“As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.”
-1 Samuel 17:1-25:7
Don’t fret, you are still at the Dynasty League Football website and not a weekly Bible study. The story of David and Goliath is oft quoted to describe any underdog situation. As a society, we are enamored with cheering for people to not only defy the odds, but doing so in simplistic yet spectacular fashion. Hollywood has capitalized on this desire as movies like the Mighty Ducks or the Karate Kid (the 80s version, not the nonsense remake with Jayden Smith!) highlight a person or team defying all odds to bring home the trophy.
David’s slingshot, the Flying V of the Ducks, or Danielson’s Crane Kick all highlight an important idea; sometimes it only takes a simple action to bring down a giant. Enter the below list of players. Now let me be perfectly clear about one thing, I am NOT advocating starting anyone mentioned in this article over any reliable, consistent fantasy contributor or a stud player who has had a few down weeks. Please read my article from a few weeks ago if you’re considering this at ANY point during this stretch run.
These players are designed for those dynasty degenerates who may be facing long odds in their playoff matchup and/or are searching for that last starter in a Flex spot in leagues with no kickers or defenses (the preferable way to operate a dynasty league).
Ok, everyone just take a deep breath… you’ve made it through one of the craziest opening round playoff weeks in recent memory. Either you had one or more of Derrick Henry, Amari Cooper, George Kittle, or JuJu Smith-Schuster in your lineup; weren’t facing a team with any of those four players; or had a bye week.
No matter the road traveled, you’re here in the semifinals of your league playoffs (or the opening round if your commissioner hates you). The players listed below (with the exception of Justin Jackson) are not recommended for those with heart conditions as they are extremely risky. To repeat from the opening vignette, DO NOT PLAY THESE PLAYERS OVER AN ESTABLISHED STARTER.
A victory this week and you’ll be one win away from the holy grail of dynasty football and losing… is unacceptable!
Week 14 Slingshot Plays
Josh Allen, QB BUF: 18/36, 206 Yards, 2 INTs; 9 Att, 101 Yards, 1 TD, 1 Fumble – Hit (QB8 as of Monday night)
Jeff Wilson Jr., RB SF: 23 Att, 90 Yards; 2 Targets, 1 Rec, 6 Yards – Hit
Jaylen Samuels, RB PIT: 7 Targets, 7 Receptions, 64 Yards; 11 Att, 28 Yards – Hit
Stevan Ridley, RB PIT: 5 Att, 4 Yards, 1 TD – Miss
Chris Godwin, WR TB: 10 Targets, 1 Rec, 13 Yards – Miss
Ian Thomas, TE CAR: 11 Targets, 9 Recs, 77 Yards – Hit
(Note: For our purposes, a QB scoring over 20 points in a four-point passing touchdown league and a skill position player finishing with ten PPR or more.)
Allen’s rushing stats are literally saving his fantasy stat lines (QB8 in week 14) from being terrible. Keep streaming him at your own risk as sooner or later he’s going to hit his floor, and I’d hate for it to end your season. The rushing yardage total for Wilson Jr. was great, but the game flow (the 49ers jumped out to a 20-0 lead in the first half) made his receiving upside near non-existent. If Matt Breida is out, fire up Wilson as a low-end RB2 in a game against a streaking Seattle team which should resemble the matchup two weeks ago where he scored 19.4 points.
Samuels’ day was solid, but he couldn’t reach his full potential with Ben Roethlisberger sitting out the majority of the second half. He’s a rock-solid RB2 for as long as James Conner is sidelined. Ridley is absolutely useless unless both Conner and Samuels are out of the lineup.
If I would have told you on Sunday at 12:55 pm that Godwin was going to have a team-leading ten targets, you would have felt good about the final product. Godwin remains a solid flex play as the week 14 results were more of a fluke. Thomas led his team in targets and is a low-end TE1 for the remainder of the season.
Week 15 Slingshot Plays
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Kenneth Dixon, RB, BAL
Dixon is akin to the Bigfoot of the dynasty community. Few claim to have seen his potential to be a starting caliber fantasy back, while the rest of us just humor them and snicker behind their backs. (Yes, any television show which devotes it’s entire running time to finding this MYTHICAL [read: NOT. REAL.] creature deserves to be mocked.) Well, Dixon truthers unite! The Sasquatch might finally be emerging from his hiding spot in the deep, dark forest of injured reserve.
