Building A Brand

When I tell people I write about fantasy football, which I do more and more, I get a range of questions. “Who should I pick up?” “Look at this trade someone in my league offered me, should I take take it?” “So do you just make tons of money on on those websites with the commercials?” “How’s [insert name] going to do the rest of the season?” And I’ll answer them as best I can, and I’ll give reasons why and everything. But one question I get from pretty much everyone is, “What’s your thing?”

Your persona, hook, angle, shtick, brand (a word I’m despising more and more)…whatever you want to call it, everybody wants to know. But the thing is, I never quite have an answer for that. I don’t know if I ever will. Of course there has to be research and some decent accuracy. And although it happens frequently, fantasy writers can’t credit themselves as, “the one” that gets everything right, because nobody can do that. Everyone works hard, but nobody has a crystal ball, and if they did? They wouldn’t be using it on fantasy football.

In college I focused in journalism and more than anything else professors urged us to find our voice. I can’t possible express how important this was for me. From reporting, to profiling, to feature writing, every style was practiced with enough room for students to mold the work be their own. That combined with a writing professor who I’ll most certainly write about some other time led me to find that essays were my strong suit.

So what does any of this have to do with a brand? Well, unfortunately for the Rovell set out there, not much. I’ve only ever wanted to be a good writer. No gimmicks, no persona, no brand. Just interesting, personal, good writing.

Which isn’t to say there can’t be certain themes to my writing. Everyone likes knowing they can come to a place for something specific, and maybe this is one of the first of mine. Any listener to the podcast (which will be returning this week) knows I have a penchant for bad names (Ultimock) So I’m proud to unveil what I’m calling, The Fantasy Four(ce)..say it out loud…you’ll get it…

Here I pick the four performances that impressed me most from this past week and it’s looking like the rookie debut of this is nearly filled with well…rookies.

todd-gurley-nfl-cleveland-browns-st.-louis-rams1Todd Gurley running wild against the Browns – Sometimes a matchup is everything. NFL and fantasy fans alike got a treat on this one. Todd Gurley, one of the most anticipated rookies got a red hot start to his career and after coming off a BYE got a chance to face off against a porous Browns run defense. This game kind of displayed everything Todd Gurley can do on a football field. He ran inside and outside, displayed strength, quickness, and his ridiculous athleticism. There’s the hurdle in the 2nd Q, the brilliant cut he made a little later in the quarter that I tweeted a bit about yesterday, and of course the long run we’ve seen on countless vines. We even saw Gurley start to be utilized in the passing game this week, which is music to the ears of PPR owners. In dynasty Gurley is clearly the top back to own and in redraft leagues he’s a top 5 back ROS.

Stefon Diggs being the go to guy for Teddy – It’s gotta be Charles Johnson, at least that’s what a lot of people were saying at the beginning of this year. I’m pretty happy I wasn’t one of those people, not that I was any better with my Mike Wallace love. Teddy Bridgewater put together a solid rookie campaign but he’s no Brady or Peyton so he’s gotta develop a rapport with a receiver, someone to go to when he’s looking to keep a drive going, to start a hot streak, to bust out of a cold one. So we watched as Charles Johnson was named a starter heading into the season, as the Vikings swung a deal for speed demon Mike Wallace, and occasionally made the Turner/Rudolph argument. Now we’re seeing the primary guy emerge and it’s the 5th rounder out of Maryland. I’ll say this after watching Diggs tear it up against the Lions, he’s fast. Not just straight line speed fast, in and out of breaks, getting the end around, launching off the line, Diggs looks like he’s shot out of a cannon. I’d pay to see a race between the roadrunner, a speeding bullet, and Diggs, because Diggs would win, full pads and everything. I’m interested in seeing what Diggs will be like when he comes back down to earth, but I think it’s safe to say that owners should expect nothing less than a strong Flex play to a mid to high WR2 output on a week to week basis.

Amari Cooper being well…Amari Cooper – Crisp routes, sure hands, good moves with the ball. We were all served up some pretty hefty expectations in the pre draft scouting for Amari Cooper. Here’s the thing, Cooper has delivered on each and every one of these advertisements. The only thing that isn’t going for Amari Cooper is that he has a surprising lack of RZ targets. Carr is clearly comfortable throwing the ball to Cooper in any situation on a multitude of routes. Notching at least 4 and 45 in every contest so far Cooper offers fantasy owner exactly what you need out of a WR2/3 tremendous upside and a safe floor, even more so in PPR. For his troubles Cooper will receive and all expenses paid trip to Revis Island next week as the Raiders host the Jets. Outside of this and his week 14 divisional meetup with Harris, Talib, and associates, Amari Cooper is a high end WR2 at the worst with top 5 potential every time he steps on the field.

Charcandrick West dominating the KC backfield – Waiting for the first non-rookie? Well here he is. Earlier I touched on Todd Gurley starting to get involved in the passing game and here is another RB who is doing the same. West may have had just 2 receptions but the wheel routes he’s running have enormous potential. A little more work with Alex Smith and knowing where he likes to put the ball will help turn these quick passes into big gains. Also, like Gurley, West runs outside on pitches, gets inside power runs, and uses his shiftiness in both situations, which is crucial. We usually think of outside runs as the only times a running back gets to display their fancy footwork. However, it’s the power runs, where space is at a minimum where this is most important. Creating that small crease is the difference between being stuffed for a 1 yard gain, and breaking for 7, 12, or 20. Jamaal Charles was a master at this and while West isn’t at that level, it’s clear that he’s taking pointers from someone.

So there it is, four players that much like a good meal, leave me wanting more. Think I’ve got it wrong? Maybe you think there’s more to the success of these players than what I have here? Comment below!

Before I’m out of here there’s a little housekeeping to be done. I know you’re all following me on Twitter @TheFantasyForce. But did you know you can also find me on Facebook? That’s right! Head over with the link on the right of this page and like The Fantasy Force! Get assistance with lineup decisions, waiver priorities, and trade advice.

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