Year after year, the hype remains on certain, unwarranted players like the sweat on your skin after a post-gym shower. It should be gone, shouldn’t it? But it seeps through regardless. We’re experienced though, right? We avoid the tempting, steamy warm waters of mid-round ADPs. And instead, turn the knob as far left as we can and let the cold, mysterious, lesser known temperatures and players occupy our lineups.

Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

Current ADP: QB14, Overall 116

I often say that an average NFL QB is going to be as good as the weapons around him. If Antonio Brown is gone, this offense is going to decline, imo. Ben finished as the QB3 in fantasy last year. If you had him, it was a pleasure, but it’s time to break the loyalty. He attempted the most passes in the NFL last year (675), but he wasn’t good. While that high volume led him to lead the league in passing yards (5,129) and 5th highest passing TD total (34), he led the NFL in interceptions (16), he threw 31 interceptable passes per PP.com (2nd most), his PFF QB grade was 17th, and adjusted completion % was 29th among 39 qualified QBs. His RZ completion percentage ranked 28th, where he led in both RZ interceptions (4) and 10zone INTs (2), and his deep ball completion percentage ranked 26th among NFL QBs. He. Was. Not. Good.

Here’s the big stat though (per Mike Tagliere’s podcast) Ben totaled a league-low 46% of his yards through the air in 2019. 54% OF HIS PASSING YARDS CAME AFTER THE catch. That tells you, unsurprisingly, that his WRs were really good after the catch. Huge shock – Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Not to mention Vance McDonald moving with the ball in his hands.

Sure, the Steelers added some wideouts this offseason. The Steelers shocked a lot of people, myself included when they took Diontae Johnson with the 2nd pick in the 3rd round in this year’s draft. I’m just not sure exactly what they see in Johnson. An undersized receiver, in the 18th percentile for weight-adjusted speed score. Similar metrics to Antonio Brown admittedly, except his breakout age is below average while playing against Toledo in the MAC – while Brown did it at the age of 19, 87th percentile.

So they add Johnson, they also signed Donte Moncrief to battle James Washington who was trash last year. I actually lowkey love the Moncrief signing and I’ve been scooping him in bestball drafts in Rounds 13, 14, 15. But regardless, outside of JuJu, they have a bunch of unproven weapons who need to capture Brown’s vacated targets. You can create all the hypothetical success you want in your head, but the range of outcomes for this weapon group is huge, it could be really bad, or it could be very good – but you have to at least acknowledge what it could be.
“BuT tHe StEElErS aRe So GoOd At DrAfTinG WrS” – yeah they have been there’s not denying that. JuJu, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant (who by all measures was not actually a good pick outside of one half of one season – never had a year with 800+ yards), Emmanuel Sanders, Santonio Holmes… but in that same time span they’ve also drafted Fred Gibson, Willie Reid, Dallas Baker, Limas Sweed, Toney Clemons, Justin Brown, Markus Wheaton, Sammie Coates, DeMarcus Ayers… Realistically, yeah they’ve nabbed some really great WRs, but the hit rate is still low, much lower than 50%, so… just keep that in mind. Ben is an easy pass in an offense trending in the wrong direction, and towards more of a run-heavy approach. Give credit to PIT front office for their offensive line. If it gets to the point where Ben starts going like QB15-18, yeah I’ll scoop fa sure.
'19 BUST RISK RATING
5/10

Tom Brady – New England Patriots

Current ADP: QB20, Overall 140

Brady’s name still holds value in fantasy football, after all of these years. People get really mad on the internet when I say not to draft him. The majority of you already know this, and you know that he didn’t perform well last year in fantasy, but I thought if I’m gonna take down the goat, I need to bring the big facts. You come at the king, you best not miss.

Brady finished the year throwing for 4,355 yards, 29 TDs and 11 INTs. Statistically speaking, it was a solid performance all-around for a typical QB, but not so much the case for the 31 time Super Bowl champ. For the fourth consecutive year, Brady’s attempts/game (35.6), passing yards/game (272), and fantasy points/game (18.2) have decreased. Brady turns 42 this August and has put up arguably the greatest fight against father time that we as a human race have witnessed in our 2019 years on this planet. It looks like that fight is coming maybe be coming to an end for your fantasy team in 2019. For the first time since 2010, the Patriots threw the ball on fewer than 55% of their offensive plays. It seems obvious that a run-heavy approach will be New England’s game plan moving next year after drafting another running back in Damien Harris with their third round pick.

These are Brady’s splits last year while both Burkhead and Sony Michel were on the field – the pass attempts numbers dropped by more than 5 per game, his yardage by 55. When they drafted Damien Harris in the 3rd round this year, they ensured that they’ll have at least one, if not two or three healthy runners all year to run behind Brady. Don’t forget, they also drafted Isaiah Wynn, the guard/tackle out of Georgia with their first 1st-round pick to pair with Sony Michel last year but he missed his entire rookie szn with a torn achilles.

They lose Gronk to retirement, Chris Hogan is gone, you’re fooling yourself if you think Josh Gordon is going to be back and making a real impact in 2019. They did draft N’Keal Harry, who I love, with their first-round pick this year, but he’s a rookie – their WR depth chart is one of the most depleted in the NFL, they had no other choice but to target a WR early in this draft. It’s wheels up for the ground game in New England – their game plan is to keep Brady upright, on the field, without taking many hits is what will give them that success in 2019. Brady should be efficient, but he’s not a top-10 QB this year in fantasy, so don’t draft him like he is.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
5/10

Mitch Trubisky – Chicago Bears

Current ADP: QB19, Overall 139

If you’re from the windy city, I apologize in advance. Simply put, Mitchell Trubisky is not a good quarterback. Nothing he has ever done would indicate he is, even dating back to his days wearing baby blue and getting his ass beat by the Hokies. The thing is, we’re talking fantasy football, so even if you’re a balding 26 year old who unironically calls himself “The B.O.A.T”, there are a few decent fantasy seasons to be had. Despite this, there are way too many red flags surrounding Trubisky which make me hesitant touching him at his ADP. Whether it be his awful accuracy, extreme inconsistency, or the fact that he despises being called “Mitch” because it rhymes with a certain five letter word that 73 year old British men use exclusively to describe female pups at a dog show, I’m all out on Trupicksky heading into 2019.

In 2018, Bitchell finished 11th amongst quarterbacks on a points per game basis, but when you look a little bit deeper, you’ll see that, although he technically was a QB1, he really wasn’t. Am I saying his entire season was a farce, littered with #fakenews? Yeah, kinda. Of his 14 weeks, he finished inside the top-12 six times, meaning he was valuable about 42.9% of the time. Outside of those games, he finished inside the top-20 ONCE, so with a little bit of math, we can conclude that he dropped below the QB20 mark on a weekly basis 50% of the time. In what world would you ever feel confident in starting a QB with these types of splits? Other than being just a weekly streamer, where literally anybody can provide value, Trubisky is basically useless. If you look at his game log from last season, another huge thing stands out.

Of his 262.6 fantasy points (according to PP.com), 43.5, or 16.6% of his total production came in Week 3 against the UConn Huskies…I mean Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sorry, I get those two defenses confused. Another wild thing to consider; from Week 3 through Week 5 (3 weeks stretch, or 21.4% of Trubisky’s season), Trubisky scored 105.2 fantasy points, which roughly equates to 40.1% of his total production on the year. The other two defenses he faced over this stretch, you may ask? The Dolphins, who allowed the 9th most points to QBs in 2018, and the Patriots, who, although were solid against the position (18th most points to QBs), let up the 8th most rushing yards to quarterbacks. Trubisky’s week five performance through the air was admittedly decent (333 yards, 2 Tugs, 2 Picks), but what bumped him into the QB1 territory was his 81 rushing yards and score on the ground. In fact, in all but one week where he finished inside the top-12, Mitch rushed for either > 40 yards (equivalent to one passing TD) OR scored a rushing TD (equivalent to 1.5 passing TDs). The only game where he hit neither mark was against the Packers, where he threw for just 235 yards and 2 scores, so although he snuck his way into the top-five that week, it was another pedestrian performance from Trub.

The reason I bring up his rushing prowess is because it made up for a lot of what he lacked in the passing game. Sure, he had a 2:1 TD to interception ratio, but he threw 26 interceptable passes, the 6th most in the league. Along with that, he was constantly bailed out by his receivers, seen in his throws under pressure. Of the 37 quarterbacks who dropped back 200+ times last year, Trubisky ranked 3rd worst in accuracy (catchable throws/attempts) at 58.0% ahead of just Josh Allen (49.4%) and Alex Smith (57.6%). Despite this, he was 19th in completion percentage (50.0%), which may not sound great, but it means his receivers caught nearly every ball that was within reach. In comparison, Matthew Stafford also had a 50% completion percentage on throws under pressure. The only difference? 64.8% of his throws were deemed “accurate”, a much greater percentage than Trub’s. Paired with this luck was his blessing in the vertical game, where he was just one of six quarterbacks who didn’t have a receiver drop a deep pass. Of the 33 QBs who attempted > 20 deep balls, Mitch ranked 25th in accuracy (37.0%) yet completed the 11th most passes because of the volume (6th most deep attempts) he was given. If I was Matt Nagy, I’d look Mitchell dead in the face and say “hey, you kinda suck throwing the ball, and Burton isn’t all that good, how about you move to tight end?”.

