FANTASY PLAYS: Eagles’ Matthews and Mathews put it together
After weeks of frustration, the Philadelphia Eagles’ top fantasy options going into the season — Jordan Matthews and Ryan Mathews — finally managed to put together a game in which both produced for their owners, something we haven’t been treated to since Week 1.
Just two weeks after it was suggested he had taken a backseat to Darren Sproles, the running back Mathews ran 19 times for 109 yards and two touchdowns, while also punching in a two-point conversion. And while it wasn’t a massive performance, the wide receiver Matthews hauled in six receptions on 10 targets for 73 yards — good for 13 points in point-per-reception leagues.
While this was the running back’s first 100-yard rushing game of the season, the two touchdowns pushed him to eight on the season — a career high. And the wideout now has 35 targets over his last three games, with 23 receptions for 226 yards in that span.
LET’S SQUEEZE IN ONE MORE MATTHEWS
Just to cover all the Mat(t)hews bases, Titans wideout Rishard Matthews has been a fantasy force lately, with six touchdowns in his last six games. He has 15 targets for nine receptions and 126 yards in his last two, with three touchdowns.
Rishard Matthews was a popular sleeper pick in the preseason, but disappointed early before his recent run of success. He’s owned in just 47 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
JEREMY LANGFORD MAY BE FANTASY RELEVANT AGAIN
Jordan Howard’s ankle/Achilles injury may open the door for Jeremy Langford to once again be the main back in Chicago. Langford missed four weeks of the season with an ankle injury, but did score touchdowns in each of his first two games before being supplanted by Howard.
Langford isn’t a sure thing to win back the starting job, however, as Ka’Deem Carey has been quietly effective in sparse playing time. Carey has 109 yards to Langford’s 132 and 43 receiving yards to Langford’s 48. Plus, Bears coach John Fox is famous for giving fantasy players fits, as he historically likes to use two running backs in his offense.
SAMMIE COATES HAS DISAPPEARED
Before an untimely finger injury, Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates was on pace for a breakout campaign, with 50 or more yards in each of his first five games. In his last four, however, Coates has managed just one catch for 4 yards.
Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys may have been the low point for Coates, as he was targeted just once in a game where Ben Roethlisberger threw 46 times for 408 yards and two wide receivers — Darrius Heyward-Bey and Markus Wheaton — were out with injuries.
The return of tight end Ladarius Green isn’t going to help Coates, nor has the fact that Le’Veon Bell is averaging nine targets per game and has nearly as many receiving yards (360) as rushing (433). And fellow wideout Eli Rogers has 15 targets over his last two games, with 145 yards and a touchdown. This leaves Coates on the outside looking in.
It’s not outside the realm of possibility for Coates to connect on a couple long passes and finish next week with 100-plus yards, but there’s no logic that would lead a fantasy owner to start him before a game like that; only head-scratching, what-do-I-do-now frustration afterward.
Coates is owned in 61 percent of CBSSports.com leagues, while Rogers is owned in just 23 percent. Those ownership numbers should probably be flipped.
— Jamison Crowder has 28 targets over his last three games and three touchdowns in his last four. While his next few weeks are a mixed bag of favorable and tough opponents (Packers, Cowboys, Cardinals, Eagles), Crowder has a tremendous playoff schedule, with games against the Panthers and the Bears in Weeks 15 and 16.
— DeVante Parker’s eight targets were his most since Week 2, and he finished Sunday with a surprising 103-yard game. After a fairly tough matchup against the Rams in Week 11, Parker gets the 49ers and Ravens, who have given up a combined 30 touchdowns to wide receivers this season. Parker is owned in 63 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.
— Stefon Diggs looks to be a focal point for Pat Shurmur’s Sam Bradford-centered offense. In the two games with Shurmur as offensive coordinator, Diggs has seen 29 targets. More importantly, he has converted 26 of those into receptions, producing 244 yards.
— Tennessee has been on fire lately, but beware the Titans’ Week 13 bye — which is paired with a bye for the Browns, as well. A fantasy team fighting for a playoff spot will have to go into the final week of the regular season without Marcus Mariota, DeMarco Murray, Delanie Walker, Terrelle Pryor, Gary Barnidge, Isaiah Crowell, and Duke Johnson.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com