“The Amateur Ward” The Front Seven: Throw Out All the Stats, This Is for All The Marbles, Week 16 Linebacker/Defensive Line plays

Feliz Navidad! The semester is finished, and now I can get back to relaxing, watching sports, reading, chilling and LSAT Prep. Dammit, I done it again. Yep, I’m already bogging myself down for the break when I promised myself I wouldn’t, but at least I can enjoy the Final Week of the Fantasy Football season by hopefully kicking arse in 2 Championships. (I admit I’m a perfectionist.) Granted, despite my 2 potential Championship teams, this season has been a lost one in other leagues where injuries or suspensions sucked all the potential out of my teams. Oh well, that’s the life of a fantasy madman like me. As a fantasy owner, you are required to make risky picks, bold picks, and even steal a few players in the draft and waiver wire to have a shot at a Championship. The other key is, avoid all those inevitable catastrophic injuries that wreck many a fantasy owners’ season. While there is no true “perfect strategy” for fantasy, I can say from experience, in IDP leagues, unless you have a solid core of linebackers and one good safety, your season is likely toast from the start. Take for example one of the leagues I’m in the Championship in:

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The whole reason I’m in the Championship is because my defense is insane, led by Watt, Quinn, Kuechly, Kerrigan, Trufant and Woodson. These are all top contributors from a fantasy perspective at their respective positions contributing sacks, tackles, passes defensed, stuffs, and receiving TDs (Watt). The point is you MUST have a solid defense to compliment your offense. Your offense will get you a majority of your points any given week, but if your defense stinks, you can lose if your opponent has a great defense, or your offense just takes a dump from the get go that week. This week’s piece is aimed at helping you fantasy owners see potential high upside play options that are in favorable match ups. These players could potentially win or lose you your Ship, depending how the rest of your team shapes up.

Last Week’s Recap: For the record, last week was definitely Opposite Week, as my predictions perfectly contradicted what I said. Ergo ipso facto, I win the opposite week.

Kroy Biermann vs. Cameron Heyward- While Biermann had a nice day, including a stuff, Heyward edged him out in this one with a stuff and a pass defensed.

Telvin Smith vs. Khalil Mack- {Insert this week’s stats for Smith for this week and I was right}. Nah, I got killed in this one as Smith didn’t do jack last week against the raiders while Mack netted owners a stuff, a pass defensed, and 6 tackles.

Rolando McClain vs. Mychal Kendricks- Kendricks won turd pick of the week last week as he got run over by McClain who posted a stuff and 5 tackles.

Damontre Moore vs. Fletcher Cox- This one was close, as I predicted, but close in the wrong direction as it was Cox who beat out Moore with a stuff. However, Moore’s the one who recorded the stuff.

Terrance Knighton vs. Kawann Short- Yep, should’ve gone with the hot hand last week, and rolled with Short, as Knighton didn’t do much of anything last week for fantasy owners while Short went for 2 tackles and a stuff.

High-Upside LB Matchup

Christian Kirksey vs. Bruce Irvin- For those fantasy owners in the Championship Round looking for a play that could put you over the top look at Kirksey and Irvin. While Kirksey was already receiving high praise for his defense against the pass, he has also been excelling against teams that run a lot over the past 6 weeks. This week’s opponent, the Panthers will have a banged up Cam Newton back at the helm, but he will also be a little more cautious with his back. A less mobile Cam and a pass-heavy Panthers sets up for a nice day for Kirksey to deliver a LB1 type day. Those in need of a sack-heavy play, Irvin is your guy as he plays OLB, and will be after the new cardinals QB Ryan Lindley, who has yet to record an offensive touchdown to pair with his 9 turnovers. If there was ever a time to start Irvin in a high-stakes game, it’s this week, given his propensity for sacks. Prediction: Kirksey over Irvin. (Photo courtesy of seahawks.com)

Tough Decisions at DE

Olivier Vernon vs. Vinny Curry- What do both DEs have in common this week: They both face QBs that run a lot. Vernon has been inconsistent the past few games, but a date with the struggling Vikings offense and Teddy Bridgewater should cure-all his ills this week. The Vikings offense is so inconsistent the offense has yet to find their true WR1 (Charles Johnson), even with the ultra-talented Cordarrelle Patterson on hand. While vernon may not have the highest upside this week, he is worth a look for those in need of a solid DE. Curry has come on over the past six weeks with 5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 1 recovered, and is likely salivating at the prospect of getting to face off against RGIII. A word of caution here, however, as the Eagles are very soft against the pass, and RGIII could very well burn the Eagles secondary this week, as well as become a doormat for Eagles pass rushers to stomp all over. With the way he’s been playing over the past 6 weeks, Curry seems like a prime candidate to go nuts in fantasy Championship Week. Prediction: Curry over Vernon

Who Will Finish as the Top DT?

Aaron Donald vs. Ndamukong Suh- Remember when I said at the beginning of the year that Donald was going to be a stud at DT for the Rams? Well, of course, I was right! His Week 16 date with Eli manning and the G-Men should be a welcome sight, because, although Little manning has been a ton better than he was last season, he still has a tendency to try to force balls and put the ball on the turf as evidenced by his 7 fumbles this season. The guy he faces in the title for top fantasy DT, Ndamukong Suh can also go nuts at anytime. OK Bears fans, anytime you bench your starting QB for Jimmy Clausen, and your win percent chance goes up, you know your starter must be Chad Henne…or in this case Jay “Crybaby, Overpaid” Cutler. In other words, Suh too has a great matchup and will be looking to knock Clausen back to Notre Dame so he can feel valued again. In the Battle for Top DT, give me the rookie, Donald as he is unstoppable and will continue his emergence this week. (Photo courtesy of archcitysports.com)

Emerging MLB Contributor vs. Fading Star

Jon Bostic vs. James Laurinaitis- It may have taken a while for him to develop in Chicago, but the Florida product, Bostic is starting to show flashes of his upside as the Bears starting MLB going into the final 2 weeks of the regular season (thanks in part to key injuries to the Bears LB core). He has contributed 3 stuffs and 26 tackles the past 3 weeks and is solid play against the pass-heavy, sack-prone Lions and Matt Stafford (been sacked 39 times). If he can continue to produce, Bostic’s first sack of the season should be on hand this week versus a weak Lions line. It may not be fair to label Laurinaitis as a fading star with all the talent around him (Ogletree, Quinn, Donald), but Laurinaitis has been a disappointment this season for fantasy owners. He has come on nicely since Week 11’s 22-7 win over the Broncos when he had 11 tackles and a sack, but fantasy owners expected more than a 30th place ranking at this point in the season from James L. The good news is, he should have no time teeing off against Eli Manning this week as Eli seems to struggle mightily against elite defenses this season, including a combined 9 turnovers versus 4 passing TDs against the rest of the NFC West. Don’t hesitate to start James this week, he will harass Manning. Prediction: Laurinaitis over Bostic (Photo courtesy of sikids.com) 

In Need of a Sack-Dependent DE?

Frostee Rucker vs. Bjöern Werner- I’ll make this one simple, these are high risk/reward players who could make or break your Championship match ups and should only be utilized by those in sack-heavy settings. Remember in 24, when Jack Bauer destroyed Navorro’s hand? Werner and the Colts defense will be hammering on Murray’s broken right hand all day, trying to break it some more. Rucker and the Cardinals will be in a heavy-hitting battle all day against the Seahawks as both vi for a division title and homefield advantage in the playoffs. Rucker has been a solid source of sacks (5) and a handful of stuffs (5) for the Cardinals sans Dockett this season, but he’ll once more spend his day spying on a trying to limit the effectiveness of Russell Wilson and his escapability. If you are looking for a sack-dependent player to play this week, look at one of Werner or Rucker, but also be advised about the possibility of mediocrity from either. Prediction: Werner over Rucker

Thanks for reading this season’s final installment of the Amateur Ward. Hopefully it makes a difference in your matchups this week and enjoy the holiday season while looking forward to baseball season rolling around, in addition to all your baseball preparations. I will say, my Braves definitely aren’t going to compete this season or next season after dealing the Hey-Train and JUp (kills his fantasy appeal in SD).That’s OK though, hopefully we will be good in 2017 when we will hopefully have Peraza at 2B, Simmons at SS, a nasty rotation with Fried and Sims, Bethancourt behind the dish, and Freeman at 1B (new management better not deal him too). Also, for those college football fanatics, I’ll try to start a Reddit discussion once the Cupcake Bowls are done with and the Real Ones start, so stay tuned to bamafan55577@gmail.com and Da-Beast on Reddit for discussions.

That’s a wrap for the season. See ya, and good luck in the Spring in fantasy baseball (and of course the ongoing basketball).

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(Click the Blue link below to listen live)

Major League Fantasy Sports Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday December 21st from 11am-12:30pm EST for this season’s final episode of Major League Fantasy Sports Radio on the Sports Palooza Radio Network. We will be taking callers live at 646.915.8596.

This week’s guests include Bryan Robinson and Ron “Mad Dog” McCleese!
Both Bryan and Ron are writers withMLFS. Bryan publishes a piece every Thursday morning and he will discuss the WR/RB positions. Ron writes a piece that is published every Friday morning in which he educates the reader on the QB/TE positions. We will be sure to go out with a bang in our final show of the season. Come join us for spirited debate.

 Also, we will be starting up our fantasy baseball shows starting Sunday February 15th from 7-8pm EST and every Sunday thereafter.


Categories: Daily Advice, Fantasy Football, Football Writers, Major League Fantasy Sports, MLFS Authors, Weekly Roster Advice

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