Wednesday, October 26, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Week 8 Rankings

Remember when the bye week was just a handful of teams?  Well the NFL is ready to screw your fantasy team over the next couple of weeks because there are 6 teams on a bye in both of them.  Then the two weeks after that, 4 more teams will be on a bye each time.  This could be a difficult few weeks to navigate depending on your byes, and you should keep a close eye on the waiver wire because other owners will likely be dropping guys they've been holding onto all year.

With so many players having the week off, I've narrowed down my lists.  It's kind of hard to rank 50 RBs that I can honestly recommend even owning in a 12 team league.  Also, it's Week 8.  You should have a couple of these running backs and WRs I've ranked in the top-40. If not, I'm not sure my rankings are going to help your team anyway.

So with that, let's get to the rankings!

BYE: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco

1.Tom Brady 
2.Matt Ryan 
3.Aaron Rodgers  
4.Andrew Luck  
5.Drew Brees   
6.Cam Newton
7.Russell Wilson   
8.Derek Carr 
9.Marcus Mariota 
10.Jameis Winston  
11.Andy Dalton  
12.Matthew Stafford 
13.Kirk Cousins 
14.Tyrod Taylor  
15.Alex Smith 
16.Dak Prescott 
17.Carson Palmer
18.Ryan Fitzpatrick 
19.Brock Osweiler
20.Blake Bortles  

I was off with a lot of my picks versus the ESPN experts yet again last week.  Starting with the QBs, I was high on Derek Carr (ESPN #14, ME #5) and down on Alex Smith (ESPN #12, ME #18).  Carr barely finished as a top-20 fantasy quarterback, and Alex Smith ended up with top-10 numbers.  Let's see if I can do better with my signal callers in Week 8.

I'm high on: Marcus Mariota (ESPN #14, ME #9)
Image result for marcus mariota titansFor the second week in a row, for some reason I really like the guy in ESPN's #14 spot, and I really dislike the guy in the #12 spot (more on that in a second).  In Weeks 5-7, only a couple of QBs have outperformed Marcus Mariota.  He has 9 total TDs and only 1 interception combined in those games, and he also has 138 rushing yards in that span.  Jacksonville's defense is pretty soft, and I like Mariota as a top-10 play tomorrow night.

I'm down on: Carson Palmer (ESPN #12, ME #17) 
I was wrong about Alex Smith in this same #12 spot for ESPN last week, but let's try it again with Palmer in Week 8.  In his last 4 games, Carson has been outside of the top-25 fantasy QBs and I don't think he can be considered a QB1 in fantasy until he proves otherwise.  He has a nice matchup against Carolina this week, but this has become the David Johnson show.  I'm not so sure Palmer is going to be an elite fantasy QB this season.
1.David Johnson 
2.Ezekiel Elliott
3.DeMarco Murray   
4.Spencer Ware
5.Christine Michael 
6.Lamar Miller 
7.Devonta Freeman  
8.Melvin Gordon 
9.Matt Forte  
10.Devontae Booker      
11.Jacquizz Rodgers 
12.LeGarrette Blount 
13.Frank Gore 
14.Giovani Bernard 
15.Latavius Murray 
16.Mark Ingram  
17.Jeremy Hill    
18.Jonathan Stewart                            
19.Isaiah Crowell    
20.Matt Jones      
21.James White    
22.Ryan Mathews    
23.Mike Gillislee
24.Jerick McKinnon  
25.Chris Ivory  
26.Theo Riddick      
27.Matt Asiata   
28.Jordan Howard  
29.Chris Thompson   
30.Duke Johnson   
31.TJ Yeldon 
32.Ka'Deem Carey 
33.Rob Kelley
34.Dwayne Washington
35.Darren Sproles
36.Knile Davis
37.DeAndre Washington 
38.C.J. Prosise
39.Peyton Barber
40.Alfred Blue

I whiffed on both of my RB picks versus ESPN last week too.  I was high on Knile Davis in his first game as a Packer (ESPN #42, ME #35), thinking he would get involved right away on Thursday night.  He did not.  In fact, he should not have been in my rankings or ESPN's.  Maybe this week will be different, but Green Bay seems content with Ty Montgomery in the backfield.  I was down on C.J. Anderson (ESPN #11, ME #20), saying that Devontae Booker had been getting more involved in the offense every week (and also pointing out C.J.'s lack of production of late).  Booker actually outsnapped Anderson on Monday night, but both running backs produced against the Texans.  C.J. Anderson was in the top-10 and Devontae in the top-15, so I was obviously wrong about Anderson.  That being said, if you took what I wrote to heart and possibly picked up Devontae Booker, that could be reaping huge benefits now that Anderson is dealing with a knee issue...

