Like/Dislike: Week 16 fantasy championship edition


What we are talking about:

  • Carlos Hyde

    Ready to roll vs. Rams

  • Rogue One!

    Let's discuss ...

  • Marcus Mariota

    Can he be trusted?

I used to have this coach who had a funny saying. He'd go, "Rank, you don't look good in a uniform." Actually, that wasn't my coach. It was former Major League manager Del Crandall. I was working for the Dodgers minor league affiliate in San Bernardino, Calif. at the time. And we had this one team in the league, Bakersfield, that was a co-op, which meant it had no Major League-affiliate and all of the players were free agents.

Well, one time the Bakersfield club was down a bunch of dudes and needed some players to suit up against us stat. My boss offered up my buddy co-worker Steve and me. Steve was really good. He played catcher at UC Santa Barbara. I didn't play in college, but my boss told him that I played at Cal State Fullerton.

Right then, Del turned to me and said, "Rank, you don't look good in a uniform."

And I was all, "How dare you, Skip. I was recruited to Puget Sound (go Loggers!) and I even tried to walk on to Cal State Fullerton, sir!"

"How far did you get?"

"Augie Garrido told me to get into the press box where I might actually do some good."


Long story short (as if), I didn't get a chance to play that night. Which is just as well. Because one of the pitchers on the team (not one of the ones who made it to the Majors) told me that he would have beaned me just for the fun of it. Which is hilarious. But it would have been worth it because I would have competed against Adrian Beltre, who was on our club at the time.

I should point out I was clearly not good enough to make the team (any team, really). I know I should front and tell everybody I had a shoulder injury and that's what derailed me. Anytime I talk to some dude and he's all, "Oh man, I was going to play hoops at UCLA, but I got a toe injury" or some (expletive), I don't buy it. Just the jump from high school to the college is huge. I was the same size and handedness of former Major Leaguer Mark Kotsay. That dude raked all over the field. I liked Jaeger Bombs. I mean, it wasn't even the same.

But back to my high school coach, he had this saying. He'd be like, "If I put a 2x4 on the ground, you guys would have no problem walking over it. But if I put it 30 stories in the air, you'd all be scared."

And I would always say, "No (expletive), because if I fell off the 2x4 on the ground, nothing would happen. I fall off from 30 stories up, I would be (expletive) dead."

You know what, I'm really starting to figure out why I wasn't very good in sports. I was very quick with the quips. Not so much with the step to first. Actually, I take that back. Running was never my problem. Especially in baseball. I just had a hard time putting the bat on the ball. Yeah, that was probably my biggest problem.

But what I think my coach was trying to say was don't try to put extra pressure on yourself. If you're headed into fantasy championship week, don't freak out. If you have a matchup where, let's say, you'd stream Matt Barkley if it was Week 7, then do that stuff this weekend. People all get too scared with the notion of, "I don't want to lose my championship with Matt Barkley." So you're good losing during the regular season? I mean, you're not really physically choosing Barkley to be your starting quarterback for eternity. You're playing a game of math and probability based on a set of variables. Just do what you got to do. Don't fret too much over your decisions. And just make an informed choice.

Unless it's Barkley. He doesn't look good in a uniform. (Kidding. Trust your instincts, set your roster and enjoy the games.)

And without further ado ...

Matthew Stafford had a passer rating of 100.5 for the season (21 touchdowns, five interceptions) before his finger injury. His rating is 64.6 since.

Stafford is 1-22 in his career on the road against teams to finish the season with a winning record, and he's 3-11 in primetime and playoff games.

It's also fair to point out Stafford grew up with Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.

I just provide the information for you. What you do with that information is completely up to you. I'm just pointing out Stafford grew up with Kershaw. There was no editorial comment added to it.

Bryce Petty will start against the Patriots. Good for him. No matter how his NFL career turns out. He can tell his grandkids that he once squared off against the GOAT Tom Brady. And then his grandkids can be all, "Who is that?" and do whatever grandkids will be doing in the next 50 years.

You might be surprised to find this out, but the Patriots have the NFL's top scoring defense (16.6 PPG) this season. New England has only had the No. 1 scoring defense under Bill Belichick (2003) one other time. Oh and spoiler alert, they won the Super Bowl.

Tom Savage will make his first career start on Saturday night. He will be the Texans' ninth-different starting quarterback since 2013. How Cleveland Browns of them.

Can somebody explain why the Texans even signed Brock Osweiler when they had basically the same dude? Obviously it was the GM. But what exactly did you think was going to happen? The Texans are that kind of team you can build through the defense. There are already some nice pieces there. I would rather spend the money that put in Osweiler and build up the offensive line. Look at what the Titans are doing. Of course, the Titans have a better chance of getting away with that because they have a much better quarterback. But still.

Marcus Mariota has given me the most fits this week. He was great during the early part of the season. And his playoff schedule indicated he would be the kind of guy who could get you to the playoffs, but the matchups were brutal. He's had Denver, Kansas City and now Jacksonville. And that's the thing. What are we going to get out of the Jags? A team that is upset Gus Bradley was let go (remember, he's a defensive guy) and is going to play with fire. Or will they make like Allan B. Calhamer and mail it in? (Good lord people, read a book.)

Where do the Vikings go from here? Sam Bradford is not going to be the quarterback of the future. But would their season have gone any different with Teddy Bridgewater? But then again, it's the Vikings so who cares.

BTW, I hope we can really stir up these Philip Rivers to the Cardinals rumors during the offseason. That needs to happen, especially if the team moves to Los Angeles and wants to start over. Think of all of the picks the Chargers could land in a Rivers deal. This really needs to happen.

I've also heard the Chargers would think about rebranding if the team moved to Los Angeles. This is a great idea. The fans in San Diego are getting robbed here, and they should be able to hold on to the Chargers name and marks. And most of those San Diego fans will probably be done with them anyway. But a brand new team name (probably colors, too, since you won't want to match the Rams color scheme) is a great move. At the risk of having too many bird mascots in the NFL, I would say the California Condors would be a pretty dope name. Shoot, I might even be a fan of the team. Well, if they had a new owner maybe. But let's go 'Dors!

Obviously I left Melvin Gordon off this space last week because he was nursing an injury. But I did want to give him a little recognition.

Jay Ajayi had 214 rushing yards and a touchdown against the Bills in Week 7. But the Dolphins offensive line is much different. Ajayi has had fewer than 80 rushing yards in six straight.

That was pretty cool of Adrian Peterson to return to the NFL in Week 15 and let us all see he wasn't going to be very effective. So great that we aren't starting him in Week 16. By the way, the Vikings aren't either because they've officially ruled him out.

Going back to the Vikings. You have to move on from AD, too, right? I'm not sure what the market for a running back over 30 is, but the Vikings have to move on from him.

Image I will give credit to Duke as it acted quickly against Grayson Allen. I don't want to indict every player who has ever played for Duke, but this is a renegade team and has been for years. I always found it laughable Duke was considered the "good guys" against my boyhood team, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.

Stefon Diggs has battled some injuries lately and it's up to Adam Thielen. Seriously Vikings, how were you going to win with this team? You need to move on.

Brandon Marshall has had 70 or fewer receiving yards in nine consecutive games. Robby Anderson is the dude now, but he's likely the one the Patriots take away.

Alshon Jeffery has at least eight targets in five consecutive games. He's had a receiving touchdown in two of his last three. But Josh Norman.

A.J. Green is back! Oh man, first off, why? I love that he still wants to play. A.J. is one of my favorite dudes, but come on. Take the rest of the year off and relax.

I had a dude on Twitter hit me up about playing Alshon, A.J. and Inman. We ended up settling on Inman. Or at least he told me he was going to do that.

Rishard Matthews scares me a lot this week, too. He's played great. But the Jags D ranks fourth against the pass. I could see a win ugly scenario, too. Where the Titans run the ball a ton. And really, I'm just going to end up talking around in circles with all of those guys. Because it's what I do.

Image Congratulations to Pearl Jam, Tupac, Journey and the others who made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That was well deserved. Much to my chagrin, I just realized Sublime is not in the Hall. I have to imagine it isn't eligible yet. But Sublime had albums out before Pearl Jam I think, so that can't be right. Well, we can talk about them another day. I'm shocked Depeche Mode didn't get in. Are you kidding me? One of the most influential bands out there. Anybody who traces their roots in symph-pop will no doubt be in line with D Mode. I mean, from Van Halen to Daft Punk, all of them can thank Depeche Mode for being trailblazers. This is wrong.

Image Oh (expletive)! Bad Brains didn't get in either? I can't even.

Image Some more "Rogue One" spoilers for you. And I promise you, I will keep them brief. I'm the most disappointed that one of my favorite standup bits is now gone forever. I always liked to joke that the demise of the Death Star was really due to some contractor who was too lazy to worry about the old service elevator that now doubles as an exhaust port. "Hey, do you think we should put a cover over that thing?" "Yeah, right. Like some X-Wing pilot is just going to come along with the perfect shot to take the whole thing down." But it's worth it, though. I should sneak it in a few more times before everybody sees it and while we still have a chance. But dang, how great was that movie?

Be sure to watch "Fantasy and Friends" at 6 p.m. ET on NFL Network, Monday-Wednesday and Friday. (Sorry, the Thursday night game preempts us. But you can be a part of the show by going to Also follow Adam Rank on Twitter @adamrank.