Fantasy Football Week 12: Matt Camp's Weekly BS Meter
Sometimes sticking around is good enough.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have plenty of offensive talent, but they've been far from dominant throughout much of the season. However, a favorable schedule helped them to a 7-2 record coming into a Week 11 matchup of division leaders against the Tennessee Titans. Ben Roethlisberger had arguably his best performance of the season in a 40-17 victory.
Even though Kirk Cousins has played well for most of the season, none of the Washington WRs emerged as a clear, consistent fantasy option. After another strong effort in Week 11, Jamison Crowder looks like he could become that option in the final weeks of the fantasy regular season.
The slow start for Alshon Jeffery was disappointing, but not completely surprising, as he dealt with some tough matchups in the first half of the season. If you stuck with him, the last month has been encouraging, which could give your team a boost heading towards the fantasy playoffs.
The B.S. Meter breaks down nine of the most pressing issues in fantasy football. The statements will be rated from 1 to 10 with 1 being completely true and 10 being total B.S.
Note: All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes are from FantasyPros. All advanced stats are calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. Snap counts are also from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on a points-per-reception (PPR) format.
Davante Adams Is the Top WR in Green Bay
Going from Aaron Rodgers to Brett Hundley was an obvious downgrade for the Green Bay Packers, but the hope was that the team could stay afloat in the playoff picture until Week 15, which is when Rodgers is first eligible to return from his broken collarbone. It's far from a lock that Rodgers will return at all, so for anyone with ties to the Packers offense, it may just be false hope.
However, hope hasn't been lost for Davante Adams. After posting eight receptions for 126 yards on 10 targets in the Week 11 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, he has 22 receptions for 281 yards and a TD on 33 targets in the four starts for Brett Hundley. If you include the Week 6 game when Rodgers went down after throwing just four passes (none intended for Adams), Hundley has targeted Adams 43 times for 27 receptions, 335 yards and two TDs. In those five games, Adams averaged 14.5 fantasy points per game, which makes him a solid WR2 in PPR formats.
By comparison, Jordy Nelson has just eight receptions for 68 yards on 15 targets in the last four games. Nelson hasn't had a 100-yard game this season and didn't top 79 yards even when Rodgers was healthy. However, he had six TDs over the first five weeks, which carried his fantasy value. He's missing Rodgers more than anyone because the scoring opportunities have dried up with Hundley.
Obviously, expectations are down for all Packers without Rodgers to lead the team, but Adams has been able to weather the storm as the preferred target of Hundley. Even if Rodgers doesn't make it back, Adams should remain a reliable fantasy option on a team that is heading in the wrong direction.
B.S. Meter on Adams being the top wide receiver in Green Bay: 1/10
Larry Fitzgerald Will Produce with Any Quarterback
Larry Fitzgerald has at least nine receptions in four games this season. Two of those instances happened in the last two weeks. The others came in Week 3 and Week 6. While doing this four times in a season is impressive, the fact that Fitzgerald posted these numbers four times with three different QBs is the real achievement.
When Drew Stanton was unable to play in Week 11 because of a knee injury, the Arizona Cardinals turned to Blaine Gabbert, their third starting QB of the season, for their game against the Houston Texans. Fitzgerald was Gabbert's preferred weapon with 10 targets for nine receptions, 91 yards and a TD. Stanton was the QB in Week 10 when Fitzgerald had 10 receptions for 113 yards on 14 targets in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
The first two times Fitzgerald had at least nine receptions, Carson Palmer was under center for the Cardinals. While Fitzgerald had at least nine targets in four games with Palmer, he had three more games of at least nine targets without Palmer. Fitzgerald is clearly the top option in Arizona's offense and is the only fantasy asset you should feel great about owning heading down the stretch.
According to Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site, head coach Bruce Arians said Gabbert would start in Week 12 and remain the starter until Stanton is "totally healthy." Fitzgerald posting strong numbers with Gabbert should remove any concern about hium playing with his third different QB this season. The Cardinals don't have any other reliable options in the receiving corps, so expect Fitzgerald to remain busy and productive.
