Blog Archives

Week 2: Daily Fantasy Picks

Week 1 saw a handful of guys we picked go off, most notably Lamar Jackson, although we could have done a bit better. Week ones are always unpredictable, so we’ll take it with a grain of salt. Below are our favorite picks, in the format we’ve established from week 1.

Quarterbacks

$$$: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,500) – Against what we considered a solid defense, and without his top reciever for much of the contest, Mahomes did MVP like things, hanging 300+ yards and three TD’s against the Jaguars. Oakland should provide just as many opportunities for Mahomes to rack up points.

$$: Tom Brady, New England Patriots ($6,500) – Defy father time yet again? Check… Acquire one of this generations best receiving talents (despite off the field issues)? Check… Draw what may amount to the worst team in the NFL? Check. This week against Miami, Brady should once again look like a legit top 5 QB.

$: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions ($5,200) – If you’re looking for a discount, Stafford may be your man. The emergence of T.J. Hockenson only solidifies what may be one of the best groups of receiving weapons he’s had since the departure of Calvin Johnson. Given that the Chargers can score with the best of them, it’s likely he’ll be called on to attempt quite a few passes on Sunday.

Running Backs

$$$: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants ($9,200) – Any of the top three options available (including Zeke and Kamara) are solid options, but drawing the Buffalo Bills should provide plenty of opportunities for Barkley to improve on the low volume/high efficiency start he had to the season.

$$: Sony Michel, New England Patriots ($6,200) – The Patriots offense drawing the Miami Dolphins is an obvious feather in his cap, but the news that James White will miss week 2 action following the birth of his child leaves the door wide open for Michel to assume a much larger workload than usual. If the Patriots get ahead early, they could pound the ball late.

$: Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins ($3,900) – The news that Derrius Guice has been placed on IR means the backfield will see a solid dose of Chris Thompson, especially on passing downs. It may be too early to tag Dallas as a top offense, but if they’re scoring, it’ll be Thompson, not Peterson, with the big day.

Wide Receivers

$$$: Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints ($8,000) – Don’t be scared off by the Rams passing defense after one week, this is a high scoring Saints offense with a lot to prove after having their season ended last year against this very Rams team thanks to an egregious call. Thomas is going to see a ton of targets every week, and while we have concerns about Brees lasting all season at the top of the mountain, we’re confident he’ll be good early on.

$$: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams ($6,400) – He may have had a disappointing week last week, with only 15 PPR points, but his 13 targets should set your mind at ease regarding his usage. As mentioned above, this weeks match up should produce one of the more exciting games of the week, and Woods should see another healthy dose of targets as Goff may not have time to find his down the field targets with the Saints defense getting after him.

$: D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars ($4,500) – They say backups throw to backups, and Gardner Minshew certainly looked Chark’s way several times after Foles left the Jaguars week one matchup with an injury. This is an offense that has never really established a top receiver, so there’s as much of a chance that Chark continues his torrid pace against a Houston team that could force Minshew to throw it a lot all game.

Tight End

$$$: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs ($7,300) – I’m not super confident in either Kelce or Kittle to perform consistently this week as both draw defenses that aren’t excellent for fantasy purposes for TE’s, but Kelce should be involved heavily regardless thanks to Hills extended absence. Last week it was Watkins, but it could very easily be Kelce with several TD grabs this week.

$$: Evan Engram, New York Giants ($5,200) – There seems to be a curse on the Giants receiving group, and Engram stands to gain as much as Barkley thanks to a passing game that will continue to siphon through his hands. With Shepard entering concussion protocol, we can’t be certain who will line up beside Barkley and Engram this week.

$: Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders ($3,300) – Waller saw a healthy dose of action in week one thanks to the departure of Antonio Brown, so expecting him to be involved in what should be a game of catch up isn’t hard to imagine. Kansas City is going to put up points, and Carr is going to have to use his athletic tight end if they’re going to hope to keep pace.

D/ST

$$: Patriots D/ST vs. Miami ($3,700) – Could the Pats lay a dud like they did last year against the Detroit Lions? Sure, but this defense looks legit at all three levels, and Miami is fielding a disgruntled J.V. roster. Pats should win handily, and I expect a few turnovers as well.

$: Seahawks D/ST vs. Pittsburgh ($2,900) – Are the Patriots really a top 5 defense this year? Maybe, but there seems to be something wrong with the Pittsburgh offense, and Seattle’s defense isn’t anything to sneeze at either. With their smash mouth, grind you down offense, they’re just as likely to keep that Pittsburgh offense off balance, and hold them to another dud in week 2.

Dr.’s Roster

  • QB: Matt Stafford
  • RB: Sony Michel
  • RB: Chris Thompson
  • WR: Michael Thomas
  • WR: Robert Woods
  • WR: D.J. Chark
  • TE: Darren Waller
  • Flex: Alvin Kamara
  • Patriots D/ST
Advertisements

Thursday Night Preview

CGodwinIn what has become a bit of a running joke, the Thursday Night Football game promises to be a dud more often than not. What does that mean for your fantasy prospects? We’ll take a look in this weeks Thursday Night Preview.

The Teams – Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last week wasn’t kind to these two teams, as only Christian McCaffrey turned in a worth-while fantasy performance (128 rushing yards, 10 receptions for 81 yards, and two rushing TDs). Cam Newton, Mike Evans, Jamies Winston, and Greg Olsen were all duds, while Chris Godwin and D.J. Moore had solid PPR days, but left a lot on the table. Carolina’s defense did allow 166 rushing yards to RB’s on only 28 total carries, but Tampa Bay features a far less exciting stable of backs than the Rams do.

Conversely, the 49ers offense wasn’t nearly as efficient despite hanging 31 points on the Bucs. Cam Newton will have to improve on his week one performance is the passing game is going to get back on track against a defense that allowed a meager 166 yards through the air to Jimmy Garoppolo.

Sits

Jameis Winston: Facing a Carolina defense that held Jared Goff and the prolific Rams passing offense to under 200 yards passing, Winston could have another tough go of it in week 2.

Mike Evans: While I still believe in Evans in year long leagues, I’m concerned about the Bucs offense providing Winston with enough time to find Evans down the field. I could see a game script that’s more run heavy with a lot of short to intermediate passing plays; something that doesn’t help a guy like Evans.

Curtis Samuel: Moore and McCaffrey shared the bulk of the targets, and considering how well Tampa defended San Francisco, it could be more of the same in week 2. Moore is clearly the top target, and if Newton has to lean as heavily on the run game in week 2, the opportunities aren’t going tot be there for Samuel to be a safe play.

Starts

Christian McCaffrey: Don’t read too much into the lack of success San Francisco had in week 1; their backfield was thrown into turmoil early on with the loss of Tevin Coleman. CMC is on a different level, and even thought we can’t expect nearly a 7 yard per  carry mark every week, he’ll have one of the safest weekly volumes, and is clutch in the red zone.

Chris Godwin: Evans is likely to be the focal point of the Bucs defense, meaning Godwin will have more opportunities to be targeted. If Carolina scores early and often, it’s Godwin, and not Evans, that I’m targeting in daily for week 2.

Thoughts on The Game

I don’t think this will be your prototypical 13-10 Thursday night game, but I expect fatigue to become a factor for the teams playing on the first short week of the season. Of course, these two teams look like they’re continue to filter the ball through it’s best play makers, so feel confident starting most of the top guys in these offenses, but be wary of the Thursday Night curse (low scoring duds).

Week 2 Waiver Adds

Waiver Wire Adds

So you’re hit with an injury or five, and you need to add a few players from the waivers? Here’s a few we’ll be considering for our own depleted rosters for week 2.

Quarter Back

  • Josh Allen (Owned in 20%) may have looked like a polished turd on Sunday, but he’s entrenched as the starter, and puts up points with his legs most weeks. If you’re hard up for a QB, he’s almost guaranteed to be available in your leagues.
  • Matt Stafford (Owned in 16.3%) being owned in less than 20% of leagues seems crazy to me, since he’s almost always contributing in fantasy terms. The Lions were bad last year, and shouldn’t be much better this year, but without a broken back and with additional receiving weapons, Stafford is a solid plan b.
  • Andy Dalton (Owned in 4.2%) I doubt you need to reach this far into the barrel for a QB, but if you’re in a 2 QB league or superflex, you may need to look his way if you lost Nick Foles. Cincinnati may not put up the numbers it did on Sunday, but it’s clear he’ll be able to help in a pinch.

Running Back:

  • Ronald Jones (Owned in 40.6%) – He was by far the more dynamic runner on Sunday, and in a game that went sideways against San Francisco, he still made some noise. Peyton Barber isn’t going to be difficult to leap frog in terms of touches, so snagging Jones now in hopes he continues to breakout will be the least expensive option.
  • Giovani Bernard (Owned in 32.3 %) – Will Joe Mixon miss extended time? We won’t know until the results of his MRI come back, but Gio Bernard should be in line for the lion’s share of work. Of course, the Bengals drafted two running backs in the draft, but the best of the bunch, Trayveon Williams, was dinged up himself going into week 1. He’s a flier for sure, but especially for Mixon owners, Bernard can help get you by. 
  • Chris Thompson (Owned in 18%) – When Adrian Peterson was made inactive in Week 1, it was an odd move, but it opened up a little more opportunity for Thompson to see the field. There’s no guarantee what is going on with Peterson, but Thompson has proven that he can be an effective flex start in PPR formats for years, so if you’re playing in one of the 82% of leagues he’s available, he may be worth an add.
  • Malcom Brown (Owned in 6.5%) – It’s been debated since the draft about Todd Gurley and who stands to gain the most from his ongoing knee issues, and I think we saw yesterday that Brown can absolutely be a weapon even if Gurley is on the field. With efficient play and two trips to the endzone, he’s not only an excellent handcuff, but for non-Gurley owners, he’s a solid add regardless. 

Wide Reciever:

  • John Brown (Owned in 35.4%) – I still have some concerns about Brown’s ability to stay healthy, but until he finds himself injured, Brown figures to be the top passing option in a Bills offense that’s perennially devoid of big time play makers. He’ll have some bad weeks, and likely end up injured at some point, but ride the hot hand while it’s there. 
  • Marquise Brown (Owned in 28.2%) – Color me surprised, but Brown showed no ill-effects from the lisfranc surgery he had this off season in a monster performance in week one. His speed and Jackson’s ability to push the ball down field could be a wonderful combination that leads to several big weeks for a guy who should slide into your roster as a WR3 or WR4. 
  • DJ Chark (Owned in 11.8%) – It seems that the Jaguars offense churns out sleepers and busts at a similar rate, but Chark was a major contributor for an offense that lost its QB early. Despite having Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee ahead of him on the depth chart, Chark showed off the skills that had him a popular breakout candidate last year. He’s a long shot to produce every week, but one that as a bench piece is a nice addition. 
  • Terry McLaurin (OWned in 7.3%) – I own McLaurin in a few leagues, and have highlighted him on my breakout lists already, but the rookie picked up a big boost following Washington’s decision to cut Josh Doctson, and he did the most with his looks on Sunday to the tune of 125 yards and a trip to the endzone. He has to remain efficient if he’s going to be startable, but if he’s half as good as we saw yesterday, he could be the top option in this offense in no time. 

