The Four Corner Debate: Week 6

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:

  • DeShaun Watson
  • Joe Mixon
  • Adrian Peterson
  • Brandin Cooks

DeShaun Watson (Houston Texans)

How do you evaluate Watson moving forward as an owner?

Critt: I look at Watson in two very different scenarios. The first comes in redraft leagues. If I own Watson in a redraft league and also have another serviceable QB then I would be looking to trade him as soon as I could. If you can get an RB1 or WR1 back in value then it is a no-brainer. On the other side of the coin is dynasty owners. I actually own Watson in a 2QB dynasty league and I have asked myself this questions for the last two weeks. “What do I do with him?” His value will never be higher than it is now and you can get some incredible returns for him in dynasty formats. If you think he is going to end up more like a RGIII or Colin Kaepernick then trade him, but if you think he is more like a Russell Wilson, hold him. I think he will be somewhere in the middle and his best comparison is Alex Smith, who is pretty useful this year. I am holding onto him. 

Byron: I feel like we had a very similar conversation about another rookie quarterback last season. I’m obviously referring to Dak Prescott and his epic first season as a starting quarterback in the NFL. While the two situations are a little different, they have one common theme. Both the Cowboys and Texans are playoff caliber teams and both desperately needed help at quarterback. I don’t think we’d be seeing these types of games from Deshaun Watson if he was in a Cleveland Browns uniform. However, the former Clemson star has been incredibly impressive over his first handful of games as a starter. Hell, this kid has accounted for ten touchdowns in the last two games. TEN TOUCHDOWNS. While I don’t believe that kind of production is sustainable, I do think Watson is the real deal. From a fantasy perspective, I don’t know that I can name you 12 other quarterbacks that I’d rather have on my team, which put the rookie firmly in the QB1 conversation week in and week out. He’ll have ups and downs, but Deshaun Watson is here to stay.

Dan: If I’m a Watson owner I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m not arguing that he hasn’t looked the part recently because there is no arguing that. He has looked amazing! My caution comes only for single-season fantasy Watson owners. In his first year, every game will not be five TDs per. He will have “rookie” moments and teams will start to game plan for his legs as well. The thing that makes me optimistic is the throws that he is making. When you can avoid pressure, and throw a 50-yard dart to hit a man in stride you got “it”. Dynasty owners rejoice you have a diaper dandy baby!

Derk: If you drafted Deshaun Watson, congratulations and welcome to the playoffs.   Remember when Cam Newton was a rookie? Your buddy started the season off with 5 straight losses, picked up Cam and then went on to win 9 straight? Deshaun is that kind of game changer. At the beginning of the year, he was forcing the ball deep with very little success. He’s becoming much more efficient with his throws and getting the ball in the vicinity of his world-class receivers. Couple his efficient play as a passer with his running ability and you’ve got a Fantasy Football Championship caliber quarterback. Don’t trade him unless you have Brady, Rodgers, or Brees then you should go get you a rookie running back in a trade.

Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals)

Where does Mixon finish the year among RBs?

Critt: I stayed away from Mixon in most all of my drafts because I knew that this backfield would be a headache and the first 2 weeks it was just that. Once their offensive coordinator was fired it became clear though that Mixon was the back that was going to get the bulk of the work. Giovanni Bernard is the third down and passing situation back, he assumes the role he has always had and Mixon seems to be the pound back with Hill occasionally getting a carry now. Once the new OC took over Mixon has averaged nearly 17 carries a game. That is plenty to create useful production in fantasy. The problem is that Mixon hasn’t been productive. He is averaging 2.7 yards a carry and has scored 1 touchdown on the season. If I can still sell him on his name value I would, but I do think he will finish the year as a weekly flex play with the possibility of moving into the RB2 range. His biggest detriment is that he is running behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league.

Byron: I’ll be the first to admit that I was incredibly high on Mixon heading into the draft this season. This kid was a star at Oklahoma, but off the field issues caused him to drop. Unfortunately, he was drafted by a Bengals team that had an already crowded backfield with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Since earning the starting job a few weeks back Mixon hasn’t looked all that impressive. He did find the end zone for the first time last week, but the presence of Bernard (who currently has more fantasy points than Mixon) stunts his upside. All that being said, the rookie’s involvement in the offense should only grow as the season moves along. He’s just as talented as Gio at catching passes out of the backfield and is much more explosive than Hill. By the end of the season, he’ll still be overshadowed by the likes of Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette, but he should develop into a valuable fantasy football asset.

Dan: Joe Mixon will finish as a low-end RB2 or high-end RB3. The problem is workload. When he gets the work he is productive, but the Bengals seem to be trying to get Hill and Bernard touches as well and I just do not trust a Patriots-esque backfield. From what I’ve seen there is no clear-cut goal-line back or third down back in Cincinnati as well. So, it’s also hard to gauge with the situational production will be for Mixon. All these things make the crystal ball murky and I’m not willing to bet my fantasy season on that.

Derk: I think Joe Mixon has a bright future ahead of him. When it comes to his rookie year I think he will finish as a low-end RB2. The guy has crazy talent seemingly a perfect blend of his 2 predecessors. He has the quickness and speed of Gio with hands to boot. His running style reminds one of a young motivated Jeremy Hill where he can run through you or create leverage with his upper body to maneuver through a crowd. All of these attributes will help keep him relevant in your league despite the offense he plays on. Keep him unless you get a crazy offer.

Adrian Peterson (Arizona Cardinals)

What is Peterson’s outlook in Arizona?

Critt:  We can talk about how unproductive Peterson was in New Orleans with his extremely low volume, but I think this will be different. I have watched Peterson long enough to know that Peterson is the kind of back that needs volume to get going at full capacity. He is like a steam engine. He will eventually wear you down. Arizona’s offensive line isn’t great, but I think he receives the volume he will need to become a good flex play in your average league. Meaning, I think he will finish somewhere in the RB20-RB30 range, which means he could be useful for you team.

Byron: Can I just say similar to Chris Johnson’s outlook and be done with this? We all know Arizona is where once elite running backs go to die. Emmitt Smith, Edgerrin James, Chris Johnson, etc. Look, I get the optimism here. Peterson quickly outstayed his welcome in New Orleans and was outplayed by rookie Alvin Kamara (go Vols). However, screaming at your head coach on the sideline on national television probably doesn’t make the coaching staff want to give you much work. Peterson carried the ball only 27 times in five games for measly 81 yards for the Saints. That’s barely over 16 yards a game and right at three yards a carry. I’m not sure going to a new team is going to change that kind of production. Again, I understand the optimism here. I just don’t think Peterson has much left in the tank. I could be wrong, but I doubt we see a resurgence from a once elite running back.

Dan: A combination of wear and tear on the aged running back and on the offensive line of Arizona will keep Adrian mired in the depths of fantasy obscurity. I like Ellington much better than Peterson until DJ returns. Listen, especially if you are PPR, Ellington will get 35-45 percent of the snaps and all the third down snaps of 3 yards or longer. Ellington also already has a rapport with Carson Palmer and is familiar with the way the O-line operates. I want that on my roster more than AP.

Derk: I may be in the minority on this one, but I love the idea of Adrian Peterson being a focal point in this Arizona Offense. I think the guy has a ton left to prove and being a Cardinal now will undoubtedly showcase that sentiment. I believe he has been truly underrated when it comes to being a pass catching back. I picked him up off the waivers in a handful of leagues because I think, at the very least, he’ll produce at-least at half the capacity that David Johnson does when he’s healthy. Assuming AP can stay healthy I say he finishes in the top 15, maybe #13 to be exact.

Brandin Cooks (New England Patriots)

What are you thinking as a Brandin Cooks owner?

Critt: Part of the problem here has to do with the Patriots offensive line. Everyone knows that Cooks is a deep threat and Brady isn’t getting the time to sit back and deliver the ball to Cook on a regular basis. I am also convinced the Cooks isn’t as good of a route runner as Amendola or Hogan and therefore Brady doesn’t trust him yet like he does Amendola, Hogan, or Gronkowski. I don’t see Cook becoming any more than a boom/bust play this season and much like I said about Tyreek Hill in my Bartering System article when he has another big game try to trade him for equal but more consistent type player.

Byron: If I’m a Brandin Cooks owner I’m thinking, “Why didn’t I just wait and draft Chris Hogan?” Cooks had two types of followers after his trade to New England. One group saw the second coming of Randy Moss. The other saw a prototypical deep threat heading to a crowded offense helmed by a quarterback that spreads the ball around and doesn’t play favorites. I’m honestly wondering how long it’ll be before we hear about Cooks complaining to reporters about how he’s not getting enough targets. That’ll put him in the doghouse quick with Brady and Belichick. In the short time Cooks has been in a Patriots uniform we’ve seen much of the same as when he was in New Orleans. Big games with huge chunks of yardage at a time followed by contests where he only accounts for 30 yards. If I’m a Cooks owner I’m hunting down a team that drafted Allen Robinson or Amari Cooper and testing the market. Wait for Cooks to explode in one more game and flip him for a player or two that will give you more consistency.

Dan: If I’m a Brandin Cooks owner I’m thinking “Aren’t Edelman and Cooks similar players?” I know that they are not exactly the same but you would think they would have a similar enough skill set to have similar production. Just not meshing just yet.  1st year with Brady though and it seems like they are starting to develop some rapport. If I’m a Cooks owner I’m in a holding pattern until I see the wheels fall off.

Derk: Easy. I’m thinking about all of the hype that surrounded this guy prior to the start of the season. Then I’m thinking about a cardinal rule I have to never trust a Patriots receiver. There’s no point in predicting from week to week who’s going to produce for the Patriots. He has a ton of potential, but no one else will appreciate that in your league. They’ll try to get him for cheap from you, so you might as well hang on to him. Once he has a good game, trade him to some poor sap that has TB12 nuts in his lunch box on the regular and drafted 15 Patriots.

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

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