Thoughts on my SFB11 Team!

The Scott Fish Bowl is something that brings the fantasy community together once a year for a great cause to raise money for charity. I’m so happy to be invited again this season and make new friends and relationships built around a great cause!

The Qbs:

So, I really didn’t have any type of strategy other then not picking players that suck…. (Odell Beckham).. but I felt like I wanted to get my QBs early and make sure I have a good WR core. Simple right? I ended up with the 1.05 spot and I felt good about it. Now as expected being that it’s a Super Flex TE Premium and the ability to Flex Kickers (love this). A lot of Qbs were expected to fly off the board but I was shocked to see Josh Allen fall to the 1.08 spot. Very shocking for sure, but at the 1.05 spot I ended up grabbing Dak so I played a role in Allen falling.

Dak Prescott as my QB1 I feel good about it didn’t really have to over think it. Dallas defense remains bad so I believe Dak will be throwing the ball a ton! Full Send.

Now my QB2 I was incredibly happy to get at the 3.08 spot didn’t think I would land him, but Joe Burrow fell right in my lap. I was a little worried after that short QB run ahead me watching Herbert, Tanehill, Stafford, and Jalen Hurts go off the board. I love my 1,2 punch I got with Dak & Joe Burrow both have electric offenses that we expect big things from their WR cores. A lot of points should be lighting up line ups with this QB combo.

The RBs: Let’s talk some running backs. I took a chance with getting Jonathan Taylor at the 2.08 spot, but I love what I am hearing about JT out of camp. Frank Reich saying, he thinks JT has earned his role as the lead running back for the colts. So, we shall see if Frank keeps his word on JT. Now my RB2 was supposed to be Joe Mixon but talk about being sniped! Mixon has been getting a lot of hate on “Fantasy Twitter” so I would think he would not be on a lot of people radars but hey… in one division Mixon went as high as 1.03…. idk what type of szn that person is thinking Mixon will have but… ok.. Anyway, I ended up waiting a round to get to get my RB2 and felt as though if I wait any longer on RB ill be stuck with low end RB2s with extraordinarily little upside. I picked Ronald Jones as my RB2 in the 5.08 spot. My reasons are only based on we seen improvement from Jones year after year so maybe he can finish inside the top 15 again. I filled my RB core with guys who have some week-to-week upside. David Johnson, Kenyan Drake, Devin Singletary and Wayne Gallman.

The WRs:

Moving along to a WR core I believe will take me to the big dance! Keenan Allen, Robert Woods, Julio Jones, Darnell Mooney and Russell Gage and A.J Green! Studs man! I am not worried about this position at all. I got guys who will show up and show out week to week! Really was hyped to get Bobby Trees after landing Keenan Allen I think this is a particularly good WR combo week to week. Just to add Julio Jones is absolutely a gem. I was able to get some great WR depth with Mooney, Gage and Green. All respectable WR2s that could see a lot of volume and be able to produce 10-15 points a week. A avg ppg for a WR2 should be in that rage and ill take that for what its worth.

The TEs

Now my TEs are not jumping off the paper great but they will be able to produce and have some good weeks. Jonnu Smith and Jimmy Graham are guys that come with some question marks job security and overall employment. Jonnu Smith brings huge upside and can easily be one of the best pass catchers on the Patriots offense. Jimmy had a load of TDs last szn and lead the bears in RZ tgts but we don’t know if he will make the 52-man roster. Overall if they both pan out you can’t beat the value, I got on both in those late rounds.

Its Bring Home The Gold Szn and I plan on making some noise in this Lil Wayne division. So glad a few of my friends are in this division so the weekly smack talk should make things fun. Football is on the way, and I can’t wait!

Follow me on Twitter @Realdealfantasy

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Ranking the 2020 RBs for Dynasty Startups

By: Andrew Metcalfe (@drewmet_FF)

Unbelievable Talent Throughout the Class

Let me start this article by saying that ALL the running backs discussed here are huge talents in my eyes and I’m happy to draft any of them onto my fantasy rosters. With that being said, I like some more than others. In this article, I give my thoughts on the dynasty value for each of the top backs. Keep in mind this is strictly dynasty-based, so I weigh talent over current team situation-as the latter often changes from year to year in the NFL. These are my rankings based on who I prefer to roster for the next 2-3+ years.  

1. Jonathan Taylor

So, which side of the Jonathon Taylor vs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire debate were you on? If you sided with Taylor, it was an uncomfortable first few weeks as CEH got off to a hot start while Taylor struggled with inconsistencies. By the end of the season though, Taylor cemented himself as the top RB of the class. From weeks 11-17, only David Montgomery and Derrick Henry scored more fantasy points than him. 

After Phillip Rivers’ retirement, the Colts brought in Carson Wentz to takeover at QB. Other than that, this will pretty much be the same offensive unit that supported Taylor to an RB6 finish in 2020. Marlon Mack is expected to be healthy for the start of the season but running backs do not have a good track record of returning from an Achilles tear. Hines will also have his role as a receiving threat out of the backfield, but he was averaging ten touches per game while Taylor was breaking out, so he shouldn’t impede on Taylor’s RB1 aspirations going forward.

2. D’Andre Swift

Swift was widely considered as the top RB prospect in the 2020 class, but after the Lions drafted him his fantasy stock took a dive. Many associate him with the bad history of Detroit RBs since Barry Sanders, but that is a mistake. He’s already shown more than most of the recent Detroit RBs by putting up 878 total yards in just 13 games. Through the first 10 weeks, even though Swift had only played more than half of the team’s snaps twice, he was still the RB13. He missed several weeks afterward, due to a concussion, then finished the year strong with double-digit fantasy performances in three out of the final four weeks.

