Hogs and Dogs: Week 13
By: Chris Dugas
Week 13 has arrived and somehow we are already on the last week of the fantasy regular season. Another great fantasy year has flown by marred mostly by injuries to some of the games brightest stars. For those who didn’t catch last week’s article, this is basically an analysis of players trending up and trending down. Things obviously change week to week, but we do this to provide an in-depth look at player and team situations throughout the season. This week we had a lot of disappointing play in the Thanksgiving games and you could argue that the games were not even worth watching, which has become somewhat of an epidemic this year in the NFL in terms of primetime games. On to this week’s hoggies and doggies.
Russell Wilson – We’ll touch on Seattle’s defense later, but Wilson played a fantastic game and threw for another 5 TDs, to bring his total in his last two games to 8, along with 0 picks. From weeks 1 to 10, Wilson had a TD: INT ratio of 10:7. Seattle’s offense is really clicking as of late and Wilson can be credited with that, especially after dealing with the loss of Marshawn Lynch. Their ROS schedule also has some promise as they face Baltimore and Cleveland who are 2nd and 3rd respectively in terms of points given up to the QB position.
Jay Cutler – The Bears will be going up against a 49ers defense that only knows how to play defense at home. The San Fran D has allowed an average of 35.2 points when on the road. Coming off a huge win against Green Bay and outperforming some guy named Aaron Rodgers, Cutler has looked much better this year as he continues to cut down on his mistakes and poor decisions. His pocket awareness has steadily improved as well and his chemistry with stud receiver Alshon Jeffery continues to increase. After San Fran, Cutler gets Washington’s defense, which has given up the 9th most points to QBs on the season. Get those Bears in your lineups this week!
Lamar Miller – It may seem odd to find Miller’s name on the Hogs list, but we’ll make it a bit easier to swallow. Miami just fired Bill Lazor, who seemed to forget that he could run the ball with two pretty good running backs (Miller and Jay Ajayi). In steps Zac Taylor who has already iterated that he wants to establish the run with his talented backfield. We’re still trying to figure out why Lazor favored talent-depleted Tannehill over the talent-rich backfield. Expect Miller and Ajayi to get theirs going forward, with Ajayi being strictly a handcuff to Miller owners. Miami also has some fantastic ROS matchups against the Giants, San Diego, and Indy.
Emmanuel Sanders – While one receiver couldn’t get anything done in Denver on SNF, Sanders was doing everything he could to keep Denver in the game. The man known for having a beach ball lobbing jugs machine in his backyard was Brock Osweiler’s most consistent and trustworthy target. Sanders was not 100% going in and he was repeatedly smacked around by a tough New England defense and was able to get back up time and time again. As the season progresses look for he and Osweiler to continue to improve on their chemistry.
Houston – Is this the same Houston team that gave up 44 points to the Dolphins just a few weeks ago? It can’t be. That same Miami team just fired their offensive coordinator, while the Texans have given up just two touchdowns in their last 18 quarters, en route to 4 straight victories. JJ Watt is also now firing on all cylinders and is up to 13.5 sacks on the year. Over those same 4.5 games, they’ve given up 38 points, an average of 8.44 points a game. They have a tough test in week 14 against the Patriots, but other than that, their ROS schedule is shaping up well for fantasy owners with games against Indy, Tennessee, and Jacksonville.
Seattle – Yes, the game was a shootout with Big Ben and Wilson trading blows most of the day, but even with Pittsburgh scoring 30 points, the Seahawks still managed 9 points this week. That’s 9 points against arguably the best offense in the NFL, even without Le’Veon Bell. I mean look at the talent on that team and how many targets Big Ben has to throw the ball to. Sherman also pretty much took away Antonio Brown, leaving Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant to do most of the damage. Seattle has a difficult matchup next week against Minnesota, but after that they get depleted Baltimore, Cleveland, and St. Louis.
Drew Brees – Coming out of a bye you usually don’t expect teams, especially those coached by Sean Payton, to be flat. But that’s exactly what happened to the Saints, who were completely shut down for just 6 points in Houston on Sunday. This was the first time New Orleans didn’t score a touchdown in a game since 2005, snapping a streak of 155 games. Brees has had a roller coaster Eli Manning type year with three games under 12.50 points and three games with over 25 points. Unfortunately, Brees had to go up against a white-hot Houston defense and next has to deal with the stout Carolina D followed by an up and coming Tampa D, and a home game against another hot defense in the Lions. If you can survive that mess as an owner, you will be rewarded with a possible creampuff matchup in the finals against the Jaguars.
James White – White saw the most snaps of any New England back with 31, but was not able to do much with those. White was supposed to take on a bigger role with Dion Lewis going down, but only has 11 touches in the past 3 games following Lewis’s injury. He was outplayed this week by Brandon Bolden, whom some will see as a hot waiver wire add (though we might not agree). Quite simply, White isn’t getting used a lot, even though he is out there the most. Even with the Patriots suffering injuries left and right, the trust is simply not there yet between Brady and White. Throw in the fact that New England is extremely game plan dependent leaving us owners wondering who will have the big game. Another year, another New England backfield to avoid.
Frank Gore – According to Colts coach Chuck Pagano, Gore is “beat to crap.” Gore has been known for his durability throughout his career, but it appears that father time might finally be catching up to him. He has been mostly ineffective since week 6 other than his Week 9 performance against Denver. With Luck being out for at least a few more weeks and Hasselbeck being more of a game manager, things have not been easy for Gore. Defenses are able to stack up against the run knowing that Hasselbeck can’t throw it deep, leaving minimal running room for Mr. Gore. Until he can regain some health or Luck returns, Gore is a tough guy to trust.
Tevin Coleman – A guy who I loved this year coming out of Indiana, and whom I thought would take the reins of the Atlanta backfield, has not found things easy this year. He’s been vastly outplayed by second year player Devonta Freeman and when he’s had chances, he just hasn’t been able to make the most of them. In what might have been one of the least impressive 100-yard games we will ever see, Coleman had one long run, but of course ended it by coughing up a fumble. He also had a pretty easy catch fall through his hands later in the game. He looked a lot better at the beginning of the year, but since his rib injury in Week 2, Coleman just hasn’t looked the same. Freeman should be back for Week 13, making Coleman barely a handcuff for Freeman owners. Here’s hoping this terror of a player in college can start to pick up the pro game better next year.
Terrance Williams – His only hope of getting something going this season was with Tony Romo under center. Now that Tony Clavicle is injured yet again and Cassel takes over, Williams is just about droppable in all leagues. Known for his big play ability, there isn’t much that he can do when playing with a safe dink and dunk quarterback like Cassel. So far this year, Williams has just 3 games going over 10 fantasy points with 2 of those coming with Romo at the helm. Hopefully he can have a rebound year next year with the majority of the Dallas offense.
Philadelphia – Boy, have the wheels fallen off Chip Kelly’s cart or what. Once a highly sought after defense on the waiver wire and a staple on many of my teams this year, the Eagles have scored a combined 4 points over the past 3 weeks against the likes of Miami, Tampa, and Detroit. Those teams are not known for their high-powered offenses. Since losing rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks, the Eagles have had trouble making up for his big play ability, which kept fantasy owners happy every week. Losing Hicks meant losing a guy who up to that point had a sack, two picks, a defensive touchdown, three fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble. Losing the 2015 third rounder was the biggest blow to this Philly defense.