I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.
It allows me to preview fewer games (woohoo!) which means an even more concentrated effort on this week's sleepers, etc. if you're looking for last minute roster changes, as long as your league doesn't lock down once the first games are played.
Here they are:
C.J. Spiller versus the Jets
Whether he is a "sleeper" or not is up for debate, but now that Fred Jackson is out, Spiller becomes the man for the first time in his NFL career. He split time as backup with Jackson in the beginning of last year behind Marshawn Lynch, but was unable to outperform either Jackson or Lynch, and when Lynch was traded to Seattle, Jackson got the bulk of the workload.
For his career, Spiller has 95 carries, 398 yards, 1 TD, 4.2 yards per carry, 39 catches, 239 yards, 1 TD in 24 career games. This season his yards per carry has gone up from 3.8 to 5.5, but his carries have gone down from 5.3 per game to 2.1 per game. Lately, he has been working in as wide receiver.
Spiller was one of the most exciting players in college at Clemson, one of the top backs and kick returners in the league and that's what prompted the Bills to take him 12th overall in 2010. I am a huge Spiller fan and I hope that a big part of his struggles last year were because of youth and the Bills offense and potentially if Jackson became the league's top rusher in Buffalo, Spiller can come close to that production. I like Spiller as a low-end RB2, high-end Flex, with potential to be a RB1 for the rest of the year.
The Jets are allowing 4 yards per carry, 116.9 yards per game, and 1 TD per game this season against the run.
Matt Hasselbeck versus the Buccaneers
It's kind of hard to find QB sleepers because for one: What do you define as "sleeper" for a QB and two: Most people are set at QB. The news of Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub, Michael Vick, and Matt Cassel has started to deplete the well though.
Hasselbeck threw 8 TD in his first four games but only 6 in the last 6 with 5 INTs. He also got hurt against the Falcons which led to the debut of Jake Locker but Hasselbeck is expected to start this week against Tampa Bay.
The Bucs do not have a great pass defense and it might be a sneaky play to put Matt in there if you're scrambling for answers. 250 yards and 2 TDs would not be shocking. It's still hard to not get excited about when Locker is going to get his full-time shot though.
Eric Decker versus the Chargers
We were almost ready to call Decker a must-start for awhile there... almost. He compiled 409 yards receiving and 7 TDs over an eight game stretch, but in his last two games with Tebow, he's caught 1 pass. That 1 pass was a 56 yard TD but still... one catch in two games and it's hard to know if he'll get a TD or get zilch.
The good news is that he's clearly Tebow's favorite target and Decker put up a TD in three straight games with Tebow.
The Chargers have allowed the most passing TDs in the league, 19, and if anyone in Denver catches a TD, I would suspect it's Decker.
Legedu Naanee and Greg Olsen versus the Colts
Steve Smith and Cam Newton should get their's, but if you're really looking for answers at WR, Naanee is a deep sleeper worth considering. Opposing teams are completing a ridiculous 70.9% of their passes against the Colts defense. It could be a career game for Newton and Naanee caught 8 passes two weeks ago.
Olsen is a backend TE1 in 12-team league, good backup TE. This weeks matchup though give him the opportunity for TE1 numbers.
Toby Gerhart versus the Falcons
The guy who was the Heisman candidate at Stanford before Andrew Luck will get the start this week in place of Adrian Peterson's high ankle. He made a start last season against the Bears and had 77 yards on 16 carries. Three weeks earlier he had 76 yards on 22 carries and a TD. Its was his first and only TD of his career.
The Falcons rank 2nd in the league against the run in terms of yards per game allowed and 7th in yards per carry against. Still, this is going to be Gerharts show, and a starting running back workload is better than a backups workload. 80 yards and a TD is not out of the question.
Joe McKnight versus the Bills
Shonn Greene is probable to play against the Bills, but LaDainian Tomlinson is listed as questionable. That opens the door for McKnight to steal carries against a team that's allowed 12 rushing touchdowns in 10 games.
McKnight was once the top recruit in the nation and decided to go to USC, but it was a crowded backfield and he was never featured like you'd expect a top recruit to be featured. His junior season was less impressive than his sophomore year and he slipped to the fourth round. He's a talented back but would need more injuries to happen if he would become a feature back in the NFL. Still, if you're looking for sleepers in a desperate situation, McKnight is a backup to a banged up back against a bad rush defense.
The Players that Disappoint Their Parents
Stevie Johnson versus Darrelle Revis
A.J. Green versus Joe Haden
Even if he's healthy, he has to match up with one of the top corners in the NFL.
Drew Brees versus the Giants
Look, I could tell you that Rex Grossman is going to find it hard to play against the Seahawks, but you're not playing Rex Grossman. I could tell you that Colt McCoy, or Andy Dalton, or Blaine Gabbert are going to struggle too, but why? You're not playing those guys. So who do I tell you to be wary about?
The Giants give up 239 passing yards per game, but they've allowed only 12 TD versus 14 INT in four games. Do I think Brees is going to be BAD? No. Do I think you should or would bench him? Hell no. But this isn't a great matchup for him.
Against Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and St. Louis he struggled this year. He may struggle against the Giants too.
Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert versus Denver
It's interesting that Denver is actually good at something, but they've only allowed 5 rushing touchdowns this season and on 3.9 yards per carry. See, other things help Denver wins besides Tebow. JK, Tebow does all the run defense too.
The Players That Get Turkey Sandwiches for a Job Well Done
Cam Newton and Steve Smith versus the Colts
As I said before with Naanee and Olsen.
Matt Forte versus the Raiders
The Raiders allow 5.2 yards per carry and 1 TD per game. Forte will have a big day.
Steven Jackson versus the Cardinals
Arizona has allowed 12 TDs this season on the ground and 127 yards per game.
Matt Ryan and Roddy White versus the Vikings
Minnesota has given up 19 passing touchdowns and 281.4 yards per game in the air. If Julio Jones is 100% he may bump himself up over White again, and be the slightly better play, but you have got to LOVE Matt Ryan, White, Jones, and Tony Gonzalez this weekend.
Mike Wallace versus the Chiefs
Wallace has not exploded like one would hope over the last three weeks, but the Chiefs have given up 18 passing touchdowns. They could give up 2 more to Wallace and Big Ben, Antonio Brown are also nice plays.
Follow me on twitter @casetines
- It was not long ago at all that the Jets, Patriots, and Bills were tied atop the AFC East. It just FEELS that way. Now the Bills and Jets are at 5-5 and looking for answers. One of them will find some hope and the other will be completely done in the AFC East at 5-6. I could see the Jets blowing this game, but they probably won't. I hope that Spiller destroys them though, only because I love C.J. Spiller. It will be an interesting twist to the game.
- Do the Browns and Bengals HAVE to play each other? Please, can't we watch something else?? These two non-descript teams are too much alike and I never know which is which. They're both the "brownish-orangish team that's not the Steelers or Ravens." The Bengals could, and should, get to 7-4 though. It will only matter if they beat the Steelers and Ravens in their rematches.
- The Bucs will see their playoff hopes dead if they lose in Tennessee. For the Titans, they only have to catch up to a non-Matt Schaub Texans team if they lose. If they win, the Titans are very much alive and they should win. Will Chris Johnson do ANYTHING though? He's the most dangerous player to play and the most dangerous player to bench. Nate Washington is looking more like an every week player.
- In another "OH MY GOD DOES THIS GAME HAVE TO HAPPEN" moment: Cardinals at Rams. Both of these teams are far, far away from contending. The Rams offense is just the worst, and why? They have Sam Bradford, Jackson, and Brandon Lloyd. It's too bad that Lloyd can't catch a fish in a bucket and there's no line to protect Bradford and Jackson.
- What happened Beanie Wells?
- The Colts host the Panthers, a game that looked winnable for Indianapolis not long ago. The Panthers look miles ahead of the Colts in terms of rebuilding, but don't be so quick to judge. The Panthers defense is absolutely terrible. A team is more than just a single player, even if Cam Newton is very special. This should be a blowout in favor of Carolina, but Newton struggles in the red zone. Donald Brown could have a nice game against the Panthers. That's another sleeper for you.
- If the Colts win though, they're actually only a game ahead of Carolina in the draft standings.
- Matt Leinart is a sneaky play rest of season. I mean, he's got Owen Daniels, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, and Ben Tate. That's nothing to sneeze at. He may have improved a lot since Arizona. Don't be so sure that he's not going to have a couple of nice games. The Jags are a good pass defense though and they dominated Joe Flacco and the Ravens receivers a few weeks ago.
- I would play Andre Johnson this week if you don't have much better, more obvious options. I have Victor Cruz and Dez Bryant in my two WR slots though, so I may give Andre a week to get back in the swing of things. If I put him in my flex, I do it over Kevin Smith, Toby Gerhart, and LeGarrette Blount. I'm just not so sure yet and the formula for Johnson is: back from injury, tough pass defense, new QB. It's a scary formula.
- Caleb Hanie is a starting QB in the NFL now.
- I've made fun of other teams, I won't spare my Seahawks. Redskins at Seahawks? UGGHH. What a terrible game that's going to be. Maybe close, maybe you see some good defense, but who like 9-6 football? I'll watch highlights of Harvard-Princeton 1941 instead.
- If Denver beats San Diego in San Diego, then the Chargers should be renamed the LOLCATS. That's shameful. You were supposed to be good San Diego.
- Philadelphia beat New England this week? These two teams are way too unpredictable. It would be nice to see Vick versus Brady. Tom Brady should have a good game. So should DeSean Jackson.
- Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh at Kansas City. National television. Seriously? When's the flex scheduling kicking in? WHY ARE WE ALWAYS WATCHING THE CHIEFS ON NATIONAL TELEVISION?!?!
- Giants at Saints on Monday night.. Finally, some sanity. I mean honestly, I could have told you before the year that some of the Monday and Sunday night games were bad ideas. Take a look at some of the teams that have played on Sunday and Monday night this year:
- Week 1 - Miami, Oakland, Denver.
- Week 2 - St. Louis.
- Week 3- Indianapolis on Sunday night, Washington on Monday night. Now, I know that you couldn't have known about Peyton Manning, but the Redskins? I know Washington-Dallas is a big rivalry, but for who? I certainly don't care.
- Week 6 - Minnesota, Miami. That's twice now with the Dolphins. And did anyone tell them that Brett Favre is not a Viking anymore?
- Week 7 - Colts for the third time. Jacksonville.
- Week 8 - Kansas City.
- Week 10 - Minnesota again. Also, I haven't mentioned them yet, but Jets show up a lot. I know they have Rex Ryan and all that, but does anyone at ESPN or NBC watch Mark Sanchez?
- Week 11 - KC again.
- I know what some of you are saying, "Hey, I'm a fan of that team! Don't talk crap!" but let's be honest. I'm a fan of the Seahawks and I know it's not right to subject a national audience to that offense. It's cruel. Let's schedule some more exciting games next year and insert the flex scheduling sooner.