Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: Who will pick up the slack (if anybody) with A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard out? Why is Jamison Crowder ranked so low? Do Thursday kickoffs stifle offenses? And why is Chris Hogan consistently overrated?
About half of Dalton's targets went to A.J. Green and Giovani Bernard, both of whom went down. Whom would you prefer as a waiver wire pickup between Brandon LaFell and Tyler Boyd? Any interest in Malcolm Mitchell?
Dave (MOJO) Smith (Avon Park, FL)
They’re both going to be much more involved. They both got 8-9 targets in the Buffalo game. So it’s my belief you can’t say with certainty which will be better. Unlikely that either of them will be better than the other in each of the team’s next three games. But I’m going with Boyd. He had a couple of nice catches in the preseason. He nearly had a touchdown against the Giants, and he scored against the Bills. I think there’s a little more potential that as he sees more chances now, he responds and grows into something. With Mitchell, I will have interest if Chris Hogan misses any remaining games. When Hogan is healthy, Mitchell should be more of a spoty-duty guy.
Happy Thanksgiving. How about a little love for Jamison Crowder? You need to quit ignoring this guy. He's had TDs in 4 of last 5 games and 100 yards receiving in 3 of last 4. I know he's not a huge volume guy but it is what it is. He just keeps producing every week and you keep ignoring him every week. What gives?
CHRISTOPHER TONELLA (Saint Louis, MO)
Agreed. I was late to the party on Crowder. I was thrown off by Washington also having a couple of other good pass catchers. I had Jordan Reed as their top guy – their No. 1 red zone option – and I thought DeSean Jackson was going to have a big year. I saw Jackson make a couple of catches in the preseason where I thought he looked like the same old Jackson (one of the very best deep threats in the league). And Crowder in a lot of games doesn’t even officially “start”. They’ve got Jackson and Pierre Garcon, who also has some playing ability, as their traditional starting receivers. Crowder tends to play in the slot. But he’s been really good, and I finally moved him up into the No. 1 spot on that team last week. He didn’t score in the Thankgiving Day game at Dallas but has a solid game, catching 8 passes for 88 yards.
Ian, first I hope you and your family have a very Happy Thanksgiving! This year more than I can ever remember Thursday Night games have been horrible to me from a fantasy perspective, I was trying to remember if you have ever done detailed analysis on players/teams coming off a short week etc. I'd be very curious to know if there is any substantial correlation to this and scoring dropoffs?
JAY HARDING (PORTLAND, OR)
The idea gets kicked around a lot, but it’s simply not true. I have looked into it thoroughly and come to the conclusion that it’s not WHEN the games are played but the matchups themselves. With Thursday, they tend to use more divisional opponents, and those games tend to be lower scoring. If you look at all games in the last 15 years (regardless of the day it was played) and compare the average score of games inside the division versus other games, the divisional games are lower scorer. Some of those defenses, I think, build up an immunity to how offenses perform – getting a better understanding of how to defend certain running plays and which receivers need to be pressed and which ones need a cushion. So when you overload the Thursday schedule with divisional games, it tends to make those games look lower scoring, when it’s simply not the case. Consider, for example, that 76 times in the last 10 years, there have been Thursday games between teams inside the same division. So with these games, we can compare the score and what happened in the other meeting that season. That is, you have the exact same two teams meeting – once on a Thursday and once with the full week to prepare. That’s a perfect little scientific study. For those 76 games, the two teams scored exactly 3,200 points when they met on Thursday. They scored almost the exact same number of points on their other meetings – 3,196 points. Half the time the Thursday games were higher scoring (I have a black ball on those games). If there was any truth to the premise that games with a short turnaround were lower scoring, you would figure it would show up in the numbers.
|THURSDAY REMATCHES SINCE 2006|
|Year||Road Score, Home Score||Total||Other|
|2006||Baltimore 7, Cincinnati 13||20||46|
|2006||Minnesota 7, Green Bay 9||16||40|
|2006||Cleveland 7, Pittsburgh 27||34||44|
|2006||• San Francisco 24, Seattle 14||38||34|
|2006||• Denver 10, Kansas City 19||29||15|
|2007||• Green Bay 37, Detroit 26||63||47|
|2008||Cincinnati 10, Pittsburgh 27||37||48|
|2008||Oakland 7, San Diego 34||41||46|
|2008||• Indianapolis 31, Jacksonville 24||55||44|
|2008||• NY Jets 34, New England 31||65||29|
|2009||Pittsburgh 6, Cleveland 13||19||41|
|2009||• NY Jets 19, Buffalo 13||32||29|
|2009||• Green Bay 34, Detroit 12||46||26|
|2009||• Indianapolis 35, Jacksonville 31||66||26|
|2010||• Indianapolis 30, Tennessee 28||58||43|
|2011||Green Bay 27, Detroit 15||42||86|
|2011||Oakland 24, San Diego 17||41||64|
|2011||Houston 16, Indianapolis 19||35||41|
|2011||Cleveland 3, Pittsburgh 14||17||22|
|2012||Seattle 6, San Francisco 13||19||55|
|2012||Arizona 3, St. Louis 17||20||48|
|2012||New Orleans 13, Atlanta 23||36||58|
|2012||Kansas City 13, San Diego 31||44||57|
|2012||Denver 26, Oakland 13||39||43|
|2012||Indianapolis 27, Jacksonville 10||37||39|
|2012||Chicago 10, Green Bay 23||33||34|
|2012||Miami 14, Buffalo 19||33||34|
|2012||Cleveland 16, Baltimore 23||39||40|
|2012||• New England 49, NY Jets 19||68||55|
|2012||• Washington 38, Dallas 31||69||46|
|2013||NY Jets 10, New England 13||23||57|
|2013||New Orleans 17, Atlanta 13||30||40|
|2013||San Diego 27, Denver 20||47||48|
|2013||• Pittsburgh 20, Baltimore 22||42||35|
|2013||• San Francisco 35, St. Louis 11||46||36|
|2013||• Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 13||44||33|
|2013||• Green Bay 10, Detroit 40||50||31|
|2013||• Indianapolis 30, Tennessee 27||57||36|
|2013||• Houston 20, Jacksonville 27||47||19|
|2013||• Seattle 34, Arizona 22||56||27|
|2014||Pittsburgh 6, Baltimore 29||35||66|
|2014||Arizona 12, St. Louis 6||18||45|
|2014||Philadelphia 33, Dallas 10||43||65|
|2014||New Orleans 28, Carolina 10||38||51|
|2014||Buffalo 9, Miami 22||31||39|
|2014||Cleveland 24, Cincinnati 3||27||30|
|2014||Seattle 19, San Francisco 3||22||24|
|2014||(tie) Kansas City 20, Oakland 24||44||44|
|2014||• Tennessee 13, Jacksonville 21||34||30|
|2014||• Minnesota 10, Green Bay 42||52||45|
|2014||• Chicago 17, Detroit 34||51||34|
|2014||• NY Jets 25, New England 27||52||33|
|2014||• NY Giants 45, Washington 14||59||37|
|2014||• San Diego 21, Denver 35||56||32|
|2014||• Tampa Bay 14, Atlanta 56||70||44|
|2014||• Indianapolis 33, Houston 28||61||27|
|2015||Tennessee 13, Jacksonville 19||32||81|
|2015||San Diego 20, Oakland 23||43||66|
|2015||Seattle 20, San Francisco 3||23||42|
|2015||Chicago 17, Green Bay 13||30||44|
|2015||(tie) Buffalo 22, NY Jets 17||39||39|
|2015||• Cleveland 10, Cincinnati 31||41||40|
|2015||• Baltimore 23, Pittsburgh 20||43||37|
|2015||• Miami 7, New England 36||43||30|
|2015||• Denver 31, Kansas City 24||55||42|
|2015||• Atlanta 21, New Orleans 31||52||37|
|2015||• Green Bay 27, Detroit 23||50||34|
|2015||• Washington 21, NY Giants 32||53||34|
|2015||• Indianapolis 27, Houston 20||47||26|
|2016||New Orleans 20, Carolina 23||43||79|
|2016||Denver 13, San Diego 21||34||46|
|2016||Cleveland 7, Baltimore 28||35||45|
|2016||Minnesota 13, Detroit 16||29||38|
|2016||• Washington 26, Dallas 31||57||50|
|2016||• Arizona 33, San Francisco 21||54||43|
|2016||• Atlanta 43, Tampa Bay 28||71||55|
Why are guys pushing Chris Hogan? Outside of one good game, he's really done nothing or been hurt. I don't understand why you have him ahead of other WRs that have clearly and consistently outperformed Mr. Hogan, and I can tell it doesn't matter what the format is. WHAT GIVES?
Ray Sala (Roseville, CA)
Hogan’s a good player. In his two meaningful preseason games, he caught 9 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown. In the first two weeks of the season, he caught 7 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Then they had Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for two weeks; I’m setting those games aside – I don’t think they’re meaningful. Then Brady returned to the lineup and Hogan caught 4 for 114 and a touchdown at Cleveland. He followed that up with a pair of lesser games (3 for 64 against the Bengals and Steelers) before a good game at Buffalo (4 for 91 and a touchdown). He got shut out by the Seahawks, who are really good defensively – not a game many would have used Hogan anyway. Setting aside the two Brissett games and the San Francisco game (which he missed), Hogan has averaged 65 yards per game, with 2 TDs. Project that over 16 games and you’re looking at about 1,040 yards and 6 TDs. That’s kind of what Hogan is. The offense is playing well. If you’ve got Brady in one of these games where he looks likely to pass for 300-plus and 3-4 TDs, I like the odds of Hogan being able to tap into that production on a lot of those week. He’s got to healthy, of course, and we also need to keep an eye on Malcolm Mitchell. Mitchell played well enough last week that I would think they might start working him in a little more – by the middle of next season, he should be better than Hogan.
I will not make the playoffs this year. With that said, would you replace Davante Adams with Martavis Bryant (who is suspended this year)? This would be a move for 2017. Bryant is risky with his drug history, but his upside seems immense. If not Bryant, potential pickups now for next year include Josh Gordon, Kevin White, Josh Doctson and Eric Decker. Or I can just keep Davante Adams.
HOWIE FISHMAN (Hermosa Beach, CA)
Bryant and Gordon are remarkably talented guys. In a typical 12-team dynasty league, they should be on rosters. But both have been unable to stay clean; they have both flunked multiple drug tests – they’ve flunked them knowing they would miss an entire year. So with both, I think you have to weigh in the possibility that they simply never play football again. And with that dimension in there, I wouldn't take either of those guys before the four other players you mention. Adams is playing really well right now; he might be Green Bay’s best receiver for the next few years (Jordy Nelson is slowing down). White and Doctson are young guys with a lot of upside. In Washington, both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are older guys who might be gone before the start of next year – I think Doctson will be an opening day starter there. Decker will be 30 in March and is coming off an ACL injury, but he’s shown he can be a productive player. I think Adams is your guy, but the others aren’t far behind. I would probably make Doctson my backup plan.
Do you see Dion Lewis and Kenneth Dixon being top 20 PPR backs in the last six NFL games? Lewis was dynamic last year and I believe besides being a good receiver Dixon is second in all-time college TDs for a running back.
BOB MCKINLAY (Casselberry, FL)
If we were re-drafting today, I don’t think Lewis or Dixon would be one of the first 25 running backs selected. I see Lewis as a double handcuff. I think the Patriots are comfortable with LeGarrette Blount as their between-the-tackles hammer, and I think they’ve settled on James White as their third-down back. So I expect Lewis will be worked in for just a few touches. If either Blount or White gets hurt, then they would plug Lewis into a larger role and we could start wondering if he might be a top-15 back. Not right now, though. With Dixon, he might be coming on. He’s got some speed and elusiveness, and he’s got some pass-catching ability. He might have a little more juice than Terrance West. West right now is the starter. For Week 12, I would start West before Dixon. But there’s not a lot of difference between those two backs. In a week or two, Dixon might move into a more featured role.
Would you trade away Edelman for Rawls in a PPR league? I'm in need of a RB and see the potential in rawls' situation but not convinced in Seattle's run game as of late.
James Palmer (Chico, CA)
If Gronkowski is out again this week, Edelman should catch a ton of balls. He got a season-high 17 targets last week. In that kind of role, he looks like a top-10 wide receiver. So you give up just a little there. But when the Patriots are healthy, Edelman drops in value. With you needing a running back, Thomas Rawls makes a lot of sense. I thought he looked really good in the Philadelphia game. He was running really hard, looking just like he did in 2015, and the Seahawks are starting to get their running game issues figured out. With C.J. Prosise out for the remainder of the regular season, Rawls is about all they have back there. A trade that probably makes a lot of sense for both teams involved.
I have an inexperienced friend whose team I help manage. He screwed up last week and waived Melvin Gordon ... he probably meant to bench him on his bye. Of course, somebody else in the league snatched him up. Any ideas how to handle this? Tough luck? He's tied for first with the team who picked him up and that team also has Ezekiel Elliott. It might well be a blunder that will decide the championship. I guess I'm wondering both what you and the readers think should happen in the situation. Keeping in mind my friend is not the only one being affected here. So was everyone else in the league.
ANDY RICHARDSON (Port Chester, NY)
We grant mulligans in my league. Happens about a 5-10 times per year. I even took one myself a couple of weeks ago (I accidentally picked up too many players and had to ask for permission to throw one back). But it’s a slippery slope. Going that route can create problems – why did this guy get a do-over, but this other owner did not? Some commissioners stick to the letter of the law. A card laid is a card played. That kind of league is easier to operate – it’s easier to defend decisions when you stay just out of the gray area of weighing when to allow exceptions to the rules.
I'm eliminated in an auction keeper league. Made some bad moves draft day and injuries killed it. Would you be able to put together the top players who aren't making a splash this year but should make an impact next year?
Adam Bjork (Waunakee, WI)
You can always look players with potential to make a big step forward in their second or third year. A few names to keep in mind: Malcolm Mitchell, Breshad Perriman, Kenneth Dixon, Tyler Boyd, Corey Coleman, Laquon Treadwell, Braxton Miller, Phillip Dorsett, Derrick Henry, Will Fuller, Kenyan Drake, Tyreek Hill, Wendell Smallwood, Paul Perkins, Josh Doctson, C.J. Prosise, Kevin White, Austin Hooper. A lot of these names are pretty obvious, of course. I didn’t know quite where to draw the line. Would be ridiculous to mention Ezekiel Elliott and Jordan Howard. And most of the guys I’ve named as probably already spoken for. And there’s a variation in the players. With Kenneth Dixon and Paul Perkins, you’re hoping they’ll be starting on opeing day; with Kenyan Drake, you’re more realistically planning that he’ll be a handcuff who at some point in 2017 will get to start some games. But it’s a list you can cross-check against your league.