by Nick Ercolano
October 18, 2018
Heller BD family, welcome byke to this week, Week 7's Q&A column. Every Thursday, I'll take a handful of fan-submitted Q&A's -- sit/starts, trade questions, add/drop, commissioner, girlfriend, etc. -- and I'll answer them to the worst of my ability. If you want a chance for your question to be featured on next week's episode, head over the BDGE Facebook Page, like the page, and send us your question through the Facebook messenger. Make zamn sure to end your question with #answermyzamnquestion (and included league scoring type + other relevant information). Let's begin.
So, we can only work with the information at hand, and the last we heard is that Bell has not reported to the Steelers during the bye week, as originally reported. The team had consistently said they had not heard anything from Bell despite the reports that he was supposed to report. So, I have no idea if he'll report next Monday, or maybe he still doesn't plan to report until Week 10. Given that, I'm not taking the risk. Because if he sits out the next few weeks, having DeAndre Hopkins in your lineup for an extra 4 weeks makes that trade lopsided. The other concern is that we don't actually know how the backfield work will be split once Bell returns. Will it be a committee? Will it be 50/50? Even a 70/30 split in favor of Bell hurts his value tremendously give the near 95% touch hold he had over previous years. Does Conner maintain the GL role? He's converted 6-of-10 rushes inside-the-5 into TDs, so it's possible.
This is a really good problem to have. Two backs with good matchups and that should handle the majority of touches in their backfield. Arizona has been awful against RBs on the year, but Carolina hasn't been great either. I'm going to lean Clement here because I think he takes over more of the workhorse role starting in Week 7 and moving forward. In Week 6, Smallwood played on 62% of the snaps compared to just 37% for Clement, and Smallwood saw 18 carries to Clement's 11. However, Smallwood turned the 18 carries into just 51 yards (2.9 ypc). We also heard news right before the game that Clement would be on limited snaps since he was just returning from an injury which sidelined him for two weeks (take notes Jacksonville and Minnesota). Along with that, the Eagles were up 31-6 right as the second half begun, there was no use running Clement into the ground.
Prior to that, though, when the game was in reach, Clement was being used a lot - in the RZ, saw multiple GL carries and targets. So that should tell you, he's the GL back which is obviously a huge plus. He also caught all 3 of his targets for 26 yards, while Smallwood caught 1-of-2 targets for no yeards. I think Clement has the edge on the GL as well as receiving work, and it should be a near even carry split if not in favor of Clement going forward.
In terms of Ridley, I mean, I'm not necessarily looking to drop him or move on, unless I need to. With bye weeks approaching you could be desperate so I'm not opposed to it, but it depends on who you're dropping him for of course. I think people got way too high on him to start so the expectations were unrealistic. He scored a ton of TDs, but TDs are extremely volatile, WoW and impossible to predict. All we can really go on is usage numbers and Ridley had been 3rd on the team in snaps in every game in 2018 behind Julio and Sanu, getting on the field for just over 60% of their snaps. He also has only seen more then 5 targets in 2-of-6 games which isn't very inspiring, so.
This is an interesting one considering the matchups. We have the to two WRs on their teams facing off against two defenses that deploy shadow coverage from their top CB on the opposing team's top WR.
So, we have Alshon Jeffery vs. James Bradberry of the Panthers:
So, for the most part, Bradberry has been okay, if not good - containing Julio and A.J. Green, but he got worked by OBJ, shut down Doctson which shouldn't impress anyone. Since returning from injury, Jeffery has been the clear WR1 in Philly, especially in the RZ. He's been a top-8 fantasy WR since his return, averaging nearly 10 targets. six receptions over 70 yards and has scored three times in three games.
Let's look at A-Rob's matchup:
He will likely see Stephon Gilmore, who I think is a much tougher matchup then James Bradberry is. Robinson also hasn't been great. He has scored in each of his last two games, and he's only surpassed 64 receiving yards in one game this szn. He's also not getting many valuable looks anymore. He has two targets inside-the-10 on the year, which is where he made his money in JAX, high-pointing fades. He's caught neither of them in 2018. And, those long balls are starting to favor Taylor Gabriel moreso now. Not to mention, we saw Gilmore shut down Watkins last week, while Tyreek Hill ran wild. And given that we have Matt Nagy here, who was comparing Gabriel to Hill, might deploy him in the same way as the Chiefs did against the Pats last week.
I'll roll Jeffery here. I think he's a better WR, with a better QB, in a better offense, with a better matchup.
So, John Brown has arguably the best matchup a fantasy WR can have in Week 7, at home against the NO Saints. The Saints are allowing the single most FPs to opposing WRs on the year. And it's because of their CB play. Brown will run the majority of his routes against Ken Crawley and P.J. Williams. Williams is their slot CB, where Brown runs 26% of his routes from, who is currently the lowest graded slot CB in the league via PFF. Ken Crawley is the 8th lowest graded outside CB per PFF. If the Ravens are smart, but judging by their usage of Buck Allen they're not, they would shit Brown into the slot extensively in Week 7 to exploit the speed mismatch between Brown (4.34) and Williams (4.57). Either way Brown should take advantage in Week 7. You look at the type of WRs that have had success against the Saints this year, it's mainly on long balls. D-Jax (5-146-2), Evans (mainly deep balls 7-147-1), Antonio Callaway (3-81-1), Calvin Ridley (7-146-3). Brown fits in that category perfectly. I know he's coming off his worst game of the year, catching just 2-of-3 targets for 28 yards, but that was the first time he's been held under 7 targets in their last five games and they were up 24-0 so there was no need to take deep shots.
Coleman is also a great flex option, and I'd argue he's safer, so it might depend on your lineup, if you're looking for upside or safety. However, the snap split between Coleman (57%) and rookie Ito Smith (46%) were alarmingly close if you're a Coleman owner. Ito has been vulturing a lot of work from Coleman. The two have seen the same number of targets over their last three games, and Ito even out-carried Coleman 11-10 in Week 6 and it's not like the game was out of hand and that's the reason why. Ito Smith also has 14 RZ carries on the year compared to just 7 from Coleman. Outside of Kamara absolutely waxing they ass in Week 4, the Giants have been relatively good at shutting down opposing RBs on the ground.
I'll take Brown here mang.
So, luckily for me, I've already broken down these two for the upcoming week. Both guys have a gorgeous matchup. Now, while Lindsay has out-touched backfield mate Royce Freeman in every game so far (outside of the game he got kicked out of), Freeman has actually out-snapped Lindsay in each of the previous two weeks. Now, I would 1000% rather own and start Lindsay, instead of Freeman this week and ROS, but it's possible this is a game the Broncos really establish the ground and pound with Freeman. You look at the backs that have had success this year against the Cardinals, it's not necessarily the versatile guys like Lindsay, it's the grinders like Royce Freeman - Adrian Peterson, Jordan Howard, Mike Davis and most recently Latavius Murray with his 155-yard game last week. I could be totally wrong here, but I wouldn't be surprised to see an increase in touches for Freeman in Week 7 at Lindsay's expense.
So, given Brown's ridiculously good matchup I'll take the Baltimore receiver.
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