Five Burning Questions

Jeff Miller


Welcome to the first in a weekly series where I ask and then answer five questions about the upcoming week, season, or anything else my (really) weird brain can come up with. I know what you are thinking: “But Jeff, if you are asking and answering, does that make you the Judge Dredd of fantasy football?” Yes, yes it does. And before you ask, I am absolutely wearing a helmet and spandex.

1.) What should I do with Matt Asiata?

That depends on your situation (first question of the series and I am already straddling the fence).

The first thing you need to know is Asiata isn’t going to have another three touchdown game. He also isn’t all that likely to post many 5.2 point games (as he did last week). What he will do is handle 14-18 touches per week, snag a decent number of receptions, and get all the goal line work.

If all you need is a one-year, steady, totally unspectacular, but pretty reliable RB2, Asiata is your guy. If you are looking towards 2015, I’d be peddling his services to my league-mates.

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2.) What do I do with Pats players in dynasty leagues?

Unsurprisingly, the Patriots weren’t quite as bad last week as they were week four. While that is good news on the surface, if anything, it may confuse the situation more than if they had come out and laid another egg. With that in mind, let’s do some buy/sell/hold for the major players:

Tom Brady – Sell. He hopefully won’t be a fixture in your lineup again, so if you can find a believer, move on.

Rob Gronkowski – Hold. The big TE is clearly still hobbled by the ACL he had repaired less than a year ago. It is possible the mass of injuries he’s suffered have conspired to break down his body, but I don’t think we have enough evidence to draw any hard conclusions.

With Gronk’s nice week five game, his owners will likely be asking more than I’d pay at this juncture. If you are looking to buy, it may be worth gambling on his having a poor Week 6 showing. Even if he doesn’t, the price shouldn’t go up too much.

Stevan Ridley – Buy. Surprised? Hear me out. After everything he’s been through, I can’t imagine Ridley being back in New England next season. With the cost of acquisition so low, if you can pick Ridley up and stash him, there is a great chance he is the lead back somewhere else next year. Ridley’s talent has never been in question, so why not take a shot?

Shane Vereen – Hold, then sell. If I knew Vereen would be back in 2015, I’d say hold. But because of his uncertain future, injury history, and, frankly, underachieving ways, the first time he has a big game, move him to another team.

Aaron Dobson – Hold. At some point we will actually see Dobson on the field for meaningful snaps. Until such a time, I’d hang on to him and see what he can do.

Julien Edelman – Buy. As long as Brady is there, Edelman will have immense PPR value. He flies under the radar and could be cheaper to acquire than he should be.

3.) Are the Giants really a good football team?

In large part thanks to Eli Manning’s surprisingly good play, the Giants have improved vastly from the beginning of the season. When healthy, Rashad Jennings is playing like an RB1, and with the debut of Odell Beckham Jr., the receivers are rounding in to form. Oh, this Larry Donnell guy seems OK, too.

One of the surprises of the season, Donnell was a lightly regarded player right up until he scored at least 15 points in three of five games this year. Not exactly the physical talent of some of his contemporaries, Donnell is still more athletic than given credit for, sure handed, and has earned the trust of his QB. A top-5 finish at the position isn’t out of the question.

If you can find an owner who is concerned about Donnell’s one target, zero point showing against Atlanta, see if you can pry him loose. Beckham may leach some targets, but Donnell is still a legit TE1.

4.) How ugly will the Jaguars/Titans game be?

This game will be uglier than a carnival worker’s doppelganger who got injured in an accident at the acid factory in southern New Jersey.

5.) What is wrong with LeSean McCoy?

Earlier this week, I traded McCoy in a deal for Le’Veon Bell. Curious if I made a good deal, I sat down this evening and watched every single touch Shady has logged thus far in 2014. Some observations:

  • The offensive line is much worse than it was in 2013, but it isn’t as bad as people seem to believe. I was actually surprised at how not-terrible they are. Going in I was expecting it to be an abject disaster, and instead I saw what I thought was generally solid play.

I think a main reason folks are so down on the big uglies up front comes down to how much better they were in 2013. According to our friends at Pro Football Focus (PFF), the 2013 Eagles run blocking graded out as the best in the league with a grade some 100.4% better than the second place 49ers. Yes, you read that correctly.

When you were anticipating that level of play, it is easy to understand why people are so disappointed in their current PFF run block rank of ninth.

  • McCoy is slower to the hole, but I don’t think it is because he has diminished quickness or acceleration. Instead, he seems to have a bit of Trent Richardson syndrome going on. There is a lack of decisiveness I didn’t see while watching the last two regular season games from 2013.

I’m even seeing a bit of it on plays where he catches passes. This is backed up by his career low of 4.6 yards per catch, almost six fewer yards than he averaged last year.

  • Along with the lack of decisiveness, McCoy seems to be going more east/west than in the past. I don’t see this as the fear of contact Chris Johnson suffers from. Instead, I am assuming it is an extension of my point above: he just seems to lack confidence in the decisions he needs to make.

I’m not at all convinced McCoy is irreparably broken. It is entirely possible he is playing through an undisclosed injury, sapping him of his confidence. It is also possible he is just in a rut. In any event, unless you can get a high end player in return, I’d keep running McCoy out there and wait for the turnaround you hope is coming.

To say hi to Fantasy Football Judge Dredd, follow Jeff on Twitter @FFJeffM.


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