The fantasy season is largely (if not entirely) behind us, but let’s take one final sweep of the league, six-pack style…
86.4 – First-year receiver Rashid Shaheed was an absolute revelation, forging his way into an important late-season role for the Saints. He’s caught 86.4% of his targets (19 of 22) in his last five games, an outrageous rate for a player who averages over 18 yards per catch. Keep this super-fast wide array in your fantastic plans for 2023:
Shahid and Chris Olave look like a dangerous, well-matched combo.
84.2 – At the end of your fantasy season, Travis Kelce had outscored the No. 2 tight end by a fantastic 84.2 points in Yahoo’s default settings. Kelce has doubled the point total of all but five other tight ends this season (one of which is an impostor tight end, Taysom Hill). He hasn’t reached the end zone since November, but he’s still averaged 6.2 receptions and 77.6 receiving yards in his last five games. Kelce turns 34 next year and at some point we suspect he will enter a phase of decline.
But he’s just produced his third season with over 100 receptions, 1,300 yards and double-digit touchdowns, so the decline isn’t quite underway.
72.4 – Daniel Jones is of course coming off a signature performance in which he accounted for four combined touchdowns — two assists, two rushes — while producing a 125.2 passer rating. Over his last five games, Jones has actually hit 72.4% of his shots — a rate that becomes more impressive when you consider who, exactly, is on the other end of those attempts. With all due respect to Isaiah Hodgins and Richie Jamesuh… well, these guys aren’t quite at the top level Victor Cruz and Nicks Hakeem. Jones had been an incoming punch this season, but he completely rewrote the scouting report.
55 – Justin Fields took a sack in 55 of his 444 retirements this season, which is just an outrageous total. Fields now leads the NFL in sacks and yards shed when sacked (359). Some of that can obviously be pinned on Chicago’s terrible and damaged O-line, but a lot is also attributable to Fields himself.
The fields have previously indicated he would like to claim the single-season QB running mark this season, which would only require 64 extra yards, but it looks like the Bears have other plans. Nathan Petermann has reportedly named starter for Week 18which is likely proof that the franchise wants to lock in the best possible draft slot and protect Fields from any further damage.
Either way, let’s just hope he can enter the 2023 season undamaged, playing behind an improved line.
29 – Just in case you haven’t noticed, Najee Harris has been excellent in his last eight games since his team’s Week 9 exit. Harris has forced 29 missed tackles on rushing attempts over the past eight weeks, the third-most total among all running backs, gaining 408 yards after contact, averaging 4.2 YPC and scoring six touchdowns. He’s passed 80 yards from scrimmage six times in that streak, including each of the last three weeks.
Harris was rightly on the Fantasy Bust of the Year watch list midway through the season, but he avoided that accolade with a sly second half. The hurdles are back, as are the demoralizing stiff arms…
4.92 – Cam Akers has averaged 4.92 yards per carry in his last five games, by far the most productive and efficient streak of his career, at least in the regular season. He looks a lot like the guy who ran all over the Seahawks and Packers in the playoffs two years ago. During that recent five-game spree, Akers made six home visits and he’s averaging 96.6 scrimmage yards per week. He also has eight carries for 10 or more yards and has forced 22 missed tackles, tied for the second-most in the league.
Remember, we’re talking about a player who was basically let go from the squad in October and made it around the league before the trade deadline. Two months later, Akers is somewhat of the only fantasy-relevant player still attached to the Rams’ offense.
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