Ranking NFL’s Best Young QBs

Updated: October 9th 2016

The past three NFL draft classes have supplied with the league with a great crop of talented, young quarterbacks.  These quarterbacks include Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Trevor Siemian, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch, and Dak Prescott.  From a keeper and dynasty football standpoint, I often advocate investing in proven veterans because of their reasonable cost of acquisition.  That said, rebuilding teams or those in two quarterback or superflex leagues may want to attach themselves to the next Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, or Russell Wilson.  For those folks, I’m here to help as I’ve ranked these quarterbacks in terms of fantasy value for the next three seasons.  

  1. Derek Carr – He has already become a borderline top 10 fantasy quarterback in his third season.  With Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, Oakland’s building a great team around Carr.
  2. Jameis Winston – He has all the physical tools and has shown why Tampa Bay selected him first overall in 2015.  Though he ranked 34th of 37 quarterbacks in terms of accuracy percentage in 2015 according to Pro Football Focus, Winston has shown plenty of promise in his first two seasons and is paired with the best young WR besides Odell Beckham Jr. in Mike Evans.
  3. Carson Wentz  – He’s quickly becoming the breakout star of 2016.  Expected to remain on the sidelines until 2017, Wentz was named the starter immediately following the Sam Bradford trade.  Many expected that he wouldn’t be ready after missing most of the preseason with a rib injury.  Instead of running a conservative scheme and attempting to hide their QB while he develops, Pederson has put a lot of trust in Wentz – best exemplified by the Eagles opening drive Week 2 against the Bears on Monday Night Football where Wentz opened the game, play after play, in an empty back set.  His weapons don’t compare to Carr, Winston, or Bortles, but Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Dorial Green-Beckham, and Nelson Agholor have potential to develop into reliable targets.
  4. Blake Bortles – Coming into this year, we knew Blake Bortles’ remarkable 2015 season was largely aided by negative game-script.  However, that may not go away anytime soon.  The Jaguars should continue to struggle and fall behind as their defense has not improved as quickly as some may have hoped.  Receivers Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns will make Bortles’ at least a high end QB2 each of the next three years, but Bortles makes far too many mistakes, hasn’t shown much growth in year 3, and likely is a better fantasy QB than NFL QB.
  5. Marcus Mariota – There’s no denying Mariota has disappointed in 2016.  The Titans have the worst WRs in the AFC and recently demoted free-agent signee Rishard Matthews for 35 year-old Andre Johnson.  Mike Mularkey’s “Exotic Smashmouth” scheme has lacked creativity and seems focused on protecting Mariota rather than developing him. I’m still a fan of Mariota, but definitely would be concerned as a Mariota owner.
  6. Jared Goff – There’s so much unknown surrounding Jared Goff.  It’s very curious that he couldn’t beat out Case Keenum or Sean Mannion in training camp.  Even when he’s eventually handed the reigns, Goff will join the least creative offense in the NFL that is currently struggling to get the most out of star RB Todd Gurley.  LA has the worst pass catching options in the NFL, led by gadget player Tavon Austin.  There are many reasons Goff was considered the top prospect in the NFL draft by many, but I’ve cooled on him since the April draft.
  7. Paxton Lynch – Considered more of a project than Goff or Wentz, Paxton Lynch has played fairly well in limited action.  He has excellent physical tools and is built to run Gary Kubiak’s offense.  Like Wentz, his running ability should aide his fantasy value, potentially making him a top five fantasy QB during his best seasons.
  8. Dak Prescott – Through four games, Dak Prescott looks like he belongs.  With no turnovers through four games, Prescott has kept the Cowboys afloat without veteran QB Tony Romo.  He may lack the ceiling as a passer of Carr, Winston, and Wentz, but has showcased his abilities enough to be considered a potential long-term starter in the NFL and likely the Cowboys QB in 2017.  The Dallas offensive line and presence of a healthy Dez Bryant could make Prescott a high end QB2 by the end of 2016, assuming Romo doesn’t return.
  9. Teddy Bridgewater – Coming into 2016, I was very down on Teddy Bridgewater and even sold him for Tavon Austin in one of my dynasty leagues.  Let’s not forget that the Vikings ranked 31st in passing yards in 2015 and 25th in yards per attempt according to Pro-Football-Reference.  I don’t love his arm strength, especially in the NFC North where he’ll have to play outdoors in Green Bay and Chicago.  Depending on how the 2016 Vikings season ends, Sam Bradford may not have to give back the starting QB job when Bridgewater returns.
  10. Trevor Siemian – He likely isn’t a long-term long-term NFL starter, but is showing he belongs at least as a backup in the NFL.  He has lesser physical abilities than fellow Broncos QB Paxton Lynch and likely is on a short-leash, but has impressed enough this season to warrant being on the radar of fantasy owners.

I want to hear from you!  Which players ranking do you agree or disagree with most?  Let me know on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO!


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

Stock Watch

Updated: October 6th 2016

With three weeks of football to use as a measuring stick trends are immerging and we can start to see who the real fantasy stars for 2016 might be. This is also the ideal time to talk trades since teams that are 0-3 might be ready to sell already and teams that are 3-0 might be more inclined to drop their picks on players for today. I am going to look at players to try and buy, or sell, based on how the community seems to be viewing their value. Players will fall into four categories: buy low, sell high, buy high and sell low. The first two seem rather obvious but “Buy High” and “Sell Low” seem counterintuitive. My logic is this, if a player has shown you enough to warrant the price then you should buy now before they are untouchable. Likewise, if a player seems to be trending down but still has brand value to his name it might be time to get something before they become nothing. Alright now that we have the definitions laid out let’s start some trade talks.

BUY LOW, Golden Tate

Golden TateGoodbye Calvin Johnson, hello…. Marvin Jones? When Megatron left the Motor City people immediately saw this as tremendous value for Golden Tate. Instead, Marvin Jones has dominated the Lions’ share of targets (pun intended) and is coming off of a 200-yard receiving performance in week 3. Still, the Lions have no workhorse in the running game and continue to throw the ball at a considerably high rate (120 attempts in 3 games). With games against Chicago, Washington, Jacksonville and New Orleans still on the schedule, I can see Tate being a great complimentary piece to have for the second half of the season.

BUY LOW, Cole Beasley

Cole BeasleyDak Prescott likes to check it down, A LOT! While both he and Tony Romo have used the running game to set up the pass, Romo would often try to push the ball deep downfield to Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams. Instead, Prescott prefers the death by a thousand papercuts approach which has greatly increased Beasley’s role this season. Playing a similar role to Julian Edelman in New England, Beasley looks like a lock to secure 4-7 passes coming across the field and on short curls and screens each game. His floor is much higher than most WR3s, and he’s still underutilized (started in <28% of leagues) in fantasy.  He is likely on just a one-year deal in most leagues, but depending on your situation at WR I could see him being available for just a low draft pick or an underperforming WR3.

SELL HIGH, Todd Gurley

I was originally going to write about LeGarette Blount here, but every other site has been writing up a storm about his dropping value once Tom Brady returns in week 5. Instead, I wanted to create some controversy by saying that you should be selling Todd Gurley. Yes, Gurley is considered to be one of the top dynasty assets today, and yes I know there is no concern about injuries or timeshares in Los Angeles. However, with coach Jeff Fisher signing a new three-year extension he appears to be content with putting out a mediocre roster week-after-week and season-after-season.  What are the chances that the offense becomes any more effective in the next year or two? Taking into account that the team has games against Carolina, New York Jets and Giants, New England, and Seattle still remaining this season I don’t see his opportunities getting much better in 2016. Many owners likely have Gurley on a low rookie contract for either two or three years which may make it hard for you to swallow moving him.  If however you are offered a 2017 1st and either another upstart RB or a sturdy WR you would likely have to seriously consider it.

SELL HIGH, Jets Skilled Players

NYJAfter a monster week 2 that saw the Jets have 3 touchdowns from Matt Forte and 100 yards for Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker week 3 saw the team turn the ball over 8(!) times against the Chiefs. Both receivers also came out of the game less than 100% healthy. These Jet players have currently enjoyed  strong value and could even be great ancillary pieces on a championship team this year. But with the workload that Forte has earned early this season, I find it hard to believe he will  stay healthy come playoff time. Same goes for the oft-injured Marshall who was already questionable coming into the game this past week. Their value will never be higher than it is currently, and you can probably move any of them for a late first or early second in the current market.

BUY HIGH, Mike Evans

 

Mike EvansRemember back in 2014 when it was debatable whether Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans should be the 1.01 in rookie drafts? A lot has changed in just two years and the values of these two have changed quite a bit. Evans has been stellar this season and has established a real connection with second-year quarterback Jameis Winston. His 17 targets in week 3 are mind blowing, and I don’t really see him slowing down anytime soon. It will cost you at least a first round pick to acquire him, but if you have a chance to acquire him this season he’s going to be great. Two matchups in the playoffs against the Saints make him worth every penny.

