Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 9

Tim Hightower is one of the best stories in football for the past couple years. He was out of football completely for 4 years, joined the Saints last season and recorded 504 yards from scrimmage with 3 starts. Last week, Mark Ingram fumbled in the first quarter and Hightower took over for 100+ yards on the ground. If they’re willing to feed Hightower the rock for 3 quarters over a healthy former Heisman winner and regular starter, it’s hard to imagine the touches will dip too much.

Hightower says he didn’t feel comfortable in the system last year. He seemed pretty dang comfortable down the stretch when Fantasy owners needed him most, right?

tim-hightower

The Saints play the 49ers this week, who are giving up more rush yards than anyone in the league this season…1,136 to be exact. The Niners are on a record pace, and not in a good way. Hightower should be hungry to eat, regardless of his role on Sunday.

 

Mail Time! 

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Based on the potential for volume, I lean toward Charcandrick West. While Jacksonville is proven to be very good against pass catching running backs, the Chiefs offense goes through their starter.

When it comes to wide receivers in the flex, if I don’t seem them producing in the Top 25 at the position I can’t justify starting them. It’s hard to feel confident about Jordan Matthews against Janoris Jenkins. Mark Ingram’s time-share status makes it difficult to start over an expected full-time back like West.

 

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The Lions are too bad against tight ends to not start Kyle Rudolph.

 

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I am not an oddsmaker, so I never know what to do with questions like that. Ben Roethlisberger took more snaps each day leading up to his game against the Ravens and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette expects him to start, barring a random setback.

Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter

Michael’s Note: Now that the World Series is over, I should have more time to be more timely answering Fantasy Football questions and can include more content. Thank you for your patience during the Cubs’ historic run. 

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2016 Fantasy Football Rankings – Quarterbacks

Not sure if you noticed, but the quarterback position in 2015 across the league got thin in a hurry. The fact that Brian Hoyer and Matt Hasselbeck were relevant was a HUGE problem.

Most of the quarterbacks below got the job done in 2015 and should be poised to do the same or more in 2016. Some, like Andrew Luck and Tony Romo, are looking for a healthy comeback.

(You’ll notice that Joe Flacco isn’t one of them. Year 2 of Marc Trestman’s play-calling and a lack of talent at wide receiver keeps him out of the Top 20)

1. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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I’ve harped on it here enough in the past 4 months, but Cam Newton was winning you multiple weeks in fantasy by himself in 2015. His 35 touchdown passes were tied for 2nd in the league…and then he added 10 more rushing. Newton also gets at least one more weapon next season with Kelvin Benjamin returning.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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Tom Brady is just a year younger than Peyton Manning, yet led the league in touchdown passes a year ago. Brady also chipped in nearly 300 yards per game, and made the most out of depleted receiving group. Heck, he even made Scott Chandler relevant for a week or two.

3. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers

Almost as reliable as Brady was Carson Palmer. He didn’t look great in the post season, but his loaded offense allowed him to average 291 yards and at least 2 touchdowns per game. Another healthy year like 2015 would warrant a much higher pick than where he was drafted on average a year ago.

4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

Russell Wilson is weird. Yes for those reasons you just thought of, but also because of his streaky production. Through the first 10 weeks of the season in 2015, Wilson had just one game of multiple touchdown passes. Then he gave you 5 straight weeks of no less than 3 TDs per game. As the Seahawks look to probably move past Marshawn Lynch, it would be much more beneficial for them to let Wilson throw it and have Thomas Rawls compliment him.

5. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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There are a lot of people who probably don’t like me having Aaron Rodgers this far down the list, but the truth is that the discount-double check got checked down last season. Rodgers was a different player without his old-reliable Jordy Nelson and his running game wasn’t bailing him out either when he needed it. Yes, the 2 Hail Mary’s proved he can still do whatever he wants when it matters most, but you should be able to get him with better value in the 3rd or 4th round…as of now.

6. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Blake Bortles jumped from throwing just 11 touchdown passes his rookie season to 35 in his sophomore year. #BortlesKombat has some room to grow, and probably will with a pair of very consistent scoring receivers like Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. The Jaguars are a team that plays in a lot of comeback situations and shootouts that make Bortles excellent for Fantasy garbage points.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Ben Roethlisberger led the league with 328 pass yards per game, and you’d think it’s hard not to replicate that kind of production when you have Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams to work with. The only question is whether or not he can stay in one piece.

 

8. Eli Manning, New York Giants

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I’m always skeptic about Eli Manning, as he seems to regularly fold in high pressure situations during the regular season. His 35 touchdown passes were no joke though, and having Odell Beckham Jr. there to make him look better is also hard to argue with. As his offensive coordinator from the past 2 years takes over the reigns as head coach, the offense shouldn’t look terribly different.

9. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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Andy Dalton was as good as anyone in the first half of the season last year. He likely went undrafted in most leagues and became the hottest free agent in a hurry in yours. He went from throwing 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 2014 to 25/7 in 2015. Had he been healthy down the stretch for the Bengals, there’s a good chance they would have beaten the Steelers over Wild Card weekend. His offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, might be elsewhere but it’s hard to imagine he’ll take a step back with AJ Green and Tyler Eifert still there to throw to.

10. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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Drew Brees paired with Sean Payton as head coach will always get you the yardage. “Breesus” averaged 324 yards per game. The crazy numbers don’t kick in until around mid-season though, like ya know…7 touchdowns and 505 yards in Week 8. The fact Luke McCown made an appearance makes you nervous though and wonder if he can keep it up (NOT LIKE THAT, YA JERKS).

11. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

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Derek Carr made solid strides in 2015, throwing multiple TDs in 11 of the 16 games he started. Throwing 32 touchdowns after 21 in his rookie season and growing with Amari Cooper makes his projection in 2016 even more exciting.

12. Kirk Cousins, Washington

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I don’t know which Kirk Cousins you’re going to get in 2016. The one that was just okay through Week 14, or the one that tossed 11 touchdowns in 3 games to will Washington to an NFC East title and will get him paid big time for it. The upside with a healthy Jordan Reed, and that 158.3 QB rating game in Week 10, has him ranked higher than he probably is….for now.

13. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

Cutty 2015

I don’t think there was a quarterback who did more with less than Jay Cutler.

  • No 1st Round draft pick Kevin White
  • Only 8 games with Alshon Jeffery, 9 games with Eddie Royal
  • Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy, and Cameron Meredith as a his only WRs multiple games

Yet he still played one of his best seasons as a Chicago Bear. Having continuity in playcalling next year and healthy receivers makes me feel better about Cutler than most next season.

14. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

Luck lives

Andrew Luck probably went in the first or 2nd round in most leagues last year. Those who drafted him that high got 7 games, 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions to show for it. As of this moment, I’m not sure if you’re going to get the 40 touchdown guy from 2014 or the injury plagued/turnover happy QB of 2016. His talent and ability will keep him higher though.

15. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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For the first 8 games of the season, Philip Rivers averaged 344 yards and 2 touchdowns per game. Then he lost Keenan Allen for the year and it was 254 yards and 1.4 touchdowns per game the rest of the year. Rivers still got paid big money and his head coach Mike McCoy was extended through 2017, so the organization seems to be banking on next year looking like the first half of 2015.

16. Tony Romo

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There’s been more talk about who will replace Tony Romo than his potential production when he returns in 2016. If you draft Romo next season, it’s to backup your #1 guy and the possibility he stays upright for 34 touchdowns like he did in 2014. If the Cowboys pick up a DeMarco Murray-like running back, maybe he will.

17. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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I don’t know how you can trust Matt Ryan anymore, coming off the worst statistical year of his career since his rookie season. However, he does have arguably the best wide receiver in football, Julio Jones, and Devonta Freeman can set him up better if his offensive coordinator can figure out how to use play-action.

18. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

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Before last season, Ryan Tannehill was improving every season. Then his coaches forgot how to coach. It’s cliche now, but Adam Gase worked wonders with Peyton Manning and Jay Cutler. So you can hold onto hope one more year with Ryan Tannehill as a backup.

19. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Bucanneers

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I get a feeling Jameis Winston is going to jump up this list a bit, and could very well be a starter for you if Mike Evans can avoid dropping the ball. What’s going to be key is seeing how his newly elevated head coach, Dirk Koetter, does handling the personnel after getting Lovie Smith launched.

20. Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

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Ryan Fitzpatrick brought the “Fitzmagic” last season, throwing more than 30 touchdowns for the first time in his career. The Jets utilized their running game to set him up greatly in the red zone, and the Brandon Marshall/Eric Decker combo ate because of it. Can you bank on Fitzpatrick doing it again though when couldn’t any of the 10 years before?

Anyone too high or too low? Was anyone left out? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

For more position rankings:

Quarterbacks / Running Backs / Wide Receivers

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! 

NFL Week 10 Fantasy Mailbag

Last week was quite the 4-touchdown party for quarterbacks and their fantasy owners. Marcus Mariota did his best “Breesus” impression with 4 touchdown passes against the awful New Orleans pass defense. Derek Carr went Air-Oakland, with the help of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper, with 4 TDs and 301 yards in a losing effort to Pittsburgh. Then the tables were turned for Aaron Rodgers, as he had to throw 4 TDs to keep pace with Cam Newton and his 4 total touchdowns (3 passing, 1 rushing).

A week ago, Cam Newton was being compared to Colin Kaepernik by their stats and win loss record.

As we all know, the big difference between the two is the record. For fantasy owners, it’s also the touchdowns and rush yards. Before the season started, people avoided Newton in their drafts like the plague after his #1 receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, was ruled out for the year with an ACL injury. If you were like me (perhaps drafted Peyton Manning and traded him for Tony Romo after Week 1), you are so glad Newton was available on waivers even after Week 2.

Despite throwing interceptions in 6 of his 8 games, Newton has thrown multiple touchdowns in 5 of them and has added 5 rushing touchdowns as well. This week, Newton can keep things rolling against a Titans defense missing their top 2 corners.

Quick Hits

  • #BORTLEKOMBAT! (Blake Bortles) is currently rolling. He’s thrown multiple touchdowns in 6 of his last 7 games and goes up against the a Baltimore defense that has coincidentally given up multiple pass touchdowns in 6 of its last 7 games. After throwing 381 yards and 2 touchdowns against the vaunted Jets secondary, you should feel a lot better starting Bortles for the rest of his schedule.

BortleKombat

  • Every week we like to bring up how bad the Browns run defense is. Last week they seemed to hold the combo Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard in check, although it just set up a killer 3 touchdown performance from Tyler Eifert. Alas, they have still allowed 1,700+ yards rushing and DeAngelo Williams is next in line to eat. In 3 starts this season, Williams has at least 25 touches in each. There seems to have been an overreaction to an ache in his foot, because he appears set to go Sunday. That’ll happen when you go from 3 carries per game to 27 for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns. Williams is also dishing the pain too.

DeAngelo block

  • The biggest benefactor to the “Tom Brady Revenge Tour” (besides his fantasy owners) is probably Julian Edelman. Edelman has caught exactly 1/3 of his career touchdown total this season (7). He also leads the league in red zone targets. This week Edelman faces a Giants defense that has allowed 8 touchdowns to opposing receivers over the last 5 weeks.

Mail Time!

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I feel this deserves some public attention, since Craig has tried to pull this a few times now. What are your thoughts on someone asking their opponent for Fantasy advice the same week they play them?

Anywho…

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Nice save. TJ Yeldon is an easy pick for me. He has a touchdown or 100+ rushing yards in 4 straight games and Baltimore’s defense is a tire fire right now.

Patriots running backs not named “LeGarrette Blount” are too much of a gamble for me at this point. You’re left wondering who will get Dion Lewis’s touchdowns, especially in the red zone. James White had the opportunity in this situation before and squandered it. Brandon Bolden did get a receiving touchdown a week ago, and has more experience with Bill Belichick. Brandon LaFell finally had a nice game a week ago with 102 yards, but I still feel better about Edelman, Gronk and Danny Amendola before him.

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Sure, you’ve got back-to-back weeks of 300 yard games from Ryan Tannehill…but he hasn’t thrown a single touchdown pass in either of those games. Derek Carr is also coming off of back-to-back 300 yard games, but has 8 touchdowns to show for it. The Vikings are the best pass defense on the road, but matchups don’t really worry me after Carr lit up the Jets too weeks ago for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns.

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The return yards makes Ted Ginn Jr. a start for me in this group. Ameer Abdullah is swiftly fading away with the rest of the Lions backfield. Then I’m left with a choice between Martavis Bryant and Danny Amendola…Ben Roethlisberger or not, Bryant’s chances to score are a lot better than Amendola’s based on the receiving groups alone. If Antonio Brown isn’t getting the ball thrown up to him, Bryant is. Amendola has to share balls with Edelman, Gronk, LaFell, a second no-name tight end (probably, and whoever fills in for Lewis. Bryant is better bet.

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You’re right about Sammy Watkins, and I also don’t like him against Darrelle Revis in primetime.

If Allen Hurns is healthy, play him. #BORTLEKOMBAT is going to have flawless victories against the Baltimore secondary all day. Then you’re left with two Kansas City players against the best defense in football. In this situation, I go with the running back who is guaranteed touches. If the Chiefs offense has any chance at production against the Broncos, it’s going to be Charcandrick West trying to impersonate Jamaal Charles in Week 2 (125 rush yards, 1 TD).

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QB – Yeah…ouch. I feel for Marcus Mariota’s wellbeing against the Panthers. You will get plenty of volume out of Brian Hoyer though. Bill O’Brien still hates his run game without Arian Foster, which has turned into a chuck fest for the Texans offense that’s usually playing from behind. You also have to feel better about DeAndre Hopkins and Nate Washington catching passes over the whoever is doing it in Tennessee.

WR – Now that James Starks is officially the starting RB, you have to play him. The Lions have given up the most rushing touchdowns in the league.

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! 

NFL Week 9 Fantasy Mailbag

The second half of the fantasy season starts tonight with an AFC North rivalry matchup between the Bengals and the Browns. It’s likely been a serious waiver wire week for you with bye weeks and injuries to Le’Veon Bell, Matt Forte, Keenan Allen, Steve Smith Sr., and the entire Niners backfield all included. Let’s take a look at the best top waiver wire picks from this season. Coincidentally, a few will be featured in tonight’s game on NFL Network.

Quarterback – Andy Dalton, CIN

15 TD / 4 INT, 1,992 pass yards, 2 rushing TDs

Dalton TD

Any reason to recount that A-Dalt touchdown, I’ll take it.

In the first handful of weeks, people waited for Andy Dalton to fall apart and he didn’t. There was also a stretch of 4 games with potentially tough passing matchups (Baltimore, Kansas City, Seattle and Buffalo), and Dalton averaged 319.5 yards and 2.25 touchdowns against them. Having AJ Green and Marvin Jones healthy and Tyler Eifert playing to his potential are huge factors for that and why his success should sustain.

RB – Dion Lewis, NE

229 rush yards, 2 TDs / 32 catches, 349 receiving yards, 2 TDs

Dion TD

When you’re a running back in Bill Belichick’s system and you get on his good side, your numbers are going to benefit greatly from it. Dion Lewis was expected to be Shane Vereen’s replacement, but he’s he’s Shane Vereening better than Shane Vereen could (if that makes sense). In the 6 games Lewis has played, he has had more with double-digit touches than Marshawn Lynch, has scored touchdowns than Adrian Peterson, and more 100+ total yard games than Frank Gore and Justin Forsett.

WR – Allen Robinson, JAX

34 catches, 586 yards, 6 TDs

A-Rob TD

As Blake Bortles’s stock has risen, so has A-Rob’s. You can’t really sit him when he’s averaged 5.5 catches, 93 yards and 1 TD over the last 6 games. Robinson also leads all receivers in receptions of 20+ yards with 14.

TE – Gary Barnidge, CLE

40 catches, 567 yards, 6 TDs

Barnidging

Oh you didn’t draft Gronk? No worries because Gary Barnidge was available for EVERYONE after the first 3 weeks of the season. 30 years old and playing better than the rest of the tight ends in the league, Barnidge has scored touchdowns or caught for over 100 yards in every game since Week 3.

Mail Time!

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QB – That’s a really nice problem to have. While Philip Rivers is going to continue throwing it more than anyone with crazy high volume, but Ben Roethlisberger has the better matchup with better weapons to throw to as well. The Raiders are allowing 312 pass yards per game, 2nd most in the league.

WR – I’m not as jealous as this group as I was your QBs. I feel the most comfortable about Eric Decker against the Jaguars. Ryan Fitzpatrick being a little banged up means he’ll go to his possession option more which is Decker, and he has scored in 5 of his last 6 games. Then I go with Stefon Diggs despite facing a tough Rams defense. Diggs has earned the starting spot as the Vikings downfield playmaker. Not only do I hate Hilton’s matchup and quarterback (at the moment), the MRI he had on his foot and missing some practice doesn’t give me much optimism.

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Time for the “Reverse Rivers”…which isn’t as suggestive as you think, ya sicko!

Philip Rivers is going to throw a ton on Monday Night Football with the San Diego run game being weak and the Bears only giving up 2 rushing touchdowns all weekend. He’ll be without Allen, but he has to chuck it out of necessity. In games that Rivers has thrown at least 37 passes, he averages 381 yards and 2.4 touchdowns. The gameplan for the Bengals tonight should be very run oriented anyway as the Browns are giving up more rush yards than anyone in the league.

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Does Los Angeles count since they’ll be receiving the Rams soon?

I really wanted to pull the Lee Corso “Not so fast, my friend!” but I can’t, in my heart of hearts. Tavon Austin is the one decent option if your league counts return yards and you need a spots start out of someone. Austin has 6 total touchdowns with 2 coming on the rush, and 141 yards running too.

But Todd Gurley is the only viable option out of St. Louis and in a big big way…

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WR – Neither option is great and they are both going against incredible pass defenses, but I lean toward James Jones simply for the Aaron Rodgers factor.

QB – Big Ben for the reasons I listed above.

…and Todd Gurley is the realness. He’s the best running back in the league right now and if he stays healthy, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

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! 

NFL Week 8 Fantasy Mailbag

What happens when you fire Joe Philbin, play the Titans and Texans in back-to-back weeks, and hand Lamar Miller the ball?

(The “Hard Knocks” Texans seem so long ago don’t they?)

In just two weeks, the Miami Dolphins look like the team their roster suggested they would be before the season even started. Miller had just 37 carries over the first 4 weeks of the season for 131 yards and no touchdowns. He has more than doubled that production in his last 2 games with 288 rush yards and 2 touchdowns on 33 carries (plus 61 yards and another touchdown receiving). The Dolphins also became the first team since at least 1940 to score 4 touchdowns of 50+ yards in the first half against Texans. Not a shabby start to the head coaching career for Dan Campbell.

The Dolphins head to New England tonight for what could be a shootout with Tom Brady and the Patriots. Don’t slow your roll yet on Miller as the Patriots are allowing 110 yards per game rushing. Now proceed to point and laugh at whoever dropped him in your fantasy league.

Quick Hits

  • The Cardinals running back situation seems pretty clear now with Zombie Chris Johnson ranked second in the league in rushing. Okay he’s more of a “Dawn of the Dead” zombie that runs. Fast…If you took my advice last week, you played Todd Gurley in DFS against the worst run defense in the league. The Browns have allowed more than 1,000 yards rushing on the season (132 more than the Chargers), and Zombie Chris Johnson should eat.

Chris Johnson

  • While the Chargers seem to have nearly given up on running the ball, the biggest benefactor of that trend has been Keenan Allen. Allen now leads the league in receptions with 62. Allen owners know that his point production is a little inconsistent, but he gets 12 targets per game. When Philip Rivers locks in on Allen, oh does he lock in…3 times this season, Allen has recorded 130+ yards and averages 13 catches in those games. His matchup against the Ravens smells like one of those games as Baltimore allows 214 yards and 1.6 to wide receivers each week.

Keenan Allen

  • While the sexiest tight end name in the game is Gronk, Greg Olsen is no slouch either. Olsen has 65+ yards and/or a touchdown in 5 of his 6 games this season. He’s gone for 130+ yards twice this season, and was targeted by Cam Newton 11 times in both of those games. I expect Newton to bounce back from a 3 interception game and to make Olsen a priority in order to do so. Olsen has already accounted for 21% of the targets each week and only trails Gronk for the most plays of 20+ yards this year.

Olsen

Mail Time!

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WR – I really like Jeremy Maclin this week against the Lions in London. Detroit is allowing 206 yards and 1 touchdown per game to wide receivers and Maclin is the only reliable receiver in Kansas City. In 3 of his last 4 games, Maclin averaged 7.5 catches and 106 yards.

RB – The guy I’m not picking of your group is James Starks. Ronnie Hillman is finally getting a majority of the first team reps in practice and THE DUKE is the back to have out of Cleveland. Johnson Jr. is the pass catching back and you have to expect the Browns to be playing from behind against Arizona…which means they’ll be passing. Starks is also banged up, a backup, and going against the best defense in football.

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A very close call. As much as I like Martavis Bryant with Ben Roethlisberger coming back, I like Stefon Diggs more against the Bears secondary. In 3 games played, Diggs has more targets, caches and twice as many yards as Mike Wallace. Go with the clear #1 WR the Vikings has as the Bears will be doing whatever they can to keep Adrian Peterson in check.

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I’m going to let this slide this week, but this^ is too many questions. Try to limit it to 2 going forward. Love ya, Emmet. 

Trade: Hard to pick a winner without knowing the needs of each team involved, but I am going with whoever received Tannehill in the deal. Tannehill is trending way up with Philbin off his back, and Eddie Lacy is losing more and more touches to Starks. This weekend will be the most telling on what Lacy is this season with Starks hurting. If Starks gets more work than Lacy again, I feel bad for anyone who picked the former Bama back way too high this year.

Flex 1: The Duke for for the reasons I gave Bucy. Tavon is boom or bust regardless of the matchup as Gurley is now the entire offense and Nick Foles sucks.

Flex 2: Not a great week for Jeremy Hill going against the Steelers. Pacing will probably make Gio Bernard the better option for the Bengals, but at least you know Hill will get touches. He also has the most touchdowns from within the 5 yard line. Moncrief has a bad matchup against the Carolina secondary.

(See, I’ve already answered 3 questions for you and there are 2 left. I’ve got shit to do, homie)

QB: Roethlisberger. Ed Werder of ESPN has him going and so should you with ALL of his scoring options available.

Flex 3: Woodhead

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You’ve got a solid matchup for Delanie Walker this week against the Texans defense. Whether it’s Mariota or Mettenberger under center, he’s their favorite target regardless. Watson has had a nice couple weeks, but Drew Brees has way more options to keep up with a tough Giants receiving corps.

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Larry Donnell isn’t a great option, but at least he’s done something in the last 6 weeks. Jordan Cameron hasn’t recorded more than 30 yards since Week 2. I won’t trust him until I see him do better than that again.

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I think you answered your own question, Donald. Tyler Eifert is a big reason for Andy Dalton’s success this season and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. Eifert has as many red zone targets as AJ Green. Also, look at what Pittsburgh gave up to Gronk and Travis Kelce combined: 19 catches, 259 yards and 5 touchdowns.

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! 

NFL Week 7 Fantasy Mailbag

Before we get into the meaningful and important information you are dying for in order to set your lineup, can we enjoy the worst play call in the history of football once more?

Colts Fake Punt

The Colts have become an easy target as of late, especially on this site, but you can’t help but ask “How did you think this was going to go?”. Fortunately, the internet blessed us with a fantastic TECMO reenactment for us to watch over and over again.

Of course Bill Belichick’s Patriots are no stranger to teams acting a fool against them. For #ThrowBackThursday, they recalled another great football folly that their opponent this weekend (and Mark Sanchez) will never forget.

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Quick Hits

  • This year’s “Hard Knocks” team is on the struggle bus, as the Houston Texans are just 2-4 on the season so far and Bill O’Brien’s seat is rising in temperature by the week. Fantasy owners with DeAndre Hopkins on their roster aren’t mad though. Hopkins is riding a 4-game streak of 100+ yards (148 or more in his last 3), has only caught less than 8 passes once this season, and is on pace to top 190 targets this season. Since 2007, only Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson have accomplished that.

DeHop

  • If you kept Todd Gurley stashed on your bench after drafting him, you’re reaping all the benefits now. In just the last two games, Gurley has run for more than 300 yards and has accumulated more 20+ yard runs than Matt Forte, Chris Ivory, and Devonta Freeman have all season. Gurley also has a plum matchup this weekend against a Browns team that has given up more rush yards than anyone in the league.

