Wednesday, September 16, 2020

2020 Fantasy Football Week 2 Rankings

Last week I got my rankings out a day early, but now we're back to Wednesday for my Week 2 rankings.  This is a fun week too because I finally have some actual games to based these rankings on.  Especially this year with no preseason, I feel much better this week at least having some information to back these rankings other than depth charts, offseason chatter, etc.  As always, I'll have comments on various positions below the rankings about guys I like/don't like as much versus the FantasyPros ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings). 

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @bartonwheeler, and I'll post my betting picks at the very bottom.  I did pretty well with those in Week 1, but I was also able to lock in some early lines about a month ago.  So this week will be more of a true test.

I was 4-1 ATS, 5-2 over/under, and 4-2 on the moneyline.  With the units I "bet", I ended up with positive numbers in each category, so I feel good about that start. 

Let's get right into the rankings, and if you only care about my picks versus the spread, over/under, etc. then you can skip to the bottom!


My biggest gap last week when I posted my rankings on Tuesday was that I was 4 spots higher on Trubisky versus the other experts.  He was pretty terrible through three quarters, but he salvaged his day and beat the Lions in Week 1.  He actually ended up as a top-5 fantasy QB, but I wouldn't get too excited.  I feel like he has a short leash, and Nick Foles could close out this week's matchup against the Giants if for some reason the Bears get behind and the game somehow is out of hand in the third quarter. I was also slightly down on Aaron Rodgers versus the ECR last week, but he also ended up as a top-5 fantasy QB.  So I was right about Trubisky but way off on Rodgers.  Was the Viking defense the reason Aaron looked like an MVP or is he "back"?  Week 2 might tell the real story, but I'm hesitantly buying into Rodgers.  We shall see...

This week, I'm staying high on Gardner Minshew (+8 vs ECR), and I kind of like Joe Burrow to show up on Thursday Night Football.  Minshew should continue to air it out, and I think he'll also have a low floor with some of those rushing yards.  Burrow is in the same boat, but he actually has way more talent (and weapons).  I like both guys as top-15 fantasy QBs in Week 2.  One guy I think could finish outside of the top-15 again is Tom Brady.  Chris Godwin is in the concussion protocol, and Brady just didn't look great last week against the Saints.  I wouldn't trust him like a top-12 fantasy QB in Week 2 like a lot of experts are doing.

Outside of CEH and Jonathan Taylor, I was really low on other rookie RBs in Week 1.  For the most part, I just need to see it before I trust a guy.  I didn't think guys like Cam Akers or J.K. Dobbins would have roles right away.  I was wrong on Dobbins...sort of.  He scored twice, so that made a huge difference.  We'll see what happens in Week 2 if the game script is different.  As for Akers, he's probably going to take some time to win the starting gig because Malcolm Brown looked pretty good in Week 1 (for the second year in a row).  Swift was the second guy in a committee and dropped a key touchdown that could've won the game in the fourth quarter, and Moss didn't get a ton of touches but a lot near the goal line.  Clyde and Taylor are ready to roll, but some of these other rookies might take a couple of weeks to get going.  

Speaking of rookies though, I'm actually a little high on James Robinson this week (+7 vs ECR).  If Conner can't go, I'll be starting the rookie in one league, and I don't feel bad about that.  He got a great workload in Week 1, and Jay Gruden has shown faith in undrafted rookies before (Fat Rob Kelley anyone?).  On volume alone, I feel like Robinson will get double digit fantasy points in Week 2.  One guy I'm not crazy abou thtis week is Melvin Gordon.  The ECR currently has him as a top-20 RB, but with the Steelers shutting down Saquon in Week 1, forgive me for not wanting to believe Gordon can do much against them in Week 2.

You know who I liked a lot last week?  Greg Ward.  I had him in my top-50 WRs, which was nearly 50 spots higher than ECR as of Wednesday.  The guy got 7 targets, but he only converted them into 5 catches for 31 yards.  You could've done a lot worse in PPR leagues, and I'll continue to rank him close to my top-50.  A guy I didn't like much versus ECR was A.J. Brown.  I just thought this game would be low scoring and the Titans would hand it off a ton to Derrick Henry, which is exactly what happened.  A.J. finished with a similar stat line to that of Greg Ward, so I'd say I was pretty spot on there.

This week I like Anthony Miller as a top-30 WR (+11 vs ECR).  I could see him having a day like JuJu did against the G Men last week.  I'm way down on Odell Beckham, who could certainly prove me wrong tomorrow night.  But this feels like last year when it took everyone a while to realize that Landry was actually the #1 WR in this offense.  It's only one week in the books this season, but I'm going to wait and see on OBJ.

T.J. Hockenson was my guy in Week 1, and I said a healthy Hockenson could actually turn into George Kittle this season.  With Golladay out of the lineup, Hock had a big day and could do the same this week in Green Bay (I'm currently +4 vs ECR on him in Week 2).  I was down on Jared Cook last week, and I said he could be a "touchdown or bust" tight end all year.  Well, he proved me wrong in Week 1 by hauling in 5 catches for 80 yards.  Now with Michael Thomas set to miss a few weeks, I'll be ranking him as a top-10 TE because I expect him to be even more involved in this offense. 

This week I'm down on Mike Gesicki (-8 vs ECR) who is facing a tough Buffalo defense who doesn't allow many fantasy points to tight ends.  Gesicki could see extra targets if Parker is out of the lineup, but I'm not excited about starting him either way.

I said the Dolphins would be an OK streamer and that their game in New England would end up something like 20-17 in what would be a defensive battle.  While the total points stayed low, the Dolphins didn't do a whole lot to stop Cam and company.  I was down on the Jets (-6 vs ECR), and I said the Bills would win this one 30-10.  It ended up 27-17, so I was way off...ha!  I'm probably going to stick to talking about QBs, RBs, WRs, and TEs and just dismiss the defenses moving forward.  If you want to find a streamer, just take a look at my top-12 or so defenses in any given week.

As for my betting picks, here's what I'm rolling with here in Week 2:

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Real Football Predictions: 2020 Edition


So I doubt many people care about my real football predictions for the 2020 season, but I do it every year, and I can't break tradition!  Last year I picked the Rams to win it all (yikes!), but I did have the Chiefs at least making it to the Super Bowl.  So I was close...ish.  There's an extra Wild Card team in each conference this year, so there are two more chances for me to be wrong!  But I'm going to try to nail all of these, right?  

We'll see.  I just hope we have an entire NFL season complete with playoffs and a Super Bowl!

Here's what I predict for 2020:

AFC East: Buffalo Bills
AFC North: Pittsburgh Steelers 
AFC South: Tennessee Titans
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Wild Card1: Baltimore Ravens
AFC Wild Card2: New England Patriots
AFC Wild Card3: Las Vegas Raiders
[Chiefs over Bills in AFC Championship Game]

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC North: Minnesota Vikings
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks
NFC Wild Card1: San Francisco 49ers
NFC Wild Card2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFC Wild Card3: LA Rams
[Saints over Seahawks in NFC Championship Game]

Super Bowl Prediction: Saints over Chiefs

Playing Precisely, Brees Answers Critics - The New York Times


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

2020 Fantasy Football Week 1 Rankings

I usually do my rankings on Wednesdays, but I'm a day early here to kickoff the season.  I'm excited, dammit!  Below are my Week 1 rankings, and I've made a few comments on various positions below the rankings about guys I like/don't like as much versus the FantasyPros ECR (Expert Consensus Rankings).  It's only Tuesday, so this might change between now and Sunday.  But I at least wanted to put some early notes next to guys where I disagree on their ECR.

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @bartonwheeler, and I'll post my betting picks at the very bottom.  Sports betting is currently illegal in my state, so I'm not using my own advice on these picks.  But I'd like to point out that I was top-10 on BettingPros last year, so we'll see if I can do that again this season! 

Report: Titans sign Derrick Henry to four-year, $50 million contract


I'm not crazy high on anyone versus the ECR this week, but my biggest gap is that I'm currently 4 spots higher on Trubisky versus the other experts.  I still only have him as my QB24, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up as a top-12 QB this week.  The Lions don't have a good defense, and Mitch put up good fantasy numbers against them in both meetings last year.  The guy is also playing for his job with Nick Foles now breathing down his neck.  He could surprise in Week 1 and would be a cheap DFS option for sure.

I'm slightly down on Aaron Rodgers versus the ECR.  He's a top-12 consensus pick at Minnesota, but I have him at QB15 and might consider lowering him even more.  This offense is built to run the ball, and Rodgers averages very mediocre numbers when he plays on the road against the Vikings.  I could easily see him finishing with 200 yards and a touchdown and be very disappointing to start the season.

Aaron Rodgers says Vikings LB gave him the middle finger after injury

Remember when Malcolm Brown had a huge Week 1 last year?  And that was with Todd Gurley on the roster.  This game against Dallas has the largest point total outside of the Thursday night game, so touchdowns will be scored.  Brown is expected to be the starter, and I guarantee he'll be the goal line back.  I don't see McVay trusting a rookie like Cam Akers much in Week 1, and Henderson could be inactive due to injury.  I currently have Malcolm Brown as my RB31 which is more than 20 spots above ECR, and I'd rather start him as a FLEX over riskier options (like rookies).

Speaking of those rookies, a guy I don't really like this week is Cam Akers for the exact reasons I laid out above.  I also don't like D'Andre Swift (-15 vs ECR) & J.K. Dobbins (-21 vs ECR).  I just don't trust the rookies very much in Week 1.  I could be wrong, but I want to see it first.

Rams will 'ask a lot' of Cam Akers in Week 1

You know who I like a lot this week?  Greg Ward.  That's right.  This dude has a boring name, and it's hurting his perception.  If his name was G Money Warden, he'd easily be considered a WR3.  The Eagles basically have him, DeSean Jackson, and their tight ends healthy for Week 1...against the Washington Football Team!  Ward was Wentz's guy in December when all of his other WRs were injured.  I have him in my top-50 WRs, which is nearly 50 spots higher than ECR!

A guy I don't like this week versus ECR is A.J. Brown.  He's one of my keepers in my main league, and I'm sure I'll start him but I don't see him as a locked in top-24 WR this week.  I feel like he's more of a WR3 against a Denver defense who could put A.J. Bouye on him a lot on Monday night.  Which A.J. will win out most often?  I hope Brown can make a play or two, but this should be a low scoring affair and could just end up being a ton of Derrick Henry, especially now that there will be a Von Miller sized hole in the middle of the field.

T.J. Hockenson had a great first game of his NFL career, and then he just kind of fizzled out the rest of the season.  But rookie tight ends rarely do much in their first seasons.  They can break out in Year 2 though, and I think a healthy Hockenson could actually turn into George Kittle.  He'll start this week at home against the Bears, who will certainly look to lock down Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.  That could leave some open looks for the TE position, and I think Hockenson has a good shot to end up as a top-12 play this week (I currently have him 7 spots higher than ECR).

T.J. Hockenson of the Detroit Lions can't complete the pass in the... News  Photo - Getty Images

A guy I'm down on this week is Jared Cook (-9 vs ECR).  I just don't see ranking him in the top-10 with Emmanuel Sanders now in New Orleans.  Cook should be a touchdown or bust tight end all year, and I think it'll start this week against Tampa Bay.

The team I picked as my sleeper at the DST position this year is the Miami Dolphins.  I like what they did in free agency, and if the offense can stay on the field a bit more, that will help this defense stay fresh.  The Dolphins travel to Foxboro Sunday to face a new look Patriots team led by Cam Newton.  This game has a point total of 43, and New England is expected to win by a touchdown.  I think it'll be closer than that and could end up something like 20-17 in what will be a defensive battle.  I like the Patriots to win the game, but I also like the Dolphins to be a top-20 fantasy defense (I have them +8 vs ECR currently).

I'm down on the Jets (-6 vs ECR), and I can't figure out why so many experts have them ranked in their top-20.  Maybe it's because Josh Allen is prone to turn the ball over and Devin Singletary has had fumbling issues in camp.  This game's point total is even lower at 39.5, so that could be part of it as well.  But if it stays around that total, I think the Bills will win this one 30-10.  I don't see the Jets doing much to stop them, but we shall see!

Losing C.J. Mosley for the season a big hit to Jets' defense

Speaking of point totals and spreads...

I'm taking the OVER for Thursday night's game between the Chiefs and Texans, and I want to take Houston to cover +10 but I'm scared.  I have that locked in for now, and I have a bunch of other picks but I might narrow this down to fewer picks come Sunday.  So check back and see because I'll update this list as well as my rankings above leading up to kickoff of each game. 

Good luck to everyone in Week 1!


Friday, September 4, 2020

WHAT IF scenarios for all 32 teams

Over the last month or so, you've probably heard a ton of the same narratives if you're following people like me who write about fantasy football.  Maybe you catch a tidbit here and there that you haven't really heard yet, and that's what I'm going to try to focus on in this last preseason article.  I thought I was done writing this preseason, but I kept having these random thoughts pop into my head and it was way too much to tweet.

  Sony Michel Debuts At Training Camp, Making Patriots' Running Back  Situation All The More Interesting – CBS Boston

So here we are.  One more article before the season starts.  I'm going to give a "what if" scenario for each team that not many people are really talking about right now.  I'm not saying these things will all happen, but there's certainly a nonzero chance of them happening.  And I feel like for a lot of these, no one is really talking about them.  So here's some facetime for my random thoughts.  It's a long piece, so I've highlighted some text in BOLD for my "what if" take on each team.  I hope you enjoy!

AFC East

Buffalo Bills
If Josh Allen improves as a passer and continues to get a ton of rushing yards/TDs on the ground, his ceiling is a top-3 fantasy QB.  But that's not my focus here for the Bills.  Everyone expects them to be a run-first team with a low volume of plays, and that might be the case.  But if Allen is better, I think a big part of that could be because he now has Stefon Diggs to throw to.  John Brown had a solid 2019 season, and he could very well be solid again.  No one seems to want to draft Diggs, but this guy is a top-10 talent as far as wide receivers in the league.  The Bills traded their #22 overall pick in this year's draft to get Diggs (along with a couple more late rounders AND a 2021 4th rounder).  This dude is going to get the ball.  No one is talking up Diggs like he can be a WR1 this year, but he has that potential if Allen can get him the ball.

Miami Dolphins
What if DeVante Parker isn't the #1 WR on the Dolphins this season?  There are a few people talking up Preston Williams as a late round sleeper, but I doubt anyone has him all that close to Parker in their rankings.  If you actually look at what he did in his rookie season before tearing his ACL though, he had more targets than Parker.  In a small sample size of 8 games, Williams had 60 targets to Parker's 52 and the yards/TDs (and fantasy points!) were all super close.  It's not out of the realm of possibility that Preston Williams actually has a better fantasy season than DeVante Parker in 2020.

New England Patriots
What if Sony Michel isn't done playing football?  Everyone has been talking up Damien Harris as a sleeper (again!), and people are pointing to the Lamar Miller signing as an indication that Sony might be too banged up to carry any sort of load for this offense.  But with Harris now out for likely a couple of games after pinky surgery, Michel has an opportunity to establish himself in this offense with Cam out of the gates.  He hasn't shown a lot outside of that dominant 2018 playoff run, but that alone shows me he has the potential to dominate carries and be a big factor in this Patriot offense.  I would draft him in the middle rounds (and I HAVE!) with the idea he could be a top-20 RB this year.

New York Jets
I don't know what to say about the Jets.  Everyone hates Le'Veon Bell.  Chris Herndon is a sleeper for a lot of people.  I'm not sure if many people are excited to draft any Jet, but I'd be fine landing Jamison Crowder as my third or fourth WR.  Perriman's knee is swelling every time he practices.  Denzel Mims just got onto the practice field.  Herndon was having some chest issues the other day.  Their entire receiving corps feels banged up, but you don't hear much about Crowder.  This team is likely going to be bad (the defense might be especially terrible), so I expect Darnold to have to throw a lot.  I could see Jamison Crowder getting near 140 targets, catching 90 of them, and being a borderline top-12 WR in PPR formats.

NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: WR Jamison Crowder

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens
No matter what format you play in, Mark Ingram was an RB1 last year.  What if the Ravens just keep feeding him the rock?  He could absolutely be an RB1 again!  Ingram feels like the kind of player that people hold their nose and draft in the 4th round as their second running back after a big run on WR.  But people seem to love the idea that J.K. Dobbins is just going to take over his job by midseason.  I don't see it, and I can see a world in which Ingram finishes in the top-12 yet again, but no one is pushing this narrative in 2020.

Cincinnati Bengals
What if Joe Burrow isn't any good in the NFL?  Don't get me wrong.  I have him currently as my QB15, and I can envision a scenario in which he finishes in the top-10 like Kyler did last year.  But he's a rookie.  He didn't get any preseason games to play in.  He'll be taking his first snap in the NFL lined up against Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.  In Week 2, he faces Myles Garrett and the Browns.  Week 3 should be easy though.  Oh wait.  He gets the Eagles, who have one of the best duos up front in Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham.  If he's still alive by Week 4, he gets a break by facing the Jags.  But you get my point here.  A lot of top QB draft picks bust: JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Akili Smith.  These were all top-3 picks who did virtually nothing in the NFL.  I could go further back and give more, but it's possible that Burrow isn't amazing from Day 1.  He might not even end up as a bust, but it's possible he doesn't have a rookie year like Kyler had last year.  He could have a rookie year more like Peyton Manning.  Hey, that guy still ended up pretty good, but he wasn't great as a rookie!  I just wanted to mention that it's actually possible that Joe Burrow struggles, and that could have an impact on the other Bengal position players too.

Cleveland Browns
What if Kareem Hunt is the #1 RB for the Browns this year?  They have a new coaching staff and a GM that didn't draft Chubb.  I'm not saying Chubb is washed or anything.  He's a great downfield runner.  But Dalvin Cook was a dynamic back in Stefanski's offense last year in Minnesota.  It's possible Kareem Hunt could fit that RB mold more than Chubb and ends up getting more work than the assumed workhorse in Cleveland.  I'd say this has a fairly small chance of happening, but with all of the new people calling the shots, you just never know.

Pittsburgh Steelers
What if Ben is never quite the same player again?  He had serious elbow surgery last year which repaired three different tendons.  According to experts (not me), no quarterback has had this exact type of surgery to repair this many tendons in a throwing elbow.  I know he's looking good in camp, but what if he only makes it through a few games and that elbow isn't right?  Remember how last year went with Mason Rudolph and Duck Hodges at QB?  I feel like Pittsburgh could be in the same situation by October, and that would have a negative impact on JuJu and the rest of this offense.  It's possible James Conner could stay healthy and still have a productive season in this scenario, but this seems like a real possibility that no one wants to talk about.

Ben Roethlisberger Stares and Says "Oh" | Gifrific

AFC South

Houston Texans
What if Brandin Cooks gets another concussion and Will Fuller tears another hamstring, knee ligament, etc.?  Everyone has this rosy forecast for the Texans, and I get it.  I'm one of those people.  You want to believe that if Will Fuller can just stay healthy, he could be a top-10 WR with Hopkins gone.  But let's be real for a minute.  If these guys are both injured at some point during the season, Watson's top receiving options are going to be Kenny Stills and Randall Cobb.  In fact, if one of Cooks or Fuller goes down, Cobb probably becomes a top-20 WR.  That's a scenario that no one is talking about too.  But big picture, if these injury prone WRs go down, this Texans team could stink.

Indianapolis Colts
What if Jonathan Taylor gets 75-80% of the carries from Day 1?  Most of the rookie RB hype is around Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the Chiefs offense (and for good reason).  Sure, CEH was a first round pick (the LAST pick of the 1st round by the way), but Taylor was selected just a few picks later near the top of Round 2.  If you told me that Marlon Mack wasn't on the 53 man roster or if the Colts just flat out committed to Taylor right away, he'd be a first round fantasy pick for me.  Indy's offensive line is one of the best in the league, and it's a match made in heaven for Taylor.  In that "Day 1" scenario, I could see Jonathan Taylor finishing as a top-5 fantasy RB.

Colts: Philip Rivers has interesting comparison for Jonathan Taylor

Jacksonville Jaguars
What if the Jags are actually good this year?  LOL.  Just kidding.  But seriously, they've been trading away key pieces on defense this offseason and just released their best running back in Fournette.  It's crazy.  Plenty of people have been talking about Gardner Minshew the last couple of months, and I believe he could end up in the QB1 conversation.  So I'll go off the radar here and say what if Jay Gruden brings in Adrian Peterson for a super low price tag?  Washington released AP today, but we've heard the guy still wants to play and chase rushing records.  I don't see why he couldn't do that in Jacksonville who doesn't seem all that interested in winning football games this year.  If that happens, I could see Peterson rushing for 1,054 yards at age 35.  And if that seems like a random number, it's not.  That's the amount of yards he needs to pass Barry Sanders for 4th on the all time rushing yards list.  I actually think he could hit that number if he can get 250 carries somewhere this season.  I'm not sure he could do that anywhere other than Jacksonville, so why not, right?

Tennessee Titans
What if Ryan Tannehill just keeps doing what he did as a starter in 2019?  This is seriously a narrative that I have seen ZERO of on Fantasy Twitter.  I'm sure there are plenty of Titans fans who believe in Tannehill, but not many outside of Nashville think he'll be more than a middling QB2.  Well, he has the same coaching staff, receiving options, and running back.  Why can't he continue to put up those numbers?  The guy had multiple touchdowns in every game he started last year.  He had 3+ total TDs in 5 of those 10 starts.  Tannehill is getting no love this year, as everyone expects him to regress.  What if he just doesn't...?

AFC West

Denver Broncos

What if Drew Lock isn't the answer at the QB position for the Broncos?  Don't get me wrong, I actually like the sleeper potential of Lock, especially because of the fantastic young receiving options Denver has accumulated for him.  But his 4-1 late season record last year looks a lot worse when you consider two of those wins were against the Lions and Raiders.  Lock had less than 200 passing yards and just one touchdown in each of those games.  He begins 2020 against the Titans, Steelers, and Bucs.  I could see the Broncos starting 0-3 and giving Jeff Driskel a shot against the Jets in Week 4.  When you look at the list of the offseason free agent QB signings, as of this writing there have been 22.  Driskel's is one of only 6 such contracts that are for multiple seasons.  Even guys like Jameis and Cam only got one year deals!  This tells me the Broncos have some doubt about Lock and may like Driskel to potentially be the guy later this year and potentially even next season depending on how things work out.

Kansas City Chiefs
For all of the great things I said about Jonathan Taylor, what if Clyde Edwards-Helaire isn't the guy everyone hopes he will be?  Of course the Chiefs should have one of the best offenses in the league, and even just getting a small part of that will have some fantasy value.  But what if CEH's value is just that: a small part?  It'll be interesting to see which RBs stay on the roster when final cuts are made tomorrow, but I actually think Darrel Williams could end up as a huge value this season.  I don't think he'll have more fantasy points than Clyde, but the rookie might not return that top-10 value that everyone is assuming he will.

Las Vegas Raiders
Is anyone talking about Derek Carr as a late round quarterback option?  If so, I haven't heard it.  As a reminder, Carr was the QB14 in 2015 (his second year in the league), and he was a top-10 fantasy QB in 2016.  Outside of that, he's been the QB 16-20 every other year of his career, so I get why you may just dismiss him (even as a late round option).  But do you remember who was on those Raider teams in 2015 & 2016?  Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree were on those squads.  Now I'm not saying his current receiving options are those guys, but they might be!  We literally don't know yet because a couple of them are rookies who haven't played a snap in the NFL yet.  This is certainly the most talent Carr has had at the receiver position since 2016.  Las Vegas took Henry Ruggs as the first receiver in the the draft this year, and then they selected Bryan Edwards in Round 3.  We could have some addition by subtraction going on with Tyrell Williams out for the season.  Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller are solid options for Carr from last year.  This could all add up to Derek Carr finishing well ahead of his QB16-20 range that he's done most of his career.  He could get back near that top-10 territory if these rookies can contribute right away.

Raiders' Mike Mayock says Derek Carr has 'taken over this football team'  ahead of 2020 season -

Los Angeles Chargers
What if the Chargers just decide to make Austin Ekeler their workhorse running back?  Behind him are Justin Jackson (currently injured and also "meh") and rookie Josh Kelley (unproven, obviously).  If you've been watching Hard Knocks, then you've seen how shredded Ekeler is and how high he flew over those pads during that goal line jumping drill.  This dude looks like a beast who could be the next LT for the Bolts.  OK.  So that might be a little too far.  I got excited after watching the Hard Knocks clips.  But reeling it back in for just this NFL season, I can envision a scenario in which Austin Ekeler ends up as a top-5 fantasy running back if given the workload.  He might just be that good.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys

Up until now, I've tried to stay away from "what if" scenarios related to injuries.  But this is the Cowboys, so a guy can dream, right?  That being said...what if Zeke gets hurt?  I think the answer would be that Tony Pollard becomes a top-5 fantasy RB.  This guy is super talented, behind a great offensive line, and one of the best backups in the league for fantasy purposes.  I wanted to highlight him here because he's a lottery ticket type player who you can take late in drafts.

