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Hansen on Strategy

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by John Hansen, Publisher

Published, 10/24/13 

It hasn’t been a great year for trends, so whenever I see one, I’m clinging to it, and I am seeing one this year that I wanted to point out to open things up this week.
 
I did talk about this phenomenon heading into Week Seven with Harry Douglas, and the point was simple: In addition to the expanded opportunity starting for Julio Jones, Douglas plays with Tony Gonzalez, a player who commands a ton of attention. Gonzalez was doubled a lot, and at times I think he was even triple-teamed. When teams sell out to take out a single player, they usually leave themselves exposed somewhere else, and last week the Bucs sold out to stop Gonzo, and Douglas made them pay. I was on the right track with this two weeks ago when I guess that Aqib Talib could look to take out Jimmy Graham, and my predicted beneficiary, Darren Sproles, did have 13 targets.
 
Even in the Thursday night game this week, which was on when I was writing this column, we saw possibilities with TE Tim Wright due to all the attention that Vincent Jackson was sure to command, and Wright did come though, so the theory worked again. We’ve seen this in a few other instances and it’s an angle to consider this year because an edge can certainly be gained. If you’re unable to keep up with all the trends, that’s what we’re here for. In fact, here are a few other random trends not necessarily covered in this week’s column.
 
  • Secondary guys are getting better matchups, so they will likely continue to produce more often than not, like Reuben Randle. We’re all over these secondary guys each week for this reason.
  • Matt Ryan WILL complete 20+ passes every week no matter what, and someone has to catch them.  
  • Michael Floyd is really being treated like the #1 WR on the Cardinals, with Larry Fitzgerald at times more of a secondary option lining up in the slot. Obviously, Floyd has been healthier, but he’s quietly emerging and playing well.
  • Green Bay’s OL is starting to really enjoy blocking for the run, and it might only get better with Eddie Lacy. Boy, how good are you feeling about yourself right now if you own Lacy?
  • Matthew Stafford is playing the best football of his career, and not only will he continue to get yardage because how many times he throws, he will continue to get TDs because of the great size he has right now at receiver.
  • Donald Brown is a lot quicker than Trent Richardson, and he’s a lot more decisive, so he’s a better and more productive runner than Richardson right now. However, Richardson is likely struggling with the change in blocking schemes, so things could get better.
  • Eli Manning is really not having success throwing the ball to Hakeem Nicks this year. He’s had some good games and legit potential, but it’s been fairly ugly to watch. This is another big reason Randle has emerged.
  • The Steeler offense is sneaky good and their OL may be coming on a bit. The returns of Le’Veon Bell and Heath Miller have given them real hope, since Ben Roethlisberger is basically the same guy.
  • With all the talk of Percy Harvin returning soon, Golden Tate has quietly emerged or re-emerged as something of a go-to guy and the #1 for Russell Wilson.
You make me break out
One of the main reasons I’m so late with this column this year is because it’s simply taking way longer to do everything we do each week (that and we’ve added stuff). Too many things are changing on a weekly basis, so we have to almost hit the reset button every 3-4 days. I’m doing everything I can to stay ahead of the curve, and I think we’ve been early on a lot of emerging guys. So I’m going to try to keep it going by offering up more potential breakout guys for the rest of the season. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to compile another larger list in 3-4 weeks, so we’ll just consider this a semi-regular feature going forward.
 
Also, I actually think it’s beneficial to put this column out late in the week because I know so much more about the upcoming week by then, and this year it’s more about following the trends and staying up with all the madness than focusing on strategies.
 
I’m still so proud of myself due to the success enjoyed by most of my 15 breakout players published here three weeks ago, I’m motivated to make some more good picks. Just keep in mind that we’re forced to dig even deeper than we did three weeks ago. Everyone knows Jordan Reed is a stud now, and Terrance Williams is looking strong. So we’ll move on to the next group of emerging players. It’s what we do.
 
