Week 2 Waiver Report

Updated: September 12th 2017

Each week we will recommend a group of players that are owned in less than 50% of RSO league that should be rostered. Depending on roster and league sizes not all of these players may be available. For that, we will offer 1 player that is owned in <10% of leagues as our Sleeper add.

Add of the Week

Tarik Cohen, RB – CHI (owned 45%) 5 Car/66 yards, 8 Rec/47 yards, 1 TD

Surely the biggest surprise of the week 1 was how much rookie runner Tarik Cohen was involved in the Bears’ offense. Yes, he did have 40% of his total yards on one big reverse field run play but overall he was heavily involved in the passing game with 8 catches on 12 targets (led team) and almost led the Bears to an upset win over the reigning NFC Champs. It’s not like Jordan Howard wasn’t involved (13-51-1) as he also had 3 catches but this could definitely decrease Howard’s role on passing downs. The Bears look like they could be joining the rest of the NFL on the RBBC bus now. For owners that think the Bears will be down in games and forced into passing formations, Cohen should see his share of targets each week, especially with news that Kevin White is being placed on IR now with a scapula injury. Give a bump in PPR leagues.

Suggested Bid: $1,00,000 – $4,000,000

RB Replacements

Shane Vereen, RB – NYG (owned 45%) 9 Rec/51 yards

Javorius Allen, RB – BAL (owned 19%) 21 Car/71 yards

Both of these running backs benefited from positive game script in week 1 but they did showcase what their role is in their respective offenses. For Vereen, he had 9 catches (5 on the final meaningless drive) but he was clearly the Giants passing down back. Perkins and Darkwa couldn’t get any run game going (36 yards) and the offensive line looked mediocre at best. If the Giants offense is unable to open holes for the running game they will be forced to use the dump passes as a substitute. This was the role Vereen had in New England and as long as he stays healthy it’s the role he will have this season in New York. With games against the AFC and NFC West, it’s probable that the Giants find themselves behind in games, unable to run the ball and relying on Vereen with screens and dump passes to keep the offense moving.

Javorius “Buck” Allen had 21 carries, 4th most in the opening week against the Bengals which should symbolize a bell cow role in an offense. Unfortunately, fellow back Terrance West also had 19 carries (7th most) and Joe Flacco only had 17 pass attempts in a total defensive domination by the Ravens. With Danny Woodhead going out with a hamstring injury early it did show, however, that Allen will be the secondary runner in case of a West injury or regression. This makes him an add if you have either of the other two Raven runners or a lack of depth at the position. Depending on the severity of the injury to Woodhead the Ravens do need to show which of West or Allen would be the pass catching back when games are closer. This could be Allen’s role with the upside of increased carries should West falter.

Suggested Bids: $500,000 – $1,000,000

WR Replacements

Jermaine Kearse, WR – NYJ (owned 26%) 7 Rec/59 yards

Danny Amendola, WR – NE (owned 26%) 6 Rec/ 100 yards

Many were shocked when the Jets shipped Sheldon Richardson to Seattle for some picks and Jermaine Kearse but to everyone’s surprise, Kearse led the Jets in both catches (7) and yards (59) in week 1. Sometimes volume trumps talent and despite previous reservations against Kearse’s talent when he is being fed #1 target numbers he has to be rostered. If Kearse maintains the target volume that he saw in week 1 and can offer a touchdown every 2 or 3 games he will be a nice option to have for bye weeks or when injuries start piling up.

The Patriots looked like a 16-0 team for the first half and a 0-16 team for the second half. It showed that they missed having Julian Edelman as a reliable target for crossing routes, bubble screens and 3rd down quick slants. Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan were used more on the play action and deeper routes which leaves Danny Amendola and the RBs to be the underneath pass catchers. It’s unlikely that any of the backs are available but Amendola is available in 74% of RSO leagues which needs to be changed. The Patriots are changing offensive schemes weekly but the one constant for Tom Brady is to find the quick-hit routes to move the chains. Despite Bill Belichick saying that everyone will be picking up Edelman’s contributions, it is likely Amendola who will most replicate his usage.

Suggested Bids: $1,000,000 – $2,000,000

TE Substitute

Charles Clay, TE – BUF (owned 40%) 4 Rec/53 yards, 1 TD

Similar to my Jermaine Kearse analysis sometimes a guy just needs to be rostered for his volume alone. The Bills lost Robert Woods and Sammy Watkins to the Rams this offseason and Jordan Matthews hasn’t been a spectacular fantasy option since his rookie season. While they do have Shady McCoy to run the ball someone still needs to catch passes and touchdowns. Clay should be averaging a touchdown at least every other game this season and be a reliable target for Tyrod Taylor to have between the 20s and on 3rd down. While he’s not as sexy a name as Gronk or Kelce, Clay should be a low-end TE1 for most matchups this season.

Suggested Bid: $500,000 – $1,500,000

Sleeper Add (<10%)

Kerwynn Williams, RB – ARZ (Owned 9.7%) 5 Car/10 yards, 1 Rec/2 yards, 1 TD

This is pure speculation and may have no use by the end of the week but anytime a bell cow is injured you have to take a shot in the dark. When David Johnson went out after a big hit in the 3rd quarter it was Williams who took the goal line carry for a touchdown. After Johnson went out indefinitely with a wrist injury later in the game it was Williams who played the bulk of the snaps behind Carson Palmer. If Johnson’s injury is anything that keeps him out of next week’s game and beyond (which is a real possibility if reports are true) Williams will see his share of touches and targets. If you are playing the David Johnson owner and his RB depth is thin Williams is worth a minimum bid just to limit your opponent’s options heading into week 2.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Ups and Downs of the RSO Playoffs

Updated: December 24th 2015

golden-tate-nfl-new-orleans-saints-detroit-lions-850x560

They say it is sometimes better to be lucky than good. To win Reality Sports Online league titles, it seems like you have to be a bit of both. Hit on your rookie draft picks, don’t spend big dollars on busts and get your multi-year deals right, don’t have player injuries and then have it all align in the playoffs.

