Tuesday, December 3, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 14

Eric Decker, just when I thought you couldn't disappoint me any more you go and do something like this. (ctpost.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. PLAYOFF EDITION: We're not focusing on lower % owned players, but those with choice match-ups for the playoffs. 

If this was a week you needed to win and get into the playoffs or if it was just the penultimate week in your league, there were no shortage of big time players doing their best to help you if they were on your roster. Most notably the wide receivers.

Those point totals, also were the top 3 in all of football for Week 13. Even weirder, the first QB doesn't show up until Peyton Manning at #6, who just threw for 403 yards and 4 TD. Adrian Peterson is #9 with the quietest 211 yard game you'll ever have. It was a weird, crazy week.

But let's get back to the receivers. Yes, it was historic, yes if you lost starting any of these three receivers you should be embarrassed, and yes, out of these three receivers one needed this kind of game more than the others. That one receiver is Eric Decker.

Decker had gone 4 games without a score, and in those 4 games amassed 170 yards - otherwise known as a Josh Gordon first half. The lure of keeping Decker in your line-up every week was strong because let's face it, he's a good receiver and Peyton Manning could decide to get him the ball any given Sunday. Well, this past Sunday was that day.

Coming off a 0.50 point game, benching Decker had to be on plenty of people's minds. I know one person in my money league did it, as well as my Facebook friend who solicited advice previously for Gio Bernard (his options were Kendall Wright, Harry Douglas, or Eric Decker: FWIW I would have gone with Wright and Decker).

Well that turned out not to be the best decision. Decker had the game of his life. As the recipient of every Manning TD pass, Decker actually outscored himself for the whole season in this one game (3 TD prior to 4 in the game) and sent owners swooning either in joy or fainting that he's chilling on the bench.

Decker owners have been annoyed with him all year. And no, it's not just because the guy has a hot wife (please feel free to Google ... I'll wait) but it's because his inconsistency and ADP haven't paid off. With the new look passing game in Denver, I assumed Wes Welker would be the key contributor to a slight Decker decline as I noted in my WR Ranks.

Thomas seems to be the safest pick out of all the Denver wide receivers simply because he's the most dynamic out of the bunch. Welker seems geared up to get his catches, and Decker might be viewed widely to get the small piece of chicken, those two are a lot closer than most rankings state. Thomas though is the match-up nightmare with the ability to make plays in all quadrants of the football field.

As it turns out though everyone from Knowshon Moreno, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball have contributed to Decker's inconsistency.

Sadly, it's to be expected that many Decker owners didn't get to cash in. He was slumping and if you had another reasonable alternative there's no shame in benching Decker. To bench Josh Gordon just means you aren't paying attention, and Jeffery against Minnesota is a good match-up but not something you'd go out of the way to start him against (for the record I started him over Moreno at Flex in my money league and it was probably the highlight of my 2013 fantasy season). While it has been frustrating with limited rewards to keep Decker in your line-up, this was the payoff that many owners were hoping for.

Hope is exactly what this time of year is all about in fantasy. The big game, the playoff hero that will carry us to an upset or a deserved victory. Yes, more than any other fantasy sport, you only need to get into the playoffs to rattle off a couple of miraculous wins. I won a fantasy title in 2007 basically due to Aaron Stecker. These things happen and match-ups and hope are the most important things to look at. So with the playoffs here and many, many players having already been mentioned throughout the season, I'm going to list some players I like for specifically Week 14. Call this Love/Hate or Flames/Lames or whatever, but I figure this would be the best way to provide more pertinent info this late in the year.

Good or bad, Matthew Stafford can pile up fantasy points. (si.com)
QB - Matthew Stafford, DET @ +Philadelphia Eagles, Nick Foles, PHI v. +Detroit Lions 

These QBs will be going head to head in a big game for both teams. In some ways, these teams are similar in their high powered offense and shoddy secondary. It's hard to foresee anything but a high scoring game.

The beauty about Stafford is that even when he's bad, he puts up fantasy points. Hell, the guy had 4 INT's two weeks ago and still rattled off 20.48 fantasy points - which is amazing considering the guy doesn't run a la Cam Newton.

Foles isn't quite fantasy proof, but he can have a decent game but still put up big points based on the fact that he doesn't turn the ball over. In all of his starts this year, he's only thrown for more than 300 yards once, but Chip Kelly trusts him in the end zone and with a 19:0 TD to INT ratio, how could you not?

If you're desperate: Josh McCown, CHI v. +Dallas Cowboys , Joe Flacco, BAL v. +Minnesota Vikings 

We know what Flacco does this time of year, and a Minnesota secondary that got battered by Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery last week will be happy not to have them around, but they will be chasing down Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones all day.

RB - Eddie Lacy, GB v +Atlanta Falcons, Shane Vereen NE v CLE

Lacy was a no show on Thanksgiving, so call him well rested. The Packers won't be trailing by nearly as much against the punchless Falcons at Lambeau. Stevan Ridley was inactive for the Patriots this past week, and it doesn't look like they really want him back in the mix. Vereen is the constant, but Brandon Bolden did great as well. The Browns don't have a bad rush defense, but Vereen is able to catch the ball out of the backfield and brings a lot of options for Brady and company.

If you're desperate: C.J. Spiller, BUF @ +Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Donald Brown, IND @ +Cincinnati Bengals 

If Eric Decker can give us something back this holiday season, then why not Spiller? You're looking for home run plays from C.J. and that's really all you can hope for. Also, in case you haven't watched the Colts for the past month, they've been terrible. But at least they're trying to put their best players on the field by benching Trent Richardson in favor of Donald Brown.

WR - Alshon Jeffery, CHI v +Dallas Cowboys, Vincent Jackson, TB v +Buffalo Bills, Riley Cooper, PHI v +Detroit Lions 

It's pretty clear which wide receivers have tasty match-ups based on my QB picks. You're obviously starting Calvin Johnson or Dez Bryant so here are some widely owned but lesser mentioned receivers. Jeffery and Jackson both deserve a lot of attention for this Sunday, and I like Cooper more than DeSean Jackson as well.

Also, not that I would bench Josh Gordon, but he has a sneaky tough match-up against the Pats. The Pats have their issues, but the Pats do a great job locking down the opposing teams' #1 receiver. All year only three have found the end zone (Stevie Johnson - if he counts, Antonio Brown, and Demariyus Thomas). That's it. Aquib Talib's health plays a factor, but with Bill Belichick it's always about the strategy.

If you're desperate: Mike Wallace, MIA @ +Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacoby Jones, BAL v +Minnesota Vikings 

 Mike Wallace going off against his former team in the Steel City would be such a Mike Wallace thing.

TE - Rob Gronkowski, NE v @ CLE, Jordan Cameron, CLE v +New England Patriots 

I mean, it's impossible not to love Gronk. Also, if BB is able to keep Gordon in check, then QB Browns has to get the ball to Cameron.

If you're desperate: Ladarius Green, SD v +New York Giants, Tim Wright, TB v +Buffalo Bills 

Every week there's a new hot shot TE out there. Green's value is tied to if Antonio Gates can go, and it looks like he will. Green will still get plenty of action as the Chargers seem content with a two TE set. When it comes down to end zone looks though, Gates is still the top target.

Come on, Tim Wright! We can do this together!

K - Blair Walsh, MIN v +Baltimore Ravens, Nick Novak, SD v +New York Giants 

DEF - Cincinnati v +Indianapolis Colts, Arizona v +St. Louis Rams 

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