Mid Preseason Report

Updated: August 30th 2017

There have been 33 preseason games played which have given us a nice preview of what the 2017 season could be. Several players have already flashed potential while others are starting to make owners very nervous. Here is a list of players that have caught my eye (for good or bad) and what I think it means for their regular season.

↑ 2nd Round Rookie Risers

Alvin Kamara and Jamaal Williams have been impressive while running with their first team offenses in their first two games. Both have shown they can burst through the middle as well as make plays in the passing game. Hopefully, their usage hasn’t been a mirage due to other players (Adrian Peterson and Mark Ingram for New Orleans and Ty Montgomery for Green Bay) not being in the lineup. Regardless, both are in high scoring offenses that should benefit their specific skill set, Kamara through the passing game and Williams with frequent goal line carries. Depending on where they were selected in your rookie draft it might be worth it to inquire what their costs would be now. After the usual crew (Fournette, Cook, McCaffrey, Mixon) these two RBs might have the highest floor for 2017.

↑ McCaffrey the Real 1.01?

It was an interesting quandary as to who should be chosen with the first pick in rookie drafts. Early in the offseason, it was Dalvin Cook but a poor combine dropped him from the pole position. Leonard Fournette was then the next man up and he along with Corey Davis have been the most consistent 1.01 in drafts May through July.  But now that the pads are on and the tackles are real it might have been a steal to get Christian McCaffrey at 1.03 or 1.04. He looks like he will fit perfectly with the Panthers play style and we haven’t even seen how defenses will react to read plays with Cam Newton under center. I expect Jonathan Stewart to have a role but this could be an even better complementary backfield than Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill was in Cincinnati. With his skills in the passing game, McCaffrey looks like an easy candidate for 60-70 targets and should be pushing 1,000 total yards. In PPR leagues that’s more than what I would want out of my 1.01 selection.

↓ LeGarrette Blount

LeGarrette Blount is the most Patriots system player. No other player could go from 18 touchdowns with one team to a potential cut candidate with a different team. With reports suggesting that Blount is slightly overweight and has shown that he might not be a good fit for Doug Pederson’s stretch and shotgun run game it really wouldn’t be a surprise to see him not on the roster week 1. Even if he does stay with the Eagles it will be difficult to expect a consistent weekly total. His value will solely be on whether or not he scores a touchdown in a given week. Unless you play in standard leagues Blount is a player that will likely have Matt Asiata-like value.

↑ Corey Clement

With the news of Blount and maybe even Wendell Smallwood not being roster locks for the Eagles, it makes sense to try and find who the next man up will be. Darren Sproles will always be the satellite back and will be more featured on passing plays. That leaves Corey Clement, the UDFA rookie out of Wisconsin as an interesting option for deeper leagues. He looked good running against a strong Bills defense (4.2 yards/carry and a TD) last week. While he’s unlikely to be used day 1 this may be a Rob Kelley like situation where by midseason he’s pushing for the most touches of the more traditional RBs. He is worth monitoring for now and if either Blount or Smallwood don’t make the roster he might be worth adding.

 

↓ All Indianapolis Colts

I’m tired of this “will he, won’t he” game that the Colts have been playing with Andrew Luck and his shoulder injury. At some point, his lack of presence in practice and in preseason games suggests that he is not healthy and will be missing some games. How many is anybody’s guess at this point but it’s hard to trust any Colts players with the possibility of Scott Tolzien running the offense. T.Y. Hilton is the only player that should hold some consistency week-to-week but even he takes a mild hit. If you haven’t already sold Dante Moncrief I’m not sure what you’re waiting for. His touchdown dependency is a scary thing to bet on and without Luck in 8 games the last two seasons the offense has only averaged 17.5 points a game (Tolzien’s only game they scored 7 points!). Even with a rumor that Brock Osweiler may be on the Colts radar for a trade that shouldn’t get people excited about what the Colts will have going on this season.

↑ Zay Jones

Sometimes a player’s situation just trumps all the previous biases you have against him and you go from avoiding to actively seeking to acquire. Jordan Howard was that player for me last year and Zay Jones looks like he will be my 2017 choice. Sammy Watkins is gone, so is Anquan Boldin, and Jordan Matthews is JAG (Just A Guy) material. A player who is no stranger to being the first option in his offense, he had 158!! receptions last season at East Carolina, Jones is the definition of a possession receiver who just also happens to have 4.45 speed. While I’m less optimistic about long term value because of the history of the Bills and their run first offensive scheme, Jones should be one of the most targeted rookies in 2017.

2017 Top 25s: QBs and RBs

Updated: July 16th 2017

Since RSO has rolled over to 2017, now’s the perfect time to revisit your rosters and start planning for the next season!

Do you have any players on your team that warrant a franchise tag?  Is it time to shop a player who’s 2016 didn’t meet your expectations and now burdens you with a high salary contract?  My “way too early” PPR rankings, known as my 2017 Top 25s, are here to help with those decisions!

In part 1 of my 2017 Top 25s, I’ll explore the quarterback and running back positions:

 

Top 25 QBs for 2017

Aaron Rodgers is in a tier of his own, making him an elite asset in Superflex and 2QB leagues. Tony Romo and Jimmy Garoppolo are two of the most intriguing names on this list. Over the next few months, we should find out where they’ll play in 2017. If either lands in Denver or Houston, expect their values to rise even higher up this list.

Top 25 RBs for 2017

Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and David Johnson form the elite trio of RBs that should command the highest AAV (average annual value) of any players in free agency auctions. Rookies Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette could be RB1s in the right situation. Coming off major injuries, veteran RBs Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson just missed the top 25. If they appear healthy as the season approaches and have promised roles, both could be underrated RB2s that will be undervalued in many free agency auctions.

My recommendation

Take an hour this weekend and send out personal emails to all of your fellow owners. Get the trade conversations started because they likely won’t come knocking down your door to acquire one of these players you’re looking to vanquish from your roster. Explain what you’re looking to accomplish, who interests you on their team, and provide an idea of how a potential deal could be reached. If you’re in an active league, you’ll be surprised at the quality of responses you receive.

I followed this recommendation last year, revamped one of my teams almost from scratch, and ended up winning the league.  Have a few minutes?  Read my article on Pressing the Reset Button to find out more about how this strategy can work for you.


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

Preseason Watch List

Updated: September 1st 2016

Preseason games have started and many player hype trains have already left the station. Some names are familiar while others are getting their first exposure as exciting rookies. I have put together a collection of players that are generating buzz in the fantasy community and some suggestions on what you should be doing with them. Because this is RSO and there is a dollar sign attached to every player I will also offer an opinion on whether you should just bid the minimum or offer above.

Christine Michael

Christine MichaelI might as well start with everyone’s favorite preseason darling. The story is the same; a freak athlete who has the potential to be an RB1 on a team that has historically run the ball with authority. The big difference this year is that we have now seen what Michael can do in a meaningful game as he was usable in the final weeks of the regular season and playoffs. He is also in a more open backfield that doesn’t feature Marshawn Lynch. It is, however, a very large backfield that features four capable runners (Rawls, Prosise, Collins, Michael). While I don’t like owning any one of these backs at a large cost, I would take the most cost-effective one  in the hopes that they may become the lead back by mid-season.

Verdict: Add Michael from the waiver wire for the minimum. If already owned don’t offer more than low, conditional picks.

Dak Prescott

Dak PrescottFor all you Cowboys fans and Dez Bryant owners, you must be feeling a whole lot better about the future of the team post Tony Romo. Prescott has done nothing but look like a draft steal the first two games of the preseason with five touchdowns in the air and two on the ground. For those of you that took Prescott as a late 3rd or 4th round selection, you have one serious bargaining chip in your back pocket for trades right now. Unfortunately, for most others, he went undrafted in both your rookie and auction draft and with how RSO is setup you cannot add a waiver player for multiple years. Therefore, there is little value in adding Prescott this season unless Tony Romo goes down with an injury.

Verdict: Hold off on adding Prescott till next year’s auction. If Romo should go down then feel free to offer more than the minimum to him as his mobility at the position could make him a viable QB2 option.

**Editor’s Note** With the recent injury to Tony Romo which will likely sideline him for 8-10 weeks Prescott is now a must add if you are shaky at the QB position or are in a 2QB league. If you have the room to roster him he also may be a short term solution to offer to those with Teddy Bridgewater or Tony Romo going down.

Tajae Sharpe

Tajae SharpeWow, has Sharpe looked, well, sharp! The rookie WR out of UMASS flew under the radar of many drafters in May and June and was likely a flyer pick in the 3rd round. Anybody who wants to cash out right now could probably fetch a 1st before he has even played his first game. The Titans sent away the troubled Green-Beckham making Sharpe and Rishard Matthews the outside receivers with Kendall Wright in the slot. Coaches have said they want to run, run and run the ball, but for a team that only won two games last year the game script may force the Titans to pass more often than not late in games. The problem with Sharpe right now though is just the cost to acquire. If he wasn’t already drafted then he has definitely been added from the waiver wire by now and is therefore rostered by someone in your league.

Verdict: If you drafted Sharpe or won the race to wire pat yourself on the back and just hold him to see what he can actually do. If you are looking to acquire him don’t get carried away with what your offering as he still has yet to play a meaningful NFL game. Moving a 2nd and a WR3 would be at my peak trade value IF he’s locked into a low rookie contract for multiple years.

New England’s Backfield

Patriots BackfieldMany expected the Patriots to add one of the RBs from this year’s class but they passed, maybe deferring to the stronger 2017 class. So where does that leave the backfield for 2016? Dion Lewis was a nice surprise that fit well with Tom Brady’s quick release passing offense last season. James White will look to take the same role in the early parts of this season while Lewis is sidelined after another knee surgery. LeGarrette Blount was brought back (after much delay) for another year as the bulldozing, between the tackles, redzone back. Bolden is still there and Tyler Gaffney has looked okay in preseason work against 2nd and 3rd string players. So is there any value in the Pats backfield, and who’s the guy to own?

Verdict: For now White and Blount are the players to own but don’t expect any consistency in terms of an RB2 floor. The best bet would be to actually hold any RBs that are on the fringe of their own rosters that may be a late preseason trade candidate for the Patriots.

Make sure to keep your eyes on the final two weeks as players are cut (or traded) and depth charts are solidified. If you have any questions or want to ask the RSO team about trades make sure to use #RSOtrades.