Week 18 Stocks and Stories: Ja'Marr Breaks Records, AB's Stock Tanks, Cardinals Pull One Out

The playoff table is all but spoken for in the grand scheme of things, with the 1-2 spot up for grabs in the AFC, and 1 spot possibly left in the NFC. At this stage of the game with week 18 on the horizon, it's all about the seeding. However, none of this excitement happens without week 17 and its excitement!

Kansas City Chiefs @ Cincinnati Bengals

It's impossible to talk about week 17 without talking about this one. Joe Burrow (21%, $8.89) was fantastic as he picked apart the Chiefs' secondary. Then again, it's easy to look good when you're throwing the ball to Ja'Marr Chase (64%, $12.25).

On a day that called saw the Bengals pass for 400 yards that had to be a casualty to their offense and of course, it was Joe Mixon (0%, $14.93). While Mixon wasn't awful, he missed projections by less than half a point, it goes to show what the Bengals to be as a team. Joe Burrow threw the ball almost 40 times in this one, and Mixon ran the ball only 12 times. Within the scope of this offense, it's hard to see the long-term potential of Mixon if they're able to pass the ball like they have the last two weeks.

As for the Chiefs, calling this a disappointment is an injustice to what this means. The Chiefs' defense had been playing so well since dismantling Jordan Love ($0.99) in his debut. The defense has been the strong suit of this team throughout the back half of the season, to lose their hold on the #1 seed like this adds insult to injury. However, the defense isn't the only reason the Chiefs find themselves looking up to the Titans entering week 18.

Patrick Mahomes (-1%, $12.49) had his arsenal of weapons in this one with Tyreek Hill (-11%, $9.69), and Travis Kelce (-6%, $8.23). To only score 3 points in the second half is brutal for a team trying to find their offensive identity. Tyreek Hill has had back to duds and one has to wonder how this offense will fair in the coming weeks. With only one week until the postseason, the Chiefs get the Broncos next week to rectify their issues.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New York Jets

This game makes the list for mostly the wrong reasons. If you turned this game on you may have thought the broadcast had broken their rule of not showing streakers live on tv. However, upon further review, it was Antonio Brown (-16%, $8.21).

While the story of what happened may never truly come to light it's interesting to see what happens next for Antonio Brown. Tampa Bay felt like his best chance to resurrect his career and after this stunt, it's hard to imagine he's going to get a fourth chance with another team. Tom Brady (6%, $17.61) is going to have to find some help headed into the postseason. Perhaps we see Jaelon Darden ($1.34) and Scott Miller ($1.57) are the best options to invest in down the stretch.

Interestingly enough as the Buccaneers trailed for most of the game I couldn't help but notice Le'veon Bell (89%, $0.31) who was handling a majority of the carries in this one. I still believe Ke'Shawn Vaughn (4%, $4.25) is a good player, but his lack of usage in an injury-ravaged offense is concerning.

I've been preaching Zach Wilson ($4.00) for what feels like an eternity. While nothing on the stat sheet is going to wow you, it's important to look for signs of progress. Early in the season, Wilson was a turnover machine leading to many writing him off as a bust. However, since coming back from injury Wilson has 8 total touchdowns with only 2 interceptions. Wilson has also been doing this in large part without his best pass catchers in Corey Davis ($1.04), and Elijah Moore ($8.99). If you're a Jets fan, you have to be excited about the future of this franchise.

Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys

While the game wasn't the high-scoring affair we all had hoped for, it was still a great matchup. Kyler Murray (2%, $6.23) hadn't looked like himself in recent weeks. Perhaps the Cardinals gave him a Snickers because on Sunday he started to look like the superstar we saw earlier in the year.

With Deandre Hopkins ($4.44) still on injured reserve, the Cardinals have been looking for production out of their receiving core. Sunday Christian Kirk rose to the occasion against the generally stout Cowboys pass defense. While the question remains if Kirk can continue his production it is better than we have seen in recent weeks. I mentioned above how Antonio Brown is probably done in the NFL, but if there's a team that could his services I'd imagine it's the Cardinals. It's not likely they would even consider this, but in terms of trying to stay competitive on offense, he could help them.

Another key clog in the Arizona offense is James Conner ($2.73). Conner has been out the last couple of games and has been missed. While Chase Edmonds (2%, $1.64) has been effective there is no substitute for the type of player Conner is. Edmonds could only muster 2.9 yards per carry on his 18 carries in this one and as the playoffs approach you to have to hope they're resting Conner.

Dak Prescott (4%, $7.77) continued to produce and was able to beat his projections for the second game in a row. Unfortunately for him, the Cowboys weren't able to complete their comeback in this one. Perhaps the hardest part of the failed comeback is the loss to Michael Gallup (3%, $2.27).

If you're invested in Gallup this is surely going to hurt for you and Gallup. Set to enter free agency this off-season it's unfortunate the timing of the injury and the injury itself. I have been high on Gallup since his rookie season and still believe he can be a great player in this league. Unfortunately, it's not likely his ACL will recover in time for the start of next season and it'll be hard for him to command the money I believe he is worth.

In place of Gallup, I would have guessed CeeDee Lamb (-12%, $4.10) would fill become the target hog in his absence, but he failed to do so. In the last 4 games, CeedDee has failed to meet projections and only beat projections this week due to his touchdown. Many have pegged Lamb as a monster and a rising star, but he has failed to log a single game this season with more than 5 catches and has only 1 game over 100 yards receiving. Perhaps we should be questioning whether he is an elite asset or pyrite? If you're still a believer in the talent then this is the time to buy him, I find myself questioning whether it's worth the risk or not.

Other News and Notes:

  • With the Eagles locking up a spot it's difficult to imagine the Eagles moving on from Jalen Hurts (-11%, $1.52) this offseason. This isn't a vote of confidence, but rather a necessity for a player who has carried this team at times. Then again, I remember when Tim Tebow won a playoff game and was replaced by Peyton Manning. Thus the only way I'm wrong on them bringing Hurts back is if Deshaun Watson ($14.51) is acquired via trade.
  • Josh Jacobs (4%, $1.48) is paying dividends for those that believed in him. After his first 100 yard game last week Jacobs posted a score this week to beat projections.
  • Justin Herbert (-3%, $11.35) continued to do Justin Herbert things. After another 2 score performance with over 230 yards, Herbert is set to square off with Derek Carr (-9%, $4.14) for one of the final playoff spots in the AFC.
  • Lastly, Trey Lance (-1%, $5.53) wasn't quite what people wanted. While Lance got the victory he had some rookie growing pains in the first half. With the playoffs on the line next week it'll be interesting to see if Jimmy Garoppolo ($2.24) gets the nod or if the future is now for Lance.


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