Fantasy Football Mailbag: Wednesday 12/21/16
Fantasy football research never stops, and roles change drastically from one week to the next. That's where our fantasy football mailbag comes into play.
Have a question about a certain player, team, strategy, or anything football? Shoot us a question on Twitter or send an email to Brandon.Gdula@FanDuel.com, and we can talk anything fantasy football related -- even daily fantasy football.
Now, let's answer some questions.
Email submission from Akeem:
Do you think Derrick Henry is worth starting over Doug Martin or Bilal Powell? Also I have Julio jones, Michael Crabtree, Michael Thomas, JJ Nelson,Dontrelle Inman. I think I should start jones who got 48 against the team he's going up against last time divisional game. I think Michael Thomas and Michael Crabtree is who I should play of course one of those players being slot but Dontrelle Inman is up against Cleveland so I don't know what to do and I do not want to get eliminated from the playoffs
Last week, Henry played just 26% of the Tennessee Titans' offensive snaps, compared to 79% for DeMarco Murray. He did steal 2 touchdowns on 9 carries (for 58 yards), but that snap rate is tough to trust.
By comparison, Martin played 78% of the snaps last week for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His matchup against the New Orleans Saints isn't necessarily ideal, as they're seventh against the rush by our metrics since Week 8, but it's hard to opt for someone playing a quarter of the snaps compared to three quarters of them.
Powell has been playing even more snaps: 84% last week and 87% the week prior. The New York Jets are massive underdogs against the New England Patriots (16.5 points, to be exact). That should lead to plenty of checkdowns to Powell, who got 11 catches last week on 12 targets. It's hard to pass up Powell in the hopes that Henry steals a score or two.
We project Jones for 13.3 half-PPR points this week, but we have to be worried about a lingering injury: turf toe. Crabtree is projected for 13.98 half-PPR points this week and plays on a team with an implied total of 28.25, higher than all teams aside from New England. Lock him in.
Thomas is projected for just 9.17 points against a Buccaneers team that is second-best against the pass since Week 8. He was out-snapped and out-targeted by Willie Snead last week and out-produced by Brandin Cooks. He's fine in a vacuum, but he can be difficult to rely on with other receivers getting similar volume as he does on the same team.
Inman is projected for 9.83 half-PPR points, ranking third in this group, and does get the slot advantage against the Cleveland Browns. The Chargers have an implied total of 24.75, well shy of New Orleans' 27.75.
I think for that reason, you should rank them Crabtree, Jones, Thomas, Inman, and Nelson.
Email submission from Sean:
I've made it to the finals but the injuries are piling up. My best 2 options for the Flex spot are AJ Green, Tevin Coleman, or Dontrelle Inman. I'm not sure I can trust Green. I'm leaning towards Inman. Need some help to get that belt!
We've already touched on Inman -- he's got the advantage in the slot this week but doesn't have a great implied team total necessarily.
He's a better option than Tevin Coleman, though. Coleman hasn't played 50% of the Atlanta Falcons' snaps yet this year -- he's been close, with 46%, 36%, and 43% in his past three -- and that really lowers his floor.
Also lowering his floor is the lack of receiving production: he has 2, 3, 2, 2, 1, and 2 targets in his past six games. It's really scary to roster a spell back who isn't getting receiving usage even with 9.2 carries per game in his past six.
A.J. Green looks set to return this week. The Houston Texans have been stingy against the run lately, ranking second since Week 8. They're 13th, though, against the pass. So long as Green is deemed 100%, you have to play him even with the Cincinnati Bengals eliminated from the playoffs. The upside is just too good in championship week to leave him on the bench.
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