Ah … life was going along so well for the NFL with just one
positive test over the first three weeks.
On Tuesday reports started coming out showing three Tennessee
players and five personnel tested positive. The Titans are closing
their facilities until the weekend (at the earliest). According
to Jason La Canfora, the league has notified Tennessee, Pittsburgh,
Minnesota and Houston of possible rescheduling. Bye weeks could
change. This could be a disaster for the league and obviously
for fantasy owners who carefully set up for the scheduled bye
As John Travolta’s character Vic Deakins said in the 1996
movie Broken Arrow said, “Would you mind not shooting at
the thermonuclear weapons? Oops, wrong quote. It’s this
one … “battle is a highly fluid situation.”
Fantasy owners will just have to adjust. Waiver claims will be
more important. Staying on top of the day-to-day changes will
require more than simply checking your lineup Sunday morning.
“Welcome to the Thunderdome.”
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is
a revolutionary act.” – George Orwell
1) The Clyde Edwards-Helaire hype train has calmed down since
The Edwards-Helaire media explosion since draft day was crazy
and only heightened by his Week 1 performance (25-138-1). Since
then, however, heís been an average rookie, rushing for less than
four yards per carry (3.4 ypc to be exact) and failing to score
against the Chargers or Ravens. Sure, heís good, but on a team
with more weapons than anyone in the league, heís not going to
be an elite running back. His preseason first-round draft selection
was a result of the media craze and now fantasy owners are paying
for it. No, Darrel
Williams and Darwin
Thompson arenít going to steal his workload. However, Andy
Reid is famous for distributing the ball to everyone and with
(both rushing and catching the ball), Travis
Hardman and Demarcus
Robinson as quality receiving targets not to mention fullback
and tackle Eric Fisher, Reid has a lot of options. Add in Patrick
(not Pat) Mahomesí ability to run and it takes away CEHís ability
to be elite. Good yes, elite no.
2) Austin Ekeler owners want Justin Herbert to continue to start
over Tyrod Taylor.
True. In the season opener with Taylor as the starting quarterback,
Ekeler saw exactly one target. In the next two games with the
rookie from Oregon ďunder centerĒ (they donít
really get under center any more do they?) Ekeler has averaged
7.5 targets per game and caught all 15 balls. He is averaging
25.5 FPts/G in those two games vs. 9.7 in the first game of the
season despite similar touches (20, 20 and 23). On the other hand,
for Coach Anthony Lynn, the decision is a bit harder as the team
is 0-2 with Herbert and 1-0 under Taylor. Does he coach for 2020
3) Jump on board the Arizona offense.
Fact. The Cardinals are in the middle of a seven-game stretch
against bad defenses. The next five opponents are; Carolina, New
York Jets, Dallas, Seattle and Miami. If you are the trading type,
think Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins and Kenyan Drake. Sure, they
might be expensive, particularly the first two, but for the next
month they should perform above normal expectations. Then you
can trade them again for even more value. Or you can try to predict
who will emerge as the No.2 receiver opposite ďNukĒ.
Think Andy Isabella over injured Christian Kirk (groin) and aging
Larry Fitzgerald (37-years old). Heís currently available
for pickup in 98% of all fantasy leagues, though that will drop
after his two-touchdown performance against Detroit (4-47-2).
Hopkins will still get the lionís share of the targets (32.7%),
but against the next five creampuff defenses, Isabella could produce
4) The late signing of Adrian Peterson has destroyed the fantasy
value of both DíAndre Swift and Kerryon Johnson.
True. It also reminds fantasy owners to schedule their drafts
as close to the start of the season as possible. Signed on September
7 after being released by the Washington Football Team three days
earlier, ďAPĒ has grabbed 43 of the 69 Lions rushing
attempts from his two younger counterparts making both Swift and
Johnson useless. None of the three are averaging double-digit
fantasy points with Petersonís 9.3 FPts/G ranking 38th among
all running backs.
5) Self-awareness is a good thing for an athlete, now if only
fantasy owners can find reality.
True. "For me, one of my biggest growths has come in acceptance
in a sense and for me knowing itís probably not going to
be that kind of season,'' said Odell Beckham Jr. Heís come
to recognize that the team strength is not its quarterback, Baker Mayfield, but its two running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
That doesnít mean OBJ canít have a big game and he
has a few good opportunities starting in Week 4. Trading for him
may be a bit easier after his first three games if fantasy owners,
like the wide receiver himself, can see reality. ďBuy lowĒ
has always been my motto. Make a lowball offer, you never know.
“As a rule we disbelieve all the fact and theories for which
we have no use.” – William James
1) Monday night’s performance shouldn’t scare Lamar
Jackson’s fantasy owners.
False. Iíll admit that in my six fantasy leagues, I donít
have Jackson on any of the rosters, but I would be concerned if
I did have him on my team. Thatís back-to-back fantasy totals
under 20 fantasy points for the first time in his career. In his
2019 MVP season, he failed to reach 20 fantasy points just once
(at Pittsburgh) and then responded with 30+ fantasy points in
five of the next six games. His 53.6 completion percentage Monday
night was the fourth-lowest since he became a starter (though
his receivers werenít helping much in this one). Worse,
he hasnít run for a touchdown all season and, in fact, hasnít
rushed for a touchdown in seven consecutive games reaching back
to Week 13 of 2019. Fortunately, the Football Team is up next
for the Ravens and a chance for Jackson to prove the ďslumpĒ
was just a short-term blip. If that doesnít happen Ö
it will reasonably be panic time for many fantasy owners as the
Ravensí schedule gets much harder in late October into November
(Pittsburgh x2, Indianapolis, New England and Tennessee).
2) Alvin Kamara can continue to produce at his current 35.6
Unlikely. Since 2001, no running back has averaged 35 fantasy
points per game for a season. In fact, only two backs have cracked
30 FPts/G; Marshall Faulk in 2001 (30.3) and Priest Holmes in
2002 (31.6). Going for Kamara is a quarterback who last lost all
his arm strength and Drew Breesí wasnít that strong
to begin with. But given Kamaraís injury history from last
season I wouldnít expect Sean Payton to overwork his star
running back. Heís kept Kamaraís usage to around 20
touches per game. In Faulkís and Holmesí big seasons
they averaged 24.5 and 27.4 touches, respectively. Both backs
also missed two games due to injury. Despite a quality backup
in Latavius Murray, the Saints need a healthy Kamara to compete
for a Super Bowl or even an NFC South championship against the
rebuilt Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
3) It doesnít matter who you get for a kicker.
Ok, thatís mostly true, but how many times have you lost
by a point or two? Make sure you have the right kicker. Also,
if you own injured Younghoe Koo you will need a replacement. Aging
veteran Mason Crosby is owned in just 53% of all leagues and heís
ranked No.1 producing 11.3 FPts/G. He hasnít missed a kick
(7-for-7 on field goal attempts and 13-for-13 in extra points).
Sorry for the jinx Mr. Crosby. Number 2 on the board is youngster
Rodrigo Blankenship 10.7 FPts/G and heís owned in just 27%
of all leagues. No.3 is our old friend Stephen Gostkowski, formerly
of New England, now in Tennessee. Heís also averaging 10.7
FPts/G and is 12% owned (however beware of the Titans current
Covid-19 issues). Greg Zuerlein (7.3 FPts/G) is 97% owned. Jason Myers (5.7 FPts/G) is 50% owned. Stop giving away points when
you donít have to.
4) New Chicago Bears starter Nick Foles is the answer to all
Not unless this is 2017. Yes, Mr. Foles produced a miracle playoff
run for my Philadelphia Eagles and I will always thank him for
that, but since that time he couldnít beat out Gardner Minshew,
who averaged just 20.1 FPts/G in 2019 good enough for 21st-place
or Mitchell Trubisky who is currently ranked 24th after three
games this season. Itís only because the Bears coaching
staff has finally lost complete faith in Trubisky that Foles has
been installed as the starter. Neither quarterback is QB1 quality
while the Bears weapons (Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Javon Wims, Riley Ridley and no Tarik Cohen) are not up to making either
quarterback fantasy start-worthy. Folesí best regular season
was in 2013 in his first stint with the Eagles when he threw 27
touchdowns to just two interceptions and still only averaged 22.5
FPts/G. That type of production would rank him 15th in 2020.
5) Deshaun Watson should be traded as soon as possible since
heís been such a disappointment so far.
Please get serious. Heís played the defending Super Bowl
champions, then two of the best defenses in the league in Baltimore
and Pittsburgh. Take a deep breath and as Aaron Rodgers would
say, or more accurately spell, R-E-L-A-X. Without a preseason
or training camp it was inevitable that Watson would start slowly
while getting used to life without Hopkins. Brandin Cooks and
Will Fuller have had injury issues early on, but the schedule
gets easier and Watson will adapt. Next up for the Texans is Minnesota
(hopefully) and the Vikings havenít faced a quarterback
of this quality since Week 1 when Rodgers toasted them for 34.4
fantasy points. Worry more about the virus cancelling the game
than whether Watson can start for your fantasy team.