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The RotoExperts Talk Gronk, Sleepers, Busts And Fantasy Team Names
It’s time again to harass the staff of RotoExperts for my on-going study into how so many informed and successful Fantasy football experts can have such radically diverging viewpoints on the same issues.
This time out the gang tackles preseason risers and fallers, GRONK, wide receiver and running back twos and, of course, the premier name you can give your team – the most underrated element of claiming a fantasy championship! Plus, my notes, snarky Jake Ciely responses, The King name dropping Mets he knows, issues with the second ‘g’ in Gregg Sussman’s name and the full spectrum of fantasy analysis from the best.
So my question to you is: Which RotoExpert will you side with? (After me, obviously.)
Which player have you vaulted up your draft board since you first made your rankings?
Golden Tate. I’ve had an obsession with Tate for years now, once calling him Percy Harvin Jr. when he first entered the league out of Notre Dame. Turns out, he’s never come close to being as good as Harvin. Live and learn. But he’ll get another shot this year to prove himself with, what appears to be a – dare a say it – golden opportunity. Although he’s being drafted after Sidney Rice I’d much rather have Tate. – Pat Mayo
Stevan Ridley. You look at the running backs you want and the running backs you don’t, he’s one you clearly do. Screw Steven Jackson and MJD and CJ?K. I want Ridley. – Gregg Sussman (Mayo Note: two “g”s at the end are wildly unnecessary. Get it together Suss.)
Jordan Cameron. I believe what we are seeing in the preseason is for real. He is a Top 6 Fantasy TE this year. – Scott Engel
This is hard because my initial rankings are always perfect. But I would say it’s a tie between Keenan Allen, Daryl Richardson and Chris Givens. – Adam Zdroik
I’m not sure if I’d call it a VAULT, but I initially had Tom Brady way too low – about No. 11 among quarterbacks. Have moved him up a few spots, back above Tony Romo. Seems highly undervalued at this point this year. Obviously, Vincent Brown moves up with Danario Alexander injury, and Antonio Gates gets slight bump because of that too. No one’s vaulting, except Reuben Randle, who got added to the bottom of my Top 50 WRs list when I took out Alexander. – Jennifer Millman
Shane Vereen has flown up draft boards from the second Aaron Hernandez started to wear handcuffs. People are on to him in PPR leagues and his 8th round value in April is probably now about the 4th round. – Dr. Roto
Vaulted? So you’re saying I should overreact to preseason football? Okay, I’ll stop harshing on Pat. (Mayo Note: Try as you may, you can never harsh my vibe Jake!) Golden Tate is my biggest riser. After all, the loss of Percy Harvin coupled with Sidney Rice’s status has Tate at the forefront of the Seahawks passing game. Reports are glowing on Tate’s development as well, so he’s gone from a WR5/6 to WR3/4 quickly. – Jake Ciely
Kembrel Thompkins. He has been running with the starters throughout camp and is looking like the guy who is going to line up across from Danny Amendola. While Bill Belichick has been known to pull the rug out from under Fantasy owners, there just seems to be too much writing on the wall here saying Thompkins will be the guy. He has gone from afterthought to flyer with upside. I have been grabbing him in just about every draft I have taken part in. – Ian Riley
Seahawks WR Golden Tate is one of the players that has vaulted up my draft board. The Percy Harvin injury opened up more targets for Tate. He had four TDs in the final seven games and will take a big step forward in his fourth season. –Adam Ronis
When MJD had a Lisfranc fracture back in late October of 2012 and didn’t undergo surgery until 12/28 I don’t think that many folks expected him to be back on time. He’s getting back in game shape and is entering a contract year and should be the centerpiece of the Jaguars offense. Many folks forget that he was leading the NFL in rushing prior to being injured. If healthy he could be a steal. – Evan Tarracciano
Now that Danny Amendola has Tom Brady throwing to him, I expect him to become a fantasy monster. He was great with Sam Bradford throwing to him, so think what Brady can do to his value. (Mayo Note: Beware, thinking gives you winkles) If he manages to stay healthy, he will become one of the biggest sleepers in the draft. - Charlie DiSturco
Danny Woodhead, RB, Chargers. In PPR leagues he flirted with RB2 status last year, based almost solely on his receptions. Running behind Ryan Mathews and given the injuries to receivers, I’ve bumped him up (although it’s still late) in drafts just to have another very good flex option. – Tom McFeeley
Which non-injured player has made a Don Draper Mad Men-opening credits plunge down your rankings?
Torrey Smith. I was originally down on Smith in my first set of ranks, but now with Dennis Pitta lost, I hate him even more. He’s a vertical threat only and will crumble under the added attention defenses will give him. – Pat Mayo
Maurice Jones-Drew/Chris Johnson/Darren McFadden. I lump them all together, because they are all relatively old and all disappoint every year. Repeat after me: I will not take these underachievers. I will not take these underachievers. I will not take these underachievers. (Mayo Note: These sort of mantra are step one to joining a cult Gregg, tread lightly.) – Gregg Sussman
Darren McFadden is lower than before. Not even a RB2. Not only is he injury prone, his offensive line looks bad and he has a terrible supporting cast. – Scott Engel
I didn’t even like Percy Harvin before his injury. The guy was getting drafted as a Top 5 WR when mocks started up. –Adam Zdroik
Rashard Mendenhall, but not sure if he counts – his career has felt like an injury the past two years and, of course, he’s not the healthiest. – Jennifer Millman
Torrey Smith is free falling for me. Without Pitta, Dickson, and Boldin (as well as a legitimate WR2), teams are going to shadow their safeties towards Smith. He may still make a big play here and there due to his speed, but I think he is overrated. (Mayo Note: Great minds!) – Dr. Roto
Nothing overly severe (again), but Isaiah Pead is falling fairly hard. Daryl Richardson, while I still have concerns over his ability to handle a full 16-game slate, has looked great, explosive and is drawing the praise of Jeff Fisher. Meanwhile, Pead looks slower than expected and has done little to inspire. With a one-game suspension, Pead can’t afford to be anything less than impressive. – Jake Ciely
Mike Wallace. All reports have him struggling to get on the same page with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. His strong suit is taking the top off a defense and Miami’s offensive line is going to be a work in progress all season. Sure Tannehill has some long ball touch, but if he is running for his life he won’t be able to pull the trigger. – Ian Riley
Mikel Leshoure. He had 215 carries last season for 798 yards for nine TDs and didn’t look good. He was dependent on TDs and that’s risky to rely on. Joique Bell is a better back and he will get more touches. – Adam Ronis
I think that a lot of folks (myself included) assumed that the Broncos would hand over the starting RB job to Montee Ball given the departure of McGahee and the high draft pick that Denver used to acquire his services. With Ronnie Hillman playing well and Ball’s poor pass protection nearly getting Peyton Manning hurt earlier, it appears that he has taken a back seat. He may eventually grab the job later this season but he will need to prove himself first. – Evan Tarracciano
Ryan Matthews will not be getting the carries he used to get and just looks lost on the field. With his injury history, I don’t expect him to play more than eight games. - Charlie DiSturco
David Wilson, RB, Giants – He was the anointed #1 running back only after Ahmad Bradshaw bolted in free agency and Tom Coughlin shuffles his running backs too often for my tastes. He could have an explosive season but he needs to prove he can block and catch the ball also before Coughlin will be comfortable with him as “the guy” behind Eli Manning. More a feeling than a commentary on his skills, but I think he is likely to have an uneven season. - Tom McFeeley
Where are you drafting Rob Gronkowski now?
To paraphrase myself from the world’s finest pre-season rankings, it all depends on what type of player you are. If you consider yourself a savvy vet of the Fantasy game – someone that can dig up value late in drafts – go ahead and pull the trigger in mid-to-late third or fourth round. Because tight end isn’t where you need to make up the points, it’s at RB2 or WR1 or whichever position you pass on for Gronk. If you’re new to the game or a horrible drafter, you’re not drafting Gronk whatsoever. – Pat Mayo
Sure seem like Gronk is out for half the season. I won’t draft him until around the 6th or 7th… but realistically will not draft him. – Gregg Sussman
The fifth round. Has not changed. He is just too risky, would rather wait and get an upside guy like Cameron. – Scott Engel
He would go after Gonzalez and Witten at this point. Hard to put an early pick in a guy that gets injured that much. –Adam Zdroik
Still fourth or fifth round if he’s there, but I don’t think he will be. Easier to make a play for him in auction leagues. –Jennifer Millman
I’ll take Gronk in the 6th round. I like him more in standard leagues than I do in PPR, but I think Fantasy owners should avoid relying on him this year. – Dr. Roto
Talk to me in Round 6. Tight end is extremely thin, but I’m also not forcing myself into a pick later on. What I mean is that by taking Gronk, I now have to draft a upside TE2 or low-end TE1 to cover the potential six weeks missed. That hinders your ability to go “best available” and means you could miss on value. – Jake Ciely
Earliest I would consider him would be the sixth round. Every week that goes by without some type of timetable for his return bumps him down another round. – Ian Riley
It depends on what I have in the first few rounds and the caliber of competition I am playing. The earliest I would take him at the moment is round five in a 12-team league. It’s a risk, especially if he starts the season on the PUP list but there are enough tight ends to fill in for a few weeks and Gronkowski is a difference maker. The real drafts I have done in the past week, I have passed on him. – Adam Ronis
I likely wouldn’t draft Rob Gronkowski likely until at least round 5. Given that he is usually taken prior to that, I don’t expect him to end up on any of my teams this season. – Evan Tarracciano
With Gronk likely out for the first three games, I think you could get way better options in the first three rounds of the draft. When he comes back, we don’t know how he will play, especially with teams putting their best defensive players on him. He could be great when he comes back, but I don’t think he can put up the same numbers as players taken in the third round because they have a 3-game advantage. - Charlie DiSturco
I’m not because people still like him more than I do. I would draft him in round 7 or 8, but other owners jump at his potential in the rounds where I am building depth at RB and WR. I’m happy to take a TE in round 13 in general, so I will avoid most injury risks unless they are a bargain. His uncertainty is just too much for me. - Tom McFeeley
Best Fantasy team name you’ve come up with?