So, after being in my main league for three years and the Writers League for two years, I can honestly say I haven’t won a championship and am still after that holy grail. As someone who is their own worst critic, and who writes strategy pieces for the website, that makes me feel like a little bit of a fraud. I know I’m beating myself up on this, but let me share my two league circumstances with you this year.

I welcome any of you who suffered a similar loss to Tweet me or contact me as some form of therapy. I have writing about this experience as my therapy, so let me be the one you vent to after reading this if you are in the same boat as me.

First, I’ll start with my Writers League with folks who I write with at Reality Sports Online and numberFire mainly (some have moved onto other sites like Rotoworld and ESPN). I finished 11-2 in the regular season with the highest scoring team by far. That earned me the #2 seed and a matchup against my friend @GrahamBarfield, the #3 seed in the league, while 12-1 #1 Seed @LeoHowell8 played upstart first-year owner and Baylor Law Professor and late summer league addition #4 seed (brought in via Twitter to compete against writers) @RoryRyan in the other playoff matchup.

Buoyed all season by a Tom Brady/Rob Gronkowski stack, Devonta Freeman and Eric Decker, my team was stacked and I have most of these players (and Todd Gurley, Demaryius Thomas) for several more years. In round one however, I went into Monday Night Football with a 16 point lead and Graham having Lamar Miller remaining. Miller scored two touchdowns by halftime and my highest-scoring team in the league (and second highest among 10 teams that week) was toast.

On the other side, Howell, who has lost exactly two regular season games in two years in the league, put up a dud and lost to Ryan, who inherited one of the worst teams in the league mid-summer, was awarded T.Y. Hilton by the league on a two year, $40.0 million contract and left to his own devices to turn the rest around. He slid into the playoffs behind some good moves and then, wouldn’t you know it, won the whole thing while Howell and I put up very high totals in the third place game.

Rory Ryan Shocks the Writers League

Basically, Ryan capitalized on being healthy and opportunistic,  and a few solid moves. Here’s his summary of what lead to his success (in his words):

“As I looked around the locker room before the championship match, I decided we needed to do something unusual. We went around the room and introduced ourselves–as six of the ten starters were waiver-wire pickups. As I drove my family back from the Polar Express train ride during Monday’s finale, I kept getting SiriusXM updates that were good. Then better. Then — victory. To say the team I inherited was in “rebuilding mode” would be an understatement. But we were able to scrape out just enough wins and ride a whole lot of luck to the title. “

“Although (to quote Nuke Laloosh) “winning is like . . . so much better than losing,” the year was great either way. As I told folks on social media, it was fun playing against the guys whose advice I use when setting my lineups in other leagues. And the RSO format really does make even traditional dynasty leagues seem primitive. The contracts, waivers, salary cap, etc., make up the way fantasy ought to be played. “
“The opportunity to play this format against these guys was too much to pass up — despite my (formerly) firm rules against not playing in leagues with kickers, defenses (if I can help it), and true decimal scoring. But I’m still looking forward to next year, where hopefully my roster will be slightly more settled. “

“So what was my strategy? When I entered the auction, there were few (no) stars and plenty of money. So prices were inflated. I went after some grinders who I’d always feel OK inserting into the lineup: Jonathan Stewart, Frank Gore, and Doug Martin (didn’t get him). But I spent little money. Instead, I saved most of my cap room, knowing that injuries and sleepers would emerge, and I would have the big bankroll. DeAngelo Williams, Danny Amendola, Antonio Gates, Dion Lewis, and Zach Miller all played important roles during the season.

“As for the future — we will see if my strategy works. Since there were no stars to lock down, I went after a group of guys who I thought were more talented than their projections, hoping that at least one of them ends up in an ideal situation. The prices are low enough that hitting 1/3 and cutting the other two will more than pay for itself in savings, despite the cap penalty, as I’ll avoid waiting for the player to demonstrate the market value. So, Golden Tate, Torrey Smith, and Markus Wheaton — please answer the phone if the Patriots call.”

A Rivalry Is Continued in Reality Sports Online

Let me set the stage for you a bit with some history. My best friend since our freshman year at Miami University, @MarkPesavento and I have been in fantasy football leagues together since 1996. He is my biggest rival and our fantasy matchups have quite a history of craziness as you can imagine for anyone playing against each other for that long. Since he works in sports and I don’t, there is an extra layer of who is the smarter football mind is between the two of us.

With that in mind, Mark and I left an ESPN keeper league a few years ago in search of something bigger, something more challenging that was fully customizable. As part of his work at the time, he discovered Reality Sports Online and we’ve been hooked ever since. Together we are co-commissioners of the Not Quite Gentlemen’s League, a super-customized PPR league with 12 teams and lineups consisting of only one required running back, three flex positions, and where turnovers are heavily punished (-5 points for interceptions, fumbles) and the 5th and 6th playoff seeds are determined solely based on total points scored.
RSO Co-Founder and Chief Operating Office Stephen Wendell is now in our league too, which adds to the competitiveness. Pesavento finished first overall at 11-2 with the highest point total (he won the league in 2014), newcomer Wendell finished 9-5 and was the #2 seed. I was the second highest scoring team, but finished 7-6 and got the #5 overall seed.

My high-scoring team proved no fluke in the opening round of the playoffs, winning 321.54-179.99 and a Week 15 rematch with Pesavento, who I was 0-2 against on the season, loomed.

Setting the Stage-Week 12

First, though, let me take you back to Week 12 where Pesavento and I squared off in an epic battle. He staked to an early lead behind Odell Beckham Jr., Philip Rivers, and Spencer Ware that seemed insurmountable at the time. Then late in the late games, my quarterback Russell Wilson hooked up with Doug Baldwin for an 80 yard touchdown, en route to a 72 point fantasy performance.

