Monthly Archives: February 2019

Broncos Agree to Trade For Joe Flacco

When the Bronco’s paid Case Keenum like he was a proven NFL quarterback following his Cinderella run as the backup-made-starter of the Minnesota Vikings in 2017, many of us scratJFlaccoched our heads. After all, he’d been a below average NFL quarterback for every other year he’d played so the idea he was worth $36,000,000 (25 million guaranteed) never really made sense.

Following a disappointing 2018 that saw Keenum regress towards his previous career marks (3,800 yards and only 18 TDs to 15 INTs in 16 starts), it’s not surprising the Bronco’s are prepared to move on quickly.

We are surprised that they’re moving on to the 34 year old benched-for-a-rookie Joe Flacco. Sure, the former Ravens starter has a Super Bowl MVP under his belt and plenty of solid playoff performances, but he’s also been declining steadily since 2014. Over his last 25 starts with the Ravens, Flacco averaged less than 225 yards per contest, and his 30:19 TD/INT ratio was nothing to write home about.

So can Flacco turn back the clock in Denver? I doubt it.

After all, this is a team that features a wide receiver group headlined by an aging Emmauel Sanders and employing a veritable who’s who of potential one-game wonders with names like Cortland Sutton, DaeSean Hamilton and Tim Patrick, and an offensive line that was ravaged by injuries and struggled to keep a much-more-mobile Case Keenum off the ground.

Of course, I could be way off base here, and maybe Flacco goes to Denver and his monster arm is even more monstrous in the thin Mile High Air. Maybe that defense and rushing attack help to balance the offense and he does enough to make it to the post season where he seems to play the best.

But my money’s on the under here folks. I can’t see a scenario where the 34 year old Flacco looks like anything other than a struggling quarterback close to his retirement. The Dr. is advising that you skip Flacco in all but the deepest leagues, and stick to the guys who haven’t shown they’re slipping.

Houston Texans Cut WR Demaryius Thomas

 

demaryius

It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the Texans announced that they’ve cut veteran wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. With a long recovery ahead of him after rupturing his Achilles Tendon in week 16 last year, I can’t see him playing much football in 2019, and even if he recovers quickly and latches on with a team, it may be a pipe dream to expect anything but role-player type numbers.

At this point, you can safely remove Thomas from your target list, as his value is about as low as it can get at the moment, and only in the deepest leagues would he be considered a flier (one we would advise against anyhow).

Back From Injury: QBs

jimmy GInjuries happen, we’re all familiar with the pain of a lost season, but as we enter the doldrums of the off season, it’s as good a time as any to talk about the players who didn’t finish the 2018 season due to injury, and what we can expect for 2019.

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

It may be easy to label Garoppolo as injury prone after his second significant injury across 10 total NFL starts, but it wouldn’t be fair. What is fair is questioning if Jimmy G was worthy of all the hype going into the 2018 season. A quick peek at the ADP data shows that folks were drafting him ahead of names like Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Did his numbers to that point in his career justify a QB1 draft position?

I’d argue no.

While Garoppolo was impressive down the stretch for a 49ers team that was out of it early in the year, his 2017 numbers were propped up by schedule that included games against poor defenses and playoff teams packing it in. Even then, the numbers were good, not great. Extrapolating his numbers shows that despite relatively high yardage (280 or so yards comes out to about 4,500 yards) but his scoring numbers remained mediocre as his 7 TDs and 5 INTs comes out to 22/16.

Early ADP data suggests drafters are concerned for his production coming out of the injury, and this much is fair. As the 16th ranked QB, he’ll hardly cost a premium, but the range of outcomes for a Garoppolo season is nerve wracking. Sure, he could realize the potential that had Kyle Shannahan salivating over his skill, but a sub 4,000 yard season with middle of the road scoring numbers could leave him as waiver wire fodder.

The Dr.’s EARLY Predictions: 14 Starts, 3640 Yards, 24 TDs, 13 INT

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Much like Garoppolo, Wentz has a growing injury history that has to have fantasy owners questioning if his ability is worth the risk. Of course, the production was there right out of the gates when he returned to the field in 2018 as evidenced by the QB1 numbers he put up through his first 7 starts (an average of 20 points per game, good for QB11).

Still, a second straight season ended due to injury stung as Nick Foles managed to bring the Eagles back from the brink and into the playoffs by going on an improbable run. It’s unlikely Foles is back with the Eagles, so Wentz starting position is all but guaranteed, but the likelihood of an injury has to be considered higher than for most QB’s of his age and skill level. His current status is “questionable for OTAs” but I’d expect him back for week 1, and as long as he’s on the field, he’s worth starting .

