Fantasy football “studs and duds” from a student player

Daniel Dash, Contributing Writer

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Welcome to the week five mark in the fantasy football regular season. Now that we’re beyond a month into the season, the law of averages has comfortably separated the studs from the flukes. With five full weeks under our belt, it’s a good time to start identifying some of the 2016 studs and duds.

For the sake of this article, a “stud” is defined as a player typically drafted in a mid to late round who has significantly surpassed expectations and a “dud” is defined as an early draft selection who has failed to live up to expectations.

STUDS

#1. Marvin Jones: During the offseason, Marvin Jones inked a 5year/$40M pact with the Detroit Lions as a free agent. The Cincinnati Bengals were widely expected to offer Jones a sizeable amount of money, but the Lions came in and blew the Bengals out of the water with their lucrative deal.

The Lions went all in during their pursuit of Jones in order to find their next great receiver following Calvin Johnson, Jr.’s early retirement. It was a brilliant move to say the least, and the Lions have reaped the benefits of every penny they spent. As of the time of this article, Jones  leads the NFL in receiving yards with 519 and his friendly schedule makes him a popular trade target in fantasy football.

#2. DeMarco Murray: Many people in the football community were shocked when the Tennessee Titans acquired DeMarco Murray this offseason. After struggling last year in his lone season as an Eagle, Murray has turned it around in every way possible in 2016.

In his first year as a Titan, DeMarco Murray has been causing trouble for opposing defenses all season long. Following a rough 2015 season where Murray totalled only 702 rushing yards, he already has 461 yards from scrimmage and three TDs in his first five games. Murray’s hot start ranks him as the #2 RB in all of fantasy football and earns him “stud” honors in my eyes.

DUDS

#1. Rob Gronkowski: Rob Gronkowski has undisputedly been the best tight end in the NFL since 2012, but 2016 has been a nightmare thus far for the 6’6,” 265 lb. 27 year old.

Gronkowski has been battling a hamstring injury throughout the season, and his subpar statistics have caused his fantasy value to diminish recently. For starters, Gronkowski missed the first two weeks before returning in week three against the Houston Texans.

Despite running fourteen routes against a weak Texans secondary, Gronk saw zero balls thrown his way. In week four, Gronkowski hauled in his first pass of the season, but finished with a measly eleven receiving yards on just one catch as the Patriots were shut out at home for the first time since 1993.

Another red flag I see with Gronkowski is his difficult schedule. With upcoming matchups against Seattle and Denver, Gronk may be shut down a few more times in the near future. If you spent a first round pick on Gronk in your fantasy draft, it may be time to explore a trade.

#2. Odell Beckham, Jr.: Odell Beckham, Jr.’s 2016 campaign has been one to forget so far. Through five weeks, the athletic LSU product has managed only 359 yards and one TD. These stats put him on pace for only 1,149 yards and three TDs over the full season, assuming he stays healthy. It goes without saying that these numbers come nowhere near Beckham’s 1,450 yards and thirteen TDs from 2015.

If you’re an Odell Beckham, Jr. owner in fantasy football, it may be time to think about parting ways with a player who was likely your top draft pick back in August. Is there a chance he can turn it around? Sure. When you’re dealing with somebody that possesses the athletic capabilities that this man has, there is always breakout potential.

One aspect I like about Beckham is his friendly schedule. Beckham has the luxury of playing the Ravens, Bears, Lions, and Browns all in the near future, so keep an eye out for some breakout games.

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