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Crystal Ball Week 10 2017
By Evan Tarracciano
“Is it really a hobby if it stresses you out that much”?
My wife posed this question to me Sunday afternoon, after she heard another litany of profanity in the midst of the Sunday Night Football game. In reality, it is a fair question, I suppose. Fantasy Football should just be a hobby for myself, and millions other owners around the world. It should be something that we take in good spirits and not get frustrated by. We don’t call the plays. We don’t miss the tackles. We don’t choose which players have good or bad weeks, or get injured. All we can do is watch, and hope that our particular players come through enough to win.
Yet that hasn’t exactly been the case this season for yours truly.
Sure, I’m invested in Fantasy sports more than the average Joe. I’ve been involved in the industry since 2011, and pride myself on being able to put together a competitive team and have a real shot at winning the championship in all the leagues that I participate in. I spent countless hours each week analyzing rosters, making pickups, writing articles, and even recording a Facebook chat. I play in a number of leagues, ranging from “experts only” where I put my skills to the test against fellow analysts, to a long-standing Friends and Family dynasty (I’m the reigning champ in that one, thank you very much!). However, for as much enjoyment as I get from sitting down on the couch each Sunday and rooting for all of my squads to get a win, this has to be the most frustrating season I can ever recall, bar none.
Not only has there been a rash of injuries to top tier talent, but a plethora of superstars have continually let their owners down through Week 9, underperforming and causing heartache. A quick glance at the Football Diehards ADP entering the season is an absolute horror story:
1. David Johnson – Injured in Week 1, will likely miss the entire season on IR
2. Odell Beckham – Missed Week 1, was awful Week 2, then played well before sustaining a season-ending injury Week 5.
3. Julio Jones – Barely ranks inside the top 10 at the position, and has 1 TD through 9 games
4. AJ Green – Was on fire prior to Week 7. Has been held to 40 receiving yards and three receptions or less each of the past three weeks. Is visibly upset and annoyed with his role.
5. Allen Robinson - Injured in Week 1, will likely miss the entire season on IR
6. Aaron Rodgers – Broke his clavicle Week 6, likely will miss the entire season on IR
7. Andrew Luck – Expected to initially return after Week 2, will miss the entire season on IR
8. Deshaun Watson – Didn’t start out of the gate (due to the ineptitude of the coaching staff), but was on an absolute tear prior to tearing his ACL in practice this past week
9. Dalvin Cook – Great through the first four weeks of the season and appeared to be in the upper-echelon of running backs in the league, before tearing his ACL. Done for the year
10. Chris Carson – A popular sleeper pick, Carson was a solid FLEX through four weeks before sustaining a horrific leg injury. Done for the year
11. Danny Woodhead- Drafted as an RB2 in PPR formats, played in one series of downs Week 1 before being placed on IR with a hamstring injury
12. Greg Olsen – Hadn’t missed a game over the last several years, fractured his right foot in Week 2 and has been sidelined since
13. Tyler Eifert – No one expected him to make it through a full season, but he only made it to Week 2
14. Julian Edelman – Tore his ACL on the opening drive Week 1, will miss the entire season on IR
15. Terrelle Pryor – Has caught more than three passes in a game just once this year, and his lone touchdown reception came in Week 4
Keep in mind, this is just a few examples. I could go on. It has been brutal.
I’m human, just like everyone else. To that end, I also get frustrated when I suffer from bad luck or breaks. I feel your pain when a key player gets hurt, or heartache when another one disappoints. Fantasy Football, at its absolute core, is unpredictable. That is what makes this game so fun (and infuriating) at the same time. We can guess and prophesize about outcomes, but ultimately like Jon Snow.. we know nothing. Take it for what it is, and try to enjoy the final few weeks of the season!
Q:Is Josh Gordon worth a pickup? Looks like he is finally drug-free for the first time since 2014!
A:I spoke about my thoughts on Gordon at length in response to a question that I received in my Facebook chat, but it ultimately boils down to two factors.
First – what sort of format is your league? In a one-year, redraft format he doesn’t hold a ton of value, since he can’t take the field until Week 13 at the earliest, assuming that he is activated by the Cleveland Browns. Even if that is the case, he will still have DeShone Kizer or Cody Kessler throwing him the ball, which doesn’t offer much hope. In a keeper or dynasty format – absolutely, I’d be very high on him. He’s still in fantastic shape and appears to have his affairs in order, and is just 26.
Second – what sort of expectations are you hoping for? Any owner thinking that he can magically slip back into his peak 2013 form is delusional. He has been away from the game for three years!! If you are in pretty good shape and feel that your team is a shoe-in for the playoffs and he would simply be bench depth or a FLEX option, sure. If you are a contending team that needs to win each week to make the playoffs and are counting on him to be a savior – look elsewhere.
Q:When Danny Woodhead comes back, does he instantly kick Buck Allen to the curb? Or do the Baltimore Ravens ease him into action?
A:Though the team has been one of the most offensively-inept through the first nine weeks of the season, the Ravens are somehow still 4-5, and very much contending for a playoff spot in the AFC. Woodhead is undoubtedly the best pass-catching back on the team, but was also assumed to have a significant role as more than just a receiver. His presence will take away snaps from both Allen and Alex Collins, right from the start. He has already resumed practicing, and the expectation is that he takes the field in Week 11 after the bye. Woodhead is securely on the RB2 radar in PPR formats, and deserves to be universally owned.
Q:I thought that you said Marlon Mack was worth a pickup? What happened this past week?
A:Chuck Pagano happened. He’s still more talented than Frank Gore, and deserves more snaps than what we saw in Week 9. How he didn’t see a target in the passing game speaks volumes about the braindead nature of the Indianapolis Colts staff.
Q:Who is the lead back for the Miami Dolphins moving forward – Kenyan Drake or Damien Williams?
A:This is another timeshare situation where there is no clear-cut answer. Unlike other backfields where one player is more of the early-down bruiser and the other is the pass-catching option, Drake and Williams have similar skillsets. Drake is listed at 6’1 and 211 lbs., Williams at 5’11 and 224 lbs. Both backs can catch the ball and pass-protect at least to average capacity. This past week Drake appeared to be the better running option of the two, with Williams being more dangerous in space. I’d pencil both options in FLEX territory until things sort out. In a 12-team format or larger, both are worth a flier.
Q:Are you still of the opinion that no Seattle Seahawks running back should be owned for the rest of the season?
A:I didn’t exactly phrase it like that. I’m not a believer in either Eddie Lacy or Thomas Rawls. J.D. McKissic is talented, but has never been offered a large enough workload to count on, and C.J. Prosise is incapable of staying healthy. If (and this is a BIG if) Prosise were ever able to stay on the field for a significant stretch of time, I feel that he possesses the best physical gifts of the bunch. Sadly, given his inability to last more than a few downs at a time, it is impossible to rely on that situation ever occurring. If you want to own Rawls and hope that Pete Carroll sticks with the running game for more than a half, so be it.
Q:Thoughts on Mike Evans getting a suspension while A.J. Green avoided one? I’m an Evans owner and this is absurd.
A:Others have pointed to the front office of the NFL being unfair or biased at times, in the case of dishing out suspensions and punishments. My only guess on how Green avoided a suspension was the fact that he was immediately thrown out of the last game following his altercation with Patrick Ramsay, while Mike Evans stayed in the game after his blindside hit. Green apologized for his actions, and has no history of off-field issues or violent conduct. Despite that, I thought that his chokehold and multiple punches warranted more than a fine. Evans isn’t a saint for what he did either, but this outcome did seem unfair.
Q:I’m in a pretty deep 16-team league and a lot of the usual waiver-wire options are already taken. Have any Hail Mary options at WR for the rest of 2017?
A:A player that I wrote about in my prior column that saw a significant uptick in snaps last week was Curtis Samuel of the Carolina Panthers. A second-round pick out of Ohio State, Samuel directly benefits from the departure of Kelvin Benjamin, coupled with the coaching staff wanting to establish a stronger rushing attack. He caught three receptions for 23 yards and added in a 14-yard rush, but was on the field for more snaps than Devin Funchess or Russell Shepard. He is an immensely talented playmaker who is very dangerous in open space, and all reports I’ve read from beat writers and insiders like Ian Rapoport suggest the team wants to get him more involved over the next few weeks. He is owned in less than five percent of all the leagues that I participate in.
Q:Corey Clement of the Philadelphia Eagles – flash in the pan or worth an add?
A:Clement was the most productive back on the Eagles this past week, and led the crowded committee of LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Wendell Smallwood in touches. He will still have a role in future weeks, but I feel without question that this will go down as his most productive game in 2017. I don’t envision him as much more than a FLEX in 12-team or larger PPR formats. Blount/Ajayi are better in short-yardage situations and Smallwood is the best receiving back of the bunch. Barring another trade or injury, it is hard to see him carving out a big enough role to make him a weekly starter.
If you are new to this column and would like to have your questions answered in the future, please make sure to give me a follow on Twitter (@Roto_Wizard) and submit all inquiries on Tuesday afternoons. In addition to providing answers here, I also host a weekly “Q&A” video chat over on the Football Diehards Facebook page, which you can find here: