by Matthew Gordan
I believe Bryce Brown showed us what his role in the offense will be going forward, and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say it looked a lot like C.J. Spiller’s. Brown finished the game Sunday with 13 touches for 100 yards. He did fumble, but forget about that. His coaches certainly did. I generally shy away from starting Thursday Night Football options, but after this week I wouldn’t mind starting Brown in PPR leagues depending on your other options. He’ll probably garner 10-15 touches a game with the ability to hit a homerun either running or catching the ball in the flat. Of course, Fred Jackson is still the preferred back as long as he’s healthy, but this offense operates through the running backs.
In a matchup involving two of my favorite sleepers heading into the season, Golden Tate and Mike Wallace both delivered useful lines as they’ve done all season. These guys have been extremely consistent, providing their owners solid point totals each week. Wallace hasn’t had the flashy yardage he’s been known to accumulate in years past, but he’s much less boom-or-bust. Tate has obviously had a much better year than Wallace, and even with Calvin Johnson back is still a low-end WR1. Considering when you probably snagged Tate or Wallace, who himself is a low-end WR2, you’re probably giddy.
I do like Denard Robinson, but I definitely hate that offense. He’s a better option in PPR formats (aren’t they all), whereas in standard leagues I’d be real hesitant. He has no help and so defenses can focus on him. It’s precarious to depend on such a small back running in a terrible offense. Flipside, of course, is Robinson has the reps all to himself. And he is talented. This will be an interesting story to follow.
I’m not sure if the Saints can discontinue using Mark Ingram as the workhorse once Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson come back from injury. Ingram, in a contract year, has absolutely dominated in every game he’s appeared. As a fantasy owner, this is a big moment. Do you buy thinking he’s proven enough to the Saints to continue hogging the carries and thus delivering huge stat lines? Or do you sell thinking the Saints can’t possibly abandon their even-handed approach to the running game that they’ve employed for so long? No matter what Ingram will produce; the talent is as clear as day (finally). The mystery is the workload. I have a natural affinity for workhorses (who doesn’t like seeing one guy smash his way 25 times a game?), but my head is saying sell. It’s just too practical not to share the touches in today’s NFL. Ingram will still be great, just in smaller doses. Rock solid RB2 with tremendous upside.
We might be seeing the settling of the Ravens offense. They started the season hot but have come back down to Earth since. It seems Torrey Smith is slowly reclaiming his spot in the offense as Steve Smith, Jr. recedes a bit. You can never count out Smith though, and the bye couldn’t come at a better time. As for the running game, it’s Justin Forsett and then everybody else. He’s the clear leader while it seems his backup alternates weekly between Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro. Both of these guys are nothing more than weekly Hail Marys.
Steven Jackson was mentioned last week as a nice under-the-radar acquisition and deserves another shout-out. He’s doing nothing spectacular, but he’s very consistent in his limited touches on an offense that has some juice. Jackson won’t win you matchups, but he won’t sink you either. If anything, he’ll keep you in the game allowing your superstars to win it.
I was one of the bigger Montee Ball supporters coming into the season and am still looking forward to his return next week. I guess I’m just a sucker, but I am believing those reports of Ball slimming down and looking good in practice. Having an appendectomy and missing the pre-season was obviously a bad way to start the year, but if we learned anything in the beat down of the Raiders, the Broncos are not scared to change up the ball carrier. Ronnie Hillman will surely keep the starting gig, but he hasn’t been too hot running the ball or blocking the past couple weeks. C.J. Anderson looked impressive himself, further muddling the picture. Don’t be surprised if they go for the “hot hand” approach, almost guaranteeing you go to bed Sunday night with regret.
Has John Brown overtaken Michael Floyd both on the team and in fantasy? While we may be a little shocked about this now, in a few years time we may look back and wonder how stupid we were. This has absolutely been the Year of the Rookie WR. Go enjoy Odell Beckham, Jr., Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans… holy cow, we could be here all night. But while it’s a lot of fun to watch, don’t get used to it. Next year we will return to our regularly scheduled programming: disappointing rookie WRs. This is a legendary group.
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