Are you backing the right horse? By that I mean are the “elite level performers” on your team really performing at elite levels? Moreover, are those second hand players that you drafted in the teens or picked up off waivers actually performing as well as those guys you paid through your teeth for? If I said to you would you rather have Fred Davis or Jermichael Finley, what would you say? What about the Browns and Cowboys backfields? How are things going to play out given the injury concerns that each team has? All of that will be discussed here, an I might even throw a few other things in there to reward you for being followers of FantasyAlarm.com.
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Is Perception Reality?
I'm going to ask a series of questions an ask you who you think has performed better to this point of the season. Should be simple enough, right?
Eli Manning or Matt Schaub?
Who has performed better? Eli would be the response I would expect to hear from everyone. Let's go to the numbers.
Manning: 2,127 yards, 156 completions, 13 touchdowns, five interceptions
Schaub: 2,118 yards, 153 completions, 13 touchdowns, five interceptions
Manning has performed better, he has completed 4.5 more percent of his passes (64.7 percent), and he's played one fewer game as well which is huge, but Schaub hasn't really performed that poorly either since he's on pace to toss the pigskin for more than 4,200 yards with 26 touchdown passes – an that's without his top receiving threat in Andre Johnson (you can read more about AJ below).
Jonathan Stewart or Rashard Mendenhall?
I know that Mendenhall has had a disappointing start to the season, but he has to have been more effective than Stewart who has to share touches with DeAngelo Williams and Cam Newton, right?
Stewart: 71 carries, 327 yards, two TDs, 23 catches, 220 yards
Mendenhall: 107 carries, 421 yards, three TDs, 9 catches, 48 yards
Stewart is averaging 0.7 yards more a carry than Mendenhall. He's also more than doubled Rashard in receptions while almost quintupling him in the receiving yards category. Add that up and Stewart has been the more effective fantasy performer.
Percy Harvin or DeSean Jackson?
Surely this one goes in favor of the Eagles' wideout since Harvin can't ever seem to play 2-straight quarters without having to spend time on the sidelines with some sort of malady. So, what do you think – wanna place any bets?
Jackson: 27 catches, 487 yards, two TDs
Harvin: 31 catches, 334 yards, zero TDs
So it's easily Jackson. Not so fast. First, in a PPR setup the extra four receptions for Harvin knock off four yards from Jackson's yardage total. Second, Harvin has also carried the ball this season. So far he's carried the rock 19 times for 182 yards an a touchdown. Add in those yards an in a standard PPR league Harvin doesn't just have more points than DJax, he's also outscoring Reggie Wayne and Dez Bryant while he's only a handful of points behind Jordy Nelson and Vincent Jackson. Pretty shocking eh?
Health Miller or Vernon Davis
There's no dispute about who is more talented, who looks better with his shirt off, or who you would rather have on your fantasy squad. However, does that mean that Davis has outperformed Miller this season?
Miller: 30 catches, 361 yards, two TDs
Davis: 27 catches, 298 yards, three TDs
That's right. In a PPR setup Miller has actually produced a handful more points than VD. You certainly don't want to catch VD, but if your are a Davis owner you need VD to make a few more catches.
Did you really think I was going to break kickers down? I certainly miss Halloween, but I'm not so hungover from All Hallow's Eve that I'd waste any time discussing glorified soccer players.
Is Fred Davis An Elite Option?
Fred Davis is the Redskins' top pass catching option with Chris Cooley and Santana Moss out of action. In fact, other than a middling Jabar Gaffney, Davis might be the only employable 'Skins pass catcher at the moment. Is Davis, who was wearing a walking boot on Monday for his ankle (he is already out of the boot), an elite fantasy option at the tight end position?
At this point he is second in the NFL with 517 yards, behind only the incomparable Jimmy Graham (713 yards). At his current pace Davis would rack up nearly 1,200 receiving yards. Davis has caught 36 passes, tied for fourth at the position with Ron Gronkowski (Graham again leads the way with 49 receptions). At his current pace Davis would catch 82 passes. Davis has only hit pay dirt twice, and that is somewhat disappointing, but still, he's been terrific. Do you know how many tight ends caught 82 passes for 1,200 yards last year? The answer is zero. In fact, no tight end did it in 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2005, The last tight end to pull off that trick was Tony Gonzalez in 2004 when he had 102 receptions and 1,258 yards.
Where have you been? Of course Davis is an elite option at tight end even if he wasn't drafted to be one this year.
Is Jermichael Finley An Elite Option?
Who would have thought at the season's midway point we'd be asking whether or not Fred Davis or Jermichael Finley were elite options at the tight end position. In a bizarro world twist that would shock even Superman, how amazing is it to realize that only one of these two tight ends has been an elite level performer to this point and it hasn't been the man from Green Bay?
In a normal PPR setup, Finley is currently barely in the top-10 in fantasy points at the position. How is that possible? He simply has been an inconsistent mess. His effort in Week 3 when he caught seven balls for 85 yards and three touchdowns is the highest scoring game this season for a tight end. However, the 33.5 points he scored in Week 3 represents, are you ready for it, 41 percent of his point total for the entire season. If you remove Week 3 from his ledger Finely is averaging 8.15 points per game. Ed Dickson of the Ravens is averaging 8.7 points a game this season.
Finley is 11th at the position in receiving yards with 334. That's only six more yards than Jake Ballard.
Finely is tied for 15th at the position with 25 receptions. That's one less than the thoroughly disappointing Dallas Clark.
Finley has four scores which is tied for third at the position. Still, he's scored only one time in six games if we remove his Week 3 outburst.
Face it Finely owners, the guy has been a borderline disaster this season given that he was going off the board first at the position in some drafts. With Aaron Rodgers operating at such an elite level, he's hitting whomever is open. With so many options to throw the ball to, it's not a certainty that Finley's targets will pick up the rest of the way, an it's also not a lock that he'll suddenly become more consistent than he has been.
Injury/Playing Time Updates
Sam Bradford (high ankle sprain) was not at practice on Wednesday. Am I the only one getting sick and tired of this? Teams seem to always paint the rosiest picture they can about the health of their players. I remember back to when Bradford was hurt. Right after the game the team said he was fine and there was nothing to worry about. We're weeks removed from the injury, and we're still not certain he will be able to play in Week 9.
Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) will not practice on Wednesday. He is “swollen and sore” according to HC Tom Coughlin after re-injuring his chronically injured foot. Bradshaw is expected to play against the Patriots this week, but this is exactly why Bradshaw is such a risk to own. It's not his skills, they are elite, and it's not so much about Brandon Jacobs who would rather be driving his “fast ass” sports car, it's all about his body's inability to make it through 16 games.
Peyton Hills (hamstring) did not practice on Wednesday, and it's still not a certainty that he will suit up this weekend. However, the Browns desperately need him to go given that Montario Hardesty is out of action, likely for multiple weeks, with an injured calf. Hillis has been ineffective when on the field this year with his 3.5 yards a carry mark, but he still makes for a decent low end RB2 option when he plays because of his ability to haul in passes. If the Browns have to go with their healthiest back against the Texans that will be Chris Ogbonnaya. A 7th round selection in 2009 by the Rams, Ogbonnaya is a moderate NFL talent. He's rushed for 108 yards on 28 carries in his brief six game career, and this week's catchup with the Texans isn't great at the team from Houston is the third best defense in the league at limiting fantasy points to the running back through eight weeks.
Andre Johnson (hamstring) will not practice on Wednesday, and it's starting to look more and more like it's possible that he won't play this week or next either. Why? The Texans have their Bye in Week 11 which begs the question – will the Texans just wait and let him get back to 100 percent until after their Bye? I'll say this, if he doesn't play this week I'd be shocked if they let him go out there next week. It's a situation that continues to worth monitoring, and this is exactly why I'm so nervous about recommending that people make deals to add injured players. Those 3-6 week timetables frequently end up being 6-8, and with that there goes half the fantasy season.
Felix Jones (high ankle sprain) was not present at the start of practice for the Cowboys on Wednesday. Though he's listed as day-to-day, most observers expect him to sit out one more game before returning to the field. The question that everyone has though is how the Cowboys will divvy up the touches once Jones does return. Well, we may have got our answer today. Here's what HC Jason Garrett had to say about his backfield situation and how things might play out with DeMarco Murray looking so sharp the past two weeks.
“I think everyone understands that you need more than one back in this league and each of those guys will have a role when Felix comes back, and hopefully we can put them in the best position where they can help us the most."
Garrett didn't specifically say it, but the prevailing point of view is that Murray will handle downs one and two while Jones and his elite athleticism will be called on when the 'Boys hit third down. That makes sense to me. Such a setup would still mean that Murray should be a low end RB2 in most weeks while Jones would likely be a flex option. Hopefully you sold high on Murray if you were thinking he was going to be a RB1 this year. However, if your plan all along was for him to fill your RB2 or flex spot on a weekly basis things are shaping up in a way that it just might end up happening.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87. Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and you can follow him on Twitter at the BaseballGuys' Twitter Page..