Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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Final 2017 Power Rankings

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


If you’ve taken the time to read my intros throughout the season (I’m not offended if you skip right to the rankings—that’s what they’re there for), you’ve probably noticed a running theme. I am of the mindset that fantasy football, though rewarding in spurts, can be immensely frustrating. We all have battle scars. For example, my dad, a long-time fantasy player, recently lost the championship game in our family’s 10-team league for the fourth year in a row (and by only 1.6 points).

 

Getting knocked down is part of fantasy, but when it comes to Sunday drama, nothing beats DFS. I enter a smattering of lineups on FanDuel each week, using some in head-to-heads and multipliers while saving the rest for larger tournaments like the Sunday Bomb. There’s usually some overlap, but I like to cast a fairly wide net by jamming my lineups with as many combinations as possible.

 

Now compared to season-long where your options are somewhat limited, there are a million ways to screw it up on FanDuel. Too much chalk, not enough chalk, overpaying, underpaying, fading a certain Todd Gurley—I’ve done it all. And now we can add another failure to that list—wasting a once-in-a-lifetime lineup on a handful of multipliers and $5 head-to-heads. Move over George Costanza, there’s a new Lord of the Idiots and his name is Jesse Pantuosco.

 

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, my highest-scoring lineup of the season:

 

QB: Matthew Stafford ($7,800)—27.12

RB: Dion Lewis ($7,200)—28.3

RB: Alex Collins ($6,800)—16.6

WR: Keenan Allen ($8,600)—29.8

WR: Marvin Jones ($7,300)—16.1

WR: Jarvis Landry ($7,200)—19.7

TE: Jack Doyle ($5,400)—11.8

K: Robbie Gould ($4,800)—11

DEF: Chargers ($4,900)—10

Total: 170.42

 

Had I entered that murderer’s row in the Sunday Bomb, I would have come in 10th place out of 14,260 participants with a payout of $1,500. Not a bad chunk of change, right? But because I’m a pioneer in finding new ways to lose on FanDuel (I’m the Marco Polo of embarrassing fantasy defeats), that’s not what happened. Instead I entered a pair of Kirk Cousins lineups, neither of which cashed, and finished my Sunday with a net profit of $56.75. Your move, Costanza.

 

As the day went on and I noticed my Stafford lineup exploding while the rest of my entries predictably face-planted, I did something I never thought I would do—root against my own lineup. Missing out on a chance at $1,500, though less than ideal, is something I can get over in a few days. But what if it had been $50,000 or even $100,000?

 

At one point, it looked like things were heading that way. I was sitting at 168 points with the Ravens driving, praying for anyone other than Alex Collins to score a touchdown. Thankfully it went to Mike Wallace instead. I’ll admit, I openly applauded when Jarvis Landry was tossed for “disrespecting an official” with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter. No more points for you, bud.

 

Now imagine if I HAD entered my Stafford lineup in the Bomb and needed that Collins touchdown or another few points from Landry to get to $100,000. I would have been equally devastated. In either case, I got greedy, wanting what I couldn’t have instead of simply enjoying the journey. I’ve never been that gung-ho on New Year’s resolutions—I know I can’t keep up the gym membership or limit my late-night consumption of Wild Cherry Pepsi. But maybe taking a moment to smell the roses is something I can do a better job of in 2018.

 

Just as they did in Week 1, the Patriots will finish the year at No. 1 in my Power Rankings.

 

1. New England Patriots

 

Record: 13-3

 

Last Week: 1

 

Dion Lewis finished the regular season with a bang, exploding for 366 yards from scrimmage (289 rushing, 77 receiving) and five touchdowns over his final three games. His 896 rushing yards and nine touchdowns are both career-highs. Rob Gronkowski needed either 11 catches or 116 yards in Week 17 to trigger a $2 million performance bonus. Naturally he wasn’t targeted on any of his 58 snaps. I smell a conspiracy.

 

Editor’s Note: If it feels like people are talking about Bitcoin everywhere you go, it’s because they are. And now you can add FanDuel to that list, who this week are hosting their Bitcoin Bowl, consisting of two separate contests where you can win real Bitcoin. Join the Bitcoin craze now!

 

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Record: 13-3

 

Last Week: 2

 

He won’t win Rookie of the Year—Alvin Kamara’s name is already engraved on the trophy—but that shouldn’t take anything away from what JuJu Smith-Schuster accomplished in Pittsburgh this year. The 21-year-old led all rookies in both receiving yards (917) and touchdowns (seven) this season. Landry Jones continues to be a thorn in Hue Jackson’s side—but then again, who isn’t a thorn in Hue Jackson’s side?

 

3. Minnesota Vikings

 

Record: 13-3

 

Last Week: 3

 

Stefon Diggs disappeared during a midseason lull but finished the year on a three-game touchdown streak. His eight receiving touchdowns are the most by a Viking since 2012. Meanwhile Latavius Murray helped Minnesota clinch a first-round bye with 114 yards (111 rushing, three receiving) and two touchdowns in Sunday’s win over the Bears. Murray has visited the end zone 20 times over his last two seasons.

 

4. Los Angeles Rams

 

Record: 11-5

 

Last Week: 5

 

Todd Gurley should be well-rested after getting a breather in Week 17. Only Ezekiel Elliott averaged more rushing yards per game than Gurley in 2017. Cooper Kupp was automatic down the stretch, averaging 77.6 yards over his final five regular season games. The Rams will host a playoff game in Los Angeles Saturday for the first time since 1985. That’s one year before Sean McVay was born.

 

5. New Orleans Saints

 

Record: 11-5

 

Last Week: 6

 

It’s no accident the Saints won the NFC South for the first time since 2011. They absolutely killed it in the draft by selecting Marshon Lattimore, the likely Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Alvin Kamara, the odds-on favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year. Kamara had a year for the ages, leading the league in yards per carry (6.1) while also leading all running backs with 826 receiving yards. Michael Thomas caught five or more passes in 14-of-16 games this year while setting a team record with 104 receptions.

 

6. Philadelphia Eagles

 

Record: 13-3

 

Last Week: 4

 

The Eagles are limping into the playoffs after a shaky win over the Raiders in Week 16 and a shutout loss to the Cowboys in Sunday’s regular season finale. Nick Foles hasn’t looked comfortable the last two weeks, completing just 46.9 percent of his passes with a brutal 48.2 quarterback rating during that span. At least the Eagles will be playing at home, where they’ve lost just once all season.

 

7. Carolina Panthers

 

Record: 11-5

 

Last Week: 7

 

Rather than ending the regular season on a high note, Cam Newton fell apart in Week 17, completing just 14-of-34 passes (41.2 percent) with three interceptions in a loss to Atlanta. Still, he led all quarterbacks with a career-high 754 rushing yards this year including 59 in Sunday’s defeat. What’s it going to take to get Greg Olsen going? The 32-year-old has topped 30 receiving yards just once this season.

 

8. Kansas City Chiefs

 

Record: 10-6

 

Last Week: 9

 

Kareem Hunt logged just one carry in Week 17 but made it a good one, scoring a 35-yard touchdown to lock up the NFL rushing title. He’s the first Chief to lead the league in rushing since Priest Holmes in 2011. The future looks bright for first-round rookie Patrick Mahomes, who completed 22-of-35 passes for 284 yards in his debut Sunday at Denver.

 

9. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Record: 10-6

 

Last Week: 8

 

Sunday Jacksonville will host its first home playoff game since 1999. Unfortunately the Jags don’t have much momentum right now after closing the year with losses to San Francisco and Tennessee. Blake Bortles has completed just 56 percent of his passes with five interceptions during that stretch. Leonard Fournette struggled to 3.22 yards per carry over his final seven games, but still finished the year with over 1,000 yards rushing, becoming the first Jaguar to reach that threshold since Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011.

 

10. Atlanta Falcons

 

Record: 10-6

 

Last Week: 10

 

Only Antonio Brown totaled more receiving yards than Julio Jones this season, though somehow Jones managed just three touchdowns, his fewest since 2013. The Rams can expect a heavy dose of Devonta Freeman in Saturday’s playoff opener. Freeman beasted down the stretch with 449 yards from scrimmage (276 rushing, 173 receiving) and three touchdowns over his final four games.

 

11. Los Angeles Chargers

 

Record: 9-7

 

Last Week: 13

 

Keenan Allen gave fantasy owners a going away present with another 100-yard game in Sunday’s finale. He topped 100 yards in four of his final six games while setting a team-record with 102 catches. Not to be denied, Casey Hayward earned PFF’s No. 1 coverage grade out of 121 qualifiers at cornerback this year. Only Tom Brady threw for more yards than Philip Rivers in 2017.

 

12. Tennessee Titans

 

Record: 9-7

 

Last Week: 18

 

Tennessee ended a nine-year playoff drought with its win over Jacksonville in Week 17. The Titans went 5-1 against the AFC South and 4-6 versus everyone else. Tennessee also finished the year with a -22 point differential. Compare that to the Ravens (+92) and Chargers (+83), who both missed the postseason. As undeserving as the Titans may be, Kevin Byard looks like the real deal. The second-year safety tied for the league-lead with eight interceptions this year including two in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville.

 

13. Seattle Seahawks

 

Record: 9-7

 

Last Week: 12

 

For the first time since 2011, Seattle will not be playing postseason football. The Seahawks are at a crossroads with DC Kris Richard interviewing for the Colts’ head-coaching vacancy and Jimmy Graham headed for free agency. Michael Bennett could also be a goner while Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor are both dealing with career-threatening injuries. At least Russell Wilson, who led the league with 34 touchdown passes, isn’t going anywhere.

 

14. Buffalo Bills

 

Record: 9-7

 

Last Week: 16

 

The drought is over. After an 18-year dry spell, the Bills are finally headed back to the postseason. They got a major assist from Andy Dalton, who has quickly ascended to hero status in Buffalo. Unfortunately it may not be a long stay for the Bills, especially if LeSean McCoy (sprained ankle) can’t go Sunday against Jacksonville. But hey, who needs Shady when you have Kyle Williams to carry the rock?

 

15. Baltimore Ravens

 

Record: 9-7

 

Last Week: 11

 

28-3 still takes the cake when it comes to gut-wrenching sports losses, but Sunday’s heart-breaker will stay with the Ravens for a long time. Baltimore had plenty of time to counter Cincinnati’s late touchdown with 38 seconds and all three of their timeouts remaining, but the comeback effort fell short, quite literally as Joe Flacco completed a 13-yard pass to Ben Watson on fourth-and-14. At least Alex Collins did his part, keeping things close with this impossible touchdown.

 


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Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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