Week six saw four formerly prominent fantasy all stars finally make the jump backwards. Quarterbacks Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are officially shells of their former selves. No matter what the stats may indicate, it’s the on-field live action where you can see the difference. Both the Denver and New Orleans’ coaches seem unwilling to admit the decline as both are repeatedly calling short plays and dump passes over and over again. Yes, those short plays do add up at game’s end but it’s clear as day that their time as fantasy QB1s is over. Both are matchup-based plays at this point. They’ve gotten so bad that we have to reconsider the long term value on their surrounding casts.
Speaking of former elite players on the decline, lets talk Roddy White and Andre Johnson. Both look to be mailing it in as they finish the final hole on the back nine of their careers. Roddy could see a sudden value boost with a trade to a team like the Panthers, but The Falcons seem content on him providing outside run blocking for Devonta Freeman. As for Andre, it’s becoming more and more likely in each passing week that he’ll be a salary cap casualty at season’s end. Indy will need every penny in an attempt to beef up their O-line and Johnson’s money doesn’t equate to his production. Both are middling WR3 options at best as Roddy White shouldn’t even be owned at this point. Watching the four previously mentioned players this past week was like the official changing of the guard.
Now, we’re on to Week Seven….
Brandin Cooks vs The Colts
If Cooks can’t come through for downtrodden owners here, then it’ll be time to give a tearful goodbye to the formerly viewed WR1. Cooks has one 100-yard game and a single touchdown on the season. He couldn’t even do us the courtesy of spreading those stats around as they both came in the same week. Brees, as just mentioned, is on the decline but Cooks does own his fair share of blame here, too. He looks whimpy, as if he’s not physical enough to create separation in what has turned into a short yardage passing mentality in New Orleans. Being that Cooks looks to be a one trick pony that can only streak down the sidelines a la Torrey Smith, his style doesn’t appear to gel with what the Saints have in mind. This is the final straw for Cooks here. Brees is another week removed from his shoulder injury and he gets an appealing matchup against a soft secondary in what should be a scoring fest. If Cooks doesn’t have his best game of the season then it’ll be time to cut him completely.
Keenan Allen vs The Raiders
Allen’s numbers are not garnering enough attention from fantasy owners. Against Green Bay, Allen was on his way to a 20+ catch game before pulling up lame with a hip flexor strain. Such a game would have immediately moved him into unquestioned WR1 territory. Instead, fantasy circles and syndicates are still ranking him as a WR2. How can you possibly rank the top target of a 500-yard passer who just missed on a 20-catch game due to injury bad luck as a WR2? Allen would do himself a huge service by going off against the Raiders in this contest. The hip flexor, as of Friday, is being viewed and spoken of as very minor and a nonissue by reporters and Allen himself. As long as nothing changes here, Allen will have a grand opportunity to earn more respect and be ranked among the top-10 WRs for the remainder of the year. His dynasty value would see a huge uptick to as a 23-year old doing big things would begin to earn more attention.
Brandon Marshall vs The Patriots
Where will Marshall be ranked among WRs in 2016? Truthfully, his age is the only negative against him as the previous black mark was Ryan Fitzpatrick who has erased that blemish. If Marshall keeps on doing what he’s doing, it’ll be hard to pass on him in the third round. Actually, a big-time monster game in a grudge match against New England could linger in owners’ minds in a big way. “Remember how Marshall destroyed The Pats’ secondary for 160 yards? That’s why I took him as the 7th WR.” Such a sentiment could become a trend as Marshall could really bolster his long-term stock with an elite outing here. Bill Belichick does have a knack for taking away the best offensive weapon, so Marshall has to prove that he has become unstoppable for The Jets to earn such a long-term look.
Carson Palmer vs The Ravens
Speaking of older players who are staking their claim among the best at their position, we have Carson Palmer. This game looks to be a stat-padder as Palmer should be able to hook up with Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, and David Johnson over and over again for a full 60 minutes. No one on the Baltimore roster will be able to step up and limit what Palmer will be able to do. If Palmer were to go off in big way for close to 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, owners would find themselves wondering what to do in dynasty formats. Do you keep an aged player with 2 ACL injuries in a dynasty format? You certainly have to strongly consider it if he’s second in the league in scoring at his position. Palmer has reclaimed his place with the game’s best but this is the chance to start leap-frogging fellow quarterbacks. An average game here would make the decision to not hold onto Palmer much, much easier.
Travis Benjamin vs The Rams
People are still sleeping on Benjamin. They keep on saying “It’s Cleveland and it’s McCown.” Well, that formula spells high production for The Browns’ main receiving threat. The duo of Benjamin and Gary Barnidge are starting to remind people of Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron. Hopefully, the latest duo will have more longevity and less off the field issues, but the production is scary similar at this point. Benjamin has to keep it up though. He has so much stacked against him that he can’t afford to have a 3-catch 30-yard game. Owners can only afford to tolerate such a minimal outing from proven commodities and Benjamin is still earning his keep. Another WR1 turnout though and it’ll be too hard to ignore him. Benjamin could be this year’s waiver wire steal.