Season in Review – Cincinnati Bengals

By Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

Today’s flashback to the 2019 NFL season is through the lens of Bengals fans. Let’s get to it!


entering the season

All off season it seemed as though the entire NFL was on the hunt for the “next Sean McVay”. Well the winners of that race was to be the Bengals as they snagged Zac Taylor to lead the franchise after finally parting ways with Marvin Lewis.

Was this finally the year that Andy Dalton moved out of the definition of bang average to something better than that? Would the offence have more variety and explosion? Could AJ Green stay healthy?

Defensively there was a lack of firepower going in and the Bengals polarised opinion form being basement dwellers to one of the league’s most under-rated teams.


during the season

On the road in week 1 to Seattle is never an easy assignment but the Bengals pushed them all the way and were unfortunate not to leave with a win.

Some further close defeats followed at the hands of the Bills, Cardinals and Ravens as the Bengals failed to register in the win column before making the trip across the pond to battle the rams at Wembley Stadium. Unfortunately for UK fans the losing streak continued as the Rams took care of business. Attention started to turn towards the 2020 season and if the Bengals could register a win at all during the campaign.

Image Credit – Wilfredo Lee / AP

A move at quarterback followed the bye week with Ryan Finley, who had been impressive in preseason, given the opportunity to start week 10. His 3 game audition bought 3 more defeats to move the record to 0-11 before the ginger prince was reinstated into the lineup for the week 13 encounter with the Jets.

December 1st was the 1st win of the Bengals season and in the coaching career of Zac Taylor as the Bengals caught the Jets on one of their regular an off days to win 22-6. A return to losing ways followed however and a week 16 loss to the Miami Dolphins secured the number 1 pick in the 2020 draft for the Bengals.


offseason outlook

The excitement will now build for the franchise as we head towards the draft. Most draft analysts will have them slated to take Joe Burrow to become the signal caller on a team that has had 10 years of middling play at the position. However, do not be fooled into thinking that the problems on this team all stem from Andy Dalton.

Image result for joe burrow
Image Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty

There are issues on the offensive line (seemingly always), AJ Green never saw the field this year and is likely done in the jungle so a new wide receiver is needed.

Upgrades are required throughout the defence and it would be wrong to not at least debate if Zac Taylor is the right guy after a 2 win season.

There appears to be plenty of work ahead in Cincinnati to reshape the Bengals into a competitive unit. I wouldn’t rule out a trade down from number 1 overall if the can find a willing trade partner, with the Dolphins sitting at 5 (and armed with ammo) the most likely candidate in this scenario. 

Where Do They Go From Here; Bengals

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

Today we take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals . Don’t forget to check out the AFC North podcast where we talk to a fan and get their thoughts on them!

How Did Last Season Go?

After 5 weeks, you were wondering if it had finally all come together for the Red Rifle and Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati. But no, it wasn’t to be.

From those highs of a 5-3 record in the AFC North prior to their bye week, to the lows of hiring Hue Jackson, things quickly got out of hand *insert Ron Burgundy GIF* ending in a 6-10 end of season record.

Andy Dalton got injured week 12 vs Cleveland which saw his season end prematurely and the replacement Jeff Driskell was not asked to do anything spectacular. Coupled with that, a tough schedule after the bye week (Saints, Ravens, a good Browns x2, Chargers and Steelers in the schedule).

The season will probably be mainly remembered for the Cleveland trollings from Baker and Randall with Hue Jackson on the sidelines and also the end of Marvin Lewis’s tenure as the head coach after 16 seasons as head coach (and no playoff wins).

Bengals had some injuries to deal with on both sides of the ball to their main talents including Joe Mixon, AJ Green, Vontaze Burfict, Nick Vigil, Carl Lawson and Dre Kirkpatrick which didn’t help their cause but once Dalton went down, so did the curtains. Despite that, there were bright spots on offence for Mixon and also Tyler Boyd who both had 1000 yard seasons rushing and receiving respectively whilst John Ross somehow managed to get himself into the endzone 7 times also.

Housekeeping

Long term Head Coach Marvin Lewis has been relieved of his duties and Zac “Sean McVay disciple” Taylor has been brought in to invigorate the team.

The Bengals have the 9th most cap space and pick 11 in the first round of the draft. 2 more picks in the top 100 (42 & 72) means that they will have to hit on a lot of their selections.

With Zac Taylor coming in as the new HC, it will be interesting to see how much of that he is allowed to play with and how much trust he is given in compiling the squad he wants.

Outgoings

You shouldn’t see too many heading for the exit door in terms of players but one to keep an eye on is Andy Dalton; If Taylor decides to cut ties with the Red Rifle, he would cost absolutely nothing to toss to the gutter.

Incomings

Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, Tyrod Taylor or Teddy Bridgewater could plausibly be the week 1 starter for the Bengals should Andy Dalton be cut. Yikes. If you put a gun to my head (and let’s face it, talking about the Bengals QB situation can drive you to that) I would say Dalton stays. If he goes, I expect Tannehill to come in.

The Bengals will probably address the defence in the draft as well as the Free Agency considering the state of affairs. I would expect a number of players to come in via Free Agency but may be tough to attract the top end talent. But as Shane McMahon’s theme music would tell you, “money talks”.

Oh yeah and Zac Taylor is in at HC. A 35 year old who has never had experience as an OC in the NFL (did so at the College level for 1 year in 2016), let alone a Head Coaching position. It’s who you know that gets you a job, it’s what you know that keeps you there. I wonder how much Taylor knows.

The former Rams and prior to that, Miami Dolphins QB coach gets his shot at a head coaching gig and there are a wide range of outcomes for next year…

Outlook for Next Year

The aforementioned Zac Taylor needs to make a decision early at QB. It’s a no brainer in my eyes, but I wear glasses soooo….

If Dalton is cut by the Bengals, a transition year with a new QB could put the Bengals behind the 8 ball early. The good thing is that they are a run first team and I expect Mixon to carry the team on his back once again. They have the pieces on offence to make a challenge when all cylinders are on fire, especially with Dalton. Let’s not forget they were the pacemakers for the early part of last season. They have some pieces on defence too, but there is nothing screaming out at me about this team to say that they are going to be challenging for the division. I think the best outcome is the 6 seed with Dalton, without him, I don’t see them having a sniff. Don’t @ me. In terms of personnel, AJ Green will be 31 when the season starts and struggled with injury last season, so it’s not a reach to think he could fall off a cliff in terms of production, meaning Tyler Boyd, John Ross or any new offseason acquisitions will need to step up.

Prediction

I think the Bengals are not in the greatest of positions on any front. The only thing they do have going for them is age; going in to the season, they were the youngest team in the NFL with regards to average team age. In a division where a few teams are ascending, I’m not sure we can apply that statement to the Bengals.

Zac Taylor, despite Marvin Lewis’s long leash, may not be able to get too comfy and coming from the historically legendary coaching tree of Sean McVay (insert Ryan Reynolds The Proposal face palm plane GIF), the wonder if Mike Brown and the gang allow him time. I think it’s doomed personally.

4th place finish seems most likely. Main reason being the changes at HC and potentially at QB. You don’t see many teams making the playoffs where those 2 positions changed prior to the start of the season…

Again, don’t @ me.

Fantasy Football

Andy Dalton – QB2 – will go undrafted in 1QB leagues.

Joe Mixon – RB1 – Late 1st/early 2nd round pick

AJ Green – low WR 1 /high WR 2 – late 2nd/3rd round pick

Tyler Boyd – low WR 2/ high WR 3 – 5th / 6th round pick

John Ross – WR4/WR5 – may go undrafted in most leagues.

Tyler Eifert – Do I have to?

 

Mock Draft Monday – Draft 1.0

It’s Monday….*sigh* so what’s a good remedy to brighten up a Monday?

No, not a beer. A mock draft of course!

It’s never too early to mock draft unless its Week 2 of the regular season and seeing as though it isn’t Week 2 right now, it seems like a perfect time to mock draft.

This week we will be doing our draft with the following setup:

12 team, 1pt PPR , 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and 1 DEF with 6 Bench spots (there is not point doing kickers). The rookies coming in from the 2018 draft will be included in this draft.

As it’s the first one in this series, we shall go easy on ourselves and we will be picking from the number 3 spot. We are drafting on FantasyPros mock draft simulator. A very good tool to use to get comfortable in drafting.

There will be a post or podcast in the very near future on draft strategies so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Right, so we are picking from the 3 seed. I know for a fact that we will be going RB in this first round as i am such an advocate for getting the RB1 locked in and with the 3 spot, you can guarantee that you’ll get a volume type elite back. With it being a PPR league, I am hoping for either LeVeon Bell, Todd Gurley, Zeke or David Johnson types.

Todd Gurley went #1 off the board followed by Antonio Brown.

This leaves us with a decision to make; and whilst no pick here is necessarily a bad one, don’t overthink it. It’s likely that you’ll have your preferences however it comes to you, and for me it’s a coin toss between Lev Bell and Zeke.

