Happy Nov 1 everybody. Hopefully you survived Halloween night and aren’t out this morning scrubbing eggs off your siding or trying to get toilet paper out of your trees.
Before we get into the goings-on in the NFL as it pertains to fantasy football, I thought I’d offer you some fantasy advice. As it’s Friday before the last 6 team bye week I may be too late but you can always store this nugget away for next year.
If you’re sitting pretty at 6-2 or better right now, don’t mess with your roster too much to try and deal with the bye weeks. I’m not suggesting leave holes in your roster but, if your team is good enough to get you to your current record at or near the top of your league, do you really want to risk weakening your team in the long run to chase a win in one week? 6-3 should still get you into the playoffs, and if your team is solid you have a great chance to win the whole thing anyway. Sure first place gets you a more favorable matchup in theory, but your fantasy opponent’s players may have a sweet matchup for the playoff weeks so it may not matter much where you finished in the regular season. And that fourth WR or third RB you dropped to pick up a bye week replacement may be needed for the playoffs.
On the other hand, if you figure you’re already out of the running, do the other owners/GM’s in your league a favor and make an effort the rest of the way. Whether it’s to cover byes or injuries, it sucks for the competitiveness of fantasy football if you’re one of those owners who just forgets about his team once their chance of winning is slim to none. Of course this is mostly applicable to redraft leagues, but it also applies to dynasty/keeper leagues. Nobody expects you to trade a first round draft pick to get a kicker to cover a bye week, but put in the effort to be competitive without sacrificing the future of your team.
If you’re the owner of Bengals WR Marvin Jones, hopefully you were able to sell high on him after his last couple of weeks. Even when hot he wasn’t getting the majority of targets, and this week the team got back Andrew Hawkins from short-term IR. It may take a week or two for Hawkins to get back into game shape (last night he was only targeted twice) but he will start taking targets away from Jones starting next week. He and Jones will both be limited in the number of targets they see anyway as they are basically sitting behind AJ Green, Jermaine Gresham and Giovani Bernard in the pecking order, with TE Tyler Eifert also getting some targets.
With the great receivers the Steelers have had over the years, it’s kind of hard to believe current WR Antonio Brown has set the team record for the most catches through seven games. A bit of a dubious, unofficial record but still impressive nonetheless. Brown doesn’t get a lot of hype so maybe you can acquire him via trade for a little less than full value. Worth a shot anyway. Other than rookie WR Markus Wheaton coming back soon there’s no reason to think Brown’s targets will decrease much anytime soon.
The Panthers’ crowded backfield is about to get a little tighter. RB Jonathan Stewart looks ready to return, so DeAngelo Williams in particular will lose a fair bit of value. Goal line and short yardage back Mike Tolbert will maintain most of his value which wasn’t very high to being with. Youngster Kenjon Barner can be dropped in one year leagues, it’s doubtful he’ll see much action at all unless or until one of the above three mentioned RB’s gets injured.
The Niners cleared room on their roster for WR Mario Manningham’s return. I actually like his chances of having some fantasy value once he gets a game or two under his belt. San Fran’s passing game has been limited so far, but I think that’s just because of a lack of viable receiving options. Manningham gives Kaepernick another outlet and I think we’ll see them de-emphasize the running game a little and try to get more through the air.
Redskins TE Fred Davis seems to be trying to write his ticket out of town with his recent comments about hoping to be traded at the deadline and now talking about sleeping through team meetings. Not exactly a smart move if he wants to go elsewhere, unless teams think their meetings are less boring than Washington’s. Some team will take him I’m sure, as he has a viable TE skillset and has had some success in the past. There’s never a shortage of teams looking for pass catching tight ends.
I get why the Vikings put Ponder into the lineup last weekend instead of Matt Cassel. In his two games of action Cassel completed 70% of his passes and had more TD’s than INT’s. Not spectacular but it’s a lot better than Christian Ponder has managed to do this year: 60% completion pct. 2 TD’s and 5 INT’s. The Vikings have given up on the season having only one win so far, so it makes sense to play Ponder to give him one last chance to do something. Either he somehow gets going or they go with Freeman and cut Ponder loose after the season.
Titans coach Mike Munchak has said that he wants to essentially split carries between RB’s Chris Johnson and Shonn Greene. With QB Jake Locker looking pretty good last week and the Titans running game less than impressive, I’ll be surprised if either of the RB’s sees a significant number of carries going forward. Tennessee isn’t good enough to regularly get big leads on their opponents to get into clock killing mode until they’re midway through the fourth quarter. It sounds like Greene will get the majority of the goal line work so he may end up being the preferred own for fantasy. I’ll wait and see what they do this weekend against the Rams before trying to acquire Greene, but if you’re desperate for a RB to cover the byes this week he’s an interesting gamble.
I may have jumped the gun a little but I grabbed Rams RB Daryl Richardson off waivers this week in two redraft leagues. That was before he showed up on the injury report of course, and before Zac Stacy put in a full practice yesterday. DOH! Assuming he’s healthy enough to play this weekend I think he’s got a chance to produce if Stacy sits. He showed last season he was a viable fantasy RB and I don’t see why he can’t duplicate that. And with backup QB Kellen Clemens at the helm I imagine the Rams will emphasize the run a fair bit. The question will be, can the offensive line create any holes when the defense also knows the Rams will try and focus on the run game. I’m not suggesting he’ll be a top 3 RB on your team but I think he’ll make a serviceable bye week replacement.
With Seahawks WR Sidney Rice on IR and Percy Harvin not ready to return yet, the team promoted WR Ricardo Lockette from their practice squad yesterday. Lockette is a 27 year old UDFA who’s bounced between the active rosters and practice squads for Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago. He’s a track athlete who hasn’t come close to proving he can run routes or even catch the football consistently. Leave him on waivers in redraft leagues, and at this point he isn’t even worth a flier in dynasty leagues unless you’re not constrained by salaries, contracts or bench space.
Crazy game last night, how often does a team win by a safety in OT? If it weren’t for all the turnovers by Cinci the game wouldn’t have gotten to extra time. QB Andy Dalton just can’t seem to follow up a great game with another great game. Yesterday he threw for 338 yards but tossed 3 picks, one of which was a 94 yard TD for Miami’s Brent Grimes. If you happened to start Grimes in your IDP league congrats, especially if your league counts INT return yardage.
Rookie RB Giovani Bernard had the only two scores for the Bengals. Overall he went 9 carries for 79 yards and the 2 rushing TD’s, along with 4 catches for 25 yards. Could this be the game that convinces coach Marvin Lewis that Bernard should be the lead back? Fellow RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 21 carries for 72 yards, a 3.4 average.
Miami RB Lamar Miller had his second solid game in a row. No scores but he did have 16 carries for 106 yards. That’s pretty impressive against Cinci’s front seven. Unfortunately he did lose a fumble so Daniel Thomas will likely continue to be a significant part of the RB timeshare in Miami.
That’s it for me, enjoy your weekend everybody. Feel free to follow me on twitter @steve_ghb