Fantasy Football Week 15: Matt Camp's Weekly BS Meter
Player values can shift dramatically, even in the fantasy playoffs.
The Philadelphia Eagles lost Carson Wentz to a torn ACL, which completely changes the landscape of the NFC. It also means those who've been rolling with Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and other fantasy-relevant Eagles have to reassess how those players fit on their fantasy depth charts. Nick Foles takes over with favorable matchups coming up, but he is a downgrade from Wentz.
Even though the New York Jets are out of contention, they've provided fantasy production to playoff teams with players like Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse. Those WRs take a hit with Josh McCown out for the season after he broke his non-throwing hand in Week 14.
Hopefully, you stayed active on the waiver wire regardless of your record to build the best possible roster for the fantasy playoffs. Even the top teams will be reaching into bench depth over the next two weeks.
The B.S. Meter breaks down 10 situations covering 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.
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.
Jets Receivers Must Be Downgraded Without Josh McCown
The ramifications of losing Josh McCown for the season might not be huge in reality, but they will have lasting effects in the fantasy playoffs.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, head coach Todd Bowles announced McCown will have season-ending surgery on his non-throwing hand. The team will go with Bryce Petty as the starter instead of Christian Hackenberg over the final three games of the season. Even though the Jets were out of contention heading into Week 14, Bowles said the team planned on sticking with McCown for the rest of the season, which is an indictment of how they felt about Petty and Hackenberg.
Petty was miserable in relief of McCown on Sunday in a loss to the Denver Broncos. He completed just two of nine attempts for 14 yards.
Robby Anderson's hot streak of at least 80 yards or a TD in six games came to an end, as he wound up with just three receptions for 27 yards on six targets. Jermaine Kearse came into Week 14 with back-to-back 100-yard performances, but he had just a single reception for four yards on six targets in Denver.
Anderson looked like a must-start player when the fantasy playoffs began, but he's not a lock to be in starting lineups with the QB change, especially since the Jets have tough matchups with the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers in the next two weeks.
You can forget about keeping Jermaine Kearse and Austin Seferian-Jenkins on your roster, as they weren't consistent options with McCown. Whether Petty keeps the job or the team ends up looking at Hackenberg, either option is a massive drop-off from McCown.
B.S. Meter on downgrading Jets receivers without McCown: 1/10
You Can Ride Alex Collins to a Fantasy Championship
If a waiver-wire pickup can give you decent production for even a month, he's worth adding to your roster. When that addition improves as the season goes on and peaks in the fantasy playoffs, you've struck gold. Alex Collins is fantasy gold.
His best game of the season came in a Week 14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Collins carried the Baltimore Ravens offense with 18 carries for 120 yards and a TD in addition to two receptions for 46 yards on two targets. He set season highs in rushing and receiving yards, further proving his status as the top RB in Baltimore and one of the most reliable fantasy RBs heading down the homestretch.
Collins didn't have a red-zone carry until Week 8 against the Miami Dolphins. His first TD of the season didn't come until Week 11 against the Green Bay Packers. Since scoring against the Packers, Collins has five TDs in his last four games, all of which came from the red zone, including four inside the 10-yard line. It took some time for the Ravens to have trust in Collins after he lost two fumbles in his first three games, but he hasn't fumbled since Week 4.
Amazingly, Collins could have had an even bigger performance against the Steelers, but Javorius Allen converted two of his six carries into TDs. Allen has just 18 carries over the last three weeks, yet three of those have gone for scores from the red zone. Allen is playing more of a fullback role, but he's stayed in the mix enough to be slightly annoying if you have Collins.
The increase in fantasy production hasn't meant huge snap percentages for Collins. He's topped 60 percent just once this season and hasn't played more than 51.6 percent in the last three weeks. Allen topped out at 22.4 percent in the last four games. Danny Woodhead's 37.5 percent against the Steelers was his most since returning from injury and highest of the season, which led to just six touches for 36 yards. He's been a non-factor.
Even with three RBs seeing at least 20 percent of the snaps, Collins is clearly the lead back for the Ravens and an excellent fantasy asset. They'll continue their fight to make the playoffs with games against the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts in the next two weeks. Both of those matchups should afford Collins plenty of work to remain one of the most reliable fantasy RBs in the fantasy playoffs.
B.S. Meter on riding Collins to a fantasy championship: 2/10
Theo Riddick Has Returned to Must-Start Status
A neck injury kept Ameer Abdullah out for Week 13. While that same injury was part of the reason he was out for Week 14, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Detroit Lions decided to keep him out in an effort to improve the run game.
With Abdullah out the last two weeks, Theo Riddick has been thrust into a bigger role with encouraging results.
In the Week 13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Riddick rushed nine times for 21 yards with a TD and added five receptions for 41 yards while playing a then-season-high 63.5 percent of the snaps. In Detroit's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Riddick's snap percentage jumped to 70.6 with 10 carries for 29 yards and two TDs in addition to six receptions for 64 yards on 10 targets.
Riddick is averaging 22.3 fantasy points per game over the last two weeks, which has been a major boost to his fantasy value. Even though he hasn't run the ball often or particularly well, he's getting chances to score. Three of his eight red-zone carries and two of his five carries inside the 10-yard line came in the last two games. All three of those red-zone carries resulted in TDs. Tion Green wasn't a threat to Riddick's touches or snaps in Week 14 with five carries for 15 yards on 19.1 percent of the snaps.
While Riddick is primarily known as a pass-catching back, his production as a receiver is basically an extension of the team's rushing attack, which has struggled with Abdullah leading the way. This is similar to how the team operated in 2016 when Riddick led the way with Abdullah sidelined for nearly the entire season.
Riddick was a must-start RB for fantasy last year and has morphed back into that player over the last two weeks.
B.S. Meter on Riddick returning to must-start status: 3/10
Delanie Walker Is the Only Reliable Fantasy Option in Tennessee
The Tennessee Titans are still in line to make the postseason at 8-5, yet trusting their players in the fantasy playoffs is dangerous.
The most reliable fantasy option for Tennessee has been Delanie Walker.
While he finished with just five receptions for 42 yards on nine targets in Week 14, he had six straight games with double-digit fantasy points before that and has hit that mark eight times this season. He remains a top-10 fantasy TE for the season even after disappointing this past Sunday. You can keep him in your lineup each week regardless of the matchup.
Marcus Mariota's underwhelming season continued in the Week 14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He completed just 16 of 31 passes for 159 yards with no TDs and two INTs and just 11 rushing yards. That's his third straight game without 200 passing yards. He has just 10 passing TDs to 14 INTs. While Mariota has helped his fantasy production with 224 rushing yards and five rushing TDs, he has just three instances of double-digit rushing yards in the last eight games.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Mariota played through a sprained knee but will practice this Wednesday, although that doesn't mean you should consider using him against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Titans RBs have been covered almost every week either in the B.S. Meter or Workload Watch, so the frustration of figuring out what to do with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry has been well-documented. With Henry coming off one of his best games of the season in Week 13, he saw just eight carries and had 20 yards and a TD on just 21.7 percent of the snaps. That was his second-lowest snap percentage of the season. Murray, who has just two games with at least 60 rushing yards, carried 11 times for 34 yards and added two receptions for 13 yards on three targets with 78.3 percent of the snaps, his third-highest total of the season.
Predicting the share of touches and snaps in this backfield has been impossible and basically useless since the team has no rhyme or reason as to how it uses Henry and Murray.
Rishard Matthews has been the team's best WR, but his return to action in Week 14 after missing two weeks with a hamstring injury was disappointing. He caught three of five targets for 19 yards. While Walker leads the team in targets (91), receptions (63) and yards (718), Matthews is second with 73 targets, 44 receptions and 645 yards, although he leads the team with three receiving TDs. Corey Davis debuted with six receptions for 69 yards on 10 targets, but he doesn't have more than four receptions or 48 yards in any game since. Matthews is a WR3, and no one other WR is worth a spot on your roster.
Walker is easily the only consistent fantasy producer in Tennessee with Matthews as the next-best option. Mariota should be ignored, and the backfield provides nothing more than low RB2 production if you can guess the right player to use in a given week.
B.S. Meter on Walker being the only reliable fantasy option in Tennessee: 4/10
Aaron Rodgers Can Be a Fantasy Savior
The Green Bay Packers came back from a 21-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Cleveland Browns 27-21 in Week 14. The win moved them to 7-6 and kept legitimate hope alive for their playoff chances. That also kept hope alive for the return of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has been out since breaking his collarbone early in Week 6 against the Minnesota Vikings. He was placed on the injured reserve, but he returned to practice ahead of Week 12 and is eligible to play in Week 15.
According to Wes Hodkiewicz of Packers.com, head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday: "There's a number of scans, testing that went in this morning. It's now in the evaluation stage. Dr. McKenzie is reviewing it. There are a number of opinions involved. At this time, I don't have a clean decision for you."
He added after consulting with Patrick McKenzie, the team's physician: "This is in the hands of the experts, and the experts will make a medical decision. From that, we'll move on from there."
Based on McCarthy's comments, there should be no assumption on Rodgers' status for Week 15 and beyond. Because the Packers still have a chance to make the playoffs, the team wants to bring him back as soon as possible. In Week 15, the Packers face the Panthers in Carolina before hosting the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16 and heading to Detroit to take on the Lions in Week 17.
