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Doug Orth | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer


Top 150 Big Board, PPR: Version 1.0
Preseason Matchup Analysis
8/6/19

PPR | Half-Point PPR | Non-PPR

Football is simple at its very core but a very complex game to evaluate and analyze well because 11 men are being asked to work in harmony roughly 60 times per game, while 11 other men are being asked to create chaos. Pro football is not pro basketball in that a team can clear out one side of the court when things break down and the offense can still score. Pro football is not pro baseball in that one player can defeat a pitcher and eight fielders by timing his swing just right. Even as great as Barry Sanders was, he never beat a defense all by himself. In football, a player always needs help from at least one teammate to accomplish his goal. That is part of what makes football so great and part of what it makes it so highly unpredictable. The violence of the game - even by the tamer standards in this day and age - adds another element to the equation that is difficult to quantify.

Regardless, it doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Over the last 1 1/2 weeks, I have evaluated the weekly matchups for 500-plus players. Analyzing matchups alone requires me to make 7,500 "decisions". This is not meant to be a humble brag of any kind. Each year, my goal is to give those who put their faith in my evaluations the confidence they have the best draft-day tool at their disposal. I like to think that even if readers believe my logic is flawed for whatever reason, they can count on the fact that much thought has been put into that opinion.

Fantasy football is a stock market game, and our job as analysts is identifying when stocks may be poised for an increase or ready to tank. While last year's results help owners/analysts set the table for the following season, they are merely a starting point. Fantasy rankings and drafting need to be predictive, not reactive. This is the approach I have taken for more than 10 years. While some of the processes have changed in that time, the main goal has not.

Speaking of changing processes, the Success Score Index (SSI) below is moving away from an attribute-based algorithm and one centered around my target and carry predictions that have been featured in this space over the last two weeks. As always, the matchups are included in the algorithm. SSI allows me to compare apples to oranges across positions. Perhaps just as importantly, I have been able to eliminate most of the guesswork across different scoring systems (PPR, standard, etc.). Long story short, I am much more confident in the product.

For all of those unfamiliar with my Big Boards, allow me to explain the color-coding system before we start:

Red For lower-level players, a red matchup is the most difficult one a player can face. For a second- or third-tier player, drop your expectations for them at least one grade that week (i.e. from WR2 to WR3). For elite players, expect them to perform one level lower than their usual status (i.e. RB1 performs like an RB2).

Yellow For lower-level players, he is a borderline start at best. For a second- or third-tier player, the slight edge goes to the defense in what is essentially a toss-up. For the elite players, expect slightly better than average production.

White This one can go either way, but I favor the player over the matchup. In some cases, I just don’t feel like I have a good feel yet for this matchup. Generally speaking, these matchups are winnable for all levels of players.

Green For non-elite players, the stage is set for a player to have a productive day. For the elite player, this matchup could produce special numbers.

Note: Players with a next to their name have some degree of injury/character/holdout concern. Players with a next to their name have a higher than normal chance of losing their job at some point during the season.

Later this week, I will set up the first non-PPR Big Board. Next week, I will release my first Big Boards for 0.5 PPR leagues as well as The Fantasy Championship (TFC) and FFPC Big Boards. In the second and final round of Big Boards near the end of the preseason, I will rank at least 200 players and present my final rankings for kickers and defense/special teams.

Here is the scoring system that I used to rank the players in the PPR format:

