NFL Fantasy: Week 3 mailbag

Each Wednesday, we take a peek into our fantasy mailbag and answer your burning questions about all things NFL fantasy. Here’s this week’s edition.

Welcome to our weekly mailbag post, where we answer your NFL fantasy questions, focusing on if you should cut bait or keep faith with some players.

Settle a debate: Is a running quarterback worth more than a non-running quarterback?

John P, Virginia

The name of the game is points. You can have a lousy running quarterback or a lousy pocket passer. If they are not earning NFL fantasy points, neither is worth much. What do you consider a running quarterback? In 2016, only Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor ran for more than 400 yards. They wound up as the QB25 and QB8 on the season. 

On the other hand, you have quarterbacks who can run. These players don’t run by design. They run when the offensive line breaks down. Last season, Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, and Marcus Mariota were among the five quarterbacks who ran for more than 300 yards. 

The only thing that makes a good fantasy quarterback is points. Blake Bortles might score all of his points in desperation fourth-quarter heaves, but it makes him a worthy fantasy quarterback. 

What Redskins running back do I pick up: Chris Thompson or Samaje Perine?

Simon F, Maryland

This depends on your risk tolerance. If you are streaming for a week, or if you have a PPR league, you might want Thompson. He is on a roll right now, breaking big plays with minimal touches. It’s that minimal touches thing that raises the alarm. How long can he maintain this streak with minimal work?

The safer bet is Perine, who got 21 carries last week. With that kind of usage, he is more likely to offer consistent and worthwhile fantasy value as long as Rob Kelly is nursing his chest injury. 

Is it too early to dump all my Seahawks and Giants?

Shane K, Melbourne

Yes, but some of them have to go. I have fallen off the Eli wagon, even though he looked sharp and fell victim to receiver drops and miscues in the fourth quarter. He is throwing behind receivers and coming up short on too many passes. He even made Evan Engram dance in the air to come down with his first touchdown without a Lion within ten yards of him. I would hold Beckham and maybe Engram, as well as the Giants defense. 

On Seattle, Chris Carson could become a thing sooner than later. If they get their offensive line under control, Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham, and Doug Baldwin are immediately must-starts. But I am not giving them too many weeks to find out if their line is salvageable or not. The Seattle defense is still a top starter, too.

When two bad offenses meet, should I stream one of the defenses?

Alice P, New York

This week, Cleveland is a road favorite against the Indianapolis Colts. There is no official reason to break the rule of streaming any defense that plays the Colts or the Browns, but I have some concerns.

How many times have you seen what is supposed to be a boring, low-scoring game turn into an exciting slugfest between desperate teams? This might be the best shot for each team to secure a win. This week, I think Indianapolis will get the better of the Browns. But I refuse to bet on it or stream a defense from the game, because you just never know what will happen when two bad teams meet. 

How do you know which New England running back to play each week? 

Paul R, London

You don’t. Part of the Bill Belichick mystique is that he changes his feature back and keeps gameplans secret. We can guess based on the back’s strengths versus the opposing defense’ weakness. If the Patriots might go run heavy, Gillislee is the top dog. If they will pass a lot, James White is the guy. But then, Rex Burkhead comes out and catches touchdowns and Dion Lewis makes an appearance.

The base offense is that Gillislee and White split the snaps, while the others take spots here and there. But any of the four could be a fantasy breakout player in any week, especially if the receiving corps remains depleted. It is the Belichick way.

Is it time to dump Isaiah Crowell? 

Felix G, Texas

Good question. For all the improvements and positive vibes in Cleveland, the running situation is a little tense, to say the least. Hue Jackson’s game calling has come under attack. He won’t allow his runners to get any kind of consistency or rhythm each week. If they don’t have success early, he drops the running game and goes to the pass, even though he hasn’t been more than two scores behind in either game this year. 

Crowell is feeling the pressure of having to make a big play every time or sit down. But don’t drop him yet. Jackson said he realizes he has to run the ball. Give Crowell another week or two to see if the coach means it or not. If Duke Johnson becomes the feature back this week, that would be a sign it is time to cut Crowell loose, too. 

Got more NFL fantasy questions? Send them to us at [email protected] and look for our answers every Wednesday in our Mailbag post.

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.