FANTASY IMPACT - Corey Davis, Mike Williams and Chris Godwin

By Chris Foster (@FootballNuke) and Dan Rosier (@theBleagueSays)

3/27/2019

Things are quietly shaping up in Tampa Bay to be something rather exciting. New head coach Bruce Arians has kindled the flame of excitement and anticipation that this year will see the Buccaneers take a dynamic shift toward playing winning football again. One of the beneficiaries from Arians’ arrival looks to be young receiver Chris Godwin. Just how much will he benefit and where should you draft him versus his ADP?  Let’s take a look.

Who is Chris Godwin and what does he bring to Tampa Bay’s offense?

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.

There is no denying it – Godwin’s numbers scream potential.

Can Jameis Winston get Godwin the ball?

Jameis Winston has not exactly had the smoothest ride in the NFL. Even last year, there was debate as to whether Winston would serve the Bucs better than Conor McGregor look-alike Ryan Fitzpatrick. Winston has only led the Bucs to one winning season – and that was 9-7. He has a lifetime completion percentage of 61.6% which isn’t exactly great. His ratio of TD’s to Int’s is a little disturbing, from 2015 – 2018: 22-15, 28-18, 19-11, 19-14. That’s too many interceptions and not enough touchdowns. Is there hope that Winston can improve? I think there is. Under the tutelage of new head coach Bruce Arians, there is reason to believe that Winston can up his game. How far Winston can go under Arians is really up to him and the choices he makes.

What kind of offensive line will the Bucs have in 2019?

The Bucs offensive line was not that good in 2018. The Bucs did finish first in passing yards, but they also finished twenty-ninth in rushing yards. The defense was so poor the Bucs were in a position where they had to throw the ball. They will probably put more focus on a run/pass balance this year with Bruce Arians at the helm, but the pass will still have priority. Depending on how they add to the line, Tampa Bay can be a productive line. At the very least they have shown they can block enough to allow their quarterback to get the ball down the field.

What about the offensive coaching staff?

Bruce Arians comes out of retirement to take on a team that has some talented, young players at key positions. Arians is offensive-minded and will look to utilize the weapons he has much like he did in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Arizona. Wide receivers in Arians’ tend to fair well. The past two years of Arians head coaching tenure saw his team finish third and fifth in passing attempts. Arians is not afraid to put the ball in the air. That’s good news for the super-talented pass catchers in Tampa.

Putting it all together – is Chris Godwin going to live up to his 2019 ADP?

At the time of this article, Godwin’s ADP is 6.06 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com. That’s a big jump from last year. He is not going to be the WR1 with Mike Evans there, but his is the smart pivot off of Evans, especially when coach Arians talks about Godwin as a guy who can “catch 100 balls”. That kind of talk from Arians will push the ADP up, no doubt. He is not going to be a sleeper pick by any means. This year he will be a guy that at least one owner in your league believes enough in to take a chance on him early. Here is where Godwin sits in my personal WR rankings for 2019:

1)      DeAndre Hopkins

2)      Odell Beckham, Jr.

3)      Davante Adams

4)      Michael Thomas

5)      Tyreek Hill (pending allegations)

6)      Julio Jones

7)      JuJu Smith-Schuster

8)      Mike Evans

9)      Amari Cooper

10)   Antonio Brown

11)   Stefon Diggs

12)   Keenan Allen

13)   A.J. Green

14)   Adam Thielen

15)   Kenny Golladay

16)   T.Y. Hilton

17)   Robert Woods

18)  Chris Godwin

There you have it. I would take Godwin in a dynasty draft ahead of guys like Brandin Cooks, D.J. Moore, Corey Davis and Mike Williams. That is how much I believe in his talent, the ability of his quarterback and the new coaching staff. He is on a team the checks some of the boxes I look for in a top performing wideout:

1)      Exceptional player  – He could be but has yet to prove it

2)      Skilled quarterback with growth potential

3)      Top ten offensive line

4)      Coaching staff that wants to move the ball through the air

Tampa Bay has some weak spots on their team but that should only promote and accentuate the abilities of Godwin. With Desean Jackson out of the way, Godwin will have every chance to fill the slot receiver role and cement his place as the number two wideout in Tampa.

2019 Fantasy Impact Projection – Chris Godwin

Targets: 120

Receptions: 85

Yards: 1,196

Touchdowns: 9

FANTASY IMPACT - Corey Davis

By Dan Rosier (@theBleagueSays)

3/29/2019

Back Row Show Bandits!

Welcome to another episode/article of Fantasy Impact brought to you by @thebackrowshow. A ton of the dust has settled on Free Agency and there are some relatively decent names out there still to find a landing spot.

