Fabiano's Fantasy Mailbag  

 

NFL fantasy football: Robert Griffin III is just fine

Should I be worried about Robert Griffin III? What is to blame for his mediocre numbers in his last two games? - @org_rockiefan (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: I wouldn't be at all concerned about Griffin III. Remember, he would have scored better than 18 fantasy points in his last game had his team not been called for two penalties that negated touchdowns (one pass, one rush). This week he faces the Philadelphia Eagles, who have allowed an average of 19.28 fantasy points to quarterbacks over their last four games. What's more, RG3 goes up against them again in Week 16 (fantasy championship week) to go along with other favorable matchups against the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns over the next several weeks.

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I'm tired of waiting for Maurice Jones-Drew to come back. Should I drop him for a hot free agent or continue to let him languish on the bench? - P. Herrera (via Facebook)

M.F.: I can promise you that the second you release Jones-Drew, several other members of your league will immediately put in a claim for him. How would you feel if he came back in time for the fantasy postseason? I am in just one league (out of eight) where Jones-Drew has been released, and I promptly put in a claim and picked him up. The veteran runner has already been ruled out for Week 11, so Rashad Jennings will see at least another start (though I wouldn't play him in fantasy leagues against the Houston Texans). I also find it hard to believe - unless you're in a very small league - that you don't have at least one other player you could drop to add a hot free agent.

I am in deep trouble at quarterback with Michael Vick and Jay Cutler both injured. Do you have a sleeper for me to start in Week 11? - F. Ollen (via Google+)

M.F.: The quarterback to target off the waiver wire this week is Carson Palmer. He's still a free agent in close to 40 percent of NFL.com leagues, despite being one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in recent weeks. The veteran gunslinger will go up against the New Orleans Saints this weekend, so consider Palmer a tremendous start. Their defense has allowed 19 touchdown passes overall and an average of 26.47 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road. If Palmer isn't a free agent and you need to go in another direction, I'd also target Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Amish Rifle has a nice matchup on Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins.

What should I do with Ryan Mathews? Can we still believe in him? - @Rainman907 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I've been a big fan of Mathews ever since he came out of Fresno State. Unfortunately, he has yet to pan out in the world of fantasy football. Ever since his 19.90-point performance against the Saints in Week 5, Mathews has failed to score double digits in each of his last four games. His fumbling issues remain a slight concern, not to mention the fact that he's losing playing time on passing downs to veteran Ronnie Brown. With that said, I still think Mathews is a legitimate No. 2 fantasy runner in most formats. Unless you're in a smaller league or have tons of backfield depth, well, there aren't a lot of backs out there that see consistent opportunities like Mathews - he just needs to start taking advantage of them! Clearly, Mathews is not going to have that breakout season many fantasy analysts (including myself) predicted back in the preseason.

Michael Turner had a great matchup last week and still couldn't produce. Is it time to cut bait with him? - S. Morales (via Facebook)

M.F.: Cut bait as in release Turner altogether? There's no chance I would do that. I was also disappointed that he couldn't put up a nice stat line against the Saints, but the Burner did post 102 yards, one touchdown and 16.20 fantasy points the previous week. So while his days of being a top-10 fantasy runner are in the rearview mirror, he's still a capable No. 2 back or flex starter in most leagues. Unfortunately, fantasy owners will have to deal with some ups and downs in the stat sheets.

Nice tip on Danny Amendola last week. Do you consider him a must-start in a PPR league, even if you have Larry Fitzgerald, DeSean Jackson and Steve Smith at wide receiver? We start two and a flex. - D. Carson (via Google+)

M.F.: I would be starting Amendola every week in PPR leagues, and the numbers support this train of thought. In six games (one of which he missed most of because of an injured collarbone) this season, Amendola has averaged 7.1 receptions and 18.03 fantasy points. If we project his points over the Rams' first nine games, Amendola would be eighth among wideouts and ahead of Wes Welker, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson and all three of the wideouts you have mentioned. As I've said on NFL Fantasy LIVE, grabbing Amendola off waivers could be the best free-agent move of the season for PPR leaguers.

What do I do with Reggie Bush going forward? I don't trust him anymore. - @B_Kenny131 (via Twitter)

M.F.: You and I both! However, I still don't see how he's not at least a flex option this week against the Buffalo Bills. Their defense has allowed, and this is not a misprint, an average of 38 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs on their home field. That's eight more points allowed to running backs in home games than the next worst team (Jacksonville Jaguars) has surrendered in 2012. Let's hope Bush learned a lesson from his benching last week and is now motivated to prove that he's capable of being one of the top runners in the NFL.

What do you think of Nick Foles? Will he be a viable fantasy option with Michael Vick injured? - J. Dilliplane (via Facebook)

M.F.: There is some definite upside with Foles, as there seems to be with just about every backup quarterback who has played under Eagles coach Andy Reid (Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley). The rookie has a strong arm and nice weapons in the pass attack in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Foles also has a great matchup this week against the Washington Redskins, who have allowed an average of over 21 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on their home field. Does that mean he should be considered a solid fantasy starter if Vick is out? No, but he could be worth a look in deeper leagues if you need a quarterback. The Arizona product also has some starting value in two-quarterback leagues.

Which quarterback should I start this week from Josh Freeman, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matthew Stafford? - L. Nimmer (via Google+)

M.F.: I'm sticking with Stafford in what could be a shootout against the Green Bay Packers. In two games against them in 2011, he threw for 796 yards and six touchdowns. For all of Stafford's struggles earlier this season, the Lions quarterback has been pretty darn good in recent weeks. In fact, he's scored 20-plus points in four of his last six starts and is now seventh in fantasy points among quarterbacks with 165.88. That's just 13.72 fewer fantasy points than Peyton Manning. I would also look to deal Freeman now while he's on such a hot streak. With so many injuries at the position, there has to be someone in your league who needs a signal-caller.

Do you see Andre Johnson having a big second half of the season? He seems to have a favorable schedule. - @jaredpasetsky (via Twitter)

M.F.: You're right on about Johnson's schedule, as he faces the Jaguars, Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings over the next five weeks. Four of those teams are among the top half of the league in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. With that said, the Texans offense has evolved into a run-based unit that just doesn't throw the ball like it once did. That's why Arian Foster is second in fantasy points among running backs while Matt Schaub and Johnson are 24th and 35th at their respective positions. So while you're correct about his schedule, I don't see Johnson re-emerging into an elite fantasy wideout down the stretch.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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