Sid Saraf’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 17
It’s official: Fantasy football has jumped the shark.
This isn’t me being bitter over a tough loss. In fact, quite the opposite. I just won my third league title. And let me tell you, I had no business even making the playoffs. My squad was a tattered shell of itself after a season of injuries, underwhelming high draft picks and questionable personnel decision.
Yet somehow, every team I faced off against in the postseason suffered some sort of calamity, starting with my first-round opponent losing fantasy beast Alvin Kamara after just two plays. And I kept benefitting all the way to the championship and a cool $1,000 in prize money.
I’m a complete fraud, but of course, I’m not returning the cash.
Anyway, let’s see how the league is shaping up heading into the regular-season finale.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
NFL’S TOP 10
1) Patriots – I’m convinced Tom Brady will play until he’s 45. And that’s so depressing as someone who was sick and tired of this Patriots nonsense years ago. The guy is just a machine, even though I say there’s something suspicious about that trainer he uses.
2) Eagles – Head coach Doug Pederson wants his starters to play on Sunday, despite having clinched homefield advantage in the playoffs. I’m actually OK with this, since Nick Foles can only benefit from more reps. Just crossing my fingers that nothing bad happens.
3) Rams – What a ride. The Rams are guaranteed at least one home game in the playoffs. Just in time for the Los Angeles bandwagon to fill up to capacity. There’s nothing my hometown loves more than a winner, besides yoga and maybe kale.
4) Vikings – They’re one spot below the Rams, despite having a better record, simply because L.A. is red hot at the moment. But the Vikings are clearly the pick to get out of the NFC with a bye week and a potential NFC Championship Game matchup against an Eagles team that could be vulnerable.
5) Steelers – Pittsburgh is still in play for homefield advantage, but it seems Mike Tomlin might be willing to punt on that in favor of giving Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell rest. Neither star practiced on Friday, which is a good sign they’ll both be in street clothes on Sunday.
6) Panthers – Speaking of red-hot teams, here’s another sexy NFC playoff team and it almost seems like they’re flying under the radar. The only thing that would stop them is a road game against the Vikings.
7) Saints – They’ve already locked up a playoff spot, and while a win here could help with seeding, why take the risk of injury? Sit the important pieces and play it safe.
8) Jaguars – That blowout loss in San Francisco is the kind of performance we’re used to seeing out of Jacksonville the past few years. Their defense is still vicious and will be a tough out in the playoffs.
9) Ravens – I don’t know how they did it, but here they are. A win here and they’re in the playoffs. And since Baltimore is my adopted hometown, I couldn’t be happier. Shouldn’t be difficult to take care of business vs. the Bengals.
10) Chiefs – This clown show is a total fraud, despite having clinched the AFC West crown. You can quote me on that. It’ll be a real shame if this team actually wins a playoff game.
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
Black Monday: It won’t be as fun as previously anticipated. We’ve already received assurances that Jay Gruden will coach the Redskins next season, the Jets gave Todd Bowles an extension and the Bucs won’t cut ties with Dirk Koetter. So that means the Jon Gruden Returns to Tampa dream is dead.
However, Chuck Pagano looks like a goner and suddenly reports are popping up that Bill O’Brien might be in danger in Houston. It also wouldn’t be surprising if Jack Del Rio, John Fox and Bruce Arians ended up unemployed.
Sunday Night Football: I don’t understand the ruckus over the NFL canceling the late game this week. There are no truly compelling matchups, so why force the issue? And no, I don’t view this as a sign the league is dying.
Andrew Luck: The good news? He’s feeling stronger. The bad news? He hasn’t thrown a football in eight months. Poor guy. Nothing would make me happier than to see our boy actually taking part in offseason workouts.
Seahawks: Have we seen the last of the Legion of Boom? Earl Thomas reportedly told Cowboys coach Jason Garrett that he’d love to be in Dallas, Richard Sherman looks to be out the door as well (L.A., anyone?) and who knows how much Kam Chancellor has left. They need help to get to the playoffs, and if they don’t get it, it won’t be surprising if we see big changes in the Pacific Northwest.
Chris Long: It’s not every day that you get props from Barack Obama. But Mr. Long did for his charitable efforts this season. When you get singled out by a former president, you’re probably doing something right.
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 17
Jets at Patriots: Worth watching just to see how fast New England can wrap this one up and clinch the No. 1 overall seed. I feel they’ll have a big enough lead by halftime.
Browns at Steelers: Will Cleveland go 0-16? They’re likely going to face a Steelers team without their top three offensive stars, so if they lose, they really suck.
Bengals at Ravens: Win and you’re in. Come on, Ravens, get it done.
Panthers at Falcons: Same deal for the Falcons. One win and you’re back in the postseason with a chance to erase the haunting memory of the last Super Bowl.
49ers at Rams: Yes, it’s interesting to see the Rams, but who cares about them. This is all about Jimmy G, bro!