With so many options to choose from, sometimes fielding a fantasy lineup can be quite the headache. Obvious are the starts akin to Antonio Brown, Brandon Marshall, Matthew Stafford and the games other bigger names. However, it’s the tough choices – namely the less obvious starts – that will end up winning your league.
Here are a few names you might want to consider:
Ryan Tannehill QB Miami –Tannehill was on the hot seat as recently as a couple weeks ago but then cemented his spot, at least for now, with a strong performance against Oakland when the two teams hooked up in London. Throwing for 278 yards with two touchdowns in the contest, Moore may have gotten his self-confidence back but also comes into this Week 6 matchup well rested after a much needed bye. Tannehill will be at home against Green Bay, and though the Pack has not been too bad against the pass, Miami will most likely be forced to pass as they will probably find themselves trying to play keep up. Confidence, rest and a game that most likely will call for much passing all adds up to Tannehill being on your QB2 radar this week.
Shane Vereen RB New England – Shane Vereen has been getting increased carries over the past three games and there is no reason to think the trend won’t continue this week when New England goes to Buffalo. He’s always been a pass catching machine and though not as much as expected so far this year, he does have two games with five grabs. The Bills haven’t allowed more than 86 rushing yards to a team so far this season so don’t expect a huge ground game from Vereen. He should still top 60 rushing yards but his big damage could come in New England’s short passing attack. Vereen is a solid RB2 this week.
Emmanuel Sanders WR Denver –The Jets are ranked 25th against opposing wide receivers - like that even matters with Peyton Manning coming to town. Sanders has 18 catches on 24 targets in his last two games for a whopping 250 receiving yards. 149 of those yards were on the road against a very tough Seattle defense, making Sanders a receiver you’ll want to ride until he cools down – if he ever does. Sanders is a must start in all leagues and will be a WR1 so long as he has Manning throwing him the ball like he has been so far this season.
Brian Quick WR St. Louis – A star in the making, Quick is starting to make some noise in the NFL snagging three touchdowns in his last two games. This week St. Louis gets San Francisco at home and the 49ers defense has not been very scary since losing some key elements in the offseason and suffering a handful of big injuries.There’s always the Austin Davis factor to consider but it seems the two have been on the same page as of late. Quick makes a decent bye week replacement or serviceable WR3 with potential to do more.
Eric Ebron TE Detroit – Many drafted Ebron as a sleeper with high hopes of sneaky value from the tight end position. However, Ebron has not lived up to expectations as of yet. This week Detroit goes up against Minnesota who is currently ranked against opposing tightends. Detroit wants to see Ebron more involved in the offense and this could be the week in a heated division rivalry game. There are plenty of tight ends who I would rather start in a single tight end league, but that doesn’t mean Ebron won’t put up nice numbers. In leagues that start two tight ends, Ebron should be a decent TE2.
At drinkfive, we like to think that trends of at least three games or more are something that should be a reliable indicator of future performance. That’s all fine and good, but how about we actually predict if the trends will continue or not and put our money (or beer in this case) where our mouth is.
Here are the predictions we made on last week’s show:
Matthew Stafford: Wk 8 @ ATL – 20.90 pts, Wk 10 vs MIA – 18.10 pts, Wk 11 @ ARI – 6.32 pts
Over the last three weeks, Stafford has gone up against one poor defense and two excellent ones. Stafford isn’t really putting up the numbers this year that we’ve come to expect out of him, but his team is also rather weird (as is tradition in Detroit) and he’s had some injury issues to the WR group. Stafford might have another tough matchup on Sunday in New England, but his matchups for the rest of the season look awesome. Home vs CHI, TB and MIN, then @ CHI for week 16.
Dave predicted he would go over 18 points, Jason said he’d stay under 18. Stafford and the entire Lions team really struggled against New England. Detroit did not score a TD, Stafford was held to 264 yds passing, completing 18 of 46 passes (39%) and 1 INT. Stafford only scored 11.36 points in a standard league, and Dave will drink five!
Golden Tate: Wk 8 @ ATL – 21.10 pts, Wk 10 vs MIA – 10.90 pts, Wk 11 @ ARI – 4.90 pts
OK, so this one should be obvious, right? Tate obviously did well with Megatron out, and now that he’s back he’ll be on the back burner. But then why did he get 13 targets Week 10? So then you say: “Yes of course, it’s because Stafford has been struggling”. But then does that mean Tate will rebound? As I said earlier, the Lions have a rather cushy schedule going forward, including next week for Tate, since Calvin Johnson will be spending the weekend on Revis Island. We’ll have to see if said island is a retreat or a place with no refuge. The latter ought to benefit Tate a lot.
Like with Stafford, Dave predicted over 12 points, Jason stayed under 12. Tate struggled like everyone else on the Lions last week, catching only 4 out of 11 targets. Those 4 receptions for 97 yards, plus a 13 yard rush put Tate up to 11 points. Dave definitely needs to drink for this one, but I can raise my glass with him since it’s nearly a push.
Torrey smith has put up his 4 highest scoring games during the last 5 games he’s played. Of course, the odd game out was a goose-egg, which nobody likes to see. The question here is definitely about Torrey’s trend though, will it continue in the double digits, or will he lost ground to Steve Smith like at the beginning of the season. Steve has really struggled, putting up less than 10 points over the last 3 games (combined total!). There’s no lack of targets for Steve Smith, which isn’t great for Torrey, but Torrey is finding the end zone and is amazing at drawing DPI penalties, which means that Flacco will keep throwing it deep to him, at least a couple of times per game.
We both agreed on Smith for Week 12, both of us predicting he will score 10 or more points. I suppose we’ll need to raise our glasses for this one. Smith secured 5 out of 6 targets for 98 yards, giving him 9.8 points total. He’s 0.2 points shy of our prediction, so let’s just call this one a social. Torrey seems to be resuming his role as the deep/intermediate guy in the offense, but is still splitting targets with Steve Smith, 6 targets for each on Monday night.
Andre Ellington: Wk 9 @ DAL – 19.40pts, Wk 10 vs STL – 10.20pts, Wk 11 vs DET 6.60 pts
Ellington has had a few rough matchups the last couple of weeks, and his schedule does not get any easier. While Ellington IS the de facto #1 RB on a team that is 9-1, he is clearly not matchup proof like a Demarco Murray or Jamaal Charles. Ellington has matchups coming up @Sea, @Atl, vs KC, @ Stl and vs Sea. There’s only one defense that’s not in the top 10 in there. Just for icing on the cake, he faces San Francisco in week 17 for those of you who are still going then. If your trade deadline hasn’t passed yet, this may be a guy to consider selling.
Boy, I’m on a roll for Week 12. Dave predicted that Ellington would go over 11 points, I said he’d stay under 11 against a tough Seattle defense. Ellington had a tough day, gaining only 24 yards on 10 rushes, adding 5 receptions for 39 yards. Ellington’s 6.30 points is well below the projection, so Dave, drink five more!
Mark Ingram: Wk 9 @ CAR – 23.00pts, Wk 10 vs SF – 13.90 pts, Wk 11 vs CIN – 9.70pts
Ingram has been the beneficiary of injuries to other RB’s on his team and it’s translated directly into touches. Ingram has averaged 26 carries per game over the last four games and he’s definitely produced during that time. The problem here may lie with the team. When the Saints are winning, they are running the ball a lot more effectively, though clearly they will run the ball whether or not they are winning. Assuming Robinson and Thomas are out again this week, Ingram will see his usual workload facing a Ravens defense that gives up the fewest points to opposing RB’s. The rest of Ingram’s schedule is much kinder, with games @ Pit, vs Car, @ Chi and vs Atl in week 16.
Ingram was just as disappointing as Ellington and also had to go up against a good defense. We both predicted that Ingram would go below 14 points, but c’mon Ingram, couldn’t you have just gotten into the end zone and put up 9 points? I don’t take this stuff personally at all…that’s what I have to tell myself anyways. We’ll assign the listeners to drink for this one since Ingram managed only 4.20 points, well below the recent average.
Martellus Bennett: Finally, on the spur of the moment last week, we looked at Martellus Bennett’s downward trend. We both said that he’d stay under 7 points, a good bet with the Bears’ recent struggles. Bennett wound up with just 4 receptions for 37 yards and is firmly off of the TE1 fantasy radar.
Now let’s change gears and look at some trends that we can see after week 12 and make some more predictions. Remember, for all the ones we get wrong, we will drink five on the podcast. For all the ones we get right, you guys drink!
Ryan Tannehill: Wk 10 @ DET – 11.28 pts, Wk 11 vs BUF – 16.80 pts, Wk 12 @ DEN – 27.6 pts
We tend to always look at the downward trends, but let’s start off with an upward trend. Tannehill has gotten through a tough stretch and had a great showing last week against a tough Denver defense. Tannehills remaining schedule is split. This week he faces the Jets, then has to face Baltimore and New England, before getting Minnesota in Week 16. Our question, though, is for Week 13. Will Tannehill score 20 or more points (yahoo projection)? The Jets are giving up 21 points/game to opposing QB’s.
John Brown: Wk 10 vs STL – 13.30 pts, Wk 11 vs DET – 6.90, Wk 12 @ SEA – 6.10 pts
Brown has really been flashy for the Cardinals, but not consistent at all. He is very touchdown dependent so far this year. With Fitzgerald out of the lineup, it was expected that Brown would pick up the slack, but that wasn’t the case last week. Brown has a plus matchup this week in Atlanta, but then faces KC, @ STL and SEA to finish off your fantasy season. This guy has fool’s gold written all over him. We’ll set the over/under at 8 points.
LeSean McCoy: Wk 10 vs CAR – 7.70 pts, Wk 11 @ GB – 10.60 pts, Wk 12 vs TEN – 19.10 pts
McCoy has definitely not lived up to his expectations this season. He had an ADP of 1, but is 14th overall for RB points. McCoy struggled at the beginning of the year with a constantly changing offensive line, it has really solidified in the last few weeks. McCoy is trending up, but has not broken 20 points in a single game all season. With Sproles in there vulturing touchdowns and Polk spelling him, is McCoy ever going to return to his former status as the top back in the league? This week he faces Dallas on Thanksgiving, a team with a vastly improved (though still middle of the pack) run defense. We’ll set the over/under at 12 points.
Frank Gore: Wk 10 @ NO – 14.30 pts, Wk 11 @ NYG – 9.40 pts, Wk 12 vs WAS – 1.60 pts
Gore is pointed in the wrong direction. Though he’s had plenty of work the last three weeks, 55 carries total, he’s only managed 212 yards in that stretch which is good for only 3.85 yards per carry. Getting a solid 18+ carries per game should spell success for a back like Gore, but the 49ers offense has really struggled lately. Gore plays host to Seattle this week, and has games coming up in Oakland, Seattle and home against the Chargers. We’ll set the over/under on Gore at 8.50 points.
Tim Wright: Wk 9 vs DEN – 0.00 pts, Wk 11 @ IND – 6.20 pts, Wk 12 vs DET – 15.60 pts
Wright had a great game against the Lions, outscoring even the great Gronk. Why do I include a player such as Tim Wright in this list? Frankly, I don’t like starting tight ends that are going to catch a TD or do nothing, so why is he relevant? He is currently the most picked up TE in yahoo leagues. If you need to pick up a TE, you probably need to win since it’s Week 13. Tim Wright cannot be relied upon to be the guy who helps you win. Instead look elsewhere for guys like Kyle Rudolph, Jordan Cameron or Delanie Walker if you have to fill a need at TE. We’ll set the over/under at 6.10 points for Wright.
Make sure to listen to our podcast to get our predictions and discussion of the trends into week 13 and we will recap the results next week.
The fantasy season is almost upon us, and every year we like to take the preseason to break down each position individually. We’ll be starting this year with the Quarterbacks. This article will focus on QB’s that have good draft value, and others that do not. Remember, this isn’t exactly who’s going to land in or out of the top 10 this year, but it’s who you can target, or avoid, in a draft to get yourself the best roster.
For a more in-depth discussion, check out our podcast from 8/18/15, The QB Show!
QB’s that have good value:
Can Palmer start all 16 games this season?
Carson Palmer - #11 on our rankings, Palmer is an excellent QB, when healthy. The Cardinals have a decent offense which was able to move the ball when Palmer was out last year. Their defense will make sure the offense gets plenty of possessions. Palmer has an ECR of 19, giving him the largest gap of any QB on our list. His ADP of 22 (153 overall) means that you can take him at the end of nearly every draft, and have a guy that we think should finish just outside the top 10.
Palmer Targets: Fitz!, Michael Floyd, Jaron & John Brown, Andre Ellington, CJ?K, Whoever starts at TE.
Relevant stats: Arizona threw the ball 35.1 times per game in 2014, right in the middle of the pack for the NFL. Palmer is on a 3-year trend upward (extrapolating last year's stats over 16 games). The Cardinals' window is closing fast, look for them to pull out all the stops to make a Super Bowl run this year.