Even in tough matchups, Rodgers would be a huge help to those who are dealing with a challenging QB position. While Davante Adams and Jamaal Williams have been strong fantasy producers with Brett Hundley starting, Jordy Nelson has just one game with at least five receptions and no games with more than 35 yards. He hasn't scored since Week 5. Nelson's fantasy value would get a bump back into relevance if Rodgers returns this week.
This situation should be clarified at some point this week, so keep an eye on what the team decides to do with Rodgers. He's a major improvement over Hundley.
B.S. Meter on Rodgers being a fantasy savior: 5/10
The Eagles' Fantasy Options Can Survive with Nick Foles
The Philadelphia Eagles announced the worst possible news Monday when head coach Doug Pederson confirmed Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL that would end his season, according to Dave Spadaro of PhiadelphiaEagles.com. This came a day after the Eagles were able to hang on to defeat the Los Angeles Rams following Wentz's exit to clinch the NFC East.
The Eagles turn to Nick Foles as their starting QB heading into the final three weeks of the season with a favorable schedule at the New York Giants followed by home games with the Oakland Raiders and Dallas Cowboys. The Giants and Raiders lost by a combined score of 56-25 in Week 14 and have a combined record of 8-18. With their win over the Giants, the Cowboys moved to 7-6 and remained in the hunt for a playoff spot, though they may not be in contention when they face the Eagles in the finale.
For those heading into a Week 15 playoff matchup, losing Wentz is devastating, as he was one of the most reliable fantasy QBs all season. Waiver wires might be thin, so you may have to consider Foles as a replacement with a decent matchup against the Giants. They helped get Dak Prescott back on track by giving up 332 yards and three TDs after Prescott failed to throw for more than 179 yards in four previous games. Foles might not be as talented as Prescott, but he has enough talent around him to put up solid numbers.
Speaking of that talent, downgrades have to come across the board with the move from Wentz to Foles. Even with favorable matchups coming up, the ceiling won't be as high for Alshon Jeffery or Nelson Agholor. Both players have been solid this season with Wentz, but they've combined for just one 100-yard effort, which Agholor had in Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks.
However, both players have boosted their fantasy production by scoring. Jeffery has six of his eight TDs in the last six games, while Agholor has scored twice in the last three weeks.
Zach Ertz has been one of the best TEs all season, but he had to sit out with a concussion in Week 14. His presence wasn't missed too much thanks to Trey Burton and Brent Celek combining for six receptions, 76 yards and three TDs on nine targets. Wentz's ability to keep plays and drives alive allows for more scoring opportunities that likely won't be there with Foles.
Philadelphia's running backs won't change much for fantasy, as the Eagles haven't committed to any of them strongly enough for fantasy owners to consider using one with confidence in the playoffs.
Jay Ajayi carried 15 times for 78 yards in Week 14, which was his first game as an Eagle with double-digit carries, but he had just one reception for two yards on two targets and failed to score for the fourth straight game. No Eagles RB has scored in the last three weeks. Ajayi is the only back to consider for fantasy, but he's nothing more than an RB3/flex.
The Eagles have a strong enough team around Foles to win at least their next two games against inferior opponents, but that doesn't mean the same fantasy production will follow. You'll have lineup decisions to make on every Eagle outside of Ertz, assuming he's cleared to return.
B.S. Meter on the Eagles' fantasy options surviving with Foles: 6/10
You Should Remain Skeptical About Kareem Hunt
If you stuck with Kareem Hunt in Week 14, patience finally paid off with his best performance in two months.
With the Kansas City Chiefs mired in a four-game losing streak, they got back to featuring Hunt right out of the gate, and it worked. He carried 25 times for 116 yards and a TD and added three receptions for 22 yards on three targets. He totaled 22.8 fantasy points to finish as a top-10 RB in Week 14. The Chiefs controlled a 26-15 victory over the Oakland Raiders.
Hunt's total of 25 carries was his second-highest of the season and the first time he finished with at least 20 carries since he had 22 against the Denver Broncos in Week 8. His 116 yards was his third-highest total of the season and first 100-yard effort since Week 5. Hunt also ended the TD drought that had lasted for nine games with his fifth rushing TD and seventh overall TD of the season. Hunt actually lost out on another TD, as the Chiefs turned to Charcandrick West for their last score of the day after Hunt had marched them down to the Oakland 13-yard line on three straight runs.
The Chiefs took a one-game lead over the Raiders in the AFC West but remain tied with the Los Angeles Chargers on top of the division. They face the Chargers and Miami Dolphins in Kansas City over the next two weeks before heading to Denver to face the Broncos in the season finale. Hunt has always had the ability to return to RB1 status, so the Chiefs have every reason to stick with him in their fight to make the playoffs.
