Well I hope you didn't indulge too much on Thanksgiving, because some of Sunday's fantasy performances could have given you a heart attack. Whether it was watching your players become invisible (Eddie Lacy, Nate Burleson, or Stevan Ridley) or cheering on some record setting performances (Adrian Peterson, Eric Decker, Josh Gordon, and Alshon Jeffrey) it would have been safer to be near a medical professional.
Obviously the Packers' offense was a huge disappointment. Matt Flynn showed why he has been cut or traded three times in the calendar year with his pitiful performance. His ineptitude let an already strong run defense really clamp down on Eddie Lacy. The Packers receivers got many fantasy teams off to a horrible start in Week 13 because of Flynn's play. On the other side of the ball, the big three for Detroit all showed why they have been fantasy studs all year. Matthew Stafford threw for over 300 yards with 3 touchdowns, Reggie Bush topped 100 yards rushing and added more than 50 yards receiving to go along with a touchdown, and Calvin Johnson was money in the bank with over 100 yards and a touchdown. The only disappointment was Nate Burleson's goose egg. While many fantasy owners kept him on the bench in his return to the Lions' lineup in Week 12, almost everyone had slotted him in for a decent day as a WR3 or flex play on Thanksgiving.
It really seems hard to believe that the New York Jets are the same team that went into Atlanta and beat a Falcons team that still had a healthy Julio Jones. The Jets and especially Geno Smith have been awful ever since. Even in the Jets big win over the New Orleans Saints, the Jets won in spite of Geno, not because of him. His struggles have really put a damper on any late season upside from the Jets' skill position players. Chris Ivory looked like he could be a decent standard scoring running back down the stretch, but with a quarterback who can't sustain drives he moves back into a bench player.
I really hope you weren't counting on Stevan Ridley to help you win a fantasy football championship. I had talked about his fumbling issues at length on the podcast and knew that if I was fed up watching him week in and week out that the Patriots had to finally be at the end of their rope. You just can't win games turning the ball over. We as Giants' fans know that rule all too well. Ridley has been banished to the inactive list and very possibly could have carried the ball for the last time in a Patriots' uniform.
I found the perfect way for you to get your struggling fantasy players to get going. You just make them play a game in Canada and all of a sudden their numbers go through the roof. C.J. Spiller and Steven Jackson have been huge disappointments this season, yet they may have helped you sneak into your playoffs by putting up the exact numbers you expected from them all year (Spiller 149 yards and 1 TD, Jackson had 84 yards and 2 TDs). You must also remember that they have cheap meds in Canada and obviously Roddy White got his hands on some that enabled him to catch 10 balls for 143 yards.
I really can't remember a bigger scoring week in fantasy football. I go back in this game a long way and there have always been weeks where two or three guys go off, but to have four studs go absolutely nuts in a week that decides the playoffs is just awesome. Anyone who played against Peyton Manning and Eric Decker deserves your sympathy. They combined for NINE touchdowns. NINE! If you faced Alshon Jeffrey or Josh Gordon you were probably prepared for 100 yards and a touchdown, but not more than 200 yards and 2 touchdowns. You just can't compete with a team that has a receiver do that. It takes three of your players having a normal week to even it out.
Of all the guys that could help you wrap up a first-round win it could be DeMarco Murray who I like the best. Murray has been running pretty well and is coming off a huge 3 TD performance, but it's the defense that he's facing that has me excited. The Bears defense has literally been a running backs' dream this season. Running backs gaining more than 100 yards and racking up touchdowns have come so easy that I was willing to bet anyone that Peterson would have more than 200 yards last week against them. Sure enough he managed more than 200 yards, but was overshadowed by all of the wide receiver performances around the league. Murray should feast with a very good run-blocking offensive line, but they will be facing an extremely motivated opponent in Jay Ratliff.
Carson Palmer has been very steady the last few weeks and has a nice matchup at home against a Rams defense that could be drained from a tough battle with the 49ers last week. His growing relationship with Michael Floyd has made for a powerful 1-2 combo the last few weeks.
Which ever quarterback starts for the Bears should be in your lineup if you don't have a stud or a good matchup with your quarterback. McCown has been outstanding and Cutler won't be starting unless he is 100 percent. With Forte matching up against those linebackers, Dallas may never be able to get off the field on defense.
While Eddie Lacy had a tough matchup on Thanksgiving, he has a very nice match up this weekend. Lacy gets to face the Atlanta Falcons who were absolutely gashed by the Buffalo Bills in Toronto. Lacy is a must start with RB1 written all over him while James Starks could even get in on the action if you need a someone in a very deep league.
Time to reassess
Managing a fantasy football team is a little bit like running an actual football team. The importance of self-scouting cannot be overlooked. You need to constantly be re-evaluating your players to see what you actually have. Has the player that was your WR1 the first few weeks actually become your WR4? Has your back up QB outplayed your starter the last few weeks? You need to take a good hard look at your squad before the playoffs and decide what roles they have moving forward.
Julian Edelman - He has probably burnt up your bench the last two weeks and should now be considered a low-end WR2 in PPR leagues moving forward. It's clear that the Patriots have a game plan on how to get the ball in his hands and he shouldn't be discounted just because you picked him up off of waivers.
Michael Floyd - This guy had a huge fan base in the dynasty community, but his redraft value was pretty low entering the year. Before the season many believed that Andre Roberts would eat into any redraft value this year, but that has not been the case. He didn't make a big impact right away this season, but all the metrics pointed out that he could see an uptick in production based on his usage. Now he is riding a nice hot streak and should be a WR2 moving forward with even more value in standard leagues.
Nick Foles - If you take away Foles performance against the Dallas Cowboys before he got injured, you would have a clear-cut fantasy stud quarterback. There have been two things holding back fantasy players and experts alike from anointing him a top fantasy quarterback. The presence of Michael Vick and Foles' performance against the Cowboys. You see most experts expected a huge week from Foles against the Cowboys. Most, like me, had him ruin our daily fantasy lineups that week. That sting tends to stay with you and just now are we ready to say that that performance was more of an anomaly than his seven touchdown game against the Raiders. Foles is my QB7 going forward, but please don't ask me if you should start him over Drew Brees or Peyton Manning.
This late in the season the wire should be plucked pretty thin, but here are a few names that may help you. LeGarrette Blount may actually be the beneficiary of the Ridley banishment. Blount is especially valuable in standard leagues as he could see more goal-line work. Ace Sanders has become an asset in PPR Leagues as Chad Henne has thrown the ball his way quite a bit lately. His 8 receptions for 60 yards may not make him Calvin Johnson, but he is more useful than some of the names collecting dust on your rosters. Andre Holmes of the Raiders burst on the scene on Thanksgiving and could have nice value moving forward if Denarious Moore isn't able to play. Either way, Holmes size makes him a red-zone target so he should be rostered.
BBV League Notes
This week is make-or-break for a lot of us in our leagues as our playoffs will start Week 15. I wanted to let everyone know what they are actually playing for. The guys from Footballguys.com have provided a year pass to Football Guys Insider. The Championship game between BBV League 1 and BBV League 2 will be played simultaneously with the championship games in each league. The winner of League 1's score will be put against the winner of League 2's score and the highest score wins a free year subscription to one of the best fantasy football sites in the industry.
In League 1 my team is trying to fight off Football On Your Phone for the final playoff spot, while in League 2 Here Comes Treble is trying to chase down Marcus's Longshots for the final playoff spot.
I hope everyone has enjoyed participating in the leagues and wish everyone luck in tying to win that prize!
Feel free to ask me any start/sit or trade questions on Twitter @Coachesseror by messaging me on Facebook by liking Coachesser’s Playbook. You can also read my articles at www.coachesser.com and listen to the definitive fantasy football podcast on Itunes or Stitcher Radio by subscribing to the Trick Plays podcast hosted by Micah James (@FFMagicMan) and myself.