Did you have Jordan Howard against the Niners last week? He accomplished something that hadn’t been done by a Bears running back since Gale Sayers. Not too shabby company to have in the 3 TD club.
A better question is, have you had ANY running backs against the Niners? They are allowing 148 yards per game against the run and don’t appear to be catching anyone anytime soon. Jets RBs should be encouraged by that this week.
RB 1 – Melvin Gordon. Carolina without Luke Kuechly is exactly what a defense would look like without Luke Kuechly, as they allowed 240 yards to a Seahawks team that had been STRUGGLING on the ground. Gordon also hasn’t been held under 65 yards rushing or 20 touches in his last 7 games. Solid play.
RB2 – Speaking of the Seahawks run game, I do love Thomas Rawls this week against the Packers. Green Bay has allowed more rushing touchdowns than anyone in the last 5 weeks and Rawls is back to Rawl’n. Safer bet would be Shady McCoy for his volume in the pass game, but he does play against the 5th ranked run defense…
TE – Tyler Eifert. He is either catching touchdowns or going over 90 yards receiving in 4 of his past 5 games and is heavily relied on with AJ Green out.
I don’t like either one this week, but Rashad Jennings is the lesser of two evils with starter volume. Darren Sproles should never be relied on as an RB2.
I’m not a meteorologist, Scott, but I do know that the Bills secondary is struggling with Ronald Darby hurt. 13 QB TDs (air and ground) in the last 5 games makes Ben Roethlisberger an attractive play, despite some inconsistencies on the road.
QB – Can I choose someone else? Probably nerve-racking that Cam was benched last week but he’s still the safer play when you’re going up against either the Chargers or the Broncos. Joey Bosa is going to chase him, but you have to play Cam Newton when your alternative QB is going against the #1 pass defense.
QB – Am I betting against Aaron Rodgers this late in the game? Yep. Philip Rivers has multiple TDs in 5 straight games and faces one of the worst secondaries in football (Carolina). If you’re in a win-or-go-home spot, you don’t want to leave your chances against the Seahawks in December.
RB – Not Darren Sproles
You have to play Jay Ajayi against a Cardinals defense that looks like San Francisco’s when they play on the road. And as much as I hate picking against Pryor, Jamison Crowder has the better matchup.
CARSON PALMER, Alli! I always read all-caps as yelling. As mentioned earlier, you don’t want to leave your game up to Super Mariota having to beat the #1 ranked pass defense in football. The Dolphins defense, on the other hand, is allowing 334 pass yards and 3 touchdowns in the last month (minus Jard Goff’s first start). Go with Carson and be glad.
Goodness, Kirk! You know the rules!
Carlos Hyde. Sit Carlos Hyde. The pass-catching backs for San Fran are better built for playing the J-E-T-Sucks. You have stronger matchups across the board otherwise.
Oh those are ugly options for an RB2. The theme of today is NOT DARREN SPROLES, so we’ll stick with that. And as we led off talking about the Niners defense, Bilal Powell has by far the best matchup. So there you go.
Have more Fantasy lineup questions? Don’t hesitate to ask on Facebook or Twitter.
If not, thanks for reading anyway. If people don’t send in questions, there is no Mailbag. So sincerely, thank you for making this fun for me every week to write up and try to help you get where you want to be.
December is the month that matters now, ask Russell Wilson. In December, Wilson is 13-2 as a starter which is the highest win percentage for a quarterback since 2000. All of a sudden the Seahawks look like a team nobody wants to play against and so do the Steelers. That’s who you have to be now as a Fantasy owner, and it doesn’t hurt having players from both squads either.
Speaking of the Steelers, having any of their top 3 WRs for the last 2 weeks is not a bad thing. Sunday night was further proof Antonio Brown is the best weapon in the NFL right now (118 yards and 3 total touchdowns). Markus Wheaton is lighting things up, likely from your league’s waiver wire, with 19 targets, 12 catches, 251 yards and 3 touchdowns in that time. Then there’s Martavis Bryant, who has scored in 5 of the 7 games he’s played in since returning from suspension and injury. The trio faces a Bengals defense that is thin at cornerback with Leon Hall and Pacman Jones banged up, and is allowing more than a touchdown to opposing WRs per game.
Very quietly and unsuspectingly, Saints running back Mark Ingram was put on IR for the shoulder injury he was nursing the past two weeks. It seems as though the Saints are shelving him with nothing to play for, just in time for your playoffs. It’s the year of the backup running back though! CJ2K has given the reigns to DJ2K (David Johnson) in Arizona. DeAngelo Williams is doing his best Le’Veon Bell impression. And Thomas Rawls has a higher touchdown rate in the red zone (21.4%) then the league leader in touchdowns, Devonta Freeman (20%).Go snag Tim Hightower now, if you haven’t already, as he’s expected to get Ingram’s early down workload.
