The end is nigh…Week 14 Fantasy opinion
As always I will ask rhetorically how was last week for you? It was certainly an unlucky week for me winning only one game in three leagues. Even the Armchair Athletics of the Gridiron Gentlemen league faltered, partly because I did not start Brandon LaFell and partly because I was up against a team who had LeVeon Bell, DeAndre Hopkins and Shaun Hill. Combined they were 88.6 points, after that do not really need any top scoring players to back you up. It is unlikely these three will equal such heights this week but I am not facing them. This week is crunch week for many leagues or even the start of the post season in other deeper leagues. So without much further ado, here are my recommendations for this week.
I was right to start Flacco over Stafford last week by the way, even if it was for 2 points, but the difference was because Stafford lost a fumble. Otherwise they would have pretty well been equal. And both QBs had a good week points wise last week but could strangely struggle this week.
What it’s Thursday night and you want tips now? OK well make sure you start Forte (obviously) you could also try starting Escobar at tight end if you are desperate as well as why not test out Lance Dunbar as a flex running back. Oh and Jason Witten at tight end is probably a good idea as well.
Shaun Hill could be the pick of the week this week, as over the last 4 weeks Washington have given up the most points to quarterbacks. Ryan Tannehill is also a good choice for a starter (gulp) against Baltimore who have given up the second most points per week in the last 4 weeks to quarterbacks. Yes he has had a few fantasy dips in the last few weeks and against the Jets he did not score so well (the Jets over last 4 weeks have been quite stingy by mean average), but against the likes of the Chargers and Broncos, he did score well. But I suspect you would start him in any case. Look I am not going to say start Luck, Rodgers or Brady because that is obvious. You’re also going to stick with Brees, Peyton and probably Wilson. But you should also stick with Romo, as the Bears have given up a mean of 19 points per week over the last four weeks to QBs, tidy. And two others to possibly look out for are Andy Dalton, as the Steelers are number 4 in the list and, I cannot believe I am going to say this, Cam Newton. OK both of these players have under performed of late and last time out against the Saints, Cam only posted 12 points. But Dalton is certainly due a bit of a big scoring game and with AJ Green back and Sanu adding some depth, sure against the Steelers who do give up points to QBs he stands a chance. And the Saints over the last 4 weeks have given up a mean average of 18 points. So maybe, just maybe Cam can post some points this week, I agree it is an outside chance. Two final randoms: Philip Rivers and Zach Mettenberger. Both of these players are in the top 15 scoring QBs of the last four weeks and we have to think in fantasy terms. So though we think the Patriots will beat the Chargers and the Gents have fallen out of love with the Titans, the Patriots over the last 4 weeks have given up a mean of 18.3 points and the Giants a mean of 19.3 points. There is of course some variability to that and Mettenberger is not certain to start. So out of all I would pick Rivers, Hill, Tannehill and Romo. But I think Dalton will surprise us all.
On being flexible…
whilst on the run
Isaiah Crowell, Jonathan Stewart, Marion Grice, Dan “Boom” Herron, Andre Williams and Robert Turbin
I think the flex and no.2 position for both running back and wide receiver is pretty tough and has been for the whole season. Yes constant starters have emerged but they will fill the no.1 spot (unless you have been very lucky and picked two who would appear on most teams no.1 spots). Well as a Colts fan I know we do not do well against the running game and this is reflected in fantasy as in the last 4 weeks they have given up a whopping mean 28.1 points to running backs, joint top with the Saints (another reason to choose Cam but also a good reason to start Jonathan Stewart if you have him). So Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell could be good no.2 or flex choices this week. Funnily enough, the Titans also give up a lot of points to running backs. Oh and they also give up their fair share of points to wide receivers, so starting both Odell Beckham Jr. and Andre Williams could be good. With Rashad Jennings being an injury risk, I think Williams could get quite a few carries (I think I said this last week as well but I think from now on consider it a weekly prediction and at somepoint I will be right). Dan Herron has stepped up and over Trent Richardson as this seasons Ahmad Bradshaw replacement and so if he is available definitely worth nabbing maybe not to start for this week but maybe for that first play-off game. The Cardinals actually do have running options in the shape of Marion Grice, though maybe only in terms of mid-field yardage as it is thought that Michael Bush will get the goal-line carries. And what is more the Chiefs, whom they will be up against, have allowed the 5th most points per week over the last four to running backs. Robert Turbin of the Seahawks, a somewhat overshadowed no.2 RB has also been mentioned. Though the Eagles have allowed a mean of 20.6 points per game over the last four weeks, I think that if something similar happens, it will be down to Lynch and Wilson. I think Turbin will get a few carries like he did against the 49ers and appears to be another receiving option for Wilson. But his numbers have been very hit or miss. Only in the deepest darkest leagues would I realistically consider him. However, the Eagles will probably try and stop the run more than the pass so it is quite possible Turbin will get a few reception yards, having a mean of 12.5 yards per game and 15 yards per game rushing. Probably only any good in that way in a PPR league as that really only equates to nearly 4 points per week, so realistically only a flex option.
One last option is Roy Helu Jr. who has acted more as an additional receiver for Colt McCoy (another good QB option this week) but has scored a couple of touchdowns in the last two weeks, including one against the Colts so I think against the Rams he will be used. Just saying.
whilst flying through the air
Stedman Bailey, Kenny Britt, Donte Moncrief, Davante Adams, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee
Wide receivers have been a bit of a head ache this season just like running backs, every week there seems to be someone else top scoring. Again it is relatively easy to pick a no.1 but a no.2 can be problematic. There have been injuries and some players just haven’t performed this season. Losing Brandon Cooks hit me hard I can tell you as did losing Ahmad Bradshaw and Dwayne Allen for a few weeks. How to cripple a team. My first pick are the Rams receivers, with Stedman Bailey leading Kenny Britt. I do not think they make certain no.2 starters, but I do like the matchup this week as Washington are atrocious against the pass which is reflected by the fact that they allow the most fantasy points per game to receivers over the last four weeks. Stedman has a good rapport with Shaun Hill and he has seen an increase at look ins. Yes he has not gone above 15 points but look at him as this weeks Donte Moncrief. I am wary of Colts receivers this week as I think the Browns do a good job at stopping the pass generally but Donte is a solid no.3 in the Colts offense and along with Coby Fleener as well as T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne the Browns may struggle to cover all options so Moncrief could make a good flex option.
So Davante Adams, he saw a lot of action against the Patriots, 6 catches for 121 yards, so for PPR leagues he was worth something like 18 points. Aaron Rodgers just likes passing to whom ever is open, so if Jordy Nelson and Randell Cobb are covered again, I think Adams could get a few looks. Probably not a no.2 start, certainly worth a flex position.
Robert Woods has been quietly impressive behind Sammy Watkins. The Bills do have it tough this week against a Denver defense that allowed only 17 points per week over the last four (though the Bills are even more stingy giving up the 7th fewest points per game over the last four weeks). But Orton needs someone to throw to, Watkins is likely to be covered so Woods could get a few more look ins.
And finally, Marqise Lee of Jaguars fame. He has started to come to the fore and score points. The Texans give up something like the 4th most fantasy points to receivers per game over the last four weeks. The Jags have their tails up and as long as Lee runs good routes and Bortles manages not to drop his head or get thrown off by JJ Watt I think Lee could have a good week. Recently he has been a bit more impressive than Cecil Shorts III.
In a tight spot
Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks, Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano, Tony Moeaki, Packers Tight Ends
I am going to finish with tight ends. I am not going on with Kickers or Def/St. Do that yourself, I give up with Def/St as I find it really hard to pick a winner there. Apart from taking the Colts was a good choice last week. So tight ends, a toughy considering I had to scramble for a replacement to Dwayne Allen (who looks to be starting this week). On one bench I had Travis Kelce on the other I had Zach Ertz. I was very wrong about starting Ertz. Nil point. If you have a tight you are happy with then stick with them, the choice of good scorers is still severely limited.
Well over the last four weeks the Colts have given up the most points per game to tight ends, so any one of the Browns tight ends could get you points. Washington also give up a large number of points per week to tight ends, so Jared Cook or Lance Kendricks are good bets for some points. Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano of the Chiefs may get a few more targets as the Cardinals give up points quite readily. I still think Tony Moeaki of the Seahawks (or Ospreys) is a good option especially against the Eagles who do give up points quite readily to tight ends. The Packers seem to have a plethora of tight ends who may or may not score you some tasty points. Quarless is still a favourite but the pick last week and maybe worth a shot is Richard Rodgers. But I also like the Falcons tight end Levine Toilolo who is up against a Packers defense that gives up the 11th most fantasy points per game over the last four weeks. Not saying much really as that is 8 points. Oh well.
The end is nigh
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