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Fantasy Football 2014 – Future Tape: 8-21-14

{Current Mood: Old}

In coming up with the concept for Future Tape, I’ve realized that what we mainly spend our time doing as fantasy football owners is using what we learn, hear, and read to try and predict the future. It’s why we create rankings, projections, draft strategies, etc. For 8-21-14: Here are my quick takes on some recent football news bits that may or may not wind up being fantasy relevant at some point in the future.

Yeah I’m Starting With an Anecdote

It was my first real draft of the season. It took place on the afternoon of Saturday, August 9th. My girl was on the clock with the final pick of Round 12 and the first pick of Round 13. While her Round 12 selection of Jordan Matthews was intriguing (and admittedly a homer pick being that she’s an Eagles fan), it’s her 13th round selection that will be the focus of this edition of Future Tape.

Going into that draft, I could probably count on one hand the number of people I know that had Steelers RB Dri Archer anywhere near their redraft radar. She saw enough in Archer to draft him over guys like Jeremy Hill (who I astutely grabbed in Round 13, as should any of you if he falls that far in your drafts), Christine Michael, Ahmad Bradshaw, Knile Davis, Mark Ingram, & James White.

Later that night, Archer made her look like a genius by taking a screen pass 46 yards against the Giants in Pittsburgh’s first offensive possession of the preseason. It should be noted that Le’Veon Bell was also on the field for said play.

Fast forward 11 days and now Le’Veon is being charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession as well as a DUI. LeGarrette Blount was in the car with Bell but, per CBS’ Jason La Canfora, will not be facing any charges.

So What Do We Do Now?

This incident needs some time to work its way through the legal system so I wouldn’t advocate doing anything rash if you own any stock in Bell or Blount (yes, pun intended). The last time something like this happened in Pittsburgh, the Steelers deactivated Santonio Holmes with pay for one game in 2008. I can see Bell receiving a similar team-imposed punishment.

As Mike Florio reminds us, “the police officers in and around Pittsburgh have a reputation for not being overly aggressive when it comes to Steelers players unless those players were overly aggressive when dealing with the cops.” So I think, if anything, this news can help you get Bell at a discount if you haven’t drafted yet and/or people are overreacting to this news.

It’s still a tiny bit risky to take Bell in Round 2, especially considering Blount is set to be a big part of the offense, but if this news pushes him anywhere into Round 3, I would grab him and not look back (not that there’s anything wrong with that). If you’ve already drafted and think the Bell owner in your league will overreact to this news (and not read this article), there’s nothing wrong with trying to swing a trade for him.

However, in case either one of these guys has another run-in with the law that would be more likely to cost them some games, it would behoove us to take a closer look at Dri Archer.

It’s Pronounced Dreeeee

Let’s go to my good buddy, the Player Profiler, to see what kind of athletic profile we’re dealing with here.

The highlights: a recorded 40-yard dash time of 4.26 seconds (100th percentile!!!!!) which is only 0.02 seconds off of Chris Johnson’s combine record of 4.24, an elite Agility Score of 10.92 (91st percentile), and a relatively high draft slot of 3.33 (as a compensatory selection).

The lowlights: an extremely low Body Mass Index of 26.3 and a BMI-normalized Athleticism Score of 98.1 (29th percentile).

Interestingly enough, former Steeler and Colt RB Chris Rainey is his best comparable player. Rainey, whose career has been marred by personal issues that have caused him to still be looking for work at this stage of the offseason, isn’t a bad comparable for Archer. Considering the role Archer looks like he’ll be playing in the Steeler offense as that of a Darren Sproles-like pass catching RB in an up-tempo offense, that comp may actually be a good thing. It’s also worth noting that Sproles’ workout metrics give him an Agility Score of 10.92, the exact same as Archer’s.

While I don’t think Archer has standalone fantasy value yet, the recent incident involving Bell and Blount should put him squarely on your radar as a late round flier no matter what type of league you’re in.

While he didn’t put up great numbers in an injury-riddled 2013 senior season at Kent State, he proved that he can do some damage running the ball in 2012 when he recorded 1,429 yards and 16 TDs on only 159 carries. With 3 return TDs, 39 catches, 561 yards, and 4 receiving TDs sprinkled in, he also proved how versatile of a weapon he can be.

His versatility alone could see him put up a few big fantasy weeks. When and where it will happen is anybody’s guess unless Bell does receive a suspension or either he or Blount get injured. If Archer winds up in a situation where he has the potential to see increased snaps from what he’s likely to see early on in the year, add him immediately if he’s available. Or, if you don’t want to risk somebody else beating you to him:

Draft Archer Before Guys Like: Shonn Greene, Tre Mason, Jonathan Stewart, & Lance Dunbar.

But if you’re a little hesitant to draft a relative unknown in Archer over any of these guys or others like them:

Draft Archer After Guys Like: Andre Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ronnie Hillman, Donald Brown, James Starks, Knile Davis, LeGarrette Blount (still the RB2), & James White.

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Ray Marzarella

!Staff Writer and Weekly RB ranker for, Writer and Weekly WR ranker for, Professional Wrestler, Struggling Musician, Photobomber Extraordinaire, Competitive Skeeballer, Lifelong NY Giants fan and Season Ticket Holder, Your Fav!B)
  • fantasy team advice network

    Those images are a nice touch. I’ll be steering clear of Dri Archer this year, with guys like Ronnie Hillman surprisingly still available

    • Ray Marzarella

      I get that. You’re currently probably best suited drafting him in leagues of 14 or more teams.

      Def a priority add if one of Bell or Blount goes down though.