Now is the Time to Sell High C.J. Anderson in Fantasy Football Leagues

by Eric McClung ·

A nation of famished fantasy football gamers just witnessed Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson go off for nearly 140 yards of offense and two touchdowns on the Carolina Panthers.  There is now one, and only one, action that any responsible fantasy football manager needs to take: sell C.J. Anderson.

Sell him, and sell him now.

Not only did he have a great game, but he has the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2.  As a Zero RB guy, my lone C.J. Anderson came from an orphan dynasty team.  Right after the rookie draft I flipped him for Mike Evans.  Trading Anderson now could benefit you even more.  Fantasy football is a fight that we are trying to extend over 16 weeks.  Attempting to dominate the wide receiver position is huge in surviving that fight.

So let’s look into C.J. Anderson.  He was the second half superstar of 2014 that got overvalued and overdrafted coming into last year. He didn’t have a pulse until Week 8.  That was followed by a three-game hibernation until a monster game in prime time (sound familiar?) this time against the New England Patriots.  Then we have two more weeks of doing very little until a strong conclusion to the regular season, which served as a prelude to a solid trio of postseason play.  The top shelf, really good Anderson has you winning weeks (like Week 1 of 2016, perhaps), but bad Anderson is a multi-week drag into the fantasy vortex.  Flipping Anderson for an elite wide receiver right now is a likely season saving, and possibly league winning, maneuver that should be done immediately.  The running back-hungry fantasy zombie owner has been starved.  Now he’s watched C.J. Anderson and is ready to take the poison pill for his top wide receiver.  Make that happen.


C.J. Anderson Advanced Stats & Metrics Profile

After all, if happens to be Anderson’s first big season playing football it will literally be his first big season at the collegiate or professional level. That’s because at Cal it was that Anderson played behind a 5-7, 188-pound Isi Sofele.   This is how C.J. Anderson posted a forgettable 21st-percentile College Dominator Rating.  In addition to not being productive in college, the 21st-percentile Burst Score and a 40th percentile SPARQ-x Score tell us he’s also not a standout athlete.

A fumble by rookie Devontae Booker doesn’t change his impressive 87th-percentile College Dominator from two big seasons at Utah, where he was also the team’s No. 3 pass catcher.  Keep in mind that Ronnie Hillman, who the team released just a week ago, outplayed C.J. Anderson on a number of occasions last year and led the team in rushing.  Last Thursday night, the Broncos offensive line was outright dominant and Anderson took full advantage.  Unlike last year, Denver is now running the real Gary Kubiak offense.  That includes a fullback, which the Broncos didn’t use with Peyton Manning.  Rookie fullback Andy Janovich helped kept hands off Anderson for most of the night while running in a touchdown on his first career attempt.  A lot of teams don’t feature a fullback, so perhaps the Panthers weren’t totally prepared for this. Regardless, it’s a wrinkle that was not part of last year’s offense which is now being put on tape weekly for the entire league to study as needed.

Do you remember who was really awesome Week 1 of last year?  Carlos Hyde.  Against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football, he ran wild for 168 yards on 26 carries and scored twice. Hyde was even on the DraftKings Millionaire Maker roster.  Another Week 1 producer was Alfred Morris, who ran for 121 yards with Washington. Teammate Matt Jones ran for 123 yards the next week.  The dreadful Alfred Blue tallied 139 yards in Week 3.  Ronnie Hillman recorded 103 yards on only 11 carries in Week 4.  Yes, that Ronnie Hillman. Chris Johnson appeared to be reviving his career when his second 100-yard effort came in Week 5.  Ronnie Hillman goes over the century mark again in Week 6. We see Chris Johnson do it for a third time in Week 7, then a fourth 100-yard day in Week 8!  This is just a slice of the wacky running back production that had occurred by the halfway point of last year.  The Fantasy Hero of the Week is often times random.  C.J. Andersonwas one of those guys in Week 1.  Is this the first consistent, dominate season from Anderson, or just the high-water mark to begin another turbulent season?

C.J. Anderson is an inconsistent player and profiles as a pedestrian to below average athlete.  Beyond that, we’ve already seen his back-up, Devontae Booker, perform well and take away significant opportunity, as recently has last year.  In fact, over the last two seasons, Hillman totaled six 100-yard rushing games in 24 regular season appearances.  Kubiak has made the likes of Ron Dayne, Steve Slaton, and Ben Tate look good.  He plucked Arian Foster off the practice squad.  Booker is more athletic than all of these guys and remains a Zero RB target who will ideally come to the fore once Paxton Lynch is the quarterback.

Many of the game recap stories about the NFL season opener boast about how great Trevor Siemian was at staying calm in a win against the Panthers.  I hope Siemian ends up leading the NFL in staying calm.  He complied an 11th-percentile college QBR and was drafted in the seventh round out of Northwestern after throwing seven touchdowns to 11 interceptions as a senior.  This isn’t the kind of quarterback that is going to challenge a defense, which only makes things more grinding and taxing for C.J. Anderson.

The truth is that this really isn’t all about C.J. Anderson and his limited resume.  It just so happens that Anderson is the guy that played well in front of 25.4 million television viewers.  Maximize this brief period of time in which the spotlight is on Anderson, and trade him for a top-flight fantasy football wide receiver.  Turn that third round pick, approximately the 13th running back taken off the board, into a top wide receiver.  WR1s have been beating RB1s for a few years now, and the gap is only growing wider.  Thanks to perfect timing, C.J. Anderson is among the top sell high candidates we are likely to see all season.