FANTASY IMPACT – AFC/NFC WEST
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 in ADP - which if you have been following along all offseason - could throw the proverbial spanner in the ‘works’ as to who you thought could land to you may seem like a reach right now. Ah yes, those three little letters (ADP) 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 stride. Shoutout to 2018’s Derrick Henry and Jerrick McKinnon hype trains from the online preachers. Henry was nowhere for 12 weeks and McKinnon didn’t see the turf at all; so much wasted energy arguing about two guys that for the most part gave you nothing 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 West 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 are not so much, but have a read and let me know what you think!
To keep consistent, everything below is set to Half Point Per Reception scoring unless noted otherwise. ADP data was found collectively from fantasyfootballcalculator.com and fantasypros.com - thank you!
Here we go!
NFC WEST BOOM - BRANDIN COOKS, LA RAMS - 2018 WR23, FINISHED WR12, CURRENTLY WR16:
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.
Brandin Cooks in 2018 was drafted as a backend WR2 and again produced another 1100 yard, 6 touchdown season to end, again, as a WR1.
For the first time in three years, Cooks finds himself on the same team and while Cooper Kupp optimistically aims for a round 1 return, Cooks (and Robert Woods, currently one place behind Cooks as the WR17) again are finding themselves outside that top 12 mark. I would expect both to boom early in the season as their resources seem slimmer to start the season than normal, making Cooks (even slightly outside the WR1 realm) a bargain at the moment. Again, he will fall, it happens every draft. Feel comfortable taking him when he lands in your lap.
AFC WEST BOOM - BRONCOS RECEIVERS, LATE, LATE VALUE:
Is Joe Flacco really that bad? No, I mean he’s not great, but he is serviceable. Is he worse than Case Keenum? No. Are the receivers in Denver this year better than what he was working with in Baltimore last year? Yes. Easily.
Flacco, prior to injury, was averaging 43 pass attempts per game and had Michael Crabtree (WR34 until Flacco went down) and John Brown (WR20 until Flacco went down) pretty much at his disposal. A few rookie tight ends that hadn’t found their way yet with a near non-existent run game featuring Alex Collins. Forget the win/loss column, for now, he had some guys who were getting decent results. He goes to Denver with a veteran who was crushing fantasy until he tore his Achilles, and a couple of second-year players looking to take the next step - as well as highly touted Noah Fant - who looks to be the 2019 version of 2017’s Evan Engram. Their draft position, to me, screams bargain. All in Flex/WR4 range, that if I’m being honest feels way too late for my liking:
Courtland Sutton, WR45 and Emmanuel Sanders, WR47; I accept the Sanders injury concerns considering he could be on the PUP to start the year but seeing this and his recovery process he is as good a shout as any. Sutton, the team’s starting number one, is falling past the 10th round.
DaeSean Hamilton, WR60; I love Hamilton this year as a sneaky play if Sanders isn’t ready. He was brought into Denver to take this role over eventually. Thirty-eight targets in the last four games? In half or full PPR? Who is giving you that possible value that late?
Noah Fant, TE17; when Austin Hooper, Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker are all going ahead of him, and at that point T.E.L.I.A. is relevant more so, why are we not throwing the dart at Fant instead?
(Honorable mention to Tim Patrick, but unless something happens to either of these three, I can’t see him getting much run).
Grab one of them. Thank me later.
NFC WEST BUST - SAN FRANCISCO RUNNING BACKS:
It seems as though Tevin Coleman is starting to be the guy to grab coming in as the RB30 at this point, which is fine, but knowing Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Breida are there in the background waiting for any chance to shine is enough to put me off. That seems like a headache already and it is only July.
AFC WEST BUST - TYREEK HILL, KANSAS - 2018 WR11, FINISHED WR1, CURRENTLY WR26:
I don’t care who you are,
Where you’re from.
What you did,
As long as you get suspended bay-bay...
I mean really… why are we even talking about him? Until you know more, you know nothing, Jon Snow.
