The Sack: SB Nation’s fantasy football mailbag answers your Week 15 playoff questions
Got fantasy football questions? Come to SB Nation’s Fantasy War Room or tweet @TheSackSBN for answers. Every Thursday, a few will be pulled and answered here. Today, we talk playoffs, boom-or-bust receivers and of course, Johnny Football.
‘Tis the season for the holidays, which also means ‘tis the season for fantasy football playoffs. This also means ‘tis the season for overthinking how to set your lineups and also eliminating an I when the words “it” and “is” are supposed to be next to each other. All these ‘tises have me in a ‘tizzy, so ‘tis ‘time ‘to answer some fan-TIS-y questions for the three people who haven’t closed their browsers halfway through this sentence. Let’s just get started:
— Andrew Constant (@andrew_constant) December 10, 2014
There are few absolute truths in fantasy football, but here are some that owners need to be made aware of. One: your first-round running back will never pan out because this game hates you. Two: the guy who endlessly makes references to The League is the least popular person. And, three: Vincent Jackson isn’t allowed to have two good games in a row. That’s to ensure that all of his fantasy owners have the lowest possible odds of cashing in on the “boom” for the boom-or-bust receiver each time you start him. And because this game hates you.
But I’m going to be iconoclastic this week and go against this truth and start Vincent Jackson even though he’s essentially been a season-long case against recency bias. We learned in Week 14 that the Carolina Panthers can shut down one of the league’s best passing offenses, despite there being only four teams allowing more touchdowns to opposing wide receivers this year. I’m more inclined to believe what the Panthers did versus the Saints is an anomaly, and as far as setting your lineup goes, I’d prefer to play the big-play receiver with upside over a plodding veteran back who’s been reduced to a committee role. It’s Vincent all the way this week.
Also, I like the Bengals‘ defense this week, but not necessarily more with Johnny Manziel in the lineup. Rookie quarterbacks tend to be uneven in performance as a whole, but it’s not like Brian Hoyer already wasn’t. And owners also need to be reminded even with the excitement and hype surrounding Johnny Football, it’s best to be cautious with sticking him into lineups.
There have been 11 quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2011 to make a start, and of those 11, just four threw for two touchdowns, and none threw for more than that. Only four threw for over 300 yards, and from the perspective of the Bengals’ defense and special teams, eight of the 11 teams those rookies helmed were held to 21 points or less, and all but three had at least one interception. Needless to say, if Manziel can avoid turnovers and put up points, it would be a rare occurrence given the context of his peers. If your only choice this week is to roll with the Bengals or scrounge the waiver wire, I’d feel just fine with sticking with what I’ve got.
— Collin Schwab (@Collin_Schwab) December 10, 2014
Ah, yes, another case of whether to trust the devil you know or the devil you don’t. We know who Marques Colston is at this point — he’s a touchdown-dependent tertiary option in the Saints’ passing attack since Brandin Cooks went down with his injury.
We don’t have a clue what Marquess Wilson is, though we got a glimpse of him in an extended role when he relieved Brandon Marshall. Though he was getting plenty of snaps, Wilson caught just two passes on five targets while tight end Martellus Bennett gobbled up 12 receptions of his own on 15 targets. Bennett’s talented in his own right, but I have a hard time believing that throwing 15 balls his way is a recipe for winning. That number’s a result of playing from behind the whole game and perhaps a lack of trust in Wilson, who was thrown to the wolves unexpectedly when Marshall went down. That ought to change with a full week of practice under his belt.
So while I expect an uptick in Wilson’s production, I still have to go with Colston, who couldn’t ask for a better matchup this week. The Bears have allowed a league-worst 30 touchdowns through the air, and it isn’t difficult to envision Colston winning a few jump balls in the red zone. He may be a touchdown-dependent option, but the Saints throw enough to make that a viable choice some weeks, and there may not be a better week to bank on that than this one.
— Bonesaw (@GoodTimeHaver) December 10, 2014
No, but I’m all in favor of dropping useless players and starting Tim Tebow and Terrell Owens, who are not only in ESPN league waiver pools, but actually owned in some leagues. Tebow’s actually starting in 0.1 percent of those leagues, which hopefully means there are some phenomenal trolls out there. Sadly, I have little reason to believe they’re being ironic.
— #tim (@tjniebs) December 10, 2014
It’s still a little early to project Ryan Mathews this week since his availability is a bit of an unknown, but as of now I’m shying away from him until I hear something encouraging. Steven Jackson’s been revitalized of late, but unless he finds pay dirt, you’r e not looking at a guy who will give you enough otherwise to be considered a viable flex. Because of that, I’m going with Edelman, who still remains involved in the mix even though the Patriots can drastically change their offensive philosophy from week to week. He’ll still get his points even if he isn’t a focus of the game plan, and that makes him especially viable in PPR leagues. I’m taking the high-floor guy over a healthy Jackson and ailing Mathews, who wouldn’t be averse to laying an egg when you want it the least.
Hey guys, thank you for reading this week’s edition of The Sack. If you would like to be in next week’s The Sack, please post your fantasy questions in the comments or tweet me at @TheSackSBN. Be sure to also visit SB Nation’s Fantasy War Room so I can pull questions from there as well.