Lead Fantasy Analyst
Welcome to my weekly column, giving you all the advice you will need to decide if a weekly performance is here to stay or whether it is a one-time anomaly. In the final segment of the article The Blind Spot, we will take a look at the positions of kicker and D/ST. The forgotten positions on your team, but also positions who could help you win a week with good performances or lose a week in bad matchups. Now, Let’s get down to business.
Alfred Morris– What a game. 27 rushes for 127 yards and one TD. This could have been even better if the Cowboys did not try to also get Dak Prescott back on track instead of continuing to feed the ball to Morris behind an offensive line which looked a lot like last season’s and less like the line of the recent past. With games in the next two weeks against the Giants and Raiders, who come on, only scare their fans as to how bad they are on defense, Alf should have more solid weeks heading into a tough championship week game against the Seahawks. With Dak turned back into a game manager without Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, the passing game will continue to struggle, meaning at least 20 touches a week for Morris. And, as we know when you say touches and Alfred Morris, you mean rushes. He should get at least one 100-yard game in the next two weeks, so if he is still on waivers, go get him and ride him as your second running back or flex into week 16. If you are loaded at running back already? Well, pick him up so your opponent can’t. This isn’t the NBA, blocking is allowed.
Drew Brees– Yes, Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks of all time and one of the most prolific and accurate quarterbacks, but with the newly found backfield tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara his game on Sunday is becoming more the norm for him. While 269 yards and one TD sounds good on the surface, this used to be seen as a floor for Brees and not the ceiling it is looked at in 2017. While Michael Thomas is a budding superstar and Ted F’in Ginn, as the great Matthew Berry likes to say, is having a good season, they both are taking a back seat along with Brees to the above-mentioned Ingram and Kamara in the Saints offense. Moving into the playoffs, Brees will be a fine top-12 play, especially against the Falcons in weeks 14 and 16 as the Falcons defense can be exploited especially with pass-catching running backs like both of the Saints backs have an ability to be. If you are expecting a top-three week like years past, this is not the year, but if you have a solid team around him, Brees can still lead you to the promised land.
Ben Roethlisberger– While the home-road splits are well known, and well worn out, the splits have not been as severe as in past seasons for Roethlisberger and a lot of this has to do with him being healthy in 2017. While he still has a few bad performances, the majority have been serviceable for your fantasy team. Coming up in the playoffs he does have two tough games against the Ravens in week 14 and the Patriots in week 15 but both of these games are at home making him still a solid play for these weeks. If you can get to the championship game, he has a juicy game against the Texans, all be it on the road. With the unquestioned best combination of wide receiver and running back duo in the league, Big Ben will be able to ride Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to great stat lines which will be good for him, the Steelers and most importantly, to you.
Ricky Seals-Jones– While finally coming back down to earth this week against the Rams, you could still do a lot worse at a crap position than a starting tight end who is being targeted endlessly by his quarterback. With the oft-injured John Brown again missing time, and Larry Fitzgerald doing everything he can, it is good for the Cardinals to try to get their young tight end involved as much as possible to find out what they have for 2018. With the season going nowhere and Blaine Gabbert at the helm, you could do much worse at the position as even in his first down game Sunday he still got you close to seven points. While this may not seem like a lot look at how others did yesterday and you will find it is comparable to many other tight ends including Zach Ertz who left with a possible concussion and Jimmy Graham, who if he did not have a TD catch would have only had 5.6 points for the week.
Leonard Fournette– As I stated in my Tunnel Vision article a few weeks ago, most of Fournette’s production comes on one long run per game which Is not sustainable. Well in the past three out of four weeks, he has less than 60 yards rushing with two of those games less than 35 yards. While you may think there is a lack of usage, his lowest carry total in those games is 17 on which he gained 33 yards against a Rams team in the Bottom five for a rush defense this season. His ankle is obviously bothering him still as he has shown in college to not be a quick healer and also not want to play with the slightest discomfort. He could still be a top-24 running back for the playoff run, but you will need to make sure there is a backup plan on your roster in case he sits out another game due to his ankle or due to an unforeseen circumstance.
