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Seven Up/Down 

Here are seven players I like more than usual this week and seven I like less.

UP

  1. QB Dak Prescott DAL. I wanted to say Jared Goff here but there’s a legitimate concern Todd Gurley could render him useless again this week. Instead I’ll go Dak in a home bout with another team in the wildcard hunt. I think the Cowboys play it safe and let the Seahawks mistakes sink themselves. Dak usually thrives in that approach.
  2. RB Melvin Gordon LAC. Assuming Austin Eckler misses this week, Gordon should maintain the volume that made him a first rounder.
  3. RB Joe Mixon CIN. Detroit is super vulnerable to power rushing attacks. The Bengals had finally started committing to Mixon for 20+ carries prior to a concussion. I don’t see any reason they wouldn’t give him that workload in this one.
  4. WR Robert Woods LAR. The Titans secondary is a WR1 creating machine. Woods came back to a terrific target share last week against the Seahawks. He should continue to be a primary option on a hot offense.
  5. WR Rishard Matthews TEN. Another recently injured guy who got right back into the swing of things last week. Take the discounts for missed time and bank them. He’s Marcus Mariota’s preffered target, especially in the end zone.
  6. TE Tyler Kroft CIN. The Lions also struggle to cover opposing tight ends. Kroft is a bit of a lunch pailer but he can get the job done. I especially like him since people might be scarred off following his bad drop last week.
  7. DEF Carolina Panthers. There’s clearly trouble in paradise with the Bucs. Players missing meeting, rumors the Head Coach might not be back, and a plague of inconsistency have torpedoed their season. Not the set up you want going into a game against a team in the hunt for the division title.

DOWN

  1. QB Philip Rivers LAC. The Chargers mid-season run is turning into their typical late collapse. Rivers came off the rails with 3 INTs last week. Injuries are piling up for them and they’re traveling cross county into the cold.
  2. RB LeSean McCoy BUF. Not a full fade here, Shady just doesn’t rack up stats the same way on the road and trailing. Maybe the Bills can pull a Miami-like upset but I doubt it.
  3. RB Giovani Bernard CIN. The flip side to Mixon being back is lost work for Gio. He still owns the passing down work but that doesn’t typically result in much success against the Vikings.
  4. WR Marvin Jones DET. It’s not shadow coverage but he’ll see his share of William Jackson, who’s come back from 2016’s torn pectoral with a fury. Jones is capable of beating anyone for a jump ball but that’s not the kind of play I want to bet on.
  5. WR Robby Anderson NYJ. Things are going from bad to worse. Already having lost a competent QB to throw him the ball, Anderson now gets to face coverage from Casey Heyward. Maybe he can slip through for a long pass but that’s his only hope.
  6. TE Evan Engram NYG. The Cardinals are typically stingy against tight ends. If Sterling Shepard weren’t back hogging target volume that wouldn’t bother me as much. (Just a guess, but I don’t see Patrick Peterson shadowing Shepard.)
  7. DEF Detroit Lions. This game feels like a trap to me. On the road and facing a team that’s easily overlooked, I can see the Lions bungling their playoff opportunities.

Follow Mike Alexander on Twitter @Roto_Wan. 

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