B.S. Meter on Fitzgerald producing with any quarterback: 2/10
Ben Roethlisberger Has Returned to Weekly-Starter Status
Over the first 10 weeks of the 2017 season, Ben Roethlisberger was the No. 20 fantasy QB with just 13.3 fantasy points per game. Despite a friendly schedule, Roethlisberger completed more than 60 percent of his passes just three times in the first eight weeks and had just three games with two TDs and no games with more than two TD.
In the last three games, he has 852 yards with seven TDs and is averaging 20.7 fantasy points per game. That includes 317 yards with a TD and an INT against a playoff contender in the Detroit Lions back in Week 8 and 299 yards and four TDs against then-AFC South leading Tennessee Titans in Week 12. The Steelers have won five straight with Roethlisberger's best fantasy stats coming against two of their toughest opponents.
The schedule remains mostly favorable down the stretch. The Green Bay Packers visit in Week 12 followed by a trip to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in Week 13. Pittsburgh hosts the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots in Weeks 14-15 before heading to Houston for their Week 16 tilt with the Texans. Other than the Patriots, who have the same 8-2 record as the Steelers, none of the opponents are over .500. Roethlisberger may have started slowly, but his numbers are improving at a time when other would-be fantasy starters are faltering. He's a locked-in starter for the rest of the season.
B.S. Meter on Roethlisberger returning to weekly-starter status: 3/10
Jamison Crowder Is the Redskins Wide Receiver to Own
Through the first nine weeks of the season, every Washington Redskins WR failed to post double-digit fantasy points (PPR) in back-to-back games. Jamison Crowder had a chance to end that unfortunate streak when he scored 21.3 fantasy points in Week 8, but he had to sit out the following week with a hip injury. The streak ended in Week 11.
In Sunday's loss to the New Orleans Saints, Crowder caught seven of eight targets for 72 yards to total 14.2 fantasy points. In Week 10, he recorded four receptions for 76 yards on 11 targets to finish with 10.6 fantasy points. If you ignore his Week 9 absence, Crowder has double-digit fantasy points in his last three games, a feat he has achieved just four times this season. Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson and Ryan Grant each had two games of double-digit fantasy points with both Doctson and Grant joining Crowder in hitting that mark in Week 11.
Just day after placing Rob Kelley on injured reserve, the Redskins lost Chris Thompson to a broken fibula that will require surgery, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Coming into Week 10, Thompson led the team in rushing yards, receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, so his absence leaves a big hole. Even though he was disappointing, Pryor is out indefinitely due to ankle surgery, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, which eliminates another option from the WR corps.
While Doctson is worth grabbing off the waiver wire if he's there, Crowder looks like the safest option going forward, especially since he should avoid seeing top CBs as much as he works out of the slot. His consistent numbers over the last month back that up. He is the preferred target of Kirk Cousins, with 32 targets in his last three games.
B.S. Meter on Crowder being Washington's wide receiver to own: 4/10
Tyrod Taylor Can Regain His Fantasy Value
In a shocking move, the Buffalo Bills benched Tyrod Taylor heading into Week 11 in favor of rookie Nathan Peterman, despite a 5-4 record, which put them in contention for a playoff spot with less than half the season remaining. The move came after Taylor completed just nine of 18 pass attempts for 56 yards and an INT in 47-10 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Peterman got the start against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and proceeded to throw five interceptions, including three in the first quarter before he was benched at halftime in favor of Taylor. Peterson threw just 14 passes with six completions for 66 yards and led one scoring drive, which was actually just two runs by LeSean McCoy totaling 64 yards and a TD. Taylor did lose a fumble that was returned for a TD, but also completed 15 of 25 attempts for 158 yards and a TD to McCoy in addition to four carries for 38 yards and a rushing TD.
According to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, Bills GM Rick Dennison said Peterman "made some bad decisions with the football" with some of those coming under duress and that Peterman "understood where the ball was supposed to go." Head coach Sean McDermott said,
"I own the decision. I don't regret the decision. I regret the result," head coach Sean McDermott told Rodak.
McDermott is "still evaluating" who will start in Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
With six weeks left in the regular season, the Bills are tied with the Baltimore Ravens at 5-5 for the final playoff spot in the AFC. While the team has clearly overachieved to still be in the hunt at this point, it has a shot to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999, which is why it should go back to Taylor. As a fifth-round pick, it's not like Peterman is a heavy investment for the Bills, nor should he have been considered the future of the position for the franchise.
Before the entire team fell apart against the Saints in Week 10, Taylor was the No. 13 fantasy QB for the season, so he had value that he can regain if he gets the starting job back this week in a favorable matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Bills got some good news when it was determined that Kelvin Benjamin didn't tear his ACL and doesn't have a long-term injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. With Charles Clay back in the picture and Zay Jones starting to come on along with a reliable option in McCoy in the backfield, Taylor can be a fantasy asset.
B.S. Meter on Taylor regaining his fantasy value: 5/10
Alshon Jeffery's Hot Streak Is Just a Fluke
The inconsistency of the WR position has been maddening this season, which is why, in most cases, you should be deferring to the most talented players in the best situations. In the case of Alshon Jeffery, we know he's a talented player with great QB in Carson Wentz on arguably the best team in the league. Barring unforeseen circumstances, players with that many things going for them usually end up being good fantasy assets.
It took some time for Jeffery to get on track this season, as he faced some tough matchups over the first five games of the year. He had just one game with at least five receptions and at least 60 yards over that span, which included just two TDs. Through five games, he averaged just 11.7 fantasy points per game, which put him in the low WR2 range.
The turnaround began in Week 6 with four receptions for 71 yards on 10 targets in a win over the Carolina Panthers. Jeffery has at least 60 yards in four of the last five games and has scored four times, all of which came in the last three games. After scoring 16.7 fantasy points thanks to four receptions for 61 yards and a TD on seven targets in Week 11, Jeffery is averaging 15.2 fantasy points over the last five games.
After he faces the Chicago Bears in Week 12, Jeffery plays the depleted Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants and Oakland Raiders over the rest of the fantasy regular season and playoffs. The schedule works in his favor down the stretch to make up for such a rough start, which means he could be a foundation piece of a fantasy championship.
B.S. Meter on Jeffery's hot streak being a fluke: 7/10
Kareem Hunt Is to Blame for the Dip in His Fantasy Value
In the Week 10 B.S. Meter, the Kareem Hunt concerns were addressed following his lowest snap total of the season at just 54.4 percent. The Kansas City Chiefs lost that game 28-17 after giving Hunt just nine carries, so it was fair to assume they'd use the bye week to correct such a foolish mistake after losing their third game in four weeks.
The Chiefs should have been set up well to feature Hunt against the 1-8 New York Giants, especially with high winds swirling around MetLife Stadium. Instead, Hunt saw just four carries (20 yards) and had two receptions for three yards on three targets in the first half. Meanwhile, Alex Smith completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 96 yards and an INT. The Chiefs trailed 6-3.
Hunt would see an uptick in the second half, finishing with 18 carries for 73 yards and three receptions for four yards on four targets in a game that lasted all the way until the final 1:57 of overtime when the Giants won on an Aldrick Rosas field goal. Hunt played 66.7 percent of the snaps, which was his fourth-lowest total of the season. That doesn't make much sense coming out of a bye, especially in a good matchup with the weather working against Smith, who wound up completing 27 on a season-high 40 attempts for 230 yards, no TDs and two INTs.
Charcandrick West played 26.7 percent of the snaps with a season-high four carries for 15 yards and four receptions for nine yards on four targets. Akeem Hunt didn't play much of a role with one carry for three yards and no targets on 4.0 percent of the snaps.
