This segment of fantasy insights is a joint endeavor between the Dynasty Football Factory and Utter Fantasy Football (www.utter-fantasy.com). This weekly segment is designed to canvass some of the hot button topics to keep us all informed on the ever-changing NFL landscape and which may carry major fantasy implications. If you aren’t already, be sure to follow Mr. Utter Fantasy Football himself, Doug Bowles @UtterFantasy.
DFF Asks – Why don’t teams utilize running backs with a similar profile and skillset such as; Darren Sproles, the way the Saints did?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – First and foremost, it depends on what the team/ offensive coordinator likes to do. If it’s a RBBC team, most assuredly, they will utilize a specialty back on certain plays. On the other hand, teams like Dallas and Minnesota who tend to run a one-back system, do not pull their starting tailbacks on 3rd down, so there is no need for a Sproles-type player on those teams. The same type of question could be asked about tight ends. Why don’t teams utilize tight ends the way the Pats Saints, Panthers and Bengals do? (In 2015, Arizona’s top tight end had 21 receptions and 3 TDs. Compare that with Washington’s Jordan Reed who had 87 receptions and 11 TDs.) It all depends on what the team and offensive coordinator like to do.
DFF Asks – If you could only play one format of fantasy football for the rest of your life, would it be re-draft, dynasty or daily? And why?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – I would pick the redraft format. I think I would get bored with only playing a dynasty league, or a daily league, especially if it’s for the rest of my life! (and let’s really bond together as a fantasy football community and fight this law, if it ever gets passed!) I have been in (and commissioner of) one particular league for over 20 years, where we draft in September, then 8 weeks later, we freeze two of our original roster players, and we re-draft. It is a lot of fun, and very interesting to be rooting for practically a new team half way thru the season.
DFF Asks – Why does PPR attract more fantasy football players than Standard?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – I think PPR is more popular because A) the NFL has become more pass-first offensively, B) as the run declines, there are very few RBs that consistently deliver points C) using PPR makes more WRs relevant – the good slot guys can be fantasy studs D) it results in more overall points. Just like real-life NFL, I think fantasy players like more offense.
DFF Asks – We’ve seen busts before, why is the consensus in all circles that Ezekiel Elliott is a sure thing? Why is everyone so high on him without seeing him take a single snap in the NFL?
UTTER FANTASY RESPONSE – I’m quite certain that fantasy football enthusiasts are particularly excited about where “Zeke” landed. The best RB in the draft- to Dallas w/ the best O-Line in the NFL! (If he had been drafted by the Lions for example, there wouldn’t be this much excitement. No one pulls RBs in and out plays during a team’s offensive series as much as HC Caldwell does – RBBC, Detroit had the fewest yards per running attempt in 2015, and they have a crowded back-field.) Ezekiel Elliott is also a special talent. He is a workhorse with a tremendous burst; he has vision, balance and the ability to rip off yards in chunks. I will add that no one is a “sure thing” but perhaps Elliott is the closest that we could hope for.
DFF Asks – How does the outlook for Jeremy Langford and Thomas Rawls change in their respective backfields with the amount of depth added in the NFL draft?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – I have been adamant since the draft that fantasy football owners shouldn’t be too quick to bail on Jeremy Langford and Thomas Rawls. Depth on any team’s roster, at any position is a good thing. Every NFL team has to be prepared if any player gets injured and lost for the season. Just because a team gets prepared for the worst, by drafting reliable back-ups, doesn’t mean that the proven starter from the previous year is out of a job. When Baltimore drafted RB Buck Allen in the 4th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, fantasy football owners didn’t panic about Forsett. I love what I saw from Rawls and Langford in 2015, and if they are 100% Week 1, I want them on my fantasy team.
DFF Asks – Who ends up with a better 2016 after changing team and/or coaching staff? Rueben Randle or Torrey Smith?
UTTER FANTASY RESPONSE – For whatever reasons, I have never been a fan of Rueben Randle. I do not draft him, I do not recommend him ever in any of my Start/Sit columns and he’s never been invited to any of my birthday parties. Seriously speaking, he is now BURIED in the Philly receiving corps that includes Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Chris Givens, T.J. Graham and TEs Ertz and Celek. I do not expect much from Randle in 2016. Torrey Smith is an under-achiever, but can stretch the field, and maybe he can have some fantasy football relevance in 2016 within the HC Chip Kelly’s system.
DFF Asks – Anquan Boldin, Andre Johnson, James Jones, Marques Colston – do any of them break camp on a roster in 2016?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – Also an admirer of Anquan Boldin, and whoever finally signs the man will be happy about it. I have stated before that I would love to see him re-sign with the Cardinals and rejoin WR Larry Fitz. (How cool would that be?) Unfortunately, the Cardinals do not need a wide receiver.
DFF Army – With the Brady suspension, what does it do to your rankings for Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman? Do they go down or stay the same?
UTTER FANTASY RESPONSE – They most definitely go down, but it is only for 4 games vs 12 productive weeks. Edelman’s value goes down for me more than Gronk’s does however. The additions of WRs Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Nate Washington already dropped Edelman’s ranking a bit, but didn’t affect Gronk’s, in my opinion.
DFF Asks – What does the quarterback situation for the Broncos and Jets do for your confidence in Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker across all formats?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – Two different situations here. The Broncos will have major growing pains, which will directly affect WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders…..there’s no getting around this. The Jets on the other hand, will eventually sign Ryan Fitzpatrick. Both sides are sticking their heels into the ground, but it’s best for everyone if they get Fitz back, ( and BTW, I get that Fitz wants to get paid, but this guy has floated around the league for years, and finally when he finds a home and is very successful, he’s holding out. Find a middle ground and play ball.) If Fitz signs, fantasy football owners can draft Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker with confidence.
DFF Asks – As a Commissioner, what is the hardest decision you’ve ever had to make in terms of kicking someone out of a league, calling out collusion, midseason rule changes, etc.?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – OK…one year a team wanted a new rule passed, and as commissioner, I always let the entire league decide….i.e. a vote. It passed. THEN………a few weeks later, the team that got their new rule passed, discovered a loop hole in their own new rule, and tried to take advantage of the loop hole to better the team roster. Needless to say, the other teams in the league went berserk and I made the decision to “write an addendum” to the newly passed rule which removed the loophole. The team that got their new rule passed in the first place was furious about the addendum and quit the league midway through the season. We were all very happy that they left.