I will go Lev Bell, purely on the passing down work that he gets.

So we start off with Lev Bell and as our pick is not until the 10th pick of the 2nd round, I would hope that someone like a Davantae Adams drops this far, although unlikely. Anyone that is a funnelled target monster would be great.

Now, the important thing when drafting, is remember where you are in the draft order. If you are in the middle of the draft order then this doesn’t apply so much but as we are pretty much at one of the book ends, it is vital that you look at the teams picking next to you in between your 2 quick picks (i.e the teams that selected 1st and 2nd overall. This way you can try and identify their moves and stay one step ahead. You have to consider their roster construction to see what positions they may try and fill or are in need of.

in the round 2-3 change around, it’s likely that the 2 teams will have at least 1 RB and 1 WR so in this change around, you should go with who you want and not worry too much about the other 2 teams as its likely 2 WR and 2 RBs go in those 4 picks between your next one in round 3. Therefore, in my mind, I want to look at tiers of players.

Are there any players here that I can grab before these other guys that represent a higher tier than the next guy. Also, looking at the draft board on the whole, 2 teams went double WR and 1 team went double RB. Full list as below:

2018-04-16

Here is what is currently available to me:

QBs: All

RBs: Dalvin Cook, Devonta Freeman, Christian McCaffrey, Mark Ingram & Jordan Howard

WR: Adam Thielen, Tyreek Hill, Doug Baldwin, TY Hilton, Stefon Diggs & Brandin Cooks

TE: Everyone but Gronkowski (went 2.5)

When picking in the spot we are, you should always try and pick the players you like but also taking in to consideration which ones may not get back to you when the 3rd pick comes back round. I would put my house on Dalvin Cook being selected, and any other 3 from the list above. If is had to take a guess – Cook, Freeman, Thielen, Baldwin & maybe Kelce.

To me, this is an easy choice, but only because our turn comes back around very quickly and we will still be able to get the same tier of player when that happens. I am going to take Dalvin Cook, here. Purely because he could be a tier above the rest of the guys. I don’t feel overly comfortable taking a 2nd round pick on any of the WR but I will still be able to take one in the 3rd round (assuming 4 WR don’t go off the board).

So I have taken Dalvin Cook and that gives me 2 RBs to start (one note: if you would guarantee me that Joe Mixon fell to me in the 4th round, I would have gone WR most likely).

The next 4 picks are as follows: Rodgers (QB), Hill(WR),Kelce(TE), Baldwin(WR).

So we have had a bit of luck here as the 2 teams in between us reached a tad on Rodgers and Kelce (in my opinion). You’ll find picking at either end of the draft, that you feel that you may have to reach in order to get the players you want. Don’t be afraid to do that, especially if you think they are going to have a good year. Fantasy Football is all about opinions and it’s ok to make a wrong decision, as long as you learn from it.

So as we have 2 RBs already, it makes sense to go WR. We have Thielen, Hilton, Diggs, Cooks, Fitzgerald, Landry, Robinson. Like I said earlier with my round 2 pick, I want someone that will have targets funnelled to them as its a 1pt PPR. Whilst Thielen and Diggs will get plenty of receptions in this offence, my eyes are drawn towards Larry Fitzgerald – a PPR monster for god knows how long, and Allen Robinson, the new WR at Chicago who will be the focal point of the attack. whilst i don’t mind which WR anyone would go in this situation, for me it’s all about volume and opportunity so I will go with Larry Fitzgerald. Here’s one reason why: Larry fitz is around 90 or so catches from overtaking Tony Gonzalez and making it to No.2 on the all time list. Larry would not have come back unless the coaching staff said to him that we will get you to 2nd. As long Bradford stays healthy,  this will happen(even Mike Glennon can force feed WR, or the opposing Defence…).So with that in mind that’s 90 pts right off the bat for Larry Fitzgerald. The red flags here are injury or hitting the veteran wall (unlikely) and David Johnson. But in effect, this team has no WR apart from Fitzgerald as John Brown has been shown the exit door in free agency, as has Jaron Brown. Leaving just Fitz , FA Brice Butler and JJ Nelson so I am confident if healthy, Fitz gets the receptions record and then sets off into the Sonoran desert.

I take Fitzgerald and wait for a while before it comes back round to my pick at 4.10. On reflection, Larry Fitz as your no.1 WR seems a bit underwhelming, but you just have to trust on the production he will produce, especially in PPR leagues this year. In standard, I would have gone Thielen or Robinson.

