Fantasy Football Mailbag: Tuesday 10/11/16
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 Is Melvin Gordon a sell-high? Production has dropped off.
— JT (@j_j_t_) October 11, 2016
You're not lying about Melvin Gordon's production, and a touchdown in every game has helped buoy his fantasy value. But even with that being true, now might not be the right time to sell on him.
Just like last year, the San Diego Chargers' offensive line has been through the ringer when it comes to injuries. Even though they've had just left tackle King Dunlap and right tackle Joe Barksdale miss games, guard Orlando Franklin has been a regular on the injury report, and backup tackle Chris Hairston has dealt with injuries while filling in for the injured Dunlap and Barksdale. Basically, it has been a mess, and it has created a big split in Gordon's production.
In the three games Dunlap has played (Weeks 1, 2, and 5), Gordon's Success Rate -- the percentage of plays on which he increases the team's expected points, per numberFire's Net Expected Points -- is 44.4%. The league average for high-volume running backs is 39.7%, putting Gordon a good chunk above that mark. When Dunlap has been out, though, Gordon's Success Rate has dropped all the way to 22.9%. There's an explainable reason for Gordon's struggles, and with Dunlap back, it doesn't seem to be an obstacle at the moment.
Gordon's fumbles are troubling, and you have to hope he'll turn things around there. For now, though, the team has given him a vote of confidence, and we should be content with holding him despite the oncoming regression.
@numberFire Marty B ROS? How about Arian Foster when he returns?
— Bill (@shkbilly) October 11, 2016
Having a three-touchdown game is certain to get the peeps talking. Martellus Bennett is deserving of a bit of pub, but his outlook going forward is a bit hard to decipher.
Week 5 is going to carry the most weight with Bennett because it's the first where both Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady have been active and (seemingly) fully healthy. In it, Bennett had 8 targets, 2 of which came inside the 10-yard line, but he also played just 68.8% of the snaps. That's below the mark we generally want for a tight end, and it's definitely concerning for Bennett.
Bennett's going to have a boatload of volatility due to his snap rate, though that's true for any player at the position. He'll have weeks where he finds the end zone, and he'll have others where he'll plant you with a juicy goose egg. If you're willing to accept the highs and the lows, then it's fine to use him, though there may be superior options available on the waiver wire.
Bennett's bigger impact may actually be to the value of Gronkowski. In previous year's, Gronkowski was the unquestioned go-to guy once the Patriots got to the red zone. Now, Bennett comes in as a proven, quality asset close to the goal line, and he's going to continue to draw his fair share of looks. This hurts Gronkowski's ceiling, and we may want to handle him with a bit more skepticism going forward.
Twitter submission from El Dabañero:
Is there any reason to worry about Jamaal Charles not being the bellcow when he returns?
Very much so, yes. Our baseline assumption -- until proven differently -- should be that Jamaal Charles will not be the bellcow in the Kansas City Chiefs' offense. We should assume he'll be splitting time with Spencer Ware, and anything above that is essentially gravy.
Charles -- when healthy -- has always been the workhorse for the Chiefs. Before his injury last season, he played at least 74% of the team's snaps in each game, a mark that not many running backs reach on a consistent basis. He's one of the most efficient running backs in NFL history, so this makes absolute sense.
However, Ware has proven in Charles' absence that he is a completely competent back. Despite some issues with fumbles, Ware ranks fourth in Success Rate among 34 running backs with at least 35 carries this season. Using Ware keeps Charles healthy for the stretch run, and the Chiefs would be wise to utilize both players.
Because of Ware's fumbles, Charles is likely to have a higher share of the team's carries going forward. But we still shouldn't assume he'll have the same usage he used to. Charles is going to be a solid fantasy asset for the rest of the season, but Ware's presence does have an effect on both his floor and ceiling projections.
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