Words of Ingram 4: Heartbreak – Players to Avoid
Before we get started, I wanted to send a thank you to Chase, Bryan and Kevin for participating in the first annual MLFS NFL Draft Live Tweet. We had a really good time, and were able to bond as a community of writers. I think my favorite moment was the organizer showing up late to his event, and I was left wondering if this is what it sounds like when doves cry. All joking aside, it was a great time and certainly helped broaden my horizons of football and fantasy football. I am very much looking forward to more opportunities to converse with these scholars of the football world; and hopefully provide some entertaining media for the readers. Let’s be honest, without you we’re just a handful of incredibly attractive, and brilliant, fellas posting on a website. So without further ado, TO THE COLUMN!
When you become a hardcore Fantasy Football player, you’re basically giving a piece of your heart to the game. “Here you go fantasy sports, put a little piece of my soul in a locket and hide it far, far away so that I can never be harmed!” It’s almost impossible to be hardcore about these things without becoming emotionally invested. Once invested, you are more than likely going to have your heart-broken. Much like “The Fox and The Hound” there are moments in fantasy football where you’re going along for the ride, expecting nothing but good times and high scoring games. After all, why wouldn’t you believe that? You’re sitting on LeSean McCoy in the semi-finals going against the Minnesota Vikings in Philadelphia. On paper, a top 3 running back vs. the 26th overall defense on your home field should result in serious points. You begin the game, enjoying the wind through your red fox fur. As each minute ticks by, you look up at Widow Tweed as she drives you off into the woods, and then abandons you and drives away. All you can do is watch her speeding away, with tears in her eyes and you’re left cold and alone in the wind! That’s what it feels like. That’s what it feels like in Fantasy Football when your stud leaves you down, when you start counting those points before they happen, and you’re left trying to figure out how your #1 player only picked up 9 points and your 13-1 record is about to change to 13-2, with you watching your opponent in the championship. Thanks Widow Tweed L
Now, it doesn’t always play out quite like this. Players have their off games, but that doesn’t change the fact that some players will sting you from time to time. For an elite back like LeSean McCoy, we accept that sometimes things happen, but we still will draft these players regardless. What I want to do, is give you a list of a few players whom consistently break my heart, in hopes that you too can avoid the devastating crush of abandonment in the wilderness. Err, so you can ease the pain.
Maurice Jones-Drew – Is this not enough of a leap? Look, people love MJD thanks to his constant involvement in Fantasy Football, and also him being a 5’7 running back with over 10,000 all-purpose yards. Last year MJD experienced the worst season of his career, though injuries, a disinterest in playing for Jacksonville, and well, Jacksonville certainly attributed to this decline in production. In Oakland, he goes from the 31st ranked offensive line to the 29th ranked offensive line. Last season, Oakland did rank as the 12th best overall rushing team, though some of that value came from Terrelle Pryor accounting for slightly under 33% of the total rushing yards for the team. The inclusion of Matt Schaub further tells the masses that Oakland will want throw the ball a great deal, and look to improve upon their 24th ranking in the league. Oakland did address their offensive line by drafting Gabe Jackson from Mississippi St. who is an absolute beast. I believe he’ll be more of a pass protection type Guard, though he may be able to open some holes. MJD represents that hope that we all have for the underdog really thriving and having great success. MJD, however, could break your heart this season.
Tom Brady – Yes, I looked very hard to find a picture that isn’t very flattering to this gentleman. Truth be told, I’ve recently become a huge Tom Brady fan. Don’t scoff, I mean from a player standpoint, not from a fantasy standpoint. Are you crazy? Brady represents a similar hope to MJD. For Brady, however, it’s not about being undersized or someone who has played on a terrible team their entire career. Brady represents the type of player we all wish we were. He is, arguably, the best quarterback of all time. He has won more with less than any other QB in the history of football. He wins despite having no weapons on offense, and consistently makes other players better. He does not, however, make them better fantasy players. Brady will be without a true star receiver, and Rob Gronkowski is one hit away from a career ending injury. The inclusion of Brandon LaFell may entice people, as will having a healthy Amendola. The bottom line, faithful readers, is that Tom Brady is no longer an elite fantasy quarterback. His numbers have regressed in nearly every important category since the 2011 season. Without a big threat, he will be unable to produce similar numbers to the 2011 season. You may be tempted by the majesty that is Brady, but stay far away from him for fantasy football.
Pierre Garcon – Alright, I know this is going to be a little bit of a stretch for some, but hear me out. It’s not that I believe Garcon is not going to have a good season, but his unanimous pre-season ranking of 9-12 is grossly exaggerated. Garcon had an amazing season last year finishing 14th in the wide receiver rankings. Garcon should be at his peak, and RG3 will be much more of a pocket passer. That, coupled with the removal of the knee brace and a healthy tight end should equate to another great year for Garcon. However, the signing of Desean Jackson changes everything. RG3 has a pretty strong-arm and the ability to create space, when that space is created you must believe that he’ll be going deep to Jackson. Desean Jackson gives RG3 a second deep speed threat that he’s never had before. This will relegate Garcon to being more of a possession receiver and will eliminate some of the yardage and touchdowns. Garcon will still have a very good year, but his production will be cut into fiercely by the inclusion of D-Jack. Be wary of making Garcon your #1 receiver, and be sure to have a bit of depth at the position in case things go south.
Rashad Jennings – People make look at Jennings and consider him a steal. Jennings has been a career 2nd option running back behind MJD and Darren McFadden. Jennings, to his credit, has made the most of all opportunities and had a very strong year for an underrated running back. In Oakland, he was able to amass over 1000 APY, 36 receptions and 6 rushing touchdowns. This was behind the brutal Oakland line and being surrounded by mostly non-factor players. Jennings will finally have a chance to prove his worth with the New York Giants and with Andre Brown in Houston; the keys to the Giants run game rest in the hands of Rashad Jennings. You would think these changes would equate to a huge season for Jennings, as well as the signing of Center Weston Richburg. The counter point to this, is the signing of Andre Williams from Boston College. Williams was the leading rusher in the nation, and most in the Giants organization believe him to be a first round talent. The belief is that Williams will become a franchise type running back, and they hope to integrate him slowly over the course of the season. Finally, the Giants have a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo whom wants to have an offensive game plan similar to one run in Green Bay. This will mean a bit more passing, and less running for Jennings. It’s not that Jennings won’t have value as a player, but don’t over extend on him and feel like you’re making a sneaky play. Jennings should only be taken if you’re going to use him as an RB3 or RB4 this season. Otherwise, you’re taking a very risky gamble.