Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. What are fair expectations for Dez Bryant? Is Mitchell Trubisky a better quarterback than Philip Rivers? Why no love for Adam Humphries? And more.
I have TreQuan Smith. With Dez Bryant on the Saints does that push Smith to WR3 and not worth rostering?
Tom Clark (Camas, WA)
I think Smith will be the 2nd-best wide receiver on that team. I think he’s better than Bryant – faster, more athletic, and he’s been working in the offense all along. He knows the system. With Bryant, I think he’s just an accent piece – probably their third receiver, and a guy you would hope might catch a couple of touchdowns in the red zone. New Orleans plays at Dallas in Week 13, and I will have Bryant ranked higher than Smith for that game.
Ian, I'm intrigued that you're not higher on Adam Humphries given what he's done and how he's looked the last few games. He seems to always be open over the middle and he is getting seen there by the QB. Is it that Fitz-magic is always fleeting? You don't trust the TB offense (wouldn't be surprised)? They're upcoming schedule? Please elaborate.
Jason Brater (Ann Arbor, MI)
All of the rankings I’m doing are numerically driven. For each team I’m forecasting team numbers (including passing yards and touchdowns), and that production is then being divided up amongst their guys. This style of forecasting tends to be biased against a player like Humphries ever showing up too high on my list. The Bucs so far are averaging 372 passing yards per game, and they’re on pace to finish the season with 46 TD passes. But when predicting how they’ll perform in any given week (or the second half of the season) I would never assign that type of numbers to them. We’re talking about a lesser quarterback on a lesser team that could fire its coach at any time. So tough for me to ever get above predicting they’ll throw for about 330 yards (also a huge number) and a little more than 2 TDs. They’ve also got a deep stable of pass catchers – Evans, Jackson, Godwin, Howard, Brate and Humphries. That’s six high-level pass catchers, including one that of the uber-elite variety (Evans) and a tight end (Howard) who’s really hot right now. I like the way Humphries plays in the slot, but it’s just hard to ever get him in the top 50 among wide receivers in any given week.
Always appreciate your analysis. I'm a little thrown, however, by Trubisky's rise in the Redrafter. Would you really prefer having him over guys like Fitzpatrick or Rivers?
James Crawford (Atlanta, GA)
If we’re picking a player for a game, I will take Fitzpatrick. The Bucs are putting up huge passing numbers right now – on pace to shatter the all-time passing yards record before they even step on the field for their final game. But with the Redrafter rankings, I’m trying to factor in the possibility that the Bucs might switch quarterbacks again at some point. As for Rivers/Trubisky, Rivers is a much better passer, and he’s been playing well – multiple TD passes in every game. But for fantasy purposes, it becomes a much more difficult decision when you factor in their rushing production. Trubisky is averaging 38 rushing yards per game, which is like getting an extra 76 passing yards per week relative to an immobile pocket passer like Rivers. In typical fantasy leagues, Trubisky has better numbers. You may complain that he benefitted from throwing 6 TDs against a historically bad Bucs defense, and that’s fair – we’re trying to look at what they’ll do in the remaining eight games, not what they did in the past. But if we set aside the best and worst games for each quarterback, Trubisky has still been better thus far – about 24.1 points per game compared to 22.7 for Rivers. I’d say they’re pretty similar. Trubisky isn’t as good but has a more fantasy-friendly playing style. The plus for Rivers is that he’s more of a known quantity – less concerns about him suddenly turning into a crappy quarterback.
Should we have concern with the limited production of Mark Ingram for the Saints considering their win over the previously undefeated Rams. Is Kamara their workhorse from here on out based on that outcome or is that reasoning too simplistic?
Kevin Dallas (Covington, KY)
Kamara has scored a bunch of touchdowns, which tends to keep everyone happy, but his production has also been down. Toss out the first four weeks, since Kamara was a solo act at that time. In their last four games, Kamara has averaged only 54 rushing and 23 receiving yards. That’s not a ton more than Ingram (45 run, 16 rec). I expect these guys will continue to share time. I wouldn’t kick Ingram to the curb just yet. I think he’s overdue for a big game, and that might come on Sunday. Cincinnati has had trouble stopping the run, while the Saints have tended to utilize the run more when playing on the road. Saints at home have averaged 86 rushing and 348 passing yards. On the road they’ve averaged 138 rushing and 250 passing – 52 more rushing yards per game, while 98 fewer per game through the air.
Is it time to dump Carlos Hyde and pick up somebody like Josh Adams as a lottery ticket?
JEFF CASTER (West Mifflin, PA)
With Hyde, he becomes a factor if Leonard Fournette gets hurt again. But even if that happens, I’m not sure you get much of a running back. I imagine they would continue to use T.J. Yeldon plenty, and they haven’t been running ball well. They’re 25th in rushing, and that’s despite Blake Bortles running for 33 yards per game. Adam potentially could be playing his way into a bigger role with the Eagles. They used him more in their last game and he responded with 9 carries for 61 yards.
Start Rodgers or Fitzpatrick this week? I've benched Rodgers once earlier this season and he popped for 33 points so you can see why I'd be uneasy about sitting him again. I see the weekly has them ranked very close giving Fitz the slight edge, but ... do I dare?
Rudolph Woodhouse (Lafayette, LA)
I’m starting Fitzpatrick. The Bucs are just passing the heck out of it right now. He’s started five games. If you started him over Rodgers in each of those weeks, so far you would have made the correct decision 80 percent of the time. (The one game where Rodgers outproduced him was in Week 4, when Fitzpatrick was on the road against a really good Chicago defense.)