If the Titans have anything going for them, besides a good shot at the #1 overall draft pick for a second year in a row, it’s Delanie Walker. Over the past 5 weeks, Walker has the most targets, catches and yards of any tight end in the game. He also faces a Jets defense this week that will be missing Revis Island and safety Calvin Pryor.
RB: Despite Giovani Bernard having more rush yards and 300 more receiving yards than Jeremy Hill, Hill is getting an actual starter’s workload with 20 more touches than Gio over the last 2 weeks. You should feel good going with him. Doug Martin has the New Orleans dumpster fire D this week. Now you’re left between Javorius Allen and Todd Gurley. Go with Buck. He’s averaging 123 yards per game since taking over for Justin Forsett. Meanwhile, Gurley is on the back of a milk carton and we can’t find him.
TE: Close call, but I would go with ASJ for matchup reasons. He played limited snaps last week but still managed to be the 2nd most targeted receiver by Jamies Winston.
Even though I gave a ton of love to both Wilson and the Steelers to start this post, I’m going against them for this choice. Andy Dalton has 3+ touchdowns in half of the games he’s started this season and could be in for a total shootout with the Steelers this weekend. Considering what Russ was able to do against Pittsburgh, you should like ADalt even better.
First reaction – Yikes.
*Taking a second to process*
Ronnie Hillman. CJ Anderson is playing on a bum ankle which opens up a lot more for Hillman against Oakland. As stated earlier, Gio’s usage doesn’t give me enough confidence to start him when I have other options.
WR: I really don’t like the Bucs as much as I sound, but I hate the Saints defense way more. This is a great week for V-Jax because the Saints have given up 9 touchdowns to #2 WRs over the last 5 weeks.
FLEX: Going against one of the worst run defenses in the league, it’s a good week to play Shaun Draughn. I feel weird typing that, but Draughn has turned into the 49ers’ everything back and Cleveland has allowed at least 95 yards or a touchdown to RBs in 10 of the 12 games they’ve played this season.
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!
Feels like just yesterday we were drafting our teams. Some of you probably thought you were sneaky, taking Maurice Jones Drew in the late rounds. Others probably couldn’t believe they got Rob Gronkowski in the 4th round. And everybody who drafted Andrew Luck is likely bragging about where they picked him, right?
Then you had 13 weeks to tinker and toy with your lineup. Early on, it was adding Steve Smith Sr. for Eric Decker, Dwayne Allen for Jordan Reed, and Justin Forsett for Knowshon Moreno.
In October you saw Branden Oliver added for CJ Spiller, Odell Beckham Jr. for Victor Cruz, and Denard Robinson for Adrian Peterson.
And when it mattered most down the stretch, CJ Anderson for Ronnie Hillman, Jarvis Landry for Larry Percy Harvin, and Kenny Stills for Larry Fitzgerald.
So what do you do to have the edge in the playoffs?
You have your players that have been reliable all year and got you where you are, but you can always add help every week.
Colts RB – Daniel “Boom” Herron: Even after fumbling twice the last two weeks, the Colts are committed to running with Boom Herron. Herron has picked up where Ahmad Bradshaw left off by making Trent Richardson look sillier and averaging 7.65 yards per carry since Ahmad Bradshaw went on IR.
Washington TE – Jordan Reed: I mentioned it a week ago, and I was right. Jordan Reed is a better player when RGIII isn’t throwing to him. Colt McCoy gets the start last Sunday and Reed catches 9 passes on 11 targets for 123 yards. If you’re in need of a tight end or Julius Thomas’s status is making you pull your hair out, pickup Reed.
Panthers RB – Jonathan Stewart: DeAngello Williams has a broken hand. Broken hand or not, Jonathan Stewart was running better than Williams anyway. Stewart gained 110 yards total (85 rushing, 25 receiving) against the Vikings defense on Sunday. Even with a 3-8-1 record, the Panthers are in the playoff hunt and establishing some kind of illusion of a run game will be key if they want to steal the horrible NFC South.
Colts WR – Donte Moncrief: The word out of Indianapolis is that Donte Moncrief has surpassed Hakeem Nicks for the #3 receiver role. He’s a boom or bust type of player much like Terrance Williams was for Dallas in the first half of the season, but Reggie Wayne’s production is sloping the wrong way. 134 yards and 2 touchdowns on 3 catches last week makes Moncrief very attractive for more Andrew Luck targets and for you to grab him if he’s available.
