During one of our radio shows recently (Saturdays 7a-10a EST SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Channel), I was talking with Tony Cincotta during a commercial break about Broncos RB Montee Ball and how I would never draft him again. Tony made the comment, “Oh, you’re one of those.” Now, I knew what he meant, someone who makes irrational future decisions based on a small sample size of a player. I’m really not this kind of player, but don’t we all have players we hate for one reason or another? I play in multiple Fantasy Football, Baseball, and Hockey leagues and have been doing so since the late 1980s. In Fantasy Baseball, I would never draft Yankees catcher Jorge Posada after I acquired him before my league’s trade deadline sometime in the late 90s and he did nothing the rest of the season. This was a points league that I ended up losing by just a few hits and I blamed Posada; he was dead to me in Fantasy. Marian Gaborik is a skater that will never be on my team. When Gaborik was with the Minnesota Wild, he was one of the best scorers in the NHL, but every time I drafted him he would miss half the season with one injury or another. Never again will I draft him, although, I did acquire him last year in a trade (that worked out). Is Ball my new persona non grata? It is starting to look that way.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Buffalo lost to Miami last Thursday. Running back Fred Jackson was a surprise inactive before the game and this would seem to indicate that his groin didn’t recover well from playing the Sunday before, and WR Sammy Watkins is also less than 100-percent, as he is dealing with a groin injury of his own. How will they look for this week? Well, both are expected to play. My early rankings will have Jackson as a borderline RB2 or Flex play with some risk, and Watkins as a WR2. If I had to choose between the two, I would go with Watkins.
The good Jay Cutler showed up yesterday for Fantasy owners and Bears’ fans. Cutler threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns. The problem is not that many Fantasy Football owners started him. We were getting questions all week about whether or not to start Cutler, Matt Ryan, Mark Sanchez, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III. Each one of these players had their positives and their negatives. The bottom line when it comes to Cutler, assuming there is no clear cut QB on my roster that is better than him, is that he is going to start for me. His weapons are just too good. Am I going to eat it sometimes? Yes, his mental game doesn’t match his physical one, but that’s why I was able to select him later on in my draft.
You have to be impressed with the Houston Texans. They go in to Cleveland, which is not as much fun as it may have been in year’s past, without their best player (RB Arian Foster), starting a rookie QB in Ryan Mallett, and come out with a victory. Running back Alfred Blue looked great and is a viable replacement for Foster, and the worry about wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins and Andre Johnson taking a nose dive under Mallett seem to be unfounded. As for Mallett, he looked good, but unless you’re in a 2QB league, you’re still not starting him, however, in Keeper or Dynasty leagues he may be worth a look.
It’s hard to believe that QB Alex Smith still hasn’t thrown a TD pass to a WR this season. Now, I know the Chiefs don’t possess the best of receivers but this has to be some kind of record. We all know that Smith is only useable in two-QB leagues,, but this also should end just about any love you might have for WR Dwayne Bowe. As for TE Travis Kelce, sure I moved him up in my rankings when Anthony Fasano was inactive for the game, but I’m still tempering my expectations. He’s in the same category with Jordan Reed, and Zach Ertz, tight Ends that are extremely athletic but kept off the field for various reasons.
Cam Newton is just not a Top 10 QB anymore. The Panthers OL is nothing but a bunch of traffic cones, and although coach Ron Rivera continues to say otherwise, Newton himself has been hinting that he is hurt in some way. Currently, there are only two Panthers that I want to start, WR Kelvin Benjamin and TE Greg Olsen; everyone else can go away.
Well, QB Andy Dalton had a rebound game but that’s not really all that important, as you shouldn’t be using him in Fantasy Football leagues anyway, but what is important is the return to dominance of WR A.J. Green. He looked like the Top 5 WR we thought he’d be Sunday, with no sign of that toe injury. He looks like he’s back to being a WR1 for your Fantasy team. Running back Jeremy Hill proved Sunday that he could be a starting back in the NFL, but it looks like his days as starting for the Bengals may be numbered. Gio Bernard was on the field before the game Sunday and looks close to a return. Neither back will be a RB1 for the rest of the season but both can still help your Fantasy team as RB2s.
We gave plenty of love to Robert Griffin III last week. RGIII looked poised for a big game, coming off a bye, his second week back from the ankle injury and playing a team in Tampa Bay that isn’t the best defensively. Well, that didn’t happen. RGIII had his chances; he missed WR DeSean Jackson twice when he was open for sure touchdowns and also took a trio of sacks when the team was in field goal range. He’s still a work in progress and unless you’re willing to roll the dice or simply have no other options, he’s best left stapled to your bench.
The Broncos suffered a trio of injuries that could change the Fantasy Football landscape a bit. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders suffered a concussion, TE Julius Thomas an ankle sprain, and RB Montee Ball re-injured his groin. We don’t have a timetable for any of these players yet, but Sanders is in the NFL Concussion Protocol, which means he will have to be cleared by an independent physician before being allowed to return. Thomas will have an MRI on Monday to determine how long he might miss, but Ball may be out the longest again, as it looks like he still isn’t fully recovered from his groin injury. The Ball injury is good news for C.J. Anderson owners, as he could have the starting job all to himself for a while. RB Ronnie Hillman could also be out longer than expected with his foot injury. With the state of the Broncos OL, it actually may not matter who is running the ball, though.
What is wrong with 49ers TE Vernon Davis? He only has 18 receptions on the season and just one each in the last two games. He’s not being phased out of the offense and the team is looking for ways to get the ball in his hands, but it’s just not working out right now. Should you drop him? It’s a question I’m wrestling with in a couple of leagues. I’m going to try not to release him, but right now I need someone who can perform, and he’s not it. I’d rather have Charles Clay, Heath Miller, Jermaine Gresham, Coby Fleener, Tim Wright, Mychal Rivera, or Jared Cook.
Anyone who watched the Oakland-San Diego game yesterday saw quite the snooze fest; I think I just saw another punt. The Chargers’ offense of late looks to have hit a snag. We chalked up the Miami contest to a tough road game on the east coast, but that was a home game yesterday versus one of the worst teams in the NFL. You’re still starting QB Philip Rivers, but he’s now a Top 10 option, not Top 5, and although I like WR Malcolm Floyd, neither he nor Keenan Allen is anything more than a Flex option right now.
Even in yesterday’s destruction at the hand of the Packers, QB Mark Sanchez still had a productive Fantasy Football day, and that just might continue in this offense. That being said, he looked an awful lot like the Jets’ Sanchez now, didn’t he. He looked unwilling to throw the ball into the secondary until he was forced to. I’m going to assume this was just some road jitters and that he wanted to stay away from the big mistake. Wide receiver Jordan Matthews looks like his favorite target, however. This is the second straight game that Matthews put up big numbers with Sanchez behind center. We chalked up the first game as a possible game plan to get Matthews the ball, but unless you believe in coincidences, Matthews seems to be the man now in Philly.
Maybe head coach Bruce Arians was right and the Cardinals will be just fine with QB Drew Stanton. I still have my doubts, but hey, he did get WR Michael Floyd involved again. Floyd was either benched or released in a majority of leagues yesterday so quite a few owners may still be sick to their stomachs after watching him catch a couple of touchdowns. Let’s not go overboard here however, those were still the only receptions he had during the game. He’s still little more than a Flex consideration right now.
The Colts not only got wrecked by the Patriots last night, they also lost RB Ahmad Bradshaw to a possible broken ankle and TE Dwayne Allen to an ankle sprain. Bradshaw is probably lost for the rest of the season, but Allen could return much quicker depending on whether or not he has a high ankle sprain. Trent Richardson and Coby Fleener will see their ownership and starting lineup percentages peak this week. I’m not going to have Richardson as a RB2; the Colts are still a throwing team and Richardson has done little to nothing to inspire confidence, but he will be the bell cow now. As for Fleener, he will be a Top 15 option but not a must start by any means.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz