Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 Week 11 Fantasy Advice: Celebrity Brain Crash

The NFL season in which the actual football has taken a back seat is chugging along as we get closer and closer to the fantasy playoffs, and as the bye weeks mercifully end and it doesn't seem like as many injuries to big name players can derail your season (since many of them are already out), is progress going to be made for fantasy happiness? And if you're wondering why the title of this piece is "Celebrity Brain Crash", I just got through watching an episode of The Grand Tour and the title makes as much sense here as it did in that show.

Byes: CAR, NYJ, IND, SF

Start of the Week: QB Alex Smith (KC) at NYG

Alex Smith is an underrated fantasy QB against almost everyone, but against the Giants who, sorry to all Giants fans, have quit, especially on defense, Smith could be in for a huge game on Sunday afternoon.

Who to Start:

QB Drew Brees (NO) vs. WSH: As the Saints are officially a ground and pound team now, you may be wondering why he's a great fantasy starter this week. For one, Washington's defense has been torched by pretty much everyone this season through the air, and it stands to reason that they'll try to sell out and stop the run to force Drew Brees to beat them, which he will then likely do.

RB Jordan Howard (CHI) vs. DET: He's certainly not been the fantasy option many of us expected him to be, and he's been held to single digit points in most everywhere the past few weeks. However, if the Lions gave up a big fantasy day to Isaiah Crowell of the Browns, Howard at least has a shot here.

WR Jarvis Landry (MIA) vs. TB: He's been a solid PPR option all season for his owners in spite of the Dolphins QB malaise, and it seems every now and again he and DeVante Parker pop off for a big game or two. That could come this week against the Bucs and their far worse than expected defense.

WR Sterling Shepard (NYG) vs. KC: Despite the Giants being garbage, Eli Manning has to throw it to someone, and Shepard has been the guy of late. Kansas City's secondary is not as impressive as you might think, and also consider the garbage time potential here: it could be immense!

TE Vernon Davis (WSH) at NO: Amazingly, Davis still has it. Even against brutal matchups on paper, he's chipped in big games against both Seattle and Minnesota. The Saints matchup is similar, but once is accident, twice is a trend, three times...?

DEF LA Chargers vs. BUF: Not only does this Chargers defense get to face a rookie in Nathan Peterman making his first start, on the road, the defense hasn't been why the team has lost this year. They rush the passer well, force turnovers and last week kept Leonard Fournette in check. This is a great matchup this week.

Sit of the Week: WR Jordy Nelson (GB) vs. BAL

He was my "Buyer Beware" last week, and many places had him as a must sit. I wasn't willing to go that far considering his draft position and ability to overcome tough matchups in the past. But now, until proven otherwise, you can't play Nelson with Brett Hundley at QB, even though he's improved recently. Baltimore's defense is also fairly stout.

Who to Sit:

QB Matt Ryan (ATL) at SEA MON: Seattle's defense is dinged up, but it's still the Seahawks at home, and with Matt Ryan's numbers this year underwhelming massively, starting him this week is a big risk, even though with Freeman's injury, he may be relied on more.

RB Lamar Miller (HOU) vs. ARZ: When teams know your QB situation is a mess, they sell out to stotp the run at all costs. Miller has faced that the last two weeks without DeShaun Watson running the offense. It'll happen this week against Arizona, who have a stout defense against the run.

WR Sammy Watkins (LAR) at MIN: Watkins has finally awaken from his fantasy slumber! But he may unfortunately slip back to earlier form this week against Xavier Rhodes and that ferocious Vikings defense. In his other road game against a defense like Minnesota, in Jacksonville, he was invisible.

WR Kelvin Benjamin (BUF) at LAC: Benjamin can't be trusted now that the QB switch in Buffalo has occurred. Until proven otherwise, and against a very solid Chargers defense, it's not a good time to be an owner of Kelvin Benjamin.

TE Coby Fleener (NO) vs. WSH: Fleener has a fantasic matchup on paper this week, but there is one problem: he's not a good blocker, and the Saints are a run first offense. Thanks to Michael Fabiano of NFL Media for this nugget: he's played in only 27% of offensive snaps for New Orleans in the last four games. Avoid.

DEF Dallas vs. PHI: No Sean Lee, and facing Carson Wentz equals a bad combination for the Cowboys defense this week in both reality and for fantasy owners. They weren't exactly bad last week, but from fantasy perspective "not bad" from defenses isn't quite good enough at this time of year.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Jay Cutler (MIA) vs. TB: It's hard to start Cutler at all, but with a favorable matchup this week, it might be worth the risk. The Bucs defense played well last week against Josh McCown, but has struggled mightily against just about everyone else.

WR Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) at HOU: He's here and not in the "start" portion of the piece because of the QB uncertainty, but even with that, the Texans defense is a mess, and Fitz should easily pounce on that.

