Weekly Twitter Observations

Luke Wetta


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.

Johnny Manziel, QB CLE

An interesting tweet from Heath Cummings came across my timeline this week,

My best answer to this question looking at the current state of affairs would be one to one odds. Johnny Manziel’s first season in the NFL was nothing short of a train wreck. Many expected he would take over the starting quarterback job from Brian Hoyer sooner rather than later. But the Browns kept winning early on and stayed in the division and playoff race despite Hoyer’s clear struggles. When Johnny finally got a chance to play in week 15 it was pretty evident why the Cleveland coaches had not rushed him out earlier as he completed 10 passes for 80 yards with two interceptions and the Browns got shut out by the Bengals. The ability to make plays with his legs was also not on display as he rushed five times for only 13 [inlinead]yards. It was more of the same in his second start before he got hurt and did not finish the game. Off the field, Manziel is also not performing as expected, at least as far as the Browns are concerned. Multiple incidents including being late for meetings and nights on the town have left a bad taste in the organizations mouth. Coach Mike Pettine has voiced his displeasure with the quarterback and made it clear Manziel may not be the answer for the Browns. Reports recently also have shown the Browns still having interest in retaining Hoyer for 2015. If Manziel can not make it in Cleveland, it would be difficult for him to become a starter elsewhere. Even if he did find a new home the small sample size we have to go on is not pretty. So circling back around to original question posed, would you bet on Osweiler over Manziel for the next three years? Today I would say yes and that is assuming Peyton Manning gives it one more year. There are still a lot of questions on whether the Broncos believe Osweiler can follow Manning as the starter in Denver, but betting on Johnny just does not feel right.

Derek Carr, QB OAK

Unlike the aforementioned Manziel and Osweiler, the fantasy community remains slightly more optimistic on the prospects of Derek Carr. As a rookie Carr started every game, winning three of the final six contests. He threw for more touchdowns than interceptions and was sacked only 24 times on 599 attempts. Currently, the DLF crew has him ranked as the 21st overall QB with some as high at 16. So what does the future hold for Carr? Looking at recent tweets from a guy whose opinion on breaking down players I respect, Cian Fahey, it may not be what most expected.

Using stats and analysis from Pro Football Focus, Derek Carr was rated the 38th overall passer out of a possible 39 quarterbacks who took at least 25% of their teams snaps just ahead of Blake Bortles. His completion percentage of 58% was bottom six and his 5.5 yards per attempt was dead last and the only player under six yards. Many would point to the fact that the weapons in both the running game and passing game played a big part of the equation. This is definitely true, but this is almost always true of the Oakland Raiders as well so expecting improve players to help make Carr look better is also not a strong bet. As Cian notes Carr was not called upon to make the difficult, downfield throws making his overall struggles look even worse. Even in college, Carr was not asked to stretch defenses often and when he did he was not very accurate. The Raiders are also bringing in a new head coach and offensive coordinator in 2015 meaning a new system for Carr to learn. I am not writing Derek Carr off as a potential fantasy asset (he still is a starting quarterback), but I also would not be counting on him to lead your team to a championship either.

Torrey Smith, WR BAL

In his first four seasons in the NFL, Torrey Smith has been a pretty consistent low end WR2 or high end WR3 depending on scoring format. He is still relatively young at 26 and currently sits in the high 20’s in dynasty value at the wide receiver position. Evan Silva offered an interesting thought though on his impending free agency,

Sure, this may make a lot of sense for the Carolina Panthers and possibly even Torrey, but how would it impact his fantasy value? Taking it a step further I was trying to envision a plausible change of teams that would benefit him more. Unfortunately I did not come up with one. Mainly I could see him going to a team with a worse quarterback option or a team with plenty of viable options at receiver. Torrey has never been a true number one and that was made evident when an aging Steve Smith came in and out-targeted him 130 to 89 in 2014. The Ravens also brought in offensive friendly coordinator Marc Trestman to run the show with what many would only assume would increase opportunities and production. Tracking his free agency will be something to watch for as a fantasy owner and if Baltimore decides to target a rookie receiver in the draft and/or part ways with Torrey I would be selling.

Ryan Matthews, RB SD

Another interesting name to think about this offseason is San Diego’s Ryan Mathews.

As Russell and Karl highlighted, Mathews has been a good running back but is rarely healthy. In five seasons Mathews has averaged 4.4 yards per carry and totaled over 1,400 yards in 2013 when he played a full season. The real question is whether he will be back in San Diego next season. If he is there is not much competition from change of pace back Branden Oliver or the disappointing Donald Brown. The Chargers also likely need to focus on their defense and offensive line before reaching for a running back in the draft. Early ADP from mock drafts have Mathews being taken as the 30th overall running back behind names like CJ Spiller, Devonta Freeman. Ryan Mathews could prove to be a decent buy low target who if healthy could provide RB2 numbers next season. Of course with Mathews it is always the “if.”

Special call out to Pro Football Focus’ Premium Stats for providing a great tool to pull some of the data and information in this article.


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