Week 8 Street FA Report

Updated: October 24th 2019

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

Ty Johnson, RB – DET (Owned 20%)

Week 7: 10 Car/29 yards, 4 Rec/28

The Lions have had two heartbreaking losses in a row and found out Tuesday that second-year running back Kerryon Johnson will be placed on IR for what is basically the rest of the season (week 16). In his absence another Johnson, Ty Johnson, will be taking the starting role for the immediate future. He didn’t look particularly special but they were playing Minnesota and their above-average defense on what was likely minimum starting reps in practice. His abilities to shoulder a lead-back role will be judged more during this week’s game against a Giants defense that just allowed another backup, Chase Edmonds, to have three rushing touchdowns.  It would not be surprising to see the Lions bring in veteran talent, either via free agency with C.J. Anderson or Jay Ajayi or through a trade for someone like Kenyon Drake to share carries with Johnson in the next week or two. At minimum, Johnson will lose work to pass-catching back J.D. McKissic which limits the number of targets he will draw. For now, Ty Johnson is a must-add to all leagues but he shouldn’t be trusted as anything more than an RB3. If you already own him I would be trying to shop him to a contender that needs another RB. Johnson’s value will never be higher than it is right now.

Suggested Bid: $4,000,000

WR Add

Danny Amendola, WR – DET (Owned 34.5%)

Week 7: 8 Rec/105 yards

 

For all the reasons I don’t think Ty Johnson will be as hot a pick up as he will likely be this week, I do think Danny Amendola will be an under the radar addition to several teams. After having a stellar week 1, Amendola had only 8 PPR points over the next month due to a chest injury and an early-season bye. In week 7 he finally went over the 100-yard mark again and it is likely not a coincidence that it happened in a game that their starting running back left early. Amendola has always been the “move” receiver and acts as long-range pass-catching back working primarily with screen, slant, and crossing routes. While he is firmly behind Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones as the WR3 the Lions passed on 70% of their plays last week which means there will be opportunities for Amendola to receive targets. Admittedly, some of this was due to being down for much of the game but their inefficiency running the ball with Ty Johnson (2.9YPC) could mean that Lions need to find other ways to create plays on early and short-yardage downs. This is where Amendola could become a PPR riser similar to Cole Beasley in Buffalo. We will know within the next week or two what the Lions plan is to replace Kerryon Johnson. For the price to acquire and the likelihood of availability I would be targeting Amendola over these next two weeks for week 9 and 10 WR byes.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

Chris Conley, WR – JAX (Owned 37%)

Week 7: 3 Rec/83 yards

Chris Conley was the must add after week 1 and he had a modest 11 PPR points in week 2 but has been quiet since. He took a backseat to D.J. Chark who has taken control of target share and Leonard Fournette who has been basically the entire offense through the first half of the season. Last week though, he had a bounce-back game with eight (8) targets and over 80 yards receiving. Conley has actually seen the most snaps of any receiver in five of the seven games thus far but it’s been Chark with the touchdowns and highlight catches pushing his production to the side. The second half of the season features some great matchups for the Jaguars passing game, especially in the fantasy playoffs against the Chargers, Raiders, and Falcons! Things are looking good for the Jaguars’ pass catchers so Conley is another great plug and play option during these next two killer bye weeks.

Suggested Bid: $3,000,000

TE Add

Foster Moreau, TE – OAK (Owned 11%)

Week 7: 2 Rec/24 yards, 1 TD

Darren Waller has been everything and more that he was being hyped to be as a late-round flyer at the tight end position and is definitely the TE1 for the Raiders in 2019. But there has been another tight end that has also been having a surprisingly strong season thus far, rookie Foster Moreau. Moreau has benefited from touchdowns in two of the last three games propelling him to average 10 PPR points over those three games. The Raiders also have been using 22 personnel (2RB-2TE-1WR) second-most in the league (11%) due to the injuries and inexperience at wide receiver this season which gives plenty of opportunities for Moreau to be on the field during any given play. I’m not overly confident that you could start Moreau over any of the usual 10-12 guys at the position but he’s worthy of a practice squad stash for the remainder of the season to see how he develops.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Sleeper Add (<10%)

