The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 18, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 15 recap: 5 big takeaways from another insane week in the NFL

By Eric Pehowic
The Daily Item

Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington

Cousins throws for 381 yards and 3 touchdowns (with two pics) in a heartbreaking 27-26 loss to the Falcons this week. Cousins, of course, replaced benched franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III.

In limited time before Week 15, Cousins was dreadful, throwing for a combined 12-for-25 with two interceptions and 107 yards in two games. Blech.

So, fantasy owners are looking at this situation wondering which one is Douglas Quaid and which is Hauser?

The matchup against Atlanta wasn’t exactly a strong one for opposing quarterbacks, but he was too good to ignore.

While I’m not ready to bet the house, but I kept him in one of my dynasty leagues based solely on his Week 15 performance last sseason when he completed 70 percent of his passes for 329 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT and rushed three times for 22 yards.

He might never be a full-time fantasy starter, but depending on how deep your dynasty roster goes, he could be a serviceable QBBC-type if he gets traded.


Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City

I started this thing with Cousins because every recap in the world is going to talk about Jamaal Charles’ record-breaking performance. He caught all eight of his targets for 195 yards and 4 TDs he added 8-for-20 and a score on the ground for an absurd score that ranged from 50-65 points or more depending on your scoring system.

Adrian Peterson is a not-of-this-world talent. I hesitate to put call Charles better. But I drafted Charles No. 1 overall in a league this year and was ecstatic when I got him elsewhere in the top five at a couple other leagues.

He’s been paying off all season for smart fantasy owner, but his performance in Week 15 was enough to single-handedly carry some teams into the finals.

He’s got to be in the 2013 Fantasy Football MVP conversation


Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota/Jordan Todman, RB, Jacksonville/Edwin Baker, RB, Cleveland

I play a lot of Daily Fantasy Sports at sites like FanDuel and Draft Kings. At Draft Street, their tagline touts daily fantasy as the future of the game, and I believe that completely.

These three running backs provide a good lesson for fantasy players of all kinds, especially this late in the season.

When a running back gets an opportunity to get the bulk of carries he has an opportunity to be a game changer. Matt Asiata had a horrible 1.7 yards per carry, rushing for just 51 yards on 30 tries. However, he also had three TDs. Three! And caught three balls for 15 yards to finish as the No. 2 running back in most scoring formats.

Todman came in around the top-15 and Baker was in the top-20, meaning they finished with fantasy starter points this week and each one of them were probably available on waivers the Tuesday before, or in many cases, Sunday morning.

Monitor injury situations. Pounce on running backs with opportunity.


Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota

Jennings has been targeted nine times in six different games this year. Matt Cassel, who replaced starter Christian Ponder in Week 4, has been the quarterback in five of those games.

All of us who play Daily Fantasy Sports should have seen this coming against an Eagles defense that has allowed 29.3 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers.


Kickers are not an afterthought. … After draft day

Everybody who’s played fantasy football for more than one year – and/or been ridiculed on draft day for reaching – knows kickers get picked last.

Kickers can be volatile week-to-week, but a new kicker leads the board every season, so trying to predict the winner in the preseason is a fools play.

However, as the season rolls on and matchups become apparent, we can figure out who the best kickers are and the situations that should lead to big days.

Last week, Justin Tucker, Dan Bailey, Phil Dawson and Jay Feely all scored more than 13 points to lead kickers.

Their opponents were all among the top 6 in fantasy points allowed to opposing kickers in the last three weeks.

The big issue with using stats to predict football is small sample size. In baseball, a 162-game season means averages are more reliable as predictors. In a 16-game football season, we do our best with what’s in front of us, and fantasy points against is one of the better predictors.

Keep all of that in mind Sunday if you need to pick up a kicker for your championship game.