Monday, December 5, 2016

Week 13 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

QBs
Joe Flacco, Ravens – Lit up the Dolphins for 381 yards and 4 TDs, with 1 INT.
Andrew Luck, Colts -- Torched the Jets with 278 yards and 4 TDs, and ran for 26 yards, with no turnovers.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Passed for 300 and 3 TDs, without a turnover.

RBs
Jordan Howard, Bears – Rumbled through the 49ers with 117 yards and 3 TDs.
David Johnson, Cardinals – Ran for 84 yards and a TD caught 9 passes for 91 yards and another TD.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks – Rushed for 106 yards and 2 TDs, and caught a 12-yarder.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons – Scored twice while rushing for 56 yards and caught 4 passes for 49 yards.
Spencer Ware, Chiefs – Ran for 29 yards and a TD and caught 3 passes for 23 yards and a 2nd TD.
Latavius Murray, Raiders – Rushed for 82 yards and 2 TDs, and caught 3 passes for 23 yards.
LeSean McCoy, Bills – Ran for 130 yards and grabbed 7 passes for 61 yards.
Terrance West, Ravens – Scored as a runner and receiver while combining for 68 yards.

WRs
Golden Tate, Lions – Grabbed 8 balls for 145 yards and a TD.
Jordy Nelson, Packers – Caught 8 passes for 118 yards and 1 TD.

TEs
Dwayne Allen, Colts -- Had a career game, catching 4 passes for 72 yards and a TD trifecta.
Dennis Pitta, Ravens – Reeled in 9 passes for 90 yards and 2 TDs.
Ladarius Green, Steelers – Caught 6 passes for 110 yards and a TD.

D/STs
Broncos – Had 0 sacks, but grabbed 2 INTs and a fumble and scored on an INT return while holding the Jags to 10 points.


This was a great week to play against…

QBs
Drew Brees, Saints – Had a miserable afternoon, passing for 326 yards and 3 INTs, without a score.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers – Benched after passing for 4 yards. Yes, 4 yards. Oh, he ran for 20 also. Oh my.
Matt Barkley, Bears – Passed for just 192 yards without a TD or turnover.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Passed for 226 yards, but his 3 INTs negated his 1 TD.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars – Had a horrible day, passing for 181 yards, no TDs, 2 INTs and a lost fumble.

RBs
James Starks, Packers – Shared the rushing duties with 5 other players, and finished with 1 whole yard.
Tim Hightower, Saints – Combined for 9 yards as a rusher and receiver.
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles – Rushed for a measly 19 yards.
Lamar Miller, Texans – Ran for 22 yards and lost 4 yards as a receiver.
Todd Gurley, Rams – Continued his wretched season with 38 rushing and 9 receiving yards.

WRs
Every 49ers WR – Let’s just say Jeremy Kerley led the way with an 18-yarder.
Marquess Wilson, Bears – A week after leading his team in receiving, got blanked, then injured.
Victor Cruz, Giants -- Shut out in Week 13.
Quincy Enunwa, Jets -- Stuck with a 10-yard pass.
Davante Adams, Packers – Caught a 17-yarder.
Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers – Just 18 yards on 2 receptions.
Cole Beasley, Cowboys – Got 23 yards on 2 passes.
Mohamed Sanu, Falcons – Just 26 yards on 2 catches.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos – Only 28 yards on 3 receptions.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars – Had 3 catches for 31 yards.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers – Reeled in 3 passes for 38 yards.

TEs
Jason Witten, Cowboys – Laid a goose egg.
Martellus Bennett, Patriots – Disappointed again with just 4 yards on 2 catches.

Don’t let your fantasy team get Kaep’d

So I guess that means the Colin Kaepernick Experiment is over, huh?

Kaepernick was a popular addition to fantasy rosters over the previous two weeks. He was even started in nearly a third of all ESPN leagues in Week 13.

And why not? He had found his groove as a passer and was piling on rushing yards that more than compensated for any deficiencies in passing yards and touchdowns. Chicago was not considered a formidable opponent.