I was close going into the Sunday night game where I had Rob Gronkowski and the Patriots DST to his Broncos DST. Behind a Gronk touchdown and subsequent Gronk-spike and an inteception by the Patriots D, I staked out to a fairly decent lead (like 20 points). As the clock turned to the 4th quarter, I instant messaged Pesavento saying this game seems like it is over.

And then the collapse happened. The Patriots muffed a punt, Denver’s running game started picking up steam and the Patriots were bleeding out yardage allowed and points scored. The game was getting much closer. All I needed was another Gronk catch and I’d be fine.

Then Gronk got called for offensive pass interference on a big catch that was nullified. A few plays later, then he was carted off with a knee injury. So my happiness of likely winning the game turned into losing my key league advantage (and someone I’d like to franchise tag on a good deal for 2016) for the season, and potentially this game as well.

The Broncos scored to take the lead and all I then needed (while I was frantically worried about Gronk’s health for the rest of the season) was the game not to go to overtime. Well, we all know Stephen Gostkowski is fantasy gold and the game went to overtime. In overtime, as long as the Broncos didn’t score a touchdown, I’d win.

I think you know the rest. C.J. Anderson scored on a 48 yard touchdown scamper to end the game and Pesavento beat me by .25 points, continuing a series of close calls in recent match-ups.

The Worst Possible Way To Lose?

Heading into the Week 15 playoff matchup of the two highest scoring teams in the league, Pesavento was favored, yet he had some of his best players with tough matchups (Beckham Jr vs CAR, Antonio Brown vs. DEN DST, DEN DST at PIT) while mine on paper seemed favorable (A.J. Green @SF, Wilson vs. CLE, Devonta Freeman @JAX, Gronkowski vs. TEN, NE DST vs. TEN).

I staked out to a decent lead as Beckham Jr. didn’t have any catches through three well-documented quarters vs. shutdown corner Josh Norman. While I was watching on the NFL Game Mix (8 games at once on a not so-huge TV on DirecTV), I noticed that things were getting super chippy and was waiting for OBJ to get ejected by referee Terry McAulay’s crew for the punches thrown and the cheap shots.

I usually don’t get “holier than though” watching football, but by the time the Giants started their comeback and OBJ started racking up fantasy points I was on my high-horse and stark-raving mad that Beckham Jr. hadn’t been tossed. Heck, I’ve been tossed from rec-league basketball games for way less.

However, his Alshon Jeffery only had one catch for 10 yards and a touchdown, my Patriots DST had a good game and I was hanging in with him heading into Wilson’s huge matchup against my hometown Browns. Knowing that Wilson was hot and the Browns defense is porous, I knew Russ would deliver for me.

What I wasn’t prepared for was Brown scoring 70 points against his Broncos DST. So as the Steelers/Broncos game wore down and I was hoping the Broncos would give up more points, I was hoping that another player would score the final touchdown of this game. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and when Ben Roethlisberger threw an egregious interception on a terrible pass to his Denver defense right before the two minute warning that I coined the “Class of 1998 Miami University Fantasy Football Scholarship”, I knew that 5 points for the Broncos would loom large.

And as Brown caught another ball, I found myself down 15 points heading into Monday Night Football where it was my Golden Tate vs. his Tim Hightower for the right to survive and advance. Tate was coming off his best game of the season and was facing the porous Saints secondary. Hightower was coming off a solid game. Game flow seemed to favor Tate, but I figured the 15 points would loom too large for Tate to overcome.
As the game started and Tate scored two early touchdowns I found myself up in the game. Hightower scored right before half, but the play was called back on a lineman failing to report. The two of us went crazy over IM the remainder of the game.

At one point, unsolicited my wife and 5 year old son and 1 year old daughter started chanting “Golden Tate, Golden Tate!” pleading for him to get the ball when the Lions were on offense. It was super cute to see my daughter who talks but doesn’t know too many words saying this.

I was clinging to a slight lead and game flow took Hightower out of the game mostly. As I watched the Lions fumble away a few possessions that Tate could’ve had opportunities and the Lions DST unable to force punts to Tate as the returner (we get punt return yards for individual players in our league), I knew this was going to come down to the wire.

With five minutes left and me clinging to an ironic .26 point lead (basically the Week 12 margin of defeat), I paced around knowing that if Hightower got one more carry I would lose. I made it basically to the end of the game where the Lions were running out the clock unscathed. Alas, they didn’t have the ability to run off the entire clock and in came Matt Prater to kick a chip-shot field goal to end the game. Prater then missed, and I knew anything could happen.

The Saints had a few plays left and surely would be setting up for a Hail Mary after gaining a little bit of yardage. Initially seeing C.J. Spiller as the receiving back in the game, I figured I was fine. On a play with 14 seconds left, Drew Brees looked and pump faked at Hightower, but threw elsewhere. With six seconds left to go, folks in my league (including Pesavento) were congratulating me on the win.

Talk about Dewey vs. Truman. The last play should have been a Hail Mary. Instead, Brees decided to pad his completion percentage and throw a dump-off to Hightower. The yardage didn’t matter-I had lost after overcoming a deficit, in another crushing close defeat to Pesavento. Again on the last play of the game.
I wish this writing was fiction and not fact. I had seemingly overcome some poor performances by Green, T.Y. Hilton (who I started over Danny Woodhead based on recent history, Matt Hasselback starting, and Hilton’s history against Houston). I think back to all the dynamics of the matchup- Beckham not getting ejected and missing a for sure deep touchdown early in the game, two straight fade routes to Gronk in the end zone late in the Patriots/Titans game that came up just short, pass interference calls covering my Randall Cobb in the end zone, the Broncos late interception, and finally Hightower’s catch with the Saints down 8 points on the last play of the last game of the week, and I realize that the Reality Sports Online holy grail is a temptress. I easily could have lost by 50 points, won by 20 points or won by .26 points, but instead I lost by a few points and now wish Pesavento good luck in the finals (without Beckham and potentially Jeffery) while I play Wendell for third-place this week.

