Week 12 Recap
Josh McCown: 212/1/0
Brian Hoyer: 205/2/1
Delanie Walker: 6/91/0
Julius Thomas: 9/116/1
Tom Brady: 280/3/0
Jameis Winston: 245/1/1
Antonio Gates: 4/53/2
Crockett Gillmore: 3/20/0
Year to Date Totals (total starts):
Fantasy Ca$h Quarterbacks (24): 6641/41/24 (278 ypg)
Fantasy Crash Quarterbacks (23): 5895/41/15 (256 ypg)
Fantasy Ca$h Tight Ends (24): 121/1336/7 (56 ypg)
Fantasy Crash Tight Ends (24): 83/716/10 (30 ypg)
Before getting into this weeks ‘Ca$h vs. Crash’ plays, the Gronk and Graham injury situation needs to be addressed. If your looking for a direct fill in for Gronkowski, I believe Scott Chandler can tide fantasy owners over until Gronk returns. At 6’7’’-260 lbs., Chandler can be a mismatch problem and do some of the things that Gronk did. Also, with the rash of injuries to the Patriot pass catchers the targets have to go somewhere (11 last week).
As for Jimmy Graham, it could be a bit more complex. I don’t view Luke Willson as a reliable replacement option. Chances are fantasy owners may have already built some depth behind Graham with his inconsistent production so you might already have a playable option on your roster. If you find yourself in a pinch, consider Blaine Gabbert’s BFF Vance McDonald, who has caught 10 of his 11 targets over the past two weeks and has found the end zone in each game. Although, I would not recommend him for this week, more on that later.
Andy Dalton @ CLE
Is Dalton a slam-dunk start for you each week? Consider yourself lucky. I am sure there are many owners who agonize each week over starting Dalton or the “name brand” quarterback that they drafted ahead of the Red Rifle. I know I personally have faced the decision of Dalton vs. Brees each week. I normally roll with Brees, but this week I am all in on Dalton and I recommend the same for you.
In Week 9, Dalton had his way with the Browns defense carving them up for 234/3/0 on just 27 attempts. With explosive weapons at his disposal, Dalton does not need a ton of volume to produce QB1 numbers. He has three games on the season in which he has posted 200+/3 on less than 30 attempts. That could be important considering the blowout potential of this game. I don’t know what kind of hangover goes along with losing in the fashion that they did on MNF against the Ravens, but I would think it will take something more than a pair of Tylenol to numb the pain. I picture them coming out flat and Dalton making them pay early. Oh yeah, by the way, the Browns have allowed 12 touchdowns passes in their last four games helps boost the confidence in making Dalton a cash play.
Jay Cutler vs. SF
Cutler’s production hit a bump in the road the previous two weeks. In Week 11, he faced off against the Broncos defense that shuts everyone down and last week the elements of Green Bay made it tough on the passing game, which led to a poor fantasy day. Keep the big picture in mind when considering Cutler this week. Before that two game skid, he had produced 17 (ESPN scoring) fantasy points in six consecutive games. Over that stretch, he either had multiple touchdown passes and or 300 yards passing in five of the six games.
One of the reasons for Cutler’s success this season is the quality decision-making he has demonstrated. I never thought I would write a sentence that had “Cutler” + “quality decision-making” in the same sentence. Anyways, he does deserve credit as he is on schedule for his lowest interception rate of his career.
It is a nice matchup this week going against the 49ers, who seem to be two different defenses when playing at home verse on the road this season. In their six home games, they have only allowed multiple touchdown passes once. However, in their five road games they have allowed multiple touchdown passes in four of give games including three scores on three occasions. The lone team that they held to a single passing touchdown was Nick Foles and the putrid Rams passing attack. Have a celebratory cigar, or in Cutler’s case, a cigarette ready after this start.
Kyle Rudolph vs. SEA
The calendar has rolled over into December, so you know what that means, Rudolph time! Actually, Rudolph has morphed from a one-trick-reindeer…Okay I can’t run with that gimmick anymore, but Rudolph has turned himself into a consistent, chain moving option in the Vikings pass game as opposed to just a red zone threat. He has collected 18 targets over the last two games turning it into 13/159/1.
