The uncertain injury status of Andre Brown is making the Giants running back one of the most dropped players in ESPN and Yahoo fantasy leagues.
He'll miss at least one month with a broken left leg and is a candidate
for the injured reserve-designated for return category.
At the same time, Yahoo owners rushed to grab Pittsburgh running back
Felix Jones the last weekend before the season amid reports he'll get
significant playing time this week against Tennessee. Those who picked
him up have two other Pittsburgh backs to sweat — Isaac Redman and
injured starter Le'Veon Bell. Jonathan Dwyer was cut.
On Tuesday, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin named Redman his Week 1
The transactions illustrate a common dilemma for fantasy players in the
days between their drafts and the start of the NFL regular season: How
eager should we be to make early roster changes?
Sometimes, it's easy. Packers running back DuJuan Harris, for example,
is out for the season with a knee injury, so he can be dropped without
worry in the vast majority of leagues.
But cases like Brown versus Jones can be avoided even without
hindsight. Adjusting depends on two things: How confident you are in
the information you have, and whether you need a player short-term or
If you needed Felix Jones to start in Week 1, you likely either play in
a very deep league or had a really rough draft. Otherwise, who is
likely to be the better choice when you're most likely to need a
fill-in through the end of the season?
Don't be surprised if Brown ends up the more useful player this year,
with more total fantasy points.
LET 'EM SLIDE
At each position, fantasy owners have been picking up certain players
based on the final preseason games or clues picked up in media
interviews with coaches. At the same time, some of the most popular
players to drop have seen no changes on their outlook this year —
they're simply being perceived as expendable.
Here are some popular pickups at each position that might be worth
waiting on unless you're in extreme need.
QB: E.J. Manuel, Buffalo. By all means, pick up
Manuel in two-quarterback leagues as a possible bye-week replacement
with an upside as an every-week starter. But on Yahoo, he's behind only
Houston's Matt Schaub as the most added free-agent quarterback with
Carson Palmer of Arizona and Jay Cutler of Chicago the most popular
drops. Manuel is tempting because of his rushing potential, but he's
hardly worth rostering if — like in most leagues — you can find a
capable starter when your main quarterback hits his bye week.
RB: Christine Michael, Seattle. ESPN lists Michael
as the fifth most added running back in its fantasy game and teammate
Robert Turbin as the eighth most dropped back. Neither has a clear
advantage as the backup to Marshawn Lynch in Seattle. Other frequent
drops on ESPN who have a clearer role on their teams: Bilal Powell of
the Jets and Johnathan Franklin of Green Bay.
WR: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Indianapolis. Heyward-Bey
is being added to a lot of rosters on Yahoo and ESPN, on news he'll
likely function as the second wide receiver on the Colts behind Reggie Wayne, ahead of T.Y. Hilton. Fine, but not when Cleveland's Josh Gordon
and Jacksonville's Justin Blackmon are the most dropped wide receivers
in Yahoo who don't have significant injuries. You probably won't need
Heyward-Bey for the first few weeks of the season, and when Gordon and
Blackmon come back from suspensions, you'll want them on your bench
TE: Zach Sudfeld, New England. Admittedly, there's
not a lot of downside in rolling with Sudfeld, who's being drafted as
fantasy's 17th tight end in average draft position data compiled by
FantasyPros.com. He's the most popular tight end to add after drafts in
Yahoo and the second most popular add in ESPN. But optimism for the
undrafted rookie seems to boil down to three factors: The Patriots'
roster, his preseason and his 6-foot-7-inch frame. Just remember,
Sudfeld hasn't proven he's comparable to Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez, even though he'll be asked to fill their shoes.
RINGER TIME: STEVE GARDNER
Take mental note of the team you drafted. Steve Gardner, senior fantasy
editor for USA Today, says it's unlikely that team will stay
significantly the same through the end of this year.
"There are going to be injuries, there are going to be free-agent
pickups," Gardner said. "You're going to have to decide: 'Which guys
off of this roster that I have here am I going to cut to make room for
So don't fall in love so quickly with those draft day selections.
Gardner said he sometimes even takes players he doesn't like at the end
of drafts, knowing he'll fill the roster spot later.
"It makes it easy to cut guys when you have to," he said.
The most common expert advice this fantasy season has been to wait to
draft a quarterback, filling other roster positions first. Even
two-quarterback league experts have been saying to avoid taking two
passers the first two rounds.
I broke this with the third pick in a 10-team, two-quarterback league I
joined at the last minute. I took Drew Brees in the first round, then
wasn't excited about running back Steven Jackson or wide receiver
Brandon Marshall in the second. So I grabbed Peyton Manning.
The tandem of Stevan Ridley and Frank Gore at running back is probably
not ideal, but my rationale is it's better to reach for Manning in the
second round than Michael Vick in the fifth or Jay Cutler in the sixth
— as happened later the same draft.
The league awards 2 points for quarterbacks hitting 300 passing yards,
but I might have over-adjusted to league settings and ignored the
Yahoo's new draft report card gave me an "A," so I'll probably miss the
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