Monday, August 26, 2019

2019 Fantasy Football Rankings v8

Image result for andrew luckMy main league's fantasy football draft was Saturday night, and that's when some big news broke in the NFL.  The first big hit was Lamar Miller being carted off during his preseason game.  One guy in my league was lucky enough to get the alert in the middle rounds and immediately snag Duke Johnson a round before I was considering taking him anyway.  The biggest news obviously was Andrew Luck retiring, which my league found out immediately AFTER our draft.  Needless to say, not only was the guy who drafted Luck a little upset, but the T.Y. Hilton owner wasn't too happy either.  I actually kept Marlon Mack for a 4th rounder, and I'm still undecided as to how worried I really am.  I've lowered him a bit because the overall offense will certainly take a hit without Luck, but they still have a great offensive line.  If their defense can step up and keep them in games, maybe Mack's workload even increases.  We'll see. 

For now, here's my updated rankings.  Enjoy!


Friday, August 23, 2019

Who is this year's Zac Stacy? (2019 Edition)

It's that time of the year again.  The weather is still hot as hell, but fall is right around the corner.  And we all know what that means.  That's right: PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHIIIIIING!

But more important than that, it also means football of course!

Image result for zac stacy ramsYou may have noticed, but this year I've actually been breaking my super long preseason article out into multiple pieces.  So I needed to come up with a name for this Q&A format that includes some of my picks for "sleeper", "bust", "long shot", etc.  I settled on the original title for this article many years ago, and that's "Who is this year's Zac Stacy"?  You may or may not remember Stacy, but for me, it just feels right for the name of this one.

If this is your first time reading this article, you'll get the idea pretty quickly.  There are several trends I've noticed in recent seasons, and I've hand picked my guy to fit each category below.  We'll see if I can get any of these right in 2019.  Enjoy!

Q: Who is this year's Alfred Morris (2012), Zac Stacy (2013), Tre Mason (2014), David Johnson (2015), Jordan Howard (2016), Alvin Kamara (2017), or Phillip Lindsay (2018)?
[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: Damien Harris
In this year's draft, only 2 RBs went in the first two rounds: Josh Jacobs and Miles Sanders.  David Montgomery and Darrell Henderson went in the 3rd round, but both are being drafted way too high to be in the mix for this long shot category.  That leaves plenty of options for guys who could be drafted in the later rounds and ultimately breakout by midseason.  The guy I like the most though is Damien Harris, who the Patriots took in the 3rd round out of Alabama.  It seems that New England got an insurance policy for Sony Michel's knees, and Harris could end up getting a ton of work in his rookie year if he can stay healthier than Michel.  It could be that simple.  There are plenty of other guys who could fit this category from Devin Singletary to Alexander Mattison.  But it's the Patriots who tend to always have a later round fantasy RB who ends up being a top-15 or 20 guy on the season.

Honorable Mention: Justice Hill

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

A: Duke Johnson
Image result for duke johnson texans
Duke's ADP is nearly outside of the top-50 RBs, so he's way off the radar as a potential top-20 fantasy RB.  But I think the move to Houston could be exactly what he needs to sneak into that RB2 conversation.  The argument against him is that the Texans have never really thrown to their running backs much, but they also haven't had a guy like Duke.  With Will Fuller coming off an ACL injury and Keke Coutee potentially starting the regular season banged up, Johnson could be the one gobbling up some of the short yard routes.  I could even see a scenario in which he gets a few more rushes and this becomes a committee with him and Lamar Miller.  Duke Johnson is just the better, younger athlete at this point in his career.  He could overtake Miller and become a top-20 RB.

Honorable Mention: Dion Lewis

Q: Who is this year's Keenan Allen (2013), Odell Beckham, Jr. (2014), Tyreek Hill (2016), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017), or Calvin Ridley (2018)?
[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: D.K. Metcalf 
I thought D.J. Moore was going to be the guy last year, but it ended up being Ridley.  This year, Harry and Metcalf seem like the obvious choices as both are currently being drafted in the double digit rounds.  But the thing I like is that both are tied to future hall of fame quarterbacks.  With the assumed return of Josh Gordon, N'Keal could have a harder time finding snaps early on.  But as long as Metcalf can get healthy in a few weeks, he should be able to get right into an offense that will be in need of a big target like him.  Doug Baldwin retired, and Tyler Lockett is now the main threat in the passing game.  Metcalf shouldn't have much issue passing guys like David Moore and Jaron Brown on the depth chart.  Keep in mind OBJ missed four games in the beginning of his rookie season due to a hamstring issue and still finished as a top-5 WR!

Honorable Mention: N'Keal Harry

Image result for lamar jackson leap memeQ: Who is this year's Andrew Luck (2013), Russell Wilson (2014), Derek Carr (2015), Kirk Cousins (2016), or Carson Wentz (2017)?
[Description: A young starting QB ready to jump from one fantasy QB tier to the next.]

