When I was young, I loathed mushrooms (the kind you eat to get full, not the kind you eat to meet aliens). Despite the hatred, my parents made me try them frequently, positing that my tastes may have changed since the last time they forced me to eat fungus. My repulsion only grew.
As I reached adulthood, moving out of my childhood home, I no longer found myself having to eat things just to appease my mother and father. And because I knew I detested them, I didn’t try mushrooms again for years and years. Then one day I did. And I liked them. A lot.
I could tell the same story over and over, substituting in shrimp, tomatoes, macaroni and cheese and who knows what else. But in the end, it always ends the same, with me at least being able to tolerate the food I once hated.
Fantasy owners are too often the early-20s Jeff. Because they always hated mushrooms, they don’t see a reason to give them another thought. And by mushrooms I mean Eric Decker. And by another thought, I mean another thought.
Decker isn’t the only player people refuse to revisit. Tavon Austin is shrimp, Delanie Walker is tomatoes and Doug Martin is mac and cheese.
Sure, none of these players are a $100 dry-aged USDA prime filet mignon from Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, but each is better than most people think and at least worth tasting again.
I’m not trying to pimp out specific footballers so much as I’m trying to encourage you to try foods/players you don’t think you like due to preconceived notions. The ability to get over old biases is something most of your fellow owners don’t have, so if you do, it’s one more advantage that can help you win leagues.
Enough with the food metaphors, let’s answer some questions.
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Fat Eddie, Fast Eddie, or Washed Up Eddie?
I spent a bit of time the last couple weeks talking to DLF’s resident Green Bay guru, Dan Meylor, about Eddie Lacy. His basic take is Lacy has been, and remains, beat up, leading to extreme ineffectiveness. Considering he was rested Week ten and has been on the injury report pretty much all season, I suspect that is a pretty accurate take.
In typical fantasy fashion, though, it would seem most of the narrative around Lacy ignores the injury issues and centers on his weight. This is likely the case for two reasons:
- Lacy is fat.
- Making fun of him is super funny.*
*I wish I could remember who tweeted this, but somebody suggested if Lacy wants his job back, he should just eat James Starks.
The weight thing has likely been overblown, and could be, at least in part, a result of his injuries making staying in shape difficult. We also need to remember Lacy was a bit rotund last year on the way to a RB5 finish that included ten straight double digit scoring games to finish out the regular season (five of the ten were 20 points or more).
In watching Packers’ film from this season and last, there is a marked difference in play speed for the former Alabama running back. With only two-and-a-half seasons under his belt, it would be hard to buy Lacy is slowing, so I think it is safe to assume the injuries are a driving force. Oh yeah, he is also fat. Maybe it is only five-ten pounds, but considering Lacy’s yards after contact and tackles avoided (both stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus) are career lows, I am comfortable saying the added bulk is sapping speed, possibly adding to the injury woes and hasn’t given him any more power.
The other noticeable issue the Packers have is a total breakdown along the offensive line. Football Outsiders had their run blocking as eighth best in 2014, but it since fallen to 23rd this season. “But James Starks is doing fine,” is what you’re likely thinking. Well, you’d be wrong.
Up until this point, Starks has managed over 3.9 YPC in only two games all season, posting 3.1 or less four times (in games with at least five carries). Even his fantasy numbers have been up (four games of 14+ points) and down (four games under eight points).
I’ve never been a huge Lacy guy. The concussions scare me, I don’t think he is overly talented, and he can disappear at times. That said, I don’t believe we are witnessing a fall from grace by any means. This season is simply a case of injuries and poor offensive play from the entire team, and not just one player. I am holding if I own him and buying low if I can, being careful not to pay anything close to his preseason asking price.
One more thing that may or may not apply but is at least worth mentioning: Coach Mike McCarthy stuck with kicker Mason Crosby through a very rough patch in 2012, at least in part, due to the contributions he made to the team in prior seasons. His patience was rewarded as Crosby has been very good each of the last two campaigns. This is not a head coach who bails on his struggling players.
Which Titans’ running back do you want to own?
I would rather be forced to watch a ten hour marathon of anything involving a Kardashian than own a single one of them.
Antonio Andrews is getting the most run, something he’s earned with decidedly non-awful play. But he is a plodder with little wiggle and less burst. Even if Andrews finishes the season as the starter, I have zero faith he won’t get Zac Stacy’d this off-season.
The only other name I’d even entertain at this point is David Cobb, but not for any reason other than he hasn’t had a shot yet. The problem here is I’m not sure what he will do when he gets his chance. Cobb is a one-gear runner who lacks pass game chops, making him a discount Stevan Ridley or Alfred Morris. Both of those guys had nice seasons at one point or another, but both relied on touchdowns to matter as neither catches passes.
Andrews and Cobb are the definition of limited ceiling players. If Tennessee is smart, they will have a new lead dog in 2016, rendering all their current options inconsequential.
What is your favorite mushroom?
I love stir-fried oyster mushrooms. They look weird and have a funny texture, but they taste amazing.
Is Michael Floyd back?
It is easy to pin Floyd’s recent success to John Brown’s hamstring injuries, but that is kind of lazy and not altogether accurate. Brown was originally hurt leading into the Cardinals week six game versus the Steelers. In that contest the small speedster posted 29.6 points, while Floyd managed 16. The next week, they scored 16.5 versus 14.9, respectively. The two haven’t played a healthy game together since, with Floyd hanging 20.6 and 30.3 in those two games.
So, yes, Floyd has been better without the competition for targets, but I don’t think anybody would be upset with the 15.5 PPG he averaged in weeks six and seven, his first this season as a major part of the offensive game plan.
I’m not sure we will ever see Floyd realize the potential that caused so many, myself included, to make him a top-15 wide receiver over the summer of 2014. But I do think there is every reason to be optimistic we have a WR2 on our hands who is capable of posting huge, game winning weeks for his owners.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go try another of my childhood nemeses: pickles.
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