Devy Targets: 2020 Draft Class #1-4

Running backs?  Again? I don’t know where they will go, but a lot of these guys deserve workhorse type opportunity and could be absolutely phenomenal in that role.  Some of the receivers in this class have pretty slick profiles, and there are some guys in that list that I like a lot. However, the running backs are where the can’t miss talent lies.  Both Cam Akers and D’Andre Swift look like transcendent players. So again, let’s go down my list as it stands and layout what we should expect/look for while we are waiting for these guys to make the jump to the NFL.

Running backs?  Again? I don’t know where they will go, but a lot of these guys deserve workhorse type opportunity and could be absolutely phenomenal in that role.  Some of the receivers in this class have pretty slick profiles, and there are some guys in that list that I like a lot. However, the running backs are where the can’t miss talent lies.  Both Cam Akers and D’Andre Swift look like transcendent players. So again, let’s go down my list as it stands and layout what we should expect/look for while we are waiting for these guys to make the jump to the NFL.

Cam Akers – RB – Florida State – Sophomore – 5’11” 213 lbs
2017 Stats – 194 carries for 1025 yards and 7 touchdowns and 16 receptions for 116 yards and 1 touchdown

Akers is a monster, a transcendent talent, a terrific running back.  If there is a superlative out there, it can likely be used to describe this kid.  He is a strong runner with all the traits you are looking for in a bell cow back. He is quick and elusive in space.  He is willing to lower his shoulder and throw his weight around when necessary. He can really come at you any way he wants to.  His understanding of the game is special as he was a quarterback throughout high school. That also means he is still learning the running back position and has so much room to grow and improve on everything he has shown already.  Akers is in for a special season with quarterback Deandre Francois returning from injury and looking to rebuild his NFL draft stock. The Florida State offense is going to be something to see with those two in the backfield. One thing I will look for a little more of this season is him catching the ball out of the backfield.  He can and will improve on 16 catches in the next two seasons.

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D’Andre Swift – RB – Georgia – Sophomore – 5’9” 215 lbs
2017 Stats – 81 carries for 618 yards and 3 touchdowns and 17 receptions for 153 yards and 1 touchdown

Two transcendent level guys in one class? It is absolutely possible that this is the case for 2020.  At the moment, it’s a fantasy player’s choice as to which guy you like better. I prefer Akers, but everything can change with two more years of film, two more years of football development and two more years of physical growth.  I like Swift a lot, but without seeing him in a workhorse role, I just can’t rank him above Akers. He will show out this year in another strong Georgia offense. Jake Fromm will open up the box by giving the offense a much more dynamic passing game than they ran last year.  While Zamir White tearing his ACL is sad and will take away a year of film for him, it will give us a big year for Swift. He will see a lot of volume and really take on that workhorse role that you want to see for a guy this talented.

Jonathan Taylor – RB – Wisconsin – Sophomore – 5’11” 214 lbs
2017 Stats – 299 carries for 1977 yards and 13 touchdowns and 8 receptions for 95 yards

Jonathan Taylor, as you can see, is a production machine.  He gets touches and then he gets his. While he isn’t a monster big play threat, he produces consistently and he produces at a very high level.  He reminds me quite a bit of Melvin Gordon honestly. All of this makes sense behind those Wisconsin offensive lines in that ground and pound system.  300 carries in a college season is an extreme workload. It equates to almost 400 carries in a 16 game NFL season which just doesn’t happen.

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Jhamon Ausbon – WR – Texas A&M – Sophomore – 6’2” 220 lbs
2017 Stats – 50 receptions for 571 yards and 3 touchdowns

Ausbon is currently the best receiver in this class.  He sneaks into my top 4 overall edging out JK Dobbins, though not by much.  Ausbon shows a lot of great traits despite lacking a little in the height department for a boundary receiver.  He is listed at 220 pounds, which, going into his sophomore season is impressive. Couple that with his quick feet and strong hand usage when running routes and he becomes a problem.  He has also shown an ability to high point the ball very well and be a threat down the field. He is a very complete receiver even at a young age with the athletic profile for plenty of growth.

LESSONS LEARNED IN PRESEASON WEEK 3 FROM A DFS PERSPECTIVE

FOOLS GOLD

Derrius Guice won’t take his first snap in regular season action until next year as he tore his ACL in the Redskins first August scrimmage in Foxboro.  After an offseason of waiting, Adrian Peterson received the call and will take his talents to D.C., his third team in the last two seasons.  Glancing over his 11 carries for 56 yards, one could be led to believe that this is a rejuvenated AP.  However, fresh legs may be have an attributing factor towards this successful debut with his new team.

Excluding his first four games with the Saints as he was part of a three man committee, Peterson ran for 450 yards in six games with the Cardinals.  Two of those games were off bye weeks where he rushed for 293 yards compared to his 66 carries for 157 yards in the other four.  The Adrian Petersen that will be immortalized in Canton wasn’t rushing for a meager 2.37 yards per carry in his prime with the Vikings.  

If you feel like the Redskins aren’t going to be a contender in a stacked NFC, it’s hard to envision many spots to use Petersen in daily.  If the Skins are consistently playing from behind, he won’t be a reliable option considering he’s hardly used out of the backfield where running back receptions are important in each site’s respective PPR settings.  Theoretically, his legs won’t be fresher than against the Cardinals in week 1 and following the bye against the Saints in week 5.  In those other 14 games, will he be the version of himself that averaged 2.37 yards per carry?  There is a lot of mileage in those battle tested legs and while his price will make him appealing, depending on Peterson in DFS in 2018 feels like it will lead to disappointing results.

REGAINING HIS CONFIDENCE

DeShaun Watson is the 4th most expensive quarterback option on DraftKings and the 3rd most expensive on FanDuel heading into week 1.  In selecting Watson, you are paying for the rushing upside that accounted for 22% of his fantasy production in 2017.  Removing rushing statistics from the equation, his 19.42 FPPG in seven games as a passer surpasses the per game fantasy outputs of names like Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and Carson Wentz.  Whether that output can be sustained will be determined but if regression as a thrower occurs for Watson, his legs can offset some of that passing reduction.

Each individual recovers not only from the physical aspect of an ACL tear but also the mental one at their own pace.  Watson tore his opposite ACL at Clemson in 2014 thus giving him the prior experience of developing it back to full strength and regaining the confidence to run with the football.  He posted 207 rushing attempts the following year after ACL surgery, a number that’s extremely unlikely to be duplicated in 2018 but illustrates that he is going to still attack opposing defenses utilizing his rushing ability.  While he only recorded one rushing attempts on Saturday against the Rams, it was reassuring to see him do so against an opposing defense for the first time since 2017.  Watson also benefits from his ACL tear happening six weeks earlier than Carson Wentz as Philadelphia deliberates whether their franchise quarterback will suit up week 1 against Atlanta.

TIGHT END COMPETITION IN INDY?

Heading into the third preseason game against the 49ers, Jack Doyle has clearly outsnapped Eric Ebron through two weeks with 40 snaps for Doyle and 12 for Ebron.  In what seemed to be a decision for him to rest, Doyle only played three snaps on Saturday.  Naturally, Ebron took a majority of the tight end snaps and capitalized on that playing time with a touchdown.  However, that shouldn’t raise any concern to where Doyle resides on the depth chart.  

Andrew Luck enjoys targeting his tight ends as he did so 29% of the time in 2016; Jacoby Brissett only threw to the position on 19% of his throws.  It is noteworthy that Doyle saw an increase of 33 targets from 2016 to 2017 despite Brissett’s lack of utilization of the tight end.  Of the 141 targets thrown their way, Doyle saw 108 of them, accounting for 77% of the tight end target share.  The faith of the Colts coaching staff in him continues to be demonstrated as he sees more playing time than Ebron in the early stages of 2018.

With Luck returning under center, one would expect Doyle to be the prime beneficiary of that return.  Ebron possesses enough talent that if he can live up to the first round draft capital that was spent on him by the Lions, he could cut into Doyle’s targets.  However, if Ebron continues to see limited snaps when both tight ends are active, Doyle could be poised for a career year.  At 3600 on DraftKings and 5600 on FanDuel against a Bengals team that allowed the 10th most FPA to tight ends and a team that he crushed last season, he’s an absolute bargain.  It’s a solid expectation of 6-8 targets for Doyle in this matchup considering how Andrew Luck favors throwing to the tight end position.

