Football is so close, you can smell the vulcanized rubber. Training camps around the country have begun, fantasy owners have scheduled their local drafts and your friends have already begun arguing over who has the best chili recipe. The most exciting development, for me, is there’s actual news to review. We don’t have to discuss what currency Johnny Manziel’s phone is made from. We’re not being forced to dwell on past fantasy failures. The future is now, and for your fantasy team, the future is bright.
Everyone begins the fantasy year with a similar level of optimism. Whether you play dynasty, redraft or daily, you should stand a similar chance as your opponent at this point (I realize dynasty can be much different). One quality I’ve noticed of seemingly every fantasy champion is resilience. This year, you will have star players miss time due to injury. You’ll have players who do not reach expectations. You may even turn on the news to see your favorite athlete has broken the law and will therefore be suspended. Your response to these unfortunate events is what will determine your likelihood of winning a championship.
Before you plan your strategic response to these events, you must read about the events themselves. That’s where Impact Events comes in.
Marshawn Lynch, RB SEA
News: Lynch plans to be a holdout from Seattle Seahawks training camp.
Analysis: The consensus DLF opinion on Lynch is a mixed bag. Some consider him a top ten running back, while others think the tires are due to fall off.
We’ve seen the trend of running backs’ contracts decreasing on average. The chance of Lynch receiving a substantially larger contract are slim. I feel the “question marks” completely outweigh the upside since there are other talented running backs in Seattle. The Seahawks have many other contracts to consider upgrading, and as we know, running backs are devalued in today’s game.
Christine Michael will get some play this year. Many are considering him the incumbent in Seattle. I don’t blame them. Michael looked amazing in the 2013 preseason. In the event of a Lynch absense, Michael only has to hold off Robert Turbin for starting duties.
Justin Blackmon, WR JAX
News: The seemingly troubled wideout was arrested again – this time by the Edmond, Oklahoma police for marijuana possession.
Analysis: It’s about as difficult for a fantasy analyst to predict how valuable Blackmon is in dynasty leagues as it is for a fish to climb a tree.
I’ll tell you this, Blackmon is one of the most talented receivers I’ve ever seen. If he’s on the field and healthy, there are only six or seven players I’d prefer to him. We’ve come to know the downside has nothing to do with his ability.
I’m probably safe in assuming Blackmon will not play this year, but dynasty is more than the current season. If you’re selling Blackmon, you’re getting nothing for him. If you’re buying or keeping Blackmon, you could get an all-pro wide receiver or a talented athlete who who will never see the field again.
Ray Rice, RB BAL
Analysis: Everyone’s given their opinion on how absurd Rice’s behavior was, but it has very little to do with his dynasty value. To be exact, his dynasty value is only hindered for the first two games of the 2014 season. Rice is still a talented running back who deserves respect in the fantasy world.
Bernard Pierce has been medically cleared for training camp and will get every opportunity in the first two weeks. Pierce averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 2012 and looked stellar in the Ravens Super Bowl run. If Pierce outperforms Rice in camp, he could run away with the job in 2014. We’ve seen Gary Kubiak allow Arian Foster to take over the starting job as an undrafted player. It wouldn’t be surprising if Kubiak encouraged Pierce to take the reigns in the new offense.
Roddy White, WR ATL
News: The Atlanta Falcons and White agreed on a four-year, $30 million extension. The deal includes $10 million in guaranteed money and White will receive $18 million over the first two years.
Analysis: These contracts can be difficult to understand. I’d love to tell you White will play for four more years and receive every penny of his contract. The likelihood is White will get paid handsomely the next two years, but won’t play much longer. White could also be irrelevant in fantasy in 2016. The good news is you don’t need White to be valuable in the distant future. His cost is considered a short term investment. If you’re a contending team, White could be a big help.
Ben Tate, RB CLE
News: Cleveland Browns Head Coach Mike Petine says, “The best competition might be Tate and Terrance West.”
Analysis: I’m actually very excited to watch the battle for starter’s touches in Cleveland. Tate is a player whom many fantasy owners have invested over the years, but West could steal the show. While I’d consider Tate the most likely to win the job, I’d rather have West at his respective price.
Jamaal Charles, RB KC
News: The Kansas City Chiefs and Charles have agreed to a two-year, $18.1 million extension. The deal includes no guaranteed money beyond 2014.
Anaylsis: While I’m slightly concerned about Charles’ lack of guaranteed money, I still have to show respect. Charles is one of the most talented running backs in the last 20 years. The chance of Charles sustaining success in Kansas City is high given the offense he’s in.
Julio Jones, WR ATL
News: Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith confirms Jones is healthy and able to participate in training camp, but his reps will be limitied.
Analysis: I find it generally difficult to quantify injuries. Our own Scott Peak did a wonderful article highlighting Jones’ injury.
The abilities I am able to quantify all point to Jones being a great receiver. I no longer do the top-100 rankings for DLF, but if I were to, Jones would be a top five asset. He’s attached to a Pro Bowl quarterback for the foreseeable future and his talent is second to none.
I find it nearly impossible to believe there will be a single fantasy owner who will not have to deal with injury, suspension or poor performance. This year, let’s challenge our inner Zen. When a player gets injured, don’t cry. Move on. Find a replacement before the other owners in your league have the chance to block you. Championships are won on the waiver wire and through trades. I challenge all of you to be more like an NFL coach. Have fun, but know this is similar to a business. Don’t dwell on what could have been.