Brad Morgan

Red Zone Report

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The Airing of Grievances

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Halfway through the Fantasy Football season, I think it's appropriate to take a look back at the year so far. I'm sure this isn't the first article of such type you've read this week, but I assure you this will be different, for better or worse. When I think about which players have been as good as advertised, shockingly good, and surprisingly bad, one holiday comes to mind:

Festivus.

For those not familiar -- or obsessed -- with the show Seinfeld, I'll give a little background on this tradition. It is, essentially, a non-denominational holiday to be celebrated by those frustrated or jaded with the commercialism and pressure surrounding the Christmas/Hanukkah season. For our purposes, we will focus on one particular part of Festivus: The Airing of Grievances. Frank Costanza can give a much better explanation of this than I can.

Frank Costanza: And at the Festivus dinner, you gather your family around, and tell them all the ways they have disappointed you over the past year!

Frank Costanza: The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you're gonna hear about it. You, Kruger. My son tells me your company STINKS!

George Costanza: Oh, God.

As we all know, disappointment is a much bigger part of Fantasy Football than satisfaction will ever be. Here are some people who have let me down. Now, they're gonna hear about it. I know there are many, many more. E-mail me your greatest tale of 2009 Fantasy disappointment, and I'll show some of the best ones in next week's article.

The Airing of Grievances

Brandon Jacobs, Giants RB

Brandon, you were supposed to be the pick that made me look like a genius this season. With 5th pick of the Maryland Fantasy Football draft, Brad Morgan selects…Brandon Jacobs?!?! I took the ridicule because I saw Derrick Ward's departure as your chance to finally take the step up to being an Elite RB. Eight weeks and 72.5 fantasy points later, Brandon, you have made me look like a fool. Not only has Ahmad Bradshaw (who, thankfully, I drafted as insurance) taken a huge chunk of your production, you haven't given Tom Coughlin much reason to stick with you.

Two years of averaging 5 yards per carry, and now under 4? Two touchdowns? It's not like you haven't had your chances. In fact, Jacobs has 32 combined rushes and targets in scoring situations -- the same amount as Maurice Jones-Drew (tied for 3rd most in the NFL).

And here is the worst part: I still believe. In Week 8, Jacobs had 5 RZ carries to Bradshaw's 1 (which, in the spirit of disappointment, came on the 1-yard line after Jacobs ran the ball 4-5 plays in a row to get to the Goal Line). If Jacobs continues to get so many chances in scoring situations, it's only a matter of time before the touchdowns begin to come (similar to LaDainian Tomlinson this past week).

Steve Slaton, Texans RB

Oh Steve, where to begin. You were a 1st round pick in most leagues, and from Day One couldn't perform well enough to stop Chris Brown from stealing your carries in scoring situations. Then, after I predict your demise, you put together your best game. Then, just as it looks like I was wrong, you fumble on the first play, get pulled out of the game, and completely screw all of your fantasy owners. I guess Gary Kubiak wasn't giving Brown all of your RZ and GL carries because you were too small. It was because you can't hold onto the ball. 7 fumbles in 8 weeks is just about as putrid as ball control gets.

Slaton's recent crash in value shouldn't be a surprise: the writing was on the wall. On the season, Slaton has received only 38.1% of the Texans' RZ carries (42nd in football) and 20% GL. This showed that Kubiak had some real trust issues with what seemed to be his #1 RB. Going forward, Slaton is an extremely risky player to own, but unfortunately, his trade value has taken a huge dive. My advice to Slaton owners: hold on and pray he bounces back.

Brian Westbrook, Eagles RB

Westbrook has always been injury plagued, but this season that problem has been compounded with something new: Westbrook not performing well on the field. Usually, when playing, Westbrook has been a dynamic Fantasy stud. Not this year. Rookie LeSean McCoy has been a huge thorn in the side of his Fantasy value this year. Westbrook has only gotten 41.7% of the carries in the Red Zone for the Eagles. This new development has really put a limit on Westbrook's once awesome touchdown potential.

From this point on, it's really hard to know what to make of Westbrook's value. He's the ultimate high risk, high reward. Because of his lingering name value, he would still be a costly player to acquire, but there's no guarantee that see you see any return on your investment. McCoy's emergence is what really worries me. In the past, when Westbrook returned from injury, his job was there waiting for him. Those days might just be over.

It hasn't all been bad… The Studs

Cedric Benson, Bengals RB

The CedBen supporters in August were hard to come by, but can you blame us? The success he had in the second half of 2008 were the first signs of life he had shown since getting drafted out of Texas. Skepticism was more than warranted. But Benson has proven to be the most valuable running back, when looking back on where they were drafted.

The Bengals have completely handed over the reins to Benson. He's received a league-leading 91.7% of their Red Zone carries, and all GL carries. He is one of the rare every down backs still found in the NFL, and makes life easy on his fantasy owners each week.

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars RB

In his first year free from sharing time with Fred Taylor, MJD has lived up to the towering expectations we had for him. Not only has his performance been excellent, the Jaguars have shown full faith in him as their #1 RB. The stocky back has received 90% of Jacksonville's carries in the Red Zone (2nd in the NFL), and 100% on the Goal Line. As if all this wasn't enough, Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio intends to give Jones-Drew more carries going forward. For all those who drafted him, sit back and continue to enjoy the show.

Adrian Peterson, Vikings RB

Not much to say here other than that he's lived up to the billing of being the undisputed Fantasy king. He leads the NFL in Goal Line carries with 17. Don't be alarmed by his somewhat low RZ% of 68.8%; almost all of Chester Taylor's carries have come in blowout situations. Peterson is obviously the absolute option in scoring position.

Marques Colston, Saints WR

On a Saints team full of skill players who are gambles week to week, Colston has the been the model of consistency. Not only is he Brees' #1 option, Colston is the go-to man in scoring situations, leading the NFL with 14 RZ targets.


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