New York Giants
What if the Eagles struggle with their offensive line and receiver injuries?  What if the Cowboys aren't great to start the Mike McCarthy era?  What if Washington continues to be bad?  Do the Giants have a shot to win the NFC East in a weird COVID year?  Sure, why not?  This is more of a real football take and less fantasy, but I've already talked up Daniel Jones as a potential top-12 fantasy QB this year.  If the defense can be better than people expect, the Giants could be a surprise division winner in 2020.

Philadelphia Eagles
What if none of Carson Wentz's receivers can stay healthy AGAIN?  I don't know about you, but I don't see him making Greg Ward a top-20 fantasy WR.  What I do see potentially happening is Dallas Goedert as a top-5 fantasy tight end.  That's right.  Top-5, baby!  Zach Ertz turns 30 this year and has missed a game or two in the majority of the seasons he's played in the NFL.  Ertz is certainly a lock for 110-130 targets, but Goedert could get into that range this year too.  If he continues improving like he did from Year 1 to Year 2, then Year 3 could land Goedert even above Ertz when this fantasy season is in the books.

Is Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert better than Zach Ertz right now? | Bob  Ford

Washington Redskins
What if Antonio Gibson isn't ready to be a running back in the NFL?  I know with Peterson getting cut, everyone rushed to Twitter to give their hot take on Gibson.  Well, this guy hasn't actually play much running back in his football career.  It's certainly possible that Washington gets him the ball 10-12 times a game, maybe more if he can figure out the RB position.  But it's also possible that he hasn't learned pass protection yet and guys like J.D. McKissic are miles ahead of him as far as being ready to play Week 1.  We're going to find out soon enough, but it's certainly possible that Gibson is a dynamic player who isn't actually the starting running back for Washington this year.  It actually could even be Bryce Love.

NFC North

Chicago Bears

What if Anthony Miller ends up as a better fantasy WR this year than Allen Robinson?  I don't even think this one would necessarily take an injury.  Miller had 7 touchdowns in his rookie year and then just 2 last season.  What will happen in 2020 with potentially a new QB in Nick Foles?  Who the heck knows?!  Well, we think we know Allen Robinson will be a target hog, and he should be.  But I could see Anthony Miller do more with fewer targets.  Both guys could be 1000 yard receivers, but I think Miller is the guy who is more likely to haul in 10 touchdowns.

Detroit Lions
What if T.J. Hockenson is healthy for all 16 games and is the next George Kittle?  The reports early in camp were that Hockenson's surgically repaired ankle still wasn't 100%.  That's slightly concerning considering his surgery was at the end of 2019.  But reports lately have been a little better, and it'll be interesting to see how he looks in Week 1.  I feel like there's a chance if he is 100% healthy, he could break out in a big way this year.

T.J. Hockenson's record debut gives Lions a glimpse of what's to come -  Detroit Lions Blog- ESPN

Green Bay Packers
What if Allen Lazard isn't the #2 receiving option in this offense?  This seems like a reasonable question to ask, but I feel like everyone has Lazard marked in INK for the #2 option for Aaron Rodgers.  Well, I think Marquez Valdes-Scantling has a 50/50 (ish) shot to be a post-hype sleeper and be that guy (and not Lazard).  With Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham no longer in Green Bay, everyone expected the Packers to draft a WR.  They didn't.  It's either Lazard or MVS, and why not MVS, right?!?

Minnesota Vikings
What if Irv Smith, Jr. ends up as the best receiving option in this offense not named Adam Thielen?  He had nearly as many targets as Kyle Rudolph last year, and if he improves on that then he could end up as a very serviceable fantasy tight end (maybe even a TE1!).  The vacated targets of Diggs are still up for grabs, and they're not automatically going to Justin Jefferson or Olabisi Johnson.  Those guys will definitely get some, but Irv Smith could be a big part of this offense in 2020, and not a lot of people are talking him up.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons

What happens if Hayden Hurst doesn't just step into the Austin Hooper role and thrive in Dirk Koetter's offense?  This is completely against everything I think will happen this year, but why not, right?  Hurst isn't a proven commodity, and injuries happen.  What if Hurst isn't great in Atlanta like everyone thinks he will be?  The depth chart behind him is super thin.  Would the Falcons sign a guy like Delanie Walker?  Has Delanie Walker even been staying in shape this offseason?  I don't have any idea, but that's my random "what if" for the Falcons.  Watch Delanie Walker be a top-12 tight end in this offense and Hayden Hurst not be...ha!

Carolina Panthers
What if Teddy Bridgewater continues to be the super efficient passer that he actually is and is really good in Carolina's new offense?  There is virtually zero buzz about Bridgewater this offseason, but the Panthers are likely another bad team who will need to throw the ball more to stay in games (or comeback from large deficits).  They added Robby Anderson to a good young receiving corps that includes a budding superstar in D.J. Moore and a good, fast route runner in Curtis Samuel.  Oh, and that McCaffrey guy tends to do good things when he catches the ball out of the backfield.  I'm a little surprised that hardly anyone even mentions Teddy in sleeper articles, but if he plays 16 games this year, he will absolutely be in the top-15 fantasy QB conversation.

New Orleans Saints
What if 41 year old Drew Brees deals with another hand or shoulder issue and misses a month this season?  Who would the Saints turn to: Jameis or Taysom?  Maybe a little of both?  I don't wish for any injuries, but I'm just saying "what if"?  I think it would be super interesting to see Jameis play against his old team in Week 9.  I bet he would light them UP!  I bet Taysom would somehow have a TD in that game too.  Then in Week 10, the 49ers come to New Orleans and pick off Winston 5 times.  Insert Taysom Hill and see what he can do Week 11 against the Falcons.  I would get so much popcorn ready if that happened...

