DFS Lessons Learned: Preseason Week 2

BUFFALO HUNTING

The Bills open the 2018 season with the daunting task of facing the Ravens, Chargers, and Vikings, all stingy defenses that were in the bottom five in FPA to quarterbacks in 2017.  Whether it is Nathan Peterman, Josh Allen, or AJ McCarron under center, it’s hard to imagine either one having much success especially when the Bills have to travel to Baltimore and Minnesota for two of those three games.  With McCarron now out of the equation with a broken collarbone, Peterman and Allen will compete for the starting role in the last two scrimmages before September 9th.

The Bills were at a crossroads with Tyrod Taylor after he was benched against the Saints when Peterman came in for the rest of that game.  If you recall the Bills, Chargers game last year, Peterman was abysmal to the tune of five interceptions including one taken all the way back for a Chargers touchdown.  Needless to say, Taylor was their guy for the rest of the 2017 season after that debacle.  The question for the Bills coaching staff will be if they want Peterman to handle the quarterback duties during that tough stretch until the schedule lightens up or if they simply throw Allen into the fire and begin that era of Bills football.  

The Ravens defense is the most expensive on the Week 1 slate for both sites and it’s an expectation that the Chargers and Vikings will also be the priciest for week 2 and 3 respectively.  Nathan Peterman going into M&T Bank Stadium against a Ravens team that seeks revenge for the Bills knocking them out of postseason contention is a tall order.  Josh Allen starting his first game in the NFL in those given scenarios is even more precarious.  Add the fact that there still isn’t a resolution to the LeSean McCoy situation; if he’s unavailable, it makes starting these defenses even more appealing.  They will be chalky in both cash game and GPPs but it’s a solid expectation for a double digit fantasy point performance from these defenses.

SORTING THROUGH THE BRADY BUNCH

A vintage Tom Brady took the field in Foxboro in a scrimmage that saw the Patriots put up 20 points and 271 yards of total offense in the first half against the Eagles.  Gronk didn’t suit up but is expected to play in the opener against the Texans, something Julian Edelman won’t do as he begins his four game suspension.  Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead warmed the bench as they nursed injuries; the good news is Burkhead returned to practice on Sunday.  

Mike Gillislee, James White, and Jeremy Hill all logged carries with Gillislee averaging 2.44 yards on nine carries, remaining as inefficient as he was last year.  It isn’t shaping up for him to make the 53-man roster following the preseason finale against the Giants.  James White figures to see more work out of the backfield which leaves Jeremy Hill as a viable ground option should Michel not suit up and Burkhead experience another setback before September 9th.  At 3300 on DraftKings and 4600 on FanDuel against the Texans, Hill believes he will be 100% after surgery for an ankle that wrecked havoc to his 2017 season.  While he hasn’t averaged over four yards a carry since his rookie season in 2014, he has an ability to cross the pylons, something he did 29 times from 2014-2016.  A touchdown and 39 rushing yards returns value on DK, definitely within the range of outcomes for Hill.

Chris Hogan led all Patriot receivers in the first half with seven targets, followed by six for James White, and five for Julian Edelman.  Essentially, Gronk will acquire Edelman’s targets while he serves his suspension as well as syphon some from Will Tye and Jacob Hollister.  He is the most expensive tight end on the week 1 slate but will surely see 8-10 targets per game until Edelman returns.  Hogan is the clear #1 receiver for the time being while Philip Dorsett will see some passes thrown his way as well.  Cordarrelle Patterson has potential this year to be that inexpensive option that is less than 3-5% owned who will help win a GPP.  He replaces the speed that Brandin Cooks left behind and with the best quarterback he’s had in his career now throwing him the ball, the Patriots will certainly utilize Patterson’s agility and feed him some targets.  

There will be one more dress rehearsal to see how the Pats distribute the ball.  The running back situation will sort itself out as it gets closer to week 1 and we see if Michel takes the practice field for the first time since August 1st and Burkhead can play through a slight tear in his knee.  This will also answer questions regarding how many pass attempts we could expect from Brady against the Texans; he had 26 of them on Thursday night.  If he performs as he did against the Eagles, the 41 year old quarterback will once again lead his team towards another postseason run.

 GEARING TOWARDS A FEATURE ROLE

Back on July 25, Ron Rivera suggested that he would like Christian McCaffery to get 25-30 touches a game, more than double the 12.31 touches he received in his rookie year.  Time will tell if that idea comes to fruition as only LeVeon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott averaged more than 25 touches a game last year.  Friday night was a step in the right direction as he had 9 touches in the first half, just shy of three-quarters of his touches per game in 2017.  

Most of McCaffery’s value came as a receiver, an asset especially useful in DraftKings full PPR scoring.  He and Le’Veon Bell were the only two running backs to average 7 points in all 16 games last year.  His 7.31 carries per game and 3.71 yards per carry in 2017 are numbers that need to be bolstered for Rivera’s vision of McCaffery to come true.  Even if you take away the impressive 71 yard touchdown run, he still averaged 5.25 yards on four carries against the Dolphins, figures that are reflective of that vision.  

McCaffery will face the Cowboys, Falcons, and Bengals before going on an early week 4 bye.  Although the week 2 matchup is in Atlanta and he had a +4.7 FPPG differential at Bank of America Stadium, he is someone to target in lineups against a Falcons team that has been putrid in defending pass catching backs in recent years.  If you rather wait until he heads back to Charlotte where he had five games of 20 or more fantasy points, the Bengals struggled against running backs both on the ground and out of the backfield.  His $6400 salary on Draftkings and $7500 salary on FanDuel for week 1 were right around his average last season.  If McCaffery takes that next step that is expected of him, he will begin to be priced more in the range of running backs like Leonard Fournette, Kareem Hunt, and Melvin Gordon on a weekly basis.

ROAD WARRIOR

Patrick Mahomes found Tyreek Hill for a 69 yard bomb and a touchdown on Friday night, a sight Chiefs fans hope to see for years to come.  With Mahomes big arm, he will take shots downfield to his speedy receiver that will make or break DFS lineups a few weeks this coming year.  Seeing this touchdown happen in Atlanta is no big shock as most of Hill’s production has occurred away from Arrowhead Stadium.

The home/road splits are rather remarkable when you analyze Tyreek Hill’s first two years in the NFL.  1109 of his 1776 career receiving yards (62%) are on the road as well as nine of his 13 career touchdowns.  He averaged a whole 10 fantasy points more in full PPR scoring in away games than in games at Arrowhead in his first full season in 2017.  A possible explanation could be his +4.39 FPPG differential in Chiefs losses.  Alex Smith threw Hill deep shots for touchdowns while playing from behind against the Raiders and Jets, both away games the Chiefs lost.  Yet, he still went into Gillette Stadium and Stubhub Center in Chiefs wins and posted 20+ fantasy point performances, something he didn’t do once at Arrowhead last year.

Some disparities tend to regress back to a norm while others remain a constant in some player’s careers.  There is no possible way that Eli Manning will have a +10.8 differential in Giants game that go under the total like he did last year; that number will regress back to the norm where games that go over the total will generate more fantasy production.  Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits are a given at this point in his career where that disparity is a trend more than it is an anomaly.  Mahomes could have more production at home where that translates to better success at Arrowhead for Hill, a trend we could discover as Mahomes logs some starts in the NFL.  Identifying which scenarios players perform and don’t perform are critical in daily and can be a difference between making money or donating it to the rest of the competition.

PRESEASON DFS POINTER

Glancing over the week 1 preseason schedule, two games stood out from the standpoint of sending teams from one end of the country to the other in a game that is meaningless towards the standings.  The Rams were forced to take a cross-country trip to Baltimore while the Lions were required to travel to Oakland.  The NFL tries to keep the teams in the AFC and NFC West divisions from traveling long distances during the preseason.  These teams scrimmage mostly against each other as they face each other in regular season action once every four years; 2018 happens to be one of those years.

The Rams and Raiders square off in the second game of the opening Monday night doubleheader.  They also happened to square off 23 days before that regular season date on Saturday.  Needless to say, both teams kept their starters on the sidelines to prevent putting anything on tape for the coaching staffs to prepare for when the game counts.  

The only game on the week 3 preseason slate that pits 2018 opponents against each other is the Vikings and Seahawks.  However, their regular season matchup takes place in Week 14 so that won’t prevent the coaches from utilizing their starters in the penultimate preseason game.  

Preseason DFS presents an opportunity to generate easy cash flow for those that put in some extra work.  There are some variables that need to be considered that typically wouldn’t be in the regular season like the Rams, Raiders scenario mentioned above.  Imagine how many people put a Jared Goff or an Amari Cooper in their lineups from the Saturday slate of seven preseason games when the coaching staffs were indicating they were sitting the starters.  The Patriots were hinting of starting Brady the whole first half against an Eagles team that defeated them in Super Bowl 52 and he posts 14.88 fantasy points in the only opportunity for revenge as they don’t square off in regular season play until 2019.  Kelvin Benjamin wanted to stick it to his former team last week and did so in limited preseason snaps with a 4-59-1 clip against the Panthers.  

Some players submit preseason lineups for the sheer thrill of doing so with the anticipation of the regular season on the horizon.  Take advantage of their laziness, identify storylines that are both conductive and not conducive towards fantasy production, and follow the clues that the coaching staffs provide leading up to the game.

Beast Mode is Back, Baby!

After a somewhat disappointing season in 2017 for fantasy owners, Marshawn Lynch is looking for redemption. With the signing of Doug Martin and the hiring of Coach Jon Gruden in the off-season, the uncertainty surrounded Lynch even before camp started in 2018.

The addition of Doug Martin may make fantasy players shy away from drafting Lynch. Martin could be a nice complimentary piece in the backfield, but he is not the running back he used to be. The past 2 seasons he has averaged a measly 2.9 yards per carry. There is a reason Tampa Bay chose to let him walk. Oakland also brought back Seattle’s former offensive line coach from Lynch’s days with the Seahawks, Tom Cable. This should only install more confidence in drafting the services of Marshawn Lynch.

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Lynch Finishes Strong

Digging into his 2017 season, there are a lot of surprising statistics. The first half of the season, he was barely used. Some may say he looked like he was running in quick sand. Lynch averaged 3.7 yards per carry in the first 5 games to go along with 2 scores. The second half of games from weeks 9-17 were a different story. He gained 625 of his 891 yards with 5 touchdowns. In the final 5 games alone, he averaged 86.8 yards, good enough for 4th best in the league and 5.2 yards per carry, which was 2nd best in the league. These stats should not be ignored and clearly shows that he has plenty left in the tank.

This past off-season, Marshawn Lynch worked again with trainer Jamal Liggin to increase his speed and explosiveness. He came to camp at a “trim” 215lbs and appears visually less bulky. On his only carry so far this preseason against Detroit, he dashed 60 yards to the end zone past Glover Quin for a TD. This touchdown would later be called back due to holding penalty on 1st round pick Kolton Miller. However, you could plainly see that Lynch looks faster and ready to regain the form that made him one of fantasy’s biggest stars.

Age Doesn’t Matter

Currently at 32 years of age, most fantasy football owners are weary of drafting Lynch. Most 30 + year old running backs tend to drop off in production. Based off of the last 5 games of last year and the speed he showed off vs the Detroit Lions in the preseason week 1, you should really re-think your draft strategy when it comes to Marshawn Lynch. Regardless of his age, Beast Mode appears to be back.

Looking at the Raiders upcoming schedule, it fares well for Marshawn. The Oakland Raiders have the 9th best strength of schedule for running backs (per fantasypros.com). Also, per Pro Football Focus, the Raiders have the #7 ranked offensive line in the NFL.

