It's a hard time being a Cal guy right now. Spoiler alert, but the Golden Bears just got trampled by USC on Thursday night and Blue and Gold fantasy stalwarts in the NFL are largely having a rough go of it this season.
Keenan Allen played all of one half of football before being lost for the season, Justin Forsett went from a starter to being cut in the span of six weeks, hell even Aaron Rodgers, captain of the U.S.S. Struggleship, has largely been a disappointment this year. All of that came to pass before C.J. Anderson went down with a meniscus tear and placed on injured reserve. Someone find Marvin Jones and put that dude in bubble.
From a fantasy perspective, no CJA means all of the Devontae Booker. He's a good, powerful back playing in a run-friendly Gary Kubiak scheme. Booker has top-five positional upside moving forward. Yes, he's that good and playing with that good of a systematic match.
Booker, playing at home, could easily be the RB1 this week versus San Diego; a team that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points per game to running backs.
If you stashed Booker early, bravo. It could be a league-winning maneuver. Play him every week with extreme confidence.
For you Anderson managers, first can we marvel at the fact that he collected 84 yards and a touchdown AFTER tearing up his knee in the first quarter last week?!? Here's to hoping he gets back, is 100 percent and is able to help the Broncos in the postseason should they get there. But for fantasy purposes, considering he's out at least eight weeks and we're eight weeks in ... you do the math. You don't want to? Fine. You can drop him.
More news and notes...
NEWS: Randall Cobb popped up on the injury report mid-week with a hamstring injury and was reportedly very limited in practice Thursday. Coach Mike McCarthy on Friday said Cobb was "progressing."
- Fantasy spin: Hamstrings are notoriously tricky but Cobb himself doesn't seem all that concerned. He's got a fabulous matchup versus Atlanta and I would expect to play him unless he suffers a setback pregame.
- Fantasy spin: He's not a known commodity but with the Jones' injury there's no way to keep Rob Kelley on the down low. Do I believe he can fly? Sure why not. Will he be the ignition to Washington's run game? Possibly. Sorry I'm out of bad R. Kelly puns. He's the nominal starter but is expected to split the workload with Chris Thompson. Meanwhile, Reed looks to be on track to play and most would be surprised if he didn't go this week. In a season where tight end is a barren wasteland, play him with confidence.
- Bottom line: Play Kelley and Thompson as flex plays with upside. Thompson in PPR provides a rock-solid floor as well. If you have Reed, fire him up.
- Fantasy spin: McCoy missed practice all week and was slapped with the doubtful tag. We can safely assume Shady will be in street clothes. Gillislee is definitely worth a start but should be considered a low-floor, high-ceiling play. There are six teams on a bye and considering all the injuries, if you have Gillislee, you're playing him. BUT ... the Patriots are coming to town and considering New England suffered a shutout loss to Buffalo already, it's pretty easy to see the team (with Tom Brady this time) putting up a big number early and creating an extremely negative game script for the Bills run game. If that's the case, don't be surprised to see Reggie Bush be involved in the game as well. Yes, I'm for reals.
- Bottom line: Flex Gillislee and hope the Bills keep it competitive enough for Gillislee to get work. He has big-play potential and even in a blowout could find the end zone.
- Fantasy spin: Obviously it's a fantastic matchup for Spencer Ware, play him ahead of just about any back not named David Johnson or Ezekiel Elliott. But for you JC managers, I know it seems tempting to drop Charles but I'm here to tell you to exercise patience ... extreme patience. Let's view Charles as what he is right now: a Ware handcuff. Considering the position group, there isn't a whole lot of options out there and even in your most depressed state you have to admit that Charles is a handcuff with one of the highest ceilings.
- Bottom line: Hold on to Charles. It may not pay off for weeks, it may not pay off ever, but that's the handcuff game, friends. Sometimes it wins you a league, sometimes it clogs a roster spot for an entire season.
- Corey Coleman hasn't yet been cleared to catch footballs in practice but is reportedly very close to resuming full football activities. Coleman told reporters that once he's cleared to catch, he's playing. He could return as soon as next week.
- Sammy Watkins is out of his walking boot. He's not eligible to return till Week 12 but for those of you with strong records, go to your league's waiver wire to see if he's there. He's available in a ton of leagues and is worth a stash obviously.
- Go and read Alex Gelhar's longform piece on the Saints' famed "Dome Patrol." Look, I get it, it's not fantasy, it's historical and it's long. But let me tell you, it is also one other thing: really damn good. It's great sports writing and a welcome change from the 140-character writing we've all become obsessed with. Instead of playing "Clash of Clans" in the bathroom, fire this bad boy up. We won't judge you and as a matter of fact, we encourage it.