Fantasy Football Mailbag: Thursday 9/29/16

Isaiah Crowell has gotten off to a hot start, but can we trust him going forward in fantasy football? And can Cam Newton rebound in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons?

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.

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Email submission from Rocky:

Despite rb’s going down left and right early this year, in my 12 team, .5ppr league, I somehow find myself with 5 healthy rb’s who are the clear lead back for their teams and having various degrees of fantasy success – Ingram, Blount, Hyde, Crowell, Matt Jones. I also have Kenneth Dixon stashed. I can start as many as 3 of the guys in a given week with the flex spot, but thinking of moving one to help my wr depth. I do have OBJ and Evans as starters (start 2 rb/2wr/flex), but not much behind them. My question – factoring in the likely return I could get for each, how they project going forward, and who I should want to try and keep on my team, which of these guys should I look to move? Thanks.

There are actually a few guys on whom you could sell high on that list, and numberFire's JJ Zachariason touched earlier this week on why LeGarrette Blount is a prime sell candidate. In addition to Blount, Isaiah Crowell is a guy you might want to trade with where his stock currently sits.

Crowell's production the first three weeks has been outstanding. He hasn't finished with fewer than 62 rushing yards in any game, and he has already found the end zone twice. That's the good for him. The bad is he's a run-first option on a bad offense, and that should eventually catch up to him.

When a team is trailing late in a game, they're not able to rely on the ground game. This would be fine for Crowell if he were involved in the passing offense, but the Cleveland Browns have Duke Johnson to occupy that role. Even though the Browns have kept things tight the past two weeks, Johnson has still managed a 50% snap rate in both contests, and Crowell's snap rate has declined each of the past three weeks. When they face more negative game scripts (as you'd expect given the team's talent), Johnson's going to play a larger role than Crowell, and it's going to have a big impact on Crowell's fantasy stock.

Crowell seems as if he has improved his individual abilities this year and may be a decent option in the backfield. However, his situation could not be much worse, and that's why it's best to sell on him now.

Email submission from Larry Huang:

Hey Jim. I received a trade in my 10 team, PPR league and was hoping you could give me some feedback. Receiving: AJ Green and Larry Fitzgerald. Sending: DeAndre Hopkins and Melvin Gordon.

There are a lot of big-name assets involved here, and they're all in decent situations moving forward. But with the role that Melvin Gordon played in Week 3, he's not a guy I'd be giving up any time soon.

Through the first three weeks, Gordon is second in the league with 14 rush attempts inside the 20-yard line. He had only 11 all of last year. On top of that, Gordon has all six of the team's rush attempts inside the 10-yard line (four of which have turned into touchdowns), and he played 86.7% of the snaps in Week 3. Right now, he's a locked-in top-tier running back, and the populous may not fully accept that yet. That's why I'd be banking on keeping Gordon going forward.

Email submission from Mitchell Speert:

Who should I start in Week 4: Cam Newton (vs. Atl) or Dak Prescott (vs. SF). Chiefs Defense (vs. Steelers) or Cowboys (vs. SF). Obviously I'm not expecting KC to repeat last weekend's beat down and after the Vikes shut down Cam I'm worried that ATL might try to repeat that formula, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

If you've got Cam Newton, you're starting him. The Atlanta Falcons' defense is even worse than it appears on paper, and you cannot bench a guy like Newton in that situation, especially with Dez Bryant's health putting a ding in Dak Prescott's value.

As for the defenses, we always want teams that are favored and at home. Neither of these options are at home, so we look more at the Vegas spreads, and that criterion favors the Dallas Cowboys.

Even with news of Bryant's injury, the Cowboys are still favored by two against the San Francisco 49ers. The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, are 4.5-point underdogs against the Pittsburgh Steelers, giving the Steelers an implied team total of 26 points. The Chiefs are basically unusable this week, and even though the Cowboys aren't abundantly attractive, either, they do hold the edge between these two.

Email submission from Kevin Lowry:

I only have 1 IR spot in my league, and Dion Lewis has been taking it, but I also own Moncrief and Langford, so I need to drop two of these guys to get some depth. Who should I keep in that IR spot? PPR, pure redraft. Thanks!

Based on job security and pure offensive upside, you can safely drop Jeremy Langford if you need the bench space. This boils it down to Donte Moncrief and Dion Lewis, and Moncrief is the superior hold here.

Because Lewis is on the physically unable to perform list, he can't return to the team until at least the seventh game of the season. As recently as today, Lewis' return date was still unknown, according to Kevin Duffy of MassLive. It's possible he could be out well beyond Week 7, and that's a huge dent in his viability.

With Moncrief, you'll be getting a No. 2 wide receiver on one of the league's most pass-heavy, high-powered offenses. There's absurd value in that, and the increased certainty in his timeline makes him an easy choice over Lewis and Langford.

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