Fantasy: 5 Sleepers to watch where they land in the NFL draft

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

Every season we see late round sleepers from the NFL draft proper that fall into good landing spots which in turn can lead to fantasy production. Players like Aaron Jones or Antonio Brown who were 5th and 6th round picks respectively.

Take a look at these players and make sure you keep an eye on where they land this weekend. They could be a good landing spot away from becoming a great fantasy sleeper for this season and beyond.


Antonio Gandy-Golden, Wide Receiver – Liberty


Projected Round Drafted: late 3rd/4th

Gandy-Golden was a consistent producer for Liberty over the last couple of seasons. He had 71 catches for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior in 2018 before notching 79 catches for 1,396 yards and 10 TD’s last season. He quietly impressed in Indy during the NFL Combine too where he ran a 4.6 40-yard dash and also got 22 reps on the bench press, second best among the receivers at the workout.

Photo Credit: Jerry Ratcliffe

At 6-4, 223lbs – Gandy-Golden brings good size for a receiver on the outside and is effective with contested catches thanks to possessing superior hands. He has a great YAC ability too, so if he lands in a spot where there’s room for an outside receiver and a competent quarterback, Gandy-Golden could wind up to be a valuable fantasy asset.

Perfect Landing Spot: Indianapolis

Next best: Houston, Philadelphia


J.J Taylor, Running Back – Arizona


Projected Draft Round: 7th/Undrafted

Before converting to running back, Taylor was a defensive tackle at high school which should give you some indication that there is a lot of power behind that small frame. At 5’5, Taylor comes in “undersized” and will be overlooked because of this, but sometimes being small has it’s advantages. He has a lower centre of gravity which, when hit, gives the impression he just bounces off tacklers.

Despite a slight fumbling issue in 2019 (8 fumbles, 6 lost) Taylor finished 7th in the FBS with 1,434 yards on the ground with a 5.6 ypc average and scoring six times to earn third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-conference accolades. He can also be effective in the passing game finishing 2019 with 16 passes for 133 yards (8.3 per reception) and also as kick returner, combining for 540 yards off 22 kickoffs with 1 return TD.

Photo Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

J.J Taylor will likely end up as a last round dart throw for a team or could even wind up an undrafted free agent after the weekend is over; but he will get picked up by someone and will have a training camp. Teams will likely see that he’s different style of running back, yet a productive one. If given a chance and in a team that needs a unique running back to add a different dimension to their offense, Taylor could wind up edging his way to a fantasy relevant role as the season plays out. Definitely one for the taxi squad in dynasty leagues.

Perfect Landing Spot: Kansas City

Next best: Miami, Los Angeles (both teams)


Darnell Mooney, Wide Receiver – Tulane


Projected Draft Round: 6th

Mooney is a very rough mid-late round diamond. He needs to refine his route running as his current style would struggle in the NFL and work on cutting out the drops, but most of the negatives for Mooney are aspects that can be coached at the next level. The vision and pace that he has however, can not be coached and therefore he already has a leg up on any competition that he may have. He ran a respectable 4.38 at the Combine and has the ability to turn any short throw into a long gain.

Mooney earned second-team All-AAC honours in 2018 after ranking sixth in the FBS with 20.7 yards per catch and finished that season with 993 yards and 8 TDs.

His explosiveness would best be suited to a slot role and ideally paired up with a quarterback who has a nice deep ball as his ball tracking is at an elite level already. If Mooney lands in the right spot and develops good chemistry with his QB, he could quickly become an explosive fantasy asset.

Perfect Landing Spot: San Francisco

Next best: New Orleans, Minnesota

Get 10% off at NFL Europe Shop with code FULL10


Albert Okwuegbunam, Tight End – Missouri


Projected Draft Round: 3rd

It’s no secret that tight ends usually need a year to bed into the NFL before becoming fantasy relevant. But most tight ends aren’t like Albert O. From time to time we’ll see a couple of rookie tight ends that break the mould and do put up respectable fantasy numbers, i.e Hunter Henry or Noah Fant last year. Okwuegbunam is this years’ Henry/Fant.

Albert O is the ultimate redzone weapon. Over his 3 seasons in college football he’s totalled 23 touchdowns. In his first 2 collegiate seasons he had 881 receiving yards and averaged 12.2 yards per reception over that spell. Last year those numbers dwindled slightly, which many believe that was down to him losing his quarterback to the NFL last off-season, Drew Lock. This downturn in performance has hindered his draft stock but the beast within still remains present as he showed at the Combine when he produced a 4.49 40 yard dash. Electric for a 6-5, 258lbs specimen.

Photo Credit: Daniel Shular/Missourian

Providing he lands in an offence that needs a bigger redzone presence and with a quarterback that has used tight ends previously, Albert Okwuegbunam could be draftable in fantasy football from day 1.

Perfect Landing Spot: Atlanta

Next best: Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Green Bay


Isaiah Coulter, Wide Receiver – Rhode Island


Projected Draft Round: 5th

Coulter is a raw, but super talented receiver out of a small school. These are the type of players you really have to watch closely over draft weekend. He possesses the tools to become a real success in the NFL after some pro-level coaching. He has great length, speed and agility with good hands and athletic ability. He needs to find some more aggression at the next level and the route tree needs polishing. But providing he lands in a decent spot, Coulter could be the best of this bunch when it comes to fantasy production.

He didn’t blow anyone away at the Combine in March, but a healthy 1,039 receiving yards and 8 TD’s last season with a good highlight reel should be enough to get a few teams excited. Coulter was the shining light for a College that’s only managed 9 wins in 3 years.

Perfect Landing Spot: Las Vegas

Next best: Green Bay, Minnesota

Podcast 31 – AFC West Breakdown

In this episode myself and Lee Wakefield break down the AFC West.

We disagree on a few teams and end up making a match bet. Best of all, we want YOU to decide what the forfeit is!

We also play a game of this or that with players from the AFC West that are going around the same ADP and we build 4 man fantasy teams using 1 player from each team but with restrictions.

We also bring you up to speed on the latest news including a new team for Adrian Peterson and a few crack in the Dallas O Line wall and also fill you in on some FREE COMPETITIONS you can get involved with to win some Full10Yards stuff!

Afterwards (offline), we both had a dynasty league draft and have our teams which will be posted on our social media. Please vote for your favourite of the two!

2018 Fantasy Football Industry Mockstravaganza – 3.01

After our last pick of Mike Evans, we are up again with the same players to choose from.

Before we make our pick, remember that when picking on the turn, Average Draft Position (ADP) value kind of goes out the window.

We wont have another pick now for 22 picks after this, so the landscape of the player pool will change dramatically. The one thing in our favour though at this point is that we could start seeing some Quarterbacks  or Tight Ends come off the board. Hopefully this means for us that we are able to nab a WR/RB at the 4.12 that is at the end of a tier break. By tier break we mean where there is a drop off in level at a position.

The good thing about picking on the turn is that you can address multiple positions in one go or bolster a whole skills position in the 2 picks so it has it’s advantages.

Take this turn for example, we took Todd Gurley first up and now have the opportunity to take 2 WR or bolster our RB duo and take a decent WR. Taking Mike Evans gives us a solid RB1 and shall we say a tier 2 WR with tier 1 upside.

With this being the case I think it’s best to go WR again to ensure we have a decent duo to start each week.

With the 1st pick of the 3rd round, The Full10Yards podcast select….Stefon Diggs

diggs

This may be considered a reach considering injuries history for Diggs and that over his career in the NFL is very much a boom or bust guy.

However, I am all in on Diggs this year.

One of the cleanest route runners in the game today, great speed and elusivity along with great catching ability, we expect Diggs to take off this year and be the No.1 in Minnesota. Adam Thielen’s breakout year last year was mainly because Diggs wasnt there and let’s not forget it took Thielen a while to get in amongst the Touchdowns. Despite injury niggles, Diggs still scored 8TDs from 64 receptions totalling 849 yards. I put the case forward that the Keenum to Thielen combination was an anomaly and it’s no guarantee that Cousins has the same rapport with Thielen. Yes Thielen is as good as the best at getting open (kind of reminds me of Doug Baldwin) and will likely see his fair share of targets too, I’m just not willing to reinvest that last season is replicated for Thielen.

You could call Diggs a Tyreek Hill lite but with Cousins there now at Quarterback, I think the signs all point to Diggs having a 1000 yard season (which would be his first), potential for 10+ TDs in what could be a high scoring offence (debate as to whether it needs to be is for another time).

It can be debated whether both WR can be supported as WR1/2 this year with the defence being as good as it is and Dalvin Cook coming back. The offensive line is not the greatest so Diggs, who thrives on post routes (88% success rate in 2017 according to Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception) will be relying on Cousins being upright for long enough to make those deeper throws.

You’ll see both Thielen and Diggs go in the same rounds in drafts this year as Thielen’s ADP has risen from last year (was around a 6th/7th/8th round pick last year) and if you want a piece of this offence, you’ll have to pick the splinters off and get up off of that fence you’ve been sitting on because the likelihood is that you’ll only be able to get one piece of this offence.

We are taking a stand and going Diggs with our 3rd round pick, giving us a roster so far of Todd Gurley at RB, Mike Evans and Stefon Diggs at WR.

Very happy. Over to Van Buren’s Boys at 3.02…

Podcast 22 – IDP Leagues

Sam Lane a.k.a @FFStompy joins us to introduce IDP leagues.

What they are, why you should try it out and some players to target that aren’t the big named guys. He also gives insight in to how to draft when in IDP leagues and which positions deserve respect and which positions are shallower than others on the defensive side and a few helpful hints. What more could you ask for?

