Roses are red, violets are blue, my fantasy team stinks, and yours might too.
Whether you drafted poorly, have AP/ Gronk/ Keenan Allen/ Jamaal Charles on your squad, or haven’t had ‘the time’ to set your lineups, it is crunch time in the 2016 fantasy football season and you have a chance to either get it together and make the playoffs or ‘punt’ this season and focus on next year. I for one am not about to quit on any of my teams, and you shouldn’t either. There are brighter skies ahead people: Tony Bromo is returning soon, you are able to watch the G.O.A.T. (Tom) perform every week, Colin Kaepernick has finally knelt himself into a starting role, and you are able to listen to the Bennett bros talk themselves into the “most hateable NFL brothers of all time” category.
It’s a beautiful Friday in America football fans. We overcame Hurricane Matthew, survived another thrilling presidential debate, and are in the midst of an electrifying MLB playoffs (go Cubs). Set your lineups this week, enjoy a brewski or two, and read on to help make your fantasy team great again.
Thursday Night Recap – San Diego Chargers over the Denver Broncos
The Chargers were finally able to hold on in this Thursday night divisional matchup. They were the superior team throughout, as the Broncos played flat in the absence of head coach Gary Kubiak (medical leave). The Chargers defense actually looked pretty strong. Joey Bosa and the rest of the D-line put relentless pressure on young Trevor all night long. Fantasy wise, this was just another Thursday night dud. The father of 8, Phil Rivers, threw for 178 yards and a TD to budding tight end, Hunter Henry. Melvin Gordon rushed for a hard earned 94 yards on 27 carries. CJ Anderson could never quite get his motor running in this one. The rookie back out of Utah, Devontae Booker, was leaned on in crunch time and ended up outrushing Anderson on half the carries. Emanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas were both stymied in this contest as the Broncos offense never quite found its groove.
Injury Updates – Order is QB, RB, WR, TE
Jay Cutler – QB Chicago Bears
It is officially time to sell the Cutty stock. He was supposed to return already, but has not suited up yet as we are heading into his fourth week of recovery. As a Bears fan, I am done with the Cutler BS. He is in the doghouse with the Bears coaching staff and it sounds like John Fox will continue riding the hot hand (Brian Hoyer), even when Cutty is ready to return.
Cam Newton – QB Carolina Panthers
Newton has fully recovered from his concussion and is a near lock to play this weekend against the Saints. Gear up for a nice game and start the big man with confidence.
Jeremy Hill – RB Cinncinnati Bengals
Jeremy practiced in full on Thursday and looks to be fully recovered from his chest complication. He is facing a tough Patriots defense on the road and is a flex option at best.
Latavius Murray – RB Oakland Raiders
Murray is still in full turf toe recovery mode as he has yet to practice this week. Even if he does end up playing he will likely be hobbled and probably won’t get too many snaps. Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, and Jamize Olawale will hold down the Oakland backfield in this full blown RB by committee. None of these guys are startable.
Theo Riddick – RB Detroit Lions
Theo didn’t practice on Thursday with an ankle injury. He had a breakout game in week 5 and is definitely an RB2 or flex option if he is able to play this week. The Lions signed Justin Forsett this week, but they will probably employ a RB by committee approach. Monitor Riddick’s status into the weekend.
Eddie Lacy – RB Green Bay Packers
Lacy tweaked his ankle during his week 5 matchup against the Giants. He has been held back in practice this week, but this just seems precautionary. The burly bruiser will likely get the start against a tough Cowboys run D.
Jonathan Stewart – RB Carolina Panthers
Stewart is practicing in full this week and is ready to return. He had a hammy injury so he may not be at 100%, but regardless, he is likely going to start and should be a solid RB play based on volume alone.
Mark Ingram – RB New Orleans Saints
Ingram was held out of practice on Thursday with an undisclosed illness. Monitor his playing status if he’s on your squad, but I doubt he will sit this one out. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and he doesn’t have the Swine Flu.
Jamaal Charles – RB Kansas City Chiefs
Charles is at 110% (according to him) and will get the start this weekend against the Raiders. It sounds like this may actually be the first game Charles gets a significant number of touches. I’m certainly still a little wary, but I would start the big man as an RB2 or flex.
Arian Foster – RB Miami Dolphins
Foster was limited in practice yet again on Thursday. He is looking to see the field for the first time since week 2. He certainly could have a big game against the Steelers, but is a risky play. Start him if you must.
Rashad Jennings – RB New York Giants
Rashad was held back in practice on Thursday. It’s looking like Rashad will actually see the field this week, but is not a solid RB start by any means. Throw him in your flex slot and hope for a TD.
Kelvin Benjamin – WR Carolina Panthers
Kelvin has some sort of knee injury and was held back in practice on Thursday. Regardless, the big man is probably going to see the field on Sunday and is a solid start with Cam Newton’s return.
Steve Smith Sr. – WR Baltimore Ravens
Steve Smith Sr. hasn’t practiced yet this week and is doubtful to play this weekend. We all know that Smith is one of those guys that will play through almost any minor injury, but perhaps all those hits have caught up to him. Bench the veteran this week and hope for a successful recovery.
