Wednesday, November 26, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Week 13 Rankings

Last Sunday was crazy, and I'm not even talking about fantasy football.

My day started around 7:00am with a phone call from my brother.  It was time.  He and his wife were heading to the hospital to have baby #2.  Later that morning I went over to his house to let his dogs outside and then went to the hospital to pick up my nephew (who was probably getting pretty bored by that time).  I got back home right around kickoff of the 1:00 games, and I watched a little RedZone in between playing soccer and one version or another of Connect4 (one was basically Lucas just bowling with the chips, and I didn't really participate in that version to be perfectly honest).

By the time my mom finally showed up to my house, I was getting the call from my brother to bring his son back over because the baby was coming!  We went back to the hospital and Lucas got to meet his new little brother, Grant.  No one knew if it was going to be a boy or a girl, so it was a pretty cool surprise to say the least.  Lucas was a little disappointed that he wasn't getting a little baby sister, but he'll live.

My mom hung out in the waiting room for a while, but I went back home to chill out for a minute and watch a little bit of my Redskins lose to the 49ers.  Then it was back to the hospital with my wife (via Chipotle because I don't think the other Wheelers had eaten anything all day).  The other family members were on their way out and we took the next shift.  Perfect timing.  We got to meet the little guy ourselves, and we all ate our burritos.

And of course, the Cowboys/Giants game was just starting on the little tv in the hospital room.

No matter what time it was during that crazy Sunday, of course football was on all day.  But somehow I feel like I didn't really watch football at all last Sunday (even though I'm sure it sounds like I fit in plenty).  Either way, I couldn't care less.  What an awesome, crazy day.

And now I'm getting these rankings out a day early because tomorrow is going to be another crazy day.  We're hosting Thanksgiving at our house for the first time, and there will be about 10 people here (including the newborn and the 5 year old).  Oh and our little dog Josie, who will likely be hanging out in our backyard with my brother's dog...and maybe my brother-in-law's dog?  Ha!  I guess I'll find out tomorrow....

And now, the rankings!

1.Andrew Luck     
2.Aaron Rodgers
3.Tony Romo 
4.Peyton Manning  
5.Tom Brady
6.Ben Roethlisberger
7.Drew Brees
8.Ryan Tannehill 
9.Matthew Stafford  
10.Russell Wilson
11.Mark Sanchez   
12.Eli Manning
13.Andy Dalton 
14.Matt Ryan     
15.Alex Smith
16.Cam Newton 
17.Joe Flacco 
18.Josh McCown
19.Philip Rivers 
20.Jay Cutler 
21.Colin Kaepernick      
22.Teddy Bridgewater 
23.Kyle Orton 
24.Zach Mettenberger
25.Drew Stanton

Last week I was high on Josh McCown (ESPN #15, ME #12), but he finished closer to where ESPN had him ranked than where I did.  But I was not recommending Matthew Stafford at Foxboro (ESPN #9, ME #14), and he finished even worse than McCown and outside of the top-20.  As for Stafford this week, I think he'll turn things around at home against the Bears, and I'm hopeful that he and Megatron will have a special Thanksgiving together.

I'm high on: Andy Dalton (ESPN #21, ME #13)  
No ESPN expert has Dalton higher than 19th this week, but I like him as a borderline QB1 in a nice matchup against Tampa Bay.  While the Bucs have actually defended the pass pretty well as of late, they've been pretty terrible this season as a whole.  Meanwhile, since that horrible home loss to the Browns, Dalton has looked pretty decent in his last couple of games.  Crucial weapons AJ Green and Giovani Bernard appear back to full health, and I think we'll see "Good Andy" in Tampa this weekend.

