Tuesday, December 18, 2012

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 16

Bad weather? Chicago defense? Neither of these should have stopped you from playing James Jones. (nbcsports.msnbc.com)

FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 50% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems.

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Well, unless you were facing Russell Wilson or opted to play the Ravens' defense over those hapless Arizona Cardinals.

There are no right answers in the last couple of weeks of the fantasy football season. It seems like there are more pitfalls and traps on the way to that championship than on a course in Mario Kart. And that perception is, in fact reality. Match-up plays and hot streaks are all well and good in Week 4, but when the season is on the line, and you're looking at a match-up between one of your proven studs and a riskier pick - that can be a recipe for disaster.

Waffling on starting certain players is the norm for fantasy sports; especially football. It's why every sports site on the planet has rankings, projected stats, start 'em/sit 'em advice, etc. People have a need to know who to start.

Where these playoff weeks come into picture is that after a long season, you are at max capacity for information on these teams and players. Virtually everyone on your roster has either carried you to victory in some weeks and subsequently no-showed in others. Teams have been good, bad, and everything in between. Combine that with the added pressure of the playoffs, well it's easy for your heard to swirl.

The luckiest of us didn't have too many tough choices. You start Tom Brady, you play Adrian Peterson, or you sit Robert Griffin III. Of course those aren't the choices that get us burned. Those choices are around the WR3 spot or the TE spot, or if we're playing matchmaker with Kickers and D/ST.

In these cases, I always say stick to your guns. Clear your mind, and as you meditate to approach nirvana - in that moment - you select your line-up. Trying to reduce a season's worth of Chris Johnson stats to see if he's a good play this week only to have him be outscored by Danny Woodhead would make you crazy enough, let alone be a huge waste of your time.

It may seem short sighted to go with the "live by the sword, die by the sword" strategy at this point of the year, but you can ask everyone that started Josh Freeman against a horrible New Orleans pass defense over, well, basically anyone - how they feel.

Perhaps there is no better example of over thinking leading to the collapse of a championship run than James Jones. A FAABulous favorite, Jones has stepped up for the Packers all year and he continued that pattern last week nabbing 3 touchdowns and leading all WR in scoring.

But that sounds great, right? Right, it does.

But thanks to some over analyzing and nerves, the current leading touchdown receiver in the NFL was only started in 32% of leagues. How can this be? A guy with 9 TDs going into the game, hardly started in any leagues?

Well, here's the anti-Jones argument. He was facing the Chicago Bears defense in Chicago. The weather was not great. Also, with Jordy Nelson out, Jones could count on some more attention being thrown his way. Furthermore, as a player, Jones had only put up one double digit performance (10 points) in his previous 4 games. Continually, with only 51 receptions on the year, you're basically banking on Jones hauling in a score to be productive. In conclusion, I'll start Sidney Rice over him.

Now, there certainly were reasons to be hesitant in this one-time match-up, but in a standard Yahoo! league with three wide receiver spots, Jones should have been an automatic based on his work all season.

Taking a flier on a Justin Blackmon, Lance Moore, or even T.Y. Hilton type player left you on the short end of the stick.

There's not much roster moving needed for Week 16. You have your squad, and if you're still playing then you should be in good shape. But there are some positions to be weary of (like RGIII's injury and the fact that Terrelle Pryor is now a starting quarterback in the NFL). So I'll make some mentions of deeper adds and match-up plays for kickers and D/ST you should be on the look out for to close out the 2012 season. Same rules apply, though - owned in less that 50% of Yahoo! FFL.

It took until Week 16, but time to shine the FAABulous spotlight on some defense. (newstimes.com)
QB's - Here are some QB picks in case your starter is dinged up or has been shaky.

Guys I'm talking about: RGIII (injury), Matthew Stafford (ATL), Andy Dalton (@PIT), Josh Freeman (STL)

Russell Wilson, SEA (35% owned) SF

We are still doing this? At this point I'd add Wilson so your opponent can't get him.

Sam Bradford, STL (22%) @TB

Bradford has been a top 10 QB over the past 4 weeks. Put up more points than Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, and Eli Manning. It would be ideal to have him in a dome, but no one has given up more fantasy points to opposing QB's than the Bucs.

Jake Locker, TEN (17%) @GB

The move for Locker is for a cheap, high floor guy. The weather in Titletown forecasts as sunny, but frigid. Not great passing weather. But for Locker he doesn't turn the ball over, and all he needs is a passing TD to go with his rushing yardage and you have a solid 14 points.

IF YOU'RE DESPERATE AND NEED 30 POINTS

Joe Webb, MIN (0%) @HOU

Here's a picture. Vikings down 30 points, Houston clinched home field, and with their 3rd stringers, here comes Joe Webb. Garbage time can be a beautiful thing.

TE's - There have been a lot of up and down TE's this year. If you have a fringe guy or someone that's been struggling lately, you have to go get someone that will put up points.

Guys I'm talking about: Brandon Myers, Kyle Rudolph, Antonio Gates (bad QB), Vernon Davis, Jermichael Finley, Brent Celek (no shows)

Dennis Pitta, BAL (5%) NYG

Speaking of ups and downs, Pitta looked like a Pro Bowler, then disappeared for the last 8-9 weeks. But he appears to be back on Joe Flacco's limited radar. Take a shot while he's still gravitationally pulling passes to his body.

Lance Kendricks, STL (1%) @TB

What applies to Bradford applies to Kendricks. Tampa has given up the 6th most fantasy points to tight ends this season. With the Bucs tough run defense, another 50+ attempt day for Bradford isn't out of the question. Opportunities abound.

Dallas Clark, TB (25%) STL

Clark hasn't been very productive. Between Doug Martin being an attractive check down option and the big play offense of the Bucs, Clark has been a lost man. The pass attempts will need to be at a high number for Clark to get receptions, but a TD isn't out of the question.

Anthony Fasano, MIA (5%) BUF

Two straight weeks have meant two straight TD's for Fasano. Are him and Ryan Tannehill beginning to click, or is it just a coincidence? Against an average Buffalo secondary, it might be worth trying to find out.

IF YOU'RE DESPERATE AND NEED 30 POINTS

Benjamin Watson, CLE (4%) @DEN

I mentioned the Bucs were good for 6th most points allowed to TE's, well Denver is numero uno. Number 1.  The TE opposing that team is Mr. Watson. If anyone can come out of nowhere and nab you a high point total or leave you with a goose egg it's Watson.

FOR ALL YOU STREAMERS OUT THERE

Made your bread this season by picking and choosing kickers and D/ST. Slow clap for you, potential fantasy champ. You've done it the hard way. Here are a couple streamers I like heading to the final week.

Kickers - 

Olindo Mare, CHI (1%) @ARZ

Robbie Gould was placed on the IR, so Mare is back, and he booted 2 FG's at Green Bay. Like him in a controlled environment in the Midwest desert.

Alex Henery, PHI (17%) WAS

Henery has been sneaky good this year, connecting on 25 of 28 field goal opportunities. But, such is the plight of the place kicker, they can only perform when put in a position to perform. In their previous match-up in Washington, Henery had 8 fantasy points as the Eagles' only scores that game. I'd expect them to put a couple more points on the board, and get Henery some more opportunities.

Phil Dawson, CLE (25%) DEN

It's going to be unseasonably warm in Denver with no rain or snow and a light breeze. At high altitude with that breeze at Dawson's back, he should put up good points as his Browns have trouble putting the ball in the end zone.

Defense/Special Teams - 

Indianapolis (6%) @KC

Indy is pretty self-explanatory going against the Chiefs. For all the chaos that has happened to the Chiefs recently, they were already a defeated team, and I see no reason for them to show up against a Colts team heading to the playoffs.

Carolina (10%) OAK

I already mentioned the Pryor situation, and while the Panthers leaky run defense raises some eyebrows against the Raiders, overall they should be fine.

St. Louis (31%) @TB

Backed by two Janoris Jenkins TD's in Week 12, the Rams have actually been the 2nd highest producing fantasy defense in the last 4 weeks behind Seattle. They can pressure the QB and have shown the ability to put up double digit fantasy points. Aside from a hiccup last week, depending on what Josh Freeman shows up, the Rams' defense has a high upside in Week 16.


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