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“Off the Matt” Quarterback to Tight End, Claim/Drop and Start/Sit, Week #12

Thursday is one of the best days of the year.  I will partake in two of my favorite pastimes for a good portion of the day.




Sorry hun, no jeans this year.  Get out my eatin’ pants.  You know, the ones with the elastic in the waistline.

Week 12: Workin’ the Wire

With Zach Miller suffering a broken foot and Gronk’s return in question, fantasy owners might need to hit the wire for some help.  Depending on how deep your league is will dictate the quality of players that are on the wire.  In shallow leagues you will likely be able to find a solid replacement.  If you are in a deep league I have a pair of names that are worth an add.

After missing the last six games, Jared Cook was welcomed back to the Packers offense in a big way.  He got 11 targets and turned them into 6/105/1.  The touchdown column in that stat line could easily read “2” if it wasn’t for a miscommunication in which Cook was wide open for an easy touchdown.  Right now the Packers defense is terrible and they have zero run game.  Grabbing a pass catcher in this offense is a good idea.

I dismissed the idea of adding Vance McDonald after his 14 point Week 9 performance.  However, after finding the end zone again in Week 11 and posting another double digit fantasy effort he deserves a mention.  Kaepernick has looked his way six times in four consecutive games.  While it isn’t a crazy amount of volume, it is enough that he could be relevant.

msFantasy owners can move on from Matt Stafford.  After a hot start to the season, he has now gone seven straight games without cracking 280 yards passing.  The touchdowns have dried up too.  He only has one multiple touchdown pass effort in his last four games.  Having the Vikings on deck isn’t going to cure anything in the short-term.

Next up on the chopping-block is Andy Dalton.  Dalton’s numbers have taken a dip in the last few weeks.  Losing A.J. Green and Gio Bernard for the season eliminate the big-play potential this offense had.  You can go ahead and holster the red-rifle until next season.


Kirk Cousins @ DAL

Ooo-wee Cousins is playing some good football right now.  He has posted 21 fantasy points in three of his last four with his off game being a solid 18 point effort against the stingy Vikings defense.  Over that stretch he has completed at least 67% of his passes in each game and has just one interception.  That healthy completion percentage isn’t aided by dink-and-dunk passes either.  Cousins has no problem pushing the ball down the field and owns the second most completions in the league of 25+ yards.  There are always some concerns with playing on a short week, especially on the road but this has the makings of a shootout and I expect Cousins to do his part.

Ben Roethlisberger @ IND

I think President Bush said it best…

You fooled me Ben, but I am going to give you a pass because of the weather conditions.  This week you get the comfort of a climate controlled dome and fast-track for Brown and Co. to work on.  The Colts defense has allowed multiple touchdown passes in seven of their last eight games.  If Ben doesn’t get it done in this road game, then the curse is real.

Russell Wilson @ TB

Congrats if you weathered the storm that was weeks 6-8 for Russell Wilson.  In those three weeks owners saw point totals of 10, 9, and 9 with zero touchdown passes.  That type of grotesque production was probably enough for some people to send him packing.  Now he is finally healthy and his numbers show it.  He has posted three consecutive weeks of 22+ fantasy points.  Although he has yet to rack up any big rushing totals, it is clear that his mobility has returned.  If he starts running, Wilson will again land in the elite category in the fantasy world.

Zach Ertz vs. GB

Have I mentioned that the Packers defense stinks yet in this article?  Oh, I have?  Well it needs to be mentioned again.  Ertz is coming off a season high 11 targets and found the end zone last week.  What the stat line doesn’t show is that Ertz had a 57 yard touchdown called back because of a careless formation penalty.  Hopefully the trend of him being heavily involved will continue.

Cameron Brate vs. SEA

Brate had his touchdown streak snapped in Week 11 against the Chiefs.  This doesn’t come as much of a surprise because the Chiefs have shutdown every tight end they have faced this year.  He should rebound against the Seahawks who will be without Earl Thomas patrolling the secondary.  With Mike Evans drawing heavy attention it should come as no shock if Brate can get loose a few times.


Matt Stafford vs. MIN

I think I made it pretty clear how I feel about Stafford’s rest of the season outlook above.  However, as I was watching “Fantasy and Friends” tonight on NFL network I heard Adam Rank give Stafford a ringing endorsement.  Adam Rank is the same guy who proclaimed it was a sound move to draft Stephen Gostkowski in the 5th round this year.  Anyways, I just don’t see it, especially against the Vikings.  He put up 14 fantasy points against the Vikings three weeks ago, and nothing has changed to make me think he will do any better this time around.

Blake Bortles @ BUF

This might be a rough week for the Jags.  They lose a tough game in Detroit and are right back on the road in Buffalo the following week.  Aside from a two game stretch in which they ran into Brady and Wilson in back to back weeks they have been solid against opposing quarterbacks.  In the last eight games they are the only quarterbacks to score over 20 fantasy points on the Bills defense.  Bortles is a turnover machine and is tied for the league lead with 13 interceptions.  I would suspect that he will add onto that total this weekend.

Tyler Eifert @ BAL

teI can see a school of thought saying, “Well with Green out, just think of all the targets Eifert will get now.”  While there could be some truth to that, my line of thinking is that with Green out, defenses will have less to worry about.  More specifically, that safety that would be rolled to his side of the field for the over-the-top help will now be clogging up passing lanes in the  middle of the field where Eifert made many of his catches.  It will be interesting to see how it plays out, but one thing working against him in the short-term is that the Ravens are tough on opposing tight ends.  One tight end has eclipsed 50 yards and one tight end has a touchdown…it wasn’t the same guy…translation: The Ravens defense has yet to allow double digit fantasy points to an opposing tight end.

Hunter Henry / Antonio Gates vs. HOU

I am buying tight end shares in the Chargers offense on most weeks, but not at Houston.  Here is how some notable tight ends have performed against the Texans.

Travis Kelce: 5/34/0

Martellus Bennett: 2/10/0

Delanie Walker: 2/34/0

Jack Doyle: 4/53/1 – – Only TE with double digit fantasy points against them.

Kyle Rudolph: 2/15/0

Eric Ebron: 7/79/0

Do you get the idea?  Fantasy points have been tough to come by for this position group against the Texans.

Stack Play:  Cousins to Reed

Back in Week 2, Redskins tight ends combined for 10/121/0 (Reed 5/70) against the Cowboys. That is when they their secondary was at full strength.  With some injuries in the back end, Jordan Reed should figure to be a nightmare matchup.  He will live up to his price tag this week in DFS formats.

Good luck this week.  Hit me up with any questions on Twitter @barkballin.

A/S/ the old school AOL instant messenger days... 31/M/PA Elementary Physical Education by day, chasing around my 1 and 2 year old boys by night. I started playing fantasy football when I was 9 years old (94'). My older brother let me be a co-owner on his team. We had one of those giant C-Band satellite dishes and had heard that there was a way to get every football game through a new package called "Sunday Ticket." My first memory was watching Terry Allen run around for the Vikings and I have been hooked ever since. I don't know what the world record is for most consecutive Sundays watching a minimum of seven hours of football, but I have to be on my way to achieving it.

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