Monday, October 23, 2017

Week 7 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

QBs
Derek Carr, Raiders – Got the weekend started nicely with 417 yards passing, 15 rushing and 3 TDs, without a blemish.
Carson Wentz, Eagles – Passed for 268 yards and 4 TDs, with 1 INT, and ran for 63 yards.
Alex Smith, Chiefs – Kept pace with Carr with 342 yards and 3 TDs, without  a turnover.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys – Exploited the 49ers for 234 passing yards and 3 TDs, plus 26 rushing yards and a 4th TD.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks – Passed for 334 yards and 3 TDs.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers – Passed for 384 yards and 3 TDs, though he had 2 turnovers.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Tossed 3 TDs and 303 yards, with 1 TD, plus 18 rushing yards.

RBs
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys – Rumbled for 147 yards and 2 TDs, and added a 72-yard TD reception.
LeSean McCoy, Bills – Looked like the Shady of old, rushing for 91 yards and 2 TDs, plus 5 receptions for 31 yards. We’ll forgive the fumble.

WRs
Amari Cooper, Raiders – Dug out of his Bust of the Year hole with 11 receptions for 210 yards and 2 TDs.
Kenny Stills, Dolphins – Prospered with Matt Moore at QB, catching 6 passes for 85 yards and 2 TDs.
Travis Benjamin, Chargers – Caught a 42-yard TD pass and scored on a 65-yard punt return.
Julio Jones, Falcons – Reeled in 9 passes for 99 yards and his first TD of the season.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs – Caught 6 passes for 125 yards and a TD.

TEs
O.J. Howard, Buccaneers – Scored twice on his 6 receptions for 98 yards.
Jordan Reed, Redskins – Collected 8 passes for 64 yards and 2 TDs.

D/STs
Bears – Generated 5 sacks, 2 INTs, a fumble and scored two TDs, while holding the Panthers to 3 points.
Chargers – Amassed 5 sacks, 1 INT, 2 fumbles and a punt return TD while shutting out the Broncos.

Ks
Kai Forbath, Vikings – Made all 6 of his FGs (from 32, 34, 43, 43, 51 and 52 yards), though he missed his only XP attempt.
Chris Boswell, Steelers – Connected on all 5 of his FGs (from 22, 24, 25, 41 and 49 yards) and both XPs.

This was a great week to play against…

QBs
Carson Palmer, Cardinals – Knocked out of the game after just 122 passing yards, no TDs and 1 INT.
Trevor Siemian, Broncos – Passed for 207 yards and ran for 14, with 2 turnovers and no TDs.
Mitch Trubisky, Bears – Just 107 yards and no TDs or turnovers, including just one completion to a WR.
Marcus Mariota, Titans – Limited to 203 passing yards without a TD (or turnover).
Cam Newton, Panthers – Only 211 passing yards and 50 rushing yards without a TD, plus 3 turnovers.

RBs
Marshawn Lynch, Raiders – Ejected, and suspended, after gaining just 9 yards.
Ty Montgomery, Packers – Limited to 6 rushing and 9 receiving yards.
Tevin Coleman, Falcons – Rushed for 16 yards and didn’t catch a pass.
LeGarrette Blount, Eagles – Ran for 29 yards on MNF.
Alex Collins, Ravens – Just 30 rushing yards.
Rob Kelley, Redskins – Ran for 16 yards and caught 2 passes for 14 yards.
Adrian Peterson, Cardinals – So … maybe he’s not completely back, after rushing for 21 yards and catching a 12 yarder.
Derrick Henry, Titans – Only 13 rushing and 11 receiving yards.
Frank Gore, Colts – Settled for 34 rushing yards.
Melvin Gordon, Chargers – Just 40 combined yards.
Thomas Rawls, Seahawks – Ran for 36 and caught a 16-yard pass, but also fumbled.

WRs
Eric Decker, Titans – Laid a goose egg.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers – Ran for 2 yards and caught a 3-yard pass.
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos – Caught 2 passes for 9 measly yards.
Jordan Matthews, Bills – Returned to catch 2 passes for 10 yards.
Tyrell Williams, Chargers – Caught an 11 yarder.
Green Bay WRs: Jordy caught a 13 yarder, Davante tallied 12 yards and Cobb had 15.
John Brown, Cardinals – Finished with a 6-yard catch.
Terrelle Pryor, Redskins – Caught 2 passes for 14 yards.
Mike Wallace, Ravens – Knocked out of game after catching a 9 yarder.
Danny Amendola, Patriots – Stuck with 3 passes for 17 yards.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts – Held to 27 yards on 2 catches.
Jamison Crowder, Redskins – Caught 2 passes for 28 yards.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Just 29 yards on 3 catches.
Alshon Jeffery, Eagles – Just 37 yards on 2 receptions.
A.J. Green, Bengals – Limited to 41 yards on 3 receptions.

