Here are my Fantasy Football reactions and insights as we look back at Week 9 and ahead to Week 10. But first, some comments for league commissioners.
One of the most frustrating parts about being the commissioner of a Fantasy league is dealing with teams that are out of playoff contention and abandon their teams. What can be done to stop this? Well, you can contact the owners and ask them to submit a valid lineup, reminding them it’s for the integrity of the league. But what if they ignore your requests? My home league is going on year 26 and we have adapted over the years to avoid this problem. We added keepers about 10 years ago. This allows teams that are out of it to still care about the league because they can trade players that won’t help them this year for those than can help them in the future (dynasty leagues would also allow for this). We allow draft picks to be traded for the same reason. The problem is that once the trade deadline has passed, we are still presented with the same problem. Well, for the past couple of years we have decided that our draft order will be determined by where you finish in the standings. The teams that finish in the money (Top 3) have the last three picks in the first round but we just don’t reverse the order of finish as we don’t want owners tanking just to get the first pick. What we do is reward those owners that tried their best but didn’t quite reach their goal. If you finished fourth (one spot out of the money) then you get the first pick, finish fifth you get the second pick, and so on. It’s not perfect, but it has helped keep those owners interested, even those that are out of contention.
What do we do with Saints’ RB Mark Ingram? Since coming back from injury two weeks ago, Ingram has 272 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Is this a sign of things to come or just a hot streak? Should owners be looking to sell high on him or hold tight and ride him through the playoffs? I’m leaning towards the sell high option, as once Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson return there will be an awful lot of cooks in the kitchen. But it has to be for a deal you like; I’m not looking to give him away.
The Browns’ running game is becoming a nightmare for Fantasy owners. Ben Tate had 10 rushes yesterday for a measly three yards. Isaiah Crowell didn’t get a carry or a target during the game. Terrance West now looks like the favorite back again but he still only had 48 yards on 15 carries. How does Crowell not at least earn a few carries? It should be fun trying to figure out who will be the main ball carrier Thursday versus the Bengals. I will more than likely just stay away if I can.
can’t come back soon enough for the Cowboys. The Cardinals did everything but dare the Cowboys and QB Brandon Weeden to beat them with the passing game Sunday, constantly putting eight men in the box and blitzing more to stop the run than the pass. The result was they held RB DeMarco Murray to under 100 yards rushing for the first time this season, and WR Dez Bryant was held without a catch until garbage time in the fourth quarter. Romo is expected to make the trip to London and has a good chance to play Sunday versus the Jaguars, a must for the Dallas offense.
The Cowboys aren’t the only NFC East team dealing with QB issues. The Eagles have lost Nick Foles to a broken clavicle. While they haven’t announced how long he will be out, this is normally a 6-8 week injury (Aaron Rodgers missed seven weeks last season). This injury could end Foles’ Fantasy season. Should you pick up Mark Sanchez? That depends. Sanchez has some upside playing in the Eagles’ offense that likes to run as many plays as possible, but he’s also turnover prone. The Eagles may have to rely on the running game for the immediate future.
Well, Michael Vick had an interesting game at QB yesterday. Sure, the Jets lost yet another game, but Vick also made WR Percy Harvin relevant again, as he caught 11 receptions for 129 yards. Vick also had to leave the game after getting slammed to the ground and hitting his head. We all know he is not the quarterback of the future, but you could do worse should you need a bye week fill -in.
Jeremy Hill had a big game versus the Jaguars yesterday, as he took over for Gio Bernard, who missed the game with hip and clavicle injuries. The Bengals have to be pleased seeing Hill rush for 154 yards and two touchdowns. This may also concern Fantasy owners a little bit. The Bengals may not be in any rush to put Bernard back in the lineup since they have a short turnaround and play Thursday versus Cleveland.
Lamar Miller gave Fantasy owners a scare Sunday as he had to come out of the game with a shoulder injury. The Dolphins sent him for a MRI and, as of now, the team is calling the injury a sprained shoulder and he is expected to play at Detroit this week, which is not exactly the best of matchups for any running back.
The Redskins may not have won the game against Minnesota but it was still a successful one, as QB Robert Griffin III returned and performed adequately. He completed 18-28 passes for 251 yards and rushed for another 24 yards. Was he perfect? No, but it was a good sign, and he was certainly better than he was earlier this season. One area of concern for Fantasy owners is that TE Jordan Reed was a non-factor in the game. This could be because Reed is not a good blocker and they wanted to give RGIII as much protection as possible, thus Niles Paul got the call.
Sure, the 49ers may have been jobbed by the officiating at the end of the game yesterday, as it sure looked like WR Michael Crabtree and QB Colin Kaepernick crossed the goal line, but that is now water under the bridge, and the team now has to wonder how the game even came down to those last two plays? The Rams had seven sacks in the game and SF was only able to rush the ball for 80 yards. The offensive line looks like it’s getting weaker as the season goes along, not stronger. This offense may continue to struggle for the immediate future.
Yesterday’s game between the Patriots and Broncos was a teaching lesson for Fantasy owners; never sit your studs because you’re worried about the weather. Sure, the weather was calling for a snow/rain mix along with some nasty winds. This didn’t exactly slow down Tom Brady or Peyton Manning, as they combined to throw 110 passes. 110!! Never sit your studs; they are stars for a reason.
It’s a good thing QB Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl last season, because if not, there might be quite a few question marks about his play. Wilson has been very uninspiring in his play over the past four games. He has only thrown for over 200 yards once, and only three touchdowns in those games. Perhaps this is because the running game has slowed down and the defense hasn’t played up to expectation, or perhaps Wilson is not the quarterback we thought he was.
That is now 12 touchdown passes that Ben Roethlisberger has thrown over the past two games. Yeah, didn’t quite see this coming. Is Ben a sell-high? Yeah, I would have to say so. He’s probably not your starting QB, so you might have him as a backup to a Matthew Stafford or Philip Rivers. I’d be looking to sell if that’s the case, as there may not be a better time to deal him with the Steelers playing the Jets and their lack of quality corners this week (good selling point) before they go to Tennessee and then have their bye week. What I’m really trying to say is that there is no real reason to keep two good QBs on your roster. If you can’t deal Ben, maybe you can deal your starter for someone who can help you week in and week out.
As always feel free to follow me on Twitter and ask any questions you like, @georgekurtz