Who will be this year’s Tim Hightower? Fantasy gamers have been pondering that one all season. Always in pursuit of a running back that ascends the bottom of a depth chart to suddenly impacting the money weeks of the fantasy playoffs. That answer has arrived in the form of an undrafted rookie free agent on the San Diego Chargers named Kenneth Farrow. After sustaining injuries to his hip and knee, Melvin Gordon is going to miss at least this week’s home game against the Oakland Raiders. Assuming Gordon also misses Week 16, we’ll have Farrow as the lead back on the road against the hapless Cleveland Browns in the fantasy champion round.
The 5-8 Chargers have no reason to force Gordon back on to the field. And after enjoying an impressive second-year rebound, Gordon has no reason to jeopardize his health any further; unless the three yards he needs to reach 1,000 rushing yards really means that much to him. If so, resting up for a brief Week 17 appearance for milestone purposes should be enough.
“But watch out for Ronnie Hillman!”
Keep in mind this week will be the first game in which the Chargers — Hillman’s third team in 2016 – will elect to activate him for a game since claiming him off waivers on November 22. Farrow has been with the team all season. He played well in two preseason games, averaging 5.3 yards per carry on 23 attempts. Farrow also caught four of five targets for an additional 45 yards.
“But Farrow can’t pass protect!”
Farrow made on PFF’s draft sleeper list. That articles makes mention of his “next-level blocking chops”. More importantly, Farrow is a solid pass catcher. We want him catching dump offs and checkdowns instead of staying in to block, anyway. Fantasy gamers overrate the pass protection of running backs, just like wide receivers that drop passes. Outside of getting Philip Rivers utterly decleated, Farrow isn’t going to be ripped out of the game plan because of a pass protection hiccup.
Farrow’s Workout Metrics graph is lopsided, brought down by well-below average marks in both his 40-Yard Dash time and Speed Score. The College Dominator Rating comes in at the 38th percentile because the run-heavy Houston Cougars ran quarterback Greg Ward Jr. nearly 200 times during Farrow’s senior season. As for the positives, Farrow features 80th percentile marks in both his SPARQ-x and Burst scores, while also owning a well-above average Agility Score (77th).
Last week in relief of Melvin Gordon, Farrow ran 16 times for 55 yards against the Carolina Panthers. That’s only 3.4 yards per carry, but Gordon was only averaging 3.9 YPC. Kenneth Farrow also caught all six of his targets for 23 yards. Prior to his injury, Gordon had seen six or more targets in five of the last six games. Yet in despite of this amazing opportunity in the fantasy playoffs, Farrow is still available in half of Yahoo and ESPN public leagues. Friends, this is a top-10 running back this week in the PlayerProfiler Weekly Player Rankings and a must play in DFS. We were tweeting from @RotoUnderworld within minutes of Gordon’s misfortune that all of your remaining FAAB should be placed on Farrow.
— RotoUnderworld (@rotounderworld) December 11, 2016
Get Kenneth Farrow or die trying.
Colin Kaepernick (35% Y!, 36% ESPN) Heading to Atlanta marks a return to the scene of the biggest win in Kaepernick’s professional career, capturing the 2012 NFC Championship after erasing a 17-0 deficit. Even though they’ve only allowed three passing touchdowns over their last four games, no team has given up more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season than Atlanta.
Trevor Siemian (11% Y!, 10% ESPN) It seems as though I like Siemian a lot more than most do this week. After missing one game with a foot injury, Siemian threw 51 times for 334 yards with a touchdown in a road loss against Tennessee as Denver continues to shy away from running the ball. That ended a streak of three games with multiple touchdown passes for Siemian. Last week, Joe Flacco attempted 52 passes against New England, producing 324 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Even though the Zero RB drafters that landed Jerick McKinnon got the aging Adrian Peterson domino to fall early into the season, important dominoes along the offensive line also fell in front of McKinnon. The 100th percentile SPARQ-x Score athletic freak was suddenly unleashed only to be undermined just as quickly. Even with Matt Asiata unfairly vulturing some red zone opportunities, McKinnon could have been an RB2 in fantasy had the offensive line not eroded. That would have also benefited Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, and even Asiata.
Jerick McKinnon is suddenly an interesting contrarian option this week against the Indianapolis Colts, who last week gave up more than 190 rushing yards to the Houston Texans four-man backfield. McKinnon’s snap percentage has been slightly climbing for weeks and he’s now seen a season-high six targets in two consecutive games.
Pierre Garcon (40% Y!, 44% ESPN) Four or more receptions in six straight games. No fewer than five targets in every game this season.
Corey Coleman (43% Y!, 37% ESPN) Targets over the last three weeks: 11, 7, 12.
Anquan Boldin (34% Y!, 35% ESPN) Detroit’s top red zone target also leads the team with seven touchdown receptions. Six or more targets in four straight games.
Breshad Perriman (2% Y!, 2% ESPN) Limited targets, but 50+ receiving yards in three of his last four games.
Charles Clay (12% Y!, 10% ESPN) New father coming off his first touchdown of the season now faces the Browns.
A.J. Derby (0% Y!, 0% ESPN) Coming off a season-high five targets. Traded by New England to Denver earlier in the season. Revenge game!