Blog Archives

Julian Edelman’s Suspension Upheld

jules

The NFL recently denied the suspension appeal of New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman.

Edelman will miss the first four games of the 2018 season, further muddying the waters in New England after a difficult  off season.

I’ve already begun the process of re-evaluating other key Patriot players, most notably quarter back Tom Brady. His insistence on avoiding off season team activities has put him behind the 8 ball as only Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski return as major passing game weapons from a year ago. With no Brandin Cooks or Dion Lewis, and new-to-me receiver Jordan Matt

hews receiving very little work with the veteran, drafting Brady is a risk I’m not sure is worth it as the QB3.

Looking Up: 

  • Jordan Matthews: His current ADP looks to be in the round 13 area, making him relatively low risk as he’ll likely command Edelman’s slot work early on.
  • Sony Michel: Already considered by many to be the front runner for lead back work, Michel may be called on heavily in the passing game early.
  • Chris Hogan: He’ll return as one of Brady’s favorite targets, and with Cooks out of town, he’ll be the primary down-the-field threat and should see a lot of red zone work.

Looking Down

  • Tom Brady: Still considered to be in the top 3 at the position, Brady’s value takes a hit with his favorite weapon sidelined. Not enough work in the off season could spark a slow start for Tom Terrific.
  • Rob Gronkowski: Similar to a big league slugger who loses the protection of an elite bat in the lineup, Gronkowski becomes opposing defenses biggest priority, and double teams could cause enough inconsistencies to keep him from paying off on a top 30 pick.
Advertisements

Start Your Engines: Round 1 – 3 Review

odellWell folks, it’s July and the fantasy season has crested the horizon. As we prepare to celebrate the day of our independence here in the U.S. it’s also important to note that July is the last month with no NFL football.

Please be sure to remember that here at Dr. Fantasy we ask that you continually adjust your own rankings as the season nears; drafting LeDarius Green as a starting TE only to find out you missed that he was cut only serves to sabotage all the work you’re putting in now. That being said, lets investigate how current ADP data looks for the first three rounds. (PPR ADP data provided by FantasyPros.com)

Round 1

  • Todd Gurley, RB – LAR
  • Le’Veon Bell, RB – PIT
  • David Johnson, RB – ARI
  • Ezekiel Elliott, RB – DAL
  • Antonio Brown, WR – PIT
  • Alvin Kamara, RB – NO
  • DeAndre Hopkins, WR – HOU
  • Saquon Barkley, RB – NYG
  • Kareem Hunt, RB – KC
  • Odell Beckham Jr., WR – NYG

Players I Love: I like most of these guys, but Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham both have the talent and the volume to project higher than some of the guys going ahead of them. Obviously, Barkley doesn’t have a history in the NFL to draw from, but it’s clear that the Giants selection at #4 overall would have been a QB if they didn’t plan on using Barkley as heavily as anyone else.

Players I Hate: Quick disclaimer, I don’t hate any of these players as real life football players. What I hate is the price I have to pay to get one in my league. Alvin Kamara projects as an elite third down option, but expecting him to feature heavily in the run game, or duplicate the 6+ YPC carry mark is asking too much; expect regression.

Likewise, Hunt’s bottom line looked fantastic, and he certainly passed the eyeball test… at times. Still, the inexplicable slide in the middle of the season showed some chinks in his armor, and he’ll have to fend off a returning Spencer Ware for touches; again, expect some regression.

Round 2

  • Melvin Gordon, RB – LAC
  • Leonard Fournette, RB – JAC
  • Julio Jones, WR – ATL
  • Michael Thomas, WR – NO
  • Dalvin Cook, RB – MIN
  • Keenan Allen, WR – LAC
  • Christian McCaffrey, RB – CAR
  • Davante Adams, WR – GB
  • A.J. Green, WR – CIN
  • Mike Evans, WR – TB

Players I love: There’s a lot of value in the 2nd round this year, but Michael Thomas and Davante Adams are two players who could elevate their games into the top 5 at the position. As the top target in two of the best passing offenses in the league, you’d be getting absolute studs in the 2nd round.

Players I Hate: Dalvin Cook was impressive in limited action last year, but a major knee injury derailed a promising season. Now, it seems drafters are expecting him to step back into the three down role and not miss a beat. A 2nd round price tag is way to high for a player who may not be the same following the injury.

Likewise, Mike Evans has plenty of talent, but is stuck playing for a listless Tampa Bay team that’s already is slated to miss it’s QB for the first three games. While it’s a possibility that he comes out firing, the second round isn’t a great place to take such a risk with guys like Thielen and Hill available in the following round.

Round 3

  • Devonta Freeman, RB – ATL
  • LeSean McCoy, RB – BUF
  • Rob Gronkowski, TE – NE
  • Jerick McKinnon, RB – SF
  • Joe Mixon, RB – CIN
  • Travis Kelce, TE – KC
  • Tyreek Hill, WR – KC
  • Jordan Howard, RB – CHI
  • Adam Thielen, WR – MIN
  • Aaron Rodgers, QB – GB

Players I love: When Jerick McKinnon was brought in to replace Carlos Hyde, my eyes lit up. Recent history has shown us how Kyle Shannahan uses his backs, and McKinnon’s ability to play on passing downs could produce a top 5 RB season.

Jordan Howard’s standing in fantasy circles is a strange one as he’s being drafted as the RB16 this year despite rushing for 1,100 yards and 9 TDs last year. In the third round, the lead back in Chicago is a steal, and if reports out of Chicago are true, and they’re trying to improve on his pass catching, he could be a league winner at 28th overall.

Players I hate:

Rob Gronkowski may still go down as the best tight end of all time, but the time is past for you to reach early to get him. As easy as it is to argue he’s the only trustworthy weapon Brady has left, it’s just as easy to argue that the New England offense is going to look strange this year. With a first round pick invested in the run game, and a strange dynamic evolving with coaching staff and quarterback, there’s no telling how inconsistent the game plan will be. He’s a fantasy starter all day, but not worth drafting before Kelce or Ertz.

 

 

Early Tight End Rankings

  1. Rob Gronkowski, NE
  2. Travis Kelce, KC
  3. Zach Ertz, PHI
  4. Jimmy Graham, GB
    • Graham has had several peaks and valleys since his time in New Orleans, but he finds himself in an ideal situation in Green Bay. As the teams best red zone target, double digit TD’s is a reasonable quest.
  5. Greg Olsen, CAR
  6. Kyle Rudolph, MIN
  7. Delanie Walker, TEN
  8. Jordan Reed, WAS
  9. Trey Burton, CHI
    • A contract with $22 million guaranteed is proof the Bears plan to use Burton heavily in the passing game. Beyond Allen Robinson, Burton could slide in as the #2 target for the young Mitch Trubisky.
  10. Evan Engram, NYG
  11. George Kittle, SF
  12. O.J. Howard, TB
    1. Howard only managed 26 catches last year, but his athleticism was on display through his 16.6 yards per reception and 6 TDs (that’s a score almost every 4!). He’s a big breakout candidate in his 2nd year.
  13. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, JAC
  14. Charles Clay, BUF
  15. David Njoku, CLE
  16. Ricky Seals-Jones, ARI
  17. Austin Hooper, ATL
  18. Jack Doyle, IND
  19. Eric Ebron, IND
    • By all accounts, Ebron looks like he’s adapting to the Colts offense well. While his talent never matched his on the field accomplishments, sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes for a player to pop.
  20. Virgil Green, LAC
  21. Jared Cook, OAK
  22. Tyler Eifert, CIN
  23. Hayden Hurst, BAL
  24. Ed Dickson, SEA
    • No longer playing second fiddle to Olsen in Carolina, Dickson has a great opportunity to produce in Seattle. On a roster that’s top heavy in the passing game, Dickson is sure to be involved heavily in the red zone. 
  25. Cameron Brate, TB
  26. Rico Gathers, DAL
  27. Vance McDonald, PIT
  28. Stephen Anderson, HOU
    • Anderson flashed at times, but still needs to prove he can be consistent enough to be worth rostering. The retirement of C.J. Feidorowicz means we’ll know sooner than later for the Houston TE. 
  29. Jesse James, PIT
  30. Luke Willson, DET
    • One of my favorite positional sleepers, Willson has all the athletic intangibles to be a contributing member of the passing game. Despite that, overcoming the organizational depth means fighting for touches with several good passing options.
  31. Mike Desicki, MIA
  32. Ben Watson, NO
  33. Gerald Everett, LAR
  34. Jake Butt, DEN
  35. Adam Shaheen, CHI

