Life works as a series of memories; those that are accessed with greater ease and more difficulty that all define who we are. What’s great about fantasy sports (and sports in general) is that they work the same exact way.
Now maybe I’m just way too into fantasy and maybe I have an overactive memory, but I will always have the memories of putting up one of my highest scores with Billy Volek, Drew Bennett, an Derrick Mason shredding the Chiefs secondary (albeit in a loss), losing in the playoffs with an OK lead to Brett Favre having a huge game where he was questionable because his dad died, and last year when I had what seemed to be no shot against a Redskins fan with no one but Michael Vick left on Monday Night; I somehow took the lead, then subsequently lost because he had the Eagles’ D and McNabb threw a pick six with the score 52-21. The Redskins giveth; the Redskins taketh away.
That’s why you gotta love sports. I invite you all to share some of your big fantasy moments to help expand our collective conscious and fantasy memories.
For last week’s picks, it was an up and down outing highlighted by Laurent Robinson going off (even though he was a popular “sleeper” play) and LaGarrette Blount and Brandon Jacobs having slow days. Jake Ballard, Torrey Smith, Josh Cribbs, and Daniel Thomas didn’t do much but at least all got a few points; and for the guys I didn’t like, Marques Colston had a pretty solid game as Atlanta couldn’t cover him on third downs (you got me this time Collmenter), Brandon Lloyd had his lowest yard total as a Ram but got a TD, and of course Vernon Davis chose last week to return to the end zone. Meh.
Here are some guys that I like this week that aren’t getting started enough and guys I think you should bench (along with their starting percentages in ESPN and Yahoo respectively):
Maurice Morris (35.2%, 30%) As a Panthers fan, I know how bad our run defense is. It especially doesn’t help that Thomas Davis and Jon Beason, two really solid LBs, are hurt for the year. Enter Maurice Morris who is getting the lion’s share (womp womp) of the carries for Detroit. Matthew Stafford is looking to rebound but the Lions won’t want to push the passing game too hard with his fractured finger. I expect at least a 20-touch day for Morris for maybe 80 yards and a score. He’s still out there in a lot of leagues and makes a great bye week or injury fill-in.
David Nelson (8.5%, 27%) With Steve Johnson questionable (even though he’s expected to play) I think he’ll be slightly limited and I see Nelson getting a lot of work against a shaky Dolphins secondary. I have pumped up Nelson a few times this season and like him a lot (maybe I’m a Cowboys cheerleader – don’t ask me how my interview with Jerry Jones went), he’s a big agile target and perfect in the slot (lines like that are why Herman Cain can’t be a sports writer…). He’s a definite redzone threat and even if he doesn’t get a big amount of targets or yards, he’s always in line for TDs. I like the Bills to bounce back against the Fins and Nelson to have plenty of opportunities.
Earl Bennett (24.3%, 29%) Bennett has been a beast since activation off the PUP list, and Jay Cutler finally has a consistent primary target (sorry Roy Williams). Against a below average Chargers secondary (remember when everyone went nuts over Jonathan Baldwin?), I could easily see a third straight nice game for Bennett. Definite starter for me.
Brent Celek (9.8%, 23%) More a gut feeling than any sort of stat I can bring to the table, I see Celek having a solid game on Sunday Night. The Giants got ripped by the Gronk/Hernandez combo, then last week by Vernon Davis, and while Celek obviously isn’t close to that class of TE, I think the Eagles are going to look for a lot of TE support, with Vince Young starting for Vick and Jeremy Maclin out. Remember when Young started in Tennessee how often he looked for Tight Ends? I certainly do, and I think Celek will be a big part of the game plan. He’s a risky play, but I think he has a lot of upside.
Jerome Simpson (4.3%, 27%) Recommending a guy coming off a goose egg is tough, but with A.J. Green doubtful, I don’t think I’m too high to recommend Simpson. The Ravens will be without Ray Lewis, and with Simpson’s experience in the slot, I think he’ll have a nice game exploiting the middle of the field. I still think the Ravens will be able to limit the run and a lot of pressure is going to be put on Dalton and the Bengals passing game, especially without Green. I think Simpson is the benefactor.
Son of a Bench
Chris Johnson (95.6%, 86%) I know what you’re thinking… I’m again over here telling you to bench a guy where there’s virtually no situation where you would. But I think this is going to be a bad, bad game for Johnson. Of course you can say he’s coming off his best game of the year, but let’s remember it was against my horrible Panthers. Johnson reminds me of Dexter McCluster right now; if there is a tackler anywhere near him he’s going down. He doesn’t have any explosive moves and he’s not breaking tackles. Good think for Johnson that the Panthers didn’t have tacklers near him the entire game last week. The Falcons run D is giving up the 5th least fantasy points to opposing RBs and have been especially stout the last three games. I’d go as far as saying Maurice Morris is definitely a better play this week. Start Johnson with extreme caution.
Ryan Mathews (69.8%, 63%) Mathews is still laboring his way back into prominence in the Chargers backfield, and against a solid Bears run D, I don’t think he’s worked his way back to sure-fire starter. I think we’re going to see a lot of Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates against that cover 2, and a lot of Mike Tolbert for some tough running. Mathews is a sit for me.
Aaron Hernandez (66.6%, 68%) After the first two weeks of the season, people were talking about Hernandez as maybe the best keeper TE in all the land. I was a little dumbfounded because I didn’t even think he was the best keeper TE on the team. Rob Gronkowski is a manbearpig, just an absolute monster, and if you remember two weeks ago against the Giants with the game on the line, Brady went to Gronk three times in a row including on 4th and long. Talk about faith in your big man. Hernandez is very talented, don’t get me wrong, but his knee injury has slowed him down and he’s not getting the targets like Gronk is. Add into the mix the Patriots are going to trounce the Cassel-less Chiefs, and I’m afraid Hernandez just isn’t going to get the looks. A bench for me.
Marshawn Lynch (51.1%, 62%) Ahhhh, beast mode! Lynch is killin’ it again, let’s put him on the front page of virtually every fantasy site! Ok, let’s take a breath here. It’s Marshawn Lynch. It’s the Seahawks. I think he is setting himself up for just a complete bomb this week with all the hype. A lot of people are going to argue he’s going against the Rams, one of the league’s worst run Ds. Well they were, but the Rams run D has been playing much better lately , especially in the past three weeks, giving up 3.3 yards per carry and only one rushing touchdown. And don’t forget starting lineman John Moffitt and starting center James Carpenter are both done for the year. I’ve got a big feeling Lynch falls back down to Earth this week and reminds everyone why he’s not a undisputed fantasy starter. Be careful if you’ve got him.
Beanie Wells (57.2%, 46%) You know, I’m starting to feel like I’m kicking Wells while he’s down… kinda like JoPa’s health issues now making headlines. But he’s still getting a ridiculous amount of starting nods with a bum knee and facing off against the league’s best run D in the 49ers. If you’re starting him and reading this, bench him. Bench him now.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck to everyone in week 11!