Fantasy NFL Studs & Duds: Brady blunted in Week 12 win over Eagles

Having all those rings must slow him down a bit, right?

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Here we are fantasy fans, Week 11 is in the books and our fantasy lineups are done for another week. This means it’s a time for reflection, for research and pondering, but more importantly for feeling smug for your great decisions, and feeling bitter with regret about your misses. Don’t worry dear fantasy player, we’re here to share your joys and sorrows as we look back on Week 11’s Fantasy Heroes and Villains!

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 08: Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills scrambles for a touchdown against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on September 08, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

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Heroes

Josh Allen– QB – Buffalo Bills

Josh Allen isn’t a great quarterback. He regularly overthrows his wide receivers, he panics in the pocket, and his accuracy is amongst the worst in the league. All of the things that were knocks on him coming out of college are still true. But…

Josh Allen is a great fantasy quarterback. He doesn’t throw too many interceptions, he doesn’t lose too many fumbles, and for all of his throwing woes, he ranks third among QBs in rushing yards and first in rushing touchdowns this season. Those ground stats are fantasy gold for a quarterback, and Allen added to his totals with 56 yards and a rushing score against the Dolphins on Sunday. He also managed 256 yards and a season-high three passing touchdowns against the hapless Miami defence. Allen may not be perfect, but he was the perfect start for your fantasy team in Week 11.

HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 02: Atlanta Falcons helmets on the field during the Super Bowl LI practice on February 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Calvin Ridley – WR – Atlanta Falcons

Dan Quinn’s Atlanta Falcons future was hanging by a thread heading into their bye week a fortnight ago. Already out of the playoff picture and looking like a team who had given up on their coach and their season, bright spots were hard to find. Their passing game had regressed, and the looming spectre of Matt Schaub under centre wasn’t going to improve things.

Then the bye week happened. Matt Ryan is back. The defence has started picking up stops, and the offence has started humming too. One of the beneficiaries has been Calvin Ridley, as the second-year wideout this week took the Tampa Bay secondary to task, catching all 8 balls thrown his way for 143 yards and a score. This marked only the second time Ridley has gone over a hundred yards this season, but if the Falcons continue to play as they have been recently, expect more good stat lines in the weeks to come.

Tarik Cohen – RB – Chicago Bears

Seasoned fantasy players can remember a time when Tarik Cohen was a fantasy PPR bargain, catching anything and everything thrown his way and then making defenders miss out of the backfield. He’s never been a featured back, but he could put up points like one regardless of the number of snaps he played. That hasn’t been the case this season, however, as a combination of poor QB play (YES YOU MITCHELL TRUBISKY) and conservative play-calling (YES YOU MATT NAGY) have seen him have his worst fantasy season in years in 2019.

That trend was reversed this week against the Rams, as the Cohen of old came rushing back. Well, not exactly rushing, as he only had 39 yards on the ground in Da Bears 17-7 loss, but he made up for that with five catches for 35 air yards and the team’s only score on Sunday night. Matt Nagy would do well to remember that putting the ball in Cohen’s hands is a good thing for his team. And for your fantasy team.

Tom Brady

Villains

Tom Brady – QB – New England Patriots

Coming out of his bye week and facing a Philadelphia Eagles side that ranked in the bottom half in pass defence so far this year, this looked like the ideal game for Brady to get back on track after a poor showing on the road against AFC rivals the Baltimore Ravens. With all of his weapons healthy and an extra week to prepare, this should have been the week Brady returned to his imperious self.

It wasn’t to be, however, as the Eagles pass rush combined with a fearsome wind in Philly to make this a low-scoring affair. Brady completed 26 of his 47 pass attempts for 216 yards, and while he played a clean game in terms of giveaways, he failed to throw a touchdown pass for the third time this year. To add insult to injury, the lone touchdown pass the Patriots had was thrown by wide receiver Julian Edelman on a trick play, making this the first start in Brady’s career that a teammate threw more touchdowns than he did. This is not the history Tom Terrific wants to be making. It doesn’t help fantasy managers either.

Cooper Kupp – WR – Los Angeles Rams

The temptation to include Cooper Kupp in the Villains section of last week’s column was only overcome because we’d already put in Jared Goff, and two Rams in the same week seemed like overkill. He did go without a catch for just the second time in his career though, so it would have been well deserved. It was always likely he’d rebound this week with a manageable matchup against the Bears and the absence of both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods at wideout for the Rams. I mean, he’d have to, right?

Um, sort of. Sure, he was better than zero, grabbing the three passes sent his way for all of 53 yards. Still, given the season that Kupp has had up until these last two weeks you, the esteemed and savvy fantasy player, should feel entitled to a lot more considering Kupp’s talent, that matchup and the increased opportunity. We’ll just have to hope he rebounds next week instead, when the stuttering Rams offence faces…*checks notes*…the Ravens!?

Maybe the week after so.

PITTSBURGH, PA – AUGUST 09: Antony Auclair #82 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cannot make a catch while being defended by Robert Spillane #49 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second half of a preseason game at Heinz Field on August 9, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Ronald Jones – RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a season of pretending that Peyton Barber is a starting-calibre running back, Weeks 9 and 10 seemed to have finally shown us that Bucs head coach Bruce Arians saw what the rest of us had seen; Ronald Jones is a better player than Barber. The second-year back had three scores across the two weeks and was fast making Barber an afterthought in Tampa Bay’s high-scoring offence.

Of course, those two weeks were merely lulling fantasy owners into a false sense of security, as the inconsistency that led to Ronald Jones not being trusted reared it’s ugly head once more in Week 11. Jones carried the ball a mere four times for 13 yards at home to the Saints, adding two catches for a combined one yard in the passing game. He was still the team’s rushing leader among running backs, somehow. A frustrating week for anybody who thought we could now trust him.

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