And just like that, the NFL season hits the double-digits this week. For fantasy owners, that means it is time to think about one thing.
Somebody, cue the Jim Mora clip.
“Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!”
At this point of the season, there are three different types of fantasy players. The first are those who are nearly assured a playoff spot. These players can use their strength to make themselves stronger for the push to the championship.
The second are those in the playoff hunt. With just a handful of games remaining, they are just trying to cross the line to make the postseason.
Then, there are those who are out. There will be no playoffs for you. Deal with it.
As someone who is on the cusp of that third group, I have some actually good advice for those players. Make it fun: pick someone you want to win (or lose, take you pick) and start making deals. You can still impact the playoff picture, and possibly smite someone in the process.
Ladies and germs, your QB4 last week was none other than Jay Cutler. His performance leaves just one question, how bad is the Oakland defense? It was the first time Cutler had over 300 yards and three touchdowns on the season. It is easy to say that it was a fluke, but it is equally as easy to say the opposite. He could be an interesting stash in a deep league with Carolina, Tampa Bay and New England up the next three weeks.
Last week was a disappointment from Kirk Cousins. With a fumble, no touchdowns and only 247 yards against a flying Seahawks defense, he produced just seven points. It does not get any easier against the Vikings pass rush, who will prey on the battered Washington offensive line. This would be the week to play the back-up quarterback.
And just making sure you are paying attention, both Carson Wentz and Alex Smith are on bye this week. Don’t forget to change your lineup if you have been reliant on these two.
It is now official: Denver has gone for the running back by committee approach. C.J. Anderson, Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker all split carries last week. That means that none of them carry relevant fantasy potential moving forward. If there is one to own, it is still Anderson, but he is far from the start worthy back he was earlier in the season.
The Leonard Fournette situation is one of the most interesting of the NFL season. He was inactive last week for breaking a team rule. Whether that carries any implications this week remains to be seen. But, if something were to come of this, best to have his handcuff Chris Ivory. He registered 103 all-purpose yards last week. Both have a soft matchup at home against the Chargers.
While Denver falls deeper into the running back by committee pit, the New York Giants may be climbing out. Orleans Darkwa has 82.3 yards per game in his last four, better than anyone else in the Giants’ backfield. Game flow is the only thing stopping him as the Giants are such a poor offense. But a date with one of the worst run defenses in San Francisco makes him a starter this week.
With three touchdowns between them last week, Los Angeles Rams receivers Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins are likely two of the hottest names off the waiver wire this week. However, it is only smart to pick up one of them. Woods has had four or more receptions in his last four games. Watkins has had multiple receptions in just one of his last five. Woods is the safer pick of the two.
T.Y. Hilton is the one wideout that can do damage for the Colts. It was a huge week last time out, with a pair of touchdowns and 175 yards. The one thing that limits him is the play of Jacoby Brissett, who will be the guy going forward with Andrew Luck on injured reserve. Let your trust in your quarterback be the trust in your receiver as well.
The same can be said about Will Fuller and Tom Savage. With DeAndre Hopkins as the clear-cut No. 1 wideout, Fuller’s chances are going to get a hit with the back-up in. Savage’s inaccuracy led to Fuller hauling in just two of eight targets last week. With a stout Rams defense this week, better options are available.
With 84 yards and a touchdown last week, Julius Thomas is a hot commodity this week. But like his teammate Jay Cutler, the question remains how much can he produce moving forward. The matchup for him is trickier with the athleticism of the Carolina linebackers. Put him on the watch list, and see if he can do anything this week.