Image result for bernard hill bengalsI'm high on: Giovani Bernard (ESPN #20, ME #14)
Sure, Jeremy Hill had a big day against the Browns in Week 7.  But did you notice that it was Bernard who was in on more snaps than Hill (33 to 21)?  Hill had a big 40 yard run and then the 74 yard touchdown.  And I'm not discounting those, but I am seeing them as outliers.  I'd start Gio over Hill this week in London, though I could surely see both backs having value against my Redskins.

I'm down on: Mike Gillislee (ESPN #18, ME #23) 
Everyone is assuming LeSean McCoy either doesn't play or is limited against the Patriots this week, and that's fine.  I'm also assuming that.  But Gillislee is limited in practice this week too with a foot injury, and he only had 5 rushes for 20 yards last week (Reggie Bush actually had the late 4th quarter touchdown AND 2 point conversion against Miami).  New England is a top-10 defense against fantasy running backs, and I just don't trust Gillislee as much as the ESPN experts this week.

1.Julio Jones 
2.A.J. Green     
3.Mike Evans
4.TY Hilton  
5.Brandon Marshall 
6.Amari Cooper 
7.Larry Fitzgerald 
8.DeAndre Hopkins  
9.Michael Crabtree  
10.Doug Baldwin   
11.Randall Cobb     
12.Marvin Jones Jr.  
13.Jordy Nelson 
14.Emmanuel Sanders  
15.Brandin Cooks  
16.DeMaryius Thomas 
17.Allen Robinson  
18.Ty Montgomery 
19.Terrelle Pryor, Sr. 
20.Alshon Jeffery   
21.Jordan Matthews 
22.Kelvin Benjamin 
23.Dez Bryant 
24.Julian Edelman 
25.Jeremy Maclin 
26.Davante Adams   
27.Golden Tate 
28.Will Fuller  
29.Stefon Diggs
30.Quincy Enunwa  
31.Michael Thomas  
32.Jamison Crowder 
33.Willie Snead 
34.Donte Moncrief
35.John Brown 
36.Tyrell Williams 
37.Brandon LaFell 
38.Cameron Meredith
39.Michael Floyd  
40.Travis Benjamin 

At least I got one super right with Brandon LaFell (ESPN NOT RANKED, ME #39) who found the endzone for a third straight game on his way to a top-10 finish.  I was down on Willie Snead (ESPN #29, ME #37), thinking that Cooks and the rookie Michael Thomas would continue to outperform him.  Well I was right there because both of those guys were top-25 fantasy WRs in Week 7, but Snead wasn't too bad himself and finished as the #33 WR.  I'll continue to rank Cooks and Thomas ahead of Snead, and this week all of them will be slightly down as they face Seattle's tough secondary.

I'm high on: Jordan Matthews (ESPN #28, ME #21)
Image result for jordan matthews eaglesThis is somewhat of a gut call, but up until last week, Matthews had been consistently putting up fantasy points.  And let's be honest, no wide receivers are putting up numbers against the Vikings this season.  This week, the Eagles get a much more favorable matchup as they travel to Dallas.  In fact, Jordan put up big numbers and found the endzone in both games against the Cowboys last year.  He also scored in Dallas in his rookie year.  Though somewhat hard to trust, I actually think he could be in for a big game this week.

I'm down on: DeSean Jackson (ESPN #35, ME NOT RANKED) 
At some point, you just have to stop ranking a guy if he's not producing.  DeSean certainly has that big play ability, but he hasn't shown it since Week 3 against the Giants.  In fact, Jackson only has 130 yards (and zero TDs) in his last 4 games COMBINED.  If you're looking for a Redskins WR to start this week, I'd suggest Jamison Crowder.

1.Rob Gronkowski 
2.Jimmy Graham  
3.Greg Olsen 
4.Delanie Walker 
5.Jordan Reed 
6.Kyle Rudolph  
7.Travis Kelce 
8.Jack Doyle  
9.Martellus Bennett 
10.Gary Barnidge 
11.C.J. Fiedorowicz  
12.Julius Thomas 
13.Hunter Henry 
14.Tyler Eifert  
15.Coby Fleener   
16.Cameron Brate  
17.Zach Miller 
18.Charles Clay 
19.Jason Witten 
20.Eric Ebron

Last week I was high on Cameron Brate (ESPN #13, ME #9) and down on Antonio Gates (ESPN #14, ME #19).  Wrong and wrong.  Although I will say that while Gates finished as the #16 fantasy tight end, that still was only good for 5 catches for 38 yards.  It was the first time he had more than 30 receiving yards in a game all season, but I'm still not trusting him (or ranking him highly) moving forward.  IF Hunter Henry is out with a concussion this week, maybe.  But if Henry is active, no way am I starting Gates right now.  As for Brate, he only had 3 catches for 29 yards.  He's a boom or bust type of player, but he still warrants a higher ranking than someone like Gates.

Image result for fiedorowicz texansI'm high on: C.J. Fiedorowicz (ESPN #21, ME #11)
The young tight end wasn't a factor in Houston's first 3 games of the season, but he has been a top-10 fantasy tight end in his last 4 games.  He's averaging about 7 targets per game in those last 4 contests, and Detroit is giving up the 3rd most fantasy points to the position this season.  I like for Brock to dump it off to his tight end a lot in this game, and C.J. easily has top-10 potential.

I'm down on: Zach Ertz (ESPN #15, ME NOT RANKED) 
Ertz has just 3 targets in each of his last 3 games, which he has turned into a combined 5 catches for 73 yards.  That's in 3 games, people!  This is a nice matchup in Dallas, as I mentioned above with Jordan Matthews.  But I'm not trusting Ertz until his rookie quarterback starts looking his way more often.

Last week I was high on the Tennessee Titans (ESPN #18, ME #13) and down on the New York Giants (ESPN #8, ME NOT RANKED).  I almost couldn't have been more wrong here.  The Titans missed a golden opportunity to put up fantasy points against the Colts, as they gave up 28 points and only sacked Luck twice.  As for the Giants, they picked off Case Keenum 4 times and scored a defensive touchdown.  They were second only to the Eagle D in Week 7.  

I'm high on: Philadelphia Eagles (ESPN #11, ME #5)
I know Dallas isn't giving up a ton of fantasy points to opposing defenses this season, but Philly is the #2 fantasy D after Minnesota.  They get to the quarterback, force a ton of turnovers, and give up less than 15 points per game.  Dak Prescott went a long time without an interception, but so did Wentz.  Both have started to get the rookie turnover bug, and I think that'll continue in this game for both teams.  I hope somehow they both lose.

I'm down on: Carolina Panthers (ESPN #10, ME NOT RANKED) 
The Panthers are coming off a bye, and Arizona is coming off a 6 point offensive performance.  Otherwise, I've run out of positive things to say about Carolina this week.  In fact, I don't really like them because they've only held an opponent to under 20 points once this season and have just 1 takeaway and 3 sacks in their last two games combined.  I don't think they'll get much going against the Cardinals and will continue their disappointing post-Superbowl season.

Good luck to everyone in Week 8!  
(Except you, Jimmy...)


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2016 Fantasy Football Week 7 Rankings

With the significant lack of time last week due to the recent birth of my child, I skipped my position picks versus the ESPN experts.  My Week 5 picks were terrible, so it wasn't the worst thing in the world to have the week off anyway.  I'm back at it this week though, as our family of three (OK, four if you count the dog) has started to get in the groove and are actually getting a little bit of sleep.

Believe it or not, we're nearing the midway point of the fantasy season.  And if you consider the fantasy regular season, we ARE half way.  Time to buckle down and get some Ws.

To the rankings!

BYE: Carolina & Dallas

1.Tom Brady 
2.Matt Ryan 
3.Matthew Stafford 
4.Aaron Rodgers  
5.Derek Carr 
6.Andy Dalton 
7.Drew Brees 
8.Andrew Luck 
9.Philip Rivers 
10.Blake Bortles  
11.Marcus Mariota 
12.Kirk Cousins  
13.Russell Wilson  
14.Tyrod Taylor 
15.Brian Hoyer 
16.Jameis Winston  
17.Eli Manning 
18.Alex Smith 
19.Carson Palmer
20.Colin Kaepernick 

I'm high on: Derek Carr (ESPN #14, ME #5)
Image result for derek carrCarr has been a top-10 fantasy QB through 6 weeks, and he has been top-5 outside of two games.  One of those games was at Tennessee in Week 3, and the Titans have a much improved defense in 2016.  The other poor performance came last week against the Chiefs, and we all know how good Andy Reid's teams are coming off a bye when they have that extra prep time.  This week the Raiders travel to Jacksonville, and I think Carr is a locked in QB1 and obviously I like him as a top-5 play.  Meanwhile, the ESPN experts would rather you start a guy like Alex Smith...

I'm down on: Alex Smith (ESPN #12, ME #18) 
Everyone had Alex Smith as a top QB last week, as the Chiefs were coming off a bye and facing a Raider defense that gives up a ton of fantasy points to opposing QBs.  Smith threw for just over 200 yards and had zero touchdowns.  This week, one would think he should shred the Saints D, but I think it'll be the running backs doing the damage yet again.  I don't like him as a QB1, even against New Orleans.
1.DeMarco Murray   
2.David Johnson
3.LeSean McCoy  
4.Le'Veon Bell  
5.Melvin Gordon 
6.Lamar Miller 
7.Devonta Freeman 
8.Christine Michael
9.Todd Gurley   
10.Mark Ingram
11.Spencer Ware 
12.Frank Gore 
13.Terrance West 
14.Jacquizz Rodgers    
15.LeGarrette Blount  
16.Jay Ajayi 
17.Jordan Howard  
18.Isaiah Crowell                               
19.Matt Jones 
20.C.J. Anderson     
21.Tevin Coleman   
22.Jamaal Charles  
23.Giovani Bernard      
24.James White
25.Jerick McKinnon              
26.Jeremy Hill  
27.Matt Forte       
28.Ryan Mathews  
29.Rashad Jennings    
30.Chris Ivory 
31.Theo Riddick  
32.Mike Davis
33.TJ Yeldon
34.DeAndre Washington 
35.Knile Davis 
36.Bilal Powell 
37.Duke Johnson   
38.Devontae Booker 
39.Jalen Richard      
40.Darren Sproles 
41.Matt Asiata
42.Shaun Draughn 
43.Arian Foster
44.Chris Thompson  
45.Bobby Rainey  
46.Ka'Deem Carey  
47.Zach Zenner 
48.Derrick Henry 
49.Rob Kelley 
50.Wendell Smallwood  

I'm high on: Knile Davis (ESPN #42, ME #35)
I had a hard time finding a RB I was really high on versus the ESPN experts, but I thought I could talk about basically the only healthy RB on the Packer roster as of this writing.  Green Bay traded a conditional pick to get Knile Davis earlier this week, and that's because Lacy and Starks are both expected to miss extended time.  Ty Montgomery will certainly be in the backfield mix, but I think the Packers will throw Knile into the game right away.  It's also possible Green Bay is up big in this game and could use the second half as an opportunity to pound the rock with their new addition.