Tight End

  • Mark Andrews (Owned in 51%) – Andrews has teased, but despite how loud the buzz was surrounding him all preseason, he still finds himself a free agent in 49% of ESPN leagues. Add him now, he’ll be a big part of that Ravens offense going forward.
  • Jimmy Graham (Owned in 47.6%) – He’s long been a divisive name among fantasy players, as many have chased the upside he showed in New Orleans, but this year may be the year he becomes a big part of the Green Bay passing offense. There’s been plenty of buzz surrounding players like Marquez Valdez-Scantling and Geronimo Allison, but it’s Graham who Rodgers looks to in the red zone when Adams is blanketed. Expect a few down weeks, as any backend TE 1 is likely to have, but if you need a TE, he should pay off in spades.
  • T.J. Hockenson (Owned in 30.%) – I’ve been wishy-washy on Hockenson all off season long, sticking to my guns that rookie TE’s typically disappoint, but I ended up drafting him a few times, and it looks like he may contribute more than I expected. With the position being shallow, it’s never a bad idea to stash a high upside youngster on the bench in hopes that you have the next Kittle or Kelce, so Hockenson is an obvious add if you have the bench space to do so.

 

Week 1 – Sunday Recap

While there’s still a few Monday Night Football games to be played, we like to take our time on Monday morning to see what we got right, and what we missed wide left on. Of course, playing Daily Fantasy early in the season is a crap shoot, but we’ll start there.

Daily Fantasy – Hits and Misses

Quarter Backs: Nick Foles was injured early in week 1, so we’ll ignore his results for the time being. Besides him, we split the week with a hit on Lamar Jackson, who did damage through the air thanks to his big play rookie Marquise Brown, and we missed bad on Jameis Winston, who threw three picks against a 49ers defense we still don’t think should be very good this year.

Running Backs: It was tough sledding for both Matt Brieda and Chris Carson, who both failed to rush for more than 4 yards per carry despite having the most touches in each respective backfield. Cincinnati has what looks to be a decent defense this year, but I only managed to hit on the easiest of the three; Saquon Barkley. Still, with Dallas up big, he didn’t get nearly the number of touches he needed. Still, Saquon looks like he’s a safe play nearly every week in DFS formats.

Wide ReceiversWoof, I really missed big on this one. Hill may have had a decent week had he not left injured, as Watkins stepped into the league receiver role and had a monster day. But aside from Godwin finding pay dirt to salvage his day, it was a three and out for me one receivers. Trey Quinn managed a handful of receptions, but was overshadowed by one of my favorite rookie receivers in Terry McLaurin, who was lights out in his NFL debut.

Tight EndsI was close with my tight ends, as Engram certainly turned in a monster performance, and Engram and Uzumoah were targeted plenty given their DFS cost. It seems that year after year, I hit mostly on tight ends, but this is a position that can easily be glossed over. Engram looks like a legit threat to finish in the top 3 at the position again this year, and when the Giants play a capable offense, he’s a must start until his DFS cost catches up to his usage.

Injury Updates:

Tyreek Hill, Kansas City WR – If you’re like me, and you drafted him in spite of his karmic comeuppance, you may be kicking yourself following his hospitalization following a shoulder injury in week 1. It’s reported it won’t require surgery, but he’ll likely miss several weeks. Sammy Watkins clearly steps in as the top option, but Kelce and Mecole Hardman could see an uptick in usage over the next few weeks.

Nick Foles, Jacksonville QB: Another shoulder injury, another wasted draft pick for Dr. Fantasy. Foles left Sundays game early with what appears to be a broken clavical. This is an injury that will require a lengthy recovery, but Minshew seemed to play alright in relief.

Tevin Coleman, San Francisco RB – Another Dr. Fantasy draft pick (sensing a trend here?) and another week 1 injury. Coleman injured his ankle in Sundays contest and was ruled out. There’s precious little news surrounding the injury, but head coach Kyle Shanahan was quoted as being “concerned” in advance of the RB’s MRI today. We’ll know more later, but Brieda could be in line for a much larger workload going forward.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati RB – Would you believe this is another Dr. Fantasy RB? Of course you could, because Mixon also left Sunday’s contest with an ankle injury. While he is also slated for an MRI, sources close to the team suggest they believe it’s only an ankle sprain, and a lengthy injury seems unlikely.

Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers WR – One of the prime breakout candidates, Mike Williams has an uphill battle to climb after suffering a knee injury in the Chargers week one contest. Not much is known about the severity of the injury, but he did not return to the game. Keep an eye on this one, as the depth chart beyond Keenan Allen is a bit shallow, and someone likely on the waivers will become a surprise asset should Williams miss time.

Juju Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh WR – In case you thought my rosters were done with injuries, Juju found himself with a toe injury in the last few meaningless minutes against the Patriots last night. There’s optimism that it’s minor and he’ll be good to go in week 2, but it’s something to watch in case it lingers late into the week.

Devin Funchess, Indianapolis WR – Funchess will likely undergo surgery for a broken collarbone suffered in yesterdays action. He wasn’t a likely breakout candidate following Luck’s retirement, but for those who invested in Funchess as a potential TD maven, it’s likely he’ll miss a large portion of the season.

 

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.

Andrew Luck to Retire

luckIt’s been a roller coaster career for the former top overall selection, but all the peaks and valley’s were nothing compared to the news today that at 30 years old, Andrew Luck is set to retire from the NFL.

The news certainly comes as a shock, and if you spent on Indianapolis in your early fantasy drafts, it complicates things. Of course, while the entire offense can expect to feel the effects of his retirement, it impacts the receivers group the most.

T.Y. Hilton will likely continue to be a top target, likely for Jacoby Brissett, but rookie Parris Campell and Devin Funchess are larger question marks as the offense will certainly take on a different feel.

I’ve been cautioning regression for Ebron all offseason, so it should come as no surprise that I still think you should avoid him, even at a discount. Doyle’s value is still somewhat there, but temper your expectations for any of Indianapolis’ offensive stars, including Mack and Hines, who should still be used similarly, but likely to lesser effect.

Good luck to those who’ve found their teams in shambles before the season has even started; take solace in knowing the meme’s should be glorious.

Panic Time: Trouble With AB In Oakland

AnBrownIt’s a popular term of endearment when referring to NFL wide receivers: Diva. Antonio Brown is proving to be one of the leagues bigger ones during his first preseason in Oakland by a far margin.

First it was the issue with his feet; frost bite earned in a largely unproven cryo-technology, due especially to his neglecting to wear proper protective gear.

Then it was the disappearance at camp that had everyone wondering where Antonio Brown went, even his coaching staff.

But most recently, and in the end most importantly, is the fight between AB and the league over the use of his old helmet. Brown has threatened to “retire” if he’s not allowed to wear the helmet he’s worn prior to this season, going so far as to threaten litigation for injury incurred while wearing the league approved helmet.

In response, the league has re-iterated it’s policy regarding approved equipment. Suffice it to say, if Brown is serious about holding out, the NFL isn’t interested in negotiating.

So where does that leave the fantasy community? Already, mock draft results are reflecting his potential hold out/retirement. At this very moment, he’s being drafted in the middle of the third round, and falling. If I had to make a decision in that spot, I’d personally pass. There’s been far too many red flags over the last few months for me to trust him. But does he become a value at that point?

If you think there’s more smoke than fire here, AB in the third round, regardless of the jersey he’s wearing, is a steal. The Raiders brought him in to be the alpha in that offense, and he’s expected to soak up a large percentage of the teams targets. A quick look at the depth chart reinforces that idea.

  • Tyrell Williams
  • J.J. Nelson
  • Ryan Grant
  • Hunter Renfrow
  • Marcell Atemane
  • Darren Waller

There’s not a superstar in waiting behind him that can step in and be the guy. There’s a who’s who of role players, brought in to compliment what the Raiders expected would be one of the leagues best receivers in 2019.

If Brown does hold out, I certainly see a bit of a bump for Josh Jacobs, who may be asked to shoulder a larger role. In the passing game, I’ve been a big fan of Renfrow from the beginning, and with Brown out, his brand of over-the-middle slot work may be used to remedy they situation some what.

I expect to know more as we inch toward the season, but draft Antonio Brown at your own peril. The man seems hell bent on proving a point, much like former teammate Le’Veon Bell, and I’m not going to hitch my wagon to his whims, and nor should you.

Re-Ranking The Rookies: Running Backs

Miles SandersOur initial evaluation of the NFL’s rookie class could be considered, at best, incomplete. After all, our only exposure to the players was through their college accolades and the evaluation of their NFL situation. With camp well underway, and preseason games on the docket for this week, we now have some usable information to help re-evaluate those same exciting rookies.

With the running backs, we’ve seen the number of fantasy relevant contributors rise over the past few years, and we’re always on the lookout for the next great rookie value. While there’s little movement at the top of our rookie rankings, there have been a few players we like emerging from those middle to late rounds, and a few that we feel are being over hyped going into drafts.

  1. Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders
    • I’ve been highly critical of the perception of Jacobs, as my concern is he’s being drafted as a bell cow simply because he was the first back off the board, but the truth is I don’t dislike Jacobs as an NFL running back. I think he has a nice blend of size and skill, and it sounds like Oakland wants to involve him in all three phases of the game. His passing game contributions are likely to be suppressed with Jalen Richard still on the roster, but don’t be surprised if he’s a solid fantasy asset in 2019.
  2. David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
    • Much like Jacobs, Montgomery finds himself in a solid situation on an ascending Bears offense that expects Montgomery to fill the early down role vacated by Jordan Howard. Also like Jacobs, Montgomery may contribute some in the passing game, but Tarik Cohen should shoulder the load there, and Mike Davis may poach some short yardage work.
  3. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
    • A lot has been made of Doug Pederson’s history with running backs by committee, but by all accounts Sanders is separating himself quickly from the other backs on the Eagles roster. There’s a bit more of an obstacle to achieving bell cow workloads, but talent wise, he may be the best of the bunch.
  4. Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
    • Originally I was down on Singletary in his rookie campaign, after all… the Bills have two of the most consistent backs of the last decade on the roster in Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy, but much like Sanders, he’s shown a lot of explosiveness in practices and may carve out a solid role in that offense. With a lack of a passing game, there’s a chance all three are involved, but it’s Singletary’s upside I like.
  5. Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
    • Henderson may very well be the best rookie back in this class, but he still has Todd Gurley standing between he and a meaningful workload. Of course, with Gurley’s recent knee issues looming, Henderson doesn’t have to look very far for an opportunity. Expect his talent to force him on the field in some capacity, though, even if Gurley stays relatively healthy.
  6. Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings
    • There is a potential injury situation to monitor in Minnesota, as Mattison isn’t guaranteed to play in the first preseason game for the Vikings, but all reports to this point is that he’s been very impressive in the backfield. With the likelihood of more missed time for lead back Dalvin Cook, the third round rookie out of Boise State figures to be a contributor sooner than later.
  7. Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens
    • I have some major concerns regarding Hills ability to contribute right away, but it has nothing to do with the player himself. Hill profiles similarly to players like Tarik Cohen or Chris Thompson, and meshes well with Mark Ingram in terms of usage. If Lamar Jackson can stay in the pocket a little more, and utilize his new weapon, Hill could be a poor man’s Alvin Kamara in 2019.
  8. Damien Harris, New England Patriots
    • I’m souring on Harris a bit in the wake of Sony Michel’s return from a knee scope, but there’s hope that the talented Alabama product can force his way on the field regardless. With the Patriots shifting their philosophy to a more balanced attack, the running game will benefit from having depth behind the oft injured Michel. As a flyer, Harris could pay off in spades if Michel’s knee flairs up and costs him several games.
  9. Benny Snell, Jr, Pittsburgh Steelers
    • I like James Conner, but there were some questions toward the end of last year regarding his ability to stay on the field when faced with a Le’Veon Bell like workload. With the Steeler’s staff suggesting Snell could see meaningful time on the field in 2019, it sounds like they may share similar concerns. Of course, Conner should be the workhorse in this offense, but Snell would step in and be a borderline RB2 in his own right should Conner go down.
  10. Ryquell Armstead, Jacksonville Jaguars
    • Armstead was brought in to backup the oft injured, and much maligned, former first round pick Leonard Fournette, and there’s obviously a clear path to touches here. Still, I’m higher on Fournette as a three down horse this year than most, and see Armstead as a long shot to contribute this year and beyond.

 

Trade Alert: Browns Trade Duke Johnson to Texans

duke

It was a long time coming, but the Cleveland Browns have finally moved on from disgruntled running back Duke Johnson. The trade (for what could potentially become a 3rd rounder) opens the door for Nick Chubb to contribute even more heavily in the passing game, at least for the first 8 games, while it also puts Johnson in a position to resume passing down duties with a greater window to early down work.

Of course, Houston still employs Lamar Miller as their lead back, so there are obstacles in the way for Johnson to become more than a flex play, but if Miller stumbles or finds himself injured, then Johnson could finally get the chance to shine as a teams lead back.

 

Draft Day Decisions: ZeroRB

We’re on record as saying the current state of the running back position in the NFL may not be the most conducive to a ZeroRB strategy, but if you’re committed to it, there are ways to navigate your draft to give yourself the best chance at success. Of course, it’s important to nail your first 5 rounds, as any major misses at the other core positions could spell disaster for your season.

We’ve gone ahead and mocked out our first five rounds; the below is our roster sans running back.

  • 1.08: Davante Adams, WR – GB
  • 2.05: Mike Evans, WR – TB
  • 3.08: Amari Cooper, WR – DAL
  • 4.05: Deshaun Watson, QB – HOU
  • 5.08: Evan Engram, TE – NYG

Overall I’m pleased with the depth at WR, especially with Cooper as my WR3. While Adams is one of the most consistently excellent fantasy producers in the game, Evans and Cooper are potential top 10 receivers that will help off set any potential let downs at the RB position. Securing a top 5 QB and TE (and guys I expect to be closer to the top 3) is a win as well.

So with my core settled, it’s time to switch my focus to the running back position. With much of the starters gone, and a long turn, my strategy is to secure a back I feel has the highest floor rather than a boom or bust candidate. Here is who is available (ranked by ADP).

  • James White, NE
  • Kenyan Drake, MIA
  • Lamar Miller, HOU
  • Tevin Coleman, SF
  • Latavius Murray, NO
  • Rashaad Penny, SEA
  • Derrius Guice, WAS
  • Miles Sanders, PHI

Ultimately, I’d like to secure two names off this list, but there are a few I’m not really interested in as my RB 1. James White and Latavius Murray both have monster upside in their respective offenses, but with White, his RB7 finish last year doesn’t tell the full story of a RB who’s usage is impossible to predict. He and Murray are not exactly set it and forget it type backs, so I’m not going with them.

Ultimately, I’ve paired my decision down to Lamar Miller, Rashaad Penny, and Derrius Guice.

Miller, while seemingly the least exciting starting RB in the league, has a pretty solid grasp on all three downs. Given the release of D’Onta Foreman, and the lack of an impact backup, I’m confident he’ll get volume, even if the big plays aren’t there.

Penny and Guice, on the other hand, offer much higher ceilings than Miller, but have more crowded backfields to navigate if they’re going to receive the lions share of their teams touches. Between the two, Penny feels safer to me given how often Seattle projects to run the ball. Even if Chris Carson continues to hold off Penny for the top roster designation, I expect Penny to see a healthy number of touches in 2019.

The Decision

We admit he’s not exciting, but Lamar Miller is perfect for a ZeroRB target. He’s got all three downs to himself, and while he’ll likely plod along around 4YPC, he can be more safely relied upon than the other names on this list. With a chance I can land a player like Guice or Sanders in the next round, I’m comfortable with Miller as my top RB in a ZeroRB draft.

Bonus Round

The one nice thing about selecting your starting backs in this range is that fewer teams are drafting backs at this point. Both Guice and Penny fell to the 7th round, further reinforcing the selection of Miller who’s a solid anchor in this strategy.