Josh Brickner helps the Standard League owners with his look at their Consistency and who can save you this week. Follow him on Twitter @joshbrickner.
When in a head-to-head fantasy football league, you want players on your team who are consistent fantasy performers from week to week. Here at Big Guy Fantasy Sports, consistency is our business. If you’re unfamiliar with the Consistency Rankings and Clutch Reports at BGFS, I recommend you take a look. Basically, a player is consistent (earns a Clutch Game) when he meets or exceeds your league’s average for points scored in a given week. A player’s Clutch Rating (CR) is based on the percentage of games he earned a Clutch Game (CG) against the number of games played.
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It was African American activist Bertha Calloway who said, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” I’m not sure there’s a more apropos comparison for the state some fantasy owners find themselves in during this stretch run. While we all dream of a starting lineup consisting of Mahomes, Barkley, Gurley, Davante Adams, Thielen, and Kelce; that’s not quite realistic (if your lineup is close to this please send a screenshot to me on Twitter). It’s much more likely you’re going into this playoff push without a significant contributor to your squad.
Perhaps you’ve been stashing an injury plagued running back for weeks only to have him be suspended this week for fighting (looking at you, Leonard Fournette) and/or the head coach of your perfectly consistent, banged up RB1 decides to not pull said running back despite having a 28-10 lead against an inept offense (real smart, Anthony Lynn). I don’t personally have either of those two players rostered in any league, but I was hit with the double groin kick of both Marvin Jones and Jack Doyle being placed on IR Monday afternoon.
Suffice to say, there’s plenty of fake footballers who are in need of some reinforcements for these crucial last five weeks. Enter the below list of players. Now let me be perfectly clear about one thing, I am NOT advocating starting anyone mentioned in this article over any reliable, consistent fantasy contributor or a stud player who has had a few down weeks. This is a great way to end your season prematurely and be faced with nine months of stinging regret. These players are only to be used in case of emergency as most have more than questionable consistency.
This week 13 is a defacto playoff game for many of us. Winning means securing a spot in the playoffs or the coveted first round bye and losing… is unacceptable!
Case Keenum, QB DEN
The last two games could have turned out much worse for this pass-funnel defense. Lamar Jackson was making his first career NFL start with a limited playbook while the Browns played Tressel-ball after going up 35-7 late in the third quarter. Baker Mayfield only attempted three more passes the entire game as he might have dropped 40 points had the game been competitive.
Keenum’s consistency numbers are not ideal (36% Clutch Rate). Yet, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave knows how to take advantage of plus matchups as the Broncos signal caller scored 25.9 and 23.7 fantasy points respectively against the softer defenses of the Jets and Rams in weeks five and six. This Cincinnati team is circling the drain fast losing five of their last six contests after a 4-1 start. Their dead-last overall team defense is to blame for this collapse and it looks to be getting worse before it gets better. Exploit the Bengals’ defensive collapse and stream Case Keenum this week if you’re in a bind at the quarterback position. I would start the Bronco signal caller over Matthew Stafford and the Lions faltering offense as well as the unreliable Lamar Jackson.
LeSean McCoy, RB BUF
Yes, the former top ten fantasy back (RB7 in non-PPR scoring in 2017) has had a down, inconsistent season (40%) to this point. Yet, McCoy has a matchup that is simply too good to ignore this week against a Miami run defense that has been gashed (sixth most fantasy points allowed) by opposing running backs on the season.
The last time Shady had a plus matchup in week ten against the Jets, he rushed for 113 yards and a pair of touchdowns while serving admirably as a bye week fill-in for his fantasy owners (hand raised). The bye weeks are over now (thank goodness!). Yet, if you count on Melvin Gordon and/or Leonard Fournette as one of your starting running backs and haven’t rostered Austin Eckler or T.J. Yeldon/Carlos Hyde (ALWAYS HANDCUFF YOUR STUDS AT THIS TIME OF YEAR), McCoy makes for a solid RB2 play with touchdown upside. After Josh Allen’s 99 yard, two touchdown performance last week against Jacksonville, the Miami defense might collapse on the rookie quarterback more on the read option opening up lanes for the Pitt product to run wild.
Curtis Samuel, WR CAR
It is far from a lock Devin Funchess plays on Sunday and, should he sit out, fire up Curtis Samuel! The Ohio State product has caught a touchdown on all three of his red zone targets the last four games while adding a score on the ground. These results have led to three out of four Clutch Games and while scoring four touchdowns in four games is impressive in its own right, I can’t in good faith recommend starting Samuel if Funchess is active.
In the three games before week 12, the former Buckeye only played on 29.4% of the offensive snaps. That number skyrocketed to 91.5% last Sunday sans Funchess. The Panthers have a plum matchup against a Tampa Bay defense that has hemorrhaged fantasy points (fifth most allowed) to opposing fantasy wide receivers on the season.
In fact, in the week nine meeting between the two divisional rivals Samuel scored both via the ground and passing game despite playing only 17 (27.4%) offensive snaps. Samuel missed practice on Wednesday so monitor his practice participation the rest of the week. With a greater opportunity share against this porous defense, the second year wideout could be a matchup winning play in this crucial, must-win week for many of us.
Jonnu Smith, TE TEN
Jonnu Smith might only have three Clutch Games on the entire season, but those games have been achieved in three of the last four contests by the Titans’ tight end. Smith’s ability to find the endzone is responsible for this rise in consistency. He has converted both of his red zone targets into touchdowns the last four contests while adding the long touchdown catch on Monday Night Football in week twelve.
You’ve seen me rail against touchdown dependent tight ends in this space in previous weeks, but at this point beggars can't be choosers. The tight end position in fantasy football is beyond a dumpster fire, but a trash receptacle set ablaze full of human excrement of the number two variety. If you lost Jack Doyle for the season (heavy sigh), Jonnu Smith has as good of a chance (if not better) of finding paydirt as the other tight end scrubs on your waiver wire.
Disagree with any of my assessments? Have a tough lineup decision in a must-win matchup? Reach out to me on Twitter and we can figure it out together.