Monday, November 28, 2016

Week 12 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

This was a great week to play against…

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.

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.

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.

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.


I need a shoulder…


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!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week 12 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start Ezekiel Elliott and Julio Jones, or to bench Scott Tolzien and Justin Hardy? 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 12 of the 2016 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys vs. Redskins. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but despite trading for Matt Ryan last week, I plan to deploy the Dak Attack on Thursday instead. Not only is the rookie en fuego, but the Redskins are ripe for the picking after being lit up by Aaron Rodgers and traveling on the short week. Also, while Ryan remains a solid play, he’ll be facing a tenacious Arizona D that has surrendered a league-least seven passing TDs.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks at Buccaneers. With C.J. Prosise out and Christine Michael a Packer, Seattle’s backfield now belongs solely to Rawls. Though Russell Wilson appears to be fully healthy again, he’ll appreciate the help. Look for Rawls to carry a heavy load against the generous Bucs run defense.

Wendell Smallwood, RB, Eagles vs. Packers. With Ryan Mathews out due to a sprained knee and Darren Sproles nursing a broken rib, Smallwood is likely to get the majority of carries in this contest. Fortunately for him, Green Bay’s run defense has imploded over recent weeks (right, Rob Kelley?). Smallwood also adds value as a receiver, so he makes an especially attractive start in PPR leagues.

Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants at Browns. Nobody hands out more passing scores than the Browns, which is convenient for the rookie, who is on a three-game scoring streak. Only Odell Beckham, Jr., is seeing more of Eli Manning’s passes his way than Shepard, so look for the good times to continue in Cleveland this weekend.

Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins vs. 49ers. Aside from a bizarre fourth-quarter scrum with the Rams, during which his entire offensive line shoved him into the end zone, Landry has been held without a TD since Week 3. Miami is finally enjoying some home cooking after a long road trip, and they’ll be feasting one of the league’s softest secondaries on Sunday.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr, Eli Manning, Cam Newton; RBs Spencer Ware, Jay Ajayi, Lamar Miller, LeGarrette Blount, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, Rashad Jennings, Rob Kelley, Theo Riddick; WRs Doug Baldwin, Larry Fitzgerald, Jordan Matthews, Amari Cooper, Rishard Matthews, Brandin Cooks, Jamison Crowder, Demaryius Thomas, Kelvin Benjamin, Tyrell Williams, Davante Adams, Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Steve Smith.

Roll ‘em back

Matt Stafford, QB, Lions vs. Vikings. Stafford has had just one multi-touchdown game since Week 6, and he needed overtime to do it in his previous matchup with Minnesota. With Marvin Jones essentially AWOL, Stafford has resorted to dinking and dunking in recent weeks. The Vikings’ pass defense isn’t impenetrable, but it’s solid enough to limit this struggling attack.

Jordan Howard, RB, Bears vs. Titans. Howard has carried the load in Chicago admirably since taking over for Jeremy Langford in Week 4. But with the Bears’ passing attack essentially decimated, and Matt Barkley likely under center, the Titans will stack the line to shut down Howard, the only viable threat left for the home team.

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders vs. Panthers. Murray remains the leader of Oakland’s RB stable, but his backfield mates stole the TDs in Mexico. Now they’ll face one of the league’s stingiest run defenses, though the loss of Luke Kuechly leaves a big hole. Still, Murray’s ceiling is lower than normal. If you start him, you’d better hope he makes it up as a receiver.

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts vs. Steelers. All bets are off with Indy’s passing attack as Andrew Luck sits out due to a concussion. T.Y. Hilton offers too much upside to bench, but Moncrief -- despite scoring in four of his five games played – shouldn’t be trusted.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills vs. Jaguars. You may have heard that Watkins has been cleared to return from injured reserve and may even see the field on Sunday. But as bare as Buffalo’s receiving cupboard is, there’s almost no way he will get enough snaps to make a meaningful contribution in his first game back from foot surgery. Maybe next week.

More thumbs down: QBs Carson Palmer, Tyrod Taylor, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, Sam Bradford, Colin Kaepernick; RBs Carlos Hyde, James Starks, Frank Gore, Mark Ingram, Jerick McKinnon, Isaiah Crowell; WRs Michael Floyd, J.J. Nelson, Torrey Smith, Stefon Diggs, Kenny Britt, Tyreek Hill, Marvin Jones, Corey Coleman, Brandon LaFell, Allen Hurns, Travis Benjamin, Danny Amendola, Cameron Meredith, Mohamed Sanu, Quincy Enunwa, Willie Snead, Will Fuller.


Titans defense at Bears. Looking for a plug and play defense? Chicago will be going to battle without its best wideout, Alshon Jeffery, its best tight end, Zach Miller and, almost certainly, its top quarterback, Jay Cutler. All the Titans need to do is shut down the run. In case you’ve forgotten, see Howard, Jordan, above.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…gets all hopped up on tryptophan and forgets to set your lineup in time for all three Thanksgiving games. The Vikings and Lions kickoff early (12:30 p.m. ET), so tell someone else to baste the turkey Thursday morning. You’ve got work to do!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Week 11 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

Tom Brady, Patriots – Passed for 280 yards and 4 TDs without a turnover. Ho-hum.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys – Continued his magical journey to Canton with 301 passing yards and 3 TDs, plus 16 yards on the ground, without a turnover.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Passed for 351 yards and 3 TDs, and ran for 33 yards, with zero turnovers.
Kirk Cousins, Redskins – Torched the Packers for 375 yards and 3 TDs, without a blemish.

Rob Kelley, Redskins – Ran for 137 yards and a TD trifecta.
David Johnson, Cardinals – Rushed for 103 yards and a TD and added 7 receptions for 57 yards and a 2nd TD.
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – Rumbled for 146 yards and a TD, and caught 8 passes for 55 yards.

Dez Bryant, Cowboys – Collected 6 passes for 80 yards and 2 TDs.

Vikings – Picked off 2 passes, notched 4 sacks and scored TDs on a 100-yard INT return and a 104-yard kickoff return.
Lions – Amassed 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery and scored on an INT return and punt return.
Steelers – Collected 8 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble and scored on the fumble recovery while holding the Browns to 9 points.

This was a great week to play against…

Tyrod Taylor, Bills – Passed for just 166 yards without a TD, but threw an INT and rushed for 39 yards.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – Just 167 passing yards without a score.
Matt Stafford, Lions – His 278 passing yards weren’t that bad, but he couldn’t find the end zone.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns – Combined for just 23 yards as a rusher and receiver.
T.J. Yeldon, Jaguars – Had 16 yards each rushing and receiving.
Ryan Mathews, Eagles – Ran for 31 yards before leaving injured.

A.J. Green, Bengals – Left with a severe hamstring injury before he could make a catch.
Sammie Coates, Steelers – Had a goose egg.
Jeremy Kerley, 49ers – He did, too.
J.J. Nelson, Cardinals – Caught a 0-yarder!
Allen Hurns, Jaguars – Caught a 9-yarder.
Michael Crabtree, Raiders -- Dropped more than he caught, which was 3 passes for 5 yards.
Marvin Jones, Lions – Posted another stinker with a 15 yard catch.
Will Fuller, Texans -- Left Mexico with a 17-yarder.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals – Only 21 yards on 2 catches.
Tavon Austin, Rams – He made 21 yards on his only catch.
Golden Tate, Lions – Just 27 yards on 3 receptions.
Willie Snead, Saints – Only 33 yards on 4 catches.
Corey Coleman, Browns – Came up short again with 4 passes for 39 yards.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings – Held to 37 yards on 6 receptions.

Jesse James, Steelers – Caught a 5-yarder.
Martellus Bennett, Patriots – With no Gronk, Marty B had a measly 14-yarder.
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers – Only 18 yards on 2 passes.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Injuries hit hard. So why am I celebrating?

Sunday was the first time all year that I was glad I didn’t own A.J. Green in either of my fantasy leagues.

I realize how crass that sounds, since my fake team’s fate is benefitting from the real-life, season-ending injury to a superstar receiver. But admit it…you immediately thought of yourself when you heard the news, too.

One of my league-mates texted me just seconds after seeing Green go down on the RedZone Channel: “Noooo!” And I knew what he meant.

Later, when the Bengals announced he had likely torn his hamstring, the same owner texted “I’m done. Season over. Can’t believe this.” With a few extra thoughts that are best left to your imagination.