Only a combination of luck, health, and solid roster moves will result in winning this thing and I hope that my championship window with the same core I have locked up through 2016 will bring me better results next year. There’s always next year.

Please feel free to reach out to me with similar stories, start/sit questions for your big week 16 championship, or to call me a fraud via Twitter @Mattgoody2.

Drop ‘Em Like It’s Hot

Updated: May 15th 2014

Registration is now open for the 2014 RSO Fantasy Football Season! Learn more >>

Sometimes art imitates life.  So when I get a chance to quote movies or music lyrics, I usually don’t pass that up. And when I get the chance to do that in the context of fantasy football and offering advice when to drop a multi-year player who just isn’t living up to his contract,  I’m “Bout It, Bout It”.

To analyze tough decisions you are facing, I thought it would be helpful to do some slicing and dicing of the existing Reality Sports Online long-term contract data by position across all RSO leagues.  So the tables represent all 2013 RSO leagues, regardless of size.  The tables below by position contain the quantity of contracts, average annual salaries, and contract lengths for what typically makes up 80% of a particular position.  In other words, the players most often kept and their average contract values and lengths.  This way, if you are a new owner to a RSO league in 2014, you won’t be going into the amazingly unique Free Agency Auction without some context, even if you haven’t had time to do a Mock Auction (shameless plug, this feature has just been added and is incredibly helpful).

So let’s jump right in by position and figure out some names based on contract values that owners may want to cut bait with either for past performance, need for cap space to go after a rookie like Sammy Watkins or Bishop Sankey in the Rookie Draft, or dump a player you simply don’t believe in as much as you once did. In RSO, if you’re cutting bait, the best time to do it is in the offseason where only 50% of the future years of the contract are guaranteed.  But, be careful because as you can probably imagine, there is nothing worse than paying for someone who is no longer on your roster.  Do the analysis and be confident that your player will not add value for you again and you’d rather have the cap space to go after another player who can help you before cutting a player who won’t be picked up on waivers at their current deal.

Quarterback

QB Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

QB Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Tom Brady

I’m not saying Brady’s “Glory Days” are 100% behind him, but with a yet-again banged up Gronk, no real scary outside stretch the field threat (sorry Brandon LaFell, that’s not you), a confusing running back rotation, and a bevy of younger QBs who offer more upside, if you are north or near the 2.84 years and $18.4m annual RSO average for Brady, take your 50% back potentially and trade him in for a newer model, especially if you have multiple years left.

Matt Ryan

Matty Ice is all about the “Price Tag” for me.   There are a lot of questions on the offensive line (Jake Matthews will definitely help), uncertainty about Julio Jones lingering foot problems, and an aging core of offensive talent in Roddy White and Steven Jackson.  The Falcons figure to put a dismal 2013 behind them offensively, but at 3.43 years and $16.6m annual RSO average, you certainly can do better and take your chances in free agency to get a comparable QB cheaper and shorter.

Tony Romo & Eli Manning

While these two options around $6.1m annually represent a great value if they are productive (and ability to spend money on other positions of need), my biggest concern with them are the years.  In Romo’s case, monitor this back surgery recovery carefully.  Not sure you can trust him in a fantasy playoff game and if Romo was a song, he’d be U2’s “With or Without You” and you probably can’t win either way. As for Eli, same trust deal even though the offense couldn’t get any worse than 2013 and the Odell Beckham Jr. pick along with significant draft picks spent on the offensive line can only help matters. I’d probably stick with Eli and proceed with caution on Romo.

Running Back

As a quick primer, remember that the most frequently kept Running Backs were 2013 rookies, which in RSO would have been drafted in the rookie draft at a predetermined rookie wage scale, similar to NFL.  So players like Eddie Lacy and Giovani Bernard in leagues that didn’t tinker with the rookie draft in 2013 (remember that RSO is a very customizable platform), are locked up at low relative dollar amounts compared to players like Doug Martin, Ray Rice, and Lesean McCoy.  The NFL is a passing league and you have to try to find fantasy value over the long term in a league where running back committees are becoming more prevalent.  So be careful not to cut bait too early on someone with potential, but let the years, the contract amounts, your overall cap space relative to your league, and the quality of the free agent pool determine what your strategy is.  For instance, in my league, I may be entering the 2014 Free Agent Auction with zero running backs on my roster (disclaimer-in my league only 1 RB is mandatory to start on a 10 player starting lineup), but figure to have the cap space to address this gap as I am heading into my auction with 4 WRs locked up as well as all the other positions.

RB1

RB 2014 RSO Offseason

Trent Richardson

If you’re holding onto “Two Yard Trent” from picking him as the supposed bell-cow in Cleveland, you obviously have tempered expectations by now.  I would say heed the advice of Jason Mraz’ “I Won’t Give Up” on Richardson.  He now has had an offseason to learn the offense after being traded to Indy in Week 3 last year and will be given every opportunity to be the guy.  I know that you’re paying Richardson premium dollars for mediocre production, but he’s probably better than you’ll get on the free agent market in terms of talent, not necessarily price.  Stick it out for 2014 and if he lays another egg, when you have one season left on a 3 year deal in the 2015 offseason, send him packing.

