Week 15 Fantasy Focus: Packers @ Panthers

Eric Adams, Staff Writer

He’s baaaaaaaack. Ladies and Gentleman, Rodgers is ready to roll but wait, what’s this? A stingy Panthers defense awaits him? In all seriousness, if I’m the Panthers then I’m going into this huge matchup with a chip on my shoulder. Last weekend, Carolina dispatched the 2 seed in the NFC beating the Minnesota Vikings and doing it with ease. They took down one of the hottest teams in the conference and yet, not a peep was said this week about that performance. Nope, all the attention turned to their next opponent and it’s returning gunslinger. Carolina is no slouch and they have the opportunity to halt the Packers’ playoff push before it even gets started.

Quarterbacks:

Cam Newton: Superman has indeed returned this season as Cam Newton currently sits as the 5th best QB in all of fantasy football. After the debacle that was the 2016 season, Cam has been rejuvenated with a wide array of weapons in his arsenal. Most notably among those weapons are running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver Devin Funchess. Cam should be amongst the top QBs this week in fantasy as the Packers defense is, in a word, awful.

Aaron Rodgers: The second best #12 in the league returns this weekend to face a Panthers defense that has bounced back after a poor 2016 season. Rodgers has all of his usual weapons in Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb. Perhaps the biggest improvement in Rodgers’ offense is the addition of a running game. Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones have finally given the Packers the balance they need. Aaron Rodgers and a balanced offensive attack is a sure fire sign that this game will be a shoot out.

Running Backs:

Christian McCaffrey/Jonathan Stewart: McCaffrey’s lowest point output was 7 to go along with a pair of 8-point performances and a 9-point performance. This game should be high scoring so he is definitely the Panthers running back you want to own. It is worth noting that Jonathan Stewart ran all over a very good Vikings defense just a week ago but you should still feel more confident in CMC over Stewart.

Aaron Jones/Jamaal Williams: Jamaal Williams has been getting the bulk of the carries in Green Bay so he figures to be the man to own in this backfield. Jones has been very solid in his own right but he’s just not earning carries right now due to the effectiveness of Williams. It is definitely worth noting that the panthers have allowed the 3rd least amount of rushing yards in the league as well as the 5th fewest rushing touchdowns. This is a risky week to trust either Packers running back but the threat of Rodgers at QB is enough to make this a high-risk, high-reward type of start.

Wide Receiver:

Jordy Nelson: Trust me when I say nobody is happier to see Aaron Rodgers back at QB than Nelson. It has been rough sledding for Jordy, failing to post double-digit fantasy points in every week since the game Rodgers got injured. You can safely insert him back into your lineup now, however he will not be the top target.

Davante Adams: The 9th best receiver in fantasy, Adams has put it all together and become one of the must-starts. Combining for 107 points in his last 6 games, he has been very consistent but that was with Brett Hundley as QB. While Nelson appears to be Rodgers’ favorite target, top target nods should go to Adams as he has been playing lights out. Start him, trust him, and watch him go off.

Devin Funchess: The 6’5 wide out for the Panthers has emerged as breakout candidate this season. Newton to Funchess has been an explosive combo this season and that will likely continue against a porous Packers defense. I like Funchess a lot this week in a good matchup.

Tight Ends:

Lance Kendricks/Richard Rodgers: Rodgers has had the better rapport with Rodgers so I would tend to lean Rodgers over Kendricks. If that isn’t the most confusing sentence of 2017 then I have failed you as a writer. Seriously though, these are both bottom of the barrel options and you can likely find a better starter on the waiver wire.

Greg Olsen/Ed Dickson: This is a tough one to call because Olsens availability makes the task of predicting Dicksons output murky at best. As stated many times above, this is a good matchup for the Panthers offense so one of these guys is likely to make some plays. The smart move would be to start Olsen and hope he plays the entire game but we really don’t know how effective he will be. I could see Dickson coming on for a gimpy Olsen and having a few big catches that could lead to him being an unsung hero of week 15 for fantasy.

Week 15 Fantasy Focus: Chargers @ Chiefs

Eric Adams, Staff Writer

In a battle for the AFC West crown, the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Arrowhead in week 15 to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. These two met back in week 3 where the Chiefs were still firing on all cylinders and the Chargers were still floundering. That seems like forever ago because the Chargers have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL while the Chiefs have dropped 6 of their last 8 games. Here’s how the two stack up, fantasy-wise, for their Saturday night showdown.

Quarterbacks:

Alex Smith: The Chiefs signal caller has had an incredible season, posting the 3rd most fantasy points among all QBs. However, take away his 37-point performance against a putrid Jets defense and he has combined for 29 points over the last 3 games. Things don’t get easier because the Chargers have a stellar defense. Defensive Ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram combined for 4 sacks alone in the week 3 matchup that saw Smith post a modest 14-point performance. In fantasy playoff season, Smith is a risky pick this week but you likely don’t have a better replacement.

Philip Rivers: Mr. Bolo tie is currently the 9th best fantasy QB. That isn’t bad at all and should be remembered heading into next years fantasy season. What should also be remembered is that Rivers threw 3 picks in the last matchup against the Chiefs. He only managed a 3-point performance and that game was in LA. The Chargers have been a much better team the past 2 months but that’s a rough game to say the least. This matchup, for both QBs, is a tough one to say the least. This very well could be a defensive ball game.

Running Backs:

Kareem Hunt: The last time these two teams met, Kareem Hunt was still in God-tier. Now, not so much but he is still a very serviceable fantasy option. He’s had some rough weeks posting a 9-point performance 3 separate times against the Jets, Broncos and Cowboys. He bottomed out with a 2 point performance against Buffalo but bounced back in a big way last week against Oakland with a 22-point outbreak. He scored his 1st touchdown since week 3 in his last game against the Raiders so the lack of touchdowns is alarming. He had a 25-point performance back in week 3 against LA so there’s reason to believe he can run on the Chargers. If you have him, you’re obviously starting him. Volume is too high not to plus the Chargers have given up the 5th most rushing yards in the league.

Melvin Gordon: The Chargers workhorse back has had another great season after breaking out in year 2. He’s been reliable in 10 of his 13 matchups this season and one of them was against Kansas City in week 3 when he posted a quaint 13-point performance. The Chiefs have given up the 4th most rushing yards in the league AND have given up 3rd most rushing touchdowns. Gordon has the chance to have a big game, as does Hunt. If these two teams want success on offense then running the ball is in their best interest.

Wide Receivers:

Tyreek Hill: The blazing burner of the Chiefs offense has been a major steal since being drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Currently the 10th best player at his position, Hill is no doubt in your starting lineup even against a stingy Chargers pass defense. He burned the Chargers to the tune of 5 catches for 77 yards and a score in their week 3 matchup. Tough matchup, not a tough call. Start this man.

Keenan Allen: One of the feel good stories of 2017 has been the season Keenan Allen has had in his return from yet another knee injury. He currently stands as the 3rd best receiver in fantasy and is one of the leading candidates for steal of the year in fantasy based on where some people took him in drafts. He draws Marcus Peters in this contest and that is one of the taller tasks for any Wide Receiver in the league. Allen posted a modest 11 in week 3 against the Chiefs but has been on fire in his past 4 games, going off for a combined 116 points. Peters or not, this man is in your starting lineup.

Tight Ends:

Travis Kelce: The number 1 tight end in football this season, Kelce has continued to improve into one of the most complete tight ends in the NFL. If you have him, you will obviously not bench him because there is literally no better option. However, it is worth noting that in the week 3 matchup against LA, Kelce had 1 catch for 1 yard. While that is likely to not happen again, it is still definitely worth noting. Also worth noting is that outside of 2 games where he posted 7 catches for 84 yards and 6 catches for 74 yards, Kelce has historically performed poorly against the Chargers. He has also never scored against the Chargers. I’m not saying sit him, I’m just saying understand that the matchup is not in his favor.

Hunter Henry: Other than Allen and Gordon, it’s difficult to predict the type of game Rivers’ other weapons will have. He’s so sporadic with his targets and usually does a good job of spreading the ball around but it’s tough to rely on anyone outside of those top 2 targets. Henry didn’t record a catch in week 3 and has been up and down this season. He’s had 18, 15 and 15-point performances in his past 3 weeks, respectively, and should be trusted as the hot hand but his floor is low.

 

 

Happy Halloween: Players Too Spooky To Hold Onto

Happy Halloween from us here at Top 2! We’re at the mid-point of the NFL season and by now you should know where your fantasy roster stands amongst your opponents. However, some NFL players have some strange things happening to them. Martavis Bryant might as well be in the upside down with the month that he’s had. If you have these players on your roster, then you probably have no idea what to make of their first 8 weeks.

Fear not, here is what you should do with these mystery men:

hide and seek

Look at how much fun the Steelers are having….without Martavis

Martavis Bryant (Owned in 60 percent of leagues): Let us start with the aforementioned Steeler Wide Receiver. I don’t like it; I just don’t like the situation that has unfolded for Bryant in Pittsburgh. His playing time has dipped which even included a healthy inactive status last Sunday against the Lions AND Juju Smith-Schuster has emerged as a threat in the passing game for the Steelers offense. Bryant asked for a trade but will not get one as the deadline has passed and the Steelers have said no to teams calling. Bryant may have a game or two where he has double-digit fantasy points but this season is not going well and, with the emergence of Juju, it’s not going to get any better. The Call: Too Spooky, drop him.

Terrelle Pryor (Owned in 74 percent of leagues): Boy was I wrong on Pryor taking a one-year prove-it deal in Washington and making the most of having a good QB. Pryor has been a mess this season. He’s dropping passes, can’t finish routes and ultimately looks lost in the Redskins offense. Normally I would say patience is key when it comes to players as talented as Pryor but he just looks awful right now (zero catches on Sunday against a weak Dallas secondary). The Call: Too Spooky, drop him.

 Matthew Stafford (Owned in 88 percent of leagues): So if you’re in a 12-team league or a 2QB league then I understand you’re not dropping him. However, in 10-team leagues, Stafford just isn’t cutting it. The Lions offense looked awful Sunday against the Steelers and they have been a big disappointment after starting out 2-0. Currently the 12th best QB in fantasy, Stafford is certainly not match-up proof and once we’re beyond the bye weeks, he’s barely worth a roster spot. If you have a need elsewhere like RB, WR or TE then you should ditch Stafford. The Call: Too Spooky, drop him.

collarbone

 Any Green Bay offensive player not named Jordy Nelson and Aaron Jones: This is just a state of the team type of warning. Brett Hundley is just not a good QB. I know the Saints have improved on Defense but Hundley just looked terrible. I don’t know if it was because we went from Aaron Rodgers to Brett Hundley but it looks bad. It’s like going from Filet Mignon to Rump Roast real quick. I’m not even a big fan of Nelson after the Rodgers injury but you have to believe he has the best chance to be somewhat of a WR2 even with Hundley. Aaron Jones deserves to be the RB and you have to roster him because quite frankly there just aren’t enough good RBs. Ty Montgomery is not and never will be a good running back. He is a Swiss army knife player on offense and he only really works if Rodgers is the QB. Even then he hasn’t really panned out. The Call: Too Spooky, drop them all.

 Sammy Watkins (Owned in 78.8 percent of leagues): This is a frustrating case because the Rams have been resurgent on offense. Watkins has had a tough time getting the ball in Los Angeles and here is where I will preach patience. Watkins came to the Rams extremely late and is still learning the playbook. He just had a bye week so that should’ve helped him out a bit when it comes to learning the playbook plus building a rapport with Jared Goff. I’m not saying start him this week against the Giants but I would hold onto him as the Rams gear up for a playoff run. That means they’ll be playing meaningful football late in the season. They’ll need Watkins for that. The Call: Not Spooky, have a treat.

On the Fringe: Players who will soon determine their worth in Fantasy

Eric Adams, Staff Writer, Beard Guy

We are entering week 4 of the 2017 NFL Season and while some players have determined their worth in Fantasy Football, others have yet to reveal their true value. In this article, I will take a look at who has yet to round into form and what to expect from here on out.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Giants: The Giants have gotten off to a terrible start. A bad O-line has compromised Eli Manning’s ability to do much of anything and us here at Top 2 are starting to believe they’d be better off starting a tight end in the backfield over a running back. It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as the Giants were able to finally put together a solid offensive effort against the Eagles. Also noteworthy was Brandon Marshall catching 8 passes on 11 targets for 66 yards. After catching one pass in the first two games apiece, Marshall may finally be feeling the benefit of being opposite a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. Look for Marshall to have a strong game against the Bucs on the way to a respectable WR3/WR2 season.

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders: Everybody’s favorite dancer (maybe not the Jets’ favorite) has been up and down this season. After carrying the ball 18 times for 76 yards in the opener and 12 times for 45 yards and a touchdown against the Jets, Lynch fell all the way to only 6 carries for 18 yards against the Redskins. It’s unclear whether the Raiders have cooled on Lynch or it was simply the flow of the game, but Marshawn will be managed this season so he remains fresh for the playoffs. That is not what fantasy owners want to hear so I would suggest trading Lynch after his next big performance.

Lamar Miller/D’Onta Foreman, RBs, Texans: The Texans have been an interesting team early on. After pulling Tom Savage and going with Deshaun Watson, Houston has managed to resemble a potent offense. They got whacked by the Jaguars, squeaked out a win in Cincinnati and then played the Patriots tough on the road. So Lamar Miller is starting to look more appealing, right? Nope, the early season tealeaves seem to be falling the way of the rookie Foreman. He has looked very solid in a split role with Miller and if you own Miller, you better find a way to grab Foreman as a handcuff. The rookie may very well be getting the bulk of the carries sooner rather than later.

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons: Sanu has been very serviceable this season, scoring at least 10 PPR points in each week. A lot of people may not look at Sanu as WR1 but he damn sure is a WR2, and a good one. I view the Sanu situation the same way the Emmanuel Sanders situation worked out. Sanders was never a special player in Pittsburgh before going to Denver where he became a 1,000-yard receiver. I’m seeing the same exact thing happen with Mohamed Sanu. I’m not saying break the bank for him, but he is a very worthy pick-up and very worthy of starting.

Ryan Griffin, TE, Texans: With CJ Fiedorowicz on IR with a concussion, Ryan Griffin has become the starter in Houston. After missing the Bengals with a concussion of his own, Griffin starred in the game against the Patriots catching 5 balls on 7 targets for 61 yards and a score. Someone going to the IR for a head injury is very troubling and I would bet against that person returning this season. Keep an eye on Fiedorowicz’ health but I like Ryan Griffin right now. He showed an early rapport with Watson and the job is clearly his for the time being. You can do worse at tight end so give him a shot, especially against a Titans team that was victimized by the tight end position last weekend.