Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. When will Josh Allen be considered an elite fantasy quarterback? Weighing in on the controversial Ezekiel Elliott non-fumble. Championship game lineup advice. And more.
I have been doing fantasy football since 1994, but may have just suffered the most painful result of my career. I had won my semifinal 88.54 - 86.98. For the last 3 days I've been prepping for the championship, even making pickups. Today I login and find I'm in the 3rd-place game. Zeke Elliott's fumble has been reversed and I lose 88.98-88.54? He clearly fumbled on that fourth down. Can you explain what happened here? Do I have a case for appeals?
NICK FRITZ (Minneapolis, MN)
This is one of the great moments in fantasy football history. (Or, looked at in another way, we’ve sunk to new depths – haggling over a meaningless detail in a sporting event). A guy lost his fantasy playoff game by a half point, so started carefully looking for a loophole to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In the Colts-Cowboys game, Elliott clearly fumbled, but the officials apparently didn’t see it, because there was no attempt to confirm who recovered the ball. No official comes in and throws a beanbag or signals first-down in the other direction. The statistician working the game (from the press box) credited Elliott with losing a fumble. But this desperate fantasy leaguer contacted the league (most likely the Elias Sports Bureau) and correctly argued that the recovery wasn’t official because it was never confirmed via replay. And there is no replay that shows Jabaal Sheard recovering the ball (it may have been recovered by Elliott). With the “ruling” on the field being that there was no recovery by an Indianapolis player, there is no definitive evidence to overturn that. So Elias has gone back in and changed the stat ruling. The stats now show Elliott fumbling, but not losing a fumble. No Indianapolis player is credited with a recovering a fumble. A minor stat change, but one that probably changed the results of hundreds (maybe thousands) of fantasy playoff games around the land.
I’m not super crazy about it, but I guess the guy is right. I spent an hour on this subject, looking at other similar fumbles on other fourth-down plays. I looked at a half dozen of them. On these, I’m not sure that any of them were replayed (with the fumbles occurring on fourth downs behind the line of scrimmage, the recoveries didn’t really matter). One of them bugged me some. In Week 3, Austin Ekeler fumbles on a fourth down against the Rams, and it’s very much unclear whether he was down – very possible no fumble occurred. But they just rolled with the ruling on the field. But on all of those other plays, at least, there’s the dimension of the official signaling fumble on the field. So I don’t think there will be any double overturn on the Elliott play.
So according to ESPN's Field Yates. "The No. 1 scoring QB in fantasy over the past four weeks: Josh Allen. — December 17, 2018". Why don't you have him higher over the same time frame? I believe he has moved up from 25 to 19 and then 15 over the last 3 weeks but guys like Goff, Brady and Luck have been disappointments that you had higher. Do you just not buy in all the way yet?
TIM ZEUCH (Mason, OH)
At least twice in recent weeks, I have been surprised how high Allen has shown up in my initial projections. Specifically, there was one week where I had him graded out as the 4th or 5th quarterback on the board. I had to dumb down his projection to get him to appear below so quarterbacks I was more comfortable with – guys like Goff, Brady and Luck. And we’re still at that same place, I think. Allen has a fantasy-friendly game. He had the three-game streak where he ran for 99-plus yards in all of them. That’s like picking up an extra 200 passing yards in most formats. But it’s tough to count on that kind of production. Detroit played him differently on Sunday and he ran for only 16 yards. If he’s running for under 20 yards, Allen can turn from top-5 to bottom-5 in a hurry. I would not be excited about using him against the Patriots on Sunday.
In a PPR league and I have made it to the championship because of your service. Please help me pick me my starting lineup. I need to start two RBs, a flex and a TE: Joe Mixon, Lamar Miller, Matt Breida, Jamaal Williams, James White, Curtis Samuel, Kyle Rudolph, Ian Thomas.
Tom Clark (Camas, WA)
I have very comfortable inking in Mixon, Williams and White. With Josh Gordon suspended, that might help White catch more passes. Williams is a one-man show in Green Bay – very much a candidate for top-10 numbers this week. Breida and Miller both have ankle injuries, and Breida is playing against the good Chicago run defense. If you look at Breida’s good games this year, they’ve all come against really bad run defense. I don’t think you’ll be getting much out of your tight end; with this being a Christmas weekend game, probably best to go with the guy named Rudolph.
No question but just a big THANKS. With all your advice. I've managed to land in 9 (yes 9) league championships! Now one final week – looking forward to bringing home some trophies!
JOE VAN KOEVERING (St Petersburg, FL)
Congrats. (Now just make sure you don’t go down as the guy who went 0-9 in title games.)
My first championship game is coming up and I can't decide which three running backs to put in my lineup. I have Barkley, Mixon, Chubb, McCaffrey and Mack. I went with Barkley, McCaffrey and Chubb last week and got disappointing results. Both Mixon and Mack had huge games. Despite of all that my team did manage to beat my opponent, but only because his final score was 62. I don't think 62 will be the case in week 16. Please advise.
Justyna Mrozek ()
I’d roll with the same three. With their run-catch ability, it’s tough to sit down Barkley and McCaffrey. Mack has had a few games, but I see him as the most inconsistent of the three. Chubb is the guy I like. I think the Browns are going to bury the Bengals pretty thoroughly, and I I think he’ll be a big part of that (especially if the weather is a little iffy).
I’ve been using your service for over 15 years and I’m in the finals in two leagues thanks to your advice and insight! I have a dilemma in a PPR league. I have to start 2 of these players (one RB and one flex): Lamar Miller, Kenyan Drake, James White, Robby Anderson or Mike Williams. Can I trust White? Do I chase Mike Williams production from week 15?
JON CLAUSSEN (Boca Raton, FL)
You have to start a running back, so I’m inking in James White as a starter. With his pass-catching production, he grades out a lot higher than Miller and Drake. So you have to pick a wide receiver. Mike Williams looked very good in Kansas City last week. For the first time in his career, he looked like a No. 1 receiver. If Keenan Allen were to be ruled out (or to be clearly playing at less than 100 percent) Williams would definitely be your guy. But Anderson, I think, is also in the mix. I liked the way Anderson played last week against Houston. On my board, I’ve got Williams at 13.2 PPR points and Anderson at 12.3. Not much difference between the two, I think. Right now, I would be starting Williams. If there’s some minor development before that game starts on Saturday, I would happily switch to Anderson.
The Great Wife and I are in a 10-team league, in our 13th season. No dynasty, but mucho gracias to the Index!!! We have won half of all years championships, and I am in the finals this year. The Great Wife is up on high points but had Hill, Juju and Lamar Miller in the semis, so she is playing for 3rd. Last year we converted our 1st and 2nd place winnings into Euros for our vacation. When we draft, I redact your name on the sheet, so as far our league knows, you don't exist. However, my other friends and clients that play fantasy, all know about FFI. My question is, do your experts have the most disagreement on the D ranking each week? I grabbed Detroit last week, number 4 ranked, and as I am watching red zone, I saw that the Titans were available, but y'all had them 12. Against Eli! And no OBJ! This happen a lot, as it is real easy to second-guess your D rankings. Other than that, you guys are always spot on RBs, and totally due the Index, I enjoyed the breakout years of Alfred Morris, Stevan Ridley, Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Beanie Wells and Kamara, all for a mid-round pick. You da shit!
Bob Phipps (Orlando, FL)
Thanks for the kind words, Bob. In regards to defenses, I would agree that it seems like we didn’t have a great year. Too many times, it seems, we were showing up a week too late on a defense. I can think of multiple matchups where defenses were going up against offenses plagued by sacks and turnovers, but then some of those issues had been addressed. Specifically, I can remember being high on Cincinnati at home against Cleveland, Detroit against Buffalo, and Tennessee at Buffalo early in the year. In the one league I missed the playoffs in, I got edged in a decisive game when a defense fell short. Apologies. In scouting defenses, we’re using a similar system to the other positions. I write up 20 of the 32 teams. For each of those, I’m projecting all of the relevant numbers. Andy Richardson does the other 12 games. For defenses, we’re don’t rank the teams 1 thru 32. Instead, we’re trying to hit the right number for five different areas: sacks, interceptions, fumbles, defensive touchdowns and special teams touchdowns. We put together a forecast for each of those categories, then your scoring system dictates how they get ranked. Typical middle-of-the-pack forecast is 2.3 sacks, .55 fumbles, .12 defensive touchdowns. 02 kick return touchdowns and .80 interceptions. The initial forecasts for each defense get put together on Wednesday. Then, between Wednesday and Friday, I’ll go back through the lists and look at all of those numbers 1 thru 32, making adjustments. I think the system is fine. I guess Andy and I just need to do a better job of coming up with better projections.
We are allowed to keep one player by forfeiting the same pick in next year’s draft that we used for that player this year. One of my better options appears to be Eric Ebron who I can keep with next year’s 12th round pick. What do you think are the chances he has another year with double-digit touchdowns (this is a TD-heavy league)? Or is there a good chance next year a healthy Jack Doyle cuts heavily into Ebron’s TD total?
Rich Nadler (Aurora, IL)
I think there’s room for both tight ends in that offense. They’ll use two tight ends on most downs. I imagine Doyle will come back and play extensively, but I don’t think he’ll adversely affect Ebron’s role. Those guys played together extensively in this year. In the six games Doyle played, Ebron scored 8 touchdowns. Ebron seems to be the guy they like using as a red-zone receiving threat.
What is your opinion for my starting QB this week please? TD only league, all worth 6 points. Rodgers, Trubisky, Mayfield.
Mike Craig (Kokomo, IN)
Rodgers is the one guy I wouldn’t consider, oddly enough. The Packers have never been able to get their offense going, and now that they’re out of it, there’s the chance they pull him early if he’s getting knocked around. But even if Rodgers is guaranteed to play all four quarters, I’ve got him behind those guys. I like both Mayfield and T-Biscuit. I don’t have a strong preference between the two. I’ve got Trubisky a little higher on my board, but let’s see what the weather forecasts are for the two games.
Long-time reader – been in same keeper league since you put issue 3 on the shelves. This has been a disastrous year; I have won 2 lousy games all year. But I have a good roster. Just bad luck. In our keeper league we get $52 million to make a roster, we draft every year from what is not kept. There are some guys who keep only 1-2 players; I usually keep the max of 8 (even though there is a financial penalty for keeping more than 4). We start 2 QB, 3 RB, 4 WR, TE, DT, K, D - I have been grabbing players off the waiver to stash for next season, I currently have some owners interested in trades. But I want to know your thoughts, you post about dynasty but not keeper Leagues. Not exactly the same thing. These are my top QB Wilson, RB Cook, RB Mack, RB Carson, RB Henry, RB Guice, WR M.Thomas, WR Diggs, WR Fuller, WR Anderson. Which running backs do you see being a candidate for a blowout year in 2019?
Cal Hoskison (Houston, TX)
Looks to me like you’ve got a lot of good backs. I expect Dalvin Cook will be a top-10 guy next year. Marlon Mack could be moving up. Chris Carson has been very good for Seattle; I don’t think it’s a given that Rashaad Penny will outperform him next year. And in some of his games at Louisiana State Derrius Guice looked like a possible top-10 back. Assuming he’s healthy, I think Guice will be the best running back for Washington.