  1. Lance Moore (WR, NO) – No one had any idea what Moore’s status was until Wednesday evening, when we learned that he finally returned to practice. Now he’s practiced two days in a row and Jimmy Graham may not play. Moore was still dead 2-3 days ago – and now he could be a starting fantasy WR in Week Eight. In fact, I’m starting him in our Staff League.
  1. Roy Helu (RB, Was) – Obviously, everyone is on him now, but not nearly as much last week, so hopefully you grabbed him after I covered him here and after I picked him up in our Staff League. Alfred Morris is still the guy, but it’s clear that Helu’s speed will be utilized more going forward, and he always has extra potential if they fall behind, since he’s their hurry-up back.
  1. Jarrett Boykin (GB) – I hope you got him this week, or even last week, as I believe we gave him a fair amount of love. The Packers, I’m learning, love this guy, and as we’ve mentioned he’s flashed this year going back to the preseason. He’s going to have a pretty large role until Randall Cobb is out, but the Packers may have found another diamond in the rough. He’s pretty much a must-start as long as James Jones is out, and he’s likely out Week Eight. He’s a good example of a secondary guy who get better matchups.  
  1. Tim Wright (TE, TB) – We’ve covered his emergence, so he might have been picked up already, but Wright is a former college wideout who is stepping up quite nicely and looks the part. He’s got something going with Mike Glennon, and he looks like Glennon’s #2 option in the passing game (although that could change if Mike Williams is healthy).
  1. Coby Fleener (TE, Ind) – I wish I had more confidence in Fleener, but he can make plays, that is clear. And it’s time for him to step up with Reggie Wayne out. He’s not ready to be a go-to guy, but he might be at times going forward. Andrew Luck can make him better than he is, so Fleener has a real chance.
  1. Josh McCown (QB, Chi) – There’s a big drop-off from Jay Cutler, but McCown has tools to work with, and I believe already in Marc Trestman and this offense, not to mention the supporting cast. I think McCoy can average 18-20 points per game while starting.
  1. Anthony Fasano (TE, KC) – Once I saw Fasano was finally set to return last Friday, I added him to our Waiver Wire report, and suggested people pick him up and mentioned him as a pickup on Sunday morning. Fasano didn’t do much, but he also got robbed of a TD, and was tackled inside the 1 on other series, so he was close to scoring 2 TDs. His role in the red zone is about to expand, so if Fasano can string together TD games, he could emerge as a real surprise.
  1. Tyler Eifert (TE, Cin) – His QB is playing better and Eifert may be emerging as the second deep threat on this team next to A.J. Green. He flashed in Week Seven, and his talent is evident, so he’s a solid pick.
  1. Mike Glennon (QB, TB) – He can overreact to pressure, but he’s also proven to move surprisingly well at times, and he can certainly sling it nicely. I think he looks like Matt Ryan, and he actually has a better arm. Obviously, he’s not anywhere close to Matt Ryan’s level, but he does look and play like Ryan. The more I see of Glennon, the more I think he has a real chance to be a solid player, and he’s been throwing it a ton.
  1. Darrius Heyward-Bey (WR, Ind) – His hands are bad, but he was a solid possession type on the outside for Carson Palmer a couple of years ago, and I would expect him to be in that position going forward. He doesn’t have huge upside, but I don’t see why he can’t average about 12 points a game going forward.
  1. Fozzy Whittaker (RB, Cle) – See below.
  1. Mario Manningham (WR, SF) – Manningham scored a TD in practice this week, and that was a big story in San Francisco. It was because they’re desperate for a second receiver, and Manningham is closing in on his return. He can give them some verticality, which they really need, so while this won’t be a passing team any time soon, Manningham is a guy who could average 15+ yards a catch when he’s right.
  1. Chad Henne (QB, Jac) – I did a radio show today (10/24) with RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who was actually co-hosting from England, and he seems genuinely excited about the Jaguar offense. I didn’t ask, but I didn’t really have to ask. I’m sure Henne being named the starter has something to do with that. Henne has been serviceable, and he can get the ball to their two solid receivers. Justin Blackmon has been really good, and Cecil Shorts just produces (despite injuries and some drops).  Henne will have to throw the ball most weeks (if not all), so he’s still someone to look at as ascending. Note: Here's a clip of the show, and MJD talks about defending Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers and the progression of his offense, and more.
Stash-and-hope time
Given the rash of injuries lately, I figured offering up a list of the most interesting backup RB to stash and hope was in order. Keep in mind I’m trying to include only players who are likely available in most leagues. There are better options, like Detroit’s Joique Bell, who are much better handcuffs but are likely owned.
 
