Week 13 Thursday Night Football Start/Sits

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott: Sit

Prescott hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since November 5th. In the 3 games since, the Cowboys have lost Zeke, seen their offensive line collapse, and Prescott has fallen to pieces with them. He’s completed just 65% of his passes, is averaging 166 passing yards per game and has thrown 5 interceptions and coughed up 3 fumbles. To make matters worse, the Redskins defense has allowed the 10th least fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the last two weeks. There’s too much going wrong for the Cowboys offense to believe Dak’s going to turn it around this week; you need to sit him.

Kirk Cousins: Start

Cousins is an absolute difference maker this week. The consistently underrated Redskins quarterback is now QB5 on the season; above Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton. Cousins is red hot; going 67-108 for 891 passing yards and 8 total touchdowns over the last three weeks. He’s up against a Dallas defense that’s given up the 6th most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, and the 2nd most fantasy points over the last two weeks. Cousins is a must start, this week and throughout your playoff run.

Running Backs

Samaje Perine: Start

Perine finished as the 10th best fantasy running back in both Week 11 and Week 12. He’s racked up 217 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards, and a touchdown in those games. What’s makes him a true impact player is his volume: he’s gotten 47 carries in those two weeks. Dallas’ defense has also failed to stop the run this season; giving up the 12th most fantasy points to opposing running backs on the season and the 2nd most over the last two weeks. Perine should be viewed as a RB1 this week, making him a must start.

Alfred Morris: Start

Morris has struggled to gain fantasy relevance since taking over for Zeke in Week 10. He’s emerged as the lead back in Dallas but saw Rod Smith vulture a valuable touchdown from him in Week 12. What I like about Morris is his efficiency; he’s totaled 180 rushing yards on 37 carries to average 4.8 yards/carry. The Redskins are the 8th worst defense against fantasy running back this season; making this week a prime opportunity for Morris to breakout. He’s worth playing in your flex slot this week.

Rod Smith: Sit

Don’t get too excited over Rod Smith. He’s averaging just 3.3 yards/carry (1.5 yards/carry less than Morris). Since Zeke’s suspension he’s gotten just 20 carries, compared to Morris’ 37. Without his touchdown in Week 12 he’s be completely fantasy irrelevant. I’m not even considering starting Smith.

Wide Receivers

Jamison Crowder: Start

Crowder is an absolute must start in Week 13. Crowder jump started his season against Dallas in Week 8 where he caught 9 receptions for 123 yards. Since then he’s seen at least 8 targets in every game, has pulled in 18 of those targets and has put up at least 72 receiving yards in each of those games; including 141 yards in Week 12. You might be noticing a theme here but the Dallas defense has given up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Consider Crowder a low WR1/high WR2 this week, making him a must start in every line-up, but especially in PPR.

Josh Doctson: Start

Doctson has emerged as the WR2 in Washington. In his last four games he’s averaged 49.5 yards/game on an average of 5.75 targets. Doctson’s value shows up outside of the score box, though. If you’ve watched him play, you’ve seen a playmaker; just missing on multiple touchdown passes and creating pass interference calls near the end zone. I expect this to be Doctson’s breakout week, against the weak Dallas defense. He’s a sneaky flex play that could pay off big: I see him putting up at least 75 yards and a touchdown or two.

Dez Bryant: Sit

Don’t let Bryant’s name fool you; he’s WR30 on the season; making him a weekly play based on match-up. This week his match-up doesn’t add up to a flex play. Washington has allowed the 3rd least amount of fantasy points to opposing wide receivers over the last two weeks and the 8th least fantasy points on the season. Over the last 3 weeks he’s caught just 55% of his targets and is averaging just 8.17 yards/reception. Unless you’re in a very deep league, you need to leave Bryant on your bench.

Tight Ends

Jason Witten: Start

Witten has caught all 16 targets he’s seen since week 9, for a total of 115 yards. In this weak tight end year that production level is good enough to make him the TE13 on the season. Witten tends to be a boom or bust play, and has a great match-up this week. The Redskins have given up the 4th most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. He’s not the most exciting pick, but his upside makes him worth a start if you’re struggling to find a decent option.

Vernon Davis: Start

Don’t panic! Davis laid the ultimate goose egg in Week 12 against a horrible Giants defense. Before that he pulled in 16 targets for 215 yards against Seattle, Minnesota, and New Orleans. He’s been surprisingly consistent; pulling in at least 58 yards in 7 of the 9 games which he’s had a significant role. Don’t let his one down week fool you, he’s a must start tight end in Week 13.

 

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The Train Wreck That Is The 2017 New York Giants

Eric Adams, Staff Writer

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, it does. Let’s go back 3 months to late August. There I was, a young Eric (OK 3 months younger but still spry) looking over the NFL landscape wondering who would meet in Minnesota come February for Super Bowl 52. The AFC choice was obvious, but the NFC choice took a little more thought. The NFC East was the most intriguing division coming into the season. I believed it to be the best in the NFL heading into September and, although it does boast the team with the best record, it is most certainly not.

I picked the New York Giants (stop laughing) to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 52. The defense was stacked with one of the best defensive backfields in the league to go along with a stellar defensive line. The linebackers were iffy but I believed they could mask that with a good-to-great pass rush. The offense was adding Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram to an already promising attack. Odell Beckham JR. injured his ankle in a preseason game and then everything went downhill from there.

They lost their first 5 games of the season and couldn’t recover. Even worse was the horrific week 5 game against the Los Angeles Chargers, where Odell Beckham JR, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard AND Dwayne Harris all got hurt. OBJ was done for the season, Marshall was done for the season before the season began and the Giants were all of a sudden asking their corners who could play receiver. Things couldn’t get any worse, right?

Wrong. Enter suspensions and now things really begin to unravel. Janoris Jenkins is suspended for violating team rules. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is suspended for violating team rules. I want to know what these team rules are because Head Coach Ben McAdoo clearly isn’t enforcing them in the best way. This is a lost team with a head coach who has lost his players. It couldn’t get any worse, right?

Wrong. Enter the most perplexing move of the entire season as McAdoo benches QB Eli Manning. What. In. The. World. I understand McAdoo is gone in the offseason. I understand that the Giants would like to evaluate other players. However, benching a quarterback who has won you 2 Super Bowls for a guy who couldn’t hack it as the Jets QB? Are you kidding me? How is that the right move? The Giants organization from top to bottom should be ashamed of what has transpired this season but they should be condemned for what they just did with the greatest QB in Giants history. They are indeed paying for it on social media with former players coming to the defense of Eli. It will look even worse if/when Geno Smith performs the way we expect Geno Smith to perform.

So here we are today, 3 months separated from me picking the Giants to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 52. Instead, they are 2 meaningless victories away from picking 1st in the 2018 NFL Draft. A true lost season if there ever was one and it all falls on one man in the eyes of many, Ben McAdoo. He’ll be gone in the offseason; GM Jerry Reese will (and most definitely should) follow him on out the door.

However, Giants fans need to accept that this was a team effort. It was bad from the very beginning. It was supposed to end in Minnesota competing for a title. It will now end on December 31st at home against the Redskins in a meaningless game. The next day, a new year will begin and hopefully for the Giants, a fresh start will come with it.

Week 13 Waiver Wire Targets

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

Quarterbacks

Trevor Siemian

39-60, 450 passing yards, 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. That’s what Siemian is capable of. With Paxton Lynch out for the season, it’s possible we could see Siemian, who has struggled since his hot start, return to form. He posted a 107.04 QB rating in Week 12, going 11-21 for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns. He’s a great streaming option in Week 13 against a Dolphins defense that’s 9th worst against opposing quarterbacks this season and 4th worst over the last month. Siemian is available in 97.1% of ESPN leagues.

Patrick Mahommes 

Alex Smith has fallen hard from fantasy grace. Smith has been at the helm of a crumbling Chiefs offense, and the normally conservative quarterback has turned the ball over 5 times the last 4 games. The Chiefs have lost their last 3 games and are barley leading a weak AFC West. Although Smith is likely to finish the season, he’s lost any hope of coming back next season. Dynasty players who have a roster spot to spare should grab Mahommes and stash him while you can; he’s still available in 99.1% of leagues and will inherit a dynamic offense that will include: Kelce, Hunt, Hill, and Ware.

Runningbacks

Austin Ekeler

The low-profile back out of Western Colorado is slowly making himself into a fantasy relevant player. Ekeler has seen an increased workload in both the rushing game (22 carries for 97 yards, 1 touchdown) and the passing game (10 receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns) over the last three games. He’s currently rushing for 5 yards/carry and has caught 85% of his targets. Ekeler makes for a sneaky stream in PPR leagues, but his value remains primarily with dynasty owners who should stash him for next season, where he’s likely to be much more involved. He’s available in 76.5% of leagues.

Andre Ellington

Ellington took the fantasy world by storm earlier this season when he caught 28 of 40 targets for 257 yards through the first 5 weeks of the season. Once the Cardinals traded for Peterson they tossed aside Ellington and it led to him being cut halfway through Week 12. Ellington has much to contribute to a Houston Texans offense which could desperately use a spark. Look for Ellington to be a solid streaming option in Week 13 (against Tennessee) and Week 14 (San Francisco) in PPR formats. He’s owned in just 10.9% of leagues.

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp

Kupp showed up well in his first appearance since Woods’ injury. He caught 8 of his 11 targets for 116 yards. This was the 8th game of the season where Kupp saw at least 6 targets but set season records in both receptions and receiving yards. Kupp’s fantasy success has come with just two touchdowns on the season; if he can find more redzone action he’s a high-end WR2 option. In the meantime, he’s a great flex play/low-end WR2 and should be started in all PPR leagues. He’s available in 39.8% of leagues.

Corey Coleman

Coleman is a fantasy gem, and needs to be claimed. In just 4 games this season, Coleman has 32 targets. Those 8 receptions a game are well above the next most popular Browns receiver, Ricardo Lewis, who has 5.1 targets per game. Coleman has translated those targets into 15 receptions, 206 yards and 1 touchdown. These impressive stats have come against 4 of the most difficult match-ups for a receiver this season: Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Jacksonville, and Cincinnati. Coleman has the Chargers and Packers coming up, two opponents which give him a great opportunity to break through. Watch for Coleman to be an impact streaming option moving forward. He’s available in 67% of leagues.

Zay Jones

I’ll be honest, I had lost hope in Jones; who seemed so promising in the preseason. Jones, however, now has 7 targets in 4 of his last 6 games. In those games, he’s put up 33.8 yards/game and 2 touchdowns. I don’t see him making an impact for the rest of this season, but he’s available in 89.5% of leagues and has shown enough to be worth a dynasty stash.

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon is officially back in the NFL. It’s been awhile but Hue Jackson has already come out and said he’s impressed with Gordon, both in his physical ability and in his dedication to return to football. Gordon shouldn’t be played in Week 13, since we have no idea what his volume will look like, however, he has the ability to make an impact in fantasy playoffs if he shows flashes of the Josh Gordon we used to know. He’s available in 65% of leagues and needs to be claimed, just in case.

Tight Ends

Ricky Seals-Jones

If you knew who Seals-Jones was before Week 12 you’re either a Cardinals fan or a liar. This man has come out of nowhere to become a very relevant fantasy option. He’s caught 7 of his 11 targets for 126 yards and 3 touchdowns. He’s become the centerpiece of a surging Cardinals offense, who is throwing the ball 36 times a game since Week 12, in an attempt to make a playoff push. Seals-Jones is available in 98.5% of leagues.

Defense/Special Teams

Chargers D/ST

The Chargers have been absolutely electric the last two weeks. Their defense has capitalized on fantastic match-ups against a Bills team led by Nate Peterson and a Cowboys offense led by a moderately better Dak Prescott. This week things get even better; they face off against the Browns and DeShone Kizer; who has personally turned the ball over 18 times this season. If you listened to us last week, stick with the Chargers D/ST. If not, they’re still available in 57.6% of leagues.

Bears D/ST

Chicago has held up surprisingly strong in a tough slate of recent games against the Packers, Lions, and Eagles. They’ve given up an average of 25 points against these high powered offenses, and forced 4 turnovers. In Week 13 they take on the 49ers offense, which has been everything but high powered. Expect Garappolo to be thrown into the San Francisco offense two quickly and add to the 15 turnovers the Bears have forced this season. The Bears D/ST is available in 70.9% of leagues.

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It’s Official: Mixon is a Bust

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

It’s officially over, people. The Joe Mixon hype has not come to fruition and like I’ve been saying since July, he’s not a good running back. He never made sense to me as a legitimate fantasy option. The rookie is well known for his dynamic play at the University of Oklahoma. What most people don’t want to acknowledge, however, is that Mixon ran behind an incredible offensive line in the worst defensive conference in college football. Still, Mixon’s truthers hyped him up all preseason; leading to an inflated Average Draft Position (ADP) of 66.

He hasn’t come close to his 5th round value, though. Mixon has just 370 rushing yards all season, averaging just 3 yards a carry. He’s failed to rush for more than 40 yards in 6 of his 10 games this season, and hasn’t rushed for more than 62 yards in any game. Mixon’s lack of production, however, is not due to lack of opportunity: his 127 attempts is the 17th most carries by any running back this season. Yet, he ranks 32nd in yards and has almost as many touchdowns (3) as fumbles (2).

