Dan's Sack (Fantasy Football Mailbag): Week 13

Tom Pennington

Dan Ciarrocchi of Hogs Haven and Pro Football Focus answers all of your Week 13 Fantasy Football questions.

Don't tell me you didn't see this coming.

Of course, in the week that my readers and I relentlessly bash Beanie Wells' fantasy value, he finds the end zone twice despite averaging less than three yards a carry over the course of his game. Coincidentally, I've received zero sit/start questions about Wells this week, although I'm inclined to believe that's because all of his owners who surely benched him last week drop-kicked their computers off of a balcony last Sunday.

But I'll give credit where credit is due. With his 16-point performance last week, The Beanie Wells Fantasy Stock Watcher has upgraded his fantasy status from "Cedric Benson" to "Not Useless." Stay tuned to find out where he is on next week's edition of Dan's Sack: Wells Watch. Now let's get on to this week, shall we?

Skinsfan3636 from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Thoughts between Ryan Matthews and Pierre Garcon for my flex? Matthews seems to be a guaranteed 8 points, more if he finally puts it in the end zone, but I liked what I saw out of Garcon last week.

I've gotten a lot of Pierre Garcon questions this week, so I'll do my best to address them all with my answer to this one. Garcon certainly looked healthy as a horse versus the Cowboys last week, especially after his epic 59-yard catch and run for a touchdown. The problem is, eyes can be deceiving, and some more numbers I pulled from that game ought to raise some concern.

Garcon didn't look it, but he was still limited by his toe injury. He played in just 29 of the Redskins snaps on offense during Thanksgiving's game, or in other words, 44 percent of them. Of those 29 snaps, he was in to block on seven of them, so he ran just 22 routes. He did have seven targets on those, which is an encouraging frequency for his fantasy owners, but I'm not banking on that rate being sustainable.

Though he hasn't suffered any setbacks and should play once again this week, Garcon is still yet to prove he can be on the field at a substantial capacity. True, he's a difference maker when he's on the field, but you're playing with fire if you expect him to have the kinds of games he had versus Dallas every week. If I have a bell-cow running back like Ryan Mathews as an option, I'm taking him over Garcon. The opportunities Mathews gets will be nice, especially versus a team that's given up rushing touchdowns in all but four games this year.

Munson21502 from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Facing a must win in the Hogs Haven M-League. I am in 6th place. Anything less than 6th, and your out. It's a league that counts return yards, which I didn't know about until week 6!.

This is why you always, always, always, take a long look at scoring settings before you draft. And for the record, I absolutely loathe leagues that count return yards.

After finding this out, I have won six in a row til I ran into the No. 1 team and my main WRs, Hester and Edelman, got hurt and may be out this week.

Good God, how many freaking points did that league give out for those return yards?

I need two WRs, two RBs and a flex out of this mess. WRs: Brandon Banks, Greg Jennings, Torrey Smith,

Well, although Brandon Banks likes to return kicks out of the end zone, we're aware of how much he hates getting past the 15-yard line. Jennings and Smith win by default if nothing else.


RBS Steven Jackson, David Wilson, Rashad Jennings, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Goodson, and my back up TE vernon davis can be used as a flex.

It's hard for me to gauge how much impact return yards have on your league, but if you won six games with Julian Edelman and Devin Hester in your lineup, it must be a lot. For that reason, make David Wilson one of your starters, especially with Andre Brown gone for the year. Roll with Rashard Jennings, too. I'm so done with Stephen Jackson.

Figpucker from the Hogs Haven Community writes:

Figpucker. Haha.

Jennings, Hankerson, or Morgan as 4th WR?

Ppr league. Is this the week to finally start Jennings again? Should I go with Morgan for what seems like 4-5 catches for 60yds each week or Hankerson who may go 1 for 6yds or 5 for 100 and a td?

You probably drafted Greg Jennings in a much higher round than he deserved this year, so you may as well try to get some value out of him. I'd much rather take my chances on Jennings knowing that Randall Cobb can divert defenses away from him now. Jennings has been a full-go in practice so far this week, and barring any setbacks, I can see him giving the Packers a nice bounce back game.

Although Robert Griffin III has done wonders for his fantasy owners, you can't exactly say the same for his receiving weapons, and definitely not Leonard Hankerson and Joshua Morgan. You pretty much hit the hammer on the nail in your question as far as describing what they'll give you, so I'd feel much better rolling the dice on Jennings, who could finally turn a corner this week and be a solid option down the stretch.

Specialk33 from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Am I really sitting my boy, Larry Fitzgerald this week? In favor of Danario Alexander??

I can't support that decision this week, even as much as I like Danario Alexander. Larry Fitzgerald has the Jets this week, and they're essentially the Eagles of the AFC right now. They're an absolute mess, and their secondary exemplifies this more than any other position on their defense. They've given up seven touchdowns to wide receivers over the last three games, and even a receiver with Ryan Lindley throwing to him has to feel encouraged by this. Fitzgerald will get his usual targets, and this might be the first time in three weeks he has a chance to do something with them.


And I can't really bench Michael Turner against the worst rushing defense in the league at home in favor of Pierre Garcon at my flex, can I?

As much as I despise Michael Turner, no. Don't do that.

@kidjarrod writes via Twitter:

Should I drop F-Jax for Marcel Reece ROS? 1/2 ppr. Other backs: Lynch, Bryce Brown, MJD, and Rashad Jennings.

This is tricky. Reece has been awesome to own, especially in PPR leagues, but Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson both returned to practice this week. That isn't to say there's any guarantee that either will supplant Reece on Sunday, but it could be a sign that Reece's fantasy dominance is nearing an end.

But then, you have to consider that the Raiders are cooked at 3-8, and there's no good reason to rush McFadden into action if he is less than 100 percent. Head Coach Dennis Allen even gave Reece a ringing endorsement, which tells me he's going to get the ball in the same capacity he has been in recent weeks.

As for Fred Jackson, things are looking bleaker by the day. C.J. Spiller has outperformed Jackson by leaps and bounds, and Chan Gailey's maddening play calling won't do Jackson any favors in the long run. Gailey has said he plans to only give Jackson about 40 percent of the touches in the Bills' backfield, and that just isn't enough for me to want to start him over a guy like Marcel Reece. Having a Lynch/Brown/Reece backfield should do you wonders down the stretch.

Mal0378 from the Hogs Haven community writes:

Do I start Dalton against the Chargers or Kaepernick against the Rams? Really on the fence about this one.

The Chargers let Joe Flacco throw for 355 yards and a touchdown against them at home last week, and Joe Flacco can barely tie his shoes during a road game let alone throw for that many yards. That utterly pathetic effort by San Diego makes me wonder what answer they will have for the likes of Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. They should both have great weeks once again.

But I can't just say no to Colin Kaepernick right now. Rushing quarterbacks are the great fantasy football equalizers, and Kap has proven his capability to get yards and touchdowns on the ground as well as through the air. He saved a pretty poor day through the air last time he faced the Rams, albeit in a relief role, with 66 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown.

Dalton will be the safer play this week rather than Kaepernick, who still has more than a few kinks to work out. The thing is, I don't want the safer play if I'm in the playoffs. I want upside. I'll take my chances on a guy with the higher variance in play because a "safe" output isn't going to put my opponent away. Kaepernick's given the 49ers offense a new level of explosiveness that could be that fantasy dagger and take my team forward.

One more Bryce brown against the Cowboys or Reggie Bush against the Patriots. Leaning toward Brown on this one. Trying to solidify my 3rd seed playoff spot. Thanks.

Trust your gut with Brown. And now that I know you're already in the playoffs and you're just playing for seeding, that's all the more reason to gamble on guys like Kaepernick. If you already clinched the playoffs, you're in a no-lose situation this week. You may as well go all out.

That's all this week, folks. If you have any more questions, put them in the comments section or reach me on Twitter via @PFF_Dan.

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