Friday’s quick look at six fantasy items to know
We got past Thanksgiving with no upsets but closer than expected games. The Lions are better than in recent seasons – no argument. And the Bills are no longer paving over every opponent. The Vikings got back on the Winning Wagon but not before the Patriots made them work for it. The Cowboys pulled away in the second half over the Giants, but it was close for a while.
Now we move into Week 12 weekend with fantasy playoffs looming and every game, and every fantasy point could be the difference in reaching the league playoffs or looking for something to worry about in December.
Six items for this weekend:
1.) Playoff Defenses – Unless you are in an 8-team league with rosters of just ten players, your waiver has to be little more than players that are either on injured reserve, the “not happenings”, or the hot starters that are back under a rock. But – defenses are still likely there since most fantasy teams will stick with one for the season. Do not do that for the playoffs, you always need options. Yes, entire defenses do not get injured, but enough of their key players can make a difference, or their offense falls apart and the defense plays in less advantageous situations. Or maybe, you may have a really bad matchup in Weeks 15 to 17 worth covering.
This table shows the average of the strength of schedule (SOS) tool output for projected fantasy points using what opponents allow on average to opposing defenses for Weeks 15 to 17 and three-week sum of what defenses have been scoring. In essence, how good they are and how good their schedule is combined.
Check individual weekly matchups if you want to mix and match defenses, but the above shows which defenses are best situated to perform well in the playoff weeks.
2.) Playoff kickers – Same deal as the defenses above, these are the kickers with the most favorable output combining their weekly average and what the strength of schedule (SOS) took says about what Weeks 15 to 17 average out to be for their unique schedule.
You should always carry two kickers into the playoffs, even if you never use the second kicker. The above kickers have the best outlook.
3.) QB Mike White (NYJ) – The Jets opened the season with Joe Flacco for three weeks, and he never passed for fewer than 285 yards, totaled five touchdowns, used Elijah Moore for a dozen catches and let Garrett Wilson start his career with a bang. But when they finally decided that they had enough of Zach Wilson and the Yips, they opted to start former 2018 fifth-round pick Mike White instead of Flacco.
White has four career starts – all last year. He famously threw for 405 yards and three scores in an upset of the Bengals. His final start had him pass for 251 yards and four interceptions. Garrett Wilson impressed regardless of the quarterback, but he was far more consistently productive with Flacco than Wilson. And Elijah Moore started the year with some fantasy value that disappeared once Wilson took over this year. White isn’t guaranteed anything more than a chance to start this week. He realizes just how important this opportunity is.
4.) QB Kyle Allen (HOU) – The Texans have switched from the once-promising Davis Mills to Kyle Allen who will debut on Sunday at the Dolphins. Allen has appeared in 21 games and the bulk of his career work was in 2019, when he started 12 games for the Panthers and threw 17 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. That was the breakout year for Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore, who broke 100 yards in four games and finished with 87 catches for 1,175 yards. He was much better with D.J. Moore than Mills has been with Brandin Cooks.
He’ll face the Dolphins, so chances are high that the Texans will fall behind and need to pass. And there could be plenty of trash time at the end of the game. Both Cooks and Nico Collins disappointed after much better production last season. Allen gets a chance to renew his career.
5.) QB Matt Stafford (LAR) – He won a Super Bowl last year. Nine months later, Stafford is on his second concussion in three weeks and there is speculation that he may retire early. He’s 35 years old and may be at that point where future health outweighs everything. The Rams have lost Cooper Kupp, which guts the receivers. Bryce Perkins was expected to start this week against the Chiefs but Wolford was estimated to have a full practice on Thursday and may be over his neck injury.
Wolford started in Week 10 covering for Stafford after his first concussion and his only notable connection was with Tyler Higbee (8-73). Regardless of which quarterback starts, the Rams will need to throw the ball more and more as the game progresses. There is still some fantasy value left behind after Cooper Kupp left. And with Stafford looking very questionable for the rest of the season, Wolford is the only most likely to direct the Rams offense. The rest of their season starts this week.
6.) RB Rachaad White (TB) – The fantasy world (or, more appropriately, the Rachaad White fantasy owners) wants to see White get a chance to take away at least most of the work from Leonard Fournette as he’s been more productive lately. Fournette injured his hip during the game in Munich, Germany after running for 57 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries by the middle of the third quarter. White went on to gain 105 yards on 22 carries but never had a target.
HC Todd Bowles said this week that the team would ride the hot hand between Fournette and White. If Fournette remains bothered by his hip, this could look great for White playing at the No. 31 defense versus running backs (Cleveland). It is worth tracking this week, and White could buy more use in later games with this soft matchup. But the Buccaneers have a lot of money invested in Fournette who has an inescapable cap hit of $8.5 million next year. “Riding the hot hand” this week alone likely won’t create any lasting effects if White excels, regardless of what Twitter fires it may start.