Week 4 represents a benchmark for fantasy football squads everywhere. It’s a swing week. A week where teams walked into this week facing the prospect of starting their season either 3-1 or 2-2. The difference between those two numbers is critical. Being two games over .500 or being a .500 is so huge, it’s no wonder why owners are chomping at the bit for fantasy advice.
But sometimes, the hunt for that advice can lead owners down a slippery slope to some Bogus.
That’s why you read Truth or Bogus? My weekly report on which fantasy headlines can be trusted, and which are completely bogus.
Let’s dive right in!
Mike Davis’ Big Day Throws the Seattle Backfield Into Confusion
TRUTH – Man, is it ever costly to miss a start in Pete Carroll’s backfield. Chris Carson owners don’t have the same luxury that the Joe Mixon, Devonta Freeman and Leonard Fournette owners have. Carson owners can’t count on Carson’s job being totally secure upon his return from minor injury.
As he has done since Marshawn Lynch “retired”, Pete Carroll continues to ride the hot hand at the RB position. So how would Carson be any different? I have been high on Carson all season. Preseason, actually. But no matter how high I might be on his talent, I have to question his prospects now.
Mike Davis performed well. Damn well. He ran for 101 yards on 21 carries for a near 5 YPC average. That’s enough to make anyone take notice. But Carroll, who treats big RB days like an excitable dog treats a slow-moving vehicle, might be penciling Davis in for a lot more work.
In the past two seasons, the Seahawks rushing leaders in any given game have included Christine Michael, CJ Prosise, Thomas Rawls, Eddie Lacy, Chris Carson, Mike Davis, JD McKissic. On one crazy day in 2016, Tyler Lockett led the team with 13 rushing yards...On a single carry…
The Seahawks have a history with a running back carousel, and it could continue.
All in all. I don’t like it. Carson has earned the right to see the bulk of carries next week. But I do not have much confidence in that actually happening.
LeVeon Bell Announces End to Holdout in Week 7. Will Finish Season Steelers’ RB1
BOGUS – I can understand the thought process here. James Conner has not been a gamebreaker, and the Steelers are now 1-2-1. But I still think they will try and move Bell before the deadline.
Conner’s struggles have been noted. But he is moving the ball well when he’s utilized as a receiver, and is still helping this offense. The Steelers woes are not to do with Conner, and Tomlin knows that.
The Steelers are reportedly looking for a second round pick and a dynamic player in exchange for Bell. That’s steep considering Bell would not be able to negotiate an extension until the season concludes. This means any team that acquires him has to trust that Bell will, in fact, sign long-term with the team for a mutually agreeable number.
Something has to give, and I think it will be the Steelers’ demands. They would likely be fine with the prospect of grabbing a solid defender or a second-round pick, rather than both.
Bell will be back, but I’d be surprised if he finishes the year as the Steelers’ bell cow.
Calvin Ridley is Trending Towards WR1 Status
BOGUS – Look, Ridley has had a fantastic couple of weeks, but from a fantasy perspective he may have seen his best two games this season.
Ridley finished Week 4’s game against the Bengals 4 catches for 54 yards and 2 TDs. Over the past 3 games, he has caught 6 TDs on 15 catches. Meaning he has found the endzone on over 33% of his receptions.
That is NOT sustainable. He has to come back down to earth, and he’ll more than likely settle into WR3 numbers for the majority of games from here on out.
Julio Jones’ inability to get into the endzone has been joked about, but that’s also bound to change. Matt Ryan isn’t going to shy away from Julio in favor of Ridley, no matter how many times defenders leave him wide open.
In fact, Ridley’s emergence might really help Julio. For the past 4 years, opposing defenses could count on Julio being the most dangerous pass-catcher on the field. But they have to finally stop cheating to his side of the field all the time, because they’re getting exposed and scored on.
Mohamed Sanu is also still in the picture, and he’s coming off a 100-yard game. So it’s not like the Falcons forgot about him. He’ll continue to be a WR4 in fantasy and should see around 45-55 yards per game.
Ridley is a usable fantasy asset, there’s no doubt about that. But he’s not going to finish the season with WR1 numbers in this offense.
Kenyan Drake is a Bust
TRUTH – I really really didn’t want this to be true. But it is. I did love Drake’s upside heading into this season, but he was always just a little too rich for my blood. That worked out in my benefit, because at this point he seems like a fantasy dud.
Drake currently sports a 3.2 YPC figure heading into Week 5. That’s brutal for a starting Running Back. What’s worse, Frank Gore ate up Drake’s opportunities in their blowout loss. This shift of volume meant Drake ended up rushing the ball THREE TIMES. Wow.
There’s no doubt about it, Kenyan Drake’s time as a bellcow is over. Frank Gore has been markedly more efficient with his carries, and it would not be a shock whatsoever if Kalen Ballage sees some real action. Ballage, a fourth-round draft pick in the 2018 draft, had some big fans coming into the draft. This was largely due to some of the hype that he picked up by tying an NCAA record with 8 TDs in a single game against Texas Tech. While this doesn’t mean Ballage is going to instantly be a star, it’s enough to entice the Dolphins into seeing what he can do.
If you own Drake, you can try and package him away to a Dolphins fan, but at this point, you’re looking at getting next to no value for him, and for good reason.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is the Top WR in Pittsburgh
TRUTH – Ok. It might be absolutely crazy to suggest Juju surpassing Antonio Brown as the team’s top WR. But that seems to be shaping up as the case.
Through 4 weeks, Juju leads the team in receptions (31 to Brown’s 29)and yards (416 to Brown’s 272). Brown does lead Juju by 4 targets, but Smith-Schuster has been far more effective with his targets.
Antonio Brown has been at the top of the league for what, like, 5 straight years? Is it so hard to believe that he could be slowing down just a tad? I don’t even mean to suggest that Brown isn’t an elite WR1 because he is. But the only thing that’s keeping him from being talked about as a disappointment is his 3 TDs. Last weeks TD was a busted play that saved Brown from having a brutal fantasy outing as he was absolutely blanketed by Marlon Humphrey.
Both WRs are fantastic fantasy pieces, but it certainly looks like JuJu Smith-Schuster has firmly planted himself as an indispensable weapon for Big Ben.
If he can match Brown TD for TD from here on out, he should finish the season as Pittsburgh’s WR1.
That’s it for Truth or Bogus? This week! I’m sorry to say but next week there will not be an edition as I am getting married this weekend and will be away on my honeymoon.
I will see you all after Week 6, have an excellent fantasy performance while I’m away!