It’s pretty well documented that I can’t stand TV commercials. The way they distort reality and smother you in fake attitudes makes me loathe the gaps in between shows or games, making the mute button or channel return my best friend. But even I, the commercial hater, sometimes succumb to complacency and actually semi-digest whatever faux-messages are beamed into my consciousness.
Now, what’s ironic about hating commercials is that I actually have a degree in marketing. And don’t get me wrong, the right commercial that tells it straight and has solid production values (I double majored in film studies as well) will really turn my eye. But it just doesn’t happen often anymore. Remember when Super Bowl ads were part of the reason you watched the Super Bowl? Not anymore!
So I was having a momentary lapse with my attention span and actually paid attention to a few commercials during a break in Sportscenter yesterday, and saw this commercial was still on the air: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8sN6T5A77Y
Really Reebok? You’re still pumping part of your advertising revenue on Chad motherflubbing Ochocinco! Eesh. They must have no money to get a new sponsor or Ocho’s contract is still bleeding them dry. At least the Brett Favre Wrangler Jeans commercial isn’t playing anymore… Either way, it made me thing about the nature of sports, and more specifically, fantasy sports these days. Big name players and their production are changing with reckless abandon, making managing your fake dream teams as difficult as it’s ever been.
If you had an early draft, Peyton Manning was a lock. Other guys like Roddy White were sure to have another great year. And Peyton Hillis and Knowshon Moreno were perfect as RB2s. Oh how things change.
I know I mentioned Peyton(s), but I’m not trying to emphasize value change because of injuries. Things happen and neck surgeries don’t heal right. But I feel like the ever changing fantasy values of even healthy players highlights the shifting paradigm of sports personalities becoming the here and now rather than the been-there done-that. Today’s media age doesn’t care about what you’ve done in the recent past; it’s all about the now. Just ask Minnesota Twins fans who booed Joe Mauer all year.
The fantasy environment is even more situated to have that itchy trigger-finger; dropping guys who have struggled thus far instead of trying to weather the storm is more practical. Your fantasy line-up as a fluid, malleable roster is the way to go. Use your FAAB. Use all the waiver-wire moves you can. Because even if guys like Tebow or Jackie Battle don’t work out, there’s gonna be plenty of high-productivity guys sneaking onto the wire down the road.
Last week’s picks didn’t go well but they weren’t terrible, as Earnest Graham had a big day, Greg Little and David Nelson has sufficient games receiving going 60+ yards in bye-week fill-ins, and Colt McCoy, while playing pretty poorly in real-life standards, had 2 TDs and indeed outperformed Matt Schaub. However, Daniel Thomas really disappointed, and Rashard Mendenhall, Marques Colston, and Brandon Marshall went off. It seemed like the Dolphins were going to throw to him even if he was completely covered by Revis, giving Marshall 13 targets that produced only 6 catches. Javhid Best had an OK day as well, as he was (correctly predicted) stuffed on the ground, but made up for it through the air.
Here are some guys that I like for week 7 that most people aren’t starting and some guys to think about benching (along with their % start figures on ESPN & Yahoo, respectively).
Jackie Battle (24.5%, 27%) After exploding onto the scene in week 5 against Indy, Battle looks primed for another big workload against the porous Oakland run D this week. Dexter McCluster just isn’t big enough to handle much more than a change-of-pace role, and Thomas Jones is… Thomas Jones. Battle should see yet another 20 touches this week, with a good chance of getting his second consecutive 100 yard game.
Doug Baldwin (20%, 27%) Slowly creeping into more and more fantasy rosters, Baldwin is a great play this week against a Joe Haden-less Cleveland secondary. Baldwin doesn’t lose any value with Charlie Whitehurst at the helm with some established chemistry sprouting from week 5’s upset over the Giants. A 70-yard game with a possible TD is a good bet.
Steve Breaston (19.4%, 15%) Keeping things Chiefs heavy (see above and below), I think Steve Breaston is a great WR fill-in or flex play if you’re reaching deep. Oakland is going to put as much coverage on Dwayne Bowe as possible, giving the Cassel-Breaston connection a lot of love on the underneath and slant routes to highlight Breatson’s speed. Breaston is coming off 3 straight 50-yard games, and a 2 TDer before KC’s bye.
Matt Cassel (10.7%, 16%) Cassel looked so abysmal the first few weeks of the season that suggesting him for a start now seems dirtier than a Charlie Sheen mud wrestling party. But Cassel torched the Colts with 4 TDs in week 5, and I like him as a strong bye-week fill-in this week against Oakland. I think the Chiefs will have balance on offense and give Cassel at least 3-4 red zone opportunities to throw for scores. Not to mention the deep-threat ability of Breaston and Bowe against a bad secondary. Start with confidence if you’re missing your best QB option.
Daniel Thomas (30.7%, 46%) I’m sticking with Thomas again this week, mainly because he has another great match-up against the Broncos. His hammy will have another week of healing, and I see big things from the rookie. With all the flux of mediocre time-share running backs out there, I’m a little surprised Thomas hasn’t cracked the over 50% start percentages yet. Give it time, he’ll soon be up there, boosted by a nice game tomorrow.
Son of a Bench
Larry Fitzgerald (81.1%, 77%) I don’t know many people that could’ve thought Fitzgerald would be worse this year with Kevin Kolb at QB than the mess of Derek Anderson and some other guys I can’t remember (and won’t ever need to) that the Cardinals threw out there last year. What a catastrophe Arizona’s passing game has become. What could be even worse for Fitzy? He’s going against the Steelers this week, who give up the least points to fantasy WRs. I know it’s hard benching a guy with Fitz’s talent, but it’s going to be yet another long day for Zona. I’m benching him unless it’s a deep league or your options are limited.
Anquan Boldin (68.7%, 81%) Boldin’s coming off a huge game last week, but don’t let that trick you into starting him confidentially. The Jags defense isn’t terrible against the pass, and I see a lot of Ray Rice coming on Monday Night Football. I don’t think the Ravens game plan will call for much of him this week, and I like the Ravens to play conservative, tough defense against the opposing rookie QB. Not a strong option for me.
Shonn Greene (62.2%, 71%) The start percentages for Shonn Greene are absolutely baffling to me. No, I’m not putting much stock into LaDanian Tomlinson getting the “ceremonial” start against his former Chargers tomorrow, but Greene hasn’t done much of anything, and I see the Jets going down early. San Diego’s run D has been pretty stout, so I’d look for other options to start at RB this week if you’re still rolling Greene out there.
Philip Rivers (60.7%, 59%) Like in the intro, Philip Rivers’ fantasy production has changed dramatically from last year when he was the top QB a few times through the first half of the season. The Jets are actually giving up the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs right now, while at the same time still getting gashed in the run game. Even with Antonio Gates possibly gutting out a start, I don’t think Rivers does too much on Sunday. Look for a lot of Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert and don’t be surprised if Rivers has a slow afternoon.
Beanie Wells (71.3%, 59%) When does anyone like starting Beanie Wells? Well, I guess Ohio State fans… It’s a tough match-up against Pittsburgh’s run D and I don’t see this game being very close. I think Arizona’s offense gets completely stymied (I’ve literally never used that word before!) and Wells and the run game gets stuffed along with Fitzy and the receiving game. Tough to think of any situation where I’d be happy starting Wells this week.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot me some comments, or tweet me @jbgilpin. If you’re of the legal drinking age (have to say that due to our legal dept.), keep playing the Twitter “Gruden ‘that guy’ drinking game” (#GrudenThatGuyDrinkingGame) for the ultimate party game that’s primed to sweep the nation. Good luck to everyone in week 7!