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We bring back the Sunday Six Pack, an article featuring six of the biggest storylines heading into each and every week of the season. Keeping tabs on these events will keep you prepared and informed throughout the season – just don’t drive within six hours of reading this.
- Fell In Love With a QB
I said it once before, but it bears repeating. With his monster performance against the Giants last week (25/40 for 340 yards and five TDs, eight carries for 100 yards), Panthers QB Cam Newton took over the overall QB1 spot from Tom Brady. It’s been coming since Week 9, a stretch that has seem Newton throw for 22 TDs and just one INT and run for another three TDs. With Aaron Rodgers looking human in his Jordy Nelson-less offense and Andrew Luck both being hurt and playing poorly, the question now becomes whether Newton — still just 26 years old — is back in the overall dynasty QB1 conversation. Perhaps the better question is whether he’s already there. With the Panthers not having yet clinched home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs yet and playing an early game before the Cardinals’ late kickoff, there shouldn’t be too much worry about Newton being pulled against the Falcons unless the game is out of hand (which means that you probably already got your points). Newton is a no-brainer QB1. Matt Ryan is just the overall QB24 depending on scoring systems, barely a QB2. He’s not startable against the Panthers’ elite defense unless you are in a deep two QB or Superflex league.
- Dead Dez and the Dirty Cowboys
Then I come home. No one to wrap my arms around. This will be seen as a lost season for Cowboys WR Dez Bryant. Having missed five games and struggled in the ones he played, Bryant is just the PPR WR55 in average FPs per game with only three games out of nine over ten PPR FPs per game. Certainly not having Tony Romo in the lineup has hurt, but Dez also hasn’t looked like himself when he’s been on field. Hopefully his foot injury will have an opportunity to clear itself up in the offseason, but considering that Dez will be 28 early into the 2016 season, if you get an opportunity to move Dez for a guy like DeAndre Hopkins or Allen Robinson, even with throwing in a pick a make the move, it might be something that you want to consider. Bryant was ruled out for this week’s game against the Bills on Saturday. Other than Darren McFadden as a low-end PPR RB1, no Cowboys should be started this week. For the Bills, Sammy Watkins has been a revelation the last four weeks, a span in which he is the overall PPR WR5, averaging 25.25 PPR FPs per game. Other than the anomalous Week 13 game against Houston where he caught three of just four targets for 109 yards and a TD, Watkins has seen an average of 10.67 targets per game since Week 12. The Bills increasing willingness to throw the ball up and allow Watkins to get it makes him a WR1 for this all-important week. He’d also make another good move-Dez target.
- You Don’t Know What Nuk Is
[inlinead]You don’t know how hearts burn for love that cannot live yet never dies. The aforementioned Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins is the overall PPR WR4 despite, as I said on this week’s DLF Podcast, playing with essentially a scarecrow at QB over the course of this season. Nuk will be just 24 at the start of the 2016 season, and he has to be a serious part of the dynasty WR1 conversation at this point. Although it looks like he’ll have Brandon Weeden throwing to him this week, it just doesn’t seem to matter. Even against a Titans team that is ranked tenth against the pass and is giving up an average of just 234.0 passing yards per game, Hopkins is a must-start WR1. Last time these two teams played in Week 8, with Brian Hoyer at QB, Hopkins caught eight of 11 targets for 94 yards and a TD. Over the last three weeks, Titans WR Dorial Green-Beckham is the overall PPR WR 21 and is averaging 16.17 PPR FPs per game. Averaging a healthy 7.33 PPR FPs per game, DGB’s upside this week is capped by the presence of Zach Mettenberger under center and a Texans defense that is ranked second in the league against the pass, giving up an average of just 211.1 yards per game.
- We’re Going to Be Friends Michael Floyd
When I wake tomorrow, I’ll bet that you and I will walk together again. Cardinals WR Michael Floyd has been inconsistent, but is the overall PPR WR20 since Week 6, with only one game under 14 PPR FPs in that span (a Week 12 dud against the 49ers where he only saw two targets and may have been limited by a hamstring injury). That is actually one spot ahead of teammate Larry Fitzgerald who is the PPR WR21 over the span and has seen his role in the offense diminish as of late. After teetering on the disappointment cliff, Floyd may finally be ready to transcend into a tangible dynasty asset. If he keeps up his high level of play, he’ll be an interesting price check in the offseason. Taking out Week 12, Floyd is averaging 8.29 targets per game since Week 6, certainly enough to support a WR3 with upside this week against the Packers. RB David Johnson is now the overall PPR RB12. It will be interesting to see if he renders Chris Johnson unnecessary in the offseason. His status as an RB1 going into next year might depend on that. After a promising 12 target game in Week 14 against the Cowboys, Packers WR Randall Cobb saw just seven targets in the Packers’ Week 15 win against the Raiders. That’s just not enough to support even a consistent WR2. Against Patrick Peterson and company Cobb is just a low-ceiling WR2.
- The Hardest Viking to Tackle
I had opinions that didn’t matter. Even after a few lackluster weeks, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is still the overall PPR RB2. Despite suffering an ankle injury last week, Peterson is listed as probably for the Vikings’ Sunday night tilt with the Giants, who have not been able to stop the run as of late and are now ranked just 21st in the league and giving up an average of 114.6 yards per game. Even though Peterson will be 31 next year, I learned long ago to stop doubting him. He’ll be a rock solid RB1 against the Giants. His teammate, WR Stefon Diggs is a great upside WR2 against a Giants defense that was shredded by Cam Newton last week and has a propensity for giving up big plays, especially when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie gets dinged up and missed a few snaps, a regularity in the Giants defense. Although Rashad Jennings has now had two decent games back-to-back, it’s still hard to trust anyone in the Giants backfield. With Odell Beckham, Jr. suspended for this game someone will get a lot of targets, but it could be Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris and his banged up shoulder or the pride of Stony Brook, Will Tye. Hopefully you’ve got a better option than guessing who it will be in the fantasy Super Bowl.
- Seven Nation Lockett
That ain’t what you want to hear, but that’s what I’ll do. Written off as gadget guy or a returner, Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett is actually the overall PPR WR12 since Week 11, averaging 17.94 PPR FPs over those five games. Along with Doug Baldwin, who is the overall PPR WR1 during that same span, they have helped Russell Wilson get back into the first tier dynasty QB conversation. But now Baldwin appears to be a game time decision against the Rams with a hamstring injury. It’s always hard to trust a guy, even someone that’s been as hot as Baldwin, when the hamstring is an issue because even if they play, there’s always that chance that there’s an aggravation and they are out for the game. If Baldwin doesn’t play, Lockett makes a nice upside WR3 play against a Rams defense that is ranked 21st against the pass and is averaging giving up 247.3 passing yards per game. Overall PPR RB8 Todd Gurley put his back-to-back duds against the Bengals and Cardinals behind him en route to decent fantasy games the last two weeks. But that TD did save his day against the Buccaneers in Week 15, where he carried the ball 21 times for just 48 yards. Gurley has thus struggled in his last three games against better rushing defenses and now gets a Seahawks’ rushing defense that is ranked third against the run and is giving up an average of just 83.9 yards per game. That makes Gurley more of a PPR RB2 for this week.