Four Offensive Line Upgrades That Matter

by John Evans, August 13, 2020

The new-look offensive line in Cleveland will give Browns ball-carriers larger avenues to daylight, making Nick Chubb a leading contender for the league rushing title. Kareem Hunt is equally capable should Chubb go down. While this will be a run-first attack, Baker Mayfield’s projected improvement in efficiency will keep him in the low-end QB1 mix and give Odell Beckham Jr. weekly fantasy WR1 upside.

With the offensive line’s turnaround complete, they should give Houston’s skill players a production boost. Having a group that’s already gelled is an especially meaningful advantage in this COVID-marred campaign, with teams getting precious little time to integrate new players and develop chemistry. While Deshaun Watson is currently the sixth quarterback off the board in many drafts, he is a real contender for a top-three finish even without DeAndre Hopkins.

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Five Undervalued Wide Receivers to Target Late in Best Ball

by Rob Patterson, August 13, 2020

Though he’ll fight for opportunity with Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb’s 10.0 (No. 9 among qualified wide receivers) yards per target in 2019 indicated that he can still be efficient in the face of middling volume. Yes, injury concerns remain, but the same can be said for his teammates. Given all that uncertainty, Cobb is a high-floor bargain at his ADP – 135 picks after Cooks goes.

Yes, the arrival of Emmanuel Sanders in New Orleans puts a cap on potential target volume, but Tre’Quan Smith showcased the ability to make the most of his targets with a +65.2 Production Premium and 94.7-percent True Catch Rate in 2019. Sanders is no sure bet to stay on the field, either; now 33, his 65.8-percent (No. 4) Injury Probability ranking is cause for concern — especially when you can draft Smith over 200 picks later.

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The Fantasy Football 2020 MUST HAVE List

by Christopher Buonagura, August 13, 2020

Miles Sanders is costly in drafts this season and deserves to be. He can go No. 5 overall after the big four running backs and still be a value. Sanders presents overall RB1 upside with a top 12 floor. He proved last season that he is a workhorse, and the coaching staff has said multiple times that they plan on using him as such in 2020. The Eagles committed no draft capital or significant money to indicate otherwise.

D’Andre Swift has the same amount of league-winning upside as Jonathan Taylor, but comes at half the cost in drafts. He is set to follow a similar path as 2019 Miles Sanders. The committee approach we have seen in the Lions backfield over the last few years has suppressed his ADP to the fifth round of FFPC drafts. Swift will take over this backfield the same way Sanders dominated in Philadelphia. Build a team that can get you to the playoffs and let Swift carry you to a championship.

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The 2020 DO NOT DRAFT List Addendum; Four Additional Fades

by The “Mad Chatter” Ryan MK, August 12, 2020

Juju Smith-Schuster; yet a hype train that is way out of control. While there are aspects of his player profile to like, there are an abundance of red flags. Similar to Austin Ekeler, the draft price is too costly given the talent and circumstance. His Best Comparable Player is DeAndre Hopkins, but unlike the former Texan, Smith-Schuster couldn’t produce with lackluster quarterback play last year. It’s fair to wonder if the 2018 version of Smith-Schuster will ever be seen again.

The optimism behind Austin Ekeler, and the reason for rostering him, is his receiving skills out of the backfield. He ranked No. 2 among qualified running backs in Targets Per Game (6.8), receptions (92) and receiving yards (993) in 2019. The issue is his struggles running the ball effectively, raising questions about his ability to be a three-down back. Meaning Ekeler’s teammates, Justin Jackson and rookie Joshua Kelley, will see far more action than most expect.

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Don’t Draft A.J. Brown in Fantasy Football Redraft Leagues

by Corbin Young, August 12, 2020

Targets and opportunities matter for wide receivers. Last year, A.J. Brown ranked No. 47 among qualified wide receivers with 84 targets, only drawing a 19.5-percent (No. 41) Target Share. Yet, he’s the 16th wide receiver being drafted per FFPC ADP data. His low target and Target Share numbers are unsustainable, and it’s risky to trust a wide receiver with a low target share in a low-volume passing offense. 

The main concerns surround the extreme efficiency paired with a team with such little passing volume. Brown ranked No. 2 in Fantasy Points per Target while ranking No. 47 in total targets and No. 41 in Target Share on an offense that nearly averaged the fewest passes per game. The unsustainably extreme efficiency and the opportunity metrics clash, and Brown’s ADP doesn’t reflect it.

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Sleeper Satellite Backs To Target in Dynasty Leagues

by Aaron Stewart, August 12, 2020

At 5-11, 213-pounds, Dare Ogunbowale is a slightly bigger and more explosive version of James White. Both former Wisconsin RBs are featured in their respective passing games, finishing top-24 in Pass Snaps played last year. Ogunbowale made his limited touches count, finishing the year with 6.6 Yards per Touch, 1.32 (No. 11 among qualified running backs) Fantasy Points Per Opportunity, and a +17.2 (No. 19) Production Premium.

Eno Benjamin landed in an explosive Arizona offense that helped three different running backs find weekly fantasy football success last season. The Kliff Kingsbury-coached Cardinals gave high Snap Shares to their starters, with an RB receiving 70-percent or more of the snaps in 13 out of 16 games. Benjamin, whose Best Comparable Player is Duke Johnson, becomes a priority target if the Cardinals again struggle to find a workhorse.

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The Fantasy Football 2020 DO NOT DRAFT List

by Christopher Buonagura, August 10, 2020

Using late round draft capital on running back handcuffs is a losing proposition. The goal with late round picks is to draft Week 1 breakouts before they become top waiver adds. Avoid straight handcuffs such as Tony Pollard and Ryquell Armstead. Wide receivers are much better upside plays in the late rounds (i.e. Terry McLaurin and Marquise Brown last year). However, committee backs with Week 1 roles that will expand in the case of injury are also great targets.

DeAndre Hopkins goes from being a target hog for Deshaun Watson to being one of many talented receivers for Kyler Murray. While Murray is a talented young quarterback, Arizona’s target distribution and overall offensive output is still uncertain. Top-flight wide receivers have a long history of losing value in the season after changing quarterbacks due to lost rapport. Hopkins still has a WR1 outcome in his range of possibilities, but the risk at his top 5 positional ADP makes him an easy fade.

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The Case for Zero RB as 2020’s Optimal Fantasy Draft Strategy

by Akash Bhatia, August 10, 2020

It’s important not to take the term “Zero RB” too literally. It is a draft strategy predicated on avoiding non-elite running backs, those who see plenty of empty calorie touches but are not true difference makers at the position. When drafting from the back half of the first round, instead of taking lower-end RB1s to try to chase the Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley teams, Zero RB allows our team to be strong everywhere else.

The absolute worst thing we can do is to start a draft WR-WR and then start chasing running backs in what Sean Koerner of the Action Network has dubbed the Frozen Pond tier. This year, that includes running backs such as Leonard Fournette, Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, and David Johnson – non-elite running backs being pushed up due to nothing more than projected touches.

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Hero RB: How Bust Rates Support Robust RB Drafting in Fantasy Football

by Matt Dunleavy, August 8, 2020

Fewer teams are implementing one workhorse back, while more coaches are rolling with committee backfields. This is a trend that has been happening for years now. Coaches call for three-receiver sets at a rate exceeding 60-percent, which has created an inundation of available pass catchers. Still, there are people who wait to hit on a workhorse back via injury while stockpiling receiver early. A completely backwards approach when considering the positional supplies available.

The alpha wide receiver nears extinction. Gone are the days of a Julio Jones dominating their team’s Target Shares. All of a sudden, dynamic receiver duos such as Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf have taken the league by storm. The ability to lock up a workhorse, “do-it-all” back is fleeting after the first round ends. Drafting a back that never comes off the field and smashes, such as Christian McCaffrey, bestows exponentially higher league-winning odds than the top targeted receiver in a given year.

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COVID-19 and Its Impact on Fantasy Football

by The “Mad Chatter” Ryan MK, August 7, 2020

2020 will bring an NFL season unlike any other; in turn, bringing a fantasy season the likes of which we may never see again. The teams who are most prepared will prosper. Depth will be more important, requiring a level of research some may find to be “too much.” Despite the unknowns that are present this year, there exists a means to capitalize on the chaos. The additional research and preparation will pay dividends in the year of COVID-19.

Though Jerick McKinnon has been an afterthought recently due to injuries, he remains a 49er and is third on the depth chart after Matt Breida was traded to Miami. Raheem Mostert and the San Francisco front office may have worked out a new contract, but coach Shanahan tends to ride the hot hand. There’s no reason it can’t be McKinnon at some point this year. With upper-percentile marks across all workout metrics, the league-winning potential is still there.

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