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What if Tom Brady doesn't throw to Chris Godwin 120 times?  I mean, he might throw to him 153 times like he did Edelman last year (and other years).  But he probably won't.  What if he throws to him like 100 times?  What if Mike Evans has like 10 TDs and Godwin only has 6 or 7?  I have Godwin as a keeper in my main/home league, and I was able to keep him for a 7th round pick this year (a 9th last year!).  So I won't complain if he returns even just decent value.  But I'm very worried about him as a "sure thing" top-12 fantasy WR this year.  In fact, I can envision a scenario in which he's just middle of the road and finishes around the WR25-30.  Tamps Bay has a lot of fantasy options this year, and Godwin is just one of those options.

2020 NFL regression candidates: Ryan Tannehill, Chris Godwin

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals
There's one Cardinal who I feel like isn't getting talked up at all this summer, and that's Christian Kirk.  This guy's ADP is outside of the top-100 and outside of the top-40 WRs, but the third year guy could be ready to break out.  I'm in the camp that thinks DeAndre Hopkins won't get anywhere close to the 150-175ish targets he was used to seeing in Houston.  I think it'll be more like 130, and I think Christian Kirk will still get over 100.  He could push for 900 receiving yards, and if he can find the endzone a couple more times, he'll be that 3rd year breakout that no one seems to be talking about. 

Los Angeles Rams
I've already talked about Darrell Henderson a bunch this offseason, but I feel like he's going even more under the radar since he's been dealing with an injury in camp.  He didn't do a ton in his rookie year, so everyone seems to assume Cam Akers will win the starting job and run with it, but like...what if he doesn't?  Henderson could easily be the RB for the Rams with the most fantasy value this season, but all you hear about is Akers.

Darrell Henderson is 'taking a real big step' in training camp

San Francisco 49ers
How confident are we that Mostert is actually good?  And even if he is, how sure are we that Shanahan will give him the majority of touches in this backfield?  I'm not even convinced Tevin Coleman will be the second best RB in this San Francisco.  It could finally be Jerick McKinnon.  What if one (or two) of those guys isn't good or gets hurt (or Covid) and the Niners sign Devonta Freeman?  What if Devonta Freakin Freeman reunites with Shanahan and somehow ends up as the best 49er RB this year?!?

Seattle Seahawks 
What if Chris Carson gets hurt...again?  Rashaad Penny is likely going to start the season on the PUP list, which basically leaves Carlos Hyde to be the workhorse RB if Carson misses significant time.  He showed last year he could rush for 1000 yards in Houston, so he could absolutely do that in Seattle.  With an ADP outside of the top-200, he's a valuable backup that no one seems to be talking about.  Everyone wants to draft guys like Latavius Murray and Alexander Mattison in the later rounds, but what about Carlos?  The dude probably has a more clear path to carries even with Chris Carson healthy, and he could absolutely be an RB1 if Carson isn't available.

Like my other long article with all 32 teams earlier this summer, if you made it this far...congratulations!  I promise this is the last article before games kickoff in less than a week (!!!).


Monday, August 31, 2020

Fantasy Football 2020: Top 12 predictions for each position

I said this last year when I wrote this article, and I'll say it again: These are NOT my rankings.  

My preseason/draft rankings have things like injury risk, coaching changes, RB committees, and a ton of other things built into them.  What I've put together below are my predictions for who could finish the season in the top-12 at each position in a best case scenario with fully healthy seasons (at least for these guys).  My position lists below will provide you some additional insight into who I think has major upside and who might be prone to being a bust in 2020.  Last year I highlighted guys like Lamar Jackson, Chris Carson, and D.J. Moore as players I liked who not many people were projecting to be top-12 at their positions.  I was also really high on Vance McDonald, so of course they don't all work out.  

Keep in mind, I'm still more or less going to stick by my rankings when it comes to doing my fantasy drafts.  I suggest you do the same.  But these predictions are fun, and it's interesting to see what turns out to be right when the season ends.  Pay extra attention to my bold picks sprinkled throughout, and let's get to it!

Bengals QB Joe Burrow nets a No. 9 necklace valued at $25K

My preseason top-12 QBs

Deshaun Watson  
Patrick Mahomes
Kyler Murray 
Lamar Jackson  
Russell Wilson 
Matt Ryan
Dak Prescott  
Joe Burrow
Josh Allen  
Daniel Jones
Cam Newton
Jared Goff

Right away you'll notice I have Watson as my #1 overall fantasy QB this season.  Does that mean I'm drafting him ahead of Mahomes and Lamar?  Hell no.  But it does mean I'm ranking him over guys like Dak and Kyler, and I actually think it's the rushing yards/TDs that could get Deshaun to the top spot in a year when no one expects it.  

You'll also notice old guys like Rodgers, Brady, and Brees aren't on my list.  Sure, all of them could sneak into the top-12, but I could easily see all of them around the QB15 as well.  Carson Wentz and Matthew Stafford could make this list too, but both guys have dealt with various injuries in recent years and that factored into me leaving them off the list.  

If you look at my picks in bold toward the end of the top-12, you'll notice I'd rather take a shot that someone like Cam Newton or even Joe Burrow cracks this list.  The rushing appeal of both guys should provide a good floor, and Burrow is especially intriguing since there's an unknown factor to the rookie.  I don't see why he couldn't do the same thing Kyler Murray did last year.  I also think Jared Goff could bounce back in a high volume pass offense and could make this list by end of season, and Daniel Jones has the ability to make that leap into the top-12 as well.

My preseason top-12 RBs
Ezekiel Elliott 
Saquon Barkley 
Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Christian McCaffrey
Derrick Henry 
James Conner 
Miles Sanders
Kenyan Drake  
Ronald Jones 
Dalvin Cook 
Jonathan Taylor
Austin Ekeler

A lot of people think McCaffrey will repeat as the #1 RB and overall player this year, but that happens so rarely that I'm not going to project it to happen.  He has a new QB and coaching staff to navigate, so there are certainly some question marks for him even though he's obviously a special talent.  I think Zeke has a great shot at the top spot, and I always like to put a rookie in my top-12.  This year I put two on my list because in addition to Clyde Edwards-Helaire, I like Jonathan Taylor a lot too.  I thought he was the best RB prospect in this draft, and he landed in a spot with arguably the best run blocking offensive line.  You'll also notice James Conner and Ronald Jones in my top-10.  If Conner stays healthy for 15 or 16 games, I actually think he's a lock to be on this list (but health is the issue).  As for RoJo, he's certainly a wild card.  With Tom Brady in Tampa and Bruce Arians saying Jones will be the lead back, it's certainly possible he gets the workload and touchdowns to end up on this list.  

Others who I considered but just missed my projected top-12: Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs, and Aaron Jones.  Look, any of these guys could crack this list but I wanted to throw in some longer shots and I couldn't have everyone in my top-12, now could I?  I also left off Alvin Kamara who now looks like a potential holdout in New Orleans.

AFC South preview: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville  Jaguars, Tennessee Titans | NFL News | Sky Sports

My preseason top-12 WRs
Davante Adams 
Michael Thomas  
Adam Thielen 
Tyreek Hill
Will Fuller 
Julio Jones
Robert Woods
Odell Beckham, Jr.
D.J. Moore
DeAndre Hopkins 
Marquise Brown
Kenny Golladay

You'll notice a theme here because I'm not projecting guys to repeat as the #1 at their position.  If anyone is going to overtake the single season reception record holder, it's Adams.  I'm not saying he'll break that record, but he could dominate @cantguardmike in the touchdown department and finish as the #1 fantasy WR.  I also like Adam Thielen to finish highly if he can stay healthy all year.  If that happens, I think he'll lead the league in targets (even in a run-heavy offense).  In this perfect world with no injuries, I also project Will Fuller as a top-5 fantasy WR and Marquise Brown in my top-12.  I like both of these guys a lot and hope to get a lot of shares of them in the middle rounds.  I also highlighted Robert Woods, who I have ranked higher than Kupp and would have no problem drafting him as my first WR if I go RB-heavy early in a draft.

13 Days Until Our Season Starts, So Here's #13 - Brandin Cooks : Texans

My preseason top-12 TEs
George Kittle
Mark Andrews
Travis Kelce 
Hayden Hurst
Zach Ertz
Jonnu Smith
Darren Waller 
Blake Jarwin
Hunter Henry
Chris Herndon
Ian Thomas
Jack Doyle

I really like Jonnu and Jarwin if you're doing the late-round tight end strategy.  In fact, you could probably select both at the end of your draft and hope one of them hits.  If you miss out on the Kelce/Kittle tier and then the Andrews/Ertz tier, I'd let other people draft the likes of Hunter Henry and Evan Engram and shoot for Hayden Hurst after a couple of those guys come off the board.  Hopefully he's not this year's Vance McDonald for me, as I think he could step into the vacated Austin Hooper role and easily be a top-5 fantasy TE.  Chris Herndon, Ian Thomas, and Jack Doyle also made the list because why not?  It's tight end.  If you can get to 500 yards and 5 touchdowns, you can make this list.

Cowboys exec: Blake Jarwin can be 'great' in Dallas, will 'spread his  wings' and likely break out in 2020 -

That's probably a wrap for the preseason articles.  I'll keep updating my rankings in my previous post before the season kicks off, and I'll post my Week 1 rankings in a week or so!


Monday, August 24, 2020

2020 Fantasy Football Rankings v5

Well, it's August.  Training camps are underway, and I'm finally getting out my preseason articles.  It's also starting to feel like the NFL might actually have a season.  And if I just jinxed it, then my bad.  It was definitely all my fault and not COVID's.  This might be my last rankings post before the season kicks off, but I'll continue to publish updates that should reflect on this page up until Labor Day or so.  Just check the date on the top right of the rankings table to see when it was last updated by yours truly.  If you have any questions/comments, hit me up on twitter @bartonwheeler.


Fantasy Alert: Clyde Edwards-Helaire 'To Have a Big Year,' Says ...

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Who is this year's Zac Stacy? (2020 Edition)

This is probably my favorite preseason article to write, and I've been doing it for a while now.  If you're new to this article, it's a Q&A format that includes some of my picks for "sleeper", "bust", "long shot", etc.  You may or may not remember Zac Stacy.  I don't blame you if you don't recognize the name because he was kind of a blip on the radar.  But for me, it just feels right to name this preseason piece after him.  There are several trends I've noticed during the years I've been writing about fantasy football, and I've hand picked a guy to fit each category for the 2020 season.  There's not always a player who fits each category, but as you'll see, it's pretty close to always.  Let's see if I can get any of these right this year.


2015 NFL Draft: Zac Stacy To Ask Rams For Release Or Trade ...

Q: Who is this year's Alfred Morris (2012), Zac Stacy (2013), Tre Mason (2014), David Johnson (2015), Jordan Howard (2016), Alvin Kamara (2017), Phillip Lindsay (2018), or Devin Singletary (2019)?
[Description: A rookie NOT taken in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft who is virtually UNDRAFTED in fantasy leagues.  He's not expected to be the Week 1 starter, but he could really help your fantasy squad by mid-year.]

A: Zack Moss
There were SIX running backs taken in the first two rounds of this year's draft, so that eliminates a lot of guys from this long shot category.  Ke'shawn Vaughn went in the 3rd round, but he's somehow still being drafted too highly to be in the mix for this too.  That leaves a few guys who could be drafted in the later rounds and ultimately breakout by midseason.  The guy I like the most is Zack Moss who has an ADP around 150. The Bills have an above average run blocking O-line and Frank Gore leaves 166 vacated carries now that he’s a Jet. Moss broke all kinds of Utah rushing records, and he could potentially push Singletary for the most carries in Buffalo’s offense. And while Josh Allen likes to call his own number near the endzone, Moss has a nose for paydirt as well.  He could lead a timeshare for a team expected to win 9 or 10 games this year and likes to run the ball.

Honorable Mention: Josh Kelley

Q: Who is this year's Danny Woodhead (2013), Darren Sproles (2014), Danny Woodhead (2015), Theo Riddick (2016), Chris Thompson (2017), James White (2018), or Raheem Mostert (2019)?
[Description: Shifty veteran who sneakily finishes in the top-20 overall fantasy RBs.]

