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NFL Week 14: You Winston, You Lose Some

Monty Phan wraps up the weekend of NFL action.

It’s Week 14, so I’m sure a bunch of you barely lost last week in a win-and-you’re-in game to make the playoffs, or you’re now staring down elimination after Sunday’s games. Here’s a fun masochistic fantasy football activity I like to do: Continue to set your lineup even after your team is no longer in contention, so that if it smashes right after you’ve been eliminated, you can feel even worse!

Perhaps one reason you lost last week was because even though the Bucs scored 28 points, your quarterback, Jameis Winston, had no touchdown passes. If your fantasy team’s season is now over, then I’m sure you were elated to see Winston’s line yesterday: 456 passing yards, four TD throws and a rushing score (to go with three interceptions).1

Of course, we all know how much fantasy football relies on luck. It’s just annoying to see it factor so prominently in the first week of the fantasy playoffs. Examples:

  • In practically all my leagues, the Josh Jacobs owner made the playoffs. In most of them, the Jacobs owner is now likely eliminated. A game-time decision with a late kickoff for the Raiders, Jacobs was declared inactive, but owners who left him in their lineup hoping he’d play either didn’t have a replacement or just didn’t find time to sub him out.
  • Or, perhaps they were able to replace him with Rashaad Penny. It’s been a long season for Zero RB believers, but Penny’s big Week 13 – more than 100 total yards and two TDs – gave some of them hope that a late-season breakout could be in the works. Then on the fifth play of last night’s Seahawks-Rams game, Penny caught a screen for 16 yards, grabbed his knee in pain after the play and was immediately ruled out.

  • Devante Parker entered a great matchup against the Jets with a streak of seven straight games with at least 50 yards, having scored four TDs in that span. He was coming off a career-best game last week, so the stars were aligning for him to be a potential playoff hero. But he was knocked out of the game in the second quarter with a possible concussion after notching just two catches for 28 yards.
  • If you’d pulled up the score of that Dolphins-Jets game without knowing anything else about the result, you’d assume Miami’s 21 points meant they scored three TDs. Ha! This is the Dolphins, man. In classic Miami fashion, the team got to 21 points via seven Jason Sanders field goals. The first four kicks came after Miami drives stalled at the Jets’ 4-, 5-, 10- and 13-yard lines. So, if, like me, you started Ryan Fitzpatrick,2 you might need to grow a Fitzmagic-like beard to compensate for all the hair you pulled out of your head in frustration.
  • Back to the Bucs: If you were lucky enough to get a playoff bye this week with the help of Mike Evans, then seeing him catch a 61-yard TD bomb brought a smile to your face – right before that turned to a grimace as he pulled up lame, left with a hamstring injury and was subsequently ruled out. Bucs coach Bruce Arians said he would be shocked if Evans played next week.

Finally, nothing says Week 14 like random receivers on bad teams scoring on long fluky plays. First up: Falcons wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, who makes me glad I’m a writer and not an announcer, because I would have almost certainly butchered his name if I had to say it aloud.

The 93-yard score was the longest first catch in NFL history, and the longest TD pass of Matt Ryan’s career. He joined fellow rookie A.J. Brown, who is definitely not a random WR on a bad team, but whose 91-yard TD from Ryan Tannehill means he and Zaccheaus are forever enshrined as co-owners of an obscure NFL record.

Of course, while Brown has starred as a rookie WR this season, the same can’t be said for Oakland’s Rico Gafford. The second-year pro hauled in a 49-yard score from Derek Carr, also the first catch of his career. If you’ve never heard of Gafford, you can be forgiven. RotoViz dynasty expert Curtis Patrick hadn’t, either.

Image Credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Jameis Winston.

  1. If you’re wondering: Yes, this happened to me in one league, but I’m totally not bitter.  (back)
  2. Don’t ask.  (back)

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