The more things change the more they stay the same. More injuries, no running backs, and quarterback is the deepest position in fantasy. As we near the half way point of the NFL season there are a few other things that are becoming clear.
You have to CATCH THE BALL in order to be good. I guess the Eagles didn’t cover catching in practice last week. Had they done so, you might see Bradford higher on the list but you won’t. The Eagles are on the short list of high expectation teams that have been complete failure. Speaking of not catching the ball, has Brandon Lafell ever played in the NFL before? The Patriots still pulled it out but I wonder what that line would be had he caught more than 2 of 8.
Let’s get back to this list of losers. So we already mentioned the Eagles but what about them Bills? After a promising start Rex Ryan has been reduced to making excuses and reciting sports clichés while the fans wonder “what the hell?” These are grown men who are professional football players and they are getting paid millions of dollars. They are not motivated by “never giving up” or “gutsy comeback” and frankly I am not impressed either. You are paid to win and it isn’t happening.
So many thoughts on the current NFL product but this is fantasy football and there are few names that stick out as we head towards the home stretch. In case you get done reading this and wonder about the Texans backfield, I am not adding them because they suck. Foster was a good start, the other 2 are not worth consideration. If you grab Alfred Blue I don’t want to be responsible for it.
Now I am going to throw a few new names this week, remember not only do you have to consider bye weeks but also how teams will play as the playoffs get closer. Some starters sit for rest or teams let bench guys play big minutes to see what they have. You need to be thinking about the end of the year or you will be playing Tom Brady and he will sit for 3 quarters while you lose all that you work for.
Brian Hoyer, QB, Houston Texans-12.9% Owned
Hoyer has started the last four games and he has look pretty good even though the Texans continue to struggle. Now, he has had Foster for all of those games but Foster’s running game has not been dominate. They no longer have any running game so they are going to rely on the trio of Hoyer, Hopkins, and Washington to get them through. Over the last four games he is averaging 278 per game with a total of 10 TD vs only 2 INT’s. Going up against a Tennessee team that still has not found itself. Look for Hoyer to score his average of 19pts or higher this coming week.
David Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders – 33.3% Owned
Carr has not been your picture of perfection or consistency this season but I like his upside. Cooper and Crabtree are forming into a dynamic duo and Carr is going to benefit from that. Sunday was his second 3 TD game this season. He has a total of 12 TD’s and only 3 INTs. So he makes good choices with the ball, despite the fact that the team falls flat at times. They looked good embarrassing the Chargers although the Jets are another animal. After the Jets they hit a stretch where they could possible go 5-0 playing the Steelers, Vikings, Lions, Titans, and Chiefs. Like I said before, I like the upside and you can buy low. My guess is you don’t even have to spend a waiver on him. Just wait until FA starts on Wednesday or Thursday.
There are several other QB’s who had good weeks and might be worth consideration or honorable mention. However EJ Manuel isn’t one of them. Sam Bradford (50%), Jay Cutler (18%), Ryan Fitzpatrick (25%), and Jameis Winston (16%) have all show ability to put points on the board. I would be surprised if anyone struggles finding a backup signal caller.
Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys- 43% Owned
The Dallas Cowboys are hurting in the worst way, McFadden was the only real bright spot on Sunday. With Randle out, Run DMC is the clear starter. 162 yards of scrimmage isn’t a fluke when you take into consideration what McFadden has done in the past and the strength of the offensive line. Tough game with Seattle coming up, but he is still a strong RB2 start going into next week.
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals- 43.9% Owned
The Arizona Cardinals have not been as explosive lately and that is hurting Johnson a little. Still playing behind the other Mr. Johnson, he is still active in the passing game. Johnson is a dynamic player that has value enough to stay on the field. He is a guess every week but there is definitely some upside potential here.
Duke Johnsons Jr., RB, Cleveland Browns – 63.1 % Owned
He is owned in most leagues but there is still a chance he is available in yours. He is getting touches primarily on the passing side of the offense. 13 touches for 90 yards against a strong Rams defense. He starts finding the end zone and this guy is going to be making a lot of noise.
Alfred Blue and Chris Polk, RB, Houston Texans- 18%/1.2% Owned
So I changed my mind on Houston running backs because the list is just so small and maybe you decide to take a chance. History has already shown us that there isn’t a lot of points here. Blue is going to get the most carries. The more touches you get the better the odds right? So Blue could do something. However I expect Polk to get goal line carries. The question is, are they ever going to be on the goal line?
Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings- 43.8%
Three games in the books and Diggs should be added in all leagues. He is getting over 6 catches a game and averaging over 100 yards per game. Diggs is everything we expected Charles Johnson to be. His teammates have compared him to Antonio Brown and his numbers are doing the talking. The Bears are next and he should feast on that secondary. Diggs is the money pick this week, and is a safe WR2 or Flex to start this week.
Nate Washington, WR, Houston Texans – 5.7% Owned
After battling number of nagging injuries Washington returned to the field this week in a big way. 9 catches for 127 yards and 2 TD’s got him over the 20pt fantasy mark. We will know real quickly how the Foster injury effects the offense. Will more throwing produce more opportunities or will the Texans offense just be non-existent? Either way you can’t ignore his impact and could be a good back-up, flex or WR2 is deep leagues.
Rishard Matthews, WR, Miami Dolphins- 56.9%
Who doesn’t love the new look Dolphins? Matthews is on the field for more plays than any receiver not named Landry. The new improved running focus is going open up play action and Matthews is the second look for Tannehill. Big game against the Patriots coming up, we will see who the Dolphins are. I think Pats are going to cover Landry and Miller giving Matthews a chance to go off. Double digit fantasy points in 50% of his games, he is another I would start this week especially in deep leagues.
Brandon Lafell, WR, New England Patriots- 37.6%
Talk about a pick that fell flat, Lafell didn’t help anyone with his 2 catches for 25 yards. Even more alarming is the 6 dropped passes. Players who can’t hold onto the ball don’t stay on the field in Foxboro, but I am channeling my inner Belichick and going against the status quo. I think he gets another chance against the Dolphins. You have to cover so many receivers on this team, Lafell could be a surprise this week.
Back from missing a few games due to injury Ebron picked up right where he left off. How short of a memory fantasy owners have as his ownership dropped when he went down. If he is playing he is a starter at the TE position. Stafford is back to his old self and the running game isn’t there at all. 3 TD’s in 5 games is pretty good. It’s your typical low end TE starter and if you don’t have Gronk, Graham, or Gates you might want Ebron. He is in the top 3 fantasy pick up this week.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins- 41.7%
Back from injury similar to Ebron he burst onto the scene. The Redskins are a mess and their running game is dead. He is averaging 7 catches over 5 games and 3 TD’s. Numbers similar to Ebron, when healthy Reed is a must start at TE or even a flex. I like Reed a lot and going forward he will continue to be Cousin’s #1 target. You will regret leaving Reed on the waiver list. Maybe grab him and trade him, but my guess is you need him.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers- 36.3%
Gates is still the #1 TE in San Diego but he gets hurt from time to time and when that happens Green is must start. So this is primarily a handcuff. However Rivers is throwing so much that there is enough to go around. Even when Gates is on the field Green still has some value. Everyone dumped him when Gates came back, and are regretting it this week. I own Gates and Green and it saved me this week.
Feeling really good about who is available this week. Good luck and shoot me a comment or a tweet and let me know how your season is going.