by Thomas Russo
Here in Week 10, the Fantasy Football season is past its halfway point, and general managers are either gearing up for the playoff push, assessing how they can get themselves back in the race, or flipping tables and calling it a year. Earlier in the week, I spoke with one GM who is hoping to find his way into the playoffs: Jason Li.
Russo: So, Mr. Li, with the halfway point behind us, how are you feeling about your team thus far?
Li: All my players got injured. It’s very depressing. I started off with AP, started off with DeAngelo Williams, started off with Eric Decker; I started off with Cooks, who was boom or bust every week so I traded him away, and once I traded him away he starts doing good again, surprisingly. Decker’s on the IR, AP’s on the IR, Tevin Coleman’s practically on the IR right now. I don’t know. It’s still debatable whether he’s gonna play this week. Bennett, ever since Gronk came back has been just depressing. 0 points every week, maybe a couple of yards. It’s depressing. My best player I picked off of the waiver- Terrelle Pryor.
Russo: Terrelle Pryor?! What’s your opinion on Terrelle Pryor?
Li: For the (expletive) Browns offense, he is the whole offense! He’s the only target that can really play. He’s turning into a star.
Russo: And this is the first year he has actually played wide receiver. Might I remind you just a few years ago he was the starting QB for the Oakland Raiders.
Li: He’s amazing. He’s talented. He knows how to catch a ball, and he definitely knows how to throw a ball. He could be the QB for the Browns, but I think he’s better off as a wide receiver.
Russo: Well let’s be honest, the Browns don’t really have much of a QB anyway.
Li: They don’t, but he’s their number 1 target. I mean, he’s getting at least 10 points every week.
Russo: Which is shocking considering he plays for the Cleveland Browns, right?
Li: Exactly. I mean, the Browns aren’t that much better than the Jets, but the Jets are a lot better on offense.
Russo: That’s true. The Jets at least have 2 great wide receivers, 1 of which you said was injured, but they have Brandon Marshall, they have Matt Forte.
Li: Exactly. On my team though, Mark Ingram, really being a great disappointment this year. Last year he was a top 5 running back, and coming in I thought he would put some stability into my lineup maybe 10 points a week, but he barely gets above 1. Last week he got -1.5 which is depressing. They used their THIRD STRING RUNNING BACK more than Mark Ingram.
Russo: If I’m not mistaken they gave it to their tight end at the goal line?
Li: Oh yeah what’s his face- Coby Fleener.
Russo: How does Coby Fleener get more goal line carries than Mark Ingram?
Li: They don’t trust Mark Ingram to run the ball. He’s fumbled twice in the last two weeks. He fumbled in the 1st quarter- the first 3 snaps. He is bringing down the Saints. He’s gotta step it up or they’re not gonna consider him the first string running back anymore.
Russo: Reminds me of one Jeremy Hill last year. We all know what happened to him. Do you think that is where Ingram is going?
Li: I’d hate for that to happen, but it may very well be the case. I’m also having issues with Sterling Shepard. At the beginning of the year he was looking like the best receiver in the league. He looked like he was gonna be elite. He looked like he was gonna be the next Odell. Actually, I thought he was gonna do better than Odell, because Odell would take the double coverages so Shepard could get open.
Russo: And he should have had success from the slot, correct?
Li: He should have, but the way Eli’s playing, it doesn’t look like Shepard is getting much yardage. If he gets above 50, I’d be extremely surprised. He gets open on every play, but Eli doesn’t know how to get the ball to him.
Russo: Well we all know that Eli is highly dependent on either throwing it to Odell Beckham, or throwing it to the guy wearing the other jersey, is that not true?
Li: Yeah, he’s great at throwing picks, which is why I don’t like Eli anymore. I think he should retire. He’s worse than Peyton was last year
Russo: Well, I’m not ready to say retire, but I would agree with you that he may be color blind. I think he has issues figuring out which one’s blue and which one’s not. So considering all these injuries and all these issues that you have, do you have any confidence whatsoever that your team will make the playoffs?
Li: Well, if Osweiler learns to throw the ball to the right person, or at least the right area one time this year
Russo: Well the argument can be made he needs to learn to throw the ball first right?
Li: That’s true. He’s gotta learn how to read the coverage. DeAndre Hopkins should be getting me points. He might have gotten me 10 points this year.
Russo: Wouldn’t you consider that a stretch? I don’t think he got me that many points.
Li: Well, regardless, I need him to step up, and if he does, I might start winning my games. I picked up DeAndre Hopkins because. I thought he was going to be amazing, and he wasn’t. But Jordan Howard! He’s doing great for me right now, but Langford is coming back, so in the next couple of weeks, his carries are gonna go from 26 to 10 or 8 at most. But Josh Gordon is coming back. Maybe he’ll get traded to a good team like the Patriot who can fix him up, maybe get me some points later in the season.
Russo: Do you really think Josh Gordon is going to come back and have an impact?
Li: Well, now that he is out of rehab, he should stay clean.
Russo: Well, isn’t that what we have said every year, and Josh Gordon continues to disappoint us?
Li: No, this time is different, he’s going to come back, but the Browns are done with him, but the last time we saw him, in the preseason, the Browns beat the Patriots. You have to understand that Josh Gordon is a very talented player. If you have a strong head coach, you can mold a player.
Russo: Would you consider Hugh Jackson a good enough head coach to do that? In his first year as a head coach?
Li: Yeah, I would, but I think he just wasn’t hard enough on him. I think Hugh Jackson is going to trade him away to a good team like the Patriots anyway.
Russo: You really think Bill Belichick will take Josh Gordon?
Li: If you’re Belichick, and you’re getting raw, straight talent, in a receiver that could be one of the best in the league, if he can just be more dedicated, why wouldn’t you take him?
Russo: Well, if I recall correctly, Bill Belichick cut an excellent running back who looked like he was going to break out into a star, and Belichick cut him for missing 2 meeting. He just traded Jamie Collins to Cleveland, who is in my opinion, one of the top 10 linebackers in football, for a third string player, for giving him attitude. He doesn’t like attitude. He Doesn’t like PROBLEMS. You REALLY think he’s gonna like Josh Gordon? Josh Gordon is the very antithesis of everything that New England stands for.
Li: Okay. So Josh Gordon is coming back, saying he wants to be better, if you’re Belichick, why not give him a chance? He could be the next Randy Moss. And it’s not like you have to give up a ton to get Josh Gordon. They’d probably give them some second string corner.
Russo: So you think, he should give up more for Gordon than he got for Jamie Collins?
Li: The point is, that if Belichick gets his hands on Gordon, Josh Gordon will have a very successful year. I understand learning the Patriots schemes is hard, but he would still be very successful.
Russo: Well anyone who is catching the football from Tom Brady would be. Speaking of trades, have you made any trades this season?
Li: I traded Cam and Cooks, for Carson Palmer, DeAndre Hopkins and Terrelle Pryor. I thought Hopkins would be the best, but Pryor has actually been the best. I don’t think I should have done it, because once I traded them away, Cam started doing good, and Cooks started doing good. In the beginning of the year, it looked like Cooks would be a stud, and I should have gotten something better for him.
Russo: As of now, who is your first overall pick in next year’s draft?
Li: David Johnson. He’s an absolute beast and has been dominating everyone.
Russo: Do you have any advice for struggling GMs?
Li: Pick up Josh Gordon.
Russo: Thank you for speaking with me, Mr. Li.
Li: My pleasure.