Is Andy Dalton is the real deal? Fantasy Football Implications

Andy Dalton’s hair is not the only thing on fire, his game is pretty on point too. Dalton is currently the top scoring fantasy player, beating out notable names like Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and Andrew Luck. Dalton went undrafted in many leagues, and is currently still unowned in 18% of leagues, and remaining benched in 46% of leagues. Veteran QB’s like Matthew Stafford, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees aren’t playing up to snuff, and the new recruits, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota aren’t consistent fantasy producers. It would seem like Andy Dalton would be rising in the ranks of fantasy quarterbacks. So what is stopping managers from playing Dalton on a weekly basis?

I think it’s just name recognition. Fantasy players are more likely to play a big name like Peyton Manning and Drew Brees over someone like Andy Dalton. Even though Dalton has been putting up some serious numbers, the media doesn’t paint him as an elite quarterback. In spite of that Dalton is making some serious headway into building an MVP resume.  Only two other quarterbacks in NFL history have started 5-0 with at least 1,500 pass yards and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of at least five. Those signal-callers were Aaron Rodgers in 2011, and Peyton Manning in 2013. Both went on to win MVP honors in those respective seasons.

Through his last five games, Dalton has 11 touchdowns, 1,518 passing yards, and a 67.5-percent completion percentage. He’s also gained 55 yards rushing and rushed for two touchdowns. He’s surrounded by talent, and has the support of his team his coaching staff, and his fans. If you’re not betting on Dalton, you should be.

 

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What Happened to Sammy Watkins?

I started Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins week one, and I wasn’t the only one. Watkins had an impressive rookie campaign, knocking on the door of 1,000 yard and scoring six touchdowns. One a team with out many elite receiver options, Watkins was expected to shine early. Unfortunately for many fantasy players, he did not. In fact, he put up a big ol’ goose egg. Instead, it was preseason addition Percy Harvin who racked up the yards and fantasy points.

So what should we expect going forward? In my opinion, not much. While Watkins may have some outstanding games, as he’s a very talented player, I just don’t see him performing at a fantasy starter’s level consistently. While his talent is exceptional, he currently has two things holding him back; Tyrod Taylor and Rex Ryan.

While it’s true that Taylor’s week one performance was impressive (with a 73% completions, including six passes over 20 yards out of his 19 attempts) I doubt that will be the norm in Buffalo. In previous season where Taylor attempted more than five passes, his completion percentage average was 39%. Where Taylor will excel is with his legs, not his arm. In game one against the Indianapolis Colts he had 41 rushing yards. The Bills offensive line looks much improved from last season, which will benefit both Taylor and the Bills Rushers.

His biggest hinderance to his fantasy produciton however, is Head Coach, Rex Ryan. Ryan is known for two things; His killer defenses, and his ground and pound rushing game. Rex has been quoted as saying, “whatever you do best, we’re going to take away from you” in reference to his defensive philosophy. His love of the run game has never been a secret either. Want a cleverly inserted quote? “We prefer to ground and pound it. We’ll run fifty times a game if we can on you” -Rex Ryan. It’s just how he coaches, and how he prefers to run his team.

This week Watkins may surprise us against the New England Patriots. He’s currently predicted to score about eight points this week in standard leagues. My advice would be to wait for a break out game and and trade him for someone more reliable. If you’re dead set on keeping him, watch your defensive match ups, and play him when they’re favorable.

Pierre Thomas, Unsigned Free Agent

What if I told you that there was an unsigned free agent out there who has had a comparable career to some of the top tier running backs. Running backs like let’s say, LeSean McCoy. As a matter of fact, they have the same Yards Per Carry average, and are both established veterans. But there are a few differences. This player actually has a higher Yards Per Reception average (8.2), a lower fumble average (only 0.7), and a much lower salary cap hit. Almost sounds too good to be true right? With all the wheeling and dealing for the 2015 season, it seems hard to believe that someone of this caliber has been overlooked. But, someone has, and that person is Pierre Thomas.

Being a free agent isn’t something new for Pierre Thomas. After all it was the New Orleans Saints who first signed him as a free agent eight years ago. Often working in a running back committee with the likes of Mark Ingram and Darren Sproles he still managed to make his mark with the Saints. He led the team in rushing yards in 2008, 2009, and 2013, as well as consistently ranking as one of the top pass catching backs. So with this type of pedigree and low price tag, why is he still on the market? Two reasons: age, and injury concerns.

For many years it has been assumed that 30 is the magical age of decline for running backs. But I’m not sure why this idea still exists. Running backs have been shattering this age old (pun intended) perception in recent years. Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Darren Sproles, and DeAngelo Williams are some of the first names that come to mind for aging running backs. Not to mention Fred Jackson who at 34, is absolutely ancient in running back years. Yet these players are still heavy contributors for their respective teams on the ground. While historically there is some truth to the “dirty thirty curse”, more recently players are disproving this idea again and again. Not to mention Pierre Thomas is kind of a special case. While he has had an impressive run career, he hasn’t seen as many touches per game as many of the current feature backs. This suggests there should be plenty of tread left on the tires of Thomas’s run game.

