NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Cincinnati Bengals

I’ve written about this before, but analyzing NFL players is harder than any other sport, especially is you are primarily using statistics and not actual game tape to do your analysis. The reason for this is, primarily, that an entire season is still, in many ways, a small sample size. Factors other than a player’s talent can factor into every single game in such a way that simply looking at that final results can be misleading in any number of different ways. All of which is a long way of saying, setting your daily fantasy football rosters can be really hard.

So, just like we did for the past couple of weeks, let’s take a look at some of the decisions we made in week 9, what we learned this weekend, and how that might change our decisions going forward:

Jeremy Hill:

Why You Started Him: You’d see it before, and the opportunity was there. And the price was certainly right for a starting running back getting most of the work against the Jaguars.

20/20 Hindsight: The argument against him was a simple question: is there a reason to trust him MORE than you would trust Giovanni Bernard? For some reason, yes. And it paid off.

Going Forward: Unfortunately, in the long run Hill was just good enough to turn this into a platoon situation. But in the short term, the Bengals have a game coming up on Thursday, so with the short week, you’d have to imagine they will keep Bernard on the bench if there is any question about whether or not he is ready. With the Browns on tap, if Hill does still have the job to himself, he’s a solid play no matter how much his price jumps.

Jerick McKinnon:

Why You Considered Him: The talent sort of pops off the screen. Asiata had seemed to drop completely out of the picture. This offense and entire team had seemed to be on the upswing for the last couple of weeks. In short, everything was looking up.

20/20 Hindsight: It’s not like we ever got a guarantee. We assumed the Vikings coaching staff would see what we see, and would just feed this guy the ball like a feature back. Turns out, they didn’t. There are several things they are just not ready to ask of him, and one of those things, at this point, is score any touchdowns.

Going Forward: The upside is still there, but we all now need to acknowledge that the risk is there, and it’s not going away. The Vikings aren’t always in a position to feature the run, and when they are, it’s not always going to be McKinnon being put in positions to score fantasy points.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Percy Harvin:

Why You Didn’t Start Him: For starters, the quarterback situation, because who knew what was going to happen there. And, despite the Jets showing a desire to get him the ball in his first game, the production just wasn’t there.

20/20 Hindsight: Vick is an improvement as a passer over Smith, as long as he can hold onto the ball. As crazy as this sounds, he might now be a part of the best wide receiver tandem he’s ever been in, so defenses can’t key on him. And man, the physical ability is still there, clear as day, when you watch him run with the ball in his hands.

Going Forward: If the Jets are going to target him down the field, he’s now in consideration for someone to get in your lineup when the matchup is right, if you’re looking for high upside. Because he has always had upside, and this change of venue might have only highlighted that in a way you didn’t see coming with the Jets.


Cordarrelle Patterson:

Why You Considered Him: The targets were there last week, and he was finally actually catching the ball. He is great once he gets his hands on the ball – we know that. But the issue was getting open – and he was catching some shorter slants and getting involved in a way that looked promising.

20/20 Hindsight: At this point in his career, he is like one of those players who is dynamic on special teams. A couple of breathtaking return runs stick in our head, and we think of the player as being more productive than he actually is, because we focus on that flash of brilliance. But unreliable route-running and hands, combined with unreliable quarterback play at times, means unreliable fantasy option.

Going Forward: You can’t start him. There, real, actionable advice. Enjoy.