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This ain’t no intro, this the entrée.

I’ll be honest, it took me a while to build up the energy to start this thing. I got nervous when I thought about putting fingertips to keyboard. This is the 3rd annual installment of the BDGE Bible. Typically, I black out, wake up and 5,000 words are beautifully mixed together like a 267 oz margarita from Agave. However, this summer has busted my brain wide open. I’ve never felt as confident in my POV for an upcoming season as I do with 2019. But, with that confidence comes nervousness. What if I’m wrong? Everything I thought I knew was a lie. Have I been living a lie my whole life? Why would my mom do this to me? Idk. Who gives a fuck it’s fantasy football. I’ll be going on tangents like this frequently throughout the Bible, apologies in advance. Back to the initial point, I was nervous to start because I didn’t, and I still don’t, want to disappoint y’all that are reading this and are true supporters of the brand. I promise a lot to you guys and my only goal is to back up those promises with enough value to knock you on your arse. But, here at big dogs, we don’t fight our fears, we expose them. Once you can come to terms with what it is that’s bothering you, eating away at your insides, acknowledge your insecurities and flip them upside down, turn them into positives, into a gorgeous creative outlet….. you truly start living. So, here we are. As the butterflies being to fill my sculpted six pack abdominal region, let the disappointing begin!

The tangents will be frequent, but the big facts will be frequent^3. The Bible will broken up into 6 general sections: One section for each of the following positions:

  1. Quarterback
  2. Running Back
  3. Wide Receiver
  4. Tight End
  5. D/ST & Kicker
  6. Weekly Preseason Updates

Similar to the marvelous tequila-infused cocktail pictured, the BDGE Bible is a LOT to take in. The former for your body, the latter for your mind.

If you’re reading this, we’ve crossed over into August, as a species. Good job humans. I had a serious internal debate as to whether or not I should release this behemoth of an article deeper into the preseason, around mid/late August, or at the beginning of my birthday month. Reason being is that it’s very difficult to project a fantasy football player’s outlook without seeing how their team plans to utilize them, which are why preseason games play such a massive role in fantasy drafting. Snap counts, depth charts, position battles all come to light when the NFL teams finally strap up in August. BUT, I realize that there are a lot of people that, unfortunately, draft early in the preseason – the first or second week of August. So, for those of you that find yourselves in that group, I thought it necessary to release the Bible earlier, prior to your draft, while adding in a brand new section this year:

6. Weekly Preseason Updates.

Every Wednesday morning, I’ll be releasing an updated section that’s player-centric, recapping the key highlights and takeaways from that weeks preseason’s games. This could very well be the most valuable section of the entire draft guide, so, I’m not “highly recommending” that you come back and read it on Hump day – I’m fucking demanding it.

By the end of the Big Dogs Bible, you should feel north of 107% prepared to fully zominate your 2019 fantasy football drafts. Over the next 4, 5, 8, 12,000 words, we’re going to dive deep into ALL of the trends I’ve witnessed during my personal fantasy football prep throughout the offseason. I’m not sure y’all truly understand how much prep goes into creating the sheer volume of content that’s shelled out on the youtube channel. I don’t say that to brag. I say that to let you know how big of a loser I am. Loser, in this case is a good thing. Being a loser in one field > being mediocre in multiple fields. This is the way life works. Niche down, revenue up. Fortunately for y’all, my nerdiness is focused entirely on fantasy football.

Most of this draft guide is dedicated to individual player analysis. Players to draft. Players to stay away from. Players that I might like if because I got laid the night before and woke up in a good mood. Devonta Freeman will never make that list. Devonta Freeman is the anti-sex mood as far as I’m concerned. Point being, while there will be plenty of individual player analysis in the Bible, I’m here to provide the why’s behind the who. Advice for you to carry throughout the rest of your time as a fantasy football player. As the saying goes from the Old Testament, Section 2 SZN 13:1 – “If you make a man a margarita, he will get drunk. If you teach a man how to make a margarita he’ll reside permanently in SZN.”

Rinse out your shakers, crack your tequila, cut up your limes, tuck ya shirts in, stop yelling and

Welcome to the 2019 BDGE Bible.

The streets been talking. Like B.I.G. once said “Had to re-up, see what’s up with my peeps. Big Dogs Draft Guides on the blackmarket for the cheap. See who got hurt and what beat reports was spread — Last I heard 1QB leagues was dead, with Superflex bullets to the head.” Wild that he dropped those bars back in ’94, I didn’t think Superflex was a thing yet, but alas, Biggie zigged when mfs was zagging. I wish I could sit here all day and talk about Superflex leagues, because those are the only types of leagues I play in. If you’re unfamiliar with the Superflex setting, it simply means that your starting lineup adds an additional flex spot in which a QB can be started (you can still start a WR/RB/TE if u big dumb). Virtually, it turns the league into a 2QB league, because you’re not starting your 4th string flex WR option over a QB, no matter how bad your second QB is – on a raw scale, they will outscore your WR4 – 13 times out of 10. So, let’s break the QB verse into two sections – 1QB leagues and 2QB/Superflex leagues.

Traditional 1QB Leagues

1QB leagues are simple tbh. Take em late, and take em with upside. If you’ve been playing fantasy football for longer than literally one second, you’ve heard about the late-round QB strategy. In simple terms, you wait until very late into your draft, usually double-digit rounds, to select your quarterback. The mathematics behind it are simple and justifiable – on a points per game basis, for example, the QB5 is not scoring much more than the QB12, maybe 1-2 fantasy points more per game. However, you’re likely having to select the QB5 or 6, whatever, 3, 4, 5 rounds earlier than the QB12, QB13, QB14, while at the end of the season that “early-round” QB didn’t provide much more to you than the guy you could’ve waited on. Meanwhile, the difference between say, a RB or TE you could get in the 5th or 6th round (think Hunter Henry or Rashaad Penny) compared to the RB or TE you’re getting in the 9th or 10th round (think Austin Hooper or Peyton Barber) could be the difference between a fantasy championship and missing the playoffs entirely. There’s a reason this has been so widely adopted by fantasy players, because it works. But, at what point do we decide that the strategy has gone too far?

In the graphs above, we’re looking at the average draft position (ADP) of fantasy QBs, being drafted anywhere from QB1-QB6, over the last five seasons. What you’ll notice immediately, is that in every graph the trend-line is positive, meaning that ADPs are, on average, moving higher and higher among the QB position. However, you’ll notice that the highly ranked QBs have their ADPs rapidly shooting up, meaning fantasy players are still playing catchup when it comes to those guys’ values.

I understand the appeal of owning an elite QB. But in order for me to select the first overall QB off the board, the positional advantage has to be massive. The problem with that is it’s nearly impossible to forecast who the QB1 for fantasy will be. And again, if you don’t have the QB1 on your team – which is extremely difficult to predict, the draft capital required to draft the QB1 (average ADP over the last 5 years (23.2), it’s basically a waste of a pick. You could argue that it’s easy to predict who the QB1 is. It’s Patrick Mahomes! With certainty! I’ll tell you that you’re fuckin wrong. Not about Mahomes, but about it being easy to predict. Pretty much every year we go into the fantasy season with a consensus QB1, and pretty much every season, that QB doesn’t finish as the QB1.

Fantasy players are dumb. Well, I shouldn’t say that. They just don’t think for themselves. I mean, look at the chart above. Andrew Luck finished as the QB1 in 2014, let’s draft him as QB1 in 2015. Nope, it was Cam Newton who became QB1 in 2015, let’s draft him as QB1 in 2016. Nope, it was Aaron Rodgers that became QB1 in 2016, let’s draft him as the QB1 in 2017. Russell Wilson sits atop the throne at the end of the season. Y’all get the point.

Should you draft the top overall QB in fantasy football this year? No. But, since it’s Patrick Mahomes should we reach a little higher? Also, no. You’re not going to hate owning  a top 3-5 in fantasy, but paying a 2nd-3rd round price for one means that they HAVE to hit their ceiling statistically, otherwise you get no return on value that early in the draft.

As the trend goes, we’re seeing some of early/mid-tier QBs pushed back in their ADPs. And given that, I’m starting to see them at a value. I usually hate the idea of taking a QB in the 6th, 7th even 8th round, because positionally those guys are going to perform just as well as the QB12-15, as you can see by the chart here:

However, it’s not everyday that we see the 6th-7th round reserved for our QB2, 3 and 4. We usually see the next tier of guys cement themselves where the sucker fantasy drafter will use a value-less pick on them. Andrew Luck is currently the 2nd QB off the board, at pick 60. Over the last 5 years, on average, that’s where the QB5 would be selected, and the QB2 on average gets taken at pick 32. Aaron Rodgers is the third QB off the board at pick 66, followed closely by Deshaun Watson at 68. Typically, the QB3 and QB4 get drafted at 44 and 56. Where Rodgers and Watson are getting picked, those draft spots usually belong to the QB6.

The point I’m getting at is people are getting SO invested in the late-round QBs, that they are letting the truly elite fantasy QB difference makers fall to great value in drafts. So, had I played in 1QB leagues still, I’d be slamming the DRAFT button without hesitation on either of Rodgers, Luck or Watson that fell to the 7th round, and I’d likely look for my choice of the crop in the 6th, as long as their is not a skill position (RB/WR/TE) that I absolutely love still on the board. Once, those big four are off the board, though, count me out of the QB game – because, as displayed by the chart, drafting the QB6 or QB7 50-60 picks above the QB12 or QB13 gives you only nominal returns, maybe 1.5-2 fantasy points per game.

So, where do I see the value outside of those top 4 guys? I see it in the players with upside. Upside, upside, upside. I NEVER draft for floor in a 1QB league because there’s literally no reason to play it safe. If the player you draft busts, drop his ass, hit the wire and replenish yourself like a good marg on a sunday morning. I would be hammering the following players in 1QB leagues, whoever of which goes the latest: Carson Wentz (100), Kyler Murray (103), Cam Newton (119), Lamar Jackson (139), and Dak Prescott (155). The commonality between all of them? Their rushing upside, possibly with the exception of Wentz to a degree, who we’ve already seen have top-3 fantasy upside with his arm, makes them the PERFECT 1QB late-round target.

(If I played in 1QB leagues) I’d be buying more and more into the idea of grabbing Lamar Jackson in every single fantasy draft I participated in this summer. Sure he looked like shit throwing the ball in 2018, and admittedly there’s a more than decent chance the results repeat themselves in 2019, but what Lamar Jackson did on the ground last year can NOT be understated. He literally made 7 starts at quarterback in 2018 and posted the 11th highest QB season rushing total (697) of all time. Ever. Eva. Fa eva eva. Since the year 1991, only Mike Vick, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and RGIII have had bigger single-season rushing totals at the QB position… Lamar did this in 7 games. Needless to say, he led the NFL in rushing attempts (147) and rushing yards last year. Baltimore’s QB was fantasy’s QB5 over those 7 weeks, despite averaging 159 passing yards/game and just 0.7 passing touchdowns per game. Lamar Jackson is THE perfect quarterback to draft in 1QB leagues this year. At his current price point of QB16, 149th overall you have to use almost no draft capital on him, and he’ll probably be available on a majority of waiver wires immediately following the draft. He has ALL the upside this year in today’s NFL/fantasy football world – where rushing production out of your QB is.. it, chief. If Lamar is on the field for a full 16, he’s going to shatter Mike Vick’s QB record of 1,039 rushing yards. If he doesn’t stay on the field, whatever go grab a new QB off of the wire. And get me a beer out of the fridge while you’re at it, please.

That’s the reason we shoot for upside in 1QB leagues. If things don’t work out, it’s SO easy to replenish the position from the wire. You can draft Philip Rivers and have him secure you 17 fantasy points/game, or you can experiment with the 25 points/game that Lamar Jackson might give you. If he doesn’t, you can scoop Matthew Stafford off of the wire, and guess what, he’s going to give you exactly what Rivers did, maybe more, maybe less by 0.5 point per game. Upside is the name of the game in 1QB leagues. The only situation in which my mind might change is in larger league settings, 14, 16+ teams because obviously the wire will be less fruitful, at every position. Just concrete math, the bigger the league, the less you want to rely on streaming at QB, and TE for that matter, because the fewer options you’re going to have on the wire if your plan A doesn’t pan out.

My thoughts on drafting multiple QBs in a 1QB league? It’s not ideal, because the wire is always going to be there, but I’m not going to get mad at you for taking two QBs with massive upside, you give yourself double the at bats to hit.

In terms of different league scoring settings, a few things should be noted. Mobile QBs should be your target in standard scoring leagues (4 points per passing touchdowns). However, if you play in a league in which 6 points are awarded for every passing touchdowns, it doesn’t necessarily make QBs more valuable relative to other skill players, but rankings among the QB position need to be re-arranged. A guy like Cam, or Lamar Jackson, etc. move down the board. They’re so valuable because they’re rushing stats are a sort-of cheat code in fantasy, but when your league settings skew to make passing QBs just as valuable, mobile QBs lose their edge. For example, I’ve played in a few leagues where QBs were awarded 6 points for a passing TD while being penalized -4 points for an interception (my favorite settings). In a case like this, I make it a priority to grab a super efficient QB. I don’t even think about a guy who could contend for the league-lead in interceptions – which is probably a higher number of guys than you would think. I want guys who consistently keep their INT totals in the single digits, or have high enough TD totals to which that won’t be much of an issue: Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, even Drew Brees, Dak Prescott. Conversely, I’m staying away from guys like Big Ben, Cam, Winston. The -4 penalty is massive, it automatically subtracts 100 passing yards from your QBs game-day statistics. If he has a multi-interception week? You probably lost your matchup.

One final note/tip to takeaway when it comes to ANY position that you’re streaming, is to familiarize yourself with the early-season matchups of possible streaming candidates BEFORE you enter your draft. Streaming QBs? Great. But take a look at the guys that are streaming possibilities, QB10-20, whatever you decide is the cutoff and check their Week 1, Week 2, maybe even Week 3 matchups. The last thing you want to do is to draft Derek Carr as your steaming QB (don’t ever fucking do this but just entertain me) only to realize his Week 1 matchup is against a stout Denver pass defense and 7 seconds after your draft you need to drop him and downgrade from an already less-than-stellar option (Carr) to a QB that’s on the wire and because this new QB is on the wire, he’s probably an even worse option than Derek Carr already was, considering you drafted Carr and not this other guy to begin with. Just be conscious of these things. The nature of streaming is that it’s a week-to-week game… and the first week following your fantasy draft is Week 1 so why would you look at the Week 5 schedule during the Week 4 waiver run to choose your streaming defense, but not look at the Week 1 schedule before the draft to choose your streaming option then?

Top Week 1 Streaming options at QB: Lamar Jackson (!!!) @ MIA / Kirk Cousins vs. ATL / Stafford @ ARZ (no Pat Pete). The Ravens play the Patrick Peterson-less Cardinals in Week 2 before traveling to Arrowhead in Week 3 which should be a game with more than 50 points on the scoreboard. LAMAR JACKSON IN 1QB LEAGUES THIS YEAR OR GET THE FUCK OUT!!!!!

Superflex/2QB Leagues

“Just take a quarterback late.” – Every fantasy analyst ever. – Also, me.

I’m genuinely ecstatic that Superflex is the new wave. Not because I think it’s more enjoyable (I do), but because those who use that phrase as their entire piece of analysis on QBs actually have to start doing some work. And they ain’t gonna outwork the big dog!!!!!

The notable difference in Superflex is the amount of starting quarterbacks that are going to be in fantasy lineups. The way I think of Superflex is this: If you’re in a 10-team league, at least 20 starting NFL QBs will be in fantasy lineups (2 per team). The large majority of teams will want to own a 3rd QB, just in case. So, there’s a good chance every starting NFL quarterback is going to be owned in your fantasy league. Maybe 3 or 4 of the frauds will be left floating on the wire – Eli, the MIA QBs, etc. In any Superflex league with a member-size greater than 10, there will be no starting QB’s to choose from on the waiver wire, which means you’re drafting of the QB position is as important, if not moreso, as any other skill position. Upside is fun, but it’s not AS realistic of an approach as I laid out in the 1QB section. Why? It’s simple. In a 1QB league – you draft Lamar Jackson, he sucks? Drop his ass and pick up, Kirk (QB20), Stafford (QB24), Trubisky (QB17), Josh Allen (QB19) – one, if not 3 or all 4 will be available on your league’s waiver wire. However, you draft Lamar Jackson in a superflex league and he doesn’t pan out, you’re stuck with that decision.

For that reason, I tend to knock high-upside/high-risk QBs down my rankings a bit in Superflex formats. They’re not off my board, but I need to get them at a good value in my draft in order to justify using a mid-round pick on them where you could be getting your RB2 or WR2.

Every Superflex draft is going to be DRASTICALLY different, so it’s really tough to give general advice about draft strategy. Sometimes you’ll see two, even one quarterback drafted within the first two rounds. Other times 5 or 6 will go. Much like dynasty fantasy football, Superflex is a relatively new setting that pushes people outside of their comfort zone when drafting, leading to some crazy things happening, which is what I’ve seen in nearly every SF draft I’ve been a part of. The most important thing is to read the draft. When do you predict a QB run to start? Is the QB run so heavy that people are leaving tremendous value at other positions? That’s where tiers within your rankings come into play. If Mahomes, Watson, Luck and Rodgers rip straight off the board, that doesn’t mean you need to use the 2.07 on Matt Ryan even though he’s the next QB in my rankings. The tiers let you know that his value, relative to the top 4 QBs is lower and there are skill position players that dropped (who shouldn’t have), because X number of QBs went very early.

One general strategy I tend to find myself using in nearly all Superflex drafts is to come away from your draft with a top ~8 ranked QB within the first 3 rounds, possibly 4 rounds if you think Player X will fall to you. Top 8 isn’t a hard number, just generally speaking, you want a rock solid QB1 in Superflex leagues and most of the time you’ll have to invest one of your first three picks to ensure that happening. I’m not one to use my first round pick on a QB in a Superflex league. This year I’d consider it if I’m at the 1.10-1.12 and Mahomes drops to me there, but the thought of using a top-5 pick on a QB, which is likely the investment you have to make to snag the Chiefs QB this year, is not something I want to do. I’m not in love with using my 2nd round pick on a QB just for the sake of doing it, because much like my point above about one of Watson, Luck or Rodgers falling to the 7th round in 1QB leagues, I see one of those three dropping to the third in a majority superflex drafts, and at that point I’m SMASHING the cop button. If I miss out on one of the top 4, I’m still trying to walk away from the first 3 or 4 rounds with Matt Ryan or Carson Wentz, or [insert a few more QBs that you think are on par]. That way, you’re not being held hostage to the impending QB run, and you can, as a worst case scenario, grab Kirk or Stafford as your QB2 later on. It might hurt a bit to leave a running back with RB1 upside on the board, but you need to do it in a Superflex setting.

I HATE telling people strategy based around drafting particular positions in specific rounds, like “hey nick I have the 1.08 – should I go RB/WR/WR or RB/RB/WR – like BITCH i don’t know!!! go get me a chicken sandwich and some waffle fries. for free.” It depends entirely on which players are still on the board. So, please I beg of you, don’t be that person. 

All that nonsense being said, I tend to fall into a general strategy for Superflex as I began to mention earlier – QB1 in Round 3, maybe Round 4 if you’z a risky motha sucka. I’ll start to develop a feel for when the next run of QBs will start, which is generally late 5th or early 6th and that’s when I tend to find myself taking my 2nd QB – in Rounds 6-8. The charts I posted in the 1QB section about QB FPPG helps with Superflex Leagues in terms of drafting for value with your 2nd QB. There’s an entire tier of fantasy QBs, made up of like 10-12 guys you’d be happy with as your QB2, so don’t be the guy who jumps the gun on the first QB from that tier. Instead, grab your starting TE, or your first flex player, miss out on Drew Brees or Russell Wilson and fill that QB2 slot with Dak, or Kirk Cousins (will be a highly targeted QB2 for me this year because of his floor). Because remember, at the end of the year:

 

The difference between owning QB8 and QB15 is barely more than a SINGLE fantasy point per game difference. But in superflex leagues, that patience will give you a 1-2 round cushion in your draft. In the middle rounds, that cushion can make all the difference in solidifying the core of your roster.

Back to the point of high-upside, high-risk QBs in superflex – I don’t mind targeting a Lamar Jackson if my QB1 is someone I’m extremely confident in. If Aaron Rodgers lands to me in the 3rd, I’d be feeling really good about my QB position – he gives you floor, consistency and ceiling. So, I’m more willing to risk it for the biscuit on a high-upside QB like Lamar – because if he hits, you’re likely looking at a league-winning QB stack.

What do we do after grabbing our 2nd QB. Do we target a 3rd quarterback? 

There are injuries, there will be quarterbacks that bust, there are bye weeks – you need a 3rd QB, right? Yes. 

What most people don’t take into account is that the trade value of a starting QB in a Superflex league is stupid high. Sure, this 3rd QB is insurance for your own team, but if you roster a plethora of starting QBs, people that deal with those issues listed above ^ are gonna be DESPERATE once they hit. You can draft a guy like Mitch Trubisky in the 7th, 8th, 9th round of a Superflex league, only to flip him for a former 4th or 5th round RB or WR. 

So, while you’re on the clock in the late single-digit rounds, the smart play is to grab a startable 3rd QB. You’ll be happy you did. I wouldn’t invest heavy capital on, say, 3 top-15 QBs, but if you can grab a guy like Dalton, Darnold, Derek Carr late as your QB3, you won’t regret it. If you don’t end up with a 3rd QB, it’s not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world. The great thing about the Superflex league settings, from my personal experiences at least, is that the volume of trades throughout the year are significantly higher. More variables, more players with value, more trades. In superflex, I treat my QBs the same way I treat my woman. Don’t ever put yourself in a position to be vulnerable. Don’t tell her you love her after 3 dates. Don’t put yourself in a position where you HAVE to make a losing trade because you need a second starter after your QB2 broke his collarbone. So, again, I typically side with safety in Superflex leagues for that reason. If you went risky at the QB position, definitely grab that QB3. 

One last note to leave, pertaining to PPR, vs. Half PPR vs. STD – my strategy doesn’t change much but I will knock the QB position’s value in draft capital down a bit in PPR leagues, and up a fraction in STD leagues. I don’t have math behind it but it just feels right, sort or 

Oh lawd. Running BYKES. Where do we start?

At the end of the day, or season, running backs win fantasy football leagues. I’m not sure I can remember entering a fantasy season with more “public-annointed” workhorse running backs in the NFL as 2019 is slated to have. This year alone, by FFPC ADP data, the top 12 running backs are gone in fantasy drafts by 2.07. So, after less than 1.5 rounds have gone by (non-superflex/non-TE premium) the top 12 running backs are no longer available to draft. 50% of the first three rounds, or initial 36 overall picks, are currently running backs. Again, running backs win leagues. But, they also lose leagues, because having one of your first two or three picks bust, puts you in a massive hole that you have to try climbing out of for the rest of the year – and parallel to that point – running backs bust at pretty fuggin high rate – a high enough rate that it might not be worth pulling the trigger just because you “like drafting a workhorse running back” – because the numbers show that just because you assume one to be, there’s a high probability they are in fact, big not.

I went back over the L5 years, looking at ADP data and the finishes of running backs in fantasy football relative to their ADP. On average, over the last five seasons, 50% of running backs drafted as a top-12 fantasy RB finish outside of the top-12 at the end of that year. So, 6 of the top-12 fantasy running backs this year won’t finish inside the top 12. On average, 4.2-of-12 (35%) will finish outside of the top-18. On average over 3.5 (29.6%) will finish outside of the top-24. I’d consider your top 12 drafted fantasy running back finishing anywhere outside of the top-18 RBs an absolute bust, considering the draft capital required to secure a top-12 back is monumental (first 18 picks). Some of these busts came by way of injury, others simply turned to trash and others fell fate to dreadful coaching/play-calling, falling into unnecessary, but nonetheless existent RBBCs. But these are the facts, the big facts, derived from manual research. Straight from my fingertips.

FFPC July ADP (1QB)

By this point you know specifically which guys I like/dislike based off of my must-draft list, my sleepers, busts and our countless YouTube videos. For the majority of players, the way your 2019 team should be constructed will be based off which draft spot you’re picking from in your specific fantasy draft. If you’re in the top of your draft, good for you. Don’t hesitate, you draft one of: Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara (I can’t put David Johnson in here fuck u) and you don’t think twice. However, if you can’t secure the bag on one of these studs, the best move, in my opinion, is to pivot. The rest of the backs who looked juicy back in January (we gone forever refer to January as Juicy January henceforth) are looking more like Snacks’ ass than actual snacks, Let’s break them down:

  • Todd Gurley – has the knee of a 65-year old tennis player
  • Melvin Gordon – trying to secure the bag, and likely to miss 8 games in doing so
  • Joe Mixon – will be running behind a high school offensive line again thanks to injuries
  • Dalvin Cook – a 208-lb running back with an injury resume likely to impress Sean Lee
  • James Conner – play dipped over the 2H of 2018 and might see a dip in receiving with Jaylen Samuels end-of-season involvement

It’s a fucking mess. So, my strategy after the top backs are off the board is to, at the least secure one elite WRs, more likely two. I’m not going to be mad at you for grabbing one of these backs with your second pick after taking Davante Adams, or D-Hop, Julio, etc. You do want to shoot for upside in your fantasy drafts, but I suggest doing so later on (4-5th round+). Make sure that your best players, the ones that you are projecting to account for 50, 60, 70% of your team’s weekly fantasy points, are actually going to do so. Knowing the bust rate for early-round running backs, which we’ve gone ahead and established earlier, is key to understanding why you shouldn’t force your hand on a running back because of “upside”. Downside is a very real and dangerous thing, too.

Obviously, every one reading this is going to have slightly different opinions on individual players. I’m sure a lot of you will place David Johnson amongst the elite fantasy running backs. I feel it deep down in my black fuckin soul that he’ll end up there for me, too. The new high-paced offensive scheme combined with his freakish athleticism screams BOUNCE BYKE. David Johnson reminds me of my ex-girlfriend tho. Broke my fuggin heart. But made me a better person because of it. I learned a lot about myself, about fantasy, about things that matter and what’s truly important. I learned that I’d never date another Spanish girl with a big butt again. Until I met Kiara. Fuck. I did it again. And I’m about to do it again with David Johnson, aren’t I? What was I saying. Oh, right. We’re going to have different players in different tiers and brackets, and that’s what makes fantasy football so fun – my word, while it is the Bible, it’s not the only information you should consume. If you think Mixon is on the verge of breaking into the upper-echelon but you’re hesitant to take him with the 8th pick because the BDGE rankings place him 12th overall, I literally want you to open up your email inbox right now. I want you to click “compose new email”. In the “To” box, type: nick@bigdogsfantasy.com. The subject line – “fuck u” – and I want you to tell me that you’re fading me and my rankings and you’re getting your guy!!! I want you to tell me that you’re drafting Joe Mixon at the 1.08. And I’ll be ecstatic. I’ll have a big smile on my face. Because I’m going to reply and say: YOU’RE A FUCKIN MORON!!!!!!! jajajajaja

On the real though. After those top 4-5 guys are gone, I don’t imagine myself taking any running back in the next tier over the elite pass-catchers: Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Tyreek Hill, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Thomas. I’m not worried about the risk involved in owning a single one of those guys on my fantasy team this year. That list is virtually void of red flags. The running backs in this range all have question marks. Big ones. Big Q Marks Only. BQMO. Higher upside? Maybe, but peppered with red flags: injury risk, questionable involvement in the passing game, RBBC, etc. I’ll be the first one to mention that I HATE leaving my draft without a stud RB. Who the fuck wants to draft two wide receivers off the rip. Typically, I agree, but I see a beautiful handful of running backs typically available in the 3rd-4th rounds that offer arguably the same upside as some of those mid 2nd-rounders, with less risk given the less expensive draft capital they require to invest. I mean, fuck, Marlon Mack, Damien Williams, Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry and Kerryon Johnson are all 3rd-4th rounders. Imagine starting your draft off with Julio, Odell, Aaron Jones and Kerryon? Bahgawd.

In relation to PPR leagues or leagues where you have to start 3 WRs, and I’m drafting at the back end of the first round, I’m doubling-down on those elite WRs

Since writing that part ^^^ we’ve seen too many variables enter the equation. Andrew Luck’s calf strain looks to be something (that could be) significant. If he misses time, obviously Marlon Mack’s value is down the shitter. Both Damien Williams and Aaron Jones are dealing with hamstring issues, while Derrick Henry’s injury locates itself a littler farther south on his calf. These aren’t physically significant injuries, but we see time and time again, athletes push themselves too hard, too early which LEADS to significant injuries. It was all good just a week ago… These are situations to keep a very close eye on. We want these guys to rest, for 3, 4, even 5 weeks and get a couple of full practices in before the season kicks off to ensure they’re indeed 100%. For now, we’re going to keep them in the 3rd/4th round as fantastic value/upside picks, but their injury risk is going to be elevated for the time being.

Again, I try to keep the bible to more strategical analysis since there are plenty of individual player analysis articles in the draft guide that cover guys I like/hate, but……

I would never suggest a Zero RB strategy, but shit happens, and if it does, make sure you’re targeting a mix of floor RBs with second half of the season high-upside backs – which usually come in the form of rookies. If you went Zero RB, it typically means you’re going to be getting a shitload of points from your WRs, TE and QB. So, while you obviously want production from RBs, you don’t need them to hit the ceiling in the same way that someone who used their 1st or 2nd round pick on a running back. So, even guys you know will give you 5-6 points/week are important: think Jordan Howard, Adrian Peterson (depending on Guice’s health), Dion Lewis, Peyton Barber. You need points from those guys. So, have them be a staple for the early part of your season. Maybe you can find a waiver wire gem early, but if not, that’s why you draft for the second half of the year. Miles Sanders, Devin Singletary, even Derrius Guice as he keeps falling – these guys, in ambiguous backfields who will almost certainly be splitting snaps to begin the season, but have legit RB1 upside in their backfield by mid-October/November. You can’t go strictly upside on your later-round RBs if you avoid backs early in your draft because you’ll end up fucking yourself over, those high-upside late-round backs always have non-existent floors. It is two sides of the same coin. It’s a fun, but unrealistic strategy.

Ultimately, you want to leave the first 4 rounds with two backs, because there are maybe 4 or 5 total backs being drafted outside of the the first 5 rounds that could realistically produce top-15 (non injury-dependent) fantasy numbers: Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman, Derrius Guice, and Miles Sanders. Probably a couple of others, but that’s about it – to DEPEND on that happening is a horrible strategy. An ideal team, as mentioned before would be something like Julio, Odell, Kerryon and Marlon Mack. Is that realistic? In July it was. In August/September, it probably won’t be, but idk. The (likely) rise in ADP from these 3rd/4th round picks to the 2nd/3rd round make it riskier to fade the RB position altogether in the first two rounds – and almost stupid given that using simple math – RBs ADPs rising = even more value at WR in the 3rd/4th/5th round of drafts.

Just writing that last paragraph got me big mad about having to draft in the later part of the first round. If you have an early pick, grab your Kamara in the first, then Cook, Chubb or Mixon in the second and you’re good. If you’re in a standard scoring league – fuck it – triple down – Zeke/Cook/Mack. Then, hammer away at those pass catchers like you’re Johnny Sins. It’s what he would do. When I’m in a pickle no pun intended I ask myself WWJSD? What Would Jesus Sins Do? And my nerves settle.

I’m okay leaving my draft with two, even three more wide receivers on my roster than running backs. The value in the later rounds of drafts this year is in the wide receivers. Any running back you’re getting in the 8th+ round is a LONG shot to hit. We’re talking about handcuffs, 2nd if not 3rd string players who you “subjectively like”. It’s very possible that some of these late round guys break onto the scene, but if they do, it’s almost guaranteed it happens later on in the year, 3-4 weeks into the season at the earliest. Which means, they’ll likely be on the waiver wire. Let someone else draft Ronald Jones, D’Onta Foreman, Damien Harris in the 9th round, and instead grab Keke Coutee, Curtis Samuel, DeSean Jackson. Those RBs aren’t doing shit for the first two, three weeks of the season and their owners are more than likely going to drop them for the shiny new prize on the waiver wire. So, instead of not only sinking draft capital into these guys, but also the opportunity cost of using a bench spot on them knowing they aren’t going to produce early in the season comes baked in. There is a fine line to walk with this strategy, however. For example, a guy like Miles Sanders, who is destined to be a mid-late year breakout, likely won’t be available on the wire. Someone who invests in him is likely to hold onto him, eating that sunk cost throughout, with the end of goal of him being a fantasy stud down the line, in mind. I’m okay with investing in one guy, MAYBE two depending on your league’s bench size that you know you’re going to have to wait on – but I’d rather have one of these young wide receivers who can show us early on that their breakout szn is upon us

Let’s talk handcuffs for a second. In order for me to consider taking a handcuff, they have to meet two criteria:

  1. Draft capital invested cannot be before Round 12
    • If you’re investing any sort of single-digit round draft capital into a player, you should be expecting fantasy production out of the gate: high-upside, breakout wide receivers or your starting quarterback in 1QB leagues (QB3 in Superflex).
  2. Must be the clear-cut, step-right-in backup
    • I don’t want a backup running back who is in a committee. Christian McCaffrey gets hurt? Good luck figuring out whether you should own Cameron Artis-Payne, Jordan Scarlett, fucking Elijah Holyfield’s goober ass. The answer is no. None.

I decided to leave out my third bullet point – must be on a good team – because if I draft Joe Mixon this year, I’m likely snagging Gio Bernard in the 14th or 15th round. Gio has been a fantastic player for the Bengals throughout his tenure in Cincy dating back to 2013. In Mixon’s two missed games last year, Gio averaged 18 touches/game and was fantasy’s RB9 in both weeks (Weeks 3-4). I also tend to fade any handcuff for a running back that wasn’t drafted, at the latest, in the first two rounds of your fantasy draft. Speaking more distinctly, here’s a list of the running backs being drafted inside the top 2 rounds, who I’d project to be the top handcuff/backup and whether or not I’d draft them:

  • Saquon Barkley: Wayne Gallman – No
  • Christian McCaffrey: Jordan Scarlett – Hell no
  • Ezekiel Elliot: Tony Pollard – Yes, but very late. Keep an eye on Mike Weber, who fits their typical RB build but has been dealing with an injury this summer.
  • Alvin Kamara: Latavius Murray – Not a handcuff
  • David Johnson: Chase Edmonds – Yes
  • Le’Veon Bell: Elijah McGuire – No
  • James Conner: Jaylen Samuels – Yes (ADP too early for handcuff doe)
  • Joe Mixon: Gio Bernard – Yes
  • Todd Gurley: Darrell Henderson – No + too early for handcuff | Malcolm Brown – Yes
  • Dalvin Cook: Alexander Mattison – Yes, if he falls 13+ rounds
  • Nick Chubb: Duke Johnson (?) – No
  • Damien Williams: Carlos Hyde – Would prefer Darwin Thompson five rounds later

Alright, let’s try to wrap up this absolute mess of a running back section with completely unorganized thoughts and scattered big facts. Depending on your draft position, and depending on all of the severity of these 3rd round running back hamstring injuries, we can get a good idea of a positional targets inside the first 3-4 rounds. If you’re picking in the top part of the first round – nail that elite running back. There’s no bigger advantage in all of fantasy football than owning a top-5 fantasy running back. In the second round, I’d likely snag a second running back to pair with your initial stud, 1. because why not, what’s better than one elite RB, two. 2. because there’s almost no tier value at the back-half of the 2nd round when it comes to WRs – Mike Evans is the only guy I’m looking at that’s consistently falling to the 2.07-2.11 range so I’d be fine with that. If you’re picking outside of the top-5 picks, things start to get dicey. I’m likely pulling the trigger on a top-tier WR here, but in the 2nd round, you’re going to have a bit of a tougher decision to make. I think this is where knowing your league becomes extremely important. Are they sharp? Do they pay attention to injuries throughout the summer? Is someone a fan of a certain team and more likely to reach for that player? Did someone own a guy last year that you know they love and will likely target again this year? These are all things to consider when you’re deciding what you want to do in the 2nd round. If you believe that you’ll be able to grab KJ, Aaron jones, Mack, etc. in the 3rd round, it should make you more confident doubling-down on the stud wideouts with your first two picks. If you feel more secure anchoring your team with a legit RB1, than pair Julio with Chubb, or Mixon. Admittedly, if you’re drafting at the back end of the first round, this latter strategy is probably your best bet because that also means you’ll be drafting at the back-end of the 3rd round, meaning those questionable 3rd round backs are less likely to be available for you.

A common fallacy we often hear in fantasy football is that early-round wide receivers are much safer than early round running backs. In the running back verse, we found out that on average, over the last five seasons, 50% of running backs drafted as a top-12 fantasy RB finished outside of the top-12 at the end of that year. So, 6 of the top-12 fantasy running backs this year won’t finish inside the top 12. On average, 4.2-of-12 (35%) finished outside of the top-18. On average over 3.5 (29.6%) will finish outside of the top-24.

What does that look like at the wide receiver position? Over the last five years, on average, 5.4 fantasy WRs who were selected as a top-12 fantasy did not finish as a top-12 fantasy WR that year. On average, 4.2-of-12 (35%) finished outside of the top-18 and on average 3.2-of-12 finished outside of the top-24.

The numbers are strikingly similar. The top-12 fantasy wideouts favored wide receivers, as did the finishing inside the top-24, so you can say with a slightly favorable tone that a top-12 drafted WR is more likely to finish inside the top-12 than an RB, and that a top-12 drafted WR has a higher floor (more likely to finish inside the top-24 at their position) than the running back.

A few takeaways I had from this statistical gathering, however. The large majority of busts at the WR position were due to injuries, and the players that suffered injuries were typically inside the top-12, or top-18 in fantasy points per game. At the running back position, there are way more options available to bust – RBBCs, not playing on 3rd downs, injuries, holdouts, etc. While you definitely can’t predict injuries, this probably tells us that we should avoid wide receivers who are more at-risk for injuries because, for the most part, if he doesn’t get hurt, that WR will put up good if not great fantasy production for you

The other thing to consider is the draft capital invested. Sure, on a 1-to-1 scale, if you asked me if I’d rather have a top-12 fantasy running back or a top-12 fantasy wide receiver, I’m taking the ball carrier no questions. However, their prices are rarely aligned. The elite running backs get drafted first, the elite wide receivers last until the end of the round.

By pick 20, only six wide receivers are off the board, meanwhile, double (12) the number of running backs have been drafted.

When your third round concludes, 18 RBs will have been drafted, but only 14 wide receivers. So, is there an argument to be made that running backs are, indeed, as safe as wide receivers? Maybe (WRs have a very slight edge). But you don’t have to invest as much draft capital and it maybe be easier (my opinion) to spot which WRs will be those who bust given the busty ones cum by way of injury. To get specific to 2019 – I’m looking at Odell, T.Y., Diggs – you can check out the WR injury report page to get a better feel for who the actual Doc is nervous about in 2019.

What does all that have to do with 2019 fantasy football. I have no idea tbh, just thought you might find it interesting. Whatever. fuc u guys.

FFPC July ADP (1QB)

Early running backs. Early-mid WRs. Mid-round TEs/QBs. Smash WRs late.

As I get further and further down this article, one that’s based on general draft strategy for 2019, this roster configuration seems to be your best bet. It’s not black and white, but that’s were the values are taking into consideration where positional drop-offs take place.

Your league scoring settings will factor in to how you approach the early rounds (and later to extent) of your draft. If you’re in a full PPR league, I’m going to smash the draft button on two elite WRs if I’m at the backend of the 1st round. If you’re in a standard league, you’re going to favor running backs more. I might still draft an elite WR, but I’m definitely coming away from the first two rounds with at least one running back. Half PPR (the setting I use for all of my leagues) is where you should play the board and the value. I have the 7th, maybe 8th overall pick in my high-stakes season-long league this year which is half ppr, I’m looking to grab either Adams or Hopkins assuming they fall to me and Cmac, Barkley, Zeke, Kamara, DJ (🤮) are off the board. This is only a 10-team league, so keep that in mind. If I’m the 7th pick, there’ll be 6 picks before my next pick. If Mixon and Cook, (Chubb is already being kept) are taken, I’m not going to reach for the next running back, whoever that may be – Le’Veon, Mack, etc. –  for the sake of doing it. I’ll likely play the board and snag another top elite WR. I do have the luxury of keeping either Kerryon or Aaron Jones for a double-digit round pick, which obviously boosts my RB situation and gives me a little bit more security if I fade the position early on. My ideal situation would be drafting Davante Adams at the 1.07 or 1.08 and have Mixon fall to me in the 2nd. 

Another huge factor going for me, which you all need to take into consideration throughout your drafts is that between my first and second round pick, the only two league-mates drafting are Snacks and my friend Chris who is a Chiefs fan. So, it probably won’t work out perfectly, but, I know Snacks does NOT like Mixon, he loves Dalvin so I’m assuming he goes with a combo of Hopkins and Cook (he’s also the one that gets to keep Chubb). If things work out the way I think they will, the Chiefs fan picking on the turn will double-down on his squad with the Mahomes/Kelce stack (this is a Superflex), leaving me with Joe Mixon. But, because that’s how I want things to happen, Adams and Hopkins will get drafted at 1.06 and 1.07 and I will have to take Jabrill Peppers.

If I can grab Adams and Mixon, along with keeping KJ or AJ, I’ll be able to load up on WR talent afterwards because……

Everyone falls in love with running backs. It’s the majority of hype we hear from camp. This guy dropped 42 pounds of PURE FAT while simultaneously GAINING 16LBS OF DIESEL MUSCLE it’s a fucking human MIRACLE!!!! It’s not possible, but somehow running backs have been doing it for years! What a time to pretend to want to be alive!

With that hype comes unnecessary risk in drafting running backs, leading to immense value at the WR position. I mean HOLY SHITE. Look at the 4th round of fantasy drafts right now. The WRs getting drafted from picks 36-48: Stefon Diggs, Julian Edelman, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Kenny Golladay. The RBs getting drafted from picks 36-48: Josh Jacobs, Phillip Lindsay, David Montgomery, Mark Ingram, James White. WTF are we doing here? Those wideouts are like the elite tier lite. You can have your choice of how you want your team to be constructed. You want a safe floor? Edelman and Woods are there for the taking. You want a player that’s the clear-cut WR1 in his offense? Golladay and a good day to you, sir. You want an explosive young wideout, whose floor is 80+ receptions and 1,000 yards, and whose ceiling we have not even seen yet? Both Diggs and Cooks fit the bill. But those RBs? All in legitimate committees, or one-dimensional, or on shitty offenses, like come on now. Now, I do likely want to an elite WR to anchor my team, especially if I’m drafting at the back-end of the 1st round, but you could potentially still go TE-RB, or RB-RB, or even RB-RB-TE OR EVEN RB-RB-RB and still build your WR group to be ridiculously consistent. The same way I explained 0RB holds true for 0WR – you want a mix of guys that you KNOW will fill those WR slots with points weekly. Whether you’re at the beginning or end of the round, grabbing at least one RB in the first two rounds is a smart move this year, because you can still wind up with a WR group of:

– WR1: Julio/JuJu/OBJ/MT
– WR2: Cooks/Woods
– WR3: Boyd/Moore/Robby A/Pettis

If you go RB heavy, early, you don’t have to invest much in the position later on in the draft, which enables you to absolutely STACK up the value at WR in Rounds 8-11 which consist of some of my absolute FAVORITE targets

Keke Coutee: I’m not sold on Will Fuller being 100% for the season after suffering an ACL tear mid-way through 2018. Coutee should be in line for an underratedly high volume role in a great offense, with a great QB.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling: He’s earned the WR2 role in …. stop me if you’ve heard this before …. a great offense, with a great QB. Would I be upset if I ended up with Geronimo Allison over MVS? Like Drake. But the way ADP’s are moving, it’s looking like Allison might be a round or two cheaper come draft day. Allison is just a guy from an athletic and production standpoint, who is benefiting from being in a prolific offense. MVS is actually an upper-tier athlete (4.37 speed – 6’4-206) who is built to thrive in a downfield Aaron Rodgers led passing attack. He has legit top-20 fantasy upside this year.
Curtis Samuel: I didn’t love him heading into the summer, but maaaaan, the hype on Samuel is NO JOKE coming out of Panthers camp this summer. Matt Harmon of Yahoo, who does Reception Perception charting wide receivers and their success on all different types of routes and versus coverages pegs Samuel as the next Stefon Diggs from a pure technical route-running standpoint. Everything from Panthers camp has echoed his thoughts to a tee. Will the volume and/or consistency be there? I’m not sure, but the same exact question holds true for D.J. Moore – so, for a 3-4 round discount, I’m looking at Samuel as the Panthers WR to own who could sneakily lead this team in targets in 2019.

The list goes on – most of which you can find in the Top Sleepers article, but the point is that the value is there at WR, not at RB. I stated previously, I’m perfectly fine leaving my draft with 2-3 more WRs on my roster than RBs. The waiver wire replenishes itself with running backs weekly, but we get a good feel for what those late-round WRs mean to their team very early on. We’ll know if Curtis Samuel is a 60% snap guy or 85% snap guy by Week 3, at the latest. Alternatively, what are you going to sit on backup running backs hoping for an injury? Those guys will find themselves on the wire sooner rather than later and you’ll have the opportunity to snag them instead of using draft capital on them.

With all that said, I’ll leave you with this: It wouldn’t consider escaping the first two rounds of your fantasy draft with a high-end WR1, but it’s not a necessity either, because the best source of value at the wide receiver position seems to be in rounds 3-4, and then again towards the later single-digit rounds. It’s up to you decide how comfortable you feel about those value picks breaking out. Luckily, you can play the numbers game, draft a bunch of them and fuck ur league up.

This year’s biggest question at the tight end position is how early is TOO early to draft Travis Kelce. It’s a question that impacts every single person, because unless you’re picking at the end of a 14+team league, you will have an opportunity to own Kelce this year. This question is super tricky. SSX tricky. Sick bruh.

My answer is that after the first four running backs are off the board, Travis Kelce should 1000% be in the argument at 1.05. The positional advantage he gives you at the TE position is insurmountable. If you’re playing in a TE premium league, Kelce is my 1.05. He’ll outscore every fantasy WR in this type of format. But he’s fantastic in all formats, regardless. The reason that the question becomes so tricky is because we all know the value of having him in your lineup, however, what happens to your lineup once you choose to draft Kelce over a running back or wide receiver? From a value and statistical standpoint, Kelce is worth every ounce of a first round pick. He’s the top target (25% target share) for the league’s best statistical QB, in the league’s highest-scoring offense (34.8 PPG) and has played in 79-of-80 games over the last five seasons. If i had made this argument for any WR:

In the running backs verse of the Bible, we went over the fact that there is very little running back value outside of the top 4-5 rounds, soon-to-be top 3 rounds almost exclusively. I have a few thoughts when it comes to whether or not I’d draft Kelce this year, depending on league type, scoring, draft type:

  • I’m fully on board with Kelce being drafted in the first round of typical, snake fantasy drafts this year. Just not by me. I’ve found that I don’t love the way my roster turns out when I invest in tight ends very early.
  • I would be more prone to drafting Kelce in the second round IF I was able to secure an elite RB in Round 1 because the WR depth in the mid-to-late rounds (~3-5 and ~8-11) is so great this year.
  • Kelce is a GREAT, possibly the GOAT target in auction drafts because you can still get whoever tf you want at running back and hammer the value at WRs.
  • If I end up selecting a WR with my first pick, I will almost definitely be looking elsewhere, outside of Kelce, with my next pick because you’re going to be farked at RB if you don’t invest into the position early.

Enough Kelce talk. Next in line come Georgie Kittle and Zach Ertz. Kittle is my guy in 0.5 ppr and standard leagues, Ertz takes the crown as TE2 in full PPR leagues. Regardless, I won’t touch either of them in the 2nd round, where I’ve routinely seen them being drafted this summer. If the 2nd round is the earliest I’m targeting Kelce, than these two are third round picks at the earliest. You’re probably saying to yourself, “But Nick, I’ve watched all of your bestball drafts this year and you’re always raving about drafting one of these guys in the 3rd”. You would not be lying. And neither was I. But that’s bestball – where you can draft 7 running backs and the DRAFT software automatically starts the highest scoring weekly players to put into your lineup. That ain’t the case in season-long leagues. For the same point I made with Kelce, I’m shying away from Kittle and Ertz in redraft at their current late 2nd/3rd round price – I want running backs and I want wide receivers in those early rounds.

One thing we (should) know, is that we don’t know shit. And this is helpful when it comes to drafting tight ends in fantasy football this year. The reason that I’m okay leaving my draft without Kelce, Ertz or Kittle is the same reason that most people are not. They think the TE position in fantasy holds little-to-no value outside of these players. Admittedly, I have them in a tier (or two) ahead of the rest of the pack, but just because it happened last year doesn’t mean nothing changes in 2019. It certainly will. The fact that everyone “knows” these are the only elite tight ends means that it’s not true. That’s what I mean by we don’t know shit. I don’t know exactly what I should know, but I know what not to know. You know?

The middle-tier of tight ends was almost non-existent last year. Hunter Henry got hurt. O.J. Howard was still only in his second year, coming back from the I.R. and splitting time with Cameron Brate. Jimmy Graham was the easiest fade since Eddie Lacy. There were a few vets who got hurt almost immediately (Delanie Walker + Greg Olsen). All-in-all, the tight end position got fucked last year. Which means it’s almost definitely not going to be in 2019 – so draft accordingly. 

So, my plan this year is to grab one of the next 5 tight ends off the board. There is O.J. Howard, Hunter Henry and Evan Engram in tier #2. Howard is ready to break the fuck out – he’s been one of the most efficient fantasy TEs since entering the NFL. DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries opens up tons of targets both over the middle and down the seam, while his injury risk is not as high as most would think, according to Dr. Morse. That makes him a prime candidate to enter that upper echelon tier of fantasy TEs. Hunter Henry likely would have done so had last year’s ACL tear not derailed him. But he’s back and ready to roll as a centerpiece of an offense who will likely be a bit more pass-heavy if they don’t ink something with their star running back Melvin Gordon. With Golden Tate suspended for the first four games of 2019 and Sterling Shepard (possibly) dealing with a thumb injury that could hamper his early-season output, Engram should fire right out of the gate, similar to how we saw him finish last year with game-logs of: 3-77/8-75/6-87/5-81-1. You could argue Evan Engram should top this list because he’s arguably the Giant’s top option in the passing game, but the tie-breaker for me, when drafting almost any position is the overall offense. I’ll take TB’s or LAC’s passing game over the NYG like I’ll take ya money from your door and smack you out in public. RIP mac miller. Engram gets a boost in PPR leagues, which you can find in my rankings, but I like all three of these guys a lot, and would be perfectly comfortable with them in my lineup this year, so, whichever of them falls to the best value is who I’ll likely scoop. Howard is listed in my must-draft players, but if I had 3 fantasy drafts and had the option of taking each of these guys once, I would diversify. If you love Howard, grab him in the 5th. If you don’t see much of a gap between the three, grab whichever of the latter two drops to you in the 6th, even 7th.

