Category Archives: Fantasy Football
25. Arizona Cardinals
Similar to Dallas, this top heavy roster has failed to produce beyond it’s run game and Larry Fitzgerald for years. Both Johnson and Fitzgerald are fairly safe bets, but who else on the roster can you trust. Newly signed QB Sam Bradford has never wowed me, but his efficiency may help support a 2nd QB if he can stay healthy. That, of course is the million dollar question… can he stay healthy?
Players worth Drafting: David Johnson (ADP 3), Larry Fitzgerald (ADP 33), Christian Kirk (ADP 182)
In ESPN mock drafts neither Bradford or Rosen are being selected with any regularity, further muddying the waters beyond the two players being selected early. Kirk is a buzzy rookie, but the rest of the roster seems to be off of the radar. Of course, if Bradford gets hurt, Rosen could be a sneaky waiver add; his profile certainly looks like that of an NFL starter.
Deep Sleeper: While Kirk was my first choice, the buzz surrounding him is loud enough now that Ricky-Seals Jones is currently being overlooked as a potential breakout candidate. A WR in college, Jones certainly profiles as a pass catching TE, and only his ability to pass block can keep him from seeing meaningful snaps in the passing game.
24. Washington Redskins
Like many of the teams in this range, turnover at the most important position in football, the quarter back position, could mean any number of things. Will Alex Smith continue to throw the ball down field after reinventing himself in Kansas City last year? Can the post hype potential of guys like Josh Doctson finally be realized?
Worth Drafting: Derrius Guice (ADP 40), Jordan Reed (ADP 85), Chris Thompson (ADP 99), Jamison Crowder (ADP 100), Alex Smith (ADP 129), Josh Doctson (ADP 137), Paul Richardson (ADP 174)
It was a strange season for Washington last year. Despite the heroic efforts of Kirk Cousins, the offense never really found a rhythm, and the ADP data suggests that no one really knows who will emerge as a top 25 WR. Alex Smith has made a career out of making the safe play, so expecting a return to last years gun slinging ways is a bit pre-mature, but Jordan Reed may be the biggest beneficiary if he can stay healthy. Odds are he won’t, but Smith tends to turn TE’s into elite fantasy options, and Reed has the talent to be a top 5 TE this season.
Deep Sleeper: While Alex Smith will have to gain some chemistry with his new team, 2nd string TE Vernon Davis is already intimately familiar with the former first overall pick. I expect Davis to have a healthy amount of snaps in this offense, and while he’s been mostly quiet since leaving San Fransisco, the TE is still a great athlete and he’s turned in his best seasons with Smith at the helm. For just about nothing, he has Top 15 potential (at the TE position).
23. San Fransisco 49ers
One of the busiest teams in the last year and a half, the 49ers went out and got what they consider a cornerstone pairing with Jerick McKinnon in the backfield to go with QB Jimmy Garoppolo. While the defense is expected to be better, this offense should continue to evolve into the high flying machine that Kyle Shanahan tends to put together.
Players Worth Drafting: Jerick McKinnon (ADP 28), Pierre Garcon (ADP 71), Jimmy Garoppolo (ADP 104), Marquise Goodwin (ADP 106), George Kittle (ADP 164), Matt Brieda (ADP 186)
Expecting the passing game to be any kind of consistent may be asking a bit too much. While Garoppolo figures to be a very good QB, the stable of receivers isn’t highlighted by any big names, and Jimmy G is just as likely to adopt the Tom Brady method of finding who’s open rather than forcing it to one or two guys. Garcon is a safe bet for consistent targets, but beyond him, there’s no guarantees for season long success.
Deep Sleeper: George Kittle seemed to fade a bit when Garoppolo came into the offense, but a few decent weeks at the end of the season rejuvenated the breakout rumors. With another season in this offense, the young TE is expected to see the bulk of the snaps at the position, and with a passing game orchestrated by Shanahan, we could see a big year at a relatively inexpensive price tag for the 2nd year TE.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars
After turning in a dominant season, riding the strength of it’s rushing game and defense, the Jaguars return in 2018 featuring many of the same strengths and weaknesses. Beyond the obvious stud in Leonard Fournette, this is a team that could warrant it’s own article with all of the moving parts. As always, the Jags figure to surprise in a few more areas this year.
Players Worth Drafting: Leonard Fournette (ADP 11), Marqise Lee (ADP 118), Austin Sefarian-Jenkins (ADP 166)
The list of players being drafted, as noted above, may seem smaller than one would like, but part of the problem is that beyond Lee, the passing game features a handful of guys who have little on their resume. With the mercurial Blake Bortles set to start under center again, it’s always a question of who outside the top guy can he support? I’m a fan of Keelan Cole, if only because he helped me secure a championship, but there’s a lot of middling talent on this team that could be both fantastic or awful.
Deep Sleeper: Austin Sefarian-Jenkins is one of my favorite picks to bounce back this year. After failing spectacularly to cash in on the hype, it was learned he was struggling with some kind of alcohol or drug abuse and he set about getting clean. Recently, he explained that, now sober, he’s in the best place he’s been in years and he’s ready to bring it full circle. I’m willing to give the guy a 2nd chance, as his talent excites me.
21. Tennessee Titans
When the season started last year, many fantasy pundits, myself included, had several Titans queued up as breakout candidates. Unfortunately, despite a playoff birth, most of this teams fantasy studs took a step back, hamstringing teams that relied heavily on players like the recently retired DeMarco Murray and 3rd year QB Marcus Mariota. With a new coaching staff looking to rejuvenate a team with plenty of talent, there’s optimism that this year could be the breakout last year should have ben
Players Worth Drafting: Derrick Henry (ADP 47), Delanie Walker (ADP 63), Dion Lewis (ADP 70), Corey Davis (ADP 77), Rishard Matthews (ADP 140), Marcus Mariotta (ADP 141)
Knowing how much talent Mariota has around him, it’d be a shock to see him continue the trend of regression. Corey Davis is no longer dinged up and Rishard Matthews continues to be an underrated workhorse. Throw in that the coaching staff is now better suited to pull the most out of him and the run game has a two headed monster that’s above average in all aspects of the game, and Mariota is one of the hottest break out commodities in Fantasy.
Deep Sleeper: This team has invested heavily in weapons for Mariota, and none were as successful out of college as 2017 first round pick Corey Davis. Unfortunately for him, the season started off poorly and injuries limited him to just 9 starts and 34 receptions. The talent is certainly there, and a full offseason should work wonders for the teams top receiving threat. While not a traditional “deep” sleeper, his value is a potential top 15 WR is something that can’t be overlooked.
20. Seattle Seahawks
A team in turmoil, the Seahawks had one real bright spot in 2017, and that would be Russell Wilson. There’s no doubting the former 2nd round pick any longer as he’s proven to be one of the leagues top QB’s, both in real life and in fantasy. Where the team lacked any continuity was in the run game. Porous offensive line play combined with a lackluster running back group (Chris Carson not withstanding) led to a season of “run for your life” stats that didn’t translate to success elsewhere. Improved O-line (even if just slightly) and a shiny new convertible in the backfield in Rashaad Penny, and one can be optimistic that there’s some new life in Seattle in 2018.
Players Worth Drafting: Doug Baldwin (ADP 34), Rashaad Penny (ADP 39), Russell wilson (ADP 50), Chris Carson (ADP 167), Tyler Lockett (ADP 170)
Whether you believe Penny is a true three down back or not, the truth is that his handling of 1st and 2nd down should provide some protection from Wilson, who no longer has Jimmy Graham to throw to. Doug Baldwin is the real deal in the slot, and Tyler Lockett has some upside, but this offense may have a handful of late round picks that turn into fantasy gold.
Deep Sleeper: The aforementioned Rashaad Penny is garnering much of the buzz in the backfield, but Chris Carson may offer the best value of any Seattle back. Prior to his injury, he was more effective than anyone else on the roster, and seems to have recovered well from the injury that ended his year. With Pete Carroll promising a return to smash mouth ground and pound football, Carson could be a fine sleeper if Penny isn’t all he’s been advertised (which is always a concern with rookie running backs).
32. New York Jets
It’s low hanging fruit to bash on the listless Jets, but the relative lack of fantasy fire power is hardly a surprise to anyone. Aside from deep sleeper lists and waiver wire conquests, the Jets boast a roster devoid of much except late round fliers.
Worth Drafting: Isaiah Crowell (ADP 102), Robby Anderson (ADP 104), Bilal Powell (ADP 169)
While none of these players should be selected with anything but serious flyer considerations, Powell may offer the most upside in PPR leagues only. Crowell, on the other hand, doesn’t project to work much with the passing game, so it all depends on how you think he’ll be used. I expect this team to pass a lot, similar to how last years team found themselves training early. Anderson could out perform the 11th round price tag, but I expect Quincy Enunwa (undrafted in ESPN leagues at this point) to return to some relevance in terms of offensive workload. Every target he steals from Anderson is a massive hit to his fantasy value.
Deep Sleeper: While Sam Darnold has his work cut out for him behind both Bridgewater and McCown in front of him, it’s only natural that the best QB of the bunch get some consideration. He probably won’t play, but in dynasty leagues he’s worth a late round pick, and as waiver wire fodder he should be on your radar until the team finally names it’s starter.
31. Buffalo Bills
This could be even worse, pending the fallout from LeSean McCoy’s domestic violence accusations. Even if he remains on the team, though, I expect a decline across the board as this team is littered with youth and raw future talents. With the pending media firestorm, I’m out on Buffalo unless it’s dealt with sooner than later.
Worth Drafting: LeSean McCoy (ADP 17), Kelvin Benjamin (ADP 91), Charles Clay (ADP 145)
Obviously McCoy’s inclusion on this is difficult, as the ADP data hasn’t caught up to the fall I’m expecting. If he’s found guilty, he’ll be gone from the league post haste, making this team even worse. Unfortunately for Benjamin and Clay, the prospects working with AJ McCarron and Josh Allen are nebulous at best. While Taylor didn’t have as massive a year statistically as we expected last year, this team should struggle to find consistency.
Deep Sleeper: Zay Jones’ rookie year was a disappointment to those, like me, who had him pegged as a high end rookie option. His 10 starts only yielded 27 receptions and 316 yards; not good enough. Still, the talent is there, and Jones is a downfield threat who may work well with Allen’s monster arm. It’s a long shot, and a player I only look at in the deepest of drafts, but Jones could be a contributor by the end of the season.
30. Baltimore Ravens
A common theme among the teams named to this point are the potential quarterback controversies. While I fully expect Flacco to start when healthy, it’s important to note that Lamar Jackson has the potential to unseat Flacco, especially if he’s awful again this year. To combat that, the Ravens brought in free agent receivers Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead, so expect a bit of an uptick in Baltimore’s overall numbers.
