Week 8: Player Downgrades
Some downgrades are for the here and now, some are for the long haul some are just about value going forward. Adjust your planning accordingly...
This first line goes out to that one reader who will not read the fine print and scream, "Joe Flacco's a downgrade during his bye week? Duh!!!" Others of course will note that this column is about the present AND the future. It is that latter category where Flacco's losses knock him down a peg or two. Forget all that "elite" passer talk; Flacco is a quality NFL quarterback for sure, but a statistical yo-yo week to week. Owners that bought into his hot start as a sign the Ravens QB could be a consistent start were sadly mistaken. Certainly don't cut him; heck, the Ravens are inexplicably throwing way more than they should considering Ray Rice's existence. You might even be able to hold your breath and start Flacco coming out of the bye at Cleveland, but his final five fantasy weeks are loaded with tricky opposition. Have another arm ready to go.
Bush owners rememeber the first three weeks of the 2012 fantasy football campaign fondly. Their guy scored three times, twice in the season opener, while averaging nearly 15 carries per game. Add in a Matt Forte injury and the plan for weekly viability out of the Bears backup runner looked solid. That was then. In three games since, Bush has 20 total carries - 10 over the last two games - for 91 yards and no scores. Meanwhile Forte's established his alpha male role in the Bears bacfkfield, making it hard to gauge Bush's weekly value being even flex worthy. He's still the leading man at the goal line, but starting a rich man's John Kuhn isn't that ideal, even against a suspect Carolina defense on Week 8.
Rashard Mendenhall is back in the mix, when healthy anyway. Jonathan Dwyer just turned in the best outing by a Steelers runner this year. Meanwhile Redman, in addition to dealing with his own aches and pains, has been a non-factor for the Steelers and no help to fantasy owners. He's averaging only 2.5 yards per carry with one touchdown. That's some sweet action! Um, not really. If you own Mendy and have space for a Redman hedge, that's fine, but why would Pittsburgh turn to anyone besides Dwyer at this point if needed.
Raise your hand if you've been waiting for Quizz to supplant Michael Turner as the Falcons top runner? Or at the very least move the Atlanta backfield into RBBC territory? Ugh, I'm one of you, but clearly the burly Turner is not. The plodder formally know as "Burner Turner" remains just ahead of the depth chart posse. Here's the thing about Rodgers: when given touches, he's done nothing with them. The suppossed dynamic scatback is averaging a lowly 2.5 yard per carry. Heck, he doesn't have a single game this year where he's tallied even four yards per carry. His long longest play from scrimmage, a 15 yard catch. Yeesh. Maybe the Falcons aren't dialing the right play calls, but the burst is not apparent (on Tuesday's podcast, Falcons beat writer Orlando Ledbetter claimed said burst simply doesn't exist). If you own Turner, Rodgers is a worthy handcuff. If you have stashing space on your roster, he's worth holding onto considering the Falcons offense. Just don't use him as a Flex or otherwise until he flashes more than hype.
Let's start with the obvious: DeAngelo isn't De-oing much of anything, especially over the last two games unless 10 yards on eight carries is what you're looking for from a running back. Worse, Williams received only five snaps in Week 7 against the Cowboys comapred to 55 for Jonathan Stewart and 15 for Mike Tolbert. Don't assume the Panthers simply forgot about Williams; the Associated Press is reporting Carolina intended on giving Stewart a heavy workload. Though his yards per carry average in weeks 2-4 had a rather healthy glow, Williams has yet to shine his way to running for even 70 yards in a game this season. Obviously talented enough to be a weekly starter, don't use him until, well, until further notice. Whether that's more touches or another Stewart injury, who knows for now.