Category Archives: Fantasy Football

Week 1 Thoughts

While week 1 featured several stellar performances by high-profile rookies, it also featured some dream killer injuries along the way. I’ll be brief, but below are the highlights of the Fantasy Seasons kickoff week.

Rookie Running Backs Shine

huntThe incoming group got off to a blazing start in the NFL opener in New England as Kareem Hunt stepped into the void following Spencer Ware’s injury and dropped almost 250 total yards and three touchdowns. His 41 points in standard leagues paced the NFL.

Also turning in solid performances were Leonard Fournette (124 yards, TD) and Dalvin Cook (137 total yards), Deshone Kizer (239 total yards, 1 Passing and 1 Rushing TD) , Tarik Cohen (110,1 TD), Kenny Golloday (69 yards, 2 TD), Cooper Kupp (76 yards, 1 TD) and Corey Coleman (53 yards, 1 TD).

Major Injury Woes

The injury to David Johnson (dislocated wrist) was a huge blow to fantasy teams as Johnson was, for all intents and purposes, the #1 pick in fantasy this year. At this point he’s expected to miss 8-12 weeks which would put his return right at the fantasy playoffs with no promises on what he may be able to produce.

Also injured: Allen Robinson (ACL injury, placed on IR), Danny Woodhead (Hamstring Injury, no timetable), Kevin White (Shoulder Injury, placed on IR).

Struggling to Get Going

While there were many players who surprised in week one, the more important story line are the players who failed to meet expectations.

Tom Brady: Brady’s value skyrocketed in the preseason thanks to a strong supporting cast, but an 8 point week 1 in a blowout loss against KC was not what owners were hoping for.

Russell Wilson: This was supposed to be a bounce back year for Russell but less than 200 yards against a GB defense that wasn’t the stingiest last year was awful for the former top 5 QB.

Le’Veon Bell: While David Johnson had an uninspiring week one prior to his injury, Bell had a disastrous one. 47 total yards and a 3.2 YPC line isn’t good enough for a player many believed was the best player in fantasy.

Joe Mixon: Maybe it’s not fair to read into his first NFL action, but Mixon’s opening stat line was borderline embarrassing as he managed only 9 yards on 8 carries. After a strong preseason saw Mixon jump up rankings, this should temper the expectations surrounding him for a bit.

Adrian Peterson: While I wasn’t very high on him coming into the season simply because of the crowd already in the NO backfield, I didn’t expect him to struggle in the run game to the tune of 6 carries for 18 yards. While Mark Ingram wasn’t impressive either, it appears that Peterson will play third fiddle to Ingram and rookie back Alvin Kamara going forward.

Brandon Marshall: With OBJ missing Sunday nights game, many expected Marshall to be heavily targeted, but he turned in a dud with only one reception on the final drive of the game.

Jamison Crowder: A popular preseason pick to elevate his game, Crowder’s struggles in week one may have been because Cousins couldn’t seem to hit open receivers. Still, it’s not encouraging going forward.

Martavis Bryant: It shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that Bryant hadn’t played much football in the past two years, but his 2 catches for 14 yards certainly contributed to fantasy losses in week 1.

 

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RB Committee Review

prosiseOften times the running back position is the most volatile when we enter the preseason as NFL head coaches have begun to compliment their rosters with a deeper stable of running backs, ultimately leading to ugly fantasy committees.

While we do our best to read the tea leaves early in the preseason, ultimately there are several surprises that pop up as we enter the games that matter.

Washington Redskins – Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine

What started as one of the trendiest picks of the off-season, the hype surrounding Perine has cooled off considerably after a roller coaster of a preseason. At times he was dominant, but at others he was lethargic and failed to hit the holes. It seems for a time that Rob Kelley is back in the driver seat in the Washington backfield. If you’re an owner of either of these backs, though, I’d compel you to pay close attention to how Kelley plays early because the leash will likely be short.

Carolina Panthers – Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey

There is certainly going to be a division of responsibility in this backfield but what seemed early on to be McCaffrey’s backfield to lose has become a bit of a committee after a rather impressive preseason by incumbent starter Stewart. At his current ADP Stewart is the far more valuable back as he’ll be in line for the bulk of the goal line carries and a good amount of inside the 20 runs, but McCaffrey certainly offers a lot of upside especially in PPR leagues. Be cautious at his current value, though, as Stewart is all but guaranteed to get a good portion of the split.

Cleveland Browns – Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr.

While I personally think that Crowell will get the bulk of meaningful carries in this offense, the truth is that the fantasy community is divided over the value of the 24 year old back. With Johnson in the fray, third downs and passing situations are going to be his, so Crowell’s value caps at roughly a RB2 but both backs could be in line for a lot of work as the passing game took a bit of a step back with the loss of Terrelle Prior. It should be interesting to see if Crowell can be more consistent this year, because he has a chance to really reward drafters during the season.

Green Bay Packers – Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams

I’m not sure if I’m in the minority on this one, but I find it hard to believe that the Green Bay drafted Williams this year without the intentions of starting him at his natural position. Montgomery is a fantastic passing option out of the backfield but he struggles in pass protection and he hasn’t nearly shown the consistency necessary to be considered a top 25 back, yet here we are. I’d argue that Williams will be the starter before season end and in the first few weeks the time share in the backfield will skew heavily in his favor.

New England Patriots – Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead

A mainstay on these committee lists, New England went out and procured two new running backs in the off season and fantasy players were left scratching their heads at how all of these backs could possibly be used. As the season inches closer we still don’t know. The truth is that Gillislee is the most talented back on the roster in terms of running the football. After his success in Buffalo, New England sought out a back they could give the ball to 15 times a game and he should be the guy. Burkhead was a trendy pick after a few really solid practices and preseason performances, but I’d caution that James White is the true pass catching back in this offense leaving little more than scraps for Burkhead to work with.

New Orleans Saints – Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson

It seems disingenuous to your 27 year old former Heisman trophy winner to go out and sign a 32 year old Adrian Peterson to compete for touches, but that’s exactly what the Saints did. Are they worried about Ingram’s injury history? Possibly, but I think that they saw a possibly stud that could help the team and said to hell with the consequences in terms of fantasy. For me, I’m not touching this backfield because both backs are capable number ones and there’s little reason for the Saints to favor one over the other. This is a straight up 50/50 committee and unless you think one or the other is going to get hurt, this is a backfield to avoid (especially that both backs are being drafted in the top 30-35 of the position!)

New York Jets – Bilal Powell and Matt Forte

One wonders if Matt Forte has anything left in the tank. After a surprisingly effective start to the year, Forte slowed significantly, opening running room for Powell who managed 750 or so yards on only 131 carries. Even if Forte starts the season at the top of the depth chart, Powell figures to be the third down pack, and is in line for 50-60 receptions on top of whatever yards he manages on the ground. Neither back is going to be a big factor in terms of touchdowns leaving Powell with the only back with value on the roster as Forte is likely to see his touches and yards decline.

Seattle Seahawks – Eddie Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and C.J. Prosise 

I could have included Carson’s name in there as well, but the competition really features a who’s who of injury report players and ineffective cast offs. Lacy was once an early fantasy pick after two monster years in Green Bay but now he finds himself running behind a porous offensive line with younger, more talented backs breathing down his neck. With Thomas Rawls, his only question is his health, as he is mightily effective when he DOES play. Will he play? Who knows, as he’s alreaddy dealing with some bumps and bruises. For my money, pass catcher C.J. Prosises is the best pick in the backfield. It’s not unrealistic to think he’ll lead the ground game too, but he’ll be in line for 40+ catches and at his current draft spot (later and later) he’ll return your investment in spades if you flex him right.

 

The ADP Game: Rounds 16-20

With the NFL season creeping ever closer, we’ll examine current consensus ADP data provided by Fantasypros.com to discuss the players we love and the players we hate based on where they’re being drafted. 

Round 16

  1. Carolina Panthers DST
  2. Darren Sproles
  3. John Ross
  4. Mason Crosby
  5. Graham Gano
  6. Carson Palmer
  7. Joe Williams
  8. Zay Jones
  9. Taylor Gabriel
  10. Coby Fleener

Player I Love – Zay Jones: Maybe it’s low hanging fruit, but with Sammy Watkins gone and Jordan Matthews nursing a broken sternum, Jones has a very real chance to start the year as the top WR by default. While I doubt he’ll have enough work to be a top 20 WR, he’ll far out perform his late draft position.

Player I Hate – Coby Fleener: The hype should have died a long time ago, but Fleener found himself in the enviable position of catching passes from Drew Brees and fantasy fan boys were salivating. Sadly Fleener was NOT the second coming of Jimmy Graham, and all he offers is the occasional big week when he catches a touch down. The TE position has great depth and Fleener just isn’t that good.

Round 17

  1. Cole Beasley
  2. Tyler Lockett
  3. Cairo Santos
  4. Jonathan Williams
  5. Austin Hooper
  6. Steven Hauschka
  7. Adam Vinatieri
  8. Kenny Golladay
  9. Sebastian Janikowski
  10. Julius Thomas

Player I Love – Cole Beasley: Do you think he’ll lead the Dallas passing attack in targets and catches again? Me either, but let’s be honest; he’s being drafted in the 17th round! As the second option in that offense, Beasley should be inline for another 70 or so catches, giving him big time PPR value.

Player I Hate – All the Kickers in this round: Okay, it’s a cop out, but I like all of the skill position players in this round and I hate taking kickers early. That being said, this late in drafts there’s very little downside to grabbing a high value player even if it IS a kicker, but I’d rather one of the other guys.

Round 18

  1. Cameron Brate
  2. Giovani Bernard
  3. Josh Doctson
  4. Baltimore Ravens
  5. Rex Burkhead
  6. J.J. Nelson
  7. Los Angeles Rams DST
  8. Will Lutz
  9. Pittsburgh Steelers DST
  10. Jared Cook

Player I Love – Rex Burkhead: The news that Mike Gillislee is “100%” is a bit disconcerting, but the bottom line is Burkhead has looked fantastic in what work he’s gotten and Gillislee hasn’t played yet. Sure, drafting a Patriots back is a nerve racking activity, but there’s relatively low risk and Burkhead could pay off in spades.

Player I Hate: J.J. Nelson: Either you believe John Brown is the next big receiver in Arizona or you don’t but there isn’t likely enough passes to go around in an offense that is unequivocally David Johnson’s to justify rostering Nelson. Sure, keep an eye on him should Brown stumble or the aging Fitzgerald get hurt, but there are a number of high upside players available behind him that should be a priority.

Round 19

  1. Kevin White
  2. Marlon Mack
  3. Dion Lewis
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars DST
  5. Deshaun Watson
  6. Robby Anderson
  7. Chalder Catanzaro
  8. Mohamed Sanu
  9. Antonio Gates
  10. Evan Engram

Player I love – Marlon Mack: I’ve tried predicting the demise of Frank Gore in the past, and maybe I just like when he proves me wrong, but at some point he has to break down and with Luck potentially missing time, the workload could prove to be too much. That’s where Marlon Mack comes in – he’ll likely get some work early even with Gore on the field, but it’s only a matter of time before the job is his.

Player I hate – Dion Lewis: Does Lewis even make the team in New England? Who knows, but with additions to the backfield and the return of the now-paid James White mean there’s not much room for Lewis to run. Last year he was a trendy pick to lead the mid-round backs, but this year he’s a cautionary tale of when to read the tea leaves.

Round 20

  1. Philadelphia Eagles DST
  2. Chris Boswell
  3. D’Onta Foreman
  4. Cooper Kupp
  5. Blake Bortles
  6. Joe Flacco
  7. Matt Prater
  8. Kenny Stills
  9. Atlanta Falcons DST
  10. Alex Smith

Player I love – Joe Flacco: The Ravens have been taking a cautious approach to returning Flacco to the field, but sooner or later they’re going to need him playing football if they want to win games. With new pass catchers in Danny Woodhead and Jeremy Maclin, not to mention a fairly easy fantasy schedule, Flacco could be see this year return him to fantasy relevance.

Player I Hate – Cooper Kupp: When Sammy Watkins was traded to the Rams, Kupp’s sleeper status took a nose dive. Now the number 3 receiver at best, and expected to miss time, Kupp should be a waiver pick up at best, and even then it’s likely for a spot start.

 

 

Keeper League Draft Review

The first of Dr. Fantasy’s drafts took place on Saturday August 26th, and what follows is a round by round review of the action. After finishing in 4th last year, the below are the keepers and the rounds they are in. Keep in mind this is a 2QB Super-flex league with 30 total keepers.

  • Golden Tate (Rnd 5) I was torn on this selection as Derek Carr and Ameer Abdullah both conflicted with other keepers so Tate was the winner by default.
  • Kirk Cousins (Rnd 8)
  • Michael Thomas (Rnd 12)

Round 1

  • Le’Veon Bell, RB – PIT
  • Atonio Brown, WR – PIT
  • Julio Jones, WR – ATL
  • LeSean McCoy, RB – BUF
  • Jordy Nelson, WR – GB
  • Tom Brady, QB – NE
  • Aaron Rodgers, QB – GB
  • Mike Evans, WR – TB
  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB – DAL
  • Jordan Howard, RB – CHI

My selection: LeSEan McCoy. I was concerned that the depth at RB was gutted due to key keepers, and I could afford to take a chance here as I already roster two top 25 WR’s in Thomas and Tate. The Jordy Nelson pick may end up being one of the strangest picks in the draft as our return champion passed on both elite QB’s and Mike Evans (whom I have ranked higher) to draft the aging #1 in green bay. Best Pick: Jordan Howard, 1.10

Round 2

  • A.J. Green, WR – CIN
  • Dez Bryant, WR – DAL
  • T.Y. Hilton, WR – IND
  • DeMarco Murray, RB – TEN
  • Leonard Fournette, RB – JAC
  • Drew Brees, QB – NO
  • Rob Gronkowski, TE – NE
  • Lamar Miller, RB – HOU
  • Christian McCaffrey, RB – CAR
  • Russell Wilson, QB – SEA

My selection: Rob Gronkowski. I knew it would be slim pickings on the second tier of RB’s when it got back to me, and with Brees going just before me, I went against every instinct I had and drafted Gronk to give me an edge at the TE position (and the last elite player due to keepers). Fournette was a ballsy pick considering his lingering injury issues and his standings slide. He’s in line for a ton of work, but the more dynamic Lamar Miller was still available. Best Pick: DeMarco Murray, 2.04

Round 3

  • Greg Olsen, TE – CAR
  • Travis Kelce, TE – KC
  • Marshawn Lynch, RB – OAK
  • Dalvin Cook, RB – MIN
  • Mark Ingram, RB – NO
  • Demaryius Thomas, WR – DEN
  • Jarvis Landry, WR – MIA
  • DeAndre Hopkins, WR – HOU
  • Alshon Jeffrey, WR – PHI
  • Keenan Allen, WR – LAC

My Selection: Dalvin Cook. This was a case of get who you want considering I had 12 picks until my next selection. I’m really high on Cook and knew after Fournette and McCaffrey had gone I wasn’t going to get him in the 4th. The latter half of this round has plenty of players with huge ceilings and plenty of questions; most of them surrounding who is throwing the football in said offense. Best Pick: Alshon Jeffrey, 3.09

Round 4

  • Todd Gurley, RB – LAR
  • Ty Montgomery, RB – GB
  • Allen Robinson, WR – JAC
  • Joe Mixon, RB – CIN
  • Carlos Hyde, RB – SF
  • Michael Crabtree, WR – OAK
  • Davante Adams, WR – GB
  • Amari Cooper, WR – OAK
  • Kareem Hunt – RB KC
  • Emmanuel Sanders, WR – DEN

