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2020 Fantasy Football & NFL Rookies 2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Keepers & Dynasty Ranks Editor Note Featured Football #2 NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

How to Value Clyde Edwards-Helaire with Le'Veon Bell in KC

Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Jonathan Taylor? Coming into the season this was the biggest question for fantasy GMs, both dynasty managers who were thinking long-term and redraft managers who wanted to know who would be better for this season. There were many different theories and believe me when I say, both sides thought they were 100% right.

After a monster Week 1 against Houston, CEH truthers were already taking their victory laps. That coming Sunday though, not only did Taylor show his pass-catching potential, Marlon Mack also was lost for the season. Bring on the Taylor truthers. While Taylor has been rather steady, albeit unimpressive thus far, Edwards-Helaire has been up and down for sure. With the entrance of Le’Veon Bell starting in Week 7, he may lose more than a bit of value, for this season at least. The real worry is how much value will he lose and does this affect his dynasty value as well.

When it comes to dynasty, the answer is a bit easier to decipher. So, we will conquer this area first followed by the more challenging question of what to do in redraft leagues. We know the Chiefs high powered offense is capable of supporting multiple weapons. But with Travis Kelce and Tyrek Hill already there, is there room for two RBs to thrive?

 

Dynasty Value

After being taken with the first or second pick in all but the rarest of dynasty leagues, it will be hard-pressed to find a manager willing to trade CEH for anything less than a boatload of assets. Even if the production looks to be taking a hit, managers refuse to admit so quickly that someone will not retain all the value they had at the start of the season. To be fair, it is only six weeks into his first season. So, if I were the one with Edwards-Helaire on my roster, I would not sell cheap either.

Le’Veon Bell may have his best days behind him. It is also possible he may still be capable of performing as he did in his prime. Either way, it is likely Andy Reid and the Chiefs brought in the disgruntled RB to help make a second straight Super Bowl push in 2020. Much like LeSean McCoy, Bell is more of a one-year rental and less of a multi-year compliment in the offense. It is clear the Chiefs and more importantly, Patrick Mahomes love their rookie. When your newly-minted $500 million QB asks you to draft someone, this is not really an ask. It is more of a polite demand. Mahomes got his way and he will make sure CEH is a featured part of the offense.

While the value of CEH may or may not have gone down for the remainder of this season, his dynasty value remains as high as ever. Not only is he going to be a top-five dynasty start-up pick next season, but if you were to redraft the rookies again right now, he would still be top three. This shows the confidence managers still have in him and the machine which is the Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes mind-meld. As long as they are together this is an offense you want a major piece of. CEH is a great way to have it for at least three seasons. Maybe even longer.

 

Redraft Value

This is the more difficult place to put a value on Edwards-Helaire. We would have liked to see how the pairing between him and Bell co-existed this week but with COVID precautions in place, Le’Veon Bell was unable to participate in the Monday night game against the Bills. So, we will need to wait another week.

Bell has thus far not fared well away from Pittsburgh. With only 74 rush yards in two games this season and 3.2 yards per carry last season, it is challenging to get a read on his ability. Has it diminished to the point of him being relegated to a backup? Or was the Jets offensive line and coaching so dreadful he was bound for failure from the start? My feeling is a bit of both.

He has diminished a bit for sure. A one-year layoff will do this to an older runner. But the mish-mash offensive line did him no favors either. Combine this with the lack of any other weapons and his time in New York was set up for failure. Kansas City is a horse of a different breed.

The Chiefs offense is the antithesis of the Jets. They have the best QB in the NFL at the moment and arguable the top TE and a top-five WR as well. Bell will fit in extremely well on a veteran team who does not expect him to be a savior. Instead, he can simply meld in and take some pressure off the rookie.

After a Week 1 game with 138 yards and one TD, CEH has come down to earth a bit. He has not played bad by any means. He has come back to reality with mediocre games until Week 6 when he exploded again with 161 rushing yards. This is not a big deal for the Chiefs but for fantasy, it is not such a happy occasion.

After 92 receptions in college in 2019, Edwards-Helaire is having another good season with 21 receptions on 31 targets as a rookie. This puts him on pace for over 65 receptions and nearly 100 targets as a rookie. We also know what Bell can do in the passing game having over 80 receptions on numerous occasions in his time with the Steelers. This will be the main area in which Bell cuts into the production level of CEH. The real key is how much of a cut will it be. Will he take all the pass-catching work? Likely no. It may be far more than we hope though.

After Damien Williams opted out of the season, Edwards-Helaire was immediately being drafted at his ceiling of RB 5. To this point, he is RB 13 on the season. With the entrance of Bell this will take an even further hit. He will likely still finish as a top 24 RB on the season. Although it will be closer to 24 than it is 10 at this rate.

 

Verdict

It is clear Andy Reid and the Chiefs do not care about your fantasy team. This is rude and needs to certainly be addressed with them. Until we are able to have our complaint heard, you can continue to start Edwards-Helaire each and every week. He still has an extremely high floor. His ceiling though is not nearly as high as it was a week ago.

That said, Bell has not been the pillar of health in his career. If something happens and he misses some time, Edwards-Helaire could easily take over this backfield and run with it. We know Reid likes using a bell-cow back. If he is given a reason to do so, he will use it. Do not trade away CEH. He will be fine moving forward. More importantly, you will not get a good return. So, you are better off keeping him.

Good luck the rest of the way. Man, this is a fun season isn’t it?



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Should We Worry About Amari Cooper and the Dallas Receivers?

With Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott leading the way, the Dallas Cowboys' offense is stacked at the skill positions; however, the offensive line is a mess. Travis Frederick was a huge loss this offseason. The season-ending injury to Tyron Smith makes it even worse for anyone behind center. Andy Dalton is no Dak Prescott. He is not going to run for yardage and touchdowns. This means the run game will be important going forward. We saw this after Dak's injury last week as the first points scored were on a 12-yard run by Elliott.

Cooper has been far more consistent this season than he has in the past. No more is the boom or bust weeks where we do not know what to expect from him. We are now seeing steady weeks in which he finishes top-20 for fantasy. CeeDee Lamb has been a monster as a rookie. Again, Lamb went for over 100 yards in a game last week. Two passes on the final drive to Michael Gallup also show a connection is there between him and Dalton.

The new triplets in the Dallas offense do take a hit. Of course, Dalton is no Prescott, and this does remove some value. But not as much as you may think, as Justin Carter recently explained. Dalton is still going to throw the ball quite a bit. He will not average 400 yards per game like Dak was doing for the first month of the season. He is easily going to average the highest yardage per game of his career though - an average which to this point stands at 234.85 yards per game. While Dalton will be fine, we need to figure out what exactly we can expect from the pass catchers in Dallas.

 

Amari Cooper

After a career of inconsistency, Cooper has finally found his way this season in Dallas. With 39 receptions so far this season, he has established himself as the man for Dallas after signing his $100 million contract this offseason. Almost eight receptions per game is great for those playing in a PPR league format. For those still stuck in standard leagues, the 424 yards on those catches is a bit concerning for sure, as is only one touchdown catch.

Michael Gallup certainly takes the largest hit of the three main targets. Cooper also takes a hit though. No longer can we expect him to get eight receptions per game. Lamb could easily overtake him as the lead receiver with the offense going ahead the rest of the way. We also have nagging injury concerns with Cooper which we do not have with Lamb. This could cause him to lose even more of his potential output.

Of the top two receivers in the Cowboys' offense, Cooper is by far the riskiest. His tendency for inconsistency as well as his nicks and bruises could lead his managers to regret having him later in the season. If you are forced to keep him, he is still going to be good for you so do not be too concerned. He likely does not have the top-six upside he had under Prescott. He still has a comfortable top-18 WR potential the rest of the way. This can be extremely valuable, and he will still have a boom game at some point. On the other weeks, reign in your expectations and you will be happy with the production he gives you the rest of the way.

 

CeeDee Lamb

The rookie came into the season as an undersized prospect who has massive after-the-catch potential. He has only built on this through the first month of the season. With 29 receptions, 443 yards, and two TD so far, Lamb is on pace for a potential Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He already has two games of at least 100 yards receiving and he has yet to have fewer than five receptions in any game thus far.

In a move only Jerry Jones could achieve, Lamb fell right into the lap of the Cowboys and they pounced. It has not disappointed. Either for them or Lamb managers for fantasy.

As the slot receiver for the Cowboys, Lamb will retain the biggest value moving forward with Dalton at the helm. With the offensive line issues, Dalton will be forced to get rid of the ball quickly. Some of these dump-offs will go to Ezekiel Elliott. The majority of the rest will go to Lamb.

Lamb has already shown he is a true NFL receiver. His placement in the offense has helped Amari Cooper become far more consistent in 2020. Dalton is a smart veteran. He will realize the importance of Lamb going forward if Dallas wants to remain competitive in the NFC East.

While most weapons may take a bit of a hit due to the Prescott injury, Lamb is the exception. His value will only rise as he gains even more targets than before. This will give Dallas two WR1s in this offense. Trading for Lamb, if possible, is a good move. He is the receiver you want to roster.

 

Michael Gallup

Gallup was the fantasy community's sleeper darling this preseason. So far, he has been the WR3 in Dallas behind Cooper and rookie Lamb. Going forward, expect this to continue. With Cooper still receiving the lead target share, Gallup and Lamb will be garnering the secondary targets. Lamb wins in this matchup. He is the slot receiver and with the offensive line being in shambles, the short routes will be the desired dump off. Gallup will continue to get a few shots per game downfield. But he is clearly the third option so proceed accordingly.

Initially this season, Gallup was seen as a possible WR target for fantasy as he is on a great offense and has a clear connection with Prescott. With the emergence of Lamb and the continued ascension of Cooper, Gallup should be considered only a flex play at best going forward. And if you can find a league mate who is a Dallas fan or is still a believer, make a trade with them. You will be much happier and less stressed for having done it, as he could let down in low-scoring matchups.

 

Dalton Schultz

TE Dalton Schultz has been surprisingly productive since the injury to Blake Jarwin. Last week? Not so much. With only one reception against a vulnerable Giants Defense, his upward trajectory may have taken a downturn. There are much better options at the TE position moving ahead in the season. Of all the players on the Cowboys offense, Schultz is the only one you can and should drop.

 

Conclusion

In regard to the Dallas wide receiving trio of Cooper, Gallup, and Lamb, you can stick with them in 2020. Just know they are still going to have good seasons, but the hopes of GREAT seasons are likely gone. As long as you know what to expect from them going forward, they will not disappoint.

With not only the triplets, but solid pass-catcher Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield, expect the offense to continue to hum. Especially the passing game. This is important since the Dallas defense just gave up 34 points to the Giants. Yes, to Daniel Jones, folks. The defense does not look to be getting better any time soon. So, the output on offense will be important if Dallas wants to remain in the lead of a bad NFC East.

Another factor to consider is that even if you did want to trade them, it would be difficult. Everyone else in your league also saw Prescott get hurt. They have the same concerns you do which means you will not get a fair return in a trade for them.

Injuries can crush a season. This goes for real teams as well as fantasy teams. Not all injuries are created equally though. Some hurt more than others.

Dallas was extremely smart in signing Andy Dalton this offseason. Instead of this being a death sentence for the fantasy production on the Cowboys, it is a lesson. If you have a solid backup QB, you can still be relevant. Dalton keeps them relevant if not top tier.

Do not panic. Do not sell on the cheap. Things in Dallas will stay level for the most part. At worst, a slight decline is coming. At best, no decline comes as Dalton lives up to his reputation and plays up to his surrounding weapons.

Man, 2020 is a fun season, isn’t it?



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Digging for Value in the New York Jets Backfield

It was a long time coming and finally it happened. The Jets wanted away from Le’Veon Bell and the feeling was certainly mutual. In a season marred by bad play and worse coaching, the Jets took another loss by releasing their prized free-agent signing from last season.

In a total of 21 games on the roster, Bell was a total bust. In two games this season, he recorded fewer rush yards (74) than Malcolm Butler did on his two interception returns on Tuesday Night Football (96).

It is clear to all that the New York Jets are in tank mode. Why else would they keep Adam Gase around and still calling the offensive plays? They want to lose. Getting rid of one of the few players who may stop that from happening is the final step in giving up. Next year, with the draft capital amassed and an entirely new coaching staff, the team could start to improve. As for this year? It is over with. The real question now is who are they going to hand the ball off to the rest of the year? And how will they do behind a subpar offensive line?

 

The Inconvenient Truth

Frank Gore is the main player who will gain even more snaps. It is clear Gase loves him despite his advanced age and steep decline. He was signed to the team at the first opportunity and he was the next man up when Bell was placed on IR this season. Although he is likely a future Hall of Famer, the time of Gore being fantasy-relevant has long passed. Do not tell this to the Jets though. They are still going to run him until the wheels fall off. As a Gore fan, I hope he does well. As a realist, I do not see anything but heartache for anyone who starts him for fantasy.

Through five games in 2020, Gore has 64 rushes for 204 yards. This is a paltry 3.2 Y/A. This has equated to exactly zero TD on the ground. He is also a non-factor in the passing game with only two receptions for 11 yards on the season. If this is the lead back on a team, it is a team you want no part of. This makes him at best, and I use the word "best" lightly, a flex play moving forward the rest of the season.

With this said, there are still a few others who may get a bit of run. There is not much to talk about with Josh Adams and Lamical Perine, but we still need to mention them. Just in case the Jets go on a tear in the second half of the season...

 

The Others

Josh Adams is a decent player but he is what he is at this point. He runs between the tackles, averages 4.1 yards per carry, and is limited as a pass-catcher. Not the type of player that wins you a week in fantasy unless he is scoring touchdowns, which is unlikely in this offense.

After the season-ending injury to Jay Ajayi two years back, Adams was able to come off the practice squad for the Eagles and provide some stability. Of course, he was playing behind an offensive line consisting of Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Jason Peters. This is far different from the line the Jets are putting on the field each and every week.

After the 2018 season, Philadelphia did not feel the need to retain his services and he found his way onto this Jets roster as a backup to Le’Veon Bell and now Frank Gore. As the veteran backup next to rookie Perine, he will be next man up should something happen to Gore. This is still not someone even worth rostering. Even in the deepest of leagues, Adams is a dart throw at best. The type of dart throw you make after a night of drinking. So, stay away. If you are down to the dregs of playing Adams, you are already done for the season.

When it comes to Perine, the rookie from Florida, he is another shot in the dark who will not do much for you. Perine wasn't a workhorse in college, used mostly as a receiver out of the backfield. He gained a lot of yardage in a couple of big games but was quiet most of the time. His workout numbers don't exactly scream "impending breakout player" either.

image taken from PlayerProfiler

On 15 NFL carries this season, Perine has 56 yards. He has two receptions for -1 yard in the passing game. This shows not only the ineptitude of the Jets offense, but the effect it has on the players who try to play in it.

We are still not sure how severe the shoulder injury of Sam Darnold is. Until his return, Joe Flacco will be behind center for the team. This even further limits the upside as Flacco will not be able to move out of the pocket to extend plays. He is a figure of yesteryear - a statue QB in a league moving away from this type of player at the position.

The New York Jets are a ship going down in the sea. Le’Veon Bell was happy to get off the sinking ship. You should follow suit and abandon ship as well. It just might salvage your fantasy team.



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Can We Count on Kenyan Drake?

After a top-four finish following his trade from Miami to Arizona, running back Kenyan Drake was all the hype coming into fantasy drafts this season. With Arizona giving him the transition tag and the $10 million that came with it, the thought was he would be used heavily this season. So far, it has not been the case.

So far in 2020, Drake has only carried the ball 67 times through four games. On those carries, he has an average of only 3.8 y/a and a total of 254 yards. With only one TD thus far, all of his numbers are well down over what was expected when he was drafted as the RB 13 as pick 2.3 in 12-team leagues.

So now the real question we need to answer is what to do with him. Is he the type of player on a team you want to be patient with? Or is he someone you need to get rid of? Of course, there are many variables to this. So, I will do my best to provide you information needed to make an informed decision for your circumstance.

 

What's the Deal?

The biggest problem with Drake this far has not been his rushing work. At 16.75 carries per game, he is getting the work needed to succeed. The issue has become a phrase we are all too familiar with from following the New England Patriots - "running game through the air."

Instead of running the ball with Drake or even Chase Edmonds, the Cardinals are using their full complement of receivers to get the job done. Whether it be behind-the-line screens or long shots downfield, Arizona is using their receivers for the entire offense. After having 50 receptions on 68 total targets in 2019, Drake comes into Week 5 with only five receptions on five targets in 2020, which is eighth on the Cardinals. That barely puts him on the radar when it comes to value through the air game in this Air Raid offense.

The health of Andy Isabella and the arrival of DeAndre Hopkins have made Arizona a better team. They have also hurt the production level of Drake. This means we need to lower our expectations for him.

The offensive line which was a mess last season has not improved as much as hoped when they drafted Joshua Jones in the third round of the NFL draft. While the Cardinals do not rely on the TE position as a receiver, Maxx Williams was a big loss for them. He was their blocking TE and gave help to a suspect line. Hybrid WR/TE Dan Arnold is a capable receiver but is grading at a 49.1 in run blocking from PFF - eighth-worst among all tight ends who've taken a snap this year. Darrell Daniels has been better but not great at a 63.8 RBLK grade. Both are much better pass protectors, which is the focus of this offense. The blocking isn't doing Drake many favors and might not going forward.

 

Should He Stay or Should He Go?

The simple answer? Trade him now. This is easier said than done, though. Everyone in your league has seen his struggles.

He is coming off a game against a bad Carolina Panthers Defense in which he only managed 35 yards on 13 rushes. This followed a game against a miserable Lions front seven in which he managed 73 yards on 18 carries. If you try to trade him now, the return is likely to be minimal. With this said, he faces the New York Jets this week. If he is unable to get right in this matchup, sans Jamal Adams and C.J. Mosley, best to trade him for something before it's too late.

Those who have the luxury of keeping Drake benched or made strong-enough waiver pickups like James Robinson early in the year might want to acquire someone like Le'Veon Bell, who could be more productive down the playoff stretch. If you have a Drake truther who feels he might be getting a steal from you, offer him for someone like James Conner. Realistically, you could fetch a player like Antonio Gibson who is talented but plays for a bad team and hasn't seen as much usage as his managers would like. It's all relative to your league's settings and the GMs involved, of course.

 

Conclusion

There is no easy answer when it comes to Kenyan Drake. If you trade him now, you may not get a lot for him. If you wait, hoping he balls out against the Jets, it may work out or blow up in your face. The thing to do seems to be to stand pat and continue to use him, hoping for the best. Just realize he is not going to be the breakout RB1 you had hoped for.

He is likely going to be an RB2 going forward this season unless the offensive line can get figured out in the desert. If so, you might have that RB1 for your playoff push.



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Mitch Trubisky Era Over - Do Bears Improve Under Nick Foles?

With the Bears trailing the Falcons 26-10, Matt Nagy finally made the move Bears fan have anticipated by going to Nick Foles in Week 3. While this may have been expected by most and a surprise to a random few, no one knew exactly when it would happen. With the announcement Monday of Nick Foles being named the new starter, it is now officially a new era in Chicago.

Not only did Coach Nagy and GM Ryan Pace spend all summer claiming Trubisky was the starter, but he also did not play all too badly in the first two weeks of the season. He led the team to a 2-0 start and had 123 passing yards with one TD in Week 3 before getting pulled. Why then did they decide to make the switch now?

We all know how Foles plays when he is the starter out of training camp. Not well. But when he comes in after a few games, he is incredible. From his 27/2 TD to interception ratio under Chip Kelly to taking the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory in his second tour, Foles is the man when nothing is expected from him. So what does the ascension to starter mean for the rest of the offense in Chicago? This is the question we will hope to answer here.

 

Bears Unleashed

After a struggle in the first two weeks with only eight receptions for 107 yards and zero TD, Allen Robinson had a coming out party with Foles in Week 3. Some of this has to do with the putrid nature of the Atlanta defense. But 10 receptions, 123 yards and one TD are nothing to dismiss. We know from history Nick Foles likes to do two things. He likes to hyper-target one receiver and he loves using the tight end position. Both of these happened in Atlanta and will continue for the foreseeable future.

Unlike the tight end position, which is manned by aging Jimmy Graham, Allen Robinson is still at his prime at 27 years old. This makes him a buy-now candidate in fantasy leagues. He isn't a buy-low based on ADP cost but he is a player that could exceed expectations and carry teams through the fantasy playoffs. If you are able to get him for another receiver who garners more respect or has more hype, it would greatly benefit you to make the trade. Perhaps you know of a Terry McLaurin truther or maybe a Robert Woods fan. They would be great pieces to dangle in hopes of landing Robinson.

With Nick Foles behind center, A-Rob is set to remain a fixture as WR1 the rest of the season. He will consistently be a top 10 to 15 WR and will earn his new contract extension this off-season.

The other name to remember in the passing game is the tight end mentioned above, Jimmy Graham. He is not great anymore, however, he is the starting TE and this is a valuable position in a Nick Foles-led offense.

Certainly, the two TD receptions are a bit fluky. The six receptions for 60 yards are not. This will be the baseline for the production level you can expect from Graham. At a position where points are hard to come by unless you have a very select number of players, 12 points is nothing to sneeze at. One thing we know about Graham is he has no ability to block. This means, if he is on the field, he will be used as a receiving target.

Robinson has been in on 80% of the offensive snaps for Chicago this season while Graham has a nice 69% snap share. Miller, on the other hand, is at a 47% snap share on the season so far.

 

Effect on the Running Game

Of course, we cannot expect every game to go the way it did in Week 3. When Foles came in, the Bears were trailing by 16 and needed to throw frequently to catch up. There is another factor in the likely ascension of both Robinson and Graham though. The fact that Tarik Cohen joined the list of NFL players out for the season with ACL injuries. He was the main pass-catching back in the offense. Those targets will need to go somewhere, and it will not be David Montgomery. It will be a mixture of a few to Anthony Miller and mostly to Robinson and Graham, both of whom are on the field the majority of the time.

David Montgomery had a solid Week 2 with 125 total yards. He did not fare so well this past week with only 45 rush yards and nine receiving yards. This will be the type of ping-pong season we can expect from a running back in this offense. As much as Matt Nagy and the Bears will want to get the run game going, with Cohen out, it will be difficult to rely on it to be successful. Chicago will be forced to bring in someone to spell Montgomery meaning his ceiling will still be limited moving forward. He will likely still be usable as an RB2 for fantasy though. Therefore, do not just give up on him especially with all the attrition we have seen to this point. An RB2 this season may be the last man standing and win it all for you.

Anthony Miller is a nice piece. He is a good WR 4 on your roster. He will likely be better as a bye week fill-in than a weekly start. If he starts to get a few of those departed targets which had been going the way of Cohen, he can help a fantasy team. It will not be a huge jump in production though. As stated earlier, Foles likes to concentrate on one main receiver and his tight end.

Miller may also see him get some carries, although Cordarrelle Patterson could fill that role going forward. Patterson averages five carries per game so far and should see that number jump up. That doesn't make him fantasy-relevant though. For fantasy purposes, the best bets in Chicago are Allen Robinson and Jimmy Graham. Anything else you get will be icing on the cake.

 

Conclusion

Nick Foles is going to make the Chicago Bears a better team offensively. He will win them more games than they would have won under Trubisky. He may even get them to the playoffs in a seemingly weak NFC. But for fantasy, he is not the boon some were hoping for. An upcoming matchup with the Colts' top-ranked pass defense in Week 4 isn't the time to plug him into your lineup either. While he will raise the consistency of the offense, he will not elevate them into the stratosphere so tread carefully.



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The Mysterious Case of Carson Wentz

It was only a few seasons ago when Carson Wentz was the darling of the NFL. Despite missing the final month of the season, he was in serious consideration for MVP. He got the Philadelphia Eagles in position to win their first Super Bowl. He was also beloved by the city of Philadelphia. How times have changed.

Based on my family group chat, Carson Wentz sucks. At least this is what I heard more times yesterday than the Eagles gave up points. Of course, being in Philadelphia, my family is made up of the quintessential obnoxious Eagles fan. The point still stands.

Wentz is not the same quarterback anymore and just two games into the season, fantasy GMs are starting to worry.

 

Worrying About Wentz

There are many reasons for his decline in production. Some of it has to do with his unwillingness to scramble and use his mobility. In the first two games, Wentz has run the ball three times for nine yards. Last year, Wentz averaged nearly four attempts and 15 rushing yards per game. In 2017, before his ACL injury, Wentz averaged 4.9 carries and 23 rushing yards per game. Of course, it was on a QB keeper that his injury took place.

More of it has to do with the volume of injuries suffered by a once elite offensive line. But the biggest impediment to his being a fantasy starter is simply the lack of receivers on the team.

By the end of last season, the Eagles were using more two tight-end sets, or 12 formation, than any team in the NFL besides the Baltimore Ravens. They were the only two teams to deploy the set more than 30% of the time. For the Ravens, this was more so due to the type of offense they want to run. In the case of Philadelphia, it was due to the fact their only other receiver who was healthy was Greg Ward. Miles Sanders came on strong in the second half of the season as did Boston Scott down the stretch but counting on your running back position is not a successful plan in what is now a passing league. This led to a mediocre 9-7 season and being bounced from the playoffs by the Seahawks.

This offseason Philadelphia was hoping to get stronger at the WR position with Alshon Jeffery coming back healthy alongside DeSean Jackson. They also added receivers Jalen Reagor and John Hightower in the draft. While Reagor was injured in camp leading up to the season, Jeffery has still yet to make his debut in 2020. Second-year receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has still not found his way into the good graces of the team meaning it is reliant upon its TE duo to once again carry the load. Dallas Goedert had a big Week 1 with over 100 yards and a TD but Zach Ertz was lacking with only two catches for 28 yards. In Week 2, Ertz raised his receptions to five yet still only gained 42 yards. Goedert also had a quiet week with four receptions for 30 yards.

It was nice to see Jackson get involved in the game plan but with the defenses of Pittsburgh and San Francisco coming up, the road ahead is difficult. The 49ers have lost some major pieces this week in Nick Bosa on defense and Jimmy Garoppolo for a while. Add in a banged-up George Kittle and still-absent Deebo Samuel, this means they will become even more run-heavy to slow things down. This will limit the time Wentz will have to gain you any stats.

With all the issues the Eagles are having on offense, Carson Wentz has only thrown for two TD while also throwing four interceptions in the first two games of the season. His 58.8% completion rate is also down over four points from his career average and his 6.0 yards per attempt is also far lower than his career mark of 6.9. The lack of receivers is part of the issue but Wentz has himself to blame too, with a 32.9% On Target rate in Week 1. After an end-zone INT in Week 2, the fans let him have it.


With tough games against Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and New England coming up, you are likely to find better streaming options on a weekly basis. Whereas Wentz was a clear top-10 QB only two seasons ago, he now becomes a fantasy backup each week unless things change drastically. If the receiving corps gets healthier, this could mark a turnaround. In the meanwhile, let this change happen without Carson Wentz on your team. You will be better off for it and so will your fantasy record.



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Why Noah Fant Will Be This Year's Breakout Tight End

Every year in fantasy football, the tight end position is, for lack of a better word, mediocre.

There are a few stars at the top and then a group of indistinguishable players in the middle. Sometimes though, there is one who waded through the muck and rises to the top of the heap. Last season, we had Darren Waller finishing as TE4 after going mostly undrafted in fantasy. Before this, it was Eric Ebron with 13 TD in 2018 and George Kittle exploding on the scene, Evan Engram's rookie year in 2017, etc. So who is the likely candidate to make the jump this season?

There are a few contenders. Mark Andrews pretty much broke out last year and has an ADP to match, so he is out. A great choice is Hayden Hurst. After being traded from Baltimore to Atlanta to replace Austin Hooper, he will join an offense who threw the ball 80 more times in 2019 than any other team. But there is another gentleman who has a better path to success. A player who is athletic like Engram, on a good offense and young. Oh, and like Kittle, he comes from the tight end factory which is Iowa.

 

A New Mile High Offense

The Denver Broncos took Fant in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft, adding him to Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton in the passing game. Emmanuel Sanders was gone halfway through the season and the Broncos reloaded on offense during the off-season. With the addition of Melvin Gordon III to the backfield alongside Phillip Lindsay, the run game will be far better than it was a season ago. Gordon is a major upgrade over Devontae Booker who is now in Las Vegas. With the pass-catching potential in addition to his rush work, Gordon could be a bell cow, or a committee leader.

In the passing game, Denver drafted Jerry Jeudy as well as K.J. Hamler. Jeudy, who was considered by many the best receiver in the class, is a technician on the level of Keenan Allen and Stefon Diggs. Not the biggest or the fastest, he will run routes precisely which will allow him to get open. Much like Allen with the Chargers and Amari Cooper in his rookie season, Jeudy will find it easier to acclimate to the NFL then receivers who rely on speed or size to thrive.

In K.J. Hamler, we have the opposite. He is small at less than six feet and 175 pounds. He was also injured at the combine which allowed him to slip. This could be an issue early in the season as he and Jeudy try to join Sutton to create an elite receiving group.

With all of this said, Noah Fant will be the forgotten man in the offense. With all the other weapons to concentrate on, Fant, who had 40 receptions for 562 yards and three TD as a rookie will be left open. Not only will opposing defenses be worried about Sutton, Jeudy and Hamler but with the proficient nature of Gordon in the passing game, Fant is likely the fourth or fifth option defenses will plan for. That may not be the case for Lock, who will look to Fant across the middle frequently.

 

Mismatch Waiting to Happen

At almost 15 yards per reception last season, Noah Fant can spread defenses thin. He is too fast to be guarded by a linebacker and with the trio of receivers, there will not be enough defensive backs to control him.

His first season in Denver was solid for a tight end. He is one of a handful of players to have more than 500 receiving yards at the position as a rookie. That's something George Kittle, Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce did not accomplish. He may not join that elite group this season but he is well on his way to a successful season and career.

If you are a fantasy manager who waits on tight end, it can be nerve-racking. The comfort of a Kelce or Kittle is nice. It also costs a lot to get such comfort. In this case, it means passing up a high-end RB or WR. Noah Fant is currently going in the 10th round and isn't a sure starter on many rosters. At this price, you can build up a great team before drafting him. If it does not work out early in the season, you can pick up any other of the other tight ends with a chance to finish from six to 12 in the fantasy ranks.

For those who have already drafted, Fant could be someone to target in the trade market early on before he blows up. Take the chance on an athletic TE in a budding offense and ride the wave to fantasy glory.



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Kareem Hunt (RB, CLE) - Fantasy Football Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~48 Overall

CURRENT ADP: ~64

ANALYSIS: After returning from suspension last season, Kareem Hunt took a bite out of the production of Nick Chubb. In those eight games, Hunt out-snapped Chubb in six of them. He also took a large chunk of the targets, but keep in mind that Odell Beckham Jr. is still a Cleveland Brown, along with Jarvis Landry and now TE Austin Hooper too.

Hunt will be a major part of this offense's run game, though. Not only is he as talented as Chubb on those plays, but he is far better in the pass game also making him a more well-rounded do-it-all RB. This means the current price of a sixth-round pick for Hunt is a far better value than using a late first on Nick Chubb. Chubb will need to duplicate his rushing totals from last season. While this might happen, his receiving numbers will plummet. This will far outweigh the rushing numbers he will put up for Cleveland.

The best thing Cleveland did this offseason was to sign Jack Conklin to a contract to solidify the right side of their offensive line. By doing so and drafting Jedrick Wills Jr. for the left side, the Browns should move from one of the worst lines in the NFL to a top 15 line--or at least one good enough for Baker Mayfield to have time to throw. If that happens, Bakers will find Hunt open quite often.

The Cleveland Browns should have things a little more figured out in 2020 and for someone as talented as Hunt to be drafted in sixth-round is sleeping a little bit on the man. Go ahead and pay a little bit more for him; you might very well be adding a league-winner to your roster.

 

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Dallas Goedert (TE, PHI) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in All Leagues ROSTERED: 41% of Leagues ANALYSIS: If you consider yourself a good fantasy GM, this post won't surprise you. It made some sense to drop Goedert back in September's end when he fell down injured and was put in IR, but you'd be not very intelligent if you're not targeting... Read More

1 month ago

Jeremy McNichols (RB, TEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 1% of Leagues ANALYSIS: As a 2017 fifth-round pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of Boise State, it was a very slow start to the professional career of running back Jeremy McNichols, taking just two carries for four yards with no targets in the passing game... Read More

1 month ago

Royce Freeman (RB, DEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 2% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Melvin Gordon is currently dealing with strep-throat (could be worse) and potential discipline from his recent DUI arrest, and while he could return this week, that remains up in the air, which leaves a window of opportunity open for Royce Freeman to build... Read More

1 month ago

Anthony Firkser (TE, TEN) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team PPR Leagues ROSTERED: 0% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Jonnu Smith has been the man at tight end for the top-tier Tennessee Titans squad so far this season, with Anthony Firkser serving as second-fiddle during Smith's breakout season. However, with Smith being held out of the Titans' last contest against the... Read More

1 month ago

Zach Pascal (WR, IND) - Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups

BALLER MOVE: Add in 14+ Team Leagues ROSTERED: 6% of Leagues ANALYSIS: Pascal has had an interesting season so far. He has had four games with four or fewer targets, but he has also had a two with seven or more. One of those better performances was last week when he caught four of seven... Read More

1 month ago

 

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Anthony Miller (WR, CHI) - Wide Receiver Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~120 Overall

CURRENT ADP: ~143

ANALYSIS: Despite missing a game in 2019, Anthony Miller was still on the field for 64.2% of the Bears offensive snaps and finished with the second-most targets among wide receivers in Chicago's offense. Although he did not make much of these in terms of scoring, only having two receiving TD, he still locked himself into the WR2 role of the offense getting close to doubling WR3 Taylor Gabriel's amount of targets (48). With Allen Robinson still being the WR1 and getting the opponent’s best defender attention, Miller will have room to have a solid if not great season as second fiddle in 2020.

Jimmy Graham was brought in, sure, but his skills have been limited since leaving the Saints for the Seahawks. With Trey Burton gone and the run game of Montgomery and Tarik Cohen not living up to the expectations behind a suddenly diminishing offensive line, it will come down to which QB can raise the passing game and benefit Miller the most. No matter the man throwing the rock, PFF has Miller projected to reach 90 targets and finish with 55 receptions for 655+ yards, 4 TDs, and all of 143 PPR points by year's end. That's no joke, and Miller profiles as the upcoming WR58 league-wide and a top-130 player in fantasy football.

You read that right. Miller won't be your WR1 weekly, but his year's end rank as projected is currently 13 positions higher than his ADP indicates. That means that you can safely target Miller almost a round earlier than his ADP would lead you to, and pick him at the end of the 10th or start of the 11th at the latest if you don't want to get snipped. Again, do not expect Miller to become D.K. Metcalf or Calvin Ridley this season, but consider him this year's potential DeVante Parker: under the radar late-round flier with upside and chances to end much higher on the fantasy leaderboards than his price indicates.

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Allen Lazard - 2020 Fantasy Football Sleeper

Coming into the 2019 season, the debate in Green Bay was whether Geronimo Allison or Marquez Valdes-Scantling would be the WR2 for Aaron Rodgers. It turned out neither of them was able to take the mantle. Through injury and inconsistency, both players fell short, thus leaving an opening for second-year undrafted free agent Allen Lazard to come in and take the spot.

In 2020, it is now Lazard’s role to lose, although there is not much competition to speak of.

Will Lazard disappoint like so many other Packers receivers in the last couple of years or is he a draft sleeper to watch?

 

Targets Up for Grabs

After drafting no one at the wide receiver position in a historically deep draft, the only move Green Bay made of any note was to bring in veteran Devin Funchess after he had a lost year with the Colts. Without Funchess now (he opted-out of the 2020 season), if Valdes-Scantling and Allison can provide the semblance of a WR3 for this offense, the team should consider it a success. If they get anything from the tight end position with newly minted starter Jace Sternberger, it will also be an added bonus.

Aaron Jones is a good pass catcher at the running back position. After drafting A.J. Dillon to be a complementary back in short-yardage situations, Jones is likely to take a hit in the receptions department. Whereas he was the short-yardage dump down last season, he will not be used as much in this role in 2020. This means when Aaron Rodgers does throw the ball, more often than not it will be to the receivers.

Davante Adams is the unquestioned number one receiver on the Packers. Not only is he the most talented receiver on the team, but he is also a top-three receiver in the NFL. In a season shortened to 12 games by injury in 2019, Adams still amassed 83 receptions and came up only three yards short of 1,000 yards. Although his five touchdowns were not the double-digit touchdowns he had recorded in each of the previous three seasons, coming back from a serious groin injury and the Packers relying more on the run game had a lot to do with this.

Adams is healthy now and Aaron Rodgers is quite irritated by the team drafting QB Jordan Love in the draft. Unlike others who may not play as good when mad, Rodgers is the type of player who plays better with a chip on his shoulder. He has admittedly been doing so his entire career. So why should it be different this season? Especially when, instead of drafting his help, they drafted his replacement.

As good as Adams is, he cannot do it all alone. There will be plenty of balls to go to the WR2, Lazard. At 6’5" and 225 pounds, Lazard is the big downfield threat Rodgers has loved over the years. We know the connection he had with Jordy Nelson and while Lazard may not be up to this caliber, Rodgers likes him. And this is just as important for a young player in Green Bay, if you are a friend of Rodgers, you will get fed. With only 35 receptions for 447 yards in 2019, there is plenty of room to grow for the young player.

Do not expect him to eclipse Adams anytime soon. But every Julio Jones needs a Calvin Ridley and every Tyler Lockett needs a D.K. Metcalf. This is the type of split you can expect from the Packers and Lazard. Adams will get his 100 receptions and 1,400 yards should he remain healthy. This still leaves targets for Lazard. Fantasy WR3 value is very possible and a WR2 finish is not completely out of the question. Aaron Rodgers is going to have a massive season; Allen Lazard will be along for the ride.

 

Draft Value

With the depth of the WR position for fantasy, it is usually a good idea to load up on high-upside players in later rounds to compliment early-round running backs. Getting a piece of a Packers offense which is consistently in the top 10 is also a great idea. There is no cheaper way to get this wanted piece than with the WR2 in the system - a position which has finished top-24 numerous times and Randall Cobb even finished as the overall WR7 once.

Going with the last pick in most drafts at an ADP of 179, Lazard is the boom-or-bust player you want. He is an intriguing player and more importantly in the right situation to have a successful season. So, when it comes down to draft time, do not shy away.



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Anthony Miller - 2020 Fantasy Football Sleeper

After a good season by Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky in 2018, the optimism was high for WR Anthony Miller heading into 2019.

After regression from Trubisky and the team last season, things did not turn out well though. The Bears, therefore, brought in QB Nick Foles to compete with Trubisky for the starting QB job, and this could mean good things for the WR2 in Chicago.

Miller is currently going around pick 143 according to average industry ADP, but RotoBaller staff rankings have him at 113 overall and WR47. Let's see why he could be worth reaching a round or two for in 2020.

 

Team Context

Despite missing one game in 2019, Anthony Miller was still on the field for 64.2% of the Bears' offensive snaps. Although he did not make much of these, only having two receiving touchdowns, it shows he is the number two option at the WR position on the team.

After leaving Memphis with 25 touchdowns in his final two seasons, Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace thought they would be getting a red-zone monster to grow with Mitchell Trubisky. After seven touchdowns in his rookie season, this was seemingly about to happen with Miller. Nevertheless, with the offense struggling mightily even under the offensive guru Nagy in 2019, Miller will need to be counted on to help Allen Robinson II and David Montgomery get the team back into the hunt in the NFC North in 2020.

With CBs Darius Slay and Xavier Rhodes now gone from Detroit and Minnesota respectively, the Bears' division has become significantly weaker at the cornerback position. Chicago will look to exploit this during their games within the division. With Allen Robinson still being the WR1 and facing the opponent’s best coverage defender, Miller will be free to have a solid, if not great season as second fiddle.

TE Jimmy Graham was brought in to finish his career, but his skills have been limited since leaving the Saints for the Seahawks. With TE Trey Burton gone and the run game of Montgomery and Tarik Cohen not living up to its billing behind a suddenly diminishing offensive line, it will come down to which QB can raise the passing game.

 

The QB Issue

Even if Trubisky gets the starting job Week 1, the move to Foles is likely to happen quickly. While not great, he is the better passer. We have seen a few good seasons with Foles, and he has a bit of familiarity with Nagy from their one season together in Kansas City. This will allow him to take over and find the big-bodied Anthony Miller as a favorite target. The defense in Chicago will keep the team in many games. With the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in the division, there will still be scoring to be had. Khalil Mack and company can do a lot, but they cannot do it all.

The offense will need to do better than last season. If the run game is able to get better, this only means good things for the passing game. If Montgomery and Cohen flame out yet again? It may be even better for Robinson and Miller. The team will be forced to throw to catch up. And with the run defenses of Detroit, Green Bay, and Minnesota being good, Chicago may want to throw the ball more anyhow.

 

Low Risk, High Reward

Do not expect Miller to become D.K. Metcalf or Calvin Ridley this season. He should be able to raise his touchdown total closer to the seven of his rookie season (hopefully). With 65 receptions or so, he can finish as a WR3 for fantasy. This may not sound like a great season when compared to teammate Allen Robinson. Robinson finished 2019 with 98 receptions for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns and is also going to likely be drafted in the third round of drafts.

If you want to get a part of the Bears offense at a low cost, Miller is the play. A play not unlike drafting DeVante Parker last season, a late-round flier who paid off in a big way all season long.



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Meet the Mount Rushmore of 2020 Fantasy Football

We all know the big names that dominated their positions last year: Lamar Jackson, Michael Thomas, Christian McCaffrey, and Travis Kelce were league-leaders and often league-winners for a lot of fantasy managers. All these players finished at number one at their respective positions. This does not mean they were the best values though. C-Mac was a consensus first-rounder, Kelce was the top-drafted TE, and there is no way you could have rostered Thomas along with the other two, even if you were lucky (smart?) enough to land Jackson later.

Having Jackson, Thomas, McCaffrey and Kelce would be nice. It would have also been impossible. But what about Lamar Jackson, Derrick Henry, Chris Godwin and Darren Waller?

In this article, we are going to look at the 2020 players who represent the best value based on draft cost and where they are likely to finish. To put it another way, who are this season's Mt. Rushmore of fantasy players? Who can you wade out into the wilds of South Dakota to get to and find the value needed to make a league-winning roster?

 

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

ADP: Pick 107

Constantly underappreciated. This is the mantra for Matthew Stafford in the fantasy football community. This is evident again in 2020 as he is currently coming of the board with the last pick in the eighth round of drafts. Much of this has to do with his injury-shortened season of 2019. This was a mirage.

Stafford has rarely missed a game before last season. Despite having a fractured back for almost the entirety of the 2018 season, he played all 16 games. On top of this, he now has a legitimate WR one to finally replace Calvin Johnson.

I am not going to call Kenny Golladay as good as Johnson. This would be crazy as Johnson was one of the best ever. But Golladay is better than any WR one the Lions have had since Johnson. And this matters for the entire offense.

In eight games last season before injury forced him out, Stafford had 2,399 yards and 19 passing TD. This put him on pace for 4,798 yards and 38 TD. The 38 TD would have led the NFL. Beating out Lamar Jackson who had 36. His production in the first eight games also had him at QB two for fantasy before the injury.

With Patrick Mahomes hopefully healthy for all 16 games and Lamar Jackson still in the league, QB two is not likely for Stafford. A top-five finish is feasible though and getting this in the Eighth or even ninth round is great value. Perhaps league winning value.

With Marvin Jones and T.J. Hockenson joining Golladay in the pass game along with Danny Amendola in the slot, weapons are not a problem in Detroit. The real key will be the effectiveness of the run game. One which has not been good in 20 years. In hopes of changing this, the Lions drafted D’Andre Swift out of Georgia to add to talented but oft-injured Kerryon Johnson in the backfield.

After a rookie season which saw him garner over 5.0 yards per carry, Johnson was more disappointing last season. He is already being seen in a walking boot early in training camp and this is not a good sign for his truthers.

In contrast, D’Andre Swift is already drawing rave reviews from the coaching staff for his pass-catching abilities. This will not only help the run game; it will also help the prospects of Matthew Stafford having a great season.

While others are reaching to take Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes, relax, build up a monster roster and draft Matthew Stafford late. Your league mates may be laughing now. But you will be the one laughing when you bring home the championship.

 

Running Back: Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

ADP Pick 75

After returning from suspension last season, Kareem Hunt took a bite out of the production of Nick Chubb.

In those eight games, Hunt out-snapped Chubb in six of them. He also took a large chunk of the targets which had been going in the opposite direction for the first half of the season.
Odell Beckham Jr. is still there. He is also still an elite receiver. Jarvis Landry is a great slot guy holding down the underneath routes will be extremely important for Beckham and the run game to get on track this season.

Hunt will be a major part of this run game. Not only is he as talented as Chubb in the run game, he is far better in the pass game. This means the current price of a seventh-round pick for Hunt is a far better value than using a late first on Nick Chubb. Chubb will need to duplicate his rushing totals from last season. While this might happen, his receiving numbers will plummet. This will far outweigh the rushing numbers he will put up for Cleveland.

The best thing Cleveland did this offseason was to sign Jack Conklin to a contract to solidify the right side of their offensive line. By doing so and drafting Jedrick Wills Jr. for the left side, the Browns should move from one of the worst lines in the NFL to a top 15 line. At least good enough for Baker Mayfield to have time to throw. If Mayfield is given this time, he will find Hunt open and often quite often. Much the way Andy Reid used Kareem Hunt as a rookie, Cleveland can do the same with a similar level of offensive line play.

We were all a year too early on crowning the Cleveland Browns in 2019. They struggled with a bad offense and a worse head coach. They seemingly have both figured out in 2020. They are not going to win the division. But in the seventh-round, Kareem Hunt may just win your fantasy league.

 

Wide Receiver: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

ADP Pick 55

Most fantasy players are not going to wait until the fifth-round to pick their first WR in a draft. If you do, Robert Woods is a great option for this pick. If you already have a Michael Thomas or Julio Jones though? Woods makes an even better WR2 for your team. Whether the Rams play in 11 personnel or 12, the one constant will be Robert Woods on the field.

His two TD receptions are not what you like to see from a top-flight receiver. But in 15 games in 2019, Woods averaged six receptions and 76 yards per game despite a down season by Jared Goff and the entire Rams offense. His 90 receptions and 1,134 yards are both likely to go up as the Rams hope to bounce back from their disappointing season. Woods also became only the ninth WR since 2000 to have more than 1,100 yards and less than three TD. This leads to the conclusion that the TD numbers should regress positively in the upcoming season.

Cooper Kupp is great. At 6’2" he is bigger than normal slot receiver. But he is a slot receiver. Like Julian Edelman, this limits the upside potential of his yardage numbers. Woods, on the other hand, gets downfield for the big play and is fast enough to outrun coverages.

In 2018 while playing in all 16 games, Woods was on the field for 95% of the Rams offensive snaps. In 2019, despite missing a game, he still managed to be on the field for 89% of snaps. If he is not injured, he does not come off the field in any formation. This is perfect for a WR 2 as someone who not only is always on the field but translates this into consistent production numbers.

Is Robert Woods likely to finish as the top fantasy receiver in 2020? No. With just a bit of positive regression in the TD area, he could finish in the top-10 though. Not bad at all for a fifth-round pick in your fantasy draft.

 

Tight End: Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

ADP Pick 109

In a rookie season marred by quarterback instability, Noah Fant still managed to produce a solid first season. In 16 games, the athletic Fant caught 40 passes for 562 yards and three TD for a Broncos team who disappointed in the AFC West behind eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have not gotten worse this offseason, so it is up to the rest of the division to catch up. This means an explosion of offense will be forthcoming.

Denver has tried to get in on the explosion by drafting both Jerry Judy and K.J. Hamler to add to emerging star receiver Courtland Sutton. They also added Melvin Gordon to a backfield which also has Phillip Lindsey to provide a good duo of complementary backs.

The addition of Gordon, a first-round pick of the Chargers who feel out of favor in Los Angeles means the team finally will move on from Devontae Booker and allow Lindsey to take a preferred role as the second man up.

All of these new weapons and a full year of Drew Lock will do wonders for the offense. This includes the lost man of the bunch in Fant. With defenses needing to focus more on the likes of Sutton, Judy and even Gordon in the pass game, Noah Fant will roam free and find seams in opposing defenses to make major gains in his second season out of Iowa.
Like Evan Engram in New York, Fant is not a blocking tight end. He is a large-bodied wide receiver playing the tight end position. This mismatch will be exploited by new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and Fant will take his place near the top of the offensive tight end rankings.

Whereas last season Darren Waller made the leap in the AFC West, this season it will be Noah Fant. Instead of using a second-round pick on Travis Kelce or George Kittle, take a stud RB or WR early. Then you can grab Fant in the ninth round - a much nicer price for a tight end.



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Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS) - 2020 Fantasy Football Draft Sleeper

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~140 Overall

CURRENT ADP: ~160

ANALYSIS: Washington drafted Antonio Gibson in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft and declared him a pro-running back going forward. That wasn't a lock, provided that Gibson played at the wide receiver position in college, but it makes more sense than ever now that Washington has released potential RB1 Derrius Guice. With lightning-bolt speed, he will be a do-it-all player for Washington entering his freshman season.

Although Washington doesn't boast the strongest of offensive lines--much less with the departure of Trent Williams this offseason--Gibson has a skill-set poised to be useful no matter the environment. Washington's backfield is shaky at best and has plenty of players around, although none of them really jumps off the page. Adrian Peterson is more than a veteran these days yet profiles as the starter (at least for the first few weeks of the season) and Bryce Love can only hope to stay healthy and find some opportunities with Guice out of town now. If there is anything clear, is that Gibson should at the very least function as the third-down running back of Washington and see plenty of targets go his way starting his routes from the backfield.

When it comes to sleepers, it is all about finding hidden value at a low cost. Washington is not going to dominate the league next season, nor will the likes of Gibson, at least in the most probable of scenarios. That being said, Gibson makes for a very nice late-round flier. With an ADP around the 13th-round realm, if you can wait until then and find yourself needing some what-if play at the running back position, then Gibson should be a nice option. Peterson is far from a lock to make it 16 games, let alone produce in all of them, and Gibson should see his fantasy numbers boosted by his combination of rushing and pass-catching prowess.

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Antonio Gibson - 2020 Fantasy Football Sleeper

Upon being drafted in the third round of the 2020 draft, Washington immediately stated Antonio Gibson would be a running back for the team. After the release of Derrius Guice, this is not only the most likely scenario, it's an opportunity for Gibson to shine.

Gibson was a wide receiver turned running back during his time at Memphis. At 220 pounds with sub 4.4 speed, he is a threat no matter where he plays on the field. It now appears he will be on the field a lot. 

First a trendy sleeper, the news surrounding Guice's departure has thrust Gibson into the fantasy mainstream. Will he return the type of value fantasy managers expect in 2020?

 

Washington Football - A Perfect Fit

Trent Williams is officially gone from the team and the team didn't draft an offensive lineman until the fourth round, so the line is going to struggle. This plays perfectly into Gibson's strengths. With Haskins not known for his mobility, it will lead to many dump-offs and short routes. Antonio Gibson is the perfect fit in this mold. Much like former third-round draft pick David Johnson fit perfectly in Arizona during his rookie season, Gibson could be in a perfect situation, even if it isn't a very good offense.

Not only is the offensive line weak, the run game a bit of a crapshoot with injury concerns and the receiving group shallow, but the team is also terrible. This will mean despite Bill Callahan saying "you run to win," if you are losing you need to throw. This team will be losing a lot. Even in a weak division like the NFC East. This means the pass-catching back in Gibson, with his receivers’ hands will be a valuable commodity.

With Chris Thompson now in Jacksonville, Antonio Gibson will find himself as the third-down back. This will mean a lot of targets to go along with what could be a 40% to 50% share of the rushes. Adrian Peterson is still there, and Bryce Love is hoping to stay healthy in 2020. Even if he does return, Gibson is already healthy and will provide higher upside to the team. This makes him the running back to roster in Washington.  

While the other teams in the division have quarterbacks, or at least the promise of one, Washington and Dwayne Haskins have a lot to work on. While they try to work things out, Antonio Gibson will become the best friend of the QB. With Jordan Reed out the door, the speedy Gibson will be the one to garner the dump-offs, keeping Haskins or Alex Smith from being destroyed by opposing pass rushes. Not only will the offensive line have to worry about the likes of Fletcher Cox and DeMarcus Lawrence in the division, with the NFC East taking on the NFC West this season, they will also need to hold up against the likes of Nick Bosa and Arron Donald. Good Luck.

The offensive upside in Washington is limited. Despite this, the upside of Antonio Gibson is far superior. In some cases, the upside of a player outweighs the upside of his surrounding casts. This is one of those times. This is not an offense you want to spend a lot of draft capital on to get a piece. With Terry McLaurin going in the fifth round of most drafts, this could be a hindrance. For those of you, like myself, who are cautious to believe in Washington, wait.

Grab Antonio Gibson late in your draft if possible. He has already jumped up to a ninth-round ADP, according to FantasyFootballCalculator. This is an overreaction to recent news, but that ADP should drop a bit as we get closer to the actual season. Even as a third RB, he could wind up being a sleeper that pays off as a league winner and finish as an RB2 based on his pass-catching work alone.



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Jordan Love - Fantasy Football Rookie Profile

Here at Rotoballer, we are dedicated to giving you the best of the best in fantasy football coverage. Part of this commitment is our series of Rookie spotlights. Rolling out a few at a time, this series of articles gives you the profile of a player who came out in the 2020 NFL draft. It also gives you our thoughts on where to take the players in your fantasy drafts.

With this in mind, take a look at this profile on the future replacement for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Of course, this is Jordan Love, who was the biggest surprise of the first round in the NFL Draft.

When you're done, you can also take a look at some of the other top QB prospects including Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, and Tua Tagovailoa.

 

Profile

Team: Green Bay Packers
College: Utah State
Height/Weight: 6’4" 224lb
Draft: Round One, Pick 26

 

Scouting Report

After a great 2018 in which he threw for 32 TD compared to only six INT, Jordan Love was considered a potential top-five draft pick. Then, his head coach Matt Wells left after the season to take the head job at Texas Tech. Not only did he leave, he took his entire coaching staff with him. He also tried to take Jordan Love whom, to his credit, politely declined as Utah State was the college who took a chance on him.

After the loss of his coaching staff as well as most of his offense, Love struggled in 2019. Working with a new group of wide receivers and a new running back, Love was unable to make things happen behind an offensive line with four new starters in front of him. These challenges led to a subpar junior season in which his TD numbers regressed to 20 and his INT went to a nation-leading 17. After this type of season, it would have behooved him to return to the Aggies for another season. Instead, Love decided to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft. While this season’s class at the position was not as top-heavy as what is expected in 2021, we will have to see if his gamble pays off as he went to a not-so-great situation in the Packers.

 

2020 Outlook

Short and sweet - 2020 is not the season to count on Jordan Love. Aaron Rodgers is already going to have a tough time with the weapons he has. If he were to get injured and miss time, it would not be pretty for Jordan Love. He would feel as if he's right back into his last season in college, being a good QB with a great arm but lacking surrounding talent.

Of course, Aaron Jones and Davante Adams are extremely good, even elite. But the rest of the team is not. Even if Love were to get in the game, he would not be a top-25 value at the position. Not to mention, if Rodgers does not get hurt, there is no chance Love sees the field in either of the next two seasons. So do not draft him for any reason in redraft leagues, no matter how deep.

 

Dynasty Outlook

No one is worthless in dynasty. Imagine someone drafting Aaron Rodgers in dynasty as a rookie, only to give up on him when it looked like he would never beat out Brett Favre. This said, do not draft Jordan Love too high.

Dynasty is a game for the future. It is good to evaluate players in three-year windows. With Love likely only playing in one of those years, he is not worthy of a first-round pick in rookie drafts. In single-QB dynasty leagues, he is not worth a second-round pick either.

As Rodgers gets older and likely finishes his career in a different uniform, things will get better for Jordan Love. As long as he sits back and learns from the future Hall of Famer, much the way Rodgers did from Favre before taking over. Of course, it has been said that Favre wasn't the best mentor and Rodgers may not be either.

With similar arm strength and mobility, Love has a real opportunity to learn the skills he does not have to this point. He can learn the mental aspect of the game as well as the accuracy Rodgers has in spades. This will be needed as Jordan Love only had a 64% and 61.8% completion rate in his two starting years in college. Windows will be tighter in the NFL and he will need to learn a new meaning for the term open receiver. If Love can do this, we will be a solid starter in the NFL. If he cannot, he may end up as another in a long string of college stars who burned out in the league.

He is obviously still worth a draft and stash in all dynasty leagues. He would make a good pick in the late-second or early-third round of drafts. Any higher and you are giving up on a player to help you this season. Any later and you may not get him. So, draft carefully but also do consider him if you need a young QB. No risk it, no biscuit.

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Joe Burrow - Fantasy Football Rookie Profile

Here at Rotoballer.com, we are dedicated to giving you the best of the best in fantasy football coverage. Part of this commitment is our series of Rookie spotlights. This series of articles gives you the profile of a player who came out in the 2020 NFL draft. It also gives you our thoughts on where to take the players in your fantasy drafts.

With this in mind, here is the rookie profile of Joe Burrow, the number one overall draft pick and hopeful savior of the Cincinnati Bengals. Check back regularly to find more profiles on fantasy-relevant rookies including other quarterbacks like Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert.

Now, let's decide what exactly the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft can deliver for fantasy owners.

 

Profile

Team: Cincinnati Bengals
College: LSU
Height/Weight: 6’3" 221 lbs
NFL Draft Pick: Round 1, Pick 1

 

Scouting Report

Sitting behind J.T. Barrett and Dwayne Haskins at Ohio State was getting old for the Athens, Ohio native. When Justin Fields decided to transfer in from Georgia, Joe Burrow said, "That's it, I'm out!" and left for LSU. What a decision it was.

In his first season in the bayou, Burrow was an alright QB for the Tigers. He was what LSU always has at the position: the dreaded game manager. Throwing for 16 TD and five INT at a 57.8% completion rate was not a great start to his career. But again, this was LSU - a school more known for their defense and running backs than the QB position. 2020 would be a different story entirely.

Playing with a new offense installed by Joe Brady, the Tigers took off. Having the likes of Justin Jefferson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire did not hurt either. Oh, and his other receiver Ja'Marr Chase? Yeah, he is the best of them all. So, he had weapons. Because of these weapons, the legend of Joe Burrow took off and ascended into making him the number one overall draft pick in the NFL draft.


Not only did his yardage double from 2,897 to 5,671, his TD total went from 16 to 60 and despite throwing 150 more attempts, his INT only went up one to six totals for the 2020 season. Most incredibly than all of this was his completion % which raised from 57.8 all the way to 76.3%. All of these numbers are amazing for any level of football, let alone against the defensive competition of the SEC.

Although the Heisman trophy has become the best QB in the country award, in this case, it was well warranted as he was clearly the best player in the country also.

 

2020 Fantasy Value

Some analysts have him ranked as a top-12 QB for the season although his consensus rank of Fantasy Pros is currently QB20. This means in most drafts he may not be drafted in single-QB formats. In superflex or two-QB formats, he is likely to be one of those later-round fliers with whom you hope to find a gem. This range feels solid. The team around him with Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd is better than average. If A.J. Green can come back healthy, he is still one of the better wide receivers in the game. Adding a rookie like Tee Higgins, a 6’4" deep threat could also provide a boon to the offense in Cincinnati.

It will be interesting to see what second-year coach Zac Taylor can do with the youngster. We know one thing - the Brown family will be patient with both of them. We also know he will be the unquestioned starter from day one of camp.

All of this leads to one conclusion, He is a draft-worthy asset. In a fantasy world dominated by the late-round QB theory, he could be the next league winner. Is he going to be Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes this season? It's safe to say no. But could he provide you the same production as Kirk Cousins or Daniel Jones at significant savings? This is very possible.

If you like to punt the position and play the streaming game, Joe Burrow may just be the player you want to draft. The Bengals Defense is not good. They will be playing from behind a lot. If Blake Bortles has taught us anything, garbage time counts in the stats as well.

In 2019, the Bengals were bad. You do not get the number one pick any other way. Between all the QB who took a snap for the team, they threw for 3,994 pass yards. Burrow may not get to 4,000. But with the team getting better on offense and with A.J. Green coming back, it is very possible. If not probable. If we could get 3,500 yards and 25 Td from him, we should be incredibly happy. Just please Burrow, keep the INT to a minimum.

 

Dynasty Outlook

While no one’s outlook is certain, Joe Burrow seemingly will have a great chance to be someone who makes it big for the dynasty format. Whether it is in a single QB or two QB format, Burrow is going to be a Bengal for a long time ,even if he is not at the level of Mahomes. The Bengals are very patient as a franchise, mostly due to their immense cheapness. Either way, it means good things for the players on their roster. Look at the likes of Andy Dalton if you want to see the loyalty given to even average QBs on this team.

When playing dynasty, you need to look three years out. In three years, Burrow will still be on his rookie contract. Joe Mixon will still be a stud in the backfield and Tyler Boyd will have paired with rookie Tee Higgins to replace the aging A.J. Green in the offense. Using this formula, Joe Burrow is the number one rookie draft pick for two QB leagues and is a high first-round pick in single QB leagues as well. If you are in a startup, he would make an exceptionally good second option at QB. Pairing him with the likes of a Matt Ryan or Kirk Cousins would be a good foundation at the position. It would also allow you to get other positions earlier in drafts and win a championship sooner rather than later.

There is not a whole lot else to say when it comes to Dynasty. Some may prefer Tua slightly over Burrow but Burrow is the safer pick. He does not have the health concerns and at least for now, the Bengals have a more talented offensive roster surrounding him. This will likely provide him with more immediate success in the NFL.

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New England Patriots: Should We Avoid Them All In Fantasy?

Yes. That's the short answer but, of course, it is not so simple. Here, we will look at some players you may actually want to consider in fantasy drafts.

It is tough to think of the New England Patriots as a fantasy wasteland. They have been so good for so long. Their dynasty may (finally) be coming to an end. In a league filled with high-flying offenses like Kansas City and Dallas, the Patriot Way of football is lagging behind.

There is still a player or two who may provide some fantasy value though. Depending on where you can get them in your draft. Of course, this can be said for any player you draft but with a new quarterback taking the helm in Jarrett Stidham, it has never been truer for Patriots players.

 

The Safe Bet

There is only one player on the Patriots to have full confidence in. This is obviously Julian Edelman, who will be the number one option for Jarrett Stidham just as he was for Tom Brady over the better part of the last decade. Edelman will never wow you with eye-popping yardage and TD numbers. But even in a down season for New England in 2019, he managed to catch 100 balls and was a WR 13 finish for fantasy. Not a bad year, especially when you consider he was not drafted as a top 13 WR. He instead goes as a value in the fourth and even fifth round of drafts. Not only is he a great player, better yet, he comes at a great value also.

Stidham comes into the season very inexperienced. As with any young signal-caller, he will need a safety blanket to rely on. Edelman will provide that blanket. There is no Rob Gronkowski coming back into the fold. He is now in Florida with his quarterback.

For the first time since landing Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski in the same draft in 2010, New England drafted two tight ends in a draft. This time around, they took Devin Asiasi from UCLA and Dalton Keene from Virginia Tech, both in the third round. This could help them in the future for sure. As for 2020, it is far less likely. Even the best in the game, the likes of Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz took time to adapt to the league. Add to this a first-time starting QB and it could be even more difficult. This means the veteran Edelman will be relied upon for a larger majority of the pass-catching threat.

There are very few Patriots to be encouraged about in 2020. In fact, Edelman is the only one. But he is the constant in the offense. He will continue to produce. And he will continue to go under drafted. So, snatch him up without hesitation.

 

If the Value is Right

After a 2019 playoff run which culminated in scoring the only TD against the Rams in the Super Bowl, Sony Michel was the belle of the ball. This led to him being drafted as the number 20 overall RB in 2019 as the first pick of the fourth round. This was ahead of players like Derrick Henry, Phillip Lindsay and Miles Sanders. All of them finished higher in the final ranks on the season. Coming into 2020, Michel will again continue to be over-drafted by some. The feeling he is set to return to his late-season 2018 form will cause people to take a shot on him yet again.

With first-year starter Jarrett Stidham coming in for the departed Tom Brady, this is not a good bet. Not only is Michel a limited pass catcher with only 15 receptions on 18 targets in 2019. He is also not the full-time runner you want from an RB who is one dimensional. A player like Derrick Henry, a similar threat in the passing game, is the bell cow back when it comes to rushes. His 303 rushes in 2019 propelled him to a number three fantasy finish despite only having 18 receptions from the position.

Michel, on the other hand, finished as the RB 28 and only averaged9.2 fantasy points per game. This is a full 10.6 points less than Henry accomplished. This was due in large part to his only having 247 rushes. While this is not the 132 carries which Austin Ekeler was limited to, it is also not the 300 or more seen by true bell cows like Henry or Ezekiel Elliott. With his limitations in the pass game combined with his less than full-time usage in the run game, Michel is a far better selection in the sixth or seventh round of fantasy drafts. He is the perfect third RB or flex play and not so much the RB two he has been drafted as in the past two seasons.

James White is a different story from his teammate Sony Michel. Where Michel will get a majority of the rush work, James White will be the beneficiary of the new quarterback. It has been said and is well known that receptions from a running back are more important than rushes. When you have the receiving numbers of a player like White, this certainly holds up.

Although he finished 2019 with only 67 rushes for the team, James White was still the RB 22 on the season. This is six spots higher than teammate Sony Michel. This is due in large part to the 72 receptions he provided to go along with those limited rushes. Although number two on the roster, White is clearly number one when it comes to the running back to own in New England.

Not only does he have a great chance to finish higher in fantasy ranks, he also is taken later in drafts than Michel is. With Michel going in the early fourth round and James white lasting until the sixth round, the value for James White far outweighs the value of Michel. In 2019, this would have been the difference of getting Chris Godwin and James White, or Sony Michel and Dede Westbrook or A.J. Green.

White never gets the credit he deserves. He is constantly underrated and underappreciated. Both by fantasy players and Super Bowl MVP voters alike. It is time we realized just how good of a player he is. It was only in 2018, the same year Michel was getting all the love, that James White finished as the RB 11 for fantasy.

 

Waiver Wire Shot

One season behind Tom Brady does not mean Jarrett Stidham is going to be good. For every Jimmy Garoppolo there is a Ryan Mallet. Not to mention he had a total of -1.6 fantasy points in the game time he did get in 2019.

Worse yet, his weapons are not great. We have already spoken about the three main pieces he will be counting on. Edelman, Michel and White will be a majority of the offense. There are a few other players like Phillip Dorsett and Rex Burkhead likely to provide some presence. But not enough to make a significant difference. What the Patriots lack in offense could be balanced out by their defense. This is a defensive unit with returning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore and re-signed Patrick Chung. The loss of Jamie Collins to Detroit will hurt much less this time than it did when he went to Cleveland. With both McCourty brothers also back in the fold, the secondary will be solid, thus allowing the front seven to again put pressure on opposing offenses in 2020.

The number one defense from a season ago will need to be nearly as good for the Patriots to have any chance to repeat as division winners again. Their annual cupcake schedule of years past takes a notch up as they come into this year with a top-five strength of schedule difficulty. This means, even if the defense is good, the offense behind Stidham will need to score some points.

Before bolting Baylor, Stidham was in consideration for being amongst the top QB prospects in last seasons draft. After his transfer to a bad offense at Auburn, he dropped like so many of his passes were in college. Ending up in the fourth round as pick 133.

The Patriots seem to have good results taking a quarterback late in drafts. I am not sure if anyone has heard, Tom Brady was actually taken at pick 199. The key for the confidence in Stidham is the trust placed in him by Bill Belichick. The team had multiple chances to bring in competition. Both in the draft and by picking up any number of free agents. From Cam Newton and Jameis Winston to Andy Dalton, New England choose time and time again to stay with Jarrett Stidham.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is a veteran of the Belichick coaching staff. Other than a disastrous short stint as head coach in Denver, they have been together for the better part of two decades. Both of them know what to do and what not to do within the limitations of their team. The main beneficiary of this will be Stidham. They will draw up plays to best use his skillset. They have done so with Tom Brady as well as Matt Cassel when Brady was injured.

If Edelman remains healthy and the running back duo of Sony Michel and James White remain productive, Jarrett Stidham could just be one of those waiver wires adds who wins you a league.

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Tyler Johnson - Fantasy Football Rookie Spotlight

Here at RotoBaller, we are dedicated to giving you the best fantasy football coverage. Part of this commitment is our series of 2020 NFL rookie spotlights. This series of articles breaks down the profile of a player who came out in the 2020 NFL Draft. It also gives you our thoughts on where to take the players in your fantasy drafts, both redraft and dynasty.

With this in mind, please continue to check back daily to find more profiles on some of the 2020 NFL rookies you may have questions about. They are well worth the read and just like all other @RotoBallerFB articles - we put a lot of work into them to provide you the best content possible. You can find analysis on other rookie receivers such as Jeudy, Lamb, Ruggs, Mims, Edwards and Shenault.

In this piece, I'll cover one of the receivers drafted later on whose value may be very much in question. Tampa Bay wide receiver Tyler Johnson had a prolific college career but wasn't selected early in the 2020 NFL Draft. His place behind two of the best WRs in football has put a damper on his short-term outlook. But is there more than meets the eye here, especially in dynasty?

 

Profile

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
College: Minnesota
Height/Weight: 6'1", 206 lb
NFL Draft Pick: Round 5, Pick 161 overall

 

Scouting Report

Playing at a school that is not a traditional football powerhouse, Tyler Johnson was able to get on the field in his freshman season of 2016. He only recorded 14 receptions for 141 yards and one TD, but the talent was still evident in his small level of production.

After exploding in his sophomore season to average 19.3 yards/catch on 35 receptions and seven TD, he settled into a groove his final two seasons in Minneapolis. Not shockingly, as the team got better, so did he. Or maybe vice versa.

During his final two seasons in college, Johnson had 78 and 86 catches respectively while combining for 2,489 yards and 25 TD while working mainly out of the slot. His career numbers were good enough to earn him a spot on the Mount Rushmore of Gopher receivers.


He is likely to do most of his work in the slot again in the NFL with Tampa Bay. Had there not been a few minor attitude concerns amongst teams, he would have gone much higher in the draft. Before falling into the fifth round, most analysts saw him as a third-round prospect. It just shows how important first impressions are.

 

2020 Outlook

Word is there is a new QB in town for the Buccaneers and he loves using his slot receiver. Of course, this is Tom Brady. If you want to know if he likes using his slot receiver, just ask Wes Welker and Julian Edelman where their careers would have gone without him. Despite what was obviously a down season for Brady and New England in 2019, Edelman still managed 100 catches for 1,117 yards and six TD on 159 targets. All this at age 33 and coming off two injury-shortened seasons in which Edelman only played nine and 12 games in consecutive seasons. Although we have to see the talent, Tyler Johnson being a decade younger, he may provide a similar profile for Brady to find across the middle.

Chris Godwin had a breakout season in 2019 finishing as the WR6 for fantasy. If not for a late-season injury, Mike Evans would have finished in the same range. Both of these players work better on the outside meaning rookie Tyler Johnson will take over the slot role, if he beats out Justin Watson.

Not only will he be playing a pivotal role in the offensive scheme, he will also be playing alongside players who will make coverages forget about him more often than not. If O.J. Howard can show why he was drafted in the first round, he will provide a great second option at tight end behind newly unretired Rob Gronkowski. The best tight end in NFL history may not be what he once was. But he is still going to be a top 10 TE and besides being the best receiving TE in league history, he may very well be the best blocking TE also. Howard will learn a lot from him, even if it is only for one season.

All this is to say, Johnson will not be asked to come in a be the savior of the team. He will have time to grow and learn behind an elite group of receiving weapons in Tampa Bay.

If you are playing in a dynasty league, Johnson would make a good draft pick late in round two or early in round three but he may not have much value for this upcoming season. He will be the slot receiver, yes. He will also be behind all the receivers mentioned above when it comes to targets. Not to mention if they get anything out of Ronald Jones or Ke’Shawn Vaughn from the backfield.

In redraft leagues, this means one simple thing. He should not be on your radar to be drafted except in the very deepest of leagues. As the fifth option at best, there will be very few targets heading the way of Johnson in the 2020 season. If there is an injury to a player above him or if he does break out early, he will be there for you on the waiver wire. Do not waste a draft pick on him hoping to outsmart the competition. You may just outsmart yourself instead.

 

Dynasty Outlook

While this season is not one for the history books, the future of Tyler Johnson in Tampa Bay could be bright. If Chris Godwin has another monster season the Bucs will be forced to decide whether or not they can afford him on top of already having Evans on the roster. Lucky for them Brady is likely to be a two-year player. This means the Bucs should have the money with a rookie QB salary to sign Godwin long term. But if the team decides to go another direction by signing a veteran in hopes of winning, Godwin could be out, and Tyler Johnson could be in. If this happens, Johnson will be a top-15 fantasy WR as the WR2 on Tampa’s offense.

Whether the team moves on from Godwin or keeps him in the fold, the likelihood of Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard and Rob Gronkowski being there after 2021 are minimal. This will move Johnson further up in the pecking order of weapons. Having him stashed on your dynasty team could turn into a boon for you. Much like DeVante Parker did for you in 2019.

Tyler Johnson will not cost you much in dynasty drafts. Whether they be rookie or startup drafts, his price will be minimal as a third-round pick or later. For this season, his return will make you think twice. Be patient and hold tight. You may just be rewarded for it in the coming years.

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Quarterback Tiered Rankings and Analysis

Examining rankings for different positions is a good way to know who to target in fantasy drafts, even as far away as the season seems. At RotoBaller, we go a step further and provide you with tiers to help determine where the major breaks in production lie.

With this in mind, our updated consensus ranks and tiers for all league types are online to help make these determinations easier for you, our readers.

Below, you will find the tier position as well as ranks which have been computed using the beliefs of our great expert rankers. Following this, please find a highlighted player in each of the top tiers as well as a few late tier gems which may prove to be the next Patrick Mahomes from 2018 or Lamar Jackson from 2019.

 

QB Tiers and Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Lamar Jackson 18 3
2 1 Patrick Mahomes 27 3
3 2 Dak Prescott 49 4
4 2 Kyler Murray 51 4
5 2 Russell Wilson 54 5
6 3 Deshaun Watson 63 5
7 3 Josh Allen 66 5
8 3 Drew Brees 67 5
9 3 Matt Ryan 74 5
10 3 Aaron Rodgers 76 6
11 3 Carson Wentz 84 6
12 3 Tom Brady 86 6
13 3 Matthew Stafford 94 7
14 4 Ryan Tannehill 101 7
15 4 Baker Mayfield 106 7
16 4 Ben Roethlisberger 107 7
17 4 Daniel Jones 111 7
18 4 Jared Goff 122 8
19 5 Jimmy Garoppolo 135 9
20 5 Kirk Cousins 140 9
21 5 Philip Rivers 142 9
22 5 Drew Lock 148 9
23 5 Joe Burrow 150 9
24 6 Sam Darnold 158 10
25 6 Ryan Fitzpatrick 177 11
26 6 Teddy Bridgewater 180 11
27 7 Gardner Minshew II 181 11
28 7 Derek Carr 186 11
29 7 Tyrod Taylor 227 13
30 7 Jarrett Stidham 241 13
31 8 Dwayne Haskins 243 13
32 8 Mitch Trubisky 260 14
33 8 Nick Foles 268 14
34 8 Cam Newton 273 15
35 9 Justin Herbert 288 15
36 9 Tua Tagovailoa 292 15
37 9 Jameis Winston 315 16
38 9 Marcus Mariota 342 16
39 9 Andy Dalton 352 17
40 9 Jacoby Brissett 365 17
41 10 Kyle Allen 382 17
42 10 Taysom Hill 384 18
43 10 Jalen Hurts 450 18

 

Tier One

The players in this tier are well known. They are the last two NFL MVPs and they are currently the best quarterbacks in the game. Lamar Jackson has a clear advantage when it comes to rushing. On the other hand, Patrick Mahomes has the better overall offense. Mahomes also has a more sustainable skill and the ability to throw the ball to some of the best receivers in the NFL.

Lamar Jackson and his 1,100 rushing yards is nice. It is also far less of a sure thing to repeat itself than the yards and TD put up by Mahomes in Kansas City. In two full seasons as the starter for the Chiefs, Mahomes has put up 318.6 and 287.9 y/g passing. He has also passed for 76 TD to only 17 INT during those seasons. With Lamar Jackson having a historic season as it related to QB rushing yards, he is sure to regress a bit. For these reasons, Mahomes is the safer choice in drafts. His upside is just as high, but his floor is not near as low.

Saying this, if you want to get either one, it will cost you. That price will not only be a second or third-round draft pick. It will also cost you an elite asset at another position. This is a decision you as an individual player need to make. Whichever one you choose though, unless injury occurs, they will not cost you a season.

 

Tier Two

Not quite in the top tier but much less cost prohibitive are the trio of QB we have in the second tier. Each one has a great upside as well as concerns to look at. So, which one has the least warts?

Although many are going to be scared off by the dismal season had by Baker Mayfield in 2019 in the same scenario, for my money, Kyler Murray is the choice to come out on top of this grouping of talented QBs.

Not only does he have arguably the best WR in DeAndre Hopkins to go along with a suddenly good run game behind Kenyan Drake. Murray also has something which Mayfield did not - an offensive line that was not just pieced together last minute but was in fact improved in the offseason. The re-signing of D.J. Humphries and the drafting of Joshua Jones from Houston is a big upgrade. It is set to allow Murray to make plays with his arms as well as his legs.

With an improved line in 2020, look for Murray to excel further as a runner too. Behind a less than stellar line in 2019, Murray still scampered for four TD while averaging 5.8 rushes and 34 rush yards/game. He also has a rocket of an arm which allowed him to throw for 3,722 yards as a rookie. Only one season after another rookie in Josh Rosen managed only 2,278 yards.

Larry Fitzgerald is older but still a good slot receiver with great hands and Christian Kirk along with Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler bring a younger dimension. This wasn't present last year for the rookie wideouts as Isabella only caught nine passes in 15 games as a rookie and Butler missed his initial season with a hand injury. Although risky for sure as a top-five QB selection, Kyler Murray is a solid play to leap into the tier one conversation for 2021 and beyond.

 

Tier Three

We could talk about Deshaun Watson and how this may be too high for him. Especially after losing his best weapon, only to be replaced by a broken-down RB who would have been given to the team for free if asked. Instead, we are going to talk about Drew Brees.

Brees is coming off a season in which he was on pace to have 40 TD and only four INT had he played all 16 games. He now also gets some new weapons to play with in the final phase of his career.

Alvin Kamara was a shell of himself last season. Although he managed 82 receptions for the third straight season to start his career, his TD production dropped from 14 all the way to five. As it was evident, he was playing through injury. With Kamara back healthy leading the charge, the running game will be back among the best.

In the passing game, everything was sent through Michael Thomas as shown by his 149 receptions in 2019. He will still be the Alpha this season and he will easily get the 12 receptions needed to break the record for any player in their first four seasons. Only now, he does not have to do it all by himself.

Emmanuel Sanders arrives from San Francisco to provide the best complement Thomas has had since taking over the number one role with the trade of Brandin Cooks. The 26% share Sanders achieved in the pass game with the 49ers will likely not repeat itself in New Orleans. Just the threat of him on the other side though, will open things for Thomas as well as Jared Cook. This will allow Brees to find open receivers more often. As the most accurate QB in NFL history, this is something Brees and your fantasy team will feast doing.

 

Tier Four

What a difference a year makes. Last season, Aaron Rodgers was in the conversation for the number one overall QB. This season, he barely cracks the top 10 at the position. The Packers did not give him any help either with their “unique” draft strategy of no WR in a historically good WR draft.

With a limited receiving group to throw to, one even more depleted by the injury to Davante Adams for four full weeks, Rodgers still managed 4,002 pass yards and willed the Packers to a 13-3 record and a number two seed in the NFC playoffs. With Adams hopefully healthy for a full season, he can return to the player he was from 2016-2018 in which he had 12 TD each season while averaging 135.3 targets and 86.7 receptions.

The real question is what we can expect from Rodgers in 2020? Are we going to see the determined, mad-at-the-world Rodgers who can put up 40 TD? Or will we see someone who is checked out on the season due to the team's apparent dismissal of him going forward? The former is much more likely knowing Rodgers' attitude.

 

Tier Five

Matthew Stafford was the QB2 in fantasy before injuries forced him out last season. In those eight games, Stafford managed 19 TD to only five INT while averaging 312.4 yards.

He still has a strong supporting cast that could keep him in the QB1 fantasy conversation. Kenny Golladay came into his own last season with 65 receptions and 11 TD while averaging 18.3 yards/reception. In the absence of Marvin Jones, with a lineup of bad backup quarterbacks throwing to him, he finished as the WR six for fantasy while also reaching his highest snap share of his career at 87%. Kerryon Johnson is a good RB. He is unfortunately injury plagued so the Lions solidified the position by using their second-round draft pick on D'Andre Swift, a multi-faceted back out of Georgia.

The returning Stafford clearly has an improved set of skill players around him. This will be important as the NFC North is becoming more offensive focused and less focused on the defenses of past years. If Matthew Stafford can find the magic, he had only a season ago before injury, he could be the highest finisher at QB in this division. But whether he gets into the top five at the position again or not, a late-round flier is not much collateral to use to find out.

 

Tier Six

Last season was not great for Philip Rivers. He had only 23 TD to go along with 20 picks for the Chargers as they crumpled to a 5-11 record. This led the team to release the iron man veteran in favor of Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert.

As sad as it was to see Rivers leave Southern California, he landed in a great spot in Indianapolis. Not only does he still have a solid returning RB in Marlon Mack, he also got the best RB in the draft in Jonathan Taylor as well. Add this to playing behind what could be the best offensive line in the NFL and things are coming up roses for a bounce back season. One that could get even better if he gets 2,091 yards to move ahead of Dan Marino into fifth place on the all-time pass yardage list.

If T.Y. Hilton can come back into form after a 2019 where he only played in 10 games with 45 receptions, Rivers could have the WR1 he has been used to with Keenan Allen. Incoming rookie Michael Pittman Jr. can provide a solid threat as well as a big-bodied red zone player at 6’4 and 225 pounds.  Jack Doyle may not be the athlete of Hunter Henry or Antonio Gates. But we know the reliance Rivers places on the tight end position. This makes Doyle a dangerous play at a mediocre position. If the team can get anything out of second year slot receiver Parris Campbell, this would be an added and somewhat unexpected bonus.

While it may be difficult for Rivers as his off-season preparation has obviously been detoured. Not only is he a veteran and able to adjust, he is also headed into a system of familiarity. He worked with Frank Reich in San Diego for three seasons before he moved on to Kansas City.

Do not sleep on veterans in your fantasy draft. Not only are there going to be good values like Rivers in the double-digit rounds. Some of them have also improved their position based on new teams. It also leaves your early round picks free to attack more important positions like grabbing an elite RB or WR.

 

Late-Tier Fliers

If it were a certainty Cam Newton would find a team, he would be an easy pick to talk about this low in drafts. With his future employment uncertain, we need to turn in another direction for a flier.

There are a few candidates we could talk about. Some like Teddy Bridgewater while others think he is set to be a one-year bridge QB. So, let us take him out of the mix as well. With P.J. Walker coming in from the XFL, Matt Rhule may turn to him if things start going bad quickly in hopes of landing that coveted top pick for Trevor Lawrence.

What about Jarrett Stidham? Sure, he only played sparingly in 2019, a stint where he did not show well. And yes, he is taking over for a legend in Tom Brady, a situation that rarely turns out well for the next man up. Still, something is there. Bill Belichick sees it and he showed his belief with his actions during the draft and the off season. Or we should say his inactions. They brought back Brian Hoyer as a backup because he knows the system and is a great mentor for the young Stidham. But he poses no real threat to him.

The weapons for sure leave a lot to be desired in New England. Julian Edelman is getting older although still a top 24 player at the position. Sony Michel has been a relative disappointment. With James White and Rex Burkhead also there, the run game will be solid enough to help the young QB progress. Even in the season when Brady tore his ACL, the team was able to ride Matt Cassel, a player who had not started a game since high school, to an 11-5 record. With Stidham having a full season behind Brady, not to mention the trust of Belichick, He could be a flier worth taking with the last pick of your fantasy draft.

There are not any clear cut late-round fliers like we have seen in recent years. Both players in our top tier Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes come to mind. Even Mr. Late Round QB himself, J.J. Zachariason. has stated that fliers at the position are getting harder and harder to count on as rushing QBs continue to make their mark. This means taking a shot this late, on any player, is a crap shoot.

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Talent Wasted: Rookies in Bad Landing Spots for Redraft

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, CeeDee Lamb, D'Andre Swift, Jerry Jeudy. We will not be talking about these players here. Those players can be contributors no matter the situation due to talent. Instead, we will focus on the rookies who landed in bad situations for fantasy football and may not be able to recover. Of course, things can change in the blink of an eye in the NFL. A bad team could suddenly surge or a player can be unexpectedly traded. For now, however, these are not the best situations to start their careers.

All rookies come into the league hoping, praying they are the next Adrian Peterson or Calvin Johnson. Most will not achieve these lofty goals. Some due to injury, others due to the team situation surrounding them.

With this in mind, let us now take a look at some of the rookies who start their careers behind the eight-ball.

 

Justin Herbert (QB, LAC)

The mobility is there. So is the cannon arm. What else is there to worry about? For the 2020 season, there is Tyrod Taylor.

Of course, Herbert could pull a Baker Mayfield and come in early, never to relinquish the job. Unlike in Cleveland, Herbert is not coming in to be a savior. He is coming into a situation where the team knows what they want to do. They also have a coach with a limited time-frame to make a Super Bowl run with the roster that's in place.

Justin Herbert may be more talented than Taylor but the veteran gives the Chargers the best chance to win this season. Tyrod Taylor will never throw for 4,615 yards like Philip Rivers did in 2019. He is also not going to throw 20 INT like Rivers did. He will scramble out of the pocket and make plays, something Herbert is capable of but may need to sit and learn to do effectively as a pro.

This one pains me to admit because I really like Herbert as a player. But for 2020 he is at best a YOLO late-round draft pick.

When it comes to dynasty leagues, he is also tricky to gauge. The Chargers should belong to Herbert in 2021. What will be left on the team is the biggest question. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry are all free agents after this season. Not to mention the defense which could lose Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III. After going all in for this season, the team may be demolished and rebuilt starting next season. This may not be good for a QB to function. With Austin Ekeler the only weapon remaining in the fold, Los Angeles may turn to a new philosophy as a more balanced run-pass team as opposed to letting the QB fling it all over the field.

His future value varies greatly on the format. If you are in a Superflex or two-QB league, he is still in consideration at the tail-end of round one. If you are in a single-QB format, Herbert should remain on the board much longer than he did in the NFL Draft. Perhaps even into the third-round.

 

Tee Higgins (WR, CIN)

As with all the others on this list, the wasteland determination is based mainly on redraft leagues. This is the same for the 6’4 220-pound receiver from Clemson.

He lands in a spot where he will be able to connect and grow with another rookie in Joe Burrow. But he also comes into a team with a duo of good receivers in front of him in A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. If Green can remain healthy for the 2020 season, he is the clear number one receiver in Cincinnati. He also plays the same position as the rookie, meaning Higgins will learn, but it may be more so from the sideline than on the field.

Before being injured most of the past two seasons, Green had five straight seasons of 1,000 receiving yards. He was one of the best WRs in the NFL and he hopes to be again as he tries to get a new contract somewhere.

Higgins hurt himself in the process by not working out at the Combine. He luckily was one of the few to get his Pro Day in, but the results there also left a lot to be desired. His 4.56 40-yard dash on his home field (which some say tends to be 39 yards) did not improve his chances of going in round one.

If he had ended up in San Francisco or even Green Bay, he would be an immediate stud. In this offense, it will take a season or two before he gets his shot to excel.

When it comes to 2020 drafts, Higgins is a late-round flier at best and not draft-worthy at worst. In dynasty leagues, he is clearly behind a number of other receivers including Jeudy, Lamb and Michael Pittman Jr. He should likely be taken as a double-digit pick in the first-round or better yet, the early second-round. The potential is there and the upside with Joe Burrow is clear. Just be patient with him and the rebuilding franchise.

 

Henry Ruggs III (WR, LV)

How can the number one receiver off the draft board be in a bad spot? Well, because he was drafted by the Raiders. New city, same philosophy of speed kills.

Ruggs is more than just speed. Unlike someone such as Darrius Heyward-Bey, Ruggs can actually catch the ball. In three seasons at Alabama, the speedy Ruggs caught 98 passes and turned 24 of them into a TD. He also raised his yards per catch from 11.6 as a freshman up to 18.7 during his junior season.

At 5’11 and 190 pounds, he is not the biggest guy. But he is also not what you would consider extremely small. His hands are incredible, and he has one trait you cannot teach. 4.27 speed. There's a reason Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden fell in love with him and some fantasy owners will too:

So why no love for him in fantasy? Two reasons: Derek Carr and Marcus Mariota.

I have all the faith in the world of Ruggs' ability. He is more physical than other receivers his size. He was the alpha in the Crimson Tide WR room according to Jerry Jeudy. So, the determination and attitude are there. But the lack of any deep touch from either QB who could potentially start is frightening. The Raiders in 2019 had the same deep threat in Tyrell Williams. In 14 games, he accounted for 42 receptions, 651 yards and six touchdowns. These are not great numbers for someone making $11 million per season let alone a first-round draft pick. He is also not going anywhere which means these reps at the Z position will be split between both Ruggs and Williams.

Darren Waller had a breakout season in 2019 and along with returning first-year stars Hunter Renfrow and Josh Jacobs, Ruggs will find it difficult to get the volume needed to be a true fantasy contributor.

If you are drafting him in redraft leagues, he should not be taken any higher than the eighth round. Do not get caught up in the rookie hype. It usually does not end well when it comes to receivers. In dynasty leagues, it's a different story because the talent is clear so he can be considered a late first-round pick. As with redraft leagues, do not expect an elite first season but do not throw in the towel with him either.

 

Cole Kmet (TE, CHI)

On the bright side, he does not need to move far from South Bend to Chicago. This may in fact be the only positive about the tight end being drafted at number 43 by the Bears.

Not only does he come into a situation in which the quarterback is undetermined, but whichever one they choose is not great. Yes, Nick Foles has had some wonderful seasons and a memorable postseason run. His 27-TD, two-INT season back in 2013 was great. Leading the Eagles to an improbable win against the Patriots in Super Bowl LII was even better. Unfortunately, those were not the only two seasons he played. The others were not nearly as good and Foles couldn't beat out rookie Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville last year.

The other option is Mitchell Trubisky, who cannot get out of his own way. Coming into the league after starting only one season at UNC, Trubisky has not progressed in any manner. This hurts the development of all his weapons.

Finally, and most importantly. Kmet joins a TE room in Chicago whose only rival in terms of numbers is a Jon Gruden QB room. Actually, I think they may be over the limit for people allowed in a confined space at the moment, so be careful. If he ever does get on the field over the likes of Jimmy Graham, Demetrius Harris, Adam Shaheen, and others, he still has the quarterback situation to deal with.

A good thing about the TE position is most of them take two or even three seasons to come into their own. By this time, both Trubisky and Foles will likely be gone. Maybe they'll be replaced with the likes of Justin Fields in the 2021 draft. Either way, the pain should subside soon. As long as he can prove himself as the best of the bunch for the Bears, the dynasty future could be alright. He should be a consideration late in the second or third round of rookie drafts.

As for 2020? Kmet is not worth drafting and will not likely be a priority waiver add at any point in the season either.

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Jordan Love's Future in Green Bay

Hours before the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday, Aaron Rodgers told Pat McAfee on radio that the Packers have not taken a skill position player in 15 years. He said he would be happy with any skill player at this point. Well, he got his wish, sort of. Instead of taking a player to help the 36-year old Rodgers, they took his possible replacement in Jordan Love from Utah State.

This may not be the best move for Aaron Rodgers who is a year older than Brett Favre was when he was drafted. The Packers need to look at what is best for the team though, not what is best for a prickly quarterback who is on the back end of a Hall of Fame career.

It would have been nice for Green Bay to draft a WR for Rodgers to throw to, of course. But the pick of Love makes more sense for the franchise long-term. So, congratulations to the team for doing the right thing here. The question we now have to try to answer is, what does this mean for Jordan Love based on a surprising landing spot?

 

The Player

We all know the arm strength is there. At 6’3" and 225 pounds, the size is also there. Here's a look at his PlayerProfiler graph:

His size is very comparable to Aaron Rodgers. Love is one inch taller than Rodgers and is the same weight. Another similarity is the arm strength both possess in spades. Rodgers has used his arm talent as well as his athleticism to become a two-time MVP and two-time All-Pro selection. This, after sitting behind Brett Favre for multiple years and learning his craft. If Jordan Love is going to succeed, he is going to do the exact same thing behind Aaron Rodgers.

After starting as a freshman and compiling 1,635 pass yards with eight TD and six INT, Love had his real breakout in 2018. In that season, he threw for 3,567 yards with 32 TD and six INT again.

After the 2018 season where he dominated the Mountain West Conference, he lost his head coach, Matt Wells, and the entire coaching staff to Texas Tech. Not only did he lose his coaches, he also lost his top four offensive linemen, top two receivers and his starting running back. Unlike a school like Alabama or Georgia, Utah State cannot easily replace all of these parts. It was therefore expected for Love to take a step back.

With all-new surroundings during his final season with the Aggies, Love only managed 20 TD while leading the country with 17 INT in a disappointing final season in school. Despite the down season, Love rightly decided it was a better time for him to come out than waiting until next season and competing with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields in the 2021 draft class.

After running a 4.74 40-yard dash with a 94.1 SPARQ-X score placing him in the 63rd percentile, it seemingly worked out for him as he was taken in the first round. He also goes to a great team that is always in the playoff hunt. As long as he is willing to learn and Aaron Rodgers is willing to teach, this could be a great place for Jordan Love.

In his final season in college, Love also ran for 175 yards. This shows an ability that is becoming more and more coveted in the NFL. Even the rocket-armed Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen have the ability to do so. It was key to the success of both the Chiefs and Bills in 2019. If Love ends up replacing Rodgers in a couple of years, it will need to be a part of his overall game as well. Otherwise, he may end up in the long list of physically-gifted QBs who just never worked out. Jeff George, JaMarcus Russell and the like. It is obvious he has the traits to succeed in the NFL. In Green Bay, we now have to determine if he has found the right fit.

 

The Future

There is no need to discuss Jordan Love as far as a redraft league is concerned. He is not going to beat out Aaron Rodgers this season or next season. The huge contract of Rodgers makes it impossible for this to happen. Even if Rodgers gets injured, Love may be far from ready for NFL action in 2020. This does not mean he has no value though. If you are playing in a dynasty league, Love could now become a good value at a low draft price.

Top selections Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow are going to go much higher in rookie drafts. Love, on the other hand, is going to be looked at as someone who went to a bad spot and will be moved down draft boards. If you can get him in the third or fourth round of a rookie draft, I would be excited to do so. Look at what you would have had for the past 12 seasons if you had drafted and stored Aaron Rodgers. Or what you are now getting from Patrick Mahomes - a player we knew would not start his first season.

From 2007 until 2014, Rodgers had 8.1 yards per pass attempt. Since that time, his average has gone down to 7.2 yards. Blame Matt Lafleur and the new offense, but the fact is that Rodgers is gradually declining. Jordan Love, even with his bad 2019 season included, has a career average of 7.9 yards per attempt. Of course, college is not the same as the NFL but he also did not have the receivers like Davante Adams either.

While others are low on Jordan Love due to the landing spot or shaky 2019 season, I am trying to think positive. Sure, he will not play for a year or two. But it will give him a great chance to learn behind one of the best ever and enter a great situation when his turn comes. Even if Aaron Rodgers does not want to be a teacher, that might not matter. Neither did Brett Favre and look how well Rodgers still turned out. If Love watches and learns, he will come out on the other side an even better option for both the Packers and more importantly, your dynasty team.

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Early 2020 Sleepers: Wide Receiver

The rookie class is great for receivers in 2020. At least this is what we have been told. Until we can see them in action, I will hold judgment. It was only a few years ago when the same was said for Corey Coleman, Laquon Treadwell and Josh Doctson. So, color me skeptical until it is proven. One thing for certain is there are some players already in the league who will go overlooked in drafts until very late.

Of course, not all of these will work out as well as a DeVante Parker in 2019. Nonetheless, they will still have value of some sort. Whether this is as a WR3 or possibly a WR2 for fantasy purposes.

Getting one or more of these players late in drafts is the key to a successful season. Everyone knows, or thinks they know, the top players at every position. It is important to find the hidden gems to get the edge and hopefully win a championship. So, let’s look at some players who might just be that diamond in the rough. As with all of these early-season predictions, Free agency and the draft will have a major impact on these and all other players.

 

Robby Anderson (WR, CAR)

Anderson landed with the Carolina Panthers on a two-year, $20 million deal. He'll be paired with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who doesn't have a great deep ball, but he's accurate. Look for Anderson's career average of 14.8 yards per catch to come down a bit, but he could test his 63-catch career high.

In 16 games in 2019 with a litany of bad quarterbacks due to Sam Darnold contracting mono, Anderson compiled totals of 52 catches for 779 yards and five touchdowns. On an offense run by Adam Gase, and with one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL, these numbers were respectable.

Until 2019, Anderson was never over 90 percent in snap rate while on the Jets. In fact, he had never been higher than 78 percent for his career before this past season. Going back to 75 percent to 80 percent could be good for him. As a big 6-foot-3 downfield receiving threat, he will stretch the field. To be able to draft him in the double-digit rounds of fantasy drafts and get the production you can expect from him? This is the type of move you find on many championship-winning rosters.

 

Cole Beasley (WR, BUF)

The addition of Stefon Diggs is great for Buffalo. It is great for Josh Allen in general. Any time you can add top route runner in the NFL, things can only get better for the offense.

Beasley, in 2019 finished with 67 receptions for 778 yards and six touchdowns as the slot receiver in Buffalo. At 5-foot-8 and 174 pounds, there is no chance of him moving outside to be a downfield threat or anything more than what he is. This means he will again be the slot receiver in 2020. He could again have 106 targets in this offense, and his underneath routes will open things up downfield for Diggs. They are still a run-first offense.  With John Brown and Diggs stretching the field, Beasley could turn into Allen’s version of Julian Edelman or Wes Welker.

After the good season Brown had in 2019 and the addition of Diggs, Beasley is going to be the forgotten man when it comes to drafts. But it is quite possible, he is the highest fantasy finisher at season's end. So, don’t sleep on him too long. You might just miss out on a WR2 for fantasy if you do.

 

Diontae Johnson (WR, PIT)

We saw last season the Steelers need more than one receiver to be successful. Of course, they also need Ben Roethlisberger.

JuJu Smith-Schuster cannot do it alone, and James Washington has been disappointing up to this point in his career. This leaves the third-round pick in last year’s draft in Johnson.

We have yet to be able to see what Johnson can do with Big Ben. After a rookie season in which he managed to play in all 16 games and come down with 59 catches and five TDs, the possibilities look bright. Looking back just two seasons, with a healthy Roethlisberger behind center, Washington was only able to manage 16 catches. Of course, he also had to deal with Antonio Brown. Even last season, in the same situation as Johnson, Washington managed 44 receptions. Johnson was clearly the No. 2 target in the offense. With another offseason to get acclimated he will solidify himself in this role for 2020.

Although this season will be far different than any we have ever seen. Both in the NFL and otherwise, this is the time we really need to look to last season for guidance. Johnson broke out in his rookie season, with the offseason practices in limbo, it is clear, Johnson has the inside track to be the man behind Juju for Big Ben as he comes back for another season. If you are having best-ball drafts now, Johnson is a player to grab late in all of them. If you are waiting for your fantasy drafts in August, his name is likely to get some buzz and you will need to draft him a bit higher. He will still be worth a ninth-round pick as he has the ability to finish as a WR3 or maybe a low-end WR2 in this offense.

 

Hunter Renfrow (WR, LVR)

Renfrow had a quietly good rookie season in 2019. He was able to connect with Derek Carr to the tune of 49 receptions, 605 yards and four touchdowns in only 13 games. The offense did not do much to add in this offseason. Yes, this includes adding Nelson Agholor from Philadelphia. The core group coming back is the same mismatched crew that was there last season. Led by Tyrell Williams, Zay Jones and Darren Waller, there is no real challenger to Renfrow taking a step forward.

Neither Marcus Mariota nor Carr is known for chucking the ball downfield. Both would rather dump it down and live to play another day. This makes a player like Renfrow, who is a possession receiver, much more valuable. Much like Cole Beasley in Buffalo and the newly signed Emmanuel Sanders in New Orleans.

Renfrow is not someone who will threaten top-12 status in fantasy football scoring. What he is, though, is a player likely to outproduce his draft position by quite a wide margin. Whether this means ending as a WR3 or WR4 is to be determined. But as a player you can grab as the last positional player in your draft, either of these outcomes is a great return on investment for you.

Not everyone can grab DeAndre Hopkins or Michael Thomas. But everyone can take a chance on a late-round pick like Renfrow. A player who, if he hits, changes a fantasy football team.

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Early 2020 Breakouts: Running Back

Breakouts happen every season for fantasy football. Sometimes they are expected and other times they are complete surprises. If you have one of these players, it is even more exciting than hitting on a first-round pick. If you are going against one of these players, it is like drafting David Johnson in the first round. Either way, they bring your emotions to the forefront.

Some of these players were sleepers just last season. Some of them started their ascent last season and will only continue it in 2020. Whether the player falls into category A or category B does not matter. What matters is getting that player onto your team, so he is helping you.

As we look at the running back position, it is important to realize this is the position with the most injuries throughout the season. This means that as good as someone may be at picking players, even they cannot account for a season-ending injury. It is also important to note that most if not all teams are going to a committee back system. This means as good as these players may perform, they are not likely to get the rushing volume of a player from just 10 years ago. Luckily, a lot of these players now also catch the ball, something not seen much a decade ago. Let's look at some players set to truly breakout in 2020. Of course, as with all of these early-season predictions, free agency and the draft could have a major effect on these and all players.

 

Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

In a league of uncertainties, one thing is clear. If you pay a running back, you can expect him to get the ball. Of course, this excludes Todd Gurley II.

With the four-year, $24.5 million contracts signed by Ekeler, he is ticketed for lead back duties in 2020. Melvin Gordon III is now a Denver Bronco after he played his hand last season and lost badly.

In 2019, Ekeler had only 132 rushes on the season. This was over 70 rushes lower than any other player who finished as a top-five RB last season for fantasy. He also finished with only three rushing touchdowns. He did this damage, or lack thereof, behind a terrible offensive line in Los Angeles which they hope to improve this offseason. It may have already improved a bit with the trade with Carolina for Trai Turner.

The real key to the success of Ekeler is his impressive pass-catching abilities. In his three seasons in the NFL, he has 158 receptions. This was punctuated in 2019 by a season of 92 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns. Not only did the receiving numbers not go down after the return of Gordon in Week 5, they actually went up as this became his primary role in the offense.

With Philip Rivers out, the team will turn to either Tyrod Taylor or a rookie behind center. Either way, they will rely on Ekeler to be a key component of what the team does and its success on the field. With an improved offensive line and a new quarterback, look for Ekeler to be a player who repeats a top-six fantasy finish, maybe even higher should he get to 200 carries along with his 90-reception potential.

 

Marlon Mack, Indianapolis Colts

Everyone loved Mack and the Colts offense last preseason. Then Andrew Luck retired and the whole season went to hell. Despite this, as well as missing two games, Mack still gathered up 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns on 247 carries for the Colts.

In 2020, Indianapolis should be more settled at the quarterback position with Philip Rivers now the team's signal-caller. Rivers has a comfort level with the coaching staff, having worked with Frank Reich in his San Diego days. Besides the comfort level, the offensive line for the Colts is arguably the best in the NFL. For a pocket passer like Rivers, this is important as he will have the time to find his guys. Marlon Mack will be one of those guys.

While Mack is not a proficient pass-catching back, this helps a bit for him to break out. He is a good candidate to sneakily gain his 1,000 yards and possibly get to double-digit touchdowns with a better quarterback. He will also slide a bit in drafts as he is not a sexy name who is a key cog in the passing game like a Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler.

Whereas those players are going to be taken in the first or second round, you should be able to get Mack in at least the third and very likely the fourth round. Not only does this limit the downside of a crash it also gives you a stronger team as he could be your RB2 with a player like Ekeler or McCaffrey to go along with a top-tier wide receiver.

The likelihood of Mack failing in value is low. The offensive line as stated is great and the quarterback position has been upgraded. The only thing keeping him from truly busting out to this point is injury. He has missed eight games in his first three seasons. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of football. But I would much rather have a fourth-round pick who has missed eight games in three seasons than take an even greater chance on a high first-round pick who has missed almost an entire season and struggled to come back the following season.

 

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

The committee back of all committee backs in 2019. Whether it was Jordan Howard or Boston Scott alongside him, the Eagles were steadfast to their committee. This may change in the coming season.

The Boston Scott story was nice. He was a great play in DFS late in the season. But he was used out of need, not talent. This means while he has room on the team, his role will not be as solid as you may think. Add to this the departure of Howard, who signed with the Miami Dolphins last month, and a breakout is visible for Miles Sanders.

In his rookie season, it took a while for Sanders to catch on in the Philadelphia offense When he did catch on it was more so due to his hands in the receiving game. Coming out of Penn State, no one knew if he was a three-down back. This is said for most college backs as they are not utilized the same way in college as they are in the NFL. He showed that, like his predecessor in happy valley Saquon Barkley, he too has the hands to be a three-down back.

Playing in 16 games and starting 11, Sanders still had 50 receptions on 63 targets for 509 yards and three touchdowns. In a split backfield with Howard and Scott, he also managed 818 yards on 179 rushes. This is a fine rookie season and showed the potential for him to be a workhorse back.

He is not as big as Derrick Henry and not as explosive as Christian McCaffrey, but he has a bit of both to him. This makes him a great pick in the third round of fantasy drafts and even the second if you really want him. He has never had the injury risk of others and for those worried about tread in college lingering to the pros, remember, he was behind Barkley, so he only played one year as the starter in college.

 

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills

Singletary is the poster boy for the NFL Scouting Combine being overrated as a measurement. If his 4.6 40-yard dash time did not scare you off, his small frame at 5’7" probably did. And this is what we call overreaction.

As we finish up talking about players who look to break out, we turn to yet another young player. This, of course, is because older players have either broken out or are what they are. Marlon Mack and Austin Ekeler are both entering their fourth seasons in the NFL. Both Sanders and Singletary head into their second. This is especially important at the running back position where 30 is pretty much the cut-off. Unlike receivers and quarterbacks who play until the mid to late 30s, a running back is on a short-term plan and has a very limited peak to speak of.

Devin Singletary could be the next of these young guys to gain a foothold and carry a team. He has solid catching ability and with Frank Gore unlikely to return, should have the backfield to himself. At least for the most part.

Another key that plays in his favor? Josh Allen. Sure, Allen is not the most accurate thrower of the ball. But he is a runner. This helps the run game a lot. Defenses can not just lockdown on the running back as they will get demolished by a good running quarterback. Lamar Jackson was a large factor in the success of Mark Ingram in Baltimore in 2019. The same will be true for Singletary in Buffalo in 2020.

Add to this the team wanting to run the ball behind a litany of new linemen and the opportunity will also be there for him to be successful.

Of all the players listed, Singletary will likely be the last one to be drafted. Deservedly so. Playing in only 12 games due to a concussion, Singletary only carried the ball 151 times. While this is 19 more than Ekeler, his receiving numbers were not the same only catching 29 balls for 194 yards compared to Ekeler’s 92 for 993. While he also did not reach the 1.000 yards of Mack or even the 800 of Sanders, this was again, due to the four games missed. In the games he did play, his 5.1 yards/rush was the best of all of the players listed here.

Much like Marlon Mack, I would not want Singletary as my RB1. But as an RB2 in the fourth or fifth round he makes a wonderful draft pick. He will easily be a top-20 back this coming season and has the upside to finish as a top-10 back, far outdoing his draft price.

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Browns 2.0? A Cautionary Tale for the 2020 Arizona Cardinals

We all remember what happened last season in Cleveland. The excitement was there and so were the weapons. Or so we thought.

As with anything in life, things do not always turn out the way we think they will. The team which is supposed to win doesn’t. The player who was supposed to make the big plays doesn’t. In the case of the 2019 Cleveland Browns, it was both of these things and more. The Browns are a cautionary tale of over-confidence, immaturity, and bad coaching all coming together to ruin a lot of fantasy teams.

Coming into the 2020 season we have another team that fits the same bill - the Arizona Cardinals. They have the weapons and should dominate for fantasy. So why shouldn't we trust them? Taking a look at some of the similarities and, more importantly, the differences in the two teams is key to figuring out this conundrum before the drafts get started and we make bad decisions again.

 

The Similarities

Off the field, both teams have general managers who have been less than stellar at their jobs. In the case of John Dorsey, it cost him his job. If things do not go right for the Cardinals, the same could be said for Steve Keim after this coming season. The Cards had to burn two early first-round picks to find their QB of the future and still have plenty of work to do in this year's draft in order to become a winning team.

Turning to the field, the similarities are startling. Both teams will entrust their offenses to a second-year quarterback drafted at No. 1 overall. With so much hype surrounding the teams, both Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray will be top-10 fantasy picks at the position in drafts. In the case of Mayfield, we saw what this led to as he finished at QB20, something I am sure all of his owners remember. As for Murray, we will have to wait and see where he finishes this season. Although based on current ADP, we had better hope it is in the top three.

The next way these two teams mirror themselves is also strikingly obvious. They both traded for an elite receiver. One who will come in and give their young QB a reliable option in hopes of moving them forward as they grow. With Odell Beckham Jr., the Browns found a diva whom they thought they could rein in with his best friend Jarvis Landry already being on the team. In Arizona, the Cardinals stole DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans to pair with their own slot receiver in Larry Fitzgerald. A consummate professional if there ever was one.

While the trade for Hopkins certainly could be the heist it appears to be, don’t forget. The same was being said about what the Browns gave the Giants last season. Not all trades are as lopsided as they appear on the surface.

Battling through injury in 2019, Beckham finished as the WR36 after being a first-round draft pick. Despite playing all 16 games, Beckham had only 1,035 yards and four touchdowns on 74 receptions. This is a far cry from even the season before. A season in which he caught 77 passes for 1,052 yards in only 12 games. The only good thing about last season for Beckham? It was the first time in his career he played in all 16 games. Oh, and he got to wear a $180,000 watch on the field then whine when people asked him about it. So, there was that.

If there is one way in which Hopkins is far better than Beckham it is in this area. He is consistently on the field each and every week. As they say, the greatest ability is reliability. Hopkins has this ability in spades. This is a great base for Arizona to work with for many years to come. It is also good for us as Hopkins, like Beckham last season, will be a first-round draft pick again. Beckham himself has likely slipped to the third or even fourth round for 2020.

 

The Differences

The first difference between the two teams is coaching. Kliff Kingsbury is still young entering his second NFL season. But he has already been a head coach in his career. His record of success at the college level does not instill the utmost confidence. His offenses, however, were always in the top 15 and this is all that matters for fantasy anyway. Last season, he came into the desert and behind a rookie QB and terrible offensive line, he was still able to improve the offense.

In the first season under Kingsbury, the 2019 Cardinals ranked 21st in yards per game at 341.7. This was a full 100.1 yards per game more than the 241.6 they averaged in 2018 when they ranked dead last in the NFL in this category.

The Browns, on the other hand, took a shot and missed big-time on a first-time head coach in Freddie Kitchens. Not only was this done to placate Baker Mayfield, but it also led to disaster. The Browns were never able to get going and if not for the run game of Nick Chubb and eventually Kareem Hunt stepping up, their record would have been far worse than the 6-10 they ended at. The disaster led to another firing in Cleveland and it will now be up to Kevin Stefanski to run the team and hopefully help them mature.

There are two other aspects of the teams in which there is a difference. The first of these differences actually benefited the Browns over what the Cardinals will have. As mentioned above, the run game for Cleveland in 2019 was very good. If not for a monster 237 yards from Derrick Henry in Week 17, it would have been Nick Chubb who led the league in rushing yards with his 1,494. Add to this the production added by Kareem Hunt after his return in Week 10 and the leading duo of the Browns rushed for 1,673 yards and also caught a total of 73 receptions on 93 backfield targets. These numbers are going to be better than what Arizona will get from Kenyan Drake and Chase Edmonds in 2020.

Drake was absolutely great after his trade to the Cardinals in 2019. After the trade, he finished as the fantasy RB4 over the rest of the season. But with a banged-up David Johnson gone and a career backup in Edmonds taking his place, the run game is not as good. Even behind what has to be a better offensive line then what was furnished in Cleveland.

The other difference actually favors Arizona. That difference being the receiving group surrounding Kyler Murray. Yes, the Browns had Beckham and Jarvis Landry. But in Arizona, they not only have the elite threat in Hopkins and a good slot in Larry Fitzgerald, but they also have other receivers who can step up. Unlike Antonio Callaway, who is seemingly taking the same path as Antonio Brown, in Arizona they have promising third-year WR Christian Kirk. He is a player who, with Hopkins now taking the coverage away from him, could have the vaunted breakout we tend to see in the year three season.

Along with Kirk, the Cardinals also have two second-year players who could help out the offense. Both Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler had disappointing rookie seasons. Isabella due to lack of usage and Butler due to missing the season with an injury. Both of these players have a chance to step up in the offense. Even if they are unable, the WRs in Arizona are still deeper than the duo which the Browns trotted out in 2019. And for this offense, with a QB who can scramble to make plays, this will be important.

 

Learning from the Past

Of course, none of this means a hill of beans unless the Cardinals can protect Murray, unlike what the Browns did for Mayfield in 2019. The Browns let offensive lineman after offensive lineman walk out the door while hoping the weapons could get open in the split second before Mayfield was crushed or forced to get rid of the ball. This did not turn out well as Mayfield was second only to Jameis Winston with 21 interceptions during the year.

With Arizona having the eighth pick in the upcoming draft, they are likely to take a lineman to pair with re-signed D.J. Humphries to provide this protection to Murray. If they do this, they are already ahead of the Browns of last season.

Whether they are able to learn from the sins of the past will make a difference when it comes to their record. With defending conference champion San Francisco leading the way, followed by strong teams in Seattle and Los Angeles, Arizona may be the best team in NFL history to finish last in their division. As for fantasy? As long as they upgrade that offensive line and as long as they give Kyler Murray a chance to improve, he could be the next in a line of sophomore quarterbacks to win the league MVP. If he does, we will all be cheering on our way to championship glory using his surrounding cast. If he crumbles like Baker did last season? We will again be finding ourselves asking what could have been if only.

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Early 2020 Sleepers - Running Backs

The top players at the running back position are well known. They are tried and true and never fail to live up to the billing. Unless you think players like LeVeon Bell, Todd Gurley II, David Johnson, and Melvin Gordon III disappointed last season. Oh, they did? Well then. Maybe you should be happy there are those other players like Kenyan Drake and Austin Ekeler who helped as sleepers for you.

What is the definition of a sleeper for fantasy football? In its simplest terms, it is a player found late in drafts or undrafted who performs to a level that helps you win a championship. In 2018, we had Phillip Lindsay. In 2019, it was a guy like Kenyan Drake. Coming into this season, it is important to yet again find that player who you can ride to the playoffs. Whether it be a late-round pick, or a waiver wire add, there is always the player who makes the difference for a team. If you had this player, you are excited about the memories. If this player went against you in the playoffs, you may not be so excited yet you still remember.

Looking towards the upcoming 2020 season, let us take a gander and see who is on the horizon to be the player who you can draft late who will provide fantasy goodness, turning that middling team into a contender in the process. As with all early season predictions, free agency and the draft will have a huge impact on these as well as all other players.

 

Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens

He was a darling for draft nerds last season. He was supposed to have a good rookie season and be on his way but it did not turn out that way. Things in the NFL rarely do.

Despite playing in all 16 games, Hill only managed 58 carries for 225 yards. Some of this, of course, has to do with Lamar Jackson taking the league by storm. Some of it also has to do with being behind Mark Ingram II on the depth chart. Nonetheless, only being able to get on the field for 17% of snaps is concerning. With the Ravens being so good in 2019, much of this work came late in games and in Week 17 where they sat everyone after having the No. 1 seed already locked up.

Is Lamar Jackson going to rein it in this season? Probably not. But Ingram is a year older. With an offseason of turmoil likely coming, the younger Hill could be more refreshed coming into the new season. He is also in the second year of his rookie four-year contract. The team will want to see what they have in him before it gets too late. Much like Baltimore has done with others like Kenneth Dixon, they will give him the chance to show it. And the best part of all? He is going to be completely free in drafts. You can even get him off waivers after drafts.

Unlike some of the others on this list, Justice Hill is not a sure thing to even have a minor role in 2020. But with Baltimore running the ball at the highest rate in the NFL, the opportunity could arise. As a sleeper pick, you cannot get much deeper than Justice Hill for your fantasy team.

 

Kareem Hunt, Cleveland Browns

The Browns love Kareem Hunt. This was shown by their second-round tender on the troubled yet talented running back. The tender assures Hunt will be back in a Cleveland uniform in 2020. This could be great for his fantasy value.

The love is still strong for Nick Chubb. After being one of only two RBs to rush for over 1,400 yards last season, it is well deserved. But some love should also be given to his backfield mate Kareem Hunt. After his return from suspension, Hunt played a more than minor role in the Browns offense. He averaged 4.2 yards/carry on 43 attempts but his real talent showed off in the passing game. This is an area in which he excelled to the tune of 37 receptions over those same eight games. This skill added to his rushing ability allowed him to eat into Chubb's work.

Hunt averaged 10 touches per game after his return while being in on over 50% of snaps during that time. Coming into 2020, he will only increase this role as the Browns try to not only keep Nick Chubb healthy but also progress Baker Mayfield back to what he was as a rookie in 2018.

The Browns have already started to rebuild their offensive line. Adding Jack Conklin in free agency was a good start. With another lineman all but certainly coming in the draft, the offense should be much better. Dare I say what they were supposed to be last season? This will be due in large part to the play of Kareem Hunt in complimenting Chubb in the run game.

Hunt is a dynamic player. We saw in his time in Kansas City his ability to lead a team run game to greatness. On the field for only 65% of the offensive snaps in his rookie season, Hunt was still the RB3 for fantasy. In 2018, while playing in only 11 games, he still finished the season as the fantasy RB8. He won’t be asked to carry the full load here. Though if he is, we have evidence to show his ability to do so. As a complementary back, Hunt is still a low-end RB2 for fantasy at worst. If something were to happen to Chubb, he immediately becomes a top-eight fantasy RB. He is the perfect sleeper candidate because he doesn’t need an injury to succeed. But if one happens, he will again become one of the best backs in the NFL.

 

Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions

Talent has never been in question for Kerryon Johnson. Health, on the other hand, has been. We saw what he could do in an abbreviated rookie season. In 10 games in 2018, Johnson averaged 11.8 carries and 3.2 receptions per game. His 5.4 yards/carry led the NFL for players with over 100 attempts and the 32 catches show his ability to be an all-around running back when healthy.

Granted, his 2019 season left something to be desired. His 3.6 yards/carry was pretty bad and only having 10 receptions in eight games was not what we wanted to see. Injuries played a large role in this. The fact Detroit has not added a running back in free agency shows the confidence the team has that he will rebound for 2020.

Last season, Johnson was going in the third round of drafts. With injury concerns lingering, not to mention concerns about the Lions, Johnson will not go this high in 2020. Instead, he will be a starting RB whom you can grab in the fifth or sixth round. This is a great value for a starting RB on any team. So, don’t let him pass you by at this point in drafts. You may not be missing out on an RB1. But you just might be missing out on a solid RB2.

 

Alexander Mattison, Minnesota Vikings

The clear backup to Dalvin Cook, Mattison still showed in his rookie season he has value, especially on a team as run-heavy as the Minnesota Vikings want to be. Cook has not been the epitome of health in his career. Even last season, his healthiest yet, he still gave up work to Mattison due to the sheer volume of the run game.

With Cook getting an average of 17.9 carries/game and adding an additional 3.8 receptions/game you would think it would be silly to draft his backup. Even with those numbers going to Cook, Mattison was still able to pound out 100 carries for 462 yards and catch 10 balls from Kirk Cousins. His 4.6 yards/carry average was a full .5 yards more than Cook’s 4.1.

His nine touches per game are not incredible. But it does show the trust they gave in the rookie directly after coming into the league. With Kevin Stefanski now in Cleveland and Gary Kubiak officially running the offense now, Mattison should see an uptick in work. Huge demand for Mattison in dynasty leagues will not lead to a huge draft price when it comes to redraft season in August.

Getting an RB who can garner you 10 touches or more a game in the double-digit rounds is hard to find. Finding one with this as his floor and RB1 upside if an injury occurs is even rarer. At worst, drafting Alexander Mattison gives you a bye week fill-in and a possible boom flex play. At best, he could be a league changer.

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Early 2020 Best-Ball Draft Strategy

When it comes to draft strategies for fantasy football, there are too many to name. Zero-RB, late-round QB, Value-Based Drafting... whatever you like, it is out there.

Instead of going through all of them, we want to know what the best strategy is to use in early best-ball drafts. It is still quite early, as the NFL Draft has yet to take place, so nobody is holding draft in dynasty or season-long leagues yet (hopefully). That means best-ball is the name of the game, at least until the redraft season officially kicks off with the Scott Fish Bowl expert league in July!

Of course, strategy depends a lot on the scoring aspect of specific leagues, not to mention roster construction. For our purposes here, we will be talking about a general strategy and not about specific players or roster types. I mean, even I can see that the best way to win is to get Christian McCaffrey or Michael Thomas. But not everyone will have the chance to do so. First round aside, what kind of player should you target in your early best-ball drafts?

 

Seek the Studs

Obviously, the best way to win is to draft as many studs as you can. But not all studs are in plain sight. Whether it be a rookie like A.J. Brown having a monster late-season surge or DeVante Parker having a fifth-season breakout, not all studs are seen beforehand. The same goes for Lamar Jackson, who was a league-winner for many fantasy owners. Ideally, you want a top performer at each position that can carry your team on a weekly basis. Easier said than done though.

Some studs don’t work out. JuJu Smith-Schuster was supposed to be a top-five WR in 2019. In case you forgot, he wasn’t and neither was James Conner. So, although you do want to get a mix of studs in place, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket because if that basket falls, all the eggs will break and so will your season. Be careful when stacking offenses in best-ball because you have no waivers to fall back on. Choose your studs wisely - there's no need to take risks early in your draft, even in best-ball.

 

Look for the Signs

First and foremost, look at teams who have lost key players and signed new ones to take their place in free agency. Fantasy football is all about opportunity. It is also important to look at last season and who was injured. This is a big factor as it means a breakout player from last season may not have the same value this season. Greg Ward and Boston Scott, I am looking in your direction. Those players should be non-factors this year and don't warrant a roster spot.

When it comes to players switching teams, this is very important. Most players switch due to free agency. This means they are going to a team that wants to use them in a specific way. Sure, it does not always work out in the end. The idea is still there though, and they will get the chance to prove their worth.

A player like Philip Rivers going to the Colts is an easy one. The QB is always going to touch the ball on every play. He will dictate everything that goes on around him, so it is important to look at the supporting cast around them. It is different for other skill players.

Devin Funchess going to Green Bay may seem like an insignificant move to some. What does it mean for the other receivers on the Packers though? For one, it means the team is not really happy with the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison. They were given a chance to shine with Davante Adams sidelined early last season and they failed. The team felt they needed more help at receiver, which is why they signed Funchess. Does this mean he is going to be great? No, of course not. It does mean the likes of MVS and Allison need to be even lower in your priority than they currently are. Going from the second and third receivers down to third and fourth in pecking order is a big drop.

Situations like this need to be looked at carefully before taking late fliers on someone who may have no value at all based on offseason moves.

 

Rookies

The hardest portion of your draft to figure out of course is rookies. At this point, we don’t know where they are going to end up. We also don’t know how they will acclimate to the life of an NFL player. Are they going to be Amari Cooper and show up in their rookie season or are they going to be Josh Doctson and never arrive?

The important thing to remember with rookies is, the further away from the quarterback they are, the longer it usually takes them to perform in the league. While an RB can show out in year one, something we have seen multiple times recently, the WR and TE positions usually take a couple of seasons to mature into solid contributors.

If you are going to plant your stake on a rookie helping you, it would be better to gamble on a player like Jonathan Taylor or J.K. Dobbins and less on a receiver like Ceedee Lamb or Henry Ruggs.

Not only does the RB position usually pan out sooner than the WR position, running backs also get injured at a higher rate. This means the opportunity for them is higher to get more playing time. When it comes to best-ball drafts, opportunity is key. You cannot make any changes during the season so finding someone like Deebo Samuel from last season, a player with not much in front of him on the depth chart, is important. It's also hard to do. You might just end up with N'Keal Harry.

 

The Key

There is no perfect strategy. There is no perfect anything. This is why we continue to play and continue to refine things each and every season.

The key is to do your homework. That starts with RotoBaller's preseason Best-Ball rankings, of course. Look for the studs available at each position in each round when you can, but make sure not to prioritize them to the detriment of your other needs. Finding the next breakout player mixed with a smattering of rookies and late fliers is important too. Sure, it is scary to try to figure out which one to choose. Everyone thinks they know best. If this were the case, we would all win. Unfortunately, this cannot happen. There would be riots and looting in the streets.

Do your homework, find players you really like and plant your flag. Just remember to always look at a player's surrounding situation and don’t just rely on stats from last season. Recency bias is real and it can be used to the destruction of a winning roster.

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Emmanuel Sanders to New Orleans: Fantasy Impact

A week into the NFL Free Agency period, veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed with the New Orleans Saints. This doesn't appear to be a major move in the grand scheme of things, but it is important to analyze, both for the Saints and for Sanders himself.

One clear benefit is that Sanders will be playing with one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history in Drew Brees. He will also be playing across from the best wide receiver he has ever played with in Michael Thomas. Since he is also playing with Alvin Kamara, Sanders is going to be on the best offense he has ever been on. This is a great way for the 33-year-old to wind down his career.

For the Saints this is also a wonderful signing. The team, as great as it is, needed a quality receiver across from Thomas. They could not count on him to again grab over 145 receptions and remain healthy long-term. Emmanuel Sanders is a proven asset who will not take time to acclimate to the NFL like a rookie drafted in the first-round would. With the offensive line getting a bit older, this frees up the Saints to concentrate on acquiring protection in the NFL draft in April. It also brings another veteran presence into a locker room who can lead by example. How will this affect the skill players from a fantasy perspective?

