FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

What's On Tap: Week 16
Harley Schultz
December 20, 2013
Follow Follow @NewClearHarley
 

It was another week of pain and pleasure in the world of fantasy football playoffs, as guys like Jamaal Charles and Justin Tucker single-handedly carried some teams to their fantasy championships. Of course, they also knocked several owners out of their fantasy playoffs. I’m going to be rolling into several third place games this week because of Charles’ crazy game. I guess I should have ranked him as my #1 overall RB, instead of #2 overall last week.

Over on DraftKings last week I fared pretty well, despite my decision to overplay Chris Ogbonnaya. For no clear reason, the Lady Doctor decided to cede touches to something called Edwin Baker, a guy off the street who had just been signed two days prior. Jamaal Charles was highly active amongst my money winning teams, so were Nick Foles, Zac Stacy, Jordan Todman, Michael Crabtree, and Delanie Walker. Those were some of my favorite hits from last week.

This week we revisit www.Fanduel.com, where I hope to take the winnings I gained on the rival site last week and “let it ride” on this week’s games. As always I’ve got a refined list for you of all the best value players to “drink” and all the skunky, past their prime or just too damn pricy options to “dump”. If you want to win the big money you’ll have to find that perfect balance of Fantasy Four Packers, sleepers, and fill-ins. Of course it always helps if you hit the homerun on kicker of the week too.

Quarterback

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Nick Foles, Eagles @ Bears
Only four teams are allowing more points per game than Chicago. Meanwhile, only six teams have scored more points than the Eagles. This game will be one of the highest scoring affairs of the week and could approach 100 combined points, when you consider that the Eagles defense is equally deficient. All these points will add up to a huge week for Nick Foles.

Peyton Manning, Broncos @ Texans
As is often the case with the Broncos, the biggest threat with starting Peyton Manning is “at which point in the game will the Broncos finally let up and stop throwing it”. That’s a pretty nice threat to have to worry about if you are lucky enough to be a Peyton owner this year. The Texans pass defense has fallen apart of late, as they have allowed seven passing touchdowns over the last three weeks.

Jay Cutler, Bears @ Eagles
See above as to how I expect this game to shake out. Only Dallas has allowed more passing yards per game than Philadelphia. The Bears are going to be in for a battle to try and stay with the Eagles high octane offense and to try and survive their combustible defense. It only took one quarter for Jay Cutler to shake off the rust against a Cleveland pass defense that is light years better than the one he will face this week.

Andy Dalton, Bengals @ Vikings
Last week the Vikings were without Chris Cook and Xavier Rhodes. Nick Foles torched them for 428-3. Andy Dalton has schooled bad secondaries this season. He has three or more scores in five of his last nine and he has topped 250 passing yards in six of those games. Watch your Twitter feed to find out if Cook and Rhodes will suit up this week, if they don’t expect another 300-3 from the Red-Headed Rifleman.

Sleepers

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins @ Bills
Buffalo is allowing the sixth most passing touchdowns, including five over the last three weeks. Ryan Tannehill has been on-fire recently (pretty much coinciding with when I traded him away in my experts’ empire league D’Oh). Tannehill has eight touchdowns over the last three weeks, and he has topped 300 yards passing in three of four games.

Kirk Cousins, Redskins vs. Cowboys
Dallas has allowed the most passing yards, the second most passing touchdowns, and the second most rushing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks. This includes eight passing touchdowns allowed over the last three weeks against this superstar crew of quarterbacks: Matt Flynn, Matt McGloin, and Josh McCown. Kirk Cousins is at worst, even in talent with this group, 300-3 does not seem like a lengthy reach in what should be a pinball game.

Drink It:
Andrew Luck ($9300), Ben Roethlisberger ($8800), Phil Rivers 9$8600), Tony Romo ($8600), Alex Smith ($8200), Colin Kaepernick ($7900), Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7700), Joe Flacco ($7600), Jason Campbell ($7200), Matt Cassel ($6800), Matt Schaub ($6500), Eli Manning ($6000)
Dump it:
Drew Brees ($10500), Matthew Stafford ($19700), Cam Newton ($9100), Tom Brady ($9000), Carson Palmer ($7400), Matt Ryan ($7200), Matt Flynn ($6300), Mike Glennon ($6300)

Running Back

Your Fantasy Four Pack

LeSean McCoy, Eagles @ Bears
LeSean McCoy says that he wants to carry the ball even more. He is already accounting for 30.5% of the Eagles total yards (approx. 132 YPG). Let’s say he gets a 5% uptick for this week. That means he will finish with 151 total yards. The Bears are allowing the most rushing yards per game at 152, so that number certainly seems realistic. Of course, the Bears yardage allowed number doesn’t even include the receiving yards that he is likely to get. This is one of the best matchups of the season. I’m talking Jamaal Charles last-week level upside.

