Tue Aug 11 1:41pm ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Moore can build on last season
It is early, but I have already done a lot of drafts. I have participated in drafts on our site, drafts for magazines/other websites, and “expert” drafts. So I thought now would be a good time to talk about some things I have been seeing in those drafts. I want to give our readers an inside look at some things happening in drafts and how I have approached drafts this season.
And away we go. . . . .
I don’t quite understand the disdain for D.J. Moore this season. He had a breakout year last season, finishing with nearly 90 receptions for 1,200 yards. The only thing that held him back from being an elite receiver was a lack of scores (four touchdowns). Much of the reason people don’t like Moore is the addition of Teddy Bridgewater. Many think he is not a positive for Moore, lacking the ability to make big plays while being more of a dink or dunk quarterback. My counter to that is Moore had Kyle Allen as his quarterback much of last year and still produced his big numbers. Is Bridgewater really a downgrade over Allen? I don’t think so. I think the opposite, so I have been getting Moore in a lot of drafts this year, being able to nab him in the fourth or so round.
Moore is one player not getting much love, but a receiver that is getting plenty of hype is Allen Robinson. He had a big year last season, finishing with nearly 100 receptions for about 1,200 yards. And he did this with Mitchell Trubisky as his starting quarterback. There is debate on the quarterback this year with Trubisky getting challenged by Nick Foles. The way I look at it, though, is Foles isn’t much of an upgrade if he does beat out Trubisky. I really think Robinson hit his ceiling last year. I don’t think he can do better. With that said, I don’t want to use a second or third round pick to get him. I would rather go with a guy like Kenny Golladay or the aforementioned Moore. I just think they have a higher ceiling than Robinson, who is not on a single roster of mine right now.
Running backs are going super quick again this year. Teams are not messing around with the position. If you wait on the position, you are going to need some lesser options to hit for you. The top backs don’t last long. Finding a solid No. 2 back in the fourth round or later is going to be hard this season. Sometimes you have to go against the group think if you want to win big, but I’m not sure I do that this year. I have been getting two backs in the first three rounds of nearly every draft. I just don’t feel comfortable trying to salvage the position later in the draft. Plus, the receiver position is really deep this year. I think some receivers that you can get in the middle rounds can really outperform their draft slots.
I love Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson from a fantasy perspective but I don’t think I’ll get them on any of my teams this year. You are going to have to use a second or third round pick to grab them. I just can’t do it. The quarterback position remains deep and I feel I can get somewhat close to the production of both those studs with guys I get later, using a platoon method based on matchups and hot play. I really like going back-to-back with my quarterback picks, getting them in like the eighth and ninth rounds. You can get guys like Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford in those spots. Plus, I have been getting Kyler Murray at times in the seventh round. I would much rather have Murray in the seventh than Jackson in the second.
Kenyan Drake has been a target of mine in early drafts, but it seems like many are feeling the same way about him. I have seen his price continue to get higher as the season draws closer. He is getting nabbed in the first round of nearly every draft I’m in now, so if you want him, you are going to have to pay up. And I don’t have a problem getting him at the end of the second round. I think his ceiling is huge in this offense. Remember, if he plays a full season with the Cardinals last year, he finishes with more than 1,600 total yards and 16 touchdowns.
I mentioned how I believe the receiver position is really deep this year. Here are some of my mid-round targets that I think can produce big: Jerry Jeudy, Marquise Brown, Justin Jefferson, Brandin Cooks, Tyler Boyd and Preston Williams. These guys are all capable of outproducing their current ADP and can be solid fantasy options in their current situations. I have a lot of shares of these guys on my current teams.
Running back Tevin Coleman is one player I have been targeting in early drafts. You can get him in the mid to late rounds of drafts. He was a disappointment last year but for his price tag, I think he is worth the risk. Raheem Mostert is the only back ahead of Coleman on the depth chart right now. And Mostert remains unproven in my eyes, especially as a workhorse back. Coleman should get double-digit touches on a weekly basis in this offense and is an injury away from starting for one of the best run offenses in all of football.
If I can get a Zach Ertz or Mark Andrews in the sixth round, I will do it. But for the most part, that hasn’t happened much outside of a few drafts. With that said, I’m waiting on tight end, much like the quarterback spot. I will grab a couple tight ends in the middle rounds, using a platoon system for the position this year. I like the potential of some of the guys you can get later, especially players like Noah Fant, Mike Gesicki, Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle. I think you can get by with going with two of those guys instead of acting early on Travis Kelce or George Kittle. With the running back position going so early this year, I think using a second or third round pick on a tight end might be a mistake. The only way I take one of the elite tight ends early is if I have two solid backs already on my roster. You might be able to get away with that strategy since the receiver position has so many quality options this year.
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.
Five Cold Plays: Week 2
New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman was on the field for five of the 27 offensive snaps played with two receivers against the Miami Dolphins in Week 1. From 2017 to 2019, he was on the field for 41 percent of the snaps in two-receiver sets.
Fantasy Spin: One game isn't a big sample, and Edelman was still New England's most productive receiver in the opener. Fewer snaps would lead to less consistency, but Edelman is going to have WR3 potential regardless.
Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews played a career-high 71 percent of the offensive snaps against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, topping his previous high of 55 percent of the snaps.
Fantasy Spin: Andrews emerged as an elite fantasy tight end last year despite playing about half the snaps. If his increased usage from Week 1 becomes the norm, he should be a lock for top-five production.
Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett (back) is expected to play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, according to head coach Sean McVay. 'We put him as questionable, but he ended up going today,' McVay said. 'He felt good. I fully expect him to be ready to go.'
