FANTASY IMPACT Series 2 of 4
by Dan Rosier (@theBleagueSays)
BACK ROW SHOW BANDITS!
Here we are at the beginning of the 2019 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.
In this four-part series, I will be breaking down two divisions at a time, and this week I'm heading North 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, others not so much, but just have a read and let me know what you think!
To keep consistent, everything below is set to Half Point Per Reception scoring unless indicated. ADP data was found collectively from fantasyfootballcalculator.com and fantasypros.com - thank you!
Here we go!
NFC NORTH BOOM - ALLEN ROBINSON, CHICAGO - 2018 ADP WR24, FINISHED WR40, CURRENT ADP WR31:
We continually justify the choices we make during player evaluations. Last season Allen Robinson had plenty of justification both for and against him. He was coming back from a year off due to surgery. Mitchell Trubisky was in year two of his career after not showing much under John Fox’s tutelage. Last year the Bears hired a new Head Coach in Matt Nagy.
We know that Robinson has thrived with bad Quarterback play before. Hell, he bossed with Blake Bortles in Jacksonville, so we know he can perform on a ‘bad’ team. On top of that the unknown of post-injury recovery was something we were yet to witness from him. Robinson did pull just about 100 targets and had a decent 13.7 Yards Per Reception. The four touchdowns were probably the most surprising aspect of his season over 13 games. He projects a bit higher if he can stay healthy for the whole season.
Where Robinson is currently being drafted, he is seemingly a steal considering Robby Anderson and Sammy Watkins are being picked up ahead of him. Both Anderson and Watkins show more volatility in their weekly results than Robinson. Robinson led his team in receiving and finished the season with a 13-10-143-1 TD game vs Philadelphia in the playoffs. That is the lasting impression he gave. If that is the way that the Bears unlock him and their team moving forward, then Robinson in the seventh round is providing maximum value. It could be seen as criminal. Get him where you can at this value.
AFC NORTH BOOM - MARQUISE BROWN, BALTIMORE (ROOKIE) - CURRENT ADP WR62:
I’m not the dynasty guy here. We have a podcast dedicated to dynasty football and the rookies that come through for your listening pleasure every damn week. Talking about rookies would be kind of redundant. I think that this whole Baltimore setup for Lamar Jackson has been catered to him so much but talking about the obvious seems a bit rich. Marquise Brown, drafted in the 1st round this year, was talked down due to his size and speed.
It was the same conversation that smeared Kyler Murray this offseason instead of recognizing the actual talent that he and Brown have. It’s apt to talk about both because together they shredded college (and potentially the NFL) prototypes apart. Brown is more than a speed guy, he can run the route tree. He can beat you at the line too. If he gets half a step on you he is gone and there is nothing than can be done to beat that.
I’m not the biggest advocate of drafting rookie receivers in redraft formats, but in the 14th Round where Brown is being drafted - as a dart throw - in an offense restructured for the QB they drafted last year, I can’t help but believe that if they succeed it's because Brown did his job well. This could be the last time he is this cheap, so why not take the gamble in the late rounds on him instead of DeVante Parker (13th Round) or Donte Moncrief (14th Round)? Again, a guy this deadly could end up being a flex position play or a bye week filler right now. It could also be a guy who contributes in the long run to you winning your league.
NFC NORTH BUST - KYLE RUDOLPH, MINNESOTA - 2018 ADP TE8, FINISHED TE8, CURRENT ADP TE17:
Neapolitan ice cream is split up into thirds. There's chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. And when you go to get a scoop, naturally we select in that order and get a bit of everything in the bowl. I feel that picking Kyle Rudolph right now is the equivalent of buying said Neapolitan ice cream, choosing to eat only the vanilla flavor, and throwing the rest out.
What's the point? There isn’t any. Just go buy a cheaper vanilla tub and find someone else to pick up. It really doesn’t matter right?
To make the case - the guy you drafted last year finished as the TE8. The problem was this; we wanted Kyle Rudolph to be to Kirk Cousins that Jordan Reed was to Cousins in Washington. When Cousins got paid, we self-servingly believed that Rudolph was Reed. He isn't. They aren’t, and they never will be.
The case against Rudolph was that he got bailed out by a few big games, but everything in between felt hollow.
Selecting Rudolph now as the TE17 seems like a waste of conversation, purely because they did draft Irv Smith Jr, but that to me isn't the issue. More so that the Vikings look to involve Dalvin Cook, who is finally healthy, on the ground and in the air. Rudolph right now has the ‘Cam Brate’ feel, that he will do the honors in the blocking tight end role while Smith runs routes. He may poach a few Targets in the red zone but anything more than that I think is wishful thinking. In the right matchup, Rudolph is extremely stream able, but that is it.
Congrats on the new contract, stay away from my Fantasy team. Cheers!
AFC NORTH BUST - DONTE MONCRIEF, PITTSBURGH - 2018 ADP WR67, FINISHED WR53, CURRENT ADP WR62:
I would rather be wrong on Moncrief and see him succeed, then tell you to draft him and buy into the ‘WR2’ offseason hype he is getting and see him fail again.
I am a Donte Moncrief guy. I can’t get on this ride again in 2019. I would rather take the above-mentioned Marquise Brown in the same round then go down this path one more time. If he is healthy and establishing rapport with Roethlisberger, then I'll buy in and pay the overs after I see it. I would rather miss out and take a chance on a different ‘boom’ then pick my spots with a guy who we know can ‘bust’.
NFC NORTH IMPACT PLAYER - AARON RODGERS, GREEN BAY - 2018 ADP QB1, FINISHED QB6, CURRENT ADP QB3:
I know, I know this is an easy one!
Aaron Rodgers is an impact player how dare I! Let’s go through the history of drafting Rodgers for a minute.
2018 ADP - QB1, 3rd Round - QB6 finish.
2017 ADP - QB1, 2nd Round - QB29 finish (7 games played only).
2016 ADP - QB2, 3rd Round - QB1 finish.
2015 ADP - QB2, 2nd Round - QB7 finish.
This year, Rodgers is hanging around the fifth round as the QB3 overall. It’s the first time since 2008 (2014 2nd Round, 2013 and 2009 in the 3rd Round, 2012, 2011, 2010 in the 1st Round along with the numbers above) that Aaron Rodgers has been drafted later than the third round, where he was selected then in the 11th Round at the time.
For Fantasy, I’m going to ask the question: Is Aaron Rodgers finally of value as he is now no longer costing you one of your first three picks? We know that Rodgers is likely to rebound -which is a scary thought. We know that he has not only another year of Marques Valdes-Scantling, and Equanimeous St. Brown, but another year of Jimmy Graham and Aaron Jones too. If new Head Coach Matt LaFluer can bring in more of the Atlanta offense he was a part of a few seasons ago versus the Titans offense he ran last year, then maybe we get a motivated and reinvigorated Aaron Rodgers carving up the NFC North once again.
AFC NORTH IMPACT PLAYER - JOE MIXON, CINCINNATI - 2018 ADP RB14, FINISHED RB9, CURRENT ADP RB10:
Fun fact, Joe Mixon was the only RB2 that finished as an RB1 in 2018. That’s neat, right?
To me, Mixon showed enough to most to suggest that 2019 would be a breakout year, and not in 2018. With those going ahead of him, I feel like he could be a less risky option than Todd Gurley or Le'Veon Bell, and I think he could have the year where he catches up to Melvin Gordon and David Johnson. The Bengals have worked on their offensive Line, Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will be back and Tyler Boyd did enough to warrant attention too.
Sneakily, you are getting Mixon in the early-to-mid second round, but he poses high first round potential. Look for the targets to come up, as Gio Bernard gets further phased out.
NFC NORTH DEEP SLEEPER - DANNY AMENDOLA, DETROIT - 2018 ADP WR63, FINISHED WR61, CURRENT ADP WR100:
In a similar concept as it was last week regarding Randall Cobb, the idea of a veteran receiver in a new offense could be somewhat off-putting, however, Amendola being in the right role could be effective. And he will cost you absolutely nothing.
This year, Danny Amendola is free, literally free. He isn’t being drafted but the idea that Detroit predominantly wants to be a run-first and run-heavy team is all well and good. If games start getting away from them then I would hope that this idea would change quick. I love me some Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay, but Amendola working slick in the slot? I could buy that concept for a few games if the matchup is right. We are assuming T.J Hockenson is going to pick this up straight away and Jesse James playing a big role to me seem possible, yet probably unlikely. Add to that Theo Riddick potentially being a cut candidate?
In deeper leagues, this could be a bye-round pick up provided we see what he can do early in the season. Otherwise, the ends probably justify the ADP means.
AFC NORTH DEEP SLEEPER - ANTONIO CALLAWAY - 2018 WR65, FINISHED WR52, CURRENTLY WR75:
The ripple effect of Odell Beckham, Jr. rolling into Cleveland is enough to tip the scales against Antonio Callaway by a drop of 23 spots from where he finished. The big play, deep threat speedster is still interesting but may be off the field even more because of the star recruit from this offseason. Throw in Nick Chubb getting more work with Duke Johnson and Kareem Hunt waiting in the wings. Oh, and David Njoku…
Jeez the Browns are stacked…
My point is this, in BestBall and deep roster leagues (along with dynasty where he goes back to being a stash) - I think Callaway is worth a play still as a late round flyer - it will only take that one bomb from Mayfield to make him count. But something must go wrong in Cleveland for something to go right for him. But until then you will have to have a little patience.
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.
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