DEF Atlanta at SEA MON: On paper, facing Russell Wilson and the Seahawks at home is not a good matchup. So why have the Falcons defense here? Well, the Seahawks can't run the ball, their offensive line is a mess, and the Falcons defense has to be feeling confident after that show they put on against the Cowboys. There is a chance this is a sneaky good play in spite of the odds this week.

Buyer Beware:

QB Jared Goff (LAR) at MIN: It's impossible to not love the way Goff and the Rams offense has evolved this season, but they haven't been at their best against the best defensives such as Seattle's and Jacksonville's. Minnesota's defense is up there, so starting Goff with that in mind is a risk.

Good luck in Week 11!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2017 Week 10 Fantasy Advice: Halfway Done

As we are now beyond the halfway point of the NFL season, and well beyond the halfway point of the fantasy season, you may be wondering to yourself how we got here. Through numerous injuries to critical fantasy players, a generally mediocre standard of play and jumping through fantasy hula hoops, we're here now. We're still dealing with the last few bye weeks, but more notably the injuries and the bad play, but don't worry now, it's kinda almost done... sort of.

Byes: PHI, OAK, KC, BAL

Start of the Week: RB Jordan Howard (CHI) vs. GB

You probably drafted him very highly, and have been conflicted with mixed feelings on him all year. It's been week-to-week with Howard, but this week is looking up against a Packers team that has been defensively quite weak away from home. The Bears offense is centered on Howard and what he can do, but this may be the week he finally gets back into form.

Who to Start:

QB Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. CLE: "Anyone against the Browns" becomes the name of the game here, as Stafford, who hasn't really lit it up all year, might finally find the ways and means to do so against the horrific Browns defense who pretty much can't do anything right.

RB Carlos Hyde (SF) vs. NYG: He was on point for players in a PPR league last week, having his best game of the season. The Giants can't do anything right at this point other than showing up at the stadium on time, meaning Hyde might put together back-to-back dynamic performances.

WR Adam Thielen (MIN) at WSH: With injuries elsewhere on the offense, Thielen has stepped up to become a true PPR machine. But even in standard leagues, his game at Washington is favorable. Slot receivers do fairly well against DC, and it stands to reason form holds again here.

WR Robby Anderson (NYJ) at TB: Yep, a Jets wideout is a good fantasy play this week. Who would have ever imagined that in August? Anderson has been playing the best of all Jets receivers of late, and his game in Tampa against the poorer than expected Bucs defense is very favorable.

TE Hunter Henry (LAC) at JAX: The Jaguars have the league's most fearsome pass defense, which means they'd also shut down tight ends too, right? Not quite. Tyler Kroft had a decent game last week even with only a few targets, and Henry could perform similarly on Sunday.

DEF LA Rams vs. HOU: Tom Savage ain't DeShaun Watson, that's for sure.

Sit of the Week: RB Ameer Abdullah (DET) vs. CLE

For everything the Browns do wrong, they are very good at stopping the run, and that has been true all season. Abdullah could have had a huge game Monday night against Green Bay, but fumble-itis wrecked those chances, and he could still be in the doghouse come Sunday. Matchup and form do not favor the Lions RB here.

Who to Sit:

QB Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs. MIN: Despite his heroics last week against Seattle, he and the Washington offense still struggled mightily down almost all of their bullets. Minnesota's defense may be even better, meaning Cousins is pretty much a must sit this week.

RB Aaron Jones (GB) at CHI: The dreaded split backfield has appeared in Green Bay, with Jones and Montgomery exchanging touches with no good way to know who will get more week-to-week. The Bears aren't very good, but their defense has been strong at home It's hard to recommend Jones or Montgomery this week.

WR Kelvin Benjamin (BUF) vs. NO: He will make his Bills debut against the Saints, which means he'll be Tyrod Taylor's number one target. That's good. However, in his five career games against New Orleans, he's averaged 38 yards per game and only reeled in one TD. And that was against a historically bad Saints defense.

WR Will Fuller (HOU) at LAR: It was a fun few weeks when DeShaun Watson was the QB for the Texans for the NFL world and for Will Fuller. But with Tom Savage, let's just say no one is enjoying life nearly as much. And the Rams defense is infinitely better than that of the Colts, so Fuller's fortunes are going downhill, fast.

TE Julius Thomas (MIA) at CAR MON: Don't go fantasy chasing, my friends. Thomas had a great game against the Raiders, but his performance in the prior four games combined didn't match what he did against the Raiders, so expecting a repeat of that performance let's just say is unlikely.

DEF Denver vs. NE: Is the shine off the Broncos defense? Perhaps. They have too much to do now to carry that incredibly poor offense, and that doesn't bode well against the Patriots Sunday night. It's hard to sit them, but it may be high time to consider it.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Eli Manning (NYG) at SF: I know, I know. But we're talking strictly matchups here, and let's be honest, the 49ers are not very good at playing football. You'd have to be really digging deep to start Eli here, but it's not the worst option out there this week.

