If you’ve made it to this point in the season, I’m assuming that you didn’t start Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger or Andrew Luck last week. If you’re playing in Week 15 and you started one of them, you either had Le’Veon Bell or you’re just one hell of a good person with good things owed to you.
We often hear that backup quarterbacks have a connection with backup wide receivers, and whenever they are thrust into a game, they tend to lock on to each other. We saw it earlier this year with Brian Hoyer and Cameron Meredith. Once Hoyer went down, Meredith did, too, from a Fantasy standpoint. Now, we can skew any narrative to fit what we believe, but we are seeing the backup connection take place again, this time with the New York Jets.
Robby Anderson is the latest who-the-hell-is-this player to become Fantasy-relevant because of his situation. With the Jets’ season now a complete loss, they’ve turned to second-year quarterback Bryce Petty, who has a remarkable connection with Anderson.
Over the past two weeks, with Petty under center, Anderson saw a total of 23 targets – 12 in Week 13 and 11 in Week 14 – making up 38.3 percent of Petty’s total attempts. Now, Anderson only hauled in one-third of those in Week 13, but he added 61 yards and a touchdown. Last week, he caught six of 11 targets for 99 yards.
If you need an upside play at wide receiver, you can do much worse than Anderson as long as Petty is quarterback. I’d take him over Brandon Marshall going forward as the No. 1 option on the Jets.
Speaking of the Jets, is it too much of a hot take to say that Bilal Powell has actually looked – on film, not exactly the numbers – like the better Jets running back this year a lot of the time? With Matt Forte injured, Powell could be a Top 24 back the rest of the season, and even higher in PPR leagues. The matchup against the Rams isn’t ideal, but he’s involved in the passing game enough to give added value. If the Forte owner doesn’t have him locked up, make sure you go out and get him. He showed what he can do after his 29-carry, 145-yard performance Sunday, albeit against the 49ers defense.
Another back who could take advantage of playing time opportunity is Kenneth Farrow. It doesn’t sound like the Chargers are going to shut Melvin Gordon down for the season, and they haven’t even said he’s out for this week, but I’m under the impression that Farrow is going to be the starting running back for the Chargers Sunday. He struggled in pass protection, as we saw Sunday, but the starting running back for San Diego is going to produce for Fantasy due to the volume and involvement in the offense.
Finally Mike McCarthy realized that James Starks just isn’t good. He probably also isn’t an active Twitter user, so he isn’t a Christine Michael fan. He utilized Ty Montgomery the way he was supposed to Sunday by giving him 12 touches. The Packers need to keep winning. Even someone like McCarthy should realize by now that having Montgomery on the field gives his team the best chance to do so.
Charles Sims is the best running back in Tampa Bay. OK, it may be because I don’t like Doug Martin as a player at all, but seeing him back out there Sunday for the first time since Week 4 was a delight. Will he ever be a true three-down back? Probably not. But he’s the perfect complement in the offense as a change-of-pace runner, and Sims can make a difference for your Fantasy team, too. He’s a must-start option in PPR leagues going forward.
Malcolm Mitchell did it again Monday night. With no Rob Gronkowski, Mitchell continues to be a player that Fantasy owners can turn to, even in the playoffs, to produce. He only had five targets Monday – he caught four of them – but he found the end zone again and came within a half-yard of having a two-score day. His stock continues to go up, but it takes a hit this week against the Broncos. Sit him if you can, but keep him for your title game in Week 16 against the Jets.
I’m not trusting Russell Wilson with my playoff hopes. I don’t care if he puts up 30 points against the Rams. He’s going to be on my bench if I can help it. We gave Wilson a pass for being injured early in the year, and then he validated that by putting together a streak of three good games in a row. Now he’s back to dragging Fantasy teams down. How bad has he been? In two of his past three games, he’s posted two of the three worst passer ratings of his career. The other came in his seventh career game. I’m going to look forward to the Wilson discount in 2017, but for 2016, with the Rams – don’t laugh, they play the Seahawks tough every game and Jeff Fisher is finally gone. Then they face the Cardinals, another tough defense, so Wilson won’t be seeing any starting lineups for me if I can help it.
Speaking of next year, how far is Allen Robinson going to fall in drafts? He’s coming off a one-catch, 17-yard performance against the Vikings, which is just the latest disappointment for him this year. Marqise Lee has been the superior option this year, but what about next year? Robinson has the Texans and Titans up next for him. He had 107 yards and a score against the Texans last time out, but to put it in perspective, I’d start Malcolm Mitchell against Denver over Robinson.
This whole strategy of drafting and holding Philip Rivers for the Fantasy playoffs is really backfiring after a Week 13 average performance against Tampa Bay and a dud against Carolina Sunday. Luckily, he has Oakland and Cleveland coming up, but I’m not as excited about starting him as I once was.