The love list and hate list are coming to you as two separate posts again this week so make sure you check back tomorrow for the hate. If you haven’t checked out my ranks yet (quarterbacks/running backs; wide receivers/tight ends; defenses) though make sure you get on that, especially if you have players going in tonight’s game! As always, feel free to reach out to me on twitter @william_moy6 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of the challenges that Russell Wilson has had to overcome this year has been a very shaky offensive line. According to ESPN Stats and Information, going into week nine, Wilson had been pressured on 39% of his drop backs which is more than any other quarterback. Wilson has completed 72% of his passes this season when he isn’t under pressure compared to only 48% of his throws when he is under pressure and five of his six interceptions have come on plays where he was pressured. Wilson, like most good NFL quarterbacks, can make good throws when he’s given time and can also make good reads and find the weakness in blitzes but struggles (relatively, Wilson is better than many quarterbacks at handling pressure but he is a significantly weaker quarterback when facing it rather than having a clean pocket) when an opposing defensive line can create pressure all on its own. Enter the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons have the 6th worst pass rush in the NFL according to the good people at Pro Football Focus and are 24th in the NFL with 18 sacks. Wilson should have more time to work in the pocket against the Falcons then he’s used to, and his past indicates that the extra time could lead to very good things for Wilson and his fantasy owners. I have Wilson as a top five quarterback this week against a Falcons defense that has allowed the 8th most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season.
Zac Stacy made the love list this week not necessarily because I love the match up, the Colts have actually been pretty good against the run, but because I love his skills and I believe that he has moved himself into the top 15 running back discussion. Going forward, if I’m a Zac Stacy owner then I want him in my line up every week, regardless of who the opponent is. Stacy took over the Rams starting running back job in week five and in the five games since he has averaged 94.2 rushing yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry. If you haven’t had an opportunity to watch Stacy play I encourage you to at least venture over to the YouTube and check out some of his highlights. The rookie out of Vanderbilt is the closest thing to a wrecking ball running through the line of scrimmage and my goodness is he entertaining to watch. Stacy is only 5’8″ but he’s 225 pounds and as explosive as they come; he’s quick, powerful and when he hits a hole it a) looks like he’s being shot out of a cannon, and b) when someone eventually makes contact the impact is so forceful it also sounds like he’s being shot out of a cannon. If I were an NFL safety, Stacy would be one of the last running backs I’d want to meet in the hole because he has the ability to run through you at one moment and then around you the next. I love Stacy moving forward: he has all of the tools necessary to be a great running back in the NFL and in a Kellen Clemens led offense he’s being leaned on heavily and so far he’s responded tremendously. No running back is currently a safer bet to receive 25 touches every week and I’ll take 25 touches from Zac Stacy any week on my fantasy squad, no matter who his opponent is.
In his first full game back, the former Jets running back carried the ball nine times for 38 yards and a touchdown. The Titans plan on using the fifth year back as the change of pace back next to Chris Johnson and Titans coach Mike Munchak has come out and said recently that they are going to try to get Greene roughly 15 carries a game if things are going well. I doubt there will be many games this year where Greene actually reaches that 15 touch total but if there is going to be any game he does it you would think it would be against the Jaguars and their 32nd ranked run defense. The Jaguars are giving up over 160 yards per game on the ground and they have given up multiple rushing touchdowns in each of their last three games. Greene is going to handle the bulk of short yardage situations moving forward– he was given three carries inside the 10 yard line last week, one of which he scored a touchdown on– and will also get a fair share of carries between the twenties as well. I think Greene has an excellent shot at scoring a touchdown this weekend, I think he’s a flex play in standard leagues and I think he could be a solid rb2 in deeper formats this week against Jacksonville.
Keenan Allen has been a frequent member of both the love list and my free agent finds each week and for good reason. The rookie out of Cal has scored at least 15 fantasy points in three out of his last four games and has scored at least six fantasy points in every week since he’s been a starter. Allen is an extremely talented receiver who is the number one option for a team that is averaging exactly 300 passing yards per game. Pro Football Focus has Allen graded as the 10th best receiver in the NFL in terms of receiving performance alone (their overall grade incorporates things like run blocking and penalties) and the film has given me every reason to believe that this level of performance is sustainable. Allen is a dynamic receiver who is so much further along then a standard rookie receiver in the NFL. Allen will go over the middle, he can go deep on the outside, he can run out of the slot, the Chargers set up screens for him, he’s a clean route runner, he’s great at getting open, he has excellent hands, the list of Allen’s positives goes on and on. Allen is my 15th ranked wide receiver this week as the Chargers get to face off against a Broncos defense that has given up the 7th most fantasy points to wide receivers so far this season.
The move Allen put on Redskins cornerback, David Amerson, to get open on this touchdown catch last week was absolutely filthy.
Fantasy owners who expected big things out of Reed last week against the Chargers were likely disappointed by his four point performance but I urge owners to be patient. The nature of the tight end position in football these days leads to many hit-or-miss weeks, even Jimmy Graham had a zero point game, and last weeks game against the Chargers was just one of those games for Reed. Going forward Reed should continue to develop into a very large role within the Redskins passing attack and his sheer athleticism from the tight end position provides many of the same match up problems that teams face when they have to go up against Graham, Gronk or Jordan Cameron. Last week Reed had to face a well rested Chargers defense that has been pretty good against tight ends so far this season (they have allowed the 6th fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season) whereas this week he gets to go up against a Vikings defense that has allowed the 6th most fantasy points to tight ends, including a 16 point performance from Jason Witten last week (eight catches, 102 yards and a touchdown). Reed is 4th in my tight end rankings this week and should be started in all formats.
The Buccaneers tight end has now scored at least nine fantasy points in three out of his last four games, including two games in a row of double digit fantasy points leading into this weeks game against the Dolphins. The rookie out of Rutgers has emerged as one of Mike Glennon’s favorite targets and I would not be surprised Wright is a TE1 by the end of the season. Wright is a little bit smaller than your typical tight end– only about 6’3″ and 240 pounds– but what he lacks in size he makes up for with speed and athleticism. Ever since Glennon took over as the starting quarterback, Wright has averaged almost 5 catches and just over 50 yards per game to go along with two touchdowns. I believe Wright has the ability to emerge from the middling tier of tight ends that occupy the 10-15 range each week in the ranks and he should have a pretty good opportunity to do so this week against the Dolphins. Tight ends have been completely incognito on the field against Miami this season (sorry, had to at least once), especially in the red zone which is evident by the fact that they have allowed the 4th most fantasy points to tight ends this season largely thanks to the six touchdowns they have surrendered to the position.
Tennessee Titans Defense
The Titans are the lucky team who gets to face off against the Jaguars this week. The Titans are already a very solid defensive unit and this week they’re playing an offense that is just simply pathetic. The Jaguars are allowing the 3rd most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses and they have given up multiple sacks in all games except for one, they have had multiple turnovers in all but two games and they have given up a defensive touchdown in half of the games they have played so far this season. No opposing defense has scored fewer than seven fantasy points against the Jags and defenses have scored double digit fantasy points against Jacksonville in six out of eight games. The Titans defense has been flying off of free agency throughout the week but they’re still available in a ton of leagues. The Titans are my number two defense this week and should be one of the safest plays in fantasy this week.