The Final Countdown: Week 15 Fantasy imaginings
Firstly a mighty congratulations to Neer and his Teenage Mutant Ninja Bortles on winning the regular season in the League of Gridiron Gentlemen. He finished with an impressive 11-3 record. The Armchair Athletics, the Gridiron Gentlemen team, did not finish so well finishing 8-6 (despite a 4-0 start) and are now playing in the consolation play-off. This is despite an impressive win last week. On Facebook I advised not starting any of the Thursday night players apart from possible the defense/special teams. Turns out I was right. So let us look at what to do in the first/second play-off week.
Did I mention that in my PPR league I knocked off the number one ranked team? Oh yeah, so somewhere my post season credibility is still slightly intact. Anyway, some big injuries, with Cam Newton out (for just this week), Brandon Marshall with a very nasty injury out and Denard Robinson out as well. Julio Jones is not even a definite neither is Torrey Smith and Owen Daniels. These are reasonably team crippling blows. I have Denard Robinson in one team and Cam Newton in another. Brandon LaFell is also listed as DNP and Arian Foster and Eddie Lacy have had limited participation in practice. These are game changing players (Cam won it for me last week along with Alshon Jeffrey), so let us look at waiver wire solutions.
I am not sure who really has a good matchup this week and who is reliable enough to start. I would say Bortles could do well against the Ravens, but the risk of throwing an interception or a fumble is too high (though he has only thrown to interceptions in the last four weeks) especially against the Ravens D. Joe Flacco (my fave obviously) is still available in a 1/3 of leagues and I like his matchup against the Jags. Teddy Bridgewater is probably the best of the highly available QBs but his match up against the Lions is not exactly favourable. I would say “Go for it” but it is a high risk venture. Fitzpatrick has been quietly good over the last couple of weeks, against the Colts, who looked wayward and vulnerable last week, he could get quite a few points as long as he does not throw a pick. So I am going to back Mark Sanchez and not Kyle Orton. I like Sanchez’s matchup against the Cowboys, he seems to step up there and he did post double digit points against the Seahawks and last time out against the Cowboys he posted 21 points. Kyle has not been that bad but I am a bit concerned against a reasonable and some say underrated Packers defence.
Pick of the Week: Mark Sanchez
On wide receivers
Usually I start with running backs but this week I am going to look at wide receivers as this probably affects more people. The waiver wire is where to go and maybe the bench. If your no.1 is injured promote your no.2 to the slot. This is where your flex position is probably going to be key. Malcom Floyd of Chargers ilk had a good fantasy week last week, but this week, could be a bit hit or miss. Marquess Wilson and Josh Morgan, the former likely to start opposite Alshon, have been brought in to take Brandon Marshall’s duties so we could have a fantasy unknown scoring big this week. If Julio sits out then look to Harry Douglas or Devin Hester to get the look ins. I have flagged them in previous weeks, especially if you have Matty Ice as your QB. I do think this week could be a good partnership. Davonte Adams of the Packers is also still available. Now here is the thing, Lacy has taken quite a few receptions. If Lacy is limited in the game, then Adams could come into play a bit more. Adams is a risk as the Bills shut down Peyton and the Broncos passing game last week, but I think Rodgers at the moment is the better QB and makes unreal passes.
Kenny Stills has been a bit hit or miss this season but his last four games have seen him get more ball action with 3 out of 4 of them scoring 9 or above. Maybe a good choice if you need to fill that no.2 slot. Kenny is available in 78% of leagues.
If you have Jeremy Maclin on your bench, you might as well start him if you have questions surrounding any of your starting receivers. Again, a favourable matchup against the Cowboys and is a favoured target of Sanchez.
Over the last four weeks, the Titans Nate Washington has been a top 25 scoring wide receiver. I would really only stick him in the flex position but his last big score came when Jake Locker took Mettenbergers place and as this is likely to happen again, Nate is a viable option as he is one of few reliable targets Locker will have.
My pick of the week is going to be another Eagles player, Jordan Matthews, available in 53% of leagues, like Maclin has a favourable matchup against the Cowboys. Last time out Matthews posted 11 points and so due to his availability and the matchup, he is my player to pick.
Pick of the week: Jordan Matthews
On running backs
Well for me the loss of Denard Robinson is a heavy loss, so I am in need of a running back. Darren Sproles is my current back-up. He is unlikely to be available in most leagues and he really is a touchdown dependent player, so I am not expecting any more than 9 points if that at all.
The drop off in points over the last four weeks is pretty steep. But three names actually jump out at me.
Jonathan Stewart of the Panthers has a reasonably good match-up against the Bucs. He is also available in 72% of leagues. He was impressive last week and looks better than DeAngelo Williams. As a no.2 replacement, Stewart is definitely a good option and probably my pick of the week.
The Giants’ Andre Williams is not likely to see the ball as much as he did last week as Rashad Jennings is due to start. But Williams was so impressive last week against the Titans, he is likely to get a bit more of a share of carries. Washington are a bit better against the run and if the score is big, I think Rashad will be protected later in the game and Williams will get more carries, yards and I think a touchdown.
My third choice is LaGarrette Blount who is available in 59% of leagues and has been pretty consistent over the last four weeks, I think as a no.2 will pick up maybe 7 to 9 points against the Dolphins.
Jonas Gray of the Patriots is also still available and is still ranked as one of the top scoring running backs over the last four weeks. I am not sure how many carries he is going to get and again like Blount I do not envisage more than 9 points.
Pick of the week: Jonathan Stewart
I think this late in the day I will keep it to just receivers and running backs. So good luck this week and will see you for the closing stages of the fantasy season!