I haven’t written too much about my own teams this year in the report, and well, that’s because it’s not really why you are reading this column after all. But as we enter the second weekend of the fantasy playoffs, I hope you’ll indulge me as I talk about my squads briefly. I owned four fantasy football teams this year. One, my NFFC OLC squad, was an unmitigated disaster that reminded me of how bad a fantasy football season can get. My FSWA team was a mixed bag as Matthew Stafford helped dig a hole for me early, and a late season 5 game winning streak salvaged respectability, but left me just short of a playoff berth.
However, I do have two teams in the playoffs, in both of my local leagues here in NYC. I am the #1 seed in both leagues, which got me a Bye last week, and makes the the favorite to move on to the fantasy bowl this week. In both leagues I used the same blueprint. I went heavy on RB’s and Wr’s early, a recipe for success that has been highlighted by Greg Morgan in his NFFC columns lately. Both teams boast the same trio of RB’s: Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and Jamaal Charles. A.J. Green is the WR 1 on both squads. I’m going to go as far as those players take me more than likely, although the wild card on both squads at this point is Colin Kaepernick. I picked him up in both leagues a couple weeks back and I am starting him in both this week. We’ll see what happens.
I hope I’ve helped a few of your get as far, but of course the work is not done just yet. Let’s get to this week’s report.
Brandon Weeden, CLE – The Browns did something last week very uncharacteristic for them. They jumped out to an early lead and were able to coast in the 4th quarter for the first time all year. This week Weeden gets to work against the Redskins secondary, which has been torched all season by opposing QB’s, which makes Weeden worth a look in deeper leagues this week. I like him even more if RG3 sits this one out.
Sam Bradford, STL – There aren’t a lot of standout waiver-wire options at quarterback this week, which elevates Bradford into the discussion yet again. He gets the Vikings at home in the dome, and hopefully will have Danny Amendola back as well. Next week the gets the Bucs in Tampa Bay, so Bradford will likely be right back in this spot next week.
Nick Foles, PHI – Foles easily had his best game since taking over for Michael Vick last week, throwing for 381 yards and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay. Owners should be leery of this week’s tilt against a much tougher Bengals defense. The best plan of action here is to grab and stash Foles for his Week 16 game against the Redskins.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA- The Dolphins rookie can’t really be trusted with your playoff lives, but two home starts against the Jaguars and the Bills could result in his first back-to-back 2 TD games of the year. He’s kind of a desperation play in two-quarterback leagues, but at least the matchups are right.
Kirk Cousins, WAS – We still don’t know yet if Robert Griffin III is going to be able to play this week, and if he doesn’t, then Cousins will get the start for the Skins. The Browns defense is on a roll right now, find a better option if RG3 is your usual starter.
Week 14 Update:
Russell Wilson, SEA – I’ve written about Wilson enough the last few weeks, so if you have him on the roster you have to at least consider using him this week against the Bills.
Carson Palmer, OAK – Palmer delivered quality numbers and should continue that trend against the Chiefs this week.
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT- Big Ben came back with a bang last week, albeit in a losing effort. The Cowboys and Bengals will pose tougher tests, and he’s a risk to get re-injured at any point. While last week was great, don’t force him into your lineups this week.
David Wilson, NYG – I guess I’ve got to put Wilson at the top of this list in recognition of his massive breakout performance this past weekend, and because he is still un-owned in more than half of standard ESPN leagues. He did a little bit of everything, and now Ahmad Bradshaw is undergoing tests on his injured knee. He’s going to be flex-worthy the rest of the way, and if Bradshaw sits out, then Wilson skyrockets up the rankings for this week. We told you to grab Wilson in Week 13, after Andre Brown went down and now you see why. It’s yet another reminder to trim the fat from your playoff rosters and grab some RB handcuffs, even if they aren’t your own.
Bilal Powell, NYJ – We had Powell in the DD section last week, highlighting the fact that he had emerged as a solid flex option lately. Well he turned it up another notch last week with a season high 19 carries and another TD. Facing the Titans this week gives him a great chance to hit pay-dirt again this week.
Montell Owens, JCK – I told you last week that Ownes was at least worth grabbing, even if it meant just keeping him off an opponent’s roster. 15 touches, 102 yards and a TD later, and it’s possible the Jaguars just ride him the rest of the way as they play out the string.
Joique Bell, DET – Bell is another returning name from last week’s list as he has solidified his role in the Lions offense to the point where you can start him as a flex knowing he’s going to get his 10-12 touches.