Then winter came.

Apparently Kaep is a fair-weather QB. Or, let’s be honest, just not that great to begin with. If he was, he wouldn’t have gotten the hook so quickly.

He finished Sunday’s game with one completion (in five attempts) for four yards. Oh my.

(At least nobody made the same mistake as Carolina coach Ron Rivera and started Derek Anderson against the Seahawks…)

On a much less disastrous level, owners who “chased points” with Tyreek Hill or Taylor Gabriel likewise came up short-handed this weekend. Neither was a disaster, though; so depending on your other options, starting Gabriel or Hill may not have been a mistake.

But the lesson is clear: Bench your steady-and-true starters in favor of late-season bloomers at your peril. Particularly when it comes to a one-slot position like quarterback.

And especially when the stakes are elevated in the fantasy postseason.

Nobody wants to get Kaep’d.


WAIVER WIRE PICKS AND PANS

To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Buccaneers. Rodgers took over Tampa Bay’s backfield late in Sunday’s contest after Doug Martin was “bent back” on a tackle and exited the game. His coach is now saying Martin did not incur a serious injury, but his owners should monitor this situation closely anyway. If he is sidelined for a game or more, Rodgers will be a worthy proxy.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Steelers. As we head into the postseason, it’s worth a reminder that there is no more valuable handcuff in Fantasyland than Williams. Le’Veon Bell’s owners, in particular, need to grab and stash D-Will for the stretch run. He’s nearly a month removed from his knee scope and is once again just one play away from being a dominating force who could propel you to a title.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens. Unlike Ladarius Green (below), Pitta has a long and successful track record with Joe Flacco. So his 90-yard, 2-TD performance against the Dolphins wasn’t necessarily an aberration. He also has a favorable schedule moving forward. If you’re in need of TE help, Pitta is worth a gamble.

Don’t be fooled

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens. Unless you think Sunday’s stellar performance was the beginning of another late-season tear like he experienced during his unlikely Super Bowl run in 2012, don’t waste your time with Flacco. In nine of 12 games this season, he connected on zero or one passing TDs. Look for more busts than booms in the weeks ahead.

Josh Bellamy, WR, Bears. Remember when Cameron Meredith was all the rage? Last week, it was Marquess Wilson. On Sunday, Bellamy led the Bears in receiving – and could have soared even higher if not for a couple of bad drops – so you can bet he will be a hot waiver-wire recommendation by many so-called fantasy “gurus.” Puh-leeze. From last week’s column: “Chicago’s passing attack remains a work-in-progress, and no receiver is likely to emerge as a consistent fantasy contributor.” I’m not saying it’s gospel, but I would heed those words.

Ladarius Green, TE, Steelers. He finally had the breakout game in Pittsburgh that we’ve been waiting for. And the big difference on Sunday was that Green was targeted 11 times. Alas, I just don’t think he can be trusted in the fantasy postseason given his short and undistinguished resume. Let someone else take the bait.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sunday morning observations -- Week 13

Good morning, Fools. It's chilly and drizzly today in North Texas, but it's always beautiful in Fantasyland. And for most of us, it's the last week of the regular season, so playoff berths and seeding are up for grabs.

Let's take our weekly swing around the NFL for the news we can use to finish strong...

Tom Brady is questionable with his knee, but fully expected to play. He certainly has a favorable matchup, but he'll be Gronk-less, and that's not optimal. I'll be starting him with confidence in one league nevertheless. At least we know Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Hogan and Martellus Bennett are good to go.

Andrew Luck is out of the concussion protocol and will play tomorrow night. He's also expected to have TY Hilton available despite his back injury (he fully participated in Saturday's practice, but is still listed as Q). I like both Hilton and Donte Moncrief in this highly favorable matchup.

I wish I knew more about Sammy Watkins' foot and tolerance for pain, because I wanted to start him today against the Raiders. But it just feels very risky, despite last week's solid 80-yard performance. I'm going back and forth on him.

