Settling some midseason fantasy player debates

With a few weeks of data to go off of, Brandon Marianne Lee looks at some player debates and picks a winner.

| 2 weeks ago
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Settling some midseason fantasy player debates

Over the last 48 hours, there has been wall-to-wall media coverage about the second presidential debate.

Whether you won the debate like Ken Bone, or watched any of the creepy clown memes satirizing the body language or anything else, one thing was clear: the fight will continue and most people are entrenched in their opinions.

But what about the debate you have with yourself on Sunday mornings when you’re setting your lineup? Or the debate that you have among friends about certain players and teams?

In Week 5, there were winners and losers, but more importantly, we need to interpret that information to obtain a Week 6 victory. So let’s go fisticuffs.

WRs: Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals, vs. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Yes, the battle of the disappointments. And in this fight, no one wins.

Tate has yet to score a touchdown all season. He converted one two-point conversion, but that’s his only end-zone action on the year. Even with fellow short-yardage target Eric Ebron out in Week 5 with ankle and knee injuries, Tate could only catch three of his five targets for 39 yards. Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter told the press that Tate was going to have a “huge week” against the Eagles. Well, if that’s a huge week, then you can count me out.

Meanwhile, Floyd has 12 catches off of 33 targets. Yes, 33 targets. The only reason he hasn’t caught as much flak from fantasy owners is because he was able to score two touchdowns on the season. He caught exactly zero of his three targets at San Francisco this week. Sure, Drew Stanton was throwing the ball, but in the four weeks prior he had similar struggles. There are too many capable targets on this team for the Cardinals to feel like they have to feed Floyd. The warning signs are clear.

Both players are tied at 89th of all receivers with a 52.2 PFF Grade. They share that score with Ted Ginn, Seth Roberts and Braxton Miller.


The difference between Tate, Floyd and the rest of the players with that grade is ownership percentage.

Total Points (Standard Scoring) Ownership % (Yahoo)
Michael Floyd 29.00 83%
Golden Tate 15.40 72%
Tedd Ginn 12.7 22%
Seth Roberts 28.5 2%
Braxton Miller 1.9 1%

I’d be a fool to say that neither Tate nor Floyd will have another big game this season, but at this point there are better options out there. Ginn, Roberts and (even) Miller could have big games, too. But based on their current level of production, it is time to consider moving on from Tate and Floyd. See if you can get something in a trade based on their name recognition. Floyd has some touchdown upside, but 12 catches in five game makes him hard to trust on a week-in-week-out basis.

Verdict: Neither one

All of the Oakland Raiders running backs

Raise your hand if you started DeAndre Washington last week…

In the absence of Latavius Murray, it seemed obvious that the Raiders would lean on Washington. Well, look at this committee situation and let’s all admit, this is a free-for-all.

Latavius Murray
Snaps Carries Yds TDs Rec. Yds TDs
Week 1 45/75 14 59 1 1 13 0
Week 2 36/78 8 57 1 6 44 0
Week 3 31/66 10 37 1 1 1 0
Week 4 34/63 8 19 0 2 5 0
Week 5 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a


DeAndre Washington
Snaps Carries Yds TDs Rec. Yds TDs
Week 1 8/75 5 14 0 1 10 0
Week 2 15/78 7 46 0 1 6 0
Week 3 18/66 6 57 0 1 5 0
Week 4 10/63 5 30 0 3 16 0
Week 5 37/76 9 23 0 5 29 0


Jalen Richard
Snaps Carries Yds TDs Rec. Yds TDs
Week 1 10/75 3 84 1 2 11 0
Week 2 16/78 6 17 0 1 10 0
Week 3 13/66 6 28 0 1 13 0
Week 4 15/63 2 15 0 1 5 0
Week 5 23/76 8 31 0 6 66 0


Jamize Olawale
Snaps Carries Yds TDs Rec. Yds TDs
Week 1 12/75 1 2 1 0 0 0
Week 2 26/78 1 11 0 2 28 0
Week 3 21/66 1 0 0 0 0 0
Week 4 18/63 1 0 0 0 0 0
Week 5 22/76 6 22 1 1 2 0

You may not like it, but clearly Murray has been the most productive back for the Oakland Raiders. When healthy, he plays in the most snaps, he has the most yards and touchdowns. Will the others vulture touchdowns and touches all season? Yes, they will. But between the other three backs, there’s no consistency. Will Murray ever see more than 15 touches in a game? Unlikely, but this year we’re losing running backs left and right, so Murray’s touchdown upside in a high-octane offense has value.

No one decisively stole Murray’s starting role in his one game absence.

The team remains hopeful that Murray will be back this week when they face Kansas City coming off a bye in Oakland. The Chiefs have allowed an average of 123.5 rushing yards per game, but only four total touchdowns to running backs on the season. Like most weeks, Murray will be a dart throw.

Verdict: Murray, if you must

Broncos QBs: Trevor Siemian vs. Paxton Lynch

Leading up to Week 5 you’d think that Siemian did something terrible because many believed he’d lost his job. Lynch, the shiny new toy, came in during Week 4 when Siemian injured his non-throwing shoulder. Lynch looked competent against the Tampa Bay defense and completed 14 of his 24 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown.

Coming into their Week 6 game, Atlanta had allowed an average of 317 passing yards per game and 13 total touchdowns to quarterbacks. Many were asking, “Is this the beginning of the Paxton Lynch era in Denver?”

After Week 5 I think we can all let out an emphatic, “No.” Lynch completed 23 of his 35 pass attempts for 223 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The majority of those stats came after the game was already out of hand. He struggled with accuracy and sailed many a pass. Even worse, the Broncos logged their first loss of the season.

Lynch didn’t just affect the fantasy players that took a chance streaming the rookie quarterback in his first NFL start, but Week 5 was a bad one for all of the Broncos fantasy options. Demaryius Thomas owners were bailed out by his touchdown in the fourth quarter. After two weeks of touchdowns, Emmanuel Sanders did what he could to get that offense humming by catching seven of his nine targets for 80 yards. Most alarming was C.J. Anderson’s struggles, 11 carries for only 41 yards and three catches for 21 yards. The Falcons decided they would make Lynch throw, and that’s exactly how they managed their rather impressive victory over the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Reportedly, Siemian is expected to play Thursday night against the San Diego Chargers. Like Atlanta, the Chargers offer up a desirable matchup for a signal-caller, giving up an average of 309 yards per game and 10 total touchdowns to quarterbacks. However, the Chargers have also forced nine quarterback takeaways on the season.

Lynch still has the pedigree to be a successful quarterback in the NFL, but the team doesn’t need to press the issue. Lynch can be the future while Siemian is the present. It seems like that’s the winning formula

Verdict: Siemian

The debates rage on.

Brandon Marianne Lee is a PFF Fantasy contributor, a SiriusXM host, co-founder of Her Fantasy Football and was a finalist for FSWA's Newcomer of the Year in 2014.

  • John Vaghi

    I’ve got Charles and the Ware owner wants Floyd to give up ware in a straight swap – pull the trigger?

    • Bill


    • Brandon Marianne Lee

      I would do that trade, yes. Thanks for reading.

    • Nelson Cobb

      Yeah, having the cuff for Charles would be wise.