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If you are looking for great value, Lynch is going off the board in rounds 6-7 as RB#29. To give you an idea on running backs being drafted before him are: Sony Michel at RB#26, Dion Lewis at RB#27 and Tevin Coleman at RB#28. While these other backs might be younger, none are considered bell cow running backs or even starters like Marshawn Lynch. He might be the best value pick of all running backs heading into this season and you should have confidence in him outperforming his ADP.

2018 Fantasy Football Industry Mockstravaganza

Twelve industry experts/podcasters have joined forces to bring you a mock draft to help guide you through the challenges which lie ahead. Each of us will explain our rationale behind the picks. Please click on the links below to read the explanations from each team owner. You can provide feedback to each of us through our Twitter handles. Enjoy!

ROUND 1

1.01 – Todd Gurley (RB) – @Full10Yards
1.02 – David Johnson (RB) – @BrianDFF
1.03 – Ezekial Elliott (RB) – @FFStompy
1.04 – Le’Veon Bell (RB) – @NFL_DiMatteo
1.05 – Saquon Barkley (RB) – @TheKaceyKasem
1.06 – Alvin Kamara (RB) – @fignutsdfs
1.07 – DeAndre Hopkins (WR) – @FFPeeblesChamp
1.08 – Antonio Brown (WR) – @TopShelfDFF
1.09 – Melvin Gordon (RB) – @FFProfessorST3
1.10 – Odell Beckham Jr. (WR) – @FFA_Marc

My Take:
I love that OBJ is falling this late. I understand the desire to get a stud RB in the first round since the position is so shallow. It explains the Melvin Gordon pick in front of me at the 1.09. But, once the top 6 are gone, the stud Wide Receivers remain available. I’d be thrilled to get any one of one Brown, OBJ, Keenan Allen, or Hopkins here.

The one negative to drafting a receiver in round one? I have to hold my breath and hope that my guy is still available at the 2.03. Please hold your breath with me!

1.11 – Kareem Hunt (RB) – @MurphyFFT
1.12 – Keenan Allen (WR) – @HumanStatSheet

ROUND 2

2.01 – Devante Adams (WR) – @HumanStatSheet
2.02 – Michael Thomas (WR) – @MStepney71
2.03 – Dalvin Cook (RB) – @FFA_Marc

My Take:

Breath holding was successful. Dalvin Cook is my #5 RB. Yes, I’d rather have him over Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley. I often have to make a decision to take him early or do I gamble on the draft and hope he comes back to me. Drafting in the 8 or 9 slot makes that decision even harder because there are additional picks before I get another one. The 10-12 slots make it a bit easier, so I definitely lucked out.

So, what is my takeaway? If you really want a specific player, then pay up for him unless you see a possibility of that player coming back to you. That possibility can be based on player ADP, site rankings, and the trends of those drafting around you if you are familiar with the other players in your league.

Meanwhile, I have my #2 Wide Receiver AND my #5 Running Back to start my draft. I AM THRILLED! Dang it, it’s a mock.

ROUND 3

3.01 – Stefon Diggs (WR) – @Full10Yards, 3.02 – Larry Fitzgerald (WR) – @BrianDFF, 3.03 – Doug Baldwin (WR) – @FFStompy, 3.04 – Tyreek Hill (WR) – @NFLDiMatteo, 3.05 – Travis Kelce (TE) – @thekaceykasem, 3.06 – Adam Thielen (WR) – @fignutsdfs, 3.07 – Alex Collins (RB) – @FFPeeblesChamp, 3.08 – Amari Cooper (WR) – @TopShelfDFF, 3.09 – TY Hilton (WR) – @FFProfessorST3,

3.10 – Royce Freeman (RB) – @FFA_Marc

My Take

When I made this pick, Vance Joseph hadn’t come out with his “Devontae Booker is the starter” news. Thankfully, they have come to their senses because I’ve taken Royce Freeman in the third round in more than one draft. Through injury, performance, and circumstance Royce Freeman is now the second best Running Back out of this year’s rookie class. He will have a lot of opportunity and has shown that he has the ability to perform well. Looking at the other running backs that went shortly after my pick, I am thrilled that I have the best of all of them.

3.11 – Kenyan Drake (RB) – @MurphyFFT, 3.12 – Jerrick McKinnon (RB) – @HumanStatSheet

ROUND 4

4.01 – Derrick Henry (RB) – @HumanStatSheet, 4.02 – DeMaryius Thomas (WR) – @MurphyFFT,

4.03 – Jarvis Landry (WR) – @FFA_Marc

My Take

I am sad that I had to take him in the fourth round when a few weeks ago I could get him in the 6th round. Actually, I’m not sad at all. According to my rankings, Jarvis Landry is the #10 WR for the season. OBJ and Landry is a solid 1-2 punch. I could just plop those two players into the Wide Receiver slots and never change them, except on bye weeks.

After seeing the picks that went off the board before my next pick, I am glad that I reached a little. He wasn’t getting back to me.

4.04 – LeSean McCoy (RB) – @FFProfessorST3, 4.05 – Jay Ajayi (RB) – @TopShelfDFF, 4.06 – Allen Robinson (WR) – @FFPeeblesChamp, 4.07 – Zach Ertz (TE) – @fignutsdfs, 4.08 – Golden Tate (WR) – @thekaceykasem, 4.09 – Marvin Jones (WR) – @NFLDiMatteo, 4.10 – Lamar Miller (RB) – @FFStompy, 3.04, 4.11 – Juju Smith-Schuster (WR) – @BrianDFF, 4.12 – Mark Ingram (RB) – @Full10Yards

ROUND 5

5.01 – Aaron Rodgers (QB) – @Full10Yards, 5.02 – Rex Burkhead (RB) – @BrianDFF, 5.03 – Josh Gordon (WR) – @FFStompy, 3.04, 5.04 – Dion Lewis (RB) – @NFLDiMatteo, 5.05 – Marshawn Lynch (RB) – @thekaceykasem, 5.06 – Chris Hogan (WR) – @fignutsdfs, 5.07 – Corey Davis (WR) – @FFPeeblesChamp, 5.08 – Brandin Cooks (WR) – @TopShelfDFF, 5.09 – Kerryon Johnson (RB) – @FFProfessorST3,

5.10 – Carlos Hyde (RB) – @FFA_Marc

My Take

I’ve stuck to my guns this entire preseason. I knew that Carlos Hyde was going to have a huge role in the Browns run game. Chubb will spell him every now and then. Duke Johnson will get some pass down work. But don’t forget, Carlos Hyde had the fifth most passing targets for running backs. He knows how to get the job done in the passing game, so the Browns won’t need to throw Duke in for every third down. He’s done very well in the preseason. My only concern is injuries. But for my flex spot, I’ll take that risk.

5.11 – Marquise Goodwin (WR) – @MurphyFFT, 5.12 – Duke Johnson (RB) – @HumanStatSheet

What do you think of the draft so far? Send me a tweet @FFA_Marc. I love to interact with people about this wonderful game!

This article will be updated as the draft moves along.

Targeting Value: Late Round Redraft Values Part 1

As you get later in your draft and you are making picks to fill out your roster, there are a lot of decisions to make. There will be players you target who you believe can breakout, if you hit they can help lead you to the playoffs and possibly a league title. There are plenty of values to be found, especially at the QB position. It is time to take a look at some guys who are currently going in the 10th round or later in PPR leagues according to FantasyFootballCalulator.com as of August 14th. These are guys who are a draft value to me and who I think people should be keeping an eye on as we head into the season. Since all of these guys are going late, they are easy to move on from if they don’t pan out. I am going to lay out how each of these guys could be valuable.

Kenny Stills (11.08)

I don’t believe in DeVante Parker and I do believe Stills is the better WR for fantasy purposes. He was the WR28 in 2017 and since arriving in Miami, he has been the more productive fantasy player. In his 3 career seasons, Parker has 8 TDs and averages 13.7 yards per reception. Stills came to Miami the year Parker was drafted and over the same time frame has scored 18 TDs and averages 15.9 yards per reception. His big play ability makes him more of a boom-or-bust candidate, but it also means on the right weeks he can win a match up for you. Since he is not someone you’re comfortable starting every week, the match ups will need to be monitored. He is also the kind of guy you put in the flex against a team when you need to swing for the fences to win your weekly match up.

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Geronimo Allison (12.04)

Aaron Rodgers is back and he is going to make someone else besides Davante Adams fantasy relevant. Jordy Nelson is gone, Cobb has not been anything better than decent since 2014 and he is dealing with an ankle injury. The Packers did draft multiple pass catching options this year, but Allison has been in the system for 2 years and Rodgers is familiar with him. He has a chance to emerge as a fantasy value, especially if Cobb struggles at all to start the season. Allison has been stuck as the 4th WR in Green Bay since he has been there and he will get the chance to prove what he can do in 2018.

Latavius Murray (12.05)

As the season went along, Murray was seeing a lot of carries in the absence of Cook. He had more carries than Jerick McKinnon and he scored 8 TDs last season. Obviously Cook will be the lead back, but Murray is going to be involved. The Vikings are going to want to keep Cook healthy and fresh for the playoffs and they did pay Murray last offseason for a reason. Murray has shown a nose for the end zone during his career and should see goal line work for what will be a very good offense. Murray is going to help fantasy teams in 2018.

Tyler Lockett (12.08) 

Seattle has 176 vacated targets with Paul Richardson and Jimmy Graham leaving in the offseason. Doug Baldwin can’t be the only person Russell Wilson targets this season, plus Baldwin is being held out of the rest of the preseason with an injury. The TE position is a question mark for Seattle and I’m not certain Brandon Marshall has much left in the tank. Lockett should be more involved in the offense and, at the very least, will be a deep threat with the potential to have some big games throughout the season. Seattle had a lot of turnover on defense and they will need to score more to be competitive. Pro Football Focus ranks them as the 24th best run defense and 21st best secondary heading into 2018. Things are changing in Seattle and Lockett will be asked to do a lot more this season.

Peyton Barber (12.09)

Early reports make it sound like both Ronald Jones and Barber are going to be involved in the offense. Jones is currently going about 7 rounds earlier than Barber. Jones is the new guy and has more upside, but if they are both going to get work then Barber is going to be valuable at least to start the season. It means he has the chance to work himself into a bigger role. Even if he is only a guy you can use for a few weeks, he is a good candidate to take if you draft someone suspended like Mark Ingram or Aaron Jones earlier on. There are plenty of people who have raised concerns about Ronald Jones since the draft, so the possibility is there for Barber to lead the RBs for Tampa Bay in scoring.

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David Njoku (13.03)

Njoku is 1 of my 2 favorite targets as I wait on TE in fantasy drafts this season (the other is George Kittle). The QB play in Cleveland last year was bad; they have invested to make sure they are improved in that area this season. Tyrod has a history of targeting Charles Clay in Buffalo and Njoku is more talented than Clay. Rookie QBs tend to use the TE as a safety valve so either QB should benefit Njoku. He caught a TD from both in the 1st preseason game. The quality of the targets for Njoku is going to improve in 2018 and allow him a chance to improve that catch rate and have a fantasy breakout. The Browns offense as a whole will be better and should score more this year, which will allow Njoku to be utilized as a red zone threat. Without Kizer playing QB, the turnovers for Cleveland will come down as well. Everything is pointing to a more successful and productive offense for the Browns and Njoku has the talent to benefit from this in a large way.

Kenny Golladay (13.09)

You can find my in depth look at Golladay here: https://top2sports.com/2018/07/11/kenny-golladay-is-the-most-valuable-wide-receiver-in-detroit/

This is the first group of guys whom I will continue to monitor their ADP and preseason performance. More potential late round values to follow soon in part 2.

I Just Can’t Quit You: 4 Players You Want To Give Up On, But Shouldn’t

The NFL regular season is quickly approaching. I don’t know about you, but I have participated in my share of mock and dynasty drafts (rookie AND startup). One thing that I’ve noticed is that my love for certain players is a bit different than the majority of my fantasy analyst counterparts. These players have a few years under their belt. In one case, he has a LOT of years. No matter their age or circumstance, I just cannot quit drafting these players. I do not ask that you agree with me, but I certainly hope that you can see and understand my points.

