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, and Four different opinions.
The contestants for this week’s Four Corner Debate are:
- Alex Smith
- CJ Anderson
- Keenan Allen
- Jason Witten
Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs)
Will Alex Smith finish in the top 5?
Critt: Smith sits at #2 after two weeks. He trails Trevor Siemian and is just ahead of Carson Wentz. The next 5 spots are Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Drew Brees, Phillip Rivers, Matt Ryan, and Ben Roethlisberger. I say that there is a better chance that 4 of those 8 enter the Top 5 than Alex Smith stays there. I think he will finish inside of the Top 10, but those are some big names sitting just behind him and I don’t think he can hold them off.
Byron: I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility that we see Alex Smith finish as a top five fantasy quarterback this season, but is it likely? No. Smith is currently the highest scoring quarterback on the season. Do you know who’s sitting at second and third? Trevor Siemian and Carson Wentz. While none of these guys are bad players, I don’t think they’re necessarily the elite passers in the league. 67% of Smith’s points came against the Patriots in the first game of the season. To finish in the top five he would have to beat out Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Derek Carr, Matthew Stafford, and so on. If you had asked me top ten, then I might’ve been more on board with that. I think we see Alex Smith perform more as a game manager like he’s been in the past, rather than the monster we saw week one.
Dan: No. Ridiculous. Next question.
Derk: This guy. He’s the guy at your office that you wonder how in the hell he still has a job. I think he often wonders that about himself as well. I certainly think Alex Smith has taken a step forward this year thus far. I worry about teams getting more film on this new and improved Alex Smith (and more importantly Hunt, Hill, Kelce, & Co.) and make him revert back to his old mediocre ways. With that being said, currently he does look like a top 5 QB, but he’s got stiff competition. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr are elite level QBs that each have proven in a relatively short amount of time that they can be top 5 guys in fantasy. It’s taken 12 year’s and 2 games for him to even get consideration. I just don’t think he can maintain his current level of production, but I hope I’m wrong. Love underdogs.
CJ Anderson (Denver Broncos)
Will CJ Anderson finish in the Top 10?
Critt: Anderson is at #4 after two weeks and looked as good as anyone in the league in week 2. Obviously, his big question mark is his health. If he can stay healthy I think there is a good chance that he can finish inside of the top 10. Even a year ago through 7 games on the season before he got hurt he was ranked #11, which is obviously right on the fringe. If he doubles his production from the first 2 games then he will nearly do what he did in the first 7 of 2016, I think he will finish just inside the top 10.
Byron: Now here’s a guy I can make an argument for. CJ Anderson owners are some of the most bitter fantasy football players you’ll come across (other than those that drafted Todd Gurley last season). I loved Anderson heading into this year. Devonta Booker was supposed to be his undoing in 2016, and the rookie was destined to take ownership of the Denver backfield by mid season according to some fantasy analysts. Booker was mostly unimpressive even after he became the lead back after Anderson was put on injured reserve. I mean, it’s hard to earn a starting job when you rush for over 80 yards just one time in a season. Jamaal Charles scared me even less when the Broncos brought him during the offseason. Charles was a great running back in his prime, but the veteran just can’t stay healthy. CJ Anderson is averaging just a half yard under 100 yards and a touchdown in two games to start the season. The Broncos are also feeding him more than 20 carries a game. I think he absolutely has a shot to finish in the top ten. What will determine that is unfortunately outside of his control. If Trevor Siemian continues to play like he is to start the season, then that will make the Broncos a much more multidimensional offense than they were last year. If Anderson stays healthy he finishes top ten if Siemian doesn’t fall apart as the season goes on.
Dan: No, but not because of talent. Two other factors contribute to why this is a no for me. 1 the talent/health of the O line in Denver. There is lots of chatter there about going outside the team for an LT. Someone like Duane Brown of the Texans, Joe Thomas of the Browns, or Maybe even a vet off the street. They are concerned with their Right tackle and want to move their Rookie first rounder that spot and replace his position with a veteran. 2. Injuries. Anderson has a history of not being able to stay healthy. For some folks that’s is a real skill. Some guys avoid big hits and twist and contort in all kinds ways to avoid damage. CJ does not seem to be that kind of guy. It seems like he is a, pound the ball into whatever is in front of him, type of runner. The risk of injury here is high. I say one of those two factors keep him just outside of the top 10.
Derk: CJ Anderson will most definitely not finish in the top 10 this year. Why? Simply put, there’s a good chance that by the time you read this, he will have stepped on a lego (seriously, can we get these things outlawed) and twisted his ankle, rendering him useless for a couple of games and in turn knocking him out of the top 10 conversation. Though I may hate CJ Anderson, I still recognize that he is off to a good start in Denver. I’m just not putting stock into the idea of him playing all season. He would most certainly have to anyway too finish in the top 10. Eventually, the wheels will come off this little turtle.
Keenan Allen (San Diego Chargers)
Will Keenan Allen finish as a WR1?
Critt: I have been a major Keenan Allen supporter from the start. Much like Anderson, the big question is health. If Allen stays healthy he is getting the target volume and even getting to the end zone enough to be considered a low-end WR1. Before getting injured two years ago he was on pace to finish in the top 5, I think he does it this year.
Byron: Keenan Allen will absolutely without a doubt finish the season as a top ten receiver IF he stays healthy. We all know his injury history, so that’s a pretty big if. Just for fun let’s just say Allen plays the entire season. Phillip Rivers loves Keenan Allen and targets him as often as possible. In case you didn’t know, Rivers is a pretty decent quarterback. While Keenan only had 35 yards against the Broncos in week one, he still scored a touchdown which salvaged a bad game against the best defense in the NFL. I think what we saw against the Dolphins in week two is much more indicative of his stat line moving forward. Rivers targeted Allen ten times against Miami, and his receiver caught all but one if them for 100 yards. The only negative about Allen’s game is he doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns. However, the Chargers are a team that want to throw the football and Phillip Rivers is more than capable to get the ball to his play makers. The Chargers play in a tough division, so I ain’t sat that Allen finishes top five, but he’s a solid candidate to end the season in the top 12 for sure IF he stays on the field the entire year.
Dan: Keenan Allen has the talent to finish as a WR1 this year. The problem with Allen is injuries. He has never finished all 16 games of an NFL season. Because of his history with injuries, I would bet that Allen probably finished in the low WR2 range. If I had Allen on my team I would be shopping him now for a two-piece trade and to get a WR2 and RB2 for him while he still looks to hold WR1 potential. I just can’t trust Allen to deliver the goods so I’m going to go out and try to get a CMC and Devante Parker if I can for instance that deliver WR2/RB2 quality with upside.
Derk: I love Keenan Allen. The guy has heart and the will of a fiery wight polar bear (Game of Thrones fans, anyone?). Much like my argument for CJ Anderson, the principle remains the same for Keenan Allen. He’s got to stay healthy for atleast 10 games before I say he’s back to his old form. With the amount of targets he’s getting in Los Angeles and assuming he does stay healthy, he very well could finish as WR1. The major concerns here will be how his role in the offense is affected when Mike Williams comes back and how many people Phillip Rivers . Here’s to hoping he keeps it together this year!
Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys)
How do you value Witten moving forward?
Critt: He is on a torrid pace that I didn’t see coming. Yet, he and Dak have undeniable chemistry. The Cowboys offense has struggled, particularly their passing game, and I don’t see his targets slowing down. In a tough year for tight ends, I see Witten as a TE1 at seasons end.
Byron: This is a trick question, because the answer entirely depends on Ezekiel Elliott. If Zeke serves his suspension this year, then Jason Witten’s value plummets to the point that I’m playing Austin Hooper over him. If Elliott plays the entire season, then Witten should finish as a fringe TE1/TE2 player. The veteran tight end has been heavily targeted over the first two games due to the Cowboys facing pretty stout defenses to open the season. Unfortunately, Dallas has some thought defenses they’ll face moving forward through the season. I won’t be shocked if Witten finishes as a top ten tight end, but it wouldn’t shock me if he falls off as he season goes along. I’ll say he finishes in the top 15.
Dan: Remember when Jordan was on the Wizards and he could still score like 20 a night because he was just a bit savvier than everyone else in the league. That’s where Jason Witten is now. Running routes for him is as easy as breathing. He almost instinctively now knows when to bend routes, stretch routes, and set them down in zones. He also has the trust of second-year signal caller Dak Prescott. He’s a safety blanket. He will continue to get a ton of targets and clean up mistakes for that offense. I think he finishes just outside the top 5 for TE’s this year.
Derk: Hard to believe this guy is as old as he is and still producing numbers like he’s a young man. I think with Dak’s inability to consistently get the ball to Dez and Zeke’s future being unknown, it’s possible Witten may be the Cowboy to own going forward. Dak may grow as a passer this year and manage to get other weapons involved consistently, but Jason Witten is as steady as it gets…top 8 in fact. Just don’t expect Gronk, Kelce, Graham type upside.
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