Fantasy Football Intelligence: The Best Laid Plans…

In an episode of the 1960’s Batman TV series, Lydia Limpet, moll of special guest villain “The Bookworm” began to say, “The best laid plans of mice and men…” when Bookworm interrupted and corrected her, “The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry”, referencing the original Scottish. Little known fact, actor Roddy McDowall, who played Bookworm, in addition to being Galen from Planet of the Apes TV series, is the only criminal who was apprehended by both Batman and Lt. Columbo.

We’re nearly halfway through the fantasy regular season and between the covid related schedule juggling and injuries to key players, many managers’ plans and schemes are out the window and we are figuring out what we have seen in the first six weeks that we can rely on for the next ten. Numerous first and second round talents have suffered multiple week injuries. McCaffrey, Barkley, Thomas, Chubb, Adams, Julio Jones and Dalvin Cook have all missed time. Top 3 QB Dak Prescott suffered a horrific season ending injury, Chris Godwin and Austin Ekeler have missed multiple weeks and plenty of other fantasy starters have been impacted.

So now that your schemes have gone awry, what to do?

  1. Face reality. Lamar Jackson does not look like a top 5 QB. CEH looks like an upper half RB2 (with Bell infringing on his top end). Kenyan Drake is being pushed hard for his job by Chase Edmonds and David Montgomery has lots of opportunity and minimal production. Melvin Gordon sits at RB15, but with Philip Lindsay and a DUI dogging him, his outlook is dubious. Mark Ingram’s floor is low in a crowded backfield where Jackson is offsetting his 5.9 YPA by rendering his RBs superfluous. Outside of one monster week, Odell Beckham Jr. has been a bust and his QB will doom him against good teams. Outside of PPR, DeAndre Hopkins has been boom or bust, so has Cooper Kupp, with less boom. JuJu Smith-Schuster is stuck in a crowd of talented receivers. D.J. Moore is no better than Robby Anderson on his own team and he does not see enough red zone looks. Terry McLaurin is mired in QB hell.
  2. Face reality Part II. On any given week, Justin Herbert, Ryan Tannehill and Ryan Fitzpatrick are top 10 QBs. For the season, they are QB 7-9 in points per game (excluding Prescott). Big Ben is QB12 with a bullet. James Robinson and Darrell Henderson offer RB2 production, though Robinson has a better opportunity share. After teasing us yet again with talent and production, Raheem Mostert got hurt Sunday. Jerick MacKinnon is still healthy and offering RB2 production, he is only 71% owned, also keep an eye on JaMycal Hasty (0% owned), who ran well late in the game. Philip Lindsay is 68% owned and is worth a flyer. Travis Fulgham (31% owned) averages a hair more fantasy points per game than D.K. Metcalf. He isn’t going anywhere and his target share is rich. Metcalf is the most productive receiver in the league and is likely to be WR1 this season. I would trade Thomas, Adams, HIll or anyone else for him if offered. Chase Claypool is usurping Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson before our eyes. Tampa is rounding into form, expect their skill players to finish strong, and they have great matchups weeks 14-17. Kenny Golladay is healthy and should finish well too. Tee Higgins (51% owned) should be rostered everywhere.
  3. So if reality bites, change reality. Make some moves. Try to trade some of the under-performing brand names in (1) and see if you can add some of the lesser known players in (2) who are outperforming them. (Weekly reminder, Chris Carson is a RB1 that can sometimes be had for a RB2 price.) It doesn’t mean trade Jackson for Tannehill. It means Tannehill is 68% owned, Herbert is 54% and Fitzpatrick is 48%, so if you deal Jackson for help somewhere else, you can get production at QB. Trading can be hard. Look for good matchups on the waiver wire, and when in doubt, targeting the defenses of the Jets, Falcons and Jaguars is a good way to go. The Giants, Vikings, Texans and Bengals can be porous too. With the exception of the Falcons and Texans, streaming defenses against those teams is wise as well.
  4. Are you playing in a dynasty league? Can you trade players for draft picks? If you have a limited number of “keepers”, reach out to the top teams in the league and see if you can trade any players that would help them but you aren’t likely to keep for future draft picks. The sooner you do this, the more teams you might be able to get into a bidding war. So if you are in the bottom half of your league in points and you aren’t expecting any superstars to return from injury and take you to glory, optimize the value of any player you are not likely to have next year.

Rather than finish with a video today, I want to thank Ken Cail for hosting the Fantasy Football Intelligence segment on Cail and Company the last two seasons. Ken is a true professional and a great guy. He is even learning to be a good fantasy football manager too. I hope to stay and touch and find out if he can lead his team to a title this year. I will miss our time together on the radio, and wish him nothing but the best. If we are able to bring FFI to any other media platforms, we’ll let you know here first. Good luck to all in week 7.

 

Lee Benjamin

Lee Benjamin has been a football fan since Jim Plunkett was under center for the Patriots and his first ever fantasy football pick was a young Jerry Rice. He’s won more championships during Tom Brady’s career than Tom Brady, though unfortunately, they pay a lot less. His blog, Fantasy Football Intelligence, is published regularly on the WTPL, WTSN and Frank-FM sites. Lee spent over 25 years in New England media. He now resides in South Florida and enjoys freelance writing about sports and politics.