Fantasy Mailbag  

 

Fantasy football: Brandon Myers can fill the void

I've lost Rob Gronkowski for awhile and need a new tight end. Who should I target off the waiver wire? - @tgoogs13 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: This is a huge issue for countless fantasy football owners, as Gronkowski is expected to miss several weeks with a broken forearm. Unfortunately you won't be able to find a tight end on the waiver wire who can cover even half of the production you lose, but there are a few names that come to mind who have starting appeal. Brandon Myers has quietly turned into one of the better tight ends in fantasy football, scoring double-digit points and at least one touchdown in two of his last three games. Jermaine Gresham has also been playing at a higher level in recent weeks and is another player to target. Both Myers and Gresham are free agents in more than 50 percent of NFL.com leagues. If you're in a smaller league, Jermichael Finley could also be worth a look. He's been released in plenty of formats, but Finley did post a nice stat line in Week 11.

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I'm in a PPR league and feel like it's time to give up on Reggie Bush. Would you start Alfred Morris and Trent Richardson each week moving forward? - D. Wilson (via Facebook)

M.F.: As we learned last week, you can't even trust Bush when the matchup is favorable. The Buffalo Bills had allowed an average of 38 fantasy points per game to running backs at home heading into Week 11 -- that had been the most of any team -- and Bush still finished with a meager 3.50 fantasy points. Things won't get any easier against the Seattle Seahawks, who have allowed an average of just 11.04 fantasy points to opposing backs on the road. As a result, your decision this week is simple. Start Morris and Richardson and keep Bush on the fantasy football sidelines.

Which running back should I start this week, C.J. Spiller or Doug Martin? - J. Hood (via Google+)

M.F.: I love Spiller against the Indianapolis Colts, and I'd love him even more if Fred Jackson were limited or forced to miss another contest. However, I don't see how you can bench Martin. He has been the highest-scoring running back in fantasy football over the last four weeks, and it's not even close. In fact, he has almost 20 more points during that time than the next best runner, Adrian Peterson. The Muscle Hamster also has a great matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who allowed 127 yards, one score and 19.30 fantasy points to LaRod Stephens-Howling in Week 11.

Why do you not have Stephens-Howling in your list of waiver-wire targets for this week? - @DanOnofrio (via Twitter)

M.F.: That's simple -- the Cardinals expect Beanie Wells to return this week, leaving Stephens-Howling to more of a committee role moving forward. In fact, I think the Ohio State product will start against the St. Louis Rams. While I don't expect him to be a superstar, Wells did rush for better than 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns in 2011. That makes him well worth a roster spot in fantasy leagues. Also, keep in mind that while Stephens-Howling posted huge totals on the surface, he recorded close to 70 percent of his yardage totals on two carries against the Falcons.

It looks like I've lost LeSean McCoy, so now I'm stuck at running back. Do you think Bryce Brown is worth a look? - N. Pacarella (via Facebook)

M.F.: Brown is likely to be one of the top waiver-wire adds in fantasy football this week, so you should target him off the free-agent market. The major problem with McCoy from a fantasy perspective is that the Eagles don't suit up until Monday night against the Carolina Panthers. If McCoy is questionable or a game-time decision, well, you will need to have Brown on your roster as insurance. If you wait on McCoy's status without his handcuff and the Eagles declare him inactive on Monday, well, you're in serious trouble unless you also have Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams as a replacement. You might also want to go after Marcel Reece, James Starks or Jalen Parmele if you can't land Brown.

What do I do with Larry Fitzgerald? Is it time to bench him in favor of someone like Cecil Shorts or Danario Alexander? - H. Mario (via Google+)

M.F.: At this point it's tough to call Fitzgerald a must-start wideout in fantasy circles. The Cardinals have a porous offensive line, major quarterback issues and lack an offensive identity. Kevin Kolb (ribs, shoulder) doesn't seem to be close to a return to the field, so either John Skelton or rookie Ryan Lindley will be under center this week when Arizona hosts the St. Louis Rams. That's not an attractive scenario. Shorts and Alexander have been hot, so benching Fitzgerald for one of them (I prefer Shorts) is feasible. This situation is the perfect example of how the NFL and fantasy football can be unpredictable -- I just told you to bench Larry Fitzgerald for Cecil Shorts!

Do you like Tony Romo this week, or should I continue to start Robert Griffin III? The Redskins are awful against the pass! - @Bertoli1919 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I like the matchup for Romo, who faces a Washington Redskins defense that has allowed an average of over 19 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on the road. Here's what I don't like -- Dallas' offensive line. This is one of the worst units in the entire league, and it just got worse with news that OT Tyron Smith has a high ankle sprain. Regardless, Griffin III is the field general to start. I know the Pokes are tough against quarterbacks, but RG3 is a different breed and matchup-proof. In fact, I don't see a single matchup that would make me even consider starting Romo over Griffin III down the stretch.

Should I cut ties with Brandon Lloyd and pick up Julian Edelman? - T. Restrepo (via Facebook)

M.F.: I wouldn't drop Lloyd now that Gronkowski is out (the Patriots figure to use more three-receiver sets), but he played just 34-of-61 offensive snaps in Week 11. That's worrisome. What is even more of a concern is that Lloyd wasn't on the field in the majority of two-wide receiver sets against the Colts. Wes Welker led the team with 57 snaps, while Edelman had 52. Lloyd isn't more than a No. 3 wideout this week against the New York Jets, and if his targets don't rise than it could be time to go in a different direction. As for Edelman, he will be worth a look off the waiver wire in what figures to be a different offense without Gronkowski.

Should I be worried about Matt Ryan or trade him for another quarterback for the fantasy postseason? - B. Paone (via Google+)

M.F.: I wouldn't be worried, even after he threw five interceptions in a win over the Arizona Cardinals. He should rebound against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have allowed an average of over 18 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks at home. What's more, this unit allowed over 21 fantasy points to Philip Rivers in their last contest in Tampa. If you have been paying attention to the NFL and fantasy football, you know that Rivers isn't close the same quarterback he used to be in the stat sheets. Start Ryan, and start him with confidence.

Have you finally thrown in the towel on Ryan Mathews? - @beattie_shawn (via Twitter)

M.F.: Remember that scene in Rocky IV when Balboa was holding the white towel, but didn't throw it, when Apollo Creed was being beaten to a bloody pulp by Ivan Drago? That's how I've been with Mathews this season, ready to throw the towel into the ring but hesitating. Well, I'm about done with Mathews at this point. The hesitation is over. Despite all his of talent, the Fresno State product has been a huge bust in 2012. Take away that 19.90-fantasy point performance against the Saints back in Week 5, and Mathews will have failed to score double digits fantasy points in a game. He's losing work to Ronnie Brown of all runners, and his fumbilitis has Mathews always just one lost football from a seat in coach Norv Turner's doghouse. Even against a team like the Baltimore Ravens, who have not been good against the run this season, Mathews can't be seen as much more than a No. 2 back or flex option in Week 12.

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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