15 Transactions for Week 5
We all know about “The Madden Curse”, but here’s a new one for you: The DirecTV Live Fantasy Football Video Conference Curse.
It started last season. DirecTV hosted a live video conference where fans and fantasy writers could ask Maurice Jones-Drew and Brent Celek fake pigskin-related questions. Whether a direct result or not, MJD finished the season, mostly due to injury, as the 49th-ranked running back in fantasy after leading the NFL in rushing the previous season. Brent Celek ended up as a waiver wire guy at best after finishing as the 10th-best fantasy tight end in 2011.
The victims this year? Roddy White and, once again, Maurice Jones-Drew. The result through four weeks? A whole lot of mediocrity and a whole lot of ankle issues.
Hopefully you avoided these cursed individuals during your fantasy drafts, but if not, I’m here to help.
Hold Roddy White
I know how you feel as a Roddy owner – I’ve got him in a couple of leagues, too. But today isn’t the day to get rid of him. White was part of a season-high 74 snaps on Sunday night, playing all but two of the Falcons downs. He wasn’t quite Roddy White-like, hauling in just three catches for 28 yards, but the snap count is a sign that he’s close to getting back to 100 percent. If you own the Atlanta wideout, there’s little reason to sell him at a likely cheap cost.
Hold Maurice Jones-Drew
Unlike his cursed cohort, Jones-Drew is a guy that you don’t even want to have close to your fantasy lineup. The Jags runner failed miserably in a juicy matchup against the Colts, and has now scored fewer than five half-point PPR fantasy points in three of his four games.
If there’s any sign of hope, it’s that he has another great matchup against St. Louis this week. The Rams have surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing running backs, including 401 rushing yards and four scores over the last two weeks. Perhaps you could use this as a bargaining chip to get something of value for MJD, but you’re more than likely going to have to cross your fingers and hope things turn around for the Jags back. (For more on MJD, click here.)
Buy Trent Richardson
Everyone panic! Trent Richardson’s yards per carry average isn’t getting any better in Indianapolis!
No, Richardson wasn’t incredibly effective on the ground against a miserable Jags team, but it’s not time to be fearful. Of the 50-plus attempt runners in the NFL – there are 21 of them thus far – Richardson ranks 11th in terms of rushing net expected points. In other words, Richardson has added more points (real ones) for his respective team(s) than plenty of runners with his type of volume. It’s not as though he’s been that bad.
The Colts didn’t give up a first-round pick for him to sit on the bench. We watched him see 20 carries this week, and that’s going to be the norm moving forward, even with a healthier Ahmad Bradshaw.
Sell Rashard Mendenhall
Mendenhall’s seen 52 touches this season and has yet to have a game over 70 yards rushing. He ranks near the bottom in rushing efficiency according to our metrics, and gets an improved Carolina defense, San Francisco and Seattle over his next three games. If you can get something for Shard, do it. He’s our 24th-ranked running back through the end of the season, and that’s if he stays healthy and keeps his job.
Add Andre Ellington
As a result of Rashard Mendenhall’s mediocrity, Andre Ellington becomes an interesting bench stash for your fantasy team. Owned in just 1.8 percent of ESPN leagues, Ellington has seen a few carries per game since Week 1, and has six receptions over his last two games. Start worthy? Absolutely not. But Mendenhall is playing poorly, the Cardinals are a fairly lucky 2-2 and Ellington’s play, as a rookie, should only improve. He’s a good flier if you have some bench space.
Bench St. Louis Running Backs
The Rams rank 26th in adjusted rushing net expected points per play, losing .14 points per play on the ground. Factor in their sporadic running back use, and you’ve got yourself a situation to avoid completely in fantasy football. Daryl Richardson hasn’t been the answer at running back this season, currently hanging out with his 1.8 yards per carry average. His efficiency running the ball has been on Tom Brady’s level, folks.
The chances of finding a trade partner for a Rams running back outside of St. Louis’ city limits is slim. And actually, I bet Rams fans are so disgusted with the team that even they wouldn’t trade for one.
