Welcome to Toad’s Fantasy Football Weekly Review, where I summarize the aftermath of the past Thursday through Sunday games, but more importantly ten thoughts and their lasting fantasy impact.
1. In today and gone tomorrow – The biggest injuries of week thirteen.
• Bengals RB Joe Mixon got knocked out of with a concussion and is in danger of missing week fourteen due to concussion protocol. Gio Bernard becomes a potential heavy workload back with Jeremy Hill already out for the season.
• Eagles TE Zach Ertz is also in concussion protocol and that has his owners in desperate need of a replacement. Trey Burton will fill the roll but he’s not an equal swamp.
• Lions QB Matthew Stafford hurt his throwing hand but it was thankfully not broken. However it is sore and is questionable for week fourteen. Jake Rudock would replace him if he can’t go and that would downgrade the Lions’ chances of hanging in the playoff race as well as all of the fantasy players on the Lions offense.
• Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was carted off into the locker room in the fourth quarter and owners need to plan for an alternative in week fourteen.
• Ravens CB Jimmy Smith tore his Achilles Tendon Sunday, and was having a great season, pushing the Baltimore secondary into the elite status. However he had two straight weeks of subpar play due to this injury getting worse and finally, it gave way and this alters our view on the Ravens defense moving forward.
• The same could be said about the Bills CB Tre’Davious White . White who got a cheap shot elbow drop from Rob Gronkowski and is now in concussion protocol. White is having a splendid rookie season but the Bills secondary will miss him if he can’t go this week. Another Bills CB Leonard Johnson suffered a knee injury.
• Another CB in protocol is Titans’ top cornerback Logan Ryan. Already a vulnerable secondary, they could be even weaker this Sunday.
• Keep an eye on Dak Prescott who bruised his hand. He is not expected to miss any time but it’s something that could be a development over time.
2. The growing problem of owning Drew Brees.
The shift in strategy and building a game plan around Saints running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara has Drew Brees owners wondering what they have headed into the playoffs. What you don’t have is an elite quarterback anymore who is going to put up three touchdowns and 300-plus yards. In fact, he’s thrown for three just once this season and has just three 300-yard games. He’s playing well, he’s just not putting up elite stats anymore and he doesn’t have to with the way his backfield is playing. Just know you may have to compensate with the Saints schedule facing the Falcons twice in three weeks, sandwiching the Jets underrated defense.
3. Ballsy plays could be big risks in week fourteen.
Starting Josh McCown the last few weeks has been smart fantasy football. Those were matchups that he could win, despite the trepidation on where the Jets were headed this year. However, I wouldn’t have the same confidence against the Broncos, who while they are playing like shit, still have the personnel on their defense to have a monster game. McCown is a crafty veteran but the Broncos’ corners are still very good and unless their backfield is in top shape, which is never with Matt Forte’s up and down health, that they just might have enough personnel to cover Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse, and potentially Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Other risks include starting Blake Bortles against the Seahawks, starting Jonathan Stewart against the Vikings.
4. More Ugly Football!
We’ve had Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Green lock helmets, we’ve seen Michael Crabtree and Aqib Talib get nasty, and then there was Marcus Lattimore and Mike Evans. It’s one thing to be suspended for matters off the field, but it’s another thing for all of this ugliness on the field.
There were many ugly plays from week thirteen that already have ramifications moving forward. The first one to mention is Rob Gronkowski’s cheap elbow drop on Bills’ cornerback Tre’davious White while he was lying defenseless on the ground. Gronk should be happy that he escaped multiple-game suspension but he will miss next week’s game, unless his appeal is accepted.
Then there were all of the vicious hits in the Monday Night Football game with JuJu Smith-Schuster giving Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict a long waited taste of his own medicine after laying him out with a brutal block. Then Antonio Brown was hit hard in a helmet-to-helmet blast after catching a touchdown. Fines will be coming from the NFL office for all of the guilty parties, but most importantly, we’ll see if Brown has any lasting effects from the hit and Smith-Schuster was suspended for one game too.
5. Gould Gets Revenge.
When Niners’ kicker Robbie Gould was let go by the Bears for being too expensive, he saw it as an opportunity to start fresh and he’s done so in San Francisco. Now, while the numbers aren’t there, what was encouraging to see in this game was the Niners moving down the field each drive to stay competitive, and that may not always be enough to win games, but that could be enough to start getting Gould more field goal attempts. He had five on Sunday and the Niners have the Texans and Titans coming up.
6. This Seahawks defense is scary when it wants to be.
Remember, there is no Kam Chancellor and no Richard Sherman and they manhandled the Eagles all night and were relentless. From a front seven standpoint, this is the Seahawks we’ve known they can be, they just haven’t played like this all season. It does change your mind on how well they can play when they keep the best team in the NFL to just 10 points. I don’t know if they can keep this up and how long they can remain amped like this but the Seahawks will probably get into the NFL playoffs as an underdog with a ferocious bite.
7. Russell Wilson needs to be MVP of the NFC.
He’s doing it all. Plain and simple. Wilson was an absolute nightmare for the Eagles defense, scrambling one way, juking the other, rolling out, scrambling for 20 yards, or throwing across his body. You could see the Eagles were wiped out and they covered the Seahawks receivers well but when Wilson scrambles and the rest of the offense has to freelance too, the longer the play is stretched out, the worse it gets for a defense. Add to it that he’s done so without an offensive line and a run game is remarkable. Legion of Boom nothing, if not for Wilson, the Seahawks would be done.
8. Receivers for the Stretch.
In this late stage of the season, waiver wires are thin with talent but there’s a chance that the following receivers are still out there. They’re recent production is reliable as their targets are high and the other options on the team are not that good.
Marisa Lee – is averaging 8.6 targets and 61.3 receiving yards and 0.43 touchdowns per game over his last seven games.
Dede Westbrook – is averaging 8.3 targets per game and 51.3 yards per game over his last three games.
Jermaine Kearse is averaging 9.7 targets, 6.7 receptions, 65.7 receiving yards and 0.33 touchdowns per game over his last three games.
9. Oh Henry!
Production for the Tight Ends has been sparse as a whole this season and I know that Hunter Henry has been a nightmare to own but he has gone in stretches where he’s been productive. From weeks 4-7 was his first good stretch and then he went into hibernation for three games. He’s put two quality starts, back-to-back against the Cowboys and Browns, catching 12 targets of 14 targets for an average of 60.7 yards per game. He has also caught at least 70 yards in five games, he’s also had six games of 25 yards or less. So while he seems like he’s all or nothing, he’s more productive than what the stats show. He’s got the Redskins, Chiefs, Jets and Raiders left on the schedule and three of those teams are in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to tight ends.
10. Andy Dalton Will Shoot Your Eye Out.
Well, not really, but the Red Rifle has been a pillar of consistency over the season and has done so quietly. Dalton has thrown over 300 yards just once this season. But more importantly, Dalton has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four straight games, six of the last seven games and eight of the 12 games played. Can you believe it? Dalton has just eight interceptions and just four since week two. And he’s been playing consistent since
Bill Lazor took over the offense. Look he’s not shooting anyone’s eye out with his passing but he’s getting good production from a touchdown standpoint, minimal mistakes, and has justified his worth as a 2QB league starter, a streamer in redraft leagues, and a bargain in daily fantasy leagues.