Week 14 Sleepers and Waiver Wire Pickups

Every week I seem to find a diamond in the rough, thank you Disney for corrupting my brain!  Many leagues either have started or are about to start playoffs so it is important to win every week. Here are my Week 14 sleeper picks by position.
Quarterback

Colin Kaepernick completed 19-of-28 passes for 275 yards and 1TD in the 49ers’ Week 13 win. They have the Legion of Boom next, or at least a portion of it. Seattle will be without Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner. Seattle has proven that they cannot be stopped in Seattle as they destroyed Drew Brees and the Saints 34-7. But Seattle is not the same team on the road and there have been a number of games that they were lucky to escape with a victory on the road (i.e. Carolina, Houston and St. Louis)… and almost blew it against Tampa Bay AT HOME. At the same time, Colin will have all of his starting WRs in the lineup. After the showing Boldin, Davis and Crabtree had in week 13, expect more of the same. If Colin can take care of the ball and Greg Roman runs the offense to his strengths, my prediction is Colin goes for 300 yards and 2TDs and 1TD rushing.

    

Wide Receiver

The obvious choices would be guys like Marshall/Jeffries against Dallas or Megatron against just about anyone, though he faces Philly this week. Josh Gordon has been playing out of his mind but if New England’s Aqib Talib is healthy, he will be locked up with Gordon all day long and we will NOT see Gordon go for 200+ yards for a 3rd straight game. But note that this kid is only 22 years old so if you have him in a keeper league, lock him up for next year and if not, he should at the top of your WR list for next year’s draft along with guys like Calvin Johnson A.J. Green, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall. As for a WR sleeper, Roddy White put up 143 yards on Sunday and that was at less than 100%. Next week Atlanta plays a struggling Green Bay Packers. Whether Aaron Rodgers plays or not will not affect White’s performance. He should be good in all formats, especially PPR leagues where he’ll bring in 12-15 catches for 150 yards, 1TD. Also, Larry Fitzgerald who started the year extremely slow for his overall ranking has picked it up lately. He has caught 4 TD passes in the last 3 games and Arizona plays St. Louis at home this week. St. Louis is the youngest team in the NFL and it often shows. Though they have one of the best defensive fronts in the league, their DBs are still very young and raw and are easily exploited. Fitz is good for 10 catches for 125 yards and 2 TDs. Kennan Allen has proven to be a great Rookie WR for Rivers in San Diego. Though he has not found the end zone often, Allen has been River’s primary target at the WR position and he has posted back to back 100+ yard games. With Antonio Gates not as dominant as he once was, Allen is getting more targets every week as he gains his QBs trust. Add to this the fact that the Chargers face the NY Giants at home, should be a goldmine for anyone in need of a quality WR in week 14. The Giants give up a lot of points through the air and Rivers always plays well at home. Allen should go over 100 yards for a third straight game and you can add a TD to his resume as well.

Running Back

With T-Rich a complete bust, cannot believe that Colts gave up a first rounder for him. I know that Cleveland was upset at the time, but they must think that the Brown’s GM (Michael Lombardi) is a genius at this point. Luckily for the Colts, Donald Brown has really picked things up lately and will continue his strong running for another good game this week. After a 54 yard, 1TD performance, he should put up similar numbers in week 14.

Tight End

As we say goodbye to a future Hall of Famer, Tony G will not be forgotten as he has paved the way for the TE position to be so much more than just another blocker on the field with the ability to catch a pass. The TE position is a feared position with players like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Vernon Davis as well as youngsters like Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron. For those that are not spoiled like me (Jimmy Graham and Julius Thomas on FF team), you may want to consider Brandon Myers (NY Giants). He is not racking up a lot of yards but has grabbed a TD in back to back games and is going up against a San Diego team with inconsistent play from rookie MLB Manti Teo. He should be good for 50 yards and a TD. I have read that many are boasting Garrett Graham as a good sleeper/backup option this week as Houston is facing JAX on the road, but I would disagree. Graham had a big game 3 weeks ago with 136 yards and 1TD but that was versus the Raiders and has put up a total of 68 yards in the last 2 weeks against JAX and NE. Also, considering his QBs inconsistent play, I see further mediocrity in his future.

Kicker

At this point, you have had a large sample of games to make a strong and educated assumption of which kicker to use. There are always many kickers because you typically have up to 32 kickers worth considering and rarely are you involved in a league where kickers are at a premium. What you want to find is a kicker where his offense is good but not too good to where they score a lot of TDs. If they are stopped short once in awhile and forced to kick FGs, this is actually desirable. Robbie Gould will be looking to come back from the disappointment of missing the game winner against the Vikings this week.  Gould should be good for 3 FGs and 3 PATs especially the way the Bears offense is playing. Jay Feely of the Arizona Cardinals is another player that should do well. Arizona is going against St. Louis that can be dubbed Bonnie and Clyde. They will give up a butt load through the air but will probably stop the run pretty well. If Quinn and Long can get to pressure, it could be a long day for Palmer overall and Feely will see 3 FGs and 2 PATs (23 -17 W).

Defense

The KC Chiefs have been stout all year. They have not given up the least amount of points this year, that honor goes to the Carolina Panthers. What they have done is take the ball away and score on Defense and Special Teams. They got torched by Peyton and the Denver Broncos in week 13 but still put up defensive points because they were able to put up points for the team. In week 14, if you need a back up defense or your D has a tough match up, consider the SD Chargers who are playing the NY Giants at home where their defense plays well and Eli throws 2.5 picks per game…enough said!

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Weekly Preview and Injury Report

thS9OASI53  

So everyone and their mother is talking about Tomlin’s bonehead move during last Thursday Night’s game versus the Baltimore Ravens. In my opinion, this was a bullshit play and as you can plainly see on the replay, he has his back to the play that is right next to him and then he is shown smiling and laughing afterwards. In my opinion, he should be fined and suspended for this but why is everyone talking about this. What about the vicious hit on Bell near the end of the game. That was clearly a helmet to helmet and Bell was definitely in La La Land as he was escorted off the field…”Mommy, are we in Disneyland?” Seriously, that could have been really bad for the youngster. he has a concussion and may not play in week 14.

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em – Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks – Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em?

Start ‘Em

There are obvious starters and then not so obvious. One QB worth using this week is Alex Smith.  His overall numbers do not jump off the page but he is a safe bet to rack up some good points against a miserable Washington Redskins’ defense. The Chiefs are playing great defense which gives Smith a lot of chances. He should be good for 250 yards + 2TD.

Carson Palmer is probably my favorite here. he has the underachieving Rams that are in la la land. They may put up a lot of points but that will only improve Palmers numbers if this turns into a shoot out. Palmer has thrown for over 300 yards and 2+TDs in the last 3 games. If I did not have Peyton Manning, I would pick him up and start him this week.

Sit ‘Em 

There are a few Quarterbacks that are either going to have to take a back seat to another Quarterback this week or face a top defense that will highly impact their Fantasy Football numbers. First we will go with the obvious…

The Seattle Seahawks and San Francsico 49ers play each other in San Francisco on Sunday. This will be a smashmouth, in your face duel to the finish and will be fought in the trenches. I do not see a lot of big plays by either QB so I would sit Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick this week if you have a better option.

Russell Wilson has not put up huge numbers away from CenturyLink Field and if any points are put up it will be scrambling. Unfortunately for Wilson, the way Brooks and Aldon Smith have been playing lately, he should be well contained making him a pocket passer. The question is will anyone get open. Seahawks were counting on Percy Harvin being 100% in time for this game and that just has not happened. In my opinion, they hurried him back from the hip injury and now he is likely going to be fighting the injury all year and will not make an impact until next season, if at all.

Colin Kaepernick, who I love so much, well it has been more of a love/hate relationship this year. I do not wrong him for many things. It is not his fault that his OC will not make proper calls to play to Colin’s strengths (i.e. protecting him). It is not his fault that he lost his Go To WR in Crabtree for the first 2 months of the season as only just now coming back. It is not his fault that Boldin is unable to create separation and that no one is open on a regular basis. What IS his fault is this… He has been trying to do too much with too little. His accuracy is nowhere near what it was last year and why, in gods name is he unable to look at more than one receiver (i.e. poor progression). Hate to say it but Trent Dilfer was right. If the defense takes away Colin’s first option, that is it, he gets flustered and either gets sacked or has to run with it. Where is the second read, what about the check downs? I remember a number of plays recently where he had Lamichael James on a check down that would have went for 20+ yards if he saw him. Very frustrating and I think Seattle is more than ready to shutdown his first AND second reads on passing plays. Add to that the Niners inability to run due to an aging Gore and banged up O-Line and I smell trouble in the city by the Bay.