QB – Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor is surrounded by the best situation of his career. He has never enjoyed a plethora of receiving options like he has in Cleveland. While in Buffalo, he had possibly one receiver with some talent who was often injured and then a bunch of bums. At his new home in Cleveland, he is replete with receiving options. Jarvis Landry, Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde (yes, he is a receiving option….look it up or read my article here), and David Njoku are just the starting point. While he might be a troublemaker, Antonio Callaway is one of the most talented rookie receivers to come out of the draft. To top it off, I’ve read that none other than Dez Bryant has reached out to the Browns for a one year “prove it” contract.

The majority of the fantasy community has Baker Mayfield starting at some point this year. What they seem to be forgetting is that Tyrod was NEVER a bad quarterback. He scrambles well. He finished as a top 3 QB in rushing in each of the past 3 seasons. His 2017 completion rate was better than Marcus Mariota, Deshaun Watson, and Jared Goff. I’m going to tell you a secret: I believe the Browns will make the playoffs which means Tyrod Taylor will play all 16 games.

Go ahead and pass on him. I’ll draft him ridiculously late and stack my running back and wide receiver positions.

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RB – Frank Gore

I’ll let his stats over the last 3 years tell the tale.

Year Yards TDs Rec Yards Rec TDs
2017 961 3 245 1
2016 1025 4 277 4
2015 967 6 267 1

Frank Gore is old. This isn’t just the twilight of his career, he is already dipping into the morning sunrise of the next stage of his LIFE! Don’t let that deter you from taking a chance. But, in every draft, I see him sitting there and I click the “Draft” button. Here are some subtle reminders to consider:

  • Kenyan Drake was not intended to be a lead back.
  • Kalen Ballage is looking slow and was booted from the huddle earlier this week for issues with pass protection.
  • Frank Gore can be drafted LATER THAN THE 13TH ROUND! Grab him! What in the heck do you have to lose at that point?!?

WR – Michael Crabtree

More stats. They make my life easier.

Year Yards TDs
2017 618 8
2016 1003 8
2015 922 9

Note: He missed 2 games in 2017.

These are the stats of a receiver who played opposite Amari Cooper with the Oakland Raiders. This year, he will be playing for the Baltimore Ravens. His receiving competition there? Willie Snead and John Brown. They might be talented, but neither of them are Amari Cooper.

Some say he is getting older. Never mind that nonsense! Michael Crabtree is the number one receiver in Baltimore and will be targeted often. Joe Flacco likes to throw the ball; his average attempts per game has been in the top 3 of quarterbacks for each of the last 3 seasons. With his late sixth to early seventh round ADP, he might be the second or even third receiver on your squad. His ADP puts him in the company of other receivers who aren’t even the main target of their quarterback (Chris Hogan, Will Fuller, Sammy Watkins). I’m going to draft him and smile. So should you!

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TE – Jordan Reed

If the 2017 version of me knew that I was going to type that header in 2018, somebody would have to pick his jaw up off of the floor. I cannot argue with those who point out that he is made of glass. I’m not sure if there has been a more injured player in the NFL.

So why can’t I quit this guy?

Is it his ceiling, which is higher than all other Tight Ends not named Rob Gronkowski?

Is it the positive reports we’ve heard from training camp?

Is it his new QB, Alex Smith, who loves targeting the Tight End?

Is it his ADP? He might be getting drafted in the middle of the 8th round in mock drafts according to the Fantasy Football Calculator, but once people are drafting for their actual teams, I believe they will be more hesitant to pull that trigger. I like picking my tight end in the 8th or 9th round. If Jordan Reed is there, I will be drafting him. I cannot pass on that upside.

I’d love to hear from you! Who are the players that you simply cannot quit no matter the negative views of your friends or the fantasy experts? Reach out to me @FFA_Marc and let me know. I look forward to enjoying this season with you!

For the Love of Kickers

Hate and slander if you must, but no one can deny that kickers are amazing. Ok, well maybe not amazing but they (when a part of your roster construction) can be very, very helpful. I see you laughing, stop it, I’m serious.

Why All the Hate?

Where is the love for all of our offensive, point scoring positions? I’ve seen so much indignation towards kickers and I seriously can’t figure out why. Sure, sometimes those guys are the reason you destroy or get destroyed, but isn’t that fantasy football? Every position has that capability. Every position has some level of unpredictability or “boom/ bust”. Nerf the position or downright get rid of it from your league if it pains you that much, your loss. There seems to be a love for those gems at the back end of drafts that could give you the jolt your offense needs to win any given week and I don’t see how a kicker doesn’t do that for you. You punt the position, you end up with a more on-the-fence type kicker. You go for a top tier kicker and you get an every week starter, just like any other position.

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Methods of A Madman

At this point I’d imagine I will be deemed clinically insane by my sisters and brethren of the fantasy community. However, I probably have your attention. While I do, I’m going to show you the exact reasons why I believe in the position and will (with the boss man’s blessing) do weekly kicker rankings along with our other skill positions for your viewing pleasure.

Scoring, scoring and more scoring. When it comes to fantasy, I love scoring. I find it has gotten me a lot of wins over the last few years of playing fantasy football (and other point based games). You know what scores points in this game we play? Kickers! In PPR (what we’re generally geared towards), two kickers ranked in the top 82. Zuerlein and Gostkowski. Hate it or not, thems the facts! To put things into perspective, here’s a look at the top 12 tight ends with kicker scoring sprinkled in:

Kelce
Gronkowski
Ertz (so far so good)
Kicker
Walker
Engram
Kicker
Graham
Kicker
Doyle
Kicker
Kicker
Kicker
Kicker
Kicker
Rudolph
Kicker
Kicker
Kicker
Witten
Brate
Kicker
Watson
Kicker
Kicker
Cook

You can fit the TOP 14 inside the top 12 for tight ends. If anything, this is indicative of how bad the TE position has been and is at the moment. I could go back and do the last three years or something fancy, but I think this presents enough shock value to prove a point. IF you utilize kickers, THEY HAVE VALUE. I’m not big on telling people how to draft. The draft camp I’m a part of is the “Get Your Guy” club, so do as you please.

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A Kick in the Right Direction

To help you out, I’ve done some digging to give you some sure fire guys to choose for your rosters. Before we start, remember that although there are kickers that are fine without a humming offense, most need an above average offense to contribute at a high level.

Gostkowski
He’s got the high powered offense of the Patriots on his side and I don’t see any reason for him to not continue to score at a high rate.
Tucker
Tucker to seems to be offense proof as the Ravens haven’t been the greatest offensively over the last couple of years, yet he continues to land in the top 12. Only he and Gostkowski have done it 3 years in a row.
Gould
To me, Gould is another talent. He technically would have been right alongside the first two but he got cut by the Bears in 2016. He ended up replacing Josh Brown (suspended for domestic abuse) for the last 10 games with the New York Giants. He stepped right back into the top 12 limelight last year and has a QB who can help keep him there in Jimmy G.

High powered offense choices:

Wil Lutz
Jake Elliott
Daniel Carlson
Chris Boswell
Matt Bryant
Matt Prater
Mason Crosby
Ryan Succop
Greg Zuerlein

I’m not saying draft a kicker in the fifth round, but know your league and grab the best ones before they’re gone because they make a difference. I kind of like having a 10+ point scorer in my lineup. That’s what we’re talking about when you remove names and positions and just put week to week scores or end of season scores up for comparison. Take a chance and wait a round for one of those hit-or-miss guys and grab a kicker. You won’t find that kind of consistency at the back of drafts (barring injury and other variables) but you can take kicker consistency to the bank!

Be on the lookout for my official weekly kicker rankings for the first time ever in the history of Top2, stay tuned!