And we’ve finally made it! It’s the final bye week and of course were losing out on some irreplaceable players on both the Panthers and the Steelers. Well, they’re only irreplaceable if you don’t read this! With only a few weeks left in the Fantasy Football regular season, it’s become obvious who’s sitting at the top, who’s fighting for their lives, and who is playing the role of spoiler. Either way, this is what’s great about FANTASY SPORTS . . . you play to win the game, whether you’re in the race or not. One game that stands out to me on the schedule as of just recently is that Bills vs. Jets games. Due to inclement weather, who knows how many of the players are even going to show up? Marquise Goodwin will, that’s for sure. Feel free to use these suggestions whether you are suffering from the bye-weeks or not!
Who would have thought the Buccaneers could win another game, in convincing fashion might I add. A lot of the team’s success could be attributed to quarterback Josh McCown who has actually been efficient in terms of Fantasy numbers over the past few weeks. He has 19 fantasy points in each of the last two games, many thanks in order for rookie wide receiver Mike Evans who has just taken the league by storm. McCown was able to outscore names like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and even had the same amount of points as Andrew Luck in week 11. That is some pretty legitimate company. The Bucs travel to play the Bears this week, which puts McCown in line for ye ol’ revenge game. Good thing the Bears give up just over 20 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in the league, second worst behind only the Jets. McCown will get the chance to show off his newly founded duo of wide receivers (more of a solo act), something he did have last year in his time starting with Chicago. This matchup coupled with the opportunity to shove it in their faces makes McCown a golden start this week.
Start McCown over: Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson, Mark Sanchez
Looking deeper: If you’re hurting for a quarterback, this might be the week to trust in Joe Flacco. I know it’s a coin flip every time you put him in your lineup, but he gets the Saints in primetime on Monday Night Football and to be honest, their defense has been abysmal. They even let . . . Andy Dalton look good last week as he threw for three touchdowns. This game is in the Superdome, which means the Saints could put up some points, leaving the Ravens to play catch-up. I believe they have the weapons to do so as well.
It’s beginning to feel like forever since Trent Richardson was one of the premiere running back options for Fantasy Football in his rookie year. The good news is his yards-per-carry is up to 3.4 from last year’s 3.0. Seriously though, this season-ending injury to Ahmad Bradshaw is huge for both Richardson’s Fantasy value and the Colts’ offense overall. This team knows they need to get the running game going, as balance in the NFL is one of the key components to any teams success. This could be the week to start it up. The Colts host the Jaguars in week 12, a team that is allowing nearly 22 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, seventh-worst in the league. I wouldn’t blame the Colts for feeling the need to justify their trade to acquire Richardson, which means they will give him one final shot to take this job and run with it. There isn’t a much better matchup than this. He will get the goal-line carries and could see more work in the passing game due to Bradshaw’s injury. Keep the name Dan Herron in mind as well, though. Should Richardson falter again, they could turn to him. Make sure to handcuff.
Start Richardson over: Chris Ivory, Alfred Morris, Jonas Gray, Bills running backs
Looking deeper: The last thing an owner wants to do right now is put their trust in the Browns’ backfield but sometimes you have no choice. I’m here to tell you that if you are forced to start Terrance West, it may not be the worst thing. Yes, he only had five carries last week but how many times have we soon two or even three Browns running backs have solid performances within the same game? It seems like a lot. This is a run-first team and although Isaiah Crowell is the projected starter, this matchup leaves opportunity for both. The Browns get the Falcons in week 12 and only the New York Giants are allowing more fantasy points to opposing running backs. They’ve given up the most rushing touchdowns this season (12) and get gashed by running backs in the pass game as well, allowing just about 50 receiving yards per game out of the back field. If you have Crowell, start him and if you’re forced to start West, don’t worry too much.
I’m not sure if there is anything more obvious than this: the Philadelphia Eagles cannot stop the pass, specifically to wide receivers. It was Aaron Rodgers who picked them apart last week (a far cry from Zach Mettenberger this week) but the Titans are going to need to pass and it will be to Kendall Wright. The Eagles pride themselves in offense and while I’m sure they would love to stop the big plays from happening, they just can’t. That leaves the door wide open for the Titans playmakers. It sucks that its come to this point with Wright, being drafted as high as he was in Fantasy drafts, but it is what it is. There will be no better matchup on paper for the rest of the season besides this one. In what could potentially be a shootout, the Eagles have given up the most receiving touchdowns to wide receivers (15) and the most points per game at 28. Justin Hunter has been hobbled with a knee injury and Mettenberger continues to target Wright at a reasonable rate. Wright actually picked up a season-high in yardage last week with 70 yards on four receptions. I expect him to build on that in week 12.
Start Wright over: Michael Floyd, Reuben Randle, Allen Hurns, Julian Edelman
Looking deeper: Now that Brandin Cooks has been placed on season-ending injury reserve, somebody has to step up for this New Orleans Saints team. While there was a lot of hype coming into the season and some believe Marques Colston will be the guy to fill that void, I don’t. It will be Kenny Stills. This kid is a playmaker at heart as he can get behind the defense and sit down and help in the possession receiving game as well. Despite being known as solely a big-play guy, Stills proved his worth with a successful college career at Oklahoma and now has the opportunity to translate that to the big stage. He scored a touchdown last week and will look to do so again at home against a susceptible defense at times in the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night.
Disclaimer: This is for only the most desperate teams on the planet. This is one of those players where, usually, you just can’t pull the trigger on starting him but the matchup is too juicy. Marcades Lewis is returning from the injured-reserve this week, just in time for the Colts who are allowing the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. The Jaguars as a whole are putrid but in a divisional game, you never know what team will show up. They could open some eyes and Blake Bortles is going to look for a new target to fill the void of his go-to guy Allen Robinson, who is done for the season. Lewis has touchdown potential in a possible shootout.
Start Lewis over: Vernon Davis, Eric Ebron, Jace Amaro, Jared Cook
On the contrary of our last suggestion, if the Colts defense is available, you have to take the crack at it. Even if the Jaguars decide to put some points on the board, Blake Bortles is so turnover-prone that the Colts could get an opportunity to bring multiple scores back to the house on defense. This defense has made some plays at times and the Jaguars are just handing the ball off to the opposition. Yes, it’s the Colts and you don’t really ever want to rely on them but the Jags are that bad.
Start Colts D/ST over: Patriots, Lions, Cardinals, Texans
So, why is this column called Bye, Bye, Bye? Find out here.
Yes, I was a 90’s kid, and who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned boy band?