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:
- Cam Newton
- Mark Ingram
- Terrence West
- Doug Baldwin
Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers):
Critt: Cam has only thrown 0 or 1 touchdown in 3 of the last 4 games which can cause owners to panic. Yet, if you look at the numbers I think Cam Newton will come out of this slump and finish as one of the top QBs in the league once again even though he is sitting outside the top 15 right now. He is averaging 32 rushing yards a game, which is only 7 yards less than what he averaged a year ago and he is still on pace for 8 rushing touchdowns. He had 10 a year ago. His schedule down the stretch is Chiefs, Saints, and Raiders and in the playoffs, he gets the Chargers, Redskins, and Falcons. All of those games are conducive to producing strong passing numbers. Cam could be the QB that gets you through the stretch run. Not to mention that he might get some more calls after his rant this past weekend.
Byron: There’s something that really rubs me the wrong way about Cam. He’s an elite athlete with a huge arm and an aggressive running style. My issue isn’t with his skills on the field. It’s more of his attitude when things aren’t going his way. Last season we saw all the flair and theatrics when the Panthers were on a roll and winning. This year we’re seeing a guy that clearly has a Super Bowl hangover. Either way, he’s still an elite fantasy quarterback. Last season through eight weeks Cam was averaging 18.7 fantasy points per game. This year he’s averaging 19 (I took out the game he missed due to injury). If you’re one of the people that drafted Cam in the first or second round you’re likely panicking a bit, but I think he will turn it around starting with the Rams this week. He’s going to be fine from a fantasy perspective. His schedule down the stretch features teams such as the Saints, Raiders, Falcons, and Buccaneers. He has Kelvin Benjamin back at his disposal and Jonathan Stewart is performing at a high level. The Panthers are set from an offensive standpoint.
D-Hall: Cam for me is the ultimate buy low QB this year. His schedule is very favorable down the stretch with just one matchup of worry (Seahawks) late in the season. I expect him to get rolling and start back on that MVP form that we have seen out of him in recent years. The talent is there. He still has great weapons in Benjamin and Olsen, and Cam can still run. That means the last half of the season for Cam is going to be huge. Get him in your lineup somehow! “There cream rises to the top”-Macho Man Randy Savage.
Derk: Well, so much for a repeat performance from the 2015 MVP. What’s different from last year? When you at his stats through 8 games so far this year, his completion percentage is only down 2% from his career average of 59%. His touchdown rate is down significantly from what it was a year ago, 7.1% to 3.9% which matches his career low from 2012. Maybe the wide receivers aren’t helping? No. That’s not it either! They have caught everything thrown their way and have the 6th best drop rate in the league! The real story here is how the offensive line that jelled so well last year has been inconsistent in pass protection in 2016. Cam hasn’t been given the kind of time he needs to make significant throws to receivers. Additionally, he has been giving up the rushing touchdowns to Jonathan Stewart. He also has missed a game and has had his bye already, so that quarterback ranking of 16 is a little deflated. He’d be #7 if he had played 2 games with his current average 18 points/game. He has an ok schedule coming up, so for me, his upside warrants a start every week. He’s frustrating to own but hang in there if you can.
Mark Ingram (New Orleans Saints):
Critt: Let me give you the scary statistic of Mark Ingram’s year, he only has 1 rushing touchdown this season and 9 different Saints have carried the ball inside the 5-yard line this season. That isn’t good for Mark Ingram! He is averaging 3.8 yards a carry this season, and Tim Hightower didn’t do any better than that on Sunday. It does look like he is going to split carries with Hightower after last week. Yet, his receiving work is very similar than it was a year ago and he had never had a receiving TD until this season, which he has 2. This week he gets a really poor San Francisco rush defense. It’s possible that he could have a huge game this week and he could go back to being the starter. Ingram isn’t going to finish as an RB1 this season, but he will likely finish the year as a low RB2 or strong flex play the rest of the way.
Byron: I’ve never been a fan of Mark Ingram. I’ve had every chance in the world to draft him and have been offered trades that have featured him. He’s never once been on any fantasy team I’ve had. All of the preseason hype around Ingram featured designations like a workhouse, three down back, etc. I didn’t buy any of that. The New Orleans Saints are a team that is going to rely heavily on Drew Brees for as long as he’s there. Unfortunately for Mark Ingram, Drew Brees loves to throw the ball. When Brees is your quarterback you’re essentially a pawn in a game of chess. You’re expendable. At least that’s the message the coaching staff sent to Ingram last Sunday. After uncharacteristic fumbling issues popped up, Ingram was benched for most of the game in favor of Tim Hightower who rushed for over 100 yards in his first real action of the season. This has trouble written all over it for fantasy purposes. I’m not playing Ingram this week if I own him. I want no part of a Saints running back that has suddenly found himself in a timeshare.
D-Hall: I’ve never been high in the former Heisman trophy winner, Mark Ingram. By all accounts, he’s been a pretty productive HB especially coming from a power run offense in college and moving to a pass heavy offense of Sean Peyton in the pros. Seeing Tim Hightower run last week had to eat at Ingram and I don’t think the Saints completely turn away from him to Hightower moving forward. Yet, I do not think he will get as much work as he used to any longer. It stinks especially for those that thought Ingram was in for a breakout year. The uncertainty of the situation will certainly draw tons of conjecture about the status of Ingram moving forward. Unfortunately, only time will tell in this situation. Hard times for Ingram owners. He’s on my bench until the picture develops a little more.
Derk: Look you can be upset Sean Payton and quite frankly I don’t blame you. What has Sean Payton ever done for Fantasy owners besides give us Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham. He had an exceptionally talented running back in Reggie Bush and squandered that opportunity by letting a Frenchman by the name of Pierre Thomas get what was rightfully Reggie’s! Finally, this year we were going to get what we’ve hoped for, an all Ingram backfield! For the most part, in a pass heavy offense, Ingram has been reasonably productive so far this year. That is until that fumble happened. Then friggin Tim Hightower gets the spin, gets hot, and Sean Payton laughs at all of us like a maniac. Hear this, though. This is not the Tim Hightower show. They paid Ingram to be the lead man. They better deliver or else they’re going to look mighty silly. Hang on to him because you won’t get anything back in a trade.
Terrence West (Baltimore Ravens):
Critt: Obviously, Terrence West looked really good in weeks 5 and 6 once he was given the starting job in Baltimore. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry in those two contests. In week 7 he only received 8 carries and was stymied for 10 yards. Ouch. Moving into their bye this week the Ravens said they wanted to see Kenneth Dixon get a little more involved. That is obviously concerning to West owners. I have been a big Dixon fan since seeing him run at Lousiana Tech and in the preseason, but the one area he struggles mightily is with pass protection. It has been proven time and time again in the NFL, if you can’t pass protect, you can’t play. I do think that Dixon will steal some work from West coming out of the bye this week, but in the long run, I think West still holds onto this backfield and finishes the year as a solid RB2. This week will be very telling, though, watch how they deploy both Dixon and West and we may learn a ton.
Byron: I might be a little biased here because Terrance West is a source of pride for me in my dynasty league. When everyone else blew him off, I believed. All joking aside, I like West on a week to week basis. The general expectation is that rookie Kenneth Dixon will eventually have an opportunity to earn more of a role in the Ravens offense. That simply hasn’t been the case over the first half of the season. West saw only 8 carries before Baltimore’s bye week, which he turned into ten yards. I’m going to use that week as an outlier in what has otherwise been a productive stint as the number one running back for the Ravens. In the three weeks before his terrible outing, West had three touchdowns and didn’t rush for less than 87 yards. That’s a pretty solid run by a guy that was mostly unknown by the general public coming into this season. While I do think that Baltimore will want to get Dixon more involved in the offense, Coach Harbaugh stated this week that the rookie needs to improve in pass protection before he’ll see much playing time. This backfield is a mess, but I think West recovers this week and next against both the Steelers and Browns.
D-Hall: West is interesting. He is like a flower that somehow grows out of the sidewalk. Despite all odds, he’s been very productive this year for the Ravens. Last week was tough obviously as the Jets are one of the toughest run D’s in the league. He has, for the most part, held off the more talented rookie Kenneth Dixon and he’s showed that he has the chops to be an NFL running back! However, I don’t see him holding off Dixon much longer. That backfield will at least go to a time share. He may be a good fantasy option for a couple more weeks so I’m selling West after his next big game.
Derk: I hate Terrance West. Really hate him. He sucked in Cleveland and he sucks now. Never mind those few games from this year. They were anomalies. We saw the real Terrance West last week, 8 carries for 10 yards. I really think John Harbaugh hates the guy too. So much so he talks about getting Kenneth Dixon going all the time. John Harbaugh dreams about the day he can give the middling Terrance West his walking papers and name Kenneth Dixon as the newly appointed, unquestioned, running back for the Baltimore Ravens. The only good thing I wish for Terrance West is that he would find a nice hole to crawl into so we can finally be done with seeing him underwhelm the gridiron. Hopefully, this article won’t be used against me when I decide to run for President in 2056. Let’s make the Ravens running attack great again. Build a wall around Terrance West.
Doug Baldwin (Seattle Seahawks):
Critt: Last season Doug Baldwin was incredible down the stretch. He actually finished as the #8 WR receiver last season but finished as the #1 WR in fantasy football from weeks 10 to 17. For perspective, last season entering week 10, he was ranked the #45 WR in football. My point is that it isn’t time to give up on Baldwin yet. Coming into this week he is the 30th ranked wide receiver in the league. I am not telling you that he is going to end up being the #1 receiver the rest of the year like he was last season, or that he will even come close to repeating those numbers, but, if you are thinking about dropping him or trading him, don’t! Don’t drop him! There is still half a season left, and last year was enough evidence that he can finish as a starter moving forward!
Byron: Doug Baldwin and Russell Wilson won people championships last year. After a mostly mediocre season, Baldwin broke out in week 12 against the Steelers and started his streak of 11 touchdowns scored in five games. He only had three scores in the first eleven weeks of the season combined. Baldwin finished last season with 184 fantasy points. 112 of them game in those five big games. He only averaged 6.5 points per game outside of that. I say all of that because I think 6.5 points per game is a much more realistic expectation for Baldwin’s production. Unfortunately, most people only remembered the touchdown streak from last season and drafted Baldwin with low WR1/high WR2 expectations. In seven games this season Baldwin has 58 fantasy points in standard leagues and is averaging 8.3 points per game. To be fair, Baldwin’s success is directly tied to Russell Wilson’s performance. Unfortunately for Baldwin owners, Wilson has been banged up most of the season and has not played well. Baldwin is a high WR3 option for me until his quarterback can get healthy and look like the quarterback we all saw last season. Even if Wilson does get healthy enough down the stretch to make a run, I don’t see Baldwin coming anywhere close to replicating the performances we saw out of him last season on a consistent basis.
D-Hall: Doug Baldwin had a breakout campaign last year. That has somewhat been stymied because of the emergence of Jimmy Graham and the step back QB Russell Wilson has taken. Because Baldwin’s success is so contingent on those around him he has struggled this season to find his role in the offense. I think that trend will continue with Baldwin so I’m avoiding him down the stretch. For me, there are just too many other WR options out there to turn to. Baldwin is just too unreliable for me. Sorry Doug.
Derk: I honestly had no idea that Dougy B has been as bad as he’s been this year. Then again, I had no idea that Russell Wilson was performing so bad. I just gave him the benefit of the doubt that he was still suiting up on Sundays despite the 15 injuries to his lower extremities. This is easy for me after looking at what’s been going on with the Seahawks’ passing attack. Russell Wilson needs to scramble to be successful in the passing game. Russell Wilson needs to scramble to have the time to find Doug Baldwin. Russell Wilson needs to scramble for the offense just to be successful in general and he just can’t. Doug Baldwin is still a reasonable start as your WR3 because he has a high floor and the upside to break for a long run after the catch. I would look to start someone else though or pick an emerging receiver like Tyreek Hill or JJ Nelson up off the waivers to replace him.
As always feel free to contact us on twitter @No_HuddleFFB with questions.