Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 7

Can we talk about LeSean McCoy for a minute?

McCoy is 150 yards from scrimmage away from surpassing both Shaun Alexander and Marshawn Lynch for 39th on the all-time list. Among backs with 10,000 career yards total, McCoy ranks 7th all-time with 4.7 yards per carry. When many (me included) thought he was close to being done, he proved to us that he is still an elite back in the league after scoring 7 touchdowns this season(2nd in the NFL).

He is set to face a Miami defense that is allowing the 4th most rush yards to opposing RBs. He left practice early this week with hamstring tightness and should be worth monitoring before kickoff though. If healthy, McCoy will be a great play this week. If not, be ready to pick up Mike Gillislee.

 

Mail Time!

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It’s never comfortable to play someone on Thursday Night, but Cameron Meredith is legitimate play this week against a Packers defense that is missing its TOP 3 defensive backs. He ranks 3rd in receiving yards and 1st in receptions over the last 2 weeks. Meredith is also a favorite of Brian Hoyers when in the red zone. While I DO believe in Kenny Britt, you have to play Meredith.

 

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If Jordan Reed sits, you should go with Vernon Davis. If he doesn’t, Charles Clay is your next best play against a Dolphins defense that has allowed touchdowns to tight ends in 2 of their last 4 games.

 

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TE:¬†Anyone who had Coby Fleener a week ago (*raises hand*) finally got to unleash the power of an athletic tight end in Sean Payton’s system. This week, however, I would recommend going with¬†Kyle Rudolph. He is second among TEs in touchdowns and is averaging 7.4 targets per game. He is also getting 40% of the Vikings red zone targets and it’s hard to pass on that consistency.

WR: Demaryius Targaryen¬†and¬†Brandin ‘Too Many’ Cooks’

 

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WR:¬†I feel bad about this because I do really like Kenny Britt going forward, but Julian Edelman is healthier and on the Tom Brady Revenge tour. If it doesn’t all come together this weekend against a Steeler’s defense that will be too busy with the tight ends, then bench him.

DEF:¬†Seattle is the better defense but I like Cincinnati’s matchup WAY MORE.

QB:¬†It’s time to unleash¬†#HoyerTheDestroyer.

 

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

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Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 5

Did you have either Julio Jones or Matt Ryan in your lineup last week? Both? Or did you leave one on your bench because you underestimated how good they are paired together?

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It’s hard to doubt these two again for a while, right? They (the unstoppable force) take on Denver (an immovable object). Ryan is the the highest scoring quarterback in Fantasy Football. The Denver defense leads the league in sacks, have only allowed 1 touchdown reception (to Kelvin Benjamin) and have allowed just 3 receptions on 7 targets in the red zone.

X-Factor? Julio being Julio. He’s a Mutant and likely future X-Men, so there’s that.

Mail Time!

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TE:¬†You have a strong predicament there, considering both TEs are facing really terrible defenses. With Tom Brady returning and Rob Gronkowski back to 100%, I feel more comfortable with¬†Zach Miller’s¬†targets this weekend than Martysaurus Rex. Miller is definitely going to be depended on more with the loss of Kevin White and he is going up against The Replacements…being the Colts linebackers.

QB: Neither matchup looks pretty for your quarterbacks but there are two things to consider:

  1. Matt Ryan is playing like the best quarterback in football right now.
  2. The Eagles defense hasn’t allowed a passing touchdown yet this season.

The Falcons run game helps setup Ryan and his receivers better, even against the Broncos defense.

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TE: Martysaurus. 

RB:¬†I like Giovani Bernard’s¬†ability in open space against Dallas much more than Tevin Coleman having to play second fiddle against the Broncos.

WR:¬†Sammy Coates¬†was one of the best WR pickups you could snag on the waiver-wire this week but I like Quincy Enunwa¬†much more in this matchup, with Eric Decker likely to sit out. Steeler’s are ranked 30th in defending #2 WRs.

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QB: I’m shocked Philip Rivers is available in your league. If you can get him, play him. The Raiders are THE WORST at defending pass yards and are in the bottom 3rd in allowing pass touchdowns.

DEF: The Rams will be your best bet this weekend, as they are SMOTHERING quarterbacks this year and not even Tyrod Taylor can out run Aaron Donald.

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TE:¬†Ertz.¬†Carson Wentz loves throwing to his tight end and the Lions haven’t figured out how to defend the position in the past season and a half.

WR:¬†For the reasons I like Philip Rivers above, I REALLY like¬†Travis Benjamin.¬†You don’t have a bad play though, considering Jordan Matthews plays out of the slot and will do so in a very good matchup. The Lions allow the 6th most fantasy points against receivers.

 

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I also don’t feel good about Stafford this week, but if you can stream a QB…go with¬†#HoyerTheDestroyer.¬†He has 300+ yards and 2 TDs in each of his past 2 starts and it should continue this weekend against a Colts defense that has 3 TDs to 2 of the 4 QBs they have played against this year.

 

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QB:¬†I feel better about Wentz against the Lions than I do Jameis repeating Matt Ryan’s murderous work. I don’t think you’ll be particularly wrong with either though.

RB:¬†GAH…it pains me to say it because I’m not a big fan of his Fantasy prowess (love him as a person though) but you have to go with Frank Gore in this matchup. Davonta Freeman is facing the best defense in football. Gore is not.

 

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We don’t normally do Keeper League things on here, but I do want to talk about Kevin White. White was getting better every week before he was placed on IR. He had more receptions than any Bears receiver in their first 4 games. I think it depends on how desperate you are for an extra roster spot, what’s available, who will emerge to pickup for your draft next year…I haven’t given up on White’s potential and I like the prospects of him playing with a new quarterback in 2017.

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Ben. 

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I hope you didn’t go with Michael Floyd…

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The best thing in this trade appears to be Michael Crabtree. Problem is…Kelce has all the ability to be a top end Tight End and could be elite paired with a Top 10 quarterback. You don’t seem to be needy for a major trade but Crabtree would help you in the short run…Kelce would help you in the long run. I’ll let you decide.

 

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

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! 

Hard Knocks 2015: Houston Texans Stars and Storylines

Cue the music…

Who else is pumped for the JJ Watt Show on HBO?

Since 2001, HBO has made the month of August significantly more interesting with impeccable footage and access from NFL camps all over the league. Each Tuesday evening, viewers are drawn by marquee players, foul-mouthed coaches, rookie hazing, and the annual heartbreak of roster cuts…or the relief of a fringe guy making the roster.

This (pre)season, the cameras will follow arguably the biggest star in the NFL today, JJ Watt, and a handful of players and coaches with ties to the biggest story looming over the league (regarding the New England Patriots). Let’s take a look at who will likely be getting air-time and the storylines that will keep you interested…

We already know about the scrimmage fight between the Texans and Washington.

But of course, there’s more.

1. JJ Watt

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In his first 4 seasons, Watt is a 3-time Pro Bowler, 3-time All-Pro, twice defensive player of the year, and easily the best player in Texans blue. On top of his 57 career sacks he’s already recorded, Watt scored 4 touchdowns last year…3 on offense.

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With the success on the field comes the fame off of it. The former Wisconsin Badger has quickly become a big celebrity. When he’s not playing security for the Zac Brown Band, he’s off meeting his boyhood crushes, Britney Spears and Jennifer Aniston, and becoming best buds with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Yes, we all envy Watt’s life and it will be fun getting a closer look at it for the next 4 weeks. Apparently he gets caught offsides for the first time tomorrow night and he doesn’t take it well. Just shake, err, Nae Nae (?) it off, JJ.

