Fri Jan 24 11:25am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Mostert helped crown the king
RealTime Fantasy Sports is proud to announce Dave DeRose as our winner of the ’19 King of the Mountain contest. Barczak was the last owner standing in our fantasy contest, winning a prize of $25,000 for his efforts.
If you aren't familiar, here is how the King of the Mountain contest works. You pick one simple lineup each week, consisting of one quarterback, one running back and one receiver/tight end. If the team you pick scores better than just the worst one-third of teams in the contest, you advance to the next week. But here is the catch, you can only pick a player for your team once during season, including the playoffs. If you are the last owner standing, you take home a $25,000 prize for winning the King of the Mountain contest.
DeRose was the big winner of this year's contest. This wasn’t the first time DeRose had played King of the Mountain, but it was definitely his best showing.
“I've played this contest for many years,” DeRose said. “At two entries per year, I never made it past Week 7.”
A new strategy was just the thing to get DeRose to advance farther this year, though. He had to make adjustments after not fairing the best with past chances.
“I used to coach youth basketball and I'm also a high school basketball referee,” DeRose said. “My philosophy with timeouts is ‘you can't take them home.’ Too many people leave their timeouts in the book until it's too late. In past King of the Mountain competitions, I left too many good players on the bench in an attempt to save them for later weeks. My strategy was to play 'best matchups' in at least two of the three positions and just advance to the next week.”
This was a great strategy for DeRose, but it did not come without some close calls along the way. There were several weeks that had DeRose sweating it out, including Week 9.
“My team kept dropping closer to the cut line during the Monday night game (Cowboys and Giants),” DeRose said. “I kept yelling for the game to end. Needless to say, I was the first team that survived above the cut line.”
That week might have been a turning point for DeRose, but at what point of the contest did he really think he had a chance to win it all. It might not be as soon as you think.
“When I survived Week 17, my chances to win officially 'got real' for me,” DeRose said. “I knew that If I made it to wild card weekend, I would have a great chance. Wild card weekend brought me from the top five to the top three, and I felt destined to win. Wentz was my quarterback and he was injured early. My fate was sealed until that final play from Wilson to Metcalf.”
The last week of the contest wasn’t quite as nerve racking for DeRose because he had a leg up on his competition, being able to fill out a full starting lineup. His opponent wasn’t quite as fortunate, missing a key part of his three-man team.
“I was pretty calm knowing I had Garoppolo and my opponent did not have a starting quarterback,” DeRose said. “I felt good about Mostert as my running back and AJ Brown as my receiver. I was anxious for the Chiefs game to end to stop points from Damien Williams. I went to a bar with a friend of mine to watch the final game. We missed the first few minutes of the game. As I was pulling up in the lot, my wife texted me saying, ‘Mostert just scored baby!’ At that point, I felt pretty confident that I'd win.”
So now that DeRose is $25,000 richer, what is he going to do with the winnings? That is the big question.
“I plan to tithe my winnings to our church and to the radio broadcast that feeds my soul,” DeRose said. “I also plan to pay off some debt and use the majority of the remainder for our new house. Me, my wife Heather, and our kids Vincent and Ava are currently building a house and expected to move the first part of April. This extra money is a timely blessing.”
If you want to try to dethrone the king, don’t forget to sign up for King of the Mountain next season for a chance to win $25,000.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
May 29th: Quarterback Preview
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich said that tight end Mo Alie-Cox will play even more in 2020 as a key run blocker and an emerging pass-catcher, despite the offseason addition of Trey Burton. "Sometimes you might think the basketball guy is a finesse guy. Mo is not a finesse guy he is a powerful man," Reich said. The 26-year-old has just 15 receptions (24 targets) for 226 yards and two touchdowns in 25 games for the Colts in his two seasons in the NFL, but his role as a pass-catcher is expected to increase. However, even with Eric Ebron gone, the Colts still have Jack Doyle and Burton as capable pass-catchers at the position, so Alie-Cox isn't yet one to target in traditional fantasy leagues.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell bulked up this offseason amid an 18-week workout regimen in Miami to put on 13 pounds after a disappointing rookie season that saw the fourth overall pick finish with 4.5 sacks, five deflected passes and 24 solo tackles. Ferrell was considered a reach in the top five of last year's draft coming out of Clemson, and his less-than-stellar first season in the league puts him on the spot to improve in his sophomore campaign. With added weight going into his second year, Ferrell hopefully will be able to use his frame to bully offensive tackles more frequently to help the Raiders improve their stagnant pass rush. You can ignore Ferrell in most IDP formats until he proves that he can get to the opposing QB more often.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley had planned on returning to Penn State, his alma mater, to serve as a coach for the team during spring ball before its cancellation due to COVID-19. While the 23-year-old had no intention of retiring early, he wanted to use it as a way to self-improve leading up to the 2020 campaign. Barkley posted his second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season in 2019 despite appearing in only 13 games after battling a high-ankle sprain. With an enhanced offensive line and a new head coach for the Giants, the former Nittany Lion could be on track to finish the year as one of the league's top fantasy producers.
Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was recently labeled by general manager Marty Hurney as "a unique back," which ultimately served as the reasoning behind locking up the MVP candidate to a new deal. McCaffrey, who signed a four-year, $64 million contract in April, finished 2019 as the most impactful fantasy option, finishing the year with over 1,000 yards on both the rushing and receiving end. He led the league again last year by playing in 93 percent of the team's snaps on the offensive end and posting 1,019 YAC. The 23-year-old is projected to go first overall in most fantasy drafts this upcoming season, regardless of format.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury has had plenty of time to get more creative while designing new offensive plays during the COVID-19 pandemic this offseason. Kliff is one of the more mad-genius, offensive-minded guys in this league because of how he can put players in different positions to go out there and be successful and use your raw, natural ability to mirror up with the things the offense works best at, running back Kenyan Drake said. In Kingsbury's first year as head coach, the Cardinals had a 60.4 percent jump in points scored and a 91.7 percent increase in their number of scoring drives. They scored 25 or more points nine times in 2019 after doing so just once in 2018. With second-year dual-threat QB Kyler Murray at the helm and with a new No. 1 wideout in DeAndre Hopkins, the Cardinals could have one of the most explosive offenses in the league with Kingsbury calling the plays.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who is in a QB competition with Nick Foles, has handled the situation with aplomb and expects the two QBs to compete for the job whenever offseason workouts begin. "(Trubisky) has been really, really good in the fact that he's taken this head-on," Nagy said. "He's accepted it. He understands it." But even though there will be a competition, Foles is expected to have the leg up on the job after Chicago acquired him in a trade. The Bears also declined Trubisky's fifth-year option for 2021. But the 25-year-old will get a legitimate shot to prove he's the guy despite disappointing in 2019. The reality is that Foles has the bigger arm and more real-life and fantasy upside as a low-end QB2 if he wins the job this summer.
Miami Dolphins TE Mike Gesicki was one of four tight ends to see double-digit end zone targets during the 2019 season.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley averaged 131 rushing yards on 6.24 yards per carry in the final three games of the 2019 season, and he scored five of his eight total touchdowns in that span.
Fantasy Spin: Barkley battled an ankle injury in what was a disappointing sophomore campaign, but he flashed his upside in the final weeks. Not only is he a first-round pick in all fantasy formats, but he could be off the board as soon as No. 2 overall.
Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen has 17 rushing touchdowns in 27 career starts. Only free-agent QB Cam Newton (Panthers) has had more rushing touchdowns in his first 27 starts.
Fantasy Spin: Despite below average accuracy, Newton has been a high-end fantasy quarterback for much of his career because of his rushing stats. Allen may never reach Newton's level, but his running ability can keep him in the QB1 mix.
Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods registered 613 yards after the catch in 2019 - the third-highest total in the league.
Cincinnati Bengals WR John Ross averaged 7.3 yards after the catch in 2019 - tied for the fourth-highest average in the league among players who amassed 50 targets last season.
New York Jets RB Le'Veon Bell has enjoyed a target share of between 17 and 18 percent in four of his last five seasons, with the only exception coming in 2015 (15 percent). His 17.3 percent share in 2019 was the second-highest mark of his career.
San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle has compiled two of the three best seasons for a tight end in terms of producing yards after the catch since at least 2015 over the last two years. His 871 receiving yards after the catch in 2018 are the most by any player over the last five seasons (and 208 more yards than second-place Travis Kelce compiled in 2016), while his 623 receiving yards after the catch in 2019 led all tight ends and trailed only Chris Godwin (629) among all players last season.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt ranked sixth among running backs with 44 targets from Week 10 until the end of the 2019 regular season. Additionally, Hunt's 49 slot snaps also ranked sixth among running backs in the league for the year despite playing only eight games.
Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley was on track for 66 catches for 853 yards and nine touchdowns on 101 targets prior to the Falcons trading Mohamed Sanu to the New England Patriots following a Week 7 loss. Over his final six games and before succumbing to an abdomen injury that ended his season prior to Week 15, Ridley's 16-game pace over the final six contests was 91 receptions for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns on 131 targets.
Fantasy Spin: Six games is a relatively small sample, but it provides a bit of rationale to those that believe Ridley could be this year's Chris Godwin. The third-year pro finds himself in a wonderful environment to make it happen, as Julio Jones will continue to command the most respect from defensive coordinators and Atlanta's defense may struggle at times yet again. As such, Ridley should be viewed as a high-end WR2 with WR1 upside.
Denver Broncos TEs Albert Okwuegbunam, Austin Fort and Jake Butt are expected to be competing for two roster spots during training camp. Okwuegbunam is considered a favorite for one of the spots.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III had 6,000-plus scrimmage yards and two Pro Bowl selections in five seasons with the Chargers, but he thinks the Broncos running scheme is better suited to his strengths as an explosive, downhill runner. Gordon had 2,587 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns in his final year in college in a zone-based offense similar. He had his moments as a perimeter runner with the Bolts, but his straight-line running style is better suited in an offense with more downhill runs. Denver has a zone-based system that's expected to feature more downhill plays under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. The Broncos plan on using Gordon as their lead back despite Phillip Lindsay's presence, and in an offense better suited to his strengths as a runner, Gordon could be more efficient and give fantasy owners RB1 upside at an RB2 cost.
Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson hopefully will try more downfield throws this upcoming season when the team faces one-on-one coverage, according to head coach John Harbaugh. 'Those corners are going to be one-on-one and those safeties are going to be one-on-one against receivers, especially on downfield throws, and we got to make them pay for it,' Harbaugh said. 'I really do believe that's the next step for this offense from an execution standpoint. I really do believe Lamar is going to take the next step and our receivers are going to take the next step.'
Fantasy Spin: Jackson is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and would be an even more valuable fantasy option if he is able to connect on more downfield throws. Hs should be one of the first quarterbacks selected in all drafts and is a must-start option in fantasy leagues.
NFL.com's Bucky Brooks thinks that Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is primed for the best season of his career in new head coach Kevin Stefanski's offense. Cleveland's 12-personnel packages featuring tight ends Austin Hooper and David Njoku, along with receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and running back Nick Chubb, will be hard to stop. Mayfield averaged 9.0 yards per attempt (third-most in the NFL) in 12-personnel setups last year, and that formation is Stefanski's preference. Mayfield was also much better on play-action passes last year, so the Browns should look to feature those types of plays to take the pressure off the third-year passer. Cleveland's rebuilt offensive line should also give Mayfield better protection in 2020. All of this should add up to Mayfield being much more productive under Stefanski, making him a fine QB2 target with QB1 upside after his disappointing 2019 campaign.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has not yet signed the franchise tender as he seeks a long-term deal from the team. History suggests the sides will come together before the July 15 deadline or Prescott may not be with Dallas beyond this season. Since the franchise tag was introduced in 1993, only eight quarterbacks have been tagged and all but two, Drew Brees in 2005 and Kirk Cousins in 2018, got extensions prior to the season. Prescott is coming off the best season of his four-year career throwing for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns. He enters fantasy draft season as a top-three option at quarterback in fantasy.