Fantasy: Free Agency Period – The Winners

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

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.


Kyler Murray


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 Larry Fitzgerald 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.

Photo Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

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


Amari Cooper


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.

Photo Credit: SI .com

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.


Austin Ekeler


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.

Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

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.

Re-Drafting The 2019 NFL Fantasy Draft

By Dave Moore (@davieremixed)

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:

  1. Saquon Barkley
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Alvin Kamara
  5. Le’Veon Bell

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. 215 points returned for a man touted to be an RB1. Breaking 20 points three times and just once after September. What a rough year.

BUT.

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

Where Do They Go From Here; LA Chargers

After our divisional season review podcasts, we are now looking to the future and asking where each franchise goes from here. We put ourselves in the chair of being GM or the owner and going over what moves we would make in order to win a Superbowl, make the playoffs or just regain some pride…

Today we take a look at the LA Chargers. Don’t forget to check out our AFC West podcast where we talked with a fan from every team in the division!

How Did Last Season Go?

If you offered the Chargers a divisional round game loss to the Patriots, they’d probably accept that this is kind of where they should be. That said, I (Tim) was particularly high on them going in to the season that I had some of my hard earned on them. The Chargers were one of the more balanced and complete teams in the AFC if not the NFL last season and just succumbed to a typical Patriots January performance in a game that just got away from them early.

Hunter Henry going down before the season started was never going to be ideal and continued their flirting with Antonio Gates. Hopefully, that will not be repeated in 2019 (sorry Antonio, we love you, but you’re like 50 years old and slower than Jason Witten was taking to commentary).

The Chargers’s loss to KC in week 1 turned out to be pivotal in the end, but actually uncharacteristically started quite hot going 7-2 in the first 9 weeks with their only losses coming in Los Angeles (@Rams).

The Chargers ended up 12-4, tied with KC but lost the tiebreaker which may or may not have been crucial. We’ll never know.

They ended having both a top 12 offence and defence in terms of yardage and points allowed which confirms their status as one of the more well rounded teams.

In terms of personnel, on offence Mike Williams finally repaid the Chargers with being healthy and producing on the field after being a 1st round pick. Williams was able to chip in with 11 touchdowns (1 rushing) on 43 targets, a ratio that is probably unsustainable to repeat in 2019. Keenan Allen pretty much had a replica season from 2017; over 1000 yards on around 100 receptions and 6 TDs. More importantly, his previous injury issues seem to be well and truly behind him. Finally Tyrell Williams had a nice complimentary role in the offence, but seemingly not enough to warrant a bigger contract and will not be returning.

In the backfield, Melvin Gordon was the teams top TD scorer (no surprises there) but did miss 4 games due to injury. Austin Ekeler had himself a nice season, stepping in when required but also forcing his way to earn more snaps in this offence.

Overall, I think the Chargers 2018 can be seen as a success but 2019 will be the year where they will be expected to make an even deeper push in January and play a February game.

Quick word on the defence – Derwin James had a fantastic rookie season and was in the conversation for DRO. 3.5 sacks, 75 solo tackles and 3 interceptions confirming his status as one of the steals of the 2018 1st round. Joey Bosa came back for the 2nd half of the season and picked up where he left off. One of the top defences in the league and have age on their side so look for this to continue in 2019.

Housekeeping

LA Chargers own the 28th pick in the first round along with pick 60 (2nd round), 91 (3rd), 130 (4th), 166 (5th), 200 (6th) and 242 (7th)

Chargers have about $10m in cap space at this moment.

Outgoings

Tyrell Williams was expendable for the money that was available on the open market. Right place right time for him. Jason Verrett’s injury history came back to bite him and was let go. Defensive Tackles Philon and Liuget along with safety Addae were the other names looking for a new home.

Incomings

Not many glaring needs for the Chargers but Tyrod Taylor is the new backup to Rivers and Thomas Davis was a surprising addition to the defence though he will bring masses of linebacker experience.

Outlook for Next Year

Going to be looking at going 1 or 2 better than 2018 with this squad and anything less could perhaps see Anthony Lynn under fire.

It will be a case of hoping one or 2 things fall their way luck wise to be able to get there. Both sides of the ball are young enough but experienced and talented enough to say that this team should be contending for the next few years and anything less is a failure.

Prediction

I think the Chargers have to be considered as one of the top 3 teams in the AFC and I fancy them to make the AFC Championship game this year. Whether they win or not is not for me to say as I have a soft spot for them so will be slightly biased. They have the talent, they have the pieces on both sides of the ball, it’s just about going out there and doing it.

I had my money on them last year, they will again in 2019.

Fantasy Football

Rivers – perennially underdrafted – double digit rounds – QB 1

Melvin Gordon – mid 1st round pick – RB1

Austin Ekeler – double digits rounds -RB3/4 – PPR sleeper

Keenan Allen – late 2nd/3rd round pick – low WR1/high WR2

Mike Williams – 6th round area – WR2 ceiling

Hunter Henry – 5th/6th Round – TE1

 

Balling with the Best

Haven’t done an article for a little while so whilst I wait to depart for my second Britball game later today which pits the Clyde Valley Blackhawks hosting the West Coast Trojans, I have been thinking about doing something of this ilk, looking at Bestball (also known as MFL10s) and looking at who to target in the later rounds.

We’ll do a couple in each skill position and I would love to hear your alternatives.

Get in touch @full10yards on social media (and follow/like/subscribe to the podcast).

For those that are unaware of this more modern approach to fantasy football, it is a format with pretty much 1 rule – just draft.

All you need to do is draft your players, and the site that hosts your bestball league will pick your optimum lineup each week. Simple.

No more stressing about whether to play Jamison Crowder or Isiah Crowell in your flex spots each week (though if they are your choices…yikes) nor which QB or Tight End to stream. You simply draft a squad of players, ensuring you have depth at each position.

This is mainly catering for bye weeks; Bestball the only format where you should be looking at bye weeks as you get further in to the draft because there is no waiver wire or trading available in this format. Picks are usually made via a slow email drafting format mechanism (default is usually 8 hours per pick but is customisable depending on your game host) so you also don’t need to worry about getting all of your league managers together for a few hours to do a live draft.

Myself personally, I enjoy the roster management aspect of fantasy football. I enjoy having to make the decisions that can win or lose me weeks. Whilst I enjoy drafting and can see the appeal to those that just want to watch the football rather than their apps to see the scores in their fantasy league, it’s just not for me.

That said, there are certain players that suit Bestball and here are a few players that I think suit Bestball the most in each position.

Just before we start, here are a few tactics you should ensure you deploy in Bestball leagues.

  • Draft 3 Quarterbacks – if you draft 2 QBs, and 1 gets injured (like Ryan Tannehill did last season in my bestball league), you are going to lose points when your other QB is on a bye, leaving you at a severe disadvantage.
  • Draft a top tier TE at least. I say this because the flex position can also be filled by a Tight End, so even selecting 2 top TEs can give you the edge over the rest of the field. Someone like a Travis Kelce/Zach Ertz paired with a Delanie Walker/Kyle Rudolph would probably be ideal. You probably want to employ a similar tactic as with QBs, draft 3. There are some late round TEs that can score you points this year including ASJ, Ben Watson (massive sleeper alert) and Cameron Brate.
  • Remember it’s full PPR format. This changes a lot in both Bestball and normal leagues. Your players get 1 point for every reception they have, making possession receivers and passing down backs more relevant in fantasy football.
  • Ensure you have a mix of high floor and high ceiling players. Doing my fest Bestball last year, in hindsight, I probably should have gone for higher ceiling players. My usual modus operandi is to generally draft safe floor players to ensure i dont end up bottom. Whilst this serves a purpose in roster management leagues where you can sneak wins some weekas, in Bestball, you can get found out because usually, 3 or 4 players will always score higher than you thus, not actually giving you much chance of winning. Therefore in the early rounds, get your studs in each position that have huge ceilings. Compliment that with the higher floor guys in the later rounds and you’ll have a recipe for success. Ensure there is a balance there as picking to many volatile players in terms of conistency can see you sky high in 1 week, but then propping up the table the next.

