Friday, August 6, 2010

FFL Decision 2010: Mathews, Best or Spiller?

After winning two Fantasy Football Bowl titles in three years and posting the longest winning streak in South Run Oaks FFL history in the other year, my team nosedived last year, finishing in last place. Peyton Manning was still his solid MVP self, but the rest of my team got old (Terrell Owens, Clinton Portis), injured (Anthony Gonzalez, Felix Jones), or forgot how to catch touchdowns (Greg Jennings, TJ Houshmandzadeh). Therefore, I now have the first pick in the draft coming up and am in desperate need of a young franchise runningback. Since we are in a 12-team, 8-player dynasty league, my options are limited to the rookies and three in particular. Ryan Mathews of San Diego should be the starter on the Chargers in week 1, while Jahvid Best of the Lions and CJ Spiller of the Bills are more talented prospects, but are on less talented teams. It’s a tough decision for a new face of the Syracuse Merlins franchise to return to glory. Therefore, I solicited some advice from some strangers, experts, friends and enemies.

Strangers (random users on ESPN’s FFL message boards):

· “I would go with Best”
· “Stick with Mathews”
· “Mathews....Best and CJ might be injury prone.”
· “Spiller is the best long term prospect, though he'll probably sign a four or five year deal with the Bills and that means he's not a better prospect than Mathews for a long time. You have to take Mathews, he's good enough to be the starter in SD for a long time, and that’s more valuable than being the starter in Buffalo”
· “I still think you gotta like Mathews best, even in that format. Who knows when (or if) the Lions or Bills be good enough for Best or Spiller to be fantasy studs? The Chargers are ready right now. Running back shelf life is so short that I'd really weight the current pretty heavily. Take Mathews.”
· “Best is defiantly a better rookie RB than Mathews spiller and Tate, no questions”
· “Best and Spiller won’t even be the guy. They still have Kevin Smith and Mo Morris, and Fred Jackson and Lynch. Mathews is easily better than any other rookie”

Experts (ESPN’s FFL writers):

· “Ryan Mathews is the clear preseason favorite to lead rookies in fantasy scoring, Mathews looks like an early-down starter right away, with Darren Sproles operating as a third-down back and all-around threat. He was the NCAA's leading rusher last year and is a good player, but his talent is not sublime. And Mathews is a guy coming off a 276-carry season his last year at Fresno State.”
· “Jahvid Best has had elbow, shoulder and hip surgeries, plus his collegiate career ended early after a concussion. But he's impressed his pro coaches so much this spring and summer, it looks like he'll be an every-down player, too, especially with Kevin Smith likely to begin the year on the PUP list. If he stays healthy, this kid could be a big-play threat on the order of Chris Johnson. His health and his offensive line are in question, but his quickness and speed aren't.”
· “C.J. Spiller was my favorite rookie going into the draft, but landing in Buffalo did him no favors. Fred Jackson is a very good player and may lead the team in between-the-tackles carries, and for now Marshawn Lynch is also around. But Spiller has home-run speed, and the Bills will line him up in several spots to get him in mismatches. Plus he's likely one Jackson injury away from a starting gig, albeit behind what might be the worst offensive line in the NFL.”

Friends (Friends who play FFL but are not in my league):

· “Go with Best”
· “I like Best, he is going to play, and Lions offense should get better. Spiller is on a terrible team so who knows what #'s he will put up. Matthews, I just don’t know about him, I am still trying to figure out why everyone is so high on him.”
· “I think the consensus is that Matthews is walking into the starting role where as they may be more competition for the other two.”
· “I think Mathews is your best bet, the Lions always have a crappy o-line. Then again, Spiller could wind up good too. But he plays for the Bills....Given LT's success in SD though, I'd go Mathews”

Enemies (Fellow owners in the SRO League):

· “Barring any big changes in camp, you have a tough choice between Best and Mathews. If the draft was today, Mathews is your man but after camp gets going things might show up - bad hands, bad blocker, so won't see field as much.”
· “I don’t think you can go wrong with Mathews or Best. The Lions aren’t very good but they are getting better and Best is more talented than Mathews. I think Mathews has the best chance for success early but I just think Best is a much more talented player, Spiller as well”

Now all I have is the month of August to decide.

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