My fantasy week was like the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Every time a touchdown happened, I could only think of the scene where the two goofballs are driving down the incorrect lane on the highway: “You’re going the wrong way!”
I’d actually argue that the many PT&A (Yeah, I just shortened that title) moments were better than my fantasy football weekend. I think I would have rather slept in the same bed with John Candy than have Torrey Smith in my Week 6 daily lineups. And honestly, at least that movie ended with a Thanksgiving smile. My fantasy week? It ended with me crying in the shower.
Like I tell all of you each week, one poor showing doesn’t warrant a panic attack. Actually, 16 straight weeks of fantasy misery shouldn’t produce one, either. It’s a weekly game, and it’s time to wipe the slate clean for a new set of matchups.
Here are 15 moves to get you started off on the right foot.
Buy the Giants Passing Attack
I get it. You don’t trust Eli Manning because he threw another interception in his sleep last night. But let me tell you a little secret, something that’s actually been worse than Eli Manning this season: The Minnesota secondary.
That’s right. After being torched by Cam Newton and the Panthers through the air, the Minnesota defense has now given up three passing touchdowns in half of their games this season, and at least 240 yards passing in each one as well. Advantage Eli, who is still a low-end QB2 despite his enormous struggles this season.
Expect the Giants offense to get things going a bit on Monday night at home against the Vikings. The passing attack should have one of their best games this season.
Hold Zac Stacy
Since taking the starting role in St. Louis, Zac Stacy’s averaged 16 carries per game and rushed for over 150 yards. In terms of rushing net expected points, a metric we use at numberFire to see how many real points a player is contributing for his team above or below expectation on the ground, Stacy ranks ninth out of 52 30-plus attempt runners. In other words, he’s done a great job so far carrying the load.
Why hold? Well, the Rams will face a Panthers rush defense this week that’s given up just one 100-yard game and two total touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Then they’ll square off against the Seahawks, the third-best defense against fantasy running backs. It’ll be a good test for the rookie, who is clearly in the driver’s seat as the Rams lead runner.
Add Nick Foles
Michael Vick may not be healthy enough to play against the Cowboys this week, and that’s good news if you’re looking for a quarterback to stream. Nick Foles did well – you could even say ‘great’ – against the Buccaneers this past Sunday, throwing three touchdown passes for 296 yards and a rushing score.
He now ranks only behind Peyton Manning among relevant quarterbacks in terms of passing net expected points per pass, a measure that looks at how many points a passer is adding for his squad each time he drops back to throw. [Sample size alert]
If Vick misses time, Foles is a great start against the league-worst defense versus fantasy quarterbacks. And, as I mentioned in my weekly recap piece, don’t be surprised if there’s some sort of quarterback controversy stemming from Foles’ play.
Sell Ryan Mathews
Mathews had his best game of the season on Monday night, but keep in mind that it came against the second-worst rush defense in terms of our defensive efficiency metrics. And while he gets Jacksonville in Week 7, it’s still Ryan Mathews. There won’t be many opportunities for you to sell him with a solid upcoming matchup coming off a 100-yard performance. Do it now before he disappoints you once again.
Buy Heath Miller
Heath’s played just two full games if you go by snap count, and in those contests, he’s had 12 receptions for over 150 yards receiving. This isn’t abnormal: Miller was a key part of this offense last season under Todd Haley’s control, finishing as a top-5 tight end option in fantasy.
The touchdowns should come, and the Steelers have already had their bye. We’re back to seeing Heath Miller as a plug-and-play tight end with a high floor each week.
Sell Rashard Mendenhall
I’ve mentioned Andre Ellington in this column for weeks now, and seeing that he’s still owned in just 8.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues, I figured I’d approach this from a different angle this week: Get rid of Rashard Mendenhall. Now. (Actually, you should have three weeks ago.)
Not only does Ellington have more fantasy points this year, but Mendenhall has yet to rush for more than 66 yards in a single game while getting double-digit carries in all but one of those contests. In terms of rushing net expected points, he ranks eighth-worst among all backs with a -11.35 score. Ellington, with his limited touches, is the fifth-best running back under the same metric.
Hopefully you listened a few weeks ago, but if you still own Shard, try to deal him in a two-for-one trade. And pick up Ellington if he’s available in your league.