Honestly though, after all we’ve seen out of Mitch, what is there really to expect in 2019? A matchup-dependent streamer? Sure, but a QB who I’d be comfortable throwing in my starting lineup in hopes he rekindles the fire he lit 57 weeks ago in Tampa Bay? No chance in hell, or Florida, same thing really.

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. for all of y’all who are going to throw the splits at me concerning Trubisky with and without Allen Robinson on the field, don’t bother. In the three games Mitch played and ARob didn’t the Bears were in Minnesota (3rd least points to position), in Buffalo (least points allowed to QBs), and the Jets (where Trubisky finished 8th on the week). His numbers against the former two teams would be low regardless of Robinson’s health.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
5/10

Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams

Current ADP: RB10, Overall 18

Honestly, if you’ve watched even a single video of mine this summer then you’ve likely heard me yelling about Todd Gurley.

I’m confident in saying we were the first place in the industry telling you to start fading Todd Gurley in the first round of drafts, when we had Dr. Jesse Morse on back in February or March. Hopefully, we saved you a lot of money in bestball drafts.

Everything you knew about Todd Gurley, about Georgia Todd Gurley, about 2017 and 2018, Todd Gurley, it doesn’t matter anymore. He’s a soon-to-be 25-year old running back with arthritis. You hate to see it.

The problem with it, as Dr. Morse said is that it’s not going away. You can treat it, you can let it rest, but it doesn’t heal. So, much of the problem you hear with people who are still buying Gurley – “Well even if you take 25% of his production away – he’s still a top-8 RB” or whatever. Like, that’s not how this is going to work.

There are a million conflicting reports. 

Let’s make a timeline.

Watch the Full Running Back Injury Interview w/ Dr. Jesse Morse

  • Week 15 of 2018 season, Gurley leaves with a knee injury - we find out it's knee inflammation and is day-to-day.
  • Day-to-day turns into two weeks, missing Week's 16 and 17.
  • Gurley comes returns for the 2018 NFL playoffs to a strong game against DAL in the Divisional Playoffs, goes for 118 YFS and a touchdown on 18 touches.
  • However, in that same game, C.J. Anderson, signed just two weeks prior, touches the rock 23 times.
  • Fast forward, they TGIII off the injury report leading up to the NFC Champion. We're told that he's fully healthy. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT HEALTHY.
  • Todd Gurley receives 5 touches in the NFC Championship.
  • C.J. Anderson receives 17 touches in the NFC Championship.
  • The off-season comes, as do reports scattered all over the place. Videos from TMZ surface of Todd Gurley limping around Los Angeles, but he and the staff are sticking with their initial claim that Todd is 100%.
  • Reports say that he might undergo stem cell surgery for the knee - which is not a long-term solution, there is not one for arthritis.
  • Rams match offer-sheet and resign Malcolm Brown.
  • Rams trade up in the 2019 NFL Draft to draft Memphis running back Darrell Henderson in the 3rd Round.
  • The reports of him being done as a bell-cow start surfacing.

The problem with Gurley is exactly what happened in Week 15, where out of nowhere it became inflamed, then he misses two games and his touches thereafter are all over the map. With this arthritis, it could inflame at ANY time during this season. So, it’s obviously smart to keep him out of the entire preseason. The more time he spends playing against NFL defenders, the more likely it is to happen. And do you think defenders won’t be targeting that arthritis? Stop.

So, will it happen in Week 1, Week 3, Week 10. I don’t know. But I see one-of-two things happening with Gurley.

  1. They continue to use him as a bellcow… The inflammation will happen and he’ll be out of your lineup sooner rather than later.
  2. They try to mitigate the risk as much as possible. Lower his workload, instead of a 22-25 touch/game guy, he’s now a 15-18 touch/game guy. Which, obviously, does not give him the ceiling the Gurley we’ve come to know, has had. That obviously has to lower him in your rankings, just naturally. But this doesn’t guarantee him staying healthy, he’s still very much at risk of having the knee becoming inflamed, and when/if that happens, you’re going to be looking at the missed time, games with 10-12 touches, just shit that becomes a headache of whether or not you should start him.
  3. I mean, if you want to throw a 3rd option in here and assume he’s perfectly fine, and nothing changes more power to ya.
So, with that being said, Gurley is off my board in the first three rounds where I want to go as risk-averse as possible. If you take Gurley with your 2nd round, and the knee predictably acts up, you’re going to be kicking yourself… because we literally know what we’re dealing with.
'19 BUST RISK RATING
7.3/10

Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars

Current ADP: RB14, Overall 27

'19 BUST RISK RATING
9.2/10

Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons

Current ADP: RB17, Overall 33

Freeman has taken an absolute beating over his last couple of years in the NFL. After his back-to-back dominant years in 2015 and 2016, it’s safe to say that his powerful, violent running style has caught up to his 5-8, 205lb frame. You can only run like that against guys who are double your size for so long. Freeman’s injury outlook from Dr. Jesse Morse isn’t pretty.

I could’ve sided with the Freeman bounce-backers earlier in the offseason when his ADP was bordering the 4th/5th round, but in the early 30’s, that’s far too rich for me.

Running back units under current Falcons head coach Dan Quinn haven’t eclipsed a 17% target share since 2016, and backs under new Falcons OC Dirk Koetter haven’t eclipsed a 16% target share since 2015. Devonta Freeman’s 10% target share back in 2017 (his last full season) is what we should anticipate in 2019, with Ito Smith near the 6% mark the second string runner soaked up in 2018. Both hotlanta backs could be limited a bit in PPR, with Atlanta focused on getting the ball to its strong wide receiver group. And don’t forget, we’ve also seen Freeman under Dirk Koetter already, back during his 2014 rookie season. He was bad. Those were, and still are his touch total, yards per carry and yards per reception career-lows. Koetter thought it beneficial to use a split between 31-year old Steven Jackson, Devonta Freeman and Jaquizz Rodgers. None of them were topped 3.8 YPC or 7.5 YPR. Koetter might produce the worst fantasy RB numbers of any OC in the league.

And Speaking of Ito Smith – Coach Dan Quinn said he expects Ito Smith to see a “significant increase” in offensive looks this season. Smith was an excellent pass-catcher in college:

Freeman is still the superior runner and if he’s healthy that’ll be his role, but I think there’s a big chance Freeman finishes the year as another one of those early-mid round fantasy RBs that busts simply because he’s one dimensional, a grinder at this point in his career.

Admittedly, Freeman is a winner coming out of the NFL draft, in theory. They took an OG (Chris Lindstrom – Boston College) with the 14th overall pick, and traded back into the end of the first to take an OT – Kaleb McGary (U of Wash). Lindstrom will be a big upgrade to the interior of ATL’s disappointing line, but he’s a far superior pass-blocker, allowing just 4 pressures in 2018 – he was PFF’s 3rd overall graded OG in the draft and 2nd in PBing – but 21st in RBing. Kaleb McGary was their other 1st rounder – good all-around lineman, great athlete, but ranked 54th in run-block success per PFF last year and allowed just 1 QB hit last year – seems like these picks were for the pass game. They also didn’t take a running back until the 5th round – Qadree Ollison – but I’m telling you – I kind of like this kid – out of the U of Pittsburgh!

The guy is massive, 6-1, 228lbs, there’s no worry about handling a workload and those in-between-the-tackles carries, but he can also catch the ball. Ollison definitely isn’t a receiving back, but he caught 50 passes during his time at Pitt, including a 23-catch junior season, averaging 8.4 yards per reception. Both Ollison and Freeman ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the combine. Ollison is 228lbs (74th percentile weight-adjust speed score)…. Freeman is 206lbs. Y’all do the math. For someone his size, Ollison has a surprising second gear and has great foot movement in between the tackles.

