We have reached a critical juncture in the Fantasy season. The playoffs are just a month away and trade deadlines are starting to pop up. It is time to get serious about your squad. Start getting aggressive in the trade market and stay diligent on the waiver wire. First, though, you should read about some shifting player values and crank some tunes.
Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
Russell Wilson (QB, Broncos)- “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah. Your faith was strong but you needed proof.” Wilson owners have been waiting for signs of life from their star quarterback after watching three straight starts without a score. They finally got them on Monday night, as Wilson had a 2015-esque performance. He is still not running much at all (he just scored his first rushing TD of the year), which means he is likely not over the lower body injuries that have plagued him all season. Still, it is encouraging to see the production pick up through the air. With Jimmy Graham flashing Saints-like domination (more on that later) and an underrated corps of wideouts, Wilson could be in for another strong finish. You do not have the luxury of waiting another week to buy in seasonal formats, but I’d recommend getting on board if possible. In dynasty, he’s a strong hold and one of the best long-term quarterbacks you could own. For daily play, Wilson is a solid tournament option, as the Seahawks could be in a track meet with the Patriots on Sunday night.
Down To The River To Pray by Alison Krauss
Philip Rivers (QB, Chargers) – “As I went down in the river to pray. Studying about that good old way. And who shall wear the starry crown. Good Lord, show me the way!” We’re off to a very spiritual start to the Playlist this week and Russ Wilson would not have it any other way. Rivers is also thought to be a man of God. He’s also a very underappreciated quarterback when it comes to Fantasy. It seems like every year Rivers loses one or more of his key weapons on offense and he just keeps producing. This year it was Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, plus Antonio Gates for a period of time. He is currently on pace for 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns, which is right where you expect him to be every year. Rivers turns 35 next month and has perhaps only another 3-5 years of relevance left. Other than a tough Week 12 matchup at Houston, Rivers has a very nice Fantasy schedule. He’s a definite buy if you need QB help. He’s also a Top 5 play this weekend against the Dolphins before heading out on his bye. Yes, that is even with Travis Benjamin doubtful to play…because Rivers just seems to keep on rolling no matter what.
The Space Program by A Tribe Called Quest
Paul Perkins (RB, Titans) – “Let’s get it together, come on, let’s make it. Gotta make it to make it to make it to make it. To make something happen, to make something happen. To make something happen, let’s make something happen.” Please note, The Space Program is fresh off the new Tribe album and there is not a proper link yet on YouTube. Check it out, but also note that the link will take you to one of my favorite ATCQ songs – Oh My God. With that out of the way, you are going to want to pay attention to Perkins for Fantasy purposes. I originally thought he would be more of a 2017 impact player, but he’s starting to gain traction in the Giants’ struggling backfield. Rashad Jennings is an average talent at this point in his career and Perkins could very well be the future of the running game. The numbers thus far do not look great, but there is three-down potential here. For the rest of 2016, he’s a nice upside stash in seasonal formats. It is not time yet, but he could have Daily Fantasy value in the next few weeks if he continues to get more work. He’ll enter the offseason as a 2017 breakout candidate.
Hypnotize by The Notorious B.I.G.
Duke Johnson Jr. (RB, Browns) – “Who’s the real dookie? Meaning, who’se really the sh*t.” Before we get to Duke Johnson, how great a music video was Hypnotize? It’s a really good song with even better visuals. Johnson was touted as a breakout candidate this summer after a strong rookie season. It’s not that he’s played poorly this year, it is just that the volume has not been there and it has led to inconsistent production. He has had more than 10 touches in a game just twice all year. Plus, Isaiah Crowell has been running well and that has taken away from Johnson’s potential impact. He is still a really good receiving back, as evidenced by his 100 receptions in 26 career games. For Fantasy, though, he’s a hit-or-miss FLEX play for the most part unless something happens to Crowell. Johnson is actually a nice buy low in dynasty formats, especially PPR.
Wu Gambinos by Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah
Michael Crabtree (WR, Raiders)- “Who come to get you? None. They want guns! I be the first to set off sh*t, last to run. Wu roll together as one. I call my brother Sun ’cause he shine like one.” With Derek Carr and the Raiders’ offense maturing before our eyes, veteran Michael Crabtree is also having one of his best seasons. After a very solid WR3 season last year, Crabtree has stepped his game up even more for 2016, producing like a Top 20 wideout. He is on pace to approach or set career highs in receptions, yards and TDs. Crabtree has also frustrated many Amari Cooper owners with his red zone prowess. It is a great position for Crabtree to be in, playing opposite one of the best young wideouts in the game. They are one of the most formidable duos in Fantasy, not unlike Raekwon and Ghostface in the rap game. Consider Crabtree a locked-in WR2 option moving forward, though production may dip slightly. In keeper and dynasty formats, he is actually a sell-high if you are rebuilding. Flip him to a contender for a younger player with more long-term appeal.
Ruff Ryders Anthem Remix by DMX feat. DJ Clue, Drag-On, Eve & The Lox
Dez Bryant (WR, Cowboys) – “My dogs gon’ stop, your dogs gon’ drop. And then we gon’ shut ‘em down, open up shop. First we had em like ohhh, now they like noooo. What baby?!! That’s how Ruff Ryders roll.” Are Dez Bryant’s elite days in the rearview mirror? While you never want to doubt someone with his ceiling, the past year and a half have been a struggle. Bryant has been injured in both seasons, but the on-field production just has not been what we’ve come to expect. At just 28 years old, he is a dynasty buy just as long as you are not paying 2014 Dez prices. In seasonal formats, you have to ride it out with him because you simply shouldn’t have many better options. Just be prepared for a few dud performances, as the offense runs through Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott spreads the ball around. Bryant is a very interesting daily play this weekend against the Steelers’ questionable secondary.
I Am Not A Human Being by Lil Wayne
Jimmy Graham (TE, Seahawks) – “Who got it better than me? Federline on the block, rolling V.I.P.” Remember when Graham was all but finished as a Fantasy asset? Not only has he bounced back, but he looks better than he ever did as a Seahawk. When you see him making ridiculous catches and trucking defenders, you can’t help but think back to his Saints days, when he was an elite pass catcher. At this point, he has resuscitated his value all the way back, despite approaching 30 years old. A few more red zone looks per game will go a long way, as he only has three TDs on the year and two of them came last week. I am not sure how you don’t feed him as soon as you get inside the 10-yard line; he looks un-guardable. You can make a case for Tyler Eifert, Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed behind Rob Gronkowski, but Graham is in the mix right after them for dynasty purposes. In season-long formats, he’s a top three option.
As Good As I Once Was by Toby Keith
Julius Thomas (TE, Jaguars) – “I ain’t as good as I once was, I got a few years on me now. But there was a time, back in my prime, when I could really lay it down.” After a promising start (ok, a promising two weeks) Thomas has been an inconsistent contributor to the Jaguars’ lackluster offense. He’s seen at least five targets in five of seven games, but never any more than that. He hasn’t mustered more than 28 yards in a game since Week 2. If you are forced to start him in seasonal leagues, you have to be hoping for a touchdown. Thomas will turn 29 years old this offseason and can no longer be viewed as a player with elite (albeit TD-dependent) upside. He is not a sell because there simply is no market for him right now. You are better off keeping him and hope he can finish the season in semi-productive fashion so you can ship him out. His stock has continued to fall ever since he left Denver.