Even though Hunt ended up with a normal workload, it took way too long to get him the ball, especially since Smith was struggling against a bad team. He hasn't scored more than 10.7 fantasy points in any of the last three games after averaging 22.7 in the first seven games. With four losses in the last five games, the Chiefs have gotten away from what works, which is featuring Hunt as the focal point of their offense. At 6-4, they remain on top of the AFC West, but they have just a two-game lead on the Los Angeles Chargers and Oakland Raiders, so their cushion isn't as comfortable.
The Chiefs have a chance to right their wrong with favorable matchups coming against the Buffalo Bills, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins. If they don't feature Hunt in those games, they're asking for more trouble.
B.S. Meter on blaming Hunt for the dip in his fantasy value: 8/10
1 Player Will Emerge from the Eagles Backfield Committee
When the Philadelphia Eagles traded for Jay Ajayi prior to Week 9, it was a clear message they wanted to improve a rushing attack that was already performing well with LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood splitting up the workload as an important part of their successful offense.
Before Ajayi arrived, LeGarrette Blount had the highest snap count (50 percent in Week 8) of any Eagles RB since Darren Sproles went down in Week 3 after playing 48.5 percent in Week 1 and 69.4 percent in Week 2. Five days after joining the Eagles, Ajayi predictably had a small snap count at 24.6 percent, but made an impact with eight carries for 77 yards including a 46-yard TD.
With a bye in Week 10, Ajayi had a chance to better acclimate himself with the Eagles playbook, so it was fair to believe he'd have a bigger role in a great matchup with the Dallas Cowboys in Week 11. Surprisingly, Ajayi registered just 20.3 percent of the snaps with seven carries for 91 yards, including a 71-yard run, and one reception for 10 yards on his only target. Blount led the team in snaps (46.9 percent) and carries (13), but it was Corey Clement (29.7 percent of snaps) and Kenjon Barner (3.1 percent of snaps) who scored rushing TDs while Wendell Smallwood was a healthy scratch.
The Eagles won the game 37-9, so they were certainly happy with the output of their offense, specifically the backfield. Unfortunately, the split of snaps and touches was brutal for fantasy owners and it might not get any easier. Even if Ajayi was brought in to provide an upgrade, it doesn't mean he'll dominate the snaps on a consistent basis. That means you're guessing and hoping for a TD if you play Ajayi, unless the Eagles buck their trend and feature him as the lead back on a regular basis. This committee is great for the Eagles and annoying for fantasy owners.
B.S. Meter on one player emerging from the Eagles backfield committee: 9/10
The Ravens Can Support a 3-Headed Backfield
The Baltimore Ravens got a nice boost in their quest to return to the playoffs in the form of Danny Woodhead. He went down in Week 1 with a hamstring injury and was placed on the injured reserve, but was activated ahead of Week 11 to return to action against the Green Bay Packers.
If the Ravens were in a better position, they may have taken a little more time to bring Woodhead back, but heading into Week 11, they were on the outside looking in for the final playoff spot in the AFC, meaning complete caution wasn't an option. In his first game back, Woodhead had a single carry for two yards and caught five of six targets for 21 yards with his other target getting intercepted on a wheel route that was poorly thrown by Joe Flacco. Woodhead played 22 percent of the snaps.
Alex Collins, who shouldn't see a major change in his role, led the team with season-highs in snaps (64.4 percent), carries (20), targets (seven) and receptions (four). He totaled 49 yards on the ground and ran in his first TD of the season. The uptick in his receiving numbers was surprising, since he came into the game with three receptions for 33 yards on five targets.
With Woodhead back in the mix and Collins playing his biggest role of the season, Javorius Allen was limited to a season-low 16.9 percent of the snaps with just one reception for nine yards on one target and three carries for eight yards. Even though he's had fantasy value for most of the season, the return of Woodhead likely means Allen is the odd-man out for the Ravens.
Going forward, you can expect Collins to remain in his role as the lead runner while Woodhead should be an active part of the passing attack on a team that certainly needs him down the stretch. Collins likely profiles as a low-end RB2 regardless of the format, while Woodhead should be a mid-range RB2 in PPR formats and more of a bench player in standard leagues.
B.S. Meter on the Ravens supporting a three-headed backfield: 10/10