The NFL season is 17 weeks long, with the playoffs following that. But the fantasy football season is 13 weeks long, with the playoffs taking place over Weeks Fourteen-Seventeen of the NFL season. So after seven weeks of action, the fantasy season has reached the halfway point.
We’re a little over halfway there, guys.
I have six more weeks to maintain my momentum and earn my place in the playoffs. (Did I mention that I’m projected to make the playoffs for the first time? Four teams make the playoffs, and I’m tied for fourth, but the tiebreaker seems to be points scored and I’m way in the lead on that.)
So I thought that this week, we’d check in on my team’s current strength by examining the Highly Scientific Up-To-The-Minute FFT RankingTM. Remember that this ranking is calculated by averaging the experts’ rankings on ESPN, the cumulative season points totals and most recent game performance of each player, and a subjective variable I include for players I like or dislike for whatever reason. Mostly, it’s that you play for a team I don’t like – bad – or you went to UCLA – good. Then those numbers are compared to other players’ to create a hierarchy at each position. WR1 has the best ranking of any wide receiver in the league; WR109 (this week) is the worst.
Now that we understand what we’re looking at, let’s get to it.
Starter: Tom Brady (NE)
FFT Ranking: QB1
Thoughts: Hard to overstate what a badass this man is. You can really see the difference in my team’s performance from the first four weeks, when he was on suspension (and I was 1-3) to these last three weeks, when he’s been back (and I’m 3-0). Drafting him in the fifth round felt like – still feels like – a steal, and it may be the best decision I made that night.
Bench: Tyrod Taylor (BUF)
FFT Ranking: QB9
Thoughts: Taylor may have been the worst. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have drafted one man as a backup QB for Brady’s suspension, I would have waited until much later in the draft to get a streamer instead. I still haven’t cut Taylor because I haven’t had to, and I still believe he can be trade bait. I mean, he’s ranked 9th this week, he has value. That being said, though, Brady’s on a bye next week, and I still don’t think I’m going to use Taylor to cover it. We’ll see.
Starter 1: Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)
FFT Ranking: RB3
Thoughts: Performing like a first round draft pick should perform, and I mean that as both Dallas’s first rounder from this year’s NFL draft and as Team BlueAndGold’s first rounder from my draft. What an unbelievable stud. I still get constant trade offers for him, but it would take something pretty earthshattering to pry him out of my hands.
Starter 2: Melvin Gordon (SD)
FFT Ranking: RB5
Thoughts: Gordon wasn’t supposed to be a top-5 guy. He was a backup on San Diego to start the season. He was a 2015 fantasy disappointment. But he has paid off huge, stepping into a lead role when Danny Woodhead was hurt and scoring TDs almost every week. He gets a lot of flak for having better fantasy football numbers than actual football talent. Ask me if I care. You go, Melvin Gordon.
Flex: Frank Gore (IND)
FFT Ranking: RB12
Thoughts: Gore isn’t sexy. He doesn’t get buzz. He just week in and week out puts up yards and touchdowns equaling double-digit fantasy points. Ho hum. Seriously though, on many other guys’ teams he’d be an RB2 at least. His projection describes him as an “ideal high-floor RB2”. I have such firepower ahead of him that he’s my flex. It’s no secret that running back is the strength of my team, and that runs all the way through my depth chart. Gore is awesome for me. But I’m not ruling out using him as a trade chip in the future – he could be good to bring back a dynamic WR piece if I need one.
Bench: Paul Perkins (NYG)
FFT Ranking: Unranked for Week Eight (bye)
Thoughts: I’ll probably never start Perkins at this rate. But I like having him. I like watching his role on the Giants develop. I like having a former Bruin on my team. I drafted him hoping he’d be a late-season contributor, but I don’t see that turning out. It’s okay though, because I have such strength ahead of him that I don’t need him to hit. I’m wasting a roster spot on him right now, but I don’t need it for anything else, and I like having him there, so I’m rolling with it.
Starter 1: A.J. Green (CIN)
FFT Ranking: WR3
Thoughts: My running backs are every-week double-digit performers. Green’s not that. He’s a massive breakout when he does break out – scores of 24, 23, 22 – and a bust when he doesn’t – scores of 3, 5, 7, 8. Still, he’s so good that you have to play him every week and hope, and many times that hope pans out. And he’s WR3 for a reason. He’s a boss, really, and I should be more grateful to have him on my team.
Starter 2: Randall Cobb (GB)
FFT Ranking: WR11
Thoughts: There are 12 teams in my league, so to have two guys ranked in the top 12 in any position is pretty great. I mean, statistically, each team would have one in the 1-12 range, one in 13-24, etc, right? Complicating this is that the guys on bye weeks don’t get ranked, and Cobb’s ranking is inflated this week because of that. But he’s still good, and improving as his role in Green Bay’s offense has necessarily expanded. He’s what a WR2 should be.
Bench: Julian Edelman (NE)
FFT Ranking: WR39
Thoughts: He’s not what a WR2 should be. He should be that. He should be a solid stud. And yet… Not so much. He could still be that, and I hope he does live up to it, but he’s out of the starting lineup and I don’t know that he’ll make it back unless something major changes with the guys ahead of him.
Bench: Jamison Crowder (WAS)/Robert Woods (BUF)
FFT Ranking: WR35/WR49
Thoughts: I’m going to need a streamer for A.J. Green in Week Nine. (Edelman will also be on a bye, so even if I thought I might want to use him, I don’t have that option.) So one of these guys will get the nod, probably. They’re risk/reward plays, guys with potential to score and potential to bust each week. I can only hope they hit if/when I happen to use them.
Starter: Kyle Rudolph (MIN)
FFT Ranking: TE4
Thoughts: I love this guy. Maybe more than he deserves – in the three weeks he’s actually played for me, he’s scored 11, 1, and 5. But I love this guy. I trust his abilities, I trust his offense, and I no longer have to panic about the TE position every week. Love him. Can’t say it enough.
Bench: Cameron Brate (TB)
FFT Ranking: TE10
Thoughts: That being said, I picked up a TE off of waivers this week. I like Brate and I think he’ll have a good second half of the season. He’s insurance in case something happens to Rudolph, because I don’t think I could count on a guy in as favorable a position as Brate to be available as a streamer late in the season should I suddenly need one.
Starter: Tennessee Titans
FFT Ranking: DST10
Thoughts: Chose to stream the Titans this week, because not much else was out there. Not my finest moment – they scored 3 points last night. They will be replaced on the Week Nine roster. But that’s the risk of streaming week in/week out. Some weeks it works, some weeks it doesn’t.
Bench: Houston Texans
FFT Ranking: DST9
Thoughts: I have to stream week in/week out because the Texans have fallen off from what they were at the start of the season. I’ve been lucky with injuries, but I did lose J.J. Watt for the season, and it’s stung. I think my FFT ranking has them higher than they deserve, and I plan to stream defenses every week even though the Texans still sit on my roster. Maybe one week they’ll have a good enough matchup that I’ll stream them from my own bench. Maybe not. We’ll see.
Starter: Mason Crosby (GB)
FFT Ranking: K3
Thoughts: I am so glad I cut Chandler Catanzaro. Did you see last week’s Arizona/Seattle game, the Missed Field Goal Show? Depressing. Crosby has been reliably good on an offense that scores a lot, even for as much of a injury mess as they’ve been. Actually, the fact that Green Bay is held to field goals more than you’d have expected from them really helps me, as field goals are worth more to me fantasy-wise than extra points. Crosby was a good add.
So that’s my team! You can see why it’s been so strong in the last few weeks – I have a lot of guys who rank high in their respective positions, and I’ve been lucky with injuries to boot. Knock on wood that the luck keeps rolling!