In this week’s “Quick Slants” column I’m going to break down a few trends I saw this week, and just how seriously you should take some week 1 happenings.
The Fumblers: David Wilson & Stevan Ridley
Going into Week 1 both of these players were considered great RB2 options and now nobody wants to start them in Week 2. I’m actually still buying on both players and think that this week is overstated in their value. Everybody knew Vereen would be involved, and Ridley still had 5 YPC when he was playing – Belichick knows just how good Ridley can be and despite his 4 fumbles last year Ridley was still the back that everybody wanted coming into this year. Following Vereen’s injury, Ridley is in a similar position to Wilson because there is no obvious replacement. The Giants backfield is a disaster and there’s really nobody they can bring in at this point to eclipse Wilson. He is too talented to sit on this bench and while he may be frustrating for Coughlin, he shouldn’t be for fantasy owners. Both slide down my rankings a little bit but remain in my top 20, while Vereen is a player who shouldn’t be dropped in any league – his upside is still huge when he returns.
Studs I’m Not Worried About
Every year there are a couple players who get off to slow starts. Whether it’s due to a tough matchup, bad luck, or just a couple inches here or there, these guys should be just OK. Calvin Johnson is an obvious name that comes to mind as he nearly had 2 TDs but had to settle for a 3-point day. Disappointing, but in the end it won’t change whether you play him or not. Cam Newton had a tough matchup against the Seahawks and should be fine. So will CJ Spiller, Trent Richardson, MJD, and Dez Bryant.
Guys Who Will Get the Ball More Than You Think
Anquan Boldin is the first guy here who seemed to slot right into Michael Crabtree’s role as the #1 option for Colin Kaepernick. He doesn’t have the same speed at this point in his career, but is a tough receiver with good hands who should be a top 20-25 option every week. 200 yards is a little much to ask for, but 7 catches for 80 yards isn’t. Brian Hartline is currently second in the league in targets to Boldin and was Ryan Tannehill’s go to target while Mike Wallace was merely a deep threat and decoy.
In St. Louis, Jared Cook was far better than I expected and at 10 targets, he looks like Sam Bradford’s new favorite target. I’d definitely slightly upgrade him and slightly downgrade Chris Givens (although he was blanketed by Patrick Peterson). At RB, Fred Jackson shouldn’t be started in most leagues, but he will get the ball to spell C.J. Spiller enough to make him interesting. Joique Bell is another player who will get looks despite being a backup. We know Reggie Bush is injury prone and Bell would be a great handcuff as well as provide some low-end PPR value.
Guys Who Will Get the Ball Less Than You Think
There were plenty of running backs who disappointed this week, but the ones who are in committees are the most disturbing to me. Montee Ball has failed to grasp pass protection in Denver and it looks like that situation will be an absolute disaster for fantasy owners. Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman, and Ball all have their strengths and weaknesses and I wouldn’t start any until we see more information from their offense. Ahmad Bradshaw clearly isn’t fully healthy and Vick Ballard will be involved. Both could end up providing some value, but I wouldn’t want to start them in a 10 or 12 team league right now. Chris Ivory is another player who I see disappointing as Bilal Powell has just as much faith from the Jets’ coaching staff at this point and will be equally ineffective.
Who to Pick Up, and Who Not To
These guys are worth a long look if available in your league:
- Julian Edelman (7.5% owned on ESPN) is an obvious top pick up after his 2 TD performance but I’d be a little careful here. I still like Kenbrell Thompkins better the rest of the way and think Edelman’s role will diminish as the season goes on.
- Brian Hartline (28.3%) is the top receiver for me that is available in over half of leagues. Tannehill will look to him early and often.
- E.J. Manuel (14.4%) looked good against the Pats and I like him over Terrelle Pryor (8.2%) the rest of the way, but both are decent low-end options in deeper leagues.
- Rod Streater (1.9%) is a low-end PPR option who I like and will rank in the top 50 each week.
These guys aren’t:
- Jerome Simpson (1.5%) put up an impressive 140 yards but I’d be shocked if he puts another 100 yard game up all year. Those yards will even out to Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, and Cordarrelle Patterson as the year goes on.
- Marlon Brown (1.6%) is a guy I’m going to wait and see on. Flacco won’t be throwing 62 times often.
- Kenny Stills (4.0%) – I’m sure some of you reading have picked up Devery Henderson after a 100-yard week and then dropped him one week later. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- Daniel Thomas (9.3%) won’t have much of a role and just isn’t talented. Jackie Battle (0.2%) and Da’Rel Scott (0.5%) also aren’t worth a look.
Quick Hits Through the PFF “Advanced Stats” Database
- DeAngelo Williams was the best in the league in yards after contact in Week 1, getting 47 of his 76 yards after contact, or 2.9 of his 4.8 YPC.
- The Raiders line is absolutely awful. Darren McFadden’s 2.8 YPC looks bad, but 2.1 of those yards came after contact. He needs to avoid stuffs to improve his value – the talent is still there.
- Eric Decker was the lowest rated receiver by their metrics with his 3 drops, but I still kinda like him. He had plenty of targets and will be good, but clearly not as good as last year.
- Kenbrell Thompkins and Cecil Shorts joined Decker as the next lowest rated guys, but the upside to that low rating is that they are getting targets. I like Shorts a lot more than Thompkins, but neither’s ranking is going to move much for me.
- Kellen Winslow was the highest rated tight end, but I wouldn’t pick him up quite yet. Worth watching though.
- Jermaine Gresham played 59 snaps to Tyler Eifert’s 41, and the two are likely to negate each other’s values a bit. I wouldn’t want either in a 10 or 12 team league.
- Zach Sudfeld played just 20 snaps and I would drop him in nearly any format – just doesn’t appear to be a difference maker in that offense and his hammy issue could keep him out.
Matt Cott is a co-founder of RotoAnalysis. Follow him on Twitter @KidCotti21 and look for his work all season long on NYTimes.com, CBSPhilly.com, & RotoAnalysis.com!
Photo Credit: http://sinfl.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/anquanboldinapid189201948473.jpg?w=600&h=385