Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Week 13: Desperation Fantasy Football Pickups

This is it. Likely the final week of the fantasy football regular season. One more game to make it if you’re on the bubble. One more game to move up if you are fighting for that number one spot. One more week to ruin someone’s weekend by being the sleeper spoiler that knocks them out of contention.
It doesn’t matter which category you fall into. Week 13 is where everything is decided. I’m saying this mostly in part to my heartbreak in Week 12. Up by 30 points, I went into Monday night’s game with Darren Sproles remaining, facing a team with Drew Brees and Victor Cruz. Needless to say, I lost. Brees and Cruz combined for about 60 points.
Now for me to even make the top four and get a playoff spot, I need two tough competitors to lose their matchups. My fate is no longer in my hands. But I know that without a win in Week 13, I stand no chance. So, I pull together everything I’ve got for one last push.
In a late week like this, I tend to favor starting players I already have. While there is a certain need for a gamble sometimes, I would rather play a lock and know that I’m getting some points than go out on a limb and make a desperate reach. With that in mind, I will give you some sleeper pickups that you can insert into your starting roster if you are that desperate.
Vince Young, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
I threw his name out there a lot last week for those in need, and he came up pretty big in the fantasy numbers. 400 yards and a score is not bad for a filler. I’m going to stick with him as my QB pickup this week as he faces the Seahawks. This is, of course, if Vick doesn’t come back.
Carson Palmer also appears to be another decent play against a Dolphins team that can be thrown on.

Maurice Morris, Running Back, Detroit Lions
The Lions will be facing a New Orleans team that has been giving up yards on the ground and through the air. This bodes pretty well for a running back that gets most of his work as a receiver. Morris could be a decent play if you are in a PPR league and really hurting at the running back position.
Lots of sites made the claim that Kevin Smith was the must start after his performance two weeks ago, but like many teams in the NFL, the Lions are pretty iffy when it comes to which running back you should choose to start. With the rotating backfield there, Morris’s best chance to put up points will be as a receiver.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the Lions’ offense come out much like they did against the Packers last week. If the game plan versus a powerful offense mirrors their Week 12 strategy, Morris could again get a good amount of backfield receptions.

C.J. Spiller, Running Back, Buffalo Bills
Spiller has been rotting on a lot of benches all year, but saw a good amount of pick-ups last week after news came out that starting Bills back, Fred Jackson, went down. His stats were not overwhelming, but he did get the brunt of the carries.
Like Morris, a lot of C.J.’s abilities lie in the passing game. While Buffalo did not throw to him much in their faceoff with the Jets, perhaps the Titans will allow the short passing game to shine through a little brighter.
You can expect Spiller to once again have the majority of the carries for the Bills against the Titans offense. And his threat out of the backfield might give him the extra boost to have a good fantasy outing in Week 13.

Riley Cooper, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles
Might be time for me to give him a bit of credit. He has stepped up as a top receiver for the Eagles with the injury to Vick and the other receivers on the squad.
Cooper’s stats haven’t been outstanding, but he is finding the end zone and making some tough catches for big gains. The Seahawks pass defense has given up some big points to receivers in the past, but they are no New England Patriots.
As long as Maclin is out of the lineup, you can expect to see Cooper getting a good amount of snaps. He has proven to be one of Vince Young’s favorite targets, and against a team that has a chance at holding LeSean McCoy to limited yards, Cooper has pretty good upside as long as the injury situation in Philadelphia remains the same.

Reggie Wayne, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts
Never thought I would use his name in a pick-up list, but chances are that he was dropped by a frustrated owner after 11 weeks of poor numbers. Last week he finally came alive, and I don’t think it is out there to expect that he will continue putting up some nice numbers in this week’s matchup.
Wayne and the Colts are facing a Patriots team that gives up the most passing yardage in the NFL. On top of that, the Colts will inevitably be playing from behind all day and passing the ball. Perhaps this perfect storm will again boost his numbers.
If you are in the position of a spoiler here and Wayne is hanging out in free agency, don’t hesitate to grab him.

Defensive Pickups
The Shuffling Defense Strategy has been pretty killer all year long, I must say. While the NFL doesn’t benefit from so many teams having predictably poor offenses, it does help out the fantasy community. We all know by now which teams consistently have low scores and high turnovers, but here is a list of some of the defenses to claim off Waivers before it’s too late.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Panthers have a chance to put up some big points in this game, but Cam Newton’s turnover numbers are still something to watch for. Tampa Bay also has a tendency to return those turnovers for six. I think turnover potential here makes them a decent play.
Kansas City Chiefs – The Bears are not the same team without Orton throwing the ball. If the Chiefs can contain Forte like the Raiders did, Chiefs could have a big day.
New England Patriots – Based on their remaining schedule, the Patriots might be good enough to pick up this week and start from here to the end of the season. They are giving up yardage, but have created a lot of turnovers as of late, they are pressuring the quarterback and creating sacks, and they are keeping the opponents’ scores relatively low. Against bad offenses from here on out, I like the Patriots for the rest of the year.
Denver Broncos – It’s no surprise that I can’t stand Tebow, which is why I cringe when everyone is spewing credit all over him for the Broncos win streak. While it is true that their schedule has been a bit soft, I feel that the Broncos defense is the main reason this team is able to win games. The keep the score low, they create turnovers and have been pressuring opposing QBs like crazy. Start them against Minnesota.


  1. HI GHL
    I have secured a position in my playoffs, thank god, and now am wondering what to do about defense.
    I got my team pretty shallow, just traded most of my bench for d.jackson, and my bench now is just about d.jackson and Rivers.
    Idk if anyone ever does this strategy, but i was thinking about picking up around four defenses with the best playoff schedules to fill my roster.
    What are your thoughts about this?

  2. So, i figure i better update you on my moves. Sitting at 10-2 I have clinched the first round bye, and play a team who hasnt made moves since it started (chickened out of playing), so my team will have to self destruct for me to lose. I made some final moves getting into the playoffs, I had Rivers and Big Ben at QB, and i knew that was my weak point. I have Graham and Finely at TE, and Graham schedule isnt that good, so I took a gamble. I traded away Graham and got Romo, in addition to Aaron Hernandez (with a cake walk of a schedule), and A.J Green. So now i have Romo Starting QB. Foster at Back, Johnson and Green at WR, and then Nicks / Colston at Flex with Finley First week, hernandez second at TE. I can also cross my fingers that McFadden comes back in the next two weeks and try to get rid of him to get a quality TE. Or something like that. Thoughts?

  3. my rbs are ap, cj2k, sproles, hillis, and addai. i was offered hilllis and sproles for turner. should i take that? i also have harvin that i can play at flex below my two rb slots

  4. Ok, here is the deal.

    In one of my fantasy leagues I put up a pretty decent team, in my opinion.
    But in an unbelievable bad luck streak, due to injuries and surprising performances for my opponent's players, I started the season 0-5.

    I have win out from that point on and, standing at 7-5, I still have a shot to get into the playoffs. (12 teams, just 4 qualify)
    There's one guy one win ahead of me, and another one 2 wins ahead.
    We have 2 more weeks before the playoffs and I play the guy with 2 more wins next week.
    So, if I win both weeks and either of those guys lose this week, I'm in because I have more points than anybody else in the league.

    But I play the first place team this week and I have pretty tough matchups against me.
    So I have to be flawless this week to keep my hopes alive.

    Ok, enough with the background.

    My opponent's team (pretty solid).
    Big Ben, Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Wallace, Johnny Knox, LeGarrete Blount (he is hot and have a great matchup), Rashard Mendenhall, Kellen Winslow, Nick Novak and Denver DEF.

    My team so far:
    Eli Manning
    WR - Steve Smith, Laurent Robinson, Vincent Jackson (Vjax is inconsistent but I feel I have to ride with him this week. My options are: Mario Manningham, Nate Washington, Damian Willians).
    RB - Steven Jax and Cedric Benson (both have bad matchups. My original starter was Adrian Petterson, but it doesn't like he's gonna play. My other option is Lance Ball, which is lame. Nothing really appealing on waiver wire, unless you tell me Ryan Grant is woth the gamble).
    TE - Antonio Gates
    K - Dan Bailey
    DEF - New England

    Your thoughts?
    Keep the WRs as they are?
    I'm just unconfortable with the RB's. Do you have any idea that could be an upgrade for my team for this week's matchup?

  5. It's an interesting call.

    As far as I'm concerned, the bench is pretty much useless in the playoffs. My strategy has always been to create the best set lineup that you can possibly create. If you get an injury, it leaves you shallow and pretty screwed, but if you dont get an injury, you are pretty untouchable. It has worked for me.

    Going on that thought, since your bench is nothing more than DJax and Rivers, you can really do whatever you please with the other spots. I’ve never heard of filling up with defenses, but it could work in your favor.

    You are obviously using the SDS. And if you can find the perfect play from FA for each remaining week, I don’t see any reason why not.

    I probably wouldn’t pick up four. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I really like the NE defense from here on out, so I would likely pick up them, and maybe one more defense if you find a particularly awesome matchup for one week. The rest of the spots I would get the best RBs or WRs you can just in case an injury does occur.

    Once again, you are free to try the four defense thing. They are just bench spots, so it couldn’t really hurt anything, and it guarantees they wont be picked up. Sounds like good thinking ahead to me.

  6. Definitely some nice moves there. I think that you're set at TE with Hernandez and Finley, so if and when McFadden does return, it might be better to upgrade at another position. You seem pretty set all around. Definitely some good trading going down. Excellent work.

  7. I would do that. Hillis will be OK if he can stay healthy, but you have AP and CJ to start and a good WR for flex. Sproles has suffered a lot from a re-emergence of Pierre Thomas and the return of Ingram, so I can definitely see selling him.

    Once the trade is made you will have two top 5 running backs in your lineup. And a solid flex option with CJ or Harvin.

    this trade would greatly improve your team. Go for it.

  8. Your opponent has a good team, but it is definitely not untouchable. I can see big performances from Fitzgerald and Blount, Ben and Wallace maybe. The rest are hit or miss really. So you do stand a pretty good chance.

    Packers are a great matchup for your QB, so there is that. I hear what you’re saying with VJax, but the matchup is alright there, and I agree that you have to roll with him. Be mindful when it comes to Laurent Robinson. Austin is due to come back this week. Robinson performed well even when Austin was playing, but with his return, Robinson is far from a guarantee.

    As far as replacing either of those players with your bench, it is really hard to determine which Titan receiver will take over this week against the Bills. It’s a beatable matchup, but it seems that each week highlights a different WR for that team. If Manningham is back this week, again that matchup with GB is nice. I’d probably roll with the starters you have in there now though.

    Definitely a tough matchup for Steven Jackson, but Pittsburgh is surprisingly soft against the run. Even less intimidating with their recent injuries. Benson could again be a surprise. The other options here are bad. Unless AP is back in, I say you have to start Jackson and Benson.

    If trading is still an option in your league, you might be able to sell Laurent Robinson pretty high to a team that doesn’t pay attention to injuries. Trade him for a high WR or RB could help a little. But I don’t know that there are many moves you can make that wouldn’t hurt you in the long run. I think getting rid of Robinson would be the best idea at this time.

  9. I have a pickup question/roster-optimization request here!

    First off--here is my team:

    QB - Rivers
    WR1 - Colston
    WR2 - L. Robinson
    RB1 - Mojo Drew
    RB2 - D. Murray
    TE - Finley
    W/R - B. Wells
    DEF - SanFran
    K - D Bailey
    IDP - Brian Urlacher

    BN - Torrey Smith
    BN - Dwayne Bowe
    BN - Julio Jones
    BN - Mark Sanchez

    Granted AP goes on Sunday, I will swap him into the lineup... but for who?

    Also, Reggie Wayne is available on waivers. I am going to drop Sanchez and pick him up. Should start him this week over Colston? Over Robinson?

    Any help would be great. I am 7 - 5 on a two game slide, and have to win this week to remain in 2nd/3rd place.



  10. Also, Brent Celek is on waivers... should I claim him to start over turdbag Finley?

  11. Right now in my 14 teamer I'm 8-4 and tied for first in my division (but currently own the tiebreaker because I have a one game lead on in-division record). With a game against our division's weakest opponent this week, I'm (knock on wood) fairly confident I'll clinch a first round bye with a win.

    Regardess, looking ahead to the playoffs, my WRs may present a little problem for me. I'm set at QB (Cam), RB (CJ + Foster) and TE (Hernandez). But injuries have killed me at WR:

    Miles Austin, Laurent Robinson, Mario Manningham, Denarius Moore, Riley Cooper and Johnny Knox

    Hopefully Austin comes back this week so I'm not forced to play him and can get a better grip on his hamstring. If he (and Moore and Manningham) are all healthy in the next two weeks, what do you think are my three best options? I think I'll have to play the two Cowboys..and Mario and Moore should both have good matchups in the playoffs, although it will be interesting to see where the Jets CB's line up and Moore may have to match up with Brandon Flowers in week 16..should I make it.

  12. 10-Team Standard
    OK - Need to win my next 2 games and one team to lose at least 1 game to secure 4th place (1-4 make it to playoffs). There are 5 teams at 5-7 but I am way ahead in points.

    On paper my team looks great but with multiple poor performances I am getting screwed. Last week with this lineup I had a measly 71 pts - ridiculous!

    Anyhow, I'm seriously considering playing BJGE and sitting Mendy this week. Mendy did have a huge game against Cincy last time, but IND looks too tempting. What say you?

    Also, down the stretch if Vick comes back, do you think I should stick with Romo anyhow? Traded for him last week and gave up Sproles. Thanks man!

    QB - Romo
    WR - VJax
    WR - Nicks
    WR - A.Brown
    RB - McCoy
    RB - Mendy
    TE - Hernandez
    K - Baily
    DE - NYJ

    QB - Vick
    WR - Rice
    WR - S.Moss
    RB - BJGE
    TE - Olsen
    DE - CIN

  13. Thanks.

    I got Kendall Hunter to replace Lance Ball.
    Would you roll the dice and replace Steven Jackson with him?
    He might very well run for 50yards + a TD against STL, even as a backup.

  14. Also, CJ Spiller is still available.

  15. I highly doubt that AP will play. If he does, you'll have to make it Wells that gets the bench.

    I would not jump on the Reggie Wayne wagon just yet. He has one good game all season. The matchup against NE helps, but I can't in good conscience say that he should be starting for you. Go ahead and drop Sanchez for him, just to have him in case of emergencies, but you have to start Colston and Robinson over him.

    I really don't see any improvements that can be made. I know that I own AP in a league, and have also seen a massive decline since he got injuried. Dont think he'll make it back this week, but next week he should be good to go. I hope.

    You've been doing well all year. The injury has caused your recent problems. Dont let it shake you, don't over think things. You've got a good lineup in there right now.

  16. Both are iffy. But I actually do think that Celek is the safer play this week. Finley is great, but there are way too many weapons on that team for him to be consistent.

  17. Doubt to see Austin back this week. Moore and Manningham should both play though.

    As far as for the next few weeks, you need to expect a steep decline in Robinson's play when Austin returns. He'll still get time, and will likely still get receptions and red zone looks, so he won't fall that far. I think it is possible each week to make a decent lineup out of these guys. Cooper will be the weak link when Maclin is back.

  18. I'm all for rolling the dice on BJGE this week. NE has been running and should be way ahead in this game. When they do get ahead, I have noticed that they give the ball more to Woodhead and Vereen, but that is likely just to test them out. I think he could be a solid play against a weak defense here. Mendy went off, but he has been far from a must-start. I have them ranked close enough to justify a switch I think. I dont know that I'd personally do it, but that is a respectable gut call. Just dont overthink.

    At QB, I am confident in Romo for the rest of the year. You can keep Vick and play him if he has a great matchup. But I think that trade for Romo was smart and helped you out as Sproles is falling fast.

  19. Still like Jackson and Benson more than Hunter or Spiller. Hunter is a complete backup now. And while the matchup is good, Gore should get the work. Spiller will improve, and is a decent play in PPR, but I dont have him higher than either of your guys.

  20. Thanks.. again!. Right now i have steelers, texans, and patriots d/st. Prettty sweet stuff.
    I also posted this on rankings, but would you go with mathews or desean at flex?
    Mathews is coming back from injury and who knows what strong, but desean needs to play well to get a contract next year... so im thinking he'll hit this week

  21. Thanks for the reply! I decided to grab Vince Young off waivers and start him over Rivers based on your weekly position ranks! I am also thinking of going with Celek, too.

    Thanks again!


  22. Crazy defenses man. You'll have to let me know how this goes.

    I agree that Jackson would be my play here. I explained it on your other post.

  23. No problem man. Glad to help. Wish the game wasnt on NFL network so I could check it out tonight. I think Young will come out strong.

  24. Alrite, I have the #1 spot on lockdown, but I need to stay #1 in points to pick up the prize for that. #2 in PF has a stacked roster, but I still have a 25 point advantage on him.

    .5PPR, 2WR 2RB 1 Flex

    Welker, Andre Johnson, L.Robinson, K.Smith (if he plays), D.Sproles, R.Mendenhall

    Its mainly a question between the 3 RBs if Smith plays, Mendy has a rough game and Sproles hasn't gotten more than 10 points lately. DMC and Austin aren't playing, so the guys listed are my only real options.

  25. K Mr. GHL,
    Need some help...
    I need 3 wr, 2RB, 1 Flex
    which player gets left out this week?

    WR: Fitz, B. Lloyd, Dez Bryant, AJ Green
    RB: DeMarco Murray, Micheal Bush, Blount

    I'm also starting DAL Def if that makes any diff on starting Fitz


  26. I've been disappointed by Sproles in the past few weeks in one of my leagues. Since Ingram is back, he has really slid. He is not touching the ball enough to really be a factor for me. Hard to count him out though.

    Smith was out of football for a long time. Played one great game. Then got hurt and missed a game. Even if he is back, I question how effective he can be. The matchup is ok at best, but i'm scared of the injury. And resurgance of Maurice Morris/Keiland Williams.

    I'd go Sproles. He has been consistent enough. Hopefully they will get more passes his way in what should likely be another high scoring game.

    I start everyone but Smith here.

  27. Thats what I do here... Youve come to the right place.

    I read your list of WRs and started to type that you have to start all of them.

    Then I read your RBs and instantly deleted that.

    This is a hell of a lineup, and I really do think that you've got to go with all the RBs here. They are all in my top 15. Bush is the only one out of the top 10, and he really should be there probably.

    Fitz should have a good day, I wouldnt worry about starting him and the DAL defense. Both are great plays. Dez has been quiet, but he is always a big threat. I have a feeling that he has something to prove with one more week Austin-less.

    Meaning I would sit either Lloyd or Green. Who I have ranked 15 and 16 in WRs respectively. And my choice is going to be based on matchup. Both are great players, both are having better-than-expected years. One is facing a defense whose only weakness is the pass game. And one is facing the defense giving up the 2nd fewest passing yards per game and only 13 receiving TDs.

    Green against PIT is the worse of the two matchups. Meaning that Lloyd is my starter here.

  28. Perfect, that was exactly my thought too.

    My 0-5 season start was followed by going 6-1 and now i have to win this weekend to have a chance at playoffs!!! thanks for the advice!

  29. Good luck man. Cheering for you.