Hello Razzball readers! My name is Asher Molk, and I’m a new contributor here on Razzball. I’m going to be writing this column weekly, and I look forward to answering your questions and helping you guys win your leagues! Mike Braude and I will be working as a team and editing each other’s columns so feel free to ask either of us any questions; we’d love to help! And check us out on Twitter is @AsherMolk and his is @BraudeM
Darren McFadden, RB, OAK– No running back burst out of the gates like McFadden did, but after two scoreless games in which he didn’t even touch the ball 20 times, some people who look only at the box score might be starting to question his consistency and ability. Make no mistake- Run DMC is still easily a top five fantasy back. They fell behind early against the Patriots and had to abandon the run, and the Texans simply set out to stop him, watching as Jason Campbell threw two touchdowns against them. McFadden looked as fast and agile as ever, breaking tackles with ease. It’s important to note he had over 40 rushing yards called back due to penalties. Snatch him away from impatient owners while the opportunity is there.
Matt Ryan, QB, ATL– I have been a believer in Matt Ryan all year, and I am not stopping now. Again, it’s important to look at the context of his situation and struggles. The lockout has hurt few players more than Ryan: He was asked to transition from a ball control offense to a spread shotgun aerial attack and to get in sync with a new wide receiver- all in a mere 7 weeks. He has the coaching staff and weapons to turn it around and finish strong, he just needs more time to figure it out. I’m willing to bet he finishes the second half of the year as a top 7 QB. At this point, you may be able to acquire him for next to nothing.
Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT- It’s no secret that the Steelers’ offensive line has been utterly ineffective thus far, this is evidenced by the ridiculously low YPC by their running backs and Big Ben fleeing for his life when he drops back. However, the newly signed Max Starks and the rest of that O-line may have turned a corner against a tough Titans defense, dominating the point of attack throughout the contest. Even more promising is that Isaac Redman did nothing to make his case for a committee attack, being outplayed by 4th stringer Jonathan Dwyer. There’s no arguing he’s produced like a flex option thus far, but there is a chance that that’s all you would have to give up for him right now. Find a frustrated owner in your league and offer him someone like BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Shonn Greene or LeGarrette Blount. Chances are you won’t regret it. Mendy is still a first-round talent with goal line duties on a very well coached and improving team.
Phillip Rivers, QB, SD- After having more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (6) over the first five weeks, Rivers is definitely someone to target. Over the last three years, Rivers has never had less than 28 TDs, with an average of 30.67. There is no reason to believe that his current pace of 19 TDs will stand pat. One of the factors affecting Rivers has been the absence of Antonio Gates, who is due to return after the Chargers bye this week. Ryan Mathews should help open up the pass, as teams now have to worry about the best Chargers RB since LaDanian Tomlinson. Rivers has a history of finishing strong and there’s no reason to believe that will change this year.
Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG- Only averaging 57.2 rushing yards per game and 29.2 receiving yards per game, Ahmad Bradshaw hasn’t been the RB that owners saw last year. Owners expected Bradshaw to erupt against the Seahawks with Jacobs out, but he failed to capitalize with only 85 rushing yards and 3.4 YPC. The change in Bradshaw will come soon- Jacobs looks nowhere near healthy and Bradshaw will continue to see an uptick in touches. Bradshaw is very talented and with the Giants pass offense clicking there will be holes to run through. Look for an owner who doesn’t know his true value and swoop him up.
Roddy White, WR, ATL- After totaling only 352 receiving yards and 2 TDs, Roddy White’s start has been a fluke. When the Falcons figure out their passing attack, he’s going to put up the numbers you’re used to seeing. Roddy is a target monster, as evidenced by his 10 targets last week, and with his hamstring finally at full strength he should be able to finish the season as a top-5 WR.
Michael Turner, RB, ATL- In fantasy leagues, getting players with explosive talent and upside is what brings the trophies home. Michael Turner no longer fits that description. His stats look nice, but lets again contextualize the numbers. 32% of his 360 rushing yards came against the Eagles 30th ranked rush defense. The past 3 games, he’s averaged less than 2.8 yards per carry- the only things saving his fantasy outings are the touchdowns. Owners will remember how he broke down at the end of last year, and there is no reason to think that won’t happen again as he ages and as the Falcons continue their transition to a spread/no huddle offense system. If you can turn him into any of the “buy-lows”, you’ve done well.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, NE- Again, it’s easy to look at statistics and determine that BJGE can be a strong RB2. Granted, he has goal line carries and constantly faces a mere 6 defenders in the box, but don’t get carried away with big numbers without justification. He doesn’t have the passing game prowess or quicks that Woodhead brings (who has been injured, another reason for Green-Ellis’ production) or the dominant running ability of a Stevan Ridley. You will drive yourself crazy trying to figure out the workload Belichick gives him each week, and it will be quite a surprise if BJGE tops this performance. He will get the number of carries to produce from time to time, but there are too many factors to account for to keep expectations high for this averagely talented running back.
Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ- Many owners do not see why Shonn Greene isn’t succeeding- he was a top 65 draft pick, plays with a seemingly good offensive line, and sees the majority of the carries (including goal line duties) in a ball control offense. The situation and opportunity is there- problem is, the talent simply isn’t. After his superb showing in the playoffs a few years ago, it’s no wonder expectations were high. But those impressive performances have proven to be the exception, not the reality: he’s averaging 48 YPG and 3.3 YPC this season. He has shown time and time again he cannot create for himself, and at best get what’s blocked. With Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight looming in the background, Greene’s leash may be shorter than perceived. This is a running back who lacks any passing game skills and has shown no playmaking ability whatsoever- pass him along to the biggest Jets fan in your league.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA- After having his first game over 73 yards, now is the prime time to rid yourself of Marshawn Lynch. Lynch is yet to receive over 20 carries in a game and is a non factor in the passing game. Averaging only 64.4 yards from scrimmage, Lynch lacks the talent of a RB1 and nothing is going to change. This is Lynch’s ceiling and if you can find an owner in desperate need of a RB, now is the perfect time to sell.
Pierre Garcon, WR, IND- Garcon has been on fire lately, but don’t expect it to continue. Averaging an unsustainable 22.1 YPC, Garcon will fade sooner rather than later. Curtis Painter will have no reason to force the ball to Garcon once defenses stop inexplicably blowing coverage against him. With two straight big games, there isn’t going to any point in the year where Garcon’s value is higher. Sell him while you can still get something decent in return.
Again, feel free to shoot me a tweet @AsherMolk with any questions, I’ll be happy to answer!