I’d hope you grabbed one of those 6 guys at this point, but if you didn’t Jared Cook should be your 8th round target. He’s essentially the second target in this passing game, beyond the line of scrimmage (how to finesse Alvin Kamara out of the argument 101). They’re going to be in the redzone a ton, he’s coming off of a career-year, and we’ve seen what this offense can produce with a talented tight end (Jimmy Graham back before he was Jimmy Whosemans). After Cook, we have Vance McDonald, who a lot of people including myself really like and Eric Ebron. I loved Vance in the 10th. He’s now a 7th-8th round pick which I can’t get onboard with while Henry or Engram are available a round earlier, Cook at the same price and knowing his injury history (entering 7th NFL season, yet to play a full 16) and total lack of consistent production (20% of his fantasy production last year came on the Chris Conte stiff-arm play).

Maybe Kelce in the 2nd. Kittle or Ertz in the 4th. Howard/Engram/Henry in the 5th/6th/7th or Cook in the 8th. I’m laying out the plan my guys. I’m assuming you didn’t listen to me if you’ve read this far. It’s messy. A lot of fun names, with good but not great production, good athleticism scores, but who likely won’t do shit in 2019. If you happen to miss out on the previously named players you want a floor. If you’ve ever found yourself streaming the tight end position, which I’m sure most of you have, tbh I’d rather have gonorrhea. At least the embarrassment is hidden and not displayed weekly in the form of 1.6 fantasy points.

So, if you miss on the top 8 guys, don’t draft Dallas Goedert having wet dreams about an Ertz injury. He’ll give you 0.0 fantasy points as often as he’ll give you 7. We want guys that we KNOW are going to be on the field for 65%+ of the snaps and involved by the redzone. You might like Austin Hooper, but he has no ceiling and I’d argue he has the same weekly floor as a guy like T.J. Hockenson who you could get 4 rounds later. Tbh. Just fuckin draft T.J. Hockenson if you miss on all of the top tight ends. And please, please don’t waste your time on these veteran tight ends who are always injured and/or coming off of serious injuries – I guaran-dam-tee you it will be a waste of a pick. I’m looking at you: Greg Olsen, Delanie Walker, Tyler Eifert, Jordan Reed. Reed is the only one I’d consider VERY late – this is the first summer in a LONG time that he hasn’t had surgery and is rehabbing throughout training camp. Shit might be looking good! But still probably not.

Alright we done with the tight ends. I’m done with this section.

The year is 2023.

The BDGE Team and Nick have a monopoly on fantasy football.

Our reach is wide and our audience vast.

What we say goes. Our word is the bible.

And because of that, there is not a single fantasy football league on the planet that uses kickers or defense.

The year is 2019 and most of you c*nts still have one, if not both of these positions still very much integrated into your fantasy football league’s starting lineups. But hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game. Still got a lot of love for you even if I have none for the kicker and D/ST position.

D/ST

You need to understand this, first and foremost. One of the most difficult things to do in the NFL, particularly in fantasy football, is to repeat as an elite fantasy defense. This is a stat that I found and posted in last year’s draft guide, but recently heard repeated by Andy Holloway on one of the Footballer’s most recent podcasts:

Over the last 10 seasons, there has been ONE defense that was drafted inside the top-5 fantasy defenses that finished the year inside the top-5 fantasy defenses.

LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BYKE 🗣🗣I REPEAT:

Over the last 10 seasons, there has been ONE defense that was drafted inside the top-5 fantasy defenses that finished the year inside the top-5 fantasy defenses.

How is that possible? It’s because, like quarterbacks, and like you’re about to find out with kickers, fantasy defenses finish the season within fractions of points of each other in fantasy points per game. The thing that usually anchors the top fantasy defenses? Touchdowns. Defensive/return touchdowns are entirely, and impossibly unpredictable. The top five fantasy defenses last year averaged exactly five defensive/return touchdowns. Of the remaining 27 NFL teams, two of them reached the 5-touchdown threshold. Of the top 5 fantasy defenses, which I won’t name to takeaway any bias you may have, they ranked 27th, 5th, 18th, 24th and 1st (yeah we know Chicago was really good) in points per game allowed to their opponents – meaning, the best fantasy defenses are very rarely the best NFL defenses and are almost always skyrocketed up the rankings by defensive & return touchdowns which are entirely unpredictable – so, I will leave you with saying that the 2nd to last round of your draft should be the ONLY round you even consider drafting a fantasy defense – this is assuming your league has kickers which is what the last round is reserved for.

Having said all that, I actually like D/ST because over the last couple of years I’ve come across a formula, a “cheat code” of sorts that will give you a weekly advantage at the D/ST position. I’ve personally used this streaming strategy in virtually every one of my fantasy leagues for the past two seasons and at the end of the year I have a top-5 combined fantasy defense at a near 100% hit rate. To choose your streaming defense for the week, you want to be able to cross off the following:

  1. They are favored to win their actual NFL game
    • Why would you start a defense that’s projected to lose their game? The bigger the spread, the better the choice.
  2. They are playing at home
    • Home field advantage is a real thing. There’s a reason why the spreads shift a full 3 points on the road, 0 points at a neutral location, and 3 points in favor of the home team. People underestimate how big of an advantage playing at home is – from a real life standpoint. The players get to sleep at home, get into their routine, be with their family all week, the crowd is behind them, etc.
  3. Projected Low Point Total
    • Dipping our toes back in Vegas, we want to look at the projected over/under for the game. A lower point total means less fantasy points deducted for points allowed by your fantasy defense. The lower the total, the better the choice.

There will be plenty of weeks where you’ll use the criteria listed above to narrow down your streaming options and find multiple teams to choose from. There’s a few ways I tend to tiebreak: Choose the defense that’s actually good in real life. Doesn’t have to be difficult. Also factor other things into your decision like injuries, is there a backup QB playing, or a rookie QB, or are one of the QBs more turnover prone than the others? Most of that stuff will be factored into the Vegas Line (spread) for that game so you don’t have to think much about it, but these are things to keep in mind.

How exactly do you find this information? You can literally Google “Week 1 NFL Vegas lines” and find it in 5 seconds. Or you can go here to ESPN’s schedule page and find the lines listed next to any individual game:

In this case, “EVEN” means no team is favored. And the projected point total for these two teams is 34.5 – ewwwww. In today’s NFL, anything in the 30’s is considered an extremely low point total, low 40’s is on the borderline too. Once you approach the 50’s you should likely stay away unless it’s projected to be a completely one-sided affair: I.E. the over/under for any Kansas City game is likely to be around 52, at the lowest, but they’ll be projected to win by double-digit points in many of those games – so, they could very well be good streaming options. All-in-all, if you stick to the criteria originally listed, you should be straight. It doesn’t guarantee an optimal performance week-over-week, but by year’s end you’ll have more than sufficient fantasy numbers from your defensive position while having to do little-to-no work.

Like I mentioned with QBs – drafting your defense (assuming I’ve convinced you to stream) should be based entirely on Week 1 matchups. The top options are: 

1. PHI (-8.5 at home vs. WAS – 46 o/u)
2. SEA (-9.5 at home vs. CIN – 43 o/u)
3. DAL (-7.5 at home vs. NYG – 46.5 o/u)

All three teams are more than touchdown favorites, at home with a relatively low over/under against weak offenses. How would I choose between the three, assuming I have my choice? I would then look at all three of their Week 2 matchups. Who would I not have to drop? The Vegas lines for Week 2 aren’t released yet but we can take an educated guess as to our best bet. Seattle plays on the road, cross-country in Pittsburgh so that’s a hard no. The Eagles play on the road in Atlanta, also likely a no. Dallas will take on its divisional foe in Washington. They’ll likely be favorites against mediocre, if not rookie QB so I like their matchups, but to be honest, I really like the Eagles this year as a team (and fantasy defense), so with Dallas being on the road in Week 2, that matchup is not enticing enough to take them over PHI. So, PHI looks like my favorite streaming option in 2019 fantasy football option in your draft. You will have to swap them out for Week 2, however.

One more side note that you might find interesting. I am perfectly okay rostering multiple defenses, ESPECIALLY over the 2H of the year and I almost insist that you do it for the last few weeks of the season/into the playoffs. I legitimately housed 3 defenses at once in a league last year to make sure I had top streaming options for Weeks 14, 15 and 16. By that time in the year, the waiver wire is much less important. Players aren’t breaking out, roles have been decided and injuries are much less frequent – they obviously still occur, but the beginning of the year is officially Strain SZN. No ones’ hammys are safe because these players go from light off-season workouts to NFL speed in the blink of an eye and their muscles aren’t ready for it. So, by that late in the season, it’s okay to use those extra roster spots to guarantee a double-digit points fantasy defensive performance. I will officially allow it.

Kickers

Kicker analysis?

There is none. You can’t predict shit. And the minute you try to swap one kicker out for a waiver wire player, you get the newcomers 3-point game. And yes, the kicker you had in your lineup for 6 weeks who you just threw back into the player pool concluded this week’s game nailing 4 40+ yard field goals. You’re playing whack-a-mole with a blindfold on if you think you’re nice with the kicker position in fantasy football. My suggestion? Never, ever, draft a kicker anywhere but the last round of your draft. Remember that whole shpiel about why the late-round QB strategy mathematically works? It’s even more relevant with kickers.

To the right (or below if you’re on mobile), you’ll find a list of kickers from the 2018 NFL season and their fantasy points per game. This just ain’t it chief.

Again, last round ONLY for drafting kickers. Target a kicker in a high-scoring offense, that has a good defense = better starting field position on drives and a good QB. Yes, so just draft a kicker on a good team and DON’T play the waiver wire game. DO NOT try and swap kickers week over week, it will not work. Start the kicker you drafted and leave your mans in. That’s it. If it turns out that 4-5 weeks into the season, the QB gets hurt or the offense just isn’t performing up to par with your original projection, a middle-of-the-pack scoring offense – I give you permission to hit the wire.

Week 1 of 2019 NFL preseason football is in the novels. Who would’ve thought someone could get so excited to see 11 snaps from the starters but low and behold, I was, as the kids would say, on one.

A few important things to understand about Week 1 of NFL preseason. It’s very easy to look at the wrong things when evaluating what took place over the weekend. People look at box scores, 8-second twitter clips of players versus 4th string defenses with 2 minutes left on the clock.

Like are you fucking kidding me? With 1:45 seconds left in a Week 1 preseason game, the type of players that are on defense have a good of a shot of making the NFL roster as I do.

Week 1 and Week 4 don’t have massive takeaways because a lot of NFL teams rest their starting QBs, so we don’t know what those respective offenses will look like when their real starting offense is on the field. Outside of the QB position, any player nursing even a minor injury will be sidelined. Veterans almost always tend to get the starts in preseason Week 1 over high-profile rookies, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Once we get into Week 2 and Week 3, with the starters staying on the field for multiple drives, our understanding of a team’s offense and their preferred personnel becomes a lot more clear.

That being said, there are certainly some takeaways ya mans came away with from the weekend. Let’s talk that talk.

NFL Preseason Week 1 Takeaways

Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills

Sometimes you can tell as much about how a team feels about certain players through their Week 1 usage as you can by their lack of usage. It’s a coach-by-coach basis, but a lot of the time, coaches don’t allow their best, most important offensive pieces to step foot on the field during Week 1. We saw that right off the bat with the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck & Parris Campbell, who have been battling injuries didn’t suit up, but neither did the healthy T.Y. Hilton or Marlon Mack. If you didn’t believe me before that Mack is the unsolicited workhorse in this Indy backfield, the Colts just told you. Luck’s calf injury, which is going on about 4 months now, is definitely a concern. I’ve moved him down in my rankings to QB4 because it could impact his regular season availability, which obviously hurts the offense in its entirety. But, we’ll cross that bridge on what it means for Mack and Hilton when we get there. Gun to head, I’m guessing Luck is out there against the Chargers in Week 1. Parris Campbell, the highly touted rookie wideout has missed significant time this summer with a hamstring strain, giving way to Devin Funchess who was Jacoby Brissett’s go-to receiver during the “starters” time on the field on Thursday night. As Campbell continues to miss time, he’s getting dangerously close to finding himself on my season-long do NOT draft list. Missing this sort of time as a rookie tends to have a massive negative impact on rookie year production due to the learning curve of a new offense, chemistry with the QB, etc. If he doesn’t suit up for Weeks 2 or 3, I won’t even blink an eye at him. Behind Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines dominated first-team touches. Despite getting absolutely nothing going on the ground (6 carries, 1 yard), Hines took almost all of the first-team snaps. In my eyes, this is a great thing for Mack, because we know damn well Hines isn’t taking carries away from Mack. Hines looked more like Theo Riddick running the ball than Tarik Cohen or Austin Ekeler. An interesting battle is what’s going on behind Mack and Hines. Jonathan Williams, was the 2nd back on the field on Thursday (neither Jordan Wilkins or D’Onta Foreman played). Wilkins has a solid, yet uninspiring rookie year with Mack struggling to stay on the field in 2018, but I think some combination of 2 of those previously named running backs will get trimmed from the 53-man roster – my guess is that it’s Wilkins who stays, but something to monitor nonetheless.

On the other side of the ball, we got to see Josh Allen for the first time since ending his rookie season on a historic fantasy run. Unfortunately, we saw much of the same by way of the air on Thursday that we did in 2018 which led to Allen ranking dead-last in nearly every PFF passing efficiency metric. Last year, Allen attempted a deep ball on more than 19% of his throws, the highest rate in the league – and not surprising coming from a rookie who isn’t used to playing safe while navigating the new level of speed that NFL defenses shock QBs with. Allen was chucking the ball deep to John Brown, to Zay Jones, to anyone that felt like running that far knowing it was going over their head. The Bills did a nice job revamping their offense to load up pieces for Allen, but if he’s not going to use them, he becomes a tough QB option to rely on in fantasy. LeSean McCoy didn’t play, leading way to Frank Gore dominating first-team snaps. I’m assuming the script will flip, allowing Shady to get his touches in Week 2. I don’t think we’ll know anything for fantasy about this backfield until their Week 3 game. Devin Singletary saw a snap or two with the first team offense on Thursday, but didn’t get real touches (9 carries, 27 yards; 3 receptions, 21 yards) until Matt Barkley was under center despite all of the reports of the rookie getting plenty of run with the first team in practice. Singletary looked good, not great, in his first NFL appearance, making NFL defenders routinely look stupid just as he did in college. I’m still a believer in Robert Foster even though he’s running exclusively with the 2’s. Barkley came in and ripped off a few nice throws to Foster (4 targets, 1 reception, 14 yards) and it looked like the second-year UDFA wideout was on another level relative to the second-team defense he was up against. I still think Foster eventually cracks the lineup with the 1s and becomes fantasy relevant at some point in 2019. For now, we have to cool our expectations with this Bills team, however.

New York Jets vs. New York Giants

The battle of the New Jersey teams – a staple of each and every NFL Preseason. With Le’Veon Bell sitting this one out, we saw Ty Montgomery get every snap with the first-team offense for the Jets. On the opening drive, Ty-Mont carried the ball twice for 7 yards, adding a reception for 5 yards. As it stands now, it looks Montgomery is the RB2 for Gang Green. The type of usage Ty-Mont saw, lining up in the backfield and in the slot is likely predictive of what we’re going to see from Le’Veon Bell when he’s on the field. Does it make me higher on him? Not necessarily. I was never questioning what the overpaid running backs usage was going to be in this offense – what I question is the situation. Gase ran one of the slowest, most unsuccessful offenses in Miami for three consecutive seasons. We’re also projecting this offensive line to be significantly worse than the one Bell had grown accustom to running behind in Pittsburgh. However, the Jets offensive line SHOWED out on Thursday, leading Sam Darnold to orchestrate a near-perfect opening drive (4-5-68-1) ending with a 3-yard TD strike to newcomer slot WR Jamison CrowderAccording to @NextGenStats, Sam Darnold was not pressured on any of his 5 pass attempts tonight. Last season he was pressured on 29.7% of dropbacks (12th most of 33 qualified QBs). If this offensive line is actually good, this Jets offense has the potential to be in the top-half of the league, if not top-12 in scoring. Crowder was the targeted wideout on two of Darnold’s five attempts which is a good sign of his usage – albeit Robby Anderson did NOT play on Thursday. Chris Herndon was the recipient of the Jets longest play of the night – a 32-yard catch and run on their opening drive. Man, if Herndon didn’t have to face a 4-game suspension to begin the year, I’d have a lot of stock in him. I am starting to target Herndon in bestball seeing as how he’s routinely slipping into the 15th round and once he’s back on the field, I think you’ve got a top-10 option at the position. The suspension still makes the sophomore TE undraftable in season-long leagues. One other note. Sam Darnold’s first throw of the game should’ve been picked off and none of this hype would be here. That is all. Not much to dissect from the Giants side. Oh wait. How about Daniel mf Jones?! Coming out and making Eli look like… well Eli, I guess. The rookies first drive saw him laser targeting his receivers straight down the field, topping off a perfect 5-for-5, 67-yard drive with a touchdown to Bennie Fowler. Jones is going to be on the field sooner rather than later. You don’t invest 6th overall capital to waste a year of his rookie contract on the bench. We do need to come back down to reality, however, and look at the situation objectively. Jones is still surrounded by one of the worst weapons groups in the league. I don’t even know if they have enough wide receveirs to play if the regular season started tomorrow. What I will say is this, if you’re playing in a Superflex league, Jones might not be the worst late-round pick. By the time he’s on the field – Week 3? Week 6? – Golden Tate should be back from suspension and Sterlin Shepard’s broken thumb should be near full-strength. That would give Jones a group of Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley, Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard behind an improved offensive line. He’s a QB with plus athleticism, likely giving you a weekly floor of ~20 rushing yards. If he can do that, and sprinkle in 200 passing yards with a touchdown or two through the air per game, you’re looking at a usable QB3 in Superflex. So, draft Daniel Jones in the 5th round of all of your drafts!!!! Other quick note – Wayne Gallman Jr. dominated touches with the first team and is the clear back to own behind Saquon Barkley. I won’t be drafting Gallman as a handcuff, but still noteworthy nonethemore.

