I've been away from the blog for a while, but have been receiving a lot of texts, Facebook messages, and calls about fantasy football. I know the first game has been put to bed, and if you had Peyton Manning (7 TD passes), but there is still plenty of owner panic going on right now. I'll answer some questions and concerns I've been receiving over the past few days to try to help you get off to a good start and win your league.
Most of the concern I get from friends and family playing fantasy football this year is about Arian Foster. Foster was the consensus #2 overall player in fantasy drafts before injury and workload questions started to arise when he wasn't returning to practice soon enough due to a back issue and soft tissue damage. Foster will reportedly have his workload limited in order to keep him healthier and fresher for the Texans, as they hope to return to the playoffs and make a push toward the franchise's first Super Bowl. The injury concern has lead to questions of should I trade Arian Foster, should I sit him this week, did I lose my league already, etc?
My quick answer, don't panic. If you got Foster at #2 because you drafted early in the fantasy draft period, then you might have some regrets, but I still see him as a sure fire fantasy #1 option. Though his touches will decrease, what made Foster fantasy gold is his abundance of goal line touches. Foster led the league in goal line carries last season by a wide margin. He led the entire league in touchdowns last season, which is no surprise based on the fact I just gave you. Even if Foster's touches are limited, his goal line opportunities won't be. When Houston gets into the red zone, especially inside the 10 yard line, they go to Foster. The offensive scheme and game plan will not change within these confines. Houston wants to score and the man they depend on for touchdowns is Arian Foster. I say hang on to Foster unless someone in your league is willing to give you a guy in the CJ Spiller range, which would be an absolute steal. I had Spiller #2 on my draft board.
So you're the guy in your league that is panicking because you didn't get one of the first four quarterbacks to come off the board. Now your especially panicking because you're playing Peyton Manning and he threw for 7 TD passes against you. I've gotten questions and offers about what to do, as many owners are trading second tier running backs for flashier, sexier quarterbacks than say, Matthew Stafford.
Fantasy owners, don't do it. Do not trade a guy like Matt Forte or Chris Johnson for one of those quarterbacks right now, as you can get by with a guy like Stafford or Russell Wilson, or even Tony Romo. The difference here comes with depth. Quarterback, unlike two or three years ago, is extremely deep. Quarterbacks will score the most fantasy points, but compared to one another this difference most likely will not bring your team over the top. Running back on the other hand, especially in a league transition to more and more backs by committee systems, is not as a deep a spot. If you grabbed two quality running backs off the start and missed out on a quarterback you wanted, please don't panic. The difference between your #2 and #3 RB could be considerable, especially if you're in a PPR league. There is a reason your draft board had running backs highly coveted this year. If you stuck to your board and ended up drafted the 10th ranked QB, be confident in your roster. It's only week one. Some other owner might panic because they reached a round or two to get RGIII and missed out on the running backs you grabbed to take you to the top. Some other owner might panic and give you his quarterback and a solid flex player for your #3 RB and quarterback. Your draft persistence might get you better and better offers. Stick to your guns and stay confident.
Good news for Patriot fans like myself this week. Rob Gronkowski was back in full pads and is reportedly set to be back for the third game of the season. The panic from owners and questions comes because of the mystery of Zach Sudfeld's value. If you don't know that name, it's because Sudfeld was an undrafted free agent signing for the Patriots after an injury riddled college career. Sudfeld excelled in the preseason though, and with questions about Gronkowski, the draft value of Sudfeld skyrocketed enough to make people select him as their first tight end. Those owners are now worried because they fear his value is too degraded because of the Gronk return.
To answer this I say that the Patriots still need to redistribute the Hernandez targets (pun definitely intended) in this offense. The Patriots also consistently line up in two TE sets on offense, and with the height, hands, and speed of Sudfeld, as his major concerns are health and strength, he should be utilized very effectively. He showed early chemistry with Tom Brady, who will love Sudfeld's size and hands near the goal line. There are still so many questions about Gronkowski, as he had considerable injuries. When Gronk comes back, he still will be the guy around the goal line, and should put up solid numbers, but this will not diminish Sudfeld. Sudfeld's floor to me, as long as he is healthy, is still low end fantasy starter to me. Sudfeld should start on most fantasy rosters this week, unless you have a Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten, etc. and is a solid flex option.
Robert Griffin III is set to open the season for the Redskins this Monday against the Eagles so soon after ACL and LCL reconstruction. Griffin was an absolute fantasy steal last year for owners, but this was mainly due to his 7 rushing touchdowns. Griffin was given many quick reads, as the defense had to scheme and prepare for his running ability, leading to quick throws in the passing game due to the respect the zone read was garnering. The Redskins are not going to make the mistake and have the PR nightmare of running Griffin as often this season. Last season was a mess knowing his knee issues and watching Griffin hobble on designed zone reads. Griffin will be asked to make more complex reads in the passing game and defenses will be less worried about him pulling the ball out and taking off this season.
I'm not saying Griffin cannot excel in a new role. He is a polished, accurate passer with precision touch, especially on deep routes. I'm just skeptical of where some people picked him as well as his fantasy value this season. I know people rave about his recovery, but even Tom Brady, a polished pocket passer, who is arguably the best quarterback to ever play, had a transitional period coming off knee surgery. The first few weeks of the season, especially after not playing a single live rep coming off his rookie year, will be a grand challenge for Griffin. I'd still most likely play Griffin, but if you are carrying a guy like Tony Romo, don't be surprised if he puts up bigger numbers.
Don't play any of them. Play the Tampa D/ST against them.