Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 11

11/14/2018

By @theBleagueSays

Week 11 is here, and I am happy to help you look forward to this week's matchups. But before I crack into it, how did we do last week?

* If Peyton Barber (RB40) outperforms Adrian Peterson (RB11) this week: They both came out of this game with similar numbers. Peterson had 68 yards on the ground and 1 yard in the air. Barber had 61 yards on the ground and 5 yards in the air.
* Vance McDonald vs Jesse James - Carolina aren’t great against the Tight End and I want to see how Ben Roethlisberger distributes to them both: Vance McDonald had a clean 4-4-41-1 day and had 1-1-8-1 against Carolina. The bigger story out of this is the 2 TDs leaked by the Panthers to the tight end. They play Jacksonville this week, so it could be a James O’Shaughnessy week.
* Tyler Boyd is without A.J. Green this week, this could be a blowup game for him: The Saints locked down the Bengals, except for John Ross, I guess. Boyd was ok with a 4-3-65 week out. The Bengals are at Baltimore this week, so it’s probably going to look worse before it gets better.
* Marcus Mariota looked close to connecting for a score with Corey Davis last week against Dallas, I think they’ll connect against the Patriots like they did in the Playoffs last year where Davis went 8-5-63-2: Again, Mariota and Davis connected against the Patriots where Corey Davis smashed Stephon Gilmore all day, with a 10-7-125-1 stat line.

THE GOOD
Mitch Trubisky, again.

I’ve mentioned before two things about Mitch Trubisky and that was this;

1. They aligned him with talent.
2. They aligned him with Coaches who know how to utilize his skillset.

To drive this home; (attempts/yards/TDS:INT/Rushing Yards/Rushing TDS)

Player A:
505-341-4042-26:5/355/1


Player B:
515-337-4096-33:12/568/5

Yeah, so Player A is Alex Smith in Kansas for 2017. Smith was armed with all the Talent that Pat Mahomes has, sans Sammy Watkins, but had yards on the ground as well as over 500 Attempts.
Player B, which shouldn’t be a shock is Mitch Trubisky in 2018 and his 16-game trajectory.

Those numbers are extremely identical, as is the use. Alex Smith has often been told that he has underrated rushing ability and quietly so does Trubisky. The commonality is also Matt Nagy, who coached Alex Smith last year also when he finished as the QB4. But if it makes you feel even better about having Mitch Trubisky on your team take this into account also;
Mitch Trubisky is currently the QB7 (and only 74% owned on ESPN) after 10 Weeks. He is having to deal with more Quarterbacks available (DeShaun Watson, Pat Mahomes, Andrew Luck and even Baker Mayfield leading the Rookies - just to name a few) than what Smith did last year. Alex Smith is currently the QB23 (50% owned on ESPN). Trubisky has soft matchups over the rest of the season against Detroit at home (who he just torched for 5 TDS), the Giants, the Rams and the tasty San Francisco in Week 16 of the Fantasy Playoffs.

Go get him!

THE BAD
The Jets, hey, what’s up?! Matt Barkley did what?

I’ve mentioned before that I’ll never fact check anything Buffalo does for the rest of the year, but the Jets should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the Bills, who signed Matt Barkley through the week, to destroy them. Barkley, on what, his 8th different team for the year? He had himself an afternoon going for 232 Yards and 2 TDS while bringing life into LeSean McCoy who bagged himself a brace of TDs as well.

IF (and it’s a big if), the Jets are tanking and IF the Jets are resting Sam Darnold for the rest of the year, I don’t blame them. High draft picks, maybe patch up their O-Line and maybe, just maybe arm Darnold with LeVeon Bell, Devin Funchess and Jared Cook who are all free agents next offseason. I could imagine this is the talk going on within the Jets’ boardrooms and I don’t hate it. IF this is the end result, keep an eye on the Jets to hit free agency hard this offseason.

THE UGLY
Hue Jackson signed where?

To further the point of a team tilting, the Bengals called up their ex-boyfriend Hue Jackson after getting fired from Cleveland two weeks ago by offering him a bed and some warm soup. It’s not the most exciting or lucrative of offers but it’s better then moving back in with your brother, right? I think Hue Jackson should take a ‘gap year’, travel Europe, see some things and find his ‘inner Hue’. Because if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love at all and I can’t imagine this is what Jackson or the Bengals want for each other. It’s just pity love where misery loves company and it’s sad because my gut feeling is we are going to run into Hue Jackson at a wedding this offseason without a partner elbow deep in cake crying about how he blew his meal ticket Baker Mayfield and letting him away...

 

There are no more fish in the sea, Hue...


SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 11!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

* Oh Hell Yeah! Kansas City Chiefs. L.A. Rams. Monday Night Football. This is it folks, the first potential Super Bowl Matchup between the two teams, this looks like a couple of teams setup to meet five times in the next five years.
* Can the Rams stop the run? They gave up nearly 300 Yards on the ground to Seattle, how will they stop Kareem Hunt?
* Who takes over for Cooper Kupp and is Sammy Watkins able to get on the field this week?
* I have the Chiefs winning 37-31. How far off am I?

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

 Dalvin Cook courtesy of Vikings.com

Dalvin Cook courtesy of Vikings.com

Quick Hits

November 14, 2018

By @FootballNuke

Week 10 is gone.  RIP.  For many fantasy teams, it spelled the official death knell, as their records went to 3-7, meaning they are almost certainly out of the playoff picture (if you are 3-7 now and you MAKE your playoffs, I want to know!). Heading into week 11, we have a lot of trends to look at:

James Conner – I have called it for more than two weeks now, so allow me to take a quick victory lap on James Conner. In an article from two weeks ago, I just didn’t see what Le’Veon Bell was going to gain by joining the Steelers in week 10. Anyways, the drama is over. Bell is out – still. Conner is in. As a guy that hung on to Conner almost everywhere I have him, I am pumped! By the way, if you play in Yahoo leagues, Jaylen Edwards is a RB/TE. If you are struggling for tight end play, it might be worth a look.

Kerryon Johnson – he’s getting the right combination of carries and catches to be a consistent RB1 now, even on a crappy Lions’ team. Repeat after me… I will not bench Kerryon. I will not bench Kerryon. I will not bench Kerryon.

Andrew Luck – I was wrong about Luck this year. I was a doubter about Luck and his shoulder being ready and able to hold up for the season. Obviously, the guy is remarkable. I drafted him – and dropped him – in a couple leagues. I am a moron.

David Johnson – oh man, thank you Byron Leftwitch! Thanks for freeing David Johnson! The dude is back to his old self getting about 30 touches per week.  The Cardinals are still not a good offense, and their run defense has serious problems, but I like what I am seeing for Johnson.

Andy Reid – Reid proved this week that the Chiefs can take a weekend off and still win the game. I watched this one live and it just felt like they were not trying as hard as they could have. And they won. Were they saving up or looking ahead a bit at showdown with the Rams? We’ll find out.

Tom Brady – yes – they had a bad game against the Titans. Brady struggled and the rest of the team went with him. The Patriots having these type of games actually makes me fear them more heading into the stretch run. These bad beats in the past serve to motivate that team and propel them into the playoffs. If Gronk comes back after the bye (please come back Gronk!), the Patriots will be full steam ahead, and no one will want to play them.

Dion Lewis – I liked him last week and he had a slightly down week 10. That was only due to touchdown sniping courtesy of Derek Henry. To reiterate – Henry is not good. Lewis is good. Keep playing Lewis.

Anthony Miller – I thought “Miller time” was coming soon, and last week it arrived. Miller had 122 yards receiving and a touchdown. Is his future predictable? In Chicago, it is not as predictable as fantasy owners would like. If it helps, he is more favorable than Taylor Gabriel now. Where that puts him in the Robinson/Cohen/Burton/Miller pecking order is hard to say.  He’s not an autostart, but you could easily wind up kicking yourself for not starting him.

Keenan Allen – in the second half of last season, Keenan Allen kicked his season into gear and wound up being a top wideout for the season. This year I think we are looking at a repeat performance. Allen had good number receiving last week and his targets were up. This is a good sign heading into a weak schedule for the Chargers.

Dak Prescott – he has not been good this season, and not having that number one receiver may have played a part in that. Last week against the Eagles, Prescott targeted Amari Cooper a lot, and he finally started to put some good fantasy numbers up. Cooper actually played well too, so that’s a win-win.

Matt Brieda – “the cyborg” rises up and plays after taking injury after injury. He looks great out there too. He looks fast. Keep playing him.

The three runningbacks – Carson, Davis and Penny. Who’s going to play? No one can be sure. If you want to go there and roll the dice, be my guest. I will stay well away for my part.

The forgotten four (teams on week ten byes) – the Ravens come back not knowing who will play quarterback for sure. They probably do know actually, but they won’t say. I still think that Lamar Jackson is going to be on the field a lot. The Vikings always seem to get a bye week just when they get hot. That makes me nervous because that hotness tends to fade with the week off. The Texans have a huge pass rush and the Redskins have an offensive line that has lost four starters. Play the Texans defense. The Broncos come back hoping to survive a Philip Rivers torching in L.A. Lindsey should be good and maybe this is the Courtland Sutton breakout? They are going to need points.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more tournament success in the past two weeks listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

 

 Nick Mullens looks to lead the 49ers to victory against the Giants this weekend.

Nick Mullens looks to lead the 49ers to victory against the Giants this weekend.

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 10

November 9, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

 Here. We. Go.

Week 10 is here, and I am happy to help you look forward to this week's matchups. But before I crack into it, how did we do last week?

* Guys who got traded (Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate): ‘DT’ had a relatively ok game for Houston going 3-3-61 after being traded by Denver and having to play against them that same weekend. Golden Tate had back-to-back Bye Weeks and suits up for the Eagles against Dallas this week in the Primetime Sunday Night game.
* Guys who have opportunities open due to players traded (Courtland Sutton and Kenny Golladay): both were quiet. Golladay went 4-3-46 in a blowout loss to the Vikings. Sutton went 5-3-56 against a tough Texans secondary unit.
* Can Doug Martin stay over 5.0 Yards Per Carry (5.54 YPC vs Indianapolis) 2 weeks in a row?: No, he could not. He nearly did though. He had 4.45 YPC against the 49ers off 11 carries, and that’s about as good as a win as you’ll get with Martin. The Raiders were being blown away and Martin’s usage dropped pretty quickly when the game got away from Oakland.
* Is DeVante Parker ‘a thing’ again after last week’s big effort: No. Don’t ever ask about Parker again. Ever. Again. No.

THE GOOD

The Chargers Sans Joey Bosa -

The Chargers hold the top Wildcard spot in the AFC with a 6-2 Record. Joey Bosa has been missing all season and the Chargers hope he comes back sooner than later. As long as they keep winning then I’d be surprised if we see him over the next month. More surprisingly the news of Hunter Henry possibly returning (should the Chargers get to the post-season) after tearing an ACL in May when the playoffs begin. The Chargers see Oakland this week then Denver at home in Week 11. They’ll keep Kansas City honest, but the sooner they clinch a playoff spot the better for Melvin Gordon, Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen. This week they get Oakland, so chalk them up to 7-2 already.

Nick Mullens -

The feel-good hit of the season. Mullens, on the practice squad at the start of the week, got the call to start as the quarterback for the 49ers on a short week. He gashed Oakland like no one had expected. Good for him. But there is an even better chance he repeats his performance this week at home to the woeful NY Giants.

Good luck, kid. But I don’t think you’ll need it this week...

THE BAD

Detroit letting Matt Stafford get sacked 10 times -

Detroit’s O-Line has been one of the most improved units this season. But last week the Vikings taught them a few lessons. Now, I’ll accept that this may have been an anomaly on the year, but the Lions now face Chicago, who just so happen love to sack Quarterbacks and smash the Sacks stat line. Oh, and they get Khalil Mack back this week too!

Something to keep an eye on if you have Matt Stafford in your lineup this week.

Washington got ‘skinned -

I have been riding the Falcons hype train all offseason and they absolutely hammered Washington in the nation’s capitol last weekend. Kapri Bibbs did fine, but he should have as Atlanta gives up the most points to pass catching backs (which must be a skewed number considering they face Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara twice a year) so that was expected.

Does anyone really think Washington can challenge anyone with Josh Doctson, Alex Smith and Jordan Reed? Not the Jordan Reed from a few years ago, but this one? On top of the weak skill position performances, now they lose 60% of their O-Line due to injury. Is their best weapon Adrian Peterson is going to continually perform? I doubt it.  

People are going to jump on Alex Smith this week because of a matchup against Tampa Bay, whose defense just leaks fantasy points. I just don’t think Washington is that team who can keep up. I’m advising that you avoid them in a ‘trap’ game.

THE UGLY

Nate Picksixerman -

Legitimately, I think I could do a better job, and I used to be a soccer player. Let that sink in.

A guy who played a sport ridiculed for ‘faking’ and ‘cheating’ and not being ‘physical’ believes he can do the same if not a better job right now than a professional ‘football/athlete’ because he is just so, so, so bad.

Buffalo would be better off with Tim Tebow right now and the fact that they haven’t picked up the shows how bad that organization is right now.

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 10!  Here is what I have my eye on to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

* If Peyton Barber (RB40) outperforms Adrian Peterson (RB11) this week.
* Vance McDonald vs Jesse James - Carolina aren’t great against the Tight End and I want to see how Ben Roethlisberger distributes to them both.
* Tyler Boyd is without A.J. Green this week, this could be a blowup game for him.
* Marcus Mariota looked close to connecting for a score with Corey Davis last week against Dallas, I think they’ll connect against the Patriots like they did in the Playoffs last year where Davis went 8-5-63-2.

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

 The ARRIVAL - Marquez Valdes-Scandling is the new WR2 in Green Bay.

The ARRIVAL - Marquez Valdes-Scandling is the new WR2 in Green Bay.

Quick Hits from Week 9

November 5, 2018

By @FootballNuke

Week nine, aka the “byepocalypse” is finally over! Did your teams survive? This week in the NFL did have some great games though.  I, for one, will be re-watching the Rams vs. the Saints game with my NFL Game Pass.  That game was a fantasy football aficiando’s dream come true! We’re nine weeks into the season, here is what we know: 

James Conner – I am going to say it here and now – Conner is the starting back for the Steelers the rest of the season.  Even if Lev Bell comes back to the team (and I am skeptical of that), he is not going to take but a fraction of Conner’s workload. There are loads of team-related and statistical reasons to support this which are all over the Internet, so I won’t go into them here. The Lev Bell/Pittsburgh marriage is over. Bank on it. If you traded for Conner on the cheap – congratulations! If you held onto Conner, congratulations! I am going to bet that most of you that did either of these are now vying for the playoffs.

Alvin Kamara – serious question – the number one pick in fantasy redraft leagues next season – is it Gurley? Or is it Kamara? Karama is unreal. His production rate is unreal. The most unreal thing about it is, as long as Drew Brees is in New Orleans, Kamara’s production is not going to slow down.

Michael Thomas – what an explosive week Thomas had! He is a force to be reckoned with.

Josh Gordon – did we just see the Josh Gordon coming out party? Possibly. He had a great game, however there is something nagging me about his overall standing with the team. I feel like we are one or maybe two “Josh Gordon moments” away from him being punted from the team. I hope that does not happen, but I am still fearful of it.

Aaron Rodgers – unquestionably the most talented quarterback in the league, Rodgers is soon to have a new head coach. As a football fan, I hope the Packers’ next coach is someone fresh and inventive, like Sean McVay, Matt Nagy or Kyle Shanahan.  Rodgers deserves better.  As NFL fans, we deserve better.

Nick Mullens – he had a great game against an Oakland team who looks like they would rather be anywhere else that on a professional football field right now. Mullens does do an extensive amount of game preparation – that would be the opposite of former Raiders quarterback Jamarcus Russel (did you see the story on him this week about his coaches testing him on watching game tape? It’s right here.) Temper your excitement over Mullens, but do keep an eye on him if you are looking for a spot start the rest of the year.

Dion Lewis – might the Titans finally be figuring out how to use Lewis? His play is improving and his stats over the past two weeks are encouraging. Against New England next week and then against Indy the week after, he’s a definite flex play for me.

Anthony Miller – “Miller time” is coming soon.  His target share is going up and now Taylor Gabriel is injured.

Marquez Valdes-Scandling – Geronimo Allison’s time as the WR2 in Green Bay is gone, if it ever really existed. Valdes-Scandling is looking like a playmaker. I expect the more that he sees the field, the more that Aaron Rodgers will trust him. The target share is not quite at full-time WR2 status yet, but I think it is coming.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – the winner of the “Tampa Bay area Conner McGregor look-alike contest” is sure good at generating fantasy points. If you have him back on your rosters right now, I would suggest keeping another competent QB on the roster. This ride with Fitzy is only going to last if head coach Dirk Koetter thinks that Fitzpatrick gives him a better chance of keeping his job than Jameis Winston does. The moment that perception changes, Fitzpatrick’s status will change (that change could happen mid-game, which is the fantasy football owner’s nightmare scenario).

Joe Flacco, Michael Crabtree and John Brown – what started out so promising this season is now looking pathetic. Brown and Crabtree have gone quiet and it is because Flacco can’t get the ball to them anymore. Why that is, I do not know. The receivers appear to be in good health, which leads me to believe the problem lies with Flacco’s inconsistent play. In other works, the countdown to Lamar Jackson has begun.

The situation in Cleveland – with the departure of the head coach and offensive coordinator, it is hard to predict what to do with the fantasy assets in Cleveland for the rest of the year. For dynasty, this is a good thing and I am really interested to see whom they will bring in. Former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians expressed interest today. All I can say is please, please, PLEASE I hope that happens for real! That comment by Arians tells you that there is a great deal of talent in Cleveland. Short term, I do not know who you can really trust. Long-term, stock up. Keep an eye on whom they hire though.

Ito Smith – Tevin Coleman had a great week nine. Ito followed suit with a solid game of his own. He’s an asset to stash heading into the second half of the season.

Amari Cooper – Cooper looked solid tonight against the Tennessee defense. It might take a coaching change in Dallas (and I think there is one coming at year’s end) before we see just how good Cooper may - or may not - be.

Adam Thielen – he finally had a “bad” game and still caught a touchdown pass.

Courtland Sutton – the much-ballyhooed arrival of Sutton as a starter was a bit of a downer. My advice is to give it some time. Stash him on your bench if you can. If the owner that picked him up drops him, scoop him up and stash him. Things with Sutton will get better as the season goes on.

Deandre Hopkins – no matter who else the Texans put on the field with him, he is a top five start every week. If you can get him without giving up the ship, do it.

Keenan Allen – he’s been a disappointment of sorts to start the season and just like last year he is heating up. There might still be opportunity to trade for him, so grab him if you can. The second-half of the year is going to be a good one.

Russell Wilson – I am on life support with Wilson. I thought there was no way the Seahawks would go away from giving Wilson the number of passing attempts per game he is accustomed to.  Those attempts usually led a fair number of rushing attempts, which in turn led to his high fantasy point-scoring floor. That’s all gone now as the Seattle offense switched to a run-first – and second – and third – mode. It’s a sad deal really. The way this is heading, it makes me wonder how much Wilson will put up with before we start hearing about him leaving the northwest for another team.

The forgotten six (teams on week nine byes) – the Bengals will return without A.J. Green, which is going to alter their entire offense. Green is the guy that opposing defenses look to stop, so defenses will be able to put their focus on stopping Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon. Could it be John Ross time? The Colts are moving the ball through the air and now Marlon Mack is doing his best to look like the workhorse back most of us were hoping we had when we drafted him. Jacksonville is next up for them, which is not quite as scary now as it was even a couple weeks ago. The Jaguars for their part are about to get Leonard Fournette back. Will that right their careening season? Only if he’s healthy and they can give him the thirty carries per game that he needs. The Cardinals finally got rid of their lame offensive coordinator and suddenly Larry Fitzgerald came back to life. He took David Johnson along with him, too. There are still a lot of problems with that team, but at least there is some hope that a couple of fantasy draft picks might return some value in the second half of the season. The Eagles come off the bye with a win and a new receiver – Golden Tate. Tate will take targets away from Nelson Agholor, but Jeffrey and Ertz (of course) will be safe. I like Tate in this offense. The sad Giants will take on San Francisco in week ten. That bodes well for Saquon’s output. OBJ could see a boost too, if Eli Manning can channel some momentary competence.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more DFS tournament success listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

 Halfway through the season, Todd Gurley leads the universe in fantasy PPG.

Halfway through the season, Todd Gurley leads the universe in fantasy PPG.

THE BACK ROW FANTASY SHOW MID Season RANKINGS

HOW ARE WE DOING SO FAR?

By @theBleagueSays

October 31, 2018

This is going to be a fun one!

I am going to take The Back Row Shows Rankings and see where we went right, wrong or fell completely off the radar. It’s a little different than my normal Good/Bad/Ugly article, but who wants normal?

Prior to getting started, I want to see how we did last week. Week 8 went quicker than Todd Haley’s run as an Offensive Coordinator for the Browns (Cleveland, what are you doing?!) as we look to power through into Week 9. So, what did we look for?

 

  • What does Amari Cooper do for Dallas in his first week?  Nothing, he had back-to-back bye weeks. He debuts this weekend.

  • Carlos Hyde take-two in Jacksonville; Hyde had 11 yards from 6 carries against a stud Eagles defense. I’m not too sure you want much more of Hyde prior to Fournette returning. You may have to sit tight this week and see how that plays out - which is possibly your best option if you have Hyde going forward - probably a good thing they have their bye this week.

  • Can Rob Gronkowski get his health right and play this week? Rob Gronkowski went 3-43 yards against Buffalo this week, which sounds worse than it is. Buffalo’s defense has played really well considering how often they get sent out to play each week. The Patriots get Green Bay this week. With ‘Gronk’ looking as healthy as he does, he should be fine moving forward.

  • Russell Wilson off the bye - what improvements can he make and do the rushing yards increase? Again, Seattle wanted to punch the ball on the ground, stopping Wilson from going to the air. Kind of. Russell Wilson had just about 250 air yards this week. Off 14 completions only, with 3 TDs. That’s a TD nearly every 5 passes, which is just not sustainable. His rushing yards stayed in and around under 20 yards - so I don't know if you can take that into consideration going forward when starting him because it’s just not happening. On the other hand, he’s scoring points so what do I know?

 

We are halfway through the season and some players have either missed a few games or had their bye when others haven’t, so bear with me. All rankings (where it matters) will be based on Half Point Per Reception scoring, that way Standard or Full PPR can divide or add where necessary - I'm not doing three loads of math - not on a Tuesday at least.

THE QUARTERBACKS- TOP 10

Who we got right: Sporadically we have all had a QB here or there sneak into the upper tier of the Top 10. I (@TheBLeagueSays) was high on Cam Newton (4th Overall) and Kirk Cousins (6th Overall) while @FootballNuke was all about Andrew Luck (2nd Overall) and Pat Mahomes (1st Overall) having both that high on his behalf was risky but incredible to call so far considering the amount of ‘unknown’ surrounding them this offseason.

Who we got wrong: So far we have all been relatively off the mark, as the calls for traditional leaders in Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and/or Russell Wilson to finish high just hasn’t happened. Brady and Rodgers are sitting at 9th and 10th respectively while Wilson is sitting at 17th overall. However, all three have had unsettled squads. Think about Doug Baldwin missing most of the season and Wilson no longer rushing for yards. Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison in Green Bay have missed time, along with Rodgers due to injury. Want to pick a Patriot to play this week? Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon or Rob Gronkowski? All have chipped in but not as well as we would have liked. I’d expect all towards the next few weeks find some consistency, however, catching those ahead (in the rankings at least) may be hard to achieve.

Who we wish we could reconsider; Matt Ryan, 3rd overall, is playing as well as he ever (as well, if not better than his MVP season in 2016) has and is someone only @KnitBackRow had as his 10th QB off the board. Mitch Trubisky (8th Overall) has ‘Alex Smith 2017’ type numbers so far and is performing above what anyone anticipated. And considering Matt Nagy got that out of Smith last year we can legitimately wonder if these are ‘system’ type numbers Trubisky is putting up. Who is to say he can’t finish in the top 5-8 like Smith last year? None of us saw that coming.

Who can make a charge: Carson Wentz is the guy I would think can make big strides. Everyone has him in their top 10 and is currently sitting 20th overall. Wentz (while playing only 6 games), has averaged 298 yards per week since Week 3 when he debuted this season and the Eagles just traded for Golden Tate, who is a Yards After Catch machine. While the Eagles have a bye this week, I can imagine Carson Wentz makes an aggressive charge towards the top 10 by the end of the season.

THE RUNNING BACKS - TOP 10

Who we got right: All the usual suspects are there. Todd Gurley we thought would be where he is and our calls for Saquon Barkley doing well have been warranted despite seeing next to nothing out of him in the preseason or knowing if he could succeed while the Giants fail around him (they're failing and Barkley is crushing whether on the ground or in the air).

Who we got wrong: TJ Yeldon, James White, James Conner - so far, the backup Running Backs have dominated. Opportunity knocks, right? That doesn’t mean that Dalvin Cook, Sony Michel, Le'Veon Bell or Leonard Fournette wouldn’t be in their places if they were healthy right now (there's a huge chance they would be), but they’ve capitalized with their chances and only an injury or returning player could slow them down.

Who we wish we could reconsider: Ezekiel Elliott and Christian McCaffrey have been the names everyone has looked at this offseason and thought ‘this is the year they are set up to take over their team’s plays this year, it will all funnel through them’. It kind of has, but kind of hasn’t. Elliott is the 9th (113.9 points) and McCaffrey (110.3 points) 10th ranked RBs so far this season which feels lower than it sounds, however, they’ve accrued about 50% of what Todd Gurley has put up (224.6 points) this season so I’m not sure we can really talk about how great they may have been. Melvin Gordon (6th Overall) has had a crazy good year this so far who saw @BarkBackRow, @KnitBackRow and @TheBleagueSays all have Gordon 8th Overall, have had all the faith in him and placed their Top 10. He has done well even with Austin Ekeler being involved and could be a reason as to why Keenan Allen has done so poorly in the End Zone this year.

Who can make a charge: Adrian Peterson (11th Overall), David Johnson (12th Overall) and Joe Mixon (13th Overall) all have the tools and opportunities to move into the top 10 based on how they are being used anyway. Rookies Phillip Lindsay (14th Overall) and Kerryon Johnson (23rd Overall) are guys who can move up, with more trust and touches. As the year goes on, they can make a bigger impact for their teams.

THE WIDE RECEIVERS - TOP 20

Who we got right: We all quietly loved Davante Adams (as high as 4th (@FootballNuke) and as low as 9th overall (@ArmsBackRow)) who is currently sitting 4th Overall amongst Receivers. Without stating the obvious we all had DeAndre Hopkins within our Top 2 and he is sitting 3rd amongst all Receivers.

Who we got wrong: look if someone told you that Adam Thielen through 8 games would be the number 1 overall receiver, you’d have had a laugh about it. If someone told you that Emmanuel Sanders would be in the top 10, you’d have had a laugh about it. The same goes for Tyler Boyd (12th), DeSean Jackson (15th) and John Brown (16th) who have all excelled - but no one thought they could be in the top 20. We were all wrong on guys who had the right scenario and the volume to double-down with it. Keenan Allen we all had within our top 10 and he has been brutal for fantasy, as he currently sits as the 32nd overall receiver. Larry Fitzgerald (44th Overall), Allen Robinson (56th Overall) and Doug Baldwin (102nd Overall) have either bombed out, got hurt or not connected with their respective quarterbacks (or all of the above) and are looking to have a big second half of the season.

Or they got ‘Gruden’d’ like Amari Cooper (65th Overall) and traded away.

Who we wish we could reconsider: As I just mentioned, Doug Baldwin came into the season hurt and the Seahawks philosophy swing to running the ball more was quicker than anticipated - except for @ArmsBackRow, he was cautious of him this preseason and warned us all. He was the only one who kept him away from his top 20. Conversely, a guy like Tyreek Hill (2nd Overall) who we kind of liked but didn’t know how Pat Mahomes would pan out, kept us reserved; we probably shouldn’t have doubted Hill’s (or Mahomes’) talent.

Who can make a charge: Cooper Kupp was leading the Rams receivers in pretty much every metric prior to succumbing to an MCL sprain. Whilst missing 2.5 games since last playing, Kupp still sits at 20th overall and only a few spots behind Brandin Cooks (17th) and Robert Woods (11th). I would now bank on Kupp, provided he is healthy, to end up the Rams top receiver with a potential top 10 finish which is saying a lot considering that only @BarkBackRow had him in his top 20 alone (19th Overall). Alshon Jeffery (35th Overall) is someone who had missed a fair bit of the start of the season but since he has come back has bossed his opposition around. As mentioned previously about Carson Wentz making a charge in the second half of the year, for that to happen Alshon Jeffery needs to keep firing; only @FootballNuke (19th) and @KnitBackRow (17th) had him inside their Top 20 and that gamble looks to possibly pay off.

THE TIGHT ENDS - TOP 10

Who we got right: @ArmsBackRow (5th Overall) and @KnitBackRow (7th Overall) had George Kittle (currently 4th Overall) the highest amongst rankers and he hasn’t disappointed. What’s great for Kittle (maybe not so much for the 49ers) is that Jimmy Garoppolo is out with an ACL injury and he is aligned with college teammate C.J. Beathard. There is a definite connection there and while Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin have struggled, Kittle has lead the 49ers team each week (maybe not statistically but you get my point) with some dominating performances. O.J. Howard (7th Overall) is someone we all wanted to succeed. But the contract extension for Cam Brate this offseason threw us all out as it seemed a confusing move for the Buccaneers to make. @FootballNuke (6th Overall) and @TheBLeagueSays (10th Overall) were highest on Howard to start the year, but everyone was extremely high on him - what’s best is that he finally has trust with Jameis Winston and when Ryan Fitzpatrick has played, has succeeded with him as well. That helps, because I don't know who will start at QB for Tampa on a week-to-week basis. Not sure they do either…

Who we got wrong: For starters, going forward please expect regression out of Eric Ebron (3rd Overall). God damn, I never thought I’d say that out loud... But none of us had Ebron in their Top 10 at the start of the season. But for context; Andrew Luck hit three separate tight ends this weekend for a touchdown against Oakland and that is who he likes to target in the end zone. Now that doesn’t mean that Ebron can’t keep contributing but I can't fathom a world where if Jack Doyle is healthy that Ebron keeps up his incredible pace. Ebron has made a point of proving everyone wrong this year and has looked great, so if he continues producing while the tight end position is the proverbial cluster, then who am I to doubt what Ebron can end up as? Evan Engram has been hurt and caught up in the shuffle of receivers in New York with Barkley having big games in the air too. What looks bad is that Eli and Engram missing on a few simple passes and do not look to be on the same page at all. Engram last year was criticized for a somewhat underwhelming completion percentage and that doesn’t look like it is improving. The volume is lacking too. It’s an overall bad scenario for Engram.

Who we wish we could reconsider: Jared Cook. Let’s say John Gruden per week has a receiver he is locked in on and flogged him with targets. Cook has had days where he has had more than 10 targets and dominated and less than 6 targets. When he gets less than seven targets, he is a ghost, whilst someone else like Amari Cooper or Jordy Nelson has had the lion's share and been the lead ‘guy’. Now Amari Cooper is out of the picture and so is Marshawn Lynch - I would think that Cook is now primarily the Raiders Red Zone / End Zone Target and that can only be a good thing for his production. Currently, Cook is 5th overall and unless Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Kyle Rudolph pull their thumbs out I honestly don’t think Cook finishes outside the top 5 for the rest of the season. No one had Cook in their top 10 at the start of the year.

Who can make a charge: I’ll keep this one short and sweet - if Rob Gronkowski is healthy, he is your starting tight end. I think the Patriots have had as much of a stop-start season as anyone due to the plethora of player turnaround that they have had. Edelman returned from injury/suspension and they traded for Josh Gordon whilst losing half their backfield has disrupted a lot of what they may have planned for Gronk. What’s scary is that by his (and our) standards he hasn’t been great this year and is still 8th overall as a tight end. Go figure.

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 9!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

 

  • Guys who got traded (Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate).

  • Guys who have opportunities open due to players traded (Courtland Sutton and Kenny Golladay).

  • Can Doug Martin stay over 5.0 Yards Per Carry (5.54 YPC vs Indianapolis) 2 weeks in a row?

  • Is DeVante Parker ‘a thing’ again after last week’s big effort.

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans! Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 James Conner and Le’Veon Bell celebrate in 2017.

James Conner and Le’Veon Bell celebrate in 2017.

DON’T. DROP. JAMES CONNER.

October 23, 2018

By @FootballNuke

It’s Tuesday night, right before waiver Wednesday and I am pumped! Why you might ask? Well, someone in one of my leagues has dropped – I repeat – DROPPED – James Conner. When I saw this, my jaw hit the floor. Even in redraft leagues, I would not dream of dropping James Conner at this point. However, the mere fact that someone DID drop him got me thinking about why someone would do it. So I jotted down a few reasons why someone might drop him to attempt to understand the mindset.

Reasons to drop James Conner:

1)      Lev Bell will report to the Steelers soon.

2)      When Bell returns, he will be the bellcow.

3)      When Bell returns, James Conner’s value will be that of a handcuff only.

That’s pretty much the list, and it would be a very compelling list - if I actually believed it. I’ve given the reasons why an owner should drop James Conner. Here is my list of why owners should NOT drop him and why, if he is on the waiver wire in your league, you should scoop him up.

Reasons to hold onto James Conner (or add him):

1)      Lev Bell may be returning, but it is only because if he doesn’t return, he will not be eligible for free agency at the end of the year.

2)      Lev Bell has alienated himself in the locker room. His coach is not happy with him, the ownership is not happy and worst of all, his own teammates are not happy with him. Some even took to social media to roast him for not showing up. As great as Bell is, he still needs lineman that want to block for him. My guess is that they may not be thrilled to do that when Bell returns.

3)      Bell is a free agent at the end of the year. With Bell heading into free agency, what advantage do the Steelers get by playing Bell and benching Conner? True, Bell is the better player. A generational talent. Conner, however, is the future of the team. He has played well, average 21.33 Yahoo fantasy points per game in their standard scoring (.5 PPR) leagues. Bell would make the Steelers better than they are. However…

4)      What if Lev Bell continues the tack he is already on of not wanting to play until he has a contract? Bell only must report by week 10 to be eligible for free agency. That does not mean he has to play. Being happy with his performance, the Steelers could decide that they are quite happy to continue to play Conner. The Steelers could also decide that even though Bell has reported that they are not going to reward him by putting him on the field. Or, who’s to say Bell doesn’t fake an injury upon arrival that will keep him on the sideline? After all, he has reported which will make him a free agent. Playing would jeopardize his health and the potential payday.

When I add all of this up, I cannot fathom the Steelers electing to return Bell to the status of their primary runner. I think the remainder of this year we will continue to see James Conner play a significant role in the Steelers backfield each and every week, being at minimum a flex play, but at maximum, the must-start RB1 that he has been all year long.  So, if you have James Conner on your team, I urge you – don’t drop him. Unless you are in one of my leagues. 😊

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more tournament success in the past three weeks listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

 

 “AROG” leads the Pack into what should be a high-scoring showdown with the LA Rams this weekend.

“AROG” leads the Pack into what should be a high-scoring showdown with the LA Rams this weekend.

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 8

By @theBleagueSays

Just like this week’s opening to Week 8’s article, last week’s slate of games felt flat. Some of the games were seemingly going through the motions and another early morning London game is over (thank God). We now face another week of byes and bye-byes!

But before we get into it, how did we fare this week?

* Julio Jones Vs New York, Touchdown Watch 2018 - yeah that didn't happen again.  However, he clocked over 100 yards for the 4th time this season. Jones is a stud, but if you are still counting on him for TDs then your approach to Julio, Atlanta’s Offense and how he is utilized is off. Count on the yards and be happy moving forward that he isn’t Amari Cooper.

* Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette; where you at!? On the pine again. Fournette now sees Carlos Hyde who was added via a trade last week, and Latavius Murray went ham on the Jets, so Cook may lose work when he finally returns to health.

* Denver started 2-0 and fell to 2-4. Can they stop the skid against Arizona? And stop them they did. Von Miller called his shot and kept the Cardinals to 10 points, while the offense put up 45. Keenum struggled, as it was a run game that dominated along with Emmanuel Sanders who had another great week.


* Tight Ends vs Atlanta, who’s up next? Evan Engram on his return from an MCL injury, and the backup guys named Joe Schmo and Joe Bloggs contributed by having a pulse and having a skillset that involved putting a jersey the right way (which is a win if you’re a Giant at the moment) but that’s about it.

THE GOOD

Pittsburgh won without playing…


Only Pittsburgh without Le’Veon Bell and a shoddy defense can climb the hard-nosed AFC North without playing this week.

Baltimore was caught by Drew Brees who made history by beating all 32 teams in his career. Andy Dalton went from ‘red-rifle’ to ‘red-nosed’. Pat Mahomes and the Kansas defense held the Bengals, and it looked easy. Cleveland lost again, but more on that later...

All I know is that the Steelers are at home to Cleveland this week after a week off. This could be worse than it seems for Cleveland.

Washington won ahead...

I think Washington were equally big winners this week. A win against a division rival at home against (Dallas), while the Eagles and Giants both fell. This Alex Smith team is somehow getting by on the back of veteran stalwart Adrian Peterson. Jordan Reed looked like there were some (not many but some) signs of life and Michael Floyd started to pop up; someone to take note of in deeper leagues. With three targets, he could look to assert himself in a receiver group that is poor at best.

Houston playing catch up... But I’m impressed with the Colts...

Houston stole one, again, on the back of a massive defensive effort that destroyed Blake Bortles. DeAndre Hopkins looks like a machine no matter what and Deshaun Watson has started to show more of his old self again. It wasn’t pretty but considering he is playing with half a rib and a punctured lung he did ok. Against Jacksonville, I’m not sure that matters – it was enough. It feels like this division is up for grabs and no one really wants it. Out of all the teams to watch so far, the Colts look like the only team that is trying to play greater than who they have on their roster. With ringers at all positions, Eric Ebron of all people could end up a top 5 tight end by the end of the year - which says it all. They have T.Y. Hilton back and Jack Doyle will return soon enough. Marlon Mack has had decent back-to-back performances. The Colts have a rough schedule, but Andrew Luck could win them a week on his own. Let’s track them after their bye week and see if they can go on a run. If they can, it will put pressure on the Texans, Titans and Jaguars.

THE BAD

Running Back fallout...

Royce Freeman. Down. Marshawn Lynch. Down. Sony Michel. Down. Melvin Gordon. Down. Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette. Still Down. LeSean McCoy. Down. Devonta Freeman. Down. Bilal Powell. Down.

This is the world we are living in - where guys like Doug Martin and Trent Cannon are fellas we may need to plug in and play as the bye week sees another three teams take a breather.

Eat your Wheaties and say your prayers I guess, brothers and sisters. It could be a rough one this week.

Cinci-not-me...

“Prime time” Andy Dalton blew his chance under the bright lights again. A.J. Green looked good as always. It’s incredible how underappreciated he always seems to be. Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd were kept extremely quiet. The Bengals get Tampa at home this week which should be a shoot-out. The story should be how Kansas City’s defense at home has been playing lights out. In a world where Janoris Jenkins could be traded for peanuts, and Patrick Peterson could also be grabbed for a hefty price; depending on how much the Chiefs want to take the next step - this could be necessary for Kansas City to look into if they are serious about contending with the Rams and Patriots.

THE UGLY

Blame Bortles...

He is who we thought he is. Blake Bortles isn't very good.

Yes, I know between weeks ‘I don't care’ to week ‘whenever’ he was a top twelve QB. That was last year when guys like Trevor Siemian were landing in the top five in random weeks. Without a run game, Bortles is exposed, which was exactly the moniker the Jaguars preached last year when they were nearly unstoppable.

Do you remember last year when the Jaguars coaching staff would have been happy if Blake Bortles never threw a ball? Who says that about their Quarterback?! The Jag’s coaches did. They knew then that he wasn’t very good. I think it is time to stop it with the “Bortles is a good Quarterback” argument.

Cleveland gunna Brown...

Another overtime performance? Check.
Another overtime loss. Check.
Another quality player traded away for peanuts. Check.
Another season likely lost. Check.

Look it’s easy to see the positive things that are taking place for the AFC North franchise - let’s not overlook the good that they have done. Baker Mayfield looks good. David Njoku is starting to look good. Jarvis Landry has been solid too, all the while their defense has been quietly achieving good things. They look a better team all around and that’s great for Football. No one wants to see another 0-16 team.

In a Division where Pittsburgh took the lead without playing a game, I actually feel bad for the players seeing their brass chop players of need like Carlos Hyde and Josh Gordon when it was the division was there to be won. The division or a potential Wild Card slot are still up for grabs, and they have been in every single game so far. It’s a shame.

They’re literally a few playmakers away from making an impact. Well they were anyway...

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to week eight!  Here is what I am looking at for this to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

  • What does Amari Cooper do for Dallas in his first week?

  • Carlos Hyde take-two in Jacksonville.

  • Can Rob Gronkowski get his health right and play this week?

  • Russell Wilson off the bye - what improvements can he make and do the rushing yards increase?

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

 Saquon Barkley leaps Malcolm Jenkins.

Saquon Barkley leaps Malcolm Jenkins.

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 7

 

October 16, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

 

In Week 6 we were living in the ‘upside-down world’ for a few hours. Results...oh boy - did results vary. Dallas destroyed Jacksonville and Washington narrowly escaped Carolina, let alone the to-and-fro between a Brock Osweiler-lead Miami over a previously dominant Chicago. The Jets showed why Sam Darnold is the future Quarterback “King of New York”, as the Giants look for answers to the struggles of Eli Manning. Baker Mayfield had a tough day at the office but not worse than Marcus Mariota. James Winston looked good in his return as a Starter although the loss has people calling for his head already. And while all that happened, Tom Brady and Drew Brees re-wrote the history books, adding more statistical brilliance to their incredible list of achievements.

But, how did we fair in Week 6?

 

Patrick Mahomes vs Tom Brady, we say yay!;

Mahomes: 36/23-352/4:2

Brady: 35/24-340/1:0/1 Rushing TD

We wanted a hell of a game and we got one. Mahomes last week against Jacksonville, and now against New England this week got off to a slow start. But he figured it out, and as soon as he did, he looked stunning. Forget the result, he was great again. Tom Brady did Tom Brady things. Julian Edelman came back for his first TD of the year and Josh Gordon lead the team in targets. Both of these facts are promising signs for TB12 and the rest of the Patriots offense.

 

The Rams Run Defense;

Broncos Running Backs Phillip Lindsay (66 yards), Royce Freeman (22 yards) and Devontae Booker (29 yards) had a combined 117 yards on the day in a game where snow was a factor. In these conditions the way they had been of late would make you think that the Broncos exploited the Rams in this part of the game. They didn’t. And if it wasn’t for an Emmanuel Sanders screw up for taunting we may have been looking at a different end to the game. The Broncos fell behind and couldn’t catch up. The Rams Run Defense held strong.

 

Doug Baldwin lives!;

Two factors make this a topic of debate.

1.    It was against Oakland and right now (sorry, Arms) the Raiders are telling the Giants to ‘hold my beer’ for being the worst team and earning that Number 1 overall 2019 Draft Pick.

  1. In the previous week, Russell Wilson completed 13 (13!!!!) total passes, Baldwin went 8-6-91 yards with over 15 yards per reception.

This week Seattle has the bye, but the next month Baldwin sees Detroit, both L.A. teams and then Green Bay. With another week off he should be feeling good for those contests. However, if you are concerned about his knee injury, he may be a trade high candidate in redraft formats.

 

Eric Ebron, we guessed?;

I mean, Andrew Luck loves him a Tight End and Ebron is his top dog right now. Eric Ebron had a nice day with a 7-4-71 yards-1 TD afternoon. The Colts see Buffalo and Oakland before a Week 9 Bye, I can’t help but think we are seeing Ebron catch himself into a new deal with the Colts to stay in 2019.

 

THE GOOD

Sony Michel, Adam Thielen

 

Sony Michel…

 

Sony Michel dropped in the NFL Rookie draft because of ‘bone-on-bone’ knee issues and no one saw the New England Patriots taking him 31st overall; that draft pick was as out of the blue as any selection this year. With the loss of Dion Lewis to Tennessee, and Rex Burkhead on the pine, Sony Michel’s entrance to the NFL couldn’t have come at a better time for the Patriots. Since Week 4, Michel has 4 TDS and 316 yards on the ground already, whilst we are still yet to really see him in a receiving role. James White dominates that facet of the backfield. It is no surprise that when Receivers start coming back to the team (like Edelman and Gordon), along with the presence of Rob Gronkowski, it is possible that Michel is an afterthought of opposing defensive coordinators. If that is the case then I would assume (in terms of fantasy points not play-style) that he could end up this year’s Alvin Kamara.

 

This year’s class of Running Backs was an extremely good but so far it is Saquon Barkley as the clear standout talent, and a bolter in Denver’s Phillip Lindsay as an Undrafted Free Agent. Michel has the chance to really cement himself in this class as a ‘bargain buy’ as he plummeted about 2 weeks out from the regular Fantasy Draft season.

 

Adam Thielen…

 

Six games of 100+ yards from the start of the season sees Adam Thielen as an absolute steal of this year’s redraft leagues. Having Kirk Cousins as his Quarterback may have helped his progression as a Receiver and having Stefon Diggs completely healthy and taking attention away from him helps too. Thielen has been sensational this year and he has answered critics who questioned whether last year’s monster Target haul was an anomaly. Yes, right now Thielen looks like nobody can touch him. It’s not like he is making a catch and going down. A stack of his work is coming after the catch too, so he is making good yards when he gets the chance to do so. He is having, quite simply, a phenomenal year.

 

Also, no player has had more receptions through six games than Adam Thielen in NFL history. That’s insane. Think about how the NFL is more of a passing league now more than ever and some of the slick Receivers we get to witness every week. Adam Thielen, the UDFA from Minnesota who had been cut, added to the Practice Squad and finally clawed his way up to first team relevance over the past few seasons, is currently the best Receiver in the league. That’s crazy. So crazy in fact that having one more 100+ yard games will put him tied for the all-time record of seven games. Next up, the Vikings head to New York to face the ever-improving Jets, who shut down most of what the Colts had to offer, outside of ‘our guy’ Eric Ebron.

 

My only concern is when Dalvin Cook finally (when is another story) returns healthy, if there could be a slight dip in Targets when he returns. The biggest compliment anyone can probably give Thielen right now is those two beautiful words: ‘matchup’ and ‘proof’.

 

THE BAD

The Jaguars Defense, DeShaun Watson

 

Jacksonville’s ‘Defense’...

 

70 points conceded in the last 2 games, and something doesn’t seem right in Jacksonville. Kansas City looks like they can light anyone up for 45 points in a given week, but when Dallas drops 40 on you? You’re kidding, right? Cole Beasley had over 100 yards and 2 TDs. You are kidding right? I don’t get it Jacksonville. You call your shots every week and don’t turn up? Time to figure out who you really are and what got you ‘this close’ to the dance last season - because it sure as hell wasn’t Blake Bortles - this team moves on their Defense shutting teams down and Leonard Fournette grinding teams down. No Fournette, no shut downs.

 

It’s cute when players (not just one, but many) call others out but getting torched and not owning it is flat out pathetic. This week the Jaguars are at home to a Divisional Rival - the Houston Texans. There they will face…

 

DeShaun Watson…

 

DeShaun Watson was unfairly thrown into the 5th round post-ACL surgery in redraft leagues. That’s obviously not his fault. That’s everyone else’s. Watson lit the world alight last year and set an incredible bar for himself to reach. Hopkins looked out-of-this-world (I mean he usually does but still) and even Will Fuller looked incredible. Even the run game got better with Watson being out there alone. But it’s not like they fixed a brutal Offensive Line for him in the offseason, so there’s nothing new there. And it’s not like he doesn’t have better players around him including Rookie Receiver Keke Coutee who’s looking fantastic. So what gives?

 

Everything about Watson should be great, but something doesn’t seem quite right. The yards are okay with 4 games over 300 yards, and 3 of those over 370 - which is something he only managed once last season in his last game of the year. He’s consistently getting over 40 rushing yards a game, something he has done 4 times this season. This year the Touchdowns have simply not happened which is crazy because in 1 less game he has more passing attempts and completions than last season. His completion percentage is slightly higher than last year. For me the obvious answer and it’s the 9:7 TD-INT ratio. In 7 games last year Watson had a 19:8 TD-INT ratio which showed how uber-efficient he was. Half the Touchdowns with the same about of Interceptions. Yep, that’s has to be it! That’s bad!

 

As Jacksonville have given up 70 points in the last 2 weeks and Watson has failed to put up the same effectiveness in the endzone as last year what do we think can make of this when they meet this week? In Watson’s first game last season he came on for Tom Savage who was indeed “savage” and went 24-12-102 yards-1:1 in a 7-29 loss. My gut feeling this week however is on another 12-9 field goal barn-burner settled in overtime! Who wins though? None of us by the looks of it...

 

THE UGLY

Eli Manning

 

Eli Manning…

 

There were a few ways this offseason was going to be played out for the Giants:

·         The Giants drafted a Quarterback at Number 2 overall.

·         The Giants traded back and grabbed Quinton Nelson or the best available Quarterback.

·         The Giants draft Saquon Barkley.

 

Now as you are all aware I am a NY Giants fan, and I love having Barkley on our team. The run game has been woeful for far too long and he has been a breath of fresh air after the hot-and-cold love that Odell Beckham exudes. Barkley says the right things, he plays the right way and loves being a Giant. What more could you ask for?

 

By the way it has turned out… A Quarterback is what they should have asked for.

