Week 14 Preparation
9 slightly debatable thoughts worth thinking
9. Fade Cam - Cam Newton has been on fire lately, tossing 5 touchdown passes in two of the last three games, however this week's opponent Atlanta, has allowed the third fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks over the last three games. Atlanta's weakness is their run defense, which ironically is the third worst in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs in the same span. If Carolina has an early lead like most expect, Newton won't have to air out the ball. Expect big things from Jonathan Stewart, but not Cam. OK, maybe not completely fade Newton, because even when he's not needed to pull a rabbit out of his hat, he still has decent numbers. I don't see this game being a big game for him though. Take that for what it's worth.
8. Don't expect the world from Russell Wilson. Hear me out on this. Wilson is hot lately and the equally scorching Seahawks have a road date with Baltimore. This match up is enticing and looks good on paper, doesn't it? Taking a look further, the Ravens have been the 2nd best fantasy defense against quarterbacks over the last three weeks. Granted Baltimore has faced MIA, CLE, STL and JAC in their last four games. Seattle is playing at a completely higher level than those teams lately. So why the pause on Wilson? Call it a hunch against the Ravens defense who has kept the point margin close in every game this year, never losing by more than 8 points in a game. Baltimore averages a 4 point deviation from their opponent this year and has had a point margin of 6 or higher in only three games. Translation - they keep games close. I don't see Baltimore scoring a ton of points with Matt Schaub under center and their who's who of surrounding offensive talent. The formula dictating a low scoring game is upon us. Call me crazy, but I think Baltimore gives Seattle a game, even with Matt Schaub.
7. It's Tyrod Time - The Bills travel to Philadelphia this week, who just knocked off the Patriots in their own house. Apparently the Eagles needed to get away from the home boos to play well. New England was playing with a plethora of injuries and Philadelphia made enough plays on defense and special teams to take a commanding lead that ultimately was too steep to overcome. Why Tyrod then? One - he's has the offense playing well, particularly the passing game. The Bills have injuries at running back with LeSean McCoy dealing with a concussion, plus Karlos Williams getting over a shoulder injury. This all points to a pass-oriented attack. Who better to pass against than Philadelphia? The Eagles have given up at least 3 touchdown passes to opposing quarterbacks in four of the last five games, including 13 touchdown passes in the last three games. Call it another hunch, but I think Tyrod Taylor has a fairly high floor and potentially a high ceiling if the game script goes like I think it will.
6. It's Jameis Winston's turn to dismantle Brandon Browner and the Saints toothless defense. Over the last five games, New Orleans has allowed 49, 34, 47, 24 and 41 points (195 points in five games). They have the league's worst QB rating against of 116.6. Look for Winston and the Bucs offense to keep the trend going in a home game against the league's worst passing defense. Winning fantasy games is about scoring more points than your opponent and no team has allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Saints. In fact, the Saints have allowed 51 more fantasy points than the next worst team (JAC).
5. One of Duke Johnson or Isaiah Crowell will have a fantasy-worthy game - The 49ers have allowed an opposing running back to reach 17 fantasy points or more in seven of the last eight games. The 49ers are coming off a big win at Chicago and the Browns have lost seven straight games. Both teams are among the league's worst and now the Browns lose one of their best offensive linemen in Joel Bitonio (ankle). It doesn't make much sense to start a Browns player at running back this week, but the 49ers track record against running backs is real. Seven times, a running back has reached 23+ fantasy points in a game against San Francisco. I'll take those odds. If I had to guess, I'd say Duke Johnson will be the one to rise to the occasion. He's closing in on 50 receptions and could possibly reach 65 by the end of the year.
4. Fade Devonta Freeman. The Panthers are on a mission this year and now they return home to refuel their defense after going on the road for two games in a row against Dallas and New Orleans. You have to go back to Week 8 when the Panthers allowed a running back to exceed 12 carries in a game. The leading running back against the Panthers over the last six games has rushed for 56, 11, 10, 25, 39 and 70 yards. Freeman may get his catches, but this is a bad match up this week.
3. Fade Delanie Walker - The Titans boast the hottest tight end in the league in Delanie Walker, who has 22 recpetions for 292 yards in the last three games. However, my gut says he's going to fall back to earth this week against the Jets. Only two tight ends have caught more than five passes against the Jets in 12 games. The Jets also have allowed only two touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season. It's difficult to bench Walker, but the odds suggest he'll have an average game. Lineup beware.
2. Stay away from Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper - The Raiders travel to Denver this week where they will face a defense that has allowed only one touchdown to a wide receiver this season (Mike Wallace in Week 4). No wide receiver has caught more than four passes in each of the last four games. That's some serious defense right there. While you're at it, consider benching Derek Carr too.
1. Shaun Draughn shows the Browns they made mistake cutting him - One of the hotter running backs in the league lately has been 49ers running back Shaun Draughn. Carlos Hyde is out with a stress fracture in his foot, Reggie Bush was lost to a torn ACL and now Shaun Draughn has taken over as the team's primary running back. Draughn has 56 carries over the last four games since he started with San Francisco. The next closest back has 7. Draughn also has 22 receptions in the same span of four games. He's the 49ers lone running back source and now he gets to play against the team that released him after Week 6. I don't pretend to know everything, but Draughn likely has a chip on his shoulder with an agenda that involves showing the Browns that they made a mistake in releasing him.
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