Fantasy Football Mailbag: Tuesday 9/13/16
Fantasy football research never stops, and roles change drastically from one week to the next. That's where our fantasy football mailbag comes into play.
Have a question about a certain player, team, strategy, or anything football? Shoot us a question on Twitter or send an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com, and we can talk anything fantasy football related -- even daily fantasy football.
Now, let's answer some questions.
@numberFire if you were to trade Deangelo Williams or spencer ware this week, who would it be? Stock is high on both right now
— Edgar Olvera (@Readyeddy1923) September 13, 2016
You could clearly make a case for dealing both guys. However, we only have a firm timetable on one of them, knowing that Le'Veon Bell will be back in two weeks to reduce DeAngelo Williams' role. We don't have that same knowledge with Spencer Ware, and that ambiguity may play in his favor, reducing our incentive to trade him.
Jamaal Charles may not be ready to suit up this week, according to ESPN's Ed Werder, potentially giving Ware another crack at being the lead dog. All he did in Week 1 was lead all running backs in Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per carry, echoing the absurd levels of efficiency he showed in a limited sample last year.
The best part about Ware from Week 1, though, was not his production, but rather his usage. Ware's eight targets eclipsed his total from the entirety of last year, and he was on the field for the same number of snaps as Charcandrick West. That game flow should have heavily favored West because of his passing-game acumen, but Ware was still on his level. All of this is screaming that Ware is a top-tier running back for as long as Charles is out.
The other factor here is that Ware has likely earned a role even when Charles is able to return. He should handle the goal-line work, and it wouldn't be a shock to see him in on early downs to give Charles a breather. That's why the ambiguity is a good thing for Ware, and it's why we should be more willing to hang on to him than we are with Williams.
@numberFire should we sell Gordon high? And who should we target?
— John Martin (@Johnmmartin4) September 13, 2016
Yes. And this one isn't even really that close.
Melvin Gordon's results were beyond encouraging in Week 1. He struggled mightily with his efficiency in his rookie season, but he was sixth in the aforementioned Rushing NEP per carry among 33 running backs with at least 10 carries, and he was fifth among them in Success Rate. Add in his two touchdowns, and that's incentive for a team to increase his role. It just didn't happen that way.
Instead -- as detailed in our market share report -- it was Danny Woodhead's show in the second half. He out-carried Gordon, 11-6, after halftime and more than doubled Gordon's snap count for the game. This was while the team had a big lead, a time when you'd expect them to lean on Gordon. That's about as big of a red flag as you can get.
Now, the team will be without Keenan Allen for for the rest of the season, which will likely lead to a dip in overall offensive efficiency. That -- again -- hurts Gordon's forward-looking value. The team could shift focus and give him a larger role based on Sunday's great results, but we can't bank on that, and you should be lobbying hard to trade Gordon.
@numberFire should I drop cousins and begin living the stream
— gianno (@G1anno) September 13, 2016
Given how last night went, it's hard to blame you for hitting the panic button on Kirk Cousins. He didn't look as solid as he did last year, and the game took place at home, a place at which he thrived in 2015. It also wasn't bad enough, though, to pull the plug.
First, Washington's opponent -- the Pittsburgh Steelers -- had the ninth-best pass defense in the league last year, according to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. They also added bodies to the secondary in the offseason, so we may be able to expect them to be even better in 2016. That's a tough way to start off the season, and it can have big ramifications on the player's fantasy output.
Second, Cousins may not have been as bad as it appeared. He finished Week 1 ranked 20th in Passing NEP per drop back, ahead of guys like Cam Newton and Russell Wilson. It wasn't great, but it could have been a lot worse, especially when you consider that Cousins was in negative game flow most of the game.
Finally, all of the aspects that made us love Cousins entering the season are still in place. DeSean Jackson balled out last night, Josh Doctson was able to hit the field, and Washington's run game was non-existent. They have good options in the passing game, and their inability to run the ball should give Cousins valuable passing volume. Add all of that in with Cousins' easy upcoming schedule, and it's best to hold on and see how he fares in the next few weeks.
Email submission from Nikhil Tejwani:
My friend and I are having a debate regarding who is better to stash on our bench, Booker or Howard. With Devontae Booker, hes one injury away from having a huge role in the Broncos offense. Jordan Howard on the other hand, is part of a worse team that typically splits carries but has a more carved out role. Who would you recommend and why?
Nikhil sent this question in before the weekend, meaning it was before Jordan Howard was inactive for the Chicago Bears. That would have likely changed the equation a bit. This development also gives a slight edge to Devontae Booker in the discussion, even if both guys are limited in value right now.
We saw how eager the Denver Broncos are to run the ball Thursday, giving the rock to C.J. Anderson 20 times with Booker logging three carries and Andy Janovich getting one. That was in a game in which they trailed by double digits heading into the fourth quarter, and you can bet those totals will increase in games in which they hold leads. The volume will be there for Booker if something happens to Anderson, even if that possibility seems remote without an injury.
Heading into Week 1, Howard would have held the heavy lead in this discussion. However, the Chicago Bears had Jeremy Langford on the field for all but two snaps, and Ka'Deem Carey got the other two. It's a one-man show in Chicago right now, and if something were to happen to Langford, it seems as if Carey would get the first crack at the starting gig. Howard is not ownable in any format right now. Booker's value is also lower now than it was prior to the season opener, but it is at least higher than that of Howard.
Want to have your questions answered in our mailbag? Submit your questions by tweeting @numberFire or sending an email to Jim.Sannes@FanDuel.com.