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Tired or Wired: You can win with Winston (no, really)


There's nothing wrong with conventional wisdom. But being predictable is usually a pretty good way to get beat. Sometimes it's best to zig when people zag. Yin when people yang. Be unpredictable like an M. Night Shyamalan film (one of the good ones). That's where this column comes in. The tips below aren't for everyone and not all of them may be appropriate for your draft. But keep these handy when you want to throw your league-mates a curveball each week.

Darkness falls across the land. The fantasy playoffs are close at hand. Managers crawl in search of wins, to terrorize y'all's league standings. And whosoever shall be found without a plan for getting down, must stand and face league ridicule because they're just a fantasy fool. With all due respect to Vincent Price, he might not have been the best person to ask about fantasy football theories. Fortunately, I've seen The Abominable Dr. Phibes multiple times. I don't know what that has to do with anything. But, y'know, Halloween. Let's get wired.

No shameis in Jameis

Tired -- You can't trust Jameis Winston How many times have we been down this road? We already know that Winston is likely to sink your fantasy squad when the matchup is bad. He's been a walking turnover ever since he entered the league. If that were the sole problem, then Winston would be pretty easy to diagnose. The problem is that in some favorable matchups, he's liable to blow a huge hole in your starting lineup. We've seen it too many times before and it's part of the reason there's strong skepticism that Winston will remain Tampa's starting quarterback next year. If Bruce Arians can't trust Jameis, how can you?

Wired -- Win with Winston. Earlier in the season, I proclaimed that Jameis Winston would be a trustworthy fantasy quarterback. Then he turned the ball over six times against the Carolina Panthers. Nearly a month removed from that disaster, I'm doubling down. Winston's had one of the toughest schedules through the first half of the season with two games against the Panthers as well as matchups versus the 49ers, Saints, and Rams. In his easiest matchup this season against the Giants, he posted better than 25 points. While the next few weeks aren't anything to get excited about (at SEA, vs. NO), the Bucs' schedule in Weeks 12-16 include Atlanta, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Houston. Jameis Winston might be the guy who wins someone a fantasy championship.

Take Tarik in Week 9

Tired -- Avoid the Bears running backs this week. Last week was a nice game for the Bears running game, particularly David Montgomery, who had a season-high 31 touches. This week's game doesn't look to be so RB-friendly. For all of the problems the Philadelphia Eagles have had with their secondary, they opposite has been true up front. Philly is the league's sixth-best team against fantasy running backs, allowing slightly more than 20 points per game to the position. This is likely a game that Matt Nagy tries to get Chicago's haphazard passing game going. Start Allen Robinson with confidence. The Bears running backs? Not so much.

Wired -- Tarik Cohen has potential. It's fair to temper your expectations for Montgomery this week, but Tarik Cohen could be a sneaky flex play. Part of it has to do with the Bears offense. Namely Mitchell Trubisky, whose troubles throwing downfield are well-documented. That's led to Cohen being the Bears second-most targeted player. The other thing working in the diminutive running back's favor is an Eagles defense that has given up the seventh-most receptions to the position. Unless Trubisky caught the Halloween ghost of Sid Luckman, he's going to be the same player we've seen all season long, which means more heavy reliance on Cohen. If you're in deeper leagues, sneak him into your lineup.

Beware Chris Carson

Tired -- Turn up Carson's volume. No matter how good Russell Wilson is or can be, the Seahawks will always try to be a run-first team. It's as consistent as rain in the Northwest and twice as frustrating. But it has given Chris Carson life. As much as fantasy analysts were excited about Carson's potential this season, he's exceeded it so far this year. A lot of it has to do with the sheer number of touches he's getting (22.6 per game). What we want from running backs in fantasy is volume and you'd be hard-pressed to find someone getting more of it than Carson.

Wired -- The schedule could matter. Volume -- it's fun! The Seahawks schedule, however, is not. Things get a lot tougher for Seattle's running game beginning this week with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That's followed by road trips to San Francisco and Philadelphia. The Vikings, Rams, and Panthers are also still on the schedule. A Week 16 game against the Cardinals looks like a championship week respite but it could be a slog getting there.

Got a bad Thielen about this

Tired -- Adam Thielen is a weekly must-start again. A few weeks ago, Adam Thielen was a squeaky wheel. Since then, he's been getting more oil than an auto mechanic's cuticles. The Vikings have found some balance in their offense and Thielen has benefited from it. The targets are there and the ceiling is high. At this point in the season, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense to get rid of a guy like this.

Wired -- Look for a reversal of strategy. Sure, things look good right now for the Vikings passing game but the next few weeks bring some unfavorable matchups. Minnesota's receivers have the toughest schedule for the rest of the season. Conversely, the Vikings running backs (read: Dalvin Cook) have the fourth-easiest slate through the end of the year. With Mike Zimmer's desire to run the ball, this seems like an easy excuse for Thielen (and Stefon Diggs) to go back into a target drought. Might be time to get ahead of this and trade them away.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for and a man who has to decide how many Reese's Peanut Butter Cups to keep at home or take to the office. Sorry, co-workers. Send him your candy dilemmas or fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or Instagram at MarcasG.