Tuesday - Feb 19, 2019

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2nd Half Burning Questions

With eight weeks in the books, many of the burning questions of the offseason have been answered. There’s only five weeks left in the regular season for most fantasy football owners, but surprisingly there’s still quite a few burning questions that have yet to be answered.

At the end of the season, who will be the starting running back in Dallas?

Marion Barber began the season as the starter and he’s been one of the biggest busts of the season. Felix Jones has been better than Barber and has held the starting job for the past month. Jones started off the month strong, rushing for more than 100 yards against Tennessee and then following up the next game with close to 100 total yards against Minnesota. He’s been terrible after that brief two-game scoring binge though. Last week he only had 22 yards on eight carries, leading to talk that Tashard Choice will have an increased role going forward.

I’m actually going to go out on a limb and say Barber is the starter at the end of the season but is gone from Dallas once Jerry Jones starts the difficult task of fixing the Cowboys in the offseason. Jones has played mediocre of late and his health is an ongoing issue, just like it’s always been. I think Choice will have his moment but it’s certainly not going to be this week against a Green Bay Packers rush defense that completely shut down the New York Jets’ running game last week. None of the Cowboys running backs are worth having at this point. They are just once facet of the enormous train wreck that is the Dallas Cowboys.

Who is the Biggest Bust of the 2010 Season?

There’s been an unusual amount of busts this year. Shonn Greene, Ryan Mathews, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, Marques Colston, Brett Favre, Ronnie Brown, Matt Schaub, Jay Cutler, Kevin Kolb and even Tom Brady, if we’re going to be mean about it. If I could only choose one though, I’d have to go with Moss, whose had the opportunity to play in two pass-first offenses in New England and Minnesota and has failed to produce in either city.

I’m not buying that with a fresh start in Tennessee that he’ll finally improve and maybe come close to living up to his first-round draft position. A nightmare scenario for Moss could easily emerge even in Tennessee. What if, at some point, Moss goes to a restaurant with the Titans and doesn’t like the food there? Will the Titans put Moss back on waivers and he’ll have to go to his fourth team in one season?

Moss owners are sick of the soap opera at this stage of the game. We’re talking about a receiver that’s not even ranked in the Top 40 for fantasy points. And the worst part about it – Moss is the kind of fantasy player where you take a huge risk if you sit him on the bench, which makes him, begrudgingly, a permanent starter in most lineups. This, of course, leads Moss to inflict weekly damage on his owners, a tragedy of monumental proportions.

With “new life” in Tennesse, Moss owners will probably be fooled again into giving him another chance. If I had him, I’d trade him as soon as I could. He’s been way too inconsistent to trust for the long haul, especially with the fantasy playoffs almost a month away.

Who is the Best Fantasy Rookie?

I’ve gone back and forth on this one a couple times this season. I’m eliminating C.J. Spiller because he just hasn’t been a big part of the Buffalo Bills offense this year. This leaves us in a three-way triple threat match pitting Ryan Mathews against Javhid Best against Tampa Bay’s Mike Williams. Williams is not only running away as the best fantasy rookie but also as the NFL Rookie of the Year. We’re talking about a guy who was drafted after the 10th round, which represents real draft value unlike Matthews and Best.

Williams has four touchdowns, 30 receptions and has 470 receiving yards. He’s a Top 20 receiver and he just broke 100 yards for the first time against Arizona last Sunday. Williams has been improving while Best had one phenomenal game in Week 2 and has been pretty mediocre ever since, battling injuries and a multitude of different quarterbacks in Detroit. Mathews has been a constant heartache to owners, who spent an ill-advised first- or second-round pick on a rookie running back. When Mathews has been healthy enough to play, he’s been contending with an inappropriately effective Mike Tolbert. Williams is rising while his two rookie counterparts remain question marks, even at this late point of the season.

Who will be this year’s Jerome Harrison?

My candidate for the Jerome Harrison “Super Crucial Out of Nowhere Running Back Who Saves Everybody’s Season” award goes to Ricky Williams. It’s bit of a stretch because Williams is a lot more well-known than Harrison but he’s been deservedly under the radar all season. Williams has slightly outplayed Ronnie Brown and got his first rushing touchdown of the season last Sunday.

I refuse to believe that Brown will stay healthy for the entire season for the first time since I don’t know when. Just like last season, Williams will be called upon to shoulder the load. Even if Ronnie doesn’t get hurt, Williams has played better, so it calls to reason that he should start getting more touches. It’s not like Todd Haley is the coach of the Miami Dolphins.

The main reason I’m thinking Williams will turn it on is because of his cake schedule starting in Week 10. Williams faces Chicago, Oakland, Cleveland, the New York Jets, Buffalo and Detroit the rest of the way. The Jets won’t be easy but the rest of the schedule looks like it has the potential for Williams to truly explode. His value will never be lower than after he gets pummeled by the Ravens this weekend. He represents one of the best “Buy Low” candidates in fantasy football right now.

Who will be the most disappointing stud in the fantasy playoffs?

Arian Foster has had a tremendous season and if he continues at his “ridonkulous” pace, he’s certain to be a first-rounder in fantasy drafts next year. I would only draft Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson over him at this point. That’s quite the complement to Foster, who is this season’s biggest success story. He’s to the point where fantasy magazines next summer will be asking, “Who will be this year’s Arian Foster?”

Unfortunately, Foster has one of the toughest schedules from Week 13-14, typically the first and second round of the playoffs in most formats. Foster plays against Baltimore and then at Tennessee. These are two of the best run defenses in the league. Texans coach Gary Kubiak has shown that even when playing from behind they will include Foster in the receiving game but owners can’t expect elite production from Foster in these games.

Foster finally gets a reprieve in Week 16 against Denver but it might be too late by then for Foster owners. This isn’t meant as an advisory for Foster owners to trade him but more as a warning for Foster owners to beef up other parts of their lineups for the opening rounds of the playoffs.

Ed Bonfanti

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