Fantasy Football Tuesday Tidbits
by Ben Hogan
One more week in the books for the NFL season and Week 9 was rough as six teams were on a bye and players that you are used to performing on a high level were kept in check. Philip Rivers turned into a turnover machine against the tough Dolphins defense, DeMarco Murray was kept under 100 yards for the first time all season by Arizona, and even though he led his team to victory, Russell Wilson didn’t account for one Seattle touchdown. On the other hand, Jeremy Hill, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger owners finished Sunday satisfied.
Week 10 presents another challenging week as injuries continue to pile up, the guessing continues, and six more teams on a bye. Here below are a few players to help you avoid the bye week blues and yes I know Adrian Peterson has reached a plea deal, but I am in no position to say whether or not you should pick him up because I have no idea what Roger Goodell will do.
Bye Weeks: Indianapolis, Minnesota, New England, San Diego, Washington, Houston
Here they are below:
Pluck and Play
These are guys that are the cure for your guys that may be out a week or two, but should not be counted on to make an impact all season long. Since the bye weeks start this week, I am also going to mix in players that are bye week players, in which you probably wouldn’t start unless other guys get injured or you have a week in which a lot of players are on a bye.
The injury to Nick Foles couldn’t come at a worse time for Foles owners, with it being on a six team bye week and this late into the season. Most, if not all of the QBs that would be worth starting in your fantasy league are on a roster. Mark Sanchez is worth picking up for Foles owners, as he filled in fine on Sunday and finished what Foles started in the Eagles 31-21 triumph over the Texans. In limited action over the preseason and 2+ quarters coming in for Foles, Sanchez has looked competent and capable. Sanchez did throw two INTs, but Foles owners are used to riding that roller coaster as he also tossed two touchdowns and threw for 202 yards.
Here we go again, taking a turn on the Browns running back merry-go-round. Three weeks ago it looked as if Isaiah Crowell was going to seize at least the backup role to Ben Tate and West would be the odd man out. Then two weeks ago, Crowell was basically shut down after showing problems holding onto the ball, but Tate was still the guys. This past week, West appears to have the inside track to at least split carries with Tate. Coach Mike Pettine will probably borrow a page out of Jeff Fisher’s book and play the “hot-hand,” and right now that’s West, who had 15 carries. You could do worse than West if you are just looking for a guy to fill in for one of your guy’s bye weeks.
Streaming Defenses of the Week - Ravens vs Titans; Steelers @Jets
Others: Jarvis Landry - Dolphins; Theo Riddick - Lions; Mychal Rivera - Raiders
It seems every week, whether due to injuries, off-the-field incidents, or just playing better than the guy in front of them, there are two or three guys worth picking up off the waiver wire that could be season savers.
Remember this guy? Yeah, he has been out since Week 2 in the NFL and the Chargers have gone through Danny Woodhead, Donald Brown, and Branden Oliver. Oliver looked like a guy who may threaten playing time from Mathews once he returned, but two lackluster games back-to-back stopped the talk barely after it got started. Mathews will be getting 20-25 touches once he returns and is available in a little over half of the leagues and if he is out there, then pick him up.
What a rookie combo of Wide Receivers in Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans, both are bonafide studs and will be stars in this league for the next decade. Watkins is owned in more leagues simply because Evans lines up opposite of Vincent Jackson and the thought is that V-Jax will take away looks from Evans. Evans is now the number one receiver in Tampa Bay and should be owned in all formats.
Others: Adrian Peterson - Vikings; Alfred Blue - Texans; Kyle Rudolph - Vikings
All of these guys below are players that have underwhelmed so far this season and if you need to pick up somebody else, feel free to drop these guys.
I am as shocked as the next person on how much Welker has dropped off this season. He is even droppable in PPR leagues, which being a possession receiver is the league that he is most valuable. I understand he missed the first few games due to suspension, but he went from 73 catches on 111 targets last season to just 22 receptions on 32 targets so far this year. Plenty of other options out there for the production you will get with Welker.
It’s amazing how Oliver went from a season saver to a guy that will just be a backup once Ryan Mathews returns. I thought maybe his one bad game was a fluke, but it seemed like his game where he broke onto the NFL scene was indeed the fluke. I guess it should be noted that his two 100 yard games came against the Jets and Raiders (a combined one win between them). Make room for somebody else on your roster and drop Oliver.
Others: Cordarrelle Patterson - Vikings; RGIII - Redskins; Jordan Cameron - Browns
Predicting which running back is going to get the majority of the carries in a timeshare can be tough, so let me figure it out for you. Each week I will break down 2 running backs by committee.
Anthony Dixon received the majority of the carries when the Bills played in Week 8, and that was due to the Bills being in control for most of the game in their 20 point win over the New York Jets. I expect them to be in a more competitive game this week taking on the Kansas City Chiefs and in turn have Bryce Brown more involved in the offense for the Bills this week. Dixon will still likely get the start, but if you’re in a pinch, feel comfortable with giving Brown a shot.
There is really no reason why I should be writing this as McCoy is a beast, a Top 5 pick, and has shown he can still get it done. But, it seems Chip Kelly for some reason doesn’t want to use McCoy as much this season. Sproles showed flashes of his old self early in the season, but has not done much since then, including missing a couple weeks with an injury. If sharing touches with Sproles wasn’t enough, Chris Polk was all of the sudden heavily involved in the offense, collecting 50 yards on eight carries and a touchdown. McCoy has just one touchdown, but plenty of opportunities, so keep it rolling with McCoy and wait another week on Polk.
Make sure you catch ESPN 790 Fantasy Kickoff Show on ESPN 790 every Sunday from 11 AM - Noon right up until kickoff so you are prepared for the week in Fantasy Football. I am the host and Bennett Doyle produces. Also, hit me up on Twitter @NotTheGolfer for all of your fantasy questions and hate.