Fantasy Football Hot Takes: NFL Week 14
Dan Malin recaps the weekend's action in the NFL with his fantasy football hot takes and what you need to take away from everything you saw!
Jalen Hurts Is Back In Play As A Streamer Next Week
I was a little cautious of using him against the Saints, but he was mentioned a week ago as a streamer. Sunday had a mixed bag of news regarding Carson Wentz . Some leaks were along the lines of Jalen Hurts having an opportunity to be the starting quarterback in Philadelphia for the rest of the season. But there were other outlets saying that Carson Wentz would be with the team in the coming future. Well Jalen Hurts is only one year into his rookie deal so he’ll also be sticking around as well and a strong finish to the year could cement this change at quarterback. Hurts didn’t get much done through the air, but 167 yards and a touchdown is serviceable against a great defense like the Saints. Where Hurts did shine was on the ground as he racked up 100+ rushing yards, becoming just the second player in league history to run for 100 yards in their first career start. Needless to say, but Hurts passed this test in flying colors. Next week the Eagles visit the Cardinals and while the Giants couldn’t get much going against Arizona, it’s quite possible the Eagles will.
Cam Akers Is A First Round Pick In 2021
What a difference a month makes. It was roughly that long ago I declared that Akers wouldn’t find the end zone this season. And since then he’s scored in three games while popping off for 171 rushing yards last Thursday against New England. If there were ever a time for Cold Takes Exposed to embarrass me, now would be it. But it shouldn’t be out of the realm of possibilities to say Akers is a first-rounder next year. He has 53 touches in his last two games and Sean McVay has lived up to the promise that they wanedt to get Akers more involved. This begs the question as to where he’ll be drafted next year. If he continues on this trajectory it seems likely that he’ll be a top 12 pick. The Rams finish the regular season against the Jets, Seahawks, and Cardinals. He’s easily going to win people leagues. Miles Sanders saw a similar breakout to the end of 2019 and it elevated him to first round status. Akers is arguably in a better situation heading into next year. The offensive line has been decent, there are other weapons around him so teams can’t simply stack the box, and the offense averages about 68 plays per game. Would I like to see Darrell Henderson be more involved? Yes, but I’m not in denial about what Akers is doing. With so many busts in the first round from this year, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Akers leapfrog a lot of those guys and find himself being drafted toward the end of the first-round next summer.
Lamar Jackson ’s Phenomenal Finish To 2020 Starts Tonight
How about a Monday Night Football DFS prediction! According to Jacob Gibbs of Sportsline and CBS Sports, this game shapes up to be a phenomenal one for Lamar Jackson :
Lamar Jackson 's Week 14 matchup is tailor-made for him.— Jacob Gibbs (@jagibbs_23) December 9, 2020
??Lamar ranks second-to-last with a 57% completion rate when blitzed
?The Browns blitz at the eighth-lowest rate
??Lamar's passer rating is down from 97.6 vs zone to 64.8 vs man
?The Browns rank 28th in man coverage rate
Sign me up! For tonight’s Showdown contests, he should be plugged in as the captain regardless of price. That’s not necessarily a hot take or a bold prediction because he’ll probably be about 15-22% owned in the captain spot. He’s thrown for three touchdowns in each of his last three games against the Browns including 214 rushing yards in those games as well. So for those who drafted Lamar and have been disappointed in the production this year, he’s due for a strong finish and it’ll start tonight against Cleveland. Overall he hasn’t even been that terrible. His running numbers will always compensate, but he’s regressed from his fantastic 2019 season, which was to be expected. Baltimore finishes the season against the Jaguars (more on them later), the Giants, and the Bengals. Let’s get ready for those 2019 MVP numbers as we close out this season.
Week 15 Will Feature More Head Scratching Running Back Performances
This week felt like an infinite well of running back questions. It didn’t help that Christian McCaffrey and Antonio Gibson were declared out early on. Additionally, a handful of people benched Cam Akers. D’Andre Swift, Josh Jacobs , and Raheem Mostert were questionable heading into Sunday’s action. Swift had a solid game while Jacobs and Mostert returned mediocre results. Basically, if you didn’t have Derrick Henry or Dalvin Cook , you likely didn’t feel great about your running backs. Miles Sanders was benched in about 35% of ESPN leagues while Giovani Bernard was started in 40% of leagues and he was benched after an early fumble. Personally, I don’t see why they’d bench Bernard after he hadn’t fumbled all season long. It was truly an optimal matchup for Gio and he got screwed by the coaching staff. DeAndre Washington proved to be a bust against the Chiefs and Melvin Gordon got hurt. It wasn’t an easy week for running back start/sit questions and it showed. Week 15 won’t get any better. The Broncos play on Saturday and it’s not a desirable matchup for Philip Lindsay if Gordon is out. The Packers are hurting Aaron Jones ’ value by giving Jamaal Williams double-digit carries. You’re obviously not trusting anyone in Cincinnati’s backfield against Pittsburgh and it’s still unclear if Christian McCaffrey or Antonio Gibson will be available in great matchups. Week 15 just has this disgusting feeling we’ll be leaving a lot of points on our benches next week.
Terry McLaurin Will Smash Against Seattle
No brainer, right? The poor matchup against the Steelers in Week 13 was understandable. McLaurin had just two catches on six targets and over his last two games he has four total catches. He certainly didn’t help fantasy managers this week and likely cost some people their matchup. However, the Football Team returns home in Week 15 after three straight road games and they play the Seahawks and their awful secondary. It’s hard to believe he only has three touchdowns on the year and hasn’t scored since Week 9. That changes next week in a fantastic matchup at home. 100+ yards and a touchdown seem within reason in this matchup. You’re locking him in regardless, but let’s set the bar high at just a $6,600 price tag on DraftKings.