Over the next week or so, both @FootballNuke Chris Foster and I will be looking into three different receivers, who are all in their third year amongst their respective teams. We are going to tell you about two other guys that the fantasy community this year are falling head over feet for - and with good reasons - and it will be, I believe, an easy sell. But ‘your boi’ here @TheBLeagueSays does things the hard way. The unconventional way. The not so glamorous way. Because that is what the brand stands for. So, I am going to start with a guy who has started to fall down the boards, predominantly, due to reasons other than skill, effort, and performance.

Could I have started with either Mike Williams and/or Chris Godwin? I could have and I can't wait to see their 2019 seasons unfold. Everything is falling into place for them both. They are stars in the making, aligned to have out of world stat lines in 2019. So much potential between the two of them, right?

Potential. It's a funny thing don’t you think? A concoction of physical traits, actual ability - natural or created alike improved upon. Sometimes it’s luck. Pure luck.

So, it is with that said, my fellow Bandits, that I’m marching the hard road and taking the former Round 1 Pick 5 of the 2017 Draft - Corey Davis of the Tennessee Titans.

If we are being honest; do you believe that Corey Davis underwhelmed/underperformed last season? Why is it that he has suddenly gathered that bad of a bad rep? I feel like Corey Davis is a byproduct of his surroundings continually changing. He’s gone through three different offensive coordinators and two head coaches, who were all in some way or form all about an ‘exotic smashmouth’ offensive philosophy. Davis has a quarterback who has flashed brilliance and inconsistencies alike. The only thing that fluctuates more than his performances is at times his health. All of this has, I believe, aided to the ups-and-downs of Corey Davis’ week-to-week output.

How about a few basic numbers to wet the whistle? Here are some good things to recap his 2018 season:

  • Corey Davis ranked 21st overall amongst all wide receivers for average targets per game with 7.0. Not bad, considering Antonio Brown and Davante Adams were at the top of the pile with an 11.3 Average TPG.

  • Davis was also 19th overall amongst wide receivers for total targets with 112, which was 58 targets shy of position leader Julio Jones (or 3.6 TPG fewer).

  • Davis also ranked 19th amongst all wide receivers in percentage of his teams snap count, logging 872 snaps, or an average of 54.5 snaps per game.

So what we can gather out of all of this is that he is always on the field, leads his team in targets and has a higher than most targets per game average, leading his team at 25.92% That target share in his team being fed by an injured-plagued Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert. All of this, as basic as it is, should give you hope that what you did like last year was on the back of some good fundamental metrics where he stacked up well against some of the league’s best whilst being in his second year.

He struggled in some other key areas, too, which we shouldn't overlook:

  • He was one of 18 other wide receivers that had 4 touchdowns, alongside Rashad Higgins and Kendrick Bourne.

  • He was 21st Overall for receiving yards, which doesn't seem so bad. However, in comparison to a guy like Tyler Lockett, who Davis slightly trailed. And trailing Lockett isn't a bad thing - both are solid players. But having 42 more targets and only 8 more receptions than the Seattle star, Davis had fewer yards and fewer touchdowns than a guy who he easily had so much more opportunities than.

  • His catch rate percentage was at 58%, behind guys like Zach Pascal and Chris Conley and I know that doesn’t seem fair because they have the volume (therefore chances for error) that Davis had and that’s fair. Still, that is a lot of opportunities to not capitalize on.

 

Corey Davis is also welcoming in another new coach in some capacity. Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur took over the Green Bay Packers after one year in the AFC South, and the Titans promoted Tight End Coach Art Smith, who has been in that role since Marcus Mariota was drafted, will be the new play caller. And that's a good thing for continuity and knowing the players you have right? Davis (Art) admittedly likes what he has at his disposal and has mentioned this at times. However, it is also a guy who could be comfortable looking for MyCole Pruitt, Jonnu Smith, and Anthony Firkser, while getting Delanie Walker back to full health. All these things help Mariota - probably not so much Davis - when it comes to red zone opportunity.

On top of all of that, the Titans recruited Adam Humphries who had a career year in 2018. Humphries will have more of a Rishard Matthews role (you know, when Matthews was having an impact for the Titans), which they have greatly missed. In 2016, when Mariota was lauded for his insane Red Zone efficiency Rishard Matthews stacked up a 108-65-945-9 TD season, similar to Humphries in Tampa this year with a 105-76-817-5 TD season.

Davis struggled for touchdowns, accruing only four throughout the season on seven targets per game, which is still pretty good. Davis also averaged only 4 receptions per game, which means he was lucky to get one touchdown every four games or, for every 16.25 receptions. That is not what you want out of a guy you had high hopes for to burst through to the next level.

I’m not so much worried about the target share going forward. I don't believe that will change too much. My concern again is the touchdowns and the lack of completions despite the respectable target share. Corey Davis as I just mentioned hit pay dirt only four times this year - HOWEVER - three of those times came out of the slot and not on the outside like you would have expected. Add in as I mentioned before Adam Humphries (and Delanie Walker) who are more likely to see themselves in that range on the field closer to Mariota. I feel like Humphries is going to take work from Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor, and Walker will play a role - how big that is after Walker’s injury is anyone's guess.

But all this is one big cluster….mess that the Titans found themselves in. Davis, as we know, has just completed his second year on a team that has finally established its 1A and 1B in the run game, with their homegrown coach and a quarterback now in a contract year. It seems to be a good place to be for Davis, who was 100-odd yards shy of 1,000 yards this season. Remember – some of that time was with Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball. To avoid any more hiccups, Tennessee has also attained a capable backup quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.

No really.

When Blaine Gabbert took over last year did you feel comfortable playing Corey Davis? Definitely not. When Marcus Mariota was hurt and reports of not being able to grip the ball came out did you feel comfortable playing Davis? Probably not. At least Tannehill will give you some relief if anything were to happen to Mariota, which is good news for Corey Davis drafters. Still, there were 15 times in 2018 when neither quarterback had over twenty completions in a game. How can any receiver breakout with that in a run-dominant Offense?

Projection and Summary

2019 PROJECTION

Targets: 114 / Catch Rate: 63.69% / Receptions: 72.6 / Yards Per Reception: 15.2 / Yards: 1103.52 / TDS: 7

FINISH: MID-TO-HIGH END WR2

In terms of Fantasy, how about this for a market price: in 2018 in Half Point Per Reception Average Draft Position - Corey Davis was Drafted as the WR27.

Corey Davis finished as the WR27.

You got back what you effectively put your hand out for. I think that’s what we get again. Buckle up! It could be another up and down year. Hopefully, if the above falls into place that may smooth over a little bit more.

SUMMARY

Tennessee last season was one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league. That shouldn’t surprise you after everything I have said. Their quarterbacks were a mess, their coaching philosophy was inconsistent and target machine Delanie Walker went missing after Week 1 due to injury. They looked predictable and at times played safe. But there were times when they really did dominate some fantastic teams (Corey Davis vs Philadelphia in Week 4 anyone?). But there were also games like in week sixteen against Washington where if it weren’t for some clutch special teams brilliance we would be talking about what a brutal and exhausting game it was to even just watch them ‘put away’ the fourth string quarterback for the Redskins - and at this point, the Titans were still a playoffs-bound team heading into week seventeen; only to get blown away by the Colts at home!

Corey Davis, in his rookie year, barely played due to being plagued by injuries looked at times to be struggling. I think, all things considered, this season felt like what his rookie year could and should have looked like had he been in the mix for 16 games in 2017. On top of that, we know that some receivers in their second year show promise so I wouldn’t be surprised to see some real growth in 2019. For example, Davis had what many consider a disappointing season, again with a combination of Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert under center. But there are other guys in better or worse scenarios that have gone on to do great things after having a similar second season, to what Davis had this year, with their respective teams:

2018 Corey Davis: 112-65-891-4 TDS

2015 Davante Adams: 94-50-483-1 TD

2011 Antonio Brown: 124-69-1108-2 TDS

2016 Amari Cooper: 132-83-1153-5 TDS

2014 Keenan Allen: 121-77-783-4 TDS

Those are some of the star wide receivers that have either hit their peak or are about to reach their potential. I think Davis in terms of markers is close to this pack in terms of what they were able to produce at that stage in their careers - I don’t believe he is too far off. I’m not suggesting he will turn out like any of them, but the indicators are there to say he can move the needle in that direction.

And on that note, that will just about do me for this week!

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster and Matthew Bruening’s (@SportsfanaticMB) this offseason. We have more great content coming your way, keep an eye out (or both eyes, whatever you prefer really) for that.

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week during that season 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!

Shoutout to the following for references:

Fantasypros.com, nfl.com, pro-football-reference.com

But most of all, Enjoy!

FANTASY IMPACT –

Will Mike williams elevate his game?

By Dan Rosier (@theBleagueSays)

3/30/2019

Back Row Show Bandits!

Welcome to another episode/article of Fantasy Impact brought to you by @thebackrowshow. A ton of the dust has settled on free agency and there are some relatively decent names out there still to find a landing spot.

Over the next week or so, both Chris Foster (@FootballNuke) and I will be looking into three different receivers, who are all in their third year amongst their respective teams.

But instead of giving you a massive diatribe about who I am talking about I'm going to cut the butter with a hot knife right now and say...

#MikeWilliamsSZN is here. Get ready, it is coming.

People will jump on board like no other so get your tickets now before the price goes up. We see the hype train for a few guys are out there has already left the station just this week with the Chris Godwin tilts (in March!) It's only March and we are losing our minds because of a Bruce Arians sound-byte! Arians spooked the Fantasy Football world a few years back with incomprehension-able math, touting David Johnson with around 480 touches in a season.

Think about that.

Anyways, Arians recently followed that up after some time away and now on a new team with a ‘100-catch season for Chris Godwin is in the cards and here we go again. Frothing at the mouth.

I have spoken about the irreparable quarterback situation in Tennessee that Corey Davis faces next season and beyond. There are too many questions about a team that is headed down the Seattle Seahawks route of pounding the rock and throwing safe passes. All of which will cost Davis further growth and development.

Gives you a reason to be concerned, right?

How about Mike Williams!? He surely doesn’t leave us with the doubt that Godwin and Davis   might, will he? I am going to give you reasons to celebrate… to an extent. Let’s start with a brief overview. In 2017 Mike Williams was drafted in the first round, pick seven by the San Diego Chargers. He had an injury-plagued rookie season but looked good down the stretch and into the 2018 preseason. His ADP prior to the season starting was probably conservative considering the talent. He was the WR40 in standard scoring and in half PPR. He slipped back one slot to the WR41 in full PPR, always generally selected in the 9th Round. We considered him as a late WR3 to a mid WR4 - depending on your league size and roster structure. Before the season started, he was viewed as a ‘flyer’ who could prove to be a bargain by the end of the season.

Which is fair. His end of season rankings would have - had you taken a chance on him - been a good decision. However, the difference between the three playing formats would have probably left you viewing him differently at the end of the season.

In fantasy football, Mike Williams variance is the problem. Take a look at how he finished last year:

  • In Standard Scoring he was a WR2 (20th Overall) at 8.6 PPG.

  • In Half PPR, Williams was a WR2 (23rd Overall) at 9.9 PPG.

  • In Full PPR he was a WR3 (32nd Overall) at 11.3 PPG.   

The minimal difference between his standard scoring and full PPR scoring results of only 2.7 points SHOULD have you concerned - it leads to a twelve-position ranking drop off. In either format what did you actually draft him as? If you were in a standard scoring or half PPR league he clearly outkicked his coverage, but in full PPR, he would have had you on edge every single week and probably just returned your interest from where you drafted him.

 

Why?

Let’s call a spade a spade - he was clearly touchdown dependent. Williams crushed 2018 with 10 touchdowns which ranks him 5th in the NFL alongside Travis Kelce, Tyler Lockett and Calvin Ridley. Let’s give him his due credit, it was clearly deserved. He made the plays and got the chocolates.

However, it was off 43 receptions over 16 games. He had a touchdown for every 4.3 receptions. Which sounds efficient, however, he averaged only 6.6 targets per game and 2.68 receptions per game with a more than respectable catch rate percentage of 65% makes you feel great, but the volume was clearly not there and it shows - by being 83rd overall for receptions alongside guys like C.J. Uzomah and Jarius Wright.

How does that make you feel?

The touchdowns are great and all, but the work he was getting? Not really something that breeds confidence in hindsight. If regression to the mean is real (and usually, it is), what is going to give? If regression to the mean is real (again, it usually is), are the targets and receptions he attained going to come down, and by how much? If regression to the mean is real, will the touchdowns come down and how far back can he drop down the season's rankings by the end of 2019? What is it that gives you the warm and fuzzy feeling that you are looking for that is the reason for hitting the “draft” button in 2019?

It’s addition by subtraction! That’s what gets us up in the morning, isn’t it! That’s what we have all waited for! The clear path to for Williams to be the number two receiver in a Phillip Rivers passing offense. Elation. Freedom.

Tyrell Williams has signed with cross-town rival the Oakland Raiders and Mike Williams is now the clear number two for the L.A. Chargers. Tyrell Williams averaged roughly 67-42-690-4.5 TD’s over the past 2 seasons. That is awfully similar to the effort by Mike Williams of 66-43-664-10 TDs - only the touchdowns saw Mike Williams double his teammates average this year in the statistics department, everything else looked relatively even. When you consider that Mike Williams had only 43 Receptions this year and managed what he did should have you excited. Because he did all of that while scoring touchdowns with Tyrell Williams in the lineup also. Tyrell Williams is gone, and that frees up an average of 67 Targets over the past 2 years.

