Week 9 – Better late than never! @jayhatton49

Apologies everyone! Crazy week this week for me so apologies for the lateness of this post. Usually try and get this out Friday/Saturday to tie up with most of the injury reports but issues outside of football have taken up most of my time.

Fresh off a week where I didn’t watch much football outside of the Bengals/Redskins Wembley match up, most of the day was taken up by that game and then travelling home. It was a great game and had everything that you could want from an NFL game, especially for the casual fan. Not great for Adam but mate,  you didn’t lose?

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore.

This game pretty much hinges on Ben Rothlisburger. If he is in, he is the X factor that makes this Steelers offence tick and more than likely run out winners. However, he is just weeks removed from a knee procedure and I would always air on the side of caution with players come back so quickly from literally having their flesh cut open. Expect Lev Bell to get a whole bunch of touches despite the Ravens run D being one of the best in the league. It goes without saying that Brown goes off this week given the success that OBJ had against the Ravens a few weeks ago. Anyone else outside of those three guys is hard to predict so I would leave them out of any fantasy teams. Flip side is that since Terrance West’s emergence as a lead back (of sorts) for the Ravens, Joe Flacco is still throwing the ball over 40 times a game. For me this just leads to all sorts of problems and the Steelers run D allows 4.8 yards a carry so you would hope that the Ravens figure that out and lean on West all game. However, game scripts are all well and good but if the Steelers jump ahead, which I think is likely even though they are on the road, West’s numbers go out the window and we are back to 40+ throws to a less than average WR grouping. Start West if you have no one else just based on upside and recent results for the Steelers D (Ajayi over 200 yards and Blount a sturdy 127). I think dink and dunk of Baltimore loses out this week against the big play Ben despite home field advantage.

Winner – Pittsburgh

Dallas @ Cleveland

I REALLY wanted Cleveland to win last week. Against the Jets? Come on. Alas, twas not meant to be. Cody Kessler gets the start in a shift towards the future move for Hue Jackson. Corey Coleman should be back joining TPS as a duo with as much potential as any other in the league. The big trio of Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott and Bryant all get must starts in this scenario against a leaky defense that plays well in bursts but they are just too inexperienced to keep them in games. The Cowboys have the number 1 ranked run O and Cleveland have the 31st ranked run D (allowing 148 per game). Therefore Zeke will go off for at least 150 unless he is pulled from the game in the second half. Dak remains as the QB of now and future and is set to score TDs in the air and on the ground in goal line scenarios so where does this leave Tony Romo? I heard an interesting tid bit to say that would Zeke Elliott be having such a stellar year if Romo and Bryant were both healthy? My gut says no so in fairness, these injuries have actually been beneficial for the Cowboys. Food for thought at least. The Cowboys D is not great but they do a serviceable job and don’t really have that much work given how the ‘boys control the ball with their offence. Cleveland themselves do actually have a decent run game so flex options at least along with Pryor as I believe Dallas have a few injuries in their secondary but if they cannot beat the Jets in a favourable match up, I don’t expect them to win this week against a Dallas team on a 6 game win streak. Expect garbage points at best from your Cleveland starters.

Winner – Dallas

Jacksonville @ Kansas City

Kansas City leads the league in turnovers, and Blake Bortles is as turnover prone as they come. With a new offensive coordinator in place and Blake struggling, you would presume they would lean on a run game to help minimize mistakes. The Jags however are averaging a miserable 73 yards a game so this might get ugly. Believe it or not, Bortles stats compared to last year are pretty much the same which shows us that the league has possibly figured him out? That being said, the Chiefs are without Alex Smith and Spencer Ware who have been key in their success this year. Charcandrick West gets the start who is a massively volume dependent ‘back but when he does get touches, he produces so you can slot him in with relative confidence. Jeremy Maclin’s options get a bit better with Nick Foles under center as Foles does tend to air the ball a lot more compared to the uber conservative Smith so you can look at Maclin and Kelce as favourable starts despite a relatively strong Jags pass D. Robinson continues to be the proverbial anchor holding the Jags and fantasy owners back. I have him in one team and I feel the same connection to him as I do an old pair of trainers. I don’t want to let them go because they are so comfortable and have such strong sentimental value. You can’t throw them away though so you store them in the proverbial cupboard and see if they can make a come back. That being said I am sure most people start him this week anyway. All other options for Jacksonville are just not playing well. Home field advantage also helps the Chiefs which will allow Foles to control the game a bit, expect a lot from utility man Tyreek Hill so if you need a flex with high upside, Hill is your man.

Winner – Kansas City

New York Jets @ Miami

This looks like a huge game of contradictions to me. The Jets have the 2nd most turnovers in the league, Miami is ranked T-30th in turnovers forced. The Jets have a strong run D and a pass D that has been shredded this year (ranked last). The Dophins initially looked like a team that would pass pass pass but their rejuvenated run game is what is carrying a 2 game win streak. ‘London’s own’ Jay Ajayi is the lead back now and you would surely believe that the Dolphins would continue to lean on Ajayi despite a crappy match up on paper. That being said, I thought the Bills were supposed to have a good D and we all know what happened there. I think Tannehill can do enough in play action to keep the Jets guessing and then Ajayi can bulldoze through the Jets as he has been doing. He won’t get 200 but I would consider him a solid start with at least RB2 upside. Success for the Jets relies on giving Matt Forte a whole bunch of touches, 25 or more seems to be the key number but I just don’t have that faith for a touch dependent 30 year old running back. Enunwa has been the best fantasy wideout this year for the Jets but Marshall is Fitz’s favourite target so Marshall has the most potential in this one. The winner here will carry a 3 game win streak, I think that team will be one that resides in Florida.

Winner – Miami

Detroit @ Minnesota

Detroit did not play well last week and they will have to play better than their 27% 3rd down conversion rate. The Vikings are on a 2 game losing streak and they just lost against Jay Cutler who in my opinion is one of the worst QB’s in the league. Yes Jordan Howard went off and there is no chance of the Lions running game coming close to that kind of production but the Vikings D hasn’t done enough in recent weeks to drag their offense over the finish line. Theo Riddick and Eric Ebron look like the best bets to succeed this week from a fantasy standpoint as I would expect the wideouts to face blanket coverage all game. Successful football requires victory at the line of scrimmage which the Vikings are just not doing. The Vikes offense requires a lot of deep 5 step drops and Bradford has about 3 defenders lurking around him by the time he gets back to plant his foot to throw. Add to that a even worse run game that requires said bad offensive line to give them lanes to run in. The Denver formula of playing stiffling defense works if you have a minimum serviceable offense which the Vikings just don’t have, I wouldn’t start anyone from the Vikings except Kyle Rudolph in any fantasy formats. In contradiction, if Bradford does have time to throw the Lions allow a 73% completion percentage and 113 QB passer rating along with virtually no pass rush so this will be a very close one. A lot of Detroit games have come down to 1 score and this week will be no different, even though I would probably advise sitting Stafford in fantasy, the Detroit offense as way better than the Bears so I think Minnesota lose their 3rd in a row.

Winner – Detroit

Carolina @ Los Angeles

Ok I will admit it. I was one of those people that had written Carolina off. A trip back to the playoffs seems unlikely in a strong NFC bracket but they are finally showing some teeth. With Jonathan Stewart back in the mix, the read-option now looks like a viable threat so Cam Newton’s fantasy floor gets that little bit higher. I would expect all Panthers players to put up solid stats against the Rams including their D, who scored a huge 8 sacks and total 19 fantasy points against the Cardinals last week. I still don’t rate the Rams who have massively over achieved this year and last time we saw them Case Keenum threw 4 picks against the Giants in London. I don’t think we see much different this week as Carolina should continue their hot streak and their D should provide Cam Newton with a lot of short field situations. Todd Gurley, sit that guy down. You might get some sleeper type production out of TE Kendricks and WR Brian Quick but again, you really should have better options than that. I don’t think we see Jared Goff this week as you don’t really throw your rook’ out against a resurgent Panthers, especially if the Rams brass don’t think he is ready yet. Don’t think Tavon Austin provides any x-factor this week and the Panthers strong front 7 keeps everyone in check.

Winner – Carolina

New Orleans @ San Francisco

This figures to be a high scoring game. At least for New Orleans anyway. The only saving grace that I have this week is that the Saint’s D is SO bad that we have a shot if we can score. The Niners have traditionally had success against the Saints but without our top player in Bowman, you can probably see Tim Hightower following his fellow 2nd and 3rd stringers in enjoying career days against the worst run D in the league. From a fantasy standpoint, start all players not named Mark Ingram for the Saints. New Orleans should be successful to a point where they will win unless they get in their own way and lose a few turnovers. Colin Kaepernick has a high ceiling in QB play thanks to his running yards so you can expect at least 15 points from him even if when he completes less than 50% of his passes. If Carlos Hyde, who is not a guarantee to play, plays then you start him as he scores TDs no matter what the game script is. In a very bad week for TE options, Vance McDonald looks healthy and can break away when given the ball. DeJuan Harris looks like a better option than the other ‘backs in San Francisco should Hyde not play. From a devoted fan who was extremely skeptical of the Chip Kelly hiring, I am still not seeing anything stopping another one and done for the coach in San Francisco (Hello Josh McDaniels??). Bear in mind that New Orleans beat the Seahawks last week and finally found a balanced offense, I don’t see a win for the home team despite the high scoring potential.

Winner – New Orleans

Indianapolis @ Green Bay

How is this game not on TV? Come on! 2 top tier QB’s, both finally finding a bit of rhythm? I don’t get it. Anyway, Andrew Luck’s renaissance season should continue despite a surprising Green Bay defense which has played well this year. TY Hilton is pegged to play, Moncrief played well last week and should see a fair amount of targets. Dwayne Allen is back…. ah who cares. Only person I see losing out for the Colts is Frank Gore and their defense. Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers have a ridiculous home record and as previously mentioned, the Green Bay offense has put together a nice run over the last few weeks. A match up against a notoriously shaky Colts D can only be good things for Rodgers’ up and coming ensemble. Hard to figure out who will get the yards and the scores if I being honest. High ceiling is someone like Ty Montgomery who will serve out of the backfield and as WR but against a 31st ranked pass defense, whoever is open will get the ball. Oh and the Colts have 2 interceptions so far this year, on pace for the least amount of picks since 1970. Rodgers does not turn the ball over that much so hard to go any other way than with the Packers. If you need to steam a defense, despite a high scoring game the Colts allow the most sacks in the league so sacks usually lead to turnovers.

Winner – Green Bay

So again my apologies as I have scrapped this week together all on Sunday morning but with half the league on a bye, there wasn’t the usual amount of content to go through.

My fantasy teams look okay this week, I have Stafford at QB and still pining over whether or not to keep him but the waiver wire doesn’t really fill me with too much confidence either. Probably benching Allan Robinson in one league as well and replacing him with Moncrief so if he goes off this week against the Chiefs, I may just question life as I know it.

Starting teams as of 1.25pm Sunday 6th November. League 1 I am up against the undefeated league leader but already have 42 points thanks to Evans and Bryant. League is littered with injured RB’s so having to start Henry when I am not really comfortable with his work load. Could go great, more than likely will go wrong.

My rules as always, rely on volume where possible and leave out anyone with an injury designation.

League 1

Stafford, Elliott, Ajayi, Evans, Moncrief, Doyle, Booker, Bryant and Eagles

League 2

Brees, Gordon, Henry (everyone else is injured so shut up), Brown, Evans, Kelce, Montgomery, Bailey, Chargers

@jayhatton49

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