So we all are waiting on Doug Baldwin to come back and take the reigns of that SEA receiving core. Is this going to happen at some point? If it’s been the knee slowing him down, does this mean he’s been getting better each week and can get out of this slump? I don’t want another repeat of 2015 when I’d dropped him mid season and he went on the score 12 TDs in the next seven games!
Robert Lantvit (Berwyn, IL)
I saw him make a nice downfield catch last week. He’s a good player – a knowledgeable pro. I think the problem is probably more the team’s offense rather than perhaps playing with knee soreness. The Seahawks aren’t passing as much as they have in the past. They’ve got their running game going, and that’s contributed to them averaging only 224 passing yards. They’ve been under 250 passing yards seven games in a row. The other two wide receivers they’re using aren’t chopped liver either – Tyler Lockett and David Moore can play. But I would stick with Baldwin and hope his numbers improve.
I’m starting to think about the playoffs and have a trade deadline approaching.... what teams have favorable match ups in weeks 14-16? Are there any defenses or flex level players that can be targeted now who can pay dividends in those weeks?
rob fink (Essex Fells, NJ)
The most defense-friendly teams right now are the Browns, Jets, Cardinals, Raiders and Bills. Those are the five I would be looking at. I would want defenses playing against those teams (even better if you can get a defense that actually has some ability outside of the matchup. Schedules are as follows (for Weeks 14-16). Arizona: Det., at Atl., Rams. Buffalo: Jets, Det., at N.E. Cleveland: Car., at Den., Cin. New York Jets: at Buff., Hou., G.B. And Oakland: Pitt, at Cin., Den.
Making a push for the playoffs. I have JuJu and Keenan Allen as my top two wideouts and currently have John Brown, Amari Cooper and Nelson Agholor as plug ins. I was thinking about reaching out to acquire Robert Woods or T.Y. Hilton from another owner for draft compensation, but am not sure that they are really all that much better than Brown or Cooper. Interested in hearing your thoughts.
Adam Bergeron (Salem, NH)
I like Hilton. He might be a top-10 receiver in the second half. He’s their No. 1 option, with the ability to hit long-range touchdowns, and they’re using him in the red zone more than they have in the past. He averaged 74 yards in the first four games, with 2 TDs, before running into the hamstring issue. He should be healthy again now and ready to return to delivering good numbers.
What are some of the waiver wire pickups that could be good next season?
Eric Scolnick (Redmond, WA)
If we look only at injured players, I see ten that I think will be selected in fantasy drafts next August. D’Onta Foreman, Devonta Freeman, Will Fuller, Geronimo Allison, Hunter Henry, Jay Ajayi, Delanie Walker, Paul Richardson, Jimmy Garoppolo and maybe Tyler Eifert (but probably not).
I know this is borderline overanalyzing, but would be crazy to try and move Zeke? They look awful and have awful play calling. How does he not get carries in the second half of that game Monday night? It's not Zeke's fault, but he's clearly not living up to a top 3 pick.
Bill Petilli (Harrison, NY)
Agreed. They’re terrible. They don’t have great talent, the coaching staff doesn’t seem to have any ideas, and they’ve got a lesser, limited quarterback. They’re saddled with a rich guy who wants to play GM, and he’s not good enough. So if you’ve got Ezekiel Elliott on your roster and you can find a trading partner who thinks he’s still going to put up top-5 numbers, I think you make a deal.
In a TD heavy dynasty league I need a WR. My choices: DJ Moore, Courtland Sutton, Allen Robinson, Sterling Shepherd, Christian Kirk or Chris Godwin.
HOWIE FISHMAN (Hermosa Beach, CA)
They’re all good players. Your list includes three rookies and a second-year player, but all of those guys look like they’re going to be good players. With Sutton, Shepard and Godwin, you don’t know who’ll be throwing to them next year. Josh Rosen seems to be for real, so I wouldn’t be opposed to going with Kirk.
I have a team where I have to choose between starting T.Coleman, B.Cooks, R.Woods, Golladay, Hilton, and JuJu. I can only start 3 WRs and Coleman in the flex. Normally I would just go with the matchups but I have another angle to look at. If I start Woods and Cooks every week I might be guaranteed at least one of them will go off big. It’s hard to sit JuJu, Golladay or Hilton but it sounds like a good idea?
David Kennedy (Steamburg, NY)
But the Rams don’t have two wide receivers. They have three, so there’s also the possibility that Cooper Kupp has a huge game and you’re left with two lesser receivers in your lineup. They like Kupp around the goal line, so he’s caught 6 TDs – twice as many as either Cooks or Woods (even while missing three games). I wouldn’t try any funny math with these guys. I would just look at them each week and try to pick the best three. In general, I think I’d be picking the three non-Rams in a lot of weeks.
I see Sanu and Shepard are ranked next to each other on my custom rankings. If Sanu is inactive the choice is made for me. Any thoughts if he is active? Flip a coin?
David Hogshire (Plymouth, MN)
They both look pretty good this week. I think the Falcons will go into Cleveland and score some points. New York is facing a pass defense that’s been pretty weak at times. That game is in San Francisco, but that might be a plus for the Giants – gives them a chance to get away from their disgruntled fans. That offense’s three best games this year have all come on the road – at Houston, Carolina and Atlanta.
Week 15-16 playoff league: What are your thoughts on offering Mahomes (& his crap schedule) straight for Newton (& his glorious schedule). That is, assuming the Newton owner obliges.
Jeff Carter (Franklin, TN)
I would be nervous about trading away Mahomes. They might be gunning in those games to get him up to 50 touchdown passes.