A Quick Pick-me-up
It has been a while since I’ve written a Fantasy Football update article. Football isn’t my specialty, I’m more of a baseball guy. However, football is very similar to baseball. It’s all about the numbers. Stats and trends can provide insight on key matchups throughout the season. How else do fantasy owners draft players? They research statistics. Now we’re at the point in the season where teams are on Bye weeks and owners are scrambling to find that quick pick-up. That’s why it’s really important to look at the numbers and the match-ups during these troubling times. I’ll give you some advice on a few players from each position that I believe will be decent pick-ups and starts while your stud players are riding the bench during Bye weeks, and also some players worth grabbing now for future weeks.
Tim Tebow (DEN)- I never thought I’d say this, but pick up Tebow! Seriously, why not? Your quarterback is on a Bye, and you need some solid fantasy numbers to fill the void. Yes, his top receiver Brandon Lloyd is gone, but Tebow is not going to air the ball out. It’s not the type of offense he plays. In 2010, Tebow played in 7 games (3 starts), rushed for 227 yards on 43 attempts and six touchdowns. Tebow threw for 654 yards on 82 attempts and five touchdowns with only three interceptions.
Inside the Numbers- Miami is giving up over 24 fantasy points per week to quarterbacks. I expect Tebow to have a good game. He won’t put up Aaron Rodgers numbers, but he can get you about 20 points. If Mark Sanchez can put up 20 fantasy points on the Dolphins, then Tebow is more than capable of doing that. Look for Denver’s offense to mix things up. They’re desperate at this point…
Advice- If you’re fed up with you’re starting quarterback, like I am (Matt Ryan), then this is a guy you’ll want to play the match-ups. Don’t make this a one week thing. Keep him in your artillery as the Broncos play the Raiders and the Chiefs in Weeks 9 and 10 respectively.
JUST IN CASE:
Sam Bradford (STL)- You’re scratching your heads right now, I know, but if you have nowhere to turn to then I would grab Bradford off the waiver wire to put in your back pocket. He’s someone worth waiting for to break out. The new addition of Brandon Lloyd, who is now reunited with his former offensive coordinator from Denver, Josh McDaniels, will give Bradford that legitimate, reliable #1 receiver. Plus, Mark Clayton has been activated off the PUP list. This may not sound special, but before Clayton went down in Week 5 last season, Clayton caught 23 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Let’s not forget to mention Danario Alexander who has sealed his position as the #2 receiver on the team in front of Brandon Gibson and Greg Salas. Bradford no longer has Mike Sims-Walker on the field, which is a positive. Sims-Walker couldn’t seem to catch anything thrown to him this season.
Advice- Bradford suffered a high-ankle sprain last week against the Packers. He has been using a walking boot for mobility, and his status for Sunday is still uncertain. I would ride the hot hand of Bradford. If you can afford to keep him on your bench, then wait for him to get healthy and see how he does with his new receiving core. He has only thrown three touchdowns this season, so look for him to finally climb out.
Jackie Battle (KC)- Running backs are always hard to replace on your fantasy team. Most teams have one or two really good running backs, while their bench player may be a back-up goal-line back that will get you a few points. However, Jackie looks to be the Chiefs’ go-to guy in the backfield and will see the bulk of the carries going forward, which is very good news for fantasy owners in desperate need of a full-load running back. He’s healthier than Thomas Jones and way bigger than Dexter McCluster. Battle is the feel-good story leading up to this week. He has seen next to no playing time since being an undrafted free agent in 2007. He was bounced around to the practice squad in 2008, and then suffered a torn rotator cuff in 2009. In 2010, the emergence of Jamaal Charles put Battle on the back-burner behind Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster. This season looked to be the same story with another addition to the running game in LeRon McClain. However, in Week 5, Battle got his big chance. He ran all over the Colts by putting up 119 yards on 19 carries. He didn’t score a touchdown, but he opened up the passing game, and the Chiefs walked away with the win.
Inside the Numbers- Oakland averages 23 fantasy points allowed per week to running backs. This could be another big game for Battle, and could solidify his position, at least until next year when Jamaal Charles is back in action.
Advice- I don’t see the Chiefs playing musical chairs in the backfield. Jones and/or McCluster might get a few touches, but nothing that will take away from Battle’s productivity. Start him this week if your players are not on Byes, and then play the match-ups going forward.
DeMarco Murray (DAL)- Murray will get the workload for the Cowboys this week. Felix Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in the second quarter of last week’s game against the Patriots. Murray saw 10 rushes, while Tashard Choice on saw 5 rushes. Murray will be splitting time with Choice, but Murray is more explosive out of the backfield than Choice. This is a desperate pick for Week 7, but as I said before it’s all about match-ups.
Inside the Numbers- The Rams are giving up close to 23 fantasy points per week to running backs. The Rams have only held one team to under 100 rushing yards from running backs this season. I love the match-up against the Rams, but the Cowboys are a pass-heavy team. I expect Murray to get close to 20 touches and put up average numbers, but who knows against an awful defense in St. Louis, he could surprise.
Advice- Felix Jones will only miss a few weeks with his injury. I wouldn’t hold onto Murray very long. There are better options, but it’s worth taking a chance on him this week against the Rams.
Greg Little (CLE)- To me, this is the best wide receiver pick-up of the week. The rookie out of North Carolina hulled in 6 catches for 72 yards on 12 targets last week against the Raiders. Little now leads the Browns in receptions with 20. This marks the second week in a row Little has made at least 6 catches. It looks like Little has solidified his position in the lineup.
Inside the Numbers- Their opponent in Week 7, the Seattle Seahawks, have given up over 24 fantasy points per week on average to wide receivers.
Advice- Little could be the go-to guy for Colt McCoy. Monitor the situation week-to-week. We haven’t seen too much of a running game yet out of the Browns, so look for Little to get more touches. Start him this week, but then sit him against teams like Baltimore or Pittsburgh.
Torrey Smith (BAL)- He’s only owned in 44% of Yahoo! leagues, so there is still time to grab him. I wasn’t sold on Smith at first, but with the injury to Lee Evans, Flacco has been able to find Smith on deep targets. Torrey Smith owns three of the six longest plays from scrimmage. He had five passes thrown his way last week against the Texans, and he held on to a 51-yard bomb from Flacco. I can’t say Smith will continue to impress. He’s just a rookie, and I don’t know how much production he will get when Lee Evans comes back. Plus, with the way Flacco has been pressured in the pocket, it may be hard to find Smith downfield, but Smith is a safe play this week against the Jaguars on primetime.
Inside the Numbers- In their last 3 games, the Jaguars have given up over 100 yards receiving and two touchdowns to wide receivers. This doesn’t include the 208 yards and two touchdowns they gave up in Week 1 against Tennessee.
Advice- Flacco is a roller coaster quarterback. However, the Ravens are facing Jacksonville this week, then Arizona and Seattle in the upcoming weeks. Torrey Smith is a #3 or #4 guy to have in your lineup. Start him on days your receivers have Byes, but then keep him on your bench for security.
Kellen Winslow (TB)- He is owned in about 75% of fantasy leagues, and it may be a good pick-up for a more shallow league of about 8-10 players. Freeman is not the best quarterback by any means, but Winslow was targeted 10 times last week against the Saints. He hulled in 5 catches for 40 yards, and he also had one red zone pass thrown his way. With LeGarrette Blount missing time, the Buccaneers looked to win through the air. Freeman threw for 303 yards on 41 attempts in their win Week 6. Freeman could be getting back into the groove after a rough first few games. He hasn’t scored a touchdown yet, but his time will come very soon. The Bucs face the Bears in Week 7.
Inside the Numbers- The Bears are averaging close to 13 fantasy points allowed to Tight Ends per week. They’ve given up 5 touchdowns already this season to the tight end. The Bears also have not allowed less than 5 receptions in a single game to a tight end. The Vikings even seemed to have found Shiancoe 5 times for 45 yards last week against the Bears, who has been MIA all season.
Advice- It’s a smart play. he may be taken in most leagues, but those of you who have him on the bench then I’d play him this week.
Robbie Gould (CHI)- Kickers are interesting. Fantasy owners go with matchups week to week with kickers depending on which offense will put up the most points, therefore giving there kicker better opportunity for attempts. Some really good kickers get lost in the mix of the waivers, and since most owners only hold one kicker, then Gould could be available. He’s 13-for-13 on field goal attempts this season. According to Yahoo! Sports, if Gould gets two more field goals in a row then he surpasses Nate Kaeding as the most accurate field-goal kicker in the NFL. They play Tampa Bay whose defense is in the bottom 10 in points allowed.
Dan Bailey (DAL)- Bailey has converted 15-of-16 field goals this season, and 6-6 past 40 yards. His long is only 48 yards this season, but looks to be reliable for a Cowboys team that can put up some points. Definitely a good pick-up this week against the Rams.
Dallas- The Cowboys have 16 sacks, 6 interceptions and 4 fumble recoveries along with a blocked kick. They’re in the Top 10 in least amount of points allowed. Dallas picked off Brady twice last week and held him to under 300 yards passing. Great matchup this week against the 0-5 Rams and an injured Sam Bradford. If you have another defense on your team, then Dallas is worth picking up and keeping two defenses.