Mark Ingram has looked iffy to play all week, but it now appears that he will make his usual start. That puts a damper on Tim Hightower's value, obviously.

Trevor Siemian won't play due to a foot injury, giving rookie Paxton Lynch his second start. As a Demaryius Thomas owner, that makes me nervous. But I feel better knowing that Lynch hit Thomas on a short TD pass in his previous start in Week 5. And he hit Emmanuel Sanders for a 5-yard TD pass in Week 4 as well. So no need to sit either wideout in today's favorable matchup with the Jags.

Contrary to previous reports, DeVante Parker tested his hamstring during warmups and will be active. The Dolfan in me is excited with this news, but the Jarvis Landry owner in me is disappointed.

Though not official yet, it is looking like Jordan Matthews and Marvin Jones won't suit up today.

We also know that Chris Ivory, Allen Hurns, Jeremy Maclin, Tavon Austin, Julius Thomas and Charles Clay have already been ruled out.

Finally, if Chris Boswell is your kicker, you should probably make other plans. The Steelers signed Randy Bullock yesterday after Boswell developed an abdomen problem. No word yet on whether or not Boswell will be active, but there's no reason to take any chances at that position. You can safely drop Boswell for another kicker with a favorable matchup, especially one playing indoors.

Speaking of weather, it doesn't look like it will be a major factor anywhere today. Some light snow is expected for the Texans-Packers game and light rain in Chicago, but no strong winds are forecast for any of the outdoor contests.

That's it for now. Inactives and other late-breaking news coming soon via Twitter. Go get 'em, Fools!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Week 13 Starters & Benchwarmers

 Wondering whether or not to start Drew Brees and Mike Evans, or to bench Fozzy Whittaker and Brian Quick? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 13 of the 2016 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions at Saints. While Stafford has powered down in recent weeks, he still has the potential to explode in any given game. Dueling with the high-powered Saints, he’ll need to be at the top of his game. Detroit will likely abandon its running game early in this shootout, relying almost entirely on Stafford’s strong arm. 300 yards and multiple TDs are well within his reach.

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears vs. 49ers. With the notable exception of Jay Ajayi last week, the 49ers have been extremely generous to opposing tailbacks. In fact, the most generous in the league. Howard owns the Chicago backfield, and given the struggles in their passing game, he will be the centerpiece of their offense in this juicy matchup.

Devontae Booker, RB, Broncos at Jaguars. Trevor Siemian is dealing with a foot sprain, which could limit his effectiveness or even lead to a Paxton Lynch start. Either way, the running game will be critical, and Booker appears to have staved off the threat from Kapri Bibbs. The rookie rose to the challenge against the Chiefs last Sunday night and will have a much easier go of it Sunday in Jacksonville.

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts at Jets. Not only has he notched a TD in each of his last four games, but Moncrief may be Indy’s lead wideout in the Monday nighter given the back injury that threatens T.Y. Hilton’s availability. Andrew Luck is expected to return from his concussion to face a Jets secondary that has been downright awful most of this season. Moncrief should have no trouble keeping his scoring streak intact.

Davante Adams, WR, Packers vs. Texans. Houston’s pass defense is not the imposing unit is was earlier in the season. And Adams is not the spare part he once was, either. The rapidly developing wideout has established himself as Option 1B to Jordy Nelson’s 1A in the Packers’ high-flying attack. Green Bay still can’t run, so look for another game waged through the air this weekend.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr; RBs LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware, Matt Forte, LeGarrette Blount, Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, Melvin Gordon, Lamar Miller; WRs Larry Fitzgerald, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill, Michael Thomas, Brandon Marshall, Mike Wallace, Demaryius Thomas, Amari Cooper, Julian Edelman.

