It's a bittersweet time of year.
Fantasy football is nearly gone for the next eight months, but some of the best football we get every year is played over the next three weeks.
Before we officially turn the page on the 2015-16 fantasy season, the Divisional Round features four games chock full of enticing matchups that could make for a fun weekend in daily games.
Let’s recap Wednesday’s news with an eye towards the action on Saturday and Sunday.
Divisional Round News and Notes
We’re still three days away from game-day, but it would probably take a miracle or quick healing for DeAngelo Williams (foot) to play Sunday against the Broncos. He visited a specialist on Monday for the ailment -- which is never a good sign -- and all indications point to him not practicing again all week. In Williams’ absence in the Wild Card round, Fitzgerald Toussaint out-snapped (49:14) and out-touched Jordan Todman (21:11) against the Bengals.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is “hopeful” that Antonio Brown (concussion) can play in Denver on Sunday. Brown didn't practice on Wednesday. If he can't go against the Broncos, it would obviously be a massive loss for an already-hampered Steelers’ offense that will likely be without DeAngelo Williams while Ben Roethlisberger is nursing a shoulder injury. Antonio Brown put 16-189-2 (on 18 targets) on Denver back in Week 15, but this Pittsburgh offense needs to get healthy in a hurry.
Another fairly murky situation, it's too early to say anything definitive this early in the week regarding Jeremy Maclin’s (ankle) status. Cleared of an ACL-tear scare, Maclin didn't practice on Wednesday and Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid is calling Maclin’s ankle sprain “mild.” It's looking like Maclin has a real shot at playing against the Patriots and could play in a limited or decoy role at less than 100 percent. We’ll continue to update Maclin’s status throughout the week.
While he could have received a maintenance day, Spencer Ware (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. This won't be a big issue if Ware practices in a limited fashion on Thursday or Friday, but his availability is certainly worth monitoring very closely throughout the week. Ware has out-touched Charcandrick West 32:23 over their past two contests. If Ware can't play, West would resume a full-time role on the road in New England.
Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) practiced on Wednesday, but there isn’t any guarantee he’ll play in the Divisional Round after practicing all of last week only to not travel with his team to Minnesota on Friday night. In turn, Christine Michael played on 67.2 percent of the Seahawks snaps against Minnesota, logged 22 touches and rushed for 21-70 (3.33 YPC). We’ll see if Lynch can continue this trend upward towards playing on Thursday and Friday. Seattle plays on Sunday, so we should have a good idea by Friday night if Lynch is playing or not.
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News From Around the League
The Browns got their man in now former-Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson on Wednesday, making him their new head coach. Cleveland has completely cleaned house, firing former general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine and bringing in Paul DePodesta as Chief Strategy Officer and Sashi Brown as Executive VP of Football Operations. Jackson oversaw career seasons out of Andy Dalton and Tyler Eifert this past year and Cincinnati finished the regular season No. 1 in Football Outsiders’ Team Offense DVOA metric. Hopefully Jackson and the fresh ideas of the Browns’ new staff can turn the organization around.
Staying in-house, the Giants are “close to a deal” that would promote offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to head coach. McAdoo oversaw a marked improvement of Eli Manning (with some help of one Odell Beckham) over the past two years with touchdown passing percentages of 5.0 and 5.7 percent in 2014 and 2015, ranking 10th and 7th in the league respectively. Keeping McAdoo would do wonders for continuity on the offensive side of the ball.