Hogs & Dogs: Week 6
We finally had a decent week of fantasy football. Or maybe that’s just me. The NFL, on the other hand, did not. Their product is certainly down from prior years, and that can be seen in its ratings drops across the board. Fans are unhappy with the games, the talent level, the strict rules placed among teams and players, and the amount of fun that the NFL is attempting to sap from the game. We saw it Thursday night when Carlos Hyde scored a touchdown. He ran right up the middle for a 1-yard score and as soon as he crossed into the end zone, the end line referee ran right up to him to watch him and make sure he didn’t do any type of “fun” touchdown dance, because you know, those are not allowed anymore. How can fans enjoy this game if even the players can’t?
Maybe Odell Beckham was talking about how strict and stringent the game has become when he recently said, “I’m not having fun anymore.” Doubtful, but not completely out of the realm of possibilities. The truth is casual fans are just getting sick and tired of the NFL’s antics. Who knows though, maybe with the return of Brady this past weekend the league will turn things around. With all this being said, we non-casual fans will be sticking around for the long haul, no matter how much we might loathe Adolf Goodell. And because we’re sticking around, we’re still here to provide you with some more Hoggies and Doggies, your go-to for starts and sits every weekend.
This is our Wednesday special, our weekly start and sit article that we like to get out to you before Thursday night’s games. While discussing starts and sits in Hogs and Dogs, we also sprinkle in some buy lows, sell highs, and contrarian views that might not exactly mesh with what the majority of experts are saying. We like to give you that different perspective on the NFL while also delivering some helpful advice that can translate to your league.
Ryan Mathews – We mentioned him on the podcast and how he is the only one you can trust in that Philadelphia backfield to deliver any sort of consistent results. The Redskins have been constantly pulverized by the run and things should continue that way in week six. They will continue to sprinkle in touches for Sproles, Smallwood, and Barner but as weird as this is to say, Mathews is the only reliable one there until he gets bundled yet again. Start Mathews with confidence and possibly exploring selling high after this week if you want to get out of this weird Philadelphia backfield situation. The only cause for concern here is the possibility of injury, which is par for the course with Mathews.
Jamaal Charles – Well, what a lovely time to return, old friend. Along with Jonathan Stewart and hopefully next week Doug Martin, Charles is expected to resume where he left off in his respective backfield, and that is leading it. Spencer Ware has been bleh over the past few weeks with three fumbles in each game after exploding on the scene again this year, but Charles is an elite back and we all know what he brings to the table. After getting a few touches in week four, Charles had week five to rest up and continue working his way back from his torn ACL. Kansas City is ready to set him free this week on Oakland, where he should run rampant against a defense that allows 27 points and 122 yards on the ground per game. Few are more excited about his return than the Gurus.
John Brown – We’ve already talked about Michael Floyd in other weeks, but Brown should absolutely feast this week against the Jets. He is one of, if not the best, Cardinals deep threats and going against a defense that struggles at stopping big plays. Brown should have no trouble racking up yards this week especially with Carson Palmer returning to the lineup. Arizona has also had ten days to prepare for this game and it’s at home with New York flying east to west for the game. With Palmer back and Floyd still struggling, Brown is a must start this week.
Jeremy Kerley – Kerley and Carlos Hyde are the only two San Francisco players that can actually be taken seriously at this point. Kerley has carved out a nice role for himself and quickly become Gabbert’s favorite target. He has now seen 22 targets over the past two weeks and figures to maintain a huge workload because there isn’t much else there in San Fran. He’s currently on pace for 83 catches for 973 yards and 6 touchdowns. If he can stay in line with his current performance and we take out those duds from the first weeks because he signed late, Kurley can have a very respectable WR3 type of year. Now that he’s gotten a good grasp of Chip Kelly’s offense and with the possible return of Colin Kaepernick, things are certainly looking up for the former Jet. Even if Kaep never returns to his former self, it’s doubtful he can be any worse than Blaine Gabbert. Stash Kerley now if you can, he has some great value this season as a WR3, bye week filler, and possibly more.
Sammie Coates – Coates is a high upside WR3 against Miami but boy his hands are made of stone half the time. Is there a correlation between being a burner and not being able to catch? (See: Ted Ginn, Kenny Stills, Will Fuller, Darius Heyward-Bey, etc.) I will never understand the correlation, but either way, Coates has finally carved out a role for himself in that offense, the Martavis Bryant role. The Steelers’ offense is firing on all cylinders so expect a lot of fantasy goodness to come out of Pittsburgh. Coates has put up at least five fantasy points each week this season, so he does have a somewhat safe floor. Miami also has a pitiful defense and they look to be on the downturn yet again this year. Coates almost had four touchdowns last week against what was once a good Jets’ defense. Keep an eye on Eli Rogers’ return this week as that could potentially have an impact on Mr. Winter-Coates but I still say fire him up this week and expect big things from that whole offense.
Philip Rivers – Not who you’d expect to see here, and just in time for the Thursday night game. Rivers had a great game against Oakland last week putting up 29.36 points with four touchdowns and 359 yards. But, he has to face the vaunted Denver defense this week which looks to rebound after a tough loss to Hot-lanta. Going on a short week, it will tough sledding for the Chargers against a Denver defense that allows an average of 17.4 points and 208.6 yards through the air per game. Denver’s defense has also looked susceptible on the ground this year after losing a few key free agents in the front seven. That is most likely what San Diego will target with Melvin Gordon. Expect a ball control, low scoring, physical game that will most likely not play into much fantasy upside for Rivers. I think you play him only if you have to.
Eli Manning – Eli, Eli, Eli. The first round draft mate of the aforementioned Phil Rivers, Eli Manning has got us clutching our collective heads yet again. Young man Joshua Trotta touched upon him already during our weekly league roundup and observations on this week’s Trophy Time podcast, and boy did he hit the proverbial nail on the head. Eli has singlehandedly played himself into fantasy free agency with some god awful performances this year. Who would’ve thought that having the best offensive coordinator you’ve played under in a decade become your head coach and the addition of a great young receiver in Sterling Shepard would result in back tracking. But yet, here we are, because we all forgot that this was Eli Manning. He should no longer be on any standard league teams as pretty much any other quarterback out there is playing better, this side of Blaine Gabbert. Man-dog is averaging 13.8 fantasy points per game to go along with his five touchdown passes and four picks in five games. Woof. Time to move on until he can show some improvements.
Bilal Powell – What happened to one of the hotter pickups of last week? As much as we might expect the Jets to want to give their younger back some work to spell Matt Forte, that just does not seem to be the case. Powell is better suited as a pass catching, third down type of back and does not offer much running wise, as he has only carried the ball at most four times in a game this year. He is taking some of the pass catching work from Forte as New York finally realized they need to give him more breathers at the ripe age of 30. I believe some people believe he could fill the role left by Forte if he were to get hurt, but I just don’t think that’s his type of game and therefore I’m not too sold on Powell. He has yet to surpass eight fantasy points in a game this year. At best he is an RB5 right now and droppable in most leagues.
Theo Riddick – Another passing down back that has somehow managed to stay healthy over the past few weeks. Detroit has tried to make him into an everyday running back, but at some point they’ll figure out Riddick is not that guy. It was fine when he and Abdullah were splitting that role because it cut the potential of injury in half for both of them, while simultaneously splitting their production in half. Surprisingly, he has yet to get injured this year, but I do think it’s on the horizon if the Lions don’t cut back on his touches, especially his runs up the middle. His fantasy value will also take a hit now that Detroit has signed former Raven Justin Forsett. Forsett looks to fill the role left by Abdullah and should eventually cut into Riddick’s touches and production. Detroit is also playing a very competent Rams’ defense this week which can certainly bottle up running backs with their stout front seven. I would sell high on the two touchdown performance if I were a Riddick owner.
DeSean Jackson – Boom or bust is the name of the game with Jackson, and going against his former team is not shaping up to be one of the booms. After an unexpected loss to Detroit, expect Philly and their defense to bounce back in a big way this week. He is only getting targeted six times per game which is simply not enough to make anything out of. A weekly fringe WR3, only play Jackson if you need a miracle from your team, because most likely he’ll put up a 2 catch, 46 yard day. Expect Jim Schwartz to make life hell for Cousins this weekend and put an end to the Redskins’ three game win streak. Caveat emptor.
And that does it. Good luck this week folks. Remember to send us your lineup questions on Twitter @TFFGurus, @DaFantasyFather, and @TheFantasyBoys. Or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check our Facebook page called The Fantasy Football Gurus. We’re here to help you, and if you need more Gurus, be sure to listen to our weekly podcasts by checking out Trophy Time on Google Play and iTunes.