Week 7 Street FA Report

Updated: October 19th 2021

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

Demetric Felton/D’Ernest Johnson (Owned 38%/8%)

Both backup Cleveland running backs are likely to be utilized heavily on Thursday night as both Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt will miss at least this week’s game against the Broncos. Hunt has already been put on the IR as well which means even as Chubb works his way back into the lineup, Demetric Felton and D’Ernest Johnson will continue to see several opportunities in relief. If you are in PPR leagues I would lean more towards Felton, who acts primarily in James White-style of pass-catching back. In standard leagues, Johnson is the more prototypical running back that should see the goal-line and early-down carries. In a big week for byes, both players are likely to be scooped up with big bids this week.

Suggested Bid: $3,500,000

RB Add

Jaret Patterson, RB – WAS (Owned 40%)

Week 6: 1 Car/5 yards, 1 Rec/-2 yards

Each week that Antonio Gibson plays through his injury Jaret Patterson’s ownership should be steadily increasing. At times in week 6, Gibson needed to be subbed out for his lower-body injury and eventually was taken out of the game for good late in the 4th quarter. We will know more about his injury and availability later in the week but expect Patterson to see more touches in upcoming games if anything serious is diagnosed. A strong pre-season allowed the rookie to earn a spot on the roster and like Khalil Herbert for the Bears, could be one moment away from his opportunity to start.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

WR Adds

Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR – CLE (Owned 42%)

Week 6: 4 Rec/101 yards, 2 TD

It is not just the backfield that is hurting in Cleveland as Odell Beckham Jr. was also missing snaps last week nursing his injury. Meanwhile, Donovan Peoples-Jones had a monster game, catching a halftime Hail Mary attempt and scoring another touchdown in the second half. Again on a short week, there is a change that OBJ is not able to play this week opening up plenty of targets for both Peoples-Jones and potentially Rashard Higgins. Watch for Baker Mayfield’s status though. If he is out as well Case Keenum is sure to leave the Browns’ coach staff playing more conservatively with their passing game.

Suggested Bid: $1,000,000

Mack Hollins, WR – MIA (Owned <1%)

Week 6: 4 Rec/61 yards

The Dolphins are avoiding the post-International Game bye week and heading straight back to the US for a game in week 7. They were without DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, and Will Fuller which allowed for former Eagle Mack Hollins to play on 97 percent of the Dolphins’ snaps. With the aforementioned bye-pocalypse upon us, there may be an incentive for some of us to start less than stellar options heading into this week. If opportunity is the foreshadowing to success then at least Hollins has a shot at being the WR2 again this week. A game against the Falcons is also a plus matchup in terms of potential scoring chances.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

TE Add

Tyler Conklin, TE – MIN (Owned 44%)

Week 6: 3 Rec/71 yards

Tyler Conklin has quietly been one of the more heavily utilized tight ends in the NFL in terms of team snaps this season. The veteran played the fifth-highest percentage of snaps in week 6 (85%) and eighth-most (78%) for the season. While a lot of Conklin’s usage can be found in Minnesota’s running game, his dominance over the rest of the position for his team is evident. No other tight end is averaging over 17% on the Vikings so it is clear who is going to be out there when they take the field. Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are of course going to limit his upside as those two account for nearly 60 percent of the target shares. Still, Conklin stands as the PPR TE14 currently and will continue to see his opportunities as the season rolls along.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

Sleeper Add (<25%)

Jamal Agnew, WR – JAX (Owned 5%)

Week 6: 5 Rec/78 yards

Jamal Agnew is on a bye after playing in London last week which is why he is more of a sleeper add than Mack Hollins who can be used right away in week 7. The Jacksonville kick returner has been used more than most would expect over the last two weeks since D.J. Chark was lost for the season. This has led to 11 receptions for 119 yards. A gadget option for a college coach, Agnew might not be the option most fantasy players want Urban Meyer to be using but reality is often not what we want it to be. I still would want to see what the Jaguars do after their bye week for offensive gameplans but another big PPR game from Agnew should put him on the radar for deeper leagues.

Suggested Bid: $500,000

More Analysis by Nick Andrews

The Watch List: 2019 Big Ten Season Preview

Updated: August 30th 2019

Welcome to The Watch List, a resource to help RSO owners identify the players from the college game that deserve your attention.  To view my observations, follow me on Twitter @robertfcowper.  Check back throughout the Spring and Summer as The Watch List will preview the top prospects and let you know who is fantasy relevant and worth your valuable draft capital.

Storylines to Watch

Heisman Contender: Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin.  Three non-QBs have won the Heisman since 2000: Derrick Henry, Mark Ingram and Reggie Bush.  All three running backs rushed for 1,600+ yards and had at least 16 rushing touchdowns.  Taylor should match those numbers by mid-November.  Taylor will earn Heisman votes again in 2019 — he finished 6th in Heisman voting in 2017 and 9th in 2018 — and if Wisconsin contends for the Big Ten he’s likely to get an invite to New York.

Underclassman to Watch: Rondale Moore, WR, Purdue.  Moore is the most exciting playmaker in the Big Ten.  Full stop.  Moore totaled 180 touches as a receiver, rusher and returner and amassed 2,215 all-purpose yards.  His 14 touchdowns from scrimmage were second best in the conference to Taylor (as were his 1,471 yards from scrimmage).  Moore would be difficult to tackle if you were both locked inside a phone booth.  He’s lightning quick and fast in the open field; he is also more physical than you’d assume by looking at him (5090/180).  Moore is easily on the short list for 2021 and could give Justyn Ross some competition for the fantasy WR1 spot in that class.

Newcomer of the Year: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State.  Just a year ago, Fields was a 5-star recruit joining an uber-talented Georgia Bulldogs team.  Fields saw the field sparingly as a true freshman and when it was clear that he could not wrest the starting job away from Jake Fromm, he decided to transfer.  There was some question as to his eligibility waiver, but it was approved by the NCAA and he’s clear to play immediately.  Fields chose Ohio State and was just recently announced as the starter for Week 1.  Last year at Georgia he was responsible for eight touchdowns — four passing and four rushing.  He was efficient too, averaging 6.2 yards per carry and completing nearly 70% of his passes.  Ryan Day takes over as the Ohio State head coach this year so we should expect some changes on offense but the Buckeyes will still hang points.  Look out for 4,000 combined yards and 40 total TDs. (Honorable mention: Hunter Johnson, QB, Northwestern.  Johnson is also a former 5-star recruit.  He moved on from Clemson after the signing of Trevor Lawrence.  After four years of stability with Clayton Thorson under center, the Wildcats will lean on Johnson’s pedigree to repeat as division champs.)

Coaching Carousel: The newest head coach in the league is Maryland’s Mike Locksley.  Locksley isn’t even 50 yet but is well-traveled.  Interestingly, this is his third stint at Maryland.  In his decade-plus of previous experience at Maryland, Locksley held a number of titles: running back coach, quarterback coach, offensive coordinator, interim head coach.  As a head coach, Locksley has just three wins and thirty-one losses.  He spent the last three years as an assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama so I’m sure Terps fans expect Locksley to be ready for the spotlight now.  The biggest coaching change in the Big Ten though is in Columbus where Ryan Day officially takes over for Urban Meyer.  The hand-off seemed likely after Day served as interim coach during Meyer’s three game suspension last September, but it was still big news.  With Meyer’s on-again-off-again history, would anybody have been surprised if he had decided to return?  I’m not ruling out another coaching gig for Meyer elsewhere in 2020, but this is Day’s team now.

Players to Watch

JK Dobbins, RB, Ohio State

This is the eighth time that JK Dobbins has landed on The Watch List.  I first mentioned him way back in October 2017 when he was a true freshman who grabbed the job from a banged up Mike Weber.  My most recent article including Dobbins was the first iteration of my 2020 fantasy mock draft.  In that mock draft, I slotted Dobbins as the 1.03 and the second RB off the board (behind Georgia’s D’Andre Swift).  It appears that I’m higher on Dobbins than other #DraftTwitter rankers so I am looking forward to seeing how this season unfolds for him and the Buckeyes.  At the next level, Dobbins will be a do-it-all back who does it all well.

Before we look at some of his best traits, let’s take a quick look at his stats.  Dobbins rushed for 1,403 yards in 2017 and 1,053 in 2018.  Frustratingly for fans like myself, his yards per carry decreased from 7.2 to 4.6 over those two seasons.  He’s an active receiver with a career line of 48-398-3.  My biggest concern about Dobbins, if you caught me in a moment of candor, is his lack of big plays.  I recently studied the big play output of my top five running backs — D’Andre Swift, Dobbins, Travis Etienne, Jonathan Taylor and Trey Sermon — and Dobbins came in dead last in each of the three categories.  I haven’t done any research as to whether big play output is predictive of NFL success so I’m not letting it worry me yet but it’s something to keep filed away.

When I study Dobbins, I see a player that uses his compact frame and low center of gravity to his advantage.  He’s listed at 5100/214 but may be a tick shorter; he’s thicc.  This sturdy base helps him hold his ground in pass protection (good technique and play recognition don’t hurt either).  It’s rare to share a blocking highlight for a running back in a preseason preview but I feel that strongly that his pass protection ability will be one of the reasons he gets drafted in the Top 100.  On this play you can see that the coaching staff trusts him as a blocker because he’s isolated on the right side.  His first thought is to help his right tackle but then he sees a corner coming on a blitz so he shuffles his feet and squares up the rusher.  He makes first contact and spins the defender away from the quarterback and finishes his block off-camera.  It wasn’t a de-cleater of a block but it was executed well and shows each facet of his blocking ability.

Unsurprisingly, Dobbins runs with some pop and power.  My notes are strewn with comments like “breaks arm tackle” or “pushes pile.”  Rather than showing a play where Dobbins plowed up the middle for a short yardage victory, I decided to highlight this play instead.  You’ll see Dobbins determination pay off as he gets stuffed, keeps his feet moving and finds a way out.  He manages to keep his feet and dives for the end zone.  He’s short of the score but it’s illustrative of what his runs often look like.

Lest you think Dobbins is simply a power rusher (and productive receiver and reliable pass protector), I’m here to tell you that he has some wheels as well.  I think Dobbins has 4.45 speed, if not better.  In high school he reportedly ran a 4.44; at an OSU combine event he ran a 4.32.  That time is surely favorable, but for comparison Denzel Ward and Parris Campbell ran just .09 and .05 seconds slower at the NFL Combine than they did at OSU.  So it’s definitely possible that Dobbins could run a 4.40.  In the last five years, just two running backs have ran 4.40 or better at more than 210 lbs: Keith Marshall and Saquon Barkley.  It’s safe to say that Dobbins ends up somewhere between those two disparate career paths, but I’d skew closer to Barkley because the fact is that few backs are that big and that quick.

When I think about Dobbins I can’t help but think of the famous line from an Elizabeth Barrett Browning poem, “How do I love thee? / Let me count the ways.”  Dobbins is a jack-of-all-trades, without that pesky master-of-none caveat, and will be a Top 100 player in 2020.

 

Johnathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Oh, Jonathan Taylor.  I love watching Taylor play but it’s always bittersweet for me as a New Jersey native and Rutgers fan.  Taylor, who hails from southern Jersey, always had his eye on Wisconsin and Badger fans are grateful.  In two seasons in Madison, Taylor has 606 carries for 4,171 yards and 29 TDs.  Those numbers are impressive and if he can repeat his successes in 2019 his career stats will be staggering.  In the aforementioned study of big plays, I was shocked to see that Taylor had SIXTY-ONE runs of 10+ yards in 2018.  Again, I have no research to show that that stat is predictive of anything but I love it nonetheless.

One of the most frequent talking points for a running back is the “tread on the tires” and it is reasonable to worry about wear and tear on his body.  He’s been durable so far though so I’m not going to ding his stock due to a high volume of carries.  If it does worry you, think of it this way: he does play in an NFL style offense so he should be able to adjust quickly and not waste precious time adapting.  Perhaps most concerning for Taylor’s prospects is his lack of involvement in the passing game.  In 27 career games, Taylor has just 16 receptions.  Per MaxPreps, Taylor had just 9 receptions in his last two seasons in high school.

Let’s get into what makes Taylor so much fun to watch.  Taylor is a momentum runner who can punish defenses when he makes a decisive cut.  In this play against Miami from 2018, Taylor hits the second level and makes an effective cut which puts him in position to break two ankle tackles and pick up a few extra yards.

Taylor is outstanding at turning a short gain into a longer one.  In this next play, Taylor gets bottled up at the line of scrimmage but he remains patient and finds a hole.  In a blink he has the entire defense chasing him Keystone Cops style.

Taylor’s speed is something that will be talked about a lot this season.  In my offseason notes I put down that I thought he had 4.55 speed with good acceleration.  The evidence points to me being wrong on his top-end speed though.  Taylor made Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List and was a former high school track star.  In Feldman’s article, he shares that Taylor ran a 4.30 this offseason.  I’m open minded and willing to admit I might have been wrong about Taylor’s speed.

Taylor is within 2,234 yards of the FBS record for career rushing yards and I’m hopeful that he puts up another monster season and breaks the mark.  Even if it’s not a record-breaking season, I expect Taylor to come out for the 2020 NFL Draft.  If he does declare early, Taylor will be a Top 5 back in the class.

Honorable Mentions

Nathan Stanley, QB, Iowa: The Big Ten has a number of quarterback prospects who are on the fringe of being draftable. I don’t feel confident about it but right now I’d pick Stanley over Shea Patterson or Brian Lewerke. Honestly, I think it might be the fact that I’ve seen less of Stanley and so the unknown makes me wonder about his potential. Of the three, Stanley is the biggest (a stout 6040/43) and has the most experience (31 games, 26 starts).  He also plays in a pro-style offense that has consistently produced NFL talent.  In highlights it looks like Stanley has great touch and adequate arm strength.  As I write this and the more I watch of his highlights, the more I’m ready to talk myself into Stanley as a Top 10 quarterback in this class.

KJ Hill, WR, Ohio State: Hill is a productive slot receiver whose route running is top notch.  He sells his changes of direction well which allows him to get open when some other receivers would still be covered.  Hill is good for some run after catch yardage and features a spin-out move that is effective.  He’s a willing blocker and has above average play strength.  One of my favorite #DraftTwitter follows is Mark Jarvis of @WhatsOnDraftNFL and he currently has Hill as his WR1 for the 2020 class.  Jarvis watches a ton of tape so I’m happy to see that a player I liked made (the top of) his list.

Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota: When all is said and done come January, I think Tyler Johnson could be the 2020 prospect with the widest range of potential outcomes.  I’ve seen him ranked as high as WR1 and have also seen analysts leave him off their rankings altogether.  I’m somewhere in between those extremes.  Johnson can win both inside and out so he’s a high-volume target in an otherwise mediocre Gopher offense.  His feet are explosive off the snap and out of his breaks and he understands how to uncover to make himself a target.  After the catch he’s a dynamic runner who is elusive and break-away fast.  Before we commit to any hot takes about Johnson, let’s wait and see how he fares in 2019.  Right now, I would predict that a solid NFL Combine cements Johnson to a mid-rounder.

Donovan Peoples-Jones, WR, Michigan: Donovan Peoples-Jones is part of a talented group of receivers in Ann Arbor that also includes Nico Collins and Tarik Black.  Peoples-Jones is the only of the three who has stayed healthy in his first two seasons though, so he has a leg up when it comes to his draft stock.  In addition to being a solid possession receiver with good body control, Peoples-Jones excels as a punt returner — he leads the NCAA in returns and is third in yards over the last two seasons.  His open-field running skills are on display after the catch as well.  Peoples-Jones probably hasn’t proven himself enough to garner much hype yet but keep an eye on him.

 

Notes: Heights listed are using a notation common among scouts where the first digit corresponds to the feet, the next two digits correspond to the inches and the fourth digit corresponds to the fraction, in eighths.  So, somebody measuring 5’11” and 3/8 would be 5113.  This is helpful when trying to sort players by height.  When studying a player I rely on game film “cuts” which are most frequently found on Youtube. If game film is not available I will search for highlight reels.  Keep in mind these highlight reels are the best plays of that player. When I have the option, I will choose to watch a game versus the better defense. Full disclosure, I am not watching film of every single game any player plays, instead I am looking for a representative sample.  There are a lot of analysts out there who have a deeper depth of knowledge about certain players but I pride myself in a wide breadth of knowledge about many players.  When researching my articles I use a number of valuable resources. I would recommend bookmarking the below sites:

  • Stats: espn.com, sports-reference.com, pro-football-reference.com, cfbstats.com, herosports.com, fcs.football, mcubed.net, expandtheboxscore.com, washingtonpost.com
  • Recruiting: 247Sports.com, espn.com, sbnation.com, rivals.com
  • Film: 2020 NFL Draft Database by Mark Jarvis, youtube.com
  • Draft info and mocks: draftcountdown.com, draftscout.com, mattwaldmanrsp.com, draftek.com, thedraftnetwork.com, nfl.com
  • NFL rosters, depth charts and contract info: ourlads.com, spotrac.com
  • Draft history: drafthistory.com
  • Combine info: pro-football-reference.com, espn.com, nflcombineresults.com, mockdraftable.com
  • Season preview magazines: Phil Steele, Lindy’s, Street and Smith’s, Athlon Sports
  • Podcasts: ESPN’s First Draft, The Audible by Football Guys (specifically episodes w/ Matt Waldman), UTH Dynasty, Draft Dudes, Saturday 2 Sunday, Locked on NFL Draft, Cover 3 College Football
  • Logos & Player Media Photos: collegepressbox.com
  • Odds & Gambling Stats: vegasinsider.com

Robert F. Cowper is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  He is a proud member of the Football Writers Association of America and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.  Robert works as a certified park and recreation professional, specializing in youth sports, when he isn’t acting as commissioner for his many fantasy sports leagues.

More Analysis by Bob Cowper