Worth Drafting: Alex Collins (ADP 53), Michael Crabtree (ADP 72), Kenneth Dixon (ADP 180)
One of the more interesting competitions is going to be Collins and Dixon in the Baltimore Backfield. Dixon was labelled as the heir apparent last year before an injury ended his season. Collins was fantastic in relief, giving many the impression that the team had moved on. But even after several off the field issues, Baltimore expects Dixon to be a part of it’s offense. The leash will be short, but this may start as a committee and coaches will likely ride the hot hand.
Deep Sleeper: It’s been a while since Willie Snead has popped up on the fantasy radar, but in Baltimore, he’ll have every opportunity to show the talent that flashed in New Orleans. With John Brown no safe bet to see the field, Snead should be heavily involved in the passing game, and Flacco does love to fling it.
29. Miami Dolphins
A team that maybe deserves a bit more respect than they receive annually, the Dolphin’s roster is a who’s who of mediocre players. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is back, so it’s possible he and Davante Parker rekindle the magic that made them both trendy picks a few years ago, but I’m not going to go that far just yet. Likewise, the questions in the run game need to be answered before I invest heavily in a run game that’s actually produced some fantasy relevant backs in recent years. While Kenyan Drake has the inside track, don’t count out Frank Gore as he will likely see a healthy dose of carries early on.
Players Worth Drafting: Kenyan Drake (ADP 41), Devante Parker (ADP 91), Kenny Stills (130), Mike Gesicki (ADP 165), Frank Gore (ADP 172), Albert Wilson (ADP 182)
It was a strange development that saw the Dolphins bring in an aging Frank Gore via free agency, and Kalen Ballage in the draft. If the team believed in Drake, then I’d argue that at least one of them would be elsewhere. As a 5th round pick, that scares the hell out of me, and may force me to look elsewhere. That elsewhere, in this offense, are the 160 targets vacated by Jarvis Landry. While Parker will get his, Albert Wilson is a sneaky pick to slide into the slot. If the Dolphins like his game more than Amendola’s he could be a monster producer out of the 19th round.
Deep Sleeper: I should probably stop screaming his name from the rooftops if I want to secure him in the later rounds, but Kalen Ballage is an intriguing player in that he possesses all the skills necessary to become a 3 down back in the league. Possessing impressive speed for his size, and above average hands in the passing game, Ballage could easily see his timeshare expand to a level that supports a roster spot.
28. Denver Broncos
The addition of Case Keenum elevates this team from dead last, to near last. That’s not to say there’s no one worth drafting, because I do like some of the talent on this roster, but the days of Denver popping out top 30 players is in the past. While Demaryius Thomas still possesses the skill to overcome sub-par quarterback play, the question is can Case Keenum’s arm support multiple fantasy receivers in Denver like it did in Minnesota? Given the age of guys like Emmanuel Sanders, and the inexperience at TE and in the backfield, and I’m cautious when drafting a Denver player.
Players Worth Drafting: Demaryius Thomas (ADP 38), Royce Freeman (ADP 58), Emmanuel Sanders (ADP 68), Devontae Booker (ADP 151), Case Keenum (ADP 157)
Case Keenum went from draft bust to hero last year as he brought the Vikings to within one game of the superbowl. Cashing in on that success, he’s slated to take over the starting gig and I’m not so sure that he’s the franchise cornerstone that last years performances convinced Denver he was. If he reverts back to the player he was before, and I’d argue it’s far more likely that he does, then this offense could continue to struggle beyond Demaryious Thomas.
Deep Sleeper: 2nd Round pick Courtland Sutton has a steep hill to climb with fantasy stalwarts ahead of him in Thomas and Sanders. Expect him to be up to the task. With Sanders coming to the end of a sparkling career, Sutton may see enough of the field to warrant a roster spot after a few weeks.
27. Dallas Cowboys
Oh how the mighty have fallen. I’m sure there’s plenty of Dallas fans shaking their head at the ranking, but the bottom line is that aside from Ezekiel Elliott, their roster is middle of the road at best. When you consider the talent that walked out the door in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten, it’s easy to see why this roster doesn’t inspire much confidence in the fantasy community.
Worth Drafting: Ezekiel Elliott (ADP 4), Dak Prescott (ADP 122), Allen Hurns (ADP 128), Michael Gallup (ADP 164)
A whole lot of mediocre pretty accurately describes the Dallas passing game. While the bulk of the offense is going to run through the run game, it’s a burning question as to where the passing game will trend. It’s clear that fantasy players are out of Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, the two incumbent receivers of note, but I think Hurns isn’t talent enough to be a true number one receiver. At his current cost, he’s a low risk option, but I’d ignore him at any steeper a price.
Deep Sleeper: I doubt it will be this way when drafts come along, but Gallup is the best chance Dallas has to replace Dez Bryant with a player on it’s roster. He’s not as talented as Bryant in his prime, but Gallup has all the tools to eat up a ton of targets. It might not happen right away, but he has #1 written all over him.
26. Indianapolis Colts
It’s amazing how poorly a franchise can manage it’s star players, but the job the Colts did last year with Andrew Luck’s injured shoulder takes the cake. By not properly handling the injury, they set back the franchise years and forced fantasy owners to look elsewhere for production. The Jacoby Brissett experiment wasn’t all bad, but it didn’t produce much in the way of fantasy points.