RB Derrick Henry (TEN) vs. CIN: With DeMarco Murray nursing a knee injury, Henry becomes more viable as a fantasy option. The Bengals rush defense didn't do a great job stopping backups against the Jaguars last week, so Henry could be in for a big day on Sunday as well.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) at IND: As he celebrates finally getting his driver's license, he should show it on the field by potentially putting in a great performance against the Colts. He's clearly the second WR on the Steeler depth chart now, and that's positive for him against the Colts who aren't really the greatest at playing defense.

Buyer Beware:

WR Jordy Nelson (GB) at CHI: You can't really sit him at this point because of the draft capital you invested, but with Brett Hundley moving the offense along at a snail's pace, there's not much else left to say. The Bears defense is also stingy at home, and this is not a good combination.

Good luck in Week 10!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

2017 Week 9 Fantasy Advice: Halfway done already?

Halfway through an NFL season of brutal injuries, some intriguing trades and more than a few surprises and your fantasy team probably doesn't look all that much like what it did when you drafted it in the summer. That's not surprising, but it does offer questions about the rest of this season, and time is running out to make meaningful changes to your roster and make the decisions that will push your team over the top. So what happens now as the calendar turns to November?

Byes: PIT, MIN, CHI, CLE, NE, LAC

Start of the Week: Lamar Miller (HOU) vs. IND

Seattle's rushing defense is good enough to stop just about everybody in the league from being successful, but the same can't be said for the Colts defense. Miller, who has feasted on the Colts in his career, likely will do the same against a defense that gave up a big game to Joe Mixon last week.

Who to Start:

QB Drew Brees (NO) vs. TB: His fantasy numbers haven't exactly lit up your screens like you'd expect Drew Brees to do in the last couple of games, but against the Bucs defense which is nowhere near where anyone expected it to be, that could change, and probably will change.

RB Aaron Jones (GB) vs. DET MON: In the ever changing environment of Green Bay's offense without Aaron Rodgers, another Aaron, Aaron Jones, impressed against the Saints two weeks ago. The Lions aren't exactly a stout rush defense, so the fear of him splitting touches with Ty Montgomery isn't exactly too worrisome.

WR Dez Bryant (DAL) vs. KC: He couldn't get out of Josh Norman's shadow last week, which was salso somewhat weather induced, but this week he should get out of that shadow against the Chiefs. The Cowboys may need to rely on the arm of Dak Prescott without Ezekiel Elliot, and Bryant should feature prominently against a weak Chiefs secondary.

WR Devin Funchess (CAR) vs. ATL: Cam Newton will have throw to someone after Kelvin Benjamin was dealt to Buffalo, and Funchess seems to be that target. Atlanta's secondary has been really underwhelming this season, and if you need a bye week option, Funchess could be a really good one. He may even be on the waiver wire in some leagues.

TE Jack Doyle (IND) at HOU: He's a really good fantasy matchup, what can I say? In a position where there is little depth, starting Doyle is almost a must, especially in six team bye weeks. Houston's defense is weak and was torched by Jimmy Graham last week, so Doyle could have another positive game.

DEF LA Rams at NYG: The Rams have one of the better fantasy defenses and real defenses, so even travelling cross-country, they're a must start against the Giants who can't put any together on offense with or without most of their receivers.

Sit of the Week: RB Marshawn Lynch (OAK) at MIA

Here's another player who I said certainly wasn't worth it in fantasy, and he's been really poor in his last few games, missing almost the entire game against KC included. Miami's defense has been fairly stout against the run, Thursday against the Ravens excluded, so Lynch is someone to avoid this week.

Who to Sit:

QB Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs. BAL: Though he should be more healed from his hamstring injury than he was against Indianapolis or Cleveland, this matchup against the Ravens defense is not favorable at all. They've been stout against opposing QB's all season, which means healthy or not, Mariota is a big risk this weekend.

RB Alex Collints (BAL) at TEN: He had a great outing last Thursday against Miami, but starting him doesn't make a ton of sense against the Titans. They're stout at home defensively, and the Ravens backfield is heavily rotated, and keep in mind, Danny Woodhead could be returning soon.

WR T.Y Hilton (IND) at HOU: He's posted basically all of his fantasy points in home games against the 49ers and Browns, who, if I remember correctly, have a combined zero wins. Even though the Texans defense is not very good, it's hard to trust Hilton until he consistently proves that he can get back to old form again.

WR Pierre Garcon (SF) vs. ARZ: It was a rough day for him against the Eagles, and things may not get much better against the Cardinals and Patrick Peterson. And there's no Jimmy G throwing to him, at least not yet.

TE Martellus Bennett (GB) vs. DET MON: He says this will be his last NFL season, and unfortunately for people who put fantasy stock in him, he's playing like it. It's been a rough season for him, with or without Aaron Rodgers, and that doesn't bode well even against the Lions.

DEF Denver at PHI: The Broncos defense is still dominant and dynamic, however with the pressure their offense puts them under, it makes for long days at the office, and that probably continues against the reloaded Eagles offense.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Jared Goff (LAR) at NYG: The Giants defense, especially in the secondary, is nothing to sneeze at. But at some point with the lack of offense they have, they'll break down, and that will allow Goff to find some success. He's not the best option this week, but he does have a good chance to succeed.

RB Kenyan Drake (MIA) vs. OAK: Who will get the ball in the backfield with Jay Ajayi now in Philadelphia? That seems to be Drake, and while he might be best as a flex play this week, he has a promising matchup against Oakland to potentially exploit. He could be a decent stash and grab, since the Dolphins will need someone to run the ball.

WR Will Fuller (HOU) vs. IND: Not exactly a volume receiver, but he does put up huge numbers each and every week it seems, and that's hard to ignore and avoid. The Colts really can't do much right now in terms of defense, so Fuller, who has exploded onto the scene when DeShaun Watson took over, is another decent play this week.

Buyer Beware:

QB Derek Carr (OAK) at MIA: He put up bigger stat lines than you would have thought in the last couple of games, but it hasn't really changed his fantasy viability, which is to say there isn't much. He's not really a good matchup play even in a week when there are six byes.

Good luck in Week 9!


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

2017 Wee 8 Fantasy Advice: the Columns that keep content on this blog

Fantasy football maybe this year more than ever has just been a slog. So many injuries to key players, and not many superstar surprises emerging have combined for this to just be a brutal year. And now we're in the worst part of said brutal year: the six team bye weeks. You'll be stretched thinner than ever, and seasons can be made or broken at this time of year too. Being prepared is key, and in these weeks of all weeks, you can be really caught off guard.

Byes: LAR, JAX, TEN, NYG, ARZ, GB

Start of the Week: WR Doug Baldwin (SEA) vs. HOU

Seattle's offense has been so dicey fantasy, that normally reliable options such as Baldwin fell on hard times to start the season. But he's start to emerge from that fog after a series of good games, and the matchup against Houston is very promising. The Texans defense is thin and not very good in the secondary, which makes Baldwin highly appealing.

Who to Start:

QB Cam Newton (CAR) at TB: It's really hard to peg Cam as a fantasy QB. Some weeks, like against the Pats, he's gangbusters. And then last week against Chicago, he's very poor. Tampa's defense is nowhere near where anyone expected it would be, so this offers up an opportunity in a thin week for some success.

RB Jordan Howard (CHI) at NO: He hasn't met his lofty expectations this year, and plenty of that has to do with the tire fire that has been the Bears offense, but teams are starting to learn how to defend Howard as well. He still gets his touches though, and that is key against a Saints defense that while it's getting better, still gave up a big day to Aaron Jones last week.

WR Keenan Allen (LAC) at NE: Where has he gone in recent weeks? His slide in the fantasy realm is concerning, but there is promise against New England this week. While their defense looked much better against Atlanta, for this column until further notice, it's still twice is a trend, not once, so to speak.

WR Adam Thielen (MIN) vs. CLE LONDON: Without Stefon Diggs, Thielen has really been the focal point of Minnesota's offense. He's not scoring touchdowns, but with the targets he's getting, he's reeling in plenty of catches and yards. The Browns are such a good matchup for everyone, that it's hard to not start Thielen even in a thin week.

TE Jason Witten (DAL) at WSH: He finally popped up after a few weeks in fantasy hibernation, and with a favorable matchup in Washington on hand, his fantasy good spell may just continue into another week. Tight End has been such a dicey proposition in fantasy land this year, this may just be a solid option.

DEF Minnesota vs. CLE LONDON: While they didn't rack up points against the Ravens last week, it's the Browns. If they don't light it up this week, when will they?

Sit of the Week: QB Matthew Stafford (DET) vs. PIT

Stafford has been inconsistent this year, and next, he gets to face the stiffening Steelers defense that has been locking down just about all opposing QB's in their way. Stafford is a dicey play even in a thin week like this one.

Who to Sit:

QB Josh McCown (NYJ) vs. ATL: So you may be thinking to yourself: Josh McCown, a good fantasy QB? Yep, he's actually been one of the bigger surprises this season, especially late. This Atlanta defense isn't the unit it used to be, but it's still pretty impressive, so if you need a flyer this week, there may be better ones available.

RB Lamar Miller (HOU) at SEA: Miller has been decent this season in running and catching for Houston, but no matchup for opposing running backs is ever favorable against the Seahawks. Plus, D'Onta Foreman is starting to emerge as a legit handcuff too. 

WR Terrelle Pryor (WSH) vs. DAL: I don't want to say I told you so, but before the season, I was telling everyone who would listen that Pryor was a very risky high draft pick for many reasons, the least of which was that I wasn't sold on him as a wideout yet. And lo and behold, he's been quite bad this season, which means even against a bad Dallas secondary, it's hard to recommend starting him over Josh Doctson and Jamison Crowder. 

WR DeSean Jackson (TB) vs. CAR: He's been hit or miss this season for the Bucs, which isn't what many of us expected to see. Carolina's secondary hasn't been the reason why they're losing of late, so Jackson, who struggled a touch in Buffalo last Sunday, could struggle again here.

TE Jack Doyle (IND) at CIN: As the only player on the Colts who is really fantasy viable anymore week to week, it's hard to bench him in a thin week at a thin position. Yet, the Bengals have given up one TD to tight ends in six games, so Doyle may have to face more trouble this week.

DEF Denver at KC MON: Denver's defense is not the reason why the Broncos are struggling, but at Kansas City on a Monday night does not bode well for the Broncos, especially if their offense continues to struggle as it has been the last few weeks.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Case Keenum (MIN) vs. CLE LONDON: Yep, another random fantasy option like him who could be great in a six team bye week. As stated elsewhere in this piece, and everywhere else in the world, the Browns are terrible at football, so if you need a one week flyer, he's a fantastic option.

RB Christian McCaffrey (CAR) at TB: I'll admit, I loved McCaffrey coming out as a fantasy option this year because of his ability to catch the ball from the backfield and add something different to this running game. But, it hasn't panned out that way, not even close to that. However, if he can't succeed against this Tampa defense on Sunday, he may be banished to flex play only for the rest of the way.

WR Mohamed Sanu (ATL) at NYJ: He, like all Falcons, was quiet last week in in Foxborough against the Pats, but he could see a decent uptick this week against the Jets, who gave up big chunks of yards and fantasy points to Matt Moore last week.

Buyer Beware:

WR Demaryius Thomas (DEN) at KC MON: The matchup on paper is favorable here for one of the highest drafted wideouts in fantasy land this year, but with the way the Broncos offense is sputtering, and the game on the whole that they are facing, I'm very skeptical of Thomas this week in spite of the week, and matchup.

Good luck in Week 8!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

2017 Week 7 Fantasy Advice: Is anyone left that isn't injured?

Maybe it's just me, but there seem to be more debilitating injuries to standout stars in reality and fantasy football this year more than ever. Perhaps it's perception overshadowing what seems to be otherwise fairly normal, but after Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, perception is way stronger than reality. With these injuries piling up, and the league knee deep in bye weeks, these may be the toughest times on these fantasy streets.

Byes: DET, HOU

Start of the Week: QB Matt Ryan (ATL) at NE

Matt Ryan's 2016 season looks like a thing of the past, but some of that form may be recaptured in Sunday night's Super Bowl rematch. The Patriots secondary is not very good, as all passers who have gone against them this season have thrown for more than 300 yards each. Ryan may not be an every week starter anymore, but this week he certainly is.

Who to Start:

QB Dak Prescott (DAL) at SF: Most people coming into the season didn't think of Dak that highly as a fantasy QB, but his performances in the last three games (two of them Cowboy losses) have perhaps changed that opinion. Going up against the putrid 49ers secondary may allow the streak to continue into a fourth straight game of wonderful fantasy form.

RB Mark Ingram (NO) at GB: With Adrian Peterson in Arizona, Ingram has asserted himself even more as the Saints featured running back. He has quietly had a very solid season, and that should continue against a less than stellar Green Bay rush defense that is dealing with a myriad of rough injuries. Alvin Kamara is also a decent flex play.

WR Rishard Matthews (TEN) at CLE: He hasn't been that spectacular in a fantasy sense this season, but almost everyone is worth a gamble against the Browns and whatever it is that they call a secondary. They've given up seven TD's to wideouts this season, and that somehow seems like a low number.

WR Adam Thielen (MIN) vs. BAL: No matter who is healthy at any of the skill positions in Minnesota, Adam Thielen is a heavily targeted man. He hasn't scored a TD this season, yet is a machine, especially in PPR leagues thanks to his targets. Even against a rough-ish matchup in Baltimore, Thielen is worth a gamble.

TE Jimmy Graham (SEA) at NYG: He has not come anywhere close to living up to the hype when he was traded from New Orleans to Seattle. That said, he's been a sneaky decent fantasy play in the last few games for Seattle, and he is again against a Giants defense that cannot defend tight ends.

DEF Carolina at CHI: Mitchell Trubisky may have lead the Bears to a victory in Baltimore, but that wasn't much due to him and the offense. Carolina's defense, even potentially without Luke Kuechly, is a wise fantasy play considering the troubles rookie QB's like Trubisky usually have in these games.

Sit of the Week: QB Jameis Winston (TB) at BUF

I still love Jameis as a fantasy option, but not nursing a shoulder injury, and not on the road against a better than expected Bills secondary this week. The Bills have only given up two TD passes all season in their first five games.

Who to Sit:

QB Philip Rivers (LAC) vs. DEN: The no-fly zone was not the reason Denver stumbled at home against the Giants, holding Eli Manning to almost nothing through the air, as expected. Philip Rivers has never performed well against the Broncos at home in his career, and Denver is likely going to be mad after what happened last Sunday night. This isn't a good recipe.

Any Seattle RB at NYG: The Giants have a bad rushing defense. So why then would I say not to start any Seattle running back (Lacy, Rawls, McKissic)? Because no one knows the running back pecking order in Seattle until it shapes itself out over the course of a few weeks. Even though this is a decent matchup, it's worth avoiding all Seattle running backs until they prove themselves consistently as viable fantasy options.

WR Sammy Watkins (LAR) vs. ARZ LONDON: He is listed on the Rams roster, but you'd be hard-pressed to know that even watching Rams games, where he barely gets targeted, let alone gets meaningful touches. Patrick Peterson will likely match up against him Sunday, which means he might be erased from the stat sheet even further.

WR Martavis Bryant (PIT) vs. CIN: I'm not saying to sit him because he requested a trade and then sloppily backtracked on those comments. I'm saying to hit him because JuJu Smith-Schuster has clearly surpassed him on the depth chart, and because Cincy's defense is underrated against the pass.

TE Martellus Bennett (GB) vs. NO: Tight Ends on teams whose #1 QB's are hurt are always sneaky plays in fantasy land, but even with Aaron Rodgers, Bennett wasn't performing up to expectations. With Brett Hundley under center, this doesn't bode well.

DEF Baltimore at MIN: The Ravens defense has been a solid fantasy option in spite of their injuries and up and down performances, but even with Case Keenum, the Vikings are not a good matchup here. Minnesota's offense is consistent and doesn't make many mistakes, which is not a good combination for opposing fantasy defenses.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Marcus Mariota (TEN) at CLE: On one good leg, Mariota looked quite solid Monday night against the Colts, even if his fantasy numbers didn't show it. Against Cleveland's defense, or lack thereof, Mariota, one week healthier, should fare a lot better.

RB Adrian Peterson (ARZ) vs. LAR LONDON: Mea culpa: all of us who analyze fantasy football whiffed on Peterson last week against the Bucs, big time. While he's probably not hitting the heights from last week against a good Rams defense, he's a viable flex option for sure now that he's established himself as the feature back.

RB Marlon Mack (IND) vs. JAX: For all the talk of how great Jacksonville's defense is, they don't stop the run very well, in their losses that is. It's therefore worth the risk to start the rookie Marlon Mack, who has flashed great potential every time the Colts give him the ball.

Buyer Beware:

RB LeGarrette Blount (PHI) vs. WSH MON: Consistently inconsistent in fantasy land: that's been Blount's story this season. After some rock star performances against the Giants and Chargers, he's been quiet against the Cardinals and Panthers. Washington held him in check in week one, and that could easily happen again on Monday night.

Good luck in Week 7!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2017 Week 6 Fantasy Advice: At least there's the other football

In one code of football, recent days haven't been very kind to the sport in the country. Thankfully, the this code of football, the one with quarterbacks, running backs and fantasy columns like this one, is still going strong. It has problems too, but there's no argument as to which country in the world is the best at this code football.

On to the fantasy world now and with the injuries that continue to ravage teams, and with bye weeks fully in view, scouring the waiver wire for hidden gems through all the dirt and grime is now an even more important task. There are options available almost everywhere, and there are tough decisions to be made with those players and your lineups. But that's why you read this column, right?

Byes: SEA, BUF, CIN, DAL

Start of the Week: QB DeShaun Watson (HOU) vs. CLE

Watson has been absolutely ripping up league's passing defenses in the last three games. 12 TD's in the last three weeks plus a boatload of yards has meant Watson is now a potential top five QB in fantasy the rest of the way. That will continue against the Browns who have been abysmal defending the pass this season.

Who to Start:

QB Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs. SF: Cousins' start to the season hasn't been quite as great as many would have expected or hoped, however coming off a bye week, this is when Cousins starts to round into form. The 49ers secondary has been hit hard by a litany of less than special QB's this season, including Jacoby Brissett, so Cousins could be in for a big day.

RB Marshawn Lynch (OAK) vs. LAC: The Chargers finally picked up their first win last week, but their rushing defense isn't really the reason why. They're getting ripped up on the ground week after week by all sorts of different backs. This is why Lynch is probably going to go Beast Mode on Sunday.

WR Chris Hogan (NE) at NYJ: Who says Tom Brady didn't ever have a great Julian Edelman replacement? Without Gronk last Thursday, Hogan became Brady's go to receiver, and he delivered. He's a PPR machine, but even in normal leagues his matchup against the Jets is a good one.

WR T.Y Hilton (IND) at TEN MON: It doesn't seem to matter that Andrew Luck isn't throwing him the ball, because he's still had a few monster weeks from a fantasy perspective. In his career, Hilton has destroyed the Titans, including 12 catches for 230 yards last season. That form should continue on Monday.

TE Evan Engram (NYG) at DEN: Eli Manning has to throw the ball to someone, and Engram may be the only warm body left. Denver has not been great at defending the tight end this season, so Engram may thrive while the Giants on the whole do not as their season has gone down the drain.

DEF Atlanta vs. MIA: Jay Cutler threw for less than 100 yards against a pretty poor Titans secondary last week, which should give a rejuvenated and rested Falcons defense something to lick their chops over.

Sit of the Week: QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) at KC

If he says he doesn't have it anymore, whether he's joking or not, you may want to believe him. While he's OK enough at home, he's a disaster from a fantasy perspective on the road. The Chiefs defense gave up plenty of yards and points in garbage time, but they may be salivating at their prospects here.

Who to Sit:

QB Philip Rivers (LAC) at OAK: Oakland's defense isn't that great, so why wouldn't you want to start Rivers in this matchup? Rivers hasn't really been able to take advantage of good matchups this season, and he's not been great against the Raiders in his career, especially recently.

RB Adrian Peterson (ARZ) vs. TB: Peterson should now be the feature back in Arizona, which should mean he's a great fantasy option, right? Nope. Arizona's offensive line is horrendous, and the Bucs have a good run stopping defense. There's also the possibility that Peterson is slowly bedded in to Arizona's offense, meaning Andre Ellington may get the bulk of the load early on.

WR Demaryius Thomas (DEN) vs. NYG: Janoris Jenkins is one of the league's best shutdown corners, and the Giants have held all big name opposing wideouts in check this season. Trevor Siemian still hasn't done enough to inspire that much confidence, so Thomas is a risk this week.

WR Randall Cobb (GB) at MIN: Aaron Rodgers in looking in other directions for production at the skill positions, and Cobb's fantasy stock has taken a hit because of it. Cobb only has 12 catches for 131 yards and one TD in four games against the Vikings, and that secondary is no joke either.

TE Jared Cook (OAK) vs. LAC: Whenever a backup QB comes in to the fold, there's always a slight boon for the tight end on that team as a fantasy option because of the safety blanket factor. But with Cook, that's not likely the case this week, whether Manuel or Carr is playing. The Chargers defense has shut down Travis Kelce and Evan Engram already, so shutting down Cook doesn't seem like a big stretch.

DEF New York Giants at DEN: This defense was expected to do big things this year, but hasn't, as evidenced by their 0-5 record. Denver's offense is multi-dimensional, and after a bye week of rest, they should be ready to attack a Giants defense that defends the pass OK and not much else.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Cam Newton (CAR) vs. PHI THU: Cam is looking like MVP Cam once again, and that's shown up in his performances. Outside of the game against Arizona, the Eagles secondary has been vulnerable. That may be the case again against a Carolina offense that is starting to stretch its legs.

RB Jay Ajayi (MIA) at ATL: He's a good flex option at this point because of his sub-optimal performances against bad rushing defenses recently, but a good flex option does mean he has potential against an Atlanta rushing defense that hasn't been up to par yet this season.

WR Jaron Brown (ARZ) vs. TB: He's becoming a go-to target for Carson Palmer, and against a weak Bucs secondary, that may bode well for a team that will need to throw the ball to stay competitive.

Buyer Beware:

RB Tarik Cohen (CHI) at BAL: He is a sparkplug that has the potential to break out at any time, but only seems to do so in fits and spurts. The Ravens rushing defense is underrated even with their litany of injuries, so watch out for Cohen here, no matter where he is in your lineup.

Good luck in Week 6, and go American football!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

2017 Week 5 Fantasy Advice: Bye Week Blues

If your fantasy football season hasn't already been derailed by debilitating injuries, poor drafting and most especially, reading into this column, welcome back. It's the point in the season where bye weeks are going to play a major role in how you structure your team, so this column becomes more important than ever, that is if you trust me to give you solid advice in the first place. I don't know why you would, but I like writing these columns so give me some slack.

Byes: ATL, WSH, DEN, NO

Start of the Week: Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ) at PHI

Larry Legend is not the world's best fantasy option on the sinking ship that is Arizona's offense, but this week, he goes up against a meager Eagles secondary that has given up big yards and fantasy points to everyone they've played. If Carson Palmer can stay upright (a big if), he'll target Fitz as he always does, which means he should be in for a big week.

Who to Start:

QB Jameis Winston (TB) vs. NE THU: Who would have ever thought that a Patriots defense would be this anemic and incompetent through a four game stretch? Every team they have played has had a big offensive day against them, and Jameis Winston and his bevy of weapons should have a great time in a short week against this confused New England defense.

