Crystal Ball Week 6 2017

By Evan Tarracciano
Evan Tarracciano
Growing up in New York with a father who loved sports, I was indoctrinated to be a Giants fan from the very beginning. Some of my earliest memories of watching football came as the team captured championships in 1987 and 1991 during the Bill Parcells era, and celebrating with my family as “Big Blue” hoisted the Lombardi trophy and then had the parade in the Canyon of Heroes.

Despite living in several different states since then (Connecticut, Texas and now Georgia) – I’ve remained faithful to the Giants, through both good years (2008 and 2012) and bad (nearly every other one). My wife’s family are all Falcons fans since we live around the Atlanta area, and have been attempting to get me to convert allegiances over the past five years. They clearly underestimated how stubborn I’d be to ever switch.

See, rooting for a team is a lot like being married, especially the “for better and for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part” portion of the vows. It is easy to root for a team like the New England Patriots or Green Bay Packers. Both rosters are chocked full of talent and are near locks to make a deep push into the playoffs, year in and year out. It is much more difficult and heart wrenching to back the Cleveland Browns or Detroit Lions, knowing that poor management and weak rosters will prohibit the team from ever reaching the promised land.

The “in sickness and in health” portion of the wedding analogy certainly came to pass in Week 5 for yours truly, as the entirety of the Giants wide receiver core was injured.

No, I’m not kidding. Everyone.
In case you’ve been living under a rock the last several days and haven’t heard the news already, Odell Beckham Jr. suffered a broken ankle, and underwent season-ending surgery. Brandon Marshall, the team’s big splash free agent signing in the offseason, also opted to have season-ending ankle surgery. Dwayne Harris, the Giant’s special teams maven, managed to fracture his foot, which will force him to miss the rest of the year. And just to put the proverbial cherry on top, Sterling Shepard also hurt his ankle, and is expected to miss multiple weeks pending the result of an MRI.

All of those injuries immediately made the team’s lone strength into a weakness, and forced the Giants into promoting several players from the practice squad (Ed Eagan and Travis Rudolph), and re-signing Tavarres King. This of course begs the question – are any of these players going to be Fantasy relevant in either the short or long term, and if so, how much should you spend to acquire them.

In the short term, I’d say to hold off spending any of your FAAB money or higher claims on these receivers. The two assumed “starters” of the bunch will be King and Roger Lewis, but neither player is particularly talented. King has been around since 2013 as a fifth-round pick of the Denver Broncos, but isn’t anything more than a chain-mover who lacks burst or speed. Lewis is more physically gifted, but has lapses in concentration on the field and drops passes frequently. As if the shortcomings of the starters wasn’t enough, the Giants upcoming schedule is brutal, as they face off against the Denver Broncos in Week 6, followed by the Seattle Seahawks.

Looking at the bigger picture, the receiver who I’m most interested in is actually Travis Rudolph, a UDFA out of Florida State. I felt that Rudolph outplayed both Lewis and King in the preseason, as during his limited snaps he caught nine passes for 157 yards, and ran very crisp routes. A former five-star recruit out of high school, Rudolph doesn’t have the biggest frame (6’0 190 lbs.), but he is sure handed and capable of playing both outside and in the slot. His poor Combine numbers led to him falling in April, which is a real shame given how well he played in college (he had 153 catches for 2,311 yards and 18 touchdowns in three years at FSU). Should the Giants give him an actual chance, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him take off like another UDFA that they had a few years ago that gelled with Eli Manning quickly, in Victor Cruz.

Q: Big Ben single-handedly lost me this past week with his five INTs! After the game he came out and said “maybe I don’t have it anymore”. Is he really this washed up? Should I drop him or hold onto him?
A: Roethlisberger’s start to 2017 has definitely been less than ideal, with him averaging just over 250 passing yards per game, while posting a 6:7 TD:INT ratio. Though statistically he has been inferior to prior seasons, he has still shown enough competence to not fully diminish the status of either Le’Veon Bell or Antonio Brown. Often criticized for his dramatic home/road splits, the biggest worry now after his dreadful performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field is that if his owners can’t trust him at home, where can they?
The good news for his owners is that his remaining schedule is actually much easier than before, so the combination of inferior opponents coupled with Big Ben’s pressure on himself to improve will actually make him worth holding on to.

Steelers Upcoming Schedule:
Week 6 – Kansas City Chiefs (25th in the league in passing YPG allowed)
8 – Detroit Lions (27th)
10 – Indianapolis Colts (30th)
11 – Tennessee Titans (24th)

Q: Hey there! Lots of waiver wire pickups again this week. I’m struggling at the RB position – could you rank these players for me? Aaron Jones, Jerick McKinnon, Elijah McGuire, Matt Breida and Marlon Mack. Thanks!
A: Sure thing. I’ll rank them both for just Week 6, and then for the remainder of the season.
Week 6 – Jones, McKinnon, Mack, Breida, McGuire
ROS – Mack, McKinnon, Breida, Jones, McGuire
I don’t anticipate Ty Montgomery to play this upcoming week, but have a hard time seeing him missing much more time than that. McGuire is at the bottom of the pile once Powell and/or Forte return. For keeper and dynasty leagues, I’m in love with Marlon Mack. Big, big time mancrush on him. He has everything that I saw in David Johnson a number of years ago before he broke out – speed to break runs on the outside, a power stiffarm move, good in pass protection, and dangerous in the open field. I’m buying in heavily.

Q: Lost several WRs due to injury and I’m currently struggling. I already have Rob Gronkowski – would you trade Hunter Henry for Kendall Wright in a Full PPR?
A: If you need to trade Henry for a WR, I’d try and aim a little higher than Wright. Henry is coming off of back-to-back games with scoring a touchdown, while Wright has been really underwhelming in recent weeks, especially considering the Chicago Bears lack of other options.

Q: Does Adrian Peterson have ANYTHING left in the tank? Will his move to the Arizona Cardinals make him a RB2? Or how do you value him ROS?
A: Leaving the New Orleans Saints helps not only Peterson, but Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara as well. In the case of Peterson, this trade will immediately provide him at WORST with more touches, week in and week out. The Cardinals have already released Chris Johnson, and Kerwynn Williams poses no threat to taking over the job. The two things going against Peterson would be the Cardinals porous offensive line and what sort of holes they will have the ability to create, coupled with Peterson’s increased risk of injury with a higher volume. I still believe that he has the talent to be a high-end FLEX in standard leagues. The Cardinals will have Andre Ellington still in as their pass-catching receiver, but Peterson still has a strong chance to score a touchdown at the goal line. If he was dropped in a 10 or 12-team league, he is worth a pickup.

Q: I’m a Carlos Hyde owner. On a scale of 1-10, how worried should I be about him? He tanked my team last week.
A: At least a 7 on the “Uh Oh” scale, for a number of reasons. First, San Francisco 49er’s head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed that the team will operate with a “hot hand” approach moving forward. This suggests that Hyde will still be active every week and given a chance to prove himself, but relying on him for consistent production when one or two bad series will bench him is troubling. Additionally, Hyde is still nursing a hip injury, and clearly isn’t 100 percent healthy. A notoriously slow healer, any lingering issue is also problematic. On top of all of that is the presence of Matt Breida, who the coaching staff is obviously high on. A 5’11, 190 lbs. UDFA out of Georgia Southern, Breida is an excellent pass-catching back who is a SPARQ score freak with 4.39 40-yard dash speed. At a minimum, he will cut into Hyde’s workload for the remainder of the season.

Q: What are you going to be for Halloween?
A: I always let my daughter pick out my costumes. Pretty sure this year I’m going to be “Maui” from the Disney movie, as she is going as the princess “Moana”.

Q: Will the Giants sign Terrell Ownes or Chad Johnson?
A: (Facepalm). No.

Q: Added both Gallman and Murray last week, neither did anything!! What gives?
A: The longer you play Fantasy Football, the more you come to the realization that no matter what we “experts” predict or assume, more things are a coinflip or subject to gameflow or chance than anticipated. We can all try and sift through the tea leaves and guess, but more often than not, predictions are tricky!

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: