Fantasy Football Believe It or Not: Testing public perception on Todd Gurley, Stefon Diggs, and Cam Newton
That was a crazy week of football and Heath Cummings is here to tell you what you should do with Cam Newton, Todd Gurley and the Seahawks defense.
Wow. That was quite a Sunday.
And that's not even getting into the most unexpected thing of all last week: An exhilarating shootout between Jared Goff and Brian Hoyer on Thursday Night Football.
What does it all mean? Well that's what this article is all about. But as much as I can't wait to share my thoughts on this week's craziness, I'm also adding a new feature. I'll lay out the case like I always do, but before I tell you whether I believe it or not, I'll let you know how the public feels via Twitter because sometimes the public's perception can be more important than yours or mine.
You can drop Cam Newton
We said it over and over this week. Cam Newton was.
He did not.
Newton lost Kelvin Benjamin early on Sunday and threw three interceptions to a bad Saints defense that was missing its top two cornerbacks. He doesn't look healthy and he doesn't have his two best pass-catching weapons. I know it's difficult to drop a player who has reached the heights Newton has, but it would be even more difficult to start him anytime soon.
I wouldn't drop Newton in a two-QB league or any keeper format because I'm not certain he'll be this bad all season. But in a standard league there isn't a whole lot of reason to hold onto him.
Verdict: Believe it
I'm not even saying this is Newton's fault. There are very few quarterbacks that would be worth a roster spot with Devin Funchess as their No. 1 receiver. Christian McCaffrey will see a boost, but there just aren't enough different weapons on this offense to offer variety and Newton isn't healthy enough to run the way he used to.
Scott White has a good way of explaining who he's willing to drop in Fantasy Baseball. He wants to know the likelihood of that player being picked immediately. As you can see from the poll results above, those odds are pretty low with Newton.
You should start Stefon Diggs every week, no matter who the quarterback is
If there is one thing the Fantasy community completely whiffed on as a group it was Case Keenum and the Vikings pass attack. They carved up the Tampa Bay secondary, and Diggs specifically put up 8-173-2 to lead the league in receiving yards for Week 3.
This came a week after the entire offense looked inept under Keenum. Sure, you could credit a full week of practice together, but having watched this game I mostly just credit Diggs and Adam Thielen for making some remarkable plays.
I know it was painful to have that production on your bench, because I did. If you did so on my advice, I'm sorry. But we can't make this mistake again.
Verdict: Believe it
Now I want to be clear, the Vikings success was greatly aided by a bevy of injuries to the Tampa Bay defense. This was a fantastic matchup and they took advantage of it. But I keep coming back to the types of plays Diggs was making on the football. We already knew he was an elite route runner. Combine that with these ball skills and you just need a quarterback to get the ball in the area. Besides, it's not like the Vikings play a lot of great secondaries the rest of the season.
Diggs will have ups and downs just like any receiver, but I'd rather weather those down weeks in my starting lineup than miss another game like this.
The Seahawks are a good matchup for running backs
You want to talk about crazy? Look at what opposing running backs have done against the Seahawks this season:
- Ty Montgomery totaled 93 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. He was the No. 7 back in PPR scoring.
- Carlos Hyde totaled 143 on 18 touches in Week 2. He averaged 8.2 yards per carry. He was the No. 10 back in non-PPR scoring.
- DeMarco Murray totaled 120 yards on 15 touches in Week 3. He broke off a 75 yard touchdown run. So far, he's the No. 8 running back in non-PPR scoring.
Three weeks, three top-10 performances. The Seahawks are giving up 5.3 yards per carry on the season. They've allowed 146 rushing yards per game. I know it's hard to shake images of their dominant defense from your head, but this is not that defense. Start running backs with confidence against the Seahawks.
Verdict: Don't believe it
I don't have a great explanation for why the Seahawks have given up so many big plays, but that's mostly what this is. They've allowed four runs of more than 20 yards. Two of those have gone for more than 40. Some of this could be explained by fatigue because the team is bottom-seven in the league in time of possession. And they have faced some pretty outstanding running backs. And they've played two of three games on the road.
Regardless of what the reasoning is, I just can't buy into it. Not yet. The Seahawks are at home in Week 4 against Frank Gore. Gore has scored in his past two games. There is no chance I'd start Gore against this defense. They also have the Giants and the Texans on the schedule in the next month. By the time the calendar approaches November, we'll be talking about this defense as one you want to avoid once again.
Joe Mixon is a must-start running back moving forward
Thank you, Bill Lazor!
The Bengals' new offensive coordinator helped right the ship in his first week on the job, and it started with letting Joe Mixon tote the rock. Mixon had 18 carries and three receptions in the loss to the Packers and finished with 101 total yards. This is exactly what we've all been waiting for.
The 20 touches were by far the most any Bengals back has received this year and more than double any other back in this game. It's quite clear that Mixon is the man in Cincinnati now, and that's going to make him a must-start every week. Remember, there were a lot of really smart people who thought Mixon was the most talented back in this class.
Verdict: Don't believe it
I do believe in Mixon's talent, but his workload was only part of the problem. This is still a terrible offensive line he's running behind, and I'm still concerned about the game scripts he'll find himself in.
The best thing that happened to Mixon in this game was the pick-six thrown by Aaron Rodgers. That put the Bengals in a position to run the ball 30 times. That should not be the expectation moving forward. Most weeks the Bengals will need to throw the ball more often, which means Mixon will need to be more efficient than his 3.4 YPC.
You're absolutely starting Mixon in Week 4 in a plus matchup with the Cleveland Browns, but he'll be more of a borderline No. 2 in matchups later this year against the Bills, Steelers, Jaguars, Broncos and Vikings.
It's time to sell high on Todd Gurley
Todd Gurley is the No. 2 running back in Fantasy Football after Thursday night's three-touchdown performance. Gurley has been heavily involved in all facets of the Rams improved offense. He's a bell cow with no competition for carries whatsoever. So why would anyone ever want to trade him? Take a look at his next seven games.
at New York Giants
As if that's not bad enough, he faces the Eagles, Seahawks and Titans during the Fantasy playoffs. Listen, the way he's started the season, I don't imagine you'll be sitting him any of these matchups, but you're going to feel nervous in more than half of his games. If you can fine someone who believes these first three games are who he'll be all season you should absolutely sell. Thankfully, those people are out there.
Verdict: Believe it
As opposed to trying to convince you why you should sell, let's talk deals. Because I'm not selling Gurley for anything less than a star.
The running back for running back deal probably doesn't work, but if you were going to try it I'd do so with Le'Veon Bell. Bell has a much longer track record of elite performance and a much better schedule moving forward. I'm not sure the Bell owner would deal him for Gurley and nothing more, but I would at least make the offer.
A.J. Green was one of my favorite buy-low candidates before Sunday's game. I was trying to trade Gurley for a package that included Green, and I still would. I'd take Green and a small upgrade at any of the skill positions for Gurley in a heartbeat.
What I wouldn't do is trade Todd Gurley for a package of players who are not elite. Package deals that net you two to three above average players for one star are almost always a bad idea.
The time is now to explore selling high for Gurley. Just make sure you're getting a star in return.
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