Four Corner Debate: Week 5

Have you ever been sitting around the room discussing fantasy football when you and your buddies mention 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. Four players, Four writers. Differing opinions.

This contestants for this weeks Four Corner Debate are:

  • Odell Beckham Jr.
  • Matt Ryan
  • Isaiah Crowell
  • DeAndre Hopkins

Odell Beckham Jr. (WR, Giants):

Critt: If you’re an OBJ owner then you are probably a little worried about his production so far this season. If you aren’t worried about his production then you may be worried about all his antics on the field. I don’t think you should be worried about either. On the field Beckham Jr. has 22 catches for 303 yards and zero touchdowns. Last season through the first four games OBJ had a nearly identical stat-line of 24 catches for 307 yards and two touchdowns. Obviously the biggest difference in those stat lines is the two TDs. Yet, he is in the top 10 in the league when it comes to redzone targets this season. Therefore, I wouldn’t be to worried about OBJ from that standpoint, the TDs will come. Many feared at the start of the year that because of Victor Cruz being back and  the Giants drafting Sterling Shepard that OBJ would receive less targets. That hasn’t come to fruition as he has only two less targets then a year ago. His head is the only thing you have to worry about. He said this week that “The game wasn’t fun anymore.” I bet if he puts together a big game in the next few weeks, the game will become fun again.

Byron: Odell Beckham Jr, much like other highly drafted fantasy wide receivers, is causing a whole lot of frustration for those that have him on their roster. Sterling Shepard has 37 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues on the season. Odell Beckham Jr has 29. Victor Cruz has 28. OBJ isn’t even the highest scoring receiver on his team and only has one more point than a player that is less than 48% owned in leagues. To put it quite simply, the frustration isn’t unfounded. While his play on the field has been underwhelming, I’m equally concerned with his behavior. He once again instigated a fight with an opposing player and probably should have been ejected from the game at one point. Beckham is an emotional player, but the NFL implemented a new rule regarding personal foul penalties almost solely due to his aggressive targeting against Josh Norman last season. It wouldn’t surprise me if Beckham were to be ejected in at least one game this season. All that aside, I think OBJ bounces back and will be fine moving forward. Through four games last season he had 24 catches for 307 yards and two touchdowns. This year he has 22 catches for 303 yards and no touchdowns through four games. His stats are almost identical with the only difference being he hasn’t found the end zone this season yet.  The touchdowns will come, so sit tight.

D-Hall: “I’m not having fun anymore”, that’s what OBJ was quoted as saying this week. There are also rumors that if there are any more “outbursts” then OBJ will find himself on the Giant’s bench. Then there’s blah blah blah. Listen, Odell Beckham Jr has hit a bit of a rough patch, but that does not change that he is a once in a generation talent putting up stats that the NFL has never seen. Through his first 30 games OBJ had more than 3,000 receiving yards and became the fastest player in NFL history to amass 200 catches. What really lost in the drama of this slow start to this season for OBJ is the fact that this is only the all pro wideout’s 3rd season! His Target numbers are right on pace to where they should be at about 9-11 per game. Eventually he is going to break out in a big way, like this week. I’m calling it right now, OBJ has a multiple td game this week against the Packers. If you can buy OBJ low, right now is the time to do it. Coming off matchups against Josh Norman and the Redskins and what is, in my opinion, the best defense in the NFL in Minnesota OBJ has smooth sailing for most of the season with matchups coming up against the Bengals, Browns, Cowboys, Lions, and two games against the Eagles down the stretch. Buy now!

Derk: This guy. Dude control your emotions. You remind me of my middle school girlfriend! Whenever she would get challenged on things big or small she would respond the same irrational way. Props to you though, OBJ, for realizing that you are indeed a role model. Charles Barkley didn’t want to admit it. And yet, you did! Easily, OBJ could end up as the best WR in fantasy this year…ok…every year. But like every man that is out to prove something, you’ve got to reign in the emotions to achieve it. If you’ve got OBJ this year, consider trading him. The guy needs a rebuilding year personally. May be he pulls it together and you finally see dividends for the high price you paid for him. But if it’s me, I’ll let him blow up this week against the Packers. Then trade him. He’s a head case for now and honestly I’d rather own Sterling Shepard. Quick note: don’t trade him dynasty leagues…unless you’re Byron…then you trade him.

Matt Ryan (QB-Falcons):

Critt: I talked in detail about Matt Ryan in our 20 Minute Huddle podcast. Ryan has obviously been on fire and is the #1 QB in all of fantasy football right now and it isn’t even close. With that said, If I am a Matt Ryan owner, I am trying to sell him as quickly as I can. Matt Ryan isn’t new to the NFL, he has a history. This is his 9th year as a starter, and in the previous eight season he has never finished higher than the 6th ranked QB in standard scoring fantasy leagues. He has only finished in the top seven quarterbacks twice. Nothing in the offense has really changed that much from this year to years past to justify his performances. Not to mention that the Falcons started hot last season at 5-0 and then collapsed in the second half of the season and failed to make the playoffs. I think as the season goes on Ryan will still be a good QB, I just don’t see him finishing in the Top 5. I think he will settle as a low end QB1 ranked somewhere from 6-12. If I can trade Matt Ryan in my league right now for a player that is a solid RB2/WR2  value or higher, then I am making the move.

Byron: If you listened to our podcast you already knew Matt Ryan would be featured here this week. Matty Ice leads the quarterback position in terms of fantasy production by a whopping 24 points in standard leagues. That’s either 240 yards or 6 touchdowns. Either way you slice it, Ryan is on a hot streak to start the season. The concern surrounding the former Boston College standout is two fold. First, we saw the same song and dance last season. The Falcons started the season undefeated before falling flat on their face in the second half of the year. Secondly, Matt Ryan relies heavily on Julio Jones (for good reason). However, Julio is somewhat injury prone. The Alabama product accounts for over 33% of his teams receiving yards this season. If he endures another injury that could spell trouble for Matty Ice from a fantasy perspective. Those two things aside, this feels like Atlanta’s year. The schedule opens up after the next two weeks as well. This is Ryan’s second year with his new offensive coordinator, and he looks a lot more comfortable with the play calling than he did last season. Full speed ahead with Matty Ice. 

D-Hall: What can you say about the way Matt Ryan has opened up this season. He has been on fire. Through the first quarter of the season he has been the league MVP. He’s connecting on career highs in Completion % at 72.1 and QB rating at 126.3. So his outlook has never been brighter right? Not so fast my friend. Consider the competition that Matt Ryan has had to face so far this year; Tampa Bay, Oakland, New Orleans, and Carolina are all near the bottom of the league in pass defense. That is not the only thing that has contributed to Matty Ice’s success but it certainly helps. Call me skeptical, but I just don’t think that after 9 seasons a good QB steps into a huddle and becomes Peyton Manning. I’m not selling Ryan, but I’m not expecting him to continue at this pace. If he does though, he will finish the season with 5800+ yards, 44 touchdowns and 8 ints…… not likely.

Derk: Matt Ryan…if you’re a long time fantasy football player, this name has to frustrate you. The guy has the talent to be the best Qb in the league some weeks. Actually, “some weeks” in his case means the 1st 6 weeks of the year. My disdain for him stems from his ability to flame out like a great 90s tune. “How Bizarre?” anyone? In the beginning it feels right and by the 7th or 8th time you realize something has gone horribly wrong. This year though…it feels different. It feels like the guy has grown up a bit and audibles to the run game when he sees fit. Tough stretch ahead, I know. It would be easy to give up on the guy when he faces Denver this week…and I’m gonna look elsewhere first. But if I can’t find anyone else to replace him against Von Miller…I don’t feel so bad. The guy has talent and after these next few games, the schedule lightens up…really lightens up. He is finally taking command and this year, Matt Ryan finishes as a top 5 QB.

Isaiah Crowell (RB- Browns):

Critt: Hue Jackson said at the beginning of the season that he was going to make Isaiah Crowell a thousand yard back. He is well on his way to accomplishing that goal. Crowell is second in the league in rushing yards with 394. The Browns have been able to keep games close enough to be able to feed Isaiah Crowell. The fear is that if they get in game scripts where they have to pass the football, Crowell will not be as involved as Duke Johnson. Crowell only has 8 targets on the season compared to Johnson’s 25. Crowell has averaged 16 touches a game through the first 4 games. His touches have been very consistent. Duke Johnson however has doubled his touches in the last two games, averaging 7 touches a game through the first two, but 14 touches a game during his most recent two games. If that trend continues, I don’t like Crowell to keep up his current production. Right now Crowell is the #6 running back in all of fantasy football. I do not think he retains the status of an RB1 throughout the whole season. I think his numbers will take a hit, but he will finish as a solid RB2. Ranked somewhere near the top 15 of all running backs.

Byron: If Crowell were on any other team I think he could possibly be a player you would draft in the first five rounds. However, he’s stuck with a Browns team that seems destined to finish in the bottom third of the league for all eternity. Had you told me that Isaiah Crowell would be second in the NFL in rushing through the first quarter of the season we could not have been friends. And yet, here we are. What’s most impressive to me is what Crowell has been able to produce considering the time he splits with Duke Johnson. Ezekiel Elliott leads the league in yards with 412 yards on 94 carries. Crowell comes in next with 394 yards on 61 carries. That stat is the difference maker for me. The guy is averaging almost 6.5 yards per carry and is still being overlooked for the most part. You can even pick him up in a small handful of leagues as he’s just a hair over 90% owned. For that reason I think Crowell is a player to target if you don’t have him. I literally just traded Tajae Sharpe and Devontae Booker for him, and that’s a steal on so many levels. Duke Johnson will be involved in the passing game, but I think Crowell is the guy to own as the season moves along.

D-Hall: Isaiah Crowell is an interesting case. In all rational means of thought Crowell should not be producing as a top fantasy back. He is on a bad team, with no QB, an average O Line, and they are mostly playing from behind. Yet, Crowell has been able to amass great stats. He’s averaging a Jamaal Charles esque 6.5 yards per carry and has racked up 394 yards in 4 games putting him on pace for a 1500+ rushing season. The reason I’m putting my money on Crowell going forward this season has really less to do with him and more with his head coach. Hue Jackson always finds a running back. In 2011 with the Raiders Michael Bush had nearly 1000 yards, in 2014 and 2015 with the Bengals Jeremy Hill had 1000 and 794 respectively with 9 and 11 touchdowns. Crowell is just the next in line in a system that churns out top preforming RBs.

Derk: Yes Lord! How I love Isaiah Crowell! The kid can just flat out run. He’s a natural runner with an offensive line that can absolutely flatten d-lines. After 4 weeks, guess who is the leading rusher in the NFL?! One guess…you ready?! Zeke. Ok. Number 2 tho?! Crow!! The guy is sneakily on a historic pace to become the Browns number 2 guy in rushing yards in a single season. Number 1?! Some guy named James Brown…excuse me…Jim Brown. He was highly touted coming out of high school and played extremely well for Georgia. He eventually was kicked off the team and landed at Alabama State where he was able to shine. I believe him going undrafted had nothing to do with his physical ability, but more so with his decision making ability. I believe he’s grown up a little bit (albeit a setback in the offseason) and will continue to stave off Duke Johnson Jr. for the lead role in Cleveland this year. Keep the guy in mind when you are looking to trade Todd Gurley in redraft leagues. He’s here to stay…for 2016 at least.

DeAndre Hopkins (WR- Texans):

Critt: If I am a DeAndre Hopkins owner I am worried. Luckily for his owners he was able to snare two TDs in his first two games of the year. Those two TDs could also have blinded you from what is actually happening in Houston. If you drafted Hopkins, you probably picked him in the first round as one of the top 5 WRs off the board and you expect him to perform like he has in the past as an elite WR1. That’s not the case so far this year and trends tell me that he won’t be that receiver. He has 56 yards or less receiving in 3 of his first 4 games. Last year through four weeks Hopkins saw 60 targets from Texans’ QBs. Those 60 targets made up 47% of all Texans’ targets. This season he has only seen 33 targets, which make up only 23% of the team’s targets. Brock Osweiler has looked his way almost half of what Texans’ QBs had last year to this point. Teammate Will Fuller V has as many targets, more receptions and yards, and the same amount of touchdowns as Hopkins. Even more alarming is that Hopkins had 29 redzone targets last season, and this season he has only 3. Which means he is on pace for roughly 12 redzone targets. If I am a Hopkins owner I am just a weeee bit concerned!

Byron: Concern. I think that’s what you feel as a fantasy football owner when you look at DeAndre Hopkins. This guy put up a huge season last year regardless of who is quarterback was, and yet here we are with Brock Osweiler. Osweiler is underperforming to the extent that is frustrating for almost every fantasy football owner out there. When I look at the former Denver backup I think of Matt Flynn and Matt Cassel. The fact that a rookie, Will Fuller, is outscoring DeAndre Hopkins makes me scratch my head. Sure, defenses are likely keying in on Hopkins and making Osweiler find other targets. However, the targets are not there for Hopkins like they were last year. The Houston Texans added Lamar Miller from the Dolphins and are dedicated to feeding him the football whenever possible. This certainly takes away from potential opportunities for Hopkins that were there last season when he became a top 10 draft pick this year. The hope is that Osweiler and Hopkins can get on the same page in a hurry. The former Clemson star is a an extremely talented receiver, and I will give him one more game after Minnesota this week. The Texans will face off against the Colts in week 6, and if Hopkins is still held in check I’d likely trade him while his stock is somewhat high. 

D-Hall: I guess there is more to playing football than wearing Yeezy’s and catching touchdowns, but not too much. Remember last year when Aaron Rogers said R-E-L-A-X. Well that is how I feel about the hate around DeAndre Hopkins. Will Fuller has proven to be a weapon, Lamar Miller is going to get his touches in the Running game and the Passing game, and Brock Osweiler is still getting his head around the offense (see his interception total). Last year Hopkins caught 57% of his targets. This year he is catching 51% of his targets. The real determining factor is his total targets. Last year he was getting 12 targets per game. This year he is getting a little over 8 targets per game. Over the course of a season that would be 60 less targets total this year than last year. At Hopkins 14.7 yard per catch avg that’s a loss of 882 yards. On top of that last year Hopkins averaged a touchdown per every .06 targets, if that trend continues he is looking at a loss of 3.6 touchdowns this year as well. Hopkins should pick it up this year, but with the addition of all the new mouths to feed in Houston do not expect Hopkins to get enough targets to be the D Hop of last year.

Derk: There’s a reason this guy kissed the football after a 4 yd catch last week. It’s because he knows he won’t see much of it for the rest of the year. Defenders know who to guard on this offense…it’s Hopkins. That’s why you’ve seen the emergence of Will Fuller. He was supposed to be a project! A guy in year one that would wait in the wings while Hopkins catches all the passes. So far, we’ve seen Hopkins become the secondary target behind Fuller. Unless Fuller starts to draw more coverage or a 3rd receiving option rears their head…or a different QB shows up…we may be in for a long season with DeAndre. While I expect DeAndre to outperform a widely held belief that he’ll finish as a WR3, he’s still worth trading in redraft leagues and trading for in dynasty leagues. Take advantage of him while he still holds name value. Brockweiler isn’t Brian Hoyer…and that’s not a good thing for Mr. Hopkins.

As always feel free to contact us on twitter @No_HuddleFFB with questions.

3 thoughts on “Four Corner Debate: Week 5

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