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"FBG is the best fantasy football advisory service anywhere."
Nigel Eccles, Co-Founder, FanDuel
The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.
I don't live by the idea that it's better to be lucky than good. While I want to give you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, I prefer to get the process right. There will be a lot of people talking about how they were right to draft or start specific players. Many of them got the right result but with an unsustainable process.
The Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).
As always, I recommend Sigmund Bloom's Waiver Wire piece which you'll find available on this page, Monday night. Bloom and I are not always going to agree on players—he errs more often towards players who flash elite athletic ability and I err more towards players who are more technically skilled and assignment-sound.
STRAIGHT, NO CHASER: WEEK 12'S CLIFF'S NOTES
The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points.
- Josh Reynolds' reuniting with Jared Goff in Detroit led to the duo making good on their rapport established in L.A. Reynolds never got to be a perimeter option for the Rams that made him a start at Texas A&M. That's about to change and that could lead to fantasy starter production for the Lions in December.
- DeSean Jackson dominated the Cowboys' secondary with his route running, speed, and savvy for drawing penalties. He's legitimately a short-term upgrade to Henry Ruggs and a viable fantasy for December.
- Although the Cowboys missed Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, Dak Prescott once again showed that if he isn't an elite NFL quarterback, he's absolutely an elite fantasy passer.
- Stefon Diggs' touchdown off a red-zone jerk route against Marshon Lattimore illustrates a wide receiver at the height of his powers as well as a route that is only useful situationally in the NFL.
- Dontrell Hilliard, a player I recommended as Week 12's Add-Now option in the Replacements, earned over 140 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown against the Patriots and will be a hot waiver-wire option. While worth adding, Hilliard is not the answer in Tennesse while Derrick Henry is out as much as he's part of the answer to its woebegone ground game.
- Any lingering concerns about Rhamondre Stevenson's ball security, which was a moderate concern during his only season at Oklahoma, might be gone after the Patriots study one of Stevenson's fourth-quarter runs to help salt away the game.
- Rob Gronkowski may not be what he used to be, but what he is is still Pro-Bowl-caliber skill as a blocker, pass-catcher, runner, and decoy.
- Odell Beckham scored for the first time in over a year and on the type of play where he's gotten open in Cleveland but not fed the ball. Maintain starter expectations for Beckham in December.
- One overused trick play tells you a lot about the struggles of the Cleveland Browns' offense.
- Fresh Fish: The Jaguars' run defense got run over by Atlanta's offensive line, regulars to 2021's Fresh Fish, and a still gimpy Cordarelle Patterson.
- Cowboys CB Anthony Brown gave up four defensive pass interference penalties — three to DeSean Jackson alone.
- Jalen Reagor and the Eagles' offense made key mistakes.
- Kirk Cousins earned praise in this column two weeks ago and true to Vikings fans' expectations, he had a cringe-worthy moment against the 49ers.
For those of you who wish to learn the why's, the details are below.
1. Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself: Josh Reynolds
The NFL is the real world but with a lot of cameras running and the desire for everyone profiting from it to portray it as fantastical. Once upon a time, Josh Reynolds displayed contested-catch artistry as a perimeter threat at Texas A&M.
His draft eligibility coincided with the sunset of the NFL's demand for the Dez Bryant-Alshon Jeffery types that teams elevated in value because they could jump high and body defensive backs on slants and fades. It was also the dawn of the NFL embracing the primary receiver with excellent route skills free of ancient and pseudo-analytical restrictions to height and weight — Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, and Tyreek Hill among others.
It didn't mean that long-tall athletes at the position were out, but when Mike Mayock and most of the NFL Draft community had an early-round grade for Equanimeous St. Brown and he went on the third day, this and other recent draft decisions felt like the dawning of an age of reason for receiver valuation. Still, Reynolds was an unnecessary draft-day casualty of this change.
Landing in L.A. as a third-day pick and holdover from the Jeff Fisher era, Reynolds was skilled enough to survive the roster turnover that new coaches initiate, especially a system coach like Sean McVay. The fact that Reynolds not only survived but earned routine playing time in McVay's system as a slot receiver running digs, posts, seams, crossing routes, and corner routes is a testament to Reynolds having more skills than his new coach first thought.
Still, Reynolds rarely got to do what he did best as a receiver: Win the football on the perimeter, especially in the vertical game. Signing with Tennessee this spring, it appeared Reynolds would earn the opportunity to become a primary or high-end complement as an outside receiver until the Titans traded for Julio Jones. While we don't know for sure, the timing of this deal coincided with Reynolds suffering an Achilles' injury that limited him throughout the summer and early fall. When we saw Reynolds on the field, the Titans used him as a big slot receiver.
The NFL labels players based on the film. And tape may not lie but the people watching it may not know how to see — or choose to see what's there. Players earn labels based on their video resume and past behavior. I still think of Pro-Bowl special teams ace Cedric Peerman, an excellent 215-pound college running back with rugged balance and 4.3 speed who might have been the precursor to Nick Chubb if given a real shot.
Instead, Peerman landed on a Ravens' team with Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, moved onto Detroit and Cleveland for brief stints over the same summer as a UDFA in crowded backfields, before Cincinnati kept him based on his prowess for kick coverage. Peerman spent years in Cincinnati and only earned offensive snaps in the late fourth quarter of preseason games — the time of games where none of the coaches were looking at him as a legitimate running back option because he already made the team covering kicks.
It took the decimation of the Bengals' running back depth chart for Peerman to earn playing time in a regular-season game and when he earned over 100 yards from scrimmage and looked like he belonged at the position, Jay Gruden told reporters after the game that "We didn't really know what we had in Peerman."
Doug Farrar's excellent book on the NFL's history of schematic innovation, "The Genius of Desperation," is aptly titled. It's also an apt description of how many players without draft capital or mislabeled due to coaching changes and mass player turnover earn another opportunity to show what they truly can be. Raheem Mostert, Isaiah Crowell, Kurt Warner, Adam Thielen, many other starter-caliber players were essentially born from a team's desperate need for contributors due to injury or disappointing players at the top of depth charts.
The Detroit Lions are in a rebuilding year (era) and even before the team lost Tyrell Williams and Quintez Cephus to injury, there wasn't much there. A friend of mine, recruiting director at a D-1 program got to watch and evaluate the Lions' receiving corps for the team this spring and he asked me a question about a specific type of receiver often seen in the NFL and how often did I think that type of player actually developed into something productive. I brought up Breshad Perriman as an example of his general description of the player type and that I regarded this type, including Perriman, with pessimism.
He laughed and told me that was the exact player he was thinking about when he thought of the question. Neither of us had a strong impression of the Lions' receiving corps a far back as May. Because the Lions need receivers, their desperation makes them open to players who have been mislabeled by established teams with richer depth charts. No, the Titans need receiving help right now, but when they let go of Reynolds, they still had a healthy A.J. Brown and were expecting Jones to return soon.
Now in Detroit, Reynolds gets to work with the quarterback that knows him best and as a perimeter threat, which Reynolds only got to do in parts of Rams' practices. In his first game with Goff, Reynolds' 3-catch, 70-yard, 1-score afternoon against the Bears scratched the surface of what he could become for Detroit.
Reynolds did most of his work on the perimeter but we also know that he and Goff were productive together on routes that broke inside the numbers and the hash. Although we didn't see completed "trust throws" to Reynolds in this game, Goff completed several to Quintez Cephus earlier in the year. Expect Reynolds to become Goff's favorite target on the wide receiver depth chart and that rapport leads to fantasy starter production in at least three-receiver lineups.
2. You Can Call Me Al: DeSean Jackson
Al Davis was addicted to the vertical game. So much so, former journeyman quarterback Jason Campbell tells a story of Al Davis calling him in the middle of a game to throw the ball deep despite the defense playing a two-deep safety coverage.
The ghost of Davis is ecstatic over the Raiders' addition of DeSean Jackson. A temporary replacement to Henry Ruggs, the aging Jackson may be at the end of his career but his athletic ability, route skills, and overall savvy for the game make him a temporary upgrade.
Jackson caught 3 of 4 targets for 102 yards and a score against the Cowboys, an impressive afternoon in the box score. However, Jackson's performance goes well beyond the box score when considering he also forced Dallas cornerback Anthony Brown into three defensive pass interference (DPI) penalties.
Ruggs had made strides as a route runner during his first year and a half as an NFL receiver, but he didn't execute at the level of detail that Jackson often exhibits.
Derek Carr demonstrates what vet QBs do in the pocket after forced to run away from pressure: They slow it down when they can and reestablish a rhythm for the throw. #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/qfN1CzmR4X— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
If you watch these clips in order, you'll see why Jackson's ability to as a deep threat opens the field for his teammates. This is a given among many NFL writers and executives types based on speed alone, but there's actually a big difference between the Perriman's of the NFL world and Jackson. Opposing defenses have to respect Perriman's speed but they aren't afraid of him schooling opponents one-on-one.
Jackson's a fantasy wildcard. His age and usage make him a volatile choice for GMs because he's had a consistent injury history for the past 4-5 years that has curtailed seasons after he's played well. And even if he plays well for the Raiders, his effectiveness may limit him to only a few targets that don't include the multiple targets that draw DPIs benefitting his offense but not fantasy GMs.
I've added Jackson to multiple teams that could use more depth at receiver and are strong elsewhere. He could easily give GMs a top-15 fantasy option in December but the volatility of his age and game means (unless desperate) you should value him as a reserve who you hope will overachieve.
3. You're the Best...Nothing's Ever Gonna Keep You Down: Dak Prescott
Despite the Cowboys losing the game on Thanksgiving Day, Prescott deserves credit for his play in a league where fans still hold the robo-quarterback style of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning as the standard of excellence. It's one standard of excellence when there are often several standards that will work as well, if not better. When we apply that one standard to a job it limits teams, companies, schools, and society from getting the best from its people.
This is different from "softening" a standard as an excuse to accommodate mediocrity, which happens when people think they are doing the right thing but they are operating from a space of ignorance and arrogance. And as a result, these do-gooder/saviors inflict more damage on the very people they think they are helping because they are also operating from a restrictive standard of their own making — and it's infuriating to watch them think they know better than the people they think they are "helping."
Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson are examples of two players where their organizations have gotten it right. Neither team tried to make Prescott and Jackson perform to the standard of Brady, a style of player neither player will ever become. If they did, they'd be lowering the bar for that standard and settling for mediocrity. Instead, they value what Prescott and Jackson do best — things that Brady could never do — and it has led to successful offensive football. Even with Jackson throwing four interceptions last night against Cleveland, Jackson and the defense did enough to put his team in a position to win.
Well, Brady has seven Super Bowl rings, how many do Prescott and Jackson have?
How many do Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Matt Ryan, Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Darnold, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and the countless Brady Clones of the Robo-QB style have? Yes, the quarterback is vital, but if you're judging by rings, your analysis is as meaningful as what you see screamed at you on four-letter-word media outlets between drug commercials.
Only Tua Tagovialoa and Mac Jones have higher completion percentages than Prescott (69.4) this year. Prescott is also tied for 6th in the NFL with 22 touchdowns and he's 8th among quarterbacks with 2,932 yards. Considering that he's played 10 games this year and not the 11-12 from the rest of the leaders in these areas, Prescott's having a strong season despite starting 2021 with an injury that limited his throwing motion.
Prescott's game has developed to the point that he's near the height of his powers as a passer. He can squeeze the ball into tight windows with confidence, deliver across the field in the vertical game with placement where only his receiver can with the ball, and he displays a terrific blend of touch and athletic ability.
Skills such as placement, manipulation, pinpoint accuracy, and decision-making are all elements of quarterback play that are within the control of the individual. The end result may not work out due to teammates or terrific play from opponents, but the root of good player evaluation is whether the individual demonstrates the athletic, technical, conceptual, and intuitive elements to put himself and teammates in a position for positive plays.
Perfect pic.twitter.com/V4XRqbx0ro— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
Perfect ll pic.twitter.com/N0RxNNyz1W— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
Perfect lll pic.twitter.com/P5wpxUSCec— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
Prescott has earned his second deal with the Cowboys and he'll continue earning it. The bigger question is if the Cowboys can continue to build and maintain the rest of the necessary personnel to create a Super Bowl team based on what Prescott and quarterbacks of his value command in the open market. However, this veers more into team-building than quarterback skill.
We learned last year that Prescott was a huge part in holding up this offense, even when the offensive line struggled. We saw additional evidence last week without his two best receivers. There aren't many quarterbacks I'd rather have in fantasy leagues right now.
4. Hard to Handle: Stefon Diggs
This jerk route for a touchdown against Marshon Lattimore, one of the top cornerbacks in the league, is a beautiful display of Stefon Diggs' elite route-running skills. It's packed to the brim with high-level route-running techniques and concepts executed with crisp detail.
