Des Boodram - @boxscoreprophet
Oh how the fantasy tables have turned when it comes to drafting. 10 years ago it was all about the premium RB and the biggest challenge was identifying whom between Priest Holmes, LaDanian Tomlinson and Ricky Williams you were going to take. After that it was more RBs. Now the position has totally evolved, teams are rolling two or even three back combos, with specialty goal line and pass catching backs. Feature backs are almost non-existent… for the few that are, they come with high risk in today’s game. WRs on the other hand have easily more determinable ceilings and floors for that matter, but assessing value is much easier as volume for pass catchers is more locked down. Inside this drafting vacuum fantasy managers everywhere have struggled to draw lines between the first and second tier RBs and WRs. There’s no shame in living in that tension, so breathe a Bill Cosby mistrial sigh of relief and lets start sorting through some value plays that you may want to reach for but shouldn’t. I know your heart mourns when your research reveals holes in your draft strategy, but you need to embrace the opportunity to be objective.
For me this is some low hanging fruit, because fantasy managers all over the globe are expecting a repeat performance from last season. Here’s what you need to know. Last year Gordon put together a nice season in just 13 games averaging over 100 YFS/game and averaging more FPPG than LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray and Devonta Freeman. There are way more mouths to feed now in San Diego. Gordon was still only 15th in the NFL in RB targets last season and there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell he improves on that number. The Chargers also play in the toughest defensive division possibly in the NFL so pump the brakes with Gordon and adjust accordingly.
The market has him as the 5th WR off the board, and 10th overall fantasy player, but I think the market is nervous about not landing a marquis WR especially in a 12-man league. Green averaged 12 FPPG last season in 10 games good for 6th amongst pass catchers, but regardless of whether or not those numbers hold, there are several other WRs including Michael Thomas, T.Y. Hilton, Dez Bryant and Davante Adams that could leap frog him. How you feel about Green is likely determined by how you feel about the Cincy running game. I for one think it will be electric meaning red zone targets will be way down. Don’t forget about Tyler Eifert as well, he is a red zone beast that diminishes the value of Green.
In 2015 Lynch averaged less than 10 FPPG per game for Seattle and now he’s on the Raiders, playing back at home 100% fresh from the time off and behind a great O-line. I’m going to play this narrative instead. He’s back at home but should be likened to a 32-year-old living with his parents, 100% rusty from all that time off and playing behind an O-line that blocked Latavius Murray to bet the 13th most productive back in the league last year. Lynch’s ADP is 16 overall which is the 10th RB off the board. I’d take Adrian Peterson over Lynch in any format.
The market loves Gronk as the first TE off the board or 22nd overall. That’s the beginning of the third round if you’re keeping track at home. Decisions, decisions… do you think Gronk will get you over 12 games, and double-digit TDs. If so, he’s worth it as he’d be the 4th best WR, but lets be honest about things here. There are too many mouths to feed in New England, and Brady no longer needs to go Gronk every third play. He’s likely to get eased into the season from a snap count perspective at the beginning and end of the season. He’s still a huge risk for injury, and there’s new TE on the block named Dwayne Allen who is a red zone monger. He’ll be the number one poacher of TDs in the league this year, and Gronk owners will hate him. If you’re a hateful person, do better than Gronk in the third round. I feel like he’s so engaging people truly think their going to have a beer with him after each game if they draft him. He’s that likable.
People are taking Brady off the board as though he’s on some kind of pissed-off tour and is out for blood. That is not the case my friends as TB12 is going to have the luxury of letting the game come to him this season. The defense is going to give him a short field, so there’s your reduced yardage totals right there. They’ll seldom go for it on 4th down and resort to kicking field goals and he has 48 running backs to feed. Yes he posts a number, and yes he’ll give you consistent production, but lots of QBs will, so don’t over pay for him. Easy Drew Breezy has out fantasy produced Brady every season since 2008 where they both have played 16 games. That’s eight straight years that Brady has been out produced by Brees, and Brady doesn’t care, but you should There’s no way Brady is the QB2 this year and at pick 27, I’m taking DeAndre Hopkins or Doug Baldwin, and picking up Brees, Derek Carr or Marcus Mariota a few rounds later. It’s almost game time gamers… be ready!!