She Who Hesitates

I saw a headline on TV Tuesday morning asking if LA would have “buyer’s remorse” after the Ram’s less-than-stellar performance Monday night. The sound was off, so I don’t know where the analysts came down, but I know that I for one don’t. I’d still rather have a football team here, even if they play… let’s go with “not well on this particular night”. I’m not going to pretend I’m happy with how they played, but they’ve got the potential to be better than that, and they’ll get better over time, and I’m in with them. I’m no fair-weather fan. My Rams disappointed me, but they’re still my Rams and I’m in all the way.

But the Rams aren’t the only team that let me all the way down this past weekend. And I can’t fix the Rams, but I can fix the team I named in part for them.

Or I can try. So here we go.

I woke up Tuesday morning ready to make some adjustments. Now that the waiver wire is open and the new projections are out, it’s time to make moves and plug holes and regroup for the next matchup. The first move, as I alluded to in my breakdown of last week’s performance, was easy. Frank Gore is out and Melvin Gordon is in. I’m not cutting Gore – he’ll be a quality backup when I need to cover for bye weeks. But I am benching him. Indy’s a pass-focused offense and Gore is an aging running back. He’ll have some production, but not enough to make him a standout. And that makes Gordon my guy. Phillip Rivers is still a good quarterback, but if he can’t throw downfield as much anymore he has some trusty running back weapons, one of which is my guy. So let’s get ‘er done, Gordon, I’m counting on you now.

So with that settled, that leaves two major holes that need to be addressed: quarterback and tight end.

The quarterback one has a clearer answer to me, and I moved to address it first. I picked up Alex Smith, QB in Kansas City. It came down pretty close for me between him and Jimmy Garoppolo. I like the Chief’s offense, but the Patriots’ is far more reliable, and Garoppolo is not the first quarterback to prove that even an average guy under center can’t screw it up too badly. What ultimately tipped the scale in Smith’s favor for me was bye weeks. I’m not just looking for someone to cover for Brady for the three weeks until his suspension is up, I’ll also need someone to cover for him in Week Nine when the Patriots are on their bye week. Garoppolo’s a Patriot, so by definition he can’t be that guy. Tyrod Taylor could be that guy, but… based on his Week One performance, he can’t be relied on to be that guy in the best of circumstances. Week Nine he will face the Seahawks in Seattle. Is he going to have a standout performance against the Week Nine Seahawks in Seattle when he can’t muster even a pedestrian performance against the Week One Ravens in Baltimore? I can’t believe he will. So he’s out for me. Alex Smith, however, gets the Jaguars in Week Nine, and he gets them at home. His analysis on ESPN’s website calls him “a high-floor QB2” and that’s just what I need. I don’t need a superstar – my superstar is coming back in Week Five. I need a guy who won’t screw it up in the weeks that my superstar has off. And since I no longer trust Taylor, I’m going with a new option.

Now you’d think, based on all that, that I’d be cutting Tyrod Taylor to make room for Alex Smith. I have to cut someone to have the space on my roster to add anyone, and if I’m adding Smith as Taylor’s replacement, then cutting Taylor would be a natural fit, right? Well… Okay, I’m hedging my bets here. What if it’s just a one-week anomaly that Alex Smith is a stud and Tyrod Taylor can’t throw a pass to save his life? What if they both return to form (in Smith’s case, a mid-level game manager, and in Taylor’s case, a borderline top-ten fantasy QB)? I don’t want to do anything too drastic after analyzing just one week of data. So, I’m sitting Taylor this week, but he’s staying on my roster pending more weeks of Buffalo’s performances. If he shapes up, I’ll be in a position to use him – or, maybe just as importantly, in a position to keep my opponents from using him, or to trade him for value.

Instead, I’m cutting… *drumroll please*… Steve Smith Sr. He’s an aging WR in an offense I just don’t trust. Baltimore’s a mediocre team at best, and based on what I’ve seen so far Smith won’t have a prominent enough role in their offense to make him useful to me. Besides, I have plenty of other good WR options. I’m comfortable parting ways with him now, especially if it gives me a QB I can actually rely on.

So that’s the QB position solved. (Or, at least, answered for the time being. Only time will tell if that’s the right move or not, but it’s the move I’m going with.)

That leaves the tight end question, which actually caused me as much or more headscratching. Again, I don’t want to get too excited after one week’s worth of data. Gary Barnidge had zero points last week, which is a total failure but also a total anomaly. He should be better than that, and over the long term I still hope that he will be. Plus, there’s the injury to RG3. I got this alert from my fantasy app on Monday, which I had to save because it’s perfectly ridiculous:

barnidge-alert

I certainly effing hope so! I mean, he couldn’t do much worse, could he, than zero? He would almost have to get better by default?

But I get what it means. Josh McCown is not a good quarterback, but he and Barnidge already have a rapport that clearly Barnidge and RG3 did not. Barnidge’s fantasy value is based on the production he had in prior games with McCown. So with the Browns’ QB change, Barnidge is due for more production. It will not make the Browns a good offense – but no one expected the Browns to be a good offense, right? And I just need their one piece to make some yardage and maybe score a touchdown once in a while.

But things got more complicated than that when I was offered a trade. Two trades, actually, from the same guy. Two versions of the same trade, really.

This guy really wants Julian Edelman. He offered me a trade for him before the season even began, which I turned down because I decided to ride with Edelman. (I can’t remember which player he offered me, but it was straight-up WR for WR, and I decided the other guy was a slight downgrade.) This time around, he offered two different configurations of trade, the object of both of which was to part me with Julian Edelman. In both, he offered Devonta Freeman (RB in Atlanta) and a tight end. In one configuration, that tight end was Eric Ebron of Detroit, who’s a decent backup type. I have decent backup type TEs, so that wasn’t that interesting to me. In the other, though, was Antonio Gates of San Diego, who like Barnidge had an underperforming first week but a starter’s grade.

I definitely gave this some consideration. I would have had to cut another player to take it, and I was torn on who that would be, but I would then have four TEs and no need to keep all of them, so it could be done. I almost took the deal, too. It would have thinned me out at WR but plumped me up at RB, so I could have made my flex an RB with no real issues.

But I hesitated, and while I hesitated that guy made a trade with another player. It didn’t touch any of the players he had offered me, but it seemed to scratch his itch to change something, because the trade offer was gone by the time I got home from work to seriously review it.

I know the saying is that “he who hesitates is lost”, but I actually think this worked out better for me. I almost accepted the trade mostly to scratch the itch to do something, but now that I’m considering it in the cold light of day, I think I ended up with the better pieces by missing out. Before the trade offer, I was okay with the thought of sticking things out with Barnidge. I’m still okay with that. Edelman’s performance isn’t as standout as I’d like, but I still believe that when Brady’s back, it will be – I don’t truly want to part with him. I don’t love Devonta Freeman, so I don’t feel like I’m missing anything by not getting him. This is better. These guys are my guys and I’m happy with them.

Or maybe I’m talking myself into that feeling because the trade is off the table. But I make it sound good, right?

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