May 26, 2018

The Astounding Fantasy Practitioner: Week 2

There’s no wasted motion here in the AFP showcase, so let’s get down to brass tacks. Two weeks into the 2016 season, we’re starting to get a good idea about who is going to pay dividends and who is [poop emoji] [cry emoji].

Top-5 Players Who Deserve a Firm Butt Slap

1 – CJ Anderson

I’m old enough to remember a time when Montee Ball was poised to bury Anderson on the Broncos depth chart, but look where we are today. CJA looks better than ever. Meanwhile, Ball is holding one of those Hot-N-Fresh Little Caesars signs on a nondescript street corner in Golden, Colorado.

With health as the obvious caveat, I see no reason that Anderson doesn’t continue to rack up sexy stat lines featuring decent floors and the occasional multiple touchdown outburst.

2 – Cam Newton

The scary thing about owning Cam is also what makes him so valuable. That entire team is built around the man. Who is the Panthers backup quarterback, anyway? Is it Derek Anderson or Joe Webb? Is there a bigger gulf between starter and backup(s) in the league?

Thankfully, Newton is a very large man, so much like Big Ben, he’s able to absorb a lot of the punishment he takes and still produce. He really is a majestic unicorn, and he literally flosses his teeth in-game. What a time to be alive.

3 – Will Fuller

I’m in a league where WRs were being egregiously undervalued during the draft, so I was able to cash in on the likes of Keenan Allen and Sammy Watkins way below their ADPs, which let me tell you, is working out GREAT for me.

Anyway, towards the end of the draft, I had something like 37 WRs and only a few RBs, so I took James Starks in what was pretty much a Zero RB situation. I did this while staring down Fuller in my queue the entire time. Fuller went undrafted (puke), and my attempt to swap him out for Allen was thwarted due to low waiver priority.

That Texans offense is legit. They’re still figuring things out, and once they do, you’re going to want a piece of that action.

4 – Eric Decker

We should know better by now. This guy is the picture of consistency in that Jets offense with Fitzwonderful behind center. I want to be Eric Decker when I grow up.

5 – Matt Forte

No one saw this coming. Even the most bullish fantasy practitioners didn’t see this coming. Matty 4-taytays is on an honest-to-god tear to start the season, which is great and all except if you like winning.

“Wait, what?” you ask? I’m saying that for as awesome as Forte has looking these first two weeks, it’s only a matter of time before those wheels come falling off. There’s no way that guy can sustain the three million carry pace he’s on. Again, with health the only caveat, I see great things for Matt Forte owners going forward, but more so than probably any other player beyond Arian Foster, that caveat is likely closer to a guarantee.

Top 5 Players Who Don’t Get Dessert

1 – Todd Gurley

You can’t really blame the guy. He plays on a trash team with trash players and a trash coach. The entire organization is trash. If you’ve seen any of the games, you can tell there really isn’t anything wrong with Gurley. He’s an awesome, special talent. He’s just mired in a really crappy situation.

If only there was a comparable Rams running back we could look to in history to understand this situation better. Oh, wait. There is. To me, this scenario is reminiscent of Steven Jackson’s sad tenure in St. Louis. A truly great player held back by his stupid, crap team.

What’s frightening for Gurley owners, especially those in dynasty leagues, is that the Rams issues don’t appear to be getting better any time soon, what with talk of a Jeff Fisher extension in the works.

2 – Allen Robinson

Man, the Jaguars can’t get out of their own way. It must be something about Florida teams, because I feel the same way about the Bucs. Both have offenses that should be better consistently, and whereas Tampa’s defense is still very much a work in progress, the Jags have the defensive personnel to actually be a respectable team.

Instead, they’re about as dysfunctional as the Browns, and a guy like Allen Robinson pays the price. Like Gurley, ARob’s slow start is probably less to do with what he’s doing and more about the players around him. Until Bortles stops repeatedly throwing the ball to the other team, Robinson is going to disappoint.

3 – Aaron Rodgers

As I type this, Green Bay is attempting to come from behind to beat a Sam Bradford-led Vikings team without Adrian Peterson. Now, they may do it, but I wouldn’t exactly be celebrating with a fine wedge of Wisconsin cheddar.

Without having seen a single Packer snap this season, Green Bay seems to be pretty pedestrian these days, and that goes for A-a-ron Rodgers, too.

I know, I know. R-E-L-A-X, but at a certain point, you have to wonder if this Packers core is starting to run out of gas. They were besieged by injury last year, so it’s hard to knock them for that, but a slow start out the gate this year isn’t doing much to quell concerns.

I’d probably be buying low on Rodgers, if only for his amazing You Made It Weird interview with Pete Holmes from last year, but if he puts up another dud against Detroit next week, it might be time to fire up ol’ Brock Osweiler in the starting lineup.

4 – Devonta Freeman

I’m probably most concerned about these next two guys. Starting with Freeman, I never believed it last year. When he was racking up all those yards and scoring 12 touchdowns a game, I kept looking around for Sean Penn like I was Michael Douglas in The Game. It couldn’t have been real life!

He just doesn’t look like “the guy” to me, and here we have Tevin Coleman syphoning work and the coaching staff talking up a timeshare like it’s manna from heaven. Combine that with a Falcons team that I think is on the decline, and that’s a bad spot for Freeman.

5 – John Brown

I really like Smoke. He’s a fun player, but I think the story of John Brown as a fantasy asset will ultimately be one of intermittent returns. I’m not a huge fan of small receivers, anyway, despite what a guy like Antonio Brown has been able to do.

Arizona’s receiving corps is simply getting too diverse to sustain a guy like Brown, who isn’t a big red zone threat. With JJ Nelson and Jaron “The Other” Brown demanding targets, usable weeks from Smokey are going to be few and far between.

I also think Carson Palmer is close to his cliff, and once that happens, all bets are off for that entire offense.

The Laura Hall From Whose Line Is It Anyway? Underappreciated National Treasure Award

This week’s LHFWLIIAUNTA winner is Stefon Diggs.

I haven’t been watching the Packers-Vikings game because my wife wanted to watch the Emmys, and since I’m winning as the world’s greatest husband by an average score of 30 points against all other men, I said, “Sure, honey, go right ahead.”

Just looking at the box score, though, and it appears as though Diggs is putting Minnesota on his back. In fact, the game just ended with a Vikings victory, which I’m just going to call a Stefon Diggs victory.

By the way, is there another NFL quarterback that looks any less reassuring as a leader (outside of Mike Glennon) than Sam Bradford? What is up with the sleeves, man?

Get it together!

Astounding Fantasy Practitioner
Astounding Fantasy Practitioner 7 Articles
Former Staff Writer

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