A Fantasy Football Thanksgiving: What to Be Grateful For
By Matt Cott, Moe Koltun, & Matt Schwimmer of RotoAnalysis.com
On one of the best days of the year for football fans and just about everybody, we at RotoAnalysis are here to break down some things that fantasy football owners should be grateful for as we provide a spin on some of the biggest stories in the season thus far.
I am grateful for…Consistency
Players like Julio Jones, Torrey Smith, and Josh Gordon have their place in fantasy, but I’ve always been more appreciative of those few special guys who go out there and put up solid stats every week. The king of consistency this season has been Brandon Marshall, who has had less than 7 points only one time this season, and has had more than 15 points four times. Besides the other obvious studs (LeSean McCoy, A.J. Green, Arian Foster, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, etc) I specifically want to thank Jimmy Graham at the tight end position who, when healthy, hasn’t put up a game with less than 7 points. He has truly validated his “stud” status. Fantasy football is a weekly game and it’s nice to have you show up every week.
I am grateful for…No “Shannahanighans”
For years fantasy owners have been frustrated by the treatment of running backs by Mike Shannahan. While his teams have always had good running games, he would never rely on one back. This year seemed poised to be like every other year as Roy Helu, Evan Royster, and Alfred Morris would likely be in a committee of backs where one never took over the full-time duty. Luckily for fantasy owners, Alfred Morris was given the job in week 1 and hasn’t looked back. In 6 of his first 7 games, Morris posted double-digit fantasy points. However, he hasn’t posted more then 7 points since so let’s knock on wood that there won’t be any late season Shannahan-igans.
I am grateful for…Adrian Peterson’s Knee
When Adrian Peterson went down with a torn ACL last year, most of the fantasy community expected him to be mostly irrelevant this season. However, Adrian Peterson proved everyone wrong and was ready to start week 1. Everyone forgot just how much of a physical-freak Peterson was and just how good he actually is. He seems to have regained just every bit of the talent he had before the surgery and is only 5 points away from being the #1 RB through 11 weeks of the regular season. Despite what looked to be a challenging schedule in the second half, Peterson has posted at least 16 points in each of his last 4 games and there is nothing that should have owners expecting otherwise the rest of the way.
I am grateful for…Late-round QBs
There was a huge split in the fantasy community regarding quarterback play and just how early you should have drafted guys like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, with many suggesting to use the first overall pick on Rodgers over a guy like Arian Foster. When you look at the QB points leaderboard and see RG3 (Average draft position in the 8th round) and Peyton Manning (ADP in the 6th round), it’s pretty clear what owners should have tried to do. Even guys like Andrew Luck, Josh Freeman, and Andy Dalton are putting up quality numbers and rank in the top 10.
I am grateful for…A.J. Green’s Hands
We had Green as the #5 WR in our draft kit and looking back, it’s easy to say that we should have had him higher. The 2nd year stud has taken a huge step forward to become probably the most dominant wide receiver in the NFL. He carries that Bengals offense and as the top fantasy WR so far this season has a lot of fantasy teams on his back as well. His streak of 9 straight games with touchdowns is second to Jerry Rice’s streak and is a crazy sign of just how good this kid could continue to be.
I am grateful for…Doug Martin
Martin has been part of a rookie class that has been rather friendly to fantasy owners especially in terms of quarterbacks and running backs. Not only does Martin lead the league in percentage of team touches (rushes and receptions) at 49%, but he is the only player this year who has forced 50 missed tackles. While it no longer seems bold to have called Doug Martin a top 10 running back in the preseason or the best rookie back, there’s no need to worry about who the top rookie back is. Just enjoy their talents for the next 10 years.
I am grateful for…”Da Bears” D/ST
With 151 points in their first 10 games, the Bears remain on pace for what would be the best fantasy defense season of all time. This season, only two other teams have more than 100 points, and the Broncos are second with 120. 31 points is also the difference between Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, Calvin Johnson and Miles Austin, and Tony Gonzalez and Greg Olsen. It’s staggering how good they’ve been and while we don’t recommend drafting defenses before the last couple rounds, the Bears have been an absolutely huge payoff for anybody who drafted them this season.
I am grateful for…The San Francisco 49ers Offensive Line
There are a whole lot of people who should be thankful for tackles Joe Staley and Anthony Davis (unfortunately no relation to The Brow), guards Alex Boone and Mike Iupati, and center Jonathan Goodwin. While each of those players is valuable on their own, Jim Harbaugh has coached this line to be greater than the summation of its parts, especially against when running the ball. Right now, the Niners are 1st in the league in Adjusted Line Yards by almost a half of a yard at 4.93 Adjusted Yards Per Carry (the difference between the 2nd and 17th teams is less than half a yard). Frank Gore is talented, but not nearly as talented as his 5.3 YPC might indicate. The team’s amazing o-line should be attributed with the majority of the rushing game’s success (they currently have a league-leading 1653 yards so far this season). Thanks guys.
I am grateful for…Spike Eskin
This ‘thank you’ incontrovertibly trumps all of the others. In the 18-or-so months since we created RotoAnalysis.com, the three of us have made countless invaluable relationships and, in a few special cases, some close friends. Spike is one of those friends. Ever since we sent him a tweet trying to join his fantasy basketball league over a year ago, Spike has been continually magnanimous to us, first allowing us to break down his league on SpikeEskin.com, eventually coming on our podcast and even bringing us over here to the great CBS Philly to share our fantasy tips with a larger audience (you guys!). Thanks for all of the opportunities Spike, and for mentoring us—we wouldn’t be close to where we are without you.