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Steve Schwarz | Archive | Email |  
Staff Writer

Truths and Lies: Week 13

We are finally past the “bye weeks” portion of the 2018 NFL schedule. Your teams can now be at full strength … well except for injuries and suspensions. Hopefully, you can win in what for most people is the final game of the fantasy regular season and get on a roll for the upcoming fantasy playoffs.

Week 13 will be the first games in the month of December, and with it, weather may be a factor. Early reports say rain is possible for New York and New England and windy weather is predicted for Green Bay. Just another factor for fantasy owners to evaluate.

Cam Newton


“There is nothing that is going to make people hate you more, and love you more, than telling the truth.” - Stefan Molyneux

1) Sometimes you can make all the right decisions and a coach will destroy your plan.

True. Saquon Barkley was headed for a “Christian McCaffrey-type” day after posting 94 yards and a score on the ground and 37 yards and a score through the air by halftime (15 touches). Unfortunately, head coach and supposed “offensive genius” Pat Shurmur ran him just four times after the break and targeted him one time in the final 30 minutes. Fantasy owners had to be just as confused as Giants fans (assuming they are still watching their team). The Giants, who owned a 19-3 lead in the second quarter, managed just three points over the final 34 minutes and lost 25-22.

2) The best running back over the past five weeks is Christian McCaffrey (24.8 FPts/G).

I know I wrote about him last week, but after his Sunday he deserves more hype (125 yards rushing, 11 catches for 112 yards, two scores). He’s always produced yards on the ground and through the air, but now Ron Rivera and Cam Newton are letting him score too. He’s racked up nine touchdowns over the past five weeks and 698 yards from scrimmage to surpass every other running back. His schedule is favorable with Tampa Bay and Cleveland next up and both defenses have allowed running backs top-10 fantasy points, 23.5 and 23.6 FPts/G, respectively.

3) Ben Roethlisberger has vastly improved his “road” work.

True. In the past he was a quarterback who could only perform in front of the home crowd, but in 2018 he’s been a much better “road warrior.” Roethlisberger has averaged 26.8 FPts/G in six away games this season and that’s a huge increase from 2017 (18.8) and 2016 (17.2). He’s still better at home (29.2) this season, but this big improvement away from Heinz Field makes him an every week starter. His final two away games are against Oakland and New Orleans, who are both top-12 is QB fantasy points allowed.

4) Cam Newton has the most favorable playoff schedule among quarterbacks.

In Weeks 14-16 Newton will play three of the most generous pass defenses; at Cleveland, then home to New Orleans and Atlanta. Atlanta has allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (26.8), New Orleans is third (26.6) and the Browns rank ninth (24.0).

5) The once wide receiver rich Detroit Lions have no one to play the No. 2 receiver.

The trade of Golden Tate didn’t seem to be a problem when they still had Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones , but now that Jones has been placed on the IR (knee), they haven’t found a replacement. Bruce Ellington has been given the first shot, but he’s only been able to turn 16 targets and 12 receptions into 8.2 fantasy points over two games. Perhaps T.J. Jones or Brandon Powell can emerge as a second wideout opposite Golladay, but until that happens quarterback Matthew Stafford, who hasn’t cracked 240 yards in the past two games, should probably be avoided as well.


“Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.” - Chuck Todd

1) Rams wideout Josh Reynolds can’t replace Cooper Kupp.

As much as I like Kupp, Reynolds has stepped in and done a great job in the two games he’s replaced Kupp. Kupp averaged 11.9 FPts/G this season. Even if we eliminate the two games he suffered knee injuries, his average is 15.0 FPts/G. In Reynolds’ last two games he’s posted 16 and 14 fantasy points … or 15 FPts/G. Reynolds is more touchdown dependent than Kupp, but he’s filled his shoes quite well and he’s only owned in 52% of all Yahoo leagues.

2) Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson is a better fantasy option than the Buccaneers’ Jameis Winston.

Sorry no. As a starter Jackson is averaging 22.6 FPts/G. Fantasy owners will also have to deal with the uncertainty of Joe Flacco’s return. Meanwhile, Winston led his team to victory by throwing for 312 yards and two scores last Sunday. More importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over. He’s averaging 28.6 FPts/G in the four games he’s started and finished. Winston has a favorable matchup against Carolina this weekend, who has allowed 24.7 FPts/G this season and 26.2 FPts/G on the road.

3) Chargers backup Austin Ekeler can replace Melvin Gordon.

There is helping his team win, which Ekeler can do, and replacing a fantasy stud like Gordon, which he can’t do. Gordon was putting together an elite season and ranks second to Todd Gurley averaging 20.4 FPts/G. Gordon is averaging a career-high 80.2 rushing yards per game, 45.3 receiving yards and has already scored 13 touchdowns. Ekeler doesn’t scare defenses the way Gordon does. And he won’t just be running the ball in passing situations as he usually does when Gordon carries the load. Ekeler averages 6.74 ypc when the Chargers need eight yards or more for a first down (54 attempts) and 2.81 ypc when they need seven or less (16 carries). Ekeler struggled against Tennessee in his only start this season.

4) Which of these names don’t belong with the others; Nick Chubb, McCaffrey, Elliott, Barkley and Aaron Jones?

It’s a trick question … they all sit at the top of the chart for best fantasy backs over the past three weeks. Chubb leads the league with a 28.9 FPts/G average and Aaron Jones has become the only Packers running back to own by producing 368 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns in three games.

5) Patriots back James White is still a viable fantasy option.

Since the return of Sony Michel to full health, White has disappeared scoring 2.6 and 7.8 fantasy points the past two games. When Michel was dominating on the ground in Weeks 4-6, White still produced in the receiving game, but now add the return from IR of Rex Burkhead, who is a better pass catcher than runner and White’s volume could be in question. As always when it involved the Patriots running game, play them at your own risk.

Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.