 

My gut feeling is that Ben McAdoo signed his own death warrant by helping Eli Manning overtake his brother Peyton’s record of consecutive starts in the NFL, only to bench him for Geno Smith. He failed by not playing Davis Webb to find out that if what the Giants needed was on the roster. He benched Eli to find nothing out? Then what was the point of benching him in the first place? McAdoo obviously let everyone down.

 

The club failed by not addressing what has been glaringly obvious over the past handful of seasons and that is there is no one on the roster that could replace a 37-year-old veteran. Now, if that veteran was Brees, Brady or Rodgers I’d get it, however Green Bay traded for DeShawn Kizer and the Saints traded for Teddy Bridgewater, their franchises are actively improving their Quarterback room and they look stronger for it.. But Manning’s being out performed year in, year out by Rookies being drafted elsewhere that are greener than frog sh… my bad!

By drafting Barkley, the Giants regime gave everyone the illusion that by adding Nate Solder, and with an improved run game from conservative play caller Mike Shula, Manning’s deficiencies could be covered up for at least one more year. Dave Gettleman has let everyone down.

 

His star Receiver Odell Beckham Jr has failed him, by not having his back ALL the time. Not just some of the time or when things are going ok. ALL. THE. TIME. You can’t criticize the Quarterback if you are going to drop ‘sitters’ in the endzone. Now, I’ll be honest, how he behaves on the sidelines has never, not once bothered me - I could care less. I’m from a soccer background and a player’s antics are something I’m acquainted to. Ever seen Antonio Conte on the sidelines coaching? Google it and tell me that OBJ is worse. It’s an emotional game he’s an emotional kid, it is what it is. But not publicly with a 15 year, 2-time super bowl winner who we already know isn’t performing. You have to have his back because - and I appreciate that you were speaking what was on your mind - but keep it in house, how does that help? Speak your mind at 5-1, not 1-5. It’s a team effort to be this bad, not just one player. Beckham Jr, in this instance needed to be better than this. He has let his team down, again.

 

Manning has failed everyone, by not admitting that maybe, just maybe he is the problem and that his time is up. He does a hell of a job telling everyone ‘hey, that time it was my bad’, but to be honest at times it looks as if the game has just passed him by. The effort, the excuses. All of it. Denial is a hell of a drug and honesty is the only cure. He needs a quick dose of reality and needs to admit the same thing that everyone else can see and say...

 

‘It’s time’.

 

He’s done enough to allow himself to take a back seat to Kyle Lauletta and figure out how the direction this team needs to take this offseason, whether it be a Rookie, a Veteran, or both. Eli Manning has let himself down.

 

SUMMARY

 

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 7!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

 

  • Julio Jones Vs New York, Touchdown Watch 2018

  • Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette; where you at!?

  • Denver started 2-0 and fell to 2-4, can they stop the skid against Arizona on a short week?;

  • Tight Ends vs Atlanta, who’s up next?;

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

 

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

 Odell Beckham, Jr. throws a 57 yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley during Sunday’s game at Carolina.

Odell Beckham, Jr. throws a 57 yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley during Sunday’s game at Carolina.

Good, Bad and Ugly

Week 6

By @theBleagueSays

                                                     
Week 5 was a weird one. Players failed, Odell Beckham Jr. ran his mouth but went bonkers (so it’s ok, right?), records were broken by some legends which I will touch on soon enough, and Buffalo Bill’d the Titans in another wash of a game similar to what the Titans dished up at Jacksonville a few weeks back. There is so much going on I can’t keep up half the time. However...

How did we fair in Week 5?

 

Mark Ingram; somewhere in the desert is Alvin Kamara’s body being circled by the vultures known as Markus del Ingramus (it’s Latin, I think). In his first game back Ingram hit up 16 carries and two receptions for 73 total yards and 2 TDs; while Alvin Kamara lost some touches, carries and yards as the game went on. He did play some Special Teams though, and that could be why Ingram saw more opportunities. It could also be the fact that Kamara has done it alone for the first four weeks and heading into the Bye Round this week, it could be the extended chance he needed to recharge if he and the Saints intend to keep moving forward with his volume in the upcoming weeks.

 

Julian Edelman; The Patriots saw the Colts on a short week, so how much planning to integrate Edelman into the full-blown repertoire could have been more conservative than we thought. Edelman went 9-7-57 yards and looked good in a lineup with the new faces of Josh Gordon and Sony Michel; he has already looked better than what Chris Hogan did after a month of opportunities. If you held onto Edelman, especially in PPR, then you have done well for yourself.

 

Top 10 Tight Ends; O.J. Howard and Trey Burton were on the Bye, and Will Dissly is now on season-ending Injured Reserve, there were seven active Tight Ends in the Top 10 this week. But Howard is struggling with a knee injury - look for Cam Brate to make a surge over the next month while Howard misses some time.

 

DJ Moore; Did little to prove and follow up to what Calvin Ridley had done recently, and the return of Curtis Samuel may eat into further production after popping up with four targets and a TD. Greg Olsen looks to be on the mend, and the idea that Targets will be flowing his way could slow down moving forward.

 

Colts RBBC; It’s Nyheim Hines’ world (this week), and we are just living in it. Jordan Wilkins isn’t a factor really, and unless Marlon Mack can make significant improvements to his game and health, it looks like we will see more dink than dunk for the young running back.

 

Seattle RBBC; Carson is getting the carries, Mike Davis the goal line work and Rashaad Penny is filling water bottles. You can start Carson, Flex Davis and pray for Penny.

 

THE GOOD

 

Legends are doing Legend things. The Top Dogs dominate...

 

Brady and Brees; I mean, what can we say?

 

Tom Brady threw the 500th Touchdown of his career (which puts him 39 TDS behind Peyton Manning) and during the matchup with the Colts Brady passed Vinny Testaverde’s record for throwing a pass to 71 different players for a Touchdown. That record of being the 71st player went to the enigmatic Josh Gordon, who as we know cost the Patriots a 5th Round pick a few weeks back in a trade from Cleveland scored his first for his new team. Beautiful!.

 

Is this the start of a beautiful partnership? It looks that way! As the weeks roll on and Gordon gets more acquainted with the team - alongside players he has never had the opportunity to have (when has he ever played next to an Edelman, Gronkowski or a Tom Brady?). Now, a team that was starting Cordarelle Patterson, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett now see an upgrade to Josh Gordan and Julian Edelman. It feels like this is an understated topic of discussion this week, might have to do with their last game being on a Thursday night. But the one person who benefits most, again is Tom Brady. With only two running backs on their roster it could be more air than ground, and for Fantasy, that is fantastic.

 

Drew Brees went bonkers on Monday night at home to Washington. I don’t care for his stats on the game - he cost me a few wins alone this week in my matchups, so it’s needless to say he did alright. I was looking at a 4-1 record in my five leagues, and I ended up with a 2-3 because of him. But considering he broke some Hall of Fame worthy records in the process, I can let it slide this once.

 

This week Drew Brees broke the record for the most passing yards which is now set at 72,103 yards and counting. This record was previously held by Peyton Manning. In that one fleeting moment of when he broke the record, Brees hit Rookie and Dynasty favorite Tre’Quan Smith for a TD and New Orleans went berserk.

 

It’s a beautiful thing, these living legends and sure-fire, bonafide first ballot Hall of Famers are lining up week after week as we get to watch history and records fall as they still, defy age and excel. Ironically, in the years I’ve been playing Fantasy Football I’ve never had the luxury drafting a Brees or Brady. There’s always that one New England Patriot super-fan (like there is in every league, everywhere - you can’t shake them off) that ends up drafting Brady in the first round like the puppets that they are. As for Brees, it’s one of those things - he falls just before I’d pull the trigger on him and I end up waiting and land a Mariota, Palmer or Rivers, and figure it out from there.

 

Drink it in while you can!

 

Brown, Beckham Jr, and Hopkins;

 

You know what's crazy? I have heard the complaints about the ‘Big 3’ Receivers, and we are five weeks into the year only. And I get it. We are in a new world of high scoring due to more passes and yadda, yadda, yadda.

 

They are your studs! C’mon! Calm down! You should be happy you didn’t draft David Johnson or Leonard Fournette! Jeez!

 

Brown, Beckham Jr, and Hopkins are guys that were taken in the first round of most redraft leagues. And I get that league size and format could determine the accuracy of this but for the most part, it’s true. And it’s weird. It’s not like they are not making plays or not putting up ok numbers - it just seems to be over the past month, or so they haven’t been the focal point they usually are.

 

Bollocks.

 

Antonio Brown leads the league for Wide Receivers in Targets. Odell Beckham Jr. is third on that list. DeAndre Hopkins is fifth on that list.

 

So what’s the problem with that? Nothing. The points are there otherwise all three wouldn't be in the Top 10 amongst Wide Receivers in PPR scoring this year. So again, what’s the problem?

 

Is it the seeming lack of Touchdowns? I mean Brown has five scores for the year and is only one behind Calvin Ridley, Hopkins has 2, and Beckham Jr grabbed his first this week - I think this is the problem. Brown has done well considering there has been no Le’Veon Bell and Juju Smith-Schuster has evolved a little more since his Rookie season. Hopkins has been dealing with the emergence of Will Fuller, and Beckham Jr has, well, Eli Manning to deal with.

 

But last week? Brown (13-6-101-2 TDS), Beckham Jr (14-8-131-1 Rec TD-1 Pass TD), and Hopkins (13-9-151). It truly felt like the cream rose to the top in sync for the first time this year.

 

This week; Brown faces arch nemesis Cincinnati away from home. Beckham Jr. is at home to arch nemesis Philadelphia on a short week. Hopkins has Buffalo at home. There are matchups there to be exploited, and points are up for grabs.

 

And it feels weird plugging all these guys into ‘The Good’ section this week. They’re all great. But every now and again it feels like we need a reminder of that and Week 5 was a good slap in the face to those who may have questioned their production (as ignorant as that seems) so far this season.

 

Expect more of the same and enjoy watching them.

 

THE BAD

 

Tight Ends are tight…

 

Eric Ebron?

 

Ok so here is the thing about Tight Ends… They aren’t very good thing year. There are currently only two players that have more than 2 Touchdowns so far; Eric Ebron with 5 and Travis Kelce with 3. Now one of these makes sense, right? Travis Kelce is a scoring machine so to see him at the top of the pile makes absolute sense. But Ebron? In 2015 Ebron went 70-47-537 yards-5 TDS - in a full season - and currently, he is just about there, yards aside. He has the Touchdowns and 255 yards. Ok, so that year where he hit 537 yards was the lowest since his Rookie year, but at this pace, he is looking at 816 yards and 16 TDS. That’s not sustainable. So I would probably sell high on Ebron. Or, play him every week and see what he can spit up. But soon enough Jack Doyle will return and so will T.Y. Hilton. More mouths, fewer chances.

 

Lance Kendricks scored this week, how about you Jimmy?

 

Yeah, I’m not the biggest Jimmy Graham fan but even my ears pricked up when he opted to go to Green Bay rather than stay in Seattle or head back to New Orleans this offseason. But an average of 49 yards per game with only the one Touchdown (especially on a week where half the Receivers were missing this week vs. Detroit) you have to ask yourself what the hell is going on in Wisconsin. Yes, I know I’m kidding around when I bring up Lance Kendricks scoring this week and Graham didn’t, but I’m kind of not joking. That should be Jimmy Graham scoring; Every-Single-Time. Green Bay is currently holding a 2–2-1 record and I have to be honest with you in their only convincing win of the year (against Buffalo of all people) Jimmy Graham had 6-3-21 yards-1 TD. Now we all would like those yards to come up but the only time when he seems to be of use is when they are trailing. 96 yards against Minnesota in a game that went to overtime and this week he had 76 yards in a game where they were chasing a huge deficit that Detroit had jumped to from the start. We were warned by Green Bay’s poor history of using the Tight End, and we seemingly didn’t listen, did we! And for a 5th Round ADP Pick? This is unacceptable.

 

Jared Cook’d up what we expect...

 

I mean it was coming right?! But was it his fault? Amari Cooper has been inconsistent at best, and Jordy Nelson is as stop-start as anyone else in the league. Here is what we know; When Cook has 6 or fewer Targets, he is not that great which has happened three times with year, he’s had less than 50 yards in each game and zero Touchdowns in those games. The other two games? 12 or more Targets, over 100 yards each time and 2 Touchdowns. Now that’s quite amazing. However, Seattle this week is 25th for scoring against by the Tight Ends, and then Oakland has the Bye Round in Week 8. The Colts (13th) and San Francisco (8th) follow the Bye and Cook then sees the Chargers, who he put 20 total yards on this week. If you can get through the next two weeks, there should be some big weeks ahead.

 

Or, the way the position is going this year despite all logic, there may not be. You tell me...

 

THE UGLY

 

San Fran has 911 on speed dial, The Eagles are fraudulent, Adam Gase (again) - but in song form!

 

One last time for the boys out West…

 

I feel for San Francisco, C.J. Beathard held his own (kind of), and Marquise Goodwin missed another week also, but it was Matt Breida who played his role in this tele-series drama called ‘Next Man Down.’  San Francisco can’t catch a brea....poor choice of words, my bad!

 

The Bye Round is coming in 5 weeks, so survival is critical. And although the next two games at Green Bay and at home to the L.A Rams looms, there are three real competitive games at Arizona, followed by home games to Oakland and the New York Giants which follow before they get a badly needed week off.

 

However; George Kittle (offseason curiosity case) has flourished as the Top 3 Tight End in Standard Scoring and Top 4 Tight End in PPR. If there is a silver lining out of all of this - Kittle is the evolution of the position as some of the old guards starts to turn over.

 

Speaking of short and sweet, what a poor excuse for a ‘Defending Championship’ team…

 

I am going to be very clever right now, but it’s my article, and I’m going to be a jerk!

 

But...

 

Carson Wentz is tarnishing Nick Foles’ legacy. There, I said it!

 

Nick Foles destroyed Minnesota the last time they met. Carson Wentz did not. Nick Foles was 1-1 without Alshon Jeffrey. Carson Wentz is 0-2 with Alshon Jeffrey. MY New York Giants (who scored 31 points in a loss this week) went for over 25 points for the second time this year; something Carson Wentz has failed to do since his return in each of the last 3 weeks... I know its a small sample size, but Wentz is kind of killing the Eagles don’t you think?

 

Also, to all you Eagles fans, please get off the greasy poles (or at least shine them up!); the Super Bowl is over, and your city is as relevant as New Mexico once again…

 

Ok, ok jokes aside… I know its tongue-in-cheek and please take it as such - the Eagles are an extremely well-run Franchise and deserved all the success they had - last year - but it’s a new year, and that hangover is looking real right now. Yes, they are finding their feet again after a rough offseason and a few injuries - but with a Thursday night matchup looming I’m getting my shots in early just in case MY Giants get smoked and I gotta deal with the jabs, barbs, and retorts for 6 more weeks before they meet in Philadelphia in Week 12 to find any form of redemption.

 

Put bluntly. However, something isn’t quite right.

 

But it does take people time to feel like they can heal fully, move and recover after an injury like what Carson Wentz had gone through, and things may feel a little different without Frank Reich and John De Filippo coaching, which parted for greener pastures. Jay Ajayi is now on the Injured Reserve, and LeGarrette Blount is also in Detroit. For the champions of 2017, there does seem to be a bit of new car feel to it with Wentz behind the wheel.

 

The NFC East is a poor excuse for an advanced CFL Division right now, it is still wide open and the Eagles with a win this week can make a claim to be at the top of the pile. But a loss to the Giants followed by Carolina and Jacksonville - which is a home game in London, go figure - before their Bye Round could see them with a 2-6 record. This isn’t the start they had hoped for. But a win this week and it’s all up for grabs again.

 

Still, it’s a Divisional matchup this week, and I hope they choke - sorry, not sorry!

 

If Adam Gase were a nursery rhyme he would be Old Mother Hubbard - so let me spit some fire out here...;

 

Old Mother Gase he lived in a shoe, he had so many players he didn’t know what to do.

He brought in a Patriot, a Chief, and a Colt, but there’s a kid in his backfield who is as quick as Usain Bolt.

Hands soft as pillows he can catch like he has mitts,

We told you to give him a chance you tool, you nitwit.

Seven catches, 115 total yards, and a Touchdown is a PPR dream,

But instead of going with what now works you’ll go back to Gore and make us all scream!

‘Make It Stop, not again!’ ‘How do we get rid of you?!’

‘I’m an arsehole’ Gase grinned ‘but would rather Ben McAdoo?’

 

Well, would you? Because that's pretty much what’s left out there...

 

I’ll see myself out…

 

SUMMARY

 

I am looking forward to Week 6!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

 

  • Mahomes vs. Brady in New England! Oh hell yeah!

  • The Rams Run Defence has not looked that great, they play in Denver this week so all eyes on Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay.

  • Is Doug Baldwin alive?

  • Eric Ebron, I guess...

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

 

But most of all, Enjoy!

  Good, Bad and Ugly    Week 5    By @theBleagueSays    Week 4 revealed the truth about a few things. And a quarter of the way through the season we have enough of a sample to know what trends have us moving in the right direction and what has us struggling. But before we get into that...   How did we fair in Week 4?   * We were looking for shootouts in New York and Atlanta. The Saints got the better of the Giants in a game that felt like it didn’t get out of second gear. The Giants missed  Evan Engram , and  Eli Manning  looked useless, while  Alvin Kamara  did what he does. Facing Kamara should scare the crap out of you if your opponent has him in their lineup.  * Cincinnati and Atlanta, however, was the cracking game we were searching for - both teams delivered massively. But for me, three things stood out; 1.  Matt Ryan  and  Andy Dalton  are underappreciated and are must-starts - no matter what. 2. Secondary Receivers  Tyler Boyd  and  Calvin Ridley  are also must starts - no matter what. 3. Mad respect for  Tyler Eifert . For a guy who has battled injuries his whole career. He finally looked right and had the yards and the score in this game before he fell to a scary snap of the leg. I sincerely hope he comes back from this. *  Chris Carson  was ruled out, but  Mike Davis  did exceptionally well in his place instead - and not their First Round Pick  Rashaad Penny  who was a healthy scratch. Some weird (let alone terrible) calls are being made by coaches and staff in Seattle at the moment. Players are unhappy and lashing out (more than usual, even for them) which has me believe that if there is a coach on the chopping block it may be Pete Carroll - watch this space.  *  Sony Michel  introduced himself with a solid performance that took place over division ‘leaders’ Miami with over 100 yards and a TD.  James White  was a standout also, and they look as good as any steady 1-2-Punch there is in the league. I understand the concern about starting both Michel and White, but please remember it was only last year when  Rex Burkhead  and  Dion Lewis  were must start Backs for New England and Fantasy Football last year. Play both and sleep great Sunday nights.    THE GOOD    New England, Tennessee and    C.J. Beathard   ;   The Patriots did what they regularly do at home against Miami (and that is win). The run game was solid;  Josh Gordon  got some minutes along with  Cordarelle Patterson  and  TDs - if the latter is happening, then something is going right. On top of all of this, in Week 5  Julian Edelman  returns. There is a slight ankle issue for  Rob Gronkowski  which should be ok moving forward. They play the Colts on Thursday night so keep an eye out for his progress late Wednesday, early Thursday.  A massive win for the Tennessee Titans at home vs. the Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia. And I get that a win is a win is a win. But up until this point in his career,  Corey Davis  was yet to score a regular season TD - and for him to get his first is excellent for that Offense. But for  Marcus Mariota  to lead a game-winning drive and hit Davis in overtime could be the platform they need to keep them (as individuals and as a team) trending in the right direction. Now the Titans are 3-1 and have won in a scrappy matchup away at Jacksonville followed by an overtime win against the former Champions. This should be a bigger storyline than we give it credit. They could be on to something...  I’ll keep this one short and sweet - it could be very easy for the 49ers to pack it up and aim for that 1.01 pick in next years draft after losing  Jerick McKinnon  and  Jimmy Garoppolo . It could be easy for players do not buy into the backup Quarterback but they did. And against a high scoring team in the Chargers, San Francisco got off to a hot start and nearly pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the year. In this light,  C.J. Beathard  looked a much better Quarterback than he did last year - he still has his flaws, don’t get me wrong - but he has done well enough for skilled position players to still be roster worthy for your team. The 49ers will win their share of games - and with the losses they’ve succumbed to that’s all we can ask of them right now.    THE BAD    Running Back duds,    Eli Manning    and Tampa Quarterbacks;    Dalvin Cook  was on a short week with a hamstring injury against the defensive front of the Rams was probably (in hindsight, right?) a bad play. But he was good to go and depending on the depth of your league or roster he may have been your best bet.  Unfortunately for  Leonard Fournette  owners who can’t quite say the same. From out of the starters blocks something hasn’t looked right with his health this year, and  TJ Yeldon  is hitting his stride (without pain, unlike Fournette). This could end up a bigger committee than anyone thought. Yes, Fournette is the bell-cow and Yeldon may have at times chipped in. But the timeshare gap could get smaller and may happen sooner than anyone thought imaginable.  I’m going to leave the  Jordan Howard  ‘dud game’ as a game script issue as opposed to Cook and Fournette where it was for health-based reasons.  Tarik Cohen  looked electric against a Buccaneers team that couldn’t stop him or  Mitch Trubisky . Do I expect this split to happen again in their next matchup after the Bye against Miami? After seeing what the Patriots did with White and Michel, I could imagine  Matt Nagy  plans out a game-plan to expose the Dolphins as Belichick did. That would be the smart money, right?  As your resident Giants fan, I need to say this once and once only:  Eli Manning . It’s time. The Giants head to Carolina coming off the Bye in Week 5 is not who you want to see this week, and  Evan Engram  is likely to miss another week. And when  Odell Beckham Jr  logs less than 6 yards per target - that explosive Offense looks more of a disappointment. This train looks to derail sooner than later by the looks of it.  We praise when we should. We critique when we should. For me, the smart play would have been to hang  Ryan Fitzpatrick  out to dry against a crazy Chicago Defense that was playing lights out. At this point (if it were me) I’d have kept Fitzpatrick out there. Winston, however, should have been chomping at the bit to get out there and prove a point. He looked like he couldn’t have cared less. I’ve been a fan of Winston’s talent, just not his attitude. He had the chance to make an impact and enforce a change - any change - and he flopped. It may be time to move on from him...except Koetter named him the starter heading into Week 6 already. This would be weird if it were anyone else but Tampa...    THE UGLY    Miami,    Earl Thomas    and the Steelers;   I mean, we didn’t think Miami could go four straight games winning let alone get the win in New England, did we? No? Good.  The bigger issue may be that of how  Adam Gase  is ‘using’  Kenyan Drake . When you are chasing a game and Drake has decent enough hands you would think this would have been a chance to get him touches. Instead, he has been out-touched by  Frank Gore  this season despite playing more snaps. To me that’s clearly a trust issue Gase has with Drake and put bluntly, I have no idea what to expect for Drake moving forward outside of benching him for now until he does something else...   Earl Thomas . What are you doing?! Every man, woman, child, and donkey knows how disgruntled you were at the start and during the season about either being traded or securing a new contract. Flipping your team and staff off after you clean broke your leg isn’t something I would think could help gain future employment.   Now you’re going to get further tagged with the ‘bad attitude’ label, and that’s hard to shake off. Good luck with that!  So, here is where co-host Chad Knittel is right; the Steelers should have paid  Le’Veon Bell  - they look not necessarily bad, just not that good without him. 1-2-1 is their first quarterly record while a division loss to Baltimore and a draw - A DRAW TO CLEVELAND - may hurt more at the end of the season than it does now, it’s the Bengals who own the North at the moment and are pumping out points of nowhere. Add to that their Defense, with Vontaze Burfict coming back and a 3-1 record in hand.  James Conner  looks to have stalled a little, and it is in games like last night, at home to the Ravens where Bell’s quality normally shines through, he shows his worth and can single-handedly win games on his own. And after seeing the Earl Thomas debacle end with an injury (yes, they are two separate issues/situations), I can only think this further confirms Bells smart decision to sit out. Forget the dollars and cents of it - we know how much he is losing it is clear that Bell doesn’t see it as the focal point of his stance. It’s now, more than ever a matter of principle. LA paid  Todd Gurley , and he is ‘their guy.’ The Giants paid  Odell Beckham Jr , and he is clearly ‘their guy’ like the Steelers have done so for  Ben Roethlisberger  and  Antonio Brown  in the past with that same love to be ‘their guy,’ which same respect wasn’t shared to someone who he, along with many, thought to be deserving.  Seattle wasn’t paying Earl Thomas more; they weren’t actively trading him (they might have, Kansas City were said to be a suitor, but that won’t be now) and look what's happened.  I have a couple of Bell shares this year, and I’m still sitting tight. I can’t think you’re being offered much and at this point - if he does come back - and if you are doing ok it could be the injection you need to win you your league.   SUMMARY    I am looking forward to Week 5! Here is what I am checking on to help paint a better picture:  *  Mark Ingram  and  Julian Edelman ’s returns from suspension and how they impact each teams usage.  * Where the hell are all the Tight Ends at? * Can  DJ Moore  take another step forward as  Calvin Ridley  has? * Colts and Seahawks Running Back Committees      And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!    Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!    But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly

Week 5

By @theBleagueSays


Week 4 revealed the truth about a few things. And a quarter of the way through the season we have enough of a sample to know what trends have us moving in the right direction and what has us struggling. But before we get into that...

How did we fair in Week 4?

* We were looking for shootouts in New York and Atlanta. The Saints got the better of the Giants in a game that felt like it didn’t get out of second gear. The Giants missed Evan Engram, and Eli Manning looked useless, while Alvin Kamara did what he does. Facing Kamara should scare the crap out of you if your opponent has him in their lineup.

* Cincinnati and Atlanta, however, was the cracking game we were searching for - both teams delivered massively. But for me, three things stood out;
1. Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton are underappreciated and are must-starts - no matter what.
2. Secondary Receivers Tyler Boyd and Calvin Ridley are also must starts - no matter what.
3. Mad respect for Tyler Eifert. For a guy who has battled injuries his whole career. He finally looked right and had the yards and the score in this game before he fell to a scary snap of the leg. I sincerely hope he comes back from this.
* Chris Carson was ruled out, but Mike Davis did exceptionally well in his place instead - and not their First Round Pick Rashaad Penny who was a healthy scratch. Some weird (let alone terrible) calls are being made by coaches and staff in Seattle at the moment. Players are unhappy and lashing out (more than usual, even for them) which has me believe that if there is a coach on the chopping block it may be Pete Carroll - watch this space.

* Sony Michel introduced himself with a solid performance that took place over division ‘leaders’ Miami with over 100 yards and a TD. James White was a standout also, and they look as good as any steady 1-2-Punch there is in the league. I understand the concern about starting both Michel and White, but please remember it was only last year when Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis were must start Backs for New England and Fantasy Football last year. Play both and sleep great Sunday nights.


THE GOOD

New England, Tennessee and C.J. Beathard;

The Patriots did what they regularly do at home against Miami (and that is win). The run game was solid; Josh Gordon got some minutes along with Cordarelle Patterson and

TDs - if the latter is happening, then something is going right. On top of all of this, in Week 5 Julian Edelman returns. There is a slight ankle issue for Rob Gronkowski which should be ok moving forward. They play the Colts on Thursday night so keep an eye out for his progress late Wednesday, early Thursday.

A massive win for the Tennessee Titans at home vs. the Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia. And I get that a win is a win is a win. But up until this point in his career, Corey Davis was yet to score a regular season TD - and for him to get his first is excellent for that Offense. But for Marcus Mariota to lead a game-winning drive and hit Davis in overtime could be the platform they need to keep them (as individuals and as a team) trending in the right direction. Now the Titans are 3-1 and have won in a scrappy matchup away at Jacksonville followed by an overtime win against the former Champions. This should be a bigger storyline than we give it credit. They could be on to something...

I’ll keep this one short and sweet - it could be very easy for the 49ers to pack it up and aim for that 1.01 pick in next years draft after losing Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo. It could be easy for players do not buy into the backup Quarterback but they did. And against a high scoring team in the Chargers, San Francisco got off to a hot start and nearly pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the year.
In this light, C.J. Beathard looked a much better Quarterback than he did last year - he still has his flaws, don’t get me wrong - but he has done well enough for skilled position players to still be roster worthy for your team. The 49ers will win their share of games - and with the losses they’ve succumbed to that’s all we can ask of them right now.


THE BAD

Running Back duds, Eli Manning and Tampa Quarterbacks;

Dalvin Cook was on a short week with a hamstring injury against the defensive front of the Rams was probably (in hindsight, right?) a bad play. But he was good to go and depending on the depth of your league or roster he may have been your best bet.

Unfortunately for Leonard Fournette owners who can’t quite say the same. From out of the starters blocks something hasn’t looked right with his health this year, and TJ Yeldon is hitting his stride (without pain, unlike Fournette). This could end up a bigger committee than anyone thought. Yes, Fournette is the bell-cow and Yeldon may have at times chipped in. But the timeshare gap could get smaller and may happen sooner than anyone thought imaginable.

I’m going to leave the Jordan Howard ‘dud game’ as a game script issue as opposed to Cook and Fournette where it was for health-based reasons. Tarik Cohen looked electric against a Buccaneers team that couldn’t stop him or Mitch Trubisky. Do I expect this split to happen again in their next matchup after the Bye against Miami? After seeing what the Patriots did with White and Michel, I could imagine Matt Nagy plans out a game-plan to expose the Dolphins as Belichick did. That would be the smart money, right?

As your resident Giants fan, I need to say this once and once only: Eli Manning. It’s time.
The Giants head to Carolina coming off the Bye in Week 5 is not who you want to see this week, and Evan Engram is likely to miss another week. And when Odell Beckham Jr logs less than 6 yards per target - that explosive Offense looks more of a disappointment. This train looks to derail sooner than later by the looks of it.

We praise when we should. We critique when we should. For me, the smart play would have been to hang Ryan Fitzpatrick out to dry against a crazy Chicago Defense that was playing lights out. At this point (if it were me) I’d have kept Fitzpatrick out there. Winston, however, should have been chomping at the bit to get out there and prove a point. He looked like he couldn’t have cared less.
I’ve been a fan of Winston’s talent, just not his attitude. He had the chance to make an impact and enforce a change - any change - and he flopped. It may be time to move on from him...except Koetter named him the starter heading into Week 6 already. This would be weird if it were anyone else but Tampa...


THE UGLY

Miami, Earl Thomas and the Steelers;

I mean, we didn’t think Miami could go four straight games winning let alone get the win in New England, did we? No? Good.

The bigger issue may be that of how Adam Gase is ‘using’ Kenyan Drake. When you are chasing a game and Drake has decent enough hands you would think this would have been a chance to get him touches. Instead, he has been out-touched by Frank Gore this season despite playing more snaps. To me that’s clearly a trust issue Gase has with Drake and put bluntly, I have no idea what to expect for Drake moving forward outside of benching him for now until he does something else...

Earl Thomas. What are you doing?! Every man, woman, child, and donkey knows how disgruntled you were at the start and during the season about either being traded or securing a new contract. Flipping your team and staff off after you clean broke your leg isn’t something I would think could help gain future employment.

Now you’re going to get further tagged with the ‘bad attitude’ label, and that’s hard to shake off. Good luck with that!

So, here is where co-host Chad Knittel is right; the Steelers should have paid Le’Veon Bell - they look not necessarily bad, just not that good without him. 1-2-1 is their first quarterly record while a division loss to Baltimore and a draw - A DRAW TO CLEVELAND - may hurt more at the end of the season than it does now, it’s the Bengals who own the North at the moment and are pumping out points of nowhere. Add to that their Defense, with Vontaze Burfict coming back and a 3-1 record in hand. James Conner looks to have stalled a little, and it is in games like last night, at home to the Ravens where Bell’s quality normally shines through, he shows his worth and can single-handedly win games on his own. And after seeing the Earl Thomas debacle end with an injury (yes, they are two separate issues/situations), I can only think this further confirms Bells smart decision to sit out. Forget the dollars and cents of it - we know how much he is losing it is clear that Bell doesn’t see it as the focal point of his stance. It’s now, more than ever a matter of principle. LA paid Todd Gurley, and he is ‘their guy.’ The Giants paid Odell Beckham Jr, and he is clearly ‘their guy’ like the Steelers have done so for Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown in the past with that same love to be ‘their guy,’ which same respect wasn’t shared to someone who he, along with many, thought to be deserving.
Seattle wasn’t paying Earl Thomas more; they weren’t actively trading him (they might have, Kansas City were said to be a suitor, but that won’t be now) and look what's happened.

I have a couple of Bell shares this year, and I’m still sitting tight. I can’t think you’re being offered much and at this point - if he does come back - and if you are doing ok it could be the injection you need to win you your league.

SUMMARY

I am looking forward to Week 5! Here is what I am checking on to help paint a better picture:

* Mark Ingram and Julian Edelman’s returns from suspension and how they impact each teams usage.
* Where the hell are all the Tight Ends at?
* Can DJ Moore take another step forward as Calvin Ridley has?
* Colts and Seahawks Running Back Committees


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!



 Quick Hits from Week 4  Oct. 1, 2018  By @FootballNuke  What an unbelievable display of offensive firepower we saw in week 4! The Rams and Vikings kicked off the week with an offensive flurry, combining for 69 total points, with FIVE WR1-WR2 performances in one game!  For Real  –    Corey Davis  – with limited receiving targets available, Marcus Mariota was looking for Corey Davis – a lot. Davis responded by catching nine balls for 161 yards and a score. Very notable in itself, but the big takeaway is how his catches were not flukey – Davis looked like he belonged out there. The Eagle defense is not a bad defense, either. Stock up on Davis. Check your waiver wires. He’s available in a lot of Yahoo leagues, for example.   Sony Michel –  one week ago I said that Michel would be moving up the ranks. It was not too hard to see with the Burkhead injury. James White got some time and had himself a decent fantasy game. Michel was the main back and he looked great with 25 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Michel had lateral movement and speed burst. He looked like he belonged out there. If you own him in redraft you are likely to get offers for him. I’d suggest keeping him but certainly do not trade him for less than a low RB1/WR1. What do I mean? If someone offered me Juju Smith-Schuster for Michel, I might take that deal. If someone offered me Marshawn Lynch for Michel? Sorry, but no way.   John Brown –  wow! Are you serious, John Brown? There aren’t many receivers in the league that can do what Brown has done consistently with his receptions. The downside – Brown caught only three balls. The upside is that it was for 116 yards and a touchdown, an average of 38.7 yards per catch. Brown has a 22.5 yard per catch average so far this year and is clearly the best wide receiver option in Baltimore. The tight ends are the dominant receivers in Baltimore still, and they open things up for Brown in a big way. Brown was always good, just hampered by injuries likely encouraged by his sickle cell disease. The Ravens might have figured out the formula for keeping him healthy. Keep him outside, not over the middle. Encourage him to get out of bounds instead of taking a tackle at the sideline. Last but not least, run so fast that no one can catch you. Speaking of maximizing your touches...   Aaron Jones  – it didn’t take Jones long to surpass Jamaal Williams as the playmaker in the Green Bay backfield. Jones is more electric. He has the playmaking ability. Williams is just a solid backup who can pass block. If the Packers do not use him more, they are not making the smart choice. I have heard the excuse about Williams being a better pass blocker, but Aaron Rodgers is so good at eluding defenders even with his knee injury, he does not need the extra protection.   Tyler Boyd  – he isn’t a flash in the pan. He’s for real this year. Eleven catches, 100 yards and a touchdown in week 4. He has 26 catches for 349 yards and two scores in the first quarter of the season. At that pace he will have 104 catches, 1396 yards and eight touchdowns by year end. Is that possible? With the way teams are moving the ball this year, I can believe it is possible.    Keep ‘em -   Nick Chubb  – there are goal-line snipers, and then there is what Nick Chubb did this week. On only three carries, Chubb ran for 105 yards and two scores. A few weeks ago, he did not look like he was ready for the NFL. On Sunday, he looked good enough (in his limited work) to make Carlos Hyde owners nervous. I’m betting he will be one of the most added players this week on waiver Wednesday. If you are a Hyde owner, maybe see what you can get for him.   Mike Williams –  he was clearly not targeted very much this last week with Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams getting more looks. Do not lose heart though. He will be back. If Allen has injury problems, it is on for Williams.  Go get ‘em -   Corey Davis  – reminder to check your waiver wire. He’s out there in places.   Tarik Cohen  – Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that the game plan will determine how much play Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen get, so it might be difficult to pick spots with Cohen. With that said, if Cohen turns out performances like what we saw in week 4, it may become impossible for Nagy to not play Cohen regularly.   Julian Edleman  – it is possible that he might be on your waiver wire. Might not be a bad pickup now that the suspension is over.   Taylor Gabriel  – I think this is the guy on the Bears that will suffer the most from Nagy’s game scripts. Some weeks he might be the hot play and others you will wonder where he went.   Keekee Coutee  – DeShaun Watson looked Coutee’s way a lot during this high-flying scoring affair against the Colts. Coutee caught 11 balls (on 15 targets) for 109 yards. He didn’t reach the end zone, but the eleven catches got my attention. If Will Fuller is out, Coutee becomes very startable.  Trade ‘em   Amari Cooper  – Cooper finally cranked out a game. He’s good for a couple of these per year, but I am not fooled by it. Cooper is tradeable now. At least check-in with some trading partners to see what you can get for him this week.  Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.   Ryan Fitzpatrick  – RIP Ryan Fitzpatrick. The leash was always a short one. A bad half against a very good Bears defense was all Dirk Koetter needed to pull it. Jameis Winston will start after the bye week. Fitzy is droppable. Thanks Fitz. The first three weeks of this season were pretty awesome.  Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.  Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Huks’ DFS podcast. The guy was on fire last week!

Quick Hits from Week 4

Oct. 1, 2018

By @FootballNuke

What an unbelievable display of offensive firepower we saw in week 4! The Rams and Vikings kicked off the week with an offensive flurry, combining for 69 total points, with FIVE WR1-WR2 performances in one game!

For Real

Corey Davis – with limited receiving targets available, Marcus Mariota was looking for Corey Davis – a lot. Davis responded by catching nine balls for 161 yards and a score. Very notable in itself, but the big takeaway is how his catches were not flukey – Davis looked like he belonged out there. The Eagle defense is not a bad defense, either. Stock up on Davis. Check your waiver wires. He’s available in a lot of Yahoo leagues, for example.

Sony Michel – one week ago I said that Michel would be moving up the ranks. It was not too hard to see with the Burkhead injury. James White got some time and had himself a decent fantasy game. Michel was the main back and he looked great with 25 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Michel had lateral movement and speed burst. He looked like he belonged out there. If you own him in redraft you are likely to get offers for him. I’d suggest keeping him but certainly do not trade him for less than a low RB1/WR1. What do I mean? If someone offered me Juju Smith-Schuster for Michel, I might take that deal. If someone offered me Marshawn Lynch for Michel? Sorry, but no way.

John Brown – wow! Are you serious, John Brown? There aren’t many receivers in the league that can do what Brown has done consistently with his receptions. The downside – Brown caught only three balls. The upside is that it was for 116 yards and a touchdown, an average of 38.7 yards per catch. Brown has a 22.5 yard per catch average so far this year and is clearly the best wide receiver option in Baltimore. The tight ends are the dominant receivers in Baltimore still, and they open things up for Brown in a big way. Brown was always good, just hampered by injuries likely encouraged by his sickle cell disease. The Ravens might have figured out the formula for keeping him healthy. Keep him outside, not over the middle. Encourage him to get out of bounds instead of taking a tackle at the sideline. Last but not least, run so fast that no one can catch you. Speaking of maximizing your touches...

Aaron Jones – it didn’t take Jones long to surpass Jamaal Williams as the playmaker in the Green Bay backfield. Jones is more electric. He has the playmaking ability. Williams is just a solid backup who can pass block. If the Packers do not use him more, they are not making the smart choice. I have heard the excuse about Williams being a better pass blocker, but Aaron Rodgers is so good at eluding defenders even with his knee injury, he does not need the extra protection.

Tyler Boyd – he isn’t a flash in the pan. He’s for real this year. Eleven catches, 100 yards and a touchdown in week 4. He has 26 catches for 349 yards and two scores in the first quarter of the season. At that pace he will have 104 catches, 1396 yards and eight touchdowns by year end. Is that possible? With the way teams are moving the ball this year, I can believe it is possible.

Keep ‘em -

Nick Chubb – there are goal-line snipers, and then there is what Nick Chubb did this week. On only three carries, Chubb ran for 105 yards and two scores. A few weeks ago, he did not look like he was ready for the NFL. On Sunday, he looked good enough (in his limited work) to make Carlos Hyde owners nervous. I’m betting he will be one of the most added players this week on waiver Wednesday. If you are a Hyde owner, maybe see what you can get for him.

Mike Williams – he was clearly not targeted very much this last week with Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams getting more looks. Do not lose heart though. He will be back. If Allen has injury problems, it is on for Williams.

Go get ‘em -

Corey Davis – reminder to check your waiver wire. He’s out there in places.

Tarik Cohen – Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that the game plan will determine how much play Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen get, so it might be difficult to pick spots with Cohen. With that said, if Cohen turns out performances like what we saw in week 4, it may become impossible for Nagy to not play Cohen regularly.

Julian Edleman – it is possible that he might be on your waiver wire. Might not be a bad pickup now that the suspension is over.

Taylor Gabriel – I think this is the guy on the Bears that will suffer the most from Nagy’s game scripts. Some weeks he might be the hot play and others you will wonder where he went.

Keekee Coutee – DeShaun Watson looked Coutee’s way a lot during this high-flying scoring affair against the Colts. Coutee caught 11 balls (on 15 targets) for 109 yards. He didn’t reach the end zone, but the eleven catches got my attention. If Will Fuller is out, Coutee becomes very startable.

Trade ‘em

Amari Cooper – Cooper finally cranked out a game. He’s good for a couple of these per year, but I am not fooled by it. Cooper is tradeable now. At least check-in with some trading partners to see what you can get for him this week.

Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – RIP Ryan Fitzpatrick. The leash was always a short one. A bad half against a very good Bears defense was all Dirk Koetter needed to pull it. Jameis Winston will start after the bye week. Fitzy is droppable. Thanks Fitz. The first three weeks of this season were pretty awesome.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Huks’ DFS podcast. The guy was on fire last week!

  Good, Bad and Ugly - Week 4   Sept. 26, 2018  By @theBleagueSays    Week 3. What the hell was that?!  Week 3 saw a lot of teams either play lights out and out if their freakin’ minds. Or they played with the lights out and off their freakin’ faces. At the end of the season we will come back and look at outliers and anomalies that were (like Chris Ivory being Buffalo’s top Receiver vs Minnesota of all things), then I’d heavily suggest that this is the week we look back at and reminisce about where we were right and where we went wrong.    But how did we fair in Week 3?   * On a season average of 4.22 YPC  Saquon Barkley  had an increase to 4.82 YPC against a stout Texans DST with a score this week which was made even better by his 5-5-35 line in the Receiving game also, which we can probably look to see increase with  Evan Engram  out for a short time with an MCL strain. The Giants looked sound with  Rhett Ellison  out on the field blocking some more which helped Barkley’s game significantly. A return home after two weeks on the road vs New Orleans this week - who only allowed 47 total yards and a TD to  Tevin Coleman  in a shootout - could be something to watch. * After Buffalo bombarded the Vikings this week,  Dan Bailey  was only needed to net a PAT, but on a short week vs the LA Rams then this could be a big week for Bailey in a high scoring game. *  Sam Darnold  had a tale of 2 halves but in the end he started to cough to ball up and struggled against the Browns - who got their first win in over 630 days. He has found his groove with  Quincy Enunwa  which in return has seen  Robby Anderson  hit the skids, I see a lot of people dropping him, but while he is still a deep threat I’m going sit tight on him a week longer in deeper leagues. * Surely going 400 yards and pushing the Steelers in a Prime-Time game gives  Ryan Fitzpatrick  another shot before Tampa’s Week 5 Bye Round.  Jameis Winston  is off suspension this week but I’d be surprised if the ‘bearded one’ isn’t given one more game. I’m not sure the Bucs faithful thought they would be remotely close to a 2-1 record and even (at worse case being 2-2) after the Bye I would assume that this is when I’d think Winston returns in Week 6. Another win though at 3-1? Could be a different story. * Wentz played like a returning QB from a major surgery would. Conservative and rusty and not having  Alshon Jeffrey ,  Jay Ajayi  or even  LeGarrette Blount  for the Eagles Offense; looked like it was a bit different to him from when he was last on the field. That may take a week or so to settle down but he moved well enough to give you confidence he will be fine. * Although a matchup with the red hot Miami Dolphins (how many times will we ever say that?!) at home this week, a confrontation with  Xavien Howard  is something if avoid if you are a  Josh Gordon  fantasy owner. However,  Julian Edelman  will soon return and having him inside to allow Gordon to do his thing, over the next month the Patriots have Kansas, Chicago and the Colts which could see some high scoring games. Sit tight. Be patient. His time is coming.    THE GOOD    Miami, Chicago, Buffalo  impressed;     Buffalo -  Let’s clear this up, Buffalo are not good. They were (this week) and they deserve all the credit and plaudits of a group who literally ripped the heart out of Minnesota in which should have been a layup for the Vikings. I’m actually happy for  Josh Allen , who probably saw more criticism than any of the Rookie QB’s in this draft class and has less talent around him to do so.  The undeafeated Dolphins -  How many times will we say that again?! They’ve done it without using their star recruit  Mike Gesicki . Or  Kenyan Drake  and  Frank Gore . They’ve done it with guys like  Albert Wilson  and  Jakeem Grant  with  Ryan Tannehill  leading the way.  Kenny Stills  is again a stud and proving better than his WR40 ADP once again.  Chicago -  No one prior to  Khalil Mack ’s arrival thought that the Bears would be on top of the NFC North. We expected improvement sure. But the Bears DST is willing them to win and bailing Mitch Trubisky out eniugh to a point where they could be 3-0. If the Offense can gel a little more however... Yikes! Chicago could end up being this year’s Jacksonville.    THE BAD    Patriots, Jaguars and Chargers stalling;    Jaguars -  Jacksonville proved last year that they could break teams - similar to what we are seeing itn of Chicago right now. But they seem to be missing something.  Leonard Fournette  has been a loss and maybe he is the cog that spins the Jaguars in the right direction.   LA Chargers -  The Chargers, preseason favorite for the AFC West look average. Out-played by better teams in the Chiefs and Rams, they look at best a wild card team right now. Injuries have hurt them on both sides of the ball but what’s new? Same old song but a different tune...  New England -  If you’re arrogant enough to believe you can get by with 3 part time receivers then you deserve to be lagging. The Patriot see  Julian Edelman  and  Josh Gordon  join the team over the next week and  Sony Michel  looks to build up to more touches with  Rex Burkhead  being placed on the IR list. An injection of a dynamic approach could be what ails them.   THE UGLY    Dallas, Houston, Oakland flopping;   Houston -  Small sample sizes kills teams.  Deshaun Watson  at the moment doesn’t look to be returning interest on his high draft capital and Hopkins is looking ok. That OL will be the death of Watson, and likely  Bill O’Brien . Don’t get me wrong, they’re not getting smoked, they’re in all the games they’ve played. But, I mean even Buffalo have a win...     Oakland -  ‘It’s hard to find a good pass rusher.’ That’s right. Good is hard to find. Good at times is inconsistent also. In the NFL ‘good’ is generally never good enough. What you had in  Khalil Mack  was elite and untouchable and you let him go. You deserve an 0-16 season  John Gruden . Go away. Jeez, I mean even Buffalo have a win...  Dallas -   Jason Garrett  is in denial about  Scott Linehan  which is also one of the most Dallas things ever. Ignorance is bliss though. I’ll call it right now, this is what will happen; They play Detroit at home this week and will score a TD in their first drive. Then they’ll absorb the clock in a low point scoring game. Elliott will rush for a TD in the last 7 minutes and they’ll hang on.  All is fixed right? Wrong. In Week 5 Dallas will find themselves in a shootout with another desperate team in Houston and there's a good shot they won't keep up. Rinse, wash, repeat. Then what? Garrett will go to the podium, ignore questions and band-aid problems with things like ‘the team did not execute’ and ‘we will have a better team performance next week’ and the ‘team believes in what we are doing so you should top pay again for your $300 a ticket and thank you, but hey here's a towel to waive’.  Well, they have the same amount of wins as Buffalo has and that’s a good thing right? Right? Right…    SUMMARY    I am absolutely looking forward to Week 4! Here is what I am looking for this week to paint a better picture heading into the Week 5 fixtures:  * A shootout in New York? Yep! Start your Saints and Giants! * A shootout in Atlanta again? Yep! Start your Falcons and Bengals! BONUS ROUND (hey thanks for playing!); can  Julio Jones  finally score a TD? *  Sony Michel  with no  Rex Burkhead ? Let’s see if his touches and targets increase! *  Josh Rosen  +  Christian Kirk  = Rookie Dynasty Orgasm. Can this be a couple we target going forward? *  Chris Carson  had 32 touches last week. Can that happen again and what happens to  Rashaad Penny .     And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!    Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!    But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly - Week 4

Sept. 26, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

Week 3. What the hell was that?!

Week 3 saw a lot of teams either play lights out and out if their freakin’ minds. Or they played with the lights out and off their freakin’ faces. At the end of the season we will come back and look at outliers and anomalies that were (like Chris Ivory being Buffalo’s top Receiver vs Minnesota of all things), then I’d heavily suggest that this is the week we look back at and reminisce about where we were right and where we went wrong.

But how did we fair in Week 3?