There’s no scenario where Freeman is getting the 22 touches/game he saw in 2015. Fam, take a second to think about that. Two. Thousand. And 15. I was still a virgin in 2015. Nah I’m lying. Cause I’m still a virgin. But that’s a long time ago for your crazy asses to think Freeman it still going to see that type of workload. Fast forward a year, to 2016, Freeman’s touches/game drop dramatically down to 17.5 per. Like Pusha T, another year, another drop. Down to 16.5/game in 2017. It’s been a complete downward trajectory for Freeman over the last few years. I keep hearing of this imaginary RB1 upside Freeman has and the value is so good where he’s going in drafts – but Freeman doesn’t have the upside people want to believe he does. On top of the steep decline in volume, under a coach that’s miserable at utilizing running backs, he’s one of the more injury-risky players in fantasy football drafts this year. So, from where I’m sitting, there is not a chance in hell I’m using a 3rd round pick on him. I probably wouldn’t consider him unless he dropped into the 5th. He’s somehow going ahead of Marlon Mack, Aaron Jones and Kerryon Johnson — hell to the mf’ing nawww.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
7.8/10

Mark Ingram – Baltimore Ravens

Current ADP: RB23, Overall 48

I think Mark Ingram is a solid NFL running back…. that benefited tremendously from running behind the Saints elite run-blocking line. Do I think Ingram can be a good runner in Baltimore this year? Sure. With Lamar Jackson taking snaps at quarterback, the lanes should be pretty wide in Baltimore. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ingram finished the year  averaging, 4.5-4.7 yards per carry, but how many touches can you really project him to get? He’ll be the primary early-down back, assuming he beats out breakout back Gus Edwards who thinks his job is still secure lol. And in the passing game? Sure, he was solid in New Orleans, but the super explosive Justice Hill is going to carve out a 3rd down role here. The former Oklahoma State runner brings a home-run gear to this backfield that it’s been missing for a long time, coming in the form of this year’s fastest 40-yard dash (4.40) at the NFL Combine among running backs.

Even if you don’t believe Hill eats into the receiving workload, and admittedly as someone who loves Hill, there isn’t as much upside in this backfield regardless because Lamar literally never targets his running backs. During the games in which the former Heisman winning QB was the starter for the Ravens, he targeted RBs on 15% of his throws, a full 6% lower than the NFL Average (21%). Buffalo (13%) and Atlanta (11%) were literally the only teams that threw to their running backs at a lower rate during that time span.

Sure, as I previously stated, having L-Jax under center should make Ingram’s numbers more efficient on paper, but you also have to accept the fact that Lamar Jackson is going to run the ball 10+ times a game still – which destroys clock, and a lot of it. If you want 14 carries/game at 4.6 ypc, with little padding in the stat sheet elsewhere, Ingram is your guy, but not inside the top 40 picks or as a top-20 RB. People act as if Ingram is this young, spry back coming into his second contract as a 25-year old. He’s not. He’s fucking 29 years old, coming off a year where he was suspended 4 games for using banned substances. After his first game back in which the Saints absolutely embarrassed the Redskins on national television 43-19, where Ingram rolled into the endzone twice on 3.3 yards per carry, he was incredibly mediocre the rest of the way, averaging just over 10 half ppr fantasy points per game over the final 10 games of 2018, which would have been good for around RB35.

iNgRaM haS tO Be tHe WOrKhOrsE LoOk HoW mUcH MoNeY thEY gaVe HiM

Ingram signed a 3-year, $15M deal in April, with $6.5M guaranteed. Jerick McKinnon is playing on a contract that guarantees him $18-million and his ass is about to be the RB3 in San Francisco this year. Dion Lewis received $8.25M guaranteed in his contract with the Titans. The Saints LET MARK INGRAM WALK and then signed Latavius Murray to a 4-year deal where he’s getting $7.2M guaranteed. Yes, more than Ingram just received. They could have kept Ingram AND paid him less money, but they let him walk. Rex Burkhead – $5.5M guaranteed. The money argument is a cute one, but not a good one. This is the NFL, not elementary tee-ball where daddy’s little all-star gets on the field regardless of his 72.35 era. If Ingram isn’t good, they’ll find someone else who is. And there happens to be a guy they just drafted that’s very good.

 

'19 BUST RISK RATING
6/10

James White – New England Patriots

Current ADP: RB26, Overall 57

Drafting these pass-catching running backs in fantasy football is a lot like playing wack-a-mole and consistently pounding at the hole a mole just came out of. You saw it come out, so you know the hole is lubed up and it can happen again. But guess what, that mole isn’t showing it’s little pecker for another 8-9 mole appearances. Welcome to season-long fantasy football. The problem with hyping up these pass-catching backs to an early-to-mid round fantasy pick is that people pretend a player was useful when they look at the end of the year stats. Don’t take this the wrong way, White was extremely useful last year, he finished as the RB8 in fantasy, but not because he was the 8th best back and he will not come anywhere near that finish in 2019. 

White was a fun story last year, but you’ve always been able to draft him in like the 13th round of fantasy drafts, and now after 5 seasons in New England he finally showed us a real good 8-game stretch solely because Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead were injured. In games where Sony Michel carried the ball more than 10 times, which just narrows out any games he got hurt in, White averaged 9.6 touches. You really trying to use a 5th round pick on a guy that gets 9 touches/game? Add games that Rex Burkhead also played into that split and James White looking more like James Shite (!!!!!):

In games that both Sony Michel and Rex Burkhead played at full strength (6 games), James White averaged 8.5 touches a game. The drafting of Damien Harris in the 3rd round all but ensures the Pats will have 2-of-3 backs outside of White available every Sunday. So, you’re REALLY really thinking about taking a running back in the 5th round who is going to get 8 touches/game????? 

K

'19 BUST RISK RATING
5.5/10

A.J. Green – Cincinnati Bengals

Current ADP: WR13, Overall 34

Imagine thinking Green is a screaming value at WR13. But in like 8 games last year he was really good! Well, Green is also:

  • Turning 31 years old in July
  • Has averaged 1,014 receiving yards and 6.8 touchdowns over the L5 seasons.
  • Has not eclipsed 1,300 yards since 2013 or 8 touchdowns since 2015.
  • Most importantly, he’s coming back from a surgery on his toe that requires 9-12 months to be at full strength. That happened in Week 13 of last year. He went under the knife in December. Simple math tells us he won’t be at full strength until anywhere from late September through December.

You can miss me with every single report about him “running” and “looking good a practice” – I literally don’t give a fuck. Do you know why he went under the knife in the first place? Because he rushed back from the turf toe injury he suffered originally in 2018. 9-12 months is a LONG time to sit at home and recover for an elite-level athlete such as Green. Would it surprise me to see him push it too hard, too soon? Definitely not. He literally just did it in 2018. The other thing about the whole being 31 thing isn’t necessarily that he’s 31, people can still play well at that age, but your body doesn’t heal from these intense injuries as quickly, so it’s likely Green winds up on the longer range of that return time-table. Did Julian Edelman come back from a torn ACL at the age of like 41, yeah, but he tore it in Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season and was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season, giving him a full year and a week before returning to the football field. Dr. Morse said it’ll be crucial to watch Green this off-season to assess whether or not he’s ready for the season. Is he cutting, pushing off and exploding off of that toe? If he looks even a little bit hesitant or less than 100%, stay away. Stay far away.

Also, do we know if this offense is any good? Do we know if Andy Dalton isn’t finished? What if he is, and the Bengals want to see what they have in rookie QB Ryan Lindley? You think that’s a good thing for A.J. Green? Freak no.

[UPDATE 8/12]

So this aged well.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
7.5/10

Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams

Current ADP: WR22, Overall 54

Kupp, much like A.J. Green, will be fighting against his ACL tear return timetable. In the midst of a sophomore breakout campaign, Kupp tore his ACL in Week 11, mid-November. Typical ACL recovery spans from 10-12 months. Keyword: Typical. Yeah, Adrian Peterson returned from his ACL surgery like two weeks later, that shit ain’t typical. The exact reason I fade these dumb fuckin injury beat reports of guys “being ready for training camp” is because of shit like this:

Oh so we EXPECT Kupp to be full recovered from a torn ACL in 7.5 months? Interesting. But completely made up. Which is why things immediately switched to “We hope to have him ready for Week 1.” Yeah, that’s far more realistic and likely too optimistic. I’ll go on record now and say that it wouldn’t surprise me even a tiny bit if Kupp began the 2019 season on the PUP list, meaning he won’t be playing in the Rams’ first six games. Is it likely, no. But certainly not out of the realm of possibilities. Like Dr. Morse said, players who tear their ACLs are not usually back to full strength both physically, and possibly even more important, mentally until their second season removed from the surgery. Not to mention, players have a 30% chance within two years of being removed from the surgery of tearing an ACL for the second time.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s going to be the Cooks and Woods show in LA again in 2019. Monitor Kupp reports extremely closely as we get towards the start of the season, but don’t be surprised when what I’ve wrote here is spot on.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
7.1/10

Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans

Current ADP: WR32, Overall 81

Davis disappointed once again after much breakout hype clouded his fantasy outlook entering the 2018 season. If you had told me Davis would again see nearly 27% of his team’s targets, I’d have bought in. Thankfully, none of y’all are snitches and no one told me that. But that’s what happened last year. 27% of the Titan’s passes went to Corey Davis – the 8th highest rate in the NFL. Those are elite target share numbers – Those are the OBJ, Julio, Davante Adams type target shares. One problem, he finished as the WR33 in fantasy last year (half PPR PPG – minimum 10 games played). He turned 112 targets into 65 receptions, 895 yards and four touchdowns… and 10 dropped passes.

You can’t entirely blame Davis for his lack of success through two NFL seasons after being the 5th overall pick in the Draft. The situation he is in and the quarterback he’s catching passes from are some of the worst conditions in fantasy.

We’re talking about a really low pass volume offense, that brought in two pass-catchers this season – Adam Humphries & A.J. Brown. With Humphries signing a four-year, $36 million contract with Tennessee for whatever tf reason, he’s going to be in the slot full-time. The problem is, if there was somewhere Davis would succeed it was going to be in the slot – we see the Michael Thomas’, JuJu’s, Thielen, dominate in the slot – seeing huge target totals and being extremely efficient on them. Davis actually started playing a ton in the slot last year, because of Matt LaFleur.
With Humphries here, LaFleur gone, Davis will be outside competing for targets opposite A.J. Brown. If he couldn’t get it done last year, don’t expect a breakout coming in 2019. Until they find their identity, Mariota stays healthy or they get a new QB, Davis will continue to disappoint in fantasy football.
'19 BUST RISK RATING
8.5/10

James Washington – Pittsburgh Steelers

Current ADP: WR49, Overall 121

Sure, Antonio Brown is gone. But I think the signing of Donte Moncrief and the Diontae Johnson selection speaks a little bit louder. I dove pretty deep into the Pittsburgh situation following the Antonio Brown trade, and I didn’t like James Washington then. Add a couple more outside receivers to the mix and there’s nothing at all enticing about Washington to me.
There is literally no argument that someone who is backing James Washington has other then he was behind Brown and JuJu. Like there’s no positive side to the argument, it’s just the attempt to combat the negative. It’s like when Daniel Jones was picked in the draft and ESPN was like yeah welllll, his sisters are great athletes.. like nothing about his on-field gameplay. James Washington is the WR version of Daniel Jones. He played on 525 snaps last year… That’s actually like 100 fewer snaps then Calvin Ridley played. It’s more than Dante Pettis, the same as Christian Kirk..
'19 BUST RISK RATING
8/10

Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts

Current ADP: TE7, Overall 81

This is one I’ve battled myself on back and forth all offseason. His ADP has been going in the right direction, down. He was originally the TE4-5 right behind the big 3, but he’s TE7 now. The easy argument is to just call out regression, which will probably be the case after Ebron caught 13 TDs last year from Andrew Luck, leading all tight ends in the category.

I will preface by saying this. I think people are gonna start fading Ebron too much. Sure he might become touchdown dependent in 2019, but that’s not necessarily the worst thing considering he’s on one the NFL’s best offenses, with an elite QB who throws to the TE, especially in the RZ as much if not more than any QB in the NFL. Ebron won’t repeat his 14-total TD number from last year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he scores 8-9 touchdowns this year, which will likely sneak you into the top 5-7 fantasy TEs.

But there are a lot of things working against Ebron. One, we just had a report surface that Ebron had some work done on his groin. Could be clean-up but we don’t know anything about it. Red flag number one.

They add Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell, both guys expected to come in and make an immediate impact on this offense. Funchess moreso in the redzone given his size.

We’re also assuming Jack Doyle will be back. I want to talk about this for a second because every analyst I’ve seen talk about this posts the exact same analysis and numbers. They look at the number of snaps Ebron played with/without Jack Doyle on the field. And yeah, I get it, the gap in snaps is significant. Ebron was on the field for 40% of the snaps when Doyle was in, compared to 63% of the time when he wasn’t. But I do want to look at this from a common sense standpoint. If the Colts can’t rely on Doyle to stay on the field, their gameplan isn’t going to revolve around expecting that to happen. Do you know what I mean? Given what we saw from Ebron last year, how would the Colts possibly be like.. yeah you know what, let’s put Ebron back in a 30% snap role? And when Doyle came back, the last three games before he got hurt again Weeks 10-12, Ebron was playing on over 50% of their snaps, so a big boost. I just think to look at this from a more common sense standpoint than the same way every single person is looking at the Jack Doyle situation, is more useful and makes more sense.

Anyways, yeah there’s a lot of moving parts here with Ebron – we saw his upside, which is great, but he’s not repeating it. Can he still be a top 5 TE, absolutely, if he scores 8 touchdowns, he’ll be a mid-upper TE1 this year. But he’s TD dependent, which means he’ll have as many bad games as he does good, not exactly something I want in my lineup where he’s being taken. I think we’ll look back on the numbers and he will be top 10, probably top 8, and people will be like wow I hated Ebron too much, but birds-eye view numbers don’t paint the picture and we’re going to see inconsistency out of him. At pick 69, I’d much rather take Hunter Henry, Tyler Boyd, Rashaad Penny, even Latavius Murray, all guys going around that pick.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
6.4/10

Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons

Current ADP: TE11, Overall 93

Austin Hooper had a semi-big year, but the guy kind of stinks, tbh. Hooper had more games of 0 yards this year then he did 80 yards. That’s because the guy had 0 games of 80+ yards, and caught 0 passes for 0 yards in Week 15 against Arizona. It’s been 33 games since Hooper has hit 80 receiving yards in a game. You have to go back to Week 1 of 2017 when some asshole safety on Chicago blew his coverage and let up an 80-yard TD to him. Hooper had three decent games this year thanks to TDs that propelled him up TE rankings. Otherwise, the guy scored fewer than 7 FPs in 10-of-16 games.

I’m good. I’m a Falcons fan, I know what Hooper is, there’s no upside here. There’s no breakout coming.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
5.3/10

Trey Burton – Chicago Bears

Current ADP: TE12, Overall 101

Chicago with a lot of mouths to feed, getting fed by a QB that doesn’t put up enough statistics passing wise to make this intriguing. You also have to remember that Adam Sheehan missed nearly the entire season with the summer foot/ankle injury. He was placed on the I.R. and returned in Week 11. By that point in the season, nine games in, he had one big game (9-126-1) against NE – but through those nine games, Burton was giving you 3.5 receptions and 45 receiving yards – not exactly amazing numbers given Burton is a TE that’s 6’3-235lbs and you need those smaller TEs to be quicker, shiftier after the catch, more explosive because they lack the size.

Once Shaheen returned in Week 11, Burton’s numbers dipped even further:

Over the final 7 games of the year with Shaheen in the lineup, Burton scored once, didn’t eclipse 36 yards ever, and had the same amount of targets inside-the-10 yard line as Shaheen. You also look at the snap share, things started going more in favor of Shaheen:
For as cliché as we’ve known it to become, and how often people make fun of the fact, it frequently translates into dominant RZ play – Shaheen was a college basketball player – a very good athlete, in the 83rd percentile as a weight-adjusted athlete, massive size (6’6 – 278), was a 2nd round pick. He’s going to kill Burton in the RZ.
I wouldn’t be shocked if Burton finished with around the same numbers as last year: ~50 receptions, 500-600 yards, but I’d set the over-under for his TD total around 4, not the 6 he scored in 2018.
'19 BUST RISK RATING
6.6/10

ANY AND ALL TIGHT ENDS THAT ARE 30 YEARS OLD, COMING BACK FROM A SERIOUS LOWER LEG INJURY THAT BEAT REPORTERS WILL CONTINUOUSLY TELL YOU THEY ARE AT 85% HEALTH FOR 3-4 MONTHS IN A ROW. THEY FINISHED.

'19 BUST RISK RATING
10/10

Goes Without Saying List

Quarterbacks

  • Joe Flacco - Denver Broncos
  • Nick Foles - Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Eli Manning - New York Giants
  • Case Keenum - Washington Redskins

Tight Ends

  • Matt Lacosse - New England Patriots
  • Jason Witten - Dallas Cowboys
  • Hayden Hurst - Baltimore Ravens
  • Jesse James - Detroit Lions

Running Backs

  • LeSean McCoy - Buffalo Bills
  • Kareem Hunt - Cleveland Browns
  • Jerick McKinnon - San Francisco 49ers
  • Adrian Peterson - Washington Redskins
  • C.J. Anderson - Detroit Lions

Wide Receivers

  • DeVante Parker - Miami Dolphins (please stop)
  • Marquise Goodwin - San Francisco 49ers
  • Taylor Gabriel - Chicago Bears
  • Josh Gordon - New England Patriots
  • Marqise Lee - Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Nelson Agholor - Philadelphia Eagles