Why so low? Fantasy players that are undervalued

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

It’s baffling to me. All it takes is one negative narrative or one anomalous season for certain players to be completely disregarded by the fantasy community. Sometimes it’s right to do so, I mean we all remember Trent Richardson and more recently Corey Davis not living up to expectations for fantasy owners.

But, in some cases, I don’t see what all the negativity about, and there are a few players this year who’s ADP is lower than what I believe it should be which begs the question, why are you guys so low?

Jordan Howard – Running Back, Philadelphia EaglesADP: RB35 non-PPR

RB35! That’s a late 7th round pick in 12 man standard scoring leagues. What has Jordan Howard done to deserve an RB3/borderline RB4 tag? Ok, I understand on a week to week basis last year he wasn’t anything special and we didn’t see any magical 60-yard breakaway runs, I know, I owned him in multiple leagues.

Yeah, it stung a little, especially having been on the Howard hype train during the off season this time last year. But statistically, he still delivered. He finished the season with 935 rush yards with 9 rushing TD’s. That was good enough to see him finish up the 2018 season as the RB20 in all league formats, averaging 10.6 fantasy points per game.

His yards per carry went down to 3.7ypc from 4.1 in 2017 and 5.2 in 2016, and Tarik Cohen’s breakout continuation certainly earned him more reps as he consistently flashed brighter than Howard throughout the bulk of the campaign.

But I don’t see how those stats warrant the current price tag. He’s an absolute steal down in the 7th round where he’s going around players such as Kareem Hunt (banned for 8 games), Latavius Murray (a backup RB in New Orleans), and Ronald Jones (2018’s RB stink leader).

Now, I could understand this whole travesty slightly more if he had been traded to a mid-level, mediocre team in the off-season – but he moved to the Eagles! That’s certainly not a downgrade from Chicago, some might argue its a lateral move, but if anything, i think the situation on offense in Philadelphia is better.

Photo Credit: Tim Hawk/NJ Advance Media

He now gets to run behind a better o-line, with a better QB, in a Superbowl calibre squad. The only danger comes in the way of College Football’s one-season wonder, Miles Sanders. Yeah, that’s what he is folks, sorry to break it to you.

Sanders has struggled so far this season with a lingering hamstring injury which kept him out of the pivotal OTA’s and minicamp portion of the off-season. He might be back reporting for training camp duties soon, but i’d be surprised if he’s 100% healthy when week 1 rolls around.

The worst case scenario for Howard this season is that he finds himself in a committee situation. Even still, behind that o-line, in a team that should be in the Superbowl hunt come January, he’s still going to be fantasy relevant with his 935 yard, 6 touchdown floor. He’s still an RB2 in fantasy.

Alshon Jeffrey – Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles ADP: WR28 PPR

Without trying to sound like a Eagles band-wagoner, here we have another prime example of an elite level player being over-looked. Again i’ll say it – the Philly offense is good, real good, as in top 5 good.

Carson Wentz was a shadow of his former self last year after his nasty ACL tear in 2017, tied in with a fractured back which saw him miss the end of last season. Now he’s back to full health and by all reports is looking sharp at training camp.

DeSean Jackson also re-joined his old team this off-season and brings in a dynamic to the offense that hasn’t been there since, well, DeSean Jackson. Defenses won’t be able to ignore Jackson across the field from Alshon, which means less coverage for the 6ft 3 beast to deal with meaning he can capitalize on winning single coverage contested jump balls, something Jeffrey specialises in.

With a career average of 14.5 yards per reception and a solid 800 receiving yard floor, Jeffrey could be in for his best season as an Eagle to date. Only once when having played 13 or more games (4 out of 7 seasons) has he finished outside of the top 20 in PPR scoring for wide receivers. That was last season (26th) with Wentz at half-throttle and career backup Nick Foles slinging the rock.

Alshon is a great target in the mid-sixth round and will definitely return his WR3 ADP value, draft him with confidence.

Jameis Winston – Quarterback, Tampa Bay BuccaneersADP: QB13

Stop rolling your eyes, Jameis is a thing. Sure, he’s had his flaws.. and yes, they’ve been pretty big flaws when throwing interceptions and fumbling the ball are the main two problems. I’m over it though. Why? Bruce Arians is why.

Arians is the best coach that Winston has ever worked with and I am confident that BA wouldn’t have come out for retirement if he didn’t see the potential the Tampa Bay offense has with Jameis at the helm.

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

Last season between Ryan Fitzmagic and Winston, the Bucs finished the regular season with 5,125 passing yards, 2nd most in the league. With Fitzpatrick leaving for Miami, all of those yards now fall to Jameis.

Do I think Winston is a 5,000+ yards passer, no. Especially with the loss of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries this off-season which accounted for over 1,500 of those yards. But, with Chris Godwin expected to take a step up, Cameron Brate back from injury and dare I say Breshad Perriman finally making good on his talent – I can see Jameis throwing for 4,300 yards and 30 TD’s this year.

In one of the toughest divisions in football and a tough schedule, the Bucs are likely going to see themselves behind in the majority of games, something which almost always relies on the passing game to bring a team back.

If Winston can continue to improve on his mistake making, with the fact he’s an under-rated runner (25.5 rush yards per game in 2018), he could be a reliable quarterback for fantasy owners and has the potential to be in the top 10 come the end of the season.

Devonta Freeman – Running Back, Atlanta FalconsADP: RB18 PPR

Stop with the “Devonta Freeman is made of glass” narrative, please. I’m asking nicely. Yes, three grade 1 concussions aren’t great to have on your injury resume, but a grade 1 concussion is anything from a headache after a collision to slight dizziness. These concussions are not Jordan Reed levels of career threatening problems, so stop overreacting.

Also, the knee sprains he suffered in the 2017 playoffs have not returned. Last seasons’ knee injury was ‘a bruise’. The foot injury was also a bruise. You want to know why Freeman missed all of last season? It was a sports hernia which is a one-off injury and needed surgery.

This narrative that surrounds Freeman is blown way out of proportion if you ask me. He’s back now to full health and is a full participant in training camp with one major plus point, no Tevin Coleman to compete with.

The backfield is all Freemans’. “But Ito Smith is there don’t forget”… Really? Smith’s 3.5 yard per carry average last year proved what a lack-luster running back he was and now Freeman is back, Smith be the backup, and only that.

Let’s erase Freeman’s 2018 1 1/2 game season and let’s go back to his full rookie contract (where, by the way, he played in 61 out of 64 games… yet he’s injury prone? Welp). Freeman had two seasons with over 1,000 rushing yards and 450 receiving yards with 27 touchdowns in those seasons and 37 total touchdowns in his rookie contract.

He finished as the RB1, RB6 and RB13 (PPR scoring) during those years too, with his rookie season spent as a backup to Steven Jackson.

So why is Devonta Freeman now being valued as mid RB2 option when he’s never finished lower than 13th when considered the starter? We know he’s on one of the best offenses in the league, with an improved o-line and a backfield all to himself. Pick him up in the 3rd round and be excited to have an elite RB fall that late.

Jarvis Landry – Wide Receiver, Cleveland BrownsADP: WR24 PPR

One of the most polarizing receivers in the game. Us Brits would call him ‘Marmite’. You either love him, or you hate him. Judging by his ADP, people are well and truly on the fence.

On the one hand, the off-season monster acquisition of Landry’s former College teammate and best pal Odell Beckham from the sinking Giants along with the emergence of tight end David Njoku last season, it would at first appear that Cleveland now has a lot of mouths to feed.

Photo Credit: John Kuntz/cleveland.com

Maybe so, but I am looking at it from a more positive angle.

Let’s start with the talent. No one can argue Landry doesnt possess elite talent. He has some of the most impressive hands in the business, that’s a well known fact. Yet there is a narrative out there that despite his elite hands, he’s not that good of a receiver.

I’m not buying that. Last season he underwhelmed, i’ll give you that. But that’s what happens when you are the only real threat from the position and you find a lot of double coverage and defenses not allowing you time to stretch the field. A player with Landry’s skill-set needs a distraction.

Enter OBJ. Behind the net-kicking, cry-baby and attitude, there’s a potential hall of fame receiver. He’s a superstar that has any defense worried. OBJ will draw the top coverage which in turn will allow Landry the time and space he needs to be the leagues best possession receiver.

A target monster for the majority of his career to date – if you’re in a PPR league, players like Landry really jump of the page statistically.

YearTmGTgtRecYdsY/RTD
2014MIA161128475895
2015*MIA16166110115710.54
2016*MIA1613194113612.14
2017*MIA161611129878.89
2018*CLE1614981976124

Not only has Landry never missed a game, he’s never seen less than 112 targets come his way, 131 if you take away his rookie year. Around the 1,000 yard mark over the last 4 seasons and this year he has year two of last years’ rookie sensation Baker Mayfield.

NFL teams can produce two top wide receivers for fantasy too, so don’t worry about OBJ solely stealing the limelight. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb did it in 2014 (WR2 and WR6 in non-PPR scoring), and more recently Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen have entered the fray together (both top 20 WRs in 2017 and 2018).

Two elite wide receivers with a young, accurate superstar throwing them the ball – it’s a whole load of fantasy delight being whipped up from the Browns for 2019, and a hell of a lot of ‘blessing’ is going to happen this season in Cleveland.

all ADPs taken from fantasyfootballcalculator.com

Beginner’s Guide: 10 Big Tips for Fantasy Drafting

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

I wish when I was first encapsulated by the wonderful world of fantasy football I had sat down and took a few minutes to look at some tips and tricks from veteran fantasy analysts. Now, I am certainly not suggesting I am a veteran by any stretch, but I like to think I know a thing or two when it comes to this anomalous yet elusive affiliation to the NFL. So I will offer you my opinions of how to compete competitively and let you in to some trade tricks and secrets that will hopefully steer you to victory and have the edge over your rivals.

1) Mock Drafting

A mock draft is where you will get the lie of the land of where players are being drafted in live practice drafts. Most fantasy football platforms will have a mock draft system either on their app or on their websites.

I prefer to use ESPN’s fantasy app and that certainly has a very good mock draft section but DraftWizard, CBS, Yahoo, NFL Fantasy and Sleeper also offer this service in the off season.

(AP Photo)

It is vital to mock draft all the way until you do your real draft. You will be able to use different draft positions in order to figure out where you think is the best place to draft from and which spots your specific targets are falling to.

For example, if you really want to have Davante Adams on your team, you will find in most mocks at the moment he is being drafted in the first round between picks 6 and 9. If you choose the sixth spot, you can then see what player falls to you in the second round and so forth.

Keep swapping positions and do multiple drafts until you can find a constant where you are happy with the players you are drafting.

2) Find a draft strategy for you

Once you have done a few mock drafts and you have got your targets and know roughly where they are being drafted, the next step is to get yourself a couple of systems to play with.

I always try and get an even spread of talent throughout my team in all the positions. I tend to go with a system of using my first four picks as a mix of running backs and receivers and alternate those positions each round, although this year I have found myself taking three RB’s in the first four picks and really liking my team at the end.

But usually, if I take a running back in the first round, I’ll then grab the best available receiver in the second round or vice versa. Or maybe you find yourself and your favoured position to grab RB, RB with your first two picks as you like a couple of later round picks as sleepers or flyers to fill in your receiving corps.

Alternately you could like the zero RB strategy where you don’t pick a running back until the mid-rounds where you can get potential break out players like David Montgomery or Kenyan Drake.  It’s very much each to their own.

Again, this is why mock drafting is so important, you can play around with all these different strategies to see which one you like, but ALWAYS have a backup plan because, trust me, not all drafts fall how you want them to!

3) Research, ADP and Sleepers

ADP is short for Average Draft Position. This ADP of a player is based upon where he is being drafted in mock drafts during the off-season and real drafts once they start getting underway (usually from July onwards).

It’s an indication for us, the fantasy GM’s, to see where the general public are drafting players and where about they are in relation to other players around them. Basically it’s a public ranking system.