TEs

Austin Hooper, Falcons – Caught a 6-yard pass on Sunday night.

Weathering the bye-week blues

The next two weekends will test virtually every fantasy owner’s mettle.

Six teams will be enjoying their bye in both Weeks 8 and 9. The challenging fortnight begins with the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers and Carson Palmer-less Cardinals joining the Jaguars, Rams, Giants, Titans, you and me on the couch.

Following that, the Bears, Browns, Chargers, Vikings, Patriots and Steelers will be idle.

Few fantasy teams will have sufficient depth to field a full starting lineup without working the waiver wire. Savvy owners planned ahead and made a preemptive move or two to minimize the number of transactions required this week. If this weekend isn’t your concern, be sure to look at your Week 9 schedule to see if you should be making an early swap at kicker, defense, tight end or other bench player.

Admittedly, at this stage of the season, the pickings are thin. But some value can be had, especially when considering defensive units facing beleaguered offenses. The Eagles (owned in less than half of all leagues) are a safe bet against the winless 49ers. The Bengals should have some success against the Colts. And the Saints should continue their defensive renaissance against the pass-challenged Bears.

This is also prime time for trading, as most owners will be scrambling just like you. Check out your opponents’ pain points over the next couple of weeks, and probe to see if they are more amenable to a trade than they might otherwise be.

Hey, all’s fair in love and fantasy football. Taking advantage of a desperate competitor is part and parcel of the game.


WAIVER WIRE PICKS AND PANS

To win a fantasy championship, it’s best to start with a great draft. But filling gaps in your roster with the occasional waiver-wire acquisition can also pay big dividends. Here's a look at some players worth considering, and others who would look better in someone else's lineup.

Catch ‘em while you can

Matt Moore, QB, Dolphins. Many Dolfans got what they’ve been asking for when Moore took over Sunday for the injured Jay Cutler. Moore isn’t going to erase the memory of Dan Marino, but he brings experience and a steadier hand to the passing game. For those with injury or bye-week issues at QB, Moore could come through on Thursday night. And if he soars, Cutler’s return could be “delayed.”

Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, RBs, Raiders. Marshawn Lynch had been disappointing enough before he got himself ejected and left those who trusted him in their starting lineups with a big fat zero. Richard and Washington will presumably share the load in Week 8 against the Bills, and with the passing game seemingly back in fine form, they both have a chance to excel. As the more versatile of the two, Richard is option 1(a) to Washington’s 1(b).

Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, RBs, Cowboys. The Zeke Elliott saga continues to play out in the courts, and he will play in Week 8. But it seems increasingly likely that the superstar RB’s six-game suspension is imminent. The Cowboys haven’t yet tipped their hand on who will start in his place, but my expectation is for a committee approach, with the proverbial “hot hand” taking the lead. Both backs are, therefore, worth owning.

Kenny Stills, WR, Dolphins. Stills has speed and talent, but he is frustratingly inconsistent. If Sunday’s game is any indication, he and Moore have built a strong chemistry in practice. If DeVante Parker remains out and Cutler takes time to heal, Stills could add to his Week 7 heroics.

Don’t be fooled

Drew Stanton, QB, Cardinals. Not only should you never put your fantasy team in Stanton’s hands, but with Arizona’s bye week on tap, you can safely release any of your Cardinals receivers not named Larry Fitzgerald. This passing game without Carson Palmer at the helm is going to get even uglier than it’s been for most of this season.


Travis Benjamin, WR, Chargers. The speedster dazzled on his punt-return TD and 42-yard TD reception. But keep in mind the latter was Benjamin’s only catch of the day. That gives him a total of 14 receptions on the season – an average of two per game. He’s the definition of boom or bust, and it’s mostly bust.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday morning observations -- Week 7

Good morning, Fools. It's a chilly day in Fantasyland (at least it is in DFW), but it's a great day for football.

Let's take a spin around the NFL for the news we can use to dominate our matchups.

Jameis Winston is active and will start today in a tough matchup against the Bills.

Leonard Fournette has just been ruled out. If you have Chris Ivory, or if he's available, get him in your lineup. He should have a very nice outing against the Colts.

Rob Kelley is expected to return today, moving Samaje Perine back to the bench. I'm not crazy about Kelley this weekend, but Chris Thompson should have another of his up games.

Not only will we get another look at the rejuvenated Adrian Peterson against the Rams, but Andre Ellington is expected to miss the game. Might AP even be used as a receiver? This game is being played in London, but it's not starting early as usual.