SECONDARY ISSUE

It’s no secret that the Chiefs secondary took a massive hit with the trade of Marcus Peters to the Rams.  I don’t think anyone envisioned backup quarterbacks like Matt Schaub, Brandon Weeden, and Chase Daniel throwing touchdown passes against the secondary that will take the field against the Chargers on September 9th.  If they’re struggling against quarterbacks that will be warming the bench, what will it look like when they have to face real competition?

David Amerson hasn’t taken the field since week 6 last year and when he was on the field, he was an extreme liability.  If additional proof is needed, google the August 13th video of his teammate Tyreek Hill flying past him en route for a deep touchdown reception.  Kendall Fuller performed admirably in the slot for the Redskins but is now expected to take snaps on the outside, a spot he lined up only on five percent of his snaps last year and 88 total snaps in his career.  Orlando Scandrick allowed a 29 yard touchdown to Kevin White on Saturday and can also be remembered for such performances against Larry Fitzgerald in which he was slaughtered by the future Hall of Famer last year as a member of the Cowboys.  He started out training camp with the Redskins before being released and signing with the Chiefs.  

The Chiefs should be a defense to target for DFS players throughout 2018.  With a potent offense combined with a horrible defense, the Chiefs could find themselves in some shootouts where team stacks of Chiefs or their opponents and game stacks will be necessary for success.  Week 1 features a divisional matchup in Los Angeles against Philip Rivers and a trio of talented receivers that could give the Chiefs secondary mismatches for 60 minutes.  From there, the team travels to Pittsburgh where Ben Roethlisberger is much more efficient and will look to weapons like Juju Smith-Schuster and some guy named Antonio Brown; apparently he’s really good at football.  They finally begin the home portion of their schedule with a visit from Tom Brady’s understudy and the speedy Marquise Goodwin when the 49ers invade Arrowhead.  The secondary looks to be a massive headache for the Chiefs and their fans and unless that group drastically improves, it could make for a very long season that is expected to end at some point in January, even with a new quarterback under center.

LOOKING TO REBOUND

Denver arguably has its best quarterback since Peyton Manning won Super Bowl 50 and rode off into the sunset.  Brock Osweiler was an experiment that failed miserably, Paxton Lynch has performed terribly since being drafted as a first rounder, and Trevor Siemian has shown small flashes but never proved to be the franchise quarterback the Broncos hoped he would be.  Emmanuel Sanders was a victim of this quarterback carousel but the future looks brighter with the addition of Case Keenum in the offseason.

With Keenum as the starter in Minnesota, he completed 68% of his passes, 9% higher than the Broncos most accurate passer in Trevor Siemian.  He threw passes of 61 and 51 yards to Stefon Diggs last year; Emmanuel Sanders has only one such reception of 50 yards or more since the beginning of the 2016 season.  Keenum also threw a half yard farther per target than any of the trio of Bronco quarterbacks at 7.08 yards per attempt.  When his game is predicated on his speed and ability to stretch the field, Sanders will be happy to have a more accurate Case Keenum throwing him passes in 2018.  As long as he stays healthy, he should see a positive regression from his two touchdown catches last year and have his first 1,000 yard season since 2016.  

Week 1 is a rematch of Super Bowl 48 that features a Seattle secondary that is missing key components from the Legion of Boom that helped the Seahawks win its first Super Bowl.  Sanders looks to be an integral part of the Broncos offense as he accounted for all 75 yards of a touchdown drive against the Redskins on Friday and has been targeted 15 times in the preseason.  $5000 on DraftKings and $6300 on FanDuel is a reasonable price on a player with the ability to post a 7-100-1 clip given his improved quarterback situation and against a defense that many assume is the same stalwart from prior years.

A CORNERBACK PAST HIS PRIME

On one side of the Buffalo secondary resides Tre’Davious White, one of the top cornerbacks that offensive coordinators must plan around.  On the other side will be Vontae Davis, the former Colts Pro Bowl corner who was cut midway through 2017 while dealing with a groin issue.  Even after successful offseason surgery, the 30 year old looks to have lost one step too many as John Ross torched him on a 57 yard strike and a score.  Coordinators will look to exploit this mismatch and DFS players should look to do the same.  

John Brown will see snaps lined up opposite Davis when the Ravens host the Bills to begin the 2018 campaign.  Following that game, the Chargers visit New Era Field with their speedsters in Tyrell and Mike Williams followed by a date with Stefon Diggs at US Bank Stadium.  With the exception of Diggs, the other three names are priced no more than $4200 on Draftkings and $5500 on FanDuel for Week 1, meaning a bomb for a score returns value at these inexpensive prices.

ATLANTA’S KRYPTONITE 

With a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl 51, no one imagined the Falcons squandering it the way they did.  The Patriots used James White’s pass catching ability to spearhead the greatest postseason comeback in NFL history.  Fast forward a year and a half later and that same glaring weakness appeared in the Falcons third preseason game against the Jaguars.

Only the Titans gave up more FPA to pass catching backs in 2017 than the Falcons.  In fact, Tarik Cohen and Ty Montgomery both ended up in the perfect lineups on both sites in week 1 and 2 respectively against them last year.  The Jaguars continued to pour salt on that wound as a combination of pass catching backs combined for 120 yards on 13 catches on Saturday night.  

This weakness doesn’t figure to vanish if the Jaguars are exploiting this existing problem in the preseason.  Looking down the line at some of the pass catching backs the Falcons will face down the line should have DFS players salivating.  Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Duke Johnson, and Saquon Barkley all get opportunities against the Falcons this season.  If Ezekiel Elliott accumulates more targets out of the backfield, he’s another player that could break out against this team.  Of course, how could I forget about pass catching specialists Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffery who reside in the NFC South and face the Falcons twice a year?  Like starting tight ends against the Giants and Browns, starting pass catching backs against the Falcons should be a strategy worth consideration each week.

It’s Time: 5 Dynasty Players You Can Finally Give Up On

With the start of the 2018 NFL season right around the corner, you may be looking to trim some fat from your roster before the first game kicks off. Here are 5 players in Deep Dynasty leagues who you may want to look at cutting bait on before you go into the 2018 Fantasy Football season:

ArDarius Stewart, WR – New York Jets 

Stewart was a 3rd round draft pick (79th overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft. At Alabama, he was dynamic. Stewart looked like he was NFL ready any time he had his hands on the ball. During his last season at Alabama, he put up 54 catches for 864 yards and 8 TD’s. When he arrived for rookie minicamp, Stewart injured his thumb and had to have surgery. The injury caused him to miss most of the workouts. When he finally was healthy enough for camp with the Jets, he had already fallen behind. This caused him to be passed on the depth chart by basically everyone.

It wasn’t until Jeremy Kerley was handed a 4 game suspension in November that Stewart got to see the field regularly. At the end of the season, he was basically an enigma for the Jets offense. Stewart was tied for 10th on the team in receiving yards with Tight End Neal Sterling, with only 82. He also only saw 13 total targets, with 6 catches for 0 TD’s. Most of his production came on punt returns as he returned 9 kicks for 173 yards (a 19.2 yards per return average). Currently, this preseason, he is being outplayed by Chad Hansen, Tre McBride and Charles Johnson.

It’s very possible that Stewart may not even make the Jets roster. These obstacles along with a recent 2 game PED suspension handed down by the NFL to Stewart make his roster status up in the air for the Jets. As of right now, he has basically no value and not worth a roster spot at this point in time. Cut him if you haven’t already.

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Paxton Lynch, QB – Denver Broncos

Going into the 2016 NFL Draft, there were 2 highly touted quarterbacks who would go on to be selected #1 overall (Jared Goff) and #2 overall (Carson Wentz). At 26th overall, the Denver Broncos selected the 3rd quarterback in the 1st round, from the University of Memphis named Paxton Lynch. In his rookie season, Lynch was thrust into action, making 2 starts. The 2 starts showed varied results. He attempted 83 passes, completing 49 for a 59% completion percentage, with 497 yards, 2 TD’s and 1 INT. This past season, Lynch again made 2 starts when Brock Osweiler struggled. Lynch looked visibly worse in these 2 games, throwing for 295 yards with 2 TD’s and 3 INT’s. Eventually Lynch was injured and the Broncos went back to Trevor Simien as the starting quarterback to finish out the year.

During the offseason, the Broncos signed Case Keenum as their starting quarterback. This left Paxton Lynch in a quarterback competition with Chad Kelly to see who would become the backup. So far this preseason, Chad Kelly has outplayed Lynch and passed him on the depth chart. If Lynch is relegated to third string quarterback, it would appear his time with Denver is coming to an end. Paxton Lynch has basically no value at this point and will more than likely find himself as a career backup. Cut bait!

Joe Williams, RB – San Francisco 49ers

49ers Coach Kyle Shanahan had thought he found his running back of the future when he traded up to draft Joe Williams in the 4th round of the 2017 draft out of Utah. Williams, however, has not delivered. The problem with Joe Williams is that he just can’t stay healthy. During his first training camp with the 49ers, Williams injured his ankle and was placed on IR, which ended his rookie season before it started.

At the start of this season, Williams was back and healthy. However, the team had also gone out and signed free agent running back Jerick McKinnon to be the starter. In the 49ers’ first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys, Williams finally got a taste of the NFL. He rushed 11 times for 27 yards and a touchdown. Although he did score a touchdown, he did not look spectacular and played against mostly 2nd and 3rd teamers. In the 2nd week of the preseason, with injuries to starting running back Jerick McKinnon and 2nd team running back Matt Brieda, it appeared Williams would get his first start with the 1st team offense. That was not the case, as Jeremy McNichols got the start. Williams ended up playing on the 2nd and 3rd team and rushed 8 times for 18 yards vs the Houston Texans. In the preseason, Williams ran the ball for only 2.4 yards per carry. Not quite what Kyle Shanahan had envisioned when he traded up to take Williams. It was reported shortly after the Texans game that Williams is now dealing with fractured ribs and may again be placed on IR.

When the 49ers got the news about Williams and their running back stable depleted, they reached out to free agent Alfred Morris. Now with Morris on the roster, it appears Joe Williams roster spot may be in jeopardy. If Williams is placed on IR, he should be dropped in all leagues. It does not appear that his body can take the punishment of the NFL game.

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Breshad Perriman  WR – Baltimore Ravens

Perriman is a former first round pick from the 2015 NFL Draft. When the Ravens selected Breshad, they thought they were getting the next Dez Bryant. Before his rookie season even started, he was placed on season ending IR with a knee injury. This would be the start of Perriman’s rocky career. Injuries to his knees and hamstrings to go along with multiple drops when he gets on the field, have cemented his status as a “draft bust”. There have been a few flashes of greatness.

In a game vs Cleveland in 2016, he grabbed 3 catches for 64 yards with a nice 27 yard touchdown catch. Another game that same year vs Miami, he took a short slant pattern 53 yards for a touchdown. During his brief career, more was to be expected from a former 1st round draft pick. His career stats from 3 seasons are 43 catches for 576 yards and 3 scores. Currently Pro Football Focus has Perriman graded as their lowest ranked wide receiver. Maybe a chance of scenery would do him some good. I just won’t be the one owning him to find out.

Ameer Abdullah RB – Detroit Lions

Before the start of the season, the Detroit Lions made a few moves to help bolster their back field. First, in March, they signed LaGarrette Blount to a 1 year deal. Then in April, Lions drafted Kerryon Johnson in the 2018 NFL Draft to solidify their future in the back field. Only problem was, Ameer Abdullah was supposed to be their future star running back since being drafted in the 2nd round in 2015. Abdullah’s career has been hot and cold. In his first preseason game in 2015, he had a ridiculous 45 yard run that made fantasy owners salivate. That year he rose up everyone’s draft board. However, he did not deliver. Since that time, he had shown flashes of greatness, but never any real consistent production to make him a commodity.

The Lions tried him out as their featured back in 2016, but he tore a ligament in his foot and his season ended early. Again in 2017, Detroit opened the season with him as their starring running back and Abdullah would underperform. He rushed 165 times which was a career high for only 552 yards and 4 TD’s. His yards per carry dipped to an abysmal 3.3 (the lowest of his career). I’m not saying Abdullah’s career is over, but his time with the Lions may be running out. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Abdullah’s name on the roster cut list. A team will probably give him another chance, but it may not be as a featured back. You could play the wait and see game with him, but if it’s my roster, he is either being dealt or waived.

 

Targeting Value: Late Round Redraft Values Part 2

Here I am continuing to dive into the later rounds ADPs and looking at guys who I think could have value during the 2018 season. All ADPs are taken from Fantasyfootballcalculator.com for PPR leagues as of August 14th. These are the guys I am monitoring and why I think they have potential value this season.

Cole Beasley (14.01)

The Cowboys are likely going to be running a ball control, safe offense in 2017. They have Zeke back and they are going to want to re-build Dak Prescott’s confidence. Beasley is one of the few pass catchers returning this season in Dallas and he’s the best receiving option for short to intermediate routes in the middle of the field. With Witten gone, those targets are going to be important for the Dallas offense. With a career catch rate of 70%, Beasley is the most likely beneficiary of these vacated targets. He should provide a safe baseline in PPR leagues. Over the last 4 seasons, Beasley has caught 4 or 5 TDs every year. If this is added to an expected increase in targets then Beasley could be a valuable bench piece.

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Kalen Ballage (14.04)

Taking a shot on Ballage this late is a move that, if it hits, will payoff big. This has more to do with how the Dolphins seem to regard Kenyan Drake because for whatever reason they do not want to commit to giving him a large workload. Last year, the team preferred Damian Williams over him and he only received the volume when Williams was hurt. This year, they brought in Frank Gore and drafted Ballage. So it still seems like there is no commitment to Drake. It feels likely that Ballage will have a chance to carve out a role and depending on how the season goes , he’ll have a chance to be featured down the line. At his price, it makes a lot of sense to have him on the end of your bench.

Josh Doctson (12.08)/Paul Richardson (14.05)

I am grouping these guys together because 1 of them will be the guy catching TDs for the Redskins. I do not trust Jordan Reed to stay healthy, so Alex Smith will need to find someone else as his go to guy when it is time to score. Both Richardson and Doctson flashed some TD potential, each finishing with 6 TDs in 2017. This is a situation where I encourage you to pick the WR you prefer. I lean to the former first round pick Doctson as he profiles as the better red zone weapon with his size and he out targeted Richardson in the red zone in 2017 15 to 9. He is also already familiar with the Redskins’ offense. I expect to have at least one of these guys on a number of teams in 2018.

Chris Ivory (14.07)

The backup running back in Buffalo has shown a significant amount of fantasy production in 2 of the 3 seasons McCoy has been there. In 2015, Karlos Williams had 104 touches and 9 total TDs in only 11 games. In 2016, Mike Gillislee had 110 touches and 9 total TDs in 15 games. The role in 2017 did not have the same value, but that can be attributed to the backup being Mike Tolbert. The Bills are going to be a run heavy team with an aging starter in LeSean McCoy. McCoy has seen a lot of volume in his career and 2017 was his least efficient rushing season at 4 yards per carry. Buffalo would be smart to try to keep him fresh by letting him have his rest on a few drives. It is hard to find RBs with value this late, but Ivory represents someone who could be flexed in the right match up if needed and has upside if McCoy misses any time for injury or any of the off-the-field stuff that has been going on this year.

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Albert Wilson (Currently Undrafted)

This is a player you could either take with your last pick before taking a kicker or defense or keep an eye on him when he is sitting on the waiver wire. The slot role in Miami will be valuable and Jarvis Landry has left town. Amendola may start the season as the guy, but Wilson has the talent to succeed in this role. Expecting Amendola to hold up under a heavy target load seems like a bad bet to me. If the Dolphins try to give most of that volume to Amendola, then it is only a matter of time before he’s hurt based on his history. It may take a few weeks before he is relevant, but if Wilson gets that role then he will be a huge PPR fantasy asset.