Ray Rice

As an owner of Rice right now, are you more concerned by the potential suspension for his brush-up with the law, his 2013 production, the fact that the Ravens say they are bringing in another 1-2 running backs to help out, or all of the above?  The Ravens 2013 offensive philosophy didn’t stick to the run and the offensive line showed no ability to block and Rice showed no burst to get to the second level or even approach first downs, which may have been related to his hip flexor.  Throw out a good game against the Bears who everyone seemed to run on in 2013, and Rice’s stats are even less impressive.  Consider him to be the Sneaker Pimps 6 Underground, because Rice’s fantasy status is “open to falling from grace”.  If a 4 game suspension is announced prior to the season, get back 50% of your future salaries owed (especially at the 3 year $21m annual average).  I’d rather take the chance at making a run at another running back with the money.

David Wilson

While Wilson’s annual RSO average of 3.1 years and $10.7m annual average wasn’t overly intimidating when you got him last season, you certainly are concerned about his neck injury.  From what I’ve read the Giants would consider it a bonus if Wilson shows up healthy which GM Jerry Reese seems to indicate will be by training camp and it seems like Rashad Jennings is penciled in as the starter right now.  Consider the drafting of Heisman Finalist Andre Williams from Boston College to be more Wilson insurance and depth at this point.  While a healthy Wilson certainly offers more flash and upside (don’t forget he was in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse for most of the early season on fumbling and pass protection issues), you really have to pay attention to the offseason injury news and wait for the “Next Episode”.  Hold on as long as you can this offseason and if you get significant negative injury news, you probably don’t want to hold him for another two years.

Chris Johnson & Maurice Jones-Drew

Grouping these two together as fantasy studs of the past who are both on new teams.  I’m higher on Johnson’s chances with the Jets “Empire State of Mind” than MJD’s with the Raiders.  The thought of Johnson and Vick in the same backfield is kinda crazy speedwise and I think the Jets will be better at game-planning with Johnson and throwing him screens in space for your PPR friendly leagues.  MJD is going to a fantasy wasteland in Oakland and a crowded backfield with the oft-injured Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray.  If you have one year left at $12.6m, take Steve Miller’s advice and “Take The Money and Run”.

Lamar Miller

Now that the Dolphins have signed Knowshon Moreno and Miller couldn’t hold off someone in Daniel Thomas who one could say wasn’t even deserving of being on an NFL roster last season, it seems like the end is near for Miller.  Wouldn’t you rather have Lamar Latrell of “Revenge of the Nerds” fame over Miller?  At least his throwing style could result in some passing yards for your fantasy squad.  I’ve also read that the Dolphins are planning on being a pass heavy offense this season.  They still have an overhaul on their offensive line ahead from the Jonathan Martin bullying incident as well, which they’ve started in free agency and the draft.  I wouldn’t wait around for the 3rd year of Miller, as the only thing positive about his situation is that Miami didn’t draft a RB last week.  He’s too “Radioactive”.

Others Highlighted in Green

Be careful keeping high-priced handcuffs or backups.  Daryl Richardson has been cut by the Rams this week and while he may have held some value last offseason, if you still own him, send him packing.  In Bryce Brown’s case his only value would be if C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are not re-signed after the 2014 season) to become valuable this season or down the line.  If you need the cap space, these type of guys may not get you that much money back, but are low hanging fruit and certainly debatable based on salary, production, or both.

Wide Receiver

Probably my favorite position to write about as there is talent at all price tags and these players are the easiest to justify long multi-year deals for based on how reliant teams are on their elite wideouts.  The lesson here is know when you are paying high dollars to someone who doesn’t deserve it and jump ship.  Also notice who is missing from here: Alshon Jeffery, who figures to be a RSO free agent in most leagues in 2014.

WR1

2014 WR RSO All Leagues

WR Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Danny Amendola

People clearly expected Amendola to be the Wes Welker of the 2013 Patriots.  He clearly wasn’t as he couldn’t stay on the field long enough to be productive.  I can’t justify 2.5 years and $9.5m annual average salary for Amendola as Julian Edelman is the slot WR, Gronk will be back in play at some point and Aaron Dobson should improve.  Even if I’m wrong in hindsight to cut him, this is an easy to make, calculated risk and recently drafted 7th rounder Jeremy Gallon from Michigan is a player that can fit in to the Patriots scheme at Amendola’s expense.  “Drop ‘Em Like It’s Hot”.

Dwayne Bowe

Which Bowe do you have on your team?  The one who caught 8 for 150 and a TD in the playoff game vs. Indianapolis or the Bowe who had 57 catches on 105 targets for 673 yards and 5 TD’s in the 2013 Regular Season?  He’s still only 29 years old and does have a 15 TD season in his portfolio, but hasn’t had more than 5 TD’s in a season since, in spite of being the clear #1 WR on his team.  As a fantasy owner, can you really trust him in a game you have to win?  I can’t.  For those who have kids and were dragged to see Frozen, “Let It Go”.

Roddy White

I actually like Roddy White and think he could produce in 2014.  Call me “Mr. Brightside”.  It is a tough call at $11.3m though.  If all indications are that he’s healthy, you have to think that White will be seeing some of Tony Gonzalez’s looks and you have to think Atlanta will rebound in some fashion with ideally healthy Julio Jones and Steven Jackson.  Hakeem Nicks is another guy who I think could turn it around on a one-year prove it deal in Indy and at 2.8 avg. years and $9m, if he produces you’re looking at a good third year of the deal.  Hold both if you can.

Kenbrell Thompkins

Was a nice preseason story last year and made a few big plays early in the season.  Later in the season, he was abysmal.  Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson are better options, as is free agent signing Brandon LaFell, so Thompkins may not even make the Patriots.  Cut him.

Tight End

Tight End is often a slighted position, so it could represent significant value for you in your RSO league.  On the flip side, the contract values are lower, so cutting a player may not yield that much cap savings.  It may also make for a less involved decision.    First off, for the 6 owners who still had Aaron Hernandez on their teams, my condolences.  Feel free to cut him.  Same goes for the 37 owners holding out hope that Tony Gonzalez wouldn’t retire after the 2013 season.