Don't expect much, if anything, from C.J. Prosise (ankle) today. We could see another exciting cameo from J.D. McKissic, but probably just a lot of 2 yards and a cloud of dust from Thomas Rawls interspersed with an occasional nice Eddie Lacy run.

The Titans were concerned about both DeMarco Murray and Delanie Walker being available today, but they are both active. Start them as usual.

I like the Philly passing game on Monday night (and in general), and really like it with Josh Norman out for the Redskins. Start Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.

Jordan Matthews should be back today, though with a wrapped-up thumb, which boosts Tyrod Taylor's outlook. The thing to consider here is not starting Matthews, but picking him up if he was dropped after his injury. If he stays healthy, and firms up his connection with Taylor, Matthews could have fantasy value down the stretch.

Sterling Shepard is also expected to return, which is great news for the Giants offense. He'll instantly become the #1 target; but against the Seahawks, he's a must-sit.

Willie Snead won't play for the Saints today. Neither will Jeremy Maclin for the Ravens. Not that you were going to start either of them.

That's it for now. Heading over to Twitter for the inactives and other late-breaking news. Good luck today, Fools.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Week 7 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Le’Veon Bell and A.J. Green, or to bench DeShone Kizer and Eli Rogers? 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 7 of the 2017 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Patriots. Ryan has been a major disappointment this season, and Julio Jones has yet to find the end zone. But the Patriots are exactly what the doctor ordered. Every QB that has faced New England’s defense has posted his season high in yardage – including Josh McCown. Prepare for a feast.

C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos at Chargers. Anderson’s owners still have the bitter taste of last week’s dud in their mouths. But don’t let that scare you away from this delicious matchup. Nobody has given up more rushing yards than the Chargers. Though Jamaal Charles will continue to eat into his carries, Anderson should be fed enough to torch this sorry unit.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers vs. Cowboys. Hyde salvaged an otherwise mediocre performance last week with two rushing scores. Just as important, he distanced himself from up-and-coming Matt Breida in the backfield pecking order. Hyde will have a chance to build on his rushing stats against the porous Dallas run defense, while continuing to produce as a receiver.

Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans at Browns. Marcus Mariota’s return jumpstarted the Titans’ passing attack last week, and now he’ll face one of the league’s true doormats. As Mariota’s favorite target, Matthews should be the biggest beneficiary of the matchup. He might even get loose for the long ball, which has been surprisingly absent from his repertoire thus far in 2017.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles vs. Redskins. The former first-round pick is finally paying dividends now that he has developed a strong rapport with Carson Wentz. Against the Redskins’ depleted secondary, he should continue to use his blazing speed to make plays and find the end zone.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, Marcus Mariota, Kirk Cousins; RBs LeSean McCoy, Jordan Howard, Joe Mixon, Jerick McKinnon, Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey; WRs Chris Hogan, Adam Thielen, Kelvin Benjamin, Larry Fitzgerald, Pierre Garcon, Brandin Cooks.

Roll ‘em back

Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks at Giants. Wilson has had an up-and-down season, and this shapes up to be another off game. The Giants’ secondary, while showing occasional cracks, has mostly been very stingy. Given how porous Seattle’s offensive line has been, Wilson could be laying on his back for much of this game.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Eagles vs. Redskins. Though he ran strong against the Panthers last week, Blount’s final stats did little to help his fantasy owners. With Wendell Smallwood expected to return, and a solid Redskins run defense coming to town, Blount’s bottom line will likely be difficult to swallow again.

Ty Montgomery, RB, Packers vs. Saints. To his credit, Aaron Jones flashed his talents against Dallas two weeks ago, earning a prominent role in the Packers’ backfield. But Montgomery’s return, and the continuing injuries to Green Bay’s offensive line, are conspiring to render both backs fantasy-irrelevant. With Aaron Rodgers gone, the Saints can afford to stack the box to thwart the running game. It could get ugly.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts vs. Jaguars. It will be hard to take my own advice and sit him, but Hilton could have his second consecutive poor outing. Jacoby Brissett is coming off a rough week against the lowly Titans, and now he’ll be facing arguably the most stifling pass defense in the league. Hilton will be shadowed by elite defensive backs on every route, while Brissett will be running for his life from the NFL’s leading sack unit.

DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers at Bills. It’s not clear whether Jameis Winston at 75% or Ryan Fitzpatrick at 100% is worse, but regardless which quarterback is under center, D-Jax could be in for a rough day against the stout Bills secondary. Jackson has been a low-volume receiving option for his new team, and without enough targets, he is destined to swoon in upstate New York.