The 2021 season brings new concerns around Swift, including an expected poor offense and the addition of Jamaal Williams. Both of these concerns have been overblown, in my opinion. As far as bad offenses go, players like James Robinson, Christian McCaffrey, and Saquon Barkley have shown us that poor offenses can produce high-end fantasy RBs. Now, I’m not putting Swift in the same tier as them (especially CMC and Saquon), but when an RB can account for a high percentage of a team’s total offense, they have a chance to finish as an RB1 regardless of how unproductive the unit is as a whole. For those concerned about Williams cutting into Swift’s targets, look at his history as a receiver. His best season was 262 receiving yards, which is barely half the 521 receiving yards Swift produced in 13 games as a rookie. Williams’ best trait is his blocking abilities, and Swift will quickly prove to be the superior pass-catching back.   

3. Cam Akers

Akers has to be one of, if not the most controversial player on Fantasy Twitter. Any mention of him is sure to invite “spirited” debates. It’s hard to accept top-10 RB ADP for a player with only one 100+ yard rushing game during the regular season and was RB37 in PPG, but I believe we saw a clear shift towards Akers as the backfield leader towards the end of the season and into the playoffs.

Those that are hesitant to buy in on Akers, fear that Darrell Henderson will have a big role and cut into Akers’ production. After Akers had a week 12 breakout game against SF, the carry counts over the next three games between him and Darrell Henderson were 65-6 in Akers’ favor. Akers missed week 16 due to an injury and Henderson ended up missing week 17 and the playoffs due to his own injury, so that was the last time we saw them both healthy. There is also a common notion that Henderson was better than Akers, but I’m not sure of that. Akers had more yards created per touch, a better juke rate, and evaded tackles at a higher rate. Akers faced a stacked defensive front on 35.9% of his carries (eight-highest in 2020). The QB upgrade of Matt Stafford should allow him to see lighter fronts and take another step forward in 2021.

4. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

If you were on the CEH side of the rookie 1.01 debate, the season was off to a great start for you. Through week 7, CEH was the RB10. The first RB taken in the 2020 draft was seeing double-digit carries every week and also averaged five targets per game, up until that point. For some reason, Andy Reid decided to get Le’Veon Bell involved more through the rest of the season, causing CEH’s volume to take a major hit. For the second half of 2020, his usage was inconsistent and led to a lot of frustrated fantasy managers as they watched the Chiefs turn into a full-blown RBBC.

Going into 2021, all signs are pointing to a resurgence for Edwards-Helaire. First of all, Bell is no longer in town. The Chiefs did pick up free agent Jerick McKinnon, but his body has been failing him for several years now. He hasn’t seen over 100 carries in a season since 2015 and should not be viewed as a threat to take on a significant role. Second, the Chiefs addressed their offensive line woes. In addition to the return of 2020 opt-out, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, KC also added former all-pro Joe Thuney at Guard and traded for pro-bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. With less backfield competition for touches and an improved offensive line, CEH has a good chance to return to the RB1 days that we experienced at the start of 2020.

This all sounds great, so why is he fourth in my rankings? I don’t view his ceiling as high as the first three RBs. This offense will always run through Patrick Mahomes, primarily via Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. Clyde’s TD upside and overall production will be capped because of this.    

5. J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State has been producing some high-quality fantasy players over the past few years, including Ezekiel Elliot, Michael Thomas, and Terry McLaurin. J.K. Dobbins was expected to be the next Buckeye NFL superstar and he made a solid case in his debut: 925 total yards and nine TDs on just 152 touches made him one of the most efficient backs on the season. He led the league with 6.1 yards per rush and was Top 5 in yards after contact per attempt, yards per touch, and breakaway runs (carries of 15+ yards).

If this list was only based on talent, Dobbins would be near the top. Despite his effectiveness as a runner, his fantasy upside is limited compared to the other RBs. The Ravens lead the league in team rushing attempts over the past three seasons (by a wide margin) but Lamar Jackson is going to take a good chunk of them, especially in the red zone. Jackson had 26 carries inside the twenty-yard line last season, which was one-fourth of the teams’ total attempts. Not to mention the recently extended Gus Edwards who had 28 red zone carries of his own and accounts for 10-12 rushes each week. Competing with both Edwards and Jackson means that Dobbins would have to maintain an extremely high TD rate and level of efficiency to consistently finish in the Top 12.      

6. Antonio Gibson

I know that Gibson stans are not going to like this, please don’t come after me with pitchforks! Like I said in the intro, all these guys are extremely talented-but someone has to be ranked at the bottom. With Gibson transitioning from college WR to NFL RB, he had his fair share of doubters. He quickly proved that he was a Pro-level tailback though, producing over 1,000 total yards and finding the endzone 11 times in his rookie campaign. He was one of the most elusive backs, with the 2nd highest broken tackle rate and 8th best juke rate among RBs. A rookie that finished as the 13th best fantasy RB in only 14 games should be vaulted into the RB1 conversation for everyone, right? While I still view Gibson as a Top 20 RB, I’m hesitant to rank above any of the previously mentioned players.

The first concern is that nearly 40-percent of his total fantasy production came from three monster games against terrible defenses (Bengals and Cowboys twice). Even though he performed well above expectations, he is raw as a runner and needs time to develop at the position. Gibson trailed all the other RBs on this list except for Swift in yards after contact and was only better than CEH in rushing yards over expected per attempt (measures how well a runner gains yards compared to an average running back). I’m also not convinced that J.D. McKissic will be phased out like most of the community is. McKissic was a big part of this offense and even though Ryan Fitzpatrick won’t check down as much as Alex Smith, he will still have a passing down role and will limit Gibson’s ceiling.  

Late Round TE Best Ball Targets

By: Andrew Metcalfe (@drewmet_FF)

Best Ball Mania

Best ball is one of the fastest-growing formats for Fantasy football. People love to draft, especially during the off-season. You can get yourself in trouble though if you commit to too many leagues and end up overwhelming yourself once you have to manage your teams in-season. Best ball eliminates all week-to-week transactions and lineup decisions by automatically starting your best performers for every week and only counting their scores. You can draft as much as you want, with no extra work during the season.

There’s plenty of different ways to approach a best ball draft. One of my favorite strategies is taking all of my tight ends late. It’s great having Kelce, Waller, or Kittle on your roster, but I prefer to go after a top running back in that range since the position dries up very quickly in the mid-rounds and you usually have to start a minimum of two running backs each week, versus just one tight end. These are a few of my favorite tight end targets that are almost certain to be available in the last two rounds of any best ball draft.

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay

Going into 2019, O.J. Howard had an ADP (Average Draft Position) of TE4. He was coming off two of the most efficient seasons that we’ve ever seen from a tight end, averaging over eleven yards-per-target and exactly 16.62 yards-per-reception in each of his first two years with the Buccaneers. Unfortunately, newly-appointed head coach Bruce Arians decided to crush Fantasy Manager’s hopes by allowing Cameron Brate and Breshad Perriman to out-target Howard. While most tight ends break out in Year 3, Howard had his worst performance to date, putting up just 459 yards on 53 targets. Good for just TE29 on the season, he was one of the biggest busts of 2019.

For 2020, the disappointment of Howard’s previous season was still fresh in the minds of Fantasy managers. That, along with Tampa’s acquisition of Rob Gronkowski, caused Howard’s ADP to plummet and he often went undrafted in best ball leagues. He saw six targets in Week 1, which was twice as many as Gronk despite playing fewer snaps. Week 2 was an easy win against Carolina in which neither tight end was involved much–Howard out-targeted Gronk 3 to 1. Gronkowski saw seven targets compared to Howard’s four in Week 3, but Howard still gained more yards (only one more). In Week 4, Howard once again doubled up Gronkowski in targets (6 to 3) and was having his best game of the season when he suffered a devastating achilles tear that ended his campaign.

An achilles tear is one of, if not the worst injury an NFL player can experience. We have seen them end the careers of young players, but it’s more difficult for running backs to return compared to other positions. Emmanuel Sanders is a recent, positive case study on Achilles rupture recovery. He tore his in December of 2018 and ended up playing 17 games the following year (due to a mid-season trade that occurred before Denver’s bye week and after San Francisco’s), putting up a respectable 869 yards. He was also 33-years-old, which is nearly eight years older than Howard, plus suffered his injury at a much later point in the season. With the additional recovery time and age advantage, I have high hopes that Howard can make a full recovery for 2020 and be the top Fantasy TE in Tampa.

Dawson Knox, Buffalo

Dawson Knox was the Bills’ 2019 third-round pick. Even though he only saw more than five targets once during his rookie season, his 13.86 yards per reception is the 12th-best by any rookie tight end since 1992. The only active players with higher YPR marks as rookies are O.J. Howard, Mark Andrews, Gerald Everett, Noah Fant, and Austin Hooper. His second season was derailed by multiple injuries throughout the year, so it was tough for him to find his place in the booming Buffalo offense. His participation picked up at the end of the season though, seeing four or more targets in weeks 13-17 and scoring a touchdown in three out of the last six regular-season games.

Knox has never been a high-volume pass catcher, but he will have his moments which makes him the perfect best ball target in the late rounds. Josh Allen likes to look his way in the redzone. In only 12 games, Knox was fourth on the team in targets from within the 20-yard line and tied for third in receiving touchdowns. That might not seem too exciting on the surface, but for a team that was Top 5 in both pass attempts and scoring last season, I’m happy to grab any piece of the offense I can get my hands on. Especially when the player is going near the very end of the draft.

Drew Sample, Cincinnati

In case you haven’t noticed a common theme here, I’m targeting TEs that are in high-volume pass offenses. Through the first ten weeks of 2020 (before Burrow’s ACL injury), Cincinnati averaged 41.2 pass attempts per game. That was the second most, only behind Dallas at the time. Drew Sample was a second-round pick by the Bengals in 2019, which is solid draft capital for a tight end. He began the 2020 season behind C.J. Uzomah but was quickly promoted to the starting role when Uzomah ruptured his achilles in Week 2 and saw nine targets in that game. His involvement throughout the rest of the season was inconsistent, but that’s expected for young tight ends.

Entering his third season, which is often the year that tight ends breakout, he’s definitely worth the dart throw of your final best ball draft pick. Burrow is expected to be fully healthy for Week 1 and that offense should be near the top of the NFL in pass attempts once again. With defenses focused on the multiple high-caliber wide receiver weapons, Sample will often be overlooked by opponents, giving him a great opportunity to take advantage of defensive mismatches and have the occasional big game.

Will Parris Campbell ever Become Relevant?

By: Andrew Metcalfe (@drewmet_FF)

“He’s Injury Prone!”

Injuries are impossible to predict, despite the constant need for the Fantasy community to label certain players as “injury prone”.  We really have no idea which players will and won’t stay healthy each year.  In fact, there are multiple sports medicine studies that prove most injuries are simply due to bad luck.  I can remember players like Dalvin Cook and Keenan Allen being written off earlier in their careers because they could never seem to stay healthy and now, they are both Fantasy stars.  I’m here to discuss one of my favorite sleepers for 2021, Parris Campbell.  Another member of the perceived “injury prone” club, here is why you should use that label to take advantage of his discounted value.  

Parris Campbell was drafted in 2019 by Indianapolis in the second round, as the seventh wideout off of the board.  That was before D.K. Metcalf, Diontae Johnson, and his Ohio State teammate Terry McLaurin were all drafted, just in case you forgot how highly he was thought of as a prospect.  His production at Ohio State won’t blow anyone away, but he did lead the team in receiving during his last two years there and earned 2018 First-team Big Ten honors as a Senior.  

