Fantasy football

Fantasy Beat: Singletary trustworthy vs. Patriots with championships on the line?

Fantasy Beat: Singletary trustworthy vs. Patriots with championships on the line?

Fantasy football players seem to get smarter every year. The leagues get deeper. The competition gets better. That's partially because of the sheer amount of information available to fantasy geeks willing to put the time in.

Still, it's not always easy to find sound fantasy advice on players making up the back ends of fantasy depth charts. That's where we'll try to help fill in the gaps by providing you with information we've gleaned by being on the Patriots beat.

MARQUEE MATCHUP: DEVIN SINGLETARY VS. PATRIOTS DEFENSE

The Patriots defense had themselves a day back in Week 4 when they made a visit to Buffalo. They picked off four passes. They sacked the Bills five times. They allowed just 4.9 yards per drop back. They limited Josh Allen (and later Matt Barkley) to just 3-for-15 on third and fourth-down conversion attempts. Buffalo left New Era Field with only a 10 on the scoreboard. But the running game...That Bills running game racked up 6.1 yards per carry that day. And they were without their best back. 

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That's rookie 5-foot-7 dynamo Devin Singletary, who was injured in late September but has been one of the league's toughest backs to tackle since Week 9. According to Pro Football Focus, only fellow rookie Josh Jacobs back has forced more missed tackles (35) than Singletary (29) since then. Singletary's 343 yards after contact since Week 9 are seventh-most in the NFL. He's ninth in yards per carry in that time at 4.8.

If the Bills are going to create any forward momentum against the Patriots and their stellar pass defense, one would assume that'll be on the ground, where the Patriots rank in the middle of the pack, allowing 4.3 yards per carry. He's a three-down back who has a little Dion Lewis circa 2015 to his game, and he could give the Patriots -- a team that's given up their share of big gains when tackles have been missed -- all they can handle on the ground. He feels like a safe RB2 if he's on your roster going into the final week of fantasy re-draft league play. 

POPPERS

SONY MICHEL: We know Tom Brady's numbers against the Bills since Sean McDermott's arrival as coach prior to the start of the 2017 season. He's averaging just over 216 yards passing per game in his five matchups with McDermott's Bills. He has three touchdowns and five interceptions in those meetings. 

Things don't seem to be getting much better any time soon. This Bills defense is that good. They make it hard to throw to backs with athletic linebackers. And while they might not confuse Brady all that often, they'll confuse Brady's weapons by disguising coverages and changing looks right at the snap. The answer? Run it. Or try to, at least. 

The Bills rank right behind the Patriots, allowing 4.4 yards per carry this year. Michel had 89 carries on 19 carries last week in Cincy, and you can bet that the Patriots will want to continue to pound the rock at this point in the season, shortening games, allowing their defense and special teams to make the game-changing plays. I like Michel as an RB2 this week.

COLE BEASLEY: Typically it's not a great idea to point to any receiver about to face the Patriots and say, "Like the matchup!" But this is a unique scenario. 

The Patriots will be without their slot corner Jonathan Jones in this one. That matters. The options the Patriots have as fill-ins in Jones' absence are Jason McCourty (questionable with a groin injury), Patrick Chung...and maybe Devin McCourty, who has become a Swiss Army knife-type for this defense. 

In any case, Beasley could be in line for a heavy workload. He caught seven passes for 75 yards against the Patriots when Jones was in the lineup back in Week 4. Even after a brutal 2-point performance last week against the Steelers, I like Beasley as a low-cost daily play or a FLEX option on re-draft leagues. 

DROPPERS

TOM BRADY: See: Michel, Sony. 

JULIAN EDELMAN: Edelman practiced this week. And he's coming off a game where he avoided taking as many shots as he usually does, catching just two passes against the Bengals. But he clearly looked off in that game and he didn't look right early in practice this week. I don't doubt that he'll be in uniform. I do doubt that his health combined with this matchup will yield much in the way of fantasy points. You're going to want to sit every Patriots receiver this week, including Mohamed Sanu, N'Keal Harry and Phillip Dorsett. 

JAMES WHITE: Bills linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano are good athletes. Edmunds is a long and smooth athlete who was drafted No. 16 overall in 2018. Milano has graded out as the sixth-best coverage linebacker in football this year. White had eight catches on 10 targets the last time these two teams met, and I imagine the Patriots will try to create chunk gains in the passing game with screens, but I wouldn't depend on much from one of New England's most dependable players this week. He's a FLEX option if you're desperate in PPR formats. Rex Burkhead is another Patriots back you'll want to avoid this week. He may score -- as he did last week, answering any fantasy Hail Marys last week -- but you can't count on that happening again this week.

JOHN BROWN: Josh Allen's deep threat lives off the long ball. He's averaging a whopping 9.1 yards per target this season and 14.2 yards per catch. But the Patriots are one of the best teams in football when it comes to limiting explosive pass plays. They're fourth in that category, per Sharp Football Stats, allowing just 32 explosive pass plays this season for 507 yards. 
 

Fantasy football Week 16 waiver wire: Breshad Perriman can be a league-winner

Fantasy football Week 16 waiver wire: Breshad Perriman can be a league-winner

It's not about how you start the fantasy football season. It's how you finish.

If you're reading this, chances are your squad is loaded enough to roll through your league's playoffs to the championship round.

But there's always room for improvement, and the Week 16 waiver wire includes a couple players who should be legitimate starters in any fantasy lineup, regardless of depth.

Want to win the whole thing? Start by doing your due diligence on the waiver wire. Here are our top free-agent pickups at each position entering Week 16.

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins (owned in 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues): We hope you have a better QB1 option than Fitzpatrick if you've reached your league's championship. But if you're in a two-QB league, the ageless, bearded wonder is a fine pickup: He's attempted 37 or more passes in five consecutive games and gets a beatable Cincinnati Bengals defense.

Other quarterbacks to target: Jacoby Brissett (IND), Mitchell Trubisky (CHI), Gardner Minshew (JAX)

RUNNING BACK

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings (39 percent owned): It's still unclear if Dalvin Cook will play in Week 16 after suffering a shoulder injury Sunday. If he doesn't, that's a massive opportunity for either Mattison or Mike Boone, who found the end zone twice in Week 15 with Cook and Mattison both sidelined. If Mattison is healthy, he should be your top waiver wire priority against the Green Bay Packers' Swiss cheese run defense.

Other running backs to target: Mike Boone (MIN), Chris Thompson (WAS), Wes Hills (DET)

WIDE RECEIVER

Breshad Perriman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13 percent owned): This one's a no-brainer. Perriman had produced double-digit fantasy points in two consecutive weeks before going off for three touchdowns last Sunday in Mike Evans' absence. With Chris Godwin also on the shelf, Perriman suddenly is the No. 1 wideout for Jameis Winston and the pass-happy Bucs.

Other wide receivers to target: Anthony Miller (CHI), Chris Conley (JAX), James Washington (PIT)

TIGHT END

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41 percent owned): Perriman isn't the only Bucs pass-catcher who should benefit from Evans and Godwin being out. Howard has at least four catches in three consecutive games, and the Houston Texans have allowed six touchdowns to tight ends over their last seven contests.

Other tight ends to target: Jonnu Smith (TEN), Darren Fells (HOU)

DEFENSE

Denver Broncos (25 percent owned): David Blough's stats through three games as the Detroit Lions' starting quarterback -- five interceptions, one fumble, nine sacks -- are all the evidence you need to pick up the Broncos ahead of this matchup in Denver.

Other defenses to target: Indianapolis (vs. CAR), Atlanta (vs. JAX)

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Fantasy football Week 15 waiver wire: Can A.J. Brown deliver in playoffs?

Fantasy football Week 15 waiver wire: Can A.J. Brown deliver in playoffs?

You didn't come this far just to come this far.

Week 15 of the NFL season means it's the semifinal round of the fantasy football playoffs in most leagues.

If you're reading this, congrats on still being alive. But you're not interested in a runner-up trophy, and we're not interested in providing runner-up advice.

Below are the top players at each position who are widely available on fantasy football waiver wires and are worth adding for Week 15 as you seek fantasy glory.

QUARTERBACK

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans (owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues): We'll continue to put Tannehill on this list until he's owned in more than half of leagues. The Titans gunslinger was the sixth-best quarterback in fantasy last week and faces a Houston Texans defense that just allowed 309 passing yards and three touchdowns to Drew Lock. He's your guy again this week.

Other quarterbacks to target: Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA), Jacoby Brissett (IND), Kyle Allen (CAR)

RUNNING BACK

Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins (40 percent owned): News that Derrius Guice has a sprained MCL means Peterson is the clear-cut workhorse on a team that loves to run the ball. The ageless veteran has touchdowns in back-to-back weeks and should see north of 20 touches against the Philadelphia Eagles, making him the safest waiver wire pickup among running backs.

Other running backs to target: DeAndre Washington (OAK), Patrick Laird (MIA), Boston Scott (PHI)

WIDE RECEIVER

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans (27 percent owned): The rookie wide receiver has become Tannehill's go-to deep threat, with 333 receiving yards over his last three games. Brown's low catch total makes him a bit of a boom-or-bust play, but it's the playoffs. Gotta take shots to make shots.

Other wide receivers to target: Zach Pascal (IND), Darius Slayton (NYG), Justin Watson (TB)

TIGHT END

David Njoku, Cleveland Browns (37 percent owned): Njoku caught just one pass for four yards in his first game since Week 2, but has a dream matchup against an Arizona Cardinals defense that's given up the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season. He's a high-risk breakout candidate.

Other tight ends to target: Gerald Everett (LAR), Darren Fells (HOU)

DEFENSE

Kansas City Chiefs (32 percent owned): Is the Chiefs defense ... good? Kansas City has held each of its last opponents (including the New England Patriots) to 16 points or fewer. The Denver Broncos are riding high after upsetting the Texans, but we're sensing a turnover-filled letdown game in KC.

Other defenses to target: Oakland (vs. JAX), Seattle (at CAR)

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