Fantasy Realities (Wk 3)

In statistical analysis endeavors, the more data you have, the more accurate your conclusions will be. This is mostly true in fantasy sports as well (though the random 3 TD game from the 3rd TE on , say, San Diego’s roster will always catch us off guard). So being only two games into the season, there isn’t a ton of data to go off of when we try to draw our conclusions about the coming weeks. That being said, two weeks is a wealth of knowledge compared to only one week, so today we will look at the positional rankings through two weeks and determine which surprises are Reality and which are Fantasy. (Do note that Fantasy or Reality could be good or bad depending on where they currently are ranked.)

The # you see in parentheses is the current ranking at that position in ESPN Standard Scoring leagues

Quarterback
(1) Robert Griffin III – Now, let me clarify… I don’t think he stays at #1, but it seems very possible that he could be a Top 5 to Top 8 QB all season. Considering he was drafted as a backup he’s proving to be quite a gift. Mild Reality

(2) Matt Ryan – I’ll boil it down for you: The defense won’t win many games for the Falcons. The running game isn’t likely to win ANY games for the Falcons. Matt and the TE/WR corps will be the ones getting it done. As much as he could be called on to throw this season, it’s possible that he becomes an elite fantasy QB in 2012. Reality

(8) Matt Cassel – In Fantasy Football you have to ignore whether the scores matter in the game and just figure out if the garbage points will keep being there. Ultimately over the course of the season, I don’t think even the garbage production will keep up for Matt and the hapless Chiefs. Fantasy

(14) Aaron Rodgers – Uhh… let’s keep this simple. No, this is not a sign of things to come. He’ll be rising soon enough. Fantasy

(15) Tom Brady – This one has a little more validity than Rodgers, but I’m not ready to move him out of the Top 10 yet. I expected the O-Line to have some struggles and they have proven that to be the case, but they’ve proven it against some formidable defenses. I think that the production against bad defenses will buoy his numbers to Top 10 by the end, but his slide out of the Top 5 may have some truth to it (especially if he loses any more weapons). Mild Fantasy

(19) Peyton Manning & (21) Andrew Luck – They will forever be linked, so why change that now. I think that both of these guys have Top 15 potential, so look for some good upward trending as they each get more comfortable. Fantasy

(22 – tie) Matthew Stafford & Blaine Gabbert – Yes, you read that right. Stafford and Gabbert are equals after week two. This alone reinforces how little data we have at this point. And let me make this clear for you, one of these guys will be launching upward soon and the other will be thrilled if he can finish the season at 22. Stafford = Fantasy, Gabbert = Reality

Running Back
(1) C.J. Spiller – No, this is not something we all saw coming, but that being said, it doesn’t completely shock anyone that has followed his career. The talent has always been there, but the trio of good blocking, good health and opportunity have been hard to find for him up to this point. Now if the coaches are smart and keep feeding him the ball even when Jackson is back this could absolutely be a reality. There are only maybe 4-5 defenses on Buffalo’s schedule that look like that can even slow him down, so given good health and good decisions by the coaches, there’s no reason to doubt. Reality

(2) Reggie Bush – Bush was quick to say that he can deliver like this if he’s given the chance. I’ll keep it simple… he can occasionally deliver like this. He cannot be counted on to do so. Fantasy

(7 tie) Stevan Ridley & Alfred Morris – These guys are two peas in a pod. If they are consistently given this number of touches each week then I think they are real. The problem is that their coaches are two of the most notorious for not sticking with a main running back and just changing up on a whim. If you have them, you have to always be nervous, but given the current look that they will be the #1 ground option for these teams I think they will deliver. Reality

(9) Trent Richardson – Cleveland seems to be giving him a consistent number of carries and it should be enough for him to be quite productive throughout the season. I wasn’t a big believer in Richardson coming in, but he’s starting to show why he was drafted that high. Reality

(12) Kevin Smith – Health and opportunity are the two biggest factors for Smith and unfortunately I have no belief that either one will hold up for him. If you get any nibbles from folks in your league… sell high. Fantasy

(13) Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis – The Law Firm fled the uncertainty of New England for pastures where he knows what to expect. I expect some big dividends to come from that knowledge and opportunity and a Top 15 finish seems very plausible. Reality

(24) Shaun Draughn – While the Chiefs’ backfield hasn’t played out how I expected up to this point, there is little chance that Draughn keeps this up. Now, the front office does appear to be a fan of Draughn, but not to the point where he will get any real consistent touches should the Chiefs ever be competitive and provided Charles stays healthy. Now if Charles misses extensive time Draughn will definitely have value. Fantasy

Wide Receiver
(1) Demaryius Thomas – Clearly Peyton Manning knows what to do with receivers with talent and Thomas has talent. He doesn’t have #1 talent, but he could easily finish as a Top 10 receiver if he keeps this up. It’s a fantasy that he’s #1, but his potential to be a #1 receiver on your team could prove to be reality. Mild Fantasy

(2 tie) Hakeem Nicks & Victor Cruz – Can two receivers from the same team put up enough points to both be #1 receivers? This is a big question this year because the Giants and Falcons both look like they have this possibility. I’m going to say that it is definitely a possibility in the current pass-happy NFL and these two guys can deliver. No, they won’t end up at #2, but it is conceivable that one of them could and the other could be in the Top 10, so I’m a believer. Reality

(4) Dwayne Bowe – No. No. No. No. No. He is not a Top 5 receiver by any stretch of the imagination. That being said, the Chiefs look likely to be in garbage mode a lot this season, so he’s always going to be worth a FLEX play. Fantasy

(7 tie) Miles Austin & Kevin Ogletree – If you noticed before, I mentioned 2 teams that could have 2 receivers in the Top 10. Dallas wasn’t one of those teams. And if they ever emerge as one of them, it will be Bryant and not Ogletree in that 2nd spot. Austin = Reality,  Ogletree = Fantasy

(20 tie) Calvin Johnson & Stephen Hill – These two have similar builds and (along with Demaryius Thomas) have the same college background (THE Georgia Institute of Technology). And that’s where the similarities end. Calvin is the best receiver in the game and the only thing that’s lacked so far is the TD’s, which will come. Hill was well known in college for making spectacular plays and botching easy ones. He will definitely have his weeks, but it will be wildly inconsistent this year, as will all parts of the Jets’ offense. Look for Megatron to rise and Hill to slide a bit which makes this ranking for both of them a Fantasy

(28) A.J. Green – Andy Dalton seemed to get his feet back under him this week and Green’s production followed suit. A ranking in the FLEX range would be absolutely shocking and I simply just am not buying that. If someone is freaking out, buy low without any concerns. Fantasy

(46) Brandon Lloyd – Once the New England offense finally finds its rhythm for this year, Lloyd’s production will be everything that we thought it would be. With 13 catches in the first two weeks you can already see that he and Brady are on the same page. The yards and the TD’s will come. Fantasy

(87) Justin Blackmon – A lot of this is an indictment on Blaine Gabbert more than it is on Blackmon, but whatever you were counting on getting from him this season, you should probably shelve those expectations and move on to whatever hot thing is on the waiver wire. The only way Blackmon will be a productive and/or reliable fantasy weapon this year is if the Jags change QB’s. Find an Okie State fan and try to get ANYTHING for him in a trade. Reality

Tight End
(1) Vernon Davis – The potential for Davis has always been there. With the Saints’ struggles and the Pats’ struggles and the current flow on the 49ers offense this seems like it could actually hold up. Now if I’m a betting man I probably still have Gronk and Graham above him, but Davis as a Top 3-Top5 Tight End seems very plausible this year. Reality

(5) Martellus Bennett – Eli Manning is going to throw to any and all eligible receivers. Bennett has the skills to be a significant weapon in the Giants’ arsenal. Reality

(6) Donte Rosario – Again… you can’t predict when the #3 TE on a team will get to play for an injured starter and happen to be open every time that his QB needs him to be near the end zone. Not only was this a fluke due to injury, it was simply an all-around fluke. Fantasy

(9) Dennis Pitta – I’m guessing that you may need me to tell you what team he’s even on. He’s the Ravens’ Tight End and I think by the end of the season you will have known that without any help. Pitta seems to have moved into an extremely important role in Flacco’s offense and I expect that he will simply continue to get better. The number of catches per game definitely indicate that Flacco looks to him early and often. Reality

That’s what we have for this week. Again, I guarantee all of this to be 100% accurate from now until the next time each person’s team hits the field…then all bets are off. Tune in next week, when you get to see which of my realities has turned to fantasy in the blink of an eye.

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Categories: Fantasy Sports

1 reply

  1. Even as a Chargers fan, I have to agree with you on your Matt Ryan prediction. He might be a top-5 QB going into next season’s fantasy draft. Great work!

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