Comparison: Cam Newton
Best Fit: Houston Texans
The Texans are an incredibly talented team, on both sides of the ball, and have one of the best coaching staffs in the league. Bill O’Brien, a proven quarterback guru, (who has won games with Brock Osweiler, Tom Savage, Brandon Weedon, T.J. Yates, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett) would be the best coach to fix Mahomes’ mechanical issues and place him in a position to succeed.
Mahomes is at his best when he plays freely and O’Brien would instil confidence in him, allowing him to do what he does best. Behind a solid offensive line, and in theory a solid running game, Mahomes and his huge arm could utilise one of the most explosive and dynamic receiving corps in the league with DeAndre Hopkins, second year burner Will Fuller and an all-world athlete in Braxton Miller. This Texans offense could in theory be reminiscent of an air-raid Texas Tech offense, built on big passing plays and high-flying, high-scoring offense. With all of the blue-chip pieces the Texans have in place on offense, fantasy owners everywhere would be desperate to see a situation like this happen and bring fantasy relevance back to Houston.
Mahomes presents himself as one of the more intriguing players in the entire 2017 draft. From a glance at a far he certainly appears to be a special player. With one of the biggest arms in recent memory, Mahomes has put up huge numbers (as is the trend for Texas Tech quarterbacks) in the Kliff Kingsbury offense over the past two years while in the starting role and has a highlight reel to rival any and all. However, on closer inspection many mechanical flaws can be identified with Mahomes’ throwing motion and footwork in particular and herein lies the division of opinions on his draft stock.
Mahomes fans will state that his production speaks for itself and this cannot be argued with. 5,052 yards, 53 total touchdowns and only 10 interceptions in only 12 games is outstanding production undoubtedly. However, much like another Big 12 team in Baylor, Texas Tech’s offensive system is geared towards producing video-game statistics and not towards preparing players for pro-style offenses. Ex-Baylor and New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty also had gaudy numbers at the collegiate level yet that has failed to translate in the NFL. Detractors of Mahomes will also cite a total of 27 sacks taken in 2016 also. Mahomes may be 6’3’’ and 230 lbs, yet no rookie quarterback can sustain that kind of beating in the NFL.
The biggest flaw of Mahomes however is his mechanics. His rare arm talent allowed him to overcome this at the college level yet NFL defenses are faster, stronger and more complicated. Poor mechanics breed bad throws and bad throws often result in interceptions. Mahomes rarely sets his feet or steps into throws and so loses both extra power and accuracy. His unstable base throws off his upper body mechanics too meaning that his shoulders are never flat at release, a trait that results in looping, easily intercepted passes.
Mahomes cleaned up his footwork at the NFL Combine last week yet anyone can appear fleet-footed when there is no real opposition. Mechanical fixes are a lengthy process and are only proven when quarterbacks are put under pressure. Mahomes and his future NFL team could follow the Cam Newton and Carolina Panthers model in order to develop him as a player. Newton struggled with similar mechanical flaws to Mahomes coming out of college, relying on his arm over his mechanics and while he had minor success in his first few seasons it was not until Newton spent a full offseason fixing his mechanics that we saw his full MVP level potential.
As the raw prospect he is now, Mahomes would be much better suited to becoming a back-up and sitting behind a veteran while he develops. This model allowed Aaron Rodgers to sit and observe Brett Favre in Green Bay while fixing his own mechanical issues. However, it is very believable that if Mahomes was forced into the starting line-up due to an injury that he could have surprising success. His knack for making ‘wow’, big threat plays could very easily steer a team to a small string of victories however if placed in the spotlight for too long it is easy to see defenses figuring out ways to stop Mahomes. If this was to happen it may be worth taking a shot on Mahomes in your line-up for a few weeks. There is no reward without risk.
Follow Will on twitter @willpendosports
We’re past week 5 and owners of fantasy teams are starting to know if they have what it takes to compete for a title, and if not what holes they’ll need to fill in order to be the ones blasting everyone’s favorite Queen song come week 16. As a superstition, I don’t mention this song by name until the season is over and it’s time to sing, but it rhymes with See Bar Va Trampions.
