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James Conner

Pittsburgh Steelers

Conner Solid in Debut


Steelers rookie RB James Conner rushed 20 times for 98 yards and caught 1-of-4 targets for three yards on his preseason debut Sunday night. This was his first preseason action after being out with a shoulder injury.

Fantasy Goo: Conner is trying to earn himself the back-up role to LeVeon Bell, and he should have a role if Bell does go down at all, but duties will almost certainly be split between Conner and Fitzgerald Tousaint if that were to happen. Conner is a solid dynasty pick in the double digit rounds, especially if the Steelers don’t extend his deal prior to the start of the season.


08/20/17, 09:19 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Alvin Kamara

New Orleans Saints

Kamara Lives Up To Hype Today


“Saints rookie RB Alvin Kamara rushed 5 times for 61 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's preseason game against the Chargers. Kamara's first carry of the game was an explosive 50-yard touchdown run. He was also utilized in the passing game, catching a ball in the flat and scampering for a 20 yard gain.”

Fantasy Goo: This is all against the Chargers second and third string, so don’t get too excited, but it does appear that Kamara could contribute and make this backfield very difficult to predict from week-to-week. Kamara looks to be a very solid dynasty pick in the seventh round.


08/20/17, 09:15 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Anquan Boldin

Buffalo Bills

Boldin Retires... For Now...


Anquan Boldin left the Bills today and has informed them he is retiring
This almost definitely allows Matthews to work from the slot/flanker role, not that it really changes the Bills plans. From the glimpse of the Bills preseason game I saw, they had Boldin working outside in the X-receiver position, formerly held by Watkins. I have little doubt that Boldin knows he no longer has the physical ability to fulfil the requirements of that position, so he left.

Fantasy Goo: I still think he ends up somewhere, and will vulture enough TD’s to devalue others, but not have enough value on his own to be fantasy viable. Zay Jones is back in play for the late round flyer, and Clay is looking like a good match-up streamer at TE.


08/20/17, 07:53 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Zay Jones

Buffalo Bills

Boldin Retires... For Now...


Anquan Boldin left the Bills today and has informed them he is retiring
This almost definitely allows Matthews to work from the slot/flanker role, not that it really changes the Bills plans. From the glimpse of the Bills preseason game I saw, they had Boldin working outside in the X-receiver position, formerly held by Watkins. I have little doubt that Boldin knows he no longer has the physical ability to fulfil the requirements of that position, so he left.

Fantasy Goo: I still think he ends up somewhere, and will vulture enough TD’s to devalue others, but not have enough value on his own to be fantasy viable. Zay Jones is back in play for the late round flyer, and Clay is looking like a good match-up streamer at TE.


08/20/17, 07:53 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Charles Clay

Buffalo Bills

Boldin Retires... For Now...


Anquan Boldin left the Bills today and has informed them he is retiring
This almost definitely allows Matthews to work from the slot/flanker role, not that it really changes the Bills plans. From the glimpse of the Bills preseason game I saw, they had Boldin working outside in the X-receiver position, formerly held by Watkins. I have little doubt that Boldin knows he no longer has the physical ability to fulfil the requirements of that position, so he left.

Fantasy Goo: I still think he ends up somewhere, and will vulture enough TD’s to devalue others, but not have enough value on his own to be fantasy viable. Zay Jones is back in play for the late round flyer, and Clay is looking like a good match-up streamer at TE.


08/20/17, 07:53 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Jordan Reed

Washington Redskins

Jordan Reed (toe) Activated from PUP List


Fantasy Goo: Reed has averaged the most fantasy points per game over the past two seasons and is targeted on a minimum of 15% of his routes. Like Gronk, with Reed you have to assume that he will not play all 16 games, but don’t shy away from Reed because when he was active in 2016 he was a top 10 TE 75% of the time.


08/20/17, 05:45 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Le'Veon Bell

Pittsburgh Steelers

Bell Lookin' To Get PAID!


“Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell will report back to team before regular season kicks off, though it remains unclear exactly when.” Bell values himself at about $15mm per year, your move Rooney.

Fantasy Goo: There is no doubt Bell is an elite RB1 when he is active, this hold-out makes me nervous. He might be staying in shape, but there is no way to really simulate game-speed without actually participating with the team. He missed 3 games last year and came in shredding defenses, but that is much different than missing camp completely.


08/18/17, 05:48 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Eddie Lacy

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle's Crowded Backfield


Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls ankle injury will hold him out of week 2 preseason action on Friday. It’s being called a minor injury and Eddie Lacy is now expected to be the starting tailback for the second preseason game.

Fantasy Goo: When it was first announced that Rawls would get the start I thought nothing of it, teams usually rest their banged-up players week 2 anyway. Week 3 is what we really care about, but if they’re resting Rawls this week that becomes somewhat questionable. We should probably consider this a full blown committee at this point, in which case you can read our “League Winners” article to see who I think is worthy of drafting in this backfield.


08/17/17, 09:24 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Thomas Rawls

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle's Crowded Backfield


Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls ankle injury will hold him out of week 2 preseason action on Friday. It’s being called a minor injury and Eddie Lacy is now expected to be the starting tailback for the second preseason game.

Fantasy Goo: When it was first announced that Rawls would get the start I thought nothing of it, teams usually rest their banged-up players week 2 anyway. Week 3 is what we really care about, but if they’re resting Rawls this week that becomes somewhat questionable. We should probably consider this a full blown committee at this point, in which case you can read our “League Winners” article to see who I think is worthy of drafting in this backfield.