B.S. Meter on remaining skeptical about Hunt: 7/10
Mike Evans Is Still in the WR1 Tier
Mike Evans has been just one of many talented WRs in the league who has had an uneven 2017 season, but he seems to be heading in the wrong direction at the most important time in the fantasy season.
In two games since Jameis Winston returned from a shoulder injury, Evans has just four receptions for 58 yards on 11 targets. Winston's numbers aren't bad in those two games with 555 yards, four TDs and two INTs on 47-of-70 passing, but he's failed to get the ball to his top WRs in Evans and DeSean Jackson. Jackson has 10 targets with six receptions for 65 yards in the same span.
Evans hasn't posted 100 yards in any game this season; he has just five games with at least 70 yards. He got off to a fast start with four TDs in the first six games, but he hasn't found the end zone since Week 7. In 12 games (Evans was suspended in Week 10), he has just 55 receptions for 760 yards and four TDs on 107 targets (51.4 percent catch rate). Through 12 games in 2016, Evans had 76 receptions for 1,058 yards and 10 TDs on 138 targets (55.1 percent catch rate).
While Evans was likely due for regression in targets with the additions of Jackson and O.J. Howard, his overall play and the play of Tampa's QBs have dipped this season.
Evans' catch rate was a concern last year, so to see it slip further with fewer targets is an even bigger problem. The Buccaneers have been a disappointment as a whole, so even though Evans doesn't shoulder all of the blame for his underwhelming season, he deserves some of the blame for slipping out of the WR1 tier for fantasy. At this point, he's barely a low-end WR2.
B.S. Meter on Evans in the WR1 tier: 8/10
The Falcons Backfield Is a Fantasy Nightmare
Tevin Coleman did a good job carrying the Atlanta Falcons backfield for almost three games in the absence of Devonta Freeman, who had to sit out with a concussion. Despite Coleman's success, the team turned back to Freeman in the last two weeks and hasn't been disappointed.
After racking up 74 yards on 12 carries and a reception for seven yards on two targets in Week 13, Freeman was much busier in Week 14. The Falcons leaned on Freeman in a win over the New Orleans Saints, and he delivered with 24 carries for 91 yards and a TD. Coleman has just 17 carries for 54 yards and three receptions for 27 yards on six targets in the last two games. Oddly enough, neither Coleman nor Freeman had a target in Week 14, which is the first time neither player registered a target in three seasons together.
Besides leading the backfield in touches, Freeman quickly jumped back out in front in snaps. He out-snapped Coleman 73.6 to 37.7 percent in Week 13 and 68.9 to 32.4 in Week 14. Freeman played between 60-73 percent of the snaps before his concussion, so he's back to his normal range. Coleman played between 31-43 percent of the snaps before Freeman's injury, so he's also back to predictable snaps.
What this means is that Freeman should be considered the top fantasy option for the Falcons as a low-end RB1/high-end RB2, while Coleman is more of a low-end RB2. If the Falcons stay this predictable, this backfield won't be a nightmare in the coming weeks.
B.S. Meter on Falcons backfield being a fantasy nightmare: 9/10
You Can Trust Greg Olsen in the Fantasy Playoffs
The sad reality of Greg Olsen's season is that he has four receptions for 38 yards on 11 targets after 14 weeks. Obviously, a two-month absence due to a broken foot took him out for eight games, but his return has been anything but successful.
Olsen came back from the injury with a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 12. He caught just one of four targets for 10 yards and played just 33.8 percent of the snaps in that game before exiting with foot problems. After getting just limited practice in before Week 13, he was held out because of concerns with playing on an artificial surface against the Saints in New Orleans.
Olsen returned to full practice in the lead-up to the Week 14 huge conference matchup with the Minnesota Vikings on Carolina's home grass. His snap percentage shot up to 92.2, yet Olsen was unable to secure his lone target. He did exit for a short period but didn't miss much time, as evidenced by his high snap total.
In three weeks since returning from injury, Olsen has been a non-factor. Perhaps it's not a total coincidence that Cam Newton failed to throw for more than 183 yards in any of those games and didn't attempt more than 28 passes in that span.
Newton hasn't played well enough to consider using any Panthers receivers besides Devin Funchess and Christian McCaffrey, so it's hard to feel good about Olsen. The Panthers face the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Carolina over the next two weeks, which should be favorable matchups, yet Olsen doesn't inspire much confidence with your season on the line. He's nothing more than a reach if you're stuck at TE.
B.S. Meter on trusting Olsen in the fantasy playoffs: 10/10