If you listen to Colton & The Wolfman on Tuesday nights, you would know that “you should never leave your wingman”.  Spawned from the movie Top Gun, it is a phrase that defines our fantasy strategy.  Make a plan and STICK TO IT!  Well, no movie brings to light how important it is to make a plan than “Now You See Me” with a great cast: Morgan Freeman, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg and of course, Isla Fisher who every time I see this gorgeous redhead, I think of Wedding Crashers and I spontaneously shriek “I’ll find yuooooo.”  The point is that this movie not only reminds us that we need to have a plan and stick with it UNTIL it works but there is another lesson here:  don’t look too hard for players; they might be right in front of you.  Morgan Freeman’s character Thaddeus Bradley said it best: “Whatever is about to follow, whatever this grand trick is, is really going to amaze. Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you'll actually see.”

For me, I got hypnotized by the numbers instead of logic.  I scoured the free agent pool picking up player after player when the stars were already on my team: Brandon LaFell, Josh Gibson and Sidney Rice.

I was on Rice this week.  Wanted to play him and the more I looked at other people’s opinions, the more I began to change my mind.  Never again.

So, let’s take a look at yesterday’s action through a new lens.  Let’s take a look at the players who broke the Top 10 at each position unexpectedly and speculate on whether you should go after them.

Quarterbacks

Colin KaepernickThe projected Top 10 Quarterbacks for Week 3 were: Peyton Manning (plays tonight), Rodgers, Kaepernick, Stafford, Ryan, Vick, Newton, Wilson, Luck and Robert three sticks (stolen from Sterling Sharpe).   So, SIX count ‘em SIX of the top 10 QBs were from outside the projected Top 10 in a standard PPR league: Locker, Geno Smith, Ponder, Brian Hoyer, Big Ben and Tony Romo.

So let’s discuss what you should do if you need help at QB.  For the most part, you should keep sending up the guys you have with the exception of Eli who we have told you time and again that his inconsistency will KILL you.  Any of the Top 10 QBs should keep being sent up. 

Andrew Luck – IND - Luck’s value goes down slightly based on that offense getting one more rushing weapon, but he runs enough to not kill you.  They won’t be able to run up a lead like that in every game. Keep sending him up.

Collin Kaepernick – SF - Personally, I am not worried about Kaepernick, but if you are in panic mode, you can grab one of these other QBs and play matchups.  He is not in a rhythm and neither is the 49ers offense or defense for that matter.  You’ll want to have him when he starts to get it going.  Keep sending him up.

Jake Locker – TEN – Simply put. This is an anomaly.  You do not want Jake Locker as your QB.  He won’t be able to run that way every week.

Christian Ponder – MIN – Different from the above comment, Ponder is fast and can run.  He only ran for 250 or so yards last year, but has 75+ already and 2 TDs.  He won’t throw for a lot so you don’t want him as your QB1 either, but he will run.

Brian Hoyer – CLE – They opened up the offense for him.  Without Richardson and without McGahee up to speed yet, they had little choice.  You cannot bank your season on a guy like this.  He could be your second QB considering the system he is in.  He will throw a lot of both TDs and picks.

Geno Smith – NYJ – The Jets way over performed yesterday.  The Bills made a lot of bad plays and the Jets ate up yards without scoring on a lot of possessions.  They let the Bills back in the game by having Geno continue to throw and make mistakes which forced him to throw more.  If Geno does his job, he won’t have bawdy stats like this.  QB2 only.

Ben Roethlisberger – PIT - If Big Ben is not owned in your league, he should be.  He won’t throw for 400 yards every game, but his creativity and elusiveness will allow him to succeed each week.  He has enough weapons in the aerial game and if Jonathan Dwyer can carry the load, they will be fine.  He is a good QB2 and bye week replacement.

Running Backs

Jason SnellingThe projected Top 10 Running Backs for Week 3 were: Shady, All Day, Martin, Forte, Charles, Foster, Beast, CJ Spiller, Run DMC and Joique Bell.  With Run DMC yet to play tonight, there are five players statistically in the Top 10 that were not projected there.  We will dismiss DeMarco Murray since he was 11th and close to the cut line.  So you were starting him anyway.  It is the five other guys we will take a closer look at:

Jason Snelling – ATL – Without the TD, he would have been pedestrian.  Jaquizz Rodgers will be the featured back until S-Jax gets back to form.

Jonathan Franklin – GB – Desperation caused them to have to use him.  They cannot wait to get Lacy back into the mix.  Franklin’s fumble cost them the game.  I would not waste a waiver pick on Franklin unless some things change in Green Bay.

Ahmad Bradshaw – IND – Bradshaw will not see 20 touches every week now the Richardson is on the Colts.  He will be relegated to a split role where he gets 8-10 carries and a couple of receptions each game.  You can do better.  The best thing for Bradshaw would be a trade back to the New York Football Giants.  They need each other. 

Giovanni Bernard – CIN – With only 50 rushing + 49 yards receiving, this just shows you what a bad week it was for Running Backs.  That said, Bernard is the real deal and it is only a matter of time before the Cincy offense is utilizing all his potential.  This is for real. 

Bilal Powell – NYJ – Really? 149 yards rushing.  Really?  He is not that good.  This is a testament to the power running game in New York and the Jets’ commitment to executing the game plan.  He is a decent flex at best.

Wide Receivers

Antonio BrownThe projected Top 10 Wide Receivers for Week 3 were:  Megatron, Dez, Julio, Andre, V-Jax, Cobb, Wes, AJ, D-Jax and Pierre Garcon.  The fact that the only player in the Top 10 statistics is Megatron proves that at WR, you can find gems and should look for them among WRs.  Let’s break down these WRs and decide what you should do with them.

 

Antonio Brown – PIT – if you drafted him, you should have started him.  Don’t care about the whining.  I had him in three of my leagues and he was in all three.  His sheer joy of playing the game is fun to watch and that ridiculous one hand catch in the end zone last night was magical.

Josh Gordon – CLE – He is for real.  Only 22 years old and oddly the Browns don’t like him.  They may try to trade him.  He loves this vertical offense and thinks he fits it perfectly.  I think so too.  While he is in Cleveland, he should be an every week starter.

Santonio Holmes/Stephen Hill – NYJ – Looked good on their routes yesterday, but the Jets’ offense is not a throwing offense and days like this will be few and far between.  Don’t be fooled by one day.

Sidney Rice – SEA – You can expect five catches for 70-80 yards every week.  It is the touchdowns that you need to figure out when they will come his way.  The Tight Ends were big in the red zone and the skittles chugging Beast gets most of the work near the goal line.  Play matchups with him and hunches…like I had this week, but he is not a lock every week depending on who you have in the wings.

Brandon LaFell – CAR – Only three catches.  This is all the TDs.  Illusion.  He also ran awful routes all day.  Curls instead of Vs – all day.  He needs a lot of work before he is Steve Smith.  Pass.

Cecil Shorts – JAX - We always talk about the third year WRs each year.  This year, it is AJ, Julio, Torrey Smith, Randall Cobb, Austin Pettis, Leonard Hankerson, Vincent Brown, Denarius Moore and this guy.  We targeted him in all our drafts and are lucky enough to have him on a couple of teams.  Saddled in a bad offense and grabbing mostly garbage time here, it will be tough to trust him, but he is a WR3 or flex for your team.

Donnie Avery – KC – Called this one.  It was not Avery though, it was the defense.  The Eagles are that bad.  Let me be clear.  The Eagles SUCK!! Salary cap and weekly plays for 2nd WRs that are playing against the Eagles is very smart.  We nailed this one this week.

Kenbrell Thompkins – NE - We said that although he only had 6 catches before this week, he was targeted 21 times.  Until Brady got his weapons back, he had no choice but to keep going to him.  Brady is calling Lloyd and Deion Branch to get anyone on the field.  After another week of dropped passes (7 targets and 3 catches), stay away from him until he learns to catch with his hands and not his chest.  That is what wide receivers do.

The Prestige - When The Trick is Played

So, don’t be fooled by numbers, media hype, and speculation from others.  Look at the players and the situations yourself.  Don’t fire twenty-five different tweets to different so-called experts looking to validate your ideas.  Go with them.  Hunches are good.  It is YOUR team. As much as you need to plan to make sure you have the right players on your team, you need to make sure you get a feel for them and play the ones that you KNOW will succeed.  Should I have known that Rice’s knee would now be better and that Jacksonville was…well…Jacksonville.  Of course.  Different for LaFell whose route running will get Cam Newton into trouble, but he is athletic.  I think he is not for real. 

Rabbit TrickLike the rabbit in the box trick, he will still be there, only you will think he disappeared.  So don’t listen to all the others, be the one in charge of the plan.  Like this exchange between two magicians.

Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson): I'm just trying to create the space for wisdom.

J. Daniel Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg): Okay, so you're like Buddha, if he wasn't so enlightened.

Merritt McKinney (Woody Harrelson): And you're like Jesus, if he was arrogant and all of his miracles were fake.

So, don’t listen to the pundits, the projection makers or the writers who saw the same games as you. 

Listen to yourself.  You are enlightened.  You make the miracles.


Rick Wolf, Co-Host of Colton & The Wolfman - Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio  The Fantasy 100Rick Wolf is a leader in the fantasy sports industry. Wolf is a founding Board Member and one of only fifteen FSTA Hall of Famers including Bill James and Matthew Berry. Wolf’s career accomplishments include starting the fantasy sports division at SportsLine USA that became CBS SportsLine, incubating Rotoworld to become the #1 fantasy sports news site, and spearheading the sale of Allstar Stats/Rotoworld to NBC Sports in 2006.  With college friend and fellow Hall of Famer, Glenn Colton, the team has won 7 expert titles in baseball and football. Twitter: RickWolf1  

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