Chiefs and Falcons – Travis Kelce
Did you honestly sit down and pay attention to the Sunday night game featuring Denver and Kansas City? Or did you wake up and search for the stats in the morning? Don’t lie to us, we know the truth. In looking at the stats, one would say “Holy smokes, Kelce was the focus of the offense.” But, in actuality, Kelce was a slow developing option who was all but forgotten in the first half of the game. He caught one ball for 11 yards in the first half. AND it took extra time for him to really get going. Without his added yardage in overtime, Kelce would have been just another tight end in Week 13 instead of reaching the 100-yard plateau. This brings up the question of whether or not Kelce is the chosen offensive focal point or if he’s simply who they turn to when nothing else is working. Will Kelce get lost in a game where the running backs are playing well and Jeremy Maclin is back healthy? Or is he one of the few tight ends who coaches specifically design their offense to run through? If Kelce isn’t relied upon much earlier and much more purposefully, he’ll drop in the ranks right before we hit the playoffs.
Dolphins and Ravens – Joe Flacco
Throughout his entire pro career, Flacco has been viewed outside the upper echelon of quarterbacks both on the field and in fantasy. While both of those thoughts may be true, it still doesn’t explain why Flacco is ranked as low as he currently is. We’ve seen Flacco well outside the top 20 in fantasy formats this week. He has become a complete and total afterthought. But should he be for the upcoming stretch of games, including this week? Anyone playing against Miami should be listed in the top 20. Period. After this one, he’ll see New England, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Cincy. Can Flacco serve as a championship-run quarterback in fantasy? What if you have Luck and he suffers a sudden setback? There’s not much left out there in the free agent pool and we can guarantee whatever is there won’t have a strength of schedule close to this. Flacco’s temporary climb into the low-end QB1 begins here. He’ll have to go for 250 yards with 2 scores in order to hold our optimism for the most important games of the season.
Lions and Saints – Eric Ebron
The Lions’ tight end was ascending the rankings all season long and then POOF! He completely disappears on Thanksgiving. Ebron was held to no catches on a single target in the national spot light in front of all of his supporters. Well, in fantasy, you need to take the good with the bad, especially with the tight end position. The second you give up on a guy is the week they go off with other worldly numbers. So, hold out hope for Ebron that he was simply held in check by the vicious Vikings defense. That being said, if Ebron can’t respond with a huge game against the lowly Saints then it’ll be officially time to panic. He needs to be much more involved in the same manner we spoke of in regards to Travis Kelce. He needs to become the focus of the passing game or he’ll just be another hit or miss tight end among the countless other up and down TEs spread throughout the league. Let’s set our sights on 80 yards with a touchdown in order to ease our minds before we hit elimination time.
Rams and Patriots – LeGarrette Blount
This is the last real lay-up game in a series of easy defenses. After this one, New England will face the likes of the Ravens, Broncos, and Jets once more. That means that this may be the last chance for Blount to really help owners out. Once the Patriots get up by 14 points, they’ll look to run the game out with Blount. Those owners who really need a win here in order to make the playoffs need the added boost of Blount touching the ball close to 20 times. Not only will that help them get in but it’ll ease their pain and add to their confidence in him when the going gets tough in a few weeks. If Blount were run into a brick wall here, he would leave little to no optimism for when things really stack up against him. We need to see Blount bulldoze his way to a good week against the Rams.
Buccaneers and Chargers – Mike Evans
The Bucs’ wide receiver is just 180 yards and 2 touchdowns away from making two new career highs. That means that Evans has 5 games to blow the doors off all of his stats and preseason forecasts. What Evans does for the remainder of 2016 will decide his draft position next year. Let’s say that he goes for 400 yards with 3 touchdowns over the final five games. That’ll put him at around 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns. Shouldn’t that be enough to be considered with the rest of the elite crowd? There’s an opening among the elite too as DeAndre Hopkins has fallen from grace. Can Evans do enough to rank among the likes of Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, and Julio Jones? He needs to finish the season off strong and this week is no different. He should completely abuse the Chargers’ secondary as he attempts to pad his already impressive stat sheet. Failing to live up to a weekly WR1 billing would have Evans falling out of the top 10 draft options of the first round next season.