Tight End Chart-2014 RSO Offseason

Tight End Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Jared Cook

His week 1 jauggernaut last year showed what Cook can do if given the looks.  He doesn’t seem particularly engaged for an entire game.  I could go either way on him.  I’d probably stick at 2.5 years and $3.1m average, even though he was the only Multi-Year player cut from my RSO league last season (on a team that does have some wealth at the TE position).

Owen Daniels

A productive TE for years who has battled health issues now returns to play under Gary Kubiak as OC in Baltimore.  However, he’s sharing again, this time with Dennis Pitta, who just got big dollars from the Ravens and are there enough balls for Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, and two TE’s?  I think you can do better than Daniels in a 10-12 team league, therefore, I’d say “Hit the Road Jack”.

Jermichael Finley

See David Wilson.  Finley may have a better shot to play, but his value really depends on what team signs him.  If Green Bay determines he’s fine and brings him back, even though they drafted a TE, definitely keep him.  Otherwise, like the Roots say “Proceed” with caution.

Coby Fleener

You’ll think I’m “Crazy” for my views on Fleener, but consider him the #4 receiving option behind T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, and Hakeem Nicks and he’s sharing with a now healthy and better all around player in Dwayne Allen.  I know he and Luck have history, but Fleener is very inconsistent.  I’d much rather have Zach Ertz than Fleener and some of the other players on this list.

Defense/Special Teams

If you are keeping a DST on a multi-year deal, make 100% certain that they will produce from year to year.  Defenses fluctuate based on offensive pace, special teams plays, yardage allowed and many other variables.  Heading into 2014, there are only a handful of DSTs you can be sure about and maybe another couple that you may like for future speculation purposes.  Seattle and San Francisco are definite keepers.   Houston, Chicago, Baltimore and Pittsburgh below are definitely not in that group to me, with Baltimore probably being the strongest of the bunch and Houston second based on all the young draft picks that will immediately bolster the pass rush.

If you are looking for a little cap room flexibility, think of dropping a DST.  Denver is interesting to potentially keep based on their free agent signings of Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and T.J. Ward and are definitely going for broke in 2014, although they did lose Trindon Holliday in the return game.  Don’t eliminate the possibility of taking advantage of the low dollar value Top 5 average to use your Franchise Tag on a DST, especially if the value is there if you don’t have a DST on a multi-year contract.

Defense/Special Teams-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Defense/Special Teams Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Kicker

I’m shocked by the numbers of kickers kept in the table below.  Kicker performance is somewhat unpredictable as well, but I’m good with you keeping kickers like Stephen Gostkowski and Matt Prater.  I’d cut the guys highlighted in green-Garrett Hartley because he’s not likely to be on an NFL roster and the other two based on middling offenses and the fact that Blair Walsh is moving outside from the dome for the next two years and Caleb Sturgis $3.0m annual price tag is too much for a kicker, regardless of league.

K Chart- All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

K Chart- All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

I hope all this analysis is helpful to both experienced RSO owners and ones joining this unique platform for the 2014 season.  Feel free to follow me on Twitter via @mattgoody2 and I’d welcome any specific questions you have regarding your fantasy teams and feedback for future article topics as the offseason progresses.

Registration is now open for the 2014 RSO Fantasy Football Season! Learn more >>

Drop 'Em Like It's Hot

Updated: May 15th 2014

Registration is now open for the 2014 RSO Fantasy Football Season! Learn more >>

Sometimes art imitates life.  So when I get a chance to quote movies or music lyrics, I usually don’t pass that up. And when I get the chance to do that in the context of fantasy football and offering advice when to drop a multi-year player who just isn’t living up to his contract,  I’m “Bout It, Bout It”.

To analyze tough decisions you are facing, I thought it would be helpful to do some slicing and dicing of the existing Reality Sports Online long-term contract data by position across all RSO leagues.  So the tables represent all 2013 RSO leagues, regardless of size.  The tables below by position contain the quantity of contracts, average annual salaries, and contract lengths for what typically makes up 80% of a particular position.  In other words, the players most often kept and their average contract values and lengths.  This way, if you are a new owner to a RSO league in 2014, you won’t be going into the amazingly unique Free Agency Auction without some context, even if you haven’t had time to do a Mock Auction (shameless plug, this feature has just been added and is incredibly helpful).

So let’s jump right in by position and figure out some names based on contract values that owners may want to cut bait with either for past performance, need for cap space to go after a rookie like Sammy Watkins or Bishop Sankey in the Rookie Draft, or dump a player you simply don’t believe in as much as you once did. In RSO, if you’re cutting bait, the best time to do it is in the offseason where only 50% of the future years of the contract are guaranteed.  But, be careful because as you can probably imagine, there is nothing worse than paying for someone who is no longer on your roster.  Do the analysis and be confident that your player will not add value for you again and you’d rather have the cap space to go after another player who can help you before cutting a player who won’t be picked up on waivers at their current deal.

Quarterback

QB Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

QB Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Tom Brady

I’m not saying Brady’s “Glory Days” are 100% behind him, but with a yet-again banged up Gronk, no real scary outside stretch the field threat (sorry Brandon LaFell, that’s not you), a confusing running back rotation, and a bevy of younger QBs who offer more upside, if you are north or near the 2.84 years and $18.4m annual RSO average for Brady, take your 50% back potentially and trade him in for a newer model, especially if you have multiple years left.

Matt Ryan

Matty Ice is all about the “Price Tag” for me.   There are a lot of questions on the offensive line (Jake Matthews will definitely help), uncertainty about Julio Jones lingering foot problems, and an aging core of offensive talent in Roddy White and Steven Jackson.  The Falcons figure to put a dismal 2013 behind them offensively, but at 3.43 years and $16.6m annual RSO average, you certainly can do better and take your chances in free agency to get a comparable QB cheaper and shorter.

Tony Romo & Eli Manning

While these two options around $6.1m annually represent a great value if they are productive (and ability to spend money on other positions of need), my biggest concern with them are the years.  In Romo’s case, monitor this back surgery recovery carefully.  Not sure you can trust him in a fantasy playoff game and if Romo was a song, he’d be U2’s “With or Without You” and you probably can’t win either way. As for Eli, same trust deal even though the offense couldn’t get any worse than 2013 and the Odell Beckham Jr. pick along with significant draft picks spent on the offensive line can only help matters. I’d probably stick with Eli and proceed with caution on Romo.

Running Back

As a quick primer, remember that the most frequently kept Running Backs were 2013 rookies, which in RSO would have been drafted in the rookie draft at a predetermined rookie wage scale, similar to NFL.  So players like Eddie Lacy and Giovani Bernard in leagues that didn’t tinker with the rookie draft in 2013 (remember that RSO is a very customizable platform), are locked up at low relative dollar amounts compared to players like Doug Martin, Ray Rice, and Lesean McCoy.  The NFL is a passing league and you have to try to find fantasy value over the long term in a league where running back committees are becoming more prevalent.  So be careful not to cut bait too early on someone with potential, but let the years, the contract amounts, your overall cap space relative to your league, and the quality of the free agent pool determine what your strategy is.  For instance, in my league, I may be entering the 2014 Free Agent Auction with zero running backs on my roster (disclaimer-in my league only 1 RB is mandatory to start on a 10 player starting lineup), but figure to have the cap space to address this gap as I am heading into my auction with 4 WRs locked up as well as all the other positions.

RB1

RB 2014 RSO Offseason

Trent Richardson

If you’re holding onto “Two Yard Trent” from picking him as the supposed bell-cow in Cleveland, you obviously have tempered expectations by now.  I would say heed the advice of Jason Mraz’ “I Won’t Give Up” on Richardson.  He now has had an offseason to learn the offense after being traded to Indy in Week 3 last year and will be given every opportunity to be the guy.  I know that you’re paying Richardson premium dollars for mediocre production, but he’s probably better than you’ll get on the free agent market in terms of talent, not necessarily price.  Stick it out for 2014 and if he lays another egg, when you have one season left on a 3 year deal in the 2015 offseason, send him packing.

Ray Rice

As an owner of Rice right now, are you more concerned by the potential suspension for his brush-up with the law, his 2013 production, the fact that the Ravens say they are bringing in another 1-2 running backs to help out, or all of the above?  The Ravens 2013 offensive philosophy didn’t stick to the run and the offensive line showed no ability to block and Rice showed no burst to get to the second level or even approach first downs, which may have been related to his hip flexor.  Throw out a good game against the Bears who everyone seemed to run on in 2013, and Rice’s stats are even less impressive.  Consider him to be the Sneaker Pimps 6 Underground, because Rice’s fantasy status is “open to falling from grace”.  If a 4 game suspension is announced prior to the season, get back 50% of your future salaries owed (especially at the 3 year $21m annual average).  I’d rather take the chance at making a run at another running back with the money.

David Wilson

While Wilson’s annual RSO average of 3.1 years and $10.7m annual average wasn’t overly intimidating when you got him last season, you certainly are concerned about his neck injury.  From what I’ve read the Giants would consider it a bonus if Wilson shows up healthy which GM Jerry Reese seems to indicate will be by training camp and it seems like Rashad Jennings is penciled in as the starter right now.  Consider the drafting of Heisman Finalist Andre Williams from Boston College to be more Wilson insurance and depth at this point.  While a healthy Wilson certainly offers more flash and upside (don’t forget he was in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse for most of the early season on fumbling and pass protection issues), you really have to pay attention to the offseason injury news and wait for the “Next Episode”.  Hold on as long as you can this offseason and if you get significant negative injury news, you probably don’t want to hold him for another two years.

Chris Johnson & Maurice Jones-Drew

Grouping these two together as fantasy studs of the past who are both on new teams.  I’m higher on Johnson’s chances with the Jets “Empire State of Mind” than MJD’s with the Raiders.  The thought of Johnson and Vick in the same backfield is kinda crazy speedwise and I think the Jets will be better at game-planning with Johnson and throwing him screens in space for your PPR friendly leagues.  MJD is going to a fantasy wasteland in Oakland and a crowded backfield with the oft-injured Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray.  If you have one year left at $12.6m, take Steve Miller’s advice and “Take The Money and Run”.

Lamar Miller

Now that the Dolphins have signed Knowshon Moreno and Miller couldn’t hold off someone in Daniel Thomas who one could say wasn’t even deserving of being on an NFL roster last season, it seems like the end is near for Miller.  Wouldn’t you rather have Lamar Latrell of “Revenge of the Nerds” fame over Miller?  At least his throwing style could result in some passing yards for your fantasy squad.  I’ve also read that the Dolphins are planning on being a pass heavy offense this season.  They still have an overhaul on their offensive line ahead from the Jonathan Martin bullying incident as well, which they’ve started in free agency and the draft.  I wouldn’t wait around for the 3rd year of Miller, as the only thing positive about his situation is that Miami didn’t draft a RB last week.  He’s too “Radioactive”.

Others Highlighted in Green

Be careful keeping high-priced handcuffs or backups.  Daryl Richardson has been cut by the Rams this week and while he may have held some value last offseason, if you still own him, send him packing.  In Bryce Brown’s case his only value would be if C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are not re-signed after the 2014 season) to become valuable this season or down the line.  If you need the cap space, these type of guys may not get you that much money back, but are low hanging fruit and certainly debatable based on salary, production, or both.

Wide Receiver

Probably my favorite position to write about as there is talent at all price tags and these players are the easiest to justify long multi-year deals for based on how reliant teams are on their elite wideouts.  The lesson here is know when you are paying high dollars to someone who doesn’t deserve it and jump ship.  Also notice who is missing from here: Alshon Jeffery, who figures to be a RSO free agent in most leagues in 2014.