Late Round QBs 

 I won’t go into each name here, but to illustrate the principal of waiting on QB here are some of the names available in round 10 or later: Matt Ryan (10.01), Philip Rivers (10.04), Ben Roethlisberger (10.10), Alex Smith (12.07), Dak Prescott (14.01) Blake Bortles (14.05), Mitchell Trubisky (14.08) & Case Keenum (14.09). There are other values in this range at QB that I did not include, but these are all names that will be fantasy relevant in 2018. Please wait on a QB in leagues where you only start 1. I keep reiterating this point but going QB early really does not make logical sense in a draft.

Those are the late rounders I am keeping an eye on currently, there are plenty of diamonds to be found late in drafts.

Like this Article? Check out Part 1 of the Series Here

Waiver Wire Tune-Up: Where Fantasy Championships Are Won

It’s August, preseason is in full swing, the injury bug is flourishing, drafts are happening all around us, football season is here! Now you may be thinking, “I killed my draft” and you can rest easy all the way to the championship with a little lineup decision making on the way. Wrong! Although you have conquered your draft (or went down in a blaze of glory) you still have much work to do. Even if you haven’t drafted yet, this article can still be for you. Just put it in your back pocket for later. Not only that, but it can be a refresher for both new and old.


The Waiver Wire Landscape

The world of waiver wire comes in many shapes and sizes however, there are a few that I’ve seen as popular.

Standard

You put in a claim for a player/s and your waiver order determines whether you beat someone out for said player. If I put in for “player x” and I was 13th in the waiver order, anyone from 12 back up to 1 can steal that player from me. Normally, these are processed on Tuesday or Wednesday of each week resetting the order depending on who actually made a claim.

I treat Standard like Free-for-All essentially. Yes, I have to wait and may miss out on some players, but I get more guys than I miss out on. I’m in a few leagues that utilize this form of waivers and every year I lead the league with waiver wire moves. It’s a format that you have to be able to be in the know as far as sleepers and waiver pickups to hopefully get to them before your league mates. You have no power of authority like with FAAB, you can’t yank them up instantly like Free for All, but if you’re savvy enough you can get exactly who you want a lot of the times.

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Free Agent Auction Bidding (FAAB)

This system is similar to standard, but it utilizes a FAAB budget. Normally it’s about 100 dollars and it gives you the edge over people who are higher in the waiver wire pecking order. This from can get a lot more complex, which I love, but we won’t get into that today.

I like this format the second best because even though it’s not free for all, it’s also not standard where there’s a sole reliance on waiver order. In situations where normally you’d lose out on a player due to order, you can put down a little fake money to raise your chances of getting a player. In these leagues I tend to hold on to my monies until a dire need pops up, someone drops a decent player worth spending on or a sleeper awakens (due to injury, suspensions, etc..).

Free For All

This is my favorite because it has no restrictions. You pick up and drop, no waiting involved. The downside to this that a lot of people hate, is that it caters to the ones who constantly monitor situations (injuries, promotions, cuts, etc..). So in essence it doesn’t work to well for the casual player.

My favorite format of all. As soon as relevant news drops about a players, this is where people go crazy. Depending on who it is, I may go after them immediately. The other perk is that if you sit back and wait, someone may end up dropping a good player and that’s where I pounce.

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Formula for Success

Regardless of format, I keep shuffling my roster to maximize points year in and year out. Yes, there’s trades to be had as well, but I feel like the waiver wire is the power twin to trades. Make well informed moves to constantly put forth the best roster possible every week. My commission to you, the reader is to not be afraid of being mocked for how many times you pick up and drop players. As long as you don’t make knee jerk decisions, this will just be one more skill to help keep you on top. You don’t have to go berserk like I do, but being conservative almost never ensures victory. In all leagues I’ve been in, the lack of movement (trade and waiver combined) tends to match right up with inactivity, low success and zero championships. Take it from me, I do my fair share of league play and this year I’m involved in about 30 or so leagues. Call me insane, but I love it and it has taught me a lot. Stay on your toes and never let your opponent get the edge. After you conquer your draft (due to Top2 content), come back to us and receive help to win out in trades, lineup decisions and waivers. Your battle has only begun and we’re here to help you bring home that fantasy trophy!

