Fantasy Roundtable - Week 10
Posted 11/9 by Maurile Tremblay, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
Various staff members will share their views on a range of topics each week in discussion format. Feel free to eavesdrop.
Quick Links to Topics:
Waiver Wire QBs
Chris Brown & Reuben Droughns
Terrell Owens appears to be done for the year. What impact will that have on
the rest of the Eagles’ fantasy value, particularly Reggie Brown’s?
Dave Baker: Brown
was mostly an afterthought when Owens was in the lineup. With Owens out,
there’s a lot to like about Brown, and his five catches for 94 yards and a
touchdown last week is reason for hope. Even so, I think that game may have
been a bit of an aberration. Brian Westbrook remains a huge target and I think
Greg Lewis is next. Brown is certainly in the mix along with LJ Smith after
those two guys, but McNabb will likely spread the ball around as he did in the
past before Owens' arrival.
Obviously Reggie Brown's fantasy value rises significantly with the loss of
Terrell Owens from the starting lineup. But do not make the mistake of
believing that Brown automatically steps into Owens’ spot as the number one guy
in the offense. He'll put up a few strong weeks throughout the final half of
the season but he'll share numbers with fellow receiver Greg Lewis and the top
receiving options will likely be Brian Westbrook and TE L.J. Smith. The Eagles
will likely attempt to run the ball more without Owens on the field.
Cecil Lammey: I
love Reggie Brown's attitude and work ethic. He has an infectious personality
and, from what I hear, is a great teammate. He has the skill set to be
successful in the NFL. For being a rookie he is already a good route runner and
he knows how to use his frame to shield away from defenders and provide the QB
with a good target. He has good hands and can pick up plenty of yards after the
catch. Reggie Brown is not the playmaker that Terrell Owens is, but he is more
of a team player than T.O. and that's why he has good value from here on. The
Eagles are going to keep throwing, and Brown will see plenty of passes in the second
half of '05.
Will Grant: Even
at 4-4, Philly is still in the playoff hunt. They have played the fewest division games up to this
point, and all other division rivals have at least one loss in division. If the
Eagles can get it together, they can still return to the playoffs. With the
Owens distraction out of the way, Philly can focus on making it back to the
playoffs. That's going to require a lot of help from Westbrook, Lewis, L.J. Smith
and Reggie Brown. Brown looked great this week, and he has looked strong over
the last few games. If the Eagles hope to make it without Owens, they need to
redistribute his receptions to other players. Brown has proven he can handle
the increased load. Look for Westbrook to catch more dump passes and Smith and
Lewis to get a stat bump as well.
Jason Wood: Reggie
Brown's value is obviously contingent on T.O.'s fate. That said, we now know T.O. is a goner, which opens the door for
Brown to be a starter and playmaker. We caught a glimpse of what he could
accomplish in that early TD catch against Washington, but he was much less inspiring as the game went on. As with any rookie in this complex offensive system, he's going to
have to be used strategically, and Philadelphia will have to pare down the playbook
somewhat. Overall I think his future
is bright in Philadelphia and, from a pedigree standpoint, he is the only WR on
the roster that actually projects as a future WR1.
Waiver Wire QBs
There are a number of QBs who have just fallen into (or resumed) the starting
job on their NFL team, and who are probably available through waivers in many
leagues. Which guys, if any, do you think will have decent fantasy value from
here on out: Kurt Warner, Brad Johnson, Cody Pickett, Brooks Bollinger, Chris Simms.
Will Grant: In
order, I'd rank them Johnson, Warner, Bollinger, Simms and Pickett. Pickett is
simply holding a place for Alex Smith. Simms has the job, but will probably lose
it to Rattay or McCown before the season is over. Testaverde has looked
horrible since he returned, and Bollinger will probably have the job from here
on out. Warner will be the starter as long as he can prove he can win. They
have a solid group of WRs, but without a running game, the Cardinals are going
to be easy to defend. Johnson takes over just as Burleson is returning from
injury. The Vikings are still in the hunt for the division title. With Culpepper
gone for the season, Johnson is the clear choice at QB. Another guy to consider
for many of the same reasons is Rex Grossman. Orton has won, but struggled
against some very weak teams. The Bears have a two game lead on Detroit and Minnesota,
but after San Francisco this weekend, they get Carolina, Tampa, Pittsburgh and Atlanta over their next five games. Orton has a 62.9 passer
rating and is averaging just 5.3 yards per attempt. When Grossman is healthy, he
should get the starting job back to try to help the Bears win the division.
