The Fantasy Football season is now more than half over. I know that is hard to believe, as it feels like the Steelers just lost the opening Thursday night game to the Patriots. As the season moves along and the bye weeks pass, the roster moves and trades you make could be what determines your fate. You may find yourself in a league in which most of your players have already had their byes. Obviously, this is a great spot to be in, but it also means that depth is not as important on your roster. Yes, you always want depth to cover for injuries, but in Fantasy Football what wins championships more than anything else is star players. If someone wants to offer you a trade in which you receive quality and give up quantity, you should give it serious consideration. Having depth may give you peace of mind, but having stars will win you a title.
After watching the Giants and Eagles last Monday night, and the 49ers and Seahawks last Thursday, I’m not sure I can sit through another prime time game. Is it me, or has this entire season just not produced crisp football? I expect sloppiness in September, when teams are still figuring out their identity, but we are in late October now and the games don’t seem to be getting much, if at all better. Colin Kaepernick looks like a shell of the quarterback that played in the Super Bowl just a few years ago. Russell Wilson is on pace to lead the league in being sacked, if his offensive line doesn’t put him in the hospital first.
I enjoy the games in England. I’m one of those people who will wake up early to watch the game; football all day is a good thing. I would prefer the game to be on television rather than have to stream it, but it’s not a big deal. The Jaguars won the game, barely, but more importantly, Blake Bortles is becoming a must-start QB. Who saw that coming? Seriously, I would start only three or four Fantasy quarterbacks over him now; and his receivers, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, are must-starts right along with him. Here’s hoping the bye week doesn’t cool them down.
It was a good news/bad news day for the Tampa Bay passing game. The good news was that the bye week seemed to allow Jameis Winston and Mike Evans to get back in sync with each other. Evans had eight receptions for 164 yards and a score. Those who bought low on him over the past couple of weeks are about to be rewarded handsomely. The bad was that Vincent Jackson suffered a knee injury in the third quarter and didn’t return to the game. The injury is not expected to be serious, however.
Another player who had a successful return to the lineup was TE Jordan Reed. Reed had been out of action with a concussion but returned in a big way with an 11-72-2 line. Reed is truly a Top 10 TE in Fantasy. His only problem is staying in the lineup. It doesn’t seem like he has ever been able to stay healthy for more than a few games. If you have Reed on your roster, you’re almost forced to carry a second TE.
How many Fantasy owners were disappointed with the Falcons’ poor showing on offense? Sure, Devonta Freeman still rushed for over 100 yards and Julio Jones had a score but otherwise, there was no meat in this sandwich. The Falcons still won the game, but an offense that looked unstoppable early this season has had the breaks put on them the past couple of games. Leonard Hankerson, who came into the game with a rib injury, was forced to leave with a hamstring injury. Roddy White is looking like Father Time has finally caught up with him, which puts the entire focus of the defense on Jones in passing situations, and that may just be too much to ask of him. They just aren’t as explosive right now as they were coming out of the gate.
Fantasy-wise Andrew Luck had a great game on Sunday. He threw for 333 yards and three scores. Looks great, right? Well, he also barely completed 50 percent of his passes. He threw two interceptions and at one point, his team trailed 27-0, so most of his Fantasy production came in garbage time. I’m sure you’re thinking, who cares, points are points? Agreed, but this is not something you can rely on each week. In redraft leagues, you’re going to start Luck no matter what but in DFS, I can’t pay his price. I’ll find a cheaper option if I don’t want to start Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers.
Is Stefon Diggs the only WR you want to start in Minnesota right now? Yes, he is. Charles Johnson was invisible in his first game back from a rib injury, and the offseason trade for Mike Wallace is starting to look like a colossal bust. Diggs has now had 19 catches for 324 yards in his last three games. Someone has to take advantage of defenses loading up the box to stop Adrian Peterson. Johnson and Wallace haven’t, Diggs is. He is the only WR I from the Vikings that I would consider starting on my Fantasy team.
Antonio Brown had to be thrilled to have a pure pocket passer back at quarterback for Pittsburgh, even if it wasn’t Ben Roethlisberger. Fantasy owners may not have started him this week, and really, who can blame them? But he came back to Fantasy relevance with six catches for 124 yards. He is back to being a must-start, especially with Roethlisberger poised to make his return from a knee injury for next week’s big matchup versus the Bengals.
Speaking of the Bengals and Steelers playing next week, how can the NFL justify having a team come off a bye week to play a team in its own division? I’ve always wondered why the NFL can’t have each division have their own bye week and then play each other the next week. This would level the playing field. It just seems ludicrous to have a divisional game with one team is coming off a bye, while the other team played just seven days ago. Talk about your competitive advantages.
I have nothing more to say about the Rams aside from the fact that Todd Gurley is the real deal. He is going to be exciting to watch for years to come. Just imagine what he can/will do when the Rams get some true talent at the skill positions around him, not to mention an offensive line that can open up holes for him on a regular basis.
Did someone forget to tell the Houston Texans that this wasn’t their bye week? Their performance on Sunday was an embarrassment. What is going on with this team? Sometime starter but current backup quarterback Ryan Mallett missed the team charter and had to pay his own way to Miami. Are you kidding me? Actually, the entire team might have missed the plane, as they were down 41-0 at the half. Then, to add salt to the wound, they lost Arian Foster for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, an injury he suffered in the fourth quarter when the team was trailing by multiple touchdowns. Does anyone want to explain to me what the franchise running back, a player who has been dealing with a groin injury all season long, was doing in a game that was all but over except for the crying? Anyone? This kind of game gets coaches fired.
There really isn’t much we can say about the Dolphins aside from acknowledging that this team has come out like gangbusters for two straight weeks since the coaching change. Yes, they haven’t played the strongest of opponents, but to wipe out teams the way they have is impressive. Those of you who are worried about Lamar Miller because he didn’t receive a carry in the second half can relax, the team was just resting him because the game was a blowout, and they have a short week before they play again Thursday.
If you watched the New England game Sunday, the first thing that hits you is that Tom Brady keeps everything short; he dinks and dunks. This may lead you to think it’s a bad thing, until you realize at some point late in the game that he has over 300 yards passing. This, coming in a game in which his receivers dropped at least a dozen passes. Brandon LaFell alone had at least six drops. Imagine the numbers he could’ve posted. LaFell will get better but the rust was on full display Sunday.
I’m really not sure why anyone thought Matt Cassel was the answer at quarterback for Dallas. Sure, Brandon Weeden looked like he didn’t want to throw the ball into the secondary, but Cassel looked like he couldn’t do it. So many of his passes fluttered, allowing the Giants to intercept three balls. This isn’t all the quarterback’s fault. The Cowboys don’t truly have a deep threat, with Dez Bryant still out of the lineup, so defenses aren’t truly afraid of a WR getting behind them. There was some thought that Bryant could play versus the Giants, but even by the Cowboys’ own estimates, 6-8 weeks, Sunday would’ve been early. When he reported a sore foot late this week that removed all doubt. I wouldn’t automatically assume that Bryant plays this coming week versus Seattle either.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.