RB Carlos Hyde (SF) at IND: In the interest of not making the same mistake with Jay Ajayi I've made the last two weeks (even though his matchup is decent Sunday), let's look elsewhere for options. He hasn't broken out in terms of fantasy scoring, but he's been consistent. That's key against a poor Colts defense, and it may just help the 49ers actually score a touchdown this week.

WR T.Y Hilton (IND) vs. SF: If you drafted him, well you probably expected Andrew Luck to be playing right now and he clearly isn't. But Jacoby Brissett in his three starts hasn't exactly been bad, and against a 49ers defense that has some big holes, so Hilton could once again keep your fantasy numbers above water until Luck returns.

WR Chris Hogan (NE) at TB THU: Neither the Patriots nor the Bucs have been playing great defense this season, either because of injuries or communication issues. On a short week, this favors the offenses, and the Pats offense hasn't exactly been a problem. Hogan may be down on the list of Brady targets, but he has the potential to break out Thursday night.

TE Charles Clay (BUF) at CIN: Clay has been one of the better tight ends in fantasy this season since most all of the good ones outside of Gronk are injured. He's going up against a Bengals defense that hasn't been good against Tight Ends, and without Jordan Matthews, Tyrod Taylor has to throw to someone.

DEF Minnesota at CHI MON: Mitchell Trubisky is making his first career start on Monday night, and he has to go against a Minnesota defense that has been quite stout in spite of the injuries on the other side of the ball. They have a chance to feast on rookie mistakes Monday, making them a good play.

Sit of the Week: QB Russell Wilson (SEA) at LAR

Wilson's viability as a QB1 or even a QB2 has dropped dramatically with each passing season, and this year, he's really struggled in ways that even his biggest detractors couldn't see coming. In his career, he's been really bad against the Rams, especially of late. If you have better options this week, you should use them.

Who to Sit:

QB Jared Goff (LAR) vs. SEA: Though Goff has been excellent in the first four games of the campaign, the Seahawks defense is another test entirely. While their offense has certainly sputtered, the defense, particularly the pass defense, has held up well. Though they are dealing with injury issues, it's hard to trust Goff this week against a Seahawks secondary that has always shut down the Rams.

RB LeGarrette Blount (PHI) vs. ARZ: One of the biggest mistake people make in fantasy is riding a player hard one week after they had a breakout game. Last week in the Philadelphia suburb of Carson, California, Blount had a masterful performance. But following up that performance will be hard, especially with the emergence of Wendell Smallwood and he'll be facing a Cardinals defense that has been stout against non Zeke Elliot backs.

WR Amari Cooper (OAK) vs. BAL: Poor Amari Cooper. Even with Derek Carr throwing him the ball, he's had no success this season, and not only is he going to face the Ravens secondary which has actually been decent this season, E.J Manuel will be throwing him the ball which does not bode well. Sit him (and maybe even Michael Crabtree too).

WR Kelvin Benjamin (CAR) at DET: We may need to put a disclaimer in this column about starting players who just played against New England, because there is a risk with Benjamin here. He was fantastic against the Pats, but the Lions defense has been one of the best all around this season, meaning his assignment on Sunday is much tougher.

TE Jason Witten (DAL) vs. GB: His viability as a fantasy option is slowly starting to dwindle as his performances have done in the last few weeks. The Packers have really been good in shutting him down in their past few meetings, holding him to around four catches, 49 yards and only one TD in the last five games against them.

DEF Jacksonville at PIT: They have been really good this season in terms of sacks, turnovers and TD's, but the Steelers are another animal entirely. They haven't even hit their stride yet on offense and when young defenses get their first test, they often don't pass it.

3 Super Sleepers:

QB Alex Smith (KC) at HOU: Do you know that one of the top five QB's in fantasy this season has been Alex Smith? It's true. He's been able to both throw and run the ball very effectively of late, meaning that he can do what most QB's can't do anymore: mix the run and pass effectively. The Texans defense has been gashed at points this season, and the Chiefs offense is not exactly the Titans down a bunch with Matt Cassel under center.

RB Bilal Powell (NYJ) at CLE: Even taking away the flukey 75 yard TD run he had against the Jaguars, Powell had a really solid day at the offense against a team that was supposed to be stout against the run. The Browns are decidely not that in any way, so Powell has a great chance to replicate that success.

WR Randall Cobb (GB) at DAL: While he's still not Aaron Rodger's favorite target, he is now in his second game back from injury and therefore will be more consistent. With the injuries for the Packers up front and at the running back position, Rodgers will be looking to throw more than ever, meaning that Cobb will see his fair share of targets against a Cowboys defense that is underwhelming.

Buyer Beware:

QB DeShaun Watson (HOU) vs. KC: Watson became the first QB in almost 60 years to throw for four TD's and run for one in a game last week, which is incredibly impressive. He is a more than viable QB1 now everywhere, but this week may be a bump in the road against a Kansas City defense that is aggressive and another level than he has faced so far in his young career. You're probably starting him anyway, but he could be in for a fall back to earth.

Good luck in Week 5!