Later, during the Sunday night post-game show, I heard the news that Giovani Bernard had torn his ACL and would also miss the rest of the season. And my warped mind immediately made the personal connection: No more sharing for Jeremy Hill! I might have even performed a subconscious fist pump.

What is wrong with me?

Last Wednesday, I made a blockbuster trade of one of my favorite players, LeSean McCoy, in return for Matt Ryan. (I thought QB was my team’s only weakness, until Dak Prescott lit up the Ravens and looked into the camera at me as if to say, “Do I look weak to you?”) Needless to say, I squirmed when Shady waltzed into the end zone early Sunday afternoon.

And when he went out with a thumb injury? Yep, I sent the following text to my trading partner: “Damn shame, buddy. I feel just awful for you.”

I didn’t.

My road to fantasy glory in another league also got a boost with the news that rookie sensation C.J. Prosise injured his shoulder and is expected to miss an undetermined amount of time. It didn’t take long to do the mental calculus on Thomas Rawls’ increased value down the stretch. He’ll start for me in Week 12.

Hey, it’s a new day in America, right? It’s perfectly acceptable to say, and write, politically incorrect things now. I’m taking my direction from the top.

Of course, these things can cut both ways. I took a hit when Alshon Jeffery was suspended. Is it so wrong that when I heard he had taken performance-enhancing drugs, my immediate thought was “and that’s the best he could do?”

I’ve long been in the camp that violent video games can have a desensitizing effect on kids (and some adults, too). Apparently fantasy football has the same effect on me when it comes to injuries.

I’m ashamed. Oh, and I just cleared space on my mantle for two more trophies.


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

Rex Burkhead, RB, Bengals. While Jeremy Hill is the biggest beneficiary of Bernard’s exit, Burkhead will see an increase in his workload, too. Especially in the passing game. Just how lethal the Bengals offense will be without Green and Bernard is another story.

Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals. Boyd’s fantasy stock obviously soars with Green’s injury. He scored the first TD of his rookie season on Sunday, and should be the most-targeted Bengal wideout down the stretch.

Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans. Why is he still available in 40 percent of all leagues? Have you not seen the tear Marcus Mariota has been on? Have you not noticed that Matthews is his favorite WR target? In fact, he’s been one of the most reliable receivers in Fantasyland over the last seven games. And on Sunday, he proved he can even do it without reaching the end zone.

Don’t be fooled

Allen Hurns, WR, Jaguars. He is still owned in roughly 70 percent of all leagues, despite catching just three passes for 22 yards over the past three games. If you insist on owning a Jaguars wideout not named Robinson, consider Marqise Lee, who has overtaken Hurns in the pecking order and scored his first TD of the year against the Lions.

Brandon LaFell, WR, Bengals. See Boyd, Tyler, above. There’s only one Cincinnati receiver worth banking on now, and LaFell ain’t him.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sunday morning observations -- Week 11

Good morning, Fools, from frosty North Texas. Winter is coming, indeed.

We're steamrolling down the stretch toward the fantasy postseason. Hopefully you're like me, with the highest -- or nearly the highest -- points in your leagues and aiming not just for a playoff berth, but a first-round bye. Both of my leagues also pay out a percentage of the pot for highest regular-season points, so that serves as extra motivation to get every starting spot right.

(BTW, not trying to act like I'm always in this position; most years I'm fighting to make the playoffs in at least one of my leagues. This season has been great from the start, not coincidentally because I took David Johnson with my first pick in both leagues.)

But enough about me. Let's take a spin around the league to cover the news we can use to dominate our matchups...

You know Rob Gronkowski is out, but Dion Lewis should see his first action of the season today in San Francisco. It's too early to start him, but with a nice debut, he could be a key player in Week 12. Especially if Gronk has to sit another game.

I snapped up Thomas Rawls a couple weeks ago, but I've stashed him on my bench for his first game back. If I didn't have safer options available, I wouldn't be too worried about starting him. While he probably won't get the workhorse treatment today, he is expected to be very involved. And Lord knows, the Seahawks need to fix their running game. (C.J. Prosise has proven his worth, but he is better suited in a change-of-pace, receiving role; at least for now.)

Though KC is playing solid defense, I like Doug Martin's chances today after he shook off the rust in Week 10.

I wouldn't start any Cardinal not named David Johnson or Fitz today. Carson Palmer is flailing, and the Vikes, while swooning, still play good pass D.

Latavius Murray (ankle) and Amari Cooper (back) are still listed as questionable for the Monday nighter in Mexico City. Both are expected to play, and each should perform well; but just know that there's some risk here, since both were limited in practice on Saturday.

Will Fuller is in the same boat, but he doesn't have the same upside as his opponents, mostly because he has to play with Brock Osweiler.

Other players who are already ruled out, or trending that way: DeAngelo Williams, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jeremy Maclin, Chris Hogan, Torrey Smith and Larry Donnell.

That's it for now. Inactives and other late-breaking news to follow via Twitter in a bit. Good luck, Fools!

Bonus Question: So I made a blockbuster trade this week. Curious what you Fools think. I am 8-2 in my big-money league and lead the "highest points" race by about 50 points over #2. My only weakness on that team is at QB, where I started with Palmer and Bortles, and recently dropped Bortles for Dak. I traded Shady McCoy and Palmer for Matt Ryan and Ingram. Fortunately, I didn't play Ingram on Thursday (Jeremy Hill is my new RB2; also have Tevin Coleman, Hightower and Dion Lewis). It obviously hurts to lose Shady (it's a PPR league), and Ryan is on bye this week. But I figure it's all about the postseason, and I just got stronger at the most important position. I'm not a bonehead, right?

Friday, November 18, 2016

Week 11 Starters & Benchwarmers

Wondering whether or not to start David Johnson and Antonio Brown, or to bench Jared Goff and Eddie Royal? 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 11 of the 2016 season.

Watch ‘em roll

Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans at Colts. With 19 total TDs vs. just three interceptions over the last six games, Mariota is on the verge of elite, must-start status. When he’s facing a pathetic pass defense like the Colts, there may be no better option on the planet.

Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders vs. Texans. The formula for moving the ball against Houston is to run, and Murray is up to the task. He had a huge outing prior to the bye (127 total yards, 3 TDs), so look for the Raiders to lean heavily on their backfield leader again on Monday night south of the border.

Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals vs. Bills. Cincinnati’s running game has been providing welcome relief to Andy Dalton, who has been struggling of late. Hill is on a three-game scoring streak, while Giovani Bernard is coming off another mediocre outing. Buffalo’s run defense is nothing special, so look for the starter of this shared backfield to capitalize on the friendly matchup.

Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts vs. Titans. This is what you call an Oprah game. Hilton gets a TD! Moncrief gets a TD! Everybody gets a TD! Nobody gives up more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Titans, and they’re nearly as generous to wideouts. Moncrief has scored in consecutive games, and should run the streak to three on Sunday.

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots at 49ers. Edelman has reached the end zone just once all season, and came up a yard short of his first 100-yard game last week. With Rob Gronkowski (lung) out, and the 49ers’ sieve-like secondary covering him, Edelman should pass the century mark and find the end zone while seeing more targets than any other receiver.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Tyrod Taylor; RBs LeGarrette Blount, Doug Martin, LeSean McCoy, Spencer Ware, Jay Ajayi, Frank Gore, Jordan Howard; WRs Rishard Matthews, Davante Adams, Doug Baldwin, Mike Wallace, Amari Cooper, Allen Robinson, Robert Woods.

Roll ‘em back

Derek Carr, QB, Raiders vs. Texans. Carr followed up his performance of a lifetime with an epic stinker prior to the bye. Don’t be surprised if he fouls the air again in Mexico City, against a Houston secondary that has surrendered just eight passing scores all season.

Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers vs. Patriots. Hyde’s return to the starting lineup was a bust last week in Arizona. While he quickly regained his Alpha RB status over DuJuan Harris, Hyde was outrushed by his quarterback. Though New England’s run defense has been roasted at times – most notably by Buffalo two games ago – Hyde’s prospects are dim in this matchup.

Rashad Jennings, RB, Giants vs. Bears. Jennings finally cleared the 100-combined-yards threshold in Week 10, by a whopping 9 yards. He’s still stuck on a solitary touchdown for the season, while rookie Paul Perkins steadily chips away at his playing time. Add the Bears’ stingy run defense to the mix, and Jennings is a no go.

