Fantasy Football Strategy, Advice, and Commentary
By: Doug Orth — November 3, 2013 @ 10:21 pm
Note: Fantasy highlights are from the early games only.
For the second time in three weeks, Washington, D.C. was front and center for a plethora of fantasy points and more frustration for Alfred Morris owners. It’s not as if the second-year back had a poor day with a season-high 121 rushing yards and a touchdown, but FB Darrel Young played the vulture role that backup RB Roy Helu Jr. enjoyed in Week 7 with three short scores against the soft interior of the San Diego Chargers defense.
Washington WR Pierre Garcon (seven receptions for 172 yards) has caught at least five passes in every game this season, but his yardage and touchdown totals have disappointed for most of the season. While Garcon was kept out of the end zone for the fourth straight game, he made up for it with a career-high yardage total. Redskins rookie TE Jordan Reed (four catches for 37 yards; 18 yards rushing) saw his a recent string of quality fantasy performances snapped after a quick start in Week 9, but his status as an every-week starter remains unchanged.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen (eight receptions, 128 yards and a touchdown) continued to prove why he should remain a fixture in fantasy lineups for the rest of the season. Over his last four contests, the third-round selection out of California posted at least 100 yards receiving and a touchdown three times. San Diego QB Philip Rivers (341 yards passing, two touchdowns and two interceptions) had a rare inefficient performance, but most owners will be happy to put up with such numbers in an “off-game” from one of the top five quarterbacks in fantasy this season.
Other Week 9 fantasy highlights:
- New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (nine catches, 116 yards and two touchdowns) continues his contract-year push and assault on the NFL record books despite playing through a partially torn plantar fascia in a loss to the New York Jets. The former college basketball player is one touchdown short of his career high for a season (11) through eight games and easily on pace to break Rob Gronkowski‘s single-season record of 17 with the New England Patriots in 2011.
- Two of the bigger disappointments at running back over the first half of the season began the process of making amends to their fantasy owners in Week 9. Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson (170 total yards and two scores) broke the century mark for the first time this season and scored his first two rushing touchdowns as well against the St. Louis Rams. Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (155 total yards) has been dogged by a high-ankle sprain for most of the season and was still clearly affected by it against the Kansas City Chiefs, but still broke loose for runs of 29 and 61 yards.
- There was a time earlier in the week when Rams RB Zac Stacy appeared unlikely to play and backup Daryl Richardson had a shot to be relevant in fantasy. By the time Sunday rolled around, the roles reversed and Stacy erased what little doubt remained about his feature-back status with 27 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans. The fifth-round rookie entered the contest with only seven receptions, but caught six passes in one of the finer fantasy performances by a running back during the early wave of games.
- The Minnesota Vikings may not know who their starting quarterback is from week to week, but the focal point of the offense doesn’t figure to change anytime soon. RB Adrian Peterson (177 total yards and a rushing TD) nearly matched his rushing totals from the last three weeks combined with 140 yards against the Dallas Cowboys. In the same game, Dallas TE Jason Witten (eight catches, 102 yards and a touchdown) proved why owners cannot bench QB Tony Romo‘s main target no matter how long he comes up a bit short in the box score. Witten had an inconsistent first half last season as well, only to set a league record for receptions by a tight end with 110.
- Quite often in fantasy, being opportunistic in a given week is just as important as being good. Such was the case for the Chiefs, who were outgained 470-210 against the Bills. Kansas City made up for its shortcomings with defense as CB Sean Smith intercepted Buffalo rookie QB Jeff Tuel at the goal line in the third quarter and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown. LB Tamba Hali scooped up a fourth-quarter fumble from Bills WR T.J. Graham and added a second defensive score from 11 yards out.
By: Doug Orth — October 28, 2013 @ 9:04 am
Megatron has 200+ yards receiving in five games during his career.
Over a three-week stretch from late September to early October, Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson totaled seven catches for 69 yards and a touchdown as he battled a knee injury that forced him to miss a game. Life has gotten exponentially better for the Lions and his fantasy owners since. “Megatron” proved to be more machine than man in Week 8, setting career highs with 14 catches for 329 yards and a score in a thrilling comeback win against the Dallas Cowboys.
In addition to posting his fifth career 200-yard game – tying Hall-of-Famer Lance Alworth for the most in NFL history – Johnson’s yardage total fell just seven yards short of Willie “Flipper” Anderson’s all-time record. By comparison, Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (three receptions, 72 yards and two touchdowns) – who created a stir earlier in the week when he compared himself favorably with Johnson – created as much chaos on the sidelines with his teammates as he did on the field, but delivered the goods in fantasy just as he has most of the season.
