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WEEK 13 FANTASY FOOTBALL REFLECTIONS: LAMENTING BEN TATE

George Kurtz Staff Writer December 2, 2013 6:03PM EST
I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving, I know I did. I love having three games on Thanksgiving. Sure it can be a little hectic trying to remember to set all of your lineups as you’re either trying to get ready to leave the house to get to your destination or setting everything up before company arrives. My family has dinner at my mom’s house (have for about the past 20 years or so minus one year we had it at my house).  I have two little girls and my wife knows we need to leave the house early enough so that we can arrive before the first game starts. Lucky for me she never knows when the first game is, so I can tell a little white lie and say we need to leave at 11:30. Once my brother arrives the laptops come out and we are both checking out Fantasy scores, rosters, and generally talking Fantasy while munching on snacks.

Ben Tate surprised many  Fantasy owners with his Week 13 rebound. Photo Credit: Shutterbug459

Ben Tate surprised many Fantasy owners with his Week 13 rebound. Photo Credit: Shutterbug459

Now I’m a Cowboys fan. Mom knows that if she wants me to eat at the table with the family then she had better time dinner correctly. Sure it’s a little different nowadays as I can just DVR the game, but still, I want to watch the game live. When I was younger and we had Thanksgiving at Grandmas, I couldn’t get away with eating away from the table. Matter of fact, Grandma was the only person I knew that had a big screen television, so the race was always on for me to get to the TV to turn on the football game before one of my other cousins would turn on King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, or Godzilla. Luckily for me dinner was usually served before the game started or shortly after, so I never had to miss much, and if the game was on, you could almost guarantee that my food would be gone quickly. I just can’t miss my football game.  If Dallas wins, my Thanksgiving is good, if not better than getting off to a good start in my Fantasy leagues.  My drive home is much quicker if both happen. This year was pretty much a mixed bag, the Cowboys did win, but watching Matt Flynn and the Packers really made me ill, as I have Packers on most of my teams. Oh well, you can’t have everything in life. Hopefully most of you did get everything you wanted out of Week 13.

As mentioned above Flynn was brutal. The Lions decided to take Eddie Lacy out of the game to see if Flynn could beat them with his arm, and he couldn’t. Yeah, there just might be a reason that he has been released by a few teams over the past couple of months. The news could get worse for anyone who is relying on the Packers for their Fantasy playoffs. Aaron Rodgers may not be coming back this season. Now Rodgers wants to play next week, but with the Packers playoff chances somewhere between slim and none even if they win out, why risk bringing him back before he is 100-percent healthy? The last thing the Pack wants is for Rodgers to re-injure the collarbone and then have to spend the entire off-season rehabbing. As for who starts Week 14 if Rodgers doesn’t go? Brett Favre anyone? Just kidding.

Two unknown players made a name for themselves playing on national television Thursday. The Raiders Andre Holmes blew up with seven catches for 136 yards. Holmes didn’t score a touchdown but he torched Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr for most of the first half. This is more than likely his career-best game. For the Cowboy,s Lance Dunbar announced his presence by rushing for 82 yards on 12 carries. Dunbar is the perfect complement to DeMarco Murray. He was to be a poor man’s Darren Sproles, but alas, a knee injury will end his season. Still, next year he could be a deep sleeper in 12-plus team leagues.

I wonder how many Fantasy owners wanted to spit out their turkey after a touchdown by Le’Veon Bell was overturned because his helmet came off while he was in the midst of diving over the goal line. I know the rule states that a play is over as soon as a ball carrier’s helmet comes off, but I have to think they didn’t think of this situation. Bell was in mid-air, there was nothing he could do. The good news is that Bell walked away from what looked like a serious injury. The bad news is that you’re never going to get those six points back.

Where are we going to end up ranking Josh Gordon next season? Top 10? Top 5? Gordon is only 22 years old and he is doing this kind of damage with below-average quarterbacks throwing him the ball and next to no running game to speak of. I think it’s safe to say we now know why the Browns wanted so much if another team wanted Gordon in a trade. If Josh can stay out of trouble and stay healthy for 16 games, 1,500 yards and double digit touchdowns could be well within his range.

If Andrew Luck wasn’t out of my Top 10 before this week, he certainly is now. He just doesn’t look the same since Reggie Wayne went down. The running game hasn’t been able to take any of the pressure off him. As a matter of fact the team announced before the game Sunday that Trent Richardson was officially the backup behind Donald Brown. Yes, Donald Brown, the same player the Colts did everything they could to replace before the season started. Remember Ahmad Bradshaw? Remember when Richardson was supposed to be the next Adrian Peterson?

Sunday seemed to be a day for wide receivers. Alshon Jeffery had a monster game for the Bears but you have to wonder two things here. What happens next week if Jay Cutler returns? Brandon Marshall is Cutler’s favorite target. The other thing that would concern me is that you just know Marshall isn’t happy about seeing all those targets go away from him. The good news is that the Bears play the Cowboys this week, not exactly a secondary known as sticking to opposing receivers like glue. There should be enough passes to keep both happy.

Welcome Jets fans to the Matt Simms era. Okay, Simms may get another start or two but he is not the future for the J E T S behind center. Geno Smith is probably still that guy, but he does need to sit down for a little while. What the Jets braintrust (insert joke here) needs to figure out is when he should get back behind the wheel. Are we talking one game, two, next season? This season is over, all that matters is making sure Smith is heading into the right direction and they had better get him weapons to take some of the pressure off.

Carson Palmer pulled a Matthew Stafford versus the Eagles. He tortured Fantasy owners early with two interceptions and a fumble, but saved his day by throwing for three scores and over 300 yards. Somehow I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of these kind of numbers from Palmer this year.

The Eagles had announced earlier in the week that Nick Foles would remain the starter for the rest of the season. No shock there, but there was still some Fantasy owners that had to be thinking, one bad game and Mike Vick gets another shot. Well after Sunday that would seem unlikely unless Foles were to suffer an injury. Nick has now thrown 19 TD passes without an interception. That’s pretty impressive. Even more impressive to me was Foles’ solid game versus Arizona without big outings from DeSean Jackson or Riley Cooper. Perhaps he’s maturing before our very eyes.

It’s hard to make heads or tails out of the Panthers running game. DeAngelo Williams missed the game Sunday with a quad injury, leaving the starting job to Jonathan Stewart. So what happened during the game? Mike Tolbert continued to be the best Fantasy bet of the trio, but his upside seems to be that of a double-digit performer, no upside there. Stewart certainly didn’t assert himself against Tampa Bay, as he only rushed for 39 yards on 14 carries. What is a Fantasy owner to do? Look for better options, that’s what.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It seems like whenever I start Ben Tate he gets me little to nothing and when I don’t start him he goes bananas. He had three touchdowns and over 100 rushing yards versus the Patriots, but how could I start him or recommend to anyone else that they do so? Tate was putrid last week, is still recovering from broken ribs, and Dennis Johnson seemed to be in line for a bigger share of the workload. Sometimes the right call ends up revealing the wrong results.

Finally we were able to see the C.J. Spiller we thought we were getting at draft time. Spiller and Fred Jackson both had 20-plus points in Fantasy leagues. This offense is still a work in progress with E.J. Manuel still navigating through the kinks of his rookie season, but when all the weapons are healthy, they should be able to put up points. The Bills Fantasy playoff schedule is pretty friendly as they will play all three Florida teams.

It may now be safe to start Colin Kaepernick again. With the return of Michael Crabtree to the lineup Kap now has all of his weapons back. Crabtree only had two receptions, but one was for 60 yards. If he can prove to be something of a deep threat, this will force the opposing safeties to play off the line of scrimmage, allowing Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin to work their magic underneath. Not to mention what it will do for the running game and Frank Gore. Kaepernick should be entrenched as a Top 10 QB for the Fantasy playoffs once again.

Imagine if you were a Ben Tate owner and an Eric Decker owner and you sat them both because of how awful they had played of late. Is there anything that could keep you from wanting to throw a brick through your television? Decker had four touchdowns versus the Chiefs to go along with eight receptions and 174 receiving yards. That’s 49 Fantasy points in PPR leagues. I wish I could say I saw this coming. What does it mean? You never know who Peyton Manning is going to fall in love with on any given Sunday.

Anyone who is relying on Andy Dalton to carry their Fantasy team is kidding themselves. The Bengals seem to win in spite of him, not because of him. Makes you wonder what kind of numbers A.J. Green would put up with a top flight QB.

Hakeem Nicks came back Sunday night but maybe he should’ve stayed away. I’m sure he had big time dollar signs in his mind knowing he would become a free agent this off-season but he is just not getting the job done. He gets no separation between himself and the secondary and now looks like he may be the third option for Eli Manning behind Victor Cruz and Reuben Randle.

As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz.

 

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