Last week’s question: Which player’s
floor has sunk to unexpected depths?
In last week’s column,
I whined about how much more disappointing Chris
Hogan has been than I thought he could be. After 5 weeks of
play, Hogan has racked up almost as many yards on the season (143)
Jackson had in Week 1 (146). The real killer is that I burned
a 5th-round draft pick on Hogan, whereas Jackson was basically free.
I didn’t grab Hogan as a home run play. I took him because
I thought he was locked in as a viable WR 2/3 for the first quarter
of the season. How did I get it so wrong? How do so many of us
get it so wrong when it comes to estimating the worst possible
outcomes from the players upon whom we spend the most draft capital?
If the responses I received via email and from commenters are
any indication, we get floors wrong for receivers more often than
at any other position. Almost every response I received concerned
a handful of WRs (Hogan, Larry Fitzgerald, Marquise Goodwin, Jamison Crowder). No one mentioned quarterbacks or tight ends, and only
a couple of grievances were filed against RBs.
Bruce had the misfortune of being able to compare his disappointment
in Hogan with his disappointment in Fitz firsthand: “Hogan
was so bad I waived him quickly, but it's Fitzgerald's low floor
due to injury that's been dragging me down the most, as I keep
thinking I need to start him!”
A reader named Kilpatrick made the mistake of banking on Fitzgerald
in multiple drafts:
Fitzy has to be the easiest answer for me. Took him
4th or 5th round in every draft this year; thought I was getting
His hammy hasn't helped. Neither did Bradford. I am still holding
out hope for him to bounce back in a week or two, especially if
he can heal and if DJ2K gets back to dominating as well (the entire
offense needs to get better)...thankfully he is my WR3 in each
In both ppr and standard, getting him as a back-end WR2 seemed
awesome. Name recognition will definitely induce incorrect expectations
when you don't factor in what else is happening with the team
(poor offensive line and Mike McCoy Syndrome for the Cardinals).
Also, obviously, the unpredictable injury-bug will negatively
affect any positive expectations had during the draft. "You have
to draft as if players will be there for all 16 (15 in reality)
games. Exceptions always exist, but you cannot predict injuries."
Kilpatrick touches on several “murk factors” that
come into play when we’re trying to inspect the floor of
a player: name recognition, team situation, and injury. Name recognition
is always going to make a future Hall of Famer like Fitz seem
extra tempting. We read team situations incorrectly all the time
(especially when diagnosing offensive problems differently than
the coaching staff). And when it comes to injury, there’s
probably nothing more frustrating than the hamstring, which seems
far more likely to become a nagging problem in receivers than
in running backs.
RDB’s take on Jamison Crowder illustrates the problem of
not visualizing quite the same offense for a team as the coaching
For this week's question I would say Jamison Crowder. Alex Smith
pretty much is back to being Alex Smith and so far is throwing
primarily to his RBs and TEs. Crowder has had no more than 4 targets
in any game this season. Additionally, Washington's playcalling
has them leading the league in rushing plays per game. So, not
the expected volume for the slot WR I got in the 8/9 round.
A reader named AZMaddog reported a similar frustration with a
hamstrung player in Marquise Goodwin, though the mistake was compounded
by owning Hogan as well:
I am with you on Hogan, I took him, ahem, in the third round
thinking I was a genius and he would kill it for the first month
and then at least be a #2 the rest of the way. Before he got hurt
last year he was bordering a top 10 WR, most of the analysts agreed
this year he would do well in the absence of Edelman and were
very high on him. If he stinks it up tonight, I drop him.
I also thought I was being clever and took Goodwin in the 4th
round. He was solid with Garoppolo at the end of last year and
the two were doing well in the preseason and reports out of camp
were promising. Can’t predict injuries; I have already dropped
But if you think burning a third- and fourth-round pick on Hogan
and Goodwin is bad, consider the quicksand that Danny fell into:
Floor sinking? I wish! [My team is] more like the La
Brea tar pit. 12 team 9 man roster, 6 on the bench, half PPR.
Round 1 - LeVeon Bell - figured he wouldn't hold out long with
$850,000 per game tag. Round 2 - Larry Fitz - 100 catches per
year, but not when you're limping around the field. I think Rich
Eisen could cover him. Round 3 - Royce
Freeman - so much hype, so much hype. Round 4 - Chris
Hogan - enough said. Round 5 - Tom
Brady - okay, we're good here. Round 6 - Marquise
Goodwin - really? Apparently I can't get out of my own way.
But the hits continue...among my other picks....DeVante
Parker (apparently Hogan and Parker have been talking to each
other..."Who wants to be irrelevant the mostest?"). Oh yeah, did
I mention I got Greg
Zuerlein to boot? (Pun intended.) 20 years of FF and I decide
to go fight club on myself.
Yikes Danny. Any building with that many sinking floors would
have to be condemned. You have my sympathies & my best wishes
for next season (cuz you done, son).
