What a goofy week: one that at least as I was writing, didn't show a lot of quarterback promise for a lot of us.
It started with Derek Carr basically being shut down by the Chiefs on Thursday, grabbing a massive 6.5 points for me in a couple of leagues. I think it is well known what a Raider fan I am, but truthfully, I was not so upset by the loss, for the Oaklanders had a six-game winning streak during which all the victories were tight. And, I do think the Raiders are indeed good, but winning seven games is hard. I'm thinking the team will take away a lot more of what they can do right next time, something not as significant when you win.
But, I had Carson Palmer as a DFS play and through the first half of his game, he had 3.8 points, and for a long time, Palmer was paddling in negative-point land thanks to a pair of picks and a fumble coupled with a lot of incompleted passes. Palmer did get it together over the second half as the Cardinals still lost thanks to some horrible special teams, particularly hovering around the kicking unit.
Do we even need to discuss Russell Wilson and his five-pick disaster? I think not, but owners, you have my sympathy. At least my team with Wilson was already knocked out of the playoffs.
I also played Colin Kaepernick as a DFS gamble, because we all saw how ineffective the Jets were on defense last week, but in the end Kaepernick earned ten points the first five minutes of the game and .94 the rest of the game as the Niners completely choked away what should have been a nice win over the Jets.
Well, maybe the Niners did not so much choke as did the Jets reach bottom, and dig out with some good work from Bilal Powell, of whom I have previously written, but also thanks to Bryce Petty and Robby Anderson.
Petty and Anderson did connect for a TD last week after Petty took the reigns from Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the second-year player from Baylor struggled in the first half, allowing a pick in his first series, but then slowly settling in and taking control in a fine overtime comeback, throwing for a total of 257 yards. The early interception was really the only mistake, and after that, Petty did well handling the ball, and clearly gained confidence as the game progressed. And, it is true, he was facing the Niners, and not the Broncos, or a team with some actual defense. Still, Petty did look alright and is worth watching for future considerations. I have to think the Jets are indeed better than what we have seen. As for the Niners, well, what you see is what you get, unfortunately.
But, Anderson, a rookie out of Temple, grabbed four passes last week including the TD, and nabbed six of ten targets on Sunday. He does seem to have a connection with Petty, so do indeed follow the pair the rest of the season, and consider Anderson a decent outlier WR for your DFS play.
Another QB change came with the poor Browns, who finally got a chance to display Robert Griffin III in a game against the Bengals, one I actually thought the team could win. Ooops. Griffin did bootleg a ball over the goal line, but his 12-for-28 day was good for just 104 yards and an interception. Griffin might be a talented guy, but similarly he is way brittle, and though I do think some good stuff is going on in Cleveland, I don't think RGIII will have anything to do with any kind of renaissance.
Arizona played a horribly sloppy game against the Dolphins, one that actually proved to be kind of fun to watch, at least in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals overcame Palmer's horrible first half to come within eight points, needing just an extra point kick to come within seven. But, after blowing one PA, and a pair of field goals, the kick was blocked and Miami ran the block back for two points, meaning Arizona required eight to just tie. If you watched, Palmer got the eight, but the team then went dormant.
But, two of the scores were courtesy of J.J. Nelson, one the result of an eight-yard reception, and the other thanks to a 55-yard jaunt. So, the fact that Nelson bagged 17 fantasy points by virtue of two plays suggests his role is not that great, but the second-year player could indeed see more and more touches in deference to the aging Larry Fitzgerald (he is like vintage wine, so that is not a slam) and the injured John Brown.
Jacksonville is yet another team that is all over the place, and for the second week, wideout Bryan Walters banged out 31 yards with four catches, this time also nailing a TD, his second of the season. Walters has just nine receptions this year on a team thought to have a great receiving corps with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, but the entire team seems to be struggling under the weight of last year's success. Walters might get some looks, but the fifth-year player is not much of an answer to much of anything.
On the other hand, Tyler Boyd, of the Bengals, could be a guy to watch. Boyd, also playing in the vacuum of injured/ineffective players, is a rookie who bagged six catches for 49 yards and ran twice for 40 more on Sunday. The Pittsburgh alum now has 48 catches for the season for 526 yards with a score, but Boyd is a guy I do see with an increasing role, meaning he needs to be on your radar, especially in dynasty leagues.
A couple of defensive guys caught my eye this week, starting with the Dolphins' Andre Branch, who now has 5.5 sacks this season to go with 39 tackles and a pair of forced fumbles. The fifth-year player, a former Jaguar, has a shot at setting a career high in sacks with just one more. As the Dolphins try to push to the post-season, Branch could make a good cheap play if your format allows.
More promising, however, is Niners rookie DeForest Buckner (despite the team's woes). Buckner, out of Oregon, managed a pair of sacks against the Jets on Sunday to bring his total to five to go with 65 tackles. I am looking to grab Buckner this week in my league that allows three individual defensive players.
You can follow me @lawrmichaels.