  1. Kendall Hunter (SF) – If Frank Gore went down, others would be involved, but Hunter would be the main replacement. They’re not exactly high on LaMichael James right now, and Anthony Dixon is a big plodder, so the dynamic Hunter would be good for 15 carries a game in this good situation. He can catch the ball, so if he started getting 2-3 grabs a game, he’d be a PPR stud.
  1. Bryce Brown (Phi) – I know Chris Polk is lurking because Brown continues to show a propensity to bust too many runs outside, and he has fumbling issues. But he also has a ton of talent, and he’s young. We should always be drawn to that, and he’s certainly in a very productive offense.  
  1. Montee Ball (Den) – Veteran Knowshon Moreno has been very good, and he’s taking full advantage of his excellent situation. But he’s also a player who’s had plenty of injury problems, and he hasn’t played all 16 games since 2009. Especially since Ronnie Hillman has been fumbling, Ball’s likely a top-20 fantasy back if Moreno is out.
  1. Robert Turbin (Sea) – As much as I love the raw talent of Christine Michael, he’s still not likely to take too many snaps away from Turbin if Marshawn Lynch goes down. Michael would probably be worth a pickup as well if that happened, but the solid and versatile Turbin has to be the pick. 
  1. Michael Bush (Chi) – The Bears actually want to play Bush more, but Matt Forte has been so fantastic, that they’ve been unable to get Bush more snaps. But that all changes if Forte goes down. The situation has deteriorated with Jay Cutler out, but it’s still a good situation, and Bush can produce great totals in PPR as a volume guy should Forte be forced to the sidelines.
  1. Knile Davis (KC) – The Chiefs are pushing the envelope already with their usage of Jamaal Charles, who is getting almost every RB touch this year. He’s been durable other than one major injury, but I am starting to get a little worried about it. Regardless, the point here is that this has been an incredibly production offense for Charles, and while there’s a big drop-off going to Davis, the rookie is talented, and he can catch the ball, so he has definite upside.
  1. Shonn Greene (Ten) – Starter Chris Johnson has been very durable, and I actually kind of like Greene as a pickup now in a deep league. But should Johnson go down, my guess is that Greene would do surprisingly, maybe even shockingly, well. Now granted, he is coming off a knee injury, so I don’t know if he’s up for surprising things. But I do know that this has been a good offense, other than Johnson, and Greene looked great in the preseason running behind this line and in this scheme.
  1. Tashard Choice (Buf) – He’s a handcuff of sorts for both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, and if either is out with an injury, Choice’s role will grow and he’ll have legit potential. In fact, since Spiller and Jackson are both banged-up, Choice is getting snaps and has a speck of value right now. He’s looked pretty good, and he’s versatile.
  1. Fozzy Whittaker (Cle) – My guy! I’ll admit I might be fairly influenced by his name, but Whittaker can play a little bit, and he looked good last week and had a large role. Fossil Willis McGahee could break down at any time, so The Fozz is really close to getting a lot of touches, and he can do nice work in the passing game.
  1. Toby Gerhart (Min) – The problem I have with Gerhart is basically the thing that makes him a viable stash-and-hope pickup: The only chance he has to produce is when he gets a ton of volume. And if Adrian Peterson is out, that’s exactly what he’ll get. Gerhart can catch the ball and produce in the passing game, and he can be an effective goal-line back. His effectiveness can increase over the course of a game, which really helps him produce when he gets the volume. He’s produced in the past when he’s been the guy, and Peterson has had a lingering hamstring injury.
FantasyGuru.com Staff League Update
I advanced to 7-0 last week after a decisive victory over Adam Caplan. I beat his ass. I really wanted Adam in this new league this year because I haven’t actually been in one with him in quite some time, and I really missed beating him. It was fun!
 
It’s been a good year, and I feel as if I benefited from drafting this team late in the preseason (Friday of Labor Day Weekend). I had a very clear picture of all the players I liked, which were basically the exact same players we promoted on the site, and I drafted many of them. Some are underachieving (T.Y. Hilton), some are disappointments (Jared Cook), and some are downright busts (Daryl Richardson). But as I’ve said for years, fantasy is really all about finding a few impact players to carry you, and to then fill in all the cracks, and that’s exactly what I have going on with this undefeated team. I’m hanging my hat on Drew Brees, Matt Forte, A.J. Green, Josh Gordon, and now Eddie Lacy. My best move has been bidding high and acquiring TE Heath Miller, but I have also picked up Roy Helu, who as I wrote here last week, intrigued me in Week Six, so I took a shot. Pierre Thomas was drafted and has been a really nice second flex starter.
 
This week, I’ve made several moves, so I’m working that WW quite hard, and I’m constantly tweaking this roster. I picked up Chris Ivory, on a fairly high but not ridiculous price ($16, $100 budget for the season). I also dropped Austin Pettis for Jeremy Kerley, whom I’ve always liked. And in a move that could go down as a huge one, I snagged Lance Moore on the wire once I saw that he was finally practicing. I also dropped Matt Bryant, who I realized is only 24th in scoring, for Stephen Hauschka, who is 4th. You’re usually going to find stud kickers on the WW during the bye weeks, so be on the lookout for that and try to find a top producer for the playoffs. Finally, I have to drop Baltimore due to their bye, as I didn’t value them enough to keep them.
 
