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“Sauer Notes” Deck-er the Halls with Boughs of Knowledge


Assuming that if you are reading up on fantasy articles at this point in the year you have made the playoffs.  Amongst all the injuries, early round busts, and missed waiver wire opportunities, you should consider yourself lucky.  Do not get me wrong this is a game of skill, so lets not base our successes on luck alone.  Rather just be happy that we did not get unlucky and draft LaVeon Bell or JaMaal Charles, following that up with CJ Anderson, Keenan Allen, and say a Peyton Manning all on the same team like some of my friends have.

Several components go into making a deep playoff run, and all of our hard work scouring the waiver wire, making trades, and looking at all the match-ups has paid off.  Do not stop here, we need to pass GO and collect that $200.  What a better way to relieve yourself of the pocket draining holiday season than rejuvenating those bank accounts with some fantasy championship cash.  For me, it’s not about bringing home the dough, it’s about the bragging rights. At work, at home, or online, wherever the championships take place, it’s about being able to do the Aaron Rodgers discount double check belt gesture, but more so at the end of the day just being able to say ‘I knew it’.

As a fantasy analyst, that is the most satisfactory feeling.  Yeah more often than not I am able to construct a playoff worthy roster based off of the wealth of football knowledge I’ve accumulated over time, but it is using that knowledge in assisting other fantasy players in constructing their championship rosters that really takes the cake for me.  You can not be in this business of fantasy if you can not take when people say “well you were pretty off on this guy or that guy,” because when analyzing a couple hundred players every year, you are going to be wrong a lot.  But when people say “hey I listened to your advice when you said pick up this guy and drop that guy, and I made it to the playoffs because of it,” that is the most rewarding part of this job.

This week the waiver wire is absolutely bare in terms of productive steady WR that can help bring depth to your fantasy roster.  So I advise you to check out the other amazing articles this website features on the QB/RB/TE positions as those have much more valid options that can make a difference for your teams.  If you are desperate for WR help, take a look at last week’s article and those same players still apply if they are available on your waiver wire.


Week 13 MVP’s

Allen Robinson-  ar15Unless this is your first time reading one of my articles, or have yet to tune into our Tuesday night radio show, you are well aware of my ‘man-crush’ for AR-15.  Prior to the season, he and Charles Johnson were my breakout candidates, and had drafted at least one or both in every league.  Needing running back earlier in the season, I had traded Robinson and a couple of other pieces for Forte and Dion Lewis.  It was only fitting that I played the owner that acquired Robinson from me in a win-and-in situation, and his three touchdown effort surely cost me a birth.  To add salt to the wound, had I plugged in Robinson for Jeffery in my Millionaire Maker lineup, it would have been the difference between $70 and six figures.  After the up-and-coming star’s 10/163/3 performance, Robinson now sits sixth among WR in PPR leagues.  For a player taken probably in the fifth round at the absolute earliest, he is becoming one of the better draft day bargains of the year.  With the Jacksonville offense as a whole getting better as their young guns continue to develop chemistry, I envision Robinson coming off of the board right behind the elite Brown’s, Julio’s, and Beckham’s off the world next year come draft day.

Brandon Marshall-  bmarshIn a juxtapositional stance here, as I pegged Marshall as a ‘do not draft’ player in all of my drafts.  Much maligned because of the atrocity that is Geno Smith, and I did not want to have any stake in that.  A jaw broken and a beard later, Marshall finds himself fifth among WR in PPR leagues.  Having Fitzpatrick step in as the Jets’ starting QB has been a godsend, and the whole offense has benefitted largely.  Throughout the whole year there has not been a week where the top-10 of WR has not included Marshall or Decker.  This week was no different, as Marshall caught 12 of 13 targets, for 131 yards and a touchdown.  Furthermore, this week Marshall became the only player in NFL history to have 1,000 yard seasons for four different teams.  Much like Robinson, if you were one to take a shot on either of the Jet receivers late in your drafts, you have found yourself with a superb value and it most likely was an integral part in your playoff push.


Week 13 Busts

Jarvis Landry-  landryThis was definitely not the week you wanted any of your starters to find themselves on this list.  Much like Deandre Hopkins, who was featured in this portion of the article after a disappointing showing against a weak Saints’ defense in Week 12, Landry had one of the most advantageous match-ups possible against the Ravens.  Landry came up small, and by small I mean minuscule, finishing with two catches for five yards.  If you are at all familiar with correct writing parameters in high school or college, you know that when writing out numbers, if it is less than ten you actually spell it out, and if it is greater than ten you use the number itself.  I do not recall a week where I have acknowledged a players stat-line without using a number itself.  So having finished with two catches for five yards was indeed, microscopic.  We are hoping that this was more due to a nagging knee injury, and not his role in the new offensive scheme.  Again, Landry will find himself in an above average match-up against the exploitable Giants’ secondary on MNF, and hopefully his owners will not be disappointed again.

Alshon Jeffery- jeff Can you tell that I still have a “Sauer” taste in my mouth?  Let’s take life changing amounts of money out of the equation, and just focus on the situation at hand.  Jeffery has been one of the more frustrating players to own in season-long formats.  He has consistently been tagged by the ‘Q’ annotation next to his name, and many of those have turned into a ‘O’.  Nevertheless, when he has played he has put up WR1 type numbers despite nagging injuries.  This past weekend was supposedly the healthiest he has been in quite some time, and had a beautiful match-up against a porous 49er defense.  It is not going to help one of your stud wideouts, when you have a guy like Blaine Gabbert out playing the guy throwing your guy the ball, in Jay Cutler.  Despite being peppered with 12 targets, Jeffery only ended up with four grabs for 85 yards.  Expect a better turnout in Week 14 as the Bears square off with Redskins, who are beatable in their secondary.


Start Em’

Sammy Watkins- sammyA player that I have seemed to feature in the wrong portion of the Start Em’/Sit Em’ all year long is coincidentally one that I have watched all of his professional snaps.  It is harder to judge a WR on a team that has a ground-and-pound mantra.  Add that in conjunction with the fluctuation of his target volume, and you have yourself a pretty tough weekly riddle.  Although this week, you do not need to be a genius to figure out that having this type of explosive playmaker against an Eagle team giving up the most points to WR is a must start.  If you stuck it out with the peaks and valleys that has been Watkins’ season thus far, than you will be rewarded with his cupcake of a playoff schedule.  Kicking it off this weekend starts a stretch of NFC L-East opponents for the Bills, followed by the Redskins and Cowboys to finish off the fantasy playoffs.

Mike Evans-  evanAnother player similar to the prospects of Watkins and the aforementioned Jeffery, in that he has a mightily frustrating fantasy season for his owners.  His week-to-week outlook was comparable to his relationship with the football, tough to get a handle on.  In a season that has been plagued by more drops than a mix played at an all night rave, there is one thing we can be sure of heading into Week 14.  No, we can not be sure of Evans’ hands, but we can be sure of just how awful the Saints’ defense is, and that is who Tampa Bay will get this weekend.  Vincent Jackson’s return to this offense has crippled Evans’ fantasy value over the last three games, as he has not amassed more than 65 yards in any of those contests.  He was able to save his owners of a dud performance by getting in the end zone in two of those contests.  Although, Evans’ sophomore season will pale in comparison to his 15-touchdown rookie campaign, he does have a good opportunity to close the gap in season totals with this sexy matchup against the Saints.

Eric Decker-  deckOne will hopefully be decking the proverbially halls with boughs of Decker following the Week 14 matchup against the Titans.  Remember the statement about at least one of the Jet WR finishing among the top-10 in every week this season?  Well, this week we can be looking at an instance where we see both Marshall and Decker finish in that realm.  Since Week 10, the Titans have been scorched for over 25 points to the WR position, and with the Jet passing attack catching fire as of late, they will set this secondary ablaze.  Tis’ the holiday season, so hopefully you will be Decker-ing the halls all the way to a fantasy championship.


Sit Em’

Amari Cooper-  coopCooper has definitely had an excellent rookie season, and after the anomaly that was the 2014 class of rookie breakout WR, Cooper really has been the only rookie to impact our fantasy rosters at the WR position.  Even with the success he has had so far in 2015, he has yet to hit that elite “must-start” plateau.  When selecting your roster construction for playoffs you want to avoid dud performances at all costs, and that’s what could be in place for Cooper here in Week 14.  Cooper will face off against Aqib Talib and the stingy Broncos defense for his second time, with the first battle ending in a measly 47-yard performance.  Another aspect to consider here, is that of game-flow.  In the first match-up between the two teams, it was Peyton Manning at the helm, and the Bronco running game was non-existent.  With Osweiler under center, they have had much success rushing the ball in the ‘true’ Kubiak system.  This is important because the clock will continue to run, in turn, leaving the Raiders with less plays ran than usual.  With the match-up and expected game flow, I would weigh other options to avoid the very-possible dud that could be Cooper’s performance in Week 14.

TY Hilton-  hiltHilton has been the model of inconsistency so far this season, and with the looming prospects of Captain check-down, Charlie Whitehurst taking over will only further skew these numbers.  When making these important playoff roster construction decisions, we can not just look at the team that the player is matched up against and base it solely on that.  If so, we would see a tilt against the Jaguars in Week 14 and just plug him in all willy-nilly.  This can not be the case in season long leagues as we want to find the highest floor in terms of a players projection, and not the highest ceiling.  With the uncertainty at QB, and Hilton’s 67-yard performance against this Jacksonville defense in Week 4, is more than enough for me to find other options for my playoff roster.

Desean Jackson-  djaxAgain, without being able to avoid redundancies, at this point in the season we need to avoid players who have the risk of having re-DUnD-ant performances.  We all know that D-Jax is a player that is reliant on big plays for him to hit his value as a worthy fantasy starter.  If it were not for a couple of bone-headed plays by both teams on MNF (D-Jax punt return fumble, Dallas not kneeling and kicking the GW field goal), Jackson would have never been afforded the opportunity to get in the end-zone on a late touchdown.  Also, just eyeing the matchup against the Bears in Week 14, one that seems favorable on the outside, is actually not so great when digging a little deeper.  In the past four weeks, the Bears have allowed the third-fewest points to the WR position.  They just held the league’s leading MVP candidate, Blaine Gabbert, under 200 yards and one touchdown.  All kidding aside, two weeks ago they actually shut down a Packer offense, albeit not the same as seasons past, in check, at home in Lambeau field where they are almost unbeatable.


Bold Predictions

The Steelers and Bengals game has 6 total touchdown passes, none of them featuring Antonio Brown or AJ Green.

Jarvis Landry has a somewhat bounce back performance on MNF going 8/105/1.

Seven touchdowns in three weeks? I think so, as Doug Baldwin goes 7/81/2.

Despite seeing much of Josh Norman, Julio breaks out of recent slump going 9/125/1.


If you have any lineup questions, or need assistance with adding some depth via the waiver wire, find me on twitter: @zaksauer


(Click the BLUE link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Sports Radio Show: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts live on Sunday December 13th from 11-12:45pm EST for this week’s episode of Major League Fantasy Sports radio sponsored by the Sports Palooza Radio network. We take live callers at 646-915-8596. We will discuss the football games today and any fantasy football relevant information therein.

Our guests this week are Davin Joseph, Coach Jeff Nelson, and Bill Latin. Davin is a 2-time Pro-Bowl guard and first round pick in 2006 of the Tampa Bay Bucs. Jeff is a defensive coach from White Hall H.S. in PA, and is a 2-time MLFF Champion. Bill is a writer Come join a lively debate!

If you can’t make it to the live airing you can always download the podcast at I-Tunes or Google Play stores. Search for “Sports Palooza Radio Show”. Android owners download “Podcast Republic” and then search on podcast republic for “Sports Palooza Radio Show.”
(Click the BLUE link below to listen)

Major League Fantasy Football Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Zak Sauer for Major League Fantasy Football Weekly on Tuesday December 15th from 8-10pm EST. This show is your one-stop shop for a weekly recap and what to focus on for the coming week in fantasy football. We will be discussing key games, and performances from players from the prior week’s games. We will also prepare you for the coming week in regards to waiver wire claims, and a break down of the Thursday night game. This is a live call in show so feel free to do so at 323-870-4395. Press the #1 to speak with the host.

Our guest this week is Bryan Luhrs the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports, and a writer with Major League Fantasy Sports.

Come join a lively discussion!

You can download the podcast in the I-Tunes store. Search for Major League Fantasy Football Weekly.

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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.

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