T2’s Big 12 Preview

College football is all about building a story of wins, strength of schedule, and conference championships. In order to unlock each team’s future, it can be helpful to take a look at an individual team as a whole by examining their past and present successes and shortcomings. One thing’s for sure, the Big 12 football conference has plenty of storylines and intrigue for the upcoming 2017 season. Let’s dive into some of those key storylines for each team and put them into context. Hopefully this will differentiate between the fan bases who should look to make their hotel reservations in Arlington on December 2nd for the championship game and which should just simply start watching basketball highlights (I’m looking at you Kansas).  Let’s saddle up and head over to Big 12 country.

 

Baylor Bears: Mark Rhule is the new head coach in Waco.

The hiring of Mark Rhule from Temple was the proverbial turning of the page for Baylor. Attempting to move on from its own infidelities, the Bears hired Rhule who led the Temple Owls to back to back 10-win seasons for the second and third time in school history. Make no mistake; Rhule is a defensive coach and a pretty damn good one. Football Outsiders ranked Temple’s defense in the top 25 of the country per S&P + ratings in each of the last 3 seasons. The question is can he make good of an experienced defense and shift Baylor’s focus from Air Raid offense to hard-nosed defense?

 

Iowa State Cyclones: Can the Iowa State build on last year’s end of the year momentum?

I know what you’re probably thinking in your head right now. I mean what momentum could ISU possibly take out of a 3-10 season? Before we as a collective write off the Cyclones, take these scoring numbers into account. These are the average scoring splits for ISU broken down into three stretches of their season:

First 3 games: ISU- 14 points, Opponent- 36 points

Next 4 games: ISU- 31 points, Opponent- 30 points

Next 4 games: ISU- 37 points, Opponent- 25 points

There is a clear pattern of improvement both in offense production and defensive stops. With an offense that is returning some key contributors, I suspect the Cyclones to be more than just a doormat this season.

 

Kansas State Wildcats: This has potential to be one of the best rushing attacks in the country.

As Bill Snyder embarks on his 150th season in Manhattan, the philosophy stays the same. This program has always been about slowing the tempo and running the ball efficiently. However, this particular Wildcats team could have a really dangerous rushing game given what Snyder has at his disposal. Justin Silmer (5.4 yards on 86 attempts) and Alex Barnes (7.9 yards on 56 carries) will shoulder more of the load and will be one of the most impressive duos in all of college football. Add in quarterback Jesse Ertz, who was over 1,000 yards rushing last year, and there is reason to think this rushing attack will be absolutely deadly. And if that wasn’t enough, almost their entire offensive line is returning this upcoming season. This has potential sleeper status for a trip to Arlington.

 

Kansas Jayhawks: Can transfers and a decent recruiting class drag this team to competency?

Head coach David Beatty has been doing all he can to bring a competent team to Lawrence this fall. I will give credit where credit is due and this offseason has been better than usual. Transfers such as WR Daylon Charlot (Alabama), QB Peyton Bender (Washington State), and RB Deron Thompson (Colorado State) among others will all compete for starting spots this year. Then take into account a better than usual recruiting class and a few JUCO transfers and were talking incremental progress here. Just remember that the key word here is incremental.

 

Oklahoma Sooners: A lot of new faces in new places for Baker Mayfield to get accustomed to.

This Oklahoma team is a lot different than the one that we saw last year. Running backs Joe Mixon and Sameje Perine have both moved on to the NFL as well as number one target Dede Westbrook. The combination of those three made up for over 4,000 offensive yards last year which is a substantial percentage of the offense. Maybe most importantly, longtime head coach Bob Stoops unexpectedly retired this offseason leaving the reins to offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley. Football Outsiders rated this unit the number one offense per S&P+ ratings last year but there are certainly questions regarding the skill positions heading into this year.  I do give Mayfield the benefit of the doubt and still see this as a top 10 unit in the county.

 

Oklahoma State Cowboys: The combination of Mason Rudolph and James Washington might be the best duo we’ve seen in awhile.

