Fantasy Football Intelligence: Homestretch!

Tom Brady may be winning the divorce, but he sure had a bad date last night. With 206 yards, three picks and nary a touchdown (1st and Goal from the 1…four failures in a row) he let down himself and his fantasy owners, including me. In a league where the #12 QB scored 24 points yesterday, Brady’s 5 didn’t cut it. He’ll rebound, but his week 11 matchup with the Rams looks a little riskier today. The good news is that the rest of his opponents look more forgiving. We’ll learn more when we see how the Bucs deal with the Carolina Panthers, who gave the Chiefs all they can handle this week.

For most leagues, we enter the last four weeks of the season with playoffs looming in weeks 14-16. League leaders are beginning to align their playoff rosters and bubble teams need to focus on the week to week to reach the big dance. Every move is important now. Here are a few considerations for teams needing a week to week edge.

QB6 and QB8 for the last month are both available in about 30% of leagues.

QB6 is in a pass heavy offense, and has multiple weapons. He can run a little and has three rushing touchdowns on the season. His bye week is behind him and he is #8 for the entire season in passing yards. He faces a tough matchup with Pittsburgh this week, but then faces Washington FT, the Giants and Miami. He gets Dallas the first week of playoffs before you would likely look elsewhere after that.

QB8 has been patching it together. His team has had a lot of injuries, but they are starting to get healthy at the right time. He’s more appealing if INTs are -1 in your league rather than -2, but he is a threat to run or pass and was once an MVP front-runner before an injury ended his season. He gets the Giants, Browns, Seahawks and Packers over the next month and his team is fighting for a division title.

Lamar Jackson, Matt Ryan and Tom Brady are currently QBs 10, 11 and 13 in average points when looking at healthy starters and excluding Jake Luton’s one start. If you don’t like what you see, perhaps Joe Burrow or Carson Wentz is on your waiver wire.

The WR3 for the last month is available in 32% of leagues and WR10 is available in 70%.

WR3 plays in a dynamic offense, and is averaging 6.5 targets. Not a great total, but more than Amari Cooper and D.J. Moore, over the last month, during which time he has outscored Moore by an average of 5 points and Cooper by an average of 10 per game. His next four are Buffalo, Seattle, New England and the Rams.

WR10 has scored in three games in a row. He is only averaging six catches per game for the last month, but he is also getting three carries per game and is a focal point for his team in the red zone. His overachieving team faces Tampa, Detroit and Minnesota before a late bye. His playoff schedule is the Packers, Washington FT and the Saints.

If you are starting Amari Cooper with the Cowboys anemic QBs, you need a Golladay replacement or you are tired of disappointing games from JuJu, Devante Parker, Darius Slayton or Cole Beasley, take a look at Christian Kirk and Curtis Samuel.

There are no great recommendations at RB as they tend to get gobbled up quickly, but if Christian McCaffrey misses time, and Mike Davis was prematurely jettisoned (he’s available in 27% of leagues), he is by far the best play. The Chargers’ Justin Jackson can’t play next week, Kalen Ballage is a fair play against his former team in Miami. Similarly, Wayne Gallman has been RB25 for the last month and we don’t yet know Devonta Freeman’s status. Gallman has Philly, a bye, the Bengals and Seahawks. He should at least be viable for the Eagles game. The worry is that while he can catch (2.5 targets per game), he can easily become the victim of a poor game script when the Giants fall behind. Ballage and Gallman are desperation plays, but Davis has proven himself a game changer if he is the main man in Carolina.

Similarly, TE is a thin position. Mark Andrews is TE25 and Noah Fant TE29 for the last month, but Fant is 9th in targets and Andrews 10th over that time among healthy TEs. It is hard to bench them for touchdown dependent options who are not as big a part of their offenses. If you need to stream a TE for any reason, Trey Burton, Irv Smith Jr. and Logan Thomas are dart throw options.

Last but not least, if you are streaming defenses, take a look at Seattle. They just got smoked by Buffalo and they have been poor all year, but they traded for Carlos Dunlop and Jamal Adams is healthy. Most importantly, their opponents weeks 12-15 are the Eagles, Giants, Jets and Redskins. The Jets are always special and they don’t call it the NFC Least for nothing.

The time is right now to fine tune for a playoff or championship run.

 

 

Lee Benjamin

Lee Benjamin has been a football fan since Jim Plunkett was under center for the Patriots and his first ever fantasy football pick was a young Jerry Rice. He’s won more championships during Tom Brady’s career than Tom Brady, though unfortunately, they pay a lot less. His blog, Fantasy Football Intelligence, is published regularly on the WTPL, WTSN and Frank-FM sites. Lee spent over 25 years in New England media. He now resides in South Florida and enjoys freelance writing about sports and politics.