Welcome to Week 9 of The Docket, a weekly column that will highlight rule and policy issues effecting players as well as offer strategy and advice on a select few players that you should be targeting or avoiding.
This is where we look at select players who are on the verge of an upgrade or downgrade.
Dontrelle Inman (SD, WR) – Inman is a pretty big and capable receiver. He’s the San Deigo version of Kamar Aiken, nothing really special, but can produce if given a chance. With Philip Rivers throwing for more than 300 yards in five straight games, there is plenty of production to go around. If you are desperate for help, it wouldn’t be suprising for Inman to cacth 5 or 6 passes a game, which holds value in PPR leagues. Another name to keep in the back of your heads is Tyrell Williams, an UDFA from Western Oregon University. He stands 6-3, 204lbs and runs a blazing 4.43 forty with a 39 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-7 broad jump. It’s always good to keep an eye out for freak athletes like this.
DeSean Jackson (WR, Was) – Out of sight, out of mind. Jackson has been forgotten about by many this season, but he is finally healthy and should see the field this week. He has played well with Kirk Cousins in the past and DJax is still one of the more dangerous receivers in the league. He will always have some dud games, but he will have many more big ones. He should slot right back into that mid-range WR2 category.
Tony Romo (QB, Dal) – He is still injured and the team has a tough fantasy playoff schedule (@GB, vs NYJ, @Buf), but if you are hurting at QB or in a 2 QB league, he’s worth picking up off the waiver wire now or trading an extra wide receiver on your bench for. Dallas has the best offensive line in football and Dez Bryant is back healthy, so Romo will produce once he is back in the saddle.
C.J. Spiller (RB, NO) –With Khiry Robinson going down, Spiller is a must own handcuff for Mark Ingram II owners and he has the potential be so much more now that Drew Brees looks fully healthy. The Saints defense is also horrible, so this is a team that should be participating in shootouts for much of the season. Look for him to start turning in bigger fantasy games as the season moves on.
Vernon Davis (Den, TE) – Julius Thomas scored 12 touchdowns the past two seasons playing with Peyton Manning and HC Gary Kubiak loves to feature the tight end. Unfortuantley dead footed Owen Daniels has been playing that position so far this season for the Broncos. Enter athletic freak Vernon Davis who ran an insane 4.38 forty at the combine to go with a 42 inch vertical, 10’8” vroad jump and put up 33 bench reps. Those numbers are literally off the charts. Davis is now 31 years old, but even if he has slowed down to mere mortal standards, he is still an exceptional player and is playing with the best quarterback of his career by far. With Manning’s arm looking like jello at times, he’s no sure thing, but he’s also definitely worth a shot.
Leonard Hankerson (Atl, WR) – Hankerson is probably sitting on a lot of waiver wires right now after struggling through injury for a few weeks before missing last weeks and this weeks games. In his stead, Roddy White has done absolutely nothing, leaving the #2 job open for Hankerson upon his return. The Falcons have a bye Week 10, which means Hankerson should be good to go down for the fantasy stretch run that includes two games against the Panthers and Josh Norman. Norman will definitely be covering Julio Jones, leaving Hankerson as the teams sneaky go to guy.
Nelson Agholor (Phi, WR) – This one is a long shot, but the Eagles receivers have been absolutely brutal this season. With Agholor back at practice after dealing with an ankle injury and some playing time under his belt, there is a chance he can emerge as the teams best outside receiving option going forward.
This is where we highlight players that are looking particularly good.
Michael Crabtree (Oak, WR) –Derek Carr is making the leap this season and Crabtree is a major part of that success. In fact, he has more targets and catches than Amari Cooper and has scored the same number of touchdowns. With Cooper occupying top cornerbacks (such as Revis) every week, Crabtree is thriving as the teams #2, a position he is better suited for. He’s looking like a solid PPR option going forward.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BENCH
Here is where we highlight situations or strategies that are worth monitoring.
2-2-1 Running Back Strategy: Week 8 was the week. The week that changed the fantasy landscape in an instant as we saw all of these players get knocked out of games due to injury: Calvin Johnson, Joe Haden, Le'Veon Bell, Carlos Dunlap, Andre Smith, Khiry Robinson, Larry Donnell, Orleans Darkwa, Desmond Trufant, Greg Hardy, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Geno Smith, Brandon Marshall, King Dunlap, Jason Verrett, Keenan Allen, Ladarius Green, Steve Smith Sr., Matt Forte, Eddie Royal, Kendall Wright, Reggie Bush, Sam Shields, Cameron Wake and Jadeveon Clowney.
