Brian Hoyer: The name recognition may not be there for Mr. Hoyer, but the statistics are trending in the right direction, and isn’t that all that matters? Try this on for size: 22.1 percent of Cleveland’s completions this season have gone for at least 20 yards (for reference, the high-flying Colts currently sit at 20 percent) this season. Not a bad trend for an offense that is welcoming back a receiver in Josh Gordon who had 20 percent more 20-plus yard receptions than any other WR last year despite missing the first two games of the season. Not impressed? How about the fact that no quarterback in the NFL is completing a higher percentage of “deep passes” and throwing a higher percentage of his passes deep down the field? Sure, the volume of completions has not been there this season (21 quarterbacks have completed more passes than Hoyer this season), but wouldn’t that be the case if you took A.J. Green off of the Bengals, Dez Bryant off the Cowboys, Antonio Brown off the Steelers, or just about any other ace receiver away from his offense? No team threw more passes than the Cleveland Browns last season, a style of play that could reemerge as Josh Gordon steps on the field. I’ve got Hoyer penciled in as my 11th best quarterback this week and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was constantly on the QB1 radar from this point forward.
Rashad Jennings: So much for easing Jennings back into action, as he saw was on the field for a season-high 59 (84.3 percent) snaps against a physical Niners defense that was attacking this Giants offensive line all night. The value in owning Jennings earlier this season was based partly on talent but primarily on volume (his 76 touches in Weeks 1-3 made him a Top 5 RB despite matchups against the stingy Lions and Cardinals), something that would appear to be in line to resume moving forward. Even more encouraging than the projected workload is the upcoming schedule. Over the next four weeks, New York faces Dallas (fifth fewest rushing attempts per rushing touchdown allowed), Jacksonville/Washington (two of the three worst graded defensive lines against the run), and Tennessee (only one defense has given up more rushing touchdowns and more rushing yards per game). Jennings is not only a starting Fantasy tailback over the next month; he could well be a RB1 that helps you make a postseason run.
All Broncos Weapons: First things first: this offense is still really good. Not breaking news there, but it bears stating after an embarrassing effort against the Rams. But we saw them rest Wes Welker at the end of last season, knowing that they were a playoff team, and with Emmanuel Sanders (concussion), Montee Ball (groin), and Julius Thomas (ankle) leaving Sunday’s debacle early, it is possible that we see some new players leave their foot print on the Fantasy landscape. Andre Caldwell (who has been in Denver since Manning got there), Jacob Tamme (who spent time with Manning in Indy and came with him to Denver), and C.J. Anderson (34 touches for 278 yards over the last two weeks) are players that not only need to be owned in the event of missed time for the players ahead of them on the depth chart, but need to be started in that event. Sanders, Thomas, and Ball are all talented football players, but let’s not forget that #18 is the reason we chased these players during Fantasy drafts. He is still healthy and he is not going to stop being one of the best in the business. As long as that is the case, the starting skill players are going to hold Fantasy value, regardless of the names on the back of the jerseys.
Jonas Gray: You have to, right? Four touchdowns and 199 yards on 38 carries, after totaling zero touchdowns and 131 yards on 32 carries this season?!? Now, I doubt that you can get a package that is going to reflect RB1 status that Gray held this weekend, but if you can get a starting running back whose touch count is not in question (I’m thinking Justin Forsett and Mark Ingram for starters), you have to make the deal. The Sunday night domination of the Colts was an anomaly: the average offensive line of the Patriots had their way with a below average Colts run defense and they pounded it all night long. From this point forward, New England faces only one more below average run defense and they still have a pretty decent pass game led by that Brady guy. This game also came with an extra week of preparation, and just in case you’re new to this football thing, that doesn’t happen again. You deserve a round of applause if you started the rookie out of Notre Dame this week, but don’t let your ego take over: this isn’t going to happen with consistency.
Kenny Britt: He’s not a good football player and this is not a good offense, but Fantasy Football is about chasing involvement and you can sell Britt as having that. Listen, there really isn’t any other option in the Rams’ passing game, thus resulting in Britt possessing more Fantasy upside than his talent would suggest. He has played at least 89 percent of snaps in each of the last three games (he hadn’t played more than 78 percent of snaps in a single game prior to this stretch), a trend that makes his home run hitting style of play a more viable option. Combine that with the fact that only Malcom and Michael Floyd have more receptions and an aDOT greater than Britt’s 18.0, two receivers that are occasionally started with the hope of catching lightening in a bottle, and you’ve got a reasonable angle to sell. Britt shouldn’t be counted on weekly (119 total yards in his four games prior to 128 yards in his breakout performance against the Broncos) with Shaun Hill calling the shots behind an iffy at best offensive line. Guess what? If a below average quarterback doesn’t have time in the pocket, his marginally talented deep threat receiver simply isn’t a good percentage play. All of that said, you could do worse if you are decimated at the receiver position, but his value (much like I’ve said about DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace, and other deep threats) is higher right now than it should be.
Kansas City @
Green Bay @
Atlanta Tennessee @ Philadelphia Detroit @ New England Jacksonville @ Indianapolis
Houston New York (Jets) @ Buffalo Tampa Bay @ Chicago Arizona @ Seattle St. Louis @ San Diego Miami @ Denver Washington @ San Francisco
New York (Giants) Baltimore @ New Orleans
Week 12 Mailbag
@MontGod2: Who is more hold worthy non PPR … LMurray, BBrown (3rd down?), or ABlue (Foster really coming back next week?)?
Answer: The answer should be Latavius Murray given the direction of the Raiders, but for the remainder of the 2014, Alfred Blue is the upside play. Arian Foster (groin) figures to be back sooner rather than later, but his injury-riddled past combined with the Texans’ commitment to the run gives Blue the clearest path to a full workload of this trio. Murray is (without question in my opinion) the most talented back in Oakland, and while he did see a spike in snap percentage last week, they seem to be content with Darren McFadden handling the bulk of the ground work. Could they finally admit a lost season and pound the rookie in the final month in an effort to see what they have? Sure, but with games against the Chiefs, Rams, 49ers, Chiefs, and Bills to conclude the Fantasy season, the lead Raider back isn’t one worth gambling on. Bryce Brown is a nice talent that has been under utilized in Buffalo this season, but with Fred Jackson (groin) coming back (he would have been back last week if the Bills had a normal week to recover instead of the short turnaround for Thursday Night Football) and Brown only earning a 50/50 split in his absence, the ceiling here is limited. If I had to pick the back with the most weekly value, the order would be flipped (Brown – Murray – Blue), but as a “hold” spot, where upside is the goal, I place Blue ahead of Murray and Brown.
Week 12 DraftKings Lineup
QB – Jay Cutler
RB – Justin Forsett
RB – Steven Jackson
WR – Alshon Jeffery
WR – Julio Jones
WR – Josh Gordon
TE – Martellus Bennett
FLEX – Tre Mason
D/ST – San Francisco 49ers
My Week 12 ranks will be posted shortly. What else do you need for Week 12?