So when the pick comes back to me in the 4th Round, here is the draft board:

2018-04-16-1.png

As you can see, most teams are pretty even in terms of roster construction. Team 1 does not have a running back yet so you can bet your bottom dollar that’s where he goes for at least 1 of his two picks that shortly follow mine and it’s hard to know what team 2 will do, having a RB, WR and QB on the board. Whilst Jordan Howard is VERY tempting here and likely will be picked up by team 1 if not team 2 and does represent a tier above the other RBs, there are some good PPR RBs that will still be there when it comes back to me in round 5 (Dion Lewis, Duke Johnson, etc) and i would rather have those than Howard, whose receiving is not the greatest. The WR available to me are: D.Thomas, M.Crabtree, J Smith-Schuster, Sammy Watkins, Pierre Garcon and Robert Woods. Easy choice for me here and it’s Thomas. Mr dependable in PPR for Denver, he is still their no.1 guy there (despite age getting scary for him but the same can be said for Sanders and they now have Case Keenum, who helped Thielen and Diggs have good years so I am really happy to get Thomas here.

The next 4 picks where Howard (gut wrenching stuff for Team 1 there), Russell Wilson (wayyyy too early) and Alex Collins for team 1, followed by Crabtree for Team 2.

So back to me in the 5th Round, I have Bell and Cook as my RBs paired with Larry Fitz and Demaryius Thomas at WR. I feel like this is an important pick here as from round 6, it could start to get a bit dicey. So essentially, this pick will go in to my flex spot and there are plenty of options. Could go QB with Tom Brady, could go TE with Engram or Olsen whereas the RB options are Duke Johnson, Dion Lewis, Derrick Henry, Chris Thompson and Jay Ajayi. My WR options are the same as Round 4 minus Crabtree. As this is a PPR league and RB in PPR are easy to come by, I am going to make a play for WR. As things stand and no big news of 49ers WR signings, I will go for Pierre Garcon here. He is getting on a bit with age, and has not yet played with Jimmy G but he was the focal point of the attack last year and again, I will go for the volume and possession receivers. Did consider Sammy Watkins at the value but he will be too boom or bust for me this year and I don’t want the headache of trying to get him right.

Back round to me in the 6th and we have the following draft board:

2018-04-16-2.png

Bit of a QB run in Round 6 and 4 TEs also went between my picks. So the good news is the WR and RB positions were not as decimated as they could have been. As I have gone 3 straight WR, I want to secure my third RB here. Dion Lewis is still available, but so is his former teammate, Rex Burkhead. Rex has just signed a new 3 year deal with the Patriots and seems to be entrusted with the backfield a bit. Tevin Coleman is also there so I am tempted to take Lewis as he is the fancier name with the Free Agency move and I will hope that one of Burkhead or Coleman come back round to me in 5 picks time.

They do indeed come back round and only Carlos Hyde was selected from an RB perspective. Woods, Shepherd and Edelman also were drafted before my 7.03 selection. There are not a lot of WR shouting out at me, with the best 3 options being Sanders, Kupp and Hogan. As I am an advocate of a late QB and late TE pick, I will go back to an RB. Jay Ajayi could be worth a go here, but I am going with Rex Burkhead.

So to recap, my team is currently Bell, Cook, Lewis and Burkhead at RB. Larry Fitz, D.Thomas and Pierre Garcon at WR. 5QBs and 8RBs went in the next 18 picks which is quite astonishing. I am the only team left needing a first QB, meaning i can probably wait until people start taking their 2nd (if at all), giving me great value filling up the other positions (4 teams still need a TE). I feel like i have to go either TE or WR here. TEs available are Delanie Walker, Jack Doyle, Jordan Reed and Trey Burton. As I am looking at Trey Burton as my TE, I think he wont go for another 2 or 3 rounds so can wait for him. WR available are Kupp, Hogan, Agholor, Benjamin and Lee. I think here is where i can go for a boom or bust player as my team is pretty stable as it is at the moment and I don’t need a QB. Considering how good the Rams were last year, I take the possession receiver Kupp as I want a part of that offence, in a division where defences are poor. He isn’t the boom or bust type, but there will be weeks where he scores big but has a safe floor. 3RBs and Delanie Walker were drafted in between my picks leaving us as follows:

2018-04-16-3.png

You could argue that I should have taken Walker and then a WR as Kupp may have been available which is fair. I’m regretting it already. I would say that now is the time for a TE or QB, but simply not many teams need a TE and none need a QB so i am going to risk the long wait for round 10 to take a TE and then my QB in round 11. I am going to pile in on another receiver. It’s either Agholor or Hogan for me here as they are in the more powerful offences and would rather them than someone like Kelvin Benjamin. I think Hogan was an integral part of the offence prior to injury last year so will take him here.

