A 6-6 tie. Bleh. It’s true that most football fans do not appreciate a hard fought defensive battle that ends in a tie. Much like most baseball fans do not appreciate a beautifully thrown 1-0 pitcher’s duel. No, we are fantasy football owners dang it and we want action!
In an article for Esquire magazine, Nate Hopper once said, “Ties are great because ties are terrible.” Most fans watching the Arizona/Seattle game Sunday night would agree, but Hopper went on to explain that the reason they are good for sports is because nobody wants one, “If there is no extra innings or no overtime, a tie becomes a beautiful threat.” Meaning, the reason we have so few ties is because nobody wants that outcome.
Did you notice how hard the teams were playing at the end of the game? They seemed to be playing at a glacial pace throughout the whole affair, and then once it got close to the end they kicked it into gear. Heck, Seattle saw the majority of their offensive output from the entire game come in OT alone.
The same works for fantasy football. Many of us have had slow starts to our season whether by our faults or by the faults of the fantasy gods. And now we find ourselves in the second half of the season with the clock ticking and we know we have to put it in gear and make something happen because we don’t want to deal with the alternative.
So, let’s see what we can do to right your ship and launch you strongly towards the playoffs, and as we like to do in this column, let’s start with quarterbacks.
Landry Jones certainly looked interesting this last week and why wouldn’t he; he only is in control of arguably the most prolific offense in the NFL. He did face a juggernaut this weekend in New England where they lost 27-16. They never led once in the game, but despite that, were always only a score or two away.
In that loss, Jones threw for 281 yards and 1 touchdown. Jones is not going to be mistaken for Big Ben anytime soon but he is available in 97% of leagues and he is in charge of one of the best offenses in football so he should be the first person off the waiver wire, right?
Well, on second thought, he is going into a bye week and then when he comes out of it faces one of the leagues better defenses in Baltimore. If you are in an ultra-competitive league and do not need him for next week then pick him up because after Baltimore he faces Dallas, Cleveland and the New York Giants, if that isn’t a nice schedule then I don’t know what is.
Unfortunately, you will have to wait three weeks for that to happen. So for right now, I’d say pass on Landry and instead see if your league still has Jameis Winston available.
Winston had a beautiful win over San Francisco this weekend with a 34-17 route over the hapless 49ers. In that victory, Winston threw for 269 yards and 3 touchdowns. I mentioned Winston before the season and at the beginning of the season and yet he is still available in 49% of leagues.
The real nice part about picking Winston up, is that over the next 3 weeks he faces Oakland, Atlanta, and Chicago. It would be a surprise if he didn’t end up as one of the top QBs in the month of October, he’s is definitely worth a waiver claim.
If you are in a deeper league and are willing to take a flyer, Kevin Hogan might just be what you are looking for. Hogan is the latest of QBs to dawn the orange and brown mantle of quarterback for Cleveland. He only threw for 100 yards on Sunday with no touchdowns, but here is where it gets interesting. He ran for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Cleveland lost to Cincinnati 31-17 and it wasn’t really much of a game, but to anybody who is hoping for some cheap garbage-time points he just might be a great player to plug into your lineup for a bye week fill-in. Hogan is available in a 100% of leagues, so as of this writing every one of you can pick him up and over the next 2 weeks he is facing a rapidly declining New York Jets defense and a typically suspect Dallas defense. He is by far the most interesting pick off the waiver wire this week.
As far as running backs go, Peyton Barber came out of virtually nowhere. That is why he is available in 99% of leagues right now. In the 34-17 Tampa Bay win over the 49ers on Sunday, he ran for 84 yards and 1 touchdown. He also gets to face Oakland, Atlanta, and Chicago over the next 3 weeks so why am I going to tell you to hold up on him?
Simple, he has been in very few plays prior to this and most of his production came on a 44-yard touchdown late in the game. He does happen to be second in line now for the Buccaneers running back job right now which makes me think he is going to be a waiver wire pick up for many. But remember these 3 things, Doug Martin will be back soon, Barber still doesn’t get that many touches, and most important Jacquizz Rodgers is still in front of him and getting most of the workload, so to wait on Barber would be the most prudent move.
Speaking of Rodgers, he is the first one you want to target off of waivers this week if you are in line for a running back. I did mention him last week, but as he is still available in 65% of leagues. It seems that not many of you listened.
That is too bad, because if you had you would have been rewarded with a 154-yard outing against the 49ers this weekend. I said it last week and I’ll say it again, until Doug Martin comes back, and even for a few weeks after he does, Rodgers is someone you want in your lineup. Over the next 3 weeks he faces the aforementioned trio of the Raiders, Falcons, and Bears. My guess is that after this week you won’t have the ability to get him anymore, just a hunch.
Another interesting pickup if Rodgers is not available is Chris Thompson of Washington. In a 20-17 loss to Detroit this weekend, Thompson ran for 73 yards and caught 7 passes for 40 more yards. He is available in 85% of leagues and could possibly help you through the bye weeks or in case of injury.
Next week, they face the Bengals who have a very stout defense and then they are on a bye so at first glance it may seem like someone you’d pass over, but know this, Thompson is the small change of pace back. Cincinnati is good against the run so it figures that they might be passing a lot. This is where Thompson can really help you out. He is worth a look in any format, but is a really strong pick in PPR leagues.