With another Sunday of fantasy football action right around the corner, we turn to our fantasy expert James Morris, to provide guidance as you set your fantasy lineup.
Week 13 “Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em” by James Morris
Week 13 marks the last chance for some teams to make it into the fantasy playoffs. So the pressure is on for me to make the best picks possible, and for you to make the right calls and bring home a win. A good rule to go by in fantasy sports is to make sure you are the smartest person in the room when the subject of sports comes up!
And for all those who are wondering, I would be shocked to see Ben Roethlisberger take the field this week. I’d sit anyone in a Steelers uniform that plays offense this week, but would add Jonathan Dwyer for a stretch run if you are hurting at RB.
Andy Dalton – QB Bengals: Dalton is by far one of the most underrated fantasy QBs in the NFL, despite being ranked #7 at QB this season in NFL.com leagues. This weekend he matches up with a Chargers defense that generously gives up 19.8 fantasy PPG to opposing QBs. Dalton has 10 TDs over the last 4 weeks, and that’s #2 in the NFL behind Drew Brees’ 11 TDS. Not bad for a guy those ESPN analysts constantly call an average QB.
Robert Griffin III – QB Redskins: The last time RGIII played the Giants (week 7) he rattled off 258 passing yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT, numbers good enough for 25 points in NFL.com scoring. The rookie now has four more games under his belt and he has scored 8 TDs over the last 2 weeks. The kid is white hot (look it up, white is hotter than red) and the Giants are 3-2 in their last five games.
Colin Kaepernick – QB 49ers: There is some risk associated with playing Krazy Legs because 474 passing yards, 37 rushing yards and 4 TDs over the last two weeks. How can that be a bad thing you ask? Well, for a guy that was a back-up just a few weeks ago, it suggests that he is due a bad game soon. The Rams are a middle of the road team when it comes to points given up to QBs (19.4 PPG), so I don’t really see it happening this week.
Bryce Brown – RB Eagles: Despite Brown losing 2 fumbles last week, he was still able to put up a monster fantasy game thanks to his 178 rushing yards (9.4 YPC) and 2 TDs. The Cowboys are much better at stopping fantasy RBs (19.9 PPG) than the Panthers are (28.2 PPG). Given the rivalry between these two teams, and the poor play of Nick Foles, I expect the Eagles to ride Brown’s wagon until the wheels fall off.
Jamaal Charles – RB Chiefs: Charles has been one of the more erratic fantasy RBs the last few weeks thanks to an offense with little to no pop in the passing game. Last week the Chiefs seemed to finally figure out how to use Charles correctly and he rewarded them with 107 yards rushing on 22 carries (4.7 YPC). This week he faces a Panthers defense that gives up the 4th most points to RBs and last week they made Bryce Brown look like a Pro Bowl RB.
Chris Johnson – RB Titans: Over the last month, CJ2K has revamped his fantasy image by putting up 347 rushing yards and 2 TDs. This week he plays a Texans defense that just gave up 80 yards to Jalen Parmele. Johnson is really all the Titans have on offense in the way of playmaking ability these days, and he is a threat to break a long one every time he touches the ball.
Cecil Shorts – WR Jaguars: It took me a while to get on board with Shorts because the Jaguars have so many problems on offense that it isn’t funny. However, he has put up 747 receiving yards and 6 TDs on 36 receptions this season, good enough for a low-end WR2 ranking thus far. Not bad for a guy that is still on the waiver wire in 55.1 percent of NFL.com leagues! He is grossly underrated and the Bills give up the 11th most points to WRs at 36.4 PPG.
Ryan Broyles – WR Lions: Word out of Detroit is that Broyles has bypassed Titus Young on the Lions depth chart thanks to his immature actions that landed him a team imposed 1-game suspension. There are even accusations that Young lined up in the wrong spot several times in week 11 on purpose. Broyles busted out with 6 catches for 126 yards last week, and this week he faces a Colts defense that gives up the 4th most PPG (40.4) to WRs in PPR formats.
Jermaine Gresham – TE Bengals: Owned in just over half of NFL.com leagues (57.5 percent), Gresham is someone that I see as a possible 5 TE play this weekend. The Chargers give up just 10.9 PPG to TEs this season, but Gresham has 19 catches for 233 yards and 2 TDs over the last four weeks. Those stats are good enough for a #5 ranking. If he is available on your waiver wire, I’d snatch him up and play him this weekend.
Brandon Myers – TE Raiders: Myers is quietly putting up a monster month with 24 catches for 208 yards and 3 TDs. With TE being an all-or-nothing position for fantasy points, Myers is a must-own player for the stretch run. Cleveland only gives up 9.4 PPG to TEs (#2 in NFL), but Myers is a big part of the Raiders passing game these days and I would ride the bandwagon until the wheels falls off.
New York Jets defense: To start the season the Jets were owned in virtually all fantasy leagues in all formats. But, with injury upon injury, they are owned in just 67.2 percent of NFL.com leagues right now. This week they face a Cardinals offense that has scored the 2nd fewest points in the NFL (180). I have them as a top 5 defensive play this week.
Dallas Cowboys defense: The Cowboys defense is actually ranked 23rd in NFL.com scoring this season, but the Eagles offense is in turmoil. Brown is the only guy I would trust as the Eagles are considering letting Michael Vick come back and throw to defenses because Foles isn’t getting the job done; Jeremy Maclin can’t catch balls that Foles can’t get to him; and finally, Brent Celek has become an afterthought (15 catches for 139 yards over the last month). On paper, this one of the more lopsided games in this heated divisional rivalry.
Philip Rivers – QB Chargers: Being from San Diego it kills me to say this, but there are few QBs in fantasy football that are more overrated than Rivers this season. Rivers is owned in 86.4 percent of NFL.com leagues, but is currently sitting in the #21 spot for season rank at QB. That is below largely unowned guys such as Ryan Fitzpatrick (27.8 percent owned), Russell Wilson (12.2 percent) and Sam Bradford (10.1 percent). The Bengals defense gives up just 17.2 PPG to QBs, 8th in the NFL this season.
Russell Wilson – QB Seahawks: A friend who is a huge Seahawks fan was bragging on Facebook about how an ESPN columnist said Wilson and Drew Brees (horrible on Thursday; 341 yards passing, 0 TDs and an astounding 5 INTs) were only separated by 9 points over the last 4 games. Well, this columnist was wrong (18 points, not 9) and this week marks the slide down for Wilson as he faces a stout Bears defense. The Bears give up just 13.9 PPG to QBs this season, #2 in the NFL.
Steven Jackson – RB Rams: S-Jax has been one of the surprises at RB this season for me as I thought he was done for sure. But, he has been able to run for 321 yards and a TD over the last four weeks, which is good enough for a solid RB2 ranking. However, this week he runs into a 49ers defense that is #1 in the NFL at points allowed to RBs (15.2 PPG). Unless it is some garbage time numbers, I don’t see anything good for Jackson this weekend.
Rashad Jennings – RB Jaguars: The only reason Jennings makes the list is because I’ve had so many questions about starting him via email and social media that you guys/girls are obviously thinking he is a viable RB2 option. Yes, the Bills give up 27.5 PPG to RBs in PPR formats (7th worst in NFL), but Jennings lost the starting job to Parmele because he could only muster 2.8 YPC through 9 games this season. He hasn’t rushed for more than 59 yards this season and has scored just twice. You’re all barking up the wrong tree here with Jennings.
Greg Jennings – WR Packers: Jennings is finally due back this week and fantasy owners are going crazy to get him in their line-up. The problem I have with Jennings is there is 7 weeks or rust to knock off, and a reintegration into an offense that now has Randall Cobb as the focal point of the passing attack. I would let him get his legs and timing back before playing him in fantasy leagues.
Dwayne Bowe – WR Chiefs: I wouldn’t own Bowe this season if you paid me, literally. Over the last four week, he is ranked #49 for all WRs in NFL.com scoring with 16 catches for 175 yards and no TDs. The Panthers give up just 29.3 PPG to WRs in PPR formats (6th in NFL) and the Chiefs have a QB problem that has the Steelers feeling sorry for them.
Brandon Pettigrew – TE Lions: Pettigrew hasn’t exactly been killing it the last month with his 16 catches for 139 yards and 1 TD. And, to make matters worse for the 76.4 percent of people that own him in NFL.com leagues, he faces a Colts defense that is #3 in TE points allowed at 10.0 PPG. I would cut him for Myers if he is available (owned in 22.6 percent of NFL.com leagues) as the Lions have the 29th best Strength Of Schedule to finish out the season, as opposed to the Raiders 20th ranked S.O.S.
Pittsburgh Steelers defense: I wouldn’t want to own the Steelers defense this week as the offense is preparing to start Charlie Batch at QB again. The QB affects the defense because his inability to move the ball means the defense will spend much more time on the field than they would like. I see them being winded and tired, thus allowing the Ravens offense to put points on the scoreboard. I have them around a #15 ranking this week.
Be sure to check back here on Sunday morning for last-minute fantasy injury updates.
Also, for more guidance, follow James on Twitter here.
The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed by The Finsiders Blog represent those of individual writers, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions, policies or desires of the Miami Dolphins organization, front office, coaches and executives. Writers' views are formulated independently from any inside information and/or conversation with Dolphins officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
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