Acquiring Harry Douglas was the easy part. Trusting him in an actual game situation, not so much.
I scooped up plenty of Douglas options for my various teams in recent weeks, as you'll see below. It adds up to five Douglas shares (counting the Stopa Law Firm League, not pictured), which should have turned Week 7 into a glorious time. After all, Douglas went off for a monster 7-149-1 line against the Buccaneers, taking full advantage of Tampa's "please fire our head coach" package.
Alas, Douglas only started for two of my teams. Is there anything more frustrating then leaving fake points on the bench?
Perhaps I overemphasized the Douglas resume as I set my Week 7 lineups. I wondered why he had just four touchdowns for his 68-game career, and an ordinary 10.4 YPC last season. Most of his time has been with Matt Ryan, a good gig. Defenses generally are worried about other targets in Atlanta, which sets up Douglas with lesser coverage (in theory). I can see why Douglas didn't have a lot of volume in most weeks, but a player in this setup should have better efficiency when he's called upon - or so I thought.
But perhaps there's a key element I failed to justly consider, the value of practice time after a promotion. Douglas had two weeks to get ready for this assignment, knowing Julio Jones wasn't walking through that door (or Roddy White, for that matter). Extra prep time, more responsibility from the game plan, often it's an important part of our weekly handicapping.
Consider the near-miracle the Texans pulled off, preparing undrafted quarterback Case Keenum to preform admirably at Kansas City, of all places (15-for-25, 271 yards, one TD, no picks, 110.6 rating). Say what you want about Gary Kubiak and staff, but those guys did an outstanding job of tailoring their offense towards Keenum's skill set and comfort zone. It wasn't enough to make Keenum a speculative fantasy starter in most formats, but it bailed out Andre Johnson and Andre Hopkins nicely. I should have ranked Houston's receivers higher.
Then there's the story of Jarrett Boykin in Green Bay. A week ago, he was a shaky in-game injury replacement, catching just one pass (albeit for 43 yards) on six targets against Baltimore. A week of reps and voila, impact player - Boykin posted a snappy 8-103-1 line against Cleveland, dynamic performance on 10 targets. A week of quality time with Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy does a player good.
Mike Glennon's weekly improvement in Tampa Bay also follows this general path. His opener against Arizona was a mess (4.5 YPA, 55.7 rating, two picks) but he's played better the last two games. A bye week came in handy, along with the dynamite play of Vincent Jackson. Many times, our first look at a player is a misleading one.
• I don't think you can sell Chris Johnson for a nice return in any league that's with it, but I'd try anyway. Maybe you can get someone excited about his upcoming schedule and the catch-and-run touchdown against San Francisco. I know in the one league I regretfully have Johnson, I'm stuck with him. There is no market.
Both of Johnson's scores this year have come in the second half of runaway games - Tennessee trailing by 13 and 21 points, respectfully. Otherwise, he's done nothing this year. A 3.2 YPC stinks, and his average catch in the first half is 1.6 yards. Watching him play will crush your soul.
At least the Titans have something else going with their offense - Jake Locker might be the most improved player in the league (97.1 rating, 8 TDs, 1 pick, 61.8 completions). He's handy on the ground as well (127 yards, one score over five games), resourceful and daring. The light is finally coming on for him in Year 3. Jay Cutler owners, this could be your replacement.
• The DeSean Jackson no-show was a punch in the stomach (3-21 on eight targets), but all receivers come with variance expected - and Jackson more than most. He's finished with two catches or less in 23-of-78 career starts, and he's been under 40 yards in 25-of-78 games. This is part of the cruise you signed up for. He also hasn't played a full season since 2008.
• After a Week 8 bye, the Colts play two more national games in three weeks. Just what no one wants, more Trent Richardson in prime time. (I wish the league wouldn't batch prime time appearances like it does. Often a team will get a MNF and SNF game back to back. Maybe there's a logical reason for this, but I don't see it.)
Richardson has become a polarizing player in the fantasy industry, panned by some and defended by some. I think you can sell on him at a reasonable cost in some leagues. But a year and a half into his career, I don't see anything special here. He's just another back, and Cleveland was probably wise to sell him when it did. It's a passing league, and it's not that hard to find a back to get you 3-3.5 yards a pop.
• From an efficiency standpoint, these are fancy days for Cam Newton. His rating is up to 95.0 and he's completing 63.5 percent of his passes. He's thrown twice as many touchdowns as picks.
But the fantasy bottom line isn't so rosy. Newton stands 27th in the league in passing yards per game (only considering QBs with multiple starts), and his rushing production is down 35 percent (with just two touchdowns). I don't blame you if you're worried; I'd be worried too. And it's not like he has a star-maker on the outside, someone to take a sad song and make it better.
None of this makes Newton a stiff or a guy to drop, but I'd be looking to cash in on his name-brand value after his next big game, whenever that is.