Hi, hello & welcome to the column that everybody’s thankful for about the sport that everybody’s thankful for! There’s nothing more American than sitting on the couch, gorging yourself on food & watching football, am I right? Of course I am. We’ve got three games coming up on Thursday so I went ahead and posted this a little early for those of you that like to act like you have better things to do than be on the Internet on Thursday.
I mean, do you actually prefer spending time with your family over reading about football? Come on now.
And now, the playing of our National Anthem.
This one’s pretty self explanatory. Booker T was doing the Fave 5 gimmick back when the Ocho was starting up, so we figured it only made sense to make it part of our fantasy football podcast over at offtheteam.com. These are five guys that are going to have tremendous weeks and lead your team to fantasy glory. And maybe even lead their actual team to glory, but we’re not worried about that too much here.
Matt Ryan: It hasn’t exactly been a breakout year for Matty Ice. He’s the fourteenth highest scoring quarterback in fantasy this season and hasn’t gone over 23.42 points for a single game. He hasn’t thrown for more than two touchdowns in a single game. I have the feeling it will change this week, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the second-worst pass defense in the NFL. Ryan gets the Bucs in Week 12 & Week 15, and also has two meetings with the Saints coming up, so maybe the matchups will help him lead your team to glory.
Doug Baldwin: It’s that time of year. Baldwin traditionally heats up during the second half of the season along with the rest of Seattle’s passing game. This week against San Francisco will be a good time for Douglas to show us what’s going on for the rest of the season. While I’m thinking about it, big ups to Russell Wilson for helping me get a big win in the Official League to keep my season alive for the time being. More of that with Baldwin’s assistance would come in handy.
Latavius Murray: I was wondering why Jerick McKinnon was on the waiver wire in the Official League last week, and it turns out it’s because Murray gets all the Vikings’ goal line carries now. After a slump to start the season, Murray’s getting the carries & opportunity to earn that money. He’s averaged 5.1 yards per carry during the last two games & scored four touchdowns in his last four games. The Detroit Lions allow 4.4 yards per carry & have given up the sixth most touchdowns. Expect the Vikings to run the ball early & often, & for Murray to get the key carries.
Kareem Hunt: This guy looked like he was going to rule the world during the first three weeks of the season. The Chiefs running back hasn’t gone over 100 rushing yards since Week 5, and he hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 3. That start was too good to be true, but I expect him to show some flashes of that brilliance this week against a Bills defense that’s given up the second most fantasy points to RBs this season. Hunt owners looking for answers should find some this week.
Greg Olsen: Those of you that have held on to Olsen in deep leagues, or picked him up recently, will be happy this week. The Panthers TE returned to practice this week & expects to be ready to return in Week 12. He couldn’t ask for a better matchup, as the Panthers are meeting the New York Jets. Cam Newton will be very pleased to have his best receiver back.
Last Week’s Fave 5 Record: 2-3 (Alshon Jeffrey & Jacksonville DEF over, Marshawn Lynch, Alex Smith & Austin Hooper under)
These are four people that you’re probably going to have to start, but you’re not going to be very happy about it. I could stick most of the people I drafted on multiple teams on this list.
Drew Brees: The Los Angeles Rams are an interesting defensive team. They do really well against quarterbacks & wide receivers. They fare poorly against running backs. Since the Saints have found their groove this season with Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara doing things, I don’t expect Brees to be chucking the ball downfield very often. It works for the Saints, but not so much for Brees’ fantasy owners. I’m sure Saints fans will be ok if it leads to victory.
Adam Thielen: The Vikings WR has been very very good lately. Three straight games with touchdowns & two straight over 100 yards. That comes to an end this week against a Lions defense that held Thielen to 59 yards in Week 4’s titanic struggle won 14-7 by the Lions. I expect a similar game this week, and Thielen & the Viking passing game won’t be heavily involved.
Jordan Howard: Howard had a big ol game last week against the Lions, but this week he goes to Philadelphia. The Eagles have only allowed two running backs to go over 38 yards against them. That’s just silly. Howard has his good & bad days, and this is going to go in the latter section.
