HOGS AND DOGS: WEEK 14
By Chris Dugas
Hellooooo and welcome! The first week of the playoffs (for most) is upon us and boy do we have some more great analysis and opinions for our loyal readers! I know this is a little later than usual for the article but promise it’s another good read (at least to me). Anyways, this week we did a little less on quarterbacks and defenses and a little more on the running back and tight end positions. Hopefully this article can provide you with some great information as you look to make roster moves and decide who you should start or sit this week. We know most websites can give you an answer to your question but not many of them can give an explanation, reasoning, or opinion to back it up. We figured you guys would like a little more than just the scratch the surface stuff, so away we go…
Adrian Peterson – Yeah, yeah, he had a bad week. I’m not too worried. AP is the best running back in the NFL and still leads the league in yards after putting up 18 last week against a scorching hot Seattle defense. He’s also second in the league in rushing touchdowns with 8. A guy who’s shaping up to be a keeper again next year at the ripe old age of 31, Peterson should end up being on a good percentage of championship teams this year. Purple Jesus only touched the ball 12 times last week but as we expect the squeaky wheels gets the grease, Peterson should handle 20-25 touches against the Cardinals, unless of course they get up big too.
David Johnson – DAVID JOHNSON WITH THE STIFF ARM! Big man Dave is expected to get at least 25 touches this week in a Thursday night show down with the Vikings, who were a mess on Sunday. If his offensive performance last week didn’t speak for itself, you should go back and watch his pass protection for Carson Palmer. He stuck his nose out in front of St. Louis defenders several times to save Palmer from the blitz. That type of protection will reward you with plenty of opportunities and he has a golden one as he takes over the backfield of one of the most high-powered offenses in the league. If he can have another strong performance after last week’s 22 for 99 and 2 catches for 21 and a TD, he could entrench himself as the starter for the remainder of the year and keep himself in the RB1 category.
Doug Baldwin – is the Seattle passing offense finally relevant? The talent has always been there for Dougie B, but the volume in that offense has never been there. If you didn’t read last week’s article talking about Russell Wilson or watched any highlights of Seattle’s last few games, then maybe you weren’t aware of how torrid this offense has been lately! Over his last 4 games, Baldwin has scored a combined 83.3 points on 31 targets. He’s averaging 20.83 fantasy points a game and 7.75 targets a game. He should continue to see his fair share of targets with Jimmy Graham out for the year. Baldwin should continue to torch defenses over the next weeks as Seattle plays Baltimore (5th most fantasy points allowed to receivers) and Cleveland (4th most).
Delanie Walker – Arguably the 2nd most consistent at the position (to Gronk), Walker has become Marcus Mariota’s security blanket, while also remaining the biggest threat for the Titans offense. Dorial Green-Beckham is a close second, but I don’t think he’s there yet and the consistency is no where near the level of Walker’s. Walker is the 5th ranked TE this season and since week 6 has put up at least 5 fantasy points a game. Since week 8, Walker has scored 6.2, 23.5, 5.2, 12.9, 9.1, and 15.2, averaging 12.02 points per game. For a guy taken at the end of fantasy drafts this year, you can’t complain with that.
Zach Miller – Just give the man a chance! He finally gets another chance to be a starter after disappointing with Seattle. Miller is not a bad streaming flier for those in dire need of TE help, like myself. Literally every tight end is owned in this league other than Miller. Anyways, Cutler likes to throw to his tight ends as seen with Martellus Bennett earlier this year. Now that Bennett has gone down with a rib injury for the year, Miller has a chance to step up and keep his somewhat hot hand going (only 1 catch last week with Bennett back). In the three games Miller played with Bennett injured he saw at least 5 targets and scored 3 touchdowns over that span. With 4 TDs over his past 5 games and the second receiving option in the offense behind Alshon Jeffery, don’t be surprised to see Miller puts up some above average numbers.
Heath Miller – Expect him to assume the majority of Markus Wheaton’s role once he returns from injury and look at how well that Steelers’ offense is clicking right now. Even without one of the best running backs in the league, they’re still clicking with the help of a rejuvenated DeAngelo Williams. Why wouldn’t you want Big Ben’s security blanket in a year when the consistent tight end position is about 6 players deep? Yes, the Steelers have a few tough matchups coming up, but you can’t find many better options out there for tight end short of Gronk, Delanie Walker, Tyler Eifert, and maybe Greg Olsen.
