Is the phrase, “Back in Black” work here? I’m currently wearing a white t-shirt, but oh well. This is the first of a weekly series I’ll be writing about arguably the most underrated part of anyone’s quest to winning their Fantasy Football league: their bench. You heard me, your Fantasy Football team’s bench players. What happens when you suffer an injury like Dez Bryant, have a suspension like Le’Veon Bell (no, not Tom Brady) or just your starters aren’t cutting it? Your bench plays a pivotal part in helping to make sure you are well prepared for when anything may arise. Often times, the teams and owners that win their leagues at the end of the season are those who pick up the right players and drop the wrong ones. This is what this weekly series will address, figuring out who to add, who to drop, and who to keep. So those of you who still have Josh Gordon on your bench, for example, it may be time to drop him (the first tip is on the house). So kick back, open your eyes wide, and enjoy the ride.

Obviously as I mentioned above, the Dez Bryant injury is a killer for most fantasy teams who drafted him, as he was a 1st round pick in most leagues this year and he may not even play again this season. He is still worth keeping on your bench because there is a chance he may come back this season. But in the meantime, we need to figure out who to get in Dallas who will step up (hopefully) in his absence. Terrance Williams is a guy I’m not too confident in, as he has not done much to cement himself as a solid #2 wide receiver, but he should be on your roster if he somehow made it to the waiver wire. Cole Beasley is someone who does intrigue me though, because he does the ability to play a poor-man’s version of Wes Welker for the team and be a somewhat solid slot receiver who could see a lot of targets. Not saying he is worth starting, but he is someone (especially in PPR leagues) who should on someone’s roster.

One more player in Dallas that catches my eye is Lance Dunbar (a Cowboys RB? OH NO). In all seriousness though, he saw eight targets in week one and caught every single one for 70 yards. Part of this damage was done even before Dez went down. This might be the year that Dunbar gets utilized in a serious passing-down back role like Joique Bell in previous years for example. With the run game suffering in Dallas & the Dez injury, Dunbar could certainly see a solid number of targets every week and should be on most benches, especially in PPR leagues where he could have some low-end FLEX appeal.

Switching over to a team that surprised a lot of people in Week 1 and actually beat the Vikings, is the 49ers. They won their game on Monday night due in large part to Carlos Hyde’s breakout performance. He has RB1 appeal going forward based on his talent & volume alone. What was more interesting is that Mike Davis, the team’s 4th round pick this year, was inactive for week one. He was a healthy scratch in favor of former rugby star Jarryd Hayne. Reggie Bush went down early in the game, forcing Hayne in a backup role where he had four rushing attempts and one reception. Not the most impressive start, especially with a fumble in that game as well, but this is more about Davis than anything. Davis is someone that some people drafted late in redraft hoping that he got the backup role, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I would recommend dropping Mike Davis from all re-draft leagues for the time being and unless your league scores return yards and touchdowns, Hayne isn’t worth owning right now either.

Shifting over to the division rival Seahawks, a particular rookie wide receiver (who I believe could be the next Devin Hester in terms of punt/kick returning) named Tyler Lockett impressed in Week 1, as he had the entire preseason. Seattle spent a big fortune to move up in the 3rd round of the draft to select Lockett, so obviously he is someone that the team thinks very highly of and he has not disappointed so far (unlike their offensive line). He scored a return touchdown in his NFL regular season debut last weekend and also reeled in all four of his targets for 34 yards. Lockett is the type of deep threat that Seattle so desperately needs and he could be in line for a big role this season considering the lack of depth at the wide receiver position for the Seahawks. He needs to be owned in most leagues going forward as his role could expand and is a threat for a return touchdown every week. Especially for leagues that score return yards, Lockett could have WR3 value by the end of the season.

So, of course the elephant in the room needs to be addressed. My love for C.J. Anderson is well documented and he is coming off two straight disappointing games. What I will point out in his defense though, is that he has had to face two of the NFL’s best defenses and also played this Thursday on a short week of rest as he is dealing with a toe injury and because of that injury, was on a pitch count for this game. I fully expect him to bounce back and produce RB1 numbers soon. In the meantime though, Ronnie Hillman is something has seen an uptick in snaps & touches on the field. While I do not believe he is anything more than a handcuff, he needs to be owned in all leagues. We have seen flashes of great play from him in the past and received 21 carries in the first two games so far. Anderson is clearly hampered by his toe injury and Hillman has been the main benefactor of that. In the Broncos’ offense and with that many carries to start off the season, Hillman needs to be owned for the time being. One more thing about the Broncos. Cody Latimer was pegged by most as the #3 WR for Denver this season but is clearly nothing more than their #4/5 receiver right now and does not deserve to take up a roster spot in most redraft leagues, so drop him for Tyler Lockett like I suggested (duh).

Where is the love for Dion Lewis? His story is quite incredible actually, as he did not play last season after being cut by the Browns in 2014 and missing all of 2013 with a broken leg. He gets signed over this offseason with the Patriots, not being projected being on the 53 man roster by the end of the preseason by most, and then goes out and gets 120 all-purpose yards on 19 touches. Now granted, it was against a porous Steelers defense and LeGarrette Blount was suspended for the game, but it’s still very impressive. Blount will come back and be the main running back on 1st & 2nd down, but the 3rd down role previously left by Shane Vereen seems to be locked up by Lewis. Vereen finished 2014 as the 19th best running back in PPR leagues (mid-tier RB2) and with Brandon LaFell out for at least the first six weeks, Lewis could put up some very good stats in the meantime. In short, he needs to be owned in all leagues, PPR or standard. In PPR leagues, he has RB3 value right now and is a weekly FLEX option. In standard leagues, he is probably a RB4, but one of the better RB4 options right now.

One more player to point out is also another rookie who has impressed beyond where he was drafted in May. Karlos Williams is the direct back-up to LeSean McCoy. He impressed so much that the Bills released both Fred Jackson and Bryce Brown, and even in week one, Williams made a strong impact. He finished week one with six carries, 55 yards rushing, and a touchdown as well. News broke on Thursday that McCoy actually was pulled from practice that day due to his bothersome hamstring injury. Head coach Rex Ryan said that he “hopes” McCoy to be ready for Sunday, but that is far from a guarantee right now. Considering how long this hamstring issue has been bothering McCoy (for over a month now), maybe him sitting out on Sunday may not be the worst idea. With that being said, regardless of whether or not McCoy plays this week, Williams warrants a roster spot on both redraft and dynasty rosters alike. If McCoy plays, he will be limited, opening up Williams to secure anywhere from six to ten touches. He will also be facing a Patriots defense that gave up 127 yards rushing to DeAngelo Williams in week one. Williams should be on your bench ASAP and stay that way going forward and would become a RB2 if McCoy ever doesn’t play.

That’ll do it for this week, now go take my advice and go win week 2 and make sure to shower me with credit afterwards.

 

 

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  1. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:
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    On CJ Anderson: “I fully expect him to bounce back and produce RB1 numbers soon.”

    I guess the thing is, is it really more likely that _both_ the KC and BAL defense are among the best run stoppers or that the Denver line can’t run block? Houston ran ok against KC, their RBs went 20 for 92 against them. To put it another way, we’ve seen Denver be crappy twice against two different opponents, which seems to make it more likely it’s a Denver problem than because of the teams they faced.

    To put it in perspective, I chose CJA as my fantasy MVP in the Razzball picks so I was a believer too. I think he’ll bounce back but it might be at least a couple more weeks before he starts looking like an RB1, if he does at all. Some goal line carries would certainly help.

    Also I didn’t think CJA looked hampered by the toe last night. What did I miss? Can you remember any plays in particular that made him look hampered? I’ve got the game on DVR so I can go back and look. Denver goes against Detroit next week by the way, a team that may have some pass defense issues but against the run they could be great.

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      Anderson didn’t necessarily have to show he was “hampered” by his toe injury, it was bothering him. Just because a player doesn’t limp or show obvious signs of an injury, doesn’t mean he isn’t hurt.

      Their offensive line has struggled a bit, yes. But also keep in mind that they lost their LT and that they have faced two of the strongest defenses in the league. The gameplan is still something that needs to get used to for Peyton & the offense. When Peyton runs more shotgun and excels that way, the run game will open up. Peyton hasn’t targeted Anderson in the pass game much yet either, so it’ll all flow together soon.

      They are facing Detroit but they will most likely be without DeAndre Levy, one of the best run defending LBs in the game. Denver has 10 days from when they played on Thursday to strategize and heal up, I’m not concerned a lot about their offense or Anderson.

      • RotoLance

        RotoLance says:
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        @Doug: Ok, Thanks. I think you’re probably right on the point you made in the first paragraph. I’m still skeptical of the rest of your claims as all we have to go on from this year are two bad results so while I think he’ll rebound I’m far from sure he’ll perform like a first rounder the rest of the way. I don’t want to overreact but I do have a lot of concern.

  2. Clyde Prompto says:
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    Love playing the bench stash game. Would you add Dunbar over Denard Robinson? .5 PPR.

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      @Clyde Prompto:

      I would. Has more value.

      • Clyde Prompto says:
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        @Doug: Thanks!

  3. Slimbo says:
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    Keeper league question

    Drop Carr or Dorsett for any of these guys?

