Win. Your. League.

Receive 3 Free Downloads More Details

The Best of Week 15

Matt Waldman scouts our in-season content and shares five must-knows and his takes on each.

You guys have a ton of articles. 

This statement about Footballguys is a blessing but it can feel like a curse. Our staff delivers insights that change seasons for the better yet realistically, no fantasy owner has the time to read everything we publish in a week. 

If this describes you, let me be your scout. Here are five insights from Footballguys articles that I find compelling for the weekend ahead. I'll share what should help you this week, touch on the long-term outlook, and sometimes offer a counterargument.  

This week:

Let's begin. 


1. Do we trust Robert Woods out of the gate?

This is the question I posed to our Roundtable panelists this week. Their answers varied from the conservative (Jason Wood) to optimistic (Adam Harstad) with logical answers in between: 

Waldman: From Weeks 5-11, Robert Woods was the No. 3 fantasy receiver in standard leagues and the No. 5 option in PPR formats. After suffering a shoulder injury, Woods is scheduled to practice on Wednesday. 

If he debuts in Week 15 against the Seahawks, do you trust him? If so, how much? If not, why not? 

Haseley: As long as Woods is healthy and free from pain and discomfort I believe we'll see him go back to his regular role in the Rams offense. It may take half a game or longer for him to be utilized back to where he was pre-injury, but I believe he'll bounce back.

There is a bit of risk involved in automatically inserting him back into your lineup site unseen of his ability post-injury. He didn't have surgery though, which is a plus. Only rest and rehab.

This week at Seattle is not the most favorable. I'd consider him a WR4 or stretch-flex option. Once we know more about his ability post-injury, we can adjust his ranking accordingly. 

Harstad: I trust him to be the guy who led Los Angeles in targets, receptions, and receiving yards over their first ten games, sure. I don't really trust him to be the guy who had back-to-back 2-touchdown games to juice his fantasy standings because touchdowns are largely random events. But I do think he's the Rams' top target when healthy.

Wood: It's difficult to trust Robert Woods in his first week back. Woods performed well enough to justify playing every week, but we have the weight of his career to suggest his hot streak was more of a, well, hot streak than a new baseline.

With Cooper Kupp stepping into a major role comfortably and having the better talent profile for long-term success, I need to see Woods produce this week before considering him as a high upside WR3 in my fantasy finals in Week 16.

Garda: I agree with Jason, his first week back is a concern for me. Even if Seattle is broken in the secondary, he may have some rust. I love the Week 16 matchup against Tennessee though, so that week I would have no issue starting him as a solid WR3.

Hicks: For me, he comes back as a borderline WR2/WR3. The Seahawks aren't the famed legion of boom anymore, especially since most of their threats are injured. Woods, however, will need time to regain confidence in his shoulder and eat into the target load that Jared Goff has spread around in his absence. I would play him if I didn't have 3 top tier receivers or needed a possible upside pick. He could also get you a zero or low score depending on a re-injury or not being game ready.

Ryan Hester's Trendspotting feature supports Andy Hicks' point about the Seahawks' banged-up secondary as a fertile matchup for the Rams passing game. 

FOLLOW THE TARGETS

In this section, we'll look at the worst passing defenses and dissect how they allow their fantasy production. This week, we're looking at the defenses that have allowed the most yards per game since Week 10 and how they've allocated their targets, yards, and touchdowns over the course of the whole season.

Team RB Tgt% Yds/Gm Rank TD WR Tgt% Yds/Gm Rank TD TE Tgt% Yds/Gm Rank TD
Seattle Seahawks 18.5% 2 1 59.1% 27 11 22.4% 15 4


Aaron Rudnicki also sees Woods as a solid matchup in his Matchups Exposed feature: 

WR Robert Woods, LAR (vs Byron Maxwell, SEA)
Seattle's defense isn't the same without Richard Sherman at left cornerback. Byron Maxwell had some success in their system previously but he's clearly the weak spot in their secondary right now with a catch rate of 74% and 2.32 yards allowed per route covered. Now with Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright unlikely to play as well, the Rams receivers should find a lot more room. Woods was sidetracked by an injury for the past 3 weeks but clearly looked like the primary receiver for Jared Goff in the weeks prior. He's expected to return this week and should have a nice matchup waiting for him if he's able to go.

My Take: Since Week 10, Seattle is 27th in yards per game allowed to wide receivers. Seattle's secondary has always weakest on routes that cross the middle of the field and force its safeties, corners, and linebackers to communicate with switch-offs with its zone assignments. Now that it's missing key starters, expect further communication breakdowns like the one seen against Keelan Cole in last week's game as profiled in The Top 10

Rookie Keelan Cole is a speedster who is getting open and catching the ball. His biggest play of the weekend was a well-schemed play to beat the Seahawks' defense where it's weakest. 

 

TD to Cole: Crossing up the Seattle Def

A post shared by Matt Waldman (@mattwaldmanrsp) onDec 10, 2017 at 7:12pm PST

We know that Cooper Kupp is the Rams option who often runs these deep crossing routes, but Woods is also an equally versatile option with even greater downfield speed. Because Jared Goff has targeted rookies Gerald Everett and Josh Reynolds without fear, the greatest rust I anticipate for Woods is in the vertical game. 

It means I view Woods as a safe WR3 with WR1 upside if he and Goff connect downfield on even one big play.  

[return to top]


2. Lost Wentz or McCown? Don't fear Foles or Bortles

Finding replacement quarterbacks this time of year is a tough task. It means being open to players who are capable of out-playing their reputation. Two that immediately come to mind are Nick Foles and Blake Bortles

Let's return to Hester's Trendspotting for a look at Foles' opponent, the feeble New York Giants pass defense:

HOW WILL THEY SCORE?

I have a confession. What you're about to see and read is not my idea. This is a concept created by Ben Gretch at Rotoviz and now published on FantasyLabs. However, it's one I wanted to share as it is an interesting way to think about how teams score and allow points and can lead to some surprise/contrarian lineup decisions. For some background, check the intro to Ben's Week 1 column from earlier this year, or get a bullet-point summary below.

  • Take each team's implied Vegas team total
  • Average the percentage of points that team scores via passing touchdowns and the percentage their opponent allows via passing touchdowns
  • Multiply that average percentage by the implied total
  • Do the same for rushing touchdowns
  • An asterisk denotes a home team
  • Passing + Rushing won't add up to the total. There are kicking and defense/specials teams points as well. However, those aren't as predictable, so we're focusing on offense only.

You'll get the hang of it with the help of the charts and some examples.

PASSING POINTS

Offense Defense LV Total Off PaTD% Def PaTD% Pas
 Eagles Giants* 23.75      49.01%     48.60%        11.59

Rudnick's Matchups Exposed also highlights Alshon Jeffery's drawing of Ross Cockrell and Brandon Dixon and Zach Ertz working against Landon Collins, who won't be 100 percent: 

WR Alshon Jeffery, PHI (vs Ross Cockrell, NYG)
The Eagles will obviously need to adjust to life without Carson Wentz but Nick Foles is an experienced and capable backup who should be able to keep things rolling this week against the Giants. Ross Cockrell has taken over for the injured Janoris Jenkins and hasn't been terrible, but Brandon Dixon has looked overmatched and Jeffery should spend most of the game working against both outside corners. It's likely that Foles may lock onto a big reliable target like Jeffery more than Wentz who did a great job of spreading the ball around.

TE Zach Ertz, PHI (vs Landon Collins, NYG)
Ertz is a risky choice given the fact he's recently come back from a concussion, was held to just 2 catches last week, and now gets a new quarterback. The Giants have improved considerably against tight ends in recent weeks but they did allow Jason Witten to find the end zone against them last week on his only catch. One reason to consider Ertz this week is the fact that Landon Collins suffered an ankle injury last week. Early reports suggested he may be shut down for the year but he says he wants to play through it. If he's less than 100%, that should make this a great spot for Ertz to take advantage of.

