- Gone are the days of the casual fantasy football league...where people checked in once a week to set a lineup and see how they did on Monday or Tuesday after some poor schmuck manually tabulated stats. Like...WAAAAAYYYY gone. So gone, in fact, that I find myself a few days away from our annual cut day in a dynasty league (where my league mates and I are actively trading players and future draft picks all year long). Because there is some serious Redskins flavor on my 25-man roster, and because the questions I am asking myself test the ol’ “head vs. the heart” quandary, I figured I would pony up to the fantasy football bar today. At the heart of each of these either/or scenarios is not just what the players will do this season, but their value over the next three seasons. I try not to factor in value out farther than that, as the NFL tends to chew up and spit out players over that timeframe. Oh yeah...if you think this is going to be a stats-based conversation, you clearly haven’t played fantasy football with me before. Numbers will choke out a team before it can be great. There has to be a healthy balance between individual performance and the overall direction of the team. The only stat I care about above all else is: targets/touches. (I know typically you would get my league’s full set of rules and history, but this ain’t that kind of fantasy football article.)
- I will start with one of my headliner decisions: Kirk Cousins vs. Mitchell Trubisky. There is a scenario that will allow me to keep both of these players on my roster—and that very well may be what happens—but my exercise here also involves trade value (both of these players have dynasty value, so conceivably I could move one of them that way). I recently traded for Trubisky, so I did kind of “go out and get him” this offseason. The thing about Kirk Cousins is...I have had him on my team since he was backing up Robert Griffin III. He has provided great value for my team, and has been started by me (in a two-quarterback league) more than any other quarterback. The other thing about Kirk Cousins is he might be the least sexiest player in all of fantasy football. He kind of solidly gets you a certain amount of points each week, but that is all you should really ever expect (sound familiar?). Trubisky, on the other hand, has shown that he can go Al Bundy on us like he did when he dropped SIX touchdowns on the Buccaneers last season. Cousins gets me in the Stefon Diggs and Dalvin Cook game to some degree, which I definitely like. In Chicago, Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery could be targeted a lot in the passing game, and Allen Robinson is someone I believe in (I don’t understand why some people are down on Montgomery’s contribution in the passing game). The youth and upside of Trubisky—along with his ability to run—has me leaning toward keeping the Chicago signal-caller here if I had to choose.
- At running back, depending on how thin I might need to slice things, there may end up being a decision between Derrius Guice and Todd Gurley. This decision is as easy as it sounds, isn’t it? I mean, Guice doesn’t have a single stat, while Gurley led my team into the playoffs with his 21 touchdowns last season. Both of these guys have some form of knee issue that we could spend days debating (we won’t). Gurley has gotten killed for being unavailable in the Super Bowl, but most fantasy football teams don’t compete all the through the NFL playoffs. As for his unavailability in weeks 16 and 17 last year, that isn’t too hard to fathom, as the Rams had qualified for the playoffs and studs like Gurley get rested during those weeks all the time. He dropped 115 yards on the ground against the Cowboys in a Divisional Round playoff win, so he was clearly being rested. He still sits atop the depth chart with a ton of targets coming his way in Sean McVay’s offense. As a fantasy owner, I am not scared of arthritis in the knees for this season, but it is a factor when mulling Gurley’s longer term value. Enter OUR guy, Mr. Guice. We THINK he is going to be a highly-targeted member of Jay Gruden’s offense. We THINK he will break tackles and get an above average amount of yards after contact. We THINK his youth should translate into a good three-year period. Even with the mystery surrounding Gurley’s knee, you won’t find many out there suggesting you should drop him in favor of a running back who has yet to play a down in the league. The fact that I also have Alvin Kamara in the fold helps me look a lot more favorably at #29 in this decision, but I was kind of hoping someone out there would help me justify doing something that a lot of non-Redskins fans would consider pretty stupid. The fact that Guice might miss all of training camp bothers me...NONE.
- Even the flex spot has me scratching my head while simultaneously tapping my heart: Jamison Crowder vs Sony Michel. Obviously, the Sony Michel side of things impacts the above decision, so feel free to tie those together, but I see these two players as two of my better flex options at this point. To the extent he can stay on the field, Jamison could be in line for a Wes Welker-like role in Adam Gase’s offense. That is rather tantalizing to me, despite my expectation that Sony Michel is on the verge of having a GIGANTIC year in New England. My problem with Sony—besides his knee (for goodness sake, who DOESN’T have a knee problem in this league)—is that I can see Belichick getting three years worth of value out of him in one year and then he never does anything again. The Patriots are like the witness-protection program...for their own returning stars. For all I know, Rex Burkhead will rush for 2,000 yards next year while Sony Michel’s agent wonders if he will even get any offers in free agency.
- This decision is a bit more nuanced, as I almost never keep a tight end over a #1 wide receiver, but: George Kittle vs. Corey Davis. You should know that when Corey Davis came into the league, I immediately thought he would be great (which is why I drafted him), while my war room spent very little time celebrating the life and times of Kittle. Davis failed to get 1,000 yards last season (his second), while an injured Kittle dropped 1,377 yards on us. Kittle also had more receptions, targets, touchdowns and plays over 20 yards. My wide receivers aren’t great, but Kittle has to be a top-five tight end in the league, and I think that sways my decision here. The return of Jimmy Garoppolo and Kittle’s time to heal has me thinking George is about to have a baller season. This might be the easiest decision...except it’s the “magical” third season for Corey Davis. Do we still believe in such things? The only real Redskins tie-in here I suppose is the somewhat instinctive way we feel like a wide receiver drafted in the first round is just “supposed” to be good...at some point, which leads me to:
- ...Josh Doctson vs. Blake Bortles. It was hard for me just to make this pairing. I mean, we’re talking about the #1 wide receiver (on paper...well, some people’s papers) for a team and a backup quarterback who was recently chased out of the city where he was drafted. My Bortles affection is a real problem for my team, but Jared Goff has been so healthy...the odds of him going all Eli Manning on us have to be low, right? I find myself asking if I think the possibility of Bortles lining up under center in a McVay offense outweighs the need I am likely going to have at wide receiver. I know there are those who feel like Doc won’t even make the Washington roster, but I am not one of those people. If healthy, he is going to play, and I very much think he benefits from yet another quarterback under center. After all, he hasn’t gotten it done yet with any of the quarterbacks we have had—maybe there is some eHarmony matchmaking about to take place with Keenum and Doc, or Haskins and Doc. It is telling that Doc has been reduced to someone who might have more value than a player that might never start for me all season. Is anyone out there keeping Bortles here?
Love it or hate it, today’s Sixpack is fantasy-inspired... but NOT a fantasy football article.