Extreme Quarterback Fantasy Point Variances

Aside from the fantasy playoffs, redraft and dynasty leagues can be viewed from a macro level where you can survive two or three bad weeks or roster decisions and succeed.  That’s quite the contrast from daily fantasy where every option on a slate is put under a microscope and one mistake can make or break your week. 

NFL players have their own tendencies where they perform better in various scenarios whether it be as a favorite or underdog, playing at home or in hostile territory, or when their respective team wins or loses a game.  We’re going to explore which players at each position performed at their best or worst in various situations from last season to try and help us discover ideal roster opportunities in daily lineups.  Note that these figures can vary from year to year when someone who performed better indoors the year before now suddenly performed better outside the following year.  Viewed in another light, these variances can be interpreted as an extension of consistency rankings.  

This piece isn’t just exclusive to DFS and has a place in non-DFS leagues where an available free agent may be in a better spot to perform than a rostered option that should be on the bench for a specific week.  This will be part one of a three-part series starting with the quarterback position and only evaluates those that played a minimum of 12 games. 

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN A STRAIGHT-UP WIN

Josh Allen: 11.29: A key to success for the rookie quarterback was the Bills going 5-1 in games he rushed for at least one touchdown.  Defenses that were able to keep him in the pocket were able to shut Josh Allen down as he only averaged 13.8 FPPG in seven Buffalo losses last year.  He’ll need to become a much more effective passer in conjunction with his ability to utilize his legs which should level out this extreme variance.

Dak Prescott: 8.52: Dak had a +4.64 differential in games the Cowboys won in 2017 and that differential increased in 2018.  As Dak goes, so does Dallas as combining passing and rushing touchdowns, he averaged 2.2 touchdowns and .2 interceptions in 10 wins vs 1 touchdown and 1 interception in six losses.

Aaron Rodgers: 6.64 (Excluding Week 17): Certainly a positive regression candidate for 2019, it wasn’t the Aaron Rodgers we’re accustomed to seeing last season as he threw just 25 passing touchdowns, the fewest in a season in which he played 15 games.  Once guaranteed wins for the Packers, the Bears and Vikings are much improved defensively as the team went 0-3-1 with Rodgers averaging 1.25 touchdowns in that span.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN A STRAIGHT-UP LOSS

Mitchell Trubisky: 7.4: Matt Nagy’s impact on Trubisky cannot be understated as the Bears offense in 2017 was simply inept under offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains.  The 2nd year quarterback averaged 273 passing yards and 1.66 passing touchdowns in Bears losses this season compared to a horrid 187 passing yards and .62 passing touchdowns in losses in his rookie campaign.  

DeShaun Watson: 3.22: Considering he set the world on fire before tearing his ACL in 2017, regression was bound to hit as he threw for more than two touchdown passes just once last year.  He had five 300 passing yard games, three of them in losses.  Also in games that the Texans lost, Watson averaged 6.48 FPPG with his legs vs 4.79 FPPG in Texan wins.

Patrick Mahomes: 2.79: It’s extremely rare to see an offense score 40 points and 50 points on separate occasions and lose both of those games.  Regardless of the splits, Mahomes undoubtedly will be the first quarterback off the board in every draft come August.

SMALLEST WIN/LOSS VARIANCE

Philip Rivers: +.18: Aside from a rough December, the 15-year veteran was as consistent as he could be last season as he threw for at least two touchdowns in all but three games.  His .18 FPPG win/loss differential was a vast improvement upon the +5.58 FPPG differential he saw in Charger victories last season.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN HOME GAMES

Jared Goff: 10.71: Goff averaged 2.75 passing touchdowns at home vs 1.25 of them away from the LA Memorial Coliseum.  Having played both high school and college ball in beautiful California weather, he fared horribly in two games under 30 degrees last season, averaging a minuscule 6.07 FPPG in those contests.  Keep in mind the Rams take trips to Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland in 2019, venues that can get cold in December if they are required to travel east late next season.

Mitchell Trubisky: 10.64: Trubisky eclipsed 300 passing yards four times in 2018 with three of those occurrences at Soldier Field.  Not to mention throwing for 2.37 passing touchdowns in front of the Chicago faithful vs .83 of them in hostile territory.

Sam Darnold: 9.91: If Sam Darnold played the entire season at MetLife Stadium, he would have measured out as the QB6 in 2018.  To level out this variance, Darnold will need to become more efficient in road games as he threw for 200+ passing yards just once to go along with his .71 passing touchdowns and 1.5 turnovers in hostile territory.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN AWAY GAMES

Patrick Mahomes: 8.36: The Chiefs were a solid defensive unit at the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium, allowing just 17.97 points per game.  Removed from there, their atrocious defense that surrendered 34.63 points per game put them in shootouts that assisted the 2018 MVP in generating some of the production that he did in three road losses.

Eli Manning: 6.1: The addition of Saquon Barkley and having ODB for most of 2018 helped Eli put together a better campaign then the dud from 2017.  However, it was the tale of two quarterbacks as road Eli outshined home Eli last season.  Away from MetLife Stadium, Manning threw twice as many touchdowns and committed half as many turnovers compared to playing at home. 

Kirk Cousins: 3.2: Minnesota invested $84 million in guarantees in Kirk Cousins and didn’t get their money’s worth in the first year of the three-year deal.  Other than the two road games against the Packers and Rams, his two best performances of 2018 and the main contributor of this home/road split, it was a less than stellar campaign that was encapsulated by a week 17 loss that knocked the Vikings out of playoff contention.

SMALLEST HOME/ROAD VARIANCE

Ben Roethlisberger: -.06: Big Ben’s spot in this category is shocking considering his splits over the last few years heavily favored him playing at Heinz Field.  He quietly had a great 2018 as the QB3 with his 22.44 FPPG in an offense with James Conner as the starting running back in place of a disgruntled Le’Veon Bell.  The question now becomes how the offense performs without Antonio Brown lining up as a Steeler.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL AGAINST TEAMS OVER .500

Marcus Mariota: 9.84: Truth be told, Mariota has been mediocre at best since coming into the league in 2015.  However, he fared much better against teams that made the playoffs last season as he only surpassed double-digit fantasy points against those under .500 just once in seven opportunities.

DeShaun Watson: 6.5: While the Texans went just 3-4 against opponents with a winning record, the second-year quarterback rose to the occasion in those matchups as he posted 25 fantasy point performances in four of those seven games.  

Jared Goff: 5.85: Aside from being stymied by a tenacious Chicago defense in Week 14, Goff three for over 300 yards against every other opponent that was over .500.  This was a substantial improvement from 2017 as he only did so in two of seven opportunities and continues to show why he was the #1 overall selection in the 2016 draft.

LARGEST DIFFERENT AGAINST TEAMS AT .500 OR BELOW

Josh Allen: 11.2: No one feasted on inferior opponents better than Allen as they had no answer for him scrambling out of the pocket.  Line him up against better competition and they not only kept him in the pocket but prevented him from scoring more than 15 fantasy points just once against an opponent over .500

Aaron Rodgers: 6.34 (Excluding Week 17): Mentioned above as having one of the higher variances in straight-up victories, Rodgers was more successful against weaker opponents, going 5-3 against those under .500.  We’re not used to seeing him struggle against stiffer competition as the Packers went 1-5-1 against those with winning records.

Matt Ryan 6.22: Like the Packers, the Falcons also struggled against opponents over .500 as they went 0-6 against those teams.  Unless it was against the Saints, Matt Ryan was rendered useless against winning competition.  Against those under .500, Matt Ryan eclipsed 20 fantasy points in 9 of 10 opportunities, a big contributor to his QB2 performance of 2018.

SMALLEST WINNING/LOSING RECORD VARIANCE

Case Keenum: -.28: If Case Keenum was consistent in one particular category, it was being awful as his 14.49 FPPG last season would indicate.  John Elway and the Broncos have not remedied their quarterback situation since Peyton Manning retired and will now start their fifth different quarterback in Joe Flacco come September 8th, 2019.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN GAMES WHEN RESPECTIVE TEAM IS A FAVORITE

Derek Carr: 6.69: Yes, the Raiders we’re favored twice last season and one of those games was the shootout against the Browns in which Derek Carr went off for 33.58 fantasy points.  2019 shows promise with the acquisitions of Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams, both substantial improvements from the options that were available to Carr in 2018.

Josh Rosen: 5.87 (From Week 4 On): Things can only improve for an Arizona offense that finished dead last in a multitude of offensive metrics.  In 12 of the 13 games that Josh Rosen entered the matchup as an underdog, he averaged 9.57 FPPG, a main contributor this variance is as high as it is given Rosen only played in one game as a favorite.

Mitchell Trubisky: 5.20: Seeing Trubisky’s name for the third time in this article should hint at his inconsistency.  In games as a favorite, he threw for 2.1 touchdowns vs just .75 of them in the four games that the Bears were underdogs.

LARGEST DIFFERENTIAL IN GAMES WHEN RESPECTIVE TEAM IS AN UNDERDOG

Drew Brees: 11.04: The Saints were anything but underdogs in 2018 but when put in that role, Drew Brees put on two of his best three fantasy performances in that role against the Falcons in Week 3 and the Rams in Week 9.  His 29.59 FPPG as a dog trailed only one quarterback to be described below.

Patrick Mahomes: 9.77: When put in the underdog role, the Kansas City offense averaged 42.75 points per game.  Of course their defense put them in a position to have to score at will.  In the four games the Chiefs were not favored, Mahomes averaged a remarkable 34.27 FPPG.

Marcus Mariota: 9.37: It’s almost inexplicable how bad Marcus Mariota performed as a favorite.  His 7.49 FPPG is nearly eight fantasy points worse than the next quarterback with the least fantasy production in that role in Josh Rosen.  It’s extremely difficult to bank on Mariota playing as well as he did against stronger competition in 2019 but also a guarantee he will fare much better against inferior competition.

SMALLEST FAVORITE/UNDERDOG VARIANCE

Baker Mayfield: -.36: Mayfield’s final two games should give the Dawg Pound plenty of hope as he slaughtered the Bengals as an 9.5-point favorite as well as held his own against the Ravens as a 7-point underdog in a game that Baltimore needed to win to advance to the postseason.  Cleveland may have finally figured out the quarterback fiasco that has plagued this franchise for the better part of two decades.

WHO WAS THE MOST CONSISTENT QUARTERBACK OF 2018?

Three quarterbacks come to mind based off the evaluated metrics in this article, the first being the overall #1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.  Baker Mayfield performed admirably in his rookie season and closed out the second half strong once Hue Jackson and Todd Haley were removed from the equation and replaced with eventual head coach Freddie Kitchens.  With an average of 18.29 FPPG, he didn’t have a variance of over two fantasy points in any metric listed above and now has Odell Beckham as a target heading into 2019.

Philip Rivers was just as reliable as Mayfield as he also didn’t exceed a two point variance in any of the above evaluations.  Remove the final four weeks from the equation and Rivers had a solid floor of 15 fantasy points in the first 12 games.  He was far more consistent than 2017 when he was most efficient in games that the Chargers either won straight-up or were a favorite.

The massive home/road splits were always associated with Ben Roethlisberger but his 2017 splits were volatile in numerous categories.  His win/loss, home/road, and favorite/underdog were at a minimum of 5.6 fantasy points.  Fast forward to last season and he displayed more balance in his QB3 campaign as no variance was greater than three.

The New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Profile

New England Patriots 2018 Recap

Another year, another championship for the greatest dynasty in American sports history. Hate ‘em or hate ‘em, you have to respect what this team is able to accomplish year in and year out in the salary cap era of the NFL. The year was unlike any other run for the Patriots. However, it began with something that has been a bit too familiar in recent seasons and that was a bumpy September. After knocking off the Texans in Week 1, the Pats were blown out in Jacksonville and then lost an embarrassing match up to the Lions on Sunday Night Football. A lack of WR depth forced them to trade for much maligned wide out Josh Gordon. After the return of Julian Edelman from a 4-week suspension, the Patriots got back on track.

They looked sharp until a rough afternoon in Tennessee caused them to limp into the bye week. The Patriots hit rock bottom when they allowed a fail Mary to succeed in Miami, losing to the Dolphins in improbable fashion. They were the 3rd seed in the conference and would lose the next week to Pittsburgh. After a stumble by Houston, they regained the number 2 seed and would reinvent themselves around a strong defense and dominant run game. That formula would carry them to their 6th Super Bowl title in the Brady-Belichick era.

The 2018 NFL Draft was mostly a wash for New England. Ja’Whaun Bentley looked very promising early on but suffered a torn biceps and was lost for the season. Isaiah Wynn, the teams top pick, suffered a blown Achilles in the preseason. Duke Dawson lurked in the background mostly in a redshirt year. The best pick for the Patriots came from 1st round running back Sony Michel. Michel turned into a workhorse in an offense known for taking a committee approach. He is one of the biggest reasons the Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Needs:

Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio are the ones who call the shots in New England come draft time. They will have more than enough draft capital to maneuver around the board, holding 12 picks total and 6 in the top 101. The needs are as follows:

  • TE: The retirement of Rob Gronkowski created a Gronk-sized hole in the Patriots offense. They will be the first to tell you that there is no replacing Rob Gronkowski with one player. I expect the Patriots to take at least 1 and maybe even 2 tight ends in the Draft.
  • WR: The Patriots’ depth chart at WR is, for lack of a better term, unheralded. After Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman (who turns 33 in May), the Pats are relying on Phillip Dorsett, journeyman Bruce Ellington and little-known Maurice Harris. They will almost certainly be adding multiple wide receivers in this draft.
  • DL: New England allowed Trey Flowers and Malcolm Brown to seek greener pastures elsewhere. There is no hint of Danny Shelton returning. They re-signed John Simon who came on and played very well last year and traded for Michael Bennett to replace some of what Flowers can do. They could use some solid depth along the defensive line whether it be at defensive tackle or end.

New England Patriots NFL Draft Targets:

1st Round, 32nd Overall Pick: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

I can’t believe I am actually trying to predict the Patriots’ upcoming draft selections because I might as well just go kick rocks. They are easily the most difficult team to get a read on heading into the draft. Couple that with the fact that they are guaranteed to move at least one of their 12 picks and this is a daunting task. Here is my best guess and, like last year when they surprised with an RB in round 1, I’m taking a WR at 32. Kelvin Harmon is a great X WR prospect that could be lethal with an accurate passer. That Brady guy fits the bill and would add another dimension to the New England offense.

Also Possibilities: Jerry Tillery, AJ Brown, Irv Smith Jr. and Dexter Lawrence

2nd Round, 56th Overall Pick: Jace Sternberger, TE, Texas A&M

Here is the first guy who will try to fill the shoes of the departed Rob Gronkowski. Sternberger is a very good receiving tight end that should be able to come in and make an immediate impact in the passing game. His blocking leaves a little to be desired but that will be addressed a little later. For now, the Pats get a great receiving tight end to replace some of the production that Gronk left behind.

Also Possibilities: Dexter Lawrence, Deebo Samuel, Parris Campbell, and Taylor Rapp

2nd Round 64th Overall Pick: Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College

Zach Allen is right in New England’s backyard at Boston College. He could easily plug along the defensive line and turn into a good young player. The Patriots need pass rush help and Allen accumulated 16.5 sacks along with 40.5 tacklers for loss in his 4 years at Boston College.

Also Possibilities: Jonathan Abram, Tytus Howard, Andy Isabella

3rd Round 73rd Overall Pick: JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

If you haven’t noticed by now, I am not confident in the receiving options in New England. Gronk was a red zone nightmare and scored touchdowns at an alarming rate. Enter Arcega-Whiteside who is pretty much a jump ball specialist. A guy like this would flourish with Tom Brady throwing him red zone jump balls.

3rd Round 97th Overall Pick: Kahale Warring, TE, San Diego State

This is part of the two-player plan to replace Gronk. Warring is a capable receiver but he is a stout blocker and that is where the Patriots will miss Gronk the most. With Warring as a duel threat and Sternberger on the field for obvious passing downs, the Patriots can mix and match to put both player in a position to succeed on the field.

3rd Round 101st Overall Pick: Trysten Hill, IDL, UCF

With the departure of Malcolm Brown and the likely departure of Danny Shelton, the Patriots lack depth along the defensive line. Hill adds some much needed big-bodied depth along a defensive line that is in constant rotation.

4th Round 134th Overall Pick: Ross Pierschbacher, IOL, Alabama

The Patriots understand that depth in the trenches is critical. They are good for at least one or two picks along the offensive and defensive line in every draft. They also have Joe Thuney coming up on free agency and Pierschbacher can be the ready replacement once that time comes.

6th Round 205th Overall Pick: Hunter Renfrow, WR, Clemson

Let’s see here, successful slot receiver who is willing to do the dirty work. Team captain and well liked by teammates. High football IQ who is willing to learn and knows what it takes to win. Yep hunter Renfrow is destined to be a New England Patriot.

7th Round 239th Overall Pick: Brett Rypien, QB, Boise State

Another late round flyer for the Patriots, there is actually a lot to like when it comes to Rypien. He has a big arm and is a stable pocket passer. Brady won’t be around forever and, while he may not end up being the heir apparent, at least Rypien provides an insurance policy.

7th Round 243rd Overall Pick: Tre Lamar, LB, Clemson

The Patriots love targeting team first guys with special teams experience in the later rounds and that is exactly what Lamar brings to the table.

7th Round 246th Overall Pick: Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor

One last throw at the dartboard at receiver, Hurd is an intriguing prospect. Starting as an RB at Tennessee, he transferred to Baylor to become a WR. He was actually very productive and has very good size and speed.

7th Round 252nd Overall Pick: Casey Tucker, OT, Arizona State

Again, depth is key in the later rounds. Tucker would be used primarily as a depth option and a swing tackle in big packages.

2019 NFL Draft Grade

2019 NFL Draft grades will be added to NFL Draft Profiles following the 2019 NFL Draft. Make sure to bookmark this page and/or follow us on twitter to ensure you see the grade as soon as it comes out.

A.J. Brown: The Real Star WR from Ole Miss

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

A.J. Brown (6’1”, 225), Wide Receiver, Ole Miss

 

19 Aggregate Score (3.5 Star Prospect)

As D.K. Metcalf has been taking the spotlight due to his combine performance and intriguing traits, fellow Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown has been hanging around in the shadows.  Even though we all should be excited for Metcalf, Brown has the much more impressive resume, is more reliable and more versatile then Metcalf.  Brown is a very exciting prospect that is starting to become a value in rookie drafts.

Brown was a 4-star recruit coming out of Starkville, Mississippi.  Brown was an Under Armour All-American selection for both football and baseball. He was also selected to the all-state team his senior year.  After receiving some big time offers from teams such as Alabama and Auburn, Brown decided to commit to Ole Miss.

College Production

Brown was extremely productive while at Ole Miss.  As a freshman, Brown played in all 12 games and had 29 catches for 412 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Brown then saw a huge increase in his role his sophomore year by catching 75 ball for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Then during his junior year, Brown still found a way to improve and increase his role.  Brown had 85 catches for 1,320 yards and 6 touchdowns.  In both his sophomore and junior seasons, Brown was an All-SEC first team selection, an All-American third team selection (AP) and Biletnikoff Award semifinalist.

This is obviously great production for Brown, especially in an offense that had Metcalf, Damarkus Lodge and Dawson Knox all competing for targets.  Brown definitely benefited from Metcalf and Lodge spreading the field on the outside, but I honestly believe that he would have been able to produce in any offense in college.

Speed/Acceleration: Aggregate Score: 3.6 (Personal Score: 4)

Brown does have some great speed but won’t be a burner in the NFL.  He is really fast getting off the line of scrimmage and is quick in the open field.  Brown does a great job of displaying his speed and acceleration after the catch.  Brown accelerates to space and does a good job of making guys miss, which allows him to pick up quite a bit of yards after the catch.  When you combine his speed with his size, Brown can be extremely successful out of the slot and even contribute on the outside.

Route Running: Aggregate Score: 4.3 (Personal Score: 4)

It seems like Brown is always open.  He is very crisp and sharp with his routes, which allows him to gain an extra step on defenders.  Brown excels in the short and intermediate area of the field, mainly running curls, digs and slants.  Brown showed that he can create separation on the outside.  His versatility should help him see the field and experience success right away.  My only complaint about Brown’s route running is that I wish he would have displayed a larger route tree with some deeper routes.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 3 (Personal Score: 2)

I am by far the lowest of The Fantasy Fanalysts on Brown’s blocking.  I just don’t see it.  He has the size and does show some decent blocks, but from what I saw, he was extremely inconsistent.  I may have to go back and watch some more and see what the rest of the crew is seeing.  Either way, he has a base there that should allow him to develop and improve as a blocker.

Handwork/Positioning: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Brown displays some solid handwork in his routes.  He uses his hands to help create separation, which is extremely effective when combined with his speed. Brown does a great job of using his hands to catch the ball and not letting it come in on his body.  He is also great at finding the open space and positioning himself away from defenders.  Brown did show instances of struggling with contested catches but that’s not a huge part of his game.

Athleticism: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Brown displays a ton of athleticism after the catch.  He is very elusive and is constantly extending plays by making defenders miss.  Brown has great body control and rarely goes down on first contact.  He can stop on a dime and accelerate extremely quickly.  Brown’s ability after the catch will help him experience success in the NFL.

Conclusion: Mid – Late 1st round pick

Brown projects to be primarily a slot receiver in the NFL.  If given this role, he can end up being a QB’s best friend.  Brown has all the tools to be a consistent top 24 WR for fantasy purposes.  As it stands, I’d feel extremely comfortable taking Brown in the middle of the 1st round of rookie drafts.  If he ends up being drafted to a great landing spot in the 1st or early 2nd round of the NFL Draft, I could definitely understand taking him towards the 1.03/1.04.  Get excited people, Brown is going to be a stud in the NFL!

Fantasy Football Impact of the Offensive Line: Arizona Cardinals

Image result for football offensive line image

The offensive line is often overlooked as a key to fantasy success. Those five gentleman (occasionally six when you count a blocking Tight End) provide holes for Running Backs to run through and protection for a Quarterback to find the best target and get off a clean throw.

A good offensive line provides fantasy success:

  • The Steelers O-Line makes James Conner, Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Ben Roethlisberger top 10 performers in their respective positions.
  • The Browns O-Line helps make Nick Chubb one of the best redraft waiver wire pick ups of 2018.
  • The Patriots O-Line protected Tom Brady all the way to the Super Bowl.

A bad offensive line is a direct path to the pits of misery:

  • The Cardinals O-Line makes David Johnson look mediocre and turns Josh Rosen into a rookie flop.
  • The Vikings O-Line took a fantasy winner in Kirk Cousins and turned him into a disappointment.
  • The Raiders O-Line makes their entire team almost worthless for fantasy.

The Arizona Cardinals have pieces that could be fantasy relevant in 2019. The concern is whether or not those fantasy pieces will have a chance to shine. What steps have they made to improve the chances of their highly paid offensive pieces? Will they have an opportunity to improve their O-Line ranking through the coming draft? April 25 is just a little over a month away!

Part 1 in the offensive line series will begin with the Arizona Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals

Their Offensive Line was awful even when they were healthy. Throw in multiple injuries and you are left with the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. Josh Rosen was sacked 45 times in 2018. For a point of reference, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger were sacked 45 times COMBINED. How can you expect to succeed when your Quarterback doesn’t have time to throw? The sad David Johnson drafters among us (my hand is also raised) do not need to be reminded about the 1.2 less yards per touch compared to his successful 2016 campaign.

2018 End-of-Season Starters and Their 2019 Status

Position 2018 Starter 2019 Starter Notes
Left Tackle DJ Humphries DJ Humphries Ended 2018 on the IR
Left Guard Mike Iupati JR Sweezy Iupati signed with the Seahawks. Sweezy signed as Free Agent after spending 2018 with the Seahawks.
Center Mason Cole Mason Cole Rookie in 2018 returns in 2019. Was healthiest member of the O-Line.
Right Guard Justin Pugh Justin Pugh Spent a large amount of 2018 on the IR. Position was filled with backups.
Right Tackle Andre Smith Marcus Gilbert Smith was released before the end of the 2018 season. Gilbert was a Free Agent signing.
Tight End Ricky Seals-Jones Ricky Seals-Jones Signed Charles Clay from Free Agency.

Current O-Line Ranking

Name Position NFL Ranking (in Position)
DJ Humphries Left Tackle 25
JR Sweezy Left Guard 28
Mason Cole Center 31
Justin Pugh Right Guard 30
Marcus Gilbert Right Tackle 17
Ricky Seals-Jones Tight End 17
Overall Team O-Line 31
*Rankings based on ProFootballFocus.com scoring

Free Agency: A Huge Step in the Right Direction

Justin Pugh is a former first round pick who was signed to a long term deal before the 2018 season. While adding strength at Right Guard, Pugh suffered a knee injury and was put on Injured Reserve in week 10. He returns at full strength for the 2019 season. I do not anticipate his NFL ranking at the Right Guard position to remain that low.

If a healthy Justin Pugh is a reason to feel positive, then the addition of Marcus Gilbert is reason to celebrate! Marcus Gilbert’s arrival is a bonus having spent time as the starter for the stellar Steelers O-Line. These are two impressive gains that show that the Cardinals noticed their shortcomings and are working to improve.

JR Sweezy is a statistical downgrade from Mike Iupati. However, Sweezy is a healthier player having spent much less time on the injury report. The downgrade in run and pass protection will be made up for with stability in the position as opposed to filling it with second and third string replacements.

The addition of Charles Clay is welcome for Josh Rosen. One of Ricky Seals-Jones shortcomings is pass blocking. Charles Clay is known for that skill. One note of caution: If the Cardinals don’t work on the below average skills of their Tight Ends, the player lining up could telegraph the play calling. Since Charles Clay is better at pass blocking, it would likely mean a passing play. Ricky Seals-Jones at the line would indicate a running play.

NFL Draft Thoughts

DJ Humphries is mediocre when healthy (25th ranked Left Tackle) and has been injury prone. It would be in the Cardinal’s best interest to find a replacement. Meanwhile, it is my opinion that all the “Kyler Murray at #1 overall” talk is a bunch of hype to get a buyer for that pick. Perhaps move down a small amount and grab Jonah Williams, Left Tackle from Alabama. He is considered by some to be the #1 offensive lineman on the board and is a natural fit to the position. Those who do not rank him (thedraftnetwork.com) as the #1 offensive lineman have him at #2, instead.

Even if the Kyler Murray rumors come true, the Arizona Cardinals have nine other picks in the 2019 draft as of 3-17-2019 and would certainly get an additional pick or more for Josh Rosen. Ten total picks is a lot of opportunity to improve their depth and find some potential improvements for their offensive line.

The bottom line is that Arizona needs to make a move to improve their offensive line early in the draft. They could trade down from the #1 overall and feel secure in their draft of Jonah Williams later in the first round. Or they could use the first pick in the second round to choose another other rookie that could make an immediate impact such as:

First Round

  • Jawaan Taylor (Florida) – Currently unlikely to fall to the second round
  • Dalton Risner (Kansas State) – Currently projected as a late first rounder, could fall

Second Round

  • Michael Deiter (Wisconsin)
  • Yodny Cajuste (West Virginia)

2019 Thoughts

A healthy 2019 for Justin Pugh and the addition of Marcus Gilbert are enough to make David Johnson a fantasy value at his current ADP (2.04, 10th RB off the board according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com). Will we see a return to his 2016 form? That is highly unlikely given the current overall offensive line ranking (31st in the NFL) and the forecast for wins and losses in Arizona; Vegas odds has them at 4-5 wins. They will be playing from behind quite often which will limit his upside. However, the improved Offensive Line will provide him some holes for some additional yards and more than the dismal 10 total touchdowns from 2018.

Those same O-line additions will keep Josh Rosen (or Kyler Murray) off of his back. Not only will it improve their Quarterback longevity, it will also increase their fantasy stats. Is Rosen worth using a fantasy draft pick? No, he will consistently be on waivers in the most common league formats. He will have some usable weeks against their weaker opponents.

Conclusion

Honestly, could it get any worse than it was in 2018? We know David Johnson’s capabilities. He didn’t have an underwhelming 2018 due to a lack of  talent. We know that Josh Rosen has a hall of fame wide receiver target in Larry Fitzgerald and a talented Christian Kirk in the slot. All they need are those O-Line pieces to help them succeed.

The Cardinals management has made strides in the right direction with some free agent signings. If they can stay healthy, there will be improvements. The outlook could be even brighter after the draft.

The New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Profile

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New York Giants 2018 Recap

The Giants had another disappointing season in 2018, finishing 5-11 and missing the playoffs for the second straight year. Their second straight season at the bottom of the NFC East came after drafting running back Saquon Barkley 2nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. The Giants have also been adamant on holding onto their 2x Super Bowl winning quarterback Eli Manning, who has just turned 38 years old.

Dave Gettleman has been active this offseason. He traded Odell Beckham Jr., to the disdain of most Giants fans, to the Cleveland Browns for a package that featured the 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. He also secured Kevin Zeitler, by shipping Oliver Vernon out of New York. The Giants also added Golden Tate in free agency.

Gettleman has a clear focus for this roster: he wants to run the ball 25-30 times a game and win along both the offensive and defensive trenches. This mindset will guide the targets I focus on in this article.

New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Needs:

Gettleman’s restructure has left a lot of holes for the Giants to try to fill during the NFL Draft. In particular they need to address:

  • Right Tackle: with Zeitler playing right guard the Giants offensive line is starting to come together. Solder (left tackle) improved as 2018 went on, Will Hernandez (left guard) had a great rookie campaign, and Halapio (center) is a solid band aid at center. The Giants, however, still have a large gap at right tackle-one that needs to be addressed early in the 2019 NFL Draft.
  • EDGE: with Oliver Vernon gone, the Giants lack a playmaker at on of the foundational positions in the NFL. There are a lot of explosive EDGE options at the top of this year’s NFL Draft-but there is not a ton of depth, the Giants will have to be aggressive early.
  • S/CB: even with Peppers coming over in the OBJ trade, the Giants need depth in their secondary. In addition to safety depth, they need to find a corner who can play opposite of Jenkins. This is a draft that lacks talent at the top of the secondary, but there is plenty of depth to choose from as we get into the mid rounds.

New York Giants NFL Draft Targets:

1st Round, 6th Overall Pick: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida

I do not believe the Giants will even consider quarterback with this pick. Everything Gettleman has said since Indianapolis and the OBJ trade suggests he wants to focus on winning in the trenches. With Taylor, the Giants secure the best pure offensive tackle in this class and suddenly have a very solid offensive line that can hold up to Gettleman’s vision.

Other players the Giants could take with this pick: Brian Burns, Cody Ford, Quinnen Williams

1st Round, 17th Overall Pick: TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa

This is an unconventional pick, but it makes a lot of sense. Hockenson has the ability to immediately support the run game as an aggressive blocker. That’s enough to get the Giants’ front office hooked, add in his big time play making skills and you have someone who can help Eli Manning move the ball in the short/mid field.

Other players the Giants could take with this pick: Ed Oliver, Drew Lock, Devin Bush

2nd Round, 37th Overall: Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

Polite was consider among the top EDGE prospects prior to the NFL Combine. During the combine Polite interviewed poorly, which validated the poor character rumors that clouded his time at Florida. Polite also did not test well in Indianapolis. I doubt Gettleman would care much about Polite’s character issues, though, and would run to the podium to take an explosive and athletic EDGE with this pick.

Other players the Giants could take with this pick: Amani Oruwariye, Deionte Thompson, Charles Omenihu

3rd Round, 95th Overall: Joejuan Williams, CB, Vanderbilt

I have had the Giants ignore defensive back so far with these picks. They will, however, need to find CB help. Williams gives them a corner who can grow into a starting role for them-he has limited athletic upside but does have good traits and technique.

3rd Round, 108th Overall: Marquise Blair, S, Utah

Blair gives the Giants more mid round secondary support, which will be critical if they do ignore that position early in the 2019 NFL Draft. Blair is physical and can live in the box and support the Giants run defense.

4th Round, 132nd Overall: Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State

If the Giants are truly going to run the ball 25-30 times, they need to provide Barkley with change of pace backs to bare some of the load. Gallman provides some relief already, but Weber gives them a well-rounded back who is also a very effective pass blocker.

4th Round, 142nd Overall: Isiah Buggs, DT, Alabama

Buggs gives the Giants more support on the defensive line. He played outside at Alabama but has limited speed and range which will force him to play inside in the NFL. Think of Buggs as their well-liquor version of Snacks Harrison.

4th Round, 143rd Overall: Jalen Hurd, WR, Baylor

Hurd is a draft crush of mine. He’s dynamic, explosive, and was being considered a first-round talent when he was playing running back for the Tennessee Volunteers. Since transferring to play WR, Hurd has shown the ability to contribute to the slot and can work into a running back rotation still.

5th Round, 171st Overall: Tre Watson, LB, Maryland

Past White, Bush, and Wilson there is no certainty in the linebacker position in this draft class. Still, the Giants need to add depth and potential replacement for the money pit that is Ogletree. Watson gives them a development prospect who could contribute in his first year.

6th Round, 180th Overall: Oli Udoh, OT, Elon

Odoh isn’t a big name, but he is a big man (6’6”, 327). He’s a raw prospect that performed well during the Senior Bowl. The Giants could use Udoh as a critical depth piece for their offensive line.

7th Round, 232nd Overall: Jimmy Moreland, CB, James Madison

Mooreland was the 2018 Colonial Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He performed so well at the East-West Shrine Game that he got called up to also play in the Senior Bowl. Moreland needs experience with tougher competition, but he’s flashed enough to justify a late round pick.

7th Round, 245th Overall: Greg Dortch, WR, Wake Forest

Dortch truthers might be livid I’m projecting him so low, but Dortch is undersized and underexperienced. Still, he has great speed and could contribute in the slot role for the Giants. More likely, however, is that the Giants could draft him to contribute to special teams early in his career.

2019 NFL Draft Grade

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Tommy Sweeney: Fantasy Football UDFA Upside

Tommy Sweeney (6’5”, 260), Tight End, Boston College

20.6 Aggregate Score (4 Star Prospect)

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

Tommy Sweeney was originally a 2 star tight end out of Don Bosco Prep  who committed to Boston College (his only D1 offer) in 2013. It’s pretty cool to see stories like his make it to the NFL. Who cares if you were a 5 star or a 1 star, he worked his tail off at the only place that gave him a chance and now here we are, writing about him as an NFL draft prospect. I have him ranked as my 11th TE out of 21 so far (it could change) and I really like his most important trait, his blocking. 

College Production

Like many of the tight ends we review in this report, he didn’t have a whole lot of production catch wise. From what we do have, his senior year was actually a down year for him but not his worst with 32 receptions for 348 yards (10.9 avg – career worst) and 3 TDs. His junior year was his best collecting 36 receptions for 512 yards (14.2 avg) and 4 TDs. Through further inspection, his QB play was really the suspect of all suspect and just not great. They were a run first team by a large margin behind 2020 draft darling AJ Dillon. Tommy Sweeney lead the team in receptions in his junior year and was 2nd in receptions in 2018. So it’s not like the opportunity wasn’t there, he just had a few more bigger games in 2017 than in 2018. 

Speed/Acceleration: Aggregate Score 3 (Personal Score 3)

We all agree that he’s just an average speed TE and that’s OK. Uber athleticism isn’t a need for TE success, its just a plus. What we must remember is that a TE is an offensive lineman-wide receiver hybrid which is why most if not all weigh 245+.

Route Running: Aggregate Score 2 (Personal Score 2)

As stated concerning his production, this team was really run heavy, so there wasn’t much room for showcasing this ability. What we took from the tape is that he was less than average for a TE but not the worst which means he has room to grow in this area. He ran a lot of slant and out routes to which he looked decent. The capability is there, don’t count him out. 

Blocking: Aggregate Score 5 (Personal Score 5)

This is his best quality and also ties him for the best rated blocker in our system along with TJ Hockenson. He had his issues as does any prospect but most importantly, he did very well in his NFL test against Clemson, the cream of the crop in this draft class in terms of defensive line prospects. He engaged his assignments until the whistle was blown similar to Hockenson (sans the aggressiveness Hock shows). 

Handwork/Positioning: Aggregate Score 2.5 (Personal Score 3)

Another one of those traits that aren’t exactly pertinent to TE success when you’re a traditional TE like Sweeney. Where he’s going to have success is in space finding somewhere to sit in a zone coming off the line. I can’t imagine he’ll be lined up all over like a Sternberger or Fant. The group scored him as below average and I see him as basically average in this metric, room to grow. 

Athleticism: Aggregate Score 3 (Personal Score 3)

His scores match his speed/acceleration scores, just average, but again I this won’t matter too much because he’ll be on the line a lot more than the other TEs in this class. He won’t make his hay off of his athleticism. 

Conclusion: Off Waivers

Landing spot won’t matter for him concerning fantasy value. He’ll take time to develop and he’ll be forgotten about. If your league has a deep taxi squad, then sure, pick him up. I think he’ll be middle of the ground in this class and will be usable from time to time as he grows, don’t forget the name though. He can definitely handle himself against NFL prospects blocking which is THE most important skill for a TE to have to get them on the field.