Famed boxing trainer and manager Lou Duva famously said, “You can sum up this sport boxing in two words: You never know.”
After four weeks of the real and fake football season, those two—or would that be three?—words have never been more appropriate.
In one of the more telling stats I’ve seen this year…
As I shared last week in this very column, I’m having a very Brady-esque start to my year, especially in a couple leagues. To quote a classic line from one of my favorite movies of all time, Fletch, leaguemates are regularly asking me, “Boy, what in THEEEE hell is the matter with you?”
In one league, I’m now in the midst of my first four-game losing streak. Ever. In my history of playing fantasy football (over ten years now). But I’m not bitter. Wait, I think I am. Yes, I am bitter. Bitter, party of one.
I was feeling desperate, at 0-3, so made a blockbuster trade, attempting to bolster my incredibly lame, incredibly weak Week 4 #ByeNado-ridden WR corps. I brought in Brandon Marshall (plus spare parts), and departed with Gronk (plus spare parts). Looks good on paper, right? Well, had I not made the trade, I would have won my Week 4 matchup. Sigh. The great Bob Eucker once opined that he “led the league in ‘Go get ’em next time.’” I’m feelin’ ya, Bob. I’m feelin’ ya.
I think I actually may be one step closer to that fantasy bridge jump.
1. Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm
Stats that will certainly make you question your fantasy football intelligence:
- QB: The Tom Brady struggle is real. He finished behind EVERY starting QB in Week 4—as well as behind backups Derek Anderson, Matthew McGloin and Jimmy Garoppolo (his real backup).
- QB Part Deux: Joe Flacco finished as the fourth-best fantasy QB in Week 4. He had finished no higher than # 12 during the first three weeks.
- RB: Matt Asiata, Trent Richardson, Justin Forsett and Lamar Miller all finished Top 8. JUST like we all called it.
- RB Part Deux: Another LeSean McCoy mention. Of all the RBs who registered points in Week 4, Shady finished ahead of only 5. His 1.7 points put him at #59. And these resulted from McCoy playing on 45 of 60 snaps. Holy wow.
- WR: Oakland’s Andre Holmes (18.4) finished with more points than the combination of Michael Crabtree (9.3), Cordarrelle Patterson (5.8) and Calvin Johnson (3.2). Um. OK.
- WR Part Deux: Steve Smith Sr., Eddie Royal and Reggie Wayne finished Top 7. And yes, I played against a team that started all three. Oh, and I lost that matchup.
- TE: Larry Donnell and Heath Miller finished as the top 2 TEs in Week 4. And Clay Harbor finished at #7, catching all eight of his targets from Blake Bortles for 69 yards.
2. Quick Hits
Being Trent Richardson: The quicksand-like start for one LeSean McCoy is being well-documented.Heck, in this very column last week, we relayed that SIXTY other RBs finished with more fantasy points in week 3 (PPR).
But now, he has dipped well under Trent Richardson’s infamous line of averaging less than 3 yards per carry. On the year, Shady is averaging 2.7 YPC; over the past two weeks? An astounding 1.35 YPC. Fantasy owners who took him Top 3 overall (which is essentially every league in the world) are drinking heavily.
Clipboard Jesus’ Fifteen Minutes Are Now Over:
#TBH, I wish one Charlie Whitehurst was a better player. And by “better player”, I obviously mean I wish he could last a full game on the field for the Titans, as the backup to Jake Locker, so that he could be in the news more. But not too good. Ya know, because if he was actually really good, one of the best nicknames of all time wouldn’t make any sense. [Whitehurst would not be proverbially holding said clipboard if he was too good.]
As former Montana Tech football coach Bob Green so eloquently put it, “It’s kinda like watching your mother-in-law go off a cliff in your brand new Cadillac. You got mixed feelings.” I like the image the nickname conjures so much, that my Twitter handle—I made one minor edit; I’m the ClipboardJaysus—and image reflect as much. Check me out, Tweeps, @FFHottieAsst.
The Black Unicorn Is Actually The Big Weirdo
Who’s the leader in the clubhouse after four weeks, at the TE position?
The Bears TE Martellus Bennett has a few nicknames—read about them here—but he really wants teammates to call him Marty. Just doesn’t feel right to call the fantasy leader simply “Marty”, now does it? What about The Orange Dino? Yeah. I won’t ask if you won’t.
In the aforementioned league where I am … shall we say, ‘struggling’—have I mentioned I am winless in one particular league?—I’ve been projected to win every week. One week I was to score around 120 points; I scored around 80. Don’t let me get my rant on about automated site projections.
3. Top 7
If one were analyze the fantasy rankings (full-point PPR and 4 points for passing TDs) thus far this season, one would find some interesting findings. Well, lucky for you, I’ve done it for you. OK, get this. In the top 7 scorers, you’ll find 1 QB, 1 RB, 1 TE and 4 WRs. Zero RB strategists unite.
- QB: Bet you, like I, would have wagered something quite valuable that the QB would be Peyton, Rodgers or Brees. WRONG. The answer is Peyton’s replacement in Indy, Andrew Luck.
- RB: Again, good money would have said that one RB would be someone from Charles, Shady, AP or Forte. NO SIR. DeMarco Murray is your man.
- TE: It would be ludicrous to think anyone other than Jimmy or Julius or Gronk would be that guy. THANK YOU FOR PLAYING. One Martellus Bennett.
- WR: There are a couple of household names included here: Antonio Brown, Jordy and Julio. Then … REALLY?? Steve Smith, Sr., who is resurrecting his career with Joe Flacco in Baltimore. I do love his swagger, when he says things like, “I’m 35 years old and I ran around them boys like they was schoolyard children.”
4. Shhhh … Let’s Keep It Our Little Secret
I can admit it. I was wrong.
- Ah, yes. Eddie Royal strikes again. And I was DEAD wrong. With breakout-potential-candidate-to-make-Antonio-Gates-irrelevant-gone-south, Ladarius Green, on the shelf Sunday, Philip Rivers found Royal for a 5/105/2 line, good for the 5th best WR slot this week. Ouch.
- So I’ve been secretly drinking the Allen Robinson Twitter Hype Kool-Aid. He’s certainly got the tools, and hopefully now the QB to get him the rock. Anyhow, he finished with only 5 catches for 38 yards, barely staying in the Top 50 of WRs. Hopefully, I’m simply a bit early in my call. Help me mix up the Kool-Aid next week, won’t you ARob?
- Is THIS a glimpse of the Trent Richardson the Colts traded for last season? On Sunday, he again played more than half the snaps and got 24 touches. But he actually produced for the brave—or desperate—fantasy owners who played him, finishing as the sixth best RB for the week. And I. Was. Wrong.
5. My Arm CAN Reach Around To Pat Myself On The Back
I’m also not very humble. I’m the MAN!
- I boldly told everyone to R-E-L-A-X and then start Aaron, Jordy and Randall. OK, perhaps not a huge risk. But I’ll take the honors anyhow. How’d they do? Well, Rodgers finished with 27.88 points (#3 QB), while Nelson and Cobb came in at #2 and #4, respectively, amongst WRs. Don’t know about you, but I’m relaxed again.
- I said Bishop Sankey would begin grabbing the backfield job for the Titans, at least from a fantasy perspective. He didn’t change the world, but he did finish as the #14 RB for the week. Your move, Whiz.
- Again, I didn’t walk out on a brittle limb here, but I did think Antonio Brown would eat. And he feasted on the Bucs D, to the tune of a 7/131/2 stat line. The boy can ball. I think I might just have a new mancrush.
And we’ll bring it back around—to boxing. The iconic Muhammad Ali once said, “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.” So, I presume there’s hope for my moldy fake football team this year.
As always, stay strong, show kindness and NO RAGRETS.
[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Fantasy stats courtesy of eDraft.com.]
Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.