Monday Recap, Week 17

Often during championship week it comes down to the last game of the week. In this case, Monday’s contest is not only the last game, it’s quite possibly the best game. The Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals are two of the best teams in the AFC and their clash has a lot on the line. You might also have a lot on the line. If that’s the case, the preview below will either make you nervous or excited. But before we get to that, let’s consider what else we learned from Sunday’s games.

The Buccaneers—and Mike Evans—Finally Showed Up

For a while, it looked bad. I had previously picked the Carolina Panthers and thought they had a chance to win. Into the Fourth Quarter, the Panthers had a 21-10 lead and it looked like that might be the end. Instead, the Buccaneers rallied. Tom Brady connected with Evans twice as the team scored three Fourth Quarter touchdowns to get the win, and take the division. In total, Brady connected with Evans on three touchdowns, throwing for more than 400 yards. In a season where the Buccaneers’ offense has struggled mightily, this was a game where the team seemed to put it together. The Buccaneers close the season against the Falcons and look to be getting it together for the post-season.

Daniel Jones Is Giving the Giants Plenty to Think About

The Giants declined Jones’ Fifth-Year option prior to the season. After three uneven seasons it made some sense. The Giants weren’t sure Jones was the answer and with a new coach and GM in town, it made sense to leave some flexibility. In this prove it year, Jones has done just that. The Giants are 9-6-1, have made the playoffs and look strong despite a dearth of options at receiver. That’s a credit to Jones. We saw it on display Sunday where he threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more in a 38-10 win to secure the Giants’ playoff spot. He’s given the team—and the rest of the league—plenty to consider heading into free agency.

The Dolphins Have Faded

With a loss in Week 16, the Dolphins went winless in December. In addition, the team lost starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who was placed in the concussion protocol following the Week 16 loss. On Sunday, the Dolphins still had a chance to clinch a playoff berth. Instead, the team suffered a 23-21 loss to the Patriots, the fifth straight for the team, and now will need a win and some help in Week 18 for a chance to make the playoffs. And it still remains to be seen if Tagovailoa will be cleared to return. On Sunday, the Dolphins also saw backup Teddy Bridgewater exit with a finger injury. So, the Dolphins season could come down to rookie Skylar Thompson in a must-win game against the New York Jets. Buckle up.

And now, on to Monday’s game.

Buffalo Bills (12-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (11-4)

The Bills entered Week 17 at the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Bengals entered the week with a lead in the AFC North. Both teams need to win to keep that going. The Bengals also have a chance to move up in the AFC seeding, with a win over the Bills giving them an edge, the same thing they have over the Chiefs. Suffice to say, this is not only a battle of two great teams, but also two teams with plenty on the line.

You might also have a lot on the line in your fantasy competitions. And it’s hard to image two teams capable of giving more points. For the Bills, Josh Allen is a QB1 if not THE QB1. Among receivers, Stefon Diggs is a WR1 for me, while Devin Singletary is an RB2 and Dawson Knox is a borderline TE1. The biggest question is Gabe Davis. He’s capable of huge games, making him a WR3 with boom capability.

For the Bengals, Joe Burrow is a QB1 while Joe Mixon is an RB1 and Ja’Marr Chase is a WR1. Tee Higgins is a borderline WR1 and Hayden Hurst is a TE2 with upside for me. Both these teams are fantasy rich, and both of them are capable of challenging big fantasy leads or making up big deficits. This one’s going to be fun.

The Pick: Bills

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.

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