By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Today is Thanksgiving. A time for family and giving thanks. Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard that before. I’m sure there are many things for you to give thanks for.
How about for the owners who drafted David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr., and/or Aaron Rodgers? Or for the owners who passed on Todd Gurley, Kareem Hunt, and Leonard Fournette? You see, those are all things you should be thankful for as it has made your path to a playoff birth that much easier.
I want to take a second to divert from fantasy football and express what I’m thankful for. In the event you don’t care — and I’m sure you don’t — feel free to breeze through this on the way to this week’s Confidence Plays.
This is now Year Two of Club Fantasy, and there are a number of individuals I would like to give a hearty “thank you” to that have been instrumental in the creation of this website and all its content. But before I get to those people, I need to single out one specific person.
I would like to say that of the many things in my life, I’m most thankful for my mother. We’ve had our disagreements over time, but with this more than ever, I feel a much greater sense of support. For so many years, I always felt that she wasn’t enamored with my choices to pursue writing and express my creativity in unconventional outlets. Maybe it was because she didn’t have a great understanding of what it would take to build something like this, or maybe it was just that she wanted what she felt was best for me — a stable career, always knowing where income was coming from, what have you.
She’s always told me I should write about sports. I love to write period, but sports was never at the front of it. When The Commish and I set out on this journey, times were tough but she was happy I was writing about sports. Less happy I wasn’t making money with it, but I digress. This year, she’s well aware of the time I put into this and even takes it upon herself to share with her friends and co-workers what I’m doing and trying to spread the word in her word-of-mouth kind of way. Hey, every little bit counts, right? One of her co-workers even wants to know what my “record” is every week. Those are all things I can appreciate as I take this site to the next level.
So for that, I just want to say that I’m most thankful for the support I receive from her everyday as I embark on this crazy idea, in a saturated market, to separate what I do from what others do. At least I know I have one person who believes in me. I love you, Mom. And thank you for your continued support.
I’m also thankful for the eccentric, degenerate, and all-around jackasses of The Skrip Club, the fantasy football league that inspired this venture. As much as you all love to hate me because I’m so awesome at fantasy football, I hate you all just as much, with all the hate I can muster. Cole, Dan, Jillian, Richey, Sean, Nate, Dave & Katie, Robbie, Leon, Chad, and the current champ Randy, I hate you all with every fiber of my being.
I’m thankful to my broseph with the dopest, Mr. Scott Walker. It’s funny that he-who-shall-not-be-named introduced us, promptly decided we weren’t good enough for him, and now we’re doing bigger things than he. Funny how fate works out that way. From all the logos you’ve made me, the jokes we’ve made at each other’s expense, to all the graphics you currently do for the site, I am forever in your debt my man. We’re in this ’til the end!
I’m thankful for my Club Fantasy team. Some people, when they venture out to do something like this, typically start as one person and see what happens. I had a vision from the beginning and I knew there was no way in Hell I could do this all on my own. Lucky for me, I found people that believe in me and what I’m doing and I want nothing more than to prove to them that they made the right call.
To The Commish, I’ve known you for years and you’ve been one of my best friends since high school. One of these days, you’ll beat me in your own league to claim your title, but until then, I get to live with you having won my league in back-to-back years. I think that’s an okay consolation prize. I know this year hasn’t been easy on you, work-wise, but you always have a seat at my table bro. Without your editing skills, this site would probably resemble that of a 6-year old’s homework assignment. So for that, I can’t thank you enough.
To Christian, the zany dunce who never has the right things to say. I told you I’d give you a platform to show off that inordinate amount of college football knowledge you possess and your videos over the summer were easily the highlight of the offseason. I’m looking forward to a killer Year Two and seeing what we can do to show everyone who the new Mel Kiper Jr. is. Let’s get it bro!
To my social media superstars, Joe and Patrick. Joe, I put a lot on your plate with IG and even through school and work, you still manage to kill it and hit the deadlines. That’s a work ethic to be proud of and it’ll take you places. Thanks for working with me and putting in the time. Patrick, you run our Twitter account like it’s a marathon. You make my weeks so much easier just by keeping up with the news breaks and game day coverage. I can’t thank you two enough for everything you’ve done to help this year.
To all the people that read these columns, like our photos and posts, follow our social media accounts, and even submit questions because they trust us to deliver the answers to help them win their leagues, we’re nothing without you. We do this for you, and I hope you’ll tell your friends we’re mildly entertaining, provide decent fantasy advice, and only help them win when they’re not facing you.
And last but not least, I want to thank Kat. I know things didn’t quite work out between us the way I envisioned, but I’m also not naive to the fact that this site isn’t where it is today if you don’t get involved. I told you I’d help you build a portfolio and you’ve done pretty well for yourself since. And despite where our lives take us going forward, I’ll always be indebted to you for helping make one of my dreams a reality. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
To all my friends that support me, thank you. To all my friends who continually suffer defeats at the hands of me, I can’t thank you enough. You all are the motivation and essence of what Club Fantasy represents. I hope every one of you out there has a wonderful Thanksgiving with you and yours.
That brings us to this week’s Confidence Plays. Here’s your refresher because I know you’ll get this confused. This column serves as a Start/Sit of sorts. I break things down into three categories. Start means exactly that. These are your studs, the guys we know are going to be studs this year and this is a week they return some of that draft value. Get them into your lineup! Play analyzes the fringe starters, your FLEX plays if you will. These guys could be on your bench one week and thrust into your starting lineup the next based on the matchup. When you see them mentioned here, put them in your lineup in some way, shape, or form. Do not misconstrue what Bench means. Seriously. I’m not saying to not start the players that end up in this section. Maybe they’re your studs that you know you’re going to start, but with bad match-ups so temper expectations. If I tell you to bench them, then you can blame me if they go off. These choices are based on my rankings, so feel free to check them out if you haven’t already!
QB Russell Wilson (SEA) – He’s scored 164.4 points the last five weeks, averaging 32.88 fantasy points a game. En fuego, esse. And he faces a 49ers team that basically serves a QB’s whipping boy this year, allowing the 4th most fantasy points to QBs. He’s my number one QB this week.
QB Kirk Cousins (WSH) – He’s averaging 30.8 fantasy points a game over the last two weeks. He just lost his best RB and what was supposed to be his best WR and just had two starting offensive linemen land on IR. Cousins seemingly can’t be stopped and he’s playing a divisional game in primetime this week. He’s ready to put the doubters at bay.
RB Le’Veon Bell (PIT) – His low TD total aside, he’s arguably been fantasy’s most consistent RB. He hasn’t scored less than 13.1 points since Week 1, and this week gets a Packers team that is spiraling out of control. He’s is averaging 20.3 fantasy points over his last three outings and is my number one RB this week.
RB Melvin Gordon (LAC) – A Cowboys defense without LB Sean Lee is a pretty awful defense. The last two weeks, they’ve allowed 19.2 and 39.4 fantasy points to opposing RBs. Gordon will be the best RB they’ve faced out of that group. Should easily exceed 20 points this week.
WR Adam Thielen (MIN) – Is there anything this man can’t do? I didn’t think so. Darius Slay will likely draw Stefon Diggs, leaving Thielen to run wild this week. All it takes is one play, as evidenced by his 65-yard TD catch against the Rams. Plug him in and watch him go.
WR A.J. Green (CIN) – The Bengals play the Browns. Um, duh.
TE Rob Gronkowski (NE) – Gronk was quiet last week. Not cool. But a date with the Dolphins should get him back on track. The ‘Phins haven’t allowed less than 11.8 fantasy points to a TE since Week 4. Give me some Gronk this week.
QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) – He’s at home, so you know how this will go. And he plays the Packers this week so there’s that too. The last good QB the Packers played, they gave up 26.4 fantasy points. Big Ben is a top 10 option this week even if he doesn’t reach that.
QB Philip Rivers (LAC) – On the road in a short week isn’t ideal, but Rivers and the Chargers just hung 54 on the Bills. The Cowboys just allowed 35 to the Eagles so I have all the confidence in the world that a savvy vet like Rivers can summon whatever he needs to throw a couple of TDs on this young secondary. It’s not like they have a daunting pass rush outside of Demarcus Lawrence.
RB Tevin Coleman (ATL) – It doesn’t look like Devonta Freeman will play this week, missing yet another game with a concussion. That means Coleman takes his spot as my number 9 RB this week. The Bucs run defense is okay against the run, but are ranked 27th in DVOA against RBs out of the backfield. Last I checked, Coleman was a fairly effective pass catcher. Good days ahead for the Falcons.
