There is a Blueprint to Corral the Cowboys | A Bad Day for the ‘Aints
In most leagues, the 2016 Fantasy regular season will end tonight. Hopefully, your season is not over and Week 14 is the beginning of a championship run. It’s at this point that you really want to go over your roster, and look at the roster of the team you will be playing in the first round the playoffs. Check to see where their weakness is. If they need a TE, don’t be afraid to beat them to the waiver wire to claim that player yourself. All is fair in Fantasy. One thing when it comes to setting your roster. Don’t worry about the players your opponent is starting. It doesn’t matter. Start your best players. Don’t start a lesser player because they have the QB and you’re trying to offset the points. Who cares where the points come from as long as you’re getting your share? Good luck.
Dallas at Minnesota
Now, the Vikings have one of the better defenses in the NFL but they may have shown the rest of the league a blueprint to beat Dallas. Keep Ezekiel Elliott in check. He will make his plays, but don’t let him run wild and force Dak Prescott to beat you. This will work well if the defense has a cornerback that can cover Dez Bryant one-on-one. Stefon Diggs was hobbled a bit, but he played and should be close to 100-percent healthy next week. He and Kyle Rudolph continue to be the only two reliable weapons that Minnesota has on offense and even Rudolph dropped at TD pass in this game.
Kansas City at Atlanta
Don’t get too excited about KC scoring 29 points in this game; 17 of those points came from the defense. Alex Smith did have a good game, completing 21 of 25 pass attempts for 270 yards but only one touchdown. The running game, aside from the fake punt, was pretty weak. Spencer Ware did score two touchdowns on the day but only had 29 yards on the ground. Don’t let the point total fool you, he’s still just a mid to low range RB2. Julio Jones was banged up once again in this game (shocking I know), but stated afterwards that he will be fine going forward. There was no mention of the exact nature of the injury except the location; the lower body. Mohamed Sanu left with a groin issue. If neither wide receiver is at full strength next week this could seriously hinder the Falcons’ passing game.
Detroit at New Orleans
Should Matthew Stafford be in consideration for NFL MVP? Probably. He’s putting up some pretty good statistics without a true number one receiver or running back. He’s led the Lions to a comeback victory in seven of the team’s eight wins. Marvin Jones made life easier for all Fantasy owners by being inactive for the game. He has a thigh injury. This shouldn’t be a big loss, as he shouldn’t be in your lineup anyway. Brandin Cooks led the Saints in targets and receptions, so the squeaky wheel did get the grease. He and the rest of the receiver crew could’ve posted better numbers but Drew Brees had an off day, as he was constantly throwing the ball at his receiver’s feet. This was especially surprising since they were playing at home. Mark Ingram, who was questionable for the game with a toe injury, did leave for a bit but looked fine. He only touched the ball 12 times but that still led all Saints’ running backs. The team was trailing throughout the game and elected to put the ball in the air early and often.
Los Angeles at New England
I don’t know what to tell you about the Rams. Kenny Britt saved his Fantasy day with a garbage time touchdown. Will Malcolm Mitchell become the new go-to guy in New England? That’s always a difficult question to answer, as Bill Belichick will look to exploit matchups each week. He’s not looking to make any player on his offense happy. If Belichick believes the power running game is the best way to win, then LeGarrette Blount will be the guy. If it’s the short passing game, then it may be Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis. It just goes on and on. Mitchell should be picked up in any case but he is not an automatic start every week.
Denver at Jacksonville
Who would’ve thought that Paxton Lynch would make Trevor Siemian look so good? Siemian missed the game with an ankle injury, which crushed the value of just about everyone on offense except for Devontae Booker, who found the end zone. Hopefully, Siemian returns next week. This was a very predictable game for the Jags’ offense. They tried to move the ball on the ground but didn’t have the weapons to do so. Blake Bortles still threw multiple interceptions, at least one of which was a pick six. Shocking. Allen Robinson was shut down; no shock here either. Denard Robinson received so many touches, 18, because Chris Ivory was out with a groin injury and T.J. Yeldon was nursing an ankle injury.
Houston at Green Bay
I love games played in the snow; love them. Houston, however, does not. Lamar Miller had to leave the game briefly. He returned but it didn’t matter much, as the Texans had nothing going on offense. DeAndre Hopkins did have a garbage time touchdown but that was only one of three receptions that were a little too late for Fantasy owners. The Packers can’t run the ball to save their lives, so it’s all about what Aaron Rodgers can do with his arm. Jordy Nelson and Devante Adams are must starts and even though Randall Cobb has been disappointing again, he shouldn’t be forgotten.
Philadelphia at Cincinnati
I’m not sure the season can end soon enough for Philadelphia. Remember when everyone was praising them and Carson Wentz for getting off to such a hot start? Yeah, me neither. Jordan Matthews, one of the team’s few offensive threats, missed the game with an ankle injury. Nelson Agholor did get back in the game but the Eagles just don’t have much to threaten opposing defenses. I doubt anyone saw Andy Dalton throwing for over 300 yards in this game. Brandon Lafell had a big game but I still prefer Tyler Boyd for the rest of the season. Jeremy Hill was disappointing, as far as yardage is concerned, but he did reach the end zone once again.
