Chances are if you’re taking the time to read this then you advanced to your league semi-final. If you didn’t advance and are reading this, congrats you’re an addict.
What a week for quarterback play, and I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible. According to a stat that I just made up Week 14 had the most single-digit performances (ESPN scoring) from the quarterback position of any week this decade.
Here are some of the fantasy relevant names to make the list…
Carson Palmer – 9
Jameis Winston – 8
Philip Rivers – 7
Marcus Mariota – 6
Eli Manning – 5
Dak Prescott – 5
Drew Brees – 4
Russell Wilson – 4
Derek Carr – 4
Ben Roethlisberger – 2
What is the lesson to be learned here?
Eight of the quarterbacks on the list played in either snow, rain, wind, or extreme cold. When you start breaking down weather it can lead to overthinking. However, there is a difference between overthinking and common sense. If you have two quarterbacks on your roster that are close to the same use weather as the tiebreaker.
Week 15: Workin’ the Wire
There were two injuries at the quarterback position in Week 14. Ryan Tannehill’s season is likely over with an ACL/MCL sprain and Matt Stafford suffered a finger injury that included a dislocation and torn ligaments. Stafford finished the game and is expected to be ready for Week 15.
It would take some stones to hit the wire for a quarterback to use in your semi-final matchup. If you do end up going that route I would point you in the direction of Tyrod Taylor who gets the Browns at home this week. The Browns have only held two quarterbacks to under 17 fantasy points on the season.
With the same logic in mind, if you are in a pinch at tight end consider Charles Clay for a spot start in Week 15. He scored a season high 11 fantasy points last week and the Browns struggle mightily against opposing tight ends allowing 11 touchdown receptions.
A good rule for this season has been if you have someone playing the Browns–start’em.
Cam Newton @ WAS
Okay, let’s forget about the 10/27 passing numbers and focus on something positive. His eight carries and 31 rush yards are the most he has had in both categories over the last four weeks. He was inches away from a rushing touchdown with his knee hitting down just as he stretched the ball across the goal line. He won’t be denied that satisfaction this Monday night.
Key word: Monday
Cam is a showman and won’t miss out on the opportunity to do some dancing in prime-time. I am confident that he will post 10+ points on the ground which will translate into a solid fantasy day.
Matt Ryan vs. S.F.
Ryan had been in a funk posting three consecutive games of 17 or fewer points. He snapped out of that against the Rams to the tune of 237/3. Keep in mind he achieved those numbers without Julio Jones on the field. With him being a game time decision in Week 14, one would have to believe that he will be ready to roll in Week 15.
The 49ers run defense is so bad that I can’t even find a word in my handy thesaurus to describe it. Going against the two-headed monster of Freeman and Coleman is going to result in the Niners having to drop an additional man into the box to try to slow down the ground game. When that happens, Ryan with hit them over the top.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Colts
Tis’ the this season right?
Let me share three numbers with you if you are on the fence about playing Kyle Rudolph this week.
10 / 12 / 8
Those numbers represent the number of targets he has received over the last three games. Here is the thing about the Vikings offense. Their offensive line is so bad that Bradford has to get the ball out of his hands quick. Rudolph is the ideal safety valve on the short to intermediate routes that Bradford has to constantly throw.
Zach Ertz @ BAL
Not a great matchup, but even Kyle Rudolph would have to blush at the gaudy targets that Ertz has drawn over the last two weeks. I had to look at it twice to make sure it was correct, but 28 is the number. On those 28 targets he has turned them into 19/191/1. Hopefully the volume continues in Week 15.
Matt Stafford @ NYG
There is a combination of factors working against Stafford this week. The Giants defense has allowed one quarterback to score more than 13 fantasy points against them in their last eight games. The second factor going against him is the injury. I know that he and Derek Carr don’t have the exact same injury, but there are certainly some similarities. I don’t know if you watched the TNF game, but if you did, Derek Carr’s performance can’t give you much confidence in Stafford. If you don’t want to buy into the finger injury as being enough of a reason to bench him that is fine, the Giants defense is plenty of justification.
Tom Brady @ DEN
Boy it was hard to type his name in this section. Especially as I sit here and watch him torch a good Ravens defense for 400+ yards. The Denver defense is a different kind of animal, and they desperately need a win. On the season, only two quarterbacks have scored more than 15 fantasy points against them. Brady has struggled at Denver in the past, and I expect the absence of Gronk to really show up in this one.
Denver’s defense has proven that they can be run on. I wouldn’t be surprised if they dial Blount up 20-25 times in this one. The huge caveat with this sit is that you need a top 10 option to plug in over him. I could see him finishing with 260/1/1 and finishing the week around QB12.
I will sum it up by saying that I totally get how a Tom Brady owner would never sit him this time of year. I respect that, but at the same time there is no way he is going to “win” your matchup for you like he did for many this week.
Dennis Pitta vs. PHI
4/18/0. That would be 4.5 yards per catch.
The funny thing is that isn’t even his lowest YPC on the season. Pitta had a great game in Week 13, but hopefully fantasy owners didn’t chase those numbers. You might as well call those numbers Usain because you’re not going to catch them. Don’t make the same mistake in Week 15. He has a dreadful matchup with the Eagles who haven’t allowed more than five receptions or 55 yards to any tight end this season.
Jordan Reed vs. CAR
Can we get an addendum to “Rule #86” please?
He played just 10 snaps in Week 14, and that was by design.
“He didn’t really aggravate it, we were just trying to keep him out of normal down and distances today. We didn’t want him to block and bang it around a little bit. If we needed him on third down, we put him out there a little bit this week. Hopefully next week, we can get him out there on first and second down. That’s where he makes a lot of his hay is on second down, too. But it just didn’t work out where we got him a lot of opportunities. But I think getting him in the game, I’m happy to see him dress and still want to compete and hopefully next week he’ll feel a lot better about it where we can get him more involved on first and second down, too.” – Jay Gruden
That is somewhat encouraging, but it is hard to imagine him having a huge role after what we saw in Week 14. You might end up hating yourself for it, but at this point Reed feels too risky. High floors are key in a playoff matchup. Playing on MNF adds even more confusion to the situation, because his floor at the moment is DNP.
My best advice if you are a Reed owner is to pick up Vernon Davis because the matchup is great. Watch the pregame coverage and make a decision from there.
Good luck finding a solid stack this week. For me nothing lined up, but if you have a solid play I would be more than happy to listen. A few combinations that I considered were Dalton/Eifert, Smith/Kelce, Winston/Brate and sadly enough Taylor/Clay. None of them were strong enough to deserve the bold lettering though.
Good luck this week. See ya in the finals.
Hit me up on Twitter @barkballin with any questions.
(Click the RED link below to listen)
Major League Fantasy Football Show: Join Ej Garr, Corey D Roberts, and Coach Andy Macuga live Sunday December 18th, 2016 from 11am-12:30pm EST for episode #80 of Major League Fantasy Football Radio. This is a live broadcast and we take callers at 323-870-4395 press 1 to speak with the hosts. We will be breaking down key matchups, discussing fantasy start/sit, some DFS, and handicapping as well. This is our 2016 Grand Finale show!
Andy is the Head Coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in Southern California, a 4 year veteran of MLFS leagues, and frequent guest on our shows.
You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”
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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.