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Note – these are quick notes on every game Sunday, based on my watching of them all at the same time. I could have missed a lot of nuances that I’ll discover on the re-watch this week, but to get out of the gates on the fantasy week – here’s what I (think I) saw, in no particular order
— OK, let’s start taking the Lions DST seriously. Last six games for points allowed: 17-20-16-19-13-13 (16.3 PPG). Barkley-Eli the next two weeks…and then Dak. Going to be a hot play Week 14 vs. the Bears at home.
— I told you Brandin Cooks would NOT get the squeaky wheel/grease treatment. Sean Payton doesn’t have to bow down to anyone, in his mind. Another losing season…and like Jeff Fisher, I’m sure Payton’s contract will be extended. Cooks didn’t see his first target until the end of the second quarter and saw a chunk of looks late in the heavy pass comeback fourth quarter.
— Sheldon Rankins has played five NFL games now. Brought back slowly game one, and then a sack in three of his next/last four games. Sacks in back-to-back weeks. He’s a terrific player. He also had a batted pass land in his hands and he couldn’t hold on…or he would have added a TD to his IDP numbers in this game.
— Just to bring more fantasy pain to your life – in the second half, at some point, Spencer Ware slipped out of the backfield and was left wide open wandering down the sidelines and Alex Smith saw him and tossed it to him…about five yards past him. A third Ware TD, a 50+ yarder, was stolen by Smith.
— After averaging 2.6 TD passes per game the first nine games, Matt Ryan has dropped to 1.3 TD passes per game the past three weeks…and no 300+ yard efforts in the last three games either. LA-SF-CAR ahead; should be good…but who knows with Ryan a.k.a. ‘the worst good QB in the NFL‘.
— Tevin Coleman looks fantastic to the eye, but this Falcons’ team is sold out to Devonta Freeman. Coleman is nothing more than an RB3 unless Freeman goes down…then he’s an RB1. He’s barely clinging to RB3 status.
— Jeff Fisher has been given a contract extension – Todd Gurley stays an RB2/2.5 valuation through 2017, assumedly. Jared Goff goes from a decently graded/hopeful dynasty stash for us to a guy to ignore for 2017+. Until Fisher goes, these young Rams’ assets are in purgatory.
— Malcolm Mitchell had another nice game – 8 catches. He’s rapidly moving towards becoming the best Patriots FF WR the rest of the season. Mitchell is still having rookie moments, but Brady is very much sticking with him. There is a chemistry building.
— Considering just the last two games…it feels like Dion Lewis is starting to become more important than James White. Which means not only is it eyebrow raising for the ROS, but maybe is important as we roll into 2017. D.J. Foster might become a thing or not, but Lewis has already been a thing with Brady. If I had to choose one of the three for next week and just 2017 – it’s Lewis. It’s a safer bet. I love Foster, but Lewis has the gig already.
— Kapri Bibbs popped a 24-yard run on one of his five carries, while Devontae Booker only had a six-yard ‘long’ on his 18 carries. This is a Denver O-Line issue. I don’t see any threat that Booker is in danger of Bibbs bumping him. However, we have to start watching it and you can try to long-shot gamble it in deep leagues. Booker is not a workhorse, as I keep beating the drum on…but he’s better than Bibbs.
*Note, Bibbs is in a walking boot…Terrell Watson is on their practice squad. I’m just sayin’…
— One of the lessons learned from this game – Trevor Siemian is going to be the QB now…and into the future. Bet on Siemian the next two to three years or more. Siemian plays under control, has a decent arm, good feet…he’s just not a high-flyer/mad bomber as a passer. He plays it safe – which is what Gary Kubiak wants. Siemian is the future; adjust your dials accordingly.
— Just a reminder for those of you with the Denver DST – Week 15 they are facing New England. Be prepared. It’s not the worst matchup in the world now that Gronk is gone, but Buffalo vs. Cleveland, for example, might be a better/safer play that week. Buffalo sits on a few waivers in leagues right now, dropped due to the OAK matchup for some.
— Good luck trying to figure out the Green Bay RB situation for fantasy. I’d say that Christine Michael is about to take the majority share…which only means 7–10 carries per game. Ty Montgomery, actually, looks like the best runner of the group right now. It’s a mess. James Starks is buried deep.
— The targets keep growing for C.J. Fiedorowicz – 9 in this game, 8.3 per game the past three weeks. 7.3 targets per game the last seven games.
— Disregard the following…I wrote it in haste. I just found out Savage woke up Sunday with an elbow infection and went to the hospital. He is fine and expected at practice Monday (good cover story to take away my rant!).
Wondering if Tom Savage will be taking over soon? There is ZERO chance of it happening. You know how I know? Savage was inactive for this game. He’s been the backup all year…the guy ready to go in an emergency. BUT the Texans’ fans have been going nuts on sports radio, etc. calling for a QB change. To take any chance of Savage going in and playing well and stoking the fire, in my opinion, Savage was deactivated. Disgusting.
