Chatting Up Players of Interest
Just to dive deeper into players of interest, Upon Further Review will look at five players each week with a discussion involving John Tuvey and David Dorey. We’ll keep an eye for the players that interest us the most or that we apparently disagree about. Like to make a suggestion? Go to the Start Bench List for a link. If we get enough requests, we’ll happily include players the most people want examined more.
Reggie Bush, RB, Lions
2V: DMD and I are not doctors, but every week we get to play one when we try to determine how healthy a player is and project their fantasy prospects for the coming weekend. With Bush it’s an every-week gig, too. Operating under the assumption that Reggie has had enough time to heal that knee, he should be back in his usual role with the Lions. Not a great matchup, but there are some opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield. Take what DMD has projected for Riddick, whose role likely lessens/goes away entirely with a healthy Reggie, and you get the PPR numbers that make Bush a viable option in those leagues. Of course, as all Reggie owners must know by now, every play is a risk with Reggie.
DMD: I am much less bullish on Bush than I once was. Tuvey has Bush as a solid start against the Dolphins but I’ve got him for 20 rush yards and five catches for 30 yards. A bit less than what maybe you think a solid start is. But the main reason is that Bush is coming back from an ankle injury and yet has not done that much this year anyway. He’s been limited to only 12 runs if that all year and the last two games that he played ended with only 43 and 32 total yards respectively (and both at home). Meanwhile Theo Riddick as a receiver has been great. He caught five passes for 75 yards and a score in Minnesota and then eight receptions for 74 yards and one score in week eight over the Falcons. The Lions said they want to keep Riddick involved but that has to come at the expense of Bush who has not been particularly impressive this season. For at least this week – and I would expect more – Riddick is going to limit Bush.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants
2V: We’ve learned the Seahawks defense is not infallible this season. That said, starting a receiver facing Seattle’s secondary—in Seattle—is a risky prospect indeed. But when they’ve given up fantasy-relevant receiver games they’ve most frequently gone to speed guys like DeSean Jackson and Emmanuel Sanders. Beckham being a speed guy, I like his chances much more than Reuben Randle, whose size advantage will likely be negated by the physical Seahawks corners. I see DMD has Corey Washington projected for the score; gutsy, but I’ll stick with Beckham as the Giant most likely to find the end zone and a low-end solid start this week.
DMD: Tuvey listed Beckham as a low end solid start but I only projected him for four catches and 40 yards. I will agree – he already looks like the most talented wideout they have (though that bar was hardly very high). He comes off a huge eight catch game against the Colts but his other three starts were all 44 yards and less. His natural position is flanker on the right which matches right across from Richard Sherman. They have used Beckham in the slot on occasion though we cannot know if Sherman would just move with him or not. Beckham certainly is the only wideout that can scare a secondary because of his speed. The Seahawks are at home and and the matchup is not positive for Beckham. If he does much, it would be late in trash time and that is hard to rely on. Three of his four games so far have been less than a solid start to me and playing in Seattle across from Richard Sherman is not where I think he bucks the trend.
Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
2V: Sigh. I just broke up with Michael Floyd in The Pickup Joint this week, and now here he is back at my door with flowers, candy and a tasty matchup against the Rams. DMD and I seem to be in agreement that Larry Fitzgerald is back atop the passing game pecking order in Arizona; Floyd’s ranking as a solid start is me thinking he’s a shade more likely than John Brown to be the productive secondary receiver the Rams always seem to allow. I can quit him, I really can; just… maybe not this week.
DMD: I projected Floyd for just 50 yards on four catches and as Tuvey mentioned, Larry Fitzgerald is trying not to wind down with a whimper. The Rams secondary is nothing special to be sure so within that there is a bit of upside. But Floyd’s 2014 season is everything that 2013 did NOT suggest. After starting the year with two 100 yard games, he’s failed to top 50 yards in any game and was blanked by the Eagles which was not even known to be possible. I’ll concede there is upside and he is at home which is really significant to his games. I’d start him with fingers crossed if I had no decent other options. But assuming there are other options, I’d explore them more than a guy who has been marginal at best for six straight games.
Owen Daniels, TE, Ravens
2V: Yes, I like the theory of Owen Daniels in a favorable matchup against the Titans. In a week with six teams on the bye, he’s a fantasy starter. But only one of the four TE TDs the Ravens have scored this season have gone to their TE1; Daniels’ double against the Steelers came as the wingman to Dennis Pitta, and last week Crockett Gilmore swiped Daniels’ score in the rematch. Consider the fringe ranking a hedge against Gary Kubiak’s play-calling vulturing Daniels once again.
DMD: I am slightly higher on him I guess though his last two games ended with 6-58-1 against the Falcons and 6-53 in Pittsburgh. I am not married to the touchdown I awarded him so his 6-60 projection falls more in line with how Joe Flacco has been using him in recent weeks. As I noted in his writeup, he’s just a moderate start this week with a bit of upside but just as much risk.
Montee Ball, RB, Broncos
2V: Ball won’t be back this week, and reports out of Denver indicate that he’ll have to earn his starting job back from Ronnie Hillman once he’s healthy. That’s two hurdles to clear and doesn’t even bring into play the month of unfavorable matchups Denver’s ground game will face after putting Oakland in their rear view mirror. If I’m adding Ball I’m doing it with the expectation of not getting much out of him—due to not being fully healthy, not getting the necessary volume of touches, and facing a rough road of matchups—until championship week, when the Broncos face Cincinnati. By that point I’ll have enough information to determine if I have the confidence to plug him into a title-game lineup. Of course, by that point Denver may have home field sewn up and will be resting Ball anyway. So in my mind Montee’s value in a redraft league is more than a little bit limited.
DMD: Ball is one of those players that everyone is really certain about, no matter how different they may be from someone else. I loved the situation for Ball this summer taking over for Knowshon Moreno in a Peyton Manning offense. What is not to like about that an offense that produced over
1800 rush yards for the last two seasons
One that made Knowshon Moreno look like s stud and yet a dud after he left. But Ball was held to only 67 yards and a score on 23 runs by the Colts in the opener. He had 60 yards on 12 runs versus the Chiefs but added 29 receiving yards. But struggled with 38 yards on 14 runs in Seattle and Hillman was held to two yards on two carries there. Then Ball’s groin was injured and Hillman took over. Hillman owners are more than a little adamant about how great he looks and how thoroughly superior he is to Ball which I would still have problems accepting. HIllman is only averaging 4.3 yards per carry and scored just four times this year. Ball’s final eight regular season games of 2013 had him with a 5.9 ypc. Moreno ended with a 4.8 ypc in 2013 as the primary back.
I see Hillman as the best back they currently have healthy – no question. But he’s not been much more than an average back in an ideal situation. His stats are not that much different than his first two seasons other than the Broncos have to use him more. At 5-10, 195 lbs Hillman has always been a little under-sized which is why 5-11/225 Juwan Thompson is now stealing short touchdowns. When Ball returns what happens? That depends on when and how healthy he is. Ball will be rusty anyway and Hillman is in the groove as the primary back for the offense so it is unlikely they would change that much with the season winding down. Ball will cut into Hillman’s workload though and Hillman is not producing like Moreno did. His fantasy value takes a big hit if he loses more than five or ten touches which seems almost certain. Ball could potentially take back the primary role with a few really impressive showings but he’ll have to do it with fewer touches. In short – Ball is most likely not going to produce relevant fantasy stats whenever he returns at least for a few weeks and likely the rest of the season. But he will hurt the more average Hillman.