Justin Forsett: Not owning a member of the Ravens running game is still the percentage play on a weekly basis, but there is at least some clarity now. I can’t tell you that Forsett is considerably more talented than the other members involved in this committee, but I can tell you that he is the only one with some resemblance of a defined role. He was on the field for 72 percent of snaps in a Week 5 loss to the Colts, the third consecutive week in which his percentage of snaps rose. The Ravens have been able to stretch the field with Steve Smith and the threat of Torrey Smith, but there has been a serious void in the short passing game, a role that Forsett appears to be filling without much competition. Not only are the short receptions his, he also managed to lead the team in carries. Sure, it was essentially an even three way split, but given his volume of looks through the air, a split on the rushing side is more than enough to sustain reasonable value. It’s also worth noting that he cashed in his lone red zone carry while Lorenzo Taliaferro couldn’t move the chains on third and one on the three yard line. The downside is limited here and the potential to get dangerous carries is there, upside that is worth a FLEX spot most weeks in PPR leagues.
Pierre Thomas: Buy that Forsett argument? It’s a similar train of thought when it comes to the PT Bruiser. Mark Ingram (hand) is expected to return following the Saints Week 6 bye, crowding this backfield in a very similar fashion to the one in Baltimore. That being said, Thomas should continue to get a few carries here and there as a change of pace option and he is an elite pass catcher in a pass-friendly offense. There are a lot of mouths to feed in New Orleans, but Thomas owns a specific skill set that adds a dimensional to this Saints offense. For those looking ahead, New Orleans is a good bet to play a pair of high-scoring games in the Fantasy Football playoffs against the Bears and Falcons.
Odell Beckham Jr.: The rookie made his debut on Sunday and did everything you could have hoped for. He played the majority of the snaps, he was targeted downfield, he didn’t aggravate his hamstring injury, and he even found paydirt. So why am I “holding” and not “buying”? Essentially, this is how I see the conversation going with Eli Manning (George Costanza) and Beckham’s Fantasy owners. There just aren’t enough footballs to go around in this conservative offense to produce three viable receivers (four pass-catchers if you buy Larry Donnell). Beckham has a nice role and will be productive on occasion, but it is difficult to envision a scenario, barring injury, that Fantasy owners will feel comfortable starting him on a weekly basis.
Austin Davis: Name the quarterback who has both more passing yards and a higher completion percentage in Weeks 3 and 5 (Davis’ last two games).
He may not have tremendous value as it is, but the value he does hold (primarily in very deep leagues or two quarterback formats) is currently at its peak. The Rams have found themselves in shootouts with the NFC East in both of those instances, a style of play that simply doesn’t happen in the NFC West. Divisional games against stingy opponents make up half of the Rams’ remaining schedule and the unproven signal caller is set for regression on the deep ball (leading all qualified quarterbacks in “Deep Passing Accuracy”). I’m a believer in Brian Quick as a viable receiver, but his current pace for nearly 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns is not sustainable and his teammates (Kenny Britt, Jared Cook, Austin Pettis, Tavon Austin, etc) are less than reliable. If you’re in an “Austin”-only league, St. Louis is the team for you, but otherwise he projects as nothing more than a matchup play in two-quarterback formats (Week 13 vs. Oakland and Week 16 vs. New York Giants).
Mohamed Sanu: This one seems straight forward, but based on questions I’ve been getting, the masses are over-thinking this one: he’s not worth owning the second Marvin Jones proves he is healthy. Only the best quarterbacks in the league can produce three viable receivers and Andy Dalton simply isn’t that. Let’s make this simple: here are Dalton’s thoughts when heading to the line of scrimmage:
- How many guys are guarding A.J. Green … over/under 3.5?
- If “under” throw it to him. If “over” consider throwing it to him, but have a backup plan.
- Run the ball (the Bengals average more rushing attempts the run-oriented offenses in the Bills, Jets, and Vikings).
- AJ Green isn’t open pray that the defense has forgotten about my running back in the flat (Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill have combined for 24 percent of targets and 35.7 percent of Dalton’s 20 yard completions).
- Hey, we are on the plus-side of the field … I can hit the endzone from here and Marvin Jones is usually hanging out there.
- Option 6? Yikes. Panic time. Maybe I can live to fight another down and pick up a few yards myself.
- Oooh wait, this was a three receiver set. There should be another guy wearing orange out there somewhere.
Sanu will make a big play here and there, heck he may even throw a touchdown, but if you’re counting on him with any sort of consistency … well, I hope the rest of your roster is good. Give me the aforementioned Jones, Harry Douglas, Jerricho Cotchery, or even Robert Woods, Andre Holmes, or Jarius Wright if you’re desperate.
Tim Wright: Let the overreaction begin. After his five-catch 85-yard performance in prime time, Wright is going to be linked to the “Aaron Hernandez” role. The main issue with this train of thought is that he is nowhere near as talented as Hernandez. I’m no NFL coach, but that would seem to reflect different usage. Wright’s aDOT (average depth of target) was under 10 in his breakout 2013 campaign, a shallow passing game role that Shane Vereen, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola, and to a certain extent Rob Gronkowski all already fill in this New England offense. There is an opening for a play-maker in this Patriots offense, but Wright’s skill set doesn’t mesh well with the team’s deficiency and will thus make him an inconsistent option. Again, Wright is a reasonable talent, but his impact will be greater for New England than it’ll be for your Fantasy team. I’d much prefer Owen Daniels the rest of the way.
Lock: Denver Broncos @ New York Jets
Lock: Arizona Cardinals vs Washington Redskins
Lock: Cincinnati Bengals vs Carolina Panthers
Value: Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Value: Tennessee Titans vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Upset: Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts
Week 6 Mailbag
@FiveThous: Am I crazy for entertaining the dropping of Torrey Smith?
Answer: If by crazy you mean intelligent, then yes, you’re nuts. He has scored just one time in his last nine games, totaling a mere 352 receiving yards over that stretch. But he is the same player now that he was when you drafted him: a streaky gunner that is going to be tough to project. He has scored three touchdowns over a four game stretch four times in his first three seasons in the NFL and I wouldn’t rule out such a streak taking place at some point in 2014 (the Week 12-15 schedule lines up nice with two games against teams that have combined to allow 48 passes of at least 20 yards this season). Don’t erase him from your memory, but erasing him from your roster isn’t a bad move until we see any signs of life.
@BDub237: Andre Williams or Ronnie Hillman on that Waiver Wire????
Answer: Remember the last time Rashad Jennings played 16 games in a season? How about the last 200 touch campaign on his resume? Never. He may break the latter streak, but the train of thought remains: he is no lock to assume his previous workload. The primary difference in Andre Williams and Ronnie Hillman is projected touch count. The Manning in New York desperately needs the run game while Denver’s edition is more than happy to put the game on his right shoulder. The Giants need a workhorse in their backfield and that fueled their drafting of Williams this season, a bellcow who touched the ball 359 times in his senior season at Boston College. He figures to assume a very heavy carry count while Jennings is sidelined and can work his way into splitting the extended workload with any form of success. Even if he struggles, the Giants will want to keep Jennings healthy, thus making his floor higher than that of Hillman, a player in a pass-oriented offense that could essentially completely lose his role once Ball returns. Let’s not forget the fact that Ball was reasonably effective in the early going before running into a brutal schedule. Nobody runs well on Seattle or Arizona, so the recent struggles shouldn’t be overblown. Williams is more talented than Hillman and is in a more advantageous position, thus making him the player addition of the week (although, if possible, picking up both wouldn’t be a bad move if working with a deep bench).
Draft Kings Lineup
QB – Jay Cutler
RB – LeSean McCoy
RB – Le’Veon Bell
WR – Alshon Jeffery
WR – Kelvin Benjamin
WR – Roddy White
TE – Larry Donnell
FLEX – Andre Ellington
D/ST – Seahawks