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Draft Strategy

Two Hands are Better Than One: The Definitive Case Against Handcuffs

by Jakob Sanderson, September 6, 2021

In a study by J.J. Zachariason, 54 running backs were drafted between Rounds 7 and 15 behind a top-12 running back from 2011-2017. Of those, 32 offered three or fewer top-24 finishes. This means a majority of the time you select a handcuff, you will have three or less useable weeks. That also includes games in which they score a random touchdown, or take over after a mid game injury when you would have left them on the bench.

Taking Alexander Mattison on a team with Ezekiel Elliott allows you the chance to stack hoards of receivers and an elite tight end, with the possibility of starting both Mattison and Elliott should Dalvin Cook get injured. That’s a team others cannot replicate or compete with. Drafting a handcuff to your own running back takes the possibility to benefit from chaos off the table. You can derive only benefit at your own expense.

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Undervalued Stacks for the 2021 Season

by Ethan Park, September 4, 2021

If there’s one thing that’s certain heading into every NFL season, it’s this: Russell Wilson will be hyper efficient throwing touchdowns, and Tyler Lockett will catch a ton of them. Overall, Wilson and Lockett have a special connection when it comes to deep ball touchdowns. At Lockett’s price, managers can construct builds which can protect themselves from the bust weeks, while also being able to take advantage of the guaranteed wins the stack offers.

The argument that Najee Harris takes production away from a Ben Roethlisberger-Chase Claypool stack can be flipped on its head: by adding a talented running back, who’s to say that this offense doesn’t become more efficient, thus granting Claypool more opportunities to produce? We’ve seen direct evidence of this when Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Le’Veon Bell were all elite in 2017. As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats.

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In The Red Corner: George Kittle, In the Blue Corner: Darren Waller

by Ted Chmyz, September 2, 2021

Darren Waller has shown he can produce with the very best tight ends, and receivers, in the NFL. His path to continued targets is clear, for this year and beyond. While his age is a concern, his recent breakout means his metaphorical tires have less tread than players younger than him. There’s little standing in the way of him producing as a top tight end for the foreseeable future.

There are reasons to think twice about spending a premium pick on George Kittle. An injury history for a player approaching age 30 can never be ignored, especially in dynasty formats. The 49ers other receiving options are much more talented than they were when Kittle first broke onto the scene. But the Tight End University founder’s superstar talent is undeniable. His statistical profile points to the same conclusion as the eye test. He is a special player who will be a top fantasy tight end for years to come.

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Drafting Backward Strategy to Find Potential Value Targets

by Corbin Young, August 30, 2021

The disrespect with D.J. Moore’s talent and production hurts my feelings. In 2019 and 2020, Moore showed the ability to run deep and intermediate routes and still produce. As WR23 in the World Famous Draft Kit rankings, he boasts the opportunity and ability to produce WR1 type numbers. Overall, he looks like a receiver in the early rounds that can provide WR1 type production, and it’s reasonable for him to take the leap in 2021.

Why draft Mecole Hardman at pick 85.9 as WR41 when you can draft K.J. Hamler as one of your last-round picks? Hamler’s Best Comparable Player being DeSean Jackson fits the speedster profile. He possesses similar skills and almost identical upside as Hardman, yet goes near 100 picks later. Use the drafting backward strategy to scour the player pool and prioritize Hamler as one of your final-round picks

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Will SoFi Stadium be Sony’s New Play Station?

by Al Scherer, August 28, 2021

Bill Belichick, who seemingly hasn’t liked a running back since LeGarrette Blount, actually leaned on Sony Michel early and often. In 37 regular season NFL games, Michel posted 17 games with more than 15 carries and put up five regular season 100-yard rushing performances. In his four career playoff games, Michel averaged over 100 total yards and 1.5 TDs on 22 touches per game. At crunch time, Bill and Tom Brady powered on their Sony.

While we expect Darrell Henderson to be the Rams’ RB1 in 2021, the team’s actions say we should proceed with caution. When Henderson had his first sign of injury this summer, they jumped on an opportunity to pay a hefty price for a recent first-rounder who has performed well in the NFL and was drafted just one year before Henderson. Go ahead and draft him, but be careful if you’re going to commit to him more than the Rams have been willing to do.

