Burning Questions: Week 12
You probably weren’t the only fantasy owner affected by “Bloody Sunday” as a list of fantasy contributors (A.J. Green, LeSean McCoy, Gio Bernard, C.J. Prosise, Zach Miller, Darren Sproles, Ryan Mathews) all went down. We’ll pick up the pieces together going into Week 12 and answer some important burning questions. Follow our contributors for this week’s Burning Questions: Ryan Weisse (@TheFantasyFive), Brooks Carmean (@brookscarmean) and Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)
1. After this week’s injury apocalypse, which player has the most to gain?
“If I’m limiting myself to 1 person I’ll say, Wendell Smallwood. The Eagles have never been enamored with Mathews or Sproles as a workhorse and Smallwood was drafted by Doug Pederson. With both backs out, Smallwood has a chance to earn the starting job for 2017 if he’s productive to end 2016.” -Ryan Weisse
“It has to be Thomas Rawls. C.J. Prosise looked so electric, so fast on that 72-yard run; it was unlikely he would be reduced to just a 3rd down, pass catching back after that. After the injury though, it’s back to being the Rawls show. When he’s on, he can barrel through any defender so I say the tough playoff schedule isn’t much to fret about if you’re a Rawls owner. My question is if that that dude can stay healthy the way he plays.” -Brooks Carmean
“I think Bengals options such as Tyler Eifert, Tyler Boyd, and Jeremy Hill have the most to gain after Green and Bernard went down and out. I want to especially highlight Boyd who stepped up and caught 6-of-8 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. He’s not a blazer by any means but showed much success in college as an intermediate route runner who excels across the middle. If I was looking for a solid FLEX option with WR2 upside the rest of the way, you could do much worse than Boyd.” -Kyle Borgognoni
2. How much of a factor did weather play into Sunday’s outcomes? Should owners pay more attention to this when deciding between who to start?
“When it comes to weather, I only focus on high wind. Bad teams are bad in the best conditions (Cleveland) but wind can slow down great passing attacks like Pittsburgh. WRs who thrive in the short game and RBs can still do well but I will avoid QBs and start DEF/ST in windy conditions. Pittsburgh wasn’t even a top 15 fantasy defense coming into Week 11 and they finished as #1.” -Ryan Weisse
“Big Ben continued to do his normal disappointing thing on the road, regardless of the weather. The Steelers also fed Le’Veon Bell in that one. The weather conditions in Washington certainly didn’t stop points from being scored. Then in San Francisco, the rain clearly didn’t limit Tom Brady from being a big fantasy producer. Unless the winds are super strong, or there is some serious precipitation, the weather forecast is one of the very last things I factor into my starting lineup decisions.” -Brooks Carmean
“To me, I stay away from snow and rain but wind sometimes can be a bit misleading. I faded everyone in the Bears-Giants game and they proceeded to put up over 600 yards of combined offense. Whoops. I think at the end of the day I have to start my studs and then use weather as a 4th tiebreaker behind raw talent, matchups, and home/road splits.” -Kyle Borgognoni
3. Which big time RB (Lev Bell or David Johnson) would you rather have rest of the season?
“There is no wrong answer here. Both have some great matchups coming. Both have tough Week 16 games. The only advantage I’d give to Bell is that his team is competing to win the division and Mike Tomlin is apparently done kicking extra points. That should give him a slight points edge so I’d go Bell.” -Ryan Weisse
“This is so tough but I’ll go with Le’Veon Bell. I wish I had some definitive reasons on this one but it’s really a coin flip for me. If there’s one single thing that stands out for Bell over Johnson, it’s the volume in the passing game. Bell now has 56 targets, just 8 less than David Johnson, who’s played 4 more games of course. Still, Johnson is clearly a beast receiving the ball as well!“- Brooks Carmean
“I love David Johnson’s schedule the next four weeks facing Atlanta, Washington, Miami, and New Orleans before finishing the fantasy playoffs in Seattle. I just see how much more involved in the offense and especially the passing game he is this year. You remember how you rode this guy to a fantasy championship last year? Well by all means, I’ll take the current RB1 to stay there the rest of the year.” -Kyle Borgognoni
4. Will Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson have a repeat of 2015’s monster down-the-stretch performances for fantasy owners?
“I doubt they pull off the same as ’15 but they will do well. I think Russ was the #1 QB and Baldwin was a top 5 WR down the stretch last year. I expect them both to be in the top 10 every week but not reach the heights of last season.” -Ryan Weisse
“Russell Wilson is back, that’s for sure. He’s a Top 5 QB rest of the way. You’re really counting on a lot to go right if you’re expecting the same kind of performance Baldwin had last year, especially out of the slot. I’m a big Baldwin fan and think he’s a high-end WR2 rest of season with WR1 upside any week. However, I think it’s safe to say Doug Baldwin will not score not score 11 TDs in the next 5 weeks, which is what he did last year.” -Brooks Carmean
“The schedule sets up nicely for the next couple of weeks against Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Green Bay. I don’t mind going out on a limb and saying that Wilson is THE QB1 the rest of the way and Baldwin is a low-end WR1. The touchdowns should be distributed across the board so expect Jimmy Graham, Tyler Lockett, and Jermaine Kearse to siphon a few away from Baldwin’s direction. But this is eerily similar to last year.” -Kyle Borgognoni