Dynasty Mythbusters: Week Three

Jacob Feldman

Often in the world of fantasy football we overreact based on what is going on at that exact moment, forgetting all of the weeks, months, and years leading up to that point in time. If you’re ever on twitter during games you see many, many examples of this week in and week out. Some prime examples of this from week one were people talking about the prospects of players like David Wilson and Julius Thomas.

If you look back at past years one of the prime examples was Kevin Ogletree after his week one blowup last year. Some teams spent nearly their entire free agency allowance on him only to see him put up next to nothing for the rest of the season even after our words of warning.

We don’t want you to make that mistake! The fantasy mythbusters series takes some inspiration from one of my favorite tv shows, it is just too bad that I don’t get to blow anything up! I will examine a potential breakout player from the previous week. The goal is to figure out if their performance was just the tip of the iceberg or if you’re better off letting someone else spend their money and roster spot on them.

I’ll be focusing largely on players that are likely on the waiver wire in most leagues or that are the end of bench players that you can target for cheap. It wouldn’t do me any good to tell you to go out and pick up Johnathan Franklin since he should have been on someone’s roster months ago even though lots of websites will be championing him as a week three waiver wire addition.

This week I am going to do a special New York Jets double feature in honor of their first game with both a 100 yard rusher and a 100 yard receiver since the middle of the 2008 season. Even crazier is that this was the first time they have had a 300 yard passer and a 100 yard rusher in the same game this millennium! That’s right. This last weekend was the most potent that the Jets’ offense has been, according to the stats, in any year that began with a ‘2’. Jets fans, live it up and hope it happens again before another fifteen years or so goes by.

Bilal Powell, RB NYJ nfl: buffalo bills at new york jets
Week Three Statline: 27 carries for 149 yards with 2 receptions for 9 yards.

Many fantasy owners were almost to the point of foaming at the mouth this spring when the Jets acquired talented, though often injured, running back Chris Ivory from the Saints. After Ivory missed almost the entire training camp with a hamstring injury, he managed just 72 yards on 26 carries thus far this season and only 5 yards on 4 carries before going down with another hamstring injury. In steps Powell, giving the Jets their most impressive running back performance in years. Is he the back of the future?

The Good: Powell is young (turns 25 this season) and has a good opportunity to stake a claim to the starting running back role for the Jets, both this year and for years to come, if he can repeat what he did last week. He has decent size at 5’10” and around 205 pounds. He is a patient runner, giving his line a chance to set up their blocks before he flashes his quickness and bursts through the hole. He averaged 4.0 yards per carry last season in a part time role. He is also a nice receiver and pass blocker, meaning that he could potentially be used as a three down running back.

The Bad: The biggest concerns about Powell come down to his health and role. Prior to Sunday, he’s only had one game over 13 carries in his three years in the league. In college he handled a big load, but he also missed at least a game each season with a minor injury and he missed some time each of his first two years in the NFL. Questions about his role largely stem from the fact that Mike Goodson will come off of his suspension after next week’s game.  How will the Jets split the load once Goodson returns and then again once (or maybe if) Ivory gets healthy. You also need to wonder just how productive the Jets can actually be on a week in, week out basis.

The Ugly Truth: I think that Powell’s fate hangs in the balance and his week 4 production will be the deciding factor. He lacks the speed to be a star running back (only one career run over 20 yards), but he has the talent to get what is blocked for him and be a decent volume runner. If the Jets feed him the ball, I think he can continue to get about 4.0 yards per carry with a few catches and a decent shot at a score each week. While this isn’t bad, I don’t think it is going to wow anyone. He could be a RB2 in a lot of leagues, but the Jets defense will need to keep games close enough to continue running the ball all four quarters. So far that has happened, but I’m not sure we can count on it week in and week out. That makes Powell a higher risk and someone that I would only count on as a flex play. Combine that with the uncertainty around his role, both short term and long term, and it drives down his value a bit more. If he is on your waiver wire, I’m definitely putting a claim in for him regardless of if I’m contending or rebuilding. If he is on a roster and I can get him at RB4 prices or lower, I’m going to consider it. His upside is limited to middle level or low level RB2 by the team he plays for and his lack of speed so I’m not willing to pay much more than that given the risk with his role.

Santonio Holmes, WR NYJ
Week Three Statline: 5 receptions for 154 yards and 1 touchdown.

Mercurial doesn’t even really begin to describe Santonio Holmes. He went from talented and promising rookie and young receiver with at least 48 receptions and 820 yards each of his first three years before becoming the Super Bowl MVP when the Steelers won it during his third season. His fourth year he went on to post WR1 numbers with 79 receptions, 1248 yards, and 5 touchdowns. He then quickly found his way out of town due to some poor off the field choices, being traded to the Jets for next to nothing. Since then he’s struggled to get all the way back to his Super Bowl MVP form, including some issues with injury as recent as last season. Now he blows up with one of the best yardage totals for a Jets receiver in recent years. The question on the mind of every Jets fan is if he is back.

The Good: When it comes to raw talent, there is no questioning Holmes. There is a reason that he was a first round pick back in 2006. He has the speed, body control, and hands that you look for in a top wide receiver. Not only that, but he has the explosiveness to make double moves and jukes that make defenders look foolish. He also appears to be finally working his way back to 100% from the severe foot injury that slowed him all of last year and the entire pre-season. Sunday was the first time this year that he played almost the full game. It was hard not to notice that he was Geno Smith’s go-to-guy, leading the team in targets with ten while the next closest was six. There’s a connection there and there really aren’t too many other options for Geno to throw to.

The Bad: The talent has never been the issue with Holmes. The issue has always been above the shoulders. He needs to decide that he wants to play football and wants to give his full effort. There are reports that he was at odds with the front office over the injury as well as other reports that he didn’t like Mark Sanchez as his quarterback. Regardless of what is or isn’t true, these are reminders of the issue with Holmes. He was already thrown out of one city and there is a chance that he could end up in the doghouse again.

The Ugly Truth: Holmes has burned a lot of fantasy owners over the last few years by not living up to the expectations of him. Everyone hoped that he would return to his Super Bowl MVP form and lead the Jets offense. That hasn’t really happened…until now. Don’t be jaded by the past. Holmes is currently motivated to succeed and as long as that stays true he definitely belongs on a roster. There is some risk of course as that motivation could quickly fade but I think he is worth the risk. With a rookie quarterback he is going to be a little inconsistent, fluctuating between high end WR2 numbers and low end WR3 numbers. Overall I would expect his upside to approach a season ending statline of 70 receptions for 1100 yards and 6 touchdowns with room for improvement in future years as Smith matures. Holmes is currently 29 years old but you should be able to get several more years out of him as a WR3 that you can buy for WR5 prices or less right now in a lot of leagues. He’s definitely worth a look at that kind of price.

jacob feldman