* On a season average of 4.22 YPC Saquon Barkley had an increase to 4.82 YPC against a stout Texans DST with a score this week which was made even better by his 5-5-35 line in the Receiving game also, which we can probably look to see increase with Evan Engram out for a short time with an MCL strain. The Giants looked sound with Rhett Ellison out on the field blocking some more which helped Barkley’s game significantly. A return home after two weeks on the road vs New Orleans this week - who only allowed 47 total yards and a TD to Tevin Coleman in a shootout - could be something to watch.
* After Buffalo bombarded the Vikings this week, Dan Bailey was only needed to net a PAT, but on a short week vs the LA Rams then this could be a big week for Bailey in a high scoring game.
* Sam Darnold had a tale of 2 halves but in the end he started to cough to ball up and struggled against the Browns - who got their first win in over 630 days. He has found his groove with Quincy Enunwa which in return has seen Robby Anderson hit the skids, I see a lot of people dropping him, but while he is still a deep threat I’m going sit tight on him a week longer in deeper leagues.
* Surely going 400 yards and pushing the Steelers in a Prime-Time game gives Ryan Fitzpatrick another shot before Tampa’s Week 5 Bye Round. Jameis Winston is off suspension this week but I’d be surprised if the ‘bearded one’ isn’t given one more game. I’m not sure the Bucs faithful thought they would be remotely close to a 2-1 record and even (at worse case being 2-2) after the Bye I would assume that this is when I’d think Winston returns in Week 6. Another win though at 3-1? Could be a different story.
* Wentz played like a returning QB from a major surgery would. Conservative and rusty and not having Alshon Jeffrey, Jay Ajayi or even LeGarrette Blount for the Eagles Offense; looked like it was a bit different to him from when he was last on the field. That may take a week or so to settle down but he moved well enough to give you confidence he will be fine.
* Although a matchup with the red hot Miami Dolphins (how many times will we ever say that?!) at home this week, a confrontation with Xavien Howard is something if avoid if you are a Josh Gordon fantasy owner. However, Julian Edelman will soon return and having him inside to allow Gordon to do his thing, over the next month the Patriots have Kansas, Chicago and the Colts which could see some high scoring games. Sit tight. Be patient. His time is coming.


THE GOOD

Miami, Chicago, Buffalo impressed;


Buffalo -

Let’s clear this up, Buffalo are not good. They were (this week) and they deserve all the credit and plaudits of a group who literally ripped the heart out of Minnesota in which should have been a layup for the Vikings. I’m actually happy for Josh Allen, who probably saw more criticism than any of the Rookie QB’s in this draft class and has less talent around him to do so.

The undeafeated Dolphins -

How many times will we say that again?! They’ve done it without using their star recruit Mike Gesicki. Or Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. They’ve done it with guys like Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant with Ryan Tannehill leading the way. Kenny Stills is again a stud and proving better than his WR40 ADP once again.

Chicago -

No one prior to Khalil Mack’s arrival thought that the Bears would be on top of the NFC North. We expected improvement sure. But the Bears DST is willing them to win and bailing Mitch Trubisky out eniugh to a point where they could be 3-0. If the Offense can gel a little more however... Yikes! Chicago could end up being this year’s Jacksonville.


THE BAD

Patriots, Jaguars and Chargers stalling;


Jaguars -

Jacksonville proved last year that they could break teams - similar to what we are seeing itn of Chicago right now. But they seem to be missing something. Leonard Fournette has been a loss and maybe he is the cog that spins the Jaguars in the right direction.

LA Chargers -

The Chargers, preseason favorite for the AFC West look average. Out-played by better teams in the Chiefs and Rams, they look at best a wild card team right now. Injuries have hurt them on both sides of the ball but what’s new? Same old song but a different tune...

New England -

If you’re arrogant enough to believe you can get by with 3 part time receivers then you deserve to be lagging. The Patriot see Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon join the team over the next week and Sony Michel looks to build up to more touches with Rex Burkhead being placed on the IR list. An injection of a dynamic approach could be what ails them.

THE UGLY

Dallas, Houston, Oakland flopping;

Houston -

Small sample sizes kills teams. Deshaun Watson at the moment doesn’t look to be returning interest on his high draft capital and Hopkins is looking ok. That OL will be the death of Watson, and likely Bill O’Brien. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not getting smoked, they’re in all the games they’ve played. But, I mean even Buffalo have a win...


Oakland -
‘It’s hard to find a good pass rusher.’
That’s right. Good is hard to find. Good at times is inconsistent also. In the NFL ‘good’ is generally never good enough.
What you had in Khalil Mack was elite and untouchable and you let him go. You deserve an 0-16 season John Gruden. Go away. Jeez, I mean even Buffalo have a win...

Dallas -

Jason Garrett is in denial about Scott Linehan which is also one of the most Dallas things ever. Ignorance is bliss though. I’ll call it right now, this is what will happen; They play Detroit at home this week and will score a TD in their first drive. Then they’ll absorb the clock in a low point scoring game. Elliott will rush for a TD in the last 7 minutes and they’ll hang on.

All is fixed right? Wrong. In Week 5 Dallas will find themselves in a shootout with another desperate team in Houston and there's a good shot they won't keep up. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Then what? Garrett will go to the podium, ignore questions and band-aid problems with things like ‘the team did not execute’ and ‘we will have a better team performance next week’ and the ‘team believes in what we are doing so you should top pay again for your $300 a ticket and thank you, but hey here's a towel to waive’.

Well, they have the same amount of wins as Buffalo has and that’s a good thing right?
Right? Right…


SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 4! Here is what I am looking for this week to paint a better picture heading into the Week 5 fixtures:

* A shootout in New York? Yep! Start your Saints and Giants!
* A shootout in Atlanta again? Yep! Start your Falcons and Bengals! BONUS ROUND (hey thanks for playing!); can Julio Jones finally score a TD?
* Sony Michel with no Rex Burkhead? Let’s see if his touches and targets increase!
* Josh Rosen + Christian Kirk = Rookie Dynasty Orgasm. Can this be a couple we target going forward?
* Chris Carson had 32 touches last week. Can that happen again and what happens to Rashaad Penny.


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!



  Quick Hits from Week 3   Sept. 24, 2018  @FootballNuke  For the week 3 postmortem, I did some stacking. I stacked guys that are for real and should be in your lineup the rest of the season. I stacked some guys to keep, that aren’t quite reliable yet but are worthy of a flex spot in the right matchup. There is a stack of players to go get, and lastly some players to drop.  For Real  –    Pat Mahomes  – a lot of analysts thought the toughest part of Mahomes’ schedule would be the first four games of the year. Let that sink in….   Calvin Ridley  – What a coming out party for Ridley this week – 146 yards and three TDs! Ridley is the legit WR2 on the Falcons. The only question now is will he have better numbers than Julio at year-end?   Antonio Callaway  –  Baker Mayfield  threw to Callaway a LOT in the preseason. With the departure of  Josh Gordon , the path is clear for Callaway, who was one drop away from having a 100 yards and a touchdown. Landry will be the target monster the rest of the way. Callaway will be the high upside, week winner.   Kerryon Johnson  – The Lions are realizing they have their starting running back, and it is  not Legarrette Blount . Johnson looked great against the Patriots. The Lions need to keep feeding that beast.  Keep ‘em -   Rashaad Penny  – If you have the roster space, Penny is definitely a keeper. I know  Chris Carson  had 32 carries Sunday to Penny’s three, but Carson’s is injury prone. Keep Penny as the handcuff if you can. P.S. we just don’t know when the tables will turn on this situation… but they  will  turn.   Ryan Fitzpatrick  – The “magic” looked like it was lost in the first half of the game against the Steelers tonight, but Fitzy rallied and threw for another 400 yards. The Bucs can’t bench this guy for  Jameis Winston  in week five, can they?   Sony Michel  – He got the bulk of the backfield work in the Sunday night game against Detroit. He’s a first-round pick and I expect to see more opportunities for Michel as we get further into the season.  Go get ‘em -   Baker Mayfield  – this week we got to see the potential of the Browns offense with number one pick Baker Mayfield at the helm. The potential for great things is there.  Any Browns skill position player out on waivers such as:  Antonio Callaway, David Njoku, Rashaad Higgins . With the emergence of Mayfield, they are all fantasy relevant now.   Tyler Boyd  – if Boyd is still out there, go get him! Especially if you can drop John Ross to add him. Boyd is the clear WR2 in Cincinnati, and now  AJ Green  is injured.   Mike Williams  – Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! I’ve seen him on some waiver wires, too.  Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.   Ronald Jones II  – he is inactive for the third straight week in a backfield of average joes. That is not a good sign for the rookie. A dynasty hold if you have a roster of 25 or taxi squad. Otherwise, you can drop him.  With  Jimmy Garoppolo  out for the rest of the year, stock is down on the wide receivers in San Francisco. George Kittle might be the only one worth retaining.   Jamaal Williams  – he will probably still get more touches than  Aaron Jones . From what we have seen so far, Jones may outscore Williams week-to-week even with less touches. They could be kind of like Kamara (Jones) and Ingram (Williams), only in Green Bay, Ingram won’t be worthy of your roster.  Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating but the writing he puts out is top notch.  Lastly, a big shoutout to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. They are doing a great job!

Quick Hits from Week 3

Sept. 24, 2018

@FootballNuke

For the week 3 postmortem, I did some stacking. I stacked guys that are for real and should be in your lineup the rest of the season. I stacked some guys to keep, that aren’t quite reliable yet but are worthy of a flex spot in the right matchup. There is a stack of players to go get, and lastly some players to drop.

For Real

Pat Mahomes – a lot of analysts thought the toughest part of Mahomes’ schedule would be the first four games of the year. Let that sink in….

Calvin Ridley – What a coming out party for Ridley this week – 146 yards and three TDs! Ridley is the legit WR2 on the Falcons. The only question now is will he have better numbers than Julio at year-end?

Antonio CallawayBaker Mayfield threw to Callaway a LOT in the preseason. With the departure of Josh Gordon, the path is clear for Callaway, who was one drop away from having a 100 yards and a touchdown. Landry will be the target monster the rest of the way. Callaway will be the high upside, week winner.

Kerryon Johnson – The Lions are realizing they have their starting running back, and it is not Legarrette Blount. Johnson looked great against the Patriots. The Lions need to keep feeding that beast.

Keep ‘em -

Rashaad Penny – If you have the roster space, Penny is definitely a keeper. I know Chris Carson had 32 carries Sunday to Penny’s three, but Carson’s is injury prone. Keep Penny as the handcuff if you can. P.S. we just don’t know when the tables will turn on this situation… but they will turn.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – The “magic” looked like it was lost in the first half of the game against the Steelers tonight, but Fitzy rallied and threw for another 400 yards. The Bucs can’t bench this guy for Jameis Winston in week five, can they?

Sony Michel – He got the bulk of the backfield work in the Sunday night game against Detroit. He’s a first-round pick and I expect to see more opportunities for Michel as we get further into the season.

Go get ‘em -

Baker Mayfield – this week we got to see the potential of the Browns offense with number one pick Baker Mayfield at the helm. The potential for great things is there.

Any Browns skill position player out on waivers such as: Antonio Callaway, David Njoku, Rashaad Higgins. With the emergence of Mayfield, they are all fantasy relevant now.

Tyler Boyd – if Boyd is still out there, go get him! Especially if you can drop John Ross to add him. Boyd is the clear WR2 in Cincinnati, and now AJ Green is injured.

Mike Williams – Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! I’ve seen him on some waiver wires, too.

Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.

Ronald Jones II – he is inactive for the third straight week in a backfield of average joes. That is not a good sign for the rookie. A dynasty hold if you have a roster of 25 or taxi squad. Otherwise, you can drop him.

With Jimmy Garoppolo out for the rest of the year, stock is down on the wide receivers in San Francisco. George Kittle might be the only one worth retaining.

Jamaal Williams – he will probably still get more touches than Aaron Jones. From what we have seen so far, Jones may outscore Williams week-to-week even with less touches. They could be kind of like Kamara (Jones) and Ingram (Williams), only in Green Bay, Ingram won’t be worthy of your roster.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating but the writing he puts out is top notch.

Lastly, a big shoutout to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. They are doing a great job!

  Good, Bad and Ugly – Week 3   Sept. 19, 2018   By @theBleagueSays   In Week 2 we saw a lot of teams settle down and get in their groove, and we also saw a few regress even more. Here is what I was looking for and what we learned:    Pittsburgh remains winless as the Cleveland Browns proved to be a thorn in theirs (and their own) side. While they gave  Drew Brees  a minor stroke vs. the Saints this week, Brees and  Michael Thomas  pulled it together to snatch victory away from the Browns. Along with Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders have all remained winless. Here’s the obligatory reminder that there is only an 11% chance of making the playoffs when starting off 0-2.    So it turns out  Phillip Lindsay  is not a flash in the pan. And if (like me) you reached for  Royce Freeman  then it may be a sit and wait approach for him to take the lead role. Lindsay has had stat lines of X + Y and at the moment has no reason to slow down.    I liked  Amari Cooper  last week going 10-10 and 116 yards - it could be better, Touchdowns are the next step - but it’s an improvement. A slow start for Oakland. But it looked better overall. Week 3 sees the Raiders at Miami, and Cooper   gets another good matchup. If he (and Derek Carr can build upon it) this could be great for everyone who got on board the Cooper hype this preseason.     Tom Brady  hit pay-dirt with  Chris Hogan  twice. But that could all change, The Patriots welcomed in the debut of  Sony Michel  and now former Brown in  Josh Gordon  (that sounds weird) into the organization as they gave up a 5th Round Pick to the Browns for his services - more on that later.    The tug of war in the NFC North continues - the Packers drew at home in another hard fought game with the Vikings. While the Bears dominated Seattle in primetime, Detroit underwhelmed and fell again. This division, if the Lions wake up, could go down to the last week and I feel like whoever can keep the healthiest could be the bigger winner in the long run.     Pat Mahomes  is legit, and the Chiefs with an appalling defense look like they could put 50 on anyone, anywhere, anytime. Mahomes is looking more and more the reason why the Chiefs jumped up for him and Hill, Kelce, Hunt, Conley, Sherman - and finally,  Sammy Watkins  are better for it.    So, on with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly...     THE GOOD      The Jaguars / Cowboys Defense / Ryan FitzMAGIC (no his name is not misspelled);     Jacksonville (I think) overcomes a major obstacle this week beating the Patriots who beat them in the AFC Championship last year. I know the stakes aren’t the same - but it matters. So many times we see the same teams fall to the same teams in the games that matter most - see Pittsburgh vs. New England playoff games. So to see the Jaguars, albeit at home, get the better of New England this time is a big deal. They also did it without star Running Back  Leonard Fournette . This game could mean nothing now, but at the business end of the season, it could be very relevant.    The Cowboys’ Defense is for real. And I, more than most being a Giants fan know this more than most - but if the Giants O-Line looks bad (shocker, I know), then the same can be said for the Seattle Seahawks who face the ‘Boys at home this weekend after getting destroyed by  Khalil Mack  and HIS Defense. Dallas is boring at times but like what they did to New York will be what they will be looking to replicate again - by grinding Seattle down, and the way to victory more likely than not will be on the ground through  Ezekiel Elliott  and keeping the opposition’s Offense moving backward.     Whah-Oh-Oh FitzMagic!  He’s done it again! The Buccaneers for the Super Bowl baby! Let’s go! For once, let’s overreact and enjoy the ride! Tampa is fun, dominant, putting up points and for Fantasy Football - that’s all we could ask for right?     THE BAD      Josh Gordon / Cleveland / New England;     So let’s quickly recap (what we know) and assess -    Friday night Josh Gordon is filming his documentary which Cleveland know about at their facility. During the filming of Gordon running routes, he feels a slight hamstring pull, two days before their matchup with New Orleans.  Saturday morning Gordon reports the issue to the Browns, and the Browns let the world know that they are cutting Gordon due to trust issues.  After realizing there is a market for Gordon - to which the cheapened greatly due to hastily making a bold decision - decide he is available to be traded.  Monday, the New England Patriots and Cleveland strike up a deal for Gordon; a 5th Round pick - provided Gordon can play ten games, should he not the pick is returned to the Patriots.     Cleveland;  one side of the coin I don’t blame them. If you are talking about turning a whole franchise around and that no-one is bigger than the team then I think that they did what they had to do - I don’t completely hate it even if I don’t agree entirely with it. If you are hellbent on setting a tone in the locker room and it is a message for the rest of the young team, then I understand. Josh Gordon is healthy in the mind which has always been his biggest knock falling to drug and alcohol addiction and was ready to start the season to contribute. So if that side of Gordon is ok then moving him on and opening up Callaway and Higgins and letting the 4-year circus Josh Gordon leads then this could be (in the long run) ideal.    On the other side of the coin, sometimes you have to get out of your own way. Josh Gordon can change a game in one play, and he is a difference maker. If it is a slight pull of the hamstring and he is going to play this week, why not maximize his play, and drive his value up then move on?  Odell Beckham ,  Antonio Brown ,  Robby Anderson ,  Rob Gronkowski  are all in the limelight, all controversial figures (characters if you will) and at times you have to let them do their thing. Results matter and for a team to not win a game in nearly two years to move on for a 5th Round Pick and lose a bonafide playmaker? It feels like if the end game was to move him on no matter what they shortchanged themselves again.     Josh Gordon;  here’s the thing, if you are getting on a plane to New Orleans for the Week 2 matchup and you are running routes for a documentary then you have shown, again, that your interests are more important than the teams. That’s a problem, and I would be surprised if  Bill Belichick  allows for that to happen at all. You finally, (and I get it, addiction doesn’t just go away - it’s confronting every day) seem to be on the upswing, the best way to repay a Franchise, who stuck by you through all of it - without any questions or doubts you will ever play the game - is by winning on the field. Instead, Gordon goes and puts a documentary first. That’s unacceptable. So either the people around you who thought this would be a good idea need questioning, or someone needs to pull this kids head in and put a ‘minder’ with him 24-7. None of this was a good idea, and the fact it happened is a joke.     New England;  this was always happening. Who else would capitalize on a teams misfortunes, take a broken player and turn them into a potential Super Bowl winner? You damn right they would, and you’re damn right they’ll try. The best possible situation out of all this is that Brady, Belichick, and Kraft can take Josh Gordon and put him - the athlete and human - on the right track.    Winning band-aids a lot of things and maybe it's the cure that can ail all parties.     THE UGLY      Vontae Davis;     I get it - you’re done - but for a full half of football you allowed teammates, no, BROTHERS of yours - who busted their asses off all offseason/preseason - who go through the same pain and commitment during a game to fail.    Walking out on a team? Who does that?    The Bills have a lot of new faces and a lot of young players and for a guy, as experienced like that to be not able to check himself and gut it out and bounce an hour later when the game is over is as disgraceful as it gets. Now I understand that this is something no-one saw coming, but what leader (player or coach) in that locker room also stood up and stopped him from walking out mid-game? Hell, let him sit there on the pine for the rest of the game. People pay big money to see their team and for a guy to ‘bounce’? I just went to the latest Giants / Cowboys game and if I knew Beckham Jr bounced at halftime because ‘he couldn’t take it anymore’ I would be banging doors to get my money back - preferably from his paycheck. What a joke.     SUMMARY     I am looking forward to Week 3! Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:    Can  Saquon Barkley’s  Yards Per Carry improve?   Dan Bailey  - can he kick it? Yes, he can? Minnesota hopes at least...  There’s a big test for  Sam Darnold  this week vs. the Cleveland Browns of all people who have limited  Ben Roethlisberger  and  Drew Brees  in back to back weeks - in the prime time Thursday night matchup.  We get one more week of  Ryan Fitzpatrick  and how Tampa handles him and  Jameis Winston  in Week 4, before their Week 5 BYE Round.   Carson Wentz  - welcome back - let’s see how his health holds up and if the Eagles ease him in.  Josh Gordon - how the Patriots use him on limited preparation.    And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!    Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!    But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly – Week 3

Sept. 19, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

In Week 2 we saw a lot of teams settle down and get in their groove, and we also saw a few regress even more. Here is what I was looking for and what we learned:

Pittsburgh remains winless as the Cleveland Browns proved to be a thorn in theirs (and their own) side. While they gave Drew Brees a minor stroke vs. the Saints this week, Brees and Michael Thomas pulled it together to snatch victory away from the Browns. Along with Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders have all remained winless. Here’s the obligatory reminder that there is only an 11% chance of making the playoffs when starting off 0-2.

So it turns out Phillip Lindsay is not a flash in the pan. And if (like me) you reached for Royce Freeman then it may be a sit and wait approach for him to take the lead role. Lindsay has had stat lines of X + Y and at the moment has no reason to slow down.

I liked Amari Cooper last week going 10-10 and 116 yards - it could be better, Touchdowns are the next step - but it’s an improvement. A slow start for Oakland. But it looked better overall. Week 3 sees the Raiders at Miami, and Cooper gets another good matchup. If he (and Derek Carr can build upon it) this could be great for everyone who got on board the Cooper hype this preseason.

Tom Brady hit pay-dirt with Chris Hogan twice. But that could all change, The Patriots welcomed in the debut of Sony Michel and now former Brown in Josh Gordon (that sounds weird) into the organization as they gave up a 5th Round Pick to the Browns for his services - more on that later.

The tug of war in the NFC North continues - the Packers drew at home in another hard fought game with the Vikings. While the Bears dominated Seattle in primetime, Detroit underwhelmed and fell again. This division, if the Lions wake up, could go down to the last week and I feel like whoever can keep the healthiest could be the bigger winner in the long run.

Pat Mahomes is legit, and the Chiefs with an appalling defense look like they could put 50 on anyone, anywhere, anytime. Mahomes is looking more and more the reason why the Chiefs jumped up for him and Hill, Kelce, Hunt, Conley, Sherman - and finally, Sammy Watkins are better for it.

So, on with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

THE GOOD

The Jaguars / Cowboys Defense / Ryan FitzMAGIC (no his name is not misspelled);

Jacksonville (I think) overcomes a major obstacle this week beating the Patriots who beat them in the AFC Championship last year. I know the stakes aren’t the same - but it matters. So many times we see the same teams fall to the same teams in the games that matter most - see Pittsburgh vs. New England playoff games. So to see the Jaguars, albeit at home, get the better of New England this time is a big deal. They also did it without star Running Back Leonard Fournette. This game could mean nothing now, but at the business end of the season, it could be very relevant.

The Cowboys’ Defense is for real. And I, more than most being a Giants fan know this more than most - but if the Giants O-Line looks bad (shocker, I know), then the same can be said for the Seattle Seahawks who face the ‘Boys at home this weekend after getting destroyed by Khalil Mack and HIS Defense. Dallas is boring at times but like what they did to New York will be what they will be looking to replicate again - by grinding Seattle down, and the way to victory more likely than not will be on the ground through Ezekiel Elliott and keeping the opposition’s Offense moving backward.

Whah-Oh-Oh FitzMagic! He’s done it again! The Buccaneers for the Super Bowl baby! Let’s go! For once, let’s overreact and enjoy the ride! Tampa is fun, dominant, putting up points and for Fantasy Football - that’s all we could ask for right?

THE BAD

Josh Gordon / Cleveland / New England;

So let’s quickly recap (what we know) and assess -

Friday night Josh Gordon is filming his documentary which Cleveland know about at their facility. During the filming of Gordon running routes, he feels a slight hamstring pull, two days before their matchup with New Orleans.

Saturday morning Gordon reports the issue to the Browns, and the Browns let the world know that they are cutting Gordon due to trust issues.

After realizing there is a market for Gordon - to which the cheapened greatly due to hastily making a bold decision - decide he is available to be traded.

Monday, the New England Patriots and Cleveland strike up a deal for Gordon; a 5th Round pick - provided Gordon can play ten games, should he not the pick is returned to the Patriots.

Cleveland; one side of the coin I don’t blame them. If you are talking about turning a whole franchise around and that no-one is bigger than the team then I think that they did what they had to do - I don’t completely hate it even if I don’t agree entirely with it. If you are hellbent on setting a tone in the locker room and it is a message for the rest of the young team, then I understand. Josh Gordon is healthy in the mind which has always been his biggest knock falling to drug and alcohol addiction and was ready to start the season to contribute. So if that side of Gordon is ok then moving him on and opening up Callaway and Higgins and letting the 4-year circus Josh Gordon leads then this could be (in the long run) ideal.

On the other side of the coin, sometimes you have to get out of your own way. Josh Gordon can change a game in one play, and he is a difference maker. If it is a slight pull of the hamstring and he is going to play this week, why not maximize his play, and drive his value up then move on? Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, Robby Anderson, Rob Gronkowski are all in the limelight, all controversial figures (characters if you will) and at times you have to let them do their thing. Results matter and for a team to not win a game in nearly two years to move on for a 5th Round Pick and lose a bonafide playmaker? It feels like if the end game was to move him on no matter what they shortchanged themselves again.

Josh Gordon; here’s the thing, if you are getting on a plane to New Orleans for the Week 2 matchup and you are running routes for a documentary then you have shown, again, that your interests are more important than the teams. That’s a problem, and I would be surprised if Bill Belichick allows for that to happen at all. You finally, (and I get it, addiction doesn’t just go away - it’s confronting every day) seem to be on the upswing, the best way to repay a Franchise, who stuck by you through all of it - without any questions or doubts you will ever play the game - is by winning on the field. Instead, Gordon goes and puts a documentary first. That’s unacceptable. So either the people around you who thought this would be a good idea need questioning, or someone needs to pull this kids head in and put a ‘minder’ with him 24-7. None of this was a good idea, and the fact it happened is a joke.

New England; this was always happening. Who else would capitalize on a teams misfortunes, take a broken player and turn them into a potential Super Bowl winner? You damn right they would, and you’re damn right they’ll try. The best possible situation out of all this is that Brady, Belichick, and Kraft can take Josh Gordon and put him - the athlete and human - on the right track.

Winning band-aids a lot of things and maybe it's the cure that can ail all parties.

THE UGLY

Vontae Davis;

I get it - you’re done - but for a full half of football you allowed teammates, no, BROTHERS of yours - who busted their asses off all offseason/preseason - who go through the same pain and commitment during a game to fail.

Walking out on a team? Who does that?

The Bills have a lot of new faces and a lot of young players and for a guy, as experienced like that to be not able to check himself and gut it out and bounce an hour later when the game is over is as disgraceful as it gets. Now I understand that this is something no-one saw coming, but what leader (player or coach) in that locker room also stood up and stopped him from walking out mid-game? Hell, let him sit there on the pine for the rest of the game. People pay big money to see their team and for a guy to ‘bounce’? I just went to the latest Giants / Cowboys game and if I knew Beckham Jr bounced at halftime because ‘he couldn’t take it anymore’ I would be banging doors to get my money back - preferably from his paycheck. What a joke.

SUMMARY

I am looking forward to Week 3! Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

Can Saquon Barkley’s Yards Per Carry improve?

Dan Bailey - can he kick it? Yes, he can? Minnesota hopes at least...

There’s a big test for Sam Darnold this week vs. the Cleveland Browns of all people who have limited Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees in back to back weeks - in the prime time Thursday night matchup.

We get one more week of Ryan Fitzpatrick and how Tampa handles him and Jameis Winston in Week 4, before their Week 5 BYE Round.

Carson Wentz - welcome back - let’s see how his health holds up and if the Eagles ease him in.

Josh Gordon - how the Patriots use him on limited preparation.

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!



  Good, Bad and Ugly    Week 2   @theBleagueSays   9/14/2018   Tilt. Man did we tilt at some point throughout the first weekend. I’m not going to lie to you I lost my mind when Royce Freeman sco…. Oh wait no that was Undrafted Rookie Phillip Lindsay that scored a TD for the Broncos. Not Royce Freeman.  I mean I have no shares of James Conner, but I gotta be honest with you I couldn’t have been happier to see this kid succeed. My LeVeon Bell shares disagree with me, but still... we tilted.  Can someone point me in the direction to find out more information on who the hell is Will Dissly? Tyreek Hill and Pat Mahomes (shout-out @FootballNuke - that’s your boy!) went berserk. Ryan Fitzpatrick hit paydirt with DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans - correct me if I’m wrong, a feat that Jameis Winston failed to do in one game all last season. In fact FitzMAGIC was throwing bombs so loud that he gave the Saints so many headaches that DeSean Jackson got a concussion as shrapnel and may miss this week. It’s a shame he doesn’t play for the Falcons, maybe he could float some layup TDs to Juliooooooh My God! Steve Sarkisian sucks so much! How many weeks until he gets canned? It will be around Round 8 when they hit the Bye Round at the earliest for me.  Who impressed? Alvin Kamara gave more than what anyone could have asked for. Deep sleeper Geronimoooo Allison (and Back Row Board favourite) woke everyone up as he and Aaron Rodgers connected for the first time this year, Rodgers proving again to be the king of the playground.   There were however a few disappointments:  I could talk about Buffalo, but there is no point in that. Write them off for the year. I could talk about the Chargers and bombing a home divisional game to the Chiefs where Ty Williams and Travis Benjamin cost the team with a case of the ‘dropsies’. I could talk about Dallas... but we have beat the horse dead already - everyone but the people in the building know what’s wrong - and that in of itself is a massive problem too. I could cut Atlanta some slack but they should have been better and having two shots at a Nick Foles ‘lead’ Offence doesn’t present itself very often - talk about blowing a shot at redemption over the team that knocked you out last year.  A lot of things went down last week, and we have so much more to look forward to in Week 2. So without further adieu -    THE GOOD    Value ;  Anyone Playing The Bills - THIS WEEK ITS THE CHARGERS. PLAY ALL OF THEM. Throw Antonio Gates in there - hell, Nick Boyle was relevent with Joe Flacco last year so Gates is as good a shout as anyone.    Volume ;  Quincy Enunwa - saw 10 Targets in Sam Darnold’s debut. He is a bIg bodied guy and can cause matchup headaches on anyone. He is still fairly cheap in DFS, and in some leagues still on the Waiver Wire - so go get him!   Validation ;  Alex Smith - one of the first articles I wrote for The Back Row Show was about Alex Smith and how this team was built for a guy like him. Jordan Reed connected for a TD, Chris Thompson looked fantastic. They damn near buried a respectable Cardinals Defense. Except Josh Doctson. What’s up with that?! This week Washington welcomes the Colts whose secondary leaves nothing to be desired. Alex Smith could be a Top 5 QB play this week.   THE BAD    Value ; Royce Freeman - Hey! Denver! What’s your problem! Sharing carries with Phillip Lindsay and Devontae Booker is still popping up? Sort it out!    Volume ; Titans Anything Really - Marcus Mariota needs to show up some more. I get that last year most of the team was on the Injury Report (I mean after one week what’s changed?!) but still he needs to be better if he wants to remain at the top of that Franchise. Forget the split carries - just feed Dion Lewis until you need to hammer it home. Ice up Delanie Walker, the NFL world respects the hell out of you, we will see you next year. Jonnu Smith - Batter Up!   Validation ; Chris Hogan - Ok so with a lack of players available Bill Belichick still doesn’t care about you or your fantasy team. Hogan SHOULD have been a fixture in a team with 3 known Receivers. It turns out Phillip Dorsett took the lead role and Hogan finished 1 reception for 11 yards. The Patriots play Jacksonville this week and although Odell Beckham Jr lit Jalen Ramsey up in Week 1, unfortunately Chris Hogan is clearly not Odell Beckham Jr. This is a player I will avoid this week. Hogan that is. Not OBJ.   THE UGLY    Value ; Le’Veon Bell - what can you feasibly get back for him now? James Conner had a great game and the holdout backfired. For the record (KNIT - I got your back here brother) The Steelers should have paid the lad 2 years ago and avoided this mess. They ‘Kirk Cousins’ed’ Bell, he won’t be a Steeler after this year and they need to hope Conner isn’t a fluke. And if Bell comes back and blows away what Conner had does then what are you left with?   Volume ; Cowboys Receivers - depending the format you could probably cut bait with your Dallas Receivers. Obviously in Dynasty you’re holding Michael Gallup - but Hurns, Williams, Austin can all be dropped in redraft without a second guess. Cole Beasley in PPR is someone who in the past has caused the Giants problems - who they face at home this week. 7 receptions for 73 yards is nothing to be mad about. 138 Total air yards from Dak Prescott is though.   Validation ; Keanu Neal, Deion Jones - so long to the Atlanta Defence. Man what a shame! The Falcons D looked fantastic last week until a few of their stars went down. If there is a positive - hardly, but still - this could force the Falcons into more shootouts. Hopefully a more creative set of plays for Coleman, Freeman and Jones can appear. Oh! And First Round pick Calvin Ridley. Maybe get him involved   SUMMARY    I am absolutely looking forward to Week 2! Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into Week 3:  * Denver Backfield clarity. * Can Derek Carr hit Amari Cooper, with anything? * Who can Tom Brady make famous this week? (My money is on James White). * The tug-of-war for dominance in the NFC North between the Vikings and Packers. * Kansas on the road at Pittsburgh, what can Big Ben produce, is James Conner the real deal and is Pat Mahomes able to do it against another legit contender. Oh and our favourite game of ‘Where’s Watkins’!    And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!  Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!    But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly

Week 2

@theBleagueSays

9/14/2018

Tilt. Man did we tilt at some point throughout the first weekend. I’m not going to lie to you I lost my mind when Royce Freeman sco…. Oh wait no that was Undrafted Rookie Phillip Lindsay that scored a TD for the Broncos. Not Royce Freeman.
I mean I have no shares of James Conner, but I gotta be honest with you I couldn’t have been happier to see this kid succeed. My LeVeon Bell shares disagree with me, but still... we tilted.

Can someone point me in the direction to find out more information on who the hell is Will Dissly? Tyreek Hill and Pat Mahomes (shout-out @FootballNuke - that’s your boy!) went berserk. Ryan Fitzpatrick hit paydirt with DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans - correct me if I’m wrong, a feat that Jameis Winston failed to do in one game all last season. In fact FitzMAGIC was throwing bombs so loud that he gave the Saints so many headaches that DeSean Jackson got a concussion as shrapnel and may miss this week. It’s a shame he doesn’t play for the Falcons, maybe he could float some layup TDs to Juliooooooh My God! Steve Sarkisian sucks so much! How many weeks until he gets canned? It will be around Round 8 when they hit the Bye Round at the earliest for me.

Who impressed? Alvin Kamara gave more than what anyone could have asked for. Deep sleeper Geronimoooo Allison (and Back Row Board favourite) woke everyone up as he and Aaron Rodgers connected for the first time this year, Rodgers proving again to be the king of the playground.

There were however a few disappointments:

I could talk about Buffalo, but there is no point in that. Write them off for the year.
I could talk about the Chargers and bombing a home divisional game to the Chiefs where Ty Williams and Travis Benjamin cost the team with a case of the ‘dropsies’.
I could talk about Dallas... but we have beat the horse dead already - everyone but the people in the building know what’s wrong - and that in of itself is a massive problem too.
I could cut Atlanta some slack but they should have been better and having two shots at a Nick Foles ‘lead’ Offence doesn’t present itself very often - talk about blowing a shot at redemption over the team that knocked you out last year.

A lot of things went down last week, and we have so much more to look forward to in Week 2. So without further adieu -

THE GOOD

Value;
Anyone Playing The Bills - THIS WEEK ITS THE CHARGERS. PLAY ALL OF THEM. Throw Antonio Gates in there - hell, Nick Boyle was relevent with Joe Flacco last year so Gates is as good a shout as anyone.

Volume;
Quincy Enunwa - saw 10 Targets in Sam Darnold’s debut. He is a bIg bodied guy and can cause matchup headaches on anyone. He is still fairly cheap in DFS, and in some leagues still on the Waiver Wire - so go get him!

Validation;
Alex Smith - one of the first articles I wrote for The Back Row Show was about Alex Smith and how this team was built for a guy like him. Jordan Reed connected for a TD, Chris Thompson looked fantastic. They damn near buried a respectable Cardinals Defense. Except Josh Doctson. What’s up with that?! This week Washington welcomes the Colts whose secondary leaves nothing to be desired. Alex Smith could be a Top 5 QB play this week.

THE BAD

Value;
Royce Freeman - Hey! Denver! What’s your problem! Sharing carries with Phillip Lindsay and Devontae Booker is still popping up? Sort it out!

Volume;
Titans Anything Really - Marcus Mariota needs to show up some more. I get that last year most of the team was on the Injury Report (I mean after one week what’s changed?!) but still he needs to be better if he wants to remain at the top of that Franchise. Forget the split carries - just feed Dion Lewis until you need to hammer it home. Ice up Delanie Walker, the NFL world respects the hell out of you, we will see you next year. Jonnu Smith - Batter Up!

Validation;
Chris Hogan - Ok so with a lack of players available Bill Belichick still doesn’t care about you or your fantasy team. Hogan SHOULD have been a fixture in a team with 3 known Receivers. It turns out Phillip Dorsett took the lead role and Hogan finished 1 reception for 11 yards. The Patriots play Jacksonville this week and although Odell Beckham Jr lit Jalen Ramsey up in Week 1, unfortunately Chris Hogan is clearly not Odell Beckham Jr. This is a player I will avoid this week. Hogan that is. Not OBJ.

THE UGLY

Value;
Le’Veon Bell - what can you feasibly get back for him now? James Conner had a great game and the holdout backfired. For the record (KNIT - I got your back here brother) The Steelers should have paid the lad 2 years ago and avoided this mess. They ‘Kirk Cousins’ed’ Bell, he won’t be a Steeler after this year and they need to hope Conner isn’t a fluke. And if Bell comes back and blows away what Conner had does then what are you left with?

Volume;
Cowboys Receivers - depending the format you could probably cut bait with your Dallas Receivers. Obviously in Dynasty you’re holding Michael Gallup - but Hurns, Williams, Austin can all be dropped in redraft without a second guess. Cole Beasley in PPR is someone who in the past has caused the Giants problems - who they face at home this week. 7 receptions for 73 yards is nothing to be mad about. 138 Total air yards from Dak Prescott is though.

Validation;
Keanu Neal, Deion Jones - so long to the Atlanta Defence. Man what a shame! The Falcons D looked fantastic last week until a few of their stars went down. If there is a positive - hardly, but still - this could force the Falcons into more shootouts. Hopefully a more creative set of plays for Coleman, Freeman and Jones can appear. Oh! And First Round pick Calvin Ridley. Maybe get him involved

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 2! Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into Week 3:

* Denver Backfield clarity.
* Can Derek Carr hit Amari Cooper, with anything?
* Who can Tom Brady make famous this week? (My money is on James White).
* The tug-of-war for dominance in the NFC North between the Vikings and Packers.
* Kansas on the road at Pittsburgh, what can Big Ben produce, is James Conner the real deal and is Pat Mahomes able to do it against another legit contender. Oh and our favourite game of ‘Where’s Watkins’!

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

baker.jpg

Quick Hits from Week 6

Oct. 16, 2018

By @FootballNuke

Week six of the NFL saw some record setting performances, another overtime game, and some things I never thought would happen again in the NFL, a.k.a. Brock Osweiler.   With six weeks down, we have a pretty good idea of who teams are. 

For Real

Tarik Cohen – he is too explosive for the Bears to not have him on the field.  When Cohen is on the field, he changes the game.  Nagy has to play him, even to Jordan Howard’s detriment.

Adam Thielen – yes, this one is obvious, but when a receiver has played six games and has over 100 yards receiving in each one of them, he deserves some recognition.

John Brown – who has the easiest strength of schedule for the remainder of the year for wide receivers? Baltimore.

Taylor Gabriel – seeing him perform with the Bears makes me wonder why the Falcons did not use him more.

Keep ‘em -

Corey Davis – if Marcus Mariota cannot improve, Davis will move to the drop section soon.  It is a shame because he is so talented. Receivers depend on their quarterback to get them the ball. In this case, I’m not sure Davis could depend on Mariota to drive him to the stadium.

Go get ‘em -

Marquise Goodwin – CJ Bethard starting looking Goodwin’s way, and what a game he had! That is great news for those who thought Goodwin was irrelevant after the loss of Jimmy G.

Baker Mayfield – If Baker is going to have a game, at home against Tampa Bay is going to be it.

Ito Smith – with Devonta Freeman hitting the injured reserve, Ito is a legit threat to put up numbers each week in a high-powered Falcons offense.

Trade ‘em

Amari Cooper – Twitter was on fire  with some reports that the Raiders are shopping Amari.  Talking strictly redraft here, this could be a great opportunity to deal Cooper away. If you are thinking that Cooper going to another team right now might improve his stats this year, that is not very likely. Wide receivers that change teams in the middle of the year are not very successful. It takes time for receivers to learn new playbooks. So if you are tired of riding that Amari rollercoaster, you have another opportunity to trade him.

Don’t overreact to ‘em

Albert Wilson – Wilson had a phenomenal game. The problem is they are hard to predict, and his quarterbacks are bad. Let this one breathe.

Brock Osweiler – Seriously? Just how desperate are you? Tannehill looks to be back soon anyway.

Cole Beasley – if you are in a PPR league, he might be worth a roster spot.

Tyrell Williams – Williams had a three catch, two touchdown game. He’s hard to predict like Wilson is, and he gets fewer looks with all the weaponry the Chargers have.

Drop ‘em – being so deep into the season, there are an increasing number of guys that I am close to being done with.  It’s depressing, but…

Jordan Howard – There were many who thought Howard would have a prominent place in the Bears offense this year.  I think even Matt Nagy did at one point.  While he might be important to Nagy (I’m not sure about that), Jordan is absent from the fantasy spectrum.

Mike Williams – this is a thin ice guy – he looked great and now Phillip Rivers is not getting him the ball.  I am not dropping him yet, but if this lack of targets continues it will be time to cut bait.

Chris Hogan – he might be a good spot player, but there is no reason to roster him.

Cameron Brate – he went hot, then cool in just a week! With OJ Howard playing, there is little hope for consistent performance from Brate.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more tournament success in the past two weeks listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

 

 Good, Bad and Ugly Week 1  September 4, 2018   By @theBleagueSays     We are back! Sweet baby Jesus it feels like forever and I am glad to be back in full-colour TV with this week’s latest and first Good, Bad and Ugly for the 2018 ‘regular’ season. I have been away on vacation, smashing Best-Ball and redraft leagues over the past two weeks and am ready to gear up for the first round of games, starting with Atlanta at Philadelphia this Thursday night. So…    Where do you want to begin? A soft recap? Yeah, I can do that!    How about The Patriots starting the season with three Wide Receivers? Or the Buccaneers GM Jason Licht suggesting Jameis Winston may find it hard getting his spot back? Or Aaron Donald getting paid? Or Khalil Mack getting traded? Or Sam Darnold looking like a veteran? Or Jerick McKinnon, Derrius Guice, and Hunter Henry breaking our hearts with season-ending injuries? Ok, Marquise Lee too… This offseason has seen a plethora of moves, cuts, and trades (most of them by John Gruden) and with that summary - we are ready to go.    With all this behind us, where do I as your second favorite writer for The Back Row Fantasy Show begin? How about some bold predictions? We love that stuff huh! Takes! I hate the term ‘takes’ - it’s been done, let’s move forward with ‘amateur, non-committal viewpoint’ yeah? Great!    Here is my ‘amateur non-committal viewpoints’ for the 2018 season:     Super Bowl:  New Orleans Over the Jacksonville Jaguars: Now I get that the Vikings are looking fairly fancy, and I know what the Rams are up to also. They’ll all come close - but I think the Saints on both sides of the ball are ready, led by one of the all-time greats in Drew Brees - who is the ultimate separator between the three teams mentioned. The AFC, however, is a joke. The Patriots can barely even set up for a 3-wide set right now, and if we are banking of Jeremy Hill to give his best LeGarrette Blount impersonation this year, then we may be in for a rough 16 weeks. I hate what is going on in the Steel City - not paying Bell could be something that hurts them in the locker room moving forward. It is with that in mind I’ll take the Jaguars - a couple of bad calls and a great play by Stephon Gilmore away from a Superbowl birth, I like them to take the next step!   2018/19 Super Bowl MVP:  Alvin Kamara - if the Saints happen, then this is happening too.   OPOY:  Aaron Rodgers   DPOY:  Aaron Donald   OROY:  Saquon Barkley   DPOY:  Roquan Smith   Top Fantasy QB:  Aaron Rodgers   Top Fantasy RB:  Ezekiel Elliott   Top Fantasy WR:  Deandre Hopkins   Top Fantasy TE:  Rob Gronkowski     GOOD PREDICTIONS      Good Value -  I love me some Cooper Kupp this year. At times he was being drafted behind both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, and that is fine. Without Sammy Watkins - who did well with end zone targets – Kupp will take the next step. End zone targets were an area that Kupp also dominated in 2017, except for a case of the ‘drops’; if he can improve on this area (you know, catching the ball), we could be seeing further development of a (don’t hate on the comparison) Rodgers/Nelson relationship.     Good Volume -  Mike Gesicki - 290 Targets available in Miami and the biggest player on their offense isn't going to be a threat? Yeah, I think so. Sure, there may be an adjustment period but as an end zone target on a team looking for playmakers? I have been getting all the Gesicki in as many deep leagues as I can. I expect the Dolphins chasing more games than leading - get the big lad out there and let him get to work.     Good Validation -  I don’t care how bad the Cowboys O-Line looks - it’s still better than the Giants front 5 and the fact that Ezekiel Elliott was being taken on average as the RB4 ahead of RB5-6 Saquon Barkley, to me, is a steal. They have no experienced Receivers outside of Terrence Williams (ugh), Cole Beasley (meh) and Allen Hurns (shrug) with unproven Rookie Michael Gallup lining up in a poor and unimaginative Scott Linehan Offense. ‘I’ll take pounding the rock for 1200 and in the air for another 400 with 12 minimal TDs’ - thanks Mr. Trebek.     BAD PREDICTIONS      Value -  Sammy Watkins was not worth the price in the 6th Round and barely caught a pass from Pat Mahomes this preseason, while Tyreek Hill proved to be the better option the whole time. Look for that to continue and his ‘Truthers’ to pop up every four weeks with a crappy ‘I told you so, watch it keep happening. It won’t. Let's keep moving forward without him. Like Buffalo and LA did...     Volume -  Philly not so special? I tell you what (as a Giants fan, this is great - but as a writer - not so much). No Carson Wentz to lead the team. An already banged up Alshon Jeffery not recovered in time from Rotator Cuff surgery. Knee injury recurrence for Jay Ajayi. Nick Foles looks terrible. What an unconventional offseason for the former Champions Philadelphia. All of this could be good news for Nelson Agholar and Zach Ertz, maybe even Corey Clement. But the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys all look a little more settled right now - if any of them get off to a hot start and the Eagles struggle then it may be a tough way to repeat on last season’s efforts.     Validation -  Speaking of having no one available, what the hell is going on in New England?! I get being able to get Tom Brady to make lemonade from lemons, by why in the world have they not grabbed Dez Bryant? Dorsett? Patterson? C’mon really? Look, I know they’ll still ease through the AFC East, but this must be a worry moving forward.     UGLY PREDICTIONS      Value -  Speaking of Dez… I think he is done. That’s it. If teams who have a terrible group of Receivers (sans Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have who again? Seattle? Brandon Marshall is a better option? Stop it!) didn’t pick up the phone before, then I can’t see it happening now. The Patriots, as mentioned before, devoid of Receiver talent haven’t shown interest. It’s sad to say, but it’s over for Bryant. I sincerely hope I’m wrong though...     Volume -  After all that; Sam Darnold is the only Rookie QB getting the nod for the NY Jets coming out of the robust class this year. Josh Allen couldn’t beat out Nate ‘Pick 6’ Peterman, Bradford and Taylor still showing Rosen and Mayfield the ropes. Lamar Jackson looks to be a longer-term project. In the end, it’s Sam Darnold with Terrelle Pryor, Quincy Enunwa, and Robby ‘keep the Policemen’s wives away from me’ Anderson. If they somewhat fire, in 2-QB leagues he could do some damage, and in DFS and Best-Ball for sure. But we have no real idea if he will click with a bunch of erratic (at best) Receivers and a Running Back group that is, being nice, mediocre. It could be a rough season for the Jets but in the long term, could be a decent learning curve for the 20-year-old. But right now, I don’t want to watch.     Validation -  Jameis Winston; I said it before that I could not deal with Winston and the baggage that follows him. And that stench may have led to the board, as Buccaneers GM Jason Licht proclaims that he may not get his spot back. Now, I doubt that will happen unless Ryan Fitzpatrick plays lights out bonkers - which, isn’t unlikely - he’s done it before. But the fact that people within his organization has voluntarily thrown him under the bus is not a good sign. He is due for a contract extension soon, so maybe they have started talking him down in public to get them on their side. But none of this is good for anyone. Winston is in trouble, Koetter is in trouble, Tampa are in trouble. Sad stuff for a team with so many good hardworking players. But they are so far behind New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina what are they meant to do? Rebuild again? Wipe the slate clean I think...    And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his job is much better than mine (we know that I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!    Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!  But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 1

September 4, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

We are back! Sweet baby Jesus it feels like forever and I am glad to be back in full-colour TV with this week’s latest and first Good, Bad and Ugly for the 2018 ‘regular’ season. I have been away on vacation, smashing Best-Ball and redraft leagues over the past two weeks and am ready to gear up for the first round of games, starting with Atlanta at Philadelphia this Thursday night. So…

Where do you want to begin? A soft recap? Yeah, I can do that!

How about The Patriots starting the season with three Wide Receivers? Or the Buccaneers GM Jason Licht suggesting Jameis Winston may find it hard getting his spot back? Or Aaron Donald getting paid? Or Khalil Mack getting traded? Or Sam Darnold looking like a veteran? Or Jerick McKinnon, Derrius Guice, and Hunter Henry breaking our hearts with season-ending injuries? Ok, Marquise Lee too… This offseason has seen a plethora of moves, cuts, and trades (most of them by John Gruden) and with that summary - we are ready to go.

