Each week I walk 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.
Dynasty ADP Data
Mainly I just wanted to share Ryan’s below tweet as I personally rely on ADP data more than rankings or any other tools to construct my fantasy lineups. Knowing what your counterparts may be doing and adjusting your strategy from there is always my approach. DLF is a great source for this and normally gets sited elsewhere so make sure to check it out and Ryan is always great for player trending as well.
ICYMI: The DLF Dynasty ADP is out for April. If you have a draft coming up, check it out… http://t.co/7FAvoYndrT
— Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) April 20, 2015
Frank Gore, RB IND
The Indianapolis Colts acquired the king of consistency and longevity in Frank Gore during the offseason, and there should still be excitement about his opportunity in fantasy. The depth chart behind Gore essentially consists of Dan Herron and the team could look to pick up another running back in the draft, but I would assume their needs are focused elsewhere and not looking to draft immediate competition. Both Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson are no longer around leaving behind their combined 248 carries and 65 receptions. The 250 carries sound about right and the 65 receptions are likely high, but I do believe Gore will be able to greatly improve on his reception usage employed by the 49ers. Prior to San Francisco mostly ignoring him in the passing game over the last four years, Frank was a guy who averaged 50 catches a season. The history for success is there. The Colts offense also lends itself for success on the ground with Andrew Luck and company attacking aerially. Bradshaw and Herron average 4.6 yards per carry last season (I did not include Richardson because he is Trent Richardson). The scoring opportunities, particularly in the receiving game will also be more prevalent. So the only real downside with Gore is his age. Sigmund Bloom touched on this recently tweeting,
I’m all for the “Don’t take Frank Gore in fantasy drafts because he’s 32 years old” narrative taking hold. Will take in 4th round every time
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) April 21, 2015
Gore just has to be competent to soak up 250 high value touches and lots of TD opps in #colts offense. I think he can do that.
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) April 21, 2015
Now the reference was made for redraft purposes, but the logic still applies to dynasty as well. Looking over at the DLF RB rankings Gore currently sits at 30th overall behind players like Terrence West, Bishop Sankey, Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. I could make a case for McKinnon either way, but the other guys despite being a lot younger, are not in situations where I think they will produce at Gore’s level. The running back position is fluid and is normally not certain even beyond two years and I am always more apt to take the production today rather than wait for it tomorrow.
Bishop Sankey, RB TEN
Bishop Sankey is a poor team’s Frank Gore. That may not be the exact quote but it works for this article. DLF’s Nathan Powell shared his thoughts on Bishop Sankey and got me thinking about my stance on the Titans running back.
Just drafted Bishop Sankey 10.01(RB38) of an MFL10, I don’t see how he isn’t a top 30 back this year. Titans aren’t going to draft an RB.
— Nathan Powell (@NPowellFF) April 21, 2015
[inlinead]The expectation is that the team will cut Shonn Greene, though it would be a very Titan thing to do to keep him, leaving Sankey and Dexter McCluster as the top options. McCluster is coming off of injury and has never really excelled as being a true running back. If Nathan is correct in expecting the Titans to not draft a running back in the draft then volume alone would increase his fantasy stock. Personally, I would be surprised if Tennessee did not bring in another runner as Sankey’s 3.8 yards per carry and blocking issues should not instill confidence in the organization. Yes there are needs in just about every other position on the team, but in a deep class of runners why not get involved? Even if Tom Brady was the quarterback for the Titans, yardage and scoring opportunities would not simply begin to pile up. The NFL Draft could move my stance quickly, but currently I am less likely to be buying in on Sankey shares in fantasy.
Latavius Murray, RB OAK
Many in the fantasy community were clamoring for Latavius Murray last season as both Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew struggled mightily in the Raiders’ offense. In weeks 11 and 12 he was afforded only 8 carries but racked up 155 yards and two touchdowns. Murray got injured in week 12 causing him to miss the next week but finished out the season as the Raiders starting running back. Heading into 2015 Latavius is expected to be the starter, but how much confidence does the team have in him? Maybe not as much as you would think as Chris Hansen tweeted,
Interesting how hell bent Raiders have been on adding running backs. Obviously not sold on Latavius Murray.
— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) April 17, 2015
Looking back at his last four starts he averaged only 3.8 yards per carry and failed to score a touchdown. Murray did manage to average just under 3 receptions per game, but the addition of Roy Helu during the offseason would suggest Murray may only be the 1st and 2nd down guy. Richardson also made his way out west and coaches just love to keep rolling him out there despite mostly ineffective stats. The Raiders are still the Raiders and Vegas odds-makers have the team projected to win the fewest games this year. Overall uncertainty of opportunity and a limited offense would keep me from relying on Murray to be a weekly fixture in my starting lineups.
Tre Mason, RB STL
Circling back around to Bishop Sankey, Frank DuPont offered an interesting note on Rams running back Tre Mason stating,
If you take out Tre Mason’s single longest run last year he would have had about the same YPC as Bishop Sankey.
— Fantasy Douche (@FantasyDouche) April 17, 2015
Frank is referring to Mason’s 89-yard touchdown run against Oakland in week 13. Remove that one run and Tre’s average yards per carry drops from a respectable 4.3 yards per tote to a worrisome 3.8. Looking closer at Mason’s stats, he actually only scored double digit fantasy points in PPR formats in four of the eleven games where he became the starting fixture. Three of those occurrences he also managed to score a touchdown helping him cross the 10 point mark. Mason also managed to score three of his five touchdowns in one game, again against the hapless Raiders who surrendered the 89-yard score. Sigmund Bloom also remarked on the offensive line situation in St. Louis and Tre Mason’s outlook explaining,
OL another reason I won’t be targeting Tre Mason in drafts in any format this year until his ADP drops two rounds. Week-to-Week nightmare
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) April 22, 2015
The Rams are likely to target fixing their line multiple times in the draft, but that does not always lend itself to immediate results. The good news for Mason is he unseated Zac Stacy early in 2014 and all signs point to him maintaining the lead back role. The downside though is that he ceded snaps to Benny Cunningham, who was the main third down option for the team. Mason only caught more than one pass three times out of eleven after week six lowering his fantasy ceiling. The running back position is normally the toughest to predict, but Mason is only 22 and being a weekly starter in the NFL is normally enough to merit RB2 consideration. A struggling offensive will continue to limit his upside, but after the top 12 or 13 backs everyone has marks against them.
A.J. Green, WR CIN
I have seen Cincinnati Bengals star receiver A.J. Green mentioned a number of times over the last couple weeks as many have debated his fantasy value. Two recent posts from Karl Safchick and Graham Barfield caught my attention,
This time last year AJG was, on avg, 1.01 in dynasty startups. Now the 1.08. Other than minor injury, he had just as good a year as in past.
— Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick) April 18, 2015
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) April 18, 2015
Green only played 13 games in 2014 and that number could have essentially been 12 as he was banged up against Denver late in the season and was in and out of the game. As Karl suggested, the fantasy community may be discounting A.J. just because of his injury. To be honest too when talking about Green we are splitting hairs with elite options, but I have him ranked as 8th overall as well versus others who still place him in the top three. Mainly my slight concerns come from an offense leaning more and more towards running the ball than airing it out. The combination of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard can be lethal and Andy Dalton is also the weakest quarterback option for the top receivers. Scoring opportunities are also going to be more limited for Green as the Bengals offense has gone from scoring 10 rushing touchdowns in 2011 to 19 last season. Dez Bryant is going to score, Antonio Brown is more consistent from a yardage and reception perspective and Julio Jones and Odell Beckham, Jr. have more big game upside. The number one running back and tight end are nice to have and even Demaryius Thomas got it done with Tim Tebow, so I am not as worried about Peyton Manning’s departure in the near future. Again, I am arguing between elite talents that all will produce, but personally I expect Green to be the least elite of the elite.
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.