Tom Brady - #8 on our rankings, he has an ECR of 14, mostly, I suspect, due to his looming suspension. If he plays all 16, I think he’ll go up a bit. Overall, I think we underestimate Tom every year, and every year he’s playing in January, so he must be doing something right. What we do know about Brady is that he has Gronk, and it doesn’t really matter who else is there.
Relevant stats: The Pats threw the ball 38.6 times per game last year, 7th most in the league. Brady has thrown over 30 TD's in 4 of the last 5 seasons, and usually keeps the INT's low. Don't be fooled by the lack of targets, it's never bothered Brady.
Tony Romo - #5 on our rankings, he has an ECR of 9 and an ADP of 8. Romo’s value is going up, he’s currently being drafted about 1 round higher than his overall ranking would put him, however we rank him even higher, so there is still value to be had here. Romo is a tough QB leading what is likely to be a top 5 offense in the NFL this season. Romo is the highest tier QB with a good value rating.
Romo Targets: Dez Bryant (over 135 targets each of the last 3 years), Witten, Williams, Beasley, Randle/Dunbar/McFadden
Relevant stats: Last year, Dallas threw the ball only 29.2 times per game, the second fewest in the league. Romo made the most of the times he did throw the ball, leading the league in completion % (69.9), TD % (7.8) and yards per pass attempt (8.5). He has been trending up in TD's and down in INT's over the last 3 years. Romo is playing better than he ever has and will need to pick up the slack after Demarco Murray's departure. Don't worry about his age either, he may be over 35, but he's only started 20 more games than Rodgers, so he has plenty of football left in him.
This guy got $65 million...
Philip Rivers - #10 on our rankings, his ECR is 13, so we’re not too far off there, but it’s a game of inches, isn’t it? Rivers just got a huge new contract, with something like $65 mil GUARANTEED. That means it’s his job to now go out and prove to the team that he deserves it. The Chargers’ ground game got a big upgrade this season, drafting Melvin Gordon #14 overall. This should take a bit of pressure off Rivers. Rivers had 31 TD’s, but also 18 INT’s. He’s generally not that errant of a passer, so if he can cut down on the picks, he will finish in the top 10 yet again.
Relevant stats: San Diego threw the ball 35.9 times per game last season, 14th in the league, but threw it 43 times per game in the last 3 games, two of which were against division opponents. Rivers has gone over 4000 yards in 6 of the last 7 seasons and over 30 TD's in 5 of them. He's wonderfully consistent and can be counted on to be in the top 12 every years. Pick him up when he's available late. Oh yea, the new contract doesn't hurt his outlook any.
QB’s that are overvalued:
Colin Kaepernick – Kaepernick is ranked 22 on our sheets and has an ECR of 15. He won’t be drafted as a starter in standard leagues anyways, but I wanted to just reiterate how much we do not like the 49ers offense this year. The rankings, thankfully, agree with us. His overall stats for the last 3 years have been underwhelming, so let someone else reach for him as their backup QB.
Kaepernick Targets: Boldin, Smith, Davis, Hyde/Bush – See why we aren’t hyped?
Relevant stats: the 49ers threw the ball only 30.4 times per game last year, good for 29th in the league. Kaepernick already only completes 60.1% of his passes through his career, so you need to rely on his feet to get you big points. The problem there is that his rushing TD's have gone from 5 to 4 to 1. Are you ready to bet it's going back up to 5? His Int's are the other alarming trend, going up each year that he's been in the league.
Cam's job got a lot harder with Benjamin going down.
Cam Newton – Newton has a rank of 13 on our sheet, but an ECR of 7. He’s clearly favored by pundits and fans alike, but our rankings sheet is not so high on him. Newton has slightly regressed in his stat line every year since he broke into the league back in 2011. Even though it may “feel” like Newton is due to rebound back to what he had his rookie year, his risk is not worth the price you have to pay. His ceiling is actually rather low, especially considering he will run less and less as he gets older. It’s not worth it, in my opinion, to draft a guy as the 7th best QB when he really only has a shot at being #5 at the very highest.