08/17/17, 09:24 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Andrew Luck

Indianapolis Colts

Indy Needs Some Luck


There has been quite a bit of concern about Andrew Luck’s availability to start the season on the active roster after offseason surgery. Hartbeat points out that, “Colts seem confident in Luck for week 1 as they haven't changed their playbook.” There is a concern about his offensive line though as starting C Ryan Kelly is likely to find himself on the designated IR for return after foot surgery.

Fantasy Goo: Luck put together a 2016 season with a career best 71.2 QBR and a 92.4 PFF grade. If he’s healthy he’s a must start, and his ADP has fallen nearly two rounds since August first. He is now being drafted as the eighth QB off the board. Check out the Draft Kit vol.3 to get the full goo.


08/17/17, 08:57 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Curtis Samuel

Carolina Panthers

Samuel Back in Pads


Curtis Samuel was back in full pads for today's practice (Wednesday), he has missed almost all of training camp with a hamstring problem that began as a issue in the spring. He's been out for so long that it's hard to see him having a immediate early-season role.

Fantasy Goo: Samuel is the ultimate utility knife if he can get healthy, he can pick up the big plays vacated by Ginn and match anything fellow rookie McCaffrey does in the passing game.


08/16/17, 08:15 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Ty Montgomery

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Rookie's on Display


“Ty Montgomery’s likely absence from Saturday night’s preseason game at Washington will put an even bigger spotlight on the depth-chart battle involving three of Green Bay’s third-day draft picks. Williams is the front-runner in part because he’s shown the best aptitude for pass protection in the backfield. Jones has displayed a different gear in the open field that he’d love to show off in a game if he gets a crease. Mays is the best example of compact power, at 5-10 and 230 pounds.”

Fantasy Goo:Ty performed very well last year with the 3rd best juke rate of 34% and the best yards per contact per touch of all RBs at 2.8. The issue with Montgomery is Jamaal Williams is in line to take away the short yardage work and it’s unclear what type of volume Ty can handle as he rushed double digits in only 1 game.


08/16/17, 07:58 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: www.packers.com


Jamaal Williams

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Rookie's on Display


“Ty Montgomery’s likely absence from Saturday night’s preseason game at Washington will put an even bigger spotlight on the depth-chart battle involving three of Green Bay’s third-day draft picks. Williams is the front-runner in part because he’s shown the best aptitude for pass protection in the backfield. Jones has displayed a different gear in the open field that he’d love to show off in a game if he gets a crease. Mays is the best example of compact power, at 5-10 and 230 pounds.”

Fantasy Goo:Ty performed very well last year with the 3rd best juke rate of 34% and the best yards per contact per touch of all RBs at 2.8. The issue with Montgomery is Jamaal Williams is in line to take away the short yardage work and it’s unclear what type of volume Ty can handle as he rushed double digits in only 1 game.


08/16/17, 07:58 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: www.packers.com


Jaron Brown

Arizona Cardinals

Jaron Number Two?


Larry Fitzgerald is the No. 1 wideout. Brown? “He’s No. 2 right now,” Coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday.
“I’ve been here for a while,” Jaron Brown said. “Every camp is different. We obviously have injuries, and that gives me an opportunity. I just try to take advantage.

Fantasy Goo: I could see Jaron shooting up draft boards, and I like him as a last round dart throw, but this just makes that receiving corps all the more crowded. A torn ACL prevented Jaron from possibly breaking-out last year. Yesterday we thought JJ Nelson would emerge, I’m sure we will be re-visiting this regularly.


08/16/17, 04:21 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Cole Beasley

Dallas Cowboys

Beasley Under the Radar


NFL Next Gen Stats have revealed many of their numbers to the public recently. Hartbeat picked this one out on Twitter: Cole Beasley adding another advanced stat that he thrives in, Top 10 in separation among all pass catchers.

Fantasy Goo: Beasley was one of the most efficient weapons in the NFL last year. His Defense-adjusted Yards above Replacement and Defense-adjusted Value over Average ranked as 5th best among WRs. For more on Beasley and others check out the Pyro Pulse podcast episode 6, WR Tiers.


08/15/17, 05:08 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


John Brown

Arizona Cardinals

John Brown’s Health Back in Question


WR John Brown looking like sickle cell IS NOT being managed by the Cardinals. Could be another injury plagued season for Brown. Arians said WR John Brown not practicing full time is a concern (He's been participating in certain drills during practice).

Fantasy Goo: JJ Nelson was the WR11 in PPR scoring weeks 13-17, it appears as though we should be drafting Nelson as one of our late round flyers immediately. If the Brown news continues to be negative we will begin to see Nelson’s stock rise. Jaron Brown and Chad Williams are names we should also keep an eye on, but Arians has complained about their lack of performance publicly.


08/15/17, 04:28 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Maxx Williams

Baltimore Ravens

Maxx Looks Slow, Open Door for Watson


“Tight end Maxx Williams deserves a ton of credit for persevering through a serious knee surgery and getting back onto the field this summer. But in watching him run, it’s still pretty clear that he has a ways to go. He has bulked up and gotten considerably stronger, so it will be interesting to see whether he becomes more of a blocking tight end, assuming he’s on the season-opening roster.”

fantasy Goo: Ben Watson appears to be worth a last round flier. Denis Pitta was the number eight TE overall last year and he only scored 2 TD’s. Watson was the number 6 TE in 2015 with Drew Brees throwing him 6 TD’s.


08/15/17, 03:54 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: www.baltimoresun.com


Ryan Mathews

Philadelphia Eagles

Ryan Matthews Released


After passing his physical earlier today, The Eagles have informed former starting RB Ryan Mathews that he's been released. This move was completely expected, the Eagles save a bunch of money by releasing him now.

Fantasy Goo: Hartbeat would like to see him land in: IND, SF, MIA or CHI (all backup roles). I think the Giants or Ravens should see what he has left in the tank, even if it’s just a few games Matthews is a talented back, he’s just been drenched with injuries. I don’t think the team that picks him up has to pay much for him.


08/15/17, 03:30 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Devonta Freeman

Atlanta Falcons

Freeman in Concussion Protocol


Coach Quinn says Devonta Freeman is in concussion protocol, will be ruled out for Sunday's game. This really means nothing if he’s back by next week, but if this lingers like Jay Ajayi’s concussion, Coleman might actually be worth his draft value in the sixth round.

Fantasy Goo: Despite being only 206 lbs he had the 3rd most RZ carries with 53. Although Coleman is an extremely strong receiver Freeman was still top 5 in catches among RBs on only a 63% snap share.


08/14/17, 04:34 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Leonard Fournette

Jacksonville Jaguars

Fournette Battling Same Issues


Jaguars rookie RB Leonard Fournette suffered a foot injury and HC Doug Marrone said team intends to be "careful with him." Fournette battled a recurring foot/ankle injury throughout his final season at LSU. It was a real problem most of the year.

Fantasy Goo: Fournette was clocked running 22.9 MPH at LSU last season, for reference Tyreek Hill was the NFLs fastest player at 23.2MPH. It appears as though Jacksonville is being cautious, but rookies need to get on the field and learn the nuances of the NFL, especially pass blocking.


08/14/17, 03:31 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Jordan Matthews

Buffalo Bills

Matthews Must Play With Pain


Bills' WR Jordan Mathews has what team is calling "a chip fracture in his sternum" and is week to week.
The good news is that it’s just a pain tolerance issue. The bad news is that it can be pretty painful.

Fantasy Goo: Matthews move to Buffalo had very little effect on his projections, but with lack of practice with his new team he will almost certainly get off to a slow start. Check the Pyro Pulse Podcast (Ep.5) to get the hot, sticky goo on how this affects the value of the other Bills and Eagles skill players.


08/14/17, 03:29 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Marqise Lee

Jacksonville Jaguars

Lee High Ankle Sprain Opens Door for Hurns, Again


Jaguars WR Marqise Lee suffered a high-ankle sprain, source said. He'll push hard to be ready for Week 1, but caution could push it back.

Fantasy Goo: Lee was the 39th overall pick of the 2014 draft. In 2016 he caught a career-high 63 passes for 851 yards and three touchdowns. He was finally healthy after continuous injuries the last two years. I think many would rank him higher if we could be sure that he has beaten Allen Hurns out for regular targets.


08/14/17, 02:56 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Jordan Reed

Washington Redskins

Reed Has "Special Shoes"


“Redskins tight end Jordan Reed said his new cleats and orthotics have made a difference for his sprained big toe. Reed said, "I'll be out there shortly." He remains on the PUP list.”

Fantasy Goo: Jay Gruden has made it very clear that the offense runs through Jordan Reed, this was never more prominent than when the Redskins let their two best WRs based on production walk this offseason. Reed has obviously red flags when it comes to injuries, he is one dirty hit away from a career ending concussion. When he is healthy, there is no TE that I would rather have, Reed has averaged the most fantasy points per game over the past two seasons and is targeted on a minimum of 15% of his routes.
For more see Hartbeat TE Gold Diggers vol.1


08/13/17, 08:24 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com


Sterling Shepard

New York Giants

Shepard Back in Practice


“Just 11 days after he was carted off the practice field with an ankle injury fearing the worst, Shepard practiced fully with his teammates on Sunday. There appeared to be very few restrictions on the second-year receiver, who also didn't seem to be favoring his injured ankle at all.”

Fantasy Goo: Shepard finished second among rookie WRs in targets, catches, yards and touchdowns. In general, second year WRs see a jump in fantasy production by 16%, but Sterling is more likely to move in an inverse fashion. With the Giants bringing in Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram, Shepard is the most likely to see a decrease in targets. See Hartbeat, WR Gold Diggers vol.1 for more.


08/13/17, 07:55 PM CDT by Wheeler

Source: twitter.com

2012 Fantasy Football Start 'Em Sit 'Em for Week 16

2012 Fantasy Football Start 'Em Sit 'Em for Week 16

Posted by Dawgmaticå on 12/20/12

by   The Archer


@TheArcher


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start em sit em for week 16

 

 

Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em – Week 16

 

 

Every week, there are certain fantasy studs who you simply have to start no matter what. Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson and A.J. Green fall into that category, to name a few. There are also a good number of players you should probably sit each week as well. But then, there are those players whom you have no idea whether to start or sit. Here are a few not-so-obvious guys at each major fantasy position who you might not know what to do with, but for whom the stats and other information dictates one way or the other.

 

 

START 'EM

 

QUARTERBACKS

 

Robert Griffin III - Pyro Character

Robert Griffin III (at Phi) – If Robert Griffin ends up playing this Sunday—which I believe he will—then make sure you find a way to watch the game because you won’t want to miss your chance at witnessing a man whose sole purpose in life will be to destroy his opposition. Kirk Cousins did a spectacular job of filling in for RGIII and the Redskins last weekend, but you can tell the whole situation was sort of surreal to Griffin and that it was eating him alive as he watched. He clearly HATED not being a part of the victory and it seemed he could sense a collective questioning as to whether or not his services were truly needed for this to be a winning team. If he suits up this weekend, beating the Philadelphia Eagles to stay atop the NFC East and proving his superiority as the Redskins unquestioned starting quarterback will be goals 1a and 1b for Griffin—just not necessarily in that order.

Cam Newton - Pyro Character

Cam Newton (vs. Oak) – The only reason why Cam Newton didn’t end up with top-five fantasy stats last weekend is because Mike Tolbert deserved the two 1-yard touchdowns the Carolina coaching staff gave in the first quarter going up against his former team (San Diego Chargers). That’s it. Otherwise, Newton had another fine fantasy showing and is one of the hottest quarterbacks in the league right now. In fact, Newton hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 10 against the Broncos, a span of just over five games. The Panthers will be at home this weekend where Cam tends to feel a little more pressure, but with the lowly Raiders in town and the playoffs out of reach, I expect him to let loose and somewhat selfishly go for the best possible stats he can. In real life, I truly wish he wasn’t that type of guy—but the proof is in the pudding and let me tell ya, no silky goodness ever tasted so sweet to a fantasy owner looking for a championship.

Tony Romo - Pyro Character

Tony Romo (vs. NO) – While Tony Romo has been relatively average as a starting fantasy quarterback this season, he’s still thrown for eight 300-yard games, with his last one coming against the Pittsburgh Steelers last weekend. He’s on a bit of a roll right now putting up the third most fantasy points in the league over the last five weeks, and with WR Dez Bryant playing out of his mind lately, I doubt his roll ends here. With a miniscule hope of reaching the playoffs still alive, I expect Drew Brees to come out firing this Sunday, so if the Cowboys want to stay with the high-flying Saints and keep their own playoff hopes alive, Romo will have to pass the ball as well. He’s always been a better quarterback at home, anyway, so feel free to start him against a bottom-tier Saints pass D in Week 16.

Andrew Luck - Pyro Character

Andrew Luck (at KC) – Andrew Luck began his rookie fantasy campaign having a tough time putting up starter-worthy numbers on the road. However, after working out the kinks over the course of the season, he’s performed much better away from Indianapolis of late averaging 22.7 fantasy points in his last two road games. This week he’ll travel to Kansas City to face a Chiefs pass defense that actually allows more fantasy points to quarterbacks at home than they do on the road. Overall they allow the ninth most fantasy points to opposing QBs, so there’s no reason to think Luck won’t put up some nice numbers here. The only thing I can see getting in the way of Luck being a QB1 this weekend is if the Colts decide to take advantage of Kansas City’s bottom-tier run defense and run the ball more than usual. However, I highly doubt the Colts’ coaching staff puts the ball in Vick Ballard’s hands over Andrew Luck in a playoff-clinching game such as this.

Colin Kaepernick - Pyro Character

Colin Kaepernick (at Sea, Sunday night) – It may have come against a weak New England Patriots secondary, but Colin Kaepernick’s arrival onto the fantasy scene last weekend was truly a thing of beauty. I can talk about my expectations of him as a force in fantasy leagues for years to come, but there’s never a more important fantasy game to play than the next one on the schedule, so I’ll leave that conversation for the off-season. This week will be a major test for the youngster going up against one of the best defenses in the league and inner-division rival Seattle Seahawks, but I believe he pulls through with QB1 numbers for a couple of reasons. First, though it looks like Richard Sherman's suspension appeal will be put off yet another week, Seattle will still be without one their top two cornerbacks, Brandon Browner. Second, their two backup cornerbacks, Walter Thurmond and Marcus Trufant, were both inactive with hamstring injuries last week and are iffy to play this weekend. Third, Seattle is one of the toughest teams to run against as is, so the ‘Niners may be forced to pass the ball more anyway. Basically, Kaepernick looks good for another QB1 type of day in Week 16.

 

Others with QB1 Potential:

 

Matt Schaub (vs. Min)

Ben Roethlisberger (vs. Cin)

Matthew Stafford (vs. Atl, Saturday night)

 

 

QB2s & SLEEPERS

 

Russell Wilson (vs. SF, Sunday night)

Eli Manning (at Bal)

Sam Bradford (at TB)

Joe Flacco (vs. NYG)

Josh Freeman (vs. StL)

Nick Foles (vs. Was)

 

 

RUNNING BACKS

 

DeMarco Murray - Pyro Character

DeMarco Murray (vs. NO) – DeMarco has a touchdown in all three games since returning from his foot injury in Week 13 and appears to be gaining both strength and confidence with each passing week. He has the sixth most fantasy points in that span as well and should be given a hefty amount of chances to put up many more this weekend. New Orleans has allowed the second highest yards per carry (5.0), the most rushing yards and the most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, but the ultimate reason Murray will do well this Sunday is because the Cowboys will use him extensively in order to control the clock and keep Drew Brees off the field.

Knowshon Moreno - Pyro Character

Knowshon Moreno (vs. Cle) – Since regaining the starting job due to Willis McGahee’s season-ending injury, Knowshon Moreno has been playing like a man possessed. Because he’s been a relative non-factor the last year and a half, some people may have forgotten that Moreno was not only a first-round pick back in 2009, but also the first running back taken in that draft. Basically, the kid has skills, but hasn’t necessarily done well to show them since he entered the league—at least until now. Knowshon has received 20 or more carries and at least 24 touches in each of the Broncos last four games, a trend I can’t see ending this weekend against Cleveland. He also has over 100 yards and a touchdown in each of the last two games, numbers I can also see happening again on Sunday. The Browns defense has been dominant on occasion this season, but their rush D definitely hasn’t been of late as they’ve allowed the fifth most fantasy points to running backs over the last three weeks. Once Peyton Manning gets his team out to a lead—which should be early—I expect the Knowshon show to take over for the rest of the game.

Doug Martin - Pyro Character

Doug Martin (vs. StL) – Doug Martin had easily the worst game of his rookie season last weekend against the Saints, but I can’t believe that the poor performance was solely his fault. Not only did New Orleans get up early enough to force the Buccaneers into abandoning the run, but Josh Freeman was so awful that the Saints had no problem with keying in on Martin for most of the game. Will the same thing happen this week? It might, but St. Louis isn’t good enough to force the Bucs away from the running game, so the Muscle Hamster should be used enough to put up RB1 fantasy points this week. Besides, the Rams have allowed the second most touchdowns and sixth most fantasy points to running backs over the last five weeks, so a man of Martin’s talents should be just fine.

Alfred Morris - Pyro Character

Alfred Morris (at Phi) – Alfred Morris has been crazy-good lately putting up the fifth most fantasy points in the league during the last five weeks and fourth most in the last three. In last weekend’s game against the Browns, for the first time in a month, Morris failed to rush for 100 yards—but was still able to give his fantasy owners quite a bit of love punching in two touchdowns during the second half of the game. This week he’ll be facing an Eagles squad that has all but mailed it in this season, so look for Morris to tote the ball 20-plus times for the sixth week in a row en route to another top ten fantasy performance.

Stevan Ridley - Pyro Character

Stevan Ridley (at Jax) – Last week against the 49ers was the first time since Week 7 that Stevan Ridley didn’t rush in a touchdown for his team. The reason why I have him listed in the top ten this week is because I fully expect him to start up another streak this Sunday against a Jaguars defense that has allowed the second most rushing touchdowns this season as well as the second most fantasy points to running backs. However, with his fumbling problem still not solved, Ridley may be in Bill Belichick’s doghouse right now so this ranking may be a bit of a chancy call. That being said, Belichick also knows that the Patriots need a strong running game to win the Super Bowl this season, so I believe that after Tom Brady has led New England to an insurmountable lead this weekend, Ridley will be allowed to work out his kinks for the rest of the game. If he sees at least 15-20 carries, which he most definitely should, then a rushing TD and top ten fantasy numbers are almost guaranteed.

 

Others with RB1 Potential:

 

Jamaal Charles (vs. Ind)

Matt Forte (at Ari)

Reggie Bush (vs. Buf)

C.J. Spiller (at Mia)

Darren McFadden (at Car)

 

RB2s & SLEEPERS

 

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (at Pit)

Trent Richardson (at Den) 

Vick Ballard (at KC)

Darren Sproles (at Dal)

Chris Johnson (at GB) 

DeAngelo Williams (vs. Oak) 

Jackie Battle (at NYJ)

Jacquizz Rodgers (at Det, Saturday night)

Joique Bell (vs. Atl, Saturday night) 

 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

 

Dez Bryant - Pyro Character

Dez Bryant (vs. NO) – Dez Bryant may have a fractured finger, but he was still able to extend his touchdown streak to six games against the Steelers last weekend, so it obviously isn’t bothering him all that much. This week the Cowboys will be back playing at home against the New Orleans Saints in a game that has the looks of a classic shootout. Not only have the Saints given up the sixth most real points in the league, but they’ve also allowed the second most passing yards as well as the third most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Throughout his short career, Bryant has made it a habit of his to feast on poor pass defenses, so with seemingly every single factor working in his favor, I’m not sure you could ask for much more during your championship game than what Dez has going for him this weekend.

steve smith pyro character

Steve Smith (vs. Oak) – It took awhile for him to get going this year, but now that Cam Newton has re-established his dominance in the league, Steve Smith is back amongst the top ten fantasy receivers to watch for each week. This Sunday will be no different with Smitty and the Panthers playing at home against a bottom-tier Oakland Raiders defense. The Raiders have allowed at least one receiver to put up double-digit fantasy points against them in 12 of 14 games this season, so the chances of Stevie Fists coming up with high-end numbers in this one are pretty darn good. Smith has actually put up the fifth most fantasy points for wide receivers over the last three weeks, a trend I can easily see continuing into your fantasy championship game.