Alshon Jefferey – WR Chicago Bears
Alshon has yet to score a TD this season in what has been a disappointing start to his contract year. He is still playing through a sore hamstring, but this shouldn’t hold the elite wide receiver back this much. He will likely play this weekend in a favorable matchup against the Jaguars. Let’s hope him and Hoyer can establish some sort of camaraderie.
Randall Cobb – WR Green Bay Packers
Randall is coming off a stellar performance against the Giants: 9/11 catches for 108 yards. This is the first time that we have seen the stars align for the explosive slot receiver. He has been limited in practice this week with a neck injury, but the Packers are confident that he will play. Hopefully he can keep the good times rollin’ against the Boys from Dallas.
Sammie Coates – WR Pittsburgh Steelers
Coates has not practiced yet this week, so there is cause for concern here. Monitor his status up until game time, as he will probably get the starting nod at the end of the day. He is one of those boom-or-bust fantasy options, but is coming off a big week and is a decent WR3/ flex start.
Jeremy Kerley – WR San Francisco 49ers
The WR1 on a poorly led 49ers offense may be sidelined for week 6 with an ankle injury. He was a popular waiver wire add this week as he has strung together a couple solid games. He receives a lot of targets and catches, but I just can’t trust him in this offense. Start him if you must, but I would not recommend it.
Will Fuller – WR Houston Texans
Fuller was limited in practice on Thursday with a bad hamstring. He will be playing this weekend barring another set back. He is a solid start against a dismal Colts defense.
Eddie Royal – WR Chicago Bears
Eddie hasn’t practiced yet this week with a nagging calf injury. It seems like the Bears are just being cautious as Royal didn’t practice at all last week, but still got the start. Monitor his status into the weekend and if he plays he is a solid flex start against the Jaguars at home.
Dez Bryant – WR Dallas Cowboys
Dez is still recovering from a knee injury. He has been limited in practice all week, but reports make it seem like he will get the start. I would definitely throw him into one of my WR slots if he ends up playing.
Stefon Diggs – WR Minnesota Vikings
Diggs was held out of practice on Thursday and is questionable to start this weekend against the Texans. Monitor his status up until game time and make sure you have other receiver options in place.
Jordan Reed – TE Washington Redskins
Jordan Reed’s history of concussions has indeed caught up to him (let’s just say he has had A LOT over the course of his career). He is currently undergoing the league’s concussion protocol. My guess is that the Redskins will not push it even if Reed passes the concussion tests. Make sure you have another TE option in place if Reed gets bounced this weekend. Options include: Dwayne Allen, Zach Miller, Julius Thomas, Dennis Pitta, Eric Ebron, or Jesse James.
Tyler Eifert – TE Cincinnati Bengals
Eifert has been held out of practice again this week. I would consider other TE options as Tyler is still dealing with a sore back and his return to 2015 form seems more and more unlikely.
Eric Ebron – TE Detroit Lions
Big E missed last weeks game with knee and ankle injuries. He hasn’t practiced yet this week and is listed as questionable to get the start. See above for other worthy TE candidates in Ebron’s absence.
QB Streaming Options
Dak Prescott’s Cowboys vs The Green Bay Packers
It seems like Dak is constantly in this streaming category. I’m not sure why he isn’t owned yet as the rookie has proven to be one of the most consistent QB options thus far. He is facing a Packers defense that has given up a lot of passing yards/ TDs this year and is a solid, albeit conservative, start this weekend. Hank’s Hot Take: 234 passing yards, 2 TDs
Marcus Mariota’s Titans vs. The Cleveland Browns
Marcus is coming off his best game of the season against the Dolphins: 20/29 passes for 163 yards and 3 TDS, and 60 rushing yards and a rushing TD. He is facing an equally porous Browns’ defense and will hopefully put up similar numbers. I’m a big fan of duel threat QBs fantasy wise as the ceiling is much higher than your standard pocket passer. Hank’s Hot Take: 250 passing yards, 2 TDs, 46 rushing yards and 1 rushing TD
Brian Hoyer’s Bears vs. The Jacksonville Jaguars
Hoyer had the best game of his career last week against the Colts, throwing for a whopping 397 yards and 2 TDs. He is facing a Jaguars defense this week that has allowed a lot of points to fantasy QBs. Hank’s Hot Take: 320 yards, 2 TDs
D/ST Streaming Options
Buffalo Bills vs. the San Francisco 49ers
Niners head coach, Chip Kelly, recently named Colin Kaepernick the starting QB. It can’t get much worse than Blaine Gabbert, right? Well, in fact it can. The last time Kap was the starting QB in San Francisco he was a turnover machine. He may see some more success in Chip Kelly’s system, but I highly doubt it. Expect the raucous Bills’ defense to force multiple sacks, turnovers, and little to no points. In my standard scoring Yahoo league they are the second ranked defense and have put up 22, 15, and 17 fantasy points the last 3 weeks.
Tennessee Titans vs. the Cleveland Browns
The Titans defense has exceeded expectations so far this season. They are facing a downright brutal Browns offense. They had 6 sacks and 2 picks last week against an equally awful Dolphins offense. Pick them up and start them if your league has slim pickings at D/ST.
Thank you all for reading. This is my 6th blog and I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of it (or not). Remember, if you have any specific fantasy questions (start em, sit em etc.) or any suggestions on how to make the blog better, feel free to hit me up on Twitter @lockdog5000 – it goes down in the DMs.