Jesse Pantuosco

Power Rankings

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Week 13 Power Rankings

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


For fantasy purposes, I don’t have any vested interest in Josh Gordon. I don’t have a single Gordon share in my season-long leagues and I’ll be fully fading him on FanDuel this week against a tough Chargers secondary. But I’m rooting for him Sunday and you should too.

 

Like Andy Dufresne in Shawshank Redemption, Gordon crawled through a tunnel of mud and came out the other side. The response to Gordon’s return this week has been polarizing and perhaps for good reason. Gordon has lived on the edge for a long time, riding the ups and downs of a rollercoaster existence while struggling with rampant drug and alcohol abuse. Scarred from a difficult upbringing in Houston, Gordon has seen it all. He’s been kicked out of high school, college and the NFL while spending time in rehab and even serving a jail stint at age 17. Through it all, Gordon was rarely sober, admitting to GQ earlier this month that he’s been drunk or high for nearly every game of his NFL career.

 

Immensely flawed but also an amazing and rare football talent, Gordon’s path to redemption and sobriety has been a painful and compelling journey. I understand if fans feel conflicted rooting for a player with so much baggage, a player who likely squandered the best years of his career by succumbing to his inner demons. And maybe Gordon will never be the same player he was when he led the league in receiving yards as a 22-year-old in 2013.

 

But let’s look at Gordon through the lens of a human being and not some pawn in your quest to win a relatively meaningless fantasy football game. Gordon has fought day and night for a second chance. Okay, maybe this isn’t his second chance, or even his third or fourth, but Gordon deserves credit for confronting his toxic past and taking the steps needed to turn his life around. He’s been completely transparent throughout his recovery, owning up to past mistakes while working hard to break his lifelong chain of self-destruction. And after three years of swimming toward rock bottom, Gordon has finally come up for air. All for a chance to play one month for a team that may finish 0-16.

 

Gordon fought like Hell for this. So let’s give him one more shot. Now to the Power Rankings, where the Eagles (big surprise) are on top for the sixth straight week.

 

 

1. Philadelphia Eagles

 

Record: 10-1

 

Last Week: 1

 

Alshon Jeffery’s scoring binge continued with another touchdown against the Bears, his former team, in Week 12. Jeffery, who extended his scoring streak to four games on Sunday, already has more touchdowns this season (seven) than he had in his previous two years combined (six). Jay Ajayi was expected to work as the featured back upon his arrival in Philly, but instead LeGarrette Blount has out-touched him 37-22 over the last three games.

 

2. New England Patriots

 

Record: 9-2

 

Last Week: 2

 

What will Rob Gronkowski do for an encore after giving us two Gronk spikes in Week 12? Considering his dominance in Buffalo over the years (that’s his hometown), I’d save some room on my DVR for Sunday’s game. Dion Lewis continues to impress. He rushed for 112 yards in Week 12, setting a career-high in the process. Tom Brady’s 26 touchdown passes are the most-ever by a player age 40 or older. In a couple years, there won’t be any records left for him to break.

 

Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting the Rotoworld Beat the Writers Series, where you can play against five Rotoworld football writers for your chance at cash prizes and free entry into their Sunday Million. Put your knowledge to the test!

 

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Record: 9-2

 

Last Week: 3

 

Maybe the Steelers aren’t as good as their record would suggest—they needed a last-gasp 53-yard field goal from Chris Boswell (a career long) to steal a win over the Brett Hundley-led Packers on Sunday night. But when you have Antonio Brown (169 yards, two touchdowns in Week 12) and Le’Veon Bell (183 yards from scrimmage) at your disposal, it does make life a bit easier. We’ll see what the Steelers are made of the next three weeks against divisional opponents Cincinnati and Baltimore leading up to a Week 15 showdown with New England.

 

4. Minnesota Vikings

 

Record: 9-2

 

Last Week: 4

 

You know you’re having a pretty awesome year when fantasy owners are let down when you ONLY catch eight passes for 89 yards as Adam Thielen did in Week 12. The Minnesota State alum (go Mavericks) is now on pace for over 1,400 receiving yards, a threshold no Viking has reached since Randy Moss set a team record with his 1,632 yards in 2003. Four of Latavius Murray’s five touchdowns this year have come in his last three games.

 

5. Los Angeles Rams

 

Record: 8-3

 

Last Week: 6

 

Jared Goff had the goods on Sunday, halting the Saints’ eight-game winning streak by throwing for 354 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s now gone over 300 yards in three of his last four outings. With Robert Woods (shoulder) on the shelf, Cooper Kupp lit it up with a career-high 116 yards on eight catches in Week 12. He leads all rookies with 597 receiving yards. Sunday clinched the Rams’ first non-losing season since 2006.

 

6. New Orleans Saints

 

Record: 8-3

 

Last Week: 5

 

The Saints’ winning streak came to an end in Week 12, but don’t point a finger at Alvin Kamara. The Rookie of the Year shoe-in delivered a game for the ages, abusing the Rams for 188 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Kamara has scored in each of his last five games and leads all running backs with 548 receiving yards. Mark Ingram’s 31 rushing yards Sunday were his fewest since Week 1.

 

7. Carolina Panthers

 

Record: 8-3

 

Last Week: 7

 

Greg Olsen didn’t last long in his return from a broken foot. He made it just 24 snaps before aggravating his foot in Sunday’s win over the Jets. With Olsen down for the count, Devin Funchess set a season-high with 108 yards on seven catches in Week 12. His 12 targets were a career-high. Among quarterbacks, Cam Newton is tied for the league lead with five rushing touchdowns including a one-yard scamper in Sunday’s victory.

 

8. Atlanta Falcons

 

Record: 7-4

 

Last Week: 9

 

Nobody does blow-up games like Julio Jones. He went Pompeii on the Bucs with 253 yards and two touchdowns including one from Mohamed Sanu, who has now thrown for three touchdowns on six career passing attempts. Remarkably, it was only the third-highest receiving total of Julio’s career. Tevin Coleman has feasted in Devonta Freeman’s absence, compiling 243 yards from scrimmage with four touchdowns over his last three games.

 

9. Seattle Seahawks

 

Record: 7-4

 

Last Week: 10

 

Eddie Lacy saw a season-high 17 carries in Week 12 but predictably fell flat, struggling to just 2.7 yards per carry versus the Niners. He’ll be riding the pine this week with Mike Davis expected back from a groin injury. Another week, another touchdown for Jimmy Graham. That gives him four in his last three games and eight for the year, which leads all tight ends. Has Russell Wilson (26 total touchdowns) put himself in the MVP conversation? I’d wager that Carson Wentz and Tom Brady are still the chalk, but at least he has Evan Silva’s vote.

 

10. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Record: 7-4

 

Last Week: 8

 

UCF alum (they’re undefeated!) Blake Bortles ran like a man possessed in Week 12 with 62 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. Unfortunately, Bortles was also required to throw the ball, which didn’t work out nearly as well for him (19-for-33, 160 yards, one interception). Jalen Ramsey ruled himself out for Sunday’s game in Arizona after injuring his hand at Friday’s practice. So of course, he played the whole game and shut down Larry Fitzgerald (three catches for 12 yards). Remind me to never believe a word Ramsey says.

 

11. Los Angeles Chargers

 

Record: 5-6

 

Last Week: 16

 

Wait a second … the Chargers, who were 0-4 to start the year, are now just one game behind Kansas City for first in the division? THIS IS ANARCHY! One week after destroying Buffalo for 159 yards and two touchdowns, Keenan Allen let loose again with 11 catches for 172 yards in a Thanksgiving win over Dallas. Hunter Henry also enjoyed Turkey Day, producing five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. The five catches were as many as Henry had in his previous three games combined.

 

12. Tennessee Titans

 

Record: 7-4

 

Last Week: 13

 

On this week’s episode of DeMarco Murray crashing into brick walls … but seriously, when will the charade end? Derrick Henry leads the team in rushing, yards per carry, yards after contact … what more do you need? Henry’s a peacock—you gotta’ let him fly. Delanie Walker finally found the end zone in Week 12, ending an 11-game touchdown drought. The Titans will have a chance to pad their division lead with upcoming games against the Texans, Cardinals and Niners, who are all under .500.  

 

13. Detroit Lions

 

Record: 6-5

 

Last Week: 12

 

Marvin Jones was at it again in Week 12, impressing with 109 yards and two touchdowns despite a difficult matchup with Xavier Rhodes. He’s now second in the league in touchdowns behind only DeAndre Hopkins. Detroit’s three-game winning streak came to an abrupt end in Thursday’s Thanksgiving loss to the Vikings. Luckily the Lions only face one more team with a winning record, and they’re getting that game out of the way Sunday at Baltimore.

 

14. Washington Redskins

 

Record: 5-6

 

Last Week: 15

 

Welcome back to the WR2 ranks, Jamison Crowder. The former Duke Blue Devil broke out for a career-high 141 yards in a Thanksgiving win over the Giants while drawing double-digit targets for the third time in four games. Samaje Perine just keeps grinding. The Redskins’ new workhorse rushed for 100 yards on the dot in Week 12, giving him 100-plus yards in back-to-back games. Save me a plate of sweet potato yams, would you Vernon?

 

15. Baltimore Ravens

 

Record: 6-5

 

Last Week: 17

 

It’s funny how things work out, isn’t it? Seattle’s backfield has been a mess all year while Alex Collins, who the Seahawks discarded at the end of training camp, has made a name for himself as the Ravens’ lead ball-carrier. He’s helped Baltimore stay afloat in the AFC Wild Card hunt by scoring in each of his last two games. Joe Flacco has averaged 5.34 yards per attempt this season. That’s worse than … well everyone. Even DeShone Kizer’s like, “Dude, pick up the pace.”

 

16. Buffalo Bills

 

Record: 6-5

 

Last Week: 19

 

Fresh off an ugly (and that’s putting it kindly) loss to the Chargers, the Bills stopped the bleeding with a much-needed win Sunday at Kansas City. Tyrod Taylor, who the Bills can’t wait to get rid of for some reason, did his part by throwing for 183 yards while adding another 27 on the ground. With Kelvin Benjamin nursing a torn meniscus, rookie Zay Jones is back to being the Bills’ No. 1 receiver. He scored his second touchdown in three weeks against the Chiefs, but only caught three-of-10 targets for 33 yards.

 


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Jesse Pantuosco is a football and baseball writer for Rotoworld. He has won three Fantasy Sports Writers Association Awards. Follow him on Twitter @JessePantuosco.
Email :Jesse Pantuosco



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