Finally, a glimmer of hope. After 14 long weeks, DeAndre Hopkins finally showed up Sunday in Week 15. OK, so it wasn’t a 2015 performance that we were hoping for, but compared to the rest of his season, he had his most complete game of the year.
Hopkins set a season-high in targets (17), had his second-highest catch total of the year (eight) and his highest yardage output (87) since Week 2, when he went for 113. It’s a little late for baby steps, being that if you had Hopkins, it’s unlikely that you were playing in the semifinals of your league. In fact, per ESPN.com, only 30.9 percent of playoff teams that have their Fantasy league through ESPN rostered Hopkins. But it’s still encouraging.
The answer was simple, really. The Texans just had to sit Brock Osweiler on the bench. Tom Savage isn’t great by any means, but he peppered Hopkins with targets, which was what made Hopkins so good a year ago. If you’re one of the 30 percent of teams that owned Hopkins to make the playoffs and somehow advanced to the finals, there is a glimmer of hope. However, that hope could be dashed slightly, as the Texans have the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday. Adam Jones has shut wide receivers down like it’s his job this year … well, because it is. But with Savage under center, Hopkins should see double-digit targets again, and can be a flex play for all the marbles.
Hear me out on this one. Yes, LeGarrette Blount set a Patriots’ single-season record with 15 rushing touchdowns. Yes, Dion Lewis set a career-high in rushing attempts in Week 15 against Denver. But the Patriots’ back I’m looking at for this week and Week 17, if you’re league is into that sort of thing, is James White.
My reason? The Patriots have a first-round bye locked up, with the Jets and the Dolphins left. The Raiders have the Colts and the Broncos left. The Patriots are going to get that No. 1 seed. For the playoffs, they want Blount healthy. They know Lewis is their best running back, and being that he’s just recently back after his knee surgery, they’ll want to protect him heading into the playoffs.
That leaves White. No, he hasn’t had more than seven carries in any game this year. But if I’m the Patriots, he’s the most expendable option in the backfield. I don’t want to start any of these guys, but if it’s White or someone like Rex Burkhead, give me White all day long.
Given the way the position is, you have to be excited to own Zach Ertz in a PPR league. For the second-straight year, Ertz is having a nice finish to his season. In six of his past seven games, Ertz has either recorded six receptions or found the end zone. He gets the tight end-friendly New York Giants in Week 16, so fire him up once again.
We touched on them last week, but Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery came through in their new opportunity. If only Kenneth Farrow and Kenneth Dixon followed suit.
Yeah, he fumbled, but Rishard Matthews is actually pretty good. After sitting out of our lineups the past two weeks – bye and Broncos – Matthews returned in a tough matchup against the Chiefs. Matthews didn’t find the end zone, which has been the majority of his value this year, but he did record 105 yards on four receptions, continuing to grow his reputation as a big-play threat. Matthews has an even 800 yards on the season. If he can record 200 yards over his next two games – Jaguars and Texans – he’ll be the first Titans wide receiver to record 1,000 yards receiving in a season since Kendall Wright accomplished the feat in 2013.
I don’t care that Robert Griffin had a decent game Sunday. I care that the Browns are 0-14. They have been desperate all year, but you’re about to see the desperation reach a whole new level over the next two weeks as they look to avoid the dreaded 0-16 finish. With the Chargers and the Steelers remaining on their schedule, Griffin is going to throw, throw, throw and run, run, run. You could do worse – even with the improved Chargers defense – in Week 16 as a DFS flier or if you’re stuck in a bad quarterback situation.
While it was really nice to see Alshon Jeffery return to nine targets and a touchdown, we shouldn’t expect it going forward. Jeffery has Washington and Minnesota left, which means Josh Norman and Xavier Rhodes will likely be shadowing him.
Like Jeffery, if you had the stones to start Carson Palmer last week, thank him for his service and move on. Palmer gets the Seahawks this week. Even without Earl Thomas, I’m not touching Palmer.
The disappointing season for Amari Cooper continued Sunday, as he posted his second-straight sub-30-yard game. He’s failed to register at least six receptions in his past five games. Usually receivers take the leap in their third season. We expected it from Cooper in his second season this year. After what he showed as a rookie, we had every right to expect that. I’m holding out hope for the future, but he has to start beating the tough assignments. Michael Crabtree, due to the end zone looks, is my favorite Raiders receiver going forward.
Our Stock Report cover guy Robby Anderson made the owners that start him happy last week, as he found the end zone again Saturday night against Miami. However, if Bryce Petty is out this week, Anderson should be out, too. Well, out of your lineups, at least. I used it last week, and it’s applicable again – Anderson is the Cameron Meredith to Petty’s Brian Hoyer. If Petty isn’t under center, I’ll gladly cut Anderson.