“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.
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.
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.