Fantasy Football Week 14: Matt Camp's Weekly BS Meter
If you apply logic when making lineup decisions, the results should be positive most of the time.
Starting players like Jamaal Williams and Kenyan Drake were logical moves because they were both in line for big roles with little to worry about in terms of competition. As a result, both players came through for fantasy owners who applied logic. The performances of Williams and Drake should afford them more opportunities in the future.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs should have had huge performances against the decimated Atlanta Falcons secondary. They combined for six receptions, 83 yards and zero touchdowns on 10 targets. Davante Adams was on fire coming into a great matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13. He wound up with just four receptions for 42 yards on six targets. Logic didn't work out for those three players.
It's easy to get discouraged when you use sound reasoning and it doesn't work out, especially for players who've been so reliable like Thielen and Adams. But don't get away from logical decision-making this late in the season just because some decisions didn't pan out like you hoped. In the end, logic should win out more times than not.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations that cover 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 from FantasyPros. All advanced stats calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. Snap counts also from Pro Football Reference. All stats based on a points-per-reception format.
Hunter Henry Can Win You a Fantasy Championship
Talent has never been an issue for Hunter Henry, but his usage has been annoying for fantasy owners looking for a weekly starter at a position that isn't deep.
Over the last two weeks, Henry has rewarded those who stuck with him by posting 12 receptions for 157 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets. These performances came in favorable matchups against the Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns, so the Los Angeles Chargers recognized a weakness in their opponents and exploited it by featuring Henry. As a result, he's averaged 16.9 fantasy points per game in the last two weeks.
Another encouraging sign during the last two weeks is that Keenan Allen has also been lighting up opposing defenses. Allen racked up 21 receptions for 277 yards and two touchdowns on 28 targets in the last two games. While he is clearly the top option in this offense, there's more than enough to go around for both Allen and Henry to be two of the best options at their respective positions.
Over the next three weeks, the Chargers have favorable matchups with the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets. All three of those teams rank in the bottom half of the league in passing defense, with the Jets as the 13th-worst unit and Chiefs as the fifth-worst.
Rolling with Henry in the last two games has paid off, and by continuing to roll with him over the next three weeks, he should give you an advantage at tight end that hasn't been easy to find for most of the season. Besides the favorable schedule, Henry will benefit from a hot quarterback in Philip Rivers and a team that's ridden three straight victories into a tie for the AFC West lead. Henry could be the tight end on many championship fantasy rosters this year.
B.S. Meter on Henry winning you a fantasy championship: 1/10
The Packers Should Stick with Jamaal Williams
Even though Aaron Jones was healthy enough to return from the knee injury that kept him out for the last two weeks, the Green Bay Packers made the wise decision to stick with Jamaal Williams as their lead back in Week 13 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Williams rewarded that faith by posting his best performance of the season: 21 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown in addition to two receptions for 10 yards on three targets. In the previous two games without Jones, Williams boosted his value with eight receptions for 107 yards and a 54-yard TD on 11 targets. He had a quieter game as a receiver in Week 13 but more than made up for it with his rushing performance.
In the last three weeks, Williams has played at least 81.8 percent of the snaps and tallied at least 18 carries (he's had at least 20 carries in three of the last four games). No other Packers running back has a 20-carry game this season. Jones was on the field for two snaps but scored the game-winning touchdown on a 20-yard run in overtime.
Even if we see a little more of Jones in Week 14, the Packers should stick with what's working in Williams, as they are keeping their playoff hopes alive with the chance that Aaron Rodgers can return from his broken collarbone in Week 15.
B.S. Meter on the Packers sticking with Williams: 2/10
Mike Davis Is the Solution to the Seahawks' RB Problems
The Seattle Seahawks have used six different running backs this season with no sustained success. In Week 11, Mike Davis played his first snaps, notching six carries for 18 yards and two receptions for 41 yards on two targets while playing 21.6 percent of the downs, which was second on the team to J.D. McKissic, who played 67.6 percent. Davis didn't have a chance to build on that because of a groin injury that kept him out in Week 12.
