Week 15 Fantasy Surprises

mike-davis-seahawks-eagles-Edited-620x370Last week was a solid one for my fantasy surprises as while nobody put up exceptional numbers, many of the guys I selected were more than serviceable options. Jimmy Garoppolo, Giovani Bernard, Marquise Goodwin and Travis Coons all were contributors at their respective positions. If you advanced in your year long fantasy league, congrats on making the final four or championship game. Your savvy on the waiver wire and in the draft I’m sure was very helpful to your season.

If you didn’t make it, well there is always next year but that doesn’t mean the fantasy season is over. Daily fantasy will be an option to get your fix over the next few weeks.

QB: Blake Bortles vs Texans: Don’t look now, but Bortles has been a top ten fantasy quarterback in each of the past three weeks. While he may not ever become a fantastic real life option, Bortles limiting turnovers and contributing with his legs has really helped the past few weeks. The good times could continue this Sunday as the Texan defense has struggled all year against the pass. If you’re looking for a quarterback in daily formats who could make a big difference in tournaments, Bortles is your guy. Expect around 260 total yards and two touchdowns.

RB: Mike Davis vs Rams: Davis is among a handful of backs who have started a game for the Seahawks, but he’s making the most of his chances. In each of his last two games, Davis has seen 15 plus touches and has averaged a little over 80 total yards. Now he gets a Ram defense that has been vulnerable against the run in a game that could be a shootout. If you’re in need of a flex option or second back in deeper leagues, Davis could provide a big boost. Expect around 90 total yards and a touchdown.

WR: Mohamed Sanu vs Buccaneers: The Buccaneers’ inability to stop Julio Jones has been well documented, but Sanu the last time these teams played had a game in his own right. He hauled in eight of the nine targets thrown his way, and also threw a 51 yard touchdown pass to Jones. The Bucs will surely try and throw more defenders at Jones, which opens things up even more for Sanu. While he has yet to clear 100 yards in a game, Sanu does have five touchdowns and his six plus targets a game make him a safe bet in PPR leagues. Expect around 70 yards and a touchdown.

TE: Jared Cook vs Cowboys: As we’re all aware, the Raider passing attack has been extremely frustrating to all fans this year but especially those who participate in fantasy. In what would have seemed crazy to say back in August, Cook (who can still be frustrating due to inconsistent performances) is their leading receiver. With Amari Cooper looking doubtful to suit up, Cook will most likely be Derek Carr’s second option on Sunday night.

The Cowboys have had some difficulty covering tight ends, so at a thin position Cook is worth a look.  Especially when factoring in that he should see at least a handful of passes thrown his way. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.

K: Robbie Gould vs Titans: The 49ers have moved the ball much more successfully with Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback. However, due to an inexperienced and banged up supporting cast, that hasn’t turned into touchdowns. That’s why Gould in the past two weeks has made a whopping nine field goals. For kickers all you can ask for is opportunity, and Gould’s certainly had that. The Titans defense has aspects that are vulnerable, so Gould should be in play for all formats. Expect around three field goals and two extra points.

DEF: Giants vs Eagles: This play isn’t one for the faint of heart, but if you’re a risk taker who doesn’t have faith in Nick Foles, the potential payoff is big. To take pressure off Foles, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Eagles emphasized the ground game early on. Run defense is an area where the Giants defense remains pretty strong. When Foles drops backs to pass is what will be the ultimate factor. He doesn’t offer the out of the pocket ability of Carson Wentz, but the strong supporting cast against a banged up Giant secondary is still there. If you’re not a believer in Foles, this defense is one that could swing your daily fantasy lineup at a cheap price. Expect around two sacks and an interception.


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Week 15 Predictions


Photo Credit: Nancy Lane, Boston Herald

Week 14 was a rough one for my predictions, but hopefully as the playoffs get closer I’ll be able to get back on track. With two games on Saturday, we as fans will now have football in our lives for the next three days, and it’s a great time to be a fan. To this point, only two playoff spots (and two division titles) have been claimed so there is certainly a lot on the line for teams who see themselves as playoff contenders.

Last week: 9-7, Season: 132-76

Last week against the spread: 5-11, Season: 103-105

Game of the weak: Cardinals vs Redskins: This matchup is the only one this upcoming weekend that doesn’t feature a team vying for a playoff spot. After a 2016 where they were hit hard by injuries, the Cardinals had it happen again in 2017. In most years, sitting at 6-7 they would have a slim chance of the postseason if they won out, but the NFC is just too deep this season. They could use this game to further evaluate Blaine Gabbert’s future with the franchise.

Like the Cardinals, the Redskins have also been decimated by injuries and as a result have dropped four of their last five games. At one point or another, the Redskins have to decide what they want to do with Kirk Cousins. With no immediate answer that would be better, the franchise if they want to remain competitive the next few years could have no choice but to offer what he’d get on the open market. Cousins may not be a superstar quarterback, but he’s certainly a serviceable option in a league without much of a middle ground at the position. Cardinals 17 Redskins (-4.5) 20

Game of the week: Patriots vs Steelers: As the game that could ultimately decide the one seed in the AFC, I didn’t have much of a choice with this one. The Patriots come in off a surprising Monday night loss which the Dolphins clearly were waiting all season for, but that usually bodes well for them. In today’s social media climate, we love instant reactions and many can be over the top. Sure Tom Brady and the Patriots offense struggled, but writing them off after one game just gives outlets like “Old Takes Exposed” that much more material for when they bounce back.

The Steeler offense has always seemed to perform better at home, and it’s no coincidence the passing attack has really clicked with three of their last four games in Heinz Field. Antonio Brown is producing at a historic rate, and with Le’Veon Bell also seeing so much volume it will be interesting to see who Bill Belichick and company key in on eliminating from the offense as both see such a high volume of touches. Overall I feel the loss of Ryan Shazier could be too much to overcome for the Steelers on defense. Between the running backs catching passes out of the backfield and Rob Gronkowski returning, the Patriots will look to capitalize on opportunities over the middle of the field. Patriots 31 Steelers (+3.5) 27

Bears 20 Lions (-5.5) 24

Chargers 26 Chiefs (+1.5) 23

Dolphins 17 Bills (-3.5) 21

Ravens 24 Browns (+7.5) 16

Bengals 14 Vikings (-10.5) 26

Jets 13 Saints (-16.5) 30

Eagles 23 Giants (+7.5) 16

Packers 24 Panthers (-3.5) 26

Texans 14 Jaguars (-11.5) 27

Rams 24 Seahawks (-2.5) 28

Titans 20 49ers (-2.5) 23

Cowboys 26 Raiders (+3.5) 21

Falcons 28 Buccaneers (+6.5) 21



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Broncos vs. Colts Predictions

USATSI_9550684_164063748_lowres-696x435Tonight’s “Peyton Manning Bowl” features two teams who at this point are just playing for pride. Regardless, this is a game that many will be following due to fantasy football implications and it does have the potential to be a game that comes down to the end.

The Bronco offense after an eight game losing streak finally showed some life last week. Trevor Siemian who began the year on the Broncos’ quarterback carousel has a nice matchup  against a banged up Colts secondary. Despite the matchup, I don’t have enough trust to use Siemian for fantasy purposes unless you start two quarterbacks.

At this point the majority of the work on the ground for the Broncos has gone to C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. The past few weeks, Anderson has seen more playing time and total touches so if you think that’s for real he should be a serviceable flex option this week. Booker in the meantime does figure to see at least ten touches or so. Somehow Mike Shanahan’s tenure as the Broncos head coach ended a decade ago, but the weekly questions about who is the lead back  remain.

While he hasn’t put up the touchdown numbers fans became accustomed to, Demaryius Thomas is still the clear number one option in the passing game in terms of volume. With 68 catches on the year, Thomas has still been a very serviceable option in points per reception leagues even if the four touchdowns are below expectations. Figuring to see ten or so targets in this one, he should be started in all formats. Despite the recent production, don’t start thinking that Emmanuel Sanders has lost it. Between dealing with a high ankle sprain and the ever changing quarterbacks, he has had a tough go lately with less than 20 yards in each of the last four games. The good news is this is a prime matchup to bounce back, so as a flex or third receiver Sanders is worthy of some consideration.

Considering the circumstances of being traded after training camp and being asked to start almost an entire year, what Jacoby Brissett has done for the Colts is admirable. Unfortunately, he has been sacked a league high 46 times in the process. After a rough stretch, the Bronco defense showed some life last Sunday which could mean Brissett is under pressure yet again tonight. In what could be a tough matchup, he’s off the fantasy radar.

Frank Gore is coming off a game Sunday where due to the elements he saw 37 total touches. With less than a week to rest and against a tough Bronco run defense, you might have better fantasy options available. If you’re playing Gore, odds are is it will be due to the projected volume. If it weren’t for some recent errors, this would be the perfect time to see what Marlon Mack could do. The rookie back has really shown some flashes in space, and with nothing to play for and Gore’s massive workload less than a week ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s more involved.