Ok, I think we’ve covered the basics, now on to those that are decent plays in the later rounds

Quarterbacks

Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys

Now I know a lot of you are scared of Dak Prescott. The WR corps, the interceptions in the back half of last season, I get it. But let’s look at last season from a fantasy perspective.

Dak was a top 12 QB for 8 out of 16 games last year, including his first 6 games in a row. In fact, his 4 top 5 finishes in fantasy were bettered only by Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz.

To further this, if you take out the weeks where Zeke wasn’t available to the team, Dak finished as a Top 12 QB in 7 out of 10 games. Not bad for someone who isn’t even being drafted in most leagues. Zeke is back and Dallas have made an effort to get their Offensive line sorted in terms of depth, adding Connor Williams and Cameron Fleming in the draft and Free Agency respectively. Add to that, Zack Martin signing a huge extension to ensure that the are all there for the foreseeable, things are looking up in terms of opportunity for decent scores in fantasy football. He is great with his feet, giving you the extra 2 pts for his rushing touchdowns which has totalled 6 in each of his first 2 seasons in the league as well as his average of over 300 rushing yards.

Again, the beauty of Bestball is that you dont need to predict when Dak has a good game so selecting him as your 3rd Quarterback in the late late rounds of your draft is a shrewd move for this year, as there are lots of players willing to swerve. I’ll have him ALL day.

Philip Rivers – Los Angeles Chargers

Whilst the 35 year old offers nothing with his mobility or feet, Rivers too is someone perenially overlooked in fantasy. Rivers was a top 12 quarterback for 11 out of 16 weeks last season, althought only making the top 5 twice. Rivers is a great compliment to any of the other QBs you select in the draft because if they have a bum week, Rivers is more than likely going to save you from a disastrous week. Sure, he has the odd game here and there that involves multiple turnovers, but again, you aren’t trying to find the matchups that suit in Bestball. Hunter Henry injury does leave a bitter taste in the mouth a little bit, but Rivers is accustomed to working with limited options.

Mike Williams should be able to show why he was a first round pick last year, returning from his multiple injuries and the rest of the Wide Receivers have been there multiple years now, not forgetting Melvin Gordon’s abilities out of the backfield and Austin Ekeler too.

Rivers is someone in the high floor category rather than high ceiling, which is what the stats are suggesting from last year, but Rivers has always performed well in fantasy football and he should be on your teams this year considering the low draft capital.

Running Backs

Kerryon Johnson – Detroit Lions

Alvin Kamara was the steal last year and whilst there are a multitude of nominees for this year’s Alvin Kamara type of find, at this point in the season, it is just nothing but a dart throw for all of the rookies. The reason I go Kerryon Johnson in this spot is purely potential. Kerryon can be a 3 down back and whilst most people groan about the selection, there is no-one last year that I have seen that was beating the drum about Alvin Kamara so you have to be speculative. No-one wanted anything to do with Kamara for the first 6 weeks of last season with Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram mudding the backfield and I see a lot of similarities here.

Kerryon has to not only beat out perennial underachiever Ameer Abdullah (which wont be too hard as I see Abdullah being cut and finding a home elsewhere), but also Free Agent signing LeGarrette Blount. The 2 time Super bowl winner from the last 2 years joins the Lions ranks and with Matt Patricia coming over from New England to be the head coach, these two will know each other well. Add to that 3rd down/passing back specialist and PPR machine from the last 5 years Theo Riddick, I totally understand if you don’t want anything to do with Johnson.

But hear me out,

Reports from OTAs and murmurs from beat reporters in Detroit is that they LOVE Johnson.

His final year in college saw him rack up 285 carries for over 1300 yards and 18(!) touchdowns at Auburn. He is a big, powerful runner and is elusive for his speed and isn’t afraid to put his head down and bulldoze through tackles. Something Ameer Abdullah simply wouldn’t do (also supports the signing of Blount, who is a similar type of runner so he is someone to learn from).

