Who Is Our Joker?
As I watched the games this weekend, I marveled (pun intended) at the number of WRs that could have been drafted in the 5th round or below that were absolutely dominating on the field: Eric Decker (ADP 55), Flash Gordon (ADP 100), Alshon Jeffery (ADP 140), BrianHartline (ADP 141) and Michael Floyd (ADP 120). All had big days and all could have been gotten for a song on Draft Day in late August. If you look back to Week 12, you add Julian Edelman (ADP 168), Kendall Wright (ADP 158) and Keenan Allen (ADP 189) as Wide Receivers who are now every week starters for PPR leagues. These guys are our Super Heros. They came out of the shadows.
THESE ARE OUR DARK KNIGHTS!
So late last night, after the referees got the down and distance wrong and father & son were left with another brutal loss in DC (pun intended), I rented the 2008 Christopher Nolan drama, The Dark Knight. Not to digress too much from football, but the first scene is one of the best acted action scenes in history. It perfectly sets up the love/hate relationship with the Joker (played brilliantly by the late Heath Ledger). You have to love the Joker even if you loved Caesar Romero’s version.
Well, week 13 is the pivotal week and time to look back at the season a bit. Let’s take a look at the players this season that fit into The Dark Knight movie. We will look at each position and pick a:
- Super Hero – an early draft pick that played to potential
- Alfred – A player that was always there for us
- Two-Face – A hero turned villain
- Joker – Someone who fooled us that we drafted early
This should be fun. Join in by tweeting to me @RickWolf1 to tell me where I got it wrong and who you would have in your Batcave.
Super Hero – Peyton Manning –DEN (ADP 38; 352 FP) – In the SMART system authored by Glenn Colton and I, we don’t take a QB early enough to get Manning. He is simply dominating. We would never leave the plan to take him, but he will be on a lot of teams in the fantasy playoffs because of his performance.
Alfred – Matthew Stafford - DET (ADP 70; 297 FP) - Stafford is the steadiest QB in fantasy football. With only one bad week (14 points), the second highest scoring fantasy QB has delivered for owners that grabbed him in the late sixth round or even early 7th.
Two-Face – Michael Vick - PHI (ADP 101; 116 FP) – Although Mike Vick was not drafted as a number 1 QB by a lot of teams, he made a spark in the first three weeks. Then minor injuries closed him down until he could not pry his job back from the enfuego, Nick Foles.
Joker – Tom Brady – Patriots (ADP 49; 229 FP) – Tom Terrific is coming along now that his key target Rob Gronkowski is back on the field. He looks angry every week and fights the good fight on inspiring comeback wins each of the last two weeks. It is a classic mistake to draft a QB in the 4th round so if you did, you weren’t playing SMART. He was a Joker until about three weeks ago.
Super Hero – Jamaal Charles – KC (ADP 5; 263 FP) – I commonly say that you cannot be too rich, too thin or have too many good RBs. Simply put, you need to roster as many RBs as possible. There are a finite number of good ones whereas there are tons of good WRs. Jamaal Charles is an example of the “S” in system. We anticipated that in the Andy Reid system with a weak armed QB, Charles would get a ton of check downs and shine.
Alfred – Marshawn Lynch – SEA (ADP 10; 202 FP) – Many owners are being rewarded with yards and TDs from the Beast. He has not slowed down at all amassing 925 yards and 9 TDs already. Seattle is playing great football relying on him and he is showing no signs of slowing down. Keep feeding him the skittles.
Two Face – Stevan Ridley – Patriots (ADP 24; 106 FP) – Villain to Hero and back to Villain is how this story was written for Stevan Ridley this year. He started slow by fumbling in the first game. It took him until week 6 to be trusted again and he delivered an average of 20 points per game for four games. UGH, another fumble and out of the lineup again. Stick a fork in his season for fantasy owners since you cannot trust him. He is Two-Faced.
Joker – Trent Richardson – Browns/Colts (ADP 8; 90 FP) – Richardson carried the ball to great success last season with a rookie campaign that gave him 15 points/game. This year he carried great expectations of taking that game to new level. Too bad the new level was less than half last season. He has an embarrassing 7 points/game average and is the Joker of RBs this year.
Super Hero – Calvin Johnson – DET (ADP 7; 267 FP) – There is only one Megatron. We argue every year about where he will go in the first round. This year many RBs that have fallen from grace went before him including: CJ Spiller, Doug Martin, Arian Foster and the aforementioned Trent Richardson. It is easy to take Calvin in the first round when the best of the best are gone, but when you see players like we saw this week, it is no surprise that people load RBs.