My Take on Foles: While Foles' low interception rate during his best season in Philadelphia was a product of some of the luckiest "bad throws" I've seen from a starting quarterback (think DeShone Kizer's much-criticized throw under pressure last weekend against Green Bay), Foles is stylistically a strong fit as Wentz's replacement.

He's not as strong or mobile as Wentz, but he's athletic and capable of buying time in the pocket. He has a solid deep arm, but he thrived most in a spread offense when leading the Arizona Wildcats. 

With a strong offensive line, quality ground game, and a scheme predicated on quick sets and throws off read-option looks, Foles has a good shot of a much stronger game than most expect from a backup. I think his floor this weekend is 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's not bad at all for a backup. 

If McCown was your starter, our Roundtable staff did not feel good about Bryce Petty

Waldman:  Josh McCown broke his hand on Sunday. Heading into last weekend, McCown was the No. 8 QB in fantasy leagues. Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse were the No. 14 and No. 22 fantasy WR, respectively, and Matt Forte the No. 29 fantasy RB (all rankings listed are for PPR). 

Can Bryce Petty sustain the production of his surrounding talent? Who is hurt the most and least with Petty under center? 

Wood: The Jets will become the dumpster fire we expected them to be at the start of the season. You cannot possibly roll out Anderson or Kearse in a fantasy playoff matchup with Bryce Petty under center. It would be unconscionable. You're far better off going with someone like Dede Westbrook or Marquise Goodwin if they're available. 

Garda: Heck no. Everyone keeps saying we didn't see the real Bryce Petty last year, but I feel like we did over the course of four games. He's mediocre. I like guys like Anderson and Kearse and they should help him, but he's not going to reach Josh McCown numbers, and I think the whole offense takes a hit.

And the Saints have an improved pass defense, while the Chargers have one of the best pass rush tandems on the D-line. No thanks.

Harstad: When a backup quarterback steps in, ideally you'd like to to be someone with NFL experience, a history of at least journeyman-level production, or barring that at least some sort of serious draft capital behind them. I'm okay starting players with guys like Blaine GabbertCase Keenum, or Tom Savage under center.

Bryce Petty has none of those things. He's a 2nd-year player with 140 career pass attempts who was drafted in the 4th round, has a passer rating below 60, an ESPN QBR below 20, and a career ANY/A average, (yards per attempt including sacks, plus a bonus for touchdowns and a penalty for interceptions), of 3.15.

I see zero reasons to believe that Bryce Petty will be anything but catastrophic for everyone in fantasy except the Saints and Chargers defenses, (his next two opponents).

Haseley: My gut says that Bryce Petty is not going to produce similar results. McCown found a niche with the Jets system, similar to how Case Keenum is thriving with Minnesota. McCown was a good fit and it's not easy to replace a quarterback that runs the offense well. Just ask Brett Hundley or Tom Savage.

I think we'll see a drop off in production across the board from the Jets. Unfortunately, there may be a ripple effect that will have a negative impact on several players, including Robby AndersonJermaine Kearse and the like. 

Hicks: I have no faith at all in Bryce Petty as a genuine NFL QB, let alone keeping a fantasy WR afloat. The fact that Petty will clearly play is an indictment on what Christian Hackenberg is struggling with at the NFL level. Petty has underwhelmed to date with 3 touchdowns and 7 interceptions in his 4 game career and looked to be unable to make the quick and correct decisions required at this level.

Of the 2 receivers, I would expect Anderson to be the better prospect having played with Petty at the end of 2016. Anderson recorded 14 catches for 240 yards and 2 touchdowns with Petty between weeks 13 and 15 last year. 

One player with a better fantasy game than his reputation is Blake Bortles. If you're still regarding Bortles as an inaccurate game manager in a ground-and-pound offense without two of his three starting receivers, you haven't seen enough Jaguars games in recent weeks. Sigmund Bloom recommends Bortles as his top quarterback in this week's Sleepers

Blake Bortles, JAX (vs HOU) - The idea of trusting Bortles in the playoffs has gotten less and less strange by the week. He’s had three straight quality fantasy weeks, and he’s facing a Texans defense that has given up three passing scores to Blaine Gabbert and a pair to Jacoby Brissett in recent weeks. Bortles only threw for 125 and a score in the Week 1 win at Houston, but he also only threw the ball 21 times. He’s thrown at least 27 times in each of the last four games, and averaged over 30 attempts in that span.

