Tag Archives: Fantasy Football

Why The Jaguars Will Play In Postseason

Fantasy Football is a year-round hobby for me. The coaching/front office changes, free agency, and draft are all telling signs to help formulate my strategery.  I use the OTA’s, minicamps, and training camp to make adjustments to my strategery.  Thru my research for this upcoming season, I believe the Jaguars will make the postseason in 2017.  The accumulation moves made thru drafting and free agency the last few years will finally come to fruition in 2017.

 

I plan to grab the Jaguars defense as a late option this season. Don’t be surprised if the Jaguars unit is a valuable commodity for fantasy owners. Fact: The Jaguars ranked 6th in total defense with 321.7 yards per game allowed in 2016.  Fact: The Jaguars allowed the 5th fewest passing yards per game at 215.2.  Stopping the run and points allowed were their undoing. The unit ranked 19th at 106.4 yards per game on the ground and gave up an average of 25 points- per-game.  A slight case could be made the unit gave up so many points due to being put in compromising positions from their turnover-prone QB Blake Bortles.  The additions this offseason should help shore up their run defense and cut down on points allowed.

 

DC Todd Wash has talent at all three levels of his defense.  The D-line has run stuffer Abry Jones in the middle along with Malik Jackson and Calais Campbell.  Young DE’s Dante Fowler Jr and Yannick Ngakoue provide an awful lot of speed off the edge.  Myles Jack takes over for Paul Posluszny in the middle, with Posluszny playing on the strong side. Weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith is a tackling machine playing that excels in run defense.  The secondary is led by CB’s Jalen Ramsey and free agent signing A.J. Bouye.  Safeties Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson are solid players to round out the back of this defense.  Don’t be afraid to spend a draft choice on the Jaguars defense this season.  IDP owners already are fully aware of Smith, but should reach up for Jack and Ramsey.

 

Offensively Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone want to play more smash mouth football with the drafting of Leonard Fournette and the addition of 3 fullbacks Tommy Bohanan, Marquez Williams, and Tim Cook.  I doubt all 3 fullbacks will make the opening roster, but it shows the position will be a competition in camp.  LT Brandon Albert doesn’t grade out as a great run-blocker, but Cam Robinson should blow open some lanes at Left Guard. In 2016, the Jaguars offensive line ranked middle of the pack in run blocking.  Fournette will not leave the yards on the field that Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon did.  Ezekiel Elliott numbers are unrealistic for Fournette, but he should dominate this backfield and be a Top 10 RB.

 

The receiving corps is solid with Allen Robinson, Marquise Lee, and Allen Hurns. The big question is if Lee can ever stay healthy.   Robinson is WR 2 with upside, while I’d spend a late round flier on Lee over Hurns.  TE Marcedes Lewis probably won’t put up his career-year numbers of 2010, but will be more involved with Julius Thomas gone.  Lewis could be a waiver pickup if this offense uses him as a red zone threat.

 

QB Blake Bortles is the key to how far the Jaguars will go in 2017. Despite the inconsistent play Bortles had 5 games of 300 yards last season. His TD’s dropped from 35-23 with 19 more passing attempts last season.  Bortles worked with Tom House on his mechanics this offseason.  The Jaguars plan to run the ball more this season and take the pressure off of Bortles. 2016 saw the league adjusted to Bortles’ success from 2015.  Bortles will have to adjust back to the league in 2017 or will have to adjust to being a backup.  I view Bortles as a QB2 with upside and plan on targeting him late in drafts.

 

The upgraded front office with Tom Coughlin in charge will help mold the organization’s young talent in the right direction.  I believe the AFC South will feel the Wrath Of Khan in 2017 and see the Jags playing in the postseason for the first time since 2007.

Early Fantasy Football Musings

I believe Jaguars and Titans will make the Playoffs this season.

Jaguars QB Blake Bortles will rebound this season. Improved front office, coaching, worked with Tom House on Mechanics. More offensive balance with improved running game. Will be a QB 2 with upside.

 

Titans QB Marcus Mariota

With improved weapons and development Mariota will be the QB I target as part of my yearly strategy to be the last team to take my 1st QB, but first to have 2. Eric Decker has double digit TD in 3 of last 5 seasons.

 

Ravens WR Jeremy Maclin should be able to excel in the slot for the Ravens. Baltimore has led the NFL in pass attempts each of the last 2 seasons. Maclin may have lost some burst down the field, but should excel in the slot. WR3 with PPR upside.

 

Danny Woodhead will be the back to own in Baltimore this year. With Pitta’s hip injury, Woodhead will pick up the slack in the short passing game. Terrance West isn’t much of a threat in the backfield and Kenneth Dixon wasn’t impressive last year. Dixon also will serve a 4-game suspension to start the season.

 

I view Saints WR Michael Thomas as a top 5 WR in fantasy football. Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham JR. Michael Thomas, Jordy Nelson.

 

Saints WR Willie Snead has put up solid numbers in back-to-back years. Thomas will be a stud, but Snead will have his numbers go up as well.

 

Rams WR Robert Woods may be a popular WR5 this season. Tavon Austin is what he is and Cooper Kupp will play in the slot. Woods will lead Rams in receptions this year.

 

49ers QB’s will target Pierre Garcon early and often. PPR players will enjoy rostering Garcon more so than standard scoring players.

 

Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett dynamic playmaking ability needs to be used more this season. Coming back of broken Fibula and Tibia is something to track. Lockett is an excellent late rd gamble.

 

Packers TE Martellus Bennett set a career-high with 7 TD last season. I believe he easily sets career-high again this season.

 

I’m very torn on where to rank Ty Montgomery. Improved Pass protection could be his key to getting the most playing time. Right now, I’m leaning towards viewing him as a value pick instead of a player to reach up for in drafts.

 

Viewpoints of Kelvin Benjamin have changed dramatically since he came into the league. Went from great red zone threat and value to overweight bust in the eyes of fantasy owners. Its true Benjamin was out of shape last season; I blame the Panthers offense as a whole for falling off instead of blaming just Benjamin. Here’s his numbers.

2014 73 catches 1008 yards 9 TD.

2016 63 catches 941 yards 7 TD.

Don’t be a scorned Benjamin owner that lets him fall far in this year’s drafts. I believe Benjamin will out perform his draft slot.

 

Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey usage is tough to predict. Cam Newton is a runner instead of a check down passer. Switching styles could help Newton stay healthy long term. Would also make McCaffrey much more valuable. The drafting of McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel show a change in offensive philosophy.  Make sure you have solid depth behind McCaffrey if you want to pay the cost to draft him.

 

Browns WR Corey Coleman has had hamstring problems dating back to his freshman year at Baylor. I’m scared to spend a WR-4 pick on him at this point. Coleman unfortunately lacks one crucial ability and that is availability.

 

If I had to choose 1 Patriots RB it would be Mike Gillislee. Had 8 Rushing TD last year. Rex Burkhead will see early down work with Gillislee as well. James White is the pass catching back. Dion Lewis will be a complimentary piece may help in return game.

 

Steelers WR Martavis Bryant has 14 TD in 21 career games played. Coming off a year suspension at age 25, Bryant should still possess elite athleticism. Playing opposite of Antonio Brown, a more mature Bryant should have a field day. I’m using a franchise tag to keep Bryant in my dynasty league.

 

Jets WR Quincy Enunwa may be Captain Garbage Time this season with the Jets expected to be among leagues worst teams.

 

Pay attention to Austin Seferian-Jenkins in training camp. Has cut out alcohol gotten in better shape and this is probably his last shot to have a career. ASJ shouldn’t have to fight for targets in this week receiving corps.

 

Lions RB Ameer Abdullah will be a stand by your man pick for me this season. Abdullah is coming back from Lisfranc surgery last season. With lack of surrounding talent in backfield, I’ll take a mid-to-late gamble on Abdullah one more time.

 

The Vikings backfield looks murky to some, but I’m not fearful of Dalvin Cook getting stuck behind Latavius Murray this season. Murray will be TD dependent again, while Cook should be able to carve out a role in the passing game.  Cook for the round picked will be a better value than Murray this season.

 

Jets RB Matt Forte will get overdrafted based off of name recognition. Bilal Powell is younger and has more burst than Forte at this point. The Jets plan to use a committee at running back this year. Forte sadly could just be a bye week replacement running back at this stage of his career.

 

Bengals RB Joe Mixon will be a top 15 RB this season. Bernard coming off ACL tear and Jeremy Hill is too slow to get more than what is blocked. Go up to get Mixon.

 

Chargers TE Hunter Henry is a top 8 TE in fantasy football. I believe he does serious damage in LA this year. Antonio Gates will play less snaps this year and serve as a compliment to Henry.

 

Chiefs WR Chris Conley will take over for the departed Jeremy Maclin. Has 4.35 speed. Tyreek Hill is the projected Z receiver with Conley taking over the X. Conley is worth a late rd flier.

 

Redskins ILB Zach Brown has an opportunity to take a starting job away from Mason Foster or Will Compton. Buffalo’s run defense stunk last year and Brown was a portion not the entire problem. Could be a LB3 if he wins a starting job.

 

Jaguars ILB Myles Jack is taking over play-calling duties for Paul Posluszny this season. Jack has tremendous upside and should be a target for IDP owners.

 

Dolphins MLB Raekwon McMillan is a player to follow as camps get underway. McMillan was a solid tackler at The Ohio State University. Could be a popular early waiver claim in IDP leagues.

 

Colts ILB Jon Bostic is a player to pay attention to in training camp. Bostic is a former 2nd rd pick that flamed out in Chicago and New England. Colts LB corps is a wide open competition at this point. Sean Spence, Antonio Morrison, Edwin Jackson are also in competition for reps on the inside.

 

Giants MLB B.J. Goodson is another player to track in training camp. The LB corps for the G-Men leaves a lot to be desired. Goodson worked as the starting MLB in OTA’s.

 

Bears SS Quentin Demps was a late bloomer with the Texans. Demps should be able to carry over his production to Chicago due to a lack of play makers around him.

 

I believe Falcons Defense will take a bigger step forward this year based off their young talent gaining experience. Talent will not be impacted negatively by coaching changes. Head Coach Dan Quinn is a defensive guy, draft the Falcons with confidence.

Rookie Late Round Running Backs To Track

The NFL Draft provides plenty of opportunities for over-analysis. I’ll spare you breaking down all the Running Backs selected in this year’s draft. In this piece I’m targeting the late round Running Backs I plan to pay attention to this offseason and in training camp.

Redskins RD 4 pick 114 Samaje Perine Oklahoma.  Serious threat to take starting job from Rob Kelley. Perine is a smasher that is better in the passing game than advertised. I plan to track Perine closely in training camp to see the rep distribution over Kelley. Matt Jones is possibly expendable after drafting Perine. Solid seasonal fantasy league prospect

Chiefs RD 3 pick 86 Kareem Hunt Toledo.  Excelled at Senior Bowl, but fell flat at Combine. Chiefs traded up to draft Hunt.  Solid runner that could steal touches and possibly job from Spencer Ware. This move downgrades Ware a bit on my draft boards. Late round seasonal fantasy league prospect and has significant value in the Dynasty Format.

Colts RD 4 pick 143 Marlon Mack South Florida. Mack is very physically gifted, but Colts coaching staff has a lot of work to do to get Mack ready to contribute. All of the bouncing outside and indecisiveness running inside doesn’t work in the NFL. With polish could be a solid contributor as a rookie. Worth a Dynasty league pick. Training camp reports will be very important in figuring out if and where to draft Mack in seasonal fantasy leagues.

Bucs RD 5 pick 162 Jeremy McNichols Boise State. 3-down back one of few rookie RB’s that is really solid in pass protection. Should provide competition to Martin, Sims, and Rodgers for playing time. Training camp reports may move McNichols for a solid dynasty pick to a solid late round seasonal choice.

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy has confirmed that despite drafting 3 running backs, Ty Montgomery is the starter. Late last season Montgomery provided the Packers with a spark in the backfield. We’ll see if the Packers go with more of a committee approach in 2017. Each 4 of these backs presents a different skill set. Camp reports will really dictate how to approach this backfield. If I had to choose today with Rookie RB to draft out of this trio, it would be Jones.

Packers RD 4 pick 134 Jamal Williams BYU.  Inside runner that doesn’t dance. Needs polish in running thru lanes and may not get much more than what is blocked. In Packers offense could be a solid contributor right away.

Packers RD 5 pick 182 Aaron Jones UTEP. Most dynamic out of this trio. Can run inside and has explosive play potential. I like him more than quite a few runners taken earlier in the draft.

Packers RD 7 pick 238 Devante Mays Utah St.  Most physically gifted out of this trio. Ankle injuries derailed his final college season. Mays is a terrific lottery ticket at pick 238. Contributing on special teams would help secure a roster spot. Would like to see if a program with NFL trainers could keep him healthy.

Is Glennon a Building Block or Stop Gap?

The Chicago Bears 3-year deal $45 million dollar deal with Quarterback Mike Glennon was one of eye opening signings in free agency. $19 million of the deal is guaranteed making it easier from the Bears to move on from Glennon after one season. Astoundingly this is near the going rate for starting QB’s. The Bears reportedly plan to draft a Quarterback this year as well.

Moving on from Jay Cutler was one of the top priorities this offseason. Cutler’s 8 years with the team had run its course. My belief is Cutler wouldn’t have played another down for the Bears in 2016 if Brian Hoyer didn’t get injured to miss the remainder of the season. The Bears QB comedy carousel got better as the 49ers signed Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in free agency.

Glennon gets the opportunity to run an offense with a rebuilding unit. Kevin White hasn’t proven to stay healthy in his NFL career. Cameron Meredith showed flashes last season. Markus Wheaton couldn’t break thru in a talented receiving corps in Pittsburgh, but gets his shot in the Windy City. Kendall Wright put up numbers in Tennessee a few years ago, but was passed over with the current regime.

Glennon’s skill set was on display in 2013 and 2014 in Tampa. The Bucs got the 1st overall pick in 2015 and drafted Jameis Winston to lead their offense. One interesting tidbit that came out is the Bucs offered Glennon $8 million dollars to return as the backup.

His biggest asset to the Bears could be what he offers in the locker room. The Bears signed Glennon in what amounts to a one-year deal to be a stopgap QB. How early of a draft choice the Bears spend on a QB will provide a lot of insight in how the organization views Glennon long term. After a 6-10 season followed by a 3-13 season, GM Ryan Pace and company may need to squeeze out more wins while rebuilding to save their jobs.

Bears Won’t Tag Alshon Jeffery

The Chicago Bears reportedly will not use the franchise tag on WR Alshon Jeffery for the upcoming season. Using another franchise tag would have netted Jeffrey $17.5 million dollars for the 2017. Coming off a 3-13 record the Bears have spent a lot of money in free agency recently, yet still have a lack of talent across the roster. Jeffery in 5 years has missed 17 of a possible 80 games played. 4 games were lost due to a suspension in 2016.  Lower body soft tissue injuries have plagued Jefery for his NFL career. Those injuries happen to all football players, but Jeffery is on the injury report too much for my liking. At age 27, this South Carolina product should be able to command a sizeable contract in free agency.

Supporters will point to the 2013 and 2014 campaigns of 89 catches for 1421 yards, 7 TD and 85 catches 1,133 yards, 10 TD.  Imagine what numbers Jeffery would put up with a top flight NFL QB instead of Jay Cutler. (That’s an argument for another time.)  Jeffery has great ball skills in traffic and can help take the top off a defense.  This skill set should be in high demand on the free agent market. Chicago has so many holes that paying Jeffery premium dollar wouldn’t solve the problem.  The free agent class for Wide Receivers this year is also thin with DeSean Jackson, Terrelle Pryor, Kenny Britt, Pierre Garcon, Kendall Wright, and Terrence Williams all looking for work.  Connect the dots reporting would link the Rams, 49ers, Eagles, Bills, Browns, Bucs, and Titans to Jeffery.

Many fantasy football analysts view Jeffery as a WR 2 in drafts. His value theoretically should go up in a new situation. The new QB Jeffery gets to play with has a direct impact on his value.  Conversely, I’ve always avoided him in drafts due to injury concerns. I hate having to check Alshon’s status nearly each week. I will drop Jeffery even farther down draft boards if he signs with a team that plays on turf. Maybe a new training staff can help keep Jeffery healthy.  Risk-reward isn’t there for me with that high of a draft choice or auction cost.

 

Be Proactive Pick Up Perkins

Giants running back Paul Perkins is a player fantasy owners should get familiar with real soon.  The G Men’s rushing attack is the worst in the NFL averaging 68.2 yards per game on the ground. Jennings leads the team in carries so far this season with 64 rushing attempts and is averaging 2.6 yards per carry.   In 5 contests, Jennings is averaging just 33.6 yards-per-game. The veteran back missed games 3, 4, and 5 with a thumb injury.  There has been slightly more success among the other Giants running backs with Shane Vereen averaged 4.7 ypc before getting injured with Orleans Darkwa 3.7ypc, Bobby Rainey 3.6 ypc and Paul Perkins 3.4ypc.

Jennings looks to have lost a step and looks to barely get what’s blocked at this point.  Orleans Darkwa is a complimentary back while Bobby Rainey is better suited to be the passing down back.  The learning curve for Perkins was going to be difficult since he missed all of organized teen activities this spring while attending college at UCLA.  Coming out of the bye, Perkins split carries with Jennings in their 28-23 win over the Eagles.  Perkins out produced Jennings this week and should start to see the workload go in his favor as the season progresses.  The time to buy Perkins is now before his full outburst takes place.

There’s no reason the Giants shouldn’t be able to run the ball better with their other offensive weapons.  Perkins has more wiggle, burst, and speed than anyone else in the backfield at this point.  The problem with many rookie running backs is their struggles in pass protection. Perkins doesn’t seem to be fully trusted in pass protection yet, which will curb some of his playing time. Jennings could take away some short yardage work while Rainey could play a bit on 3rd Downs.  The upcoming schedule provides some solid opportunities for the Giants to get the running game in order.

Week 10 Bengals       22nd

Week 11 Bears          14th

Week 12 @Browns   31st

Week 13 @Steelers   13th

Week 14 Cowboys     6th

Week 15 Lions          17th

Week 16 @Eagles     18th

It’s always better be proactive than reactive on waivers. Perkins is worth a waiver claim this week. Owners should expect Perkins to be in their starting lineups as an RB2 or Flex Play sooner rather than later.

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Don’t Sell Off Blount

New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount has been one of the more valuable players in fantasy football this season.  With Tom Brady out the first four games with a suspension, Blount has been a monster rushing for 352 yards and four touchdowns.  Blount has 22 or more rushing attempts in 3 of 4 contests this season.  That high volume workload won’t continue all season, however the Patriots adjust their game plan to what is better suited to go against each week’s opponent.  Tom Brady is the Patriots best talent and the passing game will return to being showcased each week.  The popular viewpoint is that the Patriots will throw the ball a lot more and abandon the running game.  I’m not buying into that school of thought.

Last season, Blount ran for 703 yards and 6 TD in 12 games. He was placed on IR with a hip injury in mid-December. In an earlier season matchup, which resulted in 30-24 Broncos win, Blount was a non-factor rushing 9 times for 27 yards. Tom Brady threw for 280 yards and 3 TD while getting sacked 3 times. The Patriots were exposed in the AFC championship game vs. the Broncos for their lack of a credible rushing attack. Tom Brady attempted 56 passes throwing for 310 yards a TD and 2 picks. The Broncos sacked Brady 4 times.  The Patriots attempted 17 rushes for 44 yards to the tune of a paltry 2.59 yards-per -carry.  In 2015, the Patriots ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 87.8 yards

I believe the Patriots learned from the 2015 season by upgrading their offensive line with better run blockers.  Brady’s suspension necessitated featuring the rushing attack to start the season, but I believe it will carry over for the rest of the season.  NFL history isn’t kind to 39-year-old Quarterbacks. Tom Brady is no ordinary 39-year-old Quarterback, but still could use more help from the running game.

I don’t believe the other Patriots running backs are truly a threat to Blount’s workload.  Brandon Bolden is more of a special team’s player.  DJ Foster is an experienced player that hasn’t taken any workload away yet.  James White is third-down-back while Dion Lewis may be the one to take away some of Blount’s workload.  Lewis is on the physically unable to perform list and could return anywhere from weeks seven to week nine depending on his health.

The NFL has shifted more towards committee backfields in the last few years.  Fantasy players really need to focus on their league set up and scoring in evaluating players.  Blount while not as valuable in a PPR league as in a standard scoring lead league still will carry a lot of value with Tom Brady’s return.  I find it hard to believe that Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels will completely ignore how effective the running game has been the first four weeks of the season.