Keep It In The Family: Pairing Same-Team Combo’s

RodgeAdamsEvery year I run an article where I examine the what I consider to the be the most rewarding same team pairings in fantasy football. The idea, if you’re not familiar, is that by adding high tier quarterbacks with elite wide receivers or running backs you give yourself a larger share of the available points. Of course, this works best with high scoring offenses.

Last year I missed the mark a little bit with my go to; Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, as both disappointed. Luckily I planned well enough that it didn’t impact me too much (I won the league after all), but the same risks exist for any strategy as some guys just don’t show up.

But this year presents a different challenge, as the number of elite quarterbacks have dropped precipitously and the number of sure fire fantasy studs is at a questionable level. Let’s begin:

Earl Round Pairs ( Most Difficult To Manage)

Aaron Rodgers and Devante Adams: Adams is finally getting the respect he deserves, ranking 7th among wide receivers. Pairing the #7 WR with the #1 QB is a healthy strategy regardless of what team they play for, but getting extra point for yards and touchdowns shared has this pairing at the top of list. Still, it’ll cost you two of your first four picks to assemble this pairing.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown: While the jury seems to be out on Roethlisberger every year in the off season, Big Ben grinds his way to a top ten finish at the position. What’s NEVER a question is how good Brown will be when he’s on the field. The easy answer is that Brown is the safest pick in fantasy, but it will require you have a top 3 or 4 pick.

Drew Brees and Michael Thomas: Despite still playing at a high level, Brees has sort of slipped behind Thomas and Alvin Kamara as the top targets in the New Orleans offense. That in no way diminishes his ability to produce in fantasy, and I’d argue is a better option than both Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady, but that’s a different article all together. Getting Michael Thomas, though, is the hard part. His ADP of 15 will mean drafting 1-5 will preclude you from drafting him unless you get lucky. If you do get lucky, a 6th or 7th round pick will land you Brees, who’s ADP of 69 is criminally low.

Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski: Draft Brady at your own risk, but if you’re confident that the off season malaise in New England won’t affect Brady’s ability to perform then have at it. The truth is that Rob Gronkowski could set records this year as the only reliable pair of hands left for Brady to chuck it up to. Sure, Edelman will be back in 4 games and Hogan has shown he can play with Brady, but Gronk should see the end zone 10-15 times this year on top of a ton of yards. Grabbing him in the 3rd round to pair with Brady in the 7th gives plenty of time to add skill players besides.

Middle Round Pairs (Easier To Coordinate)

Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin: This one isn’t as impactful in terms of fantasy because Wilson tends to supplement his passing stats with his legs. Unfortunately for this exercise, his rushing statistics can’t be taken into account. Still, Doug Baldwin is one of the leagues best slot receivers, and as a 4th round pick has a lot of value regardless. Without Jimmy Graham in the red one, he may even see a few more looks there. This one may not be the sexiest pair on the list, but they may be the most effective.

Carson Wentz and Zach Ertz: It may seem strange to see another WR/TE combo, but the fact is Wentz and Ertz seem to share a brain in the red zone, meaning a ton of points are up for grabs between the two of them. While Alshon Jeffrey may be the #1 wide out on the team’s depth chart, the true number one is Ertz. if you miss out on Gronk but you want a stud tight end, pair a 4th round Ertz with a 7th round Wentz and reap the benefits.

Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs: Wait, you say. This should be Thielen and Cousins! I’m here to tell you, not so fast. Now, I can see a scenario like in Denver years back with multiple 1,000 yard receivers, but the guy I’m targeting is Diggs in the late 4th round. He was excellent last year even though he wasn’t the top target for the Case Keenum led Vikings. Now, he has Cousins tossing the ball to him. A classic gunslinger, Cousins’ game best fits the strengths Diggs brings to the table. This is one of the least expensive pairings you can get as a 4th and a 10th gets you both players.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones: You may have to spend a 2nd round pick on Jones, but the wait on Ryan is a bit longer than the other QB’s on this list. As the QB13, he’s being drafted in the 11th round, and I’d argue his value is sky high this year as a bounce back candidate. If you’re like me, and you see more value in grabbing high end skill players to pair with the later round QB, Matt Ryan is a slam dunk. Have him and Julio, and you’ll reap the rewards for all those yards.

Odell Beckham and Eli Manning: If you’re nervous about drafting either of these guys, I’d say you’re hardly alone. Beckham is an otherworldly talent when he’s right, but the combination of recent injury woes and an inability to stay level headed means he may fall towards the end of the first round. What I will say is that if you manage Beckham, Manning is a wonderful pairing if you waited a bit long on your QB. In the 16th round of drafts (current ADP is 152) Manning presents a conundrum. He was awful last year but much of it could be logically blamed on the terrible circumstances around him. With healthy weapons, an upgraded offensive line, and an elite RB to draw the attention, and Manning could be a surprise top 15 QB this year.

Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen: Allen proved last year that when he’s healthy, he’s every bit the stud we thought he was. Rivers remains one of the most under appreciated QB’s in fantasy, and his ADP of 112 presents tons of value. Without Hunter Henry, even more weight will be given to Allen, meaning these two could hook up for a ton of points.

Honorable Mentions: Derek Carr and Amari Cooper (a new coach could help get these two back on track). Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks (it’s a new look for Goff, but Cooks could be his go to early and often). Jameis Winston and Mike Evans (This requires a bounce back year for both, but not guaranteed). Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis (There’s so much talent between these two, it’s hard to imagine both of them laying duds this year).

Julian Edelman Facing 4 Game Suspension

Ijulesf you hadn’t heard, Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots is facing a four game suspension for testing positive for some kind of P.E.D. The details have not yet been released, but it’s a safe bet that the Patriots will be without their star slot receiver until week 5 of the season.

What does that mean in terms of fantasy?

There are two major factors when determining where to rank Edelman. First, is that he’s coming off a major knee injury. At 32 years old, and a year removed from meaningful football, Edelman is already behind the proverbial 8 ball. Second, he’ll be missing 25% of the fantasy schedule even if he DOES stay healthy for the year. My projections have him hovering around the WR50 mark, which would plant him in the 14th round.

But who is going to assume the production early on (and possibly ingratiate themselves to Brady)?

The least impact should be to the Patriots newest receiver, Jordan Matthews. While he may be the most talented receiver on the board in terms of athletic ability, he’s had very little time to work with his new QB, as Brady continues to avoid the Patriots practice facilities.

Rob Gronkowski, meanwhile, should benefit only slightly, as he was likely in line for the lions share of targets anyhow even before the suspension. I expect that the Pats would rather involve other supporting cast rather than dump more on the oft-injured TE.