Randall Cobb - Pyro Character

Randall Cobb (vs. Ten) – Randall Cobb put up his second straight game with 100 yards last weekend in a win against the Chicago Bears. In fact, the 115 yards he accumulated was the highest receiving game of his career thus far, though I expect him to break that mark sometime in the very near future. With Jordy Nelson very unlikely to return this week, Cobb should play the part of Aaron Rodgers’ go-to guy once again as the Packers continue to fight for a first-round playoff bye. The Titans defense has gotten progressively better throughout the season, but almost every single receiver whose talent is anywhere near Cobb’s has put up double-digit fantasy points against this pass D. To make you feel even stronger about Randall’s prospects this weekend, Percy Harvin scored 23.6 fantasy points in Tennessee’s matchup with Minnesota and in fact, the top three scoring games against the Titans this year all came from the NFC North (Harvin, Megatron and Marshall). Not a bad pattern for Cobb to follow, eh?

Wes Welker - Pyro Character

Wes Welker (at Jax) Though Wes Welker only caught five balls for 56 yards in the Patriots loss to the 49ers last Sunday night, his final catch of the game gave him 100 receptions on the season for an NFL record fifth time in his career. Congratulations, Wes, though I’m sure his fantasy owners would have rather seen the record set with a little more fantasy flare. This week looks to be a more favorable matchup for the Slot Machine, though, as Welker has performed much better on the road this season than at home. Of his six double-digit fantasy games this year, five of them came on the road—as have three of his four touchdowns. The Patriots were obviously in need of a wake-up call last weekend and now that they’ve had it, I expect Tom Brady to come out firing with his team still in the hunt for a first-round playoff bye. With that in mind, I fully expect Wes Welker to be heavily involved in the game plan against a middling Jags pass defense.

Vincent Jackson - Pyro Character

Vincent Jackson (vs. StL) – I’m sure fantasy owners would like to have seen a touchdown added to Vincent Jackson’s totals last Sunday—especially against a weak New Orleans Saints defense—but six catches for 81 yards isn’t too bad. The positive to focus on here was that V-Jax was once again targeted in the double-digits and will more than likely see the same type of attention from Josh Freeman this week. The St. Louis Rams have actually had one of the better pass defenses in the league this season, but because their secondary is one of the smallest in the league, they’ve had a bit of trouble with the taller receivers they’ve faced. Vincent Jackson, of course, is one of the tallest in the game at 6’5”, so there’s no reason to believe he won’t be able to put up top-tier fantasy numbers this championship weekend.

 

Others with WR1 Potential:

 

Roddy White (at Det, Saturday night)

Cecil Shorts (vs. NE)

Danny Amendola (at TB)

Eric Decker (vs. Cle)

Miles Austin (vs. NO)

T.Y. Hilton (at KC)

 

 

WR2s & SLEEPERS

 

Michael Crabtree (at Sea, Sunday night)

Brandon Lloyd (at Jax)

Stevie Johnson (at Mia)

Antonio Brown (vs. Cin)

James Jones (vs. Ten)

Anquan Boldin (vs. NYG)

Mike Williams (vs. StL)

Riley Cooper (vs. Was)

Brandon Gibson (at TB)

Rod Streater (at Car)

Alshon Jeffery (at Ari)

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

 

Heath Miller - Pyro Character

Heath Miller (vs. Cin) – When Ben Roethlisberger stated early in the year that he wanted to get Heath Miller into the Pro Bowl game this season, he wasn’t kidding. Not only is Miller tied for the second most touchdown catches for tight ends in 2012, but he also has the fourth most yards, fifth most receptions and most importantly—the fourth most fantasy points. He’s been the second best tight end over the last three weeks (behind Aaron Hernandez) and with the way Big Ben is targeting him, I doubt his string of top-notch games ends here. Earlier this season, Heath put up 53 yards and a touchdown on six catches against these Bengals, numbers he could easily hit again this Sunday.

Greg Olsen - Pyro Character

Greg Olsen (vs. Oak) – There was a general consensus throughout the world of fantasy that Greg Olsen would put up better numbers this season than he did in his first for Carolina, but I personally didn’t expect him to be fifth in the league in fantasy points after 15 weeks. His talent was undeniable as a first-round pick back in 2007, and now it seems his skills are finally coming to the forefront within this Carolina Panthers offense. He’s certainly been an up and down starter this fantasy season, putting up just as many duds as week-winners, but it looks like he has a good chance of being a worthwhile play here in Week 16. Olsen has been on a bit of a roll here lately putting up three double-digit fantasy performances and grabbing four touchdowns in his last six games, so with the Oakland Raiders allowing the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends this season; you might want to think about getting Greg in your lineup.

Dennis Pitta - Pyro Character

Dennis Pitta (vs. NYG) – Like I said last week, nothing could have been better for those who own Dennis Pitta than Baltimore’s firing of offensive coordinator, Cam Cameron. Under the Ravens’ new regime last weekend, Pitta went off for a career-best 125 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches, though he was playing against the league’s worst team at defending tight ends, the Denver Broncos. This week will be a little tougher for the former fourth-rounder out of BYU as he’ll take on a Giants defense that’s only allowed three touchdowns to tight ends this season (fourth fewest in the league). However, they’ve also allowed the fourth most receptions and seventh most yards, so Pitta should at least be a strong play in PPR leagues. Either way, Dennis should have himself a nice game in Week 16.

Owen Daniels - Pyro Character

Owen Daniels (vs. Min) – Owen Daniels has been going through a bit of a mid-life crises of late. In the five games he’s played in since turning 30 back on November 9th, he’s turned in one “decent” performance when he had 20 yards and a touchdown for a total of eight fantasy points back in Week 12. In the other four games, Daniels has averaged just 4.1 fantasy points, which is only good enough to just barely crack the top-25 tight ends during that time period. The Minnesota Vikings have allowed a decent amount of fantasy points to the tight end position this season, including an average of a touchdown in every other game, so Owen could be a nice risk to take this weekend. However, the yet word in that last sentence is “risk”, as he’s hardly been consistent during the second half of the season.

Brent Celek - Pyro Character

Brent Celek (vs. Was) You probably think I’ve gone off the deep end for listing Brent Celek as a top ten candidate this week, but I have my reasons. Current mental issues aside, if you don’t have one of the top tight ends in the league to choose from at this point, then you’re obviously taking a chance on whoever you end up starting this week anyway because NOBODY down in this range has been consistent enough to call a sure thing. Obviously Celek has been a major disappointment to those who drafted him, but he’s still in the top-12 in targets, receptions and yards this season, so he hasn’t been a complete dud. One of the things he has going for him this week is that in his last three games against the Redskins, Brent has averaged five catches for 57 yards while catching a touchdown in two of them, so he at least knows what to do against them. Another plus for Celek is that Washington has allowed tight ends to put up the most yards and receptions against them this season, along with the second most fantasy points as well. My final rationale is that Brent happens to be a much better fantasy player at home, so if you’re an owner who has been down on Celek the entire season yet have no one else you can trust, this might be the week he pulls through for you.

Jermichael Finley - Pyro Character

Jermichael Finley (vs. Ten) – I had a real tough time figuring out which tight end deserved the final spot in my top ten this week, but I’m happy with my final decision to give it to Jermichael Finley and I’ll tell you why. When you get to this point in the tight end rankings, there aren’t a lot of guys that look to have a chance at busting out with some top tier numbers. Whether their quarterback sucks or they’re playing a great defense or they have a bad history against their opponent, there are always more than enough reasons to be scared of starting a guy—especially during your championship game. Finley, though mostly a disaster this year, has actually been pretty decent lately putting up over 50 yards in four of his last five games. However, that’s only a minor reason as to why I have him ranked in this spot. The biggest reason is this:  When looking at all the tight ends I had to choose from here, only one of them was on a high-scoring team with a dominant quarterback going up against an opponent with a bottom-five defense that allows a ton of fantasy points to the tight end position. Once I was able to put all of this together, Jermichael Finley was an easy call.

 

Others with TE1 Potential:

 

Kyle Rudolph (at Hou)

Dallas Clark (vs. StL)

Antonio Gates (at NYJ)

Brandon Myers (at Car)

 

TE2s & SLEEPERS

 

Tony Scheffler (vs. Atl, Saturday night)

Ben Watson (at Den)

Lance Kendricks (at TB)

Marcedes Lewis (vs. NE)

Jeff Cumberland (vs. SD)

Dwayne Allen (at KC)

 

   
SIT 'EM


QUARTERBACKS

 

Carson Palmer - Pyro Character

Carson Palmer (at Car) Palmer hasn’t been a bad fantasy quarterback this season and in fact, has done slightly better than I thought he would. He normally tallies somewhere in the mid-level fantasy point range, but every few weeks he leaves you stranded and puts up a dud. This will be one of those weeks. The Raiders committed to using QB Terrell Pryor on some third-down and red-zone plays this week, so Palmer’s upside was already capped. But when you add in that the Panthers have allowed the tenth fewest fantasy points to QBs this season, then you realize you simply have to sit Carson this week.

Andy Dalton - Pyro Character

Andy Dalton (at Pit) Dalton has been a nice surprise thus far as he currently ranks 10th in fantasy points for quarterbacks this season. However, he’d be ranked a bit higher if not for a couple of stinkers he put up early in the season. One of those games was against the Steelers when he tossed up one touchdown, one interception and just 105 yards. In fact, if you were to add up the fantasy points from the three career games he’s played against Pittsburgh, the total (26.9) wouldn’t be enough to have been the high score in any single week this entire season. In short, sit him.

Philip Rivers - Pyro Character

Philip Rivers (at NYJ) He’s already been a major disappointment this year—both to the Chargers and his fantasy owners—so it’s unlikely you would have considered playing Rivers this week anyway. However, with Antonio Gates playing the worst football of his career and both Malcom Floyd and Ryan Mathews out for the remainder of the season, don’t hesitate to drop him from your team completely. Either way, the Jets allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks per game and haven’t given up a touchdown through the air since Week 12.

Jay Cutler - Pyro Character

Jay Cutler (at Ari) I truly believed that Chicago’s addition of Brandon Marshall would somehow hoist Jay Cutler into the top 10 to 15 fantasy quarterbacks in the league. Apparently, I was wrong. While Marshall has undoubtedly exceeded all expectations, Cutler and the rest of the Bears wide receivers certainly have not. He’s put together a few decent games for his owners, sure, but there’s no chance Jay will be able to shock the world against a Cardinals pass D that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to QBs this season. No way in hell.

 

 

RUNNING BACKS

 

Bryce Brown - Pyro Character

Bryce Brown (vs. Was) Not only has Bryce Brown fallen from grace quicker than any phenom I’ve seen in quite some time, but now the Eagles have LeSean McCoy back, so there’s really no reason to even think about Brown anymore. He may touch the ball around 10 times as they ease McCoy back into action, but if his last two games are any indication, he won’t do much with them anyway.

