Thursday, December 19, 2013

PLAYER RANKINGS - CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK

By Michael H. Osinski
@mhosinskiLLP


Championship Week. Six months of research, mock drafts, matchup analysis. Not much commentary. Just Rankings...

Next week we will recap the Finals and give Fantasy awards. For now, just go be win.


QB

I can't remember a season in which there were so many unresolved QB issues this late in the Fantasy Season. Sure, occasionally teams had to go to the waiver wire to replace a QB being rested in the last week, but one of the best QBs in the league may or may not play (Rodgers) while another who was the toast of Fantasy in 2012 (RGIII) is not playing. RGIII's replacement (Kirk Cousins) is a hot replacement target because he may have the year's best matchup (Dallas...we should spell it without a "D" these days). Usually, teams playing for a Championship are riding Brees.

Because of the numbers put up by Rodgers when he played, McCown when he played and by guys not drafted but picked from the wire (Foles, Palmer, Rivers) a few Championship contending teams are dealing with QB issues. (A team in the league I am NOT in the Championship rosters Cutler, McCown and Rodgers). I know of 1 team playing for Championship with Palmer...they hopefully are choosing a replacement for Sunday.

And, a couple of the replacement QBs have better matchups than the ones on rosters. Kirk Cousins and Ryan Fitzpatrick should be played this week if you got to your Championship with Roethlisberger, Flacco or maybe even Andrew Luck. Hell, Brady vs. BAL is no picnic. Choose wisely.

One of my choices is Foles v. Kaepernick. Hate those close ones.

1. Phil Rivers (SD): Gets OAK. Needs a win to keep playoff hopes alive. Only caveat is getting big early lead and then all Ryan Mathews.
2. Peyton Manning (DEN): After last week's pedestrian outing, expect a barrage against a team mailing it in.
3. Nick Foles (PHI): CHI defense really hasn't been. This figures to be a shoot out.
4. Jay Cutler (CHI): Like I said, this figures to be a shootout. And, Cutler is better than Cassell.
5. Russell Wilson (SEA): ARZ was torched by FitzMagic last week. Good to have DangeRuss this week.
6. Colin Kaepernick (SF): ATL defense not so good and CK and team peaking at right time.
7. Andy Dalton (CIN): I can't believe this...but look at who he is playing.
8. Drew Brees (NO): Weird having him this low, but on the road...vs about the best defense.
9. Cam Newton (CAR): Weird feeling about this game...like Cam runs for 100+ 2 TDs and throws for enough to win.
10.Matt Stafford (DET): Not careful with the ball lately, but he's home again and needs to win to save his coach.
11. Tony Romo (DAL): Haven't given up on him yet...and it IS WSH.
12. Ben Roesthlisberger (PIT): GB has won a couple in a row, but they really are not stopping anyone.

Try to avoid: Manning, Palmer, Cassell, Glennon

Possible Sleeper: Kirk Cousins (Dallas is going to get shelled)

RB

Last week was weird. One guy scores 5 TDs. Brown scores 2 pts. Moreno 5. It goes on. Boom or bust. Few RBs had "regular" weeks. That Bronco game killed a few teams. I was lucky.

The best route to a Championship is a good predictable running game. Grade them correctly, fewer mistakes.

1. LeSean McCoy (PHI): I know Briggs may be back, but my Daughter could run for 100+ against that defense.
2. Jamaal Charles (KC): This year's Fantasy MVP is clicking on all cylinders. Neutral matchup, but no matter.
3. Eddie Lacy (GB): Assumes Rodgers doesn't play. PIT won't stop Fantasy ROY.
4. Zac Stacy (STL): He will no doubt get 25 carries again.
5. Adrian Peterson (MIN): Coach says he is playing. Hedging having him this low in case of re-injury.
6. Marshawn Lynch (SEA): Never worry about who he plays. He's at home. Last year the score up there was like 100-0.
7. Knowshon Moreno (DEN): May share 4th Q clock killing carries w/Ball but will still have nice game.
8. Matt Forte (CHI): Good matchup, but I think this game goes through the air mostly.
9. Alfred Morris (WSH): The most dependable RB in the NFL who doesn't get enough TD chances.
10. DeMarco Murray (DAL): Why does he not get the ball more? I ask this every week.
11. Ryan Mathews, (SD): Maybe a bit high, but he is going to kill the clock starting in Q3.
12. Frank Gore (SF): Just like Ryan, SF gets big early lead and grinds the end out.
13. Reggie Bush (DET): Team needs to win. Hope they are disciplined enough to get RB his 20 touches.
14. Gio Bernard (CIN): Am I the only one thinking this game goes 42-14 Bengals?
15. Jordan Todman (JAX): 4.4 wheels and opportunity. Had 153 from scrimmage last week.
16. Bobby Rainey (TB): Based on sheer volume. Thinking 25 carries 95 yds and a TD.
17.Le'Veon Bell (PIT): Ben is going to have to pass to have a shot at winning.
18. Andre Brown (NYG): Not sure what last week was about, but that won't happen again.
19. Rashad Jennings (OAK): SD not great defense. He'll catch a lot of passes as OAK will be playing from behind.
20. Shane Vereen (NE): Drank the Kool Aid before last week's game. Not getting fooled twice.
21. Dennis Johnson (HOU): Thinking this is mostly in the passing game as HOU will need to play catch up.
22. Fred Jackson (BUF): Lewis playing means lots of running.
23. CJ Spiller (BUF): Lewis playing means lots of running.
24. BJGE (CIN): Teah 42-14ish means the Law Firm rolls in Q4.
25. DeAngelo Williams (CAR): You can run on NO and he is not sharing with Stewart.

Just out: Rice, Ivory, DBrown

Try to avoid: Mendenhall, Thomas/Miller

Possible Sleeper: Montee Ball

WR

1. Josh Gordon (CLE): Jets secondary is actually tertiary. He goes deep twice for scores.
2. Calvin Johnson (DET): Drops were bothersome Monday. Expect a bunch of points without drops this week.
3. AJ Green (CIN): Dalton, Gio, BJGE, AJ...they all have big days.
4. Andre Johnson (HOU): Do you have any idea how many times Schaub is going to throw to keep up? 20 targets?
5. Pierre Garcon (WSH): He is playing Dallas. Expect at least a repeat of last week.
6. Brandon Marshall (CHI): He is better than Greg Jennings by a bit.
7. Dez Bryant (DAL): Just throw him the damn ball.
8. Antonio Brown (PIT): After scoring big in bad matchups, he gets a good one.
9. Alshon Jeffery (CHI): Lots of points in this game.
10. DeSean Jackson (PHI): Lots of points in this game.
11. Demaryious Thomas (DEN): This low because I think they spend the last Q 1/2 running.
12. Jordy Nelson (GB): Expecting Flynn under center. If Rodgers move him to 8.
13. Julian Edelman (NE): Brady's most reliable target.
14. Keenan Allen (SD): #1 option for Rivers keeps his rookie roll going.
15. Vincent Jackson (TB): Should be good for a long TD.
16. Eric Decker (DEN): Assumes no Welker to share targets.
17. Marques Colston (NO): Brees relies on him in tough games. This is one of them.
18. Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ): Gonna have trouble with the Legion of Boom.
19. Michael Crabtree (SF): Those who stashed him were waiting for this matchup.
20. Kendall Wright (TEN): Been steady all year...and 34 targets last 3 weeks.
21. Mike Wallace (MIA): Just a hunch he and Ryan click on a long one.
22. Doug Baldwin (SEA): He has been a reasonably hot WR.
23. Greg Jennings (MIN): Man does he love Matt Cassell.
24. Jarret Boykin (GB): Flynn figured out he is usually open.
25. Riley Cooper (PHI): Like I said, lots of points in this game.

Just out: Streater, Patterson

Try to avoid: Bowe, Nicks

Possible Sleeper: Rueben Randle

TE

1. Julius Thomas (DEN): Peyton gets him into the EZ a couple times this week.
2. Jimmy Graham (NO): Last week's egg and this week's opponent (CAR) should give a bit of pause.
3. Vernon Davis (SF): He is a TD machine.
4. Delanie Walker (TEN): Great matchup. He is on a bit of a hot streak and the QB trusts him.
5. Zach Miller (SEA): ARZ last in defending TEs and they rarely disappoint.
6. Jason Witten (DAL): Hasn't been as consistent in targets this year, but tough to stay away.
7. Dennis Pitta (BAL): NE has had trouble w/TEs lately and Flacco depends on this guy.
8. Tony Gonzalez (ATL): Figures to be the only guy open.
9. Jordan Cameron (CLE): Assumes he plays.
10. Garrett Graham (HOU): Assumes he plays.
11. Charles Clay (MIA): Wait til next yr when Tannehill can throw to him and Dustin.
12. Greg Olsen (CAR): Has been good, though matchup is not.

Just out: Ertz, Eifert

Try to avoid: Fleener, HMiller

Possible Sleeper: Marcedes Lewis

DEF

The Fantasy Championship is no time to get too cute with defenses...or is it?

I always stream. This year at some point I landed hot defenses and rode CAR-CAR-ARZ in my 3 leagues. Because of matchups, I am dumping them all this week. I know the CAR-NO game is in CAR, but I am not taking chances. Last time ARZ visited SEA the score was about 100-0. Not taking that chance.

OK, if you have SEA, SF or KC you are playing them. They are 1-3.

#4 might be STL (I picked them up in 2 leagues). They are vicious at home with 18 sacks and 7 picks in the last 4 home games. TB isn't going to do much to keep that from happening again.

CIN is good at home and gets MIN, so they are #5.

The NYG are a turnover machine, so this week DET is #6.

The NYJ (even at home) turn the ball over. So, CLE is #7.

BUF sacks people and picks off passes better than most. Tannehill spends a lot of time on his back and is usually good for at least 1 pick, so #8.

Dark horse...DET is careless with the ball, so NYG #9.

Schaub playing and throwing a lot...so his 3 picks will make DEN #10.

Just out: CAR, NO

Try to avoid: OAK, CHI

Possible Sleeper: MIA gets Thad Lewis.

K

I'm sticking with the same theory I have always had. Kickers in domes. Think Justin Tucker Monday.

If you can't get a dome guy, take the California Ks...Nick Novak. I have Novak in one Championship game and deciding whether to keep Henery in the other.

Roster accordingly.

Good luck in your Championship games. I am available for questions at @mhosinskiLLP.