Fantasy Thursday: We Like Salt and We Don’t Care Who Knows

Folks, I must apologize for my recent absence. Sometimes you’re just having a little too much fun and next thing you know – it’s Thursday and you haven’t notched even a single sentence for the column you’re supposed to be publishing that morning. Plus, it was Thanksgiving, so give me a break. How can I be expected to write about fantasy football while I’m too busy playing football on Thanksgiving morning like every other red-blooded American? Then of course I couldn’t even recover in the afternoon because I was obligated to eat a gigantic meal with all of my family gathered in one place. What I mean by “eat a gigantic meal” is watch a blowout of a NFL game and by “family gathered” I mean sitting around with my dad while my mom was in Texas and my siblings were M.I.A. All in all it was a great Thanksgiving filled with the joy of family and well-cooked yams, obviously.

The fun didn’t stop there, folks, believe me. By Saturday I was drifting in the snow in Colorado Springs and found myself at the Broncos – Patriots Sunday Night tilt (special issue coming soon) at Mile High Stadium. Earlier this afternoon I was shaking hands with Bill Walton and playing basketball at Petco Park which, in fact, is a professional baseball stadium. And that is how we find ourselves here on Thursday afternoon trying to crank out a Fantasy article in two hours before TNF kicks off. Now let’s talk football, huh?!

Five Guys You Have To Start This Week

  1. Odell Beckham Jr, Giants. Now, if you’ve ever met me in person, you know that I hate the Giants and can’t stand the hype surrounding “OBJ” because real nicknames are just too difficult for today’s media. The Jets pass defense has been struggling for the last four or five weeks and it looks like Revis won’t be healthy enough to play in the Battle for New Jersey. Revis wouldn’t make much of a difference anyway seeing as how he’s lost not one, not two, but approximately 10 steps. Belicheck always knows when a guy is done.
  2. Michael Floyd, Cardinals. Floyd is dealing with a hamstring injury, but he is on a good trajectory to play this Sunday. After the Rams were too busy to cover AJ Green this past week it became pretty clear that they’re not going to be the NFC wild card dark horse we all thought we saw earlier this season. Arizona’s plethora of receiving talent should provide similar issues for St. Louis’ secondary and yield similar results: plenty of yards and touchdowns all around.
  3. Adrian Peterson, Vikings. This is simple, folks. The Vikings are on a march towards a division crown for the first time in God knows when and Adrian Peterson’s resurgence is the catalyst for that success. Don’t be intimidated by the Seahawks defense because, trust me, nobody else is.
  4. Defense/Special Teams, Dolphins. There is a very simple algorithm that explains why the Dolphins defense will have success this week. Matt Schaub + Starting Job = Defensive Touchdowns.
  5. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos. I saw Brock Osweiler in person in the snow. There are two big things that I noticed about Osweiler: first that he’s got a pretty nice deep ball down the sideline and second, he’s going to throw to Emmanuel Sanders no matter what. Play the man.

Five Guys I Wouldn’t Start This Week Because Eh…

  1. Calvin Johnson, Lions. Call me crazy, but this seems like a perfect trap for the fantasy owner who’s been starting Megatron every week and finally got to cash in on Thanksgiving. New Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter may have actually figured out how to save Detroit’s offense, but it’s more likely that the Eagles put a rookie cornerback in single coverage against one of the scariest receivers ever and that was not a very good idea. A Thursday night tilt against the Packers is the perfect setting for the Lions’ offense to revert back to its natural state of lackluster inefficiency.
  2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks. Russ threw himself a birthday party against the Steelers, throwing five touchdowns and zero interceptions in a comeback win. However, Derek Carr hung 35 points on that same defense and while I love Carr and the Raiders, Pittsburgh’s defense just isn’t all that tough. On the other hand, Minnesota’s defense is like kryptonite for quarterbacks who like to get out on the move, trapping them in the pocket with the fear of getting flattened by Anthony Barr or Everson Griffen, while still capitalizing on their mistakes downfield with a talented secondary led by Harrison Smith.
  3. Gary Barnidge, Browns. Barnidge has been a sneaky good option at tight end all season, but two factors are working against his current success. 1) Austin Davis is now the starting quarterback for the Browns. Davis managed to drive the Browns down the field and throw a game-winning touchdown with two minutes left on Monday night, but the Ravens are hot garbage and shouldn’t be used as a measuring stick for anyone’s ability. That’s like me playing basketball against middle school kids and sending a highlight tape from the game to a college coach. Stop it. 2) The Bengals defense won’t really have much to worry about in the way of Browns receivers, so Barnidge will have a hard time getting open this week.
  4. Mark Ingram, Saints. Ingram managed only 52 yards rushing with no touchdowns last week against the Houston defense. The media will tell you that Houston is a surging playoffs contender, but in reality they’ve been on run in their schedule chock-full of mediocre teams and Andy Dalton’s one weakness, millions of people watching him play football. The Panthers defense he’s about to face on Sunday features possibly the best run-stuffing linebacker corps in the league.
  5. Defense/Special Teams, Eagles. I really shouldn’t have to say this, but please do not look at the Patriots’ injuries on offense and convince yourself that it’s a good idea to start them this week. Just to recap: they’ve allowed 10 touchdown passes over the past two weeks without a single interception. This defense is officially HOT GARBAGE and shouldn’t be touched for the rest of the season. Leave them in the burning dumpster where they belong.

