This week should be the first week you should start focusing on the playoffs. League trade deadlines are approaching which you should use to fill in those areas where you need help the most. With only one additional week of byes you should shed unnecessary players from your roster, such as extra kickers, defenses and maybe a 3rd quarterback. Any injured player you may have that will not return or looks doubtful for the next few weeks should also be purged from your roster.
The next few weeks will be critical for securing a playoff spot so make sure to make the best decisions when setting lineups. At this time you need to play the players that are performing for you while adding the players that take over for injured starters.
The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.
Antonio Brown– 17 receptions for 284 yards and 2 carries for 22 yards. Brown totaled a whopping 47 fantasy points and it is perhaps the highest scoring performance I have seen where a player didn’t score. Hopefully Landry Jones will go to Brown more often than he did in his first start.
DeAngelo Williams– 27 carries for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns. Also in that Steelers game, we had Williams running wild like it is 2008 again. Williams has no competition for carries and should see the bulk of the offense with Ben Roethlisberger out.
Lamar Miller– 12 carries for 44 yards 2 touchdowns and 7 receptions for 97 yards. Miller has now rushed for a touchdown in 4 straight games after having none in the previous four. New coach Dan Campbell is using Miller more effectively and the production has followed.
The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.
A.J. Green– 4 catches for 53 yards. With the long week of NFL we sometimes forget that the Thursday night games were part of the action. In a prime matchup at home he laid a dud.
Eddie Lacy– 5 carries for 10 yards. Lacy is going down as the biggest bust of 2015. Hopefully you weren’t fooled by Green Bay’s talk about getting Lacy more touches because he isn’t getting them. In a week where you had bye week issues or limited depth at running back to begin with, Lacy was painful to have in your lineup.
Ronnie Hillman– 7 carries for 1 yards. The news all week was that Hillman was limited by a thigh injury, so the fact that he didn’t play much during the game wasn’t a surprise. However, it was thought he was good to go for the game but obviously a big risk. C.J. Anderson didn’t perform any better as he had 7 carries also for just 34 yards.
Good quarterback matchups this week:
Blake Bortles against the Ravens. If you haven’t been paying attention to Bortles this season you may have missed how much better he has performed this year compared to last season. Already he has almost has many yards and has thrown more touchdowns. He will pass for over 4,000 yards this year with at least 30 touchdowns and unfortunately close to 20 interceptions. With bye weeks and injuries, Bortles could be the backup that saves your week and maybe other games down the stretch. Bortles faces the Raves who are allowing the second most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season with 21.5. They are allowing 283 passing yards per game (29th) with 16 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions. Someone get Ed Reed out of retirement.
Brian Hoyer against the Bengals. The Bengals may be undefeated but their pass defense has been just average. They are allowing 244.1 passing yards per game with 10 touchdowns to 8 interceptions. I can see the Texans getting off to a big lead here with DeAndre Hopkins racking up the big yards. Over the past 5 games, Hoyer has thrown for two-or-more touchdowns and is averaging 20 fantasy points per game.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Kirk Cousins against the Saints. Cousins played poorly last week but this is going to be a bounceback game with plenty of fantasy scoring. The Saints have been the worst team against the quarterback allowing the most fantasy points with 23.7 points per game. They are allowing 292.2 passing yards per game (30th) with 24 touchdowns allowed. That is the most touchdowns in the league, 5 more than the 2nd worse team the Buccaneers.
Good running back matchups this week:
James Starks against the Lions. Starks has taken over the starting role from an ineffective Eddie Lacy and has performed nicely when given more carries. In games where he has received 10-or-more carries this season he has averaged 19.25 fantasy points. The Lions defense is allowing 20.6 fantasy points per game to running backs. The 4th highest in the league. The Lions defense is also giving up 133.8 rushing yard per game with 14 rushing touchdowns, the most in the NFL.
DeAngelo Williams against the Browns. I do see Williams holding up for 8 games but while he is starting he is getting 20+ touches and 31.3 fantasy points. The Browns defense has been awful against the run averaging a league worse 147.6 yards per game with 9 touchdowns. The Browns have allowed over 100 yards rushing inn the last 5 games.
Sleeper Pick of the Week: Doug Martin against the Cowboys. With the Chargers off on a bye, the Cowboys become the top team to allow the most fantasy points to running backs. They have allowed 22.3 points per game thanks to 9 touchdowns allowed. They have allowed 111.6 rushing yards per game (18th) and have 5 100+ rushing yards games allowed in the last 6 games.
Bad quarterback matchups this week:
Marcus Mariota against the Panthers. Mariota returned last week after missing two games with an injury. He threw for 371 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is the first rookie to throw for 4 touchdowns in two games without and interception. The rookie will see some tough games and this week he faces a though Panthers defense allowing 241.6 passing yards (12th) with 11 touchdowns. They are allowing just 14.8 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. I expect this game to be a low scoring close game.
Russell Wilson against the Cardinals. Russel Wilson is having a down year despite the addition of Jimmy Graham. He is averaging 18.5 fantasy points compared with the 21.5 he averaged through the same amount of games last year. He is on pace to finish with 18 passing touchdowns, which will be his lowest total of his career. The Cardinals are 7th in the league allowing 222.6 passing yards per game with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The Cardinals are holding opposing
quarterback to just 13.9 fantasy points per game.
Derek Carr against the Vikings. Speaking of 4 touchdowns games, Carr has thrown for 4 scores in back-to-back games entering this week. The matchup this week is tougher as he faces a Vikings team that has given up just 9 touchdowns all season. The Vikings are allowing 220.6 passing yards per game (6th) while holding opposing fantasy quarterbacks to 13.9 points per game.
Bad running back matchups this week:
Charcandrick West against the Broncos. West has averaged 24.5 fantasy points in the two games before the bye. However, he faces a Broncos defense that is 5th in the league allowing 93.1 rushing yards per game with 6 touchdowns allowed. In the 1st meeting, it was Jamaal Charles who ran well against the Broncos but West was held without a carry.
T.J. Yeldon against the Ravens. The rookie has been decent this season but not very consistent. This week, I like Bortles but not Yeldon. The Ravens have been bad against the pass but surprisingly decent against the run allowing 99.8 rushing yards per game with just 5 touchdowns. They have allowed only 2 100+ yard games all season.
C.J. Anderson against the Chiefs. Last week, the Broncos didn’t run the ball well and back in Week 2 when they faced the Chiefs they didn’t run well then either. With Ronnie Hillman being limited last week and questionable this week, Anderson will get the bulk of the carries. The Chiefs are 11th in the league allowing 100.6 passing yards per game with just 4 touchdowns.