Three and Out: Brees to Graham or Stafford to Johnson?

{eot} Staff
11/7/2013 2:42:26 PM
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Each week, Fantasy Editor Scott Cullen and NFL Editors Ben Fisher and Mitch Ward discuss three hot fantasy football topics.

What is the better QB-receiver combo, Drew Brees to Jimmy Graham or Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson?

Scott Cullen: I prefer Drew Brees-to-Jimmy Graham for a couple of reasons. First, Graham has a larger gap over the next-best tight ends than Johnson does over the next-best wide receivers. Secondly, it's much easier to trust the production of Brees, who has thrown a league-leading 110 touchdown passes (compared to 77 for Stafford) since the start of the 2011 season.

Ben Fisher: To me, this one is easy. While Brees has a slight lead in points over Stafford among QBs, and Graham has a slight lead in points on Johnson, what makes it a no-brainer for the Saints duo is Graham's healthy lead in points among all TEs. While there are a number of players hot on Johnson's trail at the top of the WR ranks, Graham is by far the top TE this year (thanks in large part to Rob Gronkowski missing most of the first half with injury) which makes him all that more valuable.

Mitch Ward: Really close call on this one. Individually, I like Brees a little more than Stafford but Johnson a little more than Graham. As a combo though I give the edge to Brees and Graham based on one main thing: touchdowns. Brees has thrown 21 touchdowns, 10 of which have been caught by Graham while Matthew Stafford has 16 touchdown passes, 7 of which have gone to Megatron. Still, you aren't going wrong with either duo.

Are you buying Chris Johnson's revival? Was Week 9 an aberration for CJ2K or a sign of things to come?

Cullen: Of course, Fantasy Killer Chris Johnson waits until Week Nine for his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season. While I can't buy fully into any revival talk, considering his play over the last two-and-a-half seasons, it's also notable that he's tended to have more big games in the second half of the last couple seasons. In 2012, he had seven games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage between Weeks 7 and 14 and, in 2011, he was over 100 yards from scrimmage six times between Week 8 and the end of the season. The Titans' schedule is also conducive to decent production over the second half of the season, starting this week against a Jacksonville team ranked 32nd against the run.

Fisher: Fool me once, shame on you… Johnson hasn't been the same back since joining the 2,000 yard club in 2009 and while fantasy owners have held out hope he'll return to that form ever since, I'm not one of them. Through nine weeks Johnson is a strong RB2 and that's just where he'll stay. While I wouldn't worry about Shonn Green stealing too many points away from Johnson the rest of the way I also don't think he'll push CJ2K to a higher level.

Ward: No I am not buying into the Chris Johnson revival. One big game does not equal a turnaround. The 150 yards he pied up in Week 9 were more than he had in the four previous weeks combined and the two touchdowns were his first and second of the season. Johnson is still capable of big games, he had a few monsters last year too, but he is equally (if not more) capable of a complete dud in any given week. I'll need to see him string together four or five more good outings in a row before I start to believe that the 2009 CJ2K is back. I wouldn't consider Johnson as anything more than a solid RB2 right now.

After another impressive performance, is Zac Stacy a legit RB1?

Cullen: I have Stacy ranked 10th this week, at Indianapolis, so he's right on the cusp of RB1 for me. Obviously, his yardage in the last couple weeks stands out, but the better reason to hope that Stacy is a legitimate RB1 going forward is workload. He has 53 carries in the last two games and, with Kellen Clemens at quarterback, the Rams likely have to lean more on the running game than they might have otherwise.

Fisher: Stacy is a hard player to figure out but after five straight strong weeks it's time to give him the benefit of the doubt but an RB1? Since taking over the starter's role in St. Louis Stacy has been averaging double digit points and went off last week for about 30 points. You can't expect that every week and the fifth-rounder, in a Kellen Clemens-led offence, will likely score closer to his Week 6-9 average and that's not quite good enough to crack the Top 10 running backs.

Ward: Yes, Stacy has seen 27 and 33 touches in the last two weeks and there's no reason to think that trend won't continue if he stays healthy. Without Sam Bradford, the Rams passing game is pretty awful so they will have to continue pounding the ball along the ground with Stacy. Based on volume alone Stacy would be an RB1 consideration; the fact that Stacy is actually doing something with his touches (4.6 yards per carry this season) makes him a must start.

Calvin Johnson Matthew Stafford (Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)


(Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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