We also talk about his Denver Broncos and who he thinks will contest the Super Bowl, and how he became “stompy”. His work can be found on The Fantasy Football Franchise (@F3pod) and IDP guys (@IDGuys) .

In a Different League

As I have just come to the end of my first dynasty mock draft with pretty much a bunch of people I don’t anything about, I found the draft much more difficult to complete and be happy with my team. There were various reasons for this so I thought I would do a quick post on do’s and dont’s for anyone either new to fantasy football or maybe trying a different format of league. Some handy hints when doing drafts, prepping and general in season guidelines to follow to help you get the most out of your fantasy football.

Rule 1 – No Regrets

I can absolutely guarantee that at some point every season in every league you play in, you’ll have a decision to make (get paid the big bucks, me).

You’ll ponder over a trade decision, you’ll wonder how much FAB to spend on a player on waivers and you’ll definitely weigh up who to play in your flex spots each week.

Sometimes it will keep you (me) up at night trying to figure out what is the best decision to make and more often that not, they become rash decisions and consequently wrong ones.

When mulling over these types of decisions in your leagues, trust your gut instinct. If you don’t, luckily the Internet was invented so that you can go and find some information to try and make a more informed decision.

Whatever decision you make in the end, be happy with it. Have no regrets that the decision you made was the best one you could have made with the information you had available to you. You can have regrets about not having enough information or not researching enough but never have any regrets about making the decision. It’s the best way to learn from the wrong decisions. It stops you hating players further on down the line, it stops you from making subsequent wrong decisions about that player that may have let you down previously (we’ve all been there, right?).

Another good example is your league’s yearly draft:

You are in the middle of Round 4 and you are thinking of reaching for a player (I don’t know, lets say Golden Tate) but you are afraid of the reaction of your league mates or you aren’t sure if it’s the right decision. If your gut says to you you want that player, then select him, but don’t be mad at the decision if it doesn’t turn out to be as fruitful as you’d have hoped. Be mad that you didn’t do enough mock drafts and see that the player you want regularly went a round or 2 later. Be mad that you didn’t go to a website that charts Average Draft Position (ADP) and look at data detailing the player’s trends leading up to the draft. Don’t be mad at the decision when you selected him, because that’s what you wanted to do and felt it was right.

Again, if it turned out to be a bad decision, make sure understand why it was a bad decision and put steps in place to make sure it doesn’t happen in subsequent drafts.

Other examples include trading with league mates:

If you trade CJ Anderson for Odell Beckham Jr, dont be made at the decision to click the accept button (or offer button for that matter), be mad that you didn’t think to explore scenarios that could’ve played out and seen that this was a knee jerk reaction and a rash decision. Don’t be mad at CJ Anderson and Odell Beckham from a fantasy perspective either, it’s not their fault.

At the end of the season, if you can say hand on heart you had no regrets, then you’ll find that even if your season didn’t end with a playoff run, you’ll have a lot more fun with it and be at ease that you sucked.

Rule 2 – Prep, Prep Prep

If you want to trust other peoples opinions and put polls on Twitter to help you with your starting lineup, go right ahead. You’ll regret it (usually), and that breaks the first rule of Fantasy Football (see above). If you cant be bothered to put the time in to look at players match-ups, stats, news throughout the week on injuries and previous game footage to help you make an informed decision about next week’s lineup, you’re destined to fail at some point, usually the playoffs. (unless your opponent has done less of it than you or he forgets to set his team).

For the more casual fan, this is fine. It’s a bit of fun, no money is exchanging hands and bragging rights are not of utmost importance (to which you then go and set your Premier League fantasy team captain…smh). But to most, they are in leagues now where there is a small (to large) monetary buy in to ensure people continue throughout the season and don’t lose interest. If you are in one of these leagues and don’t apply yourself to the rule above, you are a fool.

Now I’m not saying quit your day job and be a full time NFL nerd. But have an app that gives you the latest news, maybe put an hour aside at the weekend to take a look at match-ups, player performances and stats to help you analyse best what team to put out on a Sunday. Trust me, you’ll find rule 1 a lot easier to adhere to.

Rule 3 – Know your league, Know your opponents

This one has multiple aspects to it.

Knowing your league is simply knowing all the different scoring nuances in it.

Do you know what the points system is for your defence and special teams? Do you know how many points your QB gets for a passing touchdown? Do any of your players get extra points for a 100 yard game?

If you don’t know the answer to these questions, your draft can go horribly wrong and you may well be scuppering chances at winning championships before the season has started.  This mainly applies to leagues that are either standard scoring or PPR to be honest, which most of you will know but I bet there are a staggering amount of GMs out there that don’t even know which type of league they are in. The same comments apply for your team. Know how many players at each position are starters and what your flex positions are comprised of. Some leagues go 1 RB, some leagues go 2 QBs, most league will have a flex position, but can vary on what type. If you are in a 3 WR league, the value of WR are going to rise and are going to be taken a lot earlier in drafts. Don’t get caught out by this and leave yourself with a depth of TY Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Nelson Agholor and John Ross when you have to play 3 of them each week. It’s not going to end well.

An extension of that is to try and know how your opponents operate and play the game:

What players/teams do your opponents like to have on their teams? Does one person much prefer having running back depth or do they stream QBs?

Knowing these little nuggets can help you get the most out of trade deals and can also help you to “one up” them in your drafts, provided you stick to your principles of course. Don’t go and select someone purely because the person after you in the draft probably wants them. Only select them if they will make a useful addition to your team, or a good trade piece if you are getting great value from the pick.

(Just as an extra note, know that if you are in a dynasty league, GMs usually place a lot more value on youth than in normal redraft/keeper leagues so take advantage by drafting a mixture of the top end talents for the older players as well as youth. You’re welcome)

Rule 4 – Don’t try too hard accounting for bye weeks

Lots of players always worry about bye weeks in squad composition (I use to be one of them) and whilst this definitely applies to BestBall leagues, all other leagues, don’t worry about it so much.

Even after weeks 2 or 3, your team could look a lot different. Either through trading or the waivers, what may have been a sticky situation for week 4 or week 8 may no longer be the case after a few games have been played. Injuries, depth chart clarity (or even lack of clarity) can mould the look of your team from the outset so when drafting, don’t worry too much if your team is quite lopsided. You should never shy away from drafting the best player for your team because of a bye week.

 

These 4 rules should help you become more competitive in leagues but more importantly, enjoy the game more. At the end of the day, it’s all about socialising with friends and having a good back and forth whilst the games are playing. If you aren’t, you’re breaking one of the above rules.

Start the article again.

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!!

Rookie Fantasies

There’s nothing more hyped up than rookie’s projections at this point in the offseason with everyone in the industry having a go at projecting fantasy outlooks for rookies that have just found a new home.

So many assumptions and so many things to consider, starting at the very beginning with depth charts.

Will Derrius Guice be the early down hammer in Washington? Is Sony Michel the first 3 down back for New England? Who takes the backfield in Indianapolis (apart from opposing defensive lineman)? These are among the many questions that surface after each and every draft and today I will take a look at some backfields that have been impacted, as well as some receiving cores that became a little more crowded. The winners/the losers and where you can expect to get these guys come the start of the season in your fantasy drafts.

Nick Chubb and the Cleveland Browns backfield:

Perhaps a slightly surprising place to start, but perhaps the one which is necessary, if it’s only to make you all aware of the danger in this backfield.

As you are fully aware (and if not, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!?!), Carlos Hyde was a free agency signing for the Cleveland Browns, replacing the deceitful Isiah Crowell. Pre draft, you expected Carlos Hyde to slip straight in and (hopefully) perform a bit better than what Crowell ever did. Come draft time, Carlos Hyde dynasty owners were rejoicing that they bypassed Saquon Barkley at 1, thinking that Hyde was locked and loaded as their RB1. Unfortunately for Hyde and his owners, they selected Nick Chubb with on of their 2nd round picks. This gives us a massive cloud to try and see through with this backfield and whilst Chubb is coming off a horrific leg injury (to the point where his leg was potentially going to be amputated), but if Chubb plays to the levels seen in college, it could be a case of Hyde and seek for Carlos as the Browns running back 1 on the depth chart. These 2 will be battling it out in camp and training to catch Hue Jackson’s eye (*Shudders*) to try and win the bulk of the carries and you should definitely see a volatile fluctuation in both of their ADPs (according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, Hyde currently 4th round, Chubb 10th round). I fully expect these 2 guys to have similar ADPs come draft season and it is not beyond the realms of possibility, that Chubb overtakes Hyde. Hyde signed a 3year, $15m deal so in terms of running back capital invested, this is quite high for Hyde, who is 27 and likely on his last NFL deal. If things go south for Hyde, you may even see him cut at the end of the season and struggling to find another team. However, I certainly expect Hyde to get the first shot at the gig and may be a candidate to draft as late as possible and try and trade him after a few weeks.

Aside from these two, we also have PPR specialist Duke Johnson in the backfield. I think with the drafting of Nick Chubb and signing of Carlos Hyde, I don’t think Duke Johnson’s workload will change to much. He has a decent role in this offence, there is a lot of trust here and Duke Johnson has often carried this team on his back (albeit in vain). He may lose some catches to Chubb/Hyde in a similar ratio to what his and Crowell’s was last year, but he may suffer a bit more due to the passing options now available to Cleveland. Last year, there was no Josh Gordon for the majority of the season, Corey Coleman was very up and down, rookie TE David Njoku was still feeling his way in and they often relied on Seth DeValve, Rashard Higgins and Ricardo Louis catching passes from an inaccurate QB. Duke Johnson was a centrepiece of this offence, lining up as a receiver for a good deal of time he was on the field. With the acquisition of Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon should be ready to go along with Njoku in his 2nd season, Duke Johnson could take a back seat now to all the weapons in this team, which would be a disservice to Duke. That said, as he has safe hands, is well trusted by the coaching staff and is one of the most reliable players on this team (also in the final year of his contract), Duke Johnson still has appeal as flex position in bye weeks (had almost three times more receptions than any receiver last year). You just have to hope that any of the WR pass catching options have more than last seasons team high of 27(!).