WR1

2014 WR RSO All Leagues

WR Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Danny Amendola

People clearly expected Amendola to be the Wes Welker of the 2013 Patriots.  He clearly wasn’t as he couldn’t stay on the field long enough to be productive.  I can’t justify 2.5 years and $9.5m annual average salary for Amendola as Julian Edelman is the slot WR, Gronk will be back in play at some point and Aaron Dobson should improve.  Even if I’m wrong in hindsight to cut him, this is an easy to make, calculated risk and recently drafted 7th rounder Jeremy Gallon from Michigan is a player that can fit in to the Patriots scheme at Amendola’s expense.  “Drop ‘Em Like It’s Hot”.

Dwayne Bowe

Which Bowe do you have on your team?  The one who caught 8 for 150 and a TD in the playoff game vs. Indianapolis or the Bowe who had 57 catches on 105 targets for 673 yards and 5 TD’s in the 2013 Regular Season?  He’s still only 29 years old and does have a 15 TD season in his portfolio, but hasn’t had more than 5 TD’s in a season since, in spite of being the clear #1 WR on his team.  As a fantasy owner, can you really trust him in a game you have to win?  I can’t.  For those who have kids and were dragged to see Frozen, “Let It Go”.

Roddy White

I actually like Roddy White and think he could produce in 2014.  Call me “Mr. Brightside”.  It is a tough call at $11.3m though.  If all indications are that he’s healthy, you have to think that White will be seeing some of Tony Gonzalez’s looks and you have to think Atlanta will rebound in some fashion with ideally healthy Julio Jones and Steven Jackson.  Hakeem Nicks is another guy who I think could turn it around on a one-year prove it deal in Indy and at 2.8 avg. years and $9m, if he produces you’re looking at a good third year of the deal.  Hold both if you can.

Kenbrell Thompkins

Was a nice preseason story last year and made a few big plays early in the season.  Later in the season, he was abysmal.  Josh Boyce and Aaron Dobson are better options, as is free agent signing Brandon LaFell, so Thompkins may not even make the Patriots.  Cut him.

Tight End

Tight End is often a slighted position, so it could represent significant value for you in your RSO league.  On the flip side, the contract values are lower, so cutting a player may not yield that much cap savings.  It may also make for a less involved decision.    First off, for the 6 owners who still had Aaron Hernandez on their teams, my condolences.  Feel free to cut him.  Same goes for the 37 owners holding out hope that Tony Gonzalez wouldn’t retire after the 2013 season.

Tight End Chart-2014 RSO Offseason

Tight End Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Jared Cook

His week 1 jauggernaut last year showed what Cook can do if given the looks.  He doesn’t seem particularly engaged for an entire game.  I could go either way on him.  I’d probably stick at 2.5 years and $3.1m average, even though he was the only Multi-Year player cut from my RSO league last season (on a team that does have some wealth at the TE position).

Owen Daniels

A productive TE for years who has battled health issues now returns to play under Gary Kubiak as OC in Baltimore.  However, he’s sharing again, this time with Dennis Pitta, who just got big dollars from the Ravens and are there enough balls for Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, and two TE’s?  I think you can do better than Daniels in a 10-12 team league, therefore, I’d say “Hit the Road Jack”.

Jermichael Finley

See David Wilson.  Finley may have a better shot to play, but his value really depends on what team signs him.  If Green Bay determines he’s fine and brings him back, even though they drafted a TE, definitely keep him.  Otherwise, like the Roots say “Proceed” with caution.

Coby Fleener

You’ll think I’m “Crazy” for my views on Fleener, but consider him the #4 receiving option behind T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, and Hakeem Nicks and he’s sharing with a now healthy and better all around player in Dwayne Allen.  I know he and Luck have history, but Fleener is very inconsistent.  I’d much rather have Zach Ertz than Fleener and some of the other players on this list.

Defense/Special Teams

If you are keeping a DST on a multi-year deal, make 100% certain that they will produce from year to year.  Defenses fluctuate based on offensive pace, special teams plays, yardage allowed and many other variables.  Heading into 2014, there are only a handful of DSTs you can be sure about and maybe another couple that you may like for future speculation purposes.  Seattle and San Francisco are definite keepers.   Houston, Chicago, Baltimore and Pittsburgh below are definitely not in that group to me, with Baltimore probably being the strongest of the bunch and Houston second based on all the young draft picks that will immediately bolster the pass rush.

If you are looking for a little cap room flexibility, think of dropping a DST.  Denver is interesting to potentially keep based on their free agent signings of Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, and T.J. Ward and are definitely going for broke in 2014, although they did lose Trindon Holliday in the return game.  Don’t eliminate the possibility of taking advantage of the low dollar value Top 5 average to use your Franchise Tag on a DST, especially if the value is there if you don’t have a DST on a multi-year contract.

Defense/Special Teams-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Defense/Special Teams Chart-All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

Kicker

I’m shocked by the numbers of kickers kept in the table below.  Kicker performance is somewhat unpredictable as well, but I’m good with you keeping kickers like Stephen Gostkowski and Matt Prater.  I’d cut the guys highlighted in green-Garrett Hartley because he’s not likely to be on an NFL roster and the other two based on middling offenses and the fact that Blair Walsh is moving outside from the dome for the next two years and Caleb Sturgis $3.0m annual price tag is too much for a kicker, regardless of league.

K Chart- All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

K Chart- All RSO Leagues 2014 Offseason

I hope all this analysis is helpful to both experienced RSO owners and ones joining this unique platform for the 2014 season.  Feel free to follow me on Twitter via @mattgoody2 and I’d welcome any specific questions you have regarding your fantasy teams and feedback for future article topics as the offseason progresses.

Registration is now open for the 2014 RSO Fantasy Football Season! Learn more >>