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.
Jay Ajayi, RB MIA
It has been an interesting off-season for the Dolphins second year running back Jay Ajayi, to say the least. The team appeared committed to bringing back Lamar Miller, but Miller never returned the sentiments and decided instead on Houston. The front office tried enticing C.J. Anderson and Chris Johnson to soak up the sun in Miami, but neither option panned out. Bullets were being dodged and fantasy owners were looking towards 2016 with thoughts of monopolizing the Miami backfield. Just a couple of days ago signs pointed even more towards Jay’s fantasy value increasing as Kevin Cole noted:
If Ajayi can survive the draft without major competition added, look out. https://t.co/25wHSMCSJl
— Kevin Cole (@Cole_Kev) March 21, 2016
Commitment to the run and even the runner himself has not been standard operating procedure for the Dolphins, but at least they were saying the right things. Then news came out the team was looking to trading for a running back leading up to the NFL draft. At the current moment Miami appears intent on singing another runner and whether that player will directly compete with Ajayi remains to be seen. It should worry fantasy owners that the team is giving him the Rodney Dangerfield treatment as Gregg Rosenthal tweeted,
Dolphins lose out on C.J. Anderson, then Chris Johnson. Can’t Jay Ajayi get a little respect around here?
— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) March 17, 2016
If the Dolphins add a veteran presence I would expect Ajayi to again take more of a backseat in year two. Much more will obviously be cleared up after the draft, and if Jay can continue to sidestep additional running mates in the backfield his value in 2016 and beyond will jump considerably based on opportunity alone.
Alfred Morris, RB DAL
A running back heading to Dallas is normally met with fantasy owners rejoicing at the next sure thing behind one of the league’s best offensive lines. The recent signing of Alfred Morris has not garnered as much hype from the fantasy community as I might have expected as seen from tweets by Graham and JJ,
Dallas’ o-line should help, but Alfred Morris saw 11+ carries in 10 games in 2015. In such games: 0 top-12 (PPR) wks, just 3 top-24 outings.
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) March 22, 2016
I keep thinking there’s no way Dallas sees Morris as a big running back answer, but remember what we saw last year?
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) March 22, 2016
Morris has seen his average yards per carry drop from 4.8 in his rookie season to 3.7 during his fourth season in Washington. His touchdown production also fell off dramatically scoring only one time last season. Matt Jones also came on strong and Washington clearly thought enough of Jones to let Alfred walk away. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has also has put a damper on the Morris signing with recent comments stating that Darren McFadden would be the lead runner limiting Morris’ carries. Though Jones also exclaimed that Alfred would see a “substantive workload,” so your guess may be good as the next guy. In the end both McFadden and Morris are likely to steal fantasy production from each other, leaving neither as a top asset unless injury strikes. That is the one difference between the two players that is apparently reflected in their current dynasty values. McFadden normally falls about ten spots behind Alfred as it may still be difficult for owners to trust Darren can stay healthy whereas Morris has never missed a game in four years.
Lance Dunbar, RB DAL
The Cowboys running back that could wind up as the best fantasy value is the newly re-signed Lance Dunbar. Dunbar is currently valued in the mid to late 50’s amongst all running backs and at that point you are essentially hoping for other runners to go down so that they can get a chance. But as Pat Thorman mentioned, last season got off to a quick start for Dunbar and the Cowboys.
Small sample, but Lance Dunbar was the PPR RB12 through 3 weeks, without scoring a TD, before hurting his knee. Glad he’s back with #Cowboys
— Pat Thorman (@Pat_Thorman) March 17, 2016
Lance secured 21 receptions during the first three weeks of the season, averaging 70 yards per game. It is unlikely he would have kept up that pace all season, but the team obviously was looking for him in the passing game. In standard leagues Dunbar holds little value, but in PPR he could become a weekly option again if the team looks to establish his role. You know the aforementioned Morris is not getting any work as a receiver and McFadden never really excelled in the passing game after Dunbar went down with an injury in week four. Lance is one of those low risk player acquisitions that could have flex potential in 2016.
Josh Gordon, WR CLE
Two months ago it was looking better that stud wideout Josh Gordon would soon be reinstated by the NFL and ready to jump back into fantasy starting lineups. As of this week though the NFL has yet to comment on the situation and it will be next week at the earliest before the matter is resolved. The league also mentioned that the 60 day timeframe to make a ruling on Gordon’s reinstatement is more of a guideline than actual rule, going all Captain Barbossa on us. As Zach Law commented, things are getting pretty tense for Josh and his owners:
Uh oh, Josh Gordon truthers getting Sean Miller sweaty.
— Zach Law (@zach_law) March 21, 2016
Twitter’s favorite Douche also noted his concerns with the length of time it is taking stating,
Have a sinking feeling that the reason they’re taking so long on Josh Gordon is because they’re compiling evidence against him.
— Fantasy Douche (@FantasyDouche) March 23, 2016
The Browns themselves have not expressed a clear indication that Josh will be back with the team this year, which leaves fantasy owners in a tough spot. Gordon is an elite talent but he does have to be on the field to score fantasy points. His fantasy value continues to be all over the board as experts range from all in on playing in 2016 to very cautious and highly pessimistic. If you currently own Gordon I am assuming you have ridden out the last long year and as such should remain steadfast in your approach. Here’s to hoping his recent outings with Johnny Manziel have not sunk his last chance at fantasy glory.
Luke practically owns the Twitter machine at @FFGator