Detroit piled up 623 yards of total offense, so QB Matthew Stafford (season-high 488 yards and a TD) and RB Reggie Bush (122 total yards and a score) came through for fantasy owners in a game that featured only 20 points through three quarters, but turned into a shootout thanks to a 41-point fourth quarter.
Other Week 8 fantasy highlights:
– Were it not for Johnson threatening a NFL record, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (332 yards and five touchdowns) would have stolen the show in fantasy. Rookie WR Kenny Stills (three catches, 129 yards and two touchdowns) and TE Jimmy Graham (three receptions, 37 yards and two TDs) did plenty of damage with their limited opportunities. Graham’s effort was particularly impressive after the team revealed he has a partially torn plantar fascia late this week.
– The San Francisco 49ers figured to have their way with the winless Jacksonville Jaguars in London and did not disappoint. QB Colin Kaepernick (164 yards passing, 54 yards rushing and three total touchdowns) baffled the Jaguars with zone-read runs for the second straight week while Frank Gore (71 rushing yards and two TDs) scored twice on the ground as well. TE Vernon Davis (three receptions, 52 yards and a touchdown) got in on the action before San Francisco took the air out of the ball in the second half.
– For at least one week, it didn’t matter that Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon (five catches, 132 yards and a score) and TE Jordan Cameron (four receptions for 81 yards) were working with their third different quarterback in Jason Campbell, who kept his team close for most of the day with 293 yards and two touchdown passes in a loss against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. It was easily the best performance a Cleveland quarterback has enjoyed since Brian Hoyer was lost for the season, so perhaps not all is lost with Campbell after all.
– In the same game, WR Dexter McCluster (seven receptions, 67 yards and touchdown) posted his second straight strong effort – especially in PPR leagues. McCluster will always struggle to see a full complement of snaps due to his slight build, but his ability to get open in the short-passing game should continue to be an asset in a Chiefs’ offense that rarely takes a shot downfield.
– The New England Patriots trailed 17-3 at halftime, mustered only 252 yards of total offense for the game and still managed to win rather handily despite 116 yards passing from QB Tom Brady. Rookie WR Aaron Dobson (four catches, 60 yards and a TD) was the only Patriot receiver to enjoy much of a day as TE Rob Gronkowski (two receptions for 27 yards) and WR Danny Amendola (three catches for 15 yards) were held in check. RB Stevan Ridley (79 yards and a score) continued his resurgence and has found the end zone four times over his last three games.
– New York Giants K Josh Brown entered the weekend with seven field goals on the season. However, thanks to the continued red-zone struggles from his offense, he accounted for all of his team’s scoring with five field goals against the listless Philadelphia Eagles to carry the day for the few fantasy owners that started him.
By: Doug Orth — October 21, 2013 @ 9:53 am
RGIII is back to his running ways.
The United States government brought a close to its shutdown this week and the Washington Redskins ended their own unproductive stretch in the nation’s capital when they outlasted the Chicago Bears in what was a fantasy-point bonanza. Washington QB Robert Griffin III, who began to show his rookie form last week, put together the kind of performance that became the norm last season with 298 yards passing, 84 yards rushing and two scores. Griffin may not be all the way back until next year, but he will continue to be an every-week start in all leagues.
Bears RB Matt Forte (109 total yards and career-high three rushing touchdowns) had four carries for nine yards and a TD at halftime, but continued his push to the top of the fantasy football mountain at his position. With Chicago playing the last two-plus quarters without QB Jay Cutler (groin), Forte almost singlehandedly carried the offense – becoming the first Bear since Rashaan Salaam in 1995 to run for three touchdowns in the same game.
Redskins rookie TE Jordan Reed (nine receptions, 134 yards and a score), who was already beginning to emerge as a low-end TE1 option in PPR leagues as a player with the ability to create mismatches in the same way Aaron Hernandez did in New England, has likely ascended into an every-week fantasy starter – regardless of format. Washington RB Roy Helu Jr. (48 total yards and three rushing TDs) overshadowed starter Alfred Morris (95 rushing yards) and may have forced his way into more playing time as a result.
Other Week 7 fantasy highlights:
– The story of the week was supposed to be how TE Rob Gronkowski‘s return was going to spark the New England Patriots’ offense and, more specifically, QB Tom Brady‘s return to fantasy prominence. Gronkowski (eight catches, 114 yards) came on with some big plays late and rewarded his owners after a six-week layoff, but Brady (228 yards and an interception) was held without a touchdown for the second time in three games in a loss to the New York Jets
– The Atlanta Falcons might have been without their top two receivers, but that didn’t keep two other wideouts from putting up Roddy White and Julio Jones-like numbers in the Georgia Dome. Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (10 catches, 138 yards and two touchdowns) scored two times for the second straight week while Falcons WR Harry Douglas burned the Bucs for seven receptions, 149 yards and a touchdown. While the effort doesn’t mean Douglas is an every-week starter, owners can feel better about using him going forward.
– It may be time to start giving Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton (372 yards and three touchdowns) a little bit of credit after his second straight 300-yard, three-TD performance. In addition to going toe-to-toe with Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford (357 yards and three scores) in fantasy box scores, Dalton helped silence his critics with an 82-yard scoring strike to WR A.J. Green (six catches, 155 yards and a score). Lions WR Calvin Johnson announced his return to fantasy prominence as well after dealing with a recent knee injury, grabbing nine balls for 155 yards and two touchdowns.
– Two running backs who may have become fantasy afterthoughts – the San Diego Chargers’ Ryan Mathews (110 rushing yards and a touchdown) and the Jets’ Chris Ivory (104 rushing yards) took advantage of soft matchups in wins over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Patriots, respectively. Both backs are long on talent and short on durability, giving their owners a nice week-long window with which to trade the injury-prone players for upgrades at other positions.
– In addition to Cutler, owners will need to keep an eye out for a handful of prominent injured fantasy players over the next week. Bucs RB Doug Martin was forced from the game after suffering a shoulder injury, Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles left with a concussion and St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford did not return after a left leg injury. While Rams backup QB Kellen Clemens can be left on waivers, owners may need to consider Bucs RB Mike James or Eagles rookie QB Matt Barkley (assuming Michael Vick is still sidelined by his hamstring next week).
By: Doug Orth — October 14, 2013 @ 1:48 pm
Nick Foles is making his case to be the Eagles starting quarterback.
At the beginning of the week, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly left open the possibility that Nick Foles could supplant Michael Vick as the starting quarterback. While Foles didn’t go 100-for-100 with 27 touchdown passes as Kelly stated in his press conference, the rookie coach was probably quite pleased with his backup signal-caller, who went 22-for-31 for 296 yards and four total touchdowns (including a rushing score).
With Foles in fine form, receiver Riley Cooper exploded for a career-high 120 yards, receiver DeSean Jackson scored twice and running back LeSean McCoy added 171 total yards against a respectable Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Vick told reporters on Saturday that “it’s going to be a long road” back to health from the hamstring injury that forced him out of the game in Week 5.
The Q: Should Foles stay as starter?
While it seems unlikely Vick will lose his job, Foles could make it interesting with a similar effort in Week 7 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Other Week 6 fantasy highlights:
– Owners need to recognize that although Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton cannot be special every week, he is more than capable of performing at an elite level – especially when he has a favorable matchup. The third-year signal-caller did most of his damage over the first three quarters against a listless Minnesota Vikings defense, throwing for 242 yards and three touchdowns while adding 30 yards and another score on the ground.
– A couple of players likely drawing the ire of their owners entering Week 6 finally came through in a big way. With running mate Mike Williams out due to a hamstring, Tampa Bay receiver Vincent Jackson (nine catches, 114 yards and two scores) shredded a leaky Eagles’ secondary. Similarly, Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (nine receptions, 97 yards and a TD) tore apart a Carolina Panthers defense that entered the game giving up the second-fewest points per game to the position. Regardless, after two interceptions from quarterback Matt Cassel, Minnesota fans are probably counting the minutes until Josh Freeman is named the starter.
– To steal a tired old line, Houston … we do have a problem. Fantasy owners will probably take no issue with the bottom lines of running back Arian Foster (198 total yards) and wide receiver Andre Johnson (seven catches, 88 yards), but the Texans have become a turnover machine. Backup T.J. Yates took over for injured quarterback Matt Schaub in the third quarter and picked up where he left off, throwing two interceptions. The first of those miscues led to the fifth straight game the Texans have seen an interception returned for a touchdown against them.
– Unlike Houston, the Green Bay Packers overcame adversity on their way to a victory over the Baltimore Ravens, but it may have come at a steep price. Wide receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb were lost to knee injuries, with Cobb potentially suffering the more serious of the two. WR Jordy Nelson (four catches, 113 yards and a TD) predictably excelled in their absence, but owners in need of receiving help may need to get waiver claims ready for Jarrett Boykin – the Packers’ fourth receiver – this week.
– Speaking of potential impact fantasy free agents, two Detroit Lions also figure to be hot commodities. Undrafted rookie free agent tight end Joseph Fauria turned all three of his catches into touchdowns while receiver Kris Durham added eight receptions for 83 yards as Calvin Johnson (three catches, 25 yards) continued to be limited by the knee injury that caused him to miss Week 5. QB Matthew Stafford – also Durham’s college teammate – lit up a very good Cleveland Browns defense for 248 yards and four touchdowns.
