- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

With the first quarter in the books, it’s time to take a look at fantasy football’s biggest surprises and try to get a read on what to expect of them as the second quarter begins.

Quarterbacks

How bad has it gotten for Tom Brady? He was a throw-in for roster continuity on a recent trade I made. He’s barely worth a roster spot in leagues of 10 teams or less. 2013 was viewed as an aberration for Philip Rivers. But it looks like he’s back, having thrown nine touchdowns — including three in an upset of the Seahawks — and only one interception. If you can’t start him every week, trade him and strengthen your team. In his only start thus far, Mike Glennon threw a game-winning TD in the final seconds at Pittsburgh. He should have been the Bucs’ starter all along. Pick him up now.

Running backs

In the past two weeks, LeSean McCoy has barely gained more yards than he has had carries — 39 of the former on 29 of the latter. The Eagles’ offensive line is a mess, and McCoy’s effectiveness is further diminished by Darren Sproles being the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. Getting proper value in a trade seems unlikely, so you might have to seriously consider sitting your top pick. The Cowboys are a surprising 3-1 because of DeMarco Murray, who is averaging almost 40 yards per game more than the league’s second-leading rusher (Pittsburgh’s LeVeon Bell) and leads all backs with five rushing scores. The Cowboys’ brain trust has finally given in to game-planning around their talented runner. But Murray comes with arguably the biggest IF of any of the season’s breakout players — he NEVER stays healthy. IF he can for a change, you can ride him to a championship. BUT if you’re worried about his fragile history and think the Cowboys may revert to their old ways as quarterback Tony Romo rounds into shape after offseason back surgery, then make a blockbuster deal. Murray is the unquestioned fantasy MVP through four weeks. Imagine what you could get for him. I normally don’t advocate hanging on to a backup running back, but Knile Davis has started one game and is fourth in the NFL in rushing. Jamaal Charles returned for the Chiefs on Monday night and promptly scored three times. But Davis was the leading rusher (107 yards on 16 carries). Moving forward, Kansas City should utilize both backs to keep Charles healthy and make life difficult for defenses. With so many running backs underachieving, Davis is a keeper.

Wide receivers

I kept telling people before the season that I would draft DeMaryius Thomas over Calvin Johnson. Luckily, I didn’t get the chance to draft either. Johnson opened with a great game but has been a non-factor since, and Thomas only has 141 yards through three games. I wouldn’t get too alarmed by either, although I feel more confident in Thomas as the season moves on. Johnson is dealing with nagging lower-body injuries again, and some games he’ll be severely limited, if he plays at all. No one expected Steve Smith to produce so many Sr. moments in his first four games as a Raven, but he has become Joe Flacco’s go-to guy. I tend to think he’s a great sell-high candidate, as I don’t expect him to keep up his current pace (107 yards per game) on 35-year-old legs, but he has rejuvenated his career in Baltimore and can do the same for your lineup.

Tight ends

The biggest surprise of the fantasy season is Larry Donnell. I can’t imagine anyone other than the diehardiest of Giants fans drafted him. He won’t have another three-TD game, but he has become Eli Manning’s top red-zone option in the new West Coast offense. He’s not a flash-in-the-pan. Martellus Bennett has as many TDs as Donnell but more receptions and yards. He has benefited from Brandon Marshall being slowed by an ankle injury, but like Donnell he’ll be one of the position’s more reliable targets each week.

Week 4 Lineup Crime: I didn’t do anything wrong last week. I swear.

Week 5 Lineup Time: Cordarelle Patterson has to catch a touchdown one of these days, right? Might as well do it against a division rival. I’m back on the Victor Cruz bandwagon, especially when he faces the defenseless Falcons. Keenan Allen will catch his first two TDs of the season this week against the Jets. If you have a viable option, I don’t like Alfred Morris‘ chances against the Seahawks. Denvers defense will hand Arizona its first loss.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide