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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Upon Further Review: Week 6
David Dorey & John Tuvey
October 14, 2011
 

In order to help our members better use the starting information that The Huddle provides, the intent of this page is to discuss perceived differences between The Start Bench List and Predictions and Projections. The players below were identified by multiple members. The two reports are written by two different people so differences are always possible, but at least this page should help you make up your mind about these players on your roster.

DUSTIN KELLER (vs. MIA) – PROJECTION: 10 YDS, SBL RATING: S1

TUVEY: Funny how last week it was David defending Keller while I was kicking dirt on him; what a difference seven days makes. As one email put it, “I have never seen such a discrepancy.” I teetered between S1 and S2 for Keller, ultimately opting for the higher designation because Keller has been for the most part a regular starter and I wanted to indicate he has the potential to be more than that this week. In the first meeting with Miami last season Keller caught six balls for 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns, so he knows his way around their secondary. To date the Dolphins have allowed the second-most fantasy points to tight ends, and while Rex Ryan gives “ground and pound” lip service I get the feeling Mark Sanchez will still be throwing the ball. I also like Keller’s chances at the stripe, where the ground game hasn’t been able to close the deal.

DOREY: The last two games - 2-12 in Baltimore and then 1-7 in New England signal to me that the Jets really do want to run the ball and use Keller as a blocker. Consider last week against the horrible pass defense of the Patriots he was only thrown two passes in the entire game. Now you have the Jets at home going against a Miami team that has been weak against tight ends but they are on the road and using Matt Moore as quarterback. The Jets are finally home after three straight road games. Even Daniel Thomas is being limited in practice. That all says to me that the ground-n-pound which has excluded Keller for two weeks is highly likely to work this week and reduce the need to throw to anyone. If they didn't throw to Keller in a loss against a really weak secondary, why would they use him against a 0-4 team on the road with a second-string quarterback?

CONSENSUS:  The question here is what the Jets want to do because they have many more options this week. But that too brings about risk as they could win with or without Keller. With two weeks of sub 20-yard games and reasons that he might not change that, start Keller only realizing the risk or opt for someone else with lesser risk.

ROB GRONKOWSKI (vs. DAL) – PROJECTION: 40 YDS, SBL RATING: S1

TUVEY: The Cowboys are allowing about 70 yards per game to the tight end so I can see how Gronk and Aaron Hernandez split something in that range. But Hernandez is as much wideout as he is tight end, and Gronk is always a factor in the red zone—where I anticipate the Patriots having trouble punching a banged-up BenJarvus Green-Ellis or rookie Stevan Ridley across the stripe against a pretty good run defense. Both New England tight ends have scored in two of the three games they’ve played together; this has all the makings of another one.

DOREY: I was pretty much splitting the 90 yards I think can go to the tight ends and I gave Hernandez the touchdown. It was plenty disappointing to see 4-31 thrown to Gronkowski last week though the Dallas secondary has little in common with the Jets. I opted to give the touchdown to Hernandez and I assume had I given it to Gronkowski there would be no disagreement. I have the unenviable job of projecting all the Patriots each week and the confidence level for most is on the low side because the offense changes so much week to week. I own Gronkowski on several teams. I intend on starting him this week because of his upside to catch a touchdown or have a big yardage game.

CONSENSUS: While Gronkowski comes off two games with lesser (or no) stats, he's still has big upside that should be considered more than the risk at this point. He is a starter in most every league.

RASHARD MENDENHALL (vs. JAC) – PROJECTION: 50 + 10 YDS + 1 TD, SBL RATING: B

TUVEY: For starters, the Jaguars are an underrated run defense; they rank 11th in fantasy points allowed to the position, so this is no walkover for the Steelers. Mendenhall has struggled thus far this season even when he was fully healthy; there’s no guarantee he’s 100 percent for this game, and the Steelers have talked about giving Isaac Redman additional work this week. It all adds up to way too much risk to devote a precious fantasy starting spot to.

DOREY: Yeah, I am not sure how healthy he will be on Sunday and hence the 50 rushing yards. I like the chance for a touchdown - hammy willing - but it could get hawked by Isaac Redman. No denying that Mendenhall is anything but a risky play even at home against the Jags.

CONSENSUS: His risk outweighs his upside and the touchdown is no lock to happen, Would you be okay with 50 yards only from him? The safest bet is give him another week to get back to 100%.

MIKE WILLIAMS (vs. NOS) – PROJECTION: 50 YDS, SBL RATING B

TUVEY: The news that LeGarrette Blount will miss this game—and perhaps several more—would have you think the Bucs’ passing game gets a fantasy upgrade; as one emailer said, “the touchdowns have to go somewhere”. Actually, that’s not necessarily true; as evidenced by last week’s showing against a San Francisco defense that had been quite soft on wideouts heading into the game, there don’t have to be any touchdowns at all. We’re quibbling here, as 50 yards is hardly a kingly sum and positions Williams behind 32 other wideouts in DMD’s rankings. As a Williams owner in multiple leagues I get that you’re frustrated and I wish there were an angle here to project him for better numbers. Sadly, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

DOREY: When I project a guy for 50 yards, I am probably not going to start him. I would hope I had someone else with a chance for more. Williams is just not getting it done and not indicating that he is going to improve anytime soon. Especially with a likely diminished rushing offense without Blount.

CONSENSUS: Bench him if you can, he's not getting the job done.

Start Bench List Ratings:
S1: Start 'em Tier One (Stud / Great matchup) U: Upside player (Possible sleeper)
S2: Start 'em Tier Two (Solid matchup) X: Unclear situation / Could go either way
S3: Start 'em Tier Three (Borderline / Barely) B: Bench 'em (Bad Matchup / Too much risk)
Predictions and Projections:
The projections are what is mostly likely to occur given everything that has recently happened added to the current team dynamics. They consider total rushing and passing yardage and scores and then distribute them between the most active starting players based on how the track record of the offense and the opposing defense along with variables like injuries, depth chart changes, venue, weather and so on.


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