Ryan Fitzpatrick…WHA-HAPPENED? One minute, the “bearded one” was being benched for Ryan Mallett. The next he’s throwing 6 touchdown passes. This is the same Fitz-Beard that averaged an INT per game, and couldn’t find Andre Johnson in the end zone (he did on Sunday). It seems head coach Bill O’Brien has taken off the training wheels finally and airing it out. DeAndre Hopkins had 9 catches for 239 yards and 2 TDs while JJ Watt caught his 3rd off the season. They won’t be playing stats padding Titans again, but they will see the Jaguars this weekend for more air-time.
Can we talk about the Rams? They only have 5 wins this year, and really that could have them first in the abysmal NFC South. 3 of those 5 wins have come against playoff contenders (Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers) and they just beat the Raiders 52-0. For a team decimated by injuries, they sure don’t act like it. Stedman Bailey (another guy to pick up for your playoff run) has emerged as Shaun Hill’s go-to receiver with 12 catches, 189 yards and a TD on 15 targets the past two weeks. Bailey had 100 yards in the first quarter alone against the Raiders. And Tre Mason just scored 3 touchdowns (2 rush, 1 rec.). He may have just scored again on the Raiders, I’m not sure.
And bouncing back from having his winning streak snapped, Tom Brady catapults himself to MVP frontrunner…of commercials. That mullet is…beautiful.
And now for YOU time.
DB Moenning on Facebook: “Got two burning Flex spot questions for you. Pick 1: Keenan Allen or Giovani Bernard. Fred Jackson or Denard Robinson.”
Normally I lean toward running backs in this situation for guaranteed touches. Before his injury, Gio Bernard would have been a no-brainer. But since returning, the Bengals have given the starter reigns to Jeremy Hill, as well as the red zone carries. I could see them riding whoever the hot hand is against the Steelers…The Phillip Rivers target machine Keenan Allen is finally making the most of his opportunities. 3 touchdowns in his last 2 games (3x his total before then) and coming off an 11 catch 121 performance against Baltimore. The Packers 3rd WR just put up similar numbers against the Patriots and that’s why I like Allen better than Gio this week.
For your second conundrum, I like Denard Robinson better and here’s why. While Fred Jackson dispelled the running-back-by-committee approach for the Bills last weekend, he’s running into a buzz saw that is the Broncos run defense. The D-line has found their groove, and allowed Jamaal Charles just 59 yards total (35 rush, 24 rec.). The Bills have a defense that could prevent the Broncos from getting out to a crazy early lead that has forced most teams to give up on the run, but I’m not necessarily counting on it…Shoelace has had a tough go the last two weeks, and it’s mostly been because of game-flow circumstances. The Jaguars had to come back from a 20 point deficit in the first half last week and that helped Marqise Lee out more than Robinson. They should have better luck with time of possession early on against the Texans defense and that bodes well for Robinson, who even got some effective Wildcat plays against the Giants.
Ryan Ricci on Facebook: “Larry Donnell or Jordan Reed?”
As I mentioned earlier, Colt McCoy throwing to Jordan Reed only means good things. Tight ends are what makes McCoy tick. If he’s healthy, go with Reed…I really don’t get Larry Donnell. I think some the occasional drop in his numbers is because the Giants OL can’t handle pass rushers without him blocking. He has a solid matchup against the Titans this week though. If Reed can’t go, Donnell will be a decent play in his place.
Craig Bucy on Facebook: “Romo or Tannehill?”
Tony Romo had a tough one last week. He’s dealing with a bad back but seemed to have a weekly routine to rest it. Romo throws 4 touchdowns in Week 12, goes just 3 days without taking a hit, and he has his worst game of the season. A full week with his regular routine against the Bears secondary may be the bounce back Romo needs. He threw 3 touchdowns against Chicago the last time he traveled to Soldier Field and the Bears are allowing 326.4 yards per game to competent quarterbacks (Stafford, Rodgers x2, Brady, Ryan)…Tannehill has good matchup against Baltimore, but Romo will be your guy.
Sam Kalmar on Facebook: “Terrance Williams or Malcom Floyd? Any potential waiver pickups suggestions welcome also.”
Terrance Williams has really fallen off in the last month. He started off hot and then Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and DeMarco Murray stopped sharing the targets from Romo. Bryant and Witten will benefit the most against the Bears soft press defense this weekend. Malcom Floyd would have been a nice play if he wasn’t going to draw Darrelle Revis or Brandon Browner….I would recommend either Donte Moncrief or Stedman Bailey who I mentioned either, as well as Robert Woods who has emerged as a startable WR thanks to #OrtonMagic and a beat up Sammy Watkins.
I’ll be on a work trip in Phoenix till Sunday, but feel free to keep asking questions on either Facebook or Twitter.