Roll ‘em back

Cam Newton, QB, Panthers at Seahawks. Carolina has little left to play for, while the Seahawks just got embarrassed in Tampa Bay. Look for the Legion of Boom to come down hard on Newton, who rallied after a miserable start last week but has been mostly mediocre of late. Seattle won’t be hospitable to their underachieving guests.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons vs. Chiefs. Coleman returned from his bum hammy to post a paltry 1.1 yards-per-carry average on just eight rushing attempts last week. He salvaged his day with a short TD run, but was otherwise ineffective as both a rusher and receiver. Given his dependence on TDs, the Chiefs present a particularly poor matchup. Their four rushing scores allowed to date are tied for the league’s fewest.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins at Ravens. Speaking of bad matchups, the Ravens are the other team with just four rushing scores surrendered, and they also allow a league-least 74.9 rushing yards per game. Meanwhile, Ajayi has been struggling behind the Dolphins’ depleted offensive line. His prospects are dim in Baltimore.

Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles at Bengals. Matthews is dealing with an ankle injury, but is still expected to make the trip to Cincinnati. He’ll be facing a stout Bengals secondary that has been limiting opposing wide receivers to less than 19 points per game over the last four weeks.

Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars vs. Broncos. I don’t need to tell A-Rob’s owners what a disappointment his season has been. And it can’t all be blamed on Blake Bortles. This week, the once-explosive receiver faces the stiffest of tests when the NFL’s stingiest pass defense rolls into town. Denver has surrendered just 10 passing scores in 11 games.

More thumbs down: QBs Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Ryan Tannehill, Carson Wentz, Joe Flacco, Trevor Siemian, Jared Goff; RBs Todd Gurley, Jeremy Hill, Jonathan Stewart, Frank Gore, Thomas Rawls, James Starks, Kenneth Dixon; WRs Allen Hurns, DeSean Jackson, Dorial Green-Beckham, Pierre Garcon, DeVante Parker, Tavon Austin, Travis Benjamin, Sterling Shepard, Will Fuller, Tyrell Williams, Brandon LaFell.


TAKING A FLIER

Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons vs. Chiefs. Gabriel is still a low-volume receiver; but he has made the most of his targets, scoring four TDs over the last four games. The Chiefs’ pass defense is one of the NFL’s worst, and Gabriel is now arguably the No. 2 receiver in one of the league’s most prolific offenses. It’s a great matchup in the Georgia Dome for Matty Ice and his wideouts.


DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…complains about the way your league allocates postseason berths, seeding and payouts. That’s a discussion for preseason, not now. If you think your rules are unfair, put a reminder on your calendar for next August and propose a change prior to next season’s draft.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 12 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

QBs
Drew Brees, Saints – Torched the Rams with 310 passing yards and 4 TDs, and ran in a 1-yard TD, though he lost a fumble.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Passed for 449 yards and 3 TDs without a blemish.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers – Passed for 296 yards and 3 TDs, and made up for his INT with 113 rushing yards.
Trevor Siemian, Broncos – Totaled 368 passing yards and 3 TDs, plus 23 rushing yards, and zero turnovers.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins – Had 285 passing yards and 3 TDs, plus 34 rushing yards, without a turnover.

RBs
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys – Rumbled for 97 yards and 2 TDs, and added 23 yards on 2 receptions.
LeSean McCoy, Bills – Raced for 103 yards and 2 TDs, plus 2 catches for 31 yards.
Mark Ingram, Saints – Rushed for 146 yards and a TD and caught a 21-yard TD pass.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Had 96 yards and 2 TDs on the ground.
David Johnson, Cardinals – Ran for 58 yards and caught 8 passes for 103 yards and a TD.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons – Scored twice while rushing for 60 yards and caught 2 passes for 17 yards.

WRs
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs – Scored on a 3-yard run, an 86-yard kickoff return and on one of his 9 receptions for 52 yards. Yahtzee!
Davante Adams, Packers -- Soared on Monday night with 5 receptions for 113 yards and 2 TDs.
Antonio Brown, Steelers – Caught just 5 passes, but scored a TD trifecta with 91 yards.
Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos – Snagged 7 passes for 162 yards and a TD.
Michael Thomas, Saints – Nabbed 9 passes for 108 yards and 2 TDs.
Mike Evans, Buccaneers – Caught 8 passes for 104 yards and a pair of TDs.
Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants – Reeled in 6 passes for 96 yards and 2 TDs.
Taylor Gabriel, Falcons – Grabbed 4 passes for 75 yards and 2 TDs.
Marquess Wilson, Bears – Connected with Matt Barkley 8 times for 125 yards and a TD.
Malcolm Mitchell, Patriots – Scored twice on 5 catches for 42 yards.

