Better late than never, right?
Before I get started does anyone want to explain themselves for not following my post-week 2 advice and picking up Larry Donnell? Well don’t bother because now the whole world knows who he is after his 3 touchdown game last Thursday against Washington. He’s established himself as a TE1 in most leagues and has a an opportunity to put up some truly gaudy numbers in this offense as the primary red zone target.
I tried to warn you.
I want to take a minute (Or seven?) and talk about one of my favorite quarterbacks in the NFL: Eli Manning. You have every reason to tune out here but if you stick with me I might be able to convince you why he’s a better option than some of the starting quarterbacks you currently have on your roster.
Before the season some friends and I ranked all 32 starting quarterbacks based on real life talent/expectations. I was the odd duck who ranked Eli higher (12th) than any other list (avg. 16th), but I’ve always been high on his talent. Here’s what I wrote about him back in July:
I’m going to get flack for ranking Eli Manning 12th, which was the highest ranking of the six lists and four spots higher than his average ranking (16). Listen, people can look at the 27 interceptions and his struggles from last year and say “well that’s who he is.” But that isn’t who he is, he’s (usually) a top-10 quarterback playing for a team that has no business being in the conversations he has put them in. Very few people noticed that after that dreadful start (0-6) he helped the Giants finish the season (7-3) and completed over 60% of his passes. He did all that with his top three running backs non-existent and, essentially, one weapon healthy (Victor Cruz).
This isn’t a situation like the Jets, Eli has (dare I say it) better physical tools than his brother with a quarter of the personnel Peyton has had in his career. We are going to discuss this more during our Podcasts but I expect Eli to get right back to it in 2014.
A huge reason for my optimism was the hiring of former Packers quarterback coach, Ben McAdoo, as the new offensive coordinator. Everything he brings to New York (lots of no huddle, quick routes, getting rid of the ball quickly) fit Eli’s strengths perfectly. I’m one of the rare birds writing who follows college football just as close and can say that the things McAdoo brings Eli has been doing without a hitch since his days at Ole Miss.
So what does this mean for fantasy owners?
Through four games Eli Manning has thrown for 974 yards, 9 TD’s (5 INT’s), and a 66.9% completion rating. Right now he’s outperforming Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick, Nick Foles, Tony Romo, and Cam Newton in fantasy production from the quarterback position (ESPN standard scoring), yet he’s owned in only 51% of leagues. Based on the way the rest of the offense is picking up McAdoo’s scheme I am going to go out on a limb and say Eli might be a top-10 quarterback when it’s all said and done. Scoop him up as a solid QB2 on your roster or consider rolling the dice on him as your starter if your original plan is scuffling. Early Verdict: Real
Quick Week 4 Recap
Blake Bortles, Jaguars- Last Week: Not Real with a chance to prove me wrong
Key Piece Of Advice From Last Week: “He’s a spot starter and nothing more for now.” Week 4 Line: 253 yards, TD, 2 INT
I also said he needed to get his feet wet before you counted on him as “The Guy.” Hope you listened.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, Baltimore Ravens- Last Week: Real
Key Piece of Advice From Last Week: “Consider Forsett’s value torpedoed and Bernard Pierce’s days as the number one back in Baltimore numbered.” Week 4 Line: 58 yards, TD
If I was wrong about something it was that Forsett seems to still have a large role in the backfield ahead of Taliaferro. He still carried the ball 15 times (to Forsett’s 14) and averaged almost four yards per carry.
Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings- Last Week: Real in theory
Key Piece Of Advice From Last Week: “He’s the starter for the rest of the year with Cassel done so I’m gonna hold off giving him too much judgement, but his upcoming games against secondaries that aren’t the best bode well for his value. Plus Norv Turner is his offensive coordinator.” Week 4 Line: 317 yards
Hasn’t connected in the end zone yet but looks like a solid young passer. Injury concerns already cropping up but looks to have a bright future if he can stay on the field.
Week 5 Waiver Report
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers (WEEK 4: 11 ReYards, TD)- Adams is a strange case because what I see is a guy with two very good things going for him: First, he’s physically more talented than Jarrett Boykin and the Packers know that. Second, knowing that the Packers seem to be doing everything in their power to make him their third receiver. He caught his first touchdown pass Thursday night (who didn’t score for Green Bay Thursday?) and he’s learning the offense. I’m expecting an uptick in his production and so should you. Verdict: Real
Andre Roberts, WR, Washington Redskins (WEEK 4: 18 ReYards, TD)- Unlike Adams my enthusiasm for Roberts going forward isn’t sky high. HOWEVER, they have a matchup with the Seahawks this week. Kirk Cousins hasn’t looked great but when he has gotten the ball off guess who sees it second-most after Garcon? I expect Garcon to be blanketed and Jackson isn’t going to find the type of space he normally does. If you need an injury replacement FLEX option Roberts might be an intriguing add. Other than that I see no reason to own him. Verdict: Not Real
Devin Hester, WR, Atlanta Falcons (WEEK 4: 70 ReYards, TD)- I held off talking about Hester as long as I could. I can’t really do that anymore. He’s owned in just 27% of Yahoo! leagues, he’s putting up some serious special team numbers and receiving numbers. He’s a legitimate FLEX player to own because it seems the Falcons have done what the Bears couldn’t: figure out how to use him on offense. Roddy White can’t seem to shake the nagging injuries, either, which makes him that much more valuable. Verdict: Real