It was finally nice to see some great prime time football for once last week! Seahawks versus the Patriots was an absolutely fitting battle where the Seahawks flipped the script of their Super Bowl XLIX defeat, and Bengals vs. Giants was a tight game until the end. It would’ve been nice to see a bit more flash on Monday Night Football with stars like Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green, and Tyler Eifert on the field, but viewers and fantasy owners can’t be too disappointed with how things turned out. Even though we didn’t see much in the way of explosive, flashy plays, wasn’t Beckham’s rendition of Thriller beautiful to watch at least? Last week I wrote about the good ole’ days of football where touchdown celebrations used to make the games better, so the fact that he didn’t get flagged made it all the better. After briefly speaking about the celebration in his post game interview, Beckham got me thinking when he mentioned he was inspired by Conor McGregor’s UFC 205 victory. How ironic is it that Beckham, one of the feeblest minds in the NFL, can be inspired by Conor McGregor, one of our generation’s most prolific trash talkers? I mean, just imagine if Conor was a cornerback slotted to go against Beckham. How many plays do you think it takes for it to escalate to the Josh Norman level of 2015? Two? Three? Either way, I’m sure his fantasy owners don’t care who inspires him as long as he keeps producing. Now it’s time to look at this week, where I take you through all the guys that should be inspiring you to start them.
Doug Baldwin – Don’t be fooled by Baldwin’s lack of production in weeks 6-8, as the Seahawks offense stumbled as a whole behind Russell Wilson’s balky legs. I’m sure his owners noticed Wilson’s been struggling with his mobility (and points) since week 4, and both his knee and ankle braces are proof of that. Well, Wilson showed the world he’s got legs under him again last week as he helped Baldwin to his best outing of the season. Baldwin immediately gets bumped back up to middle of the pack WR2 with the lion share of the targets in Seattle and his nose for the end zone. Look for good things to continue this week against Philly.
Doug Martin – I doubt I even need to mention Martin, since he’s an automatic start after his 17 touches in Chicago last week. He obviously would have benefited from getting a slower start to get back into the swing of things (as evidence from his 46 yards), but his owners have to pleased with how healthy he looked. He could easily touch RB1 value going forward due to the elite workload he’s about to get.
Jamison Crowder – How is Crowder only owned in 60% of leagues this year? He’s a top 20 receiver! Kirk Cousins has only thrown for less than 260 yards once this year, and has tossed a touchdown in every game but one. These passes are going somewhere and Crowder has been one of the main beneficiaries all year. I probably am a little high on him this week since Washington is going up against Green Bay’s pillaged secondary, but I fully expect him to see WR1 numbers. I know I talk about this guy on what feels like a weekly basis at this point, but he’s a severely under-owned must start until he proves otherwise.
James Starks – It looks like Ty Montgomery’s time as a fantasy asset is over now that Starks has returned as Green Bay’s starting back. Even though his yardage was less than stellar last week and the Packers seem to hate running the ball, he’s back on the low end RB2 radar. The Pack won’t be getting blown out every week, and I have a feeling McCarthy’s going to want to get the ground game going at some point. Clearly passing the ball 50 times a game isn’t getting them wins. Starks is the goal line back, the early down back, and the third down back when healthy, so he’s got a quite a bit of upside even on a struggling team. Don’t be nervous about Christine Michael’s signing or Montgomery’s role, as they both figure to be mere change of pace backs.
Terrance West – I may need to go back and rename my week 6 article to Terrance West is Being a Pest. Last week he had the matchup of his life against a bottom 3 run defense, and he completely wet the bed. That was the second game Baltimore’s played against Cleveland, and they sadly remain the only team that hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown against them. I’m pretty much running out of reasons why he should be in your lineup, regardless of his impressive workload. Both West and Kenneth Dixon are RB3s this week against a solid Dallas defensive front, but keep an eye out for how the Ravens deploy Dixon. I’m not sure how much longer Baltimore can put up with West’s lack of production, and Dixon’s shown some promise in the limited touches he’s had this year. Dixon is probably the back to own at this point.
Isaiah Crowell – If you add up Crowell’s weeks 2 and 4 rushing yards, you’d comically see that’s where he’s gotten 46% of them the entire year. His recent pass catching prowess has done a tad bit to buoy his value but nothing past bottom end RB2. He does get a small boost against Pittsburgh this week however, and is definitely worth starting since they’re one of the few teams worse than Cleveland at stopping the run. I’m sure you’re worried about his 15 rushes combined the last two weeks, but this is the week he should get back on track.
Cameron Meredith – Chicago’s receiving corps is starting to look like half of the league’s backfield situation, completely desolate. I know you want to like Meredith this week since he’s just about the only receiver Jay Cutler has to throw to, but you’ve got to resist the temptation. The Giants are studs in passing defense this year, and Cutler’s been about as good as a poopy flavored lollipop… Cue a beat down. I’m sure Meredith will get peppered with targets, but I still don’t want any part of Chicago’s offense this week. He won’t return more than bottom end WR3 value.
Michael Floyd – Of course the week it looks like J.J. Nelson is about to have the game of his career, he stumbled out of the gate with a fumble and horrendous drop that created an interception. Meanwhile Floyd had the exact same number of targets as Nelson, but comparing the two performances would be like comparing Ruth’s Chris to McDonalds. Floyd was out there diving for balls like his job depended on it (which it probably did) and was rewarded with his first 100 yard performance of the year. Even after Floyd’s inspiring game, no receiver outside of Larry Fitzgerald on the Cardinals sports more than WR3 value going forward. I’d even go as far to say Nelson is the better weekly play over Floyd due to quite a few deep balls being thrown his way.
Marvin Jones – Remember after three weeks when everyone was kicking themselves for not grabbing Jones as a late round sleeper? Yeah, that pretty much sums up how fantasy football is never decided within the first few weeks. Jones has a pretty tasty week 11 matchup against Jacksonville, but is still firmly in WR3 territory. Golden Tate found his way back to lead dog status and doesn’t seem to be giving up the role any time soon. If any week is the week to trust Jones again, this is probably it, but don’t be surprised if you get burned.
Eli Rogers – Wow, what a bust Sammie Coates has been since his breakout week 5. I know he’s got two broken fingers, but still, if he’s active and running routes, shouldn’t he be able to catch a ball? Pittsburgh’s other starting receivers, superstar Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers have had to pick up the pieces, which is probably the reason the offense has stalled lately. Cleveland’s defense couldn’t come at a better time and figures to be the perfect remedy for the Steelers. I’m sure AB will be showered with targets, but Rogers has gotten enough attention to warrant WR2 consideration in this game. He’s a bit more risky of a play than I normally like to recommend, but if you’re hurting at receiver I think Rogers is a solid start this week.
Miami Dolphins DST – I’m pretty sure I’ve never recommended a defense as part of Beyond the Numbers!, but this week I have to make an exception. Jared Goff is starting for the Rams, and boy do I feel like Christmas is coming early for the Dolphins defense. A pick-6 is more of a probability than not and 5 sacks isn’t really out of the question. If you’re league is one of the 43% where they’re still on waivers, please pick them up and enjoy the points. I wouldn’t be surprised if they top your WR2’s production.
Thanks for joining again this week. Feel free to hit me up with any questions as usual.