FANTASY IMPACT Series 1 of 4
By Dan Rosier - @theBleagueSays
BACK ROW SHOW BANDITS!
Here we are at the beginning of the 2018 Redraft season. Some deeper league slow drafts are starting to pop up and casual gamers are starting to hit the mock draft lobbies. That, in turn, has started to show fluctuations of inconsistencies in ADP, which if you have been following along all offseason, could throw the proverbial spanner in the ‘works’ as to where we think guys should be drafted. 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 inflated by offseason madness of coaching changes and rookies hitting their strides. Shoutout to 2018’s Alex Collins and Royce Freeman hype trains from the online preachers. Neither really mattered, nor did any ‘hot takes’ as the kids all said last year. As you know by now, I thrive in the grey area where there is no such thing as wrong - just measured.
Personally, I just struggle to buy into anything or anyone right now and my ‘takes’ are non-existent; unless having ‘no takes’ is the ‘take’ and then maybe I’m a hypocrite... I could care less. It is June, and there is a huge chance that none of what we are talking about right now will matter a week before the season starts.
However, that doesn’t mean that my irritation towards the ‘community’ should hold me back from looking at trends we see right now and how that may impact your fantasy strategy right now. There we go, working the Fantasy Impact moniker into the diatribe and now we are off to the races! Over the next four weeks, I will be breaking down two divisions at a time. This week I'm heading East and checking out the AFC and NFC where I will dig into a boom, a bust, a breakout and a sleeper from each division. Some may be obvious and others are not so much. Have a read and let me know what you think!
Before we get started - shoutout to the #BRFS guys for landing their gig with the Full-Time Fantasy Network - great job!
Secondly, everything below is set to half point per reception scoring unless said otherwise. ADP data was found collectively from fantasyfootballcalculator.com and fantasypros.com - thank you!
NFC EAST BOOM - CARSON WENTZ, PHILADELPHIA - 2018 ADP QB7, FINISHED QB22, CURRENT ADP QB7:
Yes. It is a replaceable, streamable position. Depending on your format, the ‘late round Quarterback’ theory could/should be in the forefront of your mind when drafting. And yes, you can wait for anyone there. But lately, I've found myself - and particularly in BestBall - grabbing Carson Wentz in what I think is the ‘purgatory rounds’ between the early 8th round to the early 10th round (again, depends on your league size and scoring format so bear with me) and feeling really good about it. Which, as a Giants fan, makes me feel pretty dirty. Then I draft him again. 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. The East should be theirs unless Dallas mounts a challenge. The benefactor of their moves is clearly Wentz and considering he is being drafted around Drew Brees and Cam Newton, I can't help but feel that he is not only a safer option but the one likely to break into the top 3-5 of QBs in 2019.
AFC EAST BOOM - BUFFALO RECEIVERS - LATE, LATE VALUE:
Providing the ADP from 2018 for Zay Jones and Robert Foster seems somewhat redundant because neither were fantasy worthy until the last 5-6 weeks of last season. Josh Allen scares the crap out of me as a starting QB. And Cole Beasley and John Brown were elsewhere too so knowing anything from these four as a mixed group - if we are being honest with ourselves - would be a guess right now.
However. They’re all going late. Like late, late. Like really late.
The first Buffalo Receiver off the board is John Brown in the 13th Round as the WR54. Robert Foster is one spot behind him while Slot Receiver Zay Jones off the back of 100+ targets and 7 TDs as the WR64. Cole Beasley is in around the WR106 range. The value is clearly there, the volume will be there. This validates the choice to snap one up as it won't cost you a thing - more than one could boom in year two of this offense. Keep an eye on all of them heading into mid-August.
NFC EAST BUST - WASHINGTON. ANYTHING WASHINGTON. ALL OF THEM - IT DOESN’T MATTER:
Nope. Not this year. Nope. None of them. Maybe Dwayne Haskins if he gets the nod and it’s in 2QB formatting, but that’s it.
We don't know the who the starting Quarterback is and that is problem number 1. It’s probably Case Keenum but who knows. We don’t know who the starting Running Back is. Are Derrius Guice and Chris Thompson finally fully healthy? Adrian Peterson thinks he’s going for 1,000 yards again, so there’s that to deal with. They drafted a Running Back who had an ACL tear in Bryce Love and is about 5-6 months into rehab and then there is Samaje Perine still there. They have a cluster of receivers - god only knows who gets the starting jobs - and if you had the choice of Paul Richardson or Josh Doctson you're likely to be pulling your hair out. Trey Quinn season? Maybe. But they also drafted Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon. We have no idea what or how much any of these three they contribute.
And Jordan Reid is still there, which means by week 5 you're starting to check Vernon Davis’ availability on your waiver wire because let's face it, it would be irresponsible not to.
If you want any of them, be my guest. I’ll wait a year and see how it plays out.
AFC EAST BUST - JAMISON CROWDER, NEW YORK JETS - 2018 ADP WR34, FINISHED WR83, CURRENT ADP WR58:
Ironically, after voicing my opinion about avoiding Redskins receivers, my attention turns to a former Washington guy whose carriage on the hype train for the past few seasons tends to get filled fairly quickly. I think I would like this more if Le’Veon Bell wasn’t around. Or if Quincy Enunwa wasn’t around. Or if Chris Herndon didn’t show out toward the end of 2018. Oh, and if Adam Gase wasn’t there. Add to it, Crowder always seems to be hurt, and you always feel like you have overpaid for him. Or you are waiting for him to be ‘that guy’ when he rarely is, and when he is, it’s generally not the week you play him.
If all those things didn’t happen, then maybe I would like this a bit more. But all of this has happened, it is real, and I think we need to give the Jamison Crowder hype a rest for a year.
NFC EAST IMPACT PLAYER - EVAN ENGRAM, NEW YORK - 2018 ADP TE7, FINISHED TE12, CURRENT ADP TE6:
The self-loathing stigma of being a ‘big-blue’ supporter is real.
It’s been a brutal year for Giants fans because if wasting the health of your star running back in Saquon Barkley and then paying Odell Beckham Jr only to ship him off for ‘culture’ reasons is probably one thing to set you off. But drafting the Robot Chicken version of Eli Manning with the 6th Pick overall in Daniel Jones, only to claim Eli Manning is the starter still is another. Comical, and sad all at the same time. But if overpaying Golden Tate, an evergreen talent, doesn’t make you grit your teeth it is at least knowing that Evan Engram is probably going to be the outside receiver. He is going to get a lot of love. And Evan Engram on the outside without the mercurial ‘OBJ’ is a devastating thing. We know the splits and point differentials already - it’s been beaten to death all offseason - Engram has the chance to jump back into that top tier of tight ends as he did as a rookie a few seasons back - if he remains healthy.
A healthy Evan Engram could win you your league. Purely because of T.E.L.I.A. and nothing else.
AFC EAST IMPACT PLAYER - JULIEN EDELMAN, NEW ENGLAND - 2018 ADP WR29, FINISHED WR23, CURRENT ADP WR15:
One of two things is going to happen. The first thing is - and we hope - is that he stays healthy and continues his Super Bowl MVP form from 2018. In a new look Patriots offense which is without Rob Gronkowski, an injured Demaryius Thomas and a suspended Josh Gordon. Here comes rookie receiver N’Keal Harry?
This screams Julian Edelman could be in for a monster year and Tom Brady’s longest and most reliable player on that team right now - which if you didn’t know - is probably a really good thing to be.
The second thing is - and we hope this doesn’t happen - at 33 he has jumped the shark and isn’t what you draft. Edelman is currently sitting in the early 4th round and I gotta be honest with you, that would bother me just a little knowing I could get Robert Woods or Kenny Golladay in the same Round. My gut feeling is that when it gets closer to ‘Draft Day’, Edelman is likely to fall based on the hype on others around him and he could be pushed slightly further back. That would be a huge win for you in redraft formats if that eventuates.
NFC EAST DEEP SLEEPER - RANDALL COBB, DALLAS - 2018 ADP WR38, FINISHED WR86, CURRENT ADP WR78:
What? Randall Cobb is a sleeper? Huh?
Look it makes sense, when it comes to Randall Cobb being aligned to the great Aaron Rodgers for so long contributed to why he was always taken so high. Yes, you want as many good receivers as you can that have the great Quarterbacks at the helm. Which makes sense when talking about Cobb and his career. He now finds himself in the Lone Star state and, quite frankly the likely candidate to be the WR2 for the Cowboys behind Amari Cooper. Cobb is only 28 but feels like he has been around forever and has been dogged by injuries for the past few seasons. But even in 9 games last season he still plugged a respectable 61 Targets. There are two main points about Cobb being a sleeper that I want to quickly address, and both will sound tedious:
My first point is health. Look I’m 34 years old and the moment I hit weather in the mid-30’s I gotta tell you that I too tear a hamstring getting out of bed most mornings. But here in Dallas where I (and now Randall Cobb) reside, I have no issues moving in this weather, ever. Yeah, it’s a little tongue in cheek, but to be fair what those guys in Wisconsin go through is incredible. If you're however telling me that something small like better weather, a home ground that protects you from snow and a fast, indoor, track are all on Cobb’s side, I’d say that’s a great thing for him.
Secondly - Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley - these guys are nowhere near the level of player that Cobb is. And Michael Gallup, although coming on strong at the end of the season, shows some promise, then he too can only benefit by having Cobb work inside. That has to be good for Prescott, Elliott and new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore who will look to unlock the veteran playmaker.
At a place where you are selecting him around, similar to where Josh Doctson and John Ross are going, I think I would take the guy that we have seen been consistent before, over those who have been nothing more than the odd bye week filler.
AFC EASTDEEP SLEEPER - KALEN BALLAGE, MIAMI - 2018 RBX, FINISHED RB86, CURRENTLY RB52:
If not Ballage then who?
But seriously, everything about the Dolphins screams ‘PATRIOTS LITE’ with the direction they seem to be heading and if that's the case, then there is a case to be made that Kalen Ballage could be this year’s LeGarrette Blount (although what year that LeGarrette Blount is might be another thing). I think what Kenyan Drake does per week could determine how much Ballage gets used. And if that’s the case, then you could be in for a bumpy ride of when and when not to plug him into your lineup. But while the depth chart behind Ballage is extremely shallow I could see a world where maybe a veteran gets added once ‘cuts’ start happening. Just be aware and keep note. He looked okay towards the end of the year in a couple of games and it wasn’t anything to write home about, but then again what about Miami right now is?
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 the @TheBackRowShow webpage right now - give the guys a Follow, @Barkbackrow, @Nealdrox, and @Armsbackrow - And remember to Rate/Review/Share/Like/Subscribe to the Podcast and Posts!
But most of all…..Enjoy!