NFL Fantasy Stats Entering Week 13
Week 12 saw a few games that had big playoff implications for real football and that was likely the same case in a lot of fantasy leagues. There’s plenty of big games this week and owners likely have one more chance to make the playoffs and make a run at fantasy glory. We’ll get into misleading rankings, a stud wide receiver in a great spot, and some early advice for 2018.
Let’s get to work!
1. Leonard Fournette is a risky start the rest of the season
The Jacksonville Jaguar rookie running back was one of the crop of rookies taking the league by storm the first few weeks. Running with power and determination, he was bulldozing his way to fantasy points even though every defense knew they had to try and stop him. He’s fallen off through a combination of injury and being benched for one game. His ankle is still not right and won’t be until after the season. It’s been reflected in his snap count lately.
A back like Fournette needs more than 60 percent of the snaps to truly be effective. His style is to wear defenses down and really take over the game in the fourth quarter. Since he’s not very involved in the passing game, owners are left just hoping he scores a touchdown right now. If he continues to have such a low snap count, Fournette might be more of a flex option than a locked-in RB1.
2. The Jimmy Garoppolo era has begun
Maybe calling it an “era” is a bit much. After all, we don’t know for sure that Jimmy Garoppolo can be an NFL level quarterback. He looked fine in his spot starts in New England and he’s working with a great offensive coach in Kyle Shanahan out in San Francisco. Still, having Garoppolo as the starter should help receivers like Marquise Goodwin and maybe even Aldrick Robinson. Running back Carlos Hyde should also get a small boost as opposing defenses have a little more to fear in the passing game now. He also only played in the last game for under 20 seconds of game time and did this-
3. Steelers WR Antonio Brown should be the number one pick in 2018
This proclamation would obviously take a hit if quarterback Ben Roethlisberger does decide to hang up his cleats after this season, but if he comes back for 2018, Antonio Brown should be the 1.01 in almost every draft next year. He’s just too good and too consistent to pass up. The odds of Martavis Bryant being in Pittsburgh next season are close to zero. JuJu Smith-Schuster will be the number 2 receiver but that still leaves Brown as the unquestioned 1. The debate may rage over who is better in real football, Brown or Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. There is no discussion in fantasy. Brown is on pace to have his third top-12 receiving seasons of all time.
Don’t take that risk on a running back who has a much bigger chance to get injured. Take Brown and enjoy the ride.
4. Please stop giving DeMarco Murray the ball
Honestly, I have no idea how the Titans coaching staff can look at the other members of the team and still say Murray is the lead back in this offense. He has been putrid recently and Derrick Henry is being far more productive. Tennessee has to have a strong running game to accomplish their goals the rest of the way and this isn’t getting it done-
In that same time period, Henry has run the ball 39 times 189 yards. This situation shouldn’t even be close to a timeshare. It’s way past time to make Henry the lone featured back in Tennessee. The Titans are fighting for the AFC South crown and owe it to their entire team to make the right call. If you’re a Henry owner, just keep holding him at the end of your bench.
5. Jimmy Graham is the touchdown maker in Seattle
The Seattle Seahawk offense is very unique this season. It’s been discussed just how much of the total offense comes from quarterback Russell Wilson on a weekly basis. He’s an MVP candidate simply because of his level of play given the surrounding pieces in the offense. Even stalwart receiver Doug Baldwin isn’t lighting things up, which is a little surprising given how much Seattle is passing. So who’s catching the touchdowns when the Seahawks get close? That would be tight end Jimmy Graham-
It’s not always the most fun relying on just touchdowns for fantasy production. Usually, you wind up just staring at your player for three hours, hoping he scores. Especially since the tight end position is so bad this season, Graham is a sure-fire starter every week and has some of the highest touchdown odds of any player.
6. It’s hard for teams to support two good wide receivers
This is more of a note for next season for when we get into draft season. When we look at teams that can support solid fantasy production for two wide receivers, it’s a good idea to keep in mind it’s not the easiest thing to pull off. For instance, I really thought the Steelers would do it with Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. The Packers have been able to do it with Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams in 2016, but that was with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. This season, only three teams have two receivers in the top 24.
Even of these three squads, only two teams have receivers that owners would feel comfortable starting. Kenny Stills has one monster game to his name and then he’s been mostly quiet. Stefon Diggs in Minnesota hasn’t been the model of consistency either. If it seems too good to be true next season that a team might have two great WR, that’s because there’s a good chance it is.
7. Alvin Kamara is a beast
There likely aren’t many fantasy football players that don’t understand that at this point. Kamara has been phenomenal this season and seems to get better every week. While some of his metrics point to some regression, it is incredible to see what kind of pace he’s on.
It brings up an interesting question: just how high will Kamara be drafted next season if the Saints offense basically stays the same? Is it possible that both he and Mark Ingram would be in the top 20? Kamara might actually be the safer of the two, even though Ingram gets more touches. Kamara will be involved regardless if the Saints are winning or losing. Ingram tends to take a backseat in the passing game and simply does not have the same type of game-breaking ability. The young rookie back seems primed to be a fantasy force for years to come.
8. The Baltimore passing game has bottomed out
I’ve been one to advocate for Jeremy Maclin in a lot of different spots. He’s the only receiver that is approaching being a difference maker and even that adjective might be a stretch. Even though Maclin might still have the talent, the Baltimore passing game as a whole is just putrid at this point.
When a receiver is attached to a historically bad passing attack, he just can’t be played. The fact it has gotten this bad in Baltimore is kind of crazy. They badly need an influx of talent on the offensive side of the ball or this may be an offense to steer clear of totally in 2018.
9. Adam Thielen is in for a big week
This note might be more geared towards our readers who play DFS. Basically, every owner that plays seasonal leagues is starting Vikings receiver Adam Thielen every single week. This week represents a week for Thielen to absolutely destroy the Atlanta Falcons.
It’s been fascinating to see Thielen rise from an undrafted player to a fantasy stud. He’s a huge part of the reason the Vikings are 9-2 right now and he should not be viewed as a fluke headed into 2018.
10. Be cautious looking at season-long rankings
There really is no better example of this than the New England Patriots defense. The Patriots were so bad at the start of the season, it has skewed all their rankings. For instance, they rank as the third-worst team versus quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor looks like a very attractive streamer this week since he’s at home and owners see that green next to the New England rank. However, the Patriots have turned things around because Bill Belichick is a wizard.
Owners need to pay close attention to how teams have been playing recently and balance that with overall performance. Otherwise, you’re liable to walk into a trap.
Thanks for reading!