— Jeremy Hill…33 yards rushing on 22 carries (1.4 ypc) – you have to be kidding me. Rex Burkhead came in and dazzled the game announcers with his receiving and rushing skills. The Bengals are killing themselves with Jeremy Hill. Someday Hill is going to get run out of town due to poor performance, but not after a 3-year, $10M+ deal in the offseason, I bet.
— WR Paul Turner is an interesting deep sleeper. I said he might matter his debut game last week, and he never saw a target. He had 8 targets and 6 catches for 80 yards in this one. One part of the equation is that Turner is a solid WR prospect. The other part of it is all the Eagles’ WR (when Jordan Matthews is out) are terrible. Big opportunity for Turner. This is not a Tyrell, Terrelle, or Tyreek situation of mass excitement. Turner is just good WR on a bad team with an opportunity. Mohamed Sanu/Tyler Boyd-type of fantasy consistency.
— The Eagles are arguably the best offense for a DST to face right now. Carson Wentz has 3 TD/8 INTs over his last five games. The team has scored 15 or fewer points for four straight games. WAS-BAL-NYG-DAL the final four games for Philly. All four will be legit DST plays those weeks.
— Jay Ajayi has come crashing back to earth…four straight games under 80 yards rushing. He’s crashed as teams have adjusted to playing Miami for the run and with the Dolphins star center (Pouncey) missing due to injury. I’d take Ajayi as an RB2 the rest of the way if someone feels like they need to dump the hot potato on me. He’s getting great touch counts and looks solid running the ball.
— DeVante Parker played through serious back pain. Reports from the field during pregame was Parker didn’t look good/right. He was considered doubtful. He talked the coach into activating him. He was a decoy for the most part, but Tannehill went to him a few key spots – the future is Tannehill-Parker if Parker ever gets healthy. I don’t think Parker will be a star/WR1, but a solid WR2.
— Kenneth Dixon’s catches in games the past four games: 5-0-4-4. He’s starting to pop as a PPR back who sees 30–50% of the carries as well.
— Well, just when you think you can trust Colin Kaepernick to give you some fantasy numbers, then he goes back to being…’Colin Kaepernick‘. Five yards passing in a half+, and benched. What a piece of crap that guy is at playing quarterback.
— Josh Bellamy led the Bears in receiving. He’s not anything to be on for fantasy ahead. Just a blip of a moment.
— In his first game starting with both Bears regular starting ILBs out, rookie fill-in Nick Kwiatkoski – 9 solo tackles, 2 TFLs, 2 PDs. He’s an ILB2 while the Bears are shorthanded.
— Well, I guess Ladarius Green’s prior week ‘flash’ was foretelling. I keep saying, ‘someone has to be the non-Antonio‘. Green posted 6-110-1 on 11 targets…a great game, but could have been better — he left opportunity on the table with a drop or two/tough catches. He now races to TE1 territory, no? Gronk and Reed gone…and the rise of Ladarius Green. Who would have guessed?
— Where are the Ben Roethlisberger crazy good fantasy games? This was a nice one – 289 yards, 2 TD/1 INT…but I want 350+ and 3 TDs!! The Steelers have the luxury of rolling with Le’Veon Bell when they get ahead. No need to throw every down.
— Earlier this week, I mentioned how crazy DT/NT Damon Harrison’s tackle totals were compared to others at his position. Guess what? Nine more tackles in this game. His tackle numbers are freakish for a DT.
— Amari Cooper is getting a different version of the Brandin Cooks treatment – the defenses are overplaying him and thus everything else is open. Cooper and Cooks…WR2s at best right now. Cooper has 6.0 targets per game the last four games with 4.0 catches and less than 60 yards every game. That’s barely WR2 numbers.
— Sammy Watkins was covered tight, but he was open a few times and Tyrod Taylor misfired to him. This was a defining game for Tyrod, and he failed. As did the Ryan brothers. Watkins looked fine, but Tyrod failed in a big spot on the road.
— We need the Bills team/defense engaged Week 15 versus Cleveland for DST purposes. They host Pittsburgh, and that game will probably be like this one – a shootout. If Buffalo loses, the season is over and the Ryans’ NFL coaching careers get officially flushed down the toilet for good.
— Targets the past five games for Jermaine Gresham – 5-6-2-10-6 (5.8 per game). He’s a dart-throw TE for the desperate week to week. He had a TD in each of his prior two games before this one.
— I thought the Redskins’ defense was rising up to ‘usable’ in the right matchups. This was a decent matchup because of the crumbling Cards’ O-Line, and they did hit Carson Palmer eight times…but they gave up 31 points for the second game in a row. I guess they’re a play vs. the Eagles Week 14. I’m not as confident as I once was.
— A quick ‘thank you’ to David Johnson. I’m not sure I know of many fantasy teams that have heavy FFM influence that aren’t division winners/high point scorers in the league…if they’ve had DJ on their team. You think one guy can’t make that much of a difference. Ummm, you don’t know DJ’s season then. As a receiver alone he’s been a WR1…as a running back he’s been an RB1. Combined he’s been the ‘DJ3K’ the bible (College Football Metrics) foretold of. He is beyond the fantasy MVP this season…better than Ezekiel Elliott, Antonio Brown, et al. He’s got a chance at 1,000+/1,000+ yards rushing and receiving. He has 1,600+ yards already.