Although Danny’s disappointment involved Bell’s holdout
and Royce Freeman’s anemic production, he had receivers
to be concerned about as well. The only person who wrote to me
to focus strictly on a running back was Bill:
The [Ravens’] loss at Cleveland can be attributed [to John
Harbaugh] and his coaches’ love for the passing game and
not letting Alex Collins do what the fans and I know what he can
do when given the chance. Letting him play just 30% of the snaps
when he averaged almost 5 yards per carry is ridiculous. Collins
is blamed for fumbling unmercifully by his coach and writers but
nothing is said when Flacco throws an interception in the red
zone, or plodder Buck Allen fumbles, which leads to a Cleveland
field goal. WAKE UP Coach and let Alex PLAY.
I wanted to close with Bill’s rant because it shows how we feel
about players with sinking floors when their lack of productivity
has nothing to do with name recognition or injury and everything
to do with team circumstances created by coaching decisions. In
this circumstance, we’re almost always convinced that our perception
of the player’s floor is accurate—if only the coach would use
him properly. But for some reason, I’ve come to expect these kinds
of disparities in perception when it comes to running backs. I
think I could only get as worked up as Bill about a receiver.
This week’s question: What can
leagues do to encourage trades?
The question for Week 6 comes from a reader named Jeremy:
One topic I haven’t seen or maybe I missed, is how leagues
encourage and embrace trading. Trading is such a great way to keep
teams engaged, so I’d like to know if there are ways to further
enhance our rules to increase and/or make it more enticing to make
trades. Do leagues offer perks to teams that make trades for instance?
Of course, this must be counterbalanced with collusion and/or teams
mailing it in and trading away everyone for future draft picks.
I also wonder if anyone tracks trades throughout the season –
I think it would be fun to have data to prove who were the trading
winners and losers.
This question has come up in past columns, and I’ll provide
some reminders of past answers next week. But since the landscape
of FF is always changing—especially with a new generation
of owners being increasingly confident in their ability to make
mutually beneficial trades—I hope to get some fresh input
on this familiar question.
And as a special twist on Jeremy’s second question (about
evaluating who won a trade), let me invite readers to comment on
the most interesting trade I saw this week: Odell Beckham Jr. &
Phillip Lindsay for Joe Mixon & John Brown. How would you go
about evaluating who “won” that trade?
Please email your answers
to me or post them directly to the comment section below. My
thanks to everyone who responded to last week’s question.
Survivor Pool Picks
Trap Game: Bills at Texans
The Texans are 9.5-point favorites at home vs. the lowly Bills,
but I’m wary—because I’ve already screwed up on
both of these teams this season. When I believed in the Texans at
home against a team that looked horrible the week before, the Giants
beat them. And when I didn’t believe the Bills had a chance
to win a road game vs. a likely Super Bowl contender, the Vikings
lost to them. Sure, the Bills have been written off by everybody
who already has Shady McCoy back on the Eagles. But no matter how
bad the team has looked at certain points this season, Buffalo defeated
both the Titans (not nothing) and the Vikings (definitely something).
And no matter how good you think Houston must be with the receiving
trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Keke Coutee, the Texans
always seem to find a way to play down to the level of their competition.
I’m steering clear.
Pick #3: Panthers over Redskins (5-0; GB, NO, CHI, LAC, CIN)
Somehow, the Redskins are 1-point favorites in this game, which
suggests either that home-field advantage is overvalued or that
no one actually watched the Skins play against the Saints on Monday
night. It’s not clear why the 2-2 Skins (coming off an ugly
loss and a short week) should be favored against the much more dynamic
3-1 Panthers, especially with Adrian Peterson nursing a sore shoulder
and Alex Smith being … well, let’s just say that between
the dinking and the dunking, he’s no Cam Newton.
Pick #2: Vikings over Cardinals (3-2; no, LAC, hou, GB, CAR)
Does it make you nervous to see the Cards as 10-point underdogs
visiting Minnesota? Considering that the Bills were double-digit
dogs when they visited the Vikings in Week 3, it should. Even so,
it’s probably unwise to think of exceptional games as the
rule. This game has everything I usually look for in a survivor
pool because it features two teams not from the same division with
the stronger team at home. That formula failed when Buffalo came
calling, but it still has a general applicability (even for the
With a crowded backfield and a wide receiver carousel on overdrive,
the Packers are hard to pin down from a fantasy perspective. But
from a football perspective, they’re the same old team: capable
of beating anyone as long as Aaron Rodgers is semi-healthy—and
more than capable of handling a hobbled opponent on Monday night
at home. Just how hobbled are the 49ers? They lost Jerick McKinnon
before the season began, Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 3, and all use
for rising star Marquise Goodwin when Garoppolo went down. For good
measure, backup RB Matt Breida has a sprained ankle. So yeah, hobbled.
Mike Davis has been writing about fantasy football since 1999--and
playing video games even longer than that. His latest novel (concerning
a gamer who gets trapped inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms)
can be found here.