However, it’s another Queen song that owners everywhere are sick and tired of hearing each and every Sunday and this one I have no problem mentioning……'Another One Bites The Dust.' This week it was the owners of first round picks everywhere Montee Ball, Jimmy Graham, and Calvin Johnson who cried themselves to sleep because they just couldn’t get this song out of their heads. I’m really just kidding I actually love Queen and each and every one of their songs but they just have the perfect song title for the theme of the 2014 NFL season. Three more first round picks down.…..aaaaand AJ Green just got carted off the field in Wednesday’s practice as I’m writing this. Sing along everyone….. DA DA DA….Another One Bites The Dust.
With the injuries and suspensions piling up exponentially and with teams we very much care about in the fantasy world on a bye this week (Saints, Chiefs) you may be wracking your brain about who to start. Well fear not, I’ve got your answer to the sneaky good plays and some guys to avoid if possible in this week’s edition of Sleepers and Busts.
DISCLAIMER: A sleeper is not a must start and a bust is not a must bench, they are merely indications that a player will have a better or worse game this week than they normally do. It all depends on your alternatives. I will give an example of a few players for whom I personally would start the sleeper over or bench the bust for. These players are simply there as an indication of how good or bad I think the sleepers/busts will perform so you have a comparison in mind when applying it to your actual lineup. For example, if I'm comparing a QB to a stud like Andrew Luck, I am not necessarily saying you need to start him over Luck (even if I would) but it will imply that I feel really good about him.
Without further ado, your week 6 Sleepers and Busts:
· Brian Hoyer vs. Pittsburgh. With the return of Ben Tate and an extra week of rest for Jordan Cameron, the Browns came off the bye completely healthy on offense for the first time this season and I must say, I came away thoroughly impressed. Brian Hoyer showed why he is the unquestioned starter leading a comeback after a 28-3 deficit, but I don’t think that Hoyer’s results (292 yards 3 TD 1 INT) were the product of playing from behind, as the Browns stuck with the run totaling 36 carries for 175 yards. The offense is balanced with 3 very good RBs to choose from in Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrence West, quality possession pass catchers to move the chains in Andrew Hawkins, Miles Austin and Jordan Cameron, and two burners in Travis Benjamin and Taylor Gabriel both of whom are making big plays. The offensive line has never been an issue with Pro Bowlers Joe Thomas and Alex Mack leading the way, but finally the skill position players are in place to make this a powerful offense. This is not a Pittsburgh matchup specific entry; although I do think it helps Hoyer that he’s already seen Pittsburgh in week 1. Hoyer is poised, has weapons in place to succeed and is being under rated in general. His INT this week was his first turnover of the season and he has 6 TDs. He’s a sleeper this week as a confident QB coming home after a huge road win. He opposes a beat up Pittsburgh defense and he’s a QB to roster and sometimes use in the right matchup going forward.
I’d Start Brian Hoyer over: Austin Davis, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Joe Flacco, Cam Newton
· Ryan Tannehill vs. Green Bay. This is a case of having the right matchup at the right time. The Dolphins are coming off a bye week, are playing at home, and head coach Joe Philbin will have had 2 weeks to game plan for a defense that he coached against in practice each and every day from 2007-2011, the Packers. Sure the Packers rank 3rd against fantasy QBs this season but the stats are skewed since two of those games were against QBs who should not be starting games in the NFL, Christian Ponder and Geno Smith. With two weeks to prepare, Joe Philbin will have the time needed to transfer every bit of knowledge he has about the Packers to his offense, which will allow Ryan Tannehill to make great reads and decisions. Tannehill dominated the Raiders to the tune of an insane 94.0 QBR and will build upon his success this week with the aid of his head coach. In 2 QB leagues where you don’t have 2 of the top QBs, he’s a must start. However, in 1 QB leagues, I recommend him as a bye week fill in for Brees or a pure matchup play.
I’d Start Ryan Tannehill over: Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Cam Newton, Mike Glennon, Charlie Whitehurst.
· Cam Newton at Cincinnati. Cam Newton just went off against the Bears so owners out there may try to see if he can keep the momentum going this week at Cincinnati. I’d advise against it. Even after allowing a big game to Tom Brady last week, and despite also playing against Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, the Bengals are the No. 2 fantasy defense against QBs. Thus far, they've allowed only 4 TDs through the air vs. 5 INTs, picking up where they left off in 2013 when they finished as the No. 7 defense against QBs. Both the offense and defense has something to prove after being embarrassed in New England and I honestly feel bad for Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers for having this matchup this week. Especially because Cam hasn’t shown that he’s ready to start running and getting points via his feet, this is a must bench.
I’d Start the following players over Cam Newton: Austin Davis, Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Mike Glennon
· Tony Romo at Seattle. In 2013, the Seahawks dominated throughout the regular season and the playoffs en route to their Super Bowl victory. Their dominance enters an unmatched level when they’re at home with the 12th man. To show just how dominant they've been, in 2013 while playing at home, the Seattle defense allowed QBs to throw for 8 TDs vs. 16 INTs. Even more impressive is their start this season at home where Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have combined for only 3 TDs and 2 INTs. In other words, even if you’re Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, you’re not going to do too well in Seattle. If you don’t see where I’m going with this yet, then rethink your participation in fantasy football. Sure he’s a hot QB coming off back to back big weeks but I assure you we’re about to see the bad Romo and it’s not even his fault. Seattle is just too good. Don’t be fooled, keep him benched.
I’d Start the following players over Tony Romo: Austin Davis, Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill, Joe Flacco
· Steven Jackson vs. Chicago. There’s nothing sexy about what Steven Jackson has been doing but there is plenty of use for a RB in a high scoring offense who knows how to convert from the goal line. He scored this past week against a tough Giants front 4 and his unsexy usefulness will be on full display once again against the Bears. The Falcons are down a few offensive lineman but the unit held up well against the Giants in their first test. With Safety Chris Conte, DT Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Shea McClellin and LB Jon Bostic injured, the Bears simply can’t stop anybody right now and they’re not about to figure it out in Atlanta. This past week Chris Ogbonnaya converted from the goal line against the Bears and now it’s Steven Jackson’s turn to do the same. Jackson will have multiple redzone opportunities, as this game projects to be a shootout and it wouldn’t surprise me to see multiple scores for him from inside the 5. Fire up the old reliable SJax as an RB2.
I’d start Steven Jackson over: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Williams, Justin Forsett, Lamar Miller
· Fred Jackson vs. New England. Everyone sees that Fred Jackson is an old man at a position where old men normally do not succeed. They also see that CJ Spiller is a young fast man where speed and youth usually do succeed. Well everyone can throw that all out the window when it comes to the Bills RB situation. Fred Jackson is the No. 12 RB overall in .5 PPR leagues through 5 weeks. Surprised? I’m not sure why because he was the No. 11 RB overall just last season. Jackson is heavily involved in both the running game and passing game and he’s not going anywhere. He’s caught 21 passes in the last 3 games and has gone over 100 yards in 2 of them. Oh, and he’s also the goal line guy. Doesn’t matter what the game situation is, he'll be involved. He’s being vastly underrated in rankings and is a fine RB2 every week. Here’s a bonus stat for you…going back to 2012, Fred Jackson totaled over 100 total yards in 3 out of 4 games against NE and has scored 3 TD in 4 games against them. Get Fast Freddie in the lineup on Sunday.
I’d Start Fred Jackson over: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Williams, Justin Forsett, Lamar Miller, Steven Jackson, Shane Vereen
· Andre Williams at Philadelphia. Andre Williams went from handcuff to “must start” in the blink of an eye or more appropriately, the tweak of a knee. He’s been ranked in the top 10 of many lists for the coming week but I’m warning you, in the words of Heisenberg, “tread lightly”. Andre Williams is a non-factor in the passing game. In fact at 5’4” 180 Lbs, I caught as many passes in my 2013 college football season as Andre Williams did in his……yep we both caught ZERO. He’s a TD dependent RB and the Eagles defense against RBs is below average at 20th in the league but it’s not all that bad. Also as a Giants fan, I know that there will be a lot more Peyton Hillis or dare I say Michael Cox in the game than fantasy owners and Giants fans will want to see. If he doesn’t get in the endzone, then he’s a guy who can be held to 6 or less fantasy points. I do think the game will be close and either team can win, but if there was going to be a blowout in either direction I’d have to give the chances of it happening to the Eagles since they are the home team. If this happened, Williams would be a complete bust. He’s not a must bench by any means but don’t over react to what you saw against the worst rushing defense in the NFL, the Falcons. Be careful and be smart about it.
I’d start the following players over Andre Williams: LeSean McCoy, Branden Oliver, Ben Tate, Alfred Morris, Fred Jackson
· Lamar Miller vs. Green Bay. I’m basing this bust on Knowshon Moreno being active. He’s been practicing since Wednesday so it looks like he’ll be good to go. For some reason some sites who update their rankings daily still have Lamar Miller listed in their top 20 RBs. Moreno was so impressive in the Fins week 1 victory over the Patriots with 134 yards on the ground and a TD, while out touching Lamar Miller 24-15, and dominating the snaps 45-28.Green Bay’s defense is ranked 22nd against the run but if the rushing opportunities won’t be there then I just don’t understand the high ranking of Miller.Too much uncertainty for my liking. If Moreno is inactive then forget everything I said and Miller is a fine RB2.
I’d start the following players over Lamar Miller: Fred Jackson, Steven Ridley, Justin Forsett, Matt Asiata, Shane Vereen, Chris Ivory, Andre Williams, Ronnie Hillman
· Percy Harvin vs. Dallas. Percy Harvin had an incredible week 5 but if you weren’t watching the game you wouldn’t know it by his 4 catches and 34 total yards. He had THREE TDs called back by penalties that had just about nothing to do with him scoring on the play. He deserved three TDs and he had zero. Seattle is one of the only teams who can specifically control who is going to score for them based on their play calling (Denver does this too, check out what they did to get Demaryius the record last week). So many of their plays are so effective that when they’re in the redzone they pick and choose who they want to score and it just happens. I’m not exaggerating. Just watch a couple of Seattle games and let me know what you think. This is especially true when they are at home and are in complete control of the game, which they will be this week against Dallas. Seattle will go out of their way this week to give Harvin the TD or TDs he deserved to have. Big big week coming.
I’d Start Percy Harvin over: Kelvin Benjamin, Brian Quick, TY Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins, Wes Welker, Michael Crabtree, Terrence Williams
· Justin Hunter vs. Jacksonville. Everyone’s favorite preseason darling at WR has been a bust as the number 58 WR through 5 weeks. However, we finally saw what he was capable of this past week against the Browns when he caught 3 balls for 99 yards and a TD. One short play and one deep play stood out to me in particular. Hunter took a WR screen that looked like it would go nowhere but he juked to his left and used his explosiveness to run right, faking out two browns defensive backs and outran a LB barreling his way forward for an extra two yards en route to an 11 yard gain. Then off play action, he ran a go route up the right sideline totally burning Browns CB Buster Skrine for an easy 75 yard TD. Charlie Whitehurst put the deep ball exactly where it needed to be. Whitehurst’s willingness to take shots down field is why I am recommending Hunter this week. He gets Jacksonville next, the worst team against WRs in the NFL. Nobody on the Jacksonville defense can match Hunter’s athleticism or speed and he will make big plays, but I also think he’ll be used in a few more smaller plays as well. He’s too risky a start in 2 WR leagues but he’s a sleeper in 3 WR leagues this week and is a high upside flex option as well.
I’d start Justin Hunter over: Terrence Williams, Sammy Watkins, Andrew Hawkins, Allen Robinson
· Dez Bryant at Seattle. Before you all flip out, I’M NOT RECOMMENDING YOU BENCH DEZ BRYANT. I’m just taming your expectations for this week. If you somehow have 2-3 other WRs who are in the top 15 then that’s the only way you can think about benching him. He’s going up against Richard Sherman in Seattle and it’s just going to be a bad game for him. Pierre Garcon was Sherman’s latest victim catching only 2 balls for 23 yards. Demaryius Thomas (31 yards) and Keenan Allen (55 yards) were put on lock in Seattle’s prior two games. Sorry Dez, it’s your turn.
I’d start the following players over Dez Bryant: Jeremy Maclin, Emmanuel Sanders, Victor Cruz, Roddy White
· Kelvin Benjamin at Cincinnati. I’m doubling down on Carolina busts (See Cam Newton in the Bust QB section) for the same reasons. Cincinnati is not a team I’d want to face right now in Cincy after they were embarrassed last week on national TV. With AJ Green out, the offense will play ball control using both RBs to run clock and try to keep the game low scoring. The defense will be hyped up about how they’ll need to step up in AJ Green’s absence. Very few teams should want to play against Geno Atkins and Vontaze Burfict when they have chips on their shoulders. Through 2 games they’ve only allowed 17 points at home, including a game against a high powered Atlanta offense. Leon Hall will cover Benjamin and he’s good enough to limit him in a game where Cincy’s defensive line and LBs will be all over Newton. If you are not deep at WR, you can still have him in there as a WR3 but keep him out in 2 WR leagues.
I’d start the following players over Kelvin Benjamin: Percy Harvin, Mike Wallace, Michael Crabtree, Reggie Wayne, Reuben Randle
· Owen Daniels at Tampa Bay. TEs against TB: Greg Olsen 8 rec. 83 yds and a TD. Heath Miller 10 rec. 85 yds and a TD. Even Josh Hill’s 3 rec. and 53 yards after taking over for Jimmy Graham is encouraging. As the 26th defense against the TE, Tampa Bay simply has trouble keeping a body on them. I’m going with 6 catches for 70 yards and a TD. Start him as a low end TE1.
I’d start Owen Daniels over: Larry Donnell, Dwayne Allen, Eric Ebron, Jordan Cameron, Timothy Wright
· Timothy Wright at Buffalo. I’m sure Timothy Wright will be everyone’s hot pickup at TE now because of the big game he had in the Patriots dismantling of the Bengals. Let’s make this clear. He’s not Aaron Hernandez. And I don’t mean that he won’t kill multiple people. I mean he’s not as good at football. He put up big numbers with 5 rec. for 85 yds and a TD but he only played 19 snaps. The Pats surprised the Bengals with his utilization but that element of surprise will not be there this week against a very good Bills defense that ranks 14th against TEs. Wright is worth a stash simply because he has ability and he’s a top TE if Rob Gronkowski goes down. He’s nothing more than a middle of the road TE2 going forward.
I’d start the following players over Timothy Wright: Heath Miller, Zach Ertz, Clay Harbor, Jared Cook
Good luck in week 6 and may you not be driven crazy by that dreaded Queen song.
Nothing quite puts a strain on friendships, families and finances like fantasy football. The time has come where you once again open that hidden tab at work to set your lineup, or you take a few extra seconds to get your chores done while you sneak away looking at the waiver wire for the perfect flex option for the week.
Here at Fantasy Football Helpers, I’m here to help put you on the path to championship status. Looking for the extra edge to win your matchup this week? I’ve got the magic. Wondering who to target in trades to shore up a weak spot on your team? I’m your guy.
Every week, this is the place to come to mine for fantasy nuggets of gold. While I’m no Matthew Berry, I still consider myself a football expert first and foremost, and after all, knowledge of the game has to be one of the biggest factors to a successful fantasy season. Well, that and a bit of luck.
Year in and year out, we see guys like Josh Gordon and T.Y. Hilton come out of nowhere and become fantasy superstars. Now, it’s not always clear before the season that these guys need to be picked up, but some keen scouting and knowledge of a team’s depth chart can help put you in the right position to get those hidden gems before the rest of your league scrambles to put in a waiver claim.
Week 1 is always the toughest to figure out. Sure, we’ve seen some preseason action, but how much stock can we really put in those games? Hell, the Giants went 5-0 and look like a team that should have gone 0-5. Is anyone really confident that interception machine/Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is ready to handle Ben McAdoo’s new offense? It doesn’t help that the team’s first-round pick, Odell Beckham Jr., has been invisible the entire offseason with a hamstring injury.
As such, our Week 1 rankings have to be taken with a grain of salt, as we’re sometimes just going with reputation and matchup more than anything. That said, there are still plenty of reasons to start Jay Cutler over Nick Foles this week, or why we have DeMarco Murray as our No. 8 RB even against the 49ers.
Players I’m Banking On
Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers
My No. 3 QB signed a huge contract this offseason. While the reported numbers aren’t entirely true, it still signifies that San Fran is ready to put more on Kaepernick’s plate. San Francisco’s passing game suddenly features much better depth, including a hopefully healthy Michael Crabtree. Now in his second full season as a starter, the highly gifted dual-threat star is poised to become a consistent fantasy player. All of those factors really take a back seat to the fact he’s playing the Cowboys, who might just have the worst defense in the history of football. Seriously, can you name three starters on that putrid unit?
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
You don’t have to stray far to find a running back who I expect to put up great numbers this season. Murray, for all his faults, has been highly productive when on the field. Of course, staying healthy has been his biggest issue dating back to his days at Oklahoma. Dallas fans are intimately familiar with DeMarco’s big-play ability, as he posted four games with at least 20 points in 2013. At first glance, you may be wondering if I’ve gone crazy for ranking him so high against the vaunted 49ers defense. Hold on, folks. This isn’t your same run-stuffing, swarming unit that annually ranked as a top-five fantasy defense. San Fran is already down NaVorro Bowman (ACL recovery) and Aldon Smith (suspension), plus Glenn Dorsey (injury). Oh, they also lost Donte Whitner, Tarrell Brown and Carlos Rogers in free agency. Suddenly, this looks like a very vulnerable team for Murray to rack up some big numbers against.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
A rookie revelation, Allen enters the year as a rock-solid WR1. Still, it seems he’s undervalued in a league chock-full of superstar pass catchers. Even guys like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson are still going ahead of him in some drafts, which is a travesty considering both stars are on the wrong side of 30 and aren’t exactly in their primes anymore. Allen, on the other hand, looked like a 10-year vet in his first year in the league. And while this week he’ll probably see plenty of Patrick Peterson, that doesn’t mean he can’t produce. Arizona’s defense has also taken a ton of hits this offseason, particularly right at its core. Daryl Washington is suspended for the season, and Karlos Dansby signed his last big contract and left the desert. Darnell Dockett tore his ACL and is out for the season. Playmaking safety Tyrann Mathieu is still working his way back from a devastating knee injury of his own. Without a reliable pass rush and a questionable middle of the defense, Allen should have more time and room to operate. Even Peterson can’t cover someone for 10 seconds.
Players To Be Cautious With
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: Ankle surgery. Fractured ribs. New left tackle. Rookie No. 1 receiver. All of those elements make for a very shaky situation for one of the consistent fantasy stars at the quarterback position. Newton showed strides as a leader in 2013, carrying his team to the playoffs. However, with so much turnover along the offensive line and at receiver (two of the team’s top options are Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant for god’s sake), Newton is a guy I’m wary of. Throw in the fact he’s facing Tampa Bay’s suddenly formidable defense that’ll be coached by Lovie Smith, and I’m worried Newton barely cracks 10 points in the season opener.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Oakland Raiders: For one, you shouldn’t start any Raiders player. Ever. Secondly, the Raiders are starting a rookie quarterback, which means teams are going to challenge Oakland to throw the ball. Third, MJD looks like he’s running with a bowling ball tied to each leg. Did I mention he’ll be going up against a Jets defense that allowed the third-fewest rushing yards in the league in 2013? Keep MJD on the bench.
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Great to see the 36-year-old coming back from a torn ACL, but I’m treading lightly in Week 1. It’s one thing to get back to action in training camp and the preseason, but the regular season is a whole other ballgame. Throw in the fact that the Colts are facing a highly motivated Broncos team that got huge upgrades on defense, and it’s not looking pretty for Indy. Somehow Andrew Luck is going to have to figure out a way to slice and dice against Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. Tell me how Luck’s going to do that playing behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines with no running game to speak of. Sorry, Reggie. This isn’t going to be fun.