The Dr.’s EARLY Predictions: 12 Starts, 3,375 Yards, 23 TDs 6 INTs, 120 Rushing Yards.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals 

Dalton is unlikely to be a highly coveted fantasy commodity in 2019 even if he is still the starting QB for the Bengals, but the fact remains that he’s been a pretty consistent across a career that’s seen him start 16 games 6 times in 8 years. The bigger question surrounding Dalton isn’t his health, but the rumors that Cincinnati may be looking to move on from the Red Rocket going into 2019.

First, he’s been a fantasy mirage most years, having a few good games before fading back into the pack, and he’s never really been an elite, must-start option, so expecting things to change next year may qualify under “the definition of insanity.”

Of course, if he lands elsewhere through trade or release, then we may be having a different discussion. Teams like the Dolphins and the Giants may be a landing spot for the veteran signal caller, and each situation presents it’s own pro’s and con’s. Of course we can’t assume either scenario when making our too-early predictions, so for now let’s assume he’s back in Cincinnati.

The Dr.’s EARLY Predictions: 15 Starts, 3,390 Yards, 24 TDs, 15 INTs

Honorable Mentions: It never ceases to amaze me how Cam Newton can be constantly injured but consistently produce in terms of fantasy production. With D.J. Moore continuing to improve and an offense that’s slowly shifting to Christian McCaffrey, we hope Newton will find better health in 2019. Unfortunately for Alex Smith it’s unlikely health will allow him to play. We’re expecting him to miss the entire 2019 season after finishing 2018 on IR with a broken leg.

Kareem Hunt Lands in Cleveland

huntIt was a bit of a shock when the Cleveland Browns announced they’d signed former NFL leading rusher Kareem Hunt to a contract ahead of the league handing down his official suspension. As many have pointed out, this seems to be a nod from former Chiefs GM John Dorsey who drafted Hunt in the 3rd round 2 years ago.

Regardless of your feelings towards Hunt, we’re left to unpack the effect this signing may have on incumbent backfield mates Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson.

Prior to the signing, both backs filled a particular role, with Chubb the exciting youngster chewing up the early downs and Duke as the third down closer; a specialist who’s receiving ability was elite among all running backs. Now there’s serious doubt as to who’s role is secure in the offense.

Of course, it’s all moot until we know the terms of the contract and what, ultimately, the suspension will be. If Hunt doesn’t miss a lot of games, it should give Chubb truthers migraines as the 2nd year back is no longer a shoe-in for RB1 volume. Even Duke Johnson’s touches aren’t secure given Hunts excellence in the passing game for Kansas City. I’m not ready to make major changes to my preliminary running back rankings, but I’ll be watching the situation closely.

After all, a lengthy suspension could erase any fears as Chubb would have the inside track to the starting gig after doing enough to lead the Browns to jettison Carlos Hyde in the middle of the season.

Year in Review: TE

Sure, the tight end position is the red-headed step child of the skill positions, but if you’re like I am, you can easily gain an advantage going into the season by drafting the position well. This past year was a great example of how over valuing the top of the position could really cause issues if you miss on your picks. Take a look at the top 15 according to the Dr, and below, the final season top 15 for PPR standings.

The Dr’s Top 15 TE’s

  1. Rob Gronkowski
  2. Travis Kelce
  3. Zach Ertz
  4. Greg Olsen
  5. Jimmy Graham
  6. Kyle Rudolph
  7. Delanie Walker
  8. Trey Burton
  9. Evan Engram
  10. George Kittle
  11. Jordan Reed
  12. O.J. Howard
  13. Jack Doyle
  14. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins
  15. Charles Clay

Top 15 PPR Rankings

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. Zach Ertz
  3. George Kittle
  4. Eric Ebron
  5. Jared Cook
  6. Austin Hooper
  7. Kyle Rudolph
  8. Trey Burton
  9. David Njoku
  10. Rob Gronkowski
  11. Vance McDonald
  12. Jimmy Graham
  13. O.J. Howard
  14. Jordan Reed
  15. Chris Herndon

Nailed It!

It was a rough year for tight ends, and the above two lists mirror the season many of the top ranked players had. Aside from Kelce and Ertz, the “must have’s” had rough seasons. The Dr. Was no exception. What I did nail, was that George Kittle was going to be the breakout TE of the season. I didn’t expect a top 3 finish, but his skill set and the offensive scheme in San Francisco was perfect for the pass catching tight end to thrive. As a Kittle owner in nearly all of my leagues, I was ecstatic at the performance.

Swing and a Miss!

I cautioned against Rob Gronkowski this year, but managed to leave him atop my rankings despite my own concerns. While he finished as a TE1, it was a tough year for Gronk owners. Likewise, aging TE’s seemed to fall off a cliff this year with Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen doing their best to sabotage their teams bid for the championship. While you may argue that injuries to Olsen shouldn’t be used to judge the player, the fact remains that we all knew he was an injury risk, and we all ranked/drafted him in the top 5.

Looking Ahead to 2019

  1. Zach Ertz
  2. Travis Kelce
  3. George Kittle
  4. Hunter Henry
  5. David Njoku
  6. Rob Gronkowski
  7. OJ Howard
  8. Trey Burton
  9. Austin Hooper
  10. Eric Ebron
  11. Evan Engram
  12. Jared Cook
  13. Jimmy Graham
  14. Kyle Rudolph
  15. C.J. Uzomah

Year in Review: WR

It’s always a precarious proposition when trying to rank wide receivers given their reliance on their respective passing games and the rapid change in game plans week to week. While the top 3 or 4 seem to be the same names every year, that doesn’t keep injuries and ineffectiveness from causing major upheavals across the board. Take a look at the Dr’s top 25 below, and the final PPR standings for weeks 1-16.

The Dr’s top 25

  1. Antonio Brown
  2. DeAndre Hopkins
  3. Odell Beckham Jr.
  4. Julio Jones
  5. Michael Thomas
  6. Davante Adams
  7. A.J. Green
  8. Keenan Allen
  9. Stefon Diggs
  10. Mike Evans
  11. Tyreek Hill
  12. T.Y. Hilton
  13. Larry Fitzgerald
  14. Brandin Cooks
  15. Allen Robinson
  16. Adam Thielen
  17. Demaryius Thomas
  18. Josh Gordon
  19. Amari Cooper
  20. Golden Tate
  21. Doug Baldin
  22. Marvin Jones
  23. Corey Davis
  24. Jamison Crowder
  25. Juju Smith-Schuster

Top 25 (PPR Points)

  1. Davante Adams
  2. Antonio Brown
  3. Michael Thomas
  4. DeAndre Hopkins
  5. Adam Thielen
  6. Tyreek Hill
  7. Julio Jones
  8. Juju Smith-Schuster
  9. Robert Woods
  10. Mike Evans
  11. Keenan Allen
  12. Stefon Diggs
  13. T.Y. Hilton
  14. Odell Beckham Jr.
  15. Tyler Boyd
  16. Brandin cooks
  17. Amari Cooper
  18. Tyler Lockett
  19. Kenny Golladay
  20. Emmanuel Sanders
  21. Jarvis Landry
  22. Calvin Ridley
  23. Julian Edelman
  24. Adam Humprhies
  25. Golden Tate

Nailed it!

I mentioned in the intro how the top of the rankings tend to work themselves out year over year, but I was bullish on Davante Adams despite the chatter that he was too touchdown dependent to be an elite option at the position. Despite the continued inconsistency in Green Bay, Adams was as good as it gets nearly every week of the season. Likewise, the industry had seemed to sour on Julio Jones as an elite WR1, but as we saw in 2018, the idea that he wasn’t the same player was greatly exaggerated. As mentioned in the preseason, the position regression expected in the TD category was realized early in the season, and drafters were rewarded with another 1,600 yards and 8 TDs. And while Keenan Allen finished at the tail end of the WR1 list, he managed to continue his dominant ways even through Melvin Gordon’s emergency in the passing game and Mike Williams elevation to solid contributor.

Swing and a Miss!

One of my biggest flaws when ranking players is that I’m too focused on what the quarter back brings to the table when ranking elite talents. I was harder on Adam Thielen than I had any right to be, and while I ranked him in my top 20, he was a monster wire to wire for a very good WR1 season. Another trap I fell into was overvaluing what a formerly elite player would bring to a new team. The buzz in camp was that Allen Robinson would be a vaccum for targets, and that he’d return to the WR1 territory he was prior to the injury. Disappointing barely touches the surface of what Robinson owners felt when they were forced to leave him on the bench in the biggest of games. Finally, I expected too much out of talented but troubled receiver Josh Gordon who ended up waiver casualties on many of my teams after he teased for weeks on the Patriots roster. Still capable of putting up points, I’ll avoid drafting troubled receivers in the future, and Gordon’s 2018 is a big reason why.

First Look at 2019

Of all the “looks ahead” the wide receiver position is probably the most futile. With receivers returning from injury, and improving quarterbacks giving new life to old names, there’s no real way to be sure this early in the off season who we like and who we don’t. That isn’t going to stop us though.

 

  1. DeAndre Hopkins
  2. Davante Adams
  3. Michael Thomas
  4. Antonio Brown
  5. Juju Smith-Schuster
  6. Tyreek Hill
  7. Odell Beckham
  8. Julio Jones
  9. T.Y. Hilton
  10. Mike Evans
  11. Keenan Allen
  12. Stefon Diggs
  13. Robert Woods
  14. Julian Edelman
  15. A.J. Green
  16. Amari Cooper
  17. Cooper Kupp
  18. Tyler Boyd
  19. Kenny Golladay
  20. Jarvis Landry
  21. Doug Baldwin
  22. Robby Anderson
  23. Allen Robinson
  24. Brandin Cooks
  25. Emmanuel Sanders