Gregg Rosenthal

Football Daily Dose

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A season of balance

Monday, October 12, 2009

Through five weeks, only six running backs are on pace for 300 carries, a rather low number for this early in the year before injuries have fully taken their toll.

Out of the six players, only two are making consistent contributions as receivers and are on pace for more than 35 receptions: Kevin Smith and Steven Jackson. Owners of Smith and Jackson will be the first to say that these two players aren't the most complete backs in the league. Their low-wattage offenses are holding down their scoring and yards.

The point here is that the perfect RB1 isn't out there, ready to carry your entire team on his own. Adrian Peterson comes close enough, but there is only one of him. And he has virtually the same yardage totals as Cedric Benson, and fewer yards from scrimmage than Ray Rice.

I like fantasy football better this way. More players matter. Depth matters. There will be ups and downs to a season for your players and team that you have to navigate carefully. Backups like Ahmad Bradshaw are worth more than plenty of starting running backs, if you have the guts to play them. (Heck, Bradshaw has been worth more than Brandon Jacobs lately.)

If someone blames their season on an injury or a bad first-round pick, you know they are full of Mangini.

Different players on your fantasy team will take turns carrying you; it's your job to continue to keep perfecting your depth with trades and pickups.

Fantasy football is still the fantasy sport most based on luck, matchups, and random touchdowns. But this relatively star-less season we're in rewards the best owners more than ever.

Editor's Note: I keep my blinders on during football season, and count on Steve Alexander and his awesome basketball crew to tell me every last thing I need to know about fantasy basketball draft season. The draft guide is out, and it's got all the features you expect from Rotoworld, with expanded custom scoring and cheat sheets. Don't screw this up.

Don't Panic

1. The conditions for Derrick Mason still exist for him to have a surprising top-25 fantasy wideout season. The Bengals did a great job double covering him, but that won't happen often.

2. DeAngelo Williams had a rough afternoon and Jonathan Stewart scored, but Williams' role has remained consistent this year and we still believe in Carolina's run-blocking offensive line.

3. For now, Calvin Johnson's knee injury doesn't sound devastating. The Lions have a Week 7 bye, though, so they could play it safe with him this week.

4. Santonio Holmes had his third straight quiet week, but I refuse to believe the wide open Pittsburgh passing attack isn't going to help him big in the long run. He's a WR2 that will have quiet weeks, but the monster outings are still on the week.

5. The schedule has a lot to do with Kevin Smith's 3.1 yards per carry average. His usage is still very encouraging and his talent level is plenty for a starting running back, even if he's not "special." The yards should come.

6. The bye week comes at a good time for Marion Barber, who didn't look fully recovered from his quadriceps injury Sunday. The Cowboys made a mistake not using Tashard Choice more.

Austin's Limits

Miles Austin has been a Rotoworld favorite for a while, and finally came through with a monster outing (to put it mildly) in his first career start. I co-own an NFFC team with my boss, and we debated letting Austin go this week, but I wanted to hold on to him if possible because I still thought there was talent there. (Although we would have happily dropped him for the right player – Mohammad Massaquoi – and just didn't bid enough.)

That's the good news.

The bad news is that we had him on our bench in favor of Patrick Crayton and Lee Evans Sunday, missing Austin's most useful moment of his fantasy football life.

Hopefully Austin's breakout – despite three touchdowns he didn't catch -- will gain the trust of Tony Romo and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. Austin is Dallas' fastest receiver, and deserves a bigger role.

But he's not particularly likely to have the same conditions as Sunday again anytime soo: an easy matchup, with Roy Williams out. It's easy to second-guess now, and it's also easy to understand why Austin is on so many waiver wires. He had four catches for 39 yards in the previous three games combined.

But that doesn't make it much easier to stare at the 47 freaking fantasy points he scored Sunday on our bench without wanting to puke.

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Gregg Rosenthal has directed Rotoworld's football content since 2003. He co-hosts the NBC Fantasy Fix and covers the NFL for and Catch him on Twitter.
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