Bums: a term used commonly to describe people who are “employment impaired,” shall we say. Yes, this word is used to describe people who society has given up on, and no longer have a home. At one point these people probably did, but a couple of bad decisions landed them in the streets.
These people are easy to distinguish: they’re usually dirty, wandering and carrying either a trash bag or shopping cart (or both). As mean as it seems, most of us end up avoiding these people at all costs. Even if they are smiling and walking towards us, we turn and walk the other way. We realize it’s probably not the right thing to do but we do it anyways.
In fantasy football, we have bums of our own. They actually operate with many similar qualities: they once were roster-able but we’ve since given up on them and sent them to the streets. When someone offers them to us, we hesitate to click decline because they once were considered very talented and usable. The problem is bums are harder to distinguish from the pack in fantasy as opposed to reality.
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Seven weeks are now in the books in the NFL. We have plenty of information to go on at this point. Still, there are some guys that we are having a hard time deciphering whether they are wearing dirty clothing because they’re homeless or just went for a run in the forest. Here are a few examples:
Marques Colston – Carrying windshield wiper fluid and a broom. He’s headed our way. Is he going to try and clean our car or is he really an employed fantasy janitor coming to sweep away all our problems?
Ray Rice – Wearing one of those stoner, knit pullovers. Doing it because he’s given up or because he needed the padding (like he’s going to do to our fantasy scores)?
Dwayne Bowe – Passed out on a bench. Has he given up on the 2013 season or just sitting there getting extra rest because of the beat down he’s about to unleash on the Cleveland defense?
These are the difficult questions we must now tackle. Most of it comes down to gut calls and what kind of value you can trade these players for. The earlier you can identify the bums, the less you will have to worry about them ruining your day. Having to even look at them (or their names) can do that to a person. If you don’t have to stare at them on your team, out of sight and out of mind.
All that being said, here are some players whose values have changed significantly since this time last week. Remember I try my best not to be so obvious with the players I choose.
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Michael Vick – It’s been a roller coaster type season for Vick so far this year……..just like every other season for him. After beginning the season as the starter, Vick injured his hamstring which opened the door for Nick Foles’ huge weeks 5 and especially 6. After playing absolutely miserable to start the game vs. the Cowboys this week, Foles suffered a concussion mid-game. Matt Barkley came in and looked as bad or worse. Basically, Chip Kelly has no choice but to start Vick if he’s healthy. When Vick is on the field, he puts up nice fantasy numbers. Just pray that he makes it through a full game. If he does, you’re golden.
Jake Locker – Many of you may not realize this but Locker is the third best fantasy QB per game since week 2. In his last three games, he has had either 299 yards passing and at least 2 TD or 3 total TDs. For those of you who waited on QBs, Locker is turning into your every week answer. He has developed a nice rapport with both Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker. Locker’s injury was a fluke so I’m not particularly worried about a reoccurrence. Make no mistake about it, Locker is worth considering in all 12 team and deeper leagues.
Mike James – EVERYONE RUN TO THE WAIVER WIRE. THERE IS A STARTING RUNNING BACK AVAILABLE THEREFORE YOU MUST ADD HIM, right? WRONG! Sure, he’s going to have some kind of value being that he is a starting back. I agree those don’t come along too often. However, let’s think about this logically: Doug Martin couldn’t even run behind this staph infected, below average run blocking offensive line. What makes us think James will? No doubt James is worth owning just in case he surprises us, but he’s someone I’d rather add and trade to the Doug Martin owner.
Chris Ivory – I projected this week that Ivory would begin to take touches away from Bilal Powell. Even I didn’t think the distribution would get this crazy lopsided. Bilal Powell received three touches while Chris Ivory received a whopping 35 touches (34 rushes, 1 reception)!!! Rex claims he was just playing the hot hand but I don’t believe him for a second. Coaches are just pranking us sometimes with the things they say. The Jets paid Ivory in the off-season and just needed him healthy to let him loose. Now that he’s loose, there is going to be no containing him. Expect him to be the lead back until his next injury.
Eddie Lacy – I now dub thee a top tier fantasy running back. You hear that? It’s done. Close the books on it. Lacy has earned a full workload in a strong offense and has produced week in and week out. He has three straight weeks with 20+ carries and is averaged 4.4 YPC in October. In an offense that will be in the red zone often, he is clearly the goal line back. Lacy is a top 10 running back from here on out. Value him as such and target him in trades in every single league that you are in. If you miss out on him, you’ll be pissed (the link is not nearly as bad as you’d think haha).
Lance Moore – What a “cowinky dink.” Moore arrives as Jimmy Graham exits (most likely) the lineup with injury. For years, Moore has been a reliable target for Drew Brees. In fact, Moore came before Graham, therefore he has seniority (okay, not really). If Moore plays and Graham doesn’t, I think he earns his way back into a trustworthy role. Regardless, the fact that he’s healthy puts him on the radar in all 12+ team leagues. The Saints offense just has so much production to go around and Moore could be the deep threat (specifically, he could run some fly routes…..okay this statement in parentheses admittedly was only so I could fit in that gif somewhere and actually doesn’t make a whole lot of sense). If you don’t want to add him, at least watch him closely.
Darrius Heyward-Bey – “Next man up” is a commonly used phrase amongst NFL coaches. It means when one guy gets hurt or stumbles, the next guy needs to be ready to step up and fill in. Guess what? Reggie Wayne went down this week with a torn ACL. DHB, you’re the next man up. Remember a few years ago DHB actually was a viable possession type receiver with Carson Palmer. He’s not the most exciting pick up in the world, but he should have a consistent role in this offense that only features boom-or-bust T.Y. Hilton.
Jordan Reed – Reed’s exciting breakout week came to a crashing halt when we learned he suffered a hip pointer. Injuries like these occasionally keep players out for a week or two like it did for Ray Rice earlier this season. Wait a second, Reed came to the rescue early this week! Reed assured us as fantasy owners that the hip pointer would not slow him down or keep him out this week! Alright, back to loving him as a free agent pick up! Reed looked like the #1 option in the passing game over Garcon this week. I’m curious to see if that continues moving forward.
Anthony Fasano – In the preseason, I had Fasano pegged as the top fantasy tight end on the Chiefs. Unfortunately, he suffered knee and ankle injuries early in the year that cost him four weeks. Per his return this week, his impact could be seen clearly. Sean McGrath was just some guy that filled in and their draft pick TE Travis Kelce is out for the year. Fasano by far has the best hands of any of the TEs left and provides a big body for Alex Smith in the red zone. Don’t be surprised if he scores 2 TD in the next 3 games as he earns Alex Smith’s trust. Safety valves are the key of any Alex Smith driven offense and Fasano fits the bill.
Tom Brady – We all thought Rob Gronkowski’s return would be the slap in the ass Brady needed to wake up. Disappointing had been an understatement so far but we thought we envisioned brighter skies ahead. Turns out that was not to be. For the second time in the last three games, Brady didn’t throw a TD pass. Even worse, he’s thrown over 1 TD pass just three times in seven games. He’s just not getting it done this year in terms of fantasy. The Dolphins make for another below average match up for Brady leaving little hope that this is the week. At this point, you might as well ride out the slump. You probably don’t have much of a choice anyways.
Adrian Peterson – Read my lips, Adrian, “we need you to be a top tier fantasy back.” Peterson is having a tough go at it because of a fluctuating QB situation. There is no stability there whatsoever and everyone to take the helm sucks. This week, the Giants routinely put eight in the box and just begged Freeman to beat them. He didn’t. Teams will continue to do this as long as the Vikings QB situation continues to be horrific. Basically what I’m saying is, AP is screwed unless he can have consistent success against stacked boxes moving forward. Still like him as a top five back, but that’s about where I rank him……#5. Oh and by the way, rumors are floating around that his hamstring problems are much worse than the team is leading on. Just something to keep an eye on.
Joseph Randle – Fantasy owners drooled over Randle as a waiver wire hero after the announcement of Murray’s MCL sprain. Already, Murray is back at practice, although it’s on a limited basis. What we thought might be a semi-extended absence looks like it will be two weeks at the most. Randle’s performance was mediocre as he tallied 93 total yards and no TD. He’ll be an okay option this week against Detroit but his shelf life probably won’t last much longer.
DeAngelo Williams – Williams is just never going to find the end zone. Tolbert is the full time TD vulture in Carolina. The return of Jonathan Stewart is on the horizon which means a time share could be back in play. DeAngelo hasn’t done a whole lot by himself so adding a body to the backfield isn’t going to help. I’m just selling him at this point and letting him be someone else’s headache.
Zac Stacy – Sam Bradford is out for the season. If you don’t remember, the Rams offense was a mess before Bradford’s injury. Now that he’s gone, I’ll let you in on a little secret: it’s going to get worse. I don’t want any part of this offense moving forward. Period.
Demaryius Thomas – Every week seems like a contest for targets between Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Welker gets his looks every week and Thomas gets his fair share of red zone looks. Lately, Decker has caught Peyton’s eye continuously before DT. In the past three weeks, Decker has been targeted 29 times to Thomas’ 20. Of course, in a Peyton Manning led offense everyone will still get theirs in some, way, shape or form. However, going forward, I think you’d be foolish to consider Thomas above and beyond the better fantasy asset than Decker. Thomas still holds top 10-15 WR value, but no longer can he be considered the top 5 we started to think at the beginning of the year. There are just too many mouths to feed, and lately, he’s been eating last.
Miles Austin – I’m afraid the hamstring problems just aren’t going away. Terrence Williams is running away with the second wide receiver job in Dallas. Just like this giant hog, Austin is toast. It looks as if he is going to be shut down indefinitely, assuring fantasy owners he can be safely dropped. Not much else to say here.
Marlon Brown – The return of Jacoby Jones seemed to drastically effect Brown’s usage in the offense. In week 7, Brown was targeted just four times although he caught all four. His four targets were his second lowest of the season and the 22 yards were also his second lowest output. I think his reign as the clear #2 is over and Brown and Jones (7 targets, 4 REC, 32 YDS and a TD) will continue to eat away at each other’s value making both unreliable starts.
Kyle Rudolph – Reread the section on Adrian Peterson. The QB situation is just terrible and Rudolph has been boom or bust since last season. If you own him, you definitely want to own another reliable TE because just having Rudolph will drive you crazy. I don’t consider Rudolph a TE1 going forward, so make the move to get someone better if you don’t already have one. As a matter of fact, I consider Rudolph permanently banned from TE1 consideration until the Vikes find someone better than Ponder, Cassel or Freeman.