Chris Smith: To me
this is an easy one. Brad Johnson is a proven vet who is now the clear-cut starter
on a Vikings team that is remarkably still in a playoff hunt in the weak NFC
North. After him, Warner is likely the best bet but you cannot ignore his
brutally low number of touchdown passes on the season (2 TDs out of 149
attempts). Bollinger is probably not worthy of a starting spot and Chris Simms
will have a problem holding onto the starting spot if he cannot steer this team
in the right direction. Go with Johnson.
Dave Baker: Warner
has the most upside, especially if Boldin is back in time for your league's
playoffs. But Warner is also the most likely to be benched again. Brad Johnson
is a smart bet since the job is his and he's a steady veteran presence. And
Bollinger and Simms have decent value too. If it's a steady backup that's
needed (maybe for a bye problem) I'd go with Johnson. But I'd jump on Warner
for upside if I had other decent alternatives at QB where the risk is worth it.
Jason Wood: Can I
take a pass? In all seriousness, halfway through the fantasy season if you're
relying on any of these guys to carry you home you probably aren't a playoff
contender anyway. But, as we saw last year with guys like Billy Volek,
surprises do happen. Of those listed, I would rank them: 1) Johnson, 2) Warner,
3) Simms, 4) Bollinger, 5) Pickett.
Chris Brown & Reuben Droughns
Last week's matchup between the Titans and Browns featured a couple of running
backs who have very quietly started to come on strong in the last few weeks.
Reuben Droughns has 315 yards rushing in the last three games, and Brown has
192 yards rushing and 2 TDs in the last two games. Do you see them as being
every-week starters (i.e., top 24 fantasy RBs) over the second half of the
Droughns is VERY compelling in my opinion. Looking at his remaining strength of
schedule, it doesn't get much better than that in terms of favorable matchups.
Brown has a solid remaining schedule too, but Droughns has one of the easiest
series of games in the all important fantasy playoff window. As long as they
both stay healthy, I think they've earned the rights to be the main
ballcarriers. Travis Henry played his way out of the rotation by getting
suspended, and he's new to the team so I'm not sure how much goodwill he had to
burn in the first place. Lee Suggs just can not stay on the field, and we know
that Romeo Crennel is going to run, run, run and try to keep his team
Dave Baker: I've
always liked Chris Brown as a runner. The only question mark for me was his
health. If he can stay healthy, he's a solid option. As for Droughns, it's
harder and harder to ignore him. His numbers have been very nice. One
interesting point for Droughns is his competition. Cleveland hasn't faced a respectable offense in the last five
games. So Cleveland has always been able to stay close and run the ball. Cleveland has some tougher offensive teams later (Cincy twice,
Pitt twice, and Oakland). Regardless, Droughns is a good option from here on
out. He's been too successful to ignore any longer.
Chris Smith: I
agree with Dave in that Chris Brown always had the skills to be a strong
fantasy presence if he could shake the injury bug, and he now is running hard
and putting up solid numbers. Reuben Droughns is harder to get a read on. He is
playing well but has been unable to score even a single touchdown on the season
which obviously hinders his potential to put up big fantasy points. Add to that
the fact that Lee Suggs is set to return in another couple of weeks, and Suggs
is more explosive and capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. That could
reduce Droughns’ fantasy value throughout the second half of the season. He is
a decent starting option for now but I wouldn't go out of my way to start him.
Will Grant: As the
others mentioned, Brown can put up great numbers when he is healthy. However, so can Travis Henry. Brown is worth starting if
you have him, but be aware that Henry could step in and steal numbers. RBBC
could kill Brown's value as a starter. The biggest knock on Droughns at this
point has to be his lack of rushing TDs. He's averaging 4.5 YPC and has over
800 yards from scrimmage so far. But he hasn't crossed the goal line with the
ball. In fact, the Browns have only one rushing TD for the entire season. That
just KILLS a running back’s fantasy value. A running back with HALF as many
yards from scrimmage will outperform Droughns if he crosses the goal line just
once per game. As long as Droughns continues to log 100 yards per game, he's
worth starting in performance leagues. But without rushing or receiving TDs,
he's always going to be a threat to disappoint.