Image result for cj anderson broncosI'm down on: C.J. Anderson (ESPN #11, ME #20) 
After a hot start to 2016, Anderson has cooled off quite a bit in his last four games.  He's only averaging 41 rushing yards in those contests, and overall he's outside of the top-25 in that time frame.  Also, those opposing run defenses weren't teams like the Ravens or Seahawks.  We're talking about the Bengals, Bucs, Falcons, and Chargers.  Meanwhile, Devontae Booker has been getting more involved in the offense every week.  I just don't see C.J. as a RB1 this week (or maybe any week moving forward).
1.Julio Jones 
2.A.J. Green     
3.Odell Beckham, Jr.  
4.Mike Evans 
5.Jordy Nelson  
6.Allen Robinson 
7.Antonio Brown   
8.TY Hilton 
9.Amari Cooper  
10.Marvin Jones Jr. 
11.Brandon Marshall  
12.Brandin Cooks 
13.Jarvis Landry
14.Jeremy Maclin 
15.Alshon Jeffery   
16.Michael Crabtree  
17.DeMaryius Thomas   
18.Terrelle Pryor, Sr.  
19.Larry Fitzgerald 
20.Randall Cobb 
21.Emmanuel Sanders  
22.DeAndre Hopkins  
23.Doug Baldwin  
24.Cameron Meredith  
25.Julian Edelman   
26.Stefon Diggs 
27.Travis Benjamin 
28.Jordan Matthews 
29.Golden Tate 
30.DeSean Jackson 
31.Ty Montgomery 
32.Mike Wallace  
33.Kenny Britt    
34.Tyrell Williams 
35.Michael Thomas  
36.Allen Hurns 
37.Willie Snead
38.John Brown 
39.Brandon LaFell 
40.Robert Woods   
41.DeVante Parker
42.Jamison Crowder 
43.Quincy Enunwa 
44.Will Fuller  
45.Sterling Shepard  
46.Anquan Boldin 
47.Sammie Coates  
48.Michael Floyd   
49.Tavon Austin  
50.Torrey Smith

I'm high on: Brandon LaFell (ESPN NOT RANKED, ME #39)
Image result for brandon lafell bengalsA couple of weeks ago, I whiffed in a similar spot when I talked up Kenny Stills and he laid a big fat goose egg.  While Stills relies on that big play for fantasy points, LaFell has actually averaged 7 targets in his last three games and has 3 TDs in his last two.  I like Andy Dalton a lot at home against the Browns, and I don't think Eifert will be rushed back just yet.  The running backs will likely get a lot of points in this one, but I think LaFell could find the endzone for a third straight game.  Meanwhile, the ESPN experts didn't even rank him in their top-60 WRs!

I'm down on: Willie Snead (ESPN #29, ME #37) 
Michael Thomas has been a top-10 WR in the last 4 weeks, but Snead has fallen off the fantasy scene as he has battled back from injury.  Snead's first two games of the season were fantastic, but his last two have been subpar.  I trust Brees a lot more at home than on the road, and I'm not feeling Snead at Arrowhead this week.

1.Rob Gronkowski 
2.Jordan Reed 
3.Jimmy Graham 
4.Travis Kelce
5.Delanie Walker 
6.Zach Miller 
7.Martellus Bennett  
8.Kyle Rudolph
9.Cameron Brate
10.Hunter Henry 
11.Coby Fleener  
12.Dennis Pitta 
13.Julius Thomas 
14.Gary Barnidge  
15.Charles Clay 
16.Jack Doyle 
17.Zach Ertz  
18.C.J. Fiedorowicz   
19.Antonio Gates   
20.Jesse James

Image result for cameron brateI'm high on: Cameron Brate (ESPN #13, ME #9)
Vincent Jackson landed on the IR this week, and Jameis will need to throw the ball to someone other than Mike Evans against the 49ers.  I think that guy will be his tight end, and Brate should easily be in the TE1 mix this week.

I'm down on: Antonio Gates (ESPN #14, ME #19) 
Hunter Henry.  So hot right now.  Meanwhile, old man Gates hasn't had more than 30 receiving yards in any game this season.  He's always a threat for a TD, but Antonio may find himself out of the top-20 very soon. 

I'm high on: Tennessee Titans (ESPN #18, ME #13)
Image result for titans sacksIn case you hadn't noticed, the Titans have been a top-12 fantasy defense this season.  Not only that, but they've been very consistent.  They've only given up more than 17 points twice, and they have 6 sacks in each of their last two contests.  This week they face Andrew Luck, who has been sacked a league-high 23 times.  I think he might hit the 30 mark this week against Tennessee.

I'm down on: New York Giants (ESPN #8, ME NOT RANKED) 
I don't know what's to like about the G-Men, but apparently the ESPN guys like this defense against the Rams in London.  New York has 4 games this year in which they haven't forced a turnover, and they only have 6 total sacks in 6 games.  LA has given up a lot of points to opposing fantasy defenses, but they've also put up 37 points in Tampa (Week 3) and 28 in Detroit just last week.  I don't see the Giants stopping the Rams much, and I just can't see them as a top-10 fantasy defense until they prove me otherwise.

Good luck to everyone in Week 7!  
(Except you, Bird...)