Crystal Ball Week 3 2018

By Evan Tarracciano
Evan Tarracciano

“You’ve been disconnected”.

Huh? What happened? All I did was…

“The stream has been lost. Please click close to continue”.


Yesterday was one of those nights were the ability to adapt to things on the fly and not let them bother you really came in handy. Though I’m a techie at heart and learn new software quickly, working with Twitter live still occasionally gives me issues when I run into the unexpected. It turns out that when someone calls you while streaming, it disconnects the session and you need to start all over again. Not exactly ideal, but certainly a learning experience. For the viewers that were with me last night when this happened, you have my apologies. The good news is that I found a work-around solution that will prohibit this from happening in the future!

As was the case with my Q&A session, adaptability is essential to Fantasy Football owners. An unexpected injury or off-field issue sidelining a player can cause some people to panic, while others will look for the opportunity and silver linings. A prime example of this would be the recent situation with Josh Gordon.

There isn’t a need to completely rehash Gordon’s tenuous history with the Cleveland Browns, or the events that happened on Saturday afternoon. It was evident that the team was on its last thread of patience, and that any little slip or mishap would be enough for them to cut ties with him. One photo shoot and hamstring injury later, it was announced that Gordon was to be traded or released.

As expected, both my Twitter timeline and the majority of my conversations yesterday revolved around the situation. A wide possibility of landing spots was rumored, from Dallas to San Francisco. When the dust settled it was New England’s fifth-round pick that secured Gordon’s transfer, and on to greener pastures he goes.

What this means for Gordon: Generally speaking, Gordon was drafted as a top 15-20 option at the wide receiver position, meaning that most teams were counting on him to produce WR2 statistics. Though he is still fully capable of producing figures like that, adjusting to a new offense and personnel won’t be a seamless transition, so his owners will need to be patient in the short-term. Thankfully, some of the terminology will be similar, as Todd Haley’s offense stemmed from a similar coaching tree as Bill Belichick. The role that Gordon will assume is that of the “X”, or outside receiver. Currently this is occupied by both Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett. Gordon is more talented than either, but a slow and steady ease into the offense is to be expected. The presence of Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and James White will cap the number of total targets for Gordon, so rather than seeing double-digit targets each week, it will likely float more in the realm of six to seven instead. Thankfully, Gordon will experience fewer double-coverage to work through, and the quarterback upgrade from Tyrod Taylor to Tom Brady is a massive improvement. Gordon remains a solid “hold” candidate for me currently. Owners with patience will be rewarded as his talent ascends him up the depth chart. Should he have a quiet game or two initially it wouldn’t surprise me at all, and I would view him as a definite “buy low” option. WR2 statistics are still within reach.

What this means for Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett: Both Hogan and Dorsett experienced a significant drop in value with Gordon’s presence on the team. Neither will trump Edelman to take over snaps in the slot. Neither are as talented as Gordon. That said, Hogan already has the trust of Tom Brady, so in the short-term he remains a red zone threat for the Patriots, especially in Week 3 prior to Edelman’s return. If I was an owner of either player I would look to sell them over the next week or two, as they become more FLEX options than WR3.

What else did we discuss during my Twitter chat? Here are a few more questions that our followers wanted to discuss:
Q: How much of my FAAB should I spend to acquire Giovani Bernard as he takes over the main role in Cincinnati?
A: With each league being different based upon the knowledge and aggressiveness of other owners, it is hard for me to say that a bid of “X” will definitely win Bernard. I generally use the template of a flier with upside being worth 1-5% of FAAB, someone with a short-term impact being worth 5-10%, a traded player or someone emerging into more value worth 15-20%, and a true “game-changer” being in the realm of 40-50%. Bernard will be the clear-cut feature back for the Bengals with Joe Mixon out. Fourth-round selection Mark Walton has yet to show anything that would make him a threat, and Bernard is a capable pass-catching and blocking back. Given that Mixon’s return is expected in about 2-4 weeks (depending on what opinion one reads), that does make Bernard a valuable commodity. He won’t have the long-term impact to make him a massive bid, but something in the range of 30-35% of your total FAAB should be enough, in theory.

Q: Is it safe for me to drop Alex Collins at this point? Javorius Allen is getting work at the goal-line, and Collins hasn’t seen double-digit carries in either game yet. What gives?
A: The Baltimore Ravens didn’t express much confidence in Collins entering the season, and if you looked at the remarks made by the coaching staff and preseason tape clearly enough, they seemed to be pushing for Kenneth Dixon to take over the role, with “Buck” Allen being used as a change of pace. Collins has played well enough when given the opportunity to not completely fade or cut him, but owners who try and trade him will get pennies on the dollar for their investment. If possible, I’d try and stash him on the bench in hopes of the Ravens coming to their senses. Allen will continue to be a nuisance that will cap Collins upside, especially in the red zone.

Q: Is Ito Smith worth a pickup in a 14-team league?
A: I believe so. Smith was immediately thrust into action in Week 2, spelling Tevin Coleman inside the red zone. A fourth-round selection by the Atlanta Falcons, Smith played extremely well as the complimentary back to Tevin Coleman, and essentially took over his former role. Neither Coleman nor Devontae Freeman is a particularly stout player, and both have lengthy injury histories. Especially in keeper or dynasty formats, Smith is worth a stash.

Q: Do I really want to roster Chris Ivory or Marcus Murphy? They may see some opportunities in Buffalo if LeSean McCoy’s legal troubles continue, but this offense is horrible.
A: Both Ivory and Murphy are low on my list of possible pickups this week, for the reasons stated above. Buffalo is a dreadfully inept team on the offensive side of the ball, even with Josh Allen replacing Nathan Peterman. If LeSean McCoy isn’t capable of putting up any fantasy value through the first two weeks it is highly doubtful that either backup option will do much, making them fliers at best. Of the two players I would view Ivory as the one to spend an extra dollar or two on, since he has been a Fantasy asset in the past and will inherit goal line chances instantly. Murphy has done little in his three years in the NFL, and has been mainly used as a kick returner.

Q: Antonio Callaway or Rashard Higgins? Which has the most value with Gordon now gone?
A: I’ve spoken about both on Twitter at length, but here is a short synopsis. Simply put, they are different players with different skillsets. Callaway has the higher theoretical “ceiling” as a boom-or-bust deep threat who doesn’t need many targets to return value (as was the case in Week 2). Higgins is more of a possession receiver and chain mover, akin to Jarvis Landry. Higgins will see more targets and has the higher floor of the two players, but a lower maximum return.

Q: Are DeVante Parker and Kelvin Benjamin droppable at this point?
A: Yes.

Q: Will Dissly… really? He scored another touchdown. What gives with this guy?
A: It is obvious that Russell Wilson enjoys targeting Dissly in the red zone, especially in the absence of Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. The Seattle Seahawks have very little threats at receiver, so Dissly is around to pick up the scraps. A swiss cheese offensive line has led to Wilson scrambling and attempting short throws, scenarios that favor the tight end position. With many other options struggling that were drafted ahead of him (Jack Doyle, Tyler Eifert, Trey Burton), he is a viable pickup in 10-12 team leagues.

Q: You mentioned Hayden Hurst before on your chat – still think he is worth a grab?
A: Yes, especially given how bad the tight end position has been. The Baltimore Ravens offense is pass-first, and Hurst far exceeds the talent of either Nick Boyle, Mark Andrews or Maxx Williams. If you were to combine the number of targets that those three players have had each week it would total as 13 for Week 1 and 12 for Week 2. There is an awful lot to like about Hurst’s outlook for the second half of the season. When on the field I view him as a top-10 option immediately.

Q: Patrick Mahomes – is he the real deal or a sell-high candidate?
A: Both? I endorsed Mahomes as my breakout player of the year in a prior Football Diehards article during the draft season, and have long been a fan of his talent. That said, some of the offers that I have seen from my Twitter followers from Mahomes are outrageous, and owners would be insane not to take them. If given the chance to secure a RB2, WR2 or multiple players that would bolster your roster I would do the deal, especially if I had another viable starter at quarterback. The position is deep enough currently that fliers can be found on the waiver wire that will be serviceable enough.