Monday, September 24, 2012

Start your Studs!!

Going into Week 3 of the NFL season, there was a lot of people panicking about some top players not performing to expectations in the first two weeks. Week 3 was a great day to follow one of my start/sit strategies: Start your Studs!!

Now what is a stud?
A stud is a player that has proven to be an elite player at his position. These are players I will not bench unless I have an extremely good reason to do so. Now I ranked McFadden 19th at RB for Week 3, and Peterson 23rd for Week 3, what's up with that? With matchups against two of the best run defenses in the league, the Steelers and the 49ers, I consider that good enough reason to potentially bench them in shallow leagues where you could have better options.

Here are the players that after Week 3, I consider to be studs when healthy in a 10 team league (not necessarily ranked in order of their studliness):

QB: Rodgers, Brady, Brees, Stafford, Newton
RB: Foster, Rice, McCoy, Forte, Charles, Jones-Drew, Murray, Peterson, McFadden and Mathews
WR: C.Johnson, A.Johnson, Fitzgerald, White, Jennings, J.Jones, Green, Nicks, Cruz, Harvin
TE: Graham, Gronkowski, Gates, Hernandez, V.Davis

Lets take a look at some of the studly performances of stars who had been under-performing so far this year (to various degrees):

Calvin Johnson
Weeks 1-2: 14 catches for 205 yards (21st in WR fantasy points)
Week 3: 10 catches for 164 yards, TD

Madden curse, madden shmurse. Megatron is the best WR in the NFL and Sunday he proved it. Even though he didn't score in two games, he was still averaging over 100 yards/game so I'm not exactly sure where the panic was coming from. He'll likely be my #1 ranked WR until he (or someone else) proves otherwise.

Larry Fitzgerald 
Weeks 1-2: 5 catches for 67 yards (74th in WR fantasy points)
Week 3: 9 catches for 114 yards, TD

A lot of fantasy owners were starting to freak out based on the QB situation in ARI and the fact that Larry was only targeted 15 times in the first two games. But Fitzgerald has posted at least 1000 yards and 6 TDs in 5 straight seasons (averaging almost 1300 yards and 10 TDs in that span) most of that time working with a sub-par QB. He'll finish this season again as a top 5 WR in fantasy football.

A.J. Green
Weeks 1-2: 12 catches for 128 yards, TD (31st in WR fantasy points)
Week 3: 9 catches for 183 yards, 1 rush for 11 yards, TD

Green had a great matchup in Week 3 and he took full advantage opening the game with a 73 yard TD pass from WR Mohamed Sanu and didn't look back. Greeen broke onto the scene with 1065 yards receiving and 7 TDs in his rookie season in 2011, and should easily surpass both of those numbers this season. He's an every week WR1.

Jamaal Charles 
Weeks 1-2: 22 carries for 90 yards, 3 catches for 19 yards (42nd in RB fantasy points)
Week 3: 33 carries for 233 yards, 6 catches for 55 yards, TD

After struggling in his first two games and being removed from the game in Week 2 due to a minor knee bruise, there were questions as to whether Jamaal Charles would return to the elite player he was prior to tearing his ACL in the opening game last season. Well, those questions are all gone now with a career-highs of 33 carries (previous high was 25) and 288 total yards. I ranked Charles as my 7th RB in the preseason, so can't say I'm too surprsed with his effectiveness. The old Charles is back and should be locked and loaded as a RB1 regardless of the status of Peyton Hillis who got injured in Week 3.

Maurice Jones-Drew
Weeks 1-2: 31 carries for 167 yards, 6 catches for 25 yards. TD (20th in RB fantasy points)
Week 3: 28 carries for 177 yards, 2 catches for 16 yards, TD

There was worries about MJD after only reporting to camp days before the start of the regular season and as expected the Jaguars eased him in a little giving him only 31 carries in the first two games. He didn't find the endzone, funbled once, but his yards per carry average was in line with his career numbers. In Week 3, they finally gave him the workload he has been accustomed to and he didnt disappoint. I am still worried about him breaking down after the huge workload he has been given over the past 3 years, but as long as he is healthy, you can expect more huge games.

Darren McFadden
Weeks 1-2: 26 carries for 54 yards, 15 catches for 105 yards. TD (29th in RB fantasy points)
Week 3: 18 carries for 113 yards, 2 catches for 2 yards, TD

There was no star RB that fantasy owners were freaking out about more than Darren McFadden. He had averaged just over 2 yards/carry in the first two games as the new zone blocking scheme implemented in Oakland was out of sync and ineffective. However, that scheme is tried and tested (see Exhibit A: Foster, Arian) and McFadden as well as that offensive line are too talented to continue to struggle all season. It was a very tough matchup against Pittsburgh so I didnt expect he would have that much success this week, but long term I was not at all worried about DMC. Expect a lot more big games in the coming weeks as McFadden has a great schedule the rest of the season.

All these guys should be in your lineup every week. Don't get cute, start your studs!

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