TEs
Jordan Reed, Redskins – Hauled in 10 passes for 95 yards and 2 TDs.

D/STs
Giants – Registered 7 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries and a TD on a fumble return while holding the Browns to 13 points.
Chiefs – Generated 5 sacks, a fumble recovery and a kickoff return TD.
Buccaneers – Collected 6 sacks, 2 INTs and a fumble recovery, and held Seattle to 5 points.

Ks
Justin Tucker, Ravens – Hit FGs of 36, 52, 54 and 57 yards, plus an XP.

This was a great week to play against…

QBs
Sam Bradford, Vikings – Passed for 224 yards but no TDs and 1 INT.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks – Had just 151 yards passing, with 2 INTs and no scores, plus 80 rushing yards.

RBs
Frank Gore, Colts – Rushed for 28 yards and caught a 3-yarder.
Rob Kelley, Redskins – Ran for 37 and added just 5 yards on 2 receptions.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks – Just 38 yards on the ground.
Matt Forte, Jets – Ran for 27 yards and caught 3 passes for 23 yards.
Wendell Smallwood, Eagles -- Disappointed with just 37 yards rushing and a 10-yard catch.

WRs
Brandin Cooks, Saints – Despite his QB’s amazing day, he went catchless.
Travis Benjamin, Chargers – Returned to catch an 8-yard pass.
Danny Amendola, Patriots – He also had an 8-yarder.
Cameron Meredith, Bears – Just 19 yards on 2 catches.
Steve Smith, Ravens – Just 20 yards on 4 receptions.
Sterling Shepard, Giants – Ran for 22 yards but failed to catch a pass.
Amari Cooper, Raiders – Caught 4 passes for 22 yards.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars – Had 24 yards on 2 catches.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals – Caught 2 passes for 31 yards.
Julio Jones, Falcons – Limited to 4 catches for 35 yards.

TEs
Antonio Gates, Chargers – Posted a goose egg.
Eric Ebron, Lions -- He got skunked, too.
Gary Barnidge, Browns – Caught an 11-yarder. 

I coulda beaten you with my bench!

Fantasy points are a terrible thing to waste.

Yet we all do it. It can be the bane of our fantasy existence one week, then the source of our self-declared brilliance the next.

When those excess bench points would have made the difference between winning and losing, Mondays can feel like you’ve been sacked repeatedly by Justin Houston and Von Miller.

Yes, I had Tyreek Hill on my bench. Why wouldn’t I? He was coming off a mediocre Week 11 outing and facing the stingy Broncos defense – you know, one of the ones Mike Tirico and Chris Collinsworth kept gushing over as Kansas City and Denver racked up 57 combined points?

Besides, Thomas Rawls was back in his workhorse role for Seattle for the cakewalk in Tampa Bay.

I didn’t even think twice about that flex decision.

Over the course of this season, I’ve left anywhere from zero to 45 points on my bench in any given weekend. That “perfect” weekend reminded me why I am a certified fantasy guru. Would you like to see my awards?

And the down weeks? Well, I did name my blog “Fantasy Fools.” I feel like that should be warning enough.

I’d love to blame ill-timed injuries for my unforced errors. But more often than not, it’s the unexpected Tyreek Hill moments, combined with meager performances by my regular starters.

Misery loves company. So pull up a chair, friend.

Closer.

