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Experts league update and fantasy mailbag

Three weeks are in the books, meaning after Sunday a quarter of the regular season will be gone and behind us (goes by quickly doesn't it?!).

Some of you are perfect through three and riding high on life! Your food tastes better, your significant other is for some reason more attractive now and work is flying by as you eagerly anticipate Thursday, Sunday and Monday night. Fantasy football is great and life is even better!

But for you "others" it's truly a sad existence. You're staring at that 0-3 record and wondering what you did wrong in life. You poor souls are likely having feelings of depression, anger and confusion. Asking yourself questions like, "Why did I listen to that moronic James Koh and draft [Player X]?!" or feebly telling yourself "Fantasy football is lame and all based on luck anyways!" or even worse, "Who cares about fantasy football? Certainly not I." Lies. All lies. You care. You know you do.

It's no different in our NFL Fantasy LIVE league. You should see Michael Fabiano preening himself around the newsroom as he is dominating our experts league with a 3-0 record, having scored the most points thus far and showing no signs of letting up.

Elliot Harrison, who sadly was forced to auto-pick his team, is one of two teams sinking at 0-3. He is trying valiantly to pretend like he doesn't care because hey, he didn't pick his team right? It's a completely rational defense ... and yet, even then, he cares. It's written on his face every time we talk about our work league. He wants to write it off, but he can't and I can't blame him.

Defending champion, the people's champion, the fantasy maverick, Adam Rank is also having a tough go in seventh place with a 1-2 record. His "That Helps No One" segments have a little more vitriol this year, almost as if he's willing those unhelpful fantasy points to go back in time and tally up on his ledger.

So how exactly is everyone in the NFL Fantasy Live crew doing at the quarter-pole? Take a look:

  1. Michael Fabiano (3-0, 314 points)
  2. James Koh (3-0, 293 points)
  3. Marcas Grant (3-0, 282 points)
  4. Matt "Money" Smith (2-1, 254 points)
  5. America's Team (1-2, 263 points)
  6. Akbar Gbajabiamila (1-2, 258 points)
  7. Adam Rank (1-2, 254 points)
  8. Molly Qerim (1-2, 224 points)
  9. Elliot Harrison (0-3, 272 points)
  10. Dave Dameshek (0-3, 261 points)

Below is a quick look at how several of the teams are standing after three weeks.

Michael Fabiano (1st place, 3-0, 314 points):

Marshawn and DeMarco are currently your No. 1 and 2 scoring running backs in the game ... and yes, Fabs has both right now. He drafted Lynch with the seventh pick this year but then was able to pull off a doozy of a trade with Marcas Grant by moving Percy Harvin and Shane Vereen for Murray and T.Y. Hilton.

To Marcas's credit, the deal happened after Week 1 when Percy looked like he might go off for 1,600 total yards and 10 touchdowns. Looking back now, this trade may have all but ended the league.

The scary thing about Fab's team is that he has ZERO holes on his roster. He has two stud running backs, a very stable quarterback and a great duo of wide receivers. The man's team is so deep that the game's fifth-highest scoring running back in Rashad Jennings is sitting there as his flex play.

And oh by the way, Josh Gordon just chillaxing on his bench, waiting to come in and wreak havoc. His team is built for the long haul and we're already at the point where crazy things will have to happen for his team finish anywhere other than first.

James Koh (2nd place, 3-0, 293 points -- hey that's me!):

I've heard it million times that you have to be able to draft from anywhere and that preparation will overcome draft order. As the new guy who was stuck with the last pick this year, I am EXTREMELY happy that I am currently undefeated and second in points.

The crazy thing is, I had a really crappy start to my draft this year. Yes, I selected Gio Bernard at the end of the first round but my first seven picks included Doug Martin, Andre Ellington, Kendall Wright and Tom Brady. Injuries and underachievement would sum up those picks.

I saved my draft by taking Darren Sproles in the eighth and DeAndre Hopkins in the 10th round. When you're that late in your draft and you can get the game's seventh highest-scoring running back and the 11th highest-scoring wide receiver, you're doing OK.

And how important is the waiver wire? Well, Kirk Cousins may have saved my entire season. I'm on record saying that I'm all-in on Cousins. He has arm talent, accuracy, receiving weapons and a quarterback-friendly coach in Jay Gruden. Without Cousins, my team is at best a .500 club. Maybe worse if I was forced to run Tom Brady out there on a week-to-week basis.

Marcas Grant (3rd place, 3-0, 282 points):

Despite his disastrous trade, Marcas is right there in mix, largely because Luck is going bananas, dare I say Spider 2 Y Bananas.

Matt Forte is currently the 21st highest-scoring running back but you have to think with Chicago's high-powered offense, he will come back and be a stud. Grant's RB2 situation is um ... fluid? He's OK everywhere else but relying on some combination of DeAngelo Williams/Shane Vereen/LeGarrette Blount is not advisable and may ultimately keep him from winning the league.

Matt "Money" Smith (4th place, 2-1, 254 points):

Honestly, I have no idea how Money is 2-1. At 254.64 points, he currently has less points than FIVE of the six teams sitting below him in the standings.

Money's running back situation is anything but. With 13.1 total points through three weeks, Eddie Lacy has been the biggest non-injury, non-legal bust in fantasy. He's the 51st-scoring running back in the game. To put that in perspective, Lacy has 1.7 more points than Raven's fullback Kyle Juszczyk. That's not good.

Toby Gerhart has been pretty bad with no signs that he will recover and live up the hype that surrounded him this offseason. Mark Ingram looked great and could have possibly solved Money's running back problem but now he's out with a broken hand.

Money is basically depending on Brees to carry him with 40 points every week, if that's possible.

A long season awaits the Money man moving forward.

Adam Rank (7th place, 1-2, 254 points):

QB - Philip Rivers
RB - Fred Jackson
RB - Joique Bell
WR - Brandon Marshall
WR - Randall Cobb
TE - Jimmy Graham
Flex - Cordarrelle Patterson
Bench - Chris Johnson, Knowshon Moreno, every notable timeshare RB in the league

If you are wondering why they call Rank the "Fantasy Maverick" know this: all eight of his bench spots are being used by running backs right now. In addition to Fred Jackson, Joique and CJ.9K, who are all in timeshare situations of their own, Rank also owns the rights to Alfred Blue, Jeremy Hill, Stevan Ridley, Lorenzo Taliaferro and James Starks. As of Wednesday night, Rank has not picked up a kicker or a defense and there are no backup quarterbacks, wide receivers or tight ends on his team.

Rank needs a trade like Los Angeles needs a traffic solution. Sure it needs to happen, but how? In a league of fantasy sages, who is going to move a significant piece for that collection of question marks?

Rank's reign of terror as ruler of the NFL Fantasy Live league may be coming to end.


To wrap this up, here are some fantasy questions you guys shot at me this week:

Maclin and Jeffery are no brainers in this scenario, so it's a tossup between Kelvin and Triple S but I'm inclined to play Steve Smith Sr. The Panthers and Ravens play each other this week and are not great matchups for each other but to me Smith is the safer play here. His 32 wideout targets are tied for fifth in the league (just two behind Calvin Johnson).

As Elliot Harrison has pointed out, Smith can run every route in the route tree and it's clear he's earned Flacco's trust meaning he should earn your trust as well.

I'll assume this is for a flex play and to me it's the much-maligned Trent Richardson. Look, take the name away, take the draft status away. We're talking about a guy who seems to be slowly but surely improving. He's running with more power and authority and while he is ceding a lot of passing down work to Ahmad Bradshaw, Richardson has actually been an OK flex play. He collected 95 total yards (with a fumble lost) in Week 2 and then in Week 3 got another 85 yards while averaging just over 4 yards per carry. The touchdowns haven't been there obviously, but I just get the feeling they will come soon.

The Niners are taking on the Eagles Sunday and I can see both Gore and Crabtree being pretty good plays, but the Texas Tech wideout is the safer play due to the points-per-reception format, while Gore is the unpredictable upside play.

Keep in mind Crabtree had seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 and then caught another 10 balls in Week 3 for 80 yards and his second score of the season. He's the No. 1 and Kaepernick obviously likes throwing him the rock.


That's it for this week, but next week let's play it a bit different! While I love answering fantasy questions for you guys, for my Q&A session next week, shoot me some other stuff! Relationship advice? Done. Fashion tips? Get some. Movie/TV critiques? You betcha.

If you want your fantasy or life questions answered feel free to follow me on Twitter @JamesDKoh, or if your query doesn't fit in 140 characters email me at james dot koh at nfl dot com. Snail mail, telepathy, morse code and Peyton-Manning-esque hand signals will work as well.

Cheers and good luck to everyone on Sunday, may your points be plentiful and your haters scarce.

James Koh is an anchor/reporter for NFL Network and the host of NFL Fantasy LIVE. Follow him on Twitter @JamesDKoh

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