As I said last week, those of you that play in standard 13 week fantasy football leagues, we’re entering crunch time. If you’re clinging to a playoff spot or just on the cusp of making it in, these next two Sundays/Mondays will be more crucial than any others all season. Some of you may be sitting in a better position and looking to build some momentum heading into the playoffs, potentially securing a first round bye for you and your squad. For those that have chalked up the season as a lost cause, daily/weekly leagues are the perfect answer. Even if you don’t play fantasy football enthusiastically or obsessively like myself and many others across the world, but happen to be a fan of the game, these types of leagues can be very exciting. It’s instant satisfaction without the multiple month commitment and grind of dealing with injuries, paying close attention to the waiver wire and mulling over lineup decisions. If you read my column last week, I was most successful in my picks at Quarterback, but definitely disappointed with the production at the Tight End position. Here’s my best shot at winning you some money or bragging rights this weekend:
Colin Kaepernick – If you’re a Kaepernick owner in any of your standard leagues, I certainly feel your pain this year. He’s been inconsistent and overall disappointing this year, but has definitely shown some flashes of the things he was able to do last year. Kaepernick has only completed 56% of his passes thus far, including 11 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. It appears the loss of Michael Crabtree was big hit to the production of Kaepernick as well, but he’ll be rejoining the team soon from what I hear and can hopefully help relight the fire in San Francisco. The great thing about Kaepernick is the potential and upside of him picking up a lot of fantasy points on the ground. Through ten games in 2013, he’s rushed 56 times for 335 yards and 3 scores, averaging nearly 6 yards per carry. I’m looking for Kaepernick to flip the switch and have an all around, solid game against a poor Washington Defense on Monday Night Football. He’s ready to show the world he’s not another “Flash in the Pan”.
Tony Romo – Another guy that’s probably been quite frustrating to you at times this year, and every year for that matter. Even in a blowout game two weeks ago, Romo was still only able to throw for 128 yards and one touchdown. That’s disgusting. He’s actually thrown for less than two hundred yards twice this season, which is a bit surprising given his talent. The Saints defense went from worst in the league last season to one of the top this season under the direction of Rob Ryan. I’d like to think Romo’s poor performance in his last outing had something to do with the fact that Rob Ryan simply had his number and knew his tendencies all too well from his time with the Cowboys. Coming off a bye week and facing off against the rival Giants, I’m expecting a rebound game from Romo and the Cowboys. I’d also expect to see Dez Bryant more heavily involved in the offense. My prediction is a 300 yard performance with at least 2 touchdowns.
Mike Glennon – After throwing at least 43 passes in each of his first 4 career starts, Glennon has thrown roughly half that amount over the last three, but also led the Bucs to their first two victories of the season. He’s quietly becoming a solid NFL Quarterback, and can definitely be a solid option for you if you’ve got some bye week players to fill in for in standard leagues, or a good value option in daily leagues. Glennon is efficient in his passing, completing 62% of his passes while throwing for 11 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. Facing off against a high powered offense this week, I like Glennon to throw a lot of passes and have a solid game as they’ll most likely be playing from behind. Did I mention he sho
Others I really like this week – Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford. Obviously Peyton Manning is dealing with an ankle issue, but it doesn’t really concern me. You’ve got to love the classic Manning versus Brady match up, and you know that Manning loves to be in the spotlight and put up big numbers in games like this. I’m feeling a 300 yard, 3-4 touchdown performance from the legend in a high scoring slugfest. Stafford is facing off against the Bucs this week. You’d think this would be a cake walk for him based on the Bucs’ record alone, but that’s definitely not the case. Their defense is pretty stellar and has the potential to put a halt on the production of most quarterback/receiver combos, but Calvin Johnson is not a human being. The Lions are taking on the Bucs at home, and I don’t see Megatron getting trapped on Revis Island this year.
Quick note – I’ll try not to write about the same guys every single week. With that being said, of course I love guys like Jamaal Charles and Matt Forte this week, but below are just some of my other favorites. Besides which, the point of this column is really to provide you with some value plays. If you’re new to the daily leagues, I recommend scooping up one of the top tier guys at the WR or RB position, as well as the QB position and then build the rest of your lineup based off of that.
Zac Stacy – Easily one of my favorite picks this week, and I’m sure most of the experts out there won’t argue. He’s all of the hype lately, and if you’ve got him in your regular fantasy lineups or decide to use him in your daily leagues, you have to feel confident. Fact of the matter is with Bradford out of the lineup, the Rams are leaning heavily on the legs of Stacy. He’s had at least 26 touches in each of the last 3 games and tallied 3 touchdowns. He’s got a juicy match up this weekend against a Bears Defense that is littered with injuries and has been torched on the ground for most of the season. Stacy isn’t the fastest guy on the field by any means, but if you’ve seen him play then you know he’s got some special abilities. He cuts on a dime, hits the holes hard and makes defenders miss tackles with the best of them. Barring any fluke injuries, Stacy is in line for 100+ yards, a few catches and at least one score.