Mixon, who is current RB 27 on the season, was drafted above Mark Ingram (RB 5), Tevin Coleman (RB 14), Duke Johnson (RB 18), CJ Anderson (RB 19), Ameer Abdullah (RB 21), and Frank Gore (RB 23). Mixon is just behind Isiah Crowell, who has been the target of constant ridicule for his failure to live up to ADP, and just ahead of Tarik Cohen, who most of us had never heard of entering the 2017 season.

If Mixon is still on your roster, trade him if you can. Find that Mixon truther in your league, there’s always one. If you burned a first-round pick on him in dynasty leagues, scrap whatever you can back for him and call it a loss. If you drafted him in re-draft leagues, take the L and learn from it; beat writers don’t determine success and high college stats don’t mean anything.

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Thanksgiving Day Start/Sits

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

Most people find thanksgiving to be a relaxing holiday, where you can shut-off your brain and enjoy a stress free day. Fantasy football players in the midst of a playoff run disagree. We see three games packed with high impact fantasy players. Some of them will leave you feeling as content as a stomach full of turkey, others will make you go back for that second slice of stress eaten pie.

Quarterbacks

Case Keenum: Sit

Keenum has been hot, putting up 872 yards and 7 touchdowns the last 3 weeks. Keenum also has a tendency to turn over the ball; with 5 interceptions in his last 5 games. The Lions D/ST, currently ranked 4th in fantasy, is averaging 1.1 interceptions a game and 2 turnovers a game. The Lions are at home, on Thanksgiving, in prime-time, and in what is likely a must win. I’m sitting the turnover prone Keenum in what looks like a huge trap game for owners finally willing to give him a shot.

Phillip Rivers: Start

I rarely advocate for Rivers, however, this match-up is undeniable. The Cowboys are giving up, on average, 239 yards and 1.8 touchdowns a game to opposing quarterbacks. It’s been worse over the last two weeks, where the Cowboys D/ST have given up the 12th most fantasy points to opposing offenses. In stark contrast, Rivers has been surprisingly solid; putting up 486 yards and 4 touchdowns the last two weeks; 235 yards and 2 touchdowns of those yards came against a Jacksonville defense that’s embarrassed most quarterbacks this season.

Runningbacks

Samaje Perine: Start

As we wrote earlier this week, Perine is a must start this week against a porous Giants defense. Perine, is averaging 4 yards/carry but has failed to see a significant volume behind Thompson and Kelley. With both of those backs out for the foreseeable future, we can expect Perine to see 20+ carries again. I’m expecting at least 80 yards and a touchdown, making him a solid RB2 or fantastic flex option.

Alfred Morris: Start

Lost amongst the offensive mess in Dallas is two surprisingly strong rushing performances by Morris. He’s averaging 5.1 yards/carry on his 28 attempts since filling in for Zeke. If Morris can be that productive with a dysfunctional offensive line and unintimidating quarterback play, can you imagine what he’d do with some redzone opportunities? Morris’ volume and yards/carry makes him a solid flex play against a Chargers defense that is likely to hone in on Dak.

Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick: Sit

The Lions running game has been non-existent. Cover your ears Abdullah truthers, but this guy just can’t perform. Over the last three weeks (against Green Bay, Cleveland, and Chicago) has just 122 yards on 44 carries (2.7 yards/carry) and has only 4 receptions for 25 yards. Theo Riddick is equally unplayable; with just 88 rushing yards and 8 receptions over that same span of games. You shouldn’t play them against any team, but especially not against a defense that just shut down Todd Gurley to 37 yards.

Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs: Sit

Take away his monster start to the season, and you find an unimpressive WR. In his last four games, Diggs has just 141 yards on 13 receptions for 1 touchdown. The Lions defense has given up the second least amount of points against WRs the last two weeks. This makes for a bad combination for fantasy owners who have better choices. Treat Diggs as a WR3 and only start him with low expectations.

Adam Thielen: Start

Forget what I just said about the Lions defense, because Thielen in match-up proof. Thielen has at least 5 receptions in every game this season. In 6 of those 10 games he’s put up at least 96 yards and has a touchdown in each of his last three games. Thielen is the most underrated WR1 moving forward, and he’s a must play in any match-up.

Sterling Shepard: Start

Shepard, by default, has become the top receiver in a recovering New York Giants offense. Shepard has 22 targets in his last two games and has pulled in 72% of those looks for 212 yards. Shepard missed last week with a migraine but should play huge on turkey day against a Redskins team that always struggles against the Giants. Shepard is a solid WR2 option in PPR leagues.

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Week 12 Waiver Wire Targets

Matt Hicks, Staff Writer

Week 12 is upon us and it’s crunch time. Playoff spots are on the line and things are getting stressful. It’s also the perfect time to make unnoticed waiver claims on your dynasty team that might not being a playoff contender, yet. Here’s our Week 12 targets, sure to improve your squad.

Quarterbacks

Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod was dropped from 33% of teams after it was announced that Peterman would start Week 11. This provides a huge opportunity for dynasty players who see how good he could be on a team that appreciates him. Tyrod has 1,842 pass yards, 275 rushing yards, 14 total touchdowns and just 3 interceptions in 2017. That makes him the QB12 on the season and he’s now available in 51.6% of fantasy leagues. You should sign him regardless of who starts Week 12 for the Bills. He’s likely to be released following this season, which will allow him to land a secure starting role on a team that, by default, has to have more offensive weapons.

Nate Peterman

Good fantasy players are reactionary. Great fantasy players are proactive. Peterman looked absolutely awful in Week 11, but NFL careers are rarely defined by one half of football. If you have a roster spot to burn, he’s worth a stash. I expect him to get at least one more start this season, and will likely enter the Draft as the QB1 on the Bills roster. Peterman could find himself in a preseason battle for the starting role next season, and IF that happens you could have a sneaky cheap play heading in 2018. He’s available in 94.6% of leagues and you can likely get him for 0 FAAB.

Mitchell Trubisky

It’s time to sell out and make claims for Trubisky. The Bears rookie hasn’t had a great season, but it appears things might finally be coming into place for him. Over the last two weeks Trubisky has thrown for 476 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also piled up a surprising 53 rushing yards on 6 attempts. Trubisky looked like a seasoned veteran when he drove down the field to set-up the Bears for a potential game winning field goal. He’s available in 94.5% of leagues.

Runningbacks

Samaje Perine

Perine’s potential exploded all over the Saints in Week 11. He’s been hampered by a competitive depth chart but with Kelley out, Perine came through for 117 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. His performance made him RB6 on the week. Perine’s volume is likely to hold or increase with the season ending injury to Chris Thompson. He’s available in 71.6% of leagues and is worth ALL of your remaining FAAB. Perine will be a difference maker in fantasy championship runs.

Dion Lewis

I first wrote about Lewis in Week 7, but somehow he’s still available in 37.4% of leagues. The dual-threat back put up 60 rushing yards on just 10 attempts while also pulling in 100% of his 4 targets for 28 yards and a touchdown. Lewis is now RB30 on the season, and has huge PPR upside on one of the most dynamic offenses in the league.

Wide Receivers

Bruce Ellington

Ellington is filling into the WR2 role as Fuller continues to miss time with his rib injury. Ellington has been targeted 24 times since Week 9 and has pulled in 13 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. Ellington’s work has steadily increased as Savage build a relationship with him. With Hopkins occupying the top defensive backs, Ellington can be a sneaky stream; depending on the match-up. He’s available in 95.4% of leagues.

Josh Doctson

Doctson truthers rejoice! I’ve been stashing Doctson for a while now but I’ve refused to write about him because he hasn’t been targeted. Doctson, however, has been targeted 7 times the last two weeks and has pulled in 4 receptions each of those games for 111 total yards. With 36 targets on the season, Doctson now has just one less than Pryor and 3 less than Grant. Dotson’s breakout performances the last two weeks has made him the WR2 in fantasy scoring for Washington this season. Look for him to be solid the rest of this year and absolutely breakout next season for patient dynasty owners. He’s still available in 70.6% of leagues.

Tight Ends

Vernon Davis

Davis is now the TE9 on the season, and at this point I think we’re better off with Jordan Reed staying out. Davis has 7 games of at least 58 yards this season and has at least 3 receptions in 6 of those games. Although he doesn’t see too much redzone action, Davis has developed into one of Cousins’ favorite targets; with 26 targets over the last three weeks. He’s available in 35.2% of leagues.

Defense/Special Teams

Redskins D/ST

The Redskins are only owned in 9.5% of leagues, and rightly so; they’ve scored negative points the last two weeks. I expect Week 12 to be much different. They’re in a must-win situation on Thanksgiving Day vs. a Giants team that hasn’t scored more than 24 points in any game this season. The Washington D/ST is averaging 7.5 fantasy points when they give up 24 points or less this season, making them a solid stream in Week 12.

Chargers D/ST

Do I expect the Chargers to get another 5 interceptions this week? No, but without Zeke or a healthy offensive line Dak hasn’t look much better than Peterman. Prescott has thrown 3 interceptions and fumbled the ball over the last two weeks. The Cowboys offensive line has given up 12 sacks over those two games and their offense has only put up one touchdown. If you streamed the Chargers last week, don’t drop them. If you’re one of the 47.5% of fantasy players who don’t own them, fix that.

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