What do we do with Marshall?

Looking at the Brandon Marshall situation with a purely fantasy eye, his suspension for the remainder of the preseason may create an environment where the troublesome wide receiver becomes a value on draft day.

After news of the suspension broke, a fellow owner in my slow auction league nominated him for bidding. I won him for $21, which was 5% of my total payroll (or about two-thirds his pre-suspension value). Here’s what Joe Bryant (of Footballguys.com) had to say in a recent email:

Marshall will probably fall out of the top 100 picks in most drafts now. We would still take a chance on him around the 9th/10th round range in PPR leagues, because if this really goes completely sour, you can cut him for the WW flavor of the week, but if he straightens out, he’ll be the rare top 20 WR you can get out of the top 100.

But this hasn’t been the case, at least not yet. According to Antsports, in 12-team redraft leagues from 8/29-8/31, his ADP dropped from the late third into the early fifth. I had a keeper league that drafted this Sunday, and Marshall went in the middle of the sixth. (I realize that in a keeper league, his value will be somewhat higher because of his long-term value in the league.)

Other owners are going to be scared off by Marshall’s ridiculously bad offseason. But the bottom line is that he’s in a contract year, and if he wants to score a big payday, he’s going to need to show up and act like a professional. At least this what I hope his agent is telling him on a daily basis during his suspension.

There are some indications that the Broncos are willing to work with Marshall this year. The suspension itself was only for the preseason, and if he behaves, he could very well be on the field for the team’s opener. This is a clear sign that the Broncos value Marshall and what he can do for the team. They are not yet at the point where he’s too much of a headache to deal with. Moreover, Josh McDaniels spoke about the situation at the most recent preseason game and he seemed optimistic about the WR’s short-term future.

The driving force behind Marshall’s future is Marshall himself. If he wants a fat contract, he needs to shut his mouth and play out his current deal. If he performs up to his usual standard, some team will forget about all of this and will give him the kind of contract he’s looking for. From a fantasy point of view, this makes Marshall a risk, but a worthwhile risk in the middle rounds. If he realizes his situation, swallows his pride, and acts like a professional, he can get the kind of money he wants. This is why I’m optimistic about Brandon Marshall in 2009.

Given what we know right now, his ADP of 5.05 sounds about right. I’d take him after Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson and Vincent Jackson, but before Santonio Holmes, Antonio Bryant and Santana Moss.

Of course, he could completely flake out and get suspended for the entire season, a la Keyshawn Johnson.

Don’t you love fantasy football?

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