Rule Number 1 in fantasy football: never sit your studs. Guys with the moniker of being a "stud" have earned that distinction by performing consistently and at a high level. Many fantasy owners have won their leagues riding their studs to victory. In many leagues, names like Peyton Manning, Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and Larry Fitzgerald are brand names similar to Coke, Kleenex, Sony, and Walmart. The name alone often elicits a positive image and response. This season seems to be an odd, twilight-zone type of season where fantasy brand names have taken a major hit. Here's where trying to read the tea leaves has left many an owner in a difficult position.
Let's look at Week 7 for example using PPR scoring.
When Kenny Britt can score 56 points and Randy Moss can only muster 12, Moss' brand takes a hit.
When Lee Evans can score 41 points and Brandon Marshall can only muster 11, Marshall's brand takes a hit.
When Darren McFadden can score 55 points and Chris Johnson can only muster 9, Johnson's brand takes a hit.
When David Gettis can score 39 points and Wes Welker can only muster 7, Welker's brand takes a hit.
When Ryan Fitzpatrick can score 36 points and Tom Brady can only muster 11, Brady's value takes a hit.
When guys like Steve Johnson (36 points), Jordan Shipley (32 points), and Matt Moore (25 points) are racking up the points while guys like Ray Rice (8 points), Rashard Mendenhall (5 points), Jay Cutler (6 points), Steve Smith (CAR - 7 points), Matt Forte (10 points), Tony Gonzalez (5 points), and Ryan Mathews (4 points) are bringing your team down, it becomes very difficult to put a lot of stock into the guys who you drafted to lead your team.
Maybe Week 7 was a bad example. I mean, really, the Cleveland Browns beat up on Drew Brees and the Saints 30-17? Oakland literally (ok, maybe figuratively) spanked the Broncos 59-14. In what universe does this happen?
Many of the brands took a hit looking at the season fantasy totals so far. Arian Foster was a sleeper before Week 1 yet he leads all backs in fantasy points. Austin Collie and Brandon Lloyd lead all wide receivers. Dustin Keller, Zach Miller, Brandon Pettigrew, Marcedes Lewis, and Ben Watson are in the Top 10 fantasy TE list. Expect Jeremy Shockey and Aaron Hernandez to make that list once Dallas Clark and Jermichael Finley fall off due to injuries. Comparing the preseason draft lists to today's leaders is disheartening.
Imagine if Coca-Cola sold sodas that were flat and only 1/4 filled. Imagine if Kleenex boxes were half gone when you bought them and the tissues were rough and thin. Imagine if Sony televisions only used 1/4 of the screen and routinely went out of focus. Eventually, that brand would lose your trust and goodwill.
The point here is that it's not always safe to assume that your studs are studs worth starting. When guys like Rashard Mendenhall, Ray Rice, Wes Welker, Larry Fitzgerald, and Jeremy Maclin can net you 36 points total (PPR-scoring), it's a cause for concern. Putting faith into fantasy brand-name stocks becomes much more difficult.
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