It’s not mine, but Scott Rice of the Mets told me the team he will share with Dillon Gee is the team’s clubhouse league this year will be named “Geesus Rice.” (Mayo Note: At least the Mets are good at being relatively clever!) – Scott Engel
Patrick Bateman. Created last year and was one of my best teams ever. – Adam Zdroik
The only one I’ve ever used. I’m the Chessmaster. – Jennifer Millman
Let’s see: Green Eggs and Cam is pretty good. I would like one with Aaron Hernandez too – maybe something like Hernandez’s Quick Gun Offense. – Dr. Roto
Fleener Schnitzel. Done. I win. (Mayo Note: Silver medal to the Suss) – Jake Ciely
This one is league specific, but after losing in the championship game four straight times I named my team “The Bridesmaids”. Losing sucks, but I can poke fun at my misfortune. – Ian Riley
Eifert in your girl’s face. (Mayo Note: Jesus.) – Adam Ronis
Stafford Infection. – Evan Tarracciano
Aaron Hernandez had a killer offseason. With Hernandez potentially being put away for murder I think this name says it all. - Charlie DiSturco
Multiple Scorgasms. - Tom McFeeley
Pick one: Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Darren McFadden, Frank Gore or DeMarco Murray. And, why them?
McFadden. Risky? Oh God yes. But for where he’s going, only Gronk has more upside. – Pat Mayo
Give me Lamar Miller. He is gong to get all of the carries, including third downs and in the red zone. David Wilson may be the best of the group, but knowing he isn’t playing third down or on the goal line certainly hurts his value. – Gregg Sussman
Gore. He is going to be a solid RB2 and anyone creating worries about him declining has nothing apparent to base it on yet. – Scott Engel
Frank Gore is the safe pick, but if this is for your RB3, I would go DeMarco. I just have a good feeling about him this year even with all of the injuries problems. I think this will be his healthiest season yet. – Adam Zdroik
Gore. Yes, he’s 30, but averaged 4.7 YPC last year – not an “old man” stat. Think he has one bullish year left in him and should see a ton of action in the absence of any reliable WR aside from Anquan Boldin. Still don’t think Vernon gets too many looks and Gore should find plenty of opportunity to get the ball in the end zone. McFadden and Murray are injury nightmares I’d rather not deal with (unless I could get either as an RB3 ;-). (Mayo Note: ;-)!) – Jennifer Millman
DeMarco Murray – While I like Miller and Gore, I think Murray has the most upside if he stays healthy. He is a weapon in the passing game and he does nicely in short yardage situations. Dallas also has a prolific passing offense which spreads the field for Murray and leaves big gaps for him to run. He is a first round talent if he can make it through 16 games. – Dr. Roto
Miller by a hair over Murray. Miller gets the edge with no injury concerns. Plus, the man is one of the more explosive RBs along with Wilson, but at least he knows how to block… some. Wilson might as well yell “ole” when defenders come rushing in. – Jake Ciely
He is by no means a sexy pick, but Frank Gore would be my target. I consider Murray and McFadden to big of injury risks. Miller has the job all to himself in Miami, but no one to block for him. Wilson’s sub-par pass blocking and past fumbling woes leave him too much potential to land in Coughlin’s dog house. San Francisco’s line is elite, and he will easily put up RB2 numbers. – Ian Riley
DeMarco Murray, but they are closely ranked. All those RBs have warts and several are injury concerns, including Murray. When Murray plays, he produces and he had 35 receptions in 10 games in 2012 and the Cowboys will throw to him. He will also get the bulk of the touches. – Adam Ronis
I’d take Frank Gore there. Proven player who is on a fantastic team with a top-tier offensive line. He’s the unquestioned starter and has an upgrade at QB with Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith this season. It seems that his injury-riddled seasons are behind him since the coaching staff appears to be monitoring his workload as well. – Evan Tarracciano
DeMarco Murray – The Cowboys said they are going to run the ball more, meaning Murray will earn more carries. He’s more consistent and reliable than all the other options. He’s very explosive and has the potential to finish in the Top 5 for rushing yards (realistically Top 10). - Charlie DiSturco
Miller. I think the Dolphins want him to be an every down back; I think he wants to be an every down back; there are mixed opinions about him and I can get him later (RB3) than the other guys. With the Dolphins offense in flux (Keller injury, Wallace learning a complicated system) there are great opportunities for Miller not only to pick up targets, but to have the offense run through his legs (not like Buckner, but his legs being the focal point. You get it). - Tom McFeeley
Pick one: Torrey Smith, Antonio Brown, Eric Decker, Steve Smith or DeSean Jackson. And don’t forget to explain y’allself.
Love me some Steve Smith. The only reason he’s been slipping down rankings is because it’s just no fun drafting him. People love young, flashy players who are full of upside. Smith is who he is: A solid WR2. – Pat Mayo
I like Antonio Brown. The clear cut #1 receiver on the team and I think there is some post sleeper hype here. Everyone loved him last year and now there is no Mike Wallace. Give me Brown, who I think is a better bet than all or nothing Torrey Smith/DeSean Jackson, an Eric Decker in a crowded as hell receiving corps, and then Steve Smith is my second favorite. – Gregg Sussman
Steve Smith. He is still a very good playmaker as a WR2 and he’s a pretty safe pick in that role. – Scott Engel
DeSean. Chip is going to get him the ball everywhere on the field. I think he has the most upside of the bunch and will likely be your WR3. – Adam Zdroik
Antonio Brown. Steve Smith is safe, but Cam Newtown is volatile. A healthy Brown should easily catch more than 100 balls over the course of a season. Brown averaged 8.2 targets per active game during last year’s regular NFL season, very close to Roddy White’s 8.9, With no Mike Wallace, Brown should see more than 9 targets a game this year. –Jennifer Millman
Antonio Brown – OC Todd Haley doesn’t have many choices now with Mike Wallace in Miami and Heath Miller injured. Brown is not much of a TD guy, but in a PPR format he is deadly. Put him down for 80 receptions for 1100 yards and 7 TDs. I’ll take that all day in Fantasy. – Dr. Roto
Steve Smith! What does he have to do for you folks?! Smith is underrated again this season. Look at what Smith and Cam Newton did together last year. Why would you expect anything else? Is it because their rushing attack is improved? Oh, wait. Is it because there is a great No. 2 option at WR now? Oh, wait. Right… no reason for it. Let me send a big thanks to everyone who continues to let me get Smith as my WR3! – Jake Ciely
I absolutely love Antonio Brown this year. The departure of Mike Wallace and injury to Heath Miller leave plenty of targets available for him. Big Ben should pepper him with close to 160 this season. With that type of workload he should be a Top-20 Fantasy receiver. – Ian Riley
Antonio Brown. He will be heavily targeted as one of the legit passing targets in the Steelers’ passing game. He is excellent after the catch and had 1,108 yards two years ago. Brown finished last season by scoring in the final four games after starting the season with one TD in nine games. – Adam Ronis
I’ll take Antonio Brown there all day. Despite the Steelers being a run-first offense, Brown is the new #1 with the departure of Mike Wallace. Ben Roethlisberger recently came out and confirmed that he was absolutely his “number one option” and said that the “sky is the limit”. He’s definitely a WR2 for me with upside. (Mayo Note: Watch out… Big Ben has more secrets than Laura Palmer’s doppelganger!) – Evan Tarracciano
Torrey Smith is one of the fastest receivers in the NFL. With Joe Flacco as his quarterback again, I expect him to thrive as the #1 receiver (receptions and yards wise) now that Anquan Boldin is off the Ravens’ roster. Smith can catch short passes and turn them into big gains due to his speed. He can also beat out the cornerbacks downfield, catching 40-60 yard bombs. - Charlie DiSturco
Torrey Smith. Simply because I’ll have 6 WR on my roster and his big play ability alone (with that kind of depth) could win me a couple of games. As long as a sleeper WR emerges, Smith can and will be house money on my team. - Tom McFeeley
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