Week 13. The fate of many a yearly fantasy league was just decided. Some playoffs are already up and running, others will be kicking off this weekend or next. And, unfortunately, for more than half of all yearly fantasy football team owners, the season. is. over. It was just Thanksgiving!, you say. In real football, the playoff picture is still two or three weeks from clearing up, at least!
The idea of fantasy football being over already is depressing. Let’s not think about that. But whether you’ve given up on yearly leagues permanently yet or not, for many of you daily’s going to be the only game in town soon enough.
As always, let’s see if we can take anything away from a high-scoring week 13 that might help inform our lineup decisions going forward. We can start with a few players who were widely owned (no, you were not alone), but who did not come through…
Martavus Bryant ($4,700) – Owned by more than 23% of all daily fantasy teams in the Millionaire Maker, he came through for exactly none of them. On a night where Big Ben throws 58 times, he had one catch. One.
Why You Started Him – Let’s be honest, there is one reason: you wanted a piece of this PIT/NO matchup, but Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell were too expensive.
Going Forward – He has 34 yards and no TDs in his last two weeks. The truth is somewhere in between that and what he was for a few weeks when he burst onto the scene, but that’s a big range. Unfortunately, for right now, he is closer to the 34 yards in two weeks end of the spectrum – close enough to make him impossible to trust until he shows you his upside yet again. This passing offense is good, but not twelve TDs in two weeks good, and Bell and Brown are going to get theirs before Bryant sees anything, which could lead to a lot of bad fantasy weeks.
Matt Asiata ($3,300) – More than 13% owned despite only one game with a touchdown in his previous six (granted, it was three downdowns). In those same previous six games, he never had more than 26 yards.
Why You Started Him – So why 13% owned if so unproductive? Well, McKinnon was out, he cost $3,300, and there was no one else. Was there another reason?
Going Forward – He was benched in the first place and he cost $3,300 for a reason – he’s not explosive, or consistent. The opportunity was nice, but the offense as a whole is not doing Asiata any favors, or vice versa. Not every starting running back in the league is a fantasy starter too – and whoever starts next for the Vikings falls heavily into that category.
Jimmy Graham ($7,100) – In a game where Brees threw five touchdown passes and Graham failed to get a single TARGET, he wins the award for “Most Likely to Have Screwed You in your Yearly League and Daily Contests Simultaneously.” The whole thing didn’t fit on his trophy, so thanks for the MLTHSYIYYLADCS, Graham.
Why You Started Him – It’s been a while since he had a game with both a score and the big yardage we’ve seen from him in the past. He was due, against a pretty forgiving Steelers defense, and with Cooks gone, he was bound to start being even more heavily involved, if possible.
Going Forward – Graham really hasn’t been the yardage and touchdown monster that’s made him such an elite option in years past. He is, most weeks, getting a ton of targets, with eight different games of six or more catches, which would be great in a PPR league. What, this IS a PPR league? Oh then, of course, Graham is fine. No, seriously – Graham is fine. Any guy out there could have one of these games, and Graham is not likely to have more than one.
Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,400) – Just under 1.5% of all players in the Millionaire Maker had Fitzpatrick under center. Now THAT is giving yourself a leg up. Six touchdowns for $5,400? Unheard of, and predicted by no one, except you, you crazy 1.5-percent-ers.
Why You Didn’t Start Him – Unless you did, of course. And kudos. But to the rest of you, it made sense. Fitzpatrick is match-up proof in the bad way, so this had to have more to do with him than his opponent.
Going Forward – By “it had more to do with him,” I DO NOT mean “he’s finally turned a corner! get him in your lineups!” I mean more like the stars were aligned and his most errant throws came on pays with the worst blown coverage, and when the coverage was there, his receivers made plays for him. But in terms of some actionable advice, Fitz is streaky. And his hot streaks could be just hot enough to elevate his primary targets for a couple weeks, but not enough for you to actually trust in the QB himself. But DeAndre Hopkins against the Jaguars next week? Yes, please.
Daniel Herron ($5,000) – Last week I wrote that Richardson “might not be as good as Herron.” Daniel Herron only had ten total touches this week, for 96 total yards and a score. His 18.6 points were more than Richardson has had in his last three games combined.
Why You Started Him – He’s not Trent Richardson.
Going Forward – He’s still not Trent Richardson. Actually, if you were only looking at Richardson’s game log, you wouldn’t be able to identify the point where Bradshaw went out. Richardson has basically maintained the same role throughout, and Herron isn’t likely to take it away from him now. But he can take over the entire Bradshaw workload, with Richardson getting no kind of increased looks. And the Bradshaw role is the better role, and Herron, like Bradshaw is the better player. Herron is only getting more expensive, but he’s still worth a look. And even if you know you won’t start him, he’s worth remembering, if only to keep you from starting the other one.