After dissecting the winners from the last few weeks’ transactions, unfortunately there were also some losers from a fantasy perspective we need to address too.
Which of the moves have a negative impact on a players fantasy value? Let’s dive in:
How dare I besmirch the name of a fantasy God i hear you say. Well, it’s quite simple – Hopkins has gone from a team where he was the main weapon where everything went through him, to a team with a wider and deeper plethora of talent and a quarterback who is less proven than his old one, Deshaun Watson.
I am not for one second suggesting that Hopkins is going to be a fantasy bust in 2020, but I think it’s fair to say he, individually, was a loser from free agency when you’re talking fantasy value. In his 7 years as a Texans, Hopkins has averaged 90 receptions for 1,229 yards per season with 8 TD’s per season.
Will he keep to these figures in Arizona? Potentially, of course, however I think he will be more along the 80 for 1,100 and 6 TD line considering the amount of mouths Kyler Murray needs to feed in that offense – that would have seen him around the WR 11 – 14 range in PPR scoring in 2019. Still a WR1 in fantasy, just no longer a “top 5” weapon, in my opinion.
As an honourable mention too, Deshaun Watson’s fantasy value has to have taken a hit too as I struggle to see how Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Kenny Stills or Keke Coutee are going to replicate Hopkins’ production, either singularly or as a team effort. With no real draft capital to bring in a replacement superstar either, it begs the question where will Watson be able to sustain his QB1 tag in fantasy.
Patriots skill positions fantasy values
As of right now, we are still uncertain what is happening in Foxborough as regards to the Pats’ immediate future. With only a shade under $1mil left in cap space, it certainly looks like New England will be quarterbacked by either second year Jarrett Stidham, or in the way of an incoming rookie at the back end of the first round.
Either way, it’s fair to say the fantasy value of Sony Michel, James White, Julien Edelman and N’Keal Harry remains uncertain until we know who is under centre, but their combined value has to drop mainly due to the fact TB12 is no longer their leader.
Unfortnuately for Pats’ fans it looks like the last decade of dominance is coming to an end, and with it comes the fantasy value of it’s skill positions. They all lost out this off season.
Who remembers David Njoku’s 639 yards with 4 TD’s in 2018 sparking fantasy hype in 2019 only for it to come crashing down thanks to a season long wrist injury? Yeah, that was a derailed train that looks like it’s going to remain that way unless he gets traded away.
Thanks to the seemingly unnecessary move to acquire hot property Austin Hooper from Atlanta, Njoku’s fantasy production is about as questionable as whether the Browns will get to 8 wins or not this year.
With characters such as OBJ, Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt and now Hooper all likely ahead of Njoku in the receiving pecking order – unless Baker Mayfield suddenly makes a giant leap back to super-stardom, Njoku may well be a fantasy ghost again in 2020.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams
We know both Allen and Williams are extraordinary talents in the NFL and will likely continue to be highly productive and fantasy relevant. However, with Pip Rivers off to pastures new in Indy and the re-sign of Hunter Henry on the franchise tag, the fantasy outlook for this dynamic duo is in question for the time being.
If the Chargers manage to get hold of Tua or more likely Justin Herbert as their new signal caller through the draft, then one would assume it would be business as usual in 2020 – Keenan Allen being a target hog and Mike Williams commanding targets in the redzone. But until then, they both have to be considered as losers from this season’s off season action. No more trusted connection with Rivers and Henry still around taking TD opportunities away.
New York Jets
How many fantasy players did the Jets have in the top 40 (not including QB’s) of PPR scoring in 2019? Zero. Top 50? 1 – Lev Bell. Jamison Crowder was just outside the top 50. In fact, there was only 3 Jets’ players to have over 100 PPR points throughout the 2019 season.
So what have they done as an organisation to combat and improve this? They failed to re-sign one of those players, Robby Anderson, signed the lackluster former first round pick Josh Doctson and the flighty journeyman Breshad Perriman. With bigger needs likely targetted in the draft (offensive line, edge rusher and defensive secondary), it’s likely that this make-shift ensemble will be the fantasy options heading into the 2020 season. Eeesh. The Jets are off-season losers as things stand. Poor Sam Darnold!
It’s been a busy free agency for NFL teams over the last couple of weeks; but a much needed and welcome distraction to everything else that’s currently happening in the world.
But what do these moves mean for your fantasy teams in 2020? Over the next two articles, i’m going to break down the winners and the losers from all of the transactions that have taken place so far.
The Arizona Cardinals pulled of a move during the free agency that left everybody scratching their heads, wondering how they pulled off such a coup. That was, of course, the acquisition of superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans.
Kyler Murray all of a sudden now has one of the most tantalising skill set offenses in the NFL. From Hopkins to legendary Hall of Fame receiver LarryFitzgerald returning for one last year, and the emerging star of Christian Kirk alongside 2nd year hopefuls Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson. The Kliff Kingsbury ‘air raid’ offense really has got no excuses to be raking up the air miles on the field in 2020.
After a QB7 rookie campaign in fantasy last year, it’s hard to think Murray will be doing anything other than improving on that. Kenyan Drake made a good enough impression since his move from Miami that he’s earned another year on this offense too, yet another reliable, tried and trusted weapon for Kyler out of the backfield.
It’s exciting times for Cards fans and this ever-improving offense, fantasy fans should be sharing this excitement for Kyler Murray, there’s no such thing as too many weapons when it comes to fantasy QB’s
Staying in Dallas was one of the best places for Cooper to keep his fantasy value. He clearly loves it there in ‘Jerryworld’, and the feeling seems to be mutual between the fans and the other players.
In his 25 games for the Cowboys, Cooper has amassed 1,914 receiving yards with 14 touchdowns; that’s 77 yards per game and a touchdown every other game (0.56 TD’s per game). For context, that’s in the same vicinity as DeAndre Hopkins’ time in Houston (78 yards per game average with 0.49 TD’s per game) and Mike Evans in Tampa Bay (80 yards per game with 0.53 TD’s per game). Both of which will be within the top 2 wide receiver tiers for 2020.
Dez Bryant had many productive seasons as a WR1 in fantasy football from his time in Dallas with Tony Romo and Dak Prescott under centre. Now it is time for Amari to step up and continue being the reliable receiving option for the Cowboys and fantasy owners in turn for the next few years.
Indianapolis Colts’ Receivers
Indy is lacking in skill position depth, but those that are there have just received a significant bump up in fantasy value with the upgrade of quarterback to Philip Rivers. Jacoby Brissett was admirable, and was far from terrible, but he wasn’t the best at getting great receiving production out of anyone not named T.Y Hilton.
Rivers in an experienced veteran who finally has a competent offensive line ahead of him to give him enough protection to provide some actual time in the pocket rather than being constantly under pressure like he was for the Chargers, especially in recent years.
I expect Indy will add to their receiving corps through the upcoming draft; but for now, T.Y Hilton cements himself as a fringe WR1 for a likely cheap price of a 4th/5th round pick, and last year’s rookie Parris Campbell will likely be in the sleeper category for analysts as the season grows closer.
If Jack Doyle remains the only pass catching tight end in Indy too, expect his value to also rise in a treacherous tight end fantasy landscape as Rivers has always produced fantasy relevant TE’s with the likes of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry in the past.
One of my favourite sleepers already also due to the Rivers’ upgrade, is running back Nyheim Hines. The swiss army knife is Indy’s version of Austin Ekeler (see later in article for Ekeler’s 2019 production), who should see plenty of work in the passing game out of the backfield.
Cleveland Brown’s Skill Players
One of the main contributing factors for the Browns’ miserable 2019 campaign was the offensive line, or lack-of, being unable to give Baker Mayfield time in the pocket.
Jack Conklin (former Titans OT) is a massive upgrade for that line and you can only imagine Cleveland will be taking whichever stud tackle is left with the 10th pick of the 2020 draft.
These pieces may well prove to be the difference for this offense which will open up the fantasy value for all of the keys players. Nick Chubb had a great season in 2019 and was third in the NFL for rushing yards (1,494) and has 18 combined touchdowns since becoming a Brown in 2017 so we can expect that to continue. As we can with Jarvis Landry, as he once again will benefit from OBJ taking the premier defense away, like in 2019. OBJ’s production might rise once again if Mayfield is able to improve and between David Njoku and newly acquired Austin Hooper, the tight ends’ should have their week to week match-up based values too.
With all the running back moves this off-season, i don’t think any have won more so than Austin Ekeler has. Not only does he see Melvin Gordon move away (to the Denver Broncos) from the backfield and no significant replacement brought in, he finds himself in a passing offense that will be moving forward with someone new. Therefore, a bigger emphasis may be placed on the tried and trusted running game with Ekeler as the sole star.
The beauty of the situation is- even if the Chargers do bring in another running back, they probably aren’t going to be the same quality as Melvin Gordon where Ekeler was still productive enough to see him finish as the RB4 in PPR scoring (RB8 in non-PPR) last season.
The new QB in LA will likely be a rookie in from the first round, if not the veteran Tyrod Taylor who served as Rivers’ backup last season. Either way, Ekeler is going to be hyper-targeted out of the backfield and should be a top 10 PPR running back once again in 2020.
A few days ago you were treated to a fantastic Sells equivalent which you can check out here. Today we take a look at those you should be trying to acquire. Let us know your thoughts, let us know YOUR OPINION. Because that’s what it is all about! Let’s see who can get these guys the cheapest!
The Denver Post, MediaNews Group.
Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
There’s a feel-good factor around Denver’s offense at the moment. After finishing the season 4-1 with Drew Lock under centre, John Elway has added Pat Shurmur to his coaching staff and signed Melvin Gordon, Graham Glasgow and Nick Vannett in free agency.
All this looks good for third year receiver Courtland Sutton. Coming off a 1,112 yard, 125 target, 72 reception season, the former SMU man has firmly established himself as the Broncos WR1.
The addition of Shurmur looks set to only help Sutton’s development, with his track record as an Offensive Co-ordinator unquestionably good for young QBs and the passing game. If Shurmur can recreate this in Denver, then look for more fireworks from Lock and Sutton as they look to navigate a difficult AFC West.
In your Dynasty League, the time to buy Sutton might not be now. There are plenty of rumours linking the Broncos to a high quality deep threat receiver in the draft, with CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs both regularly mocked their way. This shouldn’t harm Sutton’s production, in fact it should help minimise double coverage. Others may disagree, getting caught up with the inevitable post draft-fever, make your offer then!
The Associated Press
Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles
Another young player that finished the season well, Miles Sanders was a game changer during the Eagles’ late drive to secure a play-off spot.
The 3rd round pick out of Penn State had an up and down start to 2019, with Jordan Howard forcing him out of the starting role for a string of games before going down injured in week 9. Sanders capitalised on this, increasing his playing time and yardage increase until he peaked against the Redskins in week 14.
Howard is now completely out of the picture, having joined the Dolphins, leaving Sanders in competition with Boston Scott as the Eagles’ presumptive week 1 starter. It’s a battle he should win, considering his potential as a dual threat back and the relative draft capital invested in both.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons
You’ve all seen the stat doing the rounds at the moment, the Atlanta Falcons have a starting offense built solely from first round picks. Calvin Ridley is amongst those, with the third year receiver currently occupying the WR2 designation behind Julio Jones.
Jones is contracted through 2024 and given the huge salary the Falcons have invested in him, it doesn’t look like he’ll be going anywhere soon. So why Ridley?