Free-agent S Doug Middleton (Titans) was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad Friday, Sept. 18.
Free-agent LB Devante Bond (Bears) and OG Dieter Eiselen (Bears) were signed to the practice squad of the Chicago Bears Friday, Sept. 18.
Cincinnati Bengals TE Mason Schreck was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Friday, Sept. 18.
Cincinnati Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah (Achilles) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Friday, Sept. 18.
Miami Dolphins WR Antonio Callaway will be eligible to return from his suspension after the Dolphins have played seven games in 2020.
New York Jets rookie running back La'Mical Perine (ankle) is questionable to face the 49ers in Week 2. Perine was limited in practice the last two days, so he has a real chance to make his NFL debut after he was inactive in the season-opener. The Jets could really use some depth with Le'Veon Bell on Injured Reserve. But even if Perine suits up on Sunday, he's unlikely to see much of a workload behind veteran Frank Gore. Plus, he'll be facing a really tough San Francisco defense after an offseason in which he didn't get many on-field repetitions.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford (neck) is listed as questionable for Week 2 against the Jets. Ford didn't practice the last two days after dealing with some neck stiffness following the season-opening loss to the Cardinals. San Francisco placed cornerback Richard Sherman on the Injured Reserve this week, so they won't be at full strength against New York. Ford had just three combined tackles in Week 1. He should be avoided in IDP leagues because of his injury, but even at less than full strength, the 49ers Defense remains a must-start fantasy defense against a Jets team that will be missing both Le'Veon Bell and Jamison Crowder.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus didn't attempt a single field goal in the 16-14 Week 1 loss to the Titans, but he did make both of his extra-point tries. McManus has a very strong leg and kicks half the time in high altitude, but he'll be on the road this week and just can't be trusted in fantasy yet while the Broncos offense tries to get in sync. Quarterback Drew Lock showed potential last week, though, and he has plenty of talented weapons to work with in 2020. The 29-year-old kicker will become a streaming option at some point this year, but it won't be in Week 2 against the Steelers, especially if wide receiver Courtland Sutton (shoulder) misses another game.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant caught five of his six targets for 81 yards and a touchdown in the Week 1 loss to the Titans, leading the team in receiving yards with Courtland Sutton (shoulder) inactive. Sutton is questionable heading into Week 2 against the Steelers, so Fant could once again be the team's leading receiver this Sunday. He'll obviously be a better upside TE1 if Sutton sits out, but at the very least, Fant will have some low-end TE1 appeal as one of quarterback Drew Lock's favorite targets. Some people believe the second-year tight end is primed for a breakout season with Lock under center for a full year.
The Denver Broncos won't have any rowdy fans to worry about on their trip to Pittsburgh in Week 2, but a healthy quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his cast of weapons will pose a big challenge to a defense missing Von Miller (ankle) for the year and cornerback A.J. Bouye (shoulder) for at least three weeks. Inside linebacker Mark Barron (hamstring) will also be out. Denver's run D didn't allow Derrick Henry to run wild last week, but their inexperienced rookie cornerbacks Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey will surely be tested by Big Ben with talented wideouts JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson leading the charge. While the Broncos Defense was worth starting last week, they should be avoided this week with key injuries mounting.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy showed off some of his trademark route-running ability and quick feet in the team's Week 1 loss to the Titans, but he also had a couple uncharacteristic drops in his NFL debut. The 21-year-old from Alabama caught only four of his eight targets for 56 yards as the team's lead wideout last Monday with Courtland Sutton (shoulder) inactive. There's a lot to like in the long-term with Jeudy in this offense, but there will continue to be some growing pains throughout his rookie campaign. He'll be a more attractive upside WR4/flex in deeper leagues if Sutton misses another game, but the matchup against the Steelers is a difficult one regardless.
Denver Broncos running back Royce Freeman will be the primary backup to Melvin Gordon in the team's Week 2 matchup against the Steelers after Denver ruled Phillip Lindsay (toe) out for the week. Freeman won't have any standalone fantasy value, though, after he saw just two touches -- a carry for no gain and a 12-yard reception -- in the second half of the Week 1 loss to the Titans when Lindsay didn't return after the first half. On top of it, Pittsburgh's rush defense was one of the best in the league last year and held Saquon Barkley down in their season opener. The 24-year-old will see more than two touches over the full game, but he should be ignored in pretty much any fantasy format.
Denver Broncos WR Courtland Sutton (shoulder) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is listed as questionable for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Sutton is expected to be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to check the inactive list. Players will need to have other options available in case Sutton is ruled out, but Sutton would be a risky option if he is active.
Updating a previous report, Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (concussion) was limited during practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is listed as doubtful for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Godwin likely will be a game-time decision, so fantasy players will need to monitor his progress during the weekend. He is a must-start option when healthy, but players should have other options available in case he is ruled out.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (hamstring) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is not on the injury report for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Evans should be more involved in the passing game this week since he was limited in Week 1 because of the hamstring injury. He should be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Houston Texans WR Will Fuller (non-injury) did not participate in practice Friday, Sept. 18, but is not on the injury report for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Fuller led the team in receptions, receiving yards and targets last week and showed good chemistry with Deshaun Watson. He will be facing a tougher opponent in Week 2 but can still be a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.
Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis (hamstring) fully participated in practice Friday, Sept. 18, and is not on the injury report for Week 2.
Fantasy Spin: Davis was upgraded during each day of practice this week and will be ready for his normal workload against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He likely will be the main option in the passing game for the Titans and can be at least a No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues.