Hogs & Dogs: Week 7
Week six is in the books and that means that we’re just about half way through the fantasy regular season. The season somehow seems to cruise right on by and before you know it, we’ll be discussing starts and sits for the championship weeks. Standings are really starting to round into shape and everyone should have a good idea of where they’re shallow and where they’re deep in regards to their rosters. As we say every year, the waiver wire and free agency are as key to a championship run as the draft, and making sure you make the best players going for you on Sunday follows closely behind. This is why we bring you the starts and sits on Wednesday, after Josh delivers with the waiver wire on Tuesday. This deadly combination (RIP in Peace Big L) should only improve your chances of making it to the fantasy playoffs.
This installment is our Wednesday special, our weekly start and sit article that we like to get out to you before Thursday night’s game. 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 like to give you a different perspective on the NFL while also delivering some helpful advice that can translate to your league.
Devontae Booker – This is more of a deep league play as Booker has been the primary handcuff to C.J. Anderson all season long and has really made the most of his touches. Through six weeks, Booker has solidified himself as one of the best handcuffs in the game, and has rightfully found himself on more and more fantasy rosters. Booker outrushed CJA Thursday night, though he got half the carries that CJA had (10-5). The third down role will continue to be Anderson’s as Booker needs to improve his pass blocking. It’s too hard to tell what will happen going forward, as Denver has to figure out what to do with this backfield. I believe it will become a timeshare and whoever can make the most of their touches will see their workload increase. Overall, Booker’s emergence should lower CJA expectations to RB2 status and improve his own to RB3 status. Scoop him up where you can.
Antonio Brown – Big Ben is down yet again. But do not fear AB owners, Mike Vick is not the backup anymore. Thank goodness because what a horrible experiment that was. If it weren’t for Mike Tomlin screwing around with Vick as the backup, Landry Jones and AB could’ve been on the same page even more last year. Speaking of last year, in the one game that Jones started, Brown finished with six catches for 124 yards, so not too far off from what he usually does with Large Benjamin. Jones also took a few deep shots to him and consistently tried to get the ball in his hands. Weird isn’t it? A team that is year in and year out one of the best in the conference would try and get the ball to their playmaker and best player? One might say that strategy seems to work, huh? (See: Odell Beckham, week six, 2016) But, this is a conversation for another time. You’re never benching AB, but if you were thinking of it because of Landry Jones, don’t.
Jeremy Maclin – Last week I touted Jamaal Charles as a good play because I felt he was ready to run loose. As with most weeks, whoever is facing New Orleans is pretty much a must-play. Maclin is no exception. One of the most reliable WR2s in the league, J-Mac has had a bit of a down year, especially considering that going into week six Kansas City was throwing the ball on a league leading 67% of their plays. Maclin is one of the most talented receivers in the league, and a technician with his hands and feet as he has consistently showcased his pillows for hands through the years. The game script this past week didn’t dictate much for Kansas City’s passing attack as Spencer Ware and Charles were able to handle most of the ground work and control the ball against Oakland. It is only a matter of time before he turns things around, and what better week than against the most porous defense in the league in the Saints. Look for him to improve on his lackluster fantasy play over the next few weeks with games against New Orleans, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Carolina, and Tampa Bay. Doesn’t get much better than that fantasy wise for the Chiefs’ number one receiver. The continued acclamation of Charles should also help keep the defense honest and therefore allow Maclin more space in the secondary.
Jimmy Graham – For now, I think I might have to take the loss on this one. I said coming into the season that Graham would not be able to put up the type of stats he used to in New Orleans. First reason being that he’s now in Seattle and couldn’t do it last year, and second reason being he tore his patellar tendon, which we know can decimate careers. In regards to the injury I think my misunderstanding was in the fact that it takes away cutting and agility ability, which would impact a running back or wide receiver more than a tight end. Regarding his offensive role last year, I believe that Seattle was less banged up overall and therefore didn’t have to rely on Graham as much. But this year Wilson isn’t able to scramble as well because of his bum ankle and knee, the offensive line is still garbage, Tyler Lockett isn’t 100% and teams are focusing a bit more on Doug Baldwin. Perfect storm for a Jimmy Graham resurgence. Graham has a tough matchup this week against Arizona, who has given up the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this year. But if you have big game James, you’re most certainly playing him and counting on the check downs and Wilson’s reliance on his new safety valve. He’s also scored at least 8.90 points over his last three games, and with the crap shoot at tight end this year, Graham has been a waiver wire steal.
