Keep Exploiting the Browns, Saints, Rams and Bears
The Fantasy gods are having fun with us this season, having the Fantasy championship on Christmas weekend. Yeah, I’m sure this won’t lead to any family disagreements. I’m lucky. I’ll get to watch the games. What’s my wife going to say? Sorry honey, it’s my job; I have to watch. That’s a good enough Christmas present for me. As for everyone else, I hope you have been good this year and that Santa brings you a Fantasy championship. As for actual Fantasy news, well, there isn’t one team that has nothing to play for, so you don’t have to worry about teams resting any players. This could change if the Giants lose Thursday; then Dallas would have home field clinched. The Lions could also have very little to play for, depending on how the games go Saturday, but that seems unlikely. It is expected that Dallas will still play their regulars even if they have clinched everything. Happy Holidays everyone and good luck this weekend.
- Cleveland Browns: Kenneth Farrow has been unimpressive since taking over for Melvin Gordon (hip). Over the last two games he has 31 carries for 94 yards. Those aren’t exactly frightening numbers. Sure, Cleveland can’t stop the run but that doesn’t make Farrow anything more than a risky flex play. Tyrell Williams is coming off a concussion and dealing with a shoulder injury. He’s still a high-end WR3. At tight end, I’d rather have Antonio Gates than Hunter Henry but both are playable.
- Los Angeles Rams: Carlos Hyde has become a high-end RB2 over the past couple of weeks and that doesn’t change this week. Colin Kaepernick becomes a possible starter at quarterback over the likes of Eli Manning and Matthew Stafford.
- Chicago Bears: Washington may have put up a dud Monday night, but one has to think they will rebound here. I’d start all the wide receivers and Rob Kelley. The only question mark, and he’s a big one, is Jordan Reed. Unless there are just no other options, he has to sit. He went down like he was shot after he was bumped in to on Monday. He also was in pain after being tackled. I’m surprised he is even playing under these circumstances. I’d start Vernon Davis over him.
- New Orleans Saints: You can expect this game to be a shootout, so it will be hard to sit anyone. Doug Martin hasn’t done much since returning from the hamstring injury but he is still an RB2. Adam Humphries could also be a play here if you lack depth at wide receiver. Jameis Winston is a low end QB1 this week.
- Indianapolis Colts: This is another game in which quite a few points should be put on the scoreboard. I know Derek Carr hasn’t played well in his last two games, but there is no way I can sit him or any of my normal Oakland starters in this game.
- Carolina Panthers: If I had a vote, I would make Matt Ryan my NFL MVP. He’s been awesome no matter who he is throwing to, and this week he will have Julio Jones Am I worried about starting Jones? Yes. But unless you are super deep at WR, I can’t see how you can sit him. Tyler Gabriel is also a flex play and you should have no problem starting both running backs.
- New York Jets: Who aren’t you starting for NE? The only problem with the Patriots is that certain players just won’t be in the game plan. Maybe this isn’t the week for short little passes to Dion Lewis and James White. Maybe they will throw deep to Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell. It all becomes somewhat of an educated guessing game. The must-starts for me LeGarrette Blount and Julian Edelman. Whether you start Martellus Bennett, Mitchell or Lewis depends upon how much you want to roll the dice and who else is on your roster.
- San Francisco 49ers: Well, if you still have Todd Gurley on your roster, this could be the week he pays off for you. Everyone runs against the 49ers. Gurley is a must-start. That’s really it, although Kenny Britt should get some love as well.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Drew Brees probably ticked off a few owners last week. He performed poorly in two straight games and then lit up the Arizona defense on the road. No such doubts this week, though, as Brees, Brandin Cooks, and Michael Thomas are all must-starts with Willie Snead not far behind in PPR leagues. The running game is more interesting. Mark Ingram wasn’t happy about Tim Hightower vulturing a TD last week, and neither were his owners. Ingram gets in the end zone this week.
- Baltimore Ravens: The Steelers’ offense is just a different animal at home with Ben Roethlisberger. I doubt they put up massive numbers this week but I’d start all of the usual suspects. You do want to be cautious with Ladarius Green. He is dealing with a concussion and may not be able to play Saturday. Eli Rogers is a better option than Sammie Coates if you’re deciding between the duo.
- Oakland Raiders: I’d have a hard time starting Donte Moncrief this week, even if he is cleared coming off a hamstring injury. I just have a hard time seeing him at anywhere near 100-percent healthy this week.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: Well, if you held onto Marcus Mariota, Rishard Matthews and Kendall Wright you may finally receive a payoff this week. The Jags don’t have a terrible defense, but they’re not the Broncos or Chiefs either.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: There is no one on the Ravens that you should jumping up and down to start, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have useful Fantasy players. Mike Wallace and Steve Smith are both WR3/flex plays. Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West can be useful running backs, fkugh, trying to figure out which one is more valuable in any given week is not easy to say the least. I’m not big on Dennis Pitta unless you’re pretty desperate.
- Arizona Cardinals: We just saw the Saints light up the Cardinals to the tune of 48 points. That doesn’t mean the Hawks will do the same. The question for the Hawks is always the same, can their offensive line hold up? If it can, then Russell Wilson and the passing game will do well. If not, then this could be a low scoring game. Aside from Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin, there is no one else I’d automatically plug into my lineup.
- Green Bay Packers: Even if Adrian Peterson were to play this week, there is no way that I’d start him, not until next year anyway. I’d like to start Stefon Diggs but a hip injury and only five receptions over the past two games have me concerned. The Packers’ defense can be had through the air, but I don’t know if Sam Bradford can take advantage of it. Kyle Rudolph is my only must-start here.
- Philadelphia Eagles: I want nothing to do with Eli Manning and the Giants offense other than Odell Beckham. Maybe it’s the offensive line, maybe it’s Manning, or maybe the team plays it conservative because the defense has been so dominant. There just isn’t much Fantasy joy to be hard here.
- Detroit Lions: The Lions could have a difficult time stopping the Cowboys’ offense. Darius Slay will miss the game, so stopping Dez Bryant and Dak Prescott could prove difficult, and we all know that stopping Ezekiel Elliott is next to impossible. They are all must-starts and Jason Witten could be close also if you need TE help, especially in a PPR league.
- Minnesota Vikings: Your guess is as good as mine about why the Vikings’ defense didn’t show up last week. Perhaps the burden of carrying the team all season has caught up with them. Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are must-starts as always. I know Davante Adams dropped two touchdowns last week but I’m still going back to the well here. I will sit Randall Cobb, He’s just not the same player anymore. As for Ty Montgomery, he has a tougher matchup this week, so he’s not a must-start, but RB2 is still a pretty good bet.
- Dallas Cowboys: I’m going to have a tough time starting Matthew Stafford this week. He actually looked solid playing with the glove last week, so I’m not worried about that. His finger is still far from 100-percent healthy and it just has to hurt his throwing. I will start Golden Tate and Eric Ebron. Tate should receive a majority of the targets in this game and the Cowboys have had problems all season covering the TE.
- Atlanta Falcons: If I had to choose right now between Ted Ginn and Kelvin Benjamin, Ginn would be the choice. I don’t know if that says more about how well Ginn has played or how poorly Benjamin has. You will need to watch the status of Greg Olsen and make sure his elbow injury doesn’t flare up again. He starts for me if he’s active. Cam Newton is also a Top 10 play if there was any doubt.
- Washington Redskins: I’ve been impressed with Matt Barkley, and he should have a chance to compete for the starting job next summer, but I’m not about to start him in my championship game. Alshon Jeffery was a pleasant surprise last week (I had to start him in a deep league and don’t win without him) but he should see a whole bunch of Josh Norman on Saturday. Jordan Howard is my only must-start.
- Cincinnati Bengals: With the move from Brock Osweiler to Tom Savage, I’m willing to put DeAndre Hopkins back in my starting lineup. Savage proved last week that he will look at his best receiver. Tight end is a little cloudier. J. Fiedorowicz missed the game last week with a concussion but has been cleared to play. That could be somewhat of a timeshare between him and Ryan Griffin. You probably have to start Lamar Miller, as it’s hard to imagine you having much better on your roster. Be very careful with his ankle injury.
- San Diego Chargers: The Chargers will be one of the top streaming defenses this week. Who can you trust on Cleveland. Terrelle Pryor has suffered a finger injury that will require surgery after the season. He will start for the Browns on Saturday but shouldn’t start for you. Isiah Crowell is the only Brown that I would consider starting.
- Miami Dolphins: With all the rumors coming down Thursday that Tyrod Taylor and Rex Ryan will be gone after the season, it does make one wonder how the team will perform this week. The Dolphins have some issues in the secondary but I still can’t trust Sammy Watkins. He’s outside of my Top 30. Charles Clay, however, is in my Top 12.
- Buffalo Bills: Matt Moore may have thrown four TD passes last week but he only threw the ball 18 times. The Dolphins will play this one close to the vest and run the ball with Jay Ajayi. He did rush for over 200 yards the last time he faced them. Jarvis Landry is a start for me as well. DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills are down in the flex range, as I just don’t see Miami throwing the ball more than they have to.
- Seattle Seahawks: When playing Seattle at home, it’s tough to start anyone other than the best of the best. David Johnson starts, of course, but after that I’d be more cautious. Larry Fitzgerald is probably a start but it’s unlikely that he will have a big game. J. Nelson and John Brown are way down in the flex range.
- Kansas City Chiefs: I know Trevor Siemian had a big game last time versus KC but I’m not starting him here. I’m not touching the Broncos running game here. I will start Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas.
- Houston Texans: I know J. Green is going to play Saturday but you need to be very careful here. He has already come out and stated that he is not at full strength. There is no guarantee that he will be anything more than a decoy in this game, or that he will even complete the game. I’m only starting him if I’m desperate. I’d be wary of Tyler Eifert also, as Houston does a very good job versus the tight end. It’s doubtful that you have much better on your roster, though.
- Tennessee Titans: Is Marquise Lee really the best play on the Jaguars? It hurts to even type that, but it just tells you have far the passing offense has fallen.
- Denver Broncos: The Chiefs might want to keep the pedal to the metal. The past two games they have gotten off to big early leads, only to play conservative and watch those leads slip away. Spencer Ware is overrated but still an RB2 here. The Broncos can be run on. Starting Tyreek Hill is a little trickier, as the volume won’t be there. Look for the Chiefs to find a way to have him make a big play or two.
- New York Giants: Even if Janoris Jenkins (back) misses the game tonight, I’m not sure it matters. The Eagles just don’t have the outside weapons to take advantage of this. Zach Ertz is a must- start but that’s it. Sure, Ryan Mathews had a big game versus the Ravens and their great run defense last week, but I’m not betting on that happening two weeks in a row. Jordan Matthews could be a flex play in PPR leagues but the NYG will pay quite a bit of attention to him.
- New England Patriots: Bilal Powell and Robbie Anderson are the only two Jets that you can think about starting. Powell is just about a must-start, as he has looked fantastic since Matt Forte was hurt. Anderson is riskier. You will need a big play for him to pay off and the Patriots know this as well.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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