Fantasy High 5 is Gridiron Experts weekly article where we debate and discuss popular fantasy football topics and buzzing stories from around the NFL. Typically Fantasy High 5 is a piece that comes out on Wednesday’s, but we’re going to blame the late publishing on eating too much turkey this week. This week we dive into the running back shake up for the Broncos, Waiver wire strategies and what to do with the Law Firm in Cincinnati moving forward.
What is your fantasy analysis of Broncos Ronnie Hillman?
Jody Smith: Small back with excellent hands and good speed. Very good fit in a Manning offense, but being undersized will mean he won’t carry on the goal line (Lance Ball will likely get those runs). Blocking is a work in progress but getting better. Should see 60-70% of the snaps.
Mike Rodriguez: Young, talented RB, but small. His fantasy value hinges on his blocking abilities. If Hillman can’t pick up the blitz Peyton Manning will quickly want to swap him out for a guy who can. Hillman will be a vital part of the offense moving forward, but I’m not convinced he’s an every-down RB.
Zhan Mourning: He went very high in most dynasty rookie drafts this year and in the mid rounds of redraft leagues. I think many were drafting the situation over the talent, which I really don’t subscribe to. However he should be the main back in Denver, with Lance Ball spelling him from time to time. I would add Hillman if you can, as he has a fantastic match-up this week. Even if you don’t need him, picking him up would block your opponents from picking up a starter for future weeks and into the playoffs.
Robert James: Being a guy who had McGahee on a few rosters, you have to add Hillman, he’s a must-buy. There are some other fantasy options out there but Hillman may be the best one left. Teams will still key on what Peyton is doing, and with his masterful ability to adjust plays at the line, Hillman will have room to run. If Hillman knows the plays, he’s young and has fresh legs under him, he should do just fine.
With Bye weeks over, do you still recommend fishing for Waiver Wire talent? Or should owners trust their drafted rosters ROS?
Zhan Mourning: Never neglect the waiver wire. People drop players that they shouldn’t be drop all the time to cover injuries or bye weeks, and it’s your job to scoop them up. One thing I like to do is, if my team(s) are playoff bound, I start searching the waiver wire for defenses to use during those playoff weeks. I drop depth options on my bench and stock up on future favorable match ups for team defenses.
Brian Jerzak: Zhan has the right approach. Owners make knee-jerk decisions all the time. Don’t ignore it because you need to take advantage of other owners over-reactions. That being said, at this point in the season, unless you can see a good match-up for round one of the playoffs, most of the impact players have been snapped up. Don’t be the guy who grabs that back-up running back who gets a garbage touchdown or that blocking tight end who happens to catch a couple of one yard scores.
Robert James: I love Zhan’s point on picking up defenses with great match-ups down the stretch. You still have to watch the waiver wire to see what’s out there. With the crazy number of high-talent injuries there aren’t many of us who haven’t been hit by them. Even with the bye weeks over, guys out there like Danario Alexander, Bennie Wells, or Greg Jennings can still help your team for the rest of the season.
Jody Smith: Always be aware and aggressive on the waiver wire. Even if you don’t need to fill a spot, snapping up those newly available running backs for your bench is possibly blocking your opponent from using them to beat you. You also never know when you’re going to have a major injury of your own, so having a deep bench makes dealing with that easier.
Are the Jaguars all of a sudden a team with starting Fantasy options?
Zhan Mourning: I could see some of the skill position players’ value going up a little bit, but until they get a top-notch quarterback in there, they will remain mediocre at best. No need to rush out to grab any of them.
Brian Jerzak: Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. Last week was a clear case of the back up quarterback spike. The back up comes into the middle of the game and tears it up, but when a team has a week to prepare for him, he flops. All current Jags are just spot starters at best.
Robert James: Some of the Jaguar players do hold some fantasy value down the stretch, especially with all the injuries happening every week. The Jags have some fairly decent defensive match-ups coming up, and add in the fact that some of the guys are playing for their jobs or contracts, this will be their time to shine. Unlike the Eagles who have completely quit on Andy Reid, the Jaguar players have shown some heart and continue to play, despite what their record is.
Jody Smith: No. Chad Henne is unspectacular, to say the least. Clearly Houston was caught unprepared and had game-prepped solely for Blaine Gabbert. There’s plenty of film on Henne and his weaknesses will be exposed by the poor supporting cast. Laurent Robinson is on IR, so Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts have some value. Jalen Parmele has some short-term value until MJD comes back. As long as Henne stays upright and in the line-up, Marcedes Lewis shoots up the TE value board.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis’s first 100 yard game, do you expect more from the Law Firm ROS?
Zhan Mourning: It’s possible that he does it again, but not more than one more time this season. Green-Ellis hasn’t ever been a yardage guy, in fact his career YPC is 3.5. For the most part he is a short yardage back that is pretty good at the goal line.
Brian Jerzak: The Law Firm is what he is, an average running back who has been on two pretty good offensive teams. He is an okay number two back, but yardage will never be his thing. His owners will have to put up with a good game one week and a terrible fantasy game the next.
Jody Smith: Overall, he’s a very ordinary back, with a skill-set similar to the unspectacular run that Cedric Benson had in Cincinnati. However, he does have some good value this week as the Bengals play an Oakland run defense that has been getting gouged on the ground for the last month.
Mike Rodriguez: Many assumed if the Bengals were going to have the type of season that they’re currently going through, it would be due to the fact that their Rookie QB/WR combo was going to regress. Yet, the only thing still productive is Andy Dalton and AJ Green. Jody is correct, the Law Firm may have been a product of his Patriot environment and the Bengals may have buyers remorse. I rank the Law Firm next to guys like Michael Turner and Steven Jackson, season vets that can easily put up fantasy points, but are just as likely to piss you off now then.
What can we expect from the Patriots offense without Rob Gronkowski?
Brian Jerzak:- With New England it is impossible to tell who is going to fill that void. Julian Edelman has been more involved in the offense and could be a good pick up, but the thing with the Pats is it’s going to be a different guy every week. Don’t forget about Wes Welker. He has been under the radar this season. I look for him to pick up his production with Gronkowski out.
Robert James: The two people I see with the most upside are Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez. If Hernandez is healthy and ready to go, he should be the most likely choice to get most of Gronk’s touches.
Jody Smith: Daniel Fells will likely get more playing time, but he’s a blocker and unlikely to make a significant fantasy impact. The Pats will adjust their offense and go to more three receiver sets, meaning a healthy Aaron Hernandez will benefit, but so will Brandon Lloyd and Julian Edelman. Keep Danny Woodhead in mind too.
Mike Rodriguez: I think if you are trying to find the next best thing on the New England Patriots, you’re wasting your time. At this point in the season Tom Brady will stick to what he likes, I see an increase in targets for Welker and Hernandez. Random players like Edelman the Lloyd will snag the odd additional catch here and there, but the Patriots love to spread the ball around, and are far too unpredictable to start any unfamiliar fantasy option.