Tuesday - Feb 19, 2019

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Deeper & Down

Michael Bush (OAK, RB) 16%

No. If you think I’m listing him here because of last week’s performance? You’re firing high & wide, then as I’m afraid that would be a “No”. Last week is last week.

Okay, maybe it’s a little bit to do with last week which was a very purposeful outing for Bush, but it’s not even in the top three reasons I’d give you for liking Bush this week. Primarily, because of the ongoing TE injury situation in OAK.
What?!?

Yep – Miller’s injury along with that of Bruce Gradkowski, Brandon Myers and Justin Fargas as well as some tangible – even if not very overtly useful – production from
Darren McFadden and the arrival of Charlie Frye is creating something of a “perfect storm” for Michael
Bush.

With Zach Miller‘s absence last week – as well as that of rookie TE
Brandon Myers, the blocking TE to Millers receiving – OAK were forced to use Tackle Erik Pears as a makeshift
blocking TE opposite veteran journeyman TE Tony Stewart in their favoured 2 x TE
sets. Needless to say, having a Tackle in there as your blocking TE can
sure make a decent offensive line create even better opportunities for
opportunistic backs.

Just ask Denver.

Throw in the QB injury to Bruce Gradkowski and subsequently the vote of
no-confidence in Russell and acquisition of Charlie Frye and you’re
looking at a run first team that is going to have to rely even more
on the run than usual…

Everyone who has been around Fantasy Football for a few years will know
all about the potential ability that Michael Bush possesses – power,
speed, tackle-breaking strength, shifty elusiveness in open field.
Everyone who has been around football for a few years will also know
about his injury problems… If fit and allowed a run of health, then
Justin Fargas becomes merely an afterthought. A very average – if
whole-hearted and determined – between-the-tackles pedestrian runner.
If you could combine his fitness levels with Bush’s ability? THAT would
be the best fit for OAK right now and a very scary RB to have to face.

Still, while the fitness lasts you have to avail yourselves of it.
Their matchup this week against a fragile and flimsy CLE defense (4th
worst in the league against the rush).

It will always be about ability and opportunity in making your fantasy picks:
New QB means it’ll be a conservative playbook – simple passes and
hand-offs to the RB. Improved blocking and diminished receiving ability
with the loss of Myers and Miller, but use of a converted Tackle and
veteran TE. Injury to the previous first-choice RB#1 and improved
production from the RB#2. Poor opposing defence this week. It’s all there…

Josh Morgan (SF, WR) 8%

Still rather criminally under-owned & over-looked in larger leagues the versatile receiver under the new look Jimmy Raye shotgun offense has averaged in excess of 6 FPts per Game over the last 4 weeks. Despite Alex Smith’s recent struggles under centre, consider the DET game a festive gift to boost his numbers back into the kind of arena that had people anticipating a return to potential promises left unfulfilled in seasons past.

DET are ranked dead last in the league against the pass. Dead. Last.

They don’t – rather surprisingly – give up too many TDs through the air, but they do give up a whopping 8.1 YPA when it comes to passing plays. Only CLE & OAK come close in terms of generosity to their weekly opponents.

Last week, Morgan was targeted 8 times, catching 7 of them for 61yds and a TD. Significantly, Michael Crabtree was targeted only once more than Morgan. He’s been averaging 5.5 catches per game over the last 4 weeks opposite Crabtree and looks set to add to his TD tally in a very favorable matchup.

Either way? Morgan is a fine flex play at the very least this week and worthy of a roster spot.

Maurice Morris (DET, RB) 15%

Talking of the SF  – DET game? Maurice Morris joins Frank Gore as the only RB to put up appreciable numbers at ARI. The tough trenchline that has evolved under Whisenhunt, Grimme and Davis has kept opposing RBs limited to 4.1ypc – which whilst not quite elite – It’s not very far off it. Just ask anyone who tried started a RB against them anticipating the soft underbelly that they had displayed in the last few years…

Opportunity and Ability, that’s what it’s all about? Well, this is more about Morris’ opportunity compensating for his ability. This is no RBBC situation we have in DET – the featured back – whomever he may be – will BE the featured back, so even if he only managed to amass 3.0 YPC you could still say that given he’ll get 20+ touches of the rock this week? That’s a minimum of 6 FPts “in the bank”/guaranteed.

You can never say guaranteed in fantasy-land though. Anyone can go down and get injured on the first drive, cough it up and have the fumbles all day (unless you’re a HOU RB in which case you’re only allowed to do it once. Ever.) or even get looked over for someone else on the depth chart at a whim. Morris is a “Steady Eddie” for you this week. He won’t make you pull your hair out in frustration, but neither is he likely to make you weep into your mulled wine in a winter of discontent. Think of him as dependable production with the potential for pay-dirt upside. If you are looking weak at RB for your title tilt? You could do worse.

