Cody Pagels
The Weekly Barometer - Week 7

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This is the third season I have owned DeMarco Murray in my money league. It’s a keeper format where players are kept based on their draft position from the year before, with waiver wire pickups counted as 14th-rounders. In normal redraft leagues I would never subject myself to three consecutive years of this, but in this particular case, a savvy 2011 waiver wire pickup has left me tied to this dude for three seasons. Unless, I deal him to a 1-5 team that’s looking to next year, I’ll probably be subjected to this for a couple more as well.

As a fantasy player who has had DeMarco Murray as long as, or longer than, anyone on Earth, I think I’ve pinpointed the most frustrating thing about owning him: his annual big injuries always happen in the first half of a game that he was en route to absolutely dominating. Before going down early in the second quarter Sunday night, he had 50 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. Chris Johnson owners would be ecstatic to get that production in a full 60 minutes. Last year, he had 93 yards rushing at a 6.6 yards per carry clip against Baltimore before hurting his foot. In the 2011 game where he fractured his ankle in the first quarter, he only had 25 yards, but Felix Jones put up 137 yards from scrimmage in relief. If Jones managed to do that, Murray would have annihilated the New York Giants that day. Why must he do this to me every year? If you insist on trying to play like Adrian Peterson despite having glass legs made of tapioca, can you at least have the decency to get hurt in the fourth quarter?

Am I being a remotely reasonable or sane human being for getting angry at a young man for injuring his lower body at times that are inconvenient for me? Of course not; I’m a fantasy football player! But that’s enough of that. Oakland and New Orleans are on a bye this week, and Murray, Cecil Shorts , Larry Fitzgerald , Calvin Johnson , James Jones , Randall Cobb , Danny Amendola , and far too many other players to name are all different degrees of banged up, so you’ve probably got lineup holes. This week had some crazy performances, so let’s see who to start, sell, buy, add, dump, and impotently swear at.

Quarterback

Aaron Rodgers (Week 6 at Baltimore: 315 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 21 rushing yards)

I wouldn’t exactly say that Rodgers has been bad as of late, since he has led Green Bay to two wins and thrown for well over 250 yards per game over his last three contests. But only three touchdowns over his last three games is not the kind of production his owners were expecting when they took him in the first round. Injuries to Randall Cobb and James Jones should only shake his owners’ confidence even more. It’s troubling, but I’m absolutely trying to buy low if I don’t have him. What he’s lost in receivers he’s gained in an honest-to-goodness actual competent pro running game, and Aaron Rodgers is a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady -esque special talent who doesn’t need his full crop of receivers to produce at a high level. After a tough matchup against Cleveland next week, six of the Packers’ eight opponents are in the bottom-12 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. For the fantasy playoffs, he has a dream Week 15 matchup in Dallas, and he’s at home against Pittsburgh for Week 16. You might be scared off by the Steelers’ high-ranking against quarterbacks until you realize that so far they’ve faced Jake Locker , Andy Dalton , Jay Cutler , Matt Cassel and Geno Smith . If you can get Rodgers at any kind of discount, get him on your squad.

Rodgers’ Status: Buy Low

Nick Foles (Week 6 at Tampa Bay: 296 yards, 3 TD, 2 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TD)

I’ve been saying all season that Nick Foles is in many ways a better fit for Chip Kelly’s offense than Michael Vick . The advantage Vick has in this offense begins and ends with his legs. When it comes to the passing game, making accurate, quick-release short passes is the key to moving the ball in this system, and Foles is far better suited to that task than the big-armed, inaccurate Vick. It’s a small sample size, but Foles’ 70 percent completion percentage and three touchdowns were the best totals for a Philadelphia quarterback this season. Don’t make plans to start Foles anytime soon, because sustained success and/or keeping Vick on the bench are far from assured, but he’s at least worth owning in 12-man leagues.

Foles’ Status: Add

Running Back

Brandon Jacobs (Week 6 at Chicago: 106 yards, 2 TD, 1 reception, 8 yards)

It’s kind of a waste of bandwidth for me to even bother telling you that this game was a fluke, because I think we all know it. I watched this whole game and I still don’t know how this stat line happened. That being said, there’s literally no one else to carry the rock for next Monday’s plus matchup against Minnesota, and Jacobs has 10 days to recover from his hamstring issue. He’s probably a usable spot start for that game, but if a team that’s desperate at running back is willing to give up anything of value for him, by all means pull the trigger on that offer.

Jacobs’ Status: Take Anything You Can Get

Doug Martin (Week 6 vs. Philadelphia: 67 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 24 yards)

He kind of reminds me of Aaron Rodgers in a sense that he is another incredibly talented player you drafted in the first round who hasn’t necessarily been bad by normal standards, but is extremely disappointing based on draft position. The yards per carry and measly one touchdown are bad, but he’s on pace for 1,500 yards from scrimmage. Although he reminds me of Rodgers, I’m going to give different advice and tell you not to buy low. I’m confident that Rodgers will produce like an elite stud because I’ve seen him do it for five years and counting, while Martin is only a second-year player. Furthermore, Rodgers plays for a good, well-coached organization, while comparing the current state of Doug Martin ‘s team to the Hindenburg would be an insult to the Hindenburg, because at least that thing actually got off the ground. I wouldn’t sell him because he has the potential to turn it around. I wouldn’t bench him because there’s simply too much talent and workload present. I wouldn’t buy him because I’m not confident that he’ll return to the player we saw last year. In other words, stay on course.

Martin’s Status: Keep Starting

Trent Richardson (Week 6 at San Diego: 40 rushing yards rushing, 1 reception, 13 yards)

Are we reaching the point where we stop making excuses for Trent Richardson and come to grips with the possibility that he just might kind of stink as a pro back? People talk about him running behind bad offensive lines, even though less-talented Cleveland backs have run the ball roughly as well in Richardson’s absence, and Ahmad Bradshaw (4.5 yards per carry), Vick Ballard (4.8 yards per carry), and Donald Brown (7.8 yards per carry!) have been markedly better behind the exact same Colts' line that Richardson (3.1 yards per carry) is playing behind. In my preseason articles I said Richardson was one of the safest draft picks in all of fantasy football because even if he plays poorly he’ll get the ball ridiculously often, including on the goal line and passing downs. That’s when he was in Cleveland. In Indianapolis, he’s one of about a half-dozen quality weapons, so there will be no force-feeding him the ball if he’s ineffective. If I had him I would sell him at a hefty price, because there’s undoubtedly someone in your league who will think they’re pulling off the buy-low of the year.

Richardson’s Status: Sell



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