In an effort to continue bringing you informative information for your Fantasy Football rosters, we present a new column to appear each and every Tuesday. Mike Osinski has been playing Fantasy Sports for longer than some current players have been alive. We hope you will enjoy his articles, add him on Twitter, and continue checking back to the site for more!
By Michael H. Osinski
OK…let’s get the clichés out of the way first. “Just when you think you have it all figured out….”; “I guess that’s why they play with an oblong ball”; “Anything bad that can happen, will….”; etc.
I suppose the fact the Fantasy landscape is this way is one of the primary reasons we play. Think about it. Coming into this week we have navigated the fun house that is the bye weeks. All that would seemingly be left is to check your matchups down the stretch, and set your rosters to auto-pilot into the playoffs. Of course, that’s too easy. Instead, we come into Week 13 dealing with possible concussion replacements, RBs in walking boots after the game, and yet another Stevan Ridley fumble. Ouch!
So what do you do? You keep playing. Read and react. Look for opportunities. Come on. You are “that” close to the playoffs, and as we know, it’s all about getting in. Let’s deal with the damage, and potential damage, re-set and roll into the holiday hopeful we don’t end up with heartburn after eating the leftovers during Sunday’s games.
The byes are done. So, the Wilson, Foles, and Dalton owners can be thankful they don’t need to play Case Keenum again. (I had to…and luckily still won to all but assure a #1 seed.) Wilson has a couple of poor matchups (NO, SF), but I am rolling with him. He got me this far and I am not putting a championship run into the hands of Jason Campbell or Chad Henne. The league in which I have Foles, I also have Kaepernick, so that’s just about setting the best matchups down the stretch.
Nah, the owners with problems here are the ones with Aaron Rodgers or Jay Cutler. Still nothing definitive on the Discount Double Check, though Matt Flynn has tentatively been named the starter for Thursday against the Lions. If you don’t like who you have playing, Ryan Tannehill gets a Jets defense susceptible to the long ball. And, it’s almost funny to hear me say this, but Matt McGloin hasn’t been half bad, and he draws the prorous Cowboy secondary Thursday.
Stay away from the usual suspects like Keenum (vs. Patriots), or Jason Campbell (nursing a concussion), and Kellen Clemens (just bad). As I have said, if McCown is available, he hasn’t stunk. If Carson Palmer is available, he has been pretty good as of late.
The prescription is the same for Cutler owners. Reports don’t have him returning until Week 14. The good news for fans of the Bears and Packers is that the division is still a mess, and it is there for the taking. Just know that no wildcard will come from the NFC Norris.
I don’t know about you, but I got absolutely killed this weekend at RB. Mind you, not enough to lose any of the games (I play in three leagues). But, going forward, I have some significant issues. In a league in which it looks as if I can be the last team to make the playoffs, my top RBs are Knowshon Moreno and Zac Stacy. That’s the good news. Bad news is that Stacy suffered a concussion, and Moreno walked out of the locker room last night wearing a walking boot. I have Moreno in two leagues…or double the headaches. It gets worse.
Chris Ivory has an ankle sprain of undetermined nature. Ryan Mathews has a hamstring issue. Daniel Thomas also left the locker room in a walking boot (though he is not owned as much). Jonathan Franklin suffered a concussion (though un-owned in most places). And additionally, Ben Tate (yup got him too) ran for 1 yard. This has the potential to derail a few playoff runs out there. Stacy may get through the league’s concussion protocol and play Sunday. If not I don’t know what to make of Benny Cunningham, as he did it against what used to be the Bears defense. I might look elsewhere. Daniel Thomas being out would mean more touches for Lamar Miller. But for one, he has to run behind that line, and two, he is probably not available. The Ivory injury probably means more carries for Bilal Powell, who is available in two of my three leagues. The most interesting situation is Moreno. If he can go, he will as Denver has its biggest game of the season in KC. If Denver wins to solidify its hold on the #1 seed, I expect Moreno to be rested down the stretch. That means Montee Ball is a viable pick up.
The stink remaining from what was the Ben Tate show yesterday means Dennis Johnson will earn at least a timeshare. The team is bad and no doubt will use the rest of the season to evaluate talent. Johnson hasn’t looked half bad. Another possibility for RB help is Brandon Bolden. Ridley keeps fumbling, and it doesn’t look as if NE is prepared to hand Vereen the feature back job. Bolden does well in the red zone as well. If Bobby Rainey is still available, he is worth a look, but has a very bad matchup this week against Carolina. Also, if someone gave up on CJ Spiller, he typically finishes seasons hot. (That’s my plan if Moreno can’t go.) Otherwise, pickings are slim. Hopefully, if you have one of these guys, you have bench options that won’t hurt.
Lots of talent comes back after the Week 12 bye, and there were no significant injuries to WRs over the weekend. So, it is likely most of you have little to do this week, and to just play the WR group you want. If you do feel you need someone, there just are not too many. Rishard Mathews (Kaepernick’s favortite target in College) took over the Brandon Gibson role and is a viable option. Tiquan Underwood took over for Mike Williams in TB, and had a long TD yesterday. Plus, he has that retro-90s haircut. Miles Austin might still be on your waiver wire (he’s owned in one of my three leagues.)
I’ll assume Michael Crabtree is already stashed on someone’s bench, but if not, you could do worse. Most of the rest of the guys (Mike Brown, Ace Sanders, Cole Beasly) are probably no better than whomever resides at the end of your bench.
This position proved to be a problem for me this week. But then again, I have Julius Thomas in two leagues, and Jordan Reed in two (I have both of them in one). I played Delanie Walker in all three and it wasn’t so great. If you have one, or both of these guys, there are a bunch of options…albeit none of which is so great. John Carlson and Tim Wright seem to be available in a bunch of leagues. Walker was available in all three of mine (and he has TDs in three of his last five games.) Ladarius Green is an option, but he just doesn’t get a whole lot of targets. Rob Housler might be available.
Otherwise, good luck. I am hopeful Reed gets through the concussion protocol, and the week of rest will help Thomas. Otherwise, I am rolling with Walker again.
Kansas City scored -3 in standard leagues. In one of my leagues the owner lost this week by 2. So much for predictability.
For years I have streamed a new defense each week. I stumbled into Carolina a few weeks ago in two of my leagues, and haven’t changed since. League 3…still streaming. Some weeks are good, some not so good. When looking for a defense to stream, the guidelines are pretty straight forward: Whoever is playing Jacksonville (CLE) is always a good choice (my choice for league 3).
Generally, teams playing a rookie or backup QB are good plays. Miami is pretty good against the pass and gets the Jets. Atlanta gets Buffalo, and Buffalo gets Atlanta, who is a team that doesn’t take care of the ball so well. Like I mentioned, if you can get them, my choice here is Cleveland.
I stream kickers as well. Your guess is as good as mine. I have had weeks with 17, and 2 weeks with 0. Stick with guys playing for teams that figure to score a lot, or who can’t close drives. Stay indoors or in good weather.
Robbie Gould at Minnesota seems to be a good play. So does Gano in Carolina. Mike Nugent in San Diego as well. Avoid games in the Northeast, as a stormfront is making its way.
Good luck…next stop, PLAYOFFS. I am available to answer questions on Twitter @mhosinskiLLP.