Coming into Week 6 means any turn around by NFL teams (or fantasy teams) had better already be underway. Most of the top ten in their position will end up top ten or at least close. We’re still due at least one or two major surprise injuries but the deeper into the season we get, the fewer injuries there are. Or as as many NFL players will attest, everyone is at least a little injured, you just have to play through it.
Pull up a chair. Here’s the next six guys I’ve been thinking about.
1. QB Tony Romo (DAL) – Sure, Dak Prescott has played well very well and is a fan favorite. He’s the new look of the Cowboys and somehow perhaps the most fortuitous draft pick in a long time since the Cowboys were going to take Paxton Lynch but the Broncos jumped in front of them. But Jerry Jones (and therefore all other Cowboys) say that Tony Romo remains the starter, This weekend in Green Bay will be interesting because if Prescott wins that game it could mean Romo had a “setback”.
But when Romo plays, he should be productive. In 2014, when he last had formidable rushing support, Romo passed for 3705 yards and 34 touchdowns. Dez Bryant turned in a career best 16 touchdowns on his 88 receptions for 1320 yards. The Cowboys are on their bye during Week 7. If Romo was to start in Week 8 as expected, he’ll be facing PHI, @CLE, @PIT, BAL and then WAS. Not a bad way to return and after a few big passing games, the switch becomes much less an issue.
2. RB Arian Foster (MIA) – The original starting running back for the Dolphins is slated to return from his hamstring strain and he only lost four games. The question is what to expect? Is he the anticipated savior of the rushing effort (Part II)? Getting a lot of questions from some very hopeful people. Answer is – probably not.
First off he only managed 38 yards on 13 carries in Seattle but had one long catch. The Dolphins offensive line is a mess. In the four games he was gone, the Fins never had any runner with more than 42 yards in a game. They are ditching the committee approach which helps but Foster is still limited in practices and likely won’t return to a full load – whatever that is in Miami. The next opponents (and their rank vs. RB) are PIT (11), BUF (19), NYJ (10), SD (31), LA (20) and SF (23). Those first three games are against decent rushing defenses but are at home. But bottom line – Foster is injury-prone. He was hurt in his second game as a Dolphin and only played four games last year. I’ll sell if I was holding him because it may be the only time you can.
3. QB Marcus Mariota (TEN-) – He was a popular add in leagues this week. He was on the waiver wire because he just threw for three touchdowns in Miami and he ran one in as well. But his last four games were never better than 238 passing yards and he went two weeks without any score. He was even scoreless at home against the Raiders.
But he usually adds 20+ rushing yards. His allure is the upcoming schedule of CLE, IND, JAC, @SD, GB, @IND and @CHI. He is someone that I would not mind holding since the Titans want to improve their passing game. But Mariota hasn’t thrown more than 33 passes over the last four games and rarely uses his wide receivers with much success. Over the last four games, he hasn’t connected with any wideout for more than four catches. Love the schedule but there is no reason to start him until he does more than hand-off to DeMarco Murray and target Delanie Walker. Again – he was scoreless versus the Raiders.
4. RB Justin Forsett (DET) – The Lions lost Ameer Abdullah in Week 2 and he could be gone for the season. Theo Riddick is the third down back who gets around 11 carries each week and catches four to seven passes. But now he has an ankle injury and may not play this week. DeAndre Washington was filling in but then injured his ankle in Week 4 and could not play last week. He did not practice so far this week. The Lions signed Forsett on Monday since the depth chart was getting thin for healthy bodies.
He could see action this week against the Rams but the expectations are limited for this 31-year-old back that was only gaining 3.2 yards per carry in Baltimore before they released him. He’s there just for depth and it is a nice add because he is a long-time veteran. But the Lions are where running backs go to disappear anyway. The Lions total only two rushing touchdowns and after five games no runner has gained more than 171 yards in total. Forsett is just depth and not likely to become a fantasy factor again.
5. TE Vernon Davis (WAS) – Not going to lie – never was a Vernon Davis fan. He’s been a chronic underperformer for most of his career with just enough success to spark optimism that almost never is rewarded. His last decent season was 2013 when he gained 850 yards and 13 touchdowns on 52 catches. He has not topped 300 yards in a season since. But he landed with the Redskins that love to use Jordan Reed who is trying to recover from a concussion – his fifth one dating back to college.
Will Davis become the new Reed this week? No. He won’t. For one, the Eagles rank #1 against tight ends this week. And secondly, there are plenty of other receivers that would love to up their volume – DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder. It is Crowder who should benefit since he plays the slot and the Redskins were using more two-tight-end formations which kept Crowder on the bench. In that “anything could happen” sort of way, nothing wrong with adding Davis to the roster to see if something really happens. But there’s far more reasons why nothing much will than Davis suddenly becoming relevant again.
Side note – this is very troubling that Reed is already injured. He has never lasted more than 14 games in his three previous years and was more known for being injured than his production until last year. He’s only scored in one game this year (CLE) and been good without being great. 2015 could end up as his one magic year if he cannot beat his injury woes.
6. TE Cameron Brate (TB) – I am interested in Brate. He is the starting tight end for the Buccaneers and while he only scored twice this year, he’s been targeted up to 10 times. The best part of Brate is that his schedule is about to become very advantageous for a tight end. The Buccaneers are on their bye this week but then hit a string of @SF, OAK, ATL and CHI. That’s the best tight end schedule for those four weeks of any NFL team. Mike Evans has been the lone consistently good weapon for Jameis Winston and the next month should include Brate more.
And an extra point…
Scoring is down and something is happening that seems appropriate given how the tendency of most is to draft like last year was going to repeat. Let’s compare the fantasy positions for the total number of fantasy points generated by the top ten in each position as of Week 5 for 2015 and 2016.
Position – 2015 fantasy points vs. 2016 fantasy points.
Quarterbacks – 1182 vs. 1004
Running Backs – 882 vs. 963
Tight Ends – 672 vs. 638
Wide Receivers – 1025 vs. 969
Not only is scoring down, but interesting that in 2015 as of Week 5, there was a difference of 143 points between wide receivers and running backs. Those top wide receivers were better scorers. But so far, there is only a difference of six points between those positions. The only position with an increase in fantasy points was running backs. Drafting went nuts for the wideouts last summer since they did so well.
It could change by the end of the year and we’re see seeing different top ten running backs than expected – Melvin Gordon, Tevin Coleman, Theo Riddick and the like. Those names will likely drop. But interesting that the passing stats are not as high as 2015 and those wideouts are not quite as advantageous as they were last season.