SPOILER: I wont be taking any rookies here unless its a 15th round flyer. I like to see it first before i draft it.

The Good news is, when it gets to me at 10.10, only 1 TE went. Annoyingly, it was Trey Burton. Seeing as that plan backfired, I feel like I will end up taking 2 TE now and playing them with the matchups. So I immediately take Jordan Reed, who has massive upside if healthy. This will force my hand in taking 2 TE but I am happy with that as my WR and RB are good in depth. Perhaps should take Jack Doyle in a PPR but the signing of Eric Ebron scares me and that Colts offence….yuk.

Jack Doyle is still there in round 11 but I am going to take my QB here. The best QB on the board at the moment is Kirk Cousins. Others available are Big Ben, Dak Prescott, Phillip Rivers, Jameis Winston and Matt Ryan. I am a bit scared of taking Cousins due to the Vikings not necessarily needing much from him with Dalvin Cook and that Defence. Big Ben is very up and down and that’s the case for all of these QBs at this point. But as there are a lot of weapons for Cousins, I will take him and change from my usual take Phillip Rivers ploy.

My team is as follows:

QB: Cousins

RB: Bell, Cook, Lewis, Burkhead

WR: Fitzgerald, D.Thomas, Garcon, Kupp, Hogan

TE: Reed

Options available to me now are TY Montgomery who has potential upside in the GB offence, Desean Jackson, Mohammed Sanu and Ted Ginn, boom or bust WR. However I am going to pick my backup TE to Jordan Reed in George Kittle. Probably not advisable to have players from the same passing attack, but I like Kittle a lot this season coming in to his second year. Could have gone Cameron Brate or Austin Seferian-Jenkins here also.

The turn saw Jacksonville defence come off the board (1st defence to be drafted) and as I am picking late in the last round, I do not want to be left with a middle of the road defence. It’s a take your pick from Minnesota, Philadelphia and for me, Los Angeles Rams. I am going to be controversial and take the Rams before the Vikings and Eagles defences. Don’t @ me. It’s a division where they could feast on the Seattle offence twice a year along with Arizona, one of the worst for giving up sacks last year.

My last pick could be absolutely anyone. RBs on the board are not inspiring: Abdullah, Martin , Breida and Robert Kelley. WRs are Desean Jackson, Corey Coleman, Mike Wallace,  Danny Amendola and Mo Sanu. I don’t need a TE and there is not point taking another defence or QB. So I plump for Sanu, who had some good weeks last year and is the No.1 in Atlanta, if Julio goes down.

So that’s my draft! The good thing about fantasyPros is that they grade your draft and here’s how I did:

2018-04-16-4.png

On reflection, there were probably one or two players I could have waited on a bit longer but this is why you practice drafts. to see what players are in which parts of the draft and get comfortable in predicting who you can get where. I love the RBs on this team and if it was real, i would look to trade one to an RB needy team. Not overly enthused about my TE but if Reed plays 16 games, then I perhaps have the steal of the draft.

Hope you enjoyed the ride! We will do another one soon. perhaps over a podcast as this was very painful to do as a blog and has taken almost 2 or 3 hours.

Love to hear your thoughts on my team or which team won in this draft. For reference, here are the final rosters below:

2018-04-16 (5)

Please get in touch on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram and let us know your thoughts! Don’t forget our #raceto500 giveaway. When we have 500 followers we will give a prize away (likely an NFL jersey!). Please show some support on our website full10yards.com and look at some of the articles and mock drafts that are on there.

Finally, our podcast will be back later in the week where we will be looking at the 2018 NFL draft with our guest mock draft writer, Lee Wakefield.

 

Are You Mocking Me?

First attempt at a mock draft. Not the greatest on College football but this will be the first year I stay up and watch the draft and have a few opinions on who goes where.

To start off, we’ll go easy and assume that there is no more trading (however unlikely).

#1 Cleveland Browns – Sam Darnold (QB)

Impressed in his pro day in the rain (how poetic). Browns will hopefully be sensible and sit him for the season to learn behind the master in not turning the ball over, Tyrod Taylor.

#2 New York Giants – Bradley Chubb (DE)

Really hard to tell what the Giants will do, with ranges including even trading back to acquire more picks. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them go for a QB (have worked out some QBs on pro days and they need a successor for Eli, unless they believe in Webb still). However, for me, with Jason Pierre-Paul going to the Bucs, i can see them using this pick to get their replacement.