With all this behind us, where do I as your second favorite writer for The Back Row Fantasy Show begin? How about some bold predictions? We love that stuff huh! Takes! I hate the term ‘takes’ - it’s been done, let’s move forward with ‘amateur, non-committal viewpoint’ yeah? Great!

Here is my ‘amateur non-committal viewpoints’ for the 2018 season:

Super Bowl: New Orleans Over the Jacksonville Jaguars: Now I get that the Vikings are looking fairly fancy, and I know what the Rams are up to also. They’ll all come close - but I think the Saints on both sides of the ball are ready, led by one of the all-time greats in Drew Brees - who is the ultimate separator between the three teams mentioned. The AFC, however, is a joke. The Patriots can barely even set up for a 3-wide set right now, and if we are banking of Jeremy Hill to give his best LeGarrette Blount impersonation this year, then we may be in for a rough 16 weeks. I hate what is going on in the Steel City - not paying Bell could be something that hurts them in the locker room moving forward. It is with that in mind I’ll take the Jaguars - a couple of bad calls and a great play by Stephon Gilmore away from a Superbowl birth, I like them to take the next step!

2018/19 Super Bowl MVP: Alvin Kamara - if the Saints happen, then this is happening too.

OPOY: Aaron Rodgers

DPOY: Aaron Donald

OROY: Saquon Barkley

DPOY: Roquan Smith

Top Fantasy QB: Aaron Rodgers

Top Fantasy RB: Ezekiel Elliott

Top Fantasy WR: Deandre Hopkins

Top Fantasy TE: Rob Gronkowski

GOOD PREDICTIONS

Good Value - I love me some Cooper Kupp this year. At times he was being drafted behind both Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, and that is fine. Without Sammy Watkins - who did well with end zone targets – Kupp will take the next step. End zone targets were an area that Kupp also dominated in 2017, except for a case of the ‘drops’; if he can improve on this area (you know, catching the ball), we could be seeing further development of a (don’t hate on the comparison) Rodgers/Nelson relationship.

Good Volume - Mike Gesicki - 290 Targets available in Miami and the biggest player on their offense isn't going to be a threat? Yeah, I think so. Sure, there may be an adjustment period but as an end zone target on a team looking for playmakers? I have been getting all the Gesicki in as many deep leagues as I can. I expect the Dolphins chasing more games than leading - get the big lad out there and let him get to work.

Good Validation - I don’t care how bad the Cowboys O-Line looks - it’s still better than the Giants front 5 and the fact that Ezekiel Elliott was being taken on average as the RB4 ahead of RB5-6 Saquon Barkley, to me, is a steal. They have no experienced Receivers outside of Terrence Williams (ugh), Cole Beasley (meh) and Allen Hurns (shrug) with unproven Rookie Michael Gallup lining up in a poor and unimaginative Scott Linehan Offense. ‘I’ll take pounding the rock for 1200 and in the air for another 400 with 12 minimal TDs’ - thanks Mr. Trebek.

BAD PREDICTIONS

Value - Sammy Watkins was not worth the price in the 6th Round and barely caught a pass from Pat Mahomes this preseason, while Tyreek Hill proved to be the better option the whole time. Look for that to continue and his ‘Truthers’ to pop up every four weeks with a crappy ‘I told you so, watch it keep happening. It won’t. Let's keep moving forward without him. Like Buffalo and LA did...

Volume - Philly not so special? I tell you what (as a Giants fan, this is great - but as a writer - not so much). No Carson Wentz to lead the team. An already banged up Alshon Jeffery not recovered in time from Rotator Cuff surgery. Knee injury recurrence for Jay Ajayi. Nick Foles looks terrible. What an unconventional offseason for the former Champions Philadelphia. All of this could be good news for Nelson Agholar and Zach Ertz, maybe even Corey Clement. But the Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys all look a little more settled right now - if any of them get off to a hot start and the Eagles struggle then it may be a tough way to repeat on last season’s efforts.

Validation - Speaking of having no one available, what the hell is going on in New England?! I get being able to get Tom Brady to make lemonade from lemons, by why in the world have they not grabbed Dez Bryant? Dorsett? Patterson? C’mon really? Look, I know they’ll still ease through the AFC East, but this must be a worry moving forward.

UGLY PREDICTIONS

Value - Speaking of Dez… I think he is done. That’s it. If teams who have a terrible group of Receivers (sans Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals have who again? Seattle? Brandon Marshall is a better option? Stop it!) didn’t pick up the phone before, then I can’t see it happening now. The Patriots, as mentioned before, devoid of Receiver talent haven’t shown interest. It’s sad to say, but it’s over for Bryant. I sincerely hope I’m wrong though...

Volume - After all that; Sam Darnold is the only Rookie QB getting the nod for the NY Jets coming out of the robust class this year. Josh Allen couldn’t beat out Nate ‘Pick 6’ Peterman, Bradford and Taylor still showing Rosen and Mayfield the ropes. Lamar Jackson looks to be a longer-term project. In the end, it’s Sam Darnold with Terrelle Pryor, Quincy Enunwa, and Robby ‘keep the Policemen’s wives away from me’ Anderson. If they somewhat fire, in 2-QB leagues he could do some damage, and in DFS and Best-Ball for sure. But we have no real idea if he will click with a bunch of erratic (at best) Receivers and a Running Back group that is, being nice, mediocre. It could be a rough season for the Jets but in the long term, could be a decent learning curve for the 20-year-old. But right now, I don’t want to watch.

Validation - Jameis Winston; I said it before that I could not deal with Winston and the baggage that follows him. And that stench may have led to the board, as Buccaneers GM Jason Licht proclaims that he may not get his spot back. Now, I doubt that will happen unless Ryan Fitzpatrick plays lights out bonkers - which, isn’t unlikely - he’s done it before. But the fact that people within his organization has voluntarily thrown him under the bus is not a good sign. He is due for a contract extension soon, so maybe they have started talking him down in public to get them on their side. But none of this is good for anyone. Winston is in trouble, Koetter is in trouble, Tampa are in trouble. Sad stuff for a team with so many good hardworking players. But they are so far behind New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina what are they meant to do? Rebuild again? Wipe the slate clean I think...

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his job is much better than mine (we know that I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

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 @FootballNuke's 2018 NFL Playoff Predictions

@FootballNuke's 2018 NFL Playoff Predictions

 @theBleagueSays 2018 NFL Playoff Predictions

@theBleagueSays 2018 NFL Playoff Predictions


  Week One takeaways   Sept. 12, 2018  @FootballNuke  Falcons – Eagles  The Thursday night opener was a dud. Tons of penalties, very little action. There were only a couple fantasy performances worthy of note. Jay Ajayi’s performance stood out. Ajayi carried 15 times for only 62 yards, but he put the ball in the end zone twice. I’m still treating Ajayi with kid gloves though. When orthopedic doctors watch the man run and can tell he has a knee problem – that’s a bad thing in the NFL. Enjoy your Ajayi while you can, but do not count on him being full-go the whole season.  Julio Jones was the other notable performance. Jones’ 10 catches and 169 yards led the Falcons. He also caught a pass in the endzone – almost. Jones got robbed because he did haul in another 50+ yard pass but it was ruled a no-catch, even though it clearly was a catch. Devonta Freeman tweaked his knee and didn’t do much. Tevin Coleman scored but didn’t have much for yardage.  Vikings – 49ers  Kirk Cousins threw some dandy passes while leading the Vikings to their first victory of the year. He also had 26 yards rushing. Not too bad for a fantasy start. This offense needs to gel, and that may happen with a few more games provided everyone can stay healthy. Stefon Diggs looked great, and healthy Diggs could be a top five fantasy WR finisher. Adam Thielen and Davlin Cook each caught 6 passes and Cook got the bulk of the carries. It does not take much to realize that the offense is clearly running through Diggs, Thielen and Cook. The sleeper to watch is Laquon Treadwell. He had the best game of his young career catching 2 balls for 18 yards. The point is that Cousins will look his way and is willing to get him involved.  For the 49ers, Jimmy G had a rough game. Three picks – he did have one receiver fall – which wasn’t his fault. It was a forgettable day for him though. What the Viking defense showed is the blueprint for roughing Jimmy up. Jimmy went after TE George Kittle a lot. Kittle had 5 catches for 90 yards and just missed out on a two TD day. Another exciting player to watch was Dante Pettis. He entered the game when Marquise Goodwin was injured and proceeded to catch 2 passes for 61 yards and a TD. Running back was a major issue for the 49ers. Alfred Morris and Matt Brieda looked good in short streaks but neither stepped up to claim the lead role. Morris did not do his team any favors when he fumbled near the goal line. Could the 49ers make a call to Pittsburgh regarding Lev Bell? That would be a devastatingly good get.  Packers – Bears  This game was definitely a game of two halves. The Bears owned the Packers for the first half, including an Aaron Rodgers injury that took him out of the game. Mitch Trubisky looked poised and was targeting Allen Robinson early and often. The Bears defense was on the attack and both Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith made their presence felt. Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard both had good games. Then came the second half…  Aaron Rodgers returned after the half and proceeded to throw a 75-yard TD to Randall Cobb, a TD pass to Davante Adams, and a 39 yard TD to Geronimo Allison. The passes were perfect especially for a guy who was operating on one leg. If you are in a league where Allison is on the waiver wire, go get him. Cobb will get injured and Allison’s role will be even bigger than it was last night. Jamaal Williams was disappointing. He averaged only 3.5 yards per carry. Maybe he just needs a game or two and the Bears are a tough defense. I still think he has the talent to be a starting RB.  Chiefs – Chargers  It was a battle of the crafty veteran gunslinger against the young buck when the Chargers met the Chiefs. Both Philip Rivers and Pat Mahomes had great days. Rivers threw for 424 yards and 3 scores, while Mahomes threw for 256 yards and 4 scores.  For the Chargers, Melvin Gordon had 166 all-purpose yards, while Austin Ekler had 87 receiving yards and a score. Take note that Mike Williams had 4 more catches than Ty Williams. That bodes well for Mike in the future.  Tyreek Hill was amazing. He hauled in 7 catches for 169 yards and 2 scores. Other than Hill and Mahomes, there was no fantasy standout for K.C.  Cowboys – Panthers  I’ll be honest – watching any of the fourth week preseason games was more exciting that watching the dumpster fire in Carolina Sunday. Both offenses were horrible. Inept. Disappointing. On the Panthers’ side, Cam Newton was Cam Newton, picking up yards on the ground and throwing incomplete passes left and right. Christian McCaffrey had a disappointing game. He fumbled near the goal line and was generally ineffective. Greg Olsen exited with an injury and will be gone for a while. A fantasy play that is appealing is Ian Thomas. I liked what I saw from Thomas. He could be a highly targeted asset with Olsen gone.  As bad as things were for Carolina, the Cowboys were worse. Dak Prescott looked bad, but he did not get any help from his receivers. The receiver corps struggled to get open and didn’t catch many balls when they did get open. That left little opportunity for Zeke Elliot to do any work. He only managed __ yards on __ carries and 1 TD. There were not any fantasy bright spots I could see for Dallas.  Steelers – Browns  Leave it to the Browns to end their losing streak with a tie instead of a win. This game was a bit tough to call due to the deluge of rain in Cleveland. The big takeaways are as follows: James Conner is a stud, JuJu Smith-Schuster is clearly the number two receiver, and Antonio Brown is still the greatest.  On the Brown’s side, Tyrod Taylor put up some fantasy points, but could not seal the deal at games’ end. Jarvis Landry caught __ passes. Josh Gordon only caught one pass – for a TD. Carlos Hyde is clearly the number one running back and David Njoku could be a top ten TE finisher this year.  This game was much more fun to watch that I thought it would be, with a fair amount of scoring. Speaking of scoring…  Buccaneers – Saints  If you went into this game betting on 87 and the under, you lost! I think the last thing I expected this week was that the Saints defense would give up 48 points, in New Orleans. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a terrific game, throwing 21 passes for 417 yards and 4 scores. He ran for a TD as well. All the receivers – Evans, Godwin and Jackson – for the Bucs had worthy fantasy games. Evans finished with 147 yards and 1 TD, Godwin with 41 yards and 1 TD and DeSean Jackson had 146 yards and 2 touchdows. The running game was for Tampa was average and that’s all it needed to be. Fitzpatrick’s air attack was devastating. Will it last? History says no. Fitz will be facing a much better defense next week when the Eagles come to town. After that, the Steelers visit, which could be an opportunity for more gaudy stats. After that the Bucs go to Chicago and that is where I think the ride will end. Week 5 is Tampa’s bye week and Jameis Winston will be off suspension. No matter what they are saying now, I think that will be the end of his starts. Fitz and Jackson were the fantasy stars on the Bucs’ side of the ball. Just don’t expect that to be the norm every week.  As bad as the Saints’ defense was, the offense was phenomenal as promised. Brees went 37 for 45 with 439 yards and 3 TDs. Sophomore stud Alvin Kamara showed no signs of a slump, totaling 141 yards and 3 touchdowns. Michael Thomas was fantastic too, catching 16 balls for 180 yards and one score. The fantasy football part of me hopes that the Saints defense struggles all year, so these types of shootouts are the norm.  Dolphins – Titans  The Dolphins got a great performance this week from Kenny stills who went for 106 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. The remainder of the team was largely a disappointment in the fantasy world and isn't really worth mentioning here.  The Titans suffered 2 major injuries losing Marcus Mariota and hide and Delaney Walker. The Titan sputtering offense saw Dion Lewis run for 75 yards and a touchdown and Corey Davis had 6 receptions for 62 yards. That's about all the fantasy relevant information from this game. Without Delaney Walker the Titans will look at Jonnu Smith to fill that role. However, if Marcus Mariota is not healthy they will have to turn to Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. That shouldn't excite anyone.  Patriots – Texans  The Patriots Texans game saw the same old thing from Tom Brady. Hall of Fame veteran quarterback threw for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns. His first touchdown went to Rob Gronkowski who also had 123 yards on 7 receptions. Patriots wide receiver threat was Phillip Dorsett to catch 7 balls for 66 yards and a score. Rex Burkhead Had the lion share of the carries with 18.  Texans were left on the ground by Lamar Miller who had 20 attempts for 98 yards and Dee Andre Hopkins had 8 receptions for 78 yards. Deshaun Watson was a disappointment with only 176 yards in one touchdown and one interception.  Jaguars – Giants  Jaguar saw Leonard Fournette leave early in the game with a hamstring issue. It opened up the door of opportunity for TJ Yeldon to come in take the lead back role. While Yeldon did catch a touchdown, the Jaguar offense was pretty pathetic. Quarterback Blake Bortles had one of his bad games and the receiving core had a bad game right with him. From a fantasy aspect, keep an eye on TJ Yeldon. He will obviously get the bulk of the carries should Fornette not be able to play. He's my number one fantasy waiver add the week.  Giants rookie Saquon Barkley was outstanding in his debut. Barkley had 18 carries for 106 yards and the score. Odell Beckham, Jr. at 11 catches for 111 yards. The rest of the Giants were quiet on the fantasy front.  Bills – Ravens  I'm not sure that there's any team in the NFL that can make a 47 to 3 win look more boring on the stats sheet. Joe Flacco through for 3 touchdowns but only 236 yards. None of the Baltimore receivers caught more than 50 yards in receptions. None of the running backs ran for more than 50 yards. No one stood out. There were 6 players that scored a touchdown for the Ravens: Kenneth Dixon, Javorius Allen, Alex Collins, Willie Snead, John Brown, and Michael Crabtree. That's spreading the wealth for a Raven offense which is good for the team but not so good for fantasy football. I am happy to see the John Brown got back in the game and caught a touchdown. I hope to see him do well in future.  Buffalo was so over matched by the Ravens defense nothing couldn't get anything started. Only one player on their team managed to accrue over 30 yards. The message is clear - stay away from the Bills offense.  Colts – Bengals  The Bengals had a successful debut of the Joe Mixon show. Mixon had 5 catches for 54 yards and 17 rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Andy Dalton looked pretty good completing 21 passes in 28 attempts for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. AJ green had 6 catches for 92 yards and touchdown. Important fantasy note here is that Giovanni Bernard only had one rushing attempt and one reception.  Andrew luck's return to the NFL saw him throw 53 times completing 39 for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eric Ebron and TY Hilton each caught one touchdown pass. The Colts running game was pretty quiet with Jordan Wilkins rushing 14 times for 40 yards. Ryan grant caught 8 balls for 59 yards and Jack Doyle caught 7 balls for 60 yards. It appears to me that the Colts plan to move the ball down the field be the short pass and count a lot less on the run then maybe any of us expected. That could of course change when Marlon Mack returns.  Redskins – Cardinals  Redskins and Cardinals game saw the return of an old Running back and a disappointing showing from a broken-down quarterback.  Adrian Peterson ran well for the Redskins, carrying the rock 26 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 2 passes for 70 yards. Chris Thompson caught 6 passes for 63 yards in a score and also had 65 yards on the ground. Often injured Jordan Reed head 48 yards on 4 catches add a touchdown. It was an all-around good day for the redskin offense.  The Cardinals had a disappointing effort from Sam Bradford, who in turn let the entire team down. David Johnson only had nine carries – that’s nine carries in a disappointing game for the Cards. Larry Fitzgerald finished with 76 yards receiving. Their entire offense looked out of sync and inept.  Seahawks – Broncos  The Seahawks and Broncos game was an aerial show. Both quarterbacks were chucking the ball up the entire game. They each had a lot of completions – some even to the other team.  Case Keenum finished with 329 yards, three TDs and three picks. He targeted both Demariyus Thomas and Emanuel Sanders frequently, and each of them had great games. While I prefer Sanders, both are fantasy starts each week until further notice. This week the Raiders come to Denver. I like that matchup. Royce Freeman split carries with Phillip Lindsay, which was somewhat of a surprise. Both finished with seventy one yards rushing, but Lindsay added thirty one yards and a score through the air. Going forward Freeman is still the starter, but it could be a 55-45 relationship with Lindsay. Not such good news for those that took Freeman in the third round of their drafts.  Russell Wilson was as great as we expect him to be, taking nothing and making something out of it. He lost Doug Baldwin almost immediately, but it didn’t bother Wilson. He started spreading the ball around to Brandon Marshall (1 TD), Tyler Lockett (1 TD), and Will Dissly (1 TD). Even Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson caught seven balls. The Seahawks ground game was no where near as impressive. Carson looked acceptable, and Penny looked like a rookie, neither doing anything spectacular. All this goes to prove that the ‘Hawks will be moving the ball through the air, and Russ will be a top-tier fantasy QB again.  Lions – Jets  It has to be disheartening for Lions fans – they have suffered for virtually their entire existence, replacing coaches every few years and hoping that things will improve. This year’s high hopes with coach Matt Patricia were dashed when the Jets blew the doors off the Lions last Sunday in Detroit. Matt Stafford was ridiculously bad, throwing five picks. Marvin Jones II nearly had two TD receptions but was not able to connect with Stafford either time. The running game was blah. Although I will say that Kerryon Johnson is the best back they have. Sidenote – Kenny Golladay led the Lions in receiving yards with 114.  The Jets played great defense and had a stellar rushing performance from none other that the much maligned Isaiah Crowell who had 102 yards on ten carries and two TDs. Sam Darnold was not tasked with doing much but did throw two TD passes – one to Robby Anderson and another to Qunicy Enunwa. Is what happened here a portent of things to come for the Jets? Probably not. There is going to be more struggles before there are more games like this one. Darnold looked good though….  Rams - Raiders  This game saw one of the best teams in the league take on one of the most mediocre teams. It started off close with the Raiders dictating through the hard-nose running of Marshawn Lynch. The Raiders simply did not have enough to keep up with the Rams however.  Todd Gurley had 147 all-purpose yards. Brandin Cooks led the team in receiving with 82 yards, and Cooper Kupp got into the end zone for a score. There wasn’t that much excitement on the offensive side of the ball for the Rams because their defense was so busy putting the hurt on Derek Carr.  Carr started out the game by throwing for 199 yards in the first half and looking pretty good. The second half saw him reverse that. He threw three picks – two of which were terrible – and never got the ball into the end zone once. While Lynch started out well, he disappeared the further behind the Raiders got. Jared Cook showed up and totaled 180 yards on nine catches for his one good game of the year. I would not expect more like that from him.  Summing it up  This was a pretty good opening weekend in the NFL. We saw a lot of good quarterback play, and we also saw some abysmal quarterback play. We saw some guys we thought would be fantasy studs let us down, and we saw some incredible fantasy performances that picked us up. We are finally getting some answers to the questions and the predictions we have all been making in the offseason. Football is back, baby! Let’s go!  Now on to week two!

Week One takeaways

Sept. 12, 2018

@FootballNuke

Falcons – Eagles

The Thursday night opener was a dud. Tons of penalties, very little action. There were only a couple fantasy performances worthy of note. Jay Ajayi’s performance stood out. Ajayi carried 15 times for only 62 yards, but he put the ball in the end zone twice. I’m still treating Ajayi with kid gloves though. When orthopedic doctors watch the man run and can tell he has a knee problem – that’s a bad thing in the NFL. Enjoy your Ajayi while you can, but do not count on him being full-go the whole season.

Julio Jones was the other notable performance. Jones’ 10 catches and 169 yards led the Falcons. He also caught a pass in the endzone – almost. Jones got robbed because he did haul in another 50+ yard pass but it was ruled a no-catch, even though it clearly was a catch. Devonta Freeman tweaked his knee and didn’t do much. Tevin Coleman scored but didn’t have much for yardage.

Vikings – 49ers

Kirk Cousins threw some dandy passes while leading the Vikings to their first victory of the year. He also had 26 yards rushing. Not too bad for a fantasy start. This offense needs to gel, and that may happen with a few more games provided everyone can stay healthy. Stefon Diggs looked great, and healthy Diggs could be a top five fantasy WR finisher. Adam Thielen and Davlin Cook each caught 6 passes and Cook got the bulk of the carries. It does not take much to realize that the offense is clearly running through Diggs, Thielen and Cook. The sleeper to watch is Laquon Treadwell. He had the best game of his young career catching 2 balls for 18 yards. The point is that Cousins will look his way and is willing to get him involved.

For the 49ers, Jimmy G had a rough game. Three picks – he did have one receiver fall – which wasn’t his fault. It was a forgettable day for him though. What the Viking defense showed is the blueprint for roughing Jimmy up. Jimmy went after TE George Kittle a lot. Kittle had 5 catches for 90 yards and just missed out on a two TD day. Another exciting player to watch was Dante Pettis. He entered the game when Marquise Goodwin was injured and proceeded to catch 2 passes for 61 yards and a TD. Running back was a major issue for the 49ers. Alfred Morris and Matt Brieda looked good in short streaks but neither stepped up to claim the lead role. Morris did not do his team any favors when he fumbled near the goal line. Could the 49ers make a call to Pittsburgh regarding Lev Bell? That would be a devastatingly good get.

Packers – Bears

This game was definitely a game of two halves. The Bears owned the Packers for the first half, including an Aaron Rodgers injury that took him out of the game. Mitch Trubisky looked poised and was targeting Allen Robinson early and often. The Bears defense was on the attack and both Khalil Mack and Roquan Smith made their presence felt. Tarik Cohen and Jordan Howard both had good games. Then came the second half…

Aaron Rodgers returned after the half and proceeded to throw a 75-yard TD to Randall Cobb, a TD pass to Davante Adams, and a 39 yard TD to Geronimo Allison. The passes were perfect especially for a guy who was operating on one leg. If you are in a league where Allison is on the waiver wire, go get him. Cobb will get injured and Allison’s role will be even bigger than it was last night. Jamaal Williams was disappointing. He averaged only 3.5 yards per carry. Maybe he just needs a game or two and the Bears are a tough defense. I still think he has the talent to be a starting RB.

Chiefs – Chargers

It was a battle of the crafty veteran gunslinger against the young buck when the Chargers met the Chiefs. Both Philip Rivers and Pat Mahomes had great days. Rivers threw for 424 yards and 3 scores, while Mahomes threw for 256 yards and 4 scores.

For the Chargers, Melvin Gordon had 166 all-purpose yards, while Austin Ekler had 87 receiving yards and a score. Take note that Mike Williams had 4 more catches than Ty Williams. That bodes well for Mike in the future.

Tyreek Hill was amazing. He hauled in 7 catches for 169 yards and 2 scores. Other than Hill and Mahomes, there was no fantasy standout for K.C.

Cowboys – Panthers

I’ll be honest – watching any of the fourth week preseason games was more exciting that watching the dumpster fire in Carolina Sunday. Both offenses were horrible. Inept. Disappointing. On the Panthers’ side, Cam Newton was Cam Newton, picking up yards on the ground and throwing incomplete passes left and right. Christian McCaffrey had a disappointing game. He fumbled near the goal line and was generally ineffective. Greg Olsen exited with an injury and will be gone for a while. A fantasy play that is appealing is Ian Thomas. I liked what I saw from Thomas. He could be a highly targeted asset with Olsen gone.

As bad as things were for Carolina, the Cowboys were worse. Dak Prescott looked bad, but he did not get any help from his receivers. The receiver corps struggled to get open and didn’t catch many balls when they did get open. That left little opportunity for Zeke Elliot to do any work. He only managed __ yards on __ carries and 1 TD. There were not any fantasy bright spots I could see for Dallas.

Steelers – Browns

Leave it to the Browns to end their losing streak with a tie instead of a win. This game was a bit tough to call due to the deluge of rain in Cleveland. The big takeaways are as follows: James Conner is a stud, JuJu Smith-Schuster is clearly the number two receiver, and Antonio Brown is still the greatest.

On the Brown’s side, Tyrod Taylor put up some fantasy points, but could not seal the deal at games’ end. Jarvis Landry caught __ passes. Josh Gordon only caught one pass – for a TD. Carlos Hyde is clearly the number one running back and David Njoku could be a top ten TE finisher this year.

This game was much more fun to watch that I thought it would be, with a fair amount of scoring. Speaking of scoring…

Buccaneers – Saints

If you went into this game betting on 87 and the under, you lost! I think the last thing I expected this week was that the Saints defense would give up 48 points, in New Orleans. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had a terrific game, throwing 21 passes for 417 yards and 4 scores. He ran for a TD as well. All the receivers – Evans, Godwin and Jackson – for the Bucs had worthy fantasy games. Evans finished with 147 yards and 1 TD, Godwin with 41 yards and 1 TD and DeSean Jackson had 146 yards and 2 touchdows. The running game was for Tampa was average and that’s all it needed to be. Fitzpatrick’s air attack was devastating. Will it last? History says no. Fitz will be facing a much better defense next week when the Eagles come to town. After that, the Steelers visit, which could be an opportunity for more gaudy stats. After that the Bucs go to Chicago and that is where I think the ride will end. Week 5 is Tampa’s bye week and Jameis Winston will be off suspension. No matter what they are saying now, I think that will be the end of his starts. Fitz and Jackson were the fantasy stars on the Bucs’ side of the ball. Just don’t expect that to be the norm every week.

As bad as the Saints’ defense was, the offense was phenomenal as promised. Brees went 37 for 45 with 439 yards and 3 TDs. Sophomore stud Alvin Kamara showed no signs of a slump, totaling 141 yards and 3 touchdowns. Michael Thomas was fantastic too, catching 16 balls for 180 yards and one score. The fantasy football part of me hopes that the Saints defense struggles all year, so these types of shootouts are the norm.

Dolphins – Titans

The Dolphins got a great performance this week from Kenny stills who went for 106 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. The remainder of the team was largely a disappointment in the fantasy world and isn't really worth mentioning here.

The Titans suffered 2 major injuries losing Marcus Mariota and hide and Delaney Walker. The Titan sputtering offense saw Dion Lewis run for 75 yards and a touchdown and Corey Davis had 6 receptions for 62 yards. That's about all the fantasy relevant information from this game. Without Delaney Walker the Titans will look at Jonnu Smith to fill that role. However, if Marcus Mariota is not healthy they will have to turn to Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. That shouldn't excite anyone.

Patriots – Texans

The Patriots Texans game saw the same old thing from Tom Brady. Hall of Fame veteran quarterback threw for 277 yards and 3 touchdowns. His first touchdown went to Rob Gronkowski who also had 123 yards on 7 receptions. Patriots wide receiver threat was Phillip Dorsett to catch 7 balls for 66 yards and a score. Rex Burkhead Had the lion share of the carries with 18.

Texans were left on the ground by Lamar Miller who had 20 attempts for 98 yards and Dee Andre Hopkins had 8 receptions for 78 yards. Deshaun Watson was a disappointment with only 176 yards in one touchdown and one interception.

Jaguars – Giants

Jaguar saw Leonard Fournette leave early in the game with a hamstring issue. It opened up the door of opportunity for TJ Yeldon to come in take the lead back role. While Yeldon did catch a touchdown, the Jaguar offense was pretty pathetic. Quarterback Blake Bortles had one of his bad games and the receiving core had a bad game right with him. From a fantasy aspect, keep an eye on TJ Yeldon. He will obviously get the bulk of the carries should Fornette not be able to play. He's my number one fantasy waiver add the week.

Giants rookie Saquon Barkley was outstanding in his debut. Barkley had 18 carries for 106 yards and the score. Odell Beckham, Jr. at 11 catches for 111 yards. The rest of the Giants were quiet on the fantasy front.

Bills – Ravens

I'm not sure that there's any team in the NFL that can make a 47 to 3 win look more boring on the stats sheet. Joe Flacco through for 3 touchdowns but only 236 yards. None of the Baltimore receivers caught more than 50 yards in receptions. None of the running backs ran for more than 50 yards. No one stood out. There were 6 players that scored a touchdown for the Ravens: Kenneth Dixon, Javorius Allen, Alex Collins, Willie Snead, John Brown, and Michael Crabtree. That's spreading the wealth for a Raven offense which is good for the team but not so good for fantasy football. I am happy to see the John Brown got back in the game and caught a touchdown. I hope to see him do well in future.

Buffalo was so over matched by the Ravens defense nothing couldn't get anything started. Only one player on their team managed to accrue over 30 yards. The message is clear - stay away from the Bills offense.

Colts – Bengals

The Bengals had a successful debut of the Joe Mixon show. Mixon had 5 catches for 54 yards and 17 rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown. Andy Dalton looked pretty good completing 21 passes in 28 attempts for 243 yards and 2 touchdowns. AJ green had 6 catches for 92 yards and touchdown. Important fantasy note here is that Giovanni Bernard only had one rushing attempt and one reception.

Andrew luck's return to the NFL saw him throw 53 times completing 39 for 319 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eric Ebron and TY Hilton each caught one touchdown pass. The Colts running game was pretty quiet with Jordan Wilkins rushing 14 times for 40 yards. Ryan grant caught 8 balls for 59 yards and Jack Doyle caught 7 balls for 60 yards. It appears to me that the Colts plan to move the ball down the field be the short pass and count a lot less on the run then maybe any of us expected. That could of course change when Marlon Mack returns.

Redskins – Cardinals

Redskins and Cardinals game saw the return of an old Running back and a disappointing showing from a broken-down quarterback.

Adrian Peterson ran well for the Redskins, carrying the rock 26 times for 96 yards and a touchdown. He also caught 2 passes for 70 yards. Chris Thompson caught 6 passes for 63 yards in a score and also had 65 yards on the ground. Often injured Jordan Reed head 48 yards on 4 catches add a touchdown. It was an all-around good day for the redskin offense.

The Cardinals had a disappointing effort from Sam Bradford, who in turn let the entire team down. David Johnson only had nine carries – that’s nine carries in a disappointing game for the Cards. Larry Fitzgerald finished with 76 yards receiving. Their entire offense looked out of sync and inept.

Seahawks – Broncos

The Seahawks and Broncos game was an aerial show. Both quarterbacks were chucking the ball up the entire game. They each had a lot of completions – some even to the other team.

Case Keenum finished with 329 yards, three TDs and three picks. He targeted both Demariyus Thomas and Emanuel Sanders frequently, and each of them had great games. While I prefer Sanders, both are fantasy starts each week until further notice. This week the Raiders come to Denver. I like that matchup. Royce Freeman split carries with Phillip Lindsay, which was somewhat of a surprise. Both finished with seventy one yards rushing, but Lindsay added thirty one yards and a score through the air. Going forward Freeman is still the starter, but it could be a 55-45 relationship with Lindsay. Not such good news for those that took Freeman in the third round of their drafts.

Russell Wilson was as great as we expect him to be, taking nothing and making something out of it. He lost Doug Baldwin almost immediately, but it didn’t bother Wilson. He started spreading the ball around to Brandon Marshall (1 TD), Tyler Lockett (1 TD), and Will Dissly (1 TD). Even Rashaad Penny and Chris Carson caught seven balls. The Seahawks ground game was no where near as impressive. Carson looked acceptable, and Penny looked like a rookie, neither doing anything spectacular. All this goes to prove that the ‘Hawks will be moving the ball through the air, and Russ will be a top-tier fantasy QB again.

Lions – Jets

It has to be disheartening for Lions fans – they have suffered for virtually their entire existence, replacing coaches every few years and hoping that things will improve. This year’s high hopes with coach Matt Patricia were dashed when the Jets blew the doors off the Lions last Sunday in Detroit. Matt Stafford was ridiculously bad, throwing five picks. Marvin Jones II nearly had two TD receptions but was not able to connect with Stafford either time. The running game was blah. Although I will say that Kerryon Johnson is the best back they have. Sidenote – Kenny Golladay led the Lions in receiving yards with 114.

The Jets played great defense and had a stellar rushing performance from none other that the much maligned Isaiah Crowell who had 102 yards on ten carries and two TDs. Sam Darnold was not tasked with doing much but did throw two TD passes – one to Robby Anderson and another to Qunicy Enunwa. Is what happened here a portent of things to come for the Jets? Probably not. There is going to be more struggles before there are more games like this one. Darnold looked good though….

Rams - Raiders

This game saw one of the best teams in the league take on one of the most mediocre teams. It started off close with the Raiders dictating through the hard-nose running of Marshawn Lynch. The Raiders simply did not have enough to keep up with the Rams however.

Todd Gurley had 147 all-purpose yards. Brandin Cooks led the team in receiving with 82 yards, and Cooper Kupp got into the end zone for a score. There wasn’t that much excitement on the offensive side of the ball for the Rams because their defense was so busy putting the hurt on Derek Carr.

Carr started out the game by throwing for 199 yards in the first half and looking pretty good. The second half saw him reverse that. He threw three picks – two of which were terrible – and never got the ball into the end zone once. While Lynch started out well, he disappeared the further behind the Raiders got. Jared Cook showed up and totaled 180 yards on nine catches for his one good game of the year. I would not expect more like that from him.

Summing it up

This was a pretty good opening weekend in the NFL. We saw a lot of good quarterback play, and we also saw some abysmal quarterback play. We saw some guys we thought would be fantasy studs let us down, and we saw some incredible fantasy performances that picked us up. We are finally getting some answers to the questions and the predictions we have all been making in the offseason. Football is back, baby! Let’s go!

Now on to week two!

@FootballNuke's 2018 NFL Predictions

AFC

#AFC North WLT < /th>Div
4 Steelers 10-5 3-2
7 Ravens 8-7 4-1
9 Bengals 8-7 2-4
11 Browns 6-9 2-4
#AFC South WLT < /th>Div
1 Jaguars 13-2 5-1
6 Titans 8-7 3-3
8 Texans 8-7 2-3
12 Colts 5-10 1-4
#AFC East WLT < /th>Div
2 Patriots 13-2 5-0
14 Dolphins 2-13 2-3
15 Jets 2-13 2-4
16 Bills 2-13 2-4
#AFC West WLT < /th>Div
3 Chargers 11-4 4-2
5 Chiefs 9-6 3-2
10 Broncos 7-8 2-3
13 Raiders 4-11 2-4

NFC

#NFC NorthWLTDiv
3Packers11-44-2
5Vikings11-44-2
8Bears10-54-2
12Lions5-100-6
#NFC SouthWLTDiv
2Panthers12-44-2
6Saints11-44-2
9Falcons9-63-3
13Buccaneers4-111-5
#NFC EastWLTDiv
4Eagles8-74-2
10Cowboys6-93-3
11Giants6-93-3
14Redskins4-122-4
#NFC WestWLTDiv
1Rams12-35-1
749ers10-55-1
15Seahawks3-121-4
16Cardinals3-120-5
Generated By The NFL Playoff Predictor

2018 Combined Top 20 WR Lock Rating

August 28, 2018 - The combined rankings from Bark, Knit, Arms, @theBleagueSays, @FootballNuke and some of the top experts in fantasy football. A 10 = the hightest rating possible all the way down to a 2, which is the number of times each of these WRs appear in each of our top 20 lists.

@theBleagueSays 2018 NFL Predictions

AFC

#AFC North WLT < /th>Div
4 Steelers 10-6 4-2
8 Browns 7-9 3-3
9 Ravens 7-9 3-3
11* Bengals 5-11 2-4
#AFC South WLT < /th>Div
3 Jaguars 11-5 3-3
6 Titans 8-8 4-2
7 Texans 8-8 3-3
14 Colts 5-11 2-4
#AFC East WLT < /th>Div
2 Patriots 12-4 5-1
12 Jets 5-11 4-2
13 Dolphins 5-11 2-4
16 Bills 1-15 1-5
#AFC West WLT < /th>Div
1 Chargers 13-3 5-1
5 Broncos 9-7 2-4
10 Chiefs 6-10 3-3
15 Raiders 4-12 2-4

NFC

#NFC NorthWLTDiv
2Vikings13-35-1
6Lions11-55-1
10Packers9-72-4
12Bears7-90-6
#NFC SouthWLTDiv
4Saints11-55-1
5Falcons11-54-2
9Panthers9-73-3
16Buccaneers3-130-6
#NFC EastWLTDiv
3Eagles11-54-2
8Giants10-65-1
13Cowboys6-102-4
14Redskins5-111-5
#NFC WestWLTDiv
1Rams13-35-1
749ers10-63-3
11Seahawks8-84-2
15*Cardinals3-130-6
Generated By The NFL Playoff Predictor


 Quick Takes from The Preseason   @FootballNuke   August 19, 2018  With the new year closing in and fantasy drafts approaching, here are my latest takeaways from NFL pre-season action:   Rex Burkhead  has a slight “tear” in one of his knees. The Patriots rested him this week, and no one seems to be concerned for the long run. I, however, see plenty of reason for concern. A tear in a knee is not something that gets fixed by resting for a week or two. I have no doubt it will probably feel better after some rest but going into the season with a slight knee injury is a bad sign for a running back. For me Burkhead stock is falling, and  James White  stock is rising.  Jeremy Hill’s  stock has bottomed out and may go up now the longer it looks like Burkhead’s injury lingers.   Pat Mahomes  is throwing darts all over the place. Check out this rocket to  Tyreek Hill   https://youtu.be/9-VHqxbFNOU . He will make his share of young quarterback mistakes this year, but he looks like he is for real – a gunslinger with the will to take chances and the arm to back it up.   Josh Gordon  returned to Browns camp on Friday. I feel like the story about him leaving camp because he did not want to be involved in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is legit. If that is the case, then I do not think there is anything to worry about. Gordon is a guy that I am watching closely. His current ADP (46) puts him at the end of the fourth round in 12-team leagues. That’s right there with the following guys:  ·  Jarvis Landry  (45)  ·  DeShaun Watson  (47)  ·  Allen Robinson  (48)  ·  Golden Tate  (49)  ·  Mark Ingram  (50)  ·  Brandin Cooks  (51)  ·  Chris Hogan  (52)  Would I choose any of these guys ahead of Josh Gordon? Landry is an intriguing option. He’s going to get the ball a lot. I would have a tough time choosing Gordon over Landry. Watson is a no-brainer. I will absolutely choose Gordon over Watson and day of the week, and twice on Sunday. Watson’s adp is just too high. Allen Robinson is coming off a season surrendered to injury and he is on a new team. Chicago is going to throw the ball a lot with the new offense. To me this is a wash – I could go either way, and I don’t think given the current situation that anyone could go wrong drafting either guy at this spot. If I drafted 10 times in this spot I would choose Gordon six times and Robinson four. I will take Gordon ahead of Golden Tate every time. Again, I’ll take Gordon over Ingram in most cases. Ultimately it would depend on my team constitution at that point and my overall team strategy. In a Gordon vs. Cooks vote, I’ll vote Gordon. I am not sold on Cooks. Hogan is a tough one. He’s going to be Brady’s number one wide receiver (Gronk’s a tight end). Hogan is going to put up points. He’s going to score. I’ll give him a slight edge over Gordon, 6 times to 4 times out of 10 drafts.   Mike Williams  – Get some shares of Mike Williams - who’s current ADP is 117! Oh my! That is a potential league winner. He’s the clear number two on the Chargers, and  Keenan Allen  is prone to injury. Williams is looking like he is ready to make up for missing most of last year. This one could be huge!   James White  – With Burkhead nursing the slight tear in his knee and  Sony Michel  dealing with his own injury, keep an eye on White. He might be a good pick up with a late round selection.   John Brown  – He has the ability. The only question is the health. I’d be willing to believe in him more than I would Michael Crabtree.   Baker Mayfield  – I am really liking what I am seeing from Mayfield so far this preseason. I am not drafting him in re-draft leagues, though. A good Mayfield strategy in re-draft would be to pick him hp somewhere around week 7 or 8. The Browns will be looking to see what Mayfield has by then. Dynasty-wise however, I am going to grab as much Mayfield as I can.  Guys that I want No part of:   Michael Crabtree  – I am not a believer.   Alshon Jeffery  – There is already some injury talk going on. He may be on the PUP list to start the season. Jeffery is fragile, so this injury news is not a good sign. It is a good sign for Mike Wallace though. Put that in your back pocket.   Devante Parker  – Parker has a broken finger, but even if he did not I would still be out on Parker.  That’s all I have for now. Later this week I’ll have an article out on sneaky league winners. I am also going to tell you what I think the best draft position is this year. Check back early and often and follow me on Twitter  @FootballNuke . Thanks to those who are following already! I love talking football with every one of you! While you are out there, make sure to follow my partner in crime,  @theBleagueSays  and of course the boys the power this whole thing  @theBackRowShow ,  @ArmsBackRow   @KnitBackRow  and  @BarkBackRow ! It’s almost time to kick this season off!

Quick Takes from The Preseason

@FootballNuke

August 19, 2018

With the new year closing in and fantasy drafts approaching, here are my latest takeaways from NFL pre-season action:

Rex Burkhead has a slight “tear” in one of his knees. The Patriots rested him this week, and no one seems to be concerned for the long run. I, however, see plenty of reason for concern. A tear in a knee is not something that gets fixed by resting for a week or two. I have no doubt it will probably feel better after some rest but going into the season with a slight knee injury is a bad sign for a running back. For me Burkhead stock is falling, and James White stock is rising. Jeremy Hill’s stock has bottomed out and may go up now the longer it looks like Burkhead’s injury lingers.

Pat Mahomes is throwing darts all over the place. Check out this rocket to Tyreek Hill https://youtu.be/9-VHqxbFNOU. He will make his share of young quarterback mistakes this year, but he looks like he is for real – a gunslinger with the will to take chances and the arm to back it up.

Josh Gordon returned to Browns camp on Friday. I feel like the story about him leaving camp because he did not want to be involved in HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is legit. If that is the case, then I do not think there is anything to worry about. Gordon is a guy that I am watching closely. His current ADP (46) puts him at the end of the fourth round in 12-team leagues. That’s right there with the following guys:

· Jarvis Landry (45)

· DeShaun Watson (47)

· Allen Robinson (48)

· Golden Tate (49)

· Mark Ingram (50)

· Brandin Cooks (51)

· Chris Hogan (52)

Would I choose any of these guys ahead of Josh Gordon? Landry is an intriguing option. He’s going to get the ball a lot. I would have a tough time choosing Gordon over Landry. Watson is a no-brainer. I will absolutely choose Gordon over Watson and day of the week, and twice on Sunday. Watson’s adp is just too high. Allen Robinson is coming off a season surrendered to injury and he is on a new team. Chicago is going to throw the ball a lot with the new offense. To me this is a wash – I could go either way, and I don’t think given the current situation that anyone could go wrong drafting either guy at this spot. If I drafted 10 times in this spot I would choose Gordon six times and Robinson four. I will take Gordon ahead of Golden Tate every time. Again, I’ll take Gordon over Ingram in most cases. Ultimately it would depend on my team constitution at that point and my overall team strategy. In a Gordon vs. Cooks vote, I’ll vote Gordon. I am not sold on Cooks. Hogan is a tough one. He’s going to be Brady’s number one wide receiver (Gronk’s a tight end). Hogan is going to put up points. He’s going to score. I’ll give him a slight edge over Gordon, 6 times to 4 times out of 10 drafts.

Mike Williams – Get some shares of Mike Williams - who’s current ADP is 117! Oh my! That is a potential league winner. He’s the clear number two on the Chargers, and Keenan Allen is prone to injury. Williams is looking like he is ready to make up for missing most of last year. This one could be huge!

James White – With Burkhead nursing the slight tear in his knee and Sony Michel dealing with his own injury, keep an eye on White. He might be a good pick up with a late round selection.

John Brown – He has the ability. The only question is the health. I’d be willing to believe in him more than I would Michael Crabtree.

Baker Mayfield – I am really liking what I am seeing from Mayfield so far this preseason. I am not drafting him in re-draft leagues, though. A good Mayfield strategy in re-draft would be to pick him hp somewhere around week 7 or 8. The Browns will be looking to see what Mayfield has by then. Dynasty-wise however, I am going to grab as much Mayfield as I can.

Guys that I want No part of:

Michael Crabtree – I am not a believer.

Alshon Jeffery – There is already some injury talk going on. He may be on the PUP list to start the season. Jeffery is fragile, so this injury news is not a good sign. It is a good sign for Mike Wallace though. Put that in your back pocket.

Devante Parker – Parker has a broken finger, but even if he did not I would still be out on Parker.

That’s all I have for now. Later this week I’ll have an article out on sneaky league winners. I am also going to tell you what I think the best draft position is this year. Check back early and often and follow me on Twitter @FootballNuke. Thanks to those who are following already! I love talking football with every one of you! While you are out there, make sure to follow my partner in crime, @theBleagueSays and of course the boys the power this whole thing @theBackRowShow, @ArmsBackRow @KnitBackRow and @BarkBackRow! It’s almost time to kick this season off!

