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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Fantasy Football

Chris Johnson goes off on his disappointed fantasy owners

Chris JohnsonChris Johnson went off on his disappointed fantasy football owners, turning the tables on them and blaming them for drafting him and starting him in their lineups.

Johnson made his comments on Twitter Sunday night after rushing for just 21 yards on 15 carries in the Tennessee Titans’ 38-13 win over the New York Jets.

“Public service announcement: I can care less about fantasy football. Key word fantasy. As long as we win I’m happy. I rush for 200 n lose y’all happy,” Johnson wrote.

“U r the head coach n the owner of ur fantasy team so u should be mad at urself I didn’t ask any of u to draft me so if I’m so sorry y start me,” Johnson said in another tweet.

Ignoring his shorthand Twitter game, he makes a good point. If you’re a fantasy football owner, it’s your fault for drafting him. I didn’t think he would do anything this year, and that’s been the case. CJ went from 2K to barely CJ1K. If you took him in your draft and continue to start him, that’s on you.

The trend of seeing football players respond to fantasy owners via Twitter has been popular this year. We saw Ray Rice lash out at them earlier this season, and now Johnson has. Last year DeAngelo Williams did it after taking a lot of nastiness.

Who can really blame Johnson for his reaction? Some fans were supportive of him after the game, but others crushed him with hateful tweets. Let’s take a look at some of them. Be warned that the language is offensive in many of them.

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Willis McGahee, Chris Ogbonnaya fantasy players to pick up after trade

Willis McGahee BroncosThe Cleveland Browns traded former No. 3 overall draft pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday for a first-round pick, leaving them with a huge void at running back. As soon as a trade like this is made, the fantasy impact must also be analyzed.

Richardson was the only back to carry the ball for the Browns this season, so what will they do to fill that position?

Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey are the likely in-house options, but CBS’ Jason La Canfora reports that the team will sign Willis McGahee as long as he passes his physical.

McGahee is the top guy to target as long as the deal goes through. The Browns wouldn’t have traded Richardson unless they felt they had some sort of adequate replacement, and McGahee is just that. McGahee played 10 games with the Broncos last season and was released in the offseason. He must be recovered from his broken leg if the team made the trade and is planning to sign him.

McGahee turns 32 next month and averaged 4.4 yards per carry last season with Denver. Though he lost four fumbles, he still looked like an effective back prior to his injury.

Cleveland’s offense has its limitations in terms of productivity possibilities, but if you’re a fantasy football owner looking for a flex option who can give you yards and maybe the occasional touchdown, McGahee is a recommended pickup.

Ogbonnaya is more of a player to pick up for this weekend’s game at Minnesota. He’s familiar with the offense and will likely see the most carries among Cleveland’s backs, if we had to make a guess. He also could cut into McGahee’s load for the future. He’s the guy you probably want this weekend, while Willis is the longterm back to own.

Temper your expectations here because the Browns offense didn’t run the ball much even with Richardson, but like we said, if you need a back, McGahee should be satisfactory.

Week 3 fantasy pickups include Eddie Royal, DeAndre Hopkins, James Starks

Eddie-Royal-ChargersUnlike the relatively quiet opening week we began with this NFL season, Week 2 was littered with injuries. Ray Rice is dealing with a hip flexor strain that is not considered serious, but everyone needs to be adding Ravens backup running back Bernard Pierce if he isn’t already owned. He should have been drafted in almost all leagues, so we’re not considering him a waiver wire pickup.

Other injuries included Packers running back Eddie Lacy and Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson, who both left their respective games with concussions. Falcons running back Steven Jackson also went down with a thigh injury and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. Vernon Davis could also miss time with a hamstring injury. Long story short, the waiver wire is more important than ever. Here are your Week 2 fantasy pickups.

Eddie Royal, WR, Chargers: The bad news for Royal in fantasy terms is that he has hauled in five touchdown passes in the first two games of the season — while he was on waivers in most leagues. He’s only owned in 24% of fantasy leagues, but that number will shoot up this week now that he has obviously developed a rapport with Philip Rivers. Should we expect the WR1 or WR2 numbers to continue? It’s doubtful at best, but with Floyd looking like he’s going to miss time Royal should continue to see plenty of targets. He’s worth adding if you’re in a league that starts three receivers and are struggling to find someone to plug in.

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Ray Rice rips fantasy football owners after suffering hip injury

Ray-Rice-RavensIn many ways, fantasy football has made the world an evil place. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice had to leave his team’s win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday when he suffered a hip injury. Prior to that, he was not performing well. Rice finished the game with just 45 total yards and three receptions, which gave his fantasy owners somewhere in the range of four to seven points.

