By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
What a week. So much controversy surrounding the NFL right now. You bet I’m going to write about it, don’t you? Nah. You see enough of it on Facebook and Twitter. This is a safe place. This in non-constroversial football talk.
BUT. I do want to shed some light on something. People have different opinions. Guess what? That’s okay! A healthy argument, light conversation, that’s a wonderful thing. I bring this up because now is about the time you start making trades to keep your team afloat or strengthen a position that isn’t as strong as you thought it was coming out of your draft. Guess what happens when you start talking trade? That’s right, you have differences of opinions.
See, the art of a good trade is to come out of it happy. Sure, if both parties do, that’s cool, but your objective is to win the trade. Many people that have played in leagues with me will tell you they hate trading with me. I’ve gotten very good over the years about telling people what they want to hear just to get the better end of a deal. I’ve even been dubbed “Satan” in the league this site was built around. It’s true. I just embrace it. I see it as a challenge to get the next trade done.
What it has done though is made me reexamine how I make trades. Look, when people play with you long enough, you need to start offering trades you would make if you were on the other side. I know, it sucks, but it helps you still get a few winners in from time to time.
On Wednesday, I traded Brandin Cooks for Leonard Fournette. If you read my preseason Confidence Plays, you know how high I am on Cooks. I could’ve easily asked for the world for him – the other league manager also had Kareem Hunt but no one is trading him right now – so I made the offer. They countered, wanting Mike Evans for Fournette. Pff. Come on. See, that used to be me. I’d see that Evans has only scored 36 fantasy points and is ranked 31st among WRs. So he’s a top 5 WR you could get for cheap, right? Wrong. Keep in mind, he’s also played in only two games, one less than everyone else. No one pulls one over on this guy! Our next few texts went like this:
Me: “That’s a reach. Fournette isn’t THAT good.”
Them: “Fournette is going to continue to get a ton of volume and be a top ten back every week. Those aren’t easy to come by at this point.”
Me: “Agreed, but Evans is in a stratosphere with (Antonio) Brown, (Julio) Jones and OBJ. Would you trade either of them for Fournette? I wouldn’t.”
Them: “Can’t say I disagree with you.”
See? No arguments, no bad mouthing, just negotiating between two people, both of whom are trying to improve their team. As noted above, we ended up trading together, Cooks for Fournette. They needed a wide receiver and I needed a running back. All’s well that ends well.
The point of this can be used in your everyday life too. Just because you disagree on a topic doesn’t mean you can’t take a step back, take a breath, and try to empathize with the other person. Even if in the end you still don’t see the point, that’s okay too. Everyone has their own views of how the world turns, whether it’s with fantasy football or in your non-fantasy related lives. That doesn’t make them wrong or an idiot or unworthy of the air you breathe. It just makes them people. And that’s still pretty awesome.
That brings us to this week’s Confidence Plays. Here’s your refresher because I know you’ll get this confused. This column serves as a Start/Sit of sorts. I break things down into three categories. Start means exactly that. These are your studs, the guys we know are going to be studs this year and this is a week they return some of that draft value. Get them into your lineup! Play analyzes the fringe starters, your FLEX plays if you will. These guys could be on your bench one week and thrust into your starting lineup the next based on the matchup. When you see them mentioned here, put them in your lineup in some way, shape, or form. Do not misconstrue what Bench means. Seriously. I’m not saying to not start the players that end up in this section. Maybe they’re your studs that you know you’re going to start, but with bad match-ups, temper expectations. If I tell you to bench them, then you can blame me if they go off. These choices are based on my rankings, so feel free to check them out if you haven’t already!
QB Tom Brady & TE Rob Gronkowski (NE) – I really get tired of writing about Brady. Like the guy doesn’t already have everything, including the best TE in football to throw to. Brady has scored 41.8 and 45.7 pts the last two weeks. Meanwhile, Gronk has 25.6 and 22.9 pts those same two weeks. The Panthers currently give up the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs and the 3rd fewest fantasy points to TEs. They’ve also played the 49ers, Bills, and Saints. Brady and Gronk will be fine.
QB Russell Wilson (SEA) – After a slow start to the season, Wilson turned it on in garbage time and put up 41.5 pts against the Titans. The Seahawks return home to face the Colts this week who have already been torched by Jared Goff and DeShone Kizer this year. Even with Doug Baldwin iffy with a balky quad, Wilson will make Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson into waiver claims heading into Week 5.
RB Ezekiel Elliott (DAL) – I mean, you saw his performance on Monday night, right? He’s back y’all. And against the Rams at home, this will be a “Feed Zeke” game against a Rams team that can’t stop a nose bleed at the moment. They allow the 3rd most fantasy points to RBs currently. They’ve already given up 77 rushing yards to Chris Thompson. On three carries.
RB Kareem Hunt & TE Travis Kelce (KC) – Yes, they’re easy calls. But that doesn’t mean I can’t brag about them. Hunt is going to be a fantasy football Hall of Famer after are this season. And it’s only his first season. I don’t care the matchup, he’s not scoring below 15 pts in any game this season. I’m writing that in ink so you can tell me I’m crazy when he finally does. Or will he? Kelce is my number one TE this week. The Redskins have given up 100+ yards to the Eagles and the Rams and gave up a TD against the Raiders.
RB Todd Gurley (LAR) – Gurley is back to Rookie of the Year Gurley. Through three weeks, he’s scored 6 TDs, two of them receiving. He’s scored the 2nd most fantasy points among RBs and has only one 100-yard rushing game. Dallas was torched by C.J. Anderson and the Broncos who base their offense around the running game. They did well against the Giants and Cardinals, two teams that can’t run the ball. See where this is going? Gurley for the win!
WR Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG) – After marking his territory in Philly, I so wanted to put him in the Bench section out of spite. But I can be impartial. And the Bucs just got turned inside out by the Vikings and Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. OBJ is my number one WR this week and I fully expect a repeat performance from Week Three.
WR A.J. Green (CIN) – With the return of Good Andy, Green returned to elite. And just in time as he faces Cleveland this week. The Browns have been torched by Antonio Brown and T.Y. Hilton. They can’t stop top-end WRs. Last I checked, Green is a top-end WR.
WR Michael Thomas (NO) – The Saints go to London, which already makes me think this will not be an offensive game. I’m not counting the Jags’ offensive explosion because that was effectively a home game for them. But the Dolphins just got lit up by the Jets. The Jets! Michael Thomas has more talent than everyone on that offense, combined.
QB Carson Palmer (ARI) – Two straight 300-yard games has Palmer as a top streaming option this week. The 49ers defense is vulnerable. And unless the Goff hype is real, they can be passed on, and Palmer has no choice but to sling it with little to no running game to speak of.
QB Tyrod Taylor (BUF) – In his two home games, Taylor has thrown 2 TDs in each game. In his lone road game, he threw for only 125 yards and no TDs. The Bills go to Atlanta, which is probably a huge contradiction, but I’m feeling confident. The Falcons can’t cover pass catching backs, which means McCoy will be Taylor’s top option. He’s also elusive enough to avoid the Falcons pass rush. Their are worse options this week.
QB Trevor Siemian (DEN) – Is it just me? Or does Siemian look like a legitimate starting NFL QB? Oakland is a mess at the moment and with the Broncos at home, I think Siemian keeps up the hot streak.
RB Leonard Fournette (JAX) – Fournette plays the Jets. Do you need anymore convincing?
RB Christian McCaffrey (CAR) – With Greg Olsen on Injured Reserve, McCaffrey is effectively the Panthers top pass catcher. Even when Cam struggled last week – that will likely continue folks – McCaffrey had 101 yards receiving. He’s a slot receiver for them, not a running back.
RB Chris Thompson (WSH) – The little engine. And he’s become the Redskins best running back and it’s not even close. During last week’s game, what I saw was an offense that wrapped its entire game plan around Thompson. Any time an offense builds their whole offense around a player, that player typically becomes a must-start. Right now, Thompson is in that category.
WR Keenan Allen (LAC) – Philly doesn’t have a number one CB. Keenan Allen is a number one WR. You see the problem here? Allen is my number two WR this week.
WR Stefon Diggs (MIN) – I actually like the Lions defense. They’re opportunistic and they’re dominating. But Diggs has elevated his game onto another planet. Backup QB or not, he’s a must-start and will be in the Start section going forward.
WR Alshon Jeffery & TE Zach Ertz (PHI) – The Jeffery play is a gut call. The Chargers have a good secondary, but they recently lost Jason Verrett for the season. How deep are they? We’ll find out. Ertz, like Diggs, will leap into the Start section next week. And the Chargers held Kelce to one catch for one yard. But the Eagles have little in the way of a run game so the Eagles have to pass and they need to throw it to someone. Enter Jeffery and Ertz.
TE Evan Engram (NYG) – Marshall won’t be effective this year. At all. Sorry, I’m a hater. But the Giants love Engram. He has no less than 44 yards receiving in any game. He’s here because I think he scores a TD this week, making him a top option.
Streaming defenses of choice this week are Jaguars D/ST, Seahawks D/ST, and Cardinals D/ST.
QB Derek Carr (OAK) – Denver’s “No Fly Zone” is where fantasy stats go to die. They haven’t been as lights out as in the past, but after a demoralizing showing on Sunday night, the Raiders just look out of sync and it starts with Carr. I’m not banking on any of them this week.
QB Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) – Ben is on the road this week, which means he’s on the bench. I told you to bench him last week, hopefully you listened! I’m double dipping.
RB Melvin Gordon (LAC) – He’s banged up, and the Eagles allow only the seventh fewest fantasy points to RBs. He’s a huge part of their offense and you’re not benching him, but I’m only expecting around 13 to 15 points. That’s RB2 numbers for a RB1. Now you understand the meaning of the Bench section.
RB Lamar Miller (HOU) – Now, Miller I’m benching. D’Onta Foreman actually looks like the better RB in Houston at the moment. Until I see the Miller that I thought would dominate a year ago, he’s taking a back seat to others on my squad.
WR Mike Evans (TB) – The Jackrabbit stands opposite Evans. Like Gordon, you’re still starting him, but I’m not expecting a score or even the seven catches he averages per game. This could be a DeSean Jackson game with how ineffective Eli Apple has been.
WR T.Y. Hilton (IND) – Hilton won’t go for 153 yards and a TD against Seattle. Not with a backup QB. You may be deep enough to sit him, but if you have to start him, temper expectations.
TE Kyle Rudolph (MIN) – Diggs and Thielen don’t seem to miss Sam Bradford. But Rudolph certainly does. One catch for four yards? Ouch. If Bradford suits up, ignore this. If we get a third helping of Case Keenum, Rudolph owners will need a shoulder to cry on.
TE Hunter Henry (LAC) – Two out of three games this year he’s been held without a catch. Maybe he bounces back, but Philly covers TEs well, and this goes back to last year. Find another option this week.