If you’re like me and you’re not into the current political talk, boy have I got a great read for you. I promise the most election-like references I’ll make in the entire post have to do with locker room politics. Instead, let me focus on the cause of what’s wrong with football lately, Roger Goodell. The man in the high castle seems to be too busy counting all the TV revenue money and player fines to worry about how bad ratings are. But don’t we, the public, deserve more from one of the most influential sports in America? I can’t be the only one eating member berries and thinking back to the good ole’ days. Remember when players were free to take cheerleader pom poms for a dance and pull out phones to call and tell their buds they scored? Hell, if Goodell is afraid of “sportsmanship” maybe he ought to implement a more stringent policy on performance enhancing drugs. You know, like the HGH policy that hasn’t caught a single player since the rule’s inception. Hopefully, we can make football great again someday soon and start the fun again. Till then, I guess dancing at home when your sketchy Flex play scores is going to have to do. I’ll do my part and give you a few names to help get you to that victory dance.
Rob Kelley – It looks like Washington’s the newest addition to teams playing musical chairs at running back. Things were going smoothly enough until Matt Jones got hurt a few weeks ago and Jay Gruden decided to check his stats. It turns out he only likes to play every other week for some reason. I thought Chris Thompson was the obvious replacement for lead back duties, but Gruden made it clear he’d only handle about 12 touches per game since his injury history in college is longer than the closing credits of The Avengers. This, unfortunately, killed a big chunk of his fantasy upside but did pave a path for Robert Kelley to shine against the Bengals in week 8. I’m taking Gruden at his word that Kelley is the new starting back when I tout him as an RB2 going forward. That even includes this week against a Vikings defense that’s looked pretty pedestrian the past few weeks.
Kapri Bibbs – I’m assuming his parents were both wearing capri pants in a lobster shack when they came up with his name. The great ideas didn’t stop there as they threw in a “K” instead of “C” for that extra kool factor. Despite the many hardships I’m sure he’s endured in grade school at his name’s sake, the young running back’s seemed to have stumbled upon some fantasy value. Yes, Devontae Booker is still in the way as lead back, but his recent struggles forced Gary Kubiak to admit Bibbs has earned some more work. I’ll go out on a limb and say Bibbs is sitting on the RB3 fringe this week, solely because he’s going up against the pathetic Saints defense. My best guess is he’s only going to touch the ball about 8 times, but those touches have got to be worth like what, two times as much if they were against better defenses? He’s better left on the bench until his value is firmly established, but I couldn’t blame you for giving him a Flex play if you’re desperate.
J.J. Nelson – Chandler Catanzaro chose a class of Cardinals would have been a solid name for this article, but unfortunately I think I played out that shtick last week. Sure, it’s fun using alliteration but more like how shaving is fun for the first time. You know, you feel all special about it until the second time comes around and you realize it’s about as cool as brushing your teeth. And while I’m on the subject of shaving, did anyone else think mowing the grass was one of the biggest rite of passage let downs too? Anyway, I digress from my point here which is start your Cardinals with confidence. Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer, and J.J. Nelson are all in store for great games against one of the worst defenses in the league. I can only hope Palmer plays all four quarters to give their starters maximum value. I’ll fade John Brown and Michael Floyd, however, as they’ve both only managed to put together one solid game this year. Playing a terrible defense doesn’t just magically give you credibility. Brown’s more on the WR4 map, while Floyd is more on waivers.
Zach Ertz – Week 9 was a classic example of why Ertz has always been fools’ gold. Just when you think you’ve seen its true identity, the light hits that rock just right to give you hope that it’s real. I feel like now is a good time to admit my last job as a prospector didn’t necessarily pan out (yup, my pun game’s strong). Anyhow, some media outlets have him “firmly in the TE1 category” and I would have to firmly disagree. Yeah, he’s got a great matchup against the Falcons, but what I said above about the Cardinals still stands. Playing a terrible defense doesn’t just magically give you credibility. He’s struggled to get on the same page with Carson Wentz this year, and now Doug Pederson’s asking Wentz to throw the ball about 10 less times per game. If you need a bye week fill in now or in the future, I’m not saying he’s a bad choice though; I’m just saying Lance Kendricks, Cameron Brate, and C.J. Fiedorowicz aren’t bad choices either. Ertz isn’t the must add he’s been flaunted to be and expectations should be tempered. He’s more of a solid TE2.
Paul Perkins – While Perkins is a bit too early to trust with stand alone value, he’s trending towards unseating Rashad Jennings as the Giants’ starting back. It’s no surprise Ben McAdoo’s looking to get some fresh legs on the field since Jennings has got to be, what, 40 years old now? Unfortunately for Perkins, both he and Jennings touched the ball the same number of times in week 9, and they both flopped against a pretty stout Philly defense. The good news though is Perkins is probably in line for similar workloads going forward with Bobby Rainey and Orleans Darkwa in the rear-view mirror. He’ll carry no more than RB3 value against Cincy this weekend since he’s not the goal line back yet and a touchdown is unlikely, but he’s got more than enough potential to be worthy of a bench spot.
Peyton Barber – It looks like evil Oprah has been handing out “gifts” to Tampa Bay by the looks of their ridiculously unlucky string of running back injuries. Fortunately for Doug Martin owners, he’s been practicing the past few days and seems to actually have a shot at playing in week 10. But do you really think the Bucs are going to chance him having another setback by working him too early? Even if Martin is active this week, I think you need to trust Barber as a solid, do it all RB2. He’ll have no one to challenge him for touches, and I doubt they’ll be forced to abandon the ground game against the much less potent Bears offense. Take advantage of Barber’s last week of relevance.
Eli Manning – It’s an unfortunate week at quarterback with 4 of the top 10 guys on bye and fantasy playoffs just around the corner. This definitely isn’t the week you want to start a middle of the pack guy, but dad-bod sporting Eli should be able to solve your problems. Normally, I wouldn’t want to have to worry about his laughable 3:2 touchdown to interception ratio, but going up against Cincy’s bottom 6 passing defense have to ease most concerns. That and throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. can easily provide a days’ worth of fantasy points alone (check out week 6 where Eli stacked up 16 points while targeting ODB). Whether you’re desperate or not, he’s about as solid of a QB1 as they come this week.
Thanks for joining again this week. Hit me up with any lineup questions you got in the comments.