- Another Stud Bites The Dust
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? I guess you can still call Seahawks TE Jimmy Graham a stud even if the move west has taken him out of the consensus TE2 conversation. Graham finishes his season after Week 12 as the PPR TE9 in total points. We discussed Graham on this week’s DLF Podcast and Karl identified the curse of the Seahawks trading a first round pick for an offensive skill position player (see Harvin, Percy). At this point, I think Graham’s value is a mid 2nd given that the return from a patellar tendon injury can be very tricky (see Cruz, Victor), especially for a player that is about to be 30 next season. Given his infrequent usage, I’m not sure that it affects the outlook of Russell Wilson this week in a tough matchup against the Vikings 4th ranked passing defense that is only giving up an average of 223.5 passing yards per game. Although Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes has been inconsistent this year, he did hold Julio Jones to five receptions on seven targets for 56 yards last week. So I wouldn’t count on Doug Baldwin coming close to repeating his six receptions for 145 yards and three TD performance this week. Between Weeks 9 and 12, Vikings WR Stefon Diggs is just the PPR WR62 in average FPs per game. Getting an ample dose of Richard Sherman means that Adrian Peterson is the only Viking that I want to start this week.
- Crazy Little Thing Called Brock
He leaves me in a cold cool sweat. He hasn’t been fantasy gold, but Broncos QB Brock Osweiler has certainly been better that Peyton Manning in the first two starts of his career. WR Emmanuel Sanders was able to score 17.3 PPR points with Osweiler at the helm in Week 12 and CJ Anderson has been the PPR RB6 and Ronnie Hillman the PPR RB20 in the two weeks that Osweiler has started. The main problem has been Demaryius Thomas who has not looked to be on the same page with Osweiler, especially in the Week 12 loss to the Patriots where he caught just one of 13 targets for 36 yards. I think Thomas will show more effort and more chemistry with Osweiler going forward. This week would be a good time to start against the Chargers’ 22nd ranked passing defense that is giving up an average of 253.9 yards per game. Allen Robinson caught five of 11 targets for 56 yards and a TD last week. Rob Gronkowski caught six of 10 targets for 88 yards and a TD against the Broncos last week before leaving with that scary looking knee injury. Good times could continue for Antonio Gates who scored two TDs last week against the Jaguars.
- Amphibious Rhapsody
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? More firings in Miami as run-averse Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor (who sounds like a made up Strong Bad [inlinead]?character) was given the axe. Hopefully this will result in a meaningful workload for the criminally underused Lamar Miller who is the overall PPR RB4 despite the fact that he has received just 12 carries in his last two games combined. In addition, with WR Rishard Matthews out with a rib injury, we will finally get to see the starting debut of WR DeVante Parker who has struggled with his return from a foot injury and resulting slowed learning curve. Parker caught four of ten targets last week for 80 yards and a TD. A similar workload against the Ravens’ 24th ranked passing defense that is giving up an average of 258.6 yards per game is certainly attainable. To the delight of his dynasty owners that have been waiting for this chance, Parker is a high upside flier for this week. Although he predictably threw a pick six, Ravens QB Matt Schaub was not awful against the Browns in Week 12, throwing for 232 yards and two TDs to go with two INTs. Kamar Aiken is a decent WR3 start. Rookie RB Buck Allen looked very good and natural as a receiver last week in catching four of five targets for 29 yards and a TD to go with 12 carries for 55 yards. He should provide PPR RB2 value the rest of the way.
- Doug Martin is Somebody to Love
I have spent all my years believing in him. In a contract year because the Buccaneers declined his fifth year option, RB Doug Martin is currently the PPR RB5 in total FPs and is second in the league in rushing yards as one of two players with at least 1,000 rushing yards by the end of Week 12 (the other is Adrian Peterson). The only thing holding Martin back from challenging Peterson and Devonta Freeman for the top two RB spots is his relative lack of TDs. It will be interesting to see if he moves on next year to a place that commits to give him goal line carries. He has just three rushing TDs and one receiving TD this year. Last time Martin played the Falcons in Week 9, he had 71 rushing yards on 23 carries and caught his only target for seven yards. Speaking of Freeman, he returns from his concussion absence against a Buccaneers defense that has been fairly stout against the run and is ranked 12th in the league in average yards per game given up. Fortunately, Freeman is third in the league in RB receptions with 48 and that’s having missed almost two entire games. Freeman’s usage dictates that he is a matchup proof RB1. Although rookie RB Tevin Coleman looked good last week gaining 110 yards on 18 carries, he also failed to secure either of his two targets and lost a fumble. I expect Freeman’s workload to return to normal.
- Woe Are the Champions
It’s been no bed of roses. No pleasure cruise. The bevy of injuries that have befallen the New England Patriots has been staggering. This week they will be without Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman and stud TE Rob Gronkowski and with, if he plays, a less than 100% Danny Amendola. Tom Brady is still the overall QB1, but his lack of weapons is a little frightening. Fortunately this week he gets the Eagles’ hapless passing defense that is ranked 20th in the league and gave up 337 passing yards to Matthew Stafford on Thanksgiving. Brady is still a locked and loaded QB1. Scott Chandler will fill in for Gronk at TE this week and is in line for a bucketload of targets. Eight targets is probably his floor. He’s a nice mid-TE1 option while Gronk is out. It doesn’t look like Ryan Mathews will be back from his concussion this week, so DeMarco Murray is probably still an RB1 based on volume, but it is disconcerting to say the least that the Eagles continue to ask him to run east/west instead of the north/south running that is right in Murray’s wheelhouse. Hopefully he can find some success against a banged up Patriots defense that surrendered 179 rushing yards to the Broncos last week.
- Blake Bortles is Under Pressure
It’s the terror of knowing what this world’s all about. Just when you think that Jaguars QB Blake Bortles is about to turn the corner, he goes and lays an egg against a beatable Chargers passing defense last week. He still put together a good fantasy day – the QB6 in Week 12 and the overall QB7. Perhaps part of the issue is the amount of pressure that Bortles has been under. Bortles is tied for second in the league having been sacked 34 times through 11 games. He doesn’t have a great matchup this week against a Titans passing defense that is giving up the sixth fewest passing yards per game this year and will be without WR Allen Hurns. But with Allen Robinson trending towards the first tier of dynasty WRs — currently the PPR WR8 — and with Julius Thomas finally looking healthy and developing some chemistry with Bortles, he is still in the low-end QB1 conversation. Marcus Mariota is in that discussion as well against a Jaguars passing defense that is ranked 26th in the league in average passing yards per game given up. Delanie Walker is the overall PPR TE5 despite the fact that he missed a game and has established himself as an every week TE1.[ad5]?