That’s not the whole picture though.

Here is what I want to wise you up to. The year was 2017 and Mike Williams was a rookie. Tyrell Williams was looking to break out after a stellar 2016 season where the talented Keenan Allen suffered a season-ending injury at the start of the season, which opened him up to a 119-69-1059-7 TD season. There was a guy that kind of stood out amongst it all, and that was a guy by the name of Hunter Henry who will return from an ACL injury clean and fresh to start the 2019 season. Henry is likely to eat up red zone looks, and in a team that had Antonio Gates still making hay, Henry had 12 red zone targets for three touchdowns in 2017, which was an area that Tyrell Williams excelled in 2018, having 8-6-2 TDs in 2018. In terms of scoring potential in the red zone, I think Henry slots back into his role nicely here. That doesn’t mean that Mike Williams won’t get his, in 2018 he still had 14-7-7 TDs in the red zone, but Hunter Henry will be as big of a threat to that production than Tyrell Williams was.

I reference 2017 a fair bit because it gives you a chance to have Henry, Tyrell and Mike Williams in competition for work alongside Keenan Allen - which, along with Melvin Gordon is a lot of mouths to feed. It really is the only time that we can make the collective argument about roles because it was the only time they were all relatively healthy together. What is it about next season that has us looking at Mike Williams to take the next step? His ADP in all formats is jumping higher as he is being selected as the WR30 (mid 6th Round selection) in standard scoring, WR33 (mid 7th round selection) in half PPR, and as the WR27 (early 6th round selection) in full PPR which he seems to be favored in - which as we know, he didn't score as well in because the volume was not there. What gives us the reason to say this improvement takes place?

If we are looking at a positive to hang our hats to it has to be this -

There was also one other name I left out because I feel like it is a guy we overlook when considering the receivers role for the Chargers over the past few seasons. And it was a guy who had an important role this year, although on another team:

Dontrelle Inman.

That’s right. Dontrelle Inman.

This guy for me is somewhat an outlier out of all this and could be the key to what we see out of Mike Williams in 2019, but to figure it out we have to rewind one more year.

The year was 2016, Tyrell Williams stepped up as the number one receiver with a massive season as Keenan Allen succumbed to injury. Hunter Henry was a rookie and had just under 500 yards with 8 touchdowns. Melvin Gordon had just under 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing with 419 yards in the air and 2 touchdowns to go with it. Dontrelle Inman was the number two receiver due to Allen not playing for the season. Inman had a monster year as the Chargers second wide receiver and he did grab 134 points in half PPR scoring with 97-58-810-4 TDs in 2016 to be the WR45 in half PPR with 8.4 PPG. Inman’s half PPR scoring is akin to Mike Williams’ standard scoring performance the clear divider was that he didn’t have the touchdown count that Mike Williams had this year.

As I said before, regression is probably likely in a scenario with Keenan Allen looking as solid as ever, Hunter Henry’s return from injury and a complementary role for Austin Ekeler. If Melvin Gordon (also extremely capable in the receiving game) stays healthy he will have some targets out of the backfield too. Inman averaged 3.62 receptions a game - which is one reception per game more than what Mike Williams had this past year - which I think Mike Williams could do easily.

PROJECTION

Targets: 84 / Catch Rate: 62.96% / Receptions: 52.62 / Yards Per Reception: 14.98 / Yards Per Game: 56.0 / Total Yards: 896 / TDS: 7

Fantasy Football Finish: (depending on your scoring format) Back End WR2

I believe we have a jigsaw puzzle to Mike Williams laid out in front of us. I do believe that the targets/receptions/yards will likely come up, however, I do not believe that the touchdown rate will be sustained.

SUMMARY

Hunter Henry will have a bigger impact than we think, and that will be at the expense - in red zone opportunities specifically - away from Mike Williams. Williams takes a big step forward, and for the Chargers to take that next step in the playoffs and get on top of a Division that looks like it has improved already through free agency, they will need him to continue to develop and produce in 2019.

And on that note, that will just about do me for this week!

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster and Matthew Bruening’s (@SportsfanaticMB) this offseason. We have more great content coming your way, keep an eye out (or both eyes, whatever you prefer really) for that.

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week during that season 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!

Shoutout to the following for references:

fantasypros.com, nfl.com, pro-football-reference.com, sharpfootballstats.com, fantasyfootballcalculator.com

But most of all, Enjoy!