 

Trickle-Down Effect

First and foremost, we need to look at the impact on the quarterback. Drew Brees is the most accurate passer in NFL history. But his arm is not what it once was. He is more of a check-down passer in recent years. In this case, it works just fine as he has Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara to work with. Emmanuel Sanders now adds another element to the passing game that has been missing, as Ted Ginn Jr. isn't what he used to be and Tre'Quan Smith has been a disappointment. That said, Sanders is often perceived as a field-stretcher due to his speed but he actually does most of his work closer to the line of scrimmage, which fits Brees and the Saints' modus operandi.

Whether it be with Pittsburgh to begin his career or recently with Denver and San Francisco, Sanders is a quarterback’s dream. He's a hard-working everyman receiver who just uses his physicality to get open and make plays. Playing in an unheard-of 17 games in 2019 between Denver and San Francisco, Sanders caught 66 total passes and had five TD. After coming over from the Broncos, he immediately stepped into the role of comfort blanket for Jimmy Garoppolo. This paid dividends in helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl. He can provide the same comfort level for Brees. As Thomas gets covered by the opposing defense's best cover corners, Sanders will find open seams. It may not be possible for Brees to be more accurate, but he should remain in the QB1 fantasy conversation despite some analysts writing him off.

Speaking of Michael Thomas, Sanders will eat into his targets for sure. The Saints have not had a second receiver the caliber of him on the roster since Thomas’ rookie season with Brandin Cooks. In that season, Thomas still caught 92 passes. He is a much different receiver now. Whereas he was the WR2 that season, he is clearly the number one now. He is not going to drop off a cliff and is still the overall WR1 for fantasy though. What he may lose in targets and receptions he will make up for in yardage and possibly touchdowns. It is hard to imagine but the offense in New Orleans is only going to get better in 2020. It starts with Thomas, Sanders and the rest of the passing game.

The lone downside of the addition is for Jared Cook owners. The targets which will be going to Sanders are going to have to come from somewhere. Yes, some will come from the likes of Ted Ginn and Keith Kirkwood.  The majority though will come from the pocket of Jared Cook. In 2019, Cook caught 43 of his 65 targets for 705 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns. His 66% catch rate is not wonderful. With the target decline set to come this will make him a fringe TE2. At this catch rate, even if you remove only 15 targets from him, Cook will only finish with 33 receptions for 540 yards. His TD number is also set to have a sharp decline. Not only because of Sanders but also because it was a career-high for him. While everyone else is excited at the prospects of Sanders, Cook might just want to be happy with getting to a Super Bowl in the final years of his career.

As for the running game, it will also take a step forward. Not only due to Alvin Kamara being healthy again but due to this addition of another weapon for teams to be concerned about. Coming off a season of 14 rushing touchdowns in 2018, Kamara disappointed in 2019, being limited to five. A sore ankle and the injury to Brees leading Teddy Bridgewater to solely concentrate on Thomas for five weeks were key factors. Now that Sanders is there and Brees is back, look for Kamara to again be in the top-five for fantasy running backs for the coming season.

Latavius Murray proved to have great worth in 2019. Some were skeptical of how he would compare in this offense to Mark Ingram. He did so just fine. In many games, he was the dominant force in the run game, and this bodes well for the coming season also. The Saints are a team who runs the ball more than people think. Murray and Kamara are both set to have fantasy value which will not go down due to the addition of Sanders. It was only two seasons ago when both Kamara and Ingram used this offense to finish in the top-six. So, a top-24 finish for both is not a lot to ask.

 

Sanders' Fantasy Outlook

So, what can we expect from Emmanuel Sanders? He was a top-15 receiver in Denver, and he could be again in New Orleans. We have seen on many occasions two players on the same team finishing in the top-24 at the wide receiver position. From Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker to even Sanders and Demaryius Thomas, it has been done. Catching passes from Brees and not having to worry about primary coverage means a great season could be in store for him. He is certainly worth a draft pick in the seventh or eighth-round of redraft leagues. That pick could easily net you a fantasy WR2 at the end of the season.

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Tannehill Back with Titans: Fantasy Impact

The deal is done. No, not a deal to make Tom Brady the quarterback of the Titans. He prefers Florida apparently. Instead, it is the deal to keep Ryan Tannehill with the team for four more seasons at $118 million.

Not only did this move make the most sense but it also freed up the franchise tag to use on Derrick Henry. Henry is obviously one of the best running backs in the league but he plays at a position where teams don’t really want to commit to long-term financially. Unlike the Dallas Cowboys' handling of Dak Prescott, Tennessee handled this situation perfectly. This can only lead to good things in 2020.

The Titans look like an early favorite to make a run at the AFC Championship, but how good can this offense be and, more importantly, what are the fantasy implications?

 

The Bruiser Is Back

Derrick Henry coming back can only be a good thing. He was the leading rusher in the NFL in 2019 with 1,540 yards on 303 carries. He belongs in a Titans uniform. After compiling monster numbers in the playoff run, Henry was going to be back. With all the questions of possibly ending up in Houston or somewhere else, this was the only foreseeable outcome which made sense. With Ryan Tannehill behind center, Henry dominated to the tune of over 100 yards/game average. Gaining 237 yards in Week 17 to gain the rush title was just a bonus. Or a gift from the Texans, like Brett Favre did for Michael Strahan.

After his finish as the fantasy RB3, Henry is again a top-five play in 2020. Although the loss of Jack Conklin hurts, the bruising nature of Henry and his ability to separate after getting through the line will allow him to continue his successful run started last season. Henry doesn't get involved in the passing game much with fewer than 20 receptions in each of his four NFL seasons, he did set a new high with 206 receiving yards. He has the ability to take it to the house on any given screen pass and the Titans released Dion Lewis, so we will see if another capable back is brought in to replace him.

 

Tannehill's Targets

At this point Corey Davis is an afterthought. Despite being the fifth overall selection in the 2016 draft, he amassed just 601 yards on 43 receptions and two TD last season. He has not done much if anything in his time. Even after the switch to Tannehill, it was rookie A.J. Brown who found the connection. Davis could be an ok WR two for the Titans, but this is a run first team. A WR two here does not have the value of the same position on a team like the Rams or the Buccaneers. At best Davis is a low end WR three for fantasy. Someone worth taking if you can get him in the ninth round. But don’t go much higher than this or you could get burned like his dynasty owners did in his rookie draft.

A.J. Brown, on the other hand, is a great candidate to finish as a top-12 receiver in 2020. The 225-pound tank from Ole Miss had a good finish to his rookie season. After a slow start, Brown managed to finish with 1,051 yards on only 52 receptions. His 20.2 yards/catch was near the top in the NFL and his eight touchdowns were more than even DeAndre Hopkins had in Houston. At an even six feet tall, Brown is not going to out-jump defenders for the ball. What he is going to do is rip the ball out of the air and run through you like you weren’t even there. He is a physical receiver who make contested catches. In an offense where his chances will be limited due to the run-heavy aspect, his yards after the catch are a major factor in his success. 20.2 yards/catch is most likely sustainable long term. But he was garnering more attention as he became more comfortable. This comfort level will lead to him getting more and more looks and he will become less reliant on the incredible yardage numbers. If he can sustain an average of 15 yards while also adding 30 receptions to his total, his WR10 finish of last season could be the ceiling for him in 2020.

The tight end position took a hit last week when Delanie Walker retired. But it was his time. After a wonderful tenure in Tennessee after leaving San Francisco, Walker walks away after two seasons marred by injury. In the first of those seasons, Jonnu Smith was unable to provide any relief for the team. With Ryan Tannehill in 2019, Smith took a step up in production. Much like the rest of the team, Smith seemed to be revitalized by the switch to Tannehill. After his disappointing first two seasons in the league, it was good to see him come to life in 2019. With 35 receptions and 439 yards, Smith doubled the production he had in his first two seasons combined. This bodes well for him turning into the TE1 for the team moving forward.

In a league full of young could-be tight ends, Smith is near the top of the list for expectations in 2020. Compared to others like Ian Thomas and T.J. Hockenson along with newly-demoted David Njoku when it comes to the next crop. Jonnu Smith is at the top of this list. He could find his way to the top of this group and as his production has not been stellar as of yet, his draft price will not reflect this ability to rise. You can likely get him either as the last pick of your draft or even as a free agent afterward. If you are able to do so, Smith will be a steady force at the position that allows you the ability to stock up elsewhere rather than drafting someone like George Kittle or Travis Kelce early.

 

A Fresh Start (Again)

The last and most important piece to the fantasy puzzle in Tennessee is the newly-minted Ryan Tannehill. After coming in to start for the Titans, Tannehill was the QB7 the rest of the season. If you take the entire season into account, Tannehill finished as the fantasy QB22 despite starting only half the year. That was only two spots lower than Baker Mayfield, who started all 16 games for the Browns. While not showing his arm talent in the playoffs, he did so in the regular season with multiple games of 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. He also showed his mobility with 185 yards on the ground and two games with multiple rushing touchdowns. This ability was feared long lost after ACL injuries to both legs in Miami. With Henry threatening to bust out a long run at any time and A.J. Brown patrolling the field, defenses are not going to key on Tannehill as a threat. He won’t get you the massive rush yards of a Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson, but he is good enough to get you half that and chip in some extra fantasy points each week.

While those other players run at the detriment to the pass at times, Tannehill does both well. He led the NFL with 9.6 yards per attempt and 13.6 yards per completion in 2019. A.J. Brown and Jonnu Smith are only getting better so this number was not a fluke but one which may be replicated. Don’t necessarily expect Tannehill to have a magical season like 2019 but as his comfort level in the offense grows, he will too. Is he a great quarterback? No. But he is the perfect one for this team and this offense.

Names like Jackson, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers are still going to be the quarterbacks taken at the top of drafts. For better or worse, people still draft them high. But if you want a quarterback who will go late in drafts and is easily capable of finishing in the same range as all of these guys, look to Ryan Tannehill. The weapons are there. The offense is perfect. He is a great option late in drafts for those of us who wait on a quarterback.

The Titans are a bunch of solid pieces. Some could turn out to be great. Even if they don’t though, the floor is high. They are not the fun high-flying offense of the Chiefs. They are a run-first team but the pieces are in place for a great fantasy season, even for the receivers. When looking in drafts at who to take, make sure not to overlook the Titans. Too many people have done just this, and it has not ended well. Ask the Patriots and Ravens.

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DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona: Fantasy Impact

In a shocking move at the start of the NFL offseason, the Texans traded star wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson and a swap of draft picks. What does the trade of DeAndre Hopkins mean? First off, it means Bill O’Brien truly has no idea what he is doing. Besides that, it means a lot for the fantasy outlooks of many players on the Cardinals.

We will dive into the fantasy impact on the Texans in another article. As for Arizona and the Air Raid offense, this means great things in 2020.

Living in the desert is hard enough. Having to root for a bad team like the Cardinals year after year only makes it harder to deal with the heat. Sure, it is a dry heat, but it is still heat. That said, things are looking up as the Cardinals now have a legit WR1 to complement their young wideouts and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Let's take a closer look.

 

Breakout Time for Kyler

This move can only mean great things for second-year quarterback Kyler Murray. While many already had him pegged as a key player to break out in year two, this all but guarantees this should be the case. Of course, we saw what happened in 2019 with Baker Mayfield and the Browns, so nothing is truly guaranteed.

The addition of Hopkins is far different than the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. in Cleveland, however. In the first place, Hopkins does not have the off-field baggage coming along with him. He is not a diva and was not basically asked to leave by management as OBJ was. He is also not coming off a season or career rife with injuries. He is instead coming off two incredible seasons in which he played in 31 games, amassing 219 receptions, over 3,000 receiving yards and 18 TD.

Hopkins has thrived even with terrible quarterback play, catching passes from the likes of Tom Savage, Brock Osweiler, Bryan Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and even Brandon Weeden, among others. He only failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards once since his rookie year of 2013 and that was in 2016, the year before Deshaun Watson came to town. With this type of consistent production, Kyler Murray is going to be very happy for a long time.

 

Other Redbird Receivers

Larry Fitzgerald is not getting younger. He is coming back this season at age 38 and is winding down his career as a complementary piece rather than a featured receiver. At 27, Hopkins is the perfect replacement for him in the offense. He does not play the same position of course, as Fitzgerald lives in the slot. But as a leader in the locker room, Larry Legend should pass the torch to Nuk. In helping Christian Kirk and the other young receivers become professionals, he will become the new man in town.

This will also help Christian Kirk rise into the top-24 conversation at the WR position for fantasy. Many thought he would have a stellar season in 2019. Instead, he failed to deliver what was expected, catching 68 balls for 709 yards and just three scores. But with Fitzgerald manning the slot and Nuk on the opposite side of the field, this will open up everything for Kirk that he could ever want. He should continue to improve and in the coming years as Fitzgerald leaves, Kirk and Hopkins will provide one of the top receiving duos in the NFL for the next half-decade.

Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler had miserable rookie seasons. Isabella's disappointing debut was primarily due to a lack of playing time and Butler due to preseason injury. This move does not lead anyone to expect much from them now either. Yes, Arizona used the four-receiver set more than any other team in the NFL last season, But with a big three like Hopkins, Kirk and Fitzgerald, the production coming from the fourth receiver is not going to be someone worth drafting in your redraft leagues. Their dynasty stock should take a hit, which makes them weak holds in all but deep leagues.

 

2020 Outlook

In immediate terms, Hopkins is still a top-five receiver. No matter the offense, you feed the beast. Hopkins is clearly the beast. Murray may not yet have the cachet that Deshaun Watson does as an NFL passer, but that could change quickly. As stated earlier, Christian Kirk can firmly be considered a WR2 in fantasy. He is a safe pick in the middle rounds and has a ceiling to be a top-12 guy by season's end. Larry Fitzgerald is a legend, hence the nickname. But in his age-38 season, he is also slowing down. As much as I would love to say he is going to also be a fantasy starter, this won’t likely happen. He is, at best a WR4 in favorable matchups. If you can get him late enough in drafts, he may be worth a flier. But with the hype surrounding the offense with DeAndre Hopkins in town, he is going to go higher than he should in most drafts.

The real winner in this trade is Kyler Murray. Coming off a rookie season in which he threw for 3,723 yards, 20 TD and 12 INT, Murray is now set up for success in 2020 and beyond. With the re-signing of tackle D.J. Humphries and now the trade for Hopkins, Arizona is likely to make an offensive lineman the pick at number eight in April’s draft. This will bolster the line and give Murray the time to find all of his weapons as well as run around and gain yards on the ground. He also has a running back in Kenyan Drake who showed well in his limited time last season when given the chance. Drake was recently given the transition tag, which means he is likely to be retained unless a team overwhelms with an offer the Cardinals don't want to match, which seems unlikely. If Murray was comfortably in the top-10 for quarterbacks entering free agency, he is now in the top-five and could surpass Watson in ADP by the time the season begins.

While free agency has just begun, the early trade for Hopkins could be the most significant addition to any team this offseason. Stars have changed teams in the past. Usually, it comes on the downside of their career or after an injury-plagued or rocky tenure. But this is not the case here. Hopkins will lead this team to the playoffs and maybe, just maybe, give Larry Fitzgerald a Super Bowl sendoff. The quartet of Murray, Hopkins, Kirk, and Drake could be the stack you want in 2020 fantasy football drafts.

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Dynasty Price Check: JuJu Smith-Schuster

What a difference a year can make. This time last season, JuJu Smith-Schuster was a first-round dynasty draft pick. Antonio Brown was gone and he was going to be the next great receiver developed by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After a season of disappointment, it is time to take a look at the new reality. Is he still a first-round pick? How far has he fallen from grace? Is he actually less attractive than, gulp, Nelson Agholor? OK, that was a little too far. But now that the luster is fading from him, where should we take him in dynasty startup drafts?

Rookie phenoms like D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown have made their presence known. More rookies are set to come in this season to provide even more competition. Smith-Schuster is not done by any means, but he is certainly getting passed by as others continue to perform. Who knows? Maybe with Ben Roethlisberger coming back and Juju healthy, we can write 2019 off as a one-season blip on the radar of a great career. But with Big Ben not getting any younger, we don’t know how much longer the Steelers will be able to stay away from Mason Rudolph taking over full-time. Oh, the humanity of it all.

 

Profile

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
College: USC
Age: 23
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 215 lb

 

Life Moves Fast

In 2019, Juju Smith-Schuster was considered an elite prospect in dynasty fantasy drafts. He was being taken as the fourth WR off the board at pick 1.07. Things could not have looked brighter coming off a stellar 2018 season.

After the 2018 season in which JuJu caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns, the loss of Antonio Brown did not seem to matter much to those surrounding the team. In the next-man-up mentality of the NFL, it was assumed things were fine. Injuries to Smith-Schuster as well as Big Ben dashed those hopes and dreams for fantasy owners.

In a major swing in the other direction for his prospects, Smith-Schuster played in only 12 games due to injury. But even the four fewer games did not account for the total collapse of his stats. In those 12 games, he only managed 42 receptions for 553 yards and only three touchdowns. Elite receivers are not supposed to be dependent on their quarterback. Players like Michael Thomas and others have thrived despite having different signal-callers throwing them the ball. If JuJu wants to take the step up to that level, he will need to prove he can do the same. Otherwise, it will be a long tenure on your bench after the imminent retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.

 

Price Check

Due to the disaster which was 2019, the price of Smith-Schuster will also clearly take a dive. Whether it be as significant as expected is another matter. Certainly, he will not be in the first round any longer. But he may still sneak into the back end of the second round. It is tough to deny his talent, and many will consider 2019 a lost season due to the quarterback questions in Pittsburgh being what they were all season. Another factor working in his favor is his age. He is still only 23 years old and his best days are still ahead.

Running backs fall off a proverbial cliff at age 30. When it comes to wide receivers, they do not truly hit their strides, generally, until age 27. As they say, the further away from the line of scrimmage a player gets, the more time it takes for them to adjust to NFL games. This means in his fourth season, it is a safe bet JuJu will have a comeback season. With this said, getting him in the late second or even the third round is a great buying opportunity in startup drafts. If you are in an existing dynasty league and you have a nervous owner, make an offer. If you can get him in exchange for a running back, who will undoubtedly have a shorter shelf life, don't hesitate. His price may never be lower than it is right now.

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