Keelan Doss, WR – OAK (4%)

Week 7: 3 Rec/54 yards

From the ashes of the Antonio Brown saga has risen the great story of Keelan Doss, the Hard Knocks prodigal son who was brought back to the team once they needed another receiver on the roster. With the injury to Tyrell Williams the team has been trying to bring in other options to use outside of Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs as feature players. As previously mentioned Foster Moreau has been available for red-zone options and they have traded for both Trevor Davis and Zay Jones to help build out a platoon of serviceable receivers. But the team clearly liked Doss enough to sign him back and he finally had over 50 yards receiving last week in a shootout with Green Bay. It’s a long way before he is anything more than a practice squad stash but he’s trending the right way and maybe a late-season resign for owners that want to be cap savvy for the future.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Week 8 Street FA Report

Updated: October 31st 2018

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.

Byes: Atlanta, Dallas, LA Chargers, Tennessee

Add of the Week

Raheem Mostert, RB – SF (Owned 33%)

Week 7: 7 Car/59 yards, 4 Rec/19 yards

I was thinking of put Raheem Mostert as a sleeper addition last week but wanted to see one more game to ensure that it wasn’t a fluke that he had leapfrogged Alfred Morris. While Morris still out-touched him in the backfield (9 to 7) Mostert had four receptions to Morris’ zero which leaves no question who the 49ers pass catching back is. Furthermore, Matt Breida is not healthy enough right now for the 49ers to rely on him so he may be shut down for a week or two to try and fully heal himself. That means that Mostert will see an increased role alongside Alfred Morris and could be the primary option depending on the game script. Your FA pool is likely low of flex RBs at this point so best to bring the big bucks if you want to win your bid this week.

Suggested Bid: $4,000,000 – $6,000,000

RB Add

Chris Ivory, RB – BUF (Owned 49%)

Week 7: 16 Car/81 yards, 3 Rec/25 yards

The Bills were blown out early in this game and they lost LeSean McCoy almost immediately which allowed for Chris Ivory to accumulate almost a full games worth of garbage points. Derek Anderson has already been named the starter for Monday night against the Patriots and it doesn’t look as if McCoy will clear concussion protocol in time. If you are in need of a running back and are willing to risk waiting till Monday, Ivory may be leaned on again in the Bills’ offensive game plan.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

WR Adds

Tajae Sharpe, WR – TEN (Owned 13%)

Week 7: 7 Rec/101 yards

Tennesse’s offense has been terrible this season. If the Cardinals weren’t setting historic lows for offensive numbers the Titans would be dead last in most categories. If there is an upside though it is that the remainder of their schedule gets slightly easier in terms of defensive matchups. Games against Washington, both New York teams, and Indianapolis twice means that there is at least a hope for the Titans to have bigger games ahead. Tajae Sharpe was the only player to produce in London this past week and seems solidified as the #2 across from Corey Davis. They are on a bye this week so hopefully, Sharpe is cheaper to acquire than other options on the waivers for teams needing immediate replacements.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

 

Danny Amendola, WR – MIA (Owned 25.6%)

Week 7: 6 Rec/84 yards, 1 TD

In week 4 I said Danny Amendola was the player to add and he followed that up with a relatively low 6 PPR points. However, his last two games he has been targeted 18 times and has scored an average of 17 PPR points with the Brock Lobster at QB. All his fellow receivers (Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson) are banged up which should keep his targets in the same range for at least a couple more games. If Tannehill also misses more games give a checkmark to Amendola and his fantasy value.

