Chatting up players of interest
Just to dive deeper into players of interest, Upon Further Review will look at four 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.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings
2V: As a Vikings fan who’s suffered through some rudderless quarterbacking I’m an unabashed Bridgewater fan. But my concerns coming into the season have proven well-founded: the Vikings rank last in TD passes, next to last in attempts and third from last in passing yards. Not because Bridgewater is no good, because this is still Adrian Peterson’s team. Where Bridgewater will carve out fantasy value early on is when teams stack the box to take away Peterson. In Stefon Diggs and Mike Wallace Bridgewater has targets he can hurt those teams with, and in Kyle Rudolph he has a great option on play actions at the goal line. It’ll be tough to pinpoint which teams will overplay AP and thus be susceptible to a good fantasy game from Teddy, so he’ll be a tough fantasy start the rest of the way. But I certainly wouldn’t kick him off my dynasty team—especially not with Diggs’ development.
DMD: Fantasy terms is about the only way I ever evaluate a player and for Bridgewater, he’s just another one of those guys I’ll have to consider to cover a bye week but nothing more at least until Adrian Peterson is gone and even then – he’s not likely to be top ten ever. When the Vikings had no rushing offense last year, Bridgewater never threw for three or more touchdowns and had two scores just four times. It is encouraging that Stefon Diggs has already made a splash and as I have stated before – I like the Maryland grad. But he’ll likely cool soon enough with cold weather coming and Bridgewater’s really done little this year. No receiver has more than the 324 yards of Diggs. There’s only been five passing scores against four interceptions. I wouldn’t bother with him even on a dynasty team unless it was a 16 team league.
Alfred Blue, RB, Texans
2V: Blue isn’t worthy of blowing your FAAB, in part because the Texans’ schedule the rest of the way is brutal; he’s a matchup play at best, and there are only two favorable tilts on his slate through Week 16. That said, despite what on paper is a bad matchup with the Titans this week this might be your best opportunity to get bang for your buck from him. If Blue has another 31-139-1 game in him, this one is probably it. He’s an ordinary back (barely three yards a carry over his last three games), and he’ll likely be stuck in some sort of committee. But he’s also stepped up in Foster’s absence in the past, so if you invested heavily in Blue use him now; it might be your best/last/only shot.
DMD: This is really a two man race in Houston though Jonathan Grimes will get mixed in for no apparent reason. Certainly if I had to choose, I would take Blue because he is the better rusher compared to Chris Polk. Blue was the only one with any success earlier this year as John pointed out. But the Texans have already said they would use a committee to replace Foster and yes, that schedule is not pretty. And beyond a bad schedule is an offensive line that just hasn’t gotten the job done. Foster had 18+ carries for the last three weeks and never topped 59 yards playing the easier part of the schedule. He had success as a receiver but Polk is more likely to act in that role though never to the extent that Foster has. Blue may have a few decent games but mostly not. Foster turned in nine games with 90+ rushing yards in 2014 but this is a different offense.
Darren McFadden, RB, Cowboys
2V: Who thought Darren McFadden would be the healthiest Cowboys back, the one shouldering a 29-carry workload? McFadden hasn’t seen a day like that since December of 2012, and he followed it up with 17-33 and 19-57. So he seems to be the back to have in Dallas. Unfortunately, the Cowboys’ schedule has no favorable running game matchups the rest of the way. Factor in shaky quarterbacking and McFadden’s penchant for getting hurt and there’s just no way you can bank on him as a fantasy starter the rest of the way. Hey, this Christine Michael guy is supposed to be something special; when’s he gonna get a shot?
DMD: I am higher on McFadden than John is and that sort of makes me feel dirty. I was no proponent of his in the preseason and side-by-side with most backs he does not get the nod. However… what else does Dallas have? Joseph Randle is already proven to be substandard and has legal issues along with less than stellar decision making skills. If Christine Michael was going to provide a boost, he would have done it in Seattle and he would have shown up in Dallas with more than seven carries over three games. McFadden is the best they have and he already proved it – for at least one week and maybe just one week. Why I would be willing to own him – and I do – is because he can catch the ball. The 29-152-1 as a runner was a one game deal. I am more interested in the 9-62 he had as a receiver in Week 5 versus the Patriots. The Cowboys are going to need to find a passing outlet and Dunbar already had two games with 8+ catches including Week 1 with Tony Romo. Yeah, at least for now I would consider him a solid flex play in a reception point league.
Eric Ebron, TE, Lions
2V: There was plenty of preseason buzz about Ebron as he entered his sophomore season, and he lived up to it with TDs in his first two games and 157 yards in his first three. Then he got hurt and we kind of forgot about him. He was kind enough to remind us with a 5-89-1 showing last week, and while Detroit doesn’t have a particularly fantasy-friendly schedule for tight ends the rest of the way he’s still a borderline every-week starter. Hopefully you fished him out of the free agent pool during his injury hiatus or immediately after his big game last week. You should enjoy solid production the rest of the way as he gives Matthew Stafford a Megatron alternative in the red zone and a reliable target down the middle of the field.
DMD: Yeah I have to agree here. Ebron produced the typical mediocre rookie season that all tight ends do. But he is a receiving tight end and faster than most. He’s already had nothing but good games discounting Week 4 when he was injured. The Lions can use another weapon and there’s already been a sizable drop-off from last year for Calvin Johnson and in particular Golden Tate. Not sure Ebron is to the point of being a difference making tight end yet – and maybe never with Megatron there. But he’s worthy of a TE1 start for most fantasy teams given the lack of consistent options.