Workin the Wire for Week 13

27 Nov 2018 - 4:52pm | Roto Coach | Updated: 27 Nov 2018 - 5:55pm | Likes: 22 Like 
Workin the Wire for Week 13

Quarterbacks

Case Keenum-Denver Broncos: Another week and another Case Keenum mention here. His performance against the Steelers probably didn’t kill you, but Pittsburgh’s inability to put anything together on offense for the most part, meant Keenum didn’t need to do much. The result was a middling yardage total (197) and a couple scoring strikes. Phillip Lindsay and the defense took care of the rest. Keenum draws a bad Cincinnati defense on the road this week and then finishes out through the playoffs with San Francisco, Cleveland, and Oakland through Week 16. If you’re still cobbling things together at the quarterback position heading into the playoffs, you could do worse.

Colt McCoy-Washington Redskins: The injury to Alex Smith opened the door to some potential fantasy value for Colt McCoy for the rest of the season. The challenge here is the same as it was for Smith, in that the Washington passing game lacks for dynamic weapons and is banged up nearly every week. Still, McCoy posted a solid Thanksgiving Day performance in Dallas and draws the Eagles and Giants over the next two weeks in games that will go a long way to determining the NFC East Champion. He’s more gunslinger than Alex Smith and will do more with his legs as well. He’s far from safe, but there’s an argument to made that he offers more fantasy upside than the quarterback he replaced.   

Jeff Driskel-Cincinnati Bengals: Driskel isn’t a guy I’d chase in shallower leagues, but I do think he’s at least intriguing in deeper or dynasty formats since he’s likely the guy under center for the Bengals from here on out. Tom Savage is depth, and I expect Cincinnati to give Driskel a shot to show what he can do to close out the season. This week’s meeting with a Broncos defense that’s been playing better could be brutal, but the remaining matchups against the Chargers, Raiders, and Browns, aren’t nearly as scary and do offer some upside. If you’re unfamiliar with Driskel, I wrote about him as a potential deep dynasty sleeper a couple pre-seasons ago when he was a 6th round pick for the 49ers. In limited NFL action he’s been inconsistent as a passer, but he’s got some wheels and Cincinnati will hopefully game script around him going forward now that we know Dalton won’t be back this season.  

Running Backs

Justin Jackson-Los Angeles Chargers: The questionable tag for Melvin Gordon last week meant that more than a few owners made sure to squirrel away Austin Ekeler just in case the Chargers feature back was inactive on Sunday. But with Ekeler owned in more than 70% of Yahoo leagues, Justin Jackson may go a bit overlooked. There’s no disputing that Ekeler is the more versatile and dynamic player, but it would be surprising if the Los Angeles backfield situation didn’t evolve into a timeshare in Gordon’s absence. At this point all we know is that it’s a multi-week injury, and with the 8-3 Chargers looking to make a playoff run, something tells me they aren’t going to hand off (pun intended) Gordon-sized usage to the diminutive Ekeler. Ekeler out-touched Jackson 15-7 last week, but that was with Gordon recording a dozen touches of his own before leaving the blowout win against Arizona. The more likely scenario is that we see Jackson take on the primary rushing and clock killing role and Ekeler sprinkled into the running game a little more consistently, but retaining heavy usage in the Chargers passing attack. For those desperate at running back, Jackson will wind up a better value in Gordon’s absence than many owners realize.    

Rex Burkhead-New England Patriots: With Sony Michel looking outstanding on Sunday, Burkhead may not see a ton of touches initially, as he’ll be eligible to play this week after being activated by the Patriots off IR. That said, the Pats value his versatility and he offers some upside in both the running and passing game. He isn’t likely to have a large role right of the bat, but he does merit stashing until we see how the New England backfield looks like it will play out over the next week or two. Michel also hasn’t proven to be the most durable back either so he makes a nice insurance policy.

Frank Gore-Miami Dolphins: The Miami schedule is pretty brutal for running backs from here on out, but Gore has double digit carries in every game since Week 4. Kenyan Drake is dealing with a shoulder injury, and the Ryan Tannehill is...well, Ryan Tannehill. Gore is quietly averaging better than 4.5 yards per carry this season, and if he has the backfield to himself he’s serviceable on volume alone.

Jaylen Samuels-Pittsburgh Steelers: James Conner’s Week 12 performance wasn’t reassuring for fantasy owners and it may be time to consider that he could be hitting a bit of a wall in his first year as an NFL starter. After a strong start to the season, rushing for 100 yards or more in 5 of his first 9 games, Conner has rushed for just 143 yards on 35 carries over his last three. He’s also found the end zone just once in the past three weeks (9 TDs over the first nine games). The Steelers are in the driver’s seat in the AFC North, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising if we saw Samuels mix in a little more in the coming weeks, both to garner experience and to give Conner a bit of a breather.

Wide Receivers

Josh Doctson-Washington Redskins: Nothing we’ve seen since coming into the league should give us any sense of safety with respect to Doctson, but with Colt McCoy at the helm, the third year receiver saw 10 targets, catching 6 balls for 66 yards on Sunday. If nothing else, McCoy at least seems willing to take some shots downfield, which is where Doctson can win. Nothing about the Redskins offense is safe, but for receiver needy teams, taking a shot on a guy like Doctson could pay off down the stretch.

David Moore-Seattle Seahawks: Moore is the kind of player where you almost don’t want to watch the game if you’re counting on him. His usage seems to come in fits and starts, and his production seems unsustainably big play and touchdown dependent. That said, it’s hard to overlook the 4 catches for 103 yards and a score from Week 12. The touchdown marked his fifth in the past seven games, and while it was his first 100 yard receiving day, he’s undoubtedly benefitting from playing alongside a banged up Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, who’s having a breakout campaign. Moore is seeing tons of single coverage and Wilson is giving him opportunities to make plays. With the Seahawks still fighting for a playoff berth it’s a trend that should continue.

Curtis Samuel-Carolina Panthers: He’s purely a boom-bust option, as his touches are limited on a weekly basis. Carolina does seem to figure out a way to get the ball in Samuel’s hands at least a few times a game, and with his speed, just a few times can be enough. Samuel has 4 touchdowns on just 16 touches since Week 9, and with Devin Funchess still not healthy, he’ll continue to get a few chances each week. Further bolstering his case is the Panthers schedule, which features road tilts against a couple of the league’s more porous defenses in Tampa Bay and Cleveland the next two weeks, before hosting equally leaky New Orleans and Atlanta to close out the fantasy playoffs. All four teams are prone to surrendering the type of big plays that make Samuel fantasy viable in these matchups.

Bruce Ellington-Detroit Lions: There isn’t much upside with Ellington, but with Marvin Jones headed to IR it’s hard to envision him not seeing enough volume to have some value in PPR formats. Ellington draws a struggling Rams secondary, who, even if they get Aqib Talib back this week, are likely to match him up with Kenny Golladay for most of the afternoon. That should leave Ellington with some extra opportunities in a game script that should be well out of hand and forcing the Lions to throw before halftime.

Tight End

Chris Herndon-New York Jets: With tight ends continuing to drop like flies (Jack Doyle is now headed to IR), Herndon has been making an appearance on this list for the past month and a half with consistent week in week out production. He’s far from spectacular, and there aren’t any huge fantasy days to point to, but since Week 6 he’s carded at least 3 catches or a touchdown in every game. That’s good enough to fall inside the top 15 in tight end scoring in all but one week over the stretch. Coming off an 8 target-7 catches for 57 yards performance, there’s at least a measure of safety to be found with Herndon.

Jonnu Smith-Tennessee Titans: The target volume remains terrible, as Smith fell back down to earth after a 6 catches for 44 yards performance against the Colts in Week 11 with just 2 targets this week. We did see him break off a big 61 yard touchdown in the first quarter on Monday night before completely disappearing, and with that in mind he remains tough to trust.

Matt LaCosse-Denver Broncos: Other than Temarrick Hemingway, who hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2016 and doesn’t have a regular season reception to his name, LaCosse is the only tight end on the Denver roster. He’s nothing to write home about, but he’s versatile enough to split out or play in-line, which should help keep him on the field. We also know Case Keenum targets his tight ends. Last man standing + quarterback tendencies is hardly a ringing endorsement, but there aren’t five tight ends left that you can trust every week so we take what we can get.  

As always, this list is made up of players that are 30% owned or less in Yahoo leagues, and if you happen to be looking at a guy that falls above that threshold or can’t figure out why I left a player off the list, feel free to ping me on Twitter @rotocoach with any questions.

 
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