The bye weeks are almost over and it’s time to look ahead to the next few weeks. What kind of roster moves can you make now that will help you in the Fantasy playoffs (or help you get to the Fantasy playoffs)? First, at this point of the season the waiver wire is pretty bleak. You don’t need to pick up a lot to fill in for guys on a bye. Instead of continuing to gamble on lottery ticket guys, make sure you have backups where you may need them. Grab the handcuffs to your studs. Have enough depth on your team so if you lose a starter, you don’t have to scour the waiver wire for someone to pick up in the playoffs. If you don’t like the handcuff for your starters, pick up the handcuff for other starters. I’ve owned Knile Davis in one league for weeks – and I’m not the Jamaal Charles owner. Given the number of starting running backs that have gone down to injury this year, find a handcuff that you like and pick him up. If you don’t own the starter, you still may end up using that handcuff. With that advice, let’s consult the Pink Football for Week 11:
1. Unless Colin Kaepernick can get yards on the ground, he’s not worth starting.
Now, I’m not sure why San Francisco isn’t letting Kaepernick run the ball. After taking over for Alex Smith last year, in Weeks 10 – 16, Kaepernick had almost 300 rushing yards – an average of 42 yards per game in that seven-game span. In nine games so far this year, he has 310 rushing yards – 11 more than seven games last year with an average of 34 yards per game. The number of rushing touchdowns is the same – three. So why is Kaepernick struggling so much this year?
The throwing yards aren’t there. Since Week 1, Kaepernick has thrown for over 200 yards once. He’s thrown for six touchdowns in that span with six interceptions. (For the record, Alex Smith has thrown for nine touchdowns and four interceptions). Call it lack of receivers, call it lack of running plays designed for him, whatever the reason, Kaepernick has been a disappointment. The Week 11 matchup against New Orleans looks promising, but so have other matchups for him. The problem here is Kaepernick. Mobile quarterbacks struggle once their game has been figured out. Kaepernick hasn’t been successful throwing the ball. Defenses have figured him out. The game plan isn’t utilizing his strengths. He doesn’t have any weapons to throw to besides Vernon Davis. When Davis is out of the game, Kaepernick struggles even more.
Most people drafted Kaepernick to be their starting quarterback. I’ve seen him on waivers in a few leagues at this point. Looking at weekly rankings, guys like Case Keenum and Nick Foles are ranked higher than him. If they are available, grab them and start them. As we’ll get into in the next section, just because he was drafted to be your starter doesn’t mean he needs to continue to be your starter.
2. Know that you can bench, or drop, your first round pick.
Yes, I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but it’s still true and worth repeating. Only now I’m not just saying bench your first round pick, but you can safely drop them for better options.
Owners of Ray Rice, Trent Richardson, Roddy White and others know exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t have to play your former stud. I’m in a league where I was torn before Week 10 on who to start – Ray Rice or Maurice Jones-Drew. My thought was that the potential for Rice was so much greater than anything MJD had done all season. I went with Rice. MJD had 15.4 Fantasy points (.5 points per reception) with 41 rushing yards, one touchdown, four receptions and 33 receiving yards. Rice had 8.6 points with 30 rushing yards, six receptions and 26 receiving yards. Take away the touchdown for MJD and they would be similar in terms of Fantasy points. But that should tell you everything you need to know about Ray Rice.
I’ve recommended dropping Trent Richardson for Donald Brown. Three months ago, who would have predicted a Fantasy expert writing that sentence? But the numbers are there. In Week 7, Brown had 23 rushing yards and two receptions for 42 yards. T-Rich had 37 rushing yards. In Week 9, Brown had 49 rushing yards. Richardson had 20 rushing yards and two receptions for 33 yards. In Week 10, there was no running game to speak of, and Brown had five receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown while Richardson had three receptions for 33 yards. While neither of those backs are putting up spectacular numbers, Brown is on the waiver wire and Richardson is still in starting lineups.
At this point of the Fantasy season, you need to win. If winning means dropping some of these guys that were drafted as your RB1 or WR1, do it.
3. An overreaction and an underreaction: Marques Colston is back! And Andre Brown is a one-week wonder.
Reality: Marques Colston just had the best game of his Fantasy season. Sure, he did well in Week 1 because of the touchdown and he did have 96 yards in Week 4, but besides those two highlights, the 2013 season for Colston has been a disappointment. Fantasy owners were dropping him prior to Week 10. He rewarded them with a 7/107/1 stat line in a game where the Cowboys couldn’t do anything defensively or offensively. While Weeks 5-8 (not including the bye in Week 7) weren’t exactly the high point of Colston’s career, there is talk that he is “back.” Don’t buy into the one week game. Jimmy Graham was clearly banged up and not involved in a lot of the game plan. Dallas’ defense was beyond terrible. He’s a WR3, and you can likely expect a 5/50 stat line on average going forward, but don’t get too excited about his big game.
The Giants had said they were going to ease Brown back into the game. The Giants lied. Brown had a broken leg, not a soft issue injury. The odds of him getting reinjured are slim (compared to muscle pulls and ankle sprains, for example). However, easing a player back into the game doesn’t usually involve giving him 31 touches. Sure, it worked out well for him – 115 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown and one reception for four yards. But can he maintain it? The Giants are going to find out. And while they run Brown into the ground, so should Fantasy owners. What do they have to lose? It’s Week 11 and there are only seven games left in the regular season. Brown is clearly better than any other option they have on the team. He’s going to get the ball – and often. Trust him in Fantasy.