A: Tarik Cohen
You may be thinking this should've been Austin Ekeler last year, but he didn't sneak into the top-20.  With Melvin Gordon holding out to start the season, Ekeler shot up draft boards and was a solid fantasy producer all year.  Mostert definitely flew under the radar though, and this year I think it could be Tarik Cohen. He actually fit a different category I’ll highlight later when he finished top-20 in his sophomore season. I don’t see why he can’t do it again as a “shifty veteran” in Year 4. He’s still the same explosive player. He just needs to break a few more plays and he’ll be right in that mix again. 

Honorable Mention: Tevin Coleman

Where Did Human Joystick and Bears Difference-Maker Tarik Cohen ...

Q: Who is this year's Keenan Allen (2013), Odell Beckham, Jr. (2014), Tyreek Hill (2016), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017), Calvin Ridley (2018), or A.J. Brown (2019)?
[Description: Rookie WR with playmaking ability and a solid QB, who is a late-round fantasy pick or even undrafted in most leagues but ends up being a top-20 fantasy WR.]

A: Tee Higgins
This happens almost every year, but with so many promising rookie WRs, this one is tough to predict.  A lot of rookie WRs this season are being taken in the top-150 or so: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Justin Jefferson, Henry Ruggs, and Jalen Reagor.

So I'm going to look at receivers outside of that range, and Tee Higgins feels like the best talent of the rest of the bunch.  Sure, he might not have the clearest path to targets with guys like A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, and even John Ross likely ahead of him on the depth chart.  But how confident are you that A.J. Green will be healthy this year?  And couldn't we ask the same question about John Ross?  I can see a world in which Tee Higgins is minimally involved for the first month of the season but finally gets his chance in October and breaks out with Joe Burrow slinging the pigskin.

Honorable Mention: Brandon Aiyuk

Q: Who is this year's Andrew Luck (2013), Russell Wilson (2014), Derek Carr (2015), Kirk Cousins (2016), Carson Wentz (2017), Patrick Mahomes (2018), or Lamar Jackson (2019)?
[Description: A young starting QB ready to jump from one fantasy QB tier to the next.]

A: Daniel Jones
I nailed this one last year, and it's crazy now to think that Lamar wasn't getting the love he deserved before the season started.  But who could make that leap this year?  I think Kyler Murray is the obvious choice to make a leap into the top-3 or so, but his ADP is already inside the top-5 QBs selected, and that's about where I have him.  He certainly has the potential to finish as one of the top fantasy QBs, but that's where he's being drafted.  I'd actually like to talk about Daniel Jones here because I think he's set up to thrive with Jason Garrett calling the plays in New York now.  Garrett was more pass-heavy than you’d expect as an OC, and the Giants have some really good receiving weapons for the second year QB.  With a tough early season schedule, I think Jones could get off to a slow start.  But after the first month, the schedule softens up big time.  If he can make it out of September alive, I think Jones will be a top-12 fantasy QB the rest of the way.

Honorable Mention: Gardner Minshew II

Daniel Jones: A willing student ready to learn in Jerry ...

Q: Who is this year's Cam Newton & Andy Dalton (2013-2014), Ben Roethlisberger (2014-2015), Carson Palmer & Cam Newton (2015-2016), Matt Ryan (2016-2017), Carson Wentz (2017-2018), or Andrew Luck (2018-2019)?
[Description: A top-5 fantasy QB who finishes outside of the top-15 the following year, and not due to a serious injury that season.]

A: Dak Prescott
OK so obviously Jameis Winston is the most likely to finish outside of the top-15 fantasy QBs since he's basically the 3rd string QB in New Orleans now.  I guess you could say he fits into that Andrew Luck category...sort of.  But I wanted to look at the other top-5 finishers and pick one of them to fall that far out of favor.  It's tough to do because Lamar feels like a sure thing unless he gets injured, and Russell Wilson has literally never finished outside of the top-15 fantasy QBs so I'm not betting against Mr. Unliiiiiiiimited. That leaves Dak and Watson.  I don't really want to pick either, but if I had to pick one, I guess I'd pick Dak.  I could see there being some growing pains with a new head coach, and maybe the Cowboys lean more on Zeke and even give Tony Pollard more carries.  Dak has some great receivers, but last year was the first in his career when he threw for over 4000 yards and had 30+ total TDs.  Maybe it was just a career year and he falls back to earth a bit?  It's not super likely, but this is not an easy call to make either.

Honorable Mention: Deshaun Watson

Q: Who is this year's Joique Bell (2013), Giovani Bernard (2014), Devonta Freeman (2015), Tevin Coleman (2016), Alex Collins (2017), or Tarik Cohen (2018)?
[Description: A second year running back (mid to late-round draft pick) who is likely the #2 in a timeshare situation but will still find himself as a top-20 fantasy RB in 2017.]

A: Darrell Henderson
This trend was happening every year until Rashaad Penny got hurt and couldn't do it in 2019.  This season, Darrell Henderson should have every opportunity to be the guy. Everyone is assuming Cam Akers will win this job, but the Rams insist they have several good running backs.  That includes Darrell Henderson, who was a 3rd round draft pick himself just a year ago.  Malcolm Brown is a JAG (just a guy), and Akers is a rookie.  Henderson had a rough rookie year himself, but at least he has experience.  And he's already looking good (and healthy!) in training camp.  He could lead this RBBC and be a top-20 RB this year.

Honorable Mention: Alexander Mattison (Dalvin Cook has shown to be injury prone in his career)

Running back Darrell Henderson Jr. #27 of the Los Angeles Rams as ...

Q: Who is this year's Julius Thomas (2013), Antonio Gates (2014), Gary Barnidge (2015), Kyle Rudolph (2016), Evan Engram (2017), Eric Ebron and Jared Cook (2018), or Darren Waller (2019)?
[Description: A tight end who is virtually undrafted in fantasy leagues and ends up being a top-5 TE.]

A: Blake Jarwin
I know it's hard to believe all of those tight ends went undrafted in fantasy leagues during their top-5 seasons, but they all did.  Ok. So maybe it’s not so hard to believe for Gary Barnidge. This year I’m picking a young guy ready to step into Jason Witten’s shoes (and his 80+ vacated targets). Jarwin isn’t even being drafted as a top-20 TE, but if he gets that target volume, he’s a sure thing to land in the top-12. This category is top-5, so that’s bold but within the realm of possibilities. 

Honorable Mention: Ian Thomas

I'll post at least one more article and one more rankings update before Week 1 of the regular season.  

Until then, good luck in your drafts!