Straight off the bat I don’t believe Tyreek Hill is out of the doghouse with the NFL (see Elliott, Ezekiel; mid-season suspension for a ‘closed case’) just yet and the rumors of Kansas City shopping him, although quiet whispers at best, are enough to bother me. I love the move for Odell Beckham, Jr. to Cleveland - but they have a stack of options and I don’t believe Baker Mayfield will just lock in on him only. Ben Roethlisberger will, however, lock in on the one guy he trusts and target him constantly making Juju Smith-Schuster for me the guy to take in this range.
Todd Gurley, LAR – It really is a shame that Gurley has this chronic injury issue with the arthritic knee. It is possible that we have seen Gurley’s best years on the football field already, even though he is only 24 years old. With that said, it is possible that Gurley could still be productive. I do not think he will ever be as productive as he was though. The Rams backfield could become one where Gurley still sees a healthy portion of carries but Malcom Brown and Darrell Henderson play significant roles. That’s the way the wind is blowing, so if you scoop up Gurley (late), make sure you pick up Brown or Henderson. For me, I’ll be watching camp closely to see if I can figure out who the true RB2 is, and then I will draft accordingly.
Forget the question marks around Todd Gurley and the impact Darrell Henderson might have, have a look at the trio of receivers that the Rams have at their disposal. At one point before Cooper Kupp was lost for the season, the Rams had three receivers in the top 20 with a QB in the top 10. For all the ‘it's a Todd Gurley Offense’ speech there was last year, quietly, their passing game dominated.
Now I know what you are thinking… “Yes, I do love a slot receiver.” I also love a second-year breakout, and I love that when D.J. Moore started to get more time on the field, he started commanding more looks and love from Cam Newton.
I also low-key love what Carolina is building. Out with the big, bulky, slow, receivers and in with the quick and dangerous little fellas that can all be used with versatility. The NFL is changing rapidly. Speed kills and Carolina is built for the modern game moving forward, led by Moore, McCaffrey and Samuel.
Here we are at the beginning of the 2018 redraft season. Some deeper league slow drafts are starting to prop up and casual gamers are starting to hit the mock draft lobbies. That, in turn, has started to show fluctuations and inconsistencies with ADP. If you have been following along all offseason, it could throw the proverbial spanner in your ‘works’ as to where you thought players might go in the draft. Some guys that go early may seem like a reach right now. Ah yes! Those three little letters that can tilt the crap out of #fantasytwitter because people must be right - all the time - and everyone else must be wrong - all the time. Our memories are now shorter with recency bias. They are inflated by the offseason madness of coaching changes and rookies hitting their stride. Shout-out to 2018’s Jordan Howard and Jarvis Landry hype trains from the online preachers. Neither really mattered, nor did any ‘hot takes’ as the kids all said last year. But you know by now, I thrive in the grey area where there is no such thing as wrong - just measured.
Carson Wentz sees the return of DeSean Jackson to Philadelphia, a healthy Alshon Jeffery, and the elite Zach Ertz. On top of that, Dallas Goedert can take a step forward in his second year as a red zone threat and at the same time, they beefed up their offense with rookies like JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Miles Sanders - and they also sniped the Houston Texans by grabbing offensive lineman Andre Dillard, who could well be the best at his position in this year’s draft class, protecting their newly paid play-caller. The Eagles are loaded.
Some of these narratives were great like - readily available targets (Hi Miami target share, sans Jarvis Landry), the influx of rookie quarterbacks loving their tight ends (remember #DavidNjokuSZN when Baker Mayfield arrived), star recruit free agents on the move and their impact and naturally the excitement around rookies like Saquon Barkley and others. Where the rookies were touted and vouched for and how much work they would hypothetically be lined up for had almost everyone in the fantasy football world riled up (remember when Calvin Ridley was the new number one because Julio Jones was a no show at the start of O.T.A’s?) - yep, that was a fun one!
the Ronald Jones truthers have reunited after a wash of a 2018 season. Jones was the athletic shot in the arm that some looked at as a sure-fire hit last season. The term “bust” gets thrown around a fair bit, but to say that last year was a bust for the second round prospect would probably be the understatement of the year. As a result, you would think that the Buccaneers would make the Running Back position a priority either in Free Agency or the Draft but oh, contraire. The best offer on the table was UDFA Bruce Anderson out of North Dakota State (in 2018 posted 124-924-9 TDs on the ground with 12-199-3 TDs in the air) and although a few names have been linked to Tampa, there’s really been nothing said about their playersf you have been reading between the lines, comments from people backing Jones within the organization has been lighter than you would like if you have held on to him, in fact, it has been Peyton Barber, again, who has been getting the shine and support.
What’s going on fantasy football freaks? We’re a couple weeks out from the draft and dynasty drafts are either underway or drawing near. The Back Row Fantasy Show’s FANTASY IMPACT SERIES continues – this time with key draft additions! Which players have the best combination of talent, opportunity and landing spot to really make a difference in fantasy football? Let’s take a look.
Phillip Lindsay, as a senior, had a 301-1474-14 TDs on the ground with a 23-257-1 TD season as a senior at Colorado in 2017 (12 games). Barkley, in 13 games, had a 217-1271-18 season on the ground (84 more attempts, 203 more yards for Lindsay, 4 more touchdowns for Barkley) and a 54-632-3 season in the air (31 more receptions, 375 more yards and 2 more touchdowns than Lindsay). Barkley stepped ahead, but only slightly, right?
So… It’s put up or shut up time and I decided to put up for once (unlike me, I know I would normally sit on the fence for all of this), and give a few names that were either touched upon slightly or did not gather enough steam with offseason that I would like to bring to your attention.
This week I decided to open the door on a few of these parts of fantasy football gaming, just in case you didn’t know such things were going on around you. Just as iron sharpens iron, this can only make your tools that much sharper as the year progresses on, making you that much more knowledgeable when crunch time happens. Yes, my ‘compost analogy’ has come full circle, by telling you that planting the ‘information’ seeds now, fertilize with that ‘knowledge’ compost so you can pick the fruits of your labor when selecting your team when the season arrives.
Haskins has a talent for fitting the ball into tight windows, especially in the short and intermediate area. He has shown great pocket awareness avoiding rushers and moving up and around the pocket to bide time for his wide receivers. While he hasn’t had to be TOO mobile at times, he can get outside the pocket and run when needed. He does a good job working through his progressions and does a great job on anticipation throws.
David Montgomery epitomizes the NFL back of old. Stout tough runner who when you need four yards, takes the ball and gets you five while running some guys over. He doesn’t have great speed or a great receiver so many will have him lower in their ranks. For me he has been extremely consistent in college and one of the best runners in this class.
Chris Godwin is twenty-three years old and is entering the third year of his NFL career – that “magical” year for wideouts to come into their own. Just like clockwork, Godwin is right on track for success. Godwin’s first year saw him start only two games (played all 16) where he caught 34 balls for 525 yards – that’s 15.4 yards/reception. Godwin’s second season continued to show signs of what could be with more targets. He started five games in 2018 where he caught 59 balls for 842 yards and 7 touchdowns – 14.3 yards/reception.
Beckham is twenty-six years old entering his sixth year in the NFL. During those six years, Beckham failed to eclipse 1,000 yards only once. That was in 2017 when Odell spent most of the year on IR. Last year, Beckham was only on the field for twelve games. He tallied 1,052 yards on 77 receptions and reached the end zone six times. Project those numbers over a sixteen-game season and those numbers look great (103/1,402/8). Beckham’s career yards per reception is 14.0 for his career. He averages 92.8 yards per game. He’s a supreme talent that can lead the league in most receiving statistical categories.
Months of drama surrounding the best wide receiver in football recently culminated with the Pittsburgh Steelers dealing Antonio Brown to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a 3rd and 5th round pick. Congratulations to Mike Mayock and the Raiders on that win. I’m not here to analyze the trade, however. What I am here for is to look at the impact Brown will have as a fantasy asset and answer the question of where the former number one fantasy wideout should be ranked now. In order to do this, we must look at who Antonio Brown currently is, and examine the organization Brown is now a part of.
Here we are in the middle of the #FreeAgencyFrenzy, which is also the middle of #MarchMadness, which is also in the middle of the first half of the calendar year. Right now, we are in the middle of the offseason, as we are three months away from training camps. All of this is very timely because now marks the end of the Le’Veon Bell and Pittsburgh Steelers standoff - the saga has finally ended! The ‘he said, she said’ garbage is over. Both parties have hopefully moved onto bigger and better things. The inspiring James Conner story (and form) takes over as the lead back in Pittsburgh, and Jaylen Samuels flashed down the stretch to add value to his presence too.