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  1. My First Round in PPR Redrafts: By Robert Beau @RobbieBeans919 1) Le’Veon Bell - Bell has three top five RB finishes over the last four seasons. Huge projected workload in an elite offense. I’m concerned with his contract situation long term, but his playing on the franchise tag will only incentivize Pittsburgh to give him all the work he can handle in 2018. At least 75 catches the last three seasons of 12 or more games played provides a great PPR weekly floor. I like Bell as the first player off the board. 2) Todd Gurley- Broke out with an MVP like season in 2017 with 2093 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns. The Rams’ offense was best in the league in 2017 and added Brandin Cooks. They have a great defense and Gurley should be in great game scripts to produce fantasy points in his high volume role in both the rushing and receiving game. I think his 19 touchdowns will come down a tad but he’s an elite RB1 and worthy of a top two pick. 3) Antonio Brown- Most of the offseason I was taking a split of David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliott at 1.03; mostly because I prefer to lock in an elite, high volume RB with a top 3 pick. After a closer look, I realized Brown is more of a sure thing than both DJ and Zeke to be an elite scorer in 2018 as well as being much less likely to suffer a season ending injury due to the nature of their respective positions. This guy is unbelievable, averaging 116/1570/10 over the last five campaigns. Antonio Brown is in his own tier for me at the top of the WR ranks, and the 1.03 in my PPR drafts. A case can even be made for him as the first overall pick. Lock him in as an elite WR1 and enjoy the edge you’ll have weekly over the rest of the field. 4) Ezekiel Elliott- With the losses of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten this offseason, Dak Prescott will have to lean on Zeke Elliott more than ever before. The Cowboys offensive weapons outside of Zeke are limited, to be kind. While this will almost certainly lead to a lot of heavy boxes, luckily, he will run behind one of the best offensive lines in the league highlighted by All-Pros Tyron Smith(LT), Zach Martin(RG) and Travis Frederick(C). The lack of weapons around him should also lead to all the volume he can handle, including an expanded role in the passing game. Dallas would be well served to use Zeke more in the screen game as well as on flares and dumpoffs, rather than having most of his touches come via between the tackles rushes that the defense is expecting. We will see if Garrett and company see things the same way. Even if Zeke’s role stays status quo, his production has been off the charts. Since coming into the league, Zeke has 25 touchdowns in 25 games while averaging 130 yards from scrimmage. Zeke is an elite RB1 in 2018 and should go in the top five of every draft this summer. 5) David Johnson-I think sometimes we forget just how dominant DJ was in 2016. I’ll give you a quick reminder. DJ put up 1239 yards on the ground, another 879 through the air(80 catches), and scored 20 total touchdowns! Johnson ran away with the overall RB1 last time we saw him play a full season, and he should be very fresh after essentially having a year off. His injury wasn’t to his lower extremities so he should have a clean bill of health moving forward. His skill set as a receiver makes him game script proof as he will be on the field soaking up targets even if Arizona is chasing points. He offers a dual threat like none other, and 1000/1000 is in play. My only concern is a possible lack of touchdowns if the Cardinal offense struggles to score. Even with the expected drop in touchdowns, his reception and yardage floor makes him an easy choice as a top five pick in PPR formats. 6) Saquon Barkley- The #2 pick in this years’ draft should walk in to a huge workload right away, both on the ground and thru the air. New coaching staff and upgrades to the offensive line should help vastly improve Eli Manning and this offense. With Odell Beckham demanding double coverage along with legitimate threats in Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, Barkley should see a lot of favorable rushing opportunities against lighter fronts. He is also an elite receiver and will be used in the screen game as well as downfield opportunities. His workout metrics were off the charts at the combine, testing as a 99 percentile athlete. Along with great athletic test results, his college production profile is very impressive. I see him being among the very best fantasy backs right away, and after the big four backs and AB come off the board, he’s my top choice. 7) Julio Jones- The numbers: 103 catches, 1579 yards and 6 touchdowns. This is what Jones has averaged over the last four seasons. Wow. Jones is the type of receiver who is perfect to build around in a full PPR format. Every single season since 2014 has seen Jones end up as WR7 or higher. That type of elite consistency is hard to find. Now that the Falcons’ front office has addressed Jones’ contract situation, I’m placing Jones as my second ranked wide receiver for 2018. While many will prefer Hopkins or Beckham in this spot, in the same four year window in which Jones has been so brilliant, OBJ has lost a season to injury and Nuk massively underperformed his ADP in 2016. Julio is the only one of the three to be money every time, and that level of reliability means something to me, especially While I have Jones as the 1.07, you may be able to get him closer to the 1/2 turn if current ADP holds up into draft season. Take advantage. 8) Odell Beckham- The volatile Giants superstar may have the highest ceiling among all wide receivers. His production in his first four seasons has been unreal. Beckham has scored 38 touchdowns in his first 47 games. He missed his first four games during his rookie year, yet still went for 91/1305/12. He followed that up with 96/1450/13 in year two and 101/1367/10 in year 3. Outside of last year when he suffered a broken ankle in Week 4, Beckham has pretty much been an elite fantasy option from day one. Beckham is heading into his age 26 season, when receivers hit their peak years. I’m certain we haven’t seen his best work yet. With Beckham being so dynamic on all three levels of the route tree, along with his run after catch ability, there is no telling what gaudy stat lines are in his future. 15 touchdowns? 20? It’s not farfetched. Invest with confidence, OBJ can carry your team if he hits his ceiling. The aforementioned Saquon Barkley will only open things up for Beckham in the future, and new coach Pat Shurmur is a highly respected offensive mind. I love everything about OBJ in 2018. 9) DeAndre Hopkins- So far in his career, it looks like the only player who can slow Hop down is Brock Osweiler. Hopkins burst into the elite class of receivers in 2015 when he put up 111/1521/11 with a carousel of subpar QBs. After struggling in 2016 with Osweiler at the helm, Hopkins returned to top of the WR class in 2017, bouncing back with a 96/1378/13 line. He showed another level of upside in that six week stretch with DeShaun Watson at QB and Watson’s return bodes well for Hopkins’ 2018 prospects. Hopkins has played in 16 games in four of his first five seasons, and played 15 in that season. He is as reliable as they come. Big floor, big ceiling. Lock him in as an elite WR1 in the mid to late first round. 10) Alvin Kamara- Kamara came from an afterthought in drafts to the PPR RB3 by the end of the year last season. His usage saw a big increase after the Saints’ week 5 bye, as Adrian Peterson was traded and Kamara along with Mark Ingram carried the load going forward. By the end of the year, Kamara had put up 120/728/8 on the ground along with 81/826/5 thru the air. Wow. Kamara was uber-efficient, averaging 6.1 YPA and 10.2 YPR. He also scored a touchdown every 15 touches, collecting 13 over 120 carries and 81 catches. Now it’s highly unlikely this rate of success can continue year over year, but one thing is clear; Alvin Kamara is good at football. He will be even more featured in his second year so even if efficiency comes down some, it could easily be offset by increased volume. Mark Ingram will miss the first four games due to a PED suspension, so Kamara should come out of the gates busy. He still has the benefit of playing with a HOF QB in Drew Brees and an offensive genius in HC Sean Payton. I love everything about Kamara’s situation in 2018, and he’s a great way to start off your fantasy draft. 11) Melvin Gordon- Gordon has been the RB5 and the RB7 over the last two seasons. He projects to have a big role once again in the Chargers’ high powered offense. Hunter Henry’s ACL injury could open up more short area targets for Gordon. The Chargers improved their offensive line in the offseason. Gordon set career highs in rushing yards (1105) and receptions (58) in 2017 and matched his 2016 total with another 12 touchdowns. Some will bristle at his 3.9 YPC over the last two seasons, but it doesn’t strike me as a huge concern. He gets carries, he gets receptions, and he’s the main goal line option on a high scoring team. He’s a former first round pick, the talent is there. All the ingredients you like to see in an RB1 for fantasy. He’s a great guy to target around the 1/2 turn. 12) Dalvin Cook- Before going down with a knee injury in Week 4 last year, Cook was on his way to becoming a fantasy superstar. He had 127 yards rushing in his debut against New Orleans. After being held to 64 yards rushing against a tough Pittsburgh rush defense in Week 2, he exploded with 97 yards rushing and 72 more receiving while scoring his first career touchdown against Tampa Bay in Week 3. In Week 4 against Detroit, he was on his way to another big game. He picked up 66 yards on his first 13 carries and scored again before he suffered an ACL tear and was lost for the season. Cook had the look of a top-five fantasy RB in his brief 2017 stretch. All reports out of Minnesota indicate Cook will be healthy in plenty of time for the season. The addition of Kirk Cousins makes the offense even more potent and should put Cook in position for lots of scoring opportunities. The Vikings have a great defense and Cook should also be in favorable game scripts week after week. He profiles as a good receiver as well and should be a three down player. Cook has monster upside along with a safe floor. A solid RB1 target for 2018. NFL statistics: ProFootballReference.com
  2. The Not So Hot Take: A Look at Antonio Brown By Ken White Twitter: @grindaholic101 with @HardKnock_FF IG: @hardknock_ff In this age of information…..everyone has an opinion. When you turn on your favorite shows on FS1 and/or ESPN, it seems like no one can survive unless they have a hot take. Some of the takes are so ridiculous that we have to wonder if these talking heads actually believe the garbage that they are saying (I can’t be the only one!). Well it gets like that in fantasy too and maybe even moreso! Don’t believe me? Just mosey onto any thread and say something negative about Odell Beckham or Zeke, lol! Well rest easy….this is the not so hot take zone! Out of all of the talent in the first round of your fantasy draft…..there is one name that is safer and has as high of a ceiling as anyone! That’s the one and only Antonio Brown! Before we dive into the transcendent stats he’s produced, lets look at a couple of his very few downsides. 1. For the dynasty community, Brown’s age will be a concern for many. He has shown no signs of slowing down but he is at the ripe age of 30 compared to Odell Beckham Jr (25) and Deandre Hopkins (26). This is considerable in dynasty formats because elite WRs generally have a longer shelf life than other skill positions. With that said, if you’re in a dynasty league that has a high amount of trade activity and/or you’re in win-now mode, Brown is as safe as come! You’ll see why shortly. 2. Every superman has his kryptonite. And Antonio Brown’s kryptonite is the absence of Ben Roethlisberger. Take a look at the game splits found courtesy of Rotoviz As you can see, all of his pertinent stats fall off considerably and the TD’s are non existent. Even though that would give any Antonio Brown enthusiast cause for concern, the great thing that you can take away from this is that Antonio Brown has had Ben 93 percent of the time! Now for the good stuff! His last 5 years have been the greatest for anyone at his position and it isn’t even particularly close! In honor of those 5 years…..let’s take a look at 5 stats that solidify Brown as the top WR in the game. 1. Brown has a total of 8 drops from 2015-2017. In that same time he saw a total of 412 targets! If it hits his hands, he’s golden. 2. He’s had 5 consecutive seasons that he has exceeded 100 catches and 1000 yards. Over that same time, he caught 52 touchdowns! When you consider that other elite WRs like Mike Evans and AJ Green have NEVER had 100 catches, these feats are truly remarkable. 3. Brown ranks 4th since 2013 in deep pass yards with 2044. This represents 26 percent of his total output during that time proving that he’s not only a short yardage threat. 4. Per Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders, “He was No. 1 last year in Football Outsiders' total value metric DYAR (defense-adjusted yards above replacement) despite playing only 14 of 16 games. He's been No. 1 in DYAR in three of the past four seasons, and was seventh in the other (2016). Only Brown and Julio Jones have ranked in the top 10 in at least three of the past four years. Part of what makes Brown so dangerous is his abilities all over the field, both as a deep threat and as a short possession receiver. If we split passes into short (up to 15 yards through the air) and deep (16-plus yards through the air), Brown ranks in the DYAR top five for both types of passes.” 5. Per Pro Football Focus, Brown has forced 77 missed tackles since 2013 which ranks him 2nd in the league during that span! If the only downside is Brown missing his QB at a 7 percent clip (over the last 5 years) and/or a small age disparity, then sign me up for Brown in almost any format! No other player compares to this high level of consistency. Oh, and one more thing... As of the writing of this, LeVeon Bell appears to entering 2019 as a free agent. Take a look at this graphic: Simply put, when Bell doesn’t play, Antonio Brown is the most unstoppable force in fantasy football. Draft him with confidence people.
  3. Sammy Watkins: Value or Nah? By Nick Adams @Grizz15E with @HardKnock_FF Seems like I’ve seen a ton of polls on Fantasy Twitter lately about Sammy Watkins. With each poll, there ensues the requisite debate about whether he will break out this year or not. That got me interested enough to look a little harder and make my own determination on whether he was being valued appropriately among dynasty owners. Is Sammy Watkins worth what he costs right now, and should I be buying before the price goes up? The answer for me is a hard no. Before I tear Sammy down, I’ll use some of my military training and build him up a little. His freshman and junior years at Clemson were off-the-charts good, and he set the Clemson career receptions record in only three years. His first two seasons in Buffalo were good, averaging 62.5 catches, 1024.5 yards, and 7.5 TDs per season. At 6-1, 211 pounds with 4.43 speed in the 40, he appears to have the physical tools to be a WR1. But I can’t bring myself to jump on the Sammy bandwagon that appears to be gaining steam this off season (heading into the preseason now). Let’s look at his current market value. Fantasy Football Calculator has his ADP in dynasty PPR leagues at #48 overall, and the #22 WR. Last year’s WR22 was Nelson Agholor with 193.5 points. Let’s be generous and say that Sammy only needs to get 185 points this year to achieve the #22WR ranking. That takes 11.5 fantasy points per game. Put into real NFL statistics, 60-900-6 would get the job done. That should be well within the capabilities of Sammy Watkins, right? Especially in “an Andy Reid offense.” Well, let’s look a little closer at the facts on the ground. First, Sammy does not have a history of spectacular fantasy production. Even in his best season (2015), he finished as WR20—only two spots higher that his current ADP. Injuries have held him back during the last two seasons (we’ll get into that momentarily), and he did not play with a great QB during his tenure in Buffalo. Nevertheless, he has yet to consistently prove on the field that he is worthy of being drafted as a WR2. Second, as I previously alluded to, he has a disturbing history of injuries. He missed eight games in 2016 (and was limited in several others) due to a fractured foot that failed to heal properly. That foot required off-season surgery that further held him out of Bills OTAs until June 2017, when he resumed individual activities. Even during his best season in 2015, he missed time with a calf injury before catching fire in the second half of the season. It seems likely that this injury history weighed heavily into Buffalo’s decision to decline his fifth-year option and ultimately trade him to the Rams during training camp last summer. With a history like that—by the way, he suffered a concussion last year, too—the chances that he misses time this year seem pretty good. I can’t afford to take that gamble. Finally, many see his addition to the Chiefs as beneficial to his fantasy value. Maybe that’s true. Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Kareem Hunt all had good years last year. Of course, the flip side to that argument is just that—the Chiefs have a veritable cornucopia of talented playmakers on offense, and it seems unlikely that Sammy Watkins will put a major dent in their targets. Even the most optimistic Watkins owner should know that Andy Reid’s teams have produced only five 1,000-yard WRs since he became a head coach in 1999. One of those was Tyreek Hill last year. And who can forget the 2014 season in which the Chiefs under Reid finished an entire season without throwing a TD pass to a WR, and caused Dwayne Bowe owners to give up the game altogether. Andy Reid is a West Coast offense guy. His scheme lends itself to backs, tight ends, and quick WRs who can get open underneath and generate yards after the catch. Sammy Watkins, although he possesses top end speed, is not particularly quick in the short area as his 6.95 3-cone time attests. Compare that with Odell Beckham, a 2014 classmate who is known for his explosiveness after the catch—both players recorded 4.43 second 40 times pre-draft, but OBJ logged a 6.69 3-cone. Furthermore, QB Patrick Mahomes is in his first season as the starter, and the Reid’s timing-based offense doesn’t seem like a great natural fit for Mahomes’ talents, although I see Mahomes being successful in the long term. Ultimately, I expect that Sammy Watkins’ market value will decrease early in the year because I don’t expect a hot start from him or the Chiefs’ offense in general. Remember, Andy Reid turned over playcalling duties to Matt Nagy during the Chiefs’ losing streak last year, and with Nagy gone to Chicago, Reid has re-assumed those duties. I don’t see WR2 value in Watkins this year. With that said, I do think he has future potential as a low-end WR2 and is likely to be available below that price somewhere during the season if he doesn’t have a great start. So keep a close eye on him and be ready to deal for him if his value falls this year.
  4. Breakout Candidate: Marcus Mariota and the Titans’ Offense By Nick Adams @Grizz15E with @HardKnock_FF Every year there are a few teams that have offensive outbursts that catch everyone a little bit off guard. If only we had a crystal ball and could forecast those teams around, say, August—you know, when your fantasy draft is probably happening—we could use that information to dominate our leagues. Well friends, I’ve got good news and bad news for you. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have a pretty good candidate for this year’s breakout team—the Tennessee Titans. And that means their quarterback, Marcus Mariota is primed for a big season. Tennessee’s offense was not good last season. The Titans made the playoffs in 2017 despite an offense that ranked 19 th overall in yards (5024) and points scored (334/20.8 per game). Marcus Mariota regressed significantly from his 2016 campaign, and the running game ranked only 15 th despite an outstanding offensive line led by All-Pro Jack Conklin and 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year Demarco Murray. Head coach Mike Mularkey and his “Exotic Smashmouth” scheme got canned after the season, and the Titans brought in former Patriots and Texans linebacker Mike Vrabel as the head coach. The biggest benefit to bringing in Vrabel as the head coach is that he, in turn, hired Matt Lafleur away from the Rams to assume the role of offensive coordinator. Lafleur held the same job with the Rams in 2017, a season which saw L.A. improve from worst-to-first in scoring offense, and QB Jared Goff became one of the NFL’s best young passers. Lafleur also served as QB coach with Atlanta in 2016 during Matt Ryan’s MVP season, and with Washington from 2010-2013. During that time he was instrumental in Robert Griffin III’s Rookie of the Year campaign, and the development of Pro Bowl QB Kirk Cousins. Mariota is likely to improve significantly under Lafleur because he has the physical tools and has shown the ability in the past to be an above average QB. Marcus Mariota stands to benefit the most from the team’s decision to hire Matt Lafleur, but that is not the only factor that leads me to believe Mariota will have a breakout season. First, we’ve seen Mariota perform at a high level before. The former number two overall pick in 2015 put up 26 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions in 2016, his second season in the league. That season ended with a broken leg in Week 16, costing Mariota the entire 2017 offseason. With a full offseason of work this year, Mariota should be much more sharp and confident entering 2018. Another reason I expect big things from Marcus Mariota this season is the outstanding play of the Titans offensive line. Pro Football Focus ranked the Titans O-line the fifth best in the NFL last year. Four starters return, including 2016 All-Pro left tackle Jack Conklin. That should help the Titans balance their offense and keep Mariota upright throughout the season. The third reason to buy stock in Marcus Mariota is the talent around him this year. Former first round pick Corey Davis is entering his second season. Davis missed a significant portion of his rookie year with a hamstring injury but will likely see an uptick in production this year based on a combination of improved offensive scheme (due to new coaching staff) and a general trend of improved play among WRs in years 2-4 after poor rookie seasons. Another addition is RB Dion Lewis, who brings a dual threat (88 career receptions) to pair with lead back Derrick Henry. Delanie Walker continues to play at a high level at tight end, and second year man Jonnu Smith is a potential breakout candidate as well (more on Jonnu Smith in an upcoming article). Rishard Matthews has been solid if unspectacular, and Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe are both capable receiving prospects, although I would not roster them at this point. All told, there is enough talent around Mariota at the playmaking positions to expect Matt Lafleur to be able to craft a big improvement on offense this year. Tennessee’s schedule will lend itself to a resurgence by Mariota as well. The Titans open with two nice matchups. Week One they are at Miami (28 th in Defensive DVOA/20 th in Fantasy points allowed to QBs), and they host Houston in Week Two (23 rd /28 th ). They do face Jacksonville twice, which will be weeks to consider sitting Mariota, but they have a particularly juicy five-game stretch that includes: @DAL (25 th def. DVOA/18 th QB fantasy pts allowed); vs NE (31 st /26 th ); @IND (27 th /23 rd ); @HOU; and vs NYJ (18 th /29 th ). Should you find yourself in the fantasy playoffs in weeks 14-16, you will have to contend with a road game at Jacksonville. But you also get the Giants (24 th /32 nd ) in Week 15 and Washington (11 th /11 th ) in Week 16. Washington lost Bashaud Breeland and is not likely to be as strong in the secondary as they were last season. In my opinion, Mariota faces a weaker than average schedule for the upcoming season. Finally, for the dynasty players, something I always keep in mind is a player’s contract situation. Marcus Mariota is in the fourth year of his rookie deal. He is set to make about $7.7m this year, and the Titans have already picked up the fifth-year option for 2019, at around $21m. Mariota will be entering a contract year in 2019, and assuming he stays healthy, is likely to either get a huge deal from the Titans or leave in free agency. Either way, at 24 years old, he is a very safe investment over the next few years, and in my opinion will have QB1 value into his 30s. Now is the best time to get in on Mariota, as his ADP and thus his price in trade will probably never be lower than it is right now. Sometimes we just can’t predict when a player will explode (see Keenum, Case). But I think all the signs are pointing to a big year from the Titans, and specifically Marcus Mariota. His current ADP is 111 (14 th QB) in dynasty formats, and 137 (16 th QB) in PPR redraft per fantasyfootballcalculator.com. With that said, you should be able to target some stud skill position players and still grab Mariota at a spot in the draft that makes him a value pick. Don’t be surprised if he ends up as a QB1 this fall and you are raking in your friends’ buy-ins.
  5. Finding an Upper Hand in SuperFlex and 2QB leagues- By Eddie Board 7/12/18 @edb288 from @hardknock_ff The past few weeks are one of my least favorite times of the year. NBA finals are over, OTAs are over and there is just this lull in sports, unless you can get down with MLB or maybe a hotdog eating contest. Don’t get me wrong I loved playing baseball growing up and I hope that my kids get involved as they get older but for now, there’s nothing that interests me. As I glanced over the sportsbook on Bovada, I found myself getting caught up in betting on the World Cup. Just a quick back story, I have been betting on sports since I was a young lad in the eighth grade. My stepfather allowed me to fill out one of his parlay sheets at a very young age and I was hooked on College and NFL Football. I don’t have a gambling problem or anything but I get that rush of adrenaline putting that bet out there. As you are reading this you are probably asking yourself, what does this have to do with Superflex or 2 QB leagues. I’m about to get to that just be patient. While I was placing my bet on France to win it all I decided to take a look at some early super bowl winning odds. About this time a group of guys that I have become good friends with partly because of fantasy football decided to start a website. (BTW check us out on twitter for now @Hardknock_ff) My Boss @treynorton83 says he needs us working on content while he gets the website up a running. I was there already, so I decided to see if there was any correlation between the preseason super bowl odds and the final QB rankings for the past few years. I was actually pretty excited when I thought about it, especially since over the last few years SuperFlex has become almost standard in most Dynasty leagues. If I found any slight advantage by looking at these stats maybe I could change how some people drafted their quarter backs moving forward. I decided to go back 6 years and see what the numbers showed. The rankings are based on 4 points per TD thrown, 1 point per 25 yards, and -2 points per Interception. Below is what I found: 2012 Odds 2012 QB Ranks 2013 Odds 2013 QB Ranks Patriots D Brees Seahawks P Manning 49ers T Brady Broncos D Brees Broncos A Rodgers 49ers C Newton Packers R Griffin Patriots P Rivers Texans C Newton Packers A Luck Steelers P Manning Falcons A Dalton Saints M Ryan Texans M Stafford Eagles T Romo Saints C Kaepernick Giants A Luck Steelers N Foles Ravens M Stafford Giants T Romo In 2012 only 4 Quarterbacks that had a top 10 chance to win the super bowl according to the odds finished top 10 in rankings. In 2013 there were only 3. One other thing you can take from these numbers, which is common sense, is that if you have a HOF caliber QB chances are your odds are going to be a lot better than most at winning the Super Bowl. At least in Vegas’s eyes. 2014 Odds 2014 QB Ranks 2015 Odds 2015 QB Ranks Patriots A Rodgers Seahawks C Newton Seahawks A Luck Patriots T Brady Broncos P Manning Broncos R Wilson Packers R Wilson Packers B Bortles Saints B Roethlisberger Colts C Palmer 49ers D Brees Eagles D Brees Colts M Ryan Cowboys E Manning Bengals T Brady Ravens A Rodgers Ravens E Manning Steelers K Cousins Eagles T Romo Dolphins P Rivers In 2014 the big guns had a good year. Six QBs ranked in the top 10 that had top 10 odds at winning the Super Bowl. Then in 2015 it dropped to only 3 again. 2016 Odds 2016 QB Ranks 2017 Odds 2017 QB Ranks Patriots A Rodgers Patriots R Wilson Packers M Ryan Packers A Smith Seahawks D Brees Raiders T Brady Cardinals K Cousins Seahawks C Newton Panthers A Luck Giants C Wentz Steelers D Prescott Steelers P Rivers Texans M Stafford Cowboys M Stafford Giants T Taylor Falcons K Cousins Chiefs T Brady Titans J Goff Vikings/Colts D Carr Chiefs B Roethlisberger After looking at the last six years of the numbers shown only 23 QBs total finished in the top 10 of rankings out of the 60 teams that were projected of having the best odds of winning the Super Bowl. Those numbers equate to roughly 38%. So, on average only 4 QBS off of the top 10 teams with the best odds at winning the Super Bowl will finish top 10 in the final rankings that year. 2018 Odds 2018 QB Ranks Patriots TBD Steelers TBD Eagles TBD Packers TBD Vikings TBD Saints TBD Falcons TBD Texans TBD Cowboys TBD Jaguars TBD Based on those percentages the 4 QBs that I would look at from this year’s odds are Brady, Rodgers, Wentz, and Cousins. Yes, don’t @ me bro, I’m passing on D Watson . Cousins has been in the top 10 the last 3 years and just received an upgrade in weapons. No way I’m passing that up and obviously Brady and Rodgers are making my list every year if healthy. Then there is C Wentz. I feel he has unfinished business this year and will continue down his path for greatness. Too many issues in Steel City for me to take Big Ben and I believe the Saints are going to keep marching it into the end zone instead of passing it. On the outside looking in I would take a good look at Stafford too. He has made that top 10 list a lot but Detroit is just terrible. I hope you enjoyed this article and can use the information provided to help win your SuperFlex and 2QB leagues. Don’t forget to Follow, like, retweet @Edb288 @Hardknock_ff Quarter Back Rankings Courtesy of ESPN Fantasy Football Preseason Super Bowl odds courtesy of sportsoddhistory.com and Westgate Las Vegas Racing and Sportsbook
  6. Dynasty Rookies: Who is worth the risk? By: C.J Lee (Twitter: @Thecjlee11 part of @hardknock_ff) Dated: 7/12/18 As I am sitting here in the USO on my day off I am wondering why I am typing and sitting down on a computer instead of outside in the beautiful 84 degree weather. Then I realized that I love fantasy football as much as you (because you are potentially reading an article that just started up looking for any edge you can get as we approach the 2018 season and beyond). I am going to go deep into my dynasty rookie rankings, giving you my overall top 20 and explain a little about why I am ranking each one where I am ranking them. Ok so not yet. I have to brag for a minute seeing how the first five to ten individuals that will read this will be individuals that I beat for three championships last year alone. All of the research I do to prepare for the season translated last year into not one… not two… but three championships. Sometimes I take risk on rookies that can win the job (thank you Hunt), keep the job, and produce. Often times I have gut feelings about players as most of you probably do (my next piece will be all about my gut feelings and taking risk). I always follow my gut (especially when it comes to food) in fantasy and have had some heartbreaking moments (insert CJ Spiller here) and some rewards (Gurley and Hopkins). If someone produces off my rookie rankings and you find yourself with success, good for you! If you don’t, I’m sure there is an absolutely good explanation for it. I was hungry and my gut feeling was completely wrong. Here are my rankings: 1. Barkley: Well duh? It will be a disappointment to be anything other than a RB1. Combine numbers are off the charts… Every dynasty league I am in someone has traded for the number one pick overall because of the hype. 2. Guice: Only thing holding him back from really being successful in PPR is Thompson. How much will Thompson be involved? This kid has the tools to be elite…. 5’11 224 pounds and runs a 4.49 second 40 yard dash. His combine very similar to Zeke’s. One big question mark about Guice is can he mature and stay out of trouble? 3. Michel: As I am writing this the New England Patriots have a lot of running backs. White, Burkhead, Hill, Gillislee and Michel. I believe only two of them will make the roster along with Michel. Michel is more of a gut feeling because if one injury happens he could become an instant play. He should find some immediate success but how much? Seeing how the departure of Lewis creates 212 total carries to be split, I’d gamble on him. 4. Nick Chubb: I question the pick from the Browns but believe they couldn’t pass on the value they were getting him at. I am a firm believer that somehow Hyde will not be on the Browns next season which will allow it to turn into a great situation for Chubb. 5. Kirk: I like this kid a lot and think he went to an outstanding situation in Arizona. He gets to learn under one of the best WR of all time who is about to retire in the near future. I think he gets the torch passed off to him and turns into a stud. I’d buy him in all dynasty leagues if the price is right. Stash him for when Fitz retires and the reward will pay off. 6. Sutton: With the aging Denver Broncos WR corps, I feel Sutton has every opportunity to become the best WR in this class for fantasy purposes in the near future (Just wait for Ridley). He is a big and physically WR that I am excited to watch. 7. Moore: I love Cam Newton. However the reason why I love Cam Newton isn’t his arm. A lot of analysts have Moore as the number one wide receiver in this class. I have my doubts due to the landing spot. 8. Penny: A lot of chatter about him being a true bell cow. I do think he might find the most success outside of Barkley for the 2018 year but if Prosise ever can stay healthy I do think he takes a hit in PPR leagues. I also question the receiving skills. To me, his long term appeal is up in the air. 9. R. Jones: Tampa Bay Buccaneers select Charles Sims in the 2018 NFL draft. Oh wait, that’s Ronald Jones II! I don’t understand how Jones will do in Tampa Bay as a workhorse. He will need to add muscle to become an early down back and if not enjoy the Sims comparison buddy! 10. Ridley: I do think Ridley has the best chance to become a WR1 but it might take a few years in the shadows of Julio. By that time he might be in the upper 20’s and not a lot of time left for dynasty purposes. I’d rather gamble on Kirk, Sutton, or Moore. 11. Baker Mayfield: There are only six WR that have finished 15 th or better in the past 4 years and Landry is one of them. Landry, Gordon, and Coleman is one of the better WR group. Mix in them with Njoku and I love Mayfield based of his WR group to blossom into an above average NFL QB. 12. Josh Rosen: I think Rosen is the best NFL ready QB in this class. However, there are a lot of concerns in the Arizona camp. What if Sam Bradford produces a healthy season? Will they resign him to continue the momentum until they fix the offensive line and Rosen gains experience? He has been an above average NFL QB, when on the field. However, injuries have just about killed his career. 13. K Johnson: 860, 597, 357, and 552. Since Bush ran for 1006 yards in 2013, these were the numbers since by year. 2016 the leading rusher was 357 yards. You read that right. 357. It is time for a running back to do something for the Lions. It will be a crowded back field in 2018 but beyond it will sort itself out. Abdullah and Blount will both be UFA. I can see a 2019 backfield of Johnson and Riddick. 14. L Jackson: Now introducing the most talked about player of the year. Individuals were wanting him to try out for WR. That shows you how athletic this kid is. I’m sure he will be electric when on the field. Just when will that be? 2019 or 2020? Stash and hold him. 15. Freeman: Freeman will give you immediate value because of how bad booker has been and no other real competition. He doesn’t have the upside as a lot of the other backs but could surprise. 16. Hines: I can see Cohen version 2.0. However, Cohen doesn’t play with Andrew Luck. I am curious to see how 17. Gesicki: I am excited to see this Penn State alumni play. I think he provides immediate value and could become one of the better TE in the league in a few years. Sign me up! 18. Miller: When the Bears decided to let Meredith walk I was a bit surprised because they had only Allen Robinson and Kevin White. However, they picked up Miller and I believe (unless White finally decides to show life) that he should start in the slot immediately. 19. Gallup: Cowboys lost their guy in Sutton, they decided to stand pat and draft Gallup. He has every opportunity to start with only Hurns and Williams in his way. Even if he doesn’t beat out either this year; Williams, Hurns, or both will not be in Dallas next year. 20. Washington: I want to put Washington higher. However, between Antonio Brown and JuJu I don’t see much success in the near future. Life after Big Ben is coming and with that how will that effect his value?
  7. TAKE THE JULIO JONES DISCOUNT IN DYNASTY By Robert Beau (Twitter: @Robbiebeans919 Member of: @hardknock_ff ) Date: 7/11/18 According to DLF’s July ADP, Julio Jones is going 2.03(WR7) in 12 team dynasty startups. Today I’ll explain why I’m buying at that price and why you should as well. SUSTAINED PRODUCTION: Since coming into the league in 2011, Jones has had yardage outputs of 959(rookie), 1198, 580(season ending injury week 6), 1593, 1871, 1409 and 1444! If you take out the rookie and injury shorted seasons, Jones is AVERAGING 1503 yards per season. Receivers going before him such as Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Michael Thomas, and even Odell Beckham have NEVER hit 1503 yards in a season. Think about that, Jones is averaging more yardage than many of the receivers going above him have EVER achieved in a season. When looking at this, it makes it hard to understand why Jones has slipped behind his younger counterparts. I understand the value of being young, but points are what win our leagues, not who has the most talented young pieces. Julio Jones scores points. Even last year, when Jones struggled to find the end zone with only 3 TD, he still gave us another WR1 season behind his 88 receptions and 1444 yards. According to Mike Clay’s Opportunity Adjusted Touchdown metric, Jones should have scored 8.4 TD in 2017, and should be in line for positive TD regression in 2018. There is no reason to believe his reception/yardage line will be much different than it has been over the last four years, and if he indeed gets that positive TD regression, he could be in line for a monster campaign in 2018. His role in Atlanta will be the same and Matt Ryan will feel much more comfortable in year two of Steve Sarkisian’s offense. For example, Ryan’s 2016 MVP campaign came in year two of Kyle Shanahan as OC. Everything seems to be lining up for Jones to have one of his best seasons yet. INJURY PRONE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: You may hear your league mates say things like, “Julio is always hurt.” or “I never know if Julio is going to be out there.” This is nonsense. Since being selected at sixth overall in the NFL draft in 2011, Jones has played 13,16,5,15,16,14 and 16 games throughout his career. The only season in which Jones has missed significant time is 2013 when he suffered a broken foot. Since returning from that injury in 2014, Jones has played in 61 of 64 possible games . During that stretch (2014-2017), Jones has averaged 6.74 receptions and 103.6 yards per game. That type of floor is elite in fantasy leagues and definitely the security I value in my WR1, especially in PPR formats. Jones has also demonstrated league winning upside over that span, finishing as the WR2 in 2015 with a 136/1871/8 line that was good for 23.1 PPR points per game. This combination of elite floor, upside, and availability cannot be found outside of Antonio Brown over the last four seasons. Antonio Brown is still holding off these younger, less productive counterparts outside of Odell Beckham and DeAndre Hopkins in ADP as the WR3 in startup drafts while Michael Thomas, Mike Evans and Keenan Allen have all jumped Jones (WR7) in ADP. Jones is 29 and Brown is 30. Matt Ryan feels like more of a sure thing than Ben Roethlisberger over the next several years. When was the last time you heard someone say that Antonio Brown is injury prone? You probably haven’t. What if I told you that Jones has only missed one more game (14) than Brown (13) over their respective careers? Over their entire careers, Brown averages 86.1 yards per game, while Jones averages 95.3. I am certainly not advocating for taking Jones over Brown, but I am enjoying picking up similar production and consistency 6-8 spots later in drafts. So if others want to continue to avoid Jones because of “injury concerns”, I’ll gladly be the beneficiary. The narrative that Julio Jones is injury prone is disingenuous, and simply not true. RESULTS OVER POTENTIAL: I mentioned once earlier that points win fantasy leagues rather than potential, and that’s a philosophy I will implement in the way I manage my dynasty teams. In dynasty, I believe you want to own guys at their absolute peak, and ride it as long as possible. While I want to remain balanced throughout my roster with veterans and youth, I won’t shy away from elite producers as they approach their 30th birthday. Jones is a perfect example of a guy I want to own in any fantasy format, including dynasty. He typically scores more points than nearly everyone else at his position. Let’s compare Julio’s production over the last four seasons compared with some of his younger counterparts who are going near or ahead of him, mostly due to youth and potential. Julio Jones: 2014- 104/1593/6, 299.3 PPR points (195.3 non) 2015- 136/1871/8, 371.1 PPR points (235.1 non) 2016- 83/1409/6, 259.9 PPR points (176.9 non) 2017- 88/1444/3, 250.4 PPR points (162.4 non) Keenan Allen: 2014- 77/783/4, 179.3 PPR points (102.3 non) 2015- 67/725/4, 163.5 PPR points (96.5 non) 2016- 6/63/0, 12.3 PPR points (6.3 non) 2017- 102/1393/6, 277.3 PPR points (175.3 non) Mike Evans: 2014- 68/1051/12, 245.1 PPR points (177.1 non) 2015- 74/1206/3, 212 PPR points (138.6 non) 2016- 96/1321/12, 300.1 PPR points (204.1 non) 2017- 71/1001/5, 201.1 PPR points (130.1 non) Devante Adams: 2014- 38/446/3, 100.6 PPR points (62.6 non) 2015- 50/483/1, 104.3 PPR points (54.3 non) 2016- 75/997/12, 246.7 PPR points (171.7 non) 2017- 74/885/10, 222.5 PPR points (148.5 non) As you can see, Allen and Evans have had one PPR season each better than Julio’s WORST PPR season over that timeframe. Adams has had ZERO. These are the three WR directly surrounding Jones in ADP. Evans is 1.11, Allen 2.01, Jones 2.03, and Adams 2.05. The production is not even close. Julio is clearly the superior WR. Dynasty owners are passing on a proven, huge production profile when they select Allen and Evans before Jones. I know Adams is going directly after on average, but I hear and read guys saying they have Adams over Jones. Frankly, Adams shouldn’t be anywhere close to Jones. He’s never even had 1000 yards or more than 75 catches. You have to ask yourself, is being 3-4 years younger (Evans turns 25 8/21/18) worth passing on such elite production? To me the answer is no. I like to look at dynasty thru no more than a three year window, and I have no reason to believe Julio will not be a perennial top-five contender over that time period. I’m now looking at Julio as the WR5 in dynasty, behind only OBJ, Hopkins, AB, and Michael Thomas. If you get a chance to buy at the current WR7 price I would encourage you to draft him. If the Julio owner in your league has concerns about his age or injury history, make them a trade offer today. You won’t regret it. Dynasty ADP courtesy of DLF (Dynasty League Football) via @RyanMcDowell on Twitter All NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballReference.com