Get to the Waiver Wire!!

  1. David Johnson, Cardinals. Johnson has shown flashes of future success in Arizona’s backfield, but never quite enough to be the starter as he’s been entrenched behind Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington. However, with both of those backs out for this week, the rookie has a chance to establish himself and move Arizona closer to clinching the NFC West.
  2. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks. If there are idiots like me in your fantasy league that somehow don’t see Doug Baldwin on the waiver wire after a 145-yard, 3 touchdown performance, you’re in luck! Baldwin has had to step up in a major way this season and he should only see his workload increase with Jimmy Graham being lost for the season.
  3. Scott Chandler, Patriots. You may have noticed that Tom Brady doesn’t have a whole lot of options to throw to at the moment. With Gronk possibly out this weekend, that short list just got a whole lot shorter. Chandler will be one of the guys that Josh McDaniels makes it a point to get the ball to because, quite frankly, there’s just nobody else there.
  4. Matt Hasselbeck, Colts. As you might have noticed, Hasselbeck is 4-0 this season in relief of Andrew Luck with just over 1,000 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions. If you’re looking for an answer at quarterback right now then Hasselbeck might just be your guy. And hey look, he’s facing that porous Steelers defense this Sunday! This really worked out for you!
  5. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers. Jameis Winston has been gaining steam throughout the season, looking more and more comfortable in Tampa’s offense and settling into the pocket. This is good news for Vincent Jackson, who had 76 yards last week, his largest total since a 147-yard explosion all the way back in week 4. If Winston’s improvement can hold up, Jackson may be a season-saver down the stretch.

Thursday Night Special

We changed the previous name, “Thursday Night Start/Sit”, because it was just too obvious and unappealing. “Thursday Night Special”, on the other hand, could really be about any number of things and therefore is guaranteed to pull in any unsuspecting passer-by. I’m actually finding myself really excited to see this game now that I’m free this Thursday night (we’ll just leave that one alone). The Lions and Packers saw each other just a few short weeks ago, when Aaron Rodgers’ 333 yards and 2 touchdowns weren’t enough to best Detroit at Lambeau. The Packers managed to avoid three straight divisional losses by getting a win over the Vikings that was sandwiched by defeats from Chicago and Detroit, but they seem to be losing their grip on the NFC North. If the Packers drop this game tonight to the Lions they’ll find themselves falling further behind the division-leading Vikings and looking over their shoulders at the surging Bears. We’ll also be treated with the delicacy of watching Rodgers silently roll his eyes and pout because apparently that is how an All-Pro quarterback leads his team through adversity.

START: James Jones, Randall Cobb, Theo Riddick, Eric Ebron, Megatron (if you really need it)

SIT: Everyone else

Sob Story of the Week

In retrospect, it was a horrible sports weekend for us here at 4th & Gyas. The Gators suffered a horrible defeated at the hands of FSU, Arsenal drew level with f’ing Norwich City and lost Alexis Sanchez to injury in the process, and to top it all off I got to watch the referees put the struggling Broncos on their collective back in person on Sunday night. My fantasy teams were slaughtered as I left hundreds of points on the bench. There were no silver linings.

If I want to get this thing published before the game starts, we’ve got to go now, people. Be sure to catch the Lions vs Packers game exclusively on NFL Network, it should be a good one. Now let’s go our separate ways so I can go to the bar and contemplate why I’m drinking beer while my friends are partying on a boat. Until next time!

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