Worth Drafting: T.Y. Hilton (ADP 31), Andrew Luck (ADP 91), Jack Doyle (ADP 97), Marlon Mack (ADP 98), Jordan Wilkins (ADP 185), Eric Ebron (ADP 191), Nyheim Hines (ADP 193)
It’s got to say something for how important you are as a player when the success of everyone on this list comes down to if you play or not. For Andrew Luck, that scenario is very real, and could affect who and when you draft. With Hilton especially, the cost is so high that any doubt you have that Andrew Luck is healthy should dissuade you from drafting him. With half of his yards in only 2 games, he’s a massive bust candidate with Brissett under center.
Deep Sleeper: Ryan Grant may not be a sexy name, but the disregard may work in your favor if Luck is back on the field. A healthy Luck is a safe bet for 550 attempts and someone other than Hilton is going to get involved. Grant is likely to be that guy as the tight ends and depth receivers aren’t great options.
First and foremost, the allegations are serious and while innocent until proven guilty is basic tenement of Law in this country, we in no way are making light of the situation with this post. Our aim is not to discuss the crime itself of its alleged perpetrators, but instead to dissect the potential fallout in Fantasy terms.
What To Expect
With as much traction as the news has gotten, it wouldn’t surprise me for there to be some kind of discipline early on, so it’s important to monitor the situation accordingly if you’re planning on adding McCoy to your fantasy teams. This kind of thing presents no “best case scenario” if the player is found guilty, as his career should be over at that point.
Of course, even prior to the allegations McCoy’s fantasy standing had begun to wane, as I had him ranked 9th and other outlets even further down. With the allegations swirling, I’ve dropped him to 18th on my list, pending the results of the investigation of course. That leads us to another question, one that may become more important as the season approaches.
Who Else To Target?
A quick glance at the Bills depth chart reveals a real hole at the position behind McCoy. Unlike last year when there was significant buzz on the backups in the system, this year shows that the team had confidence in McCoy to stay on the field.
A) Chris Ivory – At 30 years old and 2 years removed from the only season in which he rushed for 1,000 yards, it seems that Ivory’s best seasons are behind him. His average of 3.4 yards per carry last year in Jacksonville prove he’s no more than a goal line back who’d plod for mediocre numbers. Behind an O-line that’s lost some of its core guys this offseason, Ivory is likely to disappoint even if no one overtakes him on the roster.
B) Tavaris Cadet – The veteran pass catcher and special teams man has never received more than 22 rushes in a single season, and while his ability to play third downs is intriguing considering how involved Bills backs are in the passing game, I don’t think he has the profile to play a large number of downs.
C) Marcus Murphy – I wouldn’t get excited about the diminutive back, but he’s got the tools to help in limited work. At 5’8”, he’s not big enough to be leaned on for between the tackles plays, but his acumen as a pass catcher could see him leapfrog some of these names.
D) Keith Ford – A former five star recruit at Oklahoma, Ford’s collegiate career was marred by team suspensions and a lack of overall work. His scouting profile suggests that he’s lacking vision and elusiveness but his measurable show he can be an NFL back. As intriguing as this is, it’s likely that he’d be a short yardage options while the team works out kinks in his game. As a gamble, he may offer the most upside of any of these backs, but he’d be a waiver wire add at best, assuming he can even make the roster.
E) A Back Not On The Roster – There’s a handful of names ranging from high profile to sneaky upside that have yet to find an NFL home. DeMarco Murray probably fits the profile the best of all the remaining backs, as his ability to play three downs in previous years could be attractive. Likewise, Alfred Morris and Orleans Darkwa have started, and recently, and could provide an upgrade over the current roster. It’d be a long shot to expect Adrian Peterson or Eddie Lacy to sign on there, but they remain free agents as well.
Where there is smoke, there is almost always fire, and with the NFL adopting a zero tolerance policy on domestic violence, there’s a very good chance we’ve seen the last of McCoy in the NFL. If McCoy is no longer available to the Bills, the best case scenario would be a player not currently on the roster. Chris Ivory isn’t the type of player who can replace McCoy, especially given the struggles expected with that offensive line. The rest of the roster features rookies who are too raw or gadget/special teamers who offer little upside.
DeMarco Murray may be a perfect fit, but the timing of any discipline will impact the team’s ability to get a player like that in and acclimated. If the case drags on and McCoy’s punishment arrives during the season, only Chris Ivory has the experience to start for this team. In such a case, Ivory would handle the first and second downs and Cadet would inherit the third down role. Either way, neither player is worth drafting, at least not as a starter.
Of course Keith Ford could surprise us all and show a level of improvement that forces the young back into the conversation. His situation is worth monitoring as he has the size and speed to be a difference maker if the Bills can help him avoid becoming a head down type of runner. As a player on your radar, just remind yourself that he’s a third or fourth option for the Bills at this time, and a lot would have to go right for him to be worth a roster spot.
CJ Anderson | CAR – ADP 92 – RB43|
Never finishing a season at less than 4 yards per carry, Anderson’s career best 1,000 yard season last year seems to be a distant memory for drafters as he’s being disrespected to the tune of a RB4 ranking. He won’t see many passing down plays, but Carolina signed him to compliment McCaffrey on the ground and in the red zone. With RB2 potential even if McCaffrey is healthy, this is a player I’ll have my eyes on.
Bilal Powell | NYJ – ADP 160 – RB51 |
The addition of Isaiah Crowell in New York has many in the fantasy community souring on Powell’s upside. Not the Dr. With Crowell proving to be no more than a between the tackles plodder, Powell will likely return to the complimentary role that landed him on fantasy radars to begin with. A return to 60 or so receptions and a time share in the backfield that should see him hit 100-125 rushes, he may not be a weekly start, but he’ll be a valuable flex piece with plenty of upside should Crowell prove ineffective on first and second down.
Kalen Ballage | MIA – ADP Undrafted – RB61|
You may ask yourself why I’m so high on a player who’s at best third on his teams depth chart. The short answer is that I think he’s the best back they’ve got. He’s got the surprising speed for his size, turning in a 4.46 at 6’2″ 230lbs, and he’s far and away the best pass catcher on the team, giving him the best opportunity to steal plays if he can work his way into the third down role exclusively. While he’s beginning to creep onto the communities radar (Matthew Berry lists him with sleeper potential), the potential to grab a bell cow back late in drafts is too good to pass up.
Honorable Mention: Kenneth Dixon was supposed to be the guy in Baltimore, but a series of injuries and off the field issues opened the door for Alex Collins to succeed in his stead. Still, the Raven’s unwillingness to move on from Dixon signals to me that they still believe in the back, a great low risk play in round 13 of your draft.
Last year I was 1 for 3 on my hidden gems with Carson Wentz success keeping me from a shutout after Eli Manning and Joe Flacco both stunk up the join. This year we plan to do better.
Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers | ADP 119 – QB 15 |
While the clock is ticking on Big Ben’s career, his current ranking feels like a premature declaration that he’s no longer elite in fantasy terms. His per game performances over the last three years prove that he’s still producing at a high level and my expectation is that he continues to rack up points on the backs of his elite supporting case. Prediction: 4,400 – 35 TD – 12 INT
Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears | ADP 178 – QB 24 |
Don’t look too closely at the lack of success Trubisky had last year following his promotion to starter. His numbers were mainly a product of a conservative approach and lack of weapons. This year, new head coach Matt Nagy will be tasked with improving the passing game, and additions like Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel in free agency and Anthony Miller during the draft mean Trubisky has a true stable of receivers to play with. While I won’t predict the same jump as Goff, something similar is in the cards. Prediction: 3,900 yards, 27 TD – 10 INT
Case Keenum – Denver Broncos | ADP 143 – QB 19 |
Going into the off season, I expected Case Keenum’s price to rise into the “no way no how” territory, but a very quick glance proves that this is not the case. Despite being rewarded for his success in 2017, the newest starting QB for the Broncos is being ranked as a mid level QB2. In Denver, he’ll have a very good receiving corps that still features studs like Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, as well as a capable backfield headlined by rookie Royce Freeman. I don’t expect a QB1 finish for Keenum, but wouldn’t be surprised to see plenty of teams benefit from having him come playoff time. Prediction: 3,700 yards, 25 TD, 7 INT
Jacksonville’s first round rookie running back was a big question mark entering the 2017 season, but fantasy owners bet on the raw skill and opportunity. A final stat line of 268 carries for 1,040 yards and 36 catches for 302 yards (10 combined TDs) shows that the confidence was not misplaced. Despite missing 3 games due to minor injuries, Fournette finished as the RB9 in PPR leagues, and even higher in standard scoring.
Interestingly enough, the narrative this off season has been surrounding his sub par yard per carry numbers. The 3.9 may seem hardly worth talking about, but under the surface is hiding a more difficult monster to qualify. Aside from two big runs in week 5 and week 6, Fournette actually averaged a 3.2 yard per carry mark in 2017.
Now, one must ask, is this issue systemic? Can Blake Bortles perform like he did over the last 6 or so weeks of the season or will Fournette have to deal with stacked boxes every game? Can the new Jacksonville receiving corps of Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, and Austin Sefarian-Jenkins help enough to draw attention?
In the end it may not even matter. It’s very likely that Fournette’s volume will overcome any inefficiencies he’ll have on the ground. If he averages 18 rushes a game, even a sub 4 yard per carry mark isn’t enough to dissuade me from drafting him. If his quest to become a better back this off season does help him improve the bottom line, he could be a top 3 back.
While I may not be willing to draft him before guys like Bell or Gurley, Fournette is a very safe back to select at the end of the first round. I personally expect a better year from the workhorse, and when you consider he was already an RB1, the potential is scary.
Every Friday, until the season starts on Thursday, September 6th, we’ll run our NFC and AFC Player Profile article. You know what to expect from the guys at the top of your draft, now it’s time to learn what to look for in the later rounds.
It doesn’t feel that long ago that former first overall pick Sam Bradford was a trendy sleeper pick, but 2018 may be the year that the Fantasy community finally gives up on the talented but always injured signal caller. It would be a sad way to fade into obscurity, but with Josh Rosen and Mike Glennon on the roster, there won’t be a second chance should he falter of find his way to the IR.
The real issue with grading Bradford’s performances and supplying worthwhile analysis of his 2018 projections is that Bradford’s career has been beset with injuries and changes in personnel. After being selected first overall in 2010, Bradford surprisingly played 16 games twice in his first three seasons. It wasn’t until 2013 that the major injuries reared their head.
Looking at the numbers reveals a level of inconsistency that would make your head spin if you thought about it too long. Is he the player who completed under 60 percent of his passes and averaged less than 7 yards per attempt? Or do you project closer to the player he was in Philly and Minnesota where he paced the league in completion percentage and showed the efficiency of an above average NFL quarterback?
A Look Ahead
The long and short of it is you can project it somewhere in the middle. Efficiency shouldn’t be a problem, expecting playing time is. If Bradford plays 14+ games this year (and that’s a BIG if) you can expect him to protect the football while leaning on his run game. David Johnson is the big dog in this offense, so expecting Bradford to handle anywhere close to 500+ attempts is a bit of a pipe dream.
At the very least, he’s got one of the NFL elite’s catching passes in Larry Fitzgerald. Even in Minnesota, where he had Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph, he didn’t have the luxury of a stud like Fitzgerald. Of course, age could reign in his production, but my guess is he’ll be the go to early and often.
While I’m loath to provide season long predictions for a player I have no faith in, a 16 game slate would barely put him at a low end QB2. Despite the obvious efficiency numbers I listed above, this is David Johnson’s team, and even he can’t help Bradford across a full year. While you can spot start him against bad defenses, expect no more than 3,200 yards, 22 TDs with 5 INT from the aging veteran signal caller.
The Dr. advises caution when drafting.
Every Friday, until the season starts on Thursday, September 6th, we’ll run our NFC and AFC Player Profile article. You know what to expect from the guys at the top of your draft, now it’s time to learn what to look for in the later rounds.
When the 2017 started, many had high hopes for the Fantasy successes of Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor. After all, his ability to produce big on the ground in addition to an efficient, if unspectacular, aerial attack, had owners excited. Flash forward several disappointing months later, and the now Browns starting QB is getting far too little respect as the 2018 season dawns.
It’s always important to put a rushing QB’s exploits into context. In 2016 added 580 yards and 6 touchdowns on the ground, pushing his fantasy totals towards the higher tiers. To quickly make sense of that, the rushing yards are the equivalent in points to an additional 1,000 yards, and rushing touchdowns extrapolate to 9 passing TDs. While still not in the “elite” tier, Taylor is the type of player who has sneaky value thanks to less than spectacular passing numbers.
In 2017, his statline looked as follows:
263 completions for 2,799 yards, 14 TDs to 11 INTs and another 427 yards and 4 TDs on the ground. All were career lows (excluding seasons in which he didn’t start). As such, he finished in standard QB leagues in the 16th spot, just missing out on the QB1 tag.
A Look Ahead
While you may not want to admit it, the fallout from last years down season has pushed Taylor into an undeserving spot. Currently being ranked in the mid 20’s at the position, his ADP is far too low for the type of talent he brings to the Cleveland Browns.
With a roster oozing with talent, and a head coach that’s committed to Taylor this year despite selecting Baker Mayfield first overall, I expect a career year for the rushing quarter back. Taylor has always had the arm, but he’s upgrading from Zay Jones and the hobbled Kelvin Benjamin to Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry. He’s got a young stud in David Njoku and pass catching specialist Duke Johnson to help move the chains.
Not to mention the skill in the backfield on first and second down with a two headed monster featuring RB1 talent in both Carlos Hyde and rookie Nick Chubb. Instead of suiting up for a team that can’t seem to move the football in Buffalo, Taylor should have a ton of opportunity for points.
When Taylor was traded to the Browns, he entered the polarizing world of Cleveland football. He may not be in line for double digit wins, but his stat line should support a fantasy team. With no risk to draft him, Taylor offers massive upside, one that I plan to exploit.
Barring any major injuries, Taylor can expect at least the 3,000 yards through the air he enjoyed in Buffalo in 15′ and 16′ but I personally believe we’ll see 3,400 yards, 22 TDs and plenty of work on the ground. As my number 18 QB, I’m higher on Taylor than most, and even I might be missing the boat. If you feel the need to wait on a QB, Taylor is the type of player who can offer top end value at the kind of price I love to pay for players.
Draft with confidence.
You’re confident in your strategy, and you have your core guys targeted and queued up. You’re prepared to supplement the foundation with high upside guys in the middle rounds, and you’re wondering what you can add in the late rounds to help define your team during bye weeks and injuries. Let’s take a look at the more confusing rounds featuring players you may not know to players you may not want.
- Aaron Jones, RB – GB
- Jared Goff, QB – LAR
- Jamaal Williams, RB – GB
- Robby Anderson, WR – NYJ
- C.J. Anderson, RB – CAR
- Jaguars D/ST
- Ben Roethlisberger, QB – PIT
- Sterling Shepard, WR – NYG
- Matt Ryan, QB – ATL
- Jack Doyle, TE – IND
Player I Love: The hype surrounding Neslon Agholor subsided quickly during a rookie year that was rocky to say the least. Last year, though, he and Wentz developed the kind of chemistry that could help push him into the WR2 category. While you’ll have to live with a few weeks of sub par performances, as a flex starter or backup WR, the potential for 800 yards and 8-10 TDs is hard to pass up.
Player I Hate: I will use this as a platform to decry the drafters that feel it’s necessary to draft a defense earlier than round 15. Instead of wasting a pick this early, draft skill position players and stream a defense drafted at the end of your draft.
- Nick Chubb, RB – CLE
- Nelson Agholor, WR – PHI
- Rams D/ST
- Philip Rivers, QB – LAC
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR – BUF
- Patrick Mahomes, QB – KC
- Devontae Booker, RB – DEN
- D’Onta Foreman, RB – HOU
- Ty Montgomery, RB – GB
- Allen Hurns, WR – DAL
Player I Love: As the QB 12 in the 12th round, Mahomes provides the kind of excitment you’re missing with the other QB’s in this area. The talent around him is elite, the ability and athletisim is off the charts, and Kansas City turned milquetoast Alex Smith into an elite Fantasy option. Draft with confidence.
