This is what Mark is talking about with his new 'gator' obsession. (Side note: Are you serious? Now AP Images is crediting Mark with this alligator photo? As if the attention already wasn't going to his head. Man.)
Photo credit: Alligator Tweeter
All Gator everything.
(Credit: AP Photo [NOT MARK])
By: Tony Andracki, Scott Krinch and Mark Strotman
Welcome to another edition of CSNChicago.com's Start'em and Sit'em, where three totally unqualified guys give their take on the best and worst plays in the upcoming fantasy football week.
We're not experts, but then again, how can anybody truly be an "expert" at fantasy football? This is a game of luck and nobody can predict the future.
We don't have special powers, but we are pretty obsessed with fantasy sports. Just ask our girlfriends...if we had any.
Every week, each of us will comprise a trio of players with the best matchups or situations on tap for the week ahead and a corresponding trio of guys who are most likely to run into a metaphorical brick wall.
And because we're men and we love perpetuating stereotypes, we, of course, turned this into a competition. Why not?
After three weeks (and all of last year), we realized a major flaw in our scoring: If we assign 0-5 values to each player's performance, there's nothing worse than a zero. And Mark's Week 3 sit of Antonio Brown (who went off for 31 ESPN standard points) should have been bad enough to sink his entire week (as Tony's picks of Cam Newton and DeSean Jackson in Week 6 did), instead of just that one pick.
So we've instituted a new system. We will add up the ESPN standard fantasy points for all of our "Starts" and subtract the points from all our "Sits" and the difference will be the weekly score. If one of us winds up with a negative score, so be it.
[RELATED: Week 10 picks]
(Scoring example: If Scott's three starts total 45 fantasy points and his three sits total 20, he would finish the week with 25 points.)
So without further ado, here are our picks for Week 11:
Mark Strotman (Week 10 points: 22; Total: -28)
Hey, I'm back in positive points. You'll have to excuse me this week, but my 15 minutes of fame have officially begun after doing some detective work on the O'Hare Alligator. You may call me "Alligator Tweeter" in your comments below about how great (or awful) my picks are this week. I'll be walking the walk all week after my interview on NBC 5 Chicago, but for now I just hope I can talk the talk in Week 11.
Case Keenum, QB -- HOU (vs. OAK)
Look no further than two weeks ago to see how bad the Raiders defense is. Nick Foles threw for seven touchdowns in what seemed like 15 minutes, and this week it's time for Keenum to go nuts against this putrid pass defense. But it's not all about the Raiders; Keenum is proving to be a steal from the NFL Draft and may be the Texans' franchise quarterback. He's thrown for six touchdowns and zero interceptions the last two weeks, and Andre Johnson is on fire on the outside. With Arian Foster out (true, he's a threat in the passing game), expect Keenum to drop back early and often. That's good news at home against the Raiders. This is a no-brainer start.
Ben Tate, RB -- HOU (vs. OAK)
This is why you selected Tate in the latter part of fantasy drafts. With Arian Foster out for the year, Tate moves into a fantastic situation. Yes, I just said to start Keenum because the Texans are going to pass early and often, but Tate is still worth starting this week. He's recovering from broken ribs that have hopefully healed up this week, and if Andre Brown can can look like a feature running back against the Raiders, so can Tate. Start him with confidence. Again, you drafted him for weeks like this.
Jordan Reed, TE -- WSH (@ PHI)
The Eagles have been solid against opposing tight ends, but Reed isn't your typical tight end. He's gone for at least nine fantasy points in three of the last four games, including a 12-point effort against the Vikings last week. RGIII is heating up, and that means more looks for one of the most versatile tight ends in the league. Per ESPN, Reed's 37 targets since Week 7 are most among tight ends, making him a great play. Plus, he's a Gator, and I've had some good luck with gators this week. Get him in your lineup.
Matt Ryan, QB -- ATL (@ TB)
My goodness, is Matt Ryan becoming a dropable player? He has totaled just 26 points combined his last three games and really hasn't looked all that good, throwing three touchdowns in that span. The loss of Julio Jones and Steven Jackson's embarrassing run totals have screwed Ryan, but he won't get any sympathy points here. Tony Gonzalez didn't practice on Wednesday, which would be even worse despite Roddy White coming back. Against a Bucs defense that gives up plenty of fantasy points to quarterbacks, Ryan seems like a good play. But I trust him as far as I can thrown him, and I'm not very strong.
Trent Richardson, RB -- IND (@ TEN)
Hey, remember when the Colts got a steal from the Browns in that trade that brough Richardson to Indianapolis? Fun times. Richarson has been downright awful since arriving in his new home, and that isn't going to change this week against the Titans. He has an extremely good matchup on Thursday, going up against a Tennessee team that hasn't stopped running backs at all lately, but can you really trust a guy that hasn't topped 14 carries or five fantasy points in his last four games? I can't. He's a dicey play this week, so good luck if you decide to start him.
[RELATED: Top pickups for Week 11]
Percy Harvin, WR -- SEA (vs. MIN)
Chances are if you've held on to Harvin this long, you're pretty excited to hear he'll be in the Seahawks lineup this week. And it's an added bonus that he's facing the team that traded him last offseason. But he'll be on a limited snap count and can't be trusted unless you're seriously desperate. I do love my Gators, but you need to realize that the Seahawks have a bye next week, meaning he'll be a much better play in Week 13 when the Seahawks are home against the Saints.
Tony Andracki: (Week 10 points: 27; Total: 14)
The two main takeaways from last week (besides how awesome I am, and how gloat-y I get after I finally have a great week) are the issues in San Francisco. The Niners are going to be in the playoffs and as they gear up for postseason play, they will be resting Frank Gore and limiting the touches for the 30-year-old back.
The other big issue in San Fran is Colin Kaepernick's rough season. He threw for just 91 yards against the Panthers last week and he faces three tough matchups over the next four games (New Orleans, St. Louis, Seattle). He's thrown for more than 200 yards just twice this year, and one of those was back in Week 1. In roughly the same amount of pass attempts this season compared to last (220 to 218), Kaep has completed 12 less passes, thrown for 139 less yards, one less TD and three more picks. He's become nothing more than a matchup play now.
We don't normally pick tight ends given their fluid nature in Fantasy Football, but it's worth mentioning that Cardinals tight end Rob Housler has a great matchup this week and is a perfect Jason Witten-Bye-week-fill-in. Arizona is hosting the Jaguars, who have allowed eight scores to opposing tight ends the past seven weeks and Housler is fast becoming an integral part of the Cardinals offense.
Andy Dalton, QB -- CIN (vs. CLE)
This is simple. After allowing just two passing TDs in the first five weeks of the season, the Browns have allowed 11 TDs through the air the last four contests. Dalton has been inconsistent lately, but he's still racking up the yardage and he should find the endzone a couple times this week.
Danny Woodhead, RB -- SD (@ MIA)
Ryan Mathews is not -- and will never be -- a picture of health, so Woodhead is always one blow away from being a featured back. The shifty backfield receiver is even more valuable in PPR leagues, as he's on pace for 94 receptions (though just 105 rushing attempts). The Dolphins rank 30th in the league against fantasy RBs and have allowed an average of 24.67 points the last three games. Woodhead should get at least half that.
[MORE: Week 10 Target Watch -- AFC]
Antonio Brown, WR -- PIT (vs. DET)
He's on pace for 119 catches, 1,431 yards and is the 11th ranked receiver in fantasy, despite just three touchdowns. That means he is getting consistent looks and if he ever finds the endzone, he'll have a great day. That shouldn't be too hard against the Lions, who have surrendered 11 TDs to WRs the last six games, and seven scores over the last three.
Andrew Luck, QB -- IND (@ TEN)
I really don't like sitting Andrew Luck. This is the third time I've sat the franchise QB this season and considering he's on two of my fantasy teams, it's tough. But the Titans have allowed just one TD through the air the last five games and no QB has topped 300 yards against them this season.
Fred Jackson, RB -- BUF (vs. NYJ)
The Jets have always defended the run well under Rex Ryan and this year is no exception. They haven't surrendered more than 90 rushing yards to running backs this season and have let opposing backs score in only three games. With Jackson in a full timeshare with C.J. Spiller in Buffalo, this spells doom for Freddy J.
T.Y. Hilton, WR -- IND (@ TEN)
The Titans haven't allowed a wide receiver to score on them since Week 2 in Houston and at home this season, Tennessee has surrendered just 33 catches for 471 yards (and no scores) in five games to receivers. And that's ALL opposing wideouts, not just one player. Add it all up and it spells a horrible matchup for Hilton (though last time I sat T.Y., he scored thrice and put up 30 fantasy points, so be warned).
Scott Krinch: (Week 10 points: -22; Total: -25)
To put it quite frankly, Week 10 was not one of my better fantasy performances this season. For some reason, everybody I pick gets injured. I'm really starting to think I'm cursed.
Mike James was on pace for about bazillion yards until he broke his ankle on the Buccaneers first drive. Jay Cutler went down with the mysterious ankle injury and Tony and Mark wouldn't give me the extra points for Josh McCown's touchdown. C'mon guys, cut me a little slack!
Well anyways, it's a new week and it's time to get back in the standings. I went the safe route with my choices because with the fantasy playoffs less than four weeks away, you can't get too crazy. Go with what got you here silly.
And take my advice on these six players:
Robert Griffin III, QB -- WSH (@ PHI)
If you ignore Griffin's stinker against the Broncos, his numbers have been on the rise. In Week 10, he looked like the RG3 of old against the Vikings with three touchdowns and 44 yards on the ground. He'll get a favorable matchup on Sunday against the Eagles. Philly's defense has been better as of late against opposing passers, but those two were Scott Tolzien and Terrelle Pryor. Look for Griffin to have a huge game and get the Redskins back in the hunt in the NFC East.
Giovani Bernard, RB -- CIN (vs. CLE)
I'm not scared to admit it. I've developed a man-crush on Gio Bernard. Right now, I don't know if there's a more exciting running back to watch in the NFL. It's clear that he's a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He was on the field for 61 snaps compared to the Law Firm's 28 and I get the sense that Jay Gruden is done with the timeshare in Cincinnati. Bernard is a must-start from now on regardless of who his opponent is. He's the kind of player that will win you a fantasy title.
Alshon Jeffery, WR -- CHI (vs. BAL)
Alshon Jeffery continues to keep getting better. The second-year wideout is turning into a fantasy stud. He torched the Lions for nine catches and 114 yards in Sunday's loss. With the Ravens on tap who have allowed four 100-yard games to opposing wide receivers in the last five games, Jeffery is a must-start. Don't shy away from him with Josh McCown taking over for Jay Cutler who's sidelined with an ankle injury. In Week 9, the McCown/Jeffery connection produced five receptions for 60 yard and a touchdown.
[ALSO: Week 10 Target Watch -- NFC]
Philip Rivers, QB -- SD (@ MIA)
Philip Rivers has been one of the biggest surprises of the season. He went from going undrafted in most leagues to one of the biggest fantasy stars, but his numbers have been on a steady decline since Week 5. After a 26-point outburst in Week 4, Rivers' highest total since then is 18. It won't get any easier against a Dolphins defense that's ranked 5th against the pass and have allowed a combined 35 points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks the last five weeks. Trust me on this one. There are much smarter waiver plays. Example: Josh McCown or Case Keenum.
Stevan Ridley, RB -- NE (@ CAR)
All the good vibes you probably have from Ridley's last four weeks will be coming to an end. In the last four games, Ridley has six touchdowns and has reached double-digit fantasy points. The reason his streak will end is the return of Shane Vereen. In Week 1, Vereen accumulated over 160 yards. The speedster provides Tom Brady a jolt in the passing game and he will likely be on the field for more snaps going forward. DISCLAIMER: Don't start either backs against Carolina on Monday night. The Panthers defense is stellar against the run allowing just one 100-yard rusher all season.
Golden Tate, WR -- SEA (vs. MIN)
Golden Tate has been the deep threat the Seahawks have been sorely missing the last few seasons. Which is also kind of ironic with the news out of Seattle this week. The team's blockbuster offseason acquisition, Percy Harvin, will be active against his former team on Sunday. The Seahawks gave up the farm for Harvin due to his ability to spread the field and score on any given touch. I see Tate's numbers going down with Harvin in the lineup which doesn't bode well for your fantasy team if you don't own Harvin.