This past Sunday was not a good day for me. How could a Sunday, filled with NFL games, not being an enjoyable experience, one might ask? Well, in one of my fantasy leagues, my team scored 50 points. Yes, 50 points. As in, a team of Jimmy Graham and Antonio Brown would have easily handled my roster of nine incredibly underperforming players. If you’ve ever had your own column and yet somehow you only went on to muster up 50 messily fantasy points then you know how terrible of a feeling I felt this past week.
My lone bright spot on Sunday came via my fantasy crush, Demarco Murray. Murray rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown versus the Rams, and he looked liked Adrian Peterson 2.0. Anyone that knows me knows that I am one of Murray’s biggest fans, supporters, and believers. To see my man run like he did on Sunday made me feel like Aubrey Graham rekindling the flame with an ex. It was an emotional game for me to watch and I couldn’t mean that in a more beautiful way. So, thank you, Demarco. Thank you so much for showcasing to the world the talents that I’ve known you’ve had all along.
Murray is currently the sixth highest scoring running back right in ESPN standard scoring leagues. The five running backs ahead of Murray are Matt Forte, Joique Bell, Adrian Peterson, Jamal Charles, and LeSean McCoy. Clearly, Bell is the outlier there, but this is where it gets interesting. Here is a list of running back outside the top 15 as of week 3. Arian Foster, Ray Rice, CJ Spiller, Trent Richardson, and Maurice Jones-Drew. Hold on, I’m not done. It gets worse for the running backs. Out of the running backs, wide receiver, and tight end position (or Flex positions), there are only 11 running backs that are in the top 30 in scoring right now.
Now the fantasy gods are trying to tell us something here. So, because I am fantasy Eezus, I can tell you that they have relayed the following information to me.
Clearly, the real football is becoming much more about the passing game with the leagues rule changes over the past few years, but this change has now made it’s way to fantasy football, also. Today there are just way more points scored through the air then on the ground. This means that you should almost always be playing a WR or TE in your flex position rather than a RB.
Depending on your league size, as an owner you should target having one top 10 RB on your team, and then be content with your second RB being a top 20 guy. The production you lose from having a “weaker” RB 2 will be made up for, plus some, in your WR, and TE slots.
High draft picks like Foster, Spiller, Rice and Richardson will figure it out. They have too much talent not to. Expect all of them to finish inside the top 10 by seasons end.
Lastly, if this information is wrong, I’m sorry. Don’t shoot the messenger, for that was the wisdom of the fantasy gods. Not me.
Recaps: I talked a lot in the intro. Much like Aubrey did on Tuscan Leather. Therefore, I’m just going to do some brief recaps.
Cardinals vs. Saints: This game was all Saints by the time the first half was over. Arizona really couldn’t establish any sort of offense. I believe there are better times ahead for the Cardinals offense, and that is because the Saints defense is a defense on the rise. Larry Fitzgerald will be fine. I continue to view him as a higher end number two wide receivers.
The Saints have a special offense. Jimmy Graham is putting an Undertaker-like chokehold on the number one tight end position (save us, Gronk). I was disappointed in the fact that little Darren Sproles didn’t get more carries with Mark Ingram out, but then again the leading rusher for the Saints only had four carries. Sproles should get more work this week and, of course, he’s a solid start in PPR leagues.
Giants vs. Panthers: In a song, written by Drake, where he hopes will be played at weddings in five years, he sings, “It’s hard to do these things alone.” I think Eli Manning is starting to feel Drake’s melody, but on a slightly different note. Manning needs some help. His running backs seem to be non-existent, and his offensive line is worse at pass blocking than Chief Keefe is at forming sentences. Let’s hope the Giants can figure it out, because I miss watching Victor Cruz. As one of my good friends would say, love salsa.
Cam Newton finally showed up to play this week. He also finally showed up in the end zone and we all got to witness one of the greatest end zone celebrations ever. Don’t hate, people. Cam is the man. Fantasy-wise, I really like Deangelo Williams right now. The carriers are through, and Carolina wants to run the football. He is a solid flex option from here on out.
Bears vs. Steelers: It’s real sad in Steelers land these days. Pittsburgh is 0-3, and though this game was their best of the season, they still lost by 17 points and had five turnovers. Fantasy-wise, clearly stay away from all Steelers running backs. Honestly; the only WR 3 or flex-play I see on this offense right now is Antonio Brown. Emmanuel Sanders is a fine play in deeper leagues, but in standard leagues I think you can find better options.
QB I BELIEVE in this week. Terrelle Pryor: Last week, I proclaimed Colin Kaepernick was going to crush the Colts due to the fact that Pryor looked like the Johnny Football in their Week One matchup. Things I’ve learned this week. Pryor is better than people thought, and that Johnny Football and Drake are the two best friends that any could have. I can’t wait until Drizzy drops a Manziel anthem. Here is some advice, if you have Cam Newton or Aaron Rodgers, then pick up Pryor. Make sure to check the status of Pryor before the late kickoff and, if Pryor is out, go pick up Matt Flynn. The point is, whoever plays Washington is going to put up decent numbers.
RB I BELIEVE in this week. Demarco Murray: If you skipped my introduction, go back and read it. Also, the Cowboys play a Chargers defense that is allowing 130 yards rushing a game.
RB I DOUBT this week. Trent Richardson. The thing with Trent Richardson is that he’s not Adrian Peterson. Also, Jim Brown labeled Richardson as “average” last year when the Browns drafted him. Last year, he didn’t crack 1000 yards and he averaged just over three yards per carry. With all that being said, I will admit that Richardson has been thrown into a great situation. The Colts have an elite real life QB (not an elite fantasy one). They also have a “run first” coach. I am low on Richardson because I don’t think he will be played on third downs quite yet, due to pass protection. I don’t think Ahmad Bradshaw is going to fade away into oblivion, yet. Don’t buy into Richardson until you see a 20-carry game.
WR I BELIEVE in this week: Emmanuel Sanders. On Monday night, Sanders’ teammate Antonio Brown, went off on the Chicago Bears as he recorded 196 yards and two touchdowns. Funny story here, I dropped Brown Sunday afternoon due to the fact that Gronk was inactive. The explanation for this idiotic move is simple; I pour all my fantasy wisdom into this weekly column for the sake of the small following that actually read this. Therefore, once Sunday comes around, I become a fantasy bonehead and brain fart quite often. With that being said, I think Brown and Sanders will both have nice weeks this week. I just think Brown is being slightly overrated, and Sanders a bit undervalued.
WR I DOUBT this week: Andre Johnson. This is a pretty solid cop out for me, I know. Johnson might not even play and if he does play he gets to go one on one with Sims Island. No, no, no. My bad. I mean Richard Sherman. Simple mistake. Fantasy-wise, I want nothing to do with Johnson this week.
Boom. We are done here. That’s all I wrote. I’ll be back next week with more premium fantasy advice. Best wishes.