This week’s “Flavor of the Week” is all about knowing your league. At this time last week I thought we had at least 2-3 weeks to wait before considering adding Elijah McGuire, but then there were rumblings floating around in the lead-up to the New York Jets’ Week 9 matchup against Miami that led me to believe he may be surprisingly heavily involved in his first game action. I didn’t know if I needed a preemptive strike in one particular league, but I’ve clinched a playoff spot so I’m looking to Week 13 and beyond with respect to my bench and found room for him. If you’re in a similar situation then go ahead and add him, but for more than 90 percent of you, that’s not the case, so I don’t think it’s that simple.
First, those rumblings I mentioned before came to fruition. He saw the most snaps of all Jets running backs (55 percent) and did more with his 10 touches (67 yards) than Isaiah Crowell did with his 14 (60 yards). The Jets have made it painfully obvious in their usage of Crowell throughout the season that he will be involved, but they prefer him as a Robin. The makeup of the backfield keeps changing and Crowell’s role stays the same; less than half of the snaps and about 10-15 touches. The Jets haven’t found their Batman and he may not be on this year’s roster, but they’re going to give McGuire a shot at earning the role and he certainly had a strong debut.
That said, he’s got two major obstacles in front of him that makes it difficult for owners to pull the trigger on him right now. First, the Jets have their bye next week, so any owner who adds him probably cannot use him for at least three weeks and even then it’d be against New England, a game in which the Jets will almost certainly be playing from behind and would risk him being game scripted out of the plan. Second, and more worrisome, the Jets have scored just 33 points in their last three games. That’s clearly a sign that they are looking for playmakers to step up, but don’t complicate this. In our game, teams that can’t score points don’t yield quality starting options.
Now that you’re up to speed on McGuire and his situation, should you put a waiver claim in for him? This leads us to an if-then tree. I’ll try to cover all of the scenarios, but if I missed one feel free to post in the forums. I’ll be watching. I mentioned No. 1 previously – if you’re already in the playoffs then add him. No. 2 – if McGuire would be a starting option for you this week then pick him up now. He’s not a great play in what should be a low-scoring game against Buffalo, but more than a few owners have bye week issues this week. No. 3 – if your league has deeper benches then now is the time to stash him because of the potential for an opponent being in the next scenario. No. 4 – if your bye weeks are in the rear view mirror then it’s time to shed more reliable and less interesting depth and start taking shots. Lastly, No. 5 – if your league is known for running back hoarding then you cannot wait. Not all of our leagues are like that anymore, but you know if you’re in one. The sort of league that not only will prioritize Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson this week, but will think about taking another shot at Ito Smith in a plus matchup. If your competition is thinking about all of them then they’re thinking about McGuire too. Take a spin around your league, see who they’re starting at running back, and identify other possible issues that linger on their roster for this week.
If you don’t fit the above criteria, or you just don’t have anyone on your bench you can unload (i.e. players with Week 11 and 12 byes) then cross your limbs and hope your competition does not add him and he doesn’t have a great game against Buffalo. His ESPN ownership is still under 10 percent, so it’s within the range of potential outcomes that he’s still available and you’re able to acquire him in a week or two. While waiting on him is risky, not every roster can take their shot on him at this moment, so ultimately it’s about knowing both your own team and your own league. As the great Mike McDermott once said – “if you can’t spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you are the sucker.”
This week’s “Flavor of the Week”: Pretzels.
A staple at any poker game and whether you should acquire Elijah McGuire now or later, requires channeling your inner poker player. It’s less about playing your hand as much as it is playing your opponent’s. Figure out their move then you’ll know what to do with yours.