The new season has started. It’s time for new tough questions, a new format and a new lease on life. In the immortal words of Montell Jordan, “this is how we do it.”
For the season we’ve invited three seasoned fantasy football scribes, Matt Swedlund, Don Hanson and Harley Schultz, to battle in a season long Tough Questions marathon. We’ve developed a point system and standings, which will be updated each week. A few of our competitors have even wagered real jellybeans on who might win, I believe that Bovada has already set odds as well.
The points system and standings are incredibly easy. Each writer will receive one point for each vote that is cast in their direction. Furthermore, each week we will award 60 points for the writer who wins the most votes, 30 for the writer who receives the second most votes and 10 points for the guy who just showed up.
Remember, we’ll need your help to determine who has “won” each battle. Please vote in the poll at the end of the article so that we can determine the winner. Please keep in mind that you’re not voting for your best buddy, but rather making an objective determination about which of our contributors has penned the most coherent, entertaining, and well-researched argument to support their answer. Polls will close on Monday at high noon.
This week’s tough question is…
Who is the one guy you can pick up off of the waiver wire this week that everyone will be rushing to get after Week 1?
Now that we’ve worked out all the kinks of Tough Questions during the preseason, things get serious as I take on Don and Harley each week in a battle royale of words. Scoring has been hashed out, with the only remaining detail being the tiebreaker. I am campaigning for either a paper-mache volcano build-off, or an “Over The Top”-like arm wrestling competition, refereed by “1T” Harrison. Stay tuned. With the particulars out of the way, let’s get to it!
Next week after the dust has settled from week one in the NFL, “Knee-Jerk” Tuesday will commence as managers scramble to grab the players that had big opening numbers in an effort to cash in on (hopefully) the next Cam Newton. But what if you could pick up that game-changer this week before the rush? As Lloyd Christmas explained to the bikini girls on the Hawaiian Tropics tour bus, “You are in luck!”
Having mentioned Cam Newton previously, one of his counterparts just happens to be my pick for the guy you need to pick up this week. With a very solid pre-season, Brandon Lafell has cemented his spot as the #2 wide-out behind Steve Smith after falling behind Legedu Naanee at several points last season. Down the stretch last season, Lafell saw his targets rise significantly as 30 of his 56 came in the last seven games.
Included in that run are two very good games against the Tampa Bay Bucs, his opponent this Sunday. Despite the fact that Cam Newton rushed for four touchdowns in those two matchups, Lafell managed to be the lead receiver notching six receptions for 167 yards and a score. Some will point out that his one score was a 91-yard bomb that obviously pads his stats, but the fact remains that Lafell was the guy Newton was looking for in both games as Steve Smith was being blanketed by the defense. Also worth noting is that Lafell averaged 17.0 yards a catch last season so expect the Panthers to throw his way deep to free up options for Steve Smith and the Panthers’ 12 running backs.
So quick, grab Lafell this week before he blows up on Tampa on Sunday and becomes hotter than a pair of flapjacks fresh off the griddle at IHOP.
My counterparts at LeagueSafe Post sent out the “Bat Signal” and just like the Dark Knight I am here to answer the call. Matt and Harley will try to offer you a long shot that they believe will crawl out of the woodwork and dazzle you, but realistically will only be useable in deep leagues as a flex player at best. Give me the easy choice in fantasy football as with having five leagues I need some instant gratification as time is of the essence.
Your week one savior is Russell Wilson. Currently he is owned in 39.4 of all ESPN leagues and in only 37% of Yahoo leagues. Fantasy ballers you can quote me on this, “That will change with a quickness!” If you haven’t jumped on the Wilson bandwagon yet, cut your rosters dead weight and move on this guy now. Let me enlighten you on why.
Over the last two years fantasy leagues have been taken by storm from running/mobile quarterbacks. In 2010 it was Michael Vick taking over for Kevin Kolb to lead a ton of fantasy owners to titles. In 2011 it was Cam Newton and his 14 rushing touchdowns that won owners (myself included) titles. Wilson fits that profile in 2012. Through the entire preseason he has shown that he can get it done with both his arm and his legs. In four games played, Wilson completed over 63% of his passes and ran for over 150 yards on only 10 carries.
That leads us to his week one opponent, the Arizona Cardinals. At home and defensively the Cards were no slouch in 2011. However, this is 2012 and the vibes coming out of the desert are not good. Arizona’s offense is putrid and with no left tackle to speak of, the Cardinals quarterbacks have been running for their life throughout the preseason. That bodes well for Wilson this week. He should be able to make something happen especially if his own stout defense can give him an extra two to three possessions on short fields. That is the perfect recipe for a breakout week one performance that will have fantasy players scrambling come Monday afternoon. Think 250 yards passing with two scores through the air and one via the ground! Also, Marshawn Lynch has been hurt all week, so the Seahawks will need to rely on Wilson to create the big play on offense.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, then take a look at his schedule over the next 5 weeks. He has games against the Cowboys, Packers, Rams, Panthers and Patriots. Other than the Cowboys all of these defenses were mediocre-to-bad in 2011. Granted the Packers and Patriots can really put up points, but that only helps Wilson’s fantasy projections as he will likely have to throw it and run with it a ton to keep the Seahawks in games. With the fact that quarterbacks seem to go down at record paces every year, at the very least you may have some excellent trade bait by week six with Wilson on your roster. Fellow owners the time to act is now and make Russell Wilson part of your team.
For this week’s Tough Question, I had one player and only one player in mind… Danny Amendola. So I set off to see how un-owned he really was, unfortunately to my chagrin he was actually on 69% of all rosters on Myfantasyleague.com. Feeling that this number had been artificially inflated by the fact he was on every single one of my teams on that site, I dug a little deeper and found that on Yahoo he is owned in only 42% of the leagues and on ESPN he is owned in only 19% of the leagues.
So why would we want a guy on our roster who was hurt almost the entirety of last season?
Why would you want a receiver that plays on arguably the worst passing offense in the NFC?
First off let us consider the injury: a gruesome looking dislocated elbow cost him his 2011 season, but the following week this gamer was chomping at the bit to get back on the field and start playing again despite his arm dangling like low-hanging fruit. As wide receivers go the injuries that are really concerning as far as future ramifications involve their legs and feet. Fully healed, an elbow injury, even one as gruesome as the one he suffered, should have no lingering effects or potential setbacks.
As for the team being awful, yes the Rams were awful, and yes the Rams will likely still be awful. Their awfulness will likely force them to play from behind and throw the ball a lot. This offseason, the Rams have rebuilt their receiving corps with the additions of “the other” Steve Smith, and two rookies: Brian Quick and Chris Givens. Even with these new faces it is clear that Sam Bradford only has eyes for Amendola. St. Louis likes him so much they are currently working on a contract extension with him. They also just dealt last years’ fourth rounder Greg Salas (possible 2013 sleeper-keeper candidate if Wes Welker leaves), who played the slot following Amendola’s injury, to the Patriots.
Back in 2010 Amendola was targeted the 18th most times in the league drawing 123 passes from Bradford, that is as many targets as Wes Welker, a man Amendola is often compared to, received. In addition he actually managed to catch 85 of Bradford’s wounded ducks which ranked him as the #8 WR in terms of receptions, one behind Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson, and the aforementioned Wes Welker.
In one of those 2010 games Amendola faced the Lions, his opponent for Week 1, and he was targeted a ridiculous 19 times, catching 12 passes for 95 yards despite being flanked on the outside by such notable receivers as Brandon Gibson (who?) and Mark Clayton (what?). Detroit still has three of their four starters in their secondary from that game, so it’s not like they have shored up that unit, and this is the same Detroit secondary that allowed 10 passing touchdowns over their final three games last year.
So if you are in a league with me, and considering how many I am in, you might just be, Amendola will not be there for you to snatch up, but if by some happenstance you find that I am not in your league go out and get him now before someone else does next week.
Who made the most convincing case to support their argument?
- Don Hanson (40%, 37 Votes)
- Harley Schultz (38%, 35 Votes)
- Matt Swedlund (22%, 20 Votes)
Total Voters: 92