Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
2013 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Dear Mr. Fantasy: No satisfaction from the signal-callers

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

My perusal of the social media outlets this morning has made me aware of a universal truth.

Not the one about the replacement officials. If you're using that to explain why your Fantasy team is 1-2, you've really gone off the deep end.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

No, the one I have in mind is more direct and without an easy remedy. In short, nobody is satisfied with his quarterback right now.

I can understand why. Of the supposedly safe top 11 coming into the season, only two rank in the top five now, and eight -- Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Cam Newton, Michael Vick, Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers -- rank outside the top 10. That's some widespread disappointment.

But doesn't that say something in and of itself? If everyone is equally afflicted, how concerned should you really be? Unless you believe in a league-wide phenomenon that would cause the best players at the most influential position in the game to collapse all at once, this can't last.

One of the biggest challenges of playing Fantasy Football is learning to distinguish the legitimate trends from the random noise -- knowing when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, as Kenny Rogers would say. Because the season is only 16 games, you'll never feel completely confident you've seen enough to make an informed decision, but if you wait too long to act, you'll be in a deeper hole than you can overcome.

Still, three games is a small sample by any standard. Right now, just one underwhelming performance is enough to bury a quarterback in the rankings. Sure, Newton looks bad now, but who was complaining about him when he put up 27 points against the Saints in Week 2? Yeah, Romo cost your team a victory with his pathetic five-point showing against the Buccaneers last week, but didn't his three touchdown passes carry you in Week 1? Already this season, we've seen what makes these guys special, but because they've stumbled at some point, they've dropped behind the quarterbacks who've gone a perfect 3 for 3.

Three games isn't enough time to drown out the early-season anomalies at quarterback. Thus, it creates an impossible standard at the position. Not everybody can be Matt Ryan right out of the gate.

Timing is having the greatest say in how Fantasy owners perceive these quarterbacks now. Back in Week 1, everybody wondered what was wrong with Eli Manning after he scored only 14 points against the Cowboys. Now, he's one of the "safe" players. If we're still at a point where one good game from your quarterback would remove all the doubts you've had about him up until now, then his value is essentially the same. All that's changed is your perception of him, which is a temporary condition.

So what do you do with him, then? Wait it out? For the most part, yeah. I'm not saying you don't make a play for an Andy Dalton or Jake Locker just in case the worst comes to pass, but we're not there yet. If the matchup is favorable, your stud still deserves the benefit of the doubt. Missing out on the good weeks in attempt to avoid the bad only doubles the damage.

I can't promise every single one of those eight quarterbacks will bounce back with their expected numbers, but I can guarantee most of them will. It's the nature of the position. Barring a dramatic change in personnel, scheme or physical abilities, quarterbacks tend to do what they've always done.

I have Tony Romo as my starting quarterback, and he has been killing my Fantasy team. I was offered Joe Flacco for Fred Jackson. I currently have Arian Foster, Doug Martin and DeAngelo Williams at running back. We start two running backs, two wide receivers and a flex in my league. What do you think? -- Jonathan Pepin (via Facebook)

SW: Killing it? Really, Romo is killing it? He's had one bad game to go along with an average game and a great game, and you're saying he's the worst thing to happen to your Fantasy team this year? Consider yourself lucky.

I could understand the woeful attitude if Romo was throwing for 150 yards every other week as the Cowboys transitioned to a run-heavy offense built on the legs of DeMarco Murray, as happened to Matt Schaub with the rise of Arian Foster in Houston. But Romo has thrown for no fewer than 250 yards in any of his three games this season. The Cowboys still live and die by the pass, most notably in the red zone (since the start of last season, their six rushing touchdowns are tied for fewest in the league), so unless you think the offense as a whole will come to a standstill (which seems unlikely with all the weapons in the receiving corps), Romo has some big games ahead of him.

What's that? You say you'd rather have Schaub coming off a four-touchdown performance at Denver? That's the kind of thinking that can get a Fantasy owner in trouble this time of year. You're reacting, not forecasting, which only works if you plan on playing the season in reverse. Schaub threw for four touchdowns because it happened to fit in the game plan that week, but the game plan in Houston still revolves around the run, as we saw in the first two weeks and all of last season.

I'm not saying Flacco is a bad option -- he looks like he might finally take that long-awaited next step this year -- but in the long run, the presence of Ray Rice and a first-rate defense in Baltimore will probably make him less consistent than Romo, which would make him nothing more than a flashy backup for you. Might he be a little more trustworthy than Romo in the short-term? I guess, but right now you have the perfect setup at running back when Jackson returns from his knee injury. He's potentially your second-best option at the position, especially with C.J. Spiller out, and you'd rather not have to start the highly unreliable Williams or a third wide receiver in your flex spot.

Philip Rivers is my starting quarterback. I need to pick up a backup. Should I go with Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford, Kevin Kolb or Matt Cassel? -- @MisterMcGibblet (via Twitter)

SW: I like the measured approach. You're not freaking out about Rivers' two-point performance against a stout Falcons secondary. You're remembering his 27-point performance from Week 2, not to mention all those big performances from previous years, and standing by him as your starting quarterback. But that doesn't mean you can't protect your investment by getting a backup while the getting is good.

Most Traded Players (as of 9/26)
Player # of trades
1. Chris Johnson, RB, Titans 2549
2. Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins 1987
3. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals 1536
4. Michael Turner, RB, Falcons 1525
5. Cedric Benson, RB, Packers 1416
6. Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins 1284
7. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots 1248
8. Michael Bush, RB, Bears 1217
9. Willis McGahee, RB, Broncos 1208
10. Kevin Smith, RB, Lions 1150

In Ponder, Locker and Andy Dalton, we're looking at what could be the next wave of starting-caliber Fantasy quarterbacks. All three have shown impressive accuracy and mobility, and all three are in their second seasons, which is about the time a quarterback reveals his true colors.

In Sanchez, Kolb, Cassel and Alex Smith, we're probably looking at fool's gold. They've been around the block a time or two already. They'll occasionally deliver big performances, but they lack the consistency to make a significant impact in Fantasy. By buying into them now, you're just falling for the same stunt they've pulled two or three times already.

Of the first group, the ones available to you are Ponder and Locker, and of those two, I'd lean toward Locker. It's nothing against Ponder, who's looking like a fine pickup himself, but I see Locker having the higher ceiling. And I see the Titans having to lean on him more than they originally planned with the early struggles of Chris Johnson.

For the record, I'm still on the fence about Bradford. He's had one great game and one awful game so far this season. He's had an encouraging rookie campaign and a disappointing sophomore campaign so far in his career. I believe he has the talent, but is he in a position to succeed with Jeff Fisher's Rams? The jury's still out there. He's not the most exciting pickup you could make at the quarterback position.

What do you think about trading Chris Johnson for Aaron Hernandez? -- Jeff Hill (via e-mail)

SW: I think it's pretty silly. Maybe if Hernandez was actually healthy and playing, you could justify it, but as things stand now, I feel like you have more to lose than gain with this deal.

I realize Hernandez will eventually return and likely perform like a top-five tight end when he does, but provided you've been able to get your hands on Martellus Bennett or Dennis Pitta by now -- and I assume you have if tight end was a position of need for you -- how much of an upgrade will he really be? Even if Pitta, Bennett or whoever else you've settled on at tight end stumbles in the weeks ahead, the next hot pickup is just a waiver claim away.

Really, there's no shortage of quality tight ends these days. In most leagues, each team starts only one. Maybe if the deal was for Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, I'd stop and listen, but Hernandez is still second-tier in my mind.

As for Johnson, look, I'm just as concerned as you are, but I'm not ready to pull the plug on him yet. I'm not saying I'm starting him -- particularly not on the road against a stout Texans defense -- but I can see how he might turn things around at some point. For the most part, he looked good last week against the Lions, breaking off three runs of 10 yards or more. It was the losses -- a combined minus-26 yards on four of his carries -- that ultimately doomed him. I don't know if the blame goes to the coaching staff, the offensive line or Johnson himself, but the problem is the approach, not the ability. If the three would work together to simplify the running game, making it about picking up positive yardage rather than breaking a big play, Johnson could still salvage his season.

One thing he has going for him is that the Titans don't have anyone to take his place. It's Johnson or bust, which means if he does turn it around, he won't have to share carries with anyone else. True every-down backs are rare in today's NFL, so if any faint hope of a Johnson rebound remains, you wouldn't want to sell him short.

I'm not saying you should reject any offer that comes your way -- Johnson's overall outlook is still grim -- but I don't think this one is right for you.

Should I consider trading Greg Jennings? What could I get for him? -- @coorc5 (via Twitter)

SW: It wouldn't be the worst idea in the world. Of course, if Aaron Rodgers turns it around, as I expect him to, Jennings will be one of the biggest beneficiaries, so my skepticism with him has more to do with a philosophical approach than anything that's happened up to this point in the season.

I just feel like the number of weapons at Rodgers' disposal makes Jennings less than a surefire stud even when the offense is clicking. Not only does Jordy Nelson steal looks opposite him, but Jermichael Finley and James Jones play a big role in the passing game from week to week and Randall Cobb is involved as well. So yeah, you haven't liked what Jennings has delivered with Rodgers struggling, but even at his best, he's an annoying player own.

Of course, throughout Rodgers' struggles, Jennings has remained a preferred target. Because he missed a game with a groin injury, his totals are lagging, but his 19 targets in two games would translate to 28.5 in three, which would rank him in the top 15 among wide receivers, just ahead of DeSean Jackson and Roddy White. In other words, as inconsistent as he may be from week to week, Jennings is still too much of a priority in that offense not to have the numbers in the end.

I'd trade him because he's a frustrating player to own, but not because I think he'll be no good this year. Now probably isn't the best time to shop him, but among the trades made in actual CBSSports.com leagues Tuesday, I like the one that landed Trent Richardson for him, the one that landed Larry Fitzgerald for him and the one that landed Fred Jackson and Antonio Gates for him.

I can get either Roddy White or Steve Smith in exchange for Doug Martin or Alfred Morris. What's the best scenario for me? -- @marcus_ari (via Twitter)

SW: The best scenario would be to land White for Morris, and quite frankly, I think it's steal.

I still don't trust Redskins coach Mike Shanahan to stick to one running back. I'll admit Morris has defied the odds by keeping the job this long, but his production has slipped each of the last two weeks, leaving just enough of a crack for another running back to slip through the door.

Not that Shanahan needs a crack. He usually makes his changes on a whim.

Is Morris the only back in Washington? Certainly not. Is he the most talented or accomplished back in Washington? You could argue against that as well. With that in mind, can you really trust him to remain a relevant contributor all season? I can't.

Martin is different. Martin is supposed to be the answer in Tampa Bay. That's why he was drafted, and through three games, he hasn't given the Buccaneers reason to change course. He's the safer bet for your Fantasy team, and why trade the safer bet if you don't have to?

Between the wide receivers, White is still the safer bet for big numbers. I worried he might lose something with the emergence of Julio Jones, but the Falcons are passing so often these days that they have more than enough targets to go around. Smith is good enough that I could see myself trading Morris for him if I had a need for a wide receiver, but when the deep ball isn't working for Cam Newton, he tends to disappear. Plus, his age makes him more susceptible to injuries.

Would you trade Marshawn Lynch and Reggie Wayne for Darren McFadden and Brandon Pettigrew in a 16-team league? Coby Fleener is my only tight end. -- @havsmgrapefruit (via Twitter)

SW: And if you don't make this trade, you're stuck with Fleener forevermore? I don't buy it. I understand that, in a 16-team league, guys like Dennis Pitta and Kyle Rudolph are long gone by now, but what about Brandon Myers and Scott Chandler? As prevalent as pass-catching tight ends have become in today's NFL and as unlikely as Fantasy owners are to start more than one, I think you'll eventually have options.

Even if a handful of owners have stockpiled the extra tight ends in your league, hoping to pull off exactly this kind of deal, all you need to do is wait them out. With the bye weeks approaching, they'll eventually have to devote that bench space to something else.

Check out our Fantasy Football podcast!
There is no better source for entertaining Fantasy advice than our Fantasy Football Today podcast. Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Adam Aizer will help you pass the time all offseason as you anticipate Draft Day 2014!
Latest episode | Subscribe via iTunes

Let's say you know the only way you can upgrade at tight end is by making a trade. It's not true, but for the sake of argument, let's say it is. What would you really gain with this deal? It's not like Pettigrew is a touchdown machine. He's an intriguing option in points-per-reception leagues since he makes his living as Matthew Stafford's preferred safety valve underneath, but in terms of actual production -- meaning yards and touchdowns -- you can only count on him for five or six points per week.

What about Fleener? I'd say he's a solid three or four per week. Maybe that's a tad optimistic, but come on. How often is the upgrade to Pettigrew going to mean the difference between you winning and losing?

Ultimately, Lynch and Wayne will have a greater say in that. With Andrew Luck under center for the Colts, Wayne is back to being the same stud he was with Peyton Manning, so I can confidently say that whatever bench option you use to replace him would be a significant step backward. And it's not like McFadden is a big step forward. He may have the greater big-game potential than Lynch, but Lynch is more reliable from week to week and less likely to suffer a season-ending injury.

Are you so desperate to fill a position rife with redundancies that you're willing to sacrifice a potential top-15 wide receiver to do it? Sorry, but that doesn't make sense to me.

Which of these DSTs would you prefer to start in Week 4: Falcons, Broncos, Buccaneers or Bengals? -- @JamesCherrick23 (via Twitter)

SW: You mean the Cardinals and Seahawks DSTs weren't available? Shame. Not only are they off to great starts, but their favorable matchups going forward should keep them among the top units in Fantasy all season.

Of course, the Falcons DST has been a pleasant surprise as well, and it's not like its Week 4 opponent, the Panthers, is a lock to put up big points, as we saw last Thursday. Starting the Falcons DST isn't the safest move this week, but a couple picks from Cam Newton would be enough for it to pay off.

The Raiders may not bring much to the table defensively, but they can put up some yards, which is why I'd shy away from the Broncos DST this week. The Buccaneers DST has some sleeper potential with its revamped secondary, but going against a red-hot Robert Griffin III is a scary proposition. The Bengals DST has a great matchup this week at Jacksonville, but it's given up so many points this year that you can't entirely trust it.

I think the Falcons are your best bet. I'd rank the other three Bengals, Buccaneers and Broncos.

Who would you prefer for the rest of this season: Antonio Gates or Dennis Pitta? -- @JayHanna1 (via Twitter)

SW: I can understand how Gates owners might be getting a little frustrated by now, especially with silly players like Pitta exploding off the waiver wire. You paid big bucks to ensure high-end production at the tight end position when you could have just put in a claim for some no-name after Week 1.

But you shouldn't lose heart. Gates' foot problems of the last couple years are no more. He missed Week 2 with a rib injury, but overall, he's healthier than we're used to seeing him. Even with the balky foot last year, he put together some monster games when he was able to take the field, performing about like Aaron Hernandez on a per-game basis -- and that was with Vincent Jackson still on the field. With Jackson in Tampa Bay now, Gates is poised to become quarterback Philip Rivers' go-to guy, if he wasn't already. It hasn't worked out yet, but he deserves more of a chance than two games.

I'm not saying Pitta is in any way a bad Fantasy option. He's tied with Jimmy Graham for the most targets among tight ends this year, and he has the type of build -- long and lean -- that generally translates to good production at the position. But he's not the playmaker Antonio Gates is. While Gates will have weeks when he carries your Fantasy team, Pitta likely won't have the yardage to score much more than 10-15 points in his best weeks.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB or Facebook . You can also follow Scott via Twitter @CBSScottWhite .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:21 pm ET) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:06 pm ET) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:12 am ET) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:01 am ET) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:54 am ET) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:52 am ET) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

Report: Niners won't release Aldon Smith
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 am ET) The 49ers might expect a suspension for pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith, but they are not planning to release him, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker. He was also arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


Russell Allen among Jaguars' latest releases
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:43 am ET) On Thursday the Jaguars released veteran linebacker Russell Allen along with Will Pericak , D'Aundre Reed and Jabin Sambrano, ESPN reported. Allen was released with a failed physical designation, a sign that he might not quite be over the effects of a concussion suffered late last season. 

Ravens reinstate Rolando McClain
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:41 am ET) Despite a poor workout earlier this month the Ravens have reinstated linebacker Rolando McClain from the reserve/retired list, NFL.com reports. It remains to be seen if McClain has a legitimate chance of staying on the roster this summer. 

J.J. Watt locked up through 2015
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:39 am ET) The Texans have exercised their option to keep defensive end J.J. Watt on the roster through the 2015 season. The Houston Chronicle believes that Watt won't even play under the terms of that fifth year (roughly $10.6 million guaranteed) because the Texans will agree to a long-term extension with him before then. 

 
 
 
Rankings