 PPR Big Board - Top 150
Rank Pos Player Tm Age SSI 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16
1 RB1 Alvin Kamara NO 24 222.0
2 RB2 Christian McCaffrey CAR 23 213.8
3 RB3 Saquon Barkley NYG 22 211.4
4 WR1 DeAndre Hopkins HOU 27 177.0
5 RB4 David Johnson ARI 27 166.5
6 WR2 Julio Jones ATL 30 165.8
7 RB5 Ezekiel Elliott DAL 24 155.5
8 WR3 JuJu Smith-Schuster PIT 22 151.9
9 WR4 Davante Adams GB 26 148.7
10 RB6 James Conner PIT 24 143.1
11 RB7 Le'Veon Bell NYJ 27 141.4
12 RB8 Dalvin Cook MIN 23 137.2
13 WR5 Michael Thomas NO 26 125.5
14 WR6 Antonio Brown OAK 31 120.3
15 RB9 Todd Gurley LAR 25 114.7
16 TE1 Travis Kelce KC 29 111.7
17 WR7 Odell Beckham Jr. CLE 26 111.5
18 WR8 Tyreek Hill KC 25 110.9
19 WR9 Mike Evans TB 25 109.6
20 WR10 T.Y. Hilton IND 29 109.2
21 WR11 Adam Thielen MIN 28 103.8
22 RB10 Joe Mixon CIN 23 103.6
23 RB11 Melvin Gordon LAC 26 99.9
24 RB12 Kerryon Johnson DET 22 98.9
25 RB13 Nick Chubb CLE 23 97.0
26 RB14 Devonta Freeman ATL 27 96.2
27 RB15 Leonard Fournette JAC 24 94.9
28 RB16 Derrick Henry TEN 25 92.8
29 WR12 Keenan Allen LAC 27 87.7
30 WR13 Amari Cooper DAL 25 86.8
31 TE2 George Kittle SF 25 86.5
32 RB17 Damien Williams KC 27 86.0
33 WR14 Chris Godwin TB 23 86.0
34 RB18 Mark Ingram BAL 29 83.5
35 RB19 Kenyan Drake MIA 25 82.5
36 WR15 Julian Edelman NE 33 78.3
37 WR16 Robert Woods LAR 27 74.4
38 WR17 Stefon Diggs MIN 25 73.6
39 WR18 D.J. Moore CAR 22 71.9
40 WR19 Calvin Ridley ATL 24 69.9
41 RB20 David Montgomery CHI 22 69.8
42 RB21 Marlon Mack IND 23 67.3
43 TE3 Zach Ertz PHI 28 67.1
44 WR20 Tyler Boyd CIN 24 67.1
45 RB22 Josh Jacobs OAK 21 66.4
46 WR21 Mike Williams LAC 24 65.3
47 RB23 Aaron Jones GB 24 63.6
48 WR22 Brandin Cooks LAR 25 60.9
49 QB1 Deshaun Watson HOU 23 60.0
50 RB24 Chris Carson SEA 24 59.5
51 QB2 Patrick Mahomes KC 23 58.3
52 TE4 O.J. Howard TB 24 58.3
53 WR23 Tyler Lockett SEA 26 55.9
54 WR24 Kenny Golladay DET 25 55.6
55 WR25 Cooper Kupp LAR 26 52.5
56 RB25 James White NE 27 52.3
57 QB3 Aaron Rodgers GB 35 51.3
58 WR26 Allen Robinson CHI 25 48.0
59 QB4 Carson Wentz PHI 26 44.8
60 WR27 Larry Fitzgerald ARI 35 44.5
61 WR28 Robby Anderson NYJ 26 37.9
62 WR29 Christian Kirk ARI 22 37.6
63 WR30 Curtis Samuel CAR 22 37.1
64 QB5 Kyler Murray ARI 21 36.1
65 RB26 Tarik Cohen CHI 24 36.0
66 WR31 Alshon Jeffery PHI 29 35.7
67 WR32 Dede Westbrook JAC 25 35.1
68 WR33 DeSean Jackson PHI 32 34.9
69 WR34 A.J. Green CIN 31 32.7
70 RB27 Sony Michel NE 24 30.7
71 RB28 Phillip Lindsay DEN 25 29.4
72 WR35 Geronimo Allison GB 25 29.3
73 WR36 Anthony Miller CHI 24 28.2
74 RB29 Lamar Miller HOU 28 27.4
75 QB6 Cam Newton CAR 30 25.5
76 WR37 Sammy Watkins KC 26 23.9
77 TE5 Jared Cook NO 32 22.8
78 QB7 Andrew Luck IND 29 22.1
79 WR38 Sterling Shepard NYG 26 21.4
80 WR39 Jarvis Landry CLE 26 20.3
81 WR40 Marvin Jones DET 29 20.2
82 RB30 Miles Sanders PHI 22 19.0
83 RB31 Tevin Coleman SF 26 17.5
84 WR41 Trey Quinn WAS 23 16.7
85 WR42 Courtland Sutton DEN 23 15.4
86 TE6 Evan Engram NYG 24 15.0
87 WR43 Jamison Crowder NYJ 26 14.1
88 QB8 Russell Wilson SEA 30 13.6
89 QB9 Matt Ryan ATL 34 13.0
90 RB32 Jordan Howard PHI 24 12.7
91 WR44 Dante Pettis SF 23 11.8
92 RB33 Jaylen Samuels PIT 23 11.2
93 RB34 Darrell Henderson LAR 21 9.7
94 WR45 Keke Coutee HOU 22 3.8
95 TE7 Eric Ebron IND 26 3.4
96 RB35 Royce Freeman DEN 23 2.9
97 QB10 Jameis Winston TB 25 2.0
98 TE8 Vance McDonald PIT 29 1.2
99 RB36 Austin Ekeler LAC 24 0.9
100 RB37 Rashaad Penny SEA 23 0.7
101 RB38 Matt Breida SF 24 -0.6
102 QB11 Baker Mayfield CLE 24 -4.6
103 QB12 Jared Goff LAR 24 -5.2
104 TE9 Hunter Henry LAC 24 -6.2
105 TE10 Delanie Walker TEN 34 -6.2
106 RB39 Justice Hill BAL 21 -6.5
107 QB13 Lamar Jackson BAL 22 -8.5
108 WR46 Will Fuller HOU 25 -8.8
109 WR47 Donte Moncrief PIT 26 -9.6
110 RB40 Latavius Murray NO 29 -9.7
111 TE11 Austin Hooper ATL 24 -9.9
112 RB41 Dion Lewis TEN 28 -10.0
113 QB14 Dak Prescott DAL 26 -10.5
114 WR48 Michael Gallup DAL 23 -10.5
115 WR49 Golden Tate NYG 31 -10.7
116 QB15 Drew Brees NO 40 -12.3
117 TE12 Darren Waller OAK 26 -13.3
118 RB42 LeSean McCoy BUF 31 -14.2
119 TE13 David Njoku CLE 23 -14.2
120 WR50 Parris Campbell IND 22 -14.4
121 TE14 Mark Andrews BAL 23 -16.6
122 WR51 Corey Davis TEN 24 -16.7
123 WR52 D.K. Metcalf SEA 21 -17.7
124 TE15 Chris Herndon NYJ 23 -17.7
125 QB16 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 37 -18.0
126 WR53 Albert Wilson MIA 27 -18.0
127 RB43 Giovani Bernard CIN 27 -18.5
128 WR54 DeVante Parker MIA 26 -18.8
129 RB44 Ronald Jones TB 22 -19.3
130 WR55 Kenny Stills MIA 27 -19.9
131 RB45 Jerick McKinnon SF 27 -20.6
132 TE16 Jordan Reed WAS 29 -21.3
133 WR56 Tyrell Williams OAK 27 -21.6
134 QB17 Mitchell Trubisky CHI 24 -22.3
135 WR57 Mohamed Sanu ATL 29 -23.1
136 RB46 Damien Harris NE 22 -23.2
137 QB18 Kirk Cousins MIN 30 -23.3
138 WR58 Devin Funchess IND 25 -23.3
139 WR59 Emmanuel Sanders DEN 32 -24.3
140 RB47 Kalen Ballage MIA 23 -24.7
141 RB48 Duke Johnson CLE 25 -25.2
142 RB49 Nyheim Hines IND 22 -25.5
143 WR60 John Brown BUF 29 -27.1
144 RB50 Alexander Mattison MIN 21 -30.2
145 WR61 James Washington PIT 23 -30.9
146 RB51 Chris Thompson WAS 28 -31.6
147 WR62 Marquez Valdes-Scantling GB 24 -31.6
148 QB19 Tom Brady NE 42 -32.9
149 QB20 Philip Rivers LAC 37 -34.0
150 RB52 Derrius Guice WAS 22 -34.8


Life at the top

One of the simplest ways to win consistently in fantasy football is to grab more players from (likely) winning teams and/or explosive offenses than every other owner. The conundrum we face at the top of this board is trying to split hairs between three running backs who are each likely to amass at least 200 carries, 80 receptions and score 12-18 touchdowns. A critic will say Kamara is a hyper-efficient player who doesn't see enough volume to go No. 1, McCaffrey may or may not be his team's top choice at the goal line and Barkley has a below-average supporting cast. The truth is we can find flaws in every player or his situation. But getting back to our original point, most owners would agree: if a defense can find a way to bottle up Barkley this year, the Giants will struggle. Is this what happened to him at the end of last season? Or did it have more to do with the level of defenses he was facing? Despite possessing a high floor as his team's offensive centerpiece, he may not have quite the ceiling he did as a rookie.

As the summer has progressed, most of the concerns anyone had about McCaffrey have disappeared. My primary worry with him is no longer his workload - OC Norv Turner has already spoken on that subject - but rather his touchdown upside. McCaffrey did not score his first rushing touchdown until Week 8. His season did not really start taking off until Cam Newton's shoulder started becoming an obvious issue. What happens if/when Newton is ready to resume running the ball 8-10 per game again? When most offenses average over 30 passing attempts - Newton averaged 33.6 in 2018 even with his bum shoulder - and the quarterback keeps the ball on another 10 plays, it's hard for the running back to get the number of carries most owners want to see from their stud runner. If McCaffrey's goal-line work is compromised in any way - six of his seven rushing scores last year came from four or fewer yards out - then owners hanging onto last year's fantastic finish could be left wanting.

With Kamara, we've seen his "downside" already. As a 202-touch running back in his rookie campaign, he was the overall RB3. As a 275-touch player in his sophomore season, he was the overall RB4. We have also witnessed how dominant he can be as the primary option during Mark Ingram's season-opening four-game suspension a year ago. HC Sean Payton doesn't sound like he has any intention of making Kamara a featured back - he has repeatedly referred to keeping his third-year back within the "optimal range" of touches to preserve his health - but what if Latavius Murray can't adequately replace Ingram? Or better yet, what happens if Murray is an upgrade over Ingram and allows Kamara to be even more involved in the passing game? There's a very good combination of strong run defenses and high-scoring offenses on the Saints' schedule this season, making it possible - if not likely - that Kamara reaches a 13:5 or 13:6 run/catch ratio (208 carries, 80-96 receptions over a 16-game season). If that sounds like too many carries for Kamara, ask yourself this question: if New Orleans comes anywhere close to repeating last year's 471 rushing attempts, wouldn't it make sense for Kamara to tote the rock on at least 44 percent of them?

Most folks are going to believe Elliott's landing spot is holdout-related. They'd be wrong. There are two major issues and neither of them is something he can do much about, assuming he stays out of what most people consider trouble. The first is his recent workload. Elliott became the sixth running back (seventh instance) since 2010 to amass 380 touches in a season - he touched the ball 52 more times in the playoffs for good measure - and not a single one of those backs came reasonably close to matching their performance from the previous year. Taken one step further, there have been 13 players (16 instances) since 2005 of a player amassing 380-plus touches the previous season at 27 years of age or younger. Only LaDainian Tomlinson in 2006 and Adrian Peterson in 2009 came remotely close to repeating their success. The other concern with Elliott is that he is probably one strike away from another league suspension. Maybe he's done with getting himself into compromising situations, and good for him if that's the case. But as we've seen on a number of occasions, the NFL isn't always predictable when it comes to punishment and the off-field indiscretions they decide to pursue.

