Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 8

Gio Bernard disappointed this weekend, but it's all in the game. (wpxi.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 was a simple question my friend posted on Facebook: Bernard or Douglas? The context was who to start this past week in fantasy at his flex spot. Normally, I ignore these requests because internally I feel like should I toss in my $0.02 and make the wrong pick, I've slighted my friend and embarrassed myself. This is clearly a ridiculous thought as my friend a.) posted this for anyone and everyone to answer b.) my opinion isn't anymore or less valuable than anyone else that posted on their and c.) it's not like I'm making up some fantasy football prediction algorithm - there are multiple rankings outlets that would clearly back up one player over the other.

So with that as my misguided mentality, I had been tailgating before the Eagles Cowboys game and for whatever reason decided to type in "Gio." That would be for Giovani Bernard of the Bengals. Against a Detroit Lions defense that has struggled against the run, and more importantly I thought Bernard's pass catching ability would play a big role as well. What resulted was only able to get 5.90 fantasy points to the alternative Harry Douglas' career high game score of 20.90.

The fact that Gio stunk and Douglas went off really bothered me, but when you're looking at flex positions and it can really come down to a TD or one long reception. Last week my brother asked me if he should start Miles Austin or Kenbrell Thompkins. I said Thompkins, and although Austin had zero catches/yards/anything Thompkins only performed a little better before he caught a touchdown pass late in the game.

I stand by the Gio pick just because it's what I would have done. It didn't work out, but it can't be viewed a poor decision. Ultimately it was just one part of a disappointing sports weekend for me. Junior dos Santos lost his trilogy with Cain Velasquez in convincing fashion (and if I had time, I would have posted a Looking for a Fight where I picked JdS), and speaking of bad calls, the Eagles lost thanks to Nick Foles putting on one of the worst displays of quarterbacking ever!

In fairness, my write up on Foles was regarding a game manager that made quick decisions and didn't turn the ball over. These skills gave him an advantage as compared to Michael Vick, but the lingering question is whether he could be the long-term solution (I sided with no).

Well, whoever that game manager guy was didn't show up on Sunday. You could have told me him and Matt Barkley switched minds a la Freaky Friday and I would have believed you ... until Barkley came in and threw for 3 interceptions in three drives (not including a pick he threw during a free play when the Cowboys jumped offsides). It's hard to tell what was going on with Foles. The most common thought is that he just collapsed under the pressure of the game. Foles had started before, but those were either in games that didn't matter or the case of last week, was in Tampa, not in Philly. All week fans saw this game as the biggest one of the season due to the fact that either the Eagles would be able to beat the Cowboys and be able to make a run at the division title, or they'd lose and basically put an end to the optimism that this team could realistically compete. With Foles knowing this, did he just get too caught up in the moment? When he was facing the Cowboys man defense, as opposed to more of a zone oriented defense did that make him panic? Something was clearly off, but whether it was the pressure or the strategy, Foles made it extremely difficult to vie for a starting job for the remainder of this year or in the future.
Note: Michael Vick has been named the starter for Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
Anyway, I happened to mention the injury bug finally hitting the league last week, well that was just the initial blast to the big wallop this week.

Season altering and ending injuries happened to key fantasy players: most notably Doug Martin and Reggie Wayne. It's a blood bath out there, so now is the time to not hold on to any dead spots and maximize the value of your roster. That means carrying 2 QB's if your QB isn't elite or hasn't had his bye week yet, taking fliers on anyone that could step up for an injured player, and most importantly reevaluating players on your team that will be negatively affected by a key player's injury. So with that in mind, here are some players I will say you MUST add this week if you've been affected by injuries.

Reggie Wayne's injury was the most disastrous of this week, but it also provides the most opportunities. (espn.go.com)

Geno Smith, QB - NYJ (13% owned) +Cincinnati Bengals 

As many issues that surround the Jets and Geno before the season started, it's not hard to view how things are going so far as a success. The Jets are winning and Geno is a big reason why. For fantasy purposes, he has shown he's capable of having big games, already registering 3 20+ point performances. This week in Cincy probably won't go so well even with Leon Hall out for the season, but you need to make sure you have a solid back up QB.

Chris Ivory, RB - NYJ (28%) +Cincinnati Bengals 

Two Jets! Ivory appears to be in a timeshare with Bilal Powell for whatever reason. So far there's no pattern of actually splitting carries, just that if one guy gets going early, the Jets will keep feeding him.

Donald Brown, RB - IND (6%) BYE

This bye week will be a big deal for Donald Brown. He's effectively run the ball for a 5.9 yards per carry average, and can grab a couple of passes out of the backfield on third down. The not so big secret in Indy is that Brown is actually out producing big trade acquisition Trent Richardson. With Reggie Wayne going down, the Colts will have to get creative and really turn the screws to make their offense as efficient as possible. This could lead to more carries for Brown if Richardson can't "get it" in the next week or so, but there will almost certainly be more utilization of Brown in the pass game, which should equate to more snaps.

Darius Heyward-Bey, WR - IND (19%) BYE

With T.Y. Hilton already owned in 91% of leagues, and Colby Fleener already mentioned here in FAABulous, let's turn our sights to burner extraordinaire DHB. The former Raider has served his purpose as well as he can in the Colts new run heavy offense. However, with Wayne being done for the year, I would imagine the Colts looking to transition Hilton into more of a possession receiver role that Wayne had - along with Fleener and maybe sprinkle in some LaVon Brazill - and unleash Bey down the sideline. Luck doesn't throw the ball deep much anymore (a reason I was down on Hilton early in the season), but his opportunities will increase greatly with Wayne out.

Marvin Jones, WR - CIN (2%) v NYJ

Any Bengals wide receiver carries the Andy Dalton caveat, but Jones has made big strides as the #2 WR to A.J. Green. He's received 5+ targets the past two games and has two TDs to show for it. The second year man from Cal doesn't have to worry much about making big plays down field, but if he can get the trust of Dalton and find a little cushion in that 10-15 yard range, he should only improve.

Jordan Reed, TE - WAS (25%) +Denver Broncos 

Reed is the hot add this week. He has been impressive, and he has potential to be a steady player on the lower half of the top 10 TEs list. He had a big boost in targets last week against a horrendous Bears defense, but he came through when it mattered. The big thing to take away from the game is that Washington appears to be back to its run-option ways which was so successful last year. Robert Griffin III is getting healthier and healthier. But let's also keep in mind that RGIII doesn't use his TEs a lot. Granted, he hasn't always had the greatest talent lining up there, but I had Fred Davis ranked 13 overall in the pre-season for a reason. Reed can easily fill that spot.


Mike James, RB - TB (7%) v CAR

Here's what I'm assuming: Mike James isn't better than Doug Martin. Here's what I know: Doug Martin wasn't doing anything this year.

THE 1%

Josh McCown, QB - CHI (1%) BYE

He has the weapons around him, and let's count this on trust Trestman. Also, Casey Keenum didn't look that terrible, right? Am I crazy.

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