Tread Carefully With Derek Carr
Carr has been a great streamer at quarterback. And if you play in a two-quarterback league or a superflex league then you may have had solid usage out of him for most of the season. However, there are some red flags that we need to address. Through the team’s first nine games, Carr had just two interceptions. That’s not to say he wasn’t immune to turnovers because he lost five fumbles in that span as well. Over the team’s last four games he has eight turnovers and has done well to counter the negative production with back-to-back games with a rushing touchdown, but those won’t always be available to him. He played well against the Jets, but that’s to be expected. On a short week against the Chargers, I’m not completely sold on Carr despite it being a home game. Ultimately, you can probably roll Carr out against the Bolts. Los Angeles just finds way to lose games in the fourth quarter. Jon Gruden can easily out-coach Anthony Lynn, but it wouldn’t be too surprising if Carr committed multiple turnovers Thursday night. And in Week 16 they draw the Dolphins who have been forcing turnovers in bunches. They managed to pick off Patrick Mahomes three times on Sunday after he had thrown just two interceptions all year. Entertain other streaming options if they’re available.
Robert Tonyan : Captain Consistency, AND Top Six Tight End In 2021
Admittedly, yours truly has been more bearish than most when it comes to Bob Tonyan. But in recent weeks he’s really shown to be quite the reliable player at a position where there are very few reliable players. And he’s consistent, which we like. Look at his last four games:
- Week 11 (at IND): five catches, five targets, 44 yards, one touchdown
- Week 12: (vs. CHI): five catches, five targets, 67 yards, one touchdown
- Week 13: (vs. PHI): four catches, five targets, 39 yards, one touchdown
- Week 14: (at DET): five catches, five targets, 36 yards, one touchdown
If I were a betting man (I am, but sports wagering isn’t legal in Georgia) I’d say Tonyan was a lock for five catches on five targets and a touchdown in Week 15 against Carolina. The Panthers are allowing about five-to-six catches per game to opposing tight ends so this shapes up as another great matchup for Tonyan. He’s a restricted free agent after this season so there’s still an opportunity for other teams to pay more than Green Bay’s qualifying offer, but it makes sense for Green Bay to try and bring him back. Aaron Rodgers likes him enough to have thrown nine touchdowns his way and if you get his seal of approval then we should expect production once again in 2021.
Playing The Jaguars Is the New ‘Playing The Jets’
Fantasy managers love to stash D/ST’s playing the New York Jets a week or two in advance. And overall, whenever you have a player on your team facing the Jets you feel pretty good about it. It’s not a secret, but the Jaguars are nearly as terrible as the Jets and both fanbases are optimistic about landing a franchise quarterback in April’s draft. The Jaguars can’t do many things well aside from feed James Robinson (who now has 1,000 rushing yards on the season) and for this reason, D/ST’s against the Jaguars are a fantastic play especially in DFS. DraftKings goes out of its way to price up D/ST’s against the Jets, but we haven’t quite seen that happen to that extent with teams facing the Jaguars. The Ravens are $3,800 in Week 15, but they’ve been priced up based on pedigree all year. In Week 14 the Titans were $3,100 against the Jaguars and the Vikings were $3,500 the week prior. Priced up? Sure, but it’s not the inflation we see for D/ST’s against the Jets. This trend likely continues into next year so take note for the sake of season-long leagues and DFS.
Matt Ryan Belongs
On Your Bench In Your Free Agent Pool
The Falcons just can’t figure it out on offense. And it doesn’t help when Julio Jones is inactive. That absence alone kills Matt Ryan . In four games without Julio this year, Ryan’s fantasy production in four-point per passing touchdown leagues is listed below:
- Week 3 (vs. CHI): 11.42 points
- Week 5 (vs. CAR): 6.94 points
- Week 12 (vs. LV): 13.9 points
- Week 14 (at LAC): 7.26 points
The Falcons couldn’t put up any points in the second half against the Chargers. Even when Julio’s been active the production has been better, but not stellar. In that same scoring format he has just two games producing over 20 fantasy points in his last 11 contests. He simply isn’t very good. Each week there are always questions regarding streaming quarterbacks and we should finally eliminate Ryan from that list. The Falcons finish up the season with two games against the Buccaneers with the Kansas City Chiefs sandwiched in there as well. Since Atlanta has come back from their bye week Ryan has four touchdowns and seven turnovers. There could be garbage time for Atlanta in the coming weeks, but Ryan’s turning the ball over in embarrassing fashion.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire Is About To Get Fed Down The Stretch
Coming off a crushing week where he was active, but didn’t play, Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a pretty good outing. The Chiefs had an opportunity to see what they actually had in Le’Veon Bell... And it wasn’t very much. Against Denver he had 13 touches for 55 total yards. Then this past week in a competitive game with Miami he had four touches and didn’t see the field in the second half. One has to wonder if that’s what led to this tweet:
Regardless, Edwards-Helaire came in and logged 91% of the snaps in the second half. He wasn’t great running the ball, but he added five passes and 59 yards. Next week the Chiefs visit New Orleans and their stout defense. There should be no concerns with CEH as long as he’s active. His production hasn’t been awful in PPR formats, but if Le’Veon Bell just isn’t clicking with the Chiefs then we may be looking at a strong finish for Edwards-Helaire. His 21 touches on Sunday were the most since Week 6. I’m hoping the Chiefs keep Bell on the sideline to let CEH shine against the Saints, Falcons, and Chargers as they lock up a first-round bye in the playoffs.