T.Y. Hilton has been more of a boom-or-bust player in terms of weekly production in 2017. The good news is, he usually fares better at home and receivers that have had individual success against the Broncos this year have some similar traits to Hilton. While he certainly has the talent of a top tier fantasy option, Hilton should be treated more as a third receiver in fantasy formats this week. Chester Rogers has seen a bigger role of late with Donte Moncrief out, but not enough to count on for fantasy production. The safest pass catcher from a fantasy standpoint on the Colts seems to be tight end Jack Doyle. Having allowed the third most yards to opposing tight ends, the Broncos will be without free safety Justin Simmons who assists in coverage. Having already set a career high for receptions, Doyle figures to add onto that figure tonight.

While this should be a close game, I am giving the edge to the Broncos here. Von Miller and company are certainly capable of adding on to the amount of sacks Brissett has taken, and the Thomas/Sanders duo can take advantage of the injured secondary. My prediction is Broncos 21 Colts (+2.5) 16.

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Week 14 Fantasy Surprises

BernardLast week two of my surprises in Blake Bortles and Kenyan Drake hit in a big way, while Sterling Shepard offered some nice production. It comes at a good time as for many, this signifies the first week of the fantasy football playoffs. While some may have a bye (which I never really understood) coming for some this week, it’s important for those who are playing to stick with what got you there and eliminate any chances of potentially overthinking.

If a backup has a great matchup or you’re dealing with injuries, go ahead and make a change. Just know that in the event this is your last fantasy game of the season, it’s much easier to go with players you’ve trusted as a move that backfires could be stuck in your head until next season.

QB: Jimmy Garoppolo vs Texans: Along with becoming your mom or significant other’s favorite young quarterback, Garoppolo on the field showed plenty of reasons for 49ers fans to be optimistic. While injuries have thinned out what would be his supporting cast, Garoppolo clearly showed the ability to move the ball in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Now he gets a Texan defense which has also been hit by its share of injuries and is thin in the secondary. While they might not light up the scoreboard, Garoppolo’s projected volume makes him an intriguing daily fantasy option. Expect around 240 yards and two touchdowns.

RB: Giovani Bernard vs Bears: It has been an interesting career for Bernard to this point. As a rookie, he was a fantasy darling as the Bengals’ lead back and as a pass catcher. The next few seasons he started sharing carries with Jeremy Hill before ultimately suffering a torn ACL. Entering 2017, Bernard was behind Hill and newly drafted Joe Mixon on the depth chart.

Now, Hill is done for the year, and Mixon is out this week with a concussion he suffered on Monday night. Bernard will have plenty of opportunities against an inconsistent Bears defense in a game that projects to have a favorable game-flow. Bernard can be locked in as a 2nd running back or flex option in all leagues, and makes for a nice play in daily fantasy as well. Expect around 110 total yards and a touchdown.

WR: Marquise Goodwin vs Texans: If you want a guy who can swing a fantasy playoff game, look no further than Goodwin who was Garoppolo’s top target last week. Goodwin hauled in all eight of his targets for 99 yards, but he wasn’t able to show off his Olympic caliber speed. While fantasy owners in PPR league’s would gladly take a repeat of last week, the chance of Garoppolo and Goodwin connecting on a deep score is what’s worth betting on. Expect around 80 yards and a touchdown.

TE: Stephen Anderson vs 49ers: Despite little to no national attention surrounding it, games like this 49ers/Texans one are what could really swing fantasy leagues. This time of year lesser known players taking on bigger roles can swing a title, and Anderson would apply. A former college receiver, Anderson was targeted 12 times last week and with the other Texan tight ends banged up, should see plenty of playing time. The 12 targets is unlikely, but in a favorable matchup with top tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski out, he’s worth a look. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.

K: Travis Coons vs Redskins: The Chargers are now on their third kicker of the season, but Coons provides something I look for in fantasy kickers. That would be opportunity, on top of what should be a game that won’t have attempts potentially altered by the environment. The Redskins defense has been inconsistent of late, so with a hot Chargers offense, Coons is a kicker that’s available in many leagues that could give you a boost. Expect around two field goals and three extra points.

DEF: Jets vs Broncos: Considering on Sunday they just allowed 31 points and nearly 500 total yards of offense, playing the Jets defense might not be for the faint of heart. Then again, neither is watching the Broncos quarterback play in 2017. If you’re willing to gamble, you could do worse than going against a team with a struggling offensive line and a quarterback in Trevor Siemian who has thrown seven interceptions in his last four appearances. Expect around three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

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Week 14 Predictions

Russell-wilson_20161122012029044_6653015_ver1.0_640_360Week 13 was a strong one for my predictions all-around and included picking the exact score for the Giants/Raiders game. With only a handful of teams eliminated from postseason contention, we have another week full of very intriguing matchups featuring teams who would be in the playoffs at this time or still have aspirations. With a full slate of games, it should give us as fans plenty to watch.

Last week: 12-4, Season: 123-69

Last week against the spread: 10-6, Season: 98-94

Game of the weak: Bears vs Bengals: The Bengals at 5-7 are technically still alive in the playoff push, but it would require winning out and a lot of luck to achieve. For whatever reason, the Bears seem to be regressing and last week were simply dominated in time of possession which played a part in their inability to get a running game going. The Bengals have some key injuries on defense, but I’m not sure if the Bears have enough to keep up if Andy Dalton and company heat up early. Bears 16 Bengals (-6.5) 23

Game of the week: Seahawks vs Jaguars: This game might not have the most playoff implications, but it’s a fantastic test for a Jaguar team that has many qualities you’d like in a Super Bowl contender. On top of that, this is probably the biggest regular season game the franchise has hosted in quite some time, so the atmosphere could really be something. The main matchup I and so many others will be watching in this one is the wizardry of Russell Wilson against the Jaguar defense.

Wilson every week seems to pull off one or two plays that seem improbable. Between their ability to get to opposing quarterbacks and speed at linebacker, this defense will be his biggest test. The same goes for the Jaguars as a whole. If they’re for real (which I think they are), taking care of business at home against a team who perennially has been in the thick of their respective conference is a great way to show it. Seahawks 13 Jaguars (-2.5) 16

Cowboys 23 Giants (+3.5) 21

Packers 23 Browns (+3.5) 17

49ers 21 Texans (-2.5) 16

Vikings 23 Panthers (+2.5) 20

Colts 17 Bills (-3.5) 20

Lions 23 Buccaneers (-0.5) 27

Raiders 24 Chiefs (-4.5) 28

Redskins 16 Chargers (-6.5) 26

Jets 24 Broncos (+1.5) 20

Titans 21 Cardinals (+3.5) 17

Eagles 21 Rams (-2.5) 27

Ravens 21 Steelers (-5.5) 26

Patriots 34 Dolphins (+11.5) 20


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Saints vs. Falcons Predictions

2015-nfl-week-6-falcons-saints-betting-oddsTonight’s Thursday night matchup is a rivalry game with playoff implications and major shootout potential. In short, there isn’t much more we can ask for this week. After the offense failed in last Sunday’s big test, the Falcons have another tough one against a much improved Saints defense. Given the circumstances, this game has the potential for fireworks and should come to the wire.

This isn’t the Saints offense we’ve become accustomed to over the past decade or so. Drew Brees is still playing at a very high level, but the ground game is what’s really making the difference. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara are having Pro Bowl caliber years and do a great job complementing the other’s skills. Despite a toe injury, Ingram is supposed to play tonight and should see 15 to 20 touches if he isn’t limited. Kamara in a deep rookie running back class has been a revelation. His ability to elude, run past or run through defenders isn’t seen everyday and we could be looking at a historic rookie year. The Falcons of late have been able to limit the run, but both of these backs (particularly Kamara) can contribute out of the backfield. With that, let it be known in 2017 no team has allowed more receptions to opposing running backs than the Falcons.

Michael Thomas is clearly Brees’ top option when he throws the ball and should see a favorable matchup tonight. Thomas lines up all over the field and is not impacted as much by Desmond Trufant (who stays on the left side) returning. Thomas should see eight to ten targets in this one and should be locked in all fantasy lineups. Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman figure to see a handful of targets, but both are “boom-or-bust” options in terms of fantasy. Willie Snead was a popular preseason fantasy pick (and was touted by yours truly), but due to an early season suspension and injury has been unable to get things going. Josh Hill at tight end has a matchup that seems favorable, but hasn’t seen enough volume to trust.

Matt Ryan hasn’t had the same individual or team success in 2017, but a win this week would go a long way. Despite not reaching the MVP level numbers in a game this season, Ryan makes for a solid fantasy starter in this one. Devonta Freeman returned last Sunday from a concussion, but despite being more efficient only saw two more touches than Tevin Coleman. Freeman did play more snaps, so there’s no telling if the lack of attempts was to be cautious or just due to game flow. The Saints of late have been generous against running backs allowing them to have success through the air and on the ground. Assuming Freeman sees 15 plus touches, he should be locked in all lineups, while Coleman makes for a very intriguing flex play.

Julio Jones only had two receptions this past Sunday, but even against Marshon Lattimore who has been fantastic as a rookie, look for Jones to bounce back. Lattimore is returning from an ankle injury, so at less than 100 percent it only makes sense to target someone with Jones’ talents frequently. Mohamed Sanu also has what could be a rewarding matchup as the Saints have struggled covering the slot where Sanu runs the majority of his routes. You can safely play Sanu as a third receiver or flex option in all league’s tonight. Austin Hooper has been utilized more in his second year, but for fantasy purposes this game is a bad draw. The Saints have been one of the stingiest defenses against tight ends, and Hooper can be touchdown dependent as is.

In what should be a high scoring game, I’m siding with the team that I feel has the better chance of controlling the tempo. That would be the Saints, who could grind out wins with the run or with Brees through the air if you sell out to stop Ingram and Kamara. My prediction is Saints 28 Falcons (-2.5) 24.

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Week 13 Fantasy Surprises

4184199_web1_copy_copy_0924JaguarsBortlesThrow1Last week was a below average one for my fantasy surprises, but with the fantasy playoffs approaching, hopefully I got the tough loss out of the way. For many, week 13 will signify the end of the regular season in their leagues. Hopefully your team will be moving on to play next week, but if you’re in a “win and in” scenario, some of these players could possibly make a huge difference for you. Others would qualify as better options for daily fantasy games.

QB: Blake Bortles vs Colts: Throw aside that the player in question in Bortles, everything about this matchup you’d want your fantasy quarterback to have this time of year. He won’t be effected by cold weather, and the Colt secondary has been decimated by injuries. Most importantly, with the Jaguar running backs failing to get anything going last week, the team used some read options with Bortles which worked extremely well. While two rushing touchdowns is unlikely, the added bonus of 30-40 rushing yards to go along with a decent passing day could makes a big difference. Expect around 270 total yards and two touchdowns.

RB: Kenyan Drake vs Broncos: On paper, the matchup for Drake isn’t great this week. The Bronco defense is still extremely talented, and the Dolphins offense has really struggled of late. At this point though, Drake is really the only healthy back the team has left and since Jay Ajayi was traded has shown flashes of the talent he offers. The Broncos have struggled against pass catching backs as well, so Drake could be very valuable in formats that reward receptions. Assuming at least 15 to 20 touches, he will be a difference maker in your lineup. Expect around 90 total yards and a touchdown.

WR: Sterling Shepard vs Raiders: Shepard has missed the past few weeks with migraines, but at this point in time is expected to play Sunday. While Geno Smith replacing Eli Manning would have many people rule out Shepard, to me he makes sense as a contrarian play in daily fantasy tournaments. The Raiders have struggled against the pass all year minus the half they played Paxton Lynch, and if the Giants get down early, Shepard could see double digit targets. Expect around 70 yards and a touchdown.

TE: Adam Shaheen vs 49ers: Shaheen followed up his eye opening week 11 with a one catch for one yard performance this Sunday, but there’s reason for optimism. In pass coverage against tight ends, the 49ers are not the Eagles and with emphasis expected on the run, it could create a big play or two down the seams for Shaheen. It wouldn’t surprise me if he is used in a lot of daily fantasy tournaments, but if you’re a risk taker he’s worth a shot in year long leagues as well. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.

K: Josh Lambo vs Colts: Fantasy kickers are all about opportunity and like his quarterback, Lambo should have them on Sunday. Whether it’s from extra points or the offense being unable to capitalize off a turnover, all those kicks can add up. For someone who is available in the majority of leagues Lambo should provide a nice value. Expect around two field goals and three extra points.

DEF: Titans vs Texans: While I don’t think the Titans will be able to stop DeAndre Hopkins, they should be able to get to the man throwing him the ball. For that reason alone, they’re a very interesting option in terms of a streaming fantasy defense. The Texans have had trouble with left tackle all year and are now down to their third at the position. Tom Savage isn’t a quarterback known for his ability to move around the pocket, so the pressure could result in sacks and turnovers. Expect around three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.

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