Robert Turbin, SEA – Turbin racked up 20 carries and 108 yards after Seattle buried the Cardinals early last week. Obviously you can’t start him based on that, but if you are a Marshawn Lynch owner, please get his handcuff locked up.
DuJuan Harris, GB- Alex Green will still be the lead back for another week, but Harris got seven carries and scored on a 14 yard scamper when the Packers O-line opened up a nice hole. Green hasn’t been anything special, and actually functions better in a time-share, so expect Harris to keep splitting carries, at least for another week. He’s worth a shot in really deep leagues as a potential winning lottery ticket.
Week 14 Update:
Bryce Brown, PHI – The two week dream run for Brown came to a crushing halt against the Bucs as the waiver-wire darling managed only 6 yards on 12 carries after back-to-back monster performances. If you started him last week in your playoffs, there is a good chance you lost. But if you survived, don’t be afraid to roll with the bruising RB, especially if LeSean McCoy remains sidelined.
Knowshon Moreno, DEN – I told you last week to start Moreno with confidence and worry about the Ravens game this week. With the way the Ravens have been playing lately, and the way Moreno is functioning within this offense, he should be able to have another solid effort this week. Not a monster week, but start-worthy for sure.
DeAngelo Williams, CAR – Williams finally rewarded the poor owners who wasted draft picks or FAAB on him this year. You of course know what happens next right, he’ll kill you if you rely on him this week. If he can do it again this week, maybe I’ll relax my stance against the Raiders in Week 16, but til then my advice stands: Flex him if you must, bench him if you can.
Dwayne Harris, DAL- Dez Bryant broke his finger last week, and while he has sworn to play with it taped, there is the very real possibility that he will not be able to effectively. Harris had already worked his way up to the WR3 spot the last few weeks, and would stand to gain the most value if Bryant isn’t successful in his quest to get on the field.
Kris Durham, DET – Okay, so last week I told you to go out and grab Mike Thomas in the wake of Ryan Broyles’ season-ending injury. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was expecting him to play. Instead it was practice squad find Durham who got the start and was on the field most of the day. I can’t get too excited about him at this point, to tell you the truth.
Rod Streater, OAK- Okay, I was wrong about Streater, who followed up his big Week 13 with another solid performance. I still don’t think you can trust him in any given week, but I’ll give him his due after dissing him last week.
Jeremy Kerley, NYJ- Kerley kind of hit rock bottom last week against the Jaguars, and as such his owners may have finally given up on him this week. The Titans D at least gives Kerley some upside as a desperation flex this week.
Jonathan Baldwin, KC-Dwayne Bowe is out for the year, and his owners will be scrambling for a replacement. Baldwin is the logical option now that he will take over as the Chiefs primary receiver. A date with the Raiders provides opportunity, but this passing game hasn’t been trustworthy all year, and that was with Bowe in the lineup
Week 14 Update:
Josh Gordon, CLE – Gordon has caught 14 passes for 202 yards the past two weeks and gets the Skins this week. It’s possible you’ve been forced to lean on Gordon like I have in a league where I lost Percy Harvin weeks ago. If that’s the case, I see no reason to sit Gordon this week.
Tony Scheffler, DET – I predicted an increase in work for the veteran TE, and an injury to Brandon Pettigrew opened the door to 10 targets and a touchdown grab. With the injuries to the receiving corps in Detroit, Scheffler should see a lot of bals thrown his way again this week.
Clay Harbor, PHI – Brent Celek suffered a concussion and will not play this week opening the door for Harbor to take over. He showed last week that he can be effective in this offense. There are worse long-shots to take with the Redskins looming in Week 16.
Dennis Pitta, BAL- Pitta got back in the end-zone finally last week, and now gets a new OC who hopefully will open things up again in Baltimore.
Ben Watson, CLE – Watson is a deep league name, and only due to the Redskins match-up.
Anthony McCoy, SEA- McCoy put up 105 yards in the blowout of the Cardinals. One fluky game isn’t enough for me to invest in him just yet.
Week 14 Update:
Lions – The Lions will be the latest team to take advantage of the Cardinals shell of an offense. They are the team to get off the wire this week.
Dolphins- Miami is a sneaky start this week as well against a Jacksonville team that is missing too many playmakers on offense.
Dan Carpenter, MIA – Carpenter makes an intriguing playoff K option with two home games against Jacksonville and Buffalo.