I find the best websites for ADP checks are fantasyfootballcalculator and FantasyPros. ADP’s provide a pivotal tool for us analysts who write about fantasy but also a reliable source for you to plot out where you should be looking to draft the players you want in your team(s).

This goes hand in hand with finding sleepers. It always pays to do research. Whether it is reading one of my articles (excuse the plug), or maybe listening to fantasy podcasts or other media outlets that provide good information, stats and opinions and maybe even just going to watch a players tape on YouTube.

A sleeper, for those who don’t know, is a player slated to be drafted in the late rounds (from round 7 onward as a general rule of thumb) in fantasy drafts but is a player that you/an analyst thinks will have a very good season and outperform his ADP. Anything after the 12th round or undrafted players that are fancied are known as deep sleepers.

One of my sleepers this year for example, is rookie running back Justice Hill from the Baltimore Ravens. I love the opportunity he has to potentially be the back there or at least in a decent split work load with Mark Ingram, and his current ADP is RB52 or 140 overall.

Photo Credit: baltimoreravens.com

4) Know your league format and points system

This might seem obvious, but you might find yourself in a few different leagues with differing rules. For example, you may be a part of a PPR (points per reception) league where players get extra points every time they make a catch.

This will drive wide receiver, tight end and pass catching running backs value up. Players like Tarik Cohen and James White are just two that come to mind as productive receiving backs. You might also consider taking one of the top wide outs ahead of a running back like Melvin Gordon or David Johnson if you are drafting in the middle of round one.

You could be in a dynasty league where younger players have more value than the veterans. Or the league you are in may offer bonus points for extraordinary games or long runs/catches so big play players such as Brandin Cooks or DeSean Jackson who can break off a 90yard TD reception at any point in any game have more value.

5) Drafting Quarterbacks

It’s easy to assume that QB’s are one of the first players off you’re draft boards. Well, that shouldn’t be the case. I have never drafted a QB before the 6th round and I will always continue that tradition.

The reason for not picking a quarterback early is logical, in my opinion. Despite that position being the highest scoring in fantasy terms, usually your league will consist of a maximum of 16 players but most likely 10 or 12 and usually your league will only require you to start 1 QB.

There are 32 in the league, obviously, so you’re more than likely going to get a top performing quarterback in the mid to late rounds. Unless you have an infatuation with either Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes where these two are likely to go in the first few rounds along with Andrew Luck and probably DeShaun Watson, why not wait and get potential studs like Russell Wilson or Jameis Winston who are currently going in rounds 9 and 10 respectively.

You could even wait until the later rounds where you will find potential top 10 QB’s in Dak Prescott (round 11) or Mitch Trubisky (round 13).

Throughout the season, the points between these sorts of options and some of the higher ranked positional players won’t be that different, but the options down in the later rounds sometimes offer a lot more in terms of upside.

In my opinion, it is not worth wasting an early round pick where you could use those spots to bolster up your running back corps or receiving options where you will be starting 2 or in some cases 3 of each of these positions.

6) The Tight End

I’m tempted to copy and paste a lot of what I’ve just said regarding quarterbacks. You only have to start 1 tight end in most fantasy leagues. Travis Kelce is in a league of his own and is a viable option within the first 2 rounds if you really wanted to take the nailed on TE1 on the season. 

Zach Ertz and George Kittle are likely to be the next two TE’s off the board and probably before round 5. But after these bigger names it’s a big pool of potential breakout seasons vs veterans who will consistently put up average points.

So why not wait until you can get players like Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald or David Njoku who are all available later than the 7th round and again, fill up your roster with the power positions first.

7) Bulk up on Wide Receivers and Running Backs

So I have touched on this concept in the quarterback and tight end paragraphs. You are going to be drafting more WR’s and RB’s than any other position. In a standard setup this will be the case too.

Even if you have filled your quota of starting positions, continue to look for talented players that you can fill your rosters with in case of injuries or if your selected player(s) bust. Trust me when I say, this is the most important thing to take into consideration when drafting. Not only does it bolster your team, you will also have trade bait later on in the season.

8) Pay attention to who others in your league have drafted

Again, this might sound obvious, but come draft day, it all goes by very quickly. It’s always worth using your allotted time when it’s your turn to have a quick flick through all of your rivals’ teams to see what pieces they have drafted and what needs they have.

For example, if the next 3 teams after you in the draft order all need running backs, it may be worth considering grabbing the best available RB in case that triggers off a run and you are left with slim pickings come your next turn.

On the other hand, if a lot of players have already filled a position, like a QB, you might want to wait another couple of rounds before taking your guy as it’s likely he will still be available.

You could also be sneaky in the later rounds and snatch another players handcuff running back or receiver which will give you trade leverage if their main player goes down with a long term injury or is suspended.

9) Keep one eye on the bye weeks

On most, if not all of the websites you are likely to be drafting on, somewhere on the info screen will tell you when a player is on their teams bye week. This could affect your draft strategy because you might not realise a few of your players have coinciding bye weeks and you don’t really want to have to drop your key players mid-season because you only have a couple of players eligible.

It’s not the end of the world as you could just have that week as a loss week but it could be a tie-breaker if you have to choose between two similar players and you don’t ever want to go into a season knowing you’re definitely going to lose at least one week.

10) Leave Kickers and Defense/Special Teams until last

If your new to fantasy you might not think how little special teams/defence and kickers affect your fantasy team. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but only a couple. You can draft Justin Tucker or Greg Zuerlein once you’re happy you have a good amount of depth, but certainly not before round 10.

(Photo Source: Ken Blaze/ USA TODAY Sports)

Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski are also solid options, but certainly don’t pick them up until round 12 at the absolute earliest. Kickers usually fluctuate with their points and you’ll find that points wise throughout the season, the main bulk of decent kickers will score a similar amount of points week-to-week and will only average 5-8 points per game.

As for defence/special teams, don’t even bother drafting them until the last couple of rounds. OK, a couple are likely to go off the board predictably Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams, but throughout the season it’s usually beneficial to play the match-ups from week to week and most of the time a favoured defense for that week will be available on the waiver wire.

As for draft day, take a look at the early season schedule to see who has favorable match-ups… I know i’m targeting the Dallas Cowboys D/ST towards the tail end of drafts thanks to a good looking first few weeks.

Thanks for reading this article, if you are struggling with some of the technical words I’ve used in this article, don’t worry, coming next will be a jargon buster breaking down industry related words and phrases.

Deep Deep Deeep Fantasy Sleepers: Part 2

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

I love deep diving in fantasy football. It’s one of the many areas within the industry that I just love researching. From favourable roster positions to raw, unearthed talent – trying to scrap around in the bargain bins of fantasy football to find the next Alvin Kamara,  Adam Thielen or even Odell Beckham who was overlooked by fantasy owners in 2014; deep diving is certainly one of my favourite offseason past times.

It’s been a fruitful offseason of scouting for me too, so much so I had to split this article into two parts! The first part featured the likes of Dylan Cantrell, WR (L.A Chargers), Deon Yelder, TE (Kansas City Chiefs), Chris Conley, WR (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Darren Waller, TE (Oakland Raiders) and part two will offer up 4 more super deep sleepers that are not to be ignored late on in your drafts!

Let’s dig in!

Dexter Williams – Running Back, Green Bay Packers

Sure, Aaron Jones is the bell cow in Green Bay, I hear you. But, Jones doesn’t come without injury concerns. Of his two seasons to date, Jones has never completed more than 12 games in a regular season. This is mostly down to a reoccurring grade 2 knee sprain which has flared up on 3 different occasions.

ajones

If Jones does go down injured in 2019, or isn’t able to sustain his 49 rushing yards per game career average, the natural reaction will be to assume Jamaal Williams is the next guy up for the Pack, but that may not be the case. With a career average of just 3.7 yards per carry over his two years in the league baked in with mediocre-at-best receiving statistics (52 receptions for 472 yards, 9.1 per rec and 2 TD’s); I for one wouldn’t be surprised if new Head Coach Matt LaFleur decided to put trust into one of his drafted guys instead, Dexter Williams.

Dexter Williams was apart of the highly successful 2018 Notre Dame Fighting Irish team that managed to be one of the 4 teams that qualify for the College Football Playoffs. Despite missing 4 games because of undisclosed personal matters, Williams returned on week 5 for the Irish and ended the season with 995 rushing yards (6.3 per carry) with 133 receiving yards off 16 receptions with 13 total touchdowns. 

Although he didn’t blow anyone away at the combine, his 40 time was fine (4.53s) and he managed 17 bench reps which was better than what higher picks Damien Harris (16), David Montgomery (15) and Benny Snell (16) managed.

Williams is a between the tackles kind of back, funnily enough, MockDraftable have him compared the best to none other than teammate Aaron Jones, thus confirming that if Jones was to miss time, it may well be Dexter that becomes the most productive ‘Williams’ in the Green Bay running back room.

His strengths coming out of college is that he possesses great vision and is a clever runner, especially when gaps are forged for him. To be successful in the NFL, he’ll need a good o-line in front of him to provide those needed gaps. The Packers offensive line is considered to be a top 10 line in the league, so the opportunity is there for Williams to be successful should the chance occur.

 

Alex Barnes – Running Back, Tennessee Titans

Who an earth is Alex Barnes, I hear you say. Well folks, Alex Barnes may well be the next Phillip Lindsay. An undrafted free agent rookie hailing from a small-ish school in the Big 12 conference who had 1,355 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns for Kansas State in 2018. Yes, that’s more than Devin Singletary (1,348), Miles Sanders (1,274) and David Montgomery (1,216) who are all highly regarded prospects and were all drafted.

His stats were not too dissimilar to Lindsay’s final college season in 2017, but Barnes is quite the opposite when it comes to physical attributes. At 6’1 and 225lbs, he is built from the same mold as Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, and Melvin Gordon. If you were drafting all four today solely on combine performances, Barnes wouldn’t be out of place alongside these big hitters.

Melvin Gordon Lev Bell David Johnson Alex Barnes
40 Yard Dash 4.52s 4.60s 4.50s 4.59s
Bench Press 19 24 25 34
Broad Jump 126 118 127 126
Shuttle 4.07s 4.24s 4.27s 4.10s
Vertical Jump 35.00 31.50 41.50 38.50

The situation for Barnes in Tennessee isn’t a bad one either. Despite Derrick Henry breaking out somewhat towards the end of the season, I still can’t help but get the impression the Titans are still undecided if Henry is their man.

Henry’s breakout game came in week 13 where he went on to finish the remainder of the season to break through the 1,000-yard rushing marker (1,059), however, 585 of those yards came after week 12 which means the Tennessee rushing game in the first two-thirds of the season was pretty non-existent.

They were quick to act on Barnes after the draft too, picking him up just over a week after the NFL draft was completed and was seemingly a high profile UDFA with multiple teams reportedly interested.

With Dion Lewis likely to remain in a pass-catching role and no other backs of significance on the depth chart in Nashville (David Fluellen, Jeremy McNichols, and Dalyn Dawkins) Alex Barnes may well be a household name for fantasy owners in the near future if he makes it onto the 53-man roster in late August.

John Brown – Wide Receiver, Buffalo Bills

John Brown may legitimately be the WR1 for the Buffalo Bills. Sure, as can Robert Foster and Zay Jones, I hear you, but have either of those receivers had over 1,000 yards receiving over the course of a season? No. In fact, Zay Jones’ best season in 2018 saw him rack up 652 receiving yards and just for the record, Foster had 541 yards and 3 scores in his one and only season to date.

I’ve always liked ‘Smokey’ Brown. Ever since his tantalising 1,003 rec yard and 7 touchdown season for Arizona in 2015, but it’s the injuries that have kept him from repeating those numbers. In his last two seasons of his rookie contract for the Cards, Brown only started 11 games, but when he did play, he still was able to perform to a high standard as he managed 13.3 and 14.2 yards per reception average in those seasons respectively.

smokey
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, however, Brown was able to play the majority of the campaign and started 15 games in his one-year prove-it deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Despite performing admirably in 2018 and somewhat ‘proving it’ with 715 yards off 42 receptions (17.0 yards per reception) and 5 touchdowns, the Ravens clearly had plans to centre the future passing offense through the young guns which rang true when they drafted college standouts Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin instead of re-signing Brown.

But the saying goes “another man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and I believe that to be true for the Bills when they grabbed Brown in the free agency. Let’s forget the past for a second and focus on the strengths of Brown and his new quarterback, Josh Allen. 

Am I over-enamoured with Allen’s ability to be a quality NFL QB? Not particularly. But one thing that does impress me, along with the masses, is his arm strength. We saw it at the combine, you remember, the nigh on 70-yard cannonballs he was effortlessly floating into receivers arms. Well, what does that weapon require? A fast receiver who can get down the field. John Brown is one of the fastest players in the league when he’s at full fitness and could still likely hit his 4.34 40 time from his 2014 combine.

I’m buying in. Maybe not so much in PPR league formats as I don’t think Brown will be peppered with targets, after all, the Bills brought in possession receiver Cole Beasley for that role, but definitely as a “last pick dart throw” and definitely in standard-scoring leagues. I for one, will not be surprised if John Brown is a regular starting receiver on your rosters come fantasy playoff time in December.

Geoff Swaim – Tight End, Jacksonville Jaguars

This is the third tight end I am talking about during these 2 articles which just goes to prove you don’t have to spend a high draft pick on one of the top tight ends. It’s a volatile position where anyone of about 25 players can finish as a top 10 tight end in 2019 for fantasy football.

You can add Geoff Swaim into that mix too, mainly because he has been gifted a fantastic opportunity over in Duval county. Fellow newcomer and starting quarterback Nick Foles has had good success in the past when throwing to tight ends too; In his second stint in Philadelphia, Foles built a good rapport with superstar Zach Ertz, whilst also working with Travis Kelce at the Chiefs in 2016 and Jared Cook with his time as a St Louis Ram in 2015.

Swaim spent the majority of his rookie contract in Dallas firmly in the shadow of Jason Witten and didn’t get an opportunity to show any kind of attacking prowess until last season whilst Witten entertained us from the commentary booth instead of on the field.

Even then, Swaim found himself having to split targets with fellow tight ends Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, and even though he wasn’t the biggest producer out of the three, he was the most consistent with an 81.3% catch rate – which was also the highest on the team and 14th best in the league.

swaim
Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

This year, Swaim is taking those safe hands to pastures new where there is only an unproven rookie in Josh Oliver to contend with on the depth chart for pass-catching duties out of the tight end position.

In fact, the whole receiving core in Jacksonville is up for debate. With no clear WR1, no proven hot hand in the receiving game and a new quarterback with a proven track record of success throwing to tight ends, Geoff Swaim could be a sneaky pickup for fantasy players despite not having the best career-to-date statistics. Opportunity is king for fantasy tight ends and Swaim may well be the endzone target the Jags are crying out for.

The cliff that Tom Brady has supposedly fallen off…Where is it Max Kellerman?

by Andy Goddard

Another season has past and yet another Lombardi trophy has been taken back to New
England. When the 2019 season starts Tom Brady will be 42 years old, with the Patriots
quarterback stating that he wants to play until he is 45 leading to that all-time favourite question, will the infamous ‘fall from the cliff’ finally happen?

Max Kellerman thought it would happen three years ago and he doesn’t appear to be backing down. It was July 2016 when Kellerman, whilst appearing as the co-host on ESPN’s First Take, said of Brady, ‘He’s going to fall off a cliff. Tom Brady is going to be a bum in short order’.

https://twitter.com/MyShinyTweets/status/1144279600819789824

 

How do you motivate a man that has won it all numerous times and achieved everything? Well, Kellerman gave Brady and the Patriots all the motivation they needed and Tom Terrific is still using it today.

During an off season workout in June 2019, Brady posted a picture on his Instagram story showing at 41 years old, he is still throwing the ball at 61mph! Included on this post were the words, ‘He’s gonna fall off a cliff’ with a laughing emoji.

 

A direct reference back to Kellerman who seems to predict that every year Brady will begin to show his age. I suppose he has to be right eventually! Doesn’t he?

When you look at this stat compared to other quarterbacks, it is even more impressive. For reference, Josh Allen holds the NFL scouting combine record at 62mph. Check out every QB’s combine throw velocity dince 2008 here:

https://www.ourlads.com/story/default/Quarterback-Ball-Velocity-at-NFL-Combine-2008-2017/10243/dh/

Now without knowing the context of the throw it is hard to really judge just how good this stat is. After all Patrick Mahomes, whilst in his early 20’s, also hit 62mph on a visit to the NFL Network in 2017 but the throw was well off target.

But, whatever the outcome of the throw was, the instagram post shows more to Brady’s mindset than the skill and power attached to the throw. Brady is still holding a
grudge and using whatever he can to motivate him to compete. Brady was once asked, which Super Bowl ring is your favourite? His reply, ‘the next one!’

Brady has been driven to prove people wrong since draft day. Drafted at 199 overall in the sixth round of the 2000 draft. Every team, including the Patriots, passed on him numerous times. In fact, six quarterbacks where taken before Brady and some never played a single snap in the NFL.

Brady finds motivation in everything and everyone. Since Kellerman made the ‘cliff’ comments in 2016, the six time Super Bowl champions stats have been impressive, even by Brady’s standards. In fact the GOAT  seems to be maturing like a fine wine and just keeps getting better with age.

Tom Brady’s regular season stats by age:
In his 20’s: 96 games, 70 wins 24 losses, 61.9 comp%, 21,564 yards, 147 TD’s, 78 INT.
In his 30’s: 141 games, 113 wins 28 losses, 64.9 comp%, 40,018 yds, 309 TD’s, 74 INT.
In his 40’s: 32 games, 24 wins 8 losses, 66 comp%, 8,932 yards, 61 TD’s, 19 INT.

