Monthly Archives: May 2018

Bounce Back Candidates: RB

AjayiIn the interest of avoiding plucking at low hanging fruit, we’ll ignore players who were duds due to injury, and instead focus on players who underperformed enough that you may have soured on owning them in your leagues.

Jay Ajayi, RB – Phi: Before the season, I cautioned anyone planning on using a first or second round pick on Ajayi to reconsider. His numbers were a mirage propped up on the back of three 200 yard games. Through 7 weeks my point was proven as the listless Dolphins managed to trot out a Jay Cutler led offense that struggled to move the football for long stretch. Ajayi managed a paltry 3.3 yards per game for the Dolphins, prompting the trade that would bring him a championship ring.

Following the trade, Ajayi started running harder. Was it simply a change of scenery or was it because the offense had talent around him? Whatever the case may be, Ajayi managed 408 yards on 70 attempts, good for a 5.8 yard per carry mark. Now, with LeGarrette Blount gone to Detroit, this backfield is his for the taking. While he won’t average 5.8 YPC with an expanded role, I’d be surprised if he doesn’t approach the 1,000 yard mark with 6-8 TD’s.

Samaje Perine, RB – WAS: Before the season, one of the trendiest sleeper picks was rookie RB Samaje Perine, only to see his stock drop precipitously following a disastrous pre-season. Rob Kelley did nothing to dispel the rumors of his impending take over, though, and midway through the season Perine was seeing  regular touches. Unfortunately for owners, aside from a two week stretch that saw him amass 47 rushes and over 200 yards, he was uninspiring.

With Alex Smith now under center in Washington, I’d place my bets on this team moving to a more run heavy attack, and that will only benefit the 2nd year Perine. With no one but Rob Kelley in his way for the bulk of carries, there’s little doubt in my mind that he’ll be atop the depth chart when the season starts. Currently ranked 49th at his position by Matthew Berry’s early rankings, that is the kind of value I want out of my late round picks.

Bilal Powell, RB – NYJ: The Jets backfield experienced major upheaval as Matt Forte retired and Isaiah Crowell and Thomas Rawls were both brought in to fill the gap. What does this mean for Powell? I’d argue not much. The Jets were a dumpster fire last year, and the lack of talent on offense kept Powell from rewarding owners who expected massive PPR points from the capable pass catcher.

Despite the addition of these two other backs, Powell should return with a virtual lock on third down work, and with even a slight improvement of the talent around him, Powell should return to the 10+ points per week contributor many expected. While his value in standard (non PPR) leagues is much less grandiose, being ranked 36th at his position is a criminal undervalue.

Honorable Mentions: Jeremy Hill has a lot to prove if he wants to make the roster in New England, but at only 25 years old, and a few years removed from elite performances, he has a chance to return to glory as a Patriot. Likewise, LeGarrett Blount finds himself moving from one crowded backfield in Philly, to another in Detroit. The difference is that the Lions haven’t been able to find a healthy back to carry the load and they hope Blount is that guy. As always, he’ll lack in the catches stat, but should have plenty of opportunity in the red zone with very little competition for those carries on the roster.

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Bounce Back Candidates: WR

Terrelle Pryor, NYJ: When owners drafted Pryor last year with one of their first 4 picks, they expected performances similar to what he did in Cleveland, if not even better. Instead of the 77 catches for 1,000 yards, they watched as he squandered their faith to the tune of 240 total yards and only 20 catches.

pryor

But this year he’s reunited with Josh McCown, one of the several QB’s who were responsible for his big season in Cleveland, and he’s no longer buried on a depth chart bursting with quality wide receivers. With Robby Anderson currently embroiled in off the field issues, Pryor will have every opportunity to success in an offense that will have to throw often to try and stay in games.

John Brown, BAL: This one might feel like a bit of a reach given the player’s recent history and the team he’s signed with, but the truth is it was never a talent issue with Brown. When he hit the 1,000 yard mark in 2015, he was anointed as one of the up and coming superstars, only to watch as his stock plummeted due to poor performances and a sickle-cell issue that threatened his health.

Now he finds himself as the #2 receiver for a Baltimore team that seems committed to improving the passing game this year. While the addition of Lamar Jackson may scare owners away from this offense, the added motivation should get Flacco playing a better brand of football, which will only benefit Brown as he attempts to bounce back in a Ravens uniform.

DeSean Jackson, TB: This one may be a bit polarizing, as Jackson was considered a boom or bust player prior to last year as well, but after spending most of the season struggling to sync up with Jameis Winston, the fantasy community has soured on the aging speedster. Not Dr. Fantasy, though.