Carson Wentz – The rookie quarterback train continues, though it might be time to pump the brakes on Wentz, even if it really isn’t much fault of his own. Philly didn’t have the ball much throughout the middle portion of the game because of game flow, their defensive score, and their special teams score. He is having a very good rookie year so far but a somewhat mediocre stat line against Washington has got him trending downwards. He made some spectacular throws and kept some plays alive that were nearly impossible to keep alive, but game flow really sapped his upside in this one. He had some impressive throws but I think he is definitely limited at times because of that offense. Over his last two games he’s scored a total 24.28 points, good for 12.14 per contest, and this is following the bye week where he should have made improvements. The hesitations I have against playing him this week are Minnesota’s vaunted defense and Doug Pederson’s conservative play call. Maybe one day they’ll take the training wheels off Wentz, but in the meantime it appears that they want to develop him in a mold similar to Alex Smith. Wentz remains in the QB2 discussion because I don’t think he can put up huge numbers just yet. He remains a fall back option that you should only use as a plug and play for bye weeks or in two QB leagues. I’m hopping off the Wentz bus for a while as his upcoming schedule is not an appealing one, facing the likes of Minnesota, Dallas, the Giants, Atlanta, and Seattle. There are better options, but definitely keep an eye on Wentz as he is really shaping into a good quarterback and hopefully a reliable fantasy asset in the near future.
Jordan Howard – Is Mr. Howard this year’s Jeremy Langford? Langford and Howard have both played well at times but neither has really stood out as anything spectacular. They seem to be similar players and Howard appears to be taking on the role that Langford did last year with Matt Forte in the backfield. The problem is Howard is not running away with the job and also saw a downtick in snaps this past weekend with Ka’Deem Carey back in the mix. Carey was fully healthy coming back from a hamstring injury he suffered in week two and we know that John Fox has a stick in his craw when it comes to letting his rookie running backs get a lot of work. Carey also looked much better this week and was able to muster sixteen more yards than Howard on six less carries. The Bears face a stingy Green Bay run defense that just got gashed by Dallas, so expect them to step things up even more on this short week. With Langford coming back to the mix in a few weeks, Carey getting more run, and a tough upcoming schedule (GB, Minn, TB), I’m selling now on Jordan Howard. Sell, sell, sell!
Jeremy Hill – The saga continues in Cincinnati. Maybe this is one that I actually got right this year. We’ll see as we still have a little more than half the season left, but so far Jeremy Hill is not living up to what some thought he would be this year. Injuries have certainly played a part in that as he has been banged up pretty badly in his past few games. Gio Bernard also seems to have the reins on the backfield for now starting the last two games with Hill playing more of a complimentary role in the offense. Since his 21.70 point outburst against Denver in week three, Hill has just 12.40 points in the three games since then. Even with a good matchup this week against Cleveland, I’m not trusting Hill much at all. He is safe to stash on your bench and wait to start until after the bye week in week ten. That extra week off should hopefully help him fully recover from his nagging injuries and put him in a good position to right the ship.
Randall Cobb – Things are not looking up in Green Bay this season. Jordy Nelson was returning and was supposed to be the catalyst to that offense and everything would follow suit a la 2014. Not so fast. Cobb, Nelson, and Aaron Rodgers are struggling to get much going on offense and Rodgers seems to be thinking too much (if that’s possible?) and trying to wait for the perfect throw on the perfect route, rather than taking what the defense might be giving him. Can Green Bay turn this around? Of course they can and we’ve seen what this offense can do at times. But right now I’m very low on that offense until they can prove that they’re capable of being the well-oiled machine they once were. Davante Adams is likely out Thursday night and that should open up a few targets for Cobb, but Thursday night games tend to be slow, ball control, clunker type games, with not much fantasy points being produced by either squad. I’m avoiding Cobb this week unless my hand is completely forced. You know that means he’ll go for 80 and two touchdowns.
And that does it. Good luck this week friends. 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. Finally, make sure to check out our Facebook page, The Fantasy Football Gurus.