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“Words of Ingram”: Dread – Players that cause a pause

Everyone is familiar with the feeling of dread.  I can still think back to my times as a child when I would misbehave in school.  I remember the feeling in my stomach as I rode the bus home, thinking about what would be the repercussions of my transgressions.  I vividly remember sitting on the couch, waiting for the tell-tale sound of my parents arriving home.  The mechanical whirring of the garage door opening would cut through my very soul!  There were a fair 20 seconds of anticipation between the garage door having completed its ascension, and the sound of the kitchen door welcoming their homecoming.  It was in that brief window that time seemed to stand still.  I remember that feeling in the pit of my stomach like I ate something I shouldn’t have eaten, and it was just a matter of time until my little world would come to an end.
We have all encountered those moments of dread in our lives, though maybe not in that context, but certainly you can all envision a moment in time where dread was the antithesis of the moment.  Some of us can remember that first pregnancy test taken when you were too young to be taking pregnancy tests.  The first time we knew a relationship would end, and it was only a matter of when you’d see one another and have the hammer dropped.  Maybe it’s when you applied for a job that you wanted with all of your heart, but you knew it was going to happen.  You sat at work, waiting for the supervisor of the position to call you to give you the bad news while you stared with dread at the phone.
At this point, you may be wondering where I’m going with this.  You may be saying to yourself, “How in the world is this warrior poet going to make dread relative to fantasy football?!”  To which I reply, “Just like this.”

Fantasy football isn’t the type of sport which should evoke feelings of dread.  After all, we play this game for socialization, fun and well, to win.  The stress and dread, primarily will greet us with smiles and winks the day of the draft.  Regardless of how many mock drafts we partake in, or how much research we do; fantasy players will always find themselves having to adapt and adjust their strategies based on the decisions of players in their league.  Every fantasy sports player can empathize with having their chosen player drafted one spot before them.  In fact, those are some of the most common and popular of conversation points during the draft, as well as post draft.
The feelings of dread, to which I’m referencing, occur when a player falls to you that you really don’t want to pick, but he’s certainly the best available option on the board.  Every year, it’s an absolute given that my hand will be forced on one or two picks.  I understand that the pick is always mine to make, but when a top-tier QB falls to you in the 5th or 6th round; you may not want him but you sort of have to take him.  I want to discuss three players whom I really hope don’t drop to me, because I don’t have a ton of trust in them regardless of historical output.

QB – Cam Newton

It pains me to type Cam Newton as a player I don’t want to draft, but I don’t trust him this season.  I am acutely aware of his long-standing position as a top 5 QB every season.  I know that he’s only ever had one quality WR, in Steve Smith, and a running game which should be dominant, but the OC never seems to be able to choose one player to feature.  No, my problem with Cam Newton lies in the complete purging of the WR core.  Instead of Brandon LeFell or Steve Smith, Newton will now be throwing the ball to Jerricho Cotchery (old), Jason Avant (older), and Tiquan Underwood (last seen being told off by Tom Brady while sporting Kid & Play hair).  Statistically, Cam Newton has shown a regression in every stat across the board.  Less passing attempts, less rushing attempts, less yards rushing, less yards passing, and less touchdowns.  Cam will represent a solid value depending on the draft position, but this is finally the year when his lack of weapons catch up with him, as well as the coaches desire to continue protecting their franchise player.  My point is not that Cam won’t be a top 10 QB, though I’ll have him ranked around 8 or 9; my point is that he is a player who I’ll dread seeing fall to me, as I know I won’t get what I want out of him.  If there is a year to not trust Cam, this is the one.

CJ Spiller
RB – CJ Spiller
My wife has always been a huge CJ Spiller fan, but I know that she will completely agree with what I’m about to say.  CJ Spiller is an absolute nightmare to own in fantasy football.  His football stats may be solid, but he is unbelievably inconsistent when it comes to our beloved past time.  Spiller only had 4 double-digit games last season, in Standard scoring leagues, and has seen a reduction in touchdowns, receptions and yards.  CJ Spiller is one part of the two-headed rushing system in Buffalo, and shares the majority of his time with Fred Jackson.  Fred Jackson, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.  The more consistent Jackson is, the less faith will be placed in CJ Spiller.  Spiller is generally projected in the top 20 of RB, which means he will most likely be considered a RB2 on your roster.  Looking at his history, and the projected numbers (850 yards, 3 TD’s rushing; 27 receptions, 180 yards receiving, 1 touchdown); you have to wonder if that is enough for your RB2.  I hope above hope that I’m not forced into a position where Spiller is the next best RB on the board.

andre johnson
WR – Andre Johnson

There is absolutely no chance that I will take Andre Johnson in my fantasy league this year.  Let’s put that statement out there right away.  Now, as with any argument, you could craft a scenario in which Johnson is on the board in the 4th round and I need a WR2.  I would absolutely dread being placed in that situation.  If you’re looking at Johnson in the 4th round, then most likely he’ll be compared with the likes of Torrey Smith, Roddy White or Wes Welker.  At that point, you certainly must entertain the pick and it becomes a conversation.  I believe that Andre Johnson has seen his best of years, and the recent turmoil in Houston has done nothing to ingratiate his standing in my rankings.  Looking at the numbers, Johnson represents a player who is good for 5 TD’s, 100 receptions, and 1100 yards.  Those are fine numbers, but I don’t think we’ll see that type of output this season.  Johnson is currently embroiled in some very public issues with his team.  Johnson wants more money and is also unhappy with the recent decisions and directions the Texans have taken this offseason.  These things, combined with incumbent QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and the emergence of DeAndre Hopkins are going to have Johnson dropping outside the top 10 this season.  This year, I do not have trust in Andre Johnson.

I was very pleased to see the amount of feedback from my previous column.  I enjoyed the spirited debate and discussion in the comments section.  I’m hoping for some of the same this week.  To my fellow writers, and esteemed readers; who are players you dread seeing on the board when your number is called?  Who is the player that you hate having to take, but know they’re the best available?  Matt Ryan?  Ryan Mathews?  Alshon Jeffrey?  Thanks, as always for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the read.




  1. Ryan Ingram

    May 28, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I know some may greatly disagree on Cam Newton, as he’s been exceptional from day 1. I just cannot see him having great success this year.

  2. Dennis Dunbar

    May 28, 2014 at 9:51 am

    Actually Cam is the only one I slightly agree with. Meaning he may not be a top 5 QB, but he won’t be too far outside of it either.

    As for Spiller, he never recovered from his ankle injury. He is coming into this season fully healthy. Marone has already said F. Jax role will be peeled back. The one who does concern me a bit is Bryce Brown. Call me crazy but I’d take Spiller over Gio Bernard.

    Lastly, the one that really has me scratching my head. Andre Johnson is the epitome of consistency. You said yourself he is good for a 100 rec. The only friction is coming from AJ. Houston has no issue with him, which is good. I think he is upset because they released Schaub. Johnson is a professional, he knows how to put his hurt feelings aside come game time.

    These are just my opinions. And for me, everyone is draftable at some point.

  3. Ryan Ingram

    May 28, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Dennis: Thanks for the response. I wish we could track bets somewhere here, as I would feel very comfortable saying Bernard > Spiller at the end of the year in terms of fantasy points.
    As for Johnson, you’re absolutely correct. He is the picture of constancy and has been for his entire career and I know the issue is with him and not necessarily Houston. He doesn’t think that he wants to be there and as such, I could see some of his production slipping.
    It’s a stretch, I know. This just represents a year that I wont’ want to take him at the spot he’s usually available in.

    All players are draft worthy, I would never argue that point. If anyone drops low enough, you can’t help but take them at the high spots. My primary argument is that I believe these players are over-ranked, and are set for a big drop off in production.

    I appreciate your response and thank you for taking the time.

    • Dennis Dunbar

      May 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm

      Pre draft I would not have said Spiller over Bernard. But after Cincy drafted Hill, I’m not as excited. Hue Jackson loves to establish a power run game. Bernard is not exactly the idea power back. Hill was my #1 RB in this class. It’s not a knock on Gio, but rather a belief in Hill being talented enough to steal touches from Gio. Buffalo ran the ball more than any other team last yr. I equate touches/opportunity with production.

      • Ryan Ingram

        May 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

        I worry about Spiller’s ability to stay healthy, and Fred Jackson always seeming to be a viable option. It’s pretty cool to see how the “pro’s” rank Spiller/Jackson.

        Giovanni I just have a belief will have a great year. I don’t worry about Hill as I think they’ll look at him to develop this year, where as they saw Bernard to be the future primary back. Also, I don’t think Green-Ellis is done yet.

      • Ben W

        May 28, 2014 at 1:21 pm

        Dennis, if you would like to have a discussion on the RBs from this draft class, hit me up. The ones I like this season are Sankey (Greene is nothing), Freeman (SJax is old for an RB), West (Tate is good, but always injured), Williams (See my post on him from yesterday), Seastrunk (him and Morris could be dynamic).

  4. Ben W

    May 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Here’s my take on Cam: Yes he has a depleted WR core with his best (WR) option the rookie Kelvin Benjamin (who is a sleeper WR for me) and then Greg Olsen who will be his safety blanket and red zone target. I don’t trust any other receiver on the Panthers, and nor do I trust any of their RBs as none is an every down back and always are injured. This leaves Newton as the main runner in the offense, and he is also their best RB at 6’6.”
    Andre Johnson I see being traded before midseason. He’s unhappy in Houston and it seems every time a WR (or other player) is disgruntled by a team he is traded (a la Brandon Marshall) or holds out and misses significant parts of the season (MJD). I don’t trust AJ either. I’ll take my chances on Roddy White, t. Smith, Fitz, JJones, etc before I touch AJ. I see him sliding outside the top 12 this season.

    • Dennis Dunbar

      May 28, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      I’ll gladly take Johnson while everyone else passes

  5. Ryan Ingram

    May 28, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    I’ll take Johnson in the 5th, but I don’t think before than.
    Ben: Thanks for the added discussion points. I agree with most of the names you listed, with the exception of J. Jones. I don’t have ANY sort of faith in that guy. Although I should, he has a good QB and is the primary receiver. He’ll be an interesting one come rankings time.
    As for AJ being traded, I could see it. Why not right? I think he sees his window closing and really wants a shot to get a ring.

    • Dennis Dunbar

      May 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      I assumed he meant Julio Jones. If it’s James Jones then your right Ryan. I am not a believer either. At that price at least.

      • Ben W

        May 28, 2014 at 1:18 pm

        Yes, I was talking about Julio Jones. I’ll take Julio in the 2nd, and see him as ATL’s WR1 with White aging. If AJ slid to the 5th I’d take him, but have trouble taking him before that. James Jones is good, his numbers are just inconsistent, and I want Cobb if I can pick my WR from GB. Dennis, nice hearing from ya man. Nice input. One of my sleeper WRs this season is Wallace. Had a down season last year, but this season I see better things from him. The Phins have a GOOD back and Tannehill SHOULD continue to mature. Stay away from Decker tho in NYJ.

      • Dennis Dunbar

        May 28, 2014 at 3:20 pm

        You too Ben, and I agree about Julio. He was on a tear before his foot acted up again. I’m not concerned with him coming off injury. This was the same injury he came back from in ‘Bama. If it were a new injury, instead of a broken screw from his old injury I may be more concerned. Getting Julio outside of the Top 5 is a steal.

        And your spot on with Miami’s offense. New OC is a Chip Kelly understudy. He is implementing the high octane offense that Philly ran last year. Lamar Miller intrigues me in that offense as well.

      • Ben W

        May 28, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        Dennis, I actually dealt for Moreno in another league. I already had MegaTron and Julio as my top WRs, so I deal Watkins and a later rookie for the current pick (too Devonta Freeman) and Moreno. Miller is 1-speed guy, goes down easily. Moreno is by far RB1 in MIA. Miller had his chance (as did Thomas and others) and they all fell on their faces.

      • Dennis Dunbar

        May 28, 2014 at 4:30 pm

        Personally, I think Miami brought in Moreno because he is one of the best pass pro RBs in the league. Tanny was sacked a league high 58x’s. No way they can let that happen again. Moreno’s successes came from running against 2-3 man fronts in Denver. He won’t know what to do against a stacked box he will see in Miami.

  6. Corey D Roberts

    May 28, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I find this discussion amusing. Andre Johnson is a pulled hamstring or knee problem waiting to happen. He has been either injured or hobbled a TON in the last 6 seasons. I wouldn’t draft him unless he fell pretty far in the draft. I would let someone else take that risk along with a TURD for a QB he has throwing to him. As far as Spiller goes I will quote the Bills brass last year, “We will feed him the ball until he pukes”! HA Total BS. Spiller has talent for sure and is a home run threat, but again I do not touch him unless he falls to me late. The Bills showed little confidence in him last year. I do not call 202 carries feeding him until he pukes. Do you boys?

    • Ben W

      May 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      You’re talking the same brass that saw Steve Johnson walk away from BUFF. I think they meant feed him until we say so, then take the ball away from him because we can. The Bills NEED to feed the man. Too talented to let waste with 200 carries a season. Hell, gimme some pads and I’ll carry the rock for you 202 times. I may re-break my ankle, but I’ll produce dammit.

    • Dennis Dunbar

      May 28, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      33rec-492yds (injured)
      Andre Johnson’s last 6 season’s. Yep, his production is amusing. And last yr showed you it doesn’t matter who his QB is. And your logic about one injury away, isn’t that everyone?

      Again Buffalo lead the league in rushing attempts. So I’m not sure how you can say they didn’t deliver. Spiller had a limited workload because of injury not inability.

      • Dennis Dunbar

        May 28, 2014 at 4:54 pm

        You got to have a short memory with Fantasy football. Example: Lesean McCoy had a disappointing ’12. A lot of people that took him at 1.03 in ’12 missed out on him in ’13 because they remembered how he burnt them, instead of remembering how talented he was.

    • Bryan Robinson

      May 29, 2014 at 10:46 pm

      Let’s settle this objectively fellas: How many WRs are you taking before Andre Johnson?

  7. Corey D Roberts

    May 28, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Spiller did not have a limited work load because of injury. Totally false. He played in 15 of 16 games last year. Missing one game in the first 13.

    I like how you took the total of each season for Johnson. Most fantasy regular seasons end after week 13. Which is what I look at when drafting. From 07-13 he has missed 19 games due to injury. The were missed in 07, 10,11 collectively. He has had numerous games last season where he was hobbled. I don’t put my money on a guy 33 years old, going on 13 year vet, with massive injury history, a horrendous QB, and oh he is also disgruntled. I will gladly watch him pass me by.

    • Dennis Dunbar

      May 28, 2014 at 7:02 pm

      Wow Corey, did you even pay attention to Spiller last year? I can fwd you several injury reports from Buffalo. Marone said in almost every weekly press conference, that they are going to limit his carries. This continued until their bye week when they hoped rest would help Spiller recover. It didn’t! They eventually sat him a game, which barely helped.

      And your week 13 baseline is fine. Compare his 13 weeks of production to every other players 13 weeks and you will see he is a Top Tier producer! And BTW my leagues play thorough week 14. 15 & 16 are the playoffs. 17 is the only week that doesn’t matter due to teams who have clinched a playoff berth sitting their starters.

      From a Dynasty standpoint I may agree on Johnson. But redraft I strongly disagree.

      • Corey D Roberts

        May 29, 2014 at 12:52 am

        Spiller was not hurt the whole year or hobbled the whole year. He was terrible to start the year and terrible once he dealt with his little girl issues. Total clown of a player and won’t sniff my roster unless he is a major discount. Jackson is WAYYY more reliable than Spiller and I can get him for a song if I wanted or needed him. He had one great half of one season. He will disappoint owners who spend on him again this year.
        Also, so what Buffalo ran a lot. That doesn’t give Spiller any leg up at all.

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