James Morris, our fantasy guru, provides his advice on fantasy football trades as well as providing the latest news and notes to help prepare your team for week 14 of the fantasy football season.
Ok, for some the fantasy playoffs are here and for some we are still a week away. Congratulations to those who made it in and good luck to those still in the race if your playoffs start in week 15. With that said, now is not the time to get lazy. You have to be as aware of the waiver wire and free agents as you were up to this point because the season doesn’t end just because you’re in the playoffs. I always say that 2nd place is just the first loser, so let’s make sure you are not one of the losers!
Word around the campfire is that Jay Cutler is shooting for a return on Monday night against the Cowboys generous secondary. So far this season the Cowboys give up the 2nd most fantasy points to QBs at 24.8 PPG. Right now Cutler is owned in 17.1 percent of NFL.com leagues and 32 percent of Yahoo leagues, meaning he is on plenty of waiver wires and should be picked up immediately just in case he can make it back. No matter who the QB is, I see Josh McCown or Cutler as being a top 10 fantasy option at the QB spot.
After Josh Gordon put up a 10/261/2 line on Sunday, you can be sure that anyone who had them on their bench, won’t make that mistake again. The problem is though that the only medically cleared QBs the Browns have on the roster right now are newly signed Caleb Hanie and trick-shot artist Alex Tanney. If Jason Campbell or Brandon Weeden can’t get medically cleared by Sunday, I wouldn’t bet my playoff hopes on two QBs who haven’t thrown a pass this season!
I’ve seen a lot of fantasy websites pumping Broncos RB Montee Ball as a waiver wire pick this week, but I think they are jumping on the bandwagon and owners are going to get burned. Yes, he had 117 yards last weekend, but it was on 17 carries. That’s a YPC of 9.0! Ball has 87 total carries this season, and set a new season-high with 13 in week 13. While the Titans aren’t a good defense at stopping fantasy RBs (5th worst at 21.9 PPG), Ball is a back-up to starter Knowshon Moreno. In order for Ball to have true fantasy value, he is going to have to break one for a long run and score, which isn’t something anyone can predict. Ball is a weak desperation flex option at best this weekend.
The RB waiver wire list is pretty much Donald Brown (38.5 percent owned on NFL.com and 44 percent owned on Yahoo.com) and Ball. Brown is an RB2 and Ball is not worth playing.
Then you have Michael Crabtree, who was relatively quiet in his return to the field outside of what should have been an 18-yard catch that he turned into a 60-yard gain. He finished the game with just 2 catches for 68 yards and no touchdowns. Crabtree is someone you grab in the hopes that you make it to week 16 against the Falcons, because he isn’t someone I would play in week 14 or 15 due to the match-ups (Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis possibly).
If you are looking for a WR, you could give Doug Baldwin a look. I’m not a huge fan of his, but I can’t ignore the 17 receptions, 291 yards, and 3 touchdowns he has put up over the last four games. Percy Harvin could very easily get shut down for the rest of the regular season as the Seahawks are 11-1 and have been just fine without him. If/when that happens, Baldin will have solid WR3 appeal going forward.
I did see an ESPN article saying Tiquan Underwood is a waiver wire option at WR. Look, if Underwood is truly looking like an option for you, the chances are you are trying to find value where there is none. 1) Mike Glennon isn’t a QB that you can trust; 2) Underwood hasn’t had more than 3 catches in a game all season long; and 3) he has a YPC this season of 20.3, meaning he gets open on a busted play for one of his three catches and breaks one for a long run. Let someone else deal with this headache.
You could give Julian Edelman a look once again since he has put up back-to-back 100-plus yard games for the Patriots. The last two weeks he has hauled in 18 passes for 211 yards and 2 TDs, by far the best of any Patriots receiver not named Rob Gronkowski. Right now Edelman is owned in just 33.5 percent of NFL.com leagues, and 55 percent of Yahoo leagues.
With Tight End always being a boom-or-bust position, fantasy owners are always trying to get me to find that boom, and avoid the bust. The two best TEs I can see picking up this weekend are Ladarius Green (0.9 percent owned) from the Chargers, and Garrett Graham (10.7 percent owned) of the Texans. Green has shown the Chargers that he is the future at TE with a 6’6” frame and 4.4 speed that has produced 231 receiving yards and 2 TDs the last four weeks. Graham on the other hand is a known quantity and is a true boom-or-bust product against a Jaguars defense that gives up the 2nd most fantasy points to TEs this season at 10.6 PPG. Graham is a borderline TE 1/2 this weekend and Green is a solid TE2 since he is still behind Antonio Gates.
On the defensive front, I’ve seen the Ravens hit a lot of waiver wires as teams make FA pick-ups and can’t afford to carry an extra defense. This weekend you could make a serious case for the Ravens being in the top 3 for projected defenses. If not them, then I would give some serious consideration to picking up my sleeper defense this week, the Raiders. No, the Raiders sign someone and get better. They are still ranked 18th overall this season on NFL.com, but the Jets are going to run Geno Smith out there no matter what to finish out the season. That is great news for the Raiders since Smith has managed to throw 11 interceptions and just 1 touchdown in his last 7 games! The guy is playing pitch-n-catch with the defense right now, and that is good news for fantasy owners struggling to find defensive bargains each week.
I also get a lot of questions about kickers each week, so let me tell you my view on them. One is the same as another. Ok, if you got Stephen Gostkowski, Steven Hauschka, Justin Tucker, Mason Crosby, or Matt Prater at kicker then you are set as they are ranked 1-5 this season. After that, the next 10 guys are separated by a total of 11 total points. I can’t imagine why anyone would carry two kickers, so #13 should be available in all standard sized leagues.
If you noticed I don’t predict kickers. The only time a kicker gets on the field to kick field goals is when the offense stalls and he is close enough to make it. Anyone trying to predict when an offense will stall inside their 40-yard line is either arrogant or foolish! Seriously, just see who has the most points total, or who has the most over the last 4-game stretch and pick them up if they are better than your kicker.
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