It’s the final week for byes and
while only two teams are off it’s the two most prolific
scoring teams – the Rams and Chiefs. In one of my leagues,
14 players were started Monday night (including both kickers and
Only a couple of weeks remain before the playoffs begin. Now
is not the time to rest and relax. If you are fighting for a playoff
spot, make the pickups or trades needed. If you have clinched
a playoff spot you can still adjust your roster based on favorable
“Facts don't care about your feelings.” - Ben
1) If Tampa coach Dirk Koetter would
just leave his quarterback in the entire game, fantasy owners
wouldn’t care which one starts.
In games where the Bucsí quarterback has started AND finished,
they are averaging 34.4 fantasy points. Thatís five games
for Ryan Fitzpatrick (averaging 34.42) and two games for Jameis Winston (averaging 34.35). In three games they split time. Meanwhile,
Patrick Mahomes is averaging a league-leading 32.7 FPts/G. Winston
is expected to start in Week 12.
2) The champion Philadelphia Eagles will
likely finish the season as the worst defending champion of the
Super Bowl era.
This one hurts me personally. Only six champions finished the
following season with a losing record and the worst 16-game record
is 6-10 by the 1999 Denver Broncos. The Eagles are an ugly 4-6
and will face just one team with a losing record over the final
six games. Given a secondary with just one starter healthy from
last yearís team (Malcolm Jenkins) and a mediocre pass rush, itís
possible they lose five of six. The primary culprit, however,
is the offense which ranked third last season (28.6 ppg) and is
sitting at No. 24 this season (20.5 ppg). Fantasy owners who continue
to ride the low-flying Eagles do so at your own risk.
3) Finding a replacement for Alex Smith
should be easy for fantasy owners.
A lot easier than for the Washington Redskins. Fantasy owners
have 31 quarterbacks who average more than the 17.2 FPts/G that
Smith was producing in 2018. Colt McCoy, however, isnít
likely to be a viable option. Since coming into the league in
2010 with the Cleveland Browns, a year with San Francisco and
three season in Washington, McCoy has never averaged more than
16.5 FPts/G. In fact, he has thrown for 300 yards just twice in
his career (25 starts).
4) Christian McCaffrey has become a touchdown
True. For all of 2017 and the first half of 2018 the Panthers
didnít use McCaffrey to score, only to get them in position
to score. Over the past three weeks the Stanford product has produced
five touchdowns. Over that span, McCaffrey has produced the most
points among fantasy backs. Itís not a coincidence that
Cam Newton hasnít run one in over that time.
5) Add Ron Rivera to the list of foolish
coaches going for two points instead of a tie and overtime.
As an owner of Cam Newton and Kenny Golladay, I was excited as
the Panthers drove for a game-tying score with 1:07 remaining
in the game, only to be shocked by Riveraís decision to
go for the win on a two-point conversion instead of a game-tying
extra point. Perhaps he should have talked to Mike Vrabel, who
tried the same thing, with similar results, in Week 7 against
the Los Angeles Chargers in London. Graham Gano is 25-of-28 on
extra points this season (89.3%). The Panthers are 2-for-5 on
two-point conversions (40%). Facts are facts.
“The best lies to tell are the ones people want to believe”
- Jasper Fforde
1) In a game with 105 points, surely the best running back in
football got his share of the workload and fantasy points.
False. For some reason, Sean McVay was too busy throwing all
over the lot to give his star back, Todd Gurley, the ball. Gurley
managed just 15 touches for the game, including six first-half
running plays. He totaled 9.4 fantasy points after failing to
score for the first time all season. Late news Ė McVay said
Gurley injured his ankle early in the game, but it was never announced.
2) TreíQuan Smith, ranked eighth among
wide receivers over the past three weeks, belongs among the other
more famous WR1s.
Sorry, no. Heís the model of inconsistency as rookies are
known for. Heís averaging 15 FPts/G over his last two games,
but actually has two 20+ point games and four games below 2.0
fantasy points this season. Heís been targeted more than
six times just once this season. Iím not ready to call him
a WR1 and probably wonít until he puts together at least
three 10-target, 15 fantasy points games in a row. There are a
lot of mouths to feed on the Saints and Smith is still pretty
far down the list.
3) The Chicago Bears offense will be just
fine if Mitchell Trubisky canít play on Thursday against the Lions.
Uh no! In case you havenít seen the Bears depth chart it
lists Chase Daniel as the backup to Trubisky. Heís made
two career starts and didnít throw for more than 200 yards
in either one. He owns one career touchdown pass. Avoid all receiving
options if Daniel starts and you should probably just stay away
from Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen as well. In fact, just stay
away from the entire team including kicker Cody Parkey.
4) "Not quite 100 percent, but I feel confident
and have made all the throws Iím going to need to make over the
course of a game," said Ryan Tannehill (shoulder).
Thatís player speak for Iím not healthy, but I want
to try and play. The Dolphins have lost three of four games and
are trying desperately to stay in playoff contention. If you must
play a Miami wideout make it the one who catches short, less painful,
passes Ė a.k.a. Danny Amendola.
5) The placement of O.J. Howard on the
injured reserve is a blow to the Tampa Bay passing offense.
False. The Bucs have a solid option behind Howard on the depth
chart Ė Cameron Brate. Brate hasnít done much this
season because of the lack of opportunities, but last season with
Winston under center he posted 48-591-6 and the previous season
57-660-8. Tampa is also loaded at wideout and can use four receivers
if needed with Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.