Seven Week 1 Duds: Now What?
Anyone write their hate mail letter to David Wilson today, thanking him for his -2.1 fantasy point performance against the Cowboys on Sunday night? Or did you save all of that ink for Stevan Ridley, who put the ball on the ground and lost duties to backup Shane Vereen? Perhaps you were only planning to write to Lamar Miller, who was unable to do anything against the Browns (10 carries for three yards!)?
There were plenty of disappointments in Week 1, my fantasy football friends. It’s to be expected. How you manage those disappointments, however, is what will help shape your fantasy football season.
Take a look and find out.
There’s a Reason it’s Not “Studfeld”
Fantasy favorite Zach Sudfeld did what you and I did on Sunday: nothing. He was targeted once (Once!) and dropped the pigskin. To make matters worse, the pass was intercepted.
Are you kidding me?
Moving forward, it’s probably safe to say that the Zach Sudfeld fantasy football experiment is over. Yeah, yeah – we’re all about not overreacting after Week 1. But when you consider the tight end play throughout the NFL yesterday, there’s little reason to trust Sudfeld until he does something special.
Hold on to Ridley Even Though He Can’t Hold on to the Ball
Don’t panic. Of course Stevan Ridley has issues holding on to the ball, and that’s not good news for his opportunity in New England. But before you get all angry, keep in mind that Stevan Ridley was the fifth-best running back in terms of rushing net expected points last season. He added 11.25 points to the Patriots scoring total, which, for a running back, is an impressive feat. Typically we see this number at less than four or five for relevant runners.
Vereen isn’t a lead back, but is an explosive complementary one. Ridley will get his, and if there’s a fantasy owner willing to deal him at a low cost, go for it.
Lamar Miller is Who We Thought He Was
We haven’t liked Lamar Miller at numberFire. Really, we haven’t. I wrote in July that he wasn’t worth an RB2 spot, and Mike D’Ecclessis pointed out that Daniel Thomas could be a factor in the Dolphins backfield. We saw that yesterday, as Thomas scored the lone Miami rushing touchdown.
It’s not time to buy Lamar Miller because Lamar Miller owners love Lamar Miller. Those who were willing to spend a third-round draft pick on the Dolphins runner aren’t going to give him up easily, and because it’s just one week, he’s not necessarily at his lowest bargaining point this season. We still like him as an RB3, but this RB2 talk should probably end. Of course, that’s just what the numbers say.
Isn’t Vick Ballard Supposed to be the Backup?
The Colts are easing Ahmad Bradshaw into their offense, which is why we saw Vick Ballard with 13 carries on the ground to Bradshaw’s seven. Expect this gap to close next week, and for Bradshaw to eventually get lead back duties. Ballard wasn’t exceptional last year, finishing the season with a -.04 rushing NEP per rush total. That efficiency was in line with Mark Ingram's.
Bradshaw could be a good “buy low” candidate right now, as he’s been one of the more underrated fantasy assets – when healthy – over the past few years. We think he’s capable of solid flex output throughout the rest of the season.
Ben Roethlisberger Eats Plenty of Dirt
Maurkice Pouncey left the game (and now, the season) early against Tennessee, and it didn’t help Ben Roethlisberger stay upright throughout the Steelers first game. Big Ben finished with under 200 yards and just one late score, placing him in the fantasy football doghouse.
It’s safe to say that the only direction the Steelers offense can go is up. Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown actually sustained nice PPR value, which should continue in Todd Haley’s short-passing offense. Big Ben will need a running game to help him out though, which wasn’t there Week 1. And because the Steelers have the stout Bengals defense in Week 2, Ben looks like someone who will be a streaming option until the running game gets fixed. Where you at, Le’Veon?
Where’s James Jones?
James Jones was like Kevin Bacon in “Hollow Man”: invisible. The Packers wideout saw just two targets out of Aaron Rodgers’ 37 attempts, catching – wait for it - zero of them. Zero. Jerome Simpson was 7 receptions and 140 yards better than James Jones yesterday, you guys.
What’s amazing is that we had James Jones as our 45th-ranked receiver entering Week 1, so if you started him, that’s on you: We told you not to.
It’s not time to panic, but it is if Jones is your second wide receiver. If that’s the case, you should’ve been panicking before the season started. He’s a touchdown-dependent pass-catcher, and with a healthy Jordy Nelson and an effective Jermichael Finley, Jones may have trouble getting close to his touchdown performance a season ago. Proceed with caution – keep him on your bench for the time being.
If You Have David Wilson, You’re Not Trading Him
Remember when Matt Grasso wrote that you should trade David Wilson? Well, at that time, Wilson’ value was through-the-roof good. Two fumbles and a benching later – not so much.
Wilson did about as poorly as you could’ve asked a talented starting running back to do on Sunday night, cough[lin]ing (see what I did there?) up the ball twice, one for a defensive touchdown. Head coach Tom Coughlin didn’t like that, so he ended Wilson’s night prematurely. Wilson saw just seven carries against the Cowboys.
Like we’ve been saying here at numberFire: David Wilson has potential, but to lock him in as a fantasy team’s RB1 probably isn’t the best choice, even with Andre Brown sidelined.
We should fully expect the Giants to give David Wilson more chances, but if you own him, there’s no reason to try to deal him. He was at his potential high point just a week ago, and now, David Wilson owners, he’s hit his probable low.