The fantasy factor hits the NFL
With injuries mounting on depth charts, fantasy GMs look at back-ups to make a real impact
The injuries are piling up around the NFL and now owners have to find replacements for players who were previously starting on their fantasy team. Add to that the Saints and Raiders being on a bye this week, and you can imagine the amount of emails I am getting with roster questions.
The hot additions this week have to be Packers WR Jarrett Boykins, Lions WR Kris Durham, and Cardinals RB Andre Ellington. Boykins will only be worth playing if James Jones is out (looks that way as of Thursday), but he struggled when thrown into a full workload of 58 snaps last week; Durham has had one good week (8 catches for 83 yards last week), which nearly reached his total from all of last season (8 catches for 125 yards); Ellington is ready to play for most fantasy teams, but only in the flex spot. He doesn’t get enough touches to break into the RB2 range just yet.
Outside of the waiver wire adds and drops, the key to fantasy football is to not get cute. Don’t try and start Mike Glennon over Russell Wilson because the Cardinals defense is better than the Falcons. Truth is the Cardinals give up 20.7 fantasy points to QBs and the Buccaneers give up 20.9. The Cardinals do far better at stopping fantasy RBs than they do fantasy QBs.
For all you Dolphins fans, I will be on the field Sunday rolling out the flag, and around the pre-game festivities before the game. If you find me and tell me you saw this advertisement here, I will send you a copy of Madden25 on Xbox 360 courtesy of my friends over at EA Sports!
Jay Cutler – QB Bears: The Redskins defense gives up 23.8 fantasy points to QBs, which is 9th worst in the NFL. Cutler’s value is getting a boost now that WR Alshon Jeffery has found his voice in the office. I can see a top 10 QB finish from Cutler this week and would play him over QBs like Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III.
Nick Foles – QB Eagles: I’m not a huge fan of Foles, but the Cowboys give up the single most fantasy points to QBs this season at 27.9 PPG. DeSean Jackson is currently NFL.com’s #1 ranked fantasy WR in standard scoring formats thanks to his 589 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns this season. The Eagles and Cowboys games are always shootouts, and I see Foles having a QB1 day.
DeAngelo Williams – RB Panthers: The Panthers take on the Rams generous run defense this week, and that makes Williams a low-end RB1 play in week 7. The Rams give up 24.0 fantasy points to RBs, which is just 0.1 points from being tied for worst in the NFL (24.1 is league worst). Williams put up 117 total yards of offense last week, and he could match that this week with a TD if things go right.
Stevan Ridley – RB Patriots: Ridley finally had a good game, and it only took 6 weeks for it to happen. He was able to put up 96 rushing yards and 2 TDs against the Saints last week, and this week the Patriots will likely be without WR Danny Amendola, making things even more difficult for Tom Brady. With limited weapons in the passing game, you can be sure that Ridley will get enough touches to make fantasy owners happy.
Justin Blackmon – Jaguars: The Jaguars offense isn’t exactly a “powerful” one, but Blackmon has managed to put up 326 receiving yards over the last two weeks despite that. The Chargers give up 27.1 fantasy points to WRs, 6th worst in the NFL this season. And, with Cecil Shorts out, Chad Henne is only going to have Blackmon to target all day long once again. I think Blackmon is a great play this week and wouldn’t even mind seeing him in your WR1 slot above a guy like Larry Fitzgerald.
Keenan Allen – WR Chargers: Don’t you just love it when you see opposing WRs on my start ‘em list? Allen has taken over as the Chargers go-to guy when they need a play, and because of that he has put up back-to-back 100 yard games with TDs in each. The Jaguars aren’t going to stop many people on defense, so I would play Allen as a solid WR2 this week with possible upside if he can put up 100 yards again.
Heath Miller – TE Steelers: The Ravens give up 10.0 fantasy points to TEs, which is 9th worst in the NFL. Miller has put up 70 and 84 yards in his previous two games, but has yet to score a touchdown this season. This could be the week as I can see a low-scoring defensive battle most of the game until someone finally scores. TE is a boom-or-bust position, and I like Miller as a top 10 fantasy TE play this week.
Miami Dolphins defense: The Chiefs defense is far and away the best play of the week with the Texans’ QB problems, but the Dolphins could finish right behind them given the Bills QB problems. Thad Lewis played way over his head last week against the Bengals (216 passing yards, 2 TDs and no INTs), but that shouldn’t be the case again this week after the Dolphins had time to review his film and make adjustments to their packages. I really do like the Dolphins as a top 5 fantasy defense this week because of the Bills offense, and also because I will be at the game and on the field!
Colin Kaepernick – QB 49ers: Probably the most overranked fantasy QB in the NFL is Kaepernick this season. He’s owned in 96.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, started in 68.3 percent of them, yet is ranked #20 for QBs overall. Bengals QB Andy Dalton is 15th on NFL.com for QBs and is owned in 76.3 percent of leagues and started in a mere 7.5 percent of them, yet Kaepernick is owned in virtually every league and started in more than half of them. Sometimes fantasy football is a popularity contest, just make sure you don’t fall into the trap and play Kaepernick until he gives you a reason to.
Matt Ryan – QB Falcons: The Falcons are now without Steven Jackson, Julio Jones, and Roddy White on offense. That leaves Matty Ice with Harry Douglas, Drew Davis, and Kevin Cone as his top three WRs this week. With the only “talent” for him to throw to being Tony Gonzalez, I will just say that it is going to be an extremely long day for Ryan and the Falcons offense in week 7.
Chris Johnson – RB Titans: CJ2K is owned in 98.7 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 74.7 percent of them, yet he is ranked #21 overall this season. He’s averaged just 23.67 yards over the last 3 games; he’s only had more than 70 yards rushing in 2 of his 6 games this season; and, his lone touchdown came in the passing game, not in the running game. Johnson’s best fantasy days are sadly behind him, and he is drafted more on name recognition than on fantasy production these days.
Joseph Randle – RB Cowboys: Randle has seen his NFL.com ownership go from 0.5 percent up to 23.5 percent this week after he was named the starter with DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar out. The problem with Randle is he is a 5th round rookie with 11 carries this season. He’ll be taking on an Eagles defense that is 14th against RBs in fantasy football with an average of 16.4 PPG allowed to them. I think people are getting too excited over the prospects of finding lighting in a bottle on the waiver wire and it is clouding their judgment here. Randle is a flex play with value only if he scores. I don’t think he will hit the 100-yard bonus either.
Andre Johnson – WR Texans: Matt Schaub will not be playing this week, and with T.J. Yates playing pitch-n-catch with the defense last week in his limited action, the Texans are turning to Case Keenum to start this week. The Chiefs lead the NFL with 30 sacks and are currently the #1 ranked fantasy defense on NFL.com with 114.00 fantasy points (#2 are the Seahawks with 76.00 points). The knock on Keenum is he lacks NFL arm strength, and Johnson’s value is in the deep ball. I would find other options this week if I owned a Texans’ player.
Harry Douglas – WR Falcons: With Jones out and so many players on the Falcons hurt, fantasy owners rushed to the waiver wire and snagged Douglas in the hopes of getting Ryan’s new #1 WR and possible waiver wire gold. The truth is even with White not producing this season and the running game a patchwork of RBs, Douglas has still only managed to haul in an average of 43.8 YPG receiving with no touchdowns. Douglas is going to have a good game here and there, but I wouldn’t count on it in this one because Douglas is little more than a very average 3rd WR in the NFL.
Greg Olsen – TE Panthers: Olsen is ranked #14 on NFL.com in their standard scoring format right now, but he just isn’t a very impressive TE when it comes to stats. Olsen will get you about 50 yards most weeks without a touchdown, giving owners roughly 5-7 fantasy points. You could try Jordan Reed from the Redskins as a sneaky play, but Oslen just isn’t likely to put up many points against the Rams 9th ranked defense against TEs (6.4 PPG) this week.
Denver Broncos defense: The Broncos defense is owned in 95.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, and started in 87.6 percent of them. And, they get back star LB Von Miller who is finished serving his six-game suspension now. However, since the Broncos offense always seems to jump out to early leads, it allows the defense to play in more of a protection mode, thus allowing other offenses to rack up garbage-time stats and points. The Colts offense can move the ball both in the air and on the ground now that they have Trent Richardson, and I expect Andrew Luck to put up at least 14 points of his own, and a possible TD on the ground for Richardson. NFL.com has the Broncos projected to allow 13 points and finish as the #3 ranked fantasy defense this week with 15.00 fantasy points; that is something I find unlikely considering they only scored 10.00 fantasy points against the Jaguars last week.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.