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Dan's Sack (Fantasy Football Mailbag): Week 9

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Dan Ciarrocchi of Hogs Haven and Pro Football Focus answers all of your Week 9 Fantasy Football questions.


Sorry for the lateness, everyone. I’ll spare you the long story as to why there was a delay and just offer a piece of advice more valuable than any fantasy insight I could give: Save your progress.

@coorc5 writes via Twitter:

Trade Eli for Cam? my team needs a jump start I’m 3-5 playing top team in division thanks

I think we might have different interpretations of what a “jump start” is. I view it as making a shrewd move to breathe new life into your team. This move, even though Cam Newton is playing one of the worst secondary units I can recall, would be instant death.

Say this week that Newton is the better option and gives you tons of points that ultimately clinch a win for your team. Now what? Would you rather be 4-5 with an unreliable quarterback and a handful of games left to go? Or would you rather be 3-6 with the best players you could possibly have to help you make a playoff push. Either way, you’re still in a big hole and you need to be thinking in terms of what you need to accomplish the rest of the season and not just one week. Even with the egg that Eli Manning laid versus the Cowboys, he will be more efficient more often than not in his pass-heavy offense. That alone should translate into more points than what Newton will provide his owners.

Travisjh86 of the Hogs Haven community writes:
What's your take on Cecil Shorts? Flex option in a PPR?

I got a lot of Cecil Shorts questions this week, so I’ll do what I can to address them all by answering this one question.

Here’s my take on Cecil Shorts. The good news is that he’s the best receiver on the Jaguars. The bad news is that he’s the best receiver on the Jaguars. In essence, Shorts will only go as far as the Jaguars offense takes him. It’s encouraging that he has been targeted no less than 10 times over his past two games, but you still have to expect his catches and yards to be of a pretty high variance with Blaine Gabbert at the helm.

Skinsfan3636 of the Hogs Haven community writes:

I need 2 Wr's, standard format. Have to pick from Vincent Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and Reggie Wayne. What do you think?

Vincent Jackson is almost always boom-or-bust and the Philadelphia passing game is in shambles right now, so I’d roll with Reggie Wayne this week. He’s never recorded less than 71 yards in a game this season, and his capability as a red-zone option for Andrew Luck should make him a decent bet to find the end zone each week. If nothing else, he will be worth playing based on the sheer volume of targets that come his way. Per Pro Football Focus, Wayne has been thrown at 87 times in his seven games this season, and that alone will make him a great option should that pace keep up. So far, there’s no reason to think that pace will drop off significantly enough to damage his viability.

Sean Morgan of the Hogs Haven community writes:

TE question.
TE answer!
I have Matt Schaub as my starting QB this week, should I go with Jimmy Graham or Owen Daniels as my TE? And with the one not starting at TE, would you flex him over Doug Martin? Thanks.

No. Doug Martin is playing at an awesome level right now, and it’s a level so awesome that almost lives up to the awesomeness of his awesome nickname, The Muscle Hamster. Don’t take that statement lightly, either. We’re in an era that has given us The Law Firm, He Hate Me and The Pillsbury Throwboy, and we’ve had to witness a slew of players who could never emerge from the shadow that their incredible nicknames cast over them. Doug Martin looks like the exception to this rule and I’m starting him in all of the leagues that I have him, and that’s no matter what his nickname is.

And here’s how I feel about starting QB/WR or QB/TE combinations from the same team: I don’t buy the upside. That’s not to say that I’ll avoid having these tandems at all cost, but I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to grab them. I just know that, as a whole, better upside presents itself as long as you have the best players you can have at the position, regardless of who they play for.

I had Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates on my team one year when they didn’t suck, and it ruled. Seeing those 12 points light-up your scoreboard every time they connected in the end zone presented the perfect time to trash-talk your opponent. But do you know what was even better? Having Aaron Rodgers and Rob Gronkowski on a team last year.

While Jimmy Graham has been a bit of a disappointment this season, he’s nearing full health after being hampered by an ankle injury. Even though Daniels has been a pleasant surprise this season, I will always take a healthy Graham over him, no matter who I have as my quarterback.

@thesweetness48 writes via Twitter:

What do you think about this trade? I trade away D. Thomas, C. Johnson, and E. Manning for P. Rivers, S. Smith, and L. McCoy?

Last week, I deferred to Cartman to deliver my thoughts, so this week I’ll enlist the help of Darth Vader. What's your answer to his question, DV?

Dude. If you’re in a bind—and it’s hard to believe that you are with that core—there’s nothing to be accomplished by trading away three players on the rise for two of the most inconsistent players the fantasy world has to offer.

If you’re having trouble sorting it out, maybe I can help. Let’s play a game. It’s called “Which Of These Quarterbacks Has Scored More Fantasy Points This Season In Standard Scoring?”

Question 1: Philip Rivers or Mark Sanchez? Unsure? OK, how about No. 2: Philip Rivers or Brandon Weeden? Fine, here’s one we should all know: Philip Rivers or Kevin Kolb?

If you answered Philip Rivers in any of these scenarios, you would be wrong, and you would lose this game and miss out on all the crappy parting gifts as well. Rivers has scored the 28th most points in standard fantasy leagues this season which means I wouldn’t take him in a 20-team league, let alone give up Demaryius Thomas, Chris Johnson or Eli Manning in a package that includes him. Steve Smith is also a pretty maddeningly inconsistent in his own right, but the inclusion of Rivers in this deal almost makes that a moot point entirely. Keep the guys that give you the best chance of winning, even if you’re not on the right side of the standings.

@nsayne7 writes via Twitter:

Can play 2. C Shorts, J Maclin, T Young Sr., A Boldin? Non PPR

I love Titus Young going forward, and he’ll be a pretty decent option most weeks. A few weeks ago I pointed out that although he hadn’t had many catches, he was still on the field for most of the Lions’ snaps and the targets would eventually come, given his talent level. It may have taken an injury to Nate Burleson to ultimately propel him into fantasy relevance, but it still happened nonetheless. Young played admirably last week versus a very talented Seahawks’ secondary and there should be plenty more where that came from now that teams are obsessed with shutting down Megatron.

Among the other options you gave me, I’m not crazy about Maclin and his struggles despite his cushy matchup against the Saints. And I just don’t feel comfortable investing trust in a receiver who depends on Blaine Gabbert getting him the ball, or one who plays on a team with Cam Cameron calling the shots. But if I had to pick, I’d go with Anquan Boldin for your other option because shredded the Browns throughout his time with the Ravens.

@westernsnubs writes via Twitter:

PPR -Waiver is Cecil Shorts. Dem. Murray(hurt). Drop Felix Jones or Kyle Rudolph (trade bait wks ago, now min targets).

If someone dropped Demarco Murray because of a nagging injury that would only keep him out a few weeks, that owner should be punished. So punish him in the most appropriate way possible by snagging the feature back from the waiver wire and have him score 20 points for you when you face the owner who dropped him.

But who would you cut in exchange for Demarco Murray? Even though it appears Christian Ponder forgot how to complete passes to Kyle Rudolph, I still like Rudolph the rest of the way. And everyone-- even Cowboys fans-- will tell you that Felix Jones is not the answer at running back, and his shortcomings will almost never culminate in those huge games that Murray is capable of each week. Jones’ present opportunities give him value, but it doesn’t outweigh the value Murray presents down the road, even with a weak foot. Get him.

David St. Martin of the Hogs Haven community writes:
EVERY WEEK! RGIII or Matt Ryan. I got BURNED last weekend after starting Griff. Dare I gamble again?

Gamble with what? With these options, is it really a gamble at all? Your inner dialogue may as well be “Gee, my life sure is miserable. What to do with these two lottery tickets? One will win me a million dollars this week, and the other will win a million and one dollars. But gosh darn it, I just never know which lottery ticket will get me the bigger play! Sigh…”

/gazes off into the distance

For what it’s worth, Griffin is still the top fantasy option among all positions in standard scoring leagues, and Matt Ryan isn’t too far behind. Ryan faced a great secondary last week and embarrassed them, and though he has a tough matchup once more this week he is good enough to overcome it. Griffin is still a rookie who will have his bumps in the road, but he is so dynamic that he will usually make up for poor passing days with his legs. Because he’s facing one of the worst coverage units in the league and it being a must-win game for the Redskins, I expect a big day from RG3 and would feel great about starting him.

If you get burned by starting a player you should have benched and vice versa, I’ll refer to a phrase I’ve recited ad nauseum: If you’re going to be wrong, at least be wrong for the right reasons. With your quarterback options, it’s hard to go wrong period.

That’s all for this week, folks. If you have any more questions, post them in the comments section or reach me on Twitter @PFF_Dan. Good luck.