RotoExpert Pat Mayo: Jordan Cameron Tops Gronk In Week 4 PPR Fantasy Football Flex Rankings

Breaking Bad ends on Sunday. Tragic times.

And here we sit and squirm in anticipation, like our trodden down Pro-Villain – Walt’s no Antihero – Mr. White, staring down an icy, glistening void, finally coming to grips with the knowledge that end is, in fact, looming. So put your Heisenberg hat down for a moment and pause; think about everything you love about Breaking Bad – really take fearless (or fearful) moral inventory – and attempt to harness all your positive feelings for it, bottle them up, then go all Walt Disney/Ted Williams/Steak sale at the supermarket – freeze for preservation.

Sadly, this is the most you’ll ever enjoy this beloved program. This is it. Well, I suppose if the finale completely delivers (which I expect it to do), then maybe then moments directly proceeding the fade to black may briefly top the present. But that’s only a whip-it of satisfaction. All TV shows, even the elite ones, have depreciating value. It’s inevitable. They eventually fall victim to a series of shortcomings with time.

The Sopranos was the first entry in this “Golden Age of Television” – aka this entire millennium, plus a year. It aired, and was immediately recognizable as better than everything else on TV. Before Tony’s groovy cruise down the Jersey Turnpike radiated out of our idiot boxes, a series involving that sort of subject matter, fleshed out in such depth had been exclusively reserved for the cinema.

Also, we used to only watch football on Sunday nights.

Since, there’ve been scads of shows that have reached the same level of quality. Hell, Boardwalk Empire is essentially equal, but it never had a chance to be considered on the same level. From episode one, Boardwalk was clearly a derivative of the type of show Sopranos was. A template, nothing fresh to it. It’s like HBO executives we’re chatting one day and someone said, “You know, we should make another show like The Sopranos. People liked that. But Mad Men has a lot of traction right now, so let make it a period piece. And let’s go earlier. Hmmmmm… It needs to be set in America, but no one wants to see a show happening during the Civil War. Too depressing. Paul Thomas Anderson just did turn of the century industrial development better than we could ever perceive in There Will Be Blood (MILKSHAKES!!!), and I hear he’s going to cover post-War readjustment in The Master. He’ll do that better than us too. Well, Tony was a mobster, and people do like shows about gangsters… Especially, old timey gangsters… Everyone enjoys seeing draper criminals firing Tommy Guns! I got it, BOOTLEGGERS!!!! Prohibition Era, Al Capone, slick hats, overcoats. Here’s a check for $100 million, someone get Marty Scorsese on the line – And lets win some Emmys.”

An almost identical conversation also took place at Sony and that travesty Gangster Squad was born.

But, if you’re going to compete with Sopranos on a prestige level you need to have influence on the entire medium, but “scope of influence” is rarely a phrase people spout when they’re mentioning things they “like” about something. Unless, we’re dealing with the prevention of gingivitis, “scope” is a term laid away for discussions about “merit”. In theory, both should go hand-in-hand, but there’s so much subjectivity in TV shows that one doesn’t necessarily beget the other. I “liked” Entourage; fully aware it wasn’t “good”. Actually, it was up to the episode with Vince in the Chinese energy drink commercial – all downhill after that, though.

Think of your best friend, everyone may despise them but they’re good in your books – a common thread among all who consider me a friend. Although, judging things from an outside perspective, you understand where others see faults; you’ve just made the decision to ignore these defects. And it isn’t a conscious choice. There’s simply something in simpatico with them. You probably have fancy, matching Ids. It’s why I still think Arian Foster turns it around. A stance that chuckles at the very mention of evidence supporting it, because I’m not sure any exists. Foster’s likely finished – bringing validity to the ubiquitous pre-season boast that reverberated through the Fantasy space. I have no real reason to have this opinion, I just do. Somehow it’s conditioned into me.

Detaching personal bias from evaluation is a struggle. It’s also the most important trait you can possess in Fantasy. I try to do it, and for the most part I succeed, but alas, we all stupidly fall for that no-goodnik from the wrong side of the tracks. Up until this year I was infatuated with Ray Rice. Ray Rice was my guy. He moves it like Bernie when he scores touchdown, never misses a game and he’d been the driving force of my keeper team for last past four years. Last year we broke up. And now I find myself far more able to predict his performance. I always overrated Rice because A) I liked him and B) Success for him translated into success… FOR ME!

Midway through last season I took a look at my results in that league. I had finished fifth three consecutive seasons with Rice as my cornerstone – and only four teams make the playoffs. And here I was stuck once again hovering at .500, again, and I’d had enough. Dealt him away for DeMarco Murray and broke my post-season jinx in that league. Now, I can judge Rice for what he is. A terrific RB2. If Ray Rice is your second best running back your have a stacked team. Unfortunately, you needed to spend a first-round pick on him the past three years to acquire his services. Not to say he hasn’t been a fine fantasy player, he has – consistent too – but he never gave you game-breaking performances that swung a week in your favor. He was just a safe 12-16 points. I’d actually like to know how many people – outside of his first season, when he was a sixth round steal – have actually won leagues nabbing Rice in the first round. I don’t have an answer to the question, but I’d wager it’s not large number.

Because of his end of the year totals, we’d build up this expectation that he was an elite Fantasy running back. But he wasn’t. His overall output was severely affected by his ability to stay healthy. On a per-game basis however, he was never as good as he appeared to be. And I was blinded to that. Now that time has passed, and I’ve separated myself from him, I see this all now. It’s a very nitpicky thing to do, but it’s rarely something we realize in real time.

In retrospect, every great show has lost its luster, even though we still consider them great. Sopranos’ final season isn’t remembered warmly. Neither is AJ Soprano. Then, when everyone discovered The Wire years later, Sopranosfell a little more because, as it turned out, there was a better show airing at the same time – actually, directly after. And then, because the Internet is a exists, The Wire was dissected to the point where we hold something as irrelevant as Omar jumping off a balcony to escape Marlo’s clutches against it as a breech out reality. We never noticed at the time. We just wanted to see what happened next.

Also, If Orange is the New Black, Tood is the new Snoop.

These were the pinnacles of programs because there was no formula to them. They created their own reality that we accepted and wanted to see more of, and kept us guessing until the end. Lost did the same thing, but went too far.Mad Men has the same inherent quality, and so does Breaking Bad. This fictional world seems close enough to ours that we accept it as real, but it’s all completely implausible. No one cares right now, because we want to see how it ends before we can properly assess how good it actually is. Even if Vince Gilligan pulls this off, and completes, with an excellent finale, what will likely be known as the greatest final season any show has ever had. Which vaults it into the discussion for “greatest show of ever”. And Monday morning you’ll think that, potentially Monday afternoon too. But as time begins lapse, people will go back and begin picking it apart. And lots of things will seem sort of ridiculous: Walter strutting away after an explosion of mercury fulminate, successfully staging a train heist, a character directly influencing a plane crash that affects the outcome of the show. How about that the majority of the story happens over the course of one year: Jesse’s must have moved 400 times in that period! But none of this matters right now, and it shouldn’t. Just relax and cherish your final date with your Sunday enjoyabilabuddy. We’ll critique later.

This is why television is great. It allows us the leeway to alter our assessment with time. That doesn’t work with Fantasy football.

Just because you’re 3-0 does not mean you can relax. It’s imperative to get better. And an undefeated record probably means you have a few players that everyone is enjoying in the moment. This is where you need to remain objective, not become consumed with your own success and be as critical as possible with your team. Scour your squad and search for ways to get better, and that starts with figuring out which players will persist in their hot starts and which will ultimately falter. And that can be tricky.

Walter White’s success was made off precise calculations resulting in the purest form of meth (and blue dye!). There was no room for outside influence. His personal success? Wiped away by failing to take into account or consider any external factors. He got so caught up in his own glory that he didn’t see any warning signs coming. And it resulted in his downfall.

Now you know. Heed Gus’ words: Don’t make the same mistake twice.

In a passel of leagues, I’m stuck trying to figure out what to do with Rob Gronkowski and Jordan Cameron: This week, and for the long haul. And I’m certain it’s not just me. Making matters worse, there’s no good solution to the problem. Well, it’s not really a problem; it’s an abundance of riches. Except in leagues where tight ends cannot be flexed.

For the week, if I have the duo, I’m starting Cameron. He’s been so good you’ve been afforded the luxury of playing wait-and-see with GRONK’s health. That’s only a quick fix though. Eventually, you’ll be forced to trade one of them, and you’ll maximize value by doing it as soon as possible. And I’d be trying my damndest to pawn Cameron off while he’s coming off a three-touchdown week. Granted, that’s a path riddled with risk. Especially if GRONK ends up not returning this week or fails to live up to the expectations we’ve bestowed on him for the remainder of the season. But you need to weigh that cost with the value Cameron will lose if he lays an egg against the Bengals. It’s unlikely he’ll ever be worth this much again.

I don’t want this to seem like I’m anti-Cameron. I love the guy. Probably a Top 5 tight end. I don’t think he’s near GRONK’s level, though. People talk to me about “buy lows” all the time: Are MJD, Roddy White and Lamar Miller buy-lows? Probably, but if you’re going to gamble on upside, go for the GRONK-type, a true game-changer at his position. The advantage GRONK can give you at TE is surpassed only by Jimmy Graham, and no other big man even comes close.

Some will hesitate, but there’s no time for that. Fail to act and you’ll miss your shot.

If you have both, stop reading this (remember to come back) and commence peddling Cameron around your league for a player that can help fill a position. I’ve seen him swapped this week straight up for CJ Spiller, Andre Johnson, Ray Rice, Larry Fitzgerald and Arian Foster. Those are some nice jumping off trades. I’d settle for less than that, but not significantly so. I guarantee you’ll find someone in the market for a potentially elite tight end. They may even be willing to be talked into giving you Randall Cobb or Reggie Bush.

If you’re on the other side, and a savvy leaguemate owns the pair, start working them over and try to get GRONK. Tell them the tale of his multiple surgeries and inability to stay on the field. And without Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez alongside him, he’ll be rendered inert by blanket coverage. You’re not lying. All those are legitimate concerns. I happen to believe he’ll be great, but planting that seed of doubt in their mind is critical to making this happen.

Find out what their expectations are for him in the present and use that against them.


NYG/KC over44


IND D/ST at Jacksonville


TB D/ST hosting Arizona






CJ Spiller – Looks like CJ’s going to suit up against the Ravens, and out a lack of better options, you’ll probably be forced to play him. Not good. He’s hurt and has a brutal matchup. Baltimore has been the least friendly defense to opposing running backs through three weeks, allowing 161 yards – TOTAL! The Bills have given up 147 per game.#GOBILLS! Going forward Spiller will be fine, he’s an excellent trade target, just know it may take a few weeks for Buffalo’s offense develop a groove, too many new pieces haven’t allowed for any consistency thus far. Bump Fred Jackson down a few notches for this game as well.

Ray Rice & Bernard Pierce – You’ll notice I have Pierce over Rice in the ranks. Well, you will once you scroll down. I wonder if that warranted a **SPOILER ALERT** disclaimer. Meh. Anyway, Rice clearly isn’t going to be at full health and I anticipate closer to a 50/50 split between the two than normal. So I’ll side with the guy that didn’t suffer a hip injury without being touched.

Jason Snelling & Jacquizz Rodgers – Still room left on the Snelling train… TOOT, TOOT! It’s leaving the station soon however… TICKETS PLEASE!!!! I’m all-in on Snelling. Just remember, he’s not pocket aces, more like a pair of 5s in the hole. You’re not going to win every time, but you’ll come out on top the majority of the time. Snelling is a power runner, far more equipped to handle the bulk of the workload – although he didn’t last week. He did get the goal line touches, though, and is an extremely underrated pass catcher. He’s averaging over 3 a game and we didn’t even really see him in Week 1. He’s going to hold up to the grind better and Quizz Show, and until Steven Jacksonreturns I expect him to be a fringe Top 10 back, and a must start every week. Rodgers will be a fine FLEX too.

Larry Fitzgerald & Andre Johnson – Both are banged up and both draw nightmare assignments. The bench is the proper place for them, but it’s likely you don’t have any better options. Tough spot to be in. Just pray their talent takes over.

Le’Veon Bell – The Steelers may have the worst offensive line in football. Scratch that, they most definitely do. I don’t care if Adrian Peterson was running behind it, I wouldn’t start him. And although I haven’t seen him play yet, I’ll assume I’m correct in saying Bell is no AP.

Emmanuel Sanders – For as out as I am on the Steelers O-Line, I’m equally critical of the Minnesota’s pass defense. They gave up 320 yards and 3 TDs to friggin Brian Hoyer last week. Get it together, Vikings. But they won’t, at least not this quickly. So I love Ben Roethlisberger in this game, same with Antonio Brown. Ditto for “The Colonel”. Fun Fact #1: This game is in London! Fun Fact #2: Remember when Channing Crowder didn’t know where London was?

THE JETS – Listen, do not overreact to one week, this is still an awful offense. That being said, because of his new opportunity Bilal Powell should be in your starting lineup. There are so few running backs that see 20+ touches now that through attrition Powell will be incredibly useful while Chris Ivory is on the mend. No need to fret over Alex Green hamburgaling touches away either; he’s no good.

Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes are different cases. They’ll go as Geno Smith goes. So if you believe GENO is amagic man with a rocket arm sent from the clouds to win games, go ahead and start Holmes, who I do like more than Hill. But I don’t believe in GENO, so I’m taking out a roster restraining order on the two of them.

Danny Woodhead – Seven catches last week, eight the week before. Don’t worry about Danny’s game, he’s a double digits LOCK.

Trent Richardson & Ahmad Bradshaw – Look like they’ll be splitting carries again this week, although I would think the more T-Rich gets acclimated with the offense, the more action he’ll see. And if he has a crummy week, it will present a terrific buying window. They both have a great match up against Jacksonville and should both produce. I’m letting talent be the deciding factor and that method of appraisal favors Richardson.

Josh Gordon – He’s good. You want to play him.

Mohamed Sanu – Sanu’s quietly hauled in at least four receptions in very game, and clearly established himself as the full time compliment to A.J. Green, who – FYI – draws a brutal assignment Sunday in Joe Haden, but still a must start, of course. Still, Andy Dalton may not be so keen to simply lob balls up for Green knowing an elite defender is lurking like Bane – IN THE SHADOWS. That will generate some extra looks for Sanu who’s been tempting us with his skills since late last year. He finally comes through this week.

Michael Bush – The Lions don’t stop the run… whatsoever. Marc Trestman and that custy ‘c’ in his name have named Bush the goalline back over Matt Forte. Normally that wouldn’t be enough to recommend a guy who averages 1.5 ypc, but against Detroit, he’s going to get opportunities, and convert them.



Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh… The Broncos, I guess.

(Rankings & injury spin updated Sunday morning at 10am ET)

Rankings set to PPR scoring format:

1 point for every 10 yards Rushing/Receiving
1 point per reception
6 points per Touchdown

Points per reception (PPR) scoring must be treated differently than standard leagues. Receivers and scat backs likeDarren Sproles, Danny Woodhead and Roy Helu have inflated value in PPR scoring. As do possession receivers –Wes Welker, Danny Amendola and others in their mold are safer options. Catches tend to be more consistent and predictive. Obviously, touchdowns and yards are still important, but when considering FLEX options exploit any advantage you can. For standard scoring, running backs with hands of stone like Alfred Morris, BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Stevan Ridley all see their stocks rise without catches in the mix.

