NFL Week 12 Fantasy Mailbag

Due to Thanksgiving and 3 games tomorrow, we’ve moved the mailbag up a day to give you plenty of time to adjust. Speaking of adjusting, how many of you made the savvy move to pickup Thomas Rawls to plug-in after Marshawn Lynch was ruled out?

Marshawn and Rawls

Rawls may be 2 inches shorter than the man patting his head above, but he certainly plays a lot like him. He craves contact, never willingly runs out of bounds, and delivers punishment to defenders in all four quarters.

Rawls ran for 209 yards on Sunday against the 49ers, which were the 2nd most in franchise history, and added 46 more receiving with 2 touchdowns. In 3 of his 4 starts this season, Rawls has run for more than 100 yards and proved last Sunday he can be a factor in the pass game. Rawls is also leading the league with 6 yards per carry, and ranks 14th in total rush yards with 604 despite having fewer carries than anyone in the Top 25.

Quick Hits

  • While it may seem like Cam Newton gets a lot of love on here week-to-week, it’s because he’s always doing something deserving of it. After throwing 5 touchdown passes last weekend, Newton goes into his Thanksgiving matchup with the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow with the 2nd most total touchdowns in the league (26), just one behind Carson Palmer. Newton became the first player to record 100 TDs passing and 25 rushing in his first 5 seasons. The Cowboys have allowed the 3rd fewest pass yards and 4th fewest touchdowns through the air. If he can’t go through the air in “Jerry World” tomorrow, you can expect Newton to get his numbers on the ground…and some lucky fans will get memorable souvenirs.

 

  • DeAndre Hopkins is not only matchup-proof, after burning Darrelle Revis for a 61 yard touchdown last week, but apparently he’s also quarterback proof too. Even with his 3rd quarterback under center this season, TJ Yates, Hopkins was able to catch 5 passes for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hopkins is now the 3rd youngest receiver to record 3,000 yards and 200 catches. The 23-year-old better leave some room tomorrow to eat up the Saints horrid secondary on Sunday.

DeAndre vs Revis

 

  • CJ2K is now CJ2.0 and that’s very okay. The last time the Arizona Cardinals went to the Super Bowl, they rode the 2nd coming of Edgerrin James. The 2015 Cardinals look destined for the NFC Championship at least, with Carson Palmer almost eclipsing Kurt Warner’s numbers from that season and Chris Johnson as the league’s 3rd leading rusher. Johnson is nowhere near as fast as used to be, but he has evolved similarly to how James did and faces a Niners defense that just gave up 255 total yards to Thomas Rawls. Last time Johnson played against San Francisco, he racked up 150 yards and 2 touchdowns earlier this season.

CJ2K

 

Mail Time!

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Not that much of a dilemma for me at all. I take TJ Yeldon in a heart beat and that’s because I saw Spenser F’ing Ware pick up over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in less than a half against the Chargers. Ameer Abdullah, James Starks, and Duke Johnson all picked up over 90 yards and a score against San Diego, and Yeldon is a better back than all of them. I don’t find the Seahawks to be as scary as they used to be, but I see the Steelers getting their points in the air more than on the ground.

 

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A nice segue here, but I’m leaning toward Philip Rivers this week against the Jaguars. 4 of the last 5 quarterbacks to face the Jags have thrown multiple TDs, and Rivers still has Stevie Johnson, Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead to throw to. I mentioned that I’m not “as scared” of the Seahawks defense, but the Legion of Boom can still cause some problems for Big Ben. Go with Rivers simply for confidence in his matchup.

 

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I post these question in the order I get them, and the segue session continues…

TE: Rivers is going to chuck it this weekend against a much worse defense than the Chiefs and Gates is one of just 3 reliable options for him. Also consider how Delanie Walker broke 100 yards on 8 catches on the Jags defense last week.

Flex: Considering only Tyler Eifert and Rob Gronkowski have been successful against the Bills from the TE position, I would rather go with V-Jax. He came back last weekend and got a touchdown right away. If Mike Evans is drawing coverage from Vontae Davis, I anticipate Jameis Winston to keep things hot throwing to his #2 option in Jackson.