The days of the Seattle defense being feared are over. It use to be suicide to start a tight end against the Seahawks, but on the year they have allowed six weeks of double digit fantasy points to the opposing tight end position.
Jordan Reed vs. DAL
Jordan Reed is a matchup problem for opposing defenses. It is the classic case of being too big for a defensive back to handle, and too fast for a linebacker cover. Whatever the Cowboys have tried to do in the past certainly hasn’t worked. In three career games against the Cowboys, Reed has seen 23 targets. He has turned those targets into 20, that’s right 20 receptions for 168 yards. Reed has been incredibly dependable when the ball goes his way. On the season, he has hauled in 55 of the 66 passes that have gone his way for an 83% completion rate. I might throw his way more with that type of success.
Russell Wilson @ MIN
Russ has looked good the last two games. Keep in mind that has come against the 49ers and Steelers who rank 28th and 30th in pass yards allowed per game. I am having a hard time trusting him on the road, going up against a Vikings defense that allows the fourth fewest pass yards per game and have allowed 14 passing touchdowns. The key word in that last sentence was “road.” Check out these splits:
Home: 268 ypg/12/1
Away: 223 ypg/6/6
Wilson hasn’t done much with his legs this season, and I don’t expect that to change this week. The Vikings have only allowed one quarterback to rush for more than 20 yards.
Drew Brees vs. CAR
Benching Brees in the dome has the feel of breaking a fantasy commandment. Although in this matchup, I believe it is the right decision. The Panthers defense has been lights out against opposing quarterbacks. They rank in the top five in the following categories: passing yards per game, passing touchdowns allowed, interceptions, and sacks. They have only allowed multiple passing touchdowns three times on the season. This domination has translated into poor fantasy production for opposing quarterbacks. Only once have they allowed the opposing quarterback to score more than 18 fantasy points. Most impressively, they have held five quarterbacks to single digit fantasy points.
Another issue I have with starting Brees in this matchup is the potential for lack of volume. The Panthers have been strong in time of possession all season, but over their last three games they have gone to another level averaging an impressive [36:25] in the time of possession category. With the Saints inability to get their defense off the field, I could see Cam engineering some clock killing drives, which will leave Brees standing on the sidelines.
Gary Barnidge vs. CIN
“The Barnyard Dog” was running wild in primetime posting 7/91/0, making fantasy owners who needed him to come through with some solid production smile. It is hard to say what type of impact new quarterback Austin Davis will have on Barnidge’s production. His first start with the Browns coming against the Bengals makes for a tough opening act.
The Bengals did a good job in muzzling the dog in their last meeting, holding him to 2/35/0 with Manziel at the helm. Although, the Bengals have been tough on tight ends all season, allowing no more than 11 points to any tight end this season. Who knows, maybe the new quarterback will use Barnidge as a security blanket, but I am going to have to see it happen first before I can trust man’s best friend.
Vance McDonald @ CHI
Ummmm Let’s try “Players I haven’t heard of prior to two weeks ago” for $500 Alex.
Q: #89 Tight End, 49ers.
Who is Vance McDonald!?!?!?!
Yeah, I’m not going to pretend I saw this one coming. But for whatever reason, his has built a solid chemistry with Blaine Gabbert. Which I didn’t know it was actually possible to have chemistry with him when involved throwing and catching a football. He is most definitely worth adding at this point in the season, especially if you are battling the injury bug. However, I am steering clear of McDonald this week in his matchup against the Bears. They haven’t allowed a tight end touchdown since Week 6 and have only allowed more than seven fantasy points to the opposing tight end on two occasions all year. If the matchup is right, Vance could be worth a look in future weeks, but that is not the case for this week.
COMBO PLAY: 1-88
Cam is spinning the ball as well as any quarterback in the league right now. On top of that, he is playing against a defense that is playing worse than anyone in the league. He is in the running for league MVP and I could see him having a statement game in this spot. The Saints have allowed not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, BUT SIX touchdowns to opposing tight ends over the last three weeks. Chances are, Olsen will be on the other end of one of Cam’s touchdown passes. I look for this to be a popular stack play in DFS formats and rightfully so.
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@brandonziman You are more than welcome Brandon. You were a fantastic writer and a joy to work with. As we move through a very big transition for us hopefully we can continue to work with one anither.