TFG Fantasy Club Week 3: Dealing With Dead Weight

TFG Fantasy Club is a weekly email exchange between TFG editor Melissa Jacobs and TFG Fantasy contributor Pat Fitzmaurice covering all the hot button fantasy issues, with a few added surprises. Look for special guests to pop in occasionally, and feel free to chime in below

From: Melissa Jacobs                                                                     Sept 17 at 2:26 PM

To: Patrick Fitzmaurice

Excuse my somber tone this week, Pat. It’s not because the NFL is going to hell; it’s that some jerk in my fantasy league outbid me for Bobby Rainey, the Bengals defense and Mohamed Sanu. Ugh.

Now that I’m temporarily stuck with Jake Locker, Tavon Austin and the Bucs defense, I’m wondering if Week 3 is too soon to give up on players that seemed so promising on draft night. In no way am I talked about the aforementioned players and the Bucs D, (C’mon, Lovie Smith), but more a guy like Dennis Pitta who was basically relegated to Owen Daniels’ water boy last week. He had 10 catches Week 1 and has a more storied chemistry with Joe Flacco but what if Daniels is going to marginalize Pitta to a 3 or 4 reception, not-targeted-in-the-red-zone kind of tight end – in other words, useless?

That’s just one example, but there are only so many dollars to be had in a FAAB that dropping someone potentially worthwhile can have major ramifications. Do you have a general philosophy on the matter, or is it truly a player-by-player situation?

BTW, Cecil Shorts and his eternally questionable hamstring are still hanging out on my active roster. Save me Pat!


From: Patrick Fitzmaurice                         Sept 17 at 3:12 PM

To: Melissa Jacobs

Hi, Melissa.

I’m with you. My own adventures with free agent acquisition budgets, or FAAB, haven’t been FAABulous this week. I was still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes this morning when I checked my phone and noticed that I’d been outbid on 80% of my waiver targets this week. I think I might have to start John Kuhn in one of my leagues this week. (OK, maybe the situation isn’t quite THAT desperate yet, but give it a week.)

Strangely, I’ve gotten more reactive with age when it comes to fast/slow starters in fantasy football. Aren’t people supposed to become more conservative with age? I used to be reluctant to act quickly to fast or slow starts, chalking it up to small sample sizes and convincing myself to stay the course. That’s changed. I was watching the NFL Short Cuts version of Rams-Buccaneers last night, and you know what? Bobby Rainey looked terrific. Not just on a few runs, but carry after carry. Virtually everyone had Doug Martin rated as a top-15 running back a month ago, but I’m starting to think Rainey is better. Actually, edit out “starting to.” I think Bobby Rainey is better than Doug Martin. If I were a Martin owner right now, I’d be trying to trade him for change on the dollar. I might offer him straight up for, say, Brandin Cooks. Martin was a second-round value two weeks ago, and maybe the Cooks owner is willing to bet on a bounce back, given the RB scarcity. But I wouldn’t be the one betting on a bounce back.

Of course, I can still be stubborn in some ways. As you know, Melissa, I drank about 10 gallons of Ladarius Green-flavored Kool-Aid last month, and it was delicious at the time. Now, my stomach hurts and I’m in desperate need of a port-a-potty, but there’s no relief in sight. I’m holding him in about five different leagues and resisted the urge to drop him this week in any of those leagues. If Ladarius throws up another doughnut this week, that dropping urge is going to become irresistible.

Let’s get down to brass tacks, Melissa: Which of the slow starters are you waving the white flag on, and which of them will get the benefit of your patience? And what about the aforementioned Doug Martin? Are you optimistic? Or are you optimistic in the sense of the Radiohead song “Optimistic,” which isn’t really optimistic at all?

Has Rainey done enough to be Tampa’s featured back?


From: Melissa Jacobs                                     Sept 17 at 4:39 PM

To: Patrick Fitzmaurice

Thanks for all those lovely visuals, Pat! And I’m sorry that Green has left you “High and Dry.”

I completely concur with you on Rainey being the better back. Martin doesn’t seem his pre-injury self, while Rainey is running to be the every down back. At the very least I think this is a committee situation and Rainey’s eventual job. Martin was spectacular two years ago but he didn’t build enough of a resume to keep his job longer than he deserves.

Normally, I too would be quick to delete almost any dead weight player at this point but even with the injury bug, there seems to be a lack of quality on waivers at every position but RB.  In a different year, I would have parted with Cecil Shorts but honestly, Sanu was the only intriguing WR this week, and that may be only temporary as A.J. Green tries to get healthy quick. Though I guess you can always start Sanu at QB if things get really dire.

Vincent Jackson concerns me. 8 catches and 87 yards through two games isn’t terrible but I expected more from him. His chemistry with Josh McCown seems nonexistent. Jackson’s still worthy of a WR3 slot at this point except most owners were banking on strong WR2 numbers from him.

Toby Gerhart’s been a huge disappointment, hasn’t he?  It’s not just the 2 yards a carry or already diminishing touches. Gerhart just doesn’t look ready to be a featured back. If I owned him and had no RB depth, I’d be salivating at Rainey this week, or Knile Davis, though I imagine Davis is too expensive.

Let’s get more positive here. Whose turn is it to break out this week?


From: Patrick Fitzmaurice                                               Sept 17 at 10:15 PM

To: Melissa Jacobs

I’d love to tell Gerhart owners that it’s Toby’s turn to break out, but I don’t think it’s happening, Melissa. The Jacksonville offense line is a row of turnstiles. The shabbiness of the Jags’ O-line seemed to be overlooked when Gerhart’s stock took off in July. It doesn’t help that opponents can routinely keep seven defenders in the box because they don’t respect the Jags’ passing game. And let’s be honest: Gerhart looks sluggish. He runs like he just ate a big meal.

Who breaks out this week? I’ll place bets on a couple of rookies. Not to be a Packers homer, but rookie WR Davante Adams started to get involved last week and might do some damage against the Lions and their toasty cornerbacks. Adams is a gem. He just looks so smooth. And those stats he put up in two seasons at Fresno State are straight out of a video game. A lot of people are high on Terrance West, but I’m more intrigued by Isaiah Crowell. I think he’s better than West, and he might be better than Ben Tate, too (and I’m a Tate fan).

Let’s hope there’s less carnage this week, Melissa. Last week was a nasty one for injuries: RG3, Knowshon Moreno, A.J. Green, etc. At this rate, John Kuhn might actually find his way into some starting lineups. (Hey, every fantasy team needs a good fullback, right?)

Until next time, Melissa.