While he posted his worst YPC number since his rookie year (13.4), it was more of a sideffect of an inefficient passing game that saw too many deep balls not connect. Jackson still possesses elite speed, and Winston has an elite arm. With Evans expected to bounce back as well, Jackson should see the space he needs to perform at a level well above his current ADP of 143.

 

Mark Ingram Suspended 4 Games for PED Use

Our first major headline of the off season (at least in my opinion) dropped today with the NFL announcing it’s handed New Orleans RB Mark Ingram a four game suspension for PED use. While it’s fairly obvious he’ll appeal the decision, the fact is that he’ll likely Ingramserve the four games at some point, and probably early on.

For Alvin Kamara, this makes an already valuable asset even more appealing for the few weeks Ingram will miss. At his current draft position of 6th overall (data provided by the consensus rankings at FantasyFootballCalculator.com) he’s a much safer prospect today than he was yesterday.

Still, his value comes mostly in the passing game, where Drew Brees gets the biggest boost following the news. Dr. Fantasy’s 5th ranked QB should see an increase in volume early on, and any success should lead to a more consistent passing attack as the season wears on.

While it’s doubtful that Ingram’s suspension negates his usage when he returns, it’s still concerning for a player who’s seen his stock fluctuate significantly over the course of his career. If he comes back poorly, it could be a sign that New Orleans could point to in moving on from the mercurial all star.

On the other hand, if he falls into the 6th round (or later) he could be a monster value for  teams that can wait out the four games. Much like the arguments made for drafting Ezekiel Elliott last year, Ingram is a name to watch.

WAYYYYY To Early Rankings (QB)

While it may be far too early to accurately dissect the leagues current make-up and rank appropriately, there still has to be a jumping off point, and it might as well be before players ever take the field. Included with the Dr. Fantasy rankings is Best and Worst consensus data located at FantasyPros.com

Rank Name Best Worst
1 Aaron Rodgers GB 1 2
2 Russell Wilson SEA 1 8
3 Drew Brees NO 3 14
4 Carson Wentz PHI 1 14
5 Tom Brady NE 2 8
6 Cam Newton CAR 3 11
7 Matthew Stafford DET 7 14
8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 4 24
9 Kirk Cousins MIN 5 12
10 Jared Goff LAR 5 21
11 Jimmy Garoppolo SF 4 20
12 Deshaun Watson HOU 1 9
13 Matt Ryan ATL 9 23
14 Jameis Winston TB 10 21
15 Tyrod Taylor CLE 11 32
16 Philip Rivers LAC 7 21
17 Derek Carr OAK 15 27
18 Marcus Mariota TEN 13 22
19 Dak Prescott DAL 8 22
20 Patrick Mahomes KC 7 25
21 Blake Bortles JAC 14 31
22 Andrew Luck IND 6 23
23 Alex Smith WAS 12 27
24 Andy Dalton CIN 19 30
25 Mitch Trubisky CHI 16 27
26 Eli Manning NYG 17 29
27 Case Keenum DEN 13 29
28 Ryan Tannehill MIA 21 32
29 Josh McCown NYJ 16 41
30 Sam Darnold  –  –

10 Bold Predictions (since everybody’s doing it)

One of the most useless exercises that gets perpetuated during every sport’s preseason time is the “bold predictions” article. But since this is the fantasy sports blogger equivalent to “if all of your friends jump off a bridge” argument, I suppose I’ll jump too (featuring a whole lot of sarcasm).

1. Leonard Fournette has a monster sophomore slump, finishing outside the top 20 for running backs and costing his teams a shot at the title.

2. Jared Goff wins the MVP. With added weapons, and an elite defense protecting leads, Goff throws for 4,500 yards and 33 TDs.

3. Juju Smith-Schuster pushes Antonio Brown for the most targets on the Steeler’s roster and easily crests 1,200 yards receiving.

4. Evan Engram finishes as the TE1, scoring 16 touch downs to fall one shy of the TE record of 17.

5. Tyrod Taylor rushes for 700 yards and finishes as a top 5 QB despite Cleveland losing 10 games.

6. Saquon Barkley is a monster disappointment, costing fantasy owners a top 20 pick but rewarding them with less than 500 yards and nearly no contributions in the passing game.

7. Sam Darnold beats out the other quarterbacks in the preseason to start week one, and manages to win 8 games for the Jets as a rookie.

8. Sammy Watkins passes Tyreek Hill on the depth chart in Kansas City and coasts past the 100 target mark to finish as a top 15 WR.

9. Jeremy Hill fends off former teammate Rex Burkhead for the Patriots first two downs, and while he misses the 1,000 yard mark, manages 10+ scores for the first time in 2 years.

10. Minnesota Vikings fails to produce a top 15 WR as Kirk Cousins struggles in his first season for the Vikings.