Thanksgiving week means lots of turkey, mashed potatoes, family time… and early football games. Really, is there a better holiday that features three back-to-back football games and an abundance of food? Not to mention, the overlying message is things that we are thankful for? Personally, I love Thanksgiving. I love the stuffing, the traditions and the football! I am thankful for many things this year, but since this is a column about Fantasy football, I’ll just focus on the Fantasy Football things I am thankful for this year. Have a safe and happy holiday week, everyone.
I am thankful I don’t have to start any Philadelphia Eagles players.
Between Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy likely being out for Monday night’s game, unless I was desperate, I wouldn’t start any Eagles. In his debut, Nick Foles showed that he isn’t going to help anyone’s team – real life or Fantasy. He completed 21-of-46 passes with two interceptions, totaling 204 yards in Week 11. This does not bode well for any of the receivers. In Week 11, Jeremy Maclin gave Fantasy owners a donut. DeSean Jackson had two receptions for five yards (also a donut in standard leagues). Brent Celek and Riley Cooper each had five receptions, Celek for 42 and Cooper for 61 yards. Not that you were starting the Eagles defense, but they didn’t help anyone last week either. While some rushed to the waiver wire to pick up Bryce Brown, with such a sputtering offense, Brown should only be started if you are truly desperate. He may have shown some talent in training camp to win the backup running back job, but there is a big difference between camp and actual game-time carries. I am a Vick owner in one league, although I haven’t been starting him. This season is a wasted season for him and the rest of the Eagles (with the exception of McCoy). The franchise needs to fire Andy Reid and upgrade the offensive line in order to help Vick – and their offense.
As an Aaron Hernandez owner, I am thankful I have a second decent tight end.
In one league where I have Hernandez, I also drafted Antonio Gates. In another, I picked up Brandon Myers. Both have certainly served me well while Hernandez has been dragging on and on and not playing, and then did not do much against the Jets. Back on draft day, it appeared that the tight end position was pretty deep. However, with injuries to some and poor performance by others, the position isn’t as deep as originally thought. Myers has 50 receptions for 554 yards and three touchdowns (all three have occurred within the past three weeks). He is available in 44 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues. If you lost Gronkowski or are just searching for a decent tight end, look to Myers. He faces Cincinnati this weekend, who has allowed tight ends to fare well so far this year. (In fact, I’m already regretting starting Hernandez over Myers this week.)
I’m thankful I drafted Arian Foster with the first pick in the draft.
With 14 touchdowns on the year (including the Thanksgiving game), Foster also has over 1,000 rushing yards and over 100 receiving yards. The Week 11 game is the only time all season where he did not find the end zone. While some of the other popular first round picks have struggled, Foster has been consistent all year so far. He’s had over 50 rushing yards in every game except one (but in that game, he scored two touchdowns, so Fantasy owners were still happy).
I’m thankful I didn’t draft a defense until the second-to-last round of the draft.
I’m not going to say I told you so, but really? What D/STs went early? San Francisco? Pittsburgh? How do you feel about those now? San Francisco is probably pretty good, but was it worth a mid-round pick? Pittsburgh’s defense is likely on your waiver wire. If someone did have the foresight to draft Chicago’s D/ST, that may be worth it. However, that would be it. In one of my leagues, I drafted Seattle in Round 15 and I don’t regret that at all. Just looking at the numbers, San Francisco is at one safety, eight interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, one defensive touchdown and two blocked kicks. Seattle is at nine interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, one defensive touchdown and one blocked kick. I’d rather take my chances on offensive players through the middle of the draft and gamble on a defense at the end. Worst case, you can just stream defenses. Take whoever is playing Kansas City or the Jets and you’ll likely end up with enough points to get you through the week.
I’m thankful I drafted Robert Griffin III in the later rounds.
I’m also I started him on Thanksgiving. However, I do regret starting Matt Ryan over him in Week 11. I wasn’t a huge believer in RG3 at the beginning of the season, but I am now. In 11 games, he has 2,504 passing yards and 653 rushing yards. He has six rushing touchdowns and 16 passing touchdowns and three interceptions. Last year, in 11 games, Cam Newton had 3,093 passing yards, 464 rushing yards with 12 passing touchdowns, 10 rushing touchdowns and 14 interceptions. While RG3 hasn’t been consistent, he certainly has put up good Fantasy numbers for owners (except for that game against Atlanta). Having both Ryan and RG3 has helped my team move to first in its division, but it has made for some difficult starting decisions. Be aware: Newton this year is not faring as well. Look out for a sophomore slump for RG3 as well.
I’m thankful I didn’t believe in the Madden Curse this year.
Now I really hope that I’m not jinxing myself. Calvin Johnson has certainly helped my team clinch its playoff spot despite the lack of touchdowns early in the season. He did have two tough weeks, but so far he has been curse-free. Sure, he’s battled injuries and his quarterback is having some mechanics issues, but he has lived up to his WR1 potential. He has the most receiving yards out of all wide receivers, but only three touchdowns (prior to the Thanksgiving game). Whether it was the possible concussion/nerve damage or just getting on the same page as Matthew Stafford, it appears Johnson is back on track. Fantasy owners can breathe a sigh of relief (unless I just cursed him) and keep on comfortably starting Johnson through the rest of the season.
I’m thankful for running back handcuffs.
I’ve had Robert Turbin on my Fantasy team since before Week 1. Why? Because I have Marshawn Lynch, and I know Turbin is a more than capable back. While this isn’t always as clear cut (see Oakland Raiders), Maurice Jones-Drew owners were glad they had Rashad Jennings (well, maybe not anymore). How many LeSean McCoy owners had Bryce Brown? I bet they wish they did after Week 11. While the backup may not be clear cut, always make sure you have a handcuff. Ahmad Bradshaw owners? Grab Andre Brown if he’s still available. Be aware of who is available and pick them up if possible. You don’t want to be in the playoffs and be stuck.