Week 13 Risers and Fallers
December 10, 2015 | Chet
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The fantasy season is winding down to an end, but the most important games of the season are taking place over the next three weeks. Since you’re here reading this, I hope that means you’re either sitting on a bye week or well entrenched in a do-or-die situation to continue a fruitful season. Below are some players that can help or hurt your battle throughout December. I’ll try and give you a little tidbit on what you should do with all this information, but if you’d like some other questions answered please drop some words in the comments below or hit me up on twitter!
The ownership percentages are a median between Yahoo! and ESPN own%.
Allen Robinson (97.5%) had a monster of a game on Sunday, going 10-153-3 on 15 targets — his most of the season — while scoring us 15 or more fantasy points for the 8th straight contest, the longest streak in the league for a non-QB. With Allen Hurns out, ARob out-targeted the closest pass catcher (Julius Thomas) by 10. The 3-pack of touchdowns pushed his season total to 11 — a new Jacksonville record — and those 3 Red Zone TDs make for 10 on the year, the most for any wide receiver. In the five weeks since their Week 8 bye, Robinson has accrued a 31-494-5 stat line and will look to continue his consistent run against an Indianapolis defense that has allowed the most 20+ yard receptions in all of the league, but was also the last team to hold him both without a TD and 100 yards. I wouldn’t be too worried about Vontae Davis (he did go 4-80-0 against Indy, after all) or the return of Allen Hurns. Robinson will still be a bonafide top 5-10 receiver this week.
DeSean Jackson (83.1%) had quite the roller coaster ride in the final two minutes of that awful NFC East showdown Monday night, scoring a TD that almost forced the game into OT immediately after fielding a punt, running completely backwards, and losing a fumble, just like your 4-year kid playing Madden. Regardless of the ridiculous antics in the return game, he managed a season-high 6 catches (through 5 ½ games) and took a trip to the end zone for his third straight game. DJax had 80 of Washington’s 266 yards of offense and has been the recipient of nearly 20% of his team’s targets since returning from injury. Jackson should have more “boom” than “bust” games for the remainder of the season, but keep in mind that his floor is very low. If you’re an underdog in your playoff match-ups, he could be a nice risk/reward play to push you over the top.
Richard Rodgers (55.9%) out-targeted every other Packers pass catcher last Thursday as brother Aaron might be getting tired of throwing the ball to underperforming wide receivers. Through 11 games Richard had caught 40 balls for 293 yards (7.3 YPC) and had never managed a game of over 45 yards. In Week 13, before the longest game-winning, game-ending Hail Mary in NFL history (61 yards) Rich had 7 catches for 85 yards (12.1 YPC). The 8-146-1 on 8 targets and Aaron Rodgers’ insistence that the TE needs to be given more opportunities in the offense certainly looks good, but with Andrew Quarless’ return and a Dallas defense that hasn’t allowed a top-10 TE scorer all season, Week 14 might not be a good spot. Week 15 at Oakland, though? That’s a different story.
James White (47.1%) was the beneficiary of a game script we don’t see too often in New England and made the most of his looks. LeGarrette Blount outsnapped the sophomore 17-12 in the first half, but the usage was flipped in the second as White had 12 to Blount’s 9, including all in the 4th quarter as the Pats were down 21. James had 9 of his 10 catches in the second half, receiving 13 targets from Tom Brady, and handled the only RB red zone rush in the game. In fact, Blount hasn’t even had a touch inside the 10-yard line in the previous three games. Things are looking up for James White, but his 119 total yards on 12 touches will be hard to duplicate for a guy who hasn’t had more than 14 yards rushing in a game this season. Brandon Bolden’s single catch for two yards out of 5 targets might force him out of favor with Belichick/Brady, but honestly, who the hell knows? He may have some DraftKings value before it’s all said and done, but if you can stomach him in your playoffs then you are a better man or woman than I.
Dorial Green-Beckham (20.0%) “ran through the rookie wall” in Week 13, going 5-119 on 6 targets and scoring on a very impressive 47-yard TD that showed both concentration and immense strength. The 6’5” 235 pound receiver didn’t play college football in ’14 and the Titans are taking their time assimilating him into the offense, limiting him to only 7 catches through the first seven games before getting him 14 catches over the last five games. His first 100+ yard game of his career accounted for nearly 33% of his 362 yards on the entire season, yet he was still out-targeted by Mariota’s favorite option in TE Delanie Walker. With some consistency against some below-average secondaries in New York (Jets) and New England, DGB could get his giant frame head-and-shoulders above the rest of Tennessee’s lackluster receiving corps. He could be an honest to goodness Flex option over the next two weeks.
Frank Gore (95.3%) is “beat to crap”, or so says Chuck Pagano. It’d be hard to argue for a guy who has something around 150,000 carries under his belt. Gore has 39 career 100-yard games and not a single one of them have come in 2015. In fact, he hasn’t been able to get to 50 yards rushing in five games this season, including the last three games. Frankie has salvaged two of those matchups by tacking on 40+ yards receiving, but it is abundantly clear that 11 years of workhorse type usage is finally catching up to the ageless wonder. It pains me to say it as he’s been one of my favorite players for quite a long time, but 2015 will mark his only sub-4.0 YPC season and end a decade of fantasy relevance. For use as a low-end PPR RB2 for the rest of the season.
Derek Carr (79.0%) received some great news between a sandwich of terrible news.
Bad news no. 1: Despite throwing for multiple scores for the sixth time in seven games, he threw 3 interceptions for the first time in his career. Three interceptions in the fourth quarter, at that. His 5.9 yards per attempt were the lowest for Carr since a Week 4 matchup against the Bears.
Good news: Michael Crabtree signed a 4-year extension.
Bad news no. 2: The Raiders play Week 14 in Denver. Derek went 26-for-39 for 249 yards, 1 interception and a touchdown against the Broncos in Week 5, which actually marks one of the better performances versus them on the year. Oakland still only managed 10 points that game and this time around Peyton Manning won’t be behind center turning the ball over left and right. This Denver defense has allowed a league low 11 passing TDs, a league low 195 passing yards/game and the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. I strongly, strongly….strongly suggest you use your backup QB or, better yet, stream someone for Week 14 before Carr is back at home against mediocre Green Bay and San Diego defenses for Week 15 and 16, respectively.
Rashad Jennings (56.1%) is in a four-way RBBC; the biggest news out of the Giants backfield out of the last two months is that he might be on next season’s “Dancing With The Stars”, yet he is still owned in over half of fantasy leagues? What gives, people? Jennings had 14 yards on five carries, side-by-side with Orleans Darkwa (8-23), Andre Williams (6-22) and Shane Vereen (4-13). This now makes back-to-back games without breaking 20 yards for Jennings and is the fourth such occurrence this season. He also hasn’t scored a TD on the ground or through the air since Week 4. If you still got to the playoffs while rostering this guy; good job, but stop it.
Jay Cutler (36.2%) couldn’t get it done against San Francisco, DVOA’s 29th overall and 30th ranked pass defense in Chicago on Sunday. He has now failed to throw a touchdown in two of the previous three games and has thrown one or zero scores in 7 of 11 games on the season. The Bears seem to be content with pounding the rock with Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford as they have combined for at least 25 rushing attempts in 12 games this season, the most in the league. Cutler’s numbers have suffered as he’s averaged only 32 pass attempts per game since the Week 7 Bye and 33 or fewer attempts in 5 of the last 6 games. The continuing attempts of force-feeding Alshon Jeffery (at least 11 targets in 5 of Alshon’s 6 games) could end up paying dividends against a Washington D that has allowed 17 TDs against opposing WRs. It’s hard to trust Jay and his DGAF-ness, but there are worse options this week.
Joique Bell (27.8%) is still knee deep in an RBBC for Detroit and the slop is getting even deeper after another positive outing by Ameer Abdullah. He is averaging less than 2.6 yards per carry on the season and his pass-catching upside is basically nonexistent with Theo Riddick snagging more balls than every other running back in the league. Joique probably should’ve lost his real life job weeks ago and definitely needs to lose his fake one.