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.
Eddie Royal, WR, Chargers
2V: I guess I don’t see the disconnect between DMD’s P&P of 6-80-1 for Royal and the SBL’s Solid Starter status for him. It’s an incredibly favorable matchup, Malcom Floyd was nursing an injury during the week, and the Chargers have no ground game at the moment. It all adds up to plenty of opportunity for Royal and the rest of the San Diego passing game.
DMD: I would not rank Royal that highly or even consider him viable for a fantasy start unless he was in a great situation – like this week. The Jets come to San Diego sporting the #28 defense against wide receivers and it gets pretty hard to ignore a wide receiver who scored twice in both of the most recent games. Against secondaries no worse than the Jets. Facing the Jets is a wonderful thing because their front defensive line is very good and will shut down the run. That makes opponents throw against them and that is their biggest weakness. This is only the second road game for the Jets who gave up 346 yards and three scores to Aaron Rodgers – almost all went to the wideouts. Nelson had 209 yards. I like Royal this week to pull the hat trick and score in his third straight game. He even plays the Raiders next week.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers
2V: Makes sense for the P&P to be bullish on Benjamin (7-80-1); where else are you going to stash passing game stats on that Carolina roster? I’ll fully acknowledge that Benjamin has ascended to every-week starter status—the SBL says as much—so maybe the fringe is a little soft for him; consider him tweaked up to Solid Starter Status… like you were going to sit him anyway.
DMD: The reality is that you are dealing with probability when you are projecting a player’s production. And part of that is feeling good about what the overall passing numbers are like and then determining how that can happen. Without going too far into that process, as Tuvey mentions – who else is going to catch passes for the Panthers? Benjamin is the real deal and he’s already made several very impressive catches. This rookie has only played in four games and scored in three of them along with 76+ yards. Unless the matchup is among the worst – and facing the visiting Bears is by no means the worst – Benjamin is a must start in my book.
Clay Harbor, TE, Jaguars
2V: Harbor has rapidly ensconced himself into the Jags’ passing game since returning from the injury that cost him most of training camp and the early portion of the season. And while the numbers do line up on his side, the TE TDs the Steelers have allowed went to second option Owen Daniels in goal line situations and the vastly superior Greg Olsen. A typical tight end stat line against the Steelers clocks in around 45 yards or so, which feels a whole lot more like where Harbor lands this week. If more than a couple teams were on the bye I could see reaching for Harbor, but there were more than enough other more palatable options to leave him in bench territory.
DMD: I feel sort of unclean pushing a Jaguars receiver. But I liked two things – 1.) Harbor was out with a calf injury and played for the first time last week when he caught eight passes for 69 yards from Blake Bortles who is looking for a good friend close to the line of scrimmage. The Steelers have not faced many decent tight ends and yet have allowed three scores to the position. The Jags at home with a rookie quarterback against the Steelers all adds up to me liking the chances that Harbor has at least one more decent game. There is risk here to be sure but the same can be said with most any tight end this year.
Michael Floyd, WR, Cardinals
2V: Apparently I like Floyd a little more this week; in reading the P&P, it’s likely because Floyd’s numbers have come in home games and this one’s on the road. It’s a trend worth noting, to be sure, but if Arizona is to remain competitive in this game they’ll need to keep up on the scoreboard—and to do that they’ll need to throw, which means Floyd will be heavily involved. He’s the clear WR1 in Arizona, has demonstrated he can get it done with either Carson Palmer or Drew Stanton at the helm, and will be needed on Sunday. Balance that against Floyd’s home-based stats and I’d still lean in favor of getting Floyd into my fantasy lineup this week.
DMD: I can see why someone would want to start Floyd who has the talent to be an every week starter. He has upside no matter what the matchup. But I am cooler on him with a matchup to Aqib Talib and the Broncos have only allowed two scores to wideouts and both were not playing against Talib. They’ve held almost all wideouts to under 50 yards. If I had to choose between Floyd with a bad matchup and some mediocre wideout with a good one – I’d probably take Floyd. But the projections go with what all variables say is the most likely.
Trent Richardson, RB, Colts
2V: You can fight the wrongness of it, or you can learn to accept it: Trent Richardson will get carries in Indy. And with Ahmad Bradshaw in a walking boot—again—and the Ravens clamping down on pass-catching backs, the 15-20 carries Richardson is going to get warrant fantasy consideration. Maybe there needs to be a category between “Solid Starters” and “Fringe Fantasy Plays” that fits Richardson better; we could call it “Backs Who Inexplicably Continue To Get Carries, And If One Of Them Happens Close Enough To The End Zone He’ll Salvage Your Fantasy Day”. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?
DMD: I projected 40 rushing and 3-20 receiving for Richardson which is pretty much a split of the action between he and Ahmad Bradshaw. Unless you have a bye week problem or play in a big league, 60 yards is not really a fantasy starter to me. In fairness to TRich, he has totaled 80+ yards these last three weeks even if Bradshaw consistently looks better. And the Colts will feed him up to 20 carries per game. But the Ravens rank #5 against running backs. No runner has topped 59 rushing yards against the Ravens so far and the Colts are going to split up the workload. At home in a negative matchup, Richardson is a very low level start. He’s only really attractive at home against a bad defense.