Stefon Diggs with a great route vs a fine CB.— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
-Hesitation move to outside
-High knees/arm pump to sell vertical
-False break inside
-GREAT turn outside with sideline foot. Efficient and dynamic.#BillsMafia pic.twitter.com/buqznvCvph
It's also a route that only works in situational football. This in no way diminishes the skills of Diggs, who can do it all as a route runner. Still, it's valuable to look at the context of this route. It's a long-developing route for a short pattern.
It's the NFL equivalent to the NBA's half-court game where the offense is aligned to create a one-on-one scenario on one wing of the court. While these routes are important, I often see fans, writers, and scouts overvalue them because they forget the context.
In this situation, Diggs singled to one side of the field and there's enough space combined with the path of the route to recreate a two-way-go scenario, which is the hardest for man-to-man coverage to defend. While Diggs is a terrific wide receiver, there are hundreds of receivers who can win a two-way-go if the context is right. These routes often get the most oohs and ahhs during practices and by the end of the day, scouts and major media analysts are telling me over barbeque how the Braxton Millers of the world are going to be the future Diggs of the world.
The difference between Diggs and these Diggs wannabees is that Diggs is doing this work in a compressed space of the red zone, which demands a compressed period of time to win the route. Most of these wannabees are running them in the slot against lesser cornerbacks in a practice environment where there aren't 6-8 defenders allowed to hit the quarterback within 2.7-3 seconds of the snap.
Diggs' execution is great here, but before you see the next wannabee executing in this fashion during practice, it's worth determining if he's doing the same work in a game.
5. The Answer Is Blowin' in the Wind: Dontrell Hilliard
Consider this segment the answer to "Why did the Titans cut Adrian Peterson." The answer certainly isn't the one I've read most often: "DOnta Foreman outplayed him."
You can check out my recent analysis that shows that Foreman, if anything, benefited more often from easier run scenarios. At the end of the day, the waiving of Peterson came down to three things:
- Peterson was more expensive because of the way the league structures veteran minimums.
- Peterson's outcomes in difficult scenarios may have been aesthetically much better than the other backs when they encountered but the gains were minimally different.
- Peterson's gains on easier run scenarios were no more productive than Foreman's or Hilliard's.
Peterson may have been as good or better than his teammates as a runner, but the end result differed little from his lesser-priced competition. Hilliard definitely illustrated this point in Week 11, prior to Peterson's release.
I tabbed Hilliard as the only "Add-Now" in last week's Replacements because he proved at Tulane and Cleveland that he's a competent player with a versatile range of skills as a runner and receiver. He has a command of the variety of zone and gap plays that many NFL teams use. I think he's an upgrade to Jeremy McNichols and Foreman because he's a player the Titans don't have to take off the field as often.
If you were paying attention to the press conferences, Mike Vrabel told the media three weeks ago that the Titans were continuing to look at backs after it added Foreman and Peterson. While Foreman and Peterson fit the obvious strength and size profile of Derrick Henry, Bill Belichick's influence on Vrabel will likely show in the coming weeks, which means we'll continue to see a committee. Vrabel and his staff will likely mix and match the backs to specific situations.
This approach makes sense to a coaching staff because unless you strike gold with one short-term replacement who knows the system and executes everything at a high level, it's probably best to give these midseason additions limited responsibilities so they can get competent-to-good at these limited opportunities as fast as possible rather than given them everything and slow the process.
I also wouldn't worry about Hilliard's fumble impacting his playing time. He and Foreman both turned it over against the Patriots.
Hilliard fumble pic.twitter.com/IcoPrrG0LV— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
DOnta Foreman turns a well blocked run into a turnover for the Patriots pic.twitter.com/QFTQnEgjIT— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
If you need to upgrade running back depth, Hilliard gives you a baseline of 8-10 touches per game with PPR value and a slight chance of him taking over the lead role that could double his touches. If you need to win now in order to reach the playoffs and you've been hoping to hold onto flex players with higher ceilings but they aren't seeing the field enough, Hilliard might be that choice for you to at least get your roster some points at the flex position.
6. Hold On Tight to Your Dreams: Rhamondre Stevenson
Stevenson learned after Week 1 that Belichick has a low tolerance for fumbles. It's fascinating that Belichick and company drafted Stevenson despite his track record of ball security at Oklahoma. Stevenson fumbled once every 64.3 touches (193 touches and 3 fumbles) during his one season for the Sooners. This rate is on the low end of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio's Committee Tier for running back ball security.
