TFG Fantasy Club Week 4: To Answer Your Question

From: Melissa Jacobs                              Yesterday at 4:06 PM
To: Pat Fitzmaurice

Tis’ the fantasy season’s worst week. We’re still reeling from an onslaught of injuries and now SIX teams need a vacation?? Oy! To me, this part of the season is a close second to the draft in terms of importance. Winners stay on top of news and always have a viable top to-bottom roster.

Since everyone has their own dilemmas brewing let’s get right to our theme for the week: helping out our fabulous social media contingent.

I’m not as high on Lorenzo Taliaferro as most. That’s a crowded backfield in Baltimore, and Justin Forsett has already proven valuable. He’s not going anywhere. Add in Bernard Pierce, who has practiced fully thus week, and the rookie may be lost in the shuffle. Consider this tidbit from CBS Sports: Even with Pierce sidelined last week, Taliaferrio took part in just 46% of snaps. At this point, there just doesn’t appear to be enough chances to think the rookie will add great weekly production. John Harbaugh seems perfectly content with a committee situation. You shouldn’t.

Meanwhile in New England, Shane Vereen should benefit from a sputtering offense because it means he’ll continue to be featured in the passing game. Even with the Pats blowout of Minnesota, Vereen still has 16 targets on the season, making him a viable PPR play. For standard leagues, Vereen’s effectiveness as a rusher has dwindled. And beware: two of New England’s next three opponents have yet to allow a rushing touchdown. 

From: Pat Fitzmaurice                                         Yesterday at 7:11 PM
To: Melissa Jacobs

I’m with you, Melissa. Vereen’s lack of carries is frustrating, and the New England offense has looked slow and out of sync, but the Patriots’ effort to find solutions should include more Vereen, not less Vereen. And even is Taliaferro is better than Pierce, all signs point to a three-man committee that also includes Justin Forsett, the only Baltimore back with a traditional third-down skill set.

Our next question comes from reader Erik Yates:

“Sankey & Rainey on ww. Gerhart on my bench. Drop him for 1 of the 2? 12 team, std scoring”

There was a period back in July when the fantasy stock of Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings simultaneously skyrocketed. Heaven help the fantasy owners who had to choose between the two — they had similar average draft positions — and chose Gerhart. In Gerhart’s defense, he’s been playing on a sprained ankle all season. But the Vanilla Sky projections for Gerhart were never realistic given how crappy the Jacksonville offensive line is. (And really, there was never much doubt that this was going to be among the worst O-lines in the league.) The Jaguars are already making noise about giving Denard Robinson more carries. And why not? The team is going nowhere this year. Why not find out what the converted college QB can do for you as a running back?

I like Rainey, and I think he’s probably better than Doug Martin, but my guess is that the Buccaneers won’t be quick to hand that job to Rainey, if at all. Plus, that’s another train-wreck offense. The Bucs’ offensive line is bad, too, and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford just took a medical leave. I’d go with Sankey. He’s still behind Shonn Greene on the Titans’ depth chart, but … well, it’s Shonn Greene. And unlike the Jags and Bucs, the Titans have a pretty good offensive line. I like Sankey’s versatility, and I think he can produce usable fantasy stats even if he’s part of a time-share arrangement.

To: Melissa Jacobs                                           Today at 2:30 PM
From: Pat Fitzmaurice

I certainly hope Shonn Green doesn’t read our fantasy club! And yikes on Jeff Tedford. What a tumultuous ride he’s had on and off the field since accepting the offensive coordinator job.

Onto our next reader question….

To me, the answer is fairly obvious. Steve Smith and Arian Foster are light years ahead of Andre Johnson and Shane Vereen in terms of value this year, and that includes Foster sitting out last week. Of course, Foster’s hamstring injury is the type that tends to linger and can force out the devil of fantasy, a game-time decision. But still to suggest Johnson and Vereen are the better duo here, you have to make many assumptions.   1) Steve Smith won’t continue his revival. 2) Arian Foster will be hurt and miss ample time. 3) Andre Johnson will become relevant again. 4) And perhaps the biggest stretch of them all is that the Patriots will become a robust offense once again.

The probabilities don’t work in your favor. Stick with Smith, who currently has more fantasy points than Johnson and Vereen combined, and Foster.

From: Pat Fitzmaurice                                       Today at 4:30 PM
To: Melissa Jacobs

Face-to-face negotiations on this trade should come with a sad-violin soundtrack. Foster is breaking down. Smith is due to fall back to earth. Johnson is, ahem, “hamstrung” (sorry, Arian) by his pairing with linguine-armed Ryan Fitzpatrick. Vereen is an underachieving member of the league’s most disappointing offense. I agree in principle with what you’re saying, Melissa, but I have zero confidence in Foster’s ability to stay on the field. The Texans worked him into the ground in their first two games, and I’m not sure if Foster will be the same again. I think I’d prefer the relative safety of the Johnson/Vereen side.

I wouldn’t drop Blue or Robinson to add Taliaferro. If Foster misses a lot of time this season – and I think he will – Blue could have weeks where he has 20-plus carries, and Taliaferro doesn’t have a realistic shot at that sort of workload. Robinson is in the same type of multi-way committee that Taliaferro might find himself in, but Robinson plays in a much better offense. I’d be more on board with adding Ingram or Moreno to that roster than with adding Taliaferro.

Until next week.