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Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 7

The warning signals get brighter by the week since we have more data to work from. The larger the sample size the easier it is for us to connect the dots from the latest trends. Football is a game of small samples and many variables, making it one of the hardest sports to predict.

How a player is used can indicate a player's future production. Target share and air yards are prime metrics when evaluating how valuable a player is to their team’s offense. The more volume or work a player gets on a consistent basis the more they are valued in the team’s weekly game plan. Chasing targets, air yards and touches are key signals to a player’s production.

It could also be a clue to a player’s demise. If a player is seeing less work or if another player in the offense has emerged as the team’s workhorse, then we could see a shift in player value. When we look for warning signals, we want to look for reasons why a player might lose touches in their team’s offensive system. Bad play, injuries, and other players in the offense breaking out are all factors that could derail a player’s season.

 

Quarterback

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

Lock trotted back on the field in Week 6 after recovering from a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for a few weeks. His comeback game didn’t go so well considering he completed just 10 of his 24 pass attempts for 189 yards and two interceptions.

The support just isn’t there for Lock. Courtland Sutton is out for the year. Noah Fant isn’t there to bail him out. Lock will need to play at his best to be able to churn out weekly QB1 production. He’s not going to be bailed out by his receivers anymore and will need to be firing on all cylinders to keep the chains moving.

The warning signals started strobing when Sutton went down with his season-ending injury. It became more apparent this week. He is droppable in traditional 1QB leagues. If anything, he should already be on the waiver wire.

 

Running Back

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fournette missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, but that’s not the warning signal. Ronald Jones is balling out of control and looks to be the true steal for fantasy this year. Against the Packers, he rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He’s currently the RB12 on the season with 90.6 PPR fantasy points.

Even if Fournette comes back healthy and ready to go he will still compete with Jones for touches out of the backfield. Right now, Jones has the hot hand, and it would be a mistake to divert from him. He has earned all the touches given to him. Fournette will need to wait his turn and make the most out of all the opportunities that are presented to him.

 

Wide Receiver

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

The tide is turning in Pittsburgh. The wide receiver corps is a lot different compared to years past. There is now an even distribution of targets among the whole unit. Chase Claypool is emerging as a dangerous playmaker. James Washington is a deep threat who can make plays downfield. Diontae Johnson has been out due to injury, but when he comes back, he will take some of the targets from the slot.

Pittsburgh isn’t a pass-funnel to JuJu Smith-Schuster anymore. There are other players in the offense who can take care of business. This is exciting if you’re a Steelers fan but it’s not exciting if you’re a Smith-Schuster’s fantasy manger.

We can only hope for volatile fantasy production going forward. There are not enough targets to go around in Pittsburgh’s offense to sustain consistent fantasy production from Smith-Schuster. He’s still a very talented wide receiver, but he’s not in the most optimal situation to blow up the box score on a weekly basis anymore.

 

Tight End

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

There was a lot of excitement surrounding Hockenson’s fantasy potential going into the season. Think about it. Mathew Stafford was coming back to toss lasers all over the football field. The Lions were going to be in more shoot-outs than Bradley Cooper when he starred in American Sniper. All these scenarios set the stage for a second-year breakout for Hockenson.

The Rolling Stones new fantasy football before it ever existed, because you can’t always get what you want. We all wanted the Hockenson break out to happen. We could feel in our drafts pumping through our veins. Unfortunately, those feelings might be premature.

Hockenson has only reached TE1 status once this season. This past week, in a favorable matchup against the Jaguars, he could only muster two catches for 27 yards. Tight end is a fickle position and is the hardest position to predict in all of fantasy football. With the team leaning heavily on the run game and Kenny Golladay being the true alpha wide receiver the offense, it’s going to be hard for Hockenson to maintain consistent production.

Remember this is only his second season. He’s still developing and is an elite-level prospect. Hockenson could turn it on at any time. He still plays in a high-powered offense while having the talent to be one of the top tight ends in the league. The warning signals are saying 2020 might not be consistent for Hockenson, but there’s still a light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Break Out Alert!

J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team

In his last two games, McKissic has been targeted 14 times and owned a 21 percent share of the team’s passing targets. He has developed into a key piece in the passing offense. The team is in shambles right now and they are doing whatever they can to keep the ball moving on offense.

McKissic hasn’t been so hot running the ball between the tackles but he is seeing enough workload to be fantasy relevant. He’s a must add off the waiver wire if you are in need of a running back. The Football Team is going to be trailing in most games which will present plenty of opportunities for McKissic to get used as a receiver out of the backfield in garbage time.



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Fantasy Football Warning Signals for Week 6

There are a lot of warning signals from Week 5. The 2020 season is possibly one of the hardest seasons to predict. We are seeing a lot of high-scoring contests that are allowing some lesser-known players to blow up the box score.

We are also seeing a changing of the guard due to some of the older veterans starting to level off while also seeing some of the younger players start to prove themselves.

With that being said, let’s look at the warning signals as we look ahead to Week 6.

 

Quarterback

Philip Rivers, Indianapolis Colts

The old horse looks like it needs to ride off to pasture. He only has one 300-yard game and just four touchdown passes on the season. In Week Five against the Cleveland Browns Rivers’ game took a bad turn. The Colts’ offense seemed to be inept and lacked the firepower to consistently move the chains. This was mostly due to his inability to connect with his receivers.

We want to note that he wasn’t playing in the most promising matchups. The Colts’ wide receiver corps didn’t match up well against the opposing opposition over the last couple weeks. Matchups against the Bears and Browns made it hard for the team to consistently move the ball downfield.

Outside of the aging T.Y. Hilton, there aren’t many receiving threats in the offense. Injuries to Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell let the wind out of the sails for the Colts’ offense. Without the added firepower in the offense, Rivers will need to get creative if the team wants to be able to put points on the board.

Ugly interceptions like the one posted above can not continue to happen. If he continues to play bad, we might see Jacoby Brissett under center for the Colts.

 

Running Back

Mark Ingram II, Baltimore Ravens

The warning signals are shining bright here with Mark Ingram. Even with a positive game script the team is not leaning on him as their bell-cow back. We are seeing more of a committee approach in the Ravens’ run game.

On Sunday, Ingram received just a 57.90 percent share of the carries out of the backfield. On top of that, he received zero targets in the passing game. The lack of usage is a concern since it indicates inconsistent fantasy production going forward. Going into Week Five, he was RB41 on the season with two low-end RB2 weeks.

You can’t sell Ingram for anything in redraft at the moment. He could be an add-on in a bigger trade to help move the needle. However, most fantasy managers will just need to ride this out and use him when needed.

 

Wide Receiver

Russell Gage, Atlanta Falcons

Gage blew up in week one with 20.4 fantasy points. Since then he has experienced a downward slope with irrelevant fantasy numbers in weeks three and four. The hole continues to dig deeper with him catching just two passes for 16 yards in Week Five in a favorable matchup against the Carolina Panthers.

The targets will dissipate even more when Julio Jones is healthy and back on the field. It’s beginning to look like Gage is going to provide sporadic fantasy production, making it very hard to feel confident when putting him in your lineups.

We should look at Gage as a bye week replacement going forward. He will get the opportunity to play in some promising matchups, but he will never be a reliable option in fantasy.

 

Tight End

Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers

There are not enough targets to go around in Carolina. Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore are soaking up a large portion of the targets in the passing game. The team also allocates a considerable chunk of the passing workload to the running backs. With all this being said, there’s not enough volume in the passing game to make Thomas a consistent contributor in fantasy.

Thomas is living by red-zone targets. If he doesn’t score a touchdown then he’s not going to score enough to be worthwhile in fantasy. There’s simply not enough targets going his way to make for him to score enough fantasy points to help fantasy teams win their weekly matchups.

 

Breakout Alert!

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers

This isn’t much of an alert because everyone in the world is aware of Chase Claypool’s breakout from Sunday’s performance against the Eagles where he scored four touchdowns. If you didn’t know, this is a message to let you know you should immediately check your waiver wire to see if he’s available. Go do that right now.

Claypool is one of the biggest risers from this year’s rookie class. At 6-foot-4 and 238 pounds, he’s a miss-match nightmare for opposing defenses. He has the speed to stretch the field and the ball skills to be an incredible red zone option. Ben Roethlisberger isn’t afraid to look his away.

Fantasy managers have to be aggressive with Claypool because he’s talented enough to provide consistent WR1 results. The offense packs enough volume in the passing game to keep him productive. The last thing you want is to watch one of your league-mates enjoy a free WR1 off the waiver wire.



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Fantasy Football Warning Signals From Week 4

We are now four weeks into the season. We’ve gained a lot of knowledge about some of these players from a fantasy football perspective. As the sample size of information increases the easier it is to evaluate players. The warning signals get brighter by the week.

Some of these players are dead weight in fantasy leagues and some of them are just experiencing a dry spell of production.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the warning signals from Week 4.

 

Quarterback

Nick Foles, Chicago Bears

The expectations might have been set too high after Foles led the Bears from a 16-point deficit against the Atlanta Falcons in week three. The Indianapolis Colts brought Foles back to reality on Sunday. The Bears offense as a whole managed just 269 total yards and only 28 of those yards came from the run game.

His play prevented the offense from being able to keep the chains moving. The Bears didn’t score their first touchdown until the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. Not to mention he completed just 61.90 percent of his passes while throwing one interception.

The Colts have one of the toughest defenses in the league. They were also able to shut down Chicago’s run game which didn’t help matters either. Foles will get his opportunity to redeem himself this Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The sample size is completely too small to judge whether he’s a good fit in Chicago. With four weeks down in the NFL season, he needs to turn things around to help his fantasy manager make a year-end playoff push.

 

Running Back

Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals

Drake was projected to be one of the top running backs going into the season. Unfortunately, things are not going to plan. In four games, he has rushed for just 254 yards and one touchdown. Kyler Murray has taken over the rushing attack by rushing for 50 yards or more in three of his four games this season.

On top of the limited production in a plush matchup on Sunday, Drake exited the game with a lower-body injury. His injury status will be in question throughout the week. The last thing fantasy managers needed was an injury slowing Drake down.

In 2019, Drake showed a lot of promise rushing for 643 yards and touchdowns in just eight games with the Cardinals. His performance created a lot of optimism going into the season. The fact that he seemed to be gelling in one of the most fast-paced offenses in the NFL made fantasy gamers drool with excitement. Now we are four games into the season, and the fantasy players who selected in the first two to three rounds in drafts are not getting what they paid for. Drake might turn into one of the biggest busts of the 2020 season.

 

Wide Receiver

D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers

A lot of changes took place in Carolina this off-season. The team named Teddy Bridgewater as the new quarterback. The Cardinals hired Matt Rhule to be their head coach along with bringing in Joe Brady from LSU to be the team’s offensive coordinator. Robby Anderson was added to the roster through free agency. Rhule and Anderson developed a special bond during their days at Temple and the player-coach relationship made for an easy transition during a condensed off-season due to restrictions presented by the Coronavirus.

Since the season has started, it has become more apparent that Anderson, not Moore, is the alpha wide receiver in the offense. One of the factors that are causing a shift in the team’s passing production is that Moore is running more of the deeper routes while Anderson is lobbying for the targets in the intermediate parts of the field. Moore has 403 air yards on the season compared to Anderson’s 312 air yards.

Moore is still holding his own in fantasy, but with just 288 yards and zero touchdowns, he’s not delivering the WR1 results many fantasy gamers hoped for at the beginning of the season. With Anderson stealing a large portion of the workload. It appears that Moore’s ceiling is capped and will not deliver a return on the investment many fantasy managers made on draft day.

He is still a very good player and will help your team in fantasy. However, the odds of him churning out enough production to finish the year as a WR1 are slim to none.

 

Tight End

Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns

Against the Cowboys, Hooper reeled in five of his seven targets for 34 yards and one touchdown, sparking his best fantasy performance of the season. Everything wasn’t sunshine and rainbows in this game. Rookie tight end, Harrison Bryant, was also used heavily in the passing game. The extra competition for targets is going to prevent Hooper from hitting his upside.

With Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry both siphoning a large portion of the targets along with the Browns having a run-first offensive philosophy, it’s going to be hard for Hooper to deliver consistent production for his fantasy managers.

 

Breakout Alert!

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

The rookie from LSU is heating up with back to back 100-yard games. Not only has he been productive, but he has looked smooth on the field, demonstrating speed, quickness, and smooth route running.

With a 1-3 start to the season, the Minnesota Vikings needed Jefferson to step up. After Stefon Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bill during the off-season, the team needed an added spark in the passing game. Jefferson appears to be the next big thing to come from this year’s draft class.

With him being a major part of LSU’s championship run last year and him being a first-round pick, the stars might be aligning for his fantasy managers as it looks like he’s going to be a top-shelf fantasy asset for a very long time. All fantasy managers need to be plucking Jefferson off the waiver wire if he's still there.



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Fantasy Football Warning Signals From Week 3

With Week 3 in the books, we now have to take a step back and analyze which players could be trending in the wrong direction.

Being objective will be key here since some of these players were held in high regard going into the season. Nonetheless, it's about exploiting gaps in the market and selling off before a player's stock bottoms out.

Let's take a look at some of the warning signals from Week 3.

 

Quarterback

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Wentz has thrown two interceptions in each of his last three games. Against the Bengals, in week three we saw his play take a wrong turn with many inaccurate passes. He was off-the-mark on a lot of his throws which led to many bad plays.

The cast around him hasn’t been that great. Greg Ward was his leading receiver, catching eight passes for 72 yards and one touchdown. The Eagles were hoping the offense would receive a boost from first-round rookie Jalen Reagor, but he’s currently out with an injury.

His bad decision making could be due to not having enough talent around him. It is a lot harder for a quarterback to make plays when he lacks chemistry with his wide receivers. Wentz is also not getting bailed out as much by his pass catchers, making it harder for him to sustain drives.

On a positive note, Wentz finished week three as a QB1 with 21.50 fantasy points. Even while playing in chaos, he is still productive from a fantasy football perspective. We just need him to continue to produce going forward. It’s going to be hard for him to maintain consistency when he has to play against the San Francisco 49ers, Pittsburg Steelers, and the Baltimore Ravens Defenses over the next three weeks.

Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

The Bears were trailing by 16 points when head coach Matt Nagy signaled to the bullpen for veteran quarterback Nick Foles to come off the bench to replace Mitchell Trubisky. At that point in the game, Trubisky completed 13 of his 22 pass attempts for 128 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He has not looked good all year on top of him posting nothing but questionable play throughout the 2019 season.

Foles took the reins, leading the Bears to a 30-26 comeback victory over the Atlanta Falcons. It’s safe to say, Foles is the teams starting quarterback going forward. Without an injury or horrendous play, it’s hard seeing Trubisky suiting back up as the starting quarterback for the Bears this season.

 

Running Back

D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions

Oddly, Swift saw an eight percent snap share in week eight. He caught one of his two targets for 19 yards. The lack of usage is a major concern for the rookie running back. With Adrian Peterson receiving a 61 percent snap share and 22 carries in week three, it appears that head coach Matt Patricia is leaning away from his rookie running back.

Expectations were high for Swift going into the 2020 season. Just by judging his college tape and combine numbers, he’s easily the most electric running back on the roster. The fact he’s on the outside looking in when it comes to workload means there’s possibly something the coaching staff doesn’t like about Swift’s game. Either way, it’s going to be hard to start Swift with confidence until he proves himself.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

There were many fantasy gamers who were heavily relying on Joe Mixon’s production going into this season. Unfortunately, his production has not matched the hype. Between Giovani Bernard stealing some of the passing down workload, and the offensive line not being able to maintain a solid push up front, the odds of Mixon developing into one of the top fantasy assets are starting to dwindle away.

Mixon is still a very talented player. Nothing has changed in his abilities. However, the environment around him is a lot different compared to last season. The offense is transitioning with Joe Burrow. There’s a chance the offensive philosophy changes during the season.

Even though the Bengals had the lead during a scalable portion of the contest, the game script wasn’t beneficial to Mixon’s workload. The team is going to be playing from behind a lot this season, suggesting the game scripts might impact Mixon’s usage. Although he’s stout in the passing game, Burrow excels at extending the play and making the tough throws downfield. Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and even A.J. Green will steal the show in the passing game, making it hard for the running backs to gain much traction on a consistent basis.

He might be considered a buy-low at this point. We only have a three-game sample on the season. The team could decide to redirect their approach and give Mixon more opportunities to succeed. After all, compared to Bernard, he almost tripled his snap count and ran two times the routes. The rubber eventually has to meet the road for Mixon.

 

Wide Receiver

Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers

With Christian McCaffrey out of the lineup, there was a strong possibility that Curtis Samuel could receive a larger role within the offense. In week three, he was targeted just four times. He did reel in all four of his passes for 45 yards.

The addition of Robby Anderson took the wind out of Samuel’s sails. Anderson is a deep threat who is stealing a large share of the targets. Samuel is going to continue to struggle to put fantasy points on the board as long as Anderson is there to siphon away the workload.

Mike Davis stepped in and did his best rendition of McCaffery in week three, rushing for eight passes for 45 yards and one touchdown. If we don’t see a reduction in running back targets, then it’s hard to imagine a world where Samuel provides consistent fantasy production.

 

Tight End

Chris Herndon, New York Jets

Going into the season, Herndon was pegged as one of the top pass-catchers in the Jets’ offense. Even with building a few years of continuity with Sam Darnold, Herndon has struggled to carve out a large enough role in the passing game to be fantasy relevant.

Part of the issue is that the Jets’ offense is nonexistent. Darnold is running for his life to make plays and has also been very inconsistent. This has caused Herndon to disappear in the box score and not live up to his potential. It does not appear the Jets are going to take any massive strives forward, indicating this could be a lost season for the third-year tight end.

Breakout Alert!

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

Higgins had his coming out party against the Philadelphia Eagles catching five passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns. He led the team with 150 air yards while owning a 21 percent target share. The Bengals had him on the field for 79 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.

We could be watching one of the next great wide receivers break out right in front of our eyes. His recent workload is an indicator that the Bengals want to get him more involved in the offensive game plan. Combine that with the fact that he was a top-shelf prospect coming out of Clemson and it only took the third game of his career to produce, Higgins is on his way to breaking out in a massive way during his rookie season.



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Warning Signals From Fantasy Football Week 2

Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season will hit the history books as one of the most injury-ridden slates of games in fantasy football history.

On top of the injury madness, we have a lot of players who are currently stepping into different phases of their careers. Some are down trending and others are getting ready to ascend to greatness.

Let’s take a look at some of the top warning signals that we need to act on from Week 2.

 

Quarterback

Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Unfortunately, Saquon Barkley tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. This could cause a major blow to Jones’ fantasy production because he won’t have Barkley to dump the ball and Barkley’s rushing ability helped maintain drives.

The yards gained after the catch from Barkley can’t be reproduced. In 2019, he averaged 8.42 yards after the catch per reception. He’s dangerous with the ball in hands in the open field because he can easily turn a routine play into a long gain Jones might struggle without Barkley in the backfield behind him.

On the flip side, Jones might have to consistently chuck it to his receivers to keep the Giants competitive. They won’t be able to rely on the run game anymore and will need to lean on the pass. Barkley’s injury won’t help Jones’ efficiency, but it could increase his overall fantasy production. Either way, things are going to get very interesting in New York.

 

Wide Receiver

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

The days of Jones being the main wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons might be over. He’s still a very talented player, but he’s not the only talented pass-catcher in the offense anymore. Calvin Ridley has developed into one of the top wide receivers in the league. He’s a very efficient route runner and has become one of Matt Ryan’s favorite go-to targets.

Ridley leads the team in almost all receiving categories with 16 receptions for 239 yards and four touchdowns. He is leading the Falcons with a 25 percent target share and with 229 air yards. On top of that, he’s been the most efficient receiver on the team, averaging 2.72 yards per route run.

Jones is going to remain a fantasy-relevant asset, but fantasy gamers should expect him to decrease in overall value due to Ridley’s recent rise in production.

Russell Gage is a free square in the offense. He has been wildly exceeding expectations, catching 15 balls for 160 yards and one touchdown. He might not be a mega-producer, but his 24 percent target share prevents Jones from seeing his ceiling.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Green is riding off into the sunset as a serviceable fantasy football chess piece which is far from the stud wide receiver from long ago. After two weeks, he leads the league with 338 air yards while also seeing the fourth-most 22 targets. Unfortunately, he could only muster 80 yards from his current work rate.

Fantasy general managers are at a crossroads with Green and they don’t even know it. Two things are going to happen. His current rate of targets and air yards is going to eventually allow him to generate high-level production or he’s going to continue to be a disappointment. A larger sample size will yield the results needed to make an accurate assessment. Greens' inability to maximize his opportunities with an elite level workload is a warning signal that the meter is going to move one way or another.

 

Running Back

Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With the Buccaneers signing Leonard Fournette before the start of the season, Jones needs to perform at his best to maintain a strong handle on his current role within the offense. Week two is an indicator that his grasp of the starting role is slipping through his fingers. Against the Panthers, he carried the ball seven times for 23 yards and one touchdown while averaging 3.3 yards per carry.

Fournette is slowly taking over the workload out of the backfield. In week two he owned a 54.54 percent share of the Buccaneer’s rushing attempts and 84.43 percent of the team’s rushing production. He also saw a 14.29 percent target share.

As Fournette gets acclimated to the offense Tom Brady is going to start looking to him more. There’s a good chance Brady steps in and requests for Fournette’s services over Jones’ because he’s the more reliable player on the field.

Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts

Jonathan Taylor received a 65.12 percent opportunity share out of the backfield in week two. Hines was just subjected to just one target. The team leaned heavily on the rookie running back who delivered his first 100-yard performance of his career.

Hines saw a steep decrease in workload. The game script forced Hines to just a 12 percent snap share. The team didn’t need Hines on the field because they were playing with a lead during the majority of the game and didn’t need to rely on the pass.

Sunday’s game was an indicator that Hines’ workload is game script dependent. The Colts will need to be in situations where they are throwing a lot for him to be usable in fantasy. Since he’s not going to receive consistent usage, he’s not going to be functional in fantasy.

 

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay

The bottom has fallen out of Gronkowski’s fantasy stock. He doesn’t look like the tight end from his earlier days. The reports from the off-season weren’t fully factual and the proof is in his usage. In two games with the Buccaneers, he has seen just five targets. O.J. Howard out targeted him in both games. If you drafted him with the hopeful expectations that he could rebuild his rapport with Brady, then you need to reevaluate your decision because Gronkowski is best left on the waiver wire.

 

Breakout Alert!

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

The addition of Stefon Diggs flew under the radar all off-season. However, this is a match made in heaven, providing Allen the true alpha-target-hog to help elevate the passing game. Allen’s never say die attitude combined with his strong arm, makes him one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the league when paired with elite-level talent.

In two weeks, Diggs and Allen have already connected 16 times for 239 yards and one touchdown. It appears they have already built a rapport and it shows. The potential is through the roof and there’s a chance we could see Allen finish in the top five in fantasy this year.

The Bills still have John Brown stretching the field, making it easy for Diggs to maneuver the short to intermediate sectors of the field. The extra threat in the passing game opens the running lanes by making it harder for opposing defenses to put extra defenders in the box.

Allen is one of the most prolific rushing quarterbacks in the league. With him being able to sling passes to a better wide receiver corps and take over as the main threat in the Bills’ rushing attack, we could truly see him ascend to being one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league. These last two weeks might be signaling to fantasy managers that Allen is taking a step forward and becoming one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL.



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Warning Signals From Week 1

The NFL season is finally underway and even with just a one-week sample size, there are still some indicators dictating that some of these players could experience a down year in production.

Even though we shouldn’t overreact to the first week of the season, the writing is still on the wall for a lot of these players.

While this isn't a Cut List (that's a separate article), these players bear monitoring based on a rough start to the 2020 season.

 

Quarterback

Baker Mayfield, CLE

We may need to recalibrate our initial evaluation on Mayfield from his rookie season. Things have not looked good since then. He does have plenty of time to right the ship and prove he’s better than his recent performances.

Off the rip, Mayfield looked timid in his decision making. A few of his passes got batted down at the line of scrimmage. He even threw a costly interception. It just wasn’t his day and he was off-the-mark on a lot of his throws. The entire blame shouldn’t be placed on his shoulders since he didn’t receive much support from his teammates. However, from a fantasy football perspective, this is a warning signal we should not ignore.

Mediocre quarterback play affects the entire offense. Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Austin Hooper won’t be able to reach their true potential unless Mayfield gets things under control. Stalled drives, inaccurate targets, and missed opportunities will negatively impact the Browns’ fantasy production.

 

Running Back

Mark Ingram II, BAL

After a bleak rushing performance where the veteran running back could only muster just 29 yards on 10 carries, Ingram left fantasy manager wanting more. On the other side of the coin, rookie running J.K. Dobbins looked like he was ready to take over as the team's top running back, rushing for 22 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

The sample size was small, but the investment the Ravens made to acquire Dobbins in the draft was large enough to anoint him as an immediate threat to Ingram’s workload this season. Ingram will need to come out of the gates strong next week against the Houston Texans if he wants to continue being the team’s workhorse out the backfield.

In limited action, Dobbins looked like the better back. He was very fluid with his movements and showcased the short-area quickness that made him one of the top running backs in this year’s draft class. Once he gets more acclimated to the NFL game, he will be one of the more coveted backs in fantasy.

If Ingram doesn’t produce at a high level soon, then he’s going to risk being a major bust this season. A slow start could be detrimental to his fantasy value.

Austin Ekeler, LAC

Ekeler provided a limited impact in fantasy last week. Against the Bengals, he had 19 carries for 84 yards while catching just one pass for three yards. Chargers’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor has a history of not checking it down, reducing the overall floor in fantasy for his running backs. This appeared to be evident when Taylor almost evenly distributed the ball to Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen.

After blowing up for 92 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns just a season ago, it’s quite apparent that Ekeler’s fantasy value is fueled by his usage in the passing game. If this trend continues, then we could see a major downtick in his production.

Another red flag is the success of rookie running back, Joshua Kelley, who looked like an All-Pro, rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown. It’s going to be hard for the coaching staff to rationalize why they should keep him off the field. If he continues to play well, then he’s going to easily siphon a large share of the touches out of the backfield.

Outside forces can prevent a player from hitting their ceiling in fantasy. This might be the case for Ekeler who must contend with a new quarterback who neglects to target his running backs in the passing game and a talented rookie running back who is eager to be a focal point of the Chargers’ offense.

 

Wide Receiver

DeSean Jackson, PHI

Jackson was only on the field for 54 percent of the Eagles’ offensive snaps on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. He did manage to see seven targets but was only able to catch two of the passes thrown his way for 46 yards. Many fantasy gamers were left holding the bag after he delivered just 6.6 PPR fantasy points.

Even in a limited role, Jackson saw four targets of 20 yards or more. The deep ball attempts might be enough to keep him alive in fantasy. However, rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor might steal some of his gusto. Reagor caught one pass for 55 yards, but he is expected to run a large portion of the deep routes.

We normally see older wide receivers fall of the map. The 33-year-old wideout has produced just 1,601 yards in his last three seasons. This might be the warning signal calling out the end is near.

 

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski, TB

Tom Brady’s debut with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed to live up to expectations. This caused a trickle-down effect on everyone in the passing game. One of the players who was impacted the most was future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski. After coming back from retirement, he was only able to reel in two passes for 11 yards.

The most discouraging thing about Sunday’s game against the Saints was that Brady showed no favoritism to Gronkowski. O.J. Howard saw the second-most targets on the team, tying Scotty Miller with six while also scoring one touchdown.

There were many fantasy general managers who took the gamble on Gronkowski, hoping that he could rekindle the flame with Brady. The fact that Mike Evans limped into this game, means that Gronkowski will have more competition for targets once Evans is back to full health. If the rest of his season mimics what he did in week one, the odds of him finishing the year as one of the top tight ends in fantasy are slim to none.



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ADP Showdown: CeeDee Lamb vs. Darius Slayton

Everyone knows the wide receiver position is deep with talent and you can find productive wide receivers in the later rounds of fantasy drafts. This year’s draft class added a lot of quality to the wide receiver pool. The extra depth at the position changed the way some fantasy managers play the game. Loading up at running back in the early rounds while also fading wide receiver has become the taboo draft strategy for 2020.

With there being a plethora of wide receivers to choose from there are going to be some interesting dichotomies in drafts. Players who are very similar in talent and in situation while also holding similar values. It’s a pick your poison situation that we are seeing it a lot in drafts this year.

There are a lot of hard choices to make in the middle of the tenth round. One of them is choosing between Darius Slayton and CeeDee Lamb. Both players are sitting next to each other in ADP with Slayton falling off the board as the WR37 and Lamb as the WR38.

 

Darius Slayton (WR, NYG)

Slayton finished his rookie season last year catching 48 passes for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. He saw 100 air yards or more in five games and had nine games where he received five or more targets. Slayton owned a 16 percent target share and was the team’s deep threat with a 28 percent share of the air yards. Per PFF, 25 percent of his targets went for 20 yards or more.

His 4.39 40-yard dash is always on display whenever he is asked to run anything deep. Even though he’s asked to run a lot of deep routes, he still managed to obtain a 103.1 quarterback rating when targeted and a 60 percent catch rate.

The Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones, had 13.7 percent of his passes go for 20 yards or more, making him the perfect complement to Slayton’s game. The fact that Jones isn’t afraid to chuck it deep and Slayton has the elite level speed to consistently burn past the defense to earn a large share of those deep targets will always give him a chance to produce big numbers in the box score each and every week.

 

CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Lamb with the 17th overall pick in this year’s draft. With Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup on the roster, they didn’t need to draft a receiver. This is more than enough evidence the Cowboys rated him as a top-tier talent while not being able to ignore his overall on-field potential.

When compared to the top wide receivers in the most recent draft classes, Lamb stacks up against the best of them. He was highly efficient at Oklahoma, averaging 3.99 yards per route run and posting a 147.7 quarterback rating when targeted. He was productive throughout his entire collegiate career and finished with a 35.4 percent dominator rating during his junior season.

Obviously, Lamb is entering his rookie season and will compete against Cooper and Gallup for targets who are both very good wide receivers. Dallas is expected to have one of the best wide receiver corps in the leagues this year. With Lamb being the third option in the passing game, will there be enough targets to make him a reliable option in fantasy?

With the departure of Jason Witten, Randal Cobb, and Tavon Austin there will be 190 vacated targets in Dallas’ offense. We should naturally expect to see Cowboys' tight end, Blake Jarwin, to see a larger share of the target this year. Since Lamb is a superior talent and has the potential to break out early in his career, there’s a good chance that he owns a large portion of the vacated targets. Talent usually wins out when there are extra targets up for grabs.

Competition for targets could be the downfall to Lamb’s ability to put up fantasy points, but it’s also a legitimate threat to Slayton’s workload. The Giants' offense endured injuries off-and-on throughout the season to Evan Ingram, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard. If those three players can stay healthy this year, then the target-well might dry up on Slayton.

 

Verdict

Even though Slayton has one season of NFL production under his belt, he is still not remotely close to being considered the same caliber of prospect as Lamb. Slayton was a fifth-round pick who never caught more than 35 passes in a season during his three-year collegiate career at Auburn. He’s not garnered as a superior talent. He does have home run hitting speed, but the odds of him ever developing into an elite-level player are slim to none.

Lamb, on the other hand, can turn into one of the top wide receivers in the league. It might not happen during his rookie season, but it’s definitely in his range of outcomes and could happen sooner than later. He has played at a high level his entire career and there’s no reason why he won’t do the same when he hits the NFL stage.

When you think about what the two prospects offer in terms of fantasy production, it’s hard to not pivot towards Lamb, because albeit he’s a rookie, he still has the talent to be on of the top wide receivers in the league if he builds a rapport with Dak Prescott. The Dallas Cowboys ranked 10th in the league with 597 pass attempts last season and if the passing volume continues to hold steady, Lamb should be an interesting asset in fantasy this year.

Both Slayton and Lamb have the same amount of risk. They could both be used sparingly in their respective offenses, making them not worthwhile options in fantasy. The difference between the two players is that Lamb has a much higher ceiling. He plays in a better offense and has a much stronger talent profile, making him a no-brainer decision when it comes to deciding between him or Slayton in the tenth round.



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ADP Showdown: Courtland Sutton vs. D.K. Metcalf

The draft season brings out a lot of controversial dichotomies between players who are being selected within a few picks of each other. Sometimes these are really easy decisions to make and other times it’s almost too close to call.

There are a lot of tough choices at the wide receiver position this year since it’s stacked from top to bottom with fantasy-relevant talent. A player’s skill set, injury history, and the offense he plays in affect how the player should be valued. However, when two players share many similar characteristics, it’s hard to decide which player to select when you are on the clock.

The fifth round is a pivotal point in most fantasy drafts. There’s still a lot of quality talent on the board, but there are some land mines that could blow up in your face if you are not careful. WRs Courtland Sutton and D.K. Metcalf are being drafted in this range within a few picks of each other. These are two young, gifted players who have flashed talent during the early stages of their careers. Now, the market is valuing them in a similar fashion, making it hard to distinguish which player is the most optimal option in fantasy.

 

Courtland Sutton - Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos selected Sutton in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft after he finished his career at SMU with back to back 1,000-yard seasons. During his college career, he showcased excellent ball skills and the ability to win downfield in tough contested-catch situations.

Last year was his breakout season in the NFL where he posted 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. He was a key contributor to the passing offense, owning a 25 percent share of the passing targets while also a 41 percent share of the air yards. His receiving volume held a scalable floor.

Sutton was also very efficient by averaging 2.08 yards per route ran while also achieving a 104.7 quarterback rating when targeted. He’s not just a deep threat who makes splash plays, he’s actually reliable on a play-by-play basis.

Broncos quarterback Drew Lock is building a rapport with Sutton, who was his favorite target last season. The tandem has generated multiple highlight-reel plays during training camp. From the looks of things, it seems like Sutton is primed to take a step forward in 2020.

 

DK Metcalf - Seattle Seahawks

In the other corner, we have Seattle Seahawk D.K. Metcalf, the size-speed phenom who has WR1 upside tattooed across his chest. As a rookie last year, he caught 58 passes for 900 yards and seven touchdowns. He saw 50-yards or more in ten games while finishing the season as the WR30 in PPR.

Although he had a good rookie season, it was hard to rely on him in fantasy with just one WR1 week and two WR2 weeks. He did have six weeks where he hovered around the WR26-30 range in PPR scoring.

With over 100 air yards in six games, Metcalf saw enough workload to make him fantasy relevant. He owned a 19 percent share of the targets and a 26 percent share of the team’s air yards. Per PFF, 25.77 percent of his targets went for 20 yards or more and he was able to reel in 40 percent of those deep targets.

Last year, Seattle ranked 23rd in the league with 517 pass attempts while ranking third in the NFL with 481 rushing attempts. If the team sees game scripts that allow them to lean more on the passing game, then we could see a boost in Metcalf's workload, and with how he’s used in the offense and what he can do with the ball after the catch, he could possibly finish as one of the top wide receivers in the league.

Metcalf has been blazing the field at camp. Like Sutton, he also has been putting together a laundry list of incredible plays. It looks like he’s primed to have a big season. Another camp with Russell Wilson is only a positive.

Courtesy of PlayerProfiler

When we look at his combine metrics, Metcalf’s size-adjusted speed stands out like a red popsicle on white gloves. He’s a 228-pound wide receiver who can run a 4.33 40-yard dash. His speed allows him to easily separate from defensive backs off the line of scrimmage and downfield. Then, his size makes it easy to post-up on defenders at the catch-point to make the necessary separation to make the play.

Both of these players are tremendous prospects. We could easily see them be highly productive fantasy assets this season and possibly many years into the future. They have the size, speed, and athleticism to be alpha wide receivers for their teams.

The one thing that separates Metcalf from Sutton is quarterback play. Wilson is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Lock has some talent, but he’s still a questionable quarterback prospect who has a lot of developing to do before he can even touch Wilson’s level.

Metcalf’s ability to stretch the defense and make plays downfield works to Wilson’s strong arm, which allows him to sling deep passes. This is a match made in heaven. Metcalf is the weapon in the passing game that Wilson needed.

 

Verdict

We need Lock to take a massive stride forward for him to be a more consistent player. He had a lot of up-and-down performances throughout the season last year. Sutton could fall off if Lock experiences a massive sophomore slump which is in the arrange of outcomes. If this happens, the whole offense will struggle, making it a lost year for many of the skilled players in the Denver offense, including Sutton.

Again, both of these players are very talented. It’s a much safer bet to place some chips on Metcalf because he’s backed by one of the most reliable quarterbacks in the league. Sutton has the potential of being a multi-year pro bowler, but his quarterback carries all the risk.

Metcalf doesn’t have as much competition for targets. The Broncos spent a first-round pick on TE Noah Fant in last year's draft and they turned around and drafted WR Jerry Jeudy, a pro-ready route runner, in this year’s draft. On top of that, they drafted WR K.J. Hamler this year as well. He is a speedy slot receiver with the potential of developing into a dynamic playmaker.

Sutton is pegged as the main passing target in the Broncos' offense, but the competition for targets has gotten steeper over the last couple of months. Metcalf doesn’t have to deal with this situation. WR Tyler Lockett is his main competition within the offense. On the contrary, Metcalf is entering his second season in the league and should siphon more of the target share as he develops. If anything, these two can be thought of as a one-two punch, not threats to one another’s workload.

We're splitting hairs trying to figure out which player is the better option in fantasy. These are two fantastic young wide receivers. Nevertheless, Metcalf is a safer option. Only injuries can prevent him from being a productive fantasy asset. We have to worry about external forces derailing Sutton’s production. Bad quarterback play can interrupt Sutton’s chances of posting another top-shelf season. If the quarterback situation runs bad for the Broncos, Sutton is still talented enough to make himself fantasy viable. On the other hand, Metcalf's QB-situation will only fuel him and elevate his game.



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Deeper Draft Sleepers - Wide Receivers

Most fantasy managers are done with their drafts and are waiting for the season to start. For those of you who are still drafting or are already looking to the waiver wire for help, just know there are plenty of late-round sleepers at wide receiver who could provide a boost to your fantasy team.

A lot of these players can be considered diamonds in the rough and could be sitting there waiting for you to pick them up off the waiver wire.

Let’s take a look at some deep sleepers for the 2020 season.

 

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts

Injuries prevented Campbell from taking off during his rookie season last year. He is in a good spot for this season where he is projected to command a large percentage of the snaps out of the slot for the Indianapolis Colts. During his final season at Ohio State, he saw 86.81 percent of his receptions from the slot, making his role in this current offense the perfect situation for his set of skills. Campbell has the potential to be one of the most dangerous players in the league with the ball in his hands. He had 809 yards after the catch during his senior season. Philip Rivers is very accurate when targeting the short to intermediate sectors of the football field where Campbell is expected to see most of his targets.

What makes him dangerous after the catch is his home run hitting speed. He ran an electric 4.31 40-yard dash at the combine and he also measured in with a 97th percentile burst score. The athletic metrics translate to the tape. He can quickly change gears and pull away from the entire defense once he hits the open field. His long speed can also be used to stretch the defense, making him a multifaceted asset for the Colts’ offense.

We didn’t see him get used much during his rookie season. Since we don’t have a preseason, we don’t fully know how he’s truly transitioning to the NFL game. However, his 177 ADP price tag makes him worth the risk. More than likely, he got drafted with a mid to late-round pick in your fantasy draft. Even if he’s currently being rostered by another manager in your league, he’s still worth monitoring just in case he has a slow start to the season and gets released to the waiver wire in your league. Some players churn out production at the beginning of the season and others need a few weeks to get a better feel of what their offense is trying to do on the field.

 

Steven Sims, Washington Football Team

Sims is flying under the radar with an ADP of 279, making him the WR69 selected in drafts. He’s an afterthought in most leagues, but he could hold standalone value this season.

Courtesy of Rotoviz

After recording a mini breakout in 2019 where he posted 15 or more fantasy points during the last three weeks of the season, Sims is going unnoticed in most fantasy drafts. During the last five weeks of the season, Sims saw a 26 percent target share while also receiving a 29 percent share of the air yards. The work rate is enough to propel him into being a fantasy-relevant asset if he can establish a foothold as one of the team’s key contributors in the passing game.

The Washington Football team is expecting to be trailing in a lot of their games this season, creating numerous game scripts where they will need to lean on the pass to remain competitive. More passing volume means more opportunities for Sims.

With him going undrafted in many fantasy drafts, Sims might be best left on the waiver wire. Fantasy managers should monitor his progress throughout the season just in case they need to pluck him off waivers.

 

John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals

Ross’ career has been a colossal disappointment. During his three-year career, he has only been able to churn out 49 catches for 716 yards and ten touchdowns. Injuries have been an issue since his inception into the league, causing him to appear in just 24 games. With Ross rarely ever on the field, his fantasy value is nonexistent since he has been out of sight and out of mind.

Courtesy of PlayerProfiler

Speed kills and Ross has enough speed to burn just about every defensive back in the league. As we all know, Joe Burrow will be the team’s new starting quarterback. He has a big arm and he’s accurate with the deep ball, which plays into Ross’ skill set.

Cincinnati likes to use him as the team’s deep threat. Last year, when on the field, he owned a 34 percent share of the team’s air yards while seeing a 15.6 average depth of target. He just needs to convert one or two deep targets per game to be productive in fantasy.

Courtesy of Rotoviz

We saw what Ross is capable of when he posted back to back WR1 weeks during the start of the season in 2019. In those two games, he was targeted 20 times, seeing 247 air yards. This led to him catching 11 passes for 270 yards and three touchdowns. Things looked very prosperous for Ross before he missed eight straight games due to a broken collar bone.

If it weren’t for the injuries and the fact that he has a lot of competition for snaps and targets this year in the offense, Ross would be a more popular draft choice in the later rounds of drafts. Not to mention the team didn’t pick up the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.

His deep speed will present him with an honest chance of seeing a sizable snap share. However, the addition of Tee Higgins along with Auden Tate balling out in training camp means Ross will need to prove his worth to the offense as soon as possible.

If he was a reliable option, he would be a trendy mid to late-round draft choice. Since he’s spent most of his career missing from the starting lineup due to injuries, he has become more of a forgotten asset. The market’s lack of awareness could be our gain since he is falling in drafts to a 182 ADP in drafts. There’s also a chance that he’s currently on the waiver wire in a lot of leagues.

We don’t know what a full season of Ross running routes on the field looks like. He could have WR1 potential. The risk is very limited considering his price tag is borderline free.

 

Van Jefferson, Los Angeles Rams

The Rams drafted Jefferson in the second round of this year’s draft. Even though he was drafted in the top-100, he still flew under the radar in both redraft and dynasty. This was mainly because he lacked the prolific college production compared to his peers from this year’s draft class.

What makes Jefferson a deep sleeper in fantasy is the lack of competition on the Rams’ roster. Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Josh Reynolds are the returning starters from the previous season. The team traded away Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans, leaving 72 vacated targets. If Kupp or Woods were to go down with an injury, Jefferson would see a massive increase in snap share and targets.

Even with the veterans still on the field, we could see a breakout from Jefferson during his rookie season. Reports are stating that he has been phenomenal in camp and is geared to be a contributor to the team early this season. Due to his play, he could command targets early in the season.

The Rams led the league with a 20.79 play rate while trailing by seven or more points, which is a situation where the team tends to lean toward the pass. In 2019, the Rams ranked second in the league with a 62 percent pass rate. The offense should be facing similar game scripts this season, allowing them to pass the ball just as much as last year while also keeping an up-tempo course of an attack.

On average, he is currently going off the board as WR88 in drafts, making him a super deep flier in fantasy. He’s not even a draftable option in most leagues. Jefferson is a player you either mark your flag with that last pick of your draft or a player you keep close tabs on so you’re not late to the party when it comes time to pluck him off the waiver wire.

 

Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals

After a rookie season where Isabella could only muster nine catches for 189 yards and one touchdown, it appears he has faded into obscurity during the offseason. In drafts, he is currently being selected as the WR97, making him free in redraft leagues.

Courtesy of Playerprofiler

Fantasy general managers need to realize Isabella has a lot of potential in one of the most prolific offenses in the league. He has a multifaceted skill set that will allow him to take snaps in the slot and on the outside as a deep threat. At the combine, he registered a 4.31 40-yard dash, which insists that he has more than enough speed to stretch the field. During his senior season at UMass, 32.67 percent of his receptions came from the slot.

Arizona wants to run a fast-paced offense where they spread the ball around to all their playmakers. Last season, the team ranked fourth in the league with a 28.35-second play rate while in neutral game script. The team will try and replicate that approach this year and will more than likely be more successful at sustaining drives due to the addition of DeAndre Hopkins.

The competition for targets is preventing Isabella from developing into a household name. Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald will see a large portion of the snaps. However, if Isabella can earn more of a snap share this year, then he could see some fantasy-relevant weeks.



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Stop That Hype Train! David Montgomery

David Montgomery finished his rookie season with 889 rushing yards and six touchdowns while also catching 25 passes and 185 yards and one touchdown. This production allowed him to achieve RB24 along with two RB1 weeks and three RB2 weeks. He was able to reach this level of production as a rookie on a team that ranked 29th in the league in total offense. Judging from the surface, it appears Montgomery is destined to break out and become one of the top running backs in the league. Usually, when a rookie can put together some production and flash some of their talents, they are on a trajectory to jump to the next level of their career.

Even with Montgomery out of action over the last couple of weeks with a groin injury that could possibly prevent him from suiting up for week one against the Detroit Lions, he’s still holding significant value in redraft. If anything, he’s being considered a mid-round steal due to the injury-discount that is now being bestowed to many fantasy general managers.

The hype train isn’t out of control, but the train is still rolling down the tracks to fast. There are some things drafters need to be aware of before they go all-in and make the investment in Montgomery.

 

Non-Elite Athleticism

Athleticism isn’t everything, but it matters. The fact that he ran a 4.63 40-yard dash which added to a 50th percentile size-adjusted speed score proves that he doesn’t have the homerun hitting speed to consistently bust out long gains. Combine that with a 10th percentile burst score and a 55th percentile agility score and you have a suboptimal athlete playing in one the toughest sports in the world.

The lack of athleticism really matters when a running back has to run behind a below-average offensive line. According to PFF, the Bears line ranked 20th in the league with a 58.5 run-block rating last season. It’s not like he’s running through gaping holes where he can hit full speed when a reaches the second level of the defense. His compromised athleticism prevents him from being able to create something out of nothing when the play breaks down.

Bad offensive line play creates vision and trust issues for a young running back, making the player skittish during their approach to the line of scrimmage. Scheme fit can also derail a running back’s ability to hit his true potential. Both factors are at play with Montgomery. He was unable to maximize his opportunities by not having the feel or the ability to appropriately read his blocks when approaching the line of scrimmage.

Now, let’s pivot back to his less than desirable athleticism. When the hole breaks down or when Montgomery makes a wrong read, he doesn’t have the extra gear to bail him out, leaving him a sitting duck in the hole or behind the line of scrimmage. Unless he improves this part of his game, he won’t be around for long in the NFL.

 

Courtesy of Rotoviz

Even with him seeing a large portion of the touches, Montgomery provided volatile week to week production last season. There are no indicators suggesting that he will become more dependable in 2020. Jordan Howard was siphoning snaps from Montgomery last season, but we have a sample of him being the lead back from week ten to the end of the season. During that time, he only produced two RB2 weeks.

Courtesy of 4for4.com

 

Negative Team Context

Montgomery is playing behind a bad offensive line with less than optimal athleticism and has issues finding the running lane. What will magnify all those issues is the Bears’ strength of schedule which is brutal against the run this year. It appears we are going to see him run against some of the toughest defensive fronts during the early stages of the season with his scheduling starting to ease up when we approach the fantasy playoffs. If fantasy general managers are expecting to use him as their RB2 or even flex, then they might be in trouble because it appears that game scripts will not be in his favor during a large portion of the season.

According to Pro Football Outsiders, the Bears ranked 22nd in the league in plays ran while in a neutral game script. The slow-paced offense affects Montgomery and other players' ability to maximize their fantasy impact because fewer plays ran means there are fewer opportunities for the offensive player to put up numbers in the box score. This becomes a major issue when playing against a tough schedule because playing against tougher defenses naturally impacts the pace of the game.

Not only does Montgomery has to deal with bad offensive line play but he also has to deal with bad quarterback play. Mitchell Trubisky is projected to open the season as the team’s starting quarterback with Nick Foles waiting in the wings. This is not a luxurious situation. Trubisky ranked 33rd among quarterback 141 drop backs or more with a 71.1 adjusted completion percentage and ranked 33rd among quarterbacks with a 93.0 quarterback rating while dealing with a clean pocket.

Trubisky’s inability to move the chains and maintain drives will also squander a lot of opportunities for Montgomery. It will also limit his touchdown ceiling because the Bears will have less chances in the red zone. The Bears are not expected to ahead in a lot of games where they are using Montgomery to run out the clock.

The fact that Montgomery will be starting the season coming back from a groin injury is a major red flag. This is an injury that is highly likely to reoccur during the season and could limit his touch-count during his first few games. What makes Montgomery valuable in fantasy football is the volume of touches he will likely see throughout the year. The injury jeopardizes his ability to consistently see a scalable workload through the season.

 

2020 Outlook

Montgomery is projected to be the alpha in the Bears’ backfield. He should see a large enough volume of work to at least make him flex worthy. However, his ceiling rather low and the groin injury makes his floor bottomless. Why invest in a player that doesn’t have the gusto to put your fantasy team over the top, but also carries enough risk to bottom out on your team anytime during the season.

To avoid busting in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts, fantasy gamers can always pivot to the wide receiver position. Instead of drafting Montgomery at a 65.7 ADP, fantasy managers can always turn to drafting Jarvis Landry, Tyler Boyd, Marquise Brown and even Evan Engram to avoid the risk of drafting Montgomery in fantasy drafts.

We all want to have a plethora of running backs on our roster since it’s the most malleable position in fantasy. We must keep in mind that not all running backs are worth the risk. Montgomery is a player that could be an anvil at the end of many fantasy rosters, weighing them down while preventing them from maximizing their week to week scoring outputs.

If you are playing to win, then don’t draft Montgomery.



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Mecole Hardman (WR, KC) - Fantasy Football Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~110 Overall

CURRENT ADP: ~133

ANALYSIS: The Chiefs wanted to add more speed on offense when they drafted Hardman in 2019. The raw speed combined with Kansas City’s scheme intrigued a lot of fantasy gamers last off-season. From a pure counting stat perspective, Hardman produced just 26 receptions for 538 yards and six touchdowns, posting 50 yards or more in just four games and zero contests with five or more receptions.

There are some indicators that we can hitch our wagon to for this season. With limited opportunities last year, Hardman was able to generate production by creating yards after the catch. As a matter of fact, 55.01 percent of his production came from yards after the catch with spikes in weeks three, eight, and ten. This is something to note, considering he’s entering his second season in a high volume passing offense, which means opportunity and game script could allow him to see an increase in targets leading to more opportunities to burn defenses with his speed.

In the four games when Tyreek Hill was out of the lineup (and he got injured in training camp a few days ago, just in case), Hardman did his best work, accumulating 12.2 PPR fantasy points per game, compared to the 5.7 fantasy points per game with Hill in the lineup.

We are seeing the 22-year-old getting selected with a 133 ADP, which is to say the WR51 off the board. Being a young, talented wide receiver playing in one of the most explosive offenses in the history of the NFL isn’t being accounted for in his overall price tag. Hardman is a mid-to-late-round flier who could pay huge dividends if he takes a step forward in his development or if he sees an increased role on offense due to injury, which at least for the start of the year could very well happen while Hill fully recovers.

 

More Fantasy Football Values and Sleepers

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

 

Download Our Free Draft App

Like what you see? You can download our free fantasy football mobile app for iPhone and Android which includes more draft sleepers at very position, 24x7 player news, notifications, injury alerts & daily articles.

 


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Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups List NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Michael Gallup (WR, DAL) - Wide Receiver Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~62 Overall

CURRENT ADP: ~79

ANALYSIS: Gallup finished his second season with the Cowboys catching 66 passes for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns and was the WR24 in PPR last year. He had seven top-25 weeks and three WR1 weeks. Even with him sharing the field with Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott, he was still very productive as a fantasy player.

From a route running perspective, Gallup was one of the most efficient wide receivers in the league. He ranked tenth among wide receivers with 2.16 yards per route run and maintained this rate of efficiency while lining up on the outside on 86.5 percent of his snaps.

The Cowboys spent their first-round pick on Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. He is considered one of the best wide receivers to come out of the draft in recent years. Lamb was a beast at gaining yardage after the catch, averaging 11.02 YAC while at Oklahoma. It is normal that some fantasy GMs are worried about Gallup's upside in 2020, but there is no reason to doubt an established receiver as he already is.

There will be more competition for targets for Gallup and the rest of the receiving corps this year than last. If anything, you should consider them on queal terms when addressing their fantasy values, although I'd clearly favor the known asset in Gallup over rookie-Lamb. Gallup is currently being selected in the middle of the seventh round of drafts with a 79 ADP and getting off boards as the WR33. He's a little bit more expensive than Lamb, but he also projects to finish 2020 with around 10+ more PPR points over the year. Pay a relatively high on Gallup and don't fear Dallas' stacked offense. It can nothing but help the third-year WR get more room to operate and thus rack up more fantasy points.

 

More Fantasy Football Values and Sleepers

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

 

Download Our Free Draft App

Like what you see? You can download our free fantasy football mobile app for iPhone and Android which includes more draft sleepers at very position, 24x7 player news, notifications, injury alerts & daily articles.

 


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Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:


Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups List NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

James Washington (WR, PIT) - Wide Receiver Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~168 Overall

CURRENT ADP: 180+ (Undrafted)

ANALYSIS: Washington sneakily showed some promise last season as Pittsburgh's deep threat as the year progressed. With three-straight 1,000-yard seasons at Oklahoma State, many thought Washington was on the path to being considered a bust before he started flashing some of his talents in 2019.

He saw a big increase in targets compared to his rookie season which allowed him to catch 44 passes for 735 yards and three touchdowns. If he didn’t have to deal with the erratic quarterback play from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, he might have been able to have a more significant breakout. Washington finished the last six weeks of the season with four games of 100 air yards or more. Once he started to get more run with the offense, he was used more as a deep option in the team’s passing attack which allowed him to see a 15.4 average depth per target. If a wide receiver is consistently seeing deep targets, then the odds increase that he’s going to eventually blow up the box score.

Entering his third year as a pro, PFF has Washington repeating his 2019 numbers in Pittsburgh, projecting him to around 115+ PPR points on the year by catching near 40 passes for 575 yards and 3 TDs. The upside could be higher, though, considering he'll play under a healthy Ben Roethlisberger this season. At his current price tag of WR78 there is nothing to lose in throwing a last-round pick toward Washington.

 

More Fantasy Football Values and Sleepers

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

 

Download Our Free Draft App

Like what you see? You can download our free fantasy football mobile app for iPhone and Android which includes more draft sleepers at very position, 24x7 player news, notifications, injury alerts & daily articles.



Win Big With RotoBaller

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:


Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Waiver Pickups List NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Curtis Samuel (WR, CAR) - Fantasy Football Draft Values

BALLER MOVE: Target Around ~138 Overall

CURRENT ADP: ~157

ANALYSIS: The Panthers offense is going to be vastly different compared to last year. They signed Teddy Bridgewater to be the team’s starting quarterback and hired former LSU offensive coordinator Joe Brady to run the offense. That should translate into a high-tempo fantasy-boosted offense for multiple players, including Curtis Samuel.

WR Robby Anderson is now a Panther too and he brings good speed to stretch the field. This addition could open things up for the offense as teams will need to account for not only Anderson but D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield.

Samuel finished the season ranked 10th among all wide receivers with 27 deep targets. Unfortunately, he was unable to convert the deep ball attempts to production with just 163 yards on those attempts. Kyle Allen was the main issue. He completed just 11 percent of his deep ball attempts and would regularly overthrow his targets. Samuel was an air yards wizard in 2019 with eight games with over 100 air yards. He had a 14.9 average depth of target and a 30 percent share of the team’s total air yards.

