Weekly Twitter Observations
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.
Running Back Values
Over the last week many in the fantasy community have remarked about the dire state of the running back position this past season.
Will be interesting to see how the implosion of early-round RBs this year affects drafting in 2016 pic.twitter.com/cw0kia22xp
— Kevin Cole (@Cole_Kev) December 29, 2015
Just seven men rushed for 1,000 yards this year, tied for the fewest since 1991 #MommasDontLetYourSonsBeRBspic.twitter.com/IpTEsrf4ti — Football Perspective (@fbgchase) January 4, 2016
Leading rushers over the last month of the season. Just a microcosm of the current state of the position: pic.twitter.com/nCw2un3DhT
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) January 4, 2016
Barfield’s note in particular highlights how the fantasy playoffs were greatly impacted by names no one would have expected leading the charge down the stretch. I mean Tim Hightower had not received any playing time since 2011 before he put up 349 yards and three touchdowns between weeks 14-16. Today you will find two runners in the top ten overall dynasty players, likely one more in the top thirty and then a wide smattering in the 40’s to 50’s and the values are oftentimes inconsistent from ranker to ranker. It is interesting time and as Cole noted this will likely affect drafts in the coming season. But sometimes looking to swim against the stream can provide the greatest returns. The running back position is always going to be volatile but if you can purchase players at a discount now it is always worth investigating. Names I am drawn to today include Dion Lewis, Jeremy Langford, Theo Riddick and even a guy like… Spencer Ware, RB KC Looking at dynasty rankings today I would doubt any ranker has Kansas City’s Spencer Ware over Charcandrick West. When Jamaal Charles went down West was called upon first. Andy Reid exclaimed that West operated closest to Charles with his ability to both run and catch the ball. Of course after getting nicked up himself, Ware came on in relief and the numbers played out pretty well the remainder of the season as Rich Hribar illustrated.
Chiefs backfield this season. One of these things was not like the others…. pic.twitter.com/WxMIeQTQqR — Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) January 6, 2016
[inlinead]From an average yards per carry basis Ware bested West 5.6 to 4.0. Hribar displayed how approximately 57 percent of West’s runs went for two yards or less. Ware saw only 36 percentage of his carries go for short or no gains while he also bested West with a higher percentage of carries going for bigger plays. Between weeks 11 to 17 when Ware began to be featured more he also piled up five rushing scores to West’s one. So while West may be able to provide more in the passing game, Ware may be the better option as the true runner and also garner more of the valuable goal line looks. Of course neither of these players will likely see the field as much if Charles is able to return healthy. But if I am looking to handcuff or simply steal someone else’s handcuff, Ware is definitely the less expensive player and could just as easily provide the most upside.
Calvin Johnson, WR DET
A couple weeks back I was discussing how Calvin Johnson’s contract situation may make it difficult for the Lions to keep Megatron in Detroit. Today it appears the decision to remain a Lion is no longer in the front office’s control as Johnson has made statements hinting at potentially retiring. How are dynasty owners reacting to the new? Russell Clay for one is feeling rather deflated it would appear.
My dynasty teams if Calvin Johnson retires. pic.twitter.com/BwNM3Axktd
— Russell Clay (@RussellJClay) January 6, 2016
Despite all of the nagging injuries this season, Johnson still managed to put up over 1,200 yards and score nine times (virtual high five if you read “nine times” and instantly thought of Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). The main problem though was that a long season saw Johnson catch only a single ball in each of the week 14 and 15 contests, otherwise known as the fantasy playoffs. Before the news came out most dynasty rankings placed Megatron in the mid-teens to low 20’s among wide receivers. Today the uncertainty makes buying or selling Johnson extremely tricky. Depending on price and how much an owner believes he will actually retire this could be a good time to buy. If someone feels all but certain he caught his last ball then getting anything in return should be a deal. As Clay mentioned as well owning Johnson could hamper your team even if he does decide to hang up the cleats.
If Calvin Johnson retires today, he still sits on dynasty rosters until at least 2017. — Ryan McDowell (@RyanMc23) January 6, 2016
Possibly the best advice I have seen surrounding the Lions and fantasy is not even related to Calvin but the guy throwing him the ball.
Did you really need another reason to sell Matt Stafford?
— Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick) January 6, 2016
After averaging just under 24 touchdowns between 2012 and 2014 Matthew Stafford tossed 32 this year. He did cross 4,200 yards passing, but so did eight other quarterbacks and six more put up over 3,900. Johnson’s absence would lessen Stafford’s numbers and if anyone is buying for his services today move on while you can. Zach Ertz, TE PHI What a finish to the season! Zach Ertz’s 450 receiving yards over the final four weeks were impressive to say the least. As Josh Moore highlighted as well this is exactly what fantasy owners had been waiting to see out of the Stanford product.
Zach Ertz with 39 targets, 30 rec, 352 yards & a TD over his last 3 games. What #fantaysfootball drafters have been looking for for 3 years. — Josh Moore (@4for4_Josh) January 4, 2016
Allen Bassett also tweeted out how the Zach Ertz bandwagon may be getting pretty full again.
Another season of the Zach Ertz hype train it seems.
— Allen Bassett (@Allen_Bassett) January 3, 2016
If you remember back to the end of the 2014 season, Ertz also “broke out” with a 15-catch 115-yard effort in week 16. Of course absolutely no one should have been starting him as he had only gone over 50 yards in a game once over the previous twelve weeks. 2015 was more of the same for Ertz’s first eleven matchups as he pulled in between 60 and 70 yards on three occasions but never managed more than 46 in the other eight outings. He also only scored twice, which is surprising for an athletic, 6-foot-5 target. The good news is as the season progressed, so did Ertz’s snap percentage. Over the first half of the season he averaged only 67 percent of the snaps per game. After returning from injury in week 12, his final five games saw Ertz average a 79 percent snap share. His target volume also jumped dramatically leading to his strong finish.
Unfortunately Chip Kelly has been let go and the future of Sam Bradford may also be up in the air. Having to start over with a new quarterback and scheme could once again lower Ertz’s ceiling, particularly early on. Be that as it may I am still betting on his abilities and trusting that the new coaches will look to continue his success into 2016 and beyond. Today I would place him in my top ten amongst tight ends right at seventh overall.
Thank you to 4for4.com, Football Outsiders and Football Guys for some of the stats used within this article. All are great resources still available for the average fantasy fan and highly recommended.
- Weekly Twitter Observations - April 2, 2016
- Weekly Twitter Observations - March 26, 2016
- Weekly Twitter Observations - March 11, 2016
haha, lauding Ertz’s perennial strong finish (but annual lackluster 1st half) while discounting Matt Stafford for the same wreaks of player bias. Stafford is a screaming buy from where I sit. DLF’s 18th ranked QB? Seriously? I hope it’s not laggard follow-the-herd thinking. Imagine what Stafford will do with a better line and a semi-decent run game. He’s much better than the 1st half of 2015. Then again, I could be entirely wrong. Cheers.