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NFL Week 16: "Ask the Docs" Replies

Friday, December 21, 2012

It's title time for many of you, and the mailbag was loaded with lots of questions from fantasy owners feeling the pressure. We've combed through them all and have tried our best to give answers that will hopefully make your Christmas merry. While we couldn't answer them all, we tried to address questions that were common to many to try to help the masses. Without further ado, here's the mailbag for week 16.

"I can start three of my WR for the Super Bowl and could use some help:

T.Y. Hilton
Reggie Wayne
Andre Johnson
Calvin Johnson
Julio Jones

Andre and Julio scare me a little bit because of where they are with their teams ready for their NFL playoffs (potential rest and not playing the full game)... what do you think? Thanks."

--David, Green Bay, WI

Docs: David, go with Jones, A. Johnson, and C. Johnson and don't give it another thought. They are big time receivers with good match-ups. It could get very ugly for your opponent. We understand sometimes the stress of your title game can force you to question everything, but now is not the time to over think things. Go with your horses. Week 17 is a far more dangerous week for players to sit due to their NFL teams locking up playoff spots. You should be fine for week 16 (For the rest of you, this is exactly why you should move your title game to week 16 and away from week 17).

"How's it going FootballDocs? I have a question regarding some of my players in my FFL and whether I should start/sit some to further advance to the Championship game. Here's some background on my team. I'm the co-commissioner of my Fantasy League and my team has DOMINATED all year. 13-1 record in regular season, and got a 1st round bye in the playoffs. My main question to you guys is who do you guy feel will do better this week. Not saying you guys are mind readers but it always good to have advice from experts. My starting lineup is solid at all positions except the flex spot. I was pondering starting either Jamal Charles, Greg Jennings, James Jones, or T.Y. Hilton this week. Jamal Charles, RB from KC, but he only got my 2 points last week after 6 straight weeks in double figures. Greg Jennings is coming of an ongoing groin injury this season, and last week he caught 3 passes on 4 targets. I feel A-Rod (Aaron Rodgers) and him and finding there grove back since he is almost 100%, but I won't consider anything till Jennings finds the endzone, which he has only done 1 time this season. James Jones was on my fantasy team starting roster earlier in the season, but I dropped him to the bench when his production significantly declined. Now that he is coming off that 2 touchdown game, it makes me think he will perform like he did a few weeks ago. T.Y. Hilton had been my MAJOR dark horse this fantasy season. I followed him in college and knew he would do great. I like his matchup for this week, but his consistency fantasy wise has been a roller-coaster. Please help!"
--Grant, Dayton, OH

Docs: Grant, we would go with Charles at your flex. Sure, he had a misfire last week, but the odds of him doing that again in consecutive weeks is next to none. He has been a consistent performer, and from the sounds of it, exactly what you need to balance an already strong fantasy roster. You don't need the knockout blow from Charles, but you need your flex to at least “show up”, which he has the best shot at doing at of the options you listed. Who knows, with a little luck, he may indeed pop a big game for you, but you don’t have to count on it to be successful. The Colts are the 10th best run defense for your RB to face, so the match-up is there. Hope this helps and congratulations on a strong season!

"It looks like your weekly RB rankings might be assuming Bradshaw doesn't start. If he does, would you start Danny Woodhead, Mark Ingram, or Jackie Battle over David Wilson instead? Not a lot of better options out there for me in the free agent pool. Thanks!"
--Zach, New York, NY

Docs: Zach, you're in a pickle. At the time we released our weekly RB rankings, Bradshaw's status was in question. Now it appears he will play, but he is banged up. How well he will play and for how long is anyone's guess. The bad news is that he will take touches away from Wilson, who was your best option. Now with Bradshaw playing, the waters are muddied. All the RBs you listed are in Running Back By Committee situations, and any of them could punch it in for a TD, depending on how the game develops / unfolds. We trust Battle the least, so he is off the table. Next there is Woodhead. He had a great game last week, but that was due to the situation requiring the Pats to shift to a pass first offense, which put Woodhead on the field due to being the best RB for that personnel grouping. This week you can bet it won't be as crazy as last week, and Woodhead will fall in line sharing with Ridley and Vereen. Then you have Ingram, who has been playing much improved as of late. However, he doesn't have the explosive step we would like to see if having to roll the dice on a RBBC situation. That leaves Wilson, who does have that explosive step. In short, he can take it to the house on any carry from anywhere on the field. When you have limited carries, you like to see your RB have the possibility to cash in a big blow to your opponent. That is what you have with Wilson. He is also facing the fantasy friendly Ravens' run defense. The Ravens are the 6th best defense for your RB to face as far as fantasy points allowed. So all that to say, we would go with Wilson. Sure, anything can happen, particularly when you are splitting hairs like this between several RBs in RBBC situations. However, we feel Wilson would edge out the rest of them if this thing were to play out 100 times. Our second choice would be Ingram. Hope this helps and good luck with whatever you decide.

"I'm in the championship game in my league, and I have Adrian Peterson and Alfred Morris starting. But, I'm debating between who to choose between Demarco Murray and Matt Forte in the flex position. Both have great upside, but I can't risk much in my final matchup. Who should I go with?"
--David, Houston, TX

Docs: David, we really like Murray here. Both Murray and Forte present problems to opposing defenses as dual run-catch threats out of the backfield, but Murray brings a stronger TD presence to your line-up. Due to his short yardage struggles, Forte could see goal line carries lost to Kahlil Bell. That is not acceptable for your title game! Furthermore, you just never know when Jay Cutler's head implodes and he takes his entire team out of the game by his bad decision making. We feel better with Romo and his ability to make good decisions and keep his head in the game. In the end and all factors considered, we go with Murray.

"Playing in my championship game this week, I have one RB spot, one WR spot, and my flex position open with these prospects, need to know who to start and who to sit: DeAngelo Williams, Stevan Ridley, James Jones, Stevie Johnson, Roddy White."
--Ryan, Oklahoma City, OK

Docs: Ryan, at RB we like Ridley over Williams. Last week was a dumpster fire for New England, and they should have no problem keeping things under control and establishing the run against Jacksonville. At WR, you still have to go with White. You would be remiss and the butt end of jokes in your league for a long time if you over-thought things and left a stud WR like White on your bench just to have him show you why he is a stud WR... on your bench. Sure, he has been a little disappointing as of late, but then again, that is life with fantasy WRs and a stud WR can pop the big game with no warning. You would hate to miss that. At flex, we like Stevie Johnson. He has been a more consistent option and gets loads of targets all game long. He is a nice balance to White.

"Hey guys, I'm heading into my league's super bowl this weekend and I need help deciding who to put in the flex position. I could start Anquan Boldin against the Giants or James Jones against the Titans. What do you think?"
--Ben, Nashville, TN

Docs: Ben, we go with the hot hand here and give the start to Jones. Rodgers was locked onto Jones last week, and any time Rodgers is locked onto a WR, you go there. With Nelson still out with a bad hammy, Jones should get plenty of opportunity to keep the good times rolling with Rodgers. At 32 years old, Boldin does not give us as warm a fuzzy this late in the season. Plus, he has Joe Flacco throwing him the ball. Flacco is fine, but he is no Aaron Rodgers. We go with Jones, who has been a TD machine this year, in the hopes he can do it one more time for you when you need it most.

"I have Danny Amendola, Andre Johnson, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. I'm in a half point per reception league and don't know who to start in the championship game. Help!! "
--Ryan, Rolla, MO

Docs: Ryan, you have to go with Johnson. He has been a beast and takes care of you on all aspects (receptions, TDs, and yards). Plus, he can single handedly deliver the knockout blow to your opponent by himself. You can't afford to leave that on your bench, particularly in your title game. For the rest of you who may be curious, our second choice would be Bryant after Johnson. Bryant is one of the hottest receivers in fantasy right now and has nailed 8 TDs in his last 6 games. Banged up finger or not, Bryant burned his owners last week that lost the faith. This week he gets the Saints, who are just begging to get torched. What they did against the Bucs passing attack was an anomaly and far from a trend. Expect Romo and Bryant to light them up like a Christmas Tree. You can't let receptions force the issue over TDs, particularly in a half-point-per-reception league setup. Bryant will get his receptions, and his TD presence is just too strong to ignore.

Thanks to all for the great questions! That's a wrap for this week. We tried to address some of the more common questions with more detailed answers to try to not only help the specific person asking the question, but the masses as well. Enjoy watching football this week and good luck to your fantasy teams!

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