JJ Watt Nae Nae

2. Head Coach Bill O’Brien

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There is a lot of intrigue around the Texans 2nd year head coach. Bill O’Brien joined the Texans after two seasons as the head coach that followed Joe Paterno and the Penn State scandal. Before then, he was Tom Brady’s offensive coordinator and a 5 year assistant for Bill Belicheck. He also has a bit of a red ass and doesn’t seem to be afraid to mix it up with his players, as footage from his Patriots days shows…

Viewers will learn quickly that O’Brien isn’t too shy to drop a barrage of F-bombs. His forceful and driven demeanor are credited for the Texans improving their win total by 7 games from 2013 to 2014. You also can imagine he may have a few stories from his tenures at Penn State and New England.

Might be worth noting that O’Brien’s playing experience only goes as far as playing defensive-end and linebacker at Brown University till 1992.

3. The Battle of Former Brady Backups

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This is a familiar setting for Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, as they both took snaps under center for the Patriots in 2011. This time the stakes are higher as they compete to become starting quarterback of the 2015 Texans. A week into camp, neither quarterback has a leg up on the other yet. Hoyer started camp getting reps with the first team, likely because he had more starting experience with Cleveland. Mallett is better acquainted with the offense having come over in a trade from New England a year ago.

A position battle that important should provide solid drama featuring two younger quarterbacks who have a history with each other, but also have a history backing up one of the league’s all-time greats in Tom Brady. The other angle, unfortunately, would be their insight on how they and Brady like their footballs prepared.

4. The Arian Foster Thing

Arian Foster Hard Knocks

Arian Foster has been a force for the Texans offense since taking over the starter spot in 2010. The 4-time pro bowler is also one of the more entertaining characters in football, as well as one of the most outspoken. Unfortunately having to to miss 4-6 weeks to a groin injury, it’s unclear how much air-time Foster will get compared to back up running back Alfred Blue. His recent proclamation as an atheist and want to spread that message could be talking point for him when the HBO mics are on. I always stick to the “Big Fish” rule, but whatever.

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5. Filling Andre Johnson’s Shoes

DeAndre Hopkins

It’s going to be weird not seeing Andre Johnson line up for the Texans this season. The 12-year vet and 7-time pro bowler ranks 2nd among all active receivers in catches with 1,012, all with Houston. Johnson took his talents to Indianapolis in the off-season, but that’s why they drafted DeAndre Hopkins…to prepare for life After-Andre.

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The former Clemson star took a big leap to #1 receiver status in his second pro season, catching 76 passes for 1,210 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’ll be lining up on the opposite end of the field from former Jacksonville receiver and D-III college player Cecil Shorts III. Shorts may have a better story than Hopkins, but it will be interesting to see them in action.

6. Clowney Comeback

Jadeveon Clowney

The #1 overall pick from a year ago only played four games for the Texans last year, and made just 5 tackles. After a second knee surgery in December, Jadeveon Clowney has been rehabbing and targeting an August 17th return date before the season starts. Can’t blame Texans fans for being frustrated, especially when Clowney sat out a chunk of his last season in college to avoid further injury before the draft. Other news surrounding Clowney has to do with his father being arrested and denied bond after an attempted murder recently…so there’s that.

Hopefully Clowney can get back to football on focus on blowing up running backs and quarterbacks like he did at South Carolina.

Clowney smash

7. Another Former Patriot

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There are a few more former Patriots who should make this season of Hard Knocks interesting. Super Bowl champion and 5-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Vince Wilfork comes over to Houston after earning another ring, and turning 33. An old defensive teammate of Wilfork’s, Mike Vrabel, coaches linebackers with the Texans as well. …Oddly, I’m way more interested in what Vince does on the basketball court than the football field, thanks to this sneak peak.

“Modern Day Michael Jordan”…Wonder what Michael has to say about that.

‘Hard Knocks’¬†premieres at 10 PM ET/ 9 CT tonight, August 11th. Join me in Tweeting along to the episode LIVE or we can talk about it on Facebook.¬†