Gurley

  • Do they even run the ball in San Diego anymore? Philip Rivers (Batman Woo!) threw 65 passes last week against the Packers, completing 43 for 503 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rivers has thrown for 350+ yards in each of his last 3 games, 4 of his 6 games this season, and you can’t expect him to slow down against a Raiders secondary that’s allowing 308 yards per game passing this season. The fact Rivers leads the league in pass attempts this season, 42 per game, is encouraging for Rivers owners…Not so much if you have Melvin Gordon, but very much so for Keenan Allen.

Mail Time!

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I included both your questions together for one reason and one reason only…

#BORTLEKOMBAT!

I plan to rock that hashtag throughout the Jaguars/Bills games in London this weekend, but that’s not why you called…

#BortleKombat has been on full assault the past two weeks as Blake has thrown 7 touchdowns and 4 picks in that time. His matchup this weekend is pretty sexy this week as he takes on Rexy (see what I did there) and his Bills defense. The Allens (Robinson and Hurns) are are licking their chops over facing a secondary that has given up the 3rd most passing touchdowns this season…However, everything is coming up Breesus as the King of the Drews is finding comfort in tight end Ben Watson and the downfield tandem of Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks. What’s worse than the Bills pass defense? The Colts pass defense. They have given up 300+ pass yards for the past 4 weeks and Vontae Davis can’t cover everyone.

Two answer both questions I’m going Breesus > #BortleKombat > Eli’s Face.

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When Andre Johnson went to Indy, I was pumped to see how he would with a real quarterback. Unfortunately, he looks like an old school tight-end in an Andre Johnson jersey. Unless you can handcuff him in a trade, Johnson’s value is simply for dropping in order to pickup a more useful player.

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I am assuming you are the one picking up Forte and Lewis, and if that’s the case…DO IT! People have stashed Dez Bryant hoping he’ll come back and tear things up again. I doubt Bryant returns this week, but he isn’t too far away. Until Tony Romo returns, I’m concerned about who is throwing him the ball. Dez will catch anything that’s thrown within 5 feet of him though…Matt Forte and Dion Lewis down the stretch are a hell of a starting RB combo. If Team 1 has Marshawn Lynch and Chris Ivory already, I understand them making the deal. I don’t see a loser, but Team 2 is getting the better value heads-up.

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Anyone who asks me about starting Antonio Brown will get this from me.

Brown kick

Big Ben is practicing and his status is questionable. Yes, I’m saying there’s a chance…Regardless though, Landry Jones proved he can sling it last week. Brown is arguably the best football playing in the sport. Despite some weird weeks lacking targets, you have to play him. Both Roethlisberger and Jones will target him and should do so.

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I like Dion Lewis a lot, but not this week against the Jets. On the other sideline, I love Chris Ivory. His aggressive running has helped set up the surprisingly efficient passing game for New York. He also has the 3rd most rushing yards in the league at this point.

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Stefon Diggs has been a sexy waiver name this week and rightfully so. Finally, someone not named Adrian Peterson is producing for the Vikings and he has a nice matchup going against a Lions defense that even let Marquise Wilson of the Bears blow by them last week. I like Robert Woods, but I’m very skeptical of EJ Manuel throwing as opposed to him running. Prioritize Diggs > Woods.

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This is now a weekly question with you, and I’m okay with that…Anywho, you have one more week with Pierre Garcon as a #1 wideout, as it looks like DeSean Jackson is a week away from returning. Go ahead and start Garcon as Jordan Matthews has a rough matchup against Carolina this week.

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Melvin Gordon is such a tough read because you don’t know if the Chargers even want to run at this time with their banged up offensive line. At least I know he’s getting the ball. If it was a PPR league, I would recommend The Duke, but he’s only used in passing down situations and is now sharing a backfield with not only Isaiah Crowell but Robert Turbin as well. The only thing I trust from the Browns against the Rams offense is Gary Barnidge in the end zone. Go with Gordon.

I, like you, also picked up Christine Michael to have stashed and I’m also going to wait a week to see how the Cowboys use him. A young athletic back behind that Cowboys offensive line should be great, but your combo of Bell and Murray makes him more of a luxury than a necessity. He’s too unknown on the field to confidently trot him out. Going against the Giants is a nice measuring stick though.

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!