Let’s not forget that Detroit traded up in the 2nd Round to go get him too! This was when Matt Patricia was already at the Lions so it’s not as if you can say that Patricia isn’t tied to this guy. I think you’ll see a handing of the torch at some point in the season, with Blount taking the early weeks of work whilst Kerryon gets accustomed to the league, but as a potentially double digit draft pick, give me this guy. I think the stars will align for Kerryon fairly early on and it wouldn’t even surprise me to see him be the lead back by Week 1.

Tevin Coleman – Atlanta Falcons

Now Tevin Coleman is not exactly a double digit round pick but his value is great in most leagues, especially this year.

Coleman is in the final year of his contract, and is likely to find a new home next season, possibly being the 2019 Jerick McKinnon, so the motivation is there for Coleman.

He was also very efficient through the air last year, having the 3rd highest average amongst running backs behind Todd Gurley and Chris Thompson. Coleman on the whole is a very efficient player for fantasy. He always makes the most of his opportunities and always finishes his runs hard. He scores plenty of touchdowns too for someone taken in the 6th, 7th or 8th rounds (currently the 30th RB off the boards according to fantasyfootballcalculator). Coleman finished as an RB2 or better 10 out of 16 games last season and for someone you can potentially draft as your flex spot or RB3 bye week plugger, Coleman is a guy you should be keeping an eye on in drafts.

The offence regressed back to the mean last year after the dizzy heights of 2016 and I do think they can improve on 2017 certainly, if maybe not quite repeating their heroics of Super bowl year.

Honourable mentions: Matt Breida, Austin Ekeler, Rod Smith

Wide Receivers

Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers

Mike Williams missed the majority of last season so a lot of this has to be taken on trust.

The 2017 first round pick enters his second season after suffering a herniated disc in his spine in last year’s offseason, and was unable to muster a finish better than WR45 in half point PPR last season (go figure).

Williams is another that is being undrafted or is a last round dart flyer in most leagues.

The case for Williams however, is that he has the ability and skillset to thrive in this offence, even with Keenan Allen starting 16 games (we’ll come on to that shortly). Philip Rivers has been able to support multiple high end WRs in fantasy football over the years and I don’t see how Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin are more than bit part players. THe lack of Tight end opens up a whole host of opportunities in this offence and I see Williams as the main beneficiary. The 6 foot 2+ WR from Clemson is a big play guy which is illustrated by his College stats, aveergaing over 15 yards per reception over the 4 years there. Whilst he had his injury troubles in Clemson, when he was on the field for any length of time, he was able to produce. I don’t worry about his ability to transfew his pass catching skills to the NFL, it’s just the injury worries that could leave you disappointed this year.

The same can be said for Keenan Allen however, who was finally healthy for all 16 games last season, but if Allen is unable to repeat that, Mike Williams could become a league winner in fantasy.

His motivation is the chip on his shoulder to prove everyone that he was worth of the first round pick in 2016 (and has as such, been vocal about it) and I am excited to see how it plays out for the former 7th pick overall in his 2nd year in what should be a higher than average offence.

Mo Sanu – Atlanta Falcons

Mohamed Sanu was an unsung hero last year for the Falcons, posting 5TDs and over 700 yards from 67 receptions playing second fiddle to Julio Jones.

Similar to Coleman, I have picked Sanu on the potential that the Falcons offence can reclaim their 2016 form (almost) and that the arrival of Calvin Ridley helps spread this offence out even more.

Sanu was able to compile 8 top 30 finishes last season and that is a decent return for someon that is pretty much undrafted.

The division is an offence heavy one so there are plenty of opportunities for Sanu to post big numbers more frequently than most that you find at this point in drafts and as a last round dart throw, you can do a lot worse than Sanu.

Honourable mentions : Randall Cobb, Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor

There is an early look at some people I like in Bestball this year. I deliberately haven’t gone Tight end or defences, as I will cover that later on in the summer.

Again, if you have anyone that you feel I should have included, get in touch!!