– Taking advantage of an injured Buffalo Bills secondary, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (337 yards passing and three touchdowns) and receiver A.J. Green (six catches, 103 yards and a score) found their connection after a rough patch. Giovani Bernard (100 total yards and a receiving TD) gave his owners a worthwhile fantasy day, but fellow running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (86 rushing yards) outgained him on the ground for the second straight week, likely further delaying the rookie’s possible ascension to a feature-back role.
– Most will remember St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (117 passing yards and three touchdowns) for the dreadful performance he posted on a Thursday night against the San Francisco 49ers two weeks ago, but he has thrown for three scores in three of his six games this season. Bradford still has the feel of a matchup-based quarterback in fantasy and some difficult defenses ahead of him, but he is showing he can deliver when the Rams give him some time in the pocket.
By: Doug Orth — April 28, 2013 @ 8:28 pm
6.03 – Lions: WR Corey Fuller
Nothing wrong with taking a flyer on this speedy, athletic receiver. Fuller is raw and won’t threaten Nate Burleson this season, but could be the deep threat the Lions wanted Titus Young to be. Fuller is worth a third-round rookie pick in dynasty leagues.
6.04 – Raiders: TE Nick Kasa
Not much should be expected from the converted DE early on, but given the lack of talent at TE in Oakland, Kasa will likely play early due to his run-blocking ability. He does a fine job of getting down the field, which could help him land on the dynasty radar at some point down the road.
6.09 – Bills: K Dustin Hopkins
With Rian Lindell turning 36, his time in the NFL is likely coming to an end. Hopkins was one of the country’s top kickers in high school and became the NCAA FBS all-time kick scorer with 459 points. Hopkins will almost certainly be the kicker Week 1, but Buffalo’s offense might hold him back a bit in 2013.
6.14 – Panthers: RB Kenjon Barner
I understand the need to stock up at RB, but Carolina seems to always have a RB surplus while being short at so many other positions. Either way, they get their young speed back to complement the long-term duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. Barner makes for an interesting chess piece on an offense that has used as much zone-read as it has with Cam Newton. No redraft value here, but he could work himself into the dynasty conversation once Williams moves on.
6.19 Cardinals: RB Andre Ellington
New HC Bruce Arians obviously did not like what he saw at RB when he arrived. A late second-round RB pick puts Ryan Williams on notice and suggests the team will have no problem moving on from Rashard Mendenhall after this year if he doesn’t perform well on his one-year deal. I think Ellington is a bit more exciting for fantasy purposes than Taylor, but both backs are among the best blockers at the position. Like Taylor, Ellington has a decent shot at dynasty league value in 2014, but a committee (w/o Mendy) is possible.
6.22 – Bengals: RB Rex Burkhead
It’s hard not to love Burkhead, who reminds me a lot of Jacob Hester. Burkhead probably isn’t going to push BJGE out of a job in 2013, but he has enough red-zone chops to allow Cincinnati to move on from the Law Firm at the end of the 2014 season and work in tandem with Gio Bernard.
6.29 Bengals: WR Cobi Hamilton
On a field that featured future pros Jarius Wright and Greg Childs (pre-injury), Hamilton stood out the most to me in the games I watched of his in 2011. As I’ve said before with Arkansas, I’m willing to write off a good part of 2012 for all Razorbacks in what was just a chaotic situation. Hamilton struck me as a second- or third-round prospect before 2012, so he should stick with Cincy. He’ll compete with Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu for outside duties. Unless injuries hit the WR corps like they did last season, Hamilton probably is off the redraft radar. However, I like his 2011 tape enough to believe he could be the WR2 in Cincy down the road.
7.24 Colts: RB Kerwynn Williams
Most people are going to write him off due to his size (5-8, 195), but Williams enters Indy as a very good bet to steal a few touches from Vick Ballard. Williams found his way into playing time in 2011 despite the fact that he was sharing time with Robert Turbin and Michael Smith (TB). Williams isn’t a threat to Ballard’s rushing workload in all likelihood, but he is a solid complement that has a great shot to be the third-down back for the next few years. I personally like him more than Donald Brown and wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being Ballard’s best handcuff.
7.30 Bears: WR Marquess Wilson
College fans with good memories might recall Wilson was the player unafraid to tell the world what he thought of coach Mike Leach. At 6-3 and 195 pounds, Wilson has more than enough length to play in the league, but he needs a bit more bulk. Wilson has drawn comparisons to Jonathan Baldwin, but ironically plays a bit like future teammate Alshon Jeffery in the sense that he uses his size (rather than speed) to beat defenses on jump balls. In reality, he shouldn’t push Jeffery anytime soon, but a WR3 in new HC Marc Trestman’s offense could easily have redraft fantasy value (and Wilson will have a shot to do that).
