Fantasy football suggestions for when you face the player in your league who couldn’t wait to grab Andy Dalton when the waiver window opened early Wednesday morning.
This year’s fantasy football season reminds me a lot of that doorknob mom joke because everybody’s getting a turn. Anyone who had Chase Claypool or Travis Fulgham going big last weekend should be kicked out of your league for possessing some kind of insider knowledge not privy to the rest of us. Cam Newton is back but Matt Ryan may be out. Jamison Crowder is halfway to his career highs in receptions and yards after only three games this season, but because it’s the Jets, he should be on the Pro Bowl ballot right now. And Todd Gurley showed a glimmer of his old self, which may be the only thing Atlanta fans can feel good about. And how about Emmanuel Sanders? His numbers picked up after Michael Thomas was dropped for fighting his teammates and cursing out his coaches. And of course, you have to feel for Dak, who got railroaded by Jerry Jones on a long-term contract then had his ankle turned into a silly string. And now Andy Dalton can finally prove the Bengalswrong for deciding that he couldn’t hold Joe Burrow’s jockstrap. So whose turn is it going to be this week? It could be anyone’s guess, but here’s who it won’t be:
Frank Gore, RB, New York Jets (@Miami)
I hate picking on Frank Gore because the guy’s an absolute buzzsaw and has been crushing defenses for fifteen seasons. But now that Le’Veon Bell has been released and signed with the Chiefs, the bizarro world that is the Jets organization will now try to get the 37-year-old going against the Miami Dolphins, who put up 14 fantasy points against the San Francisco 49ers last week. The Dolphins will likely stack the box and force Joe Flacco to beat them. Then have a pick-six dance off like they’re at a nightclub on Ocean Drive. Ten years ago, Gore would have run all over this team, but he may be better off looking into retirement communities farther north with an ocean view where the golf courses are half-price after 1:00 p.m.
Your angle: If, and this is a big if, the Jets get close to the goal line, there’s only one play. Run Gore up the middle four straight downs. Even if he doesn’t score, it can’t be any worse.
Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles (vs Ravens)
Zach Ertz is a consummate professional. Gives to local charities, supports the community, does all the things you’d want a pro bowler to do for your team. But somehow last week he forgot how to catch a football. Ertz had one reception on six targets, a far cry from the days when Carson Wentz refused to look anywhere else. The emergence of Fulgham may help open the middle of the field, but the Ravens defense scored 25 fantasy points against a Bengals offense that torched the Eagles two weeks ago. The big issue for Ertz is the Eagles’ beat up offensive line, depleted further without Dallas Goedert, a younger version of Ertz who is better at blocking but not good at taking a sucker punch. Ertz has two-thirds the receptions and one-third the yards from this time last season. He may catch a few dinks but he’ll likely still be double-covered until the Eagles prove to be a consistent outside threat.
Your angle: The Nick Foles talk always brings the best out of Carson Wentz.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns (vs Steelers)
Jarvis Landry, WR
Odell Beckham Jr., WR
This is a three-for-one. It’s a huge risk because it all hinges on the subpar quarterback play of Baker Mayfield, who hasn’t thrown for more than 250 yards yet this season. Landry’s team-high 88 yards against the Colts last week will be in jeopardy when the Browns face the top-ranked Steelers pass rush. Losing Nick Chubb hurts, but the ground game has recovered with Kareem Hunt, who hasn’t seen this much action on tape since heassaulted a woman inside his luxury Cleveland apartment two and half years ago. This game has all the trends for a lopsided Steelers win, which many football fans will enjoy because that means OBJ fighting field goal nets and storming off the field because his feelings have been hurt. The Browns are 0-16 against the Steelers in Pittsburgh since 2003. Mayfield has never thrown for more than 200 yards against Pittsburgh, and even though the Browns did win in Cleveland last year, Landry and Beckham Jr. combined for 103 yards. But in all honesty, we want Baker to lose because he’s like an annoying little brotherand we love it when Beckham Jr. goes batshit crazy.
Greg Oldfield’s stories have appeared in Hobart, Carve, Barrelhouse, and Maudlin House, among others. He also writes about soccer for the Florida Cup and the Brotherly Game and often rambles about soccer on Twitter.