Add Joseph Randle
DeMarco Murray will most likely sit out Week 7, so if you’re in desperate need of a runner, Joseph Randle could be your man. Don’t have incredibly high expectations for the rookie back, as he was only able to get 17 yards on 11 totes against a bad Redskins defense. As a bye week filler, however? Sure. Why not.
Sell Maurice Jones-Drew
It wasn’t pretty, but MJD got it done fantasy-wise with a score against Denver. If you held onto him this long, it’s time to sell. Upcoming for the Jags are the fourth-ranked defense against fantasy running backs in San Diego, followed by San Francisco and a bye week.
It’s not as though Jones-Drew has been effective running the ball this year, ranking in the bottom seven in terms of rushing net expected points. He’s also yet to see more than 86 total yards in a single contest.
Add Harry Douglas
First of all, my condolences to Julio Jones owners – it’s never easy to lose a top fantasy receiver for the season. But if you want some sort of replacement, it’s not a bad idea to pick up Harry Douglas and cross your fingers, toes, arms and legs. Though he’s never been spectacular and ranks towards the low-end in the league in reception net expected points, he could see fake football relevance due to volume, especially if Roddy White misses time too.
Buy Doug Martin
There's no doubt about it: Doug Martin's been mediocre this season. He ranks 20th in half-point PPR fantasy points among running backs, and has scored just one time. He ranks in the bottom 15 in terms of rushing net expected points, performing as effectively as Daryl Richardson and C.J. Spiller.
But one thing that may go unnoticed with Martin is his high weekly floor in pretend pigskin. It's not massive, and it's not what you bought when you drafted him third overall in August, but it's something that other runners don't have. So far this season, Martin has hit the dougle-digit mark in all but one contest. And in that game, The Muscle Hamster scored 7.6 half-point PPR points. It was also against a defense, Arizona, that has allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
The reason for Martin's drop in fantasy production isn't due to volume, and you could argue that it's not because of yardage. It's all touchdowns. If you're a believer that those will come (I am), then you should believe in buying him at his potential RB2 price tag. After all, he's numberFire's seventh-best running back option from here on out.
Add Keenan Allen
The Chargers rookie wideout was in this column last week, as he had 11 receptions on 15 targets over his last two contests prior to entering Monday night. Now, unfortunately, everyone knows who Keenan Allen is after his monster nine-reception, 107-yard game during prime time.
Allen’s filling the void of an injured San Diego receiving group nicely, and quickly becoming quarterback Philip Rivers’ favorite target. He should be a top priority if he’s available in your league, which he probably is considering he’s owned in just 6.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
Bench BenJarvus Green-Ellis
The Law Firm means more to the Bengals than he does to your fantasy team. Though he sees volume (37 carries over the last two weeks), he doesn't see yardage or receptions (two catches and just an 86-yard game high on the season). Through seven weeks, only a handful - six of them - of running backs rank worse within our rushing efficiency metric. He's a great complement to the explosive Giovani Bernard for the Bengals, but he's not a good one for your fake football squad. Keep him on your team, only as a depth guy.
Drop Tavon Austin
You can argue all you want about the Rams not utilizing Tavon Austin correctly, but if they win with him catching just one pass for three yards, there's not much reason to feel hopeful. Austin now has just six catches over the last three contests, and, according to the numbers, ranks about as well as Roddy White on-the-field contribution-wise. Considering Roddy White has been injured the entire season, that's not good.
If I'm an Austin owner and there are players like Keenan Allen out there, I'm dropping him. Easily.
Sell Brandon Jacobs
Without David Wilson and on a short rest, Jacobs was able to go for over 100 yards and score twice against the depleted Bears defense. I'm willing to bet that Brandon Jacobs doesn't do what he did on Thursday night again this season, even with a juicy matchup against Minnesota in Week 7.
Though David Wilson will probably miss some more time, keep in mind that Andre Brown is going to come back in Week 10. At that time, he'd more than likely be in line to see a good bit of work.
It's fine to grab Jacobs off the wire for now, but it may be a good idea to use the Vikings matchup as a bargaining chip. He's our 35th-ranked running back in fantasy from here on out.
Add San Diego’s Defense
The Chargers rank 31st as a team defense in fantasy football, but have played much better over the last three weeks. The real reason to add them this week though? Jacksonville, of course.
The Jags looked a little more competent against the Broncos on Sunday, but that still doesn't take away the fact that their previous five opposing defenses posted double-digit fantasy points against them. If San Diego plays the way they did against the Colts on Monday, they should return solid production in Jacksonville.