David Wilson - Pyro Character

David Wilson (at Bal) I still believe David Wilson has a nice future ahead of him, but with the Giants gearing up for the playoffs right now, they simply can’t afford the rookie growing pains Wilson is obviously still experiencing. Besides, it looks like Ahmad Bradshaw has rested/healed up enough to get back into game action, so Wilson likely won’t see much more than 5-10 touches this week anyway.

Steven Jackson - Pyro Character

Steven Jackson (at TB) If Steven Jackson can rush for 91 yards over the next two games, he’ll become just the sixth running back in history to rush for 1,000 yards in eight straight seasons (Emmitt Smith, 11; Curtis Martin, 10; Barry Sanders, 10; Thurman Thomas, 8; LaDainian Tomlinson, 8). That being said, it won’t be easy, especially with two of the league’s best rush defenses on tap the next couple of weeks (Tampa Bay, Seattle). I definitely don’t like his chances to get it all in this one game seeing how the Bucs have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL. Jackson’s only real shot at some fantasy points here is if he can punch one into the end zone, which doesn’t seem likely either as it hasn’t really been his forte over the years.

DeAngelo Williams - Pyro Character

DeAngelo Williams (vs. Oak) – DeAngelo has done incredibly well in the three games since Jonathan Stewart went down to injury, but it looks like Stewart will be back this Sunday against the Raiders, so all bets are off. Each of these guys’ fantasy production drops off too much when playing together, so fantasy owners can’t risk Williams putting up a dud in their starting lineups with this being championship weekend and all.

Beanie Wells - Pyro Character

Beanie Wells (vs. Chi) The three touchdowns Beanie Wells put up last weekend against Detroit was amazing, but to expect anything even close to that against the Bears would be foolhardy at best. Could he grab another touchdown or run for 60 to 70 yards? Sure, but if you’re in the fantasy championship at this point, you likely had better options than Beanie to get you here. Use them.

 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

 

Sidney Rice - Pyro Character

Sidney Rice (vs. SF, Sunday night) Rice has been a relatively dependable fantasy receiver since around the sixth week of the season, but it seems the injury bug has caught up to him once again as he’ll likely be a game-time decision this Sunday night with a balky knee. It’s a good bet he’ll play, but at less than full speed and against a monstrous 49ers defense, you should look elsewhere for your flex/WR3 position this weekend.

Josh Gordon - Pyro Character

Josh Gordon (at Den) I absolutely love Josh Gordon’s future, especially on this up-and-coming Cleveland Browns team, but this isn’t the weekend to get over-zealous about his potential. The Broncos will likely stick their lockdown cornerback, Champ Bailey, on him all game, which can only mean heartache for fantasy owners planning to play him. Chance him as your flex/WR3 at your own risk.

Kenny Britt - Pyro Character

Kenny Britt (at GB) Many of us fantasy owners took a leap of faith drafting Kenny Britt this year with the hopes he could return to All Pro form. Obviously, it didn’t work out, as the abundantly talented receiver isn’t even ranked in the top-50 fantasy receivers this season. His three-game stretch between Weeks 12 and 14 was certainly promising as he either grabbed a touchdown or put up 100 yards in each of those games—but his one-catch, seven-yard performance last weekend was truly a cruel dose of reality to many championship dreamers. Keep him on your bench this week, especially against a Packers pass defense that has allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers over the last three weeks.

Danario Alexander - Pyro Character

Danario Alexander (at NYJ) I’m going to make this one real simple. First, with Malcom Floyd out for the season, it's possible Danario sees some double-team action during these last two games. Second, ignore that last comment, because he’ll likely be shadowed by one of the best cornerbacks in the game, Antonio Cromartie, all day anyway. Third, the Jets have allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Fourth, the Jets haven’t given up a touchdown pass since Week 12. Any questions?

Larry Fitzgerald - Pyro Character

Larry Fitzgerald (vs. Chi) Two words:  Ryan Lindley. Actually, I also need to point out that over the last five games, Larry Fitzgerald has a combined total of just 10 catches for 89 yards and zero touchdowns. MAN do I feel bad for this guy.

Denarius Moore - Pyro Character

Denarius Moore (at Car) Denarius Moore is a highlight reel waiting to happen every time he steps out on the field. However, his consistency/dependability is so out of whack that he’s hardly even worth rostering due to the frustration he causes alone. Carolina has allowed the fifth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season and while it’s entirely possible Moore goes off this weekend, he’s hardly worth the risk seeing how he has just one 100-yard game to his name in 2012.

 

TIGHT ENDS

 

Vernon Davis (at Sea, Sunday night) Vernon has had virtually no chemistry or production with Kaepernick quarterbacking this team, but maybe even more importantly, the Seahawks have given up the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season.

 

Jermaine Gresham (at Pit) In five career games against Pittsburgh, Gresham has a grand total of 12 catches for 90 yards and one touchdown. The Steelers also happen to have held tight ends to the fourth fewest fantasy points this year. Need I say more?

 

Martellus Bennett (at Bal) Bennett has had six start-worthy fantasy games so far, which really isn’t that bad. However, none of them came against the Giants’ 2012 out-of-conference divisional foes—the AFC North—and Baltimore might be the best of 'em seeing how they're tied for the fewest touchdowns allowed to tight ends in the league this year.

 

Scott Chandler (at Mia) – Not only is Chandler hampered by a foot injury right now, but Miami also happens to be one of the NFL’s top dogs at defending what Chandler normally does best—score touchdowns.

 

 

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