I wish I could say I was brimming with confidence coming into this week’s round of Deuces, but that’s just not the case. Yes, Calvin Johnson (4.6 fantasy points) and Larry Fitzgerald (5.2) both failed to deliver big points. But, with Jason Witten getting 22 targets as Dallas fought from a deficit, and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones putting on yet another clinic, I failed to push my percentage over .500 for the week.
This week’s matchups don’t provide much in the way of real stinkers, either. Sure, Arizona has a tough defense, but they have been getting hammered a bit of late by lower tier quarterbacks, so I don’t expect Aaron Rodgers to suffer. On the surface, Trent Richardson’s tilt against Baltimore looks scary, but with Haloti Ngata hobbled, there will be some holes for the rookie to punch through.
So, here’s my shot at players to dump this week. They may not all be losers, but hopefully a couple will.
Deuces – Week 9
WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Denver Broncos) If there is one word I can use to describe Denver’s defense, it would be this: disruptive. When a team can keep an all-world quarterback like Drew Brees to under 20 fantasy points, you know a lesser signal caller like Andy Dalton will have fits, too. This translates to trouble for Green, who is Cincy’s only receiving threat and will receive increased attention. And while the second year receiver has been able to beat double coverage many times this season, Denver’s secondary is letting opposing quarterbacks complete fewer than 60 percent of their passes and is giving up fewer than six yards per attempt. Prediction: 57 yards receiving + 1 TD = 11.7 fantasy points
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks (vs. Minnesota Vikings) Minnesota is coming off an absolutely abhorrent defensive showing against Tampa Bay, which is probably leaving Lynch owners ready to shower their flatscreens with fun-size Skittles left over from Halloween. A deeper look at the numbers, though, shows a rush defense that has given up a mere five plays of more than 20 yards and fewer than one touchdown per game. Lynch is certainly capable of gashing defenses for yards, but Seattle will be wise to look elsewhere in the red zone, and I expect Minnesota to bounce back after their mini bye. Prediction: 106 yards rushing = 10.6 fantasy points
RB Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers) Bradshaw has been running with authority of late, providing the punch on the ground needed to open up holes in New York’s intergalactic passing game. But, after popping up on the injury report and missing Friday’s practice, don’t be surprised to see him yield a few more carries to Andre Brown (who vultured a touchdown from him last week). Plus, Pittsburgh’s defense is particularly stingy to runners – the Steel Curtain has given up the fifth least points to backs in the league, according to Yahoo! – meaning Bradshaw is in for a downturn. Prediction: 78 yards rushing + 17 yards receiving = 9.5 fantasy points
WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (vs. Arizona Cardinals) Cobb has been a breakout receiver this season and an absolute matchup nightmare for defenses. He lines up all over the field, has tremendous rapport with Aaron Rodgers, and averages 11 yards per catch. However, the last time Arizona faced a dynamic threat that also lined up in multiple formations – Vernon Davis – the Cards held him to 3.4 points. Cobb is quicker than Davis and will have better success, but not to the tune of 11 yards per catch. Prediction: 76 yards receiving = 7.6 fantasy points
TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints (vs. Philadelphia Eagles) Graham’s 12.3-point Week 8 performance, while nifty for fantasy owners, was a bit deceptive. He was held in check for most of the game and collected a garbage time touchdown, but certainly did not flash the dominance to which fake footballers have become accustomed. He is practicing fully after an ankle injury and will see action against a floundering Philadelphia defense, but with Marques Colston racking up catches over the middle and Lance Moore proving to be a versatile weapon in Graham’s brief absence, Jimmy will be a limited factor this Monday night. Prediction: 37 yards receiving + 1 TD = 9
.7 fantasy points