— Unfortunately, the news is not good on Tyrell Williams. He was mostly a decoy in this game, so you know there’s a real injury concern with the adjustment to the game plan on him by San Diego/Rivers. With this loss, San Diego is officially done for 2016. The wise thing to do is shut down Williams now. Either he gets shut down or continues as a decoy. I’d plan not to have Williams the ROS. Seriously. Don’t dump him yet, but start getting contingencies ready.
— OK, I’ll buy into Tampa Bay…I see what’s happening…they got their front four back and are giving teams fits in the trenches. This would be the time we say the Tampa Bay DST is a sleeper, but Saints-Cowboys-Saints next three weeks.
— For those hurting at TE, if you’re looking for a TE2 hopeful in a redraft because your TE1 scares you because you’re missing Gronk-Reed as you head to the playoffs…Hunter Henry is a deep sleeper gamble. He was hot a month+ ago, and then Antonio Gates took back over. A Chargers team that’s ‘done’ probably pulls back the Gates snaps, and ups the Henry ones, no? At a minimum, if you have Gates as your main TE1 – be afraid.
— I’m so sick of Seattle having great offensive nights where Russell Wilson has one TD pass in the game. What the hell? How many times can a team pass their way within the five-yard line and then run it in from there? If they’re not the worst team passing from 10 yards and in from the end zone, I’d like to know who is. I don’t know how I use Wilson with confidence ahead with other options, but then I see Wilson vs. GB next week, and I’m sucked back in.
— The Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen swirl down the drain continues… This team is giving up because Cam has. Total fear if I need Cam-Olsen-KB for the fantasy playoffs (and I 99% don’t, fortunately for me).
— Like I was saying a couple weeks back – Thomas Rawls looks fantastic. He got a great draw this week by facing a top run defense missing its main ILB, safety, and DE. Plus, the other guys rolled over to make it even easier. At Green Bay, next week is not great, but not bad.
Top 5 players to sell off on overvaluation (Dynasty version, assuming trades are over in most leagues):
5) Brandin Cooks – If you think Sean Payton is staying.
4) LeVeon Bell – If you can use to get David Johnson. He’s a free agent and one drug suspension from missing a season.
3) DeAndre Hopkins – Osweiler is going nowhere. Cash in on a Hopkins TD week.
2) Dennis Pitta – Sell the big game to the TE desperate.
1) Michael Thomas – As the Saints move from Cooks, Thomas draws better coverage and what happened this week becomes normal.
Top 5 players to trade FOR on undervaluation (Dynasty version):
5) Todd Gurley – if you think Fisher ends up fired regardless of contract. This could be the ultimate time to make a move at the lowest prices.
4) Jay Ajayi – if you can steal coming off several mediocre games since his 200+ a game flash. That O-Line will get healthy, better.
3) DeVante Parker – So-so game this week, and last…but there was so much more going on. He was playing hurt too.
2) DeVante Adams – Bad game in sloppy weather double covered a lot. Take advantage of the bad week. He’s becoming the Packers’ 1-2 punch with Jordy.
1) Tyreek Hill – All I heard Sunday on fantasy shows is how he is mostly a gimmick.
Top 5 guys to have some belief in off waivers:
5) Pierre Garcon – Consistently good for past several weeks.
4) Dion Lewis – Starting to push past James White. Could be ‘the guy’ in that role again soon.
3) Kenneth Dixon – Growing PPR stud.
2) Malcolm Mitchell – You should have done this last week.
1) Ladarius Green – Someone had to be the non-Antonio. Pittsburgh found him.
Top 5 waiver ‘con jobs’:
5) Kapri Bibbs – Not taking over for Booker, and in a walking boot.
4) Nelson Agholor – He’s back…and still terrible.
3) Michael Floyd – TD this week…he’s a terrible WR.
2) T.J. Jones – Not a sleeper WR.
1) Josh Bellamy – Not a sleeper WR
Top 5 Deep Sleeper pickups:
5) Paul Turner – Might matter ahead with Jordan Matthews out, and could matter in 2017.
4) Christine Michael – Someone has to run the ball for Green Bay. Michael runs with more urgency right now, and that could work for a moment.
3) Terrell Watson – if Bibbs out, and Watson called up.
2) Daniel Brown – Still showing signs of a possible top 15 TE ahead.
1) Zach Zenner – if Dwayne Washington out, and Ameer Abdullah not making a surprising return.
Top 5 fringe guys it’s OK to give up on for now:
5) Jerick McKinnon – No blocking and the team can’t score…when it does it goes to Matt Asiata.
4) Cordarrelle Patterson – Not getting more touches under any coaches there.
3) Paul Perkins – Just a backup/relief back.
2) Marquess Wilson – Never has any consistency of performance or health.
1) Colin Kaepernick – Let us never speak of his name again.