We just witnessed a backup quarterback throw seven touchdowns in a single game, but all we can talk about is Brett Favre, a guy who could easily be that backup quarterback’s father.
Only in the NFL.
Only in the NFL.
If you own Aaron Rodgers in fantasy football, you, like the Packers, need a replacement. We’ve already given you some options here, and I’ll expand on this as well throughout this weekly column. And no, Brett Favre is not an option.
Let’s get at it.
Hold Robert Griffin III
A juicy matchup led to another disappointing performance from the Redskins’ quarterback. He won the game, sure, but his 11.3 standard fantasy points was nothing for owners to brag about. Unfortunately, every time they got near the end zone, they pounded it in. With fullback Darrell Young.
You may not get the value in return you’d want for RGIII, so there’s no use in trading him unless you somehow find a willing owner. Therefore, it’s probably best to hold onto him, cross your fingers, and get excited for his matchups against Minnesota and Philadelphia – two of the three worst pass defenses in the league according to our metrics.
I’m expecting a decent game from Bobby this weekend, but to think his ceiling is what it was last year would be foolish.
Hold Chris Johnson
The roller coaster continues with Johnson, who entered the week as the second-worst running back in the league in terms of rushing net expected points (read more about NEP), and exited as the 16th-worst. He had that good of a game on Sunday.
The Rams fell back to their old ways against Johnson after having a couple of solid performances against the run. That was part of the reason Johnson’s schedule didn’t look as good moving forward as some made it out to be. However, CJWhateverK still gets Jacksonville and Indianapolis twice, as well as an Oakland team that looked completely lost defensively against the Eagles this past weekend.
The reason I’m not all-in on buying Johnson is because Arizona and Denver are his Week 14 and 15 matchups – fantasy playoff matchups. The Cardinals rank fourth against the run when adjusted for strength of opponent, while the Broncos rank first in the league according to our metrics. Denver’s a wild card, as they still give up fantasy points to backs (through the air especially), but they’re stopping the run very effectively. It’s a big risk if you’re banking on CJ.
Add Andre Brown
I’ve been recommending Andre Brown for a few of weeks now, and it’s going to be very difficult to get him this week off your wire. But if he’s out there, and if you’re in need of a running back, he should be your top waiver wire priority. Heck, even if you’re not in need of a back, I’d spend my top waiver pick on him.
The Giants have increasingly gotten better this season at running the football, and Brown claims to be 100 percent after hurting his leg earlier in the season. Peyton Hillis? No thanks. This is Brown’s job, especially considering the disappointing David Wilson hasn’t been cleared for game action since injuring his neck.
As I wrote in July, Andre Brown was the most efficient runner in all of football last year. There’s a lot of potential with the NC State product coming off his injury, and he’s still available in over 20 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
Buy Mike James
James is one of those players who isn’t sexy, won’t make things interesting, but could provide a high weekly floor. He received 28 carries and ran for 158 yards against a now-pedestrian Seattle rush defense, and gets Miami, Atlanta and Detroit over the next three weeks. Though Detroit’s been getting better at stopping opposing running backs, Miami and Atlanta rank as some of the worst teams at stopping them.
James shouldn’t be highly regarded by his owners even after his big game against the Seahawks, but with an improving Mike Glennon and soft matchups upcoming, he could be a nice RB2 to target in a trade for some bench depth.
Buy Tom Brady
Fortunately, I wrote about Brady before Week 9, so at least you all know I’m not just hopping on the bandwagon here.
The situation with Brady is a little complex, but it boils down to, as I note in my article, a few things. First, Rob Gronkowski needs to be Rob Gronkowski. I think we can put a checkmark next to that after seeing him light up the Steelers secondary on Sunday.
Second, they need someone to fill the Wes Welker void. Danny Amendola finally looked healthy against Pittsburgh, and although his net expected points (NEP) numbers have been on par with what they were in St. Louis, time can help his performance with Brady. Let’s assume this aspect is trending upwards.
Lastly, Brady has seen just a fraction of the production that he’s usually gotten from his running backs through the air. Guess who’s coming back after New England's bye week? Good ol' Shane Vereen, a running back who excels at catching the football. (Bonus add: Get Vereen now if he's available.)
All signs are pointing to this being Brady’s game that gets him back on track. I thought it’d happen after Vereen returned, but I was just a week late with my projection.
Buy Alfred Morris
You could argue – and actually, you’d win the argument – that Alfred Morris is even better this season than he was last year. As of now, Alf ranks only behind Knowshon Moreno and LeSean McCoy among lead running backs in rushing net expected points, having added over 11 points for the Redskins offense above expectation compared to a replacement-level running back. Last year, Morris finished with a rushing NEP of 10.85. If he continues at his current pace, he’ll far outdo that total.
He saw potential touchdowns stolen last week by Shanahanigans, but has now scored once in five of his eight games this year. Need a guy that gives you a high floor? That’s Morris, who has double-digit half-point PPR fantasy points in five games this year.
Morris’ upcoming schedule, like teammate RGIII, is pretty favorable. He’ll face Minnesota this week, Philly next week, and the fantasy playoffs consist of Kansas City, Atlanta and Dallas. While KC is good overall on defense, they’ve become increasingly worse at stopping the run, ranking 21st in the league according to our metrics.
Hold C.J. Spiller
Selling Spiller after his game against the Chiefs probably isn’t the smartest thing to do; it could be the start of him performing at his 2012 level. However, I’m not ready to just jump up and down and dub C.J. Spiller “back.”
Fred Jackson still sits as one of the most effective runners in the league in terms of rushing NEP (number eight overall among running backs), and Spiller has given us a very small glimpse – sample – of what his potential could be. It wasn’t smart if you sold him low (my hometown league saw him get traded for Terrance Williams last week!), but it’s a wait and see game to see if he can perform down the stretch.
Keep in mind that he gets a good matchup this week against Pittsburgh, but then faces the Jets (number two against the run) and before the Bills' bye. After that, however, Spiller has a favorable schedule, including a playoff one that includes Jacksonville and Miami. If you’re in good shape to make the playoffs, he’s not a bad “buy” candidate.
Sell Carolina Running Backs
I’ve haven’t been shy in saying I’m not a big DeAngelo Williams fan, and if you hadn’t sold him prior to last week, you’re now facing a situation where he’s only become valuable in inexperienced leagues. I say “sell” here because you probably can’t get a whole lot for him, but I’d still accept a leftover pasta dish for Williams.
While Mike Tolbert has produced in fantasy this year (this makes me very happy), we have to recognize that he’s incredibly touchdown-dependent. That’s not something to bank on if you’re trying to make a fantasy playoff run.
I will say, however, that Jonathan Stewart should be added if he’s on your waiver wire. He saw nine carries in his debut, and is the most talented runner of the bunch in Carolina. As of now, he’s available in over 95 percent of ESPN.com leagues.
Add Aaron Dobson
Remember when Kenbrell Thompkins was a thing?
After being a healthy scratch against the Steelers, it’s safe to say that the Thompkins hype train has come to a halt. Thank goodness. Now, it’s Aaron Dobson leading the charge.
Dobson has three touchdowns over his last two games, and also has just two games of fewer than 49 yards since Week 1. Even in PPR leagues, he’s worth an add given Tom Brady’s potential in the offense and Dobson’s learning as a rookie wideout. Don’t be surprised to see him as a player that puts out consistent output from here on out, as a lot of receivers perform like this during the second half of their rookie campaigns (T.Y. Hilton and Justin Blackmon in 2012). We project him as a WR3 with upside over the remaining portion of the season.
Sell or Drop BenJarvus Green-Ellis
It’s not looking like Giovani Bernard’s rib injury is serious, which doesn’t bode well for Green-Ellis owners. Even with volume though, BJGE isn’t a huge fantasy factor. He’s scored double-digit fantasy points once this season, and hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 5. According to our metrics, Green-Ellis is the third-worst runner in terms of efficiency, behind only Willis McGahee and Bernard Pierce. Yikes.