Some of these players like Brandon Marshall and Calvin Johnson should be fine, but others like Le'Veon Bell and Khiry Robinson are done for the year. If you read my 2-2-1 Running Back Strategy this pre-season, you would be feeling pretty good about yourself this week. The strategy is simple in execution although slightly more nuanced in theory: draft two (2) running backs, from two (2) different teams, plus one (1) more bye week/flex running back as a utility back for your team. So instead of drafting five, six or seven random backs, lock down two backfields and one more running back. But it has to be the right backfields and right running back. What you are looking for in the 2 back slots, are running backs that are heavily involved in the offense on a week-to-week basis, and then in the event of injury, a clear handcuff that can take over without diminishing the position’s value for you if any significant way.
Even if you haven’t handcuffed your studs, this is the point in the season where you really should. As Jamaal Charles owners learned, all you need to do is simply plug Charcandrick West into your lineup and you are good to go. Bell owners should be doing the same thing with DAngelo Williams this week. The same with Matt Forte owners , who shouldn’t be sweating his injury and have Jeremy Langford locked and loaded, ready to go.
You can read more on the nuances of this strategy here, and going forward, here are the current running back handcuffs with some notes. Players with an asterisk are must owns:
Andre Ellington* – PPR Leagues (Has weekly PPR value now)
David Johnson* – Standard Leagues
Tevin Coleman* (Would be RB1 and is playing behind Freeman who is a small guy and may not hold up the whole season carrying the load)
Buck Allen (Would be a big drop off if he took over, so not a must own)
This whole situation is a headache to avoid. If I had to own one, it would be Duke Johnson Jr in PPR leagues and that’s it.
Christine Michael* (If he gets a shot, watch out. And yes, I do believe in unicorns)
C.J. Anderson/Ronnie Hillman (Hopefully you own both. Hillman is the starter for now, but he is best used as a change of pace back, so Anderson could possibly work his way back into the starting role now that he is healthy)
A running back situation to avoid.
Green Bay Packers:
Chris Polk (Almost a RB situation to avoid)
Denard Robinson* (Would be the lead back and the RB to own in PPR leagues)
Toby Gerhart (Could steal some goal line work, potential value in standard leagues)
Kansas City Chiefs:
Knile Davis (His ego is hurt so he is dialing it in, but if given lead duties, he should be okay)
Jay Ajayi (If he is activated, I think he is the better handcuff to own. Also a must own in dynasty leagues with Lamar Miller being a free agent. Noted analyst Greg Cosell ranked him as the second best back in this years draft class. He compared him to Marshawn Lynch, with quick feet and the lateral movement of a smaller back. Cosell went on to mention that he has great balance and is powerful back that has foundation back traits)
Jerick McKinnon* (Would get the bulk of carries)
Matt Asiata (Will be the goal-line back, so valuable in standard leagues. Would envision him having 5 carries for 11 yards and 2 touchdowns)
New England Patriots:
Brandon Bolden for Blount
Although, Dion Lewis would also take over full time lead duties from Blount if Blount went down)
New Orleans Saints:
C.J. Spiller* (Would be a RB1 if Ingram went down)
New York Giants:
No need to handcuff anyone in this run game. What a mess.
New York Jets:
Stevan Ridley* (Ivory is an injury waiting to happen)
Taiwan Jones (Would get a decent number of change of pace carries)
Ryan Mathews* (Please tell me you own him?)
San Diego Chargers:
Donald Brown (Only if both Woodhead and Gordon went down)
San Francisco 49ers:
St. Louis Rams:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Charles Sims* (Could flirt with RB1 numbers if given the full work load in PPR leagues)
DFS – PLAYS OF THE WEEK
Guys I'm considering as I put together my lineups. * next to guys I'm heavily targeting:
- Chris Ivory
- Dion Lewis
- LeGarrette Blount*
- Mark Ingram II*
- Doug Martin*
- Charles Sims
- C.J. Anderson
- Ronnie Hillman
- Devonta Freeman*
- Jeremy Langford*
- Danny Woodhead
- Chris Thompson
- Julio Jones*
- Brandon Marshall
- Brandon LaFell*
- Robert Woods
- Randall Cobb (the good corners are covering the outside receivers)
- Steve Johnson*
- Alshon Jeffery*
- Brandin Cooks
- Amari Cooper*
- Michael Crabtree
- Odell Beckham Jr Jr*
- Martavis Bryant
- Antonio Brown*
SONG OF THE WEEK
This week I present St Germain who just released his first album in fifteen years. Check out "How Dare You" below: