Doug Martin could have a big day against the fading Falcons (Image via Keith Allison)
We’ve reached Week 13 in the NFL season and unless you were up against Calvin Johnson last weekend, it’s fantasy football playoff time and your season-long commitment to playing pretend GM actually has a chance to payoff. For most 10-team leagues, the format is 12 regular season weeks with four teams advancing, followed by two 2-week playoff rounds to determine a champion, ending in Week 16. If you ever owned Peyton Manning when he was with the Colts, you know why it’s important to end fantasy playoffs before the last week of the NFL regular season. It’s different for 12-, 14-, and 16-team leagues, but a 12-week regular season with four weeks of playoffs should be the standard 10-team league setup. And if you’re in one of those 16-team leagues, you really ought to talk to someone, possibly see a doctor. It’s just too much and the thought “maybe I should start Rashad Jennings here” is never something you want rattling around a healthy brain. Okay, let’s get to the questions.
Shady’s the only guy guaranteed to get 20 touches, so despite going up against Houston’s suddenly ridiculous defense, I think you need him in there, especially in PPR. Doug Martin’s been hit or miss lately, but Atlanta’s a mess and they’ve allowed an average of 129 rush yards in their last 4 games (all losses). And outside the OT win over New England, CJ Anderson has been trash. I’d go Shady and Martin, Anderson loses too many carries to Ronnie Hillman. Ride your horses.
I really like DeAngelo Williams this week, Ben Roethlisberger will be playing and they’re up against the Colts’ 24th-ranked rush defense. Steelers probably win the game easily, so garbage time yards could build up for DeAngelo here. Then I’m taking Thomas Rawls over Mark Ingram, New Orleans faces Carolina this week and the Panthers are #2 against the run, giving up under 90 yards per game probably because they’re almost never behind). Rawls looks quicker than Lynch in Seattle’s offense and they have a much easier match-up against Minnesota (20th-ranked run D). DeAngelo and Thomas Rawls for sure.
Craig gets two questions this week since he also writes words here at Pattison Ave. John Brown is probably the most trustworthy guy here, so stick with him. Between the other two, I’m looking at it like this: the Chargers and Browns are both up against good defenses (Broncos and Bengals), but one team has Philip Rivers and the other has Austin Davis. I know Travis Benjamin caught a pretty TD from Austin Davis last week, but Stevie’s had seven catches in each of his last three games. Gotta go with the target machine, send Benjamin back to the bench this week.
Julius Thomas has scores in each of his last two games, but Chandler saw 11 targets after Rob Gronkowski went down last week and he’s facing a team on Sunday that may-or-may-not have given up on their season. The Pats have lost Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, Gronk, and Dion Lewis in their last few games, but Tom Brady has to throw to someone and that’s probably Chandler this week. Eagles have allowed the 2nd fewest TE points so far, but we’re taking Chandler based on volume, not match-up.
Gates has a tough play against Denver while Chandler takes on the smoldering dirty diaper that is the Philadelphia Eagles. Since I know Derrick’s an Eagles fan, this is what you call an “emotional hedge”. Gates is a solid guy to own for the upcoming postseason weeks, but as long as Gronk is out, you have to go Chandler.
These are both pretty terrible options. Bridgewater doesn’t have a 20-point fantasy outing yet this season and Tannehill is more likely to throw up single digits than a 20-spot. You’re probably better off dropping one and grabbing someone like Ryan Fitzpatrick, Marcus Mariota, or even Kirk Cousins (he’s facing Dallas). Just a heads up though – this week might not end well for you and on Sunday, I’d consider a nice jog or perhaps visiting some relatives.
Kickers are the bane of my existence in fantasy football. Every year, I’ll lose at least one game because I get outscored something like 22-4 in the damn kicker spot. There’s absolutely no skill involved in selecting a kicker; you just grab someone from a high-powered offense and hope they don’t slam any 50-yarders off the uprights. If you think you’re good at picking kickers, you’re confusing luck with skill and should probably stay away from casinos. Your kicker is like your gallbladder – you don’t even remember it’s there until it hurts you. And also like your gallbladder, kickers are obsolete and there’s no reason for them to exist in fantasy football anymore. We really need some kind of strict federal legislation on this. Anyway, I definitely didn’t answer your question so I guess Catanzaro since he’s on my team too. Kickers are stupid.
That’s all for this week, I’ll take another round of questions on Twitter next week and face the music for whatever I got wrong this week. If you don’t have Twitter, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. But please don’t do that, just get a Twitter. It’s fun and not hard.