By: Doug Orth — @ 8:24 pm
4.01 – Eagles: QB Matt Barkley
Hard to argue the value of the pick, although Barkley seems an odd fit in Chip Kelly’s high-speed, read-option offense. With that said, Kelly doesn’t get enough credit for adapting to his talent. Barkley makes sense, however, as a quick decision-maker in an offense that requires it and is as pro-ready as any QB in this draft. Redraft value is minimal, but he needs to be on the radar of dynasty league owners as the likely backup for injury-prone Michael Vick.
4.04 – Jaguars: WR Ace Sanders
Jacksonville is truly doing everything it can to help its QBs. Sanders should have a long career in the slot, but make an instant impact in the return game. Sanders doesn’t have great speed upside, but he is dependable. He’ll go undrafted in redraft leagues and likely warrants only a third-round selection in dynasty rookie drafts.
4.05 – Patriots: WR Josh Boyce
After grabbing their big WR last night, the Pats hope Boyce is the burner they hope will give them the vertical threat they have lacked since Randy Moss‘ departure. Injuries and an unknown training camp status pushed his stock down a bit, but any receiver in the NE offense with Tom Brady under center is on the fantasy radar. He’ll likely go undrafted in redraft leagues, but Boyce has a shot at more dynasty value than we typically expect from a fourth-rounder.
4.09 – Dolphins: TE Dion Sims
Sims rivals Travis Kelce in terms of being the draft’s most complete TE, but lacks Kelce’s upside. Initially, he should be a solid complement to Dustin Keller. He’ll start out as a player who helps the running game more than the passing game, but he has soft-enough hands to be a reliable option in the passing game. Very little redraft appeal here. Keller is on a one-year deal, so there is some dynasty value here down the road.
4.15 – Raiders: QB Tyler Wilson
Entered 2013 as a potential top 10 pick, but the Bobby Petrino fiasco led to a big fallout, which included Wilson getting treated like a punching bag. No one will likely question his toughness anymore. Ideally, Wilson will have a year to lick his wounds while Oakland adds more talent before he takes the field as the starter in 2014. No redraft value here, but Wilson could end up being this draft’s best QB if he returns to the QB he was in 2011.
4.28 – Packers: RB Johnathan Franklin
Eddie Lacy’s stock just took a huge hit. Franklin is perhaps the best all-purpose RB in this draft and fits the Packers’ current offense better than Lacy. With Franklin now on board, the GB backfield likely goes right back to a committee attack. I like Franklin to emerge as the best PPR back from this offense while Lacy get the honors in standard leagues. I believe that will hold up in redraft as well as in dynasty. Both players are still first-round rookie picks in dynasty and probably high-end RB3s in redraft due to the likelihood they will have inconsistent workloads.
4.31 – 49ers:WR Quinton Patton
Patton was insanely productive in the Bulldogs’ uptempo spread attack, but he’s not simply a product of the system. He has a good shot at giving AJ Jenkins a run for his playing time in 2013 and could be the next in line when Anquan Boldin can no longer hold up.
4.34 – 49ers: RB Marcus Lattimore
Lattimore is a luxury pick in the same way “Tank” Carradine and Patton were. The difference here is that despite his devastating knee injuries, Lattimore was the No. 1 talent at his position before he got hurt. SF will likely (hopefully) give him a “redshirt” year and groom him as Frank Gore‘s successor in 2014. No redraft value here barring a miraculous recovery this summer, but his long-term dynasty stock is very high given his supporting cast and talent.
5.07 – Cardinals: RB Stepfan Taylor
New HC Bruce Arians likely had his hand in Indy selecting Vick Ballard last season and Taylor is the same kind of pick. Mendenhall will almost certainly get his 300 touches, but Taylor is a reliable sustainer who could become the RB2 in Arizona if Ryan Williams continues to struggle with injuries. The Cards don’t figure to be a huge source of fantasy points for RBs in 2013 and Taylor won’t likely see enough time to be relevant in redraft. However, Mendy’s one-year contract gives Taylor an opportunity for 2014 production, meaning he could warrant a late-first/early-second pick in dynasty rookie drafts.
5.11 – Saints: WR Kenny Stills
Stills has a bit of Lance Moore in him in the sense that he is a better receiver than what he initially appears. Fantasy receivers (beyond Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham) for the Saints can be a frustrating lot and don’t expect Stills to be any different. Stills will likely have a productive game or two in 2013 that will cause fantasy buzz – because of the offense he’ll be in – but his redraft and dynasty value figures to be a rollercoaster given the number of options in New Orleans.