Alfred – Josh Gordon – Browns (ADP 100; 230 FP) – Maybe we should have called the category Commissioner to fit his name. No player is hotter than Flash Gordon and believe it or not, he is consistently hot. He has played 10 games and in 8 of them he has had more than 18 points. He has six games with more than 100 yards receiving plus in the last two weeks, he has 24 receptions, 998 yards receiving and three TDs for a whopping 91 points in a PPR league; certainly a fantasy football player's best friend.
Two Face – Roddy White – Falcons (ADP 31; 66 FP) – White has been a consistent performer in past years. Last year, he scored 261 points and averaged 16 pts per game in a PPR. Big numbers. This year, he fought through injuries and finally made it back with a performance this week. Maybe we could have picked someone who was more up and down, but I root for Roddy and want to see this week be the start of a playoff run for his patient owners.
Joker – Hakeem Nicks – Giants (ADP 60; 106 FP) – Many expected that Nicks would blow up in a contract year with the Giants ready to contend for another Super Bowl. Nicks started out well in the first two games, then took three games off and then did well again. Now he has disappeared on his owners. I have one team where he was drafted for me and I have not played him all year. He is an awful route runner, he makes mistakes that cost the team and needs to find another vocation. Joker.
Super Hero – Jimmy Graham – Saints (ADP 17; 225 FP) – Jimmy Graham is having a dominating season for his owners. When drafting, it is important to think about Graham, but the SMART strategy does NOT allow picking a TE before Round 4. This means that Graham will not be on any of my teams. I broke that rule to reach for Gronk in the 4th round and that team is done and done.
Alfred – Vernon Davis – 49ers (ADP 64; 170 FP) – The moniker of Alfred means consistency and many will notice that Davis had a couple of bad weeks and an injured week. At TE, this is great and as consistent as it gets. Even the tough consistent Witten had some down games this year. For all the questions about health, he is the most consistent TD scorer through the air for the 49ers and you should keep sending him up.
Two Face – Jared Cook – Rams (ADP 95; 117 FP) – SMART drafters REJOICE. You drafted Cook as your TE with Rudolph as the backup. YEAH. SMART…WRONG! Rudolph got hurt and Jared Cook turned into Randy McMichael (one big game every five weeks).
Joker – Zach Sudfeld – Patriots (ADP 115; 10 FP) – The reason he is the joker is that with Gronk out for at least a the first three weeks of the season, some fantasy players who watched the pre-season thought that "Baby-Gronk" would dominate the TE spot in New England. Some fantasy players patted themselves on the back for the genius draft pick and even started him in week 1. Waived by the Pats and now a backup for the Jets, Sudfeld is this year's biggest Joker.
The Dark Knight Rises
Every good movie has a good sequel. It is the rite of Hollywood to either get it right (Empire Strikes Back) or ruin a great thing (Rocky II). So for all leagues, the sequel starts next week. I have nine league style fantasy football teams. Six teams were good enough to get a sequel. One team had enough points, but will likely lose on record with another bad beat tonight if Wilson & the Seattle defense cannot beat Marshawn Lynch by 33. For the other two teams: “The defense department regrest to inform you that your sons are dead because they are stupid. Great balls of fire.”(2:05) I left the plan that has made me successful for the last 12 years in fantasy football. In one league, I drafted Tom Brady in the late 3rd round and I drafted Rob Gronkowski in the 4th round thinking that he would play by week 3. He has been great recently, but it cost me DeMarco Murray who somehow was miraculously still there. Thought I saved it when I drafted Montee Ball, Isiah Pead and Jonathan Franklin in the late rounds. Both big mistakes.
Whatever you did in the season, it is over. It is time to watch the schedules and make sure that you cycle defenses and kickers. It is time to watch the injuries and make sure you play the right guys. I hope that you played SMART this year and did your best to work the “M” in SMART all season.
It starts over today…good luck bringing it home.
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Rick Wolf is a leader in the fantasy sports industry. Wolf is a founding Board Member and one of only fifteen FSTA Hall of Famers including Bill James, Ron Shandler, Glenn Colton and Matthew Berry. Wolf is the Co-Host of Colton & The Wolfman every week on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio. With college friend, Glenn Colton, he has won three LABR Expert baseball titles and four FSTA Expert football titles. Twitter: @RickWolf1
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