TOYOTA TUNDRA – PICKUPS OF THE WEEK
This week, Yahoo! Sports fantasy expert Brad Evans looks at eight intriguing fantasy football players, and a defense, likely to be available on the waiver wire in fantasy leagues.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Cousins could make Eagles cry 'Uncle' if gifted another start
Kirk Cousins (QB) Washington Redskins
Many owners and fanalysts didn't give Cousins a fair shake. With RGIII inactive, the common belief was the backup rookie would struggle mightily in his first NFL start against a very underrated Cleveland secondary. Though an early interception got him off on the wrong foot, the resilient youngster shook off the mistake, displaying gutsy resolve. On the day he finished with 329 passing yards and two touchdowns, completing a marvelous 70.3 percent of his attempts. At print time, it's unknown whether Griffin will be able to return to action in Week 16. If he doesn't, Cousins is a highly recommended alternative against an Eagles defense in the midst of an epic collapse. Over the past five weeks, they've surrendered an incredible 28.1 fantasy points per game to QBs in traditional formats, the most in Fantasyland. Speculate.
Strong Buy (12-teams plus)Knock on 'Wood' for your flex needs
Danny Woodhead (RB) New England Patriots
In the NFL, there is no faster way to the doghouse than lost fumbles. Stevan Ridley is a prime example. The Pats rusher, benched for much of the second half after coughing up the pill twice in the first half in the wild exhibition versus San Francisco, may no longer be in Bill Belichick's good graces, possibly ascending Woodhead into the catbird seat. Against the Niners, the elevated backup rolled with the punches, totaling a season-high 17 touches for 83 yards and two touchdowns. His standout performance may have earned him additional playing time moving forward. Though he'll remain in a rotation with Ridley and Shane Vereen, another 12-plus touches could be on tap for the scrappy rusher in Week 16. Against a Jags defense that's given up the second-most fantasy points to RBs on the season, he could make a significant FLEX impact in 12-team leagues. Then again, getting a read on what Belichick is thinking is an exercise in futility.
Solid Buy (10-team leagues plus) Sexier than Christie in deep leagues
Curtis Brinkley (RB) San Diego Chargers
In news that shouldn't be a surprise to any fantasy owner, Ryan Mathews, who was reportedly expected to tote the rock some 30 times against Carolina, couldn't even survive a half. The fragile back disappeared to the locker room, breaking his other collarbone on a rather harmless-looking tackle. Typical. With Mathews done for the year, many would suspect the plodding Jackie Battle would re-enter the picture as the primary early-down/goal-line back, but he offers very little, except in short-yardage situations. Brinkley, who possessed more explosiveness and versatility, will likely lead the team in total touches over the final two weeks. He completely outplayed Battle in garbage time Sunday. Given the probable uptick in touches, he is a FLEX option in deeper formats. San Diego's Week 16 opponent, the New York Jets, have yielded 4.3 yards per carry and the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs on the year. On roughly 13-15 touches, Brinkely could be in line for 65-75 total yards and a score.
Moderate Buy (12-teams plus) Need a WR? Hang with Coop in deeper formats
Riley Cooper (WR) Philadelphia Eagles
With his long-flowing hair and tough looks, Cooper resembles more of a romance novel coverboy than a NFL wide receiver. But owners who pick-up and plug in the elevated backup could wax poetically about the receiver. Off a respectable 3-20-1 line in a blowout loss to Cincinnati last Thursday, Cooper should carry momentum over against one of the league's blandest secondaries, Washington. The 'Skins have given up countless explosive pass plays this season. Only the Pats, Bucs and Saints have surrendered more vertical plays of 20-plus yards. Cooper, who is an excellent downfield threat, could thrive given the friendly matchup and Nick Foles' growing confidence. If you're in dire straits for a WR3 or FLEX option in challenging PPR formats, bait the bird.
Strong Buy (12-teams plus) TE a bottomless Pitta of value in Week 15
Dennis Pitta (TE) Baltimore Ravens
When the Ravens' no-huddle offense clicked at the beginning of the season, Pitta had the look of a top-shelf tight end. From Weeks 1-3, he totaled 31 targets, 18 receptions, 188 yards and two touchdowns. However, after he experienced a major lull several weeks thereafter, the tight end became expendable, kicked to the curb by thousands of impatient owners. However, since Week 10, Pitta is again producing. Over his past six games, he's scored five TDs and accounted for 50.2 yards per game. His 7-122-2 explosion against Denver was the finest performance of his career. Slated to face a sagging Giants defense that's struggled in pass coverage, he could again churn out a TE1 output. Reacquire.
Solid Buy (12-teams plus) Week 16 Plug 'n Play QB
Sam Bradford (QB) St. Louis Rams
The former No. 1 pick's rise to stardom has stalled. On occasion he's exuded the appearance of a true to form franchise quarterback. Other times, he's looked like a passer who wouldn't be worthy of taking first-team snaps, even for the Arizona Cardinals. But this week the former side will likely make a cameo. Tampa's secondary, the worst in the league, is overly generous. Including Drew Brees last week, nine quarterbacks have reached 20 fantasy points against it. Bradford rarely delivers QB1 level numbers. On the year, he's finished inside the positions top-12 just twice, but given the enticing matchup, he's worth weighing in deeper leagues.
Strong Buy (all leagues) Week 16 DEF Plug n' Play
New York Jets Defense/Special Teams
Allowing 13 points or less in four of their past five games, the defense has been the lone strength of the '12 Jets. This week matched against a Chargers offensive line that's failed to execute in several areas, Antonio Cromartie and company could take flight. Philip Rivers has been sacked 43 times this season, the third-most in the league. Buy a ticket.