Player I Hate: Devontae Booker seemed for a moment to be on the verge of breaking out. Now he’s fighting for touches with rookie Royce Freeman, who is better suited for the full time gig. While the potential may be there for Booker to see touches, his talent doesn’t scream “draft me” even at this point in the draft.
- Vikings D/ST
- Stephen Gostkowski, K – NE
- George Kittle, TE – SF
- Greg Zuerlein, K – LAR
- Dez Bryant, WR – Free Agent
- Eagles D/ST
- Tyler Eifert, TE – CIN
- Marcus Mariota, QB – TE
- Justin Tucker, K – BAL
- Dak Prescott, QB – DAL
Player I Love: George Kittle may have not been on your radar last off season, but this year he should be. With an up and coming offense devoid of any real red zone targets besides, Kittle could be in line for a big work load. Currently atop the depth chart for the TE position, expect a low end TE1 season for the 2nd year pro.
Player I Hate: Dak Prescott is a player that I want to like, I try to like, but I just can’t bring myself to overlook the issues Dallas has to deal with. With no real number one receiver and a run game that’s going to get all the work it can handle, Dak is a talented QB without many avenues to fantasy greatness. I could be wrong but there are better options out there if you prefer to wait on a QB.
- Derek Carr, QB – OAK
- O.J. Howard, TE – TB
- Marqise Lee, WR – JAC
- D.J. Moore, WR – CAR
- Calvin Ridley, WR – ATL
- David Njoku, TE – CL
- Kenny Stills, WR – MIA
- Cameron Meredith, WR – NO
- Jameis Winston, QB – TB
- Martavis Bryant, WR – OAK
Player I Love: Cameron Meredith was a top sleeper pick last year in Chicago, and that was with journeyman Mike Glennon slated to be his starting QB. Unfortunately, the talented wide out suffered a season ending injury and didn’t play a snap. This off season he popped up in New Orleans, and I expect him to gobble up a fair amount of looks. While Michael Thomas is fully entrenched as the #1, Meredith will provide an upgrade over Ted Ginn as an every day player.
Player I Hate: Marqise Lee may look like the heir apparent to the departed Allen Robinson, but I’d argue that he’s reached his ceiling and other players in that offense are better suited to carry the load. Between late season hero Keelan Cole and rookie Dede Westbrook, Lee has his work cut out for him if he wants to earn the lions share of targets, and I doubt he’ll accomplish that goal.
- Chargers D/ST
- Alex Smith, QB – WAS
- Texans D/ST
- Giovani Bernard, RB – CIN
- Corey Clement, RB – PHI
- LeGarrette Blount, RB – DET
- Mike Williams, WR – LAC
- Doug Martin, RB – Oak
- Ravens D/ST
- Broncos D/ST
Player I Love: Mike Williams is a name that you’ve no doubt seen pop up on sleeper boards all off season and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t buying into the hype. With mediocre players behind him on the depth chart and an injury prone Keenan Allen the only real obstacle away from WR1 looks, there’s not much keeping him from being fantasy relevant right out of the gates.
Player I Hate: LeGarrette Blount has had more fools gold seasons in his career than I’d care to admit falling for, and this year he’s off my list of potential starters for that reason. That uneasy feeling you get when preparing to select Blount stems from the fact that he can’t catch the football and the Lions have more talented backs on that roster already. While he may be inline for a ton of goal line work, rookie Kerryon Johnson and Theo Riddick are the two players I want from this backfield.
- Chris Carson, RB – SEA
- Rishard Matthews, WR – TEN
- Bilal Powell, RB – NYJ
- Josh Doctson, WR – WAS
- Latavius Murray, RB – MIN
- Kenny Golladay, WR – DET
- DeSean Jackson, WR – TB
- Case Keenum, QB – DEN
- James White, RB – NE
- Wil Lutz, K – NO
Player I Love: Chris Carson is the forgotten man in Seattle after Mike Davis stole the thunder last year and Rashad Penny was added in an attempt to return Seattle to the 80s where smash mouth football was the norm. You know who hasn’t forgotten about Carson? Coach Pete Carroll, who’s gushed about how fantastic Carson has looked this off season. As a depth piece, Carson’s road to starting touches is a fairly straightforward one, and with very little risk to boot.
Player I Hate: Kenny Golladay may still have some sheen after last years pre-season feeding frenzy, but don’t be fooled by the feelings you may still harbor towards him. Marvin Jones is the true threat down the sidelines and Golden Tate will eat up a ton of targets himself. Without enough to go around, Golladay will be the mouth left hungry.
- Jake Elliot, K – Phi
- Theo Riddick, RB – DET
- Nyheim Hines, RB – IND
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE – JAC
- Harrison Butker, K – KC
- Eli Manning, QB – NYG
- Cameron Brate, TE – TB
- Panthers D/ST
- Matt Bryant, K – ATL
- Robbie Gould, K – SF
Player I Love: He’s been on my sleeper list more than once, but I can’t shake the feeling that a healthy and sober Austin Seferian-Jenkins is in a position to blow up this year. With as much talent as anyone else at the position not named Gronkowski, ASJ will have the chance to prove himself in Jacksonville this year as the starter. While I don’t expect a top 5 finish, he’s certainly in the conversation as a low end TE1.
