Fantasy Mailbag 2016: Week 2

Week 1 is in the books and man…did football get off the bus running or what?

A few new names made quite an impression on Fantasy Football enthusiasts, like Jalen Richard above. Or Eli Rogers and his ricochet touchdown catches.

However, the Week 2 edition of Thursday Night Football featured much of the opposite. The key offensive players on the Jets are all 30 and over: Ryan Fitzpatrick (33), Brandon Marshall (32) and Matt Forte (30). Forte ran the ball 30 times to rush for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns. FitzMagic threw for 374 yards and 1 touchdown in a 37-31 Jets victory.

Quick Hits

  • Some of you were smart and drafted DeAngelo Williams in the 8th round or later (hopefully handcuffing him to Le’Veon Bell). Some of you were smart about picking up Spencer Ware on waivers right after, or drafting him late. Williams owners were treated to an AFC Offensive Player of the Week performance of 171 yards from scrimmage with 6 catches and 2 touchdowns. Ware owners were rewarded with 199 yards from scrimmage, 7 catches a touchdown. They may be placeholders for Bell and Jamaal Charles for now but Williams and Ware are playing at level that’s worth riding for as long as you can, considering they were both Top 4 in total yardage.

  • Carson Wentz impressed a lot of people across the league in his NFL debut. Completing 22 of his 37 passes for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns earned Wentz the 7th highest quarterback rating by a rookie on opening day. Although it doesn’t count for Fantasy points, there were more Wentz jerseys sold than any in the league over the 2 days following the opener. Wentz will have an opportunity to build on his success and become the 5th NFL quarterback since 1960 to start his career 2-0 against a shaky Bears secondary on Monday Night Football.

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  • On the flip-side of the Week 2 Monday Night matchup, Alshon Jeffery could be in for a big night. The Eagles will be without starting CB Leodis McKelvin and will depend on a 7th round pick Jalen Mills in his place. Also being counted on to cover Jeffery is Nolan Carroll, who was lit up by the BROWNS (all caps necessary) in Week 1. Jeffery became the first Bears player since Forte (in 2010) to record 100+ receiving yards in the first half, against Houston, and should do even more damage when Chicago hosts Philly.

 

Mail Time!

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I love the repertoire Willie Snead and Drew Brees have. Snead had the best game of his young career in Week 1 (9 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD) in a shootout with Oakland. A game with the Giants has potential for similar results, but I still lean toward Spencer Ware while you can still use him. The Saints have a heck of a wide receiver group and anyone can be in-store for a big day. Ware is guaranteed to get touches against a Texans defense that allowed 57 rush yards and a touchdown to Jeremy Langford a week ago. Alex Smith is also bound to continue dumping the ball off to Ware over the pass rush.

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Going back to the potential shootout between the Giants and Saints, I would go with Snead in this case…mostly because I think Eli Manning will be targeting Odell Beckham Jr. more than Victor Cruz after just 4 catches a week ago. OBJ is 9 catches away from becoming the youngest receiver to 200.

Remember the 52-49 game a year ago? Round 2 has a lot of hype to live up to.

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Flex: Safest play would be Golden Tate, who will be a target machine in his hometown of Nashville. Boom would be Demaryius Targaryen against a weak Indy secondary, but he’s dealing with a bad hip. Melvin Gordon may be taking a step back, as his team should be playing a lot of catchup against the high-powered (that’s right) Jaguars offense.

QB: I’m not particularly high on a less-mobile Russell Wilson against one of the best pass rushing front-7’s in football. Wilson has proved me wrong in the past, but I see the Seahawks attacking St. Louis better by handing off to the Rawls-Michael tandem. Trust the Jim Bob Cooter offense and Matthew Stafford this weekend.

 

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Einhorn. Sean Young, FTW.

