This week, folks should not be looking for anything on the wire. If you are, make sure it’s of the injury replacement variety, or that last minute stash in a keeper league. Anything else may be a panic move.
I really want to stress that folks get way too caught up in the matchups. I get email every week and last week folks started to panic. I was hearing owners talking about benching marquee quarterbacks for the likes of Joe Flacco, and E.J. Manuel. Let me stress that I never recommend matchup chasing this time of year.
Prime time players play big in big games. I’d much rather roll out a guy that is struggling than a guy with a limited upside and that’s just what you are doing when you pull one of these moves. So stop yourselves from looking at projections as being absolute and use them the way they are intended… as a guide, not a road map.
Road maps are facts, guides leave things open to interpretation. I know last week I mentioned weather because we had lots of it, and it was severe. It stopped folks like Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson from putting up their usual stats. It also helped running backs like LeSean McCoy get 29 carries and produce 200+ yards.
Let me clarify, it was meant to help you find a solid kicker. Some teams didn’t even attempt extra points as the snow was that deep. This week you should have a pretty good idea who you are going to trot out, but you may need help to fill in for a season ending injury as was the case with folks who had Rob Gronkowski on their roster, or a concussed Lamar Miller.
Let’s get after it…
Tight Ends that can help you this week:
1. Delanie Walker TE Tennessee Titans
Most folks probably thought Dennis Pitta would be here at number one, but it’s Walker. Walker still needs to pass a second concussion test, but I ‘m saying he’s going to suit up and is the best play this week because they face the Arizona Cardinals who have struggled covering tight ends and rank dead last in points given up to tight ends. Pair this with the loss of Tyrann Mathieu for the season, and you have what I see as a perfect recipe for some big things this week.
Rashad Johnson will likely start in his place with fresh meat Curtis Taylor who was brought up from the practice squad for depth. This is one of those things that can’t be overlooked. Walker averaged darn near nine targets per week prior to the concussion in a three week sample size.
He thrived in this offense catching 19 of 27 for 199 yards and two scores. He belongs in your line up.
2. Garrett Graham TE Houston Texans
Are you seriously still thinking I’d be talking Dennis Pitta here? Graham isn’t really playing tight end. He is a receiver. Forty-seven targets in four weeks is enough evidence that he is involved in the game plan for me. The way I see things in Houston going, they will again play from behind at Indianapolis. Whether it’s Case Keenum or Matt Schaub at the helm makes little difference at this point. I personally favor Schaub because he looked like he had some fire last week.
Either way, Indianapolis puts on an offensive show this week which results in playing from behind and throwing the ball. I’ll take a guy that has 10 balls thrown his way every time. Most receivers would like that kind of attention. If Walker doesn’t pass the concussion test, or isn’t available in your league, then look no further than Graham.
3. Dennis Pitta TE Baltimore Ravens
The reason Anquan Boldin was expendable last season was not just the salary that he would command. The Ravens planned to have Pitta much more involved in the offense this year. The problem with his untimely injury was that Boldin was already dealt. Ed Dickson was not reliable leaving them depending on Dallas Clark. Clark did a fine job, but let’s be clear that his skill set is on the decline. I think Pitta gives opponents something to really be concerned about leaving more openings for WR3 Marlon Brown, and WR4 Tandon Doss. I think Pitta is a fine add. This week may be tougher sledding than usual as Detroit is pretty darn good versus tight ends. How about the least amount of points given up to tight ends?
Running Back(s) that I’d consider:
Andre Ellington RB Arizona Cardinals
Lots of folks discounted Ellington as a tweener that could never be a feature back. I’m not sure that he’s a feature back either, but I am sure that he is the best back on the Cardinals’ roster right now. I can also tell you that Tennessee is not particularly adept at stopping running backs with Ellington’s skill set. He is a very good receiver and a decisive runner.
I think the Cardinals will move the ball like California’s labor law, that is at will. I think this could be of the high scoring variety. Do not be surprised if Ellington crosses the stripe this week. If you roster Lamar Miller, then look no further than Ellington. The well should be fairly dry for running backs in all leagues.
I like this play better than Marcel Reece and Shonn Greene. While each may merit consideration, I stand by Ellington.
Da’Rick Rogers WR Indianapolis Colts
In the Week 11 edition of Audibles, I told you what I thought of Da’Rick Rogers. He played on 68% of all snaps last week which tells me that Darrius Heyward-Bey is a man without a job. Lavon Brazill also impressed, but scored as a result of sloppy tackling. Rogers broke a long one and also had a red zone look that resulted in a TD thanks to a pick play. The defender couldn’t establish position and Rogers used his inside receiving skills to cross the stripe a second time.
Earlier this year I was high on T.Y. Hilton, but truth be told that Rogers has more upside because of his size and great ball skills. I seriously think this is it as far as receivers that I covet. The only rookies with potentially more upside are Cordarrelle Patterson and Kennan Allen. Patterson is obliviously a step behind because the Vikings don’t have an elite quarterback.
I sincerely hope that you have a great week. I will be stringing lights on my tree trying to keep my dog Buster from pillaging the candy canes off of it, and subsequently drinking from the tree stand to quench his thirst.
(At least he will have fresh breath.)
Michael Sarmento is a proud member of the talented staff of writers at Fantasy Sharks and The Fantasy Sports Writers association.
Follow me on Twitter: @AudibleFantasy