I need a shoulder…


WAIVER WIRE PICKS AND PANS

To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here's a look at players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers. It’s not always pretty, and it doesn’t result in wins for his real team, but Kaepernick has been surprisingly stellar over his last four games. In addition to collecting nine combined TDs and just 2 INTs, he has contributed valiantly as a rusher – capped by his 113-yard outing on Sunday. I can’t say I’d feel comfortable starting him in the fantasy playoffs, but you could do worse than set him loose against the Bears next weekend.

Taylor Gabriel, WR, Falcons. I was tempted to recommend the Cleveland castoff last week. But since his entire production came on a 75-yard TD pass, it felt like a fluke. On Sunday, against an excellent Cardinals pass defense, Gabriel took two screens to the house and made his case to be Matt Ryan’s second-favorite receiver. His four TD receptions over the last four games demand our respect.

DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins. He’s been targeted 24 times over the last three games, while the supposed PPR machine, Jarvis Landry, has seen just 18 passes over that time span. Parker, who injured his back Sunday (but apparently not seriously), has graduated from boom-or-bust deep threat to become Ryan Tannehill’s go-to receiver.

Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Patriots. The rookie is finding his groove, hauling in 9 passes for 140 yards and 3 TDs over his last two games. Though he has benefitted from Rob Gronkowski’s absence, his upside warrants the ole “grab and stash.” You can never underestimate the value of a play-making receiver catching passes from Tom Brady.

Don’t be fooled

Dontrelle Inman, WR, Chargers. Inman has been getting a steady dose of Philip Rivers’ targets, but he rarely does much with them. Sunday’s outing in Houston was an exception. But once Travis Benjamin returns to full strength, Inman will go back to being the third wheel in San Diego’s receiving corps.

Marquess Wilson, WR, Bears. So Matt Barkley was better than expected, and Wilson was his favorite wideout on Sunday. That’s nice, but let’s tap the brakes a bit on this “dynamic” duo. Chicago’s passing attack remains a work-in-progress, and no receiver is likely to emerge as a consistent fantasy contributor. Even when/if Jay Cutler returns.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday morning observations -- Week 12

Good morning, Fools. It's chilly out on my back patio this morning in beautiful, crime-free Flower Mound, Texas. Hope it's beautiful where you are, too, and that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

But now it's crunch time, boys and girls. Playoff berths and seeding are on the line. So put aside the leftovers and let's get rolling...

Tom Brady is dealing with a knee injury, but that won't keep him from playing today. That said, I'm not so sure he'll soar against a pesky Jets secondary.

Meanwhile, there's optimism surrounding Rob Gronkowski playing later this afternoon. He traveled with the team to New York, but we won't know for sure until the late inactives come out. If he plays, you probably have to start him. But there's risk here.

Latest word is that T.J. Yeldon will be active today, but Chris Ivory will carry the load for the Jags. Despite the minimal competition for touches, I don't like Ivory's chances against the Bills.

Mark Ingram is expected to play despite incurring a concussion last week. Look for Ingram to be limited, with Tim Hightower getting the majority of the RB snaps.

Jay Cutler (shoulder) is out. Hello, Matt Barkley. Goodbye, Bears offense.

Ryan Mathews has been ruled out of the Monday nighter with a "significant" knee injury, but Darren Sproles will tough it out with his broken rib. Wendell Smallwood is in line to get his most work of the season, and he's the preferred start in that game. I like his chances against a Packers D that has been falling apart of late.

It should be a great week for LeSean McCoy, who will play with his dislocated thumb in a splint. Mike Gillislee is out with a hammy, so the backfield will be all Shady's.

In that same game, I'm looking forward to seeing how Sammy Watkins looks on a presumably limited pitch count. I grabbed him off waivers in one league and am stashing him for the stretch run. If he plays well and nabs a handful of passes for 40-50 yards, I'll feel better about starting him next week in Oakland.

Travis Benjamin will be back for the Chargers, but he's got a tough matchup and, therefore, a low floor.

Latavius Murray and Michael Crabtree are expected to play today for the Raiders. Hopefully Crabtree will wipe the butter off his fingers during warmups.

That's it for now, Fools. Inactives and other late-breaking news coming shortly via Tweeter. Have a dominant day!