Looking at the bigger picture, lets not forget, this is the Cleveland Browns. Now whilst I don’t think they’ll go 0-16 again (though they will give it a good try), it’s not farfetched to think that this team will be in the lower half of total scoring on offence. Going back to the old faithful pie analogy, this is probably a medium sized pie, which has the taste of one that is in the clearance isle of a supermarket because it’s sell by date is the same date as the day you buy it. The offence has averaged less points per game each season every year for the past 5 years ( down to 14.6pts per game last year), their yards per play is at its lowest since I started watching American football and had one of the worst turnover differentials last year at -28. They have to turn the corner at some point, right?

I know no-one is going to go out to rush to buy these players in drafts, but with Carlos Hyde currently having a 4th round ADP, I felt it necessary to say DONT DO IT! That said, Nick Chubb in Dynasty should be a must add.

Sony Michel and his fellow Patriots:

Here’s something you don’t see every day, New England spending 1st round draft capital in a running back.

For so many years, Bill Belichick and the Patriots back room staff pick up running backs from free agency and the local council dustbin collection staff and make it work. New England’s pick on Sony Michel was the first running back they drafted in ANY round since 2014! That pick is still on the team and his name is James White (4th Round pick). You have to go back to 2006 for a first round running back (Laurence Maroney) so it goes to show you what they must think of Michel (they even (tbc) released some medical smokescreen about his knees to ensure he fell to them!).

Historically, New England have gotten production everywhere, but it has been terribly hard to predict who is going to be the productive one. It seems like a decade ago that Mike Gillislee scored a hattrick on opening night vs Kansas City and even longer for Jonas Gray’s monster game of 201 yards and 4 touchdowns vs the Colts, only then to be cut a short while after.

Bill Belichick uses running backs like I use Nandos vouchers – I have loads and get the most out of them. Sony Michel will likely be the main guy for New England at least going in to the season, but let’s not forget their offseason activity… They signed Rex Burkhead to a new 3 year deal and invested a fair amount in the former Bengals running back. This was before the draft and it seemed to signal that Burkhead was going to be the guy, so the Michel pick in the first round was perplexing from that standpoint. Fantasy owners sighed when this happened to as it will be much the same like it has been over the past couple of years. trying to figure out each week who will score the avalanche of fantasy points week to week. I suppose at this juncture in the middle of May, I would project that Burkhead will the one they move around the formation and try and use his quickness and agility to create separation in extended types of run plays or dump off pass to take to the house and Michel will be see the bulk of the carries.

LeGarette Blount’s 299 rushing attempts is the only time a NE RB has allowed a running back to have over 200 carries since 2013, I can’t see anything from this backfield (let’s not forget about James White too) to make me think that we will have something like that this year. Added in to the 3 main guys, you have Jeremy Hill and Mike Gillislee, both likely to be cut before the season starts. Even if 1 of those two are saved from the chop, it’s just another mouth to feed in this backfield although you would put it past Belichick giving one of those 2 a monster few games within the 2018 season.

Prior to the draft, I absolutely loved Burkhead in redraft leagues and dynasty. With Michel coming in, that has absolutely made this a “DO NOT ENTER” zone, similar to that of a eastern European underground strip bar. Yes you are getting an RB in one top 3 scoring offences over the past few years, but I think you can only be happy with these picks in best ball type leagues because only 1 of these RBs will score heavily from week to week. if you are able to pick up 1 or both of these in the later rounds of best ball, you could be in a good position coupling them with elite WRs and TE that you may have picked up in the earlier rounds.

Fantasyfootballcalculator has Michel’s ADP somewhere between rounds 8 or 9, and Burkhead going on average the round before, but I can tell you now that Michel’s ADP will get a lot higher come draft season. For me, If they are still in these rounds when I come to do my drafts, I would take Michel over Burkhead simply because of the draft capital invested by the Patriots and that for me tells the story of this backfield.

Good luck if you choose to draft any of these Patriots running backs and be prepared for the duck eggs and the top scores.

Michael Galluping to no.1 on the Cowboys depth chart:

In drafts right now, Michael is a late round flyer…

ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?!

I am telling you now, Michael Gallup leads Cowboys receivers this year in yards and Touchdowns.

