The turf’s been groomed, the bleachers are cleaned, and the man caves are primed. It’s almost football season. As fantasy drafts wrap up, and we head into the regular season, it’s important to remember that not all fantasy headlines can be true. Some of them are misleading and can cause you to make poor decisions. It’s times like these you need real answers. Welcome to Truth or Bogus. My weekly take on whether the major fantasy headlines of the week can be trusted or not.
Let’s jump right in with some big preseason headlines.
Chris Carson Will Remain the Seahawks Starter Season-Long
TRUTH – I’ve been trying to remind people all summer that Carson was a great RB. I’ve also been a Seahawks fan my whole life, and I like to think I know how Pete Carroll operates.
The thinking behind Chris Carson losing his job to Rashaad Penny is largely because of the draft capital that the Seahawks spent in order to acquire Penny. Taking him 31st overall despite having an abundance of needs elsewhere on their roster signaled to many of us that they were going to use him no matter what. But Carson was the starter for the Seahawks last year, winning the job out of camp and playing well until a broken leg ended his season.
You see, it won’t matter how much starting Carson over Penny will make people question their draft choice. Carroll has consistently started the players who earn their positions, not the ones that the front office invests the most in. Penny has gained a reported 16 pounds since the combine, and has been bested by Carson every time they’ve taken the field. Carroll will utilize Carson due to this fact.
Don’t believe me? Then look at his track record:
Competition is the focal point of Carroll’s offense. It seems that Carson has won the competition for the starting RB job. If healthy, I expect him to keep that job throughout the 2018 season.
LeVeon Bell’s Holdout Could Keep Him Out Several Weeks
TRUTH- At the time of writing, it is after midnight the night before this article is set to drop.
Do you know what I’m doing? Changing my answer from BOGUS to TRUTH.
Up until this point, I’ve been faithful that Le’Veon Bell is too much of a competitor. I’ve believed that he won’t sacrifice a year of his prime in order to leverage a better deal. While I’ve been aware that it’s possible that Bell could hold on long-term (in fact, I tweeted this possibility out as one of my Bold Predictions for 2018 ), I just couldn’t imagine that a player like Bell would make a decision like this. He has too much to lose by leaving this year’s money on the table
But I’ve come to realize that Bell has limited his options for playing a successful season as a Steeler.
The Redraft team was having a discussion this week, and @dibari22 brought up the point that if Bell commits longer than just this week, then he’d perhaps be better off holding out until Week 10. He would keep 10 weeks of wear and tear off his body, and get credit for a year of service time. Not only that, on Wednesday night Bell’s agent, Adisa Bakari, strongly inferred that Bell would consider holding out as long as possible (Week 10), in order to protect himself in the event of Free Agency, stating “He’s going to do the things necessary to protect his value long-term”.
I don’t like any of it. Le’Veon Bell certainly has produced amazing results for the Steelers, but if they aren’t willing to pay him a large, multi-year contract, then Bell seems prepared to let this thing drag on, much to the dismay of just about everybody.
Josh Gordon Will Return To His Former Glory
BOGUS – This is one of the biggest talking points of the 2018 preseason, and I just can’t get on board with Gordon vaulting himself into the WR1 realm.
Gordon-Truthers are now buying into a 5-year-old NFL season, where Gordon torched the league for over 1,600 yards in just 14 games. But now, he enters as likely the second-fiddle in an offense that is going to be helmed (for the meantime) by Tyrod Taylor, who is not the type of QB to support 2 high-end fantasy WRs. Jarvis Landry was brought in this offseason, and he looks to be the clear-cut WR1 for the Browns. He’ll represent one of the roadblocks that Gordon would have to overcome if he’s going to rejoin the fantasy elite.
Gordon has only just started practicing again recently after taking a mysterious hiatus. Some are speculating that he is struggling with drugs again, or that maybe he’s avoiding the spotlight to mentally prepare. But I think that he’s mostly struggling with the anxiety of stepping on the field again. The stakes are high, if he steps out of line even slightly, his career will be over for good. He also has to overcome the demons of living up to expectations and proving everyone wrong.
Honestly, I’m rooting for Gordon. Just because I don’t think he’s going to be a fantasy asset doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve our respect for every positive thing that he does with his life.
But, coming purely from a fantasy analytical standpoint, I can’t see it happening for Flash.
Trey Burton’s Breakout Season Comes in 2018
TRUTH – Trey Burton was always a talented TE, but when you’re joined on the field by Zach Ertz, it’s hard to stand out in a big way.
So the move to the Bears is an absolute blessing for Burton. He gets to join the Matt Nagy led Bears offense, occupying the “U” role that Travis Kelce operated in. This is a TE/WR hybrid role which should provide plenty of opportunities for Burton to get the ball in his hands for big plays.
Add into the mix the fact that Adam Shaheen is out for the season, and there’s literally nothing standing in Burton’s way. He’ll be the focal point for Trubisky. Trubisky, by the way, was actually excellent and passing to the middle of the field in 2017, which is a place where Burton is going to be found often. His obvious chemistry with Trubisky is a plus, as Trubisky targeted Burton more than any other receiver on the Bears.
Will he be Travis Kelce 2.0? I don’t necessarily believe so. But I do think he has a great chance to crack into the Top 5 TEs, and should return value on his ADP.
Sammy Watkins Could Overtake Tyreek Hill as the WR1 in KC
BOGUS – While it is true that Watkins hasn’t really been fully unleashed thus far in his career, it’s unlikely that he’s going to overtake one of the most explosive receivers in recent years.
His preseason was nothing short of dismal, as he caught just one of the seven targets that came his way. The “growing chemistry” that was being reported throughout OTAs between Watkins and Maholmes is just not there at this point.
On the other side of the field, Tyreek Hill looks as good as ever. He has twice gone over 80 yards in the preseason and caught all twelve of the targets that came his way from Patrick Maholmes. So the idea that Watkins is going to rise from the fantasy ashes to threaten a receiver who is the most dynamic option the Chiefs have is simply not realistic.
Watkins will more than likely start to click with Maholmes as the season goes on, and it does seem like the Chiefs are going to find some way to utilize him, but he will not have a more productive fantasy season than Tyreek Hill.
Fantasy Football is not for the faint of heart. You have to gamble with just about every move you make. Every roster move, every lineup submission, every trade. Be sure you know, before you make these moves, whether you can trust if a headline is Truth or Bogus.
That’s what I have for you ahead of week 1. Be sure to follow me @DFF_MitchLawson for weekly fantasy articles all season long!