 

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I do like Houston better, you’re right…but way more because of Whitney Mercilus than JJ Watt. The pass rush that they hoped to get from Jadeveon Clowney has arrived in the form of a man with a great football name, from the University of Illinois. While Cincy-Pittsburgh always lives up to its “rock’em, sock’em” reputation, but the Steelers offense is too good (even without Martavis Bryant and Le’Veon Bell) to bet against.

 

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-9-53-55-am I hope you didn’t go with McCoy…

A tandem of DJ2K (David Johnson) and Williams is a tough one to beat. They are also two of the most reliable backs you can find, with schemes that will always put the ball in their hands. Have fun.

 

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I like Stefon Diggs the most, as a receiver, but I don’t like the quarterback situation throwing him the ball. It will either be an under-prepared Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill against the Packers 3-4 pass rush. Does that inspire confidence in you? I didn’t think so…

Emmanuel Sanders may be the best option for the sole reason that he is the healthier than Thomas and he’s going against one of the worst secondaries in football.

 

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Jay Cutler and I think you should go with Will Fuller.

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

Fantasy Football Mailbag 2016 – Week 1

It’s Thursday, there’s football tonight, and you have a lineup (or 3) that you need to set.

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Thank goodness, Fantasy Football is back.

Look at the NFL, starting the new season where they left off last year. NBC’s Thursday Night Football will premiere with a Super Bowl 50 rematch between the Panthers and defending champion Broncos. Both teams return with stout defenses. One will have Cam Newton under center. The other will have…

Trevor Siemian.

The Broncos make Siemian the first Northwestern quarterback to start the regular season since Otto Graham. Siemian beat out Mark Sanchez and 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch. He also inherits an offense from sure-fire Hall of Famer Peyton Manning that includes Pro Bowlers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on the outside, and CJ Anderson at tailback.

It’s hard to tell how the wide receivers will fair with the 7th rounder at quarterback. He won the job by not turning the ball over and managing the preseason games fairly well. Key term: Managed. Anderson and rookie backup running back Devontae Booker will likely get plenty of touches, but you can’t expect Siemian to beat the Panthers defense with his arm. Carolina can still fly to the ball, even without Josh Norman.

Quick Hits

  • It wasn’t far-fetched to draft Jamaal Charles in the 2nd round, especially when his ceiling is that of a Top 5 back. If you were smart though (owning JC or not), you picked up Spencer Ware when Andy Reid mentioned his #1 RB wasn’t going to be ready for the start of the season. When handed the ball 10 times or more, Ware averaged 95.3 yards and 1.3 touchdowns rushing in 2015. He also faces a Chargers defense that gave up nearly as many rushing yards and touchdowns in the league.

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  • The people who told you that Alfred Morris would be a viable Fantasy pickup were sorely mistaken. Ezekiel Elliott was drafted 4th overall for a reason, and that’s to be the Cowboys’ bell cow. Even as a rookie, Elliott was expected to get a ton of touches with Tony Romo at the helm. With another rookie taking snaps, expect him to be depended on even more…especially in 3rd down situations.

  • Antonio Brown was the consensus #1 pick in just about every league. He may not be the #1 WR to start the season though. Julio Jones was near historic in 2015, recording 136 catches and 1,871. Sunday, Jones will face the team he has terrorized the most in his 5-year career. He has averaged 116 yards and 7 catches per game against Tampa Bay, scoring 6 touchdowns over the 9 games he’s played them.

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Mail Time!

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You know Jared Goff is inactive this week, right? He ended the preseason 3rd on the Rams’ depth chart. I hope you didn’t draft him. So Dak Prescott…Yeah. Dak.

 

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It seems like a lot of people forget that Carson Palmer is coming off the best season of his career, throwing 4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. The 4 interceptions and 2 fumbles in the NFC title game against the Panthers may have something to do with that, but he isn’t playing against Carolina this weekend. I understand the temptation to go with Matt Stafford but his set of weapons aren’t nearly as proven as Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, Michael Floyd and David Johnson combined. Go with Palmer against New England. Arizona will hope to capitalize on the mistakes of young Jimmy Garoppolo.

