Fantasy Football 0

Fantasy Football Impact of the Offensive Line: Baltimore Ravens

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Round 3 of our Offensive Line brings us to the first focus for an east coast team: the Baltimore Ravens.

For a look at the Arizona Cardinals or the Oakland Raiders, simply click on the links.

Baltimore Ravens

One of the more intriguing teams for the approaching 2019 season is the Baltimore Ravens. Officially Joe Flacco-less, officially Mark Ingram-full. We saw Lamar Jackson be a top 10 fantasy QB from weeks 11-16. We saw Alex Collins and Gus Edwards become decent fantasy options on a weekly basis. What we didn’t see was a fantasy relevant wide receiver; the best receiver on the Ravens was John Brown with 715 yards and 5 touchdowns.

The Ravens offensive line remained mostly healthy throughout the 2018 campaign with only Alex Lewis missing any remarkable time with 3 games. They allowed 32 sacks which is an average amount. They also committed an average number of penalties.

What they didn’t do was excel.

2018 End-of-Season Starters and Their 2019 Status

Position 2018 Starter 2019 Starter Notes
Left Tackle Ronnie Stanley Ronnie Stanley One of the best LTs in 2018. Mostly healthy and consistent.
Left Guard Alex Lewis Alex Lewis Missed some games due to a neck injury. Was otherwise pretty bad.
Center Matt Skura Matt Skura A perennial practice squad player who lucked into the role. Likely to be replaced.
Right Guard Marshal Yanda Marshal Yanda One of the best RGs in the league in 2018. Returns after a largely healthy year.
Right Tackle James Hurst Orlando Brown Hurst and Brown swapped depth chart positions during the 2018 season. Currently is Brown’s role.
Tight End Nick Boyle Nick Boyle Was signed as a free agent in 2019. Boyle is effective at pass and run blocking but lives in a 4 headed monster Tight End position in Baltimore.

Current O-Line Ranking

Name Position NFL Ranking (in Position)
Ronnie Stanley Left Tackle 9
Alex Lewis Left Guard 27
Matt Skura Center 20
Marshal Yanda Right Guard 4
Orlando Brown Right Tackle 18
Nick Boyle Tight End 9
Overall Team O-Line 14
*Rankings based on ProFootballFocus.com scoring

Free Agency: Move Along, Nothing to See Here

The Baltimore Ravens made a huge wave with their signing of Mark Ingram, but have made no changes to their offensive line through free agency. Nick Boyle was signed as a Free Agent but he was already on the team in 2018.

It’s conceivable that they wanted to make more free agency moves but were strapped by the amount of cap space that they have available in addition to a number of expiring contracts in 2020. They may be considering extending some of those and will need the money available to make those moves.

NFL Draft Thoughts

The Ravens currently have 8 picks at their disposal. They will have to use them carefully because they have 7 positions of need. On the O-Line, they have a need at Left Guard and at Center. Both Alex Lewis’ and Matt Skura’s contracts expire after the season ends. Based on their performance, I do not anticipate either of them being resigned unless it is a depth move. Replacements need to be found through the draft regardless of those decisions because of their performance.

We must consider what is a greater position of need. Unfortunately for the purposes of this article, I believe the Ravens will place Wide Receiver above the inside positions of the Offensive Line. They have Willie Snead (whose contract is also expiring at the end of the season) and then there are a bunch of names that I have never seen on a fantasy football roster. Multiple mock drafts have the Ravens selecting Parris Campbell from Ohio State. If they do, he will immediately move up my preseason draft board rankings.

Their first round pick is now behind us. The Ravens do not have a second round pick. They traded it to Philadelphia as part of a package deal to get Philly’s Round One pick in 2018 which the Ravens used to draft Lamar Jackson. Now we are in the third round. Do the Ravens have a need greater than Guard and Center? Let’s assume that they do not.

The likely targets for either of the Ravens 2 third round picks are:

  • Greg Little – Tackle – Mississippi
  • Mitch Hyatt – Tackle – Clemson
  • Tyler Roemer – Tackle – San Diego State
  • Lamont Gaillard – Center – Georgia
  • Michael Jordan – Guard (but can move to Center) – Ohio State

Look for those names to be called on day 2 of the NFL Draft. If they are drafted by the Ravens, they are instantly in the conversation of starting in week 1.

One name that might still be on the board in Round 3 or 4 is Connor McGovern out of Penn State. He is another one who, like Michael Jordan, is capable of playing Center or Guard. He was an essential piece to Saquon Barkley’s amazing 2017 season at Penn State. Considering the lack of receiving talent on the Ravens roster in addition to the signing of Mark Ingram AND the proclivity of Lamar Jackson running the ball, McGovern would be a perfect fit. If the Ravens draft McGovern AND if he lands the starting role, I will move Mark Ingram higher in my preseason rankings.

2019 Thoughts

The Baltimore Ravens are on the knife’s edge. A couple of right moves and they could find themselves the AFC North champions. The Bengals are rebuilding and the Steelers are on a downward trend. The Browns appear to be a juggarnaut this year, but they have turned disappointment into a habit. A couple of missed opportunities and the Ravens will quickly start moving pieces before the trade deadline in preparation for the 2020 season.

The Ravens have a Vegas over/under of 9 wins in their 2019 campaign. They will not be able to live up to that goal without some help on the offensive line. Look for the Ravens to strike late on day 2 or early on day 3 of the NFL Draft.

Conclusion

Let’s assume that the Ravens make the right choices. They know their way to the division championship and they found it with an arguably mediocre team in 2018. If the Ravens are able to utilize their defense as it should be used, they will be able to turn their focus to the run game.

Mark Ingram will have a good fantasy year. It will be even better if the Ravens make the right decisions for their offensive line.

Lamar Jackson will continue his life of fantasy relevance. It will be even more consistent with improvements to the offensive line.

The Ravens WILL draft a wide receiver on day 1 in April. Hot take: that rookie will lead the team in receiving.

They have the means to make a fantasy owner happy. A couple of steps towards improving their offensive line will turn that good year into a GREAT one. We will be watching the draft very closely. We cannot make any further assessments until then.

Round 3 of our Offensive Line brings us to the first focus for an east coast team: the Baltimore Ravens. For a look at the Arizona Cardinals or the Oakland […]

Fantasy Football 1

Fantasy Football Impact of the Offensive Line: Oakland Raiders

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Round 2 of our Offensive Line focus brings us to Oakland and a review of the Raiders along with their hope for the 2019 season.

For a look at Round 1 and the Arizona Cardinals, please click here!

Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders were a fantasy wasteland in 2018. Derek Carr was the 18th QB after week 16 scoring a dismal 14.3 points per game according to FantasyPros.com.

The Running Backs were dreadful. Marshawn Lynch only played in 6 games averaging 10.7 0.5 PPR points per game. After the Raiders’ bye in week 7, Doug Martin took over the lead back role and continued the mediocrity. He averaged 9.3 points per game.

Finally, the Wide Receivers felt the pain of having an under-performing Quarterback. Amari Cooper was a disappointment until he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys during the Raiders bye week. That left Jordy Nelson, Dwayne Harris, and Seth Roberts to carry the load. None of them were up to the task.

A large chunk of the failures can be placed squarely on the shoulders of Jon Gruden. Whether the misery was part of his master plan or a spotlight on how out of touch he was with the NFL in 2018, the team failed, in part, because of him.  A second part of the offensive failures could also be placed with Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson, who has not had a successful campaign with any team in over a decade.

Regardless of coaching, the team would not have had a successful offense due to the poor play of their offensive line. Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker combined for the most penalties by Tackles in the NFL. The line as a whole allowed Derek Carr to be sacked 51 times. That is not a typo. FIFTY ONE.

2018 End-of-Season Starters and Their 2019 Status

Position 2018 Starter 2019 Starter Notes
Left Tackle Kolton Miller Trent Brown After a SB win with the Patriots in 2018, Brown moves to the Raiders and is currently the highest paid Lineman in the NFL.
Left Guard Kelechi Osemele Kolton Miller Osemele moves to the Jets. Miller was terribly ineffective at LT. Moves to LG. Committed many penalties in 2018.
Center Rodney Hudson Rodney Hudson One of the best Centers in the league in 2018.
Right Guard Gabe Jackson Gabe Jackson One of the best Right Guards in the league in 2018.
Right Tackle Brandon Parker Brandon Parker Tied for 10th in the NFL for penalties. Half of his were false starts.
Tight End Jared Cook Lee Smith Cook went to the Saints. Current depth chart lists Smith #1. Uncertain if that remains after the draft.

Current O-Line Ranking

Name Position NFL Ranking (in Position)
Trent Brown Left Tackle 21
Kolton Miller Left Guard 30
Rodney Hudson Center 3
Gabe Jackson Right Guard 8
Brandon Parker Right Tackle 30
Lee Smith Tight End 3
Overall Team O-Line 19
*Rankings based on ProFootballFocus.com scoring

Free Agency: One down, one to go

As mentioned above, the Tackle position for the Oakland Raiders was the weakest in the NFL in 2018. The Raiders made strides in the right direction. On March 13, the Raiders signed unrestricted free agent Trent Brown to the biggest contract for an NFL lineman. Trent Brown spent the 2018 season with the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots. He is a consistently healthy player that adds strength to the tackle. This will allow Kolton Miller to move to the Left Guard position. That loud noise you just heard was a sigh of relief from Derek Carr. When Miller wasn’t committing penalties, he was opening doors for the opposing defense. Removing him from the outside left is a smart move.

This was a necessary move to give Derek Carr time to throw the ball to his newest targets. It will also improve the possibilities for whomever starts at Running Back in 2019.

NFL Draft Thoughts

With consistency, strength, and leadership at the Left Tackle, Center, and Right Guard positions, the Raiders need to take a long hard look at their sophomore O-Line players (Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker). Their rookie seasons were awful. The Raiders spent some impressive draft capital on those two players in 2018. Kolton Miller was their first round pick (1.15) while Brandon Parker was the first pick in the 3rd round! They will not simply forget the talent that convinced the Raiders’ main office to commit those early picks.

The truth is that the coaching staff is going to have to spend time developing the skills of those 2nd year players. While it is true that the Raiders have 11 picks including 3 first round picks, it is also true that they have severe needs at many defensive positions and at running back.

One position of need which will have an impact on the offensive line is the Tight End. Lee Smith is great at pass and rush protection but in 8 full seasons in the NFL he has surpassed 10 targets in a season only 3 times. None were higher than 13 targets. The Raiders need an offensive presence at the Tight End position.

Look no further than Noah Fant. Chad Reuter of NFL.com has Noah Fant going to the Raiders at pick 27 (Oakland’s 3rd pick of the first round). That same mock has T.J. Hockenson going to the Packers earlier in the draft. I did not see the Packers taking a Tight End there because they have more dire needs at other positions. However, some fellow writers at TheFFAnalysts.com agreed with the mock draft. “A lot of people see it as a possibility,” remarks @jplumm94. “I could see Hockenson at 12,” agreed @theFF_taters. With Hockenson off the board, the Raiders hand will be forced.

Author’s note: Since the writing of this article, the Raiders have signed Luke Willson. This has to be a depth move. Willson is another Tight End that has never had fantasy relevance. He is quite good at run and pass blocking, though.

The Tight End position will likely be taken care of early in the draft. Between that, the draft capital of the 2018 rookie offensive lineman, and the other team needs in 2019 it is quite conceivable that the Raiders will stand pat at the offensive line. At most, they may use a late round pick to add some depth.