It’s all about consistency. In both his years in the league so far, Ridley has locked up 92 and 93 targets respectively, catching 64 of those in 2018 and 63 in 2019, those catches have gone for 821 and 866 yards, with 10 TDs in his rookie year, compared to 7 last year.
He’s the perfect flex player for your line ups, averaging above 10 points per game and providing the perfect complement to Julio it Atlanta’s offense. With such a stacked WR class this year, chances are he’s available relatively cheap in your league, and with Julio entering a period in which some players decline, Ridley could be set to ease in the other direction.
TJ Hockenson – Detroit Lions
After week one of the 2019 season, Hockenson was cleared off waiver wires everywhere. The first rounder caught six passes from Matthew Stafford, going for 131 yards and a TD. Huge numbers for a rookie Tight End.
From there, things went downhill, with Hockenson only adding another 230 yards across the whole season. When you look at the cards dealt to the Iowa product, it’s not hard to see why his form trailed off, when Stafford went down injured, a combination of Jeff Driskel and David Blough stepped into uninspiringly fill the void and the Lions only managed one win after week three.
So, why trade for him now? Everyone knows that rookie Tight Ends are to be avoided in fantasy, so that shouldn’t put you off when looking at Hockenson’s rookie production. Instead look at the upside, this year’s TE class is poor, he was a top 10 NFL pick for obvious reasons last year, and when fit, his QB is one of the most reliable in the game. Pick him up cheap where you can, and watch him develop into one of the league’s elite TE options.
Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Mariota – Las Vegas Raiders
This time last year I picked up Ryan Tannehill in 3 leagues, I didn’t get a complete bargain in all cases, but he was cheap for a QB in superflex leagues. The things I liked about Tannehill were, his work ethic, his commitment to his team, his experience as a starter and the precarious nature of the QB he was backing up.
Fast forward 12 months and the irony is there for all to see that we could say the exact same of that QB, Marcus Mariota. The new Raiders QB has always been the model of professionalism, he’s got a ton of starts (including playoff games) under his belt and he’s backing up Derek Carr, who just doesn’t seem to fit the Jon Gruden school of thought.
So, I’m picking up Mariota where I can this year, half the league had him down as QB1 in the 2015 draft class, and in places he has flashed exactly why they believed that. With a bit of encouragement and the freedom to use his legs, Mariota can certainly be a starter in the NFL, if Carr slips you can bet Mariota will be straight in. Buy low, and buy now!
As the Hype Train Driver, I’m used to changing scenery. Looking out of the window, everything can look different from season to season. The NFL, and certainly fantasy football, are no different.
The Tight end position has been a bone of contention for many fantasy players over the years. The low number of fantasy relevant tight ends and the premium to get good ones has led to a variety of suggestions and solutions. Some leagues turned the TE position into a Flex spot including Tight end, others make it 1.5x points and some have scrapped the position altogether.
Going into last season, most people seemed to suggest that beyond Kelce, Ertz and Kittle, there’s very little out there. Through the season the likes of Austin Hooper, Darren Waller and Mark Andrews took flight and added their names to the “Relevant” list. Even the tandem at the Rams of Higbee and Everett became fantasy pickups. It leaves the fantasy world in an interesting position.
The free agency period has been hectic despite the Coronavirus pandemic.
As I currently see it, this is the situation at Tight End for each team:
The headlines this off-season have been made by Austin Hooper (going to the Browns), Hayden Hurst (filling the void in Atlanta), Greg Olsen (adding to the long list in Seattle), Jimmy Graham (being given yet another overpaid contract, this time from the Bears) and Eric Ebron (joining Vance McDonald in Pittsburgh).
With very few good quality tight ends left on the market, it appear a lot of teams are going to be relying on 2nd year tight ends stepping up or maybe even rookies. I’ll leave it to the podcast and twitter feeds to talk about those impacts on the NFL, but in terms of fantasy, Hurst has value, Hooper has some value but it’s more stunted than if he had stayed in Atlanta. Ebron will be a red-zone target so he has to score a TD to be relevant week to week. Jimmy Graham won’t see any kind of uptick while Greg Olsen may be a dark horse option if he can stay healthy. As the off-season rumbles on I’m sure it will be touched on more, but that’s my initial thoughts.
The 2020 Draft
There are a few interesting landing spots. The Patriots, Cardinals, Redskins, Panthers, Packers and Jaguars could be in the hunt for a new Tight End after some other possible spots were filled in free agency. There’s time yet for some trades, but many teams are going to be looking to develop the talent they have or target one in the draft. With 6 strong landing spots we could well see 1 or 2 rookie tight ends make it into starting line-ups.
There’s not as many standout options as in previous years but Cole Kmet (Notre Dame), Brycen Hopkins (Purdue) and Jared Pinkney (Vanderbilt) are the 3 gathering the most interest. There’s not likely to be a 1st season breakout this season. Rookie Tight ends usually require a full season before becoming fantasy relevant and a feature of the offence but there have been times where this has been overruled.
The 2020 Season
After years of Gronk… Kelce… Then the rest; there’s now more than just 2 or 3 tiers of Tight End and no real dominant Tight End causing early round headaches in fantasy drafts. The lack of an outright #1 reduces the value and with so many options, 2020 might see tight ends fall down the order and, in some leagues, they may become a streaming position similar to QB’s and Defence/Special Teams.
Kelce, Waller, Andrews and Kittle are the guys who are going to give you a solid score every week and are a key piece of their offences. These will be most likely be the first 4 Tight Ends off the board and the value will probably be in drafting the 4th one so that you have the best RB and WR options possible, whilst still being able to trust your TE.
The next level contains tight ends where you’ll want to play them in plus matchups, and they will probably provide a good return more often then they will fail. The issue is consistency and knowing that any week there is a reasonable chance they won’t be much help. Tandems like Ertz and Goedert may find themselves here. Injury risks like Engram and Olsen may also feature here. Similarly, second season breakout candidates like Fant and Gesicki should be in this wide tier. (I’ll dive a bit more into this shortly).
The third tier includes those who are a gamble and the risk of them not performing is built into their ADP, and those who will be consistent but not in a very effective way. Rudolph and Smith in Minnesota are a duo that may stunt each other’s fantasy relevance, but Kirk Cousins doesn’t help either. Jimmy Graham may end up here depending on the TE and QB battles in Chicago. The rookie tight ends may also end up in this tier.
The final tier is for the players who will remain on the waiver wire unless their matchup is particular tempting (e.g. Playing Arizona last season). The likes of Eifert, I.Thomas and Burton come to mind. The Tennessee situation is difficult to determine as Walker is injury prone and Jonnu Smith doesn’t seem quite ready to be the #1 so the tandem with him and Firkser may make them. The off season could change some of these scenarios, but it will take a few weeks of the season before it becomes a bit clearer.
Examining Tier 2
The success of schemes where Tight Ends are RedZone threats, check down options or planned in as pass catcher have led to an increase in targets. The fact George Kittle, and Travis Kelce ended up as the highest scoring Non-QB fantasy players (from the season) in the Superbowl shows the importance of the position in the modern NFL. The days of it being a baron landscape have been overblown in my opinion. This all bodes well for the new generation with the likes of Waller, Andrews and Goedert coming through.
The increase in the “Tier 2” Tight ends and the chances that one will crack tier 1 make the fantasy draft much more interesting. I’ve listed 20 players who could be in Tier 2. These wont all be tier 2 as fantasy season rolls around but there’s arguments for each of them. I’ve split them into categories.
Established Options: Doyle, Cook, Engram, Olsen, Henry, Fells.
Two TE Sets: Olsen/Dissly, Ertz/Goedert, Higbee/Everett, Howard/Brate, McDonald/Ebron, Njoku/Hooper.
Be it because of injury, QB play or competition these guys won’t be able to crack the upper echelons but are usually going to be playable.
Cook had a decent year with Drew Brees last season while Greg Olsen has moved to the TE haven in Seattle. Both he and Evan Engram are injury risks and if they are missing more often then you can play them, you’re better looking elsewhere.
Jack Doyle is perhaps the least spectacular on the list but is the most consistent and may actually be a sleeper pick now with Eric Ebron out of the way and Philip Rivers slinging the ball for one year in Indy. The recently franchise tagged Hunter Henry will be reliant on what the Chargers do at QB, while Darren Fells will need to prove that his form last season can be made consistent, though did sign a new deal this offseason. Jordan Thomas behind him may also steal some targets so buyer beware.
Two TE Sets
A big threat to the relevance of the TE position in fantasy is the two tight end systems. When one goes down the remaining player isn’t guaranteed to take off (but sometimes they do). It’s often a case that when both options are playing, one will take off each week, but it never stays consistent who it is.
Take Higbee and Everett for the LA Rams. After both toiled early on in the season, Everett broke out, only to then go down injured and leave Higbee to pick up the slack. It’s a combo where one or the other can work but together they ruin each-others value. Everett started getting the targets over Higbee and that got the ball rolling. They ended up with similar stat-lines, but I’d be wary of drafting either of them in 2020 as you’re going to have to hope you pick the one that takes off first.
I’ve mentioned Olsen already but when you look at Seattle, they could play 4TE and only 2WR looking at their depth charts. Olsen, Dissly, Hollister and Dickson could all be playable if they are in that weeks set. Will Dissly (when he’s fit) has been superb but you’re just waiting for something to break. He’s probably worth a roster spot while he’s active unless Olsen hogs all the targets.
Howard and Brate are going to have Tom Brady this year which leaves them as total wildcards so it’s obvious that some people will take the gamble in drafts. McDonald and Ebron at the Steelers are probably going to flip-flop in terms of being relevant but across a season they should be usable. I nearly put Njoku and Hooper into tier 3 but Baker can’t be that bad again can he? If Njoku gets trades he gets a boost and Hooper likewise become more trustworthy. Again, both will be a gamble but if anything gives them an uptick in opportunities, their draft stock will rise with it.
The big one currently is in Philly as the Ertz/Goedert combination is proving to be great news for the Eagles but bad news for fantasy. Ertz is still tabbed as a top 4 TE and with good reason. He is still a beast, a great catcher and can dominate a game. The problem is, Goedert is very much going to same way but has a few less years wear on the tyres. Using both is allowing them to stay healthier and give Wentz options. With their lack of true WR options I think you’ll find both can be top 12 options this season but calling which games will be Ertz dominated and which Goedert dominated may be the difference between a win and a loss.
Most rookie Tight Ends don’t hit in their first year but start really coming on in their second. There’s going to be some differing levels of improvement thanks to their respective teams’ philosophies and personnel but if it’s late in your fantasy draft and you fancy a gamble, hopefully one of these will be kicking around.
Noah Fant is one of my major hopes for this season. Drew Lock has improved the QB situation in Denver and with Sutton breaking out, Fant found himself becoming relevant late in the season. He was well hyped last season after the draft, and this is probably the year he really gets going. Mike Gesicki falls into the same boat here. His main issue is being in Miami and not being certain what he’s working with. The advantage he has is that the offence is sort of being built around him as he’s one of the few decent, young offensive pieces they have.
TJ Hockensen may need a few things to go his way to truly break out. The Lions have never historically been a good place for Tight Ends but considering the capital they spent on him, they are going to have to find ways of getting him the ball. Matt Stafford isn’t a bad QB, he just needs to be 100% healthy mentally and physically (which he hasn’t been for a few years now). Dawson Knox is also a rookie who may need some team improvement to see relevance, however the Bills keep progressing and is Josh Allen can start finding Knox like he did towards the end of last season, then who knows what they may create.
Jordan Thomas is a long shot who could be a serious sleeper. If Darren Fells doesn’t come back and the Texans rest their hopes on Thomas, he will get the targets from Deshaun Watson and when you consider how good fells was for fantasy last season, that could be a decent position to have.
The final name to throw in here is Chris Herndon. He’s threatened to break out before but suspensions, injuries and QB changes have stopped that from happening. With a new season can come new hope, however he is last on my list at this level.
The Tight End landscape is now probably as wide spread as it has been for a long time. The calls for the position to be scrapped were a little pre-mature and now that younger guys are breaking through, and taking less time to become relevant, the turnover is only going to get better. The success of the Chiefs and 49ers this season with Kelce and Kittle as prime targets does bode well for teams trying to find their TE equivalent so it’s possible more teams may look this way.
The good news for fantasy is that it’s not as much of a headache as it used to be. The need to weight up when to take a relevant tight end was tough. You could guarantee a good one but which RB/WR would you miss out on? But if you waited too long and had to settle for what was left, was your RB/WR worth it? Now there’s enough late options to know it’s fine to delay. Where the likes of Waller and Andrews fall may be critical to how the fantasy draft season goes. It’s just nice to be able to say that fantasy Tight ends are becoming an interesting thing once more.
First on my list of dynasty sells is Derrick Henry. Henry drove the Titans to the 2019 playoffs with his powerful running and it appeared that defenders were scared to try and tackle him. In fact, during one run, Henry used Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas as his lead blocker when a devastating stiff arm spun Thomas around! Henry rushed for 1540 yards and 16 touchdowns in the 2019 regular season, eclipsing his best ever season by nearly 500 yards! He then backed this up with another 446 yards and two touchdowns during the 2019 playoffs. So why does he make the ‘sell’ list?
In my opinion, Henry has reached the ceiling and with that, his maximum value. I would certainly be putting the feelers out there to see exactly what you can get for him. Henry has been in the league for 4 seasons and whilst he has been improving year on year, he will not eclipse last seasons performances. Before 2019, Henry had a best season of 1059 yards and 12 touchdowns and in the previous 2 seasons hadn’t reached 1000 yards and only managed 5 touchdowns each year.
There is no doubting that Henry is one of the better running backs in the league at this moment in time but when playing dynasty, you need to capitalise on players at their maximum value. I think Henry’s first three seasons are a better representation of what you can expect if you hold onto him. Don’t expect him to clock up over 1500 yards each year. Get the value now as someone is always desperate for a running back and will no doubt overpay for someone like Henry!
(Image credit: Katharine Lotze – Getty Images)
James Conner RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
At the beginning of last season, James Conner started as the 8th running back taken in the draft (on average) and has now fallen to an average draft position (ADP) of running back 22! The main issue here is health. In 2019 Conner played just 10 games and rushed for a measly 464 yards with a longest run of just 25 yards. There was a lot of hype and expectation on Conner when he took over from Le’Veon Bell and he produced a good year in 2018, rushing for 973 yards and adding 497 receiving yards.
James Conner is still rumoured to be the starting running back for the Steelers franchise (according to Steelers GM Kevin Colbert) which means that he will still have value now. If you are of the belief that he won’t regain the form of 2018, then his value will only drop. If you aren’t sold on him I would consider using him as trade bait. If you want to keep him, he is a third running back at best right now.
(Image credit: Matthew Stockman – Getty Images)
Phillip Lindsay RB – Denver Broncos
Phillip Lindsay is one of the most frustrating players in fantasy football. You can watch the highlights and think he is lighting it up every week but if you delve into the stats he just wasn’t consistent enough. Lindsay will get 20+ points one week and 3 the next! He has value though. If you look at the seasonal stats he has amassed over 1000 yards in each of his first two seasons with 1037 and 1011 yards respectively.
In my opinion, he won’t make it to 1000 yards again in 2020 and his value will drop. Going into 2020, Lindsay will now be splitting time with Melvin Gordon and/or Royce Freeman which will limit his opportunities and he needs to make bigger improvements in the receiving game where he did not have 1 single touchdown in 2019. There just aren’t enough upsides to keep Lindsay right now. Whilst you may have lost the value with the Gordon move, still try and move him on to someone that is a bit more bullish about Lindsay.
(Image credit: Aaron Doster – USA Today Sports)
AJ Green WR – Cincinnati Bengals
AJ Green is a stellar wide receiver, there is no doubting his ability. However, he missed the entirety of the 2019 season due to injury and only played 10 games the year before. He is also 31 years old. Whichever way you look at it, the value that you can potentially get for Green is only going to go down. He may still be of value to a team that is looking for a short-term guy to help win a championship in 2020 or 2021. He certainly won’t be an option for a team that is currently in rebuild mode.
This is where you need to know your league and the teams that make it up. If you know that there is another team that may be one receiver short of having a real chance at winning the championship, you may be able to get some value for Green. AJ Green will likely be staying in Cincinnati and he will probably have rookie QB Joe Burrow throwing him the ball. If he can stay healthy, he is still one of the best receivers in the league. Its a risk to trade him but also a risk to trade for him!
(Image credit: Scott Varley – Staff Photographer)
Keenan Allen WR – LA Chargers
In 2017, Keenan Allen finally proved that he could stay healthy and since then he has amassed three seasons where he has averaged over 100 receptions and over 1200 yards. As good as these numbers appear, he hasn’t been able to score more than six touchdowns each year. He is also losing Philip Rivers at QB. No matter who is under centre for the Chargers next year, it won’t be a big upgrade on Rivers. The uncertainty that Allen now faces leaves a little bit of a problem for dynasty owners. He has been producing good numbers but we have no idea who will be throwing to him in 2020.
You can get good value for Allen and replace him with a young receiver from the draft as his name will still carry a lot of weight. If you can manage to get a mid first round pick for him, you can let the new owner deal with the wide range of possible outcomes for Allen in 2020.
So, the dust has settled from your league’s Fantasy Championship game.
You’re left with a bitter taste in your mouth after you took Alvin Kamara #1 overall and then wasted your second pick on Devonta Freeman.
But what if we could turn back time (without the bad hair, for all you Cher fans out there…) and redraft the 2019 Fantasy Season?
How It All Played Out
So your top five picks would’ve been something along the lines of:
Maybe swap Bell out for DeAndre Hopkins and the top four – as far as I was concerned – were interchangeable. If you got Pick 1/2/3/4 then you were taking one of those players, even if Zeke was holding out.
So how did those five + Nuk fare?
Christian McCaffrey blew everyone away as he was the only reliably functioning part of the Carolina offense for the entire season. A whopping 471.20 points left him miles ahead of the closest challenge from the list above…
Zeke Elliott: Scoring single digits just once this season he was a bright spot in a pretty woeful Dallas season as he racked up 311.70 points.
DeAndre Hopkins was impressive as always with 268.54 points despite sitting out the final game of the season against the Titans.
Alvin Kamara was nowhere near as explosive as we would have hoped for this year, hampered by injury all season he went 12 (TWELVE) weeks without a touchdown but snagging a brace of touchdowns in each of his last two games bumped him to a modest-by-his-standards 248.52 points.
Much like his NFC compatriot, Saquon Barkley struggled with injury this year and missed three and a half games. Also much like Kamara, some late season antics (94.90 points across the final three games) landed him 244.10 points overall.
Finally we come to the man who held out. The man who fled Pittsburgh. The man who landed a deal with the New York Jets to make him the second highest paid running back in the league.
I feel sorry if you took him in the first round. 215points returned for a man touted to be an RB1. Breaking 20 points three times and just once after September. What a rough year.
Let’s turn the clock back to those fateful late August/early September evenings. We’re armed with our Sports Almanac, what does this first round in a 10-team standard scoring league look like?
The 2019 Fantasy Football Re-Draft
With the first overall pick…Christian McCaffrey – Running Back – Carolina Panthers
For reasons above this is a complete no brainer. The man was the highest scoring player in the league by a country mile. Even in blowout defeats he still managed to rack up plenty of yards or nab a couple of scores. The guy was a monster in both the run and pass game (although those passes were essentially screens in the flat but a catch is a catch!).
Run CMC is going to be a first overall pick for a couple of years to come at least.
With the second overall pick…Lamar Jackson – Quarterback – Baltimore Ravens
Congratulations to those who had the wherewithal to draft Jackson early because frankly, I thought the Chargers had figured him out in the 2018 Playoffs by loading the box and sending as many people at him as possible.
What Baltimore did to allow Jackson to flourish was snag Mark Ingram from the Saints and draft Hollywood Brown. This opened the game up for Jackson’s wheels in a way we haven’t seen since Michael Vick.
A fine reference indeed as Jackson broke Vick’s single-season rushing record by a Quarterback and then some. He passed for over 3,000 yards and 36 touchdowns, rushed for over 1,200 and 7 scores. By the time we’d reached the end of the season he had amassed 415.68 points. Bravo, Lamar. Bravo.
With the third overall pick…Michael Thomas – Wide Receiver – New Orleans Saints
Not the Saints player we’d have expected to be drafted in the first round but with a dearth of wide-out options a combination of Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill found Thomas on alarming regularity. So much so that he broke Marvin Harrison’s single season reception record by racking up 149 catches for 1,725 yards but surprisingly only 9 touchdowns.
374.60 points in total, which eclipsed the total from any other wide-out by nearly 100 points.
Peculiar to be drafting just one running back from the first three picks but remember, we’ve got the Sports Almanac here so the usual rules don’t apply.
On we go and with the fourth overall pick Dak Prescott – Quarterback – Dallas Cowboys
Hang on, another quarterback? Get out of here.
I’m afraid so. Much like Thomas, we weren’t expecting to be picking this particular Dallas player fourth overall but Dak was the length of the field away from hitting 5,000 passing yards in addition to 30 TD passes and another three with his legs.
He struggled in some games (on the road in New Orleans and in Philly) but more than made up for it with blockbuster performances against the Giants, the Redskins and the Lions. Kudos to you, Dakota, 337.78 points overall.
With the fifth overall pick… Russell Wilson – Quarterback – Seattle Seahawks
You talk about players having to carry a team (Run CMC, Dak to name but two in this list so far) and then there is Russell Wilson.
DangeRuss’ options? An injured Tyler Lockett, David Moore (although he’s my namesake he’s not ‘the guy’), an exciting but raw DK Metcalf and having his Tight Ends and Running Backs ending the season banged up or on IR.
The guy still threw for over 4,000 yards and 31 scores as he managed to extend play after play after play after play ad nauseum. He did blow hot and cold on a game-to-game basis in 2019 and suffered down the stretch, failing to score over 20 points after a 39.22 performance against Tampa in Week 9 until scraping it in the final game of the season against the 49ers which took him to 328.60 points.
So of the first five picks, three are QBs who are resetting what we traditionally looked for in a man under centre.
Which leads us nicely to the sixth overall pick… DeShaun Watson – Quarterback – Houston Texans
DSW was quietly spectacular with the true blockbuster moment coming in Week 5 as his Texans team demolished the Falcons 53-32. Watson scored 41.74 points in that game alone but his season was dealt some serious damage in Week 11 on a trip to Baltimore as we saw the ugly side of Houston.
169 passing yards. 1 INT. 1 fumble lost. No scores. 3.96 fantasy points. Ouch.
Like a lot of his fellow starters, Watson sat out the final game of the season against the Titans which also damaged his total but still enough for a cool 320.98 points. Had he not suffered so greatly against Baltimore and/or started in Week 17 he’d be jumping ahead of Wilson and Prescott for sure.
I’m getting fed up of these Quarterbacks being drafted. Running Backs, where are you?
With the seventh overall pick…Aaron Jones – Running Back – Green Bay Packers
That’s better. Jones topped 1,000 yards and had just as many scores (19) as Run CMC.
When he was hot, he was scorching. He scored 53 points against the Vikings across two games, bagged a hat-trick against the Panthers in Week 10 and had over 200 total yards in a 41.60 game against the Chiefs.
His true diamond game though, was the four-score (and seven years ago) game against the Cowboys in Week 5 as he hit 49.20 points. The man would win fantasy matchups on his own.
He would also cost you. He had games with 4.90, 3.90 and 3.80 points but such streakiness was emblematic of the Packers season, despite their reaching the NFC Championship Game.
He was still good for 314.80 points and such a year has definitely moved him much higher up draft boards for 2020.
With the eighth overall pick… Ezekiel Elliott – Running Backs – Dallas Cowboys
The fact we have two Cowboys players on here lays bare how badly their offensive superstars were let down this year.
Zeke didn’t really have the blockbuster games of Run CMC or Aaron Jones but he didn’t have the troughs of Jones either. He scored single digits just once this year and was just so consistent for the Cowboys and anyone’s fantasy team.
He got at least one touchdown on ten games this year and the games he didn’t score in he had sufficient yardage to carry him into double figures. Just stunning reliability from a man who had been holding out all summer but thankfully didn’t go the way of Melvin Gordon or Lev Bell.
An impressive 311.70 points for Zeke and I expect this to increase next season as the Cowboys are going to be better coached under Mike McCarthy (see: the cowardice of the game against the Patriots).
With the ninth overall pick… Austin Ekeler – Running Back – Los Angeles Chargers
This is a surprising one seeing as Melvin Gordon’s return would have surely indicated a drop-off for Ekeler but whilst it is true his point-age did decline after a strong first month (39.40, 23.30, 15.10 and 29.20 points) that is just as attributable to the Chargers falling off a cliff and just being horrible for the majority of the year.
For a running back in that team to get a total of 309.00 points across a season is superb and he’s been rewarded with a new four-year deal. Good for you, Austin. Go get paid!
If the Chargers draft a QB to be their starter for 2020 then I’d expect Ekeler to maintain this sort of scoring. Keep him in mind for a late first round/early second next season.
With the tenth overall pick and the final pick of the first round… Jameis Winston – Quarterback – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I kid you not. #30For30’s Jameis Winston.
The man is the NFL equivalent of Arsenal’s David Luiz. He is absolute box office material and I love watching the guy play purely for entertainment value.
He threw for over 5,000 yards and 33 touchdowns but had 30 (THIRTY) INTs. Seeing him throw that 30th INT (a pick six to end a dismal Bucs season in a 28-22 overtime defeat to the Falcons).
The true epitome of Winston’s season was the London game against Carolina where he threw five INTs, one touchdown but still had 400 passing yards!
He ended with 305.36 points overall and was the tenth and final person who scored over 300 points across the season.
I am not expecting Jameis to be a starter next year but I really, really hope he is because at times his connectivity with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin was brilliant. He could be a sleeper later in your 2020 draft but purely for entertainment value he is the tenth overall pick of the Re-Drafted 2019 NFL Fantasy Draft.
The NFL players may feel caught in a landslide with no escape from reality, but if the current proposals in the CBA come to pass it has an effect on more than just those in the NFL. The players aren’t exactly in step with the NFL or the owners, however the prospect of a 17 game regular season with 2 bye week leaves a lot of questions for Fantasy Football.
If you’ve not been following the CBA talks then you’re probably best taking a listen to the podcast or looking it up on Twitter. However, the main talking point has been the prospect of a 17th game and an extra bye week to accommodate it. There’s a lot of water to flow under the bridge yet and I can see this one running and running, but if the NFL and the owners get their way, the fantasy world may be scrambling to figure out how to best use the extra time given to them.
For those who haven’t yet dipped into fantasy or who play in customised leagues, it’s probably worth me breaking down how the season runs under the current NFL system. (Note: All games mentioned are regular season NFL games).
Of course, many leagues will customise this depending on how many teams there are in the league. Some just do the Semi-Finals and add a week onto the regular season while others go for a full 8 team playoff schedule. There’s even an option (which I’ll explain more later) where you can have a 2 week playoff game (usually makes SF in weeks 13+14 and Final in weeks 15+16).
The Proposed Setup for the NFL
So, if the CBA in its current draft were to stand then we would have 19 regular season weeks (+1 game week + 1 bye week). Immediately discount week 19 as it’s the same scenario as the current week 17 (qualified teams will rest starters and eliminated teams will experiment or tank). It leaves 18 usable weeks.
Some may argue that teams may qualify earlier, and this rest their starters earlier, but the new play-off setup with only the #1 seed guaranteed a bye week means there should be more games with something on the line.
So how best to use these 18 weeks?
A Few Ideas
Based on 8/10/12/14 team leagues (which are the most common) there are some options you can think about. Some of these are more complex than others. My advice would be unless you’ve got your thinking head on, I’d stop after #3.
Status Quo – The setup that has been rocking all over the world for some time now could stay put. Just extend the regular season by those 2 weeks and have a Week 18 final, 17 for the semis, 16 for the wildcard round and 1-15 for the regular season.
Fortnight Fight – In the final 4 each matchup can be over 2 weeks (15-16 and the final in 17-18). It’s a system I like as it needs you to think over a longer period and gives you a chance at redemption if one of your studs has a dud week. Could also do this with the wildcard round but that makes a week 13 playoff start and with bye weeks still likely to be happening it’s a risky option.
Bring it all forwards – Pick the 3 weeks after the last bye week (predicting 14, 15, 16) and have the title decided while every team has something to play for. As I mentioned earlier, I actually don’t think it should be a worry if the playoffs also change but this would keep the timeframe exactly in step with the previous version.
Two Seasons – A bit more radical this. Have a Week 1-9 Season and then restart with a 10-18 season. The first 7 weeks as the regular season and then a SF in the 8th week and a final in the 9th. Mid-season draft so you can reset with what you know, and you get to do the fun bit twice. You’ll have to have some strong tie breakers as with 7 games it could be tough to get only a final 4 but something like Points difference would work. In an 8 team league this could really work. Any more and you hit schedule issues and not every team plays every team. Of course, bye weeks may this potentially chaotic but with only 8 teams, if you make the roster size large enough it shouldn’t be too bad.
League average (Nominated bye week) – Takes a bit of thinking to get your head around this one. Rather than playing head to head against one team, all the teams combine to make an average score. If you beat the average you get a win, otherwise it’s a loss. It means if you were in one of these matchups where you are the 2nd top scorer and play the top scorer you don’t get stung by it. With so many bye weeks to consider but no matchups you can choose a week (probably when your top pick is on bye) to nominate as a bye week where your score does not contribute to the average and you get neither a win or a loss. You could make 1 or 2 of these compulsory and they must be declared either pre-season or before the MNF game of the week before (depending on if you want it all setup in the pre-season or you want to manage things as they go on. Might be useful for injuries too…).
There are a few possible formats but there’s one major question with will need answering before formats can be sorted. When will the latest bye week be? If there’s going to be teams on bye in week 14 it really limits the number of options as the fantasy playoffs cannot coincide with a bye week.
An interesting sub-plot may also be how the bye week gaps are determined. With 2 bye weeks per team are they all going to be equally split (so week 4+9, 5+10, 6+11, 7+12 and 8+13) or will it be a random split. Assuming they won’t be daft and give a team two bye weeks within a 3 week span this should lead to mayhem on the waiver wire but nothing fantasy owners haven’t seen before.
I’ll be watching on with interest as talks progress. If this does go ahead then the platform owners are then commissioners are going to be scrambling to setup leagues and setting with the new formats. It shouldn’t affect draft strategy too much unless they make a mess of the bye weeks, but it could bring fatigue and injuries even further to the front of peoples minds. Best ball won’t be affected, nor will Rotisserie leagues but those aren’t as common.
Whatever it ends up being, I can’t wait for free agency and the chance to talk about fantasy relevance again. It’s been too long since December!
The penultimate week although in reality this is the final week for some starters as teams who’ve locked up their playoff seedings/their top ten draft pick will sit their main guys next week.
So let’s enjoy it while we can and maybe make you all some money along the way…
Quarterback – Russell Wilson – Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks – $7,000
Since the bye week, DangeRuss hasn’t performed as marvellously as he had in the weeks prior (see the wild game against Tampa and the superb duel in San Francisco).
However, I don’t see Wilson having a quiet game as he did in Arizona in Week 4. The Cardinals leak yardage and points by the bucket-load and with a first round bye on the line for the Seahawks I expect Wilson and his team to go off in a big, big way.
Running Back – Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles – $7,900
So Dak has a dodgy shoulder and it’s a divisional road game to basically decide who goes to the playoffs. The previous meeting in Week 7 ended up Zeke going for nearly 150 scrimmage yards and a score.
This is a high-price investment but one that is worth making due to the remaining value left further down the pecking order.
Running Back – Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos – $4,900
He’s just been activated off IR and will now be the focal point of the repugnant Lions Offense. He’s a cheap option that before his Week 7 injury was gaining north of 75 scrimmage yards on a regular basis and with his cheap price I think he’s a worthy pickup, the Broncos rank 20th against the run in terms of Fantasy.
Wide Receiver – Terry McLaurin – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – $6,200
It feels like if Dwayne Haskins has a good game it’s because of this guy. Their connection has been the one bright spot in a woeful Redskins season.
The one game that T-Mac has missed this season was against the Giants back in Week 4 but in every other divisional matchup he’s cleared double digits in Fantasy Points. The Chase Young Bowl could come down to which young receiver has the better game: Slayton or McLaurin. I back McLaurin.
Now that Andy Dalton has returned to the Bengals, Tyler Boyd has seemed back to his regular self with some good games against decent Ds in recent weeks (Steelers, Jets, Browns, Patriots). Okay, maybe not the Jets but still, it’s a promising sign against a Dolphins team that loves to give up yards, points and just about anything else an opposing team will throw at them.
He’s now the WR1 for an Eagles team ravaged by injuries to their wide-outs but its’ not all doom, he caught 7 of his 9 targets for 61 and a score last time out and at such a low price for a guy that is obviously going to be targeted he’s an excellent budget choice because Carson has no-one else to throw to on the perimeter!
Tight End – Jared Cook – New Orleans Saints @ Tennessee Titans – $5,000
We’re finally seeing the Jared Cook that New Orleans thought they were getting in free agency and whilst this could be a run-heavy game, I fancy Cook to continue to take advantage of the coverage afforded to Michael Thomas and bust out a big game.
The Titans rank 23rd against TEs and in goal-to-go situations I see Cook being that threat in the endzone as he was against San Francisco a fortnight ago.
Much like Kerryon Johnson, I don’t see much in the way of passing offense for Denver. Yes, Drew Lock seems superior to David Blough but with Darius Slay likely to be shadowing Courtland Sutton all day that opens up plenty of running opportunities for Lindsay to have himself a big day against the 29th ranked D against the run.
When David Blough does throw the ball, I expect this top-5 Broncos D to take full advantage. They’ve forced multiple turnovers in three of the five games since their Week 10 Bye and that was against Quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins, DeShaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes. This is…David…Blough.
This is a complete lock for at least one D/ST touchdown as far as I’m concerned.
Good luck with all your lineups, hopefully Santa can bring down a Draft Kings win down the chimney.