My Selection: Davante Adams. If I had been paying attention I would have likely grabbed Kareem Hunt, unfortunately I was more concerned about filling out my WR’s, as I like to do in PPR leagues. Adams offers huge upside (solid WR2 regardless of a healthy Nelson) who under the right circumstances could find himself a borderline WR1. Best Pick: Kareem Hunt, 4.09

Round 5

  • Jamies Winston, QB – TB
  • Marcus Mariota, QB – TEN
  • Cam Newton, QB – CAR
  • Golden Tate, WR – DET
  • Larry Fitzgerald, WR – ARI
  • Brandon Marshall, WR – NYG
  • Willie Snead, WR – NO
  • Mike Gillislee, RB – NE
  • Kelvin Benjamin, WR – CAR
  • Ben Roethlisberger, QB – PIT

My Selection: Golden Tate. I had my first keeper in this round, and any second thoughts I had about keeping Tate were erased as Fitzgerals, Marshall, and Snead went off the board (all WR’s I’d pass on for Tate). Not knowing who is keeping whom in keeper formats is always a challenge, but keeping a volume WR in PPR is a safe bet. Best Pick: Kelvin Benhamin, 5.09

Round 6

  • C.J. Anderson, RB – DEN
  • Andrew Luck, QB – IND
  • Kyle Rudolph, TE – MIN
  • Adrian Peterson, RB – NO
  • DeSean Jackson, WR – TB
  • Eli Manning, QB – NYG
  • Philip Rivers, QB – LAC
  • Tyrod Taylor, QB – BUF
  • Devante Parker, WR – MIA
  • Bilal Powell, RB – NYJ

My Selection: Philip Rivers. I waited long enough in a league that allows you to start three QB’s and grabbed my highest ranked QB available. This strategy has worked in the past but this year QB’s went early and often and the 5th round bye hurt me in terms of who was available. Round 6 saw the first specialist and backup RB’s taken in Peterson and Powell. Best Pick: C.J. Anderson 6.01

Round 7

  • Martavus Bryant, WR – PIT
  • Melvin Gordon, RB – LAC
  • Jamison Crowder, WR – WAS
  • Ameer Abdullah, RB – DET
  • Latavius Murray, RB – MIN
  • Sammy Watkins, WR – LAR
  • Matthew Stafford, QB – DET
  • Devonta Freeman, RB – ATL
  • Pierre Garcon, WR – SF
  • Andy Dalton, QB – CIN

My Selection: Ameer Abdullah. I could have gone with a safer pick here like Woodhead or even the suspended Doug Martin, but Abdullah’s skill has always intrigued me and I feel like the breakout is on the horizon. Of course he has to stay healthy. Speaking of health, is Latavius Murray worth a 7th round pick? To the guy I offered Murray to in the offseason in the 14th round? Strange… Best Pick: Jamison Crowder 7.03 (keepers don’t qualify for best picks… sorry Freeman in the 7th).

Round 8

  • Doug Martin, RB – TB
  • Darren McFadden, RB – DAL
  • Matt Ryan, QB – ATL
  • Brandin Cooks, WR – NE
  • Zach Ertz, TE – PHI
  • Mike Wallace, WR – BAL
  • Kirk Cousins, QB – WAS
  • Frank Gore, RB – IND
  • Rob Kelley, RB – WAS
  • Danny Woodhead, RB – BAL

My Selection: Kirk Cousins. I’m happy with where I have the 7th overall QB, especially given that there’s only a handful of starters still available (one of whom will have to be my third starter). Rob Kelley goes ahead of Perine in our draft despite the hype and Kelley’s underwhelming season last year. Best Pick: Danny Woodhead, 8.10

Round 9

  • Stefon Diggs, WR – Min
  • Sam Bradford, QB – MIN
  • Theo Riddick, RB – DET
  • LeGarrette Blount, RB – PHI
  • Eric Decker, WR – TEN
  • Duke Johnson, RB – CLE
  • Alex Smith, QB – KC
  • Dak Prescott, QB – DAL
  • Jeremy Maclin, WR – BAL
  • Derrick Henry, RB – TEN

My Selection: LeGarrette Blount. I know I know… I’ve been out of Blount all year, but with no safe lead backs left on the board, I figured I’d take a gamble on the big man. After 1,000 yards and 18 TD’s last year in an offense that doesn’t really run the football, I expect regression but still a quality RB 3 season out of Blount. Best Pick: Jeremy Maclin, 9.09

Round 10

  • Jordan Reed, TE – WAS
  • James White, RB – NE
  • Blake Bortles, QB – JAC
  • Eric Ebron, TE – DET
  • Jamaal Charles, RB – DEN
  • Malcom Mitchell, WR – NE
  • Samaje Perine, RB – WAS
  • Tevin Coleman, RB – ATL
  • Donte Moncrief, WR – IND
  • Tyler Eifert, TE – CIN

My Selection: Samaje Perine. I know the bandwagon has lost a few riders after a dismal performance against Cincinnati the past week, but I still project Perine as the eventual starter in this offense, and his skill set is far broader than Kelley’s. As always in multi-QB leagues, guys like Bortles are a last resort for teams who waited too long (or just want to take a shot with their 4th guy). Best Pick – Tyler Eifert, 10.10

Round 11

  • Corey Davis, WR – TEN
  • Kevin White, WR – CHI
  • Carson Palmer, QB – ARI
  • Tyrell Williams, WR – LAC
  • David Johnson, RB – ARI
  • Denver Bronco’s DST
  • Randall Cobb, WR – GB
  • C.J. Prosise, RB – SEA
  • Eddie Lacy, RB – SEA
  • Corey Coleman, WR – CLE

My Selection: Tyrell Williams. There was a lot of young players and rookies drafted in round 11, but I’m happy with the undrafted Williams as my 4th WR. With questions about Mike William’s availability and Keenan Allen’s injury history, it’s a safe bet that Williams will see a good amount of work this year regardless. Best Pick: Kevin White, 11.02

Round 12

  • Adam Thielen, WR – MIN
  • Rishard Matthews, WR – TEN
  • Charles Sims, RB – TB
  • Cole Beasley, WR – DAL
  • Derek Carr, QB – OAK
  • Isaiah Crowell, RB – CLE
  • Michael Thomas, WR – NO
  • Sterling Shepard, WR – NYG
  • Matt Forte, RB – NYJ
  • Paul Perkins, RB – NYG

My Selection: Michael Thomas. It’s always nice to have a top 15 pick in a later keeper round, even if it means trading away Derek Carr in the same round to keep him. There were several keepers here so there is a definate parody between Thomas, Carr, and Crowell and guys like Forte and Sims. Best Pick: Adam Thielen, 12.01

Round 13

  • Marlon Mack, RB – IND
  • Giovani Bernard, RB – CIN
  • Hunter Henry, TE – LAC
  • John Brown, WR – ARI
  • Cameron Brate, TE – TB
  • Jordan Matthews, WR – PHI
  • Alvin Kamara, RB – NO
  • Kenny Britt, WR – CLE
  • Trevor Siemian, QB – DEN
  • Jacquizz Rodgers, RB – TB

My Selection: John Brown. I wasn’t sold on his hype last year, and I’m not entirely sure I’m sold on it this year, but while Fitzgerald slowly marches towards the end of a hall of fame career, Brown is the best suited to fill in the gaps as Palmer still needs to chuck the ball around. Best Pick: John Brown, 13.04

Round 14

  • Zay Jones, WR – BUF
  • Julius Thomas, TE – MIA
  • Joe Williams, RB – SF
  • Kenny Golloday, WR – DET
  • Mike Williams, WR – LAC
  • Darren Sproles, RB – PHI
  • Austin Hooper, TE – ATL
  • Chris Thompson, RB – WAS
  • Jay Cutler, QB – MIA
  • Jamaal Williams, RB – GB

My Selection: Austin Hooper. At this point, it’s keeper hour and guys were obviously spending picks on guys they think may elevate their game at some point. I had Hooper targeted as an early breakout candidate, and with Gronk on the roster, I need a solid backup just in case. Best Pick: Chris Thompson, 14.07

Round 15

  • Cooper Kupp, WR – LAR
  • Jonathan Stewart, RB – CAR
  • Marvin Jones, WR – DET
  • Seattle Seahawks DST
  • Josh Docston, WR – WAS
  • Chris Hogan, WR – NE
  • Jeremy McNichols, RB – TB
  • Wayne Gallman, RB – NYG
  • Jay Ajayi, RB – MIA
  • D’onta Forman, RB – HOU

My Selection, Seattle Defense. I toyed with the idea of grabbing D’onta Forman at this point in the draft, but took the route less traveled (for me) and kept swinging for the fences by selecting the second defense taken. Some interesting names went in this round as three second fiddle backs and one deep sleeper went. Best Pick: D’onta Forman, 15.10

Round 16

  • Tyreek Hill, WR – KC
  • Delanie Walker, TE – TEN
  • Kerwynn Williams, RB – ARI
  • O.J. Howard, TE – TB
  • Jason Witten, TE – DAL
  • Martell Bennett, TE – GB
  • Robert Woods, WR – LAR
  • Jimmy Graham, TE – NO
  • Jack Doyle, TE – IND
  • Tyler Lockett, WR – SEA

My Selection: Robert Woods. I could have very easily gotten caught up in the TE run that was going through the heart of round 16 (I had a few targeted for depth to ensure I was covered in the event of a Gronk injury) but I took a player I think has a good chance to lead the Rams in targets. Best Pick: Jason Witten 16.05

Round 17

  • Chris Carson, RB – SEA
  • Odell Beckham JR, WR – NYG
  • Justin Tucker, K – BAL
  • Joe Flacco, QB – BAL
  • Rex Burkhead, RB – NE
  • Stephen Goskowski, K – NE
  • Thomas Rawls, RB – SEA
  • Deandre Washington, RB – OAK
  • Jeremy Hill, RB – CIN
  • Wendell Smallwood, RB – PHi

My Selection: Joe Flacco. I secretly targeted Flacco weeks ago… which if you’d read my articles on sleepers and QB’s you have known that I think the re-stocked weapons are a shade better this year than last and I’m buying into the charmin-soft passing defenses that the Ravens get to play this year. Also, for any of you thinking about drafting a kicker in anything other than the last three rounds; don’t. Best Pick: Rex Burkhead, 17.05

Round 18

  • Robby Anderson, WR – NYJ
  • Carson Wentz, QB – PHI
  • Dion Lewis, RB – NE
  • Jared Cook, TE – OAK
  • Julian Edelman, WR – NE
  • Kenny Still, WR – Mia
  • Jonathan Williams, RB – BUF
  • John Ross, WR – CIN
  • Will Fuller, WR – HOU
  • Nelson Agholor, WR – PHI

My Selection, Jonathan Williams. This one stung a bit because I knew I wanted to cuff Williams to McCoy; Buffalo is going to run the ball, and run it well regardless of who’s under center. But the names that went immediately following the pick were ones I was hoping would survive the 6 picks back to me. Best Pick: Nelson Agholor, 18.10

Round 19

  • Deshone Kizer, QB – CLE
  • NE Patriots DST
  • T.J. Yeldon, RB – JAC
  • Jared Goff, QB – LAR
  • Kansas City Chiefs DST
  • Torrey Smith, WR – PHI
  • Doug Baldwin, WR – SEA
  • Minnesota Vikings DST
  • Danny Amendola, WR – NE
  • Coby Fleener, TE – NO

My Selection: Jared Goff. He was selected first over all years ago, and I need to hedge my Flacco bets assuming he’s injured or anything less than 100% to start the year. This amounts to a late round flier, but Goff has the shortest of leashes if he stumbles badly. Best Pick: T.J. Yeldon, 19.03

Round 20

  • Tarik Cohen, RB – CHI
  • Houston Texans DST
  • Matt Bryant, K – ATL
  • Jacksonville Jaguars DST
  • Dwayne Allen, TE – NE
  • Mason Crosby, K – GB
  • Zach Zenner, RB – DET
  • Arizona Cardinals DST
  • Josh Lambo, K – LAC
  • Dan Bailey, K – DAL

My Selection: Zach Zenner. At this point in the draft the pickings are slim. It’s more likely (in my mind) that I’ll benefit from handcuffing Abdullah’s backup given his injury history. This round is proof that waiting on your kicker is a far more sound strategy considering Tucker and Gostkowski went three rounds earlier than Mason Crosby and provide far less value than skill position players like John Ross or Nelson Agholor.

Round 21

  • Terrance West, RB – BAL
  • Terrelle Pryor, WR – WAS
  • Devin Funchess, WR – CAR
  • Evan Engram, TE – NYG
  • Jake Butt, TE – DEN
  • Mohamad Sanu, WR – AT
  • Dustin Hopkins, K – WAS
  • James Conner, RB – PIT
  • Matt Prater, K – DEN
  • Adam Vinatieri, K – IND

My Selection: Evan Engram. My last positional player selected was naturally one of my favorite deep sleepers; TE Evan Engram of the Giants. While I don’t expect him to consistently put up big numbers in that offense, I could see him become a reliable source of red zone looks as well as the athletic pass catching potential to find himself pushing the top 15 TEs and screamin’ for a keeper selection. Best Selection: Devin Funchess.

Round 22

  • Baltimore Ravens DST
  • Shane Vereen, RB – NYG
  • Jalen Richard, RB – OAK
  • Deshaun Watson, QB – HOU
  • Juju Smith-schuster, WR – PIT
  • Geno Smith, QB – NYG
  • Steven Hauschka, K – BUF
  • Adarius Stewart, WR – NYJ
  • Jaron Brown- RB – ARI
  • Cincinatti Bengals DST

My Selection: Steven Haschka. To be fair, I’ve already dropped Hauschka and replaced him with Wil Lutz, but either way I don’t love either player… because who cares about kickers! A few “funny business” pick in this round made for an interest wrap up and Jaron Brown is Mr. Irrelevant (last positional player picked in the draft). Best Pick: Deshaun Watson. 

The ADP Game: Round 11-15

With the NFL season creeping ever closer, we’ll examine current consensus ADP data provided by Fantasypros.com to discuss the players we love and the players we hate based on where they’re being drafted. 

Round 11

  1. Theo Riddick, RB – DET
  2. Davante Parker, WR – MIA
  3. Cameron Meredith, WR – CHI
  4. Denver Broncos DST
  5. Matt Forte, RB – NYJ
  6. Hunter Henry, TE – LAC
  7. Samaje Perine, RB – WAS
  8. Stephon Gostkowski, K – NE
  9. Matt Stafford, QB – DET
  10. Kansas City Chiefs DST

Player I Love – Samaje Perine: Okay, so count me firmly seated on the Perine bandwagon, especially if his price stays in the 11th round. At this point, he’s far outperformed anyone else in the Washington backfield, and he’s looked pretty good at times. Even if Rob Kelley gets the start in week 1, it won’t be long before Perine is leading this backfield.

Player I Hate – Hunter Henry: I’m not drafting Henry any sooner than the last three or four rounds, and even then, only in dynasty or keeper formats. I know the buzz surrounding him is that he’s ready to break free from Antonio Gates’ shadow, but until Gates retires or leaves the Chargers, I’m not betting against him. It may be a 50/50 split between the 20’s (which leaves both with nominal value) but it will still be Gates in the red zone which limits Henry’s upside.