 

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This is a fun one, and I’m surprised you were so trusting of so many rookies. Michael Thomas is realistically the 3rd option in New Orleans against a pretty decent Raiders defense. I like Sterling Shepard a lot and the opportunities he can get while Odell Beckham Jr. is double covered, but I don’t see him being the star against Dallas. Then that leaves us with Will Fuller, who is facing an already banged up Bears secondary. The Houston Texans have opportunity to feast on an ariel assault this Sunday, with Kyle Fuller likely out and Tracey Porter returning from injury in the preseason. Go with the the Notre Dame burner, Fuller, who can take the top off most NFL defenses.

 

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Matt Ryan has too much he needs to show before I start him over Palmer. I already went into depth, regarding Palmer’s weapons so plan on starting him. Julio Jones will get his numbers, but I still need to see more from his new complimentary receivers. Vernon Hargreaves could also pose a threat, as the rookie had allowed a QB Rating of ZERO in the preseason.

 

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I know, people LOVE Marvin Jones paired with Matt Stafford. I just don’t understand why. Jones never topped 100 yards in 2015 and scored just 4 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Golden Tate has proven to be a target machine (sans Calvin Johnson as well) and Michael Crabtree actually had a statistically better year than Amari Cooper last season. There is shootout potential between the Saints and Raiders, and you’ll benefit greatly from starting Crabtree in that scenario.

 

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This may sound crazy…

I have trouble picking Cam Newton against the Denver defense. I know he has a chip on his shoulder after last year’s Super Bowl, but Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is going to throw the kitchen sink at him. Newton will still score some, either by air or ground. You should feel more comfortable with Ben Roethlisberger against a Washington defense that ranked in the bottom 3rd against passing yards and touchdowns a year ago.

And now for #DancingWade…

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

NFL Week 13 Fantasy Mailbag

Each Week 13 I like to remind Fantasy Football participants to thank their league commissioners for organizing everything…as long as they scheduled the playoffs to start next week and the championship to take place Week 16.

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By the end of the season, you’ve come too far to worry about players on teams who have their division clinched and will potentially be rested Week 17 to make a run in the playoffs. Right now, I would worry about the Patriots, Cardinals and even the Panthers (who could be undefeated still) doing exactly that.

Now for immediate concerns, you are…

A) all good and have clinched a playoff spot. Just playing for the best seeding possible.

B) fighting for a playoff spot. It’s already win or go home.

C) hoping to spoil things for anyone that (B) applies to. It’s about pride at this point.

There is a “D” but you don’t want to be that person. You know, the person who drafted a team and didn’t give enough of a shit to do any maintenance on their roster at all, even after paying dues for a cash league. I played against Jordy Nelson last week. That’s all you need to know.

Quick Hits

  • Perhaps the most exciting individual matchup this weekend will be Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Darrelle Revis. In the past, Revis Island had scared away fantasy owners from even considering starting a #1 WR against him, even quarterbacks at times. In recent weeks though, Revis has allowed big games to DeAndre Hopkins (5 catches, 118 yards, 2 TDs) and Allen Robinson (6-121). Meanwhile, Beckham has cracked 100+ yards in 4 straight weeks, and has done so 13 times in his last 20 games.

[Update] Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles was asked about Revis’s status this week and responded with “I don’t think so.”

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  • Another team that could potentially clinch their division by Week 17 are the Minnesota Vikings. Big reason why, and the player they’d likely be resting, is Adrian Peterson. AP has 634 yards and 5 touchdowns in his last 5 games, is 72 yards off his 2012 pace when he recorded 2,097 yards, and faces a Seattle defense this week that allowed 117 total yards to DeAngelo Williams. He’ll be the Viking’s best chance against the Seahawks in a black and blue matchup.