Injury woes unfortunately are very common in running backs, and Thomas had a pretty rough 2014 season. He ended the season placed on IR due to a rib and shoulder injury. However, over the past four seasons, he has only missed 5 games so his injury history may not be as dramatic as it first appears. Plus, the signing of injury prone RB’s such as Darren Mcfadden, and Ryan Matthews let us know that injury problems alone won’t be enough to dissuade interested teams.

So why hasn’t Thomas been signed and who may be interested? As to the first question, I’m really not sure, unless Thomas hasn’t expressed much interest in continuing his football career. Though some of his tweets seem suggest that he still has onfield aspirations.

Rumors suggest that the Washington Redskins and the New England Patriots may be interested in Thomas, though it seems interest is waning for the Redskins. Some other possible fits for Thomas are the Green Bay Packers, The Carolina Panthers, and the Baltimore Ravens. My personal favorite is the Panthers. I like Thomas as a replacement for recent departee DeAngelo Williams, and think he would work well with the strong leadership of quarterback Cam Newton.


I guess we’ll see what the future holds for Pierre Thomas, but I for one, hope to see more of him on the football field.

Tebow to the Eagles?

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Personally I would love to see Tebow back in an NFL uniform. (and it’s not only based on how good he looks in said uniform) Tim Tebow is a highly polarizing player. Either you hate him, or you love him. Either his throwing mechanics are broken beyond repair, or his other abilities far outshine any passing problems he may have. Either way, it looks like he may have another shot at his NFL dream.

Last Monday, Tebow worked out with the Philadelphia Eagles. He left the field without a contract, however, there is some latent chatter that there may still yet be hope for an offer from head coach, Chip Kelly.

As head coach, Chip has raised some eyebrows with his preseason moves, and his slightly off kilter coaching style, but if there’s one true thing about Chip Kelly, it’s that he is completely unapologetic about his philosophy and coaching approach. I’m not sure what’s turning underneath the hood of the new Philly machine, but make no mistake, it will be thoroughly thought out, and interesting to watch.

Could Tebow make an impact as an Eagles QB? Well, there is definitely a chance. His rushing abilities would be welcome in the hurry up offense of the Eagles. And the trade of long ball Nick Foles, tends to suggest that the Eagles will trend toward a shorter passing game, which would benefit Tebow.

It’s interesting to note that he would once again be paired with Mark Sanchez, former quarterback to the New York Jets. The Jets failed to make the two quarterback system work between Sanchez and Tebow, but perhaps Chip would have better success.

I am keeping my eye on twitter for Tebow updates, and if Tim ends up back in an NFL uniform, I’ll be keeping my eye on that as well.

The Most Annoying Thing about being a Female Sports Fan

I absolutely love sports, and my favorite, by far is FOOTBALL. I love to watch it, write about it, talk about, heck I’ve even thought about joining a female football league, that rumors say will be starting soon in my city. (My five foot nothing height and less than beefy frame may not support this dream however) But I look forward to Sunday every week. The day I eat all the carbs I want, don’t worry about the calories in my beer, and consider cheese fries a food group of the day. A day made for sweatpants and yelling at the TV. Sunday, is my DAY. And nothing makes me go from laid back chilling, to ready to tackle someone more than: “Oh you’re a fan huh? Can you name five players on the team?”

I’m sure you’ve heard it at some point, or at least some variation. I’m not sure what cause those who ask this annoying question have. Do they think that they have to validate fandom? Is being a sports fan some secret club where if you don’t know the handshake you don’t get in? Are they intimidated by a female intruding onto the sacred ground of male sports? (Men, maybe you get this question as well, so I am in no way singling you out. I just know as a female I have heard this question more times than I’d like to count) I simply don’t get it.

Other loves aren’t belittled by this type of question. If you say, “Man, I really enjoy painting” I’m not going to ask you to name five painters of the renaissance era. If you sit down at my bar and say “Wow, I sure do love beer.” I’m not going to ask you to recite the German Purity Law of 1516.  Or if you happen to like Dave Matthews, I will not require you to name every album by year in sequential order.

I guess I don’t get the defensiveness, and NEWS FLASH knowing players names or positions does not mean that you are a bigger or better fan than an other person out there. I get having pride about your sports knowledge. (Ya’ll do not want to know how many hours a week I spend reading about players and teams.) It’s an investment. And I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. I’ll almost talk to a fence post about football if it looks interested enough. But that’s the thing, I know quite a bit, but I still want to know more. I want there to be fans around me. I want to engage in sports debates with people of all ages, genders, and knowledge. If you’re a beginner that’s even better! That way I don’t worry about sounding like an idiot if I get a players rookie year wrong. Or I can convince you that The Steelers are the greatest team ever. (By the way, they are)

The whole point of this rant is to let people out there know, you are not alone. It’s okay to love something with out knowing all the little details, because you have to start somewhere. And the starting is the fun part! Don’t get discouraged, and find some friendly fan to show you the finer points of the game. And if you are guilty of this awful infraction, know that you are killing the opportunity to teach someone more about the game, and making that person feel pretty isolated. Don’t do that!

Signing off and feeling refreshed

~draftdaydame