Guest of the League
Appleton Papermakers Blue Est. 2004
FFL: Playoff Week 3 | NFL: Week 15

Lineup Prep: Super Bowl

Wed Jan 31 8:55 am
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

White looks for repeat showing


Time sure flies, right? It is hard to believe this is the last week of the season. Hopefully, the season ends on a high note and we get to see a great Super Bowl. On paper, it would seem the game should be a good one but nothing is ever certain when it comes to this stuff. We will find out soon enough. Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .

Alright, here is my prediction for the game. I'm going with the Patriots, winning 28-24. I think it will be a close game but the Patriots are just too much for the Eagles, especially with Carson Wentz out of the lineup. If Wentz were in there, I think I pick the Eagles to win it all. He is too big of a difference maker for the offense to overcome. I know Nick Foles looked great his last time out but I have a hard time seeing him match that production in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady just wins big games and I think he will win another one this weekend.

I think my fifth-grade son was the only person on the planet excited about the Pro Bowl last weekend. He was glued to the television, watching the game and the festivities leading up to it. So kudos to the NFL for at least getting one fan interested in the Pro Bowl. I'm not sure if anyone watched it besides him.

I'm really anxious to see how all the quarterback needy teams address the position this offseason. There is going to be a lot of movement on this front in both free agency and through the draft. And I'm not convinced there is a quarterback that can step right in and be an impact player next season - like Deshaun Watson from this past year. All the top quarterbacks have some growing to do at the position.

I like the hire of Matt LaFleur as offensive coordinator in Tennessee. I think this could be a great thing for Marcus Mariota. LaFleur has learned from some of the best the last few seasons and should provide a boost to a pretty stagnant offense from this past season. Don't give up on Mariota just yet to be a fantasy superstar. He can still get it going, especially with LaFleur now calling plays.

It isn't official yet but the Colts are going to hire Josh McDaniels after the Super Bowl to be their head coach. Needless to say, this is great news for Andrew Luck if he comes back healthy. McDaniels should be a great get for this offense from a fantasy perspective, especially if Luck is playing. Luck could be a monster in this offensive scheme.

So Alex Smith heads to the Redskins. We get our first big trade and it isn't even officially the offseason yet. Smith should be a good fit for the Redskins. I doubt he repeats his huge numbers from this past season with the Chiefs, but he is going to get his chances to air it out in this offense. The Redskins are a pass-first offense, which is good news for Smith's fantasy value. Smith could be a low-end No. 1 for the '18 season. He could have some big games - similar to Kirk Cousins. As for Cousins, he is going to land a huge contract with some quarterback-needy team this offseason. It will be interesting to see where he lands.

HOT PLAYS

Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots. Amendola has been the go-to target for the Patriots in the playoffs. He has 18 receptions for 202 yards and two scores in two games. He has been targeted 22 times in two games. We would expect his workload to be heavy once again this week against the Eagles. Amendola is a tough cover out of the slot - even for a good Eagles pass defense.

Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles. Ertz was a little quiet in the Eagles playoff opener but was a force in their last game, catching eight passes for 93 yards. He should be targeted heavily in the Super Bowl. Ertz is the top playmaker in the passing game for the Eagles. The Patriots have improved against the pass throughout the season but still ranked 30th overall against the pass for the year. Ertz can have a lot of success in this matchup.

COLD PLAYS

Jay Ajayi, RB, Eagles. Ajayi is getting the most work in the Eagles backfield but that doesn't mean he is producing huge numbers in that role. He has not scored in the playoffs and had just two scores all season. He is getting some yards but still hasn't topped 75-rushing yards in a game since Week 11. He has been pretty mediocre most weeks. Expect similar production this week from Ajayi.

Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots. Hogan had a great start to his season but injury keep him out of hotel lineup nearly the entire second half of the year. And he has done little since his return. He did score a touchdown in the Patriots playoff opener but has just three receptions for 24 yards in the two playoff games. He is a hard guy to trust right now, producing very little since returning to the lineup.

SLEEPERS

Nick Foles, QB, Eagles. Foles had a game to remember his last time out, playing near flawless football against a very good Vikings pass defense. He was 26-of-33 for 352 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover. He has a lot more pressure on him this week, but also a much easier matchup. We wouldn't be surprised if he posts big numbers once again this week. The Patriots allowed the seven most fantasy points to quarterbacks during the regular season.

James White, RB, Patriots. Remember last year's Super Bowl? Well, he is a refresher. White had a career game, finishing with three touchdowns, including the game-winning score. He also had 14 receptions for 110 yards in the game. White has touchdowns in each of the two playoff games this year, so he is coming into the playoffs hot. He could have another big game in the Super Bowl.

Player Notes
Cam Newton Dec 15 3:30am ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense is bad. Despite what we've seen in recent weeks, there is enough evidence to suggest that they're more likely to remain bad than turn a corner. They had a great day against the 49ers and took advantage of an injured Cam Newton but with the Ravens coming up, they should be avoided. The Ravens' strengths are the Buccaneers' weaknesses. Their ability to manipulate defenses on designed QB runs along with their versatile running backs should cause trouble for a bottom-five defense like Tampa. More-so the Bucs defense has struggled away from Raymond James Stadium which doesn't help their case for Week 16 in Dallas either. Stay away.

From RotoBaller

Brandon Carr Dec 15 3:20am ET

Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries had a down week against the Saints but should bounce back in Week 15. Humphries will likely be matched up with Brandon Carr in the slot and have a decent amount of opportunities to beat him. The only cause for concern aside from the pressure that Jameis Winston will face is the time of possession. It's very likely that Baltimore posses the ball for large chunks of the game, giving the Buccaneers fewer drive attempts to produce and score on. Humphries has proven over the past few weeks to be reliable enough to look past that and as a result, he should be started. His matchup next week in Dallas is a lot less favorable, might as well take him on for one last dance.

From RotoBaller

Rashaad Penny Dec 14 9:50pm ET

Seattle Seahawks rookie running back Rashaad Penny (knee), who has been ruled out for the first game of his career in Week 15 against the 49ers, doesn't appear to be dealing with a serious injury. His injury was discovered after the win on Monday night, and he will remain in Seattle this weekend to continue his rehab. Head coach Pete Carroll said an MRI exam didn't show anything significant, but the coach didn't specify what the injury was. The team isn't concerned that Penny will be out for an extended period. Penny's absence will mean more time for J.D. McKissic this weekend, but he won't be fantasy relevant behind Chris Carson and Mike Davis. McKissic has played just three snaps in two games since coming off Injured Reserve several weeks ago.

From RotoBaller

Keenan Allen Dec 14 9:40pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (hip) was diagnosed with a hip pointer after being injured in the Thursday night win over the Chiefs, according to a source. He's not dealing with structural damage and this isn't an injury that will affect him in the long term. It's possible that Allen will miss some time, but it's unlikely to be much, if at all. The damage is already done for most of his fantasy owners, though, as his donut on Thursday night likely ruined the chances of his owners in the fantasy semifinals. For those that somehow make it through, the good news is he could be available in Week 16 in a tough matchup against the Ravens. If Allen's playing, he'll be a low-end WR1. Mike Williams, who had three touchdowns on Thursday, and Tyrell Williams will benefit if Allen has to miss any time.

From RotoBaller

Doug Baldwin Dec 14 9:40pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (hip), who is questionable for Week 15 against the 49ers, said he will play. Baldwin missed the Monday night win over the Vikings and has sat out three games all year with injuries. His various ailments have limited him to just 37 catches on the year after he's had at least 66 receptions each of the last four years. The injuries have made him realize that he may be nearing the end of his football career. Oh, I am on the downside, he said. Im 30 years old. I would not be able to play at the caliber Im now at 38, so Im definitely on the downside. On top of it, Seattle runs the ball more than any other team, so Baldwin will be a touchdown-dependent WR3 against San Fran.

From RotoBaller

Jeff Driskel Dec 14 6:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders defense/special teams are a punt option this week against the Bengals. They will be facing off against the Bengals backup quarterback Jeff Driskel, who only has three touchdowns in his last three games, along with one interception. The Raiders have been able to generate multiple interceptions in two of their last four games, so there is a bit of turnover upside in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Jordy Nelson Dec 14 5:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jordy Nelson is a viable fantasy option this Sunday against the Bengals. Nelson has seen 18 targets over the past two games and if you are in a deeper league and dealing with injuries, he has some PPR upside. The matchup is certainly a good one, as the Bengals come in with the 27th DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) against the pass this season. He should be able to continue seeing this volume and turn that into solid fantasy points for a third straight week.

From RotoBaller

Seth Roberts Dec 14 5:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts is a low-end fantasy option this Sunday against the Bengals. Roberts has seen six or more targets in three of his last four games, but hasn't posted any touchdowns or gained more than 76 yards. Roberts is very cheap in the DFS industry and with the Bengals having the 27th DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) versus the pass, he is in a spot to succeed but still makes a risky option due to the lackluster production.

From RotoBaller

Marcell Ateman Dec 14 5:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders rookie wide receiver Marcell Ateman is not a viable option this week against the Bengals. For a few weeks it appeared that Ateman was set for a large role in the offense, especially after had 10 targets, but since then he has only eight targets for five receptions for a total of 61 yards. He is simply too ineffective with the receptions to be a solid fantasy option despite the favorable matchup.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Dec 14 5:40pm ET

Oakland Raiders tight end Jared Cook is the best fantasy option on the team this Sunday against the Bengals. Cook has over 100 yards in two straight games along with having three touchdowns in three of his last four games. He also comes in with six or more targets in four of his last five games, showing that he is truly the best and most consistent option the Raiders have in the passing game. He has a great matchup this week against the Bengals who are 27th DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) against the pass this season.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Dec 14 5:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has seen some recent success and is in a spot to extend this production. Carr has posted multiple touchdowns in three of his last four games and is now up against the Bengals, who come in with the 27th DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) versus the pass. This is one of the better matchups on the slate and with the Raiders coming in with an implied team total set at 21, he should be in a spot to produce solid fantasy numbers.

From RotoBaller

Doug Martin Dec 14 5:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Doug Martin has a three-game touchdown streak in the works and he will look to extend that versus the Bengals this Sunday. Martin has seen double-digit carries in each game he has started since Marshawn Lynch went out with an injury and turned that into three touchdowns, one in each of his last three games. The matchup this week is very favorable since he is up against the Bengals who have the 28th DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) versus the rush this season.

From RotoBaller

Jalen Richard Dec 14 5:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders running back Jalen Richard is a riskier fantasy option this week, despite facing off against a very soft Bengals defense. Richard is coming a game where he only saw one target in the passing game, which was his lowest total since Week 2. Richard makes his living in the passing game and has seen four or more targets in 10 straight games. That PPR value is certainly very nice, but with the game set to be closer than usual, we could be seeing a solid workload for Doug Martin, limiting the chances for Richard.

From RotoBaller

Dante Pettis Dec 14 5:20pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida (ankle) and wide receivers Dante Pettis (foot) and Marquise Goodwin (calf) are all questionable for Week 15 against the Seahawks. Breida missed Week 14 but looks to be on track to return. He was initially injured against Seattle several weeks ago but could be a volume-based RB2 if he's not limited against Seattle. Breida's return would mean Jeffery Wilson would return to a backup role. Pettis has become an upside WR3 in PPR leagues, but San Fran's passing game would be in serious trouble if both Pettis and Goodwin sat out. Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and rookie Richie James might need to step up on Sunday, which would make Seattle's defense/special teams even more attractive.

From RotoBaller

Marcus Mariota Dec 14 5:13pm ET

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota (abdomen) was added to the injury report Friday, Dec. 14, as an abdominal issue limited him in practice. However, he was then removed from the report ahead of the Week 15 game against the New York Giants.

Fantasy Spin: There isn't anything to worry about as far as his availability on Sunday. He'll be facing the league's 19th-ranked pass defense, as the G-Men give up 249.0 yards per game through the air, including 51 pass plays of 20 or more yards. Still, he should be considered more of a QB2 in most fantasy leagues.

Nick Bellore Dec 14 5:13pm ET

Detroit Lions DT Da'Shawn Hand (knee), OT Ricky Wagner (concussion) and S Charles Washington (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Dec. 14, and have been ruled out for Week 15. LB Trevor Bates (ankle), FB Nick Bellore (ankle), CB Marcus Cooper (back), OT Taylor Decker (shoulder) and LB Devon Kennard (hip) were limited during practice and are listed as questionable.

Marcus Mariota Dec 14 5:03pm ET

Tennessee Titans RB David Fluellen (knee), LB Brian Orakpo (elbow) and TE Cole Wick (shoulder) did not practice Friday, Dec. 14 and each are ruled out for Week 15 against the New York Giants. QB Marcus Mariota (abdomen) and WR Tajae Sharpe (ankle) were limited in their work, while CB Dane Cruikshank (knee), CB Joshua Kalu (hamstring), OT Dennis Kelly (not injury related) and OT Taylor Lewan (shoulder) practiced in full and were all removed from the injury report.

Bruce Ellington Dec 14 5:03pm ET

Detroit Lions WR Bruce Ellington (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Dec. 14, and has been ruled out for Week 15.

Fantasy Spin: T.J. Jones, Andy Jones and Theo Riddick could all see some more targets with Ellington out of the lineup. Riddick can be a flex option in all leagues but will be more valuable in point-per-reception leagues. Kenny Golladay is probably the only Lions receiver that should be started in fantasy leagues.

Matthew Stafford Dec 14 5:03pm ET

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (back) was limited during practice Friday, Dec. 14, and is listed as questionable for Week 15.

Fantasy Spin: Stafford should be able to play this week, but owners can check the inactive list to make sure. He has thrown only two touchdowns in the last four games and should be benched if owners have better options available.

Jeff Driskel Dec 14 4:53pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals QB Jeff Driskel (shoulder) practiced in full on Friday, Dec. 14 and he was removed from the injury report ahead of the Week 15 game against the Oakland Raiders.

Fantasy Spin: Driskel continues to start with Andy Dalton (thumb) done for the season, so the Bengals get a chance to evaluate him for the future. However, fantasy owners should steer far clear of him, even against a Raiders pass defense allowing an NFL-high 31 passing scores this season.