Published on September 29th, 2013 | by Adam Hintz1
Love/Hate Relationship: Week 4
I have to admit something: I don’t quite understand traditional fantasy football rankings.
Sure, I mean, I get them, I’m not obtuse; what I mean is that I don’t quite understand their usefulness. Does anyone need to know that a first round pick going against a bad defense should be started in all formats? When it comes down to it, ranking even a top-10 at any position is somewhat silly because any of those top players could end up anywhere on the scoring list, from #1 all the way down to #50 or worse. I don’t know, I’ve just always found rankings to be a poor model for building a fantasy team.
I really believe that proper fantasy ranking requires some level of explanation and analysis. It’s really easy to put Adrian Peterson #1 every week, but when you have to explain yourself, it gets harder and harder to reason away the fact that he’s looked not-so-great this year (aside from that 68-yard run on opening weekend) . Yes, I think Peterson is still a top-five running back, but why should he be behind Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy at this point? It’s an excuse to get lazy, in my opinion, to just have rankings without explanation.
So, what we’re going to do here isn’t rankings, remember that. I’m taking two players that I love or hate, and putting them in comparison to each other. If I hate Chris Johnson more than Maurice Jones-Drew, it means that I’m not exactly excited about either’s prospects, but I’d rather have MJD than CJ2K. It’s just a way to put players in relation to each other, which I think is better than simply telling you I love or hate someone based on their matchup. We’ll go through at least one relationship per position each week.
I LOVE Andy Dalton more than… Joe Flacco
Quarterback is silly-deep this year, and I don’t need to justify any of the top 10 to 12 names this week, because there are a plethora of names you should feel pretty good about starting. But if you’re in a deep league, or a 2-QB league, one of these names just might be on your radar for this week. On the surface, Flacco seems to be the better play (against the Bills) but I have a feeling this is going to be a low scoring game and that the Ravens are likely to lean on their running game (with both Pierce and Rice active). Looks like 10-12 points from Flacco this week, with a fairly ceiling above that.
Andy Dalton, on the other hand, might benefit from a game where he has to throw a lot more than people think. Giovani Bernard is exciting and all that, but the Cleveland run defense is still stout. AJ Green is big enough and mean enough to negate Joe Haden, so I see the Bengals scoring at least twice through the air. This could be the week Dalton cracks 20 points.
I LOVE Trent Richardson more than… Adrian Peterson
Both of these guys are obvious names, and I think both are due for a great game, but I wanted to point out a few things: 1) Peterson has a pedestrian 3.1 YPC since his 68-yard TD run against the Lions in week one 2) Ahmad Bradshaw is out for the Colts 3) Minnesota has less of a passing game than usual and 4) Pittsburgh is in full desperation mode.
Obviously, if you have either guy, you are playing them, but I just wanted to give some love to Richardson, who has had a rough couple of weeks. The Colts paid a heavy price to make him their featured back, and the Jaguars are paying a heavy price for the #1 pick next year: if this isn’t the week that Richardson explodes, he may never do it.
I HATE Giovani Bernard more than… C.J. Spiller
Both of these guys are rather similar to each other, when you get down to it. Quick, shifty and somewhat diminutive guys who are prone to breaking a big play once a week, we’ve seen Bernard explode already, while Spiller has been stuck in neutral for three straight weeks.
Given the choice between these two guys this week, I’m going to take Spiller, because again, the Browns run defense is legit. Oh, and Bernard isn’t even the lead back in Cincy. I know Spiller has to deal with Fred Jackson, but CJ works better with ample rest during a game anyway; I’m going to go out on a limb here and say he’s more likely than Bernard to crack a long run to save his fantasy value this week.
I LOVE Cecil Shorts more than… Josh Gordon
Again, these players are kind of similar to each other in that they’re the best receiver on a team with a not-so-great offense. Last week we saw Gordon explode in his first game back from suspension, and Shorts collect a ton of yards in garbage time against the Seahawks. I think Shorts has another big yardage day against a Colts defense that will not be as amped up as they were last week against the 49ers, and I think the Bengals will be prepared for Gordon, unlike the Vikings. It really is as simple as that.
Based on talent, I would take Gordon, but I’d like to see him do freakishly athletic things two weeks in a row before I got too excited.
I HATE Dwayne Bowe more than… EVERYBODY
Oh lord, how did I get stuck with Dwayne Bowe on my team? I’ve disliked the guy for years, and I hated him this year, but I took him in on a trade that I just had to make. What a mistake that was!
Alex Smith is averse to throwing the ball more than five yards downfield, which is unfortunate because it makes Bowe a highly-paid decoy on play after play after play after play. He saw just a few targets and one catch against the putrid Philly defense a week ago.
Oh, yeah, and his coach is Andy Reid, who is an expert at drawing up game plans meant to frustrate the hell out of fantasy owners. Seriously, he’s like a genius in that regard. I predict I’m going to end up dropping this guy before the season is over. Yuck.
I LOVE Heath Miller more than… Martellus Bennett
Oh boy do the Steelers love having Miller back on the field. He only had three catches last week, but he should be off the snap count restriction this week, and Roethlisberger just loves his tight end safety valve. Oh, and the Vikings are horrible against the pass (and specifically the tight end). It almost seems too easy.
Meanwhile, Bennett is a solid play against a Lions team that isn’t exactly known for their sparkling brand of defense, y’know?
I HATE the Colts D/ST more than… the Patriots D/ST
Don’t get cute this week. I know it’s the Jaguars, and I know the Colts D looked great last week, but don’t get cute. Remember week 1? Remember how they were going to shut down the Raiders? Yeah, it didn’t happen. The Jags might not get their offense going until the game is in garbage time, but they will score some points, and the Colts are not going to force a lot of good things to happen on defense. Don’t get cute.
Meanwhile, this is your obligatory reminder not to back a defense that goes into Atlanta, if you can help it. I don’t think there’s a lot of upside with the Patriots defense this week.
That’s all for this week; good luck to you all in your fantasy endeavors.