Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 4

Bears safety Chris Prosinski was just minding his own business, serving as a backup on defense and contributing on special teams. Next thing you know, he’s forced into the game because of injuries and is immortalized on posters for years to come…because Ezekiel Elliott did this to him.

elliott-hurdle

Aside from the shame that Prosinski has to harbor, in film sessions and highlight shows for years to come, the Cowboys have something special on their hands. Elliott had his coming out party against Chicago on Sunday Night Football last week, rushing for 140 yards and adding 20 more receiving. He was a workhorse down the stretch. Gashing a beat up Bears defense, but running harder on every down. He is currently the league’s 3rd leading rusher, with 2 touchdowns, and should only impress more behind the NFL’s best offensive line.

The Cowboys are also led by another rookie at quarterback, who is making a lot of us wonder how he fell to the 4th round in this year’s draft. Dak Prescott doesn’t have gaudy numbers, yet, but he appears to be looking better by the week. He threw his first career touchdown pass in Week 3, averages 33 attempts per game, and goes up against the 28th ranked pass defense on Sunday (San Francisco). He won’t necessarily carry your team, but a spot start by Prescott doesn’t appear shabby in Week 4 if you need one.

Quick Hits

  • Terrelle Pryor became the first player in NFL history to record over 140 receiving yards, 20 rushing yards, and 30 passing yards all in the same game. He is the Browns’ best source for offense and even played safety, at one point, against the Dolphins in Week 3. You can also tell that Cleveland coach Hue Jackson is scheming specifically to put the ball in Pryor’s hands AND in open space…because why wouldn’t you, when the guy is 6’6, 240 pounds and can run a 4.4 40-second drill.

 

  • Christine Michael looked like he was in a video game in the first quarter against San Francisco in week 3. 9 carries, 71 yards and 2 touchdowns (the first on his first touch for 41 yards). He came back to Earth though, only rushing for 35 on 3.1 yards per carry after that. Michael is the guy many people have waited on, with all the physical tools to be a star in the league. The injuries Thomas Rawls has dealt with have given Michael his 3rd or 4th chance to prove it, as it seems. He has a tough matchup this week against the Jets, a Top-3 rush defense.

 

  • In tonight’s Thursday Night Football matchup, your first thought for best fantasy option may be AJ Green, but I lean toward Jarvis Landry. He is commanding 30% of his team’s targets, is lethal in the return game, and is LITERALLY putting up Antonio Brown numbers (even though he went 4 rounds later in your draft). Landry is tied with Brown for the league lead in receptions (24) and has recorded more yards in 3 games (314). He’s even stealing Brown’s touchdown celebrations…

 

Mail Time!

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-39-14-am

If Dez Bryant plays, he’ll be doing so with a fractured knee…So, I’ll let you decide on that one.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-39-55-am

For PPR’s sake, you’ll for sure want to start Mark Ingram. The Chargers are allowing NINE CATCHES PER GAME to running backs, so far this season. Being without Manti Teo (who is still without his imaginary girlfriend. Sorry too easy), makes the Chargers way more susceptible to the run.

Carlos Hyde may have gone off on the Seahawks, but they didn’t allow Arian Foster or Todd Gurley to go over 51 yards the weeks prior. Travis Benjamin will continue to get is targets and shoot EAT against the Saints secondary.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-40-16-am

 

The Giants have done some impressive things rushing the passer and against the run, but they are THE WORST against the pass through 3 weeks this season. Stefon Diggs should be in for a solid day of receiving yards on Sunday.

Despite facing his toughest matchup of the season, I have to recommend Mike Evans over Emmanuel Sanders because he is 2nd in targets this season to Antonio Brown. Jameis Winston may not play particularly well, but you can count on him at least throwing it Evans’ way.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-40-28-am

This one will be quick:

League leader in receiving yards Marvin Jones against the depleted Bears secondary. Then Brandin Cooks, for the real potential of a shootout with San Diego.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-40-40-am

You have to play Julio Jones if you have him. Last week was a bit of an enigma with him. Look for Julio to take advantage of a young Panthers secondary that has only faced Trevor Siemian, Blaine Gabbert, and Sam Bradford so far this season and Matt Ryan has all of a sudden shown up as a top quarterback again. I get the temptation for Marvin Jones, but Julio is far more proven and that deal needs to be sweetened much more for me to trade him.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-7-41-04-am

Hey man, I just give advice. I don’t lock your lineup for you.