Not ranked because of injury:Danny Amendola, Miles Austin
Byes: Green Bay, Carolina

  1. Matt Forte
  2. Calvin Johnson
  3. Jamaal Charles
  4. LeSean McCoy
  5. Adrian Peterson
  6. Brandon Marshall
  7. Dez Bryant
  8. Julio Jones
  9. Darren McFadden
  10. DeMarco Murray
  11. Jimmy Graham
  12. Reggie Bush
  13. Doug Martin
  14. DeSean Jackson
  15. A.J. Green
  16. Reggie Wayne
  17. Demaryius Thomas
  18. Eric Decker
  19. Pierre Garcon
  20. Alfred Morris
  21. Marshawn Lynch
  22. Marques Colston
  23. Wes Welker
  24. Jordon Cameron
  25. Jason Snelling
  26. Stevie Johnson
  27. Victor Cruz
  28. Julian Edelman
  29. Trent Richardson
  30. Bilal Powell
  31. Mike Wallace
  32. Frank Gore
  33. Darren Sproles
  34. Maurice Jones-Drew
  35. Cecil Shorts
  36. C.J. Spiller
  37. Joique Bell
  38. Dwayne Bowe
  39. Antonio Brown
  40. Josh Gordon
  41. Chris Johnson
  42. Bernard Pierce
  43. Julius Thomas
  44. Vincent Jackson
  45. Hakeem Nicks
  46. Jason Witten
  47. Rob Gronkowski
  48. Brian Hartline
  49. Giovani Bernard
  50. Danny Woodhead
  51. Anquan Boldin
  52. T.Y. Hilton
  53. Torrey Smith
  54. Golden Tate
  55. Denarius Moore
  56. Ray Rice
  57. Andre Johnson
  58. Emmanuel Sanders
  59. Ryan Broyles
  60. Coby Fleener
  61. Lamar Miller
  62. Arian Foster
  63. Michael Bush
  64. Antonio Gates
  65. Martellus Bennett
  66. Pierre Thomas
  67. Mike Williams
  68. Larry Fitzgerald
  69. Brandon Myers
  70. David Wilson
  71. Tony Gonzalez
  72. Ryan Mathews
  73. Owen Daniels
  74. Vernon Davis
  75. Stevan Ridley
  76. Fred Jackson
  77. Knowshon Moreno
  78. Mohamed Sanu
  79. DeAndre Hopkins
  80. Eddie Royal
  81. Ahmad Bradshaw
  82. Marlon Brown
  83. Chris Givens
  84. Kenbrell Thomkins
  85. Aaron Dobson
  86. Jacquizz Rodgers
  87. Rashard Mendenhall
  88. Lance Moore
  89. Tavon Austin
  90. Riley Cooper
  91. Sidney Rice
  92. Brandon Gibson
  93. Davone Bess
  94. Santana Moss
  95. Roy Helu
  96. Daryl Richardson
  97. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
  98. Marcel Reece
  99. Bryce Brown
  100. Greg Jennings
  101. Harry Douglas
  102. Roddy White
  103. Darrius Heyward-Bey
  104. Alshon Jeffery
  105. Santonio Holmes
  106. Robert Woods
  107. Rod Streater
  108. Kyle Rudolph
  109. Brandon Boldin
  110. Jared Cook
  111. Chris Ogbonnaya
  112. Isaiah Pead
  113. Austin Pettis
  114. Andre Roberts
  115. Daniel Thomas
  116. Ben Tate
  117. Le’Veon Bell
  118. Kendall Wright
  119. Andre Ellington
  120. Da’Rel Scott
  121. Willis McGahee
  122. Doug Baldwin
  123. Michael Floyd
  124. Ronnie Brown
  125. Brandon Pettigrew
  126. Jordan Todman
  127. Nate Washington
  128. Tyler Eifert
  129. Delanie Walker
  130. Charles “Dice” Clay
  131. Kendall Hunter
  132. Jonathan Dwyer
  133. Montee Ball
  134. Stephen Hill
  135. Dwyane Harris
  136. Terrance Williams
  137. Vincent Brown
  138. Kenny Stills
  139. Jeremy Kerley
  140. Kenny Britt
  141. Scott Chandler
  142. Cordarrelle Patterson
  143. Donnie Avery
  144. Jordon Reed
  145. Heath Miller
  146. Reuben Randle
  147. Jason Avant
  148. Robert Meachem
  149. Greg Little
  150. Jackie Battle
  151. Robert Turbin
  152. Brent Celek
  153. Kellen Winslow
  154. Jermaine Gresham
  155. Brandon Jacobs
  156. Ronnie Hillman

Worst Place: Mark Ingram

Photos via Getty, Deadspin