Three weeks into the fantasy football season is a good time to step back and reflect on the performance of your team and its outlook going forward. You are in one of two categories, the first being boasting a 3-0 or 2-1 record and feeling rather confident about your team’s direction. Sure, every squad can use tweaks here and there, but you probably aren’t panicking or thinking of tearing apart your roster and starting over. If you are a member of the second group and your team is 1-2 or even (try not to gasp) 0-3, then you might be dreaming of the 2016 season when you will avenge this year’s shortcomings.
Now, if your team is struggling, a major reason might be because you own a so-called draft day disappointment — a player who was ranked highly across the board when you did your predraft preparation but has failed to live up to expectations. This article delves into these players and advises which ones to hold onto and which ones to cut.
Looking at the quarterback ranks, Andrew Luck has had a rollercoaster beginning of the year. Fantasy owners who drafted Luck with one of their top two or three picks are probably cursing themselves after seeing players like Carson Palmer and Tyrod Taylor outscore Luck. Granted, although Palmer and Taylor have been excellent, they are not alone. Luck ranks 21st out of all eligible quarterbacks right now in fantasy points and has thrown more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (five). So, the question becomes: Should you trade him for Taylor, Palmer or any of those other 20 quarterbacks?
The short answer is, unless the quarterback you are getting back is Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, then no. Luck is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game, and regardless of this rough stretch, he will rebound. More than anything, this is a case that shows you can win in fantasy with just about any quarterback, as the QB position is the one with the most parity across the board.
Turning to running backs, former Philadelphia Eagle LeSean McCoy and current Eagle DeMarco Murray have fantasy owners praying for better days. Rookie Karlos Williams has overshadowed McCoy through three games, and now that McCoy is dealing with an injured hamstring, he’ll probably be sidelined for Week 4. This gives Williams — who has scored in every game this year and posted 110 yards rushing last week compared to McCoy’s 16 — a chance to shine. While I would not trade McCoy at this juncture, as it’s unlikely you’ll get anything near fair value for him, Williams’ role is something to keep an eye on going forward as he mounts a challenge to McCoy’s status as a bell-cow back.
DeMarco Murray, who totaled 1845 rushing yards last year, accrued a total of 11 yards on 21 carries in the first two games of this year before sitting out this past week due to injury. Murray apologists, my friends included, blamed the former running champ’s slow start on a porous offensive line. However, the line did not seem like too much of a problem for Ryan Mathews, who started in Murray’s place Sunday and averaged 4.3 yards per carry on his way to a 100-yard game. What does this mean? Again, you probably won’t be able to get good trade value for Murray in your league right now, but be wary that this situation could quickly spiral into a three-way timeshare between Murray, Mathews and Darren Sproles.
One last running back to discuss is Cincinnati Bengal Jeremy Hill. After a nice two-touchdown effort in Week 1, Hill fumbled twice in Week 2 and struggled to see the field in Week 3. I own Hill in my league and felt like punching holes in the wall every time I saw running back Giovani Bernard lined up next to Andy Dalton in Sunday’s game.
I would still rather have Hill over the aforementioned McCoy and Murray, but if you have an upstart running back on your bench (think Joseph Randle or Latavius Murray or, if you’re feeling lucky, Matt Jones or Devonta Freeman) feel free to start him over Hill in Week 4 as the Bengals square off against a tough Chiefs run defense. You should never feel good about not starting your “studs,” but I’m worried Hill might not qualify as a definite “stud” anymore after his performance this year.
Whether you’re 3-0 or 0-3, remember: The season is still young. Make some smart pickups and crafty trades, and who knows what can happen.
Until next time, fantasy lovers, play on.
Joe Lanzilla is a senior in the School of Foreign Service. Fantasy Football Corner appears every other Friday.
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