Now, for something completely different…

There has been much made of the Reggie Wayne dilemma this week. Here’s my 2c.

Q: Would I/ Should I bench Reggie Wayne for

<insert

any rosterable WR you own but aren’t convinced of starting here>?

A: It’s entirely down to

YOUR matchup and your opponents lineup.

A lot of managers will be in positions where they will be thinking the
relatively unthinkable – or at least what

would’ve been unthinkable 4
or 5 weeks ago. My advice would be to go back and look at the piece I
wrote as we entered the fantasy post-season. Go back. Find it, read it
– take a walk away from the PC then come back and look at your line-up
Vs your opponents line-up.

If you are stronger overall in other areas –
RB,s QB etc Then sure, I’d take a risk.

More important than asking “Should I start Wayne”, a more relevant question and one you MUST ask if you are in this position would be:

“Is Reggie Wayne‘s production floor significantly
lower than the ceiling of the player I’m considering putting in
instead?”

Wayne’s floor is

still – all factors being considered –

alot
higher than the ceiling of the majority of what’s out there.

ASYS – Always Start Your Studs. Trust me, I would have no problems
leaving Wayne in at all. Especially if my opponent was starting Peyton
Manning, but like I said at the outset – it all comes down to

YOUR
matchup versus your opponents lineup. I’d only be confident in starting him if I
was certain I had the edge overall and could afford to take one risk
with my line-up. A play that I can afford to miss on if I’m wrong but could
put me over-the-top if I’m right.

It’s not just the
“Revis factor”. It’s that Dallas Clark is

THE hot hand in IND at the
moment (5 TDs in 5 days). Its that being the last week of regular
season and not only having already clinched a play-off place, a
division title

AND home field advantage we might see any number of
players come off the pitch after the first half – especially if IND
stay true to form and put up a couple of scores. Its not like they
haven’t been able to depend on their defence to not only defend a lead,
but also to make game-winning plays as a unit on their own – and Mark
Sanchez is right up there for INTs. They’ll know how to make him
mis-read their defensive sets.

If i was invested in two or three IND players? Then that would be another scenario in which I’d likely sit Wayne and leave the others in. Pointless (not to mention dangerous) to be putting all your fantasy eggs in one basket – especially if you’re unsure about that particular basket… If you are a Dallas Clark owner as well as a Reggie Wayne owner, then it’s not even a decision. DC starts, Wayne sits – that way I’m invested, but I’m not over extended in what’s (at best) a rather nebulous situation.

If only the Financial Industry had felt the same way…

Ultimately, whatever decision you make? I wish you nothing but all the very best and congratulate you on reaching your final. Never forget no matter what happens next? You were good enough to go the distance, let’s hope you can finish strong.

Dishonorable Mentions:


Atlanta (ATL, N/A) – You are starting 2 of your returning stars, who even by their own admissions aren’t fully fit in a game that is meaningless as regards any post-season progression for your franchise? Really? You’d risk a complication or setback instead of using the opportunity to audition fringe players and new plays? For a forward thinking and progressive organization that has really impressed both myself and a huge number of others – this was a rather uncharacteristic “faux-pas”.

Gary Kubiak (HOU, HC) – What on Earth are you thinking? I can understand benching players for fumbles, but I don’t conceive how shattering and publicly humiliating rookies is something that is going to help eradicate the problem. If anything it’s only going to pressurize them into feeling more anxious before each snap knowing that they are only one play away from being Just A Guy (JAG). Mendenhall got benched, but he was no rookie and wasn’t benched for fumbles in his rookie year. He got benched once in his sophomore year and responded. Blaming the running game on rookies, sophomores and fumbles is a cheap “out”. You don’t get to say how smart you were in drafting Slaton last year and then hang him out to dry and then work your way through the roster, crucifying each of them for every mistake in turn.

Kurt Warner (ARI, QB) – It WAS a lateral. if it cost you a fantasy game? Deal with it. Pointless blaming Warner, Boldin, the NFL or anyone else – these things happen to all of us sooner or later.

Justin Gage (TEN, WR) – For coming back from a spinal injury (broken bones) and catching 2 passes (both over 20yds and coming up TDs). Good to see you healthy. That’s just one more reason why teams will be looking to avoid TEN if they can make that improbable leap from 0-6 to post season progression. If your team isn’t in the play-off hunt or has already secured a berth? We’re willing you on!

And finally…

Chris Henry (CIN, WR) – He was a troubled man. He was a talented man. But first and foremost he was a young man. A young man with a family. During a time of the year that most families will be returning to hearth and home, the family that survive him will be attempting to come to terms with life without a fiance, a son, a father. My thoughts are with them at this time and especially his children.

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