Stevenson's track record at the JUCO level was either much better or they deemed the issues correctable — I thought they were. The good thing is that Stevenson also viewed them as correctable and didn't let the benching get into his head. Although he hasn't fumbled since Week 1, this play below is a good illustration of a confident runner after contact who is maintaining good security and taking hits that would threaten it.
Surely, Stevenson will fumble the ball again during his NFL career. However, it's heartening to see him handle scenarios that threaten his security as if the benching never happened.
7. Bad to the Bone: Rob Gronkowski
It kills me when I read and listen to fantasy analysis that diminishes the potential impact of players like Gronkowski. It's as if they see Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jared Cook, and other aging elite athletes at the position as exceptions. The problem is that if they truly saw these individuals as exceptional and understood the underlying skills that make them so — skills beyond straight-line speed — they'd be open to the likelihood that a player belonging to an exceptional tier means that you don't look at the pool of tight ends who failed for reasons these exceptional players never will and decide that the odds are too low.
Sure, I'm giving Rob Gronkowski a 15 percent chance of fantasy success this year due to his age because when you look at all the NFL tight ends from the past decade — including the slappies who never remotely had Gronkowski's currently "diminished skills" — and made this calculation. Perhaps you should have looked at Gronkowski's true peer group, non-slappies with elite skills actually comparable to Gronkowski. Maybe the odds quadruple to 60 percent.
But wait, the sample size is too small. Sure, but so are the sample sizes you're often operating with that appear much bigger in number but still are statistically sound. Thanks for playing, consolation prizes are in the back.
Gronkowski may lack the one-on-one dominance he had against any type of defender paired against him in man-to-man, but he's still a terrific zone option who reads the field to Tom Brady's high expectations. He's also still a rugged player at the catch point and after the catch, who can bully defensive backs and bounce off many linebackers.
Oh, and he still moves well enough to deliver as a versatile sixth man on the offensive line. This in itself offers tremendous value because he never has to leave the field due to game scenarios.
An agile bulldozer…Gronkowski pic.twitter.com/AtL7kkQOxJ— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 28, 2021
Like Desean Jackson, Gronkowski's presence helps his teammates in the passing game.
Gronkowski led Buccaneers' receivers on Sunday. Only Jack Doyle had a better fantasy day at the position and it was by less than a point. Gronkowski is the 13th-ranked fantasy tight end for the season on the basis of 6 games. Only Travis Kelce (10.8) averages more points per game than Gronkowski (10.3).
8. I'm Back In The Saddle Again: Odell Beckham, Jr.
Maybe it was garbage-time (not for me, the play put the Rams within 11 of the Packers to begin the fourth quarter) but Beckham scored his first touchdown since the 2020 Cincinnati game.
There's nothing amazing about Beckham's route. It was a nice double move against soft coverage that overreacted to the setup. Still, if you've watched Beckham over the past few years, his game remains intact. Yes, Beckham has dropped more passes than he did in the past. And yes, Mayfield didn't target Beckham in situations where Beckham was so wide open that his dad lost his mind and made a video.
Some people don't work well together. While I'm not a believer in Mayfield as a franchise starter, even if I thought Mayfield was as good as some of his supporters want to believe, there are still times where a pair of talented teammates don't work well together. Compatibility is real.
There are people who dislike each other but work well together as well as people who love each other and cannot work together. Sometimes it all depends on the task and/or role of the people involved. If you've been married for at least 10 years you probably understand this well. If you're still happily married, it's due in part to your discovery of a few things: 1) where you work well as a team. 2) When it's best for one of you to work alone. 3) And when neither of you needs to be working in a role or on a task at all.
Beckham is a WR1 talent in fantasy and reality. Expecting him to deliver top-20 production (he was 10th overall at his position this week) in December is not an outlandish ideal, especially with Robert Woods out. Van Jefferson is a sneaky play, but he's a boom-bust option who benefits more from long-developing plays than even the one Beckham earned above.
If a GM in your league thinks they are selling high this week with Beckham (re-draft PPR only) and you get him at the price commensurate for a low-end fantasy WR2 or high-end WR3, do it. I'd consider (thinking current production, not talent) a low-end fantasy QB1, an RB on the cusp of RB1/RB2 value (ranked 10th-15th), or one of the TE1s outside the top two.
