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Interestingly enough, Ben Tate going to the Cleveland Browns might end up improving his fantasy prospects (or a strange attempt to prevent more rib-breakage), while Steve Smith signing with the Baltimore Ravens might end up doing the opposite. Yet another example of why a fantasy game with fake teams based upon real players based upon a real game isn’t always rational in the scope of things. (Just like that sentence.)

You see, under the scope of ‘real’ football, these moves mean the exact opposite. Steve Smith goes to a team that should be in or around the play-off picture, a somewhat competent (based on NFL standards) coaching staff, and a team that has some interesting weapons. Just make sure to hide if you’re a fiancée. On the other hand, Ben Tate has basically gone to the football equivalent of Siberia. But with Skyline Chili. So much worse. However, add some fantasy context, and the sky is no longer blue, roses are no longer red, and Skyline Chili does not exist. Totally worth it…

In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.

Steve Smith has seven 1,000-yard seasons and 67 career TDs. But after averaging nearly 16 Y/R from 2008-2012, 2013 was a different story. Clearly he’s slowed down, and his 64 receptions for 745 yards and 4 TDs were underwhelming to say the least. Now he’s entering a situation that may not really move the needle. The Ravens already have the deep-threat in Torrey Smith. They have check-down options in Ray Rice and Dennis Pitta. So that leaves the slot and mid-range targets leftover for Smith. Can a player of Smith’s caliber adjust to a new role like this? My answer is probably, but as a WR2 or WR3 in this system… you’d have to think there’s a cap to his potential production. At the moment, he’s probably around the top-50 for wide receivers, but the allure of changing teams and the name might inflate his price on draft day. At this point, I’m staying away.

Ben Tate wants to wear the color brown. Or what Crayola calls burnt sienna.

I’m still wondering why someone would willingly play for the Cleveland Browns. Then again, for seven million dollars, I think I’d find a way to survive. So enters Ben Tate, who spent his first four seasons with the Houston Texans. Hampered by injuries for most of his career, the time he has spent on the field was promising. In 2011, he rushed for 942 yards and in 2013 rushed 771 yards with four touchdowns. In between was a rash of injuries including strained hamstrings, broken ankles and ribs, and you know, basically his whole body. Someone should probably tell him that injuries aren’t stats. Still, if healthy, being the primary back for any team puts you on the radar, especially a team that could very likely provide a large amount of carries to a physical and violent runner in Tate. I like the situation, but the durability is a real concern. He’s probably going to be around my top-25 RB, but the risk/reward could change that dramatically as we get closer to the 2014 season.

Miscellaneous…

Hakeem Nicks has been around the block. And while going around the block, his legs have been stabbed, shot at, and robbed on multiple occasions. Now with average speed, there were also reports that he skipped training-room sessions and arrived late to meetings in New York. In all fairness though, these are things that happen when your legs don’t work. But, switching from Eli Manning to Andrew Luck and lining up next to Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton might coax some production out of a guy who scored 24 touchdowns in his first three years and just three in his final two.

– With the bidding war of Brandon LaFell (for some reason) between the Broncos and Patriots now over, my concluding reaction is: meh. An underwhelming transaction for an underwhelming player. True, the physical tools have always been there (and so have the drops), and while the ‘Patriot way’ has had mixed results with different players, there’s always a chance something nice happens. But I’m not betting on it.

Emmanuel Sanders has to be considered intriguing at this point only because he becomes yet another weapon in Peyton Manning‘s arsenal. A possible T.Y Hilton clone, I’d have to believe that his career-high 740 yards receiving in 2013 is what you should expect now as a floor.

  1. Fantasy with Dase or Days

    Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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    From a fantasy point of view, I would have rather the Ravens not signed Steve Smith. Last year, Marlon Brown(rookie), finished the regular season with a stat line of 3.5 catches, 37.42 yards, .5 touchdowns on 5.85 targets a game. During the first four games of the season, he had at least nine fantasy points, had three touchdowns and saw at least six targets in three of those games. Then to close out the season, he had a stat line of five catches, 51 yards, .5 touchdowns on 8.25 targets per game. You also have to remember that both Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta were both in the starting lineup those last four games. I was going to be intrigued with him as a late round pick but now that looks to be not an option now.

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @Fantasy with Dase or Days: Agreed. He looks to be maybe the fourth best option, receiving wise… T. Smith, Pitta, Rice…

      • Fantasy with Dase or Days

        Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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        @Jay: I see that I did not clarify “Then to close out the season,” I was referring to week 14-17 of last year.

        • Josh O.

          Josh O. says:
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          @Fantasy with Dase or Days: Maybe I can serve as something of an expert here… I think by the time the season rolls around, Brown will be looking at a red zone role only (6’5). I have a very strong feeling that my man, Ozzie, will draft a WR in round 2 or so. My guess in the order of targets is Torrey, Dennis, Steve, Newly drafted WR, Marlon/Jacoby.

          • Josh O.

            Josh O. says:
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            @Josh O.: @Fantasy with Dase or Days: Maybe I can serve as something of an expert here… I think by the time the season rolls around, Brown will be looking at a red zone role only (6’5). I have a very strong feeling that my man, Ozzie, will draft a WR in round 2 or so. My guess in the order of targets is Torrey, Dennis, Steve, Newly drafted WR, Marlon/Jacoby. With Rice mixed in there occasionally.

  2. UncleLarryWalker says:
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    What up with the hate on Skyline Chili!? Would have been fitting if he signed with the Bengals…

    • Jay

      Jay says:
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      @UncleLarryWalker: It looks like something a special needs child would cook up in a Home Ec class.

      But agreed. Steve Smith’s value would have gone the right way if he went to a team with a true WR1… but his ceiling is still limited.

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