NFL Fantasy Takeaways: An Emerging Playmaker You Should Grab Now
by Scott Engel | 4:00 pm, November 27th, 2012
Coaches who have zero regard for your fantasy team, a once-elite defense is showing big cracks, and a playmaker emerges in St. Louis. It’s all covered in this week’s edition of Takeaways.
1.1. Coaches will screw with you.
After everyone in the free world tried to pick up Ronnie Hillman last week, the Broncos named notable previous bust Knowshon Moreno their starter against the Chiefs. Keep in mind that unexpected lineup changes and depth chart moves will continue to be a trend you must be prepared for. Moreno performed well enough to keep the starting job, too.
2.6. The Seattle defense is slipping.
Reggie Bush looked rejuvenated and Davone Bess actually looked like a real NFL receiver in Miami’s win over the Seahawks. The ‘Hawks are not defending the run effectively in recent weeks and now news comes that their two starting cornerbacks may be suspended. You may have to start streaming other defenses into your weekly lineups. There’s a big difference between Richard Sherman and a past-his-prime Marcus Trufant.
3.7. Chris Givens is an emerging playmaker.
The Rams rookie caught five passes for 115 yards and a TD against Arizona. Givens has outstanding separation gear and is also impressing NFL analysts with his ability to learn other routes very quickly. Givens is only going to gain more notice in Fantasy circles in the weeks ahead.
4.10. The Steelers miss The Bus.
Pittsburgh has not been the same at RB since The Bus retired. They had four different running backs fumble in an ugly loss to the Browns. Rashard Mendenhall managed the trick on just four carries. Avoid the Steelers RBs if you want to keep your season alive.
5.4. Oh look, the Jaguars have an offense now.
Chad Henne kept the chains moving and made the defense actually respect the Jacksonville offense again in Week 12. Henne has developed an instant rapport with his wide receivers and has made Cecil Shorts a must-start WR. Justin Blackmon ain’t lookin’ too shabby either and Marcedes Lewis can now actually be useful again, especially if you need a Rob Gronkowski replacement.
6.2. Larry Fitzgerald is a sinking ship.
If you’re a Mathews owner, you can still look down on someone who drafted Larry Fitzgerald. The very disappointing WR caught only three passes for 31 yards against St. Louis. It’s gotten to the point where Fitzgerald is no longer worth starting until Kevin Kolb returns. Even then, he’ll have to deliver a quality performance to win your confidence back again.
7.9. The bye week helped Eli.
No one needed a bye week more than the New York Giants. And no QB seemed more mentally and physically weary than Eli Manning. Showing renewed zip in his throws and spunk in the pocket, Manning threw three TD passes against Green Bay. He’s ready to help you go far in the Fantasy playoffs again.
8.8. Andy Dalton might decide your fate.
The Bengals QB may be the most rapidly improving Fantasy player no one is discussing extensively. Dalton threw three TD passes against the awful Raiders. Dalton takes full advantage of friendly matchups and can certainly be started in key Fantasy playoff weeks ahead.
9.3. Ryan Mathews has no upside.
Mathews totaled 88 yards from scrimmage against Baltimore. Another ho-hum performance from a guy who supposedly had superstar written all over him. Mathews has been only good enough to lose with this year in Fantasy Football. You could do worse at RB2, but you drafted him to be a RB1. In an ideal situation, you do not have to lean on him as an every week starter right now.
10.5. Matt Forte is losing ground.
Matt Forte was worth a second-round pick on draft day, but he fell far in Week 12. First, he ceded carries to Michael Bush after losing an early fumble. Then, he later suffered an ankle injury. Forte’s status for Week 13 is cloudy, and when he does return, he’ll have to flash his better form to keep a firm grip on the starting job.
11.11. No one has a reliable TE.
Jimmy Graham totaled 33 yards. Vernon Davis was shut out. Antonio Gates was ineffective again and may be done as a top Fantasy player. Unless you have Jason Witten in a PPR league, you likely have some serious TE troubles. Don’t go searching for a major upgrade. With Rob Gornkowski out, the ultra-dependable TE just does not exist right now, and just about every Fantasy player is dealing with troubles at the position. Take what you get from your TEs as a bonus. Your other core players are the ones who will drive your victories in most weeks.
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