Fire and Ice – Week 13

It’s time to take our weekly look around the NFL to see which players have the potential to set your roster on fire and which ones seem to be cooling down. I’ll try to avoid the obvious candidates for the players that are heating up, in addition to focusing in on higher profile players that could leave your team on ice this week. I will also be taking a look at their performance from the previous week, as well as what the matchup holds for them heading into Sunday.

On Fire:


Phillip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers

Matchup – Cleveland Browns

Don’t look now, but this offense finally seems to be clicking as we head down the final stretch of the season. Philip Rivers was a man possessed last week on Thanksgiving as the veteran quarterback threw for a whopping 434 yards and three touchdowns in what ended up being a complete slaughter of the Cowboys. Rivers has now thrown multiple touchdowns in three consecutive games and looks primed to help owners looking for a playoff run, which is encouraging when you look at his schedule. Cleveland, Kansas City, and the New York Jets are all on the slate, which makes Rivers a viable option for the remainder of the season.

Case Keenum – Minnesota Vikings

Matchup – Atlanta Falcons

There have been some great story lines in the NFL this season, but I did not see Case Keenum walking in a few games into the year and leading the Vikings to a 9-2 record after Sam Bradford’s injury. There have been calls for the coaching staff to roll out Teddy Bridgewater now that’s he’s healthy, but why would they do that? Keenum is coming off a 282 yards, two touchdown performance in a win over Detroit and is just a few weeks removed from his second 300 yard game where he threw four touchdowns against the Redskins. The fact that he’s only 37% is a little surprising to me. He’s definitely worth picking up at this point in the season if you need quarterback help.

Josh McCown – New York Jets

Matchup – Kansas City Chiefs

What would you have said if I told you before the season that Josh McCown would be a fringe QB1 in fantasy football at this point in the year? Laughed and called me an idiot is more than likely the answer, and yet here we are. The Jets are nowhere near the dumpster fire everyone assumed they’d be in the offseason, and McCown is a big reason for that. The veteran quarterback threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns against Carolina last week and has become a valuable streaming option at his position. While he faces some solid defenses down the stretch, the Jets do face a Kansas City team that is on its heels after a strong start. There are definitely worse options than McCown this week.

Running backs:

Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons

Matchup – Minnesota Vikings

Tevin Coleman is making a strong case for himself in Devonta Freeman’s absence. This was Coleman’s second game as the featured running back for Atlanta, and all he did was run for nearly 100 yards and score two touchdowns against Tampa Bay last week. Coleman has now found the end zone four times in the last three games, and I think he deserves more work even after Freeman makes his way back onto the field. The Falcons will have a predicament on their hands next season. They just forked over a ton of money to Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman will be entering the last year of his contract. Considering what we’ve seen out of this kid, I can’t imagine he won’t be highly sought after. There’s just no way Atlanta pays up after securing Freeman this season. It will be interesting to see how that plays out. Either way, Atlanta faces a stout Minnesota defense this week. Both Freeman and Coleman are gambles depending on who plays.

Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders

Matchup – New York Giants

When it comes down to pure entertainment off the field there is no better specimen than Marshawn Lynch. I love this guy. From his infamous post game press conferences to his undying love of Skittles, there’s just no denying the appeal Lynch has with the fans of professional football. The good news is that he’s finally stringing together solid performances on the field as well. Through eight weeks Lynch’s highest scoring game came in week five against Baltimore where he put up twelve fantasy points. He now has two games in three weeks where he’s scored more than 20 points. I’m not saying Lynch is a must start by any means, but he’s an intriguing play this week against the Giants. New York’s defense hasn’t been terrible, but neither has Denver’s. Lynch just rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown against them last week. I’m good to go there unless you have better options.

Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins

Matchup – Dallas Cowboys

Congratulations to all of you that either drafted or picked up Samaje Perine this season, because this kid is about to be force fed carries down the stretch. There’s no Fat Rob, and Chris Thompson is done for the season. Perine’s only competition for touches is going to be a third down back the team just signed. Don’t believe me? The rookie has nearly 50 carries over the last two games for 217 yards and a touchdown. He’s literally all Washington has at this point at the running back position and is a virtual must start this week against a Dallas team that looks absolutely lost without Ezekiel Elliott. Start him with confidence.

Wide receivers:

Jamison Crowder – Washington Redskins

Matchup – Dallas Cowboys

I thought about putting Keenan Allen or Julio Jones on the list this week, but those guys are perennial superstars. Jamison Crowder was a popular sleeper pick heading into this season but has been mostly disappointing for most of the year. However, it seems like he is finally coming alive as we near the end of the season. Heading into week eight Crowder had just one game with more than 50 receiving yards. Since then he has two games with over 120 yards and hasn’t had less than 70 yards receiving in the last four contests he’s played in. I expect this hot streak to continue this week as Crowder and the Redskins face a Dallas team that is reeling.