The two receivers who have replaced Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are compelling reasons for Bloom's recommendation — and also earned sleeper status from Bloom. 

Dede WestbrookKeelan Cole JAX (vs HOU) - The Texans just can’t handle vertical threats. Marquise Goodwin had 6-106 against them last week. TY Hilton 5-175-2. Paul Richardson Jr 6-105-2. Tyler Lockett 6-121. Brandin Cooks 5-131-2. The pattern is clear. Westbrook and Cole both fit the bill, with Westbrook the better play, getting at least eight targets and five catches in each of the last three games. Cole has scores in each of the last two games, although on only three targets, so he’s more of an upside desperation/deep league play.

Rudnicki feels equally strong about Westbrook, thanks to Houston cornerback Kevin Johnson's post-injury struggles.

WR Dede Westbrook, JAX (vs Kevin Johnson, HOU)
Westbrook is starting to come on for the Jaguars with 5 or more catches in 3 straight games and an impressive 5/81/1 game against Seattle last week. Now he gets a Texans defense that has been very up and down all year. He figures to spend much of the game matched up against Kevin Johnson, who has not looked good since returning from an early-season injury. Johnson ranks among the most generous corners in the league with .49 fantasy points per route covered and a 75% catch rate allowed. 

My Take: Like Bloom, I've been a fan of Westbrook's game since he was starring at Oklahoma. Within the next 12-18 months, I anticipate he'll eventually push his way into a starting role regardless of who is healthy in Jacksonville. I shared some of the compelling evidence in this Week's Top 10. 

Rookie Dede Westbrook is winning targets like a primary receiver. It's the difference between Cole and Westbrook that fantasy owners should understand — especially when weighing the long-term value of each.

 

D Westbrook doing what he did at OU

A post shared by Matt Waldman (@mattwaldmanrsp) onDec 10, 2017 at 6:37pm PST

Wide receiver coach Keenan McCardell praised Westbrook for his strong hands. Combined with his quickness and ball tracking, Westbrook is routinely earning Blake Bortles' attention as the quarterback's first option on third downs. 

 

 

I don't remember if this is my second or third notice on Westbrook, but you've been advised.  

[return to top]


3. Buy low, sell high receiver — Dynasty Style

Sigmund Bloom competes in a lot of dynasty leagues — he's in most of mine. In fact, we face off in the semis of the Footballguys IDP Dynasty Staff League as the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds

As a proponent of building a team around the wide receiver position because the position is the most plentiful in starting lineups and has one of the longest average career lengths, Bloom's Buy Low, Sell High is a good read this week.  Here are some of his most interesting recommendations:

Calvin Johnson, FA - Yes, Calvin Johnson. There were some puffs of smoke around a possible return to the NFL this preseason, and there’s a whole offseason for the Lions to pursue some compensation and Johnson to pursue a team that can give him a better chance for a Super Bowl run. Even a small sliver of a percent chance that you could have a rested Calvin Johnson on your roster is worth a roster spot during the offseason.

Mack Hollins, PHI - Carson Wentz 2016, rest in peace. We still learned that Wentz is going to increase the value of his receivers, especially the deep threats. That’s Hollins, who already gave us a glimpse of what the future will hold for him and Wentz.

Malcolm Mitchell, NE - We already know Mitchell can play and we know his situation is great. We just need him to stay healthy.

Josh Reynolds, LAR - Reynolds had four catches and a score as the #3 receiver with Robert Woods out earlier this year, and if Sammy Watkins leaves in free agency, that’s the role he’ll have next year in a very good pass offense.

ArDarius Stewart, NYJ - I love Stewart’s game, but he’s on the verge of a brutal quarterback situation with no end in sight and he is behind Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa.

Chad Williams, ARI - Williams generated a lot of buzz this summer, but he remained on the fringe of the gameday roster. The Cardinals long term quarterback situation is a question mark, but Williams might not have Larry Fitzgerald or John Brownblocking him from wide receiver opportunity soon.

Josh Malone, CIN - Malone appears to be ahead of John Ross at this point and could eventually become the #2 opposite AJ Green.

Leonte Carroo, MIA - Carroo’s star has dimmed greatly since the Dolphins used precious draft capital to move up for him, but if Jarvis Landry leaves in free agency, there will be a role opened up for Carroo to seize, and there are worse quarterbacks to have at the helm of your offense than Ryan Tannehill.

Mike Thomas, LAR - The Rams have kept Thomas around despite a suspension and they have a good young quarterback and passing game. That’s enough to make him rosterable in ultra-deep dynasty.

My Takes: There are a lot more recommendations in Bloom's article but these are my favorite nine options. They range from the gamble on greatness returning to the league (Johnson) to a rehabbed young veteran who flashed strong play (Mitchell) to a pair of promising athletes with better-than-average receiver skills (Hollins and Stewart). 

I'm a believer in talent, which makes me a more patient dynasty owner with players stuck behind veterans on a depth chart. How many of these players I keep and how patient I am with them depends on their potential, their opportunities, and my roster. 

If you're rebuilding, I recommend Mitchell, Reynolds, Stewart, Williams, Hollins, and Malone in that order. They have the greatest combination of primary option upside and career length.

Carroo and Thomas are excellent cheap additions you can hold onto through the early fall and dump next October if you need to make roster adjustments. I still believe in the talent of both players, but fit and opportunity are more volatile for them at this time. They may need an opportunity elsewhere. 

[return to top]


4. dynasty rankings movement — backs

It's an active shopping period in dynasty leagues and this week's Jeff Tefertiller's Dynasty Rankings Movement features quarterbacks and running backs with the help of Daniel Simpkins. Here are some of the thoughts I found most compelling. 

Simpkins

Eli Manning - He’s got his job back, but I’m not sure Manning is going to be anything more than a bridge to the next quarterback. Don’t fall into the temptation of getting excited about his easy schedule and his weapons in 2018 as seems to happen at the outset of every recent fantasy campaign. It’s time to accept that out of 32 starting quarterbacks, Manning is going to consistently rank near the bottom of the heap.

Tefertiller

Ryan Tannehill – Tannehill is a forgotten man in the quarterback rankings.  With the success Jay Cutler has experienced in the Adam Gase offense, we are hopeful Tannehill will be able to become a high-end QB2 for fantasy owners.

Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford – There is a great likelihood that one or both passers will hit free agency this coming spring.  Given the poor quarterback play (Blaine Gabbert/Blake Bortles, I am looking at you), these two quarterbacks can easily be fantasy-viable.  Sure, each needs to prove healthy, but there is upside at a low price.  Bridgewater looks safer given the knee saga Bradford endured earlier in the season

RUNNING BACK

Tefertiller

Kenyan Drake – Drake has shown he should – at the very least – be in a committee with a rookie next season.  If used in a Kamara-like role, Drake could easily be a weekly RB2 for fantasy owners.  Gase has figured out how to get the speedy back into space with the ball in his hands.  The main concern is health.  Drake has battled injuries for most of his latter collegiate and professional careers. 

Ameer Abdullah – The Lions have shown fantasy owners that they have no faith in Abdullah.  When Theo Riddick – a solid passing-game option – starts getting redzone carries, it sends a message.  Expect Detroit to draft a running back early in this coming draft.

Alex Collins – Collins is the running back of the future for the Ravens.  Woodhead is not getting any younger and Collins has shown more ability than West or Dixon.  Allen is not a fantasy option.  While many still underrate Collins, he has shown over the past few weeks that he is a three-down back who can be the workhorse.

Simpkins

Peyton Barber - Barber is a long-time favorite of mine. Barber’s lateral agility, jump-cutting prowess, and nose for the goal line are all shining forth with increased opportunity. His stock is already up in my eyes, but it will go even higher if Doug Martin leaves in free agency.

Mike Davis - I know it’s generally a mistake to get too attached to Seattle running backs not named Marshawn Lynch, but Davis is currently making the most of his opportunity, both in the running game and the receiving game. As a result, I’m moving him up my rankings a spot or two. For non-contending teams, I like the idea of flipping Davis for a mid-to-high second-round pick, as there will be more competition and possibly even a drafted talent or two competing for the job next year.

My Takes: The only quarterback on their lists I'm interested in as a team-building investment is Bridgewater. I believe his career is far from over. He reshaped his body while rehabbing, and Vikings teammates wouldn't be excited about the possibility of seeing him return to the field this if they truly didn't think he could make an impact. Case Keenum has played well enough to hold Bridgewater off and Bridgewater remains a strong hold or buy-low in my dynasty outlook.

I agree with Simpkins that Manning is a bridge to a new starter. Unless you're a contender who is in need of a starting quarterback with one year of upside while you're young talents at the position remain unreliable, Manning is effectively done as a true dynasty commodity. 

I don't trust Ryan Tannehill. He's a smart individual with a great memory and good athletic ability, but his decision-making and accuracy have not grown significantly enough to invest in him the way we might still invest in Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, or Jameis Winston, who have all disappointed this year. 

I criticized the Dolphins' selection of Kenyan Drake so early in the draft because his decision-making and ball security at Alabama had tremendous gaps. While both issues have cropped up this year, the frequency has been far less often. Miami has also paired Drake intelligently on runs that are in his conceptual wheelhouse, and he's thrived thanks to his speed, balance, agility, and vision for those plays. 

He's a buy at this stage. I'm not 100 percent sold on him so I can't put him on even footing with established starters in the top-15 but I might not have a good counterargument if you have him in the bottom-end of your top 20 at the position. 

Abdullah's in a vicious cycle. His offensive line is inconsistent. While it's an improvement from "bad," the history has been bad enough that Abdullah has been playing based on recent memory. Because he has the vision and agility to make creative cutbacks, he's often making strange and/or forced decisions that hurt his production. 

The Lions staff, which runs less than any team in the league, notes this behavior and it reinforces the team's lack of trust in Abdullah, who then tries even harder to force plays when he's on the field. Abdullah will likely need a new team and an injury to the starter on that new team to prove that he's better than what he showed in Detroit. 

In other words, you'll have to downgrade him as a likely starter barring an incredibly good situation. Think of him as a starter talent who hasn't proved it and will need help with a new team and injury to earn another shot at doing so. 

Collins, Barber, and Davis are similar backs. All three can catch, they run with great balance and footwork, and they are big enough to handle a full workload. Collins has the best shot of staying in town and becoming a feature back. The Ravens will get All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda back in 2018. If Kenneth Dixon plays to his ability, Collins could earn stiff competition for the job, but he has earned No. 1 role heading into training camp next year.

Barber needs the Buccaneers to keep Dirk Koetter and even then, Tampa could draft one of several strong running backs in this 2018 class to replace Martin and compete with Barber. Still, Barber is talented enough to surprise folks thinking that a draft pick will be the starter. I have never been a fan of Jeremy McNichols' game, but I know many draft analysts who think he's a future starter. Barber dominated that competition this summer.

Davis is the most intriguing of the three because he was a fantastic player at South Carolina when healthy and in shape. We're seeing flashes of that in Seattle despite lackluster offensive line play. With Duane Brown in the fold and a year of experience for its youthful talent, there's a shot that he could remain the starter. I'd be surprised if Seattle drafts a running back early when it has been excited about Davis and Chris Carson, and still has its choice of keeping Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise to see if they can show something again when healthy. If Davis remains right, he's as good as any of them — and the most physical. 


5. fantasy lessons for future team building

Most of you in the playoffs know your teams well enough that any tough decisions you have are highly specific, hair-splitting picks. It means you could use a reminder about trusting your judgment and/or finding how to do that in the future. This week's Gut Check shared six lessons for future team building.

