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First Day Trending

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and we’ve been unable to provide you our unique brand of fantasy analysis, but we’re back to rectify that. Our weekly DFS article will be delayed somewhat, but we’ll hopefully post our Sunday games targets, so keep an eye out for that.

For now, we’ll take a final look at players who are trending up and trending down, and touch on a few major pieces of NFL news that broke over the last few weeks.

Three Up

Zeke Elliot, RB – Dallas CowboysYes, this one is low hanging fruit, but with the anxiety everyone felt during the first rounds of their draft, it’s important to remind you that Zeke Elliott is one of the three best fantasy assets in all of football. Even though he didn’t play a snap for the team in pre-season action or see the field in practice, he’s a set it and forget it player who should see massive volume all year long.

Devin Singletary, RB – Buffalo Bills: We teased the possibility previously, but reading the headlines following LeSean McCoy’s release was shocking nonetheless. While Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon will demand work, Singletary went from being a later round project to being considered the top back in the Bills committee. As a third round pick, it’s clear the team wants to involve him heavily, so don’t be surprised if he carves out a solid role for himself.

Evan Engram, TE – New York GiantsI’ve been pretty vocal about my support for Eli Manning sans Odell Beckham, and while he’s still unlikely to perform in the top 15 at the position, it’s very likely he’s a more efficient passer in 2019 thanks to an improved offensive line and less reliance on forced throws to OBJ. Engram is the most likely to benefit from these factors, as injury and suspension means he’ll likely be the top passing target for Manning this year. We watched him finish atop the position a few years ago in a similar environment, so expecting a top 5 finish at the position is far from a difficult ask.

Honorable Mention: With the news that Jerick McKinnon will likely miss the season, Matt Brieda sees a sizable jump after being placed atop the team depth chart ahead of it’s week one match up. I still feel Coleman should be used heavily, but Brieda could easily work into the RB2 conversation.

Three Down

The Colts Receiving GroupIt’s not their fault that Andrew Luck hung em up following an injury riddled career, but the truth is that with Brissett stepping in on short notice, there’s going to be a tough transition period early in the season. Hilton is likely to continue being a focal point for the office, but even he deserves to fall a few spots in your rankings. Guys like Parris Campbell and Ebron/Doyle need to feel the hammer too as their roles are further reduced until we see how Brissett handles the lead role this year.

N’Keal Harry, WR – New England PatriotsHe looked like he may be in for a sizable rookie workload when the Pats brought him in with a first round pick, but the decision to play him early in the preseason despite some lingering injury issues may have led to the IR trip he’ll be taking. While he’s expected back sometime this season, he’ll miss a chunk of games, lending to the idea that he won’t contribute much this year regardless.

Deebo Samuel, WR – San Francisco 49ersOne of the more popular early offseason breakout candidates, Samuel may be a bit behind the curve after seeing the most recent 49ers depth chart. Currently sitting behind Pettis, Goodwin, and Kendrick Bourne, Samuel may not see enough snaps to be worth rostering early in the season. Of course, Pettis and Goodwin have a history of injury, so if a spot opens up, the rookie could see his usage bounce back. Still, temper your expectations early on.

Honorable Mention: It seemed like fate when Duke Johnson slid onto the top of the Texans’ depth chart following a season ending injury to Lamar Miller, but suddenly, he’ll face competition from a former teammate in Carlos Hyde. The two players couldn’t be more opposite, as Hyde profiles as a early down player and Johnson as a top flight pass catcher, but it means fewer touches for Johnson, who was beginning to look like a sneak RB2 candidate. Of course, Hyde could bomb in Houston, but I have to dock Johnson a bit until we know.

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Moving The Scales: 3 Up and 3 Down

With the Hall of Fame Game in the rear view and the rest of the preseason looming, it’s time to start evaluating the performances of key players in camp. Sometimes the news is purely hyperbolic, and we’ll avoid over analyzing the kind of coach speak that typically amounts to nothing. As always, take everything with a grain of salt, but here is your first taste of our Moving The Scales series.

Movin’ Up

Sony Michel, RB – New England Patriots: When we last left our Michel analysis, there was some concern surrounding his recently scoped knee, but following his return, the feedback at camp has been mostly positive. Recent reports by the Athletic’s Jeff Howe highlights Michel’s contributions in the passing game, something that he failed to provide his owners last year. While we take these particular reports with that same grain of salt (Jordan Howard anyone?) it’s encouraging in terms of his health to see him used so widely in practices. If he can add some pass catching to his repertoire, then Michel could end up being a value on draft day.

T.J. Hockenson, TE – Detroit Lions: I’ve been clear in my assertion that rookie TE’s typically fail to reward fantasy owners, and the history has shown this to be true. Of course, over the past decade there have been exceptions to this rule, and this year we may see Hockenson buck the trend as well. Reports out of joint practices with the Patriots is that Hockenson and Stafford have developed some nice chemistry, with Hockenson’s targets rarely resulting in drops. If Stafford comes to rely on Hockenson as a check down saftey-blanket, then he could have a nice season.

Miles Sanders, RB – Philadelphia Eagles: While there have also been rumblings that Jordan Howard has been contributing in the passing game, the more telling reports have been in regards to Sanders explosiveness and open-field ability. The praise is coming quickly as the hype train gets rolling, so there’s concern that an over-hyped Sanders may lose some of his value, but with less-than-exciting options around him and practice tape that seems to support the reports, Sanders is slowly becoming one of my favorite rookie running backs in 2019.

Movin’ Down

Mike Gesicki, TE – Miami Dolphins: I was beating the drum for Gesicki early in the preseason, after all – he profiled as the perfect post hype sleeper. Excellent athlete who failed to impress in his first season who suddenly found himself in a much better offense with a coaching staff that has a history of using its TE’s. Yes, that was a mouthful, but now the words we’re hearing are suggesting Gesicki hasn’t been able to put much together in his year 2 camp. With a new QB and coaching group, one has to wonder how much rope he’ll be given early on. Unless the buzz flips, we’re viewing Gesicki as a long shot to contribute at this point.

Antonio Brown, WR – Oakland Raiders: In one of the more bizarre stories from the 2019 off season, new reports are suggesting the heel issue plaguing Brown this preseason is actually a case of frostbite. The use of a cryotherapy machine with improper footwear may be the culprit, but it certainly puts his preseason in jeopardy, and only creates larger questions for the former top fantasy receiver. While there hasn’t been any suggestions that he’s in danger of missing regular season snaps, it doesn’t help that he’s on a new team with a new QB and system, and he’s missing valuable reps while he recovers.

Ezekiel Elliott, RB – Dallas Cowboys: I’ve read that the Cowboys may have made an “attractive” offer to Zeke, and Jerry Jones has been very public in his comments regarding the contract negotiations, but the truth is that until Zeke signs on the dotted line, a very real chance for a holdout looms. His camp has noted that Elliott will not play in 2019 unless he receives a new contract, and considering the money others have received, Zeke is expecting a big pay raise. Keep an eye on the situation, but if your drafting prior to a resolution, you’re playing with fire by drafting Zeke.

Friday Mock: ESPN PPR

It’s been a while since we last attacked a Mock Draft review, but as we inch further into the off season, our opinions on teams and players have shifted, and we were curious to see who was trending up, and who was falling in drafts. We logged into an ESPN draft last night before bed, and this was the result (from the 5th spot in a 10 man PPR mock).

Round 1 – Pick 1.05: Melvin Gordon, RB – Chargers

Drafting fifth this year may be one of the more difficult decisions in the first round, but I was committed to taking a RB early, and I liked him ahead of question marks like Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, and Todd Gurley. I briefly toyed with the idea of taking Hopkins or Adams here, but it’s too early in the first for me to wait until the 2nd for a RB.

Round 2 – Pick 2.06: Juju Smith-Schuster, WR – Steelers

None of my top WR targets fell to me, so I was hoping to take Kelce here, and he went just before my pick. With James Conner and Leonard Fournette representing the two top backs on my list, I decided to take the safety of Juju Smith-Schuster as my WR1. Sure, there’s a chance some regression could creep into his numbers with Brown gone, but barring injury, he’ll see 165-180 targets in 2019, a fantastic floor after missing my top targets.

Round 3 – Pick 3.05: Julian Edelman, WR – Patriots

I considered taking Thielen here for his ceiling, but his second half last year is still firmly in my mind. Instead, I went with Edelman, a guy I expect will have one of the larger target shares in the league after the depature of Rob Gronkowski in the off season. Already targeted heavily inside the red zone (11 inside the 10 yard line was 4th, and his 6 TDs in that zone were tied for 3rd) there’s little evidence that Harry is going to change the reliance Brady has on Edelman. Always undervalued, I appreciate him as a steady PPR performer, and as my WR2, I’m excited for how he and Juju pair up.

Round 4 – Pick 4.06: Aaron Jones, RB – Packers

The 5th spot strikes again as Jacobs, Chubb, Williams, and Kerryon all went to start the fourth, leaving me with slim pickings at the RB position. This was a learning experience, as I may consider taking a back in the 3rd round of similar drafts and selecting one of the available WR’s like AJ Green or Brandin Cooks in the 4th round. Instead, I took Jones, who’s ceiling was enough to elevate him over the other available running backs (Derrick Henry, Sony Michel, and Chris Carson).