NFL Career Speed Bumps

Unfortunately, Campbell ran into the worst of luck with his health during his 2019 rookie season.  After a quiet start to the year, he began earning around fifty-percent of snaps in week 3.  Week 4 was his first game as a starter and he saw eight targets.  Momentum was on his side at this point, but he suffered an abdominal strain and ended up missing the next three games.  He was back in action for week 9, catching five out of five targets for 53 yards, but this time it was a broken hand that took him out.  Five weeks later, he returns and sees another five targets in week 14 before going down yet again.  This time, it was a foot fracture which ended up costing him the remainder of the season.  

After a disappointing rookie campaign, Campbell was eager to return to the field for 2020, in his second year.  He immediately reclaimed a starting role, playing a career-high 83-percent of snaps and catching six passes for 71 yards on nine targets which led the team.  Parris was on his way to a breakout season, but terrible luck struck again–In the first quarter of the Colts’ week 2 game, Campbell was awkwardly tackled by a defender and carted off of the field.  There was initial speculation of an ACL tear, but the diagnosis was a severe sprain to both his MCL and PCL.  Even though it cost him the season, the recovery from this injury is much quicker than an ACL tear so it could have been worse.  He is expected to be fully healthy and ready for training camp this Summer. 


Indy’s Off-season

This was an interesting off-season for Indianapolis.  Once Phillip Rivers announced his retirement, there were all sorts of hypothetical QBs being talked about as potential replacements in Indy.  They eventually decided to trade for Carson Wentz.  Although Wentz has had his struggles lately, the last time we saw him playing under current Colts Head Coach Frank Reich was in 2017 when Reich was the Eagles offensive coordinator.  Wentz had his career best season and was an MVP candidate that year, so Indianapolis is hoping to re-capture that magic.    

The Colts could have easily moved on from Campbell by signing a high-profile free agent wide receiver this off-season or drafting one of the top prospects in the rookie draft, but they didn’t.  The only transaction of note was the resigning of TY Hilton.  While Hilton still has some gas left in the tank, he is well past his peak of being a number one receiver, so Indy will be counting on Campbell and/or Michael Pittman Jr. to step into the “alpha” role. 

Pittman Jr. has the physical build of the prototypical “X” receiver, but don’t count out Campbell and his 4.31 40-yard dash speed taking over.  Parris projects to be the starting slot receiver, meaning he will often avoid the opponents top defenders and have room to get off of the line of scrimmage without getting pressed.  Having that level of speed working the middle of the field opens up a ton of opportunity for Campbell in this offense.  Don’t miss out on his upside in 2021, especially while his ADP remains around WR60! 

Sell these RBs before the NFL Draft

By: Andrew Metcalfe

NFL Russian Roulette

Ever since I started playing Dynasty Fantasy football, the NFL offseason became so much more exciting to me. Holding on to mid-tier running backs can be like playing Russian Roulette with your Dynasty roster. One news flash of the team signing another starter and their value could instantly come crashing down. This is especially true during the NFL Draft, as we have no idea what coaches and front office executives are discussing in their war rooms.

The following running backs are all RB1s for their respective teams at the moment, but I don’t have much hope for their future outlook by the conclusion of the NFL Draft. I’m suggesting that you consider trading them away while they still have value.

Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals 

Once the news broke that Kenyan Drake was leaving Arizona to sign with the Raiders, Chase Edmonds owners rejoiced. He quietly had a top 25 RB season in 2020 as the number two behind Drake, finishing with career highs in carries, targets, yards, and TDs. At that point, Edmonds was the RB1 for the Cardinals by default, but then James Connor signed in April and now things are a bit murky. Connor hasn’t shown the ability to stay healthy throughout his career and seemed to have lost a step last year, despite only being 25 years old. His signing actually bodes well for Edmonds, but the chances he survives the NFL Draft without the team bringing in additional competition are low.    

The track record for running backs that have not secured a lead role by their third season isn’t good (Edmonds will be going into his fourth). There have been opportunities in the past for Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury to hand the backfield over to Chase, but he does not seem to have much confidence in Edmonds as a lead back. In 2019, after David Johnson injured his ankle and was essentially benched for the season, AZ decided to trade for Kenyan Drake midseason instead of rolling with Edmonds. Last year, they could have easily let Drake walk and named Edmonds as the starter, but chose to transition tag Drake for an additional year. The most recent signing of James Connor is confirmation that Edmonds will never be “the guy”.  

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that Edmonds could still have fantasy relevance if another running back is added. If the Cardinals decide to draft a bigger back like Rhamondre Stevenson or Trey Sermon, I’m sure that Edmonds will continue to have a receiving role. I just think what we saw in 2020 was his ceiling and his value has peaked. There were only two games last season in which Edmonds was a top 30 RB without having to score a TD. That is not the type of guy you want to rely on in your lineup on a weekly basis. The downside for Chase would be AZ making a splash by drafting one of the top-tier running backs (Najee Harris, Travis Etienne, or Javonte Williams), which would absolutely crush his value. Given the tough competition and offensive firepower the Cardinals face in the NFC West, this is certainly a possibility. I would be looking to trade away Edmonds for an early to mid 2nd round rookie pick.  

Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins

Myles Gaskin was a 2019 7th-round pick out of Washington that ended up becoming one of the unsung heroes of the waiver wire in 2020. While some were hoping to see Jordan Howard revive his career in Miami, Gaskin came out of nowhere to take the starting job and was a Top 20 running back in PPG through the first eight weeks. He battled injuries for most of the second half of the season while maintaining solid production in the games he did play, including a monster 35 point (PPR) game against Las Vegas during Fantasy Championship Week (Week 16). On the surface, it seems like Gaskin would have job security going into 2021, but I’m not confident that Miami won’t be looking to upgrade in the Draft. 

