NFL Week 15: Coin Flips
Image Credit: Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Kenyan Drake.

Monty Phan wraps up the weekend of NFL action.

If you’re wondering what caused the greatest uproar in the NFL Twitterverse yesterday, it should come as no surprise that it was what everyone believed to be a miscommunicated call between Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott that could have had a huge effect on the rest of the game.

It was the pregame coin toss.

As even casual fans are aware, the team that wins the toss can elect to kick or receive the ball to start the game, or it can defer that choice to the second half. “Deferring” just means you choose to receive the ball first to start the third quarter. The Cowboys won the toss, and Prescott said three times they would kick it, before adding, “We defer to the second half.” The ref, however, apparently didn’t hear the “defer” part, so, as he understood it, the Cowboys were electing to kick the ball in the first half, meaning the Rams would be able to choose to receive the ball in the second half. So it seemed that by not having heard the magic word “defer,” the refs would make the Cowboys kick off to start both halves.

The Fox broadcast ended up replaying the footage of the coin toss where Prescott could clearly be heard saying “defer,” and the Cowboys were eventually given the choice to receive the kick in the second half. But if you’ve been a Cowboys fan for any length of time, you know this to be true: Nothing’s ever easy. Not even the coin toss.

Other things that weren’t easy: Start/bench decisions for the Week 15 fantasy playoff semifinals. Let’s run down some of the harder choices that paid off:

  • I drafted a lot of David Johnson in August and September, so if you would have told me back then that an Arizona running back would score four touchdowns in Week 15, man, I’d be counting my winnings. But now that Week 15 is almost over, I would be wondering whether you knew the RB would be Kenyan Drake, and, if so, why you let me draft Johnson instead. Thanks a lot!

Drake ended with 137 rushing yards and one catch for 9 yards, in addition to the four scores. Using the RotoViz screener, I looked up what other players had at least four TDs in a Week 15 game: Jamaal Charles in 2013 had five (one rushing, four receiving); Marshall Faulk in 2000 had four rushing; Clinton Portis in 2002 had four (three rushing, one receiving); and Danny Woodhead had four in 2015 (one rushing, three receiving). Drake’s 39.6 points tied Kareem Hunt’s 2017 total for 11th-most in any Week 15.

  • Let’s face it: Even when totally healthy, and even when he has an active Mike Evans to throw to, it’s hard to trust Jameis Winston. So with a bum thumb and an inactive Evans, you had to have had the Tums nearby if you were hoping Winston could lead you to a fantasy title game. After an early interception, Winston posted 458 yards and four TDs, better than any other QB not named Lamar Jackson. Three of those TDs went to Breshad Perriman, who had five catches for 113 yards in his best Evans impersonation. If you started him, congrats. You’re gutsier than I am.
  • It took until Saturday for DeVante Parker to clear concussion protocol, so it’s understandable if you were hesitant to put him in your lineup. But he impressed again, catching four passes for 72 yards and two TDs.
  • Ryan Tannehill also continued his unexpected run, finishing (so far) as the third-best QB this weekend, throwing for 279 yards and two TDs, adding 10 rushing yards and a score on the ground. It seems that if you chose your starters based on which guys no longer played for Adam Gase – Tannehill, Parker and Drake fit the category – then you had a pretty good week.
Image Credit: Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Kenyan Drake.

Monty Phan

Lead writer focusing on high-stakes fantasy football. 2017 FFPC Main Event regular season points champion. 4-time FFPC Main Event league winner. 2018 FFPC Bare Knuckle league champ.

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