Chris Smith: Brown
has been running very well and I would be stunned if Henry really cuts into his
production at all unless he can't avoid the injury bug. I believe Brown will
continue to get the bulk of the work, and occasionally being spelled by Henry
will only help him to stay fresh and hopefully healthy. Henry did next to
nothing earlier this season and nothing has really changed to make a believer
out of me now that he is back.
For the first time this season, the David Carr-Andre Johnson connection looked
pretty good last Sunday. Was it just an unusually good day for Carr (and
therefore an aberration), or will he have more games like that now that Johnson
is back in the line-up?
Will Grant: Going
into this weekend's game, Jabbar Gaffney lead the Texans in receptions. Over the previous three weeks, he had 19 receptions.
This week, Johnson was back and Gaffney posted a grand total of 1 grab for 7
yards. Johnson has 145 receptions over the past two seasons, and you can expect
that he's going to be the focal point of the passing attack when he's healthy
again. I'd be careful though before inserting him back into my fantasy starting
lineup because Johnson definitely underperformed over the first three games of
the season. One good game doesn't mean you should automatically insert him back
into your starting lineup.
Jason Wood: Andre
Johnson is a special talent. When a team is averaging less than 200 passing
yards per game, and the QB is getting sacked at an historic rate, how on Earth
can any WR, regardless of talent, make an impact? Add to that AJ's lingering
maladies and I think his absence from the fantasy leaderboard is logically
explained. I think we can take last week's performance as an indication that AJ
is back and healthy. But does that really solve the bigger issue of the state
of the entire offense? I don't see how that can be the case. Unfortunately
everyone drafted AJ as their WR1 (or a very solid WR2) and he can't be relied
on in that regard. BUT...by now the competitive teams who own AJ have found
ways to do without him in their lineups, meaning any semblance of productivity
from AJ would be a bonus.
Dave Baker: Well,
it wasn't like the Jaguars couldn't get to Carr yesterday. Carr was sacked six
times, yet still managed to get off 30 passes. If Carr throws 25+ times in a
game, and for over 200 yards, then Johnson's value is huge. I mentioned in a
recent roundtable discussion that Johnson is just too talented to stay down for
long. I like Carr. His problems have been related to time to throw. Every time
I look, Carr is taking a three step drop and still gets hurried. Their line is
terrible. But I don't think yesterday is an aberration. Just look at last year
as Carr didn't have much more time to throw, yet Johnson had a big season. I
like Johnson's prospects from here out.
Chris Smith: I
pretty much agree with Dave here. I don't think Carr is in a system that best
suits his talents and the swinging gate that is the Texans’ offensive line
makes it difficult for him to succeed. If Andre Johnson is healthy, he will get
a number of looks throughout the second half of the season and he'll be a
viable fantasy starter from this point on.
Every team has now played at least 8 games. Time for us to pronounce the best
and worst fantasy picks thus far. Let’s start with the worst. Name your Biggest Bust (for reasons other than
Dave Baker: I
think the biggest bust this season has been Kevin Jones. He has only 429 total
yards, although he has four touchdowns. But he has never rushed for more than
87 yards in a game this season. Just behind Jones is Jamal Lewis. Lewis has not
done anything this year and has only two touchdowns on the year. He is
averaging an abysmal 3.0 yards per carry.
Will Grant: I
agree with Dave on Kevin Jones. It's
hard to argue the guy isn't a bust when he was a late first round/early second
around pick and as of now, he's not even a top 25 fantasy back in most
performance leagues. Another RB would be Portis, also a first round selection
who is currently giving third round value. At WR, Andre Johnson is the obvious
choice. Sure he's been injured, but for the first five games of the season he
was totally unproductive. Randy Moss is hard to call a “bust,” but he's not
generating the late 1st round, early 2nd round value that he should. Reggie
Wayne also started off very slow. He had a nice game last week, but before that
he wasn't even in the top 100 overall.
Chris Smith: I’ll
name one player from each major position (QB, RB, WR).
Culpepper is the biggest bust at QB, even before his injury. He was a consensus
top quarterback and he failed to live up to the hype. His 6 touchdown passes
against 12 interceptions was an accurate reflection of his 2005 fantasy impact
and he was a disastrous pick for any fantasy owner who selected him within the
first three rounds. At RB, I’ll disagree with Dave’s and Will’s picks of Kevin
Jones and instead go with Jamal Lewis. He is averaging a brutal 3.0 yards per
carry and has only one rushing touchdown on the year. He has been a huge
disappointment and has been reduced to nothing more than a depth player on most
owners’ fantasy rosters. Finally, at WR my pick is Michael Clayton. While a
number of players have disappointed at the receiver position this year, the
biggest disappointment has been second year receiver Michael Clayton, who only
has 25 receptions for 275 yards on the season and has yet to score a touchdown.
Nobody expected him to tumble so far after a tremendous first season in the
Jason Wood: I’m
tempted to go along with Dave’s and Will’s pick of
Kevin Jones. He’s a consensus top ten pick who just hasn’t produced. But I actually
think Daunte Culpepper is the even bigger bust. He was terrible before he got
hurt, and he won’t have a chance to redeem himself this year.
How about Best Value?
Dave Baker: Best
value is tough. Thomas Jones has been the best value play at RB. He has rushed
for over 100 yards four times and scored six times. And he was taken pretty late
in most drafts. At WR, Santana Moss and Joey Galloway have been huge. Both were
taken very late in drafts. Moss has 856 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Galloway
has 731 yards and six touchdowns. But my best value is going to go to Drew
Bledsoe. Bledsoe was undrafted even in some deep leagues. But halfway through
the season he has over 2,000 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Will Grant: For RBs
it's Lamont Jordan.
He's a top 5 RB now, and he was probably taken in the late second or early third
round. Warrick Dunn and Stephen Davis are both performing much better than many people thought they would. At WR my pick is
Steve Smith. He was a late fourth round pick and is on pace to finish as the
number one fantasy receiver. In addition to Moss and Galloway, whom Dave
mentioned, Terry Glenn and Keyshawn Johnson have also been nice values, having benefited
from Drew Bledsoe's revival.
Chris Smith: At QB
I’ll go with Mark Brunell. He was an afterthought at best in fantasy drafts but
he has emerged as a legitimate fantasy threat and is a valuable starter on most
rosters. Honorable mention to Drew Brees. At RB,
Thomas Jones is the man. The Bears drafted Cedric Benson early in round one,
but it has been the veteran Jones who has carried this team to a great start.
He has rushed for 753 yards and 6 touchdowns on the year. Honorable
mention to Fast Willie Parker. At WR, there is a three-way tie for first
place. Steve Smith has been remarkable (903 yards and 9 touchdowns); Santana
Moss has been explosive (856 yards and 5 touchdowns) while Joey Galloway looks
24 again (731 yards and 6 touchdowns). Honorable mention to
Kevin Curtis (534 yards and 4 touchdowns).
Jason Wood: The
best value has been Steve Smith, for the reasons Will and Chris mentioned. He’s
been so spectacular this year, he has to get the nod
over Thomas Jones and Santana Moss, who would be next on my list.
Mike Herman: How
about the Golden Boot Award?
That’s got to be Neil Rackers. Rackers has kicked nine
more field goals than any other kicker this year (26 for 26 on the season). He
has been a fantasy juggernaut from the kicker position.
Mike Herman: Good
A few more for those TD-only leagues? How about the “All He Does Is Score
Rookie Brandon Jacobs (RB, NYG) has scored 5 times on only 26 carries this
Surprisingly, there are a few other candidates as well. Mike Sellers (TE/FB,
WAS) has 5 TDs on 10 touches, and Kyle Johnson (FB, DEN) has 5 TDs on 12
And the “He Can’t Score A Touchdown To Save His Life” Award?
Chris Smith: This
one goes to Reuben Droughns, who has 145 carries for 645 yards, but hasn’t
found the end zone at all. He is the only RB in the top thirty without a score.
Maurile Tremblay: That’s
a wrap. Winners of our midseason awards can contact David Dodds about a complimentary
FBG subscription in 2006. Meanwhile, I’ll see you guys back here again next