 

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3 Chargers questions in a row and I’m going to go 3/3 in Chargers answers. Andy Dalton is for the most part consistent, but the matchups favor Rivers this week. You’re also going to get a higher volume of throws from the King of the Bolo Ties.

 

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That’s a nice problem to have. 2 of the top 3 tight ends? While Greg (son of) Olsen is a much more consistent receiver, Tyler Eifert is leading all TEs in touchdowns and he’ll be Andy Dalton’s best chance to succeed against the Rams. Go with Eifert for the higher ceiling.

 

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QB: I may have taken Rivers over him earlier, but it wasn’t by a wide margin. I think there’s a lot to Ben Roethlisberger’s 379 yards and 3 touchdowns coming off the bench last we saw him. The fact that Blaine Gabbert had a decent game against the Seahawks last week makes me feel better about Big Ben than Derek Carr going against a Titans defense that hasn’t allowed more than 266 yards to anyone other than Drew Brees.

Flex: Just keep Rawls’n, baby.

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend! 

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Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Tight Ends

You have to love how the Tight End position has evolved over the years. Every since Tony Gonzalez hit the scene, former basketball players and big wide receivers have converted into heavy hitters in Fantasy Football. 

I wouldn’t take one in the first round, but here are my Top 20 and where you should look to take them.

1.Rob Gronkowski, NE

Gronk

2014: 1,124 rec yards, 82 catches, 12 TD

Regardless if it’s Brady throwing or if it’s Garoppolo, Gronk will smash. However, he’s not going to be 1st round worthy like he’s projected. Great player but he won’t carry your team enough to give up picking a high end point producing skilled player.

Pick 2nd Round

2. Jimmy Graham, SEA

Graham

2014: 889 rec yards, 85 catches, 10 TDs

Graham was a bit inconsistent last season, partially thanks to Drew Brees and being injured. He’s being downplayed in Seattle, but I think he’s a perfect fit with Russell Wilson. Could be a touchdown machine.

Pick 3rd Round

3. Martellus Bennett, CHI

Bears vs. Vikings

2014: 916 rec yards, 90 catches, 6 TDs

Martysaurus could do big things this season. “Denver-Julius Thomas” big things. He was spread out in the first preseason game like Thomas was in the Gase system, and that makes him dangerous around the end zone. He was targeted nearly as much as Gronk last season and that shouldn’t change.

Pick 4th or 5th Round

4. Greg Olsen, CAR

G-Reg

2014: 1008 rec yards, 84 catches, 6 TDs

Olsen and Benjamin are Cam’s best two offensive options again this year. Olsen seems to be more helpful in between the 20s and that helps for reception and yard points.

Pick 5th Round

5. Travis Kelce, KC

Kelce

2014: 862 rec yards, 67 catches, 5 TDs

Kelce is solid and seems more reliable for Alex Smith than his receivers are. The offense runs through Jamaal Charles but on 3rd down and in the red zone, Kelce is key.

Pick 5th or 6th Round

6. Jason Witten, DAL

Witten

2014: 704 rec yards, 64 catches, 5 TDs

The more unsure we get about the Cowboys running backs, the better I feel about Tony Romo throwing more to Bryant and Witten. Witten isn’t as athletic as he used to be, but he is gets the job done.

Pick 7th Round

7. Jordan Cameron, MIA

Cameron

2014: 424 rec yards, 24 catches, 2 TDs

Cameron dealt with a mess last year in Cleveland. I would expect him to bounce back pretty well with Tannehill at quarterback, who will benefit from having a bigger target in the red zone.

Pick 7th Round

8. Zach Ertz, PHI

Ertz

2014: 702 rec yards, 58 catches, 3 TDs

If the Eagles quarterbacks are going to be any good, they’re going to have to rely heavily on Ertz, who is the best pass catcher they have. He’ll also be valuable as a compliment to pounding the rock with Murray.