Andre Brown – So far with nearly 50 carries since getting healthy again, Brown is only averaging 3.77 yards per carry. After bursting back onto the scene in New York with a 30 carry, 115 yard and a touchdown performance, Brown wasn’t nearly as productive last week against the Packers. I really like his match up this week against the Cowboys though, and fully expect him to find the end zone and finish the day with some solid numbers. With the poor and inconsistent play of Eli Manning this year, I feel the Giants need to rely more heavily on Brown if they want to continue their winning ways. I believe the Cowboys will bring the Giants back to reality this week in a higher scoring battle, but Brown will be the center stage. 90 yards+ and a score.
Bobby Rainey – Just in case your cable and internet have been out the last week, I figured I’d throw Bobby Rainey into the mix. I wouldn’t really classify him as a sleeper anymore because the rest of the fantasy world is already on his jock, but he can definitely provide some value for your daily leagues. If you’re looking to pick him up in your traditional fantasy leagues, it’s safe to say the ship has sailed on that one. I picked him up in multiple leagues last week, but I wish I could tell you I was smart enough or ballsy enough to start him over Leonard or anyone else I chose over him. Part of me wouldn’t be surprised if Schiano still heavily involved Leonard in the game plan, but after the way Rainey looked last week, it’d obviously be foolish to not feed him the ball. Besides which, Schiano is fighting for his job right? Anyway, Rainey looked like a vintage Ray Rice last week in his 30 carry, 163 yard, 3 touchdown (one receiving) performance against the Falcons. I’d obviously temper expectations this week, but he does have a pretty solid match up against Detroit so I am curious to see what he can do with another opportunity of a full workload.
Others I really like this week – Chris Johnson and Ben Tate. The Raiders will probably try to stack the box and do everything they can to stop Johnson, but with veteran Fitzpatrick at the helm, things should eventually open up rather easily for him. Oakland has been torched multiple times this year via ground and air, and I’d like to see CJ build up some momentum heading into the fantasy playoffs. Hopefully the good Chris Johnson shows up on Sunday. Ben Tate on the other hand, looks to be getting healthier from his rib issues and is starting to run well. He picked up 88 yards on 19 carries last week, and also added 4 catches for 29 yards. The Jags found a way to shutdown Chris Johnson and the Titans rushing attack, but that could potentially just be due to the inconsistency of Johnson. Regardless, I like Tate to have a solid game this week against Jacksonville.
Dez Bryant – He’s now gone back to back games without a touchdown and less than 65 yards receiving in each. Coming off a bye week, we might be in store for a monster game from the outspoken beast in Dallas. For the season, he’s approaching 800 yards receiving and has already hauled in 8 touchdowns. He’s easily on track to surpass the 1,000 yard/10 touchdown mark, but he’ll need to produce a lot more than that in the coming weeks in order for Dallas to avoid another season of disappointment. I’m putting a lot of faith in the Cowboys this week, and hopefully they don’t make me regret my decision!
Eric Decker – With Wes Welker being a little banged up last week with a concussion, yet still probable to play, I like Decker to have a solid game this week against the Patriots. Being an engaged man, I often shamelessly find myself watching the E! Network, and I stumbled across a show starring Decker and his hot wife. My point is, it was kind of cool to get an inside look at his personal life (even as annoyingly sappy they are, and I’m now an even bigger fan. I’ve got him on multiple fantasy teams and you can’t go wrong with any receiver that’s being thrown the ball from Peyton Manning. Some may be disappointed because he hasn’t had more than a couple huge games, but the bottom line is he’s as consistent as they come at the wide receiver position. He’s usually good for at least 5 catches and 50+ receiving yards with some major upside in both categories. For the season, Decker has tallied 54 catches for 792 yards with only 3 touchdowns. Feel confident rolling him out there this week.
Jarrett Boykin – Not really considered a sleeper anymore, but I’d say he has fallen off the radar with a lot of people due to the injury of Aaron Rodgers. Even without Rodgers at the helm, Boykin has continued to produce consistently over the last two weeks. He racked up 112 yards on 8 catches against the Eagles two weeks ago and followed that up with 91 yards and 6 catches last week against the Giants. Although he’s remained consistent while on the field this year (minus his performance against the Bears), Boykin has struggled to find the end zone. Hopefully he can step up with a big game against the lackluster defense of the Minnesota Vikings.
With the way my picks performed last week, I figured it’d be best to mix it up a bit. Jimmy Graham was dominant on Thursday night after a disappointing showing last week. As far as Tight End is concerned, you can obviously roll out Graham or Gronkowski on a weekly basis and not be worried about the outcome.
Coby Fleener – After a solid game last week against the Titans in which he hauled in 8 balls for 107 yards, I like the chances of Luck looking his way more consistently down the stretch. With Wayne on IR, his options are limited and Fleener has proved to be reliable when given the chance. He’s got 37 catches for 439 yards and 3 scores.
Jason Witten – To give you a better idea of the drop off at the Tight End position this year, Jason Witten was still ranked the #6 fantasy option at the position as of last week. He’s definitely been a bit of a disappointment this season, but that’s largely in part because of the lack of consistency from his quarterback. To stick with my high expectations of the Cowboys against the Giants this week, I like Witten to bounce back.
Delanie Walker – Touchdowns in back to back weeks and 5 for the season already. He’s also got 14 catches over the last two weeks. Gotta love the targets and production, especially with the veteran under Center!