Fantasy Doctor: New doc in town here to give you the rundown
For a moment, imagine you’re a bona fide fantasy star.
You draft well year after year and establish a strong roster base for every season. Your waiver wire maneuvering could qualify you as a genius. You win the ugly ones. You win the shootouts. And you win plenty of championships.
But your fantasy prowess goes beyond your roster. You establish yourself as the villain, the superpower, the absolute most hated member of the league, or in other words, the Miami Heat. But you don’t shy away from the hatred. You embrace it. You trash talk through all forms of social media. You remind your fellow owner of the time they lost on a Wednesday stat correction. You poke and prod after they suffer a heartbreaking loss, whether you were involved or not. You win three championships in four years, and then name your team “Bill Belichick” to remind everyone what NFL ego your success best compares to.
That short bio, friends, accurately describes your new Fantasy Doctor, and I’m excited to start sharing the wisdom with you. Fantasy football, if done right, can be an absolute blast, but even with a good team, the process of setting your roster can be frustrating. Few consistent players can be relied upon to put up decent points week in and week out — Ray Rice, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy maybe, Larry Fitzgerald maybe, Calvin Johnson, Gronk, Jimmy Graham, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady — and even those guys are susceptible to bad weeks. Most everyone else is either young (hey, Cam Newton), unproven (what’s happening, DeMarco Murray?), injury prone (how’s it going, Michael Vick?), coming off injury (Adrian Peterson, have you met Jamaal Charles?), or giving off the aura of overachievement (looking at you, C.J. Spiller). After the first tier of players, there is parity. Your second running back and your fourth running back may not be all that different. Wide receivers get shut out all the time. Tight ends may decide to spend all Sunday blocking instead of catching. There just aren’t many sure things.
The key early on in the season is to get a feel for your team. Feel your way through tough decisions on who to start and who to sit. Trust your gut more than the numbers. And most importantly, listen to your doctor.
A.J. Green (wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals) — This one should go without saying. Green may very well join that top tier of players after this season. The Bengals have scored points at will these past two weeks, and Green is far and away the favorite target of quarterback Andy Dalton. Plus, the Bengals are playing the lowly Jaguars.
Darren Sproles (running back, New Orleans Saints) — The head coach-less/winless Saints have been so shaky this season that I’m scared to recommend anything involving the team, but I feel good about Sproles. He gets too many touches not to produce.
I’m guessing a few carries, a few more catches, 100 total yards and a touchdown. Start this little fella.
Chris Johnson (running back, Tennessee Titans) — Just kidding.
Stevie Johnson (wide receiver, Buffalo Bills) — I could tell you how Stevie is notorious for his hot starts early on and how he’ll carry the momentum from his productive first three games into Buffalo’s Week Four matchup with the New England Patriots, but what you really need to know is that starting Stevie Johnson goes beyond fantasy football. It will add joy to your life. It’s a win-win. If he catches a touchdown or two, fantastic. If he does nothing, then you still got the privilege of paying attention to Stevie Johnson — a man who blamed God after a dropped pass and who celebrated a touchdown against the Jets by fake shooting himself in the leg (a joke at Plaxico Burress). Win or lose, watching Stevie Johnson is a treat.
Andre Brown (running back, New York Giants) — Brown had a huge game filling in for the injured Ahmad Bradshaw last week, but all signs point to Bradshaw returning this Sunday.
Brown’s role in the Giants’ backfield is too uncertain to play him this week.
Tony Romo (quarterback, Dallas Cowboys) — Through three weeks, Tony Romo has been turnover prone. Through three weeks, the Chicago Bears have nine takeaways. Can you guess what happens in Week Four?
Danny Amendola (wide receiver, St. Louis Rams) — Amendola is the favorite target of quarterback Sam Bradford, and he’s only two weeks removed from a 15 catch effort against the Redskins. But I still don’t trust him. One, Amendola has done next to nothing in his NFL career until this season. Two, it’s the Rams. And three, they’re playing a top-notch defense in the Seattle Seahawks. Stay away from Amendola, at least for this week.
Roger Goodell (commissioner, NFL) — This one doesn’t have anything to do with fantasy football (unless you’re in some bizarre, amazing league), but what’s a Week Four NFL column without a mention of the atrocities happening to the professional game right now? The only person who would “start” the commissioner is Golden Tate. Sit Goodell. Put him on your bench and keep him there forever because Roger Goodell is as reliable in the fantasy game as he is at improving the game of football. Put him on your bench and let Goodell get a taste of what it is like to be a replacement.
Jack is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JCassidy10.