Truth or Bogus: Championship Week Edition
Article by Mitch Lawson (Sleeperbot Username: @PeteCarroline )
We’ve finally arrived. It’s fantasy championship week.
If you’re reading this, I assume you’ve made it to your league’s finals. Congratulations. You’ve survived multiple high-profile injuries and disappointing playoff performances to get to this point.
As you spend the next few days getting your team ready, it’s important to know what stories to read into, and what stories to disregard.
As always, that’s where Truth or Bogus? comes in. I break down each big headline from the previous week and tell you whether I think it’s Truth or Bogus.
I don’t want to waste any more time, let’s slide right into the first headline of the week.
JuJu Smith-Schuster/Martavis Bryant are Must-Starts After Brown’s Injury
TRUTH — You had probably figured this to be the case, but I want to dive into precisely why you need to start both of these guys.
Antonio Brown’s departure leaves approximately 14 targets on the table for the rest of the Steelers’ receivers. This likely means each Bryant and Smith-Schuster will see another 5 targets each, and I expect a few to go to Le’Veon Bell and perhaps another to Eli Rogers/Jesse James.
But the focus will be on Bryant and Smith-Schuster. The Texans are the absolute worst defense at defending WRs and the Steelers will look to exploit that in a big way.
It’s completely fair to anticipate that either receivers could end up being WR1s this week. If I had a choice, I’d take JuJu Smith-Schuster, but Martavis Bryant is a very startable WR2 option.
Expect both of these guys to have a 65 yard floor with 100+ yard-and-a-TD ceilings. Fire them up if you have them!
Nick Foles is a QB1 for Week 16
BOGUS — If you follow my writing, I named Foles as my starter last week and he paid off huge, but this week I’m staying away in most situations.
That’s not to see he’s not startable. He is if you are desperate, though I doubt you are desparate since you’re in the fantasy finals. He’s a decent QB2 with a low-end QB1 ceiling, but there are so many better options out there.
The Eagles have clinched their division and have also clinched a first round bye. They will also clinch the #1 NFC seed if the Vikings lose Saturday, or they win on Monday. If the Vikings do lose to the Packers, expect Foles to be sat in favour of Sudfeld.
If Foles does start, the Eagles are likely to bench him as soon as the game is out of reach. Which limits his ceiling. There’s also the fact that he only threw for 237 yards and got most of his fantasy points off 4 touchdowns, so his floor is lower than some QBs as well.
Tread very carefully with Foles this week, and if there’s any chance you can bench him, do so.
Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens Are Worth Waivering
TRUTH and BOGUS — Hey-oh! There’s a curveball for you, but it’s the truth. Keelan Cole is very much worth a waiver wire pickup, but Jaydon Mickens should be left behind.
With the injury to Marquise Lee, the stage is set for the Jaguars’ receivers to step up and have a big game against the 49ers. But I think that the focus will be on Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole, and Mickens will fall into WR4 territory.
The main reason behind my thinking is that Keelan Cole was actually trending upwards for a few weeks and has caught TDs in 3 straight games. Whereas Mickens hadn’t caught a pass since week 10.
With the expectation that Lee will sit out for at least Week 16, Dede Westbrook will represent a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside, while Cole should be treated as a High-Floor WR3 with WR1/2 TD upside.
Tom Brady Can’t Be Trusted
BOGUS — Okay I admit, if you own Brady you’re very lucky to be at this point in the playoffs. But you can’t abandon him now.
I understand the thought process. Brady has disappointed in 3 straight games, and now he has to face the tough Bills defense who just swallowed Brady up 3 weeks ago.
But I don’t buy it. Especially not the thought that Brady struggled against the Bills in Week 13 so he’s bound to struggle against them again. To buy in to that point is to also suspect that Bill Belichick and Tom Brady won’t learn from their mistakes and come back strong.
I would never bet against Belichick and Brady. It’s just not smart money. It’s also worth noting that Brady didn’t even really struggle that much against the Bills. He threw for 258 yards and 1 INT but he was kept out of the endzone because both Patriots TDs were of the rushing variety.
Tom Brady is a Top 3 QB and is matchup proof. His recent struggles might provide a little extra nerves this week for his owners, but he’ll likely bounce back and help lead his fantasy owners to glory.
Fantasy Owners Should Bench Josh Gordon
TRUTH — Sick of hearing about Josh Gordon? Good, because I’m sick of writing about him.
Since before his first game back from a 2+ year hiatus, I’ve been telling owners not to trust Josh Gordon. I apparently have to do so one more time.
Granted, he had a good game in week 14 when he managed 67 yards and a TD, but he has been completely unable to carve out WR1 or WR2 status while catching passes from DeShone Kizer.
Let’s get this out of the way; Josh Gordon is a very talented football player. If he played for just about ANY other NFL team, I’d be considering starting him in fantasy championship week. But he plays for the Browns. Defenses know exactly what to expect, the Browns are telegraphing their punch and targeting Josh Gordon downfield. Either that, or they are allowing their boring run game to try and move the chains.
The Browns aren’t even a one-dimensional team. They have no dimension. They are stuck in the middle of an almost certain 0–16 season, and they have to face a tough Bears defense in week 16.
Gordon is worth owning in dynasty leagues and deep keeper leagues, and he’ll be worth a draft selection in re-draft leagues next year as the Browns attempt to pull themselves out of misery. But his value for this week is very low.
There’s no way a championship-calibre fantasy team should have to rely on Josh Gordon this week. Bench him.
With that, Truth or Bogus? comes to a close for 2017.
It’s been a fantastic fantasy football season, one that I can safely say is one of the most exciting seasons over the past 25 years.
I’ll be back next year to bring you quality fantasy football advice. But until August of 2018, I’m signing off.
Thanks for reading, have a fantastic holiday season, and I wish you luck in your championship matchup this week.
Take care, football fans.
Mitch Lawson is a Canadian based Fantasy Football enthusiast and lifelong Seahawks fan. If you have questions or comments, send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find him on: