Last Week's Question: How did the
mid-season NFL trades impact your league?
In my column for Week 9,
I invited readers to chime in on the fantasy impact of some high-profile
mid-season NFL trades. I expected different answers to focus on
different players, ranging from those who moved on (e.g. Jay Ajayi
and Kelvin Benjamin) to those who stayed behind and saw their
prospects improve (e.g. Kevin Funchess, Kenyan Drake, and Damien Williams).
Except for a perturbed note from Pete about how the Dolphins should
not have split Ayaji's workload between Drake and Williams, the
feedback focused almost exclusively on Funchess. But the subject
matter itself was the only matter of consensus, as opinions varied
widely. According to Steve,
I picked [Funchess] up a few weeks back. He was starting to slide
and I actually had a waiver request to drop him when the trade
occurred and quickly voided my transaction. Funchess will most
likely be in my starting lineup the rest of the year as my WR
BeMo also sees Funchess as a WR3, but only if a better option
I will be starting Funchess this week but consider him the weakest
link in my lineup. . . . I suspect that the residual "fallout"
from the Benjamin trade will end up being merely a lateral move
for Benji [and] a slight downgrade for Funchess, while the production
of Shepard and Mathews will go up.
Even if BeMo isn't as excited about Funchess' prospects as Steve,
at least he thought Funchess was worth a start in Week 9. Not
so for RDB: "Until I see how this plays out Funchess will
ride the pine."
For what it's worth, FFToday founder Mike Krueger was at the
opposite end of the enthusiasm spectrum from RDB. He didn't decide
whether to start Funchess or not in Week 9 based on his other
options at WR; he was excited enough about Funchess' situation
to send me this note: "I know Funchess will be in all of
my lineups in leagues where I own him."
I made the mistake of asking for feedback on the fantasy fallout
of the trades before the Week 9 games had been played, so if anyone
had an especially interesting outcome in their league because
of the unexpected change, please share your story with me via
email or the comment section below. My thanks go out to everyone
A.J. Green finished with one catch for
6 yards after being ejected late in the 2nd quarter against
This Week's Question: Do ejections deserve
any special handling in fantasy leagues?
A reader named Hugh is a bit steamed about the A.J.
It makes zero sense for Marvin
Jones to rack up points on my bench while an ejected A.J. Green
remains in my starting lineup. Did Marvin Lewis just leave Green's
spot on the field empty after the ejection? Obviously not. He put
in the best replacement available. Ejections should trigger replacements
in fantasy, just like they do in the NFL. Jones was the best replacement
available on my bench, so he is the substitution I would have made.
I'm not even asking to disregard Green's rotten first half (since
he wasn't ejected until nearly halftime), but shouldn't I be entitled
to the second half Jones had? Isn't that the most reasonable way
to handle ejections in fantasy?
Hugh has my sympathy, but I don't see how an ejection is any different
from an injury for fantasy purposes. If your QB gets hurt on the
first snap and you're a head coach, you put in the backup QB. If
you're a fantasy owner, you usually take a zero at that position.
Admittedly, some leagues (those who draft a team QB rather than
a specific player) automatically substitute the backup QB. That's
an option that might appeal to Hugh, but it's not nearly as sophisticated
as adding the points scored by one player in two quarters to the
points scored by another player in another two quarters on the basis
of a presumption about which player would have been used to replace
But just because I can't think of an easy solution to Hugh's problem
doesn't mean that someone else hasn't already implemented one. Maybe
there are leagues that do handle ejections differently than injuries.
If your league has an unusual way of handling ejections, please
email me or use the comment section below to explain your policy.
The Panthers are only 1 game behind the New Orleans Saints, who
haven’t lost since Week 2. On paper, Carolina is in a favorable
matchup against the worst offense in the league (Miami), but in
reality, the Dolphins may well have mastered the art of addition
through subtraction. Jettisoning Jay
Ajayi to the Eagles transformed Miami's running game, which
took pressure off Jay
Cutler and allowed him to post a passer rating of 120 (albeit
in a losing effort). Both of these teams are “underwhelming” in
the offensive category, but the X factor will be Christian
McCaffrey. If the Panthers use him properly, they should win.
But I would only take the Panthers if I absolutely had to.
#3: Pittsburgh at Indianapolis (4-5, BUF,
TB, CLE, NE, NYG, ATL, PHI, MN, SEA)
Gone are the days of Peyton Manning, and maybe even Andrew
Luck. In their place stands Jacoby
Brissett, a former Tom
Brady understudy who currently has a QB rating of 85.4 with
1900 yards, 7 TDs, and just 4 picks . . . along with a lousy 3-6
record to show for it. Unfortunately, the Colts are at the bottom
of their division because they can’t score more than 18 points
a game on average, and their defense is last in points allowed
(28.9/game) and second to last in total yards allowed. Yes, they
beat a Houston team that looked like it had found its direction,
but if not for Deshaun
Watson's torn ACL (which he sustained during regular practice,
and which cost yours truly his #1 survival pool pick last week),
the Colts would have been lit up and licking their wounds coming
into this home game against the Steelers. The Pittsburgh offense
hasn't been lighting the world on fire this season, ranking only
20th overall. But the latest version of the Steel Curtain, the
3rd youngest defense in the NFL, is shutting opponents down and
yielding only 16.4 points a game. This is a safe bet, even on
the road. Take the Steelers on the road.
#2: Los Angeles Rams over Houston (6-3,
NE, SEA, PIT, ATL, PHI, HOU, TN, CIN, JAC)
How quickly things change in the NFL. This game should have been
a matchup of two future NFL stars in Jared
Goff and Deshaun
Watson, but now it's more likely to play out as the Goff and
Gurley show. Even under the most favorable conditions, Tom
Savage is no Watson—and unfortunately for Savage, playing
facing the Ram defense isn't anything close to a favorable condition.
Optimists might say that DeAndre
Hopkins and Will
Fuller are as good as they ever were, but if they really believe
that, then why aren't they trying to trade for Hopkins and Fuller
in their fantasy leagues. (Hint: It's because Hopkins and Fuller
are better players when a better QB is throwing them the ball.)
It will take a better effort than normal for the Texans to beat
a Rams team that is first in overall offense and put up 473 yards
and 51 points in the Meadowlands in the rain. These teams are
definitely headed in opposite directions at this point in the
season. Look for the home team to win this one – literally running
#1: Detroit over Cleveland (6-3 ATL, OAK,
NE, SEA, PIT, DEN, DAL, PHI, HOU*)
The division-leading Detroit lions host the hapless Cleveland
Browns who are welcoming back Josh
Gordon from his protracted suspension for substance abuse.
Lo and behold, Gordon admitted earlier this week that he was either
high or drunk during every one of his NFL games and “wants to
be the best receiver ever.” Imagine what he could have achieved
if he had kept his head screwed on straight from the beginning.
In spite of his return, the Browns aren’t up to the level that
the Lions showed on Monday night. Look for Matthew
Stafford and company to stretch the field and play strong
defense against a Browns team that looks like it may have the
#1 pick yet again. On another note, the most action in this game
may be the amount of money that Martha Ford donates in support
of community organizations specified by players who honor the
flag by standing during the National Anthem. Kudos to the Ford
family for listening and making a meaningful gesture to help address
the players’ issues.
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.