If you have Kyle Pitts and a tight end currently ranked in the top 10-15, I'd consider dealing Pitts for Beckham in re-draft formats. Of course, that will take you divorcing yourself from the hype that's well-deserved based on talent but not so much with the current situation.
6. Don't Be Cruel: An over-used Cheap Trick Says A lot about Cleveland's Offense
The pros of this play are that it's an unusual look that can catch an opponent off-guard, create an assignment break-down, and/or put pressure on defenders who will have a more difficult time running down a slot receiver in the pocket. The cons with this play? Overuse leads to opponents seeing it on tape enough to be prepared.
And when an opponent is prepared for a play that takes your wounded quarterback away from the pocket and your best receiver away from coverage, you've essentially neutralized your own offense. That's what happened on this play on Sunday night.
The pros snd cons of this look…— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) November 29, 2021
Tricky but basically gives you 9.5 useful players in the field vs 11 pic.twitter.com/0OikdulB21
Landry hasn't thrown a pass from this look all year and he might as well count as half of a player in this role. Mayfield may have caught passes in the past, but with his heel and shoulder injuries, he's useless outside the tackle box. This play puts your offense in a 9.5-on-11 situation due to these limitations and the predictability of the play after you've put in on film multiple times. It's not surprising anyone now.
Why use it?
Mayfield's injuries have limited him to the point that he's a liability in scenarios where the Browns need the quarterback to win the game for them. Mayfield faced that reality in the Detroit game and he was correct about his self-assessment. Although I may be critical of his play, there's no question that he's a tough player and deserves respect for trying.
However, like this trick play, Mayfield is approaching the point where his toughness offers diminishing returns for his team. It may generate equity for morale/leadership but it's making life harder for the team. With Jack Conklin out for the year, don't be surprised if Cleveland shuts Mayfield down for the season if Cleveland loses its next two to Baltimore and Las Vegas.
While I'd be pleasantly surprised, the right thing to do might be shutting down Mayfield and leaning on Case Keenum after the bye week, give Mayfield time to rehab the foot injury, and if Keenum plays well, continue riding the hot hand.
Many Browns fans will hate this idea, but they're so afraid of going another 20 years without a legitimate franchise quarterback that they haven't realized that if you add Mayfield to the list that number is rightfully 24. One thing I know, overused trick plays won't prevent opposing defenses from loading the box because they know Cleveland's quarterback is hurt, late to see the field, and tentative about throwing the ball to the best options.
No one in major media wants to say Keenum is better than a healthy Mayfield and Kevin Stefanski wants you to believe that benching Mayfield is ridiculous, but Keenum has a track record of effectively attacking defenses when he's surrounded with enough offensive talent. Cleveland may not have enough, but they're at a point where it's become worth seeing if it's true.
Until then, Cleveland Browns fantasy players should be valued a tier below their current data, maybe more.
10. FRESH FISH: WEEK 12
Fantasy football is a cruel place. We're always searching for the weakest link. While we don't want anyone facing the wrath of Hadley, we'd love nothing more than our players to face an opponent whose game has come unglued on the field.
In the spirit of "The Shawshank Redemption," I provide my weekly shortlist of players and/or units that could have you chanting "fresh fish" when your roster draws the match-up.
Special of the Week: Jacksonville defense.
The Jaguars' run defense got run over by Atlanta's offensive line, regulars to 2021's Fresh Fish, and a still gimpy Cordarelle Patterson.
If only the Browns could player the Jaguars for the rest of the year. Better yet, if only Matt Ryan took the "out" in his contract at year's end and landed in Cleveland. If Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers deals are prohibitive, one can only hope Ryan sees that Cleveland could be his end-of-career dream scenario.
Here's the rest of the list.
- Cowboys CB Anthony Brown gave up four defensive pass interference penalties — three to DeSean Jackson alone.
- Jalen Reagor and the Eagles' offense made key mistakes in game-changing scenarios.
- Kirk Cousins earned praise in this column two weeks ago and true to Vikings fans' expectations, he had a cringe-worthy moment against the 49ers.
shanahan come get your mans lmao https://t.co/vB34sENwg9— KP (@KP_Show) November 29, 2021
Thanks again for all of your feedback on this column. Good luck next week and may your bold call come true.