Welcome to the Lowdown for Week 3. This is my little corner of the fantasy football universe—feel free to pull up a chair and stay a while!
Where’s Alan Alda?
In the event that (a) anyone actually reads this drivel, and (b) is young enough to not have their browser zoom set to 200%, Alan Alda is an actor who starred in the TV series M*A*S*H, which ran on CBS from 1972-83. M*A*S*H was about Army doctors during the Korean War, which was the “Vietnam War” before the war in Vietnam started—which was the “Iraq War” before Iraq hosted the most recent pointless war. Anyway, Alda played Hawkeye Pierce, a brilliant yet funny curmudgeon of a surgeon who not only saved lives, but provided insightful running commentary on the war in which he found himself.
The reason I bring up Alda (aside from my editor requiring a set number of words per article) is that the first two weeks of the season have resembled a M*A*S*H unit. Several “name” players have pulled up lame (TE Zach Ertz, RBs Chris Ivory, Ameer Abdullah, Doug Martin and Jonathan Stewart, WRs Brandon Marshall and DeSean Jackson), but some teams have been hit harder than others. The Browns have lost QB Robert Griffin III and promising rookie WR Corey Coleman, causing Browns’ fans to give up on the season one game ahead of schedule; the Vikings, already hit with the loss of QB Teddy Bridgewater, lost premiere RB Adrian Peterson; the Chargers have been devastated by losing both WR Keenan Allen and uber-productive RB Danny Woodhead. Most of the injuries seemed to be on routine plays, so there’s not even a particular rule to rail against; just pointless, random injuries.
It’s times like this that I’m thankful for the idiot or two in each of my leagues that insist on implementing ridiculous new draft “theories” without any shred of qualitative or quantitative analysis being employed to help shape said theories. For example, in the one league where I lost both Allen and Woodhead, I was able to grab Jerick McKinnon and Tajae Sharpe as replacements—in particular because one owner had the bright idea of drafting five QBs as part of his “theory” of cornering the market on the least valuable fantasy football offensive position (outside of kickers), while a second owner sensed that this would be the “Year of the Tight End” and drafted accordingly—which would’ve been fine had he been referring to Shakira. You see, thanks to those two owners, guys like McKinnon and Sharpe were available when they shouldn’t have been, as well as a few other quality waiver picks.
So the moral of the story is: always invite an idiot or two to play in your league. They may be annoying, but you’ll thank me in the end.
As for how to react to all the injuries listed above, every “expert” has given the same responses, so I’ll just list them all here for the sake of completeness… just in case you’re stupid enough to make this the only fantasy football column you read.
There, don’t we all feel better? With that out of the way, we can move on to…
Interesting Players for Week 3
If you’re interested, here is the list of the Top 10 at each offensive position (along with a relative value) for this weekend’s games. Use it to gauge how two players compare. For example, if Odell Beckham Jr. has a Fantasy Football Ranking System (FFRS) of 40 this week and Golden Tate has a 30, then you should think of Beckham as being a 33% stronger play than Tate this week. Use these FFRS for standard fantasy leagues for waivers or lineup decisions; in DFS use the relative nature of the FFRS to gauge dollar values between players (Points per reception scoring is used for the FFRS rankings below). Good luck!
Bradford makes the top 10 on the strength of his Vikings’ debut last week, but I think the sneaky play (perhaps for you DFS types) might be Alex Smith going against a surprisingly soft Jets’ pass defense.
- Cam Newton, CAR (vs. MIN) – 171.74
- Sam Bradford, MIN (vs. CAR) – 155.86
- Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. SFO) – 146.75
- Aaron Rodgers, GBP (vs. DET) – 132.61
- Carson Palmer, ARI (vs. BUF) – 132.41
- Blake Bortles, JAC (vs. BAL) – 124.69
- Kirk Cousins, WAS (vs. NYG) – 122.84
- Drew Brees, NOS (vs. ATL) – 122.70
- Alex Smith, KCC (vs. NYJ) – 117.46
- Eli Manning, NYG (vs. WAS) – 116.43
Matt Forte has been one of my favorites for years, and I predicted a big season from him in 2016; so far, he’s making me look good. I had to do a double-take when I saw Max put Jeremy Hill at #7, but I’m thinking he feels it’s an opportunity for a couple of short-yardage TDs from the disappointing back.
- David Johnson, ARI (vs. BUF) – 101.26
- Matt Forte, NYJ (vs. KCC) – 87.59
- Todd Gurley, RAM (vs. TBB) – 86.14
- Mark Ingram, NOS (vs. ATL) – 84.48
- Frank Gore, IND (vs. SDC) – 82.80
- Latavius Murray, OAK (vs. TEN) – 80.55
- Jeremy Hill, CIN (vs. DEN) – 76.91
- DeMarco Murray, TEN (vs. OAK) – 76.54
- LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. ARI) – 71.99
- C.J. Anderson, DEN (vs. CIN) – 71.96
I really like the Jarvis Landry listing at #8 against a hurting and ineffective Cleveland secondary. Landry was very vocal after last week’s loss, and seems to have something to prove this week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him haul in 10+ catches. It might be heresy to say this, but with the way Jets’ CB Darrelle Revis has played thus far, pencil Jeremy Maclin in for a big game if he draws Revis in coverage.
- Antonio Brown, PIT (vs. PHI) – 156.78
- Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. BUF) – 133.63
- Odell Beckham, NYG (vs. WAS) – 130.71
- Doug Baldwin, SEA (vs. SFO) – 121.78
- Allen Robinson, JAC (vs. BAL) – 120.71
- A.J. Green, CIN (vs. DEN) – 115.71
- Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs. CIN) – 113.49
- Jarvis Landry, MIA (vs. CLE) – 110.69
- Jeremy Maclin, KCC (vs. NYJ) – 108.26
- Brandin Cooks, NOS (vs. ATL) – 104.59
For at least the past decade, the Giants have had trouble defending opposing TEs— and with one of the game’s best going up against them this week, it makes sense that Jordan Reed tops Max’s list. Gary Barnidge was ignored by Robert Griffin III in Week 1, but got a few targets last week from Josh McCown; with rookie Cody Kessler under center this week, Barnidge figures to be the Browns’ main chain-mover via the air.
- Jordan Reed, WAS (vs. NYG) – 106.15
- Greg Olsen, CAR (vs. MIN) – 102.25
- Gary Barnidge, CLE (vs. MIA) – 92.63
- Travis Kelce, KCC (vs. NYJ) – 83.93
- Jason Witten, DAL (vs. CHI) – 65.66
- Darren Fells, ARI (vs. BUF) – 64.88
- Kyle Rudolph, MIN (vs. CAR) – 52.60
- Coby Fleener, NOS (vs. ATL) – 51.26
- Jacob Tamme, ATL (vs. NOS) – 50.88
- Delanie Walker, TEN (vs. OAK) – 47.68
On Bye this week: None.
Remember, next week I’ll start publishing my wildly popular in-season Consistency Rankings, so make sure you come back, no matter how much you hated reading this week’s column. Of course, you should all immediately drop everything you’re doing to watch my NSFW show The Riot.