Be on the lookout for my weekly waiver wire dive article throughout the season for every offensive scoring position. From QB to Kicker, I’ve got you covered and we at Top2 will make sure you come home with the trophy!

ADP Drop: 5 Players with Fleeting Value

Welcome to a quick little ditty on some players whom some fantasy analysts thought could be drafted at a value. These are the players that we figured would deliver higher than their pre-preseason ADP. The only problem is that the rest of the universe has caught on in recent weeks and these players are no longer being drafted at the value that we previously enjoyed.

TY Hilton

Everybody knows that TY Hilton is amazing and talented. Last season, we all watched in horror as we collectively learned that Jim Irsay fibbed in the 2017 preseason about the likelihood of Andrew Luck playing. Likely done to sell season tickets, it also led the fantasy world astray.

Fast forward to 2018, the fantasy world was feeling good about Andrew Luck playing and were giddy when TY Hilton was being drafted late in the fourth round. He could deliver WR2 value with a subpar quarterback. Throw in the chance of Andrew Luck playing and you had a potential league winner on your hands.

Using some data collected through the Mock Draft Series as well as the Fantasy Draft Calculator, his ascension is complete:

MDS 1 (May) MDS 2 (June) FDC July 23 FDC Today
4.01 5.03 3.10 3.03

No, you will not be getting TY Hilton at a value any longer. He is worthy of the low end WR1 value that he is being drafted at today.

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Stefon Diggs

I’ll be honest with this one. I am stumped. The quarterback situation has not changed  since May and neither has the receiving corp around him. He is arguably more talented than Adam Thielen but also has a history of injuries preventing him from playing all 16 games (he has played in 14 games in all three of his NFL seasons). All of those things considered, he has risen up the draft boards as if suddenly granted magical powers changing his circumstances.

MDS 1 (May) MDS 2 (June) FDC July 23 FDC Today
4.08 3.03* 4.01 3.05
* Drafted using assumptions which turned out accurate, I am impressed by @DynastyDorks

Those among us who will choose to draft the Minnesota WR that falls farther down the board are almost guaranteed to be left with Adam Thielen.

Alex Collins

Alex Collins move up the board is based on three things:

  • Some RBs are experiencing injuries, thinning the herd
  • Some RBs are underperforming in the preseason
  • Some are finally realizing that he will actually be the focal point of the Ravens run game

Suddenly, he is no longer a starting running back that you could draft later than the others. If you want him, you’re going to have to pay.

MDS 1 (May) MDS 2 (June) FDC July 23 FDC Today
4.03 4.07 4.02 3.06

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Lamar Miller

This one is ridiculously simple: D’onta Foreman is likely going to start the season on the PUP. Alfred Blue is mediocre at best. This leaves the also mediocre Lamar Miller (although, much better than Alfred Blue) as the running back who will get all of the opportunities. He might only run for 3 yards a carry, but if he runs the ball 20 times and catches 5 passes for a few yards each then you’ve just scored approximately 13 points in PPR. Bonus if he scores a touchdown!

MDS 1 (May) MDS 2 (June) FDC July 23 FDC Today
4.07 5.11 4.06 4.01

Royce Freeman

Royce Freeman has shined in the preseason. He has scored in each of the games and has run with the first team. Adding to those positives, he also appears to be the goal-line back. Much like Alex Collins, Royce has maintained his health and has shown that he will have the main RB roll on his team. His move up the board is the most impressive.

MDS 1 (May) MDS 2 (June) FDC July 23 FDC Today
Undrafted (10 rnd) Undrafted (12 rnd) 5.04 4.03

Final Thoughts

Back in July, mock drafts were allowing us to wait on these talented players. Had those been real drafts, those who drafted them would be enjoying some pretty impressive depth at those positions. Today is a different story. That story telling only strengthens my love of Fantasy Football. What will tomorrow bring and who will be the next players to improve their ADP? Tell me your thoughts at @FFA_Marc.