5.18 – Cowboys: RB Joseph Randle
Randle is about everything you’d expect from a fifth-round RB. He’s a solid, steady producer who doesn’t have a second gear to consistently produce the big play. More importantly, however, is that Randle has shown something that Felix Jones (and DeMarco Murray) have yet to show – durability. There’s a good shot Randle comes across redraft value this year given Murray’s injury history, but he’s not a threat in any way to Murray. Good insurance for Murray in redraft and dynasty leagues, but he doesn’t figure to hold any sustained value.
5.27 – Rams: RB Zac Stacy
This isn’t a high-upside pick by any stretch of the imagination, but neither Daryl Richardson or Isaiah Pead have the kind of size teams like from their short-yardage backs nowadays. It would come as little surprise if Stacy finds himself scoring 4-5 short-yardage scores while Richardson/Pead do their work in between the 20s. Stacy has more value than you’d expect from a player drafted at this spot (No. 160 overall).
5.31 – Dolphins: RB Mike Gillislee
Time to watch some Gillislee game tape. While not a big back (5-11, 208), Gillislee lands in a favorable situation for his fantasy value. Daniel Thomas has failed to improve as a pro runner and Lamar Miller – while talented – is certainly far from proven. Gillislee has an outside shot at stealing about a third of the reps from Miller if comes along a bit more, but he’s more of a fantasy property to keep an eye on for 2014.
5.33 – Dolphins: K Caleb Sturgis
Kickers drafted in the fifth round or higher usually stick on the roster while their veteran counterparts typically do not. In Miami’s vastly improved offense, that will mean something. Sturgis stands a very good shot at being a top 12-15 kicker in redraft leagues this season, assuming he doesn’t fall on his face in training camp.
By: Doug Orth — April 27, 2013 @ 10:19 am
3.01 – Chiefs: TE Travis Kelce
Tony Moeaki is a very good talent, but his durability is almost always in question. Kelce is as good as all-around TE as there is in this draft. He is a nasty blocker, which ensures he will see the field right away. Off-field concerns dragged down his stock a bit, but Kelce is almost the Robert Woods of the TE position among the rookies in that he has a smooth path to playing time and should be consistently productive, even if he’s not an elite talent. There is low-end TE2 redraft upside here and second-round value in dynasty rookie drafts.
3.11 – Buccaneers: QB Mike Glennon
The Bucs do it right here by sending a message with a first-round arm talent with third-round consistency to “challenge” Josh Freeman. Glennon needs time to add muscle to even think about challenging Freeman, but is enough of an investment to make sure Freeman puts together a full season that is more like his first half of 2012 rather than his second half. Glennon has no redraft value, but any unexpected hiccup by Freeman means Glennon could have the keys to a pretty high-powered offense. In short, dynasty owners could do a lot worse than invest in Glennon for a year or two to see if Freeman fails or not.
3.12 – Cowboys: WR Terrance Williams
The Cowboys stay in-state and find another weapon on offense (while continuing to ignore the defense). Williams steps in to fill the void of the departed Kevin Ogletree and is a much more dangerous receiver that could potentially replace Miles Austin at some point down the line. His redraft fantasy value will likely be similar to that of Ogletree’s (an occasional big game followed by long bouts of 1-2 catch games), but his dynasty value is such that he could be worth a late second-rounder for an owner willing to wait for 2-3 years while Austin begins his decline.
3.14 – Chargers: WR Keenan Allen
Allen’s knee injury and subsequent slow 40-time did him no favors, but speed was never his game to begin with. The Cal product has been compared favorably to Anquan Boldin and rightfully so. Don’t expect Allen to catch passes at Boldin’s history-making pace, but he is a precise route runner and steady performer that can obviously create yards after the catch. He’ll start out behind three receivers on the depth chart (meaning his redraft stock is very low), but I’d be surprised if he isn’t starting and a fantasy WR4 at worst in 2014.
3.16 – Bills: WR Marquise Goodwin
Underutilized at Texas despite world-class speed, Goodwin immediately steps into the fray as a player who could be Buffalo’s WR3. This pick is likely an indictment of what the new staff thinks of TJ Graham, who was drafted by the previous regime as the speed WR. He’ll need some time to develop, but Graham is definitely on notice. Yet another player that will have minimal redraft value in 2013, but there is a potential for a poor man’s Mike Wallace here if he is able to pick up the system and his coaching quickly.
