Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Week 16 Rankings

Well it's the last week of most people's fantasy football seasons, but mine is officially over.  I'm not even playing for 7th place anymore, which is fine.  It was a frustrating end to a frustrating season.  This clearly wasn't my year to win fantasy football, but at least I have some tools in my keeper league to start off on the right foot in 2013 (namely Cam Newton, but maybe another diamond in the rough...still TBD).  I'm going to work on a look ahead to 2013 piece later, but for now let's recap the week that was and get into those Week 16 Rankings!

1.Cam Newton
2.Tom Brady
3.Drew Brees
5.Tony Romo
6.Peyton Manning
7.Matt Ryan
8.Aaron Rodgers
9.Andrew Luck
10.Sam Bradford
11.Matthew Stafford
12.Russell Wilson
13.Ben Roethlisberger
14.Colin Kaepernick
15.Matt Schaub
16.Eli Manning 
17.Josh Freeman
18.Nick Foles
19.Ryan Tannehill    
20.Andy Dalton

Cam Newton seemed like the guy who deserved the top spot last week, but it was another guy I hyped up who took the top spot: Russell Wilson!  I mentioned that he was a guy available in a lot of leagues who could be a better option than what you might have had in a key playoff week.  I had him ranked at #12, startable in most leagues.  I also mentioned that he was playing Buffalo (who gives up tons of fantasy points to QBs) and that he has easily been among the top-10 QBs over the last 4-6 weeks.  He remained on the waiver wire in my league, so no one took advantage of the juicy matchup with the Bills.  If I was still stuck with a guy like Philip Rivers, I would've been all over it, but I had Cam going and couldn't justify sitting him.  Speaking of Cam, I'm doubling down with him at the top spot this week, as he gets the Raiders at home.

Aaron Rodgers finally bounced back, and Drew Brees had a big game in a crucial fantasy week.  I added RGIII in my Thursday updated rankings, but he ended up not going.  Kirk Cousins did extremely well in his absence, and he finished as a top-10 fantasy QB in Week 15.  I think either Redskins quarterback will be a solid play this week as they travel to Philly.  I currently have RGIII at #4, but if it's Cousins who gets the start, I think he still belongs in the top-20 as well.

I suggested that Colin Kaepernick's legs should keep him near the top for the remaining weeks of the fantasy season, but all 4 of his TDs against the Patriots came in the air.  Either way, he is getting it done.  But be careful.  He travels to Seattle this week, and that is a tough place to play with the 12th man.  I don't think he'll have nearly as much success against that defense, but keep an eye as to whether or not they'll have some of their starters in the secondary (pending suspensions).  For now I have Colin outside of my top-10, and I have Russell Wilson just outside of the top-10 in the same game.

Andy Dalton and Josh Freeman were two guys that moved up my board last week, and while Dalton had an OK game, Freeman flat out sucked.  I thought I liked Freeman a lot in Week 15 against that Saints defense, but apparently the experts liked him even more.  I wrote last week that I realized the type of game he could potentially have, but I would still start guys like Stafford or Ryan ahead of him.  If you had one of those guys and got cute and started Freeman over them, you are probably crying the blues today.  Of course, Ryan had a great game and Stafford didn't do much better than Freeman, but you get the idea.

If you're still playing for something, a few guys I like this week more than the experts:

Nick Foles - He had a rough week Thursday against the Bengals, but he torched the lowly Buccaneer secondary the week before.  This week he gets the Redskins, who continue to give up big plays down the field.  They've been doing better as of late, but I think Foles will find some holes in their defense in a home game that could be a potential spoiler for my Redskins.

Tony Romo - Dallas gets a home game against the Saints, and they're playing for their playoff lives.  Especially (but not only) if Dez is healthy, I think Romo will continue to play at a high level.  I actually have him as a top-5 play this week.

Sam Bradford - He has quietly put up some solid numbers this season.  He's not a guy on everyone's fantasy radar, but he's scored double digits in every game since Week 5.  Last week he had a great game against Minnesota, and this week he gets Tampa Bay, who just got lit up by Brees and company (and Foles the week before).  I like Bradford as this week's Russell Wilson shocker special, and I have him as a top-10 play.  Matthew Berry ranks him at 24 this week...TWENTY FOUR!  Wake up and smell the Rams, dude!

1.Adrian Peterson
2.Arian Foster
3.Doug Martin
4.Knowshown Moreno
5.Jamaal Charles
6.DeMarco Murray
7.Ray Rice
8.Darren McFadden
9.Alfred Morris
10.Trent Richardson 
11.Frank Gore
12.CJ Spiller
13.Marshawn Lynch
14.Matt Forte
15.Chris Johnson
16.Stevan Ridley
17.Reggie Bush
18.Steven Jackson
19.LeSean McCoy
20.Darren Sproles
21.Vick Ballard
22.Mikel LeShoure
23.Benjarvis Green-Ellis
24.Michael Turner
25.Ahmad Bradshaw
26.DeAngelo Williams
27.Jonathan Dwyer
28.Beanie Wells
29.Jackie Battle
30.Shonn Greene
31.Mark Ingram
32.Montell Owens
33.Bryce Brown
34.Joique Bell
35.Alex Green
36.Jacquizz Rodgers
37.Mike Goodson
38.Bilal Powell
39.David Wilson
40.Danny Woodhead

Last week I stuck with Peterson at the top spot, but I said Doug Martin could easily destroy the Saints defense and be the top RB for the week.  Well, half of that was right.  It's a safe bet to have AP at the top spot every week, but Doug Martin laid an egg (as did the rest of his teammates for the most part).  I don't think anyone really saw that coming, including me.  Ray Rice and Jamaal Charles (and to an extent Bryce Brown) were some of the other top guys who were surprising duds in Week 15.  I noted to keep an eye on Ray Rice's hip pointer injury, and I wonder if that was bothering him at all on Sunday against the Broncos.  Either way, the Ravens pretty much abandoned the run in the second half, which killed Ray's chances of having a decent fantasy day.  I look for him to bounce back this week, if in fact you happen to be a Ray Rice owner and still managed a victory to move forward in your playoffs.

A few guys I liked in Week 15 and their results:
Matt Forte - With Bush banged up, I had Forte in my top 10.  He got a ton of touches/yards and finished just inside the top-20.  If he didn't get stuffed on the goal line twice in a row from the 1 yard line (in the one series I saw while watching RedZone), this would be a different story to tell here.
Moreno - I liked him to have another big game against a thin Ravens defense, and he did.
Mathews - I don't even want to talk about it...
Ingram - I didn't have him super high, but I noted that he has been getting a lot more touches lately and said that a TD was in order for Week 15...and Bingo was his Name-O!

I noted in my Thursday update that the experts ranked Stevan Ridley much higher than I did last week.  With the Niners giving up the fewest points to RBs all season, I thought it was crazy to rank him any higher than a low end RB2/flex.  Danny Woodhead actually finished up with a great game, but Ridley almost got blanked, so I guess there are a couple ways of looking at the call I made there.  Take your pick.

Week 16 has most of the usual suspects in the top-10, but a few notable movers up the board include:
Knowshon Moreno - He has been crushing it against weak rushing defenses the last couple of weeks, and I look for him to continue doing that against the Browns.  I like him as a top-5 play this week.

DeMarco Murray - Also on a tear lately, Murray has averaged about 15 fantasy points per game since returning from injury.  I've already talked about how I like Romo in this game, but I like Murray as well.

Darren McFadden - Another new face in the top-10, I think he breaks out this week at Carolina.

Vick Ballard - I keep talking about him, but he's been pretty solid since given a chance at the starting gig.  He's a solid RB2 against Kansas City this week, and potentially my other keeper in 2013 alongside Cam.

