Another weekend of cheers and tears is in the books for fantasy football lovers. Week 3 carried with it some large developments. Naturally, there are going to be plenty of fast takes and reaction pieces flashing across your screens over the next few days.
It’s hard to tell which stories need to be taken seriously and which ones are overreactions. That’s where Truth or Bogus? comes in!
I’m going to break down some of the biggest developments from this past week and whether you need to take it to heart or not.
Let’s jump right in.
Andrew Luck’s Arm Strength Is Questionable After Week 3’s Performance
TRUTH – I know that the decision to put Jacoby Brissett in for the last second Hail Mary might be easily dismissed by some people. But I think it’s very telling as to why he’s struggled so far in 2018.
So while you might be quick to dismiss the last-second input of Jacoby Brissett to get the ball 50+yards down the field, you shouldn’t be. Luck’s inadequacy on deep balls this year could make him incredibly one-dimensional. This is a big problem for a QB. If defenses don’t have to worry about the deep ball as much, they can cheat in coverage and try to jump a route. Any DB worth his salt is going to be able to exploit this problem.
Andrew Luck has also shown signs of changing his style of play in his season statistics thus far. Luck’s completion percentage has climbed from his 59.2% career average to 68.5% this year. Sounds great, right? Well, not when you see that his average Yards per Attempt have plummeted from 7.8 Y/A to 5.3 Y/A. He’s also seen his total Yards Per Game drop to about 220 yards per game. That’s far away from his previous season averages, which ranged from the 270-290 yards per game range.
Luck is on pace for 3,530 yards, 27 TDs, and 16 INTs. That would equal about 290 fantasy points in standard leagues if we were to also factor in his rushing yards. That would put him just barely ahead of 2017’s Case Keenum as the QB15.
Funny, I think some forward-thinking analyst might have mentioned something about that QB15 number:
Yes, way back in preseason Week 1, I didn’t love all the positive hype that Luck was getting despite coming off a significant shoulder injury to his throwing arm. Bear in mind; this was a bold take, so even I wasn’t suggesting this was the most probable outcome. But through 3 weeks, Luck’s shown that he is playing a different game. One that is more akin to Sam Bradford than it is to pre-2016 Andrew Luck.
Be afraid Luck owners, be very afraid.
Derrick Henry’s Struggles Continue; Is Droppable in 12-Team Redraft Leagues
BOGUS – Derrick Henry’s inability to carve out a starting RB role in the NFL has haunted fantasy analysts for the past two years, and it continues to do so today. Dion Lewis has been the more effective back thanks to his pass-catching ability. While the immensely talented Henry is left to pick up rushing yards only.
Thus far, Henry’s one-dimensional play has been the bain of fantasy owners. Some have been so affected by his mediocrity that he’s being dropped in many Yahoo leagues (Ownership is down to 86%).In my mind, this is an overreaction.
Yeah, it sucks when your RB2 doesn’t pan out. It’s natural to want to hit the reset button. But there are a few things that are going to fall into place for Henry and the Titans in general. First, they still expecting Jack Conklin and Dennis Kelly back in week 4. This should provide a nice boost to a depleted unit, and could help to get the run game going. Secondly, Mariota’s health should continue to improve. Mariota did well from a real-world perspective and will look to build on that in week four as his elbow heals up.
Third, the game script for Henry hasn’t been great, but he’s still managing to get carries. Henry handled 18 carries in back-to-back weeks, and that was in a reasonably negative game script going for him. In games where the passing game is clicking better, he should be able to see even more touches and more yardage.
Lastly, Dion Lewis is always an injury risk. Dion Lewis is coming off the only full 16-game season of his career. He’s seen plenty of wear and tear over those years, and considering his play style; I wouldn’t be surprised if he does end up banged up again this year.
Henry will never be an elite RB1 due to his almost non-existent usage in the passing game. The Titans schedule is going to lighten up around the middle of the season. So I do think he has an excellent shot to eventually provide value and is still worth a hold in redraft.
Calvin Ridley Has Emerged as a Fantasy Must-Start
TRUTH – Not only has Calvin Ridley stepped onto the fantasy scene, but he has also out-produced Julio Jones along the way. Ridley already has as many TDs through 3 weeks than Julio has had in the last 20 weeks.
Yes, this will be the best game of his season, but he has confirmed that he’s the #2 WR in Atlanta. Some folks are even suggesting he could push Julio Jones for WR1 status, but that’s just ridiculous to suggest at this point.
Operating as a much faster, more agile option than Mohamad Sanu, Ridley should continue to bring in significant fantasy results. Not only Ridley but those around him. If defenses can’t cheat towards Julio constantly, then he’ll likely find himself a little more open than in previous years. Not only that, Matt Ryan could start putting up those high-end QB1 numbers that we saw when Roddy White was in town.
Ridley’s targets and yardage have increased in each game. But I think he’s definitely at his ceiling at this point. It is fair to expect six catches for 70 yards in any given week, with TD upside.
Baker Mayfield is a Must-Add After Being Named the Browns’ Starter
TRUTH – Yeah, no overreaction with this headline here. This is a no-brainer in my opinion. Mayfield was perhaps not the consensus #1 QB in the draft, but he’s found himself in a good situation to succeed.
Yes, it would have been interesting to see him and Josh Gordon connecting, but the Browns have plenty of options. Jarvis Landry will continue to see a plethora of targets, and Antonio Callaway should mix in as well.
A little side note here. I’d also like to put forward that Rashard Higgins was showing great rapport with Baker Mayfield in preseason, and could be a sneaky deep WR play.
Another beneficiary should be David Njoku, who hasn’t realized his potential in this offense yet.
All in all, Mayfield looks like an upgrade over Tyrod Taylor already. He completed 74% of his passes for over 200 yards against the Jets. He gets a great matchup against Oakland in Week 4, and he’s got some streaming appeal if you need a QB.
LeVeon Bell Will Be Traded
TRUTH – This was always an option, but it’s nice to see it being talked about as a potential occurrence.
Trading Bell would be the best possible thing for the Steelers at this point. It’s fairly clear that they don’t want to sign Bell long-term, and they have a talented back in James Conner. So, if you can’t get Bell to report, and don’t want to sign a long-term deal, a trade is the next-best thing.
He’ll likely find himself on the Jets, but the Colts also have the cap room and apparent positional need. The Colts would be the best of the two options, as their O-Line is far better than the Jets’.
There’s a little over a month in which to get the trade done, but I think it can happen. Bell has stated that he does want to play in 2018. I think if someone can give him the large long-term contract that he wants, he’ll jump on it.
My money is on the Jets pulling the trigger, and LeVeon will take the field Week 8 against the Chicago Bears.
Josh Rosen Struggles in Debut, Not Worth Picking Up
BOGUS – Having to make your NFL debut is nerve-racking. Having to make your NFL debut with just 4 minutes left in the game is even more so. But having to make your NFL debut with 4 minutes left in a game against the Bears?! Forget it.
Yeah, Rosen threw a pick (actually two, but one was negated by a penalty). But he also looked really good on his quick throws, and he will look to build as he moves forward.
Rosen was a guy I liked coming into the draft, but I didn’t love his landing spot. That’s still the case; the Cardinals don’t represent an explosive offense. But, it’s likely that Rosen’s propensity as a pure passer should help involve David Johnson more, and capitalize on the strengths that Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald bring to the table.
The big knock on Kirk is that his schedule isn’t getting any easier, as he has to face a bumpy road until later in the season. He’ll need to show some quality work against the Seahawks and the 49ers in the next two weeks if he’s going to be considered startable.
So, while I don’t love Rosen’s situation, I do think he’s at least worth rostering. He was the best passer in the draft in my opinion, and he could be just what the doctor ordered in Phoenix.
That’s it for Truth or Bogus this week. Be sure to follow me @DFF_MitchLawson as I bring you weekly waiver articles, divisional breakdowns and, of course, Truth or Bogus.