Week 7 is in the book and with it, another week of stressful fantasy predictions. Having never written before, I was not banking on being quite so effected by having inaccurate predictions. Each week, it seems that the discussion rests heavily on similar players. Each week 10-16 quarterbacks and started, and the same is said with the tight end position. Having only a short-range to cover makes predictions quite difficult. As such, you’ll see some repeat players from time to time, but that is the nature of the beast. The difficulty has been identifying those players who will break the mold and be the surprise top 12 play you, our readers, are hoping to draft to your team a week early. For example, see the great call by Bryan Robinson on Odel Beckham Jr. You want to be the guy reading his work and drafting that player to your team.
For every stable (Olsen, Gronk, Gates) there is an unstable/surprise (Cumberland, Escobar, Helfet) that no one talks about. There in lies the tricky part when setting your tight end each week. Certainty vs. Uncertainty. The positive is that the position continues to settle into a top 10 of expected players. The oddities are, as stated, oddities. Trying to bank on one of these unknowns catching fire is incredibly different. Instead, we must maintain our focus on the players who have performed most consistently. This is something to consider in the quarterbacks position as well, as there isn’t much wiggle room. The majority of leagues start 1 QB and 1 TE. It’s best to try to avoid the high upside play, and instead stick with what works. WR and RB are your places to flirt with danger.
This is something to keep in mind as we continue moving forward into the second half of the season. As long as you aren’t 1-7, there is a great chance you can still make the fantasy playoffs. With that said, those on the opposite end of the spectrum, 7-1 or 8-0; are in a great position to stay the course. While I suggest everyone always play with their own thoughts in mind, may I offer this small bit of advice.
“Stay consistent!” If you’re winning, don’t get wild and crazy with high upside players unless needed. Be smart!
I now, as I do each week, submit to you the “hits” and “misses” from my week 7 predictions. Dear god please let me have done better than I did the past two weeks.
Hits – Good Call!
Carson Palmer – Just barely did I hit this one. Palmer did not play quite as predicted, but did enough to secure the #10 spot. Cleaning the rust, and having a favorable defensive passing week vs. the Eagles should again have him in the “must play” section.
Clay Harbor – Should I feel good about this call? It feels like I’m cheating, but I’ll take it. Harbor had 6 receptions, which was great, but no touchdowns. I actually don’t hate him going forward, but Jacksonville has problems putting points on the board.
Misses – Just once, I’d like to exchange these values.
Andrew Luck – This is actually the first time Luck hasn’t been one of the elite in 2014. However, here are his numbers for a “bad” day. 344 yards, 2 TD, 0 Int. It’s rough putting this as a miss, since starting him would be the right decision. However, I missed on top 5.
Cam Newton – You’re dead to me Cam Newton, and there is a fair chance I’ve said this before. We loved Newton based on one really good week and name value alone. However, an uninspired game and only 41 yards against the NFL’s softest run defense have soured me on this player. Sorry Cam, but we’re off again.
Andy Dalton – I was wrong. I was way, way wrong on Andy Dalton. There were plenty of people who tried to convince me otherwise, but I was dead set on him being the man this year. Dalton has been, well he’s just been a complete disappointment. I have very, very little to say about Dalton other than him being in the same category as Cam Newton. Welcome to Dumpsville Andy.
Drew Brees – I once wrote, “Never bench your studs” and what do you know, I bench Brees and he goes off. I apologize to the fantasy gods, please have mercy on me. His stats? 342 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int.
Greg Olsen – As with Luck, here is a player who missed the top 5 but was top 10 and thus a great play. However, I think he goes in the miss this week. He continues to be one of the most targeted TE’s and a top 5 the rest of the way. You should always be playing Olsen. 105 yards, 8 receptions is everything you hope for out of a TE.
Jordan Reed – I’m happy to know that I wasn’t alone in predicting big things from Reed. They did suffer from a QB change mid-game, and a week working with Colt McCoy should do wonders. I’m still a big believer in Reed and believe he’s a top 12 guy going forward.
Jason Witten – The opportunities simply are not there for Witten. This once elite and future hall of fame player has been an absolute shell of himeslf. It’s simply a matter of not receiving any opportunities. We have no idea what happened between Romo and Witten in the off-season; but the bromance is over.
Martellus Bennett – The mythical “Black Unicorn” failed to produce in week 7. As a whole, the tight end position was incredibly underwhelming as the 10th best tight end (Lance Kendrik) had 7 points. Rough week period.
Alright, 2-10 which is better than last week, but I continue to not even hit 50% accuracy. If I can’t hit 50% this week, then maybe it’s time for a change yeah? Why continue depriving the readers of accurate predictions.
No empthaty requested kiddies, its time to get focused.
QB 1 (Top 5/Must Start) – Drew Brees: I went into the season praying to the gods that Brees would land on my team, and how did I repay them? By benching Brees when he had one of his best fantasy games of the season. My reasoning was simple: The Lions defense was the best in the NFL, Graham was out, and Brees had been less than stellar in 2014. This week, I love the Saints at home against the Packers. The Pack rank 11th in the league against the pass, but I have a feel Brees continues his return to form. I know, I know, OBVIOUSLY you’re starting Brees, but I’ve got to pay my guy back and make him my top discussion QB this week.
QB 2 (Top 10/Must Start) – Tom Brady: At least there is some debate to this player right? You may be curious why I have Brady as my #2 guy, and I simply will respond to that by rattling off his stats over the past three games: 965 Yards, 9 TD, 0 Int. Yes, I love Brady. They’ll face a Chicago defense which is 23rd in the league and riddled with locker room turmoil. I love Brady this week and suggest he start in all leagues.
QB 3 (Top 12/Must Start) – Carson Palmer: I’ll be riding this train for the next few weeks, as he’s shown the ability to remain a top 12 player. Also, check out the schedule: Eagles, @Dallas, St. Louis, Detroit, Seattle (not scary), @Atlanta, KC, Stl, Seattle (home). I love it! Ellington has been a real treat this season, and Fitzgerald is finally started to make the most of all opportunities. He may be a bubble top 12 player, but I still have him as a top 12 player regardless. I expect to see Palmer start in most leagues, as Kaepernick and Manning on the bye will give those who are nervous the push to start Palmer.
QB 4 (Outside Top 16/Do Not Start) – Ben Roethlisberger: Here’s the thing, I’m a big fan of the Steelers offense and generally have been predicted QB’s vs. Indy to be starters. However, Indy has proven to be a very good defense. It blows my mind, but the Colts are on of the 3 best defense against opposing quarterbacks. The “vs. Peyton rule” (Peyton is always up so opposing teams have to throw thus giving value to their QB) no longer exists. Ben, despite having one of the best WR/RB combos in the league (Brown/Bell) has been terrible the past few weeks. Hey, I get it, I haven’t been the picture of accuracy for the past few weeks; but there is no chance I’m playing Ben in any league.
QB 5 (Spotlight QB) – Zach Mettenberger: I’m not sure what to expect from Mettenberger when he starts against the Texans in week 8, but I’m incredibly curious and will be watching intently. Now, without a doubt he’s the type of player that should be stashed in many keeper leagues. They have a very solid set of wide receivers and a promisng young running back. The Titans are the picture of a team that should drastically improve with age. What does that have to do with my week 8 discussion? Not a lot, but he’s a player that I suggest all fantasy owners keep their eyes on. So, for the sake of predictions, here’s a quick look at what I think he’ll do: 254 yards, 1 TD, 2 Int.
TE 1 (Top 5 TE/Must Start) – Jimmy Graham: As with most “top 5” plays, I feel like I’m cheating slightly. Graham is, after all, the best TE in football (when healthy) and obviously a mandatory start. Graham has a favorable matchup against the Packers and should have a really good week as the Saints look to win and win big. Though the professionals may have Graham outside their top 5, I am banking on a huge week for the elite talent.
TE 2 (Top 10/Must Start) – Jordan Reed: As stated above, Reed continues to be a must play despite a rough week 7. The Colt McCoy start should have 0 impact on Reed’s value; but Colt McCoy should utilize Reed heavily as a safety valve. The ‘Skins will be in Dallas where they’ll certainly lose, but that should not detract from Reed’s value. Having said that, if Reed fails to produce this week he’ll find himself spending more time on the bench than starting.
TE 3 (Top 12/Must Start) – Delanie Walker: Walker has been one of the best fantasy tight ends in 2014 and despite having a difficult matchup against Houston, as well as having a rookie QB, I still think he’s a top 12 play. I have a feeling this pick could come back to bite me, but I always believe in the rookie QB utilizing his tight end heavily.
TE 4 (Top 16/Do Not Start) – Charles Clay: I’ve been quite disappointed with Charles Clay in 2014. This was a player who cracked the top 10 regularly in 2013, but so far has only recorded a single double-digit game. There is always the chance Clay continues his emergence, especially when you take the exceptional play of Ryan Tannehill into account. Many will look to Jacksonville and assume they equate to instant fantasy points, however they have been rather stout lately and are not to be slept on. The may not be a very good team in terms of fantasy players, but the Jags continue to improve each week. I suggest staying away from Clay, but like Walker before him, this one makes me nervous.
TE 5 (Spotlight) – Coby Fleener: While it’s evident Luck favors Dwayne Allen (more fantasy points than Jimmy Graham) it would be foolish to sleep on Fleener. It’s not often that we see two “start worthy” tight ends from the same team, but I believe we’re on the cusp of such a scenario. Fleener has shown steady improvement each week as Luck continues to throw balls his way. The targets and points increase, and along with that a rise to fantasy relevance. To note, he’s currently the 13th ranked fantasy TE! If you’re holding on to Witten or looking for a week-to-week player, then Fleener is the one for you. I actually think he could have a top 16 week, but I’ve been wrong before.