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Monday, December 5, 2016

FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEK 13 WRAPUP

-It was a horrific end to what was shaping up to be a big game for Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan.  In the running for 2016 fantasy MVP, Ryan completed 22-of-34 throws for 297 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT as the Falcons lost a heartbreaker to the Kansas City Chiefs.  Ryan also tossed a pick on the 2-point conversion that was run back for a score by K.C.  While it was not a big statistical game, Ryan has still been tremendous this season as one of the very best value play QB's in the game.
-While it was not a big numbers game for Tom Brady himself Sunday, the New England Patriots QB became the winningest QB of all-time in claiming his 201st win.  Brady completed 33-of-46 throws for 269 yards and just 1 TD but he obviously is right there as the number 1 fantasy football passer despite his advanced age.

-Julio Jones has been somewhat quiet the last few weeks after his insane September/October but he was back to his monster self Sunday by catching 9 balls for 113 yards in the loss to the Chiefs.  Nothing really to analyze here as Jones is healthy and thus will get his numbers on a weekly basis.

-It has always been a roller coaster ride when it comes to owning Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton as his numbers have been up and down on a weekly basis.  It is not likely many even own Dalton this late in the season considering his light TD total coming into Week 13 but he has one of his best games of 2016 by completing 23-of-31 throws for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns in the team's blowout win over the Philadelphia Eagles.  He gets the Cleveland Browns next week which makes Dalton a very interesting play for a possible playoff matchup in your league.

-My goodness was Jared Goff pathetic Sunday in the Los Angeles Rams' loss to the New England Patriots as he completed 14-of-32 passes for 161 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT's.  Yes it was just the third NFL start for Goff but we remain big critics of his going back to our scathing evaluation of him in our annual NFL Draft Guide last year.  We simply hated the offense and lack of accuracy Goff showed in college and there is little feeling here he will be the franchise savior for this awful club.

-We seem to be seeing new lows put forth each week by Rams running back Todd Gurley who rushed for just 38 yards on 11 carries, while catching just 2 passes for anotjer 9 yards.  Simply put, there has not been a bigger fantasy football bust this season and remember that we told you all not to draft the guy last summer given the fact opposing defenses would stack the box against him,  Gurley himself has not shown explosiveness and the burst he had a year ago as well.  The lesson is to never draft a Rams offensive player for 2017.

-I will say once again that Chicago Bears rookie back Jordan Howard will be the 2016 mid-season pickup of the season.  He showed why again Sunday by rushing for 117 yards and 3 touchdowns on a massive 32 carries in the team's win over the San Francisco 49ers.  Howard is now clearly fully established as the very rare bellcow back for the team and he is right there as a mid-tier RB 1.

-Boy has Carson Wentz showed how much of a rookie he is the last few weeks, with the latest lowlight coming Sunday when he completed just 36-of-60 passes for 308 yards with 1 TD and 2 INT's as the Eagles got destroyed by the Bengals.  Wentz has not been fantasy football viable for some time now after a decent September but he has shown enough to be an upside play in 2017.

-Malcom Mitchell made it three big weeks in a row as a PPR prime play for the Patriots as he caught 8 passes for 82 yards in the win over the Rams.  Mitchell has become what many thought Danny Amendola or Chris Hogan would become as a complement to Julian Edelman and he obviously needs to be started in all formats

-After a brutal first half that brought forth questions about whether he could be a top fantasy football wideout again, Jordy Nelson is finishing strong for the Green Bay Packers as he caught 8 passes for 118 yards and a score in a snowstorm.  Nelson has looked more explosive in his cuts as he puts more distance from his torn ACL in 2015 and so those who own him into the playoff weeks should feel more at ease.

-The huge season of Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount continued on Sunday as he the power back rushed for 88 yards and a score on 18 carries.  While Dion Lewis is back and taking up a big role in the backfield, the rushing duties belong almost entirely to Blount who has more than done the job,  In fact Blount has been close to a top five back this season in standard leagues.

-Julian Edelman has not been the PPR force he has been the last few seasons but he still has been plenty good as he caught 8 passes for 102 yards Sunday.  Obviously Edelman is close to being a WR 1 each week in PPR formats but his continued lack of scores hurts him in standard.

-Dion Lewis was a guy we told you all to pick up midseason given his PPR chops but Bill Belichick apparently wants to continue using James White.  White's involvement really hurts Lewis who rushed for 27 yards on just 5 carries Sunday, while also catching 4 balls for another 11 yards.  Until Lewis begins getting more snaps, he is nothing more than a RB 3.

-Jeremy Hill was an abomination once again Sunday as he rushed for just 33 yards and a score on 22 carries for the Bengals in the team's easy win over the Eagles.  He added two catches for 12 yards but Hill has failed to take advantage of the absence of Gio Bernard.  The last two seasons Hill has not come close to duplicating his big 2014 debut and he looks destined for more time share work in his future.

-What the hell was up with New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees Sunday?  My condolences to anyone who owned Brees and needed even a decent game to get into their playoffs.  It didn't happen as he somehow failed to throw a TD pass despite playing at home.  That has not happened since 2009 for Brees as he tossed 3 interceptions among his 31-of-44 day for 326 yards.  Usually Brees struggles on the road but this was ridiculous.  Still he gets Tampa Bay next week which means Brees should be put right back out there for that game.

-Blake Bortles is a disgrace and he should never start another game for the Jacksonville Jaguars after the slop he put forth Sunday when he completed just 19-of-42 passes for 181 yards with 2 INT's in the loss to the Denver Broncos.  Flat out, Bortles is a joke and he only made himself look somewhat decent a year ago by piling up numbers in garbage time.  Look for the Jaguars to target a QB in Round 1 of the 2017 draft.

-Zach Ertz is another guy who is not likely on many teams at this late stage of the season given his lack of numbers the previous 12 weeks.  The Eagles have not targeted Ertz much at all during large stretches of the season but for the third year in a row, he is putting up numbers in December as he caught 9 balls for 79 yards and a score.  Keep in mind though that this qualifies as a garbage time special as the Eagles were throwing on almost every down after the Bengals blew them out.  That makes him still a dicey Week 14 guy.

-Devonta Freeman has put together another good but not great season in 2016.....at least a bit down from his breakout a year ago.  Still he has capitalized on chances to score which he did again on Sunday by rushing for 56 yards and 2 touchdown on 15 carries, while also catching 4 passes for another 49 yards.  Tevin Coleman has been annoying in a bit of a 60-40 timeshare but Freeman has not been the bust we said he would be.

-Dennis Pitta has made a terrific comeback from his very serious hip injuries the last two years by posting a 2016 campaign that has him back in top 12 tight end territory.   He had a big game Sunday by catching 9 passes for 90 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Ravens' easy win over the Dolphins and it was the second time Pitta has caught that many throws.  Chances are the Ravens will be throwing a ton next week to keep up with the New England Patriots so we would put him back out there again.

-Spencer Ware made the most out of his touches Sunday by rushing for two touchdowns on his 14 carries.  Of course those 14 carries netted a paltry 29 yards but the fickle nature of fantasy football was in force here as Ware got the two scores.  He did add 3 catches for another 23 yards but overall Ware needs to do better in the rushing department in the playoff weeks.

-Travis Kelce could not be stopped all game long against the Falcons as he caught 8 passes for 140 yards.  140 yards is a very high amount for a tight end and it continues what has been a terrific stretch for Kelce since the mid-season.

-Yes Joe Flacco is a guy no one wants to ever depend on in fantasy football given his underwhelming career fantasy football numbers but he was locked in Sunday by completing 36-of-47 throws for 381 yards and 4 scores against the Dolphins. In fact Flacco was playing pitch-and-catch all game long.  He will likely throw it a bunch next week against the Patriots so those in two-QB formats should give Flacco a look.

-Ryan Tanenhill once again showed when the stakes are high, he shrinks.  He was awful in a blowout loss to the Ravens as he completed 29-of-40 throws for 226 yards with 1 TD and 3 INT's.  Games like this really have to give the Dolphins pause in terms of wondering if he is in fact their franchise passer.  We don't think so.

-Uglieness all around for rookie Broncos QB Paxton Lynch as he completed just 12-of-24 passes for 104 yards as he team squeaked out a win over the Jaguars.  We were not fans of Lynch coming out of college given the spread offense he ran in Memphis and so far he has been terrible.  Trevor Siemian can't get back in there fast enough.

-Just when San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was getting back into the good graces of those in the fantasy football community, he goes out and gets benched after completing just one pass.  As a result, there is no need to even bother here if you picked Kaepenick up prior to this week.

-Thomas Rawls is pretty much the last man standing in the Seattle Seahawks backfield now that Christine Michael has been released and C.J. Prosise is injured.  On that alone he will get plenty of chances to response his shockingly good 2015 debut and so far so good as he rushed for 106 yards and 2 scores on just 15 carries Sunday night against the Carolina Panthers.  Rawls is not much of a receiver so in PPR he gets downgraded but he should be in line for a high amount of yardage and scores the rest of the season.

-If you own Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, fantasy football life is good.  The run/receiving dynamo was at it again against the New York Giants as he rushed for 118 yards on 29 carries, while also catching 6 passes for 64 more yards.  There is nothing Bell can't do on the field and so other than maybe David Johnson, there is not a better weapon to go into the playoffs with.


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