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs @ Colts
So I still haven’t learned my lesson, as I have put Jamaal Charles in the number two slot once again. I will certainly be headlining each of my weekly leagues with either McCoy or Charles. The Colts are allowing the fifth most rushing yards per game over the last three weeks. Charles just broke most league fantasy scoring records – I really don’t have to defend him to you do I?

DeMarco Murray, Cowboys @ Redskins
The Washington Redskins have allowed the most running back rushing touchdowns, the most running back total touchdowns, and over 140 total yards per game to opposing backs. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray has topped 100 combo yards in each of his last four games. He also has four touchdowns over that span.

Eddie Lacy, Packers vs. Steelers
Pittsburgh has allowed 15 running back touchdowns. Quick math tells me that is more than one per game. Eddie Lacy has averaged 97 total yards per game over the thirteen games he has started this year. If you throw out his Week 2 game, when he left after one carry than he is averaging 104.5 total yards per game. Plus he has scored in seven of his last nine games. Watch Twitter prior to the game because he is battling an ankle issue, but all reports are that he is good to go. The ankle didn’t seem to slow him down too much as he destroyed the Cowboys for 171 total yards last week.

Sleepers

Bobby Rainey, Buccaneers @ Rams
Since replacing the injured Mike James and Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey has two very good games, both came against awful defenses. In those two great games he posted 290 total yards and four touchdowns. He also has three crappy games against good defenses. The Rams don’t have a good defense. Only four teams have allowed more rushing touchdowns, including four over the last three weeks.

Jordan Todman, Jaguars vs. Titans
Well I hope you took our advice and started Jordan Todman last week. Well if you did, the phrase of the week should be “Let It Ride”. Maurice Jones-Drew is still questionable as of this article going live. He hasn’t practiced yet this week. The Bills 26th ranked run defense allowed Todman to put up 153 total yards last week. This week he faces the Titans who rank 23rd, so they are nearly as bad. Only one team has allowed more running back rushing and total touchdowns, and only two teams have allowed more total yards to running backs.

Drink It:
Matt Forte ($8500), Reggie Bush ($8400), Knowshon Moreno ($7800), LeVeon Bell ($7700), Rashad Jennings ($7500), Chris Johnson ($7400), Ryan Mathews ($7100), Shane Vereen ($6700), Gio Bernard ($6700), Ray Rice ($6400), Frank Gore ($6300), Alfred Morris ($6000), Danny Woodhead ($6000), Lamar Miller ($5800), DeAngelo Williams ($5700), Fred Jackson ($5700), C.J. Spiller ($5600), Trent Richardson ($5500), Montee Ball ($5100), Darren Sproles ($4800)
Dump it:
Marshawn Lynch ($9000), Adrian Peterson ($8800), Zac Stacy ($7400), Steven Jackson ($6700), Pierre Thomas ($6200), Andre Brown ($6100), Andre Ellington ($6000), Stevan Ridley ($5800), Rashard Mendenhall ($5800), Edwin Baker ($5100), Dennis Johnson ($4500)

Wide Receiver

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Josh Gordon, Browns @ Jets
The New York Jets secondary is tied for eighth worst with 16 wide receiver touchdowns allowed. This should make Josh Gordon’s feats of strength easier this week and it should make the Jets airing of grievances easier too. Last week, he continued his five week domination despite being limited to just two catches through the first 58 minutes of the game. He now has put up 39-841-6 on 67 targets over the last five weeks. To put that in better perspective, Gordon has more yards over the last five weeks than Larry Fitzgerald has all year. His six scores over that period are one more than Andre Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, and Marques Colston have posted all year.

Brandon Marshall, Bears @ Eagles
it should come as no one’s surprise, but Jay Cutler is definitely more accustomed to Brandon Marshall rather than Alshon Jeffery. This is a role-reversal from what we have seen of late with Josh McCown looking first for Jeffery. Both scored last week versus the Browns and both will score this week versus the Eagles, but the yardage and targets definitely favored Marshall who got eight more targets.
The Eagles have allowed the most wide receiver receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns this year.

A.J. Green, Bengals @ Vikings
Speaking of teams giving up excessive yardage to opposing wide receivers. Minnesota ranks third from the bottom in WR yards allowed and fourth in wide receiver touchdowns allowed. Xavier Rhodes missed last week’s game and DeSean Jackson had the best WR1 performance against the Vikings since Rhodes became the starter. If Rhodes misses this game as well, A.J. Green will have a huge game. Even if Rhodes plays, Green has proven he can beat elite corners, well except for Joe Haden.

