Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: Injured players who should be showing up on your fantasy radar. Do you start a good wide receiver with a bad matchup (or a bad wide receiver with a good matchup)? Is Nelson Agholor for real? And what's up with Willie Snead?
How about a list of players that are not on the radar that you would target in a trade or free-agent pick up?
Bryan Morris (Pine City, NY)
There are a lot of injured players who’ll be coming back. Corey Davis, most notably, looked like a possible superstar in his first game, catching 6 passes for 69 yards. He’s been sidelined by a hamstring injury for most of the season, but I expect he’ll be healthy after their Week 8 bye. It wouldn’t surprise me if Davis is Tennessee’s most productive pass catcher in the second half of the season. Charles Clay (knee) should be back in a week or two, and he was having a solid season. He averaged 52 yards in his first five games, with 2 TDs, looking like a top-10 tight end. Dede Westbrook was really impressive in the preseason, consistently getting open for long catches downfield. He’s eligible to come off injured reserve after Week 8, and I expect they’ll quickly work him in as their primary deep threat. I could see him making more big plays than either Marqise Lee or Allen Hurns (problem, though, is we’re talking about a limited Jacksonville offense, where it’s difficult for any pass catcher to thrive). Corey Coleman (broken hand) should return in Week 11, so it’s about time for teams to start picking him up. He’ll be Cleveland’s best pass catcher in the final third of the season (though that offense has looked pretty stinky recently). Erik Swoope should return soon for the Colts, but with him, you’re dipping into a double question mark – he’s got to show he’s healthy and carve out of role in the offense, and he needs Andrew Luck to get healthy and work his way back into some kind of form.
Your redrafter projections show the Indianapolis QB combo (Brissett and Luck) equaling as much as the top QB. Confirming you would recommend using Brissett until Luck is ready? Or are you forecasting Luck doing well above everyone when he returns?
Peter Wohler (Minneapolis, MN)
If you can avoid using Brissett, that would be a good thing (they don’t have anymore home games left against the Browns and 49ers, do they?). To clarify, I expect the Colts will finish with below-average passing numbers during the remainder of the season. Maybe they’re slightly above average if they get Luck back for 6-7 games, but that’s looking less and less likely. The confusion here is caused by your decision to add together Brissett’s and Luck’s projected season totals. That a logical strategy, and one that a half-dozen other guys around the country have written in to ask about the last few years. But you’re not working with true numbers. With some of these players, I tossed in some extra stats to elevate them on the board. Consider Luck and Aaron Rodgers, for example. Given that both are injured, they’ll probably both finish with fewer yards and touchdowns in the remaining 11 weeks than Joe Flacco, Mitchell Trubisky and Jay Cutler. Even C.J. Beathard and DeShone Kizer. But in typical fantasy leagues, nobody is winning anything with those guys. But if Rodgers comes back for 3-4 games, and if Luck comes back and starts putting up the top-5 quarterback numbers he’s capable of, then we’ve got something. So in typical fantasy leagues, we want Rodgers and Luck higher on the draft board than those other guys. So with these kind of players, I decide where I want them on the board, then toss in some extra stats behind the curtain, making them slot to the right spot. It’s a strategy (on my end) that works fine. I want you to see Rodgers/Luck as a backup quarterback option. But we get into trouble if you try to combo those season-total projections.
Thanks for all you do, as my wife and my teams have 5-1 records and the two highest points in our 10 man non-PPR league. Of course, we're the only ones using FFI. Sorry but we always hide our draft sheets. I do always promote you to friends that play in other leagues. My question relates to the unusual volatility with the WRs, as my top two in the Redrafter Hilton and Allen drop 30 spots in the Weekly, which lists Martavis Bryant and Agholor as my top two, moving up 20 places. Are you sure? (I'm hoping that Martavis' girlfriend knows what the hell she's doing.)
Bob Phipps (Orlando, FL)
With the Redrafter, we’re looking at the rest of the season – which players will be the best over the course of the season? But with the Weekly, we’re focusing just on the games that are right in front of us. And when looking at Week 7, I don’t much care about what a guy might do in November or December. In your specific case, you’ve got T.Y. Hilton and Keenan Allen, who are going against the two best cornerback teams in the league. The Jaguars have really been shutting down opponents this year. With Hilton, you’re really holding onto him, waiting and hoping that Andrew Luck will show up and bring him to life. Allen is a nice pass catcher, but he’s definitely a possession guy and facing a defense that can really smother wide receivers. With the Chargers, this is an offense that typically will average about 280 passing yards, with Philip Rivers throwing maybe 28 touchdowns. But Denver since the start of last year has allowed an average over only 201 passing yards (about 50 under the league average), and with only 22 TD passes in those 21 games. And those aren’t touchdown passes to wide receivers, those are touchdowns to all players. Probably 50-50 at best that Rivers throws a touchdown pass to a wide receiver this week, and if he does, it could go to either Allen, Benjamin or either one of the Williams. There’s always a chance you’re wrong on these kind of decisions, but for me, I would be very comfortable putting out Bryant and Agholor as my starters, with Hilton and Allen sitting out.
|PASSING PRODUCTION AGAINST DENVER|
Always appreciate your insight. TD-heavy dynasty league. I stream a WR every week unsuccessfully. I just picked up Willie Snead due to high passing offense but read your review about DeVante Parker who is available. Cut Snead for Parker?
HOWIE FISHMAN (Hermosa Beach, CA)
Definitely. Parker is very much a No. 1 receiver, and should be an every-week starter for some team in your league. With his size and speed, he looks like he’s going to develop into another Alshon Jeffery, and I think it will happen. He caught 18 passes for 230 yards and a touchdown in his first three games, and there’s nothing wrong with that production. He’s just had an ankle injury the last two weeks. I wouldn’t be excited about using him this week; they say they’re hopeful he’ll play, but he’s definitely not 100 percent. But once he’s back to something close to full health (probably in Week 8) I think you’ll be very happy with him. Snead, on the other hand, looks pretty ordinary to me. He’s fallen just short of 1,000 yards the last two years, but he’s never been a great scorer. The Saints have thrown 70 touchdowns in the last two years, and he’s caught only 7 of them. Now it seems like they’ve soured on him. In both the preseason and in the game on Sunday against the Lions, it didn’t seem like the Saints considered him to be any more important than they’re other secondary wide receivers (Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman).
I'm curious as to why you're still bearish on Nelson Agholor even though Wentz keeps looking for him in the red zone and that Philly offense is definitely not terrible.
Randall Brater (Washington, DC)
I’ve probably been too slow to pick up on Agholor. He keeps making big plays. Right now he’s on pace to finish the season with 53 catches, 856 yards and 10-11 touchdowns. As for the post-mortem of why I haven’t moved him up the board sooner, there’s been the question of the overall offense. At what point do we buy in on Wentz and say that he’s one of the top half-dozen quarterbacks – a guy who’s going to pass for maybe 4,500 yards and 30-plus touchdowns? He started strong (especially in those first two weeks) but he’s still a second-year quarterback. And is that going to become more of a balance, run-pass team? After going pass crazy in their first two games, the Eagles have run the ball a lot more often and a lot more effectively in their last four. And where are we slotting Agholor? At the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure whether Agholor or Torrey Smith should be their No. 2 wide receiver. Smith is the starter and a good deep threat, while Agholor is playing in the slot. At this point, I’ve separated Agholor, placing him above Smith. But I’m not ready to say that Agholor will be better than Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz. Those guys are good players. So we’re talking about the No. 3 option, I think, and what’s probably a top-10 passing game. I think that’s what Agholor is.
Is it worth picking up one of the other running backs for Dallas now that Zeke might be suspended? If so, which one?
DAVID SMITH (Macon, GA)
Definitely. With most backup running backs – James Conner, Matt Breida, Mike Tolbert – you’re holding them so that you’re in the right spot if an injury occurs. With Ezekiel Elliott, you get that value, plus the added potential of him getting hit with a suspension. That’s still hung up in the courts, but I would expect that at some point this year, Elliott will have to sit out some games. That could occur shortly after court proceedings at the end of the month (Elliott looks certain to play in Week 8 at Washington). If and when a suspension occurs, Alfred Morris might be a top-10 back. I think he’ll be their guy. Darren McFadden seemed to have that role in August, but he’s been inactive for all of the regular season games. Morris seems to have moved ahead of him on the depth chart. Morris averaged 5.3 yards per carry in the preseason and has been getting a few carries off the bench. In their last two games, his four carries have gone for 70, 6, 5 and 5 yards. He’s a capable back, and he fits this system. Morris isn’t good on passing downs; I saw him cause a sack in the preseason by missing a block (so I think they’d avoid using him in passing situations). But Morris, I believe, will be their main runner.
I’m in a 10-team half-PPR league, sitting at 4-2 and last week I scored a trade for Julio Jones. So now I have Antonio Brown, Julio and a pretty strong reserve receivers. Problem is I suck at RB. My top RB is the Duke Johnson and I’ve the likes of Orleans Darkwa, Alfred Morris and Bilal Powell on bench. We start 1 RB, 2 WR and a flex so I’m of the opinion that WR is more valuable in this format. So my question is should I try to trade for a top-tier RB, like maybe Julio for Jordan Howard or something along those lines? Appreciate your thoughts on this one.
Brian Brady (Vienna, WV)
Any trade that comes along that makes your team better, I’m all for it. But you need not make a deal. I think you’re fine with what you have. Most weeks you roll out three good wide receivers, and you just need to find somebody at running back who won’t muck it up. You only need one running back. Duke Johnson is on pace to catch 69 passes, so he fits well in this scoring format. Orleans Darkwa has played really well the last two weeks; you might have something with him. If and when Ezekiel Elliott gets suspended, you’ll be able to plug in Alfred Morris for six weeks. And I’m guessing there will be more capable running back options that will show up on the waiver wire. No need to panic – team seems to be on schedule.