Fantasy Football Round Table: Hall of Fame Game Editionby Mike Fanelli August 1, 2019
The 2019 NFL season is right around the corner! The Hall of Fame Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos is tonight, meaning we have just five weeks till opening night. That time will (hopefully) go by quickly. In the meanwhile, it is never too early to get started on building the ultimate fantasy football team. To help with that, the Scorecrow family has put together a mini-series with a handful of writers giving you their opinions on five questions. Be sure to follow all of the writers on twitter and ask any questions you may have regarding their answers. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
All questions and average draft position (ADP) is based on 12 teams, one quarterback, PPR scoring and can be found here.
Mike Fanelli: Mike Williams → ADP 6.01, WR26
Last season Williams finished as the WR32, averaging 11.3 fantasy points per game. However, he was the only wide receiver in the top 40 to finish with less than 70 targets and 50 catches. Tyrell Williams is now an Oakland Raider, opening up 65 targets from last year’s team. Mike Williams had a poor rookie season as he battled a back injury, but bounced back last year, leading the team with 10 receiving touchdowns. Entering his third season, Williams is expected to be the Chargers’ main red zone threat, while seeing an uptick in targets. With Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry around, Williams won’t see many double teams and should put up similar touchdown production, while bringing in about 70-75 balls this season.
Joshua Abbe: Dede Westbrook → ADP 9.03 WR40
Westbrook had a decent sophomore season leading the team with 66 receptions for 717 yards with five touchdowns on 101 targets. With a much better quarterback, Nick Foles, at the helm, Westbrook is set to have a breakout season in the top wide receiver role. He started to excel in this role when Marqise Lee went down with an ACL injury and had little target competition from D.J. Chark or Donte Moncrief. Even better for his potential, Moncrief departed to Pittsburgh, so the targets are there to begin the 2019 season. He has posted WR2 or better fantasy numbers so far in his career and with a much better offense, Westbrook should explode.
Gio Damico: Chris Godwin → ADP 4.11, WR20
With the loss of Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson, Godwin will play a much larger role in the Buccaneers’ offense in 2019. With Bruce Arians at the helm, I expect a big year from Godwin as he becomes a reliable starter in most fantasy leagues. While he proved his ability to be consistent last season, it is now time for him to take the next step into stardom.
Frank Dyevoich: Chris Godwin → ADP 4.11, WR20
If you asked me a month ago I would have said Kenny Golladay, but the more I dug into Darrell Bevell’s offense the less sure I’ve become about his ceiling. Instead, I’ll say Godwin. He’s the Buccaneers’ wide receiver two this year and they will need to chase points often as they did very little to improve their defense. Godwin was a huge factor in the red-zone last year, scoring seven touchdowns and finishing tied for third with 11 targets inside the 10-yard line. Godwin can play in the slot or outside, giving Bruce Arians plenty of creative ways to get him the ball. The only problem is the fantasy community is all aboard the Godwin hype train. However, even at his ADP, he’s worth the price.
Connor Neal: Kenny Golladay → ADP 4.10, WR19
Golladay is primed for his best season yet. The only other notable wide receiver addition Detroit made this offseason is signing Danny Amendola. Going into the season Golladay’s only real competition is Marvin Jones, who is getting a bit older and coming off an injury-plagued season. On top of Jones’ problems from last season, he has only surpassed 1,000 yards one time during his six-season career while Golladay surpassed 1,000 yards in his second season and is only primed for more yards during the upcoming season.
Most overpriced running back based on ADP?
Mike: Kareem Hunt → ADP 8.03, RB37
Why would you waste a mid-round pick on a player who can’t play till week 10 and won’t be the main running back when he returns? Hunt’s ADP baffles me. When Hunt returns, fantasy owners will only have his services for seven games (assuming you don’t play week 17). Furthermore, can fantasy owners really trust Hunt as they push for the fantasy playoffs in his first meaningful game action in almost a year? I wouldn’t. Hunt should be undrafted in redraft leagues because it is foolish to hold him on your bench for more than half the fantasy regular season when you could select many other solid running backs in that range who can make an impact starting week one.
Joshua: Saquon Barkley → ADP 1.02, RB1
Now hear me out, seeing Barkley, and thinking overpriced? You must look at the workload he is about to consume and see more than the word “workload”. He is pretty much the only offensive player, besides Evan Engram, that the Giants have. Their wide receivers are dropping like flies with Sterling Shepard‘s broken thumb, Corey Coleman torn ACL, and Golden Tate facing a four-game suspension. Even if they had elite receivers, their quarterback situation is mediocre at best. Without Odell Beckham Jr. around, defenses will load the box against Barkley. While he may put up big numbers, the high amount of touches leads to a higher risk of injury. With other great running back options available at the top of the draft, I’ll pass on Saquon.
Gio: Joe Mixon → ADP 2.03, RB8
I won’t touch Mixon in any of my redraft leagues this year because I just don’t trust him with his injury history. He is also running behind a fairly bad offensive line, that has already lost two projected starters. Even if he is healthy, Mixon will likely split carries with Giovani Bernard. Running back depth is lacking in fantasy this year, but you can do better than Mixon given his ADP.
Frank: Tarik Cohen → ADP 5.11, RB28
The Chicago Bears had no choice but to use Cohen in a main role last year because Jordan Howard has bricks for hands and offered no upside in the passing game, making the offense predictable. The addition of David Montgomery changes all of that. He is a feature back and possesses excellent receiving skills. Montgomery will cut into Cohen’s receiving work as he doesn’t need to come off the field on passing downs. Cohen is not a running threat as he averaged under 30 rushing yards per game last year, while his receptions could drop from 71 to around 50. I’m drafting guys like Tevin Coleman, Lamar Miller and either of Chris Carson or Rashaad Penny ahead of Cohen this year.
Connor: James Conner → ADP 1.12, RB7
Conner is currently being drafted ahead of other running backs like Joe Mixon, Todd Gurley, and Melvin Gordon. However, Conner only has one starting season under his belt and couldn’t stay healthy. Towards the end of the season, Jaylen Samuels began taking more and more carries away from Conner. While Conner is expected to be the main back, Samuels will see his fair share of carries and targets as well. The addition of Benny Snell isn’t a good sign for Conner’s workload either. Snell has been impressive during training camp and could steal some goal-line touchdowns from Conner.
Most overpriced wide receiver based on ADP?
Mike: Alshon Jeffery → ADP 6.06, WR28
Last season Jeffery finished as the WR26, averaging 14.3 fantasy points per game. However, he played very differently depending on who was under center. In 10 games with Carson Wentz, Jeffery averaged 4.9 catches for 54.2 yards and 13.3 fantasy points per game. By comparison, with Nick Foles, he averaged 5.5 catches for 121 yards and 17.6 fantasy points per game. Foles is now in Jacksonville and Wentz has plenty of injury history. If Wentz goes down again, Nate Sudfeld or the rookie Clayton Thorson will take over. Needless to say, that’s not good. Combine that with all the new additions, Jeffery should be viewed more as a WR4 than a flex option.
Joshua: Michael Thomas → ADP 1.10, WR4
Thomas was given his extension to solidify his future, but his ADP in the mid to late first round is a tad much for my liking. Drew Brees feeds most everyone on the field, which means Thomas won’t be force-fed targets. Over his last six games of 2018, Thomas had only one touchdown and only two games with more than 50 receiving yards. Unless the Saints suffer enough injuries, Thomas would be force-fed targets like the other first-round wide receivers. Given that, I’d rather pass on Thomas in the late first-round and hope he slides into the second round.
Gio: Mike Williams → ADP 6.01, WR26
Going into this season, I loved Williams, but I haven’t seen enough from him yet to place him over the likes of Tyler Boyd, Alshon Jeffery, Allen Robinson, or even Courtland Sutton. He is in line for a better role this year with Tyrell Williams gone, but his production was sporadic at best last year. Williams has a great chance to break out this year for the Chargers, but I would be careful taking him at his current ADP.
Frank: Jarvis Landry → ADP 5.07, WR24
Landry has never been a touchdown guy, scoring less than six touchdowns in four of his five years in the league. He is completely dependent on a high volume of targets; averaging 144 per season for his career. Plain and simple, if Landry doesn’t get enough volume, he’s not worth starting on your fantasy team. With the addition of Odell Beckham and the dominant running game, Landry will be lucky to see 120 targets this year. Wide receivers I’d draft ahead of Landry include, Mike Williams, Allen Robinson, Robby Anderson, and Christian Kirk; all of whom are currently behind Landry in ADP.
Connor: Will Fuller → ADP 7.08, WR33
Fuller has yet to play a full season and since becoming a starter has not played more than 10 games in a season. Fuller’s entire career has been plagued with injuries and while he has had good games with Deshaun Watson, I’m not drafting a wide receiver with so much injury history this early in the draft. With wide receivers like Larry Fitzgerald, Dede Westbrook, and Anthony Miller going in later rounds, I’ll pass on Fuller and wait to see his name on the injury report by week two.
Who is your favorite late-round, shot in the dark quarterback?
Mike: Josh Allen → ADP 13.11, QB22
Other than super-flex leagues, Allen isn’t likely to get drafted but he could be the hot waiver wire add after week one. Last season, he finished as the QB21, despite missing four games mainly due to injury. Over his last five games of 2018, Allen scored 18 or more fantasy points in four of them. He also scored 28 or more twice, including 40.5 in week 17. Most of his production came on the ground as he rushed for 95 or more yards in three of those games. The Bills spent a lot of money and draft capital this offseason adding weapons and offensive linemen. Allen has the tools and skillset to surprise some people and finish as a QB1 this season.
Joshua: Sam Darnold → ADP undrafted
Coming off a rookie season where he produced just 2,865 passing yards and 17 touchdowns with 15 interceptions, I have high hopes for Darnold this season. With new additions to the offense in Le’Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder, Darnold is poised to produce some passing numbers in his second season. Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, and Chris Herndon provide chemistry from last year and the confidence that comes with familiar faces. Darnold finished the 2018 season’s last three games with zero interceptions while throwing five touchdown passes and totaling 761 passing yards. After ending the 2018 season on a high note, Darnold has strong momentum entering this season.
Gio: Josh Allen → ADP 13.11, QB22
There are high expectations for Allen in Buffalo as he heads into year two with the Bills. A lot of Allen’s value comes from his mobility. He rushed for 631 yards and eight touchdowns in just 11 games last year. With all the new additions the Bills made in the offseason to improve Allen’s weapons and offensive line, he is in line to have a successful season.
Frank: Mitchell Trubisky → ADP 13.08, QB21
Dak Prescott will likely be a popular answer but I have high hopes for Trubisky. Last year, he had an up and down season but flashed enough to give Bear fans hope as the franchise quarterback. As the season went on, he started to connect with Allen Robinson more as they both become more comfortable in the offense. Trubisky had big games last year, dropping 50 fantasy points on the Buccaneers and 38 on the Lions and Patriots. In the second year of the offense, he will be focused on mastering it verse learning it. With talented weapons and a phenomenal running back around him, Trubisky is the perfect guy to target in the later round of your draft. With the group he has, Trubisky has top-10 upside.
Connor: Mitchell Trubisky → ADP 13.08, QB21
Before Trubisky got injured last season he was a top 10 fantasy quarterback. Trubisky is set up perfectly to have a better season with the additions the Bears made this offseason. The Bears drafted David Montgomery and Riley Ridley which gives him two very good running backs and four underrated wide receivers to work with. Trubisky has all the tools needed to finish as a top-10 fantasy quarterback this season. The only thing that could hold him back is his health, as he missed two games last year because of injury.
Which team has the best shot to have two running backs finish in the top 24?
There are a handful of teams that could accomplish this, including the Seahawks, Chargers, and Patriots. However, the Bears have the best shot at it as they were the only team to do it last year. Cohen finished as the RB11, averaging 14.6 fantasy points per game, while Jordan Howard finished as the RB20, averaging 11.2 fantasy points per game. With Howard gone, Montgomery is expected to take over as the main workhorse back. Cohen will still get his touches, mostly in the passing game or on gadget plays, that will keep him in the top 24. There were games last season where both Cohen and Howard finished as a top 24 running back and I expect that to be the same this season with Cohen and Montgomery.
No team ran the ball more than the Seahawks in 2018. Leading the way was Carson with 1,151 rushing yards. Penny struggled as a rookie, in large part because he was injured in training camp and got behind the learning curve. However, the duo combined for 11 rushing touchdowns last season. Carson had a knee procedure in the offseason, giving Penny a chance to earn the starting role. With Doug Baldwin‘s unexpected retirement, the Seahawks will focus on the run, even more, this season. Regardless of who is the starter, both running backs have a great shot at finishing inside the top 24.
White and Michel are a lethal duo in that New England backfield. Michel is very shifty and doesn’t go down easily. I’m not worried about his knee issue, he will be fine this season. White is a good runner but an even better pass catcher which is, of course, is very important in PPR leagues. He is also coming off a career year where he finished as the RB7. Tom Brady dumps the ball off to his running backs when he is pressured so both of these guys should be in line for a good season.
Considering Latavius Murray was my undervalued running back in the round table, the Saints are the obvious answer. Wrong! Instead, let’s dig into the Broncos’ backfield. I am a firm believer that Freeman, NOT Lindsay, will be the starting running back. As a former defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio wants to win with a dominant defense and tough running game. Freeman is built to run with power and take a beating while Lindsay is a small shifty running back who is best when he gets the ball in space. The Broncos were the best at run blocking last year and will only improve with Mike Munchak coaching the offensive line. Regardless of how touches shake out, Lindsay and Freeman will be solid RB2 this season.
Since the Bears were the only team to finish with two running backs in the top 24 last year, it is safe to say they could do it again this year. Cohen is an automatic lock to be in the top 24, while Montgomery is clearly an upgrade over Jordan Howard. The Bears’ love to use their running backs and Montgomery could easily see 240 carries this year, while Cohen’s playmaking ability makes him a guarantee to see 150 touches this year. I’m very high on the Bears’ offense this year in large part because of their two running backs.
In the end, a lot of our writers agreed on a few questions but offered different takes on who they think is overvalued currently. Hopefully, this helps with your fantasy teams this fall and be on the lookout for the next set of round table questions that should be out before the season starts.
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