    Boldin, Torrey Smith, Quick, Stills, Austin,

    Cutler, Smith, Manziel, Taylor

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      @Slimbo:

      I wouldn’t, Carr & Dorsett are the best two out of the bunch.

  4. Randy says:
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    In a 12-team standard, I have Anderson/J-Stew/Ryan Matthews/McFadden/David Johnson/Karlos Williams at RB and Dez/J-Matthews/Charles Johnson/Stevie Johnson/Lockett/Coleman at WR. Knowing my top two picks are iffy/injured, I’m focused on lottery tickets where possible. Having said that, who should I drop for a kicker? We start 2 at each position + flex. Also, would you try to trade Dez, and if so, for what? Thanks!

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      I would probably drop David Johnson for a kicker. He is taking a back seat to Chris Johnson right now and then would be 3rd when Ellington comes back.

      I would definitely try to trade Dez if possible, there is no guarantee he will be back this season (ask Julio Jones). You should try to go for a RB2, so maybe a Chris Ivory perhaps?

  5. Wacha wacha says:
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    I have Tlockett in a league that awards 1 pt for every 10 return yards but everything else is non ppr standard scoring.

    Start Lockett this week or A Johnson?

    Also which sides of these trades do you like better?

    J Brown for G Tate

    J Randle for CJ Anderson

    Thank you very much!

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      I’d definitely keep Johnson in this week. Hilton could be out, leaving Johnson as the de-facto #1 WR.

      And I like Brown side and Anderson side of the trades listed. Tate is restricted by not only Calvin being there, but Stafford’s inconsistency. Randle is no more than a high-end RB3, Anderson should return to RB1 status soon.

  6. Lex says:
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    who you got rest of the season in a standard scoring non ppr league Ingram or Abdullah?

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      In a non-PPR, I’ll say Ingram. He will still get looks in the passing game even w/ Spiller being back (which is never a sure thing that he’ll make it the rest of the season uninjured). Abdullah has a lot of upside, but may not see true #1 RB touches for awhile (the Lions seem hell-bent on Bell).

      Ingram is one of my more favorite RB1s to own. Keep him.

  7. Comatose says:
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    Where do you think Christine Michael ends up? Is he worth stashing for the chance he ends up being the horse in Dallas?

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      He is definitely worth stashing. As the weeks progress and he learns the playbook, he will get more touches and he is by far the most talented RB in Dallas. It may not be until halfway through the season perhaps, but he could be #1 guy there soon.

  8. William says:
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    Regular Yahoo! scoring, 10 team league –
    I currently have Delanie Walker but he is Q – Do I drop him for Jordan Reed or Ladarius Green?

    I am stuck since I also have Dez Bryant and T.Y Hilton. Part of me thinks Reed and Green will be close in value… not sure what to do here

    • Doug

      Doug says:
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      I definitely wouldn’t drop him, he is still a low-end TE1. If possible, try to get Reed w/o dropping him. And I’d try to pick up Donte Moncrief as well but keep Hilton in your starting lineup. If Hilton plays, great. If not, put Moncrief in as he would be the #2 WR for the game.

  9. Dave says:
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    Lamar Miller was dropped in my league, I’m not kidding. Should I bid my entire free agent bank for him? Have Charles and Hill starting with Ivory on my bench. Would need to drop Royal who is on m bench. Is Miller worth all my free agent money?

  10. Water boy says:
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    Ahoy sir!

    It’s .5 PPR

    For my WR3 starting :

    * John Brown at Chicago

    Or

    * Terrence Williams at Philly

    We start 3 WR’s, my first two are set; Demaryius already played & WR2 is brandin cooks

  11. Shookonespart2 says:
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    Lamar miller/tre Mason/ Sammy Watkins for Alfred Morris/ asj/ Karlos williams/ Pierre garcon

  12. Dom B says:
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    Okay so I have tony romo and Eli Manning and Tony is out for several weeks. Should I drop Tony Romo or stash him and should I ride out on Eli Manning or should I add a quarterback from waiver, Available QBs Colin Kapernick, Derek Carr, Tyrod Taylor, Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Ryan Mallet, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel, Kirk Cousins, Nick Foles, and Jay Cutler Who do I drop if I pick one up…. ALSO is Jason Witten still a TE 1 with Weeden. Here is my roster

    QB Tony Romo
    RB Leveon Bell
    RB Jonathan Stewart
    WR Julio Jones
    WR AJ Green
    TE Jason Witten
    Flex Latavius Murray
    K STEVE HAUSCHKA
    DEF RAVENS
    Bench
    QB ELI MANNING
    WR KEENAN ALLEN
    RB GIO BERNARD
    WR JOHN BROWN
    WR STEVE SMITH
    RB lagarette blount

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