For many, it’s the first round of the fantasy playoffs.
We’re talking one-and-done from here on out. Install your
best lineup and hope to “survive and advance.”
Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
- Henry David Thoreau
Russell Wilson will have to continue his
hot streak if he's going to duplicate his 2014 fantasy season.
1) Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson
has disappointed fantasy owners this season.
True, but it’s not his arm that is the problem, it’s
his legs. Wilson has already thrown more touchdown passes than he
did in 16 games last season (21 vs. 20). He’ll likely throw
for more yards too, as he’s averaging 249.8 ypg vs. 217.2
ypg in 2014. No, the problem is with his legs. Last season Wilson
rushed for 849 yards and six touchdowns, but in 2015 he’s
rushed for just 450 yards and one score. Even extrapolating through
16 games, his legs will yield 53.1 less fantasy points in 2015.
2) Peyton Manning ranks 36th in FPts/G
this season, producing 16.1 per game.
Manning averaged 23 FPts/G over the first 14 years of his career
(224 games), but it appears he can’t play in Gary Kubiak’s
“system.” Incidentally, Brock Osweiler is also producing
16.1 FPts/G, so fantasy owners who plugged him into their lineup
hoping for an increase in production are probably still disgruntled.
3) Handcuffing running backs really
Three of the top-five running backs based on FPts/G have been lost
for the season and in two of the three cases the replacement has
put together very good numbers. After Jamaal Charles (16.8 FPts/G)
went down, Charcandrick West has done an excellent job as his replacement.
It’s the same story with Le’Veon Bell (14.5) and DeAngelo
Williams. It’s only in Houston, where the Texans haven’t
found a good option to replace Arian Foster (14.3), that fantasy
owners have come up short. And don’t forget the job Jeremy
Langford did when Matt Forte injured his knee.
4) Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson has
become an elite receiver and is in the running for “Sleeper of the
Just check out the top-five fantasy receivers: DeAndre Hopkins (14.7
FPts/G), Antonio Brown (14.7), Odell Beckham Jr. (14.6), Robinson
(14.5) and Julio Jones (14.2). The difference between Robinson and
the other four wideouts is that the other receivers were first-
or second-round fantasy selections while Robinson was a sixth-round
option (ADP 64). Robinson leads all wideouts with 11 touchdown catches
after a three-touchdown, 33.3-point performance last Sunday. Next
up for Robinson is a matchup against the less-than-elite Colts pass
5) Doug Baldwin has become a WR1.
After posting single-digit fantasy points in seven of the first
eight games, Baldwin has averaged 19.8 FPts/G since Seattle’s
Week 9 bye. With Jimmy Graham gone for the remainder of the season,
Baldwin should remain a top option. Strangely, he’s owned
in less than 65 percent of all leagues. The Seahawks face two bottom-five
pass defenses in Baltimore and Cleveland in the first two rounds
of the fantasy playoffs, so if he’s still available in your
league, pick him up today and start him on Sunday.
It is easier to believe a lie that one has heard a thousand
times than to believe a fact that no one has heard before.
- Unknown source
1) “I knew the Eagles were going to upset the Patriots this week,”
unknown Eagles fan.
A complete lie. Not even Philly fans thought they had a chance last
Sunday. It was the Philadelphia defense/special teams that led the
way, as they did many times in 2014 when they led the league in
fantasy points behind 11 return touchdowns. They have totaled just
six this season after hitting for three (a blocked punt, punt return
and interception for touchdown) against the Patriots. That combination
has only happened three times in NFL history: by the 1992 Eagles,
2014 Eagles, and 2015 Eagles. Despite giving up 302 points in 12
games this season, last Sunday’s points barrage pushed the
Eagles D/ST into second place behind only Denver averaging 7.6 FPts/G.
2) As we saw on Sunday, Tom Brady’s
fantasy value shouldn’t take a hit even without Rob Gronkowski in
False. Despite posting 35.3 points against the Eagles last Sunday,
since 2010 when Gronkowski arrived in New England, Brady has averaged
24.8 FPts/G with his favorite tight end in the lineup and just 19.6
when he is inactive. “Gronk” is unlikely to return from
his knee injury for the matchup with Houston in Week 14.
3) Marcus Mariota proved last weekend
that he’s ready to lead your fantasy team to the “promised land.”
Not so fast. Yes, he put together a monster game against Jacksonville,
throwing for three touchdowns and running for a fourth, but the
rookie is not yet ready for “Prime Time.” Mariota has
learned how to beat up on his weakest opponents, but he’s
struggled against the better teams. He’s averaged 28.3 FPts/G
against; Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Oakland
and Jacksonville, none of which ranks above 20th in defense against
opposing quarterbacks, but just 13.6 against Buffalo, Miami and
Carolina. The schedule has Tennessee facing the New York Jets, New
England Patriots and Houston Texans over the next three weeks so
be careful about using him in the playoffs.
4) Buffalo tailback LeSean McCoy holds
no ill-will toward former coach Chip Kelly.
For the former Eagles star, it’s a perfect time to return
to Philadelphia. He’s healthy. He’s posted double-digit
fantasy points in seven straight games and he can deal a crushing
blow to Kelly’s miraculously-still-alive playoff hopes with
a Bills win at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles rank 27th in
rushing yards allowed and 20th in fantasy points to opposing running
backs. And don’t forget the off-season controversy McCoy stirred
up by calling his former coach a racist. It’s unlikely that
the pair will shake hands before or after the game.
5) The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is
rolling at just the right time with the fantasy playoffs set to
start this week.
While it’s true that the Steelers are averaging 35.75 ppg over the
past four games, check out their schedule before getting too excited.
Pittsburgh faces Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium (ranked sixth
against opposing QBs, eighth against RBs and 10th against WRs) on
Sunday. They could only score 10 points against the Bengals in their
previous meeting. Then Pittsburgh hosts the best defense in the
NFL in Week 15 – Denver. It’s not likely that you will want to sit
Bryant or DeAngelo
Williams over the next two weekends, just don’t expect them
to be as productive as they have been over the past month.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.