Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for reading.
Normally that would be the ending of something I pen, but I felt it appropriate to salute you, my loyal readers, right off the bat before we dig into your questions this week.
A few things I’m thankful for, you ask? Well besides the usual — friends, family, beer, etc. — I’m most thankful for fantasy football (you totally knew that one was coming). More specifically, I’m thankful for Jay Cutler and Cam Newton.
And finally, I’m thankful for the bevy of rookie running backs taken late in April’s NFL Draft that are keeping my fantasy teams afloat in the treacherous waters of late November.
I mean, Melvin Gordon sure as hell isn’t keeping anything afloat.
After Todd Gurley (RB6), the next seven rookie running backs in order of standard fantasy scoring are: Karlos Williams (5th round draft pick), Jeremy Langford (4th round), TJ Yeldon (2nd round), Thomas Rawls (undrafted), David Johnson (third round), Matt Jones (3rd round), and Duke Johnson (3rd round).
Notably missing? Melvin Gordon, Ameer Abdullah, and Tevin Coleman. Or, three of the first four running backs drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Sure, injuries and other things had to happen for these guys to get their shot. Williams may be the only instance wherein a third-round or later back is producing on his own accord. But, the fact of the matter is that injury or not, teams are finding late round gems ready to produce instantly. And if you did the same in your fantasy league, it’s likely paying big dividends.
Is it an exact science? Or are we just the beneficiaries of luck and some savvy waiver wire scouring?
Whatever it is, these guys are staples on some of the best fantasy football lineups heading towards the playoffs. And for that, we are abundantly thankful.
As well as stuffing. Alright, time for your Week 12 Fantasy Mailbag questions.
“Just a rough stretch or is there legitimate concern for Jeremy Maclin?”
The concussion he suffered in Week 7 seems to still be having some lingering effects, because even though Maclin is healthy and cleared to play – he hasn’t quite been the same since.
He’s only contributed three receptions per game and one touchdown over the last three weeks, despite the fact that the Chiefs offense as a whole has been trending upwards.
This trend would indicate that Maclin is getting left in the dust and that’s a cause for legitimate concern.
“Is James White just Dion Lewis 2.0?”
I feel you could take that sentence, replace ‘James White’ with ‘[Insert Name Here]’ and the answer is going to be yes. That’s what Bill Belichick does. That’s the Patriot Way.
When Dion Lewis went down, one of my fantasy teams took a hit. It only took Brandon Bolden two quarters to grab a receiving touchdown, and two games later James White scored two touchdowns while LeGarratte Blount had one of his lower outputs this season.
You honestly just never know with these guys. It took until about Week 4 for anyone to fully trust Dion Lewis because the threat of Belichick benching him always felt imminent.
So I would say no. James White was fun Monday night and hopefully he won you some DFS dollars – but I’m not investing in him for your playoff run. There are better options out there.
“Who will be the Top 3 ranked TEs from Week’s 12-17?”
In no particular order — Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker.
First, Gronk by default because Tom Brady doesn’t have anyone else to throw to. And he’s the best tight end in football.
Cam Newton also has no one else to throw to besides Olsen, and the Panthers have one of the softest remaining schedules with Atlanta (twice), New Orleans and the Giants still left on the docket.
Delanie Walker is my surprise pick, although he has been nothing short of sensational this season. He leads all tight ends in receptions, (53) is fifth in yards (617) on the season, and that’s with Marcus Mariota missing two games. When Mariota’s healthy, Walker is the focal point in the Titans’ passing game.
I see a different fire in the Tennessee Titans ever since Mike Mularkey took over for Ken Whisenhunt and the Mariota-Walker connection seems to be thriving better than any of them.
“Can Jameis Winston be trusted down the stretch after his 5 TD barrage?”
Famous Jameis has been fantastic this season, but not always from a fantasy standpoint. He turns the ball over too often to consistently compile elite fantasy stats, and he’s had shoddy injury luck with both the offensive line and his wide receivers.
His five touchdown massacre of the Eagles on Sunday is a sign of what Winston can bring to the NFL game – but those five touchdowns equal what he scored through the air in the past three weeks combined.
Is Jameis Winston going to be a fantasy staple in the very near future? Yes. But that future isn’t 2015.