We should all, as civilized, decent people, buy Ryan Lindley jerseys this week.
It’s the least we can do.
It was the Cardinals’ rookie quarterback, after all, who saved us from ourselves in Week 12, as our fantasy studs floundered and the clock ticked down on one of the most critical fake football weeks of the calendar year.
It was Lindley, that scraggly goateed goofball of a signal caller, who tossed not one, but two interceptions for touchdowns to no one’s favorite person, Rams’ cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
The Rams’ defense stockpiled four picks – and two more that should’ve been intercepted – on their way to a tidy little 23 fantasy points, making them the week’s second highest-scoring defense, behind the Patriots. We doubled down on the Rams’ defense after a heinous Week 12 showing and it paid off in untold fantasy happiness that surely filled the gaping void in your various lives.
Lindley, by the bye, threw 52 passes against St. Louis, or 27 more attempts than Aaron Rodgers made on Sunday night. That makes sense because, you know, Whisenhunt.
This streaming thing ain’t so bad, even if the Chiefs managed to looked semi-functional against a Broncos’ defense that had devoured its opponents for damn near a month.
For those of you blessed with the everlasting luxury of deep fantasy benches, it’s especially important to grab a dreamy Week 14 streamer right now in preparation for most leagues’ first playoff games. Here are a few defenses I’m eying in my various pretend football leagues. All have prime matchups against turnover-prone teams at home, and God almighty, how I love the Brownies against Brian Daboll’s Frankenstein.
Cleveland Browns vs. Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Chargers
Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Eagles
St. Louis Rams at Bills
Now here are the two best Week 13 streaming options. My full Week 13 rankings will be here on Wednesday morning.
New York Jets vs. Cardinals – While you’re dropping Fireman Ed to waivers in all formats, you might get a little use out of Gang Green’s occasionally decent defense this week. They’re next in the Ryan Lindley Sweepstakes. And fret not – if you thought Arizona headman Ken Whisenhunt was going to bench his floundering rookie, he won’t. This is the gridiron equivalent of jihad.
New York, before the Patriots shat on them like you poor commode on Thanksgiving night, were forcing pretty regular turnovers, collecting four fumbles and a pick in Weeks 10 and 11. The Jets also racked up five sacks in those games.
I think the Jets have one of the highest fantasy floors in Week 13 – even if Lindley looks like a passable quarterback, as he did during most of the first half against St. Louis, the turnovers will come. Antonio Cromartie has proven a shutdown corner for much of this season, so I expect him to take away the late, great Larry Fitzgerald and force Lindley to explore other options.
The Cardinals have given up the fourth most turnovers in the NFC this year. Slip on your sparkling new Lindley jersey, play the Jets’ defense, and let the Arizona rookie wash over you.
Carolina Panthers at Chiefs – The Panthers on Monday night were exposed a borderline terrible defense against Philadelphia’s second team superstars, Nick Foles and Bryce Brown. Still, they forced three turnovers and recorded a sack, helping streamers gimp to victory, maybe.
It’s a story as old as time: The Chiefs’ offense spreads around turnovers for everyone, all the time. They are turnover Marxists, in that way. “From each according to his ability, except Jamaal Charles,” Brian Daboll is fond of saying, “to each according to Brady Quinn.”
Kansas City has turned over the football 32 times this year, and while the Panthers’ aggressive secondary is highly burnable, Quinn isn’t going to burn anyone. Seriously, he’s afraid of fire. So don’t worry. Carolina’s defense is owned in just 7 percent of NFL.com leagues, and a mere 9 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
They’ll be a top-10 option come Sunday.
Again, here are my Week 13 rankings, which are subject to change on Friday. Remember: streaming defenses doesn’t mean we sit more reliable, consistent options. I’ll hire someone to punch you in the kidney if you bench any one of these defenses: Patriots, 49ers, Bears, Seahawks, and the Packers.
Until next week, #LongLiveLindley.