The other QB worth staying away from is Josh McCown but keep him in your sights for as long as possible. McCown has thrown for over 350 yards in back to back games but all signs are pointing to Jay Cutler’s return this week, which would be bad for both McCown owners as well as Alshon Jeffries owners as Brandon Marshall is clearly Cutler’s favorite receiver while McCown like Jeffries… Definitely bad news for me this week but luckily I have already clinched a playoff spot in my league.

NFC Rivalry

49er Fan Guidelines for Seahawks matchup: Valid Concern or Slap in the face of every Fan in Niner Nation?

I do not know about some of you, but as a lifetime 49er Faithful (through good and bad), I find these guidelines stupid. Why give out guidelines to remind die hard fans to where RED?!?! To be on time? Really? You do not need to remind me that this is the biggest game of the regular season! I know it and I will be there yelling and screaming, on time, oh and wearing red thank you very much. Things like this not only insult the intelligence of your fans Jed but gives other teams (i.e. She-Hawks) a reason to laugh at us!!! We do not need that.

This week’s game is against the NFC rival Seattle Seahawks. An extremely strong and confident team that many believe can go all the way this year. Yes, I agree that they are very good, their play this year has backed that and personally I do not believe anyone can beat them in Seattle. The 12th Man is just too powerful and gives them an unfair advantage. 

Personally, I believe they may go to the Superbowl but will end up losing and here is why. They are not nearly as good on the road and have proven that by coming close to losing to bad teams on a number of occasions. In week one, Carolina would have beaten them if DeAngelo Williams did not fumble the ball late in the 4th quarter. Then they were pretty much beat in Houston until Schaub’s downward spiral and eventual loss of his starting job began as he threw a pick-6 to Richard Sherman that completely changed the pace of the game and allowed the Seahawks to win. Then there was St. Louis who had the game but 2 picks by Clemens and a blown coverage TD by Golden Tate sealed their fate. And then there was the Tampa Bay Bucs, who not only were winning in the third quarter by 21 points, they were doing it IN SEATTLE. And this is to below average teams (other than Carolina). This tells me that there are kinks in the armor and it can be exploited. 

This Sunday the game is on our turf and I feel, barring a horrible game by Colin, similar to week 2 when Niners had 5 TOs, they will do fine. It will be a low scoring game where neither QB will throw for over 200 yards. The question is, who will make the big mistake to cost their team the game? I personally will be on the Niner side and hoping for a win. Logically, you have to consider the facts…

1 – Seahawks are 11-1 this year and have already put a hurting on both the Niners and Saints (though both games where in Seattle). 

2 – Even with the loss of both Thurmond and Browner, their defense looks good (but once again, they were at home). 

3 – They do not have O-Line issues like Niners do. We are banged up and both Iupati and Staley are not confirmed for Sunday’s game which leaves us with Boone, Moody and Kilgore (yikes). that equates to less than 40 yards rushing for Gore and probably no TDs. 

4 – Psychologically and emotionally, they have the edge on us and we are still working on getting our swagger back. 

5 – Speaking of Swagger. It was great to see Crabtree out there, hopefully he can do something against a physical Sherman on Sunday. If nothing else, this should free up Vernon and Anquan one on one for big plays down the field.

My prediction – Niners win with last second field goal 16-13

What My heart says…

1 – Niners D will man up and come up big getting 3 TOs

2 – Crabtree will go for 50 and 1TD and Vernon will go for 125

3 – Marshawn Lynch will finally be held to under 100 yards after breaking the barrier in 3 straight games, something that rarely happens against the Niners stout run defense.

4 – Where going to turn that smug smirk on Carrol’s face upside down and send him home with the Seahawks second loss of the season.

5 – Niners Offense does NOT turn the ball over (fumble or INT).

Now what does this mean, not much right now. The road to the Superbowl in the NFC will still need to go through Seattle. BUT, this will give the Niners and other teams a blueprint on what must be done to beat them and the confidence they will succeed.
Now will all of this happen, nobody knows at this point. What I can tell you is that if Seattle goes to Superbowl, the 12th man will not be able to help them to victory. They will need to prove themselves strong without their home field advantage which could prove to be their undoing against a team like, say Denver who has more weapons offensively than any one defense can handle (most of the time).

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