2014 Fantasy Football: Week 13 Gold Mine
Thanksgiving, the time of the year to give and receive thanks. Family, friends, food and football, the four “f’s” on turkey day that can make anyone excited for the holidays to come.
As we have been accustomed to for a few years now, Thanksgiving also brings us three games on Thursday with the Lions and the Cowboys still hosting games based on tradition and a third game thrown in to add a bit of a spark to primetime.
Although Thanksgiving is supposed to be a stress free period where we get together with our loved ones, with only a couple more weeks remaining before your leagues playoffs begin, this time of year can be anything but that.
All 32 teams have officially had their bye which now means we can sit a bit more comfortably as our rosters are now back to full strength just in time for our final push to the playoffs.
Because I am so thankful to all of you for being the loyal readers of The Fix, let’s get a bit generous and look at players owned in less than 40% of ESPN leagues as opposed to 25%. Not in an ESPN league? Don’t worry, check out the players percentage of ownership in both Yahoo and NFL leagues as well.
Teddy Bridgewater (MIN): Bridgewater (8.8 | 8 | 5.9) has had his fair share of bumps in the road so far this year with multiple games of single-digit fantasy points and an early injury that caused him to miss a game just when he was finally getting his start. However, over the last few games, Bridgewater has been somewhat of a bright spot in the Vikings merry-go-round of a season. In the last four games, Bridgewater surpassed 210 yards passing three times with double-digit fantasy points in each of them and 57 yards on the ground over that same stretch of games.
The Vikings and Bridgewater showed prowess this past Sunday when they narrowly lost to the division leading Packers. This week, the Vikings have a considerably better match up when they host the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. The Panthers have given up the 27th most points to opposing quarterbacks this season including a run of 260+ yard games in three straight.
Alex Smith (KC): An additional quarterback to look at this week, Smith (26.1 | 37 | 73.5) takes on the 28th ranked Broncos pass defense. Smith put on a show in a losing effort on Thursday Night Football last week throwing for 234 yards and two touchdowns without turning the ball over. Smith, however, hadn’t scored a passing touchdown in two previous games. When the Broncos faced the Chiefs earlier in the season Smith did surpass the 250 yard mark with 255 yards passing and another 42 yards rushing and was a touchdown a way from a very solid fantasy week. The Broncos have given up 10 touchdowns in their last four games with at least 192 yards passing and double-digit fantasy points in each of them.
Latavius Murray (OAK): Murray (28.7 | 48 | 15.1) seems to be a piece the Raiders have been missing for some time. Sure, it’s hard to truly diagnose a player’s worth on such a small sample size, but his 112 yards on just four carries with two of them reaching the end zone were mind-blowingly impressive. Knowing those two rushing touchdowns came on a defense that hadn’t given up a rushing touchdown all season long makes it even more impressive.
Murray has been pretty remarkable the last two games rushing for more than 160 yards on just the eight carries before going down with a concussion early last Thursday. Murray has just one more step to clear concussion protocol and signs are pointing in the direction of a full go with him back on the practice field on Wednesday. The Raiders week 13 opponent, the St. Louis Rams, have been pretty stout against the run so far this year, but they are coming off a game giving up 129 yards to divisional foe San Diego. If Murray can clear he should get a good amount of touches this week to continue showing what he is made of.
LeGarrette Blount (NE): Blount has been reunited with the team that resurrected his career last season and exploded in his first appearance back with the Patriots. Blount (39.5 | 57 | 25.4) had recorded just one game over 29 yards all season long prior to Sunday when the former Oregon Duck collected 78 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots rout of the #1 ranked rushing defense in Detroit. Blount is comfortable in the Belichick offense and its clear that they are giving him the touches.
The Patriots get another whack at a top NFC North team in the Packers who are currently ranked 15th in the league and haven’t given up a rushing touchdown in each of the last three weeks. Despite the Packers prowess against the run recently Blount has had success rushing for over 100 yards and scoring in his only matchup against the Wisconsin cheese heads. With the way the Patriots move the ball and Blount’s bruising ability to bash for an extra yard or two, Blount should easily get the goal line attempts he is accustomed to.
Charles Johnson (MIN): I have said it before and I will say it again, you can’t have a good QB without having someone to throw the ball to. And over the last couple of weeks that man has been Johnson (5.1 | 12 | 0.4). Johnson saw more than 95% of the snaps this past week against the Packers with 11 targets. Despite the high number of looks Johnson only reeled in three receptions but did gain 52 yards and found the end zone, which ended up being his second straight double-digit point scoring game. As mentioned previously, the Panthers have not been very good this year against the pass and have been just as bad against wide receivers this year ranking 28th in the league and giving up almost five more points per game to them than the league average.
Jarvis Landry (MIA): Landry (18.9 | 34 | 4.9) has had a quietly impressive season so far, specially over the last four games amassing at least five receptions and 46 yards in each and scoring four times in that same span. With nearly 50 snaps and an increase in targets Landry is easily becoming a fan favorite in Miami. With a Monday Night matchup against the 22nd worst defense against wide receivers this week Landry should continue to see elevated numbers. The Jets have been known to give up their fair share of points to wide receivers this year including a touchdown in all but three games so far and at least 34 fantasy points in four of the last six games.
Not only do I wish you and your families the most blessed of holidays, I wish you all the best of luck as you make your final push to the playoffs. But don’t think you can just sit tight and let things come to you. You have to go out and seize this moment as there is still plenty of talent on the waiver wire that you can easily snap up to put you in the perfect position for success.
As always check me out on Twitter right up until game time @justinmandaro for your start/sit questions.