1.Julio Jones
2.Calvin Johnson
3.Dez Bryant
4.Andre Johnson
5.Demaryius Thomas
6.AJ Green
7.Brandon Marshall
8.Steve Smith
9.Pierre Garcon
10.Victor Cruz
11.Randall Cobb
12.Vincent Jackson
13.Wes Welker
14.Reggie Wayne
15.Cecil Shorts
16.Roddie White 
17.Eric Decker
18.Marques Colston
19.Miles Austin
20.Mike Wallace
21.Hakeem Nicks
22.Brandon Lloyd
23.Steve Johnson
24.Danny Amendola
25.T.Y. Hilton
26.Antonio Brown
27.Michael Crabtree
28.Danario Alexander
29.Sidney Rice
30.Torrey Smith
31.Lance Moore
32.Jeremy Maclin
33.Justin Blackmon
34.Golden Tate 
35.Kenny Britt
36.James Jones
37.Mike Williams
38.Brian Hartline
39.Greg Jennings
40.Denarius Moore
41.Josh Gordon
42.Donnie Avery

Brandon Lloyd is determined to pad his stats to make me look good from my preseason predictions, but it's too little too late.  I mean, who is starting him at this point?!?  Well I wasn't last week, but I'm sure some people did.  Those people reaped the benefits of 190 yards on 10 catches.  Where has that been all season?  Oh well.  I'm moving him up the WR list this week.  I say you have to play the hot hand if you have him and are still in the playoffs.

AJ Green had a solid week (but nowhere near the top spot), and Vincent Jackson put up some garbage time yards to keep it respectable.  But Danario Alexander and Josh Gordon were almost nowhere to be found (and in Alexander's case, literally nowhere in fantasyland as he put up a zero!).  I still didn't move Alexander up as high as the experts did, who apparently forgot that Philip Rivers is still the QB in San Diego.  I'm sure he'll bounce back this week, but you have to be careful with these knee-jerk reactions (which is exactly what I'm doing THIS week with Lloyd...).  As far as Gordon, Weeden did look his direction a lot, but he failed to make the most of his 8 targets against the weak Redskins secondary.  This week he'll be going up against Champ Bailey, so I'm moving him back down considerably.

Dez Bryant played through his hand injury, and if he continues to do so I think he is a must-start.  He's back in my top-10 this week after a decent Week 15.  Dwayne Bowe didn't play against Oakland, so I put Dexter McCluster on the list.  He was way down there, but he did manage 59 receiving yards in the contest.  I also didn't have Cecil Short ranked, but I said if he played you had to get him back into your lineup as a solid WR2.  He finished with 101 yards and was a top-20 WR.

As for Week 16, here are a few of the receivers I'm highlighting:
Steve Smith - I had him in my top-12 last week (so a WR1), and I'm mentioning him here because I've moved him up even further as Carolina hosts Oakland this week.

Pierre Garcon - This is assuming RGIII is back because Kirk Cousins hooked up a lot more with Hankerson in Week 15.  But Griffin's favorite target is Garcon, and Philly couldn't cover a point spread against St. Mary's School of the Deaf and Blind at this point.  Look for Pierre to run wild this weekend in what hopefully will be another victory for my Skins!

T.Y. Hilton - This guy continues to make plays every week, and he shouldn't have too much problem breaking another big catch against the Chiefs in Week 16.  He's looking more and more like my #2 keeper for 2013 because I might just cut ties with Ryan Mathews altogether at this point (Vick Ballard, his teammate, is probably my other decent option as I mentioned already).

Cecil Shorts - I already mentioned him from my comment on last week, but keep it rolling if you have Cecil.  He's averaging about 15 fantasy points per game in his last 5, and I don't see why that would change against New England this week.  Jacksonville should be airing it out early and often.  I've moved him up a ton.

Note: No, you do not see Larry Fitzgerald in my top-40 WRs for Week 16.  I can't believe it either.  Let's just hope the Cardinals get a QB in the draft or free agency so we can get back to seeing him for what he is: one of the best WRs in the league!

1.Tony Gonzalez 
2.Jimmy Graham
3.Aaron Hernandez
4.Jason Witten
5.Heath Miller
6.Greg Olsen
7.Antonio Gates
8.Dennis Pitta
9.Jermaine Gresham
11.Kyle Rudolph
12.Martellus Bennett 

I had Gresham in my top five last week, and while he didn't get near the 100 yards I predicted (and no TD), he led the Bengals in receiving against the Eagles.  Sooooo I guess that's something (but it's not much).  He also ended up as the #14 TE for the week, so not too bad considering some of the random guys who finished ahead of him that no one predicted would do anything.  That Thursday night game didn't go quite as expected in a lot of ways.  I also threw out a flier on Clay Harbor, who missed a long pass and caught another, but who also was having back spasms during the game and is now on the IR.  Sorry I didn't predict that one, folks.

Last week I removed Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis because of their inconsistency as of late, and they combined for a total of 5 points.  I also refused to rank (or play) Antonio Gates, and he finally caught another TD.  With Mathews going down, I think it's possible he might get a couple extra looks this week, so I've added him back to the top-12 for Week 16 (but Daniels and Davis remain off).  The experts continue to rank Daniels as a top-10 tight end, but I'd much rather have one of my top-12 above (obviously).

I think it's possible Gronkowski comes back this week, so I've added him back to the list as well.  I feel that if he does return, he'll be somewhat limited (even though he is a freak of nature), so I have him ranked behind Hernandez and just barely inside the top-10.  Keep an eye on the injury reports.  Wait, scratch that.  You're going to have to wait until game time on this one.  After all, it is the Patriots.


Seattle wasn't the top defense again last week, but they still were in the top-10 in a week that saw a lot of teams get 20+ points.  I rolled with the Jets again on Monday night, and it looks like I had the wrong defense in that game because Tennessee was the one playing against Mark Sanchez.  Both were solid plays, but the Titans put up a lot of fantasy points with all of those Jet turnovers.

I didn't rank the Bears or Niners in my top-14, but I did have the Texans up there.  The Texans cracked the top-10 in Week 15, but the other two did not.  A lot of the experts were still ranking Chicago pretty high, even though they were playing Green Bay, which I thought was a little crazy.  They finished with a mediocre 10 points.  My big miss was the Rams, who I had at #2, as they finished well toward the bottom of the 32 team defenses.  Detroit was also a miss for both me and most of the experts.  It turns out Arizona can still win a football game, though a good chunk of that had to do with their defense, which was the top ranked for the week.

In my Thursday update, I decided to put the Raiders on my list, and they outperformed the likes of the Bears and 49ers (and just about everyone else) as they beat the Chiefs.  The Bengals were also a good top-5 play, as they made the most of a poor performance overall by the Eagles on Thursday night.

This week, it's kind of "do or die" for the Bears, and I like them to step it up on defense as they travel to face Arizona.  I like the Cardinals in this one too though (at least defensively), so I have both ranked highly this week.  The Chargers and Jets are two more defenses that I like within the same game, which should be about 13-10 with 50-60 turnovers.

Good luck if you're still in it to win it!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Week 15 Rankings: Thursday Update

A lot of the experts will update their rankings as more information comes out over the course of the week, so I thought I'd give that a try for Week 15.  I'll do this update today and I'll try to give another update either Saturday or early Sunday.  We'll see how long this takes, and maybe it'll be something that I'll continue to do for the remainder of this season and into next year as well.  I'll also give some notes on my rankings versus the expert rankings.  Since I've been getting my rankings out on Tuesday and the expert rankings typically don't come out until Wednesday, this gives me an opportunity to give a comparison on some of the key guys I've mentioned.  Let's get into the first edition of the updated rankings...

1.Cam Newton
2.Drew Brees
3.Peyton Manning
4.Tom Brady
5.Aaron Rodgers
6.Matt Ryan
7.Matthew Stafford
9.Eli Manning
10.Josh Freeman
11.Andy Dalton
12.Russell Wilson
13.Ben Roethlisberger
14.Colin Kaepernick
15.Carson Palmer
16.Andrew Luck
17.Matt Schaub 
18.Tony Romo
19.Philip Rivers 
20.Brandon Weeden                          

It looks like a lot of the experts agreed with me that Cam Newton deserves the top spot this week.  That's good news for my fantasy team, as I try to win the loser's bracket and get those extra ping pong balls for my 2013 lottery draft.

The news out of DC is promising for RGIII, and it sounds like he will give it a go against Cleveland.  As I said before, if he goes, I think he's a top-10 QB (but not top-5).  I've ranked him appropriately based on that previous statement, but several of the experts continue to rank him as a top-5 QB.

The experts also dropped Andrew Luck considerably, as he goes up against a Texans defense that will be looking to redeem themselves after a tough primetime game in New England.  I've decided to drop him a little further as I shuffle guys around a little bit.

I thought I liked Josh Freeman a lot this week against that Saints defense, but apparently the experts like him even more.  I realize the type of game he could potentially have, but I'm still starting Stafford or Ryan ahead of him.  If I had one of those guys and I'm in the playoffs, I don't think I'm getting cute and starting Freeman over them.  If you have that tough choice to make, I feel for you because I know tough that can be.

The experts are giving Andy Dalton some love, but Russell Wilson isn't getting as much as I would expect.  Wilson is easily among the top-10 QBs over the last 4-6 weeks, and he's playing Buffalo, who is in the bottom 10 in giving up fantasy points to QBs (or top-10, however you want to look at it...they give up a lot of points to QBs!).  On top of that, the game is technically an away game, but it's not in Buffalo.  This one is going to be played in America, Jr. (our neighbor to the north), so it's not even a true home game for the Bills.  Wilson didn't have great numbers last week in the blowout against Arizona, but that's because they ran the ball a thousand times.  I don't expect the same against Buffalo, and I think he'll have a much better game than the experts are expecting from him.

1.Adrian Peterson
2.Doug Martin
3.Arian Foster
4.Marshawn Lynch
5.Trent Richardson 
6.Jamaal Charles
7.Ray Rice
8.Chris Johnson
9.Alfred Morris
10.Matt Forte
11.CJ Spiller
12.Knowshown Moreno
13.Darren McFadden
14.Frank Gore
15.Bryce Brown
16.Steven Jackson
17.DeMarco Murray
18.Benjarvis Green-Ellis
19.Darren Sproles
20.Ryan Mathews
21.Stevan Ridley
22.Reggie Bush
23.David Wilson
24.Mikel LeShoure
25.Shonn Greene
26.Michael Turner
27.Jonathan Dwyer
28.Vick Ballard
29.Montell Owens
30.Beanie Wells
31.DeAngelo Williams
32.Bilal Powell
33.Mark Ingram
34.Joique Bell
35.Alex Green
36.Jacquizz Rodgers
37.Ben Tate
38.Daniel Thomas
39.DuJuan Harris
40.Marcel Reece

I mentioned that the top 7 guys I've ranked are tough to put in order, but they have all been super consistent and I can't see having anyone else at the top for now.  The experts on various sites agree, as it seems those same guys are in the top-7 across the board, just in different orders.

LeSean McCoy has been ruled out for tonight's game, so I've removed him and moved Bryce Brown up considerably.  I still don't like him as much as the experts, but I think he's a top-20 play this week.

I said earlier in the week that Ahmad Bradshaw likely sits out this week and David Wilson gets a start.  As of right now, I think that could still happen, but we'll have to wait and see.  For now I'm leaving Wilson on the list and Bradshaw off, but keep an eye on that injury as Sunday gets closer.

It turns out I am much higher on Matt Forte than the experts, as he is just inside my top-10.
The experts ranked Moreno and Mathews about the same as I did, so no big difference there.
I did rank Mark Ingram a few spots higher than most, but in the mid 30s you might not be considering him as a play anyway.

The experts have ranked Stevan Ridley much higher than I have this week.  I realize he's playing well, but the Niners have given up the fewest points to RBs all season.  I think he's a low end RB2/flex, not 15th or 16th where he's getting ranked by the experts.

Keep an eye on Ray Rice's hip pointer injury.  He's a tough little guy, and I can't imagine him missing a game like this, but you never know.  I have him in my elite top-7, but if he can't go due to injury, Bernard Pierce becomes at least a flex play (even against a tough Broncos defense).

1.AJ Green
2.Calvin Johnson
3.Andre Johnson
4.Vincent Jackson
5.Demaryius Thomas
6.Julio Jones
7.Brandon Marshall
8.Victor Cruz
9.Marques Colston
10.Roddie White 
11.Randall Cobb
12.Steve Smith
13.Wes Welker
14.Reggie Wayne
15.Dez Bryant
16.Pierre Garcon
17.Hakeem Nicks
18.Eric Decker
19.Danario Alexander
20.Mike Wallace
21.Josh Gordon
22.Sidney Rice
23.Miles Austin
24.Steve Johnson
25.Greg Jennings
26.Lance Moore
27.Denarius Moore
28.Kenny Britt
29.Torrey Smith
30.Golden Tate 
31.Mike Williams
32.Antonio Brown
33.Michael Crabtree
34.T.Y. Hilton
35.Jeremy Maclin
36.Justin Blackmon
37.Larry Fitzgerald
38.Brandon Lloyd
39.Dexter McCluster
40.Donnie Avery
41.Brian Hartline
42.Darrius Heyward-Bey

It looks like Dez Bryant is going to try to play through his hand injury, so I've added him to the top-20 and moved Miles Austin down a bit.  We'll see how this plays out, but if Dez can be the same guy he has been over the last few weeks, he'll deserve to be back in the top-10 next week.

I moved Danario Alexander up a ton, but I still didn't move him up as high as the experts did.  I guess they suddenly have faith in Philip Rivers, but as someone who started him for the first half of my fantasy season, I guess I just have a bitter taste in my mouth and can't do it.

I have Josh Gordon as a top-25 WR this week against the Redskins, and on some sites the experts ranked him as highly as I did, and others not so much.  I don't see this as a tough call.  Weeden will have a solid game, and he will look Gordon's direction a LOT.

Dwayne Bowe sounds like he's not going to play against Oakland, which is too bad considering how many fantasy points the Raiders give up to opposing teams.  I'm going to put Dexter McCluster on this list since he's an all-purpose guy who has potential to shred Oakland in one way or another.

Keep an eye on Cecil Shorts this week, as he tries to return after a concussion.  Currently I don't have him ranked, but if he plays I think you have to get him back into your lineup as a solid WR2.

1.Jimmy Graham
2.Tony Gonzalez 
3.Aaron Hernandez
4.Jermaine Gresham
5.Jason Witten
6.Brandon Myers
7.Greg Olsen
8.Kyle Rudolph
9.Heath Miller
10.Dallas Clark
11.Martellus Bennett 
12.Clay Harbor

I have Gresham in my top five, but the experts barely put him in their top tens.  He's the guy I'll hang my hat on this week, as I think he'll near 100 yards and snag a TD against the Eagles tonight.

I removed Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis because of their inconsistency as of late, and I think if you're trying to win a playoff game, you should try someone like Dallas Clark or even Clay Harbor.  I think Harbor is a sneaky play if you're just trying to take a flier on someone who might get a lot of points.  Brent Celek is out, and Foles had some good connections with Harbor in last week's game, including a TD.  Cincy gives up the 10th most fantasy points to TEs, though they've been stingy to them in the past few games.  But I think this kid shows up on a Thursday night game when they're the only game on TV.  Sometimes guys play just a little harder when given an opportunity like this to shine.  It's a risky play, but I think he could end up with a big night.  


I didn't rank the Bears or Niners in my top-14, and I have the Texans pretty far down the list.  A lot of the experts are still ranking Chicago pretty high, even though they're playing Green Bay.  You'll find the 49ers and Texans on most lists too, though more around 10-12.  I just think there are better matchups available this week, and I'd roll with one of them.

With RGIII slated to play, I've removed the Browns from my list and I've added the Patriots.  They continue to get it done on the defensive end as well as the offensive side of the ball.

No one seems to have the Rams ranked as highly as I do, which is surprising due to how their defense has been playing lately. Then again, no one seems to be giving Russell Wilson much credit at the QB position either, so maybe it's an east coast bias or something.  I don't know.

I've gone back on Jacksonville as a top-14 defense this week, though I think they'll finish somewhere in the middle of all teams this week.  I decided to put the Raiders on here instead.  I realize how bad their defense can be, but I also realize they're playing at home to the Chiefs, so I'm going to roll with it.  I also have the Panthers ranked higher than most experts have them, but I just have a feeling about them in that matchup.  I guess we'll have to wait and see if they outperform the likes of the Bears and 49ers.

I hope the update has been helpful.  Good luck to anyone who has players in tonight's game, and I'll do my best to get another update out in the next couple of days!