The day you got report cards in school was always probably the worst day of the month for most people. Regardless of whether or not you did well, it was always stressful waiting for your judgment to be handed down to you in the form of a single letter. While I’m not going to give players a letter grade for their performance on the year so far, I think it’s about time to check in on what they’re doing for your fantasy team. A fourth of the season is finished and it’s time to start making moves if your team isn’t producing. This week, I’m taking nearly 20 of the year’s most intriguing players and letting you know how they should be viewed for the rest of the season. With some trade targets and waiver wire names to grab for “failing” players, let’s get to it in this week’s edition of Beyond the Numbers.
David Johnson – I just finished watching the Amazon Prime series All or Nothing, and it’s clear Arizona loves this sophomore running back. He’s the bell cow on a team with some of the best skill position players in the game, and they’ll eventually hit their stride. If you can steal him from another owner, I’d try to before he drops a 40 point game like last year. Le’veon is the only fantasy running back that can touch him this year.
Lamar Miller – While severely underutilized in Miami, he’s having no problem looking for work in his new Houston home. Looks like a solid enough return on where you probably drafted him, but his lack of touchdowns is slightly concerning. Brock Osweiler is much shakier than Houston thought, and Miller who was just searching for carries will now be begging to get goal line carries. I would love to have this guy on my team, but if you can snag David Johnson, or parlay him for Lacy and solid wide receiver, I think you should consider your options.
Eddie Lacy – He’s the number one guy I would be gunning for in a trade. His value isn’t too high, he hasn’t had any monster games, and he hasn’t scored a touchdown. Plus I kind of have a thing for fatties. It’s only a matter of time before he gets force-fed the ball (although I doubt they’d have to force-feed him anything) and turns back into that stud from 2014.
Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski – This one is simple, Gronk and Brady will both be making their first appearances of the year Sunday. In your fantasy point total that is. Don’t get smart, Gronk needs to be in every lineup.
Jeremy Langford – His days as a fantasy option are done, if they’ve ever even started. In every league I’m in, he’s been tossed away to waivers, and I couldn’t blame you if you do the same.
Jordan Matthews – I never saw Philly doing this well, and by correlation, Jordan Matthews. But here he is, right in the sweet spot of WR1/WR2 on a team that’s clicking. He had a really quiet week 3, but his nearly double the targets of the next man up gives him a palatable floor. Great job drafting him, but now do something more difficult…trust him after his disappointing 2015.
Melvin Gordon – One word, sell. Sell immediately before it’s too late. I don’t use a ton of numbers because anyone can mold them into their agenda, but this is a case where numbers actually tell the whole story; he’s averaging a mere 3.15 yards per carry on the year. He’s not good, and he’s as touchdown dependant as they come. Sell.
Latavius Murray – Quite a disappointment this year, Murray will be sidelined with injury this week. DeAndre Washington hasn’t gotten much work yet this year, but he’ll be starting this weekend for the injured Murray. This is a situation where I think Washington has a shot to gain the “main guy in a committee” role even when the underwhelming Murray returns. I doubt he’ll be the savior on your team, but if you’re desperate for a running back stash at a position pillaged by injury, he’s your guy.
Gary Barnidge – The only time you should have “Barnkowski” (laughs) in your lineup is if Josh Mccown is the starting quarterback. Go grab Dennis Pitta, Hunter Henry, Cameron Brate… I can go on. Just like the Kylie Jenner lip challenge last year, Barnidge is a fad better left in 2015.
DeAngelo Williams – I hate to say this about a guy who looks like he has a lot of gas in the tank, but he’s droppable at this point. You drafted him in the 10th round simply as an RB1 rental for 3 weeks, and he did his job; heck, he’s probably a big reason why some of you won weeks 1 and 2. Now, it’s time to face reality since Le’veon Bell is the man again, and drop him for one of the many enticing pick ups on the waiver wire.
Zach Miller – The Bears tight end started off slowly the first two weeks of the season with Jay Cutler under center, but has thrived with Brian Hoyer at the helm. Kevin White is done for what seems to be the entire year, and that puts Miller in the weekly TE1 conversation. He’s shown his red zone prowess and now will be getting more targets from whomever John Fox rolls with at quarterback.
Sterling Shepard & Will Fuller – It looks like I backed the wrong rookie horse in Tajae Sharp a few weeks ago, as he’s taken major steps back in an offense reliant on Demarco Murray. Shepard has been a go to in New York as defenses are keying in on Odell Beckham and his puny mental state, and Will Fuller has led the Texans in all categories a receiver can. Both are actually somehow leading all their respective skill positions (yes, including running backs) in points and on pace for over 100 targets. They’re shaping up to be consistent high range WR3s.
Justin Forsett – He’s gone and there’s only one person left to pick up the carries, Terrance West. West was available in a handful of leagues I’m in, so I immediately scooped him up as should you. I’m comfortable plugging him into my RB2 slot or flex for as long as he holds off Kenneth Dixon, but don’t count on him keeping the job for long, he is after all Terrance West.
Jay Ajayi – He’s almost as angry and big headed as Odell Beckham, but with nowhere close the talent. Hence why Adam Gase had no problem benching him week 1 for childish behavior after Arian Foster was awarded the starting gig. Although he’s still young and immature, Gase admitted the back by committee isn’t working out and wants to get one back going a game (Ajayi). He’s worthy of a pick up and stash if you’re thin at running back, and once he gets the call, I think he’ll actually prove himself capable.
Theo Riddick – Just like when you were the last pick in gym class and a team had to pick you up by default, Riddick is simply the last man standing in Detroit. He’s looked pretty one dimensional running the ball and hasn’t impressed anyone. Once someone, anyone, becomes healthy enough to take over the starting role, he’ll revert back to being a third down specialist. Very disappointing from someone the coaches were hoping could assume a much larger role.
Charles Sims – I think Sims is secretly Riddick in disguise. Different team, same story.
Thanks for tuning in again this week, and as always hit me up with any comments. I’m leaning toward keeping this format of touching on many players’ values instead of just a few in depth each week, so let me know what you think.