We have now officially passed the halfway point of the fantasy regular season. By now you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not your teams are shaping up as playoff contenders.
No matter what though, everyone can improve. Making trades, monitoring the waiver wire… It’s all necessary regardless of your situation.
Whatever it is you’re trying to do, you have to stay on top of your team and the news around the NFL. But so often, this news is misleading and sometimes straight up Bogus.
So how do you find the Truth?
You turn to Truth or Bogus.
I’ll be breaking down a handful of fantasy headlines and giving my two cents on whether the storyline is Truth or Bogus!
Shop James Conner, Bell is Coming Back
BOGUS – James Conner is actually a fantastic pickup if you can target a nervous Conner owner in redraft leagues.
The Steelers either couldn’t or wouldn’t deal Bell ahead of the deadline. So he is set to return bye week 10 and he’ll remain a Steeler. For those still not aware, Bell has to come back for Week 10 because if he doesn’t, he doesn’t qualify for Free Agency. Which is precisely what Bell wants.
So, since Bell is still a Steeler, shouldn’t James Conner be sold off?
Not at all. Remember that this whole holdout was because BOTH sides couldn’t come to an agreement. There’s an element of how much the Steelers actually WANT Bell back as their primary back. They’ve gone through half the season without him, and James Conner has been more than proficient as the bellcow.
Do you think Tomlin is going to risk losing his entire squad’s support so that he can hand the reins to a guy who hasn’t been to a single practice all year and won’t be with the team next year?
I don’t buy it for a second. Bell’s agent has stated that Bell is also hoping to preserve his body for the 2019 season when he will test the free agency market, point that was hammered home thanks to Earl Thomas’ early exit due to injury while playing during a contract dispute.
IF Bell is still a Steeler, I don’t think the Steelers try and push him into a starter role. Conner has earned the starting job, and he’s got the support of the entire team. Even Ben Roethlisberger is suggesting Conner should be the primary back for the rest of the season.
Now could be a brilliant time to get Conner for as cheap as you can. If the Conner owner in your league is a Bell-iever, take advantage and pry Conner away for as cheap as Mark Ingram, Marlon Mack, or perhaps even Kenyan Drake.
Demaryius Stock Up, Coutee Stock Down After Texans Trade for Veteran
BOGUS – While, admittedly, this does throw a bit of a wrench in the gears of Coutee’s long-term season outlook, I wouldn’t over-invest in Demaryius just yet.
First things first, I’ve always cautioned against midseason-acquired WRs. The main reason being they generally have a longer road ahead of them when it comes to learning an offense. With a RB, they can either run on a simplified playsheet, or they can simply get the call from their QB as to what their role is in any given play. A WR has to learn a new route tree, has to learn when he is going to be blocking and has to develop a rapport with his new QB.
Thomas’ play thus far in 2018 has been underwhelming. He is the ranked third in the league when it comes to drops, and he’s produced half the yardage that fellow veteran Emmanuel Sanders has.
Coutee, on the other hand, has averaged just about 50 yards per game in his 4 starts. That’s pretty decent for a rookie, especially one that plays behind Nuk and Fuller. So why go out and get DT? Well, for depth I would imagine.
Houston doesn’t know if it can fully trust Coutee, as he is a bit raw. So they’ll want to protect themselves and add another option. They also won’t want to waltz into the playoffs with Sammie Coates and Vyncint Smith as their only options for a WR2 if Coutee or Hopkins were to get injured.
Suffice it to say, any idea that DT is going to stroll into Houston this week and be Will Fuller 2.0 is an extremely dubious proposition, even with the revenge matchup against the Broncos.
I would feel relatively comfortable strutting out Coutee for this week, but going forward we will have to see who establishes the most rapport with Watson.
Golladay Is Set To Explode After Golden Tate Goes To Eagles
TRUTH – Golladay was already putting up impressive numbers before Tate left for Philly. Now he will really start to churn up the yardage.
Golden Tate didn’t necessarily represent a major roadblock for Golladay. Tate is a possession receiver that often operates out of the slot, whereas Golladay is a big-bodied receiver with great hands and decent speed.
However, considering that the expected replacement in the slot is UDFA Brandon Powell, it’s likely that Golladay will be asked to do a little more. Marvin Jones is going to maintain his role as a deep threat, while Golladay will likely see added Red Zone targets and continue his explosive work on contested catches.
The move makes Golladay a low-end WR2 with low-end WR1 upside. The Lions have a tough schedule ahead, which might prompt them to lean on the passing game as they try to hang with the Bears or Rams in those games. Then for the playoffs, they get a much nicer set of games making Golladay a solid hold for teams that are likely going to be in the postseason.
Peyton Barber is Back in the RB2 Conversation
TRUTH – Listen, I think Peyton Barber is just about as un-exciting an option as can be found in the NFL right now. But he’s looking more and more like a fantasy asset as the weeks go on.
This time around, the catalyst is an injury to the frustratingly-overused Ronald Jones. This clears the way for Barber to handle the bulk of the carries for the Bucs. Another major catalyst is the apparent re-re-birth of Ryan Fitzpatrcik. Fitzpatrick seems to get this offense into a great groove, and Barber will benefit from that.
Barber is also starting to see some looks in the passing game. Granted, those came when Jameis Winston was in at quarterback. But still, his role in this offense has room to grow as he operates close to a bellcow over the next few weeks.
As I said, he’s not an exciting option. His floor is stellar but his ceiling is unexciting. He’s a guy you can trust through these final bye weeks though, and could be a key piece of your playoff puzzle if these next few weeks go well.
That’s it for Truth or Bogus. Be sure to follow me @DFF_MitchLawson on twitter and I’ll keep you up to date on the bigger storylines in fantasy football.