This leaves Chris Hogan as the receiver with the most to gain. We know Brady and Hogan have a bit of a rapport already, and with added expectation thanks to the Brandin Cooks trade, Hogan should slide in as the WR1 right out of the gates, and should see a more consistent usage in the passing game.

Of course, expect the running backs to see ample usage early on. Sony Michel, the Patriots first round draft pick, is a trendy name already but James White or Rex Burkhead should be more valuable considering where they are being drafted.

As always, keep an eye on the situation as things may change.

TE Review

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

Elite Tier (1)

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

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

Very Good Tier (2)

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

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

Decent Tier (3) 

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

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

Make A Prayer Tier (4)

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

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

Worth a Flyer Tier (5)

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

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

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

5 Players I’m NOT Drafting

Every year, I encourage fantasy owners to find a strategy and stick to it. The worst thing you can do is change your plan half way through a fantasy draft. While it’s important to target the players you like, it’s equally as important to note the players you hate, and to never compromise on your research.

Here are five players I refuse to draft this year in any format.

Rob Gronkowski – TE, New England Patriots

GronkinjI’ve made this point before, and I’ll make it again; drafting a TE in the 2nd or 3rd round is not a smart move. When Gronk is healthy (a big if with him) he’s a world beater and far and away the best TE in football, but at his current draft position he presents too much risk for me with sure fire WR and QB on the board behind him (eg. Amari Cooper, Aaron Rodgers).

Jay Ajayi – RB, Miami Dolphons

I was one of Ajayi’s biggest fans when he was drafted out of Boise St, and I still think he projects to be a very good back in the NFL; I just don’t know if he’s ready to return the investment of a 2nd round pick. He’s currently being drafter around the 11-13 spot (first round in some leagues) and he’s done little outside of three monster games to prove that he’s worth that kind of capital.

Odell Beckahm Jr, WR – New York Giants

I’ll preface this by saying I’m a huge OBJ fan, I think he’s one of the most talented WRs in the league, but the conditions are ripe in NY for him to go bust. Read into Beckham’s antics all you want, but his absense at OTAs and his (alleged) strained relationship with Eli Manning don’t inspire confidence. Add into that mix another year with Shephard in the slot and the addition of Brandon Marshall and that’s a recipe for disaster. At his current ADP in the first round, there’s no chance OBJ ends up on any of my teams following the draft.

Mark Ingram, RB – New Orleans Saints

Ingram has long been labeled as injury prone, but last year he put together the finest season of his short NFL career. Then the Saints draft Alvin Kamara, a receiving specialist out of the backfield, and followed that up by signing one of the greatest RBs of all time in Adrian Peterson. Does this mean Ingram is on the outs in NO? Surely not, but I’ve learned that Peterson is at his best when he’s counted out, and the noise out of Saints camp is he’s playing with a massive chip on his shoulder. Ingram should remain the feature back for now, but there’s no telling if he wilts under the pressure from Peterson or if he loses passing downs to Kamar as the season goes on.

Cam Newton, QB – Carolina Panthers

This isn’t a knock on Newton, who’s unique skillset means he’ll probably put up decent numbers when he’s right; but the Panthers addition of Christian McCaffrey means to me that they want Newton to cut down on running the football and get back to running the offense. I still expect Newton to be servicable, but he’s no where near my QB6 and I’d much rather have several other QB’s ranked behind him in the later rounds.

Hidden Gems (TE)

Every 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 – Zac Ertz: Last year the Eagles finally got Ertz involved to the tune of 110+ targets and close to 900 yards. While he had a disappointing 2 TD’s for the season, it’s clear that the torch is being passed from Celek to Ertz at the TE position. Considering he’s being drafted after guys like Jimmy Graham, you have to bennettlike his value in the 12-14th rounds.

Highest Risk Reward – Martellus Bennett: The risk is expecting the Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez offense of a few years ago, but Bennett is still going to offer upside in the later rounds. The issue will be consistency, both through the first four games (Brady’s suspension) and when Gronk and Edelman are healthy. If he can prove reliable, we all know Brady likes to spread the ball around, so his ceiling is close to 1,000 yards and 5 TDs. Not bad for an ADP around 130.

Big Ole’ Bust – Jimmy Graham: Graham hasn’t been himself for a while now, and it’s clear that Seattle has made strides to give Wilson better options at WR. The first strike against him is that his role with Seattle is nothing like it was with New Orleans, and coupled with his Patellar surgery (strike 2) it’s obvious that he’s in for a rough year. Draft with extreme caution, but expect that he’ll be a roster albatross if you do.

Bonus – Tyler Eifert: If you’re fearful that Eifert will miss some time, you’re not alone, and it’s likely that his draft position will reflect that fear. But along with the tumbling ADP, you’ll get extreme value when he does return. With as many questions as the Bengals offense has on it’s receiving depth chart after AJ Green, it’s likely that Dalton turns to Eifert in large volumes when he does return near the end of September.

 

Hidden Gems (WR)

Every 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 – Mike Wallace: Despite the appearance of a crowded receiver team, Mike Wallace is my surest bet amongst the late round WR picks based on his ADP (around 179!) Simply put, he’s hiding behind an unproven journey man in Kamar Aiken and a 35 year old Steve Smith Sr. and whatever mess at TE they decide to roll out (Maxx  is a competent NFL TE but he’s going to eat significant targets away from any of the players already mentioned, nor is Gillmore). If Aiken regresses and/or Smith Sr. misses time with injury, the speedfunchessy Wallace should find himself hooking up with the strong armed Flacco more and more often. For a late round pick, he offers the highest ceiling with the lowest floor.

Highest Risk Reward – Devin Funchess: Despite pedestrian numbers in 2015, Funchess showed that he could be a productive player in the NFL, and there are two sides to the coin surrounding the return of Carolina’s “main man” Kelvin Benjamin. The majority of fantasy players expect Benjamin to step back into his #1 role, and you’d be justified, but I expect there’s a decent chance that having extra time to work with Funchess will result in better numbers for a WR being drafted in the 12-14th round. Obviously with Cam Newton, there’s no
garuntee that skill player A performs the same week in and week out, as the play breaks down Cam’s on of the best in the game finding the open man. Still, the reward if he turns into Cam’s saftey blanket far outweighs the risks.

Big Ole’ Bust – Marvin Jones: Maybe it’s low hanging fruit, but Marvin Jones has the easiest road to ruin of any WR in the entire league. For starters, Matthew Stafford is is entering his 8th NFL season, and his attempts have dropped significantly as his mileage piles up. With Golden Tate proving he can carry the mantle, it’s highly unlikely Jones (who has no history in the NFL of carrying an offense) will step in and replace the departing Calvin Johnson. It’s more likely that Stafford adjusts his targets to Tate, Ebron, and Abdullah and Jones is left as the 4th or 5th player in touches.

Bonus – Chris Hogan: It’s easy to overlook the former Bill as he dons the enemies attire with New England this year. Why? Well, Gronkowski, Edeleman, Lewis, and Amendola to name a few. But the truth is that it’s highly unlikely the New England offense stays healthy, and each of the names just mentioned has a lengthy injury history. Hogan is a sure handed blue collar guy who is likely to slide right in and pick up where guys like Lafell fit (when he was productive). He’s being drafted in the final rounds of drafts, so feel free to take a flier on him.

5 Players I’m Not Drafting (And Neither Should You)

080714-carlos-thumbIt’s easy to go into a draft with a simple plan, and maximizing value is a great way to start your preparations. It’s also important to recognize players that may be overvalued going into draft day in an attempt to avoid wasting valuable picks on players that may not reward you with anything but headaches. It’s especially to remind ourselves that drafting a player because we like them is not the same thing as drafting them based on their value. Below are the five players that at this very moment are valued far to high for my tastes and as a result I will be crossing off on draft lists before the bell to begin even rings.

Rob Gronkowski – TE | New England Patriots

I’ll preface this first player by saying that as a life long Patriots fan, it pains me to include one of my favorite players on this list. The fact remains that his ADP (currently around 10-12) will result in Gronk being drafted near the end of Round 1 and his value begins to become a question mark. There are pro’s to Gronkowski’s fantasy game; he’s the clear-cut number one at a position with a very small top tier, and when he gets going he puts up consistent points week to week. But the Con’s for me outweigh all of this. At his draft position, there are 6-10 players who will likely out score Gronkowski by a measurable margin. It becomes preference if you’d rather target a 6-10th round TE like Martellus Bennett that may score 40 points less than Gronkowski to target a top 5 WR or RB that will likely out score Gronk by the same margin. Sure it seems like a wash in the long run at the TE position, but what you’re doing is hamstringing your other skill positions, especially RB, considering how shallow the elite pool is and how many of those will be drafted in the first two rounds. If it’s me, Gronkowski is out of the question in the first round, and likely in the second. If by some miracle he drops into the 3rd, he provides excellent value, but at his current ADP, he’s on my Don’t Draft list.

Alshon Jeffery – WR | Chicago Bears

With Brandon Marshall gone, everyone bumped Jefferey up due to higher expectations as the clear-cut number one in the Chicago offense. This in spite of the fact that Jay Cutler is the epitome of inconsistent and that Jeffery isn’t known as a crisp route runner. In fact, his biggest asset is his size, which rookie WR Kevin White brings in spades. While White may not usurp the starting job from Jeffery right away, the plan in Chicago is to mold White in to an elite WR, and the expectation is that he’ll steal a good chunk of red zone targets. As talented as Jeffery is, over a complete season he’ll likely under perform his ADP, and the inconsistencies would be infuriating and if poorly timed, could cost your team BIG.

Mark Ingram – RB | New Orleans Saints

When Ingram came into the league, he was expected to step in and contribute right away. He had the skill, and he had the pedigree. Unfortunately he didn’t have the success. It took him three years of under whelming play on the field for him to finally put up numbers that represented the pick the Saints invested in him. Granted, much of his struggles can be attributed to health issues, the fact remains that Ingram is being targeted as a RB2 because of a small sample size of success. With a poor defense that may result in a lot of passing plays, and a better 3rd down back in CJ Spiller on the field, I sense a recipe for disaster. Ingram could be one of the biggest busts of the draft, and I’m determined to not let it be on my roster.

Carlos Hyde – RB | San Fransisco 49ers

Carlos Hyde is a fine player, but a player we’ve seen very little of in a backfield dominated by Frank Gore. The news in the offseason has been tumultuous to say the least, and if you expect San Fransisco to run the ball often, you’d be wrong. I expect a defense decimated by departures to provide for plenty of passing opportunities for a supposedly improved Colin Kaepernick. The fact that Kaep likes to run the ball as often as he does and that Kendall Hunter is still in the fold to steal rushes will impact Hyde’s ability to be anything but a depth pick for bye weeks and injuries. I’d rather draft Frank Gore who has a later ADP in Indy than bank on a player who is just now getting his chance.

Todd Gurley – RB | St. Louis Rams

We all know Gurley’s recent injury history, which is why he’s being drafted in the 4th round despite his immense talent. The issue that I take with even an ADP around 47 is that Gurley will see very little of the field in year one. The team has a capable back in Tre Mason who will get the starts until Gurley returns. To expect that Gurley will suddenly touch the football 20 times a game when he does is plain irresponsible. St. Louis knows what they have in Gurley, and they’ll work hard to limit his exposure as he continues to distance himself from a potentially devastating injury. Unless you’re in a keeper or dynasty league and you can get him with a pick later in the draft, let him be an albatross on someone elses roster.