“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is playing on repeat this week, and it’s not because of the holidays. It’s because it’s officially the fantasy football playoffs! You’ve put in the work all season long to get you to this point, but it’s not quite time to rest yet. You still have to make the right decisions before you can unwrap a fantasy championship, and there were several players this week who may have made those decisions more difficult than usual. Did you start Zay Jones, who had a monster day of over 100 yards and three touchdowns, or did you leave him on your bench for Marquise Brown who disappointed in the battle of the backups? Were you afraid of Rhamondre Stevenson’s injury and opted to leave him on your bench for someone like Miles Sanders? Don’t beat yourself up. We can’t get it right all of the time, but this time of year, we can’t just dust ourselves off and move on to the next one either. Each decision is for all the marbles!

There will be plenty of time for reactions and analyzing what happened this week, but now is not that time. We’ve made it this far by taking the road less traveled, and although we’ve almost arrived, we still have a few more hot takes left in the tank to get us there. Pour up a glass of eggnog, toast some marshmallows, and curl up by the fire as we hit Week 15’s hot takes!



Zay Jones Will Not Crack Double Digit Points Again this Fantasy Season

Zay Jones has been a unicorn this season, and it looks like he has officially taken over as the number one wide receiver in Jacksonville’s offense. He had a huge role in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys, and fantasy managers had to be feeling like Ralphie when he opened his Red Ryder B.B. Gun. But don’t get too comfortable with him in your lineup, or “you’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” Jacksonville has incredibly difficult matchups the next two weeks against the Jets and Texans who are both very efficient in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Next week, Jones will likely match up against Sauce Gardner, and that’s just a nightmare for anyone hoping to repeat Week 15’s magic. Gardner ranks sixth in fantasy points allowed per target, ninth in fantasy points allowed per cover snap, and first in pass breakups, so even with a high number of targets, the catches and production may be few and far between. It doesn’t get much easier in Week 17 against the Texans, who have only allowed 23.6 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Although I’m wishing for the best, you may hope you get a pink bunny onesie from Aunt Clara so you can curl into it after Jones fails to live up to expectations in the next two weeks.


Jerick McKinnon Finishes as the Overall RB1 the Remainder of the Season

It seems like Jerick McKinnon always makes a run into fantasy relevance once the Christmas music starts each year, and fantasy managers are singing his praises once again! Over the past two weeks, McKinnon is the overall RB1 in fantasy in both PPR and standard leagues, seeing a heavy role in the passing game while also being effective on the ground, and the upcoming schedule should be chock-full of fantasy goodness in your stocking. Next week, the Chiefs face the Seahawks who just got torched by another dual-threat running back by the name of Christian McCaffrey,  and they have given up the second-most fantasy points per game on the season. While I’m not saying McKinnon is CMC, his target share and usage in this offense has translated to fantasy success. Those of you brave enough to put him in your starting lineups have been rewarded thus far, and he should be the gift that keeps on giving throughout the fantasy playoffs.



Tyler Allgeier Will Win You a Fantasy Championship

Not many people held onto Tyler Allgeier after the return of Cordarrelle Patterson, but if you did, you have a potential league-winner on your hands for Week 17! The rookie from BYU exploded against the New Orleans Saints this week, rushing for 139 yards and a touchdown on just 17 attempts. Sure, the Saints have been as good at containing the run as I am at getting a cat to leave the ornaments on the tree alone, but with Desmond Ridder under center, you can expect Atlanta to continue with a run-heavy scheme and plenty of volume to come Allgeier’s way. Next week, the Falcons face the Ravens, and while that may be a more difficult matchup, they face the Cardinals in Week 17. Arizona just allowed nearly 170 rushing yards to one of the league’s worst offenses (also playing with a backup quarterback), and on the season, they have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to the running back position. The Falcons are still technically in the hunt for the division, as the NFC South is just a mess, so Allgeier should maintain a large role in the offense over the next two games. 


Jahan Dotson is a Must-Start, Even Against the 49ers Defense

The Commanders were hoping for an early Christmas gift this week against the Giants, and while they didn’t get it, it was through no fault of Jahan Dotson. The rookie exploded for 105 yards on just six grabs and added a touchdown, and with the Commanders in a must-win situation over the next two weeks, he’ll be sure to play a large part in keeping their playoff hopes alive. Washington does have a tough matchup against the San Francisco 49ers next week, and while their defense is very good, they have been susceptible to receivers, giving up the 12th-most fantasy points to the position. If Washington hopes to keep this game close, they will have to pass early and often, and Dotson showed he can make clutch plays when they’re needed. The fantasy gods should have him at the top of their nice list over the next two weeks.


Marlon Mack is a Trap Play Over the Next Two Weeks

I like to think of Marlon Mack as those chocolate covered holiday cherries. They only come around once a year, they’re really tasty in the beginning, then you get to the sour mush that makes you spit them out. Mack has had back-to-back weeks of double-digit fantasy points, but his snap share has been incredibly low, and he’s been lucky in playing against teams with very bad run defenses. The Broncos are one of the worst scoring offenses in the league, and the next two weeks, they face the Rams and the Chiefs. While the Rams defense has been a shell of its former self, they are still very effective at containing running backs, allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to the position, and as a backup, Mack will only see crumbs of this production. Week 17 gets even worse, with a divisional matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs who are only allowing 106 rushing yards per game. While we love the comeback story for Mack, we’re not going to love his fantasy production over the final stretch of the fantasy season.


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