What we are talking about:
Is he a top-5 fantasy RB?
Out with the old
You gotta believe!
I had a crisis of conscience during one of my fantasy drafts. As you might or might not know, I have employed the "Zero RB" strategy for the past two years. I really like it. So I've drafted Antonio Brown in just about every fantasy league I'm in.
And I say "just about" for a reason I will get into in just a moment.
So my good friend Madden (no relation to John) asked me to be in a work league with him. And he gave me an offer I couldn't refuse (a sixer of Not Your Father's Root Beer), and we were off.
The league got off to an auspicious start. My man Steve wanted to set the lineup based on horses we would pick during the fifth race at Del Mar on a random Wednesday. And then half of the league had a conniption fit. Because heaven forbid we have a little fun with our draft order.
So Steve arranged the draft order, I landed No. 4 and figured I was destined for Brown once again. Which I was totally cool with. But as the draft unfolded, the first three draftees passed on Le'Veon Bell. Which seems a little strange. But I was stuck with Bell at the fourth pick.
The strange thing was, the person directly behind me was on autopick. But I just couldn't allow somebody not even at the draft to come away with Lev Bell. Not on my watch.
So I made an announcement to the group. If anybody below me wanted Bell, I would make a trade. But they had to draft Brown and we'd make the deal. This guy, Jeff, agreed and I thought we were cool.
That's right, I thought we were cool.
Jeff did not make the trade. He rejected my trade offer. I almost believe he's under the impression that he's going to make this trade after Bell's suspension is over. Which is completely ridiculous. You think I'm going to hang on to Bell for a two week suspension and then deal him? You're crazy. Honestly, I'm rather livid about it.
I haven't been this mad at a person named Jeff since that slimy manager of the Maxx stole Kelly away from Zack Morris. But I'll never be as mad at a Jeff as I was at that Jeff from "Saved by the Bell". A Jeff could burn down my house, and I would hate Jeff from "Saved by the Bell" more.
Here's my question to you, what should be my next course of action? Should I hang on to Bell? I landed A.J. Green and DeAndre Hopkins as my top two receivers. I have Allen Robinson as my flex guy to start. So I'm going to be good at receiver. I also managed to land Arian Foster, too. So I could be on the cusp of a monster season if I just stay the course.
But daman, to back out of an agreement. That's not cool. It's going to take a lot of Not Your Father's Root Beer to erase this bad taste in my mouth.
And without further ado ...
I didn't bother to have our stats department look this up, but Peyton Manning strikes me as the kind of guy who has the best Week 1 stats in the history of football. This week he's coming off a terrible finish to 2014. People have started to doubt him. Anything less than seven touchdown passes would surprise me.
Ryan Tannehill is my breakout quarterback of the year. He finished with a lot of fantasy points last year, but he's due for an even bigger year this season. And it starts in Washington where the Skins allowed the most points to QBs last year.
Tyrod Taylor is the perfect choice for the Bills this season. He's much more dynamic and adds a needed wrinkle to the Bills offense. He's also a great runner. Think of all of the other middling quarterbacks who have become fantasy stars because of their running ability. I'm not sure you'll start Taylor in traditional fantasy formats, but he should be your starter for daily fantasy leagues.
ImageI know it's the hipster thing to say NXT has moved past the WWE as the must-watch wrestling program. But damn, NXT Takeover Brooklyn was a far superior show to Summer Slam. How is it possible NXT can tell these great stories, but the product on the big show can sometimes lack? There must be something that I'm missing here.
ImageIf I had my druthers, I would make Titus O'Neal and Darren Young a permanent part of the RAW broadcast team. At least give them SmackDown to make that show somewhat watchable. Though the wife does watch SD on the reg. But O'Neal and Young know how to tell a story and get talent over. Not as easy as it seems.
I was handed a stat that said DeMarco Murray has the second-most rushing attempts in the NFL since 2013. I have to assume Marshawn Lynch is number one. (I'm not even bothering to check.) But it's funny nobody has any concern about Lynch, but poor Murray gets piled on. To be honest, I'd rather have Murray this year.
I'm a huge fan of Justin Forsett this season. A lot of folks have said, "hey don't expect Forsett to have 100 receptions just because Marc Trestman is there." Fair enough, I expect Forsett to have 100 receptions because Triple S, Steve Smith Sr., is the only proven receiving option for the Ravens right now. He could break Matt Forte's mark.
I fully expect Matt Forte to have another monster season. Forte is going to be a better fit for this system, because he wasn't a fan of the way Trestman used him. Plus, he's still going to be a huge part of the passing attack when you consider the Bears should be in a lot of shootouts and Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White are ailing.
T.J. Yeldon was selected the starter of the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. Yeah, buddy. Things are looking up in Duval County, Florida. I expected to let Yeldon ride the pine a bit this season, but I'm all about it. Dude averaged close to six yards per carry last year, and that was in the SEC. Facing a NFC South team should be no worries.
Mark Ingram should see an added boost in the Saints offense this year. I watched too many times as Drew Brees tried to force the ball to Jimmy Graham last year in an effort to keep him happy. They won't have to go through that (expletive) again this year. Ingram is going to get double-digit TDs and break past 1,000 rushing yards.
Jeremy Hill will be a top-five running back this season. He was the only reason I broke up my WR-WR strategy in the NFL Fantasy Live league. Hill has the Raiders this week. Oakland allowed the most points to fantasy running backs in 2014. They allowed 17 rushing touchdowns in 2014. I say Hill gets that in the first half.
ImageThis could be the last chance for Raiders fans to see the Bengals in Oakland! Ever! Well, unless the Raiders play host to the Bengals this year in the playoffs. So this will be the Raiders fans last chance to see the Bengals in Oakland! Soak it in, Raiders fans. You might not ever see Andy Dalton ever again.
Eddie Royal is a nice flex option for most fantasy leagues this week. He's a must start if your daily fantasy league is PPR. He's currently the Bears top receiver. He's somebody Jay Cutler puts a lot of trust in. I expect this combination to be one of the tops in the NFL. Royal will end up being your WR2 at some point.
Julio Jones might be the No. 1 fantasy receiver this year. He finished eighth last year with close to 200 points in standard leagues. He had 1,593 receiving yards, but I truly believe he could top that total this year. I was able to snag him in the second-round of my League of Record and I couldn't be more delighted about it.
I'm down on Peyton this year, but I'm pretty confident in Demaryius Thomas. If Manning ends the season with just 20-something touchdown pass this year, DT will have the majority. So there is no reason to panic. And he will likely get two of Manning's seven touchdown passes this week. With Owen Daniels getting four.
If Julio ain't the top receiver in the league this year, I fully expect it to be Dez Bryant. When Tony Romo looks at his running backs and sees a B-team of failed expectations, he's going to look to Dez a lot this season. Dez has scored 56 touchdowns since 2010, which is most in the league. He's going to get a career-high.
Brandin Cooks is going to have a breakout season for the Saints. Team management wasn't shy about getting rid of malcontents and other curtain-jerkers who weren't cutting it with the team. Instead they invested in the guys they wanted to feature. Cooks is at the top of that list. Hell, he had 69 targets before he got hurt last year.
DeAndre Hopkins lasted until the fourth-round in fantasy drafts this season. How is that even possible? Seems like the kind of thing we'll debate headed into next year's fantasy drafts. Because it doesn't seem right. Brian Hoyer might not be the second-coming of Dan Pastorini, but he'll be able to get Nuk the ball enough this year.
ImageI finally got through the first season of "The Flash" and it was pretty spectacular. I'm sure I've mentioned this previously, but it had some of the same things that became repetitive with "Smallville" with the freak of the week thing. But I love the tie-ins with "Arrow" and what it can do with the a second season, so I'm all in.
ImageStephen Colbert made his grand debut on "The Late Show" on CBS. I'm a big fan of what he brings. I know he has a tough task ahead of him because he played a character of sorts on Comedy Central, but I really believe he hit the right tone.
ImageOne of the great things about having a child is my daughter Ahsoka immediately recognized my voice after birth. I would imagine she'd also recognize the voice of all of the "Big Brother" houseguests if they walked through the door because I've watched "After Dark" every freaking night. For the record, I'm team Austwins.
If you need a tight end this week, you can roll with Josh Hill of the Saints. Funny story. I watched enough Saints games last year to come away impressed with Hill. Well, after I got over being enraged that Hill had just stolen a touchdown away from my guy Jimmy Graham. But other than that, he was impressive.
ImageMy favorite moment of fatherhood: Ahsoka is very giggly. But my neighbor held her last week and she started to scream bloody murder as she was obviously offended by something. My neighbor was wearing a Dodgers T-shirt. I didn't think I could love her any more.
While I fully expect Peyton Manning to have seven touchdown passes this week, maybe eight, he can't keep up that pace. I have a feeling Manning will finish with like 26 touchdowns and we'll be all, "Hey, remember when Manning opened the season with seven touchdowns in Week 1 against the Ravens? What happened?" He's old.
St. Louis has allowed the third fewest pass touchdowns in 2014. Russell Wilson has four touchdown passes and three picks in three roadies at St. Louis. So while I know it's tough to sit him in traditional leagues, he's a definite no-go in daily leagues.
I know it's a rather daunting exercise to truly trust your team with Sam Bradford this year. But to me, he's worth the risk. He might get hurt in the first couple of weeks. Heck, maybe the first quarter. But the talent is just too great to ignore. At least right now.
Speaking of quarterbacks who thrived on running ability, I'm bummed Tim Tebow didn't stick with the Eagles. And to think, Chip Kelly got us all hot when he traded Matt Barkley to the Birds. But then he went and pulled the rug out from underneath us. It was like the time Rod Belding told Zack and the gang he would take them white water rafting and then bailed on them.
ImageI really want to know what the WWE's thinking is as Sting has challenged Seth Rollins for the title at Night of Champions. We all know John Cena is going to win back his U.S. title, but Sting can't take the WWE title, right? Although I suppose Sting could win and drop the strap to HHH at WrestleMania, no? Please say no.
ImageSeriously, the two biggest heels in the WWE right now are Sting and the Undertaker. This is like teenage Adam's worst nightmare come to life. I know both guys are immensely popular and legends in the industry' but I never cared for either one of them. Maybe Biker Taker for a hot minute. But really, I just didn't like either.
Remember last year when people selected Montee Ball in the first round? Holy lord, what a precipitous fall. I know I missed with Cordarrelle Patterson last year, but at least he's still in the league. I'd feel like an (expletive) if I had been one of those guys. And before you mention Terrance West, I still believe! He'll be great for the Titans!
How is it possible Ball wasn't signed by the New England Patriots? That doesn't make any sense? Why not make a bad situation even worse by throwing him into the mix? And can you believe that one Patriots running back whom got all the looks on Thursday? (I wrote this before the game. Just play along.)
Rex Ryan said LeSean McCoy is ready to roll. Yeah, roll right on to my bench! Am I right? No? Fine. I'm worried about McCoy this year fantasy wise. I know folks loved this as a volume play. But volume wasn't his issue in Philadelphia. You're kind of pot-committed to him in traditional fantasy. He's a must-sit in daily fantasy leagues.
You all know I'm a huge fan of Carlos Hyde. Los Hyde, if you will. I'm worried about him this season. He's got the talent. I just fear the 49ers are going to trail in a lot of games and the running game will be negated. Actually, I don't fear that at all. I would actually embrace that because I grew up with the 49ers as my bitter rivals.
ImageGuys, Montee Ball isn't in the league. Isn't even in the league! I'm still stunned by this. As of this writing, he's drawn interest from several teams. Which is akin to being all, yeah, I have a girlfriend who lives in Italy. But seriously, I know I like to joke a lot about Wisconsin running backs, but how do you feel about Melvin Gordon?
This isn't to say Gordon is going to be a bust this season. I'd just feel less comfortable about him than I would have about a month ago. I avoided him in one draft (outside of my keeper league where we autopick). I just exchanged him for Ryan Mathews. Oh, and I totally had a girlfriend who lived in Italy when I was in high school.
ImageI've officially reached NFL relocation to Los Angeles fatigue. I was so hyper for the return of the Los Angeles Rams. Yeah, that was about four years ago. Now? I'm really ambivalent to the whole thing. And that's not good. I would have to say I'm the most prominent LA sports fan in the world. You need me on your side, LA football.
You are pretty much pot-committed if you selected Alshon Jeffery. Man, I saw him in the second-round of a lot of drafts this year and I went the other way. He had a ton of big plays last year and his 10 touchdowns were impressive. But he's battled a calf injury so far this offseason, could that be the weight of being the No. 1 receiver?
Congratulations to James Jones for signing with the Packers. I can't wait for him to steal touchdowns from all of the Green Bay receivers you actually started. There isn't much value in Jones, unless your fantasy league rewards you for poaching touchdowns. Find a player with a higher ceiling because Jones has reached his.
I would not be comfortable with Emmanuel Sanders this year. The team wanted him to change positions to get Cody Latimer in the mix. But Gary Kubiak's offenses are great for one receiver, not two. And if Manning takes a huge dive as we all expect this year, Sanders will be the one to suffer. Sorry if you drafted him. (Not really.)
Mike Evans has a hamstring injury, which isn't great this week. I hate the soft-tissue injuries because those always seem to linger. I do like Jameis Winston for him, though, because the rookie isn't afraid to force the issue. Too many rookie QBs like to play it safe. But I expect Winston to wing it which works for Evans long-term.
I would really hate to be on the wrong end of Amari Cooper going all Randy Moss in his first game of his career. But there is something about Cooper that scares me. He looked great in the preseason. He was amazing at Alabama, but USC receivers haven't translated to the NFL. (Yes, I know. But who was his offensive coordinator?)
Jeremy Maclin will be a nice addition for the Chiefs this season, but they won't see a return on that investment in Week 1. The Texans allowed the third-fewest yards per game last year. And everybody knows about the Chiefs' futility in wide receiver touchdowns. Maclin will end that. Just not this week.
ImageI think I'm done playing a catcher with an east coast team. We have unlimited subs in my baseball league, but there are game limits per position. So you can't go over 162 games. But hot damn, it's so hard to keep up with catchers. Especially the freaking Yankees who bench Brian McCann every Saturday and I forget to change him.
ImageI like Braxton Miller. He's amazing. What I don't care for is the fact NFL announcers, for the next 12 years, will use the talking point "now remember, Miller went to Ohio State as a quarterback" talking point. You know that's going to happen and there is nothing we can do to stop it.
ImageI'm not sure if you caught the end of the Nebraska vs. BYU game. First off, its seems a little inappropriate to say BYU completed a "Hail Mary." Second, enough with the reviews. I appreciate the desire to get it right, but you really take too much emotion out of the game when you spend all this time looking at a call which was obvious.
Funny story, I lost Julius Thomas for the first month of the season. After I stole him. STOLE HIM. But what's funny, when I went to add a tight end, I was able to add Jason Witten in my "experts" leagues. But he was long gone in my leagues with friends who were more causal fans. But Hill was gone in all of my "experts leagues." And maybe I need to figure out what the word funny means.
ImageThe Angels season might not be headed in the direction I had hoped. But at least we beat the Dodgers the last time we played them. Yes, that's how low I've searched for moral victories this season.
For the record, you can submit your fantasy questions to NFL Fantasy Live or me on Twitter. But realize, NFL Fantasy Live has 300K followers. Me? Just 14. See, the odds are better I will answer your question, so hit me up both via Twitter or via Facebook (if you're RG3). And if you follow me on Sundays, I'll quote "The Wolf" from "Pulp Fiction" and then it's game on! Although, it's tough to catch me on Facebook. Twitter is your go-to." Plus seriously people, I'm not taking your tweets after Midnight. I'm into the #HashtagWars via @Midnight. I've started to mute people who ask me questions at that time.