In his second game back from injury on Sunday, the LA Tech product played 32.4% of the offensive snaps, ran for 59 yards and a score on eight carries, and caught his only target for 21 yards. Additionally, rookie running back Gus Edwards has seen both his number of carries (23, 21, 16) and yardage totals (118, 82, 67) decline the past three weeks. Dixon also looks to be the more efficient goalline back as he’s found paydirt on both of his chances inside the ten this season while Edwards was stuffed on three opportunities.
John Harbaugh has said he could see a larger role for his oft-injured back, but I’m not banking my trip to the Finals on frivolous coachspeak. Plus, Ty Montgomery has still received 11 touches the past two games (6 receptions, 5 rushes) making this three-headed monster of a running back committee far from a safe play. Yet, you could do worse for a flex play than a back likely to see both goal-line touches and targets against a Tampa Bay defense that has been generous to opposing fantasy running backs the last four weeks (third most points allowed).
Darren Sproles, RB PHI
Of all of these slingshot plays, Darren Sproles is the most likely to have your stone-launching device come back and hit you square in the face. In simplest terms (like Josh Allen last week), this play will take an owner with a strong constitution and no digestive troubles.
Sproles led all Eagles’ running backs in snaps with 23 (44%) in week 14 against Dallas producing two yards on his only carry while catching all three of his targets for 34 yards scoring the game-tying touchdown. The 13-year veteran is the team’s obvious choice for a satellite back as he was the only Philly running back to receive a target in the overtime affair.
The Eagles are likely to play from behind and/or need to throw early and often to matchup with the Rams’ potent offense in a projected high scoring (O/U: 53.5) Sunday night affair in the City of Angels. Again, counting on garbage time production from a player on a team that shuttles in four running backs per game is as risky as it gets. Unfortunately, in this unforgiving fantasy landscape of injuries and suspensions, beggars can’t be choosers.
Justin Jackson, RB LAC
It’s appearing more and more likely the Chargers will be without both Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler in a critical Thursday Night Football matchup against the division-leading Chiefs. Gordon was seeing 19.7 touches per game in a lead back role. Therefore, if both players sit, the Northwestern product is an RB1 with top-five upside on volume alone. Should the former Pro-Bowler attempt to give it a go (it appears Ekeler isn’t playing), Jackson is still a low-end RB2 as Gordon would likely be on a strict snap count. Jackson has by far the safest floor of all these plays and needs to be in your lineup if he’s on your roster unless your team has an embarrassment of riches.
Robert Foster, BUF WR
In just his last four games, rookie Foster has almost doubled his receiving yards (330-174) and equaled the touchdowns (1) from his senior season at the professional football factory known as the University of Alabama. Foster has played 62.4% of the offensive snaps and is second on the team in targets (18) over the same span.
In week 14, the Bama product had his most complete game catching seven of eight targets for 104 yards (showing he’s more than just a deep-threat) while participating in nearly all (96%) of the offensive snaps. As with all of these plays, there’s a high degree of danger involved. The Josh Allen bubble could burst at any minute and/or the Bills might stick to the ground game in what projects (O/U: 38) to be a disgusting game for offense. Still, Foster has emerged as a top weapon in the Buffalo passing game and could be a week-winning play should he catch a few deep touchdowns from his big-armed quarterback.
Anthony Firkser, TE TEN
What if I told you the TE10 in PPR leagues over the last four weeks was 0% owned (as of Tuesday evening) in Yahoo leagues? Enter Firkser. The Harvard alum has caught all 13 of his targets for 165 receiving yards and a score the last four games.
Don’t be like the uninformed lemmings who will simply look at the Titans depth chart, see Luke Stocker as Jonnu Smith’s backup, and pick him up. Yes, the Tennessee product played 39 offensive snaps (65%) in week 14 compared to just 23 (38.3%) for Firkser. Yet, Stocker is primarily utilized for his run-blocking prowess and has had minimal involvement in the passing game (12/116/1) on the season. Also (coachspeak alert!), head coach Mike Vrabel said at Monday’s press conference the former Crimson’s role was set to expand for the rest of the season.
As I said in last week’s article, you can’t be picky when you’re rifling through the flaming dumpster known as the tight end position in fantasy football. Last week, we pulled the weekly TE5 from the muck and I’m confident Firkser will have a solid game.
Do you disagree with any of my assessments? Have a tough lineup decision not involving any of the above players? Reach out on Twitter or in the below comments.
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- 20/20: Justin Fields, QB Ohio State - February 28, 2021