Fantasy football mailbag
In 3 games, Frank Gore has more catches than Andre Johnson or Dallas Clark
Undistinguished past, other offensive options likely to limit Brandon Lloyd's stats
Jason Witten one of six players with 3-straight 81-catch, 950-yard seasons
Each week I'll attempt to bring some clarity to your questions about the pigskin and the men who throw, catch, run and kick it. To reach me with questions, drop me a note anytime. For more fantasy analysis, check out Fanball.com.
I have Randy Moss and Jahvid Best I've been offered Frank Gore and Larry Fitzgerald. Is this a good trade?
-- Sean, New York
I love clean, simple deals where it is 1-for-1 or 2-for-2. This is one of those instances.
Moss vs. Fitzgerald: Moss is only the second receiver in league history with 150 touchdowns (Jerry Rice is the other). Moss has scored three times this season to help to numb the pain of a mere nine catches for 139 yards. Still, the guy is a star and you know he will come out ahead more times than not. With the Patriots backfield now a mess, you can bet that they will continue to air it out with great frequency, an if there is anyone better at doing that than Tom Brady it's only by a hair.
The situation with Fitzgerald is a bit more hairy. He is dealing with a bit of a minor knee issue, but the bigger concern is Derek Anderson, who at times seems as if he would have a tough time hitting King Kong in the hands (he has a 52.0 percent completion percentage, just 0.9 points below his career mark). Fitzgerald also has been seeing all kinds of double coverage with Anquan Boldin no longer running opposite him. Still, he has caught a couple of more passes than Moss (12 total) for a few more yards (152) though he has scored one fewer time.
Best vs. Gore: Best is dealing with turf toe, though there is hope that he will be able to play through the pain this week. However, turf toe can be extremely painful, and for a guy who makes his money with his wheels, that is a concern. There should also be some trepidation with Best given that the Lions schedule is difficult this season. Toss in the fact that Best has averaged a mere 3.3 yards per carry thus far, and I think he is one of the better sell high candidates in the league despite his five touchdowns and excellent work as a receiver (16 catches for 183 yards).
Gore has had his own struggles on the ground, averaging a mere 3.7 YPC. He has never been under 4.2 in a season, so you have to think that number will improve. Like Best, he has been a PPR monster with 22 catches for 203 yards. That means he has more catches than Dallas Clark (21) and Andre Johnson (19). Gore is also one of the only backs in the league who doesn't cede any work to his backup -- he is on the field nearly every down.
In the end, I want Gore. Given that fact I'm more than willing to make the deal to add the Niners' back and Larry Fitzgerald to the mix.
At what point is history useless? I ask because I'm in a 10-team league and Brandon Loyd is sitting there with his monster production. I have to add him to my club at this point, don't I?
-- Steve, Texas
In fantasy football we are all too quick to jump on the bandwagon after a big game (NFL coaches are getting into the mix, too, as we've seen guys like Kevin Kolb, Matt Moore and Trent Edwards lose their jobs after mere quarters of action). There is no hard and fast answer to your question other than when in doubt go with history. If I have the option of rostering a guy with three years of success or three games of success, if their production is equal, I'd usually fall on the side of history.
What do you do with a guy like Brandon Lloyd, who is blowing up? The dude is second in the NFL with 339 yards receiving. Here are some bullet points.
1. Lloyd hasn't appeared in 16 games since 2005.
2. Lloyd has never caught 50 passes in a season. In fact, from 2007-09 he caught 36.
3. He is now on his fourth team in eight seasons.
4. He has scored three touchdowns in his last 39 games.
5. Prior to Weeks 1 and 3 this season, his last 100-yard game was Week 3 of the 2008 season.
6.Kyle Orton has been wonderful so far. He is a solid NFL QB who clearly doesn't get the credit he deserves, but at the same time he is averaging 359.3 yards passing per game, more than 120 yards per contest than he has ever registered before. That isn't likely to last since I'm pretty sure he isn't going to pass for more than 5,700 yards to set an NFL record?
Is Lloyd a fantasy asset right now? Without a doubt. But there are concerns, such as the multitude of pass-catching options in Denver (Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas), and the pristine performances of Mr. Orton. Should you roster Lloyd in a 10-team league? I'm not going to say absolutely not, but at the same time I would caution you to keep your expectations in check if you do because there are a plethora of options that will be utilized in Denver making Lloyd a hit or miss weekly play in my opinion.
I've been offered Dustin Keller for Jason Witten in my 12-team, PPR league. I know Witten has been good for a while, but he has been pretty boring so far while Keller looks ready to join the elite. Do you agree with that assessment?
-- Tony, Bellevue, Wash.
I don't agree.
Witten is one of only two tight ends in football with at least 81 catches the past three years (the other is Tony Gonzalez), and Witten is the only one with at least 950 yards each of the past three seasons. In fact, he is one of just six players in the game with 3-straight 81-catch, 950-yard seasons -- the other five are wide receivers. A valid argument can be made that Witten never gets in the end zone -- he has scored only six times since the start of 2008 -- but the man is a PPR beast. He did suffer a minor concussion a couple of weeks ago, and is now dealing with an MCL sprain, but the Cowboys have a bye this week, which comes at a perfect time for Witten to heal up.
Keller is third at the position this year with 226 yards, and he also has one touchdown catch for every game he has played. He is clearly the go-to man for the Jets right now in the passing game, though don't overlook the fact that he caught only two passes for 13 yards in Week 1 against the Ravens. It would also be wise to realize that Keller scored only five times in his first two seasons, so he hasn't exactly been a TD monster in his young career. In addition, Mark Sanchez is coming off the two best games of his career, but it is far from certain that he will be able to operate at anything resembling this level the rest of the season. Keller also may lose some value when you consider that Santonio Holmes is nearing his first game as a Jet.
I wouldn't do this deal. I much prefer Witten given his historic excellence, and the fact that he has a much more polished quarterback throwing him passes in Tony Romo.
Ray Flowers is Managing Editor for Fanball.com Owners Edge and RotoTimes.com</a>. His work can be found weekly, exclusively at the home of fantasy football: Fanball.com. To e-mail Ray a question for next week's piece, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hear Ray's thoughts at the Fanball.com Sirius XM Homepage. (Ray is the co-host of a daily radio show on XM 147 and Sirius 211 satellite radio).