As I mentioned before, Gaskin was a decent fantasy running back, but teams don’t care about his fantasy production. It’s about what they see on the field, and his inefficiencies as a runner are a concern. He only created 1.22 yards per touch which ranked 31st among RBs and his 4.0 true yards per carry (removes runs of 10+ yards) ranked 49th in the league. I typically don’t like to remove a players’ big plays to make a point, but Myles had a Big Run rate of just 2.1% (credit: PlayerProfiler), which ranked him 55th. He’s a subpar NFL athlete, so long runs aren’t a major part of his game.  

The Dolphins were rumored to have interest in both Chris Carson and Aaron Jones during free agency before they were extended by their respective teams. It’s clear that Flores is looking for a more dynamic running back. The arguments against Miami drafting a back to replace Gaskin are similar to the ones we heard about Indianapolis and Marlon Mack last year. Mack was a feasible starter, he even had over 1,000 yards rushing in 2019, but Indy did not hesitate to pull the trigger on Jonathan Taylor when he fell to them and their offense soared in 2020 because of it. You should try to move Gaskin for 2nd round rookie pick value before the hammer comes down in the Draft.     

Mike Davis, Atlanta Falcons

I mentioned earlier that I’m not a fan of RBs that don’t secure a lead role by Year 3.  Well, Mike Davis took 6 seasons to find himself in a starting role and it was only because of an injury to Christian McCaffery.  I understand why Davis supporters like him, he looked great last season while filling in for McCaffrey.  He was Top 10 in Fantasy Points Differential (measures his production compared to what an average RB would do with his same touches), yards after contact per attempt and he even led the league in broken tackle rate.  Based on those metrics, you would expect him to be a solid backfield option, but I think his success was more about his situation than actual talent.  

When McCaffrey was first injured in Week 3, Carolina didn’t have a choice but to promote Davis to the starting job.  The other backs on the roster were Reggie Bonnafon who is more of a gadget player (never had more than 5 carries in a game before 2020) and Trenton Cannon who is primarily a special teamer.  Davis walked into a ton of volume, seeing the fifth most targets, tenth most redzone touches and a career-high 64.2-percent opportunity share.  He didn’t do anything special though, just 4.5 yards per touch (48th best) and an unimpressive 3.89 yards per carry.  His best trait is breaking tackles, but when you don’t have much burst or speed, it doesn’t mean much.  The longest run of his CAREER went for 23 yards. 

Atlanta should have the RB position high on their priority list going into the draft.  Davis signed a two-year deal, but there is no guaranteed money next year and the average annual compensation is just short of what Devontae Booker and Cordarrelle Patterson (recently signed by the Falcons as primarily a return specialist) are going to make.  That does not sound like a guy that was brought in to take on a significant role.  Even if he escapes major competition from the Draft, he will not see the same volume that he had in 2020.  If you can get one or two 3rd round rookie picks for Davis, take it and run.  

Top 5 Landing Spots For Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown is one of the more intriguing free agent players this offseason for me as I still believe that if he were to get a starting role, he would be able to play at a high level. We saw it at times last season while Brown was on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He even “turned back the clock” against Atlanta in Week’s 15 and 17, cooking the Falcons poor secondary for a combined 231 receiving yards and three touchdowns. In that Week 17 game alone, Antonio Brown saw a season-high 14 targets, catching 11 passes for a 73.3% catch rate.

To me, Brown still has some juice left. He just needs to stay out of the news and out of trouble. Currently,  Antonio Brown is looking to get another contract as he’s a free agent heading into the 2021 season. The Bucs are looking to re-sign him as contract negotiations with Brown are reportedly still on the table. Brown was reportedly looking for a deal similar to what wide receivers DeSean Jackson and TY Hilton got in free agency. The Phinest Crew and I talked about this on the latest episode of the Fantasy’s Phinest Podcast too. Let’s play with this though. Where could Antonio Brown go if he doesn’t return to the Bucs? I have five landing spots that would not only let him reignite his career at the starter level, but would also allow him to be a viable asset for fantasy this season.

Continue reading “Top 5 Landing Spots For Antonio Brown”

Still Holding on to Deshuan Watson?

So as Dynasty guys it can be nerve wrecking seeing all this drama unfold. Also for us Redraft guys who been targeting Watson as their QB1 in those mid rounds when all the big dogs like Patrick Mahomes , Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray are all gone. The recent news from the sexual misconduct civil lawsuit against Watson has been interesting for the past couple days. Some of the women names are being revealed and as of yesterday Tome Pelissero had this to report.

This doesn’t mean Watson is in the clear. So to just speak on the “Fantasy” aspect of things as a Dynasty owner i would still be very worried in what to do with Watson. Redraft he’s a clear DO NOT DRAFT guy because he’s not worth the headache. Even if Watson makes it out without being charged with anything or being suspended… Watson doesn’t wanna play for the Texans and that is a fact. So we could see Watson sit the season out. If you were Watson and seeing how your employer is treating you would you return back to that toxic work place? The answer here should be NO.

In Dynasty i would be looking to sell Watson while i still can for other positions of need and some draft picks. I would be looking for a 3rd round pick for Watson with a package of 2 positions of need for my roster. Now that may sound expensive to you but Watson name still ringing bells for those “Super Flex” Dynasty leagues. Find the team who has Dak as their QB1 and wave Watson in their face and see how much attention you get. Shoot ur shot at his draft picks and players. Dak and Watson sounds like a beautiful “SF Combo” if Watson plays tho… or go find the team who got stuck with Kirk Cousin or Matt Ryan as their QB1s and see there eyes light up as well. So you have many options to go with here just to stay clear when that Watson bomb goes off and we find out he’s going to jail… or he’s suspended for x amount of games… or he makes it out clear and he decides to sit the entire szn. Either way the Waston bomb is coming and i would like to be as far as i can be from that headache.

Overall you have to act fast on what your going to do with Watson. The longer you wait the harder it will be to sell him for his true value. It’s also been reported that some teams have backed out of the race to make a push for Watson so… its becoming less likley he will be traded this szn. Which makes you stuck with him until someone throws you a wildly disrespectful trade offer you will have no choice to accept because your team is crashing and burning 6 weeks into the szn. So don’t be that guy please and thank you.