Robby Anderson – New York Jets

Matchup – Kansas City Chiefs

I already referenced this with Josh McCown, but how surprising have the Jets been this season? Furthermore, who predicted that Robbie Anderson would develop into a virtual must start fantasy wide receiver? Anderson has now scored six touchdowns in the last five games and is coming off a season high 146 yard performance where he hauled in six catches and found the end zone twice. He is without a doubt the go to wide receiver in this offense and deserves to be owned in all leagues. He’s a strong play again this week against a Chiefs team that is in the midst of a complete breakdown.

Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions

Matchup – Baltimore Ravens

Remember how excited everyone got when Marvin Jones started off last season looking like Megatron reincarnated? Unfortunately that didn’t last long, and Jones slowly slid into obscurity. This year has been a different story, however. Outside of a down week against Cleveland, Jones now has at least 15 fantasy points in five out of the last six games and is coming off a huge 109 yard two touchdown performance against Minnesota last week. I would expect some regression when the Lions face the Ravens, unfortunately. Say what you want about this team, but Baltimore’s defense simply isn’t giving up very many points this season. Consider Jones a boom or bust play this week.

Tight ends:

Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings

Matchup – Atlanta Falcons

While Kyle Rudolph hasn’t been the dominant force at tight end that we saw last season, he has been able to string together some solid performances at times. The hulking tight end caught four passes for 63 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions on Thanksgiving, which was enough to give him his best fantasy performance of the season by far. While his stat line was encouraging, I wouldn’t expect this sort of production on a weekly basis. He’s a fringe TE1 heading into this week’s matchup with the Falcons.

Ricky Seals-Jones – Arizona Cardinals

Matchup – Los Angeles Rams

Well it looks like Ricky Seals-Jones’ breakout performance against the Texans a couple weeks back wasn’t a fluke after all. Seals-Jones followed up his 54 yard, two touchdown game with four catches, 72 yards, and a touchdown against the Jaguars last week. My assumption here is that Blaine Gabbert has a lot to do with his tight end’s recent success. Seals-Jones hadn’t recorded a single catch before week 11 but has suddenly become a go to option for Arizona’s third string quarterback. Considering Drew Stanton’s status for this week is still cloudy, I’d feel comfortable snagging Seals-Jones if you need help at tight end. He’s only 1.5% owned as of right now.

Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans

Matchup – Houston Texans

It’s amazing just how bad the Tennessee Titans offense has been this season. This was supposed to be the year they made a deep playoff run, but this team is winning in spite of Marcus Mariota’s poor play. The lone bright spot thus far has been Delanie Walker over the second half of the season. The veteran tight end has had at least four catches and 60 yards in each of the last five games and has been one of the most consistent players at his position. He’s a must start against Houston this week.

Ice Cold:


Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs

Matchup – New York Jets

I’m perplexed as to what in the hell has happened to the Kansas City Chiefs. This team was red hot to start the season but has now lost three straight games, and this offense has suddenly completely stalled out. Alex Smith looked particularly bad against the Giants two weeks ago and didn’t fair much better in a loss to the Bills last week. Smith finished the day with 199 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Chiefs have explosive players at every offensive skill position, so it really is mind boggling to see this team play so poorly. At this point I’m hesitant to start any of them until we see some sort of turn around.

Marcus Mariota – Tennessee Titans

Matchup – Houston Texans

As I mentioned with Delanie Walker above, the Titans offense has been incredibly disappointing when you consider the expectations heading into this season. A lot of that starts with Marcus Mariota. Tennessee’s franchise quarterback now has thrown 12 interceptions on the season compared to only nine touchdowns. That’s clearly less than ideal. Mariota threw for only 184 yards against a very beatable Indianapolis secondary last week and threw one more interception than touchdowns. At this point there’s just no way I’m trusting this kid until he proves me wrong.

Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys

Matchup – Houston Texans

Everyone assumed that Dallas would struggle without Ezekiel Elliott, but I’m not sure anyone expected this. I went out on a limb on our podcast a few weeks back and stated that the Cowboys would not win a game while Elliott was suspended. Suddenly that doesn’t look like such a bold statement. Dak Prescott has now failed to throw for more than 180 yards in three consecutive games. In addition to that he has scored a combined one fantasy point in the last two weeks combined. Yikes. While this week’s matchup against Houston would normally get me excited, there’s just too much going on here to endorse Prescott as a starting fantasy asset.

Running backs:

Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars

Matchup – Indianapolis Colts

Leonard Fournette looked unstoppable through the first six games of the season. The rookie out of LSU scored at least one touchdown in each of those contests and looked every bit as good as advertised. Unfortunately, that was about the time the injuries began. While Fournette did rush for 111 yards two weeks ago, he only accumulated 58 yards in the other two games and has yet to find the end zone since returning to action. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel here. Fournette will have an opportunity to bounce back against one of the worst defenses in the league in the Colts this week, and I expect the rookie to get back on track in a big way.

Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs

Matchup – New York Jets

I’ve already voiced my concerns with Kansas City’s offense when I talked about Alex Smith before, so this will be a little more brief. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I’m benching Kareem Hunt for the foreseeable future. The rookie was an early season sensation and looked unstoppable in the first half of the season when he had over 100 total yards in the first seven games of his young career. Unfortunately, Hunt hit rock bottom last week against the Bills as he gained just 17 yards on 11 carries. He’s just not the sure thing he was earlier in the season.

Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears

Matchup – San Francisco 49ers

In the offseason I said that Jordan Howard would be this year’s version of Todd Gurley in his sophomore campaign. While Howard as had some solid games this season, there’s simply too much stacked up against him for him to consistently produce at a high level. You’ve got a rookie quarterback under center in Mitch Trubisky, and Chicago’s offense lacks any real playmakers outside of their running backs. Howard gained just six yards on seven carries in a matchup against the Eagles that was basically over in the first quarter. He should bounce back this week against San Francisco in what should be a more competitive game.

Wide receivers:

Golden Tate – Detroit Lions

Matchup – Baltimore Ravens

Remember all the praise I gave to Marvin Jones earlier in this column? Well it’s come at a detriment to Golden Tate, who was rock solid in a stretch where he had at least six receptions and 85 yards in four consecutive games. He then turned around and posted only 32 yards against Chicago before the bottom dropped out last week. Tate caught four passes for just seven yards against Minnesota and watched Marvin Jones enjoy one of his best games of the year. As far as consistency goes Tate is about as reliable as they come. He’ll bounce back eventually, although it’ll be tough sledding against a tough Baltimore defense this week.

TY Hilton – Indianapolis Colts

Matchup – Jacksonville Jaguars

Let’s be honest here. If you’re still starting TY Hilton each week, then you’re likely not making your league’s playoffs this season. I’m not saying Hilton is suddenly a bad player. In fact, I think he’s one of the top ten wide receivers in the NFL. Unfortunately, Jacoby Brissett is a far cry from Andrew Luck. Hilton matched a season low 15 yards on two receptions last week against the Titans, and there’s no reason to think that things will turn around this week against an impressive Jacksonville defense. Move along.

Davante Parker – Miami Dolphins

Matchup – Denver Broncos

Davante Parker was well on his way to having a career year earlier in the season. Unfortunately, erratic quarterback play and injuries have derailed his 2017 campaign significantly. After having five games of at least four catches and 65 yards before and after his injury, Parker has now caught five passes for a combined 31 yards over the last two weeks. I don’t see his fortune turning around anytime in the near future either as the Dolphins face the Broncos and Patriots in back to back games.

Tight ends:

Evan Engram – New York Giants

Matchup – Oakland Raiders

Well, it seems like the honeymoon is nearing its end for Evan Engram. The rookie tight end was stellar in a five game stretch where he had at least 60 yards receiving or a touchdown. Unfortunately, it didn’t take opposing defenses long to figure out that Engram was developing into Eli Manning only remaining reliable target and work to take him out of the game. I’m optimistic that Engram can turn things around this week, but I won’t be shocked if he puts up another dud.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins – New York Jets

Matchup – Kansas City Chiefs

All of these hyphenated names are really getting tiresome to type out. I said multiple times during ASJ’s three game touchdown streak that his value was limited to him finding the end zone, and we’re now seeing the product of that. The veteran tight end is simply not involved enough outside of the red zone to be a reliable fantasy asset. Seferian-Jenkins only has one game of more than 50 yards this season, so in games where he doesn’t score his production his typically around the 20-30 yard mark. Don’t expect things to change down the stretch.

Jared Cook – Oakland Raiders

Matchup – New York Giants

Things seemed to be trending up for Jared Cook around the halfway point of the season. He had two separate games with over 100 receiving yards in weeks seven and nine before Oakland’s bye, and it looked like Derek Carr was finally favoring his new toy from Green Bay. As we know now, that was sort lived. Cook caught a single pass against Denver last week for one yard, which is obviously a terrible stat line even against a top tier defense. While the Giants present a friendlier matchup this week, there’s just no way to trust Jared Cook after two consecutive terrible games. I’d look elsewhere for tight end help his week.

As always, please feel free to give us a shout on Twitter @No_HuddleFFB if you have any questions or concerns regarding your lineup or just want to chat about fantasy football. Best of luck this week!

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