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Week 2: Sit / Start

Week one is finally in the rear view mirror, and hopefully you’ve made your mid-week waiver / free agent pick ups. Here’s some advice, albeit amateur, for week two flex and deep league sit and start candidates.

Start

Jared Goff, Khalil MackJared Goff, QB – LAR: Sure, I could be dead wrong about Goff, but I think last week was an idea of Goff’s ceiling and Washington presents his second straight favorable match up as they allowed 18.9 points to Carson Wentz and the Eagles. While he’s not likely to put up monster numbers, I think he could be a sneaky play for quarterback needy teams.

Joe Flacco, QB – BAL: It was an uninspired performance from Flacco last week as he made his first appearance in 2017 against the Bengals. This week he draws the porous secondary of the Browns and can be expected to put up 12-17 points even as he’s working back into game shape.

Ty Montgomery, RB – GB: While I’ve been a detractor of Ty Montgomery the starting NFL running back, the truth is that Atlanta was particularly bad against Chicago last week when it came to stopping the backs in the passing game. Expecting this game to be a shootout, Montgomery should do some damage through the air this week.

Mike Gillislee, RB – NE: Of course this play may not be as attractive if you’re in a PPR league and have a deeper bench, but it’s clear that Gillislee is going to touch the football inside the 20, and the NE offense has to prove they can score through the air before I downgrade him in terms of points per touch. I doubt he’ll see 3 TD’s again this week, but 60 yards and a TD is a realistic expectations against a bad Saints defense.

LeGarrett Blount, RB – PHI: Blount wasn’t super effective in terms of YPC last week but he was the defacto red-zone back scoring a TD to salvage a mediocre day. Kansas City did some damage in New England last week, but they conceded 3 short yardage TD’s against a similar back. Expect pay dirt for Blount this week.

Ted Ginn Jr, WR – NO: While Willy Snead is sidelined for his suspension, Ginn will remain the 2nd option in the offense behind Michael Thomas, and this weeks matchup against the New England Patriots offers a particular big game potential. Ginn has the kind of speed that NE defensive backs had trouble with last week; expect Sean Peyton to exploit it once or twice for big gains.

Cole Beasley, WR – DAL: Yes, Dallas plays against Denver this week, but as a slot receiver, Beasley could be in for a lot of work as Dallas will likely find itself in need of short gains to keep the chains moving.

Chris Hogan, WR – NE: It’s a risk, for sure, to play any New England pass catcher after the dud at home last week, but New Orleans passing defense isn’t exactly great, and Hogan should get more work with Danny Amendola likely sidelined due to his concussion. If this game goes the way I expect (a shootout) then Hogan presents an opportunity for points off the bench.

Rob Gronkowski, TE – NE: Normally, I wouldn’t have to suggest to start the big man, but after a disappointing first week, there may be some on the fence about starting him over potential bench options. Don’t. Similar to the Hogan blurb above, New England is going to throw the ball, and Gronk could see 15+ targets in a game like Sunday’s.

Jesse James, TE – PIT: Week 1’s top TE, James hasn’t got the track record of the other top 10 TE’s but what he does have is red zone targets. Minnesota’s defense is above average, but if the Steelers find their way into the red zone, James is going to be the top target for Big Ben.

Sit

Trevor Siemian, QB – DEN: 49ers Broncos FootballSiemian had a nice week last week, against a defense many pegged as a top 10. This week he’ll come up against a Dallas defense that absolutely trashed Eli Manning and the Giants. Unless you have no other options, Siemian is likely to come back down to earth this week.

Deshone Kizer, QB – CLE: Much like Siemian, Kizer managed to put together a much better week one showing than many expected. Don’t get too excited tho, as Cleveland draws Baltimore in week 2, who made a better quarterback look awful (Andy Dalton). Baltimore’s defense is the real deal and Kizer is still a rookie.

Terrance West, RB – BAL: I drafted West myself as a late round starter, and much like the other backs in the area (Paul Perkins, Rob Kelley, etc) I’m only starting West when it makes sense. After Cleveland held Le’Veon Bell and company to less than 60 total rushing yards, I’m looking elsewhere for my flex.

Isaiah Crowell, RB – CLE: I’m a fan of The Crow, but this week he draws a short stick as they run into what looks like a buzzsaw in the Ravens defense. Only the passing backs produced last week and Crowell is a north south runner that will likely find running room hard to come by.

C.J. Anderson, RB – DEN: This week’s production relies heavily on how Siemian is able to move the ball through the air. Dallas’ defense was relentless against the run in week one, and while Anderson is a much more talented back than Paul Perkins, it will likely be a less than stellar game for the back.

Terrelle Pryor, WR – WAS: The offensive woes that plagued Washington in the preseason are still present after a tough week 1 which saw an unfamiliar unit continue to struggle. While Pryor certainly had his moments, the Rams secondary should keep Cousins from gelling just yet with his new toy. Expect another frustrating week.

Sammy Watkins, WR – LAR: I was convinced that the trade would be good for Watkins as he’d no longer be the only passing game weapon in a more balanced offense, but it’s clear that Cooper Kupp has earned the trust of Goff and the coaching staff.

Eric Decker, WR – TEN: Maybe it was a lingering injury, maybe it was his lack of rapport with Marcus Mariota, maybe we’ll never know. What we do know is that Jacksonville was not kind to wide receivers last week and Mariota was targeting Davis and Matthews a whole lot more than Decker. Not the match-up to gamble on his red zone presence.

Jason Witten, TE – DAL: While his performance in week 1 was a nice surprise, Witten is going to get the Denver treatment in week 2. If Gates and Hunter (who wasn’t targeted once) couldn’t do better than 2 for 18 yards, then Witten may be worth staying away from.

Travis Kelce, TE – KC: In much the same way that Gronkowski and Reed get far more hype than a TE is worth, Kelce was a no-show against a New England defense that could stop a runny nose. This week he faces a Philly defense that only allowed 5 catches for less than 40 yards to top 3 TE Jordan Reed.

(I won’t dignify kickers and D/ST – if you are streaming them, chose the best matchup [SF, CLE, NYJ, CHI] and if you drafted high, then play your guys).

 

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Mia v. TB Postponed; Zeke’s 6 Games Upheld

Miami vs. Tampa Bay Postponed

On the eve of the NFL season, two major news stories dropped. First, the NFL announced that due to the likely event of a south Florida landfall of Hurricane Irma, the week 1 game between the Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been rescheduled for their mutual bye week (week 11).

While the impact is severe for teams featuring high picks on Miami’s RB Jay Ajayi or Tampa’s Mike Evans, the truth of a week one postponement is that your roster should feature plenty of stop gaps.

Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Upheld

What felt like a decision that would surely be overturned or at least downgraded several games suddenly turned into a real problem for gamblers who selected Zeke early in drafts hoping that he’d win his appeal and play a larger number of Cowboys games. Now, Zeke will miss the 6 games of the original suspension, albeit starting in week 2. If you paid a premium for Elliott, you’d better hope to stay afloat as his talent is undeniable as soon as he comes back.

From here, Darren McFadden is a solid 6 week starter, but keep an eye on Alfred Morris. Morris was the more effective runner in the preseason from what little I saw, so I could see a shift to a committee approach should McFadden struggle.

 

Top 350 Rankings

Rank Name P. Rank Bye
1 David Johnson ARI RB1 8
2 Le’Veon Bell PIT RB2 9
3 Antonio Brown PIT WR1 9
4 Julio Jones ATL WR2 5
5 LeSean McCoy BUF RB3 6
6 Mike Evans TB WR3 11
7 A.J. Green CIN WR4 6
8 Odell Beckham Jr. NYG WR5 8
9 Devonta Freeman ATL RB4 5
10 Melvin Gordon LAC RB5 9
11 Jordy Nelson GB WR6 8
12 DeMarco Murray TEN RB6 8
13 Jordan Howard CHI RB7 9
14 Michael Thomas NO WR7 5
15 Jay Ajayi MIA RB8 11
16 Dez Bryant DAL WR8 6
17 Doug Baldwin SEA WR9 6
18 Amari Cooper OAK WR10 10
19 T.Y. Hilton IND WR11 11
20 Todd Gurley LAR RB9 8
21 Rob Gronkowski NE TE1 9
22 DeAndre Hopkins HOU WR12 7
23 Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB10 6
24 Leonard Fournette JAC RB11 8
25 Demaryius Thomas DEN WR13 5
26 Brandin Cooks NE WR14 9
27 Isaiah Crowell CLE RB12 9
28 Keenan Allen LAC WR15 9
29 Lamar Miller HOU RB13 7
30 Travis Kelce KC TE2 10
31 Terrelle Pryor WAS WR16 5
32 Allen Robinson JAC WR17 8
33 Alshon Jeffery PHI WR18 10
34 Golden Tate DET WR19 7
35 Aaron Rodgers GB QB1 8
36 Larry Fitzgerald ARI WR20 8
37 Davante Adams GB WR21 8
38 Christian McCaffrey CAR RB14 11
39 Michael Crabtree OAK WR22 10
40 Tom Brady NE QB2 9
41 Dalvin Cook MIN RB15 9
42 Kareem Hunt KC RB16 10
43 Marshawn Lynch OAK RB17 10
44 Carlos Hyde SF RB18 11
45 Joe Mixon CIN RB19 6
46 Jarvis Landry MIA WR24 11
47 Ty Montgomery GB RB20 8
48 Drew Brees NO QB3 5
49 Sammy Watkins LAR WR25 8
50 Greg Olsen CAR TE3 11
51 Danny Woodhead BAL RB21 10
52 Jordan Reed WAS TE4 5
53 Mark Ingram NO RB22 5
54 Tyreek Hill KC WR26 10
55 Bilal Powell NYJ RB23 11
56 Stefon Diggs MIN WR27 9
57 Jamison Crowder WAS WR28 5
58 Emmanuel Sanders DEN WR29 5
59 C.J. Anderson DEN RB24 5
60 Jimmy Graham SEA TE5 6
61 Kelvin Benjamin CAR WR30 11
62 Matt Ryan ATL QB4 5
63 Russell Wilson SEA QB5 6
64 Martavis Bryant PIT WR31 9
65 Ameer Abdullah DET RB25 7
66 Tevin Coleman ATL RB26 5
67 Willie Snead NO WR32 5
68 Pierre Garcon SF WR33 11
69 Kyle Rudolph MIN TE6 9
70 Frank Gore IND RB27 11
71 Tyler Eifert CIN TE7 6
72 Brandon Marshall NYG WR34 8
73 Mike Gillislee NE RB28 9
74 Theo Riddick DET RB29 7
75 Kirk Cousins WAS QB6 5
76 Jeremy Maclin BAL WR35 10
77 Delanie Walker TEN TE8 8
78 Zach Ertz PHI TE9 10
79 Paul Perkins NYG RB30 8
80 DeSean Jackson TB WR36 11
81 Marcus Mariota TEN QB7 8
82 Jameis Winston TB QB8 11
83 Cam Newton CAR QB9 11
84 Eric Decker TEN WR37 8
85 Andrew Luck IND QB10 11
86 Devante Parker MIA WR38 11
87 Doug Martin TB RB31 11
88 Adrian Peterson NO RB32 5
89 Terrance West BAL RB33 10
90 Tyrell Williams LAC WR39 9
91 Donte Moncrief IND WR40 11
92 Martellus Bennett GB TE10 8
93 Duke Johnson CLE RB34 9
94 LeGarrette Blount PHI RB35 10
95 Derek Carr OAK QB11 10
96 Randall Cobb GB WR41 8
97 Adam Thielen MIN WR42 9
98 Kenny Britt CLE WR43 9
99 Eric Ebron DET TE11 7
100 Dak Prescott DAL QB12 6
101 Eddie Lacy SEA RB36 6
102 Jordan Matthews BUF WR44 6
103 C.J. Prosise SEA RB37 6
104 Mike Wallace BAL WR45 10
105 Philip Rivers LAC QB13 9
106 Jack Doyle IND TE12 11
107 Robert Kelley WAS RB38 5
108 Corey Coleman CLE WR46 9
109 John Brown ARI WR47 8
110 Hunter Henry LAC TE13 9
111 Derrick Henry TEN RB39 8
112 Matthew Stafford DET QB14 7
113 Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB15 9
114 James White NE RB40 9
115 Matt Forte NYJ RB41 11
116 Rishard Matthews TEN WR48 8
117 Corey Davis TEN WR49 8
118 Darren Sproles PHI RB42 10
119 Samaje Perine WAS RB43 5
120 Jonathan Stewart CAR RB44 11
121 Andy Dalton CIN QB16 6
122 Marvin Jones DET WR50 7
123 Darren McFadden DAL RB45 6
124 Tyrod Taylor BUF QB17 6
125 Zay Jones BUF WR51 6
126 Jason Witten DAL TE14 6
127 Eli Manning NYG QB18 8
128 Coby Fleener NO TE15 5
129 Kevin White CHI WR52 9
130 Thomas Rawls SEA RB46 6
131 Ted Ginn NO WR53 5
132 Jacquizz Rodgers TB RB47 11
133 Denver Broncos DST1 5
134 Giovani Bernard CIN RB48 6
135 C.J. Fiedorowicz HOU TE16 7
136 Sterling Shepard NYG WR54 8
137 Seattle Seahawks DST2 6
138 Houston Texans DST3 7
139 Josh Doctson WAS WR55 5
140 Carson Wentz PHI QB19 10
141 Austin Hooper ATL TE17 5
142 Cole Beasley DAL WR56 6
143 Carson Palmer ARI QB20 8
144 Robby Anderson NYJ WR57 11
145 Chris Thompson WAS RB49 5
146 Cameron Brate TB TE18 11
147 Kansas City Chiefs DST4 10
148 Jamaal Williams GB RB50 8
149 Tyler Lockett SEA WR58 6
150 Julius Thomas MIA TE19 11
151 Jamaal Charles DEN RB51 5
152 Latavius Murray MIN RB52 9
153 Jeremy Hill CIN RB53 6
154 Alvin Kamara NO RB54 5
155 Robert Woods LAR WR59 8
156 Shane Vereen NYG RB55 8
157 Antonio Gates LAC TE20 9
158 Breshad Perriman BAL WR60 10
159 Minnesota Vikings DST5 9
160 Kenny Stills MIA WR61 11
161 Marqise Lee JAC WR62 8
162 Arizona Cardinals DST6 8
163 Blake Bortles JAC QB21 8
164 John Ross CIN WR63 6
165 O.J. Howard TB TE21 11
166 DeAndre Washington OAK RB56 10
167 Kenny Golladay DET WR64 7
168 New England Patriots DST7 9
169 Rex Burkhead NE RB57 9
170 Justin Tucker BAL K1 10
171 Sam Bradford MIN QB22 9
172 Jared Cook OAK TE22 10
173 Taylor Gabriel ATL WR65 5
174 Allen Hurns JAC WR66 8
175 Marlon Mack IND RB58 11
176 Joe Flacco BAL QB23 10
177 D’Onta Foreman HOU RB59 7
178 J.J. Nelson ARI WR67 8
179 Evan Engram NYG TE23 8
180 Joe Williams SF RB60 11
181 David Njoku CLE TE24 9
182 Charles Sims TB RB61 11
183 Dan Bailey DAL K2 6
184 Matt Bryant ATL K3 5
185 Stephen Gostkowski NE K4 9
186 Carolina Panthers DST8 11
187 Charles Clay BUF TE25 6
188 Cooper Kupp LAR WR68 8
189 Malcolm Mitchell NE WR69 9
190 Jonathan Williams BUF RB62 6
191 Mohamed Sanu ATL WR70 5
192 New York Giants DST9 8
193 Dion Lewis NE RB63 9
194 Jalen Richard OAK RB64 10
195 T.J. Yeldon JAC RB65 8
196 Mason Crosby GB K5 8
197 Jay Cutler MIA QB24 11
198 Nelson Agholor PHI WR71 10
199 Devin Funchess CAR WR72 11
200 Alex Smith KC QB25 10
201 Chris Conley KC WR73 10
202 Los Angeles Rams DST10 8
203 Jesse James PIT TE26 9
204 Zach Miller CHI TE27 9
205 Tavon Austin LAR WR74 8
206 Adam Vinatieri IND K6 11
207 Robert Turbin IND RB66 11
208 Austin Seferian-Jenkins NYJ TE28 11
209 Jacksonville Jaguars DST11 8
210 Torrey Smith PHI WR75 10
211 Will Fuller HOU WR76 7
212 ArDarius Stewart NYJ WR77 11
213 Mike Williams LAC WR78 9
214 Tim Hightower SF RB67 11
215 Jerick McKinnon MIN RB68 9
216 Dwayne Allen NE TE29 9
217 Benjamin Watson BAL TE30 10
218 Deshaun Watson HOU QB26 7
219 Brian Hoyer SF QB27 11
220 Matt Prater DET K7 7
221 Tyler Boyd CIN WR79 6
222 Paul Richardson SEA WR80 6
223 Cincinnati Bengals DST12 6
224 Pittsburgh Steelers DST13 9
225 Wendell Smallwood PHI RB69 10
226 Cairo Santos KC K8 10
227 Dustin Hopkins WAS K9 5
228 Philadelphia Eagles DST14 10
229 Curtis Samuel CAR WR81 11
230 Baltimore Ravens DST15 10
231 Steven Hauschka BUF K10 6
232 James Conner PIT RB70 9
233 Braxton Miller HOU WR82 7
234 Kyle Juszczyk SF RB71 11
235 De’Angelo Henderson DEN RB72 5
236 Chris Boswell PIT K11 9
237 Brandon LaFell CIN WR83 6
238 Trevor Siemian DEN QB28 5
239 Will Lutz NO K12 5
240 Tyler Higbee LAR TE31 8
241 Vance McDonald SF TE32 11
242 Jaron Brown ARI WR84 8
243 Laquon Treadwell MIN WR85 9
244 Los Angeles Chargers DST16 9
245 Chris Hogan NE WR86 9
246 Jeremy Kerley SF WR87 11
247 Carlos Henderson DEN WR88 5
248 Sebastian Janikowski OAK K13 10
249 Terrance Williams DAL WR89 6
250 Chris Ivory JAC RB73 8
251 Eli Rogers PIT WR90 9
252 Tampa Bay Buccaneers DST17 11
253 Atlanta Falcons DST18 5
254 Graham Gano CAR K14 11
255 Jared Goff LAR QB29 8
256 Orleans Darkwa NYG RB74 8
257 Caleb Sturgis PHI K15 10
258 Jermaine Gresham ARI TE33 8
259 Marquise Goodwin SF WR91 11
260 Alfred Morris DAL RB75 6
261 Zach Zenner DET RB76 7
262 Buffalo Bills DST19 6
263 Jeremy McNichols TB RB77 11
264 Tennessee Titans DST20 8
265 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT WR92 9
266 Oakland Raiders DST21 10
267 Brandon McManus DEN K16 5
268 Dion Sims CHI TE34 9
269 Kendall Wright CHI WR93 9
270 Erik Swoope IND TE35 11
271 Travis Benjamin LAC WR94 9
272 Mike Glennon CHI QB30 9
273 Tarik Cohen CHI RB78 9
274 Miami Dolphins DST22 11
275 Mitch Trubisky CHI QB31 9
276 Green Bay Packers DST23 8
277 Elijah Hood OAK RB79 10
278 Wayne Gallman NYG RB80 8
279 Javorius Allen BAL RB81 10
280 DeShone Kizer CLE QB32 9
281 Indianapolis Colts DST24 11
282 Chandler Catanzaro NYJ K17 11
283 Tom Savage HOU QB32 7
284 A.J. Derby DEN TE36 5
285 Charone Peake NYJ WR95 11
286 Branden Oliver LAC RB82 9
287 Michael Floyd MIN WR96 9
288 Aaron Jones GB RB83 8
289 Gary Barnidge FA TE37
290 Seth Roberts OAK WR97 10
291 Gerald Everett LAR TE38 8
292 Andre Ellington ARI RB84 8
293 Blair Walsh SEA K18 6
294 New York Jets RB85 11
295 Jeremy Langford CHI RB86 9
296 Nick Novak HOU K19 7
297 Chester Rogers IND WR98 11
298 Jimmy Garoppolo NE QB33 9
299 Kenyan Drake MIA RB87 11
300 Josh McCown NYJ QB34 11
301 Chad Williams ARI WR99 8
302 Taywan Taylor TEN WR100 8
303 Maxx Williams BAL TE39 10
304 Nick Folk TB K20 11
305 Wendall Williams HOU WR101 7
306 Chicago Bears DST25 9
307 Washington Redskins DST26 5
308 Phil Dawson ARI K21 8
309 Chris Johnson ARI RB88 8
310 Ladarius Green FA TE40
311 Jordan Leggett NYJ TE41 11
312 Tajae Sharpe TEN WR102 8
313 Vernon Davis WAS TE42 5
314 Josh Gordon CLE WR103 9
315 Benny Cunningham CHI RB89 9
316 Andre Holmes BUF WR104 6
317 Dontrelle Inman LAC WR105 9
318 Seth DeValve CLE TE43 9
319 Alfred Blue HOU RB90 7
320 Aldrick Robinson SF WR106 11
321 Chris Carson SEA RB91 6
322 Charcandrick West KC RB92 10
323 Lance Dunbar LAR RB93 8
324 Matt Jones WAS RB94 5
325 DeAngelo Williams FA RB95
326 Brock Osweiler CLE QB35 9
327 Cody Kessler CLE QB36 9
328 Danny Amendola NE WR107 9
329 Paxton Lynch DEN QB37 5
330 Dallas Cowboys DST27 6
331 Josh Lambo LAC K22 9
332 Donnel Pumphrey PHI RB96 10
333 Lance Kendricks GB TE44 8
334 Leonte Carroo MIA WR108 11
335 Dorial Green-Beckham FA WR109
336 Matt Breida SF RB97 11
337 Dede Westbrook JAC WR110 8
338 Amara Darboh SEA WR111 6
339 Malcolm Brown LAR RB98 8
340 Chris Godwin TB WR112 11
341 Mychal Rivera JAC TE45 8
342 Ryan Switzer DAL WR113 6
343 New Orleans Saints DST28 5
344 Markus Wheaton CHI WR114 9
345 Robbie Gould SF K23 11
346 Detroit Lions DST29 7
347 Jason Myers JAC K24 8
348 Ryan Succop TEN K25 8
349 Rashard Higgins CLE WR115 9
350 Damien Williams MIA RB99 11

UPDATED: Top 50 WR Rankings

2017 Wide Receiver Rankings

Updated June 8th, 2017

Antonio Brown, PIT (E)
Julio Jones, ATL (E)
Mike Evans, TB (E)
Odell Beckham Jr, NYG (E)
Jordy Nelson, GB (+1)
A.J. Green, CIN (+1)
T.Y. Hilton, IND (-2)
Michael Thomas, NO (E)
Amari Cooper, OAK (+1)
Doug Baldwin, SEA (+1)
Dez Bryant, DAL (-2)
Alshon Jeffrey, PHI (+1)
Sammy Watkins, BUF (+2)
Allen Robinson, JAC (E)
DeAndre Hopkins, HOU (-3)
Brandon Cooks, NE (E)
Demaryius Thomas, DEN (E)
Keenan Allen, LAC (E)
Michael Crabtree, OAK (+2)
Davante Adams, GB (-2)
Jarvis Landry, MIA (+1)
Golden Tate, DET (+2)
Terrelle Pryor, CLE (-3)
Julian Edelman, NE (+1)
Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (+1)
Tyreek Hill, KC (+3)
Stefon Diggs, MIN (+1)
Kelvin Benjamin, CAR (+3)
Emmanuel Sanders, DEN (-6)
DeSean Jackson, TB (E)
Jamison Crowder, WAS (+1)
Willie Snead, NO (+4)
Eric Decker, TEN (+2)
Brandon Marshall, NYG (E)
Martavis Bryant, PIT (-2)
Pierre Garcon, SF (+3)
Donte Moncrief, IND (-10)
Corey Davis, TEN (-1)
Devante Parker, MIA (+2)
Rishard Matthews, TEN (-2)
Cameron Mereditch, CHI (+1)
Kenny Britt, CLE (+1)
Randall Cobb, GB (+1)
Jordan Matthews, PHI (+1)
Adam Thielen, MIN (+1)
Corey Coleman, CLE (-5)
Jeremy Maclin, BAL (+4)
John Brown, ARI (E)
Mike Wallace, BAL (-2)
Marvin Jones, DET (+2)
Josh Doctson, WAS (+4)
Kevin White, CHI (+5)
Sterling Shepard, NYG (+1)
Mike Williams, LAC (-1)
John Ross, CIN (+3)
Robert Woods, LAR (+4)
Quincy Enunwa, NYJ (+5)
Taylor Gabriel, ATL (+6)
Kenny Stills, MIA (+2)
Tyrell Williams, LAC (-11)

Drafting a QB / RB Combo

 

So you’re willing to get creative to produce a roster that maximizes the plays on the field. Drafting a valuable QB/RB combo is one of the easiest ways to ensure that every point is wrung from the towel that is fantasy scoring. Carr Cooper

Skip the Early Rounds

I’d argue that drafting a duo over the first four rounds is foolhardy, as it requires you to either reach for a player to ensure you get them, or overlook a player who may be much more valuable. Pairs like Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson are a perfect example as they’re both being drafted in the 2nd round. Do you really want to spend a first round pick on either of them? The same goes for Brady and Gronk; it’s just too hard to organize your targets to ensure you get them both.

I’m not saying that if they fall to you don’t take them; hell you’d be insane not to take advantage. But you’re playing a game of chicken that you’ll lose more often than not.

First Round WRs

Looking at current draft data, it appears that the easiest way to secure a potent duo is to select a stud WR in the first round. Here’s the first round receivers and their corresponding QB.

  • Antonio Brown, PIT (Ben Roethlisburger, ADP 89)
  • Julio Jones, ATL (Matt Ryan, ADP 45)
  • Odell Beckham Jr, NYG (Eli Manning, ADP 130)
  • A.J. Green, CIN (Andy Dalton, ADP 148)
  • Mike Evans, TB (Jameis Winston, ADP 93)

As you can see, all five projected first round WR’s can be paired with their starting QB without much effort. Of course, maybe one of these duo’s features a player you loathe, or maybe you draft at the end of the first and you feel that you missed your chance. I’d argue that the real value of the strategy is in the meat of the draft

Middle Round Finds

If you’re like me, you see a draft with maybe a dozen safe backs and a wealth of top end talent at WR. So you want to draft a RB in the first and piece together your roster later? Not a problem, there’s even more valuable combinations to be had outside of the first round.

Amari Cooper – OAK, ADP 24 – So you drafted to RB’s and you’re looking to add a WR. Amari Cooper is one of those young, high volume WR’s that commands the ball. Having him on your roster is a boon, especially considering that Derek Carr is being drafted currently in the 9th round. Sure, you may have to stab a bit early, but with his upside, there’s very little risk and the reward could be fantastic.

Doug Baldwin – SEA, ADP 30 – Now we’re in the fourth round and you find yourself drafting the under valued Baldwin… great, he’s a wonderful fantasy asset. So is his starting QB. Russell Wilson is being drafted criminally late; current ADP data shows him going in the 8th round. Not bad when every catch counts double for your team.

Terrell Pryor – WAS, ADP 48 – There’s some questions surrounding the former QB, but his athleticism and ability to read a defense makes him an intriguing WR1 for the Washington Redskins. Kirk Cousins seems to be perpetually in a contract year so drafting him between rounds 8-10 serves up some serious upside when these two are clicking. Expect some huge weeks.

Golden Tate – DET, ADP 54 – Tate continues to be viewed with skeptisism even after he proved when he’s on the field he’s every bit the number one receiver Detroit envisioned when Calvin Johnson retired. He’s also a great option if you like to wait on your QB’s considering that, despite off-season praise from owners and coaches, Matt Stafford (and his 600+ attempts) are being drafted as late as the 12-13th rounds!

I’d caution against hitching your wagon to QB/WR combo’s for teams that don’t consistently produce through the air. While the options above feature offenses built around their respective stars, there are several teams that don’t offer much in terms of added value. Chicago, the Jets, Houston, or Cleveland are all obvious choices to avoid.

As always, do your research and think as abstractly as you can; it’s important to adjust on the fly and not be too dialed into any strategy going into the draft. Do you agree with our pairs above or have a different strategy that’s worked for you? Well feel free to let us know; leave a comment or send us an e-mail. As always, happy drafting!

 

Sparknotes: AFC West

Over the next few days, we’ll publish a series entitled Sparknotes, each article will take a birds eye view into each NFL division and it’s most important fantasy players. 

Turnover amongst the skill positions is a constant concern for Fantasy owners, but no division embodies this in the AFC as completely as the AFC West. Denver looks like it will continue to toil at the bottom of the division with the Chargers looking improved and the Chiefs and Raiders set to slug it out again for the division title.

Kansas City Chiefs

Notable Fantasy Stars: Travis Kelce (TE2)m Spencer Ware (RB19), Tyreek Hill (WR29), Alex Smith (QB 23), Chris Conley (WR75),

Synopsis – This ain’t your grandfathers Chiefs team now that Maclin and Charles are both gone. Sliding into the starter roles are Tyreek Hill and Spencer Ware, both who should be drafted with confidence as the methodical KC offense is very consistent. Chris Conley gets the largest bump (from WR115 to WR75) and could see even more attention as the season gets closer. Of course, Travis Kelce is the defacto #1 in this passing offense, and could see a bump into the Gronk range with even more responsibility. Ware may not be as flashy a name as Charles was, but he has a firm grip on the starting gig, and I expect him to man all three downs at least until he proves he can’t handle it.

Oakland Raiders

Notable Fantasy Stars: Amari Cooper (WR10), Derek Carr (QB12), Marshawn Lynch (RB15), Michael Crabtree (WR21), Jared Cook (TE24) DeAndre Washington (RB66)

Synopsis – While it appears Derek Carr is making a full recovery following his season ending leg break, wideouts Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree would both take a major hit if Connor Cook (or god forbid E.J. Manuel) was forced to start. Jared Cook will likely be targeted as a third option again this year so he’s no more than a late round flier. The biggest question mark in Oakland remains it’s running game as the team parted ways with Latavius Murray and added the un-retired Marshawn Lynch to the roster. Will Beast Mode return to form? If not, DeAndre Washington is an intriguing handcuff for Lynch owners as he could have mid to late season value.

Denver Broncos

Notable Fantasy Stars: Damaryius Thomas (WR17) C.J. Anderson (RB17), Emmanuel Sanders (WR23), Paxton Lynch (QB28), Jamaal Charles (RB45)

Synopsis – I hardly think I’m going out on a ledge by ranking Paxton Lynch over Trevor Semien in my rankings; I can’t see Denver not giving Lynch a chance after trading up to pick the young QB at this point, so take the depth charts with a grain of salt. Regardless of who is under center, Demaryius Thomas is going to be the focal point of the passing game. Sanders will see his fair share of targets, but he may fall short of the season’s we’ve grown accustomed to. With the addition of Jamaal Charles, the backfield gets a little murky. Anderson should still handle the lion’s share of carries, but Charles will more than likely steal the passing downs, and if Anderson struggles, Charles could very easily jump him on the depth chart.

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Notable Fantasy Stars: Melvin Gordon (RB8), Hunter Henry (TE11), Philip Rivers (QB14), Keenan Allen (WR19), Mike Williams (WR53), Tyrell Williams (WR59)

Synopsis – New home; same old gunslinger in Philip Rivers. The biggest concern coming into the season is whether or not Keenan Allen can stay healthy. Despite his absence, Rivers put together a decent season, and the Charger’s rewarded him by adding Mike Williams in the draft. I’d expect Tyrell Williams to come back to earth a bit if Allen is healthy, and all signs point to the affirmative. With the added weapons, last year’s breakout star Melvin Gordon is in line for some big numbers. His value suffers a bit in PPR leagues as he’s TD heavy but should return most 2-3rd round investments.

Sparknotes: AFC South

Over the next few days, we’ll publish a series entitled Sparknotes, each article will take a birds eye view into each NFL division and it’s most important fantasy players. 

The 2016 season was a mess for the AFC South as the sole representative in the playoffs was the underwhelming Houston Texans. Another year of heavy turnover and all four teams are hoping for a change in fortunes in 2017.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Notable Fantasy Stars: Leonard Fournette (RB13), Allen Robinson (WR14),  Blake Bortles (QB18), Marcedes Lewis (TE48),  Marquise Lee (WR66), Allen Hurns (WR70), T.J. Yeldon (RB74)

Synopsis: Trying to predict where Bortles likely 600+ pass attempts will be headed is enough to give anyone a headache. Allen Robinson is a shoe in for 125-150 targets, but Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns are going to have to fight it out to be the #2. Hurns defenitely has the history but Lee’s pedigree is hard to ignore. In the backfield, Leonard Fournette adds the element of a battering ram who can scorch you in the open field as well. His presence should limit Yeldon’s fantasy yield while opening up space for Bortles to bounce back.

Houston Texans

Notable Fantasy Stars: Lamar Miller (RB11, DeAndre Hopkins (WR12), C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE15, Deshaun Watson (QB25), Will Fuller (WR67).

Synopsis: Houston struggled last year with injuries and the inconsistent play of newly-departed Brock Osweiler, prompting them to add Clemson QB Deshaun Watson at the draft. It’s worth noting that while Savage may occupy the #1 spot on the depth chart, this team will be Watson’s sooner rather than later. His arrival should mean a return to the top 10 for both Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins, while Will Fuller and Fiedorowicz remain just outside of the circle of fantasy relevance.

Indianapolis Colts

Notable Fantasy Stars: Andrew Luck (QB5), T.Y. Hilton (WR5), Jack Doyle (TE13) Frank Gore (RB25), Donte Moncrief (WR27), Erik Swoope (TE37)

Synopsis: There are major concerns at the moment that Luck will be 100% at the start of the season, and this casts doubt on every major player on this offense. Hilton would suffer the least, as his role is clearly defined and any QB under center would likely look his way often, but Moncrief was dismal even with Luck on the field. It’s been common practice to write Frank Gore off over the last few years, but I think he has enough in the tank to remain relevant, especially as the 25th RB selected. While those positions are set in stone, Jack Doyle continues to lead the TE column despite the buzzy off season that Erik Swoope is having.

Tennessee Titans

Notable Fantasy Stars: DeMarco Murray (RB 7), Delanie Walker (TE7), Marcus Mariota (QB15), Corey Davis (WR37), Derrick Henry (RB38), Rishard Mathews (WR38)

Synopsis: Assuming Mariota returns at close to 100%, he should be in line to have his breakout season with newly aquired Corey Davis providing a transendent pass catching weapon to this offense. Rishard Matthews may have fewer opportunities but will still command a large portion of the offense. DeMarco Murray is the day one starter but with Henry looming in the background he’ll have to stay healthy and effective to stave off the talented 2nd year player. Probably the most consistent member of the offense is the consistent, if not un-sexy, Delanie Walker. His production as a TE1 is a bargain as he generally falls in early drafts.

Sparknotes: AFC North

Over the next few days, we’ll publish a series entitled Sparknotes, each article will take a birds eye view into each NFL division and it’s most important fantasy players. 

After a timultuous regular season, the lone AFC North representative to qualify for the playoffs was dispatched by the eventual Superbowl champion Patriots in the AFC championship game. This year, three teams not named the Cleveland Browns have aspirations for their own big games.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Notable Fantasy Stars: Antonio Brown (WR1), Le’Veon Bell (RB2), Ben Roethlisberger (QB13), Jesse James (TE33), Martavius Bryant (WR33), Eli Rodgers (WR79)

Synopsis: Pittsburgh is a perennial fantasy powerhouse, and the 2017 season looks to continue on that trend. Big Ben falls in my rankings due to injuries and age; the guy has taken a ton of damage over his storied career, but Brown and Bell are the most potent skill position due on the NFL. Part of their allure is the lack of reliable stars around them. Bryant figures to carve a nice little WR4 role for himself, but Rodgers and Jesse James offer little value for this year.

