It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Saturday football? Check. Overtime games for bonus football? Check. Fantasy championships and big-time competitions a-plenty? You bet!
What people call the business end of the season is always the most fun time for fantasy fans, so let’s have a look at who made you glad and who made you sad with this week’s Fantasy Studs and Duds!
Stud: Saquon Barkley – RB – New York Giants:
All aboard the Barkley bus! Like all buses, you wait around since Week 8 for a big Barkley game and then two come along in a row, as Saquon followed his pummelling of the Miami Dolphins last week with an even more impressive romp through the Washington Redskins in Week 16.
The second-year superstar led the Giants offense with a whopping 189 yards and a touchdown score on the ground and added 90 receiving yards on four catches and a touchdown reception as well.
Our calculator tells us that’s a total 279 yards from scrimmage, which is the most in a single game in New York Giants history. Barkley’s back baby!
Stud: Ryan Fitzpatrick– QB– Miami Dolphins:
In case you’ve never watched a football game, Ryan Fitzpatrick went to Harvard. Also, since coming into the Miami line-up in place of the flailing Josh Rosen in Week 6, he has also been one of the most consistently productive quarterbacks in fantasy football.
His enthusiasm is clearly fuelled by the fact that every other game for the journeyman is against a former team of his, and he had just such a revenge game this week against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Aided by the fantasy goldmine that is overtime, Fitzpatrick completed 31 passes for 419 yards and a tasty four touchdown passes, shredding a Bengals secondary that had been surprisingly stout this season for a team with only one win.
His copybook was slightly blotted by one interception, but let’s be clear that Fitzmagic is the reason this talent-poor Miami team has four wins this season rather than fighting with the Bengals for next year’s no.1 pick in the draft.
Stud: Tyler Boyd – WR – Cincinnati Bengals:
Speaking of the Dolphins being talent-poor, nowhere has this been more evident than in their secondary. In an incredible game, the Bengals were down by 16 points in the final minute and still somehow forced overtime, and the main reason they were even within 16 was the top-class effort of Tyler Boyd.
In another season without AJ Green to throw to, Boyd has been the undisputed no.1 receiver for Cincinnati. He showed that he’s up to the task on Sunday, hauling in nine passes for 128 yards and a pair of touchdown scores.
He didn’t even get the benefit of extra overtime minutes as he exited the game just before the Bengals comeback was completed, making this stat line even more impressive for fantasy owners who backed Boyd to bully Miami this week.
Dud: Aaron Rodgers– QB – Green Bay Packers:
It may seem strange to say it given that he is probably still the most purely talented quarterback in the game, but the days of Aaron Rodgers being a must-start in fantasy are over.
Even in a Monday Night football victory over the Minnesota Vikings that clinched the NFC North, Rodgers left fantasy owners wanting in another disappointing performance.
The former MVP completed 26 passes for a pedestrian 216 yards, but more worryingly for fantasy owners he failed to throw a touchdown pass for the third time this season.
The disappointing turn marks the fifth game in his last six that Rodgers has failed to register at least 15 fantasy points, and with the Packers in the play-offs and leaning increasingly on Aaron Jones and their running game, there doesn’t seem much hope that this trend will be bucked any time soon.
Dud: Tyler Lockett – WR – Seattle Seahawks
What is happening in Seattle? Russell Wilson’s form has gone backwards, they’ve lost their first-, second-, and third-string running backs, and the passing game has fallen apart.
They’ve also made their playoff path infinitely harder by losing to the division rival LA Rams and now the Arizona Cardinals in the last three weeks. Nobody has been more frustrating for fantasy owners than Tyler Lockett though.
Coming off a 120-yard game against the Carolina Panthers last week, Lockett looked poised to take the Cards to task in a vital game for Seattle. Instead, he caught just one of the eight passes Russell Wilson threw his way, and that was for a paltry 12 yards.
Outside of last week’s performance, Lockett has failed to score double-digit fantasy points in five games. If you thought that Lockett was back to his best, you paid for it in missed fantasy points this week.
Dud: Nick Chubb – RB – Cleveland Browns
It’s been a rough year for the Cleveland Browns. They should be used to them by now, but this one started with such sweet, poisonous hope (and hype) and finishes with a whimper.
Perhaps the lone bright spot has been the consistently impressive performances of running back Nick Chubb. The second-year starter has become the centrepiece of what we will generously call Cleveland’s offence, and has been productive for fantasy owners and the Browns alike all season.
That run of consistency ended in the face of the Browns’ bitter rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Chubb was bottled up all game, and despite being given the ball 15 times he only managed 45 yards and was left without a score.
He also failed to bring in the only ball thrown his way. Better times lie ahead for Chubb and the Browns, but that’s scant consolation for anybody who needed a big Chubb performance to win them a fantasy competition this week!