Austin Hooper: If you make my Fave 5 & you get two catches for negative one yard, you wind up in this section the week after. That’s just how business is conducted around here. Hooper just stood around and did nothing while Levine Toilolo found the end zone. I don’t know who that is either, but Tampa Bay does a good job against the tight end & Matt Ryan will have other people to throw the ball to.
Last Week’s Fearful 4 Record: 3-1 (A.J. Green, Dak Prescott & Tevin Coleman under, Leonard Fournette over)
A lot of the fantasy experts out there love to give you their sleeper picks. It’s not a bad idea. The flaw in the execution is they’re typically not highlighting people you can pick up. I saw a headline for a Yahoo sleeper column mentioning Derrick Henry, who hasn’t been under 50% ownership since…ever?
So what we’ve been doing on the Ocho for the past five seasons is highlighting some sleepers that are actually Off The Team. They’re owned in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues, just sitting on the wire waiting for you to pick them up.
Joe Flacco (14%): If you’re somebody that had Aaron Rodgers, or Deshaun Watson, or Tyrod Taylor, or Carson Palmer, or Sam Bradford, or Andrew Luck, or any number of guys that are injured, benched or whatever, it might be time to give ol’ Joe a try. The Texans have given up more points to quarterbacks than any other team this season, so you can’t ask for a better matchup. Maybe Flacco follows in Russell Wilson’s footsteps & produces a Monday Night Miracle.
Josh Doctson (28%): I asked my Washington correspondent the AZN how the wide receiver I drafted for my dynasty team last season has been looking lately. His response: “Promising”. Good enough for me! He’s getting seven targets a game since Terrelle Pryor Sr. stopped being a thing and went over ninety yards last week. He’s trending in the right direction & gets a nice matchup on Thursday night against the Giants. You could do a lot worse than rolling the dice on this guy.
T.J. Yeldon (21%): Yeldon has officially taken the RB2 position in Jacksonville. Leonard Fournette is back in the good graces of the coaching staff, but who knows when he’ll get on their bad side again, or when he’ll get hurt again. Yeldon is a nice guy to have stashed on the bench just in case you need some help in the playoffs.
Here’s James Brown (not the football one)!
Picks Against the Spread
Minnesota (-3) at Detroit: The Lions are on a 4-game winning streak on Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure they didn’t win four Thanksgiving games combined my first twenty years watching football.
LA Chargers at Dallas: Cowboys – Zeke = Trash. No wonder Jerry Jones fought that suspension so hard.
NY Giants at Washington (-7): I’m not buying into the Giants because they actually won a game, I just don’t think Washington will blow them out. It’ll be close.
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-8.5): Josh Gordon will be back soon, but not this week.
Chicago at Philadelphia (-13.5): Fly Eagles Fly
Miami at New England (-16.5): I like the Patriots by 14 here. 16.5 is a little much for my blood.
Buffalo at Kansas City (-10): If the Bills really think running J Peterman out there again is a good idea, they’re even dumber than we ever gave them credit for.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta (-9.5): The Falcons seem to be getting on track at the right time of year. Better late than never.
Carolina (-4.5) at NY Jets: The Jets are who we thought they were.
Tennessee (-3.5) at Indianapolis: I continue to be unimpressed with Tennessee. As bad as the Colts are, they seem to keep things close.
Seattle (-7) at San Francisco: Seahawks are coming off a loss & the 49ers are the 49ers.
New Orleans at LA Rams (-2.5): The Rams defense has been really good against the pass. They haven’ t been great against the run. The Saints are running the ball like crazy and nobody’s really stopping it, so I like their chances here.
Jacksonville (-4.5) at Arizona: Picking the Jags on the road seems like a bad idea, but I’m bound to have some good ideas one of these weeks.
Denver at Oakland (-5): Remember when the AFC West was gonna be good?
Green Bay at Pittsburgh (-14): To be fair to NBC, this would usually be a great choice for SUNDAY NIGHT IS FOOTBALL NIGHT. It’s not when Brett Hundley is involved. Steelers gonna truck these fools.
Houston at Baltimore (-7): I don’t think the Ravens are very good, but I can’t tell you to bet on Tom Savage on the road against that defense. I just can’t.
Week 11 Record: 5-8-1
2017 Season Record: 67-87-6