Another way we can look at this situation is if Watson ends up staying in Houston and plays this Szn.. The Texans did not get any better this off-szn when if came to free agency. So its not like Watson will have the motivation to play for a team that held him captive and tried to destroy his image. They lost Will Fuller this off-szn to the Miami Dolphins. They resigned David Johnson only to sign Mark ingram a few weeks after. Then just shortly after that signing they picked up Phillip Lindsay…. i just don’t understand it… They also signed Tyrod Taylor 1 year 12.5M deal. Which all lead us all to believe Watson was going to be traded but they were bracing their selves from the drama that happened several days later. The accusations. Smart play by the Texans but im pretty sure they’ll be the first team in history to go 0-17 with the now additional game the NFL added to the schedule.

So what did you learn from this? Dynasty sell while you can. Redraft stay far away.

Your Welcome. #BringHomeTheGold Szn.

Written by LaQuan Jones

Put Some “Respeck” On Justin Fields Name! Why He’s Better Than Most People Think

I don’t want to go completely down the rabbit hole on this subject, but for whatever reason it seems like it’s the popular thing to downplay the talent and dedication that Justin Fields has when it comes to football. Lately, word out of both the NFL (via unnamed NFL executives) and certain media outlets have been piling on Justin Fields. From questioning the young quarterbacks work ethic to snap character judgements and everything in-between. Recently, ESPN NFL Analyst Dan Orlovsky caught heat for some comments that he shared on The Pat McAfee Show when asked about why Justin Fields was falling on draft boards around the league. Here’s what he said on the show:

Notice that he said that “these are not my opinions”. People may have missed that part. I understand that some may feel that he shouldn’t have shared those comments as he is “continuing to perpetuate the narrative of slandering a black quarterback” (I’m paraphrasing but stay with me), but these thoughts don’t stem from Orlovsky himself. I can’t fault Dan Orlovsky for doing his job. Should Orlovsky been smarter in vetting those statements and following up with thoughts of his own or digging deeper into these narratives? Of course. That’s just good journalism. I can only hope that Orlovsky learns not to make this mistake again but overall I won’t bury him for it like others have.

These thoughts are coming from the NFL. Those “that are decision makers” in the league. The guys that have some juice in their respective team’s front offices are the ones spilling this out into the media. No one is going to put their name on those statements either so there’s no reason to get butthurt about it because we know that’s not how these things go down.

Dan Orlovsky even went back to social media and added more clarity to response to the “firestorm” that those comments caused from Pat McAfee Show appearance:

I’ll be the first to say I don’t follow college football closely as other fantasy football writers but I will say this… Google is free. There’s plenty of ways to find out what the truth could be and what falsehoods are being planted out there. Sometimes you just have to be able to sift through the nonsense and see what it is for yourself. What I have found from my own research is this… Justin Fields is being slept on. I might even add “drastically” to that sentence.

One of the things that I have heard is that Justin Fields can’t get pass his first read on the field. He apparently has trouble processing information quickly. It’s either one read and then he’s gone. Contrary to that narrative, there were several examples of Justin Fields processing plays not only quickly but correctly.

Even ProFootball Focus jumped in with some stats, dispelling the “one-read” narrative on Justin Fields.

As mentioned before, Justin Fields work ethic and character were also brought up. NFL Media Analyst Bucky Brooks jumped all over this one.

And there was this nugget that popped up via Barstool OSU.

Now let’s close this out with a comparison. Zach Wilson has been talked about so much lately that he’s the perceived potential number 2 QB coming off the board in the 2021 NFL Draft. Is he better than Justin Fields to have that spot on lock? I don’t know. By their college numbers, I would beg to differ. Based on their numbers, Justin Fields comes out on top in most categories on the surface.

Fields vs. Wilson (College Career):

Completion percentage: 68.4% to 67.6%

Passing Yards: 5,701 to 7,652

Yards per attempt: 9.2 to 9.1

Adjusted yards per attempt: 10.7 to 9.7

Touchdowns: 67 to 56

Interceptions: 9 to 15

Passer Rating: 179 to 163

Now I’m not saying Zach Wilson is bad. At the same time, what is it that he does better than Justin Fields that he should just be considered the number 2 QB in the draft? Both are mobile QBs who can make plays with their feet but Fields looks better in the pocket to me over Wilson. Fields is also faster, running a 4.44 40 time during his pro day.

I’m not sure why Justin Fields is getting so much shade but he won’t get it from me. Fields needs a good landing spot to further showcase his talents. I have a sneaky suspension that the San Francisco 49ers could be in his future with them moving up to 3rd overall after trading with the Miami Dolphins last week. Combine that with ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio’s report that the 49ers are looking for a 1st rounder for Jimmy Garoppolo and that could be one of the best landing spots for the rookie QB.

I can’t wait to see what this kid does when he hits the NFL.

An Affair on Matt Ryan?!

