Coffin Corner: Keepin' It Real
We've played six weeks of the NFL season and people are convinced they have a handle on the season. Most believe that Philip Rivers is an elite QB and Colin Kaepernick is a bust. Most believe that Knowshon Moreno is an elite runner while Doug Martin is just barely hanging on. Most believe that Alshon Jeffery is the truth while Larry Fitzgerald is junk. Most believe that Julius Thomas is the greatest and Jared Cook is a bum. I'll take a look at some numbers in today's piece and point out some facts that you were potentially unaware of. After reading what follows, perhaps you'll have to change your point of view on a few guys in the game of fantasy football.
A WEEKLY FANTASY BATTLE
Are you interested in a way you can turn $10 into $1,000,000? It's legal, you don't have to do anything you have to hide from your significant other, and on top of that it's fun since it's fantasy football. Here's what you do.
1 – Sign up for the Weekly Fanduel.com/BaseballGuys.com NFL Salary Cap Contest.
2 – If you finish in the top-3 during Week 7 you get a free entry into the Week 8 Qualifier (a $25 value). You also get a shot at the weekly prizes totaling $1,000.
3 – If you win the Week 8 Qualifier then you get a free entry ($200 value) for the Week 11 Super Qualifier.
4 – If you finish in the top-20 in the Week 11 Super Qualifier you are off to Las Vegas for a chance at the $1,000,000 grand prize thanks to Fanduel.com.
Oh yeah, you also get to take me on in the Week 7 contest, so in addition to setting yourself on a path to win $1,000,000 you get to beat me down too for bragging rights. Pretty sweet, right? Should be a lot of fun and you can also win cash along the way, so why wouldn't you be interested? Here's the link to play in the Weekly Fanduel.com/BaseballGuys.com NFL Salary Cap Contest.
I'm going to be using the scoring system in this discussion that we have in place for the SiriusXM Host League. Here are the general rules:
4 pts for passing score.
6 pts for rushing/receiving score.
1 pt PPR
1 pt for 10 yards rushing, receiving.
1 pt for 20 yards passing
Pretty straight forward stuff. Lets get to the analysis.
Sam Bradford is on pace for 35 touchdown passes and just eight interceptions. At the same time his completion percentage stinks at 59.5 percent, and even though he's averaging 39 passes a game he's not even on pace to throw for 4,000 yards (3,820). When the TDs slow, and they will, he's really going to have to pick up the rest of his game to be a QB1.
Peyton Manning has 22 passing scores, which is more than three times the total of the man who replaced him in Indianapolis, Andrew Luck (seven). Luck has fewer passing scored than Matt Schaub (eight) and has the same number as Alex Smith. At his current pace Luck will throw for 19 touchdowns. Remember Manning... he's already thrown for more than that. Luck has had a very good football campaign, but he's not an elite option in the fantasy game.
Cam Newton is an elite QB. There I said it. His average of 23.9 points a game this season is higher than Jay Cutler (23.4), whom everyone seems to think is the coolest cat since Slinging' Sammy Baugh. His 23.9 mark is also only a tenth behind Tony Romo and less than a half point behind the mark of Michael Vick. Newton has also had two games of at least 33 points over his last three games. Peyton Manning only has two games with 33 points this season.
Philip Rivers is not an elite QB and he will likely struggle to end the year as a top-10 option at the position. Here's why. Rivers has three games of 400+ passing yards. He also has three games in which he hasn't thrown for 240 yards and two of those games he didn't even through for 200 yards. After seven TDs in his first two games, he's thrown for seven scores over his last four games. He's never finished a season with a completion percentage over 66.0 percent, and that was back in 2010. His current mark is 72.6 percent and that would be the best mark in the history of football (Drew Brees at 71.2 percent in 2011). Is Rivers really going to set an NFL record like that in his 10th season when he's been under 64 percent the last two seasons?
Chris Johnson has been terribly disappointing as the Titans just won't give him the ball at the goal line and due to the fact that he's just not finding the holes often enough as a runner. At the same time he has caught seven balls the past two weeks and that has helped him to be the 24th rated runner in a PPR setup, meaning he's still an every week starter.
Doug Martin has been terribly disappointing as he checks in as the #20 back in fantasy football. Considering he was the #2 back on nearly everyone's board this year there's an extra zero next to his name that shouldn't be there. Still, it merits pointing out that he's run the ball 116 times this season, the fourth highest mark in football ... and he's only played in five games since Tampa Bay had an early bye. As a result he's averaging 23.2 carries a week, which could give him 371 over the course of the season. Last season Arian Foster led the way with 351 carries. Martin will end up as a top-10 runner if his volume of work continues at this pace.
Despite the fact that he's an RB1 right now, Knowshon Moreno is not an elite running back, or at least he shouldn't be looked at that way even though he has been to this point. Here's what you need to know. (1) Moreno has seven scores on the ground in six games. That ties his career best from his 16-game rookie season. Prior to '13 he had scored nine times in his last 28 games. Is he really going to keep up this pace? (2) Moreno is running for 62.2 yards per game this season. Not only is that less than the 65.6 he ran for last year, it's also a rate that would lead to 995 rushing yards. You can't be an elite running back if you don't run for 1,000 yards can you? (3) Moreno played 16 games in 2009, 13 in 2010, seven in 2011 and eight in 2012. Everyone seems to have completely forgotten that Moreno hasn't been able to play a full slate of games in four years and that the last two seasons he was only on the field for 15 games. This guy's track record makes him look like DeMarco Murray's first cousin.
C.J. Spiller has been terribly disappointing as an ankle issue, and some odd play-calling by the Bills, has really tanked his early season value (so much for the team “... giving Spiller the ball until he pukes ...” as his OC Nathaniel Hackett famously said before the season started. "We're going to give him the ball until he throws up. So he's either got to tap out or throw up on the field.”). You can blame the ankle injury for some of that, but the fact is that C.J. hasn't even carried the ball 10 times in three of his last four games. Still, despite the injury, the lack of workload, and the re-emergence of Fred Jackson, the guy's still a weekly flex option as he checks in as the #28 running back after six weeks.
Justin Blackmon has only played in two games but 19 receptions, 326 yards and one score leave him with a two-game average of 28.8 points a game, tops in football (Julio Jones is next in line with a mark of 22.3). Last season no receiver in football averaged 23 points a game. Blackmon in two games has more fantasy points (57.6) than Steve Smith (57.4), Mike Wallace (56.1) and Dwayne Bowe (54.9). Amazing huh? Over his last six games dating back to last season Blackmon is also averaging 20.9 points per game. DeSean Jackson, who leads the NFL with 122.9 points this season, is averaging 20.5 points per game.
Anquan Boldin is currently the 21st wideout in fantasy points with 83.1. Unfortunately he produced 39.8 of those points in Week 1, meaning over his last five games he's averaging 8.67 points a game. Santana Moss is averaging 8.82 points per game this season. Sorry Boldin owners.
Julian Edelman isn't a very exciting option. I get it. With Rob Gronkowski nearing a return, and IF Danny Amendola can somehow manage to stay on the field, there just shouldn't be much excitement with Edelman. Still, isn't it rather shocking to note that he's #12 at the wide receiver spot through six weeks?
Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer have been terrible this season as the O-line of the Cardinals is continually being beaten. Fitz has also been extremely frustrating given those damn leg issues (he's got something going on with both hamstrings now). If you haven't looked though I bet you would be blown away to learn that he's the #13 WR in fantasy right now... and he hasn't been very good, right?
Alshon Jeffery has been great an alternatively really blah. Through six weeks he has three games in single digits, including two with five points. Still, thanks to some huge efforts he's been the #11 wideout through six weeks. There hasn't been a more boom/bust WR1 through six weeks and that has to make you at least a wee bit nervous with him.
Andre Johnson has never scored 10 times in a season. Last year he had four touchdowns. This season he's been injured and produced no scores through six games. He's also had two games where he's failed to reach 40 yards. Guess what? He's still firmly been a WR2 as the #15 WR in the game.
Denarius Moore didn't catch a pass in Week 2, and through two weeks he was outside the top-60 at the wide receiver position. A month later he's up to 18th at the position as he's been the #6 wideout in football the last four weeks.
Martellus Bennett scored three times in the first two games and since then he's gone radio silent. Well, that's not quite right since he's caught at least five balls in three of his last four games including 19 over his last three contests. He has the same reception total as Julius Thomas (more on him below).
Charles Clay wasn't drafted in your league, we all know it. Right now he's the #9 tight end in fantasy. In his five games he's received at least six targets each week, he's scored twice in his last two games, and he's hauled in 23 receptions.
Jared Cook has been a huge disappointment. He's still the #11 tight end going but he scored 33.1 of his 65.1 season long points in Week 1. Yeah, more than 50 percent of his season long points came in Week 1.
Colby Fleener was thought of as a solid second tight end coming into the year, one with a chance to be a TE1. With Dwayne Allen out of the mix for the season due to injury, the belief was that Fleener could easily climb into TE1 discussion. It just hasn't happened. Fleener has two games with season with more than five points, five, and his total of 48.7 points is less than Delanie Walker for goodness sakes (50.5). That's pretty embarrassing/disappointing.
Julius Thomas is third at the tight end position in points. Thank the insane total of seven scores in six games. Few seem to have noted that he's failed to record 50 yards in four of six games this season.
Jason Witten is averaging 13.8 points a game this season. At the same time, he's failed to reach that mark in four of his six games only getting to that overall average because of 27 points in Week 1 and 25.1 points in Week 5.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.