This week’s matchup is with Jeremy. Already embroiled in a matchup in fantasy basketball that is apparently worth the effort for him to set his lineup, hopefully I have a little more luck in football. Both of us have lost RB1’s (just in time for matchups vs Shubh might I add…) and find ourselves with nearly identical records. Earlier this season, I wasn’t able to pry away Cam and Evans from Jeremy in a trade and although it’s only one week, it’ll be interesting to see who evaluated that one correctly.
Im still in disbelief that Cam is able to find success as a passer with his limited weapons, but averaging close to 10 rushes a game and just over 0.5 rush TD per game does wonders for fantasy. Im not sure what’s to stop Cam and CAR from another solid day vs TEN. It seems like a good bet that TEN will commit some TOs that leave CAR with a short field; normally, that’d be good news for a team’s GLB, but as Stewart owners probably know all too well, Cam basically is CAR’s GLB.
Ivory had a historically inefficient game last week vs JAX, but saved his fantasy day with 2 TDs. At the very least, NYJ has shown that they’re committed to riding Ivory. With a gimpy Fitzpatrick and a short turnaround to the TNF game, Id expect NYJ to keep their game plan simple and stick with Ivory and the run game. The return of Mangold (I think…?) surely should help cure Ivory’s inefficiency woes. The strength of JAX’s offense is probably its passing attack (who would have thought we’d say that about a Bortles-led team last year?), but Yeldon is the unquestioned lead back in JAX. Not hyper-efficient with his touches, but he does continue to get a healthy volume of them with ~3 catches a game resulting in a solid weekly floor. The bugaboo with Yeldon this year has been TDs; JAX seem allergic to just trying to let him plunge it in when they get close, instead opting to throw for scores. BAL isn’t an elite run defense, but they are far easier to throw on than run on. Id expect Yeldon to get enough volume to hit his floor easily, but will probably be dependent on a TD or two to break the 15+ pt plateau.
Mike Evans highlights one of the weakest WR corps in the SJW league (thank Yiran 😛 ). Seemingly over his earlier injuries, Evans has been an absolute target monster, albeit an inefficient one at that (19 catches on 40 targets over the past 3 weeks). I have a feeling his inefficiency is due to abnormal amount of low-quality targets since ASJ and VJax have been out. If even one of them can return this week, the attention they draw could give Evans all the space he needs for a big day. Willie Snead has been a reliable WR for Brees and as the NO offense has begun to find its rhythm, so has Snead’s value risen. He’s seen steady volume most of the year and I don’t see a reason for that to change vs WAS barring any limitations from his knee injury. Mike Wallace…sucks. If there’s a weakness on Jeremy’s team, its probably here in the WR3 spot. The MIN pass offense is too limited to support two WRs. With Diggs absorbing the majority of targets in MIN, Wallace owners really are just praying for long TD that may never be coming.
Jeremy’s is one of only two teams that deploys 2 TEs with any regularity, thankfully letting me devote a separate paragraph just for them. Barnidge-doubters probably will cite last weeks 2/35 game as a sign of the TE’s impending doom, but c’mon, to discount what he has accomplished in weeks 3-8 is just folly. Hopefully McCown will be under center for CLE as his QB-style seems to align more with Barnidge than Manziel’s free-stylings ways. PIT seems to have particular trouble vs teams that employ more than one TE threat (e.g. – NE, SD, OAK compared to KC, CIN), but I dont see why Barnidge cant get back to his top5 TE ways vs them if McCown is under center. Is it possible to call Jimmy Graham a disappointment? Usually drafted on the premise of getting a lead at the TE position, he hasn’t been a consistent weekly producer to live up to that billing thus far. Vs ARI, TE’s used to be auto-starts, but this year, their shift to a more nebulous multi-safety look, they’ve found themselves the #1 in DVOA vs TEs. I could imagine how a safety might be able to keep up with an athletic TE running downfield better than say a LB, but I wonder if teams adjust and try posting up their bigger TEs on what should be smaller defenders.
Bortles is what, the 5th QB Ive started this season? Ive lost count, but regardless, this week he has a cushy matchup vs a BAL pass defense whose only real success has been versus Peyton in week 1 and vs Mike Vick. Seemingly a product of sheer volume, Bortles has actually managed some strong games, including a 380/2/2 (1 fmbl) performance vs NYJ last week. Arob has seemingly ascended to matchup-proof WR1 status and Hurns has simultaneously broken out with TDs in something like 6 consecutive games. Hurns is questionable with a foot injury, but if he cant go, Id expect Julius Thomas to get a bigger piece of the offense after seemingly left to pick up the scraps behind Arob and Hurns so far. Still incredibly turnover-prone combined with a defense that is leaky enough to ensure that opponents are always in games, Bortles often finds himself throwing all game most weeks.
Amusingly, the weakness of my team, its RBs, have the worst matchups this week. Still waiting on if Hillman can go or not this week, but his flaws were on full display last week, mainly that he goes relatively easily after contact. Even if CJ does wrestle away the “start” this week, it’d probably be the larger of the 60/40 split DEN has employed all year. DEN’s OL is still suspect so my expectations are low. If there’s someone other than Barnidge that’ll be happy to see McCown return, it’s probably Duke. I could see CLE letting Crowell try and bang straight away vs a PIT def that is 5th in rush DVOA, but when they don’t find success and if they’re playing catchup, Duke gets that PCB work. Problem with that is that PIT is also 6th in DVOA vs RBs as receivers >_>. The absence of Turbo Bob isn’t that big a deal since I saw him more as a threat to Crowell, but regardless, one less RB should translate to a higher snap % for Duke. Blue is another option, albeit an unappealing one vs a CIN team that may bury Blue and the HOU offense under a negative game script.
Im hoping that AJ can get loose for a long TD vs a HOU defense that 24th in DVOA vs WR1 and is down Kareem Jackson, but if CIN just dominates both sides of the ball, this could be another week where AJ just chills and lets Jones/Sanu do most of the work. The dream of course is a shootout where AJ and Dhop go head-to-head to assert their respective dominances on the WR totempole… My slot shame duo of Jmatt and Landry go head-to-head this week @PHL. DVOA ranks are kind of hard to apply to slot receivers, but PHL, despite being #31 in pass DVOA vs WR1s (LOL Byron), is an impressive 3rd in overall pass DVOA. This leads me to believe that Rishard might have the biggest week of all MIA’s pass catchers, but maybe Landry can still get his vs a defense that just gave up a 2 TD day to Cole Beasley. Between Adams and Austin, Im going to go with Adams this week. Coming off a strong showing vs a strong CAR defense and who gets a seemingly listless DET defense that is #30 in pass DVOA, I like his higher floor versus the possible upside of Austin breaking off some big plays vs CHI. Amendola could be an interesting play vs NYG assuming he takes over the role Lewis was playing, but I don’t think it’s a compelling enough reason to start him over any of my other WRs (even with the slot shame bonus). My expectations are low for Kelce @DEN, but maybe he gets a little more volume than his 4/58 in his first matchup vs this defense.
This matchup is going to come down to if his advantage at RB is greater than my advantage at WR. In my favor is the relative unpredictability of the TE position, but with two workhorse backs to my none, I may just get buried under the sheer volume his players could see this week. Also in his favor is the fact that overall, his players are simply better bets than mine for scoring TDs. Its unfortunate that the season has been so disappointing for both of us, but this week should be an entertaining matchup nevertheless.
This isn’t even worth writing about. Just adding to my fortune of having one of the lowest PA in the league, I get to play the listless Team Law twice in my schedule (one of three teams fortunate to be able to). If anything, I should probably use this week to just make trades and eat BYE weeks of some players.