By Michael H. Osinski
Nobody likes to talk about the fact they cooked their turkey in an oven bag. It is not a pretty sight. But the turkey sure comes out juicy, moist and really really good. People want to dress like June Cleaver and prepare the whole meal without breaking a sweat.
Everybody wants a Fantasy Team that is juicy, moist and really really good. (Drafted perfectly, got all the breaks, and finished first).
Nobody gets that.
They are usually stuck with injury giblets. (This year I had Vick, Julio, David Wilson and Justin Blackmon all on one team)
In August your team is invincible. In November the cold reality sets in that you might not make the playoffs. Why is that?
Did you fall victim to the trendy fantasy darlings (David Wilson). Or did your team get gutted by injury (Julio Jones) . Did you think you would pick up the correct waiver pick ups? (You took Jericho Cocthery instead of Zac Stacy)
In a 12 team league, 4 make the playoffs. The rest chased darlings, got gutted by injuries or maybe cooked their turkey without a bag and turned out dry and unattractive.
Maybe you would've done better cooking your team in an oven bag? It might be ugly at first but end up juicy, moist and really really good.
The point here is that nobody wants to admit they spend untold hours fine-tuning their teams and scouting for opportunities. They want it to seem as if it comes naturally and without effort.
Those guys finish 10th every year. The guys that win put in the work and do it the right way. I am sure June Cleaver was a lousy Fantasy player.
Here's what came out of the turkey bag this week:
No more byes. From here on out, you are either riding 1 guy or you are shuffling 2 depending on the matchup. And, the waiver picking are pretty slim in most leagues, so you are also kind of stuck with what you have. Because QB is the single highest scoring position generally, it also has a lot to do with your fantasy fate.
1. Peyton Manning (DEN): I had him lower initially. Then I watched the tape of Rivers shredding KC.
2. Cam Newton (CAR): He started rolling earlier this year. Hope he is not looking past this one for NO.
3. Tony Romo (OAK): It's still November so he won't start the slide yet.
4. Matt Stafford (DET): He just throws so much...and he won't throw 4 picks this week.
5. Tom Brady (NE): So much for the mid-season groundswell of "Bench Brady!"
6. Drew Brees (NO): The Legion of Boom may not be completely up in smoke, but compromised nonetheless.
7. Russell Wilson (SEA): I am really looking forward to this game.
8. Nick Foles (PHI): ARZ is a tough match, but he is the hottest QB this side of Cam.
9. Phil Rivers (SD): Last week he showed people how to exploit KC. This week, Bengals.
10. Carson Palmer (ARZ): 1st time I have had him top 10 this season. He quit turning ball over and gets Philly.
11. Andy Dalton (CIN): SD secondary should actually be called tertiary.
12. Josh McCown (CHI): Really good matchup, and the Bears really need to win this game.
Just out: Luck, Alex Smith, Kaepernick
Try to avoid: Glennon, Tannehill, RGIII
Possible sleeper: Fitzpatrick
Last weekend was brutal on RBs, and the fallout is spilling over into this week. Moreno has a lower leg issue (bone bruise?). Stacy had a concussion, and as of this writing, we have yet to hear his status. Daniel Thomas is out. Lacy has asthma. Forte tweaked his knee. The list is a real long one.
It's only Wednesday, so keep an eye on the injury report.
Also, looks as if there is going to be a bunch of weather issues East of the Mississippi. That means more teams will operate a bit more run-heavy.
1. Adrian Peterson (MIN): Leg issues are behind him and the Bears would allow my daughter to get 100 yds.
2. Jamaal Charles (KC): A lot of this figures to be in the passing game.
3. Marshawn Lynch (SEA): NO defense is good, but Beast Mode is matchup proof.
4. Andre Brown (NYG): Has been money since his return.
5. LeSean McCoy (PHI): He's on pace for over 1500 yards.
6. Eddie Lacy (GB): I know Flynn has had success in the offense, but Eddie will get his 25 carries.
7. Matt Forte (CHI): Matchup is good, but not sure of his health. Bush was way way bad though.
8. Knowshon Moreno (DEN): Assumes he plays a nicked up KC defense.
9. CJ Spiller (BUF): Superior matchup and he is healthy again. Not the reach it seems.
10. Reggie Bush (DET): He said he is not fumbling ever again.
11. Alfred Morris (WSH): As solid and steady as any RB in the league.
12. Rashad Jennings (OAK): Looks nothing like the back in JAX in 2012. DMC will spell HIM. Not reverse.
13. Demarco Murray (DAL): They just don't consistently give him the ball enough.
14. Ben Tate (HOU): Coach said he didn't lose his starting spot, and he is FA after season. Incentive.
15. Zac Stacy (STL): Tough matchup, but it didn't matter when he played SEA.
16. Gio Bernard (CIN): SD not bad vs. the run, but lousy vs. the pass. He'll catch a few.
17. Chris Johnson (TEN): Jekyll/Hyde...who shows up for playoff run?
18. Danny Woodhead (SD): May get extra carries w Ryan Mathews hurt.
19. Shane Vereen (NE): Has been very good since he got back.
20. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): Anyone notice how good he has been lately? Cleveland tough though.
21. Pierre Thomas (NO): Really tough matchup at SEA, and Sproles back.
22. Andre Ellington (ARZ): Mendy splits carries, but Juke does more with them.
23. Fred Jackson (BUF): ATL is mailing in the rest of the season.
24. Le'Veon Bell (PIT): BAL did well stopping good NYJ run game.
25. Darren Sproles (NO): Back this week. Brees will need him as a checkdown vs. SEA.
Just out: Powell/Ivory, SJackson, Bolden(not Ridley)
Try to avoid: Rainey, LMiller, TRich
Possible sleepers: Ball(if Moreno hurt), Cunningham(if Stacy hurt)
At least all the talent missing due to the Week 12 byes is back. But, with all the weather issues on the East Coast, fewer WRs figure to have huge numbers.