Sell Alex Smith
Good luck trying to find a quarterback buyer, but hey, every league is different. Smith is currently fantasy football’s eighth-best quarterback, and for that to keep up, well, he’d have to continue to play against bottom-of-the-barrel defenses. If you can somehow find a buyer for Smith, sell him. Sell him now. While he’s our 14th-best quarterback option through the end of the season, the position is too deep for Smith to hold any honest value.
Buy Tom Brady
This exact transaction was posted in last week’s article, so I hope you listened. Brady is slowly turning things around with his young group of receivers, and is inching closer to the return of Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola. If you want a quarterback upgrade, package up your signal-caller with a guy on your bench for Brady.
Buy Josh Gordon
Gordon didn’t duplicate the production he had against Minnesota, which was to be expected. Against a beat up Bengals secondary, he still caught four balls for 71 yards – a modest stat line for a guy who’s only played a handful and a half of games in his career.
So why buy Gordon now? He gets Buffalo, Detroit and Green Bay over the next three weeks. The Bills rank 31st against fantasy receivers this year, the Lions 17th and the Packers 30th. He should be able to post at least middle-of-the-road WR2 numbers over this time span.
Hold C.J. Spiller
It appears that the biggest problem for Spiller this season is the way he’s being used – it’s just not as creative as it was under Chan Gailey. And that’s sort of ironic considering the number of fantasy football owners and Buffalo Bills fans who wanted to #FreeSpiller last season.
Spiller is free in 2013, to an extent. He’s been plagued by injury, and although the Bills rank 14th in rushing efficiency, Spiller’s been underwhelming. The opportunity is there for him though, as he’s on pace for well over 250 carries this season (207 in 2012). You can’t give up on our 16th-ranked running back from here on out just yet.
Sell Dwayne Bowe
I tried to filter our data down to only the receivers with 15 or more receptions, and then I realized, “Hey, Dwayne Bowe doesn’t even have 15 receptions!”
Through the first four weeks, Bowe’s compiled 13 receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns. Just to put that into perspective, Jimmy Graham’s Week 2 game against Tampa Bay saw 10 receptions for 179 yards and one score. Sorry, Bowe owners – things aren’t looking up.
But coming off a decent fantasy performance, this is the week to sell Bowe. The Chiefs get Tennessee this week and Houston just two games later, and although they’ve got a pretty easy schedule outside of those contests, Kansas City’s offense has shown us that it’s not going to go through Number 82. Package him up in a deal with some depth for a wide receiver upgrade.
Buy the Giants Offense
According to our numbers, only the Jaguars, Buccaneers and Jets have a worse offense on a per play basis than the Giants this year. Why in the world would we want to invest in such an underachieving squad?
Take a look at the Giants upcoming schedule: Philadelphia, Chicago, Minnesota, Philadelphia, Bye, Oakland, Green Bay, Dallas, Washington, San Diego. Each opponent’s defense ranks in the bottom half (most in the bottom eight or nine) numbers-wise, and the only teams that don't, Chicago and Dallas, have weaknesses in fantasy.
You can probably get all non-Victor Cruz Giants for a bag of stale meatballs right now, and given their matchups, the G-Men offensive playmakers are worth at least some grocery store sushi.
This isn’t to say the Giants are going to become a 10-win team. They’re just going to have some opportunity to post startable fantasy football numbers down the stretch.
Add the Rams Defense
This is simple: They’re playing the Jags this week. Jacksonville’s performed worse than any other offense this year – by far – and in a similar situation, a league-average offense would have posted about 60 more points than the Jaguars have this year. Stream the Rams defense and reap the benefits.
Add Charles Clay
Clay is still only owned in 17.1 percent of ESPN leagues, and while I know that number is probably higher in active ones, it’s still way too low. He’s a legitimate part of the Dolphins offense, and now has 20 receptions in four games this year, including a rushing and receiving score. His reception NEP of 16.57 makes him the ninth-most valuable tight end in the league, too. Get him if he’s available.
Get Philip Rivers
I say “get” here because Rivers is owned in a significant number of fantasy leagues already. If he’s on the waiver wire, snag him up. If he’s riding someone’s bench and you need a quarterback, trade for him. He’s been playing great, and gets Oakland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Washington over the next four weeks. Even without legitimate receiving options, Rivers can continue to be a dependable QB1 in fantasy.