense and playoff aspirations. The Cards are #32 against the pass and with Washington going off for 111 yards and a touchdown off four receptions against a not-terrible Browns I expect a similar line against a team whose season is emphatically over.


Tight End – Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins


I did not expect to be putting a Dolphins player in here at any stage this season but hats off to FitzMagic, he’s doing wonderful things in Florida alongside his renegade kicking team.

Gesicki has caught a TD in each of the last two weeks and the Jets are something of a confusing mess. They can turn the Cowboys over, blow the Raiders out and then get blown out by the *checks notes* THE WINLESS BENGALS?!

Additionally, Gesicki has had at least six targets in each of the last five games and caught six of six against the Jets back in week 9 for a total of 95 yards.