“The Amateur Ward” The Front Seven (Linebacker/Defensive Line): Week 12
Yep, I love this time of year when school is on Thanksgiving Break, and I can relax, watch football and kick my feet up. This week’s edition is going to be one giant story of how Thanksgiving was to be in 2014. As we gear up for the postseason in fantasy football, be the smart owner who doesn’t necessarily rush to the wire for the shiny new hot car after a big week. Be the savvy owner who scoops up the veterans who got off to a slow start, but are coming on as of late. There are plenty of oldies but goodies on many a wire, so be smart. Unfortunately for me, many of my teams either lost players early due to injury or had the likes of Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, effectively ruining those teams. Fortunately though, I’ll be poised for next season with strong keepers and armed with high draft picks. But, I HATE losing, so no I’m not happy. My advice regarding AP is to try to trade for him if you can as he will be back next season with fresh legs. Rice and Hardy I would go ahead and drop, or trade on the cheap as I envision no team will want to affiliate themselves with either player. Rice is a sorry story as he had been a stud up until last season, when he fell off completely. Now the Ravens run game is hit-or-miss. This just goes to show that the NFL is serious when it comes to off the field issues these days. I don’t understand the AP ruling (suspended rest of season without pay, in appeal now), however, as what he did was much less serious than what Rice or Hardy did. I’m not condoning what AP did, just think that Goodell needed to use Peterson as his poster child and did so unjustly.
Last Week’s Recap
I split my Battle Royale matchups as Ryan Kerrigan defeated Connor Barwin 7.5-2 FP/MLFF with a stuff and a tackle (LOSS), but won my other one with Julius Peppers obliterating Corey Liuget by the tally of 21.7-1. Peppers went absolutely ham against the Eagles with a pick 6 and 2 hurries. Unfortunately, Barwin lost, so I lost my Championship as well.
The same story unfolded in my Battle of the Middle Class as Avery Williamson crushed Nigel Bradham 15-4.5 to go with 2 sacks and 8 tackles (WIN). In the second match, I lost as Jared Allen edged out Everson Griffen 10-7. Now I’m pissed, as I lost another championship round!
The Russian Roulette round was a tie as both Ndamukong Suh and Earl Mitchell produced 6 points. Mitchell probably had the more productive day in the tie with a sack and a hurry, versus a pass defensed for Suh. Chalk it up however you want.
Chris Borland vs. Alec Ogletree- This week’s top battle features a rookie that has gone completely insane (Borland) against Ogletree, who will look to continue the trend of making RGIIIs life miserable. Over the past 2 weeks RGIII has toil in total obscurity with 2 pass TDs and 3 picks the last 2 weeks. Not to mention the fact that he was sacked 6 times last weeks versus the 1-8 Bucs (now 2-8 after defeating Washington 27-7 last week), and this adds up to a fruitful day for Borland who has amassed an insane 92.7 fantasy points over the past 3 weeks, including 45.23 last week against the Giants with 2 picks, 3 passes defensed, and 13 tackles. His opposition, Alec Ogletree faces a reeling Chargers team that has dropped 3 of their last 4, with a narrow win over the Raiders last week. With Rivers’ Total QBR standing at 35.25 over the last 2 weeks, it’s a good bet to start opposing defensive players versus him. Rivers can light any defense up when he’s on, but with his current streak, he is a prime target for picks. (Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)
Winnner: Borland- I’ve been high on him for a number of weeks now, and Washington will do nothing to slow the Wisconsin locomotive down. He is a solid bet for another 20 point day. Ogletree is going to collect his stats on his way to a double-digit point day, but gotta ride the white-hot Badger right now.
J.J. Watt vs. Robert Quinn- These 2 were expected to be the top 2 DEs in fantasy this season, but due to Quinn’s slow start to the season, it didn’t work out that way. This week, Quinn will be challenged by Watt to advance to the Championship round of Battle Royale. I’m probably too ambitious about this matchup with the way Watt has played this season, but I like a challenge. Quinn has a favorable matchup against the Chargers this week, and should easily bring down Rivers for a sack or 2 this week to go with a handful of tackles against a reeling QB. Watt on the other hand is only leading all fantasy defensive players by a whopping 57.3 points/MLFF. From a purely passing offensive perspective, the Bengals rank 22nd in the league, while Dalton ranks at 20th. This is a ballsy call, but Watt is a sleeper for another receiving score this week, in addition to a stat line of 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 6 tackles. (Photo courtesy of kmov.com)
Winner: I’m actually going with the upset here. Quinn over Watt. Until the Chargers offense gains some traction, and Rivers shows some vast improvement on his measley QBR, he will continue to be a very risky option, with opposing defensive players teeing off on him. Quinn has turned on the jets the past few games, and he will finsish the season strong.
Championship Round: Borland vs. Quinn- 2 NFC West rivals facing off in the Championships? No prob, and great matchup. This one goes to Borland though as the Redskins simply are unable to stop anyone from harassing RGIII. Without Willis and Bowman the rest of the season, Borland is going to be laying the lumber and racking up the counting stats quickly.
Battle of the Middle Class
Jamie Collins vs. Chris Kirksey- Collins and the 8th ranked Patriots defense take on Matt Stafford in New England. This will be a fruitful matchup for Collins as the Lions offensive line is weak, allowing 31 sacks, while Stafford has been picked off 9 times. This is an aggressive projection, but pencil Collins in for 10 tackles and a pass defensed this week versus the Lions. Kirksey on the other hand, will be relied upon heavily with Dansby doubtful for Sunday’s tilt against the Falcons. Will Kirksey produce? He’ll provide owners with a nice tackle clip and a pass defensed, but that might be it as there are grumblings in Atlanta that if the Falcons lose this week, we should all cancel Christmas. (Photo courtesy of bostonherald.com)
Winner: Although I’m not high on the rookie Kirksey this week against the Falcons, this should be a close matchup, but Collins takes this one. Collins has been very consistent as the Patriots best defensive player since Mayo (patella tendon) went down for the season. I wrote on Collins earlier this season, and he seems to be an emerging force at LB for the Patriots and fantasy owners.
Calais Campbell vs. Jason Pierre-Paul- This is going to be a very interesting matchup, as Campbell and the third ranked Cardinals run defense visit the Seahawks for an NFC West showdown. Russell Wilson is a capable runner, but he will have to get it done through the air, where Arizona ranks 27th against the pass. Campbell has played well since the beginning of November, and will be key in applying pressure on Wilson this week to force errant passes. This should translate to a respectable line from Campbell. In another rivalry game, the Cowboys travel to New Jersey to take the GMen and Jason Pierre-Paul. JPP has been very hit/miss this season, but with Romo playing with a cracked back, he will be even more limited in his mobility. The key for the Giants will be limiting the damage that Demarco Murray does, as he has been by far the best running back in the NFL to date. Look for the boom JPP to show up this week versus Romo enroute to another solid day against the Cowboys for the second time this season. (Photo courtesy of footballsfuture.com)
Winner: Pierre-Paul. Betting against him hasn’t worked well for me in the past, so I’m going to go with him this week. He has a nice matchup against a limited mobility QB, while Campbell and the Cardinals defense will have to focus on keeping Wilson contained, and force bad throws.
Battle of the Middle Class Championship- Collins vs. JPP. I like both players’ match ups this week, but have to go with Collins here as the Detroit Lions offensive line has too many holes, and Collins should have no time wreaking havoc with a potential 15 point day. JPP could give him a run for his money in this one, however. Both are MUST starts.
Jurrell Casey vs. Kyle Williams- The battle of defensive tackles features a remarkably consistent tackle on a bad offensive team versus a young DT who has been largely a disappointment this season. Williams, the veteran Bills DT will not wow you with any of his skills at his age, but will provide a stable floor around 4.5 points/ game. When the Bills and Jets square off this week, the Jets will have to get it done on the ground, as the Jets have virtually no pass game, averaging a league worst 178.5 yards/game. Williams is a solid start this week against the Jets in Detroit, and should at least collect a sack against the Vick-led Jets (had 2 sacks October 26 against NYJ). Casey, a young DT has regressed after last season’s 10.5 sack season in 2013. The Titans paid him handsomely in the offseason, and now he must produce. When the Eagles and Titans square off in the City of Brotherly Love this week, it will be interesting to see how Mark Sanchez responds after getting ripped up by the Packers last week for 2 picks and 3 sacks as the Eagles got run over 53-20. Given Sanchez’s history of being rattled, look for Casey to be head hunting him all game with a high probability of a sack. (Photo courtesy of profootballspot.com)
Winner: Casey. Williams could very well put up a 10 point day against the Jets this week, but Casey is due for a big game after only posting 4 sacks on the season. He will look to slow down the eagles high-flying offense that’s posting 29.9 points/game, but that was largely with Foles at QB. Scale those numbers back some with Sanchez running the show.
That’s a rap this week, and sorry if I rambled off-topic in my intro, but there needs to be consistency in the NFL. If you need me, always feel free to hit up the comments here, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find me on reddit (Da-Beast). This week has been a long one for me, but I just keep on pushing along like NFL teams are slogging towards the playoffs. Who woulda thunk that the NFC South division leader, Falcons would be leading at 4-6 (tiebreaker with Saints)? Crazy world of sports we all live in and enjoy, but ya gottya embrace it as a sports fanatic.
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This week’s guests include Bryan Robinson and Jeff Nelson. Bryan is a writer for MLFS and his articles publish every Thursday. Bryan discusses the WR/RB position and advises you on your Flex position plays.
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