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.
The contestants for this week’s Four Corner Debate are:
- Antonio Brown
- Marcus Mariota
- CJ Anderson
- Marvin Jones
Antonio Brown (WR-Steelers):
Critt: Since 2013 Antonio Brown has played 50 games with Big Ben as his QB. In those games he has seen an average of 11 targets per game, 8 receptions, 106 yards receiving and has scored 36 touchdowns. Without Big Ben, he has averaged 8 targets per game, 4 receptions, 59 yards, and has yet to score. That is a pretty high disparity with and without Ben Roethlisberger. Last season without Ben for four games, Antonio had games of 42, 45, 24, and one game of 124 yards receiving. Big Ben is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, meaning his earliest return date would likely be week 11. Out of the Steelers final 6 games, four of them are on the road. Roethlisberger has a QB rating of 76.9 on the road compared to his 122.2 rating at home. If I was an Antonio Brown owner I would be worried and here is what my strategy would be. If I was a team who has struggled thus far in the season had won 3 or fewer games, I am looking to sell for a nice return. People will still view Brown as one of the game’s top wide receivers. Probably a 2 for 1 type deal. If I am a contender and have won 4 or more games this season, then I am buying Brown. He won’t be much help over the next few weeks, but when Ben Roethlisberger comes back, he will likely be a top 5 wide receiver once again (even if the Steelers are on the road some)!
Byron: Every year this happens to Antonio Brown owners. The Steelers get on a roll, Brown is looking unstoppable, and then the inevitable happens. Ben Roethlisberger goes down with an injury. After Big Ben left the game against the Dolphins on Sunday the team fell apart. To make matters worse, Roethlisberger had to have surgery that will knock him out for up to six weeks. That’s a long time to wait if you’re an Antonio Brown owner. Unfortunately, I don’t think you have much of a choice. You’re not going to get enough value from him to justify a trade with Big Ben sidelined, and he’s still arguably the best wide receiver in the league. Landry Jones isn’t going to come in and set the world on fire by any means, but I certainly think the Steeler’s could find themselves in worse shape from a quarterback perspective (see the Cleveland Browns). I don’t think Brown will have the 150 yard two touchdown games we’re accustomed to seeing with Jones at the helm, but I think he’ll still be a serviceable fantasy receiver. Hold tight and weather the storm.
D-Hall: Business is Boomin’! Antonio Brown is the best WR in football and really it’s not even close. Schematically, AB is a nightmare. He is a crisp route-runner, fearless across the middle, target monster, has great vision, runs after the catch, deep threat, with slot skills. There is no weakness to AB’s game. Some people are freaking out that AB is not going to have Big Ben around to get him the football. That’s not going to matter. I’ve heard Ben say, “I just get the ball to AB and let him do AB things”. I suspect that Landry Jones can do that. Todd Haley will also find creative ways to include AB in the offense moving forward because he knows that gives him the best chance to win. Look for the Steelers to force feed Le’Veon Bell and AB the football moving forward. I’m still drinking the AB Kool-aid moving forward. After all, Business is BOOMIN’!
Derk: I wish this guy had a reliable quarterback. If it weren’t for Big Ben getting hurt inevitably every season, Antonio Brown could seriously break some single season receiving records, I’m convinced. To say that Antonio Brown is electric is truly an understatement. However, in the past when Big Ben has been sidelined we’ve seen his production go way down. Through his first 3 games last year AB had 29 catches, 436 yards, and 2 TDs. That pace over 16 games would’ve been good for 154 catches, 2,325 yards, and 10 touchdowns. This would’ve made for the greatest season ever for a WR in receptions and yards.Seem far fetched? He still finished #2 in receptions and #4 in yards. ALL TIME! He ended up with 10 TDs but this was simply due to the Steelers leaning on the run game during Ben’s absence and AB having a scoring drought through 5 games. So…without Big Ben, AB looks like Danny Amendola. Bottom line, this isn’t the ideal time for AB owners to endure Big Ben’s injury. Maybe Landry Jones has taken some steps forward and AB’s outlook isn’t so grim. Continue to roll with him. At worst he’s a WR2.
