Week 16: PPR Watch
Have a question about a player not featured in this article? Use the comments section or hit me up on Twitter @MarkKadubec.
Sure Thing - What a strange year it has been for Danny Amendola. Forgotten by many going into the season, seemingly everytime he broke out, he disappeared again just as fast. 16th in fantasy PPG in PPR, he's a high end WR2. Maybe that's the only thing you really need to know? When he's played and been healthy he's been a must start all year. At 6-7-1, the Rams still have a chance to finish the year over .500, and I'm a firm believer in starting players on teams that haven't quit during the fantasy playoffs. As I've documented at many times over the course of the year, Tampa's secondary isn't stopping anyone. Start Amendola this week and expect 10 catches. Seriously. This is the kind of game where we may end up seeing 15-18 targets for Bradford's best option. It helps that the Bucs are terrific against the run.
Confident - Forte isn't such a must start anymore. The Bears have been struggling, as is pretty common this time of year, and Forte hasn't scored on the ground in 5 weeks. He isn't exactly racking up yardage either, rushing for just 305. He's added 19 receptions for 136 and a score through the air, salvaging his value in PPR leagues, but overall he's been lacking the big plays that defined his 2011 season pre-injury. In other words, Forte was grossly overrated coming into the year, and that high draft price is probably a huge part of your disappointment. Fortunately, he's got a great opportunity to make it up to you in the fantasy finals. Arizona has been getting lit up on the ground lately, allowing more yards than any team in the NFL over the last 5. With Michael Bush placed on IR, he should see a huge workload against a Cardinals defense that is far less vulnerable through the air. Chicago's playoff hopes will live on through Matt Forte this week.
Confident - I'm not going to put a confident on McCluster in a playoff week without clearly stating that this is for the desperate in deep leagues only. If you've made it to the final but have lost a guy like Sidney Rice or Jordy Nelson, McCluster is an interesting option. WIth Dwayne Bowe on IR, there is really no one for Brady Quinn to throw to, and he's not exactly going to light it up down the field anyway. Enter Dexter McCluster. Targeted 10 times against the Raiders, he's the perfect speedy short yardage guy to dump the ball off to, and he hauled in a useful 7 catches for 56 yards. This week against an Indy secondary that has given up the third most receptions to WRs on the year, I think there's a good chance McCluster sees a similar amount of opportunity. He has low upside obviously, but he's viable as a "won't kill you" filler.
Caution - Coming off his huge game against the Patriots, Crabtree may feel a bit like a must start. He's tough to sit. Since Kaepernick took over, Crabtree is top 3 in fantasy points at WR, trailing only Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall. So while his value has increased significantly from where it was midway through the season, I'm not quite ready to pull the trigger on Crabtree against Seattle in the finals. Granted, Smith was the quarterback when San Francisco played the Seahawks in week 7, but Crabtree only had 4 catches for 31 yards in that game. These are two teams that despite recent offensive explosions, have been defined all year by their defense. Over the past 4 weeks, Seattle has allowed the 3rd fewest receptions to WRs, the second fewest yards, and only 2 touchdowns. Crabtree remains safe this week, but his upside is pretty low.
Caution - This caution is pretty near an avoid. Dwyer has had a few nice moments this year, but for the most part has done very little to warrant consideration as a fantasy starter. His 4.1 yards per carry is decent, but his touches are inconsistent. Against the Cowboys, Dwyer rushed just 9 times and got 1 target in the passing game. Even for a guy getting goalline opportunities (some of them), that is not nearly enough involvement in the offense to make my lineup. The Steelers line is a disaster; Redman is still in the mix, and now they get to welcome the Bengals. Cincinnati has been playing incredible defense, allowing just 3.4 YPC and 1 touchdown over the last 5 games. Pittsburgh may do some scoring in this game, but I highly doubt it will be Dwyer. He's a flex at best, and low upside on top of it.