Round 5 – Pick 5.05: Chris Godwin, WR – Buccaneers

It was time to get back on track after making the reactionary selection in the 4th, and the WR pool here was far more secure than the RB group (Carson and Drake were the only available guys worth considering in round 5 in my opinion). I was out on Alshon Jefferey before the mock started, so it came down to Godwin and Mike Williams. Williams has a monster ceiling, and I briefly considered him here, but unlike Godwin, not much has changed in that Chargers offense to inspire confidence that he’ll see a significant uptick in targets. Godwin should feature as the WR2 in that offense, and while Evans is the clear top pick, Arians has coached some excellent WR tandems in the past.

Round 6 – Pick 6.06: Kenyan Drake, RB – Dolphins

So the tail end of the 5th and the start of the 6th saw a nice blend of players I wasn’t in on get selected. When my pick came up, I only had to decide if Tyreek Hill was worth a flier in the fourth round over my top ranked available RB (Kenyan Drake). With Miles Sanders coming along more slowly than anticipated and Tarik Cohen representing a lack of overall opportunity, Drake felt like the right choice here. 

Round 7 – Pick 7.05: Hunter Henry, TE – Chargers

I went into this pick thinking I’d add additional depth at the RB or WR position, but seeing names like Guice, Watkins, and Landry, I felt myself shifting towards adding a top 5 player as a starter for either QB or TE. While I do like Deshaun Watson (the top ranked QB on my board), I still believe that top 5 production can be replicated later in the draft, and Henry should see more volume than most of the TE’s going behind him.

Round 8 – Pick 8.06: Tevin Coleman, RB – 49ers 

I kind of regret not taking Rodgers in the 7th round, as I expect him to push Mahomes for the top spot at the QB position, but Coleman is a nice consolation prize. I’ve covered him in articles before, but his blend of pass catching and smooth running made him a force in Shanahan’s offenses prior, and with McKinnon and Brieda not suited for three down work, Coleman represents the only top 25 potential in my opinion in San Fran. The pool at this point was thinning, and I was not considering taking Marvin Jones or Will Fuller to secure a mediocre WR, so the pick was an easy one for me.

Round 9 – Pick 9.05: Golden Tate, WR – Giants

I’ve kind of shifted my allegiance from Sterling Shepard to Golden Tate, and it has as much to do with how Tate’s career has gone than any deficiency in Shepard’s game. Eli Manning’s advanced statistics show that that over the last two seasons he’s had one of the lowest air yards per attempt, throwing a depth of 3.3 yards per in 2017 and 3.7 yards per in 2018 (both in the bottom ten of the league). With Tate being the likely slot man, he should benefit from a lot of the vacated targets, and is a super safe WR4.

Round 10 – Pick 10.06: Jordan Howard, RB – Eagles

This is one pick I’d like to have back… Rashaad Penny was selected just before this pick, and I may have been on tilt convinced myself that Howard could benefit from Miles Sanders lack of progress in pass protection. With an injury prone QB in Wentz, there’s some hope that Howard may see the field a bit more if Sanders CAN’T pick it up, but best case scenario is the 25 year old Howard resumes the first and second down role he had in Chicago, and I’d probably have been better off taking Nyhiem Hines, a PPR force on a top 3 offense, and coincidentally then next RB selected after me.

Round 11 – Pick 11.05: Donte Moncreif, WR – Steelers

The Steelers supported two excellent fantasy options last year, and I feel that their offense is primed to do it again this year. While Moncrief hasn’t really lived up to the hype from his rookie season, he still represents the kind of ceiling I want out of my WR5. He has size (6’2 – 220 lbs) and speed (4.40 speed) and could finally be given a chance to shine in a role that may suit his skill set. With only James Washington to beat out for target share, he’s a wonderful low risk high reward play at this point in the draft.

Round 12 – Pick 12.06: Dak Prescott, QB – Cowboys

So… I will absolutely admit that I messed this pick up. I LOVE Prescott this year (you can find out more about him in my QB Sleeper article) but I made the selection a little too quickly and missed out on Russell Wilson (who was inexplicably still available). I understand that Seattle is going to run the ball a ton, but I still believe in Wilson’s talent, and his legs help make up for any lack of production through the air he may experience. His ceiling is still top 5 at the position. Instead I took Prescott…. just a reminder folks, pay attention even late in the draft.

Round 13 – Pick 13.05: Adam Humphries, WR – Titans

Some point to Corey Davis’ target share as a reason to ignore other Titans receivers, but following the release of Rishard Matthews a few season ago, the Titans have had a hole at the slot receiver position, something Humphries figures to fill just fine. This late in the draft, I’m looking for players with upside, and Humphries has proven that he can be a contributor in this league already with 137 receptions over the last two years, so in the 13th round I may have found a wonderful flex/bye week starter, and potential trade bait if most of my receivers pan out.

Round 14 – Pick 14.06: Austin Hooper, TE – Falcons

With my last position player selection, I took a flier on Falcons TE Austin Hooper. He was a significant Red Zone target last year, and provides a genuine safety net for Hunter Henry who still has plenty to prove in his young NFL career. I could have taken another skill position player here, but I already have 6 receivers and I didn’t see any value at the available running backs. At this point, he’s a flier who will become a roster spot if the need arises.

Final Roster

  • QB: Dak Prescott
  • RB: Melvin Gordon, Aaron Jones, Kenyan Drake, Tevin Coleman, Jordan Howard
  • WR: Juju Smith-Schuster, Julian Edelman, Chris Godwin, Golden Tate, Donte Moncrief, Adam Humphries
  • TE: Hunter Henry, Austin Hooper.

Final Thoughts

I’d like to blame the few mistakes I made on drafting late at night, but they were just true mental gaffs. If I’d paid closer attention, I’d have had Russell Wilson and Nyheim Hines instead of Prescott and Howard, and I may have skipped Hunter Henry and invested in a player like Derrius Guice. I still maintain that drafting 5th and 6th are two of the more difficult things to do in 2019. The elite group of backs is four deep, and committing to a WR at the 5 spot puts you on a path that requires a lot of faith in mediocre running backs.

I’m not unhappy with how this mock turned out, but I do have some work to do on those transition rounds (4-7) as they are the most important rounds in your fantasy draft. Let me know if you’d have done anything different, and as always, happy drafting!

Early Rankings – Top 10 QB

It’s early in the off season, and these rankings will likely take on a different form as we approach the start of the NFL season, but in an effort to map the journey, we’ll take a few days to give you a look at the top of each position and who we think is rising and who we think is falling. If you’re looking for overall rankings, our initial rankings will be posted at the links in the header this week as well. 
  1. Patrick Mahomes, KC – Even without Tyreek Hill, Mahomes has earned the benefit of the doubt after his monster sophomore season. Some regression should be expected, but the bottom line is his arm, his smarts, and Andy Reid’s ability to put him in position to succeed mean another big year for the big armed Mahomes.
  2. Aaron Rodgers, GB – It wasn’t his best year, but I’m not ready to move Rodgers out of my 1B position just yet. He still has one of the most dominant receivers in the game in Davante Adams, and he’ll be far more comfortable with Mike McCarthy no longer holding him back.
  3. Deshaun Watson, HOU – I was concerned about how quickly Watson would bounce back last season, but with a very solid campaign between us and his season ending injury, its safe to admit that Watson is the real deal. With the yards on the ground to go with excellent numbers through the air, he’s a safe bet for QB1 production most weeks.
  4. Andrew Luck, IND – Another injury concern going into 2018, Luck dispelled those with a fantastic season. Now he has better weapons and a full off season to work with. Expect his numbers to remain the same, and if there’s a dark horse to overtake Mahomes at the top of this list by seasons end, it’s Luck.
  5. Russel Wilson, SEA – Wilson represents the cut off line from the first tier. At times he looks like he belongs in that top group, but with lack of consistency around him, and now the loss of one of his favorite weapons in Doug Baldwin, this season could be a bit of a nail biter for Wilson owners. We still like his smarts and ability to create plays, but he’s far from the surefire bet he was in years past.
  6. Drew Brees, NO – He’s getting close to the end, but Brees continues to be a force, especially early in the season. If he has his full repertoire of weapons to work with, as well, then we can expect another blazing start, and hopefully a better finish from one of the leagues most consistent gunslingers.
  7. Matt Ryan, ATL – Last season Ryan defied the masses, bouncing back after a horrendous 2017 season and putting up excellent numbers in the process. One reason was a revamped offense, and the arrival of Calvin Ridley. Expect much of the same from the veteran QB.
  8. Cam Newton, CAR – I can’t remember a time when Newton was healthy for a lengthy stretch, so it’s a gamble selecting him in the top 10 at the position, but when he’s right, he’s a potential top 5 guy. The offense is morphing around him, so there may be continued reliance on the backfield for production, but if Newton can avoid major issues, he’s a solid consolation if you miss out on the earlier signal callers.
  9. Jared Goff, LAR – The Rams had an ugly finish to the season, and Goff seemed out of his depth down the stretch, so there’s a little cause for concern. Still, that Rams team is loaded with weapons at the receiver position, and he may be relied upon more this year than previously with Gurley suffering from a nagging knee injury. I doubt he’ll push the top 5 guys for dominance, but I expect consistent production.
  10. Philip Rivers, LAC – Rivers sits atop the third tier of QBs, many of whom feature major talent but also major question marks. Rivers may be an exception to the rule, but any time your drafting a 37 year old quarter back, the chance he falls off a cliff is omnipresent. His final two games to finish the year and his playoff performances don’t help the concerns, but he’s still one of the best of his generation, and should be solid again in 2019.

If you’re interested in seeing how the rest of our rankings shake out, visit the QB Rankings page. We’re holding off on breaking down our tiers for the time being, but when we’ve had enough time to digest everything going on in off season programs, we’ll update that information.

The Draft: A First Round Review

For the sake of brevity, we’ll only really focus on players that I feel have a chance to make an impact on the fantasy landscape in 2019. These lists are often incomplete, as we can never really say who will win a job that they had no business winning this early in the year, so be gentle with your comments. 

Quarterbacks

The story of the first round will be that of Quarterbacks, as Kyler Murray made it two consecutive years with QB’s going first overall (and 4 out of the last 5 years). Of course, you’ll find very quickly that my opinion of Murray isn’t all that high, especially given the situation he finds himself in as the likely starter for a mediocre (at best) Arizona team.

His skill set as a mobile quarterback that makes plays with his legs certainly fits Kliff Klingsbury’s MO as he coached Baker Mayfield at Texas Tech previously. But with a shaky O-line, a lack of reliable weapons outside an aging Larry Fitzgerald, and little chance of competing week to week, he’s best left alone in all but the deepest drafts and keeper/dynasty leagues.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t Dwayne Haskins going as the second passer off the board. That distinction belongs to Duke QB Daniel Jones, who was selected 6th overall by the New York Giants in what may be the most surprising move of the draft. Sitting at 17th with their second pick, I, along with many, expected them to take a player like Josh Allen and either move up into the early teens or hope he fell. It’s unlikely Jones sees the field in 2019, and likely for a few years at that. He’s a raw product who will need plenty of seasoning if he’s going to be anything more than a middle of the pack QB (which I expect).

Dwayne Haskins, of course,  is an interesting case as he fell into the Washington Redskins lap. With the pedigree of a pure pocket passer, he’ll still have to compete for snaps with Case Keenum, who has the obvious inside track. But if Keenum struggles, this is the one QB situation where there’s a chance we see Haskins on the field in a capacity that may warrant a spot start here or there. Again, these first round QB’s are far from finished products, so we’d advise against drafting any of them.

Tight Ends

We knew there was a pair of very good tight ends likely to go in the top 32, but we were unsure of where they would end up. Several teams in the top 15 had need at the position, with the Jaguars, Packers, Lions, and Patriots comprising some of the better options to land an important play maker.

Ultimately, the smoke surrounding the Jaguars and T.J. Hockenson was nothing more than a smoke screen as the talented Iowa product went one pick later to the Detroit Lions. His addition fills a massive hole that seems to have existed for decades in Detroit. His ability to both be a weapon in the passing game as well as skills as a blocker make him a candidate for immediate impact in the Motor City. Of course Jesse James represents a quality, if not unexciting veteran presence that will likely mean a slow fantasy start for Hockenson, so don’t over commit to the player unless something changes in the preseason.

His battery mate in Iowa, Noah Fant, however, has only Jake Butt to compete with for starting duties. With a passing game that needs all the help it can get following last years injury laiden season, and a quarter back in Joe Flacco who’s historically enjoyed success with pass catching Tight Ends, this could be a great marriage between player and team. It’s too early in the off season to suggest he’ll have no real obsticals to being fantasy relevant, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t worth rostering, if not targeting late in drafts.

Wide Receivers

Of all the first round positions, the wide receivers were the least predictable this year in terms of first round talent. While seemingly ever expert big board had a handful going in the first, it was Baltimore and New England, two receiver starved teams, taking a pass catcher late in the first round.

At 24, the Ravens selected one of the incoming draft classes most explosive receivers in Marquise Brown. While he was unavailable to participate in the combine drills, it was suggested that Brown would have had one of the fastest, if not THE fastest 40 times of the class. With post-catch skills, and the ability to play inside or outside, he’ll likely be one of Lamar Jackson’s favorite target before long.

Meanwhile, it was the Patriots going slightly off the board with their 32nd overall selection of N’Keal Harry. The 6’3″ Arizona State product will be a welcome red zone target for a Patriots team that lost both Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan in the offseason. With a roster full of diminutive “slot” type receivers, Harry will immediately be looked upon to be the big, outside receiver. Of course, he doesn’t have the kind of speed or separation one would hope for out of a first round guy, but his ability to help in the run game, as well as line up all over the field will be invaluable for a coaching staff that asks its players to be versatile. Don’t expect monster numbers out of the gates, but he could approach double digit touch downs if he gets on the same page with Brady early in the year.