Suggested Bid: $2,000,000 – $3,000,000

TE Adds

Chris Herndon IV, TE – NYJ (Owned 16.5%)

Week 7: 4 Rec/42 yards, 1 TD

Stat chasers may race to acquire Lions’ tight end Michael Roberts who scored twice on Sunday and had 20 fantasy points. The savvy owners will look deeper and see that Chris Herndon is actually the better add. He scored for the second straight week and was targeted the second most (7) out of all Jet players. Quincy Enunwa is injured again, Terrell Pryor was a surprise cut last week, and Jermaine Kearse saw only two targets and caught neither. Both starting running backs are also banged up so the options are limited for rookie QB Sam Darnold. Any time the Jets get into the red zone he’s likely to be looking Herndon’s way.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

Sleeper Adds (<10%)

Kenjon Barner, RB – NE (Owned 4%)

Week 7: 10 Car/36 yards

We don’t know the extent of Sony Michel’s injury but in his absence, Kenjon Barber saw 10 carries to James White’s 11. The Patriots offense works best when it has fresh legs in the backfield to rotate in and out throughout long drives. White will always be the pass-catching back but they still need someone to spell him for traditional running plays. Any time that Michel misses means that there will be an opportunity for Barner to be a sneaky flex play.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Week 4 Street FA Report

Updated: September 26th 2018

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.

Byes: Washington, Carolina

Add of the Week

Danny Amendola, WR – MIA (Owned 25.5%)

Week 3: 3 Rec/42 yards

Many thought that Danny Amendola was going to be another player that would vanish once out of New England’s player friend system. While he hasn’t been featured as much in the highlights he has quietly averaged seven (7) PPR points in the first three weeks. Nothing spectacular but if you need a consistent receiver to stash for bye weeks coming up Amendola is a player that can get it done.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

RB Add

Ameer Abdullah, RB – DET (Owned 43.6%)

Week 3: N/A

If you need an RB to grab and actually use this season I would suggest Frank Gore (45% ownership) or Chris Ivory (47% ownership). However, if you are a forward thinker at the position and looking to try and acquire a player that may have a better long-term play then I suggest picking up Ameer Abdullah. Detroit became too crowded of a backfield and thus Abdullah has been inactive this season. because of this, he should be a free agent this offseason. We’ve seen RBs reboot their career once they move on to a new team and we have seen enough flashes from Abdullah in his previous three seasons to expect he could at least be a part of another team’s rotation in 2019. If you don’t have an early candidate for your resign this season then Abdullah should cost next to nothing as a “wait and see” project. Who knows what his value could become in March or April.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

WR Adds

Rashard Higgins, WR – CLE (Owned 13.2%)

Week 3: 3 Rec/32 yards

Rashard Higgins is an interesting, outside the box receiver to have this season. He’s not going to have many if any 15+ point games but with Baker Mayfield at the controls, there may be more passing/scoring opportunities for the Browns moving forward. We’ve already seen that in the absence of Josh Gordon, Higgins has been involved more in the passing game with ten (10) targets in the last two games. Therefore, like Amendola, there should be a space on the bench in deeper leagues for a player like Higgins for upcoming bye weeks.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Laquon Treadwell, WR – MIN (Owned 33.3%)

Week 3: 4 Rec/33 yards

Last week it was Tyler Boyd as a third-year receiver that was a player that needed to be added. Likewise, Laquon Treadwell is a player that you should be stashing at the end of your bench. Treadwell has been a bust compared to his 1.03 draft pedigree from a few years ago but this season he has shown improvements. While twelve (12) targets over three games is not a startable amount at this point in the season it does suggest that he has finally become the WR3 in Minnesota and therefore will be seeing the field more than in the past. If there was ever to be an injury to Stefon Diggs or Adam Thielen then Treadwell would see a significant uptick in targets and value. Either way, much like my thoughts on Ameer Abdullah there is an opportunity to stash or even acquire Treadwell via trade for minimal costs. He’s another player that may just need a new address to see his skills used more and have his value go up.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 or a 2019/2020 3rd round pick

TE Add

Vance McDonald, TE – PIT (Owned 32.8%)

Week 3: 4 Rec/112 yards, 1 TD

Man did I get burned last week from my Jesse James take. I started him in two leagues where I needed minimal points to get the win and his stinker one catch for seven yards put two “Ls” on last week’s stat sheet. Meanwhile, Vance McDonald had himself a game with over 100 yards and a stiff arm so nasty that it makes defenders wonder why there isn’t a roughing the defender penalty. McDonald was traded last season from the 49ers to give the Steelers a true receiving TE but he couldn’t stay healthy. He showed a flash of what could be in the Steelers lone playoff game though when he had ten (10) receptions. Maybe this is finally him getting back into form and he can be the leading TE going forward. Or maybe both he and Jesse James will continue to split the workload and diminish both of their fantasy value. Either way, if you have space or are desperate at TE you can roster both McDonald and James for a couple weeks until we figure out who’s the main target.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Sleeper Add (<10%)

Deonte Thompson, WR – DAL (Owned 3.3%)

Week 3: 2 Rec/23 yards

The Cowboys stink and they really don’t have many fantasy-relevant players other than Zeke Elliot and Dak Prescott in 2QB/Superflex leagues. Still, someone has to catch passes in their games and Deonte Thompson has been the second most targeted receiver on the team. He’s not a big receiver at 6ft but when your main competition for targets in Cole Beasley and Tavon Austin who are 5’8” he should be targeted in the red zone when they can’t run with Zeke. If he can break a long play or grab a touchdown every once in a while then he may have value in specific matchups some weeks down the road.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Rounding Out the Lineup: Week 7

Updated: October 19th 2017

Most of us in competitive RSO league are not great at every position.  The nature of salary cap leagues forces many teams into gambles which might not have paid off.   Below you will find a few trade targets for competitive teams along with their current points per game ranking in PPR leagues who might shore up those RB2/WR2 and deeper flex spot gaps which did not pan out so far.  There are a variety of floor plays and ceiling gambles at various price points.  I would not consider these players “league winners” but all have the chance of helping your team going forward.

Running Backs

Doug Martin RB16 – Some questioned Doug Martin’s role once inserted into the lineup.  Martin has out-attempted Jacquizz Rodgers 13-3 and 14-3 in the two games since his return from suspension scoring once per game in the process.  This is clearly Martin’s backfield in the run game.  Charles Sims remains a fixture on passing downs with 5 and 4 receptions in the two games since Martin’s return compared to 1 in each game for Martin.  Sims’ role severely caps Martin’s work in the receiving game which will make for some limited fantasy outputs when Martin does not score.

On the plus side, there should be somewhat consistent scoring opportunities in Tampa Bay from Football Outsider’s 8th ranked passing unit.  Martin makes for a nice RB2 on those teams in need of running back help. His limited work so far might present an opportunity to pick up Martin.  He is also an attractive option on teams with limited RSO salary cap space to maneuver with as his suspension to start the year likely lowered his salary in many leagues.

Duke Johnson RB17 – The environment in Cleveland is not pretty.  The team is 0-6 with one of the worst offenses and defenses in the league and an uncertain, at best, quarterback outlook.   This is generally not the type of situation I am looking for when investing in running backs.

Duke Johnson has a few items working in his favor, however, when examining his rest-of-season outlook.  Cleveland already lost the top two wide receivers heading into the season to injury.  Johnson remains as the de facto WR1 currently leading the Browns in receiving targets, receptions, and yards.  He has at least three receptions in all but one game this season and accumulated at least 53 receptions each of his first two seasons.  Johnson fills the needs of RSO teams looking for solid floor plays out of the flex spot or RB injury/bye weeks.  He also provides some upside as a handcuff to fellow Browns’ running back Isaiah Crowell or if CLE decides to give Johnson more work do to Crowell’s ineffectiveness.

Jay Ajayi RB35 – No other running back on this list supplies more variance on a given week than Miami running back Jay Ajayi.  The “boom” portion comes largely from his enormous weekly rushing potential.  Ajayi produced an amazing three 200+ yard rushing performances in 2016.  He already has three games of 25 or more rushing attempts in 2017 and averages over 20 attempts per game.  The “bust” potential stems primarily from Ajayi’s lack of receiving game effectiveness.  The Dolphin running back averages only 1.7 receptions and 8.7 receiving yards per game over the last two years highlighted by a comically bad 3.3 yards per reception this season in which Ajayi has not managed a single game with at least 10 receiving yards.

If you are a gambling person, Ajayi imparts perhaps the highest ceiling option on this list of players.  He is the only player in the NFL with 100 or more rushing attempts and zero touchdowns.  Jay Cutler has been ugly so far but the Miami passing game could improve considering how late Cutler joined the Dolphins.  Positive touchdown regression could very well be on the horizon for Ajayi.  The defense also played well enough to keep Miami in games despite the offensive woes.  Consider him a high variance RB2 going forward.  Ajayi likely went for a costly salary if he was in your RSO free agent auction this year so fitting him under your cap could be an issue but teams might be more open to a trade because of that high salary.

Wide Receivers

Pierre Garcon WR24 – I believe if you told most people you could get the 6th ranked wide receiver in targets plus the 8th in receptions and yardage for minimal cost, they would jump at the chance.  Such is the case with San Francisco wide receiver Pierre Garcon.  Garcon’s zero touchdowns lower his fantasy output so far which could give you the ability to pounce.  The volatile quarterback situation with rookie C.J. Beathard taking over for Brian Hoyer certainly carries some risk but Garcon is the only established NFL receiver on the roster.  Garcon is a very tempting target for your flex spot who likely comes at a sharp discount especially with a rookie quarterback taking the helm.

Danny Amendola WR28 – Amendola filled the small slot receiver role in the New England offense beautifully so far looking extremely quick, getting open at will, and catching everything.  Amendola’s per game targets are right in line with the leading non-Gronk Patriot receivers with at least 3 receptions, 5 targets and 40 yards in each game this season.  Injuries are always a concern for smaller players with heavy workloads over the middle of the field, especially for a player who missed games in all but two seasons in the NFL.  Amendola likely was picked up on waivers in your league which should make for a very cheap way to get your hands on a piece of the high-powered New England offense.  He is a nice floor play for those in need of reliable points out of their flex spot.

Sterling Shepard WR37 – The Giants pulled players from the practice squad and off the street to fill starting receiver slots last week after New York lost Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Harris, and Shepard to injury.  Shepard should return shortly but the others are lost for the year leaving Shepard with a golden opportunity for a big work load.  There is some danger going forward with regards to workload.  Head coach Ben McAdoo gave up play-calling duties last week resulting in the Giants completely flipping the script on the pass-heavy offense, going with 32 carries to only 19 passes.  With that said, Shepard is the only wide receiver on the roster with significant past production and figures to dominate targets along with rookie tight end Evan Engram.  I would feel very confident with Shepard in my flex when he returns and WR2 production is entirely possible.


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.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

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

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Ups and Downs of the RSO Playoffs

Updated: December 24th 2015

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They say it is sometimes better to be lucky than good. To win Reality Sports Online league titles, it seems like you have to be a bit of both. Hit on your rookie draft picks, don’t spend big dollars on busts and get your multi-year deals right, don’t have player injuries and then have it all align in the playoffs.

So, after being in my main league for three years and the Writers League for two years, I can honestly say I haven’t won a championship and am still after that holy grail. As someone who is their own worst critic, and who writes strategy pieces for the website, that makes me feel like a little bit of a fraud. I know I’m beating myself up on this, but let me share my two league circumstances with you this year.

I welcome any of you who suffered a similar loss to Tweet me or contact me as some form of therapy. I have writing about this experience as my therapy, so let me be the one you vent to after reading this if you are in the same boat as me.

First, I’ll start with my Writers League with folks who I write with at Reality Sports Online and numberFire mainly (some have moved onto other sites like Rotoworld and ESPN). I finished 11-2 in the regular season with the highest scoring team by far. That earned me the #2 seed and a matchup against my friend @GrahamBarfield, the #3 seed in the league, while 12-1 #1 Seed @LeoHowell8 played upstart first-year owner and Baylor Law Professor and late summer league addition #4 seed (brought in via Twitter to compete against writers) @RoryRyan in the other playoff matchup.

Buoyed all season by a Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski stack, Devonta Freeman and Eric Decker, my team was stacked and I have most of these players (and Todd Gurley, Demaryius Thomas) for several more years. In round one however, I went into Monday Night Football with a 16 point lead and Graham having Lamar Miller remaining. Miller scored two touchdowns by halftime and my highest-scoring team in the league (and second highest among 10 teams that week) was toast.

On the other side, Howell, who has lost exactly two regular season games in two years in the league, put up a dud and lost to Ryan, who inherited one of the worst teams in the league mid-summer, was awarded T.Y. Hilton by the league on a two year, $40.0 million contract and left to his own devices to turn the rest around. He slid into the playoffs behind some good moves and then, wouldn’t you know it, won the whole thing while Howell and I put up very high totals in the third place game.

Rory Ryan Shocks the Writers League

Basically, Ryan capitalized on being healthy and opportunistic,  and a few solid moves. Here’s his summary of what lead to his success (in his words):

“As I looked around the locker room before the championship match, I decided we needed to do something unusual. We went around the room and introduced ourselves–as six of the ten starters were waiver-wire pickups. As I drove my family back from the Polar Express train ride during Monday’s finale, I kept getting SiriusXM updates that were good. Then better. Then — victory. To say the team I inherited was in “rebuilding mode” would be an understatement. But we were able to scrape out just enough wins and ride a whole lot of luck to the title. “

“Although (to quote Nuke Laloosh) “winning is like . . . so much better than losing,” the year was great either way. As I told folks on social media, it was fun playing against the guys whose advice I use when setting my lineups in other leagues. And the RSO format really does make even traditional dynasty leagues seem primitive. The contracts, waivers, salary cap, etc., make up the way fantasy ought to be played. “
“The opportunity to play this format against these guys was too much to pass up — despite my (formerly) firm rules against not playing in leagues with kickers, defenses (if I can help it), and true decimal scoring. But I’m still looking forward to next year, where hopefully my roster will be slightly more settled. “

“So what was my strategy? When I entered the auction, there were few (no) stars and plenty of money. So prices were inflated. I went after some grinders who I’d always feel OK inserting into the lineup: Jonathan Stewart, Frank Gore, and Doug Martin (didn’t get him). But I spent little money. Instead, I saved most of my cap room, knowing that injuries and sleepers would emerge, and I would have the big bankroll. DeAngelo Williams, Danny Amendola, Antonio Gates, Dion Lewis, and Zach Miller all played important roles during the season.

“As for the future — we will see if my strategy works. Since there were no stars to lock down, I went after a group of guys who I thought were more talented than their projections, hoping that at least one of them ends up in an ideal situation. The prices are low enough that hitting 1/3 and cutting the other two will more than pay for itself in savings, despite the cap penalty, as I’ll avoid waiting for the player to demonstrate the market value. So, Golden Tate, Torrey Smith, and Markus Wheaton — please answer the phone if the Patriots call.”

A Rivalry Is Continued in Reality Sports Online

Let me set the stage for you a bit with some history. My best friend since our freshman year at Miami University, @MarkPesavento and I have been in fantasy football leagues together since 1996. He is my biggest rival and our fantasy matchups have quite a history of craziness as you can imagine for anyone playing against each other for that long. Since he works in sports and I don’t, there is an extra layer of who is the smarter football mind is between the two of us.

With that in mind, Mark and I left an ESPN keeper league a few years ago in search of something bigger, something more challenging that was fully customizable. As part of his work at the time, he discovered Reality Sports Online and we’ve been hooked ever since. Together we are co-commissioners of the Not Quite Gentlemen’s League, a super-customized PPR league with 12 teams and lineups consisting of only one required running back, three flex positions, and where turnovers are heavily punished (-5 points for interceptions, fumbles) and the 5th and 6th playoff seeds are determined solely based on total points scored.
RSO Co-Founder and Chief Operating Office Stephen Wendell is now in our league too, which adds to the competitiveness. Pesavento finished first overall at 11-2 with the highest point total (he won the league in 2014), newcomer Wendell finished 9-5 and was the #2 seed. I was the second highest scoring team, but finished 7-6 and got the #5 overall seed.

My high-scoring team proved no fluke in the opening round of the playoffs, winning 321.54-179.99 and a Week 15 rematch with Pesavento, who I was 0-2 against on the season, loomed.

Setting the Stage-Week 12

First, though, let me take you back to Week 12 where Pesavento and I squared off in an epic battle. He staked to an early lead behind Odell Beckham Jr., Philip Rivers, and Spencer Ware that seemed insurmountable at the time. Then late in the late games, my quarterback Russell Wilson hooked up with Doug Baldwin for an 80 yard touchdown, en route to a 72 point fantasy performance.

I was close going into the Sunday night game where I had Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots DST to his Broncos DST. Behind a Gronk touchdown and subsequent Gronk-spike and an inteception by the Patriots D, I staked out to a fairly decent lead (like 20 points). As the clock turned to the 4th quarter, I instant messaged Pesavento saying this game seems like it is over.

And then the collapse happened. The Patriots muffed a punt, Denver’s running game started picking up steam and the Patriots were bleeding out yardage allowed and points scored. The game was getting much closer. All I needed was another Gronk catch and I’d be fine.

Then Gronk got called for offensive pass interference on a big catch that was nullified. A few plays later, then he was carted off with a knee injury. So my happiness of likely winning the game turned into losing my key league advantage (and someone I’d like to franchise tag on a good deal for 2016) for the season, and potentially this game as well.

The Broncos scored to take the lead and all I then needed (while I was frantically worried about Gronk’s health for the rest of the season) was the game not to go to overtime. Well, we all know Stephen Gostkowski is fantasy gold and the game went to overtime. In overtime, as long as the Broncos didn’t score a touchdown, I’d win.

I think you know the rest. C.J. Anderson scored on a 48 yard touchdown scamper to end the game and Pesavento beat me by .25 points, continuing a series of close calls in recent match-ups.

The Worst Possible Way To Lose?

Heading into the Week 15 playoff matchup of the two highest scoring teams in the league, Pesavento was favored, yet he had some of his best players with tough matchups (Beckham Jr vs CAR, Antonio Brown vs. DEN DST, DEN DST at PIT) while mine on paper seemed favorable (A.J. Green @SF, Wilson vs. CLE, Devonta Freeman @JAX, Gronkowski vs. TEN, NE DST vs. TEN).

I staked out to a decent lead as Beckham Jr. didn’t have any catches through three well-documented quarters vs. shutdown corner Josh Norman. While I was watching on the NFL Game Mix (8 games at once on a not so-huge TV on DirecTV), I noticed that things were getting super chippy and was waiting for OBJ to get ejected by referee Terry McAulay’s crew for the punches thrown and the cheap shots.

I usually don’t get “holier than though” watching football, but by the time the Giants started their comeback and OBJ started racking up fantasy points I was on my high-horse and stark-raving mad that Beckham Jr. hadn’t been tossed. Heck, I’ve been tossed from rec-league basketball games for way less.

However, his Alshon Jeffery only had one catch for 10 yards and a touchdown, my Patriots DST had a good game and I was hanging in with him heading into Wilson’s huge matchup against my hometown Browns. Knowing that Wilson was hot and the Browns defense is porous, I knew Russ would deliver for me.

What I wasn’t prepared for was Brown scoring 70 points against his Broncos DST. So as the Steelers/Broncos game wore down and I was hoping the Broncos would give up more points, I was hoping that another player would score the final touchdown of this game. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and when Ben Roethlisberger threw an egregious interception on a terrible pass to his Denver defense right before the two minute warning that I coined the “Class of 1998 Miami University Fantasy Football Scholarship”, I knew that 5 points for the Broncos would loom large.

And as Brown caught another ball, I found myself down 15 points heading into Monday Night Football where it was my Golden Tate vs. his Tim Hightower for the right to survive and advance. Tate was coming off his best game of the season and was facing the porous Saints secondary. Hightower was coming off a solid game. Game flow seemed to favor Tate, but I figured the 15 points would loom too large for Tate to overcome.
As the game started and Tate scored two early touchdowns I found myself up in the game. Hightower scored right before half, but the play was called back on a lineman failing to report. The two of us went crazy over IM the remainder of the game.

At one point, unsolicited my wife and 5 year old son and 1 year old daughter started chanting “Golden Tate, Golden Tate!” pleading for him to get the ball when the Lions were on offense. It was super cute to see my daughter who talks but doesn’t know too many words saying this.

I was clinging to a slight lead and game flow took Hightower out of the game mostly. As I watched the Lions fumble away a few possessions that Tate could’ve had opportunities and the Lions DST unable to force punts to Tate as the returner (we get punt return yards for individual players in our league), I knew this was going to come down to the wire.

With five minutes left and me clinging to an ironic .26 point lead (basically the Week 12 margin of defeat), I paced around knowing that if Hightower got one more carry I would lose. I made it basically to the end of the game where the Lions were running out the clock unscathed. Alas, they didn’t have the ability to run off the entire clock and in came Matt Prater to kick a chip-shot field goal to end the game. Prater then missed, and I knew anything could happen.

The Saints had a few plays left and surely would be setting up for a Hail Mary after gaining a little bit of yardage. Initially seeing C.J. Spiller as the receiving back in the game, I figured I was fine. On a play with 14 seconds left, Drew Brees looked and pump faked at Hightower, but threw elsewhere. With six seconds left to go, folks in my league (including Pesavento) were congratulating me on the win.

Talk about Dewey vs. Truman. The last play should have been a Hail Mary. Instead, Brees decided to pad his completion percentage and throw a dump-off to Hightower. The yardage didn’t matter-I had lost after overcoming a deficit, in another crushing close defeat to Pesavento. Again on the last play of the game.
I wish this writing was fiction and not fact. I had seemingly overcome some poor performances by Green, T.Y. Hilton (who I started over Danny Woodhead based on recent history, Matt Hasselback starting, and Hilton’s history against Houston). I think back to all the dynamics of the matchup- Beckham not getting ejected and missing a for sure deep touchdown early in the game, two straight fade routes to Gronk in the end zone late in the Patriots/Titans game that came up just short, pass interference calls covering my Randall Cobb in the end zone, the Broncos late interception, and finally Hightower’s catch with the Saints down 8 points on the last play of the last game of the week, and I realize that the Reality Sports Online holy grail is a temptress. I easily could have lost by 50 points, won by 20 points or won by .26 points, but instead I lost by a few points and now wish Pesavento good luck in the finals (without Beckham and potentially Jeffery) while I play Wendell for third-place this week.

Only a combination of luck, health, and solid roster moves will result in winning this thing and I hope that my championship window with the same core I have locked up through 2016 will bring me better results next year. There’s always next year.

Please feel free to reach out to me with similar stories, start/sit questions for your big week 16 championship, or to call me a fraud via Twitter @Mattgoody2.

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