If you’re in a deep league, I’d look to use him as a throw-in to get a trade to go your way. In shallow leagues, Green-Ellis isn’t really worthwhile.
Hold Ray Rice
Rice ranks fourth-to-last in rushing NEP with a -20.62 score. Running backs typically will have low scores within NEP metrics, but compared to Rice’s history (no lower than -12.18), this is clearly an off year.
It’s showing in the fantasy ranks, too. He’s claimed to be healthy, but his numbers suggest otherwise. He’s scored touchdowns in just two games this season, and has yet to rush for more than 74 yards in a single contest. Doesn’t Terrelle Pryor do that on each touch or something?
I wouldn’t sell Ray Ray right now though because of his perceived value (which is low), and his fantasy playoff schedule. There’s a chance health is a big concern here, and if he does get better as the season dies down, he faces Minnesota, Detroit and New England in the fantasy post-season. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Buy Keenan Allen
Allen’s probably one of the best calls produced from this column this season, as he’s become a fringe WR1 in fantasy since his slow emergence after Week 3. He now has over 100 yards receiving in three of his last five games, including reception totals of 5, 6, 9, 3 and 8. You better believe he’s become Philip Rivers’ favorite target.
Another good reason to buy Allen? His schedule. Upcoming for the Chargers are the high-scoring Broncos, the middling Dolphins, the depleted Bengals, the porous Giants, and the Broncos once again. He finishes the fantasy season – Week 16 – against a Raiders team that just surrendered seven touchdowns to Nick flippin' Foles.
The Chargers do get the Chiefs twice, but the other matchups should scream opportunity. Get Allen if you can. (He’s somehow available in over half of ESPN.com leagues, too.)
Add Nick Foles
This is obvious, but I think it needs to be said. Foles’ Week 9 performance was clearly a fluky one, but that doesn’t mean he can’t continue at a usable fantasy football pace.
Prior to Foles’ disaster against Dallas, I noted that his passing NEP per pass was only worse than Peyton Manning’s. In other words, with each toss, he was doing more for his offense than any non-Peyton Manning quarterback. The sample size at the time was incredibly small, and it still is, but Foles is now back in the same spot after his historically great performance on Sunday.
The point is, why would you not want to take a shot with him? If he continues to see volume and keeps up even at 75 or 80 percent of his efficiency, he can be a QB1 in fantasy football.
Add Riley Cooper
In Nick Foles two favorable starts, Cooper has a combined nine receptions for 259 yards and four touchdowns. In two games!
It seems like Cooper and Foles (new band name?) have a nice rapport, which makes this situation a lot like Foles’: why not? This isn’t to say he’s going to be a full-blown WR1, but when a receiver and quarterback can connect like this, big things can happen. Cooper is worth a flier and waiver wire add this week, especially if your team is in need of a receiver.
Also, keep in mind that the Eagles haven’t had their bye yet. You’re going to have to plan for that in Week 12.
Buy Kendall Wright
Of course I catch Wright Fever and he goes on to post his lowest reception total since Week 1. Of course.
I know the Titans passing attack was a dud this week, and I take full responsibility for making them a giant sleeper choice for Week 9. But really, guys, the schedule is pretty favorable moving forward. Jacksonville this week should be a cake walk, and even Indianapolis in Week 11 should prove to be decent. Outside of Arizona in Week 15, the pass defenses the Titans will face down the stretch shouldn’t scare anyone.
The one thing I did get "Wright" this week with Kendall is that he’s the superior pass-catcher when compared to teammate Nate “Goose Egg” Washington. So hey, there's that.
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In This Article
RB, Buffalo Bills
RB, New York Jets
RB, Carolina Panthers
RB, Carolina Panthers
RB, Carolina Panthers
RB, Baltimore Ravens
WR, Philadelphia Eagles
QB, New England Patriots
Robert Griffin III
QB, Washington Redskins
WR, Tennessee Titans
RB, Houston Texans
QB, Philadelphia Eagles
RB, Washington Redskins
WR, New England Patriots
RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers