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Quick Hits From Cubbage – Week 9

One of the toughest pills to swallow is being replaced. One of the hardest feelings to overcome is feeling replaceable.

That feeling is the reason people try to acquire as many skills as possible. It’s why one of the greatest writers in the world, Malcolm Gladwell, starts a podcast. It’s why my wife’s uncle, an F-15 mechanic in the military for over 20 years, decided years ago to start reading up on these new planes that could make his job obsolete someday, the F-16. It’s why people pursue advanced degrees and a lack of this feeling is why Netflix essentially put Blockbuster out of business.

In the NFL very few players are irreplaceable. When Brett Favre “retired” to play for the Jets and Vikings did anyone think the 24th pick from Cal-Berkeley could come close to what Favre accomplished? What about when Peyton Manning was cut (yes, cut) by the Indianapolis Colts for Andrew Luck? No one thought Joe Montana was replaceable. Until he was.

I’m saying all of this for a couple of reasons.

First, after nine weeks of watching Pittsburgh Steelers’ running back James Conner total 1,085 yards from scrimmage and ten (10) total touchdowns, while averaging 4.7 yards per carry (YPC) and catching 76.0% of his passes, I think we can all agree that as good as Le’Veon Bell is, he’s been replaced. Second, we could all learn a valuable lesson from this situation as we go forward in fantasy football.

It’s not a stretch to say that a lot of the frustration fantasy owners who aren’t in the greatest spot at this point in the season stems from sticking with a guy because of who he is. Jordan Howard averaged 5.2 and 4.1 YPC his first two seasons. He’s averaging 3.5 YPC this year. What are you going to do about it? You drafted Jarvis Landry as your WR1, but he’s being outplayed by Cooper Kupp, James White, and Kenny Golladay. What are you going to do about it? Tevin Coleman is playing statistically better than your top-3 pick, David Johnson.

What are you going to do about it?

If you’re fighting for a playoff spot or contemplating a trade before your league deadline remember: everyone is replaceable. If a player isn’t performing, this is when fantasy football is the most fun (for me, anyway). Tinkering with your roster and not marrying yourself to a player who hasn’t gotten it done all season (sayonara, Titans backfield) will be the biggest difference between you and a playoff spot. What sounds cooler at the end of the season? “I won my league after barely making the playoffs” or “Rob Gronkowski sank my team”?

Other Quick Hits:

Bill Belichick has given fantasy owners an early holiday gift

I liked what Belichick had in mind for Cordarelle Patterson before the season, seeing it on full display against the Packers was a sight to behold. The only thing keeping Patterson from being a fantasy stud is having the football in his hands. Most of the time, it was a wrong route or drop that caused that. New England has figured that out, however, and if he can maintain consistent usage you should have him on your roster.

Monitor Christian McCaffrey’s usage

Some will consider this a wet blanket on the Christian McCaffrey breakout party but I’ll be that guy to warn you that you’re probably going to want to watch his usage as a runner. McCaffrey is great as a receiver (where I still think he should be), but since the beginning of October he’s averaging 3.6 YPC and hasn’t had a 100-yard game since September 23rd.

Put some “respeck” on Nick Mullens’ name

Believe me when I tell you that I literally didn’t know anything about San Francisco’s Nick Mullens until just before his start last week against the Oakland Raiders. Now believe me when I tell you I want to see more of him on the field. I’m not going to anoint him a franchise guy after one start, but what he did in his first start was impressive. And I would be shocked if he goes back behind C.J. Beathard. Remember what I said about replaceable? Don’t be afraid to give the guy a shot if you need a quarterback.

The Jets and Dolphins show not every team has fantasy assets

Not a lot to say here other than we’ve successfully eliminated teams we don’t have to look at for fantasy production.

Agree or disagree? Let me know! Find me on Twitter @dacubbage and listen and subscribe to the Because of Sports Podcast on  iTunes.

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