Tuesday, December 10, 2013

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 15

Rob Gronkowski left the field, not to return for the rest of the year. (GETTY)
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. 


Well, if your league didn't start the playoffs last week, they certainly are this week. What a way to kick things off. Week 14 was the highest scoring week in NFL history with 104 touchdowns total. Yes, if you didn't put up a lot of fantasy points this weekend, then I don't know what to tell you. 

As if the high scoring wasn't enough, there was a storm that passed through the East coast leading to some snow bowls. None quite as ridiculous as the Eagles and Lions game, which I attended. The snow fall was so severe in the first half that I left my plastic beer cup in the cup holder and within 15 minutes it was filled with snow. You couldn't really see what was going on 35 yards down field, and replays on the big screens looked like your cable went out. Note: LeSean McCoy was not affected.



So we have scoring, we have snow, we have fun gifs - what else? Well, there was a coach fired, another coach seeming wanting to be fired, a failed miracle play in Pittsburgh due to another sideline controversy, oh and Alshon Jeffery.

There's fun football weeks, there's great football weeks, and then there's Week 14. Well, for a small percentage of fantasy players Week 14 wasn't all snowballs and points. Yes, two major injuries went down. Rob Gronkowski, fresh of his multiple arm breaks, was hit low in a gruesome hit by Browns' safety T.J. Ward (at least it wasn't Bernard Pollard) nullifying him for the rest of the regular season and playoffs. The other injury wasn't as severe, but just as brutal for fantasy owners as Adrian Peterson picked up a foot injury. The most recent reports don't show Peterson's foot injury as serious - as in surgery serious - but will likely cause him to miss Week 15 and potentially sit out for the rest of the year as a precautionary measure because if you're the Vikings, really, what's the point of throwing him back out there?

Ideally, if you're a contending team you have solid back-ups, but it's a big blow regardless. The best part of the playoffs though is that you don't need Toby Gerhart to carry your hopes and dreams for 6 weeks, just a couple, and match-ups play a big part in possibly getting through these kinds of injuries.

God speed to you fellow fantasy players, and let's look at some Love/Hate (h/t +Matthew Berry , Flames/Lames (h/t Brad Evans).

Cam Newton is here to rescue you. (winsnlosses.com)


QB - Nick Foles, PHI @ +Minnesota Vikings, Cam Newton, CAR v NYJ

Yes, you can't keep Nick Foles down. You just can't! He's walking into another favorable match-up against the Vikings. I doubt the crowd in Minny will cause much of a fuss, and Foles should have time to pile up the stats. The one stat I heard that caused me some pause was that Foles - unexpectedly - is among the league leaders in seconds it takes to get rid of the football. You'd assume that in Chip Kelly's offense he'd be winging it around, and although this past weekend was a bad indicator of this as visibility was terrible in the first half, I did start to notice it watching some of his past highlights. This is certainly a kudos to the Eagles' offensive line, but should they have an off day, the Vikings do have the D-line to cause some issues.

It's hard not to have a love/hate relationship with Cam Newton. He can pile up the points with the best of them, but sometimes he just goes into stink mode and doesn't do anything. He is running at a higher clip recently averaging 9.45 yards per carry and had at least 2 touchdowns in 3 of the last 4 weeks. He gets the Jets at home, and he will be looking to bounce back from a poor performance in New Orleans.

If you're desperate: Jason Campbell, CLE v CHI, Ryan Tannehill, MIA v +New England Patriots 

These are both great match-up plays for two relatively low % owned quarterbacks. If Campbell can make it through the game, he can just launch balls to Josh Gordon all day and it just appears that Josh Gordon will undoubtedly catch them. Also as a note, last week's pick-up at TE Jordan Cameron came back to life with Campbell tossing him the football. A good sign all around.

The Dolphins and Bengals are both teams I quit on. The Dolphins around the whole bullying incident and the Bengals when they lost Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. Well, they've proven me wrong and cost me gambling dollars in the process. For all the conversation that goes around having young quarterbacks in the right situation, it certainly appears that Tannehill has been in anything but that. However, he's improved over the course of the year, and has a high floor. He's recorded double digit fantasy points in every game this year (his lowest output being 12.88 at New England in Week 8) and he's put up 19, 22 and 24 fantasy points the last 3 weeks at Carolina and on the road against the Jets and Steelers respectively. Pretty impressive, young Tannehill.