1. Calvin Johnson (DET): I truly expect 200+ and maybe 2 TDs. DET really needs to win.
2. Demaryious Thomas (DEN): Rivers (and injuries) exposed the KC defense...Peyton gets a crack now.
3. Brandon Marshall (CHI): Too big a game for spreading out targets. Marshall goes off.
4. AJ Green (CIN): Like I said, the SD secondary is pretty bad.
5. Josh Gordon (CLE): Maybe not like last week, but expect a big game.
6. Dez Bryant (DAL): DAL kind of needs this game.
7. Pierre Garcon (WSH): Even in last week's debacle, he had plenty of catches.
8. Larry Fitzgerald (ARZ): Healthy, with a hot QB, and a pretty juicy matchup.
9. DeSean Jackson (PHI): He may draw Peterson, but so did AJohnson a couple weeks ago.
10. Antonio Brown (PIT): Leads the league in catches, but the matchup isn't so hot.
11. Jordy Nelson (GB): Probably still has some rapport from last time Flynn in GB.
12. Keenan Allen (SD): #1 option on a team that will throw a lot...and have some success doing it.
13. Riley Cooper (PHI): Opposite Peterson's side, and he is Foles' favorite.
14. Andre Johnson (HOU): Expect a bounceback from the Keenum n AJ Show.
15. Percy Harvin (SEA): No snap limitation...expect some fireworks.
16. Vincent Jackson (TB): Carolina can be had in the secondary. Just temper expectations.
17. Harry Douglas (ATL): You know who leads the league in YAC?
18. Victor Cruz (NYG): Not sure what happened last week.
19. Kendall Wright (TEN): Consistent. And he got in the end zone last week.
20. Wes Welker (DEN): Like I said...KC got exposed and has little time to fix before Sunday.
21. TY Hilton (IND): Been up and down more than expected.
22. Alshon Jeffery (CHI): Like I said...big games belong to Marshall.
23. Eric Decker (DEN): Not sure what happened last week, but Peyton has a habit of fixing that.
24. Dwayne Bowe (KC): Quietly erasing the memory of that lousy start.
25. Nate Burleson (DET): His comeback was a roaring success last week. No reason it wont continue.
26. Cecil Shorts (JAX): Still getting targets, but Haden figures to be following him.
27. Rod Streater (OAK): No Denarious...no problem. McGloin likes Streater better anyway.
28. Mike Wallace (MIA): NYJ can be beat deep occasionally.
29. Torrey Smith (BAL): Low scoring game...doesn't figure to score much.
30. Jarret Boykin (GB): He is getting plenty of targets...and got in the end zone last week again.
Just out: Colston, Floyd, Boldin
Try to avoid: Amendola, Nicks, SSmith
Possible sleeper: Stevie Johnson vs. the ATL Foolcons.
Last week was a tough week at TE for me. 3 teams. JThomas; JThomas & JReed; JReed. I had to play Walker, Walker, Walker.
I hear Thomas will play and Reed practiced in full today, so I am optimistic there. Holding on to Walker in 1 league just in case.
1. Rob Gronkowski (NE): Has returned to being the #1 TE.
2. Jimmy Graham (NO): Even against SEA, few are close.
3. Vernon Davis (SF): The "Crabtree Affect" will stretch the field a bit, and Davis will be main beneficiary.
4. Jason Witten (DAL): Mostly because the next 2 are compromised a bit.
5. Jordan Reed (WSH): Assuming he plays.
6. Julius Thomas (DEN): Potentially a big weapon in KC.
7. Jordan Cameron (CLE): Good matchup should provide a good platform for a bounceback.
8. Delanie Walker (TEN): Played well vs. Indy last time.
9. Tony Gonzalez (ATL): Not sure what he has left...or wants with that team.
10. Antonio Gates (SD): As the year has gone on, he has slid further down the list.
11. Martellus Bennett (CHI): McCown doesn't throw to him as much as Cutler does.
12. Rob Housler (ARZ): PHI hasn't stopped too many TEs.
Just out: Pettigrew, Clay, Miller, Fleener
Try to avoid: Cook
Possible sleeper: Ladarius Green
If you read this or my other column weekly, you know by now I stream a kicker each week. I have had some great success (17 pts twice). But, for the first time in years, I have had 0 twice! I'm not scrapping the strategy. I am just narrowing my focus.
Indoor kickers. Warm weather kickers. Kickers on teams that will score a lot. Teams with a history of lots of FGs.
1. Matt Prater (DEN): Team will score a lot.
2. Mike Nugent (CIN): Playing SD.
3. Mason Crosby (GB): Playing indoors.
4. Steve Gostkowski (NE): Indoors.
5. Nick Novak (SD): Nice weather always in SD. 4 of his last 5 are at home. Get him and keep him.
6. Robbie Gould (CHI): Lotsa points...among other things.
7. Blair Walsh (MIN): Ditto.
8. Ryan Succop (KC): This game may be 41-38 as well.
9. Sebastian Janikowski (OAK): FG team...indoors.
10. Dan Bailey (DAL): America's kicker?
11. Greg Zuerlein (STL): I expect a lot of FGs.
12. Phil Dawson (SF): Hasn't missed kick in weeks.
I stream defenses as well. I have had a huge amount of success this year. Then, I fell upon the Carolina Panthers and have kept them for 4 weeks. Not sure what I'll do for the NO home-and-home.
Try to pick defenses playing rookie or backup QBs. Some teams, like the Falcons and Giants, don't take care of the ball...
Good luck to all. Happy Thanksgiving! I am available for questions (even on the holiday) at @mhosinskiLLP.