Tuesday - Jul 16, 2019

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The Fire Sale – Week 2

Week 1 is in the books. It felt so good to have football back. If I’m being honest, after one week I was right about everything I said this summer and wrong about nothing. Hopefully, I can keep that up all year.

Some of you are really going after that $200/$400 I’m giving away to a Twitter follower this season. Keep after it. It really doesn’t take much effort and those of you who have been trying all rank near the top of my most engaged followers list. It’s a real battle so far.

You can follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. I reply to all inquiries and answer all questions about your fantasy team. I only have one rule – When asking me a roster question I need to know your team first. I can’t give you proper trade or start/sit advice without knowing your roster.

You can ask me a fantasy question any time but I want to let everyone know that on Sundays during the season I’ll be available starting at 10 am ET to answer questions. Feel free to ask me lineup or daily fantasy questions. I’m doing work for DraftKings this season as well.

Now on with The Fire Sale

Going Up

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee – I have some great fantasy advice for you this week: Go get Mariota. I have a hunch he’s going to be pretty good. Keep it between us.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo – I played Taylor in some of my daily lineups last week. I really loved his matchup against Indianapolis.

The thing about the Indianapolis Colts is that they’re not a Super Bowl team. That’s a misconception started by the media because the Colts have a good offense. They’re a fantasy football team. Can they “compete” for a Super Bowl? Sure, because the NFL has six good teams, but the Colts won’t win it because their defense is as soft as butter.

I bring this up only because I want people to keep expectations of Taylor in check. He does have a lot of fantasy value. That’s why I didn’t just play him in daily but I also have him on my bench in a couple of traditional leagues. His rushing numbers make Taylor a fantasy threat alone. He’s also a much better thrower than I originally thought.

I also want to tip my hat to Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman. I thought he called a great game for Taylor. Coach Rex Ryan is always talking about “ground and pound” and people think he’s funny. However, Ryan was way too conservative in New York. Roman let Taylor throw the ball over 5 yards and utilize his arm strength. I hope that continues.

If you need a quarterback and lose out on Mariota this week, grab Taylor. At the very least he should be a strong matchup play for the rest of the year.

Dion Lewis, RB New, England – After not playing the last two seasons, Lewis had an impressive debut with New England, racking up 120 yards and catching four passes.

Lewis went to high school near where I live and I know a guy who has known him for years. Lewis’ problem has always been maturity. If you watch him play in short spurts, he has talent. I loved him in college. Heck, in one game at Pittsburgh, Matt Millen even compared his style to Barry Sanders.

Granted, no one cares what Millen thinks about anything but my point is Lewis has always been a talented football player. He just hasn’t been able to put it all together for one reason or another. A lot of his problems have been between the ears. New England has a history of taking those players and getting the most out of them.

Now, Lewis fumbled late in the game, and if you listen to the reaction on Twitter you would think coach Bill Belichick was going to have him put to death by firing squad. The overreaction and misperception when it comes to sports is mind-boggling to me.

Belichick doesn’t bench players who can help him because of one fumble. Especially players who fumble once in the rain when giving extra effort. Remind me again, how many chances did Stevan Ridley get in New England?

Lewis is set for a large role in the New England offense but don’t forget about LeGarrette Blount. He’ll be the hammer and Lewis will be used more as a receiver when New England faces tougher rush defenses. New England really isn’t that tough to figure out.

The two New England running backs to own are Blount and Lewis. As I’ve been saying for two years, Brandon Bolden is a special teams/role player and you can stick James White in the trash. I don’t know what happened to Jonas Gray. I had him in the New England Patriots Hall of Fame. I may have missed on that one.

Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas – I’m a lifelong Dallas fan, but I’m also an anti-homer. I tend to be tougher on Dallas players because unlike some in our current apathetic fanbase, I still demand high standards from the organization. I rarely get them, but I still demand them.

I wasn’t a big Randle fan when he came out of Oklahoma State. Let me clarify that – I loved him at Oklahoma State but thought he was more of a productive college back who was best suited to be a backup in the NFL.

This offseason, I changed my tune because of Dallas’ backfield situation. Considering who Dallas had, I thought Randle would be the guy. However, I watch him and I see decent. I see a back with limited vision, not much power and I think to my original point of him being a solid No. 2 back.

Dunbar has always been an exciting player. He makes things happen with the football, but as is the blueprint in Dallas, it took the coaching staff about a decade to start getting him the ball more.

Dunbar caught eight passes for 70 yards in the opener. He’s really the one back with a defined role in Dallas. We know he’s going to catch balls out of the backfield and now with Dez Bryant out for 4-6 weeks, Dunbar should only be more involved in the passing game.

Dunbar is one of my top waiver wire adds this week. I think if Dallas uses him right he can be this team’s version of Danny Woodhead. Dunbar won’t get 20 carries a game but like Woodhead, he can be a difference maker.

I would go all out to get Mariota if you need a quarterback but other than him, Dunbar is a player I would really focus on. He has a chance to be a big fantasy factor in points per reception formats.

David Johnson, RB, Arizona – Andre Ellington is out again. That didn’t take long. Johnson and Johnson will replace him. I like Johnson.

By the way, what the heck was Sean Payton doing punting at the end of that game with just one time out? I’ll be honest, his gameday management has taken a nosedive in recent years. I guess Payton was hoping to get the ball back with 10 seconds to go down five. That’s an interesting strategy.

Of course, no one in the media talked about Payton’s boneheaded decision Monday because everyone was fixated on Tom Coughlin. Heaven forbid the media talk about more than one story. How can the NFL have more than one story in a weekend?

David Johnson never let Payton get the ball back because he took a short pass and went down the sideline in a blink of an eye. He’s a good example of why I don’t give a darn about 40-yard-dash times.

Who was the fastest running back at the NFL Combine this year? Doesn’t matter, because Johnson is the fastest. When you put on pads, Johnson is the fastest.

This kid is a budding star. Old man Chris Johnson will start off getting carries while Andre Ellington is out but David Johnson creates so many big plays in space, he doesn’t need a lot of touches. I would rather target David Johnson on the waiver wire. He has more long-term fantasy value.

You may have to be patient with David Johnson but when the touches come, he’ll be worth the wait.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.