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Top Zero RB Targets With Weekly Viability

by Corbin Young, August 25, 2021

A.J. Dillon exploded in Week 16 last year, logging 22 touches (21 carries) for 129 total yards and two touchdowns, which ranked him No. 6 among running backs with 25.9 fantasy points. He’s a physical freak that will have weekly viability given the Packers’ usage trends in their backfield. Even if he mostly garners rushing work, he could provide efficient rushing production. If we add the possibility of receiving work, he looks like THE top zero RB target in 2021. 

We expect D’Andre Swift to improve on his 157.9 (No. 28) Weighted Opportunities in 2021, especially in the passing game with Jared Goff at quarterback. That said, don’t forget about Jamaal Williams, who should garner enough opportunities to have a weekly receiving floor similar to his time with the Packers. Often when building zero RB teams, we’re looking for a back with pass-catching ability and a weekly floor, and Williams checks both those boxes.

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RotoUnderworld Junior Writer Draft Recap No. 5 – 2021 Dynasty Rookie Draft

by Ethan Park, August 21, 2021

If you’ve spent any time on fantasy football Twitter, you’ve seen the Elijah Moore hype. He is a fantastic route runner, extremely quick, has great hands, put up insane college production, and is being praised more and more by Jets camp every day. In his final year in college, Moore had two drops on 102 targets, and his 86 receptions in eight games broke A.J. Brown’s single season record at Ole Miss.

Chris Evans has a great 132.4 (94th-percentile among qualified running backs) Burst Score and 10.99 (92nd-percentile) Agility Score, and he can be used on third downs. He’s also a part of an offense which is trending upwards. At best, I’m hoping he can be a Giovani Bernard-lite over the next few years and provide depth, but players being drafted here are all long shots to ever become relevant.

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In The Red Corner: Trey Sermon, In The Blue Corner: Michael Carter

by Mark Kieffer, August 16, 2021

Michael Carter likely has a defined role with the Jets, where he will get a fair share of touches and passing down work. In a timeshare or ambiguous backfield, I like to grab the running back with pass-catching ability. If the team projects to pass a lot (either philosophically or due to not being good), that player will be on the field and won’t be game-scripted out of opportunities. Carter has a better chance to be a solid RB2 in 2021 because of his likely participation on passing downs.

According to David Lombardi at The Athletic, Trey Sermon will be used to “soften defenses” as a way to keep Raheem Mostert healthy. He believes that Sermon will start most games but Mostert will lead the team in rushing yards. This does not sound like a league-winning-upside situation that fantasy gamers are looking for in the middle rounds of their drafts. It sounds more like a situation where the young guy is being used to sacrifice his body so that the veteran can shine.

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The 2021 Underworld Best Ball League Draft Recap

by Cody Carpentier, August 14, 2021

Michael took advantage of the Cam Akers injury news, jumping all over Darrell Henderson in Round 6 after starting out with an Anchor-RB approach. Pairing Henderson with Saquon Barkley at pick No. 69 could prove to be the pick that puts O’Connor ahead of the field. Henderson is now going off the board almost two rounds earlier at pick 46.3, ahead of Miles Sanders, Travis Etienne, and Mike Davis.

Currently going off the board at pick 116.0 on Underdog at QB14, Joe Burrow was stacked with Tee Higgins and Joe Mixon at pick No. 75, off the board at QB7. Feeling a surge at QB, Chris Buonagura reached for the Cincinnati stack. One can only wonder if he would have made it back in Round 8.

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The Colts’ Lost Season is in FULL Swing

by Christopher Buonagura, August 5, 2021

Carson Wentz’ injury provides the perfect excuse for the Colts to toss the 2021 season, maintain the roster, and look forward to 2022. Jacob Eason is projected to begin the season as the starting quarterback, and Wentz’ chance of having an efficient 2021 plummets. Even when he returns, there’s a strong chance his foot injury affects his footwork and mechanics. This is a serious problem when banking on a strong bounceback to his once-MVP form. This season is lost for Colts, and fantasy expectations should be throttled across the board.

T.Y. Hilton’s ADP will freefall due to his age, but he still offers a decent fantasy floor. He can be a “safe” late teens pick in Best Ball. For redraft leagues, his lack of upside makes him a soft Flex option. The chance of a Michael Pittman breakout puts his workload at risk, and poor offensive efficiency lowers his touchdown upside. Hilton should be valued as a fringe WR6 with many reasons to see a decline. Don’t bet on a full on breakout for Pittman this year, but expect him to eat into Hilton’s workload.

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