Marcus Mariota (QB-Titans):
Critt: In a standard scoring league, Marcus Mariota was ranked as the 24th ranked quarterback in fantasy football. He threw only 4 touchdowns compared to 5 interceptions and ran for only 76 yards in those 4 games. Even quarterbacks like Alex Smith, Brock Osweiler, and Ryan Tannehill have ranked ahead of Mariota. The last two weeks, however, Mariota has been the 2nd best quarterback in all of the NFL! He has thrown for 6 touchdowns and only 1 interception, as well as rushed for 124 yards and a touchdown. One of the biggest differences has been that Mariota has started to use his feet. He gained nearly 50 more yards in the last 2 games than the first 4 combined. Another was the schedule he faced, he had two tough defenses in those first four games in Minnesota and Houston. The rest of the way his schedule is significantly lighter. It may be the easiest in football. He has Indy, Jacksonville, Green Bay, San Diego, Indy again, and Chicago. I can’t bring myself to say that Mariota will finish the year in the top 5, I wouldn’t be shocked, but I think he finishes just outside of that!
Byron: The Flyin’ Hawaiian is finally looking like the player many were expecting to see this year. Through the first four games of the season, Mariota only accumulated 43 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. He has now put up 57 fantasy points over the last two weeks. Mariota averaged 231 yards passing and only 13.5 fantasy points per game during that subpar stretch to kick off the year. Over the last two weeks, he has averaged 223 yards per game and 29.7 fantasy points per game. The difference? Touchdowns. After throwing for only 4 touchdowns over the first four weeks, Mariota has 7 to his credit over the last two games alone. The level of competition the Titans have faced during Mariota’s impressive two-game stretch has not been what you would call high quality, and that trend will continue over the next few games as well. Tennessee will face off against Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and San Diego over the next three weeks, so Mariota has the opportunity to keep up his recent success. He’s a great option to go grab if you’re a Big Ben owner.
D-Hall: The Titans have called the most QB designed runs of any team in the NFL this season. What does that tell me? The Titans have finally figured out that they have a mobile QB. Took them long enough. Mariota is a different breed of animal when he starts to scramble and break the pocket. The more he runs the more comfortable he becomes. You can almost see it in his body language. The game slows down for him and he starts to make it look really easy. So far this year Mariota is a top 10 QB. He has scored exactly 100 fantasy points this season and could be as high as a top 5 QB after this week. Aloha Y’all, I’m in on Mariota!
Derk: To be a viable quarterback in this league long term, Mariota has got to keep running and making plays while doing so. He’s way more valuable outside of the pocket for the Titans. Well, and quite frankly, for your Punnily named Fantasy Team. Coming up he faces the 9th, 12th, 10th, & 11th ranked defenses with the most QB points scored against. Most points against the run these same teams rank 2nd, 23rd, 6th, & 32nd. Basically, he’s gonna look good. He may not fare well running against the Jags and Packers in that 4 game stretch, but overall he may end up as a must roster in redraft leagues. I like him to own for this next stretch, but I’d trade him before the Packers if you have a legit starter waiting in the wings…a healthy Big Ben off the waivers by then, perhaps?
CJ Anderson (RB- Broncos):
Critt: For whatever reason, CJ Anderson cannot be consistent. Normally he is wretched the first half of the season and finishes extremely strong. This year, he started the season like he could be the best back in the NFL and has fallen apart since. I think what tricked everyone was the way he played against Carolina on opening night. A defense we thought was supposed to be incredible. Instead, they are ranked near the bottom of the league and have given up 20+ points in every game but one. He is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry and has given up touches to rookie Devontae Booker in every game. Yet, on Thursday night he did have 12 fantasy points called back due to penalties, but that is part of the game. This backfield will end up being a committee by the end of the year, and Anderson will probably get more touches than Booker, but he won’t finish any higher than a low RB2.
Byron: I will say this about CJ Anderson, he’s played a hell of a lot better this season than he did last year. Through the first six games, last season Anderson had only 21 total fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. He now has 64 points over that same span this year and currently, ranks as the 14th highest scoring fantasy running back. In all of 2015, Anderson only accounted for a total of 103 fantasy points. He’s on pace for over 170 in 2016. So while you may be a little concerned about his production over the past two games, just remember it could always be worse. What should be concerning Anderson owners, however, is rookie Devontae Booker. By all accounts, Booker seems to be the better running back in this offense. Over the last three games, the rookie has 18 carries for 99 yards and is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Anderson’s numbers are far less appealing. Over that same span, the starter has 40 carries for 127 yards with an average of 3.2 yards per carry. Yikes. I’m not going to stand on my soapbox and proclaim how Booker should be starting in Denver. I figure the coaches will make that determination on their own over time. The hope for Anderson owners is he has one more big game. If he does then I’m looking at dealing him while he’s hot.
D-Hall: Listen, all the guys here at Nohuddleffb are going to tell you that Booker is awesome and Booker is fast, and Booker is amazing. All that is mostly true. However, Perception is not always reality. The reality is that CJ Anderson out snapped Booker last week 58-15. Anderson is beloved in the locker room and by the organization to the point that they would match a large tender this offseason from the Miami Dolphins. Anderson has not had a good past few weeks, but last week he had just shy of 15 fantasy points called back for a penalty. Anderson is an integral part of the Broncos game plan every week. If the snap count gets closer to 30-30 I’ll start to worry, until then I’m sticking with the CJ and his nearly 16 carries per game. Don’t look a gift Bronco in the mouth you guys!
Derk: There’s no one I hate more than CJ Anderson. It is simply because of my own personal biases. I drafted the guy in the first round last year (maybe you did, too) and he burned me! He had a 4 or 5 game stretch in 2014 that looked like he should be Fantasy Football Hall of Famer in 2015! And then he friggin burned us. Never again I told myself! Never again! Of course, after spewing my hate and disdain towards the little fella he blows up week 1 & 2 to only again look like a HOF’r for the 2016 Fantasy season. Then he redeemed me by rattling off 4 straight mediocre CJ Anderson-esque games of less than 75 total yards and 1 TD. That’s the CJ I know and love to hate. The guy that’s been eating into his production, Devontae Booker, is destined to be the guy in Denver. And. I. Can’t. Wait. Finally, we will rid ourselves of the Anderson Plague. If you think I’m being harsh on the guy, remember what he said about your fantasy team when he was pressed about his production last year “Then drop me.” You got it guy. Drop him. Trade him. Be done here!
Marvin Jones (WR- Lions):
Critt: Marvin Jones receptions have dropped in every game this season since week 2 when he had 8 receptions. Week 3, was his big week when he had 6 catches for over 200 yards and a touchdown. Yet, since then he has had 5 receptions, 4 receptions, and then just 2 receptions last week. Not only that but his targets have been cut in half since the first 2 weeks of the season. Jim Bob Cooter, (just had to get that in) the Lions offensive coordinator, is adamant about getting Golden Tate more involved. They did a good job of accomplishing that last week. My advice would be to sell on Marvin Jones while your league mates still think he is a WR1 and he is ranked in the top 10. You can get a really good return from him right now. I just don’t see him being anything higher than a WR2 the rest of the way.
Byron: After a red-hot start to the season that drew comparisons of Marvin Jones to the likes of Calvin Johnson, we’ve seen the former Bengal drop off a bit over the last few weeks. He’s still been decent but hasn’t had the big yardage performances we saw in weeks two and three. He has, however, caught touchdown passes in the last two games which have made his combined 6 catches and 47 yards tolerable. Jones is without a doubt the number one receiver in this offense. Golden Tate went off last week after I bashed him in this article, but I strongly consider his performance as an outlier to what we can expect to see in a typical week. The only thing Tate has going for him are targets. Through the first six games of the season, Jones only has 6 more targets than Tate at 47. However, he has a whopping 74 fantasy points compared to Tate’s 36 (22 of which all came last week). That equates to either 380 yards or 6 touchdowns that Jones has on Tate over the first part of the season. As long as the Lions struggle to put anything close to resembling a rushing attack on the field, they’re going to have to move the ball through the air. If that’s the case give me Marvin Jones all day.
D-Hall: Marvin Jones is in rarified air so far this season. All praise Jim Bob Cooter. The top four fantasy WR this year. Julio, AB, Marvin Jones, and OBJ. What?!? One of these things is not like the other. Listen, I’m not doubting Jones. He’s had an awesome season and he has put together stretches like this in the past. Now do I expect him to keep up this torrid pace? He could, but I’m not confident enough put a bet on it. If you have Marvin you have to keep him in your lineup, but my advice would be to temper my expectations this year. I would even go as far as shopping him around your league to determine a value for him now. If you can pull a Lamar Miller, Devonta Freeman, Aaron Rogers, or another stellar fantasy option that has so far underwhelmed I would be tempted to pull the trigger.
Derk: I feel like I’ve written about this guy already. I think instead of writing about Golden Tate a week or two ago, I mostly wrote about Marvin Jones. Stafford has been on fire this year. Marvin Jones had been the biggest benefactor of said fire and I honestly would love to own Marvin Jones in any league. I know he’s a had a bad few games lately, but hang on. Their running back situation in Detroit is the reason we’ve seen a decline recently for Jones and an uptick for Golden Tate. With Riddick being injured, those targets have mostly gone to Tate for underneath throws. The defense has been covering up Jones over the top just daring them to run or dump it off. Well, it’s worked! But not for long! Ebron coming back will keep the secondary honest. When Riddick comes back, too, all will be as it should with Jones leading the team in receiving. Keep the guy. I love him!
As always feel free to contact us on twitter @No_HuddleFFB with questions.