If you want to check out the team and all the transactions for this 12-team PPR league, head here.
 
Here’s my current squad:
 
Player
YTD Pts
Bye
Trade?
7
8
5
10
4
11
7
10
12
8
10
7
11
5
12
9
16 Total Players
 
And this week’s starting lineup in this PPR league:
 
Richard in the soil
Player
Pts
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
Total:
0.
 
NFFC “Cutline Championship” Team
The other league I’m paying close attention to is the NFFC “Cutline Championship” team that I drafted against only subscribers. Since this league has very deep benches and is one in which only three weeks of waivers are allowed, I’m going to see if I can go the whole season without making a WW move.
 
I’m hanging in there so far with a 5-2 record and I’m way up there in points (and also points scored against me).
 

Sorted by Win/Loss
Team
Win
Loss
Tie
Pct
Streak
Points For
Points Against
6
1
0
.857
W 2
1070.15
939.4
5
2
0
.714
L 1
1095.25
990.85
5
2
0
.714
W 1
1076.95
949.7
5
2
0
.714
W 1
1075.05
1021.8
5
2
0
.714
W 2
1045.35
999.55
4
3
0
.571
W 1
926.6
855.2
3
4
0
.429
L 1
942
936.95
2
5
0
.286
L 1
957.6
1045.25
0
7
0
.000
L 7
816.35
1055.45
0
7
0
.000
L 7
778.8
989.95

 
FantasyGuru.com Staff Guru Challenge League
One of the cool things about the Guru Challenge is that you can form a “league” with anyone you know or want to who is in the challenge. So this year we have been doing a staff league where we’re all battling for the total points crown after 17 weeks.
 
Here are the current standings.
 
Rank   Team Total Points Overall Rank
1.       John Hansen 1186.1           355
2.       Joe Dolan     1163.3           483
3.       Tom Brolley 1155.6           527
4.       Mike Horn     1129.45         647
5.       Chris Paavola 1127.95         657
6.       Paul Kelly      1116.6           720
7.       Dom Korbel   1105.7           768
8.       Tom Simons 1096.2           799
9.       Matt Camp    961.05           1006
 
Note: Matt Camp was unable to submit a lineup one week. He has a chance to win still, since the contest will automatically drop a team’s lowest score after Week Seventeen is in the books.
 
I can’t believe I’m still in first place here because my team shat the bed in Week Six. Wait until you see this monstrosity below.
 
Team: John Hansen

Player
TM
Pos
PTS
VAL
Eli Manning
NYG
QB
16.5
$14.7m
Jay Cutler
Chi
QB
1.4
$15.5m
Giovani Bernard
Cin
RB
10.9
$8.5m
LeSean McCoy
Phi
RB
14.1
$14.8m
Julian Edelman 
NE
WR
9.4
$8m
T.Y. Hilton
Ind
WR
4.7
$7.6m
Alshon Jeffery
Chi
WR
16.1
$8.5m
Zac Stacy
Stl
RB
18.7
$6.8m
Jason Witten
Dal
TE
8.8
$8.6m
Player
TM
Pos
PTS
VAL
Caleb Sturgis
Mia
K
3
$3.3m
Player
TM
Pos
PTS
VAL
Atlanta DST
Atl
DST
11
$3.7m

This was good for only 116 points. To put that into perspective, the winners each week are usually 200+ points, as high as 220-230 points. I guess it’s time to stop trying lower-end QBs and roll with at least one stud and to stop trying to use the cheapest PKs and DTs.
 
By the way, if you’re interested in the Guru Challenge, you should definitely try it out. For only $4.95, you can play in a “league” comprised of all weekly players (we have most of the players in season-long leagues) and competing for $500 in prizes. In addition, you’re in the running for the $1500 we’ll give out to the top-3 finishers overall. Most weeks, only 45-55 teams are in this league, so for only $4.95, that’s pretty good odds (prizes for these leagues are $250, $150, and $100). In fact, we have a few individuals who are using this weekly league as their own personal ATM machines. A team for $4.95, and they win $250, $500, even $750. I’d love to take some time and play myself, but I’m probably not supposed to win. 

For more information, head here


 

 

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