Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone! The fantasy football season is winding to a close, and I hope that you’re still in the running for a championship. If you are, check out our expert consensus rankings and articles for tips on how to prepare for your do-or-die matchup. If not, better luck next year!
Each year, one of the best ways to evaluate players is to compare them with others. For example, back in the preseason, lots of folks (myself included) compared Calvin Ridley’s situation to the one Chris Godwin found himself in 2019 — he was an undervalued talent in a pass-heavy offense with lots of vacated targets. Sure enough, the comparison held water, and Ridley is the PPR WR6 (Godwin was the WR2 at this point last year).
But wait. What if we compared players to Christmas characters, not other players? That’s what I’ll endeavor to do this Christmas, dear reader, and I hope you enjoy the results!
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QB: Carson Wentz — Santa Claus
Just like Santa Claus, Carson Wentz loves to hand out presents. He leads the league in interceptions (15) despite no longer being a starter. A whopping 3.4% of his passes have been picked off, ahead of every other quarterback except Drew Lock (3.7%) and Nick Mullens (3.7%).
Carson Wentz with an ugly interception to Sione Takitaki and he takes it the other way for a 50-yard #Browns TD. No excuses for this one.pic.twitter.com/XiwGL9Cpsy
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) November 22, 2020
With the rise of Jalen Hurts, Wentz seems to be on his way out of Philadelphia. While Howie Roseman intended for Hurts to back up Wentz, much like Nick Foles did a few years ago, the decision seems to have undermined Wentz’s confidence. I suppose the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
RB: Derrick Henry — John McClane (Die Hard)
I know some people don’t believe that Die Hard is a Christmas movie. I’m not one of them — who wouldn’t want to watch Bruce Willis kick butt for 132 minutes while sipping eggnog?
If you haven’t seen Die Hard, Willis plays lead man John McClane, a tough NYPD detective visiting Los Angeles to patch things up with his wife, Holly. So he heads to Nakatomi Plaza for Holly’s work Christmas party.
But just as McClane arrives, a group of radicals led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) takes over the plaza in an attempt to steal $640 million. McClane escapes, contacts the LAPD, and takes on the terrorists to save his wife.
McClane chews through them and emerges victorious — exactly like how Derrick Henry chews through opposing defenses. Henry leads the league in yards after contact (908) and ranks third in broken tackles (25).
Derrick Henry with the MEAN stiff arm! 👑
📺: Watch #DETvsTEN on CBS pic.twitter.com/1jhPLFZncg
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) December 20, 2020
As Stephen A. Smith would say, Derrick Henry is a bad, bad man.
WR: Adam Thielen — Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol)
I know people love Thielen, so hear me out. He may be charming off the field, but the man is a veritable hoarder on the field. He takes all of Minnesota’s most valuable targets — those that come inside the red zone.
Thielen has earned a whopping 37.8% of Kirk Cousins’ targets inside the 20-yard line. That number jumps to 42.3% for targets inside the 10-yard line. Both of those rates are the highest in the NFL! Not even Davante Adams gets that many of his quarterback’s red-zone looks, and he leads the league in receiving touchdowns.
Adam Thielen has himself a Week 15 TD.#FantasyFootball | #Skol pic.twitter.com/GZxlCokO7G
— QB List (@TheQBlist) December 20, 2020
Thielen’s red-zone usage has significantly increased his fantasy value. He ranks third in touchdown receptions (13), but he ranks 29th in both targets (94) and receptions (62), and he’s 30th in receiving yards (771). He currently ranks as the PPR WR12, making him a low-end WR1, but he’d hardly be a WR3 if not for all the scoring.
Things might be going well for Thielen right now, but the Ghost of Christmas Future knows that some touchdown regression is coming Thielen’s way.
TE: George Kittle — Buddy the Elf (Elf)
George Kittle is a superhuman. He stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 247 pounds, but despite his size, he ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash (96th percentile at tight end). He also has 100th percentile agility at the position.
The happy-go-lucky goofball stands out both on and off the field — just like Buddy the Elf, whose size set him apart up at the North Pole.
George Kittle mic’d up is absolute 🔥
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 29, 2020
As a child, Buddy (Will Ferrell) crawled into Santa’s sack as he was making deliveries to Buddy’s orphanage, and those at the North Pole took it upon themselves to raise him. Things went splendidly until Buddy outgrew the elves’ modest accommodations, and Papa Elf (Bob Newhart) has to explain that Buddy is, in fact, not an elf, and that he was born to human parents who gave him up for adoption. The revelation leads Buddy to set out to find his dad, and he brings his sunny disposition to a cold New York City.
Like Buddy, Kittle can make the defenders tasked with bringing him down look small. It’s no wonder, then, that he had forced the most missed tackles by a tight end since 2017 (45) entering this season. For some perspective, Travis Kelce (40) and Austin Hooper (22) were his closest competition. He may have missed most of this season with an injury, but he’s done his best to come back in time for the fantasy championship — and he’ll return on the day after Christmas!
D/ST: Miami Dolphins — Kevin McCallister (Home Alone)
The Dolphins’ defense and special teams have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at their opponents. Pick-six? Check. Fumble-six? Check. Punt return touchdown? Check. Blocked punt return touchdown? Almost.
Andrew Van Ginkel keeps making big plays 😤 @AndrewVanGinkel @MiamiDolphins
📺 #LACvsMIA on CBS pic.twitter.com/cEQBtD9R5X
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 15, 2020
Their defensive strategy is reminiscent of McCallister’s exploits in Home Alone. Accidentally left behind for the holidays by his family, the eight-year-old must defend his homestead from the no-good Wet Bandits, a pair of petty thieves named Marv (Daniel Stern) and Harry (Joe Pesci).
So what does he do? He uses everything at his disposal to trap the house. McCallister rigs a blow torch to set Harry’s head alight, drops a 100-pound bag of plaster onto Marv’s head, and swings a paint can attached to a rope into both of their faces. He leaves toy cars and trucks on the floor to get the duo to slip, releases a tarantula onto Marv’s face, and puts a face-up nail on the staircase. I could go on, but you’re better off just watching the movie.
Because of their McCallister-esque antics, Miami is currently tied for the D/ST2 slot. They’re just two points out of first.
K: Dan Bailey — Charlie Brown (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
Every year, a player will knock their team out of the playoffs with a blockhead move. This year, the honor falls to Dan Bailey, for, well, missing four kicks in a single game.
Back in Week 14, Bailey attempted three field goals and missed them all. He also missed his lone extra-point attempt. Bailey, who now ranks 11th in career kicking accuracy (86.1%), would rank fifth (87.2%) if not for all those missed kicks.
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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.