“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor
We’re just 4 days away from Christmas.
Did that sentence give you an automatic sense of panic throughout your entire body? It does mine. The level of expectations around the holidays is almost unbearable. Between shopping, decorating, cooking, cleaning and hosting friends and loved ones, it doesn’t feel like there is much time for anything else. A holiday that is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful.
Something I’ve learned over the last few years is to embrace the stress. If you are someone who celebrates Christmas, madness is inevitable. Rather than fear it, allow it to frustrate you or lose sleep over it, remember why you’re doing it. From the day after Thanksgiving until late on Dec. 24, you are preparing for an amazing day of food, drink, gifts and festivities with those closest to you.
This fantasy football season has been a lot like the holiday season. It’s been nothing short of stressful. In that stress, it’s easy to forget why we subject ourselves to this game within a game. This past week has definitely been a punctuation mark to that stress and ultimate frustration. With a flood of additions to the COVID-19/Reserve List, on top of the slew of injuries we’ve become accustomed to, a lot of us, myself included, suffered some frustrating playoff defeats.
Just like with Christmas, I say embrace the stress. Remember that we love this game, despite the constant frustration of things beyond our control. Every season, mistake or devastating loss is a chance to get better as a fantasy manager. It’s a journey to the top, my friends. Success rarely comes overnight.
Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you have at least one team still in contention. Congratulations! That is no small task, especially given that waiver wire claims could actually win you a matchup in this insane 2021 NFL landscape. Heading into what should be the semi-finals in most leagues, I have two players I think could qualify as a late-season league winner and one I’m not willing to take a chance on.
I know your time is precious, so let’s get to it in this week’s edition of “Hot, Medium & Mild!”
Hot, Medium & Mild: Round No. 2
HOT — Rocoto
Josh Reynolds (WR, Detroit Lions)
2 weeks in a row now, I’m writing about a Detroit Lions wide receiver. Last week it was rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown, who did not disappoint. He logged 23.5 Points Per Reception (PPR) points at a time when we all needed it most. In that same game, we also saw Josh Reynolds get involved, scoring a season-high 18.8 PPR points.
Without running back D’Andre Swift or tight end T.J. Hockenson, Detroit is leaning more on the receivers. Quarterback Jared Goff was efficient last week in a surprising win against the Arizona Cardinals. It appears something is starting to click for Goff – albeit at a strange time – and Reynolds is a part of that. He saw multiple red-zone targets last week, one of which he managed to turn into a touchdown.
Head coach, Dan Campbell, has made it clear they are not going to tank. This team wants to win, and if they’re going to do it, they will need the passing game to continue to play as it did against the Cardinals. Given the lack of targets outside of St.Brown and wide receiver Kalif Raymond, Reynolds is a solid volume play with a nice ceiling if he continues to get those red-zone looks from Goff. If you’re in a rough spot and need a solid FLEX play, Reynolds may be your man.
MEDIUM — Super Chili
Duke Johnson (RB, Miami Dolphins)
Yes, you read that right. Duke Johnson. Johnson, formerly of the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans, was elevated from the practice squad just before Miami’s Week 15 matchup against the New York Jets. As the lead back, shockingly ahead of running back Myles Gaskin, Johnson managed to turn 22 carries into 107 yards and two touchdowns, good for 25.7 PPR points.
I would usually shrug something like this off as a one-time boon, but the Dolphins were impressed enough to sign him to their active roster for the remainder of the 2021 season. Miami is currently on a tear, having won their last six games, and are now fighting for a wild card spot. Johnson appears to have the hot hand right now, and I expect head coach, Brian Flores, to stay with Johnson until it doesn’t work anymore.
This is a high-end dart throw roster addition. While it does seem unlikely Johnson can manage another 25-plus point game, anything is possible. I would rather take a chance on him than roll the dice with someone like Detroit’s running back Craig Reynolds. Don’t blow what little Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB) you have left on him, but if you need a solid pivot in case of emergency, Johnson should be worth the cost of admission.
MILD — Banana Pepper
Davis Mills (QB, Houston Texans)
With options at quarterback incredibly slim due to injury and COVID-19 designations, finding someone with a pulse to throw into your lineups is a priority right now. Davis Mills fits that bill, and to be fair, has played decent as of late. Over his last two games, he is averaging 16.3 fantasy points with two touchdowns and only one interception. Those are hardly QB1 numbers, but with some of the other options out there, Mills doesn’t look half bad.
I’m not going to tell you that you absolutely should not add Davis Mills to your roster if you need a pivot in case of disaster. That would be irresponsible. What I am going to tell you, or more point out, is that the Texans’ next two games are against the Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers. Those are tough matchups for any quarterback, let alone a rookie on a losing team. While Mills could play well in those games, it probably isn’t worth the risk at this point.
And there you have it, folks. Take it or leave it and good luck in round two of the fantasy playoffs!
And now, a special holiday #dadjoke!
What do you call a kid who doesn’t believe in Santa?
A rebel without a Claus.
As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @JeNateJackFF.