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THE FIRE SALE: Week 11

Well everyone, the fantasy playoffs are almost here. For the first time in my life, I’m in danger of missing the playoffs in every league.

I know that’s what you want to hear from the guy giving you advice, right? The difference is I don’t always do as I say, and, to be honest, I’ve been lazy this year. I have too much going on in my life. I don’t get the same joy out of my own fantasy leagues as I once did. I still like analyzing and doing everything as a writer but playing fantasy kind of bores me now.

Maybe I’ll take a year off. I mean, I have been playing fantasy football for 25 years. I used to send in my lineups by mail and make trades over a telephone. God, that was fun. It was before fantasy sports became a billion-dollar business and people were trying to sell you books on Amazon.

If you don’t stink like me and are preparing for the playoffs, I look forward to helping you over the next few weeks. This is the 20th season of “The Fire Sale” and I’m 50/50 right now about returning next season. If this is the end, it’s been one heck of a ride.

If you like fantasy football, gambling or Chicago sports, follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. Besides writing “The Fire Sale,” I’m an editor @BetChicago1. I respond to all questions/comments because I’m a remarkable human being.

Now, on with the “The Fire Sale” …

Going Up

Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee

This guy is an absolute stud. Davis is finally healthy and if Marcus Mariota can keep it going, he’ll be huge for owners during fantasy playoffs.

Mariota entered Week 10 averaging just 180 passing yards per game. However, in his last two games, Mariota has thrown for 468 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Remember, Sean McVay-protégé Matt LaFleur is Tennessee’s offensive coordinator. Tennessee had injuries early in the year but it looks like the offense is starting to come together.

Davis has 13 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. He’s heating up at the right time.

Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago

I wrote this summer that I thought Miller was the best receiver in this year’s draft class. After a slow start, Miller is starting to show the skills that made me think so highly of him. Right now, you want to pinpoint emerging players on good teams. Chicago is a good team and don’t look now but all those “Chicago took Mitchell Trubisky over Deshaun Watson” jokes aren’t so funny. That kid can play.

Miller has put up double-digit scoring weeks in points per reception (PPR) leagues in three straight games. He had the best game of his short career against Detroit on Sunday, catching five balls for 122 yards and a touchdown. Keep in mind Detroit really struggles to defend slot receivers, although Miller has at least five receptions in two straight games and a touchdown in two of his last three games.

With Trubisky playing well, Miller’s fantasy arrow is pointing up. He’s clearly Chicago’s No. 2 receiver behind Allen Robinson.

Josh Reynolds, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Cooper Kupp tore his ACL on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season. That will create more playing time for Reynolds. With Kupp out against Green Bay two weeks ago, Reynolds caught three passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns.

Now, I’m not comparing Reynolds to the best slot receiver in the NFL. He’ll be behind both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods for targets but in the Rams’ high-scoring offense, Reynolds is worth adding in deeper leagues for receiver depth. He’ll be a spot starter when the matchup is favorable.

Coming Down

Cincinnati Bengals

For the next two weeks before fantasy playoffs, I’ll have one player, coach or team coming down. Then I’ll switch up my format for playoffs. This week, it’s the ongoing joke known as the Cincinnati Bengals.

On Sunday, we saw the return of bad Andy Dalton. Bad Dalton made an appearance three weeks ago in Kansas City when he completed 51.7 percent of his passes for 148 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Dalton was even worse on Sunday when threw for 153 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Dalton has really answered the bell against the best teams on the Cincinnati’s schedule. Kansas City beat Cincinnati by 35 points and New Orleans left with a 37-point win. The guy is a winner.

As usual, bad Dalton sunk the entire Cincinnati offense. Despite New Orleans allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers and A.J. Green being out, Tyler Boyd was held to just three catches for 65 yards. Joe Mixon saw only 11 carries in the blowout and finished with a pedestrian 85 total yards.

The problem is bad Dalton has shown up way too often over the last two seasons. I got a text from my friend who likes this dog crap team. It said, “The Bengals finally fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.” That’s great but what’s the new defensive coordinator going to do the next time bad Dalton shows up and holds the Bengals hostage?

There is a silver lining for Bengals fans, though. Help is on the way. According to reports, Hue Jackson is on an airplane to Cincinnati to join the Bengals’ staff. Maybe Bengals fans get lucky and the plane crashes into a mountain. If not, Jackson will help good friend Marvin Lewis run the team into the ground even more. Then at the end of the year, Lewis and Jackson will get fired, while Dalton is looking for a new team.

Hue Jackson. You can’t make this stuff up.

Waiver Wire Pickup of the Week

Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay

Did Godwin offend fantasy owners or something? It’s hard to believe that Godwin is owned in fewer than 50 percent of leagues right now.

Godwin has at least 50 yards receiving in five games this year with four touchdowns. He’s coming off his best game of the season with seven catches for 103 yards. Godwin may not be Tampa Bay’s top option in the passing game but he’s proven to be a productive WR3/4 this season. Grab him for fantasy playoffs.

By the way, how many more teams are going to try to make Ryan Fitzpatrick a starting NFL quarterback? Don’t you think three different teams trying to do it is enough data to conclude that Fitzpatrick is a very good backup quarterback? On Sunday, Fitzpatrick threw for 406 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions. You don’t see that stat line every day.

Tampa Bay is a sinking ship. Hopefully the team just keeps throwing the ball to players other than Adam Humphries and Jacquizz Rodgers. That’s how you throw for 400 yards and score just three points.

Sneaky Starts: Week 11

QB: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee – The offense is starting to roll. If Mariota plays well against Indianapolis, look out.

RB: Ito Smith, Atlanta – Feels like an “on” week for Smith against Dallas.

WR: Maurice Harris, Washington – Harris has 15 catches on 17 targets in his last two games. I think that’s more catches than Doug Baldwin has all season.

TE: Jeff Heuerman, Denver – Heuerman ranks third among tight ends in red zone targets. If he starts catching a couple of those we’ll be in business.

DEF: Pittsburgh Steelers – Jacksonville is toast.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.