Round 12

  1. Latavius Murray, RB – MIN
  2. Corey Davis, WR – TEN
  3. Thomas Rawls, RB – SEA
  4. Justin Tucker, K – BAL
  5. Philip Rivers, QB – LAC
  6. Seattle Seahawks DST
  7. Darren McFadden, RB – DAL
  8. Houston Texans DST
  9. Corey Coleman, WR – CLE
  10. Tyrell Williams, WR – LAC

Player I love – Tyrell Williams: Yes, Keenan Allen is “healthy” and the Chargers drafted Mike Williams, but I’m not convinced either or both of those players will be healthy for any length of time. Allen is a time bomb and Williams is dealing with his own issues, and still Williams gets no love following a 1,000 yard season.

Player I Hate – Latavius Murray: It feels sacrilegious to say, but Murray’s done nothing for himself following the big payday he received in Minnesota to win that starting job. All Dalvin Cook has done has been impressive as a rookie, leading to doubts that Murray will find enough running room to be even

Round 13

  1. Kenny Britt, WR – CLE
  2. Rishard Matthews, WR – TEN
  3. John Brown, WR – ARI
  4. Matt Bryant, K – ATL
  5. Eric Ebron, TE – DET
  6. Arizona Cardinals DST
  7. Minnesota Vikings DST
  8. C.J. Prosise, RB – SEA
  9. Jack Doyle, TE – IND
  10. New England Patriots DST

Player I love – Kenny Britt: Britt slides into the Cleveland offense replacing the departing Terrelle Pryor and his 141 targets which could mean 70-80 receptions for the former Ram. If Britt maintains his career averages (or somewhere close to the 15 yards per catch) he should produce at least 1,000 yards. Target Britt all day in the 13th round.

Player I Hate – Eric Ebron: How long does a prospect get before the hype turns into hot air? Ebron is not a TE1, yet that’s exactly where he’s being drafted. Instead of leaping on Ebron, wait for a guy like Hooper, or Brate, or even Jason Witten in the later rounds.

Round 14

  1. Duke Johnson, RB – CLE
  2. Mike Wallace, WR – BAL
  3. James White, RB – NE
  4. Adam Thielen, WR – MIN
  5. Jeremy Hill, RB – CIN
  6. Eli Manning, QB – NYG
  7. Dan Bailey, K – DAL
  8. Jacquizz Rodgers, RB – TB
  9. O. J. Howard, TE – TB
  10. Marvin Jones, WR – DET

Player I love – Adam Thielen: Not much has changed in Minnesota besides the running game, and still Thielen and his nearly 1,000 yards is being drafted around the 150 mark. One of the best values in all of fantasy football this year, expect Thielen to at least match his numbers if not eclipse them all together.

Player I hate – Jeremy Hill: Joe Mixon is in town and impressive, and Gio Bernard should handle his fair share of passing downs leaving not much for the former early round pick to rely on. Sure, Mixon could stumble, but it seems the writing is on the wall for a player who doesn’t offer much upside at all.

Round 15

  1. Jamaal Charles, RB – DEN
  2. Jamaal Williams, RB – GB
  3. Jordan Matthews, WR – BUF
  4. Tyrod Taylor, QB – BUF
  5. Andy Dalton, QB – CIN
  6. New York Giants DST
  7. Sterling Shepard, WR – NYG
  8. Ted Ginn, WR – NO
  9. Carson Wentz, QB – PHI
  10. Jason Witten, TE – DAL

Player I love – Jamaal Williams: It still boggles my mind that an converted WR who played barely enough snaps to be considered a starting RB is being selected in the top 40 picks. Ty Montgomery is NOT the back of the future; Jamaal Williams is. Expect Williams to usurp the role pretty quickly as he’s shown an ability to block, which is important in an offense like Green Bay.

Player I Hate – Jamaal Charles: Sometimes a back hangs on too long, and it appears that this year could be the dud of a swan-song for the one time fantasy stud. If reports out of Denver are to be believed, Charles may not even make the team, much less give Anderson a run for his money at the top of the depth chart. Bookers injury clears space for Denver to keep him on the roster, but he won’t find his way onto mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ADP Game: Rounds 6-10

With the NFL season creeping ever closer, we’ll examine current consensus ADP data provided by Fantasypros.com to discuss the players we love and the players we hate based on where they’re being drafted. 

Round 6

  1. Mark Ingram, RB – NO
  2. Jordan Reed, TE – WAS
  3. Sammy Watkins, WR – LAR
  4. Julian Edelman, WR – NE
  5. Jimmy Graham, TE – SEA
  6. Kelvin Benjamin, WR – CAR
  7. Martavis Bryant, WR – PIT
  8. Golden Tate, WR – DET
  9. Russell Wilson, QB – SEA
  10. Mike Gillislee, RB – NE

Player I love – Golden Tate: After a rough stretch to start the season, Tate followed up the bye week by catching at least 5 catches over the final 6 weeks to finish just shy of 1,000 yards. In PPR leagues especially, his value is rock solid late in the 6th round.

Player I Hate – Martavis Bryant: A few years ago, Bryant flashed big play ability to grow into the kind of unsustainable hype machine that burns fantasy teams who over-commit to lack of performance. While the skill is certainly there, Bryant has yet to prove he’ll stay clear of discipline long enough to reward fantasy owners. With the names going after him I’m passing entirely in the 6th round.

Round 7

  1. Tevin Coleman, RB – ATL
  2. Larry Fitzgerald, WR – ARI
  3. Andrew Luck, QB – IND
  4. LeGarrette Blount, RB – PHI
  5. Tyler Eifert, TE – CIN
  6. Brandon Marshall, WR – NYG
  7. Bilal Powell, RB – NYJ
  8. Ameer Abdullah, RB – DET
  9. Emmanuel Sanders, WR – DEN
  10. Adrian Peterson, RB – NO

Player I love – Tyler Eifert: All Eifert does is catch touchdowns, to the tune of 18 over his last 21 games. Finally healthy, Eifert should continue to grow in the Bengals offense, and it feels comfortable to extrapolate the second half of last season to predict 750 yards and 10TDs.

Player I Hate – Bilal Powell: Don’t get me wrong, I was on the Powell train earlier in the off season too, but the buzz got too big and now he’s being drafted before starters like Perkins, Abdullah, Gore, and Martin… which feels far too early for me. He’ll have some decent games but the Jets are going to be bad this year and to commit to Powell in the 7th round is foolish.

Round 8

  1. Stefon Diggs – WR – MIN
  2. Jameis Winston, QB – TB
  3. Frank Gore, RB – IND
  4. Delanie Walker, TE – TEN
  5. Cam Newton, QB – CAR
  6. Derek Carr, QB – OAK
  7. Doug Martin, RB – TB
  8. Paul Perkins, RB – NYG
  9. Eddie Lacy, RB – SEA
  10. Kirk Cousins, QB – WAS

Player I love – Doug Martin: It’s likely that if Martin wasn’t facing a suspension, he’d be going in the first 3 rounds of drafts, but thanks to his absence, the Muscle Hamster has fallen to the round 8 range. His offseason performances have me leaning towards bounce back year with a RB1 ceiling in the weeks following his return, which is a steal in the 8th round or later.

Player I hate – Eddie Lacy: What seemed like a match made in heaven for Lacy and the Seahawks has turned into a situation that has fans wondering if he’ll even make the team. Thomas Rawls has been announced as the starter and we all know C.J. Prosise is a lock for third downs, leaving slim pickings for the anything-but-slim back. Sure, Lacy may start by default if Rawls can’t stay healthy, but it doesn’t bode well for confidence if you decide to take a chance on the former Packer.

Round 9

  1. Willie Snead, WR – NO
  2. Marcus Mariota, QB – TEN
  3. Kyle Rudolph, TE – MIN
  4. Jamison Crowder, WR – WAS
  5. Danny Woodhead, RB – BAL
  6. Derrick Henry, RB – TEN
  7. Matellus Bennett, TE – GB
  8. DeSean Jackson, WR – TB
  9. Robert Kelley, RB – WAS
  10. Donte Moncrief, WR – IND

Player I Love – DeSean Jackson: It’s no secret that I’ve been targeting Jackson since the day he signed in Tampa. A burner with elite speed, he’ll slot in on day one as the 2nd WR opposite Mike Evans. If you think he had room to run last year when he had 1,000 yards and average nearly 18 yards per catch, just imagine the room he’ll have with Evans drawing doubles and Winston’s cannon of an arm leading him down field. Consistency will likely be lacking since he won’t top the team in targets but in the 9th he’ll be fantastic value.

Player I Hate – Donte Moncrief: This isn’t to say that I think Moncrief is a bad player, but the situation in Indy is looking worse by the week and while T.Y. Hilton will still find his fair share of targets, Moncrief could be in fantasy trouble if Scott Tolzien is handling the football. If Moncrief falls a few rounds I may consider him, but in this position I’d go with any number of receivers over him.

Round 10

  1. Randall Cobb, WR – GB
  2. Eric Decker, WR – TEN
  3. Dak Prescott, QB – DAL
  4. Ben Roethlisberger, QB – PIT
  5. Pierre Garcon, WR – SF
  6. Kareem Hunt, RB – KC
  7. Zach Ertz, TE – PHI
  8. Jonathan Stewart, RB – CAR
  9. Jeremy Maclin, WR – BAL
  10. Terrance West, RB – BAL

Player I love – Eric Decker: After the drama surrounding Decker when he was cut with New York it seemed he may be destined for the veteran run around as he looked for a landing spot. Now he’s in Tennessee and the rumors are that he’s Mariota’s new favorite weapon and he’s been looking his way in the red zone an awful lot. Decker could be a massive value at his current ADP.

Player I Hate – Ben Roethlisberger: Big Ben will still win a lot of games this year, and he does have Antonio Brown to throw to, but these things may convince you that he’s an elite fantasy QB when in reality that ship has sailed. This team is going rely on Le’Veon Bell more than ever and while Roethlisberg will be serviceable, he’s less valuable than he’s ever been.

The ADP Game: Rounds 1-5

With the NFL season creeping ever closer, we’ll examine current consensus ADP data provided by Fantasypros.com to discuss the players we love and the players we hate based on where they’re being drafted. 

Round 1

  1. David Johnson, RB – ARI
  2. Le’Veon Bell, RB – PIT
  3. Antonio Brown, WR – PIT
  4. Julio Jones, WR – ATL
  5. LeSean McCoy, RB – BUF
  6. Odell Beckham Jr., WR – NYG
  7. Mike Evans, WR – TB
  8. Devonta Freeman, RB – ATL
  9. Melvin Gordon, RB – LAC
  10. A.J. Green, WR – CIN

Player I love – Mike Evans: It’s the first round so you can’t really complain about Evans being ranked as the 4th best WR, but the fact is he was better than anyone NOT named Antonio Brown on a per game basis and finished as the #1 WR in overall points in 2016. At 24 years old and the undisputed #1 weapon in an improving offense, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish on top of the WR pool.

Player I hate – Melvin Gordon: Gordon’s career so far has been polarizing to say the least. After not recording a TD in over 200 touches as a rookie, Gordon returned the investments of his faithful by finding pay dirt 10 times. Still, he finished with less than a 1,000 yards and a sub 4 YPC mark that doesn’t exactly instill confidence that he’ll return as a RB1. Being drafted as the 5th RB is far too rich for my blood.

Round 2

  1. DeMarco Murray, RB – TEN
  2. Jordy Nelson, WR – GB
  3. Jordan Howard, RB – CHI
  4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB – DAL
  5. Jay Ajayi, RB – MIA
  6. Michael Thomas, WR – NO
  7. Aaron Rodgers, QB – GB
  8. Dez Bryant, WR – DAL
  9. Todd Gurley, RB – LAR
  10. Rob Gronkowski, TE – NE

Player I love – Todd Gurley: On the flip side of the Melvin Gordon coin is Todd Gurley. After an abysmal season Gurley has fallen down draft boards to the end of the 2nd round, but this isn’t like Trent Richardson or other flash-in-the-pan backs of the last 10 years. Gurley is the real deal, and the Rams offense looks like it’s improved dramatically in the off season thanks to free agent signings and trades. As the 10th back off the board, I’m more than comfortable with Gurley as my #1.

Player I hate – Jay Ajayi: The skills are there to be a very good NFL back, but the shine from three 200 yard rushing performances has blinded his fans from the fact that he just wasn’t that great in the rest of his games. Check out this article at Fantasypros that shows how often Ajayi finished as a top 20 back (TL:DR folks… it’s not enough to justify the 15th over all pick).

Round 3

  1. Leonard Fournette, RB – JAC
  2. T.Y Hilton, WR – IND
  3. Tom Brady, QB – NE
  4. Amari Cooper, WR – OAK
  5. Marshawn Lynch, RB – OAK
  6. Lamar Miller, RB – HOU
  7. Doug Baldwin. WR – SEA
  8. Brandin Cooks, WR – NE
  9. Isaiah Crowell, RB – CLE
  10. Christian McCaffrey, RB – CAR

Player I love – Doug Baldwin: He’s not a sexy name but he’s a machine that hauls in just about everything thrown his way. Last year he finished with 94 catches for 1100 yards and a top 10 WR finish in standard leagues, and that’s with the first half issues at QB. Especially in PPR leagues, Baldwin is a lock for about 100 receptions and 1,100 yards again.

Player I Hate – Amari Cooper: Just to clarify, I don’t hate the player in general, but he’s still being drafted based on hype rather than statistics. While it’s fair to assume that he’ll eventually overtake Michael Crabtree as the more productive Oakland receiver, I still won’t spend a 3rd round pick on the teams 2nd best receiver over the past two seasons.

Round 4

  1. DeAndre Hopkins, WR – HOU
  2. Drew Brees, QB – NO
  3. Demaryius Thomas, WR – DEN
  4. Terrelle Pryor, WR – WAS
  5. Joe Mixon, RB – CIN
  6. Alshon Jeffery, WR – PHI
  7. Travis Kelce, TE – KC
  8. Carlos Hyde, RB – SF
  9. Dalvin Cook, RB – MIN
  10. Matt Ryan, QB – ATL

Player I love – Carlos Hyde: Hyde, on a per game basis, finished as the RB10 despite San Fransisco’s abysmal offense last year. This year, the needle is pointing up (ever so slightly) with the addition of high flying Kyle Shanahan to the offense. Don’t buy into the buzz that Hyde isn’t his guy; he’s the most talented back on this roster and will push for RB10 again this year.

Player I hate – Terrelle Pryor: I mean… it’s a fun story that Pryor has resurrected what looked like a lousy career by switching to WR but going from Cleveland where he was targeted 140 times to Washington where he’ll split looks with Doctson, Crowder, and Reed doesn’t really scream “better”. He’ll be good, but he won’t be round 4 good.

Round 5

  1. Keenan Allen, WR – LAC
  2. Allen Robinson, WR – JAC
  3. Spencer Ware, RB – KC
  4. Devante Adams, WR – GB
  5. Greg Olsen, TE – CAR
  6. Ty Montgomery, RB – GB
  7. Tyreek Hill, WR – KC
  8. Michael Crabtree, WR – OAK
  9. C. J. Anderson, RB – DEN
  10. Jarvis Landry, WR – MIA

Player I love – Michael Crabtree: When Crabtree was drafted with the 10th overall pick, there was little question surrounding his talent. Instead, he struggled out of the gates and eventually fell from favor in San Fransisco, leading him to his current home in Oakland. Since he’s been catching passes from Carr, Crabtree has finished as WR19 and WR11 and compiled a very nice stat line, yet he’s still being drafted far below his value. I won’t suggest he’ll finish as a WR1 but he’ll finish close.

