I keep telling people to add Tim Tebow, and they keep looking at me funny like I've been huffing paint or swigging copious amount of Irish Coffee. So, in order to assuage your fears that I'm not off my rocker completely, I'll detail in the piece below just why adding Tim Tebow could make the difference between your team missing the playoffs and winning the championship. I'll also give my thoughts on the Saints explosive yet unpredictable receiving corps, while trying to figure out why the Vikings aren't getting the ball in the hands of their second most explosive offensive weapon. Oh, and even though he's old and boring he was traded, so I'll give Derrick Mason some face time.
He can't throw a spiral.
His footwork is sloppy.
His throwing motion is far too long.
So why is anyone excited about Tim Tebow? Is it because he never swears? Is it because he has, in the biggest mistake any person has ever made in the history of the world, sworn off carnal relations until he's married (for goodness sakes Tim, you're and NFL quarterback)? Is it because he's a nice guy? I'm sure all of that plays a part as to why his jersey sales are through the roof, and while the fan base in Colorado nearly burned down the stadium in order to show the front office how desperate they are to add him to the starting lineup the fact still remains – he doesn't have the look of a tradition NFL quarterback. Regardless, people in the fantasy games are literally in an all out grudge match to add him off the waiver-wire. The question is, should you stay outside the fray, or, should you pull on your protective cup and dive on in.
Consider me one of those who's suiting up for battle. Here's why.
Fantasy football isn't fair. Not even close. With the way that most scoring systems record points, a quarterback who can use his legs is a massive advantage. Example. In the SiriusXM Experts league, here are the point totals produced by quarterbacks in Week 5:
19.35 – Tom Brady
18.05 – Mathew Stafford
17.75 – Tim Tebow
In case you've already forgotten, Brady threw for 321 yards and a touchdown, Stafford for 219 yards and two touchdowns, and Tebow threw for 79 yards and one score. So how in the hell did Tebow almost match the other two QBs in fantasy points? His legs. Tebow ran the ball for 38 yards and scored a rushing touchdown. It's just that simple.
Think about that. Tebow played half a game in Week 5 and threw for 79 yards, yet he recorded only 1.6 points less than Tom Brady. How? Here's the scoring system:
1 point for 20 yards passing
4 points for a passing TD
(-1) for an interception
1 point for 10 yards rushing
6 points for a rushing TD
Not all scoring systems are the same, but an awful lot of them do reward four points for a passing touchdown and six for a rushing or receiving score. I get the reason why. If Tom Brady throws for 35 scores on the year that equates to 210 points if he gets six points for a score. If Arian Foster scores 15 touchdowns he'd only produce 90 points. Both would be elite level seasons, but there would be no equity between the two positions. Therefore, reducing the quarterback point total for scores is an attempt to balance out the positions. Again, I totally get it. The problem becomes what happens when a quarterback turns into a running back like Cam Newton, Michael Vick and Tebow are apt to do. Here's a real world example to illustrate the point.
Let's say Tom Brady throws for 300 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions, a Hall of Fame worthy game by any measure. That effort would lead to 27 fantasy points in the above scoring system. Let's say that Tim Tebow throws for 210 yards, one touchdown, one interception, rushes for 50 yards, and scores one time on the ground. That effort would give Tebow 24.5 points. That's a lot closer than it should be, don't you think? I mean, at the end of that day Tebow has accounted for two touchdowns and Brady three, yet they are less than three points apart in fantasy scoring.
Tebow produced 17.75 points in Week 5 while playing only half the game. He was the 14th highest scoring quarterback last week – and he played half the game and threw for 79 yards. You might be saying – that his performance was total luck. Honestly, it's wasn't. Last season, over the final three weeks of the season when he was starting for the Broncos, do you know how many fantasy performers produced more points that Tebow? The answer is zero. None. Nada. Not a single NFL player recorded more points that Tebow in that time despite the fact that he threw for only four touchdowns, tossed three interceptions, completed just 49 percent of his passes and threw for an average of just 217 yards a week. That's what happens when you rush for an average of 66 yards and a touchdown each week. Moreover, over the final three weeks of the season last year he averaged a point total that was 1.5 points behind the average per game mark last season of Michael Vick.
Tebow can produce some serious points even if he's actually performing at a level that, flat out, stinks for an NFL quarterback. But the point is this – in almost every fantasy football scoring system out there is won't matter. Tebow will use his legs to artificially post strong point totals week in and week out, even if he resides in the bottom third of NFL passers. Does that seem right to you?
Drew Brees is going to throw the ball, and he is going to do so about as well as any quarterback in the league. Threw five games he's on pace to shatter the NFL record for passing yards (his average of 353.8 yards a contest would equate to 5,661 yards), and he's also on pace to throw for a career best 38 touchdowns. There's obviously a bounty of production going around with the Saints. However, that doesn't mean there isn't a problem in the fantasy game. We simply don't have any idea who is going to go off from one week to the next. Here are the Saints top receivers the first five weeks of the season.
Week 1: Devery Henderson – 6 catches, 100 yards, 1TD
Week 2: Darren Sproles – 8 catches, 43 yards, 1 TD
Week 3: Lance Moore – 9 catches, 88 yards, 1 TD
Week 4: Jimmy Graham – 10 catches, 132 yards, 1 TD
Week 5: Jimmy Graham – 8 catches, 129 yards
As you can see, Brees spreads the ball around to whomever is open and to whomever the match up dictates he should throw the ball to. In addition to that first five week illustration, I should point out that there is one name that you would expect so see missing from the above list – Marques Colston. The club's number one wideout option is back and healthy after missing time due to injury, and he caught five balls for 69 yards in Week 5. In fact, he also played the most out of the Saints' wide receivers. Here are the snap counts from Week 5.
48 – Marques Colston
45 – Robert Meachem
36 – Lance Moore
33 – Devery Henderson
Because of the success out of the backfield of Sproles, and because of the excellence of Brees' new Best Friend Forever, tight end Jimmy Graham, the Saints only used a three wideout sets on a third of the plays in Week 5.
What this all means is that it's going to be very hard to predict which Saints receiver will “go off” from week to week. Colston is obviously your best bet, but after that, it gets dicey.
Poor Percy Harvin
There are two dynamic play-makers on the Vikings offense. Unfortunately for them, neither is the quarterback. Adrian Peterson is predictably shredding defenses with a pace that would fall just short of 1,600 yards and 20 scores. The other dynamic option is Percy Harvin, even though you wouldn't know it if you were just looking at the numbers.
Season: 18 receptions, 183 yards, zero scores
Per Week: 3.6 receptions, 36.6 yards
I know those numbers blow some serious chunks. The Vikings also know those numbers will induce nausea. So what are they doing? They're using him infrequently on kickoffs, but more importantly they are trying to get him involved in the running game as he's picked up 13 carries which have led to 153 yards.
So, if he's that explosive, why did the Vikings get him on the field for only 40 of their 63 offensive plays against a Cardinals team that had the safety “in the box” on nearly 79 percent of those plays? The answer is Donovan McNabb. The former standout has performed like a wet noodle this year throwing for only four scores while averaging 170 yards passing a week. McNabb simply isn't anywhere near the type of player that can illicit the best out of his players. While I'm no McNabb fan, never have been, I don't think all the blame lies completely on his shoulders though. With teams knowing their path to victory lies in stopping AD, and remember the Cardinals had the safety in the box a remarkable 79 percent of the time in Week 5, how is it possible that Harvin caught only one pass? If McNabb truly is so bad that he is incapable of hitting a receiver who is working with one on one coverage, then they need to get the old man out of there. Honestly I don't think the move to Christian Ponder would help though. The unspoken issue here is that the Vikings simply do not have talented play makers on offense after AD and Harvin. Look at the mess they throw out there each week at receiver (Bernard Berrian, Devin Aromashodu, Greg Camarillo, Michael Jenkins), it's embarrassing. I blame the front office as much as anyone because if the Vikings do pass they only have one guy who can really do anything with the ball in his hands in Harvin.
My advice would be to sit on Harvin if you own him, or try and pick him up on the cheap if you can. The dude is exceedingly talented, and if he can just stay on the field (avoiding the almost constant issues with his health), I'd bet on him coming through big time, at least for a couple of weeks, the rest of the way.
Mason a Texan
The Houston Texans are living life without their best pass catcher in Andre Johnson. Realizing they could use some depth, the Texans sent a conditional seventh round draft pick to the Texans in exchange for Derrick Mason. The veteran receiver who has 937 receptions, 12,066 yards, and 66 touchdowns in his career, had been a complete after thought in New York as he had caught just 13 passes for 115 yards with the Jets. Will he improve upon those totals in Houston? It seems unlikely. Mason is 37 years old and has clearly lost one, possibly two steps. It is possible that Mason could carve out a role in which he hauls in three or four passes a week, but with Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones clearly ahead of him on the depth chart, it will be next to impossible for Mason to take on a substantial role, especially when Johnson returns.
The more pressing question is this. Does the addition of Mason mean that the team is worried that Johnson will miss more time than they initially projected? They continue to say that Johnson is progressing on schedule, but this signing might indicate otherwise.
Jahvid Best's favorite Halloween character must be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In 10 starts at home during his career he's scored four rushing touchdowns, run for 590 yards and averaged 4.8 yards a carry. In 11 starts on the road he's rushed for two scores, run for 318 yards and been held to an average of 2.6 yards per carry.
Chris Johnson averaged 12.5 rushing scores the past two years. This season he has one score putting him on pace for 3.2 rushing touchdowns on the campaign. CJ is also averaging 50 yards a contest this season, less than half the 105.3 mark he posted the last two years.
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 his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.