However, Kellerman’s distain of Brady is well known. In January 2019, before the start of
the playoffs, Kellerman took another swipe at Brady by declaring that, ‘I’d rather have all
other QB’s in the AFC not named Tom Brady in these playoffs right now’

Who went on to win the Super Bowl? A certain Tom Brady!

After beating the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game in January 2019, Kellerman stated that, ‘Brady was lucky’. He also went on to say, ‘is Brady the best
quarterback in the NFL? He wasn’t even the best quarterback in the game’

This came after the Patriots had gone into Kansas City as the underdogs and won the game 37-31. An overtime drive, led by Brady, was finished off with a Rex Burkhead touchdown run. During this drive, Brady converted three 3rd and long plays to keep the drive alive and ultimately take his team back to the Super Bowl for a third straight year.

Since Brady’s post, Kellerman has hit back, this time claiming that Brady is nothing more
than a game manager. The ESPN commentator believes that the brilliance of coach Bill
Belichick and the quarterback friendly rules have masked Brady’s regression.

Whilst there is no doubt that Brady may have slowed down from the
days when he had a receiving core that included the great Randy Moss and he threw for
50 touchdowns in a season, Brady is still winning. The fact that the New England Patriots
have been to three Super Bowls in a row and seem to be participating in the AFC
Championship Game every year shows that he hasn’t quite become Blake Bortles!
It would appear however that Max Kellerman seems to be slightly confused. On January
20th 2019, in a broadcast of ESPN’s First Take, he agreed with a statement made by
Patriots owner Robert Kraft that Brady was definitely the greatest player of all time!

Is Kellerman a secret Patriots fan and just looking to provide that extra motivation for Brady and co? He did, however, lean on the fact that Brady has benefitted from playing under Bill Belichick. The argument between Brady and Belichick, and would one have been as successful without the other, is another great discussion.

BRADY
AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Brady is still performing at an exceptionally high level, still winning games and could have one of the best receiving groups in the NFL next season (in my opinion, and, if Josh Gordon returns) alongside a dominant run game. Is it a loathing of Brady and the Patriots or is Kellerman just unable to admit that maybe he was wrong in
2016?

Either way, Brady can thank Kellerman for providing that extra motivation that
drives him on every year. With the latest soundbites from Kellerman, the whole of the NFL better be wary of Brady and his Patriots yet again as the edge of the cliff still appears to be far in the distance!

Mock Draft 5.0; But What If Kyler Murray Does Go #1?

Let me just get this in there straight away; there’s no way I think this happens, I’m not saying it *at all* I’m just saying, now he’s measured at 5’10 and 207 lbs, what if Kyler Murray does go off the board at number one overall… what IF the Cards did take him or traded back for a Kings-bury’s ransom?!

 

I’ve also included a few other juicy picks for you all. Enjoy!

 

 

  1. Cardinals – Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

 

Look, if we’re going to get weird, let’s get weird. The Cardinals trade Josh Rosen to the Redskins for the 15th overall pick and Kliff Kingsbury kicks his era off by selecting his quarterback.

 

  1. 49ers – Nick Bosa, Edge, Ohio State

The other big winner in the Kyler Murray trade in this scenario are the 49ers who just sit pretty at number 2 and get the perfect player to take their defense to the next level.

 

  1. Dolphins (mock trade with the Jets) – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Two Buckeyes back to back. The Dolphins would have to pay a heck of a lot to do this but with Murray off the board they simply have to get a QB. So they mortgage their future and hand the keys to the franchise to Young Simba; Dwayne Haskins.

The Jets also win as they get the claw back some of that draft capital they spent last year moving up to take Sam Darnold.

 

  1. Raiders – Josh Allen, Edge, Kentucky

Allen is paired with Arden Key off the edge and brings that speed. He’s raw but he has just come off a monster year in Kentucky. He’s the guy that Oakland rests their hopes on in replacing Khalil Mack.

 

  1. Buccaneers – Quinnen Williams, IDL, Alabama

With all the QB movement up front and the fact Oakland doubled down last year on the interior defensive line, Tampa Bay hits the jackpot. This would be like when a lottery team wins the number 1 pick in the NBA; Quinnen Williams is the best player in this draft for some. Tampa gets their replacement for Gerald McCoy and someone to pair with Vita Vea… that’s a lot of interior pass rush right there.

 

  1. Giants – Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

Jawaan Taylor is a big man, with really long arms and enough quickness to thrive in the NFL. Last year he really improved, cut weight and put some impressive performances on tape. He didn’t work out at the combine due to a hamstring injury but watch out at the pro day… Taylor is a top 10 lock.

 

  1. Jaguars – Garrett Bradbury, IOL, N.C. State

This might be a shock pick but Garrett Bradbury is the best interior lineman in this draft and if anyone is going to sneakily move up the draft, it’s going to be him. The trade talks surrounding Leonard Fournette seem to have died down somewhat so they’ll probably be pounding the ball again in 2019. Norwell, Linder and Bradbury would form one of the best interior trios in the league.

 

  1. Lions – Brian Burns, Edge, Florida State

Ziggy Ansah is gone and he needs replacing; having a top 10 pick is the ideal spot to replace a guy at a premier position, so go and do it. I’d like to see the Lions double dip on edge guys bringing one in via free agency… probably more of an old head to can mentor Burns and compliment him from the other side. A’Shawn Robinson and Snacks Harrison would complete a nice D line if they went and put that plan into action.

 

  1. Bills – D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

I said it in my previous mock, the M.O for Buffalo this off season absolutely had to be to a) protect Josh Allen and b) give him some targets to throw to. Metcalf is, in my opinion, the best target you can give someone in this draft class.

 

  1. Broncos – Ed Oliver, IDL, Houston

For any defense the name of the game is to get to the opposing quarterback as often as possible, first and foremost. That’s the game… yes, it helps having ball-hawking DB’s but if you stop the ball coming out in the first place because the passer is on the ground, that’s even better. Von Miller, Bradley Chubb, Ed Oliver; Your QB better be able to move.

 

  1. Bengals – T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

How about this for a cat amongst the pigeons? Look, I know I’ve pretty much mocked the Bengals getting a linebacker the whole time… let’s spice it up, the draft is 7 rounds long, they can get (a poor) one later on.

Give Andy Dalton a helping hand and complete the offense. Mixon in the backfield, Tyler Boyd, A.J Green and now T.J. Hockenson. That’s going to be a problem. The game is now just about scoring… Tyler Eifert used to score an awful lot, let’s bring that back to the Queen City; a tight end being a mismatch problem.

 

  1. Packers – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

The Iowa tight ends go back to back and Aaron Rodgers has the weapon that Jimmy Graham was supposed to be to play with Davante Adams and those young guys the drafted in the mid rounds last year. Like I said above, the game is about putting up points.

 

  1. Jets (trade with Dolphins) – Cody Ford, OT, Oklahoma

The Jets are a winner here along with the Dolphins. They slide back 10 spots and still get one of the best offensive linemen in the draft. I view Ford as a tackle but I know some may see him as a guard at the next level. Either way Sam Darnold has an athletic guy in front protecting him.

 

  1. Falcons – Christian Wilkins, IDL, Clemson

There’s no way Grady Jarrett is leaving town but they need someone to come in and play next to him. Wilkins could have come out last year but he went back to Clemson amamd improved his stock greatly. If it wasn’t for all the trading up front he could be off the board much earlier.

 

  1. Cardinals (mock trade with the Redskins) – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

So as mentioned above, Josh Rosen is now the starter in D.C which gives the Cards another first rounder which is incredibly valuable given that have so many needs. Williams becomes Kyler Murray’s blind side protector for the next decade.

 

  1. Panthers – Chris Lindstrom, Boston College

Cam Newton is injured far too often, Lindstrom helps there. Chris Lindstrom played at Boston College where they ran the ball more than most teams in the NCAA. Carolina also have 3 starters whose contracts are up so the need is definitely three.

 

  1. Browns – Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Once Freddie Kitchens took a proper hold of the offense the Browns really started to feel dangerous, so in my book they’ve just got to keep adding weapons. John Dorsey started to do so when he took the decision to sign Kareem Hunt, he could continue that by adding the small but speedy Brown to Cleveland’s wide receiver corps. Brown gives Baker Mayfield a deep ball outlet and frees up space underneath for Jarvis Landry and David Njoku.

 

  1. Vikings – David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin

Edwards comes in as a tall and thick tackles who is agile and light on his feet and can form a nice pair of young bookends with Brian O’Neill who was drafted last year. Edwards was part of a talented line in Wisconsin, whom we actually joined as a tight end before switching to tackle. One of my favourite players in this draft.

 

  1. Titans – Jachai Polite, Edge, Florida

The Titans are currently in the business of getting younger in the front seven, they made a nice start to this last year by drafting Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry. Landry and Polite coming off the edges is pure speed, probably too much speed for a lot of tackles to handle… you know what I said earlier ok about the game being about getting to the QB.

 

  1. Steelers – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

Greedy is exactly the kind of long and athletic corner the Steelers love to draft in the first round. They’ve reached for guys of this mould early in the past… obviously they’re not great at getting the picks right hence why they keep having to make them but I think Greedy is a good player who could solve this problem for Pittsburgh.

 

  1. Seahawks – Jaylon Ferguson, Edge, Louisiana Tech

The Seahawks are always the team most likely to spring a surprise in the first round. Ferguson lead the NCAA in sacks so has plenty of production under his belt but obviously at a lower level of competition… but that didn’t stop the Saints trading a first rounder for Marcus Davenport last year. If Ferguson can figure out how to do it again at much better competition he’ll go a long way to replacing Frank Clark in Seattle.

 

  1. Baltimore – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State.

Harlem Butler killed the combine are forced his way into the first round. Conveniently for Baltimore, they need a no bodied, wide receiver with speed and a gigantic catch radius. I present them, Hakeem Butler.

 

  1. Texans – Andre Dillard, OT, Washington State

I avoided drafting a linebacker to Cincinnati earlier to mix it up to the Texans getting an offensive lineman is even more important… no one wants DeShaun Watson to die. Dillard is one of the best pass protectors in this class, so he fits the bill there.

 

  1. Raiders (via Bears) – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

The Raiders continue to upgrade their defense with their second pick of the first round. Gareon Conley now has another corner to partner up with in Murphy. I feel like it would be beneficial if the Raiders got a loaded defense with Kansas City and L.A. both possessing potent offences in the AFC West. They have their QB and a serviceable offensive line so they can skip those positions here. As for the rest of the offense, there’s plenty of wide receiver talent and the sweet spot for running backs is going to be in rounds two through four. They don’t have to wait too long to address offense whether that be at pick 27 or early in the second round either.

 

  1. Eagles – Kelvin Harmon, WR, N.C. State

Philly has just had a few wideouts leave town this off season and behind Alshon Jeffery, they do not have a great deal of depth or even another solid starter so play on the other side.

Much like the Ravens earlier on, they have the good fortune that this draft class is choc full of wide receiver talent at the top and they’re doubly fortunate that they have a good roster with few holes so they have the luxury of being able to choose good players. I present them, Kelvin Harmon.

 

  1. Colts – David Long, CB, Michigan

Long really helped his stock last weekend in Indy, so maybe he could use that good memory to continue to play well at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Colts need some help at corner too so one of the combine’s biggest winners plays the correct position for them to make this selection.

 

  1. Raiders – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

This is an identity pick as well as filling the need at free safety. Josh Allen, Byron Murphy and Thompson could become cornerstones of the Raiders defense for years to come and would have a bond, both between each other and in the minds of fans, since they were all drafted in the same round.

 

  1. Chargers – Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama

L.A. want to learn from their loss to the Patriots in the playoffs and draft a linebacker who can both tackle and drop into coverage, GM Tom Telesco said the Chargers are prioritising the position in the off season. Wilson can do those things really well and the thought of Wilson and Kyzir White, along with the return of Adrian Phillips back can form a tough tackling trio that can all all cover.

 

  1. Chiefs – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware

Kansas will eventually have to move on from Eric Berry. In the meantime, Adderley can play alongside Berry and learn from him. Adderley can play both safety spots, so he has that flexibility that all defensive coordinators crave.

 

  1. Packers (via Saints) – Clelin Ferrell, Edge, Clemson

Packers fill their need at edge by taking Ferrell. Two big ticks in those boxes for the first round. Ferrell can rush the passer but is also a good edge setter and run defender so he adds that discipline that other edge defenders lack.

 

  1. Rams – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

The Rams won’t mind having Bush’s fiery temperament on their squad and they need to freshen up their linebacking room a little bit; they have star power at the defensive line and in the secondary, now they’ll hope Bush brings some more to the front 7.

 

  1. Patriots – Jeffrey Simmons, IDL, Mississippi State

I said this in my last mock about the Eagles and that they won’t care that Simmons is injured to start off with, nor will the Pats. Simmons will be healthy eventually and he’ll fit what New England wants really nicely.

Podcast 63 – Week 14 Preview and Punting!

It’s the weekend so that means a fresh episode of The Full 10 Yards! This week is a little bit different as Tim is away so Lee has taken over the hosting duties for this one. He was ably assisted by Adam who got an extended run out this week and of course was on hand to give you, the good people, his latest advice on how to win some cash monies.
Alongside the usual weekly rundown and punting, we also announced the winner of our November jersey competition winner and give details of our December competition.
You can also check us out on Twitter for those details @Full10Yards.
Enjoy!

Podcast 15 – Let’s get divisional

Good friend Lee Wakefield (@wakefield90) joins us as we take an early look at how the divisions could play out this year. We also run the rule over some end of season awards and decide whether or not Saquon Barkley is a shoo in for Offensive Rookie of the Year but also, why are the Quarterbacks so low in price?

(PS- Apologies for the sound difficulties you may hear in this podcast).

NFL Draft 2018: Round 1 Analysis: Picks 11-21

Welcome to the 2nd part of the NFL 2018 first round draft.

Minkah Fitzpatrick kicks us off at pick 11 in the first round and is now a Miami Dolphin. Not quite sure what position Minkah will slot in to in the Dolphins defence but his versatility will be something that the Dolphins needs. I cant see anything but a top 5 pick for the dolphins next season so don’t expect anyone to pull up trees here in Miami’s draft haul. You are not going to be drafting the Miami defence either due to their lack of turnover creation, so this pick is irrelevant from a defence standpoint in fantasy.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made their first selection at 12, after trading with Buffalo their original spot at 7, and this was the pick that prevented me from having a profitable night. Turns out it was smokescreens all week that they would be drafting Derwin James and decided to go Vita Vea, the defensive tackle from Washington. This completes a formidable front 4 for Tampa on the defensive side to go with Jason Pierre-Paul, who they signed in free agency.

Washington Redskins at pick 13  selected DaRon Payne, another defensive tackle and I bet they were gutted Vita Vea was not there just as much as I was. It was obvious Washington would address the D Line with their first pick and Payne joins Alabama teammate Allen to help out on a depleted D Line.

A HUGE trade at 14 saw the New Orleans Saints  give up a 2019 1st rounder in what everyone thought was going to be a move for Lamar Jackson. Instead, they got Marcus Davenport, the defensive end from UTSA. The Saints clearly feel they are almost there with their current squad for a Superbowl. The window is only open for 2 more years with Drew Brees.

Jon Gruden’s first pick in the 2018 NFL Draft came at 15, after the  trade with Arizona. They used that selection on the offensive line, selecting Kolton Miller. Most feel that this was a bit of a reach but Miller has the potential to be a star, but you would have thought Oakland would go for a pick on the defence considering their Free Agency. The pick will help the run game and also protection for Derek Carr, but the Raiders players still have limited appeal for me.

Another trade at 16 saw the Bills trade up for Tremaine Edmunds, the linebacker from Virginia Tech. One of the youngest in this draft at 19, he has the potential to be quite a special player.

The continuation of non skill players continues at 17, and arguably the pick of the first round for me with Derwin James joining the Los Angeles Chargers. Many had him as a top 10 lock, including myself, so for him to finally go at 17 is an absolute steal. The defence now for the Chargers is arguably one of the best in the AFC, maybe only behind the Jaguars. Chargers now have a safety that can do anything in the secondary. sleeper pick for a top 3 defence next year considering the talent there.

Green Bay traded back up to 18 with Seattle from their New Orleans traded pick at 27 to select a very good corner in Jaire Alexander. The defence is a big need for Green Bay and they get a very important piece with this selection. Alexander is a very clever football player and excels in zone coverage.

The first pick for the hosting team of the 2018 NFL draft had a lot of people assuming they would go Wide Receiver, especially as none have been taken to this point, but Leighton Van der Esh was selected by Dallas at 19. The pairing of him and a hopefully healthy Sean Lee will be massive for this team. Could be a very underrated defence coming in to the season, especially if the offence returns to its clock-chewing, long drive type.

The final two picks in this post both went to the ball snappers on the offence. Detroit selected Frank Ragnow at 20 and Cincinnati selected Ohio State Center Billy Price. Ragnow is arguably the best Center in the draft and will hopefully help open up some running lanes for the running backs that have not been there for the past few years. Billy Price is off the back off an injury, but it was a big need for the Bengals, so not surprised that may have taken a slight risk here, especially with their likely 1st pick Ragnow, being snipered before them.

 

So there we have it, a lot of defensive players going in the 11-21 range (8 out of 11). The pick of the round is surely Derwin James to the Chargers. The most surprising or “worst” pick is harder to decipher but i suppose the draft capital New Orleans have given up to take Marcus Davenport is a contender, as is Kolton Miller for the Raiders, where the defence was in much more need of support.

Look out for the next post which will look at picks 22-32 and we will also be posting a podcast later on in the week, when Lee Wakefield joins us for a full NFL draft review of the first round.

Remember we are still running our #raceto500 where we will be giving away an NFL jersey. So if you are not following us, why not?

Thanks for reading and your support.