Player I Hate – Ty Montgomery: This one is mind blowing to me as Montgomery wasn’t even very effective last year as a lead back, yet this year he finds himself being drafted as high as the 20th back off the board. I’ll say it now, there’s zero percent chance he finishes as a RB2, and even as a flex play he’s difficult to praise because his usage will likely be spotty and unpredictable. I won’t have Montgomery on a single team this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TE Review

Over the next few days, we here at Dr. Fantasy will take a closer look at each skill position and where the best value is as you prepare for your drafts. 

Elite Tier (1)

  • Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
  • Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
  • Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington RedskinsBefore you jump down my throat that “how can you elevate these two guys into Gronk’s class!?” I’d like to point out that I’ve really just pulled back on my Gronkspectations as an injury or two are nearly guaranteed. Still, these guys offer the highest ceiling at the position.

Very Good Tier (2)

  • Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins
  • Tyler Eifert – Cincinnati Bengals
  • Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
  • Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans

My plan this year is to grab one of these guys in the middle rounds. I’m amazed that Jordan Reed doesn’t get the same pass on his health that Gronk gets because when he’s on the field he’s really, really good. Delanie Walker has probably the weakest claim to this tier as the Titans offense should spread the ball round better than previously but he still offers plenty of talent.

Decent Tier (3) 

  • Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings
  • Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
  • Martellus Bennett – Green Bay Packers
  • Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
  • Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
  • Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints

I’m personally a big believer in Kyle Rudolph’s ability as a pass catcher. Last year was just a start to what he should accomplish. Hunter Henry should certainly see an uptick in targets between the 20’s but until proven otherwise the red zone still belongs to Antonio Gates.

Make A Prayer Tier (4)

  • CJ Fiedorowicz – Houston Texans
  • Jason Witten – Dallas Texans
  • Cameron Brate – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Julius Thomas – Miami Dolphins
  • Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons
  • Antonio Gates – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Evan Engram – New York Giants

This is a fantastic late round tier of tight ends as very little investment gets you a starting quality TE. Austin Hooper is the darling of the off season so be wary of where he’s being drafted but in the later rounds he’s a steal. Evan Engram is another TE that is getting a lot of buzz after playing very well in the preseason but anything other than a late round flier in deep leagues and dynasty/keeper formats may be a wasted pick.

Worth a Flyer Tier (5)

  • O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • David Njoku – Cleveland Browns
  • Erik Swoope – Indianapolis Colts
  • Dwayne Allen – New England Patriots
  • Benjamin Watson – Baltimore Ravens
  • Jesse James – Pittsburgh Steelers

If you’re drafting these guys then make sure you do your homework. OJ Howard may be the most NFL ready TE from this draft class but that doesn’t mean he’ll unseat Cameron Brate as the top dog in Tampa. Jesse James is a sneaky good late pick if you miss on the top guys and want a back up to mitigate disaster. LeDarius Green is gone and Big Ben has a history of using his TE’s in the red zone.

I’ve never been in favor of spending a pick on a TE in the first 5 rounds, it’s effectually throwing away a very valuable asset so your team looks pretty on draft night. While Gronkowski is as dominant at his position as any other player, the fact is he can’t stay on the field and I’d rather take my chances with a WR or RB in the 1st or 2nd round and hang my hat on Kyle Rudolph in the 9th instead.

To Cuff or Not to Cuff

While it sounds logical to protect your early investments by targeting their backups as handcuffs, I’d argue that it may impede your ability to draft the best team possible in the middle to late rounds.

Now, before you think I’m advocating the idea of skipping handcuffs all together, I’d like to qualify this by saying there’s a handful of backs every year where the situation dictates having a backup plan and often the best backup plan is the backup themselves.

Still, I’d argue that drafting a middling to poor NFL back because they sit 2nd in the depth chart is a bad strategy. If the backup makes sense, then sure, pull the trigger, but drafting the best available player depending on your needs is always the best plan.

washingtonGood

DeAndre Washington – Oakland Raiders (ADP 202): Washington excelled in a limited role behind Latavius Murray and now finds himself playing second fiddle to the un-retired Beast Mode himself: Marshawn Lynch. At his age and after a full season off, Lynch owners are going to want to protect themselves and Washington offers starting caliber skills at the end of the draft. A very small risk, but would be relevant immediately following a Lynch injury (or re-retirement).

Joe Williams – San Fransisco 49ers (ADP 157): I don’t personally buy into the negative buzz surrounding Carlos Hyde and new coach Kyle Shanahan but it pays to be prepared. In Atlanta, Shanahan managed to feed both of his running backs, lending fantasy value to Tevin Coleman via 1,000 total yards. While Williams is doubtful to accomplish this much his rookie year, it’s possible he contributes even if Hyde doesn’t flounder. If he does? Then Williams could be a steal.

Jonathan Williams – Buffalo Bills (ADP 164): Drafting LeSean McCoy can be nerve wracking thanks to the poor offense in Buffalo and his age and usage. Identifying who will be his back up is one of my goals every off season. Williams is the clear cut #2 behind McCoy and if Mike Gillislee’s usage last year is any indication, he should touch the football a bit more than most #2’s do. If McCoy goes down, don’t expect the same level of production, but he’d be valuable regardless.

D’Onta Forman – Houston Texans (ADP 193): Lamar Miller is a fantastic fantasy running back when he’s healthy, but as last year taught us, he gets a bit dinged up with how often he’s asked to run the football. As it turns out, D’onta Forman looks to be a better backup than Alfred Blue, and he could find himself with a larger number of touches should Houston’s season look similar to last years.

Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts (ADP 182): For the record, I love Frank Gore the football player, but his time is nearly up and Mack offers the best value in the Indianapolis backfield when the inevitable happens. If you’re drafting Gore yourself, then Mack makes a lot of sense to stash if you have a deep enough bench, because it’s only a matter of time before Gore is on the shelf.

Better

Latavius Murray – Minnesota Vikings (ADP 111): The consensus is that thanks to Murray’s injury this is now Dalvin Cook’s team; and I tend to agree. Still, Murray has freakish athletic ability and Minnesota gave him a pretty penny in the off season so I expect at least a time share with Murray having the inside track should Cook look like a rookie early on.

Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers (ADP 142): Williams is my pick to emerge as a one of the biggest late round steals as we enter draft weekends. I’m convinced the Ty Montgomery is poorly suited to be a starter in the league and his inability to pass block is going to see him on the sidelines on early downs. Williams is likely to grab those early downs and has the type of game to fit the scheme in Green Bay.

jacquizzJacquizz Rodgers – Tampa Bay Buccanneers (ADP 128): One could argue he belongs in the “best” category as he’ll start the year as the starter, but all signs point to Martin taking back the gig when he returns. The fact remains that predicting Martin’s performances when he returns is a difficult prospect, and should injury or inefficiency become an issue again, Rodgers, and not Sims, will be the guy to step in and run the backfield.

Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs (ADP 96): While I put him on this list because he has some fantasy upside in the KC offense, I’m not personally drafting him where he’s currently being drafted. Ware was very effective before his concussion and he should return to form this year as a RB1. Of course, there’s always a chance that he doesn’t in which case Hunt has the ability to match other backs in the 2nd and 3rd tiers.

Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins (ADP 109): It’s dangerous to draft a backup as early as Perine is going but unlike Hunt, I’m not sold on Robert Kelley as a starting RB. He was dreadful for long stretches last year and by all accounts Perine is looking like a lock to usurp the role. Of course, if he does win the job then his ADP would skyrocket and he’d come off lists like this, but for now he’s a no-brainer backup to target.

