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Steve Schwarz | Archive | Email |  
Staff Writer

Truths and Lies: Week 13

For most fantasy leagues, this is it … the final week of the regular season. If you have already clinched the top seed, stop reading, push the keyboard away and spend some quality time with your family. For the rest of us, it’s about punching our ticket to the post-season dance.

Beware of windy conditions in Detroit vs. Baltimore and “lake-effects” snow in Buffalo where the Patriots face the Bills. Of course, I still remember Tom Brady abusing Tennessee in a huge snow storm back in 2009 for six touchdowns, five in the second quarter alone, so that shouldn’t change anything for Patriots owners.

Dak  Prescott

Dak Prescott hasn't thrown a TD pass since Week 9 and has only thrown 2 in the last five weeks.


“One voice speaking truth is a greater force than fleets and armies.” Ursula L. Le Guinn

1) Monday, Jets coach Todd Bowles announced, “Josh McCown is our quarterback.”

This is good news for fantasy owners as McCown has been a low-end QB1 of late (23.6 FPts/G since Week 10). Of course, Bowles doesn’t really have any other options considering his backups are Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. Management has made no effort to get either backup ready to play, so McCown is the Jets guy through the fantasy playoffs facing a pair of faltering teams in Kansas City and Denver, then New Orleans and the LA Chargers.

2) The squeaky wheel really does get the grease.

Remember when Antonio Brown threw the Gatorade bucket in anger back in October? Apparently his quarterback has been trying to make it up to him ever since. Brown had one touchdown catch in the first four games before the incident and seven in the seven games since then. On the other hand, quiet Le’Veon Bell has probably lost some chances as a result and he’s scored just twice in the last seven contests.

3) Mark Ingram can still contribute despite the impressible performances from Alvin Kamara.

Kamara leads all running backs over the past five weeks, averaging a stunning 21.8 FPts/G, but Ingram remains the most efficient back in the red zone (of those with at least a dozen rushing attempts) having scored on seven of his 20 tries (35%). Ingram struggled last weekend against the Rams, but posted two consecutive 130-yard efforts in Weeks 10 and 11.

4) Tyrell Williams, Kenny Britt and Terrelle Pryor have been relegated to the second page for wideouts (based of fantasy points per game).

None of these 2016 1,000-yard receivers is averaging even six points a game. Pryor, in particular, was expected to be a WR1 by many experts. Who will be next season’s disappointment? Of course the 1,000-yard list is incomplete, but I think Adam Thielen is having a “career” year and we don’t know whether he and heir apparent Teddy Bridgewater will jell. Back in 2015, Thielen caught 12 balls for 144 yards and no touchdowns with Bridgewater under center for 16 games.

5) DeAndre Hopkins should be the second receiver off the board next season.

I was going to say No. 1, but even after looking for a while I couldn’t find any statistics to show that any receiver is, or will be, better than Brown in 2018. However, Hopkins should be better than all the rest. He plays 16 games every season (hope I didn’t jinx him there), he plays almost every down in those games, and if Deshaun Watson comes back healthy I can’t see any reason he won’t beat out Julio Jones, Odell Beckham or anyone else. In comparison to the two guys I just mentioned, Jones’ Falcons have too many weapons and while he’ll have the occasional game like last weekend, he’s had to give up some personal glory for the good of the team. Beckham will have an aging and ineffective Eli Manning or possibly a rookie next season.


“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell

1) Ben Roethlisberger and Russell Wilson can carry you to, and through, the playoffs.

While they have been elite among quarterbacks over the past three games ranking No.1 and No. 2, respectively, the schedule will not be kind to Roethlisberger (29.4 FPts/G last three) and Wilson (28.4) over the next trio of games. Big Ben goes to Cincinnati (+0.9 %), then faces Baltimore (-33.6) and New England (-25.9) while Wilson has an even tougher road matching up against Philadelphia (-42.3), Jacksonville (-23.2) and the LA Rams (-14.1) through Week 15. That’s why you should always check our fantasy strength of schedule pages.

2) When asked how comfortable he would be with Blaine Gabbert starting next season if/when Carson Palmer retires, Bruce Arians said “The way he’s playing right now, I’d be very, very comfortable.”

I’m calling BS on this one. This is a coach calling his mediocre-at-best, journeyman quarterback a viable option for next season because he needs him to finish out this season. Gabbert owns a career 10-32 record with a 72.3 QB rating. He has started two games for Arizona, throwing five touchdowns (Yay!), but turning the ball over six times and that’s simply not going to get you a starting job. Ball security is every coaches’ No. 1 priority. The Cardinals will draft a quarterback in one of the first two rounds next April - perhaps Sam Darnold or Baker Mayfield (Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson likely will be gone by the time the Cardinals are on the clock).

3) Jacksonville’s D/ST is a must start every week.

Actually, the numbers tell a different story. Although overall they lead the league, producing 9.8 FPts/G, look a little closer and you will see that are a great road defense and not nearly as good in the friendly confines of EverBank Field. On the road they average 14.5 FPts/G, but at home they average a below average 4.2 FPts/G. The “bad” news is that Jacksonville plays their next three games at home (Indianapolis, Seattle and Houston).

4) Jimmy Graham can’t possibly keep up this touchdown pace.

Graham is one of the most touchdown-dependent receivers in the league who ranks fifth among all tight ends despite just 447 receiving yards. He’s posted eight scores in the last seven games. Because of the way Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson use him, it’s possible he will continue to score almost every week. Graham leads all receivers in red zone targets with 25, five more than Davante Adams, and all eight touchdowns have come in the red zone. Further, seven of the eight are from inside the 6-yard line. Seattle uses Graham in a post-up at the goal line instead of their inept running game and that shouldn’t change any time soon.

5) Dak Prescott doesn’t belong on any list with Mitchell Trubisky, Eli Manning, Matt Moore and Joe Flacco.

In fact, the above list is current starting quarterbacks who average less than 15 fantasy points since Week 8. He’s averaged just 14.8 fantasy points over the past five weeks and that includes a 29-point outburst against Kansas City in Week 9. He hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since that game or cracked the 180-yard passing mark. You might want to start Prescott because it’s the Thursday night game this week, but there are no signs that he’s ready to come out of his slump. He was just 14-of-22 for 143 yards and no touchdowns in a 33-19 win on a rainy night at Washington in Week 8.

Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.