Each week I will be walking through the Twitterverse extracting some of the best commentary from trusted fantasy football minds. Twitter can be overwhelming with the amount of information that streams live, but it also proves to be one of the fastest and easiest ways to communicate. In 140 characters or less you can learn something about a player you may have never thought of from trends, stats or analysis.
Mark Ingram, RB NO
What a huge day for the Saints and running back Mark Ingram. Ingram of course started off the year with three touchdowns and averaging 80 total yards in his first two games before injuring his wrist. He came back in week seven against the stout Lions defense to practically put up a goose egg before the Packers allowed him to run wild. The real question many are likely wondering though is whether Ingram’s big day was just due to his opponent. Chris Wesseling weighed in tweeting,
If you’re citing the Packers D — and many of you are — for Ingram’s dominance, you haven’t been paying attention. Ingram is legit.
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) October 27, 2014
Going back to late last season, Ingram is averaging 5.7 yards on his last 102 carries. Keep doubting.
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) October 27, 2014
The fantastic stats and research experts over at Pro Football Focus also eluded to more of the man than the opponent noting,
Big week for Mark Ingram. His 10 forced missed tackles rushing twice the amount of next highest back for the week. Highest grade RB of week
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 27, 2014
Earlier in the year I had stated my belief in Ingram and own him across the board in my leagues. He had looked more impressive running than ever before and is currently tied to one of the best offenses in the National Football League. In redraft leagues I would be fine with trying to cash in on a big week and trading, but long term I am sticking with the runner. Ingram is only 24 this season compared to Pierre Thomas who is 29. While he is in unrestricted free agent, his salary in 2014 was only $2.4 million and I would imagine the Saints will make every attempt to keep him around. Either way, this is a player who is still relatively young, does not have much mileage on his body and both his real world and fantasy value are heading upward. Looking at the current landscape I would be hard-pressed not to have Ingram in the top 20 of running backs for dynasty.
Martavis Bryant, WR PIT
Two weeks, three touchdowns and a whole lot of fantasy hype is what we have from Bryant. The rookie had not even received a single snap until last week as the Steelers offense averaged 265 passing yards per game through their first seven matchups. In week seven we saw some potential and this week’s aerial display greatly enhanced the receivers’ spotlight. Fantasy analysts such as Sigmund Bloom and Adam Pfeifer observed,
What we’re seeing from Martavis Bryant is a continuation of his delayed growth over the course of 2013 at Clemson. Arrow pointing up up up
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) October 26, 2014
Over his last two games, Martavis Bryant has seven catches for 123 yards and 3 TD. Both of his scores yesterday came off one-on-ones. Gold
— Adam Pfeifer (@aPfeiferFF) October 27, 2014
[inlinead]I have yet to read a negative in regards to Bryant’s play the last two weeks and Adam highlights a great point in regards to the matchups he will often see with all-world receiver Antonio Brown running around. The only caution I would provide is that while Brown sees the field on virtually every snap, the last two weeks have seen the remaining Steelers receiving options garner around a third of the total snaps. Martavis has the second most targets during that span, but his role is still not that of a clear wide receiver two. Markus Wheaton is still developing in his second year and before Sunday Ben Roethlisberger was averaging just 1.5 touchdown passes per game. The offense may be showing more signs of life but this team will continue to be Brown and everyone else. In recent memory Pittsburgh has not supported a weekly WR2 in terms of fantasy either. Even in 2009 when Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes registered around 1,200 yards receiving, they topped out at six and five touchdowns each. Karl Safchick mentioned that,
Martavius Bryant’s buy low window is slamming shut.
— Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick) October 26, 2014
While Karl is definitely correct on this point, his sell high opportunity is also near its peak, at least for the foreseeable future. The Steelers have some good matchups against the Ravens, Jets and Saints coming up and if Bryant continues to perform, albeit on limited snaps I would be in the market to trade up.
Michael Floyd, WR ARI
Entering the 2014 season, Michael Floyd was coming off a 1,000 yard season and the buzz in training camp was that Floyd would be the true number one receiver for the Cardinals despite the presence of future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Unfortunately, this season has been up and down, partially due to inconsistencies at the quarterback position. Averaging only 50 yards per game and coming off his worst performance the comments from the fantasy community are still hopeful as Jake Ciely quipped,
I’d still be throwing out buy lows on Floyd after this week…nothing drives the price down like an 0-fer
— Jake Ciely (@allinkid) October 26, 2014
Christopher Harris offered more insight on his week eight struggles tweeting,
MiFloyd dropped a long TD, banged his knee up on his next deep target, saw only 2 half-hearted looks r.o.w. Not great, but don’t panic.
— Christopher Harris (@CHarrisESPN) October 27, 2014
The talent is there and the big games were available early in the season, but over the last four weeks Floyd has seen fewer than 20% of the total targets – that is not indicative of a number one receiver. I like Floyd as a buy low option though not sure he is a weekly top 20 play the rest of the season. Long term the contract situation with Fitzgerald is not appealing for the Cardinals with a $23 million hit in 2015 for a player turning 32, so it will be interesting to see if the young receiver will truly get a chance to be “the guy.” John Brown, who is the same age as Floyd, has shown promise this season as well and Carson Palmer is not getting any younger with no viable options behind him. I liked Floyd coming into the year and still have him on a couple teams, but if I could move him for players like TY Hilton or any number of the rookie receivers, I would do so.
Mohamed Sanu, WR CIN
With Bengals leading receiver A.J. Green missing four of seven starts this season, Sanu has stepped up and performed admirably. Joe Goodbury highlighted Sanu’s current pace tweeting,
Sanu is on pace for 80 receptions for 1,218 yards. Those numbers may drop when others get healthy, but he’s really been good without help.
— Joe Goodberry (@JoeGoodberry) October 27, 2014
Despite only 35 receptions and a fairly low catch rate, Sanu has posted weekly WR2 fantasy numbers. As Green prepares to return this week can we continue to count on consistency? Beer aficionado and fantasy maven, the man known as Rumford offered this thought,
I think AJ Green returning (admittedly at 80%) is actually good for Sanu. Green will command attn deep & clear out room underneath.
— Rummy (@RumfordJohnny) October 27, 2014
I tend to agree with Johnny and would expect Sanu to stay involved and somewhat steady as Green pulls defenders towards his side of the field. The Bengals passing offense has never been prolific and long term Sanu may be nothing more than a bye week receiver but his current situation appears solid.
New York Jets Defense
I really loved this tweet from Chase Stuart on the Jets passing defense,
How’s this for a full season? 3,816 yards, 40 TDs, 2 INTs. That’s QBs against the Jets this year, pro-rated to 16 games. Folesian.
— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) October 27, 2014
They have been incredibly awful against fantasy throwers and something owners who have been streaming quarterbacks all season should be aware of. Finding opportunities against defenses like this can be extremely valuable when making weekly decisions. If you are finding yourself constantly hitting the waivers and chasing points at the quarterback position may I suggest your next six weeks of starters: Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, Kyle Orton, Ryan Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater and whomever the Titans will be rolling out in week 15. If it weren’t for Big Ben’s incredible performance against the Colts, none of these quarterbacks would be top 12 options to date but all could be weekly QB1’s when they face the hapless Jets.
Saint Louis Rams Backfield
If I told you Benny Cunningham had played the most snaps at running back for the Rams would you be surprised? Would you expect Tre Mason to have a fourth of the snaps as both Cunningham and Zac Stacy. Would you be even more surprised that in week six, Mason received nine snaps to Cunningham’s 40, but nearly doubled his rushing output? And what about Zac Stacy who came into the season as a supposed sure bet for early down work? Chris Raybon broke down week eight’s maddening split tweeting,
Rams RB touches today: Stacy 8, Mason 8, Cunningham 5. Avoid.
— Chris Raybon (@ChrisRaybon) October 26, 2014
A fantasy favorite, Juan Elway, pronounced
Rams RB usage = clueless coaching staff
— JuanElway™ (@JuanElway) October 26, 2014
The St. Louis Rams situation is one that vexes fantasy owners to no end. It is almost like the coaching staff is focused on keeping fantasy players guessing rather than winning a game. This is just one of the many situations that evolve every year and the best thing for fantasy owners is to walk away.
The Simplicity of Fantasy Football
Another great quote this week from Sigmund Bloom touching on what makes this game we play so fun.
I play fantasy football so I can draft players I love like Gronk (and Lynch and Robocop and..) and cheer when they score. Simple as that.
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) October 27, 2014
All of the data, algorithms, film study and real world experience are not enough to take the sheer guesswork and luck out of fantasy football. And while you may scream and yell at offensive coordinators and players, how much fun would it truly be if you set your lineup and essentially could predict how many points you would score? Week eight was a microcosm of amazing performances, heartbreaking defeats and incredible comebacks that define the world of fantasy football – that’s why I can’t wait for week nine.