Player I Hate: At some point, Cameron Brate had to be on the outs in Tampa Bay. With O.J. Howard comfortable after a full season, it’s likely that the offense transitions towards him in the coming months. Couple that with the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t target either tight end much in the games he played, and Brate may be better suited for the back of a milk carton than the bench of a fantasy team.
- Saints D/ST
- Patriots D/ST
- Chris Boswell, K – PIT
- Mitch Trubisky, QB – CHI
- Paul Richardson, WR – WAS
- Michael Gallup, WR – DAL
- Hayden Hurst, TE – BAL
- Kenneth Dixon, RB – BAL
- Blake Bortles, QB – JAC
- Matt Prater, K – DET
Player I Love: While you’re firmly in the “drop in case of waiver wire pickup” stages of the draft, Michael Gallup presents real upside as a potential top receiver in Dallas. The rookie out of Colorado State is in the mix for the targets vacated by Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. In the 18th round, having a potential top receiver available seems criminal, and I’ll be jumping on Gallup as often as I can this draft season.
Player I Hate: I don’t hate Hayden Hurst the player, but I hate Hayden Hurst the Baltimore tight end. There hasn’t been much success for Baltimore tight ends since Dennis Pitta’s career was cut short, and with Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams on the roster siphoning plays, Hurst has too high a mountain to climb for me to feel comfortable drafting him at all.
- Christian Kirk, WR – ARI
- Dan Bailey, K – DAL
- Courtland Sutton, WR – DEN
- Frank Gore, RB – MIA
- Mohamed Sanu, WR – ATL
- Matt Brieda, RB – SF
- Steelers D/ST
- Eric Ebron, TE – IND
- Jared Cook, TE – OAK
- Tyrod Taylor, QB – CLE
Player I Love: It’s reasonable to be concerned about Tyrod Taylor’s job security, after all Baker Mayfield was drafted first overall. That would be to ignore the very loud proclamation that regardless of Mayfield’s presence on the roster, Taylor is the guy this year. Looking at the weapons both at wide receiver and in the backfield, there’s no better last round QB in my mind for real fantasy production.
Player I Hate: I’ll admit I’m guilty of hyping up Matt Brieda last year, as I incorrectly assumed Carlos Hyde wouldn’t handle passing downs. Now, he’s stuck behind an even better pass catcher in Jerick McKinnon. While Brieda may have some NFL talent, there’s little daylight in terms of fantasy value here. If McKinnon goes down, he’s a waiver option, but not worth carrying in standard leagues.
- Baker Mayfield, QB – CLE
- Andy Dalton, QB – CIN
- Ted Ginn, WR – NO
- Tyler Lockett, WR – SEA
- Dede Westbrook, WR – JAC
- Austin Ekeler, RB – LAC
- Mason Crosby, K – GB
- Josh Rosen, QB – ARI
- Lamar Jackson, QB – BAL
- Vance McDonald, TE – PIT
Player I Love: We mentioned it early with Marqise Lee (spoiler alert, I don’t like him as a #1) but Dede Westbrook is a guy that I look at with massive upside in an offense that seems to never have stability at it’s wide receiver position. While it’s typically useless to extrapolate previous years stats, it’s important to note that the young WR’s numbers over a full 16 games would have been 774 yards on 61 catches; and now he has less competition for targets.
Player I Hate: Lamar Jackson, in my eyes, is more of a project then a polished, NFL ready passer. With Joe Flacco still the starter, it’s unlikely Jackson sees extended time this season, and even if he does, there’s very little chance he excels in what would be a dismal situation. In dynasty leagues he’s a flier, but in redraft or short term keeper leagues, he’s best left to the waiver wire.
With drafts taking shape on the horizon, it begins to fall to us commentators to provide insight into the always present position battles that spring up around the league. One of the more interesting stories out of preseason camps is the battle for touches in the Seattle backfield.
The current depth chart (provided by CBS Sports) shows rookie RB Rashaad Penny on top, but it’s the name just below his that’s been drawing my interest. There was an interesting story published over on the Seahawks website, stating that Chris Carson “Has looked incredible”, adding some fuel to the fire that this may not be as forgone a conclusion as we once had thought.
He’s a look at the current ADP price for each of the back’s currently inline for touches.
- Rashad Penny – 41st overall
- Chris Carson – 151st overall
- Mike Davis/C.J. Prosise/J.D.McKissick – Undrafted
It sure seems that drafters are valuing Penny, the surprise first rounder, as the guy to own; but I’m not so sure that’s the case.
Clearly, he’s going to get a look as the starter, but with so many talented pass catchers on the roster, there’s not a clear path to 3 down territory, and if Carson has anything to say about it, he may not have more than a committee’s share.
If Carson wins any percentage of touches, the value on Penny plummets, making that 5th round ADP nerve wracking. We’ve seen it before, as players like Le’Veon Bell and Lamar Miller didn’t turn in dominating performances until their second year.
With a player like Carson, there’s some evidence that he can play in the league, and with his ADP in the 16th round, he presents far less risk for much of the same upside. If he continues to impress in camp, there’s been no inclination out of Seattle that it’s Penny’s job to lose no matter what. With a history of riding the hot hand, there’s a very real possibility that Carson could overtake Penny on the depth chart, making that 16th round pick far more attractive.
Now, please take the above with the a grain of salt, as I still think Penny represents the best chance for a top 15 RB finish, but if the news continues to revolve around the other backs around him, I may not be willing to pay the price to have him on my team.