It is appropriate Bell, Cook and Gurley got bunched pretty close together. Each back has overall RB1 upside but comes with considerable risk. With Bell, did his year away from the game rejuvenate his body or will he be a step slow? Will he end up being more of a creation of the Steelers' willingness to feed him the rock behind one of the best offensive lines in the business or will his patient style play well outside of Pittsburgh? Cook has monster upside in an outside zone-run scheme and has already flashed his big-play potential despite running behind a below-average offensive line in his two-year career. But how can we possibly ignore the fact he's missed 17 of a possible 32 games? Even non-fantasy players know the downside with Gurley, so we'll only talk about his upside. Even after trimming five touchdowns, two carries per game and two catches per game from his 2018 production, Gurley should still remain a top 10 back even if he only plays 14 games again. While most of the fantasy public seems to still be running away from him, I'll be more than happy to live with the risk that comes with him as my likely RB2 at or near the turn.

It's a passing league now, buddy!

Kelce, Hill and Beckham form an interesting cluster in the mid-second round area on my board. Kelce is being perceived by many as a borderline first-round pick. If he was a guarantee to repeat last year's production, he'd likely have a spot in that area above. There are at least three problems that come along with drafting players at one-starter positions that high:

1) The main reason he is valued so highly is mostly recency bias. As much as most owners don't want to face reality when it comes to such things, most players don't follow a career year with another one;

2) There are only so many running backs locked into 250-plus touches and capable of scoring 10-plus touchdowns AND only so many 100-catch receivers capable of 10-plus scores. Once those players are gone, owners are left scrambling for players they hope can reach those benchmarks at those positions;

3) Whereas it's less of a big deal to draft the back that turns out to be the overall RB4 at No. 1 overall, owners almost need their first- or second-round tight end to be the overall TE1. If a player such as Hunter Henry or O.J. Howard finishes within a point or two per game of Kelce, the difference will most likely be significant when comparing that the second-round running back/receiver of the Howard/Henry owner to the Kelce owner's fifth-round RB2/WR2.

One under-discussed topic this year has been Beckham's lack of durability. Since the start of the 2017 season, he suffered a high-left ankle sprain that caused him to miss the season opener and was knocked out for the season with a fractured left ankle four games later. Last year, he missed the final four games with a quad bruise. He's played all 16 games only once in five seasons, although he probably would have a second full campaign under his belt had he not been suspended in Week 16 of the 2015 season. If his only issue was less-than-ideal availability, he would probably still be worth a first-round fantasy pick. New OC Todd Monken and HC Freddie Kitchens have the personnel to open things up and go crazy in the passing game if they want, but will they? How long will it take before the personalities of Baker Mayfield and Beckham clash? Again, it might seem pointless to some readers to worry about such things, but these are the kind of potential problems owners should briefly consider. Fantasy drafts are fraught with risk, so doesn't it make sense for owners to ensure their first two picks come with as little as possible?

As discussed earlier, trying to predict when the NFL will hand out discipline and what statement it is trying to send by suspending a player has become, well, unpredictable. In my warped little mind, I'd rather deal with the risk that comes with Gurley's knee than pray Hill's family issues don't resurface. The talent and the supporting cast in Kansas City is undeniable, but when owners consider only a month or so ago that Hill was facing the prospect of substantial league discipline - and a possible release from the Chiefs - it's more risk than any owner should have to deal with prior to the middle of the second round. It's the only reason he's not in my top 10. With that said, it's also impossible to rank Hill much lower than he is above because he possesses overall WR1 upside.


Busting one heck of a cluster

When ranking over 300 players - there will be more once there is more time to enter values for the lower-priority players in the coming weeks - it is inevitable there will be clusters at one particular position. One such notable cluster begins at the 2-3 turn at running back above. Starting with Mixon at No. 22 and going through to Henry at No. 28, undoubtedly about half of those seven players will be worthy and the others will bust. Some would argue Mixon doesn't belong in this group and should be ranked higher; it's a fair opinion, but what is he guaranteed this year? A new offensive system led by a neophyte play-caller who wants to mix in Giovani Bernard more often than the previous regime did? The offensive line is arguably in about the same shape as it was last season, and let's not forget Mixon has missed two games in each of his first two seasons. Gordon's landing spot on the Big Board is somewhat the product of his current holdout status, but it is also durability-related. He is coming off a 12-game campaign and has missed at least two games in three of his four years as a pro.

Kerryon Johnson's stock is set to skyrocket after Detroit parted ways with Theo Riddick. Nevertheless, it seems the Lions' coaching staff is dead-set on preserving him, so owners need to set a reasonable expectation for him in terms of his work as a rusher. Chubb's main drawback is the expected return of Kareem Hunt to steal carries late in the season. Of course, there is no guarantee Hunt will provide anything more than insurance, so this could be much ado about nothing. At the very least, daring owners should be able to enjoy the ride for the first half of the season while buying themselves some time to find a fallback option if Hunt is able to force a split backfield in December. It appears Atlanta OC Dirk Koetter is going to try to keep at least some parts of the outside zone/quarterback bootleg scheme that former OC Steve Sarkisian inherited from Kyle Shanahan. For those that may not remember, Devonta Freeman burst onto the scene under Shanahan and hasn't been quite the force since he left for San Francisco - although injuries have played a critical role in that. With the Falcons' passing offense poised for another huge year and no back like Tevin Coleman around to share carries with, one has to think Freeman has a clear path to 220 carries and 50 catches if his health cooperates.

Fournette and Henry probably deserve to be clumped together as well. Fournette has legitimate first-round upside. He has seen his stock fall to the point where it is no longer near as prohibitive to deal with his injury concerns. IF Henry can play all 16 games and proves he can handle the 20 carries he is expected to get on a weekly basis, it is quite possible he leads the league in rushing. Then again, how much are owners willing to plant their flag on the possibility his explosive December is the new normal for him? And let's not forget his minimal contributions in the passing game. One-trick backs like Henry - Michael Turner is a solid recent example - occasionally overcome the lack of receiving numbers to make them worth a high draft pick, but they also typically come from high-scoring offenses. Tennessee does not exactly profile as one at the moment.

Where are the other elite tight ends besides Kelce?

Both Kittle and Ertz figure to get caught up in a numbers game on their own team. Yes, both players will remain their respective quarterback's favorite targets. That much is unlikely to change anytime soon. The problem is both players benefited from good health personally last season while the rest of their teammates struggled to stay on the field. At the end of last season, Kittle really only had Dante Pettis as a legitimate threat to his target share. Since then, the 49ers have added Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd and more committee backs than any team should be allowed to have - all of whom can contribute in the passing game. If there is a blessing in disguise, however, it might be that all the new talent should free up Kittle to get more work done in the red zone after scoring only five times on 88 catches in 2018 - only two of which came inside the 20.

Last season, only one Philadelphia receiver (Nelson Agholor) played all 16 games. Unfortunately, he proved unworthy of being a capable second wideout. Enter DeSean Jackson, who is still one of the premier deep threats in the league at age 32. (More on him in a bit.) Philadelphia also re-fortified its running game and added another playmaker in JJ Arcega-Whiteside. In other words, there probably isn't going to be another 156 targets available for Ertz. Make no mistake about it though; Ertz will remain the most heavily targeted player in this offense because of the connection he and Wentz have, but owners should expect it to be more in line with the 112-, 106- and 110-target totals he had the three previous seasons.

It's a passing league now, buddy! (Part Two)

Almost regardless of format, there is an annual discussion of when quarterbacks should come off the board. This board should be a good representation of where they should start getting drafted, especially in leagues where passing touchdowns are worth four points (reflected in the rankings above). Actually, the case could be made to wait one more round, but the Big Boards have always been about value and the fifth round is about the time where it starts making sense to take one of the best at the position after first addressing the core of a fantasy team with running backs and receivers.

Regarding the actual players, some of the more savvy readers might be able to tell Mahomes is not my overall QB1. It's not a "hot take" (don't believe in them) or a bold prediction. Rather, it's a nod to the belief that Watson is in position to approach the level of efficiency he enjoyed before injuring his ACL as a rookie and an acknowledgment Mahomes probably isn't going to repeat last season. QB3 (Aaron Rodgers) and QB4 (Carson Wentz) shouldn't come as a terrible surprise either considering the former should benefit from Mike McCarthy no longer being around and the latter should benefit from his upgraded supporting cast - assuming he can stay healthy.

