By: Jarred David @ricco_3733
Punt Pass Play – Week 5
Welcome to Week 5’s edition of Punt, Pass Play. Before we begin, let’s have a quick reflection on last week’s edition. First, I mentioned the O-line being awful for the Bengals, which would hinder Joe Mixon’s production. That was correct. As I anticipated, James Conner would have a good day but still needs to have an eye kept on him in the short-term, not to mention he is dealing with an ankle injury now. Last, I said Todd Gurley’s reps would be watched short-term and progressively build up as the Rams need him more. They got him some receptions and a couple of touchdowns, and he was the brightest player of the three.
A reminder how this works: every week I will provide you with some fantasy advice on who to Punt (cut/trade/avoid starting), who to Pass (don’t sign/emergency or FLEX start only), and who to Play (start ‘em). The advice stems from what I find to be the three most important in fantasy football: opportunity, talent, and matchup. I also throw in dynasty advice for the dynasty extraordinaire. Week 5’s “Backers with Skills” edition is on running backs that teams rely on week to week to help impact them to a win. In this week’s discussion, I will be giving advice on David Johnson, Devonta Freeman, and Melvin Gordon.
Punt – Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers
This is simple: First of all, Gordon allowed Austin Ekeler—who I was way wrong about, I’ll admit—to expose himself as a more-than-suitable replacement. This is likely leading to a deeper committee approach than before. There is a possibility that they give Gordon a lot of touches as this is likely his last season in a Chargers uniform. There is also a possibility to play both Ekeler and Gordon against a Denver defense that is 3rd worst against the run. Personally, I believe they will still monitor Gordon’s reps this game, leaving him off the fantasy radar this week.
Dynasty: It’s a risky move, but I say move him while his value is at its peak. As I mentioned, I’m leaning toward this being a bigger RBBC with Ekeler. Additionally, no one knows where Gordon ends up next season. As far as his production goes, I still believe it’s the Chargers system more than Gordon as he hasn’t been overly effective with his rushing YPC. It’s a risky speculation, but if Gordon goes elsewhere, we may see some production similar to that of Le’Veon Bell in New York. With all these factors in mind, it’s more of a risky acquisition and more so a safe and valuable sell.
Pass – Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
Although the Texans rank 16th in run defense, I firmly believe this will be more of a passing game shootout. Freeman has shown the ability to receive out of the backfield, especially last week (8/72), but this game will belong to the receivers and tight ends, along with nearly any IDP starter you can deploy. In the last season Freeman played the majority of games (2017), he had just 36 receptions. Up to this point, however, it is yet to be seen if we can get back to the older version of Freeman getting receptions similar to his 2015 and 2016 seasons. Keep him on the radar as a potential FLEX/RB3 or a solid Bye Week fill-in, but keep expectations moderate due to the lack of scoring.
Dynasty: This season is the telling season for Freeman whether or not you should keep him. He is starting to build a solid resume the past two weeks, but it’s worth noting that he hasn’t scored a touchdown at all this season. He has a contract running until 2022; however, next year has an extremely solid draft class of running backs. Between that and how they are re-building their offensive line, I see Freeman being a bridge running back next year to the new rookie in Atlanta. In the meantime, let him build that resume a few more weeks and consider selling, pending where you are at in the standings.
Play – David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
After watching a struggling James Conner go off against the Bengals, you have to like the matchup for David Johnson, especially in PPR since Christian Kirk (ankle) and Damiere Byrd (hamstring) likely out this week. DJ has received 20 targets over the past two games as well. Even though he is struggling to run the ball, DJ will get involved some way or the other as Kliff Kingsbury continues to run the up tempo offense, which gives a handful of players an opportunity to be productive.
Dynasty: I don’t see DJ going anywhere as he is under contract until 2021. He’s shown the ability to stay healthy thus far sans 2017 and is only 28 this December. If you elect to sell, make sure to sell high because there aren’t many bellcow backs to own.
To summarize this week’s Punt Pass Play, Melvin Gordon will likely have his reps limited and be in a more 50/50 split with Austin Ekeler, thus limiting his value. Devonta Freeman is intriguing and viable to start as a FLEX this week, but as long as he averages a career worst 3.3 YPC, he will remain as a FLEX. The Arizona Cardinals will find a way to get David Johnson the ball one way or the other, especially this week given the wide receiver’s injuries. For more fantasy advice, add me on Twitter (@ricco_3733) or ask via email at Riccadonna3733@hotmail.com. Until then, thank you for reading and I’ll see you for Week 6’s edition of Punt, Pass, and Play!
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