2017 NFL Hot Takes: Week 12
Dan Malin takes a look around the NFL and gives you his hot takes from Week 12 of the fantasy football season.
I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving and feasted on plenty of food and football. The fantasy playoffs are just around the corner. Hopefully you can take away some slight shred of information from this piece that can help you win your league. If not, perhaps I provide you with some fodder for your water cooler talk that’ll leave your co-workers thinking you (and indirectly I) are an idiot.
I Wasn’t Kidding About Patrick Mahomes
Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs absolutely stink. They’re terrible. They’ve lost five of their last six games and they’ve rendered Kareem Hunt useless. Smith has thrown four interceptions in his last three games with 6.29 yards per attempt over that span. That’s basically what we’ve come to expect from Smith throughout his underwhelming career. That’s a far cry from the 8.80 yards per pass attempt he averaged over Kansas City’s first five games in which they went undefeated. Kareem Hunt has been non-existent as of late and sure you could blame the play calling and Andy Reid. But no matter who you blame, this team has been trash. They’ve scored just 36 points over their last three games and I could just go on and on about how disappointing they’ve been.
But I wasn’t joking a few weeks ago when I said the Chiefs should make the switch to Mahomes. The offense has been too bad for too long. The only team they’ve beaten over their last six weeks was Denver and even they wish they had a player like Mahomes to start at QB. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Chiefs lost their next three games. They’re on the road against the Jets and then home to the Raiders and Chiefs. They also get the Dolphins at home in week 16, but the Dolphins will find a way to gift the Chiefs a win. But the Jets have been a scrappy team this year and the Raiders and Chiefs would love to take advantage of this team as it’s struggling to win the division. Mahomes is a much more dynamic player than Smith. He possesses a canon and can run much better than Alex. If you can afford to do so, I’d stash Mahomes in a superflex league if there’s even the slightest bit of rumors coming out of KC of a change at QB.
Marcus Mariota Can’t Be Trusted
You can’t start him anymore. His four-interception performance last week was salvaged because of a rushing touchdown. He certainly isn’t doing enough through the air or with his legs to warrant being a QB1. In a season that’s lost Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, and Carson Palmer this guy is still struggling to be a top 10 QB. Coming into this year he had more weapons, a good running game, and a great offensive line. It just hasn’t come together for Mariota in his third year. In three of his next four games he goes up against Houston, Arizona, and the L.A. Rams all of whom rank in the top half of the league in DVOA. Luckily for fantasy owners he faces the Jaguars in week 17, which is largely a useless week for fantasy and obviously a matchup you’d like to avoid. Currently Jared Goff, Philip Rivers, Tyrod Taylor, and Case Keenum are owned in less leagues than Mariota on ESPN. I’d be more comfortable starting any of those guys over him at this point in the season.
Pick up Hunter Henry
Next week is quite possibly the last week of the regular season in your fantasy league. And you very well may be in need of a tight end. Currently Hunter Henry, who has disappointed fantasy owners this year, is widely available on a lot of sites. He’s coming off a big game so he’s already enough of a waiver wire target. He had five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown against Dallas on Thanksgiving. Next week Henry goes against Cleveland and the Browns have given up a touchdown to a tight end in four straight games. If Henry isn’t unavailable then go after O.J. Howard. Howard’s received four targets in each of his last two games. He’s caught three passes for 52 yards in both contests. The Packers haven’t given up a touchdown to a tight end all season long, but in each of their last three games they’ve given up four catches for 40 yards at minimum to opposing tight ends. Howard’s your guy if you need a flyer and Henry’s unavailable.
Adding a Couple of Corey’s
Davis and Coleman should be available in your league. And sure I’m down on Mariota and (to an extent) DeShone Kizer as the guys peppering the Corey’s with targets. Davis was a bit of a disappointment to season-long and DFS fantasy players. With Rishard Matthews declared out prior to Sunday’sgame, Corey Davis’s stock was on the rise. Unfortunately he caught four catches on as many targets for just 39 yards. Since Davis came off injured reserve he hasn’t topped 50 passing yards, but there’s a concentrated effort to get him the ball. He has 21 targets over his last three games. Again, the Titans have a pretty tough schedule coming up but the effort to get Davis involved should remain and he could be a nice WR stash for your team.
Corey Coleman, on the other hand, is getting a ridiculous number of targets since he’s come back from injury. He has 19 targets over his last two games, but just nine catches. Obviously you’d like to see him convert more receptions, but with 144 receiving yards over his last two games he’s at least doing something with what he is catching. Currently both Coleman and Davis are under 50% owned and can provide some depth at WR for your team.
Be Prepared for Robby Anderson Regression
This is what sucks about making predictions after the fantasy trade deadline. I can’t recommend trading him away obviously. And you can’t drop him. He’s been a top 20 WR in PPR over the past six weeks. With a touchdown in each of his last five games Anderson has been unstoppable. Anderson entered this week 13th in yards per catch (16.2) on the season. Over his last six games (which includes today) he’s averaging 18.3 yards per catch, which is easily top ten over that window.
There is actually plenty of reason to believe Anderson maintains this as he’s really the best target the Jets have. But over the next three games the Jets face the Chiefs at home and then the Broncos and Saints on the road. He can probably put up another big game against the Chiefs next week who have had one of the worst secondaries all season. However, over their last three games the Chiefs have surrendered on average 212 passing yards per game, which is seventh in the NFL. Over their last four games they haven’t allowed anyone to throw for 250 yards on them. They’re playing considerably better. Following the Chiefs the Jets go against the Broncos, Saints, and Chargers. If Marshon Lattimore and Ken Crawley are available for the Saints then that’s an incredibly difficult defensive stretch for Anderson and company. The Broncos, Saints, and Chargers are all top ten in passing yards allowed per game. Defenses will be keying in on Robby Anderson down the stretch. Fortunately the Jets could find themselves down in certain games and there is potential for garbage time production from Anderson.
Week 13 Will Be ROUGH For Derek Carr
Am I a bit of a Derek Carr apologist? Yeah. It’s pretty unfortunate how much of a disappointment he and the Raiders have been this year. They’re 5-6 and they have three very winnable games coming up that’ll keep them in contention for their division. Unfortunately it doesn’t look like Carr will have Amari Cooper (probable concussion) or Michael Crabtree (possible suspension). So what was a juicy matchup against the Giants is now looking like New York has a fighting chance in this matchup. The Giants give up the second-most total yards per game, the 13th-most points per game (24.3) and the Giants are fourth-worst in time of possession on the year. A few weeks ago this was a matchup that fantasy owners could hang their hat on with confidence and say this game from Carr could easily help them lock in a win heading into the playoffs.
If Cooper and/or Crabtree are unavailable to go next week then obviously Jared Cook gets a bump. Yes, I understand the frustration with Cook. He’s inconsistent and hasn’t scored since week three. But he could easily get a massive workload next week. Other players that could receive an uptick in work? Seth Roberts, Jalen Richard, Cordarrelle Patterson (Ha Ha!), and maaaaaaaybe Johnny Holton. Carr will have his pick of anyone from the island of misfit toys next week if his two best targets are out.
Feel free to give me a follow on Twitter (@RealDANlanta) and throw Twitter tomatoes my way for some of my takes that go awry. Thanks for reading! Stay strong the rest of the way!