Philip Rivers – He should’ve thrown two pick-sixes on Sunday, not just the 1. A guy who has lost almost as many key weapons as the Ravens and Patriots, Rivers does not have much help out on the field. The Chargers’ season is just about lost at this point and Rivers continues to lose his receivers to injuries. Stevie Johnson injured his groin and Dontrelle Inman had to be carted off the field in this one. It’ll be interesting to see whom they lose next week? They brought back Vincent Brown to help bolster the receiving corps, but he plays like more of a tight end at this point in his unfulfilling career. Rivers has underperformed in 3 of his last 4 and every year has the same consistency as his draft mate, Eli Manning. They’ll both make you feel like they are legit fantasy options some weeks with 25+ and 30+ point games and then follow those up with puttering weeks of under 5 or under 10 points. His offensive line is a revolving door of sieves, which continues to leave him on his back every Sunday. It’s only a matter of time before he’s done for the year with some type of injury.
DeMarco “Spray Tan” Murray – This goes without saying, but if you’ve watched any of the Eagles games this season, you can see that this offense is not built for someone like DeMarco. Murray is a runner who is best utilized in the I-formation, something that Chip Kelly does not like to use as he utilizes more of the spread offense. To me, it looks more and more evident that he didn’t do any type of research on Murray before offering him a contract, because his offense is suited for the exact opposite of Murray. Mix in the fact that Murray had 8 carries last week against New England and the drama surrounding his meeting or non-meeting with Jeffrey Lurie and you have a situation to steer clear off. If you needed any more indication to bench him unless you’re forced to play him, he scored 22.1 points in week 9, 11.9 in week 10, 7.1 in week 11, 3 in week 12, and 2.4 in week 13. This is a situation to stay away from until we can get more clarity on it. Oh and a word to the wise – stay clear of the Spray Tan. Google this if you don’t catch my drift.
Devonta Freeman – For starters, his offense is a mess with Matt Ryan at quarterback. Dude is just plain bad at football. Freeman hasn’t scored a rushing touchdown since week 6 and has only 1 reception touchdown since that time. He’s obviously still a must-start in fantasy but he’s a dog this week because of his team’s putrid play and because he hasn’t found paydirt on the ground in 5 games (missed week 12) and only once through the air in that same time frame. He’s starting to lose some of his RB1 luster. Atlanta’s playoff schedule? Carolina, Jacksonville, Carolina. No thank you to those Carolina games. I don’t think any team could have a worse playoff schedule.
Alfred Morris – Morris has scored double-digit fantasy points twice this season. Twice! And one of those times was week 1. Morris was benched because of “game-flow” but with Matt Jones being the future and putting up similar numbers to Morris, it makes him a guy that is fantasy irrelevant at this point. Keep in mind that Morris didn’t play the final 3 quarters of Monday night games and from what we know is not in any type of dog house. It appears that the coaching staff and chunky Jay Gruden prefer the style of play of Jones. Jones has not been able to take advantage of many of these opportunities, leaving this to be an RBBC for the rest of the season. Next season, look for Jones to be the clear lead back as Washington is expected to let Morris hit the market.
Todd Gurley – This isn’t so much about Gurley but more about his situation. The Rams handed the ball off to him 9 times. 9! That makes sense. Why would you want to put the ball in the hands of your best player? That’s obviously a recipe for disaster! It’ll be interesting to see what the new OC does in terms of getting the ball to Gurley. But, my prediction is that it’ll be the same show it was before they fired Cignetti. Gurley hasn’t been able to muster much lately with the Rams’ offense being the dumpster fire that it is. I’m also still trying to understand who Jeff Fisher has pictures of that is keeping him employed for that team. Gurley has so much talent, it just might be a little while before we get to see his full potential. He’s still averaging 83.5 yards a game on the ground, but is hard to trust the rest of the season with the way the Rams are playing.
Dez Bryant – Another player with so much talent being wasted away because of his situation. This is pretty much a lost season for Dez who has to deal with Matt Cassel at quarterback the rest of the way. Last week we talked about how the loss of Romo would really hinder Terrance Williams, but we didn’t think it would impact Dez as severely as it has. I thought the volume would still be there for him and as a quarterback with him on your roster, why wouldn’t you just try and force feed him? He’s shaping up to be more of a WR3/4 with Cassel, which is quite unfortunate for owners like myself.