After tonight, there will be only two games left in the NFL Season. The playoff picture is starting to come into view but there are still questions. Sunday’s action didn’t always clarify those questions. For fantasy players, it’s likely all coming down to a miracle tonight and hopefully a trip to the finals next week. Before we look at tonight’s contest, let’s look back at what we learned from the rest of the Week 16 action.
My Super Bowl Picks Aren’t Dead Yet
In August, I picked a throwback to the 1990s, with the Buffalo Bills and the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl. For a lot of the middle of the season, I felt some regret. But both teams sent messages on Sunday. The Bills went into New England and won 33-21, moving to 9-6 and back into first place in the AFC East. It hasn’t been the season I expected, but the Bills seem to be peaking at the right time. The Cowboys, meanwhile, won the NFC East. They also hung 56 points on Washington, showing that explosive offense and suffocating defense is back. In short, I never left the band wagon and fortunately it’s circling back around to find me.
If It Wasn’t For Bad Luck, the Jaguars Would Have No Luck At All
It hasn’t been a good season for the Jaguars and it got worse on Sunday as James Robinson, one of the lone bright spots, tore his Achilles’ tendon. He’s done for the year and could be slow coming back in 2022. With Travis Etienne coming back off an injury that cost him all of 2021, it takes a position that should have been a strength for the Jaguars and turns it into a question heading into yet another regime change this off-season. It’s not been a great time to be a Jaguars’ fan.
The Race for the Final AFC Playoff Spot is Going to be Fun
The Los Angles Chargers lost to the Houston Texans, giving up 41 points along the way. That included allowing nearly 150 yards to running back Rex Burkhead. The Ravens, minus their top two quarterbacks, gave up 40-plus point to the Bengals for the second time this season, lowing their fourth straight game. The Raiders, meanwhile, followed up a gutsy win over the Browns on Monday with a win at home against the Broncos Sunday. All three teams sit at 8-7 and all have a decent shot at the final playoff spot in the AFC. The Ravens are there now, but with two weeks left it’s anyone’s ball game and should make for a fun and wild finish in the AFC.
And now, let’s talk about tonight’s game.
Monday Night Preview
The Miami Dolphins (7-7) and New Orleans Saints (7-7) clash tonight, and it couldn’t be any more playoff relevant. In both the AFC and NFC, an 8-7 team holds the final playoff spot. The winner of this game will join that group. For the Dolphins, which would create a logjam with the Raiders, Ravens and Chargers with two weeks left. For the Saints, it would put them up with the 49ers and Eagles battling for two spots, a game up on the Vikings. If these teams want to make the playoffs, they need a win here. But only one can get it.
In terms of fantasy, this game sees one team significantly short-handed. The Dolphins are doing OK. Tua Tagovailoa is a decent starting option at quarterback, while Jaylen Waddle is a great start at receiver and Mike Gesicki is a decent start at tight end. The backfield is more of a question. In desperation I’m starting Duke Johnson, but it’s possible it’s Myles Gaskin. Either way, you’re taking a gamble.
The Saints have faced the ravages of COVID. Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian are both out. Adam Trautman is also out. If you need a Monday Night Miracle, the only player I’m starting is running back Alvin Kamara.
Given the COVID situation, I think the Dolphins get the win here.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.