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Deshaun Watson

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With one week left in the fantasy regular season you might be sitting pretty as the #1 seed or maybe you’re clawing your way back into the playoff picture with a do or die game or, at the very least, you’re poised to play the role of spoiler because, while you’re out of it, a win this week would ruin Derek’s season. And seriously: fuck you, Derek.

Regardless of your predicament, the season has flashed before our eyes and the playoff push is upon us. 2017 has been really weird and, with the end of the fantasy season in sight, rosters are decimated, some teams are in tank mode and somehow Case Keenum has become a fantasy football savior. Here are some factors that could be vital for your playoff run:

Josh Gordon

The fantasy messiah. The reckoning. The perpetually suspended wideout. Josh Gordon will finally be activated this week against the Chargers. The former fantasy football god is returning to earth just in time for the playoffs. If you forgot, he’s still on the Browns but he’s only 26 and should have a lot left in the tank. If you were sneaky and followed his timeline all season, you added him to your roster for absolutely nothing. Now you get to insert him into your lineup and see his wizardry once again. Is it unfair to think that he’ll accumulate 1,000 yards in the remaining 5 games? He might not but he should because DeShone Kizer should throw him the ball on every down. Gordon’s impact should be enough for the Browns to get at least one win but, more importantly, he could be your secret weapon down the stretch. Have confidence playing him and then declare yourself a genius after you hoist the championship trophy in your fantasy league.

Go with your Gut or Take Risks?

If you’re a mere mortal and don’t have Josh Gordon on your roster, there are a few things you can do. In one corner, you can stay the course and go with what has gotten you to the playoffs in the first place. Whether it’s a solid RB1/RB2 duo or a trio of outstanding wideouts, you can keep chugging along with the roster that’s earned you a playoff spot. In the other corner, you could take some risks. Playing the hot hand over an established starter can be the difference between a playoff win or an end to your season. Taking huge risks with lineup shifts could be lead to success or devastation. Remember, money is now on the line and over-thinking your lineup could backfire. Look at your individual players and analyze the best matchups that they’re encountering. If you’ve got offensive weapons facing the Browns, 49ers or Colts, play them! Conversely, stingier defenses will make you debate whether or not you should start players lined up against them. Wavering on these decisions will lead to a lot of stress and anxiety. Ultimately, you know your team the best. It’ll be up to you to determine whether or not you want to take risks. Field what you think is your best lineup and roll with them.

Before I get into how Deshaun Watson’s injury completely fucked your season, let’s talk about how unfortunate it is that one of football’s top young players is lost for the season. He joins the ranks of Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr., J.J. Watt and a whole host of other stars on the long-term injury list. Watson has been lighting it up since he took to the field in the second half of Week 1. He’s putting up ungodly numbers and helped to create the season’s best game in last week’s matchup against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks when he threw for over 400 yards, rushing for 67 more and scoring four times.

This week’s PPGAR rankings is just a list of everyone in the Houston Texans offense. Well, not quite. But after that game in Seattle it seems possible, right? In all seriousness, Houston’s offense is nastttyyyy which makes the fact that they started the season with Tom Savage at the helm and a gameplan built rely exclusively on their defense to get them into a playoff spot all the more absurd. Props to Deshaun Watson and Co. for such a prolific half-season.

Sadly, Deshaun and gun-slinging Texans will be holstered for the remainder of the season with Tom Savage once again in command of the offense, now that Deshaun is now tragically done for the year after he tore his ACL in practice.1

Meanwhile, as Kareem Hunt continues his downward trajectory one guy who has maintained his strong play is Melvin Gordon. He’s flown under the radar this year with the rookie class of RBs playing so well, but his consistent performance in 2017 is a testament to the growth he’s shown since his rookie year. It also goes to show that sometimes buying low2 can really pay off in fantasy football.

It’ll takes years of player development and performance before we can accurately judge the 2017 NFL Draft but what good has patience ever done anyone? You’ve got a fantasy draft coming up in a few months! Let’s take a look at some of the big rookie names that’ll be in play come August.

Quarterbacks

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

As you’ve no doubt heard, the 2017 NFL Draft was not a strong one for quarterbacks. Apparently, that little tidbit didn’t make its way to the Chicago Bears who went full Leeroy Jenkins and barreled headfirst into an insane trade for the 2nd overall pick in order to snag Mitchell Trubisky. It’s entirely possible that, before he’s even snapped the ball once, Trubisky is already more hated in Chicago than Jay Cutler ever was. Read that sentence again. It doesn’t seem possible and yet, after signing Mike Glennon to a preposterously lucrative free agent contract, the Bears went all in on Trubisky and, well, here we are. This is what self-combustion looks like in the NFL. There is no fantasy value here. Trubisky likely won’t start until mid-season and has no one to throw the ball to. Apologies to the Kevin White truthers out there.

Verdict: Expect confusion, conflict and chaos in the Windy City. Hard pass.