Fast Forward: Playing the lottery, bye week fill-ins and more Week 8
This has been a really odd day for fantasy football. In one of my leagues, an experts league put together by the FSWA, I have a total of eight points as I write this. Eight. Points. But I'm okay, despite my opponent putting up 89, including a blowout performance from Calvin Johnson. Sure, I'm a bit disappointed that Ronnie Brown didn't do more or that John Kuhn didn't vulture a touchdown, but I have two Colts, two Steelers, and a Texan left to play, while my opponent only has an iffy Donald Brown still left. Kuhn played this week because I had to go with three RBs instead of four WRs. I just didn't have enough. (I lost Ryan Grant early, so my RBs are thin.) Kuhn is the kind of player I call a "lottery ticket." Like the real lottery, they can pay off big if they happen to hit, but the reality is that most tickets don't win. The people that do play the lottery end up paying for schools, roads, and keeping my tax bill lower than it might be otherwise. It's a tax on innumeracy in a society that rewards the reality TV stars of the world over the people that do the hard, slogging work and their homework week after week. Let people play the lottery ticket players and go ahead and cash in your winnings. I'll take the sure things, the consistent performers, and only play lottery tickets when the pot is sufficiently big. Let's fast forward around the league:
There's several candidates for this week's Breakout, but
There are plenty of busts to go around this week. Some of that is because so many of the games -- especially the early games for some reason -- were low scoring. Others were just poor performances. The worst was likely Brandon Marshall, who came in with high expectations and ended up getting blanketed, blocked and by the end of the game, it didn't seem like Chad Henne remembered where he even was. Part of that was a scheme from a banged-up Bengals secondary that refused to give up the big play, but it sure seems like Davone Bess is emerging as Henne's first option. Marshawn Lynch was shut down, as was the entire Seattle running game, something no one expected despite the sudden resurgence of the Raiders. Matt Cassel couldn't put much of anything together in the air, but his chances were down with the success of the Chiefs' running game. Finally, Steven Jackson's touches were limited, as expected, after surgery on his finger, but the limits were a little lower than most expected (including me.)
Sometimes, you overthink this thing. Larry Fitzgerald is still a heck of a wide receiver. And as Beanie Wells establishes himself as a real feature back, maybe Fitzgerald will get a bit less double- and triple-coverage. My worry coming into this week is that when you draft a WR, you're also counting on the QB and the WRs opposite your guy. Going into this week, Max Hall and Derek Anderson hadn't done much to inspire confidence, but the real worry was the inability of Fitzgerald to turn targets into catches and catches into TDs. It appears that coverage is the most important thing for Fitzgerald (or, in the case of another WR who stepped up big today, Mike Sims-Walker, it appears that lack of coverage is equally important.) With Steve Breaston back, it makes up somewhat for not having Anquan Boldin on the other side of the field taking up some DB attention. Fitzgerald went as high as the first round for a reason. Looking back over the last five years of ADP data, players in the top three rounds tend to put up full-season numbers in the absence of injuries. Cutting them or even benching them just doesn't make sense in the course of a long season.
Lots of injuries this week, but again, the emphasis on head-to-head hits seems to be working. There was one that was notable hit by Gary Guyton on Brett Favre, one that could end up being an example suspension. Favre went out of the game later with what was called a "chin laceration." As he left the field, the medical staff was treating him as if he had a fractured jaw, but that's just smart management, guarding against the worst-case scenario rather than making a diagnosis. We'll have to see how that goes. The ankle for Favre looked great. He was making small, light bounces while in the pocket, precisely the type of thing that a sprained ligament would prevent. The Vikings also lost Percy Harvin for a time with what appeared to be a simple ankle sprain. He then returned and was on and off for the rest of the game. The Titans had a couple big injuries, with Vince Young hurting his ankle and Kenny Britt leaving with a significant hamstring strain. Ryan Mathews suffered some cuts and scrapes when his helmet popped off. He was treated and returned. And Nnamdi Asomugha suffered some sort of ankle injury late in the Raiders' win. It was heavily taped and didn't appear to "crank over," so we'll have to see what the injury is. No such luck for Golden Tate. He landed on the side of his ankle in one of the more graphic of today's injuries. I'll cover all of these when we get more info and put it together for you Thursday here at
Austin Johnson (@austinjohnson) shares this week's fantasy lesson: "Some weeks are won by waiver pick-ups. Had a ton of guys on byes but picked up [David] Garrard, [Brandon] Tate and [Mercedes] Lewis." Austin nails this one, especially in bye weeks. Look, no one in your league drafted BenJarvus Green-Ellis, unless you're playing in the Green-Ellis family league. No one drafted LeGarrette Blount. Even late-round flyers like Seattle's version of Mike Williams or Tim Tebow were just that -- late round flyers and most of those amounted to a roster spot you could use to pick up someone on a bye week. There are players like this every week, but you're not going to need most of them and most are lottery tickets at best. You can follow the role changes and end up with players like Blount or Green-Ellis, but it's important to remember just why they weren't picked in August. There's someone out there better.