Have you ever been sitting around the room discussing fantasy football when you and your buddies come upon a player that you have differing opinions on. It happens all the time. Every Friday we want to bring you four players that owners are unsure about and have varying opinions on. The Four Corner Debate will have each of our writers here at NoHuddle give you their personal opinion on each of the four players listed.
This contestants for this weeks Four Corner Debate are:
- Stefon Diggs
- Allen Robinson
- Todd Gurley
- Jerrick McKinnon or Matt Asiata
Stefon Diggs (WR-Vikings):
Critt: Stefon Diggs has burst onto the scene once again in 2016 and is the #2 Wide Receiver in most scoring formats. The reason I say once again, is because in 2015 his campaign began in a similar fashion. He missed the first three weeks of 2015 due to injury and debuted in Week 4. From Week 4 to Week 7 he was ranked inside the top 10 among wide receivers and then he tanked. He finished the rest of the season ranked outside of the top 50. Owners should beware, that is likely a possibility again this season, but a few things in Minnesota have changed. Adrian Peterson got hurt, Teddy Bridgewater got hurt, and now their offensive style may very well change. Sam Bradford is a QB who can throw the ball deep, unlike Bridgwater, so that gives more credibility to Diggs maintaining his elite WR status. Unfortunately though, with a banged up offensive line and Bradford being a fragile QB, I don’t see Diggs maintaining this level of play. I think he finishes as a WR2 at best.
Byron: I was pretty high on Diggs coming into the season this year, and he’s certainly off to a hot start. What’s most impressive to me about his first two games is how well he’s played with Shaun Hill in week one and then Sam Bradford in week two after losing Teddy Bridgewater just a few days before the season started. Diggs will face his biggest test so far on Sunday when he plays the Panthers, so if he has another big game this week he’ll be in my lineups for the rest of the season.
D-Hall: When atoms of light are squeezed under enough pressure for their nuclei to undergo fusion as star is born. All stars are the result of a balance of forces: the force of gravity compresses atoms in interstellar gas until the fusion reactions begin. Stefon Diggs is a budding star. He is on a trajectory to reach astronomical heights. However, there will be a balance of forces. In Digg’s case it’s the team that he is on. There will be much more pressure on Diggs to carry the Vikings now that they have lost Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson. They were a team whose DNA was running the ball and playing good defense. Now they have traded draft picks and essentially went “all in” on this season for Sam Bradford and his number one target in his first games was Stefon Diggs. The time is now. Last season in 13 games Diggs was targeted 84 times. This season Diggs has been targeted 19 times through 2 games. That’s a pace to be targeted 152 times this season. Diggs has also caught about 84% of his targets for almost 15 yards per completion. That would put him on pace for 1900 on 129 catches. Those would be historical numbers and fantasy championship type stats. Stefon is a star. Get on the train before it leaves the tracks.
Allen Robinson (WR- Jaguars):
Critt: Allen Robinson’s stat lines this season look like a single game of his from last year. All off season analysts railed that the Jaguars offensive numbers were going to drop from last season. Mostly due to their improved defense keeping them in close games, therefore not playing catch-up late and racking up garbage points. Unfortunately for the Jaguars, their defense hasn’t been any better. Fortunately for fantasy owners, Allen Robinson will bounce back. He has still been targeted 20 times in the first two games, and it is only a matter of time before those targets start getting cashed in for results.
Byron: Robinson is a guy I think bounces back sooner rather than later. All of the hype around how improved the Jags defense would be this season seems to be pretty over-exaggerated to this point. If Jacksonville continues to fall behind early, then Bortles and A-Rob will get on the same page soon enough. Considering how high you probably drafted him, I think you wait it out with Robinson. He’ll be worth the investment eventually.
D-Hall: Allen Robinson finished 2015 as the top red zone target WR in the NFL and had 14 touchdowns in 16 games. 2016, so far, has been a bit off pace and a little underwhelming. Do not hit the panic button just yet. Robinson is a product of a sluggish Jacksonville passing game. The Jags will get things going especially as they get Chris Ivory going in their running game. There is a bit of Yin Yang feel to the Jaguars offense. The passing game relies on the running game and vice versa. When one is off, both are off. TJ Yeldon has not been effective so far this year. His YPC is 2.4 down from 4.1 last year. Look for Robinson to get going this week as it looks like Ivory will be back in the lineup after being out with an illness. For me Robison is another buy low candidate. If you can get him in your league for an average player I would pull the trigger quickly.
Todd Gurley (RB- Rams):
Critt: Most Gurley owners are in full on panic after two weeks of virtually no production. He was stifled by a San Francisco defense in Week 1 and was actually more productive against a tougher Seattle defense in Week 2. Yet, through the first two weeks of the season Gurley has only rushed for 98 yards and no touchdowns. He should be more productive against Tampa Bay this week, but after that the schedule does not get any easier. In the 13 remaining games of Gurley’s schedule, I would consider 7 of them difficult match-ups. Which means if you rely on Gurley giving you production of an RB1 week in and week out, you may want to rethink that plan. He could even be benchable in some of the match-ups. Even on a bad offense a year ago Gurley managed to finished as the #3 overall running back, but somehow the Rams offense has gotten even worse and now it is taking its toll on Gurley. I can only imagine that once the Rams turn to Jared Goff, it becomes even more horrid and difficult for Gurley to produce.
Byron: Todd Gurley was off draft boards within the first 10 picks in most fantasy leagues this season, so owners that selected him are likely pulling their hair out at this point. It’s not that Gurley suddenly forgot how to play football. Most of his struggles stem from being apart of a bland and predictable offense. The defensive game plan for every team facing the Rams this season is going to be to stack the box and make Case Keenum (or Jared Goff eventually) beat them through the air. I think Gurley will have some good games, but he faces a lot very intimidating defenses this season. If I own Gurley I’m hoping he strings together a couple high scoring games, so I can trade him to upgrade my lineup.
D-Hall: The Vapors, Chumbawamba, Blind Melon, Vanilla Ice, and now add Todd Gurley to the list of famous American one hit wonders. *record scratch* Wait, what? So far, through no fault of Todd Gurley’s, he’s quickly becoming a one hit wonder. Teams have found that the Rams are very one dimensional so they load the box and force the Rams to beat them by passing. The Rams are still getting Gurley his touches, about 18 per game. However, Gurley is not getting the yards per carry that he got last year to make his touches count, falling from 4.8 ypc in 2015 to 2.7 ypc 2016. I do not think this will go on forever. The Rams will eventually figure out how to get the passing game going enough to thin out the box. When that happens you will see Todd Gurley start to shine again. If you are in a league and you can get Gurley by trade, now would be the time to buy him low. He has already proven that he is an elite talent in this league. Buy, buy, buy, and buy on Todd Gurley right now!
Jerrick McKinnon or Matt Asiata (RB- Vikings):
Critt: Many owners debated this week if they should pick up McKinnon or Asiata off the waiver wire. Minnesota has already announced that McKinnon will be the starter this Sunday in replacement of Adrian Peterson. If we look back at 2014, the season that Adrian Peterson missed, we can find the best predictor for what the rest of this year will look like. In 2014 McKinnon played sparingly the first 3 weeks of the season. Yet, from weeks 4-11 he and Asiata split the work load. Much like we are going to see for the rest of this year. In that 8 week period Asiata finished as RB19 and McKinnon finished as RB22. The biggest misconception that I have heard this week is that McKinnon is the better back in PPR leagues. This actually isn’t true at all. The Vikings trust Asiata much more in passing situations because of his blocking skills and therefore he actually sees as many targets as McKinnon. They are likely to see a 65% to 35% split in carries for McKinnon between the 20’s, but Asiata will be the man at the goal-line and on third down. That is why I am buying Asiata over McKinnon.
Byron: Give me McKinnon here all day, and I don’t think it’s real close. McKinnon has proven he can carry the load when AP sat out a couple seasons ago. Asiata is more of a goal line back that may vulture some touchdowns from what we’ve seen in the past. Another guy to keep an eye on here could be Ronnie Hillman as well. If something were to happen to McKinnon or Asiata, then he could slide into a passing down role.
D-Hall: “Good athlete. Outstanding weight-room strength — bench-presses twice his weight and squats three times his weight. Tough runner — slams hard inside and usually falls forward. Good versatility. Superb worker. Efficient cut blocker.” (NFL.com) This is the NFL Combine analysis for one of these two backs. Can you guess which one? Times up. It’s actually Jerrick McKinnon. The former GA Southern University QB had turned heads with his strength and speed, 4.37, and was drafted 4 rounds above his 7th round projection by the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings like Jerrick McKinnon, but to this point he has just been a bit too raw to make his reps count. This is McKinnon’s 3rd season and I look for him to not only take control of the Vikings starting job, but to relegate Matt Asiata to a true backup roll. If you are deciding between these two backs, for me you have to go McKinnon.