Category Archives: Player Articles
In a bit of a shocker, veteran Tennessee receiver Rishard Matthews and Titans leadership has agreed to his release. While Matthews has underwhelmed this season due to injuries to himself and to Mariota, this comes as a bit of a surprise as Matthews has been the teams most consistent receiver for years.
With a healthy need for wide receivers, I doubt it will be long for Matthews to find a home, making this a situation to watch.
Likewise, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor should receive a bump in target share. Both players have the kind of talent that offensive coordinators love to showcase, but it will require a healthy QB to be fully realized. Out of the gates, I’d expect Davis to see a slight uptick in targets, so a 8-10 target day against an Eagles defense that’s 22nd against opposing wide outs in fantasy terms is not an outrageous prediction. In a pinch, Taylor could be a flex play too, but don’t expect world beater numbers.
When the Browns announced their intentions to release or trade troubled wide out, it was reported that teams around the league had shown some interest. When the dust settled, it was the Patriots sending a 5th round pick for the services of the of the former all pro.
This move comes at a time when the Patriots are starved for production at the wide receiver position. With Julian Edelman still suspended and Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews, and Malcolm Mitchell all proving they weren’t the answer, Gordon immediately fills this need with plus talent.
Of course, the question is how quickly can he be ready, and can he even stay on the field. With the clause that returns a 7th round pick to New England if Gordon doesn’t play 10 of the final 14 games, it’s clear the Patriots are hedging their bets.
As a fantasy owner of Gordon myself, I’ve been salivating at the potential production of Gordon paired with Brady. With a below average receiver group since the days of Moss and Welker, Brady would be wise to target his new toy early. Gordon, Gronk, and Edelman could elevate one of the most milquetoast receiving groups to one of the most exciting.
It was a bit of a rough week for the Dr. when it comes to Daily Fantasy. I had teams finish in the money, but despite hitting some of the weeks biggest scorers, I was a bit off on my tight ends and some of my middle of the road picks.
Best Pick: I was spot on with Denver’s use of Emmanuel Sanders and Case Keenum continued to target his slot receiver. With 10 catches for 135 yards and a TD, he was a massive producer for a small price tag.
Worst Pick: Despite Chicago being ahead 20 – 0 at half time, Anthony Miller was no where to be found. His final stat line of 2 receptions for 14 yards was disappointing as the hyped rookie failed to make an impact.
Week 2 Targets
Philip Rivers, LAC ($6,700) – With a week 2 date against a Buffalo secondary that made Joe Flacco look like Joe Montana, this one may be the easiest pick of the week. With weapons on the outside, at the slot, and in the backfield, Rivers should easily put up great numbers, even if a blow out slows him down in the 2nd half.
Alvin Kamara, NO ($9,500) – We’ll go back to the well on this one as Kamara and the Saints draw a Cleveland defense that got gashed by James Conner in week 1. It may sound asinine, but projecting Kamara for 150 total yards, 8 receptions and a TD is a bit on the conservative side. There’s no better high price option in week 2 at the RB position.
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU ($8,000) – While we admit week one was a bit underwhelming given that Hopkins was facing one of last seasons worst secondaries, but much of his lack of success can be attributed to a terrible offensive game plan that seemed to ignore it’s most talented players. With a match up against a bottom half defense in Tennesse in week 2, Houston, as well as Hopkins, should return the high flying ways that had fantasy owners licking their lips at the drafts this year.
Zach Ertz, PHI ($6,100) – Nick Foles looked every bit of a backup in a week one victory against the Atlanta Falcons, so it was no wonder that Zach Ertz was held to a moderate fantasy performance. Thursday night games may feature some entertaining games, but they play tricks on fantasy stats, and Ertz should bounce back just fine in week 2. Matching up against a Tampa defense that ranks in the bottom 10 of the league against tight ends, Ertz should be used heavily in what now looks like a higher scoring affair.
The Rest Of The Field
Kirk Cousins, MIN ($6,400) – With a chance for this division rivalry to turn into a bit of a shoot out, Cousins stands to produce big time against a Packers defense that sits middle of the pack against QB’s. With an impressive debut in Week one, Cousins should continue to perform as a top 5 fantasy QB.
Alex Smith, WAS ($6,000) – Alex Smith continued his high efficiency ways last week, completing 70 percent of his passes for 255 yards and 2 TDs against the Cardinals. While he continues to be one of the least exciting options in the NFL, Smith draws a Colts defense that continues to give up fantasy points to opposing QBs. With less chance of a beat down, I see Smith producing on at an even higher level in week 2.
Joe Flacco, BAL ($5,200) – While you may be skeptical after the Ravens week one beat down of the listless Buffalo Bills, it should be noted that this receiving corps may be the best Flacco has had to work with in years. With legitimate down field threats and a serviceable run game, Flacco looks like a solid QB option against a Cincinnati defense ranked 27th in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs. I don’t expect the monster out put in week 2 that we saw last week, but for the price, he’s a very safe option.
James Conner, PIT ($6,700) – It’s another cushy match up for the defacto starter as Conner draws a Kansas City team that ranks 30th against RBs in fantasy. With a Pittsburgh play book that will continue to rely heavily on its lead back, Conner should produce in spades for a second straight week as we wait for Le’Veon Bell to return from his self imposed lock out.
Adrian Peterson, WAS ($5,500) – While many will point to the below average 3.6 yard per carry in week one, I think the opportunity for 20-30 touches is too good to overlook considering the Redskins will play a terrible Colts front seven. If he sees 25 touches again, Peterson is a safe bet to out produce the weekly projections for a second straight week.
Matt Brieda, SF ($4,800) – The week one back field was split in San Francisco between Matt Brieda and Alfred Morris, but Brieda far outplayed the former Redskins back. With the passing downs to himself, and a growing share of attempts, Brieda, along with the entire 49ers defense, should be far better in week 2.
Golden Tate, DET ($6,500) – The Lions hope to put a dismal week 1 performance behind them when they take the field against San Francisco in week 2, and Golden Tate should be the focal point of the offense after being one of the only players in a Lions uniform who played well last week. While Golladay and Jones Jr should continue to be targeted, Richard Sherman and company will likely force Stafford to use his slot receiver heavily if they look to bounce back.
Josh Gordon, CLE ($5,800) – After being one what was described by the Browns coaching staff as a “pitch count” Gordon should be used far more heavily in week 2 as the Browns look for a spark to end their current winless streak. Still able to stretch the field (as was apparent after Gordon torched the defensive back only to suffer from an under thrown ball that was intercepted at the end of regulation), Gordon could be their best chance to combat the high flying offense New Orleans will feature on the other sideline.
Corey Davis, TEN ($5,100) – It’s not an ideal match up as the Titans play the Houston Texans in week 2, but with Delanie Walker out for the year, Davis becomes the only real red zone target in the passing game worth drafting. I don’t see a monster receiving yard number, but a TD or two isn’t out of the question, and at a discount no less.
Trey Burton, CHI ($4,100) – Week one was a poor start to what was expected to be a borderline TE1 season, so it may shock you to see him here. Still, his 6 targets were an indication that Nagy and the Bears offense want to include Burton as a pass catcher. He should improve in all categories in week 2, and should feature in heavily in the red zone.
George Kittle, SF ($3,800) – San Francisco didn’t look like the juggernaut we expected but Kittle was a bright spot in week 1. With the trust of Jimmy G and the potential for Marquise Goodwin to be limited or miss the game, Kittle will be called upon as a receiver for a second straight week.
Jared Cook, OAK ($3,600) – Cook finally looked like the big play receiving option he’d been touted in years past in a week 1 loss to the Rams. His 9 receptions for 180 yards was a revelation, and Jon Gruden would be foolish to not feature Cook heavily in the passing game. For nearly nothing, this is one of the highest ceilings at the “inexpensive tight end” range in all of football.
Dr. Fantasy’s Daily Sports Lineup
- QB: Philip Rivers ($6,700)
- RB: James Conners ($6,700)
- RB: Alvin Kamara ($9,500)
- WR: Corey Davis ($5,100)
- WR: Josh Gordon ($5,800)
- WR: Philip Dorsett ($4,500)
- TE: Jared Cook ($3,600)
- WR: John Brown ($4,400)
- D/ST: Chargers ($3,600)
We’re officially in the heat of the 2018 season as week one is in the books. As always, there were a few surprises after the dust settled. Below are the Dr’s favorite highlights and stat lines from the games this past week and weekend.
Alvin Kamara, RB – NO
With Mark Ingram out for the first few games and a backfield featuring depth players and castoffs, it’s little wonder that last years rookie sensation turned in one of the weekends best performances. While the numbers on the ground were certainly underwhelming, with 29 yards coming on his eight attempts, he was again a massive factor in the passing game as this one turned into a shootout early on. In ESPN PPR leagues, Kamara’s 43.1 points paced the entire league.
Tyreek Hill, WR – KC
With all the off season focus on the swap at QB from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes, there were concerns with Hills volume as his fantasy production comes from his big play ability. That ability was the marquee attraction as his 2 long TD receptions and kick off return TD were proof that he’ll continue to dominate opposing DB’s regardless of who’s throwing the football. Further proof of his monster ability was his outrageous 24.1 yards per catch that helped him pace all wide receivers with 42.3 PPR points.
Michael Thomas, WR – NO
With how well Kamara produced in the passing game, it’s a wonder that Thomas was able to post a career high (and franchise record) 16 receptions on 17 targets for 180 yards. Thomas consistently found ways to get open down field and Brees rewarded him for it. Going forward, Thomas is one of the safest set and forget receivers as he’ll likely garner one of the leagues highest target percentage numbers wire to wire.
Odell Beckham Jr, WR – NYG
Despite drawing arguably the most difficult match up he’ll see all year with Jalen Ramsey opposing him, Beckham returned to dominate the target share, receiving 15 of Eli Mannings 37 attempts (40%). His stat line of 11 catches for 110 yards was encouraging, and it appears as though Odell Beckham has returned as one of the leagues top fantasy options at the wide receiver position.
Adrian Peterson, RB – WAS
When Adrian Peterson was signed following Derrius Guices season ending injury, many speculated as to how much “All Day” had left in the tank. His performance on Sunday should dispel any worries as to how effective he can be even at 33 years old. The 3.6 yards per carry mark wasn’t earth shattering, but it’s clear that after 166 total yards on 28 total touches (and a touch down) that AP will be featured heavily in an offense that looks committed to the run.
Randall Cobb, WR – GB
We could have selected Rodgers himself for this spot on the list, but concerns around any lingering effects of the seemingly-serious knee injury suffered Sunday has us unconvinced of his availability going forward. The same cannot be said for Cobb who dominated from start to finish in a wild game that saw Green Bay recover from a 20-0 deficit at half time. While we should temper expectations regarding the 15+ yards per reception mark, it’s important to note that despite Jimmy Graham and Davante Adams presence, Cobb led the team with 9 receptions (4 more than Adams and Allison who both had 5) and posted 142 yards and 1 TD in week one. Of course, Cobb’s continued success may rely on the health of Rodgers, but he should feature heavily in game plans going forward for the Packers.
Week 1 Duds
Amari Cooper, WR – OAK
While the Denver D may not be lauded as one of the leagues finest anymore (ignoring the pass rush of course) they certainly put a beating on Cooper who managed only 1 catch on 3 targets in a week one loss. While I wasn’t willing to put any stock in the player this year myself, I didn’t completely distance myself from Cooper as a bounce back candidate. With the type of talent he has and a lack of play makers around him that aren’t 33 (Nelson) or tight ends (Cook) it may not be long before Cooper is back in the green, but Week one was one of the leagues worst duds.
Josh Doctson, WR – WAS
Lining up opposite of Patrick Peterson will lead to some frustration, but to secure only a single 11 yard reception despite playing nearly 90% of the offensive snaps is beyond disappointing. While I was more interested in owning shares of Crowder, I understood that Doctson stood to gain the most if Smith continued to throw the deep ball. Hopefully the dud from week one can be put in the rear view mirror, but there’s a chance that Doctson never really performs like the high end receiving talent many expected him to be in the Redskins offense.
LeSean McCoy, RB – BUF
Maybe I’m being too harsh on the lead back in Buffalo, but despite the team taking a beating, McCoy was never really featured in the passing game despite his history as a pass catcher. His 22 total yards on 7 carries and 1 catch was a dismal stat line, and may be the first signs that age and situation are conjoining to destroy any value McCoy has as a premier fantasy running back. While he’ll figure to be used a bit more judiciously going forward, he’s a difficult start at this point unless you’re strapped for options.
As we know intimately here at the Dr’s Office, hitting on a depth player is one of the best feelings in fantasy. Whether it was a middle round pick who supplanted a starter, or a late round flier who steps up due to injury, there’s a handful of these occurrences seemingly every week. When it happens before the season starts… that’s when it can be confusing.
Jaguars list Keelan Cole and Donte Moncrief as their starters
For a time it seemed as though 2017 fourth round pick Dede Westbrook was carving out a nice little role for himself, but when the preseason games rolled around he didn’t do enough to claim one of the starting roles. With Marquise Lee down for the season, it seems as though last years playoff hero Keelan Cole (ADP 130) will be asked to slot in opposite former Colts third round pick Donte Moncrief (ADP 200). Both options are fantastic value considering where they are going, but Cole may be one of the drafts best sleeper picks at this point. With the proven rapport with Bortles and recent fantasy results, the 14th round is still too late.
DeVante Parker may not be ready for the season opener
This one is an ongoing situation that bears observation, but the talented youngster still has to prove that he’s more than just combine measurables. A quick look at his Player Profiler page shows the story of a player who hasn’t figured out how to play the position against NFL caliber defenses. His target shares are average between the 20s but he struggles to gain separation (98th among qualified WRs) and doesn’t factor into red zone plays enough to be a difference maker. With the lingering finger issue, Parker could be ready for week 1 and I’d be fading him hard. With Amendola and/or Albert Wilson inhabiting the slot and chewing up a good portion of Landry’s vacated targets, and Kenny Stills presence in the red zone, Parker is going to have a tough time overcoming these deficiencies. .
New England Backfield is still a mess
While the colors may look different, this Patriots Backfield is the same difficult to analyze painting of an NFL backfield every season. Between additions (Jeremy Hill, Sony Michel) and departures (Mike Gillislee, Brandon Bolden), there seems to be a never ending carousel of backs in the drivers seat. According to the Patriots depth chart, both James White and Rex Burkhead are listed as starters, further muddying the waters if you were trying to cash in on New England’s odd but excellent running back usage. In PPR leagues, James White’s value at an ADP of around 120 is excellent value.
With Edelman missing 4 games due to suspension and a litany of wide receiver issues, injuries, and departures, White should factor in heavily early on. Still, it’s Burkhead who figures to make the most of his increased usage as he’ll dominate red zone touches and should see a healthy amount of work on the ground. Both are great values despite the concerns over who will see the most touches.
Carlos Hyde listed as Cleveland Browns starting RB
Much like Frank Gore before him, former 49ers running back Carlos Hyde continues to get disrespected in the fantasy world, as his ADP of 75 is outrageous considering how well he’s played to this point in his career. Many would point to the crowded backfield and presence of Duke Johnson as reasons why he can’t repeat as a top 20 back, but I’d tell you they are wrong. The Browns are a much improved offensive unit and Hyde looked fantastic in his limited action in the preseason. With Chubb figuring as the future of the franchise, there’s no reason for Cleveland to not pound the rock with Hyde. I don’t anticipate him pushing into the top 10, but he’s one of the easiest targets in the 8th round to justify.
Derrick Henry listed atop the RB depth chart in Tennessee
While all the attention was paid to the off season signing of former Patriot Dion Lewis, Henry quietly went about his job, continuing to work towards a larger work load in 2018. While we don’t expect him to handle much of the passing downs, the truth is that he’s the better runner of the two, despite what the experts would have you think. Dion Lewis’ season last year was a bit of an aberration, and continued health concerns and the lack of a track record for high touch totals means Henry should be involved from week 1.