Pierre Garcon, Redskins vs. Cowboys
Dallas has allowed eight passing touchdowns over the last three games and five different wide receivers have topped 60 yards against them over that span. Only two players have as many targets as Pierre Garcon. It’s unfortunate he has only been able to parlay all of those targets into four touchdowns. For the season, he is averaging 7-88 which is amongst the league leaders, making him a legit WR1/WR2 most weeks. This week he moves near the top of those WR1 rankings.

Sleepers

Michael Crabtree, 49ers vs. Falcons
Dallas and Minnesota are the only two teams that have allowed more passing touchdowns per game than Atlanta. Michael Crabtree has seen an uptick in his usage in each of his first three games. He even got into the end zone last week. I’m a little concerned about a hand injury that occurred last week, but not enough to not start him in what should be a point feast for all the 49ers skill position players.

Andre Caldwell-ker, Broncos @ Texans
Umm yeah, sorry about that Jacob Tamme taking all of Wes Welker’s look thingy last week from Twitter. All of my fantasy brethren were also on board with the idea that Tamme would be the primary recipient in Welker’s absence. What we all failed to realize is that Denver would just go “next man up” and give all that action to Andre Caldwell. Houston had a good pass defense, but it has fallen on hard times of late. They have given up seven passing touchdowns over the last three weeks. As good as they might or might not be they have no way of shutting down all of the Broncos’ weapons. As the fourth or fifth option in the passing game Caldwell will get little if any attention in coverage. We all know how that worked out for him last week.

Drink It:
Calvin Johnson ($9900), Dez Bryant ($9200), Demaryius Thomas ($8300), Alshon Jeffery ($8000), Antonio Brown ($8000), DeSean Jackson ($7900), Andre Johnson ($7800), Vincent Jackson ($7600), Eric Decker ($7200), Keenan Allen ($7100), Mike Wallace ($6600), Greg Jennings ($6400), Kendall Wright ($6100), Brian Hartline ($5800), Anquan Boldin ($5700), Michael Floyd ($5600), Riley Cooper ($5500), Rod Streater ($5500), T.Y. Hilton ($5400), Hakeem Nicks ($5400), Dwayne Bowe ($5200), Marlon Brown ($5200), Jerricho Cotchery ($5200), Santana Moss ($4800), Jerrel Jernigan ($4600)
Dump it:
Larry Fitzgerald ($7100), Julian Edelman ($6700), Danny Amendola ($6600), Jordy Nelson ($6500), Marques Colston ($6300), Torrey Smith ($6000), Roddy White ($5900), James Jones ($5100), Steve Smith ($4900)

Tight End

Your Fantasy Four Pack

Vernon Davis, 49ers vs. Falcons
Atlanta is allowing the third most tight end touchdowns. Vernon Davis ranks third amongst tight ends in yardage and second in scores with 12. This includes touchdowns in five straight games and ten of the thirteen that he has started. Start every 49ers skill player on your roster, and consider adding more.

Jimmy Graham, Saints @ Rams
Even though Jimmy Graham is one of a couple people mostly responsible for knocking me out of multiple championship games, I still have to rank him amongst the top two at the TE position this week. Only Jamaal Charles has more touchdowns this season than Jimmy Graham. It should also be pointed out that even though Graham struggled last week, he was targeted in the end zone twice. Both of those plays were broken up due to good coverage. Graham abused Carolina for a pair of scores two weeks ago and tight end is the position they struggle the most to cover. Six of the ten passing touchdowns they have allowed have come to opposing tight ends.

Jason Witten, Cowboys @ Redskins
Jason Witten has been a stud of late, scoring in three of four and four of six. The Redskins are allowing the third most touchdowns to opposing tight ends. This includes four scores allowed in the last six games. If you want another reason to roll with Witten, in each of the last three years, Witten has scored in just one of the two games against Washington. Earlier this year, he was held out of the end zone…he’s due.

Julius Thomas, Broncos @ Texans
This ranking was originally set for Jordan Cameron before he found himself on the concussion watch list. As he slides down the rankings, Julius Thomas slides up them. Thomas has scored in nine of the twelve games he has played in this season. Meanwhile, Houston has allowed tight end scores in four of their last six games. Oh yeah, if Jordan Cameron plays he ranks up at this spot too as the Jets have allowed either a tight end touchdown and/or at least 79 yards to the position in every game but one over their last twelve games.

Sleepers

Zach Miller, Seahawks vs. Cardinals
Zach Miller was on a bit of a roll posting 9-155-1 in the two games surrounding the Seahawks’ bye week. He then got hurt and Luke Wilson filled in with a touchdown of his own. They were both held in check last week, but now the Hawks get to feast on a Cardinals’ defense that has been abused by opposing tight ends in a manner that appears to have been pulled directly from the movie Deliverance. Miller scored in the Week 7 matchup of these two teams, he will again here, heck Wilson might too.

Charles Clay, Dolphins @ Bills
The Buffalo Bills secondary has allowed eight tight end touchdowns. This includes one in each of their last four contests. Disregarding a poor outing last week, Charles Clay has been targeted 42 times over his prior five games. He has averaged 5.5-63 over that span, plus he has three scores.

Drink It:
Greg Olsen ($5800), Dennis Pitta ($5700), Greg Olsen ($5000), Tim Wright ($5200), Delanie Walker ($5200), Zach Ertz ($4900), Martellus Bennett ($4800), Jermaine Gresham ($4800)
Dump it:
Jordan Cameron ($5900), Tony Gonzalez ($5600), Andre Quarless ($5400), Heath Miller ($5100), Garrett Graham ($5000)

GAMETIME BREW

The common thought amongst fantasy pundits is “Play your studs”. This is especially important once we hit the fantasy playoffs, because every game could be your last. Since we should be playing our studs on the fantasy gridiron; this week on the Tap, I’m pouring three of my “Studs”. These three beers are amongst my go-to brews and these are the ones I drink all the time. I hope you enjoy them too!

1) Hop Dish from Lift Bridge Brewing Company out of Stillwater, MN.
Served: This was poured at refrigerator temperature out of a growler into a Hamm’s Bear pint glass.
Appearance: Hazy dark amber in color and slightly effervescent, quarter inch head with good retention.
Smell: Heavy dose of piney and citrusy hops. I’m also getting some grapefruit, mango, honey, and mandarin orange.
Taste: Bitter hop wallop up front, loads of citrusy goodness. I get the residual sweetness and the grain bill a little more as it warms, but the hop load and the grapefruit is why we are enjoying this one today.
Mouth feel: Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation from the bottle (note on tap this was more carbonated). The hop taste lingers for a little while but overall it finishes clean.
Overall: Being from Minnesota, I can appreciate the beauty of the dish called “Hot dish”. This is truly the beer-quivalent of this favorite Minnesota meal. Like any good hot dish (a dish which usually involves throwing a bunch of different leftovers into one dish and reheating) this beer is a hodgepodge of seven different hops which marry together into one of the best IPAs on the market. I drink a lot of this beer and not just because it is locally produced.

2) Palate Wrecker from Green Flash Brewing Company out of San Diego, CA.
Served: Served at refrigerator temperature from the bottle into a Hamm’s Bear pint glass.
Appearance: Light orange and crystal clear with a mid-sized white head that dissipated pretty rapidly.
Smell: Very grassy
Taste: Wow that is bitter. They aren’t kidding with the name. I feel like I am sucking on a grapefruit.
Mouth feel: Bubbly and effervescent, this beer fills your mouth and lingers forever with grapefruit bitterness and piney resin.
Overall: This is quite possibly the biggest hop load of a beer I’ve ever had. I remember having this one when I was out in California and was super excited to find it here in the Twin Cities. If nothing else it reminds me of the first homebrew beer I ever made called Tongue Splitter, a hop monster I picked up from Northern Brewer about 20 years ago. In general it reminds me a little bit of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale…and that’s a good thing.

3) Purple Haze from Abita Brewing Company out of Abita Springs, LA.
Served: Served at refrigerator temperature from the bottle into a Hamm’s Bear pint glass.
Appearance: Cloudy and hazy yellow, reminiscent of a Hefeweizen. There is a quarter inch head of tight white bubbles that vanished immediately.  
Smell: Not surprised this is brewed with raspberries, because that is the head-and-shoulders aroma.
Taste: Citrusy with a presence of the raspberry. I think I nailed it by envisioning it as a Hefeweizen because it tastes a lot like a Hefeweizen that has been infused (thus the name). It kind of reminds me of a grand cru.
Mouth feel: Very light and airy with a little bit of bubbles, this beer has held up well seeing as how I bought it a couple months back.
Overall: Refreshing, delicious, and can be paired with so many different things. I’m so happy that this is a regular entry in my drinking profile. If you are a drinker of berry beers, berry wheats, Hefeweizen, and grand cru beers try this one, it’s just as good as if not better than all the rest.


a d v e r t i s e m e n t