APOLOGIES for my one-week hiatus, last weekend was my birthday and my Fantasy Fryday piece kind of got away from me. A lot has happened over the last two weeks with fantasy football coaches doing their best to secure a postseason spot and the AFL Draft welcomed a new batch of potential cash cows for 2019. 28 NBA teams were in action last night as well, so there is a TON to unpack and address in the fantasy world right now.
All NBA+NFL numbers/stats provided are based on ESPN fantasy leagues
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- THE AFL Draft is officially in the books with clubs now making the final tweaks to their preseason rosters. Over the next few weeks, we will start to get an idea of which of the top draftees should be on our fantasy radar, with a talent-rich crop good news for the 2019 cash cow pool.
- SHORTLY after the big show concluded the rookie draft was underway with a handful of familiar names finding new AFL homes. Both Thomas Bugg and Hugh Goddard will continue their careers at Carlton while former Magpie Josh Smith will join the reigning premier West Coast Eagles. There could be a few more diamonds in the rough this season, so keep one ear glued to the ground to learn about the pre-season bolters.
Image from forever.collingwoodfc.com.au
- IT wasn’t all good news with a bunch of players missing the cut, left wondering if they can snag one of the final spots on a list. Brendon Goddard is by far the most decorated player remaining, with either retirement or a player-coach transition role his two likely choices. Veteran duo Zac Clarke and Shane Mumford are expected to joining the Bombers and Giants respectively via the new rookie rules with the likes of Nathan Freeman, Jake Neade, Cam Sutcliffe, Luke Partington, Tom Campbell and Billy Hartung going untouched.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
ADD – LAST week Lamar Jackson (Ravens, QB, 47.1%) tore up the Bengals who have given up the most rushing yards of any team this season. While Jackson probably won’t carry the rock 26 times again he now faces an Oakland Raiders defense that has given up the second-most rushing yards this season. You do the math. Next up is Cameron Brate (Bucs, TE, 52.1%) who should see a boost in production replacing the injured O.J. Howard. Tampa Bay’s offense has been anything but reliable, but Brate should still be a start-worthy tight end moving forward.
DROP – THE questionable Raiders offense is enough of a reason to ditch Jordy Nelson (Raiders, WR, 36.7%), who has missed the last two contests. The fact that Oakland meets Baltimore this weekend makes it a no-brainer. Fellow veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick (Bucs, QB, 33.9%) is once again on the wrong side of the Buccaneers revolving door that is the starting QB position. With five turnovers in the last fortnight, he’ll be benched in favour of Jameis Winston this weekend meaning Fitz can be dropped in most leagues.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON – I touched briefly on the Ravens dominating the running game last week and Jackson wasn’t the only one who benefitted. The most added player right now finding his way onto nearly 50% of teams this week is Gus Edwards (Ravens, RB, 49.4%), who burst onto the scene with 115 rushing yards against Cincinnati. Their upcoming schedule doesn’t feature many imposing defenses either, meaning he’s worth stashing and potentially starting in the future.
I was on record telling everyone that I would have sat Theo Riddick (Lions, RB, 37.3%) and LeGarrette Blount (Lions, RB, 18.5%) during their Thanksgiving game against the dominant Bears defense. If Kerryon Johnson misses more time, then they might be worth taking a flier on with Riddick offering upside in PPR leagues over the touchdown dependant Blount.
ROUND 12 BYE TEAMS – Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs
- WITH the high scoring Rams and Chiefs the last two teams to have their bye week, some coaches are left trying to plug holes in their lineup. Streaming options aren’t my strength but Keke Coutee (Texans, WR 24.7%), Josh Adams (Eagles, RB, 64.9%) and Vance McDonald (Steelers, TE, 58.7%) all intrigue me this weekend.
- A handful of popular guys were bitten by the injury bug over the last seven days, with their season’s done and dusted. The aforementioned O.J. Howard suffered season-ending foot/ankle damage (Bucs, TE, 34.3%) while Cooper Kupp (Rams, WR, 27.2%) tore his ACL and Alex Smith (Redskins, QB, 21.2%) suffered an ugly fractured leg. All players can be placed on the waiver wire.
- SOME mainstream starters under an injury cloud this weekend include Doug Baldwin (Seahawks, WR, 83.5%), Rob Gronkowski (Patriots, TE, 99.0%), A.J. Green (Bengals, WR, 98.9%) all looming as game-time decisions.
WAIVER WIRE WATCH
ADD – AFTER investing in Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets, PG, 22.5%) I became a big fan of the Nets guard. Dinwiddie seems destined to be a streaky fantasy guy for the rest of the season, but while he’s hot he’s worth riding. He’s dished out at least seven assists in five straight games and looks like a solid starter at least for the immediate future. Evan Fournier (Magic, SG/SF, 47.4%) is in a similar streaky boat, with his numbers very impressive when he’s firing on all cylinders. He poured in 27 points against Toronto but managed to crack 20 points only once in his six games before that outburst. Invest with caution.
DROP – WE all knew it was just a matter of time before Nemanja Bjelica (Kings, SF/PF, 7.2%) and his averages came back down to Earth. With Marvin Bagley’s development high priority I wouldn’t be surprised if he made his way to the bench in the near future. This next player shouldn’t be in this conversation, but at a certain point, the numbers just don’t lie.
I owned Jaylen Brown (Celtics, SG/SF, 66.1%) in three leagues to start the season and I now own him in zero. His horrid shooting numbers (38.1 FG% and 25.3 3P%) and Boston’s struggles have led to Brown’s minutes taking a hit recently as well, and while I fully expect him to be a great player in this league, he simply isn’t getting it done from a fantasy perspective right now. It’s nothing personal it’s just business, so go ahead and ditch Brown.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON – THE arrival of Tyson Chandler has eaten into JaVale McGee’s (Lakers, C, 36.3%) numbers. McGee still offers some upside in blocks and steals, but if the starting center keeps seeing his minutes decrease then he might be worth punting to the waivers. James Johnson (Miami, PF, 52.0%) has been a handy fantasy player in the past. His ability to stuff the stat sheet makes him handy in most scoring formats, so if you’re shallow at power forward, look no further. He should only see his production increase as he ups his workload coming back from injury.
Image from lakeshowlife.com
- NO one can outrun father time and it seems like Carmelo Anthony is the latest victim. Houston and Anthony decided to part ways a week ago, with Melo’s NBA future now up in the air. Anthony’s no longer worth rostering, at least until he finds a new home, with no guarantee he will.
- SADLY the star of my last Fantasy Fryday a fortnight ago suffered a gruesome lower leg injury since my last update. Caris LeVert (Nets, SG/SF, 8.9%) only suffered a dislocation and won’t require surgery, which means a return before the All-Star break isn’t out of the question. Kevin Love (Cavs, PF/C, 89.0%) was the other popular name in the news, with the Cavs stating he won’t return to the court until 2019 at the earliest. Another relevant fantasy player struck down by injury was Rajon Rondo (Lakers, PG, 5.7%) who will miss just under a month with a fractured hand.