Leinart, Wayne on the fantasy pedestal

The following fantasy football e-mail chain between Ryan Fowler and Joel Beall took place on November 17 and 18, 2011. The topics featured were not discussed in advance.

From: Ryan Fowler

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:33 PM

To: ‘Joel Beall’

Subject: The Pedestal IV

Joel –

Before I place this week’s first athlete on the pedestal, a news flash for sports journalists discussing Matt Schaub’s recent injury. Lisfranc is not as well-known as Tommy John. So, when you constantly describe Schaub’s broken foot as a Lisfranc fracture, you come off snobbish and condescending. The golden rule is: remember your audience. Joe Sixpack is sitting in his recliner and wants to know why Schaub is going to miss Houston’s next game. All you have to report is Schaub has a foot injury and is out indefinitely. Keep it simple.

On the pedestal: Matt Leinart

With that rant out of the way, what do you make of Matt Leinart’s fantasy value the rest of the season? With Andre Johnson returning and a nasty 1-2 punch of Arian Foster and Ben Tate, he has some weapons.

From: Joel Beall

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 2:03 PM

To: ‘Ryan Fowler’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

Everyone has been quick to write-off Leinart thanks to his past digressions in the desert with Arizona. But what, exactly, did he do wrong in his time as a Cardinal? He lost the starting gig to Kurt Warner. No shame in that, as Warner was a top-five quarterback in 2008 and 2009. When Warner retired, Leinart was expected to take the reins, but clearly Ken Whisenhunt had a personal vendetta against the former Trojan. How else do you explain Derek freakin’ Anderson starting in Week 1 for Arizona last season? Leinart might not be the best clubhouse guy (allegedly), but he deserved a better fate than getting exiled during the preseason.

As you mentioned, Leinart will be working with a loaded arsenal. The Foster-Tate combo is the best backfield in the league, Johnson should be ready to roll when the Texans come off the bye, Owen Daniels remains an elite performer at the tight end position and Kevin Walter is simply the greatest athlete to every grace the sporting world. Simply by synergy, Leinart should be a top-15 fantasy field general for the last six weeks of the season.

I’m keeping Leinart on the Pedestal. What say you?

From: Ryan Fowler

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 2:48 PM

To: ‘Joel Beall’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

Let’s face facts, this isn’t Matt Leinart’s first time on a pedestal. He was named Gatorade’s California Football Player of the Year in 2000, won the Heisman Trophy four years later at USC and was picked 10th overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. So, when he finished his rookie season with a 56.8 completion percentage, 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, pundits were quick to knock him off a pedestal fitted with a cornerstone that dated back to Leinart’s high school days. Then, as you mentioned, the Cardinals became Kurt Warner’s team.

Criticism of Leinart is based on his off-the-field antics, reports and rumors while he spent the past three and a half seasons as a backup or emergency starter. This happens when you are drafted 10th and don’t play on Sundays. Using his rookie season stats to determine his fantasy value over the rest of the season is silly. However, thanks to Houston’s defense and the running back tandem of Foster and Tate, Leinart will be placed in a situation similar to Alex Smith. He will be asked to manage a game, not win one. So, for right now I’m not knocking him off the pedestal, but I’m in no rush to add him to my roster. I will be paying close attention to the Texans’ Week 12 matchup against Jacksonville (who does possess a sound pass defense) to see if Leinart and Andre Johnson sync up right off the bus. After that game, I’ll know if Leinart should be added to a fantasy roster for a playoff run – the Texans play Carolina (224 pass yards allowed per game) and Indianapolis (most passing touchdowns allowed) Weeks 15 and 16.

Final verdict: Leinart stays on the pedestal.

Who is up next?

From: Joel Beall

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 3:08 PM

To: ‘Ryan Fowler’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

In the last month, Reggie Bush has finally started to live up to his pre-NFL hype, ranking eighth among running backs in standard formats during that time span. Since coming off the bye in Week 5, Bush owns an impressive mark of 5.7 yards per carry, and has found the end zone three times. Alas, rookie Daniel Thomas returned from injury last week for the Dolphins and finished with more rushes than Bush.

In Bush’s defense, he still received 18 touches (14 carries, 4 receptions), which has been right around his average for the season. Still, with the return of Thomas, will Bush be able to maintain his fantasy momentum?

From: Ryan Fowler

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:08 PM

To: ‘Joel Beall’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

Our approval rating among USC fans may take a hit after placing a third former Trojan up on the pedestal.

With the exception of Dallas in Week 12, the remaining schedule favors Bush and the Miami running game. Buffalo (11 TDs allowed), Oakland (9), Philadelphia (7), Buffalo, New England (7) and New York Jets (9) all rank in the bottom half of the league in rushing touchdowns allowed. The return of Daniel Thomas doesn’t intimidate me nor should it overly concern Bush owners as we head into Week 11. Bush is producing and at 2-7 the Dolphins shouldn’t get cute and promote Thomas over Bush or hand the rookie a heavier workload – despite receiving more carries in Week 10. What type of message would that send to Bush? If they cut into his touches, Bush could easily fall back into the statistical abyss we’ve witnessed the last few seasons. BREAKING NEWS: NFL players have egos and Bush needs his ego stroked now more than ever. I do wonder if Daniel Thomas remained healthy this season, if Bush would have suddenly broke out of his fantasy funk like he did. A topic to marinate on while sitting at the bar.

He remains on the pedestal, but is no higher than a flex play in most standard scoring leagues.

Your thoughts?

From: Joel Beall

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:26 PM

To: ‘Ryan Fowler’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

Does Bush merit a roster spot? Absolutely, given the sad state of affairs regarding the abundance (or lack thereof) of reliable fantasy running backs this season. However, Thomas’ return severely restrains Bush’s value from my perspective, as 10-12 touches falls short of the earmarked amount of opportunities to make a significant fantasy impact on a weekly basis.

Bush’s upcoming schedule concerns me as well. As you mentioned, the squads slatted for Miami in the second half have relinquished their fair share of scores. Unfortunately, I envision the Dolphins playing from behind in many of those contests. In a sense, this may help Bush owners in regards to the back’s aptitude in the passing game, but I wouldn’t feel confident leaving my fantasy destiny in the hands of the “immortal” Matt Moore.

In deeper leagues, Bush may warrant a starting spot in the flex position. Yet in standard formats or leagues without PPR, Bush belongs on the bench.

Final verdict: Bush remains on the pedestal

From: Ryan Fowler

Sent: Thursday, November 17, 2011 6:13 PM

To: ‘Joel Beall’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

On the pedestal: Reggie Wayne

Let me preface this by reminding everyone that the Indianapolis Colts are not very good at football. With that fact known, why is Wayne still owned in 74.5 percent of fantasy leagues? Are owners intrigued by the possible quarterback controversy brewing between Curtis Painter and Dan Orlovsky? I know I’m excited. The wide receiver has two (2) games where he’s hauled in more than 75 yards. Wayne has one (1) touchdown. Is this a name recognition thing where Wayne’s fantasy cred’ outweighs the downward spiral the Colts’ offense is currently experiencing? If fantasy football has provided one thing this season, it’s been an abundance of startable (not a word, don’t care) wide outs.

Is Wayne worthy of a roster spot in your world?

From: Joel Beall

Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 8:47 AM

To: ‘Ryan Fowler’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

Heading into Week 11, Wayne ranked 42nd among wide receivers in standard formats. Assuming one partakes in a 12-team league and each owner possesses four wideouts on the roster, Wayne would seemingly make the cut in our litmus test. However, this is before realizing Wayne’s played in 10 games this season compared to the majority of receivers participating in just nine. Factor this little tidbit into the equation, and Wayne’s forecast looks bleak.

Not helping matters has been the change at quarterback. No, I’m not referring to the absence of Peyton Manning; rather, the substitution of Kerry Collins for Painter. In Indianapolis first two games of the season (both games where Collins was at the helm), Wayne posted numbers that we’ve come to expect from the five-time Pro Bowler: 11 receptions, 172 yards and a touchdown. Yet since Painter has been under center, Wayne has been nonexistent in fantasy. Worse, the former Hurricane isn’t getting the same amount of targets in his direction, as Painter has chosen Pierre Garcon has his go-to receiver.

Still, I’m not ready to concede Wayne’s season. Orlovsky is no savior, but he may at least favor Wayne as his primary target. And it’s no leap of faith to imagine the Colts finding themselves down in their remaining contests, forcing the offense to attack from the air. Indianapolis’ last six opponents could be challenging, but Wayne still has value as a flex option or even a No. 2 receiver based on unusual circumstances that owners routinely encounter in the latter stages of the season (injuries, weather concerns, a team resting players, etc). I’m keeping Wayne on the Pedestal. You?

From: Ryan Fowler

Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 12:50 PM

To: ‘Joel Beall’

Subject: RE: The Pedestal IV

I agree with you in one area: the Colts will be playing from behind. Now, if the coaches decide to swap Painter for Orlovsky the rest of the season, that’s an X-factor in deciding Wayne’s fantasy fate. But here are six receivers who I’d rather own the rest of the season over the Colts’ receiver and could be chilling on your league’s waiver wire:

• Jacoby Ford (foot) – owned in 8.8 percent of leagues

• David Nelson – 27.4 percent

• Darrius Heyward-Bey – 39.2 percent

• Santana Moss (possible Week 12 return) – 41.6 percent

• Antonio Brown – 64.1 percent

• Denarius Moore – 66.2 percent

If you can pick up one of these guys, I knock Wayne off my pedestal. If not, Wayne hangs on in one of those overdramatic Hollywood endings where at the very last second, right before he’s going to fall, a hand reaches out and grabs his arm. The hero?

No, not Tim Tebow.

It’s Orlovsky.

Drama at it’s finest.

Final verdict: Wayne hangs on to the pedestal … for now.

Fantasy Football News and Notes | Fantasy Mail Call Week 11

FOX Fantasy Baseball Join or Create a Free League
Play Now!