Week 15 Fantasy Football Mailbag
Throughout the 2012-2013 NFL season, I will be answering some questions that come my way on Twitter in a mailbag. Sometimes, Twitter questions require more than 140 characters to get to the reasoning behind the answer. With Week 15 upon us and the fantasy playoffs in full swing, let’s take a look at what people are asking:
1) Who would you start between Givens, Moore and Lloyd in a PPR league? – @MotheralLite
I’d go with Brandon Lloyd, in spite of his inconsistency. Lloyd showed up big last week, and I don’t think it was a fluke. Lloyd is the second most targeted receiver in New England (behind Welker). More surprisingly, Lloyd has as many touchdown catches as Welker with 4; and has scored more touchdowns when counting his fumble recovery in Week 14. Lloyd is also almost identical to Welker in snaps (584 for Lloyd, 586 for Welker). Essentially, he is guaranteed to be on the field when the Patriots are passing the ball.
Givens has seen a healthy amount of playing time – 85, 90, and 95 percent of the snaps over the last 3 weeks – but I expect Danny Amendola to return from injury in week 15. When Amendola is in the lineup (and stays in it through 60 minutes), Givens’ snap totals are reduced significantly. The last time Amendola played, Givens played just over 50 percent of the snaps.
2) David Wilson, Sproles, or Ridley this week? 2 of 3. PPR. – @SeanFine27
I usually love Sproles, but there’s no way you can bench either Stevan Ridley or David Wilson in Week 15. Even though Ridley and the Patriots are going up against the 49ers, he is a must-start. He has been performing like an RB1 all season long and is tied for second among all running backs with 10 touchdowns. Considering New England’s propensity for scoring, Ridley is always a solid bet for a touchdown.
Wilson has only played 67 snaps all season long, so there’s not a ton of information to go off of here. However, Wilson seriously cashed in on the 21 snaps he saw last weekend, averaging 7.7 YPC en route to 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ahmad Bradshaw’s status is still in question, which means Wilson should be in line to handle the backfield duties for the Giants again in week 15.
I’m still down on Sproles, even though he scored on the ground last week. That rushing touchdown was his first score by rushing all season. Considering Sproles has only carried the ball 31 times all season (by comparison, Adrian Peterson carried the ball 31 times last week), he’s not a safe bet to score many points on the ground.
Additionally, Sproles is only good for about 40-50 yards receiving per game, and has scored in exactly half of the games he’s played. When you consider the fact that he won’t get you many (if any) points on the ground, his fantasy worth is almost entirely dependent on touchdowns. I tend to shy away from players like that.
3) Cobb or Julio? – @Stanto68
Consider yourself lucky that you have to make this decision. On most teams, those would be your two starting receivers with no questions asked. I think you need to go with Julio Jones, but you can’t really go wrong either way.
Jones has 15 more targets and over 200 more yards on the season as a whole, and both receivers are even in touchdowns with 7. Jones also leads Cobb in snaps, 681 to 551. Jones is also going up against the New York Giants this week, who have a PFF pass coverage rating of -24. Cobb, on the other hand, is facing the Bears, whose pass coverage unit boasts the best grade in the league at +50.3.
The last time Cobb played the Bears, he had 1 reception for 20 yards. Additionally, weather could be a factor in this weekend’s game like it was in week 14 for the Packers. The Packers showed in week 14 that they aren’t afraid to run the ball – Rodgers attempted just 24 passes. If this ends up being the case again, Cobb will be going against both the Bears and the weather; not the greatest of combinations.
4) Matt Ryan or Andy Dalton? – @CStrable
This one is a close call, but I’m going with Dalton. Their stats are very similar across the board (except for yards, where Ryan has 741 more), but the biggest difference comes in how the two have performed in recent weeks.
Ryan has averaged 17.4 PPG this season, but just 11.5 over the last four weeks. Dalton has averaged 16.4 PPG this season, but 17 over the last four weeks. Perhaps more importantly, Dalton travels to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles. The Eagles have given up an average of 18.4 fantasy PPG to opposing quarterbacks, one of the worst averages in the league.
Additionally, the Bengals offense has picked it up a notch overall. Over the last four weeks, Dalton and the Bengals have averaged 71 snaps per game while Ryan and the Falcons have averaged just fewer than 65. It might not seem major, but those 6-7 extra snaps are essentially an additional short drive.