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Patience With Todd Gurley Will Be Rewarded

Brandon C. Williams Staff Writer December 9, 2016 2:37PM EDT
Why am I smiling (obviously, you can’t see me, but let’s all pretend that I am)? Because if you’re reading this, chances are you’re in the playoffs. That means my advice — for better or worse — has had some impact in your success. Let’s remember, though: it ain’t no fun ‘til the job’s done, so let’s get to the business of winning a championship, which would make for a very happy holiday.

Giddy About a Gurley

Gotham believed in Harvey Dent (and look how far that got them). I believe in Todd Gurley, and so should you. The idea of placing your faith in Gurley is about as sound as the reason radio stations play Christmas music from mid-November through New Year’s Day (we’re looking at you, Houston’s 99.1 FM), yet there’s a blip in the logic that enables us to do so. Sunday is that blip, as Gurley and the Rams face off against a Falcons run defense that is ranked 31st in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. While Gurley has yet to rush for more than 85 yards in a single game this season and has just one touchdown since October 9, this week makes him a sound RB2 play.

He’s a gold-plated member of the All-Bust Fantasy team. Yet, when you consider how friendly the Falcons are to opposing backs, take solace in the fact Gurley is fourth in the league in the percentage of his team’s carries (74.3 percent) and expect the best. He has just 24 carries the last two weeks, due in part to how quickly the Rams fell behind in losses to the Saints and Patriots. However, this Sunday is the day that will remind us why we were all-in on Gurley back in August. As for why Jeff Fisher got two more years despite not having a winning season since Twitter was an infant? It’s 2016. Stranger things have happened….y

Look! Proof Todd Gurley knows where the end zone is. He'll find it again this Sunday. Photo Credit: Prensa Internacional/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

Look! Proof Todd Gurley knows where the end zone is. We think he’ll find it again this Sunday. Photo Credit: Prensa Internacional/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire

Tyrell Williams is No Longer Asleep

This is what I said about Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams leading into Week 2:

I think it’s too early to put Williams into your starting lineup, but if he shines this week, it could be the springboard for him to break out in a big way.

While Williams caught just three passes in Week 2, he did have 61 yards and a touchdown, opening the door for him to become more involved in the offense. He’s now a focal point of the San Diego attack and comes into Sunday’s game at the Panthers having caught touchdowns in his last four games with a great chance to extend that streak against a Carolina defense that has allowed the third-most Fantasy points to opposing wideouts.

Keep in mind Williams is playing through a torn labrum, and while he had just four targets in last week’s loss to the Buccaneers, expect at least double the total, as his 9.4 yards per target ranks him among the leaders with at least 80 targets. Williams has become Philip Rivers’ top target, having had 21.9 percent of Rivers’ passes thrown in his direction. While not quite there as a must-start WR1, Williams is a firm WR2 who belongs in your lineup.

Leaving Other TEs Green With Envy

Last Sunday was the subtle reminder of why the signing of tight end Ladarius Green had Steelers fans enthralled with just how potent their already-explosive offense could be. In just his third game of the season, Green caught six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, as he displayed the athleticism and speed that made him such a tease in his time with the Chargers backing up Antonio Gates. He’s averaged 22.1 yards per catch over the last two weeks, and his presence has enhanced the value of running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown, both of whom are benefiting from Green’s ability to force safeties to account for him.

Green is now a TE1, rewarding those owners who stashed him away while he recovered from ankle surgery. The Bills have been tough on tight ends much of the season, but they have allowed touchdowns from the position in three of their last five games. He’s setting himself to become the kind of late season waiver wire add who balls out like a first rounder come playoff time while also setting himself up to be a name to remember come draft season next August.

Oodles and Oodles of Numbers

*Overlooked in the Jets home debacle against the Colts on Monday night was a potential sea change involving their passing game. Rookie wide receiver Robby Anderson had four catches for 51 yards and the team’s only touchdown, yet was targeted 12 times, the majority of which came from new starting quarterback Bryce Petty. The free agent from Temple has intriguing speed and with the Jets looking ahead to 2017, Anderson has a chance to be a stealth Flex play in PPR formats. The Jets face a 49ers team that has allowed the fourth-most Fantasy points to opposing wideouts, so I’d give more than a passing glance at Anderson.

*Jeremy Hill loves facing the Browns like Donald Trump loves 140 characters, which makes him a solid RB1 this week. Hill ran for a career-high 192 yards and a touchdown in a Week 7 win over Cleveland, and will get more than the 11 carries he had in that first meeting considering the now-injured Gio Bernard (knee) is unavailable. Hill has five career touchdowns against the Browns, who have allowed 15 rushing scores this season, and have allowed the third-most Fantasy points to opposing backs. He should be popular in DFS formats as well.

*Take a gander at plugging Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon in at either an RB2 or Flex spot. McKinnon rushed for better than four yards per carry in last week’s loss to the Cowboys, marking just the second time this season he achieved the feat. He stands a good chance to make it a third time on Sunday against a Jaguars defense ranked 24th against the run. This presents a golden opportunity for McKinnon to perhaps pull away from the equally disappointing Matt Asiata, while also giving Fantasy owners the chance to buy low with potential for a high result.

*Allen Robinson is sixth among all players with 116 targets, yet has no business in your lineup on Sunday. For starters, the Vikings are second in fewest Fantasy points allowed to opposing receivers, while Robinson has just eight catches for 73 yards over the last three games. Keep Robinson on your bench while he and DeAndre Hopkins fight it out in the wide receiver category for the coveted Fantasy Bust of the Year Award.

Gimme a Sleeper!

I’m banking this is the week Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett makes his first appearance in the end zone as an active participant. Lockett had five catches for 63 yards on six targets in last week’s win over the Panthers and gets a stellar matchup against a Packers defense that has allowed the eighth-most Fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers. He’s more of a deeper league play, but if gambling DFSers are willing to roll the dice….


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