A New Tradition: Weekly NFL Fantasy Spoos and Boos
By: Alex Marcheschi
Fantasy football has been back for a week and I’m already entranced by it. It’s somewhere in the list of my top five favorite things along with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, episodes of Family Feud hosted by Steve Harvey, and Arnold Palmer (both the drink and the golfer). I’ll give you guys a list of players that I like and don’t like at each position for Sunday.
Just for transparency, the term “Fantasy Spoo” was coined by a college roommate of mine, Brandon Furniss. Players who are set to dominate will be classified under “Fantasy Spoo” and players who will lay an egg will be classified as “Fantasy Boo.” I’m going to try to stay away from obvious picks as much as possible, but sometimes it’s just necessary. Let’s get to goin’.
1. Andrew Luck: I guarantee at least 30 fantasy points from Luck this weekend. He’s playing on the big stage on MNF, in a dome, against the high-powered Philadelphia Eagles. We saw how bad the Colts’ D was last week against Denver, and Luck will be forced to play catch up with Philly. He’s a beast and he’s beginning to solidify himself as the comeback kid. Look for the Colts’ to be playing comeback ball led by Luck through the air because they can’t run worth a blood nickel.
2. Jake Locker: Jake Locker, as ESPN’s Bill Simmons would say, is “sneaky good.” When healthy, the guy can sling the rock and scramble with the best of ’em. He had 22 points against the Chiefs last week and now he’s got the unbelievably miserable Dallas Cowboys’ Defense coming into his home stadium on Sunday. Look for Locker to get at least 25 points and maybe 30 if he scrambles for one, which is a serious possibility.
3. Carson Palmer: Palmer has all the intangibles, but most of the time his skills are just that, intangible. But, fear not, he is playing the New York Giants this week and they played like a JV squad last week against the Lions. Palmer and the Cards will light up the Giants and quiet Larry Fitzgerald’s dad. Look for Carson to get 20-30 points, if you can pick him up and start him, I would.
1. Jay Cutler: The Bears play at San Francisco on Sunday night. They’re under the bright lights, against a San Fran D that looked scary even as they missed many starters, and both Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall are a little banged up. That’s a bad recipe and the Bears could very well start out 0-2 after some serious preseason hype. Cutty is my boy, but even I would stay away from him this week.
2. Phillip Rivers: Here is a great rule for the rest of the season: don’t start any QB who is playing Seattle. It’s pretty simple, the Seahawks’ defense, specifically the secondary, is beyond dominant. The NFL literally created rules to try and stop them this offseason. I like Rivers and the Chargers this year, but not this weekend.
3. Robert Griffin III – Don’t sleep on the Jaguars’ D! Also, don’t trust RG3…or Jay Gruden. I have no idea why Washington thought hiring Baby Gruden was a good idea, I got to watch him in Cincinnati for awhile and he deeply confused me. He’s trying to make Griffin a pocket passer and that’s simply dumb. The Jags are scrappy and they bring the heat. Even though the Redskins are at home, don’t trust them.
1. Gio Bernard: People were worried about Gio’s workload before the season started, but as we saw last week, there’s nothing to be concerned about. The Bengals’ new OC Hue Jackson loves Bernard and the Falcons got torched last week by the Saints and their three-headed running attack. I think Bernard will have a huge day. At least 25 points.
2. Chris Johnson/Chris Ivory: What!?! Two people…on the same team? Yes, my friends. The Jets showed that they are willing to get their backs a lot of touches last week and New York has the Packers this week. Without BJ Raji, Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks ran all over the Pack last week and it will happen again. CJ2K looks revitalized and Ivory runs like a steam-powered locomotive. I expect Johnson to get at least 20 points while Ivory could get close to that as well.
3. Matt Asiata: Asiata is Adrian Peterson’s backup in Minnesota. From what I’ve read, Peterson got arrested for basically spanking his child with a small stick, and now he’s not playing. Never thought I’d type that sentence, but that’s life eh? Anyway, Asiata is pretty good and the Pat’s got trounced by Miami’s rushing attack last week. In two starts last year, Asiata had 44 rushing attempts for 166 yards and three touchdowns. That’s pretty nice, he’s a good start and could definitely sniff 20 points.
1. Ryan Mathews: Matthews is up against the Seahawks. That’s pretty much the only reason not to start him, but it’s a huge one. He’ll probably have a great year, but not a good game tomorrow.
2. Steven Jackson: Similarly to Mathews, Jackson is up against a great defense at Cincy. There’s a chance he gets a goal line TD, but not much more. I’d stay away from the injury-prone Jackson this week.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew: After some decent hype in the preseason, MJD looked like a washed up version of himself last week. It doesn’t help that he is going up against JJ Watt, stay faaaaaaar away from the Maurice this week.
1. Andrew Hawkins: Hawkins is the number one target in Cleveland and the Browns will be playing catch up all day against Drew Brees and the Saints. I foresee Hawkins having at least 10 catches and a touchdown tomorrow. He’s a scrappy playmaker with extreme confidence, and say what you will, but Brian Hoyer can sling it when needed. A 30-pointer from Hawkins could be on the horizon, the Saints’ D has some holes.
2. Randall Cobb: I think the Packers will light it up at home against the Jets. Aaron Rodgers will be angry and out for blood. Cobb will benefit from that. He had six receptions for 58 yards last week and could have had 44 more yards if it weren’t for a pass interference call. Big game potential for Cobb, I think he’ll get at least 25 points.
3. Kelvin Benjamin: The Panthers’ rookie had six catches for 92 yards and a TD last week WITHOUT Cam Newton at QB. That’s a great sign and he can only improve from here. He was an absolute freak at FSU and look for him to break out with Cam as Carolina lost a lot of weapons. He has the Lions’ weak secondary to deal with this week, so he could put up some nice numbers. I think he’ll get at least 22 points.
*Look out for Julio Jones and T.Y. Hilton too
1. Roddy White: Cincinnati’s Leon Hall shut down the Ravens’ Torrey Smith last week and I expect him to do the same against White. It also doesn’t help that White is nursing a knee injury too and he’s been getting hurt pretty frequently during these past few years. I feel like I could be very wrong about this, but we’ll see. Conversely though, I think Julio might have a big one at Cincy.
2. Brandon Marshall AND Alshon Jeffery: They are both a little banged up and something about Cutler, as I said before, on the big stage this week just seems bad. I’d stay away from these two, but I wouldn’t mind starting Martellus Bennett or Matt Forte. I have no other reasoning for this other than it simply smells fishy.
3. Keenan Allen: Another Charger against the Seahawks, sorry if this is getting old, but I have seriously decided not to start anyone against Seattle.
*Don’t cry…but…the almighty Megatron may be in for a lackluster week, which for him is like 18 points. The Panthers’ D is great.
1. Jimmy Graham: This is a given, but I think Jimmy will absolutely freak out at Cleveland. It just seems perfect. He had a somewhat disappointing week to open the season last week and I think Brees and Graham will just throttle the Browns. I honestly think he could go for 40 fantasy points.
2. Greg Olsen: For pretty much the same reason I listed Benjamin above, Olsen is a must-start against the Lions. The Panthers will need to score a lot, even with their great defense, to hang with Detroit. Olsen and Benjamin are pretty much Cam’s only two options, so he’s gonna pepper them both. I think he should have at least 20 points.
3. Zach Ertz: Like I said in the Luck post, this Eagles v Colts Monday Nighter will probably be a shootout. Ertz has big play potential oozing from his pores even with Brent Celek as another option for Nick Foles. This just feels like a big Ertz game…Why does the phrase “big Ertz” sound so gross?
1. Jordan Cameron: He’s a great player, but he’s questionable with a shoulder injury. If he does play, Cleveland will target him a lot and that just leaves him open for re-injury. I’d stay away this week even though the Browns will probably be airing it out.
2. Antonio Gates: (Drum roll please….) He’s playing Seattle.
3. Brandon Pettigrew: He is probably a season-long Boo this year. He’s good, but the Lions are loaded all over the field now and Pettigrew seems to have been downgraded to more of a blocker. He had a good run.
THE KICKERS AND DEFENSES QUICK HITS
Spoos: Start JAX D in a pinch, TEN D for a solid outing, and Caleb Sturgiss from Miami could have a big day against Buffalo. Also, look out for Ole Reliable himself, Robbie Gould in San Fran.
Boos: Don’t start the Chiefs D against Denver, the Giants D against ARI, or New England at Minnesota. I have no idea what kickers could be bad.