NFC WEST IMPACT PLAYER - KYLER MURRAY, ARIZONA - 2019 ROOKIE CURRENTLY QB8:
The Cardinals pushed their chips all in on the 1.01 of this year's draft and can you blame them? The excitement machine has boomed sooner up the draft boards than most would like but to be fair he holds the keys to the kingdom. And to be fair, Arizona has followed what everyone else that drafted a QB in 2018 draft has done and loaded up their squads. Look what Cleveland has done for Baker Mayfield and the Bills for Josh Allen. The Ravens with Lamar Jackson and the Jets for Sam Darnold.
I understand that Murray is not a 2018 Rookie, but Arizona drafted and recruited as if he was to gain ground on the guys mentioned above to compensate for the Josh Rosen experiment. They got him the coach and the receivers. They kept the veterans like David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald around another year. They have set him up to be the centerpiece now - not next year.
Don’t be surprised if the Cardinals out-kick their coverage this year. Don’t be surprised if this is the last time in a while you see Kyler Murray at value.
AFC WEST IMPACT PLAYER - MELVIN GORDON, LA CHARGERS - 2018 RB7, FINISHED RB7, CURRENTLY RB5:
Why does everyone hate Melvin Gordon? I know, I’m joking, but why is it that as soon as another running back has something go in their favor Melvin Gordon gets bumped? Why?
Gordon gets hurt Week 11, having already had two TDs in that game and struggled for yards the rest of the season. He didn’t look right upon his return - but the Chargers were so, so close I can’t blame him or them for forcing the issue. But prior to his injury? Less than 60 yards rushing twice. Two games where he didn’t score at all. One game with less than 4 targets.
Why are we all about David Johnson and Joe Mixon when this is going on? Why are people avoiding him? When he is that consistent? Really?
NFC WEST DEEP SLEEPER - DAVID MOORE, SEATTLE - FINISHED WR69, CURRENTLY WR89:
The Back Row Fantasy Show is all in it seems on Greg Jennings over D.K. Metcalf for the Seahawks in dynasty. Metcalf probably gets drafted in redraft formats no matter what and Jennings probably doesn’t. Yet in a heavily run-first scheme, Metcalf is going as the WR40 only four rounds behind Tyler Lockett, currently the WR22.
I understand that any team with a QB as great as Russell Wilson is worth taking notice of, so why not the guy who has some rapport, played on limited usage and still pumped out a 53-26-445-5 TD season? A touchdown every 5.2 receptions? For every 89 yards? Just so we are clear, Lockett, who is going in the fifth round, who screams upside for the same reasons as Moore (efficient QB, no Baldwin) had only 17 more targets, only 31 more receptions, 518 more yards, and 5 more touchdowns.
In a chasm, Lockett is clearly the better player, but I don't feel like there is a lot separating the two considering how much they ran the ball. Lockett was just that damn efficient. While Moore didn’t really figure in, but still did well in spurts.
Moore’s numbers are what they are. Over a full season, they don’t look great, but Seattle as a whole didn’t look great. So here we are with no Doug Baldwin and two rookies that we are likely to overpay for, while the guy that's actually been there and done that with the team goes unnoticed and undrafted?
As good of a dart throw as any right now.
AFC WEST DEEP SLEEPER - TYRELL WILLIAMS, OAKLAND - 2018 WR62, FINISHED WR46, CURRENTLY WR63:
Quietly, Tyrell Williams, despite moving to what looks like a better opportunity, finds himself in the same range as he did last year. Antonio Brown is going to do his thing and seek the attention of most defenses. Surely Williams is a direct benefactor of that? Along with an improved offensive line and a stud rookie running back in Josh Jacobs getting volume, Williams likely falls back to being the third option in this team.
Has Derek Carr never supported two top receivers before? Yes, at his best, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were studs. But neither of them are Antonio Brown and both have been as consistent/inconsistent as Williams has been in the past - but neither has been drafted this late.
I actually like what Oakland did this offseason, and I like them to be in enough games to keep scoring. And I like the size and speed of Williams in the 14th round to potentially be a guy that easily slots into your flex spot on bye weeks and/or otherwise to be a game-winner for you.
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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