Your Week 15 Targets and Touches Report
Fourteen weeks of whimsy has brought us to the Fantasy playoffs, where fortunes and fate can go Freaky Friday on us. A seldom-used player can turn into a performer who carries a Fantasy franchise to the finish line while a season-long sure thing can transform into a blubbering waste of roster space. The gloves are off, kids, as either your team is putting up and playing next week or shutting up and giving you a head start on planning for your 2019 Fantasy baseball drafts.
Take the money over the bragging rights. I’m all for fun and league pride, but there’s not a chance in hell you’ll ever see me walking around with some kind of Fantasy championship belt. Vince McMahon does not sign my paychecks and I lack the star power of The Miz, so if I do win my league, the extra cash for a roadie early in the new year looks more appealing than looking like a near 48-year-old dork walking around with a “championship belt.” If that’s your cup of tea, more power to ya, but don’t think that belt will be the gateway toward getting the phone number of the Lizzy Caplan-looking waitress at Hooters.
Rant over. Let’s touch and target each other. Time’s a-wasting.
He’s a WR1. Any Questions?
Amari Cooper’s last three weeks have resulted in 26 catches on 30 targets for 473 yards and five touchdowns. Even if the Colts’ secondary isn’t as tailor made for a Fantasy beatdown in the manner the Eagles were last week, Cooper’s Eff You Tour to those owners who gave up on him after Weeks 5-6 (one catch for 10 yards on two targets) is going to play to a large audience on Sunday. Indy is sixth in fewest Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing receivers, but only a blithering idiot is going to sit Cooper.
Things to do in Denver When You’re Not Targeted
I was all-in on Courtland Sutton putting up impressive numbers once Demaryius Thomas was traded from the Broncos to the Texans. Even with a then-healthy Emmanuel Sanders, the thinking was Sutton would parlay extra targets into a springboard for bigger numbers in 2019. In reality, Sutton has been as productive as Championship Belt Guy with the Hooters waitress, managing 13 receptions for 261 yards and one touchdown in his last five games. Sutton isn’t the Broncos wideout with the highest Fantasy upside against a Browns defense that is 30th in receiving yards allowed, as that honor goes to fellow rookie DaeSean Hamilton, who caught seven of his nine targets for 47 yards and a touchdown in last week’s loss to the 49ers. If you must use a Broncos wideout to keep playoff hopes alive, Hamilton looks to be the better of the two.
Come for the Running, Stay for the Catching
David Johnson is an RB2. There, it’s said. Those of us who used a high first round pick on the potential of him looking like the Johnson of 2016 have been rewarded with a back who averages just 3.7 yards per carry and has just three touchdowns since Week Five. I’m not venturing on Johnson putting up solid rushing numbers against the Falcons, but I am banking on him to exploit an Atlanta defense that has allowed the most receptions to opposing running backs. Although he had a season-best eight catches in last week’s loss to the Lions, Johnson turned them into all of 12 yards. He can (and we must expect him to) do better here. Even with a quad injury, count on Johnson to be a PPR darling.
Three Cheers for Multipositional Eligibility, Part II
If you used Jaylen Samuels as a tight end last week, you have no reason to groan about the 28 yards he managed on the ground, as those seven catches for 64 yards certainly helped the cause for those in PPR formats. James Connor might be out again, so the Steelers could continue their Samuels/Stevan Ridley time share in the backfield in a must-win against the Patriots. New England is middle of the pack in both Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing running backs and tight ends, but you’ll take Samuels at TE if it means another 18 touches. He’s a back-end RB2 who must be considered a strong TE1 simply because of the high volume of usage expected out of him.
The Curious Case of Robert Foster
In his last four games, Bills receiver Robert Foster has 13 catches for 330 yards and a touchdown, including seven receptions for 104 yards in last week’s loss to the Jets that marked his second 100-yard outing in that span. With Kevin Benjamin gone, Foster moves higher up the Bills’ pecking order at wideout, and while it’s obvious Josh Allen has taken a liking to him, it’s perhaps a bit too soon to start looking at Foster as a late-season sensation. Buffalo draws a Detroit defense that is 12th in receiving yards allowed and while I believe Foster has done enough to merit a high volume of targets, he’s not someone I’m rolling with unless I’m in a deeper league.
Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitled: Happy 29th Birthday, Kevin Sanders. Love, Uncle)
Yes: Josh Reynolds, WR, Rams: More like “Hell Yes” for Reynolds, who gets the gift that keeps on giving, otherwise known as the Eagles’ pass defense. Philly is 31st in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing receivers and with Jared Goff all but locked in for a better Sunday night with Frank, Cris and Michelle, you have permission to forget about Reynolds’ lackluster numbers the past two weeks. Hitch a ride on what could be at least 90 yards and a touchdown, numbers you’ll take from a WR2/Flex.
No: Marlon Mack, RB, Cowboys: Since consecutive 100-yard games in Weeks Seven and Eight, Mack has topped better than 61 yards just once. He’s not reverting to his midseason self against a Cowboys defense that has allowed one rushing touchdown in their five-game win streak and ranks third overall against the run. As the saying goes, a fool and his money are soon parted. Do me a favor and don’t run a fool’s errand by playing Mack this week.
Maybe: David Arnold, WR/TE, Saints: The Panthers are 30th in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing tight ends and after two straight sluggish outings, you must imagine the New Orleans offense is going to bust out in a huge way. If so, that should mean Arnold gets a handful of targets thrown his way, especially in the red zone.
Come On, Come On, Come On, Come On and Touch (and Target) Me, Baby
Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots: He’s put up at least 70 receiving yards in four of his last five games and will cause matchup troubles for a Steelers defense that despite being 14th in receiving yards allowed, has given up 25 touchdown passes.
Doug Martin, RB, Raiders: The Bengals are dead last against the run, and only the Cardinals (18) have allowed more rushing scores than the 17 Cincinnati has given up. Martin has yet to eclipse 72 yards rushing in a game this season, but he has scored in three straight games and has averaged 18 touches in his last two. All signs point to a worthy payoff for those who run Martin as an RB2.
Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, 49ers: If Matt Breida’s ankle keeps him sidelined another week, then Wilson emerges as a good sleeper play against the Seahawks, who allow more than five yards per carry. Wilson has some appeal in PPR formats, with 73 receiving yards against Seattle two weeks ago.
Ian Thomas, TE, Panthers: The rookie has looked good in place of injured Greg Olsen, catching 14 of his 16 targets in the last two games. Monday night’s game against the Saints has the feel of one of those that will see Cam Newton throw the ball 40-45 times. If so, Thomas is going to have a big role.
Robby Anderson, WR, Jets: You know they’ll be in catch-up mode against the Texans, which means Anderson, who has two straight games with seven targets, will see that number increase. As good as Houston’s defense has been this season, they are 25th in receiving yards allowed and have been torched in consecutive weeks by Baker Mayfield and Andrew Luck.
Josh Adams, RB, Eagles: Regardless of who’s under center, expect either Nick Foles or Carson Wentz to feed the ball to Adams, who gets to plow through a Rams defense that is last in the league in yards per carry allowed (5.1). Philly isn’t built for a shootout and if Adams gets going early, he’s going to make a lot of Fantasy owners look good come late Sunday night.
Tim Patrick, WR, Broncos: Let’s go a limb and say Patrick comes close to duplicating the 10 targets he had in last week’s loss to the 49ers. The Browns are 22nd in Fantasy Points Per Game allowed to opposing receivers.
Gimme a Sleeper!
Maybe it’s me, but it wouldn’t feel strange if Eagles rookie TE Dallas Goedert ended up with 8-10 targets. Zach Ertz is going to get his, but with the Philly wideouts an overall disappointment, getting Goedert more involved will lead to matchup issues for the Rams.