What makes a football player great for Fantasy? It isn’t the same as what makes football players great.
Great football players produce when they are asked to, and go above and beyond expectations. They fight for the extra yards, the make tough catches that move the chains, they respond under pressure.
These qualities are incredibly valuable in a football player. They do not, however, make a great Fantasy Football player. In fact, some good Fantasy players don’t even have these qualities.
What all good Fantasy players have in common is opportunity – and a little talent. No amount of skill can guarantee statistical success unless the coaches are willing to use a player on a consistent basis.
Don’t believe me? Just ask Giovani Bernard, Andre Ellington, or C.J. Spiller. All of them are supremely talented backs trapped in timeshares with bruising, boring counterparts that rumble into the line, smash their face into some poor linebacker and then fall forward.
Football coaches love these timeshares because they give flexibility to the running back position. Sometimes you need a guy who will lower his head and get you two yards. Timeshares like this are good for football teams, which is why so many of them are in place.
Timeshares are terrible for fantasy. That’s why when a guy comes along who has a job all to himself with that elusive combination of speed and toughness, us Fantasy die-hards get goosebumps.
People far smarter than me spend a lot of time poring over tape trying to determine when the next guy like this will emerge, but players like these are rare, and they don’t pan out as often as they fail.
But every season, when you least expect it, they pop up on teams and become league-winning players. This year, those guys are Knowshon Moreno, Zac Stacy and now, suddenly, Andre Brown.
Andre Brown is still owned in only 25 percent of ESPN leagues. He will make the difference on your team. ‘Nough said.
It’s a thin week for pick-ups, but I’ll do my best.
Running Backs –
Hey, you hear something crazy? Three different New Orleans Saints running backs finished in the top five last week. You know what’s crazier? One or more of them might be back next week. You know what’s even crazier than that? It could be any one of them. You can’t trust New Orleans running backs this year. They might get you twenty (yards?), they might get you nothing.
Bobby Rainey, Brian Leonard – The revolving door of Tampa Bay rushers continues to swing. Mike James goes down, Leonard and Rainey step up. Right now Leonard is getting the most looks, but keep an eye on this as the week goes on. You still would have to be pretty desperate to start either of them.
And that’s it for running backs. Told you it was a thin week.
Wide Receivers –
Riley Cooper – He’s turning into a thing. Five touchdowns in two weeks is giving him good numbers since Nick Foles took over, and I would rather take a chance on him and miss than let someone else get a crack at him. I think he calms down a little, but stays around double digits while Foles is under center.
Tavon Austin – I know it seems as if the smartest thing to do with Tavon right now is trade him. After all, this is the peak of his value, and he really still is very uninvolved in this offense. I think this huge performance is going to serve as a wake-up call for St. Louis, and they’re going to start using him the way they should be.
Richard Matthews – I watched him play on Monday night, and frankly the kid looked good. I know that it’s a crazy boom performance, and I’m not saying he’s about to go out and do it again, but I think he’s worth adding in most leagues. Just a hunch, but I liked what I saw.
That’s a wrap! Thanks for stopping by, and good luck to you.
Nick Brown, Sports Editor