Three of them are good reminders for those of you a little lost in your lineup decisions this week. I'll share the gist of the lessons and discuss them in light of this pivotal point of your seasons:

LESSON NO. 4 — SHOOT YOUR SHOT

While conventional fantasy thinking is to take running backs and quarterbacks early because the top options score a truck-load of points, I prefer safer options early and picking "my guys" in the middle and late rounds. "My guys" are the players I'm higher on than the consensus and you can't be afraid to put your money where your mouth is...

Most people identify what I'm sharing as "trust your gut." I prefer "shoot your shot," because your shot is what you do best. I'm best at mid-and-late picks at running back and wide receiver. I try to set up my draft so I can shoot as many of those shots as possible. 

LESSON 5 — KNOW THE UNKNOWN AND THE OVERLOOKED

Cooper KuppTarik CohenAaron JonesPeyton Barber, J.D. McKissic, Brett HundleyMike Davis, and Austin Ekeler were all relative "unknowns" to begin the year. These are players I know extremely well. Many of them I've written about extensively. They've all spent time on my roster and in my starting lineup. 

Barber and Davis aren't so much unknown as they are overlooked and written off. When a player is barely hanging onto a depth chart spot it doesn't mean he lacks talent — especially at running back. As I often write, NFL running backs are the NBA's equivalent of shooting guards. You can get one off the street to deliver significant production in the right circumstances. 

Look at Alex Collins.

Keep an open mind on these players and when you hear a friend, colleague, or writer say these guys aren't talented, remind yourself that you know better and to keep an open mind when you learn they begin moving up the depth chart or could earn time as a contributor. 

(Lesson 5.5: If you're going to pull the trigger on one of these guys and you need them to contribute, have the guts to use them! The reasons you added them should have been about talent and situation. If not, you're only playing keep-away from the competition. That's fine but again, if you know the unknown and overlooked, shoot your shot!)

LESSON 6  — DEVELOP YOUR OWN COMPASS AND HAVE FUN

I know, it's corny. It's also true. I love competing and I hate losing. However, the only thing I hate more than losing is losing on someone else's terms. 

Footballguys content is designed for a variety of fantasy owners. Our original audience consists of the hardest of the hardcore fantasy fanatics. You guys are my people at heart and few of you need to read this lesson. 

While many readers don't have that hardcore attitude due to specific priorities in their lives, they still want to win and they rely on Footballguys for information. Many of you in this category might even say you rely on Footballguys to win. After all, our tagline is "Win Your League." 

I agree with that tagline, but I believe that most of all, we want you to win your league on your terms. In order for that to happen consistently, you need to develop your own compass. It means using our information to flesh out your own strengths and weaknesses. Once you learn these things about your play, you can begin to target what's most valuable for your development...

There isn't one strategic magic pill to building a winner, in the same way, there's no single successful physical and stylistic prototype for success at the positions we use in fantasy football. Julio JonesSteve Smith, and Keenan Allen are as different as can be and each played to their strengths. 

Learn your strengths and play to them. Have fun figuring them out and use our work to guide you in that direction.

Final Thoughts: When it comes to your lineup decision this week, make sure that you lean on your strengths and fine clarity with your weaknesses. Look at your lineup decisions with each position this year.

Which ones after Week 4 (I think the first four weeks are volatile for everyone) were successful and which were not? Can you pinpoint the positions where your start-sit or drop/add decisions were strong and which ones were flawed? 

Did you second-guess good decisions and override them with bad ones? Whose analysis do you read that provides you information that shores up your blind spots with lineup decisions? 

Answer these questions and if you arrive at some alternative start-sit options than you originally had to begin the week, don't be afraid to pull the trigger. If it doesn't work out, look at the experience as a necessary journey towards finding that inner compass that every successful fantasy owner needs to make strong decisions. 

All good leaders have a lot of help around them. What makes them good leaders is they know how to process that information and balance it with their own work so it leads to successful decisions. 

Good luck this week. See you Championship Week!

[return to top]