If you were expecting a third week in a row of Brian Malone in this spot, your prayers have been answered. I’m back! But seriously, I want to thank Brian from the bottom of my bearded heart for filling in for me the past two weeks, as I was incredibly busy with a ton of family events for the holidays and an actual vacation. Let me just say, if you’re a fan of craft beer, get out to Colorado as soon as possible. Somehow I tricked my girlfriend into letting me visit six breweries during our vacation and added about 35 beers to my Untappd log. It’s a delicious state.
Now, how about some football?
For the second time in two weeks, Ben Roethlisberger was held without a touchdown pass, leaving Brian’s Steelers passing stack at only 16.9 points. In his defense, who would have bet on the Ravens’ defense in this one? You got it; the correct answer is “people who want to win at fantasy football.” Again, in Brian’s defense, I think most people would have expected Martavis Bryant and Antonio Brown to carve up their mediocre defense.
The stack to add to the Steelers stack, Karlos Williams and the Bills defense, didn’t fair quite as highly as hoped. The combined 25.7 points was hurt in large part to Mike Gillislee taking opportunities away from Williams and scoring 17.9 points. If Gillislee isn’t a name ringing any bells, it’s because you are a self-respecting person, not a Dolphins fan like me. He had totaled 21 rushing yards in his three year career prior to week thirteen.
Again, Blake Bortles played like a man among Ewoks, scoring 31.22 points and finishing as the second highest scoring quarterback of the week. However, Julius Thomas could only muster two receptions and 2.2 points. It turns out Allen Robinson was the droid he was looking for. He and his fellow receiver, Allen Hurns, finished as the week’s third and fourth highest scoring receivers, scoring a combined 50.7 points. Stacked with Bortles, the total was a staggering 81.92.
For the money, fading the stack of Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin was a good move. The two combined for 42.26 points. Baldwin by himself was a very solid play, but Wilson was far too expensive for the point total.
Now, let’s move on to this week. Week seventeen is always a difficult call. Who will sit? What teams will actually put their best product on the field and not quit on their lame duck coach? Is Cam Newton a Jedi quarterback? These are all really difficult questions to ask oneself when setting lineups. Hopefully, we can come up with some strong options for the week. Remember, these stacks are recommended for GPPs with over 50 entries.
Ben Roethlisberger, QB PIT
Antonio Brown, WR PIT
Martavis Bryant, WR PIT
After a terrible week, the Steelers’ passing attack absolutely must rebound if they are going to make the playoffs. There is no real way around it. Fortunately, they get the Browns’ defense, which is just dreadful against opposing quarterbacks and nearly as bad against receivers.
The last time the Steelers and Browns played, this stack was worth 85.66 points. While it’s not wise to count on so many points again, Roethlisberger ($8,800), Brown ($9,100) and Bryant ($7,100) are three quality options to build your lineup around.
Eli Manning, QB NYG
Odell Beckham Jr., WR NYG
These two have spent a fair amount of time in this column throughout the season, and for good reason. Beckham Jr. ($8,900) is averaging nearly one full touchdown per game. Seriously, he has 13 touchdowns in 14 games. That is otherworldly! Manning ($7,500) has been no slouch, either, throwing multiple touchdown passes in six of the last eight games, en route to the highest touchdown total in his career.
The Giants host the coach-less Eagles in a meaningless game. This is exactly the type of game where Manning puts up big passing totals, because that is just the most Eli thing one can do. If the Giants have any love left for Coach Tom Coughlin, they will absolutely demolish the Eagles.
Stack of the Weak
Brian Hoyer, QB HOU
DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU
Hopkins ($9,000) has really come into his own this year. He has had four quarterbacks spend extensive time in the backfield, and still he has had the best year of his career. With Hoyer ($6,900) returning this week in a division clinching game, this stack is like a juicy steak.
Hopkins had his best game of the season in week six against the Jaguars, but I promise this isn’t the only reason why I like them this week. They have something to prove. The Texans haven’t won the division since 2012, and I think that will be an even bigger motivator than most people expect. This probably won’t be the best week either player has had this year statistically, but they will still far exceed value.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB NYJ
Brandon Marshall, WR NYJ
Eric Decker, WR NYJ
These three players have also spent a lot of time in this column. What is the easiest way for the Jets to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs? Just win. Literally the only thing they have to do. Fitzpatrick ($7,800) has had a career year after spending much of said career hopping from team to team, never really latching on as a “franchise quarterback.” This year, he has shut up the naysayers, me included.
Marshall ($8,600) has looked rejuvenated while setting a career mark in touchdown receptions and eclipsing 100 receptions for the sixth time. Decker ($7,400) has been a reliable and consistent number two receiver putting up WR1 points. He has scored at least 10 points in every single game he’s played in this year. These three have a difficult matchup against the Bills this week, but I don’t see their production waning any time soon.