Fourth & 1 Debate: Which Mid-Round Pick Would You Discard?

Welcome to the debut of The “Fourth & 1 Debate”, a fantasy football roundtable consisting of some of the best football writers on the net.  Each week we will take turns posing a question for the group to answer and I had the honor of kicking things off:

“Among the mid-round players who disappointed in Week 1, who do you think owners should cut ties with and why?”

Junkyard Jake of www.junkyardjake.com says:
Lance Moore- Moore was a popular mid-round selection in fantasy drafts this year, but he could end up underperforming if Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem continue to play well for the Saints.  Henderson actually received 8 targets to Moore’s 4 this past week, and although Meachem has struggled in his first couple seasons, he offers higher potential compared to Moore by virtue of his size/speed advantage.

Laveranues Coles – Now over 30 and injury prone, Laveranues Coles could end up disappointing this year, especially if Chad Ochocinco stages a revival and becomes Carson Palmers favorite receiver again. Although Palmer looked in Coles direction 5 times this past Sunday, he only came away with one catch, and ended up being outplayed by 2nd year receiver Andre Caldwell.

Torry Holt – Holt will probably go on to represent a decent #3 or #4 fantasy receiver option in 2009, but his drop-off last season from a perennial 1,200 yard to an 800 yard wideout is most likely indicative of his potential, and he could make decent trade bait on the basis of name recognition.

Earnest Graham – Graham was clearly an afterthought for the Buccaneers in week one, as Carnell Williams and Derrick Ward shared carries in an approximate 50/50 split.  Moreover, he was not even deployed at the goalline, and it was surprising to see Derrick Ward used in that capacity over Graham.

Ryan Lester of www.lesterslegends.com says:
While it is difficult to make any rash decisions after one game, the fact of the matter is that some players are to good to drop, but too bad to play.  Sometimes those players snap out of their funk.  Other times they just continue to struggle and when you finally do cut them, you missed out on all of the early season surprises.

One player I would consider cutting is Laveranues Coles.  In his debut with the Bengals he caught just one pass for 11 yards. He wasn’t facing the mighty Pittsburgh defense, rather the lowly Denver Broncos, who ranked 26th against the pass last year.  He was targeted just five times, and managed to drop three passes.  Chad Ochocinco was clearly Carson Palmer’s go-to-guy, and second-year WR Andre Caldwell looked good with 6 receptions.  Preseason superstar Chris Henry played a limited role because of a thigh injury, but his role should expand going forward.

Aside from having a lot of competition for touches, Coles is playing in a offense that could struggle to put points on the board.  Palmer is going to take some time to work off the rust.  At this point, I’m not that confident he’ll do it anytime soon.  With a bye and four games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the next eight weeks, there wouldn’t be many opportunities to even give Coles a shot.  At this point, I think it would be best to cut ties with Coles and pick up someone with more upside.

Paul Greco of www.fantasypros911.com says:
Well, I hate to pick on the little guy in my first roundtable article, but after watching Brian Westbrook of the Philadelphia Eagles play most of Week 1, LeSean McCoy, the rookie running back, has to go.  McCoy, in 12-team ADP reports, was selected between the 85th-95th player on the board; ahead of running backs like Julius Jones, Jamal Lewis, and Tim Hightower; all No. 1 RB on their teams going into Week 1.

I think we, including myself, get all caught up with players who are injured, or are coming off injuries, that we reach to earlier for their backups so we look smart if they can’t play right away. The biggest lesson I learned from playing fantasy football last year was to take the injuries out of the equation, unless the player was known to be out several weeks, and go into the season with no handcuffed players, because when I looked at the whole picture, I said to myself, “Paul, you’re hoping that your stud RB, WR, or QB will get hurt so you look smart having their backup.” Yes, I used myself in the third person there.  So this year instead of drafting handcuff players in the middle rounds of my draft, I took the best available players still left on the board which gave me a much deeper bench in case someone does happen to get injured instead of wasting a roster spot on a guy that might play.

Where am I going with all this you ask? The fact that McCoy went in middle of the draft shows that fantasy owners were more concerned with Westbrook’s injury instead of selecting a No. 1 RB from another team in hopes that they look great if Westbrook couldn’t play.  So your lesson for the day is, next year when you go into your draft, don’t handcuff your players, because all you’re doing is hoping that one of your stud players goes down with an injury. Take the best available player on the board, and fill your roster with players you know will get onto the field and play.

Bryce McRae of www.kffl.com says:
Cutting a mid-round player in Week 1? It’s tough to do after burning such a pick that high, but if the right addition is out there, I’d be most willing to part with the San Diego Chargers’ Chris Chambers or the New York Giants’ Domenik Hixon.

Chambers, 31, was looked at just once last week. He’s behind LaDainian Tomlinson, Darren Sproles, Antonio Gates and Vincent Jackson in the pecking order for looks. The Chargers also have a pair of emerging wideouts (Legedu Naanee and Malcom Floyd) who could steal targets. Veteran presence, yes; fantasy presence, no.

Hixon has yet to take advantage of the myriad opportunities given to him to be the lead man in NY. Mario Manningham and Steven Smith were both looked at more than Hixon last week. The latter is one of quarterback Eli Manning’s favorite targets, especially when Manning is in trouble. New York isn’t going to pass the ball a ton. Cutting Hixon is risky, but I haven’t seen enough from him to think he’ll reward my patience.

Kurt Turner of www.top-fantasy-football.com says:
Here are the mid round guys that looked very expendable in week 1.

18 team league – 13 rounds – Standard PPR format

Jake Delhomme – No brainer here! The Panthers signed A.J Feeley which is a huge red flag for anyone using Delhomme as their number QB2. Wavier wire replacement: Trent Edwards, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez

Chris Chambers – Look at all the receivers that caught balls versus Oakland.. who isn’t on that list? Chambers also failed to come through last year as a viable fantasy option. Because of his name you might can bundle him with another player and make a solid trade.

New England Defense – they simply lost to many key players on defense to remain a dominate force. Buffalo almost won and looked great considering they fired their offensive coordinator right before the regular season started. Trade them away to the non believers. Potential wavier wire replacement (in this order): Washington, Buffalo, Oakland

Santana Moss – Campbell tried to hit him deep twice and overthrew him each time by about 5 or 6 yards. Picking up where he left off last year Campbell struggles to find rhythm with Moss. Because of his name you might can bundle him with another player and make a solid trade.

As expected New England looks like a 3 headed monster at RB this year. Avoid the Pat’s running backs until one of them gets hurt.

Eric Stashin of www.rotoprofessor.com says:
For me, it has got to be the Buccaneers Antonio Bryant.  With an ADP of 64.67 he was going, on average, in the sixth round of fantasy drafts.  He was terrible in Week 1, catching just two passes for 29 yards and was targeted just five times.

He is hurting from a knee injury (he had surgery in the off-season), which helps to explain his struggles in the opening week.  The problem is that he missed Thursday’s practice due to problems with the knee, with rumors now that it may force him out of this Sunday’s game.

You have to wonder if the injury is going to plague him all year long, not necessarily costing him games but the chance to be productive.  Throw in the fact that he has Byron Leftwich as his QB, a player who has never thrown for more than 3,000 yards or 15 TD and it is easy to be down on him.  I don’t know that I would drop him quite yet for a player who had one big week, but if things continue as they are, I wouldn’t hesitate to cut bait quickly.

Lee of www.footballjabber.com says:
Outside of some players with injuries, personally I’m not dropping anyone I drafted based on week one performances just yet. I tend to trust my draft, sometimes to a fault. Actually, looking at the midround players that had an ADP in the 8th and 9th round, there looks to be quite a few steals in there. If I had to go with one I may say Lavernaues Coles, WR for the Bengals. With the flirting with fire Chris Henry, multiple drops in week one, and good play from Andre Caldwell, the Bengals may look to make a change moving Coles down the depth chart a bit. He will still get time but it may be less than people were thinking when he was drafted. Then again, with the Bengals he may be the pick up of the week in a couple weeks.

Smitty of www.fantasyfootballxtreme.com says:
One player I don’t trust this year is Steve Slaton. This advice especially goes for dynasty owners, but I firmly believe that Slaton won’t be near as consistent this year as he was last year. He wasn’t the only Texan to play awful in Week 1, but I still do not trust him and I’m not sure things will get much better for him in Week 2 against the Titans. Should fantasy owners sell-low? No. Slaton still commands quite a bit, and I’d advise fantasy owners to hold onto him for another week or two if they can’t get blue book value heading into Week 2. It’s not that the kid isn’t talented, clearly he is, but I think he is built to fill more of a Reggie Bush-type role, and unfortunately the Texans plan to use him like a full-time starter. He will breakdown and he won’t have a long career. What’s a long career? Well, longer than 2-3 years, and that’s all I project for Slaton. They won’t be full seasons either, and that’s why he is on my “Sell Now” list in all formats. Again, you don’t have to sell low, because he still commands quite a bit, but take a proactive approach and shop him while his value is still relatively high.

So, there you have the experts opinion, but what do you think?  Who do you agree with?  Who do you disagree with?

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Fourth & 1 Debate: Breakout Wide Receivers

7 comments

  1. Great list of players on the decline. I’ve always said you really don’t know what “the deal” is until week 4. But this entire list seems like it’s headed in the right direction. Couple guys picked Coles as a player to unload but for me his upside is just to high.. if you have the depth give him until week four.. but if you need value now then trade him while his name is still credible because there is no doubt he looked like crap in week 1 (as did the entire Bengals offense) and that trend could continue.

  2. C Bass says:

    Eric I can see how you can confuse them but Leftwich is Antonio Bryant’s QB, not Garrard.

    Football is a weird sport in terms of the waiver wire. I would not make any drastic moves and drop anyone you put significant stock into (mid round) after 1 week unless it was blatantly obvious that the guy is not seeing playing time (Ernest Graham). Yes Coles had 1 catch but he dropped 3 easy ones. He’s not known to drop many passes and will be motivated by his awful performace, so while i don’t think he’s a fantasy starter necessarily, he shouldn’t be on the waiver wire.

    I also would not panic with Lance Moore. The Lions had no answer to the deep ball and this was just not Lance Moore’s game to shine because he is a possession WR. Other teams will not allow it to be so easy to go deep but the Saints will throw and will use their possession guys more against half decent and good defenses.

    Santana Moss will be good this season, he was locked up by a strong defense and is a guy who is known for huge games and disappointing games and is not very consistent so dont be surprised if he goes over 100 yards next time out.

    I’m all for dropping Chris Chambers. He’s more name than anything and hasnt been good in quite some time.

    I guess what i’m saying is, if you thought your guy would be good before, and he’s getting a lot of playing time but didn’t have a good game, dont go dropping him for a flier just yet because if this week he has a good game you’ll want him right back.

  3. fiji.siv says:

    Nice read. The full justifications really helped put the decisions in context. I also feel better about dropping LeSean McCoy. ;-)

  4. I probably would hang on to Coles a little myself, but to me he’s one of the mid-round picks I have the least faith in. I agree about Chambers, but in my opinion he was a late round pick so he doesn’t necessarily qualify.

  5. Jimmy says:

    Smitty had a unique look at Slaton, I think. I guess we can call Slaton a bit overrated and when you look at his status now, Kubiak really wants to use Chris Brown at the goal-line and in short yardage situations, which will definitely cut into Slaton’s carries. As you said though, he still commands a lot, but don’t look for him to be a true elite RB.

  6. admin says:

    Thanks for pointing that out C Bass, the numbers were right, just the name was typod. Let’s be honest, though, would it being Garrard be that much different? You maybe would have slightly more patience, but still

  7. Joeman says:

    I have two…B Edwards is one,with a lot of fan-fair coming into the league he’s going to be a # 3 WR, QB play is bad as is the team.. #2 K Warner..father time has caught up to this guy…ranked #4-5-6 as a QB, No Way

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