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Drafting in Suspense: Steve Smith and Brandon Marshall

Just in time for your draft, two of the top wideouts went and got themselves in trouble. Their bad behavior means



Steve Smith is to be sidelined for two games, while



Brandon Marshall looks to serve two-to-three. In this edition of the Stat Lab, we look at what this means for them and your draft plans.



Mission: Value

Drafts are about value, and not just overall value, but relative value. Your mission is to pick the guy who is going to put up the most points compared to his peers. There’s a much bigger difference between the #1 and #12 running back compared to the #1 and #12 kicker, which is why you draft your running backs early, your kickers late, and your quarterbacks somewhere in the middle in seasons you don’t expect records to be broken.



Smith and

Marshall have finished their suspensions, they’re probably going to come right back and do what they’ve been doing – outperform most of their peers. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to help us for the first couple of weeks, and we need to assess the potential damage before drafting.


You might be tempted to say, “He’s going to miss two games, so he’s now worth two games less,” but you’d be shorting yourself. If you draft one of these guys, you’re not going to start them and get a zero for two weeks. Instead, you’re going to plug in the best guy off of your bench, and get fewer points for those games. What you lose by drafting

Smith or

Marshall in the first two weeks, you mostly recover with your third wideout in leagues that start two receivers, or your fourth wideout in leagues that start three.


Damage Control

In the chart below you’ll see I’ve taken the

Wide Receiver Rankings from the staff at for Point-Per-Reception (PPR) and non-PPR leagues, and broken out our two miscreants. At the bottom, you’ll find the values for your average WR3 and WR4, the guys on your bench depending on your starting roster.


From our breakout, you can guess what our favorite temporary bench warmers are projected to produce, what your bench guys will do, and the difference between them. Depending on your league setup – based on these projections – it’s going to cost you somewhere between seven and 14 points for your team to ride out a two-game punishment with these wideouts, and about 19 points if

Brandon Marshall sits for three games.

At most, in theory, that’s about three to five draft positions – not even half a round in most leagues. In practice, this is rounding error.


It’s Just a Flesh Wound! – Really!

Now your projections may be different from these, and you might want to tweak the value here based the matchups (coincidentally, if you needed another reason to draft

LaDainian Tomlinson, both these guys will miss games against

San Diego). Whatever your projections, we’re dealing with very small numbers. If you’re drafting quality backups like you should, you’ll hardly feel a thing those first two weeks. When they’re back, then you’re back on top with that peer advantage we talked about and probably at a discount.


Especially if these guys slip in your leagues, you draft them with confidence – it’s not like they are hurt! When the snickers and remarks like, “What are you going to do for two weeks?!” come, if you don’t have a calculator handy to show them how wrong they are, just answer: “What else? Beat all your sorry … – you’re on the clock!”

As always, don’t just take my word for it. For

discussion on drafting Steve Smith and Brandon Marshall and more sound advice, stop into The Shark Tank at

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