BUY HIGH, Stefon Diggs

 

Stefon DiggsLaquon who? Stefon Diggs has been a beast for the Vikings the first three weeks of 2016. With concerns about him being a Charles Johnson 2.0, his value was at best lukewarm during the offseason. Currently, he has 47% of the receiving yards in Minnesota’s pass attack. Norv Turner will likely continue to feed his best player. From his fast start to the season there won’t be too much concern about him being a bust, and many of his owners won’t be actively shopping Diggs now. Still, it’s every fantasy player’s duty to at least see what the asking price is, and if it’s reasonable he’s worth it.

SELL LOW, John Brown

 

John BrownDo not be fooled by the last two weeks’ stat line. Brown only played 57% of the team’s snaps and benefited greatly from Palmer throwing 50(!) passes in Buffalo. He then benefited again from a favorable game script that saw the Cardinals down for most of their week 4 game against LA. He still is playing behind Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd and has even seen Jaron Brown take away from his time on the field. With so many mouths to feed (including David Johnson out of the backfield) it will be difficult to rely week to week on Brown. If any team is hurting at their WR I would look to move him their way for any other WR3 at this point.

SELL LOW, Randall Cobb

 

Randall CobbJordy is back! Rodgers is moving the ball again, but Cobb is still lacking from what you would expect from a reliable WR2. PPR scores of 13, 9, and 4 are leaving a sour taste in fantasy owner’s mouths. Unless you purchased him recently, one would assume that he’s being paid pretty handsomely. He still has great name value and the offense he plays in offers the opportunity to have solid fantasy weeks. However, if I had the choice between Cobb and other receivers such as Jordan Matthews, Jeremy Maclin, Emmanuel Sanders or Doug Baldwin I would be moving him without looking back.

Week 5 FantasyDraft Advice

Updated: October 6th 2016

Week 4 of the NFL season is upon us and what better way to complement yearly leagues than by playing daily leagues as well? Assuming your opponent’s team is stacked and you’re fighting a losing battle, DFS is a way to still monetize your football knowledge on a lost week in yearly leagues. However, there is a bit of a strategy difference due to the weekly salary cap. In this article, fantasy expert Ricky Sanders will walk you through the thought process of putting together the best possible FantasyDraft DFS lineup for the upcoming week:

Carson Wentz, Eagles, $12,100 – According to Pro Football Focus, Carson Wentz has graded as literally the top quarterback (QB) in all of football to this point in this season. That is quite the accomplishment for any signal caller but especially for a rookie. With Zach Ertz and Ryan Mathews both expected to return in Week 5, the Eagles weaponry will be in full force for the first time since Week 1…and just in time for a meeting against a team allowing the second most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Heck, Brian Hoyer just torched them for 300-plus yards and two touchdowns (TDs). At nearly $3,000 cheaper than the elites on FantasyDraft, Wentz offers similar upside in one of the best possible matchups for him.

Charles Sims, Buccaneers, $10,300 – This is likely the last week for Charles Sims in the workhorse role for the Buccaneers because Doug Martin’s return is on the horizon. Heading into the year, most expected the Panthers to fare as an elite defense but that has not been the case through four games. Julio Jones displayed just how susceptible their pass defense is without Josh Norman and they rank smack dab in the middle in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing backs. Last season, Sims finished as RB19 in PPR format despite his limited role as a third down back. With all the touches, including 11 targets in his last two games, Sims should be able to hit value at this price tag even in a mediocre game. If he happens to find the end zone, he should prove to be one of the best values on the slate.

Jordan Howard, Bears, $10,200 – In Week 4, Jordan Howard played on 91.3-percent of the team’s snaps and received 79.3-percent of their carries, per scoutPRO. For fantasy purposes, the most important statistics were the 23 carries, four targets and three receptions (RECs). Also, for the third consecutive game Howard managed 4.8 yards per carry (YPC) or better. The team is utilizing him as a true bell cow and he is getting the job done for a team that looked inept at running the football when Jeremy Langford was receiving the bulk of the work. Clearly, Howard is the best back on this team by far and he isn’t relinquishing this job any time soon. His role alone justifies the $10,200 price tag but the matchup puts him over the top as one of the best plays on the slate. The Colts have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to opposing running backs (RBs) including the sixth most receptions. Howard not only possesses one of the highest floors but his ceiling could be that of a true RB1 as well.

Julian Edelman, Patriots, $12,600 – Finally, Julian Edelman will return to fantasy stardom (especially in cash games) due to the return of Tom Brady from the “Deflate Gate” suspension. Although Edelman caught exactly seven passes in each of his first two games this year, he caught a combined five passes for 54 yards over the course of his last two. Reuniting with Brady cannot be overstated for how impactful it is to his fantasy value considering he has averaged 6.62 receptions per game over the past three seasons with Brady and caught 92-plus passes twice. The game script is similar to the last two weeks for opponents facing the Browns: throw, throw, and throw. Sure LeGarrette Blount has been successful in an extended role without Brady but the only reason the Patriots consistently resorted to riding his coat tails was due to the absence of their offense’s staple. Now Coach Bill Belichick is going to open up the playbook and the Patriots should go back to looking like the offense we all know and love…which features Edelman as a move-the-chains, possession receiver. Expect six-plus catches for a healthy amount of yards as per usual. Lock and load him in cash games.

Brandon Marshall, Jets, $13,300 – The absence of Eric Decker turns Brandon Marshall’s situation into nearly a carbon copy of the offense last year. Instead of battling for targets with two viable alternatives, the competition is down to just one: Quincy Enunwa. Both of the Steelers’ corners are respectable, but if Julio Jones proved a theory right last week, it was elite receivers can get it done against any non-elite cornerbacks. Additionally, the Jets will almost assuredly be playing from behind in Heinz Field because Ben Roethlisberger is an absolute beast at home (an ongoing trend for some time now) and Vegas lists the Steelers as 7.0 point favorites.  For a guy who caught over 100 passes and produced 1500-plus yards in a similar two receiver setup last year, he is awfully affordable at just $13,300 on FantasyDraft.

Clive Walford, Raiders, $5,200 – Strangely, the Chargers possess a formidable trio of corners and yet have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing QBs. Part of the reason is due to the success of TEs against them: ninth most fantasy points allowed, fifth most yards and they rank 22nd against the position in terms of Football Outsiders’ defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) statistic. With the Chargers focusing on the Raiders’ receivers in terms of scheme, this is an excellent opportunity for Clive Walford to bust out. Through three games, Walford ranks as TE19 but is priced as TE24. At nearly minimum price, there really isn’t much to lose here and his ceiling is actually quite high according to my model. He has been targeted at least three times in each week this season, including two games of five-plus, so he is worth a shot in this upper-echelon matchup.


Ricky Sanders is a fantasy sports expert with over 15 years of playing experience. After starting several freelance fantasy sports blogs, Ricky moved up in the fantasy industry when he joined Going9 Baseball. He wrote fantasy baseball content and had a weekly radio spot on the site’s SiriusXM Satellite Radio show. Shortly thereafter, in early 2013, Ricky joined RotoExperts as a three-sport fantasy contributor, eventually becoming one of the site’s lead basketball writers. While writing for RotoExperts, Ricky was introduced to daily fantasy sports and immediately fell in love. With help from some of his mentors, some of the best DFS players in the world, he honed his skills and became the daily fantasy expert he is today. When RotoExperts created a daily-focused website called DailyRoto.com, Ricky was brought on to FantasyDraft as one of the main contributors. He still makes frequent appearances on the RotoExperts SiriusXM Radio show and on the FNTSY Sports Television Network, talking daily fantasy sports. He also continues to write for a few DFS content sites: FanVice, RotoCurve and Daily Fantasy Cafe. Ricky is a proud and active member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. Don’t hesitate to contact Ricky with questions on Twitter @RSandersDFS.

RSO Staff Picks: Week 4

Updated: September 29th 2016

Week 3 Results

1. Papson – 10-6

2. English – 9-7

3. Wendell – 8-8

Overall Standings

1. Papson – 35-13

2. English – 28-20

3. Wendell – 26-22

Well, I will just have to admit it right here and now…Matthew Papson does know a thing or two about the game of football. He wins what proved to be a tough Week 3 to win three straight weeks and extends his lead to 35-15 overall. I am 9 games back…perhaps insurmountable. The most obvious blunder was Kyle and I picking against Bill Belichick at home…just not a smart thing to do as the Texans found out in a bruising shut out. On to Week 4 we go…below are our picks for the week. Everyone enjoy the games this week!

