Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. Saquon hit by the FFI cover jinx. David Njoku against Arizona's tight end friendly defense. Week 15 injury glut. And an unheralded running back who could shine in Week 16.

Question 1

Is Saquon Barkley going to break the Fantasy Index cover curse and come through in the playoffs or is what we've gotten what we're going to get? Sorry Ian I had to go there :)

John Ruppe (Fort Myers, FL)

Everybody who selected Barkley was disappointed. Most of those fantasy franchises are now shelved for the season. The appropriate conclusion to the story, I would think, would be for Barkley to now run for 120 yards and 2 TDs against a bad Miami defense. The Dolphins rank next-to-last against the run. It’s like the old Road Runner cartoons, when Wile E. Coyote frantically can’t get his motorboat engine to start as he’s carried over the waterfall. When he’s lying in a crumpled heap after a painful fall, the engine sputters to life (he then starts banging on it with a club and can’t get it to stop). Barkley could be this year’s Acme Motorboat Player.

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Question 2

What are your thoughts on David Njoku? Supposedly been ready for a week now but Browns are "working through some things" (from Rotoworld) at the moment. Still hurting? Contract thing? Care to decipher what that means? Thanks ahead of time ... you guys been rockin it for me since '89!

Michael Crow (Orion, IL)

Njoku played last week against Cincinnati, but only in a limited role. He was on the field for 37 percent of their plays. If you go back to Week 1 (his only other full game) he was out there for all but a few of their plays – 92 percent. So heading into Week 15, we can’t be sure we’re getting the Full Meal Deal version of him. But they’re playing Arizona, and that very much puts him in the conversation. Of the 13 tight ends that have started against Arizona, nine have caught touchdowns.

T.J. Hockenson, Det.613121.81
Mark Andrews, Balt.811214.01
Greg Olsen, Car.67512.52
Will Dissly, Sea.7578.11
Tyler Eifert, Cin.2147.00
Austin Hooper, Atl.811714.61
Evan Engram, NYG166.00
Josh Hill, N.O.33913.00
George Kittle, S.F.67913.21
O.J. Howard, T.B.44711.81
Ross Dwelley, S.F.4143.52
Tyler Higbee710715.31
Vance McDonald, Pitt.133.00
David Njoku, Clev.????

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Question 3

In a PPR league should I go with Mark Andrews, Jimmy Graham or Darren Fells this week. I'm not sure of Andrews injury status.

Joe Goins (Folsom, CA)

Andrews was a limited participant in practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. He’s questionable. You’ll need to check later today that he’s active, but I expect he’ll be your guy. He’s so much better than Graham and Fells that even if you had two thirds of an Andrews, you would start him over those guys. The Jets rank 2nd in run defense. If they have any success slowing down Baltimore’s ground game, that should translate into better passing numbers.

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Question 4

Would you pick up Patrick Laird or Darwin Thompson for this week and rest of the year?


Thompson has had a couple of nice touches – neat little player. But I can’t see him progressing this year beyond being a change-of-pace option. Laird is Miami’s starter. He ran for 48 yards last week against a good run defense, with another 38 yards on 4 catches. The Dolphins in Week 16 host Cincinnati, which ranks last in run defense. I would guess that Laird will be a top-20 running back on my board for that game.

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Question 5

Does this week break the Record for Fantasy relevant starters being injured and out for the year? Seems like the most brutal week ever in the History of Fantasy Playoffs. That aside do you believe like I do Godwin and Westbrook get the best boost from all the Carnage? Ryan Tannehill sure looks like a possible fantasy MVP alongside AJ Brown on top of everything. The 2 games with Houston look Pivotal.

David Kennedy (Steamburg, NY)

It’s been a brutal week. Makes for a tricky version of the Weekly, with a ton of guys double listed (one ranking showing where they rank today, the other showing where they’ll rank on Sunday if they’re active and starting). With Godwin, I think Winston’s thumb is more significant than Evans’ hamstring. If Winston isn’t able to play or isn’t able to throw with his usual effectiveness, that will be a concern. That offense probably wouldn’t be nearly as effective with Ryan Griffin at the controls. The Evans injury might translate into an extra throw or two, but that wasn’t really the case last week. The Bucs threw for 474 yards and 4 TDs, yet Godwin finished with a pretty typical day (for him): 7 catches for 91 yards and no touchdowns. He saw 9 targets. In only six of his other 12 games has he failed to see 9 targets. We’re in agreement on Dede Westbrook. If DJ Chark is ruled out, Westbrook starts to look a lot more compelling against an Oakland secondary that’s been pretty awful.

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Question 6

At the beginning of the season, there was a lot of discussion about DK Metcalf's straight-line speed vs. possible inability to change directions. Seattle went ahead and drafted him in the 2nd round and he's exceeded expectations, arguably supplanting Lockett as their top WR. How do you feel about Metcalf now? Still more of a Vincent Jackson clone or maybe getting closer to Julio Jones skillset?

Drew Paterson (Ferndale, WA)

I think he’s in the mix to possibly having the best career of the rookie receivers. He’s got the advantage of working with a top-level quarterback. I still have concerns about his ability to change directions, but it looks like they’re finding some ways to successfully use him. If NFL teams were re-picking players from the 2019 draft, there are two other wide receivers I think pretty much every team would select before Metcalf – Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown (who played with Metcalf at Mississippi). Hollywood Brown would also be in the discussion – he’s got explosive speed but is really tiny. I put together a dynasty league list last week, and those were the four I would consider selecting among the top 20 wide receivers. Deebo Samuel would be my fifth guy. Darius Slayton, N’Keal Harry, Mecole Hardman and Diontae Johnson have all shown some potential.

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Question 7

Who would you start at QB this week? Matt Ryan, Fitzmagic or Eli Manning?

Tom Clark (Suffers , NY)

The way San Francisco’s defense has played against quarterbacks for most of the year, I don’t think Ryan is in the discussion. He’s the third of the three. I think Fitzpatrick is your guy. He’s been putting up better passing numbers than the Giants, and he’s definitely a more productive runner than Eli. Since the Dolphins put Fitzpatrick back in the starting lineup, he’s averaged 260 passing yards in eight games, with 11 TDs, with another 21 rushing yards per week (with an additional 3 TDs).

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Question 8

Are there any players that may be a free agent, due to injury and were released, haven’t broken out yet, or underperformed this year, that you would add now to keep next year?

DAVID KEETON (Arlington, TN)

I’ve been hitting the dynasty leagues once per week. Each Friday or Saturday, I look at one position, providing the top 100 wide receivers or running backs, or the top 50 tight ends or quarterbacks. Those lists include these kind of players – guys who aren’t doing much in 2019 but who might have viable roles next year. I’ve got tight ends going up next. That list includes four up-and-coming type guys in the top 25. Irv Smith, I think, will pan out for the Vikings (I’ve got him ahead of Kyle Rudolph). Chris Herndon of the Jets put up top-10 numbers at times last year; he’s going to bounce back. And I think Jace Sternberger is intriguing; I don’t think Jimmy Graham will be back in Green Bay, and they drafted Sternberger in the third round. All of those past articles can be accessed in the “In Depth” tab of the website (pulling down to “Dynasty Leagues”).

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Question 9

I have the worst problem I think you can possibly have and that's being stuck with a player it's almost impossible to sit: Odell Beckham. Can you possibly sit him this week? It's PPR and the alternate choices are: J.White, Westbrook, Cohen, Washington (if Jacobs sits) or H.Henry.

Bill Petilli (Harrison, NY)

It would great to plug in DeAndre Washington, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. The Raiders are saying Josh Jacobs will play. From the same game, Dede Westbrook could be your guy. Oakland has been awfully weak against the pass. Westbrook has been a lot busier than Beckham recently, catching 23 passes in his last four games; Beckham has caught 15 balls in his last four. If the Jaguars rule out DJ Chark (and I think they will) Westbrook would look pretty safe to have a significant role. But if Chark is playing, you may need to just hope Beckham does what you hired him to do. While he’s been a disappointment, he’s still on pace to finish the season with 73 catches for 1,039 yards. He’s caught only 2 TDs, but on Sunday he’ll be working against a defense that’s allowed a league-high 32 TDs passes.

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Question 10

Philip Rivers or David Blough? No brainer right? Seems like everyone ranks Rivers higher than Blough. But I like Blough better and am currently sitting Rivers. I don't really understand why Blough isn't even ranked. Tampa Bay is great on Run Defense and terrible on Pass Defense and Blough put up decent numbers against two tough defenses. Who would you go with? For me, Blough has considerably more upside.


It’s a discussion that can occur. I’m not opposed to using lesser players that have better matchups. Blough has looked pretty good at times. But let’s not overinflate what he’s done. He passed for 205 yards last week, with his touchdown coming in the finale minutes of a blowout loss. He’s been able to get his offense in the end zone once in his last six quarters. Now the Lions have lost one of their starting wide receivers (Marvin Jones). They lost their tight end the previous week. And while Tampa Bay’s defense has been terrible against the pass, it’s now played four straight games without truly being torched. Drew Brees threw 3 TDs against them but finished with only 228 yards. Matt Ryan passed for 326 yards (in a loss) but with only one touchdown. The Jaguars passed for only 240 yards and a touchdown (I thought Nick Foles would be a top-10 quarterback that week – he got benched at halftime). And Jacoby Brissett passed for 251 yards and 2 TDs last week. I think it’s Rivers. Vikings are the more regarded opponent, but they’ve had some problems with their pass defense this year.

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Question 11

How do you feel about Tampa Bay's D at Detroit? I have Pittsburgh, but don't really like the Buffalo match up.

John Ruppe (Fort Myers, FL)

If the Steelers have the defense you’ve been rolling with all year, I would probably just leave them in there. They’ve been awfully good, ranking near the top in sacks, interceptions and fumble recoveries. But if we take a step back and look at it coldly, I would probably pick the Bucs, with David Blough making just his third start. Blough has impressed me at times; I really liked the way he played in the first half of the Thanksgiving game. But he’s just an undrafted rookie. In two starts, he’s taken 7 sacks and thrown 3 interceptions. Josh Allen is finishing up his second year, so he’s got a better sense of how to avoid sacks and interceptions. Allen in 13 games has taken 33 sacks (a little below average), but with just 8 interceptions.

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Question 12

Can you trust Trubisky in a QB flex spot over Brissett ?

Bill Petilli (Harrison, NY)

I’m more worried about Brissett. Colts have come out and heavily relied on the run in a lot of games. With the Saints having just lost two starting defensive linemen, I think that could be the intention on Monday night.

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Question 13

Our trade deadline ends prior to kickoff of Week 15. PPR keeper league, but you can only keep only one at each position. I've got both Hopkins and Godwin. Another guy has Barkley and Kamara. I was thinking of offering Godwin for Barkley. Your thoughts?

Jeff Carter (Franklin, TN)

It makes a ton of sense. Any combination of you giving up one of your receivers for one of his running backs makes both teams a lot better. Only question is haggling out the details. Barkley had a lesser year, but he still looks like one of the top few running backs in the league. To me, he’s still on the very short list of players with a real chance of being the most productive running back in 2020. I expect Barkley will be a little higher than Kamara on my board next year.

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Question 14

In this week’s Fantasy Index Weekly, you write that Tampa Bay’s kicker (Matt Gay) should be the third best kicker, but on the ranking sheet, he’s only ranked 7th. When you get a chance, can you please explain?

Jeffrey Kravetz (Livingston, NJ)

I originally wrote up Gay early on Monday. But later on, it started looking like Winston's thumb might be more of an issue. If they're starting Ryan Griffin, I wouldn't want Gay that high. And if Winston's thumb affects his play, that would be too high. I downgraded Gay later, with Jason Myers and Zane Gonzalez moving ahead of him.

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Question 15

Hey Ian you helped me out last week and I won so moving on! Just need help with one spot on my deep super flex league. Davonte freeman or Matt brieda?? Graduated ppr

David Vermeer (Sandpoint, ID)

I like the way Breida played in the second half of the Saints game. He looked explosive. It would not surprise me if he works his way back to the top of that backfield. But if we’re looking at catches, Freeman is the much safer option.

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