Fantasy Football

Breaking the law, fantasy impact Kevin Payne
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Is it a surprise to wake up in the morning and discover that another NFL player has been busted for an alleged DUI? I can still remember the Marshawn Lynch incident when he hit a Canadian girl downtown with his car near the Chippewa district (the party zone) here in Buffalo. The perplexing thing, of course, is that if I (like most reading this) figured out a way to get home safely after a night of drinking without endangering the lives of others, why can't professional athletes who are paid millions of dollars do the same?


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So what will become of these transgressions? It wouldn't be surprising to see Roger Goodell levy a suspension given his dictatorial stranglehold on the NFL. I predict the case ends up getting dropped (his BAC at the scene was allegedly the .08 legal limit) but that Lynch gets a two-game suspension anyway. I was already avoiding Lynch, as I think the Seahawks will air it out more this season, and there are a few other red flags with him. His 4.2 YPC last season was not exactly elite, and while he's been durable, his bruising style of running likely will eventually lead to some type of injury. He's not overly used in the passing game (28 catches last season) and he's never had more than five rushes of more than 20 yards in a season, ever. It's easy to say he won't hit 12 rushing touchdowns again, so in short, I think someone else will be willing to gamble on him much earlier than I in a draft.

And that brings us to our next alleged transgressor ... Dez Bryant. Help me out with any scenario where you could imagine yourself laying hands on your mother. Any. Please. With the details surrounding the Dez Bryant arrest coming to light, it's inconceivable to most how any of this could happen. Of course, if you're supporting your family and have money, it's a pretty different situation than most of us face. It's not surprising his mother didn't want to press charges (she is still his mom), and I'm not sure how he gets off of this charge without something. It might be community service, who knows? But without someone perjuring himself, he'll get something. That means he'll get something from the commissioner's office as well. It's too bad, as all the reports coming out of Dallas were more than favorable about Bryant as far as his physical condition and understanding of the offense. If you watch any of Dallas' games last season, too many times after a missed pass in his direction, QB Tony Romo was hand-gesturing that Bryant ran the wrong way on a route. If the understanding of the offense was in a better place and he was in the top shape of his life, I could see top-10 WR status for Bryant. However, I'd bet he will get a three-to-four game suspension out of this, which obviously will significantly hurt his value.

This all finally leads us to Kenny Britt. What a talent. What potential at 23-years-old; 271 total receiving yards and three touchdowns in two games last season. Now another run-in with the law. When you dismiss the reports about the character of a person, keep Britt in mind.

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He's been arrested now eight times, though not all of them stuck, so it's hard to figure out how hard Roger Goodell will come down on him. Given that this happened at Fort Campbell, I'm guessing it will be tough to get this arrest dropped. Britt has been critical of Goodell in the past, so it wouldn't shock me to see a very harsh suspension - up to the full season - come down on him. Realistically, I'd bank on him getting a six-to-eight game suspension based on his past transgressions, coupled with Goodell being the commissioner.

Before you think that's too harsh, the NFL has been getting nothing but bad publicity over the last week, and this is the league known for handing out the biggest suspensions/fines. Also, every team received a memo on this kind of behavior, so no harsh suspension should surprise anyone. When Britt is suspended, look for both Kendall Wright and Damian Williams to get an uptick in value. Wright will be the trendier pick as the 20th selection in this year's draft, but Williams (ADP 274) isn't exactly a scrub. Williams did most of his damage over the second half of last season and recorded six games of 60-plus receiving yards. He also had an eight-catch game in Week 15, demonstrating that Matt Hasselbeck (or Jake Locker) won't be afraid to target him.

Now, on to more uplifting news. If I had to pick Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells, it's an easy call for me to take Williams. Throw in the difference in ADP (33 vs. 107) and that answer is even more obvious. In these days of daily arrest stories, it's always refreshing to hear stories of a player practicing too hard and showing up at the team's facility more than anyone.

When considering the choice between Williams or Mikel Leshoure, it's an interesting dilemma. You have two 2011 second-round picks who were both sleepers before they each incurred a season-ending injury during training camp. I'd bank on the Detroit offense to have more upside than Arizona, but it would appear that Williams has the clearer path to playing time. Jahvid Best, Kevin Smith and Beanie Wells have their share of injury risk, so both Williams and Leshoure could secure the lion's share of carries in their respective backfields. I'm going with a slight lean toward Williams, especially given Leshoure's two-game suspension for his offseason arrest.

In PPR formats, don't overlook Pierre Thomas. Darren Sproles is an obvious target, given his production last season, but Thomas isn't too far behind. Thomas hauled in 50 catches last season, which was good for sixth among running backs. While he only had double-digit carries once last season, his 5.1 YPC mark was eighth best among running backs. Meanwhile, teammate Mark Ingram only had a 3.9 YPC mark and is coming off knee surgery. The Saints used Ingram more heavily last season, but with Drew Brees likely having more responsibility in play-calling, that could change.

Want to tell me I'm wrong? Call the RotoWire SiriusXM fantasy sports show on Sirius 87/XM 210 on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11-2 EST, when yours truly co-hosts.

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Tagged: Cowboys, Lions, Titans, Saints, Seahawks, Cardinals, Marshawn Lynch, Pierre Thomas, Kenny Britt, Beanie Wells, Dez Bryant, Damian Williams, Mark Ingram, Mikel Leshoure, Ryan Williams

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