So I recently installed a software update on my phone and as I explored the new OS I noticed a bunched of brand new features that made me feel like I had just bought a completely new phone. Why am I telling you this? Because, if you’re reading this, that means you just upgraded your sports blog experience; and if you came over from the Redding Report you’ll notice some brand new features here at 4th & Gyas. Features like, say…FANTASY THURSDAY!
Fantasy Thursday is our weekly all-out siege on fantasy football where we’ll discuss big names to stay away from, sleepers to pick up as quickly as you can, and I’ll even make the horrible mistake of asking you, the readers, to participate! What could go wrong?? You’ll even get the chance to follow the successes (and success, and success) and occasional disappointments of my own fantasy teams. So if your squads aren’t quite the juggernaut you’d thought they’d be, who cares, just live vicariously through mine! Shall we?
Keeping with our theme, Brady’s Quest for 5™, which is totally the NFL-endorsed backdrop to this entire season, I’ll give you some lists of five to kick off our first-ever Fantasy Thursday (!!!).
First, here are five guys you should absolutely start in Week 1
- Marshawn Lynch. Unless the Seahawks somehow find themselves in an intergalactic football game against some NFL-loving aliens who want to take over the earth then you have to start Lynch every week. Actually, scratch that, Beast Mode would absolutely go off in a game against football-playing aliens, granted that Pete Carroll actually gave him the ball. Too soon?
- Rob Gronkowski. Some members of the Steelers defense were quoted saying that they had a plan to “get physical” with Gronk this Thursday. If this had made you reconsider starting him this week, let me tell you something. Unless their idea of “physical” is throwing hammers at Gronk’s knees, it’s not going to matter.
- Alshon Jeffery. Former no.1 Bears receiver Brandon Marshall was traded in the offseason and 1st round pick Kevin White was injured in the offseason. Between Jeffery and Eddie Royal, I think it’s safe to say that Alshon is going to absorb those targets and receptions.
- Emmanuel Sanders. I didn’t get Sanders, my sleeper pick last season, in any of my leagues this year so it seems as if word got out about Old Man Manning’s new favorite. Demaryius Thomas may be big, but Sanders is quick and he absolutely eats slot corners for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, it seems as though Peyton genuinely enjoys throwing him passes in tight coverage just to watch him get blown up after the catch. Still points for you.
- LeSean McCoy. I’m very cautious about running backs in new cities, but this week we’re being given a special treat. The Bills are facing the Colts this Sunday, which is great news if you took the chance and drafted McCoy. Did you ever notice how the Patriots barely ever throw the ball against the Colts? It’s because their defense against the run is an absolute dumpster fire. With D-tackle Art Jones injured, that fire should be burning bright this season. Start McCoy.
Before we move any further, a quick PSA: The terms “trash”, “garbage”, and “dumpster fire” will appear regularly in articles published here at 4th & Gyas and any part of the Redding Report family in the future. You will usually see them in reference to the Jets, Giants, and Ravens. But occasionally when a team like the Colts is just so atrocious at something, like defending the run, they’ll get the dumpster fire treatment. (Fun fact: when I googled “dumpster fire” for that image they also suggested “49ers” and “Redskins” as categories I might want to search). Alright, back to fantasy.
Five guys I wouldn’t start this week because, eh…
- Drew Brees. I know, I know. You just chucked your computer out of the window and now it’s my fault that you have to go get it. I know Brees was a total steal at the end of the third round and you were very proud of your immense GM skills. I know. But New Orleans is visiting Arizona on Sunday, and in Arizona people like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are eagerly waiting to turn your fantasy dreams into a very real nightmare. So please, just this week. Don’t do it.
- Denard Robinson/TJ Yeldon. Denard Robinson was an out-of-nowhere star at running back for Jacksonville last year, and TJ Yeldon is another in a long line of power backs from Alabama looking to do some damage. I understand this. However, Jacksonville’s opponent for Sunday is Carolina, who happens to boast one of the league’s top three linebacker units. It’s just not a good idea.
- Brandon Marshall. Let’s get one thing straight; Marshall’s trade to Jersey absolutely diminished his value to any fantasy team. Is he a very good receiver? Of course. Will he see the majority of targets in the passing game? All signs point to yes. Is it completely foolish to put your trust in whoever may be playing quarterback for the Jets on any given week? ABSOLUTELY.
- Desean Jackson. Kirk Cousins will probably give Jackson plenty of opportunities deep down the field, but that’s not the problem. The Dolphins defense that Washington is about to face has been one of the NFL’s most improved units for almost three years running now. The fast and scrappy cornerbacks in Miami’s secondary won’t be giving up any free yards this Sunday.
- Tre Mason. Hear me out, people. You can count me among those who believe that Mason will return to form this season, I just don’t think that’s going to happen week one against a Seahawks team that just experienced one of the most excruciating Super Bowl losses in history. Think about it. Don’t fool yourself.
Fantasy games are won in the draft. Fantasy championships are won in the waiver wire. Get there immediately and see if these guys are still hanging around.
- Ameer Abdullah, Lions
- Latavius Murray, Raiders
- DeVante Parker, Dolphins
- Tyler Lockett, Seahawks
- Amari Cooper, Raiders (In case your friends are just clueless)
Okay folks, time for an experiment I’m really excited about. Every week I’ll give advice about real fantasy dilemmas from real people. The mistake I made this week (it happens often) was asking my friends to tell me some of their tough decisions for this week, which means that I got questions like “Should I start LaDanian Tomlinson or Larry Johnson?” But alas, we press on. Here it is, your chance to appear in the column every week, our very own Tough Calls presented by Gatorade™ (not really).
This week’s tough calls:
Isaiah Crowell or Tre Mason? – Alan, The U
I already kind of spoiled this one by telling you to absolutely not start Mason this week, but I still want to take a moment to talk about Isaiah Crowell. Crowell split carries with Terrance West in Cleveland last year, but showed flashes of top back potential. It appears that Crowell managed to win the Browns’ vote of confidence this offseason with Terrance West being traded away. Crowell may push a few teams to the championship this season.
Davante Adams or Kendall Wright? – Nich, ATL
Many people are expecting Kendall Wright to have a breakout season, but screw that noise. With Jordy Nelson out for the year and Randall Cobb looking at missing some games, the time is now for Davante Adams. Aaron Rodgers is still the most naturally gifted quarterback in the league, so you should probably be starting whoever he’s throwing the ball to. Got it?
Ben Roeslithberger or Tom Brady? – T-mid, the Natti
There’s a little added intrigue here because these QBs are facing off on tonight. Make the wrong decision, and you’ll have to look at it every day until the rest of your players get involved on Sunday. Now, putting aside my enormous bias in the situation, Brady is still the better choice. With Le’Veon Bell off the field, Big Ben and Antonio Brown will have a lot less space to work because New England won’t have to dedicate a linebacker and safety to contain Pittsburgh’s multi-talented running back. Not to mention that the Patriots have an absolutely loaded front-seven that will harass Ben all day. Plus, don’t you EVER BET AGAINST THOMAS EDWARD BRADY II WHEN HE HAS A CHIP ON HIS SHOULDER. Trust me on this one.
That was this week’s Tough Calls! Remember, we need new tough calls every week and we’re counting on YOU! To send in a tough call for next week, you can email email@example.com or tweet @4thandGyas. We look forward to relieving your fantasy headaches!
Alright, enough about your teams, let’s talk about me! I’m in four fantasy leagues this year (this is me cutting back, I swear) and you’ll get the chance to hear about all of my teams at some point this season. For introduction’s sake, they are:
- The Left-Handed MasterDebaters (team I co-run with a mentor every season. He was actually a debate team captain in college, fyi)
- The Bull Moose Dough Babies (working in a camp bakery this summer, a friend and I gave birth to Dough Baby one fateful day. Bull Moose was the name of the dining hall. Context, eh?)
- Todd Babinec’s Moustache (Todd was my boss at a different camp. Great guy, better moustache.)
- The Eiffel Hightowers (Dynasty league that started this year. It was the best Patriots-related wordplay I could come up with on the fly.)
Every week you’ll hear about the Hightowers in an exciting new segment called “Adventures in Dynasty”. The other three teams will cycle through either the “Fantasy Sob Story of the Week” or the “Why I’m Better than You of the Week”. I’m almost jealous that you guys get a front-row seat to my quadruple-championship season. Seriously, people pay big bucks for this stuff, and all you’ve gotta do is click a link. You’re really spoiled, you know that? At least give back to those less fortunate and tell your friends about us. Jeez. Anyways…
Adventures in Dynasty
I’ll admit I was a little hesitant when my friend Alan invited me to start a Dynasty league with him this season. It meant that we’d be keeping all of our players, and I really enjoy drafting every year. But, for the love of the game, I strapped up and accepted his invitation. So there we are, deep in a 30-something round draft. And you know how sometimes you don’t realize something until somebody else does and by that time it’s way too late? Like when someone is picking up money they found on the ground? Unless you’re going to push them over and take the money from them, it’s way too late. Well, this guy Jared had back-to-back picks and suddenly he takes Jordy Nelson and Kelvin Benjamin. The group chat lit up as we all realized that WE WOULD BE KEEPING OUR PLAYERS NEXT SEASON. I think my exact words were “F**k. It’s a dynasty league. I hate myself.” And that is how our dynasty experiment began. Small moral victory in the late rounds, I picked up Derek Carr so I’ll be the one laughing when he and Amari Cooper go for 3,000 yards a couple of years from now.
Folks, you just witnessed our first-ever Fantasy Thursday! Thank you for being a part of history! Don’t forget to set your lineups if you’ve got any Patriots or Steelers on your team, tonight at 8:30 EST they’ll be locked in. Wait, did I just say that tonight we’ll be watching football?! Real, live, football that counts?! You bet I did! FOOTBALL IS BACK, BABY!! In case you were wondering, I’ll be the guy in the Brady jersey with a RUN AFC baseball tee underneath, wearing a Patriots hat that matches my socks. I’ll be lucky to get through my day without sticking my head through a wall. You could say I’m excited. As if you’d assume otherwise, I’m taking the Patriots to win their home-opener. Until next time!