Miami at Baltimore
The Ravens came into this game with the best run defense in the NFL but Jay Ajayi was still able to average north of 5.0 yards per carry. Unfortunately, he was about the only member of the team to show up. The Dolphins were trailing by multiple touchdowns before you could sit down and enjoy the game. They were forced to throw to try and play catch up. If you’re looking for good news, DeVante Parker was able to play and also had a TD. Parker is starting to look like a possible WR1 for Miami in the long term. Joe Flacco came out firing in this game. If you had him as your bye week replacement for Marcus Mariota, congratulations. His favorite target was Dennis Pitta, who had a monster game with nine receptions for 90 yards and two scores. This won’t automatically make him a TE1, but it will put him back in the conversation. Terrance West also had two touchdowns but was outgained yardage-wise by Kenneth Dixon, despite the latter having less touches.
San Francisco at Chicago
This was another snow game and the Niners looked none too interested about playing in it. Colin Kaepernick crushed the playoff hopes of quite a few Fantasy owners by putting up a complete dud of a game. He only completed one of his first five attempts before being replaced by Blaine Gabbert. Whom Chip Kelly decides to start at quarterback next week should be interesting. If it’s Kaepernick, then it will also be interesting to see how much confidence his Fantasy owners have in starting him. Matt Barkley should sue for lack of support. There were at least two more touchdown passes dropped by his wide receivers in this game. I’m talking about you, Joshua Bellamy. Could Barkley be the Bears’ quarterback of the future? At the very least, he could be in competition with a rookie and/or veteran free agent next season.
Buffalo at Oakland
Sammy Watkins only caught three of his nine targets. That was disappointing against a Raiders secondary that has been beatable all season long. Watkins is getting healthier but he is far from 100-percent. He will remain a risky start. To let you know how illogical some Fantasy owners are, I actually had someone tell me (in the RotoExperts Email Answer Queue) that they no longer want to start LeSean McCoy. They were mad because Mike Gillislee vultured two touchdowns on Sunday. Did they forget that McCoy had 130 yards rushing and seven receptions for 61 yards receiving? Good luck with starting Gillislee over McCoy. As expected, there were no repercussions from the dislocated pinky Derek Carr suffered last week. He didn’t use a glove Sunday and had zero problems with velocity or accuracy. Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown pass in this one but also dropped a second one. You can’t have everything.
Giants at Pittsburgh
Sometimes we see the good Eli Manning, sometimes the bad. Sunday was the bad. He only averaged five yards on his 39 pass attempts, and the passing offense has been Odell Beckham or bust the past two weeks. Spreading the ball around would be a good thing for everyone. On defense, Jason Pierre-Paul had to leave the game with a groin injury. If that turns out to be serious, then it stands to reason that Manning and that offense will be under even more pressure to put up numbers, as the defense may not be quite as stingy as they’ve been for most of the season. This wasn’t a pretty game for the Pittsburgh offense but it got the job done. Ladarius Green is looking more and more like a true offensive threat. Just what defenses need, another passing threat for Ben Roethlisberger.
Washington at Arizona
No one is going to want to play this Washington offense if they make the playoffs. Kirk Cousins is proving to be matchup proof. No Jordan Reed. No problem. Vernon Davis is a capable replacement who looks like the Pro Bowl player he was with the 49ers. Cousins may not have a true number one NFL wide receiver but Jamison Crowder, DeSean Jackson, and Pierre Garcon are all legitimate threats. It gives Cousins more choices than most defenses can cover. He’s a must-start. Just when you want to bury Carson Palmer he puts up a big game with 300 yards and three touchdowns. I still can’t trust him, especially with the Fantasy playoffs about to begin. The same bodes for all of his wide receivers besides Larry Fitzgerald.
Tampa Bay at San Diego
Does anyone realize the Bucs are tied for first place in the NFC South? How many Fantasy owners realize the Bucs play the Saints twice during the Fantasy playoffs? Can you say cha-ching? Jameis Winston, Mike Evans, Doug Martin, and Cameron Brate are going to lead quite a few Fantasy owners to championships. Either the Bucs’ defense is getting better (it is) or the Chargers offense is in a slump. No wide receiver caught more than two passes. Tyrell Williams was one of those receivers who somewhat disappointed. One of his catches was a long touchdown so he saved his Fantasy day, and showed no ill effects from the shoulder injury.
Carolina at Seattle
Cam Newton was disciplined by the team and didn’t start the game. He only missed the first play, but that play was an interception. The night pretty much went downhill after that. Newton wasn’t among my Top 12 quarterbacks this week because of how he has looked and the matchup, and he did little in this game to make me regret that ranking. Ted Ginn did catch another long touchdown but he’s next to impossible to trust every week. As bad as Seattle looked last week in Tampa was as good as they looked Sunday night. They throttled Carolina from the opening kickoff. The offensive will continue to be an issue but as long as Russell Wilson has full mobility and can create time with his legs, they should continue to be dangerous offensively. This is especially true if Tyler Lockett is back to being his explosive self. There is some bad news, however. Thomas Rawls, who also looked great in the first half, had to leave the game and is in the concussion protocol. We will have to wait until later this week before we know what his status will be for Week 14.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you, @georgekurtz.
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