Newton Targets: Benjamin, Ginn, Funchess, Cotchery, Corey Brown, Olsen, Stewart/Tolbert/Whittaker
Relevant stats: Carolina threw the ball 34.1 times per game last season, but Newton only has a career 59.5 completion %. Newton has also only thrown the ball about 31 times per game in his career, so I expect his pass attempts to stay flat, at best. Newton was only the 16th best fantasy QB last year, right above our buddy Kaepernick. At least he's above the Andy Dalton line.
Ryan Tannehill - #14 in our rankings, Tannehill is a guy who we have been pumping up all year, and it looks like we’re not the only ones. His ECR is 10, so the experts like him, and his ADP of 13 indicates that he hasn’t quite caught up to his ECR in the rest of the fantasy world. Here’s the thing though, Tannehill is the QB who is being hyped as the best value or biggest jump from last year. News like this spreads like wildfire and the draft season is now in full swing. Just this past weekend, I was in a draft where he was the 7th overall QB taken, late in the 6th round.
Relevant stats: Miami was in the top half of the league, throwing the ball 37.2 times per game in 2014. Tannehill's stats have generally been trending up over his first three years in the league. They just got Jordan Cameron and drafted Devante Parker. Yes, things are looking up for Ryan Tannehill, but the secret's out. He's got a good shot at going too early in your draft. Give a silent nod and just move on. If he's available closer to his ADP of 13, then go for it.
Two weeks of football are now behind us in this young season and injuries impacting the fantasy playing field are already starting to pile up. I know this first hand after getting burned by early game injuries to Jonathan Stewart and Arian Foster just to name a few! Regardless of if you've been unfortunate to lose key players on your fantasy team to injury or not, this advice is geared to help better position yourselves with waiver picks for both the short and long term.
Note: all waiver picks listed here will have only been owned in 50% or less of Yahoo leagues at the time of publication.
Ryan Tannehill (MIA) - 29% owned - Tannehill was involved heavily last week against the Patriots, netting 389 yards and 2 TDs on 45 pass attempts while also adding another 35 yards on the ground from 6 carries. With Foster's status up in the air for week 3 you should expect similar results from Tannehill against a beatable Cleveland defense.
Honorable mention: Joe Flacco (BAL) - 29% owned
Jerick McKinnon (MIN) - 24% owned - It's been announced that Adrian Peterson suffered a torn meniscus in week 2 which should leave him sidelined this coming week if not longer. This makes McKinnon a must add as the favorite for early down work in the Vikings backfield. The only downside is history has shown McKinnon will lose goal-line touches to Matt Asiata which limits his touchdown potential.
Fozzy Whittaker (CAR) - 5% owned - After Jonathan Stewart injured his hamstring last week Whittaker entered the game and put up 100 yards rushing on 16 carries while adding another 31 yards on 3 receptions. Stewart is expected to miss either one or two games with his injury which makes Whittaker a good bet to start while he is sidelined. The matchup isn't ideal against a tough Vikings defense, but if you are in a bind and need a starting running back for the week Whittaker is available.
Honorable mention: Matt Asiata (MIN) - 2% owned
Tyrell Williams (SD) - 48% owned - Williams looks to be the number two passing option in San Diego after the season ending injuries keep piling up to the Chargers skill players; Danny Woodhead was the latest victim after they already lost Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. As long as he can avoid the injury curse going around he is a good bet for week to week fantasy production on a pass happy team with a terrible defense.
Victor Cruz (NYG) - 37% owned - Cruz has been showing signs of life after missing the last season and a half from a patellar tendon tear, putting up 8 catches on 12 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. I still think he needs to show a little more before I would trust him in my line up, but I also think this is the week to invest and put a waiver claim since it could pay off big if he can return to his old form.
Dennis Pitta (BAL) - 11% owned - Pitta has had an extremely injury-riddled career but he is healthy (for the moment) and looks to have a big role in the Ravens offense after grabbing 9 receptions for 102 yards on 12 targets. This type of volume would put him in the weekly TE1 conversation if it were to continue so he's worth a grab.
Honorable mention: Jacob Tamme (ATL) - 6% owned
Miami Dolphins (MIA) - 7% owned - The Dolphins defense are an interesting streaming play this week since Cleveland is forced to start their rookie 3rd string quarterback Cody Kessler. History shows Kessler is likely to make mistakes in his first start which means Miami is a good bet to rack up fantasy points
We're joined by fantasy football veteran and former drinkfive.com contributor Vince Foss as we discuss the very best plays moving forward into championship week. We'll analyze the matchups and go over recent NFL news and updates that can impact the production of your players.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!