No Dez Bryant and no Jason Witten who accounted for nearly half of all receptions last year in the team, the free agency signings of Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson don’t overly excite me. They are players that are supposedly “Dak Friendly” and will look to catch the eye in minicamps.

Hurns has never had more the 65 receptions in any season, has had one 1000 yards receiving season in Jacksonville (which is a fair accomplishment) and doesn’t strike as a no.1 receiver. He will have a role and is at most, a better than average WR.

Deonte Thompson (and to a certain extent, Hurns) is the speed to help stretch the field, but I don’t know if he is an upgrade on an under-utilised Brice Butler.

The veterans of the team at WR are now Cole Beasley and Terrence Williams, who blow more hot and cold than a Katy Perry pop song. They are extremely inconsistent, struggle to create separation and don’t show up every week.

Enter Michael Gallup. A Colorado State University 3rd round pick by Dallas and there were plenty of eyebrows raised at the fact it took the Cowboys to the third round to select a WR. After looking at some film and his measurables, this is a great fit for both. Gallup is a very intelligent route runner, has good hands and can contest a jump ball like Dez Bryant. His skills at making a defender commit and then cutting loose often goes unnoticed and for anyone that wants to take a look at the new Dallas WR, there is some great film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Thi8pwK7stQ. He has deceptive pace and is good at getting himself between the defender and the ball, having as much room to make the catch as possible.

The footage also shows Gallup’s area in need of improvement; He is a bit rough round the edges and is probably not coming in to the greatest of coaching schemes to help train him on and become a great WR in the NFL. You also have to hope that Dak steps back in to his rookie form too for Gallup to see any type of production. Gallup doesn’t top the class in any of the skills of a wide receiver, but is very competent and established at all of them without any real weaknesses.

Overall Gallup has the opportunity to establish himself as Dak’s new security blanket, even if the team are going to run the ball, run the ball and run the ball. Let’s not forget the bigger picture here, there wont be vast amounts of yards and touchdowns going to this Dallas set of pass catchers so don’t go shoving all your chips in to this team unless its Zeke in the first round but for fantasy, but I am very happy with him being the 4th WR I pick up in my drafts, somewhere in rounds 7-9. It is possible that Gallup may take a year or two to blossom (especially with the coaching staff’s lack of abilities and imagination) and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Hurns end up being the No.1 this year, but I think that would say more about Dallas’s lack of success in getting the most out of Gallup and the rest of the WR group.

The Ridley riddle in Atlanta:

Calvin Ridley, one of the more well known WR in the draft, perhaps ended up in a place not many expected. That said, I think Calvin Ridley can flourish here, but there are a few worries. Firstly, he isn’t walking in to a Michael Gallup situation in Dallas , nor even something like a DJ Moore in Carolina. He is walking in to a high scoring, powerful offence, but may struggle to make inroads in terms of targets and receptions behind their other current options. There is a role for Ridley opposite Julio Jones, but there are a lot of other people he has to battle with for receptions after that. Mo Sanu was a big positive for the Falcons last year and Austin Hooper popped up a fair amount (49 rec, over 500 yards and 3 TDs). Added to that, the dynamic backfield duo that catch a lot of passes. Calvin Ridley will have to impress to be able to get even a small portion of the target share from Matt Ryan but I think the main benefactor of this situation is Julio Jones.

Julio, like the Falcons on the season, were atrocious last year in the redzone (5 rec from 19 targets) and scoring in general despite Jones having over 1400 yards and the offence having over 4000 receiving yards in total(!). The acquisition of Calvin Ridley and all of the hype surrounding him will surely help Julio in seeing less intense coverage and open the field up even more for all of the pass catchers in Atlanta. Calvin Ridley will have a few games here or there of decent production and has the potential to step right in for a full WR1 workload should Julio’s injury troubles take their toll again (Jones only played a full season 3 times in the last 6 seasons).

In fantasy football, I would only consider Ridley in bestball leagues or as a late round flyer, but his hype will not mean that he falls to a place where you have to choose between him and Stephen Gostowski. Julio Jones, a candidate to fall in to the 2nd round of fantasy drafts, could end up being a steal.

Buyers Remorse for Round 1 Wide Receivers

– Article courtesy of Lee Wakefield (who can be found on Twitter @Wakefield90) –

So the 2018 draft is in the books and almost feels like a distant memory now. One of the most polarising picks at the top of the draft seemed to be Saquon Barkley going to the New York Giants with the second overall pick. Not because of Saquon as a player but because of the position he plays. We hear experts talking about the recent devaluation that the Running Back position has gone through in recent times but to me there’s another position that’s not thought of as highly in the first round anymore… What about Wide Receivers? Are the worth taking in the first round nowadays? Are they as polished coming into the league, as they once were?

I’ve been having a little think on this one and I think there are a few teams recently with more than a little bit of buyers remorse when it comes to Wide Receivers…

I’m an L.A. Chargers fan, so I know this first hand because in the 2017 draft my ballclub drafted a wide receiver at 7th overall, Mike Williams. At the time I didn’t agree with the pick, I thought we should have drafted Malik Hooker, this was because I didn’t think The Chargers had a huge need at Wide Receiver but we did need a safety who possesses good range and can play the Earl Thomas role in the middle of the defensive backfield for Gus Bradley’s defence. Obviously this played out well as Tre Boston had a good year and now we have Derwin James… But no one had a crystal ball.

Back to receivers; I didn’t dislike the pick because of Mike Williams as a player or because he was a Wide Receiver specifically. However, as the season has unfolded and I’d been rooting for Williams to get healthy and then to score his first touchdown but ended up being frustrated by his health and the fact that when we got into the red zone, there was usually a ball tossed his way to try to get him a score. In the game against the Redskins, backup QB, Kellen Clemens threw a pick 6 trying to get the ball to Williams on a back shoulder throw into the end zone. It was a dreadfully thrown ball and it didn’t cost L.A. the game as it was already won barring a miracle. However, it did get me thinking about Williams and then subsequently about other pass catchers from the 2017 draft and then in past drafts. That’s then when asked myself, is it a good idea to use a first round pick on a wide receiver these days?

In the 2018 draft we only saw two wide receivers taken in the the first round and they were both taken in the twenties. This wasn’t considered a great class of receivers, lots of number 2 and 3 guys and no real standouts from their time in college. This reminded me of what I was thinking just after watching the Washington game so I did some digging…

So, let’s work our way through the first round receivers from last year’s draft. First up, Corey Davis was selected by the Tennessee Titans 5th overall. It’s fair to say Davis hasn’t really lived up to the expectations of his draft position, he’s recorded 34 catches on 65 targets, for 375 yards and zero touchdowns in his rookie year and it can’t be said that the team struggled, Tennessee finished 9-7 and made the playoffs albeit they’re not the most explosive of offenses. It has to be said, the level of Marcus Mariota’s play did drop this year so the blame may not only lay at Davis’ door. However I’m sure Mariota was pretty stoked when the Titans front office used such a high pick on a shiny new pass catcher. Davis has only been thrown to around 4-5 times a game, which isn’t a lot but he’s only catching around 52% of the balls thrown his way…For comparison, Tyrell Williams had a similar amount of targets (69) for 43 catches for 728 yards and he’s the 4th or 5th option on offence for a 9-7 Chargers team. Williams was not drafted 5th overall or drafted at, all for that matter.

Next, the other Williams on The Chargers roster, national college football champion, no less. In fact, let’s go back to his college career briefly. Mike Williams suffered a horrible injury, fracturing a bone in his neck in the opening game of 2015 and missed the rest of the season. However he was the go-to guy for, now Houston Texans QB, DeShaun Watson for the rest of his time at Clemson and they had a lot of success together, leading them to both be taken in the top 12 of the 2017 draft.

Back to the NFL, Williams has struggled to stay healthy for any length of time, he missed a lot of pre season work and therefore valuable time to build chemistry with Philip Rivers. Williams  recorded a stat line of; 11 catches for 95 yards and zero touchdowns, only playing 10 games because of various back, knee and foot injuries. He also did not run a full route tree or see the field an awful lot either. I mentioned that Tyrell Williams is the 4th or 5th option on offence after; Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, Melvin Gordon and maybe Travis Benjamin, well Mike Williams was probably also behind running back, Austin Ekeler, who played college football for Western State University in Colorado, a division II school, who went undrafted. Not a good value pick at this point.

Lastly but still in the top 10, Cincinnati selected John Ross out of the University of Washington, 9th overall. A small price to pay for the fastest guy the combine has ever seen, right? He’ll be toasting corners on a weekly basis, right? Wrong. There were concerns about Ross’s frame and ability to stay healthy in the NFL before the draft and he actually pulled a calf muscle whilst setting his record 4.22, 40 yard dash in Indianapolis last year. Of the three rookie wideouts selected in the first round of the 2017 draft, Ross registered the worst stat line for the season – zero catches, zero yards and unsurprisingly, zero touchdowns. Ross has touched the ball one time, in week 2 (he missed week 1 with injury), a 12 yard run which ended in a fumble and his benching. The rest of the season, Ross was either injured or a healthy scratch. What a waste and really, what a shame.

So was it a problem with the 2017 class as a whole? Well the reception leader was a running back! Rookie of the Year Alvin Kamara brought in 81 catches and just one grab behind was Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey with 80. The top rookie wide receiver was actually 4th on the list, Cooper Kupp of the Rams with 62, with Tight End, Evan Engram just ahead on 64. So that’s a third round pick leading the 2017 Wideout class in receptions and second rounder JuJu Smith-Schuster actually lead the class in scores with 8. Both players providing their teams with nice value for their draft positions. There are some other good receivers in this class and I’m sure the first rounders will develop further in future, I’m not calling anyone a bust after one season.

So let’s look further back, I’m going to go over the past 5 years which is what I consider a fair amount of time.

So 2016, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller IV, Josh Doctson and Laquan Treadwell were all selected in round one. They’ve all been pretty regularly injured and the low point is Treadwell who in his rookie year only recorded a solitary catch for 10 yards and didn’t have a great sophomore year either; posting 20 catches for 200 yards in a Minnesota team that almost went to the Superbowl.

2015 saw a handful of catchers drafted on day one; Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman and Phillip Dorsett. So Cooper is undeniably a number one guy but it must be said he’s been up and down for the Raiders. White and Perriman have barely ever been healthy, Parker has been ok, although with Jarvis Landry out of town, he may come into his own next season. Agholor was in danger of being cut by the Eagles before this past season, can he build a solid career from here? Dorsett no longer plays for the team who drafted him, he’s now in New England and is probably going to go some to make their roster next year since it’s a very crowded Wide Receiver room up in Foxborough. Overall, not exactly a group who are setting the league on fire…

2014 and finally some positive news. If I said the names, Watkins, Evans, Beckham, Cooks and Benjamin, even a casual NFL fan will recognise those names. 2014 was a talented class but have they lived up to their billing and repaid their teams with yards and scores? Well, that’s questionable since only Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. still play for their original team (however there’s certainly some level of tension between OBJ and The Giants) – the rest were deemed expendable in some way or another by the teams that drafted them… Watkins and Cooks are both now actually on their third teams of their careers. Strange since all 5 are undoubtedly very talented and with that talent in mind, plus the production that all 5 have had, I’m considering all 5 successful picks, for the purpose of this exercise.

Going back another year to 2013 and it’s my least favourite first round haul. It brought us Tavon Austin going 8th overall (!) and then DeAndre Hopkins and Cordarrelle Patterson going in the late 20’s. Nobody can hide the fact that Hopkins is a top end Wideout, he’s just had the misfortune of never really having a quarterback. Although that changed this season with DeShaun Watson but then he tears an ACL… some guys get no luck. The other two are gadget players at best, let’s be honest. It’s not good business to spend a first round pick on a player who might return a kickoff or punt once in a while or get 20 yards on a jet sweep.

Last and almost least is the 2012 class, Justin Blackmon, the highest player taken out of Oklahoma State since Barry Sanders, 5th overall, Michael Floyd, Kendall Wright and A.J Jenkins. Man… So we have a guy with substance abuse problems out of the league since 2013, a player with alcohol problems, an above average but not great receiver and a guy who lasted 2 seasons in the league. Ok, Michael Floyd has a Superbowl ring thanks to a short stint in New England but I’d be pushed to call him a big success in the NFL.

So through 6 years from 2017 to 2012, how many of these guys have been hits? At first I was going to go for 7 but due to Floyd winning a ring I’m going to put it up to 8. Kendall Wright could make a case but he’s been out performed by a lot of receivers taken much later than me was over the last 6 seasons. There is still time for the 2017 class but it’s not gotten off to a good start for any of the first round guys. So I’m going for Amari Cooper, the whole of the 2015 first round class (although they’re not without their red flags), Hopkins and Floyd. That’s 8 of 25, 32%. Not. Good.

I’ll reel off some names that were taken later than the guys who I have deemed bad picks; Alshon Jeffrey, T.Y Hilton, Keenan Allen, Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson, Michael Thomas, Sterling Shepherd, Tyreek Hill, Cooper Kupp, JuJu Smith-Schuster. That is a great group of superb value picks ranging from the 2nd to the 5th round. Obviously, hindsight is a wonderful thing and all of those players had red flags coming out of college, to some degree but some scouts and GM’s missed some talent there.

Every year the draft is littered with early round busts and late round steals, for instance, as everyone knows, Tom Brady was drafted 199th overall, Antonio Brown was a 6th rounder, Richard Sherman waited until day 3 of the draft to have his name called too. Sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s that you saw things that others didn’t see in a guy.

Best of luck to D.J Moore and Calvin Ridley, as this year’s first round pass catchers but there is certainly a pattern here and the odds are not in their favour. I’m not hoping that anyone flames out of the league but there are going to be a few later round wide receivers who I feel have the chance to be great receivers and great value pick too and carry on this trend. As anyone who read my mock drafts on this very website will know, I am a huge Anthony Miller fan. Michael Gallup, Dante Pettis, James Washington and Equanimeous St. Brown, all landed in pretty nice situations as well and I have them down as my ones to watch as late round wide receivers.

I’ll sum it up like this, if I’m a General Manager I’d be doing serious homework on any wide receiver who has a first round grade because, if I’m blowing a first round pick on a wide receiver who doesn’t make the field too often or can’t give me serious yards, I might be out of a job soon. Or at least have Draft Twitter on my back.

Buyer beware.