Fantasy High 5: Ryan Mathews, T.O and Fantasy Sleepers

Fantasy High 5: Weekly Fantasy Discussion

This is Gridiron Experts weekly article Fantasy High 5, where we talk about Fantasy Football’s most buzzing stories, NFL news, and discuss reader questions. Have a question? Send us a tweet: @GridironExperts

Question1 : Where now would you draft Ryan Mathews?

Jody SmithRyan MathewsJody Smith: I expect his ADP will start to plummet now, but wouldn’t hesitate to grab him if he starts to slide into the second round. He’s too talented to not thrive, once he’s healthy. Just make sure you are prepared to hand-cuff him or draft strong RB3 and RB4 candidates.

3b3abadf5677123cba530df3a19f4ee3Matt Lechner: I’m putting him below Adrian Peterson right now. I don’t see how you can rely on a player with his injury background. I’m not touching him until the late 3rd round or early 4th. There’s nothing worse than being forced to rely on a player that is listed on the injury report every week. Plus, with all those late kickoffs in San Diego, those gametime decisions could start really messing with your line-up (and your head). This year I’m passing on Mathews.
Jonathan TaylorJonathan Taylor: Broken collarbones take a long time to fix. I know there are rumours that he could be back for Week 1 but I am not believing that, not only will he have to let it fix he will then have to rehab it if he doesn’t want to break it again anytime soon. The issue with Mathews has always been that he is very brittle and this doesn’t convince me that he is going to be able to stay healthy once he comes back. I would not even consider Mathews until rounds 5-6, mainly because are still RBs available that can feature for you every week in the earlier rounds.

Robert MadeyaRobert James: As devastating as this injury sounds its not like he’s done for the year. I still think taking him in the mid to late second round is still a good move, and if he’s there in the third he’s a steal. Even with his injury plagued career Mathews is still a very good RB. He is a high /risk high reward RB, but if you draft him you better have some good depth at RB just in case.


Question 2: Whose one fantasy player that you would reach on without hesitation?

Mike RodriguezDemarco MurrayMike Rodriguez: I have two; DeMarco Murray and Brandon Pettigrew. I rank Pettigrew as high as my 4th overall TE, he was a huge target for the Lions last year and with the team being as aggressive as they are with the pass, I expect huge numbers this season. I would take Murray in the bottom half of the first round, I think he has a breakout season this year, easy money!

Shawn LiShawn Li: Antonio Brown. I do not think Mike Wallace plays for the Steelers this year and Emmanuel Sanders proved to not be Big Ben’s favorite guy. Antonio saw 5+ receptions almost every game the second half of the year and had monster yardage. Not a ton of TD’s though. Currently going about the 7th round of a standard league. I think Brown will be a top-10 WR this year and would definitely take him well above that ranking.

Resize of 55b2470c9c1b6a37c168758c8b014d92Zhan Mourning: Jimmy Graham. Everyone is down on drafting a TE early this year but this guy is one you can count on to put up great numbers. I would much rather have him than one of the many RBs with question marks or a WR because that position is SO deep this year. TE is a deep position, but Graham is a cut above the rest and will give your team an advantage at that position. Every year there are RB and WR gems you can find on the waiver wire, but that rarely happens with the TE position.

3b3abadf5677123cba530df3a19f4ee3Matt Lechner: Jordy Nelson. The Packers will make every effort to get him the ball more often this season, especially after his breakout year last season. While I don’t expect him to catch 15 TDs again, I do expect his targets, catches and yards to go up. When you’re Aaron Rodgers’ favorite deep threat, there will always be a place for you on my fantasy team.
Matt MadsenMatt Madsen: Titus Young. I’m not saying I would go out and grab this guy in the first few rounds, but he’s currently going at the end of the 13th round in Yahoo leagues. With an aging Nate Burleson the only obstacle between him and starting, I would contend that Matt Stafford will be leaning even more heavily on Young than he did last year, when he had over 600 yards and six touchdowns, as a rookie. Could be a definite steal.
Brian JerzakBrian Jerzak: Eric Decker – put up solid numbers with Tim Tebow at quarterback. Now he has you know who throwing him the ball. He will be a solid number three, maybe a number two by mid-season.


Jody SmithJody Smith: Stevan Ridley– The Patriots have rushed for more touchdowns than any other club over the last three seasons. All indications are that Ridley, who is the biggest of the New England backs, is the favorite to be featured in and around the redzone. Keep an eye on Brandon Bolden as well.

Jonathan TaylorJonathan Taylor: Julio Jones, after a fantastic rookie season in which he amassed 959 yards and 8 TDs I was very high on him. Then after yesterday’s preseason week 1 performance of 109 yards and a touchdown in a quarter of action, I am now higher on him than ever. I truly believe he is the second best fantasy WR available and wouldn’t hesitate to pick him from 2.1 onwards.


Question 3: What are your thoughts on T.O playing in Seattle?

Shawn LiShawn Li: T.O Signs With SeattleSeattle has a lot of OK receivers. Sidney Rice is the best, with a lot of Braylon Edwards/Golden Tate guys next, so T.O. won’t have a ton of competition to get a starting job. It was reported he ran a 4.4 40 yard dash for Seattle before they signed him which is awesome. His last year in the league, he was pretty good, and it seems has kept himself in shape. More importantly, he seems desperate. Rumors are abound that he needs the cash. I like a talented player that is desperate. I think he finishes in the top 30 WR’s this year and makes the team.

Resize of 55b2470c9c1b6a37c168758c8b014d92Zhan Mourning: A great move for the Seahawks. They got him on the cheap and with a 1 year deal there is no commitment. We have seen what T.O. is capable of in the past, especially in his first year with each team he has been on.He is a big target that Matt Flynn may soon be relying on

Robert MadeyaRobert James: The Seahawks may be the best fit for T.O. Other than Sidney Rice Seattle has very little depth at WR. He wants to prove he can still play at a high level, and lets be honest he is also motivated because he needs the money. By signing a one year, one million dollar contract he has to preform in order to get any type of decent contract for next year. Normally guys in contract seasons or guys working for their last contract tend to be very motivated. If T.O is truly healthy and can stay that way I see no reason why he can’t have a good season for the Seahawks. Will he be the T.O of old, probably not, but for the Seahawks a good T.O will be better than what they have..

3b3abadf5677123cba530df3a19f4ee3Matt Lechner: I’m not sure what to make of TO’s arrival in Seattle. The Seahawks have three young wide receivers (Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate) that need more time on the field. Bringing in TO, and Braylon Edwards for that matter, will only keep these young guys off the field. I know Rice is hurt now, but when he’s healthy he’ll be playing over TO. Seattle is paying too much for Rice to have him be second string. Once that happens, do you think TO is going to be content (and quiet) on the sidelines as Rice’s back-up? I’m going to say no. I don’t believe TO is more humble now and I don’t think this marriage ends well.

Jody Smith
Jody Smith: If he’s really running a sub 4.5 40, I’ll go out on a limb and suggest he’s the Seahawks best receiver. (not saying much). He’s fanatical about conditioning and has been a relative boy scout at his last two stops…staying out of trouble. His size makes him a solid redzone threat and is somehting Seattle is sorely missing.

Matt Madsen
Matt Madsen:  Just sick of Owens, to be honest. Good for them if it works, but it isn’t a story for me. The guy is 38 years old and just got kicked off his indoor football league team. Why do people still talk about this?

Brian Jerzak
Brian Jerzak: I agree with Matt Madsen 100%. T.O. has been more of a manufactured story the last couple of years than a real story. I think he makes the team and has an okay year, but will be a role player at best.

Jonathan TaylorJonathan Taylor: I think it is a very shrewd move by Seattle, they knew that they were short of a top receiver and it is well worth the risk because they are only paying Owens $925,000 so if he becomes trouble they can easily cut him. As for Owens, I think that the year out of the NFL will have done him good he will have had time to reflect on why teams don’t want to take a chance on him and he obviously figured it out because his interview with Seattle seemed to go well. I am also encouraged that he is still in great shape, he is 38 years old and with a year out of the NFL it would have been easy for him to let himself get lazy and out of football shape, instead he has worked hard and that shows hunger and commitment to me. These are two things I would want shown by every player on my football team.

Question 4: What is the most overrated stat when doing fantasy research?

Shawn LiShawn Li: Torrey SmithAverage ff points per game. It is very helpful to know how much a guy scores per game obviously but look at Torrey Smith last season. Averaged 7.7 PPG, but had 9 games of three points or lower including three goose eggs. Throw in a couple monster games and it looks like a guy worth a flex spot to WR2, but a guy that is as inconsistant as Torrey Smith you would rarely start. PPG is an OK starting point, but you need to delve a little deeper

Resize of 55b2470c9c1b6a37c168758c8b014d92
Zhan Mourning: More of a preseason stat but an overrated stat nonetheless. ADP. Everyone thinks they have to, or can only, select players in whatever round their current ADP is. I’ve said it once and ill say it again, ADP is a guide to know where players are currently being drafted. Nothing more nothing less. Select the players where you want, when you want. You are the GM not the ADP.

Robert MadeyaRobert James: Shawn is spot on with his thought, but another overrated stat is weekly position rankings. Everyone has them and a lot of us use them, but if we all set our line ups by how a certain player is ranked for the week, I doubt our team would be very successful. You can’t base who you start or sit by a weekly rank. A rank should be used for a general guideline, not a final decision. Also if you’re in a league with a flex position, rankings by position do you no good. You have to come to your own conclusion about who you start and sit, and not just rely on some ranking. So for those of you that need some help, ask one of us, we will be glad to help. That is unless I’m playing you, then forget it!!

3b3abadf5677123cba530df3a19f4ee3Matt Lechner: Any stat from the preseason. Don’t worry that your 10th ranked running back only had 5 carries in the preseason. Also, don’t read too much into preseason/training camp injuries. Every player is sore, tired and has some sort of ailment right now. Trust your rankings and avoid buying into all the preseason chatter.

Matt Madsen
Matt MadsenAntonio BrownI don’t necessarily agree that ALL preseason stats are worthless. Antonio Brown was a hot player coming out of the preseason last year, but it wasn’t until Week 7 that he broke out. For the people who were patient and kept him on their roster, he paid off for sure. However, I’m not sure there are many owners who are that patient. Colt McCoy also looked really good in preseason last year. You have to be careful getting too hyped up about a guy after a solid preseason, that’s all.

Brian Jerzak
Brian Jerzak: Pre-season stats – especially for marginal players. Every year we get all excited about some guy who goes for 100 yards, but once the live bullets start getting fired, they find themselves on the bench. Also anything a head coach says in a pre-season press conference.

Jonathan TaylorJonathan Taylor:r For me it is when people take the stats from the last 5 games as a sign a player will have a big year the next season. Often teams that have made the playoffs will take it easy the last few games of the season in order to avoid injury and, in the last game especially, the backups can often feature more than the veterans. I fell into this trap myself with Matt Moore when he was at Carolina two years ago and vowed never to pay attention to that stat trend again.

Question 5: Name one super late round sleeper

Resize of 55b2470c9c1b6a37c168758c8b014d92Zhan Mourning: Andre Holmes/Danny Coale. One of these guys will end up being the Cowboys WR3. Reports out of camp are that Kevin Ogletree is the leading candidate to win the job, but we have seen his song and dance before.We heard the same thing last year Ogletree, and then in mid season Laurent Robinson took over and never looked back.The Cowboys WR3 position has been a pretty productive fantasy option, so watch for either Holmes or Coale to emerge come mid season.

Shawn LiShawn Li: Cedric Benson. He had over 1000 yards last season and is currently a FA. I assume, with no actual knowledge, that he was offered several contracts, but none of them to his dollar amount liking. He is waiting for a big name guy to go down in camp or early in the season to sign a bigger guaranteed contract with a desperate team. If signed, could end up being a decent RB2 to borderline RB1 if it is the right situation. Worth a final round flyer I think. Editor’s Note: Benson signed with the Green Bay Packers on Sunday-JS

3b3abadf5677123cba530df3a19f4ee3Chris RaineyMatt Lechner: Chris Rainey. The rookie RB for the Steelers is fast and adds a dimension that has been missing in Pittsburgh for several years – a speedy running back. Not since Willie Parker have the Steelers had a running back that can move that fast. I think Pittsburgh’s new offense under Todd Haley, will allow players to play faster and offer them more opportunities to freelance. Rainey’s skill set is perfect that type of offense and he’s a very different runner than Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer. If Rainey can pass block, he’ll get plenty of opportunities in his rookie year.

Mike RodriguezMike Rodriguez: Matt, I totally agree with you about Chris Rainey. He could be the Steelers own version of Dareen Sproles. Did you know he broke the record for the 3 cone drill at the combine? I wrote an article on it back before the draft. Ray Rice held the record for years, and it’s Rainey who now holds top honors.

Matt Madsen
Matt Madsen: I am pretty high on Kyle Rudolph. I hate the Vikings offense, I hate Christian Ponder and I worry about the state of AP’s knee. However, I do think Rudolph has all the tools to succeed. If anyone besides Percy Harvin can break out of mediocrity on that offense this season, I think it’s him.

Brian Jerzak
Brian Jerzak: They won’t score many points, but one of the most targeted wide outs last season was Greg Little in Cleveland. If the Browns can get any kind of quarterback play with Richardson giving them a ground game, Little should be a good spot starter when he gets a good match up or two.
Robert MadeyaRobert James: I really like Coby Fleener. He has the height and size that todays TEs need to have. He will also have the luxury of playing with his college QB, Andrew Luck. Other than Reggie Wayne, Fleener will be the one that Luck is looking for in the passing game. The rapport that these two already have should go a long way into the success that Fleener has this year. The Colts will tailor the offense to fit Luck’s skill set, and as it was proven at Stanford, Fleener should be a big part of that. Fantasy wise I see Fleener as a top 10 TE, and easily someone that will make a great bye week replacement if not more.

Jonathan TaylorJonathan Taylor: LaRod Stephens-Howling, for me the late round is about drafting someone who will probably end up getting cut anyway for a waiver wire pickup so why not take a punt on a longshot. LSH is very undersized for a RB and won’t be able to carry the load but he is a very similar player to Darren Sproles, Howling is fantastic at catching the ball but is also a very elusive runner and with neither Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells proving themselves healthy he could be used more than people think.

Jody Smith
Jody Smith: Brandon Bolden, Jacquizz Rodgers, Le’Ron McClain, Randall Cobb, Nate Washington, Coby Fleener


Photos: Zimbo

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