Wil Lutz– As stated in last weeks article, Will Lutz is having a great season and needed a good game last week against the Panthers in an important game to solidify himself. While he did miss one field goal in the game, he did make a clutch kick in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach performing under pressure in the most important game of his young career. Coming off of this confidence builder and seeing he has three dome games in the playoffs, there should be no doubt about picking him up to play in the two games against the Falcons as well as the sandwich game against the Jets as the Saints look to continue their roll into the playoffs. With the rushing game in New Orleans moving the ball up and down the field like a machine, expect numerous chances for Lutz to help your fantasy team with plenty of field goals and extra points.
Matt Bryant– As stated above with Will Lutz, Matt Bryant has the luxury of playing his home games in a dome along with a game in New Orleans in the championship week making him a good play at kicker. We saw this week against the Vikings the ability for the Falcons to move the ball even if they don’t get up the end zone giving Bryant the opportunity to gain points off of field goals. Even without touchdowns being scored the accuracy of Matt Bryant indoors makes him a great play for the playoffs. As he had a few bad weeks against the Patriots, Jets, and Panthers, he may have been dropped and could be on your waiver wire for the stretch run.
Chris Boswell– With the Steelers locked in a battle for home-field advantage with the Patriots it will be important for them to win the game in week 15 at home. With a game coming first against the surging Ravens, Boswell will be relied on heavily in the next two weeks. Games against the Ravens especially seem to be mostly low scoring defensive battles with a lot of field goals making him a great play this week. The Steelers offense could be slowed by the great Ravens defense and the Ravens offense for sure can be slowed by the Steelers. This leads to the aforementioned field goal attempts being plentiful this week. Going into next weeks against the Patriots points will again be important as it will be a higher scoring game for sure, but also a battle of kickers as although having a somewhat disappointing season Steven Gostkowski is still a good kicker. With Boswell being at home for the next two weeks, he is a great play and if you need him in the finals a game in Houston is not a bad matchup either for fantasy goodness.
Greg Zuerlein– I know, I know, he has been in the segment before, but he is the best kicker in the league this season and has more field goals made than any kicker in NFL history through the first 12 games of the season. This is exactly what you want from a kicker, not to mention he is on a winning team with a lot to play for moving forward. With a game this week against the Eagles which would give the Rams a tie-breaker advantage should it come down to these two for home field advantage you know there will be all-hands-on-deck for this game. With possibly the top two kickers in the league this season matching up to go along with the top two offenses, points will be at a premium on all drives to keep up.
Dallas Cowboys- With the Dallas defense outperforming again so far, this season, the upcoming games with the Giants and Raiders will be great plays for you to pick up a defense most likely on your waiver pile and get points from them. While the championship week brings a tough game against the Seahawks, there will be defenses to use for this situation. At this time of year, you do not need to hold on to players who might hit, you need sure-fire bench players. So, drop Tyrek Cohen, or someone else who is not going to be in your starting lineup and pick up a second defense who can be used week to week when the matchups fit.
Los Angeles Chargers- This defense is humming right now and with games ahead against the reeling Redskins, Chiefs and Jets, there should be no stop in sight for the playoff run. With the top two defensive linemen rated by PFF as well as a top 10 rated secondary player in Eric Weddle, expect the Chargers to ride their defense into the playoffs if they are going to make it. Along with the offensive firepower shown in the past three weeks, this defense has proven to only be getting better as the season progresses making them a top-five defense for the fantasy playoffs.
Philadelphia Eagles- While they have a tough matchup this week against the Los Angeles Rams, their next two games are a delight going in to New Jersey to play the Giants whom as I write this segment on Sunday afternoon, I am assuming will have a different head coach by then, followed by a home game against the Raiders on Christmas. What a Christmas gift for the Eagles and for you if you have their defense. With the rush defense being the league’s best, not to mention a very underrated pass defense, these games should be fantasy gold. While it may be hard for you to imagine them being on waivers, you might be surprised, as there will be leagues where an owner refuses to have two defenses and drops them next week because of the matchup of the Rams on the road. Make sure you are checking every day if someone was dropped to waivers, even after waivers run, as there might be someone who has to be dropped for roster purposes. You might be surprised what you find.