Davis was healthy enough to return in Week 13, and because the Seahawks still needed help in their backfield, he was used in a feature role. Davis' snap percentage jumped to 72.6, and he led the team with 16 carries for 64 yards. Other than Eddie Lacy's 17 totes for 46 yards in Week 12 and Chris Carson's 20 rushes for 93 yards in Week 2, no Seattle running back has a game with 15 carries this season. Davis added four receptions for 37 yards on four targets to cap a successful return to action and one of the best performances from this backfield all season.
McKissic's snap percentage dropped to 14.5, but he caught one of his three targets for a 15-yard touchdown. He lost a yard on his only carry, so the score was a consolation in an otherwise forgettable performance. Lacy played a total of three snaps and recorded just one carry for three yards, so he had yet another terrible outing in what's been an awful season.
Because Davis had one of the rare strong performances by a Seahawks running back this season, the team should stick with him, as it has no other realistic options to lead the backfield. According to Gregg Bell of the News Tribune, head coach Pete Carroll said Chris Carson won't practice this week, but "maybe he has a chance in the next couple weeks." That means the Hawks need Davis down the stretch, so he should keep getting chances for a contending team.
B.S. Meter on Davis being the solution to the Seahawks' RB problems: 3/10
The Presence of Andre Ellington Hurts Lamar Miller
After the Arizona Cardinals decided to part ways with Andre Ellington, the Houston Texans scooped him up in Week 12. He was inactive for that game but made his Texans debut in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans.
While Ellington didn't go anywhere on his two carries (minus-4 yards), he did haul in five of his six targets for 56 yards while playing 58 percent of the snaps. Game flow may have contributed to a bigger role than expected for Ellington, as the Texans trailed for the entire fourth quarter, but they showed trust in him.
Lamar Miller had a typical outing, with 15 carries for 56 yards and four receptions for 38 yards on four targets while playing 80.2 percent of the snaps. He had just one carry in the red zone and zero carries inside the 10-yard line. He has just three touches inside the 10 over the last five games, so his scoring opportunities have taken a hit without Deshaun Watson leading the offense. The Texans scored at least 17 points just one time in that five-game span.
The presence of Ellington may not seem like a big deal, but any threat to Miller's touches is a concern since he plays for a bad team that's out of contention. His margin for error gets even smaller with Ellington in the mix. Even though Miller is an OK RB2, it's tough to get excited about him in the final month of the season. Ellington is more of an annoyance than someone with real fantasy value.
B.S. Meter on the presence of Ellington hurting Miller: 4/10
Derrick Henry Is the Top Fantasy Back in Tennessee
The never-ending saga of the Tennessee Titans backfield continued in Week 13 with one big play that was the difference between Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray.
Henry's 75-yard scamper for a touchdown with 46 seconds remaining in the Titans victory over the Houston Texans boosted what was a forgettable afternoon into 109 rushing yards on 11 carries. DeMarco Murray wound up with 66 yards on 11 carries and two receptions for 13 yards on two targets. That means neither Henry nor Murray had double-digit fantasy points until Henry's garbage-time touchdown.
In Week 12, Henry finished with more carries than Murray for just the third time all season. That game also marked the second time Henry played more snaps than Murray, with 55.2 percent to Murray's 53.4 percent. Murray jumped back out in front in Week 13 with 59.3 percent to Henry's 44.4 percent. That's not a wide margin, and it marked the second straight game Murray failed to play at least 60 percent of the snaps after he appeared on at least 71.2 percent of the snaps in the three previous games.
Henry might trail Murray in carries for the season (140-125), but he has a significant advantage in yards (629-518) and yards per carry (5.0-3.7), so Henry has been the more efficient runner. Murray keeps his fantasy value live with a consistent role in the passing game, which Henry does not have. Through 12 games, Murray has 33 receptions for 238 yards and a touchdown on 39 targets, while Henry has just seven receptions for 55 yards on 12 targets, including just one reception over the last four games.
Based on production, Henry is the better back, but it's not like he has a giant lead in snaps or carries. The two are close enough to consider them about even value for fantasy. Murray likely has a little more value in PPR formats because of his role as a receiver, but Henry has been the better runner. This is more of a fantasy headache than anything else. Both players are in the low RB2 tier.
B.S. Meter on Henry being the top fantasy back in Tennessee: 5/10
Concern That Alex Smith Will Disappear After Week 13
Last week's B.S. Meter covered the struggles of Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs offense. The fantasy community has been lamenting the lack of production from this offense as Smith fell out of the reliable fantasy quarterbacks tier over the last month.
After head coach Andy Reid handed over the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, some hope was in the air heading into the team's Week 13 game against the New York Jets. A hot start justified that hope, as Smith threw a pair of first-quarter touchdowns to Travis Kelce. The offense stalled for much of the next two quarters until Smith hit Tyreek Hill for a 79-yard touchdown to help tie the game at 24 late in the third. Smith connected with Hill again on a 40-yard score in the fourth quarter, which got the Chiefs to the 30-point threshold for the first time since Week 7. It was also the first time they posted 20 points since Week 8.
Of course, the Chiefs still lost the game despite their best offensive performance in more than a month. Smith completed 19 of his 33 attempts for 366 yards and four touchdowns in addition to a single rushing attempt that went for 70 yards. He was the top fantasy quarterback in Week 13 with 37.6 fantasy points. Smith's 300-yard effort was his first since Week 7, and it was only his second multi-touchdown contest in the last five games.
The big plays that were missing from the offense returned, which was certainly helpful for the fantasy values of Smith and Hill. Those plays have been a big part of Smith's success this season and will need to continue for Smith to again be a reliable fantasy option. It was a step in the right direction, and with the Oakland Raiders up next, Smith has a good chance to built on his Week 13 performance.
B.S. Meter on concern that Smith will disappear after Week 13: 6/10
Marquise Goodwin Is a Flash in the Pan
The San Francisco 49ers aren't in contention, so the final month of the season is about building for the future. They took their time with Jimmy Garoppolo after acquiring him in Week 9. Following a brief appearance as a replacement for an injured C.J. Beathard in Week 12, Garoppolo was named the starter prior to Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.
He had an encouraging debut, piling up 293 yards on 26-of-37 passing. He formed a connection with Marquise Goodwin, who caught all eight of his targets for 99 yards. That marked a season high in receptions and Goodwin's second-highest yards tally this season. Goodwin has seen an uptick in his role over the last four games since Pierre Garcon landed on the injured reserve with a neck injury.
In the four games without Garcon, Goodwin has 15 receptions for 328 yards and a touchdown on 24 targets. He has at least 68 yards in each of those games and at least 60 yards in seven games this season. While initially considered just a deep threat, Goodwin has become a primary target in the offense over the last month and is proving he can handle the bigger role.
Even though the 49ers are 2-10, they seem to be heading in the right direction with good coaching and a clear plan to figure out potential contributors for the future. With Garoppolo starting, San Francisco will be a team to watch down the stretch, especially after such a good start. Goodwin was already performing well with Beathard, so he could finish the season on a high note with Garoppolo. Instead of being just a flash player, Goodwin has a chance to remain a regular contributor down the stretch.
B.S. Meter on Goodwin being a flash in the pan: 7/10
Kenyan Drake's Week 13 Performance Was a Fluke
The Miami Dolphins were without Damien Williams (shoulder) in Week 13, so Kenyan Drake was expected to play a big role in a decent matchup against the Denver Broncos. The results were even better than expected and could keep Drake busy for the rest of the season.
