Well here we go guys. It's week 13 and for most of us, that means playoffs begin next week. Hopefully you are still alive and in good position for your final run of the year. It is starting to get pretty thin out there on the waiver wire, so hopefully we can identify a few guys who may help you win your titles or at least identify a few trends to help you keep your eye on the prize and stay ahead of your opponents. After all, not everyone can have Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers right?
Note 1: Next Year
Ok this is slightly off topic, but as I watched Victor Cruz climb the list of WRs list again with his performance last night I began thinking about next year's drafts. I'm weird like that. Who are the studs going to be? I mean who are the guys you would feel great about taking at wide receiver in the first and second rounds? Andre Johnson, who has been hurt back to back years now? Victor Cruz to repeat with all those weapons in New York out of the slot? Larry Fitzgerald after we see how bad Kolb is? Jordy Nelson? Hakeem Nicks? Wes Welker is number 2 right now but does he scream superstud early draft pick? Outside of Calvin Johnson, for the most part, consistency at the wide receiver position this year has been hard to find. Not really anything ground breaking, and Iâ€™m sure things will clear up as we get into next year, just an interesting list to look at right now.
Note 2: Detroit Lions
I think it is pretty clear now; the Lions go as their running back situation goes. When Jahvid Best was healthy, the Lions offense was balanced and explosive. Same with a healthy Kevin Smith. When those two are out and Maurice Morris gets the rock, they become predictable and stagnant. Kevin Smith looks to have avoided serious injury with his ankle and might be back as soon as this week. All Lions players' owners need to hope that is the case, because all of their fantasy well beings seem to be on the line.
Note 3: Mike Shanahan
You sir are an idiot. This is my last rant. Fantasy players and writers get a bad rap for not knowing much about real football and only caring about stats. Obviously we care more about stats than some coaches might but sometimes the two are more closely related than they want to give credit. Many of us have shouted for weeks (and many for the season) that Roy Helu was the Redskins most explosive weapon on offense, yet Mike Shanahan continued to trot out Ryan Torain and his ridiculously awful YPC, Tashard Choice, or whoever else to try and make some point about a rookie not being ready. We will overlook the fact that all season, even with Tim Hightower at times, Roy Helu has been your third down back. Meaning he was trusted to pass protect, the notoriously most difficult aspect for a rookie. So let's look at the stats; in two games in which he "carried the load" Helu went up against the number 1 and 10 best rush defenses in the NFL. He averaged 4.5 YPC, he set a Redskins record with 14 receptions in a game, and had 308 total yards. Don't outsmart the stats!!! It's not that difficult sometimes.
Note 4: Defensive Matchups looking forward
For those of you in team defense leagues, a common strategy is to play match ups. Now is a great time to look ahead and get the jump on some possible defenses available on the wavier that have good match ups during the playoffs. Here are a couple who caught my eye during week 14, 15, 16:
Seattle Seahawks: STL, @CHI (Hanie), SF
Cincinnati Bengals: HOU, @STL, ARI
New England Patriots: @WAS, @DEN, MIA
Tennessee Titans: NO (tough), @IND, JAC
Note 5: Chris Johnson
I have been an avid sell on Chris Johnson, especially after his first breakout a few weeks back. Watching that game, I saw a few nice runs but I still didn't see the same burst I saw as a Chris Johnson owner and follower the past 3 seasons. He still doesn't seem to have the same top end speed for whatever reason, but he seems to be getting his burst through the hole back at least. Maybe he isn't the same start regardless of match up and enjoy the dominance kind of back right now, but with the right match ups (this week against buffalo and week 15 @IND on the turf, talk about a juicy semi final match up) CJ should be a pretty reliable start.
Note 6: Follow suit
When a coach is benching a player because he can't rely on him, there is no reason for you to do any different. It sucks because you drafted Desean Jackson to be a number 1 receiver but if Andy Reid doesn't want this guy in his line up, you certainly can't trust him in yours. I don't know if he realizes this, but who is going to give Desean Jackson big bucks if it is so easy for him to just shut it down at any moment?
Note 7: Houston Texans situation
The bad news. The QB situation is now severely affecting all fantasy parties. Not only was Andre Johnson bad, but the running game proved less effective than usual as the Jags completely stacked the box to stop the run. Expect this to continue with TJ Yates taking the ball for the rest of the season in Houston. The good news (more so for Arian Foster/Ben Tate owners rather than Andre owners) If you can get to your leagues semi finals, the Texans play the Panthers and the Colts in weeks 15 and 16. Those two teams could put 13 players in the box and not stop this running attack. I think Tate and Foster should both be started and will provide big smiles for owners despite the quarterback. Hopefully it will open up a little play action for Andre as well.
Note 8: Handcuffs
If you havenâ€™t heard yet, please get your handcuffs. The last thing you want is to be all set for the playoffs, maybe you have a week 14 bye, and have your starting running back go down without his back up on your roster. Even if you have depth and wouldn't start him, do you really want your opponent to possibly beat you with your own backfield? Just get your handcuffs. That especially goes out to you Aaron Rodgers owners. Matt Flynn is quality and if Green Bay does anything crazy, Matt Flynn will put up solid stats if Rodgers sits.
Week 13 Waiver Adds
Matt Moore**** (assuming weather holds up has PHI, @BUF, @NE in weeks 14, 15, 16 if desperate)
Roy Helu**** (if still available, get him. If he truly is the guy in Washington, there is huge value in that)
Kendall Hunter*** (been mentioned before but depending on what happens with the 49ers and Saints and home field, the 49ers will need to get Gore fully healthy for the playoffs. They could lean heavily on Hunter down the stretch.)
Johnny White** (Spiller averaged 2.9 against the Jets, and maybe isnâ€™t really built to handle a full load. White could get a look down the stretch if anything happens to Spiller)
Johnny Knox**** (every QB has a favorite, he looks to be Hanie's)
Jason Avant*** (if Desean Jackson gets benched long term, could have nice value)
Greg Little*** (still drops too many balls but 13 targets is 13 targets. Has 16 catches the last 3 weeks, no less than 57 yards)