2019 Thoughts

Here is what we know about the Raiders:

  • They’ve added some impressive receivers in Free Agency
  • They’ve added a strong player to their offensive line
  • The rookies from 2018 on the o-line were college standouts
  • Derek Carr has shown that he is able to succeed

Recently, the Raiders signed Isaiah Crowell. After this signing, it is becoming clear that the improvements at offensive line do not appear to be completed to improve the run game. Crowell’s one year deal is an indicator that they are holding out until the 2020 draft class to fill the RB need.

Instead, they will be focusing on Derek Carr and the passing game. They’ll need it. The Oakland defense gave up the most points to opposing offenses in 2018. There haven’t been any slam dunk free agency signings and their defensive issues will not be solved immediately through the draft. While the defense is in the midst of a rebuild, the offense will be playing catch up.

Conclusion

Vegas odds has the Raiders winning 5 games in 2019. With the added firepower at receiver and the strengthening of the offensive line, the Raiders will be in more close games and could squeak out some additional wins through their passing game alone. The losses will likely include some garbage time points.

What does this mean for fantasy? Derek Carr’s 2018 stats means he will not be drafted in most formats. However, I could see a likelihood that he will be a waiver wire target at times in 2019. He’s going to have production. He has talent and now he has a couple of high end targets in Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. Throw in the possibility of a new Tight End and Derek Carr has the potential to return to his Top 10 Fantasy QB stats.

Speaking of those receivers, they will both be owned in most formats. Antonio Brown is currently the 7th Wide Receiver off the board at the 2.06 according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com. Tyrell Williams is going at the incredible fantasy value of the 14th round. Both should have very good fantasy years considering the pass protection of the offensive line and Derek Carr’s ability. If the pieces remain healthy, then Antonio Brown could remain a top 5 WR and Tyrell Williams could be a solid WR2 in fantasy.

Don’t sleep on the Oakland Raiders. But, don’t overspend on them, either. We will certainly know more after the draft.

Round 2 of our Offensive Line focus brings us to Oakland and a review of the Raiders along with their hope for the 2019 season. For a look at Round […]

2019 Offseason 2

Fantasy Football Impact of the Offensive Line: Arizona Cardinals

Image result for football offensive line image

The offensive line is often overlooked as a key to fantasy success. Those five gentleman (occasionally six when you count a blocking Tight End) provide holes for Running Backs to run through and protection for a Quarterback to find the best target and get off a clean throw.

A good offensive line provides fantasy success:

  • The Steelers O-Line makes James Conner, Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Ben Roethlisberger top 10 performers in their respective positions.
  • The Browns O-Line helps make Nick Chubb one of the best redraft waiver wire pick ups of 2018.
  • The Patriots O-Line protected Tom Brady all the way to the Super Bowl.

A bad offensive line is a direct path to the pits of misery:

  • The Cardinals O-Line makes David Johnson look mediocre and turns Josh Rosen into a rookie flop.
  • The Vikings O-Line took a fantasy winner in Kirk Cousins and turned him into a disappointment.
  • The Raiders O-Line makes their entire team almost worthless for fantasy.

The Arizona Cardinals have pieces that could be fantasy relevant in 2019. The concern is whether or not those fantasy pieces will have a chance to shine. What steps have they made to improve the chances of their highly paid offensive pieces? Will they have an opportunity to improve their O-Line ranking through the coming draft? April 25 is just a little over a month away!

Part 1 in the offensive line series will begin with the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals

Their Offensive Line was awful even when they were healthy. Throw in multiple injuries and you are left with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Josh Rosen was sacked 45 times in 2018. For a point of reference, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger were sacked 45 times COMBINED. How can you expect to succeed when your Quarterback doesn’t have time to throw? The sad David Johnson drafters among us (my hand is also raised) do not need to be reminded about the 1.2 less yards per touch compared to his successful 2016 campaign.

2018 End-of-Season Starters and Their 2019 Status

Position 2018 Starter 2019 Starter Notes
Left Tackle DJ Humphries DJ Humphries Ended 2018 on the IR
Left Guard Mike Iupati JR Sweezy Iupati signed with the Seahawks. Sweezy signed as Free Agent after spending 2018 with the Seahawks.
Center Mason Cole Mason Cole Rookie in 2018 returns in 2019. Was healthiest member of the O-Line.
Right Guard Justin Pugh Justin Pugh Spent a large amount of 2018 on the IR. Position was filled with backups.
Right Tackle Andre Smith Marcus Gilbert Smith was released before the end of the 2018 season. Gilbert was a Free Agent signing.
Tight End Ricky Seals-Jones Ricky Seals-Jones Signed Charles Clay from Free Agency.

Current O-Line Ranking

Name Position NFL Ranking (in Position)
DJ Humphries Left Tackle 25
JR Sweezy Left Guard 28
Mason Cole Center 31
Justin Pugh Right Guard 30
Marcus Gilbert Right Tackle 17
Ricky Seals-Jones Tight End 17
Overall Team O-Line 31
*Rankings based on ProFootballFocus.com scoring

Free Agency: A Huge Step in the Right Direction

Justin Pugh is a former first round pick who was signed to a long term deal before the 2018 season. While adding strength at Right Guard, Pugh suffered a knee injury and was put on Injured Reserve in week 10. He returns at full strength for the 2019 season. I do not anticipate his NFL ranking at the Right Guard position to remain that low.

If a healthy Justin Pugh is a reason to feel positive, then the addition of Marcus Gilbert is reason to celebrate! Marcus Gilbert’s arrival is a bonus having spent time as the starter for the stellar Steelers O-Line. These are two impressive gains that show that the Cardinals noticed their shortcomings and are working to improve.

JR Sweezy is a statistical downgrade from Mike Iupati. However, Sweezy is a healthier player having spent much less time on the injury report. The downgrade in run and pass protection will be made up for with stability in the position as opposed to filling it with second and third string replacements.

The addition of Charles Clay is welcome for Josh Rosen. One of Ricky Seals-Jones shortcomings is pass blocking. Charles Clay is known for that skill. One note of caution: If the Cardinals don’t work on the below average skills of their Tight Ends, the player lining up could telegraph the play calling. Since Charles Clay is better at pass blocking, it would likely mean a passing play. Ricky Seals-Jones at the line would indicate a running play.

NFL Draft Thoughts

DJ Humphries is mediocre when healthy (25th ranked Left Tackle) and has been injury prone. It would be in the Cardinal’s best interest to find a replacement. Meanwhile, it is my opinion that all the “Kyler Murray at #1 overall” talk is a bunch of hype to get a buyer for that pick. Perhaps move down a small amount and grab Jonah Williams, Left Tackle from Alabama. He is considered by some to be the #1 offensive lineman on the board and is a natural fit to the position. Those who do not rank him (thedraftnetwork.com) as the #1 offensive lineman have him at #2, instead.

Even if the Kyler Murray rumors come true, the Arizona Cardinals have nine other picks in the 2019 draft as of 3-17-2019 and would certainly get an additional pick or more for Josh Rosen. Ten total picks is a lot of opportunity to improve their depth and find some potential improvements for their offensive line.

The bottom line is that Arizona needs to make a move to improve their offensive line early in the draft. They could trade down from the #1 overall and feel secure in their draft of Jonah Williams later in the first round. Or they could use the first pick in the second round to choose another other rookie that could make an immediate impact such as:

First Round

  • Jawaan Taylor (Florida) – Currently unlikely to fall to the second round
  • Dalton Risner (Kansas State) – Currently projected as a late first rounder, could fall

Second Round

  • Michael Deiter (Wisconsin)
  • Yodny Cajuste (West Virginia)

2019 Thoughts

A healthy 2019 for Justin Pugh and the addition of Marcus Gilbert are enough to make David Johnson a fantasy value at his current ADP (2.04, 10th RB off the board according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com). Will we see a return to his 2016 form? That is highly unlikely given the current overall offensive line ranking (31st in the NFL) and the forecast for wins and losses in Arizona; Vegas odds has them at 4-5 wins. They will be playing from behind quite often which will limit his upside. However, the improved Offensive Line will provide him some holes for some additional yards and more than the dismal 10 total touchdowns from 2018.

Those same O-line additions will keep Josh Rosen (or Kyler Murray) off of his back. Not only will it improve their Quarterback longevity, it will also increase their fantasy stats. Is Rosen worth using a fantasy draft pick? No, he will consistently be on waivers in the most common league formats. He will have some usable weeks against their weaker opponents.

Conclusion

Honestly, could it get any worse than it was in 2018? We know David Johnson’s capabilities. He didn’t have an underwhelming 2018 due to a lack of  talent. We know that Josh Rosen has a hall of fame wide receiver target in Larry Fitzgerald and a talented Christian Kirk in the slot. All they need are those O-Line pieces to help them succeed.

The Cardinals management has made strides in the right direction with some free agent signings. If they can stay healthy, there will be improvements. The outlook could be even brighter after the draft.

The offensive line is often overlooked as a key to fantasy success. Those five gentleman (occasionally six when you count a blocking Tight End) provide holes for Running Backs to […]

Fantasy Football 0

Week 16 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

Here we are, folks! The dream we all dream of. This is our Super Bowl! It all comes down to some good old fashioned trash talk and 16 football games to decide whether or not you’ll be lifting that trophy.

How do you like the new digs? The Fantasy Fanalysts are here to help. Bring on the championship week AND look forward to the off season in preparation for 2019! Don’t forget to use the promo code TOP2 if you sign up for DRAFT! I dipped my toes in for the first time a few weeks back and I have been having a lot of fun!

Let’s talk some RB/TE Starts and Sits!

Running Back: Start ’em

CHRIS CARSON (SEATTLE SEAHAWKS)

Chris Carson has been THE MAN in Seattle. In the last five games, he has averaged a total of 98.4 yards and has scored a touchdown in four out of those five games! Granted, the yards average is slightly skewed by last week’s matchup against the 49ers. In every other week, he was a solid RB2. But, that’s exactly what you want from a guy that you either drafted late OR picked up on waivers!

Now, we have arrived at week 16 and the Seahawks are at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. On the season, the Chiefs are the worst defense against fantasy running backs. 173 yards and 1.3 touchdowns per game! Sometimes, recent weeks might tell a different story. Recent weeks only enforces the trend! Even teams that struggle at RB or were beset with injuries looked wonderful against the Chiefs run defense.

Chris Carson for the win!

KALEN BALLAGE (MIAMI DOLPHINS)

I understand. If you take away the 75 yard touchdown run in week 15, Kalen Ballage stat line would be 11 for 48. Mediocre at best.

I also understand that this is the Championship Week! Are you really going to trust your championship to a relative unknown? Probably not. Let’s be honest, though. You didn’t make it to the championship game having a need at Running Back. This pick is for those redrafters who are still paying attention to their leagues and want to win their consolation matchup. It’s also for the dynasty leagues where Ballage was dropped in week 3 when it was clear that he wasn’t going to be a part of the offense. Go pick up Kalen Ballage!

The Dolphins are at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last time the Jaguars played an away game, they allowed 1 person to run for 238 yards and score 4 touchdowns. The Jaguars DO NOT CARE when they aren’t at home. This is a glory start and it’s going to feel SO good when you win your matchup because of Kalen Ballage.

Running Back: Sit ’em

JAYLEN SAMUELS (PITTSBURGH STEELERS)

If you’re in a Yahoo league and can start Samuels in your Tight End slot, you should ABSOLUTELY start him. He will be far better than 80% of ALL other tight ends.

Otherwise, stay away. The New Orleans Saints defense has been amazing lately. They have allowed 12 points per game TOTAL in the last 5 weeks. TWELVE POINTS PER GAME!!!! That’s not to the Running Back position. That’s to the entire opposing team!

Here are some scary numbers:

  • Tevin Coleman in week 12 – 8 rushes for 6 yards
  • Peyton Barber in week 13 – 14 rushes for 42 yards
  • Christian McCaffrey in week 15 – 15 rushes for 53 yards. Yes, he still had a good game playing quarterback for a snap and PPR leagues were beneficial.

If you are in a bind, Jaylen Samuels might get you 9 or 10 points. He definitely has a solid floor because Pittsburgh likes to use one running back. But this matchup is the scariest of the week, without a doubt.

ADRIAN PETERSON (WASHINGTON REDSKINS)

75% ineffective in the last 4 games. He was saved by the 90+ yard touchdown run in week 13, otherwise he’d be 100% ineffective. He’s tired and likely isn’t risking severe injury in a losing battle.

This week, the Redskins are playing an away game against the Tennessee Titans. The Redskins could really use a new QB! They might be looking towards a better draft position. I see very little chance of a positive outcome for the Redskins and, in particular, Adrian Peterson. Leave him on your bench OR just drop him all together since he won’t clear fantasy waivers until after his game starts.

Sidebar: Alex Smith’s contract had $71 million in guarantees. Derrius Guice’s infection sounds terrifying. Sorry, Washington. You might be at the bottom of the standings for a few more years.

Tight End: Start ’em

JARED COOK (OAKLAND RAIDERS)

The Raiders actually try when they play on their home field. In addition, they have a winnable matchup against the Denver Broncos. Yes, Denver is favored to win. This IS the Oakland Raiders that we’re talking about.

But, Denver was recently decimated by the Tight End position in week 14 when George Kittle caught 7 passes for 210 yards and scored 3 touchdowns. No, I’m not suggesting that Jared Cook will even sniff those stats. But between his usage and the positive matchup, we’re in the realm of 5 for 60 and a touchdown. Even 5 for 60 WITHOUT the touchdown will be a TE1 day in this wacky position. He’s a good player to have in your lineup this week.

BLAKE JARWIN (DALLAS COWBOYS)

Blake Jarwin is all alone. Geoff Swaim has already been declared out after missing the last 4 games with injury.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of home games. Dallas is playing at home. Icing on the cake, they’re playing the Buccaneers. I will listen to the argument that the Bucs defense has improved since firing their Defensive Coordinator a few weeks ago. Indeed, in the last four weeks, the best Tight End performance against the Bucs was George Kittle in week 14 (6 for 48). The Cowboys are in a fight for their playoff seeding. After taking that brutal defeat at the hands of the Colts last week, they will be coming home with the desire to prove themselves in front of their home crowd. And while there is a new DC in Tampa, it’s the same players. They were beaten before, they can be beaten again.

Blake Jarwin will have a decent game.

Tight End: Sit ’em

VANCE MCDONALD (PITTSBURGH STEELERS)

Above, I wrote about the scary New Orleans Saints in the section about Jaylen Samuels. Copy and Paste here. I would imagine that either Antonio Brown or Juju Smith-Schuster will have a decent game. Jaylen Samuels will likely land in RB3 territory. I just don’t have a lot of hope for a high point total. I really hope that, like most fantasy championship matchups that I’ve seen, your Tight End position is filled with Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, or George Kittle.

For those sitting in the consolation bracket, you might have McDonald on your squad. You can cross your fingers for a lucky touchdown OR you can look elsewhere for a Tight End.

Good luck to each of you in week 16! GO GET THAT CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHY! Get those bragging rights. Win your consolation bracket. I truly hope you wake up on the 25th with a special gift of a Fantasy Football Victory!

Here we are, folks! The dream we all dream of. This is our Super Bowl! It all comes down to some good old fashioned trash talk and 16 football games […]

Fantasy Football 0

Week 15 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

There are only two weeks left, unless you’re in a league that oddly includes week 17 as your playoff finals. We are already underway after Damien Williams and Justin Jackson showed what they can do when they are designated as the lead RB for their team. I hope you had either of them in your lineups!

Meanwhile, Travis Kelce’s performance reminds me of the scene in Rocky IV when Rocky finally lands a punch on Ivan Drago that draws blood. Rocky returns to the corner where his trainer shouts, “He’s NOT a machine!”

On the Chargers side, I’ve heard several people talking up Antonio Gates as if he had an incredible night. 4 for 54, folks. It’s okay, but nothing worth bringing up at the water cooler.

Let’s discuss some starts and sits.

Running Back: Start ’em

DALVIN COOK (MINNESOTA VIKINGS)

The Vikings return home, licking their wounds, after being decimated by the Seattle Seahawks. They have fired their “Sean McVay 2.0” OC, John DeFilippo. The lone shining offensive star from that game was Dalvin Cook.

Now, the Vikings are in Minneapolis and they are facing the Miami Dolphins defense who is easily beaten on the ground. It’s quite possible that the Vikings stop trying to make Kirk Cousins a thing and focus on that electrifying piece in their backfield: Dalvin Cook. That dude is absolutely amazing when he’s healthy. Guess what? He’s healthy.

The Dolphins can be exposed on the ground. On the season, they are the 8th worst team against the Running Back position. While they have improved over the past few weeks, it can be explained. The Patriots had to keep up with the Miami offense last week while also suffering an identity crises at Running Back. Are they RBBC? It looks like it.

In week 13, they held LeSean McCoy in check, but allowed Josh Allen to rush for 135 yards. In week 12, Marlon Mack rushed for 85 yards, but it was 5.7 yards per carry.

If Dalvin Cook can touch the ball 15 times on the ground and another 5 times through the air, his big play ability will likely equate to 100 yards and a touchdown, if not more. Those are the kind of numbers that I can get behind.

DOUG MARTIN (OAKLAND RAIDERS)

When do you definitely want to start an Oakland Raiders Running Back in 2018?

  • When they play at home OR
  • When they play against the Cincinnati Bengals

They only get one of those as the Raiders are travelling to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. Defensively, this matchup is a dumpster fire. On the offense, you can safely start your Running Backs. Joe Mixon is going to light up the universe; he’s an auto-start. That brings us to Doug Martin.

Doug Martin has rushed for almost 100 yards and has scored 2 touchdowns in the last two matchups. He is still capable of giving you fantasy value. The Bengals are a perfect foe for your semi-finals roster. The Cincinnati Bengals are the worst team against the Running Back position. In week 13, Philip Lindsay rushed for 157 yards and scored 2 touchdowns. In week 14 (also known as “the week that Austin Ekeler looked tired”), Austin Ekeler rushed for 66 yards and scored a touchdown. These are numbers that you can believe in. Doug Martin will have a good game. If you’re in a really bad pinch or a deeper league, Jalen Richard should also have a decent game.

Running Back: Sit ’em

MARK INGRAM (NEW ORLEANS SAINTS)

Look at Mark Ingram’s performance since returning from suspension. One thing is clear: he is touchdown dependent in order to give you fantasy value. If you are in need of a “swing for the fences” player, this is your man. Keep in mind that he will not be fantasy relevant if he doesn’t score.

It gets worse. The Saints are travelling to Carolina to face the Panthers in a divisional matchup. It takes a special opponent (like the Bengals) for me to have confidence in a Running Back in an away game. To add fuel to this fire, the Panthers and Saints have always put on a show. Even though the Panthers have lost 5 in a row and appear to be falling apart at the seams, they will very likely show up for this divisional game in front of their home crowd who are hungry for a win.

Alvin Kamara is the lead back, Mark Ingram is picking up the scraps. If he scores a touchdown, your week is saved. This week, that is a huge If.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS BACKFIELD

What the heck is going on? Despite a positive rushing matchup against the Dolphins, Tom Brady threw the ball 43 times. The last 3 rushing touchdowns have been scored by James Develin. James Develin? James White had his expected PPR value game against the Vikings in week 13, but almost disappeared in week 14.  Sony Michel is getting the touches, but isn’t earning any value with them. It just hasn’t made sense.

But wait! There’s more! The Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. On the season, the Steelers are the 6th best defense against the Running Back position for fantasy. Yes, they are on a 3 week losing streak and have allowed a rushing touchdown in each of their last 6 games. They are still holding the opposing Running Backs to low Yards Per Carry. So, let’s say the Patriots get to the goalline in a short yardage situation. Recent weeks have shown that they will give the ball to James Develin. Are you putting HIM in your starting lineup in the semi-finals? I didn’t think so.

Between the muddled backfield, the negative matchup, the away game, and the vultured touchdowns by James Develin, I just cannot get behind any Patriots Running Backs.

Tight End: Start ’em

KYLE RUDOLPLH (MINNESOTA VIKINGS)

We know he has the ability. The old OC just wasn’t giving him the opportunity. New OC, home game, and a positive matchup against the Dolphins leads me to believe that we will see a better game out of Kyle Rudolph.

I’ve already written about John DeFilippo above. We don’t need to rehash it here. Let’s just say that we could see a bit of a shake-up in who Kirk Cousins targets.

The Dolphins have been beaten by the Tight End position for the last half of the season! There are some obvious results like Gronk in week 14 or Ebron in week 12. But, there have been some other weeks that aren’t so obvious: Michael Roberts in week 7 or Jordan Thomas in week 8. In case those names are unfamiliar, they are from the Lions and Texans, respectively. My point is: You do not need to be a household name Tight End to have a great week against the Miami Dolphins defense.

Kyle Rudolph might even be on the free agent list in your league. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be a Kelce/Ertz/Ebron/Kittle owner and have been streaming the position, this is a great time to pick up Kyle Rudolph.

CJ UZOMAH (CINCINNATI BENGALS)

They’re playing the Raiders. The Oakland Raiders are the worst team against fantasy Tight Ends. CJ Uzomah has received 22 targets in the last 3 games. He will have the opportunity and Oakland knows how to allow production to the position.

Just like I said above, if you aren’t an owner of the big 4, you could do a lot worse than CJ Uzomah. You won’t feel very confident, but at least you’ll have the opportunity to do well.

Tight End: Sit ’em

TREY BURTON (CHICAGO BEARS)

Two weeks ago, I wrote that I had given up on Trey Burton until he proved otherwise. Well, the return of Mitchell Trubisky and the positive matchup against the Rams blinded me. I called Trey Burton a Start. Shame on me. Shame. On. Me. 2 catches for 22 yards.

The Bears might be playing at home this week, but they’re playing against the Green Bay Packers who, for all their faults, are the 3rd best team against fantasy Tight Ends. If you haven’t already, drop Trey Burton. Get that weight off of your shoulders.

Good luck to each of you in week 15! I usually say, “Unless you’re facing me.” However, I had a dreadful fantasy year in 2018. I am in exactly two playoff matchups this week. I guarantee that you aren’t facing me. I can say without any hesitation, “Good luck to you in Week 15!”

There are only two weeks left, unless you’re in a league that oddly includes week 17 as your playoff finals. We are already underway after Damien Williams and Justin Jackson […]

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Week 14 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

Like the rest of the fantasy universe, Derrick Henry was not in my starting lineup. He wasn’t even on my radar for this article. Why? Because he has stunk for the entire season. I wouldn’t have bothered entering him in my Sit ‘Em section because it was obvious.

I’ve heard a report that he was started in approximately 10% of leagues. I’m guessing that more than half of that 10% was on teams who threw in the towel early and walked away from their league leaving the same lineup that was in place in week 6.

If, by chance, you started Derrick Henry on purpose, not only have you likely won your week but you also win my Stupid Brave Award.

Let’s discuss some starts and sits.

Running Back: Start ’em

JUSTIN JACKSON (LOS ANGELES CHARGERS)

In week 13, the Chargers traveled to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is a team that is good and solidly in the playoff hunt. Justin Jackson rushed 8 times for 63 yards and scored a touchdown. This week, the Chargers stay home. The weather is nicer and they’re near the ocean. Oh, I almost forgot, they’re playing against the Bubonic Plague…..oops, I mean Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals have lost four games in a row. During that four week stretch, they have allowed almost 1000 yards and exactly 10 touchdowns either on the ground or specifically to the Running Back position. I’ll do the math for you: 250 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. In standard leagues (no PPR), that’s 40 points per game. That is a gigantic pie.

“But, what about Austin Ekeler?” says my doubting reader. Here is a direct quote from head coach, Anthony Lynn, “He’s [Austin Ekeler] wearing down a little bit. He’s a core special teams guy for us and he’s played a lot of running back for us. So he’s a little tired. You might see Justin (Jackson) play a little bit more.”

My case is closed. Justin Jackson will be an RB1 this week. I might create a strategy on my DRAFT drafts this week to leave my final RB slot open until the last pick and grab Justin Jackson. (Use the code TOP2 for a special gift for new users.)

JAYLEN SAMUELS (PITTSBURGH STEELERS)

The Steelers do not spread the ball around when it comes to running plays. On the ground, James Conner is responsible for 81% of the Running Back rushing yards (909 out of 1117). When you add in the passing work involving Running Backs, that 81% gets even higher!

Let’s stop pretending that Stevan Ridley will get a share. If Stevan Ridley was good, he’d still be on the Patriots, or the Jets, or the Falcons. Let’s collectively forget the 2012 season when Stevan Ridley was the RB10 overall. Trent Richardson was RB9 that year, are we talking about him anymore?

Jaylen Samuels will get the lion’s share of the running back work against the miserable running defense that is the Oakland Raiders. The Steelers have company in the AFC North and they are surging; the Baltimore Ravens are in the mix and even the Browns are still alive. The Steelers will need every win.

You get bonus points if you’re in a Yahoo league and can start Jaylen Samuels in your Tight End slot. Ridiculous? Without a doubt but, we’re here to win.

Running Back: Sit ’em

MARLON MACK (INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)

This is going to be a tough week for Running Backs who play for the Colts. Well, except maybe Nyheim Hines. The Colts travel to Houston to play the Texans who have won 9 games in a row and have a frightening defensive line. This is no time to be a hero, keep Marlon Mack on your bench.

The Colts will likely be playing from behind. They may have to abandon the run game early on. Marlon Mack is not a big man. He’s 2 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than Nyheim Hines who most analysts consider a small back. Between his size and the abandonment of the run game, he will not have the opportunity to wear down the Texans defense. Find your points somewhere else.

JOSH ADAMS (PHILADELPHIA EAGLES)

This one is more of a “temper your expectations” call. You’re going to start Josh Adams. He’s clearly the lead back on a team that should be doing much better. Unfortunately, they will be traveling to Dallas to play a Cowboys defense that isn’t very fond of allowing fantasy points to opposing Running Backs. In the last three weeks, the Cowboys faced the Falcons, the Redskins, and the Saints. The running back position for three teams (including the powerhouse Saints), combined, gained just over 300 yards and scored 1 touchdown. That’s less than 13 points per game to the position in non-PPR scoring. Josh Adams gets slightly more than half of the touches for the position, so that equates to about 7.5 points. Does that sound like somebody you want in your playoff roster? I didn’t think so.

Tight End: Start ’em

Sigh, here we go again.

TREY BURTON (CHICAGO BEARS)

Hang on, I just threw up a little in my mouth.

If Mitchell Trubisky starts, Trey Burton should have a good game. The Los Angeles Rams can be beat at the Tight End position. We can likely point to the Rams positive pressure rate even when they aren’t blitzing. This would require the QB to find a quick target. It’s perfect for the Tight End.

Burton was occasionally good with Trubisky, but disappeared with Chase Daniel behind center, so if Trubisky is benched in week 14, DO NOT start Trey Burton.

JARED COOK (OAKLAND RAIDERS)

Who else are they going to target?

At least Oakland is playing at home. They try harder when they play at home and the Steelers CAN be beat through the air.

Tight End: Sit ’em

CHRIS HERNDON (NEW YORK JETS)

The Jets are playing an away game this week. They’re playing against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have allowed the 28th most fantasy points to the Tight End position (5.5 points per game). On the bright side, Herndon doesn’t share a lot of the workload at his position. He gets between 70-80% of the offensive snaps while the other Tight Ends get about 30% each. I suppose you could do worse than Herndon. The matchup is quite scary for me, so I say “Sit him.”

Good luck to each of you in week 14! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope you bought Super Smash Bros Ultimate for your Switch. You’re having so much fun that you forgot to set your lineup!

It’s the playoffs. Yeah, right.

Like the rest of the fantasy universe, Derrick Henry was not in my starting lineup. He wasn’t even on my radar for this article. Why? Because he has stunk for […]

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Week 13 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

The days of my life are passing by much too quickly. I feel like we were drafting just a few weeks ago. Despite our best efforts, time runs wild and most of us are, all too swiftly, girding our loins for playoff battle in week 14. Possibly week 15 in smaller leagues. If you are a friendly and faithful reader, I hope you have already clinched or have an easy path in week 13. If you are my opponent, I hope you lose.

Let’s discuss some starts and sits.

Running Back: Start ’em

Before we move on, let’s pick some low hanging fruit. If you are the owner of Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Jones, or Philip Lindsay, Congratulations! You have likely won your week.

LAMAR MILLER (HOUSTON TEXANS)

You cannot deny that the Texans are on fire. After starting the season 0-3, the Texans are now on an eight game winning streak. One of the key pieces in that streak is Lamar Miller. He has scored a touchdown in 3 of his last 5 games. In that same 5 game span, he has only put up one clunker of a performance while playing the Broncos in Denver. The Broncos are better than average against the Running Back position.

We don’t have to worry about a tough defense this week. While the Browns have certainly looked better since the firing of Hue Jackson, they are still being gashed on the ground. In their last 5 games, they have allowed 590 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns. This does not include yards through the air to the Running Back position. (QBs have also been able to score on the ground against the Browns, so fire up your Deshaun Watson shares.)

ROYCE FREEMAN (DENVER BRONCOS)

I dug deep into the well for this one. I’ve already stated that Philip Lindsay is going to win weeks for owners. Against the Bengals, there will be enough production to spread the wealth between both Running Backs. The only cause for concern is that the Broncos are travelling to Cincinnati. Fear not! The Broncos have one of the top 10 jersey sales in the country. I am guessing that the crowd in Cincinnati will be sparse and somewhat Broncos friendly.

Royce Freeman is not a weekly start. He has been largely useless; he normally only provides fantasy value in the weeks where he scores a touchdown. This is a week where he will score a touchdown, though. Folks, the Bengals are really bad. In particular, they are bad against the run. They are the 2nd worst team on the season against the Running Back position. 8 of the last 12 touchdowns scored against the Bengals have been on the ground OR to the running back position. Many of those touchdowns were in short yardage situations. Guess who is stellar in short yardage situations? Royce Freeman.

You likely have better options. But, if you’re in a pinch, this is the player to start.

Running Back: Sit ’em

TEVIN COLEMAN (ATLANTA FALCONS)

What a disappointing season for Falcons fans. As if it weren’t bad enough, the Baltimore Ravens come to town on a hot streak. On the season, the Ravens are the second best against the run. On the season, the Falcons are second to last on the Running Back position. More negative news, the Falcons are trending down and could wind up last by the end of the season.

Sure, Tevin Coleman saved his week 12 by scoring that touchdown against the Saints. Without it, he would have scored 2.3 fantasy points (0.5 ppr).  In the two weeks prior to that, he scored a total of 18 points. One of their opponents was the Cleveland Browns. Read above if you haven’t already, the Browns are not good against the Running Back! If he cannot succeed against bad defenses, why should we believe that he will do well against a good defense? Sit him down! Put him to bed without his pudding.

Side note: He’s not doing himself any favors with his pending free agency. I’m currently glad that all of my dynasty trade offers to get Coleman were rejected earlier this season.

MARLON MACK (INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)

The Colts travel to Jacksonville to face the hapless Jaguars, it’s true. However, the Jaguars are still pretty decent against the run, particularly the Running Back position. They haven’t allowed a rushing touchdown to a Running Back since week 7 against the Texans (Lamar Miller). They allowed two rushing touchdowns last week against the Bills, but one was a QB play and the other was a Wide Receiver!

On the season, the Jags are the best defense against the Running Back position. The last time the Colts faced this running defense, Marlon Mack rushed 12 times for 29 yards. Andrew Luck will be passing the ball. I believe it’s more likely that Nyheim Hines gets a touchdown than Mack.

I haven’t even mentioned the short practice week that Mack has had because of the concussion protocol. It’s just not a good week to start Marlon Mack.

Tight End: Start ’em

JORDAN REED (WASHINGTON REDSKINS)

As much as I touted the Eagles defense against the Tight End position last week, I’m promoting a Tight End who is travelling to Philly. Colt McCoy knows who the best receiver on his team is. It is Jordan Reed. The Eagles secondary is destroyed by injury. Normally, this would help the Wide Receiver position. But the Redskins are not your normal NFL defense. Dealing with injuries of their own, their offense is makeshift. The lone shining light of health? Jordan Reed. (What has the world come to that Jordan Reed is an image of health for his football team?) He will do well this week. Start him and relax.

KYLE RUDOLPH (MINNESOTA VIKINGS)

I’m hesitant to name Kyle Rudolph here because I don’t like suggesting players who aren’t playing at home, much less suggesting two of them! However, Kyle Rudolph is coming off of a decent performance against the Packers. The Packers aren’t bad against the Tight End. This week, the Vikings travel to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots. The Patriots give up 15.6 points per game to the Tight End position and are listed as the fourth worst against the position. With Stefon Diggs still listed as questionable with his knee, the Vikings might be able to exploit that defensive weakness and give Rudolph some targets.

It’s a long shot, but I like it in week 13.

Tight End: Sit ’em

TREY BURTON (CHICAGO BEARS)

He is due for a good game. However, the Bears are starting Chase Daniel for the second week in a row. Last week, against Detroit Lions, Burton caught 4 of Daniel’s passes for 28 yards. 4.8 points (0.5 ppr) is okay for the Tight End position this season, but it will not win your week for you. I could argue that he had 7 targets. That is not a winning argument though:

Player Pass or Catch %
Chase Daniels 73%
Trey Burton 57%

 

Chase Daniel’s pass percentage vs Burton’s catch percentage would indicate that the problem did not lie with the Quarterback in week 12. Recent performance with Mitch Trubisky + last week’s performance against Lions means Trey Burton is on my bench until he proves worthy of a start. I am not rolling the dice this week, not even against the New York Giants.

JIMMY GRAHAM (GREEN BAY PACKERS)

That injured thumb isn’t doing him any favors. This week, the Green Bay Packers are at home against the Arizona Cardinals. Jimmy Graham will not be needed. Aaron Jones is going to enjoy a late Thanksgiving feast. Even if Jimmy Graham was healthy, I believe he would be game scripted out of a good performance.

The Cardinals are actually pretty decent against the Tight End position. This could be due to their weakness against the run. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken! If you can win by running the ball, keep running the ball! Sorry, Jimmy Graham. Maybe next week?

Good luck to each of you in week 13! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your weekend to-do list has grown substantially and you neglect your fantasy teams. I am in more “win and you’re in the playoffs” situations than I care to admit. It will be a stressful weekend in the Marc house.

The days of my life are passing by much too quickly. I feel like we were drafting just a few weeks ago. Despite our best efforts, time runs wild and […]

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Week 12 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

Here we are in week 12. Some of our leagues have this week and next week before the playoffs. Some of us might get a bonus week of the regular season. Either way, week 12 is already underway! If you are a faithful and friendly reader,

I sincerely hope you are either facing the Kamara owner OR are lucky enough to have Zeke OR brave enough to have started Dak, Amari Cooper seems to be making quite the impact.

Let’s move on to why you’re here!

Running Back: Start ’em

MATT BREIDA (SAN FRANCISCO 49ers)

Matt Breida put our fears to rest in week 10 when he rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown and also added 4 catches for 31 yards and another touchdown through the air. In half point leagues, that amounted to almost 28 points. Week 11 was a bye week for the 49ers. Even if that week 10 performance didn’t completely calm your worries, the week of rest will.

The 49ers return from their bye week to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are the 6th worst defense against the run. They have allowed 17 total touchdowns to the Running Back position. That’s the most in the NFL. They have allowed 1286 rushing yards. That’s the most in the NFL. Running Backs succeed when they face Tampa Bay.

You might be concerned that the matchup is an “away” game for the 49ers or that the team just isn’t that good due to the injury plague which is attacking their team. Please do not be concerned. The Bucs defense couldn’t stop a 2 year old in a power wheels car. Even if the 49ers lose the game Breida will score a touchdown.

MARLON MACK (INDIANAPOLIS COLTS)

Mark this day in history. I’ve never suggested a Colts Running Back in this section until today. This was a matchup that I simply couldn’t pass up.

Marlon Mack impressed in week 11 with 17 touches for 69 yards and a touchdown. It might not have lit the world on fire, but it was a sturdy RB2 week for the young Running Back. He is the lead back in Indianapolis gathering 61% of the offensive snaps in week 11. Jordan Wilkins has largely been relegated to Special Teams while Nyheim Hines still has his passing down niche.

As if the position clarity wasn’t enough, the Colts are at home against the Miami Dolphins. Much like the Bucs above, the Dolphins can’t stop the run. They have allowed the most rushing yards per game and are 4th worst against the position. When you combine Mack’s lead role with the opposing defense, you have a recipe for success.

Running Back: Sit ’em

LAMAR MILLER (HOUSTON TEXANS)

I made this decision before hearing the sad news about the passing of the beloved Texans owner, Robert McNair. Teams do strange things after terrible events like that. If you are going to go for the glory play by starting Lamar Miller, proceed with caution.

I know what you’re thinking and can hear the questioning of this decision: “Why is Lamar Miller here in the “sit ’em” list? He is the clear lead back on a winning team! They’re playing at home in week 12. The offense is still clicking even with the loss of the touchdown king, Will Fuller.” Lamar Miller is in this list because they are playing the Tennessee Titans. Sure, the Titans are nothing special as a whole. But their defense is still the 3rd best against Running Backs. Only the Baltimore Ravens have allowed less points to opposing teams over the entire season. Finally, Las Vegas has the over/under for this game at a paltry 41.5. There is only 1 game on the schedule with a lower over/under (I’m looking at you, snoozer Jags vs Bills game). There will not be a cornucopia of points in this game.

Since Miller is the clear lead back and they’re playing at home, we could see a touchdown from him and my sit recommendation is lost. Keep in mind that this is still a divisional matchup and the Titans are easily in the mix for a playoff spot in the relatively weak AFC. At the very least, you’ll need to temper your expectations for Lamar Miller.

RAIDERS BACKFIELD (OAKLAND RAIDERS)

Is Doug Martin healthy? Can Derek Carr back up his claim that he wants to ruin the Oakland Raiders draft position? In week 12, you don’t even have to think about it because………

The Raiders travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens. That alone should scare you away. Why are you still curious? Fine, I’ll explain.

The Ravens have the best defense against the Running Back position. Only the Saints have allowed fewer yards to the position and it’s not by much. To make up for their lack of effort (that’s sarcasm, folks), the Ravens have allowed 2 less touchdowns over the season compared to the Saints.  These stats include passing down work, so you can forget about Jalen Richard having a decent week, too.

This game is going to be a massacre of epic proportions. The Raiders don’t stand a chance. If they rush for more than 50 yards, I’ll eat a Brussel sprout, I won’t fry it either.

Tight End: Start ’em

VANCE MCDONALD (PITTSBURGH STEELERS)

Vance McDonald is a clear red zone threat, lately. And he’s a clutch player; He has caught 75% of his targets in the red zone. He has scored a touchdown in each of his last two games. Meanwhile, the Steelers travel to Denver to play the Broncos. These are the same Broncos that let Antonio Gates be the overall TE1 in week 11. Antonio Gates, readers. Look at your calendars, it’s not 2014 or before. Start Vance McDonald with confidence.

DAVID NJOKU (CLEVELAND BROWNS)

Yes, he’s questionable with a knee injury. If he doesn’t play, I would not recommend starting him in your fantasy league.

But, if he plays, he gets a juicy matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals who have been particularly giving on defense, lately. In particular, they enjoy allowing Tight Ends to get touchdowns from red zone targets (Mark Andrews, Logan Paulsen, Demetrius Harris). It’s easy to forget because the Browns have been somewhat forgettable this season, but David Njoku is 6’4″ tall. His height alone screams “THROW ME THE BALL AND THROW IT HIGH!”

Tight End: Sit ’em

ANTONIO GATES (LOS ANGELES CHARGERS)

(I still almost typed San Diego up there. Habits, am I right?)

Don’t chase the week 11 performance. This game will be the Melvin Gordon/Austin Ekeler show. The Chargers travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals who actually aren’t that bad against the pass. It’s possible that they appear good against the pass because their opponents don’t have to try to pass the ball. They can just plow through the Cardinals using the running game. When you have one of the best Running Backs in the league (Melvin Gordon), you use him.

EVAN ENGRAM (NEW YORK GIANTS)

Against my better judgement, I am including a second “sit” recommendation. This one leaped out at me, though. The Giants travel to Philly. The Eagles are pretty darn good against the Tight End position, allowing only 2 touchdowns to the Tight End position over the ENTIRE season.

In addition, Engram has been largely disappointing this season. The Giants need blockers up front and Engram doesn’t do that. I hope you have another option.

Good luck to each of you in week 12! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope you are still suffering from Turkey and festivity hangover and your lineup still has the Rams and Chiefs players from last week!

Here we are in week 12. Some of our leagues have this week and next week before the playoffs. Some of us might get a bonus week of the regular […]

Fantasy Football 0

Week 11 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

Week 10 surprised us all! Nick Chubb was the top RB for the week. Christian McCaffrey and Ezekial Elliot both had absolutely stellar weeks in difficult matchups. Eric Ebron scored a rushing touchdown (and two more through the air). Finally, Austin Hooper returned for a great week. Too bad he was on your bench.

The beginning of week 11 has been interesting after Thursday nights entertaining game. I sincerely hope you started Aaron Jones, Davante Adams, and Doug Baldwin! Your week is off to a good start, if you did!

And how about the upcoming Monday night game? I think my grandmother could see a snap in this game and walk away with 7.5 fantasy points (PPR, of course). Neither grandmother is with us anymore, so obviously I still believe they could get 7.5 points in that game.

Running Back: Start ’em

Alex Collins (Baltimore Ravens)

The Baltimore Ravens travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. The same Bengals who have been absolutely skewered by Running Backs all season long. The Running Back position averages 32.8 points when facing the Bengals with almost 1600 total yards and 13 touchdowns. But wait! There’s more!!

Who will be under center on Sunday afternoon? If it’s Joe Flacco, he will be even MORE immobile than he is on a normal Sunday while nursing a hip injury. Necessity will force the Ravens into using their Running Backs. If it’s Robert Griffin III then they will want him controlling the ball. Take away his rookie season SIX years ago and you’re left with a TD:Int ratio that is almost 1:1. Against this Bengal defense, they won’t need him throwing the ball recklessly. Finally (and hopefully), they might go with Lamar Jackson. Again, they will need the youngster to control the ball and utilize the run game. I would love to see this dynamic and exciting QB get a chance against a suspect defense.

No matter who is “throwing” the ball, Alex Collins will have a career day. At worst, he will be an RB1.

Doug Martin (Oakland Raiders)

Speaking of defenses who are weak against the run, the Raiders travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals. Let’s think back to week 5 when the Cardinals let Alfred Morris look like a fantasy relevant Running Back. They have allowed approximately 1500 yards and 13 touchdowns to the Running Back position during this season.

Let’s not mince words, the Raiders are a train wreck. They’re going to lose this game. They are the odds on favorite to secure the 1.01 in the 2019 NFL Draft. HOWEVER, the Cardinals are in the same ballpark when considering team ability this year. The result? A close game filled with LOTS of running back scoring (Hello, David Johnson, and welcome to another stellar game!). Since the Raiders won’t be playing from too far behind, Doug Martin will see his fair share of work. He is averaging 13 attempts and almost 5 yards per run in the last 3 games. Throw in a few passes per game and you have yourself a decent fantasy week.

Running Back: Sit ’em

Jordan Howard (Chicago Bears)

Which Jordan Howard will show up this week? The one who scored 4 touchdowns over 3 games in weeks 7-9? Or the one that ran for 1.9 yards per carry and possibly lost weeks for his fantasy owners in week 10? He is so talented. I am quite confused by his usage. But the Bears are doing well either way, so we’re at that point where we won’t know HOW they will use him.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough for a fantasy week, the Bears are at home against a Minnesota Vikings defense who have been incredibly stingy to all Running Backs not named Alvin Kamara or Todd Gurley. I hope you aren’t going to argue that Jordan Howard is in the same tier as those two. (Psst, he’s not.)

Sit him. I’m sorry that you spent a second or third round pick on him.

Eagles Backfield (Philadelphia Eagles)

Josh Adams is emerging as the best back in Philadelphia, but it’s still a committee. In their last three games, the Eagles have used the three running backs in a 33.3/33.4/33.3 split, with Adams getting that slightly higher number of touches. (For the record, Wendall Smallwood appears to be the passing down back.) Based on this information, we couldn’t really trust one of them specifically in week 11. But wait! There’s more!!

Whether through necessity because they are playing from behind or strength of the opposing defense, Running Backs facing the Saints have not done very well. There are a couple of exceptions (Saquon, Gurley, Latavius), but the Saints have held opposing Running Backs to only a few points. This game won’t be any different. They’re playing in New Orleans and the scoring will likely be high. Both are a recipe for tempered expectations for the Eagles backfield.

Tight End: Start ’em

Vance McDonald (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Throughout the season, the Jaguars have been beaten through the Tight End position, particularly in the red zone. Vance McDonald has been getting a decent target share lately and has normally done well with it. If he can continue to be targeted 6 times per game against this defense who is on a decline, he might find the end zone. And in this 2018 Tight End position for fantasy, that’s all you can really hope for if you don’t own Kelce, Ertz, Kittle, or Ebron. (Let’s be honest though, Touchdowns are the reason Ebron is in the top Tight End discussion.)

Note for 2019, draft one of the top 3 or 4 Tight Ends early or don’t draft one until your last pick. I’d rather spend draft capital on the DEF position at this point. I’m exaggerating there, but Tight Ends are frustrating and almost impossible to predict.

Ricky Seals-Jones (Arizona Cardinals)

Speaking of impossible to predict……

I’m throwing RSJ into the mix because his role in the Cardinals offense has improved since Byron Leftwich took over at OC. His snap counts have increased. In week 10, he was targeted 9 times! And now, we’re reminded of the fact that the Cardinals are facing the Raiders. The Raiders defense is like Oprah: “You get a touchdown! You get a touchdown! You get a touchdown!” You could certainly do worse than selecting RSJ. Kittle is on bye this week, you might be forced into playing Ricky Seals-Jones. You’re allowed to be nervous.

Tight End: Sit ’em

CJ Uzomah (Cincinatti Bengals)

The Bengals are imploding. They just hired Hue Jackson. Finally, they’re facing the Ravens in a divisional battle. There is not much more to say when considering any Bengals pieces in week 11.

On the positive side, AJ Green is out. Therefore, CJ Uzomah could see his targets increase. Plus, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, Tight Ends that I place in the “Sit ’em” category tend to go off and have stellar games.

To sum it up, I hate the Tight End position.

Good luck to each of you in week 11! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your relatives from out of town have arrived and that you’re spending time with them instead of paying attention to your lineups.

Week 10 surprised us all! Nick Chubb was the top RB for the week. Christian McCaffrey and Ezekial Elliot both had absolutely stellar weeks in difficult matchups. Eric Ebron scored […]

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Week 10 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

After a Week 9 filled with intrigue and excitement, I’m going to take a quick victory lap on my “start ’em” call on Duke Johnson. It was as if the Cleveland offensive coaching staff read my article and said, “That makes a lot of sense!” With 25 points in a 0.5 PPR format, Duke Johnson was the overall RB7 in week 9. I believe he will continue to be effective on a Cleveland team that will be consistently playing from behind.

On to week 10! It’s not the topic of this article, but it must be said: Poor Dez.

Thanksgiving has come early as it is a week of running back feasts! We’ve already seen Christian McCaffrey have an absolutely magnificent game on Thursday night. We will tremble with antici……….pation for other matchups like Kareem Hunt against the Arizona Cardinals, Melvin Gordon against the Oakland Raiders, and David Johnson against the Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s see if we can find some not so obvious choices to recommend starting and sitting.

Running Back: Start ’em

Jordan Howard AND Tarik Cohen (Chicago Bears)

We were already going to start Jordan Howard. He’s had 4 touchdowns in the last 3 games and is finally showing why we spent a 2nd round pick on him in our preseason drafts. But, you can start Tarik Cohen this week, too! The best part is that he won’t even need the passing downs to do well. This is the kind of week where Tarik Cohen could rush for 100 yards and a touchdown on 7 or 8 touches.

The Chicago Bears play the Detroit Lions. The Lions have given up 3 rushing touchdowns in the last 3 games. They made Kenyan Drake look good. (Fine, he’s talented and misused in Miami, but he’s quite the clunker this fantasy season.) Last week, the Lions let both Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray have very good results. It’s the Bears’ turn. I don’t expect the results to change.

Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)

As bad as the Lions are against the run, the Bears are polar opposite. Their defense is 6th best against the running back position in fantasy points per game. There have still been a couple of instances where an offensive scheme has exposed the Bears defense allowing a running back to do well: David Johnson in week 3 and James White in week 7; both were accomplished through the passing game.

Theo Riddick returned from injury in week 9 and was treated with 8 targets during the Minnesota sack-a-thon. The sack-a-thon will continue in week 10 and Stafford will be required to rely on his check down option. Enter Theo Riddick.

About that sack-a-thon. Seriously, do not make it into a drinking game. Everybody will lose.

Running Back: Sit ’em

Kerryon Johnson (Detroit Lions)

While Theo Riddick will do well out of necessity, Kerryon Johnson will suffer against a stout defense that does not allow the first and second down running back to succeed. Khalil Mack is healthy which makes the Bears great defense even better. I see two things happening in week 10: Stafford will be sacked a LOT and Kerryon Johnson will hit brick walls. They’re playing at Soldier Field which will put an even greater strain on the Lions offense.

Sony Michel (New England Patriots)

I’m sure he COULD play, but why bother? The Patriots play the Tennessee Titans one week prior to their bye week. The Patriots showed the ability to win against an arguably better (than the Titans) Green Bay Packers without him. So, let him rest! James White is doing quite well and they even utilized Cordarrelle Patterson in a way to get Yahoo and ESPN to give him that lovely double position tag (WR/RB).

At best, I think they might limit him to see how he is progressing and then let him loose in week 12, after their bye week. He’s been limited in practice all week. I just don’t see the point if the Patriots can easily win without him.

Feel free to put Sony Michel in your starting lineup, if you must. Just temper your expectations.

Tight End: Start ’em

Ben Watson (New Orleans Saints)

The Saints travel to Cincinnati to play the Bengals. This match up comes with the highest over/under of the week at 54 points. There will be plenty of points to go around as the Saints will drive up the score while the Bengals will be efficiently playing catch-up with the help of the home town crowd and the need for a win to stay firmly in the playoff hunt.

The Bengals have allowed Christmas to come early for their most recent opposing Tight Ends. In the last 3 games, they have allowed 2 touchdowns to the position. All three opposing teams’ Tight Ends have scored 10+ fantasy points in 0.5 PPR formats.

Worried about Gronk? See if Watson is on your waivers and play him instead.

Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins)

Oh man. I’ve put this name here before. It has not worked. I’m covering my eyes and cringing while I snip the blue wire that is Jordan Reed. While he explode? Or will it be a dud?

The Redskins travel to Tampa Bay to play a Buccaneers team that is just terrible against the Tight End. They have allowed 17.9 points per game to the position. They have given up 5 touchdowns to Tight Ends in their last 5 games. There is no reason for that trend to stop. The only thing that could prevent a wonderful result is Jordan Reed’s 2018 inefficiencies.

For the record, I am absolutely stunned that the Jordan Reed/Alex Smith pairing hasn’t set the world on fire. If any matchup will make things right in the fantasy world, it’s this one. If you’re in a pinch, feel free to throw Vernon Davis into your starting lineup.

Tight End: Sit ’em

Eric Ebron (Indianapolis Colts)

Jack Doyle is back and is getting the targets. Eric Ebron will continue to be a red zone threat at 6’4″. However, we must keep in mind that the Tight End position is terrible and you cannot count on touchdowns or points in general.

Before their bye in week 9, Eric Ebron enjoyed 22% of the offensive snaps to Jack Doyle’s 73%. Yes, he pulled in a touchdown with his lone red zone target. But, like I said above, you cannot count on that on a weekly basis. In addition, the Jacksonville Jaguars will be coming to town. While their defense hasn’t been living up to their potential as of late, they are still 7th best in PPG against the Tight End position.

This is not the week to play hero. Leave Eric Ebron on your bench.

Gerald Everett / Tyler Higbee (Los Angeles Rams)

I’m scraping the barrel listing two sit ’ems. Some might call this one a no-brainer, but I still want to mention it just in case fantasy owners are staring at a bye week problem and need to pick up a Tight End. They might be thinking, “The Rams offense is great! The Tight End should be getting a piece of it!” That first sentence is spot on. The second one? Not so much. Look elsewhere for a bye week filler. The Rams are travelling to Seattle and their dreaded 12th man. The Seahawks are the 2nd best in PPG against the Tight End position. Neither of the Rams Tight Ends will do well.

Good luck to each of you in week 10! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your significant other has signed you up for a Sunday morning commitment and that you sleep in by accident leaving no time to properly set your lineup.

After a Week 9 filled with intrigue and excitement, I’m going to take a quick victory lap on my “start ’em” call on Duke Johnson. It was as if the […]

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Week 9 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

Week 9. WOW! The fantasy football season is just flying by. Most leagues will be starting the playoffs in 5 short weeks. I sincerely hope that you are doing well. Let’s see if we can find some interesting choices during the bye week madness and through all of the injuries.

Running Back: Start ’em

Adrian Peterson (Washington Redskins)

Essentially, AP will be the lone running back this week. Chris Thompson is out with an injury. Kapri Bibbs is there. Remember before the season when he was cut? It doesn’t matter if Adrian Peterson WAS sharing carries, the Falcons are just miserable against the run. They let Peyton Barber run for 82 yards and get 24 more yards and a touchdown through the air. AP should be locked and loaded. He will be an RB1 in Week 9.

Duke Johnson (Cleveland Browns)

Freddie Kitchens is the new offensive coordinator in Cleveland. Guess what position he was promoted from? Running Backs coach! For the foreseeable future, I believe this Browns offense will put a heavier focus on the Running Backs.

But wait! There’s more! The Browns face off against the Chiefs! The Chiefs seem to be satisfied with standing aside while their opponents run past them. KC is allowing 127 yards per game on the ground; 7 touchdowns on the ground and 3 more to running backs through the passing game.

To top it off, the Browns are playing at home!

Nick Chubb will do just fine! My reason behind the Duke choice is because KC is going to win this game. The Browns will be playing from behind which means more work for the passing down back. Duke is fresh due to under-utilization this season. He will be put to work on Sunday.

Running Back: Sit ’em

Alex Collins (Baltimore Ravens)

The Ravens face the Steelers in Pittsburgh in a divisional matchup that has teeth. Both sides will be bringing their A game.

Pittsburgh has been relatively stingy against Running Backs this season allowing only 5 touchdowns to the position. Adding to the position misery for the Ravens, Alex Collins only had limited practice on Wednesday and sat out of Thursday’s practice. Yes, he practiced in full on Friday but Alex Collins is not the picture of health. Ty Montgomery has been added to the mix too. I’ll try to find my points elsewhere this week and you should too!

Dion Lewis/Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans)

It’s redundant, but I had to include Derrick Henry just in case his absence confused people into thinking that I thought he would do well. He will not.

The Titans offense has not been productive. This week, they face the Cowboys who have been good at stopping the run.

Vegas has the over/under at 41 points. That is terribly low and I’m still taking the under. Tennessee is scoring just over 15 points per game. “Any Given Sunday” could rear it’s funny head, but this matchup promises to be a dull one filled with mediocre, at best, offensive players not named Ezekial Elliot. While we’re here, sit all of your Titans players until further notice. I’ll still be interested in this game because I’d like to see what the Cowboys do with Amari Cooper.

Tight End: Start ’em

David Njoku (Cleveland Browns)

Last week, we all believed in David Njoku. He did not see a single target despite playing in 83% of offensive snaps. It was such a great matchup! Maybe this was the reason that Todd Haley was shown the door. (That’s a joke, folks.)

This week, they’re facing the Chiefs. Remember above, where I talked about Freddie Kitchens being the RB coach before his promotion to offensive coordinator? Guess what he was before being an RB coach. Hopefully, you see where I’m going: Tight Ends Coach!! David Njoku will have a great game in a great matchup.

One other note. In 2016, Baker Mayfield and Pat Mahomes faced off in an offensive masterpiece of a game. In the end, the two QBs combined for 1279 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air, 104 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. If you look at the box score, you’ll see names like Joe Mixon, Dede Westbrook, and Keke Coutee. It was a College Football classic! I’m not suggesting that we’ll see a repeat. But, these two players sure know how to make football look fun!

Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)

I know, this one reeks of the “no brainer” territory. With Gronk’s regression/injuries, we’re down to Kelce and Ertz with the rest of the TE position going into a barf bucket. Not so fast! I think we have found the replacement in the top 3. Greg Olsen has returned from injury with a solid floor for targets and a big smile in the red zone. This week, we will all be smiling as the Panthers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs give up almost 14 points per game to the Tight End position (0.5 PPR format).

Tight End: Sit ’em

Ed Dickson (Seattle Seahawks)

Since the Tight End position is a cesspool of muck and dread, you might have seen the sparkling clean Ed Dickson return from injury and score a touchdown in week 8. Folks, he had 2 targets. He scored a touchdown on a 42 yard catch with one of them. I’ll be the first to admit that I could be wrong. This position consistently smacks me in the face. Ed Dickson, the 2 targets, and an opposing defense (L.A. Chargers) who is usually good against the Tight End position when your name isn’t George Kittle equals a bad week. Don’t chase the touchdown from week 8!

Good luck to each of you in week 9! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your local high school football team won their district championship game last night. While you’re busy celebrating, Oops! I forgot to set my lineups!

Week 9. WOW! The fantasy football season is just flying by. Most leagues will be starting the playoffs in 5 short weeks. I sincerely hope that you are doing well. […]

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Week 8 RB/TE Start ’em Sit ’em

Welcome to week 8. The byes and injuries each week are making our choices more difficult. Thankfully, the fantasy crystal ball has been clear about a handful of players in week 8. Let’s see who has been selected.

Running Back: Start ’em

Phillip Lindsay (Denver Broncos)

Royce Freeman is out for week 8. Right off the bat, Phillip Lindsay’s workload will increase.

The Broncos are playing the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have done the following:

  • In four out of seven games, allowed multiple running backs double digit fantasy points.
  • In two of the three games where they did not allow multiple running backs double digits, the lone running back finished as an RB1.

Phillip Lindsay will be an RB1 this week and has the potential to be top 5 in the position for week 8. Start him!

Chris Carson (Seattle Seahawks)

Seattle is playing against the same Detroit Lions defense that just allowed Kenyan Drake to have an RB1 week (11th RB overall). Yes, Kenyan Drake only had 10 touches, perhaps you want to call the performance a fluke. The Lions defense has allowed monster RB fantasy points in five out of their six games. The sixth game was against the Packers. We do not speak positively about the Packers running game.

Chris Carson will have the workload against a positive opponent. We might even see Russell Wilson use his legs!

Running Back: Sit ’em

Aaron Jones (Green Bay Packers)

You might be persuaded to start Aaron Jones against the LA Rams by looking at the projections in your league. Don’t be fooled. He is getting minimal touches in a three-headed-monster run scheme. He is not a part of the passing game. The Rams are capable of giving up points, but only when their opponent is able to focus on the running game. The Packers will not have that luxury. They will be focusing on their strengths to stay competitive in the game. Captain Obvious says, “The offensive strength for the Packers is the passing game.” I repeat, Aaron Jones is not part of the passing game. Sit him down and don’t look back. Perhaps you could try trading him to one of those people who still think he is good for fantasy this season.

Carlos Hyde and/or T.J. Yeldon (Jacksonville Jaguars)

I do not like the matchup. The Jaguars play the Philadelphia Eagles. The only running back that has had success against the Eagles is Saquon Barkley. Hyde and Yeldon aren’t good enough to lick the dirt off of Barkley’s cleats (I get bonus points for using lines from The Sandlot). The assumption is that Hyde will be the lead back and Yeldon will get the passing downs. It’s a safe assumption, but it hasn’t been proven. Based on Yeldon’s performance without Fournette, this could very easily be a 50/50 split. The Jags are imploding lately so if they fall behind, and the RB position assumption is true, Hyde won’t see the field very often. There are too many assumptions (plus the matchup, plus the offensive troubles in Jacksonville) to start either of these guys. If you must flex one of them, I vote Yeldon.

Tight End: Start ’em

David Njoku (Cleveland Browns)

29 targets, 17 catches, 178 yards, 2 touchdowns. That is Njoku’s stat line over the last three games. The Browns face the Pittsburgh Steelers in a rematch from week 1. Njoku didn’t do well that game, but the Browns were using Tyrod Taylor. Lately, Njoku has been building a rapport with Baker Mayfield AND the Steelers have been allowing fantasy points to the Tight End position. You might notice that the matchup color on your league page is Green. Green is good.

C.J. Uzomah (Cincinatti Bengals)

I couldn’t get through one week without selecting a start ’em who is facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bengals face them this week. Remember in week 7, when Andy Dalton was awful and the Bengals only scored 10 points? C.J. Uzomah still had 8.4 half PPR points. He is an integral part of the Bengals offense and has a wonderful matchup against a terrible defense.

Tight End: Sit ’em

Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings)

If you’re stuck starting Kyle Rudolph, go for it. He usually has a decent floor and you’ll probably do better with Rudolph than the barf sitting on the waiver wire. If you have another option, take it. The Vikings first two options in the red zone are Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Truth be told, they SHOULD use Rudolph in the red zone because when they do, he has success! (5 targets, 3 receptions, 2 touchdowns)

In addition, the Vikings are facing the New Orleans Saints who have not allowed many fantasy points to Tight Ends, an average of 4.9 points per game.

Baltimore Ravens Tight Ends

FIVE TARGETS! I’ve written about the 3 or 4 tight ends that the Ravens rotate during each game. But as a collective position, they were targeted five times in week 7. Two receptions by tight ends. Mark Andrews had 1 catch for 8 yards. It happened to be a touchdown. Good luck guessing if that happens again! What a mess.

Good luck to each of you in week 8! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope that World Series game four catches your attention and they go for 18 innings again. Then you sleep in and neglect your fantasy lineup!

Welcome to week 8. The byes and injuries each week are making our choices more difficult. Thankfully, the fantasy crystal ball has been clear about a handful of players in […]

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Week 7 RB/TE Start ’em/Sit ’em

My, how the week got away from me. Let’s get this out there without any further ado.

Running Back: Start ’em

Kerryon Johnson (Detroit Lions)

The Lions face the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have been spending the last 3 weeks being very giving to opposing running backs. 88+ points in 3 games (0.5 PPR) is an average of almost 30 points per game. Do I anticipate Kerryon getting 30 points? No, they still have LaGarrette Blount vulturing the goal line work. However, he should be in your starting lineup. And I don’t mean the flex spot (unless you’re stacked which is unlikely, these days, but possible).

Duke Johnson (Cleveland Browns)

After Carlos Hyde was traded to Jacksonville (excellent trade, Cleveland!), the Fantasy Universe sprinted to their league Free Agent list to add Nick Chubb. Great job to you! The other 9-15 people in your league were sad and had to “settle” for Duke Johnson. Does anybody remember that this is Duke Johnson?!? The dude is PPR gold when he has the opportunity. The phone is ringing, the caller ID says that it’s “opportunity.” You didn’t settle, you just won your week. Oh yeah, they’re playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Their defense stinks.

Running Back: Sit ’em

Lamar Miller (Houston Texans)

The Texans face the Jaguars. The same Jaguars who were destroyed by the Dallas Cowboys last week. It’s not a trend and Lamar Miller is NOT Ezekial Elliot. The Jags defense will rebound. Also, let’s not forget that Lamar Miller is not an image of health. You can definitely do better in week 7. I wouldn’t start Alfred Blue, either.

Tampa Bay Running Backs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

This includes Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones II. I’m well aware that the Cleveland Browns are pretty bad against the run. This matchup looks delicious. But, I’m also remembering weeks 1-4. Winston at QB, instead of Fitzpatrick, certainly opens up the run game, but I have zero faith in the Tampa run system and consider last week to be a fluke. Hopefully, you have other running backs to consider. If you must flex one of them, I choose Barber. But, I’ll be cringing on your behalf until the game is over.

Tight End: Start ’em

David Njoku (Cleveland Browns)

David Njoku is coming off of a very fine performance AND they’re playing a Tampa Bay defense that loves to give fantasy points to Tight Ends. Tight Ends that play Tampa have finished in the top 3 every week except for week 1 (Ben Watson, so I understand). It’s David Njoku’s turn. Light ’em up!

C.J. Uzomah (Cincinatti Bengals)

Similar to Tampa, the Kansas City Chiefs (the Bengals opponent in week 7) also cannot stop the Tight End. Their opposing Tight End has finished in the top 5 every week except 1 (Chargers, so I understand). C.J. Uzomah has moved away from my honorable mentions. He can be started this week with confidence!

Honarable mention to Charles Clay (Buffalo Bills)

It’s risky. But, we’ve seen in the past how much Derek Anderson likes to throw to Tight Ends. If you’re in a very deep league or in bye-week-trouble, this is a great dart throw!

Tight End: Sit ’em

Cameron Brate and/or O.J. Howard (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

The matchup is mediocre, according to your league coloring. The only reason it’s yellow is because of week 4 when Jared Cook scored 2 touchdowns and had a bunch of yards. That one week skewed the results. If not for week 4, the Cleveland Browns would be RED in your matchup column. Throw in the position share between Brate & Howard and you’re left with a lot of doubt. If you can, start somebody else.

Hayden Hurst and the rest of the (Baltimore Ravens) Tight Ends

As if it weren’t enough that the Ravens are still playing duck-duck-goose with their Tight Ends, they are also facing a New Orleans defense who have been very stingy against even the good opposing Tight Ends. Avoid Avoid Avoid Avoid (That’s one for every Tight End that the Ravens might use today).

Good luck to each of you in week 7! Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope you have an incredible child who is living at college 2.5 hours away from you and that today is the only opportunity that you will have to see him/her making you miss your lineups. (Happened to me with this article, yesterday.)

My, how the week got away from me. Let’s get this out there without any further ado. Running Back: Start ’em Kerryon Johnson (Detroit Lions) The Lions face the Miami […]

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Week 6 RB/TE Start ’em/Sit ’em

Sanity was not restored in week 5. The Saints said the Alvin Kamara, “Meh, we know you’re awesome and are a game changer, but why don’t you chill out this week.” Week 5 is in the rear view mirror. All I can say is, “Wow! That was interesting!” Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake scored a touchdown! 21 points in 0.5 PPR is impressive. Too bad most of you likely left him on your bench after being burned for the 4 previous weeks. On to week 6!

Week 5 Recap

RB Starts – 1 out of 2. Both Chris Thompson and Javorius Allen had decent days, neither were particularly stellar. At least they didn’t tank!

RB Sits – 2 out of 2 – Lamar Miller was active, but not really. Jay Ajayi is done for the season. Honestly, I do not like getting the “sit ’em” category right because of injury.

TE Starts – 1 out of 2 – Jordan Reed completely flopped. I was stunned! However, Austin Hooper did right by all of us with 9 receptions for 77 yards. AND, we might go back to that well this week! Bonus points! CJ Uzomah wasn’t great, but for the Tight End position, he didn’t kill your week, either!

TE Sits – 2 out of 2 – Nick Vannett wasn’t terrible, but didn’t make you smile, either. At least he didn’t kill your week. Meanwhile, I hope you listened about Hayden Hurst. There are just too many options in Baltimore for him to have a great first week back.

Running Back: Start ’em

James White (New England Patriots)

Quit being stubborn and just put this monster in your starting lineup! If your league has any level of PPR, he better not be in your flex unless you are stacked to the gills. Put him in that RB slot and get a good night’s sleep. James White is a weekly play. This week, they’re playing Kansas City IN FOXBOROUGH! I don’t care about who the Patriots are playing, though. Putting James White in your RB starting slot is a recipe for some delicious fantasy points.

Tevin Coleman (Atlanta Falcons)

I know that Ito Smith has been a vulture lately. This is a regularly scheduled reminder that Tevin Coleman is in a contract year. Davonta Freeman’s injury is a perfect opportunity for Tevin Coleman to showcase his lead running back abilities. As if this opportunity wasn’t enough, the Falcons are playing the defensively inept Tampa Bay Bucs in Atlanta. Sweet sweet fantasy points. No, I’m not sharing!

The only negative is that dynasty players won’t be able to trade for him for a discount at the end of the season.

Running Back: Sit ’em

Alex Collins (Baltimore Ravens)

As if Alex Collins’ mediocre performances lately haven’t been enough, the Ravens travel to Tennessee to play the Titans who are not allowing running backs to get you any points. Do not attempt to enter this quagmire. You are very unlikely to escape and, if you do, it won’t be worth the journey.

Dion Lewis (Tennessee Titans) OR Derrick Henry

On the other side of the ball, we have the Titans running backs. Neither of them have been good lately. This is not the week where they turn it around. Las Vegas has this game at a 41 point over/under. Unless defense gets you excited, this is going to be a dull game. Baltimore has allowed exactly 1 rushing touchdown this season. Find your running back points somewhere else because there aren’t any in Tennessee.

Tight End: Start ’em

Austin Hooper (Atlanta Falcons)

Another wonderful matchup against the Buccaneers. As offensively dull as the Baltimore/Tennessee matchup listed above will be, this one will be the polar opposite. Neither the Falcons nor their opponent, the Tampa Bay Bucs, have defensive abilities in 2018. There will be points and they want to share them with your fantasy team. Oh, did I say points in this game? Well that brings us to………….

Cameron Brate (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

We filled up a bench spot with a Tight End on bye in week 5 just so we could enjoy the fruits of our fantasy labor! The Falcons couldn’t stop a snail carrying a suitcase. In addition, Jameis Winston has historically thrown to his Tight Ends. I don’t believe that will stop here. I am more comfortable putting Cameron Brate on this list than any other players in this article.

Honorable mention part 2 to CJ Uzomah.

He wasn’t stellar last week, but the Bengals have a juicy matchup against the Steelers. He’s not a definite start, just like last week. However, you could do worse. If you’re stuck with injuries or bye weeks, CJ Uzomah isn’t a terrible choice.

Tight End: Sit ’em

Niles Paul (Jacksonville Jaguars)

This recommendation carries the most risk. The Jaguars do crazy things and Niles Paul has inherited an incredible opportunity. The reason I say “sit” this week is because the matchup is against the Dallas Cowboys who aren’t too bad against the Tight End. Las Vegas has this game with a pretty low over/under at 41.5 (I would take the under) so there won’t be a lot of points scored. This game will turn into a battle of running backs.

Any Tight End from Buffalo or Houston

They weren’t likely on your radar. Due to bye weeks, injuries, and the position as a whole being a rotting boil on your pinky toe, you might be looking for a warm body to fill the starting position. Do not look here. A 41 point over under (again, I’ll take the under) and the strength of the Houston Texans’ receivers leads me to believe that this will be a 21-10 kind of game with Hopkins, Fuller, Coutee, and McCoy/Ivory getting the predicted touchdowns. The tight ends will be ignored.

Best of luck to each of you in week 6. Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope your significant other makes you decorate for Halloween and you’re so tired afterwards that you fall asleep until 4pm eastern on Sunday.

Sanity was not restored in week 5. The Saints said the Alvin Kamara, “Meh, we know you’re awesome and are a game changer, but why don’t you chill out this […]

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Week 5 RB/TE Start ’em/Sit ’em

Week 4 is in the rear view mirror. All I can say is, “Wow! That was interesting!” Four of the top 10 running backs were blips on the fantasy radar with the 11th RB overall also being a surprise. I’m glad I’m not the only writer who missed the bus on some of those!

Week 3 Recap

RB Starts – I’m going to award myself 1 out of 2 simply because I wrote the article before Chris Carson was called out for the game. Mike Davis was in his place and succeeded! Meanwhile, Kenyan Drake…..why do you own him? Why did I fall for the matchup? Dunce Cap.

RB Sits – 1 out of 2 – Carlos Hyde had a really nice day but I hit the nail on the head with Peyton Barber. Have you picked up Ronald Jones, yet? Do it now! I’ll wait.

TE Starts – 1 out of 2 – Trey Burton was amazing! Austin Hooper, not so much. Spoiler alert, I’m going back to the well!

TE Sits – 2 out of 2 – Neither ASJ nor Rhett Ellison provided any fantasy value in week 4.

Running Back: Start ’em

Chris Thompson (Washington)

Washington is coming off of their bye week. Meanwhile, the Saints offense is still moving along at breakneck speed! The Redskins, at best, will be playing catchup. The Saints are red in your matchup because they played Tampa Bay in week 1, skewing the results. Carlos Hyde, Tevin Coleman, and Saquon Barkley have all had great games against the Saints. It’s Chris Thompson’s turn.

Javorius Allen (Baltimore Ravens)

Buck Allen was already vulturing touchdowns. Then, in week 4, Alex Collins fumbled at the goal line. Adding to that, Alex Collins was on the injury report all week, only recently being removed. Some delicious whipped cream on top of this strawberry shortcake (or insert your favorite dessert here), the Cleveland defense is terrible against the run. Even Isaiah Crowell had a great game. Light him up. Start him without hesitation.

Running Back: Sit ’em

Jay Ajayi (Philadelphia Eagles)

I’m just too nervous to even think about starting Jay Ajayi. Maybe I live in another dimension where fractured vertebrae hurt and prevent movement. I get it, he’s in his contract year and is trying to earn for his future. But, this is a recipe for disaster. You’re playing with fire every week that you start him. Maybe he’ll get you 10+ points like last week. Or maybe the injury catches up to him. I hate playing the lottery.

Lamar Miller (Houston Texans)

Here’s another one. He is still on the injury report and he hasn’t exactly been good this season, anyway. I believe Alfred Blue will get the majority of snaps, allowing Lamar Miller to get some additional rest. Either way, I hope you take a moment on Tuesday to put D’Onta Foreman on your waiver add. You’re on a two week notice before he takes over.

Tight End: Start ’em

Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins)

Yes, yes, I know. This seems easy. The reason I included him here is because I’m recalling back to our draft weeks when we were still able to draft Jordan Reed in the 12th round due to the lingering health concerns. Those concerns are no longer *currently* valid. With the bruised up receivers in Washington, who weren’t doing that well when they were healthy, Reed is the best option to have a great week. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ended the week as TE1.

Austin Hooper (Atlanta Falcons)

I hope this isn’t a “fool me once…” situation, since I put Hooper on my Start ’em list last week and was wrong. But, I cannot pass up this matchup. There are going to be points! Vegas has this game with a 57.5 over/under. That is incredible. Of course there’s risk! These are tight ends that we’re talking about here. The position is a cesspool of muck and dread, fantasy-wise.

Honorable mention to CJ Uzomah.

After Tyler Eifert’s injury, the Bengals have named Uzomah as their lead Tight End. I hope you have other options, because RISK! But, if the bye weeks or injury have caused heartache and waiver emptiness, Uzomah isn’t a bad dart throw.

Tight End: Sit ’em

Nick Vannett (Seattle Seahawks)

Will Dissly was injured last week which might make you think that Nick Vannett is next in line. For now, you’re correct. However, they’re playing the LA Rams. The *undefeated* LA Rams. I’ll avoid Vannett this week UNLESS there is some weird injury update and Doug Baldwin sits again.

Hayden Hurst (Baltimore Ravens)

I feel like Mr. Miyagi here, saying, “Wait. Not yet.” The Ravens have been playing ring-around-the-tight-end successfully. None of them have individual fantasy value. As a team position, they have done quite well. This is Hurst’s first week active since his injury. I admit that he could have a stellar game in this matchup, but I’m too worried about rust and the 3 other tight ends who are in the mix. Avoid.

Best of luck to each of you in week 5. Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope you get sucked into The Walking Dead marathon and forget to set your lineup! (Spoiler alert, Season 8 was terrible. I have very low hopes for Season 9.)

Week 4 is in the rear view mirror. All I can say is, “Wow! That was interesting!” Four of the top 10 running backs were blips on the fantasy radar […]

Fantasy Football 0

Week 4 RB/TE Start ’em/Sit ’em

It’s much nicer to find yourself with three weeks worth of data to investigate before making a final decision. Here we are in week 4. We’re at that point where we can forget all about 2017 and use the data that we have in front of us for the current week and moving forward. Let’s get rolling!

Start Your Studs!

Week 3 Recap

RB Starts – 1 for 2 – Sony Michel certainly had the snaps, but didn’t do a lot with them as the Lions decided to show up defensively. Meanwhile, Lamar Miller was a good pick with 51 total yards including 5 receptions and a touchdown!

RB Sits – 2 for 2 – LeSean McCoy didn’t play and Jamaal Williams was, expectedly, ignored.

TE Starts – 1 for 2 – ASJ was one of the many Jags offensive pieces who disappointed in week 3 while Ben Watson was actually pretty good! No touchdowns, but 5 for 71 is not too shabby!

TE Sits – 1 for 2 – My Kyle Rudolph hunch was right…..until the 4th quarter when he scored the Vikings lone touchdown. Also, Jonnu Smith isn’t even on my streamer list anymore, unless he plays a dumpster fire defense.

Running Back: Start ’em

Chris Carson (Seattle Seahawks)

The Arizona Cardinals can’t stop the run. 130 yards per game and 1.3 Touchdowns per game. We have also seen Chris Carson get the workload. He is the lead back in Seattle. Fire him up! He will be an RB1 this week. In a pinch? I wouldn’t argue against Rashaad Penny in your flex!

Kenyan Drake (Miami Dolphins)

I’m holding my breath because this one has risk. I do not own any shares of Kenyan Drake. If I did, I’d be seriously considering dropping him entirely or throwing him into a trade offer to allow him to be somebody else’s problem. This might actually be the week to buy! The Dolphins are facing a New England Patriots rushing defense that just allowed a Lions RB to rush for more than 100 yards for the first time since Reggie Bush did it……in 2013. Adam Gase is a moron, offensively. This might just be a moment where the evidence is too clear for him to miss.

Running Back: Sit ’em

I wish that I would have written this before Thursday because I would have said Dalvin Cook. But, I’ll give two more.

Peyton Barber (Tampa Bay Bucs)

You’re rolling your eyes at me with my obvious choice. I can feel it. But, please hear me out because I have a point. Stash Ronald Jones NOW! Peyton Barber has been utterly useless. The Bucs are about to lose their 2nd game in a row. We could very well see some changes in the offense. When Barber has another underwhelming game, they might finally stop healthy-scratching Jones and give him an opportunity. They invested the draft capital. Sooner or later, they’re going to need to see what they have in him in an actual game.

Carlos Hyde (Cleveland Browns)

I’m out on a limb again. Carlos Hyde is clearly the featured back in Cleveland and he’s been doing well. Consider these points: Oakland is decent against the run and Cleveland has a shiny new QB toy. My biggest fear is that Mayfield throws to Hyde and he gets the job done through the passing game. But, if you have somebody else you can use, I would.

Tight End: Start ’em

Trey Burton (Chicago Bears)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have allowed 21.3 points per game to the Tight End position. Trey Burton will finally show what why the Bears invested in him. Perfect timing for me since I have several leagues with both Burton AND Jordan Reed (who is on bye this week).

Austin Hooper (Atlanta Falcons)

This will be a high scoring game. The Falcons are facing the Bengals who gave up 8 receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown to the Ravens in week 2. Quick! Who is the TE for the Ravens? No Googling allowed. (Trick question, it was a three headed monster that week.) There is no three headed monster in Atlanta. It’s Hooper.

Tight End: Sit ’em

Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Jacksonville Jaguars)

This might be fools’ gold. The Jags are facing the New York Jets who look strong against the Tight End, but haven’t played a team that used the Tight End efficiently so far in 2018 (Lions, Dolphins, Browns). That being said, the Jags offense isn’t exactly lighting things on fire lately. It’s a risk to start ASJ. If you have another option, use it!

Rhett Ellison (New York Giants)

With Evan Engram out, you’re likely hurting at the Tight End position. DO NOT pick up the other TE from the Giants (Rhett Ellison). You’re looking at the Giants matchup against the New Orleans Saints and thinking, “Sneaky Start!” Resist the urge! Nobody needs to use the Tight End against the Saints because it’s too easy to just RB/WR your way to victory! PLUS, Eli needs pass protection. You don’t catch passes being a blocker.

Best of luck to each of you in your week 4 matchups. Unless you’re facing me. In that case, I hope you eat some bad takeout and you’re unable to set your lineup because of….reasons.

It’s much nicer to find yourself with three weeks worth of data to investigate before making a final decision. Here we are in week 4. We’re at that point where […]