I'm down on: Philip Rivers (ESPN #13, ME #19) 
While he does have a solid track record against the Ravens, it's tough to trust Philip Rivers these days.  He only has two passing touchdowns in his last 3 games, and he's thrown 4 picks and has a fumble lost in those contests as well.  Now he has to travel all the way across the country to play in Baltimore, where the defense has looked solid all year.  This unit has been susceptible to the pass ever since Jimmy Smith's season-ending injury in Week 8, but I still like them to step up at home in a Week 13 game that could have serious playoff implications (for both teams).
1.Le'Veon Bell
2.DeMarco Murray 
3.Eddie Lacy   
4.Jamaal Charles  
5.Matt Forte 
6.LeSean McCoy
7.Alfred Morris 
8.Marshawn Lynch
9.Justin Forsett 
10.C.J. Anderson
11.Alfred Blue  
12.Andre Ellington  
13.Rashad Jennings
14.Denard Robinson  
15.Tre Mason
16.Mark Ingram  
17.Jeremy Hill
18.Isaiah Crowell
19.Giovani Bernard      
20.Fred Jackson
21.Jerick McKinnon 
22.Joique Bell   
23.Lamar Miller
24.Ryan Mathews  
25.Latavius Murray 
26.Frank Gore
27.Dan Herron 
28.LeGarrette Blount
29.Trent Richardson
30.Shane Vereen 
31.Steven Jackson
32.Chris Ivory
33.Bishop Sankey  
34.Doug Martin 
35.Darren Sproles  
36.Terrance West 
37.Andre Williams
38.Pierre Thomas
39.Charles Sims 
40.Reggie Bush
41.Boobie Dixon 
42.Benny Cunningham
43.Chris Johnson
44.Jonathan Stewart
45.Branden Oliver
46.DeAngelo Williams
47.Darren McFadden 
48.Roy Helu
49.Carlos Hyde
50.Bryce Brown 

I nailed it again with the running backs in Week 12.  I was high on C.J. Anderson (ESPN #13, ME #7), and he ended up as the #3 fantasy RB as he piled up nearly 200 total yards and a touchdown against Miami.  I was also down on Jonas Gray (ESPN #24, ME #31), who didn't play a snap against the Lions after being the #1 fantasy RB the week before.  Some of that likely had to do with his tardiness to practice on Friday, which in turn led to newly-acquired LeGarrette Blount stealing the spotlight.  Either way, I didn't like Gray to do much after that huge game, and that may be the last you see of him for the rest of this season if Vereen and Blount both stay healthy.

This has to be at least the 3rd time I've used this picture...
Speaking of staying healthy (or not staying healthy), my bad for ranking Arian Foster the last couple of weeks.  I mean, all indications were that he would play against the Browns and/or the Bengals, but of course he did not.  If he's a go this week at home against Tennessee, you're starting him (I'd have him in my top-5).  But since it's only Wednesday and I have no inside information, I'm just going to assume it'll be Alfred Blue in the backfield once again for the Texans.  As always, just keep an eye the injuries as your games approach kickoff.

I'm high on: Jerick McKinnon (ESPN #27, ME #21)
This could totally backfire on me if the Vikings decide to start giving Ben Tate some touches this week, but I think that will cut into Asiata's workload and not McKinnon's.  The rookie out of Georgia Southern has had plenty of opportunities this season, as he has at least 17 touches in 6 of his last 8 games (ever since there was no Peterson in Week 4).  He has had a pair of 100+ yard rushing days during that time, and I think he's in store for another one against a Panther defense that gives up the 6th most fantasy points to running backs.

I'm down on: Jonathan Stewart  (ESPN #36, ME #44) 
Let's stay in that same game and talk about the Carolina RBs, shall we?  In case you missed it (and you probably did), the Panthers activated Mike Tolbert off the IR during their bye week.  It sounds like he'll be ready to go against the Vikings, and I'm sure he'll instantly regain goal line duties in that muddled backfield.  With a decreased chance at a TD, I think Stewart is in line for only 3 or 4 fantasy points as this becomes a three-headed monster once again.
1.Dez Bryant  
2.Antonio Brown 
3.Demaryius Thomas 
4.Calvin Johnson   
5.A.J. Green 
6.TY Hilton  
7.Odell Beckham, Jr.    
8.Jordy Nelson 
9.Josh Gordon 
10.Emmanuel Sanders
11.Randall Cobb 
12.Mike Evans      
13.Julio Jones
14.Brandon Marshall 
15.Kelvin Benjamin  
16.Jeremy Maclin 
17.Alshon Jeffery
18.Roddy White  
19.Golden Tate
20.Julian Edelman
21.Jordan Matthews 
22.Keenan Allen 
23.Anquan Boldin  
24.Torrey Smith   
25.Mike Wallace
26.DeSean Jackson    
27.Sammy Watkins  
28.Brandon LaFell    
29.Steve Smith, Sr. 
30.DeAndre Hopkins
31.Kenny Stills 
32.Mohamed Sanu  
33.Vincent Jackson    
34.Martavis Bryant  
35.Jarvis Landry 
36.Marques Colston
37.Andre Johnson
38.Reggie Wayne
39.Andrew Hawkins 
40.Rueben Randle 
41.Kenny Britt
42.Michael Floyd 
43.Pierre Garcon
44.Dwayne Bowe
45.Charles Johnson
46.Michael Crabtree 
47.Robert Woods 
48.Kendall Wright
49.Terrance Williams
50.Eric Decker   

Mohamed Sanu is KILLING me!  ESPN ranked him all the way up at #31 last week, but I didn't rank him in my top-40.  What did he do?  He scored a touchdown of course.  Who did I rank #31 though?  That would be Kenny Stills, who the ESPN guys ranked 43rd.  And while he didn't manage to find the endzone against the Ravens, he did finish 30th with 8 catches for 98 yards.  Both guys are right around that 31 spot for me this week, and I'm just going to talk about Stills again...

I'm high on: Kenny Stills (ESPN #46, ME #31)  
So after his game on Monday night, the ESPN experts actually lowered Stills as the Saints travel to Pittsburgh in Week 13.  I don't get it.  They're ranking Colston up at #32, so I guess they think he's the play here.  But I'm going to continue to disagree.  In fact, I actually waived Colston to pick up Stills in my money league and he could find his way into my lineup down the stretch with a nice upcoming schedule.

I'm down on: Terrance Williams (ESPN #38, #49) 
After 6 touchdowns in his first 7 games this season, Terrance Williams now has none in his last 4.  In fact, in his last 3 games he only has 3 catches for 37 yards (that's TOTAL).  Maybe he pulls a Mohamed Sanu (finds the endzone on Thanksgiving and makes me look stupid), but I wouldn't count on it.
1.Jimmy Graham 
2.Rob Gronkowski 
3.Greg Olsen 
4.Travis Kelce
5.Delanie Walker
6.Coby Fleener 
7.Antonio Gates
8.Jason Witten
9.Larry Donnell  
10.Martellus Bennett  
11.Kyle Rudolph 
12.Mychal Rivera
13.Heath Miller 
14.Owen Daniels
15.Tim Wright 

I was wrong about Coby Fleener last week (ESPN #9, ME #4), but that was fine with me since my opponent started him against me.  The Colts still easily won the game, but Luck and Fleener both put up mediocre points against me in my money league.  I'm not complaining.  As for Kyle Rudolph, I wasn't quite ready to include him in my top-15 last week due to his lack of usage in Week 11.  His Week 12 snap count increased, and he has found his way into my rankings this week against Carolina.  

I'm not ranking Julius Thomas this week (nor his replacement, Jacob Tamme).  I'm assuming he has a high ankle sprain and will miss another game, but if he plays then he's a top-3 TE and you don't need me to tell you that you're starting him.  That's the Sunday night game though, so unless you have Travis Kelce or if Charles Clay looks like he's healthy enough to play Monday night, then I'd look for another option.  Notice I'm not ranking Clay or Dwayne Allen for that matter.  Lots of injured tight ends right now, and it's a tough break this close to the fantasy playoffs.  

Speaking of Travis Kelce, I'm pretty high on him this week (ESPN #9, ME #4).  After a hot start, he only has one touchdown in his last 6 games, but he continues to be a part of Kansas City's offense.  Meanwhile, Denver has been giving up top-10 fantasy points to tight ends this year, and they've allowed the 2nd-most receptions to the position.  Kelce had a good game at Mile High back in Week 2, and I think he'll have another big day this week in a huge divisional matchup.

I mentioned how the Colts still easily defeated the Jags in Week 12, and part of that was due to their defense (and the typical lack of offense from Jacksonville).  I ranked the Colts much higher than the experts (ESPN #8, ME #4), and you have to consider the team facing the Jags every single week.  Meanwhile, I was down on the Dolphins (ESPN #13, ME not ranked), as the ESPN guys continued to rank a defense playing against Peyton Manning at Mile High Stadium.  In the end, only the Jets finished worse than Miami among all fantasy defenses last week!   

I'm not really down on any defense this week versus the ESPN experts, but I am high on the Houston Texans (ESPN #7, ME #1).  The Texans have been a top-5 fantasy defense this season, and that includes their last 4 games against the likes of the Bengals, Browns, Eagles, and...yep, the Titans.  In Week 8, Houston won 30-16 in Zach Mettenberger's first NFL start.  One could argue that the rookie will be better prepared this time around, but I think it'll be the Texan defense who takes advantage of the game film and dominates even more this time around at NRG Stadium.  

That's it for Week 13.  Good luck everyone (except you, Mac).


Thursday, November 20, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Week 12 Rankings

Can we get a bye week for Phil Simms...?
The trade deadline has likely come and gone in your league, so it's just your team and the waiver wire from here on out.  Also, there are only two teams on a bye this week, and then there will be no more byes to deal with (woohoo!).  Things should be getting a little simpler and clearer both in your fantasy league and hopefully with these rankings...  

But let's see, shall we?

BYES: Panthers & Steelers

1.Andrew Luck     
2.Aaron Rodgers
3.Peyton Manning  
4.Drew Brees
5.Tom Brady
6.Tony Romo 
7.Jay Cutler 
8.Russell Wilson  
9.Colin Kaepernick
10.Matt Ryan
11.Mark Sanchez 
12.Josh McCown 
13.Ryan Tannehill    
14.Matthew Stafford 
15.Kyle Orton
16.Philip Rivers  
17.Joe Flacco
18.Andy Dalton 
19.Eli Manning 
20.Brian Hoyer

Cam Newton (ESPN #15, ME #12) didn't get the rushing TD I predicted last week, so he only had 2 TDs instead of the 3 I thought he'd have.  But he did finish as a top-10 QB, albeit in the loss.  A guy who did have 3 TDs was Jay Cutler (ESPN #12, ME #16) who finished as the #2 fantasy QB just behind Aaron Rodgers.  Cutler gets a nice bump back into the top-10 this week as he gets another home game against a weak Tampa Bay defense.

Reunited, and it'll feel so good for McCown owners.
I'm high on: Josh McCown (ESPN #15, ME #12)  Speaking of Tampa Bay, I kind of like their QB this week.  Oh look!  Their QB is Josh McCown again.  How about that?  And he's returning to Chicago, where he killed it last year while Cutler moped on the sideline.  Since getting the starting gig back from Mike Glennon a couple of weeks ago, McCown has had a pair of TDs in each of his starts.  Granted, those starts were against weak pass defenses (Atlanta and Washington), but Chicago isn't any better.  They've been giving up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QBs, so why shouldn't Josh keep it going in Week 12?

I'm down on: Matthew Stafford (ESPN #9, ME #14) 
Stafford has barely been a top-20 fantasy QB this season, and he hasn't thrown for more than 2 TDs in a game all year!  Will that suddenly change in Foxboro against a red-hot Patriots team?  I wouldn't count on it.  Stafford is coming off one of his worst starts ever, and I think he'll struggle in New England.
1.DeMarco Murray 
2.Jamaal Charles   
3.Matt Forte 
4.Eddie Lacy
5.Arian Foster
6.Marshawn Lynch
7.C.J. Anderson
8.LeSean McCoy
9.Mark Ingram   
10.Justin Forsett  
11.Denard Robinson
12.Rashad Jennings  
13.Trent Richardson
14.Andre Ellington
15.Isaiah Crowell 
16.Frank Gore
17.Jeremy Hill
18.Joique Bell
19.Alfred Morris  
20.Tre Mason  
21.Lamar Miller
22.Shane Vereen   
23.Steven Jackson 
24.Ryan Mathews
25.Jerrick McKinnon 
26.Bishop Sankey
27.Fred Jackson
28.Charles Sims
29.Chris Ivory 
30.Giovani Bernard  
31.Jonas Gray  
32.Terrance West 
33.Darren Sproles 
34.Reggie Bush
35.Darren McFadden 
36.Branden Oliver
37.Bryce Brown 
38.Alfred Blue
39.Latavius Murray 
40.Dan Herron 

Was it Sankey's coming out party on Monday Night Football (ESPN #28, ME #19)?  Well, sort of.  It was a little frustrating that Wisenhunt went away from him after his strong start, but he looked pretty good when given the chance and he finished as the 14th-best RB in Week 11.  I actually made a last-minute trade for him in my money league, and I'm hoping he'll get some more playing time down the stretch and hopefully be a good keeper for 2015.  I was down on Montee Ball (ESPN #26, ME #37), and he re-injured his groin on his first play from scrimmage against the Rams.  He's now out and could be done for the year, which leads nicely into the guy I like this week.

I'm high on: C.J. Anderson  (ESPN #13, ME #7)
With Ball and Hillman both out last week, Anderson was the only Denver running back to get any carries and he was also heavily involved in the passing game.  Miami has a tough defense, but I don't see how you rank this guy as anything other than a RB1 when he's likely to pile up a ton of yards and probably will find the endzone as well.
I wouldn't expect much of this again this week.

I'm down on: Jonas Gray (ESPN #24, ME #31) 
This guy would have really helped a lot of fantasy teams last week with his 4 TD performance, but he was likely not in many starting lineups.  If you claimed him off your waiver wire this week and are excited to get him into your lineup, you might want to settle down just a bit.  This has nothing to do with the Pats signing LeGarrette Blount and everything to do with Detroit's top run defense.  I think Belichick is likely to change up the game plan and go more with Vereen, and I think Gray finishes well outside of the top-25 this week.
1.Demaryius Thomas
2.Jordy Nelson 
3.A.J. Green 
4.Calvin Johnson   
5.Randall Cobb  
6.Dez Bryant
7.Brandon Marshall
8.TY Hilton   
9.Mike Evans
10.Jeremy Maclin 
11.Emmanuel Sanders
12.Alshon Jeffery 
13.Julio Jones     
14.Josh Gordon    
15.Odell Beckham, Jr. 
16.Sammy Watkins  
17.Roddy White 
18.DeSean Jackson
19.Jordan Matthews 
20.Mike Wallace 
21.Reggie Wayne
22.DeAndre Hopkins   
23.Golden Tate  
24.Torrey Smith
25.Keenan Allen 
26.Percy Harvin  
27.Anquan Boldin 
28.Brandon LaFell  
29.Michael Crabtree 
30.Julian Edelman  
31.Kenny Stills
32.Vincent Jackson   
33.Andre Johnson 
34.Cecil Shorts III 
35.Steve Smith, Sr.  
36.Eric Decker
37.Marques Colston
38.Michael Floyd   
39.Rueben Randle  
40.Doug Baldwin

Last week I was high on Keenan Allen (ESPN #28, ME #23), thinking he would finally break out with all of the looks he's been getting.  Well, he continued to get the targets (13...third highest number of all WRs in Week 11), but he only managed 8 catches for 63 yards and was held out of the endzone yet again.  He barely finished in the top-40.  As for Vincent Jackson (ESPN #22, ME #31), he finished well outside of the top-40 as he only had 3 catches for 43 yards against the Redskins.  Mike Evans was the top WR in Week 11, and he continues to be the most productive wideout for Tampa Bay.  I'm down on VJax again this week, but I'll give you someone else I don't care for.

I'm high on: Kenny Stills (ESPN #43, ME #31)  
I probably could have expanded my top-40 to a top-50 at this point in the season, but I'm going to keep it tight.  So you won't see fringe guys like Terrance Williams or Kenny Britt.  Those two may be viable FLEX options for you this week, but I actually like Kenny Stills better than both of them.  While Marques Colston might be the biggest beneficiary based on catches with the Cooks injury, I'm not 100% sold on that for fantasy value.  The Ravens have been giving up a ton of fantasy points through the air since Jimmy Smith's season-ending injury, and I don't think Stills will have a problem getting behind the secondary for a big play on Monday Night Football.  Maybe it's a risky call, but I think he's in line for 50+ yards and a TD.

I'm down on: Mohamed Sanu (ESPN #31, ME not ranked) 
Last week I recommended Sanu over Andrew Hawkins to a friend, and I felt pretty bad about that pick after seeing the results.  Of course this is mostly a guessing game, but I'm now realizing that Sanu is no longer a focus of this offense (at least that's what I think as of this moment...right now).  Remember when Sanu was the #1 WR for a while for the Bengals?  Well, Green is back and Sanu looks like he's not going to get many looks as the #2 WR.  The Bengals are grinding it out with Jeremy Hill, and when Dalton wants to air it out, it's now AJ Green once again.  I'm sure the game plan could change from week to week, but I'd have a hard time trusting Sanu with likely only a couple of targets.
1.Rob Gronkowski
2.Jimmy Graham 
3.Julius Thomas
4.Coby Fleener
5.Antonio Gates
6.Martellus Bennett  
7.Larry Donnell 
8.Travis Kelce
9.Jason Witten
10.Mychal Rivera 
11.Delanie Walker
12.Charles Clay 
13.Austin Sefarian-Jenkins
14.Owen Daniels
15.Niles Paul

Week 11 was a rough one for tight ends.  I was high on Mychael Rivera (ESPN #13, ME #8), who was nearly a top-10 fantasy tight end with only 4 points!  He did get 5 targets, which was the 7th most among tight ends.  He just wasn't able to do a lot with them against the Chargers.  I didn't rank Jared Cook last week (the ESPN experts had him 11th), and he finished with 3 catches for 19 yards.  He's definitely not a startable fantasy TE, even in a terrible week for the position.  It seems that Gronk is the only reliable tight end to put up decent numbers as of late.

Damn.  I wish I had picked Fleener up off the wire this week!
I'm high on: Coby Fleener (ESPN #9, ME #4)  
I should have used my waiver priority on Fleener, but I didn't.  Now my opponent has him this week while Greg Olsen has his bye, and it's killing me that I didn't snatch him up myself.  This is assuming Dwayne Allen is out (which is what most of the ESPN experts also assumed), but I don't get why none of them ranked Fleener higher than 7th!  He's been a top-5 TE in his last 5 games, and he's been a top-12 TE all season even with Allen in there as well.  He should get 10 targets or more against the Jags, and I think he'll rack up 75 yards and a TD in a blowout win.  Of course, since I'm playing against him this week, I sure hope I'm wrong...

I'm down on: Kyle Rudolph (ESPN #14, ME not ranked) 
I'm not ranking Rudolph again until I see something out of him because I'm not sure the guy is 100% healthy.  It's that simple.  He only played on 14 snaps last week, and I'm sure he'll still be getting eased into things against the Packers this week.  I'd much rather take a healthy guy like ASJ, who I might be starting myself if Delanie Walker can't go for a second week in a row.

Not only did the Browns let their fans down last week at home against Ryan Mallett and the Texans, but they let me down too (ESPN #15, ME #4).  They had a poor showing and were a terrible streaming option in Week 11.  As for the Patriots (ESPN #13, ME not ranked), they weren't much better even though they did keep Andrew Luck mostly in check on their way to a victory in Indy.  Still, the ESPN experts need to check themselves before they rank fantasy Ds in their top-15 who are facing QBs like Peyton, Rodgers, Luck, and Brady.  Brees doesn't quite fit into that category this season, so I've ranked the Ravens this week.  I don't feel great about it, and it's a risky play in the Superdome after the Saints just lost to the Bengals there, but Baltimore did squeeze into my top-15.

Rule #1: Play your fantasy D against the Jags.
I'm high on: Colts (ESPN #8, ME #4)
Hey what happened to streaming the defense who is facing the Jags?  Come on, ESPN!  Well, I'd highly recommend the Colts, even(/especially) after that blowout home loss against the Patriots.  I think they'll bounce back in a big way, and that includes their defense.  They're easily a top-5 play this week against an offense that is giving up the MOST fantasy points to defenses this season.

I'm down on: Dolphins (ESPN #13, ME not ranked)
I feel like every week I'm writing about some defense that ESPN is ranking against Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers.  What gives?  I realize Miami has been a solid defensive play this year, but don't risk it at Mile High.  Personally, I'd avoid them at all costs.

That's it for Week 12.  Good luck everyone (except you, David).