Beyond that, many will likely be shocked at Kyler Murray at QB5 in the sixth-round area and Cam Newton at QB6 in the seventh. Let's be clear about something: owners often underestimate the value of a "running quarterback" in leagues that reward four points per passing touchdown and six points for a running TD. Both Murray and Newton are capable of running for 6-10 scores. Will they? Who knows? However, even at eight rushing scores, that gives the aforementioned quarterbacks a one-point-per-game advantage over some of their competition over the course of a 16-game season. When we consider both quarterbacks are also capable of throwing for 4,000-plus yards, it becomes a big deal.

Wide of the mark?

Some of the receivers located in the sixth-round area are sure to draw some criticism, particularly Samuel, DeSean Jackson and maybe even Westbrook and Miller. (And, of course, A.J. Green doesn't look right in the sixth round.) It's fair to question each one. Samuel hasn't come all that close to putting together a full season, playing eight games as a rookie and 13 in 2018. However, the last five games of 2018 - when Newton was at his worst physically or not playing - Samuel saw at least eight targets three times and averaged 11.5 PPR points. With a full offseason and a clean bill of health for the first time as a pro, Christian McCaffrey occupying the attention of the front seven on just about every play moving forward and D.J. Moore serving as the primary focus of the opposing secondary, Samuel should have ample opportunity to enjoy the occasional spiked week while maintaining some degree of consistency as a player who was targeted eight times per game during his aforementioned finish.

The appeal of Westbrook to most owners - especially those who don't watch much college football - has probably worn off a bit after two years in Jacksonville. But should he actually be commended for what he has done to this point? After all, his quarterbacks after two years in the league have been Blake Bortles, Chad Henne and Cody Kessler. Even if Nick Foles is nothing more than an average quarterback in 2019, it's hard to imagine Westbrook not being his favorite target when the other options are deep threat D.J. Chark and Chris Conley. If OC John DeFilippo falls in love with the passing game as much in Jacksonville as he has in his previous stops as a play-caller, Westbrook has 80-catch upside.

Owners need to forget most of what they think they know about Jackson; it could be argued that he hasn't had a combination of the proper usage and a great quarterback since his first stint with the Eagles. He somehow finished as the overall WR42 in total points last year despite missing four games and averaging seven fewer snaps than Chris Godwin. Per Pro Football Focus, both Wentz and Jackson have done their best work over the course of their careers on hitch, out and go routes, which makes it unsurprising the duo has established a quick connection and been the talk of training camp so far. While I suspect he will remain a hit-or-miss fantasy option, his current price tag is going to allow owners to ride out the valleys in their flex spot.

If Jackson seems like a slight reach at the end of the sixth round, then Miller figures to be considered a ridiculous one. That's fine, let's revisit this conversation in a few months when he hopefully hasn't had to play through a dislocated shoulder that he aggravated "maybe five or six times" last year. Even with that working against him, the Memphis product missed only one game, still caught 61 percent of his targets and led the team with seven receiving touchdowns on only 33 catches. As the primary slot option with a Steve Smith-like skill-set, he could give Allen Robinson a run for his money as the best receiver in Chicago.

By now, most people understand the deal with Green. It appears pretty certain he will be out at least through Week 2 and maybe longer with torn ligaments in his ankle, but that's only one factor working against him. The 31-year-old has missed at least seven games in two of the previous three seasons, making it hard to trust he will stay healthy in 2019 when he will be asked to hit the ground running without participating in the bulk of training camp. And let's say he returns by Week 3. While true "shadowing" happens much less nowadays often than most people realize, Green figures to draw primary coverage from the likes of Tre'Davious White (Week 3), Joe Haden (Weeks 4 and 12), Jimmy Smith (Weeks 6 and 10), and Jalen Ramsey (Week 7) during the fantasy regular season. The reward for sticking with Green through that gauntlet? Denzel Ward, Stephon Gilmore and Xavien Howard in the fantasy playoffs. No thanks.


Half-Pt PPR Big Board | Non-PPR Big Board


Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and been featured in USA TODAY's Fantasy Football Preview magazine since 2010. He is also a high-stakes player who often appears as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, such as Sirius XM's "Fantasy Drive." Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.