1st and 10 Week 20 by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles
“1st and 10″ is a weekly segment by Utter-Fantasy.com, getting fantasy football insights from a knowledgeable person in the fantastic fantasy football community. With 10 questions each week, we will canvass some of the hot button topics to keep us all informed on the ever-changing NFL landscape and which ones might carry major fantasy football implications.
Every Monday, at approximately 12:00 Noon Central, I will post the latest segment of “1st & 10.” If you enjoy it, let us know. If you have any fantasy football questions, really let us know.
1st and 10 Week 20- August 1st, 2016
“1st and 10″ Week 20 – Special Guest Writer-DFF’s Michael Hughes…an all-time favorite guest for Utter-Fantasy
Be sure to follow Michael on Twitter @
Utter-Fantasy #1) In Week 5 of 2015, vs Washington…Atlanta WR Julio Jones recovers a RB Devonta Freeman fumble in the end zone for the first Falcons touchdown. Most fantasy football leagues scored this as special teams TD, while others gave it to Julio as a touchdown that he could use in Week 5 for his fantasy football stats. How should this have been called, and how was it called in your leagues?
DFF’s Michael Hughes: It is very ironic that you bring this up, because I was both a beneficiary and a loser on this play. In one of my leagues, I did not get the touchdown points for Julio and that cost me the entire week, so you could imagine how I felt about that particular scoring set up. I did confirm with the commissioner and it was specifically delineated in the rules that such a play would not result in offensive points. As a result, I licked my wounds and accepted my fate. In another league, the scoring was set up to provide for the recovering player’s offensive touchdown and I did receive those points. As you would expect, though, it ironically made no difference and I lost that week by a solid amount. That being said, I do believe that you should receive points that are commensurate with the player’s actual stat sheet that week. So, although it may not be a perfect way to handle every situation, I do believe that if a player on the offensive side of the ball recovers a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown, he should be awarded six points for a touchdown. No sour grapes here!
Utter-Fantasy #2) For fantasy football owners who have already had fantasy drafts, the PITT RB LeVeon Bell suspension was a huge blow to their team. Was this totally unexpected? No, not totally. Tell me 5 running backs and 5 wide receivers who you think are not necessarily the best fantasy players, but who are the “safest”.
DFF’s Michael Hughes: Yet again, you are absolutely reading my mind. I was recently in a start up dynasty football draft and had the opportunity to draft Le’Veon Bell in the middle second round and I decidedly passed on the opportunity. For me it was all about risk and truth be told, I am seeing too many negative trends for this guy – injuries, drug suspensions, attitude issues… On the other side of the spectrum, there are definitely some players in the NFL at every position who provide a level of comfort in their actions and demeanor that arm their fantasy owners with a type of security. At the running back position, there is obviously a lot of volatility and last year that point was made very clear. I think you can point to your best to consistantly play it straight up and not bring about off field issues, but don’t forget that injuries are an unfortunate part of fantasy football. My top five “safe” running backs has to start with Danny Woodhead in San Diego because you know what you will get with him. The last few years have seen Woodhead score a lot, and I believe that he will continue with that kind of success and you know that you’re getting a reliable player who does not cause trouble. I also look to Duke Johnson in Cleveland, Adrian Peterson in Minnesota (even though he has had his fair share of shoes, you know that he is going to be a workhorse delivering significant fantasy points), Doug Martin in Tampa Bay, and Mark Ingram in New Orleans.
On the receiving side of the ball, I think the perfect picture of a safety blanket with explosive, high upside would be Julian Edelman with the New England Patriots. Edelman consistently puts up points because of his catches, yards, and touchdowns, and has always been reliable for both his team and your fantasy team. The other reliable fantasy receivers are guys who you can count on to catch a number of passes each game for a decent output of yards with the prospect of at least one touchdown: AJ Green in Cincinnati, Keenan Allen in San Diego, all three receivers in Arizona, and Allen Hurns in Jacksonville.
Utter-Fantasy #3) I’m listing 5 NFL players below. Please write a one line statement for each, as to why they were NFL busts.