The Dolphins took a 9-3 lead early in the second quarter and quickly expanded that to 16-3 following a defensive touchdown. They controlled the game and rolled to a 35-9 victory that Drake helped seal with a 42-yard scoring run in the third quarter. Because the Dolphins held the lead for almost three full quarters, Drake racked up 120 yards on 23 attempts. He added three receptions for 21 yards on five targets to finish with 23.1 fantasy points.
After the game, Drake joined me for an interview on SiriusXM Fantasy Football Gameday and said that he expected to have a big workload. He also said his 23 carries were the most he's had since high school, so this was clearly a jump for him, though he handled it well.
Before Week 13, Drake's previous high was nine carries in Weeks 9 and 12 (for 69 and 20 yards, respectively). His previous high in touches was the 15 he had in that Week 9 game against the Oakland Raiders, which resulted in 104 yards. His snap percentage has risen every game since Week 10, including a season-high 79.1 against the Broncos. Senorise Perry was behind Drake with five carries for 22 yards on just 17.9 percent of the snaps.
Williams missed every practice last week, so he's not a lock to play in Week 14. That would put Drake in line for another busy day when the Dolphins host the New England Patriots. While it's hard to see the Dolphins controlling that game the way they did against an inferior team like the Broncos, Drake should get enough volume to remain in the RB2 category. With the Dolphins going nowhere, they should give Drake an extended look over the final four games of the season, which include two favorable matchups against the Buffalo Bills. He should remain productive.
B.S. Meter on Drake's Week 13 performance being a fluke: 8/10
Josh Gordon Has More to Prove Before You Can Use Him with Confidence
After a three-year absence from the regular season due to multiple suspensions, Josh Gordon returned to action in Week 13 and made an impact.
Despite a tough matchup with top cornerback Casey Hayward and the Los Angeles Chargers, Gordon brought in four of 11 targets for 85 yards. No other member of the Cleveland Browns offense had more than six targets (David Njoku), including Corey Coleman, who failed to catch any of his four targets. The Cleveland Browns lost 19-10 but clearly got a boost from Gordon's presence, as they played a competitive game on the road against one of the hottest teams in the league.
During the week leading up to the game, head coach Hue Jackson talked about a big role for Gordon. For once, a coach actually led fantasy owners in the right direction. In addition to the team-high 11 targets, Gordon played 76.2 percent of the snaps. If you wanted to see how Gordon would perform before inserting him into your lineup, wait no more.
The Browns host the Green Bay Packers in a winnable matchup in Week 14 before the Baltimore Ravens visit in Week 15 without top corner Jimmy Smith (Achilles). They'll visit the Chicago Bears in Week 16, so it's a pretty good schedule for Gordon to build on what was a successful return to action. There's no reason to be hesitant about playing Gordon in the fantasy playoffs, as he's at least a WR3 going forward.
B.S. Meter on Gordon having more to prove before you can use him with confidence: 9/10
DeVante Parker Still Has Fantasy Value
Injuries have plagued DeVante Parker throughout his three-year career, including this season. He missed three games with an ankle injury after a promising start to the year—18 receptions for 230 yards and a touchdown on 27 targets in the first three games.
Parker came back from the injury with two solid performances in Weeks 9 and 10, recording 11 receptions for 142 yards on 17 targets. With the injury behind him, Parker doesn't have an excuse for his play over the last three weeks. After posting just one reception for five yards in each of the last two games, Parker has just six receptions for 36 yards and zero touchdowns on 16 targets over the last three weeks. That puts him at 36 receptions for 414 yards and a touchdown on 61 targets this season.
Meanwhile, Kenny Stills continues to be a reliable option. During Parker's three-game slump, Stills racked up 15 receptions for 325 yards and two touhdowns on 27 targets. Jarvis Landry is clearly the best fantasy option in the receiving corps, but Stills should be considered the next-best. Parker's talent doesn't translate to reliable fantasy production, and he's not worth keeping on your roster. Feel free to move on from him instead of waiting for production that may never materialize.
B.S. Meter on Parker still having fantasy value: 10/10