By: Justin Lynch
With injuries galore and the weather about to turn cold and snowy, Lynch advises to cut loose those who are no longer productive.
As a general note, the weather is about to start getting cold (and snowy), so plan accordingly (looking at you Cleveland, Green Bay, Chicago, New England, Buffalo, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia).
Colin Cowherd often says on his radio show, “Take the emotion out of it”. Well, that is exactly what you need to do with your fantasy team right now. The playoffs are quickly approaching. Maybe you’re in, maybe you’re out, maybe you’re on the bubble. Regardless, you need to improve your team, and you cannot get caught up in the emotion of the first nine weeks. Guys who were first-half heroes may be second-half busts. You can’t just blindly stand by guys because they were your waiver wire darling, or you’re just a huge Peyton Manning fan. There are better options out there, so don’t stand by these guys anymore.
It Was Fun While it Lasted
After putting up double-digits (PPR) the first six weeks, Benjamin has gone ghost. If games of 6, 5, and 5 points (PPR) the last three weeks doesn’t give you enough to drop him, his bye week and subsequent games against Cincinnati and Seattle (week’s 13 and 14) should be enough. Benjamin was nothing more than a nice early-season story. He still has no quarterback and Gary Barnidge is clearly the number one option in that offense. Benjamin’s time has come, just be thankful for what you got out of him earlier.
I’m not fully against keeping Moncrief as I was with Benjamin. However, Moncrief should not even be considered for a starting spot until he gets back to what he was doing earlier this season. But here’s the issue: the only reason he was succeeding was because he was scoring touchdowns. Moncrief has only topped 75 yards one time this season, and has only topped six fantasy points one time when he did not score. You cannot bank on mediocre scoring touchdowns. If you want to pencil in Julio Jones for a TD, that’s fine, but Donte Moncrief is not someone you are allowed to say, “Oh, he’ll get a touchdown for sure” with. Not to mention he has a bye next week and then a matchup against Atlanta’s tough secondary. With Luck healthy, I wouldn’t give up on him, but keep him far, far away from your lineup until proven otherwise.
Lewis was one of the best stories of the year, but it all came crashing down this week. Lewis left Sunday’s game after suffering what appeared to be a significant knee injury. We all know that is code for a torn ACL. Though nothing is confirmed quite yet, it looks bad for the player who was statistically the most elusive player of all-time for a single-season. Look for an uptick in carries for LeGarrette Blount, as well as more work for James White and Brandon Bolden. The Pats may even consider bringing back Travaris Cadet, who was cut in the preseason, to replace Lewis.
Jones has always been touchdown reliant, and when he stops scoring touchdowns he cannot be in your lineup. Unfortunately for us, we don’t know when (or if) he will start scoring again. With the Packers season slowly unravelling, and Rodgers started to look elsewhere, Jones might be worth a roster spot if you think you can trade him. Jones is really only a red zone target, and though he has a semi-easy schedule the rest of the way, you cannot trust a guy who is overly-reliant on scoring touchdowns, as I harped on earlier. Put Jones on the bench and then try your best to trade him.
Don’t Fear Over Your QB
There are plenty of QB options out there for anybody. People who have stuck by Peyton or just saw Big Ben’s injury, don’t fret, there is hope on the waiver wire.
Mariota, owned in just 37.5% of ESPN leagues, was thrilling in his return to action this weekend. The rookie QB threw for 371 yards and four touchdowns, albeit against a brutal Saints secondary. However, Mariota should be able to continue his QB1 ways. He gets the tough Carolina defense next week, but then is treated to games against Jacksonville, Oakland, and Jacksonville, again. Plus, in case you haven’t heard, the Titans still stink. They’re going to be behind in games and are going to want to let their rookie QB develop even further by letting him air it out in garbage time. Mariota may lead you to the playoffs, but Week 14 he’s at the Jets, and week 15 he’s going to Foxboro to play the Patriots. Those two will be tough, but if you can get through that stretch, Houston is waiting in week 16 to hand you the fantasy championship.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but If you’re looking for some consistency, Cutler is someone to look at. His last four games he’s put up 17, 17, 19, and 19 points, respectively. After his bout with the Chargers tonight, he has 3-4 tough games, but then is rewarded with Washington, Minnesota, and the Buccaneers in the fantasy playoffs. Minnesota is the toughest of the three, but I see Cutler having his way with the Vikings defense. Newsflash: the Bears also aren’t the greatest team in the world (though they are better than people give them credit for). Cutler, with Jeffrey finally healthy, should be able to get around 20 points/week going forward.