An Affair on Matt Ryan?! Let me just preface this by saying I cant tell the future. But I sit here on April 2nd having just walked away from yet another debate about the Atlanta Falcons and who they should take at pick 4 in the 2021 NFL Draft. I write this knowing full well that it could age poorly in just a few short weeks. I don’t know whats going to happen in the draft. I’m just a simple nerd reading tea leaves. …and those tea leaves are SCREAMING that the falcons will not be taking a Quarterback 4th overall in April’s draft. The Falcons have laid out a number of clues that indicate what they will – or more accurately wont do in the draft. And that’s draft a Quarterback. And yet every day this week, I’ve found myself in discussions with people on twitter, reddit, facebook, the water cooler, and everywhere in-between that it simply wont happen. The masses seem CONVINCED that they could take a QB. And that’s cool. Everyone has their own opinion. But lets explore this a little bit, shall we? I’ll start off with the “why they will” arguments. Because they do deserve some merit. There are factors that point to a need. Matt Ryan is now 36 years old. The team went 4-12 in 2020. They have an aging roster with a number of holes to fill, and are in salary cap hell. None of these are unreasonable as it relates to moving on from a quarterback and looking to rebuild things from the ground up. That would likely mean having to move on from franchise stalwarts like Julio Jones as well, but I digress. Taking a quarterback likely means entering at least some amount of a rebuild. And conceptually, that’s reasonable, given the roster. That said, the team has functionally told us that they’re not electing to go that direction. No, it wasn’t a public statement, a press conference, or even an implication to a beat reporter. Rather, it was their handling of Matt Ryan and his contract. Before I go any further in this piece, I want to pose a question. And I need you to answer it in your mind, as the answer has some amount of importance as to the direction of this piece. And don’t worry, I’ll steer you back if you come up with the “wrong” answer. Lets assume the first 3 picks off the board are Lawrence, Wilson, and Fields. (You can substitute Lance for Fields there if you wish, it makes no difference to me. The Vegas odds currently favor Fields going #3, so that’s who I’m rolling with, but you do you. Hell, put Mac Jones or even “Kellen Trask” (intentional) as we joked about on the Not Analytics podcast here if you wish, it still doesn’t change the direction of this article. Question: You’re the Falcons and you DO want to take Trey Lance at pick #4. WHEN was it that you fell in love with him? Chronologically, I mean. Was it sometime during his one-game season? Was it a pro-day? 2019? Stop and seriously answer that for just one second. Keep in mind that this is your Quarterback of the future. “Your guy” for the next 10-15 years. How long have you loved Trey Lance? The answer should be that you’ve had an idea about him for a decent while now. Maybe you didn’t love love him just yet, but you were at least dating and had those butterflies of “oh man this could be it.” And those feelings have all but certainly existed for a while now. I’ll tell you this much, you shouldn’t have just developed those feelings out of nowhere in the last 3 weeks. That’s a crush, that aint love. Yeah sure maybe you could get to love, but over the course of a couple of weeks? That makes me a little nervous. I know this seems like some wild tangent, asking about your process in scouting and evaluating a player, and the timing of how him as “your guy” is a bit… weird. I know, I get it. But lets circle back to Matt Ryan. You know, the guy you’re currently committed to. Right now, your franchise is committed to Matt Ryan. But he’s 36, and you’re thinking it might be time to see what else is out there. Maybe someone younger (don’t make my relationship analogy weird) with more potential for the future who you could see yourself with. The problem comes with Matt Ryan’s salary. And you can thank your lucky stars, we’re moving off of the relationship analogy, unless you really want to shoehorn in some jokes about relationships having a cost and all of that. Yada yada. Matt Ryan is committed to cost you $40m against the cap in 2021, $41m in 2022, and $36m in 2023 (all numbers rounded for ease). Out of those three years, he is guaranteed $40m, broken down by signing bonuses in 2021-2023 as $17m, 17m, and $8m, respectively. Because these are signing bonuses, any separation from the Falcons results in these charges immediately accelerating against the current year’s cap. So if inexplicably the Falcons were to cut Matt Ryan on April 3rd of 2021, he would could $43m as dead money against the cap… or such was the case. Three weeks ago, the Falcons elected to restructure Ryan’s contract. A restructure works by taking some amount of a player’s salary and reducing- but guaranteeing it by converting it into a signing bonus. This allows the team to prorate that bonus across the remaining life of the deal. In the case of Ryan, It reduced his salary by $21m in 2021, but increased his signing bonus proration by $7m in each of 2021, 2022, and 2023. Because of this conversion, if the Falcons were to again inexplicably cut Ryan tomorrow, he would now count $65m in dead money. This is because before his salary wasn’t guaranteed, but now converting the money to signing bonus does ensure it as such. And the question is why. And hopefully that “why” is the incongruence we can come to understand in the coming few paragraphs. Because the crux of the discussion is that restructure, and why it doesn’t make sense. That question of when you fell in love with Trey Lance? Yeah that’s closing in on this very point. If you’re the Falcons and you choose to take Trey Lance, why are you restructuring Matt Ryan? Essentially what the Ryan restructure does is that it ensures that a breakup between player and team will be messier than originally planned. No, theres functionally no chance the Falcons move on from Ryan in the coming days. But that’s fine, most people consider Lance to be a project worthy of sitting behind Ryan for a year. But if you sit Lance for one year, you’ll move on from Ryan in the 2022 offseason. Except that you cant do that either, his dead cap charge would still be $40m. Moving on from Ryan in the offseasons of either 2021 OR 2022 is functionally prohibited by the nature of the dead money hits. Its either going to cost you $65m now or $40m next (2022) offseason. And those figures are locked in. There little to no way of skirting them by way of trade, as they’re all signing bonus proration. Hell, even in the 2023 offseason, moving on from Ryan is going to cost you almost $16m. So lets circle back here. You take Trey Lance 4th overall. Congrats, you just got your guy. You now have forced yourself to either sit him for multiple years behind Ryan, pay $40m to your backup quarterback, or take the largest dead money hit in the history of the NFL as part of the transition. And most of this could have been avoided. You didn’t have to restructure Matt Ryan. You’ve locked yourself into $21m more in guarantees (or more realistically $14m in 2022 or $7m in 2023) to move on from your current quarterback. For what? Cap space in the short term? Yeah sure its beneficial now, but short term cap space wont help you if you take a Quarterback and signal a rebuild anyway. Of those options, you simply have to stick with Ryan. You didn’t have to restructure his deal, and yet you did anyway. And if you truly loved Trey Lance prior to March 16th, 2021 (the day of Ryan’s restructure), you knew that invariably the day of a breakup from Matt Ryan was to come. Why are you making things more messy and difficult on your cap than needed? There exists virtually no benefit, and only pain when the invariable breakup occurs. All that to say, the Falcons either aren’t taking a QB at 4, or their front office is extremely incongruent with how they’re handling Matt Ryan and his salary. So can we PLEASE stop mocking them a Quarterback? Epilogue: I’ve told you what the Falcons wont do at 4, but what I think they should do is trade down. If a team like Carolina, Denver, New England, etc wants to move up to take Lance at 4, do it. That would be fantastic. Fill holes elsewhere on your roster and accumulate picks. If you stay at 4, honestly any of the blue-chip talents would make sense, be it Pitts, Chase, Sewell, etc. Epilogue #2: Yes, I know the cap is expected to go up in 2022, and thus a Ryan dead money charge is theoretically more palatable. That’s true. But a larger dead money hit is still illogical, as you knew you were moving on from Ryan when you first fell in love with Lance. You’ve still made the breakup more painful for no reason. Plus, an increasing cap combined with your dead money hit is actually bad for you, as you’re still eating the charge and now you’re behind relative to other teams in competing for free-agents. That dead money hit reduces your spending power, no matter where the cap is. Hopefully you enjoyed this piece, and the rantings and ravings of my lunatic self didn’t drive you off too bad. If you enjoyed this, please feel free to check out my other work at http://notanalytics.com or follow me on twitter @FF_AHayslip. And for the love of god, please stop mocking the Falcons a QB at 4.

Dynasty Targets: WRs with New QBs in 2021

By: Andrew Metcalfe

Should Fantasy players be afraid of change for their players?

Most Fantasy managers tend to avoid the unknown with their rosters.  We all love WRs that are in familiar situations from the previous year because they are easier to project.  Sometimes, you can take advantage of a player’s changing circumstances.  This is especially true with receivers that get new QBs who are perceived as a downgrade from the previous signal-caller.  Here are 3 WRs that will have new QBs in 2021, that I am looking to acquire in Dynasty leagues:

Allen Robinson, Bears

You don’t need me to tell you that Allen Robinson is an elite WR.  What I will tell you: it’s a mistake to move him down WR ranks because of the Andy Dalton signing.  I was excited like everyone else at the potential of Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson to Chicago, but those are unlikely scenarios at this point.  Lost in the disappointment of them losing out on an elite QB, is the fact that Dalton is still an upgrade over what Robinson has played with for most of his career. 

Here’s a refresher on some of the QBs Robinson has had to deal with: Blake Bortles, Chad Henne, Nick Foles, Mitch Trubisky.  Not one of them are expected to be an NFL starter in 2021.  Andy Dalton gets a bad rep, but he is a competent QB, which is more than we can say for the other signal callers on Robinson teams.  In 2020, Dalton had a better True Passer rating (excludes throw aways and WR dropped passes), deep ball completion % and Accuracy Rating (according to Player Profiler) than Mitch Trubisky.  Dalton also showed that he can support a solid Fantasy WR1 during his time in Cincinnati with AJ Green, although those days of Green dominating seem so far away now!

Acquiring Allen Robinson still won’t be cheap, but I’d bet you can find some Fantasy managers that are panic selling after the Dalton signing. Turning 28 years old this Fall, he’s still in his physical peak and will likely see the best QB play up until this point of his career. Buy the dip in value!

Quintez Cephus, Lions

I’ve discussed Cephus here recently, but I want to bring him up again now that we know Kenny Golladay won’t return to Detroit.  I’m confident that Detroit will address the WR position early in the rookie Draft, but as of now, the Lions’ WR depth chart is led by Tyrell Williams and Breshad Perriman in front of Cephus.  Perriman has never seen more than 70 targets in a season and Williams only did it once back in 2016.  Even if Detroit ends up with one of the top rookie WRs, there is more than enough opportunity for Cephus to work his way into a consistent starting role. 

I understand that no one is excited about the QB transition of Goff from Stafford.  Like my argument for Andy Dalton, Goff catches a lot of heat from the community, but he has been a competent QB for fantasy purposes for most of his career.  In 2018, LA had three top 15 fantasy WRs. Head Coach Sean McVay gets most of the credit, but Goff was the one on the field, making the throws. 

Goff’s favorite target with the Rams was Cooper Kupp, another mid-tier college prospect like Cephus was.  I don’t have any confirmation of how the Lions will deploy Cephus, but it would make a lot of sense to turn him into a big slot WR and give him a role similar to Kupp’s.  The similarities between the two receivers are interesting:

 Cooper KuppQuintez Cephus
Height6’2”6’1”
Weight204 LBS202 LBS
Breakout Age20.220.4
Dominator Rating40.4%35.7%

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts

I’ll touch on another WR from the 2020 class, Michael Pittman Jr, son of the former Buccaneers RB.  I’m always a fan of players that have family members who were also in the NFL.  It’s a major benefit for him to have a parent with NFL experience which gave him a first-hand look of what it takes to be a successful pro. 

Free agency was a major win for Pittman, from my viewpoint.  With TY Hilton coming back, he avoided competition from the top-tier guys like Godwin and Kenny Golladay whom the Colts were rumored to have interest in.  Hilton will have a role, but his days as an alpha WR are behind him.   

Going into 2021, new Indy QB Carson Wentz will have Michael Pittman, TY Hilton, and Parris Campbell as his top targets.  Campbell mainly plays in the slot and Hilton will be the main deep threat, so that leaves Pittman as the favorite to be the “Alpha” WR that we all look for in Fantasy.  Pittman has a similar physical profile to Alshon Jeffrey, except he’s even bigger and more athletic.  Jeffrey was always a favorite target for Wentz in Philly (when he was healthy), along with Zach Ertz.  Both over 6’3” tall, it’s fair to say that Wentz loves his big receivers.  Standing at 6’4”, Pittman has the clear size advantage over Campbell and Hilton which should get him plenty of looks from their new QB.