Tuesday - May 21, 2019

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Advice From A Loser

This week, I want to address those unlucky souls who’re now facing a series of must-win situations in their head-to-head leagues. You know who you are. You’re sitting at 0-4 and you’re looking to make major changes to your roster.

Hey, I’ve been there and I know how it feels.

What can I suggest that you haven’t already thought of? Probably nothing. I’m not that bright. But I have noticed something. There are three seemingly mediocre NFL teams that are beginning to hit their stride offensively: Houston, Baltimore and the New York Jets. Here’s something else – these three squads are looking at an October cakewalk. During the next month, they’ll be playing some soft defenses. What I’m trying to say (in an annoying, round-a-bout way), is that if you’re looking for some immediate help, you might want to get a piece of this action. At least if you buy into the logic that FF success is partly determined by the matchups.

The thing is, each of these teams had a strong showing on the weekend. So you’re not going to get bargain-basement prices on their players. Wait … I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me run down the schedules.

Houston is coming up on a four-game home stand. They’ve got:

Week 5 –

Indianapolis

Week 6 –

Miami

Week 7 –

Detroit

Week 8 –

Cincinnati

Looks promising, right? I know, you’re thinking back to

Houston’s first two games. Their offense looked terrible; the Steelers and Titans ate them up. Matt Schaub was on the verge of being benched. But if you watched the Texans play on Sunday – against a solid Jags defense – you must see why I’m so optimistic.

Schaub was accurate. He was sure of himself and he made good decisions. He didn’t react to non-existent pressure. In short, he looked like he did last year, when everyone was so impressed with his poise. Really, if Matt stays on top of his game and Steve Slaton continues to play at such a high level, there’s no reason to think that this offense will fall flat (at least not in the next four games). For now, you should feel very confident slotting Slaton, Owen Daniels and, of course, Andre Johnson into your lineup. I wouldn’t recommend using Kevin Walter on a weekly basis, but you could do worse.

I’ll admit, if you role with Schaub, you’re taking your chances. This guy’s a high risk/high reward fantasy commodity. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

All right, let’s take a peek at the Jets schedule:

Week 5 – Bye

Week 6 –

Cincinnati

Week 7 – at

Oakland

Week 8 – Kansas City

Week 9 – at

Buffalo

Week 10 –

St. Louis

Outside of Buffalo, that’s pretty darn cushy. Of course, the main reason that the Jets offense put up such gaudy numbers on Sunday, is that

Arizona turned the ball over five times in the first half. However, the rapport that Brett Favre seems to be developing with Laveranues Coles is not imaginary, and this offense will continue to gel as the year goes on. Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and the old gunslinger should now be reaching a point of familiarity; there’ll soon be an amalgamation of Favre-style improv, playcalling and scheme.

If you can get your hands on Coles, Jerricho Cotchery or Favre, you should see immediate returns on your investment. Okay, you have to get past the Week 5 bye, but after that it’s all systems go.

Last up, the Baltimore Ravens:

Week 5 – Tennessee

Week 6 – at Indianapolis

Week 7 – at Miami

Week 8 – Oakland

Week 9 – at Cleveland

Week 10 – at Houston

Right now you might be wondering why I’ve even bothered to list the Ravens schedule.

Baltimore isn’t exactly a haven for fantasy production. I was just really impressed with the way Joe Flacco handled himself on Monady night. When a rookie quarterback (in his third start) goes into a hostile environment and looks as calm as he did, you have to take notice.

Obviously this offense isn’t exactly explosive. There are still some fantasy-relevant players in the group, though. In that

Pittsburgh game, Flacco looked to Derrick Mason repeatedly, and the catch-machine appeared to be rejuvenated. If the young quarterback continues to progress, Mason could very well go back to his old routine of hauling in 6-8 passes per week. In PPR leagues, that’s money in the bank.

Baltimore’s running backs also performed well against that tough Steeler defense. Granted, the Ravens backfield situation is a bit messy; Willis McGahee is a slippery fantasy commodity. But if you can get Le’Ron McClain on the cheap, you’ll be doing yourself a favor. One thing seems certain: if either of these backs develops into the primary ball carrier (due to injury or performance), you can count on big numbers.

Let me just emphasize that I’ve mentioned these teams because they are not seen as offensive juggernauts. For the most part, their players are not among the fantasy elite; you should be able to trade for these guys without losing too much. And, given their schedules, you might get superstar-level production without paying superstar prices. Well, you can at least count on good production for the next few weeks.

Hey, if you’re 0-4, the next few weeks are all that matter.

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