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Welcome to Week 3 of the 2023 Footballguys Roundtable. Our intrepid panel of fantasy pundits discusses and debates four topics every week. We split the conversation into separate features.
This week's roundtable features these four topics:
- For Real, Fool's Gold
- The Footballguys' Subscriber Contest (see below)
- Week 1 vs. Week 2
- Replacement RB Strategy
Footballguys' Subscriber Contest
Matt Waldman: We're two weeks in. Please share the following:
- Your roster.
- Your construction strategy.
- Are you still alive?
- If so, what are you enthused and worried about?
Fill us in.
Phil Alexander: My roster...
- QB: Justin Herbert ($21), Jordan Love ($9)
- RB Tony Pollard ($29), Kenneth Waker Jr. ($19), Alvin Kamara ($15), Roschon Johnson ($8)
- WR: Garrett Wilson ($29), Keenan Allen ($21), Mike Williams ($17), George Pickens ($15), Gabe Davis ($12), Jayden Reed ($7)
- TE: Juwan Johnson ($9), Tyler Conklin ($7), Jake Ferguson ($6)
- PK: Jake Moody ($6), Younghoe Koo ($6)
- DEF: Jets ($6), Commanders ($4), Panthers ($3)
My construction strategy...
I bet on the Chargers to finish as one of the league's best passing offenses in their first year under offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. If I was right about Justin Herbert bouncing back, I wanted to maximize my upside by pairing him with his top targets, Allen and Williams, who were relatively affordable.
I wanted quality over quantity at running back. Pollard had as good a shot as anyone to finish as the overall RB1. Kenneth Walker's cost was too low due to unfounded concerns Zach Charbonnet would infringe on his early-down role. And some of the best projectors at Footballguys had Kamara as a top-12 running back despite his three-game suspension.
At wide receiver, aside from giving my quarterbacks stacking partners, I was enamored with Garrett Wilson, who I had just watched get peppered by Aaron Rodgers in their lone preseason game together. Pickens was another second-year breakout candidate who had picked up steam when I set my lineup, and Gabe Davis was a cheap way to get a top contributor on one of the league's best offenses.
Tight end is where I thought I could scrape together a good enough platoon with veteran sleepers.
Then, I just wanted enough defenses and kickers to survive the inevitable attrition. My team is still alive, and I am most excited to add Kamara to the mix, especially with Jamaal Williams set to miss significant time with a hamstring injury and rookie Kendre Miller unable to get on the field to this point. I'm also glad Roschon Johnson has already relegated DOnta Foreman to the bench. If things continue going poorly for the Bears, Johnson should get an extended tryout in a featured role before long.
Spending a chunk of my cap on Garrett Wilson is an obvious worry now that he's catching passes from Zach Wilson instead of Rodgers. He's held his own so far, but Wilson no longer offers a ceiling to match his huge cap hit.
Dan Hindery: I am still alive in the contest, and here's my roster:
- QB: Brock Purdy ($12), Jordan Love ($9), Sam Howell ($8)
- RB: Christian McCaffrey ($34), Josh Jacobs ($29), Joe Mixon ($24), Dameon Pierce ($21), Kyren Williams ($4)
- WR: Drake London ($18), George Pickens ($15), Jahan Dotson ($14), Jaxon Smith-Njigba ($13), Zay Flowers ($10)
- TE: Sam Laporta ($9), Jake Ferguson ($6), Luke Musgrave ($6)
- PK: Anders Carlson ($3), Brett Maher ($3), Dustin Hopkins ($3)
- DEF: Lions ($3), Titans ($3), Chargers ($3)
The first part of my strategy was to pay up for certainty, big fantasy weeks (hopefully), and solid flex options at running back. Since I am just trying to survive and advance, I targeted running backs with safety in terms of their role. My four expensive backs each came into the year with the RB1 jobs completely locked down. It has been a bit of a mixed bag due to some of the offenses struggling, but each of my five running backs is on the field a lot.
The second part of my strategy was to go bargain shopping and target as many talented young players as I could afford while hoping enough of them hit each week to fill out the rest of the roster. Risks were taken. My three cheap quarterbacks came into the year with fewer than 10 NFL starts between them. All eight of my wide receivers and tight ends are rookies or second-year players.
My biggest worry is wide receiver. I should only need two to start each week. But there could be a week where all five of the young guys lay an egg at the same time, and my team falls below the cut line.
I am excited about the roster overall. Hitting on Kyren Williams for $4 gives me a fifth legitimate running back option, and Christian McCaffrey looks capable of carrying me through some weeks when another position is lagging. There have been some encouraging early flashes from most of the young guys rostered, and the hope is that these guys continue to emerge as the season goes on.
Jeff Haseley: Here's my roster...
TD New York Jets
TD New York Giants
My plan was to occupy a backfield of a good offense, in this case, Kansas City, and pair them with a solid contributor, Nick Chubb. I added Ezekiel Elliott and Ty Chandler as throw-ins who might get some scores here and there. I wanted to pair a rushing quarterback with a consistent one. I chose Justin Fields and Jared Goff. At wide receiver, I wanted value and young potential. At tight end, I wanted consistency that didn't cost too much to acquire. I elected to get both Pittsburgh tight ends, hoping I can make good on one of them. At kicker and defense, I went with cheap, but talented, options.
I am still alive, but after losing Nick Chubb, it will take the Chiefs finding their ground game and Ty Chandler to usurp Alexander Mattison (and Cam Akers) in order for me to stay in the game. I like my receiving corps. My young weapons are coming to fruition, and my veterans are holding on. I am not concerned about my receivers. It's too bad that my running backs won't be able to keep pace. I may not make it past Week 3.
Waldman: My team is still alive, but not for long unless one of my backup running backs earns significantly more opportunities due to injury. Here's my roster...
- QB: Derek Carr ($11), Jordan Love ($9), Bryce Young ($9)
- RB: J.K. Dobbins ($21), Dalvin Cook ($16), Tyjae Spears ($9), Ezekiel Elliott ($7), Keaontay Ingram ($6), Deuce Vaughn ($5)
- WR: Tyler Lockett ($19), Brandon Aiyuk ($18), Kadarius Toney ($13), Michael Thomas ($12), Skyy Moore ($12), Zay Flowers ($10), Hunter Renfrow ($8), Alex Pierce ($7), Jayden Reed ($7), Tank Dell ($3)
- TE: Dalton Kincaid ($10), Sam Laporta ($9), Tyler Conklin ($7)
- PK: Jason Sanders ($4), Cairo Santos ($3), Dustin Hopkins ($3)
- DEF: Browns ($5), Seahawks ($5), Lions ($3)
My strategy was to go for players I thought had the potential to be significantly undervalued across the board. In the past, I usually spent a premium on at least one top player at QB, RB, WR, and TE, and that has often gotten me 8-12 weeks deep. This year, I wanted to go a different path.
To be transparent, Jordan Love was an afterthought, but he has become my saving grace at the position. My running backs are awful after Dobbins and Aaron Rodgers were lost for the year. As I said, an injury to the starters ahead of my backups will be the only catalyst for my team to have stability at this position, and I don't root for injuries.
I feel good about my receiving corps. I might be eight-deep. I also believe I chose wisely at tight end, although I wish I had reallocated my $7 used for Conklin on another running back.
If I last another three weeks without a change to my running backs' opportunities, I'll be shocked.
If you'd like to see the rest of the topics, once again, you can find them here:
Thanks, and good luck this week!