Wednesday - Jan 23, 2019

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THE FIRE SALE: Week 11 Going Up and Coming Down

Before I get to everything this week, I have breaking news.

The Cleveland Browns lost again.

Of course, it can’t possibly be Hue Jackson’s fault. Jackson is now 1-24 in two years as the Browns head coach. He has a winning percentage of .040.

I’ve never seen anyone so bad at his job get defended more than Jackson. I honestly believe the people who defend him don’t watch the games. How about that quarterback sneak call with no timeouts before the half? Now it’s coming out that DeShone Kizer may have called an audible. Fine. Why is a rookie quarterback disobeying his head coach and calling audibles? That doesn’t happen on well coached teams.

My favorite argument is “the Browns play hard.” Do they? The Browns have played nine games this year. They’ve lost five by at least two touchdowns. The only other team close to that number is the Giants (4). You know, the team that quit.

Let’s say the argument that the Browns play hard is correct. So? Do coaches get paid for effort or wins? Jackson is the only coach I’ve ever seen that gets treated like a MLB pitcher. Don’t worry about wins. Wins are overrated.

I’m not saying Jackson should have the Browns in the playoffs. They aren’t very good but he’s won one game in two years. My buddy coaches high school football. Give him 25 NFL games and he may be able to win one of them.

I just want to make one final point. You can argue that Jackson doesn’t have a quarterback all you want but the Browns didn’t have a quarterback when Mike Pettine was the coach either. Remember him? Everyone wanted him fired. Well, Pettine went 7-9 and 3-13. He wasn’t a good coach and he found a way to win more than one game in two years. I guess guys didn’t play hard enough for him though.

Hue Jackson is the worst coach in NFL history. That’s no longer my opinion. It’s a mathematical fact. He’s a laughingstock and so are the people who are defending him.

You can follow my crazy ramblings and fantasy observations on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. I never sleep and I respond to every tweet. Hit me up with fantasy questions or just to tell me I’m a remarkable human being.

Now, on with The Fire Sale

Going Up

Austin Ekeler, RB Chargers

That loud noise you heard on Sunday was Melvin Gordon’s fantasy value crashing to the ground. Gordon went from every-week RB1 to a timeshare with Austin Ekeler. That’s what we call a rapid decline.

Against Jacksonville, Gordon rushed for 27 yards on 16 carries. He added five receptions for 15 yards. Meanwhile, Ekeler ran 10 times for 42 yards He also caught five balls for 77 yards and a touchdown. Gordon out-touched Ekeler 21 to 15 but it was Ekeler who got the late-game carries until he committed a costly fumble.

It will be interesting to see what happens going forward but it doesn’t look like a one-game fluke for Ekeler. I hate to compare him to Danny Woodhead for obvious reasons but I have to because Woodhead was the guy who used to play in that offense with Gordon. Sorry, I can’t do it. I’m using Darren Sproles instead. Ekeler could be emerging as a Darren Sproles-like player in the Chargers offense.

Either way, Ekeler should be owned in a majority of leagues now. He’s either going to start getting more touches or he’ll be a valuable handcuff to Gordon come fantasy playoff time.

Danny Woodhead, RB Ravens

I’m going to have Woodhead going up every week until he’s owned in 90 percent of leagues. The only way Woodhead doesn’t help fantasy owners during the playoffs is if he never recovers from that groin injury. If Woodhead is healthy, he’ll be one of the best pickups of the season. I’m sorry, but Alex Collins and Buck Allen aren’t keeping Woodhead on the bench. Grab him if you can.

By the way, I have Ekeler and Woodhead going up. It’s that kind of day.

Greg Olsen, TE Panthers

Another player returning soon is Olsen. He’s currently available in roughly 40 percent of leagues. Many owners who didn’t have an injured reserve spot couldn’t afford to keep Olsen after he injured his foot in Week 3.

Olsen is eligible to come off injured reserve in Week 12. Even if Olsen doesn’t come back until fantasy playoffs, he’ll be a big help to owners fighting for a title when he has favorable matchups against the Buccaneers and Packers. There aren’t many TE1’s available on the waiver wire in Week 11. If Olsen is on yours, get him immediately.

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.