RB - Marshawn Lynch, SEA @ +New York Giants, Shane Vereen, NE @ +Miami Dolphins 

Yes, I love Shady McCoy and Jamaal Charles, but here are two lower projected backs that I think will have a big day. The Giants have only pride to play for, and the Seahawks will be travelling a long way for another road game after a tough loss to San Francisco. I would expect Lynch to see the ball a lot to set up Seattle's play action and to grind the game down after the Seahawks go up big. Take note of the stadium in New Jersey, Seahawks, you might very well be back there in a couple of months.

Vereen graduates from "If you're desperate" to start him this week. He established himself in a big way last week with 153 receiving yards, and with Gronk out there will be an even greater focus on Vereen and Julian Edelman.

If you're desperate: Alfred Morris, WAS @ +Atlanta Falcons, Ryan Mathews, SD @ +Denver Broncos 

Well, this Washington team is a mess. We're not sure who is starting for the Shanahan led squad, but if it's Robert Griffin III or Kurt Cousins it really won't matter for Morris. The run option plays that led to Morris' breakout campaign last year have been thrown out of the playbook due to their ineffectiveness, not wanting RGIII to run and get hurt, or both. When Washington trails, they don't run the ball, but this week, they won't have any other options. Now only if Shanahan would give Morris the red zone touches as well, we'd be on to something!

For all the ills that Mathews has caused in his career. Fantasy owners can't be disappointed in what he's given to them this year as a much lower round draft pick. The injuries are still lingering, but he's gotten steady carries and steady production. I do like him more than Toby Gerhart simply because the Eagles defense - who Gerhart will face - has been playing much better lately, especially at keeping teams out of the end zone. He's a good desperation play if your bench running backs consist of BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Lamar Miller, but Mathews has more upside.

WR - Calvin Johnson, DET v +Baltimore Ravens, Alshon Jeffery, CHI @ CLE, Andre Johnson - HOU @ +Indianapolis Colts, A.J. Green, CIN @ +Pittsburgh Steelers 

Lots of big time receivers lining up for big time games. You would think A.J. Green is a no brainier, and he really is, but while his season has been good, it's been spectacularly quiet. The numbers are there, but he's not in that top tier of receivers I thought he'd be coming into the season. Facing Joe Haden multiple times a season won't help, but you wonder if Andy Dalton is taking his toll on Green.

I'll never question Jeffery ever.


If you're desperate: Torrey Smith, BAL v +Detroit Lions , Anquan Boldin, SF @ +Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN v +Philadelphia Eagles, Julian Edelman, NE @ +Miami Dolphins 

Two of these three are total home run plays. Smith and Patterson have the potential to go off. Smith is actually a very nice play against the Lions, and Patterson is starting to figure things out as of late. Boldin will likely be the guy not covered by Darelle Revis, which is always nice. Sorry, Michael Crabtree.

TE - Jordan Cameron, CLE v CHI, Charles Clay, MIA v +New England Patriots 

Cameron is back baby! And don't let the Cowboys' terrible performance Monday night fool you, the Bears' defense isn't very good.

If you haven't enjoyed a week out of Charles Clay then shame on you. The FAABulous favorite has 6 TD's on the year and is approaching 700 yards receiving. He's outperformed Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, and Antonio Gates.

If you're desperate: Delanie Walker, TEN @ +Denver Broncos, Zach Miller, SEA - v +New York Giants 

The tricky thing with Walker is he's a Thursday night play which, if it goes poorly, puts you in a hole. But he would be my #1 widely available addition to replace Gronk. Miller is a more risky play, but his match up in NJ is a favorable one. He has shown the ability to make a big play here or there, and he slightly beat out Brent Celek, who is even more TD dependent than Miller.

Plus, now we need more options at TE than ever since we can all accept that Ladarius Green is just a figment of fantasy experts' imagination and move on with our lives.

K - Stephen Gostkowski, NE @ +Miami Dolphins, Mason Crosby, GB @ +Dallas Cowboys 

People want to keep ranking Crosby so low, and I don't understand it. If the Aaron Rodgers injury benefited anyone fantasy wise it's Crosby, and he hasn't disappointed all year.

DEF - Carolina v +New York Jets, San Francisco @ +Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

Yes, you're playing Seattle against the Giants, and Kansas City is capable of still giving bad teams trouble, but Carolina going up against the Geno Smith or Matt Simms combo platter? Yippy skippy.

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