NFL Week 11 Fantasy Mailbag

Before the season started, my advice to Fantasy Football enthusiasts was to NOT draft based on potential. This was in regards to rookies who were soaring in mock drafts, as they normally do. How is that Bishop Sankey pick in the early rounds working out for you? (You probably loved seeing that Leon Washington touchdown last week against Baltimore)

Standing out, however, are the wide receivers from the 2014 Draft Class. Sammy Watkins (4th overall), Mike Evans (7th), Odell Beckham Jr. (12th), Brandin Cooks (20th), Kelvin Benjamin (28th), and Martavis Bryant (118th) have all put themselves have all put themselves in the “must start” conversation…Jordan Matthews (42nd) and John Brown (91st) have their arrows pointing up as well.

John Brown

During the Super Bowl Era (since 1967), only 12 rookie wide receivers have gained over 1,000 yards in a season. Just 5 have recorded 10+ touchdowns. With 7 weeks left in the regular season, 4 of the aforementioned rookies have a shot at 1,000: Benjamin (659), Watkins (617), Evans (585), and Cooks (500). Touchdowns can be unpredictable but the 2 wide receivers who will likely eclipse the 10+ mark, Benjamin (7) and Bryant (6). There are 5 rookies tied with 5 touchdown catches: Watkins, Evans, Matthews, Brown, and Allen Hurns.

The boost in rookie receiver production can be attributed to the way the game has evolved with quarterback friendly rules and the murky interpretations of pass interference in coverage, but fantasy owners aren’t complaining. When you look at the Top 25 fantasy receivers right now, you’ll find 4 rookies: Benjamin (10), Watkins (15), Evans (17), and Cooks (23).

While Benjamin is top 15 in yards and touchdowns, and Bryant is making history with the most touchdowns in his first 4 games played, these guys are still susceptible to the dread rookie mistakes.

Sammy mistake

Quick Hits

  • Speaking of receivers doing unprecedented things, how about the Packers wide receivers? After the Sunday Night massacre last week, Randall Cobb leads all wide receivers with 10 touchdowns and Jordy Nelson is tied for 4th with 8. The duo combined for 10, 224 yards, and 3 touchdowns against the Bears (no)defense…almost all of it in the first half. Nelson and Cobb are on pace to finish the season with 32 touchdowns combined. The record is 31, set by Randy Moss and Wes Welker with the Patriots in 2007.

Randall Cobb gif

  • Marshawn Lynch catapulted himself to the league lead in rushing touchdowns after piling 4 on the Giants last week. It was a new chapter to the Beast Mode saga that began in 2011, but really statement for the Seahawks offensive identity. Not only are they getting off the bus running, they are running to get back on it as they lead the league averaging 170.9 yards per game (nearly 20 more than the 2nd ranked Cowboys). While that might not be great news for owners of the Seahawks receivers, it’s a dance party for Lynch owners.
  • I don’t talk about D/ST very much on here, but what..the hell…Eagles? I went into Monday night with a 40+ point lead over my opponent and SQUEAKED away with a .04 point victory. 9 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 3 touchdown returns (1 KR, 1 PR, 1 Pick-6)…that’s just silly. The Eagles D/ST is a real weapon though as they have returned 9 touchdowns on the season. With Monday Night Football being so out of hand, unfortunately I was forced to ask this question:

  • I was a little bummed out when the Patriots went on their bye week. Maybe it was having to start Larry Donnell instead of Rob Gronkowski, but deep down I was missing Tom Brady’s, now infamous, Facebook rally posting…Seriously, the guy is a Facebook fiend and it’s fun. Tom Brady owners are going to be very happy to have him back against the Colts. Before the bye week, the Colts allowed a combined 881 yards and 8 touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. Since the bad Week 4 loss to the Chiefs, Brady has averaged 320 yards and 3.6 touchdowns. He’s also thrown multiple touchdowns in 5 straight games against Indy.

Brady Peace

And now…MAIL TIME!

Joey McNamara on Facebook: “C.J. Anderson or Montee Ball?…other options are Joique Bell or Branden Oliver.”

Remember when Montee Ball first went down? It became a game of “who gets the ball now?” between Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson. Obviously Hillman ran away and never looked back…until this week. Yes, Montee Ball is probable to play and should get some carries, but I think it is Anderson’s backfield until he’s knocked out of it. While the Rams are giving up just 2.85 yards per carry in the last 5 weeks, Peyton Manning’s running backs have benefitted in the passing game even more so than the run. And if the Broncos get out to a quick lead against the now Shaun Hill led Rams, I expect Anderson to benefit plenty…Joique Bell is a tough start against the Cardinals defense who is 3rd against the run. With Reggie Bush out again, passing downs have been going to Theo Riddick as well…While the Chargers get Ryan Matthews back this week, that actually may help Branden Oliver as he is delegated to the “Danny Woodhead” role. It was against Oakland in Week 6 when Oliver rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown, adding 4 catches for 23 yards. Again, I say go with Anderson this week.

Emmet Fairfield on Facebook: W/R/T: Deandre Hopkins, Freddy Jackson, or Dwayne Allen…Thinking about starting Jackson over Rashad Jennings.”

First, I would leave Rashad Jennings right where he is. He is facing a 49ers defense that surrendered 120 yards to a similar style runner in Mark Ingram, and I think the Giants CAN’T WAIT to hand the keys to Jennings again…I actually thought Fred Jackson could have been a decent start when he returned last week, but the Bills had other plans by giving him just 3 carries while the combo of Bryce Brown and Boobie Dixon got 75% of the action. Jackson did get 4 catches, but Brown got 6. On a short week, I don’t really like Jackson’s chances in a crowded backfield against Miami…Hopkins is an interesting play with Ryan Mallett getting his first start. My real concern is whether or not Hopkins will draw coverage from Joe Haden. Haden and the Browns secondary gave Andy Dalton a passer rating of 2 a week ago. Seriously. 2. Hopkins is drawing 33% of targets over the last 4 weeks though…The most consistent player from your group has been Dwayne Allen. Allen has 7 touchdowns this season and has hit paydirt in each of the last 3 games. He is not a world burner in yardage and he splits targets with Coby Fleener. But touchdowns are touchdowns…I lean toward Allen only because I don’t know what you’re going to get with Ryan Mallett starting.

Greg Kulaga on Facebook: “What’s the outlook for Jerick McKinnon with Adrian Peterson set to return?

Jerick McKinnon owners must REALLY hate Matt Asiata. He vultured not 1, not 2, but 3 touchdowns from McKinnon and I don’t think Adrian Peterson’s return is going to help him either. Asiata will resume 3rd down and short yardage duties and Peterson is going to have legs fresh for miles. McKinnon’s total yardage was trending downward the past 3 weeks anyway, so I don’t like his value long term after AP returns.

Brandon Watson on Facebook: “Trade: Give Odell Beckham Jr and Ahmad Bradshaw. Receive Jeremy Maclin and Heath Miller. PPR league.”

I don’t know if you’re trying to get a Tight End, but Heath Miller is not that guy. Especially for Bradshaw. Ahmad Bradshaw has the most red zone targets for running backs this season with 10. If you’re looking short term, that bodes well against a Patriots defense that has given up the most receiving touchdowns to running backs…I like Jeremy Maclin a lot and Mark Sanchez at quarterback won’t hurt him, but you’ve also got the best offensive threat in the Giants arsenal in Odell Beckham Jr. You’re better off with what you have in this trade scenario, unless womens jersey sales count in your league…No, seriously. Heath Miller has the most popular NFL jersey for women in North Dakota and Arkansas.

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 4.13.51 PM

Feel free to keep asking questions on Twitter

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