NFL Game Picks

Game Wendell Papson English

MIA @ CIN

IND @ JAX

colts colts

TEN @ HOU

texans texans

CLV @ WAS

SEA @ NYJ

BUF @ NE

CAR @ ATL

OAK @ BLT

DET @ CHI

DEN @ TB

LA @ ARI

cardinals cardinals cardinals

NO @ SD

DAL @ SF

KC @ PIT

NY @ MIN

Early Storylines & Notes

Updated: September 29th 2016

There are a number of interesting storylines heading into week 4 of the NFL season. Injuries and under-performing / over-performing players always make for an interesting and unpredictable start to the season.  Let us take a look at a few of the more interesting stories below.

Surprising Team

The Philadelphia Eagles made a bunch of high profile moves in the offseason including salary dumps of Demarco Murray and Byron Maxwell to move up in the draft, trading up for the number two pick to land quarterback Carson Wentz, and signing then trading quarterback Sam Bradford to Minnesota. The moves seem to have worked so far.  The Eagles took care of a rebuilding Cleveland in week 1 and a Chicago team decimated by injuries in week 2 then shockingly destroyed an undefeated Pittsburg team that has Super Bowl aspirations this year.

Wentz has lived up to his draft status so far, playing like a seasoned pro in his first three games leading the Eagles to a 3-0 mark. The defense improved greatly, particularly against the pass, where the Eagles have placed consistent pressure on opposing offenses resulting in ten sacks on the young season.  This team contains the ingredients to challenge for the NFC East with a strong defense and solid offensive playmakers if Wentz can continue his stellar mistake-free play.

Disappointing Team

Hopes were high for the Jacksonville Jaguars coming into the season with many predicting contention for the AFC South crown. Jacksonville spent heavily in the free agent market to reinforce holes on defense and the running game after Blake Bortles showed improvement in his second year.  Dreams of contention have turned into nightmares as this team seems closer to challenging Cleveland for the worst record in the league with a 0-3 start to the season.

So what has gone wrong?  The offensive line play has been nothing short of a disaster.  The run blocking is close to non-existent contributing to the Jaguars miniscule 2.8 yards per carry.  The pass blocking leaks like a sieve which has resulted in nine sacks already.  Blake Bortles also appears to have regressed this season.  He is wildly inaccurate and does not look comfortable in the pocket or with his decisions.   There is plenty of time to improve in a weak AFC South division and the defense has improved enough to keep the Jaguars in ball games but the offensive line has to get better if Jacksonville is going to compete this season.

Rushing Volume Trumps Efficiency in Fantasy Football

Not a single running back in the top-9 of rushing attempts averages more than 4 yards per carry through three weeks. Do not let that fact worry you.  Defenses adjust to run heavy schemes by increasing defenders near the line of scrimmage which tends to decrease overall running efficiency.  This decrease in efficiency is more than made up for by the increased workload.  The average top-12 back in attempts amassed 60 carries for 232 yards (only 3.9 yards per attempt) with 2.5 touchdowns.  The next twelve rushers average a robust 4.6 yards per carry but average only 184 yards and 1.2 touchdowns.

We have seen resurgence in volume-heavy running backs so far in 2016. Six backs averaged over 20 attempts per game so far and fourteen have gone for 15 or more.  Enjoy the consistent production you receive from the workhorses at the running back position.

Early Rookie Impact

Rookies, outside of Amari Cooper and Todd Gurley, provided little impact in the fantasy world last season. The 2016 class has the chance to make a far greater difference this season.  Quarterback Carson Wentz looks tremendous so far in Philadelphia.  Wide receivers Corey Coleman, Sterling Shepard, Will Fuller, Michael Thomas, and Tyler Boyd all earned significant roles early this year.  Running back Ezekiel Elliott leads a rush heavy offense in Dallas while Jordan Howard has the chance to take over in Chicago after starter Jeremy Langford was injured.  Even tight ends Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry have received major playing time at a position notorious for slow development.

Many in the scouting community derided the 2016 skill position group in terms of talent relative to other rookie classes. The sheer volume of rookies receiving major playing time and others waiting for their chance means this group could make far more of an impact than most people anticipated heading into the season.

Garbage Time Fantasy Hero

We typically think of passers and receivers as the beneficiaries of garbage time stats with teams continually throwing the ball in a race against the clock to come back from an insurmountable lead. Week 3’s award, however, goes to San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde who put up one of the most deceiving stat lines with 21 carries and 103 yards for 4.9 yards per attempt while also adding in two touchdowns.  The game told a completely different story.  Hyde accumulated 69 yards and both of his touchdowns on the final two drives for San Francisco with the game far out of reach after Seattle built a commanding 37-3 lead.  The stout Seattle run defense held Hyde to just 3 yards per attempt on 12 carries for 36 yards prior to the last two San Francisco drives.


Bio: Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

Early Storylines & Notes

Updated: September 29th 2016

There are a number of interesting storylines heading into week 4 of the NFL season. Injuries and under-performing / over-performing players always make for an interesting and unpredictable start to the season.  Let us take a look at a few of the more interesting stories below.

Surprising Team

The Philadelphia Eagles made a bunch of high profile moves in the offseason including salary dumps of Demarco Murray and Byron Maxwell to move up in the draft, trading up for the number two pick to land quarterback Carson Wentz, and signing then trading quarterback Sam Bradford to Minnesota. The moves seem to have worked so far.  The Eagles took care of a rebuilding Cleveland in week 1 and a Chicago team decimated by injuries in week 2 then shockingly destroyed an undefeated Pittsburg team that has Super Bowl aspirations this year.

Wentz has lived up to his draft status so far, playing like a seasoned pro in his first three games leading the Eagles to a 3-0 mark. The defense improved greatly, particularly against the pass, where the Eagles have placed consistent pressure on opposing offenses resulting in ten sacks on the young season.  This team contains the ingredients to challenge for the NFC East with a strong defense and solid offensive playmakers if Wentz can continue his stellar mistake-free play.

Disappointing Team

Hopes were high for the Jacksonville Jaguars coming into the season with many predicting contention for the AFC South crown. Jacksonville spent heavily in the free agent market to reinforce holes on defense and the running game after Blake Bortles showed improvement in his second year.  Dreams of contention have turned into nightmares as this team seems closer to challenging Cleveland for the worst record in the league with a 0-3 start to the season.

So what has gone wrong?  The offensive line play has been nothing short of a disaster.  The run blocking is close to non-existent contributing to the Jaguars miniscule 2.8 yards per carry.  The pass blocking leaks like a sieve which has resulted in nine sacks already.  Blake Bortles also appears to have regressed this season.  He is wildly inaccurate and does not look comfortable in the pocket or with his decisions.   There is plenty of time to improve in a weak AFC South division and the defense has improved enough to keep the Jaguars in ball games but the offensive line has to get better if Jacksonville is going to compete this season.

Rushing Volume Trumps Efficiency in Fantasy Football

Not a single running back in the top-9 of rushing attempts averages more than 4 yards per carry through three weeks. Do not let that fact worry you.  Defenses adjust to run heavy schemes by increasing defenders near the line of scrimmage which tends to decrease overall running efficiency.  This decrease in efficiency is more than made up for by the increased workload.  The average top-12 back in attempts amassed 60 carries for 232 yards (only 3.9 yards per attempt) with 2.5 touchdowns.  The next twelve rushers average a robust 4.6 yards per carry but average only 184 yards and 1.2 touchdowns.

We have seen resurgence in volume-heavy running backs so far in 2016. Six backs averaged over 20 attempts per game so far and fourteen have gone for 15 or more.  Enjoy the consistent production you receive from the workhorses at the running back position.

Early Rookie Impact

Rookies, outside of Amari Cooper and Todd Gurley, provided little impact in the fantasy world last season. The 2016 class has the chance to make a far greater difference this season.  Quarterback Carson Wentz looks tremendous so far in Philadelphia.  Wide receivers Corey Coleman, Sterling Shepard, Will Fuller, Michael Thomas, and Tyler Boyd all earned significant roles early this year.  Running back Ezekiel Elliott leads a rush heavy offense in Dallas while Jordan Howard has the chance to take over in Chicago after starter Jeremy Langford was injured.  Even tight ends Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry have received major playing time at a position notorious for slow development.

Many in the scouting community derided the 2016 skill position group in terms of talent relative to other rookie classes. The sheer volume of rookies receiving major playing time and others waiting for their chance means this group could make far more of an impact than most people anticipated heading into the season.

Garbage Time Fantasy Hero

We typically think of passers and receivers as the beneficiaries of garbage time stats with teams continually throwing the ball in a race against the clock to come back from an insurmountable lead. Week 3’s award, however, goes to San Francisco running back Carlos Hyde who put up one of the most deceiving stat lines with 21 carries and 103 yards for 4.9 yards per attempt while also adding in two touchdowns.  The game told a completely different story.  Hyde accumulated 69 yards and both of his touchdowns on the final two drives for San Francisco with the game far out of reach after Seattle built a commanding 37-3 lead.  The stout Seattle run defense held Hyde to just 3 yards per attempt on 12 carries for 36 yards prior to the last two San Francisco drives.


Bio: Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.