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

Best Fantasy Landing Spots For Top NFL Free Agents

Beginning Monday, March 7th, teams will be permitted to speak with unrestricted free agents and may begin contract negotiations. On March 9th at 3 PM CT, free agency officially begins and new contracts can be made official.

There seem to be more impact players on the defensive end this year, but playmakers are still to be had that can make a serious difference on your fantasy team…as long as they’re on the right NFL team.

As the free agency vastly approaches, lets take a look at some of the best destinations for the top free agents from a Fantasy Football perspective.

Jessica Kleinschmidt of FanDuel and I had a similar discussion weeks ago on The Piffcast. Click here to check it out. 

 

Running Back

Doug Martin

Hamster

Doug Martin tops the list for sought after offensive players this offseason. The 4-year vet and 2-time Pro Bowler went from injury prone running back to the league’s 2nd leading rusher last year. At the age of 27, Martin has some mileage on him but a few more years before the dreaded “wrong side of 30” tag that plagues most veteran running backs. Tampa Bay is in the Top 5 for available cap space this season, but Martin could be destined to run for a bigger market club and behind bigger offensive linemen.

Dallas 

In the last 2 seasons, the Cowboys proved they are a much better team when they can effectively run the ball and set up the pass after forcing opponents to load up the box. It would be in their best interest to sign a premiere back like Martin if they want to preserve Tony Romo for a full season too. With the same play-callers and top tier offensive line for the past few seasons, you can project similar production for Martin as DeMarco Murray’s in 2014. Maybe not Murray’s 392 carries from that season, but leading the league in rushing (1,845 yards) and rushing touchdowns (13) is very attractive.

New York (Jets)

The Jets were just one game away from making the playoffs and a big part of their success was the dependability of their running game. Chris Ivory provided the punch between the tackles and Bilal Powell was reliable as an easy target on passing downs. Neither are under contract but Martin’s skill set accounts for both their talents. Ivory put up the best numbers of his career in 2015 behind an O-Line manned by Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, even was a Pro Bowler. One would think Martin could perform even better and would be depended on even more with Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick not getting any younger.

 

Matt Forte

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

It’s weird knowing that we’ll be seeing Matt Forte in a different uniform this season. It makes sense for both sides though as the Bears are a team in transition, trying to get younger, and Forte deserves an immediate shot at a championship. Even at 30 years old, Forte is a proven dynamic back who can run, catch and block. Ideally, you would like to see him in an offense that succeeds throwing more and could share his touches.

New England

Something tells me Bill Belichick and Tom Brady would love to have a dependable running back between the 20’s, and that’s Forte’s specialty. The Patriots do have Dion Lewis under contract but he’s coming off a season ending injury and would benefit greatly from being a compliment to Forte, especially in the red zone. The Patriots are a fast paced team that are at their best when Brady is a rhythm passing and Forte is the best pass catching back on the market who can also block. He would be PPR machine again in New England.

Green Bay 

Speaking of teams that are better when they chuck it…

The Packers may be losing James Stars to free agency, so why not upgrade with someone with his skill x 10? This move would probably kill Bears fans, but Forte would be perfect in an offense with Aaron Rodgers. When firing on all cylinders, Rodgers shares the wealth between his receivers and his lead back and they are always in the red zone. The Packers are also much less trusting of Eddie Lacy these days, so Forte would certainly get #1 back touches. Sorry, Chicago. Still love you.

 

Lamar Miller

Lamar

Lamar Miller had a strange season last year. The Dolphins were 6-1 when they gave him 13 or more touches, but that means he was well underused in more than half a season’s worth of games. 19 touchdowns in the last 2 years and the ability to score from anywhere on the field, running and catching, would be pretty sexy to a team looking for a #1 quality back.

Houston

The Texans made the choice to move on from Arian Foster and I don’t think they are particularly sold on Alfred Blue. When Foster was healthy for a whole season playing for Bill O’Brien, he totaled 1,573 yards and 13 touchdowns. Picture Miller, younger and faster, in O’Brien’s scheme and attacking defenses that are already on their heels trying to defend DeAndre Hopkins. Then consider the defenses that the Texans face in their division (Colts, Jaguars, and Titans). I would like Miller in my lineup, if that were the case.

Miami

It sounds like the Dolphins are high on bringing Miller back and I don’t blame them, for the reasons I listed earlier. Miller would also probably like to play in Adam Gase’s system too. Knowshon Moreno, CJ Anderson, Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford all benefitted well with Gase utilizing play-action. If Gase is going to get Ryan Tannehill back on track, getting the ball to Miller will be more helpful than not.

Wide Receiver

Marvin Jones

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 8.22.05 PM

The better wide receivers these don’t often hit the open market anymore. When you look at the best in this class, it would appear that Marvin Jones tops the list. He was the #2 man to AJ Green for his entire tenure in Cincinnati but he showed that he could produce like a #1 when called upon, like the 10 touchdowns he scored in 2013. Now he has a chance to prove it and someone is going pay him to try…more than likely overpaid because the market will dictate it.

Los Angeles

The Rams are heading back to California with a very good defense and an elite running back. What they don’t have is a quarterback or a legit wide receiver. Marvin Jones would fit one of those needs and it’s hard to believe they won’t try to fill the other. Getting a shot as a #1 receiver would be huge for Jones’s value, especially when defenses are more focused on Todd Gurley.

Baltimore

It’s pretty common in the AFC North for players to flip to their rivals. The Ravens have Steve Smith Sr. for one more year and Kamar Aiken, but Jones would jump ahead of both on a depth chart and give Joe Flacco better target than he’s had since Anquan Boldin. Flacco’s never thrown 25+ touchdowns twice in his career, but somebody has to catch that deep ball of his. Jones has the talent to do it consistently.

Anquan Boldin

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 10.15.56 PM

He turns 36 in October but Anquan Boldin is still a badass. The reigning Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner is one of the best possession receivers in the game. He’s not the fastest anymore, but he is durable and would compliment any #1 or speedster perfectly.

Detroit

With Calvin Johnson retiring, the Lions need a reliable red zone target. Golden Tate performed well while Megatron dealt with injuries in the past, but Matthew Stafford needs someone who can pull double coverage away from him. Boldin is a savvy veteran who would bring experience to a thin position group and a lot of production with Stafford targeting him.

Atlanta

Like the Lions, the Falcons parted ways with one of their all-time great receivers. However, Roddy White wasn’t their top receiver anymore…Julio Jones is. Boldin would take advantage of all the attention Jones gets and would provide Matt Ryan with reliable target in the end zone. Hopefully Ryan can get the ball out of his own hand.

Quarterback

Brock Osweiler

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 11.05.56 PM

With Kirk Cousins signing his franchise tag, there aren’t many other sexy quarterbacks available. Brock Osweiler got a chance to showcase his skills and whatever he learned from backing up Peyton Manning this year seems to have attracted somebody though.

Denver

The reports out of Denver say the Broncos made Osweiler a 3-year extension offer, but he has yet to reach a deal with them. It might be in his best interest to stick with somewhere and a system he knows. It also doesn’t hurt having Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to throw to.

Houston

Of the teams that need a starting quarterback, the Texans have the best receiver. Heck, DeAndre Hopkins even made Brian Hoyer relevant again. If the Texans were to go out and sign any of the 3 running backs mentioned earlier, that would only add to Osweiler’s value as they are all key for a potent passing attack.

For more, follow along on Facebook or Twitter. 

 

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!

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.31.41 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.40.45 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.32.17 PM

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…

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 12.32.36 PM

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!