Dealing DeMarco Murray And Other Questions
Today, we venture deep into The Xpert Eye mailbag, which is overflowing with questions about trades, player values and waiver wire pickups.
I’ve been offered Dez Bryant and my choice between Matt Asiata, Zac Stacy and Ahmad Bradshaw for DeMarco Murray. I’m in a 12-team PPR league and my team is currently 4-2. I’m thinking that Murray is going to break down at some point due to his history. Do I make the deal?
Why? DeMarco Murray is the top performing RB by miles and miles. The closest thing to Murray is Arian Foster and he’s got injury issues this season, let alone in the past. Sure, Dez Bryant is a nice WR1, and while you’ll find room in your lineup for him every week, you won’t find room for any of those RBs unless the matchup demands it, and you’ll need good production from both players to equal what Murray gives you now. Injuries are unpredictable and just because a player has a history of injuries there is no reason to believe he’ll definitely get injured again. That thinking is akin to believing an underperforming player is “due” simply because he’s performed in the past. It just doesn’t work that way. You’re getting top notch performance from the best RB in the game; enjoy it and celebrate your prowess in drafting him. Don’t send him packing unless you are overwhelmed with a package of top-notch players.
I need a running back desperately and I have a choice between Brandon Bolden, James White or Isaiah Crowell off the waiver wire. Which RB should I pick up?
There is no question that Isaiah Crowell is your best choice among those three. Crowell is a dynamic RB with good burst, who does a good job of picking up yardage once he breaks through the first line of defense. The only knock on him is his difficulty hanging onto the ball, which could be his undoing if he doesn’t learn to protect it. If Ben Tate goes down again, Crowell is likely the first choice of the Bengals to take over the featured back role, and he’s already shown he can handle that kind of workload, which makes him the RB to own in Cleveland.
The RB situation in New England is almost impossible to predict. Many analysts have already anointed Brandon Bolden as the next man in line to replace Stevan Ridley. What they may not realize is the Bolden was nearly cut by the Patriots this summer. If it weren’t for his contributions to special teams, there is a good chance he’d be in another uniform or out of the game altogether. Coach Bill Belichick favors big running backs that can blast their way through for short yardage, especially in third and short situations or on the goal line. Otherwise, he’d rather have more versatile RBs like Shane Vereen out there that can carry the rock 10-15 times a game and be used out of the backfield on third and long situations. Oh, and you’d better be able to block too. Bolden will be used to spell Vereen, who’s workload will increase incrementally, and he’ll mix in rookie James White and even fullback James Develin as needed. Either way, I don’t see Bolden suddenly becoming someone who gets 10-15 touches in the Patriots offense. Belichick would rather line up five wide receivers and spread defenses out than hand the ball off to a middling back like Bolden on a regular basis.
Which of these wide receivers will have more value this season – Brandon LaFell, James Jones or Kendall Wright?
The only WR among those three that you can count on for steady week-to-week production is Jones, who is the current King of Garbage Time” in the NFL. Jones is averaging a little over 10 Fantasy points per game to date, with his best game coming in Week 2 against Houston, when he scored 17 FP (depending on scoring system). He’s also scored three touchdowns in five games and he is clearly the top receiver on a bad Raiders team.
Brandon LaFell is overrated as a receiver. In fact, like Brandon Bolden, he was very nearly cut from the Patriots during camp. LaFell has two productive games on his resume this season, Week 3 vs. Kansas City (18 FP) and last week against Buffalo (22 FP). His other three games this season resulted in a total of six Fantasy points combined. And therein lay the problem with LaFell, who is a match up play at best. When the Patriots face teams with weak players in the secondary, which allows for those longshot passes down the field, LaFell will get his chances to make plays and even score. However, against teams that are strong against the pass, LaFell is more likely to put up a zero than anything else. He’s been targeted 34 times this season and made just 15 receptions, which is a function of the types of plays he is used for. Tom Brady often overthrows the ball when taking those longshots downfield, and even if he’s on target, LaFell is a little guy who is not likely to out jump any decent sized cornerback or safety. That makes him a boom or bust kind of player best used as a flex in the right matchup.
The problem with Kendall Wright isn’t Kendall Wright; it’s his quarterback, whether it’s Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst or Zach Mettenberger. The targets are there; he’s been targeted 39 times this season, though only once during last week’s game against Jacksonville. However, he’s really only had one productive game from a Fantasy standpoint; that being Week 5 against Cleveland, when he put up 21 FP. He catches a good percentage of his targets, so the problem is depth. He doesn’t rack up yardage after the catch, so the short and mid-range passes he catches end up as short and mid-range gains. He’s averaging 8.8 yards per catch. So, Wright will have some value in PPR leagues as a low end WR3, but his value will rarely, if ever, rise above that unless the Titans do something about their QB situation.
I have Cordarrelle Patterson on my roster but sitting on the bench every week. Should I drop him?
The inside word on Patterson is that he isn’t 100 percent healthy. He is hampered by a hip injury that has slowed him down and forced the Vikings to limit his snaps at times. The general consensus of nearly every football expert is that Patterson is the Vikings most dynamic offensive player and the team needs him heavily involved in the offense to be competitive. When he’s healthy, he can take the ball to the house on any given play, whether it’s a pass or a running play with Patterson coming around on a sweep. If you’ve got the bench space to spare, hang on to Patterson at least until after the Vikings’ Week 10 bye. They’ve got two juicy matchups with the Bears and Packers in Weeks 10 and 11 respectively that will go a long ways towards defining Patterson’s season. If he’s healthy by then, and indications are that he could be, he will have at least one big game between those two (or perhaps even two). Then you’ll be happy that you were patient. If you can’t wait that long, then try to talk up the angle I just described and see if you can pry loose a RB or WR with some upside. Don’t just drop him because someone will definitely scoop him up; he’s too good.