This past week was the most brutal of them all following the news of phenom rookie Deshaun Watson’s ACL injury. In real life, it was a joy to watch Watson play the game with such tenacity. In fantasy, it was equally as awesome to see Watson put up monster points for everyone that donned a Houston Texans uniform.
Within the Pace U. Crew fantasy league, we’ll see which teams were most affected by the Deshaun Watson news, and pick up where we left off last week. Below are the lineups slated to go in each matchup on Sunday, barring any last minute additions or player swaps by team owners.
Money Mike (2-6) was hit the hardest of anyone in the Pace U. Crew league. The team was, in fact, the Deshaun Watson owner. To make matters worse, Money Mike dropped backup QB Ben Roethlisberger (bye week) a few days prior, apparently riding the high of Watson’s success. It’s hard to blame Money Mike for such a bold move, especially being that Watson was dropping 40+ fantasy points per game. However, with so many injuries at quarterback this year, Money Mike also shot itself in the foot. Thus, Mike was forced to pickup and start Josh McCown against the Bills defense on Thursday night. These misfortunes come at a crossroads for Money Mike, a team with little room for error at 2-6.
It gets worse. Money Mike will be taking on Cayman Rays (7-1) this week. Cayman Rays employs Carson Wentz, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, DeMarco Murray and the Seattle defense. The death nail being that Ezekiel Elliott was granted play for an additional week, and you guessed it, Cayman Rays rosters him too. Barring a miracle, we don’t expect Money Mike to pull this game off, likely ending any sliver of a chance at the fantasy playoffs. In this particular case, Deshaun Watson wasn’t just a player, but instead a game changer.
Like Money Mike, FAHQ (5-3) also lost its quarterback (Aaron Rodgers). Luckily, FAHQ had time to react and roster Matthew Stafford. With Le’Veon Bell on bye this week, FAHQ’s biggest producer is Leonard Fournette, a player who’s coming back from injury himself. If anything, FAHQ’s lineup is fairly balanced with the likes of Michael Crabtree, Demaryius Thomas, Alshon Jeffery and Jimmy Graham rounding out the roster. The match-ups aren’t great, but during one of the worst bye weeks in recent memory, a team can’t ask for much more.
Meezy Esq. (5-3) has a great lineup going this week with great matchups. Quarterback Drew Brees will take on the Bucs, and the gunslinger has a lot of weapons to play with (Kamara, Ingram, Thomas, Ginn). Running back Kareem Hunt gets a good matchup against the Cowboys and so does Adrian Peterson with the 49ers on tap. Both running backs should easily land in the end zone once, if not twice. In order for Meezy to walk away with a surefire win, the team will need to give more thought to swapping out wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who was placed on IR early Friday.
NY Hitmen (4-4) versus Big-Blue Wreckin Cru (2-6) is a total toss up. Hitmen is sitting pretty with a .500 record, and a win for Big-Blue would certainly stave off being trounced from the playoffs. Hitmen’s quarterback Dak Prescott, WR Larry Fitzgerald and RB Christian McCaffrey all have great match-ups. We would’ve said the same of running back Lamar Miller before the Deshaun Watson injury. Texans backup quarterback Tom Savage is hot garbage and the pocket will surely collapse on him, which puts Miller at a loss. Not in Hitmen’s favor is that the fantasy team played the Bills defense in Thursday night’s matchup. The result was zero points, a small victory for Big-Blue.
Big-Blue will roll out a formidable lineup, yet it’s certainly nothing to write home about. Jameis Winston gets a potential shootout with New Orleans on tap, but the quarterback has also been banged up of late and the Saints defense is better than anyone expected. Both Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz will face a tough Denver defense, which could be the difference between a win and loss for Big-Blue. Running back Chris Thompson’s matchup against Seattle isn’t any better, though kicker Adam Vinatieri could have a field day (literally) in the absence of both J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
After Maddawgs (4-4) and SuperfectaStunnas (5-3) face off this week, we expect that both teams will don the same record. All of Maddawgs’ players have good match-ups. It looks like a great week for both Julio Jones and Aaron Jones to put up big numbers, especially the latter Jones. It’s just a hunch, but the Baltimore defense (against Tennessee) could also put sneaky points on the board for Maddawgs.
Before Thursday, we actually favored Stunnas in this matchup. However, the loss of Deshaun Watson doesn’t help Stunnas’ DeAndre Hopkins. LeSean McCoy didn’t make matters any better by flopping Thursday night. McCoy easily underperformed his value by a good 15-points. The hope for Stunnas is that Alex Smith shines in a nice matchup against the Cowboys and Todd Gurley returns to his pre-bye week numbers. Tight end Jack Doyle’s been on fire lately, so it’ll be interesting to see if he continues his streak as well.
Luck of Lucien (2-6) needs a win in the worst way to remain relevant. Aside from rolling out Kirk Cousins against Seattle this week, Lucien’s lineup looks fairly solid. Unfortunate for Lucien is that Ezekiel Elliott will play, which erases the team’s pickup of Alfred Morris. Is anyone else tired of the Elliott saga? Mike Evans and Alvin Kamara have great match-ups, while Alex Collins appears unstoppable right now. Marvin Jones continues to see a ton of targets, but we’re never sure which Matthew Stafford will show up.
Stuugotz TD’s (4-4) has the chance to do away with Lucien, once and for all. However, Stuugotz has questions in its lineup that need to be answered. Specifically, which running back will benefit in the Eagles backfield, if any? Playing both Ajayi and Blount together could be either genius or Tom Foolery. While Dez Bryant has a good matchup against Kansas City, Will Fuller is likely to go missing without Deshaun Watson. Running back Doug Martin is in a sweet spot to score big points, but it’ll depend on the play of Jameis Winston.
Lucien seems to have a slight edge over Stuugotz for the moment, since Bills’ kicker Stephen Hauschka laid an egg against the Jets in the Thursday night game.
We’ll check in next week to see how each team made out.