More thumbs down: QBs Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Brett Hundley, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett; RBs Tarik Cohen, Thomas Rawls, Javorius Allen, Bilal Powell, Chris Thompson, Aaron Jones; WRs Jeremy Maclin, Donte Moncrief, Martavis Bryant, Tyrell Williams, Randall Cobb, Mike Wallace, Giants WRs.

TAKING A FLIER

Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons at Patriots. Coleman has been his usual productive self when given the ball, and in a game that figures to be high scoring, he should be deployed more than usual. Devonta Freeman will ground out the tough yards, but Coleman will be there to exploit New England’s paltry pass defense out of the backfield.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…fails to look ahead and make a couple of preemptive adjustments to weather the six-team byes scheduled for Weeks 8 and 9. You don’t want to wake up Tuesday morning and realize half your team is out, then be forced to scramble. Swapping defenses, kickers or bench depth now, while players are free, will give you more flexibility when it’s time to hit the waiver wire.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Week 6 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

QBs
Deshaun Watson, Texans – Racked up 3 more passing TDs, 225 passing yards, 23 rushing yards and an INT.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Tallied 330 passing yards, 26 rushing yards, 2 TDs and an INT.
Carson Wentz, Eagles – Passed for 222 yards and 3 TDs, and added 25 rushing yards, though he coughed up a fumble.

RBs
Melvin Gordon, Chargers – Ran for 83 yards and a TD, and caught 9 passes for 67 yards and a second TD.
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – Rumbled for 179 yards and a TD, and added 3 catches for 12 yards.
Adrian Peterson, Cardinals – Returns to favor with 134 rushing yards and 2 TDs in his first game as a Cardinal.
Mark Ingram, Saints – Rushed for 114 yards and 2 TDs, and caught 5 passes for 36 yards, though he lost a fumble.
Jerick McKinnon, Vikings – Ran for 69 yards, caught 30 yards worth of passes and scored both ways, though he lost a fumble.
Carlos Hyde, 49ers – Apparently had the hot hand, running for 28 yards and 2 TDs, and adding 5 receptions for 47 yards.
Derrick Henry, Titans – Raced for 131 yards and a TD, plus a 14-yard catch.

WRs
Antonio Brown, Steelers – Reeled in 8 passes for 155 yards and a TD.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Plucked 10 passes for 138 yards and a TD, though he lost a fumble.

TEs
Rob Gronkowki, Patriots – Did what Gronk do, with 6 catches for 83 yards and 2 TDs.
Zach Ertz, Eagles – Scored twice on 2 catches for 18 yards.

D/STs
Saints – Gave up 38 points, but recovered 2 fumbles, nabbed 3 INTs, had 5 sacks and scored 3 defensive TDs.
Lions – They coughed up 52 points, but collected 2 INTs, a fumble, and 2 TDs on an INT and punt return.
Ravens – Generated 4 sacks, 2 fumbles and TDs on both a punt and kickoff return.
Texans – Amassed 4 sacks, 3 INTs, a safety and a TD on an INT return.
Rams – Scored on a kickoff return and a blocked punt, and added 5 sacks and an INT.


This was a great week to play against…

QBs
Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Had just 18 passing yards before getting knocked out for the season.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers – Exited with a shoulder injury after just 61 yards passing.
Joe Flacco, Ravens – Passed for 180 yards and 2 INTs, with no scores.

RBs
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Actually lost 4 yards on his 8 carries, and didn’t catch a pass.
C.J. Anderson, Broncos – Ran for 17 yards and failed to catch a pass.
Latavius Murray, Vikings – Just 28 rushing and 9 receiving yards.
Wayne Gallman, Giants – Rushed for 27 yards.
Mike Gillislee, Patriots – Ran for 44 yards but lost a fumble.
Aaron Jones, Packers – Totaled just 42 yards against the Vikings.
Ty Montgomery, Packers – He only had 31 combined yards.

WRs
Michael Thomas, Saints – Turned 3 passes into just 11 yards.
Sammy Watkins, Rams – His 11 yards came on one pass.
Chris Hogan, Patriots – Caught a 19 yarder.
T.Y. Hilton, Colts – So did he.
Martavis Bryant, Steelers – Held to 27 yards on 2 receptions.
Terrelle Pryor, Redskins – Just 23 yards on 3 catches.
Tyrell Williams, Chargers – Limited to 27 yards on 3 receptions, and lost a fumble.
Randall Cobb, Packers – His 3 catches produced 28 yards.
Amari Cooper, Raiders – He took 5 catches to pickup 28 yards.
Jaron Brown, Cardinals – Caught a 30 yarder.
Mike Wallace, Ravens – Tallied 30 yards on 3 balls.
Tyreek Hill, Chiefs – Settled for 34 yards on 5 passes, and lost 9 yards on his only carry.

TEs

Eric Ebron, Lions – Caught a 9 yarder.