Post article press conference: Hey, @TheBLeagueSays! @TheBLeagueSays! What do you think of last weeks ‘Pros And Cons?

@TheBLeagueSays:…I’m onto Cincinnati…

Fine readers of the Going For 2 fanbase my name is @TheBLeagueSays and I am 100% wrecked from the tray of marshmallow yams from Thanksgiving, yes I got through the whole thing! And thank you for the awesome feedback and conversations following last weeks Pros and Cons – it seems to have struck a chord with the audience, and I am absolutely looking forward to addressing Week 13 with you. Once again please remember that the articles I bring to you will be based on the Pros and Cons of players or scenarios the Fantasy Football Community has split ideas on heading into future fixtures for your matchups.

So before we get started – Thank you, and enjoy!

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Go figure…

Bill Belichick said it in 2014 whilst being asked about the Patriots sluggish start on the back of a loss, followed by shots at Tom Brady‘s age (seems pretty funny now doesn’t it?!) and if he had been given enough players to help the star Quarterback after getting a 14-41 smacking by the Kansas City Chiefs and falling to 2-2. Typical of New England, they hammered the Cincinnati Bengals by a similar score, went to a 12-4 record and won the Superbowl.

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Who’d have thought…

Von Miller said it this week as the Broncos are on to Cincinnati with a big yet unlikely 24-17 win this week against Pittsburgh, which has Denver in the wildcard chase with the Bengals who they play away from home this week. If the Denver can get to 6-6 (the same record that their dancing partner this week is also trying to attain), you would think that the Broncos are in the drivers seat to grab that second wildcard slot with games against (at) San Francisco, (home) to Cleveland, (at) Oakland in Championship Week 16 and (home) to the L.A. Chargers, who may be already in the playoffs before hitting Week 17. There is a huge, huge chance that Denver can roll into the playoffs with a 7-game winning streak and a 10-6 record and that sort of form with their Defense will be hard to knock off.

Welcome back…?

Hue Jackson came back to the mess that is the Marvin Lewis ‘led’ Cincinnati Bengals. Riding a 3-game losing streak and meeting an improved Denver Broncos, this Bengals team who was rolling at the top of the AFC North earlier this year but has seen nothing but the turmoil of late. Joe Mixon critiqued the Bengals by talking about ‘not playing to win’ which is an indictment on playcalling and a heavily overlooked statement, no Andy Dalton for the rest of the year by being sent to the Injured Reserve and the Defensive Coordinator was fired a few weeks ago too. But what do I think broke the camels back? They broke when A.J. Green got hurt, again. He makes them tick, and as soon as he got hurt, they folded. They had no edge or outlet. They looked lost. So they brought Hue Jackson in to help…naturally! More on this later!

Tell them what you really think…

Baker Mayfield calls it as he sees it and he’s straight outta Cincinnati with a drubbing if his former Head Coach as I mentioned about Hue Jackson above. People have been screaming for transparency from athletes and the moment we get one who couldn’t give a ‘Donald Duck’ he is wrong for speaking up and is out of line? What because he is a Rookie? Because it was out of poor taste? Because the guy got fired we should feel bad? Stop it. Aaron Rodgers was revered for telling the world they would ‘run the table’ and was laughed at and critiqued, and they went out and did it and now people use that phrase all the time. Mayfield might not have the proverbial runs on the board to give people the honesty he puts out there (or grief if you are against him saying anything along those lines) and I can understand why it caught everyone off guard. But he’s feeling dangerous (remember that two weeks ago and everyone loved it right? Repeated it? Made GIFs out of it?), and he’s feeling like a winner and he is putting that shambles of a Franchise on his back and moving them forward. If you can’t take his words, take his production of 26-19-256-4 against Cincinnati this week and know that they meet the Bengals in the Fantasy Football Championship in Week.

Everyone is onto, into or out of Cincinnati, and it seems to work out well for most involved.

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But, did you know…

  • Nov 22, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back LeGarrette Blount (29) runs for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

    John Ross has three Touchdowns in as many weeks and had five for the year? No Andy Dalton, no A.J. Green (during that timeframe) and in a team whose Defense is leaking points for fun? He’s rostered in 17% of ESPN leagues and has Oakland and Cleveland in the final two weeks of your Fantasy season.

  • That you should pass me the Blount! When LeGarrette Blount took over this week from Kerryon Johnson being injured, Blount had a 19-88-2 stat line which did everyone’s head in on the short week against one of the best Run Defenses in Chicago. Detroit host the L.A. Rams this week fresh off the Bye and a Kareem Hunt combined 111 yards and a score. No, Blount is not Kareem Hunt. But we can dream, can’t we? Blount is still available in 25% of ESPN leagues and if the Rams matchup bothers you then consider the following two weeks (and the start of your Fantasy Playoffs) against Arizona (fourth worst against the Running Back position at 31.6 Points Per Game) and Buffalo (ninth worst against the Running Back position at 27.6 Points Per Game). If Johnson isn’t rushed back from injury then Blount is (dare I say it) a must-start moving forward?
  • That Dante Pettis got to work after having Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin out of the lineup last week with a 7-4-77-1 stat line. It looks like both will be missing again this week and I wouldn’t be surprised if San Francisco isn’t chasing this game from the get-go against Seattle this week. Pettis is rostered in 1.4% of ESPN leagues and is at $3800 on Draft Kings.

I came into this week wanting to slam Hue Jackson, the Bengals and everything around this scenario. But I found that thing, what’s it called…umm…compassion, yeah that’s it! It could be my downfall but let’s go with it, so bear with me…

Hue Jackson has not held a job as long as he had prior to the two and a half years when he was the Cleveland Browns Head Coach, outside of his first stint in Cincinnati as the Wide Receivers coach. He has been at teams for long spans of time but his role has generally always changed per year. Quarterbacks Coach to Running Back Coach to Wide Receiver Coach to an Assistant Coach then to the Secondary Assistant Coach, and while that’s all happening he tends to moves teams by his own accord or by theirs. So he interviews well, right? Since 2001 Jackson has jumped from Washington to Cincinnati to Atlanta to Baltimore to Oakland to back to Cincinnati again then to Cleveland and then his latest spot and third time lucky, once again the Cincinnati Bengals. 

But in Cincinnati, for Fantasy? Let’s take a look at his last stint: In 2013 as the Running Backs coach Giovani Bernard finished the season (all standings are in Full PPR) as the Running Back 13. In 2014 as the Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard finished as the Running Backs 11 and 17, A.J. Green was the Wide Receiver 24 but played only 13 games and Jermaine Gresham was the Tight End 14. While 2015 saw similar outcomes with Hill and Bernard again finishing in the Top 24 for Running Backs, A.J. Green was in the Top 10 for Receivers and Tyler Eifert was the Tight End 5 overall. I don’t know about you, and you can call me crazy but I’m kind of ok with these numbers…

dodges the tomatoes hurled in his direction

Ok with these numbers for Fantasy Football, geez! Relax!

When he last parted ways with the Bengals it was in pursuit a chance at a Head Coaching gig, something he hadn’t had since 2011 with Oakland (8-8 record). It was said at the time after the 2016 season then (and now funnily enough) that Head Coach Marvin Lewis who should have been on the hot seat because of his failings in the postseason (seven playoff appearances, zero wins in 15 seasons) that Hue Jackson was favored to take over as the Head Coach should Lewis get fired. And instead of changing coaches back then, they gave Marvin Lewis another one-year contract extension. Ironically, in the same hot seat this offseason again, Marvin Lewis was gifted another 2-year contract extension.

There’s an itch Jackson clearly had and it needed scratching and when the Browns opportunity presented itself, he set out to prove he could hang with the other 31 Head Coaches, with a cross-town team in the same division with familiarity there. To me, it was probably an easy decision at the time for him to make, right? Considering the last time he was in Cincinnati as an Offensive Coordinator they were 12-4. And I absolutely can’t blame Hue Jackson while having this sort of production (or record, either way) as an Offensive Coordinator over the past few years and looking for a top role elsewhere at the time if he felt he was deemed worthy of it.

Or now.

The Browns are still paying him great money, so it’s not really hurting the Bengals payroll. He still wants to be involved as a Coach in the NFL. The Bengals are familiar to him and their team set up? Geez, their team at the start of the year was red hot. A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd were going off and John Ross was starting to show why he was drafted that high (it could improve, but still it’s better than his rookie season). Tyler Eifert looked like his old self, then got injured and looked like his familiar self, but he was looking really good. Andy Dalton was making great plays and their Offensive Line was restructured and playing real solid, which made Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard as solid a Running Back pairing as it gets. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that setup? Can you really blame him for going back into that roster regardless of it being his former employer? What if the rumblings (again) of Marvin Lewis stepping down heat up? What if Bill Lazor gets an offer to go elsewhere or at worse get’s fired? So many reasons for Hue Jackson to position himself to be where he is (again) but if there’s nothing (else) on the table and he’s hungry? If the Bengals are offering him a seat at the table?

Hue Jackson has made mistakes. We know the appalling record he had with Cleveland. But for me, the uproar about Baker Mayfield and calling out former Head Coach Hue Jackson would have had some more merit if it wasn’t the first time he went to a divisional rival, where I mentioned previously is his third time with the Franchise and his last place of employment where he had plenty of success. It’s just the beginning of a Baker Mayfield/Cincinnati sound byte that we get to hear for the next 15 years everytime they meet moving forward.

But come on… It’s not like Hue Jackson traded away Khalil Mack or Amari Cooper

Ok @TheBLeagueSays it’s Week 13 and you are talking about a former Cleveland Browns Head Coach, are you struggling? Get on with…

THE PROS

And that’s the bottom line... 

Because Austin Ekeler said ‘LET’S GO!’ Last week Austin Ekeler crushed it in all aspects of Fantasy Football last week. In Standard Scoring he collected 16.30 points, Half Point Per Reception he had 26.30 points and last week in DFS on Draft Kings he was priced at $3700 (this week he is now at $5400) and all this happened during and after Melvin Gordon got injured. He has collected 4 Touchdowns in the air already and while Gordon is out and Tyrell Williams‘ health is still up in the air I would not be surprised if Ekeler sees an expanded role over Justin Jackson. This week he meets Pittsburgh, but I have been hammering the Chargers playoff schedule with Cincinnati (who last week had Nick Chubb had 31 combined touches, 124 yards, and 2 Touchdowns) at home in Week 14 and at Kansas (also had faced Nick Chubb in Week 9, who had 23 combined touches, 90 yards and 1 Touchdown) the following week – both teams are ranked 31 and 32 overall (respectively) against the run. Baltimore in Week 16 may not be traditionally a great game statistically for Running Backs, but in Week 9 James Conner tore them up for 31 combined touches, 163 yards, and 1 Touchdown. Now Melvin Gordon should be right to come back by Week 16, which would naturally hurt Ekeler’s total volume. However, in this particular game, the stats above that Conner did have included 7 Receptions, 56 yards, and the Touchdown. So even if the production on the ground might not be there against the Ravens because Melvin Gordon has returned, a high volume team like the L.A. Chargers could hit them through the air with the Running Back which is right up Ekeler’s alley.

Catch of the day…

So there are so many people out there have a theory on what makes a player viable, relevant and worthy of a start. And a lot of it comes down to how your league is set up. But for me, the way I grab players or select them in my lineups is simple and based on this premise nine times out of ten: Opportunity = Volume x Competition.

Simple, right?

Now different teams line up in different formations and schemes can change per week – I get that. Injuries and suspensions can happen too – I get that also. But right now we are in Week 13, and this can be ‘make or break’ to get you into the playoffs and there are a couple of guys out there that could help you go on a run towards a championship (or some cash!)

I’m not going to go out and tell you to pick up Bruce Ellington (rostered in 9.4% of teams ESPN, $3500 on Draft Kings) or Chris Conley (rostered in 3.2% of teams on ESPN, $3800 on Draft Kings) if you play in 10-team standard scoring leagues. But for those in deeper leagues and specifically in a PPR-type format or for those who are DFS enthusiasts that love a cheap option then these two guys I have just mentioned should be of interest.

Marvin Jones has just been put on the Injured Reserve, there is no more Golden Tate and Kerryon Johnson may miss another week due to an MCL sprain. The Lions options are running real thin, real quick. Bruce Ellington has fit into this team real quick and Matthew Stafford has had no issues finding him with 16 Targets in two games already. Now the yards haven’t been great, and their matchups over the next three weeks are tough (home to the L.A. Rams, and at Arizona and Minnesota). However, Detroit has been pretty terrible and have been chasing games most of the time, so based on pure volume Bruce Ellington could be a sneaky grab to stash on your roster and play if you have to.

Chris Conley looked spectacular against the L.A. Rams in Week 11 in a classic that saw over 100 points scored. Now, the Chiefs play Oakland and straight off the bat I can’t imagine they get even close to that points total. But we have been talking about handcuffing your Running Backs, would we be really surprised if we see this game get out of control quickly for the Chiefs that they rest Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce? Sammy Watkins has already been ruled out for this weeks matchup with Oakland due to an injury (still, and again) and in his last matchup, he looked fantastic with an 8-7-74-2 stat line. Would we be surprised to see Conley get more playing time if they can seal their Division with a few more wins? Would we be surprised to see Conley performing as the Chiefs let Sammy Watkins take his time and heal? Would we be surprised if Patrick Mahomes torches every team he faces going forward, despite tougher matchups in Baltimore, the L.A. Chargers and Seattle?

Probably not.

They don’t build ’em like they used to…

It was the ‘old guard’ Tight End renaissance last week with Vernon Davis (4-2-73-1) and Rhett Ellison (6-4-77) turning back the clock and turning in their Levatol pills to help their teams with decent performances as the Tight End 3 and Tight End 9 overall for the week respectively. I mean neither teams won. But still…

Vernon Davis (5.6% rostered in ESPN) has Colt McCoy under center for the Redskins for the foreseeable future and with his first start, since Alex Smith decided he didn’t like his ankles anymore and wanted new ones, McCoy went to Davis for 4 Targets which was the second most he has seen this season. Now Washington does see some nice matchups for Tight Ends with New York and Jacksonville in their future, however, Philadelphia (who they see this week) have been stingy to Tight Ends, but not as much as Tennessee who plays Washington in Championship Week 16. Tennessee does give out the least amount of Fantasy Points to the Tight End position.

Rhett Ellison (0.8% rostered in ESPN) has had a few ok games as a streaming option and at this point of the year, he may be an option going forward if Even Engram’s health doesn’t improve. In that time in which Engram was hurt, he did see 3 or more Targets in 3 games straight (with a 5 Target high) and hit paydirt once. It’s nothing to write home about (which is ironic considering I’m writing about it now), but the Giants do get the Colts in Championship Week 16 who allow roughly 14 points per game to the Tight End. Something to keep an eye on, if Engram sees extended time off and you happen to be streaming.

Bruce Ellington and Rhett Ellison hey, @TheBLeagueSays, that’s awful cute of you but not even mentioning Spencer Ware after the farce that Kansas, the NFL, and Kareem Hunt have created?

@TheBLeagueSays: yeah I’m not getting into abuse scenarios, that’s well above my pay grade. But grab Spencer Ware right now, he is only 10% rostered in ESPN and $4000 on Draft Kings, do what you need to do with that…

Oh wow, @TheBLeagueSays…took your time with that one didn’t you! Useless! Well, at least get on with…

THE CONS

No, that sounds like a great idea…

Whoever cleared Melvin Gordon to play should be fired. Whoever ‘listened’ to Melvin Gordon should be fired. Pretty easy right? All week, Melvin Gordon looked to be not playing after a re-aggravation of a hamstring injury he ‘sustained’ on a flight to London (those damn London games…) to play against Tennessee. And to make things worse the Chargers were never, ever, ever going to lose to Arizona.

So why did you send him out there to play? Why did you send (one of) your best players, whilst having a career year out to play against one of the worst teams in the NFL? Who thought ‘well we are winning and hammering the Cardinals right now, instead of preserving our players let’s just have them hammer the Cardinals some more?’

Really?

I thought people making decisions like this would be smarter… Did General Manager Tom Telesco know about this decision to send a half healthy player out to play? They were so smart to let Joey Bosa rest and heal up and to inject when fully healthy, why not take the same route with Melvin Gordon? The top Wildcard slot is there, it’s not going anywhere. Rest that guy!

I was wrong, in hindsight, it was a terrible idea…

Speaking of wrong…

And by wrong I mean right. Remember how I told you the Jaguars were going to get punked by Buffalo last week, and that Blake Bortles and not Ramsey was the problem?

Guess who got dropped this week for Cody Kessler?

After getting smoked by the Bills the Jacksonville Jaguars fired Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and dropped Blake Bortles after their 7th straight loss and averaging 18 points a game over the past couple of months may have something to do with it. To make this even more fun, Leonard Fournette copped a one-game suspension for getting into a fight with Bills Defensive End Shaq Lawson. Because, well, you know punching people who are wearing helmets in the head is a brilliant idea.

Cutting Blake Bortles will cost the Jaguars a click over $16 million against the salary cap next year, but considering he signed a new deal this offseason I would be surprised if the draft isn’t the first option the Jaguars take. I actually think that Joe Flacco would be a good fit for this Franchise, as he may be deemed surplus to requirements to the Ravens with Lamar Jackson starting to get some reps, but I think the General manager who gave this guy more time and money needs to be the first one questioned…

And, speaking of stupid…

I won’t touch on the Kareem Hunt issue. And I won’t touch on the Reuben Foster issue, kind of. I know what I think about them both but they’re my thoughts and this isn’t my company – so I’ll leave that alone.

But what about Doug Williams?

Kinda feels like this got swept under the rug a bit huh? Oh, you didn’t hear? Doug Williams is the Senior Vice President of PLAYER PERSONNEL of the Washington Redskins. He had a flippant comment about Foster, who was cut from the San Francisco 49ers last weekend for what noted as another case of domestic violence. Washington put a Waiver in and picked up Foster a few days later. Williams said the issues with Foster were ‘small potatoes’.

Huh?

First of all, no idea what that saying means, I haven’t the foggiest idea on that.

And secondly, He is a son to a mother, husband to His wife, brother to His sisters and a FATHER TO SIX FREAKIN’ DAUGHTERS! Six daughters how the hell could that even be a thing he would ever think? Right, he wasn’t thinking. Kind of the problem most people who find themselves in situations like this… I have a two-year-old daughter who is my world, my everything, and anytime some punk 3-year-old boy tries to touch her hand at Gymboree I have to physically restrain myself from knocking him out…

Hey! Stop it! I’m clearly joking! I wouldn’t hurt a fly and I love flies, they’re great for the eco-system and the circle of life! But see how even joking about something like this makes you squirm? How not thinking about a stupid remark could be taken? Pretty bad right? It’s terrible. Anyone can say something off the cuff like this and I get it you never know how people will respond, but that’s not the point right? But to go on a radio program broadcasted to the masses to get this message across? That it’s ok? That because people in high power have ‘done worse things’ so this is really nothing that bad. Really? I don’t know, I’d find it hard to play for a guy like that, and I would be mortified to see a guy like Reuben Foster in the same locker room too.

His apology seemed like it was heartfelt, he acknowledged his family and every woman in America and across the world. But you are a guy who clearly works in the recruitment and management of players for this team. This is a cultural issue of Washington that they didn’t even know (I hope) they had. Makes sense when you put the pieces together. You have a Running Back with a history of violence you recruited the week before the season started and you just recruited Reuben Foster. Maybe they were both cheap, maybe they both fill needs for a team on the precipice of a playoff push. Or maybe both, in hindsight, were just a bad idea…

Come on, guy. You gotta be better than this…

PROJECTIONS

All projections are for the respective Players ceiling

Jeff DriskelAttempts; 31 / Completion %; 60.27 / Completions; 19 / Yards Per Reception; 10.23 / Yards; 194.37 / TDS; 2

Austin EkelerCarries: 13 / Yards Per Carry: 5.54 / Yards: 72.02 / TDS: 1 / Targets: 7 / Receptions: 6 / Yards: 66.37 / TDS: 1

Bruce Ellington: Targets: 7 / Catch Rate: 74.6% / Receptions: 5 / Yards Per Reception: 7.31 / Yards: 38.1 / TDS: 1

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SUMMARY

We are a week out from hitting the Fantasy Football Playoffs and this week Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Jeff Driskel, Chase Daniel (it looks like he is getting the start again) and Nick Mullens are starting this week. So it’s kind of brutal if you have anyone set up hoping that Receivers for these teams are going to burst like they would with their regular starters at the helm. Or do we take the alternative view that ‘dump off passes’ in the backfield are the order for the weekend; so Elijah McGuire, T.J. Yeldon, Joe Mixon, Tarik Cohen, and Matt Breida are the guys who could see more volume? I’d think so.

The best of these options are guys like Austin Ekeler and Phillip Lindsay ($5400 on Draft Kings) are dominating the league with speed and quickness with stellar hands, getting roles that are growing in decent matchups this week and who are relatively cheap plays too. Opportunity is also knocking for guys like Bruce Ellington and Chris Conley, who are barely rostered and cheap options too. Volume is king, and whether it is a team like Kansas that wants to put the ball in the air or a team like Detroit who may have to go to the air; both players are available in all formats that if you are desperate enough can grab and use. And while all that is great, the Tight End position is still a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but it’s the grizzled and battle-hardened veterans that are stepping up, and where opportunity lays so do Vernon Davis and Rhett Ellison. It doesn’t have to be flashy to get you from A-to-B, it just has to catch you a 4-2-40-1 stat line to get you above the average.

Oh, and play Spencer Ware..!

I want to thank you for getting this far and taking in everything I have presented. Set your lineups accordingly and check out the DFS and Weekly Content all the hard-working staff is pumping out to get you best prepared. Also – download the Going For 2 app, then and rate, review and share with your loved ones. You all deserve it!

You can as always follow and find me at @TheBLeagueSays and offer any view or conversation about this. Let’s all get better together!

Once again, Thank you and Enjoy!

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