A: Lamar Jackson

I considered a lot of different quarterbacks in this spot last year, but no one really ended up fitting the category.  Keep in mind I didn't count second year guys Trubisky and Mahomes because both really had no where to go but up.  This year, I had a lot of QBs to consider in this spot (including Trubisky).  I also considered Baker Mayfield, but everyone already expects Baker to jump into the top-10.  And while he also doesn't have anywhere to go but up really, I wanted to talk up Lamar Jackson because I don't think he's getting the love he deserves.  If you look at his rookie numbers, you might be deceived into thinking he wasn't as good as he actually was.  He played in all 16 games because the Ravens liked to give him a handful of designed runs even when Flacco was starting in the first half of the season.  But once Lamar took over in Week 11 as the starter, he was a QB1 for the rest of the season.  Can he produce that way over the course of an entire season?  I think he can, and I don't think enough people are talking about him as a top-12 fantasy QB in 2019.

Honorable Mention: Sam Darnold (to jump into the top-20)

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), or Carson Wentz (2017-2018?
[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: Ben Roethlisberger

I warned you in 2017 about Matty Ice, and I warned you last year about Carson Wentz.  This year, I'm not drafting Big Ben.  He finished in the top-5 in 2014, and then he finished outside of the top-15 the following TWO years.  Losing Antonio Brown is obviously huge, but he's also getting up there in age.  Ben played in all 16 games last season, but he's only played in back to back full 16 game seasons once in his 15 years in the NFL.  I expect him to miss a game or two due to a concussion and/or sprained something-or-other.  I think he'll end up back outside the top-15 fantasy QBs this year.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Luck if he misses a few games to start the season

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: Rashaad Penny
Image result for rashaad penny seahawksHey look - another trend that happens every year!  I nailed this one with Tarik Cohen last year too.  This year, I like Rashaad Penny to get plenty of work in Seattle's run-heavy offense.  Chris Carson is the assumed starter, but he's dealt with some injuries early on in his career.  If he misses some time, Penny could have the backfield mostly to himself.  And even if both guys are healthy all season, Penny should still get plenty of touches.  I can easily see two top-20 RBs for the Seahawks, but an injury to Carson could mean a top-12 finish for Penny.

Honorable Mention: Ronald Jones

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

A: Jordan Reed 
I know it's hard to believe (outside of Barnidge) that all of those tight ends went undrafted in fantasy leagues during their top-5 seasons, but they all did.  This year I'm taking my guy Jordan Reed.  I realize he's never healthy, and he's already being evaluated for a concussion after last night's preseason game.  But that's why his ADP is super low.  In fact, he's never played all 16 games in any of his 5 NFL seasons.  But he was a top-10 fantasy tight end as recently as 2016, a year in which he only played 12 games due to a shoulder injury and a concussion.  He was also the #3 fantasy TE playing 14 games in 2015.  I realize it's unlikely he plays every game this year, but maybe he somehow only misses 2 or 3.  IF that happens, I think it's actually likely he ends up in the top-5 for a Redskins team that lacks a true #1 WR.

Honorable Mention: Jack Doyle 

I'll post at least one more article and one more rankings update before Week 1 of the regular season.  Until then, enjoy your preseason football and good luck in your drafts!


Monday, August 19, 2019

2019 Fantasy Football Rankings v7

Image result for chris godwinWe're coming up on Week 3 of the preseason, and then we'll be just two weeks from the regular season starting.  A ton of fantasy football drafts have already happened, but the next couple of weekends will see the most volume.  In fact, my main league draft is this Saturday, and we have to declare keepers in about 48 hours.  It's getting real, people.  I thought I'd post one more rankings update before Saturday, and I'll probably update it later in the week as well.  I'll then post another update or two before the season starts, along with a couple of articles I've been gradually working on.  I know you can't wait to see who this year's Zac Stacy is, right? 



Let's do the rankings!


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Fantasy Football 2019: Top 12 predictions for each position

Image result for marlon mack coltsI want to be clear about one thing: these are NOT my rankings.  You've seen plenty of iterations of those.  My preseason rankings have risk, injury, RBBC considerations, and a ton of other things built into them.  No, these 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, 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 2019.  I'm still more or less going to stick by my rankings when it comes to doing my fantasy drafts, and I suggest you do the same.  But there's always a lot of turnover in the top-12 at each position when you look at end of season ranks, so I thought it'd be fun to put some predictions out there and see what turns out to be right when the season ends.  I'll also have some bold picks sprinkled in.

Let's get to it!

Deshaun Watson
Patrick Mahomes
Carson Wentz
Jared Goff 
Kirk Cousins 
Baker Mayfield 
Cam Newton 
Lamar Jackson
Aaron Rodgers 
Kyler Murray  
Matt Ryan 
Dak Prescott

You'll notice right away that while I have Mahomes as my #1 QB in my rankings, I'm not picking him to finish that way at the end of the year in my QB list.  Of course he could (and he might), but no one has repeated as the #1 fantasy QB since Daunte Culpepper in 2004.  Is it likely that Mahomes repeats?  Actually no.  No it's not.

Image result for lamar jackson ravensIt's really hard to narrow this list down to 12 with so many possibilities at the QB position.  Honestly, I could see about 24 different guys in this list, but I had to chop that number in half.  Because of that, I had to leave off certain guys like Russell Wilson and Philip Rivers, even though both guys finish in the top-12 virtually every year.  Oh, and Andrew Luck.  I'm officially scared about his mystery injury.  I also have some sleepers above in bold.  I feel like Lamar Jackson and Kyler Murray will get so much yardage with their legs, they'll both crack this list if they play 16 games.  You'll also notice I have Kirk Cousins (who no one seems to be talking about this year) in my top-5.  He has great weapons to throw the ball to and was consistently a top-10 guy in Washington.  I don't see why he couldn't crack this list again with a good Viking offense, and with guys like Blake Bortles and Alex Smith finishing as top-5 QBs in recent years, why can't Kirk?

This list just shows how deep the position is though because I really wanted to include guys like Josh Allen and Mitchell Trubisky, but there's just not room for everyone!

Alvin Kamara
Christian McCaffrey 
Ezekiel Elliott
Marlon Mack 
Saquon Barkley
David Johnson 
Chris Carson
Dalvin Cook
Nick Chubb
David Montgomery
Aaron Jones 
Kerryon Johnson

What's the deal with Gordon and Zeke this year?!?  Everyone was so sure Le'Veon Bell wouldn't hold out all of last season, but of course he did.  Both guys are virtual top-12 locks if they play, but there's real concern that both holdouts will last into the regular season (especially Melvin's, which is why I'm leaving him off my list).  In addition to Melvin Gordon, you won't see names like Todd Gurley or even James Conner in my projected top-12.  I have a feeling both guys will miss a big chunk of games this season, and that can be said for a lot of running backs because it's just a brutal position on your body.

Image result for david montgomery bearsAnd while Marlon Mack as a top-5 RB is bold, I think it's within the realm of possibilities with Indy expected to be such a good offense.  And my thought process around Luck's injury is it could mean more Mack early in the year behind that tough offensive line.  It's also very common for only a couple of top-5 RBs to be in next year's top-5 RBs.  And if I'm picking two to repeat, it's Kamara and McCaffrey.  Zeke also feels like a lock, but the holdout is concerning.  A rookie tends to crack the top-12 every year lately, and I think this year it'll be Montgomery and not Josh Jacobs.

JuJu Smith-Schuster
Davante Adams 
DeAndre Hopkins 
Amari Cooper 
Odell Beckham, Jr.
Michael Thomas 
Tyreek Hill
Julio Jones
Robert Woods
Jarvis Landry
Stefon Diggs
D.J. Moore

Image result for jarvis landry odell beckhamI'm calling a couple of long shots here.  While a lot of people have Amari Cooper in their top-10, not many will predict him to finish in the top-5.  But the boldest prediction on this list might be Jarvis Landry, especially because everyone seems to be fading him this year.  Can Baker Mayfield support two top-12 WRs?  I think it's possible.  We've seen it happen on other teams: 2018 Steelers (Brown/JuJu), 2016 Packers (Adams/Nelson) & Saints (Thomas/Cooks)…& RAIDERS (Crabtree/Cooper)!  There are more examples, but it's happened 4 times in the last 3 seasons.  With the expectations for this offense, I don't see why it couldn't happen in Cleveland this year.  D.J. Moore is another interesting name on this list, and this very well could be Curtis Samuel instead.  But I'm going to guess that Cam turns the first round draft pick into a star in 2019.

Travis Kelce 
Evan Engram
Zach Ertz
Vance McDonald
O.J. Howard
Hunter Henry
George Kittle
Austin Hooper
Jack Doyle  
Jordan Reed
Jared Cook 
Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski delivers a body tackle to WWE Superstar Jinder Mahal during a match at WrestleMania 33 on Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Orlando, Fla.Last year I didn't list everyone's favorite "sleeper" tight end George Kittle in this article, and he broke out in a big way.  But this year he's not the only receiving option in San Fran, and I think he could fall outside of the top-5.  I am including Vance McDonald in my top-5, as someone needs to catch all of those vacated targets from Antonio Brown.  I also like Jack Doyle more than Eric Ebron this year, and I think it's bold to have him on this list instead of Ebron.  You may have also noticed Gronk on my list.  Well, last year Antonio Gates was quasi-retired and came back.  I think Gronk could do the same a few weeks into the season.  I just picture him watching games on his couch like "BRO!  I need to get back in there!!!"  And if he does, he's certainly a shell of the old Gronk.  But he could also catch 7 or 8 touchdowns and finish as a top-12 fantasy tight end if he plays 10 games or so.

I'll keep updating my rankings, and I'll post a couple more articles before the season starts. 

Stay tuned...


Friday, August 2, 2019

2019 Fantasy Football Rankings v6

Image result for melvin gordon chargersWell it's August, and I haven't updated my rankings in a couple of weeks.  There hasn't been a ton of movement, but enough to warrant an update.  I'll try to refresh the list on a weekly basis up until the start of the season. With the Hall of Fame game in the books, the real preseason games are right around the corner (next week!).  I'm sure we'll get a couple of key injuries in the next few days, and hopefully we'll get either Zeke or Melvin Gordon reporting to training camp.  Fingers crossed...