 Restoring Fantasy’s Faith in Amari Cooper  By @theBleagueSays  August 1, 2018    Oh boy!    What an offseason it has been already! Player movement, coaches coming and going, while Rookies are holding off signing their brand-new deals. Helmet laws, LeSean McCoy’s mess, Robby Anderson is doing Robby Anderson things while Dez Bryant is still free and Josh Gordon’s mind is not.  Player comparisons, draft kits, draft tools, tiers and rankings! IDP, PPR, Half PPR, Standard Scoring, 2QB, Super-flex, ‘Devy’s and Taxi’s’ - and there is a podcast for everything in between too just in case reading isn’t your jam! The fantasy football community has it all for you but at the heart of it is information. This knowledge you seek is to help equip you to make the best decisions possible or at worse, better decisions than those in your league!    A few months ago, @FootballNuke and I brought you a ‘For and Against’ on Derrick Henry after news that Dion Lewis signed for the Titans backfield. And my gut feels in the end - despite what side we both supported was that Henry would be better than he was in 2017 AND that Lewis will be more productive than he was in New England - our projections have them being a better unit collectively than when DeMarco Murray was there. It wasn’t about being right and wrong. It was about bringing you - our loyal Back Row Bandits - more information to allow you make the best choices possible.    Today is absolutely no different. Now I have no idea what ‘The Nuke’ will bring to you other than not being overly interested or invested in Amari Cooper for the 2018 season - but what I am sure of is that by the end of it we will both have better knowledge going into the Draft Season, and making a decision on Cooper (or not) will be easier than normal. Now when we spoke about certain players, Amari Cooper peaked my interest more than most. Here’s why:    1. Firstly, I feel like EVERY player has value. How you perceive and pursue value regardless of previous performances is another thing.  2. He has burnt me, like you before - Then re-read Point One again.  3. The same thing I have been banging on about all offseason - Value, Volume, Validation.    Who Is Amari Cooper?    3 Year Career Stats: 358 Targets / 203 Receptions / 56.1% Catch Rate / 18 TDS / 2903 Yards / 63.1 Yards Per Game / 14.3 Yards Per Reception.    In 2017 Amari Cooper saw an 85% snap share (24th amongst all Receivers), saw a healthy 96 Targets (28th amongst all Receivers) with a 20% Target share (33rd amongst all Receivers) on his team last season. But in all the metrics I could give you there are two that stand out. The first will be on Target Share. The second will be on Poor Performance. Yes, that’s right - I am going to make you feel better by reminding you about how bad he really was! “It’s a bold move Cotton”, let’s see how it plays out!    TARGET SHARE    Red Zone Target Share - 10 Targets (24.4% amongst team), 21st overall amongst all Receivers.  End Zone Target Share - 5 Targets (16.1% amongst team), 64th overall amongst all Receivers.    These numbers show the Raiders red zone / end zone distribution and how they utilized Cooper in 2017. It’s clear with Michael Crabtree in the picture, Cooper was clearly playing the second or even third fiddle. What were Crabtree’s numbers like? Well, his numbers looked a little different:    Red Zone Target Share - 14 Targets (35% amongst team), 2nd overall amongst all Receivers.  End Zone Target Share - 17 Targets (53.1% amongst team), 2nd overall amongst all Receivers.    Now why is this MORE important to know? I’m getting to that…    It turns out that new Head Coach Jon Gruden has supported a Top 15 Receiver during his time in charge. And that lucky Receiver that Gruden goes to will also see an average of 137 Targets a year. Now with this information, that Wide Receiver sees a 22.8% to 25.2% Target share. Last season, Amari Cooper saw 18.64% of Oaklands total Target share (96 Targets). For Cooper to go up in Targets and to hit that range he would need a floor of 117.42 Targets to a ceiling of 129.78 Targets. That is 21 to 34 target increase, yet it still comes under what is required from Gruden to be the number one option. That doesn’t seem like a hard thing to do considering in his first two seasons he had over 130 Targets a year and 2017 was his first year below 100 Targets, however:    Michael Crabtree is no longer in Oakland.    * That’s 16 Targets MORE that Crabtree had than Cooper did in goal-scoring opportunities now available.  * That’s 101 Targets MORE from one player leaving alone.  * That’s 8 TDs MORE that Oakland need to replace.     Who left the Raiders?:   Michael Crabtree leaves 101 Targets as he is now in Baltimore. Cordarelle Patterson leaves 42 Targets as he in now in New England. Clive Walford leaves 13 Targets as he is now in New York.  That is 156 Targets freed up by departures.     Who did they add?:   They did add Ryan Switzer, Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson, who combined 172 Targets last year. However, on average a John Gruden Offense delivers on average 52 Receptions a year to the team’s second Receiver. In 2017 Nelson (53), Bryant (50) saw the production that is required to be the number two under a Gruden Offense. We saw Crabtree also in his last season in Oakland tally 58 Receptions (31 less than he did in 2016). Cooper, we know, has been and is the best part of the Raiders attack. Do we believe in an aging Jordy Nelson or an inconsistent Martavis Bryant, who just lost his job to a kid who still can’t legally buy alcohol?    The only way I see Cooper not being the lead Receiver would be if:  A) Jon Gruden has evolved after being 10 years out of the game and will spread targets around to multiple receivers. Unlikely, but maybe.  B) Cooper isn’t the main receiver we thought he could be, we expect that last year’s regression or ‘outlier season’ is who he really is, and the previous two years were a fluke.  C) Cooper could lose more work (based on point A) than we anticipate because of last year’s poor season, if this is the case re-read point B.  With everything written here what is more likely? The Raiders brought in Doug Martin who averages 2.9 Yards Per Carry, but do we really expect him excessive amounts of snaps away from Marshawn Lynch? No. So why do we feel differently when talking about the Raiders top Receiver?  My feel is that Amari Cooper is still the number one Receiver in Oakland, while Nelson and Bryant chip in where Crabtree would have. He has the rapport with Carr, he doesn’t have the injuries that Nelson has carried, he doesn’t have the reputation Bryant has either. I don’t see anyone stopping Cooper’s claim to rebound at all.    POOR PERFORMANCE    Cooper has a career average of 6 TDS a year with 1102.5 Yards a Season. Last year, however, his yards dropped - With only 680 total yards (about 38% less yards than his average). Cooper also averaged 48.5 Yards Per Game which is down from his previous 2-year average of 69.57 YPG. His Receptions were also down about 38% also.  With 38% less Receptions, 38% less Yards, 27% less Targets... everything went backwards.    In the first five weeks of the season he was terrible, ranking in the high 80’s of receivers, and maybe got you 4 points per game; definitely not the WR14 from 2016 that we all knew and hoped for. However, here is something that gets overlooked: Derek Carr was rated by PFF:  * Ranked 28th out of 41 QBs for Accuracy.  * Ranked 24th out of 41 QBs for Uncatchable Passes Thrown.  * Ranked 30th out of 41 QBs for Catch Inaccuracy.    These 3 stats would lead me to believe that Cooper and Crabtree both had to significantly work harder to make up for Carr’s poor season also. That doesn’t excuse the drops though...  The one main knock on Cooper that I feel is more self-inflicted were the dropped passes. I will put out there about how bad it has been over the past three years and that Cooper Ranks 15th (from 2015-2017) in dropped passes compared to Targets at a 5.03%.    However...    Demaryius Thomas - 16th (4.99%)  Davante Adams - 17th (4.82)  Jimmy Graham - 18th (4.53)  Travis Kelce - 20th (4.39)  Mike Evans - 21st (4.38)  Devin Funchess - 22nd  Allen Hurns - 23rd (4.220  Odell Beckham Jr - 24th  Dez Bryant - 25th (4.0%)  Julio Jones - 27th (3.33%)    There are many elite players on this list and only Beckham Jr, Evans, Jones and Thomas had more targets in that timespan. All four are considered in the upper echelon of their positions and target monsters for their respective teams. Yet none of them are getting the same poor perception or criticism that Cooper is. With increased volume, comes higher ranges of outcomes for performance. If your Quarterback - as mentioned previously, is being far from accurate - like Carr wasn’t last season, then you have to ask how many targets would he have actually needed to be serviceable? His 96 Targets were just not good enough by anyone’s standards.    VALUE, VOLUME AND VALIDATION  (12 Team ADP)  2017 ADP - 2.09 (#22 overall, WR10) in both Standard Scoring and PPR  2017 Finish - WR31 in Standard Scoring / WR36 in PPR  Current ADP - 4.02 (#39 overall, WR15) Standard Scoring / 4.01 (#37 overall, WR16) PPR    As it stands, Cooper is going a few Rounds later in your draft than last season yet is falling around about the same WR Value as last season. I think the temperature on Cooper is one of caution after last year’s down season. Players currently going in the same round are Golden Tate, Josh Gordon, Brandin Cooks and Demaryius Thomas.  Cooper, as I have mentioned repeatedly has more targets available and needs anywhere from 21-34 targets to land in that top target share percentage or 41 more targets to cement himself as the top receiver in a Jon Gruden Offense. I think in standard scoring this is of great value for someone who we were taking two rounds earlier. In PPR I would feel safer with the floor of someone like Golden Tate, but that targets upside could be a separator from most in that pack.    2018 PREDICTION    TARGETS 145 / CATCH RATE 56.1% / RECEPTIONS 81 / YARDS PER RECEPTION 14.3 / YARDS 1158.3 / TDS 8    SUMMARY    If you haven’t (and I implore everyone to read more on this) read Graham Barfield’s work on wide receiver (or any position really) production, then you are doing yourself a disservice - it’s fantastic.  Repeatedly, he will tell you that targets, air yards and red zone / end zone workload are the 3 pillars to fantasy production for receivers. We know Cooper’s targets were down, so air yards by proxy would have been also. We know the red zone / end zone workload dropped too. We know that Crabtree leaving opens all that back up again, even though in 2015 and 2016 those numbers for Cooper were good to begin with.    All of Cooper’s metrics last year were down. Carr, although not turning the ball over (he’s one of the safer QBs in the NFL), was far from accurate to help the cause either. We have a new Coach coming in and he is going to force it to Cooper more often than not. Considering the opportunity for target share is wide open, I could imagine this favors the receiver who has been there for three years already. The focal point won’t be aging receivers or running backs. It will be Amari Cooper. I feel like Martavis Bryant could be the number two in Oakland, but I am not worried about Jordy Nelson - whose ADP is another conversation altogether.    Everything we have heard out of Oakland from Gruden, Carr and Cooper is that it feels like this could be an over-correction year. This is a good thing for Cooper.    To close out, I’ll keep it simple - Amari Cooper is the man in Oakland, his ADP currently is a steal and you should be buying into the potential and upside that 2018 has in front of him.

Restoring Fantasy’s Faith in Amari Cooper

By @theBleagueSays

August 1, 2018

Oh boy!

What an offseason it has been already! Player movement, coaches coming and going, while Rookies are holding off signing their brand-new deals. Helmet laws, LeSean McCoy’s mess, Robby Anderson is doing Robby Anderson things while Dez Bryant is still free and Josh Gordon’s mind is not.

Player comparisons, draft kits, draft tools, tiers and rankings! IDP, PPR, Half PPR, Standard Scoring, 2QB, Super-flex, ‘Devy’s and Taxi’s’ - and there is a podcast for everything in between too just in case reading isn’t your jam! The fantasy football community has it all for you but at the heart of it is information. This knowledge you seek is to help equip you to make the best decisions possible or at worse, better decisions than those in your league!

A few months ago, @FootballNuke and I brought you a ‘For and Against’ on Derrick Henry after news that Dion Lewis signed for the Titans backfield. And my gut feels in the end - despite what side we both supported was that Henry would be better than he was in 2017 AND that Lewis will be more productive than he was in New England - our projections have them being a better unit collectively than when DeMarco Murray was there. It wasn’t about being right and wrong. It was about bringing you - our loyal Back Row Bandits - more information to allow you make the best choices possible.

Today is absolutely no different. Now I have no idea what ‘The Nuke’ will bring to you other than not being overly interested or invested in Amari Cooper for the 2018 season - but what I am sure of is that by the end of it we will both have better knowledge going into the Draft Season, and making a decision on Cooper (or not) will be easier than normal. Now when we spoke about certain players, Amari Cooper peaked my interest more than most. Here’s why:

1. Firstly, I feel like EVERY player has value. How you perceive and pursue value regardless of previous performances is another thing.

2. He has burnt me, like you before - Then re-read Point One again.

3. The same thing I have been banging on about all offseason - Value, Volume, Validation.

Who Is Amari Cooper?

3 Year Career Stats: 358 Targets / 203 Receptions / 56.1% Catch Rate / 18 TDS / 2903 Yards / 63.1 Yards Per Game / 14.3 Yards Per Reception.

In 2017 Amari Cooper saw an 85% snap share (24th amongst all Receivers), saw a healthy 96 Targets (28th amongst all Receivers) with a 20% Target share (33rd amongst all Receivers) on his team last season. But in all the metrics I could give you there are two that stand out. The first will be on Target Share. The second will be on Poor Performance. Yes, that’s right - I am going to make you feel better by reminding you about how bad he really was! “It’s a bold move Cotton”, let’s see how it plays out!

TARGET SHARE

Red Zone Target Share - 10 Targets (24.4% amongst team), 21st overall amongst all Receivers.

End Zone Target Share - 5 Targets (16.1% amongst team), 64th overall amongst all Receivers.

These numbers show the Raiders red zone / end zone distribution and how they utilized Cooper in 2017. It’s clear with Michael Crabtree in the picture, Cooper was clearly playing the second or even third fiddle. What were Crabtree’s numbers like? Well, his numbers looked a little different:

Red Zone Target Share - 14 Targets (35% amongst team), 2nd overall amongst all Receivers.

End Zone Target Share - 17 Targets (53.1% amongst team), 2nd overall amongst all Receivers.

Now why is this MORE important to know? I’m getting to that…

It turns out that new Head Coach Jon Gruden has supported a Top 15 Receiver during his time in charge. And that lucky Receiver that Gruden goes to will also see an average of 137 Targets a year. Now with this information, that Wide Receiver sees a 22.8% to 25.2% Target share. Last season, Amari Cooper saw 18.64% of Oaklands total Target share (96 Targets). For Cooper to go up in Targets and to hit that range he would need a floor of 117.42 Targets to a ceiling of 129.78 Targets. That is 21 to 34 target increase, yet it still comes under what is required from Gruden to be the number one option. That doesn’t seem like a hard thing to do considering in his first two seasons he had over 130 Targets a year and 2017 was his first year below 100 Targets, however:

Michael Crabtree is no longer in Oakland.

* That’s 16 Targets MORE that Crabtree had than Cooper did in goal-scoring opportunities now available.

* That’s 101 Targets MORE from one player leaving alone.

* That’s 8 TDs MORE that Oakland need to replace.

Who left the Raiders?:

Michael Crabtree leaves 101 Targets as he is now in Baltimore. Cordarelle Patterson leaves 42 Targets as he in now in New England. Clive Walford leaves 13 Targets as he is now in New York.

That is 156 Targets freed up by departures.

Who did they add?:

They did add Ryan Switzer, Martavis Bryant and Jordy Nelson, who combined 172 Targets last year. However, on average a John Gruden Offense delivers on average 52 Receptions a year to the team’s second Receiver. In 2017 Nelson (53), Bryant (50) saw the production that is required to be the number two under a Gruden Offense. We saw Crabtree also in his last season in Oakland tally 58 Receptions (31 less than he did in 2016). Cooper, we know, has been and is the best part of the Raiders attack. Do we believe in an aging Jordy Nelson or an inconsistent Martavis Bryant, who just lost his job to a kid who still can’t legally buy alcohol?

The only way I see Cooper not being the lead Receiver would be if:

A) Jon Gruden has evolved after being 10 years out of the game and will spread targets around to multiple receivers. Unlikely, but maybe.

B) Cooper isn’t the main receiver we thought he could be, we expect that last year’s regression or ‘outlier season’ is who he really is, and the previous two years were a fluke.

C) Cooper could lose more work (based on point A) than we anticipate because of last year’s poor season, if this is the case re-read point B.

With everything written here what is more likely? The Raiders brought in Doug Martin who averages 2.9 Yards Per Carry, but do we really expect him excessive amounts of snaps away from Marshawn Lynch? No. So why do we feel differently when talking about the Raiders top Receiver?

My feel is that Amari Cooper is still the number one Receiver in Oakland, while Nelson and Bryant chip in where Crabtree would have. He has the rapport with Carr, he doesn’t have the injuries that Nelson has carried, he doesn’t have the reputation Bryant has either. I don’t see anyone stopping Cooper’s claim to rebound at all.

POOR PERFORMANCE

Cooper has a career average of 6 TDS a year with 1102.5 Yards a Season. Last year, however, his yards dropped - With only 680 total yards (about 38% less yards than his average). Cooper also averaged 48.5 Yards Per Game which is down from his previous 2-year average of 69.57 YPG. His Receptions were also down about 38% also.

With 38% less Receptions, 38% less Yards, 27% less Targets... everything went backwards.

In the first five weeks of the season he was terrible, ranking in the high 80’s of receivers, and maybe got you 4 points per game; definitely not the WR14 from 2016 that we all knew and hoped for. However, here is something that gets overlooked: Derek Carr was rated by PFF:

* Ranked 28th out of 41 QBs for Accuracy.

* Ranked 24th out of 41 QBs for Uncatchable Passes Thrown.

* Ranked 30th out of 41 QBs for Catch Inaccuracy.

These 3 stats would lead me to believe that Cooper and Crabtree both had to significantly work harder to make up for Carr’s poor season also. That doesn’t excuse the drops though...

The one main knock on Cooper that I feel is more self-inflicted were the dropped passes. I will put out there about how bad it has been over the past three years and that Cooper Ranks 15th (from 2015-2017) in dropped passes compared to Targets at a 5.03%.

However...

Demaryius Thomas - 16th (4.99%)

Davante Adams - 17th (4.82)

Jimmy Graham - 18th (4.53)

Travis Kelce - 20th (4.39)

Mike Evans - 21st (4.38)

Devin Funchess - 22nd

Allen Hurns - 23rd (4.220

Odell Beckham Jr - 24th

Dez Bryant - 25th (4.0%)

Julio Jones - 27th (3.33%)

There are many elite players on this list and only Beckham Jr, Evans, Jones and Thomas had more targets in that timespan. All four are considered in the upper echelon of their positions and target monsters for their respective teams. Yet none of them are getting the same poor perception or criticism that Cooper is. With increased volume, comes higher ranges of outcomes for performance. If your Quarterback - as mentioned previously, is being far from accurate - like Carr wasn’t last season, then you have to ask how many targets would he have actually needed to be serviceable? His 96 Targets were just not good enough by anyone’s standards.

VALUE, VOLUME AND VALIDATION

(12 Team ADP)

2017 ADP - 2.09 (#22 overall, WR10) in both Standard Scoring and PPR

2017 Finish - WR31 in Standard Scoring / WR36 in PPR

Current ADP - 4.02 (#39 overall, WR15) Standard Scoring / 4.01 (#37 overall, WR16) PPR

As it stands, Cooper is going a few Rounds later in your draft than last season yet is falling around about the same WR Value as last season. I think the temperature on Cooper is one of caution after last year’s down season. Players currently going in the same round are Golden Tate, Josh Gordon, Brandin Cooks and Demaryius Thomas.

Cooper, as I have mentioned repeatedly has more targets available and needs anywhere from 21-34 targets to land in that top target share percentage or 41 more targets to cement himself as the top receiver in a Jon Gruden Offense. I think in standard scoring this is of great value for someone who we were taking two rounds earlier. In PPR I would feel safer with the floor of someone like Golden Tate, but that targets upside could be a separator from most in that pack.

2018 PREDICTION

TARGETS 145 / CATCH RATE 56.1% / RECEPTIONS 81 / YARDS PER RECEPTION 14.3 / YARDS 1158.3 / TDS 8

SUMMARY

If you haven’t (and I implore everyone to read more on this) read Graham Barfield’s work on wide receiver (or any position really) production, then you are doing yourself a disservice - it’s fantastic.

Repeatedly, he will tell you that targets, air yards and red zone / end zone workload are the 3 pillars to fantasy production for receivers. We know Cooper’s targets were down, so air yards by proxy would have been also. We know the red zone / end zone workload dropped too. We know that Crabtree leaving opens all that back up again, even though in 2015 and 2016 those numbers for Cooper were good to begin with.

All of Cooper’s metrics last year were down. Carr, although not turning the ball over (he’s one of the safer QBs in the NFL), was far from accurate to help the cause either. We have a new Coach coming in and he is going to force it to Cooper more often than not. Considering the opportunity for target share is wide open, I could imagine this favors the receiver who has been there for three years already. The focal point won’t be aging receivers or running backs. It will be Amari Cooper. I feel like Martavis Bryant could be the number two in Oakland, but I am not worried about Jordy Nelson - whose ADP is another conversation altogether.

Everything we have heard out of Oakland from Gruden, Carr and Cooper is that it feels like this could be an over-correction year. This is a good thing for Cooper.

To close out, I’ll keep it simple - Amari Cooper is the man in Oakland, his ADP currently is a steal and you should be buying into the potential and upside that 2018 has in front of him.

 Back Row Fantasy Show’s - Sleepers &amp; Deep Dive Players  By @theBleagueSays  July 25, 2018     Deep Sleepers. Waiver Wire Fillers. Late-Season Flyers. Bye Round Pickups. The Bench Stash.     However you want to turn the phrase, when draft season begins, we tend to turn the page on these potential league winners as the year goes on. These players tend to fall outside the Top 150, and there is generally good reasons for it. Veterans find different landing places which may move them higher or lower. Rookies land on new teams and depending on which franchise selects them, their values fluctuate from draft day all the way through the season. Coaches have moved about as well and putting their blueprints into a Franchise to get their system working as soon as possible can also have a positive or negative effect on both Veterans and Rookies alike.    There is a lot of reasons as to why players climb and fall on our draft boards but for me what I tend to look for is previous success - sounds simple, right?    As we get closer to the traditional NFL Fantasy Draft Season and settle our draft boards, rankings, and Tiers, who do we look for as the season starts? Who is your backup or on your bench if one of your top guys goes down or gets suspended? Do you handcuff? Do you trade the farm out of desperation to get value back in your lineup? Or do you go to the Waiver Wire?    Some of the best moves in the Fantasy Football season can be guys from your Waiver Wire and your Sleeper or Deep Dive lists. What’s that? You don’t have one? Shame! Do this right now! Find guys to target who are in a good situation but maybe down the pecking order and have to bide some time. Or it could be a player returning from injury with which you are taking the cautious route. Whatever it is, have a Tier or Ranking system in place ready to go in case the unthinkable plays out. Remember, proper planning prevents poor performance!    In case you are new to this world; Welcome me Amigo’s and Amigette’s! Let me explain to you what these terms are (well to me anyway!):   Sleeper:  someone on the radar that we aren’t willing to draft right now; possibly due to your roster construct or the players situation.   Deep Dive:  someone that requires an extreme situation play out in their favor that would otherwise not catch our attention.    So with everything said, I have a few qualifiers that will determine a ‘Sleeper’ or a ’Deep Dive’:   Must be outside of the Top 150 to be a ’Sleeper’ Player.    Must be outside of the Top 250 to be a ‘Deep Dive’ Player.    *STANDARD SCORING (SS) / HALF POINT PER RECEPTION (HPPR)    *ADP = average draft position / the number at which they, on average are being drafted.    *Rankings taken from fantasypros.com     QUARTERBACKS     SLEEPER:    SAM BRADFORD, ARIZONA CARDINALS    ADP #245 OR QB35    WHY:  Sam Bradford last year had a year to forget, by only really playing the first game of the season which he did do really well;  32-27-346 yards-3 TDs with a 143.0 Passer Rating . In 2016 Bradford (who was acquired from the Eagles in a late trade due to Teddy Bridgewater’s health issues) had 20-5 TD/INTs and threw for just about 3900 yards. Bradford can flat out play when he is healthy. When he is healthy…..these four words will muddy his career, but he lands in Arizona for the 2018 season with Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Brice Butler and JJ Nelson as his main Receivers and with Ricky Seals-Jones looking to establish himself as a top Tight End. Star Running Back David Johnson returns from a year off and is going to help Bradford out with easy possessions in the backfield while aiming to get into the 1000 rushing-1000 receiving club. I think the warmer weather will help a guy with 80-year-old knees and if he gets off to a good start - and stays healthy - could be a fantastic player to go and grab.     DEEP DIVE:    JACOBY BRISSETT, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS    ADP #390 OR QB45    WHY:  Frank Reich was the OC in Philadelphia when Carson Wentz succumbed to an end of season knee injury. He then utilized a simplified playbook to help Nick Foles guide them through to a Super Bowl victory and the MVP on the night too. Andrew Luck is said to be healthy, but the Colts have mentioned that before. On little to no time, Brissett took the starters job from Scott Tolzien within a week and had no chemistry with anyone on the team yet still played to an NFL standard at worst. Should Andrew Luck not be right to go (at any point of the year) Brissett should be picked up now that he has had a full year in Indy and knows the team and players better.  Brissett, finished as the QB20  last year and was ahead on points of the following players - Jameis Winston, Josh McCown, Eli Manning, Mitch Trubisky and was only 22 points behind QB15 Matt Ryan.    RUNNING BACKS     SLEEPERS:    CHRIS IVORY, BUFFALO BILLS    SS ADP #186 OR RB58    HPPR ADP #214 OR RB65    WHY:  I will keep this short and sweet. What happens to LeSean McCoy due to his offseason woes (or maybe he doesn’t, we don’t know what he did or didn’t do) is quite frankly concerning to all those who own him already. He is 30, and we know the regression numbers that comes with that stigma. Their O-Line got worse, as did their team in general. They have a new OC in Brian Daboll who has had success with RBBC and did so most recently in New England a few seasons ago. Chris Ivory is no slouch either and has proven a capable starter or a more than serviceable Number 2. Right now there is potential to grab a possible starting RB in Ivory who will be most likely undrafted in your leagues.     T.J. YELDON, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS   SS ADP #236 OR RB67  HPPR ADP #212 OR RB63  WHY: With Chris Ivory leaving for Buffalo and 112 attempts behind too. There is a chance for Yeldon to put his hands firmly on the Number 2 role behind Leonard Fournette, who has had some injury and discipline concerns in the past year. Corey Grant stood out in the AFC Championship game, so Yeldon needs to perform and do so early also when he gets the chance to avoid losing touches to him. He has good hands (at 7.47 YPR and a 73.2% Catch Rate) and a decent 5.15 Yards Per Attempt. The Jaguars also upgraded their O-Line also. Yeldon could be a sneaky player to keep an eye on too.     DEEP DIVES:    ELIJAH McGUIRE, NY JETS    SS ADP #255 OR RB75    HPPR ADP #291 OR RB74    WHY : Matt Forte has retired, and Bilal Powell looks like he has taken one too many hits to get through a full season as the Number 1 guy. I don’t mind the Isaiah Crowell signing for the Jets, and this move, as a result, pushes McGuire further back. However, we saw in spurts he has excellent hands and is slippery enough between the tackles. And as ok as Crowell is (he’s not great, but decent) he is probably delaying McGuire’s participation in the backfield. 10.41 Yards Per Reception? I can buy that all day in PPR Formats. If his Yards Per Carry improve, then I can see a world where he is integrated into more work sooner than later.     JEREMY HILL, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS    SS ADP #300 OR RB77    HPPR ADP #251 OR RB70    WHY : Hill is already not guaranteed to make the final roster. It has been said to be down to Hill or Gillislee to get cut. And the role of ‘the hammer’ for the Patriots is wide open. Hill, is only 25 years old and has been the starting Running Back in the past and has pretty much had a one year vacation last season. Whether it was an injury or falling out with the HC for the Bengals, or Rookie Joe Mixon taking his spot - last year was a year to forget for Hill. I don’t expect him to get more than 8-10 Carries a game at best IF he was to be retained. But remember, Hill also had 9 TDs in 2016, 11 TDs in 2015 and 9 TDs in 2014 - when he is close to the goal line he is a good chance to cross for a score. All Patriots Running Backs will get used somehow if Hill is retained keep him in mind to have some value.    WIDE RECEIVERS     SLEEPERS:    JARON BROWN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS    SS ADP #198 OR WR61    HPPR ADP #343 OR WR116    WHY : Brown is an under-the-radar Free Agent signing for Seattle this Offseason. Coming from Arizona in 2017 and having played with QBs such as Palmer, Stanton, and Gabbert last season, he logged a 69-31-477 yds-4TDs. He now gets star QB Russell Wilson which is an upgrade for him also. I believe he takes over where Paul Richardson left off as he moved to Washington. Brown, in 2017 averaged 15.39 Yards Per Reception which is quite close to what Richardson had also logged at 15.98 YPR with Wilson. I expect Brown to get an uptick in Targets and in a world where Tyler Lockett is always hurt, and Brandon Marshall may not make the team - Brown could see significant work.     KEELAN COLE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS    SS ADP #212 OR WR72    HPPR ADP #208 OR WR72    WHY : In 2017 Keelan Cole was a WR1 in PPR (12 team leagues) from Week 11 and Week 12 in Standard Scoring (Hi fantasy playoffs, sup!) and no-one knew who he was AND had Blake Bortles as his QB. He is still being taken at times the 3rd to 4th Jaguars Receiver behind Lee, Moncrief and sometimes Westbrook. Cole has safe hands and speed and what he has over all of these guys is a clean slate of health. I do not trust Lee or Moncrief to get through a full season and Cole when given the chance should take over outright. Cole averaged 84 Yards Per Game and 0.5 TDs per game too. Is a 900 yard, 8 TD season beyond a guy who showed he could do it? Big call, but I think he could if given the chance!     DEEP DIVES:    TAYWAN TAYLOR, TENNESSEE TITANS    SS ADP #357 OR WR109    HPPR ADP #289 OR WR94    WHY : That's a pretty big jump in terms of ADP from Standard Scoring to HPPR. That leads me to believe that those who ranked these players see Taylor getting the ball. Now Eric Decker wasn’t retained, and if I told you he had an 83-54-563 yd-1TD season would you believe me? Probably not! Now if I said to you that Cooper Kupp, as the primary slot Receiver for the Rams last year went 94-62-869yd-5TDs with Taylor’s new OC Matt LaFleur would you believe that also? I think Taywan Taylor could be a sneaky 90+ Target player this year as a minimum in a revamped Titans Offense.     WILLIE SNEAD, BALTIMORE RAVENS    SS ADP #259 OR WR79    HPPR ADP #226 OR WR75    WHY : A new team, a new environment. A fresh coat of paint is what Willie Snead needed. Last season Snead barely saw the field after an impressive 104-72-895 yd-4TD 2016 - which is why we were excited for his 2017 breakout year as he averaged a 7th Round PPR and Standard Scoring ADP. A few injuries and a suspension saw Snead fall out of Sean Payton’s graces and that for anyone in New Orleans is always the final nail in the coffin. Joe Flacco is under pressure to perform in Baltimore from Round 1 with Lamar Jackson breathing down his neck - and Snead possesses a 67.4% catch rate and is a big bodied Receiver in the slot. I get the Crabtree hype, and John Brown is always hurt or sick - look for Snead to pick up the slack!    TIGHT ENDS     SLEEPERS:    RICKY SEALS-JONES, ARIZONA CARDINALS    SS ADP #202 OR TE23    HPPR ADP #232 OR TE31    WHY:  It’s late July and the Cardinals have already placed leading Tight End Jermaine Gresham on the PUP list - which is enormous for Seals-Jones’ overall involvement in the game plan and can only boost the ‘Jordan Reed Lite’ frame that Seals-Jones possesses. He showed signs that he can dominate, he is big/strong and has a large catch radius - which will come in handy for either Sam Bradford or Josh Rosen. Speaking of Bradford, the last full season he played in 2016 saw Kyle Rudolph finished the year as the overall TE3 in Standard Scoring and the TE2 in PPR. This can only be a good sign of things to come for the future star.     DEEP DIVE:    TYLER KROFT, CINCINNATI BENGALS    SS ADP #315 OR TE37    HPPR ADP #321 OR TE47    WHY : I am the biggest Tyler Eifert fan. He was a monster. A mismatch nightmare. And he, pound-for-pound matched production with Gronkowski and Reed a few seasons ago. But what we saw last year was a guy’s body breaking down. Tyler Kroft was the beneficiary of that and played his role and scored 7 TDs to go along with 42 Receptions and just over 400 yards for the year. What’s surprising is that Eifert is being drafted still - I wouldn’t trust him until I see him get through a game and recover. What’s even more surprising is that Kroft finished as the TE11 in Standard Scoring and TE15 in PPR. If you plan to wait on a TE, and news about Eifert not being right start to surface - keep this in mind!       FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO GET REAL DEEP SLEEPERS…I PRESENT MY XANAX CLASS OF 2018      QB - RYAN FITZPATRICK, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS -  We know Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games of the year. If ‘FitzMAGIC’ can put in a few decent performances and Winston doesn’t live up to expectations upon his return then ‘the bearded one’ could get the nod as the Buccaneers coaching staff loses patience with their enigmatic starter Winston.     RB - JOE WILLIAMS, SAN FRANCISCO -  Remember when we thought ‘banging the drum’ actually meant something? Times have changed! I am concerned about the heavy workload Jerrick McKinnon but am hopeful for him. That said, Williams came into 2017 with much hype and while Matt Breida is being spoken about as the RB2 for the 49ers - I think Williams will move ahead. We seem to forget that he was the guy that was slated to take Carlos Hyde’s job! Remember that? Crazy!     WR - JOHNNY HOLTON, OAKLAND RAIDERS -  From Overall Ranking #220 and down they all seem like ‘dart throws’ with Veterans like Eric Decker or Jeremy Maclin, or Rookies we still know minimal about their role. So I am going to go out on one hell of a limb here…. But remember that 8-2-9yd game Cooper had last year vs. Denver, while Crabtree missed the game? Holton took a 64-yard bomb to the house. When the Raiders played the Giants (which Crabtree AND Cooper both missed)? Holton went 3-39-1TD. Johnny Holton didn't have much to hang his name onto last season as Crabtree, Cooper and at times Patterson did all the work. However, Crabtree is not with the Raiders anymore, and I’m not sold on Jordy Nelson this year at all. I love Martavis Bryant, but who knows if he is mentally up for the challenge after being traded away by the Steelers. Holton should not be on your radar at all - but if it happens, don’t say I didn’t tell you so!     TE - JAKE BUTT DENVER BRONCOS  - Butt is higher rated in ADP than Tyler Kroft which would be as funny if it wasn’t so sad… I am a big fan of Butt (PHRAAAAAAASING) however we haven’t seen what he can do as a Pro when he is healthy. I like the pairing with Case Keenum as his new QB, and I have been getting as many shares as I can at the end of Best-Ball drafts. He is worth keeping an eye on!    And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.  Check out Chris Foster’s work on the also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.    Also, I want to give a shoutout to @StatementGames - this new way of playing DFS and playing exotic prop bets is a tonne of fun, have a look and tell them the #BRFS guys sent you!    And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - And remember to Rate/Review/Share/Like/Subscribe to the Podcast and Posts!    But most of all…..Enjoy!

Back Row Fantasy Show’s - Sleepers & Deep Dive Players

By @theBleagueSays

July 25, 2018

Deep Sleepers. Waiver Wire Fillers. Late-Season Flyers. Bye Round Pickups. The Bench Stash.

However you want to turn the phrase, when draft season begins, we tend to turn the page on these potential league winners as the year goes on. These players tend to fall outside the Top 150, and there is generally good reasons for it. Veterans find different landing places which may move them higher or lower. Rookies land on new teams and depending on which franchise selects them, their values fluctuate from draft day all the way through the season. Coaches have moved about as well and putting their blueprints into a Franchise to get their system working as soon as possible can also have a positive or negative effect on both Veterans and Rookies alike.

There is a lot of reasons as to why players climb and fall on our draft boards but for me what I tend to look for is previous success - sounds simple, right?

As we get closer to the traditional NFL Fantasy Draft Season and settle our draft boards, rankings, and Tiers, who do we look for as the season starts? Who is your backup or on your bench if one of your top guys goes down or gets suspended? Do you handcuff? Do you trade the farm out of desperation to get value back in your lineup? Or do you go to the Waiver Wire?

Some of the best moves in the Fantasy Football season can be guys from your Waiver Wire and your Sleeper or Deep Dive lists. What’s that? You don’t have one? Shame! Do this right now! Find guys to target who are in a good situation but maybe down the pecking order and have to bide some time. Or it could be a player returning from injury with which you are taking the cautious route. Whatever it is, have a Tier or Ranking system in place ready to go in case the unthinkable plays out. Remember, proper planning prevents poor performance!

In case you are new to this world; Welcome me Amigo’s and Amigette’s! Let me explain to you what these terms are (well to me anyway!):

Sleeper: someone on the radar that we aren’t willing to draft right now; possibly due to your roster construct or the players situation.

Deep Dive: someone that requires an extreme situation play out in their favor that would otherwise not catch our attention.

So with everything said, I have a few qualifiers that will determine a ‘Sleeper’ or a ’Deep Dive’:

Must be outside of the Top 150 to be a ’Sleeper’ Player.

Must be outside of the Top 250 to be a ‘Deep Dive’ Player.

*STANDARD SCORING (SS) / HALF POINT PER RECEPTION (HPPR)

*ADP = average draft position / the number at which they, on average are being drafted.

*Rankings taken from fantasypros.com

QUARTERBACKS

SLEEPER:

SAM BRADFORD, ARIZONA CARDINALS

ADP #245 OR QB35

WHY: Sam Bradford last year had a year to forget, by only really playing the first game of the season which he did do really well; 32-27-346 yards-3 TDs with a 143.0 Passer Rating. In 2016 Bradford (who was acquired from the Eagles in a late trade due to Teddy Bridgewater’s health issues) had 20-5 TD/INTs and threw for just about 3900 yards. Bradford can flat out play when he is healthy. When he is healthy…..these four words will muddy his career, but he lands in Arizona for the 2018 season with Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Brice Butler and JJ Nelson as his main Receivers and with Ricky Seals-Jones looking to establish himself as a top Tight End. Star Running Back David Johnson returns from a year off and is going to help Bradford out with easy possessions in the backfield while aiming to get into the 1000 rushing-1000 receiving club. I think the warmer weather will help a guy with 80-year-old knees and if he gets off to a good start - and stays healthy - could be a fantastic player to go and grab.

DEEP DIVE:

JACOBY BRISSETT, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

ADP #390 OR QB45

WHY: Frank Reich was the OC in Philadelphia when Carson Wentz succumbed to an end of season knee injury. He then utilized a simplified playbook to help Nick Foles guide them through to a Super Bowl victory and the MVP on the night too. Andrew Luck is said to be healthy, but the Colts have mentioned that before. On little to no time, Brissett took the starters job from Scott Tolzien within a week and had no chemistry with anyone on the team yet still played to an NFL standard at worst. Should Andrew Luck not be right to go (at any point of the year) Brissett should be picked up now that he has had a full year in Indy and knows the team and players better. Brissett, finished as the QB20 last year and was ahead on points of the following players - Jameis Winston, Josh McCown, Eli Manning, Mitch Trubisky and was only 22 points behind QB15 Matt Ryan.

RUNNING BACKS

SLEEPERS:

CHRIS IVORY, BUFFALO BILLS

SS ADP #186 OR RB58

HPPR ADP #214 OR RB65

WHY: I will keep this short and sweet. What happens to LeSean McCoy due to his offseason woes (or maybe he doesn’t, we don’t know what he did or didn’t do) is quite frankly concerning to all those who own him already. He is 30, and we know the regression numbers that comes with that stigma. Their O-Line got worse, as did their team in general. They have a new OC in Brian Daboll who has had success with RBBC and did so most recently in New England a few seasons ago. Chris Ivory is no slouch either and has proven a capable starter or a more than serviceable Number 2. Right now there is potential to grab a possible starting RB in Ivory who will be most likely undrafted in your leagues.

T.J. YELDON, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

SS ADP #236 OR RB67

HPPR ADP #212 OR RB63

WHY: With Chris Ivory leaving for Buffalo and 112 attempts behind too. There is a chance for Yeldon to put his hands firmly on the Number 2 role behind Leonard Fournette, who has had some injury and discipline concerns in the past year. Corey Grant stood out in the AFC Championship game, so Yeldon needs to perform and do so early also when he gets the chance to avoid losing touches to him. He has good hands (at 7.47 YPR and a 73.2% Catch Rate) and a decent 5.15 Yards Per Attempt. The Jaguars also upgraded their O-Line also. Yeldon could be a sneaky player to keep an eye on too.

DEEP DIVES:

ELIJAH McGUIRE, NY JETS

SS ADP #255 OR RB75

HPPR ADP #291 OR RB74

WHY: Matt Forte has retired, and Bilal Powell looks like he has taken one too many hits to get through a full season as the Number 1 guy. I don’t mind the Isaiah Crowell signing for the Jets, and this move, as a result, pushes McGuire further back. However, we saw in spurts he has excellent hands and is slippery enough between the tackles. And as ok as Crowell is (he’s not great, but decent) he is probably delaying McGuire’s participation in the backfield. 10.41 Yards Per Reception? I can buy that all day in PPR Formats. If his Yards Per Carry improve, then I can see a world where he is integrated into more work sooner than later.

JEREMY HILL, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

SS ADP #300 OR RB77

HPPR ADP #251 OR RB70

WHY: Hill is already not guaranteed to make the final roster. It has been said to be down to Hill or Gillislee to get cut. And the role of ‘the hammer’ for the Patriots is wide open. Hill, is only 25 years old and has been the starting Running Back in the past and has pretty much had a one year vacation last season. Whether it was an injury or falling out with the HC for the Bengals, or Rookie Joe Mixon taking his spot - last year was a year to forget for Hill. I don’t expect him to get more than 8-10 Carries a game at best IF he was to be retained. But remember, Hill also had 9 TDs in 2016, 11 TDs in 2015 and 9 TDs in 2014 - when he is close to the goal line he is a good chance to cross for a score. All Patriots Running Backs will get used somehow if Hill is retained keep him in mind to have some value.

WIDE RECEIVERS

SLEEPERS:

JARON BROWN, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

SS ADP #198 OR WR61

HPPR ADP #343 OR WR116

WHY: Brown is an under-the-radar Free Agent signing for Seattle this Offseason. Coming from Arizona in 2017 and having played with QBs such as Palmer, Stanton, and Gabbert last season, he logged a 69-31-477 yds-4TDs. He now gets star QB Russell Wilson which is an upgrade for him also. I believe he takes over where Paul Richardson left off as he moved to Washington. Brown, in 2017 averaged 15.39 Yards Per Reception which is quite close to what Richardson had also logged at 15.98 YPR with Wilson. I expect Brown to get an uptick in Targets and in a world where Tyler Lockett is always hurt, and Brandon Marshall may not make the team - Brown could see significant work.

KEELAN COLE, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

SS ADP #212 OR WR72

HPPR ADP #208 OR WR72

WHY: In 2017 Keelan Cole was a WR1 in PPR (12 team leagues) from Week 11 and Week 12 in Standard Scoring (Hi fantasy playoffs, sup!) and no-one knew who he was AND had Blake Bortles as his QB. He is still being taken at times the 3rd to 4th Jaguars Receiver behind Lee, Moncrief and sometimes Westbrook. Cole has safe hands and speed and what he has over all of these guys is a clean slate of health. I do not trust Lee or Moncrief to get through a full season and Cole when given the chance should take over outright. Cole averaged 84 Yards Per Game and 0.5 TDs per game too. Is a 900 yard, 8 TD season beyond a guy who showed he could do it? Big call, but I think he could if given the chance!

DEEP DIVES:

TAYWAN TAYLOR, TENNESSEE TITANS

SS ADP #357 OR WR109

HPPR ADP #289 OR WR94

WHY: That's a pretty big jump in terms of ADP from Standard Scoring to HPPR. That leads me to believe that those who ranked these players see Taylor getting the ball. Now Eric Decker wasn’t retained, and if I told you he had an 83-54-563 yd-1TD season would you believe me? Probably not! Now if I said to you that Cooper Kupp, as the primary slot Receiver for the Rams last year went 94-62-869yd-5TDs with Taylor’s new OC Matt LaFleur would you believe that also? I think Taywan Taylor could be a sneaky 90+ Target player this year as a minimum in a revamped Titans Offense.

WILLIE SNEAD, BALTIMORE RAVENS

SS ADP #259 OR WR79

HPPR ADP #226 OR WR75

WHY: A new team, a new environment. A fresh coat of paint is what Willie Snead needed. Last season Snead barely saw the field after an impressive 104-72-895 yd-4TD 2016 - which is why we were excited for his 2017 breakout year as he averaged a 7th Round PPR and Standard Scoring ADP. A few injuries and a suspension saw Snead fall out of Sean Payton’s graces and that for anyone in New Orleans is always the final nail in the coffin. Joe Flacco is under pressure to perform in Baltimore from Round 1 with Lamar Jackson breathing down his neck - and Snead possesses a 67.4% catch rate and is a big bodied Receiver in the slot. I get the Crabtree hype, and John Brown is always hurt or sick - look for Snead to pick up the slack!

TIGHT ENDS

SLEEPERS:

RICKY SEALS-JONES, ARIZONA CARDINALS

SS ADP #202 OR TE23

HPPR ADP #232 OR TE31

WHY: It’s late July and the Cardinals have already placed leading Tight End Jermaine Gresham on the PUP list - which is enormous for Seals-Jones’ overall involvement in the game plan and can only boost the ‘Jordan Reed Lite’ frame that Seals-Jones possesses. He showed signs that he can dominate, he is big/strong and has a large catch radius - which will come in handy for either Sam Bradford or Josh Rosen. Speaking of Bradford, the last full season he played in 2016 saw Kyle Rudolph finished the year as the overall TE3 in Standard Scoring and the TE2 in PPR. This can only be a good sign of things to come for the future star.

DEEP DIVE:

TYLER KROFT, CINCINNATI BENGALS

SS ADP #315 OR TE37

HPPR ADP #321 OR TE47

WHY: I am the biggest Tyler Eifert fan. He was a monster. A mismatch nightmare. And he, pound-for-pound matched production with Gronkowski and Reed a few seasons ago. But what we saw last year was a guy’s body breaking down. Tyler Kroft was the beneficiary of that and played his role and scored 7 TDs to go along with 42 Receptions and just over 400 yards for the year. What’s surprising is that Eifert is being drafted still - I wouldn’t trust him until I see him get through a game and recover. What’s even more surprising is that Kroft finished as the TE11 in Standard Scoring and TE15 in PPR. If you plan to wait on a TE, and news about Eifert not being right start to surface - keep this in mind!



FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO GET REAL DEEP SLEEPERS…I PRESENT MY XANAX CLASS OF 2018

QB - RYAN FITZPATRICK, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS - We know Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games of the year. If ‘FitzMAGIC’ can put in a few decent performances and Winston doesn’t live up to expectations upon his return then ‘the bearded one’ could get the nod as the Buccaneers coaching staff loses patience with their enigmatic starter Winston.

RB - JOE WILLIAMS, SAN FRANCISCO - Remember when we thought ‘banging the drum’ actually meant something? Times have changed! I am concerned about the heavy workload Jerrick McKinnon but am hopeful for him. That said, Williams came into 2017 with much hype and while Matt Breida is being spoken about as the RB2 for the 49ers - I think Williams will move ahead. We seem to forget that he was the guy that was slated to take Carlos Hyde’s job! Remember that? Crazy!

WR - JOHNNY HOLTON, OAKLAND RAIDERS - From Overall Ranking #220 and down they all seem like ‘dart throws’ with Veterans like Eric Decker or Jeremy Maclin, or Rookies we still know minimal about their role. So I am going to go out on one hell of a limb here…. But remember that 8-2-9yd game Cooper had last year vs. Denver, while Crabtree missed the game? Holton took a 64-yard bomb to the house. When the Raiders played the Giants (which Crabtree AND Cooper both missed)? Holton went 3-39-1TD. Johnny Holton didn't have much to hang his name onto last season as Crabtree, Cooper and at times Patterson did all the work. However, Crabtree is not with the Raiders anymore, and I’m not sold on Jordy Nelson this year at all. I love Martavis Bryant, but who knows if he is mentally up for the challenge after being traded away by the Steelers. Holton should not be on your radar at all - but if it happens, don’t say I didn’t tell you so!

TE - JAKE BUTT DENVER BRONCOS - Butt is higher rated in ADP than Tyler Kroft which would be as funny if it wasn’t so sad… I am a big fan of Butt (PHRAAAAAAASING) however we haven’t seen what he can do as a Pro when he is healthy. I like the pairing with Case Keenum as his new QB, and I have been getting as many shares as I can at the end of Best-Ball drafts. He is worth keeping an eye on!

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.

Check out Chris Foster’s work on the also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to @StatementGames - this new way of playing DFS and playing exotic prop bets is a tonne of fun, have a look and tell them the #BRFS guys sent you!

And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - And remember to Rate/Review/Share/Like/Subscribe to the Podcast and Posts!

But most of all…..Enjoy!

 GOOD BAD UGLY 17  @theBleagueSays  August 19, 2018  PRESEASON WRAP UP    Ladies and Gentlemen - my Back Row Bandits - I want to extend a huge ‘Thank You’ for hanging in there with me through a torturous summer full of, well... nothing. But. Preseason is halfway through with and right now we are licking our chops at your traditional redraft season’. Yes. I know. Dynasty Fantasy Football doesn’t stop. I get it. But please, inject yourself with some enthusiasm as the bulk of your redraft leagues about to start up, again. You know, the leagues you haven’t signed into yet, checked the draft date for, or seen if the ‘Commissioner’ is still alive?    (Yes, Matt - I am directly talking to you.)    I digress…    What I bring to you this week will be continually based along the lines of this offseason’s theme which is again Value, Volume, Validation. So in a different way of presenting this weeks article, I will give you my final ADP check on everyone I see fit - and - everything you could need in between. All players selected will be based on Half Point Per Reception scoring format. That way if you are a Standard Scoring or full PPR kind of cat you can deal with it.     VALUE      Good - Chris Hogan -   Here’s why; No Julian Edelman for four weeks with a suspension. Rob Gronkowski rarely gets through a full season. Malcolm Mitchell released. Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead in the backfield struggling with knee issues. Your current competition for Targets is Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Britt, and Phillip Dorsett. Oh, and you have Tom Brady as your Quarterback in the weak as...well, let’s say weak AFC East! Everything's coming up  Chris Hogan !  Currently, Hogan sits in the 5th Round! Did you hear that?! The 5th Round! One more time for the blind -  THE 5TH FREAKING ROUND .  Last season, Hogan averaged 6.5 Targets, and 3.7 Targets per game - which, the way the Patriots are shaping up I can imagine so will those opportunities will likely grow. Receivers like T.Y. Hilton, Amari Cooper, and Tyreek Hill - who we all love don’t get me wrong - but show extreme volatility on a weekly basis are going a Round or two earlier than Hogan - Hogan can provide not only that safe floor in the first month at least; but could provide an tremendous mid-round value if you go Running Back heavy to start your draft.     Bad - Chris Thompson -   Here’s what is wrong with this; For starters, last year before succumbing to a season-ending injury Head Coach Jay Gruden already told us that he didn’t want  Chris Thompson  running the rock as much as he was. Then he breaks his leg. So a ‘pass-catching’ Running Back returning from a broken leg pulling in a 7th Round ADP?  Look I like Chris Thompson as a player, and I hope he comes back entirely fit and ready. But before the season starts? I can’t imagine he finds the same form from last season straight away and provides a return on that 7th Round ADP. Now, based on last season he proved to be the Running Back to own, even more so now that Derrius Guice tore his ACL. But it’s clear that this backfield is still a mess regardless of who is available. Proceed to Draft Chris Thompson with caution.     Ugly - Sammy Watkins -   Huh? But he’s so good and got paid so much blah, blah, blah; Look we can talk about talent and athleticism all we like, but the fact remains that the BUFFALO BILLS of all teams traded  Sammy Watkins  away! Think about that! Buffalo, one season ago; rendered him at what they thought was his peak value with one of the WORST RECEIVER GROUPS IN THE NFL. Then, the L.A. Rams felt priced out by Watkins’ contract demands and let him walk - and with only 39 Receptions in a season - I get that he had the TDS to go with that production - but if you're telling me Gerald Everett can’t step up in his second year and dominate in the End Zone as much as Watkins did then you're kidding yourself. Watkins signs for the Kansas City Chiefs, and finds himself as the fourth best Receiver already! Kelce, Hill and Running Back Kareem Hunt will see more Targets, Receptions, Yards, and TDS than Watkins and for a 6th Round ADP? Get out of here!  Here is one for you;  Kendall Wright  (with Rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky) and John Fox calling plays had 91 Targets, 59 Receptions, 614 Yards and 1 TD in one of the most uninspiring Chicago Bears teams anyone could ever remember. Wright finished the year as WR52 and was outside of the TOP 300 PLAYERS DRAFTED IN 2017; Watkins was drafted in the 6th Round and finished as the WR42 in PPR last year, but was drafted IN THE TOP 70 again. A 10 place finish differential on players that had nearly 250 players selected between them a year ago. And the same thing is about to happen.     WATKINS AGAIN IS GOING IN THE 6TH ROUND!!! STOP IT ALREADY!!!      VOLUME      Good - Allen Hurns -   Why now is Hurns on your radar?: I’ll tell you why and there is two reasons for it:  Michael Gallup Recency Bias - We see one fantastic route run and score from  Michael Gallup  in Preseason Game 1, and everyone already jumps off of  Allen Hurns . I get the hype and expect Gallup to be even more popular - keep watching Hurns’ slip in ADP because of it. You can hold off and wait for Hurns and trade high when the time is right.    2. Target Share - I have written before about the 200+ Targets that are now available in Dallas with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten moving away from Arlington, so there will be a lot of passes to be spread about in Dallas, and being drafted in the late 9th to early 10th Rounds can provide significant value; he has seen plenty of Targets and had success in a weak Jacksonville team in the past - this could be the right time and place to rediscover that form.    I expect the Dallas Offense to take some time to take off and provided Hurns can keep his head up and get open. I think he has every bit of opportunity to be and stay the top Receiver in Dallas. They're going to need playmakers; he needs to make plays. Let’s see how this plays out!     Bad - Tyler Lockett -   Explain yourself?: To be honest with you, a 12th Round ADP is excellent value for a guy like  Tyler Lockett , I mean the opportunity in a baron Seahawks Receiver group is wide open. But I am talking about Volume here, and Lockett has never seen more than 71 Targets or 51 Receptions in a season. But, that is also not the issue here either. Is it a health issue? Could be - he averages 8.5 games a year and seems to kind of get going with a few big games then he disappears and then he’s out with an injury. Rinse, wash, repeat each year.    I’m talking about a team that wants to run the ball with an Offensive Coordinator who is more offensive than he is a coordinator. And then brought in deep threat Jaron Brown who is as similar to Lockett as it gets and will compete for time with Lockett; more so now that Paul Richardson has left the Franchise. Brandon Marshall joins the Receiver group and to be honest, as much as he has lost a step - has still kept his size and could play a role similar to Jimmy Graham in the End Zone at least, who is now with Seattle.    There is opportunity for Lockett to clamp down the Number 2 Receiver role in Seattle, but he has to do more. As I said, the 12th is an excellent spot for Lockett who can boom. But he can boom as much as he busts.     Ugly - Doug Martin -   What is he doing here?: No really, can someone explain to me why in 2018 and at 2.9 Yards Per Carry in 2017 is Doug Martin in the 11th Round of Half PPR drafts? He hasn’t seen more than 20 Targets in a season since 2015 and has struggled with health issues or suspensions.    So I will ask once again - the 11th Round?    Stop it...     VALIDATION      Good - All Rams Receivers -   How good?: Well,  Brandin Cooks  is the newest star Receiver to join the Rams, but unlike Sammy Watkins, Cooks has had a full offseason to learn the playbook. Cooks, although at times isn’t seen as the most safest floor player has averaged 120 Targets over the last three years. Along with an average of 1100 Yards a season. And an Average 8 TDS a year. Not sorry for a guy many consider average! Going in the late 4th Round, don’t be afraid to take Cooks as your WR2!   Cooper Kupp  saw the most End Zone Targets for the Rams in his Rookie season with 23 and had 11 Receptions and 5 TDS in that area to go with them. Watkins leaves another 10 Targets in the End Zone up for grabs and ideally if Kupp can increase his Catch Rate percentage in his second season we could be looking at WR2 potential. Not a bad thought to have considering he is landing in the 8th Round!   Robert Woods  had a career year and is looking to build rapport with Jared Goff and is the cheapest of the 3 Receivers. 85 Targets is nothing to turn your nose up at, and if he can provide you with another 700 yards and 6-8 TDs, you would be reasonably pleased with his floor going forward as a WR3.     Bad - Returning Quarterbacks -   What are you getting back?: At the moment an equal share of risk for reward more than anything. No One will ever doubt the talent and the difference they can make each week on your roster but with the Quarterback position can be streamed. So losing a lot of Draft Capital on players that can be ‘matchup based’ only seems as to be as risky as the meaningless preseason games in which they lineup. With  Deshaun Watson  and all seven career games at a 4th Round Value? Or  Carson Wentz  in the 7th Round after a late, season-ending knee reconstruction? How about  Andrew Luck  in the 8th after a full year and a half out? The reality is that between the QB1 to the QB12 is approximately 5 points per game and these three guys are all in the Top 12 already. Spending up for a guy you can wait on instead of reaching for the unknown in a risk whereas someone you can stream like  Tyrod Taylor  - who is as safe as anyone - and now has weapons like Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and potentially Dez Bryant? Taylor is being Drafted in the 14th Round.  Ben Roethlisberger i s being found outside the Top 12, and along with two other players entrenched in last years Top 12 QBs,  Jared Goff  and  Alex Smith  are going undrafted. Proceed with caution on those returning from injury.     Ugly - Packers Running Backs -   It’s like a circus back there: It was looking like  Jamaal Williams  was going to take the reigns with a current 7th Round ADP and be of some value (starting player in an Aaron Rodgers Offense and all…) but he already looks ‘dinged’ up and he looked to be the first man up and out already.  Aaron Jones  is suspended for the first 2 Rounds, and at an 8th Round value I would still hesitate as guys like Kirk Cousins, Cooper Kupp, and Trey Burton are all floating in and around that area; depending on my roster construct you may want to look elsewhere here.  Ty Montgomery  couldn’t handle the workload last season so I don’t know why all of a sudden we think he can do it again with a 9th Round ADP.  Now, long-term I am all about Aaron Jones. But this year… If any of them are and I am ok at Running Back I’m either going to pass on all of them or wait on Jones as long as I can. If I want a headache, I’ll watch a highlight reel of Eric Flowers trying to block, not by trying to figure out who ‘the guy this week’ will be.    And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show. Next week stay tuned for a Back Row Fantasy Show Round Table Special, where @FootballNuke and I break down the past episodes Rankings and add a few exclusive tidbits in also.    Check out Chris Foster’s work also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.    And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - Remember to Rate/Review/Share/Like/Subscribe to the Podcast and posts!    But most of all…..Enjoy!

GOOD BAD UGLY 17

@theBleagueSays

August 19, 2018

PRESEASON WRAP UP

Ladies and Gentlemen - my Back Row Bandits - I want to extend a huge ‘Thank You’ for hanging in there with me through a torturous summer full of, well... nothing. But. Preseason is halfway through with and right now we are licking our chops at your traditional redraft season’. Yes. I know. Dynasty Fantasy Football doesn’t stop. I get it. But please, inject yourself with some enthusiasm as the bulk of your redraft leagues about to start up, again. You know, the leagues you haven’t signed into yet, checked the draft date for, or seen if the ‘Commissioner’ is still alive?

(Yes, Matt - I am directly talking to you.)

I digress…

What I bring to you this week will be continually based along the lines of this offseason’s theme which is again Value, Volume, Validation. So in a different way of presenting this weeks article, I will give you my final ADP check on everyone I see fit - and - everything you could need in between. All players selected will be based on Half Point Per Reception scoring format. That way if you are a Standard Scoring or full PPR kind of cat you can deal with it.

VALUE

Good - Chris Hogan -

Here’s why; No Julian Edelman for four weeks with a suspension. Rob Gronkowski rarely gets through a full season. Malcolm Mitchell released. Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead in the backfield struggling with knee issues. Your current competition for Targets is Cordarrelle Patterson, Kenny Britt, and Phillip Dorsett. Oh, and you have Tom Brady as your Quarterback in the weak as...well, let’s say weak AFC East! Everything's coming up Chris Hogan!

Currently, Hogan sits in the 5th Round! Did you hear that?! The 5th Round! One more time for the blind - THE 5TH FREAKING ROUND.

Last season, Hogan averaged 6.5 Targets, and 3.7 Targets per game - which, the way the Patriots are shaping up I can imagine so will those opportunities will likely grow. Receivers like T.Y. Hilton, Amari Cooper, and Tyreek Hill - who we all love don’t get me wrong - but show extreme volatility on a weekly basis are going a Round or two earlier than Hogan - Hogan can provide not only that safe floor in the first month at least; but could provide an tremendous mid-round value if you go Running Back heavy to start your draft.

Bad - Chris Thompson -

Here’s what is wrong with this; For starters, last year before succumbing to a season-ending injury Head Coach Jay Gruden already told us that he didn’t want Chris Thompson running the rock as much as he was. Then he breaks his leg. So a ‘pass-catching’ Running Back returning from a broken leg pulling in a 7th Round ADP?

Look I like Chris Thompson as a player, and I hope he comes back entirely fit and ready. But before the season starts? I can’t imagine he finds the same form from last season straight away and provides a return on that 7th Round ADP. Now, based on last season he proved to be the Running Back to own, even more so now that Derrius Guice tore his ACL. But it’s clear that this backfield is still a mess regardless of who is available. Proceed to Draft Chris Thompson with caution.

Ugly - Sammy Watkins -

Huh? But he’s so good and got paid so much blah, blah, blah; Look we can talk about talent and athleticism all we like, but the fact remains that the BUFFALO BILLS of all teams traded Sammy Watkins away! Think about that! Buffalo, one season ago; rendered him at what they thought was his peak value with one of the WORST RECEIVER GROUPS IN THE NFL. Then, the L.A. Rams felt priced out by Watkins’ contract demands and let him walk - and with only 39 Receptions in a season - I get that he had the TDS to go with that production - but if you're telling me Gerald Everett can’t step up in his second year and dominate in the End Zone as much as Watkins did then you're kidding yourself. Watkins signs for the Kansas City Chiefs, and finds himself as the fourth best Receiver already! Kelce, Hill and Running Back Kareem Hunt will see more Targets, Receptions, Yards, and TDS than Watkins and for a 6th Round ADP? Get out of here!

Here is one for you; Kendall Wright (with Rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky) and John Fox calling plays had 91 Targets, 59 Receptions, 614 Yards and 1 TD in one of the most uninspiring Chicago Bears teams anyone could ever remember. Wright finished the year as WR52 and was outside of the TOP 300 PLAYERS DRAFTED IN 2017; Watkins was drafted in the 6th Round and finished as the WR42 in PPR last year, but was drafted IN THE TOP 70 again. A 10 place finish differential on players that had nearly 250 players selected between them a year ago. And the same thing is about to happen.

WATKINS AGAIN IS GOING IN THE 6TH ROUND!!! STOP IT ALREADY!!!

VOLUME

Good - Allen Hurns -

Why now is Hurns on your radar?: I’ll tell you why and there is two reasons for it:

Michael Gallup Recency Bias - We see one fantastic route run and score from Michael Gallup in Preseason Game 1, and everyone already jumps off of Allen Hurns. I get the hype and expect Gallup to be even more popular - keep watching Hurns’ slip in ADP because of it. You can hold off and wait for Hurns and trade high when the time is right.

2. Target Share - I have written before about the 200+ Targets that are now available in Dallas with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten moving away from Arlington, so there will be a lot of passes to be spread about in Dallas, and being drafted in the late 9th to early 10th Rounds can provide significant value; he has seen plenty of Targets and had success in a weak Jacksonville team in the past - this could be the right time and place to rediscover that form.

I expect the Dallas Offense to take some time to take off and provided Hurns can keep his head up and get open. I think he has every bit of opportunity to be and stay the top Receiver in Dallas. They're going to need playmakers; he needs to make plays. Let’s see how this plays out!

Bad - Tyler Lockett -

Explain yourself?: To be honest with you, a 12th Round ADP is excellent value for a guy like Tyler Lockett, I mean the opportunity in a baron Seahawks Receiver group is wide open. But I am talking about Volume here, and Lockett has never seen more than 71 Targets or 51 Receptions in a season. But, that is also not the issue here either. Is it a health issue? Could be - he averages 8.5 games a year and seems to kind of get going with a few big games then he disappears and then he’s out with an injury. Rinse, wash, repeat each year.

I’m talking about a team that wants to run the ball with an Offensive Coordinator who is more offensive than he is a coordinator. And then brought in deep threat Jaron Brown who is as similar to Lockett as it gets and will compete for time with Lockett; more so now that Paul Richardson has left the Franchise. Brandon Marshall joins the Receiver group and to be honest, as much as he has lost a step - has still kept his size and could play a role similar to Jimmy Graham in the End Zone at least, who is now with Seattle.

There is opportunity for Lockett to clamp down the Number 2 Receiver role in Seattle, but he has to do more. As I said, the 12th is an excellent spot for Lockett who can boom. But he can boom as much as he busts.

Ugly - Doug Martin -

What is he doing here?: No really, can someone explain to me why in 2018 and at 2.9 Yards Per Carry in 2017 is Doug Martin in the 11th Round of Half PPR drafts? He hasn’t seen more than 20 Targets in a season since 2015 and has struggled with health issues or suspensions.

So I will ask once again - the 11th Round?

Stop it...

VALIDATION

Good - All Rams Receivers -

How good?: Well, Brandin Cooks is the newest star Receiver to join the Rams, but unlike Sammy Watkins, Cooks has had a full offseason to learn the playbook. Cooks, although at times isn’t seen as the most safest floor player has averaged 120 Targets over the last three years. Along with an average of 1100 Yards a season. And an Average 8 TDS a year. Not sorry for a guy many consider average! Going in the late 4th Round, don’t be afraid to take Cooks as your WR2!

Cooper Kupp saw the most End Zone Targets for the Rams in his Rookie season with 23 and had 11 Receptions and 5 TDS in that area to go with them. Watkins leaves another 10 Targets in the End Zone up for grabs and ideally if Kupp can increase his Catch Rate percentage in his second season we could be looking at WR2 potential. Not a bad thought to have considering he is landing in the 8th Round!

Robert Woods had a career year and is looking to build rapport with Jared Goff and is the cheapest of the 3 Receivers. 85 Targets is nothing to turn your nose up at, and if he can provide you with another 700 yards and 6-8 TDs, you would be reasonably pleased with his floor going forward as a WR3.

Bad - Returning Quarterbacks -

What are you getting back?: At the moment an equal share of risk for reward more than anything. No One will ever doubt the talent and the difference they can make each week on your roster but with the Quarterback position can be streamed. So losing a lot of Draft Capital on players that can be ‘matchup based’ only seems as to be as risky as the meaningless preseason games in which they lineup. With Deshaun Watson and all seven career games at a 4th Round Value? Or Carson Wentz in the 7th Round after a late, season-ending knee reconstruction? How about Andrew Luck in the 8th after a full year and a half out? The reality is that between the QB1 to the QB12 is approximately 5 points per game and these three guys are all in the Top 12 already. Spending up for a guy you can wait on instead of reaching for the unknown in a risk whereas someone you can stream like Tyrod Taylor - who is as safe as anyone - and now has weapons like Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry and potentially Dez Bryant? Taylor is being Drafted in the 14th Round. Ben Roethlisberger is being found outside the Top 12, and along with two other players entrenched in last years Top 12 QBs, Jared Goff and Alex Smith are going undrafted. Proceed with caution on those returning from injury.

Ugly - Packers Running Backs -

It’s like a circus back there: It was looking like Jamaal Williams was going to take the reigns with a current 7th Round ADP and be of some value (starting player in an Aaron Rodgers Offense and all…) but he already looks ‘dinged’ up and he looked to be the first man up and out already. Aaron Jones is suspended for the first 2 Rounds, and at an 8th Round value I would still hesitate as guys like Kirk Cousins, Cooper Kupp, and Trey Burton are all floating in and around that area; depending on my roster construct you may want to look elsewhere here. Ty Montgomery couldn’t handle the workload last season so I don’t know why all of a sudden we think he can do it again with a 9th Round ADP.

Now, long-term I am all about Aaron Jones. But this year… If any of them are and I am ok at Running Back I’m either going to pass on all of them or wait on Jones as long as I can. If I want a headache, I’ll watch a highlight reel of Eric Flowers trying to block, not by trying to figure out who ‘the guy this week’ will be.

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show. Next week stay tuned for a Back Row Fantasy Show Round Table Special, where @FootballNuke and I break down the past episodes Rankings and add a few exclusive tidbits in also.

Check out Chris Foster’s work also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.

And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - Remember to Rate/Review/Share/Like/Subscribe to the Podcast and posts!

But most of all…..Enjoy!

 FIVE Guys to Draft and Five I am Staying Away From  By @FootballNuke  7/20/2018  For this article, I’m looking at five guys that I absolutely want on my roster this year and five that I don’t want any part of this year based on their ADP in 12 team, PPR leagues. My ADP is coming from  FantasyFootballCalculator.com .  Five guys I want on my fantasy football team   Allen Robinson  (ADP – 45)  If  Allen Robinson  is available at the end of the fourth round of any draft, I would take him. His ADP undoubtedly suffers from his injury last year along with his new team. He is the definite number one on the Bears, but what does that mean with quarterback  Mitch Trubisky ? He could catch 120 balls if Trubisky is good. He might be lucky to have 60 receptions if Trubisky is terrible. There is risk that comes with drafting Robinson, but I will select him in the fourth round every chance I get.   Jerick McKinnon  (ADP – 21)  McKinnon showed last year that when used correctly he can be a weapon. Those who viewed the video flying around the Twitterverse right now of a significantly ripped McKinnon. McKinnon’s ADP is a risky mid-second round choice, but do not let that scare you. Head coach  Kyle Shanahan  has a history of getting value out of his running backs. Shanahan has big expectations for him as well as the organization. McKinnon signed a massive deal that virtually assures he will be the feature back for the Niners. Anything less than that would severely injure the Niners ROI.   Jamison Crowder  (ADP – 84)  Just like my counterpart  @theBleagueSays  wrote about in his most recent article,  Jamison Crowder  is one guy has potentially massive value over his ADP. Crowder looks to be the premiere target for new quarterback  Alex Smith . The Redskins cannot count on Jordan Reed to be available.  Josh Doctson  has yet to prove he belongs in the NFL, and  Paul Richardson  is a downfield threat – not Alex Smith’s primary game. Crowder should be Smith’s safety valve all year long and well worth an early seventh-round selection.   Aaron Jones  (ADP – 100)  I am enjoying the Packer running back debate. Is Williams going to be the main guy? How about Montgomery? What about  Aaron Jones ? It is true; Jones will start the season serving a two-game suspension. That may only help to fuel the fire. In his injury-shortened 2017, Jones had 81 attempts, 448 yards (5.5 yd avg.), and four rushing touchdowns. What if Jones triples that output spending 14 games on the field in 2018? He’d have 243 attempts for 1344 yards and 12 touchdowns. He might struggle to make that due to the suspension, but even if he topped 1000 yards and scored 8 or 9 touchdowns, every single fantasy owner would draft that guy in the middle of the eighth round. What about  Jamaal Williams ? I do not see Williams as the equivalent talent to Jones. Once Jones hits the field, the Packers will have a tough time taking him out. What about  Ty Montgomery ? I see Montgomery moving to a hybrid position, getting 5 – 10 touches out of the backfield and maybe 3 – 7 receptions per game. Making him the primary back is a mistake. The logical choice is Jones.   Sterling Shepard  (ADP – 111)   Odell Beckham  is a top flight, elite receiver, and the fantasy world has him rated as such.  Evan Engram  had a great rookie year catching the ball, and our projections do not suggest a tremendous amount of regression for him. What do they have in common?  Eli Manning . Without Manning, OBJ and Engram are not going to produce. Manning happens to be Shepard’s quarterback too. Shepard is a good receiver in his own right and having OBJ, Engram and now  Saquon Barkley  on the field at the same time should mean a more effective offense, which is good for everyone. Shepard is a sterling choice in the early ninth round.  Five guys I don’t want on my team   Amari Cooper  (ADP – 39)  Who went on the  Amari Cooper  roller coaster ride like I did last year? Honestly, I hated every moment of it. The whole experience made me want to puke repeatedly. It is like when you eat something, and it makes you toss your cookies. You are hesitant to try that food again. That’s where I am at with Cooper – I have a bad taste in my mouth from last year, and I want nothing to do with him this year – especially at the beginning of the fourth round. With a new coaching staff in town and a new offense, maybe things will be different, but I doubt it. The new Raider offense will have a substantial focus on the run, led by an offensive coordinator that favors the run. I think the Raider’s offense is going to feature a lot of three-and-outs. That does not bode well for Cooper.   Kareem Hunt  (ADP – 11)  I have been through ten real drafts so far this offseason. In each one of them,  Kareem Hunt  did not get drafted higher than the eleventh pick. In most drafts, he slid to the second round. There is not enough certainty in both the player and the way  Andy Reid  manages his running backs to warrant rating Hunt a first-rounder. Taking it to the next level, there are a considerable amount of talented offensive players on that team, each of which is going to need the ball. It is possible that should  Pat Mahomes  move the ball well through the air that Reid puts the running game on the back-burner, awestruck and wanting to see what Mahomes can do on the next play. Even if that does not happen, Reid is not hesitant to use West or Ware at any given time, which contributes to Hunt’s diminished value. Then there is the question of legal trouble. Hunt allegedly had some altercations this offseason that may lead to league discipline. All of these factors make me think there is no way I would draft Hunt eleventh overall.   DeShaun Watson  (ADP – 49)  Yes.  DeShaun Watson  lit up the league last year. Yes. Watson has one of the best receivers in the league. Yes. Watson was on a pace to produce eye-popping, game-changing, fantasy numbers in 2018 before the injury. Does that mean he warrants an ADP of 49? Is he worthy of a mid-fourth round pick? Honestly, I do not see it. In the fourth round, I would instead grab  Allen Robinson , for instance. I know that I am going to be able to get a competent quarterback later on in the draft – one that is more reliable than Watson and may end up scoring nearly the same. The risk here is too high for me.   Michael Crabtree  (ADP – 68)  Who is going into their draft this year thinking that if they get Crabtree in the fifth round, they would be happy? Certainly not me. That ADP is way too high for a guy who disappointed last year, went to a new team and is now the number one WR on a low-scoring, often confused, poorly led offense. I have more faith in the Raven’s tight ends than I do Crabtree. In fact, I would not be surprised to see one or two of them out-produce him this year (hot take alert!). No sir. I do not want anything to do with Crabtree.   Marshawn Lynch  (ADP – 78)  Seeing a sixth-round ADP value on Lynch makes me wonder if owners are thinking this is the Lynch that played in Seattle from 2011-2014. I do not care how many carries he gets;  this  Marshawn is not  that  Marshawn. He is 31 going on 32, at a position where 30 years-old is over the hill. There is little chance that Lynch will be more than an RB3 in my opinion. Draft him if you want, but not in the sixth round.  And there you have it, five guys I like and another five I will not draft at or near their ADP. Let me know what you think and hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I would love to hear from you! Also, let me give some props to my co-writer for the Back Row Fantasy Show, @theBleagueSays. Check out his informative, entertaining stuff. He has a unique perspective! All of this Free to you, our loyal readers, and powered by the Back Row Fantasy Show!

FIVE Guys to Draft and Five I am Staying Away From

By @FootballNuke

7/20/2018

For this article, I’m looking at five guys that I absolutely want on my roster this year and five that I don’t want any part of this year based on their ADP in 12 team, PPR leagues. My ADP is coming from FantasyFootballCalculator.com.

Five guys I want on my fantasy football team

Allen Robinson (ADP – 45)

If Allen Robinson is available at the end of the fourth round of any draft, I would take him. His ADP undoubtedly suffers from his injury last year along with his new team. He is the definite number one on the Bears, but what does that mean with quarterback Mitch Trubisky? He could catch 120 balls if Trubisky is good. He might be lucky to have 60 receptions if Trubisky is terrible. There is risk that comes with drafting Robinson, but I will select him in the fourth round every chance I get.

Jerick McKinnon (ADP – 21)

McKinnon showed last year that when used correctly he can be a weapon. Those who viewed the video flying around the Twitterverse right now of a significantly ripped McKinnon. McKinnon’s ADP is a risky mid-second round choice, but do not let that scare you. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has a history of getting value out of his running backs. Shanahan has big expectations for him as well as the organization. McKinnon signed a massive deal that virtually assures he will be the feature back for the Niners. Anything less than that would severely injure the Niners ROI.

Jamison Crowder (ADP – 84)

Just like my counterpart @theBleagueSays wrote about in his most recent article, Jamison Crowder is one guy has potentially massive value over his ADP. Crowder looks to be the premiere target for new quarterback Alex Smith. The Redskins cannot count on Jordan Reed to be available. Josh Doctson has yet to prove he belongs in the NFL, and Paul Richardson is a downfield threat – not Alex Smith’s primary game. Crowder should be Smith’s safety valve all year long and well worth an early seventh-round selection.

Aaron Jones (ADP – 100)

I am enjoying the Packer running back debate. Is Williams going to be the main guy? How about Montgomery? What about Aaron Jones? It is true; Jones will start the season serving a two-game suspension. That may only help to fuel the fire. In his injury-shortened 2017, Jones had 81 attempts, 448 yards (5.5 yd avg.), and four rushing touchdowns. What if Jones triples that output spending 14 games on the field in 2018? He’d have 243 attempts for 1344 yards and 12 touchdowns. He might struggle to make that due to the suspension, but even if he topped 1000 yards and scored 8 or 9 touchdowns, every single fantasy owner would draft that guy in the middle of the eighth round. What about Jamaal Williams? I do not see Williams as the equivalent talent to Jones. Once Jones hits the field, the Packers will have a tough time taking him out. What about Ty Montgomery? I see Montgomery moving to a hybrid position, getting 5 – 10 touches out of the backfield and maybe 3 – 7 receptions per game. Making him the primary back is a mistake. The logical choice is Jones.

Sterling Shepard (ADP – 111)

Odell Beckham is a top flight, elite receiver, and the fantasy world has him rated as such. Evan Engram had a great rookie year catching the ball, and our projections do not suggest a tremendous amount of regression for him. What do they have in common? Eli Manning. Without Manning, OBJ and Engram are not going to produce. Manning happens to be Shepard’s quarterback too. Shepard is a good receiver in his own right and having OBJ, Engram and now Saquon Barkley on the field at the same time should mean a more effective offense, which is good for everyone. Shepard is a sterling choice in the early ninth round.

Five guys I don’t want on my team

Amari Cooper (ADP – 39)

Who went on the Amari Cooper roller coaster ride like I did last year? Honestly, I hated every moment of it. The whole experience made me want to puke repeatedly. It is like when you eat something, and it makes you toss your cookies. You are hesitant to try that food again. That’s where I am at with Cooper – I have a bad taste in my mouth from last year, and I want nothing to do with him this year – especially at the beginning of the fourth round. With a new coaching staff in town and a new offense, maybe things will be different, but I doubt it. The new Raider offense will have a substantial focus on the run, led by an offensive coordinator that favors the run. I think the Raider’s offense is going to feature a lot of three-and-outs. That does not bode well for Cooper.

Kareem Hunt (ADP – 11)

I have been through ten real drafts so far this offseason. In each one of them, Kareem Hunt did not get drafted higher than the eleventh pick. In most drafts, he slid to the second round. There is not enough certainty in both the player and the way Andy Reid manages his running backs to warrant rating Hunt a first-rounder. Taking it to the next level, there are a considerable amount of talented offensive players on that team, each of which is going to need the ball. It is possible that should Pat Mahomes move the ball well through the air that Reid puts the running game on the back-burner, awestruck and wanting to see what Mahomes can do on the next play. Even if that does not happen, Reid is not hesitant to use West or Ware at any given time, which contributes to Hunt’s diminished value. Then there is the question of legal trouble. Hunt allegedly had some altercations this offseason that may lead to league discipline. All of these factors make me think there is no way I would draft Hunt eleventh overall.

DeShaun Watson (ADP – 49)

Yes. DeShaun Watson lit up the league last year. Yes. Watson has one of the best receivers in the league. Yes. Watson was on a pace to produce eye-popping, game-changing, fantasy numbers in 2018 before the injury. Does that mean he warrants an ADP of 49? Is he worthy of a mid-fourth round pick? Honestly, I do not see it. In the fourth round, I would instead grab Allen Robinson, for instance. I know that I am going to be able to get a competent quarterback later on in the draft – one that is more reliable than Watson and may end up scoring nearly the same. The risk here is too high for me.

Michael Crabtree (ADP – 68)

Who is going into their draft this year thinking that if they get Crabtree in the fifth round, they would be happy? Certainly not me. That ADP is way too high for a guy who disappointed last year, went to a new team and is now the number one WR on a low-scoring, often confused, poorly led offense. I have more faith in the Raven’s tight ends than I do Crabtree. In fact, I would not be surprised to see one or two of them out-produce him this year (hot take alert!). No sir. I do not want anything to do with Crabtree.

Marshawn Lynch (ADP – 78)

Seeing a sixth-round ADP value on Lynch makes me wonder if owners are thinking this is the Lynch that played in Seattle from 2011-2014. I do not care how many carries he gets; this Marshawn is not that Marshawn. He is 31 going on 32, at a position where 30 years-old is over the hill. There is little chance that Lynch will be more than an RB3 in my opinion. Draft him if you want, but not in the sixth round.

And there you have it, five guys I like and another five I will not draft at or near their ADP. Let me know what you think and hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I would love to hear from you! Also, let me give some props to my co-writer for the Back Row Fantasy Show, @theBleagueSays. Check out his informative, entertaining stuff. He has a unique perspective! All of this Free to you, our loyal readers, and powered by the Back Row Fantasy Show!

 GOOD/BAD/UGLY 15  7/20/2018  By @theBleagueSays    Thursday, 6th of September. Round One. Atlanta at Philadelphia. We are (depending the release of this article) 50 DAYS AWAY from the 2018 season starting!    Can you feel it? It’s just about time for teams to delve into their pre-season setups. Rookies are already integrated into the ethos of their new stables. Cuts are soon to be made, and the Hall of Fame game is only mere weeks away.  On top of that, everyone is just about healthy. Luck, Watson, Wentz, Rodgers, Meredith, Robinson and so on and so on topping up the depth charts and ready to go. This is it, folks! This is when our teams look their strongest. And I know many will disagree with that but to be fair if everyone is ready and prepared I find that hard to argue. Whether that translates onto the turf is another thing though, right?    Average Draft Position (ADP) is starting to calm down as the Rookies have hit where they are likely to go. I understand when ‘casual gamers’ return and hype season picks up that could change but where they are going right now seems to be where the majority would assume is right. All of the above has (perfectly) settled down and correlated with my stance during the whole offseason:     Value:  where you can get ‘your guy’ when you feel it is the right round to strike.   Volume:  can ‘your guy’ increase his chances at opportunities OR are the opportunities limited?   Validation:  can you justify ‘pulling the trigger’ on anyone you reach for, or wait on, or grab as a deep sleeper?    These three words should ring in your head (over and over and over again) and help you feel comfortable and more importantly confident in your selections during your drafts. And when you crush it, feel free to thank me later. You’re welcome!    There are some outliers however with a few players. Maybe it's moving pieces. Maybe it's recency bias. Maybe it's just hype. Maybe I feel like they are worth the discussion. And maybe you should pay attention!     The Good -  Who were we a year early on that’s providing better value now:    I gotta tell you I wasn’t someone who fully bought into the  Jamison Crowder  hype in Standard Scoring. But with PPR I was all in. Garçon and Jackson had moved on, and Chris Thompson wasn’t a ‘thing’ yet. But we saw enough to know the volume was coming his way. Maybe we overlooked potential TD regression (7 TDS in 2016 to 3 TDS in 2017), but that was a risk most (including myself) overlooked coupled with slight losses in the Yards Per Catch and Catch Rate Percentage - none of it helped Crowder last season    For starters, I think Kirk Cousins is being made the scapegoat of a Redskins Offense that underperformed. Yes, he is the QB, and yes the team goes through him. Where was Jordan Reed last year? Their O-Line? Non-existent. Doctson was shaky, as were the turnstile-like Running Back Committee. Cousins couldn’t create availability, and I think did all he could with them. That’s not enough for the price and security he was seeking after being ‘tagged out’ in Washington.    Enter ‘Mr. Safety’ in Alex Smith who does not turn the ball over with less (although what he had was deadly) options available. Intercepts, fumbles, passer ratings; Smith fits the mold of what Jay Gruden wants. I think Smith helps Crowder and in turn will boost Smith’s production. Short, sharp passes from the slot. A possession Receiver with great hands. This seems the perfect match. We saw what we want Crowder to be this year and as a result, we (yes we, you know you were apart of this!) set our expectations up too high. Also, the Redskins O-Line was trashed with injuries in 2017, but did you know  in 2016 it was ranked 12th overall to start the year and finished 7th  to end the season? If you give Alex Smith time and space in the pocket, I think he will find Crowder frequently.     ADP -   2017: Crowder was going as the #68 or WR28.  2017: He finished as the WR33.  2018: Crowder is going as the #82 or WR33.    This tells me he is being valued around the same as what he was, but the average drafter has stopped reaching for him and drafting Crowder ‘when he falls.’ Perfect. Value, with his past Volume, can be Validated here.    I think where he went last year and how he performed has stung the Fantasy Football community a little more than they would like to admit and is probably the main reason why he has slipped down rankings and tiers. To compare another Receiver to my (not so favorite) Sammy Watkins (damn there he is again) who sees less Targets and Receptions always goes higher in redraft formats. Hoping for Yards and TDS in a PPR format is a risky game to play and hoping he achieves 8 TDS again in a stacked Chiefs Offense is surely not likely to happen as the 4th Receiving option. How we can think less of Crowder, he is beyond me, and I think Crowder has an extremely safe floor and can outperform where he gets taken in 2018.     Prediction Of Crowders Ceiling -     Targets - 114 / Receptions - 73 / Yards - 899 / 6 TDS     The Bad - we should be higher on one than the other….but who?     There are 2 Running Backs who are taken relatively close to one another. One feels like he has missed a step, the other feels like we want him to be something that he is not. What I want to know is who they are as both players are being taken in the 2nd Round. Here is an overview of their 2017 seasons:     PLAYER A -  (Standard Scoring / PPR)  Points: 164.2 Points = RB13 / 200.2 = RB13  ADP: #15 Overall / #17 Overall  Stats: 196 Attempts, 865 Yards, 4.41 YPC, 7 TDS / 47 Targets, 36 Receptions, 317 Yards, 6.74 YPR, 1 TD (232 Total Touches, 1182 Total Yards, 8 Total TDS)   PLAYER B -  (Standard Scoring / PPR)  Points: 148.6 Points = RB15 / 228.6 = RB10  ADP: #25 Overall / #19 Overall  Stats: 117 Attempts, 435 Yards, 3.72 YPC, 2 TDS / 113 Targets, 80 Receptions, 651 Yards, 5.76 YPR, 5 TDS (197 Total Touches, 1086 Total Yards, 7 Total TDS)    So - Player A has 15.6 Points More In Standard Scoring and had 36 more touches overall. Player B has 28.4 Points More In PPR but was clearly much more dominant in the air. Therefore it would make sense that in Standard Scoring that Player A is going higher and vice-versa for Player B in PPR. Player A is clearly a much better traditional Running Back, while Player B is more of a hybrid, extremely effective with his hands.     PLAYER A -   Had a down year. It was the first time in Standard Scoring he had finished outside the Top 12 as a RB in Standard or PPR since 2015, and in 2015 we forget that  he was the RB1 overall in Standard Scoring and PPR  and was the RB6 overall in both formats also a year later. A new OC in 2017 with a different coaching philosophy caused this superstar a few headaches, and maybe a few concussions didn’t help his cause also. People are not getting excited about  Devonta Freeman  at all. Some will blame Steve Sarkisian; others will say he isn’t durable enough. But the highest paid Running Back in the league right now will need to step up and turn back the clock and prove his worth as Tevin Coleman is in a contract year and the Falcons drafted Ito Smith.    We have seen when he gets used on the ground and in the air how devastating he can be. This is one of the changes that will take place to the Falcons scheme in 2018. Atlanta was such a start/stop Offense that people are jumping of him, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Something has got to give, and I think they will go back to basics first and start using Freeman more. However, in his breakout year, Freeman had a combined 338 Touches. In 2016, 292. That’s over 100 Total Touches LOST in 2 years since and is one of the biggest factors behind his drop. They just aren’t using him enough.     PLAYER B -   Was a Rookie. He was a hype machine. And while Fournette, Cook, Hunt, and Kamara all crushed, however, our subject;  Christian McCaffrey  kinda somewhat did ok. His Receiving game saved his skin because the reality was - he just was not very good as a Running Back. Cam Newton coming back from an injury, needed someone to be his legs and McCaffrey failed. My feeling is that the Panthers used Jonathan Stewart way more than they wanted to and 200 carries was more than expected. 117 Carries for your Round 1 Draft Pick? That's it? Curtis Samuel will be back from injury at some point. They drafted start recruit, DJ Moore. Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess will be healthy to start the year but that O-Line looks weaker after losing Andrew Norwell to the Jaguars this offseason? Oh, and they recruited CJ Anderson to add depth to the Running Back room.    For some reason, we believe that an old-school mind like Norv Turner is going to know what to do with a guy as talented and gifted as Christian McCaffrey’s skill set is. For the life of me, I can’t see it happening.  Here is a bold prediction: McCaffrey is going to the slot first, backfield second; CJ Anderson is the lead Running Back in Carolina for 2018.  They are talking about getting him hitting 200 Rush Attempts. That's still barely 750 yards on the ground. For a guy who is maybe 200lbs? Really? No. Once again that will be CJ Anderson (4.11 Yards Per Carry) and Cam Newton’s role doing that. 3rd Downs his speed will come in handy as a mismatch. My gut-feeling is that McCaffrey was a mistake from the Dave Gettleman era, to begin with. And while they have invested Draft Capitol in him, I think they are going to bluff their way around McCaffrey’s inability to be the lead back and not being able to tote the rock like their newest free agent recruit, CJ Anderson.     Prediction Of Freeman And McCaffrey’s Ceiling -      Devonta Freeman   Rush Attempts 245 / Yards 1055.95 / TDS 7 / Targets 69 / Receptions 42 / Yards 344.4 / TDS / 2  Total Touches 287 / Total Yards 1400.35 / Total TDS 9     Christian McCaffrey   Rush Attempts 146 / Yards 554.05 / TDS 3 / Targets 118 / Receptions 82 / Yards 667.48 / TDS 6  Total Touches 264 / Total Yards 1221.53 / Total TDS 9     The Ugly - 7 games? No, really?     Here’s how you can kill a career and make one in the same moment - while looking stupid and brilliant at the same time (sounds hard but it’s not) in doing so:    Bill O’Brien lead everyone to believe that Tom Savage was the Texans starting QB in 2017 while trading away a plethora of picks to Draft Deshaun Watson. A stupid statement followed by a lucky move that saw Watson still on the board where they got him. He then continues to say that Savage will start in Round 1 vs the heavily recruited and motivated Jacksonville Jaguars Defense (stupid move). Savage went 13-7-62 yds and was  SACKED SIX TIMES WITHIN A HALF OF FOOTBALL!!!! BRUTAL!!!!   The Jaguars not only buried Savage (and probably his career) but they gave him the shovel and forced him to dig his own grave. The irony in ruining Savage is that they likely found the QB that may haunt them as AFC South Division rivals for the next decade in Deshaun Watson who then got the start. This made O'Brien's recruitment look brilliant.    We know that only Watson played seven games (1 not as a starter and the other when he tore his ACL). We saw him rush for nearly 40 yards on average a game. We saw him throw for nearly 250 yards per game also. We know he made Will Fuller relevant for once. He and DeAndre Hopkins looked like they’d been playing football together for ten years, even though he was a Rookie. Hey! He even gave Lamar Miller life - he looked sort of effective! He did look like Russell Wilson at times, and that means he can sometimes be as lucky as he is flukey.    Here’s the problem. I get that we ‘miss’ on players during a draft but to be fair, the QB position is loaded. So to that point (outside of dynasty or 2QB/Superflex) leagues, no-one was touching Watson.  Today Deshaun Watson, of 7 Total Career games, is going as the 2nd QB off the board behind Aaron Rodgers in the end of the 3rd Round (#37 overall).  This is ridiculous. I’m sorry, but if you are telling me that in the same round I can get Rodgers or Watson then it’s  RODGERS ALL DAY!  And if you are also telling me that I’m taking Watson before the following guys:  Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, Zach Ertz, Mark Ingram, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, Brandin Cooks - then you have to be joking. Because two whole rounds later I can get Russell Wilson and not miss out on any of those guys. You remember Wilson right? Top Scoring Fantasy player last year?    Yeah, I’m good to wait on Watson, and I can live by passing on him altogether. Watson that high is a joke unless you are equally as high when you are drafting him. Which may seem funny at the time but you’re probably going regret it later. Deshaun Watson is going way too high and is being overdrafted at his current ADP this year; he needs to fall back down a few Rounds for you to even justify taking him there. He will still likely win you many games, but so could Marcus Mariota who is being taken nearly 10 Rounds later.    So please, for your 2nd favorite writer for The Back Row Fantasy Show - Please stop taking Deshaun Watson in the 3rd Round.    Good!     Prediction Of Watson’s Ceiling     Attempts 466 / Completions 316 / Yards 4381.76 / TDS 33  Rushing Yards 391 / Rushing TDS 4    And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.  Check out Chris Foster’s work on the also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.    And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow - Remember to Rate/Review/Share/Like/Subscribe to the Podcast and posts!    But most of all…..Enjoy!

GOOD/BAD/UGLY 15

7/20/2018

By @theBleagueSays

Thursday, 6th of September. Round One. Atlanta at Philadelphia. We are (depending the release of this article) 50 DAYS AWAY from the 2018 season starting!

Can you feel it? It’s just about time for teams to delve into their pre-season setups. Rookies are already integrated into the ethos of their new stables. Cuts are soon to be made, and the Hall of Fame game is only mere weeks away.

On top of that, everyone is just about healthy. Luck, Watson, Wentz, Rodgers, Meredith, Robinson and so on and so on topping up the depth charts and ready to go. This is it, folks! This is when our teams look their strongest. And I know many will disagree with that but to be fair if everyone is ready and prepared I find that hard to argue. Whether that translates onto the turf is another thing though, right?

Average Draft Position (ADP) is starting to calm down as the Rookies have hit where they are likely to go. I understand when ‘casual gamers’ return and hype season picks up that could change but where they are going right now seems to be where the majority would assume is right. All of the above has (perfectly) settled down and correlated with my stance during the whole offseason:

Value: where you can get ‘your guy’ when you feel it is the right round to strike.

Volume: can ‘your guy’ increase his chances at opportunities OR are the opportunities limited?

Validation: can you justify ‘pulling the trigger’ on anyone you reach for, or wait on, or grab as a deep sleeper?

These three words should ring in your head (over and over and over again) and help you feel comfortable and more importantly confident in your selections during your drafts. And when you crush it, feel free to thank me later. You’re welcome!

There are some outliers however with a few players. Maybe it's moving pieces. Maybe it's recency bias. Maybe it's just hype. Maybe I feel like they are worth the discussion. And maybe you should pay attention!

The Good - Who were we a year early on that’s providing better value now:

I gotta tell you I wasn’t someone who fully bought into the Jamison Crowder hype in Standard Scoring. But with PPR I was all in. Garçon and Jackson had moved on, and Chris Thompson wasn’t a ‘thing’ yet. But we saw enough to know the volume was coming his way. Maybe we overlooked potential TD regression (7 TDS in 2016 to 3 TDS in 2017), but that was a risk most (including myself) overlooked coupled with slight losses in the Yards Per Catch and Catch Rate Percentage - none of it helped Crowder last season

For starters, I think Kirk Cousins is being made the scapegoat of a Redskins Offense that underperformed. Yes, he is the QB, and yes the team goes through him. Where was Jordan Reed last year? Their O-Line? Non-existent. Doctson was shaky, as were the turnstile-like Running Back Committee. Cousins couldn’t create availability, and I think did all he could with them. That’s not enough for the price and security he was seeking after being ‘tagged out’ in Washington.

Enter ‘Mr. Safety’ in Alex Smith who does not turn the ball over with less (although what he had was deadly) options available. Intercepts, fumbles, passer ratings; Smith fits the mold of what Jay Gruden wants. I think Smith helps Crowder and in turn will boost Smith’s production. Short, sharp passes from the slot. A possession Receiver with great hands. This seems the perfect match. We saw what we want Crowder to be this year and as a result, we (yes we, you know you were apart of this!) set our expectations up too high. Also, the Redskins O-Line was trashed with injuries in 2017, but did you know in 2016 it was ranked 12th overall to start the year and finished 7th to end the season? If you give Alex Smith time and space in the pocket, I think he will find Crowder frequently.

ADP -

2017: Crowder was going as the #68 or WR28.

2017: He finished as the WR33.

2018: Crowder is going as the #82 or WR33.

This tells me he is being valued around the same as what he was, but the average drafter has stopped reaching for him and drafting Crowder ‘when he falls.’ Perfect. Value, with his past Volume, can be Validated here.

I think where he went last year and how he performed has stung the Fantasy Football community a little more than they would like to admit and is probably the main reason why he has slipped down rankings and tiers. To compare another Receiver to my (not so favorite) Sammy Watkins (damn there he is again) who sees less Targets and Receptions always goes higher in redraft formats. Hoping for Yards and TDS in a PPR format is a risky game to play and hoping he achieves 8 TDS again in a stacked Chiefs Offense is surely not likely to happen as the 4th Receiving option. How we can think less of Crowder, he is beyond me, and I think Crowder has an extremely safe floor and can outperform where he gets taken in 2018.

Prediction Of Crowders Ceiling -

Targets - 114 / Receptions - 73 / Yards - 899 / 6 TDS

The Bad - we should be higher on one than the other….but who?

There are 2 Running Backs who are taken relatively close to one another. One feels like he has missed a step, the other feels like we want him to be something that he is not. What I want to know is who they are as both players are being taken in the 2nd Round. Here is an overview of their 2017 seasons:

PLAYER A - (Standard Scoring / PPR)

Points: 164.2 Points = RB13 / 200.2 = RB13

ADP: #15 Overall / #17 Overall

Stats: 196 Attempts, 865 Yards, 4.41 YPC, 7 TDS / 47 Targets, 36 Receptions, 317 Yards, 6.74 YPR, 1 TD (232 Total Touches, 1182 Total Yards, 8 Total TDS)

PLAYER B - (Standard Scoring / PPR)

Points: 148.6 Points = RB15 / 228.6 = RB10

ADP: #25 Overall / #19 Overall

Stats: 117 Attempts, 435 Yards, 3.72 YPC, 2 TDS / 113 Targets, 80 Receptions, 651 Yards, 5.76 YPR, 5 TDS (197 Total Touches, 1086 Total Yards, 7 Total TDS)

So - Player A has 15.6 Points More In Standard Scoring and had 36 more touches overall. Player B has 28.4 Points More In PPR but was clearly much more dominant in the air. Therefore it would make sense that in Standard Scoring that Player A is going higher and vice-versa for Player B in PPR. Player A is clearly a much better traditional Running Back, while Player B is more of a hybrid, extremely effective with his hands.

PLAYER A -

Had a down year. It was the first time in Standard Scoring he had finished outside the Top 12 as a RB in Standard or PPR since 2015, and in 2015 we forget that he was the RB1 overall in Standard Scoring and PPR and was the RB6 overall in both formats also a year later. A new OC in 2017 with a different coaching philosophy caused this superstar a few headaches, and maybe a few concussions didn’t help his cause also. People are not getting excited about Devonta Freeman at all. Some will blame Steve Sarkisian; others will say he isn’t durable enough. But the highest paid Running Back in the league right now will need to step up and turn back the clock and prove his worth as Tevin Coleman is in a contract year and the Falcons drafted Ito Smith.

We have seen when he gets used on the ground and in the air how devastating he can be. This is one of the changes that will take place to the Falcons scheme in 2018. Atlanta was such a start/stop Offense that people are jumping of him, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. Something has got to give, and I think they will go back to basics first and start using Freeman more. However, in his breakout year, Freeman had a combined 338 Touches. In 2016, 292. That’s over 100 Total Touches LOST in 2 years since and is one of the biggest factors behind his drop. They just aren’t using him enough.

PLAYER B -

Was a Rookie. He was a hype machine. And while Fournette, Cook, Hunt, and Kamara all crushed, however, our subject; Christian McCaffrey kinda somewhat did ok. His Receiving game saved his skin because the reality was - he just was not very good as a Running Back. Cam Newton coming back from an injury, needed someone to be his legs and McCaffrey failed. My feeling is that the Panthers used Jonathan Stewart way more than they wanted to and 200 carries was more than expected. 117 Carries for your Round 1 Draft Pick? That's it? Curtis Samuel will be back from injury at some point. They drafted start recruit, DJ Moore. Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess will be healthy to start the year but that O-Line looks weaker after losing Andrew Norwell to the Jaguars this offseason? Oh, and they recruited CJ Anderson to add depth to the Running Back room.

For some reason, we believe that an old-school mind like Norv Turner is going to know what to do with a guy as talented and gifted as Christian McCaffrey’s skill set is. For the life of me, I can’t see it happening. Here is a bold prediction: McCaffrey is going to the slot first, backfield second; CJ Anderson is the lead Running Back in Carolina for 2018. They are talking about getting him hitting 200 Rush Attempts. That's still barely 750 yards on the ground. For a guy who is maybe 200lbs? Really? No. Once again that will be CJ Anderson (4.11 Yards Per Carry) and Cam Newton’s role doing that. 3rd Downs his speed will come in handy as a mismatch. My gut-feeling is that McCaffrey was a mistake from the Dave Gettleman era, to begin with. And while they have invested Draft Capitol in him, I think they are going to bluff their way around McCaffrey’s inability to be the lead back and not being able to tote the rock like their newest free agent recruit, CJ Anderson.

Prediction Of Freeman And McCaffrey’s Ceiling -

Devonta Freeman

Rush Attempts 245 / Yards 1055.95 / TDS 7 / Targets 69 / Receptions 42 / Yards 344.4 / TDS / 2

Total Touches 287 / Total Yards 1400.35 / Total TDS 9

Christian McCaffrey

Rush Attempts 146 / Yards 554.05 / TDS 3 / Targets 118 / Receptions 82 / Yards 667.48 / TDS 6

Total Touches 264 / Total Yards 1221.53 / Total TDS 9

The Ugly - 7 games? No, really?

Here’s how you can kill a career and make one in the same moment - while looking stupid and brilliant at the same time (sounds hard but it’s not) in doing so:

Bill O’Brien lead everyone to believe that Tom Savage was the Texans starting QB in 2017 while trading away a plethora of picks to Draft Deshaun Watson. A stupid statement followed by a lucky move that saw Watson still on the board where they got him. He then continues to say that Savage will start in Round 1 vs the heavily recruited and motivated Jacksonville Jaguars Defense (stupid move). Savage went 13-7-62 yds and was SACKED SIX TIMES WITHIN A HALF OF FOOTBALL!!!! BRUTAL!!!!

The Jaguars not only buried Savage (and probably his career) but they gave him the shovel and forced him to dig his own grave. The irony in ruining Savage is that they likely found the QB that may haunt them as AFC South Division rivals for the next decade in Deshaun Watson who then got the start. This made O'Brien's recruitment look brilliant.

We know that only Watson played seven games (1 not as a starter and the other when he tore his ACL). We saw him rush for nearly 40 yards on average a game. We saw him throw for nearly 250 yards per game also. We know he made Will Fuller relevant for once. He and DeAndre Hopkins looked like they’d been playing football together for ten years, even though he was a Rookie. Hey! He even gave Lamar Miller life - he looked sort of effective! He did look like Russell Wilson at times, and that means he can sometimes be as lucky as he is flukey.

Here’s the problem. I get that we ‘miss’ on players during a draft but to be fair, the QB position is loaded. So to that point (outside of dynasty or 2QB/Superflex) leagues, no-one was touching Watson. Today Deshaun Watson, of 7 Total Career games, is going as the 2nd QB off the board behind Aaron Rodgers in the end of the 3rd Round (#37 overall). This is ridiculous. I’m sorry, but if you are telling me that in the same round I can get Rodgers or Watson then it’s RODGERS ALL DAY! And if you are also telling me that I’m taking Watson before the following guys:

Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, Zach Ertz, Mark Ingram, Sony Michel, Rashaad Penny, Brandin Cooks - then you have to be joking. Because two whole rounds later I can get Russell Wilson and not miss out on any of those guys. You remember Wilson right? Top Scoring Fantasy player last year?

Yeah, I’m good to wait on Watson, and I can live by passing on him altogether. Watson that high is a joke unless you are equally as high when you are drafting him. Which may seem funny at the time but you’re probably going regret it later. Deshaun Watson is going way too high and is being overdrafted at his current ADP this year; he needs to fall back down a few Rounds for you to even justify taking him there. He will still likely win you many games, but so could Marcus Mariota who is being taken nearly 10 Rounds later.

So please, for your 2nd favorite writer for The Back Row Fantasy Show - Please stop taking Deshaun Watson in the 3rd Round.

Good!

Prediction Of Watson’s Ceiling

Attempts 466 / Completions 316 / Yards 4381.76 / TDS 33

Rushing Yards 391 / Rushing TDS 4

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.

Check out Chris Foster’s work on the also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.

And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow - Remember to Rate/Review/Share/Like/Subscribe to the Podcast and posts!

But most of all…..Enjoy!

 Pat Mahomes Joins the ELITE  July 12, 2018  By @FootballNuke  In the fantasy football world, quarterbacks are relegated to red-headed step children. Especially in re-draft leagues, quarterbacks are almost an afterthought. This is true to such an extent that a very popular strategy in re-draft is to stream quarterbacks – where fantasy owners add and drop their starting quarterbacks each week depending on matchups. Given the multitude of scoring formats, the streaming strategy is not always a great one to go with. However, it is a popular strategy because in the more common scoring platforms, the strategy works.  There are exceptions to the streaming strategy rule, however. There are some, albeit a very few, quarterbacks that consistently put up the kind of stats that will defeat those players that are streaming QB’s. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Patriots QB Tom Brady and the Panthers’ Cam Newton comprise the list of quarterbacks that can start every week consistently. Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz and Texans’ QB DeShaun Watson were that caliber of quarterback last year, but each played less than the full season due to injury, plus neither of them have the reliable track record of production. Both Wentz and Watson had very high TD pass per attempt numbers which suggests that repeating that amount of production is going to be difficult for either of them. The Saints’ Drew Brees used to be on the short list, but last year’s shift to the running game in New Orleans put a damper on Brees’ reliability.  The rest of the quarterbacks in the NFL are streamers or late round picks in re-draft. Except for one. There is a newcomer to the elite quarterback rankings. One who has all the tools to become a fantasy factor. That quarterback is the Chiefs’ Pat Mahomes.  Mahomes has more going for him than most fledgling quarterbacks. There’s head coach Andy Reid, who is known for tailoring offenses to fit the abilities of his players. Mahomes has a superstar tight end in Travis Kelce. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is a certifiable threat to score whenever he touches the ball. This year, Hill is joined by Sammy Watkins, who Reid is using all over the field in minicamps. Watkins enters his second season following foot surgery showing no ill effects. He has the skillset and now the opportunity to be a top-five performer among wideouts.  Young quarterbacks benefit from high-quality running games, and the Kansas City backfield looks to be a good one. Sophomore Kareem Hunt leads the charge with Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West in the mix as well. The Chiefs' backfield should take pressure of their young quarterback, forcing defenses to respect the run and pressure Mahomes less.  Do not be mistaken though. Pat Mahomes is not a statue in the pocket. He moves well, making throws on the run that other quarterbacks can only dream of doing (example A:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsPq-u2--8s  ). He has good speed running out of the backfield to go along with the rocket of a right arm. His physical abilities are all positive factors in this equation.  What about Mahomes' decision making ability? He does not take advantage of every opportunity as of yet. In his last year at Texas Tech, Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards, completing 388 out of 591 attempts for completion percentage of 65.7%. In his short time in the NFL last year, he threw for a completion percentage of 62.9%. That’s not bad for a start.  It may not be long before we see Mahomes join the elite ranks of fantasy quarterbacks. With his ceiling, he will challenge the likes of Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and possibly even the best fantasy quarterback in the league – Aaron Rodgers.  Imagine if you will – a world where Aaron Rodgers’ receiving corps consists of Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce. Give Rodgers that type of receiving talent across the board, I’ll give you the first 5,500-yard passer.  I am sure you are saying right now “Wait, wait, wait – you aren’t honestly comparing Mahomes to Rodgers are you? That is a bit presumptuous.” My response is that I am not really comparing them as much as I am outlining the type of perfect storm that Mahomes is entering. He has the coach. He has the weapons. He has the talent. If Mahomes takes advantage of all the things he has going for him, he will be the next quarterback to move to that elite, Rodgers-esque level.  Thanks for reading. Check back often to find new articles, of follow us on Twitter to know when the newest info drops. Give @theBleaguesays a follow on Twitter. He has a quick wit and a great sense of humor. All of this free of charge to you, loyal readers, and powered by the Back Row Fantasy Show!

Pat Mahomes Joins the ELITE

July 12, 2018

By @FootballNuke

In the fantasy football world, quarterbacks are relegated to red-headed step children. Especially in re-draft leagues, quarterbacks are almost an afterthought. This is true to such an extent that a very popular strategy in re-draft is to stream quarterbacks – where fantasy owners add and drop their starting quarterbacks each week depending on matchups. Given the multitude of scoring formats, the streaming strategy is not always a great one to go with. However, it is a popular strategy because in the more common scoring platforms, the strategy works.

There are exceptions to the streaming strategy rule, however. There are some, albeit a very few, quarterbacks that consistently put up the kind of stats that will defeat those players that are streaming QB’s. Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Patriots QB Tom Brady and the Panthers’ Cam Newton comprise the list of quarterbacks that can start every week consistently. Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz and Texans’ QB DeShaun Watson were that caliber of quarterback last year, but each played less than the full season due to injury, plus neither of them have the reliable track record of production. Both Wentz and Watson had very high TD pass per attempt numbers which suggests that repeating that amount of production is going to be difficult for either of them. The Saints’ Drew Brees used to be on the short list, but last year’s shift to the running game in New Orleans put a damper on Brees’ reliability.

The rest of the quarterbacks in the NFL are streamers or late round picks in re-draft. Except for one. There is a newcomer to the elite quarterback rankings. One who has all the tools to become a fantasy factor. That quarterback is the Chiefs’ Pat Mahomes.

Mahomes has more going for him than most fledgling quarterbacks. There’s head coach Andy Reid, who is known for tailoring offenses to fit the abilities of his players. Mahomes has a superstar tight end in Travis Kelce. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill is a certifiable threat to score whenever he touches the ball. This year, Hill is joined by Sammy Watkins, who Reid is using all over the field in minicamps. Watkins enters his second season following foot surgery showing no ill effects. He has the skillset and now the opportunity to be a top-five performer among wideouts.

Young quarterbacks benefit from high-quality running games, and the Kansas City backfield looks to be a good one. Sophomore Kareem Hunt leads the charge with Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West in the mix as well. The Chiefs' backfield should take pressure of their young quarterback, forcing defenses to respect the run and pressure Mahomes less.

Do not be mistaken though. Pat Mahomes is not a statue in the pocket. He moves well, making throws on the run that other quarterbacks can only dream of doing (example A: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsPq-u2--8s ). He has good speed running out of the backfield to go along with the rocket of a right arm. His physical abilities are all positive factors in this equation.

What about Mahomes' decision making ability? He does not take advantage of every opportunity as of yet. In his last year at Texas Tech, Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards, completing 388 out of 591 attempts for completion percentage of 65.7%. In his short time in the NFL last year, he threw for a completion percentage of 62.9%. That’s not bad for a start.

It may not be long before we see Mahomes join the elite ranks of fantasy quarterbacks. With his ceiling, he will challenge the likes of Russell Wilson, Cam Newton and possibly even the best fantasy quarterback in the league – Aaron Rodgers.

Imagine if you will – a world where Aaron Rodgers’ receiving corps consists of Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce. Give Rodgers that type of receiving talent across the board, I’ll give you the first 5,500-yard passer.

I am sure you are saying right now “Wait, wait, wait – you aren’t honestly comparing Mahomes to Rodgers are you? That is a bit presumptuous.” My response is that I am not really comparing them as much as I am outlining the type of perfect storm that Mahomes is entering. He has the coach. He has the weapons. He has the talent. If Mahomes takes advantage of all the things he has going for him, he will be the next quarterback to move to that elite, Rodgers-esque level.

Thanks for reading. Check back often to find new articles, of follow us on Twitter to know when the newest info drops. Give @theBleaguesays a follow on Twitter. He has a quick wit and a great sense of humor. All of this free of charge to you, loyal readers, and powered by the Back Row Fantasy Show!

 GOOD/BAD/UGLY 14  7/10/2018  By @theBleagueSays  The Good - Can you Do the Dougie?  The answer is no I cannot Dougie, for those who were wondering. Macarena? Yes, all day. Dougie, no. And it’s not like I haven’t tried, but at 6’3” it just looks stupid.  I also can never get any shares of Doug Baldwin. He is always one of those players that I can never justify reaching for (for no real reason if I’m being honest) and he is the sort of guy that never falls later than he might land to me in the 4th Round. He is also one of the few that for those who draft him rarely trade away, and he is always - ALWAYS - that guy who can pop off for 10 Targets, 3 TDs and 100 Yards in that one week you somehow always happen to be playing him.  The way drafting over the past two years, in particular, has changed and ranking based systems which at times can come across as too assertive and definite has been pushed aside for a Tier based structure. This allows for intangibles like flexibility and personal preference which rankings somewhat restrict.  ****If you haven’t already - check out @FootballNuke / Chris Foster’s work on The Back Row Board, he recently released his Top 200 ADP Dynasty PPR Tiers. Be smart and check it out, now!!!****  And as the NFL is moving into more and more of a passing game, we should be looking to move some of our Receivers a little higher than we already do.  For example; there is a HUGE opportunity for Keenan Allen this year to jump into the upper echelon of Tier One players, let alone Receivers group only. No Hunter Henry or Antonio Gates poaching TDs, with Mike Williams (although talented and could break out this year but is still somewhat an unknown quantity), Ty Williams or Austin Ekeler are how the Chargers will line up this year.  We have seen how opportunity, competition for targets and trust can get someone further than talent alone. Rivers is going to lock into his best player. Like Cutler and Marshall. Romo and Dez. That connection sometimes is enough to catapult a Receiver into the Top 15 in redraft. Volume boots Value.  Doug Baldwin is in a near identical position to Keenan Allen this year, but the needle has somehow not budged an inch. Why?   So is Doug Baldwin overrated or underrated?   Underrated. You can get him in the 3rd round in most redraft leagues so for those going RB heavy feel good about Baldwin at this position. Currently, Baldwin sits at the 3.04 or WR11 in Standard Scoring, WR10 in PPR. Comparatively, in 2017, He went around the 2.12 or as WR11 and WR11 in Standard/PPR respectively. So he has moved back a Round but similarly valued at the spot amongst his Receiver peers.  There is also no Paul Richardson or Jimmy Graham competing for Targets which is great for Baldwin. Marshall, Lockette, and Darboh aren’t going to interfere with Baldwin’s production either. So internally, with a team decimated with departures or mediocrity he is the best option for his QB Russell Wilson.  Baldwin has finished as a Top 12 Receiver each year since 2015 and has finished as high as WR7 in that time span also.   Targets and Receptions? Yards and TDs?   Targets? I’d say he’s the only Receiver they can trust right now. Last season, Baldwin had 116 Targets, 75 Receptions with a 64.7% catch rate. On top of that, he had just under 1000 yards (991) and 8 TDs. In the three years, BALDWIN has been in that top 12 WR group he has had no less than 7 TDs.  Players going around Baldwin are AJ Green, Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, Josh Gordon, Adam Thielen and TY Hilton. The case could be made for Green, and Evans hindering Baldwin climbing up the ranks as they also have no real internal competition for Targets in their team, same with Hilton; but who is throwing the ball to him is another thing to worry about. But outside of them who else has the same clear path?   Where can he finish?   Where he always finishes. As a back-end WR1, and if things go wrong for some, he can creep into that top WR6-9 range. I also think based on his volume he can climb higher in PPR than in Standard Scoring.  My prediction below still feels conservative considering the copious amounts of TDs Jimmy Graham left behind, along with the Targets/Yards/Receptions/TDs that Paul Richardson left also.  This to me, will be his floor.  Prediction for Doug Baldwin 2018:   Targets: 127    Receptions: 95.82    Catch Rate: 75.45%    Yards Per Catch: 9.31    Yards: 990.2    TDs: 10   The Bad - I’ve been a tad unfair…apparently  There is one player that keeps popping up every time I write an article and generally I have been way too harsh on him. And it’s not like I am doing it out of spite as I like watching the player, I’ve drafted him a handful of times myself and have always hoped for the best for him. When he makes plays, you stand up because he sets teams on fire when he is on top. However, I always feel let down or wanting more from him (because he is capable) when he is healthy, which at times has been an issue.  Now onto his third team in 3 years, Sammy Watkins found himself traded from the Bills to the Rams, and then to the Chiefs. Watkins priced himself out in LA, and the Chiefs jumped on board, but I feel like the Rams upgraded at the position with Brandin Cooks over Watkins. And although Watkins secured a ridiculous contract (more on that later), I think the reason I have issue with it is because he doesn’t produce.  Cue the rabble in 3,2,1…..  Yes, I said it.  For starters, we are looking at a guy who hasn’t topped his Targets and Receptions since his Rookie season 4 years ago.  Secondly, some people are already dubbing him as the ‘top dog’ in his new kennel, but the Chiefs boasted players in the Top 5 in each key position as Hunt, Hill, and Kelce all excelled. The glue that kept them all together was Alex Smith who had a career-best year. What Smith did do surprisingly well was go long. He lead the league in deep completions and Hill, and Kelce benefitted the most. So to say that bringing Watkins in to go deep feels like a reach. It can be an argument supported by Pat Mahomes taking the reigns but really, do we see Andy Reid letting a QB with one game under his belt going bonkers straight away to a guy he doesn’t have chemistry with?   So my skepticism has always been;   1. He hasn’t been his electric productive self in 4 years.  2. Watkins couldn’t separate himself from Robert Woods (again) and Cooper Kupp who was a Rookie in 2017.  3. The Chiefs are already loaded and have been extremely productive, so to think he can be the alpha doesn’t make sense.  What are others seeing that I'm not?  What am I missing?  Is he this top-level reception magnet?  No. He’s not. And I’m missing nothing.  In 2014 Fred Jackson had one more Reception than Watkins (65 Receptions), in 2016 LeSean McCoy had 22 more Receptions than Watkins (28, although Watkins missed half a season) and 2017 Todd Gurley had 25 more Receptions than Watkins (39 Receptions). So in 3 out of 4 seasons the Running Backs in his team have or just about had more receptions than he has.  In Kansas, Kareem Hunt had 53 Receptions….which was also more than what Watkins had in 2017 too, so….yeah not really a magnet if Running Backs are just as if not more productive.   What is he and what can he be?   I have an idea which may well answer this...  If you could have Player A or Player B which would you take?  Player A: 62 Targets, 42 Receptions (67.7% Catch Rate), 554 yards, 3 TDs (13 games)  Player B: 70 Targets, 39 Receptions (55.7% Catch Rate), 593 Yards, 8 TDs (15 games)  I dare you! I double freakin’ dare you to take Player A because Player A - SPOILER ALERT - was Albert Wilson for the Chiefs last year who was moved around like they claim Watkins could be in 2018. Player B was Sammy Watkins. Last year. Where he was brought in to be the ‘deep play guy’ but only had 1 of his 8 TDs go longer than 20 yards. Which earns him a near $50 million contract. This year. Which is about twice as much as what Albert Wilson got going to the Dolphins this offseason in Free Agency.  By the way on Fantasypros.com, my ranking bandits you will be pleased to see that your boy Sammy Watkins is going as WR29 or Ranked 73rd overall. The guy he replaced in Kansas, Albert Wilson, is going as WR86 or at a Ranking of 271st. Who is at a team in Miami who have 223 Targets available from the departure of Jarvis Landry and Julius Thomas. Really? Can we stop with this already! He’s not breaking out this year, he broke out four years ago, and this is it.   Prediction for Sammy Watkins 2018:    Targets: 69    Receptions: 44    Catch Rate: 63.76%    Yards Per Catch: 13.04    Yards: 573.82    TDs: 5.5   With these numbers Watkins is going to be this years – yep, you guessed it – 2018 version of Albert Wilson for the Chiefs - except much, much, much, much more richer. At best you may get a WR3/Flex in matchup based scenarios. Or in best-ball, he is worth a shot. But a 500 yard, 5 TD Receiver in the 6th Round? Hard pass for me. I’ll take Kenny Stills in the 11th or reach for Geronimo Allison in the 12th over Watkins.  Again…. I may be riiiiiiiiight….. I may be craaaazzzzyyyy. But I just may be the lunatic your looking for…. To continually point out that everyone else is wrong on this guy. Again…..  The Ugly - No more eating W’s  I will keep this as short and sweet as possible. Just a mini rant so if you skip this, no problems!  Fantasy Football is meant to be fun. For me, writing is a passion and doing so for The Back Row Fantasy Show is a privilege. With this privilege, I treat it as if I’ve been writing for 20 years. You have to, out of respect for those doing it longer and better. I owe it to them and the #BRFS guys for taking a chance on me. And I do it for you, valued consumer, for reading it for entertainment or information purposes or both. Whatever the reason, it’s all good. I started by writing to 13 others. So believe me when I say I honestly am lucky as hell to be doing this. I appreciate it. I do the work, I read it over and over and over again. I try. I try. And I have barely been doing it six months. At times it feels like hard work, but it drives me to do more and do better. The guys provide great content; it gives me ideas to work from. One episode stood out; it felt raw, it felt honest.  The Back Row guys did a podcast with Rookie QB Chase Litton. A local boy, who you could hear when he spoke had to work harder than anyone to get a sniff in the door. With no guarantees and as an Unrestricted Free Agent he sees himself land in Kansas. The reality is he may never get a chance - (we hope he does that’s our guy!) - but opportunities will be slim, few and far between. Which is a shame? That’s also the reality. There are hundreds of guys each year looking for one chance to prove to themselves, their coaches, family, and fans that they are great and can contribute to their Franchises success. Most won’t.  Then, there’s Jameis Winston.  This guy is naturally gifted. Talented with hard work but so, so talented. Revered by his teammates, a highlight reel of brilliance. He could be a fixture for at least another decade. But time and time again he does stupid thing after stupid thing. I have constantly tried to put words together to figure this out. But I let this go for a week, and I’m still stumped. I was heated because this guy does my head infrequently, but he keeps getting away with poor decision-making behavior every freakin’ time!  I just don’t get it. Abuse, of any kind, can’t be treated lightly but a three-game suspension for a repeat offender? Are you kidding me?! No criminal charges? Nothing? Are you kidding me?!  But what’s worse all I hear about is ‘well, the Buccaneers had a tough three games to start the year, and an 0-3 start was looming anyway.’ ‘I like him when he returns to do X, Y, Z.’ Why? Why are we giving him attention and support to succeed again? No really? Again?  We skim over his track record ‘because he was a kid at FSU,’ and ‘he’s keeping away from alcohol now.’ Yeah, ok. Me too! I’ll start this week, on July 4th.  Good one, I’ll believe you.  His Coach and GM are probably going to get fired because they’ll lose more games than not, so he’s costing people their livelihood and reputations. Even though Winston is the driver behind the wheel steering this team off a cliff in an uber (no not an Uber, that won’t happen ever again) competitive NFC South. But he said he was sorry, and that should be good enough. Right?  What about the fans who pay thousands of their hard-earned money a year for season tickets! Is he paying them back? No. Why would he? He’s only let them down. Again. It’s not like he’s shown a lick of maturity or responsibility in his life...  So my question is, how many more chances does Jameis Winston get? The answer is too many and probably some more. As of right now, I am out on him. Done.  Alright, rant over! Short and sweet like I promised!  And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.  Check out Chris Foster’s work on the also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.  And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - Interact and Share while Subscribing to the Podcast which you can also download Rate/Review/Share and Subscribe to.    But most of all…..Enjoy!

GOOD/BAD/UGLY 14

7/10/2018

By @theBleagueSays

The Good - Can you Do the Dougie?

The answer is no I cannot Dougie, for those who were wondering. Macarena? Yes, all day. Dougie, no. And it’s not like I haven’t tried, but at 6’3” it just looks stupid.

I also can never get any shares of Doug Baldwin. He is always one of those players that I can never justify reaching for (for no real reason if I’m being honest) and he is the sort of guy that never falls later than he might land to me in the 4th Round. He is also one of the few that for those who draft him rarely trade away, and he is always - ALWAYS - that guy who can pop off for 10 Targets, 3 TDs and 100 Yards in that one week you somehow always happen to be playing him.

The way drafting over the past two years, in particular, has changed and ranking based systems which at times can come across as too assertive and definite has been pushed aside for a Tier based structure. This allows for intangibles like flexibility and personal preference which rankings somewhat restrict.

****If you haven’t already - check out @FootballNuke / Chris Foster’s work on The Back Row Board, he recently released his Top 200 ADP Dynasty PPR Tiers. Be smart and check it out, now!!!****

And as the NFL is moving into more and more of a passing game, we should be looking to move some of our Receivers a little higher than we already do.

For example; there is a HUGE opportunity for Keenan Allen this year to jump into the upper echelon of Tier One players, let alone Receivers group only. No Hunter Henry or Antonio Gates poaching TDs, with Mike Williams (although talented and could break out this year but is still somewhat an unknown quantity), Ty Williams or Austin Ekeler are how the Chargers will line up this year.

We have seen how opportunity, competition for targets and trust can get someone further than talent alone. Rivers is going to lock into his best player. Like Cutler and Marshall. Romo and Dez. That connection sometimes is enough to catapult a Receiver into the Top 15 in redraft. Volume boots Value.

Doug Baldwin is in a near identical position to Keenan Allen this year, but the needle has somehow not budged an inch. Why?

So is Doug Baldwin overrated or underrated?

Underrated. You can get him in the 3rd round in most redraft leagues so for those going RB heavy feel good about Baldwin at this position. Currently, Baldwin sits at the 3.04 or WR11 in Standard Scoring, WR10 in PPR. Comparatively, in 2017, He went around the 2.12 or as WR11 and WR11 in Standard/PPR respectively. So he has moved back a Round but similarly valued at the spot amongst his Receiver peers.

There is also no Paul Richardson or Jimmy Graham competing for Targets which is great for Baldwin. Marshall, Lockette, and Darboh aren’t going to interfere with Baldwin’s production either. So internally, with a team decimated with departures or mediocrity he is the best option for his QB Russell Wilson.

Baldwin has finished as a Top 12 Receiver each year since 2015 and has finished as high as WR7 in that time span also.

Targets and Receptions? Yards and TDs?

Targets? I’d say he’s the only Receiver they can trust right now. Last season, Baldwin had 116 Targets, 75 Receptions with a 64.7% catch rate. On top of that, he had just under 1000 yards (991) and 8 TDs. In the three years, BALDWIN has been in that top 12 WR group he has had no less than 7 TDs.

Players going around Baldwin are AJ Green, Mike Evans, Tyreek Hill, Josh Gordon, Adam Thielen and TY Hilton. The case could be made for Green, and Evans hindering Baldwin climbing up the ranks as they also have no real internal competition for Targets in their team, same with Hilton; but who is throwing the ball to him is another thing to worry about. But outside of them who else has the same clear path?

Where can he finish?

Where he always finishes. As a back-end WR1, and if things go wrong for some, he can creep into that top WR6-9 range. I also think based on his volume he can climb higher in PPR than in Standard Scoring.

My prediction below still feels conservative considering the copious amounts of TDs Jimmy Graham left behind, along with the Targets/Yards/Receptions/TDs that Paul Richardson left also.

This to me, will be his floor.

Prediction for Doug Baldwin 2018:

Targets: 127

Receptions: 95.82

Catch Rate: 75.45%

Yards Per Catch: 9.31

Yards: 990.2

TDs: 10

The Bad - I’ve been a tad unfair…apparently

There is one player that keeps popping up every time I write an article and generally I have been way too harsh on him. And it’s not like I am doing it out of spite as I like watching the player, I’ve drafted him a handful of times myself and have always hoped for the best for him. When he makes plays, you stand up because he sets teams on fire when he is on top. However, I always feel let down or wanting more from him (because he is capable) when he is healthy, which at times has been an issue.

Now onto his third team in 3 years, Sammy Watkins found himself traded from the Bills to the Rams, and then to the Chiefs. Watkins priced himself out in LA, and the Chiefs jumped on board, but I feel like the Rams upgraded at the position with Brandin Cooks over Watkins. And although Watkins secured a ridiculous contract (more on that later), I think the reason I have issue with it is because he doesn’t produce.

Cue the rabble in 3,2,1…..

Yes, I said it.

For starters, we are looking at a guy who hasn’t topped his Targets and Receptions since his Rookie season 4 years ago.

Secondly, some people are already dubbing him as the ‘top dog’ in his new kennel, but the Chiefs boasted players in the Top 5 in each key position as Hunt, Hill, and Kelce all excelled. The glue that kept them all together was Alex Smith who had a career-best year. What Smith did do surprisingly well was go long. He lead the league in deep completions and Hill, and Kelce benefitted the most. So to say that bringing Watkins in to go deep feels like a reach. It can be an argument supported by Pat Mahomes taking the reigns but really, do we see Andy Reid letting a QB with one game under his belt going bonkers straight away to a guy he doesn’t have chemistry with?

So my skepticism has always been;

1. He hasn’t been his electric productive self in 4 years.

2. Watkins couldn’t separate himself from Robert Woods (again) and Cooper Kupp who was a Rookie in 2017.

3. The Chiefs are already loaded and have been extremely productive, so to think he can be the alpha doesn’t make sense.

What are others seeing that I'm not?

What am I missing?

Is he this top-level reception magnet?

No. He’s not. And I’m missing nothing.

In 2014 Fred Jackson had one more Reception than Watkins (65 Receptions), in 2016 LeSean McCoy had 22 more Receptions than Watkins (28, although Watkins missed half a season) and 2017 Todd Gurley had 25 more Receptions than Watkins (39 Receptions). So in 3 out of 4 seasons the Running Backs in his team have or just about had more receptions than he has.

In Kansas, Kareem Hunt had 53 Receptions….which was also more than what Watkins had in 2017 too, so….yeah not really a magnet if Running Backs are just as if not more productive.

What is he and what can he be?

I have an idea which may well answer this...

If you could have Player A or Player B which would you take?

Player A: 62 Targets, 42 Receptions (67.7% Catch Rate), 554 yards, 3 TDs (13 games)

Player B: 70 Targets, 39 Receptions (55.7% Catch Rate), 593 Yards, 8 TDs (15 games)

I dare you! I double freakin’ dare you to take Player A because Player A - SPOILER ALERT - was Albert Wilson for the Chiefs last year who was moved around like they claim Watkins could be in 2018. Player B was Sammy Watkins. Last year. Where he was brought in to be the ‘deep play guy’ but only had 1 of his 8 TDs go longer than 20 yards. Which earns him a near $50 million contract. This year. Which is about twice as much as what Albert Wilson got going to the Dolphins this offseason in Free Agency.

By the way on Fantasypros.com, my ranking bandits you will be pleased to see that your boy Sammy Watkins is going as WR29 or Ranked 73rd overall. The guy he replaced in Kansas, Albert Wilson, is going as WR86 or at a Ranking of 271st. Who is at a team in Miami who have 223 Targets available from the departure of Jarvis Landry and Julius Thomas. Really? Can we stop with this already! He’s not breaking out this year, he broke out four years ago, and this is it.

Prediction for Sammy Watkins 2018:

Targets: 69

Receptions: 44

Catch Rate: 63.76%

Yards Per Catch: 13.04

Yards: 573.82

TDs: 5.5

With these numbers Watkins is going to be this years – yep, you guessed it – 2018 version of Albert Wilson for the Chiefs - except much, much, much, much more richer. At best you may get a WR3/Flex in matchup based scenarios. Or in best-ball, he is worth a shot. But a 500 yard, 5 TD Receiver in the 6th Round? Hard pass for me. I’ll take Kenny Stills in the 11th or reach for Geronimo Allison in the 12th over Watkins.

Again…. I may be riiiiiiiiight….. I may be craaaazzzzyyyy. But I just may be the lunatic your looking for…. To continually point out that everyone else is wrong on this guy. Again…..

The Ugly - No more eating W’s

I will keep this as short and sweet as possible. Just a mini rant so if you skip this, no problems!

Fantasy Football is meant to be fun. For me, writing is a passion and doing so for The Back Row Fantasy Show is a privilege. With this privilege, I treat it as if I’ve been writing for 20 years. You have to, out of respect for those doing it longer and better. I owe it to them and the #BRFS guys for taking a chance on me. And I do it for you, valued consumer, for reading it for entertainment or information purposes or both. Whatever the reason, it’s all good. I started by writing to 13 others. So believe me when I say I honestly am lucky as hell to be doing this. I appreciate it. I do the work, I read it over and over and over again. I try. I try. And I have barely been doing it six months. At times it feels like hard work, but it drives me to do more and do better. The guys provide great content; it gives me ideas to work from. One episode stood out; it felt raw, it felt honest.

The Back Row guys did a podcast with Rookie QB Chase Litton. A local boy, who you could hear when he spoke had to work harder than anyone to get a sniff in the door. With no guarantees and as an Unrestricted Free Agent he sees himself land in Kansas. The reality is he may never get a chance - (we hope he does that’s our guy!) - but opportunities will be slim, few and far between. Which is a shame? That’s also the reality. There are hundreds of guys each year looking for one chance to prove to themselves, their coaches, family, and fans that they are great and can contribute to their Franchises success. Most won’t.

Then, there’s Jameis Winston.

This guy is naturally gifted. Talented with hard work but so, so talented. Revered by his teammates, a highlight reel of brilliance. He could be a fixture for at least another decade. But time and time again he does stupid thing after stupid thing. I have constantly tried to put words together to figure this out. But I let this go for a week, and I’m still stumped. I was heated because this guy does my head infrequently, but he keeps getting away with poor decision-making behavior every freakin’ time!

I just don’t get it. Abuse, of any kind, can’t be treated lightly but a three-game suspension for a repeat offender? Are you kidding me?! No criminal charges? Nothing? Are you kidding me?!

But what’s worse all I hear about is ‘well, the Buccaneers had a tough three games to start the year, and an 0-3 start was looming anyway.’ ‘I like him when he returns to do X, Y, Z.’ Why? Why are we giving him attention and support to succeed again? No really? Again?

We skim over his track record ‘because he was a kid at FSU,’ and ‘he’s keeping away from alcohol now.’ Yeah, ok. Me too! I’ll start this week, on July 4th.

Good one, I’ll believe you.

His Coach and GM are probably going to get fired because they’ll lose more games than not, so he’s costing people their livelihood and reputations. Even though Winston is the driver behind the wheel steering this team off a cliff in an uber (no not an Uber, that won’t happen ever again) competitive NFC South. But he said he was sorry, and that should be good enough. Right?

What about the fans who pay thousands of their hard-earned money a year for season tickets! Is he paying them back? No. Why would he? He’s only let them down. Again. It’s not like he’s shown a lick of maturity or responsibility in his life...

So my question is, how many more chances does Jameis Winston get? The answer is too many and probably some more. As of right now, I am out on him. Done.

Alright, rant over! Short and sweet like I promised!

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.

Check out Chris Foster’s work on the also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.

And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - Interact and Share while Subscribing to the Podcast which you can also download Rate/Review/Share and Subscribe to.

But most of all…..Enjoy!

 Top 200 ADP Dynasty PPR Rankings  By @FootballNuke  7/1/2018  July 1st is here and it’s time for some serious ADP action! A fantasy fanatic can never have too many lists you know, so here is my top 200 dynasty PPR rankings. I am always up for a good ADP debate, so hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke anytime!  TIER 1  1. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU  2. Odell Beckham, Jr., NYG  3. Todd Gurley, LAR, LAR  4. David Johnson, ARI  5. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL  6. Antonio Brown, PIT  7. Saquon Barkley, NYG  8. Le’Veon Bell, PIT  9. Alvin Kamara, NO  TIER 2  10. Davante Adams, GB  11. Mike Evans, TB  12. Michael Thomas, NO  13. Keenan Allen, SD  14. Julio Jones, ATL  15. Leonard Fournette, JAX  16. Dalvin Cook, MIN  17. Kareem Hunt, KC  18. Christian McCaffrey, CAR  19. Allen Robinson, CHI  20. AJ Green, CIN  21. Melvin Gordon, SD  22. Stefon Diggs, MIN  23. Joe Mixon, CIN  24. Travis Kelce, KC  25. Devonta Freeman, ATL  26. T.Y. Hilton, IND  27. Tyreek Hill, KC  28. Jarvis Landry, CLE  TIER 3  29. Corey Davis, TEN  30. Adam Thielen, MIN  31. Derrius Guice, WAS  32. Jordan Howard, CHI  33. Brandin Cooks, LAR  34. Rob Gronkowski, NE  35. Juju Smith-Schuster, PIT  36. Alshon Jeffrey, PHI  37. Doug Baldwin, SEA  38. Amari Cooper, OAK  39. Zach Ertz, PHI  40. Aaron Rodgers, GB  41. Evan Engram, NYG  42. Josh Gordon, CLE  43. Derrick Henry, TEN  44. Carson Wentz, PHI  45. Russell Wilson, SEA  46. Jerick McKinnon, SF  47. Golden Tate, DET  48. Tom Brady, NE  49. Marvin Jones, DET  50. DeShaun Watson, HOU  51. Demaryius Thomas, DEN  52. Cooper Kupp, LAR  53. Sterling Shepard, NYG  54. LeSean McCoy, BUF  55. Jameis Winston, TB  56. Sammy Watkins, KC  57. Devante Parker, MIA  58. Carlos Hyde, CLE  59. Tevin Coleman, ATL  60. Mark Ingram, NO  61. Devin Funchess, CAR  62. Robert Woods, LAR  63. Mike Williams, LAC  64. Ronald Jones II, TB  65. David Njoku, CLE  66. Michael Crabtree, BAL  67. Andrew Luck, IND  68. O.J. Howard, TB  69. Jamison Crowder, WAS  70. Will Fuller, HOU  71. Jay Ajayi, PHI  72. Duke Johnson, CLE  73. Lamar Miller, HOU  74. Nelson Agholor, PHI  75. Cam Newton, CAR  76. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF  77. Marcus Mariota, TEN  78. Chris Godwin, TB  79. Kirk Cousins, WAS  80. Jared Goff, LAR  81. Kenyan Drake, MIA  82. Patrick Mahomes, KC  83. Kyle Rudolph, MIN  84. Aaron Jones, GB  85. Marquise Lee, JAX  86. Alex Collins, BAL  87. Dion Lewis, TEN  88. Randall Cobb, GB  89. Michael Gallup, DAL  90. Tarik Cohen, CHI  91. Marlon Mack, IND  92. Dak Prescott, DAL  93. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN  94. Matthew Stafford, DET  95. Kelvin Benjamin, BUF  96. Robby Anderson, NYJ  97. Chris Thompson, WAS  98. Jimmy Graham, GB  99. Sony Michel, NE  100. Kenny Golladay, DET  101. Greg Olsen, CAR  102. Marquise Goodwin, SF  103. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI  TIER 4  104. Rashaad Penny, SEA  105. Josh Doctson, WAS  106. Dez Bryant, FA  107. C.J. Anderson, CAR  108. Chris Hogan, NE  109. Isaiah Crowell, NYJ  110. Derek Carr, OAK  111. Trey Burton, CHI  112. D’Onta Foreman, HOU  113. Royce Freeman, DEN  114. D.J. Moore, CAR  115. Jordan Reed, WAS  116. Pierre Garcon, SF  117. Dede Westbrook, JAX  118. Nick Chubb, CLE  119. Calvin Ridley, ATL  120. Cameron Meredith, CHI  121. Corey Coleman, CLE  122. Rishard Matthews, TEN  123. Donte Moncrief, JAX  124. Matt Ryan, ATL  125. Jamaal Williams, GB  126. George Kittle, SF  127. Martavis Bryant, OAK  128. Jack Doyle, IND  129. John Ross, CIN  130. Jordan Mathews, NE  131. Giovanni Bernard, CIN  132. Delanie Walker, TEN  133. Mitch Trubisky, CHI  134. Ty Montgomery, GB  135. Julian Edelman, NE  TIER 5  136. Theo Riddick, DET  137. Rex Burkhead, NE  138. Zay Jones, BUF  139. Kenny Stills, MIA  140. Courtland Sutton, DEN  141. Ameer Abdullah, DET  142. Jordy Nelson, OAK  143. Paul Richardson, WAS  144. Tyler Eifert, CIN  145. Eric Ebron, IND  146. Christian Kirk, ARI  147. Tyrell Williams, LAC  148. Drew Brees, NO  149. Samaje Perine, WAS  150. Tyler Lockett, SEA  151. John Brown, BAL  152. Chris Carson, SEA  153. DeSean Jackson, TB  154. Curtis Samuel, CAR  155. James Washington, PIT  156. Kerryon Johnson, DET  157. Allen Hurns, DAL  158. James White, NE  159. Mike Gesicki, MIA  160. Anthony Miller, CHI  161. Baker Mayfield, CLE  162. Cameron Brate, TB  163. Jonnu Smith, TEN  164. Devontae Booker, DEN  165. Keelan Cole, JAX  166. Philip Rivers, LAC  167. Doug Martin, OAK  168. Dallas Goedert, PHI  169. Gerald Everett, LAR  170. Matt Breida, SF  171. Corey Clement, PHI  172. Kenneth Dixon, BAL  173. Taywan Taylor, TEN  174. C.J. Prosise, SEA  175. Josh Rosen, ARI  176. Mohammed Sanu, ATL  177. Sam Darnold, NYJ  178. Bilal Powell, NYJ  179. Spencer Ware, KC  180. Marshawn Lynch, OAK  181. D.J. Chark, JAX  182. T.J. Yeldon, JAX  183. Latavius Murray, MIN  184. Terrelle Pryor, NYJ  185. Wayne Gallman, NYG  186. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT  187. Quincy Enunwa, NYJ  188. Laquon Treadwell, MIN  189. Adam Shaheen, CHI  190. Tre’Quan Smith, NO  191. Kalen Ballage, MIA  192. John Kelly, LAR  193. Lamar Jackson, BAL  194. Hayden Hurst, BAL  195. Blake Bortles, JAX  196. Mark Andrews, BAL  197. J.J. Nelson, ARI  198. Vance McDonald, PIT  199. Albert Wilson, MIA  200. Nyheim Hines, IND

Top 200 ADP Dynasty PPR Rankings

By @FootballNuke

7/1/2018

July 1st is here and it’s time for some serious ADP action! A fantasy fanatic can never have too many lists you know, so here is my top 200 dynasty PPR rankings. I am always up for a good ADP debate, so hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke anytime!

TIER 1

1. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU

2. Odell Beckham, Jr., NYG

3. Todd Gurley, LAR, LAR

4. David Johnson, ARI

5. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL

6. Antonio Brown, PIT

7. Saquon Barkley, NYG

8. Le’Veon Bell, PIT

9. Alvin Kamara, NO

TIER 2

10. Davante Adams, GB

11. Mike Evans, TB

12. Michael Thomas, NO

13. Keenan Allen, SD

14. Julio Jones, ATL

15. Leonard Fournette, JAX

16. Dalvin Cook, MIN

17. Kareem Hunt, KC

18. Christian McCaffrey, CAR

19. Allen Robinson, CHI

20. AJ Green, CIN

21. Melvin Gordon, SD

22. Stefon Diggs, MIN

23. Joe Mixon, CIN

24. Travis Kelce, KC

25. Devonta Freeman, ATL

26. T.Y. Hilton, IND

27. Tyreek Hill, KC

28. Jarvis Landry, CLE

TIER 3

29. Corey Davis, TEN

30. Adam Thielen, MIN

31. Derrius Guice, WAS

32. Jordan Howard, CHI

33. Brandin Cooks, LAR

34. Rob Gronkowski, NE

35. Juju Smith-Schuster, PIT

36. Alshon Jeffrey, PHI

37. Doug Baldwin, SEA

38. Amari Cooper, OAK

39. Zach Ertz, PHI

40. Aaron Rodgers, GB

41. Evan Engram, NYG

42. Josh Gordon, CLE

43. Derrick Henry, TEN

44. Carson Wentz, PHI

45. Russell Wilson, SEA

46. Jerick McKinnon, SF

47. Golden Tate, DET

48. Tom Brady, NE

49. Marvin Jones, DET

50. DeShaun Watson, HOU

51. Demaryius Thomas, DEN

52. Cooper Kupp, LAR

53. Sterling Shepard, NYG

54. LeSean McCoy, BUF

55. Jameis Winston, TB

56. Sammy Watkins, KC

57. Devante Parker, MIA

58. Carlos Hyde, CLE

59. Tevin Coleman, ATL

60. Mark Ingram, NO

61. Devin Funchess, CAR

62. Robert Woods, LAR

63. Mike Williams, LAC

64. Ronald Jones II, TB

65. David Njoku, CLE

66. Michael Crabtree, BAL

67. Andrew Luck, IND

68. O.J. Howard, TB

69. Jamison Crowder, WAS

70. Will Fuller, HOU

71. Jay Ajayi, PHI

72. Duke Johnson, CLE

73. Lamar Miller, HOU

74. Nelson Agholor, PHI

75. Cam Newton, CAR

76. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF

77. Marcus Mariota, TEN

78. Chris Godwin, TB

79. Kirk Cousins, WAS

80. Jared Goff, LAR

81. Kenyan Drake, MIA

82. Patrick Mahomes, KC

83. Kyle Rudolph, MIN

84. Aaron Jones, GB

85. Marquise Lee, JAX

86. Alex Collins, BAL

87. Dion Lewis, TEN

88. Randall Cobb, GB

89. Michael Gallup, DAL

90. Tarik Cohen, CHI

91. Marlon Mack, IND

92. Dak Prescott, DAL

93. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN

94. Matthew Stafford, DET

95. Kelvin Benjamin, BUF

96. Robby Anderson, NYJ

97. Chris Thompson, WAS

98. Jimmy Graham, GB

99. Sony Michel, NE

100. Kenny Golladay, DET

101. Greg Olsen, CAR

102. Marquise Goodwin, SF

103. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI

TIER 4

104. Rashaad Penny, SEA

105. Josh Doctson, WAS

106. Dez Bryant, FA

107. C.J. Anderson, CAR

108. Chris Hogan, NE

109. Isaiah Crowell, NYJ

110. Derek Carr, OAK

111. Trey Burton, CHI

112. D’Onta Foreman, HOU

113. Royce Freeman, DEN

114. D.J. Moore, CAR

115. Jordan Reed, WAS

116. Pierre Garcon, SF

117. Dede Westbrook, JAX

118. Nick Chubb, CLE

119. Calvin Ridley, ATL

120. Cameron Meredith, CHI

121. Corey Coleman, CLE

122. Rishard Matthews, TEN

123. Donte Moncrief, JAX

124. Matt Ryan, ATL

125. Jamaal Williams, GB

126. George Kittle, SF

127. Martavis Bryant, OAK

128. Jack Doyle, IND

129. John Ross, CIN

130. Jordan Mathews, NE

131. Giovanni Bernard, CIN

132. Delanie Walker, TEN

133. Mitch Trubisky, CHI

134. Ty Montgomery, GB

135. Julian Edelman, NE

TIER 5

136. Theo Riddick, DET

137. Rex Burkhead, NE

138. Zay Jones, BUF

139. Kenny Stills, MIA

140. Courtland Sutton, DEN

141. Ameer Abdullah, DET

142. Jordy Nelson, OAK

143. Paul Richardson, WAS

144. Tyler Eifert, CIN

145. Eric Ebron, IND

146. Christian Kirk, ARI

147. Tyrell Williams, LAC

148. Drew Brees, NO

149. Samaje Perine, WAS

150. Tyler Lockett, SEA

151. John Brown, BAL

152. Chris Carson, SEA

153. DeSean Jackson, TB

154. Curtis Samuel, CAR

155. James Washington, PIT

156. Kerryon Johnson, DET

157. Allen Hurns, DAL

158. James White, NE

159. Mike Gesicki, MIA

160. Anthony Miller, CHI

161. Baker Mayfield, CLE

162. Cameron Brate, TB

163. Jonnu Smith, TEN

164. Devontae Booker, DEN

165. Keelan Cole, JAX

166. Philip Rivers, LAC

167. Doug Martin, OAK

168. Dallas Goedert, PHI

169. Gerald Everett, LAR

170. Matt Breida, SF

171. Corey Clement, PHI

172. Kenneth Dixon, BAL

173. Taywan Taylor, TEN

174. C.J. Prosise, SEA

175. Josh Rosen, ARI

176. Mohammed Sanu, ATL

177. Sam Darnold, NYJ

178. Bilal Powell, NYJ

179. Spencer Ware, KC

180. Marshawn Lynch, OAK

181. D.J. Chark, JAX

182. T.J. Yeldon, JAX

183. Latavius Murray, MIN

184. Terrelle Pryor, NYJ

185. Wayne Gallman, NYG

186. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT

187. Quincy Enunwa, NYJ

188. Laquon Treadwell, MIN

189. Adam Shaheen, CHI

190. Tre’Quan Smith, NO

191. Kalen Ballage, MIA

192. John Kelly, LAR

193. Lamar Jackson, BAL

194. Hayden Hurst, BAL

195. Blake Bortles, JAX

196. Mark Andrews, BAL

197. J.J. Nelson, ARI

198. Vance McDonald, PIT

199. Albert Wilson, MIA

200. Nyheim Hines, IND

 GOOD/BAD/UGLY 12  By @theBleagueSays  6/28/2018  I recently partook in an industry-wide mock draft. It is the first one I have done, and it was great to interact with such esteemed people. There were quite a few stipulations for this 12 team, 18 round Mock Draft. For example, it was a Tight End Premium at 1.5 PPR. It was also 0.5 PPR for RB and WR - so QBs and TEs were flying off the board crazy early so your average Draft strategy needed to adapt. On top of all that it was a Super-Flex league not to mention a Slow draft. I have never done a slow draft before. And I can honestly tell you I have never been more frustrated drafting in my life. I am reasonably ok with who I was taking and when, but the long wait in between picks was crazy painful. But, that is what Mock Draft season is all about!    But what was awesome to see was the change-in-direction that people drafted.  When news of Andrew Luck throwing was broken guess what? There he goes in Round 6 instead of the back of the 12th Round as he previously had been. A guy who hasn’t played a competitive snap in nearly two years went before Big Ben, Rivers, Mariota, Winston, Ryan and so on. A few days later, Martavis Bryant news comes about that maybe - MAYBE - got popped for substance abuse and we saw him fall to the late 17th (17th!) Round for a hypothetical discipline issue.  I have completed enough Mock Drafts this offseason to see where a trend is and isn’t going. You can listen to the multitude of podcasts, read the articles daily and you can see how popular opinion alters the consensus ADP. Right now, for example, I’m tracking Taywan Taylor to see if he jumps up over the past two weeks he is the latest buzz player.  People should be listening to some of the smartest in this industry. I do, why not? That’s how you get better, right? We collaborate and converse. I have done three articles with @FootballNuke already this offseason, and from these alone, I have seen where I am at within my thought and selection process.    So the one thing I love about Mock Drafts and ADP around this time of the year is you can see what I have been harping on about all offseason: Value, Volume, and Vindication. The 3 V’s. And what people believe and think about and follow - it’s all there. And that’s just it. Mock Drafts are the breadcrumbs of our preseason that leads to the foundation of your Draft Day. Seriously do one now and see how much has changed or will over the next six weeks. Regardless of where I am drafting; who I am willing to reach up for (across all platforms: best-ball, redraft, PPR and Super-Flex) who I have vehemently passed on and who I have settled on at a later round has become apparent. I can see that by practicing I have some noticeable habits:     I continually reach for David Njoku -  I feel like he will do this year what Evan Engram did in 2017.   I continually pass on: Jerick McKinnon -  I saw him go in the 2nd round of a Mock Draft this week. No thanks. Come back to me in the 4th Round, and we can talk.   I continually settled on: Jamison Crowder -  Alex Smith and safe short passes. After last years poor season it could be a ‘get right’ year for Crowder.    My point is, completing these allows for you to properly plan against poor performance. Nothing worse than being unprepared for your draft day, panicking and settling for players you don’t even want to start, let alone enjoy watching them play each weekend.    So I am bringing to you what I think are the Good/Bad/Ugly value picks this offseason, talk about their volume and vindicate why. (Current ADP in Brackets)     The Good - Late Value Receivers;  The late round value of Wide Receivers this year is insanely deep. You can potentially wait on a teams perceived WR2; for example Cam Meredith in New Orleans in the 11th Round or later. A second Receiver in a Drew Brees offense in the double-digit Rounds? That’s nuts. That goes for nearly every team. Goodwin in San Francisco, Nelson Agholar for the Eagles also going late but has shown upside to be worth a holding out at the position for - I could go on and on. I have three examples of players you can wait on and where you can get them for not only their opportunity but their talent - I think there is value everywhere in this role alone.     My Focus:    Brandin Cooks (50), Allen Hurns (126), Paul Richardson (151)      Brandin Cooks  should not be in this list as a late-round value WR. However, he is averaging 1,131 yards, 120 Targets and 8 TDs over his last three years. For those going WR heavy to open up their draft, he is being considered a WR2 or Flex consideration. Why is he slipping this far? The concern that he is this years Sammy Watkins for the Rams. Cooks is much better than Watkins and is the best receiver for the Rams already who has a full offseason and preseason to click with his new team - which Watkins wasn’t afford the luxury of in 2017. And even though there is a bit of a timeshare with the rest of the Receivers for the Rams, there are 92 Targets available from Watkins and Austin leaving alone - I don’t think it is as doom and gloom as people think. Being taken with an ADP of 50? I can buy that all day.    All those Targets (219 Total with Bryant and Witten moving on in 2018) in Dallas and their most established receiver in Free Agent  Allen Hurns  who goes at an ADP of 126. Even if the Cowboys do plan to spread the Targets around, Hurns is their best option before playing a snap is a steal this late. He has shown in a mediocre offense he can produce, when healthy he can be a possession and TD machine. He is someone if he can get you production high on early you can sell at a premium and maybe upgrade at another position.    Alex Smith likes separation as he is known for playing safe options. However, we saw him ‘off the leash’ in his final season at Kansas, and he was hitting Tyreek Hill deep enough at times.  Paul Richardson  has speed and can win 1-1 contests, and although he may not beat out Jamison Crowder for Targets, I think being taken at an ADP of 151 he is being looked at as a late flyer which should not be the case - he has unquestionable WR2 upside in 2018.       The Bad - Running Backs;  So everyone wants the next Ezekiel Elliott. Leonard Fournette. Todd Gurley. Alvin Kamara. We aim for these new Rookie Running Backs in the hope that they are a contributor to your team straight away and produce like a veteran yesterday. The problem is we tend to miss value picks of Veterans (at any position) as we do so. For this section, I have found one pick that I find to be questionable. Not only is the range he is going in too high, but as we do it, we miss out on a guy who has better mid-round value, who in PPR is going nearly 30 picks later. While all that is going on, aging workhorse also goes unnoticed, yet still, his skills are undervalued.     My Focus:    Rashaad Penny (36), Dion Lewis (64), Marshawn Lynch (70)     We jump on rookies early without seeing the path to them playing way too often. For example,  Rashaad Penny  who is being picked at an ADP of 36?! Is Seattle in need of a pass catching Running Back? While CJ Prosise and JD McKissic are still there? How about a big-bodied bruiser? Well, there’s Chris Carson and Mike Davis still hanging about..... How about that O-Line? It’s not looking good, still. How is their new OC Marty Schottenheimer? Yeah. Not great either…… With all that said, Penny bothers me this year when I can get an Alex Collins or Stefon Diggs at that price. Penny is a Hard No.    Why grab Derrick Henry when  Dion Lewis  is available in the 6th Round of PPR Drafts?! In this scoring system do we remember where we were taking DeMarco Murray? He was going at Pick 15 in PPR redraft.  Murray had 184 Carries and 47 Receptions. Lewis? 180 Carries and 35 Receptions. Lewis in 2017 was Pick 167.  Here is a list of people picked before Dion Lewis last year: Wendell Smallwood, Jamaal Charles, CJ Prosise, DeAndre Washington, Eddie Lacy and every other Patriots Running Back.  Here is a list of people picked before Dion Lewis this year: Jerick McKinnon, Derrick Henry (IN PPR ALSO?!?!), Jay Ajayi, Mark Ingram (who is suspended the first four games) and Lamar Miller to name a few.  Guess who is now playing for Matt LaFleur who shot 87 Targets to his Running Back Todd Gurley last season? Dion Lewis is, and with an ADP of 64, he taken needs to be a Must Buy.    Speaking of veterans who we are passing up for no real reason.... guess which team did not pick up a superstar college Running Back? If you guessed Oakland, I wouldn’t be shocked. Guess who averaged not only 4.3 YPC but also 31 Targets last year? You’re right,  Marshawn Lynch  is getting snubbed (I have grabbed him in the 10th Round in Mock Drafts, unbelievable). The only thing that was ‘off’ about Lynch last year was his usage (which explains possibly Jack Del Rio’s dismissal) sometimes his game splits were odd, but we need Fantasy Amnesia and take the new coaching staff at their word and ride Lynch while we can because it sounds as if they will. If he is going to be picked up as a RB2 or Flex, then this could also be a wise move, if you can wait to get him then do so.     The Ugly - ‘Inexperienced’ QB trumping them all;  With a combined 13 Games Started between them 2 QBs are going insanely high over the proven, tried and trusted. Over MVP caliber starters. Super Bowl winners. Recency bias? Easily and that’s ok because if your guy is there to select, then you should never feel bad about that, especially you feel strongly about it. However, if you are a late round QB advocate then seeing this may make you feel a little unwell purely because there is incredibly talented guys you can get in the last Round of all formats of Drafts.     My Focus:    DeShaun Watson (39), Jimmy Garoppolo (83)      DeShaun Watson  showed why it was highly sought after by the Texans, and if he hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury, he may be going higher than his ADP has him. He is so highly regarded right now he is the number 2 QB off the board, 9 Picks after Fantasy Football Hall Of Famer Aaron Rodgers (39). What's worse, is that Russell Wilson, last seasons top scoring QB is the 3rd QB off the board going at an ADP of 61. A mobile QB coming off an ACL tear? I would rather Russell Wilson or Cam Newton (also going many Rounds later). We are hoping that the sample size is something that he can carry over. We saw an electric playmaking machine, and he brought the best out of Hopkins, Miller, and Fuller. So we want him to do well. But is Andrew Luck back, the Titans with a new OC and the Jaguars getting stronger - all of them with game tape on him - is it fair to expect the same production? I can’t justify it. Best-ball, sure. Super Flex I can make a case for too. But redraft? I would pass.    In a team with LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown (both being drafted in the First Round), Ben Roethlisberger is going at an ADP of 125. The Steelers are always slated for a 12 win season. Smith-Schuster about to take the next step also…… so logic would think that Big Ben is a bargain that late - and he is….  …..so why are we taking six-game wunderkind  Jimmy Garoppolo  42 picks earlier? 7 TDs and 5 INT in 6 games isn’t exactly mind-blowing. 8.76 yards per attempt completed? Also not screaming for you to be confident about. How about we pump the breaks and wait for him to do more too. Cam Newton has been the Panthers best Running Back as well as their QB and is going just about 10 Picks higher. The hype needs to slow down.      And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.  Check out Chris Foster’s work on the Back Row Board also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.    And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - Interact and Share while Subscribing to the Podcast which you can also download Rate/Review and Subscribe to.    But most of all…..Enjoy!

GOOD/BAD/UGLY 12

By @theBleagueSays

6/28/2018

I recently partook in an industry-wide mock draft. It is the first one I have done, and it was great to interact with such esteemed people. There were quite a few stipulations for this 12 team, 18 round Mock Draft. For example, it was a Tight End Premium at 1.5 PPR. It was also 0.5 PPR for RB and WR - so QBs and TEs were flying off the board crazy early so your average Draft strategy needed to adapt. On top of all that it was a Super-Flex league not to mention a Slow draft. I have never done a slow draft before. And I can honestly tell you I have never been more frustrated drafting in my life. I am reasonably ok with who I was taking and when, but the long wait in between picks was crazy painful. But, that is what Mock Draft season is all about!

But what was awesome to see was the change-in-direction that people drafted.

When news of Andrew Luck throwing was broken guess what? There he goes in Round 6 instead of the back of the 12th Round as he previously had been. A guy who hasn’t played a competitive snap in nearly two years went before Big Ben, Rivers, Mariota, Winston, Ryan and so on. A few days later, Martavis Bryant news comes about that maybe - MAYBE - got popped for substance abuse and we saw him fall to the late 17th (17th!) Round for a hypothetical discipline issue.

I have completed enough Mock Drafts this offseason to see where a trend is and isn’t going. You can listen to the multitude of podcasts, read the articles daily and you can see how popular opinion alters the consensus ADP. Right now, for example, I’m tracking Taywan Taylor to see if he jumps up over the past two weeks he is the latest buzz player.

People should be listening to some of the smartest in this industry. I do, why not? That’s how you get better, right? We collaborate and converse. I have done three articles with @FootballNuke already this offseason, and from these alone, I have seen where I am at within my thought and selection process.

So the one thing I love about Mock Drafts and ADP around this time of the year is you can see what I have been harping on about all offseason: Value, Volume, and Vindication. The 3 V’s. And what people believe and think about and follow - it’s all there. And that’s just it. Mock Drafts are the breadcrumbs of our preseason that leads to the foundation of your Draft Day. Seriously do one now and see how much has changed or will over the next six weeks. Regardless of where I am drafting; who I am willing to reach up for (across all platforms: best-ball, redraft, PPR and Super-Flex) who I have vehemently passed on and who I have settled on at a later round has become apparent. I can see that by practicing I have some noticeable habits:

I continually reach for David Njoku - I feel like he will do this year what Evan Engram did in 2017.

I continually pass on: Jerick McKinnon - I saw him go in the 2nd round of a Mock Draft this week. No thanks. Come back to me in the 4th Round, and we can talk.

I continually settled on: Jamison Crowder - Alex Smith and safe short passes. After last years poor season it could be a ‘get right’ year for Crowder.

My point is, completing these allows for you to properly plan against poor performance. Nothing worse than being unprepared for your draft day, panicking and settling for players you don’t even want to start, let alone enjoy watching them play each weekend.

So I am bringing to you what I think are the Good/Bad/Ugly value picks this offseason, talk about their volume and vindicate why. (Current ADP in Brackets)

The Good - Late Value Receivers; The late round value of Wide Receivers this year is insanely deep. You can potentially wait on a teams perceived WR2; for example Cam Meredith in New Orleans in the 11th Round or later. A second Receiver in a Drew Brees offense in the double-digit Rounds? That’s nuts. That goes for nearly every team. Goodwin in San Francisco, Nelson Agholar for the Eagles also going late but has shown upside to be worth a holding out at the position for - I could go on and on. I have three examples of players you can wait on and where you can get them for not only their opportunity but their talent - I think there is value everywhere in this role alone.

My Focus:

Brandin Cooks (50), Allen Hurns (126), Paul Richardson (151)

Brandin Cooks should not be in this list as a late-round value WR. However, he is averaging 1,131 yards, 120 Targets and 8 TDs over his last three years. For those going WR heavy to open up their draft, he is being considered a WR2 or Flex consideration. Why is he slipping this far? The concern that he is this years Sammy Watkins for the Rams. Cooks is much better than Watkins and is the best receiver for the Rams already who has a full offseason and preseason to click with his new team - which Watkins wasn’t afford the luxury of in 2017. And even though there is a bit of a timeshare with the rest of the Receivers for the Rams, there are 92 Targets available from Watkins and Austin leaving alone - I don’t think it is as doom and gloom as people think. Being taken with an ADP of 50? I can buy that all day.

All those Targets (219 Total with Bryant and Witten moving on in 2018) in Dallas and their most established receiver in Free Agent Allen Hurns who goes at an ADP of 126. Even if the Cowboys do plan to spread the Targets around, Hurns is their best option before playing a snap is a steal this late. He has shown in a mediocre offense he can produce, when healthy he can be a possession and TD machine. He is someone if he can get you production high on early you can sell at a premium and maybe upgrade at another position.

Alex Smith likes separation as he is known for playing safe options. However, we saw him ‘off the leash’ in his final season at Kansas, and he was hitting Tyreek Hill deep enough at times. Paul Richardson has speed and can win 1-1 contests, and although he may not beat out Jamison Crowder for Targets, I think being taken at an ADP of 151 he is being looked at as a late flyer which should not be the case - he has unquestionable WR2 upside in 2018.

The Bad - Running Backs; So everyone wants the next Ezekiel Elliott. Leonard Fournette. Todd Gurley. Alvin Kamara. We aim for these new Rookie Running Backs in the hope that they are a contributor to your team straight away and produce like a veteran yesterday. The problem is we tend to miss value picks of Veterans (at any position) as we do so. For this section, I have found one pick that I find to be questionable. Not only is the range he is going in too high, but as we do it, we miss out on a guy who has better mid-round value, who in PPR is going nearly 30 picks later. While all that is going on, aging workhorse also goes unnoticed, yet still, his skills are undervalued.

My Focus:

Rashaad Penny (36), Dion Lewis (64), Marshawn Lynch (70)

We jump on rookies early without seeing the path to them playing way too often. For example, Rashaad Penny who is being picked at an ADP of 36?! Is Seattle in need of a pass catching Running Back? While CJ Prosise and JD McKissic are still there? How about a big-bodied bruiser? Well, there’s Chris Carson and Mike Davis still hanging about..... How about that O-Line? It’s not looking good, still. How is their new OC Marty Schottenheimer? Yeah. Not great either…… With all that said, Penny bothers me this year when I can get an Alex Collins or Stefon Diggs at that price. Penny is a Hard No.

Why grab Derrick Henry when Dion Lewis is available in the 6th Round of PPR Drafts?! In this scoring system do we remember where we were taking DeMarco Murray? He was going at Pick 15 in PPR redraft.

Murray had 184 Carries and 47 Receptions. Lewis? 180 Carries and 35 Receptions. Lewis in 2017 was Pick 167.

Here is a list of people picked before Dion Lewis last year: Wendell Smallwood, Jamaal Charles, CJ Prosise, DeAndre Washington, Eddie Lacy and every other Patriots Running Back.

Here is a list of people picked before Dion Lewis this year: Jerick McKinnon, Derrick Henry (IN PPR ALSO?!?!), Jay Ajayi, Mark Ingram (who is suspended the first four games) and Lamar Miller to name a few.

Guess who is now playing for Matt LaFleur who shot 87 Targets to his Running Back Todd Gurley last season? Dion Lewis is, and with an ADP of 64, he taken needs to be a Must Buy.

Speaking of veterans who we are passing up for no real reason.... guess which team did not pick up a superstar college Running Back? If you guessed Oakland, I wouldn’t be shocked. Guess who averaged not only 4.3 YPC but also 31 Targets last year? You’re right, Marshawn Lynch is getting snubbed (I have grabbed him in the 10th Round in Mock Drafts, unbelievable). The only thing that was ‘off’ about Lynch last year was his usage (which explains possibly Jack Del Rio’s dismissal) sometimes his game splits were odd, but we need Fantasy Amnesia and take the new coaching staff at their word and ride Lynch while we can because it sounds as if they will. If he is going to be picked up as a RB2 or Flex, then this could also be a wise move, if you can wait to get him then do so.

The Ugly - ‘Inexperienced’ QB trumping them all; With a combined 13 Games Started between them 2 QBs are going insanely high over the proven, tried and trusted. Over MVP caliber starters. Super Bowl winners. Recency bias? Easily and that’s ok because if your guy is there to select, then you should never feel bad about that, especially you feel strongly about it. However, if you are a late round QB advocate then seeing this may make you feel a little unwell purely because there is incredibly talented guys you can get in the last Round of all formats of Drafts.

My Focus:

DeShaun Watson (39), Jimmy Garoppolo (83)

DeShaun Watson showed why it was highly sought after by the Texans, and if he hadn’t suffered a season-ending injury, he may be going higher than his ADP has him. He is so highly regarded right now he is the number 2 QB off the board, 9 Picks after Fantasy Football Hall Of Famer Aaron Rodgers (39). What's worse, is that Russell Wilson, last seasons top scoring QB is the 3rd QB off the board going at an ADP of 61. A mobile QB coming off an ACL tear? I would rather Russell Wilson or Cam Newton (also going many Rounds later). We are hoping that the sample size is something that he can carry over. We saw an electric playmaking machine, and he brought the best out of Hopkins, Miller, and Fuller. So we want him to do well. But is Andrew Luck back, the Titans with a new OC and the Jaguars getting stronger - all of them with game tape on him - is it fair to expect the same production? I can’t justify it. Best-ball, sure. Super Flex I can make a case for too. But redraft? I would pass.

In a team with LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown (both being drafted in the First Round), Ben Roethlisberger is going at an ADP of 125. The Steelers are always slated for a 12 win season. Smith-Schuster about to take the next step also…… so logic would think that Big Ben is a bargain that late - and he is….

…..so why are we taking six-game wunderkind Jimmy Garoppolo 42 picks earlier? 7 TDs and 5 INT in 6 games isn’t exactly mind-blowing. 8.76 yards per attempt completed? Also not screaming for you to be confident about. How about we pump the breaks and wait for him to do more too. Cam Newton has been the Panthers best Running Back as well as their QB and is going just about 10 Picks higher. The hype needs to slow down.

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.

Check out Chris Foster’s work on the Back Row Board also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at @TheBLeagueSays.

And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow, and @Armsbackrow - Interact and Share while Subscribing to the Podcast which you can also download Rate/Review and Subscribe to.

But most of all…..Enjoy!

tempBestof2016_TEs_0002--nfl_mezz_1280_1024.jpg

FANTASY FOOTBALL TE RATINGS

A while back @TheBLeagueSays and @FootballNuke battled it out over who the best/worst quarterbacks of the 2018 fantasy football season would be. The response we received from the community was so awesome, we decided to continue the discussion. Below is a Tight End Tiered format heading into the 2018-19 NFL season. The writers on behalf of @TheBackRowShow, @FootballNuke and @TheBLeagueSays go through their thought process on 20 Tight Ends who could help your draft and season!

TIER 1

@FootballNuke -

Rob Gronkowski, New England

They say that no man is an island. Rob Gronkowski is the exception to the rule. Not only is he an island, (fantasy island?) he’s throwing a party on his island. One where only those owners fortunate enough to draft him are invited. Gronk (69 receptions, 1083 yards and 8 TDs in 2017) has set the bar for all other tight ends so high, that it will be difficult to duplicate. Travis Kelce almost passed him last year, with 83 receptions, 1038 yards and 8 TDs, but Pat Mahomes may not be as eager to throw to the tight end as former Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. Time will tell, but that gives Kelce a slight downgrade from Gronk. Enough to separate him into another tier. Right now, someone reading this is saying “well what about Zach Ertz?” Ertz finished the year with more catches than Gronk (74), the same amount of TDs (8) but almost 260 yards less than Gronk.  Plus, Ertz is not known from playing a full 16 game slate. Further evidence that Gronk belongs in his own tier. Brady is back. Gronk is healthy. Gronk is the only TE to draft in the second round.

@TheBLeagueSays -

Travis Kelce, Kansas

Rob Gronkowski, New England

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

Hunter Henry, LA Chargers

If I couldn’t love Travis Kelce more, I can. The pairing of ‘Rookie’ QB Pat Mahomes and HC Andy Reid who will love their big Tight End as the freak that he is and doubled down as a safety option and protection. I’m banking on over reliance of targets heading towards the Kansas star. Rob Gronkowski is going to continually ‘Gronk-Out’. I’ll take him and his total points in 12 games than the field with 16. He is the Chaz Michael Michaels to Tom Brady’s Jimmy MacElroy. Zach Ertz, I wish I could get behind him more (maybe it’s the Giants homer in me....). And its not that I don’t love that Trey Burton not being around there anymore doesn’t make him more appealing - but more that Brent Celek retired. Celek did the brunt of the blocking work as the Tight End and I don’t think they drafted Dallas Goedert to block. But as long as Ertz is out there then you do too and you should feel great about it. I AM ALL IN ON HUNTER HENRY, GIVE ME ALL THE SHARES FOR HIM. Antonio Gates sucked up 52 Targets for 30 receptions 316 yards and 3 TDs. Add a fat stack of that to Henry’s 62/45/579/4; that right there is TE 1 potential.

CORRECTION: Henry tore his ACL in voluntary training camp and will miss the entire season. My thought process stands, he IS a top tier Tight End. For me, there isn’t anyone in Tier 2 that I would bump up into Tier 1.

TIER 2

@FootballNuke -

Travis Kelce, Kansas City

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia

Travis Kelce – Kelce has more question marks about his game this year than ever before. The big question being will Pat Mahomes favor the tight end the way that Alex Smith did? Mahomes has the big cannon arm and he might be tempted to wing the rock downfield to Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill, who will probably alternate nine routes on every other play. The second big question is whether or not Pat Mahomes is a good fantasy quarterback. Signs point to yes, but only on the field of battle will that be decided. These unknowns separate him from Rob Gronkowski but keep him firmly planted in my tier two. Zach Ertz is a great play no matter which quarterback is there. Both Carson Wentz and Nick Foles were eager to get the ball to him and it is easy to see why. His production when he is on the field is remarkable. Getting Ertz on the field for a full season is the problem, and that is why he is in my tier two.

@TheBLeagueSays -

Evan Engram, NY Giants

Greg Olsen, Carolina

Trey Burton, Chicago

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota

 

Trey Burton - as I have mentioned in our previous QB Ranking article - Burton is Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy’s Travis Kelce. They signed him for a reason and that is to dominate. An off year for Greg Olson, hindered by nagging injuries, I feel that he, not DJ Moore or Devin Funchess will be the top Receiver in Carolina that’s not named Christian McCaffrey. With Beckham Jnr and Barkley joining forces in NY, the Giants should expect some slight second year progression out of Evan Engram. I expect the targets (115) to come down slightly - you should too - however I would hope that his catch rate (64 catches / 55.7%) comes up. Provided he can improve that, he will be worth the capitol. Kirk Cousins makes Tight Ends relevant, not the other way around and I see Kyle Rudolph being extremely relevant. Vernon Davis had decent weeks when Jordan Reed went down and so did Niles Paul, and while Rudolph isn’t the sexiest name to drunk dial his QB makeover could turn this Ginger Spice into a Fiery Redhead.

TIER 3

@FootballNuke -

Greg Olsen, Carolina

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay

Evan Engram, New York Giants

Delanie Walker, Tennessee

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota

We could all be sleeping on Kyle Rudolph this year. Why? His new quarterback really likes to throw to tight ends. In 2017 Kirk Cousins’ tight ends (Davis/Reed) combined for 104 targets, 70 receptions, 859 yards and five touchdowns. In 2016 Davis and Reed combined for 148 targets, 110 receptions, 1269 yards and eight touchdowns – that is better than Gronk. There is reason to believe that Cousins will continue to favor that tight end position. Rudolph could be that guy that jumps a tier or two this year. Greg Olsen dabbled with a television commentary job in the offseason and then decided to come back and play at least one more year. Yes – he did sign an extension – that does not mean he might decided to hang it up after the 2018 season ends. With that said, he’s still Cam’s numero uno target. Jimmy Graham could not have found a better place to go – save a return to New Orleans – than Green Bay. A high-scoring offense with the maestro extraordinaire Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Rodgers makes subpar tight ends into gamechangers. Things are looking good for Graham. Evan Engram should have a good sophomore season. OBJ and Shepard will be back and they will take some potential targets away, but they could provide Engram a chance to get more looks too. By the end of last year, Engram was the receiver that defenses could key on. With OBJ back in the fold, defenses will have no choice but to key off of him. Delanie Walker is the one that I am on the fence on for this tier. He has been just disappointing enough the last two years for me to think that Jonnu Smith might see playing time if Walker fails to perform well early in the season.

@TheBLeagueSays -

Mike Gesicki, Miami

Delanie Walker, Tennessee

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay

George Kittle, San Francisco

Here I have my first and only Rookie to make any of my Tiers. I can easily see a path for Mike Gesicki to not only to be on the turf plenty, but to have a chunk of targets (losing 223 targets between trading away Jarvis Landry and cutting ties with Julius Thomas) also - opportunity knocks. I can see a world where George Kittle potentially jumps Delanie Walker (111 targets in 2017) and Jimmy Graham (saw 26 red zone targets in Seattle, and Green bay have 132 targets to fill from Jordy Nelson and Martellus Bennett both moving on) who both seemingly look like each respective teams 2nd best Receivers and End Zone threats at the moment which is great - but Kittle from Rounds 13-17 averaged 12.0 yards per reception with Jimmy Garoppolo 19 Targets (6 in the Red Zone) for 15 Receptions, 194 Yards and 1 TD. I can see Targets/Yards and TDs creeping up with a full offseason under Kyle Shanahan and Garoppolo learning more.

TIER 4

@FootballNuke -

Trey Burton, Chicago

Jordan Reed, Washington

Jack Doyle, Indianapolis

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati

George Kittle, San Francisco

Charles Clay, Buffalo

David Njoku, Cleveland

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay

Trey Burton – I really liked Trey Burton as a free agent. When he signed with Chicago, I wondered what the plan was. After all, they already have Adam Shaheen. Maybe the new regime in Chicago is not confident in Shaheen’s ability to play in the new offense. There is also the possibility that Burton will be the receiving tight end and Shaheen the blocker – we’ll see. As far as Jordan Reed is concerned, when he is in, he is great. I have been burned enough by the Reed injury bug to know that personally I want no part of him on a fantasy roster. If you believe in Reed this year, this is the tier to draft him in. Jack Doyle likely lost some targets with the signing of Eric Ebron, but I still expect him to be the starter. With a healthy Andrew Luck that should mean good things for him. George Kittle is a popular choice to move up some tiers and why not? If you believe in Jimmy GQ, Kittle should be looking at a great year. Whether it is Josh Allen, Nathan Peterman, or santa claus throwing the ball for the Bills, Charles Clay will be heavy in the target mix. David Njoku could be in a higher tier if not for two problems. Problem one is Tyrod Taylor. Problem two is the massive amount of targets that are going to have to spread over all the players the Browns have amassed. O.J. Howard fits into this tier because at this point I believe he will play that receiving tight end to Cameron Brate’s blocking tight end in Tampa.

@TheBLeagueSays -

David Njoku, Cleveland

Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona

Luke Willson, Detroit

Jack Doyle, Indianapolis

Jack Doyle should be higher up, but it’s not just the lack of clarity of QB in this picture, it’s also new addition Eric Ebron being painted in too. I want David Njoku to be a Top 10 guy and when Mayfield eventually takes over I think he can be. Luke Willson, coming from a team that had an unorthodox approach with Russell Wilson scrambling for his life most plays, and had to contest for targets with Jimmy Graham last year is a risk/reward player. Heres why: while we believe that Trey Burton is going to be something special in Chicago - that’s fine, but in an effective Philadelphia offense he only carved out a respectable 31/23/248/5 - the majority of which came in a 3 week cluster (Weeks 11-13). Willson, collected a 22/15/153/4 stat line. Fairly similar numbers while both playing behind their teams numbers. I’m looking at Willson as a new toy for Matt Stafford, who I trust more than Mitch Trubisky. Ricky Seals-Jones has an amalgamation of his physical attributes, who is (no really, who is?) under center for Arizona and who could take opportunities away from him. Subtly, the Cardinals saw the second most total targets lost (213) this offseason. RSJ may be a benefactor of this.

TIER 5

@FootballNuke -

Benjamin Watson, New Orleans

I know he is old(er), but grab Watson late and you will have a great spot starter for a resurgent New Orleans passing attack.

@TheBLeagueSays -

Jake Butt, Denver

Cam Brate, Tampa

Jared Cook, Oakland

Ben Watson, New Orleans

Jordan Reed, Washington

Cam Brate proved yet again to be a safe end zone target (13 of 77 were end zone targets for 6 TDs) for Tampa and I don’t see that slowing down. OJ Howard may get his piece of the pie also, but 2 years in a row Winston has shown love to Brate in all the right places. No not in the back of an Uber, but in the TD column. Jared Cook had 88 receptions last year - outside of Raiders faithful, who knew?! It’s a brand new look to the Raiders team and 688 yards is hard to ignore - his TDs needs to increase, 2 in 2017 is not nearly enough. Just like Seals-Jones sees a huge target opportunity, Jake Butt and Denver have plenty of targets to go around (215) that are available from last year. Really, who do we see getting the TDs this year for the Broncos? No CJ Anderson, Sanders and Thomas are always hurt. Someone needs to make plays, Butt could be that guy. The band IS getting back together, Jimmy Gra......, sorry Ben Watson goes back to the NFC South to help Drew Brees for one last hurrah. He had a solid year in Baltimore last season and I think he can play his role back in New Orleans without Coby Fleener is a boost. 79/61/522/4 in a mediocre Baltimore team, I see him more of an end zone target, so it could end up being a more quality over quantity season in 2018 for Watson. I had no intention of adding Jordan Reed to the mix, I believe that injured players are always injured. But with Hunter Henry out for the season and to be in a team who has a QB in Alex Smith who has had extensive success using the Tight End. Everyone wants Reed to be healthy and when he is right there is no more devasting.

QUICK HITS:

@FootballNuke -

DIFFERENT FACE, NEW PLACE:

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh: traded to the Steelers last year, he showed that he has the potential to score big fantasy points.

BY PROCESS OF ELIMINATION:

Tyler Kroft, Cincinnati: Plan on Eifert being out of action early and Kroft to be the beneficiary.

OLD GREY MARE HE AIN’T WHAT HE USED TO BE:

Jimmy Graham, Green Bay: He cannot streak down the field like he used to. He can still win on jump balls though.

THANKS BUT NO THANKS:

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacksonville: There are a lot of mouths to feed and a quarterback that sometimes will try to feed them soup with a fork.

@TheBLeagueSays -

DIFFERENT FACE, NEW PLACE:

Ed Dickson, Seattle: he is a big lad, but so was Jimmy Graham - I see him as more of a Bye Week filler or DFS bargain.

BY PROCESS OF ELIMINATION:

Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona: it’s a perfect storm for someone not named Larry Fitzgerald to step up and lead this Receiving group going forward.

OLD GREY MARE HE AIN’T WHAT HE USED TO BE:

Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati: injured players are always injured. Eifert who was phenomenal needs to put his health first and step away. The game isn’t getting less violent.

THANKS BUT NO THANKS:

Rico Gathers, Dallas: I get the target share of opportunity with Jason Witten retiring and Dez Bryant being cut. I need to see it from him to believe it.

SUMMARY:

@FootballNuke – Tight ends are not the big attraction in fantasy.  That’s true once you get past the first three guys. It is interesting to see how they stack up though and where those next potential breakout players are coming. I believe we are on the cusp of the next evolution of the tight end position. Teams are looking more and more for those big guys that can move fast, catch the ball, and create mismatches with the defense. With guys like Kittle, Burton and Gesicki in the league, the next evolution may be here now.

 

@TheBLeagueSays - Tight Ends playing Fantasy Football like real football can now present ‘matchup nightmares’ if you play the position smartly. You can see by how Tight Ends are being scouted, drafted and utilized has changed, more athletically inclined than those of the past and the Hunter Henry’s, Evan Engram’s and Mike Gesicki hybrid-prototype built Receivers are the way moving forward.

I’m normally one to stream the position and deal with the matchup per week, but even a guy positioned in my Tier 5 like Ben Watson paired up with Drew Brees with possible regression of 79 targets to even 60 targets is enough for me to trust due to who is serving it to him and who his competition to take his place (right now it’s Josh Hill, so he should be fine). I didn’t even mention Charles Clay with new QBs in Buffalo. The Rookies Baltimore drafted (Hurst and Andrews) or the pair that for the Rams (Everett and Higbee) that Sean McVay is yet to let off the leash. Hell, Stephen Anderson wasn’t even mentioned and he has DeShaun Watson returning. There are plenty to go around regardless of you each players views the role.

The position feels deeper than that of seasons past. And in a world where we are always looking for either a set it and forget it, find a late or deep draft value/steals, a sleeper or Bye Week filler the Tight End position for me is a problem of the past.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with @FootballNuke and @TheBLeagueSays where you can find our work on The Back Row Board through @TheBackRowShow. If you enjoy the read feel free to share it with everyone you know. If you don’t like it, share it anyways and connect with us on where you disagree - thats what makes the #FantasyFootball community so great!

And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow - Interact and Share while Subscribing to the Podcast which you can also download Rate/Review and too.

 

But most of all…..Enjoy!

 

Dez_Bryant_88.jpg

Good/Bad/Ugly

by @theBleagueSays - 6/14/2018

Dez Bryant, by hook or by crook is still unemployed.

At a time when the Cowboys are looking at freshening things up, one of their most (ironically) stable names on the team sheet was cut when the team decided that a fresh coat of paint in the locker room was needed and some extra cap space was required to shore up players like Zac Martin is (and rightfully) a higher priority. Bryant, along with Jason Witten who retired shortly after, were the undercoat of the Dallas walls that had been close to success over recent times. Seeing Dez cut you would think he should be snapped up fairly quickly. But oh contraire it is still yet to be. This week, I delve into the possibilities, the why’s and why not’s, that is Free Agent Dez Bryant in this weeks Good, Bad, Ugly.....

There’s The Good Dez Bryant:

 

So. I am a NY Giants Football fan. And writing about Dez Bryant 4 months ago probably would have killed me. It feels as if since moving to America and watching Sunday Night Football in Round 1 was always a Bryant and Witten onslaught. NY had their moments, but still it often wasn’t the Giants night. Generally hearing about ‘The ‘boys’ getting one over the Giants and Dez or Elliott or Witten or Murray or Romo or Dak dominating the next morning while living and working in Dallas has been something I promise you my avid local reader is not very pleasant.

But, Dez is out of Arlington. And while my homer-ism at times is still at play - I feel I can look into the player and his production without cringing for the first time. Let’s break down what he has achieved;

113 games, 909 Targets, 531 Receptions (58.4% catch rate) with a 14.05 average yards per catch and 7459 yards with 73 TDs , the latter is a Franchise Record.

That’s:

8.04 Targets and 4.69 Receptions with 66 yards per game.

1 TD every 7.27 receptions

1 TD every 0.64 games

1 TD every 102.17 yards

Only once in his career when he has played all 16 games has he not had over 1000 yards (2017). And only twice in his career (first and last seasons with Dallas) has he played more than 10 games and only had 6 TDs (2010 played 12 games and 6 TDs, 2017 played 16 games for 6 TDs).

‘88’ has had a real good career and if he were to call it quits, Cowboys and more importantly Football fans would remember his clutch plays, passion and thirst for winning. Instead, we are now left wondering on is what is next.

There is however something that bothers me about Bryant not being signed. And tell me if I am wrong, if this is something we have all missed -

Tyler Lockett, Brice Butler, Marquise Goodwin, Mike Williams, Sammy Watkins, Jordy Nelson, Anthony Miller (Rookie), Brandon LaFell, John Brown,  Chris Hogan, Zay Jones, Jermaine Kearse, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Michael Gallup (Rookie), Josh Doctson, Mohamed Sanu, Ted Ginn, Chris Godwin, Chester Rogers, Donte Moncrief, Rishard Mathews, Will Fuller

Murderers Row? I think not!

This is a list of current and the probable (at best) Wide Receiver (WR) 2 for 23 teams in the NFL. Which one of the above mentioned can be a consistent threat by simply being out there? Jordy Nelson of seasons past, definitely did as a starter in Green Bay but then who? Chris Hogan when Gronkowski goes down with injury? How about the calls for Will Fuller’s regression while struggling to maintain health and get through a full season? Or my favorite - ITS A SAMMY WATKINS BREAK OUT YEAR - THIS IS THE YEAR!!! I doubt it....

These guys are just guys that will be nothing more than an average slice of their teams total pie. But they are - as we have seen with some in this list already, whether we want to admit it or not IS replaceable.

And yet......

Dez Bryant is still unemployed.

It has been said that Dez Bryant is looking for a 1 year ‘prove it’ deal similar to what Alshon Jeffrey acquired in Free Agency last year for a guaranteed $8.75 million deal and to be fair it was a hell of a move which resulted in Jeffrey now being the 10th highest paid Receiver after betting on himself. A 4 year up-to $52 million dollar contract. Oh and he also has a Super Bowl Ring to go with it! Not a bad year for Mr Jeffrey!

That approach didn’t work out for every Free Agent last year though. Brandon Marshall had 1 year with the Giants and that didn’t last long. Nor did Eric Decker in Tennessee. Kendall Wright bounced out of Chicago, Sammy Watkins from LA in an underwhelming year wasn’t renewed and moved to Kansas also. Free Agent Receivers have had a mixed bag of results in 2017.

Here is what I like about Dez from a Fantasy Football stand point.

Bryant was released on April 13th. As of June 12th - he is currently not even in the Top 200 on Fantasy Football Calculator nor the Top 60 WR available. Dez is currently sitting with an ECR (expert consensus ranking) on Fantasy Pros of 113. In 2017 standard scoring he was Ranked 19th overall and averaged selection at the 2.07 in redraft - he finished as a low end WR2/Flex which in a down year is bad as it has been. As I mentioned in previous articles about Value, Volume and Validation - if you are getting an average Dez Bryant (based on his numbers above) - his stat line from what he has produced at best would look like: 128/75/1056/10.

Yes that is extremely optimistic but for me when projecting anyone I take the best case scenario from the players averages. There is always regression - we clearly saw that. There is always a decline, these are his numbers played out over the course of his career. This is a huge fall from grace, and if I’m looking at a flier in the late rounds right now of redraft or in best-ball leagues I can’t help but think he may be an extreme buy low steal.

The Bad Dez Bryant:

Here is what I also struggle with:

The Dallas Cowboys seemingly are in a rebuild mode and rely heavily on their O-Line, slowing the game down via an elite the run game spearheaded by Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott methodically picking teams apart. They have also recently stated that they don’t particularly need a to use a ‘traditional’ Number 1 Receiver. So.....

It must be a performance issue then....

But last year, Dez’s numbers weren’t that of an Elite Receiver anyway or have been with Dak Prescott under center - so what were we really expecting? This team had clearly become run dominant and Prescott has yet to throw over 500 times in his 2 years as a starter. Bryant’s 2017 was far from his best work - clearly -  and he admits that (his totals were 132/69/838/6 in 2017) with a 52.3% catch rate is the sort of numbers any elite Receiver would really not be happy with.

He was, before they even mentioned it, used as a secondary option. 24th in the league in Receptions but was 12th overall in Targets. These are the numbers of an average Receiver and not a dominant number 1 and he hasn’t been their best player since Tony Romo retired due to injury and Dak Prescott took over. So from this standpoint I have always thought that argument was a moot point.

So it’s an age issue then....

So we get to the 2018 Draft. And on the day of the draft, rumors of Cowboys legend Jason Witten retiring are floating about. The Cowboys this time stuck to their guns however and drafted an extremely promising Receiver from Colorado State in Michael Gallup over attaining an elite Tight End like Mike Gesicki or Dallas Goedert. But Michael Gallup can be a real productive player.

Now imagine having Dez Bryant take this raw lump of clay that you can mould and teach under his wing. Dez Bryant by all account has always been outspoken (and generally has produced to back his speech up). Wouldn’t he be the perfect ally to have in this Rookies first year as a pro to teach? Think about what Denver did in this years draft - Courtland Sutton drafted from SMU is built and plays like Demaryius Thomas. DeaSean Hamilton from Penn State is built and plays like Emmanuel Sanders. Both veterans are likely to get cut at this seasons end - but not until the Broncos exit strategy for them has been played out. These 2 raw talents are going to learn from Super Bowl winning Wide Receivers in their first year. But instead, Michael Gallup gets Alan Hurns and Cole Beasley - and with all due respect, neither of them have performed and experienced elite levels of performance like Dez Bryant has.

So it’s a money issue then....

Cutting Dez Bryant to save money however makes a stack of sense as he was set to make over $16 million in 2018. But with that release, he still costs the team $8 million in ‘dead cap’ money - which seems like the Cowboys basically break even. Zack Martin, Cowboys Guard just signed a new 6 year deal worth up to $84 million and $40 million in guaranteed money. If moving Dez Bryant out to save money and lock down an integral piece to the Cowboys front 5 then the conversation here is over.

But when you consider Terrence Williams is still on the roster for an average $4.25 million a season and has done absolutely nothing with his time - I would have thought keeping someone of Dez Bryant’s pedigree over at best a warm body in Williams, who struck controversy again for DUI issue in May this year - would have been a better idea.

It must be an attitude problem then....

That’s funny because I don’t remember Dez Bryant costing the team MILLIONS in legal fees last season. No that was their star Running Back in his second season Ezekiel Elliott as the league also suspended the star Back for 6 games. The stress of this ordeal took its toll on the players leading up to Elliott’s forced break. You could see it in their faces. Hear it in their voices giving their umpteenth interview on a scenario that had been played out since Elliott's arrival. And while the run game struggled during this time - Dez saw more coverage his way but held his own down the stretch of the 6 game suspension. This time of struggle on the turf was something that Prescott did not handle well initially. From Weeks 9-14 with Elliott out the Cowboys scored 7,6,9 points in the first 3 games followed by 38,30,20 points in the next 3 with Bryant amassing 193 yards and 2 TDs (which bordered on his career average yards and TDs per game). With Elliott back, Bryant slumbered 43 and 24 Yards of a combined 6 Receptions in the last 2 games of the season. At this point it was clear whose team it was and who was also not the focal point of this Offense but was now more of an after thought.

The writing at this point was on the wall. And something had to break. And it was his time in the heart of Texas that broke.

Ugly WR Market:

Im going to break down the following 3 higher profile free agent signings that took place this offseason and what the market for Veteran Receivers looked like.

Sammy Watkins - Kansas via LA Rams

Age: 25

Games: 52

Career Average Per Game: 6.65 Targets / 3.69 Receptions / 0.48 TDs Per Game / 55% Catch Rate / 15.90 Yards Per Reception

Last Season (15 games): 70 Targets / 39 Receptions/ 593 Yards / 8 TDs / 55.7% Catch Rate / 12.10 Yards Per Receptions

Contract Received out of Free Agency: 3 Years / $41 million / $30 million guaranteed

Alan Robinson - Chicago via Jacksonville

Age: 24

Games: 43

Career Average: 8.09 Targets Per Game / 4.69 Receptions Per Game / 0.51 TDs Per Game / 52.6% Catch Rate / 14.10 Yards Per Reception

Last Season (missed due to ACL Surgery. In 2016 however, 16 games): 9.43 Targets Per Game / 4.56 Receptions Per Game / 0.37 TDs Per Game / 48.3% Catch Rate / 12.10 Yards Per Reception

Contract Received out of Free Agency: 3 Years / $42 million / $25.2 million guaranteed

 

Michael Crabtree - Baltimore via Oakland

Age: 30

Games: 125

Career Average: 7.69 Targets Per Game / 4.63 Receptions Per Game / 0.40 TDs Per Game / 60.2% Catch Rate / 11.87 Yards Per Catch

Last Season (14 games): 7.21 Targets Per Game / 4.14 Receptions Per Game / 0.57 TDs Per Game / 57.4% Catch Rate / 10.66 Yards Per Catch

Contract Received out of Free Agency: 3 Years / $21 million / $13 million guaranteed

 

Dez Bryant - Free Agent

Age: 29

Games: 113

Career Average: 8.04 Targets Per Game / 4.69 Receptions Per Game / 0.64 TDs Per Game / 58.4% Catch Rate / 14.05 Yards Per Catch

Last Season (16 games): 8.25 Targets Per Game / 4.31 Receptions Per Game / 0.37 TDs Per Game / 52.3% Catch Rate / 12.14 Yards Per Reception

 

So what does this all mean....

Statistically, where each player has an aspect at where they thrive may be better than Dez could. For Example, Sammy Watkins YPR is much greater at 3.76 Yards more per reception on average. However, everything else he does statistically is subpar to what Bryant can offer.

Allan Robinson on average looks about the same in all metrics as Bryant, however in his last season in 2016 his numbers look like Dez Bryants worst year which was 2017. So a healthy 24 year old at his best produced the same as a lackluster 29 year old where the focus of the team shifted into the Run game? Ok....

And Crabtree, who is a decent role player is a year older with slightly worse metrics - so why would Dez take the same offer that Baltimore (more on that below) threw his way?

As strong as the Wide Receiver Free Agent market looked (as what many will lead you to believe) the Top Free Agent wasn’t available until after he was cut and that is Dez Bryant. My gut feeling is that if he was released by the Cowboys when everyone else was active in Free Agency he would have absolutely cleaned them all up.

Baltimore came knocking....

As I mentioned earlier that Dez Bryant is looking for that 1 year deal, but the most serious offer he had came after Michael Crabtree joined up with the AFC North outfit. Crabtree signed for the same amount that was offered to Bryant. And as I mentioned why would he accept a longer deal than what he is looking for if statistically he he better than the above 3?

My feel is yes - it is somewhat about money. But he is already claiming $8 million-odd from the Cowboys in 2018 anyway. I think he is looking for what I have been preaching all offseason, again;

Value - who is willing to work with him on a deal that works for everyone? Not just what is convenient for the Front Office.

Volume - where can he actually help a team and utilize his skills accordingly and be more than a role player?

Vindication - to prove to the Cowboys they have made a mistake. To prove to his new home they can invest fully in him and if not them, in the following year to everyone else less hesitant in bringing him in. To believe in himself again, as a top Receiver in the NFL.

Here’s where time isn’t on your side....

You have 1 year to learn and execute a playbook you are generally unfamiliar with. That you haven’t even seen yet while everyone else on the team is moving forward without you.

Then, once you do sign up - your banking on rapport with a new Quarterback while trying not to upset the apple cart by taking someone else’s spot. Its a tough gig.

Relocating your family isn’t easy and hope that your home life settles down. For anyone that’s quit a job and moved (I know I have before) it is brutal on the mind and body.

Bryant is still unemployed and banking on all of the above to break in his favor.

Quick Hits:

Teams that could utilize Dez Bryant....

Indianapolis - with Andrew Luck throwing again he could be the perfect counterpart to T.Y. Hilton

NY Giants - he wants revenge on Dallas, here would be the perfect place to do it. Opposite Beckham Jnr and Shepard in 3 wide sets as a bug bodied receiver that they need? I can buy into that also.

Cincinnati - who is the number 2 for the Bengals? Eifert? Can push the Steelers with him there taking heat from AJ Green

Chicago - I get that Robinson is there but he is still so young. Also, Taylor Gabriel is not exactly a top receiver himself. Thats an awful lot of pressure on Trey Burton to perform when he hasn’t had to over 16 games. Another big target for young Mitchell Trubisky? That could work too.

Buffalo - is Kelvin Benjamin going to be fit? Who is their starting QB? Can Bryant help both out? I believe so.

Summary:

Am I saying Dez Bryant should be someones Number 1 Receiver?

No.

Am I suggesting he is washed up?

No.

Am I saying the other Free Agents brought up aren’t a better fit for the teams that have acquired them?

No.

Am I saying that he can play a role, be a threat and contribute to a teams success - absolutely.

 

He has a lot of gas in the tank and it will take someone who has the roster space, the money, the patience and the ambition to go after him and get a deal done.

My predictions…. - Dez Bryant signs for the Indianapolis Colts.

The numbers;

Targets - 118

Receptions – 69

Yards – 902.14

TDs – 8 TDs

Standard Scoring – 138.217

PPR – 201.217

Finish – WR18 / WR2 Standard Scoring

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us at The Back Row Board for The Back Row Fantasy Show.

Check out Chris Foster’s work on the Back Row Board also for a much smarter view than mine - I accept this, I know where I am in life (which I’m mildly fine with) and his work is fantastic so please check it out and follow him @FootballNuke. You can find me as always at: @TheBLeagueSays.

And if you haven’t - which would be shocking considering you’re on @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow - Interact and Share while Subscribing to the Podcast which you can also download Rate/Review and Subscribe to.

But most of all…..Enjoy!

 

2018 Available Targets Chart

A lot of factors play into how many targets are available in a particular offense each year such as: free agent signings, player retirements, coaching changes, etc. Below is a summary of all these factors broken down into available targets this year for each team. What does this mean for the fantasy football enthusiast? The more targets available, the more opportunity there is for fantasy goodness. For example, there are a lot of available targets in Denver and Arizona. Great news for owners of those receivers.

 Positive numbers are teams with targets available. Teams that have negative numbers have too many mouths to feed.

Positive numbers are teams with targets available. Teams that have negative numbers have too many mouths to feed.