Week 3 Street FA Report

Updated: September 20th 2022

Each week we will recommend a group of players that are owned in less than 75% of RSO leagues that should be rostered. Depending on roster and league sizes not all of these players may be available. For that, we will offer one (1) player that is owned in <25% of leagues as our Sleeper add.

Add of the Week

Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, SF (Owned 40%)

Week 2: 13/21 154 yards, 1 TD, 4 Car/5 yards, 1 TD

Losing a QB for the season often is the death-nail for most franchises and the production of fantasy value for the skill positions around the replacement is often diminished. Luckily, for the 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo knows the system and has worked with the offense for many years already. If Garoppolo is somehow still available in superflex leagues he is the must add this week and a significant amount of the remaining cap space should be allocated to acquiring him. Even in one (1) QB leagues Garoppolo offers solid QB2 weekly production with QB1 upside under the right conditions.

Suggested Bid: $3-5,000,000 (1 QB) / 70-90% remaining cap space (2QB/SF)

RB Adds

Eno Benjamin, RB, ARI, (Owned 65%)

Week 2: 8 Car/31 yards, 3 Rec/20 yards

Darrel Williams, RB, ARI (Owned 39%)

8 Car/59 yards, 1 TD, 2 Rec/3 yards

James Connor is apparently okay after missing time in week 2 with an injury but those who are always looking ahead to stash running backs with potential should now be considering both Eno Benjamin and Darrel Williams. In Connor’s absence, the two had nearly identical snap counts, slightly leaning towards Williams (39%:36%). WIlliams also did most of the work around the goal line while Benjamin was featured more on passing downs. In the case of Connor needing to miss more time or a new injury was to creep up, both would provide moderate fantasy upside.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

WR Add

Sterling Shepard, WR, NYG (Owned 54%)

Week 2: 6 Rec/34 yards

Two (2) weeks into the Giants’ season and it is clear that Sterling Shepard is the top option and should be rostered in all but the shallowest of leagues. He has fourteen (14) targets in two (2) games, tied for 25th and other than Saquon Barkley is the only fantasy option in that offense right now. The Giants’ offense is not going to put up many 30-point outings which will limit Shepard’s likelihood to provide high-end production, but a consistent WR4 for the season is not out of the question. Not bad for a player that had serious questions about whether he would bounce back at all from his injury at the end of last season.

Suggested Bid: $1,500,000

TE Add

Hayden Hurst, TE, CIN (Owned 56%)

Week 2: 5 Rec/24 yards

After being outshined by Mark Andrews in Baltimore and then replaced by Kyle Pitts in Atlanta it appears that Hayden Hurst has finally gained some appreciation for his talent by his new coaches in Cincinnati. Hurst is tied for 6th in targets (15) and tied for 5th in receptions (10) among tight ends through two weeks. The Bengals’ offense should be high scoring for much of the season providing many opportunities for production at a position that often relies on touchdown upside only. If owners are not rolling out one of the big five in their tight end position each week, consider Hurst as your weekly plug-n-play option. 

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Sleeper Add (<25%)

Shi Smith, WR, CAR (Owned 4.5%)

Week 2: 1 Rec/2 yards

Shi Smith was garnering praise throughout training camp from the coach staff and their respect has been shown thus far through two (2) games as he has operated as the third receiver head and shoulders above the other wide receivers in Carolina. He has also played a heavy majority of snaps despite being behind DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson which has increased his opportunities with nine (9) targets. He has not converted those targets in much fantasy production but our practice squad slots are a great place to stash talent for potential breakout in the coming weeks. 

Suggested Bid: $100,000 (PS) / $500,000

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Week 2 Street FA Report

Updated: September 13th 2022

Welcome back to year five (!) of the street FA report. Each week we will recommend a group of players that are owned in less than 75% of RSO leagues that should be rostered. Depending on roster and league sizes not all of these players may be available. For that, we will offer one (1) player that is owned in <25% of leagues as our Sleeper add.

 

Add of the Week

Jeff Wilson, RB, SF (Owned 60%)

Week 1: 9 Car/22 yards, 2 Rec/8 yards

As with every week 1 there is always one big ticket free agent, usually at running back, that everyone will put in most of their remaining cap space to acquire. This usually occurs because of a big injury to a starter, a mutled backfield becoming more transparent after pre-season or a player having a big breakout week 1. Jeff Wilson is the beneficiary of what is expected to be at least a two (2) month absence from Elijah Mitchell in San Francisco. The 49ers’ backfield is well known as one that fantasy managers want to have a piece of and with Mitchell out of commission, Trey Sermon recently released, and rookie Tyrion Davis-Price inactive for week 1 this leaves Wilson as the de facto number one option in San Francisco. Like Cordarrelle Patterson last year, Wilson could become a staple for many team’s lineups if his expected role continues for half of the remaining season.

Suggested Bid: $7-10,000,000

 

RB Adds

Dontrell Hilliard, RB, TEN (Owned 34%)

Week 1: 2 Car/8 yards, 3 Rec/61 yards, 2 TD

Realistically will I be surprised when Hilliard plays less than 10 snaps and sees two (2) touches in week 2? No. But there is a chance that Mike Vrabel is looking to offload some of Derrick Henry’s usage so that they can maintain his health throughout a 17-game season. If nothing else Hilliard should see more passing down snaps which increases his value in PPR leagues where a handful of checkdown passes could lead to a steady 3-5 targets per week. Scoring two (2) touchdowns like in week 1 is definitely above the ceiling for what is to be expected from Hilliard, but if Henry was to be sidelined at any point this season, Hilliard would be a great stash to have.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

Jerick McKinnon, RB, KC (Owned 37.5%)

Week 1: 4 Car/22 yards, 3 Rec/27 yards

There was a lot of discussion this pre-season about the emergence of Isiah Pacheco and his threat to Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Kansas City. While CEH scored his two (2) touchdowns and Pacheco came in and scored his own in cleanup duties, Jerick McKinnon actually co-led with CEH for total offensive snap shares at 39 percent. Ownership of all three (3) running backs are a must at this point until more is known about how these usages will translate into games where KC is not running away from the start. If you are missing out on the other two (2) runners, or want to take a 50/50 handcuff to your other shares, add McKinnon before week 2 and see where their game plan goes.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

WR Add

Kyle Philips, WR, TEN (Owned 36%)

Week 1: 6 Rec/66 yards

There was a lot of buzz about rookie wide receivers heading into the 2022 season but after week 1 the biggest rookie surprise performance is Kyle Philips. A fifth-round selection, Philips has shot up the depth charts to be the Titans primary slot receiver and in week 1 actually saw more snaps (31) than first-round selection Treylon Burks (24). He has had nine (9) targets to lead the Titans. All this to say that Philips was considered a Hunter Renfrew clone that could be a long term stash for 2023 and beyond. It appears that his development has accelerated even past anyone’s best estimates and he should be rostered as a suitable PPR flex option going forward.

Suggested Bid: $1,500,000

TE Add

Tyler Conklin, TE, NYJ (Owned 23%)

Week 1: 4 Rec/14 yards, 1 TD

Tight end usage is usually the key to finding sustained success at the position and while some may be quick to jump on OJ Howard with his two (2) touchdowns in week 1, he only played on 12 snaps behind both Brevin Jordan (42) and Pharoh Brown (46). Instead, look to someone like Tyler Conklin who played on 92 percent of the Jets’ offensive snaps and saw seven (7) targets. Honorable mention goes to Taysom Hill who has now been designated as a tight end in default RSO leagues meaning that if you want to get tricky with the position he could offer boom/bust weeks that he is featured in multiple positions on the field.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

 

Sleeper Add (<25%)

Olamide Zaccheaus, WR, ATL (Owned 10%)

Week 1: 4 Rec/49 yards

Rightfully so, the only pieces of the Atlanta Falcons offense that people wanted to roster in 2022 was Kyle Pitts and Drake London. There was not a lot of confidence that much else would be able to have consistent fantasy production to afford holding a bench spot for. While he may not be a viable starter for many leagues there is likely no option with under 25 percent ownership that has a better expected target opportunity than Olamide Zaccheaus. He will hover around the WR5/6 range for most weeks but in deeper leagues he is worth a stash to use during the heavy bye weeks.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

Evaluating Rushers into 2022

Updated: August 8th 2022

Evaluating running backs is a notoriously difficult task using many basic statistics as running back production relies extensively on many factors outside of the back’s control.  The often cited “yards per carry” is one of the single worst NFL statistics in evaluating a player because of these issues.  The following takes a deeper dive evaluating rushing performance by more useful criteria.

The Data

I aggregate 2018-2021 data of running backs with at least 100 carries during that timeframe creating a four-year sample of 112 running backs.  This gives a big enough sample to matter while keeping the data relevant to the evaluation of current NFL players. This article focuses on three key rushing metrics from Pro Football Reference on a per attempt basis: Yards Before Contact (YBC), Yards After Contact (YAC), and Broken Tackles (BRK) to evaluate a group of running backs heading into 2022.

These metrics all depend on outside factors independent of running back skill to some degree.  As examples: offensive line, scheme, situation, and running back role all potentially influence yards before contact; downfield blocking may affect yards after contact;  broken tackle rate can be influenced by how quickly second and later defenders get to the ball carrier.   With that being said, broken tackle rate is widely considered among the most running back independent measures.  The data also suggests it influences yards after contact.  An increase in broken tackle rate correlates with an increase in yards after contact as seen in the plot below.   Yards before contact, on the other hand, displays minimal to no relationship to yards after contact or broken tackle rate (R2 = 0.00 for both) in the data set.

As always, nothing is absolutely certain.  Sometimes we don’t have the available data to properly segregate individual player influences.  Ben Linsey makes an anecdotal case for running back influence on yards before contact:  “The evidence points toward running backs with plus speed and vision being able to consistently avoid contact despite middling to below-average blocking in front of them.”  So, while yards before contact is likely the most team-dependent metric of the three focused in on this article, running back skill also influences it.

The following highlights a number of interesting players heading into the season with ranks of (broken tackles, yards after contact, and yards before contact) from the data sample.

Quality 2nd Year Running Backs to Watch

The hype for Javonte Williams (1 BRK, 33 YAC, 55 YBC) remains strong going into his second season largely due to his ability to break tackles which translated from college.  Williams essentially broke the broken tackle metric in this sample as the top-ranked back.  He more than doubled the average broken tackle rate and was about 18% higher than the next running back in this metric.  The Denver offense should increase scoring opportunities with Russell Wilson at the helm.  The main question is how much Williams’ role increases this year.  Melvin Gordon (27, 35, 47) is absolutely a quality back but wasn’t a priority free agent for the Broncos and only resigned for a marginal deal after failing to secure a bigger contract elsewhere.

Many people call Najee Harris (13, 39, 98) a plodder due to his sub-4 yards per carry figure from his first year.  This is far from the truth.  Pittsburgh’s abysmal offensive line led to one of the worst yards before contact numbers in the dataset which distorted his per carry numbers.  He’s going to get a ton of touches in this offense (which we care about for fantasy).  The offensive line and offense still projects poorly going into the season though.

Elijah Mitchell (44, 15, 57) ranks very similarly to Saquon Barkley (43, 12, 86) and Jonathan Taylor (54, 11, 10) in broken tackles and yards after contact.  San Francisco provides an excellent environment to rack up yards before contact also if Mitchell is able to maintain a hold on most of the rushes.  The lack of passing game utilization for 49er backs limits fantasy upside.

Many project Breece Hall to immediately assume a true workhorse-type role for the Jets after the New York traded up in the 2nd round to get him.  Michael Carter (20, 25, 79) meanwhile performed admirably in a challenging situation last season.  He might just be too good to completely take out of a meaningful role in New York.

Rhamondre Stevenson (3, 8, 91) looked borderline unstoppable at times last year plowing through prospective tacklers for New England.  Does a path exist for him to take over the main back duties or contribute significantly in the passing game?  Incumbent starter Damien Harris (40, 46, 16) ranked as Pro Football Focus’ 2nd highest graded running backs each of the last two seasons.  The Patriots possess an impressive duo at running back no matter how the split plays out.

Green Bay Running Backs

Aaron Jones (25, 22, 15) and AJ Dillon (11, 23, 64) also form one of the butter running back duos for any NFL team.  They complement each other in ways which allow the Packers to utilize both in optimal situations but are both diverse enough to use alone without giving away the play call.  They both make for quality fantasy targets at cost on a Green Bay team without much in the way of proven receiving options.

Josh Jacobs

If one made a list of the most underrated NFL running backs, Josh Jacobs (18, 34, 87) would have to be near the top.  He sits among the most technically sound rushers in the league.  Jacobs ranks as one of the most evasive workhorse backs in the league over the last few seasons.  Only Nick Chubb (6, 1, 39), who I consider the top rusher in the league, compares with Jacobs in terms of making tacklers miss among lead backs as seen in the table below.

Most Forced Missed Tackles on Runs | Since 2019 per Pro Football Focus

Unfortunately for Jacobs, he’s another back stuck behind an awful offensive line the last couple of seasons as evidenced by his 87th ranked yards before carry and probably isn’t getting much better this season.  Some situational concerns also exist with a new coaching staff in Las Vegas this year and failure to utilize the 5th year rookie contract option but Jacobs is in a class of his own for Raiders’ running backs.

Concerns for Cam Akers

It’s been a rough start for Cam Akers (106, 56, 65) who I liked coming out of college.  A devastating Achilles injury short-circuited his second year before it began (he remarkably made his return in 2021, albeit ineffectually) after flashing at the end of his rookie season.  Unfortunately Akers’ body of work leaves a lot to be desired.  He hasn’t shown to be particularly good at any rushing aspect so far. Akers ranks among the worst tackle breakers in the data set next to players past their prime and backups.

Bottom-10 in Broken Tackle Rate

We also don’t know how effective he will be as the history of recovery from Achilles injuries is not encouraging, particularly for running backs.  The Rams were dead last in running back target rate for Stafford’s first season and the offensive line struggles in run blocking.  Akers’ fantasy case really rests on a presumed large rushing workload with touchdown upside for an efficient passing offense.

Cordarrelle Patterson probably won’t Repeat 2021

2021 produced a nice fantasy story for Cordarrelle Patterson (99, 76, 67), the long-time multi-purpose player in his age 30 year.  He beat his previous high in receiving yards and destroyed his previous rushing totals.  Atlanta cast Patterson as the main rusher primarily due to a lack of viable running back options.  The main problem is Patterson just wasn’t very good rushing the ball ranking below average in most categories.  This lack of success shouldn’t be a surprise as Patterson specialized as a returner with occasional wide receiver gadget plays on offense during his career.  While Patterson should maintain some role on offense with plays in the passing game, it’s difficult imagining the Falcons continuing using him as a significant portion of the run game unless his fellow Atlanta running backs fail miserably again.


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.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

2022 RSO Writer’s League Rookie Draft

Updated: May 16th 2022

Rookie drafts for Reality Sports Online teams involve a number of considerations different than a normal dynasty league.  Selected rookies are typically given three or four year contracts at, hopefully, a below market contract.  RSO GMs then have the option of extending a player with franchise tags, extensions, or final year options (depending on the chosen settings in your league) which usually are near or above market value for a given player.  This makes the initial rookie contract years potentially extremely valuable and the real measure of worth for a rookie player.

The RSO Writer’s League recently finished our three round rookie draft with results posted below. The league is a 10-team Superflex PPR format.  This article analyzes some general thoughts on the draft in comparison to other drafts and my own pick decisions along with a couple of other interesting players.

Writer’s League Draft

Overall Draft Thoughts

The Writer’s league draft likely mirrors other drafts in many ways.  The players of picks 1-7 probably remain the same in most formats, in some order, with maybe one or two surprises sneaking in.  Likewise, the 8-13 tier in this draft represents players likely seen in most superflex drafts for this range.  Things get very interesting afterwards.  I wouldn’t be surprised by any of around fifteen to twenty names go next in the draft, a true crap-shoot.  It’s a very broad tier of players where team fit and individual evaluation will drive selections.  This group is highlighted with role-specific running backs, 3rd round NFL quarterbacks who might never be even the short-term answers, and the top tight ends who are notoriously slow developing for fantasy football.

It’s also worth comparing this rookie class to last year’s group.  The lack of legitimate starting quarterback prospects really lowers the potential of a rookie class in superflex leagues.  One could reasonably make the argument that every 1st round pick from 2021 would be in consideration for a top-five spot in this year’s draft.  The afore-mentioned lack of highly drafted quarterbacks contributes to some intriguing dart throws potentially available in the 3rd round of drafts.  Willis and Ridder offer excellent athletic upside (and with it fantasy upside) if they ever get starting QB consideration by their teams.  The sheer amount of mid-round running backs taken by the NFL in this year’s draft makes for a lot of potential committee backs with significant chances of some relevance for fantasy leagues.

Notes on Selected Picks

1.08, Kenny Pickett QB

Pickett earns the distinction as the only quarterback selected in the first round of the NFL draft with the 20th selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  He could start as early as this season with an uninspiring Steelers quarterback depth chart.  The Pittsburgh product showed excellent accuracy on and off platform.  Pickett made one of the most dramatic leaps we have ever seen from a college quarterback.  The following excerpt from PFF’s Draft Guide displays just how big of an improvement Pickett made last season.

There are a host of potential downsides.  The question is was last season a one year wonder?  Pickett provides adequate arm strength and mobility but nothing that will “wow” anyone while also struggling with pressure at times.  Does he possess a fantasy ceiling of more than a moderately useful QB2?  Pittsburgh might also end unexpectedly bad in a stacked AFC leading to a high draft pick next season.  NFL teams have shown a willingness to move on quickly from these mid-first type quarterbacks if they don’t pan out.  That makes his job security very questionable at this stage.

1.10, Skyy Moore WR

My first pick ended up with the new Kansas City wide receiver, my WR6 both pre and post-NFL Draft.  The Central Michigan product and James Jones favorite gets to play with one of the top quarterbacks in the league on his rookie deal. Moore brings inside outside versatility despite a smaller frame with a solid build, big confident hands, and explosive play-making routes.  He rated among the top wide receivers in the draft for open percentage and catch rate statistics per The Analyst.  There’s also room for improvement to Moore’s game as he only converted to wide receiver in college.  The Kansas City provides lots of opportunity, especially after this season, as all the primary wide receivers are in the final contract year or have contract outs after the 2022 season.

The major concern with Moore, and small school prospects in general, is how they translate to the NFL after winning against lesser athletic competition in college.  Moore’s 4.41 forty-time and elite-level 10-yard split helps alleviate that concern to a degree by showing off enough athleticism to win at the next level.

2.02, Jahan Dotson WR

Dotson seems a player that the NFL was always higher on when compared to the fantasy community.  Multiple reports predicted him going in the first round before the draft.  Dotson is another smaller receiver who nonetheless played a lot in the outside in college (a lot more than players like Burks and London).  Many film analysts grade Dotson with the best hands in the draft and he had to utilize those skills regularly thanks to some of the worst college quarterbacking from a major school last year.  The former Penn State star produced a fabulous third year and could have entered the draft after it if he wanted. He should start immediately for the Commanders and Washington doesn’t have anything locked in at wide receiver for the future as Terry McLaurin still has no extension.

Size likely presents obstacles to Dotson ever becoming an upper-level after-the-catch receiver and also showed up as an issue when faced with physical corners.  His college contested wins may not materialize against bigger, more athletic corners in the NFL.

2.03, James Cook  RB

Cook is easily one of the most fascinating players in rookie drafts.  Most draft analysts considered Cook a mid round undersized committee back at the NFL level. He routinely went in the late second round of fantasy drafts before surprising second round draft capital by the Buffalo Bills but has seen a meteoric rise since.  This is as late as I have seen him go in rookie drafts after the NFL draft.  Cook rates as the top receiving back by many.  He looks a lot like his brother Dalvin when running outside showing off easy speed and fluid movement skills.

The real question for Cook is what role he plays for the Bills.  Is Buffalo expecting a primary back, a role he never played in college and one we don’t see often at his size?  Will he be primarily used on passing downs? If so, Buffalo ranked bottom-five in running back target percentage the last two seasons when Josh Allen emerged as a top quarterback.  The Bills clearly wanted to upgrade the receiving back position after signing J.D. McKissic before he backed out of the deal.  Is Allen suddenly going to be a lower depth-of-target thrower and reduce his role near the endzone?  Overall, there are a lot of questions on what Cook actually does for Buffalo and how that translates to fantasy football but also a ton of upside if he takes a big role on a top-tier offense.


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.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

2022 RSO Pre-Draft Rookie Rankings

Updated: April 16th 2022

Context is always a major factor in the success of an incoming rookie’s performance as it relates to immediate production. While we wait for the external factors to be determined such as team composition/competition and coaching staff philosophy, we can try to sketch out which players from the incoming 2022 class stand out in terms of broad-spectrum talent. Those that fit with a wider range of usages often yield the most immediate translation to the NFL but specialists can also thrive in the right systems. Lamar Jackson’s success is largely due to the Ravens changing a large part of their philosophy to commit to what Jackson’s talent was rather than trying to mould him into a prototypical quarterback.

Like the NFL, RSO managers need rookies to produce immediately upon entering the league to gain a competitive advantage under the rookie wage scale compared to the veteran market. Hitting on draft selections, especially first-round selections which carry the closest value to the mid-tier veteran market, is what often separates the championship tier teams from the playoff hopefuls.

Below are our pre-draft rankings based on the standard PPR, one (1) starting quarterback league for the first four (4) rounds of rookie drafts. A few players will be highlighted in each round that are targets to watch where and how deep they are drafted as it could affect their rankings in the final, post-draft rankings.

Round 1

Overall Ranking First Name Last Name Position School Positional Ranking
1.01 Breece Hall RB Iowa State RB1
1.02 Jameson Williams WR Alabama WR1
1.03 Drake London WR USC WR2
1.04 Garrett Wilson WR Ohio State WR3
1.05 Kenneth Walker III RB Michigan State RB2
1.06 Chris Olave WR Ohio State WR4
1.07 Treylon Burks WR Arkansas WR5
1.08 George Pickens WR Georgia WR6
1.09 Christian Watson WR North Dakota State WR7
1.10 Jahan Dotson WR Penn State WR8
1.11 Isaiah Spiller RB Texas A&M RB3
1.12 Skyy Moore WR Western Michigan WR9

 

Jameson Williams, Alabama – If you are a contending team who lucked into their choice of anyone but Breece Hall at 1.02 I would not fault anyone for passing on Williams coming off an ACL surgery. In terms of BPA though, he stands above both London and Wilson in terms of dynamic upside that fits with where the NFL has been trending with receivers over the last half-decade. Because of his injury, he could also slide down NFL draft boards to be paired with better quarterback talent.

Kenneth Walker, Michigan State & Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M – It seems more this year than any other year the likelihood of “nuked” landing spots for running backs could drop almost all running backs not named Breece Hall. Running back is the lifeblood of fantasy though and both Walker and Spiller showed enough talent that unless they fall behind far superior talent in the NFL, they will likely be first-round rookie picks. Spiller is the most likely to fall out of the first round due to how the community has been treating him since the end of the season.

Skyy Moore, Western Michigan – Every year there are players in the first round that in hindsight seemed like obvious candidates to avoid but we are still intrigued enough that we just have to grab them in the first round. While many think this reflects more for Christian Watson my candidate this year is Skyy Moore who I think needs to land in an offense that fits his playstyle more than the other top 10 receivers. A Jarvis Landry/Golden Tate type of prospect he could have tremendous value in PPR leagues if used properly. His team will ultimately decide for me whether he stays in the first round.

Round 2

Overall Ranking First Name Last Name Position School Positional Ranking
2.01 Rachaad White RB Arizona State RB4
2.02 Alec Pierce WR Cincinnati WR10
2.03 Khalil Shakir WR Boise State WR11
2.04 David Bell WR Purdue WR12
2.05 Brian Robinson RB Alabama RB5
2.06 Zamir White RB Georgia RB6
2.07 James Cook RB Georgia RB7
2.08 Matt Corral QB Mississippi QB1
2.09 Justyn Ross WR Clemson WR13
2.10 Malik Willis QB Liberty QB2
2.11 Jerome Ford RB Cincinnati RB8
2.12 John Metchie WR Alabama WR14

 

David Bell, Purdue – Bell has been one of those players in free fall all offseason going from a mid-first round talent to a mid-second round player that most have just taken off their boards completely. While the metrics are not great he is a player that I kept watching on film and wondering if the combine really is who he will be in the NFL. Ultimately, NFL teams will tell us what they think of Bell and if he falls to Day 3 he will fall further in rookie rankings.

Matt Corral, Ole Miss – Watching tape I think Corral, in a “meh” QB class, has the opportunity to be the most productive and long-standing quarterback in this class. He has all the modern NFL QB traits and projects as a Derek Carr/Andy Dalton level of talent. Both were second-round talents that beat the odds to be relevant in the league and Corral can be the same under the right tutelage.

Justyn Ross, Clemson – The amazing breakout metrics at Clemson keeps my eyes wide for a player like Ross. His scary neck injury reminds me a lot of fellow Clemson receiver Mike Williams who people questioned whether he would be able to come back to full speed. While Ross will not have the draft capital that Williams had Ross, like Bell, is a player that I likely will continue to be higher on than most. Ultimately, how far down the NFL board he falls will decide if he stays in my round two (2) or if he falls to the back half of rookie drafts.

Round 3

Overall Ranking First Name Last Name Position School Positional Ranking
3.01 Dameon Pierce RB Florida RB9
3.02 Wan’Dale Robinson WR Kentucky WR15
3.03 Trey McBride TE Colorado State TE1
3.04 Kenny Pickett QB Pittsburgh QB3
3.05 Pierre Strong Jr. RB South Dakota State RB10
3.06 Kyren Williams RB Notre Dame RB11
3.07 Zonovan Knight RB North Carolina State RB12
3.08 Jalen Tolbert WR South Alabama WR16
3.09 Sam Howell QB North Carolina QB4
3.10 Romeo Doubs WR Nevada WR17
3.11 Tyler Allgeier RB BYU RB13
3.12 Calvin Austin WR Memphis WR18

 

Dameon Pierce, Florida – outside of the top 25 guys it is always about a landing spot that can make or break a player’s immediate fantasy value. If Pierce can find a backfield that is relatively open either late Day 2 or the start of Day 3 he has the opportunity to be the late-round gem of this draft. His Damien Harris comps are comparable in that while primarily the “thumper” back he also could be used in the passing game more than most believe if in the right system.

Wan’Dale Robinson, Kentucky – While ranked 26th overall, my fantasy teams will have zero shares of Robinson who would have the land in the perfect situation to break the mould of 5’8” receivers being relevant. Could there be a chance a team moves him to be their third-down, slot running back which could profile better for success? His production at Kentucky is the only thing that keeps him viable in the eyes of fantasy football.

Tyler Allgeier, BYU – Immediately watching Allgeier I saw Samaje Perine as this wrecking ball of a running back. Many will cringe at the thought of Perine as a prospect but with Allgeier being taken closer to the 3/4 turn rather than the mid-second round value Perine held this is more reflective of what their talent levels are. A team that focuses on the running game around the goal line without a quarterback threat to steal sneak opportunities would be ideal for Allgeier.

Round 4

Overall Ranking First Name Last Name Position School Positional Ranking
4.01 Charlie Kolar TE Iowa State TE2
4.02 Tyler Badie RB Missouri RB14
4.03 Kevin Harris RB South Carolina RB15
4.04 Carson Strong QB Nevada QB5
4.05 D’Vonte Price RB Florida International RB16
4.06 Desmond Ridder QB Cincinnati QB6
4.07 Greg Dulcich TE UCLA TE3
4.08 Kennedy Brooks RB Oklahoma RB17
4.09 Hassan Haskins RB Michigan RB18
4.10 Kyle Phillips WR UCLA WR19
4.11 Cade Otton TE Washington TE4
4.12 Tyquan Thornton WR Baylor WR20

 

Charlie Kolar, Iowa State – Kolar has zero value as a blocker which might make it difficult for him to stay on the field initially but he profiles as one of the better receiving tight ends in this class, which is where the fantasy points are. Will he produce in a way that will make him worthy of a draft pick, who knows, but with a guaranteed four (4) years to see what happens the best place for lottery picks is at the end of your draft.

Tyler Badie, Missouri – I wrote in my notes that Badie seems like the running back who will never have a coaching staff give him the full workload but under the right two-back system could be a Giovanni Bernard/Tevin Coleman type of receiving back. Any offense that uses a primary pass-catching back like Washington with J.D. McKissic could make Badie the depth running back to have at the end of drafts.

Desmond Ridder, Cincinnati – If a team takes Ridder in the first round I hope it is later where he can sit and watch a year’s worth of practices from a veteran starter before he has to lead the team. He is being compared to Jalen Hurts in terms of his athletic upside but I think in any other year Ridder would be a Day 3 selection that has a long shot at a consistent starting role. Even in Superflex leagues, I would be hesitant to see what his situation is before even considering drafting him at Supeflex prices.

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

2022 NFL Free Agency Look

Updated: March 22nd 2022

This free agency group once looked liked a great one, particularly at wide receiver.  Franchise tags to some of the top wide receivers and tight ends diminish the luster somewhat but there is still a lot of talent for NFL teams and potential fantasy rosters.  There is no shortage of starting-caliber receivers and running backs for teams but the available group of quarterbacks remains primarily relegated to the fringe starter class, as is usually the case.  Below the reader finds a synopsis of the most relevant free agent fantasy players.

Quarterback

Jameis Winston

The narrative is that 2021 was a great year for Winston largely due to significantly cutting down on his interceptions (3) in seven games before an ACL tear.  The data shows more of a middling year with the Saints limiting his volume (which still makes a very good free agent quarterback).  He was PFF’s 23rd ranked quarterback in passing grade while posting one of the worst completion percentages in the league.  He’s likely at the top of some team’s QB free agent list in this group though.

Mitchell Trubisky

It’s interesting that Trubisky is one of the most talked about free agent quarterback this offseason.  The former Chicago starter displayed abysmal down-to-down accuracy in his time with the Bears.  Was a year receiving Brian Daboll’s tutelage in Buffalo enough to correct his mechanical issues?

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Washington signed Fitzpatrick to be their short-term starting quarterback after some quality play in Tampa Bay.  Unfortunately a hip injury ended his season before it began.  He could be an emergency option for teams that miss out on the top trades or free agent candidates.

Tyrod Taylor

Taylor offers rushing ability with bottom-level NFL arm talent and started at quarterback for three NFL teams.    There’s a chance another team gives him a chance.

Teddy Bridgewater

Bridgewater ranks among the bottom-level starter / good backup tier and also started at quarterback for three NFL teams.    There’s a chance another team gives him a chance.

Others to watch: Marcus Mariota

Running Back

Melvin Gordon

Gordon produced another quality season with Denver.  He is a good rushing down back and capable of catching the ball but isn’t a route-winner, someone better as the lead back of a committee.  Gordon might look for one more substantial contract going into his 29 year old season or could return to Denver if the offers aren’t up to his standard.

Leonard Fournette

Fournette had probably his best year as a pro averaging 4.5 yards per carry and finished inside PFF’s top-32 running backs for the first time in his career.  He’s capable enough to play three downs but not good enough to stand out at any phase of the game.  Tampa Bay will reportedly let Fournette test the market.

James Conner

The Cardinals hit nicely with Conner on a cheap contract, playing particularly well in the passing game.  Health issues probably keep him from a huge touch role but he is another back capable of playing solidly on all downs.

Cordarrelle Patterson

The “come out of nowhere award” in fantasy football goes to Patterson who totaled over 1,100 yards (easily his top performance) in his ninth season.  His best chance of repeating the performance is staying in Atlanta.  Tread with caution in fantasy with the most role-uncertain back on the list.

Sony Michel

New England and the Rams primarily used Michel as a two-down committee back throughout his career, somewhat odd considering how good Michel was on screens in college.  His role probably caps out to more of the same at the next stop.

Rashaad Penny

Penny exploded to end the year with four out of five games of at least 135 rushing yards and ended up averaging 6.3 yards per carry for the season.  He’s the biggest wild-card in the group with numerous injuries so far to the former first-round pick but averages 5.6 yards per carry over his limited attempts during his career.

Raheem Mostert

His best scheme fit lies with the 49ers and he’s put up good yardage when available.  Will he actually be healthy?  How much of the workload would he take from Elijah Mitchell if he stays in San Francisco?

Chase Edmonds

A fantasy football favorite, Edmonds will likely never attain the role many want for him.  His role grew every year in Arizona however and was a useful fantasy option last season. He maintains value in the wide-open Cardinal offense if he stays.

J.D. McKissic

The bane of Antonio Gibson truthers, McKissic is one of the quality receiving down backs in the league.  He provided flex-level PPR production the last two seasons in Washington.

Others to watch: Marlon Mack, James White, Phillip Lindsay, Ronald Jones, Jerick McKinnon

Wide Receiver

Allen Robinson

Robinson chose a poor year to have his worst season as a professional making him an interesting watch in free agency.  Many considered him “QB-proof” before and tallied at least 150 targets in every full season. Was last season a blip in a disinterested year with a rookie quarterback or the case of a non-burner receiver slowing down?

Will Fuller

The issue with Fuller is well documented.  He hasn’t played more than 11 games since his rookie season.  With that being said, Fuller’s a game-changer who forces teams to change the way they play defense and has multiple spurts of significant fantasy production.  He likely receives another one-year prove-it deal.

Juju Smith-Schuster

Many considered Juju the among the top dynasty wide receivers just a few short seasons ago after a monstrous sophomore season.  It’s been downhill from there with questions about the value of a “big-slot” option.  He’ll need to be paired with an outside route-winner to open up the field to maximize his traits.

Odell Beckham Jr.

The Rams got one of the better deals last season on their way to Super Bowl glory picking up Beckham Jr. on the cheap mid-year after Robert Woods went down.  OBJ showed off his explosive traits and extraordinary hands in a limited fashion acclimating to the Rams’ offense.  An unfortunate ACL-tear (his 2nd in recent years) in the Super Bowl means he probably won’t be ready to start next year and will likely diminish his contract.

Christian Kirk

The Arizona wide receiver does his best work from the slot but not in the quick shifty way, winning in the intermediate and deeper routes. He also has some scheme diversity in the usage history.  Kirk has two 100 target seasons under his belt and is just 25 years old.

D.J. Chark

Chark broke out his 2nd season but struggled when the offense tried to run more through him and he was forced to beat more physical coverage.  The thin-framed receiver shows explosive linear speed, plus athletic traits, and should have more success on a team as a complimentary intermediate and deep piece.

Michael Gallup

Dallas looks ready to sign Gallup to an extension after reportedly trading Amari Cooper.  He isn’t elite at anything and doesn’t possess great speed but is a good all-around receiver.  Gallup brings boundary-winning ability with solid ball skills and produced 1,100 yards in only 14 games his sophomore year.

Antonio Brown

Brown still displayed high-end receiver ability ending as the PPR WR9 in per game scoring last year.  The odds are long that someone signs him after self-destructing mid-year and with a host of behavior issue but there’s still a good player to be had if a team takes a chance.

Others to watch: Jamison Crowder, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Russell Gage, Zay Jones, T.Y. Hilton

Tight End

Rob Gronkowski

Does Gronk retire (again) with Brady bowing out?  There’s still plenty left in the tank if he returns.  The TE4 in per game fantasy scoring last season would upgrade most tight end rooms as a combo blocker and receiver.

Zach Ertz

Ertz fills the need for a reliable receiving option best suited to winning against underneath zone coverage and finished as the fantasy TE11 option.

Evan Engram

The Giants primarily used Engram as an underneath man-beater and he struggles with consistency at the catch point while offering little as a blocker.  Will a new team better utilize his deep speed and big play ability?

Gerald Everett

Everett specializes as an athletic undersized after-the-catch weapon with willingness to block, similar to a discount David Njoku who was franchise tagged by the Browns.   He’ll need a special scheme to fully utilize his talent.

Jared Cook

The elder one continues producing as a strictly receiving weapon but might finally be slowing down.  Does he get one more shot?

Others to watch: O.J. Howard, C.J. Uzomah, Tyler Conklin, Mo Allie-Cox, Hayden Hurst


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.

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