Important Site Announcement
We begin today’s Xpert Eye with an important site announcement. We are shuffling the Xclusive Edge Chat schedule this week and going forward. Tonight’s scheduled chat with Scott “The King” Engel has been postponed. On Thursday evening, George “The Answer Xpert” will hold a chat at 7 PM EST. Scott Engel will host Friday evening’s chat at 7 PM EST.
Starting next week, George Kurtz will host the regular Wednesday evening chat at 7 PM EST, and Scott Engel will take over the Friday evening chat at 7 PM. We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this evening’s postponement. As always, if you have questions you need answered, our staff of Xperts, led by George Kurtz, can always be found at our Email Advice portal. We guarantee an answer within 24 hours but you can usually expect to hear back in an hour or two – slightly longer during peak times.
Now that we’re almost a third of the way through the season, this is a great time to take stock of a few players from whom we expected big things…or not. Think of it as view of the lay of the land after reviewing some of the game films and looking over the stat sheets.
Eddie Lacy – There’s been tons of nail biting over his early season performance followed by a great sigh of relief after his Week 5 performance against the Vikings, which saw him crack the century mark for the first time this season. There have been lots of questions about selling high since that game, but that’s simply not a good idea. The schedule favors the Green Bay run game more often than not and his current owners should be looking at Week 16 against the lowly Buccaneers and licking their chops for a championship win.
Andre Ellington – The early season looked kind of scary, what with all the talk of a foot injury that could linger for weeks. Well, it’s safe to say those fears can be laid to rest, as Ellington’s performances have been solid, though unspectacular. Three big positives lay ahead for Ellington. First, the return of Carson Palmer is just over the horizon. Once he is back in the fold, the offense in general should improve. Better passing will open up more running room for Ellington. Second, the next five weeks offer great matchups for the Cardinals running game, and this stretch is when he will help Fantasy team owners the most with solid yardage totals and plenty of TDs. Third, the Cardinals bye week has passed, so no more worries about filling his shoes on a critical Sunday. Ellington should be at the top of your trade target list.
Tom Brady – Prior to Sunday night’s game, I wrote that a solution would be found to the Patriots’ offensive line issues, and wouldn’t you know it, they came out and played their best game to date against the last undefeated team in the NFL. Brady isn’t going to be a great play every week because the Patriots are moving towards a more balanced offense, splitting plays between run and pass almost evenly. However, matchups against some teams with questionable secondaries like Buffalo (twice), Chicago, Denver, and Green Bay should be Fantasy point bonanzas for Tom Terrific.
Ryan Tannehill – OK, I’m not crazy. Tannehill has put up a couple of very good games this season, and there is no doubt he’s shown improvement. Most notable is his improved rapport with Mike Wallace on both medium and long range passes downfield. The Dolphins also have a very favorable schedule for their passing game against teams like Green Bay, Chicago, Jacksonville, Denver and the Vikings during the all-important Week 16 championship. Do yourself a favor and stash him away now. By the end of Week 8, everyone will be onto him.
LeSean McCoy – Sure, he had a decent performance in Week 5, but there is clearly something amiss with Shady. Whether it’s some undisclosed physical ailment or the ongoing issues with the Eagles’ offensive line, McCoy simply isn’t producing as he has in the past. The team is 4-1, there are plenty of weapons in the passing game and the presence of Darren Sproles makes McCoy’s subpar performance a non-issue, so there is little incentive for the coaching staff to make changes to goose his numbers. Trade McCoy now while he still has value because another week or two of lousy numbers and you won’t be able to get fifty cents on the dollar.
Ronnie Hillman – Montee Ball is a talented back, of that there is little doubt. But he hasn’t really panned out for the Broncos and now he’s gone for at least a few weeks. Enter Hillman, who racked up 64 yards on 15 carries during garbage time after the game was well in hand for Denver. C.J. Anderson was a healthy scratch for this game and Juwan Thompson is also in the mix going forward. All three RBs could end up in a dreaded committee, with each getting a limited number of snaps unless one happens to emerge as the so-called “hot hand.” Knowing who the hot hand might be is a complete crapshoot. None of these three have the kind of talent to create their own running space with jukes and slick moves; they all are reliant on the offensive line to create big holes, and Denver’s offensive line is built to protect Peyton Manning, not open holes for the running backs. Don’t waste your FAAB here folks. It will be like throwing your good money away on players that will end up back on the waiver wire anyway.
Pierre Garcon – Everybody points to QB Kirk Cousins as the root cause of Garcon’s reduced numbers thus far. But the truth is that he is still the top targeted receiver for the Redskins. After catching 10 of 12 targets in Week 1, Garcon has only caught 16 of his last 29 targets. If my wide receiver was missing half of my passes, I would start to look elsewhere too. But that’s not the real problem. DeSean Jackson and Cousins have developed a fine rapport, but Jackson has only caught 12 of his last 28 targets! Yet, Jackson has racked up 302 yards with those 12 catches to just 201 yards for Garcon’s 16 catches. So, the problem appears to be with getting open because they have comparable yards after the catch numbers. One can only come to the conclusion that Garcon has perhaps lost a step or two. Either way, it might be worthwhile to explore Garcon’s trade value in your league.