The lack of production angered fantasy players who took Rice in the first round of drafts. In fact, many of them even ripped Rice for leaving the game with an injury. Those people have sullied Rice’s opinion of fantasy football.

Rice has played in all 16 games over the past four seasons, so he has not had to listen to cold-hearted fantasy “managers” complaining about things he can’t control — like injuries. Guys like Arian Foster could tell you that the concept is hardly a new one and has been an issue for years.

People like yours truly, who have Ravens backup running back Bernard Pierce sitting on their bench, perked up a bit when Rice went down. As awful as it sounds, that is what fantasy football has done to us. Fortunately for Rice and the Ravens, the injury is considered minor. The biggest impact it may have on the 26-year-old is opening his eyes to what fantasy owners are truly like.

Maybe next time Rice needs to take the DeAngelo Williams approach to fantasy owners.

H/T SI Hot Clicks

James Starks a fantasy player to watch with Lacy’s concussion

James StarksJames Starks was hardly on the fantasy football radar prior to Sunday, but he is the top player to keep your eye on entering Week 3.

Starks came in for the Green Bay Packers after rookie running back Eddie Lacy left with a concussion suffered on his first carry of Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins. Starks looked brilliant against the Skins defense, posting 132 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries and 36 receiving yards. He showed an excellent burst and no hesitation on the 32-yard touchdown he scored late in the third quarter.

Starks, a sixth-round pick of the Packers in 2010, looked better than he did in 2011, which is when he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and posted 794 combined yards. To give you an idea of how bad Green Bay’s rushing game has been, Starks was the first Packer to have a 100-yard rushing game since Brandon Jackson ran for 115 at Washington on Oct. 10, 2010.

We were high on Eddie Lacy for fantasy purposes entering the season, but the concussion was a really bad break. There is no report on how much time he might miss, but Starks is a player you need to keep your eye on in case Lacy is out. He might be worth picking up just in case Lacy misses next week’s game at Cincinnati. Starks is available in most fantasy football leagues.

Ahmad Bradshaw’s fantasy value rises with Vick Ballard out for the season

Vick-Ballard-ColtsJust three days ago, we listed Indianapolis Colts running back Vick Ballard as a player you should be looking to grab on the waiver wire this week in fantasy leagues. He had twice as many carries as Ahmad Bradshaw in Indy’s Week 1 win over the Oakland Raiders and looked like the better runner. Things change quickly.

Ballard suffered a knee injury during practice on Thursday and is expected to miss the remainder of the season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That will thrust Donald Brown back into the primary backup role and likely mean Bradshaw will be leaned on to take the bulk of the carries.

The obvious question is can Bradshaw handle the extra work. The former New York Giant can be explosive when healthy, but he has battled foot problems throughout most of his career. Bradshaw had another procedure on his foot over the offseason that forced him to miss most of training camp, which helps explain why he received only seven carries in the regular season opener.

The Colts will likely be reluctant to increase Bradshaw’s workload from seven to 25 in the span of a week. However, he should make for a high-end flex option and even an RB2 the rest of the way if he can remain healthy. Indianapolis has obviously lost faith in Brown, as evidenced by their decision to sign Bradshaw and bury the former UConn star on the depth chart. If nothing else, the Colts should be taking much less of a committee approach going forward.

LeGarrette Blount not a great fantasy pickup despite Vereen injury

LeGarrette BlountLeGarrette Blount was one of the hot names being thrown around in fantasy football discussions as soon as it was announced that Shane Vereen would be out until Week 11.

Vereen replaced Stevan Ridley in the second quarter of the New England Patriots’ win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday after Ridley lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. The former Cal running back looked great and was one of the best playmakers on the Pats’ offense. He racked up over 150 total yards, but he broke his wrist and was placed on injured reserve/designated to return because he is going to have surgery.

The injury to Vereen leaves the Patriots with fewer options at running back. They will likely go back to Ridley despite the former LSU back’s two fumbles on Sunday (only one was lost). Blount is another option. He rushed for 15 yards on seven carries. We don’t imagine he’ll be seeing enough action to merit a spot on your fantasy team. He would only be a great pickup if Ridley got injured.

The other Patriots backs to keep your eye on are Leon Washington and Brandon Bolden. Washington plays on special teams as a returner and has been a good pass-receiving back during his career. Bolden went undrafted out of Ole Miss in 2012 and rushed for 274 yards and two touchdowns last season. Neither player will be a fantasy factor.

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