Hogs & Dogs: Week 14
We’re on to week fourteen boys and girls. This is where most of your playoffs should be starting, and if you happen to have your championship in week seventeen, then it’s time to put a word in with your commissioner. If you’ve made it this far, congrats, because this has been one bizarre year of fantasy. What’s also great about that is that you get a few more weeks of the best fantasy content on the web with us at TFFGurus. Week seventeen should be time to sit back, relax, and enjoy football without having to worry about any players other than the team you root for. One week a year wouldn’t hurt anyone to actually cheer for your home team if they don’t make the playoffs.
Something that continues to pop up and to keep an eye on is the NFL’s constant helping of some certain teams. Take the Cowboys, Packers, Seahawks, and Broncos for example, who seem to consistently get a little bit of help from referees towards the end of games. Whether it’s C.J. Anderson running down the sideline against the Patriots in overtime last year without a single holding being called, Sam Bradford getting his face smashed in by a Cowboy’s defensive lineman on Thursday night, or Jordy Nelson blatantly pushing off a defender in the Philadelphia Monday night game, the NFL sure knows how to lend a bit of a helping hand to a certain few teams. I’m not saying I’m completely all in on the conspiracy like some people are, but it’s certainly something to keep close tabs on each week. Also of note: Roger Goodell still has not called Tom Brady to congratulate him on win 201. Interesting. You know Peyton already had a voicemail from Goodell for win 200 as soon as the Broncos were leading in that game. Hot take: I wouldn’t be surprised to see the NFL somehow help the 6-6 Green Bay Packers into the playoffs. David Stern probably has a part in all this.
This column is our Wednesday special, our weekly start and sit article that we like to get out to you before Thursday games. While discussing starts and sits in Hogs and Dogs, we also like to sprinkle in some buy lows, sell highs, and contrarian views that might not exactly mesh with what the majority of other experts are saying. We want to give you a different perspective of the NFL while also delivering some helpful advice that can translate to success in your leagues. Away we go…
Jonathan Stewart – My boy J-Stew is the number 26 running back on the year, though I think he will end up finishing inside the top twenty (much to Josh’s chagrin). He’s got a great matchup this week against San Diego, who have given up the eighth most fantasy points to running backs and sixteen rushing touchdowns on the year. Next week? He faces Washington’s defense who allows 114.3 yards per game and seventeen touchdowns on the season. Jonathan Stewart Little is going to be winning people leagues this year.
Julian Edelman – This affects all of New England’s targets, but the biggest beneficiary should be Edelman, who always sees a huge uptick in targets when Gronk is out. Over his past three games he’s seen 17, 11, and 12 targets. Brady relies heavily on Edelman as his safety blanket and the unfortunate loss of Gronk should open things up a bit over the middle. Jules has asserted himself as an every week WR2 ROS.
Dez Bryant – Time for some Dezzert. Dez could be a league winner this year as he and Dak continue to get comfortable with each other and as team’s focus on shutting down Zeke the Freak. I think down the stretch Dez will reassert himself as one of the league’s best receivers and remind us why we drafted him so high just a short year ago. Dak had a tough go against Minnesota and looked like a rookie quarterback for once this year, albeit against one of the league’s best defenses. Look for Dez to keep things going down the stretch in some potential shootouts.
Ladarius Green – The Young Lad himself has finally gotten involved in the Pittsburgh offense. Better late than never, I suppose, as Green has found himself in one of the most dangerous offenses in the league. His snap percentage has increased every week since he came back and there have been no signs of lingering ankle (or head) injuries. Pittsburgh’s offense is all getting healthy at the same time and is firing all cylinders on a three game win streak. At a position so mauled by injury and inconsistent play, Green is already in the TE1 conversation.
Austin Hooper – After jumping through a few hoops to start the year and as of late with some tough matchups (Philadelphia, Arizona, Kansas City), Hooper has found himself in a nice role in the Atlanta offense. The loss Jacob Tamme helped for a few weeks, but those matchups have really cooled Hooper down. I think he is a good hail mary play this week against a lackadaisical Los Angeles defense that has pretty much mailed it in for the year. Hooper has been up and down this year, but after that rough stretch of defenses I think he will begin to get more involved in the offense, similar to how he was before. There are plenty of mouths to feed in Atlanta, but I’m giving him a chance just one week after being a Doggy Dog.
Devontae Booker – Here’s one that I certainly missed, though I’m not giving up completely just yet. Booker will be on my bench this week in a 3 WR, 2RB, 2 flex league, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t redeem himself. Things just aren’t clicking for him right now, similar to Denver’s offense, which has been up and down throughout the year. He was playing much better when he was a compliment to C.J. Anderson. But now that he has the starting job, he has not been playing as well. Maybe he wasn’t ready for the full time gig yet, who knows. But, it’s time for him to probably be on your bench until we can trust him to do better than the 2.79 yards per carry he’s been averaging over his last four. Justin Forsett has also been added to the mix, further complicating things for Booker. Forsett had his one huge year when they were together in Baltimore, so he is worthy of an add in some deep leagues. He could potentially siphon some carries from Dev Books.
James Starks – A hot mid-season add, Starks has played just how we expected James Starks to play – below average. Obviously, the whole Green Bay offense has been pretty stagnant this year, but Starks has had the backfield to himself for the most part since he returned from injury and has not been able to do much with it. I say “for the most part,” because Starks was benched for the second quarter against Houston and only received one carry after halftime. Christine Michael and Ty Montgomery appear to be the preferred options in the backfield at this point. Green Bay is also facing Seattle and Chicago over the next two weeks, two of the best run defenses in the league.
Allen Robinson – The roller coaster continues with AR15. We thought he had turned things around in weeks nine and ten with games of 13.60 and 20.70 respectively. Apparently not. Robinson is averaging just 4.43 points per game in his three games since then and as we know Jacksonville’s offense is in shambles. No surprise there. We always say start your studs, but there is not a chance in hell that you can trust Robinson. The only shred of hope you could have is that this turns into a shootout or Xavier Rhodes doesn’t shadow ARob. Both are quite unlikely. The opportunity exists that he could pop off, but I just don’t think it’s in the cards this week.
Sterling Shepard – Shepard has now found himself in this article three times this year, twice as a dog and once as a hog. The thinking this week is that Dallas is a very ball control team that can take away a whole offense depending on how they move the ball. Dallas’s average time of possession is second to Philadelphia at 32:03. New York’s ATOP? How’s 26:49 sound? Second worst in the NFL to the 49ers. This has the makings of an incredibly unbalanced game in terms of time of possession and that’s much more favorable to the Cowboys than it is to the Giants. I think due to Shepard’s lack of big play ability since he is a slot guy, it’ll be hard for him to make anything consistent happen against Dallas. WR4 at best this week.
And that wraps it up. Good luck this week everyone. Remember to send us your lineup questions on Twitter @TFFGurus, @TheFantasyBoys, and @DaFantasyFather, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help you, and if you can’t get enough of the Gurus be sure to check out Trophy Time, our twice a week podcast that you can find on iTunes, Google Play, etc. Also, if you have a player that you want to be covered in Hogs & Dogs please email or tweet us that player. I’d love to tackle a player or situation each week that either slipped my mind or I wasn’t going to originally include. So send in your conundrums and we’ll try to include some info for you! Finally, make sure to check out and follow our Facebook page, The Fantasy Football Gurus.