#3 New York Jets – Josh Rosen (QB)

Could easily be Josh Allen here instead but one thing is for sure: they are selecting a QB and they HAVE to get it right. Jets paid a king’s ransom to move up just 3 spots and get one of the big 4 QBs rather than choose the one that falls in their lap. This signals to me that they have either Rosen or Allen in mind. They’ll be hoping Giants don’t take either Rosen or Allen so they have a choice, which would go about 10% to justifying the price they paid to get to #3.

#4 Cleveland Browns – Minkah Fitzpatrick (DB)

I don’t buy in to the Saquon Barkley draft pick here. You’ve just traded for Carlos Hyde, who granted isn’t Saquon, but is more than competent in the NFL. Alongside Duke Johnson, they have enough at RB. Drafting Barkley here muddles the backfield and could mean the Browns have too many riches to be able to effectively get the most out of them all. I think they go defence here (Chubb definitely if still available at #4) and Fitzpatrick can add to a tough defence on the back end and start from week 1.

#5 Denver Broncos – Saquon Barkley (RB)

Denver are in a really tough spot at 5, as there are lots of different combinations that can go before leaving them with a multitude of options. In this mock, we still have Barkley, Allen and that doesn’t even include a possiblility of trading back with either the Cardinals or Bills. I would suggest that this does happen. WIth Case Keenum being their QB for the next 2 years and Thomas and Sanders both still in Denver, i think they’ll upgrade with Barkley and it’ll look like the AFC west could be one of the best division in 2018.

#6 Indianapolis Colts – Quenton Nelson (OL)

Seeing at how much Indianapolis have struggled on both sides of the ball (and lines) over the past few years and having received all those picks from the Jets, I think Indy go Quenton Nelson here. Need to protect the (hopefully) returning Andrew Luck and get more out of their run game to help both sides of the ball or risk falling way behind in the AFC South.

#7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Denzel Ward (CB)

Considering the moves Tampa have made in the offseason (Re-sign Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and beef up their pass rush), one of the final pieces to play out would be Tampa taking Denzel ward to help their secondary. He is potentially a shut down corner and would help stop the leaks that appeared last season and help the new formed D-Line to get pressure on opposing QBs.

#8 Chicago Bears – Trumaine Edwards (LB)

With the Offence being overhauled in Free agency, expect Chicago to go front 7 with their draft pick. Their secondary is fine with Fuller and Amukamara so I would be surprised if its not either Edwards, Vita Vea or Roquan Smith.

#9 San Francisco 49ers Derwin James (S)

Seen quite a few mocks with James heading to SF, potentially creating a new Legion of Boom in the NFC west. With Sherman and Witherspoon able to hold down the corners, James could make an impact straight away to compliment the offence nicely.

#10 Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith (LB)

Oakland will likely address their defence, like they have done in FA and will probably go best player available. Either Smith or Harold Landry could go here.

#11 Miami Doplhins – Vita Vea (DT)

With the release of Suh, I see the Dolphins maybe overpaying for Vea, who has rocketed up most people’s draft boards for the last few weeks.

#12 Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen (QB) 

Whilst doing this mock and writing in Josh Allen at 12, it almost feels like steal of the draft for Buffalo. This will likely not happen when it comes to draft day as there will be teams that trade picks and it’ll be interesting to see where the Bills and Cardinals end up in Round 1. If they want a more mobile QB, they’ll go Baker Mayfield, but either should solve Buffalo’s QB situation.

#13 Washington Redskins – ???

Washington could go either Offensive Line or defensive line here. Their run blocking was not great last year, nor was the protection for Cousins. However, their defence also is depleted with a couple of people leaving in Free agency. VIta Vea would be a candidate if still there, as would Maurice Hurst. Good luck guessing the number 13 pick.

#14 Green Bay Packers – Courtland Sutton (WR)

Likely that Green Bay also go defence here but with the departure of Jordy Nelson, I am going to take a massive punt in that they go WR. No, it’s not Calvin Ridley either. Courtland Sutton has done nothing but help his draft stock in the combine and has great measurables.

#15 Arizona Cardinals – Baker Mayfield (QB)

In the unlikely event that Arizona stay at 15, they’ll still be likely getting a QB. either 1 of the big 4 that are left, or could go with Lamar Jackson. As Baker Mayfield is more NFL franchise type quarterback, I’ve taken the Cards to get a solution in a needy position.

#16 Baltimore Ravens – Calvin Ridley (WR)

Considering their awful offence ( and probably should be addressing the defence too), they’ll pair Ridley with Crabtree. Not that Ridley will be happy about it. Josh Jackson (CB) or Marcus Davenport (LB) are other considerations. They’ll likely be picking in the top 10 next season too, likely for a QB.

#17 Los Angeles Chargers – Da’Ron Payne (DT)

Funnily enough, wouldn’t be surprised to see a QB go here. But with realistically all 4 big guys gone, i don’t think they will chance Lamar Jackson, and will pick up a QB later in the draft. There isn’t much need for anything else for the Chargers except maybe someone to run stuff as Bosa and Ingram are nasty on the outside.

#18 Seattle Seahawks – anyone

Seattle are in a huge mess right now, most of the defence has been reshuffled, their offensive line was/is/will be terrible so Seahawks will likely take best player available approach. Considering they would probably want to trust WIlson, they’ll go offensive line, which brings Mike McGlinchey, Connor Williams, Kolton Miller or Isaiah Wynn in to play.

#19 Dallas Cowboys – Arden Key (OLB)

Dallas have done a lot this week in free agency to their O-Line and WR options, so even if Sutton or Ridley were available here, i doubt they would take them (though Dallas loves drafting a name). I think they will probably go defensive side of the ball and have gone for Key, who could be one of the best pass rushers in the draft, to help if Sean Lee gets injured again)

#20 Detroit Lions – Derrius Guice (RB)

Taking a bit of a punt here. Detriot need a running game. They have LeGarrette Blount signed from free agency, but i think they move on from Ameer Abdullah. Lions don’t have any gaping holes anywhere but they aren’t the most efficient either. They may go O-Line so other possibilities are Connor Williams or James Daniels to help with the run blocking.

#21 Cincinnati Bengals – O- Line 

#22 Buffalo Bills – Defensive front 7 (Van der Esch/Marcus Davenport)

#23  Los Angeles Rams – Sam Hubbard (DE/OLB)

With the talented back end of the defence, Hubbard will bring more pressure up front, which proved costly in the playoffs last season.

#24 Carolina Panthers – WR

Carolina probably go best available WR here to go with Torrey Smith and Devin Funchess. As Sutton and Ridley are gone, next up are James Washington or Christian Kirk. Offensive line also not out of the question for Carolina.

#25 Tennessee Titans – Defence (front 7)

#26 Atlanta Falcons – Defence (front 7)

#27 New Orleans Saints – TE

As the Saints did not bring Jimmy Graham back home, it could signal that they will go tight end in the draft. Hayden Hurst or Dallas Goedert are 2 that spring to mind.

#28 Pittsburgh Steelers – Defence

As their offence looks to be all set, expect them to draft on defence.

#29 Jacksonville Jaguars – Lamar Jackson (QB)

As Blake Bortles got sympathy money and another year stay in Jacksonville, they could draft Lamar Jackson, his successor. The extra year could help his development in this type of offence, as it’s not the best fit for him, despite being NFL ready.

#30 Minnesota Vikings – Who knows?

Minnesota could go anywhere with their pick, possibly O-Line.

#31 New England Patriots – No Idea

Patriots have had somewhat of an overhaul so could go for anything from RB/WR to defensive help to replace Butler.

#32 Philadelphia Eagles – Not overly bothered

As you can probably tell, my depth in knowledge isn’t great and I’m t a big fan of the eagles for obvious reasons, so I don’t really care on who they draft. Gun to the head, probably an O-Lineman or  TE

 

WR – Targets On My Back

For fantasy football, it’s all about target shares and receptions…or volume.

Each off season, Wide Receivers, Tight Ends (and Running Backs) that make moves are meticulously assessed for changes in their fantasy output potential.

In this post, we’ll look at players that will see major increases or decreases in workload and therefore, fantasy football output.

Which players will be saved by PPR leagues in terms of scoring? Which players will be touchdown dependant where previously PPR goldmines? Which teams/offences do we want to be investing our draft picks in to come August/September and where should they be drafted?

Well, let me tell you…

For the purposes of this, we’ll use a 1pt PPR format and 10 Team league.

First up:

Jarvis Landry – WR – Cleveland Browns

Jarvis Landry, won me over last year (despite multiple attempts to trade him away). Was on a poor run first Dolphins team, an erratic quarterback in a seemingly crowded WR group. Jarvis Landry has been an absolute goldmine in PPR fantasy over the past few years. Posting the most receptions in the first 4 years of any player in NFL history, Jarvis heads over to Cleveland, a WR wasteland since Churchill led us into battle (maybe a bit of an exaggeration).

I like using the metaphoric of pies when it comes to fantasy skills positions. How big a pie is and how good it’s slices are

If Cleveland WR production was a pie (in fact Cleveland in general), last year it would have been an out of date, mouldy steak and ale pie. More importantly, it would have been a small pie.

Jarvis Landry goes from Jay Cutler/Ryan Tannehill’s security blanket to Tyrod Taylor’s move the sticks guy and that doesn’t mean good news for fantasy football GMs.

Whilst Jarvis Landry is a good move for the Browns (cost aside) in terms of helping them sustain drives and staying in games, giving them some of the safest hands in the game for 3rd down plays, last year’s production will probably translate over to Cleveland, with less touchdowns. Landry’s 9 TDs last year represented what looks to be an outlier. The previous 3 seasons Landry scored 4,4 and 5 TDs. I cannot see any plausible outcome range for Jarvis Landry where he surpasses 1000 yards or 7 TDs in this offence.

There are too many mouths to feed in Cleveland for production that is probably going to be lower than average. Tyrod Taylor isn’t a trailblazer at the QB position. He is just simply average. But that’s what Cleveland needs this year. He is conservative, he is smart but also very clever at not turning the ball over or making mistakes. Cleveland completed 280 passes last year, 319 the year before with car crash QBs. This was when Cleveland were constantly chasing games and always playing from behind. That trend should start to fade slightly but you should still find this year that you should see an increase in receptions as drives should last longer and Tyrod is a more competent QB.

Cleveland will get enough out of the run game (himself included, but may change if Barkley is drafted) and throw the ball when he needs to.  This essentially culminates in a sharp decline for Jarvis Landry and should not be considered more than a WR3. He may still provide value in full point PPR leagues but i certainly wont be considering him in standard scoring and maybe not even 0.5pt PPR leagues. Landry averaged 8.8yards per catch last year and had over 100 catches and unless he is given the green light to run some deep routes, he is not going to scare any defences. Nor will he scare any opposing GMs if he starts on your fantasy teams in 2018.

I think its reasonable to expect around 60 receptions for Landry for around 650 or so yards and around 6 TDs. In a full PPR league that gives him 161 points and around WR 34. Hardly inspiring.

So my advice for Landry is to pick him up in the later rounds in 1pt PPR only if he is still there and should still considered for best ball leagues in the same format. People may draft him in single digits rounds in more relaxed leagues due to his name. He is only worth a late round flyer who should be cut if things don’t gel (chances are he is out of Cleveland next year too if things don’t go well).

As for the Browns offence in general, there is production to be taken advantage of. Forget what has happened in previous years as this is a new Browns team with a new GM and a new outlook.

Tyrod Taylor will always have a place in fantasy due to his mobility and his rushing TDs. He’ll be a stream candidate but wont win you titles (not a bad compliment if you draft 2 late round QBs to mix an match throughout the season a la Phillip Rivers or Andy Dalton).

Carlos Hyde will be another that probably gets overdrafted and his appeal in PPR is little due to Mr Duke Johnson having full dibs on passing down work. Expect Carlos to catch around 20-30 passes and be a slight upgrade on Isiah Crowell. Cleveland had 102 receptions to the RB position last year and i expect Duke to hit around the 80 mark. Seeing as though Cleveland struggled to run last year (mainly due to gamescript), you should expect the actually talented offensive line to be better this year and slightly more production to come from the RB position. Problem is for Hyde, is that Tyrod will vulture a lot of that from him. I have Carlos Hyde as an RB3 so shouldn’t be relied upon for consistent fantasy production.

At the WR and TE positions, it really is a stab in the dark at what to expect and everyone’s favourite person to draft will be Josh Gordon from this team. Josh Gordon is certainly one for best ball leagues considering his style of play and his big play ability. Gordon’s problems seem to be behind him and was good to see him “flash” some ability towards the back end of last season. If Landry, Coleman and NJoku help take some coverage off of Gordon, he could have a monster year. If you can get Gordon in round 3 or 4 as your WR 2, you’ll be in good shape. The slight question mark on him stops me from making him a WR candidate. David Njoku isn’t a bad option if you stream the TE position but the same earmarks of issues in Cleveland with a small pie and many slices of it to go round.

Player to draft: Josh Gordon – Round 3/4

Late round flyer: Tyrod Taylor – Round 11/12

Avoid: Corey Coleman, Carlos Hyde


Next edition – Davantae Adams and the Green Bay Offence.