Finally!!! Jeff Fisher has been fired from the head coaching position by the Los Angeles Rams. Anyone who has been reading this column since last season knows, definitively, how much I hate this guy. My only wish?… that he takes that other asshole, Gregg Williams, with him. For those who don’t understand my complete disdain for these miscreants, allow me to explain:
Allegedly (fuck you, NFL lawyers), from 2009 - 2011, the New Orleans Saints cooked up a scandal the likes of which the NFL had never before seen. The Saints’ coaching staff was proven complicit in an organized effort to assist their team in winning by administering injuries to key players on opponents’ teams. Defensive coordinator, and piss poor example of coaching, Gregg Williams, was caught on tape instructing his players to cause harm to various opposing players. The recording clearly catches Williams telling his men to go after Frank Gore’s head and Michael Crabtree’s ACL. Analyst and former Cowboys legendary wide receiver, Michael Irvin, said he “almost threw up” when he heard the part about going after Crabtree’s ACL. Williams is also heard telling his guys to go after wideout Kyle Williams, simply because of his concussion history.
Jeff Fisher (spitting sound) hired Williams in the wake of the scandal, and 2015 was speckled with dirty hits on Rams’ opponents, several of which caused serious, if not season ending injuries to multiple key NFL players. The most talked about was the hit that knocked Vikings’ quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, unconscious on the field, for a tense few moments. But, the season was speckled with examples of misdoings. Analysis: they’re all complicit, and if they all lost their jobs tomorrow, it would be too soon. Besides, there’s only one Fisher and Williams, and that's these guys. That being said, here are your starts and sits for Week 15 of the 2016 fantasy football playoffs!!
Colin Kaepernick (QB - SF) @ ATL (FantasyAces - $6,100)
The one piece of the SF puzzle who hasn’t been atrocious. Call it a fro-mance, but I just gotta like this guy. Kaep may have no choice but to throw a lot, against a high powered, fast moving Falcons offense, and might even be more mobile this week, depending on game flow. I expect at least a serviceable, if not, bounce-back performance out of Colin this Sunday.
RANKING: KNOB CREEK SMOKED MAPLE WHISKEY
Devonta Freeman (RB - ATL) VS. SF (FantasyAces - $5,700)
Freeman’s been a stud, and SF’s run defense has been a dud. Expect more of the same. You can practically set your watch to the 49ers consistent state of suck. They are the “Cumberland” to every “Georgia Tech” in the NFL. By the way, 2016 marked the 100th anniversary of the infamous 222 - 0 slaughter.
RANKING: SMOOTH AMBLER OLD SCOUT
Zach Ertz (TE - PHI) @ BAL (FantasyAces - $4,550)
The Ravens’ biggest weakness, besides Angry Tom Brady, is defending against the tight end. In the last four weeks, they have allowed an average of 9.18 points to the position. Martellus Bennett and Tyler Eifert both found the end zone. Zach has become a target monster, and that production should not slow down this Sunday.
RANKING: ABRAHAM BOWMAN PIONEER SPIRIT
Robby Anderson (WR - NYJ) VS. MIA (FantasyAces - $3,900)
What do the knee, foot, and back all have in common? They are all body parts currently ailing Brandon Marshall. Robby Anderson has been a largely unsung stud in the last few weeks, and he has emerged as Brice Petty’s favorite target. While a monster comeback by an injured Marshall is never out of the question, I expect Petty to still lean heavily on the talented young speedster. That 4.36 40 yard dash is plain as day when Robby is distancing himself from opposing secondaries. He’s a great flex play this week, with tremendous upside.
RANKING: GREEN SPOT CHATEAU LEOVILLE
Sleeper - Miami Dolphins (DEF) VS. NYJ (FantasyAces - $2,900)
The three basic elements of a successful fantasy defensive week: 1) go against a weaker quarterback; 2) do it at home; 3) have a talented squad. The ‘Fins should have their work cut out for them against the Jets this weekend, and hopefully it will translate into a high quality streaming option if you’re in the playoffs and hurting for a defense.
RANKING: SUNTORY HIBIKI 21 YEARS OLD
Philip Rivers (QB - SD) VS. OAK (FantasyAces - $6,650)
I see the Raiders being the same kind of “thorn in the side” as the Giants are, so often, to the Cowboys. Phil had a monster game against them back in October, but things have slowed down on the San Diego offense, while they have heated up in Oakland. The Raiders have stepped up on their pass protection. I feel like this matchup may bring some surprises, one of them being abnormally low pass production on both sides. It’s my bold prediction for the week.
RANKING: EARLY TIMES
Jack Doyle (TE - IND) @ MIN (FantasyAces - $3,900)
Dwayne Allen has been heating up in fantasy, and Doyle has pulled back. The Vikings should have no patience for either of them in this matchup.
RANKING: KENTUCKY GENTLEMAN
Dennis Pitta (TE - BAL) VS. PHI (FantasyAces - $4,300)
Pitta has had some success lately, but I don’t think it will amount to much against an Eagles defense which has surrendered the second fewest points to the position in 2016.
RANKING: Z. KOZUBA WHITE DOG
Free Space - Jeff "Ya should'a never hired that guy" Fisher! (Head Coach - His Couch) VS. Nobody (FantasyAces - ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )
One final word of advice… Now is not the time to get cute. Start the players who got you this far. You didn’t draft them high for nothing. Unless they are hurt, have done nothing for weeks, have a horrendous matchup AND you have a great backup option, or played against Jeff Fisher… plug in your fantasy aces! Trust your instincts. Stretch out with your feelings!!
Jeffrey Gray is a fire spinner, actor, fitness consultant, and works with M.D. and Osteopathic students on clinical skills. Fantasy Football has ruined his life, and he wouldn't have it any other way. Unless, squirrel! You can reach him on Twitter @graydog or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff "The Guru" Gray owns Gray Area Fitness, has a BA in Biology from Whittier College, works with osteopathic and medical students at 2 universities, is an avid shooter, acts, writes, and spins fire. Animal lover, Burner, traveller, fantasy football analyst, he's just your typical Tourette's/A.D.D. kid from the suburbs. He currently looks after his codependent dog and neurotic cat. Passion and experience sums it up for The Guru, and new destinations, great shows, cars, and crazy animal adventures are always within his purvey.