DFF’s Michael Hughes:
1) Trent Richardson- (2012 NFL Draft- 1st round- 3rd overall) ….MCH: Trent Richardson was a bust in the NFL because he did not work hard enough and replaced his work ethic with takeout food.
2) Cordarrelle Patterson- (2014 NFL Draft, 1st round- selected 29th overall) ….MCH: Disclaimer, as a Viking fan I still believe that Patterson will eventually do something of value. Despite that disclaimer, Cordarrelle Patterson failed in the NFL because he did not commit to his craft and ultimately has not and seemingly will not master the route tree.
3) E J Manuel- (2011 NFL Draft, 1st round selection- 16th overall) ….MCH: EJ Manuel was a bust in the NFL because he was drafted to a team that did not truly give him the opportunity to succeed. Management was not supportive either.
4) Bishop Sankey- (2014 NFL Draft, 2nd round- selected before Jeremy Hill and Carlos Hyde) ….MCH: Bishop Sankey was an NFL bust because, as the first running back taken in that year’s rookie draft, the height and expectation was way too high and there was no way he could realistically deliver. At this point, even if he has a good day, everybody will expect it to be a fluke.
5) Chris Ponder- (2011 NFL Draft, 1st round selection- 12th overall) ….MCH: Christian Ponder was just not that good. Objectively speaking, and taking the fan out of me, Ponder did not have confidence in his own stuff and it was evident in his decision-making, or lack thereof, and in his reaction to panic in situations when he was being chased.
Utter-Fantasy #4) In 2015, NYJ WRs Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker were the most prolific WR duo in the NFL. Who will be the the best NFL WR duo in the NFL in 2016…AND… the 2nd best?
DFF’s Michael Hughes: I believe that in 2016 you can look to the Jacksonville Jaguars to give you a top wide receiver pairing in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. That pair was electric last year, and even though they may not put up the exact same numbers I do believe they’re going to be consistently productive together. My selection for second-best pair of wide receivers on the same team this upcoming year would have to go to Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin with the Chargers. Philip Rivers always delivers the ball to his top targets and Travis Benjamin proved last year that he is a reliable WR one or two on the roster.
Utter-Fantasy #5) If the NFL forced teams to start the regular season NEXT SUNDAY, which team would be in the most trouble because of the question marks that the team currently has, and who would be in 2nd most trouble. ( Lets skip NY Jets as an answer….we know the QB situation makes them one team)
DFF’s Michael Hughes: UPDATE: The Jets signed Fitzpatrick as of the time of this writing, so their issues are a little less glaring.
I believe that the team who would be most prejudiced and least prepared should the season start in a week would be the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins recently hired Adam Gase as head coach and I genuinely believe that team will need some time to mesh together and truly internalize the new offensive system that their recently hired coach seeks to employ. That is not to say that the Dolphins will be bad this year, but I do think they will greatly benefit from some preseason time together with one another and the new offense. Cleveland would be 2nd. HC Hue Jackson has been reluctance to fully commit to RGIII. ( Bonus- Denver’s QB Mark Sanchez can’t even beat out Trevor Siemian for the team’s starting job. They’ll need thatd efense more than ever.)
Utter-Fantasy #6) Here are a few names of quarterbacks that started NFL games in 2015. Will any of them ever be considered a starting QB again?
DFF’s Michael Hughes: I think that Brandon Weeden and Johnny Manziel are as good as gone in the NFL. I do not believe they will get a second chance and I do not think they are good enough to make anything of a potential second chance. Nick Foles was cut earlier this week and is likely going to resurface as somebody’s backup quarterback – that seems to be where he will remain for the rest of his career. Josh McCown can still start if Robert Griffin does not impress in Cleveland, so I do think the counter stands a chance. For what it’s worth, as long as the Bears are willing to put up with Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer is nothing more than an injury replacement for Chicago.
Utter-Fantasy #7) CLEV WR Josh Gordon is suspended for the first 4 games of the regular NFL season, but he will be reinstated and able to play starting in Week 5. That is over 10 weeks from now. In a recent Twitter poll I conducted, only 23% of the fantasy football community think that Gordon will keep his nose clean until Week 5. How do you think he fares?
DFF’s Michael Hughes: I personally and sincerely hope that he takes this opportunity to heart and makes a change for himself and his family. I thoroughly enjoyed his on-field exploits a few seasons ago when he ended the year as the top receiver. I can’t promise that he has learned his lesson, or that he has learned anything at all, but I believe that this will be the last opportunity he will ever get in the NFL. On the back of that assumption, I feel he will make the most of it and stay clean, sober, and motivated. Dear Cleveland, I’m sorry in advance if this is a jinx!
Utter-Fantasy #8) SD QB Philip Rivers said one goal of the 2016 season is to get TE Antonio Gates at least eight touchdowns to break Tony Gonzalez’s tight end touchdowns record. 8 TDS would be the 2nd most touchdown receptions for Gates since 2010…if he can get that many. I do not think he can. How many do you think Gates can get in 2016 at 36 years old?
DFF’s Michael Hughes: It really would be a great story if he could get 8 touchdowns and break the record this year, although it may take two years. I am in agreement with you that he will not get eight this year because the opportunities will be fewer simply due to the fact that other teams will recognize his role in red zone plays and will likely double cover him to prevent him from scoring more times than not. I think a realistic number is 5 or 6 touchdowns this year again due to the fact that he will be covered very well in the red zone and I do not believe he currently possesses the wheels necessary to break long touchdown runs from anywhere beyond the 20.
Utter-Fantasy #9) I asked this question to QuestFFL’s Matt Dougherty 2 weeks ago, (and with preseason just around the corner), I think it’s an important one to ask you as well. What do you think is essential for fantasy football owners to pay attention to, in the 4 preseason games?
DFF’s Michael Hughes: This is a great question and I’m very happy to have the opportunity to share some of what I look for in the preseason games with your audience. Last year was a great example of the need to scout lesser-known running backs. One glaring example for me was watching Fitzgerald Touissant in Pittsburgh because he may, in the near future, play a significant role as a back up or third-down running back. Last season he showed me glimpses of significant promise prior to the beginning of the regular season. You can never know enough about a team’s running back stable!
Obviously, in most preseason games you will not see many of the household name NFL stars and are likely to be watching aspiring back ups or practice squad players. However, you can really put yourself ahead of the game by paying attention to those who are on the roster bubble and those who are lower on the depth chart. One of the best examples of this took place a few years ago when the New York Jets were on HBO’s hard knocks. When the Jets played the Giants in the Snoopy Bowl, it was hard not to notice Victor Cruz as a burgeoning star in the league. As it turned out, he became a very valuable fantasy asset. What I would recommend is reviewing the teams depth chart prior to the game so you spend more time watching the tape and less time fumbling through notes about who each player is.
The last piece of advice I would give is to monitor relationships between backup players, like second string quarterbacks and who the receivers /tight ends are that he has formed chemistry with. The benefit to this process is that you can capitalize if a starter should go down. For instance, a few years back in Philadelphia, Mark Sanchez, then the second string quarterback, and Jordan Matthews the receiver from Vanderbilt, had a lot of chemistry in the preseason. Later in the year when Sanchez started a number of games, it was clear that he had an affinity for Jordan Matthews and your preseason knowledge would have allowed you to capitalize on that chemistry.
Utter-Fantasy #10) Have you joined any new fantasy football leagues for 2016? How many leagues will you be in this year, and which ones are your favorites?
DFF’s Michael Hughes: If you know me at all, you know all too well that I cannot stop adding new teams to my portfolio! This is partly because fantasy football is one of the best past times and hobbies you could have, but also because we as owners of multiple teams definitely look to diversify certain players in certain positions to make things more interesting. As of right now, I will be in 11 dynasty fantasy football leagues and two redraft leagues at the beginning of the 2016 season. Two of my favorite leagues are where I am playing against some of the bigger analysts and personalities in the fantasy football arena. Without question though, my favorite league is the one where I took over a middle-of-the-road team and went to the championship last year. There are few things better than reviewing all of the trades and waiver wire requisitions that you made during the year that helps you overcome disappointing weeks and ultimately brings home the championship!
Next Week’s Guest….DFSArmy.com’s Kevin E, aka The Fantasy Football Geek