Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Deep Impact! This is the last week of our series, unfortunately, so best of luck any loyal readers lucky enough to make it into the playoffs. I’ll be here in the comments to help answer any of your questions for Week 14, and will be taking the playoff journey with you in five of my six leagues (including a first-round bye in the Razzball Writers League in which someone *cough* Jay *cough* gave me a measly C+ draft rating). It’s been a blast being a part of the Razzball team, I’ll keep navigating you through the deeper waters in seasons to come. If you have any questions in Weeks 15 or 16, you can find me on Twitter (@TheeAlexLee) or wandering between open mics in Philly. As we’ve done all season, let’s take a look at the 10% and under owned players, with one name in there above that threshold just for old times’ sake.
Justin Forsett (RB, Denver Broncos, 19% owned) – If anyone was wondering how Justin Forsett’s season is going, the fact that he’s already on his third team of the year should be an indication that it hasn’t been great. If anyone was wondering how Devontae Booker has been doing as the starter in place of C.J. Anderson, the fact that Forsett is seen as a legitimate threat to his workload tells you that he hasn’t been great either. Forsett was just added this week, and before the ink even dried on his contract, the reports started coming out that Gary Kubiak plans to split carries between the two backs this Sunday. The Titans are average against the run (4.1 yards per carry, 15th best in the league), but have only let up six rushing touchdowns all year, so the matchup isn’t particularly favorable. But, touches are touches, and if Forsett truly gets a split of carries, he could be in line for 10-15 chances and then some. I don’t buy Forsett’s ownership figure of 19% either, since I suspect that most of that percentage is from teams who drafted him two franchises ago and haven’t checked their rosters since.
Robby Anderson (WR, New York Jets, 1% owned) – If you watched Monday night’s travesty of a football game, you should have come away from it thinking two things: 1) Man, Bryce Petty really, really likes throwing the ball to Robby Anderson and 2) I need a new hobby that doesn’t require me to watch Jets games. People have been writing a lot of stories this season about how the increased scrutiny on concussions and traumatic injuries have been the cause of the NFL’s ratings turning downhill faster than Ryan Fitzpatrick’s skills after signing his contract last offseason. You know what I think? I think most people would gladly watch athletes turn their brains to mush if there weren’t so many downright unwatchable teams this year. The Jets are planning to start Petty for the rest of the year, so things won’t get much more watchable from here on out, but at least a new fantasy wideout has emerged as a result. Anderson got 12 targets last week, as Petty kept firing deep ball after deep ball in his direction until he finally connected. Anderson is the best weapon the team has to stretch the field, and with a friendly matchup against the 49ers defense near the bottom of the league in yards per attempt, I’d bet on another playable performance.
Zach Zenner (RB, Detroit Lions, 1% owned) – Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Dwayne Washington is questionable for this week with an ankle injury that’s kept him limited in practice. Like the last time this happened, Zenner is worth snatching up in the event that Washington can’t go, and could put up flex-worthy stats if you’re in a bind for Week 14. If Washington plays hurt, I’d avoid both of them and go for Rex Burkhead (6% owned) or Shane Vereen (4% owned) instead, if you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for a play.
If you were lucky enough to secure a bye week and/or have the roster spots to play with, you should be looking at defense schedules the rest of the season and consider adding a second D/ST that has favorable matchups in remaining weeks where your current choice doesn’t. In the regular season I don’t advocate carrying two defenses, but at this point I think it’s a valid strategy to plan ahead a little bit and keep opponents from streaming good units against you, too. I did a quick analysis taking Football Outsiders’ Total Offense DVOA for the year and cross referencing against the remaining schedule to show the defenses with the friendliest remaining schedule. Here’s the top 3 units to look for on the wire (excluding the widely-owned Patriots and Seahawks defense, who finished with the second and third best remaining schedules according to this analysis):
Falcons (38% owned) – Week 14 Rams (-29.3% DVOA), Week 15 49ers (-10.3% DVOA), Week 16 Panthers (-4.3% DVOA), Total DVOA of -44.2%
Bengals (60% owned) – Week 14 Browns (-16.7% DVOA), Week 15 Steelers (9.9% DVOA), Week 16 Texans (-19.8% DVOA), Total DVOA of -26.6%
Titans (11% owned) – Week 14 Broncos (-10.6% DVOA), Week 15 Chiefs (2.8% DVOA), Week 16 Jaguars (-15.9% DVOA), Total DVOA of -23.7%
The next two on the list are the 49ers and Jaguars, who I can’t in good conscious recommend playing, but the Titans look like a sneaky good stash against a QB murderer’s row of Paxton Lynch, Alex Smith and Blake Bortles to close out the fantasy season.