Pick 7th Round

9. Delanie Walker, TEN

Delanie

2014: 890 rec yards, 63 catches 4 TDs

A rookie quarterback’s best friend is his tight end, and Delanie Walker is a fast one. Walker missed the first preseason game because he was coming back from a thumb injury, but I expect him to help calm Mariota’s nerves in no time.

Pick 8th Round

10. Kyle Rudolph, MIN

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings

2014: 231 rec yards, 24 catches, 2 TDs

I think Rudolph will be a steal in mid to late rounds because Vikings OC Norv Turner LOVES his tight ends. Rudolph was banged up a bit last season but should play well with a further developed Bridgewater at quarterback.

Has 8th Round Value but you’ll find him available 10th round

11. Julius Thomas, JAX

Julius

2014: 489 rec yards, 43 catches, 12 TDs

Thomas was successful because of Peyton Manning and the Adam Gase offense. Now he’s in Jacksonville where star players can’t stay healthy and longtime Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis is also there. Thomas won’t get as many looks but has a chance to prove that he’s better than just a system receiver.

Pick 8th Round

12. Dwayne Allen, IND

Dwayne

2014: 395 rec yards, 29 catches, 8 TDs

Coby Fleener is also in Indy, but Dwayne Allen is the better receiver in the end zone. Luck targeted Allen 50 times last season, and I expect that to go up with Gore established in the run game.

Pick 10th Round

13. Owen Daniels, DEN

Daniels

2014: 527 rec yards, 48 catches, 4 TDs

Broncos HC Gary Kubiak always brings his favorite TE along, “old reliable” Owen Daniels. Sometimes Daniels looked very good as a TD threat, and a lot of times he was nowhere to be found. Decent late round backup

Pick 11th Round

14. Larry Donnell, NYG

Donnell

2014: 623 rec yards, 64 catches, 6 TDs

Larry Donnell is dealing with tendonitis in his Achilles but the Giants don’t seem worried about him missing Week 1. He put together some of the best games for tight ends, and sometimes didn’t do much at all. Expect him to be much more consistent in year 2 of the new offensive system.

Pick 11th Round

15. Jordan Reed, WAS

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2014: 465 rec yards, 50 catches

With Niles Paul out for the season, Jordan Reed is the man for Washington. RG-III plays well with TEs, especially in the red zone, and Reed is an excellent weapon when healthy.

Pick 12th Round

16. Antonio Gates, SD

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2014: 821 rec yards, 69 catches, 12 TDs

Even though Gates is missing 4 games for suspension, you aren’t drafting to use him that early in the season anyway. Although Ladarius Green will be getting an audition to start the season, Gates is still one of the best ever at the position and will be an excellent weapon to have in your pocket

Pick Late Rounds

Tyler Eifert, CIN

Eifert

2014: 37 rec yards, 3 catches

Eifert didn’t do anything last year, literally. But now Jermaine Gresham is gone and Eifert is the #1 TE in Cincy, so you have to think production will only go up from here.

Pick Late Rounds

18. Ladarius Green, SD

Ladarius

2014: 226 rec yards, 19 catches

Green is getting a crack at showing he can take over when Antonio Gates is done or hurt (or suspended longer). If Philip Rivers can’t make him worth your while, nobody can.

Pick Late Rounds

19. Josh Hill, NO

Josh Hill

2014: 176 rec yards, 14 catches, 5 TDs

Jimmy Graham’s replacement caught a decent number of touchdowns last year, but is taking reps with the 2nd team so far this preseason. Decent fill in for a back up spot, or an easy drop when you want to add someone better.

Pick Late

20. Heath Miller, PIT

Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers

2014: 761 rec yards, 66 catches, 3 TDs

Heath is usually a fill in guy when you need a spot start at TE or someone gets injured. Really it just helps to have him already because Roethlisberger will always have him as a security blanket when he needs one.

Pick Late

Do your rankings look different? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

Also…

Quarterbacks Cheat Sheet

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet

Defenses & Kickers Cheat Sheet