Marvin Jones, WR, Lions vs. Jaguars. The frustration continues for Jones’ owners, as Golden Tate supplants him as Matt Stafford’s favorite target. A nagging foot injury isn’t helping. Jacksonville’s pass defense has stiffened up lately, so consider safer alternatives.

Cole Beasley, WR, Cowboys vs. Ravens. Dak Prescott has been a revelation, and he has certainly favored Beasley during his sensational run. But Baltimore’s defense has stepped up lately, and could limit the Dak Attack to less-than-stellar production. Beasley’s ceiling isn’t high enough to offset the downside risk.

More thumbs down: QBs Carson Palmer, Jameis Winston, Jay Cutler, Brock Osweiler, Ryan Tannehill, Sam Bradford, Joe Flacco; RBs Thomas Rawls, Terrance West, Ty Montgomery, Chris Ivory, Jerick McKinnon; WRs Randall Cobb, DeVante Parker, Kenny Britt, Michael Floyd, Will Fuller, DeSean Jackson, Allen Hurns, Jordan Matthews, Percy Harvin, Victor Cruz, Tyreek Hill.


Martellus Bennett, TE, Patriots vs. 49ers. I don’t usually talk tight ends, since most fantasy players rarely have tough starting decisions to make. But with Gronk out, Bennett will vie with Edelman for the lion’s share of Tom Brady’s attention. And that, my friends, is a prescription for success against a poor defense like San Francisco’s.

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…keeps dead weight on your roster. Way too many owners are inexplicably holding onto players like Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, C.J. Anderson, Eddie Lacy and Alshon Jeffery, who won’t return from suspension until Week 17. Unless you’re in a keeper league, eject these guys and replace them with players who can actually contribute down the stretch.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Week 10 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to play…

Marcus Mariota, Titans – Passed for 295 yards and 4 TDs, without a blemish.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks – Torched the Patriots for 348 yards and 3 TDs, without a turnover.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers – Passed for 408 yards and 3 TDs without a turnover.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Passed for 371 yards and 2 TDs (with 2 INTs) and ran for 27 yards and a 3rd TD.

DeMarco Murray, Titans – Rumbled for 123 yards and a TD, caught 2 passes for 33 yards and even threw a 10-yard TD pass.
LeGarrette Blount, Patriots – Racked up 69 yards and 3 TDs on Sunday night.
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys – Ran for 114 yards and 2 TDs and grabbed 2 passes for 95 yards, including an 83-yard TD catch.
David Johnson, Cardinals – Rushed for 55 yards and a TD and caught 5 passes for 46 yards and another TD.
Ryan Mathews, Eagles – Busted loose for 109 rushing yards and 2 TDs, plus 30 yards on 2 receptions. Too bad 80% of his owners benched him.
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers – Scored as a runner and receiver, rushing for 57 yards and catching 9 passes for 77 yards.

Doug Baldwin, Seahawks – Teamed with DangeRuss to haul in 6 passes for 59 yards and a TD trifecta.
Jordy Nelson, Packers – Caught a dozen passes for 126 yards and a TD.
Antonio Brown, Steelers – Grabbed 14 balls for 154 yards and a TD.
Willie Snead, Saints – Scored twice on 5 catches for 47 yards.
Allen Robinson, Jaguars – Caught 9 passes for 107 yards and a score.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys – Collected 6 passes for 116 yards and a TD.
Odell Beckham, Jr., Giants – Reeled in 10 passes for 97 yards and a score.
Julio Jones, Falcons – PPR leaguers enjoyed his 10-catch, 135-yard outing.
Davante Adams, Packers – They liked Adams’ 156 yards on 6 catches, too.
Stefon Diggs, Vikings – And his 13 receptions for 164 yards.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Don’t forget Fitz’s dozen grabs for 133 yards.
Delanie Walker, Titans – Caught 9 passes for 124 yards and a TD.

Chiefs – Notched 2 sacks, a fumble recovery, and an INT returned for a TD while holding Carolina to 17 points.
Buccaneers – Amassed 4 sacks, 2 INTs, 2 fumble recoveries, a safety and a TD on their first INT and limited the Bears to 10 points.
Dolphins – Picked off 4 passes, registered 3 sacks and scored on an INT return.

This was a great week to play against…

Alex Smith, Chiefs – Passed for a meager 178 yards with no scores and an INT.
Carson Wentz, Eagles – Held to 231 passing yards, no TDs and a lost fumble.

Carlos Hyde, 49ers – Held to 14 yards on the ground.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Only 39 yards on the ground, with no receptions.
Ty Montgomery, Packers – Ran for just 9 yards and caught 2 passes for 11 yards.

Quincy Enunwa, Jets – Caught a 7-yarder.
Allen Hurns, Jaguars – Managed only 13 yards on 2 balls.
Mohamed Sanu, Falcons – Limited to 14 yards on 2 receptions.
Brandon Marshall, Jets – Only 15 yards on 4 catches.
Corey Coleman, Browns – Just 17 yards on 3 catches on Thursday night.
Tavon Austin, Rams – Caught 2 passes for 19 yards.
J.J. Nelson, Cardinals – Just 29 yards on 2 catches and lost a fumble.

Gary Barnidge, Browns – Caught an 8-yarder.
Coby Fleener, Saints – Only 26 yards on 2 receptions.
Travis Kelce, Chiefs – Just 31 yards on 3 catches.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Season takes a DangeRuss turn…again

Uh oh. Did we just witness the beginning of another epic run by Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin that will tilt the fantasy landscape over the last half of the season?

Last year, that dynamic duo caught fire in Week 10 and took their shocked and grateful owners on a ride that, in many cases, didn’t stop until they were lifting cheesy trophies over their heads. One of my 2015 opponents had both Wilson and Baldwin on his team, and the rest of us never had a chance.

Right on cue, in Week 10, they were at it again. In Foxborough, no less.

On a weekend when Zeke Elliott raced to the front of the MVP chase, the Denver special teams stuck a dagger in the Saints’ fleur-de-lis and the Dolphins secondary picked off Philip Rivers four times, all I can see is Baldwin reeling in his third touchdown reception and my fantasy life flashing before my eyes.

Say it ain’t so!


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

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots. Lewis was activated off the PUP list over the weekend, but was inactive on Sunday night. But he will almost certainly make his 2016 debut in Week 11, signaling the end to James White’s initially promising – but lately fizzling – role in the Patriots’ passing game. Lewis is a dynamic playmaker who can pay huge dividends down the stretch run.

Rob Kelley, RB, Redskins. Matt Jones had his chance at the starting gig, but he blew it. Now it’s Kelley’s turn, and after his 97-rushing-yard outing against the Vikings, the job appears to be his for the foreseeable future. Kelley is a strong, explosive runner who should produce consistent, if not spectacular, results on a steady basis. He’ll be a solid flex play in favorable matchups.

Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks. I told you to grab him last week, but he’s still available in more than half of all leagues. With Christine Michael essentially kaput, and C.J. Prosise settling in as the change-of-pace back, Rawls should step right back into his workhorse role this weekend.

Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers. With a scoring reception in his third consecutive game, it’s time to give Brate his due. He has become a favorite red zone target of Jameis Winston, and somebody other than Mike Evans has to catch balls in Tampa Bay. Brate can help tight end-challenged fantasy squads.

Don’t be fooled

Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs. The rookie was targeted a whopping 13 times on Sunday, reeling in 10 of those passes for 89 yards. The high volume was a byproduct of the Chiefs playing from behind coupled with Jeremy Maclin’s absence. While Hill has also notched four TD receptions to date, his role in Kansas City’s run-first offense is likely to produce far more busts than booms moving forward.

Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals. After entering the season full of promise, Floyd has been “dis-owned” in more than half of all fantasy leagues. That’s partly because Arizona’s passing attack has struggled, but also due to his own drops and injury issues. Sunday’s nice bounce-back performance is likely more of an aberration than a portent of things to come. Not only did Floyd suffer a stinger at the end of the game, but the Cardinals’ receiving corps is more crowded than ever.

Ladd Biro is a two-time winner and four-time finalist of the Football Writer of the Year Award by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Follow all his advice daily at the Fantasy Fools blog (, on Facebook and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).