Washington Redskins vs. Cleveland Browns

Oh boy, did Baker and the boys from the land look good on their opening drive. Baker came out on FIYAAAA, completing 5-of-6 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown on the Browns first possession. Everything looked good. With Duke Johnson shipped to Houston, Nick Chubb is in prime position to win fantasy leagues in 2019. Chubb ripped off a beautiful 12-yard run on his only carry of the night ALONG with a 14-yard pickup on his only target – the man is going to be involved in the passing game this year. Stop asking me if I’m concerned about Kareem Hunt. Chubb is solidified as a first-round fantasy pick this year. However, he’s not the only name to know in this backfield! The second spot belongs to Dontrell Hilliard. Hilliard worked in with the first team offense as soon as they went into hurry-up mode. While I think Chubb will catch upwards of 40 passes this year, the team clearly likes to use a dedicated pass-catching back. That looks to be Dontrell Hilliard. Only Antonio Callaway (7) was targeted more than Hilliard (6) was in this one, catching two passes on Baker’s opening drive. If unowned, Hilliard needs to be picked up in every dynasty league and depending on his usage in Weeks 2 and 3 of the preseason, could wind up being a solid late-round season-long draft pick.

The other Brown that caught my eye was Rashard Higgins. Higgins has long been a favorite of Matt Harmon of Yahoo and his reception perception as a legitimately great NFL route runner – now he’s getting the opportunity as the Browns outside WR2 across from OBJ. With OBJ and Jarvis Landry sitting this one out, Higgins operated as the alpha, capping off the opening drive by catching a 24-yard laser from Baker in the endzone. Higgins led the Browns with a 5-98-1 statline. The more-talented prospect Antonio Calloway will be serving a 4-game suspension for using performance-enhancing substances, to start 2019, opening the role right up for Higgins to cement himself in there.  Sure, there are a lot of mouths to feed, but Baker is good enough to make sure the entire dog pound eats in 2019. Higgins is soon to make his way into the Top Sleepers article, likely going undrafted, but also likely to finish inside fantasy’s top-36 WRs in 2019.

The Washington Redskins look like they’re going to be an absolute shit-show in 2019. I’m as excited to see how the first-round QB selection Dwayne Haskins plays out in the NF as anyoneL, but if Week 1 is any indication, he’s got A LOT of progression needed before he’s sniffing your fantasy lineups. Haskins threw 2 interceptions, one of them purely inexcusable, while working with the second team. Case Keenum got the start but I want nothing to do with him either. The backfield featured no one that we need to know more about for fantasy – Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson – so nothing to take away from here. In my opinion, the biggest takeaway from this side was the fact that rookie 3rd round wide receiver Terry McLaurin didn’t even suit up for this one. That tells me that the Redskins project Haskins’ former Buckeye teammate to be a big part of this offense. He needs to be moved up dynasty valuation boards and is a name to keep an eye on for redraft. It’s possible that McLaurin takes Paul Richardson out as the top pass-catching threat on the outside for the Skins.

New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions

New England zominated the Lions in every aspect of Thursday night’s game, final score of 31-3. Jakobi Meyers has gotten a ton of hype this offseason, supposedly making himself into Tom Brady’s favorite target, and it poured over into their preseason opener. Albeit without Brady, Meyers was all over the field, catching a team-high 6-of-8 targets for 66 yards and two touchdowns. It’s difficult to project what type of role he’ll play when Julian Edelman returns from his broken finger, but Meyers seems to be a legitimate weapon in this ever-changing Patriots offense. None of the running backs that we wanted to see played. Rookie first round pick N’Keal Harry was the only other notable player in this offense. Harry (2-2-36) made a few really nice catches from Jarrett Stidham before limping off the field after a back-shoulder reception. The extent of the injury isn’t being released by New England but he is expected to miss practice time. Hopefully he can return by the team’s regular season dress rehearsal in Week 3. If not, Harry is going to take a significant dip in the rankings with all the missed time.

Kerryon Johnson didn’t suit up on Thursday, letting us know that he’s the workhorse here in Detroit. C.J. Anderson got the start at running back but he, 6th round rookie Ty Johnson and Zach Zenner all saw the field on the Lions opening drive. The backup job is completely up for grabs in Detroit. Ty Johnson, the explosive 21-year old out of Maryland put his 4.45 wheels on display (3 carries, 21 yards, 7.0 ypc) and was easily, in my eyes, the most impressive Lions running back. Ty Johnson needs to be picked up in all dynasty leagues yesterday – I think he has a legitimate shot to secure the RB2 role in this offense.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins

The backup running back role for the Falcons is the most intriguing storyline out of Atlanta this offseason. Behind Devonta Freeman, sophomore back Ito Smith and Brian Hill are throwing haymakers back and forth. I like Ito Smith. As a role-player. In a pass-catching role. But since entering the league, Smith has put absolutely nothing on tape that suggests he is a quality RUNNING back. Through two games so far this preseason Ito Smith has done his best Ronald Jones impression, piling up 13 rushing yards on 7 carries (1.86 ypc) compared to 80 yards on 19 carries (4.21 ypc) for the 6’1-219 back, who was picked just one round later than Ito Smith. My money is on Brian Hill to win the backup job for Atlanta and thus becomes an interesting late-round flier given Devonta Freeman’s health concerns. The two have split Redzone and GL carries with the 1’s this preseason, each with a rushing score to their name. I’m done drafting Ito Smith in bestball, we’ve now pivoted to 16th round Brian Hill shares. Giddy up fuckers.

The Dolphins backfield is another interesting case study. All summer we’ve heard that Kalen Ballage is getting as much work with the 1’s as Kenyan Drake. That wasn’t the case on Thursday night. Drake started and played on 11-of-12 (92%) snaps on the opening drive before Ballage got on the field for Miami’s second drive with Fitzpatrick under center still. If you’ve been listening to me at all this summer, we’ve never waivered from the fact that this is certainly Drake’s backfield, but he’s very much in a committee, in a bad offense. His 4th/5th round price is way too high for a player in this situation. Preston Williams is the other name to takeaway from this game. Mane, did this kid look good. A UDFA out of Colorado State, Williams is getting all the buzz out of Miami’s camp. He delivered in a big way on Thursday night, lead Miami with 4 catches on 5 targets for 97 yards, running crisp routes and making highlight plays all over the field. Kenny Stills is beefing with the Miami front office. DeVante Parker wishes it was still May. Albert Wilson continues to get unwarranted hype, yet to have stepped onto the field during team drills in Miami. People are just throwing his ridiculously serious injury from 2018 out the door and assuming full health for 2019 which is clearly far from the case. Every Miami WR is off my draft board, except Preston Williams – he could very well wind up as the defacto-WR1 this year for them – he needs to be picked up in all dynasty leagues if somehow available.

Tennessee Titans vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Marcus Mariota looked brutal in this one. Resorting to a couple of short dump-offs to Adam Humphries – and before you ask, I’m good. Ryan Tannehill will make starts at QB for the Titans in 2019. Book it like J.K. Rowling. Derrick Henry continues to nurse the calf strain he suffered a couple of weeks ago at practice, and at this point I’d be surprised if he suited up at all this preseason. It’ll knock Henry down to a 4th round pick for me, and Dion Lewis continues to remain one of the best value picks in 2019 fantasy football. Lewis started and saw all of the RB snaps with the 1’s. Interestingly, a popular dynasty name, Jeremy McNichols was the second back on the field, rushing 8 times for 44 yards (5.5 ypc). Alex Barnes is terrible, please don’t get excited about him. McNichols is a stash in dynasty for now until we know more about Henry’s calf.

The only thing people care about in Philly is that backfield. Jordan Howard unsurprisingly started for the team in green, but was ineffective running 3 times for 8 yards. There’s no surprise here, as I mentioned in the intro paragraph, rookies rarely ever get that opening day start – Sanders sat behind Howard, Montgomery behind Davis, Singletary behind Gore – doesn’t mean a single thing. The Eagles were without Carson Wentz, so not much to takeaway from here, but Miles Sanders did find himself on the field with the “first-team” offense, but was as equally unexciting as his backfield mate, running for 3 yards on 3 carries. We’ll get a much clearer picture of this backfield in Week 2 and Week 3. Dallas Goedert and J.J. ArTHega-Whiteside both looked great in the receiving game and will become popular waiver wire pickups at some point in 2019.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

It was the Lamar Jackson show for the entire first quarter on Thursday night. Jackson didn’t run the ball on a single play! He finished 4-of-6 for 59 yards and a touchdown, throwing with a bit more touch and finesse then we saw from the scrambled rookie in 2018. Will continue to say this: Lamar Jackson in 1QB leagues EVERY. FUCKING. TIME. We didn’t learn too much about the backfield. Mark Ingram didn’t suit up for their opener, leaving way to Gus Edwards to get the start. After Gus came Kenneth Dixon, THEN the talented rookie back from Oklahoma State Justice Hill. Hill didn’t step onto the field until Trace McSorley was in at QB. Hill didn’t get a single carry, but showed well in the passing game, catching both of his targets for 16 yards, looking explosive and shifty. It’s what I would’ve liked to have seen given that’s the part of the Raven’s offense that I see Hill eventually taking away from Ingram. I’m not (too) alarmed yet, but if Hill runs exclusively with the two’s next week, it’s time to step back on the hype for the 2019 rookie. The rookie standout, Miles Boykin, saw a team-high 9 targets, two of them coming from the Ravens starting QB. Boykin has gotten some serious steam out of Baltimore’s camp, but Marquise Brown didn’t play in this one, and this is a still going to be a low-volume passing offense that relies on their ground game to win. Boykin is still off my board in season-long leagues.

Jacksonville – like, who cares tbh. Gardner Minshew almost got decapitated in this one, so that was fun. No Leonard Fournette for the Jags. Alfred Blue got the start and stayed in for the entire first drive before handing the keys over to popularized 5th round rookie out of Temple Ryquell Armstead. Armstead looked okay, but this backfield battle is one to monitor given Fournette’s lengthy injury history. It might be a backfield to completely avoid in 2019.

Carolina Panthers vs. Chicago Bears

Literally the only takeaway from this game was rookie running back David Montgomery. Woooo boy did he look good. Mike Davis got the start for the Bears but like I said, it doesn’t mean shit. It was D-Mont’s world and we were all living in it from that point forward. The rookie dazzled, leaving defenders on ice skates, using that elite level elusiveness that we saw in college at Iowa State on his way to 46 total yards and a score on 6 touches. He was used heavily in the passing game as we expected him to be and was every bit as good on the ground as we hoped he’d be. “HOW HIGH UP DOES HE MOVE IN THE RANKINGS.” He doesn’t. I already had him high, RB17 I believe. Tarik Cohen didn’t play in this one, and Mike Davis is still very much going to factor into this team’s offense. I legitimately had people asking me if Montgomery is now a 2nd round pick in season-long leagues, that shit made me so mad tbh. He stays where he is, because I already had him ranked expecting to see this type of performance out of him. IF, we see him dominate first team touches in Week 2 and in Week 3, separating himself as the clear-cut RB1 in Chicago, I will adjust my rankings accordingly. For now, relax.

Houston Texans vs. Green Bay Packers

Take me eyes, but not Keke. The Texans slot WR on a path to breakout in 2019 has long struggled with staying healthy, giving way to this fault in Houston’s first preseason action. His knee buckled and the injury apparently looked a lot worse than it’s being reported as. We don’t have concrete details on what we’re dealing with, but Coutee is likely to miss the rest of the summer. I’m just thankful it wasn’t the ACL. Depending on the length of recovery, Coutee can still be a late-round, high-upside pick in season-long leagues that you’re likely able to get in Round 12+ now. Neither Lamar Miller nor newcomer Duke Johnson played on Thursday night.

With Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones (who returned to practice as of 8/1) nursing hamstring injuries, the backfield has been entirely given to GB’s 6th round rookie Dexter Williams out of Notre Dame. I wasn’t too impressed from what I saw out of Dexter in college, but his athletic profile suggest he’s set up for better success than the plodding J-Williams.

Dexter carried the ball 14 times for 62 yards on Thursday and caught a pass for 18 yards, showing toughness and versatility. I think this GB backfield will be a timeshare, majority favoring Aaron Jones, but if Dexter grabs hold of the big-back role here, he could become fantasy relevant in 2019.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals

It’s nothing we didn’t know here at the HQ already: Austin Ekeler is the starter. Austin Ekeler is better than Justin Jackson. But this is a true committee backfield as long as Melvin Gordon is holding out. Ekeler’s full skill-set was in the limelight on Thursday night – rushing for 40 yards on 5 carries (8.0 ypc), while catching all three of his targets for 29 yards. Unfortunately, when Ekeler was given a carry on the goal-line, he fumbled it away to the Cards, leading to a Justin Jackson 4-yard score on the next Chargers possession. You don’t think of Ekeler as a GL candidate given his size, but last year he and Melvin Gordon has the exact same number of runs on the GL (4). It’s an extremely valuable piece of the fantasy football puzzle in this backfield, and that fumble did NOT help Ekeler’s chances of being far superior to JJ for your fantasy. Watch closely over the next two weeks to see who gets those GL carries before drafting. Justin Jackson was fine on the ground in his own right, but was not involved in the passing game whatsoever, which I’d argue is just as, if not more valuable in this backfield. In 2018, the Chargers backfield caught 107 balls on 134 targets for 1,050 yards and seven touchdowns. Also, good to see Hunter Henry back on the field in a full capacity, catching both of his targets for 15 yards. Side note – Philip Rivers did not play – Tyrod Taylor was the QB.

A lot of talk for the Chargers while we all know the talk of the NFL on Thursday revolved around first overall pick Kyler Murray‘s NFL debut. Murray was extremely sharp, albeit no big plays were made, but that’s Kliff’s offense. Quick-hitting, chain-moving throws all over the field. Murray connected on 6-of-7 throws for 44 yards without any rushing stats. We saw both David Johnson and Chase Edmonds mix in on the first drive, which is something fantasy owners should probably get used to. Everyone is really excited about what this offense will do to David Johnson’s fantasy outlook in 2019, and while I agree that it can’t get any worse than Mike McCoy’s 2018 shit-show, Johnson was again shoved right up the middle on his two ground attempts. It was a tiny sample size (2 carries, 4 yards), but I didn’t love to see it. We’re also excited for Johnson’s usage in the passing game, which we did see a bit of by way of a 14-yard screen – but I didn’t see Johnson line up in the slot at all. Weeks 2 and 3 will be telling. Same goes for the WR3 battle. Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk combined to see just a single target in this one. There’s been a ton of hype for rookie KeeSean Johnson (4-2-29) this summer, but Andy Isabella returned to practice this week and is projected to win the third WR spot in Arizona.

Denver Broncos vs. Seattle Seahawks

The Broncos have been vocal about using both of their sophomore runners in tandem this year, and they did just that on Thursday night. Phillip Lindsay got the start, touched the ball early and often while exemplifying that burst, explosion and play-making ability that made him a Pro-Bowler as a rookie. Royce Freeman came in and showed off that 88th percentile weight-adjusted speed score by bursting through the Broncos line for a 50-yard gain. This is going to be a legitimate RBBC in Denver. Newcomer Theo Riddick fractured his shoulder and will miss 6-8 weeks, opening up more passing work for the Denver backfield. The Broncos have been insistent on feeding inefficient passing work to Devontae Booker. I thought Booker was an easy cut candidate given the acquisition of Riddick, but given the injury it’s tough to project how this plays out. In Rich Scangarello’s (a Kyle Shanahan descendant) new offensive, Lindsay has a chance to eat up receptions for the Broncos. If they use Lindsay correctly, 10-12 carries/game +4-5 targets, Lindsay could wind up being an absolute steal in the 5th-6th round of fantasy drafts. I like Freeman, too, but Lindsay is simply too good to assume the Oregon product will take over a workhorse role without an injury to PL.

Similarly to the Broncos, the Seahawks have a tandem in their backfield that makes it hard to project either runner for a workhorse role – Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny. The latter is a more natural pass-catcher and should soak up the targets that Mike Davis left behind, but reports out of camp are hammering away at the idea of Carson catching more passes in 2019. Penny looked WAY more explosive on Thursday night than we had seen at any point in 2018 – which follows the reports echoed all summer that Penny came into camp at a lower weight and in much better condition than he did last year. Penny took a dump-off pass and slashed through Denver’s defense on his way to a 27-yard gain, something I expect to see a lot of this year. Penny, like Freeman, is a metric standout – but also sits in the RB2 role in his respective in his offense, behind a starting running back who is simply TOO talented to surpass outright. Carson sat this one out, leaving Penny as the incumbent RB1, but both backs are slated to see plenty of touches this year. Carson’s injury history still makes me nervous, so I’ll take Penny a round or two later.

Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

I’m not sure how many times I can say it but, Peyton Barber is better than you all think and he’s going to show it this year. Barber got the start for TB, running tough, making guys miss averaging 6 ypc on his 3 totes. If Ronald Jones busted off the runs that Barber did on Thursday, people would be literally shitting in their pants on Twitter. Barber even saw a target from Jameis and smoothly reeled it in. Barber would play 8-of-12  first-team snaps. The other four belonged to Ronald Jones, arguably the most over-hyped fantasy player of recent years. Admittedly, he looked better this time around in preseason. Which would be nearly impossible not to do. RoJo mixed in after Barber ate, also running for 18 yards on 4 carries, catching his lone target. Mike Evans didn’t suit up, lending this offense to operate around their defacto WR1, Chris Godwin. Godwin did not disappoint. Winston attempted only 6 passes on the night, 2 of them going to Godwin. He caught both of them for 20 yards including a 9-yard TD to cap off their first and only drive.

Looks like Arians wasn’t fuckin around – Godwin will man the slot when the opportunity presents itself. Another lowkey battle out in TB is the WR3 role. As of right now it’s Breshad Perriman‘s job to lose. He ran with the Winston and the starters for the first drive.

The big story on the Steelers side of the ball was sophomore wideout James Washington. Washington made catch-after-catch, hauling in 4-of-5 targets for 84 yards and a score – Big Ben didn’t play in this one, though… neither did JuJu, Moncreif or Diontae Johnson.. so keep that in mind. We’ve been vocal here at the HQ about not getting excited about Washington in 2019. People LOVED him last year because of his preseason performance before falling flat on his face in the regular season. He looked good on Friday night, no doubt, but he’s been clearly behind JuJu, Donte Moncreif and even Diontae Johnson in some reports out of Steelers camp. Maybe this performance earned him more reps with the 1’s at practice, but the WR2/3 role in Pittsburgh will be an intriguing storyline to follow over the next two preseason games.

Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints

Not much to takeaway from this game. Adam Theilen – still #goodatfootball. On the same side of the ball – 3rd string running back Mike Boone is a name to know, and to add in dynasty leagues asap. After Alexander Mattison was done plodding his way to 30 yards on 9 carries (3.3 ypc), the 24-year-old Boone exploded out of the backfield on his way to a 64-yard touchdown down the left sideline. This isn’t surprising given what we know about Boone’s athleticism and sub 4.50 speed and 100TH PERCENTILE BURST.

 

I know how unnecessarily excited every one has to get about every single rookie, but don’t be surprised when Mike Boone keeps balling and matches Mattison’s end of year touch total.

 

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinatti Bengals

Holy shit. If you somehow forgot how good Patrick Mahomes was last year, do yourself a favor and go rewatch this game. Andy Reid, being the true hefe he is, let his MVP play the entire first quarter. The real debate here is what’s going on in this backfield. We’ve heard a lot of chirping from Andy Reid as of late about this backfield being a committee. Odd, after ALL off-season every report out of KC echoed this workhorse role to be Damien Williams‘ to lose. I said this in my video on Saturday and I believe it to be true – it’s a motivation tactic from Reid. Damien Williams missed almost two weeks with a hamstring issue, but returned to practice right before their game in which he remained sidelined for – good by the Chiefs for letting him rest more. Carlos Hyde started in his place, but didn’t do much. I love the reports and the fact that people will go crazy because Hyde rolled his fatass into the endzone on a 2-yard run. People will start drafting Hyde earlier than he should be and let D-Will fall into the 4th/5th round. NOW is when we pounce on Will. I was hesitant to pull the trig like a sorority girl on D-Will in the 3rd and was completely out on him where I’d seen him recently start going in the 2nd, but please let these fake news reports of an RBBC push him further back and I’m all in. He’s their guy, and he’s already back running with the 1’s at practice. Darwin Thompson, unsurprisingly looked good, but he’s not taking Damien’s job. Every one just stfu tbh. The Bengals are a mess. We don’t know what we’re getting at wide receiver behind Tyler Boyd, but it looks to be Josh Malone – the third year wideout from Tennessee. When Dalton wasn’t targeting Tyler Boyd in this one, he was looking at Malone. A quick look at Malone’s profile shows his potential upside. Big, long, fast, playmaker (19.4 ypr), and produced in college. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy, appearing in just 18-of-32 games since entering the league, but the opportunity to showcase his skillset is upon us. He’s an add in dynasty leagues. Stanley Morgan Jr. is another add in dynasty, he’s a player that a LOT of people love, but somehow went undrafted this year. He got zero run with the 1’s in this game, but his performance (5-3-42) might have earned him some more time in practice – he’s a name to monitor over the next couple of weeks.

Los Angeles Rams vs. Oakland Raiders

There were almost no starters on the field in this one. People excited about Darrell Henderson probably cooled their flames a bit after this one. Neither Todd Gurley or Malcolm Brown suited up on Saturday night. John Kelly took the start behind Blake Bortles lol. Henderson came on eventually and ran 6 times for 13 yards, catching one pass but lost five yards on the play. If you were one of those people drafting Henderson in the 5th, 6th, 7th round of bestball drafts – you should probably stop. I was never a big fan of Henderson as a prospect, stating that he needed to land on a team with a great offensive line, to open up wide running lanes for him – it’s possible that after losing a couple of pieces on their offensive line this summer that the holes aren’t what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing out in LA, which would be a problem for the rookie third round back out of Memphis.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys

I don’t know what happened to Dante Pettis this summer, but shit i getting WEIRD in San Fran. After a late breakout run at the end of his 2018 rookie campaign, reports out of camp have Pettis running with the 2’s – Shanahan coming out multiple times echoing that Pettis needs to earn his starting role. Trent Taylor, who was projected to man the starting slot WR role for the Niners broke his foot in this one and is going to be sidelined for a bit. So for the zero of you that were excited about him, enough. Jimmy G didn’t play in this one, so I’m not going to go nuts about what the receiver group did behind Pettis, but Jalen Hurd, the ultra-versatile former running back and wide receiver was very involved on Saturday night. He’s a name to monitor because he’s playing under Kyle Shanahan who has a tendency to get the most out of his offensive weapons.

Tony Pollard ran entirely with the first team in this one and looks to be the clear handcuff for Ezekiel Elliott. Pollard has the size (6’0-210), speed (4.54), and versatility (94th percentile college target share) to be a huge fantasy producer if Zeke holds out into the season.

The Eagles running back battle continued on Thursday night with Miles Sanders getting the start for Philly, controlling the first drive which didn’t amount to much considering the Jags DE was left unblocked and literally murdered Cody Kessler on a sack. Carson Wentz wasn’t active for this one so we’re still left with a lot of question marks in this backfield. Jordan Howard came in for the second drive. This will be an RBBC to start the year. Big Dog’s still putting heavy money on the former to win the job. Another interesting battle is the starting running back job. I mean the battle for Leonard Fournette’s back-up. Looks to be Alfred Blue who has started both preseason games while Fournette has sat, not the rookie Ryquell Armstead.

I’m glad the Ravens are giving us the full view of Lamar Jackson this preseason. He played a ton in Week 1 and came out in Week 2 ready to roll. After sitting in Week 1, Mark Ingram made the start for the Ravens, pounding the ball up the middle on four of the Ravens first six plays before coming off the field, Kenneth Dixon taking his place. Dixon got some work, then left hobbling off the field, but would later return. There’s a good chance either Dixon or Gus Edwards gets cut from Baltimore, so it was interesting to see Dixon get on the field before Edwards did after the roles were reversed in Week 1. Justice Hill, for the second time in two games, was the last running back to get on the field for the Ravens – it’s a bit concerning at this point. He’s shown extremely well in his time against the backup defenses, but he’s clearly behind in the pecking order here, not even attributing to the starters in passing-down situations. If Guys or Dixon get cut this week, and Hill gets some work with the 1’s in Week 3, I’ll start to get excited again, but until then, let’s cool the hype on Justice Hill. I’m not knocking the talent, y’all know I love the kid, and his talent can be summed up by a tweet from Pat Thorman earlier this week: “Ravens Justice Hill forced 9 missed tackles on 12 touches this week vs. GB. Mark Ingram hasn’t forced 9 missed tackles in a full game in nearly 5 years.” Don’t confuse talent with opportunity – this is EXACTLY what the preseason is for, and exactly where you can gain a competitive advantage over your league-mates who either don’t follow the preseason or don’t know what to look for when they are following! You’d like to say, how the fuck do the Ravens not give him more opp’s with the 1’s after performances like this – but we’ve literally seen this with Kenneth Dixon in previous years – he’s a missed tackles machine, but is always thrown behind in the pecking order. Don’t go into your fantasy drafts with the false belief that coaches will be rational, because they won’t. Another guy to cool the hype on: Mark Andrews, this summer, has gotten almost no looks from Jackson and isn’t even running as a full-time TE in this crowded group between Nick Boyle and former first-round pick Hayden Hurst. Jackson has a beautiful TD run called back by a dumb penalty, but showed exactly why he is the PERFECT late round QB draft choice in 1QB leagues.

My dirty birds looked out of sorts. The offensive line looked like straight trash. We did draft two first round o-line pieces but Kaleb McGary is dealing with a minor heart issue that could drag into the regular season. O-line was an issue for ATL last year, and could again be in 2019. Monitor the sich. Luckily, we got to see a good chunk of plays from the starters in this one, Matt Ryan playing in a handful of series’s. We saw our first glimpse of Devonta Freeman this summer, playing on 4 or 5 snaps, but only carrying it once for two yards. The backup role in Atlanta is far more intriguing. Ito Smith was the first back in the game after Freeman, which has been the case in all three games so far. Smith got a screen pass on his first play which makes sense given his projected pass-catching role, but Brian Hill worked in with the first team right after Smith. He’s a more explosive runner than Smith, but this could be one giant fuckin mess in this backfield. I’ll draft Smith/Hill in bestball, whoever is cheaper, but I’m likely staying away from the backfield altogether in redraft. It was also good to see sophomore wideout Calvin Ridley byke on the field looking like his former explosive-self after dealing with a hamstring strain that forced him out of camp for a couple of weeks. What I saw, showed Ridley back to full health and throws him right back into that 5th round WR mix/tier of Ridley, Boyd, Moore, etc. HOWEVER, something interesting of not that needn’t be taken lightly folks.

And yeah it was cool to see Andy Isabella back on the field, but that 50-yard TD catch he made against 4th string preseason players with two minutes left in the fourth quarter on Thursday won’t be a reason for me to draft him. I need to see him running with the 1’s. I’m sure I’ll still have my shares of Kyler, and Kirk, even Larry Fitz – but as I said all summer, when a guy like Kirk’s ADP jumps up from a fantastic 9th round pick, to the 6th round, you’re playing with fire.

Josh Allen, Buffalo’s QB, looked much better in Week 2, opting not to continually chuck ill-advised throws downfield to and air and grass. Allen locked the fuck in on Cole Bealsey, completing 5 of his 11 attempts to the lil white man – bringing his preseason target share up to 28.6%. The word safety valve gets thrown around way too much in fantasy football, but that’s exactly what Beasley looked like in this one. Am I excited about Beasley this year? No. But should you draft him in the later rounds? Also fucking no. He’s 30 years old with a 9th percentile weight-adjusted speed score, and has averaged 467 yards in his 7 NFL seasons. Enjoy those 39 receiving yards/game though. Give me a high-upside young guy like Tre’Quan Smith at that part of the draft instead. In similar fashion to Week 1, where we saw the 139-year vet Frank Gore take the start, it was Shady McCoy’s turn in Week 2. Shady looked fine, the explosiveness he once had as a young whippershnapper ain’t there anymore and tbh I have no idea what they’re going to do in this backfield. Are they scoping out which of the vets they’re going to cut? T.J. Yeldon, who’s been sidelined basically all preseason saw his first action on Friday night, as the last running back of the top 4 to get on the field. There’s a good chance he gets left of the Bills final 53. Week 3 should be very telling as to which of the vets the Bills actually like, and how involved rookie third round pick Devin Singletary to be involved in this offense in the earlier parts of the season.

(You heard it here first because my roommate is Bears fan) The Bears held an intra-squad scrimmage earlier last week, resulting in them resting all of their starts for their Week 2 preseason game versus the Giants. The storyline, again, for the Giants was the 6th overall pick, quarterback Daniel Jones. The magic from his flawless Week 1 performance wore off a bit, but overall he looked very sharp throwing the ball, however, DJ turned the ball over via fumble twice in this one. Fumbles are always a bit unlucky, and usually something that can be fixed – as far as predictiveness – give me fumbles from my QB over interceptions all day. Jones has had near pin-point accuracy on short-to-intermediate throws through two games and has shown great touch on deeper passes too. The kid is making a case to get on the field sooner rather than later for the G-Men and given his athleticism, he’s a sneaky last round pick in Superflex leagues as your QB3-4.

Josh Rosen got the start for MIA in Week 2, playing the entire first half – doing almost nothing with it, which wasn’t hard to predict given he’s in a situation similar to last year with a lack of weapons and a miserable offensive line. Preston Williams, the undrafted rookie who’s been dominating the summer away had a rough night, catching just 1-of-6 targets from Rose, dropping two of them but was an inch away from catching a nice TD pass. He should still make the roster, but their Week 3 regular season dress rehearsal should be more telling of whether or not he’ll be a key cog to their normal offense. After losing Kenyan Drake to a foot injury last week which might sideline him into the regular season, the Dolphins opted not to play their defector starting tailback Kalen Ballage. Mark Walton still seems to have the edge over rookie Myles Gaskin for the RB3 role. We’re only monitoring this for dynasty – the starting back barely has season-long appeal.

Peyton Barber got the start in this one over Ronald Jones, but they played a near identical snap count, each getting two carries with Jameis Winston under center, neither doing anything memorable. It looks like Barber is the starter in TB, but Jones will get a chance to make a dent in the touch-count. Still, Barber is the pick here at their near identical ADP – he’s getting the GL work and has seen as many passing-down opportunities as RoJo has this summer. The hypothetical upside of RoJo doesn’t appeal to the big dog. Per Adam Levitan, “OJ Howard played roughly two-thirds of the offensive snaps during the first 2 years of his career. So far this preseason, he’s been in on 21 of Jameis Winston’s 22 snaps.” In case you weren’t away of the impending O.J. breakout.

With Andrew Luck still sidelining, and the Colts disguising his Week 1 status, Jacoby Brissett led the troops relatively well during this one. If Luck misses time, Brissett could return QB2 value in Superflex leagues – they have a great offensive line, a great group of weapons, a ground game and he’s versatile enough to give you some ground yards. We finally got to see Marlon Mack on the field in this one, dominating first team snaps, getting all of the carries, and even began the Colts initial drive with a dump-off pass from Brissett, an orgasmic site to Mack owners. Luck’s health is the first, second and third priority when it comes to Mack. He’ll still play an EXANSIVE role, but the TD floor which made him a slam-dunk 3rd round pick, would evaporate.  Per Adam Levitan, Indy starters played on 19 snaps in Week 2. Mack was in on 18 of them, Nyheim Hines, 1. Devin Funchess has caught everything thrown his way this preseason – I hope Luck is back because Funchess is going to be a fantastic late-round WR that provides 8-10 touchdown upside offense with their starting QB healthy. Deon Cain is another name to know in the Colts WR group. He was the Colts 6th round pick last year, equipped with blazing 4.43 speed and good size (6’0-202) – he missed his entire rookie year with an ACL tear but has received non-stop praise from Indy camp and was running with the 1’s on Saturday night while T.Y. Hilton was rested. Cain should be owned in all dynasty leagues.

With none of the Patriots starters in the lineup on Saturday, we saw a heavy dosage of the hyped 3rd round runner from Alabama, Damien Harris. The fact that I saw Harris start to go in the 8th-9th round of bestball drafts was absurd. It was always Sony’s job and it will continue to be unless he gets hurt. People out here acting like Harris is going to straight up take the job from Sony based on TALENT jajajjajaja, nah fam. Harris showed well in this one, though, carrying the ball 14 times for 80 yards while displaying his widened versatility by catching all four of his intended targets for 23 more yards. Stop me if you’ve heard this before – Jakobi Meyers did his thing. Racking up another 6 catches and 82 yards, bringing the UDFA from N.C. State to a 12-137-2 stat-line after two preseason games. Meyers still has a lot of work to do to make the team, let alone crack the starting lineup. With N’Keal Harry, Julian Edelman, and now the “returning” Josh Gordon, Meyers seems more like trying to catch wind in 2019 – though he’s a good dynasty hold.

Dion Lewis remains of the single best values at running back in fantasy drafts this year that you can grab in the 13+ round. With Derrick Henry still out nursing a strained calf, Lewis has been the dominant start in Tennessee, while Jeremy McNichols has been the “big back” for the Titans. McNichols is a super intriguing prospect who didn’t pan out at his first stop in Tampa Bay under the NFL’s worst GM Jason Licht who just SOMEHOW got extended through 2022, I literally take that as personal disrepsect tbh.

McNichols was a workhorse during his team at Boise State, catching passes, racking up rushing yards while doing it at (right-below) featured back size, but tested out as an excellent athlete. Despite what seems to be a bust given the hype around him, he’s still just 23 years old and finds himself with an opportunity to crack a dent in this Titans roster. JM had a strong Week 1 outing (8-44) before following it up on Saturday night reeling in a receiving touchdown on 3 catches, while having a beautiful 35-yard TD run with the starters called back for a holding penalty. If Henry misses time, he’s a gorgeous Zero-RB draft pick, and should be owned in all dynasty leagues. And yeah Delanie Walker played, even caught a couple of passes and found paydirt, but he’s on my do not draft list. Roll the dice if you want to, but this clip ain’t exactly encouraging

I said this last week, and the week before, and I’ll say it again – those Andy Reid comments about this KC backfield being an RBBC are FAKE NEWS. They said it all summer long, that Damien Williams is their guy. He’s the unquestioned starter. It’s his job to lose. It’s Damien Williams. And guess what happened on Saturday night? My man Graham said it best:

It’s Williams’ job to lose, that is all. Let his ADP keep falling to the 4th and grab him then. It’s also entirely possible Carlos Hyde gets cut in favor of 6th round rookie Darwin Thompson, who has looked great this preseason. He’s not taking volume away from Williams, but at some point he’ll likely be a waiver wire darling in 2019.

Context also matters for this third-round fantasy pick, Kerryon Johnson. We all, including myself, LOVE the talent, but hate the situation and ya just hate to see what happened this weekend:

Kerryon not occupying a bell-cow role was always a concern, but for Ty Johnson? I could understand if it were all 3rd and 1’s and for C.J.’s fat meatball-eatin ass coming in to roll his way to a first, but this isn’t looking pretty in Detroit’s backfield – proceed with caution.

Part II of stop me if you’ve heard this before: James Washington is dominating in the preseason. Through the Steelers first two games, Washington has caught 8 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown. I’m not buying much into it. Big Ben has not played yet, so I need to see the trust between those two, plus most of Washington’s damage has been done versus second-string defense…. and we’ve also seen him do this before. I need to see it from Washington under the bright lights before I’m on his train. Despite Big Ben being sidelined, James Conner, operated as the 3-down back for this offense. He wasn’t much involved in the passing game, but he wasn’t coming out on 3rd downs either. Much of the talk about Conner’s risk involved backup Jaylen Samuels taking away the passing work in this offense, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday. Conner is slowly creeping up my draft board, likely due to the lack of quality picks in the first few rounds. Side-note, Jaylen Samuels did look great in this one, but only ran with the 2’s, and I still think he’s a quality late-round pick who will get more and more involved in this offense as the season progresses.

If Ezekiel Elliott truly does hold out, Tony Pollard could be James Conner to Zeke’s Le’Veon Bell. That was a really fuckin’ dumb way to say that Tony Pollard, for the second week in a row I have to tell you this, is the clear handcuff to Elliott in Dallas. He’s dominated first team snaps with Dak on the field and brings enough versatility to his game that he might even have a role once Zeke returns, if he returns. Pollard touched the ball about 6-7 times on the Cowboys length first drive (a couple of penalties skewing the statsheet), capped up by a powerful 14-yard touchdown run. Another key takeaway out of Dallas is this Amari Cooper mystery foot injury that we’re dealing with. Dr. Morse came on the channel this week to discuss, and it’s looking more and more like a situation to steer clear of, and if that’s the case, Michael Gallup, the second year, third-round wideout out of Colorado State is setup to provide heavy ROI for fantasy drafters. If Zeke and Cooper aren’t on the field, Dak becomes a WHOLE lot less appealing, and Pollard/Gallup are the only two I’d be targeting in drafts.

The Rams opted not to play their starters again, which included Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown, but not Darrell Henderson. The Rams have been vocal all offseason about Henderson being used a scatback with running ability, not the other way around. They used him in exactly that fashion on Sunday night. Henderson, for the second straight game hasn’t looked good on the ground (6-16, 12-29 both weeks combined), some are attributing his skillset as a bad fit to this run-style scheme, but fuck off tbh. On the other hand, Henderson caught all 6 of his targets in this one. If they truly use him as the receiving back here, I’m here for it, but still nowhere near a pick inside the first 7 rounds. TAME yourselves. We’ll have to see what they do between Brown and Henderson in their Week 3 dress rehearsal, They clearly view Brown as the handcuff in relation to the ground work in LA. If Gurley’s hurt, it”s not either or, it’s both. If Gurley’s not hurt, but limited, it could turn into a messy guessing game in which I want no part in outside of Brown in the 14th+ round. 

I like to shit on people for their bad takes, but in order to give y’all the most actionable information, I need to be objective about the players I’m snoop dogg high on – Rashaad Penny. I will preface by saying, a lot of the reason I like Penny is because Chris Carson‘s injury history is a concern – can he hold up over the course of an entire 16-game NFL season? We still don’t know that. But if he does, it’s his backfield, no question about it. We actually learned a lot about the Seahawks from this one. in the Seahawks second preseason game Russell Wilson played on 17 snaps (2 drives): Chris Carson was in for 14 snaps, while Rashaad Penny played on just 3 snaps. On those 14 snaps, Chris Carson saw an opportunity (5 carries, 2 targets) on half of them. Carson’s 5th round ADP is looking better by the day. Penny could be falling back to an obviously bigger, but somewhat similar role to the one he saw in 2018. 

Wilson attempted 9 passes in this one. Four of them (44%) went to Tyler Lockett, who should be a PPR stud this year. Two went to Carson, and the other three….. Jaron Brown. D.K. Metcalf’s been out with an oblique injury for the last week or so, is reportedly getting work done on his knee this week – never good this late into the offseason. This would widely open up the WR2 battle in SEA. I’m not really about to sit here and get stupid excited about Jaron mf Brown, because he had every opportunity to be a thing last year while also in SEA, and somehow scored 5 touchdowns last year on just 14 receptions, but he’s got ridiculous athleticism and great size, which usually, after given enough opportunity will translate into fantasy production. He and David Moore are guys to keep an eye on pending D.K.’s knee thing.

What did we learn from the Vikings? Nothing new. Alexander Mattison is a plodder. He handled all of the first team carries and turned them into nothing outside of a 20-yard gain in which the hole was wider than the George Washington Bridge without a car on it. Mattison isn’t good enough or fast enough to do what Latavius Murray had been doing in this offense, so shut ya mouths. All Mike Boone does is make big plays, adding a 45-yard catch-and-run in this one, a week after busting off a 60+ yard TD run. Boone went for over 100 total YFS in this one, touching the ball 22 times in the process, showing explosion, the ability to handle a big workload and versatility. He should be squarely ahead of Alexander Mattison on the depth chart. I hope the Vikings coaching staff is as smart as me, but probably not. But my gawd did the Kirk Cousins / Adam Thielen connection look pretty on Sunday night. I’m really afraid for Stefon Diggs in 2019. Is he going to forever be a player that we’re waiting to land on a pass-heavy team, or be the number one option? It’s a tale as old as time. If this preseason is any indication of what’s going to happen in this passing game, Thielen is looking more and more worth the 3rd round draft capital he’s sitting at given the current state of me not wanting to draft a single fuckin player going inside the first three rounds. I mean look at the WRs and RBs going around him: Melvin Gordon (holding out), Antonio Brown (#HelmetGate #CryoGate #WontStopCryingGate), Keenan Allen (ankle something), Damien Williams (hamstring + possible RBBC), T.Y. Hilton & Marlon Mack (possibly without Luck?), Amari Cooper (plantar fasciatis is ugly), MY GAWD. The first three rounds are just landmines – so play it safe, and you should be okay.

The final Week 2 preseason game fell on Monday night between Denver and San Francisco. My gawd, did Jimmy G esus Christ look bad in this one. I mean, he looked good, as always, but his play… yikes. I can’t say I’m surprised, and for a few reasons. He’s less than a year removed from an ACL tear – he may be physically 100% healed, but he’s certainly not mentally 100% – he’s not stepping into his throws on the rehabbed leg and it’s showing. We also have a mess of a group of weapons here. I often say, the middling group of fantasy QBs are only going to be as good as the personnel around them. What started off as a promising young group, has turned ugly really quickly. Dante Pettis hasn’t progressed to the WR1 we thought he’d be by this time, the Niners camp “MVP” Trent Taylor is sidelined with a broken foot, and he’s left with Marquise Goodwin who can’t stay healthy if his job depended on it… oh wait, and a couple of talented, but completely unproven rookies in Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. I like San Francisco’s 2nd and 3rd round picks this year, but they’re for the future, which long odds of either breaking 600-700 total yards of offense in 2019. Jimmy G completed as many passes to the other team as he did to his team on Monday night – finishing 1-for-6 with 0 passing yards and an interception. There are some takeaways from a personnel standpoint, though. Despite the reports of Pettis falling behind in the depth chart and working with the 2’s, that was far from the case on MNF – Pettis, along with Marquise Goodwin was in on every snap that their starting QB was in for, which is a welcoming site. When their personnel required a slot receiver, it was Jordan Matthews operating with the first team, not Deebo Samuel. Samuel did have a huge 45-yard catch-and-run later on in the game but the field was devoid of starting caliber players by that time, so, while it’s a reminder of the explosion he brings to this team, it won’t do us any good as fantasy players if he’s not on the field to explode. In the backfield, the snaps were split nearly evenly, Tevin Coleman playing on 6 snaps to Matt Breida‘s 4. What was great to see is just how much movement was going on between the two backs in the passing game. Both guys were lined up out wide, in the slot, running wheel routes. Back to the point of this Niners team lacking true outside threats, I expect the running backs to play a significant role in the passing game as they always do in Kyle Shanahan’s offenses. Matt Breida, with a 10th round ADP, remains the single best value of all RBs in fantasy football – quote me on it.

It’s mind-blowing that the 32-year-old Emmanuel Sanders is 8 months removed from an achilles tear. I don’t get it. He looked good on Monday night, catching 1-of-2 targets for 5 yards, had a big ~40-yard catch called back for o-line holding while adding a 19-yard end-around that required burst, agility and lateral movement I wouldn’t have expected Sanders to have at this point in his recovery. I was doubtful he’d play at all this preseason, but if he strings together another strong outing in Week 3, Sanders may just get his named crossed off my do not draft list. The rest of the receiving group looked okay, but this isn’t going to be a passing game to exploit for fantasy football. This Denver backfield operated much in the same capacity as week one, with Phillip Lindsay taking the start, spitting snaps almost evenly, if not in favor of Royce Freeman, but most concerning for both Denver backs was the fact that Devontae Booker was in on 4-of-6 1st team 3rd downs. Freeman took the other two. This is turning out to be a timeshare that you may not want to invest in unless either of Lindsay or Freeman fall far enough in drafts to warrant the price.

Week 3 of NFL Preszn was a clusterfuck from a fantasy perspective, as most coaches chose to rest their starters completely, whereas the typical procedure was to use this week as a regular season dress rehearsal. A handful of teams chose to let their starters play into the 3rd quarter, while the rest let the backups fight for their jobs from the rip. Let’s break down the little that we could from Week 3 of NFL Preszn action.

T’was great seeing the yung phenom Derrius Guice byke on the field chugging away, rushing 11 times for 44 yards. Before we get too excited, Adrian Peterson sat this one out, Guice played on 18-of-30 snaps (60%) and was predictably pulled for Chris Thompson on 3rd downs. This performance, while nice to see, shouldn’t move him up draft boards. He’s still in a committee, not a full year removed from a complicated ACL rehab gone wrong, in an offense that will be one of the worst in the NFL this year, meaning lack of scoring opportunities and not a threat to catch more than 25ish passes. I’ll look elsewhere in the 8th-10th round of fantasy drafts. We’ll come byke to the Guice train in 2020.

Jordan Reed left last night’s game with a concussion, now his 7th documented concussion dating back to college. That’s a massive number of DOCUMENTED concussions. Each one leads to greater risk of suffering another one, especially within the first 90 days of it occurring. Plan for Reed to miss extended time following the blow and he’s off of my draft board completely in season-long leagues. At this point, there’s not a player on Washington’s roster that I’m targeting in fantasy drafts this summer

It now seems clear that despite crawling to a mediocre preseason start, Ito Smith has secured the RB2 role in Atlanta, leaving Brian Hill and rookie Qadree Ollison battling for RB3 scraps. Ito ran the ball 5 times for 23 yards and scored another touchdown, also catching his only target for 9 yards. Ito is an “unexciting” player that I’ll be drafting here and there in the 10th-12th round. Devonta Freeman was put on ice after the first drive – he’s still someone I’m staying away from due to his long injury history and we don’t know who will be the primary pass-catcher or GL back in Atlanta.

So, Daniel Jones looked fucking good again. The sheer number of DM’s that Snacks must get during these games asking if he’s hard watching DJ play. I constantly send Snacks this picture and tell him that that’s him watching DJ on TV.

Again, Jones seems destined to take over the starting QB role by mid-season and could pay dividends in Superflex leagues in the ~last round of your draft as a QB3/4. Sterling Shepard remained sidelined, nursing the broken thumb, but is still one of the better value picks in fantasy football this year assuming he’s on the field for Week 1. He’s seen over 100 targets in all three NFL seasons (84 in 2017 in 11 games – paces to 122 in 16 games) while OBJ was on the field. You’re not going to find a more sure thing for triple-digit targets in the 10th round of you drafts. He’s a PPR slam dunk, but I’d stay away in standard leagues.

Rookie second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside balled the fuck out in this one, albeit no starters played, securing 8-of-9 targets for a hunnid and four yards and a tug. I’ve said this about 92 times already, but at some point this year, JJAWs will be a top waiver wire pickup in fantasy football. He’s still clearly behind Jeffery, D-Jax and Agholor on the pecking order, so I’m not drafting him yet, but when he’s available on the wire a month into the season, it’ll be time to pounce.

I will also continue to tell you that Justice Hill is very far behind the Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon, neither of the three suited up on Thursday night. I expect one of the latter to get cut, but Hill has his work cut out for him to make an impact in 2019.

The second big injury of the night happened in Carolina, to the foot of starting QB Cam Newton. We don’t have much information about the particular injury except that he was spotted in a walking boot after the game. A walking boot can be precautionary, but it could also be anything. The Fantasy Doctors speculated that an injury to the foot could be a massive range of outcomes, on the less intense side, something like a sprain could mean resting anywhere from 1-4 weeks, while a Lisfranc injury will sideline him at a minimum 6 games, but probably closer to 3 months, ruining Cam’s 2019 campaign, and in effect, ruining most of the skill players around him. Here’s the video from the Fantasy Doctors.

Let’s talk worst case scenario, Cam is out for half the season. Obviously, he’s off your draft boards. D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel would both plummet down draft boards, and become nothing more than desperate flex plays due to inconsistent passing numbers and overall team success. Christian McCaffrey, on the other hand, could even see an increase in value – the volume of passing work he’d get with a backup QB under center would be ridiculous. In 2018, Cam missed Weeks 16 and 17. C-Mac barely played in Week 17, but in the week prior the yong gawd touched the ball 33 times and went off for 178 YFS, catching an absurd 12-of-13 targets. In a recent video I mentioned that I though C-Mac’s reception total would fall back to around 80 or so in 2019, but if Cam misses significant time, he should again flirt with close to 100 receptions. With Cam, without Cam, C-mac remains a rock-solid top-3 pick in season-long drafts. Here is what ProFootballDoc had to say:

Ever since we had Dr. Morse on the channel a few weeks ago and he didn’t show much concern for Sony Michel’s knee issue, I’ve seen the Patriot’s starter as an awesome value in the later 4th/early5th round of drafts if you miss out on the big running backs early on. Michel looked fucking GREAT in this preseason game, and they fed him accordingly. The box score only reads 10-36, but he had two phenomenal runs called back due to offensive penalties that would’ve had him breaking ~60 yards. Not that we were questioning who was the GL back in New England, but it was still good to see Michel get the first carry inside-the-10, followed by two carries inside-the-5, before eventually losing the actual score to Develin on a FB handoff. The opportunities were there though, and they will be in the regular season. If Sony can stay on the field, he’s a sneaky value to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2019.

I’d rather sit through an hour of drunk snacks talking about Eli Manning than rewatch that Jacksonville and Miami that took place on Thursday night. The things I do for y’all, I shoulda charge $30,000 for this draft guide, no $30.

We learned, once again, that Kalen Ballage is a terrible runner. Kenyan Drake shed his walking boot and has resumed jogging, but I’d estimate he’s still a ways off from returning to the team with just over two weeks remaining til opening day. I want no part of a backfield whose best player is already injured in what might be the league’s worst offense, behind the league’s worst offensive line. On the superflex front, Ryan Fitzpatrick seems to be the starter in Miami, though, they’re yet to name the opening day starter. Fitz played into the 3rd quarter on Thursday night after taking the start. He played okay, but in this situation you can’t expect much from anyone that takes a snap under center. Both Fitz and Josh Rosen will have starts in 2019, but neither seem draftable at the moment.

The Jags entire roster has been completely off my draft board this summer. People keep using the argument, “well Leonard Fournette is a 3-down workhorse when he’s on the field” “well he’s going to be involved in the passing game.” Yeah, we fucking knew that, he always has. Let me guess, he’s big AND fast too right? STFU!!!! – we know his role, but his injury history tells me that I’m not using anything before a 5th or 6th round pick on him, meaning I won’t own him anywhere this year. We’re going to hear a lot about Dede Westbrook after this one, too. Nick Foles “officially” attempted 10 passes in this one. 7 went to Dede, the other 3 to Fournette. Looks great on paper, Dede even hauled in a touchdown grab on a nice GL play-action pass, but every pass was seemingly 3, 4, 5, 7 yards off of the line of scrimmage. The only deep ball Foles attempted targeted Chris Conley who drew a pass interference call. Nearly half of Dede’s short targets were uncatchable and I don’t think he’s going to make a ton of downfield plays running a slant from the slot on every route. Westbrook eclipsed 55 receiving yards in just 3-of-16 games in 2018. I understand if you like Dede as a late-round “upside” play, and I won’t tell you not to draft him, but he’s not my cup of tea unless you’re in a FULL ppr league – not in a run-first offense that I don’t expect to be very good. Vegas has Nick Foles over/under for passing yardage at 3,700 for 2019.

There’s a lot of hope swirling around the pieces of the Lion’s offense for fantasy this year – Kerryon, Stafford, Golladay, Marvin Jones, Hockenson – but the truth is, one, two, even three of the pieces will disappoint. Most intriguing is Kerryon Johnson, who, after being pulled in all three third downs in their preseason Week 2 game, played the entire first drive with the 1’s, staying on the field for a 3rd and 6, which is great news. Johnson is a fair 3rd round pick in fantasy this year, I won’t target him everywhere but I’d love to get a share or two given his raw ability and pass-catching upside – it still looks like that as long as Matt Patricia is leading the team, one way or another, this will be a committee, so don’t ack like you didn’t know the risk involved with that much draft capital being invested into KJ. T.J. Hockenson had a really strong game in this one, playing in 25-of-33 (75%) of Matthew Stafford snaps, catching 3-of-4 targets (21% target share) for 52 yards. It’s exactly what we’ve been preaching in the HQ all summer – Hockenson will be a 75% snap guy (which you won’t get from some of the TEs being drafted around him like Mark Andrews) and give you a weekly floor of 3/4-40/60 yards. Hockenson is a great late-round option if you fade the position in drafts. Also, for what it’s worth, Stafford targeted Marvin Jones in the endzone multiple times, one was a bad pass, and there was a penalty on the other one – but it’s something we should get used to, as we always were when Jones was healthy. Not going to be crazy at all when Jones leads Detroit in receiving touchdowns in 2019.

Peyton Barber again got the start in this one, he’s clearly ahead of Ronald Jones at this point. However, the offensive line unsurprisingly looks like trash and isn’t opening up a single zamn hole for any running back, and it’s hurting the passing game, too. Jameis Winston was sacked 5 times in this game, he obviously didn’t even play the whole game. On a side note, I’m loving the Cleveland Browns as a Week 1 fantasy streamer – going up against the dull Titans offense who will be without Taylor Lewan in that one. Byke to the backfield though, Evan Silva pointed out “Dare Ogunbowale equally splitting 1st-team snaps with Peyton Barber & Ronald Jones in 3rd preseason game is a pretty good indication #Bucs are looking at Ogunbowale for significant early-season role.” We like to spot breakout running backs in ambigious backfields, on offenses that should score a lot. Cue, Dare OgugsdngsdufdarDhign.

 

They clearly don’t have a dedicated pass-catching back on the roster, and Ogunbowale’s 85th percentile college targets hare would suggest he can be that guy. He’s not someone I’m targeting in drafts at the moment, outside of very big leagues, but he’ll likely end up on a ton of top waiver wire add lists/videos early on in the season. Name to monitor.

We have yet to see the duo listed below operating with alpha WR Mike Evans, but their preseason usage dictates big things to come for the pair in 2019, a year after neither guy topped 60% of the team’s offensive snaps in 2018.

 

LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore continue to operate as the lead backs in Buffalo, unless they are for whatever reason hiding hyped rookie Devin Singletary, but it’s looking more and more like a backfield to completely avoid – I’m going to go out on a limb and say the same thing for their wide receiver group.

Drew Brees snaps: 8. MT: 8, Ted Ginn: 7, Tre’Quan Smith: 4. I’ve said it all summer, and I’ll say it again – Tre’Quan is NOT the WR2 in New Orleans.

Will Ezekiel Elliott play in 2019, won’t he play? Despite all the optimism and hope of Zeke being ready in Week 1, we have 0 indication that that’ll actually be the case. What we know for sure, again, is that Tony Pollard is that dude in Dallas. Over the last two weeks, Dak Prescott has played on 22 snaps for Dallas. Over the last two weeks, Tony Pollard has played on 22 snaps for Dallas. Draft the man. With a possible Zeke holdout, and Cooper nursing what might be a serious foot injury, Michael Gallup needs to be a target in drafts right now.

Through three weeks of preseason, Austin Ekeler has seen 40-of-61 first team snaps, while Jackson has received the other 21. I don’t care if you happened to own Ekeler during the one game Gordon was out and he didn’t produce at the level of Adrian Peterson in his prime – get the fuck over it – Ekeler is going to for every week that Gordon sits. I just snagged Ekeler in at the 6.10 (12-team league) and I couldn’t be happier to have him as my RB3. I don’t hate Jackson either, he has a nice floor with Gordon out, but Ekeler has the ceiling as the pass-catcher and possible GL guy. On the flip side, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry have both been creeping up my board as I expect a more pass-heavy game-plan without Gordon in LA.

It’s also officially time to pivot away from fading James Conner. He is the guy, all the guy and nothing but the guy for the Steelers. He was someone I needed to see getting it before I bought in, but god zamn did we see it on Sunday night. The starters have run 34 snaps in Pittsburgh, Conner has been in on 29-of-34 (85%) and looked damn good on the ground. He’s a borderline first rounder, behind their typical solid offensive line. I still like Jaylen Samuels, but it seems his role isn’t going to be as big as we anticipated, or the coaching staff made it seem it would be this summer. He’s a late-round flier with less stand-alone value than predicted, but still RB1 upside should something happen to Conner which isn’t out of the question considering the workload he’s projected to see in 2019. Donte Moncreif is the clear WR2 in yellow and black, behind JuJu. Moncreif has been on all but 2 snaps with the starters. Sure, James Washington has balled out this preseason, but it continues to be with the second team. Until the Steelers and Big Ben trust him enough to be on the field during the regular season, fantasy owners drafting Washington are grasping at straws.

At this point, I’m not okay drafting Marcus Mariota as my QB2, and might not even take him as my 3rd QB in superflex formats. He’s looked terrible this summer and Ryan Tannehill is right on his heels. It makes most position players in Tennessee un-draftable at this point. Last notable – A.J. Brown is running behind Tajae Sharpe – the talented rookie is not draftable in season-long leagues, though I still absolutely love him in dynasty.

The Cardinals offense looked like trash once again. Receivers struggling to gain separation, David Johnson getting the load of his carries straight up the middle, not lining up in the slot and their offensive line continuing to let up tons of pressure. Kyler Murray finished the game with 137 passing yards on 21 passing attempts (6.52 ypa), delivering a few dimes, but lacked any sort of consistency. For all the hype and excitement, their offense is looking more and more like a fade, and not anything I want to invest serious capital into.

Dalvin Cook is officially byke. Mans ripped off an 85-yard TD run on his third carry of the game. He’s a borderline first round pick that has top-5 overall upside if he can stay healthy.

Andrew Luck retired. Wtf. Alright. Jacoby Brissett, for a very short time (in Superflex leagues) will become one of the best values in your fantasy draft. He’s stepping back into a situation with great weapons and a great offensive line. He’s not a 1QB league starter, but he is a Superflex QB2. This obviously hurts every skill position player on Indy. You can check my updated rankings for each guy in the meantime.

Lamar Miller tore his ACL & MCL this weekend, RIP, so he’ll miss all of 2019. The newly acquired Duke Johnson is about to blast off – and he’s a rock-solid 6th round pick in fantasy drafts. Don’t let his role in Cleveland dictate the way you think about him as a fantasy player. He’s a 210lb back, with excellent receiving skills, handled a very big workload in college and is now playing behind one of the NFL’s elite dual-threat QBs in a good offense. With Coutee possibly out, or at least limited to begin the year, not only will Duke have a big workload carrying the ball, but he might legitimately be on the field for 90% if their snaps, manning the slot. I do expect this to be an RBBC, at least early on, with rookies Damarea Crockett (and hopefully not) Karan Higdon splitting the valueless carries. Neither are season-long picks, but I think Crockett could wind up as a waiver wire darling at some point in 2019.

I can’t get over how the Jets have been using Ty Montgomery this preseason. He has been the unquestioned workhorse, gettings tons of work all over the field and on the ground and through the air. It’s making me feel like I could be wrong about Le’Veon Bell, if Montgomery’s usage is any indicator of how they plan to use Bell he’s in for a massive workload, especially through the air.

FUCKING DRAFT MATT BREIDA. THAT’S ALL.

And, as we’ve been saying for a month now, the Damien Williams bullshit was a hype piece by Ried – he’s still very much the guy to own in KC’s backfield and his 3rd round price tag is appealing once again. He took a 70+ yard TD pass to the cribbo and then was rested for the remainder of the game. 

 

35 thoughts on “THE BDGE BIBLE”

  1. pballer62@gmail.com

    If you are drafting late first round I mean after the top 5 Rb’s are gone take a Wr and I agree wholeheartedly with this.. Then take a RB if you are late first round because chances are a decent rb won’t get back to ya is that correct ? I really don’t trust WR WR with the first two picks. Are you saying when you land a RB you like other then the top 5 then hit wr heavy ? and shoot for guy’s like Penny and Murray in the 6th through 8 th round then add a High upside RB late ? I heard a rumor that the back up in KC could be cut so do you like a guy like Darwin Thompson late with a chance that he take over if Damien can’t hang health wise ?

    Anyways thanks for the extra input and I am sorry for not fully understanding what to do after reading the bible just that one part mainly. The rest i understood.

    1. pballer62@gmail.com

      By reading the bible again and watching the video you just put out the light went on thanks Nick. I love your thinking and keep up the good work Nick ,Happy trails to you !

  2. atstigs@comcast.net

    My mans Nicholas coming out with some more *fire emoji* content, I am in a keeper league (half PPR, 12 team, Snake Draft, etc.) where I get to keep Kittle in the 9th round which is some scrumptious value. However I have the late first round pick so I may be going down the Julio, Odell route. I am nervous of this just because I know without an elite RB you definitely are struggling/have a big disadvantage then teams with the Saquads, Kamars, Zekes. My question to you my savior Nicholas is this, with the 9th pick would you trade your later round picks for some more juicy 1st round action or do you think trading picks is a dangerous game and will only back fire. Let me know your thoughts.

  3. ryanbirdsell77@gmail.com

    Super solid – Im born again. Thanks Nick! Really great shit, there is def a column out there with your name on it buddy… Good luck with the brand, the season, and your life pimpy.

    Stay up
    Ryan

  4. peytonmunch@gmail.com

    I’m going to have to read this like 14 more times, too many #bigfacts for my brain to handle at once

  5. jasonrl9000@gmail.com

    Thanks for the Bible Nick!

    One thing to correct- in your blurb about OJ Howard you mention Jackson and Humphries as opening things up for OJ. Neither is still on the Bucs.

    1. RRossi44@yahoo.com

      HE said Jackson and Humphries left the Bucs so OJ HOward will get more targets in the center of the field

  6. dmcena@comcast.net

    First Bible but certainly not my last. Better late than never I guess. Was looking forward to this and you crushed it! I’ve said it before but I love your style and the way you deliver great content. Quality information and value Nick. Cheers!

  7. bakerslounge@outlook.com

    I’m pretty much locked at RB/RB with the first 2 picks no matter what spot I land. If I end up with Mixon/Cook and pass on JuJu/T. Hill I think I’m ok with that. People are ridiculously thirsty for RBs this year and that still makes for good WR’s at round 3 &4. My problem rounds are 5 thru 7. Because of how RB thirsty everyone is these mid rounds are dry AF for good RBs. Trying to procure Howard/Henry/Engram and a worthy RB/WR to fill out the rest of my starting line up SUCKS.

  8. wayne@engineered-solutions.com

    Loved it great read. I am in a 2QB league back to back champ but i have the 10th now (last pick) and I know in this league 8 RBs will be gone
    I am going wr wr and the best rb that is left in round 3 thx for the good insight

  9. P_olo98@hotmail.com

    Dope all around. Going to take a while to process. My first draft is 1-team full ppr and I have the 11th spot, so when you were talking about going wr/wr, my eyes were glued like a mf. I’ve done a ton of mocks, and I think at this point, I’m going with that wr/wr strategy, then take Mack. If Cooks or Diggs is still there, I might bite, then go RB/RB/RB unless I can nab someone like OJ Howard somewhere in between. Going to try to get Wentz too, but if not, it’s L-Jax time. Thanks again.

  10. treyanner@gmail.com

    Study session over! Great read, especially the defense picks during the playoffs. I won my league last year and I did the same thing. One thing that is not mentioned in season long that I also like to do and don’t mind sharing is scouting my opponent and picking off the waiver wire to ensure they do not get the help they desperately need (any offensive player playing Chicago for example). High risk high reward, but especially fun to watch my coworkers squirm and complain.

  11. vivekme66@gmail.com

    Hi Nick,

    I have following setting in my league for QB. It is a full PPR League

    Passing TD = 6 Pt
    Interceptions = -3
    sacks = -1
    passing yards = 15 yards / 1 point
    40+ Yard Completions = 4
    40+ Yard Passing Touchdowns = 8

    I am in early top 4 pick. Looking to get your recommendation on QB drafting strategy.

  12. sickgato@gmail.com

    Wow! You killed it Nick. Masterpiece sir. Loved the Louder with Crowder getting thrown in, my kinda peeps

  13. elunderskov@gmail.com

    With Duke headed to Houston, I’m curious to see just how high Chubb ends up by the end of preseason in Nick’s ratings; Currently have Chubb, DJ, and Hopkins on my 10 team PPR league and I can keep one. Was thinking DJ or DHop, but who knows, maybe it’ll end up being the CHUBB

  14. elunderskov@gmail.com

    Nick, in a 10 team PPR league, what position do you find the most value at? Obviously the 1-4 positions will get you a stud RB, but then drafting at the end of the 2nd you miss out on likely Chubb, Cook, JuJu, etc. In your opinion, if you could have any pick 1-10, which do you take?

  15. 24nvalencia@gmail.com

    14 man league I’m taking chub at the 10 spot, am I stupid if I pass on julio and hope to land hill or Evans 2nd round ?

  16. james0610aylen@gmail.com

    Nick,
    PPR 1 Point Reception, 0.5 RB Drive.
    What a dilemma, read the bible and had my plan.
    Drafted at the 10 spot in 12 team league, super flex..
    2QB’s and 7 RB’s went in the first Round, before me, so I took Adams.
    On the turn, only Hopkins went, I had the choice, reach for Cook or take Jones.
    Didn’t want to start with 2 WR, The bible says so, but took Jones.
    Did I do the right or wrong thing.

  17. james0610aylen@gmail.com

    Nick,
    Apology for the 2 messages.
    Final Team is Wentz, k. Johnson, Penny, J.Jones, Adams, Cook, Mayfield & Vikings Def. (No kicker yet)
    Darnold, Brieda, J.Jackson, L.Murray, Kirk & Fitz on the Bench.
    Any thoughts

  18. photoboothgreg@gmail.com

    Nick, seriously great preseason update for week two. I appreciate when u admit u might need to to cool expectation on Penny – most analysts just cling to their previous statements. Just did a draft. I really wanted Lamar Jackson with my last pick, but may Ryan was just sitting there. Would have been a great keeper option (we can keep two players with 2 round draft penalty). So check out my `b league’ draft. Keep in mind there were 18 keepers. 10 team, 1 qb, 1te, 1 flex, 2wr 2rb. Big league draft day on labor day so please Keep the great content coming! Thanks nick!

    Selecting 8th overall.

    D .Adams, D cook, Aaron jones, Edelman, penny, lockett (keeper), L. Murray, Jared cook, t. Cohen (keeper), Breida in the 10th!, D Jack, MVS, Matt Ryan, Rashid Higgins, D, K.

    I guess I’ll thank you again in week 17

  19. Cschneiderman@ipeccoaching.com

    Hey bro,
    Great stuff. Would you rather have Aaron Jones and Tyler Lockett – OR – Godwin and Michel in a full PPR? I am high on Godwin this year.

    Thanks,
    Craig

  20. vivekme66@gmail.com

    D .Hopkings, N Chubb, Aaron jones, Damian Williams , OJ howard, ,Kirk, Miles sanders, Matt Breida….etc..Lets go..

    Nick, Amazing guide

  21. photoboothgreg@gmail.com

    Nick! Last second advice. Huge fan. Incredible content.

    12 team, PPR, 1 qb, 1 TE, 2 wr, 2 rb, 2 rb/wr/te flex .

    I’ve got keepers in mahomes (10th), Kamara (5th). I will NOT getting a “top 3” te.

    Two questions: 1) with Kamara AND first pick overall, should I feel comfortable leaving the draft with 4 early RB’s? Or do I need 5 with the two flex spots? (Ie: Barkley, kamara, Montgomery and Breida)

    2) what do you prefer, Vance, TJ, mahomes. or TJ, mahomes, Lamar? Is it safe to enter a season where I have a above average chance with only TJ at TE?

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