3.17 – Steelers: WR Markus Wheaton
The Steelers have hit on most of their recent WR picks and they do their best to replace Mike Wallace by grabbing a receiver that has a lot of the same qualities as Wallace and Antonio Brown. Wheaton was a big-time producer at Oregon State and certainly more developed than the player that went right before him (Marquise Goodwin). Given Emmanuel Sanders‘ durability issues and Jerricho Cotchery‘s age, Wheaton stands a great chance of being productive sooner than later. Sanders will likely be drafted higher in redrafts (and rightfully so), but Wheaton could bypass him by season’s end and should be a clear starter by 2014 if/when Sanders leaves as a free agent. He’s likely a WR5 in redraft, but worthy of a late first or early second round in dynasty rookie drafts.
3.23 – Redskins: TE Jordan Reed
For those fantasy owners that like to chances on rookie TEs, this is your draft. Reed profiles similarly to Dustin Keller (will get compared to Aaron Hernandez partly because they both came from Florida). Reed is likely to be used exclusively out of the slot as he is a liability as a blocker. HC Mike Shanahan has a long history of using his TEs, but will need to be used creatively because his snaps will be limited due to his poor blocking. His redraft value is minimal, but slightly higher in dynasty. Still, he’s got a chance at some dynasty value if Shanny is willing to think outside the box.
3.30 – Rams: WR Stedman Bailey
There’s going to be a day in the near future where fans will forget how bad the Rams’ WRs were two years ago. Bailey was more productive than his college (and now pro) teammate Tavon Austin and was Geno Smith’s preferred red-zone option. Bailey is a technically sound receiver that will stick in the league because he will be where he is supposed to be on every play and has reliable hands. He doesn’t have the upside of any Rams receiver that will be ahead of him on the depth chart (Austin, Chris Givens, Brian Quick), so his fantasy potential is negligible. He’ll go undrafted in redraft leagues and is probably a late-second/early-third dynasty rookie draft option at the moment.
3.34 – Chiefs: RB Knile Davis
Davis was actually one of my favorite backs in 2010 (although I saw only two games), but Davis has injuries and a coaching change conspired to make him a shell of himself in 2011 and 2012. Davis showed athleticism at the Combine to give his stock a boost, but he will likely be relegated to a 2012 Peyton Hillis-like role (at best) this season. He should go undrafted in redraft and it will take an owner willing to turn a blind eye on his long injury history and fumblitits to accept the risk he carries as a dynasty option. His talent warrants a selection in the third round of dynasty rookie drafts, but don’t expect any kind of durability.
By: Doug Orth — @ 9:47 am
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2.02 – Titans: WR Justin Hunter
Goodbye Nate Washington…or Kenny Britt? Hunter was the most productive receiver for the Vols this past season and should further help the Titans get more “chunk” plays. It really could be either one or both, but it cements the Titans’ philosophy as a big-play, deep-ball offense now. The amount of receiver talent Tennessee has now is scary, but given the fact that Washington’s status with the team was already in question and Britt’s status is almost always in question, the roadblocks aren’t’ what they appear to be at first look. His redraft stock is low at the moment, but could skyrocket at a moment’s notice. His dynasty value is much higher.
2.03 – Eagles: TE Zach Ertz
It’s becoming clear that Chip Kelly is looking for size mismatches in the passing game with James Casey‘s signing and this pick. Kelly loved to use his TEs down the seam at Oregon and it is safe to say those seams will get a workout in Philly. Kelly’s offense may very well be a two-TE offense in theory, but I’d be shocked if Casey/Ertz aren’t working out of the slot 60% of the time. I’m not thrilled about his redraft value with so many TEs on the roster, but the team will likely move on from Brent Celek in the next year or two, making him a very solid dynasty league option in Kelly’s warp-speed offense
2.05 – Bengals: RB Giovani Bernard
The Bengals grab Law Firm’s complement, not his eventual successor. The Bengals land a prospect that has drawn comparisons to LeSean McCoy and rightfully so. While not at that level, the Bengals are definitely sending a message they want to give Andy Dalton every opportunity to be successful. Whichever RB landed in Cincinnati was going to be a good bet to be the best redraft rookie available and Bernard has that honor (along with Tavon Austin). Bernard has a legit shot at becoming 1A/1B with BJGE in short order, making him a solid dynasty option as well.
2.08 – Jets: QB Geno Smith
This is going to be fun. Goodbye Tebow tomorrow and Sanchez next year? Smith is a smart pick from the perspective that the Jets now have an OC that can develop a quarterback, but his “fit” is questionable in the new offense. The Jets’ situation is dire right now with such a poor supporting cast, but there’s no doubt anymore that Sanchez MUST produce this season. Smith will have time to transition from the spread to the West Coast offense, but how long will it take the Jets to surround him with enough talent to allow him to succeed? He’s going to be among the lowest-ranked redraft QBs (for good reason) and his dynasty upside is also somewhat limited.
2.10 – Bills: WR Robert Woods
Woods should slot in immediately as the Bills’ solid, steady option opposite Steve Johnson right away. Woods isn’t exactly flashy, but he is very much pro-ready and will help move the chains in Buffalo. He is more than willing to go over the middle and will be a solid producer for years to come. The Bills have talked about moving Johnson into the slot more often and Woods’ presence should help them do just that. The USC standout is very likely to be a late-round option at best in redraft leagues given the uncertainty at QB in 2013, but he has a great shot at holding WR4 value at some point this season and should be a reliable WR3 in dynasty leagues (perhaps as soon as 2014).
2.17 – Cowboys: TE Gavin Escobar
One year after letting Martellus Bennett go to New York, the Cowboys take another shot at Jason Witten‘s successor. Escobar is a soft-handed, athletic TE with great ball skills. In many ways, the Cowboys have drafted a younger version of an older Witten. Escobar is not the blocker that Bennett was before he departed, but is landing in a solid situation where he can learn from one of the best. His redraft value figures to be minimal, but he has second-round upside in dynasty league rookie drafts.
2.18 – Steelers: RB Le’Veon Bell
I want so much to like Bell, who drew some comparisons to Steven Jackson earlier this season. However, I was less than impressed by the consistent power displayed by this power-running RB. This is going to require more tape-watching on my end b/c Eddie Lacy was a superior RB (especially for the Steelers). Bell is a better option than Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman, but I have a bad feeling about it. By virtue of his draft status and likely standing on the depth chart with little competition, Bell lands in a great spot for his redraft value. For the Steelers’ sake, I hope I just watched Bell in the wrong games, but any recommendation I give him now would be based more on the situation he finds himself in and less on his overall skill level.
2.25 – 49ers: TE Vance McDonald
Much like former Rice prospect James Casey, this Owl was used all over the formation in college. McDonald has little in-line experience as a blocker, which might suggest that SF will be another two-TE team in theory, but pull the Patriots’ TE trick of lining up Vernon Davis up in Rob Gronkowski‘s role while McDonald works out in space in the same fashion Aaron Hernandez does. There is considerable upside here in all fantasy formats. In redraft, he should be considered a low-end TE2 right now with his arrow pointing up. In dynasty, he is probably the most attractive TE in rookie drafts.
2.28 – Broncos: RB Montee Ball
This pick is likely to be seen as an indictment on Willis McGahee or Knowshon Moreno, both of which are likely correct. McGahee is probably only going to play one more year in Denver. Moreno – despite a strong finish in 2012 – has yet to capture the imagination of the Broncos’ brass. As long as Manning is around, every RB on his team has a great shot at value as soon as he learns to block and shows he can catch the ball. Ball has limited experience at both, but certainly has the capacity to do both. At this moment, Ball appears to have the best combination of skill and situation of any drafted RB in redraft leagues. I think he is a league-average talent, so I am less optimistic about his dynasty upside.
2.29 – Patriots: WR Aaron Dobson
Assuming he can build trust with Tom Brady (always an unknown), Dobson gives NE its first big receiver since Randy Moss. He’s not Moss in size, speed or skill, but he is an able and trustworthy pass catcher. Dobson probably will not start in front of Donald Jones in year 1, but he’s a better overall talent. There is minimal redraft value here, but he has second-round value in dynasty league rookie drafts.
2.31 – Packers: RB Eddie Lacy
It’s about time. Lacy slide due to medical concerns, but he finds the best fantasy situation of any RB drafted so far. The Packers have played around with undersized committee back lately, but Lacy could bring that to an end in short order. Lacy is a power back with nimble feet and helps make up for Green Bay opting not to trade for Marshawn Lynch a few years ago. Lacy has low-end fantasy RB2 upside in redraft leagues and should be the top pick in dynasty league rookie drafts.
2.32 – Seahawks: RB Christine Michael
Michael is easily a second-(if not a first) round talent, but character concerns and the fact he landed in coach Kevin Sumlin’s doghouse this past college season did him no favors during the draft process. In Seattle, he’ll have a difficult time seeing the field anytime soon due to the presence of Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. Second-round picks shouldn’t be resigned to third-string status, but the Hawks were simply taking the best player available. Michael can be ignored in redraft, but his talent is such that he warrants a pick in dynasty league rookie drafts because he could overtake Turbin at some point. (With Lynch likely to wear down soon, that’s a potential fantasy goldmine.)
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