Fantasy Focus: Hot & Not
Ok, look. Everybody knows who should be on the “Hot” list every week. Let’s concede that Devonta Freeman has regularly been the “hottest” asset in fantasy. But this column has already featured him and is trying to take a look at other players who have helped their owners this week. In addition, there were also at least a handful of players who sorely disappointed their owners this week with some un-Freeman-like performances. As usual, we shine a light on a few cases of both with this week’s “Hot and Not.”
Hot Fantasy Updates
Keenan Allen- WR- San Diego- Don’t worry if Keenan Allen doesn’t score TD’s, because he’ll still rack up enough catches and yards to make it worth it. Allen was remarkably efficient on Sunday vs. the Packers, hauling in 14 of 15 targets for 157 yards. Allen would have likely hauled in even more catches had he not departed in the third quarter. QB Philip Rivers had an impressive day with 503 yards and 43 completions over the air, and trusted Allen as his top target. Allen reaped the benefits by accumulating his third game with 12 or more catches this season. Assuming he’s healthy -- he suffered a hip injury Sunday -- Allen is a definite WR1 in PPR leagues, and a borderline WR1 in standard leagues. Start him with confidence next week vs. the Raiders.
Chris Ivory- RB- New York Jets- Ivory served as a potent weapon during Gang Green’s second-half offensive surge against Washington on Sunday. Ivory racked up a few lengthy runs by remaining upright after contact. Overall, Ivory had the majority of the carries, remaining ahead of Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy on the depth chart, rushing for 146 yards on 20 carries while finding the end zone once. Ivory also made the most of his role in the passing game, catching all three of his targets for 50 receiving yards. After two consecutive solid games, look for Ivory to continue to receive the bulk of the carries for the Jets and serve as a solid fantasy value.
Martavis Bryant- WR- Pittsburgh- Bryant broke out in a big way Sunday vs. the Cardinals, as the wideout put up a huge first game after developing a rapport with third-string QB Landry Jones. Bryant caught two touchdown passes while totaling six catches on eight targets and 137 receiving yards. In addition, Bryant gained eight yards on a rushing play. Bryant should put up solid numbers no matter who the Steelers’ QB is, but if Ben Roethlisberger returns next week, look for Antonio Brown to assume the #1 receiver role again.
James Starks- RB- Green Bay- Starks only had 10 carries vs. the Chargers, but scored two total touchdowns (one passing, one receiving) on 112 yards for the Packers. Starks broke a 65-yard TD run, a career long, and also caught a five yard pass from Aaron Rodgers. Eddie Lacy owners may be fuming (see below), but Starks was the one who vultured the running back touchdowns for the Packers this week. While Lacy should continue to receive the bulk of the carries, Starks is a must-own handcuff to pay attention to in fantasy news.
Not Fantasy Updates
Peyton Manning- QB- Denver- Manning may be an all-time great QB, but he did not perform like it in Sunday’s win vs. the Browns. The face of the NFL has seen a precipitous decline this season, and it showed on Sunday. Manning threw three interceptions and just one touchdown pass while completing 26 of 48 passes for 290 yards. The yardage total is not particularly bad and the one touchdown pass helped salvage Manning’s numbers, but it’s tough not to look past Manning’s three picks. His arm strength has almost completely vanished, and while he can still complete most of his checkdowns, it’s easier for defenses to play him when he does not have a deep threat. you own Manning in your league, you may want to sell while he is on bye week next week.
Adrian Peterson- RB- Minnesota- Peterson certainly did not lack in volume, as he carried the ball 26 times Sunday, but the Chiefs defense succeeded in limiting All Day to just 60 yards. Peterson also caught one pass but lost three yards on the play. In an underwhelming day for the Vikings offense, Peterson’s performance suffered, as he failed to find the end zone. More often than not, Peterson should put up great numbers each week, so write this rough day off as a one-off occasion.
Jeremy Maclin- WR- Kansas City- The Chiefs’ offense struggled to get things going on Sunday against the Vikings, and Maclin’s performance served as one of the casualties. Maclin hauled in just 3 of 4 targets for 48 yards. Although Maclin stood to gain after the loss of running back Jamaal Charles to a season-ending injury and hauling in at least eight targets in the last three games, Maclin suffered along with the rest of the Charles-less Chiefs offense. The Chiefs may struggle to establish a ground game in the coming weeks, but expect Maclin to receive more targets than he did this week as QB Alex Smith continues to rely on Maclin as a high-volume receiving option.
Eddie Lacy- RB- Green Bay- As you may have noticed, Lacy’s backup James Starks is on this week’s Hot list. Lacy got out-carried ten to four by Starks and gained only three rushing yards. In addition, the third-year back out of Alabama only caught two passes for 17 yards and also fumbled. Lacy may still be hobbled by the ankle injury that he sustained a few weeks ago, so this situation may be one worth watching. In the mean time, proceed with caution starting Lacy and wait for either an explanation or a clean bill of health during the Packers’ bye week in advance of their matchup Week 8 vs. the Broncos.
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