Fantasy Football Pop Quiz - Week 13, NFL 2017

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When it comes to personal questions, there are really two types that dictate an answer; questions you should always know the answer to, and questions you should be able to answer dependent on the date. If, for example, you have children, you should always be able to answer the question "Do you have any children?," especially if it's being asked by a cop. I can't stress enough that shrugging, thinking about it for too long, or replying with sarcasm are really poor indicators of your readiness to be a parent. Other questions that would fall under this category; "Do you have any allergies?," "On a scale of 1-10, how bad is your pain?," and "Have you been drinking tonight sir?" (lot of cops in this scenario, I know).

For questions dependent upon date, these are generally less serious but could be problematic in a whole different kind of way. If you can't remember your significant other's birthday while filling out some paperwork, it might cause a small fight. If you can't remember your significant other's birthday the day after said birthday already happened, you might be sent to live in the backyard forever. Other fun questions in this category; "When is your car bill due?," or "What did you get your kids for Christmas?"

As fantasy football enthusiasts (and if you're reading this in Week 13, you're either still in the running or have truly earned the role of at LEAST "enthusiast") it's also now time to be able to answer a question, as a point of pride, that falls squarely in the latter category-- in how many leagues did you make the playoffs? Let's see if we can boost that number this week with some winning plays. As a note, similar to last week, I'll be highlighting more "boom and bust" options for the people on the fringes of playoffs. This means guys who are third options or flexes in most leagues. Keep starting your studs if you're just cruising to the postseason.

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Running Back Questions

______ will either be on my bench or will RUIN my week.

A: Alex Collins
B: Kenyan Drake
C: Devontae Booker
D: Jamaal Williams

I've heard a lot of analysts mention Kenyan Drake as an interesting flex play this week, and he's ranked similarly to these other guys but there are a lot of factors that make me bullish on that move this week. I don't buy the Broncos defense is suddenly bad against the run, especially due to the fact that the majority of touchdowns it gave up to running plays was against the Eagles in an especially bad week, and the three touchdowns from that one performance are more than either Drake or Damien Williams (now injured) have gotten, combined, all season.

Drake's increased workload is nice if you're really hurting, but the Dolphins don't run it in the red zone, he hasn't shown that he can move mountains with more touches, and I'm worried it's just a "too cute" move in a time where you can't risk that sort of play. In the words of Matt Hardy, "Delete. Delete. Delete."

Against all odds, should you take a look at ___________ now?

A: Javorius Allen
B: Theo Riddick
C: Jonathan Stewart
D: Jamaal Williams

On the other side of the coin, let's talk about Jamaal Williams. The Green Bay Packers back is only averaging about three yards a carry, and his workload may be cut into if Aaron Jones is healthy, but for non-fantasy purposes, I don't see the Packers overworking Jones in his first week back, let alone rushing him back fully. Williams is currently seeing the most week to week work through the last three games compared to the guys on this list that rank higher than him, and may also see a boost from facing a week Tampa Bay defense in a shootout. The real question mark here is not Williams, but Jones and how much he plays.

 

Wide Receiver Questions

Am I really going to roll with ____________ this week? (Yes. Yes I Am)

A: Sterling Shepard
B: Randall Cobb
C: Will Fuller V
D: Travis Benjamin

Man, this is when the league starts getting deep. In my effort to highlight guys really far below the normal "lex line, I'm reminded how grim receiver can be in certain spots, and if you're a league with 16 teams or two flex positions, this is likely a choice you are considering. And despite the upside of Shepard, Geno Smith's ability aside, I think you have to play Randall Cobb from this group. Cobb's not seeing anything exciting in terms of numbers, but he hasn't exactly been affected by Aaron Rodgers's absence much either (shoutout to those poor, poor Jordy Nelson owners.) I think if you're starting a guy like Cobb, you will take your standard output of 3-5 catches for about fifty yards, add in some upside facing a Tampa Bay pass defense made of jelly, and simply hope he falls in for a touchdown.

POP QUIZ: What do I do about Josh Gordon?

This has been the question for us fantasy nerds this week. Matt Terrelle already gave this a nice succinct answer that I largely agree with, but as it always is with fantasy football, the question is less "Is Josh Gordon a decent start?" and more of "Is it a good idea for me, specifically, to start Josh Gordon?"

Let's rule out the people this doesn't apply for. If you're 11-1 or 1-11 and you don't need to win any more games to change your outcome, do whatever you want to. If you're within playoff reach but need to keep winning, I imagine a player like Robby Anderson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, or DeSean Jackson is already your flex guy and it wouldn't make sense to play Gordon.

Really this move makes sense for one very specific group--the player who is on the fringe of making the playoffs, and is down a receiver (Crabtree, Landry, or Woods are good examples). If you're left choosing between Gordon and some of the guys I named above who are in the range of low-end WR3 and WR4, I don't hate the Gordon play. Coach Hue Jackson has been almost overly sharing how much work Gordon is going to get, and he's apparently in great shape. If you're really looking for a dart throw due to injury or bad luck, I'm totally OK going with Josh Gordon in that last spot.

 

Tight End Question

In Week 13, I will stop blowing my horn for ASJ and start blowing my horn for _________

A: Jack Doyle
B: Jared Cook
C: Hunter Henry
D: Austin Hooper

There's really two different strategies to go with here; do you hope Jack Doyle's targets continue to be consistent, or do you think "Play Your TE vs the Browns" is still the golden rule and lean Henry? Well, friends, 2017 has taught us to simply worship the targets that you've been given, and so I've got to lean Jack Doyle here. I don't know if Cleveland has gotten better against tight ends, but since their bye they have certainly been giving up less receptions to the position. Doyle was only ok the last time he faced the Jaguars, but Jacoby Brissett is leaning on him more. Compared to other positions, I can't exactly advocate for a "boom" play that doesn't exist, so start Doyle if you've got him. And if you don't, maybe consider Julius Thomas as a fill-in against a Denver defense that is very leaky against tight ends.

 

More Week 13 Lineup Prep