It’s the first round of the fantasy football playoffs, and despite mostly everything calcifying lately, injuries, poor performances, good performances, and the general weirdness that surrounds the NFL have us asking a lot of questions. Below we tackle a few of the standout performances (good and bad) from week fifteen to determine how we should proceed with some players in our fantasy semifinals.
Is Tykevious Chandler a League Winner?
If you had Ty Chandler in your fantasy lineups this week, then congratulations on making it to the second round. Chandler, who was rostered in about one-third of leagues heading into the week thanks to an Alexander Mattison injury, punched thousands of tickets to the second round after getting 23 carries and 3 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals. But, can we keep riding that hot hand going forward?
First, let’s get this out of the way: he’s earned, at worst, a timeshare with Alexander Mattison. Mattison has been completely inefficient with his touches this season, ranking 45th in yards per touch among running backs this season (4.3). But, I struggle with the matchups going forward.
The Vikings get two divisional matchups in the next two weeks, getting the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers in the next two weeks. The Lions are a matchup where you cannot go back to Chandler with any level of certainty. While Chandler is likely to get a good number of touches against them, the Lions are a dreadful running back matchup. They’re fresh off of dominating the Broncos running backs, and they’ve allowed double-digit fantasy points only seven times this season, despite 14 backs getting at least 10 opportunities against them.
Luckily, if you (rightly) bench Chandler against the Lions, they get the moribund Packers running back defense in week seventeen. The Pack has allowed four double-digit fantasy point games to running backs in the last three weeks, and they allow the eighth-most fantasy points to the position on the year.
So, is Ty Chandler a league winner? No. But is he going to be a valuable part of your fantasy matchups in week seventeen? Absolutely.
Can We Move on From Tua Tagovailoa?
The Dolphins smashed the Jets, but Tua Tagovailoa failed the test for his fantasy managers on Sunday. He finished with 224 passing yards and a touchdown, with a 60-yard touchdown accounting for the vast majority of his 12.96 fantasy points. This game marks the third time in four games that Tua failed to come in with at least 13 fantasy points, and it marks the fifth time in six games that he has finished outside the top ten in fantasy points at quarterback, and the eight-straight game that he’s failed to finish in the top-eight at the position.
Unfortunately, finishing as QB1 and QB2 in weeks one and three are in the long distant past for Tua, and his upcoming matchups are not ones that I want to steer into in a one-quarterback league. He failed to perform against the Jets this week (because Raheem Mostert did everything), but he has two more games against teams outside the top 20 in fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. The Cowboys were kicked around on Sunday, but it was James Cook—not Josh Allen—who did the kicking. Tua has two terrible matchups coming up and he hasn’t performed well lately. I don’t know how you can continue to start Tua in your fantasy playoffs with any sort of faith that he will perform.
Should We Sit Stefon Diggs?
Stefon Diggs struggled on Sunday, despite the Bills blowing out the Cowboys 31-10. He finished with 4 catches for 48 yards, marking the fourth time in five games that Diggs failed to reach 9 PPR fantasy points. Given that the Bills finished Sunday with everything clicking, and Diggs once again failed to produce for fantasy managers, is it time to look elsewhere next week?
If you made it through your first round in your fantasy matchup, then great job, because his struggles are easily explained, and likely in the past, and he has a primo matchup next week. Here’s the quick and easy explanation for Stefon Diggs’ recent struggles: bad matchups. Yes, sometimes, it is just that easy. He’s played four of the six worst wide receiver matchups in the last five weeks, and he averaged 3.75 catches for 33.25 yards in those games. Probably because they are tough matchups. Diggs just stacked them, which is why we are worried about him sliding recently. His one good matchup in that stretch came against the Eagles, and he finished with 6 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. So, he dominated a great matchup.
Diggs has dominated good matchups all season, as he’s played against eight teams who rank in the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. In those games, he’s averaged 21.9 PPR points per game on 7.5 catches, 93 yards, and 0.875 touchdowns per game. He has two great matchups up next, as he gets the circling-the-drain Los Angeles Chargers and the Rashee-Rice-just-smacked-around New England Patriots in the next two weeks.