Week 15 Deep Lineup Considerations

Updated: December 14th 2017

We are in that time of year where lineup decisions might literally determine if you win a championship or not.  Many teams need help finding replacements for flex spots due to a variety of reasons including injuries.  Below you will find a list of names which provides deep starting options and likely have not been consistently used for your RSO team throughout the year.   None of these players are “league winners” but each has good matchups over the next two weeks and the opportunity to be a quality start for your desperate team.

Quarterback

Blake Bortles

The game plan worked very well in Jacksonville this season with the team primarily relying on their defense and emphasizing running the ball to minimize Bortles’ involvement.  The results have been solid as Bortles improved across the board this season compared to last year’s debacle.  He played very well the last two weeks, albeit against a Seattle defense decimated by injuries on the backend and an awful Indianapolis pass defense.  Bortles also gets nice matchups against a beat-up Houston defense and San Francisco in weeks 15 and 16.

We should still proceed with caution using the Jaguars QB.  He is still a bottom half of the league starter in the NFL.  The Jaguars rank only 24th in pass attempts and Bortles only has two games with 300+ yards passing (both against the Indianapolis Colts) and three games with multiple passing touchdowns.  Jacksonville will continue limiting Bortles’ throws and game script against teams with a combined 7 wins over the next two weeks might force the volume even lower.  Do not expect Bortles to carry your RSO team to a championship but he can be a useful piece for those suffering a late injury at QB or needing help in a superflex league.

Joe Flacco

Flacco is a pure schedule target for those in need of a desperation second quarterback play.  Baltimore plays Cleveland and Indianapolis the final two weeks which is the softest remaining schedule for any passing offense.  While Flacco has played better the past two weeks, do not go overboard here as you likely have better streaming options available.  Flacco has been among the worst quarterbacks in the league this season ranking 33rd in Football Outsiders’ DVOA, 29th in ESPN’s QBR, and dead last in yards per attempt among qualified quarterbacks.  He also does not receive the necessary passing volume to make up for his abysmal inefficiency.

Running Back

Mike Davis

Davis assumed primary back duties for the Seattle Seahawks gathering at least 16 touches and 65 yards in each of the last two games.  He looks to extend his solid play in plus matchups versus the Rams and Cowboys over the next two weeks.  You certainly could do worse than the primary running back on a Russell Wilson-led team in your flex.  Be sure to keep an eye on the injury report to confirm Davis’ availability.

Kerwynn Williams

Another starter emerging over the last two weeks is Arizona Cardinals running back Kerwynn Williams.  He amassed at least 16 touches and 88 yards each of the last two games.  The remaining contests should be competitive as Arizona plays two teams, Washington and New York, with 5 or less wins each.  The Redskins and Giants have also both struggled against the run this season.  The Cardinals have no reason to rush Adrian Peterson back from a neck injury with Arizona almost certainly out of the playoffs.

Wide Receiver

Mike Wallace

See the upcoming schedule for Baltimore above in the Joe Flacco section.  This is a juicy finish for Wallace as the Cleveland and Indianapolis pass defenses are in shambles.  Wallace has also seen more consistent usage over the last five weeks including more downfield throws from Flacco.  Feel somewhat confident (at least as confident as you can with Flacco at quarterback) firing up Wallace in your flex spot.

Dede Westbrook

Westbrook fell in the NFL draft to the 4th round primarily due to character concerns after an explosive senior season.  He then suffered a core injury which prevented him from seeing the field until the second half of the year.  Westbrook quietly produced good results since his return averaging 5 catches and over 8 targets per game in four contests.  Game script could hurt volume against two bottom-end teams (see above) but Westbrook is a solid start going forward (even with Bortles at quarterback and the Jags run-heavy script).

Travis Benjamin

Sometimes you simply want to take gambles on top offenses.  Right now consider the Chargers Phillip Rivers-led passing attack among the top offenses.  Rivers threw for over 300 yards in three straight games and has not thrown an interception for five weeks.  The Chargers also get pass-deficient defenses in Kansas City and the New York Jets coming up.  Volume remains an issue for Benjamin as trying to figure out who receives significant targets (if anyone) outside of Keenan Allen remains a mystery on a weekly basis for San Diego.  Benjamin represents an extremely fast boom-bust player for those in need of a big week out of your flex spot and is someone possibly available on your waiver wire.

Tight End

Jared Cook

The tight end position remains a maddeningly inconsistent group for fantasy purposes with many questionable options.  Oakland’s Jared Cook qualifies as one of the few tight ends receiving consistent usage having garnered at least 5 targets in all but one game this season.  The athletic tight end finishes the fantasy season with Dallas and Philadelphia, two exploitable matchups for tight ends.  Game script likely dictates Oakland throwing a bunch in these contests.  Cook is 6th in receiving yards at the position and a solid start moving forward.


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

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Week 2 Waiver Report

Updated: September 12th 2017

Each week we will recommend a group of players that are owned in less than 50% of RSO league that should be rostered. Depending on roster and league sizes not all of these players may be available. For that, we will offer 1 player that is owned in <10% of leagues as our Sleeper add.

Add of the Week

Tarik Cohen, RB – CHI (owned 45%) 5 Car/66 yards, 8 Rec/47 yards, 1 TD

Surely the biggest surprise of the week 1 was how much rookie runner Tarik Cohen was involved in the Bears’ offense. Yes, he did have 40% of his total yards on one big reverse field run play but overall he was heavily involved in the passing game with 8 catches on 12 targets (led team) and almost led the Bears to an upset win over the reigning NFC Champs. It’s not like Jordan Howard wasn’t involved (13-51-1) as he also had 3 catches but this could definitely decrease Howard’s role on passing downs. The Bears look like they could be joining the rest of the NFL on the RBBC bus now. For owners that think the Bears will be down in games and forced into passing formations, Cohen should see his share of targets each week, especially with news that Kevin White is being placed on IR now with a scapula injury. Give a bump in PPR leagues.

Suggested Bid: $1,00,000 – $4,000,000

RB Replacements

Shane Vereen, RB – NYG (owned 45%) 9 Rec/51 yards

Javorius Allen, RB – BAL (owned 19%) 21 Car/71 yards

Both of these running backs benefited from positive game script in week 1 but they did showcase what their role is in their respective offenses. For Vereen, he had 9 catches (5 on the final meaningless drive) but he was clearly the Giants passing down back. Perkins and Darkwa couldn’t get any run game going (36 yards) and the offensive line looked mediocre at best. If the Giants offense is unable to open holes for the running game they will be forced to use the dump passes as a substitute. This was the role Vereen had in New England and as long as he stays healthy it’s the role he will have this season in New York. With games against the AFC and NFC West, it’s probable that the Giants find themselves behind in games, unable to run the ball and relying on Vereen with screens and dump passes to keep the offense moving.

Javorius “Buck” Allen had 21 carries, 4th most in the opening week against the Bengals which should symbolize a bell cow role in an offense. Unfortunately, fellow back Terrance West also had 19 carries (7th most) and Joe Flacco only had 17 pass attempts in a total defensive domination by the Ravens. With Danny Woodhead going out with a hamstring injury early it did show, however, that Allen will be the secondary runner in case of a West injury or regression. This makes him an add if you have either of the other two Raven runners or a lack of depth at the position. Depending on the severity of the injury to Woodhead the Ravens do need to show which of West or Allen would be the pass catching back when games are closer. This could be Allen’s role with the upside of increased carries should West falter.

Suggested Bids: $500,000 – $1,000,000

WR Replacements

Jermaine Kearse, WR – NYJ (owned 26%) 7 Rec/59 yards

Danny Amendola, WR – NE (owned 26%) 6 Rec/ 100 yards

Many were shocked when the Jets shipped Sheldon Richardson to Seattle for some picks and Jermaine Kearse but to everyone’s surprise, Kearse led the Jets in both catches (7) and yards (59) in week 1. Sometimes volume trumps talent and despite previous reservations against Kearse’s talent when he is being fed #1 target numbers he has to be rostered. If Kearse maintains the target volume that he saw in week 1 and can offer a touchdown every 2 or 3 games he will be a nice option to have for bye weeks or when injuries start piling up.

The Patriots looked like a 16-0 team for the first half and a 0-16 team for the second half. It showed that they missed having Julian Edelman as a reliable target for crossing routes, bubble screens and 3rd down quick slants. Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan were used more on the play action and deeper routes which leaves Danny Amendola and the RBs to be the underneath pass catchers. It’s unlikely that any of the backs are available but Amendola is available in 74% of RSO leagues which needs to be changed. The Patriots are changing offensive schemes weekly but the one constant for Tom Brady is to find the quick-hit routes to move the chains. Despite Bill Belichick saying that everyone will be picking up Edelman’s contributions, it is likely Amendola who will most replicate his usage.

Suggested Bids: $1,000,000 – $2,000,000

TE Substitute

Charles Clay, TE – BUF (owned 40%) 4 Rec/53 yards, 1 TD

Similar to my Jermaine Kearse analysis sometimes a guy just needs to be rostered for his volume alone. The Bills lost Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins to the Rams this offseason and Jordan Matthews hasn’t been a spectacular fantasy option since his rookie season. While they do have Shady McCoy to run the ball someone still needs to catch passes and touchdowns. Clay should be averaging a touchdown at least every other game this season and be a reliable target for Tyrod Taylor to have between the 20s and on 3rd down. While he’s not as sexy a name as Gronk or Kelce, Clay should be a low-end TE1 for most matchups this season.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 – $1,500,000

Sleeper Add (<10%)

Kerwynn Williams, RB – ARZ (Owned 9.7%) 5 Car/10 yards, 1 Rec/2 yards, 1 TD

This is pure speculation and may have no use by the end of the week but anytime a bell cow is injured you have to take a shot in the dark. When David Johnson went out after a big hit in the 3rd quarter it was Williams who took the goal line carry for a touchdown. After Johnson went out indefinitely with a wrist injury later in the game it was Williams who played the bulk of the snaps behind Carson Palmer. If Johnson’s injury is anything that keeps him out of next week’s game and beyond (which is a real possibility if reports are true) Williams will see his share of touches and targets. If you are playing the David Johnson owner and his RB depth is thin Williams is worth a minimum bid just to limit your opponent’s options heading into week 2.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

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