Baltimore Ravens

Notable Fantasy Stars: Joe Flacco (QB22), Benjamin Watson (TE30), Danny Woodhead (RB32),  Kenneth Dixon (RB42), Mike Wallace (WR47), Breshard Perriman (WR50)

Synopsis: It should be an interesting year in Baltimore, as the team no longer features the ageless Steve Smith (retired) or TE Dennis Pitta (released). Flacco aims to bounce back in a big way this year, but his targets will be redistributed in a way that makes predicting this offense difficult. Danny Woodhead may be the back that sees the largest spike in value as he’ll man the passing downs exclusively and youngster Kenneth Dixon takes over goal line and short distance duties. Mike Wallace will continue to be a 15+YPC guy but Perriman is a conundrum: do the Ravens bring in a Decker or Maclin to be the #2 or do they trust Breshard to make the leap?

Cincinatti Bengals

Notable Fantasy Stars: Tyler Eifert (TE4), A.J. Green (WR7), Andy Dalton (QB17) Joe Mixon (RB21), Giovani Bernard (RB46), Jeremy Hill (RB47), John Ross (WR58)

Synopsis: Going in 2017, the one sure thing on the Bengals roster is that Green and Eifert are going to see a ton of looks. John Ross figures to factor in to a much smaller degree, but his speed and ability should warrant him as a flier pick, especially in deeper leagues or keeper formats. The running back situation is where it gets muddled. They didn’t add Mixon to take a back seat to the previous two-headed monster. All signs point to Mixon being something closely resembling a workhorse, but Hill and Bernard present a conundrum. I expect Bernard to remain in the pass catching role potentially leaving Hill as the odd man out, but this is an interesting one to watch going into the season.

Cleveland Browns

Notable Fantasy Stars: Isaiah Crowell (RB14), David Njoku (TE19), DeShone Kizer (QB26), Corey Coleman (WR41), Kenny Britt (WR43)

Synopsis: Truthfully, no one knows exactly who’s going to be calling plays from under center. I assumed by now Brock Osweiller would have been cut, but he continues to take starter reps even as draft pick DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler both garner support as the starting QB. Neither Corey Coleman nor Kenny Britt offer much upside at this point, but either could be intriguing once some clarity forms from the passing game. One thing for certain is that The Crow should see the bulk of the reps at RB, with Duke Johnson Jr’s only real value coming in deeper PPR leagues.

 

Updated Rankings

We (I) here at DRF are pleased to announce that our WAY TOO EARLY rankings for 2017 are up on the site. I don’t have a top 250 put together yet but each skill position has been ranked with mini break-downs of each ranking.

Kickers and Defenses ranked but no additional information at this time.

So kick back, peruse the rankings, and feel free to shoot us a an e-mail with any questions or suggestions at drfantasy@zoho.com

Hidden Gems (QB)

EvRG3ery year we spend our fantasy prep time pouring through periodicals and compiling statistics based off of “expert” analysis. And while this information is invaluable, we often times ignore the most important players to a championship team: The Bench.

Finding these hidden gems can be difficult but rewarding when your first and second round picks start experiencing the injuries that come with playing as often as elite NFL players do. We’ll examine who from the bargain barrel section of the drafts can help you when they inevitably enter the fray.

Surest Thing – Ryan Tannehill: While it’s always been a rule of thumb to wait on a QB, Tannehill is being drafted far later than his recent performances would dictate in my opinion. As a passer, he’s averaged nearly 4,000 yards and 25 TD’s following his rookie season, and he’s a good bet to add 200 yards on the ground to that. Coupled with the fact that Adam Gase got decent fantasy numbers out of Jay Cutler and he’s returning a talented WR group that will likely be better this year and you have a case for Tannehill to be the best bet amongst the late round picks this year.

Highest Risk Reward – Brock Osweiler: Being drafted in the last rounds of drafts, Osweiler has a lot to prove after only 8 starts last year for the eventual Superbowl Champion Broncos. Now he’s got the offense to himself and he’s playing under Bill O’Brien who has managed to squeeze more out of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet than maybe we expected. With a go-and-get it WR in Hopkins as a saftey blanket, it’s just as easy to envision 4,000 yards and 25 TDs as it is a complete flameout as a starter. At pick 200, he’s worth a shot though.

Big Ole’ Bust – Kirk Cousins: If you’re a Kirk Cousins fans, I’ll forgive your outrage. And as a disclaimer, I think he’s a fine player, but he’s not worth drafting at his current ADP while other quarterbacks named Matt Ryan and Matt Stafford are still on the board. Cousins will likely be fine over the course of 16 games, but he’s proven much less than he’s being given credit for and he’s throwing to a collection of talented but often injuried wideouts in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. If he falls another few rounds he’d likely be be a better value, but in the 10th and 11th rounds I’ll take my chances elsewhere.

BONUS – Robert Griffin III… Going into the offseason I felt that Cleveland was taking a huge chance bringing in another potential headache to replace the departed Johnny Manziel. Now they’ve announced their handing over the key to the Winnebego. So here we are, asking the same question again; does RG3 have any football left in him? It’s likely in shallow leagues he’ll spend a week or two riding the waiver bus, but in deeper leagues he may be worth a late (and I do mean late) flier. If he is on your roster watch the waivers in case he does flame out spectacularly (as I see him doing).