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 fromtrends, stats or analysis.

Blake Bortles, QB JAX

The 2015 season has quickly shown why over-investing at the quarterback position in fantasy can be a fool’s errand. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles is one of the many signal callers that have allowed owners to invest elsewhere and still provide solid weekly production. Recent mentions in my timeline from Rich and Chris highlighted this thought,


The Jaguars made a concerted effort to build around Bortles and provide him with the weapons and protection to succeed this offseason and it is clearly paying dividends. He is averaging nearly 70 more passing yards per game versus his rookie season and has also flipped the script on his turnover ratio. In 2014 Bortles managed to throw 11 touchdowns with 17 interceptions over fourteen starts. Year to date he has already thrown for 17 scores while only getting picked off 10 times. Bortles also has managed to continue to provide added numbers in the rushing game averaging 22 yards on the ground per matchup. This figure is also down from last year when he hit nearly 30 yards rushing per game. The turnaround in play to date has landed Bortles among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks this season ahead of other names such as Matt Ryan, Ryan Tannehill, Russell Wilson and even Andrew Luck. Blake Bortles has been thriving with his duos of receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns while running back T.J. Yeldon has also been a solid addition. Robinson and Hurns especially have been fantasy stars this season with great week to week consistency. Sigmund Bloom highlighted Hurns in particular looking at the recent touchdown streak he is on.  

[inlinead]The most encouraging part of this offense is that all four of these playmakers are young and not going anywhere immediately. Robinson and Yeldon are signed through 2017 and 2018 and I would be surprised if the Jaguars did not look to extend Hurns past 2016 this offseason. When looking at dynasty rankings for Bortles recently I found he is commonly still falling around the 17thto 18th overall quarterback. Rankings are difficult and just because a player is ranked five spots below another does not necessarily mean they are in different value tiers. But when I see a guy like Matt Ryan ranked as the fifth best QB I would be looking to make some moves immediately. Bortles is on pace to throw for more touchdowns this season than Ryan has thrown in his eight year career. If trading a guy like Ryan for Bortles plus additional players or picks is a deal that could get done I would be hitting accept repeatedly.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN

Titans rookie receiver Dorial Green-Beckham received plenty of hype coming into the year being selected as the 40th overall pick in the draft and joining a team with no top-level talent. His sheer size (6-foot-5 and 237 lbs.) made many fantasy analysts drool at his potential. Green-Beckham also faced plenty of concerns coming out of school after being dismissed from Missouri and not being known for the strongest work ethic. Even so the Titans presumably presented a great option to get playing time and opportunity to shine. Cian Fahey recently shared the following tweet noting his increased role.

His percentage of snaps has climbed from the teens during the first month of the season to mid-60’s over the last three games. Injuries to Harry Douglas and Kendall Wright as Cian noted have helped paved the way for the increase in time. In week nine he received the most targets on the team with ten after he had compiled a combined 15 the previous seven contests. Wright is expected to miss some more time leaving Green-Beckham with more chances to cement his role on the team. With his size as well you can assume even more red zone looks as he is currently only behind tight end Delanie Walker in that category for the year. Green-Beckham is not a receiver you can count on just yet in your fantasy lineups and I am not sure this season will afford many chances to roll him out on a consistent basis. While he remains in a good spot developing with rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, he also will have to prove his troubles from college are behind him before I would be fully investing in him long term. Devin Funchess, WR CAR Moving to the pick in the 2015 draft directly following the aforementioned Green-Beckham, Devin Funchess made some waves in week nine with a three catch, 71 yard performance including his first touchdown. As Mike Clay commented, the breakout game was not due to an increase in playing time.

Funchess’ percentage of snaps has actually decreased as the season has progressed. He averaged 44% over the first four weeks but has seen only a quarter of the total snaps for the last four games. Part of the decrease may be due to Jerricho Cotchery’s return after missing two games early in the season. Another part is that Funchess’s 40 percent catch rate is worse than teammate Ted Ginn who made highlights dropping a would-be touchdown in week eight. The week nine performance may start to help Funchess climb the opportunity ladder for the Panthers, but currently he ranks as the fourth or fifth option when it comes to targets. He still is young and could pass for Kelvin Benjamin’s son (KB is old) so there is plenty of time for improvement. The problem is that he is known for being a big-framed player who does not have the speed or catching prowess to dominate at this level.

Rob Gronkowski, TE NE

One of the most coveted and impactful fantasy players in the game, Rob Gronkowski caught a view negative vibes after a week nine let down performance.

Both Adam and John showcased Gronk’s reduction in targets of late, partially due to the fact that Brandon LaFell has returned to starting lineup. The recent dip in production and only catching three touchdowns over the last five weeks has allowed other players to close the gap from a fantasy perspective as well. Expecting Gronkowski to pile up 100 yards and at least one score every week is also not a fair expectation as last season he failed to top 50 yards receiving in a game on five different occasions. Currently he is on track to have more targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns than last year when he dominated in fantasy lineups. The loss of Dion Lewis and his six targets a game should also more than make up for the subtraction LaFell might bring. In the end I would not be worried in the least in regards to Gronkowski’s fantasy value the remainder of the season and beyond. If you are able to advertise some recent down games and comments from trusted fantasy analysts as a way to acquire Gronkowski’s services, by all means buy away.

New York Giants RBs

I normally like my Twitter informative and/or humorous and Matt’s recent tweet covered both.

Bill Belichick is often known for confounding the fantasy community with his dispersion of running back touches, but Giants coaches Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo are in all out troll mode for 2015. Three-headed running back committees are painful enough for fantasy owners. Throw in a fourth running back and spread the carries around and you are essentially telling everyone you have no clue either and are going to simply draw ping pong balls out of the hopper to decide the next play.

Rashad Jennings has been getting the most consistent look at running back receiving between nine and 13 carries in all but one game this season. Unfortunately his 3.9 yards per carry and one touchdown leaves you consistently with four fantasy points per contest. Andre Williams has been downright awful running the ball and the more carries he gets the worse it appears to get for him. Shane Vereen was brought to New York as the clear third down, receiving threat but that has not panned out all that well either. In three of the nine games he has caught eight passes but has also managed one or zero catches in another four. His 4.2 yards per carry average running the football is better than the previously mentioned options though Vereen has never been given more than six carries in a single matchup. That leaves Orleans Darkwa, the rookie runner many dynasty rankers have yet to even place within their top 100 rushers. Darkwa saw his first action in week seven and after an impressive 5.8 yards per carry and a touchdown was deemed worthy of more chances. He followed that up with two outings of 23 yards rushing.

Vereen is likely the only running back you can feel halfway decent about starting, but that would be primarily in PPR leagues only. From a dynasty perspective the greatest unknown of the group, Darkwa, may actually have the most value as he has at least managed the best yards per carry average of the group. He may not be as big as Jennings or Williams but at least in small samples has shown some potential. At this point you may be better off taking a kick to the groin rather than have to depend on any of the group in fantasy.

Thank you to 4for4.com, Football Outsiders,Football Guys and NFL Savant for some of the stats used within this article. All are great resources still available for the average fantasy fan and highly recommended.


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