By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
It’s Thanksgiving Week. A time to give thanks.
I say this every year, but this is without a doubt my favorite edition of Confidence Plays to write. Sometimes I have stories to tell before getting into my picks for the week. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes you read them, sometimes you don’t. Either way, I like to take this one time a year to share with you what I’m most thankful for and it inevitably comes back to my amazing team and network of influential individuals I try to surround myself with.
If you’ve been reading these for the last few years, you likely know some of the people I’m referring to. If you’re new to the column, I urge you to get to know the fine folks who help me bring these posts, graphics, and entertainment to you.
First off, a big thank you to you, the fans. I do this because I love to write about fantasy football and help anyone I can get a leg up on their competition. Many of you continually ask questions and genuinely enjoy our take on players and the information we’re able to provide. Some you ask and because I make a bad call, you’re gone. Either or is fine by me. I know I’m not perfect. I don’t profess to be. Hopefully you understand I’m not a psychic and can’t predict the future, only that I can make educated guesses and hope the Fantasy Gods have yours and my back that week.
I’m thankful for Joe Zollo. Joe, you’re my dude. Ever since coming on board with me last year, you’ve been a great sounding board to bounce ideas off; you’ve been willing to help with graphics and previews; and you brought an Internet radio network to fruition and helped us expand our reach. We’ve more than doubled our social media following and web presence in just the last year and I can’t be more grateful. You challenge me to bring my A game because some of our fans rely on it. Truth be told, I don’t know how this ship sails without you bro. Now we just have to teach you how to run a Dynasty team.
I’m thankful for Maggie Byrd. Girl, you’re a damn rockstar. Seriously. You have a day job and still manage to get our graphics done in a timely fashion. You’re seriously never allowed to leave us. Ever.
I’m thankful for Faith Enes. Faith, you’re awesome. Not having an editor was tiresome. Since coming on board and helping out with our weekly columns and letting me know when I forget to change our pinned tweets, I don’t know what I’d do without you. Just stop asking me if you should start Rivers over Rodgers. You know the answer.
I’m thankful for Patrick Nader. I know you don’t have the time to help the way you used to, but you do when you can and I couldn’t be more grateful. You’ve showed me some cool tricks on Twitter and it has helped immensely in our quest to reach a broader audience. One of these days we’ll get the Spanish version of Club Fantasy FFL up and running and we’ll be unstoppable!
I’m thankful for Derrick Mack. Derrick, you introduced me to some kick ass people on Facebook that have really helped expand our reach and I’m so grateful for that. I’m even more grateful that you believe in what we’re doing and are willing to help even when you have work and your family to attend to. Let’s keep building bro!
I’m thankful for Christian Lily-Crum. My dude. You’re like a brother to me. Your knowledge of college football has helped add a new element to what we do with Club Fantasy FFL and I’m excited to see what we can think of for 2019. Oh, and we need to shoot some shorts, dammit. It’s been too long.
I’m thankful for Nicholas Santerre. Nick, I can’t thank you enough for trusting me and the Club Fantasy FFL team to deliver weekly fantasy advice to the more than 10,000 members in Sports Talk. I’ve met some truly awesome people through your group and I couldn’t be more grateful. Hopefully this is the start of a budding partnership.
I’m thankful for Chris Molina. Dude, I love talking sports with you. I love talking fantasy football with you. I do not however like losing to you in fantasy football. It’s rather annoying if I’m being honest. But seriously, any time you want to share that wealth of knowledge with the Club Fantasy FFL community, you are always welcome.
I’m thankful for Tim Murphy. You crazy Patriots fan you. Thanks for filling in and helping cover some of the Thursday night games for us. It’s always fun when I don’t have to but it’s also great reading your tweets. You have a knack for this dude.
I’m thankful for Dave Hiley and Josh Farris. You guys welcomed me into the Dolfinatics family even though I’m not a Dolphins fan. I don’t mind playing the bad guy though to add some perspective to the fans. I wish I had more time to come on the show and talk fantasy. But expect an appearance from me soon!
I’m thankful for Acie Blaze. My producer, my friend, my fellow comic book nerd. Thank you for trusting me to play around in your universe and tell stories that people can relate to and immerse themselves in. We’re going to get this damn TV show made and we’ll be the Little Mercenaries That Could.
I’m thankful for Hannah and Tabitha, the two halves that make up Sophie Davis. Hannah, it was great to reconnect with you over the summer. It was great to see you in August for the first time in over a decade. And it was great to hear you’re writing and selling books! I’m digging The Talented Saga and I can’t wait to dive into The Syndicate. One of these days we’re going to collaborate on something amazing. You two inspire me every time I sit down to read that I end up staying up later just to write more. Next time I’m in Los Angeles ladies, we’re having a weekend long writing sprint!
I’m thankful for all my friends that continually agree to play against me in Fantasy Football. Sure, you win some and you lose some, but more often than not, I’m kicking your asses and enjoying those winnings!
And last but not least, I’m thankful to Wells Fargo. Why you ask? Well, I owe them so much money in student loans that they prevent me from writing full time. I’m just so thrilled to only do what I love part time. It’s swell. Their new slogan should be “Crushing dreams, one loan payment at a time.” Moving on now.
This column is all about who to start and sit, or Play and Fade. I think the meanings are pretty simple. Play offers up a series of players that, based on my rankings, outperform their preseason rankings and draft positions. They may be obvious names, but some may be diamonds in the rough. Fade focuses on the obvious players that were taken higher in drafts and won’t put up numbers relative to their norm, or players with absolutely atrocious match ups that I plan to bench this week. My choices are based off my weekly FLEX rankings. Go ahead, take a quick gander before making your way back to the main event.
QB Drew Brees (NO) – Brees is basically the Human Torch — he’s on fire. The last time the Saints played the Falcons, he accounted for five touchdowns (two rushing). The Falcons defense hasn’t gotten any better. He’s my number one quarterback this week.
RB Tarik Cohen (CHI) – 16.4 fantasy points is what Cohen put up two weeks ago against Detroit. The Lions run defense allows the 6th highest yards per carry average. Cohen offers a ton in the passing game, averaging over 11 yards per reception. He should get around 15 touches with about half of them in the passing game. He should approach the 15 point mark this week. (Recent news: multiple sources are saying Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky is likely to miss Thursday’s game. This should lead to plenty of check down opportunities for Cohen.)
RB Mark Ingram (NO) – Ingram is finally getting revved up. Two straight weeks with over 100 rushing yards and 3 TDs over that time frame. Oh, and the Falcons allow the 2nd highest YPC (5.1) and 2nd most rushing TDs (13) in the league. Ingram should once again top 100 yards and may even get two more rushing touchdowns in what should be another high-scoring output by the Saints.
RB Theo Riddick (DET) – With Kerryon Johnson likely out with a knee injury, much of the work will fall to LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick. Give me Riddick in that scenario. Riddick has 21 targets and 18 receptions since the team traded Golden Tate. He also has only 1 carry. Expect more carries and at least 6 catches for a solid FLEX performance.
WR Julio Jones (ATL) – Jones has three straight games with a touchdown. The Saints pass defense may allow the most fantasy points to opposing WRs this year, but since the trade for Eli Apple, they’ve allowed only the seventh most. You know what Jones hasn’t done yet this year? He hasn’t had a single game this year with more than 28 fantasy points. He’s due.
WR Amari Cooper (DAL) – It pains me to say this, but Cooper has actually looked competent, which as a byproduct, has helped the Cowboys passing offense seem competent. Cooper has 14 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown over his first three games with Dem ‘Boys. The Redskins have allowed the 9th most fantasy points to opposing WRs since Week 8 and with the fate of the NFC East on the line, the Cowboys need a big game from Cooper. I think they get it.
WR Anthony Miller (CHI) – I love this kid. He was awesome in college and he plays with such great intensity it’s infectious. Miller has 22 targets over the last four weeks and three touchdowns. He lit up the Lions two weeks ago for 122 yards and a score and the Lions are allowing the 4th most fantasy points to opposing WRs since Week 8. Don’t be shocked if Miller gets his 4th TD in five weeks.
TE Jordan Reed (WAS) – He’s back. Maybe. Hopefully. He set a season-high in fantasy points scored for himself last week. Colt McCoy, having thrown his first regular season passes since 2015, relied heavily on Reed when he came in for the injured Alex Smith. With the Redskins receiver position as decimated as it is, Reed should see plenty of work.
QB Matthew Stafford (DET) – He hasn’t been the same gunslinger this year. Stafford has only one game with more than 30 fantasy points and averages less than 20 fantasy points per game this season. Two weeks ago against Chicago? Less than 20 fantasy points. See a trend?
RB Adrian Peterson (WAS) – He’s banged up but toughening these games out. Over his last three games, he’s averaging 3.1 yards per carry. What saved his fantasy day last week were the two touchdowns. The Cowboys are allowing the 6th fewest fantasy points to RBs since Week 8 and with the NFC East within their grasps, I think All Day will only be good for Some Of The Day.
RB LeGarrette Blount (DET) – Kerryon Johnson has been awesome this year. Blount has not. Johnson had 89 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears two weeks ago. Blount will not. Ride with Riddick and his pass catching this week.
WR Calvin Ridley (ATL) – The last time Ridley played the Saints, he went for 142 yards and three touchdowns. I will bet my house that doesn’t happen again. He has only one touchdown catch since Week 4 and only one double digit fantasy game since then. Yes, the Saints pass defense isn’t great but they’ve gotten better and let’s be honest, the Falcons just got railroaded by the Browns. They’re in no position to keep up with the Saints. Ridley will take a backseat to Jones in this one.
Redskins WRs (WAS) – All of them. Sit them. New starting QB Colt McCoy will be dinking and dunking all game and there has been no consistency with this passing game anyway. Stay far away from them all.
TE Austin Hooper (ATL) – The Saints held Eagles TE Zach Ertz to 2 catches for 15 yards on Sunday. They’ve also held opposing TEs to the 6th fewest fantasy points since Week 8. Hooper is in for a long day on Thursday Night.
TE Benjamin Watson (NO) – Watson was shut out last week by the Eagles and has been an irregular contributor to the Saints offense throughout the season. Very hard to trust when other Saints like Austin Carr, Dan Arnold, and Josh Hill are seeing targets over Watson.