With the push toward the fantasy playoffs coming up, the boys around The Shop are getting a little antsy, especially those with 3-4 or 2-5 records (and Jackie the Fish at 1-6). They’re seeing their seasons go up in smoke and have a tough decision to make when it comes to how they approach the rest of the season.
There are guys who have had Ahmad Bradshaw sitting on their bench all season, putting up touchdowns almost every week, while their starters are giving them next to nothing. Bye weeks have seen some of their bench players make the lineup, but they don’t seem to last long. After all, when you have the choice of starting Bradshaw or Shady McCoy, which one are you going to choose?
On draft day, everyone thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room. He loves his picks and gives them a little too much in the way of value. Is Larry Fitzgerald a potential Hall of Famer? No question about it. But, is he worth keeping in your fantasy lineup on a weekly basis? Not a chance. He has just one touchdown (which ties him for fourth among Arizona receivers) and, of the three 100-yard receiving games that Cardinals have had, none of them has been from him.
It’s a problem a lot of the fellas in our league are having. When do you decide to cut a guy loose who simply isn’t getting the job done for you? I’m all about loyalty and, over the years, I’ve learned that most fantasy owners are creatures of habit. They get scared off that the one week they finally bench a guy, he blows up, they lose and they regret it the rest of the season.
For those owners, time is running out on having loyalty. This isn’t show friends. It’s show business. Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to avoid the devastating injuries that ruin teams or leave them on life support. Hopefully you’re in that boat as well. But the time may be coming to think twice about guys like Fitzgerald, Matt Ryan, Scott Chandler, any running back from Carolina, Jason Witten, Wes Welker, Reggie Bush, Reggie Wayne, Trent Richardson, Dwayne Bowe, Charles Clay, Cordarrelle Patterson, any Saints running back, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Heath Miller, Zac Stacy, Kenny Britt and Doug Martin. They’re all guys who haven’t been producing on a regular basis and it might be time to pull the plug on them.
If you don’t have any better options, then you don’t have a choice. But, if you have alternatives and don’t have the luxury of being able to lose a couple more games along the way between now and the rest of the regular season, it may be time to make bold moves. If you’re season is going down, you may as well go down fighting and playing hunches rather than letting name recognition continue to drag you down.
- When you think about prolific receivers, there are names that come to mind. But, would you think Ahmad Bradshaw? Through seven games, T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne have combined to score two touchdowns. Granted, T.Y.Jelly has had 80 or more yards on each of the last five games (all wins) and 330 in the last two, but Bradshaw has scored six receiving touchdowns and has seven overall. We keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but it hasn’t come yet.
- Congratulations to Peyton Manning – a Hall of Famer at The Shop long before he broke passing records. Because he set the sexiest record of all time for quarterbacks, he will likely get the October Offensive Player of the Month. But how can’t you give it to Demaryius Thomas? In three September games, he caught 13 passes for 141 yards and one TD. With one October game left, in the first three, he has caught 26 passes for 521 yards and five touchdowns? Peyton’s achievement is impressive, but Thomas owners haven’t lost in October.
- Let’s hear it for the Jags! Apparently the 2008 members of the Detroit Lions don’t crack a 40 of Olde English when their record gets closer to being theirs alone. All that’s standing in between them now is the Raiders. The Lions may want to keep the bottles cooled.
- It was a tough week to be a 2013 playoff team on the road last week. Of the five playoff teams from last year that were on the road (New Orleans, Carolina, Cincinnati, Seattle and San Francisco) on Sunday, all of them lost.
THE RAZOR’S EDGE
10. Whiskey For Men and Beer for My Horses – If I was picking an MVP at midseason, it would be DeMarco Murray. A kid with an injury history, the Cowboys have given Murray an incredible workload. He knocked Jimmy B out of the books with his seventh straight 100-yard game to start the season and has put himself among the greats (he’ll never catch Barry Sanders’ 14 straight, but it’s a good run). But, through seven games, he has never carried less than 22 times in a game and, at his current pace, he will carry the ball 427 times and catch 50 passes. Maybe Jerry is trying to burn him out so he can justify signing Adrian Peterson at some point.
9. Lord Have Percy – It seems hard to believe that just 19 months after Seattle gave up a first-, third- and seventh-round pick and invested $20 million in guaranteed money to sign him to six-year, $64 million deal that included a $12 million signing bonus. What did they get in return? Eight games and a lot of headaches, like the migraines Percy used to suffer. What will get they get in return? Something between a fourth- and a sixth-round pick. The Jets are basically getting a free look at him in the offseason and can decide later if he fits in their scheme going forward or not. But, when you’ve basically run yourself out of two towns, the numbers are starting to drop from eligible suitors.
8. Same Old Song and Dance – The Minnesota Vikings finished with a 5-10-1 record last year, but had the not blown leads in the final minute of five games, they would have finished 10-6. They have a new coaching staff now and a new quarterback, but the outlook stays the same. They allowed journeyman Kyle Orton to throw for 105 yards on an 80-yard drive, including a pair of key passes to Sammy Watkins – who scored the game-winning touchdown with one second left on the clock. The more things change in Minnesota, the more they stay the same.
7. Outside My Mind I’m Going To Carolina – Remember when the Panthers were 2-0 and people were proclaiming them as being back and potentially the next big thing in the NFC? That seems like a long time ago. Since that start, the Panthers have won just one of their last five games and, in their three losses and their tie, they allowed 37, 38, 37 and 38 points. For a defense that looked so lights out early on, now they look just awful. With Seattle, New Orleans and Philadelphia coming on the schedule for their next three games, but the time all is said and done, the Panthers could still be looking for their fourth win of the season.
6. Not-So-Sweet Home Chicago – When you consider that the Bears have gone on the road and beaten San Francisco, the Jets and Atlanta, you would think that the Bears would be in the hunt not only for a division title, but a logical Super Bowl contender. Instead, because they’re 0-3 at home, they’re two games behind both the Packers and Lions and there is talk of inner dissention as the Bears fall farther and farther out of playoff contention. For a team that had so much promise coming into the season, things have gone south and their next two games are at New England and at Green Bay. Their season is hanging in the balance and they could find themselves in a hole too deep to dig out of.
5. Between a Rock and a Harbaugh Place – I have to admit, I’ve never liked Jim Harbaugh. He was a ratty quarterback who did nothing to help his team win and, as a head coach, he comes off like a spoiled kid who doesn’t want to share his toys. The 49ers had a chance to make a statement Sunday night in Denver that Peyton Manning not only wasn’t going to break the all-time touchdown record on their watch, but he would end the game on the sidelines. Manning didn’t play the fourth quarter, because he had the record long since set and the game was such a blowout Denver was resting players for their Thursday game with San Diego. It’s one thing for a team with Super Bowl aspirations to lose. It’s another to get humiliated. While there is still time to right the ship, unless they pick things up their two games in a three-week span against Seattle could be playoff elimination games.
4. Bungle In the Jungle – When the Bengals got off to a 3-0 start, they were making their statement that the road the Super Bowl was going through Cincinnati and it wasn’t going to be another one-and-done in the postseason. Now that’s in jeopardy. In the last three weeks, they’ve allowed New England to score nine times in a 43-17 blowout, missed a chip-shot field goal to tie Carolina and got shut out by Indianapolis. With five road games in their final seven, the Bengals are going to have to show a lot or their hot start will mean nothing and the downward cycle will continue. Who knew not having a healthy A.J. Green could knock down the franchise like it has.
3. How the South Was Lost – We’ve already seen how the Carolina Panthers have fallen flat on their face, but, thanks to the weakest division in the NFL, they’re still in the middle of the division title race. The Falcons have lost four straight and are wallowing at 2-5, including 0-4 on the road. Carolina is 1-3-1 on the road and their only road win is against division rival Tampa Bay. New Orleans is now 2-4 on the season and 0-4 on the road. Their only wins are against Minnesota and Tampa Bay at home – two teams that are a combined 3-11. Tampa Bay is 1-5 and is on pace to allow 544 points. This division is so dismal a losing record could take it. One thing seems certain, the welcome mat will be rolled out whenever one of them comes to town.
2. Browns Skid Mark – For the first time in a long time, the Cleveland Browns were being viewed as a legitimate playoff contender. They had a 3-2 record and their only losses were by a total of five points – three points at Pittsburgh and two points vs. Baltimore. While they were still behind the 8-ball in the division, with three games against Jacksonville, Oakland and Tampa Bay, the potential for a 6-2 record at midseason was legitimate. Now, they’re circling the wagons after a 24-6 blowout loss to previously winless Jacksonville. With the schedule getting a lot tougher in the second half, this is the time the Browns needed to bank wins, not let the Jaguars get rid of the goose egg in the W column.
1. Sleepwalking In Seattle – Whenever a team is defending a championship, they have a bull’s eye on their back and everyone is gunning for them. There weren’t many analysts that believed the Seahawks wouldn’t be the favorite to get back to the Super Bowl. But, after losing to the special teams of the Rams Sunday – who pulled off both a disguised punt return for a touchdown and a fake punt in their own territory in the final minutes, the Seahawks are 3-3. Unless things take a significant turn, the advantage the Seahawks had last year forcing teams to come to Washington to play in front of the 12th Man may slip away from them. As things currently stand, they likely can’t afford to lose more than one or two more games the rest of the way. Being the champ has its perks, but it isn’t easy.