Welcome to Week 6 of The Docket, a weekly column that will highlight rule and policy issues effecting players as well as offer strategy and advice on a select few players that you should be targeting or avoiding.
This is where we look at select players who are on the verge of an upgrade or downgrade.
Charcandrick West (KC, RB) – West is a great athlete standing 5’10”, 205 pounds with a forty time somewhere in the 4.3 to 4.4 range. Hopefully for Jamaal Charles owners you heeded my warning in this column last week and picked up West and dropped Knile Davis. Unfortunately for me, I dropped Davis for a bye week Defense hoping and praying that Charles didn’t get injured, planning on picking West up this week. Doh! I just knew it. In any case, there is a chance Davis still emerges as the lead back, but West will get first crack at it. De’Anthony Thomas will also get a handful of carries a game, but he isn’t a lead back by any stretch of the imagination. It is worth noting that for those of you in standard, TD heavy leagues, Davis will continue to be the goal line back, but he will be very boom or bust in that role.
DeMarco Murray (Phi, RB) – Doctor, we have signs of life. After complaining about not getting enough touches, and who can blame the Eagles when you run 8 times for 9 yards, Murray got 27 touches with 20/83/1 rushing and 7/38/0 through the air. However, this came against the lowly Saints Defense who is the leagues best get well defense around right now. While Ryan Mathews still looks like the better back and better fit in my opinion for this offense, Chip seems committed to try and get Murray going, while the Eagles offense also looks like it is finally turning the corner. It’s tough to completely rely on Murray just yet, but there is tons of upside in this offense if the arrow keeps pointed in the right direction.
C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman (Den, RB) – You can’t drop them, but you can’t start them. So trade them. Both of these guys stink right now and don’t be fooled by Hillman’s one long 72 yard run. It’s not all their fault, as the offensive line is one of the worst in the league and Peyton Manning looking like a looper.
T.J. Yeldon (Jac, RB) – Yeldon has looked great this year, but unfortunately is playing behind a weak offensive line on a team often playing from behind. But Yeldon keeps chugging away and finished 11/32 on the ground while adding another 5/31/1 through the air. A break out game is coming for Yeldon at some point. I would be using him as low end RB2 or flex play every week and trading for him in dynasty leagues. He’s got the talent to make a big leap in year two.
Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington and David Johnson (Ari, RB) – This backfield is a three-headed monster, which is great for the Cardinals' but a potential headache for fantasy owners. Playing against a weak Lions defense, all three of the guys got it done for fantasy, however going forward; it may not be so easy. Chris Johnson is the clear lead back at this point but Ellington should get a good amount of work in the passing game especially in tougher matchups and David Johnson will get some goal line work every week. So where does that leave us? Chris Johnson is a solid RB2, Ellington a solid RB2 in PPR leagues and David Johnson a mere flex play until further notice.
Alshon Jeffery (Chi, WR) – Jeffery owners most likely spent a round two or three pick on their number one receiver and he is straight killing teams right now. His calf and hamstring injuries have lingered since early in the pre season. With the Bears bye coming up Week 7, I doubt we see him until Week 8. Then once he comes back he faces the Vikings, Chargers, Rams and Broncos in successive weeks, not the easiest of schedules. The good news is that if you are doing well without him, he will eventually give your team a boost as Cutler peppers him with targets. His trade value is in the gutter at the moment and you never want to sell low, but I wouldn’t hold it against you if you packaged him in a trade to upgrade a different position.
Matthew Stafford (Det, QB) – Don’t laugh. No really, please don’t laugh. But despite being absolutely horrible, he has also had a tough schedule to open the year playing on the road in San Diego, Minnesota and Seattle, and then very tough home games against Denver and Arizona. I’m sure he is sitting on many waiver wires right now, but the team actually has decent weapons and a good schedule coming up: vs Chi, vs Minn, @KC, @GB, vs Oak, vs Phi, vs GB, @StL, @NO, vs SF. For those hurting at QB right now, maybe the Arizona game proved to be the kick in the ass that Stafford needed. For Calvin Johnson owners, better times are ahead as well. He is currently 8th in targets this year but ranks 22nd in fantasy points. They have also faced three of the best defenses against the past and the other two were in the top 20. If you want to buy low, now is the time.
Brandon LaFell (NE, WR) – After a lingering foot injury LaFell is getting set to return and was actually on the field last week working out before the game. Last season he went 74/953/7 and provides the Patriots with an outside presence they currently don’t have. He’s big, he can block and Tom Brady trusts him in the redzone. He is eligible to return as early as next week. Given that Keshawn Martin played 50 snaps last week, LaFell should slot right back into his starting role, one in which he finished the season as a top 20 guy down the stretch in PPR leagues. He should be a plug-and-play WR3 with weekly WR2 upside.
This is where we highlight players that are looking particularly good.
Gary Barnidge (Cle, TE) – In fantasy you need to go with what is working and also learn to let go of any pre-conceived notions you had coming into the season. Allen Hurns (who I talked about in this column last week) is a perfect example, many considered him just a late round pick and droppable over players like Andre Johnson once the season started. But Hurns has proved to be a reliable WR3 with upside each week. The same holds true for Barnidge who has a great rapport with QB Josh McCown and is getting it done every week. He finished with 8/139/1 on 10 targets in Week Five against the Ravens, including a butt catch for a TD, yes, he caught it with his ass people. He’s a TE1 until further notice.
Charles Sims (TB, RB) – Here’s the thing with Tampa, when they play tougher teams, Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Charles Sims are going to be heavily involved as Winston throws more. In easy games, it’s going to be all about limiting Winston and relying on the run game, as they did this week where he threw only 19 times. As you can see … Sims is going to be involved every week since he catches passes as well as any receiver on the team and also runs. This past week he played on 39% of the teams snaps and finished with 12/51 on the ground and an additional 4/85 in the air. You could do a lot worse for your flex in PPR leagues than Sims whose role will only grow.
Antonio Gates (TE, SD) – I have preached acquiring Gates since the first week of this column and hopefully you guys got him. Despite playing only half of the teams snaps he led the team in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns 9/92/2. Is he still an elite option? Probably not, but Phillip Rivers trusts him, especially in the redzone. Last year he scored 12 times, he could easily match that this year.
Devonta Freeman (RB, ATL) – He is the new MJD. That is all. Carry on.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BENCH
Here is where we highlight situations or strategies that are worth monitoring.
Top Tier Defenses – In such a volatile season with the top running backs and receivers, acquiring one of the top fantasy defenses could prove to be a great way to make up some points on a weekly basis. Right now the Broncos, Jets, Panthers, Seahawks, Bills and Cardinals are getting it done in a big way. I’d trade C.J. Anderson for one of them in a heartbeat.
Two Stash Difference Makers: Christine Michael and Dorial Green-Beckham - This week it is all about trying to acquire Charcandrick West in Kansas City, but two great stash guys that actually have the ability to be difference makers if given an expanded roles are Christine Michael and Dorial Green-Beckham. Michael is still the most talented back by far on the Dallas roster and if given the chance, will easily put up RB1 numbers. We even got word this morning from Ian Rapoport and Ed Werder that Dallas may indeed make Michael the starter coming out of their bye, Week 7. Green-Beckham is more of a long shot and still a bit raw after missing last year in college, but if things start to click, he could have a Kelvin Benjamin type rookie season.
DFS – Plays of the Week
Avoiding some of the obvious choices (Le'Veon Bell, etc …), here are some DFS players that I like more than usual this week:
- Matthew Stafford (See my note above, sneaky play against Chicago)
- Jay Cutler (The Lions defense stinks, could be a shoot out this week)
- Carson Palmer (The Stealers defense is ripe for the picking)
- Tom Brady (The highest over/under of the week (55). Colts have a horrible pass defense and this could be a shoot out)
- Andrew Luck (The highest over/under of the week (55). And while they are -7, that’s still a lot of points)
- Sam Bradford (Any time you have an over over/under of 50+ it’s a good matchup. This offense is finally starting to click too)
- Eli Manning (See not above again the Eagles)
- Matt Ryan (Second highest over/under (51) against the leaky Saints defense)
- Devonta Freeman (Why lose because other people are using him)
- Mark Ingram II (Getting a ton of work in the passing game. Big over/under this week)
- Lamar Miller (I think they finally get him going)
- Chris Ivory (Redskins are tough against the run, but he gets it done as your flex)
- Matt Forte (Going to destroy playing the Lions)
- Dion Lewis (No reason to shy away from him now, well priced and gets it done)
- Willie Snead IV (Their best passing option in a high scoring game)
- Emmanuel Sanders (The only offensive player in Denver you can truly trust)
- Brandon Marshall (He's an elite WR1 as usual. I feel sorry for the people that doubted him in the pre-season)
- Larry Fitzgerald (why stop now)
- John Brown
- Kamar Aiken
- Allen Robinson
- Allen Hurns
- Calvin Johnson (See my note above, he's due)
- T.Y. Hilton (Should catch a couple deep bombs in this one)
- Donte Moncrief (Ownership may be down a bit after last week, should rebound)
- Torrey Smith (Players always seem to do well in revenge games (Andre Johnson vs Colts last week) and he has the Ravens this week.
- Leonard Hankerson (If Julio sits, going to get a ton of targets)
- Stephen Gostkowski (All these kickers have big over/unders, that's what you're looking for)
- Adam Vinatieri
- Matt Bryant
- John Brown
- Broncos (To mitigate bad performances by other positions, pay up for them and the Jets)
Song of the Week
This week I present A$AP Rocky who released one of the better hip-hop albums of the year. Check out his trippy LSD below:
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