In the Weekly Fantasy Unit, there are crimes committed that would shock and appall you. Negative points, underwhelming superstars and outright fantasy football busts. These are the findings of one man on a mission to expose the league’s biggest perpetrators before they strike again.
These are…the FANTASY FILES.
Welcome back to the Fantasy Files everyone! The first round of the fantasy playoffs has officially come and gone, and teams are either packing up shop for the year or sprinting towards fantasy championship gold at full speed. Here at the W.F.U., we want to congratulate all that made the playoffs this year, that’s an accomplishment in itself. To those that are still alive heading into Week 15, we’re your go-to source to avoid the pitfalls that could end your season just short of ultimate victory. We performed well last week across the board, so let’s take a look at our Week 14 lineup:
- Josh Allen (20 Points)
- Marlon Mack (9 Points)
- Robert Woods (6 Points)
- Kyle Rudolph (0 Points)
- Cleveland D/ST (4 Points)
- Jeff Wilson Jr. (9 Points)
WHERE I MISSED:
- Josh Allen is yet another great example of a 50-50 play. I advised against him because I couldn’t trust his rushing floor to remain as high as it has been over the past month, but he proved me wrong in Week 14. Allen’s 101 yards and a TD on the ground set the foundation for his 3rd straight 20+ point fantasy performance. However, he also threw for just over 200 yards and 2 INTs in the same game. His legs will get him out of trouble in some cases, but not all. Continue to observe proper caution with the Bills rookie QB.
WHERE I HIT:
- Marlon Mack salvaged his day on Sunday with a red zone TD, but it still didn’t boost him beyond bust territory for most owners. The Colts RB is currently a victim of his past glory. His back to back 25+ point outings earlier in the year showed what he was capable of, and now anything short of double digits is rightfully looked at as a disappointment by most fantasy owners. Mack averaged just 2.3 YPC on 14 attempts and was targeted just once in the passing game. Not the game that owners were bargaining for in round 1.
- Robert Woods earned his bust label tenfold (primarily in standard leagues) in a matchup that saw the mighty Rams offense implode under the weight of the Chicago Bears defense. Woods saw a higher than usual target share (13) but could only catch 7 balls for 61 yards on the day. The down performance snapped a 3-game streak of double-digit performances for the Rams primary possession wideout.
- Kyle Rudolph might as well have stayed home on Monday night. The big TE received 5 targets against Seattle but could only muster 2 catches for a measly 7 yards in the contest. The Vikings defense kept them in this one for as long as they could, but ultimately, Kirk Cousins’ history of bad performances in primetime doomed them to yet another major defeat.
- The Browns defense is a bust this week because it only mustered 4 points for your fantasy team. In reality they actually played a pretty solid game against Carolina on Sunday. They sacked Cam Newton, pressured him consistently and got him to throw a costly interception in the contest. As the consummate underdogs in most matchups based on name alone the Browns came to fight and brought home a gutsy victory at home over the Panthers.
- Jeff Wilson Jr. looked like a backup RB on Sunday against Denver. He wasn’t bad, but he certainly wasn’t what Matt Breida owners needed him to be in round 1 either. Wilson averaged 3.9 YPC on the day, rushing 23 times for 90 yards and adding a single reception for 6 yards to his overall total in a game that the Niners surprisingly won. Wilson’s not a bad player, he just wasn’t the blow-up waiver wire darling that fantasy owners bargained that he’d be in Week 14.
With that out of the way let’s take a look at the bust candidates for Week 15.
Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
There may not be a starting QB in the league today with a worse one-two punch of matchups to end the fantasy season than Jameis Winston. The Bucs QB finds himself facing down two top-10 defenses, with Baltimore in Week 15 and the red-hot Dallas Cowboys in Week 16. Winston’s status as a wild card under center is both well-earned and well known by fantasy players all over, but he’s also a waiver wire pickup that owners know can produce points based on total yardage alone. This Bucs team has shown some fight throughout the year despite their near constant dysfunction under center, but against Baltimore this week everything is set to come crashing down for Famous Jameis.
The Ravens come into Week 15 eager to bounce back from nearly upsetting the Chiefs in Week 14 and they’re bringing a top-3 run/top-10 pass defense with them. The last time Winston faced a top-5 unit was back in Week 4 against Chicago, and he finished that day with 8 points. Add to that the fact that most of Jameis’ extra point production has come from his ability to scramble and you have a recipe for disaster. Winston will find himself face down in the dirt on more than a few occasions on Sunday, don’t follow him down there by starting him on your fantasy squad.
Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans)
Well, it happened again. Derrick Henry had a monumental single-game performance late in the season that made people forget how mediocre he’d been the entire 2018 season. I’ll give respect where it’s due, Henry’s 4-TD performance was otherworldly, and it likely led to more than a few upsets in round 1 of fantasy leagues across the country. But that doesn’t mean you can trust him to be a weekly running back in either format.
In fact, Henry’s performance is a great excuse to address recency bias and the power it can have on owners that are projected to play from behind in their playoff matchups. On the surface, Henry now looks like a tempting option to plug into your FLEX or RB2 slot, but in reality he’s still the same 50-50 option he’s been the entire season. Don’t chase points just so your projected point total looks better, because all that matters at the end of the week is who scores more points when it matters. Henry has a good matchup against a Giants defense that’s given up 13 rushing TDs on the year, but he’s not going to be the week-winner he was in Week 14 for you. If you absolutely HAVE to start him I’d say FLEX is the way to go, but if you have a name brand player that you’ve trusted all season I’d lean towards them over Henry easily.
To further elaborate, here are the game logs from Henry’s last 5 games:
Week 10: 11 Car/58 Yds/2 TDs
Week 11: 9 Car/58 Yds
Week 12: 8 Car/30 Yds
Week 13: 10 Car/40 Yds/TD
Week 14: 17 Car/238 Yds/4 TDs
His carry totals are typically on the lower side since he splits with Dion Lewis and most of his performances are completely touchdown dependent. This is important to know before you trust him with your fantasy season.
Courtland Sutton (Denver Broncos)
When Demaryius Thomas was traded to the Houston Texans at the trade deadline, everyone and their mother jumped with joy over the fantasy prospects of rookie Courtland Sutton. The young wideout had already been distinguishing himself in Denver and the absence of Thomas left a major target share for the young man to step into. Compound that with the unfortunate Achilles injury suffered by Emmanuel Sanders and in just under 2 months Sutton was now the de facto No. 1 option in the Broncos passing offense.
All of these things should have led to fantasy greatness, but instead Sutton has sputtered out of the gate. Since losing Thomas he’s posted fantasy totals of (5/7/1/14/1) and scored just once, and in his first week as the teams lead wideout he was completely erased by Richard Sherman (2 Rec./14 YDs).
This week won’t get much easier for the rookie as he’ll be set to face off with a returning DROY candidate in Denzel Ward when the Broncos lock horns with the Browns. Stay clear of Sutton until he can prove to be consistent, he’s in both a great spot and a very difficult spot simultaneously in his rookie season.
Ryan Griffin (Houston Texans)
The search for a viable fantasy tight end continues to mimic a Russian bread line on a weekly basis. Owners are starving, most of them have spent all of their FAAB by now and if they’re still alive in the playoffs, it’s probably not due to the efforts of their TE spot.
Enter Ryan Griffin, the latest (somewhat) hot ticket waiver wire tight end to enter the spotlight. Griffin shined in Week 14 against the Colts, catching all 5 of his targets for a team leading 80 yards through the air. The 5 targets marked the 4th time this season Griffins received 5 or more looks from Deshaun Watson and he turned them into his highest yardage/weekly fantasy totals of the year.
Sadly, this feels like a total outlier performance for Griffin, whose weekly fantasy totals in the weeks leading up to Week 14 looked like this (1/0/3/1). He’s a low floor/low ceiling play in a hot offense going into a middle of the road matchup against the Jets in Week 15. You could do much worse than Griffin, but you could also do better. Stream away from the big man with your fantasy season on the line, he’s not worth the risk.
About a month ago this game could have realistically been a primetime NFC South blow-out for control of the division. The Panthers were roaring on all cylinders with a 6-2 record and the Saints looked damn near untouchable. Fast forward to present day, we’ve seen a chink in the Saints armor revealed by Dallas and the Panthers are 6-7 and officially in free fall after dropping 5-straight (including a loss to Cleveland in Week 14). Carolina’s defense still has playmakers (Luke Keuchly/Thomas Davis/Mario Addison), but it doesn’t have the firepower to make this a fair fight against the Saints. While New Orleans was humbled a few weeks back, they showed their resolve by battling back from a deficit against Tampa Bay last week and ultimately leaving their divisional foe in the dust. I look for New Orleans to do more of the same in Week 15 against the Panthers.
PRIMARY SUSPECT (Avoid at all costs)
Robby Anderson (New York Jets)
The 2018 Jets have some promising pieces for the future. They have the solid foundation of a defense with Derron Lee/Avery Williamson and their leader Jamal Adams. They also have their franchise QB in Sam Darnold, but they are almost completely devoid of fantasy-relevant pass-catching options.
Robby Anderson is my primary suspect this week because of recency bias (13 Points last week), and the fact that owners may feel tempted to trust him with news that Isaiah Crowell and Quincy Enunwa will miss Week 15’s game against Houston.
Let’s get right to the point, Anderson can’t be trusted just because he performed well in Week 14. His 13-point performance marked just his 2nd double digit fantasy total of the 2018 season (24 points in Week 5), and it also accounted for his 4th TD reception of the year. Some may point to Anderson’s breakout 2017 campaign and say “Look at these numbers, Darnold’s better than McCown! He can produce!”, and to that I say Robby Anderson simply isn’t the same player he was last season.
You have the same coaching staff, most of the same offensive weapons and a better QB installed under center and Anderson is still over 500 yards and 3 TDs off of his 2017 pace with just under a month left in the 2018 season. Robby was a popular name in the late rounds of fantasy drafts this season because of his possible suspension to start the year and his numbers from 2017, but he’s failed to live up to any of those expectations in 2018. Stream away from Anderson and put your trust in someone who deserves it in Week 15.
That’s another week in the books! I wish all of the owners that are still alive the best of luck in round 2 of the fantasy playoffs. Trust your gut, make the decisions you feel will lead you to victory, and let the chips fall as they may. Fantasy football is roughly 60% preparation and 40% luck, don’t beat yourself up over the 40% you can’t control. Just field the best team you can and have fun following along.