Running Back (Josh Jacobs)

Despite several years in a row with an early RB selection, this year only saw one back go in the top 32 picks; Alabama’s Josh Jacobs. A three down back, Jacobs finds himself in the best case scenario in terms of instant starting ability as Oakland pegged him to replace the retiring Marshawn Lynch. There are backs on the roster he’ll have to beat out, but his skill set should make him the favorite to win the bulk of the carries out of the gate. Take it with a grain of salt, though, as we saw Raiders backs fail to find room to run all year last year, so it may be tough sledding if you invest too high a pick on him, but Jacobs should provide some fantasy value if available late in your draft.

2019 NFL Draft Preview

Patience is a virtue… or at least that’s what they say.

Now, with the NFL Draft looming on Thursday 4/25, we can finally put the deep, dark doldrums of the off season behind us and begin our Fantasy analysis anew. Of course, the only data we have to go on is the “expert” draft analysis that’s the usual suspects provide in spades in the Draft run up. With a track record that makes your local weather man look like Nostradamus, it’s best we take what we find with a grain of salt.

Of course, that won’t stop us here at the Dr’s Office.

On the Clock: Arizona Cardinals

With the first overall pick, the Cardinals are likely to generate a bit of controversy regardless of who they select. Until recently, it was assumed that Alabama QB Kyler Murray was the obvious choice for the rebuilding franchise, but after some negative buzz out of the combine, and questions surrounding his size, it appears that the Cardinals are considering other options.

With an incumbent at the position who was most recently drafted 10th overall, I’d imagine that the number one overall pick would be better used at another position. New rumors suggest that Ohio State’s Nick Bosa may be the new top target on the Cardinals board. That would mean Rosen get’s another chance, and Murray would fall to another team.

So Where Does Murray Go?

That’s the million dollar question, and if you’re not living under a rock, you’re probably being inundated with a large number of rumors surrounding several teams that have needs at QB.

At the top of the list sits the Oakland Raiders. While they have a former pro bowler in Derek Carr on the roster, Gruden hasn’t been quiet about his love for Murray. With 3 picks in the first round, they could move up to the 2nd pick to ensure they get their man, and move on from Carr.

If Gruden opts to stick with Carr, that leaves the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins as solid fits in terms of need. The ageless Eli Manning’s career is firmly in it’s twilight, and Alex Smith may never play again, so both of these teams targeting the drafts top signal caller makes sense. Of course, the Giants going with a diminutive guy like Murray seems like a stretch, but Washington would be a solid fit given their history at the position (RG3?) and the type of receivers they have on the roster.

My prediction is that Gruden makes a silly trade to acquire Murray, but I’d hardly be surprised to see him land elsewhere. Even Cincinnati could be a player on draft day.

Who Else To Watch

The first name to keep an eye on would be Ohio State product Dwayne Haskins. The pocket passer has connections to the Giants, having grown up a fan living in New Jersey, but the buzz is that the Giants would consider him at 17, but not at 6. This leaves him exposed to a fair number of teams that could benefit from having Haskins on their roster. Those teams include Washington, Cincinnati, Miami, and Denver.

It will also be interesting to see where Iowa State teammates T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant end up. As a Patriots fan, I would love to see Fant fall, but it’s seeming more and more unlikely that either player make it into the back half of the first round. Hockenson would seem to be a great fit for the Jaguars, and Fant could be a target for any number of teams, highlighted by Denver at 10 and Green bay at 12. Of course, the Patriots did trade up to select Rob Gronkowski, so don’t write them out of this just yet, but it will take a fair bit of moving up to select Fant.

End of the First

There’s a few other players to keep an eye on toward the back half of the draft as well, headlined by Duke QB Daniel Jones. With the Giants, the Raiders (potentially twice) and the Patriots all candidates to add a QB with picks in the back half, it’s unlike Jones falls beyond the first.

Of course we haven’t discussed the skill positions, and for good reason. Only one RB projects with first round talent, being Alabama product Josh Jones who would be a mighty fine fit for Oakland with one of the two picks they have late. With Marshawn Lynch announcing his retirement, this one feels pretty natural.

And some draft boards have Baltimore adding speedster Marquise Brown out of Oklahoma, but he could be a nice fit for a few other teams if Baltimore doesn’t target him. The Seahawks, the Packers, and the Patriots could all use an elite pass catcher, and if he falls, could be a nice steal late in the draft.

 

Year in Review: TE

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

The Dr’s Top 15 TE’s

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

Top 15 PPR Rankings

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

Nailed It!

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

Swing and a Miss!

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

Looking Ahead to 2019

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

Year In Review: RBs

So you thought the QB rankings were volatile? Wait till you see how the RB position played out! The Dr. had a couple of really solid takes at the position, but as always, we had some really high profile misses. It’s like the weather, you never know what you’re gonna get, until you’re knee deep in snow.

The Dr’s top 20

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Ezekiel Elliott
  3. David Johnson
  4. Le’Veon Bell
  5. Saquon Barkley
  6. Melvin Gordon
  7. Leonard Fournette
  8. Dalvin Cook
  9. Alvin Kamara
  10. Kareen hunt
  11. Devonta Freeman
  12. Joe Mixon
  13. Jordan Howard
  14. Christian McCaffrey
  15. Alex Collins
  16. Lamar Miller
  17. Derrick Henry
  18. LeSean McCoy
  19. Royce Freeman
  20. Kenyan Drake

Top 20 (PPR Points)

  1. Saquon Barkely
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Todd Gurley
  4. Alvin Kamara
  5. Ezekiel Elliott
  6. James Conner
  7. Melvin Gordon
  8. James White
  9. David Johnson
  10. Joe Mixon
  11. Tarik Cohen
  12. Kareem Hunt
  13. Philip Lindsay
  14. Kenyan Drake
  15. Derrick Henry
  16. Chris Carson
  17. Nick Chubb
  18. Tevin Coleman
  19. Adrian Peterson
  20. Jordan Howard

Nailed it!

I won’t pat myself on the back for most of the top ten; you’d have to out of your mind to consider ranking guys like Gurley or Barkley in the top 5 some kind of win for your brand. I will say that I was spot on when it comes to Melvin Gordon. He wasn’t getting nearly the buzz he deserved coming into the year, and given how well he played in the passing game, he proved he could be the three down workhorse that only a handful of the leagues backs can be labeled as. If he hadn’t missed games due to a lingering knee injury, it’s a safe bet he’d have finished inside the top 5. Likewise, Joe Mixon suffered a few setbacks, but despite the injuries and a terrible team around him, he managed to consistently put up RB1 numbers. His stretch of 10 games in the middle of the season was proof just how good he can be when he gets the kind of volume his skill set demands. With six 18+ point performances, he’s starting to look like a potential top 10 back.

Swing and a Miss!

It’s a bit of a cop out to point to how frequently the top 25 backs turn over every year, but the truth is there were some high profile misses this year that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention. Christian McCaffrey was the kind of workhorse I’d never in envisioned. Despite his diminutive size and the presence of early down banger C.J. Anderson, McCaffrey was arguably the most valuable picks in all of fantasy given where he was going and what he rewarded owners with. Likewise, I won’t overlook Kenyan Drake in 2019. The fact that he finished in PPR formats as a top 15 back is mind blowing given that Adam Gase seemed to do everything in his power to give touches to Gore along the way. With his ability no longer in question, he’s a solid bet to continue his success into the next year.

First Look at 2019

Like I mentioned with the QB’s list, this is an exercise entirely for fun. We know that the running back position is one of the most volatile positions in football, so this list is subject to major change following the draft and free agency. But that aside, we’ll look at our top 25 backs at this point for next year.

  1. Saquon Barkley
  2. Todd Gurley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Alvin Kamara
  5. Christian McCaffrey
  6. Melvin Gordon
  7. Joe Mixon
  8. Nick Chubb
  9. David Johnson
  10. James Conner
  11. Derrick Henry
  12. Dalvin Cook
  13. Kerryon Johnson
  14. Kenyan Drake
  15. Damien Williams (or whoever is given the starting job in KC)
  16. Aaron Jones
  17. Mark Ingram
  18. Leonard Fournette
  19. Jordan Howard
  20. Duke Johnson
  21. Sony Michel
  22. Chris Carson
  23. Jerrick McKinnon
  24. Jay Ajayi
  25. LeSean McCoy

Year In Review: QB

I was relatively successful myself in uncovering several high quality passers, but it was mostly an effect of drafting them so late. If you look at my September 1st QB rankings, you can see that I missed on a ton of guys.

Dr’s Top 12

  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. Russell Wilson
  3. Cam Newton
  4. Tom Brady
  5. Kirk Cousins
  6. Andrew Luck
  7. Drew Brees
  8. Ben Roehtlisberger
  9. Carson Wentz
  10. Matt Ryan
  11. Deshaun Watson
  12. Matthew Stafford

Top 10 (in Points)

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Matt Ryan
  3. Ben Roethlisberger
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Andrew Luck
  6. Aaron Rodgers
  7. Jared Goff
  8. Drew Brees
  9. Russell Wilson
  10. Dak Prescott
  11. Cam Newton
  12. Philip Rivers

Nailed It!

When I jumped back on the Andrew Luck bandwagon in the off season, I got a lot of well worded arguments in favor of fading the Colts signal caller. I ignored them all, and watched as he elevated his game back to pre-injury levels. Drew Brees may have faded down the stretch (being a front runner can do that to a guy) but I’ll take credit for nailing his ranking as well. And while it’s a bit of a stretch, a lot were out on Matt Ryan but I was more bullish than most. Was a bit surprised to see him at #2 in standard scoring lists, but as a QB1 I was right as rain.

Surprised?

Okay, so I was out on Patrick Mahomes. Big whoop. For the record, I loved him as a prospect, but I expected it to be a Kareem Hunt coming out party as Mahomes learned the NFL. 16 games later, and he’s cemented himself as the baddest man on the field. While Mahomes was shooting UP the standings, Tom Brady was proving he didn’t need to put up gaudy numbers to win. I may or may not have cautioned against drafting him, but it’s my own fault for not fading him harder in my rankings. I hope no one drafted him based on my #4 rank.

First Look at 2019

This is a fun little exercise, mostly because it’s pretty meaningless at this point. Until the NFL draft and free agency is behind us, this is just speculation. We’ll do it anyways.

  1. Patrick Mahomes, KC
  2. Andrew Luck, IND
  3. Deshaun Watson, HOU
  4. Aaron Rodgers, GB
  5. Russell Wilson, SEA
  6. Cam Newton, CAR
  7. Jared Goff, LAR
  8. Matt Ryan, ATL
  9. Dak Prescott
  10. Kirk Cousins
  11. Mitchell Trubisky
  12. Baker Mayfield

As you can see, I’m predicting the official changing of the guard. Patrick Mahomes has done more than enough this year to deserve the #1 spot, coming regression be damned. Andrew Luck as the #2 guy may seem like a stretch, but considering how hot they got late, and how good he looked after he re acclimated himself, and I can see him pushing Mahomes for that top spot. Rounding out the QB1 list, it’s Mitch Trubisky and Baker Mayfield, not the usual suspects. Both are fantastic talents, and both showed that they have the faith of their teams and the talent to lead them into the playoffs next year. Expect them both to push Cousins and Prescott for time in the Top 10!

2018 Dr’s Office Exit Interview

First, I’d like to formally apologize for sort of vanishing into thin air. Unlike your favorite superheroes, I was spared Thanos’ snap. Instead, I welcomed my first son into the world, and it’s been a roller coaster ride since. It’s eaten up a lot of my free time, and this is the first real chance I’ve had to dive back into fantasy analysis.

I’ll take the time to review each position in subsequent blog posts, so I won’t dive too deeply into player rankings and the like; instead we’ll evaluate our own performance on the fantasy gridiron.

You may be interested to hear how my own managed teams made out. In 2018 I managed only three fantasy teams, and each one of them was fairly successful in the end. Two teams fell just short of the championship with 2nd place finishes, and a third was knocked out prematurely after finishing with the leagues 2nd best record.

I was more active in the trade market this year than in years past, and it resulted in some of the finest looking “final rosters” I’ve had before. The closest of the teams I came to winning the championship consisted of the following (2 QB, super deep starting rosters)

  • QB: Jared Goff, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo*
  • RB: Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, Jalen Richard, Spencer Ware, Brian Hill, Zach Zenner, C.J. Anderson
  • WR: Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr. DaeSean Hamilton, Corey Davis, Tim Patrick,  Antonio Callaway, John Ross, Michael Gallup, Christian Kirk*
  • TE: Travis Kelce, Kyle Rudolph

Unfortunately, Gurley and OBJ didn’t play, and I was forced to start Zach Zenner and Tim Patrick in spot’s I’d have filled with other guys.

It was an overall successful year, but it wasn’t without some learning moments.

1. Don’t over commit to high risk players. This one may sound obvious, but I had teams that had both Josh Gordon and Doug Baldwin on them. If they both played to their ceiling I had two studs… but they both flamed out for much of the season, hamstringing otherwise solid teams.

2. Don’t balk at young QBs. I kind of tore down Patrick Mahomes prior to the season as a player being paid far too much for. What happened was he, as well as a handful of other young QB’s, made me eat my words.

3. Listen to the coaches. I hit a few projections on the head this year after hearing coaches talk about specific players and how they intended them to be used. Chris Carson was maligned heavily by some in the fantasy community for his lack of high quality skills and the drafting of Rashaad Penny. We learned pretty quickly that he was the bell cow in that offense, and Pete Carroll returned to him even after Penny and Davis had solid games during Carson’s brief absences.

Now, I’ll take each of these with a grain of salt; they are not part of the new ten commandments or anything. They are just trends I may be seeing solidify over the past few years. Finding the next Patrick Mahomes or Philip Lindsey is more about reading PAST the projections and really understanding the player and the team. You have to get a little lucky, of course, but it helps to be good too.