This is the Two-Bit Fantasy Advice Column. I don’t have a better name for it, and frankly, I don’t offer solid fantasy advice. I just needed a title to keep with the theme of discussing fantasy football. I’m playing in four leagues this season (idiot) so I’ll be trying to pay attention to NFL news as much as possible. This is today’s installment. Don’t forget to check out other pieces on fantasy football on the site as well, including this recent article by Matt.
Drafting a player on your fantasy football team that is part of a “committee” effort on their actual NFL team can be a very frustrating experience. Fantasy sports involves the proverbial roll of the dice every week, despite what DraftKings lawyers may tell you about “skilled” games. But the risk of chance is even greater when one starts a player that shares the offensive load with a multitude of other players.
Player A averages a measly five carries per game over the course of a month – maybe found the end zone once in those four games. He is a waste of a spot. Looks like this team is rolling with Player B. Time for Player A to take a seat on the bench. First game on the bench: 25 touches, 130 yards, 2 touchdowns. Every. Damn. Time.
So essentially, these two entries below are positions on teams that seem to be up in the air at the moment, and it could cause issues for you when it comes to draft day. Kansas City and Carolina are both going to be very good football teams this year (may or may not have placed a wager on KC to win the AFC West. +200 if you are so inclined, but remember that gambling is illegal and I am talking about Monopoly money). Good teams, for the most part, typically have good fantasy players on offense. There is no doubt that you will want a Chief or a Panther in your fantasy line up. The question now becomes: which player?
These, of course, are only two platoons to keep an eye on. Obviously there are other areas of concern for other teams in the league as well, such as New England’s back field (avoid at all costs) or how Arizona will implement Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington into their offensive attack (they won’t). These are just some thoughts – not all.
Kansas City Chiefs – Running Back
Jamaal Charles (RB12, ADP: 24.6)
Charcandrick West (RB74, ADP: undrafted)
Spencer Ware (RB55, ADP: 145.8)
The Kansas City Chiefs won 11 straight games last season, including a playoff win, with a platoon of running backs that seemingly no one had ever heard of. West, Ware, and fourth-stringer, Knile Davis, helped take on the load, following Jamaal Charles’ ACL-tear. It was a success, relatively speaking, given that West and Ware combined for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns.
This sight has become all too familiar to trust Charles as a first-rounder anymore.
No one is questioning who the lead back is in Kansas City – Charles is arguably the most explosive back in the NFL in the open field (haha get it) when he is healthy. But he is never healthy and it’s a damn shame for the league, and a damn shame for your fantasy team. But when he is starting, obviously the reps will be his. This is not a question of who starts, but it is a question of who to handcuff to Charles and also who might steal touchdowns away from the other backs.
For example, West got 160 carries last season while Ware received 72. This translated to about 50 more fantasy points for West on the season. But Ware scored six rushing touchdowns, all of which came inside the 10-yard line, whereas West scored three from that distance. West had longer scores, indicating some form of big-play capability, but again, he had the ball almost twice as much. Spencer Ware, on the other hand, was far more efficient, in terms of fantasy. Pro Football Focus reported that Ware scored approximately 0.70 points for fantasy opportunity, whereas West scored approximately 0.33. Twice as effective for your fantasy line up when the ball is in his hand. And as Ware’s reps continue to climb, so does his ADP – ESPN’s depth chart currently lists West as the second-string back, but the fantasy rankings tell a different story. Ware seems to be the safest bet here.
Carolina Panthers – Wide Receiver
Kelvin Benjamin (WR18, ADP: 40.4)
Ted Ginn Jr. (WR78, ADP: 133.6)
Devin Funchess (WR50, ADP: 131.5)
The Carolina Panthers finished last season with a 15-1 record and were led in their passing game by Greg Olsen and Ted Ginn Jr. Ted Ginn Jr. Not a joke. Someone needs to fill this void.
Kelvin Benjamin was one of two highly-touted wide outs drafted in 2015, and just like his fellow first-round wide out, Kevin White of the Chicago Bears, Benjamin sat out of the entire 2015 with an unfortunate knee injury. We have yet to see Kelvin Benjamin play a single game in the NFL, yet he is currently being drafted in and amongst the likes of Keenan Allen, T.Y. Hilton, and Julian Edelman. The reason being – he was an absolute monster in college.
Indeed, that does not always translate over to the NFL, but providing Cam Newton, who tends to almost always miss high or long when he throws a bad pass (76 of 94 “bad passes” were deemed “overthrown” in 2014, for example), with a 6’5”, 240 pound monster is one hell of an upgrade for the reigning NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Frankly, it is downright scary.
Carolina feels as though a first-round draft pick is well worth catches like this.
Benjamin is not the only mammoth-sized wide out on this team, however. Twenty-two year old Devin Funchess also boasts a 6’5”, 240 pound frame and moved to wide receiver from his tight end position that he played in college. Funchess emerged last year as an impressive complement to Olsen and Ginn Jr., finishing the season with 473 yards and 5 touchdowns. Three years a junior to Benjamin, who is 25-years old, and one season of experience ahead of Benjamin places Funchess in an interesting spot. There is a definite chance that he becomes the WR1 on this team, at least in the short term, given Benjamin’s continued recovery from a knee injury. And if all goes as planned for the Panthers, perhaps a Benjamin/Funchess/Olsen passing attack would dominate an already feeble NFC South division.
Funchess is rising on many draft boards (up an average of +20.6 spots this week alone in ESPN leagues), and Benjamin’s hype as yet to subside, despite missing an entire season with a knee injury. Needless to say – you should be able to forget about Ted Ginn Jr. in Carolina. Neither Benjamin nor Funchess would hurt you in a WR2 position.
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