Best

C.J. Prosise – Seattle Seahawks (ADP 128):  The depth chart may disagree with me, but the crowded Seattle backfield has everyone doing mental back flips trying to figure out the pecking order. Everyone seems to be in love with Rawls, but should Lacy stumble (and it’s looking like it may already be happening) Prosise has far better skills in the backfield and would looks really nice leading this attack.

Darren McFadden – Dallas Cowboys (ADP 117): While it may feel like cheating as Zeke faces down a possible suspension, the fact remains that even suspended, Elliott is going to be drafted in the first 3-5 rounds and McFadden is a must have for those first 6 weeks as it appears he’ll get the first crack at starting duties. Even if Elliott’s suspension is reduced or rescinded, McFadden is one of the safest handcuffs due to the production he’s had in that offense previously.

Adrian Peterson – New Orleans Saints (ADP 70): The future hall-of-famer takes over the backup role from Tim Hightower and figures to play a prominent role in the high flying New Orleans offense. Even if Mark Ingram is healthy and retains the number one spot, it’s a real possibility that Peterson sees 150 touches as a backup with the very real potential to fill in when Ingram inevitably gets hurt. In truth, he may just steal the starting gig all together making for a potential RB1 in the 8-10 round range.

Duke Johnson – Cleveland Browns (ADP 131): While he’s not your prototypical lead back, Johnson has the goods to be effective should Crowell go down, but the news in Cleveland is that the backs are going to handle the ball a lot this year. Expect Johnson and Crowell both to have a bump in usage on the ground and for Johnson to continue to push the top of the league in terms of RB targets. In the 14th round he’s one of the safest picks in the draft.

Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans (ADP 86): I’m not convinced that DeMarco Murray is Carolina Panthers v Tennessee Titansgoing to fall apart due to age and milage, but Henry’s ability as a three down back is undeniable and his timeshare should increase this year and eventually he’ll take over lead back duties. If you bet on him this year and it doesn’t happen, don’t be discouraged as he’ll likely touch the ball more than any other RB2 we’ve already named.

Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons (ADP 61): While Coleman as a backup is a bit of a stretch, the bottom line is that he’ll contribute significantly even if Freeman plays in all 16 games. Last year Coleman managed about 1,000 combined yards and finished in the top 25 of all running backs despite being a 2nd stringer the entire season. He’s fantastic in his role but his potential as a top 10 RB is what plants him firmly at the head of this list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WR Review

Over the next few days, we here at Dr. Fantasy will take a closer look at each skill position and where the best value is as you prepare for your drafts. 
evans

The wide receiver position features unparalleled depth this year, and despite the relative safety of the position thanks to the new NFL and how teams tend to spend more time passing these days, there are still pitfalls in each tier that need navigation to draft effectively.

Elite Tier (1)

  • Antonio Brown  – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
  • Mike Evans – Tampa Bay
  • Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants
  • A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals

There are few surprises in the Top tier so we won’t spend too much time dissecting these picks. Despite his obvious skill, OBJ in the first  round requires a bit of caution with the red zone addition of Brandon Marshall. The aging Eli Manning is as volatile a QB as there is in the league and while I fully expect fantastic numbers from Beckham Jr, I would not be surprised if he has a few weeks where he disappears, which could be an issue for a top 5 pick.

Very Good Tier (2)

  • Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers
  • Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
  • Amari Cooper – Oakland Raiders
  • Doug Baldwin – Seattle Seahawks
  • T. Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
  • Dez Bryant – Dallas Cowboys
  • Alshon Jeffrey – Philadelphia Eagles
  • Brandin Cooks – New England Patriots
  • Allen Robinson – Jacksonville Jaguars

If you miss on one of the elite guys, there’s several fantastic options in this group. Expect to spend a 2nd or 3rd round pick to grab one though. Dez Bryant could be the biggest problem child of the bunch, though, with the difficulty surrounding his early season schedule. He faces a murders row of elite DB’s and while he’ll very likely put up decent numbers, Prescott may be forced to look elsewhere to move the chains. On the other side of the coin is Brandin Cooks who’s stock began rising the moment he became a Patriots. Despite the number of mouths to feed it’s evident through joint practices that Brady is interested in using his new weapon to the fullest of his ability.

Decent Tier (3)

  • DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans
  • Sammy Watkins – Los Angeles Rams
  • Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
  • Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
  • Michael Crabtree – Oakland Raiders
  • Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers
  • Golden Tate – Detroit Lions
  • Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs
  • Larry Fitzgerald – Arizona Cardinals
  • Terrelle Pryor – Washington Redskins
  • Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers
  • Stefon Diggs – Minnesotta Vikings
  • Jarvis Landry – Miami Dolphins
  • Julien Edelman – New England Patriots
  • Emmanuel Sanders – Denver Broncos

At the top of the Third Tier are our stud wideouts who drop on boards thanks to poor quarterback play or significant injury history. Michael Crabtree may fall several picks behind Amari Cooper in Oakland, but his rapport with Derek Carr is undeniable and should lead him to another WR15 season. Terrelle Pryor seems to be continually overrated; not because he’s lacking in skill but because he’s leaving an offense where he was the only weapon and joining a Washington team that has many. He’ll likely disappoint if you select him as a WR2 as he’s more suited to the WR3/4 role.

Make a Prayer Tier (4)

  • Martavis Bryant – Pittsburgh Steelers
  • DeSean Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Jamison Crowder – Washington Redskins
  • Willie Snead – New Orleans Saints
  • Eric Decker – Tennessee Titans
  • Jordan Matthews – Buffalo Bills
  • Pierre Garcon – San Francisco 49ers
  • Donte Moncreif – Indianapolis Colts
  • Devante Parker – Miami Dolphins
  • Cameron Meredith – Chicago Bears
  • Kenny Britt – Cleveland
  • Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers
  • Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans
  • Rishard Matthews – Tennessee Titans
  • Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings

Undeniably there are several fantastic athletes in this tier but either quarterback situations or log jammed wide receiver charts mean that you’re taking a bit of a risk by drafting these guys in the first 7 rounds. Eric Decker has been the subject of a lot of fantasy talk as he continues to  recover from off season surgery but the talk out of Tennessee is that Mariota and Decker have shown an immediate chemistry and Decker could emerge from the preseason as his #1 target. Donte Moncrief on the other hand is firmly in my “do not draft” list thanks to the ongoing saga in Indianapolis. At this point, even if Luck does play in the first four weeks, the lack of practice prior to the season means Moncrief fails to live up to his expectations yet again.

Frequent Flier Tier (5)

  • Corey Coleman – Cleveland Browns
  • Jeremy Maclin – Baltimore Ravens
  • John Brown – Arizona Cardinals
  • Mike Wallace – Baltimore Ravens
  • Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions
  • Josh Doctson – Washington Redskins
  • Kevin White – Chicago Bears
  • Sterling Shepard – New York Giants
  • Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers
  • Robby Anderson – New York Jets
  • John Ross – Cincinnati Bengals
  • Robert Woods – Los Angeles Rams
  • Taylor Gabriel – Atlanta Falcons
  • Kenny Stills – Miami Dolphins
  • Tyrell Williams – Los Angeles Chargers

While I’m well aware that we may disagree on the ranks of some of these bottom tier guys, the truth is that there’s plenty of upside for each of them, even if it’s far fetched to expect most of them to reach those expectations. Josh Doctson has been a pre-season darling in Washington yet the arrival or Pryor has completely taken the wind out of the sails coming into the season – expect a great value. It’s hard to bump Sterling Shepard too far down my list because the skill is there, but the Giants are OBJ’s team first and Brandon Marshall is going to eat up touches inside the 20 severely limiting Shepards upside in re-draft leagues.

As with any rankings list, I beg you to do your own research. Much of what builds my opinions are the observations of people close to the teams, and as always information available before the season is often times skewed to the positive. Don’t be discouraged if your rankings don’t look like the experts and have fun drafting!