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Mike Davis | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

Is Adrian Peterson Still Rostered in Your League?

Last Week's Question: Under what circumstances do you ignore the fantasy experts whom you ordinarily trust?

In last week's column, I challenged readers to explain when and why they disregard the advice of their favorite fantasy experts.

Tellingly, the readers who responded did so via email rather than by posting comments directly to the column. (I took this feedback distribution to mean that people prefer whispering to shouting when it comes to contradicting the experts.)

The shortest (and snarkiest) response came from Marc:

When: Whenever two of my favorite analysts contradict each other.
Why: Do I really need to explain mutual exclusivity to you?
Okay, I get it—but maybe not completely. Do you really ignore both of them just because they disagree, or do you have a methodology for privileging one position over the other? On second thought, I'll withdraw the question so as not to step on your punch line.

One of the more useful responses came from Don, who values the evidence of his own senses over the hypothesizing of analysts:
I ignore the experts (or should) when I see [evidence] with my own eyes. I have played in a dynasty league since 1983. I remember watching Emmitt Smith at the University of Florida. The experts said he was too slow [for success in the NFL]. What I saw was he made everyone miss all of the time. So I didn’t trust my eyes and listened to the experts and passed on Emmitt. Last year, I watched Spencer Ware play when Jamaal Charles went down. Charcandrick West got the first shot, so I thought he was the player to pick and the experts agreed. Then I saw Ware play. He ran with much more power and had lateral movement as well. So I trusted my eyes, not the experts. I picked up Ware, and you know how he has played since. Trust your eyes.
Don makes a great point. And I suspect he speaks for a lot of Christine Michael supporters who are feeling vindicated just about now. They always saw what he was capable of doing.

But some FFers can't trust their eyes because they're not sure what to look for. I'm not being dismissive here; I'm just acknowledging the fact that a lot of people who compete in fantasy football leagues don't watch much NFL footage—at least not critically enough to discern which backs have the best lateral mobility. Believe it or not, there are thousands upon thousands of FFers who pick their players based on stat lines and recommendations from websites without paying very much attention to the games on Sunday. They participate in their leagues primarily because everyone else in their workplace does so—not because they care very much about the NFL. But that doesn't mean they don't try to win.

Although these folks would do well to heed Don's advice, they are more likely to benefit from objective guidelines. I was therefore delighted to receive an extra bit of insight from Q&A's own Matthew Schiff, who took the time to explain why he sometimes disregards his favorite experts:
If I can't swallow a projection that an expert is trying to feed me, I focus on volume. The more touches that ANY player gets, the more opportunities a player gets the chance to break the big one. I’d rather take the guy seeing 10 balls thrown his way than the guy who gets 2 targets each week and converts his opportunities into a TD and 40 yards. Chances are, the guy who sees more balls (rushing or receiving) is the better play in any given week.
Unfortunately, no one responded to the hardest version of the question I posed: "Do you even know, at the end of a season, whether you were better or worse off for disregarding the experts on the occasions when you did?"

The silence on that one was deafening. Maybe we all know the answer—and we just don't like it.

In any case, my thanks go out to everyone who took the trouble to respond.

This Week's Question: Is Adrian Peterson still rostered in your league?

The injured reserve tag isn't what it used to be in the NFL. Thanks to an offseason rule change, each team can re-activate one IR player each season just eight weeks after the designation takes effect. Accordingly, Tom Pelissero of USA Today has observed that Adrian Peterson could theoretically return to action for the Vikings in Week 11.

But Peterson isn't what he used to be either. And even though Pelissero points out that AP has been a fast healer in the past, it's unrealistic to expect the 31-year-old RB to have fully recovered from knee surgery by the end of November.

Unfortunately, the medical consensus regarding Peterson's surgery (which addressed a "bucket handle tear" of his meniscus) is that he won't be able to play again before the NFL postseason at the earliest—making him irrelevant for fantasy owners in 2016.

Nothing that I've read about Peterson gives me any reason to believe that he should still be on anyone's fantasy roster. (Even the words of the song AP sang while doped up after surgery seem significant: "It's over now.")

But here's the thing: It's super-difficult to cut a player that you took with your first overall pick (as I did in the FFToday Staff League)—especially when the player is vowing publicly to get back into action as quickly as possible.

I should have cut him already, but I'm dawdling. I don't really even understand what's taking me so long.

What about the AP owner in your league? Has that owner already cut him? If not, is it because hope blooms eternal or because it's just too painful to get rid of such an expensive player less than a month into the season?

If you have a minute to spare, please comment below (or email me) with the name of your league and the date upon which Peterson was cut. If he hasn't yet been cut, please say so. And if you know why the AP owner is still holding onto him, please explain why—even if the explanation is as simple as "We have an IR category in our league."

Survivor Pool Picks - Week 4 (Courtesy of Matthew Schiff)

Trap Game:

With so many close games predicted by Vegas this week, most would say that there really isn’t an upset pick. I tend to agree. So instead of giving a specific game, I'll warn readers against any divisional games with a spread of less than 3 points. In those games, anything goes. If you love to see the trick play, the special teams play, the outstanding individual effort that snatches victory from the jaws of defeat, then focus on the games between teams that know each other well. So in other words, if you really want to pick your favorite team when they are at home against their biggest foe and it’s a tight spread, DON’T (at least not in Week 4). Instead, consider the three juicy matchups below.

#3: Vikings over Giants (1-2, JAX, OAK, DAL)

Don’t look now, but Sam Bradford is leading a 3-0 team that has lost its star running back and is playing a tough schedule in the NFC North. This week the Vikings host a NY Giants team that could easily be 3-0 (instead of 2-1) and is dealing with RB issues of its own. Shane Vereen is out for what may be the remainder of the season, so the Giants are eager to get Rashad Jennings back. If Jennings isn’t available, then Paul Perkins—not Orleans Darkwa—will carry the rock. The good news for Giants fans is that Eli Manning has gone from having just one talented widout in Odell Beckham, Jr. to having three (with the addition of rookie Sterling Shepard and the return of Victor Cruz). The bad news is that Minnesota's defense is legit—legit enough to have limited opponents to the 3rd fewest points (40) so far this season. Eli Manning is a lock for a handful of atrocious games each season, and my money is on the Viking defense to extract such a game from him in Week 4.

#2: Redskins over Browns: (2-1, HOU, AZ, CAR)

There is a trend developing in Survivor Pools this year: Pick against the Browns. While that may not be music to the ears of Dawg Pounders, it's what they should have expected in a rebuilding year—especially when injuries have complicated matters. Combine these negatives with having to play on the road at FedEx Field where the Redskins return after winning a tight game against a divisional foe (the Giants). Kirk Cousins will look to make it two in a row and calm the voices of those who have "lost confidence" in their 3rd-year signal caller. A solid game in front of the home faithful will go a long way towards getting Washington back in the hunt for the NFC East divisional crown—and solid games are easy to come by against the Browns.

#1: Bengals over Dolphins: (3-0, SEA, CAR, MIA)

My #1 pick hasn't misfired yet in 2016. Let’s hope that trend continues this week as I foresee a loss for the Miami Dolphins when they visit the Bengals. The Dolphins have actually outscored their hosts by almost a touchdown in the first three weeks, but their 28th-ranked defense can't keep up with a potentially explosive offense featuring A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill. In truth, you don't even need to expect the Bengals to play well because there's every reason to expect the Dolphins to play poorly. If Ryan Tannehill could turn the ball over three times against the lowly Browns, he should struggle mightily against the other team from Ohio—the one with some actual talent. And struggle he will. But you won't—because you're taking the Bengals.

Mike Davis has been writing about fantasy football since 1999--and playing video games even longer than that. His latest novel (concerning a gamer who gets trapped inside Nethack after eating too many shrooms) can be found here.