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  • The funniest thing in football may in fact be the biggest difference for tonight’s matchup between the Lions and Packers…Jim Bob Cooter. The Lions have won 3 straight and now have a chance to sweep Green Bay. During that win streak, Matthew Stafford has thrown for 861 yards, no interceptions and 7 touchdowns (5 last week against Philly). Amazing how good Cooter, the OC (try not laughing), looks when his quarterback actually throws the ball to Calvin Johnson.

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Mail Time!

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I don’t like Antonio Andrews, or any Titans RBs, at all but seeing Charcandrick West practicing with the Chiefs again leads me to believe Spencer Ware is going to lose a lot of touches. If West plays this week, go with the starters in Andrews and Shaun Draughn. I wouldn’t expect touchdowns out of either, unfortunately. If West doesn’t go, plug Ware in for Andrews.

 

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I understand the concern with Tom Brady, but haven’t we seen this story before? Without Gronk, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola, Brady threw 3 touchdowns against the best defense in the league. This week he plays the Eagles and could likely have Amendola back. Philly has given up 10 touchdowns in the last 2 week, and Brady has built a reputation for making something out of nothing (no-name receivers).

If you’re having strong enough doubts, this could be a great week for Ryan Fitzpatrick if he’s miraculously available on your waivers. Bryan Hoyer and Ryan Tannehill could be okay plays if you’re desperate.

 

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The James Starks thing has come and gone, as Eddie Lacy has woken up finally. Now it becomes a question of whether or not you believe in CJ Anderson or not…

If Anderson is going to keep coming back into our good graces, it would be against the Chargers. They have allowed double-digit rushing TDs and 1,800+ rush yards. My gut tells me the Broncos will ride the hot back, just like they should ride the hot quarterback. So start CJ.

For matchup reasons, I have to lean toward LaGarrette Blount over Latavius Murray. The Chiefs have only allowed one back to run for more than 71 yards and have given up 1 rushing touchdown since Week 5. Meanwhile, the Eagles look like they’ve quit on their coach.

 

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Similar to my reasoning to start Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount, that’s why I like Scott Chandler this week. I picked him up in both my leagues (starting him in the one without Gary Barnidge), because Brady loves targeting his tight end. Last time Gronk missed significant time, Brady made Mike Hoomanawanui relevant.

If that doesn’t convince you, Eric Ebron would be a sneaky pickup tonight as the Packers have allowed a touchdown to TEs in 4 straight matchups. The even sneakier move would be Cameron Brate against the Falcons with Austin Seferian-Jenkins still down.

 

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RB: If the Rams offense wasn’t a complete dumpster fire right now, I would say Todd Gurley is a no-brainer. But they are and that means he isn’t. Tony Romo going down means Darren McFadden is going to get all the checkdown passes he could dream of from Matt Cassel. I feel better about McFadden’s floor than Gurley’s ceiling this week.

QB: If Jay Cutler is available, go get him. The 49ers defense is a very different squad on the road than they are at home, allowing 35 points per game away from Levi’s Stadium.

 

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WR: TY Hilton and Eric Decker are easy picks for me. The Steelers are giving up the most catches and  2nd most yards to receivers, and Decker is a touchdown machine scoring in 8 of 10 games. I like what D-Jax has done since returning, but the Cowboys pass defense is brutal.

 

QB: I am going to go with my common theme for this post, trust the Cooter. I am going to use the Lions OC’s name for as long as I can, so deal with it. Stafford’s got a hot hand and Rivers has a bad matchup.

 

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I feel weird saying this, but I like Ryan Fitzpatrick a lot more this week. The Giants secondary is allowing 250+ yards and at least one touchdown to every QB they’ve faced. Meanwhile, I think the Packers are going to get Rodgers killed tonight…but he could always be “RODJAS!” again.

 

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We do have a “Thor” in our league. Otherwise, I recommend GREG, SON OF OLSEN!

Greg son of Olsen

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!