I’ve recently been profiling those QBs,
RBs, and WRs
I think will take a step back this coming season, so now it’s
time to identify their possible successors. We’re always on
shakier ground here--much smaller pool of potential dropouts than
replacements, after all--but I did bat a cool .500 last
summer. Just sayin’...
Note: All rankings are based on FFToday’s default standard
A quick reminder of the Top 10 fantasy WRs from last season...
Try to act surprised, would ya? OK, so
this isnít the most out there prediction Iíve made
in the many years Iíve been prognosticating for FFToday.
Sometimes the best forecast simply IS the most straightforward/likely
one, however, the one that requires the least amount of crazy
stuff to happen. Call it Occamís razor applied to fantasy
football. In five professional seasons, OBJ hasnít once
failed to rank in the Top 10 on a FPts/G basis. This despite playing
catch with a quarterback way past his sell-by date and suffering
through a multitude of injuries. Put another way, had he been
more healthy, Beckham Jr. would have ranked in the Top 10 five
seasons runningóeven with Eli Manning throwing him footballsórendering
this entire conversation moot.
Granted, those injuries make this a very legitimate conversation
to be having and are a definite cause for concern. Beckham Jr.ís
missed, on average, four games per season since he entered the
league in 2014 and has only once made it through an entire slate
in one piece. When people question why I consider him the best
receiver on the planet, Iím forced to admit thatís
only in theory, a theory rarely validated in the real world. Setting
aside the question of whether he WILL make it through the 2019
season unscathed, though, what can we expect if he DOES?
Fireworks. Thatís what we can expect. Paired with super-soph
a proven wingman in Jarvis
Landry, and some honest-to-God excitement and energy in Cleveland
(in Cleveland!), the sky is absolutely the limit for OBJ and the
Brownies this season. Admittedly, the floor is also pretty low
(see above). Donít overpay for him but also donít forget what
made us fall in love with him in the first place.
There have been more improbable Super Bowl
MVPs (Larry Brown and Nick Foles come to mind) but few, if any,
less probable when taking into consideration the whole curriculum
vitae. How many former MAC quarterbacks do you know of who have
won the award (nope, Big Ben hasnít), let alone those who
have done so after transitioning to wide receiver in the professional
ranks? Love him, hate him, or donít care about him either
way, thereís no denying Edelman is the epitome of a self-made
man in todayís NFL.
To be fair, heís had a lot of help and has certainly benefited
from playing with the so-called GOAT all these years. Itís
still pretty amazing a former Kent State QB has turned into the
reigning SB MVP at a completely different position than he played
at the NCAA level. Tom Terrific has thrown passes to some great
ones since 2001 when he became the Patsí full-time starter
(Randy Moss and Gronk, most notably), but only Wes Welker has
ever commanded more targets during any of those seasons than Edelman.
And that was back when Brady routinely chucked up 600+ passes
Welkerís heyday earlier this century might actually be
a good reference point for where Edelman could end up this season,
even with the overall downtick in Bradyís passing attempts.
The Red Raider great surpassed 160 fantasy points four times as
a Pat and thatís despite sharing the spotlight (again, Moss
and Gronk). Who does Edelman have to share with this year outside
of hybrid RB/WR James White? Anything north of 160 fantasy points,
BTW, puts one squarely in the Top 10 discussion most years and
I think thatís where Tom Bradyís go-to guy will be
when we close the books on the 2019 season.
Iíve played it fairly safe throughout
this series, but itís not uncommon for guys to come out
of nowhere (hello, Robert Woods!) so time to throw a Hail Mary.
Pettisí 2018 rookie year production was strictly scroll-down
stuff (76.5 total points) but he still managed to land on fantasy
radars and generate some pre-2019 buzz thanks to a solid debut
performance (61 yards and a score in Week 1) and another intriguing
stretch later in the year when he averaged 14.4 FPts/G (Weeks
12 through 15). Itís a microscopic sample size, agreed,
but that per-game rate is identical to what Davante Adams, the
WR3, accomplished over the course of the entire season.
So what reason do we have to believe WR61 will more closely resemble
WR3 a year later? For starters, Pettisí production needs
some context. He missed four games entirely due to knee injuries
and didnít even start 5 of the 12 games he did suit up for.
Of those 12, mind you, he only played together with Jimmy Garoppolo
in 2 of them, meaning he produced most of his points and all of
those late-season digits which excited folks with undrafted Nick
Mullens running the offense. Seems safe to assume Pettis would
be more productive with the Ninerís actual starting QB throwing
him passes this year.
Thereís also a few Next Gen Stats goodies to consider.
Pettis ranked 10th and 5th at the WR position, respectively, in
Separation Rate and Avg. YAC Above Expectation. Translated for
dummies like me, that means he was precociously good at losing
his defenders and then getting by them once heíd hauled
in the pigskin. I think Kyle Shanahanís offense could surprise
and if that happens, count on this former Dawg being a huge part