LeGarrette Blount to start over Kerryon Johnson in Week 1
We take this one with a grain of salt, but it’s hardly surprising to see the recently acquired veteran starting at the pole over the exciting rookie. Johnson looked like the most talented back on the roster all preseason, so we don’t think it will be long before he’s seeing meaningful touches, but Blount should be the primary goal line back. If Johnson can vulture some touches inside the 20s or some of the passing downs, he figures to be a much better option long term than any other back on the Lions roster.
Despite rumblings to the contrary, Ronald Jones defenders pointed out his skill set and draft position as reasons why he’d overcome the issues that plagued his preseason. Now, it’s harder than ever to defend those who spent an early draft pick in early drafts on the rookie running back.
Previously described as a Jamaal Charles clone, Jones struggled in the preseason, only producing 4 yards on 10 carries. In addition to the awful efficiency on the ground, Jones continued to struggle in the passing game, becoming a liability in pass protection.
At this point, Jones is a project who’s only worth drafting with keeper round picks in dynasty and keeper leagues. There’s a chance that his obvious talents force him back into the good graces with Buccaneers coaching staff, but only draft at a serious discount.
Instead, snagging Barber at a still-discounted rate is looking like a great move. As a depth back, he’ll figure into most of the early down work and goal line touches. Jaquizz Rodgers may steal some value in the passing game, but Barber is the back to target in this offense for the foreseeable future.
In a pair of rookie QB related decisions in the AFC East yesterday, the New York Jets confirmed that first round pick Sam Darnold will start for Gang Green on Sunday while his counterpart in Buffalo, Josh Allen, will not.
While it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given how well Darnold has commanded the Jets offense, there’s still the stench of failed rookie quarterbacks in New York that could have easily seen Josh McCown back under center. As a fantasy commodity, Darnold is an interesting case, as he’s seemed willing and able to sling the ball around. While we’d expect a slow start to his career in terms of fantasy production, in deep formats and keeper leagues he’s worth a late round pick.
Meanwhile, the New York team no one wants to admit exists has elected to start last years interception meme Nathan Peterman over rookie Josh Allen. While you may remember the five interceptions in one half of football, the truth is that Allen’s big arm isn’t enough to support a winning football club. That’s not to suggest Peterman is much better an option, but in the face of ruining your rookies confidence, I’d make a similar move. With the raw arm strength, Allen is an intriguing prospect, but he’s still some time away from figuring out the efficiency problems that’s plagued him since college. There’s little fantasy upside for the rookie at this point.
In what, on the surface, looks like a depth move, the Saints signed former Bills and Pats running back Mike Gillislee to a one year deal. While this move doesn’t immediately affect Gillislee’s draft standing (which was as a waiver wire player at best prior to the signing), it does create a bit of a question mark concerning Alvin Kamara.
The optimist will say that Kamara’s projections shouldn’t be adjusted, as Gillislee is a low risk depth add at best. Before the signing, the team’s roster featured only two eligible RB’s; Kamara and rookie Boston Scott. With this logic, it’s easy to over look what negatives this signing could bring.
If Gillislee was brought in because the Saints coaching staff doesn’t trust Kamara in goal line and short yardage situations (a Gillislee specialty), then it could mean that any regression to his outrageous efficiency could spell disaster for drafters investing a first round pick in the stellar back. As we’ve seen prior with backs like Dion Lewis and Duke Johnson… having a spectacular RB1 season as a pass catching back does not ensure a return to the same lofty heights.
For now, draft Kamara as the stud he looked to be last year, but if you were on the fence about Kamara as a top ten pick, this addition may dissuade you from making the investment.
We’re pushing through into the regular season this week and a lot of you are drafting; it’s time to post our final pre-season tiers for each position. It’s going to be a busy Sunday as we push to publish the remaining positional tiers!
- Todd Gurley
- Ezekiel Elliott
- David Johnson
- Le’Veon Bell
You know what you’re getting if you target any of these guys in the first few picks of the draft. All four of these backs are threats for 2,000 total yards, and in PPR leagues they all should finish at or near the top of the positional rankings at seasons end. If you’re concerned about Bell or Johnson due to injury or hold out, you shouldn’t be. Generational talent always finds a way to shine.
GREAT PLAYER Tier
- Saquon Barkley
- Melvin Gordon
- Leonard Fournette
- Dalvin Cook
- Alvin Kamara
- Kareem Hunt
- Devonta Freeman
There’s a simple euphemism we use when ranking our running backs; opportunity + talent = production. What all of these names have is gobs of both. While they may be missing the outrageous three down usage the names in the “Elite” tier, they all figure to feature heavily as their teams lead back.
VERY GOOD Tier
- Joe Mixon
- Jordan Howard
- Christian McCaffrey
- Alex Collins
- Lamar Miller
- Derrick Henry
- LeSean McCoy
- Royce Freeman
- Kenyan Drake
At this point, you may start fielding questions about players ability to play all three downs. Whether you’re concerned about Jordan Howard in the passing game or Christian McCaffrey on early downs, there are legitimate reasons you may not take these guys ahead of the aforementioned tiered players. If you’re drafting wide outs early, though, these guys do have the kind of ceiling that makes them worth locking up if you’re light at the position.
- Jay Ajayi
- Mark Ingram
- Marlon Mack
- Jamaal Williams
- Sony Michel
- Carlos Hyde
- Tevin Coleman
- Kerryon Johnson
- Rex Burkhead
- Marshawn Lynch
- Chris Carson
- Dion Lewis
If you’re hitching your wagon to one of these players as your top back, you’re either gambling on a ZeroRB strategy or you’re in trouble. There’s plenty of value here, and most of these players are available in the middle rounds, but there’s a lot of risk associated. This is where the dinged up, the third down specialists, and the suspended backs reside. Draft for the upside, but have a backup plan if you’re not deep at the position.
BACKUPS and PRAYERS Tier
- Rashaad Penny
- Isaiah Crowell
- Adrian Peterson
- Alfred Morris
- Chris Thompson
- Tarik Cohen
- Duke Johnson
- Aaron Jones
- LeGarrette Blount
- Matt Brieda
- Theo Riddick
- Ronald Jones
I won’t go so far as to say these guys don’t have some upside, but they are your depth and roster pieces if you’ve drafted properly. A lot of these guys fill a roll on their respective teams that may not expand, so using them in your flex spot or on bye’s should be the plan. Of course, there are a few young players and suspended backs who could steal a larger time share, but should be viewed with tempered expectations prior to the season.
DEEP DRAFT Tier
- Latavius Murray
- Doug Martin
- C.J. Anderson
- Peyton Barber
- Corey Clement
- Kalen Ballage
- Jordan Wilkins
- Nick Chubb
- James White
- Nyheim Hines
- Jeremy Hill
As a bonus, this tier is a group of backs worth targeting as late round fliers or handcuffs in deeper formats. Much like Alvin Kamara last year, there’s a handful of young backs and backs on new teams who may carve out a larger role once the season starts. It’s more likely they’re waiver adds in standard formats, but for those in keeper leagues or deeper dynasty formats, these are guys to look at.
With Martavis Bryant reportedly facing another NFL suspension for violating the leagues substance abuse policy, the Oakland Raiders decided to cut the troubled wide receiver. It’s unlikely that Bryant will find a home in the NFL after this current situation resolves itself, so remove him from your draft boards completely.
Instead, Jordy Nelson becomes the wideout in the middle rounds to target as his experience and size should help him become one of the primary red zone targets for the Raiders. Similar to how Crabtree was used in years past, a healthy Nelson should produce in 2018.
Similarly, it’s time to elevate Jared Cook on draft day. Consider him a late round target who’s touch down totals may improve and who should see a slight elevation in targets. While he’s no threat to crack the top 10, he’s a wonderful back up to those with high injury risk like Gronkowski or Reed, or as a streaming option.