Dealing Adrian Peterson
I got into a heated debate on our Sirius XM show (RotoWire Fantasy Sports Today, XM 87, Sirius 210 11 am – 2 pm) with one of my producers when I advocated for dealing Adrian Peterson, and it brought up an interesting issue, namely: in what circumstances should you deal a healthy star player who's produced consistently year after year?
While I'm not overly down on Peterson, I am concerned about the Vikings poor play and also his lack of involvement in the passing game. But the person asking the question – our other producer – is down on Peterson. She watched the Bears game on Sunday night and has serious doubts about his ability to maintain his usual pace. The question then is whether one should take one's own observations of that sort seriously and act on them, or whether one should soberly consider the consensus rankings for a player and use restraint. (As of Tuesday night, RotoWire has Peterson at No. 1 on its running back board, and I'd be shocked to see him outside of the top five on any site.)
My argument is that it's your team, and if you're down on a player – and you have some reasonable basis for it – then yes, go ahead and deal that player, so long as you get rough market value for him – 95 cents or more on the dollar. If you want to deal Peterson straight up for Calvin Johnson, Darren McFadden or Aaron Rodgers, go ahead. You don't need anyone's permission to do it. There are no sacred cows in fantasy football. Moreover, it's important to trust your instincts in this game. If you observe something, you should be willing to act on it. That's how you test your abilities, and it's the only way to get better. Relying on expert advice and cheat sheets is fine when you first start out, but at some point, you need to make your own evaluations.
Finally, the best time to deal a player is when no one has serious doubts about his abilities. The moment your player is questionable with an injury or losing carries, it's too late. You'll never get 95-cents plus in any serious league. So if you're worried about Peterson, go ahead and see what he'll fetch – his market value is still likely to be high.
Buy Lowest Revisited
Here is the list of struggling players I recommended you buy two weeks ago:
Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams (Cam Newton won't get all the rushing TDs), Roy Helu, Jr. (after Ryan Torain's breakout), Tony Romo (after his meltdown), Percy Harvin, Mike Williams (TB), Ben Roethlisberger, BenJarvus Green-Ellis (after Stevan Ridley's breakout), Steven Jackson (even I have a hard time with that one, but now's the time to buy), Anquan Boldin, Santonio Holmes, Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree.
Most of them have had an uptick in value since, and it's not because I have some special gift of prophecy (though I do in fact have that gift), but that most of them had two things in common: (1) strong past performance and/or a big investment in them by their respective teams; and (2) disappointing performance to that point. If you pick 10 who fit that criteria, and throw in a couple with good raw skills and a foreseeable opportunity, it's almost impossible for them collectively not to outearn their current cost.
Here are a few for this week:
Jay Cutler, Josh Freeman, Daniel Thomas, LeGarrette Blount, Shonn Greene, Peyton Hillis, Mark Ingram, Roy Helu, Jr., Mike Williams, Brandon Lloyd, Sidney Rice, Braylon Edwards, Earl Bennett (still out, but could be Bears' No. 1 when he returns), Roy Williams, Demaryius Thomas, Denarius Moore and Vernon Davis.
Things to Take Away from Week 6
• The Cowboys-Patriots game was shocking in its low score but utterly predictable in its outcome with the Cowboys finding a way to lose late.
• Jay Cutler is a top-10 NFL quarterback that merely needs some protection. He's better in real life than Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub and Matthew Stafford. He's in roughly the same tier as Eli Manning and Tony Romo.
• The Packers left the door open for a backdoor cover all day, but the Rams refused it at every turn.
• Aaron Rodgers has a 122.5 passer rating on the season, slightly higher than Peyton Manning's single-season record. Rodgers is by far the all-time leader in that category, too.
• Cam Newton will be valuable all year due to the rushing touchdowns and his terrible defense, but his passing output has predictably returned to earth the last two weeks.
• Now that the Vikings refuse to throw to Adrian Peterson out of the backfield, is there any difference between him and Michael Turner? On a similar note, why don't the Jaguars ever throw to Maurice Jones-Drew anymore? You'd think a rookie QB would benefit from having a top receiving back as a check-down.
• The Niners won on the road against an undefeated team despite their quarterback averaging 3.9 yards per attempt.
• Before the season Eli Manning got into hot water for putting himself in the same class as Tom Brady. Through six games, both players are tied for second behind Aaron Rodgers at 9.1 yards per passing attempt, and while Manning has 11 TDs and 5 picks, Brady has 16 TDs and eight interceptions. Manning has been sacked three more times for 49 extra yards lost and fumbled four times (2 lost). But based solely on year-to-date performance, i.e., what they've done since the comparison, Manning's statement hasn't been proven ridiculous.
• If the Falcons beat the Lions this week, I hope Mike Smith claps Jim Schwartz on the back like Rafael Nadal hitting a forehand winner.
Things to Look for in Week 7
• Can the Bears protect Cutler for the second straight week?
• Will the Jets be able to handle the Chargers at home after a very ugly win against the Dolphins?
• Will Brandon Lloyd make an immediate impact – even if A.J. Feeley's the quarterback?
• Will Carson Palmer start and/or be turned loose against the Chiefs?
• Will the Lions bounce back at home against a desperate Falcons squad that travels poorly?
Beating the Book
Steelers -3.5 at Cardinals
I thought maybe the Steelers had turned the corner a couple weeks ago, but after seeing them life and death against the Jaguars at home, I don't think that's the case. The loss of James Harrison and a decimated offensive line are serious concerns, and even Mike Wallace is questionable with a hamstring injury. The Cardinals are probably below average, but coming off a bye and getting more than a field-goal at home, they seem like an easy call. Back Arizona who wins outright.
Cardinals 20 – 19
Last week we won with the Bucs to go 4-2 in this forum, 8-3-2 on the week and 45-41-4 overall. We were 10-7 in this forum last season and 40-27 over the four years of the column (we skipped Week 17 in 2007). From 1999-2010 we've gone 1565-1387 against the spread (53%, not including ties). The full article comes out Wednesday night.
Surviving Week 7
I had the Ravens last week, but it didn't matter much since virtually no one was knocked out of your survivor pool.
Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team||Opponent||% Picked*||Vegas ML**||Vegas Odds|