There is no way around it; this passing attack is going to be terrifying. Mike Gundy has always invited big plays into his offensive repertoire by stretching out the field. I’m not sure he has had a better weapon in Stillwater than that of wide receiver James Washington since the likes of Justin Blackmon. This guy can flat out play and his preseason All-American nod is evidence that I’m not alone. Couple that with one of the biggest arms in the country in Mason Rudolph and we have ourselves something special. The Pokes’ offense was 9th in S&P+ rating last season and I have a good feeling that ranking can improve if things continue. Man, that Bedlam matchup with Oklahoma could be one for the ages.

 

TCU Horned Frogs: There is plenty of experience on this roster.

Sometimes in college football, experience gives a team an advantage before the game even starts. If this is the sort of thing that you covet in your football roster, search no further because the Horned Frogs have plenty of it. According to this useful returning production table created by Bill Connelly of SB Nation, TCU is returning 85% of its production from last season. Say what you want but that is a very encouraging number to look at and in no way will we have to project where the contributions are coming from. Kenny “Trill” Hill is still 5 feet behind center for the Frogs and let us not forget what kind of weapon he is at his best. Watch out for their first conference clash with Oklahoma State to see how serious they are.

 

Texas Longhorns: Everything Tom Herman touches turns to gold.

Let me come out and first say that I am a huge Tom Herman guy. In my opinion, he is one of the best coaches in the country and gets the most out of his players. The man won a national championship as offensive coordinator at Ohio State and went 22-4 in his two years with Houston. This guy is winning personified and from all accounts amazing with his players. As for the team itself, they are returning a ton of production (82% production return) and have a lot of skill on both sides of the ball. The Longhorns will improve quickly, but I want to bookmark this team for next season when they will be a genuine playoff contender.

 

Texas Tech Red Raiders: The offense is great, but will the defense ever be able to keep up?

The problem over Kliff Kingsbury’s tenure in Lubbock hasn’t been the ability to generate offensive production but defensive stops. Defense has been down right bad with last year being no exception for the Red Raiders. Football Outsiders had them ranked as the 125th defense in all of college football per S&P + rating. The offense on the other hand ranked 6th in the country. This offense will be spectacular even with major departures, however this team won’t do much of anything unless the defense can at least reach competency. This could be a make or break season for Kingsbury as head coach of his alma mater.

 

West Virginia Mountaineers: Inexperience and less luck in close games are good indicators of trouble.

At first glance, this is a team that looks like it can compete and is generating a lot of Top 25 hype. They have some interesting transfers and former Florida Gator quarterback Will Grier seems like a great fit for Dana Holgerson’s offense. However, when you look closer this is a team that is bound to regress. If you’ve read this far you know that returning production is something that I see as a useful indicator of success. West Virginia is returning just 25% of its production from last year which is ranked second to last in the country. Another key stat to remember is that the Mountaineers went 4-0 in games that were a touchdown or less. That is a record that could possibly regress back to the mean in the following season. Add this all together and they could be closer to .500 than chasing a Big 12 championship.

3 QBs You’re Wrong About

The QB position is one of the toughest to judge, since most QBs have similar projections. Here are 3 QBs who we think you all are way off on:

Jared Goff

Goff isn’t nearly as bad as people make him out to be. Yes, in his 7 career NFL games he was…well not good at all. He posted up 63.6 QB rating, with 5 TD and 7 INT for just 155 yards per game. But, we’re talking about just 7 career games, all of those under Jeff Fisher’s unaggressive offense. He’s got a new coaching staff in town and also has a new #1 WR in Sammy Watkins. If Gurley returns back to 2015 form he will take a ton of pressure off Goff and allow him to find Austin and Watkins. I’m not saying Goff should be a starting QB but he should be higher than QB 28. I think he’s a QB 2 in leagues with 12+ teams.

Eli Manning

There is absolutely no reason that Eli should currently be going off the board as QB 15. Eli has thrown for 4,000 or more yards the last 3 seasons, with an average of 30 TDs per each of those seasons. Eli’s fantasy downfall has always been a high INT rate. He has about 15 INT each of the last 3 seasons, but if you watch the Giants play you know that a large chunk of his INT come from receiver mistakes. He’s never had a better receiving corps around him: OBJ, Marshall, Shepard, and Engram. In stark contrast, the Giants rushing game is likely to be awful. That should be 30+ passes per game for most of the season. Eli is a QB1 in 10 team leagues.

Mitch Trubisky

Trubisky is currently being taken off the board in front of multiple starting QBs, including: Goff, Siemian, Hoyer, and Mike Glennon. The emphasis here is on Glennon… the starting QB is for the Bears. Chicago has invested way too much money into Glennon and Mark Sanchez for Trubisky to be the starter this year. No, it doesn’t matter that he’s having a good pre-season. I don’t expect Trubisky to even take competitive snaps this season. Unless you’re in a dynasty league avoid Trubisky.

Making the Tough Decisions in Fantasy Football

When building your fantasy squad for the upcoming season, there will always be some tough decisions to be made. Player A VS Player B becomes a common practice during the draft and even during the season when adding and dropping players. There are plenty of examples to be used for the upcoming season but the 5 I am about to give are the ones that I believe are the most talked about.

Here are 5 player decisions that I will happily make for you:

  1. David Johnson VS Le’Veon Bell

You have the first pick and these 2 top the board. Who do you take? Let me start by saying I know that I said that I would make the decision for you but this one is a win/win. Personally, I like David Johnson a little more because he seems like the safer pick plus the Cardinals seem to have no weapons outside of DJ and Larry Fitzgerald. However, you can’t go wrong with either guy. They will both have absolutely monstrous seasons and will reward you for taking them 1st overall.

  1. Julio Jones VS Mike Evans

mike-evans-does-manziel-money-celebration-after-touchdown-against-cleveland

This decision might catch me some flak but I’m taking Evans. Julio always seems to have one weird injury that lingers throughout the entire season and that’s enough to scare me away. Plus, Evans doubled up Jones in the TD department 12 to 6. I think Evans is on the verge of becoming the best red zone threat in the game and he gets a ton of targets.

  1. Jordan Reed VS Greg Olsen VS Travis Kelce

A triple threat decision is to be made as to who will be the 2nd TE off the board after Gronk. My guy is Greg Olsen, who is actually ranked lower by ESPN than Kelce and Reed. Here’s why: availability and that’s all I need to know. That immediately eliminates Jordan Reed. I like Reed when he’s healthy but the problem is I have to say ‘when he’s healthy’. Kelce had a much better 2016 after a 2015 that saw him stall a bit. I don’t think the Chiefs will ever be an explosive offense so that gives the nod to Olsen. Also I, like my friend Matt, believe Cam will have a major bounce back season and that’s good news for his favorite target.

  1. Tom Brady VS Aaron Rodgers

tom

Matt thinks I’m crazy, I know I’m right. Tom Brady will be the best QB in fantasy football this season. He has the better running backs to throw to, he has the best tight end in football AND even though one could make the argument that Green Bay has the better receivers I really don’t believe it’s by that much. New England is loaded on the offensive side of the ball. They’re going to bludgeon teams this year and could very well average 35 to 40 points a game. Take Brady, thank me later.

  1. Christian McCaffrey VS Leonard Fournette

Trying to predict what a rookie will do in fantasy football is like trying to predict the weather. You can eye ball it and even chart out what could possibly happen, but you just never know. Fournette and McCaffrey are VERY good players. They will help their respective teams immensely. However, if you are in PPR, you NEED to take McCaffrey. In fact, if it’s standard scoring then I would even make the argument that McCaffrey is a more solid choice simply because of the state of the Jaguars offense at the moment. They don’t have a QB in Jacksonville. That means teams will stack the box to try and stop the rookie out of LSU. If there is no threat of the pass, then you will have a tough time running the ball. Just ask Todd Gurley about that, he knows all too well. I would take McCaffrey and feel good about doing it.

5 Bold Predictions for the SEC

We all know the SEC is the best conference in College Football, so we have to start our College Football coverage with them. Here are 5 predictions for what I expect to come out of this competitive and often unpredictable conference. At the end of the article is a full prediction for the conference standings. 

Alabama Loses 2 Games

The last time we saw the Crimson Tide they were distraught, watching Clemson celebrate the National Championship they assumed would be theirs. The freshmen phenome Jalen Hurts is returning for 2017, but not much more of the team is. Alabama is looking to bring back about a dozen of their starters, which is one of the lowest return rates in the SEC. I think their ambition gets the best of them, and they lose their season opener to a Florida State team that has much more to prove. Alabama will then coast through their SEC schedule until they lose to Auburn in the Iron Bowl. It is still Alabama, though, and let’s not rule out the possibility of them making the playoffs even with 2 losses.

Auburn Wins the SEC           

Auburn, similar to Alabama, will have a two loss season. I expect them to fall to SEC West foe LSU and to a still significant Clemson squad. That leaves them with only 1 SEC loss, and would allow them to win the tiebreaker against Alabama from head to head record. I also expect LSU to be competitive within the SEC but ultimately have losses to both Auburn and Alabama, forcing them to be third in a competitive division.

Tennessee Finally gets the 9th Win…But Still Doesn’t Win the East

We know the Vols have failed to get that ever important 9th win, its cost them a shot at losing to Alabama in the SEC championship two years in a row now. Even with Dobbs, Hurd, and Kamara gone the Vols return a deep squad. I expect them to use Dormandy as their primary QB, really stretching the field and finally using their talented WR corp. They are plagued with a tough schedule against the SEC west, drawing 2 likely losses from LSU and Alabama. What they will do is head into the Swamp and beat Florida for the second straight year. This sounds too idealistic for the Vols, though, so they’ll take their 3rd SEC loss to Nick Chubb’s strong Georgia squad. Florida will take 4 losses (Michigan, Tennessee, LSU, and Florida State) but with only 2 SEC losses they’ll finish ahead of Tennessee.

Kentucky Gets 8 Wins

Kentucky is expected to return 17 of their starters. They’ve been hanging around the east for a few years now giving teams a real run for their money. What makes this year different is their schedule is so easy. Out of conference opponents include: Southern Mississippi, Eastern Kentucky, and Eastern Michigan. They drew the easiest combination of SEC West opponents with Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Which means they just need to scrap out three wins in the SEC East, which I expect to be against South Carolina, Mizzou, and Vandy.

Texas A&M will be just Mediocre….Again

In true Aggie form they’ll fire out of the gate, getting a publicized win against UCLA and rolling through a weak non-conference schedule, along with SEC opponents Arkansas and South Carolina. That’s a solid 5-0 foundation for them to tank from. In a 4 week span they then play: Alabama, Florida, Mississippi State, and Auburn; so 3 losses. They’ll bounce back against New Mexico and Ole Miss, but then take a last week loss to LSU and that should be it for Kevin Sumlin.

Predicted Conference Standings:

SEC WEST:

Auburn 10-2 (6-1)

Alabama 10-2 (6-1)

LSU 10-2 (5-2)

Arkansas 6-6 (4-3)

Texas A&M 8-4 (3-4)

Mississippi State 5-7 (1-6)

Ole Miss 4-8 (1-6)

SEC East:

Florida 8-4 (5-2)

Georgia 8-4 (4-3)

Tennessee 9-3 (4-3)

Kentucky 8-4 (4-3)

South Carolina 7-5 (4-3)

Vandy 4-8 (1-6)

Mizzou 4-8 (0-7)

 

 

 

T2’s Too Early Mock Draft

Welcome to the ‘too early mock draft’ version of the Top 2 Fantasy Football Mock Draft analysis. Matt and I have already completed and posted our ‘wayyy too early’ mock draft and we are on to part 2 of the 3 part series. This was a 10 team PPR league, Eric had the 8th pick, Matt had the 10th. This draft took place on August 6th so it doesn’t account for things like the Zeke suspension. 

Without further ado, here are our picks for this version.

ROUND 1

1.08 Eric: Mike Evans.

I had Evans in 2015 and he was a major dud. So I decided to let someone else take the plunge last year and he responded by absolutely annihilating opposing defenses. I have always been a big fan of Evans and I think the Bucs offense can be absolutely lethal this year. Expect Evans to continue his rise to possibly becoming the most dangerous receiver in the league.

1.10 Matt: LeSean McCoy

I love picking at the 10th spot. LeSean McCoy has no business still being around this late, I’m willing to argue he’s a better pick than Zeke. He’s going to be consistent and rack up the points for me.

ROUND 2

2.01 Matt: Devonta Freeman

This is a seriously dynamic backfield. Freeman tore it up last year and there’s no reason to believe he won’t do it again. The Falcons just paid him big and that makes me confident that Coleman won’t be taking too many of his carries, more to come on that though. Shady and Freeman gives me great RBs, this is crucial in such a poor RB year.

2.03 Eric: Demarco Murray

Murray had a huge bounce back season in his first year in Tennessee and this year will be no different. Even with a very promising second year back in Derrick Henry waiting in the wings, Murray is way too good to pass on. He should have another huge season running behind a monstrous O-Line that paved the way for the 7th best rushing attack in the entire league in 2016.

ROUND 3

3.08 Eric: Amari Cooper

The Raiders offense, assuming Derek Carr remains upright, is going to be downright nasty. Cooper, Crabtree, Carr throwing them the ball, big ass offensive lineman blocking for a rejuvenated and rested beast mode and a new tight end in Jared Cook. Cooper is still the lead dog of the attack and will only continue to improve. He has WR1 potential but as a WR2, he is way too enticing to pass up.

3.10 Matt: Brandin Cooks

 I’m surprised the Pats fan passed up on Cooks to take Cooper, then again I’m also surprised Cooper and Cooks were still on the board here. Cooks has great value as a late 3rd round pick. With Tommy “The Goat” “I’ll Play Until I’m 50” Brady throwing to him, he’s a great pick, especially in PPR.

ROUND 4

4.01 Matt: Leonard Fournette

 I didn’t plan on taking 3 RBs in the first 4 rounds, but the value is just too good to pass up on Fournette here. In a recent poll we ran 43% of our followers believed that Fournette is the best rookie RB option, with Mixon, Cook, and McCaffery following in that order. He’s a power back on a team that will feature him a lot, and that will pay off for fantasy players that own him.

4.03 Eric: Tom Brady

If you saw the poll we recently posted, I believe Tom Brady will be the best QB in fantasy football this season. Brady has had seasons where you look around at the skill positions and just go ‘wow’. However, this season the Patriots have provided him with more firepower than ever before. The Addition of Brandin Cooks gives the Pats a speed threat unlike anything they’ve ever had. They have a young second year player in Malcolm Mitchell who looked like an emerging star in the Super bowl AND they have more Gronk insurance even with the departure of Martellus Bennett in Dwayne Allen. Oh yeah, and Brady only threw 2 picks all season in 2016. 2.

ROUND 5

5.08 Eric: Terrelle Pryor Sr

Kirk Cousins has been fortunate enough in his career to say that he has great weapons. Jordan Reed, when healthy, might very well be the second best TE in football. DeSean Jackson was no slouch at receiver in his time with the Redskins and Jamison Crowder is very underrated. Cousins has got to be licking his chops at the prospect of throwing passes to Terrelle Pryor. Pryor is easily the best receiver Cousins has ever had at his disposal. These two will build a rapport very quickly because a QB always loves more weapons and Pryor finally has a capable QB. Add to the fact that Pryor is on a 1 year, ‘prove it’ type deal and you have the recipe for an explosive season out of the QB turned WR.

5.10 Matt: Golden Tate

 Have I mentioned I really wish I could keep this team? Golden Tate in the back of the fifth round is ridiculous value. He’s the WR1 in Detroit and will be the favorite target once again for Matthew Stafford. Stafford has a lot of fantasy concerns himself, but what we do know is that he likes to sling the ball deep and Tate likes to catch those balls. Tate and Cooks give me dynamic receivers to go with McCoy, Freeman, and Fournette.

ROUND 6

6.01 Matt: Greg Olsen

 I had two great TE options at this pick, Olsen and Eifert. It was a tough choice but ultimately I took the one with the better QB and overall offense. I’ve written about how I believe Cam Newton is due for a huge bounce back year and I believe that benefits Olsen in the way of targets and TD receptions.

6.03 Eric: Frank Gore

I have Murray so I needed an RB2. Frank Gore, no matter the age, is going to get his touches. The Colts O-line isn’t good at all but Gore still managed over 1,000 yards and 8 total touchdowns. That is RB2 territory and I will gladly take the chance that Gore remains consistent. It isn’t a sexy pick, but it’s a necessary one.

ROUND 7

7.08 Eric: Tyler Eifert

The mimic stole Greg Olsen from me so I went Eifert here. Eifert had a tough time returning from a freak ankle injury in the pro bowl. The first year back from a major injury will always be an adjustment but the second year back is when the player begins to feel like himself again. Eifert, before the injury, was an absolute animal. He was on his way to becoming one of the top 3 Tight Ends in the league. I’ll take a chance on him here and acquire depth later to protect myself from the possibility that he won’t return to form.

7.10 Matt: Davante Adams

 I don’t love this pick, but I also don’t hate it. Jordy Nelson will be the clear favorite in Green Bay but Adams can benefit from Montgomery fully transitioning to the RB positon. It’s a bit of a risk in the mid-rounds but I don’t mind taking risks when it involves Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball.

ROUND 8

8.01 Matt: Stefon Diggs

 I’m not sold on Diggs, but I have noticed most of Twitter is. Sam Bradford throwing the ball doesn’t get me jazzed but Diggs is a WR1 option, and to get a WR1 on a competitive team in the 8th round is too good to pass up. I’m happy to have Diggs as an option coming off my bench.

8.03 Eric: Martavis Bryant

Gee, I hope this guy can get reinstated in time for the season. Jokes aside, Bryant is a monstrous target to add to an already lethal Steelers offense. At 6’5”, Bryant gives Big Ben a bigger receiver to throw to and a true red zone threat. Assuming Bryant stays out of trouble and stays healthy, Bryant will put up WR2 numbers on a regular basis and will even throw in a few WR1 games. Way too good as a bench receiver here.

ROUND 9

9.08 Eric: Mike Gillislee

This is more of a stab in the dark rather than a calculated risk. I have no idea who will start at RB for New England and Gillislee has missed time in training camp with a lingering hamstring injury. Assuming he is able to get back on the field to start practicing, I see Gillislee taking most of the snaps on the early downs for New England. He will almost certainly be the replacement to LeGarrett Blount as the goal line back for the Pats.

9.10 Matt: Tevin Coleman

I’m not a huge fan of RB handcuffs, especially when the starter isn’t injured or suspended, but Freeman and Coleman are so dynamic I went for it. In a standard league I probably would’ve passed but Coleman racks up receptions, and therefore can be a valuable flex option in PPR leagues.

ROUND 10

10.01 Matt: Robert Kelley

Indications out of Redskins camp is that “Fat Rob” will be the starter for Washington this season. I’m not sold on him being a start this season, but someone has to get carries out of the backfield. I’m willing to take a risk on a starting RB in the 10th round any day of the week.

10.03 Eric: Adrian Peterson

As you can tell by my last three RB picks, I’m going with more of a committee here. Peterson might be finished, he has a running mate in Mark Ingram who is sure to steal carries and all day might not even be the starter. In fact, I’d be pretty surprised if Peterson starts over Ingram. That doesn’t mean the Saints won’t use him however. I took Peterson for one reason. Drew. Brees. Teams won’t be stacking the box against a team that is quarterbacked by Drew Brees. AP will have a light box 100 percent of the time so he is worth the late round flyer.

ROUND 11

11.08 Eric

Jack Doyle. Part one of the Eifert contingency plan is the Colts’ tight end that came out of nowhere last year. I like Doyle a lot but only if Andrew Luck is the one throwing him the ball. Throw this pick out the window if Luck is out for any amount of time.

11.10 Matt: Kenny Britt

 Before I comment on Britt, can we talk about the fact Eric has drafted two TEs in the first 11 rounds? I’m not good at math but the Kenny Britt math is pretty easy here: good receiver + lack of options + possession receiver for a rookie/not impressive QB=fantasy output.

ROUND 12

12.01 Matt: Giovani Bernard

 This is the best value I’ve gotten all draft. I’m convinced Gio will have an equal amount of, if not more carries than Mixon this season. Mixon has an overhyped skillset and is equally splitting carries with Gio and Jeremy Hill. I’m willing to bet the veteran, who is now healthy, ends up being the star of the Cincy backfield.

12.03 Eric: Willie Snead

Snead actually had a sneaky good year last year and will only get better with experience. Also, see Brees, Drew for reasons why you should draft Snead.

ROUND 13

13.08 Eric: Pats D/ST

I believe in the number one scoring defense from a year ago. They get the Jets twice, the Bills twice (now without Sammie Watkins) AND Jay Cutler twice. That’s a lot of turnovers to be had.

13.10 Matt: Eli Manning

 I went “QB Zero” in this draft. I’ve heard a lot about “RB Zero” this offseason (zero meaning you don’t draft any players for a position until the end of a draft). I don’t believe in RB Zero but this mock draft makes me love the idea of QB Zero. I’ve never been a big fan of Eli in fantasy but this year is a great year to have him. Eli has the elite OBJ, Brandon Marshall who I expect to thrive in NY, a flashy Sterling Shepard, and a huge TE target in Engram. He also has a weak running game which will lead to him throwing the ball 30-40 times a game. Eli’s value is ridiculously good here.

ROUND 14

14.01 Matt: Jameis Winston

 I’m not a Winston fan. I don’t buy into those who claim he’s a top 10 QB, he’s inconsistent, doesn’t have an impressive arm, and to be honest I haven’t forgotten the character he showed us at FSU. Nonetheless he is too good of a QB to be sitting around in the 14th round so I begrudgingly take the value here and let Jameis ride the fantasy pine.

 14.03 Eric: Matt Bryant

Still…Buckets.

ROUND 15

15.08 Eric: Sterling Shepard

I really love receivers if you can’t tell. I know there are seemingly a dozen different weapons in the Giants offense but I really think Shepard can benefit from Marshall and Beckham taking some pressure away from him. He should be a monster in the slot.

15.10 Matt: Cairo Santos

 I figured I could make a decent team name out of this. “Santos is Coming to Town”, “Cairo on my Wayward Team”, or “Why did I Draft a Chief” are all top options.

ROUND 16

16.01 Matt: Steelers D/ST

 I’ve mentioned before that I don’t care about drafting defenses. I drop them, add an extra late round flyer that went undrafted and then pick a defense based on match-up right before week 1. Instead, let’s talk about how Eric is about to draft his 3rd TE…

16.03 Eric: Cameron Brate

This is more of a hail mary due to the fact that the Bucs drafted highly regarded tight end prospect OJ Howard. I really hope the Bucs run a majority of their plays from the 2 WRs, 2 TEs and 1 RB set. They could be downright unstoppable in that set and it would allow Brate, who had a pretty good year out of nowhere last year, to remain fantasy relevant. Part 3 of the Eifert contingency plan.

2 Off the Top

Recap of last week’s predictions:

Matt: I’ve never been so mad that I was right. Add Tanaka to the list of pitchers on my DL. I took a bad loss this week (1-11) to a team chasing me for the last playoff slot. I’m going to be digging deep into the free agent pool this week to accommodate for Tanaka, Hernandez, Price, Strasburg, Pineda, Turner, and now Arenado injured. On the bright side, at least I didn’t draft Bryce Harper?

Eric: After the trade of Jay Bruce, it’s easy to see who the best player on the Mets is. Michael Conforto is a young, emerging star that has been on a tear since the all-star break. I said he would hit 2 HRs and collect 5 RBIs and he did just that and then some. In what is a lost season for the Mets, it is great to see their young position players improving every day.

Scoreboard says: Eric-2, Matt-2

This week’s predictions:

Matt: I get 3 wins from Free Agent Pitchers

 I mentioned I’d be digging deep into free agency this week. I plan on using all 6 match-up acquisitions allowed per week to add and promptly drop free agent pitchers for the night they start. I want to clarify that I’m picking from scraps at this point in the season but I’m going to play match-ups and focus on pitchers with low ERAs and high IPs.

Eric: Michael Conforto hits 3 more HRs this week

 I’m riding the hot hand again this week. Conforto and the Mets have a trip across town to Yankee stadium for 2 games before returning home to play the Yankees twice at Citi field. They then play the Marlins for 3 games at Citi Field over the weekend. I’ll say Conforto hits at least 3 more HRs this week, especially since Yankee stadium is slightly larger than a wiffle ball field.