The Wire Troll: Trying to Look Ahead
Kerwynn Williams (33) came out of nowhere to breathe life into the Cards run game. (Matt Kartozian-USA Today Sports)
One mistake some Fantasy owners make, especially this late in the season, is to pay too much attention to what a player has done recently, and not give as much thought to what he will have the opportunity to do. After Week 12, would you have targeted a defense that had just given up 27 points, had allowed over 30 in six of their other 10 games and had failed to reach double-digit Fantasy points in all but four games? We hope you did, because that St. Louis Rams defense just shut out two straight opponents.
With only two games left in most Fantasy seasons, strength of schedule is one of the most important factors when deciding who to claim. Another important thing to remember is that starting running back owners with solid handcuffs still available should make those players their highest waiver priority; do you really think you’ll be more likely to need that third tight end than Carlos Hyde if something were to happen to Frank Gore? Enjoy the Week 15 Wire Troll, and good luck to all still chasing a championship this season!
Before we get to this week’s picks, we just want to talk about one of the biggest scourges facing Fantasy owners these days — concussions. So far in the 2014 NFL season, there have already been 96 concussions suffered, including Fantasy staples at pretty much every position. At running back alone, we’ve seen Peyton Hillis, Joique Bell and Latavius Murray miss time with a head injury, while Eddy Lacy managed to avoid missing any time after suffering a concussion. QB Drew Stanton also missed a game because of a concussion while star WR Emmanuel Sanders was fortunate enough to not miss any time after his injury. Cleveland TE Jordan Cameron was one of the biggest losses to concussion this year, as a third one in three years cost him five games.
According to orthopedic specialist Dr. Armin Tehran of Manhattan Orthopedic Care, concussions should be taken even more seriously for NFL players than knee and shoulder injuries, because these are more easily treatable than concussions in the long run: “Multiple concussions can not only be career ending, but affect a player’s entire future… and in some cases it can be life-ending,” he says. He also strongly supports the NFL’s recent initiatives to implement concussion sensors into all players’ helmets.
Which players have you lost this season to concussion woes? Let us know in the comments below.
Now, let’s get to this week’s picks!
Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans (CBS: 5 per cent; Yahoo: 2 per cent): It tends to be slim pickings at the quarterback position this late in the season, which will leave some owners in deeper leagues no choice but to pick up Locker… provided the injury suffered by Zach Mettenberger forces the rookie to miss time. Locker went 9-for-11 last weekend in garbage time and could post decent numbers in games against the Jets and Jaguars the next two weeks as he auditions for future employment. In shallower leagues we love Eli Manning (CBS: 82 per cent; Yahoo: 58 per cent) to light up the hapless Washington Redskins for the second time this year (300 yards and five total touchdowns in Week Four).
Kerwynn Williams, Arizona Cardinals (CBS: unowned; Yahoo: 1 per cent): Who? The former seventh-round pick from Utah State took many by surprise (including himself, as you see in video below) when he became the first Cardinals back to eclipse the century rushing mark in a game this season (sorry Andre Ellington owners). Now that Ellington has been placed on injured reserve, Williams will be one of the most sought after players this week. We would have to be extremely weak at the position to trust a player with only one game under his belt in the Fantasy playoffs regardless of the schedule. Given that the Cardinals next two opponents are a Rams team coming off back-to-back shutouts and the always tough Seahawks, we would would only sign Williams to prevent a desperate opponent from adding him.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs (CBS: 58 per cent; Yahoo: 44 per cent): The Law of Averages states that there’s no way a NFL team can go a full season without one touchdown pass to a wide receiver, right? Right? Seriously, this is one of the strangest statistics in recent memory, even with the master of the checkdown Alex Smith limiting opportunities. Week 15 provides a chance to avenge the shocking Week 12 defeat to the Oakland Raiders, followed up by a Steelers defense that seems to give up a long touchdown every week, so Bowe should be able to find paydirt.
Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts (CBS: 39 per cent; Yahoo: 28 per cent): Hey, remember Hakeem Nicks? Because it appears Andrew Luck has all but forgotten him, as evidenced by Nicks’ zero catches in the last two games. Like most teams’ third wideout, Moncrief will likely be a feast-or-famine type of Fantasy player for the rest of 2014. That being said, if we are going to be digging deep for a starter we want someone with home run ability playing in a high powered offense; the speedy Moncrief fits that description perfectly.
Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams (CBS: 34 per cent; Yahoo: 28 per cent): What a headache the tight end position has been for Fantasy owners this season. Rob Gronkowski aside, this group has been as unpredictable and inconsistent on a week-to-week basis as any position we can think of. Cook is far from immune to this problem; while his 4-61-2 line against the Washington Redskins looks enticing, the goose egg he posted the week before is a bit of a red flag. We think Cook’s name belongs alongside the other top 15 or so tight ends that could (or could not) go off any given week.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below who your favourite Fantasy football waiver wire pick of the week is.
RotoRob’s Fantasy Football Weekly Podcast
Crave more Fantasy football chatter? Then join us every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. EST for RotoRob Fantasy Football Weekly Podcast on Blogtalkradio as we commit personal fouls and chop-blocks for 90 minutes or so each week. Tune in here.