After Jonathan Taylor made me do the TD stutter last week, I get to do another 4 T-Banger for Leonard Fournette. Let’s do a montage! [cue wavy lines and St. Elmo’s Fire starts playing] Last year, Leonard Fournette was going to be the RB1 on the Jacksonville Jaguars, and right before the regular season, the Jags dumped him for…nothing. The guy who had been the face of the team in 2019…and being the face of the Jags isn’t saying much…but the guy who was the offense for the lackluster 2019 Jags was without a job in 2020. He got picked up by the Tampa Bay Buccanneers, a team that was lush with running backs. Like, you couldn’t wave a covid stick in that training room without hitting Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, or Dare Ogunbowale. Lenny jumped in with the team, took some time to buy into the system, and by the 2020 Super Bowl run, he had found his footing. Fast forward to 2021 [record scratch] — Lenny’s stepping in when The Goat doesn’t have his A-Game. Tom Brady was merely mortal this week with 226 yards in the air, while Lenny went for 100 on the ground and 3 TDs and another 7 catches for 31 yards and a TD. Not bad for a guy that was taken as your RB2 or FLEX in draft season this year, right? 

Let’s see who else made the news for Week 12 Fantasy Football: 

Van JeffersonI’m leading off with this guy because Coolwhip made a graphic for me and I felt proud about recommending VJ for our Razzball brethren. Jefferson was less a “statistical” pick than a “situational” pick and I think it’s worthwhile to note: you can’t always use statistics to make your start/sit decisions. When Coolwhip was wondering whether to start Van Jefferson, I asked him what were the odds that the Pack would go up by two scores early in the game. The reasoning: the Pack know Matt Stafford well, and they know that they need to rush him. If the Pack could get up by two scores at home early in the game, then it would force the Rams to start throwing more. And what happened? The Pack went up by 10 in the cold, and Matt Stafford aired it out to Van Jefferson for a 79-yard TD. This kind of call isn’t logical — Rudy had Jefferson ranked around WR40 for the week, which is basically a bench play in standard leagues or FLEX plays in deeper leagues — but rather, using your human intuition to understand what kinds of plays need to happen in order for your roster to succeed. I talk about this in my pre-season article about following one’s intuition on specific players. We can’t do this in every circumstance, or even the majority. But when you’re wondering about whether you start A or B in your FLEX, the absolute truth is: you’re best off envisioning “How could this game play out” and then using your own intuition. Also if you didn’t hear Coolwhip’s podcast debut this week, have a listen over here on the Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast. 

Myles GaskinY’all know that you should have started Joe Mixon, right? Yeah, you don’t need my help there. But what about Myles Gaskin? The guy’s been getting a ton of touches recently but ultimately he’s on a less-than-potent Miami Dolphins team and just got some competition from Phillip Lindsay. Wait, did you think Lindsay was a true threat to Gaskin? Meh, not really. Also, Gaskin’s not a huge threat to begin with. But he did get another 16 carries and 2 TDs while snagging 2 catches. For fantasy teams, that’s gold. Lindsay snagged 12 touches for 42 yards which is…less than optimal for Gaskin managers, but great for people desperate for an RB2 down the stretch.

Miles SandersHe’s healthy, he’s efficient, and…he’s getting 60% of the touches as Boston Scott. I warned y’all about Sanders throughout the week and although he was efficient in week 12, no fantasy manager wants to see 15 attempts for Boston Scott while Sanders takes 9. Jalen Hurts was the leading rusher for the Eagles, so we’re probably looking at a situational running back by committee approach for the Eagles. What’s worse, Kenneth Gainwell led the team in receptions with [checks notes] 3 catches. Ouch. Hopefully you don’t have to rely on any of these guys, but if you do, you’re coin flipping every week from here on out. 

Christian McCaffreyInjured ankles again. Wonderful player for fantasy on a per-game basis. This is why I prefer DFS now: in season-long fantasy, you’re playing the smart way by taking McCaffrey early in the draft and starting him when he plays. But, he just doesn’t play healthy often anymore. And as a fantasy analyst, I can’t really say anything other than, “Start him,” because he’s a glass cannon when he touches the ball. Only problem is, when the cannon misfires, your team loses to Tee Higgins and Van Jefferson. Keep an eye on the injury report throughout the week, and…keep starting McCaffrey when he’s healthy. Monday Afternoon Update: The Panthers put McCaffrey on IR, ending his season. 

Cam NewtonI warned you, but I was also lured into recommending Cam for streaming due to his easy strength of schedule in the immediate future. The Dolphins are one of the worst defenses in the league and they absolutely humiliated Cam, leaving the Panthers’ returned signal caller with a 5.8 quarterback rating at the end of the game. In retrospect, Cam would have been better just throwing the ball out of bounds every time. If Cam can’t succeed in the pass game against the Dolphins, then he can’t succeed anywhere for your fantasy team. He can be a contrarian DFS pick, but avoid the whole Panthers team for the rest of your fantasy football season. 

Deebo SamuelYeah, it’s official, he’s the RB1 in San Francisco now. By halftime, Deebo had 72 yards rushing and 2 TDs and 0 receiving points. Hopefully fantasy providers give him RB eligibility soon because he’s on par with rushing yards with Kenneth Gainwell, Samaje Perine, Chris Carson, Boston Scott, Saquon Barkley…you get the point. Deebo should still be getting plenty of receiving work, but I mention this mostly because fantasy providers should recognize that Deebo is lining up in the backfield a ton and has as many rushing yards as many fantasy-relevant running backs, so…what are you waiting for Yahoo? Deebo as a multi-position player would help so many fantasy teams right now. 

Dalvin CookI mentioned last week that Vikings QB Kirk Cousins would be a great playoff-run QB because the Vikings find themselves playing from behind so often. The problem with Cousins being that garbage time QB is that it comes at the cost of Dalvin Cook. Cook is also dealing with some fallout with a controversial domestic abuse situation as well as being named as the provider of a firearm to Vikings lineman Everson Griffen, who suffered a mental break this last week and was involved in a day-long standoff with police. On a pure talent level, Cook is one of the best RBs in the NFL. However, we are likely looking at some game script (Vikings’ bad DEF leading to Cousins throwing deep) and some intangibles (his personal life) that are distracting from his fantasy value right now. It’s telling that when the Vikings were down by 2 scores and needed a TD to stay in the Wild Card race, that they gave the ball to Alexander Mattison instead of letting Cook continue his hot hand that had brought them down the field on a trick play. Keep an eye on Cook’s usage going forward. Monday Morning Update: When Cook injured his shoulder on Sunday and was planning to get a MRI on Monday, the Vikings revealed that he’s already been playing through a torn labrum. So, watch the injury updates to see if Cook misses significant time. 

Dontrelle Hilliard / D’Onta ForemanEach of them racked up over 100 yards rushing against the Patriots, which is a feel-good story of the year. Half of Hilliard’s yards cam on a draw play that unexpectedly came when the Titans were down by 2 scores at the half and should have been throwing. Foreman still took the bulk of the carries (19 to 12) and will likely be the more consistent running back going forward. That said, you’ll be hearing more steam about adding Hilliard in the fishwraps this week. You can probably get as much efficacy for cheaper with Foreman. 

DFS Wars: I claimed a victory for Razzball in this week’s DFS Wars, a season-long DFS competition featuring 15 analysts from all over the net (winning team in the image below). If you’re curious about my strategy, I usually start by looking at who will be the cheapest QB/WR combo on the slate. Cousins and Thielen showed the highest potential for their cost, so they got locked in. I then choose an opposing WR, in this case, Deebo Samuel. Often, it’s best practice in DFS to choose one of the top offensive players opposing your QB/WR combo because in the event of a high-scoring game, you’re more likely to land multiple players who exceed their value. I then followed my Cousins/Thielen/Samuel combo by looking for value RBs. James Robinson proved to be a popular choice, but my value came in Myles Gaskin; I was the only manager to choose Gaskin, and I benefitted greatly from his 20 points. I chose Gaskin because he’s been touching the ball nearly 20 times a game recently, and at $5600 on DraftKings, that’s a great upside. I liked Kendrick Bourne for $4900, and he rewarded me with 23 points. Bourne is a boom or bust player, but his booms have been so high that he’s WR15 since week 3 of the season according to 4for4 analyst John Paulsen. I finished out my hot list with Rob Gronkowski, who is a main target of the Bucs but an absolute steal at $4400. You can see half of the competition agreed with me on that. I missed on Dallas Goedert, but I think everybody didn’t imagine that Jalen Hurts would be so bad against the Giants. Lastly, when choosing DEF, I look in the bottom half of cost. I thought the Eagles had a fair chance against the Giants because Daniel Jones has been awful since his concussion and Saquon Barkley is still hobbled and the Giants just fired their offensive coordinator. The Eagles did do well against the Giants, but only 1 sack means almost no DFS points. Bleh. Of course, this is a fine lineup for a small competition and it wouldn’t have held water in a tournament. That said, I vastly prefer small competitions to large tourneys because in the mega-entry tourneys, you are subjected to massive variance. I still enjoy putting together the semblance of an actual semi-optimal team, thus my preference for tournaments like DFS Wars. 

OK friends, hope your week is going well! We’ve got unlucky week 13 coming into play, so hopefully we can dodge some bad luck and make the playoffs for your team. Let me know what you’re thinking down in the comments!

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1 year ago

What’s up man? PPR Question. Who do you like as the last RB on your roster for ROS? Talking playoffs not just this week or next. Boston Scott, Chubba or Edmonds? Thanks man