RB Alfred Morris (DAL) – The Chargers can get after the quarterback with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. They don’t, however, play effective run defense, allowing the most rushing yards per game in the NFL. Morris ran for a respectable 91 yards against the NFL’s number one rush defense, so I think Morris should easily have a RB2 quality day if he doesn’t find the end zone.
RB Samaje Perine (WSH) – He’s the last man standing — and I mean that literally — in the Redskins backfield. Perine hasn’t been overly impressive this year, but he managed a solid effort last week so why not ride the hot hand? A lot of his early struggles involved his lack of patience. He looked more patient last week so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. And the Giants have allowed 30 or more fantasy points to RBs in two of the last three weeks. Even at 17 points, that’s a great day for Perine. He’s an RB2 for me this week.
WR T.Y. Hilton (IND) – He has only three games this year where he’s scored double digit fantasy points. But man, have those three games been marvelous. Against the Titans, who allow the 5th most fantasy points to opposing WRs, I expect yet another marvelous performance.
WR Devin Funchess (CAR) – Even with the return of Greg Olsen — see below — I think Funchess will perform admirably. I’ve never been the biggest Cam Newton fan, but when he hits a groove, it typically takes a Super Bowl appearance to knock him out of it. Okay, cheap shot, but you get the point. Newton was impressive in his most recent game and the Jets pose little threat to him repeating that success. The Jets also allow the 10th most fantasy points to opposing WRs.
WR Alshon Jeffery (PHI) – Don’t look now, but Jeffery is starting to hit his stride with Wentz. He’s scored 4 TDs over his last 3 games and is tied for 4th in the NFL with 6 receiving TDs. Oh, and he plays the Bears, his old team, so you know there’s added motivation here. Some things in life are just too obvious.
TE Vernon Davis (WSH) – Jordan Reed is set to miss yet another game and the Giants cover TEs in the same manner hotel towels cover 300-pound guests. They’re literally the worst, allowing the most fantasy points to opposing TEs. Kirk Cousins needs something to throw to, right?
TE Greg Olsen (CAR) – In his triumphant return, I have him as a top 10 option this week, albeit right at 10 among TEs. He’s Greg Olsen, so of course you want to start him, but there’s typically rust involved and it is a foot injury. At least he has a decent matchup against the Jets. Here’s hoping Third Leg Greg is as game as his alma mater, The U.
Your D/ST streaming options are Patriots D/ST, Chiefs D/ST, and Chargers D/ST.
QB Dak Prescott (DAL) – I don’t know who Prescott misses more, LT Tyron Smith or RB Ezekiel Elliott. you could have started an inactive QB and received more fantasy points than what Prescott returned last week. Smith is expected to play on Thursday, but the Chargers have arguably the best tandem of pass rushers in the NFL in Bosa and Ingram. Luckily, the Chargers run D isn’t great, so maybe there’s a chance, but until I see who he misses more, Prescott is riding some pine.
RB Lamar Miller (HOU) – The Ravens haven’t allowed 100 yards rushing since Week 7. Without D’Onta Foreman, the Texans can’t spell Miller as much as they’d like. Last year proved he’s not a workhorse by nature but he’ll need to be one this week, even with the recently acquired Andre Ellington. I don’t have my hopes up for a stand out performance.
RB Jordan Howard (CHI) – Funny thing happened last week: Jordan Howard was out-snapped by Tarik Cohen. I don’t get it either. What I do know is that Howard plays the Eagles this week.. As I mentioned earlier, the Eagles allow the fewest rushing yards per game in the NFL. They also allow the 3rd fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs. Fade if you can.
WR Mike Evans (TB) – The Falcons do well against opposing WRs, allowing the 6th fewest fantasy points, and Evans has been rather quiet the last month. Lsat week’s 14.2 were the most he’s scored since Week 7. You’re starting him, but I don’t know that I’d expect more than 12 points.
WR Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) – The move to Drew Stanton and then to Blaine Gabbert has done little to move the needle on Fitzgerald as a viable fantasy WR. A date against the Jaguars secondary should do the trick though. I feel like Gabbert will be plenty motivated to beat the Jaguars but with the way the Jags have played defense — the fewest fantasy points to opposing WRs — I’m not holding my breath.
TE Jason Witten (DAL) – Witten has 12 catches for 102 yards combined over his last four weeks. The Chargers allow the 2nd fewest fantasy points to opposing TEs. Nothing is giving this week.