If Carolina hosted better quarterback play, Samuel would’ve been more efficient. Even with that, though, he was able to rack up 171.7 PPR points last year after catching 54 of 105 targets for 627 yards and a very neat six scores. Entering 2020, PFF projects Samuel to have a similar year putting him at around 160 PPR points with a 90/50/655/4 line over the year. All of that for a paltry WR57 or 157 ADP overall that makes him a true bargain at the time of this writing. Don't wait until the last second to draft him if you don't want to get sniped, because Curtis is well worth a 10th-to-12th pick.

 

More Fantasy Football Values and Sleepers

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

 

Download Our Free Draft App

Like what you see? You can download our free fantasy football mobile app for iPhone and Android which includes more draft sleepers at very position, 24x7 player news, notifications, injury alerts & daily articles.

 


Win Big With RotoBaller

Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:


Check out RotoBaller's famous fantasy football draft sleepers and waiver wire pickups list, updated regularly!

Categories
2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Editor Note NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Under-The-Radar Route Runners

The wide receiver position is deep with talent. There are a lot of players who are flying under the radar. Some of these pass catchers are going to provide more fantasy production than expected. While looking at some data from PFF.com, we are going to observe some wide receivers who could exceed expectations in 2020.

A lot of these players are either vastly efficient and just didn’t get the right volume to develop into a top tier fantasy asset or they received a large workload but weren’t able to convert the extra workload into fantasy production.

Let’s take a look at some potential under-the-radar gems:

 

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs wanted to add more speed to their wide-open, high-volume, pass-happy offense when they drafted Hardman in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. At the combine he ran a 4.33 40-yard dash, equating to a 74th percentile size-adjusted speed score. The raw speed combined with Kansas City’s scheme intrigued a lot of fantasy gamers last off-season.

From a pure counting stat perspective, Hardman produced just 26 receptions for 538 yards and six touchdowns, posting 50 yards or more in just four games and zero contests with five or more receptions.

Truthfully, rookies don’t usually breakout year-one. They shouldn’t be placed on a pedestal. We just need to see them flash some of their talent and prove how they can win on the field at the NFL level. Those clues will provide an inclination as to why we should buy-in during the second or even third year of their career.

There are some indicators that we can hitch our wagon to for this season. According to PFF, Hardman averaged 2.71 yards per route out of the slot last year, ranking second-most in the league in this category, trailing just Michael Thomas. He also established a 153.3 quarterback rating when targeted.

With limited opportunities last year, Hardman was able to generate production by creating yards after the catch. As a matter of fact, 55.01 percent of his production came from yards after the catch with spikes in weeks three, eight, and ten. This is something to note, considering he’s entering his second season in a high volume passing offense, which means opportunity and game script could allow him to see an increase in targets leading to more opportunities to burn defenses with his speed.

In the four games when Tyreek Hill was out of the lineup, Hardman did his best work, accumulating 12.18 PPR fantasy points per game, compared to the 5.73 fantasy points per game with Hill in the lineup. This raises a question, does he need one of the team’s main target hogs, Hill or Travis Kelce, to be out of the lineup in order to see enough workload to be fantasy viable? Or is he going to gradually assert himself as a key piece to the offense as he develops?

Another off-season with the team will certainly help. He can start by building a stronger rapport with Patrick Mahomes, who PFF gave an 86.4 passing grade last season.

We are seeing the 22-year-old get selected in the 17th round of drafts with a 133.3 ADP. Being a young, talented wide receiver playing in one of the most explosive offenses in the history of the NFL isn’t being accounted for in his overall price tag. Hardman is a late-round flier who could pay huge dividends if he takes a step forward in his development or if he sees an increased role on offense due to injury.

 

Marvin Jones Jr., Detroit Lions

After his 2019 season was cut short due to an ankle injury, Jones is ready to dial in and contribute for the Lions. If his receiving volume from last year carries over to the 2020 season, then he could be a big surprises for fantasy owners. Per PFF, 44.4 percent of his targets went for 20 yards or more, and he was also very efficient when targeted, registering a 105.7 quarterback rating when looked to.

Jones makes his money over the middle with 52.22 percent of his targets going between the numbers of the field. Even with Kenny Golladay soaking up some passing volume, Jones still managed to see a 19 percent target share and a 26 percent air yard share.

The encouraging part about the team’s passing volume is Matthew Stafford’s deep passing rate. Per PFF, 19.2 percent of his pass attempts went for 20 yards or more. If he would have played a full 16-game season, he would have been the only quarterback in the league with over 100 deep ball attempts. The league leader was Jameis Winston with 99 attempts compared to Stafford’s pace of 112 deep ball looks.

Air yards is another way to gauge a wide receiver’s workload within the offense. Stafford’s love for the deep ball translated to Jones seeing a lot of targets downfield. He had four games with 115 or more air yards and never had less than 50 air yards in a game. If he continues to see a bevy of deep balls on a weekly basis, then he will easily compete for WR2 territory in fantasy.

With Jones falling to the middle of the eighth round in traditional PPR drafts, his ADP of 89.3 becomes a major draft value. He will be a WR4 on most fantasy squads and could provide WR2 upside as long as he stays healthy. Jones is a buy at his current price point.

 

James Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers

Washington sneakily showed some promise last season as the team’s deep threat as the year progressed. With three-straight 1,000-yard seasons at Oklahoma State, many thought Washington was on the path to being considered a bust before he started flashing some of his talent in 2019.

According to PFF, he averaged 1.76 yards per route run and 33.8 percent of his targets went for 20 yards or more. He saw a big increase in targets compared to his rookie season which allowed him to catch 44 passes for 735 yards and three touchdowns. If he didn’t have to deal with the erratic quarterback play from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges, he might have been able to have a more significant breakout.

Washington finished the last six weeks of the season with four games of 100 air yards or more. Once he started to get more run with the offense, he was used more as a deep option in the team’s passing attack which allowed him to see a 15.4 average depth per target. If a wide receiver is consistently seeing deep targets, then the odds increase that he’s going to eventually blow up the box score.

On average, he is being drafted around the middle of the 19th round in seasonal leagues. Depending on league size, he might be going undrafted. The former Biletnikoff award winner is a very talented player who could take a step forward with a healthy Ben Roethlisberger this season. At his current price tag, he’s a no-loss proposition.

 

Curtis Samuel, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers offense is going to be vastly different compared to last year. They signed Teddy Bridgewater to be the team’s starting quarterback and hired former LSU offensive coordinator Joe Brady to run the offense. If the play calling resembles anything he did at LSU, then we are going to be in store for a high tempo offense that will boost fantasy production for multiple players in the offense.

Robby Anderson also signed with the team this off-season. He brings good size-adjusted speed which will allow him to stretch the field. The addition of Anderson could open things up for the offense as his added speed means teams will need to account for not only Anderson but D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield.

Samuel finished the season ranked 10th among all wide receivers with 27 deep targets. Unfortunately, he was unable to convert the deep ball attempts to production with just 163 yards on those attempts. Kyle Allen was the main issue. He completed just 11 percent of his deep ball attempts and would regularly overthrow his targets.

Samuel was an air yards wizard in 2019 with eight games with over 100 air yards. He had a 14.9 average depth of target and a 30 percent share of the team’s total air yards. If Carolina hosted better quarterback play, Samuel would’ve been more efficient instead of posting just .97 yards per route run.

We might see Samuel spread his wings and soar if Bridgewater can build a rapport with him. If Brady can get him involved in the offense and take advantage of his deep speed, then we could see a boost in his production. With him being a late 15th round pick in seasonal leagues, he’s a dart throw who could deliver a large return on the investment.

 

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

Gallup finished his second season with the Cowboys catching 66 passes for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns and was the WR24 in PPR last year. He had seven top-25 weeks and three WR1 weeks. Even with him sharing the field with Amari Cooper and Ezekiel Elliott, he was still very productive as a fantasy player.

From a route running perspective, Gallup was one of the most efficient wide receivers in the league. He ranked tenth among wide receivers with 2.16 yards per route run and maintained this rate of efficiency while lining up on the outside on 86.5 percent of his snaps. However, per PFF, he led all NFL wide receiver who received 80 targets or more with 13 drops and a 16.5 percent drop rate.

The Cowboys spent their first-round pick on Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb. He is considered one of the best wide receivers to come out of the draft in recent years. Lamb led all draft-eligible wide receivers with 3.99 yards per route run and he was second among all collegiate wide receivers with 26 forced missed tackles. Also consider that his ability to gain yardage after the catch is unprecedented, as he averaged 11.02 yards after the catch while at Oklahoma.

His skill set will benefit the Cowboys offense. It will also create more competition for targets for Gallup and the rest of the receiving corps. If anything, they should both be considered values in fantasy. Gallup is currently being selected in the middle of the eighth round of drafts with a 78.7 ADP and Lamb is falling to the middle of the tenth round with a 118.7 ADP.

It might be a good idea to diversify between the two receivers if you are drafting for multiple leagues. They are both highly efficient pass catchers who could provide value in fantasy this season.



Win Big With RotoBaller

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2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Busts & Overvalued Players Editor Note NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Stop That Hype Train! Kenyan Drake

The Miami Dolphins traded Kenyan Drake to the Arizona Cardinals during the midway point of the 2019 season. From there, he took the bull by the horns, rushing for 643 yards and eight touchdowns while also catching 28 passes for 171 yards. He finished in the top-25 in PPR scoring at his position in six of the eight games that he played for the Cardinals. On top of that, he managed to score in the top-five three times last year.

The Cardinals have an up and coming offense. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury has implanted an innovative offense by adapting his version of the air raid to the team’s offensive game plan. The franchise was able to add DeAndre Hopkins who is one of the best wide receivers in the league. Kyler Murray is entering his second season as the team’s franchise quarterback and is expecting to take a leap forward in his development this year.

Drake is a receiving back who is very electric in space. He has an 85th percentile size-adjusted speed score. The marriage between him and the Cardinals’ offense is a match made in heaven. As long as he’s on the field, he has the potential to churn out big numbers in the box score. All signs point to Drake being an elite fantasy option in 2020 and his rising draft position reflects that optimism. He should easily finish as an RB1 in fantasy but this may not be a picture-perfect situation. Just because he blew up during the last few weeks of last season, doesn’t mean he will be able to replicate those results during a full 16-game season.

 

Red Flags

One of the major issues that stand out is the lack of production throughout his career which stems back all the way to his days at Alabama. During his collegiate career, he could only muster 1,495 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground with just two 100-yard performances during his four-year tenure with the Crimson Tide.

During his time at Miami, Drake was unable to breakout. He rushed for just 1,532 yards and nine touchdowns during his three and a half years with the Dolphins. As we all know, the team is one of the worst franchises in the league and the team’s inability to put together a roster with functional talent is one of the reasons why Drake was unable to excel with his previous team.

Injuries have plagued him throughout his career. He started the 2019 season with a foot injury. Drake also endured shoulder and abdomen injuries during the previous season. He was primarily healthy in 2017, and even with Jay Ajayi and Damien Williams lobbying for touches, Drake still finished as the team’s leading rusher with 644 yards. Ajayi prevented him from breaking out during his rookie season in 2016 by boasting the fourth-most rushing yards in the league.

We haven’t seen him hold it down as the alpha for any of his teams. Can he play a full 16-game season without seeing any setbacks? Will he be able to maintain his efficiency and keep the rest of the running backs on the team at bay?

These are questions we don’t have the answer for and unfortunately, we have to pay a 16.3 ADP, a late second-round price tag to find out if the sauce is worth the squeeze. This is a very high price to pay for a player that has a huge question mark which could derail his fantasy outlook.

If Drake falls off mid-way through the year, then his fantasy owners are going to suffer. It’s costly to lose one of your top options early in the season. Not only to injury but not performing to expectations could be a death knell to his fantasy prowess. We can argue against it until we are blue in the face, but we only have a nine-week period where he was a supreme fantasy producer. The sample size of him not being productive is much larger compared to him being a fantasy-relevant asset.

 

Cost Analysis

ADP data courtesy of RotoBaller

The opportunity cost of being able to draft a known commodity that can be just as productive in your lineup is always the better option. George Kittle and Travis Kelce are the top tight ends in the league and deliver consistent production while playing the most malleable position in football. Kenny Golladay led all wide receivers with 36 targets of 20 yards or more and 11 touchdowns. Mike Evans is one of the best wide receivers in the league and will get the opportunity to play with Tom Brady.

Let’s compare him to the running backs who are being drafted behind him. Josh Jacobs has first-round draft capital and the Raiders want to get him more involved in the offensive game plan. Even though Nick Chubb shares the backfield with Kareem Hunt, he has been a productive fantasy asset throughout his fantasy career and was a top-shelf devy asset during his days in Georgia. Aaron Jones is a very talented running back who is tethered to Aaron Rodgers and is on an offense that will continuously move the ball downfield.

Drafting quarterback early might not always be the best strategy, but Lamar Jackson is one of the most polarizing players in fantasy. His rushing production provides some extra leverage for his fantasy owners.

There’s no reason to take on the added risk when there are other options available that are projected to score just as much and have been much more stable throughout their careers. Taking risks is cool, but being risk-averse during the early rounds is the best practice.

Drake is a very polarizing player. He has RB1 potential, but the drop off to his floor is rather steep. Just take into account there’s a lot of risk involved in when it comes to drafting him in fantasy this year.



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Categories
2020 Fantasy Football & NFL Rookies 2020 Fantasy Football Advice 2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers Editor Note NFL Analysis RotoBaller - All Fantasy Sports Articles

Rookie Wide Receiver Sleepers to Watch in 2020

This year’s NFL Draft was stacked from top to bottom with high-end wide receiver talent. We are going to see multiple fantasy starters come from this draft class. Some of them will come from the later rounds.

The wide receivers mentioned in this article are going undrafted in most fantasy leagues. These are players we need to be aware of just in case they break loose and start providing fantasy production. All it takes is one of the starting wide receivers to go down with an injury which could lead to one of these forgotten rookie wide receivers to becoming a league-winner down the stretch.

Here are the rookie wideouts most likely to make a splash in 2020 that can be taken in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.

 

K.J. Hamler, Denver Broncos

Courtland Sutton broke out last year, catching 72 passes for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. He is expected to be the team’s alpha receiver for 2020. Drew Lock will be consistently looking his way this season. He’s a red zone threat and can make plays downfield.

The Broncos also invested a first-round pick on Jerry Jeudy who was considered as one of the top wide receivers in the draft class. He will enter the NFL as one of the best route runners in the league. During his final season at Alabama, he was very efficient, averaging 3.3 yards per route run.

Another player who could develop into a key contributor in the passing game this season could be tight end, Noah Fant. The team spent a first-round pick to draft him last year. With a 97 percentile size-adjusted speed score, Fant is one of the most athletic tight ends in the league. There’s a chance he takes a step forward in his development. Fant has the potential to finish his sophomore season as a Pro Bowl tight end.

With all the young talent rostered in the Broncos’ passing game, it’s not a surprise that KJ Hamler has become an afterthought in traditional redraft leagues. There’s a lot of competition for targets, and it’s going to be hard for even the main contributors to maintain a consistent workload on a week to week basis.

Hamler’s speed and acceleration adds a new dimension to the offense. He will be a threat after the catch along with being able to stretch the field. The team will also utilize him as a miss-match option in the slot. His short-area quickness combined with his long-speed will make him a nightmare to cover in one-on-one situations.

He was an important piece to Penn State’s offense, posting a 31.42 percent market share of the team’s passing offense while owning a 32 percent share of the team’s passing touchdowns. Hamler broke out early during his red-shirt freshman season at age-19 by owning a 27,57 percent share of the Nittany Lions’ passing offense. His production metrics indicate that he’s a candidate to deliver scalable fantasy results as early as his rookie season. Combine his production with his athleticism, and it’s hard to bet against Hamler for the long-term.

His athleticism may allow him to get targeted early in his career. Hamler is a threat to score from anywhere on the football field. All it takes for him to catch fire and become an out of nowhere impact player in fantasy is for him to catch a few balls in open space and eat up a large number of yards after the catch.

The NFL season is a 16-game war of attrition. If one of the top pass catchers is out of the lineup due to an injury or potentially Covid-19, then Hamler will get the opportunity to showcase what he can do. Often, we players like Hamler produce during the final stretch of the season when the team loosens the leash and allows their rookies to get some playing time. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that he leads many fantasy teams deep into the playoffs during the back-half of the season.

 

Antonio Gandy-Golden, Washington Football Team

Just a few weeks ago, Washington’s second-year wide receiver, Kelvin Harmon, tore his ACL and is projected to miss his 2020 season. This will leave an opening for Antonio Gandy-Golden to assert himself as one of the team’s go-to pass catchers.

The 6-foot-4 and 223-pound wide receiver is a true red-zone option. He has the ball skills and body control to manipulate defenders at the catch-point. Dwayne Haskins is going to enjoy having a large target to rifle the ball to. His strong hands allow him to reel in the football during tough contested-catch situations.

The numbers don’t lie, Gandy-Golden was a baller at Liberty. Even though he was playing against lesser competition, he still made the most out of his situation, catching 79 passes for 1,396 yards and ten touchdowns while also commanding a 31.4 percent target share last season. He was a valuable component to Liberty’s offense as he owned a 37.17 percent share of the team’s passing production.

Terry McLaurin will be the team’s WR1 and main deep threat. He will take a lot of pressure off the defense and will help Steven Sims Jr. and Gandy-Golden operate over the short to intermediate parts of the field. If the volume is there and he can see enough red-zone targets, Gandy-Golden could be fantasy relevant as a rookie.

 

Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady is known for targeting the slot. 34.84 percent of his passing targets went towards the slot last year. Julian Edleman saw 45.09 percent of those slot targets. More than likely, the team will use Chris Godwin as a movable chess piece, lining him up in the slot and outside. He played 63.4 percent of his snaps in the slot last season.

Johnson profiles as a big slot receiver who can line up all over the field. Over the last couple of years, he was one of the best wide receivers in college football. His counting stats didn’t blow anyone away, but he did command a large ownership of the passing offense. He broke out during his sophomore season with a 44.75 percent market share of the team’s passing production. From there continued to be featured as a key piece in the offensive game plan.

Outside of Godwin, and Mike Evans the Buccaneers’ wide receiver depth chart is open for Johnson to earn some playing time. From there, the sky is the limit. He will be competing with Justin Watson and Scotty Miller for the WR3 job. There’s a very real possibility that he wins the job and we see him taking meaningful snaps as early as week one.

He’s a very talented wide receiver. Johnson excels at winning at the catch point. His strong hands and ability to outleap defenders allow him to make plays while the ball is in the air. Defensive backs will need to be aggressive when the ball is in transit because Johnson excels in contested catch situations. He earned a 138.5 passer rating when targeted, making him a very reliable option in the passing game.

All it takes is him building a rapport with Tom Brady. If he’s receiving a large enough snap share, then there’s a chance that he could develop into a fantasy-relevant option sooner than later. If something were to happen to either Godwin or Evan, then it would be wheels up for Johnson with him possibly delivering WR2 results or better.

 

Joe Reed, Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers drafted Joe Reed in the fifth round of this year’s draft. He’s a 6-foot-1 and 224-pound wide receiver prospect who tested with a 4.47 40-yard dash. Reed has the size-adjusted speed to make things happen at the next level.

What makes him a tantalizing option in fantasy is the lack of competition on the Chargers’ roster. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are slotted as the main pass catchers. The WR3 spot is up for grabs. Reed could be seeing the field as early as week one. If the injury bug nips either Allen or Williams, then Reed could receive an influx of targets. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he was on a lot of fantasy rosters during the last few weeks of the season.



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Rookie Running Back Sleepers to Watch in 2020

We just experienced one of the deepest running back classes in the history of the NFL Draft. The draft was loaded with talent from top to bottom. Since there was more talent leaking to the later rounds of the draft, we are surely going to see some unexpected players break out.

The running back position has one of the highest injury fragility rates in the NFL. With the likelihood that we see some of the top running backs get hurt, there’s a good chance we will need to lean on some of these young running back prospects to get us through the season.

By knowing which prospects are in the most promising situations for success will allow us to narrow down our options and select the right running back for your team.

 

Darrynton Evans, Tennessee Titans

During his last two seasons at Appalachian State, Evans rushed for 2,667 yards and 25 touchdowns. He finished his junior season owning a 27.74 percent market share of his team’s offensive production. We also saw his receiving production increase to 21 receptions for 198 yards and five touchdowns which provides the notion that he’s at least a functional receiver out of the backfield.

Evans is already pegged as the RB2 on the Titans roster. Without even playing a preseason snap, the odds are highly in his favor that he will Derrick Henry’s backup. If something were to happen to Henry whether it be an injury, illness, or anything else, we will see a massive increase in Evans’ workload.

The Titans finished the 2019 season ranked third in the league, averaging 33.3 rushing attempts per game during their last three games of the regular season. This team wants to run the football and even if they scale back the volume for Evans, the overall workload could be enough to elevate him to backend RB1 territory.

Image courtesy of Playerprofiler.com

He has more potential than what most people realize. Evans is a highly athletic running back prospect. At the combine, he posted an 86th percentile size-adjusted speed-score and an 82nd percentile burst score. This means he has the long speed and acceleration to get through the second level of the defense and potentially blow past the linebackers and defensive backs for a long gain or touchdown.

Evans profiles more as a change-of-pace back, but if Henry misses time, then Evans would be thrust into a bell-cow situation. This isn’t outside the realm of possibility considering the amount of carries Henry saw last year at 303.

According to his 190.82 ADP, he’s falling to around the 15th round in fantasy drafts. In some leagues, he’s going undrafted and others he’s being scooped up as a late-round flier. Nonetheless, he’s technically free in drafts right now. Evans could be the free square that turns a team around down the stretch. He’s also a great zero-RB target.

 

Anthony McFarland Jr., Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted McFarland in the fourth round of this year’s draft. He provides some much-needed depth to the running back depth chart. During his two seasons at Maryland, he rushed for 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns while averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

The team’s incumbent starter, James Conner, is expected to be the alpha out of the backfield. However, he has yet to play a full 16-game season during his three-year NFL career. Multiple injuries slowed him down in 2019. If the injury bug rears its ugly head, then there will be a lot of ambiguity in the offense. The Steelers would likely run a committee between Jaylen Samuels, Benny Snell, and McFarland.

Image courtesy of Playerprofiler.com

McFarland’s long speed sets him apart from the rest of the running backs on the roster. His ability to score from anywhere on the football field will add value to the offensive game plan. It could also be the deal breaker that allows him to see the majority of the touches out of the backfield if Conner were to miss time this season. Although his path to glory isn’t clear-cut, McFarland could be a major riser if he maximizes his opportunities.

With a 184.01 ADP, McFarland is projected to be a late-round selection in most fantasy leagues. There’s also a good chance he’s left on the waiver wire in drafts. More than likely he will be a trendy waiver wire add if he were to see a sizeable workload. He’s a name to remember because he’s just a freak injury away from being the team’s lead running back.

 

Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers

Joshua Kelley seems to be the forgotten man from this year’s running back class, but he has a very realistic path to being productive as a rookie. Melvin Gordon is no longer apart of the franchise and Austin Ekeler is expected to be the lead back. If something happens to him the team is going to lean on Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley to carry the load. Jackson’s career has been very anticlimactic at best, rushing for 406 yards in his last two seasons.

What sets Kelley apart from the rest of the running backs on the roster is his size. He is listed at 5-foot-11 and 212 pounds which is at least ten pounds more than both Ekeler and Jackson’s listed weights. On top of that, he has a 78th percentile speed score. He proved he can handle the load in 2018 when he rushed for 1,243 yards and 12 touchdowns. That year he was a 9.2 percent share of the team’s passing targets, proving that he's also a receiving threat out of the backfield.

Although he might not be the most gifted back in the league. He does have enough athleticism to hold down the fort for a few weeks if given the opportunity. His added size will make him a more optimal choice for short-yardage and goal-line carries. Kelley executes a good approach to the line of scrimmage which is followed with excellent field vision and patience before hitting the hole. He has the skill set to pay big dividends if given a large workload during the season.

 

Eno Benjamin, Arizona Cardinals

Going into the 2019 season, Benjamin was considered one of the top running backs in college football. In many cases, he was a first-round pick in devy drafts. He rushed for 1,642 yards and 16 touchdowns while catching 35 passes for 263 and two touchdowns during his sophomore season in 2018. That year he owned a 35.17 percent market share of the offensive production which was the fourth highest in all of college football behind Nico Evans, Wesley Fields, and Jonathan Taylor.

Kenyan Drake is slated as the team’s starting running back. He finished strong last year, scoring in the top-25 at his position in six of his last eight games with back to back top RB5 finishes in weeks 15 and 16. However, he doesn’t have much experience of playing a full workload through an entire season. This goes for both the NFL and the collegiate level where he was used sparingly at Alabama. If he can’t hold up during the season, then we will see Chase Edmonds and Benjamin take the touches.

The Cardinals have one of the most explosive offenses in the league. They ranked fourth in the league with 28.35 seconds between plays in a neutral game script. The offense wants to be fast-paced and run a lot of play which equates to more touches and fantasy points for everyone in the offense. Whoever is lining up at running back will benefit from playing in this offense.

Benjamin is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. His skill set matches up well with the team’s offensive philosophy. He can also run the ball between the tackles. Arizona allocated 19.7 percent of their passing targets to the running backs last year. Benjamin would benefit from the added volume in Arizona’s passing game. He can eat chunks of yards in the open field due to his nimble footwork and his tenacious mindset when running the football.

Obviously, his 5-foot-9 and 207-pound frame don’t lend the notion that he can handle a full workload for a long period of time, but he’s good enough to take over as the team’s lead back for a short stint if something happens to Drake. Benjamin has the potential to be the true diamond in the rough of the 2020 season and all fantasy owners will need to have their fingers on the trigger just in case he gets the chance to be the lead dog in Arizona’s backfield.



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Wide Receiver Standard Rankings, Tiers and Analysis

It’s June and the football season is right around the corner. Soon we will be meeting with our league mates to conduct our fantasy drafts. This is possibly the most exciting time of the fantasy season. The social interaction with a live draft adds a personal element to our fantasy rosters. The memories and good times created from the draft our instilled with each player selected.

Of course, if you want to be successful in your draft whether it be at a restaurant with a bunch of friends or online with your college buddies, you must have a good set of rankings. This article is going to breakdown the standard wide receiver rankings by tiers to help provide a depiction of how players should be valued in standard drafts.

Don’t worry, we will continue to update the rankings throughout the summer and during the regular season. If you need an up-to-date set of ranks for an upcoming fantasy draft, then you can always find a fresh copy of our ranks here.

 

2020 Standard WR Rankings

Position Rank Position Tier Player Name Overall Rank Overall Tier
1 1 Michael Thomas 4 1
2 1 Davante Adams 8 1
3 1 DeAndre Hopkins 10 2
4 1 Julio Jones 11 2
5 1 Tyreek Hill 12 2
6 1 Chris Godwin 15 2
7 2 Mike Evans 23 3
8 2 Kenny Golladay 24 3
9 2 Amari Cooper 26 3
10 2 Odell Beckham Jr. 30 3
11 2 Allen Robinson 31 3
12 2 JuJu Smith-Schuster 33 3
13 2 Cooper Kupp 35 3
14 2 Courtland Sutton 37 3
15 2 Adam Thielen 38 4
16 2 A.J. Brown 39 4
17 2 DeVante Parker 41 4
18 2 Keenan Allen 42 4
19 2 D.J. Moore 43 4
20 3 D.J. Chark 50 4
21 3 Tyler Lockett 52 5
22 3 Calvin Ridley 55 5
23 3 D.K. Metcalf 56 5
24 3 T.Y. Hilton 57 5
25 3 Stefon Diggs 60 5
26 3 Robert Woods 62 5
27 4 Terry McLaurin 68 5
28 4 Deebo Samuel 70 5
29 4 A.J. Green 71 5
30 4 Tyler Boyd 73 5
31 5 Julian Edelman 81 6
32 5 Jarvis Landry 90 7
33 5 Michael Gallup 92 7
34 5 Will Fuller 95 7
35 5 Marquise Brown 98 7
36 5 Brandin Cooks 100 7
37 5 John Brown 104 7
38 5 Marvin Jones 105 7
39 5 Christian Kirk 108 7
40 5 Darius Slayton 110 7
41 5 Alshon Jeffery 112 8
42 5 Emmanuel Sanders 113 8
43 5 Jerry Jeudy 114 8
44 5 Mike Williams 116 8
45 5 Sterling Shepard 118 8
46 5 CeeDee Lamb 120 8
47 5 Justin Jefferson 121 8
48 6 Henry Ruggs III 128 8
49 6 Jamison Crowder 129 8
50 6 Anthony Miller 130 8
51 6 Robby Anderson 131 8
52 6 Golden Tate 132 8
53 6 Preston Williams 139 9
54 6 Diontae Johnson 145 9
55 7 Breshad Perriman 153 9
56 7 Curtis Samuel 160 10
57 7 Sammy Watkins 164 10
58 7 Jalen Reagor 171 11
59 7 Mecole Hardman 172 11
60 7 N'Keal Harry 174 11
61 7 DeSean Jackson 179 11
62 8 Tee Higgins 187 11
63 8 Michael Pittman Jr. 192 11
64 8 Dede Westbrook 195 11
65 8 John Ross 202 12
66 8 Hunter Renfrow 203 12
67 8 James Washington 206 12
68 8 Larry Fitzgerald 207 12
69 8 Parris Campbell 208 12
70 8 Tyrell Williams 210 12
71 8 Allen Lazard 212 12
72 8 Laviska Shenault Jr. 214 12
73 8 Denzel Mims 215 12
74 8 Kenny Stills 216 12
75 8 Randall Cobb 219 13
76 8 Corey Davis 220 13
77 9 Javon Wims 229 13
78 9 Brandon Aiyuk 232 13
79 9 Cole Beasley 239 13
80 9 Chase Claypool 252 14
81 9 Mohamed Sanu 253 14
82 9 Danny Amendola 271 15
83 9 Devin Funchess 274 15
84 9 Albert Wilson 277 15
85 9 Antonio Gandy-Golden 280 15
86 9 Chris Conley 285 15
87 9 Andy Isabella 286 15
88 9 Miles Boykin 287 15
89 9 Scott Miller 290 15
90 9 KJ Hamler 295 15
91 9 Tre'Quan Smith 297 15
92 9 Jalen Hurd 298 15
93 9 Josh Reynolds 305 15
94 9 Kelvin Harmon 306 15
95 10 Isaiah Coulter 313 16
96 10 Adam Humphries 326 16
97 10 Tyler Johnson 330 16
98 10 Zach Pascal 331 16
99 10 Auden Tate 337 16
100 10 J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 338 16
101 10 Bryan Edwards 339 16
102 10 Demarcus Robinson 340 16
103 10 OlaBisi Johnson 341 16
104 10 Nelson Agholor 344 16
105 10 David Moore 347 17
106 10 Phillip Dorsett 349 17
107 10 Marquez Valdes-Scantling 353 17
108 11 Steven Sims 360 17
109 11 Russell Gage 366 17
110 11 DaeSean Hamilton 367 17
111 11 Van Jefferson 369 17
112 11 Jake Kumerow 371 17
113 11 Damiere Byrd 381 17
114 11 Jakobi Meyers 383 17
115 11 Willie Snead 385 18
116 11 Donovan Peoples-Jones 391 18
117 11 Taylor Gabriel 392 18
118 11 Keke Coutee 395 18
119 11 Demaryius Thomas 397 18
120 11 Greg Ward 398 18
121 11 Marquise Goodwin 399 18
122 12 Trent Taylor 401 18
123 12 Devin Duvernay 404 18
124 12 Paul Richardson Jr. 407 18
125 12 Tajae Sharpe 408 18
126 12 Antonio Brown 409 18
127 12 Josh Gordon 410 18
128 12 Keelan Cole 411 18
129 12 Cody Latimer 415 18
130 12 Cordarrelle Patterson 417 18
131 12 Trey Quinn 419 18
132 12 Ted Ginn 420 18
133 12 Justin Watson 421 18
134 12 Geronimo Allison 422 18
135 12 Marqise Lee 423 18
136 12 Kendrick Bourne 425 18
137 12 Dante Pettis 427 18
138 12 Riley Ridley 428 18
139 12 Allen Hurns 429 18
140 12 Deon Cain 430 18
141 13 Taywan Taylor 431 18
142 13 Tim Patrick 433 18
143 13 Jakeem Grant 434 18
144 13 KeeSean Johnson 435 18
145 13 Marcus Johnson 436 18
146 13 Alex Erickson 437 18
147 13 Zay Jones 439 18
148 13 Robert Foster 440 18
149 13 Byron Pringle 441 18
150 13 K.J. Hill 442 18
151 13 Joe Reed 443 18
152 13 Quintez Cephus 444 18
153 13 Collin Johnson 446 18
154 13 Hakeem Butler 447 18
155 13 Gabriel Davis 448 18
156 14 Jeff Thomas 24 19
157 14 Kendrick Rogers 24 20
158 14 Antonio Callaway 24 21
159 14 Gary Jennings 24 22
160 14 Tim Patrick 24 23
161 14 Omar Bayless 24 24
162 14 Taywan Taylor 24 25
163 14 Taylor Gabriel 24 26

 

Tier 1

Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, and Chris Godwin

Thomas finished the 2019 season as the WR1 in standard scoring. He posted a league-leading nine WR1 weeks. His success was fueled by a 32 percent target share 40 percent share of the Saints' air yards. He also led all wide receivers with 583 yards after the catch. Only time will tell if this level of volume will be sustainable going forward. If anything, he might be the safest wide receiver in the league.

Even though Adams played in just 12 games, he still managed to produce eight top-24 weeks in standard leagues last year. It’s safe to say he’s Aaron Rodgers' favorite weapon after a season where he owned a 29 percent target share and averaged 105.83 air yards per game. He will be a top ten wide receiver in all formats if he can manage to play a full 16-game season.

The Arizona Cardinals ranked fourth in the league with 28.35 seconds between plays while in neutral game script. With that being said, Hopkins will be transitioning into one of the most explosive offenses in the league. As we all know, he’s a magician at the catch point and with the right amount of volume will be one of the league’s leaders in all of fantasy.

Chris Godwin might be ranked at the bottom of the first tier, but everyone needs to realize he has just as much potential as any of the top target hogs in the league. He will now be paired with Tom Brady which could develop into a match made in heaven. Godwin ran 63.4 percent of his snaps out of the slot last season which is very encouraging since we all know Brady loves to target the slot.

 

Tier 2

Mike Evans, Kenny Golladay, Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham, Allen Robinson, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Cooper Kupp, Courtland Sutton, Adam Thielen, A.J. Brown, DeVante Parker, Keenan Allen, and D.J. Moore

Believe it or not, Evans quietly posted six straight 1,000-yard seasons. He appeared in just 13 games last year, but still finished in the top-12 in standard leagues. Evans would have scored double-digit touchdowns if he played a full 16-game season. He averaged an amazing 139.15 air yards per game last year. Living off of deep targets allowed him to be a high-end fantasy producer in 2019. Will Tom Brady be able to sling the ball downfield enough to maintain Evans’ consistency?

Matthew Stafford averaged a pass of 20 yards or more on 19.2 percent of his pass attempts. When he’s firing the cannon deep, he’s routinely looking at Golladay who finished the season fifth in the league with 1,756 air yards. He only had the opportunity to play with Stafford for eight games last year, and still was able to finish as the WR3 in standard leagues.

Bad quarterback play might have been the main driver to Smith-Schuster’s poor play last season. However, Ben Roethlisberger is back and is ready to fire YOLO-balls at his favorite target not named Antonio Brown. In 30 games, Smith-Schuster averages 74.77 receiving yards per game with Roethlisberger under center. With any other quarterback in the lineup, he is averaging just 54.33 yards per game.

Sutton has the chance to develop into one of the top wide receivers in the league. He has tremendous ball skills and has a knack for making plays downfield. With him being the team’s main target hog, he managed to own a 25 percent share of the passing targets. If Drew Lock can take a step forward in his development, Sutton will be primed for a very productive season.

 

Tier 3

D.J. Chark, Tyler Lockett, Calvin Ridley, D.K. Metcalf, T.Y. Hilton, Stefon Diggs, and Robert Woods

Chark achieved his first 1,000-yard season last year. After seeing 26 targets go for 20 yards or more, it’s safe to say he’s a magnet for the deep ball. Those deep targets allowed him to accumulate 1,358 air yards. If he can continue to connect on those deep passing targets, then he will continue to have another good season in 2020.

Russell Wilson, QB Sea is blessed to have two very talented wide receivers. Lockett is an exceptional route runner. He makes his money running in the slot where he lined up 69.4 percent of the time. Willson will typically look at him for the short to intermediate passes. However, he has more than enough speed to stretch the field. Metcalf is a size-speed freak with a 99th percentile size-adjusted speed score.  His elite-level speed makes him very dangerous. If he takes a step forward in his development, then he could finish as one of the top wide receivers in the league.

A lot of people are pegging Ridley as a breakout candidate. It makes sense, the Atlanta Falcons has one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Julio Jones takes away a lot of the heat from the defensive coverage. Todd Gurley was signed to keep the chains moving. It appears that all arrows are pointing to Ridley rising to the top of the fantasy ranks. The Falcons led the league with a 66.97 percent pass rate and they will look to continue more of their offensive production in the passing game in 2020.

 

Tier 4

Terry McLaurin, Deebo Samuel, A.J. Green, and Tyler Boyd

After playing just 14 games during his rookie season, McLaurin managed to catch 58 passes for 919 and 7 touchdowns. He was highly efficient, averaging 2.04 yards per route run. The Redskins utilized him as a deep threat. McLaurin achieved an average depth of target of 14.0 yards. The deep passes combined with his 22 percent target share will allow him to be a highly productive fantasy asset.

The foot injury Samuel recently suffered could prevent him from starting the season. His ranking should drop a few notches considering he’s in jeopardy of missing some time at the beginning of the season. Once he’s installed back into the lineup, Samuel has the potential to dramatically impact your fantasy team’s performance. Last year he averaged 8.5 yards after the catch per reception. His ability to make plays in the open field makes him a potential breakout candidate.

Joe Burrow will start his rookie season with two very talented wide receivers to toss the football too. When healthy, Green is one of the most talented wide receivers in the league. He’s a deep threat who can outleap defenders at the catch-point. Boyd spends a large portion of his time operating out of the slot. His career 68.8 percent catch rate makes him a very dependable receiving option.

 

Tier 5

Julian Edelman, Jarvis Landry, Michael Gallup, Will Fuller, Marquise Brown, Brandin Cooks, John Brown, Marvin Jones, Christian Kirk, Darius Slayton, Alshon Jeffery, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerry Jeudy, Mike Williams, Sterling Shepard, CeeDee Lamb, and Justin Jefferson

The fifth tier in the rankings is deep with talent and is infused with older veterans, highly talented rookies, and younger players who’ve displayed a lot of promise. There’s a good chance there’s a league winning asset in this group.

Let’s look at the older veterans first. Edleman will be transitioning to life without Tom Brady. We don’t know how this will pan out, but he will be inline to see a large portion of the targets. Landry has been productive throughout his career but has always managed to be underrated by producing 1,000-yard seasons in five of his last six seasons. He will be a key staple in the Browns’ passing offense. Concussions and other injuries have deflated Cooks’ fantasy value, but he does have the chance to blow the door wide open if he builds a rapport with Deshaun Watson.

There are three highly talented rookie wide receivers that we need to get well acquainted with before we enter our drafts. Lamb led all collegiate wide receivers with 3.99 yards per route run and was fantastic after the catch during his tenure at Oklahoma. Jeudy is pro read and will immediately enter the league as one of the best route runners in the NFL. Jefferson will start his career with a high possibility of seeing a large portion of the Vikings’ targets since there isn’t much competition for the WR2 spot on the team’s depth chart.

We have some younger prospects who could emerge as one of the more lucrative wide receiver options in the league if the dominos fall in the right direction. Slayton burned the league with his speed last season, and it appears he win be one of Daniel Jones' main passing options in 2020. The Arizona Cardinals have one of the fastest-paced offenses in the league. Kirk will benefit from Arizona's offense who passed the ball on 61.6 percent of their plays a year ago.

 

Tier 6

Henry Ruggs, Jamison Crowder, Anthony Miller, Robby Anderson, Golden Tate, Preston Williams, and Diontae Johnson

Ruggs was the first wide receiver selected in this year’s draft. He displayed all-world speed all throughout his career at Alabama and at the combine where he ran a 4.27 40-yard dash. It’s hard to tell how he will transition to the league during his rookie season, but he has more than enough juice to blow by defenses on a weekly basis.

Williams had a strong start to the 2019 season until an ACL injury caused him to miss the rest of the season. However, during the nine weeks he was present in the Dolphins’ lineup, Williams owned a 21 percent target share and obtained a 13.6 average depth of target. He had six or more targets in every game but one. If anything, he has proven that he can churn volume into fantasy production.

Johnson is one of the hot names going into the off-season. He led the team with 92 targets last season and could develop into one of Ben Roethlisberger’s top targets this season. He’s a highly efficient route runner who has very sticky hands. A full season of increased volume could lead to him be a valuable fantasy asset.

 

Tier 7

Breshad Perriman, Curtis Samuel, Sammy Watkins, Jalen Reagor, Mecole Hardman, N’Keal Harry, and DeSean Jackson

Perriman finished 2019 with four straight top-24 weeks in standard scoring. There was a lot of optimism surrounding Perriman when he entered the league as a rookie. Injuries prevented him from taking off and hitting his true potential. He is now with the Jets and will need to build a rapport with Sam Darnold for him to continue the upward progression of his fantasy success.

We saw some of the top rookie wide receivers get mentioned in tier six, but Reagor is another rookie wide receiver we shouldn’t sleep on. The Eagles selected him in the first round of this year’s draft. Philadelphia has an ambiguous depth chart at the wide receiver position. There’s a very real possibility that he leaves his rookie season as the team’s leader in targets.

Another breakout candidate we could see from this tier is Hardman. He’s approaching his second year in the league and plays in one of the most explosive offenses in NFL history. It’s hard to ignore his elite-level speed and his ability to make plays after the catch. All it takes is an injury at the top of the depth chart for his targets to increase. Last year we saw him score six touchdowns on just 41 targets. Although it’s an unsustainable rate, he did produce more yards after the catch (292) than Tyreek Hill (275) did on 48 fewer targets.

 

Tier 8

Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman, Dede Westbrook, John Ross, Hunter Renfrow, James Washington, Larry Fitzgerald, Parris Campbell, Tyrell Williams, Allen Lazard, Laviska Shenault, Denzel Mims, Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb, and Corey Davis

Tier eight is another deep tier. This tier is riddled with young wide receivers and aging vets. It’s very comparable to tier six and five, but the odds of these players hitting are a lot slimmer due to the lack of talent. The upside is there with this group, just the floor is a lot lower compared to some of the previously mentioned wide receiver prospects.

The rookies in this tier are Higgins, Pittman, Shenault, and Mims. Each of those receivers has qualities in their game that could allow them to break out during their rookie season. All of them are on ambiguous depth charts. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see one of these rookies crack the WR2 range by the end of the year.

The aging veterans with question marks are Westbrook, Fitzgerald, Stills, and Cobb. Westbrook isn’t an older player, but his play has dipped off recently, producing just 660 and three touchdowns in 2019. He will also be facing more competition for targets this year along with having to get acquainted with a new offensive coordinator. Father time is waiting to step in for Fitzgerald and Cobb. We don’t know when their play will completely drop off the map, but it’s eventually going to happen.

Stills has some upside, considering he could receive a large insertion into the starting lineup somewhere down the line. However, he is playing for one of the most questionable franchises in the league, and he will need something to happen to the top of the wide receiver depth chart for him to receive a larger workload.

 

Tier 9

Javon Wims, Brandon Aiyuk, Cole Beasley, Chase Claypool, Mohamed Sanu, Danny Amendola, Devin Funchess, Albert Wilson, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Chris Conley, Andy Isabella, Miles Boykin, and Scotty Miller

The wide receiver pool starts getting very shallow as we approach the ninth tier of our rankings. Most of these players will go undrafted in traditional redraft leagues. This should be expected as we get deeper into our rankings. However, there are values that could be had from this list.

We will see Aiyuk shoot up draft boards after the reports from Deebo Samuel’s recent foot injury. We should see him get bumped up a tier or two real soon. Don’t be surprised if he breaks out during his rookie season. He has a first-round pedigree and due to attrition, he could be in line for a heftier workload than expected.

There are a few highly athletic wide receivers in this tier. These players have the athleticism to make something happen but need an increase in targets or more volume churned out by the passing offense. Claypool, Wilson, Conley, Isabella, and Boykin can all exceed expectations if given a higher work rate.

Funchess and Amendola are ancillary pieces in their respected offenses, but also have the potential of developing into cheap flex options somewhere down the line. They are both in good offenses and all they need is a little bit of volume to break their way for them to be fantasy relevant.

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Born to Run: Why You Should Go RB/RB in Rounds 1 and 2

The draft strategies we implement in our fantasy drafts can change from season to season. One year it will be advantageous to load up with wide receivers early in the draft and the following it’s best to draft heavy at running back. This is because the player pool is always changing. We always have a handful of players switching teams in free agency. Coaching changes could impact a player’s outlook. A young prospect always has the potential of developing their skill set and becoming more productive on the field. There could also be a few talented rookies who are garnered as generational prospects. All of these variables can change our approach to how we strategize for our drafts.

There’s a case to made that drafting running backs with your first two picks is the most optimal strategy for roster construction. Recently, during the last few years, it was very popular to fade the running back position early in drafts in favor of wide receivers. The ultimate goal with this strategy would be to stack up on top-flight wide receivers while being able to snag productive running backs in the later rounds.

This year is different. We are looking at a player pool that is very top-heavy with three-down running backs. There are talented wide receivers with top-end fantasy potential in almost every round of the draft this year. Therefore, in theory, it’s best to get your running backs early before you start filling out the rest of your rosters with wide receivers.

 

The Running Back vs Wide Receiver Dichotomy

Here's another way to evaluate the scarcity at running back against the deeper talent pool at wide receiver. Last year we saw a 62.2 scoring variance between the RB12 (Chris Carson) and the RB24 (David Montgomery) which is a steeper decline when compared to the 25.3 variance between the WR12 (Jarvis Landry) and the WR24 (Stefon Diggs). On top of that, the 2019 season posted four 300+ point performances at running back versus just one at wide receiver. We did not see a wide receiver produce less than 150 fantasy points until WR46 (Marquise Brown). We couldn't say the same for the running backs since the first player to not hit the 150-point mark finished the season at RB32 (Devin Singletary).

NFL teams are passing the ball more. We saw 14 teams post at least a 60 percent pass rate and only two teams had a sub 50 percent pass rate last year. Compare that to ten years ago when we only had seven teams passed the ball for at least 60 percent of their plays while four teams posted a sub 50 percent pass rate. The increased volume in the passing game is elevating a large subset of the wide receivers in fantasy. With that being said, it's far easier to find functional fantasy options at wide receiver than it is for running back.

 

Drafting the First Round

Per the National Fantasy Championship’s ADP, on average there are nine running backs being selected in the first round of fantasy drafts with there being four running backs getting selected within the first five picks. All of the running backs that are being drafted in the first round are key staples to their team’s offensive game plan.

Obviously, there’s no argument as to why Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley should be the first two players taken in drafts. Both running backs see a lot of volume in the passing game and are the main attraction to their team’s offensive output.

The rest of the list of running backs are considered key contributors to their team’s offensive game plan and are candidates to finish the season as an RB1 in fantasy. Most of them are used heavily in the passing game or at least get enough rushing volume to sustain consistent production.

Of course, all of the wide receivers in the first round are safe draft picks. However, the talent pool is far deeper at wide receiver than it is at running back, making it more advantageous to snag one of the top running backs during this stage of the draft.

Most fantasy gamers are drafting running backs in the first round. When nine out of the first 12 picks are running backs in the first round, it's not a hard sell to talk most fantasy owners into drafting one. Things get a little trickier in the second round when you have to take into account the opportunity cost of missing out on one of the top wide receivers versus the position scarcity at the running back position.

 

Drafting the Second Round

Here is where it becomes more interesting. There’s a considerable talent drop-off at running back, but each of these players will see a large workload while also having the potential of finishing the season as one of the top rushers in fantasy. There are some very intriguing options at wide receiver, tight end, and even quarterback here, but due to position scarcity, it’s best to think about selecting another running back.

After the second round, we are going to see the talent pool at running back start to get shallower. Although we are passing on the top-tier of players at wide receiver, there are still going to be plenty of wide receivers to choose from in the next few rounds. There are plenty of options at wide receiver in the third to sixth round that could make an impact on our lineups.

I also want to preface, there's a lot of risk associated with pivoting away from some of the top wide receivers from the first and second round. These wide receivers are almost considered locks to finish the season as high-end fantasy assets. On the contrary, the opportunity cost of missing out on one of the top running backs could also blow up in our face when we could easily fill the void at wide receiver later in the draft.

We still see some of the top-shelf wide receivers left on the board here in the second-round, but running backs like Miles Sanders, Austin Ekeler, and even Kenyan Drake have the potential of delivering backend RB1 results. All three of these backs play in fast-paced offenses and specialize at catching the ball out of the backfield which can lead to fantasy success. Ironically, each one of these backs will experience a new situation that could elevate their production.

Sanders is entering the second year of his career. We should see him receive a larger market share of the touches out of the backfield for Philadelphia. Melvin Gordon III is gone, and Ekeler is primed to see a much larger workload this season. The Arizona Cardinals crowned Drake as their lead back this off-season. He ended 2019 scoring 90.3 fantasy points in his last three games. All three of these running backs can exceed expectations and develop into one of the top fantasy options in the league.

Although Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, and Chris Godwin can outscore all of the running backs listed in the second-round, the drop off from the running backs being selected in this area of the draft is much greater compared to the wide receivers. Not to mention there was only a 24.44 point difference from the WR5 and the RB10 in 2019.

The opportunity cost from not being able to effectively roster the wide receiver spot might be detrimental to your fantasy team's roster construction. The market is telling us that drafters are going hard in the paint early on running backs.

Let's take a look at rounds three through six and see what options at wide receiver we can grab in the draft to help build our roster after going running back heavy during the first two rounds.

 

Drafting the Third Round

As expected, the third round has plenty of wide receivers to choose from and all of them have WR1 potential. At this stage of the game, there’s a lot of ambiguity at running back. However, after draft running back in the first two rounds, it might be best to select one of the top wide receivers off the board since they deliver the most bang for the buck from a value standpoint. On the contrary, drafting another running back isn’t a bad idea either, because the position starts getting even more scarce the farther we get into the draft.

Cooper Kupp finished the 2019 season as the WR4 with 270.5 fantasy points and he's falling to the third round of fantasy drafts. Even with Matt Stafford out of the lineup for a large portion of the season, Kenny Golladay was the WR9 with 248 fantasy points. Amari Cooper averaged 15.4 fantasy points per game and is another solid option in the third-round. We only got 13 games out of Mike Evans last year, but it was still enough for him to finished the season as the WR13 while averaging 17.9 fantasy points per game.

Odell Beckham Jr. didn't perform to expectations but prior to 2019, he was averaging 20.42 PPR fantasy points per game on his career. We also can't forget about D.J. Moore who is an up-and-coming wide receiver prospect. He finished last season as the WR16 and should see an added boost with Joe Brady, LSU's former offensive coordinator, calling the plays.

There's a lot of meat on the bone at wide receiver in the third round, making it more feasible to draft running back with your first two picks. You could easily draft a WR1 from this spot while also having two workhorse running backs already on your roster.

 

Drafting the Fourth Round

The fourth round is still loaded with wide receivers who can still deliver excellent results for your fantasy team. I would be worried if I didn’t draft my first running back by now considering the lack of talent at the position at this stage of the draft. This is a good spot to draft your RB2 since all the running backs in the fourth round have enough upside to help your fantasy team.

After his rookie season, A.J. Brown's arrow is pointing up. He finished the season scoring 127.7 PPR fantasy points during his last six games. Brown will be a hot commodity this off-season. It was a rough year for JuJu Smith-Schuster. However, he did finish the 2018 season with over 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. Smith-Schuster faced some bad luck by playing multiple bad quarterbacks after Ben Roethlisberger missed a large chunk of the season with an injury.

With Stefon Diggs gone, Adam Thielen is going to be soaking up the targets and is a candidate to post a bounce-back season. Courtland Sutton looks like a true alpha wide receiver and with some added volume, he has the potential to exceed expectations and be a true WR1 in fantasy.

DK Metcalf is a screaming value in the fourth-round. Russell Wilson has proven to be able to push the ball downfield to maximize Metcalf's abilities. With another off-season under his belt, Metcalf could be in store for a massive season.

Keep in mind, some of the top wide receivers from the previous round could trickle down to the early part of round four. This will push down the wide receiver pool and create more value in the fourth round. Not all drafts are the same, but there will be leagues where will see multiple owners reach on running backs in the third and fourth rounds. The fear of missing out due to the limited amount of talent at the running back position will cause some owners to put caution to the wind and pay a premium on some of the less-heralded running backs like David Johnson, James Cooner, or even Raheem Mostert.

 

Drafting the Fifth Round

ADP indicates that there will be around three running backs drafted in the fifth round which is a big drop-off considering there were nine running backs drafted in the first round. The fifth round is dominated with wide receivers with some tight ends and quarterback sprinkled into the mix. Since there’s a lot of talented wide receivers still on the board and just a few running backs left to choose from who will receive enough workload to be fantasy relevant, it’s now more than apparent that we need to draft our running backs early to optimize the scoring potential of our roster.

Even in the fifth round we still have some stellar wide receivers to choose from. There's a lot of ambiguity when it comes to draft value when we get to this stage of the draft. We could start seeing some of the wide receivers drafted in the sixth or seventh round start getting selected in the top-60.

Calvin Ridley played in just 13 games last year and finished the season as the WR27 while averaging 19.7 fantasy points per game. We could see him own a larger share of the targets this year. Austin Hooper is gone, leaving 97 targets on the table. This could be Ridley's blowup season.

The Chargers are transitioning away from Philip Rivers at quarterback, Tyrod Taylor is expected to take over as the team's signal-caller. No matter who is slinging the rock from under center, Keenan Allen is still one of the best route runners in the game. He will still see a larger market share of the targets and as long as he's healthy, he will have a chance to be a very productive fantasy asset.

DeVante Parker shocked the world by finally breaking out in his fifth season in the league, catching 82 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. He is primed to be the team's WR1 for another season. The Dolphins should be trailing in a lot of games this season, allowing Parker to receive some extra looks while in garbage time.

 

Drafting the Sixth Round

Wide receiver is still going strong in the sixth round at wide receiver where the running back position is starting to get a little bleak. We have some dark horse candidates, but ultimately, wide receiver is the safest route at this time of the draft. We still have some candidates who could finish the season as a WR1 left on the board. The sheer depth at the wide receiver position is the main driver to why we should be stacking up on running backs early in drafts.

We have ADP as a gauge to see where these players are going in drafts, but once we get past the sixth round it gets harder to predict. We do know that the player pool at the running back position is almost completely diminished at this point while there’s still palatable options left at wide receiver, tight end, and quarterback.

Buffalo wasn't the greatest landing spot for Stefon Diggs, but it's going to be hard to ignore a player who posted back to back 1,000-yard seasons. Don't sleep on Deebo Samuel. He posted double-digit fantasy weeks in eight of his last 10 games. Samuel was on fire at the end of the season and is a young wide receiver prospect who may emerge as one of the best pass-catchers in the league.

During his rookie season, McLaurin proved to be one of the best deep threats in the league with 1,299 air yards. In 14 games he averaged 13.7 PPR fantasy points per game. Another great deep threat in D.J. Chark. He came out of nowhere to finish the season as the WR17 with 225.8 PPR fantasy points. If the volume is there, then he too should have a great a year.

 

Conclusion

It’s a good strategy to draft running backs with your first two picks. I wouldn’t be against stretching it out to the first three since you can go multiple rounds afterward with quality receivers on the board to select. Waiting on running backs can get dangerous since the talent pool quickly diminishes after the fourth round. Using this method for roster construction, you will have a team with a strong starting lineup.

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