"There are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies, and statistics,"
said British Prime Minister Benjamin Disreali. What does a 19th
century politician know about fantasy football? Nothing, but his
statement still holds true. Statistics can be your friend …
but not always.
Going into your 2019 fantasy draft with pages of statistics from
last season could be a recipe for disaster.
Because there are a lot of players, who suffered through injuries
or bad line play or bad play-calling, and posted poor numbers.
If you forget about situations and go strictly by the numbers,
you will miss out on a solid group of bargains.
Below is a list of 10 players who should produce significantly
better than last season, yet might not be on your mind or that
of the other fantasy owners.
Winston, Tampa Bay - This one is pretty simple. Winston
split starting time with Ryan
Fitzpatrick and both produced solid numbers when given the
chance. In the eight complete games Winston played (games No.6,
7 and 12-17), he produced 26.1 FPts/G. That would rank him fourth
among all quarterbacks. He’ll need to cut down on turnovers to
be elite, but he certainly has the pass-catching weapons (even
with the loss of DeSean
Jackson) in Mike
Godwin and O.J.
Howard. Frequently being behind by 21 points, or more, helps
fantasy owners, but being one-dimensional does lead to the turnover
issue. Head coach Bruce Arians has been successful with Andrew
Luck and Carson Palmer using an aggressive style which should
work here too.
Wentz, Philadelphia - Wentz hasn’t been fully healthy
since blowing out his knee in Week 14 of 2017 against the Los
Angeles Rams. That will be two years this December. He’s looking
completely healthy in OTAs with no restrictions or braces due
to the knee or back issues. Howie Roseman has loaded the offense
for his franchise quarterback with DeSean Jackson, Jordan
Howard, rookie running back Miles
Sanders and strengthened the offensive line with a first-rounder
Andre Dillard. The last time a healthy Wentz was on the field,
with less talent on the offense than this, he produced 3,296 yards
and 33 touchdowns in 13 games (seven interceptions). He should
not be the ninth quarterback off the board as is currently the
Garoppolo, San Francisco - If you print out the top-39
quarterbacks from last season, Garoppolo won’t be on the list
as he scored less points than Jeff
Driskel and Josh
Johnson. Garoppolo was injured early in the 2018 season and
should be ready to go for Opening Day. He’s still got a “top-three”
tight end (George
Kittle) and a young group of wideouts (Marquise
Pettis along with rookie Deebo
Samuel, but what could make the difference is three running
backs who all have good hands coming out of the backfield (Tevin
McKinnon and Matt
Breida). Screens and swing passes will be Jimmy’s friend.
He’s also got a favorable schedule, playing the entire NFC South
where four of the worst pass defenses reside (2018 QB fantasy
points allowed; Atlanta 32nd, New Orleans 30th, Tampa Bay 28th
and Carolina 23rd) and the Bengals (31st).
Mack, Indianapolis - Mack finished 20th among running
backs last season, but a closer look reveals he crushed it late
in the season and into the playoffs. Here’s another fun fact;
The Colts won every game in which Mack scored a touchdown. While
Indy added journeyman Spencer
Ware in the offseason, it’s Mack who should see a majority
of the rushing attempts with Nyheim
Hines as the primary backup and receiver. Luck threw the ball
639 times last season, a personal record, and a number not conducive
with keeping a quarterback healthy for 16 games. Mack’s workload
figures to increase by at least 20-percent which should get him
near the top-10 at his position.
Jones, Green Bay - GM Brian Gutekunst challenged
Jones to improve his conditioning after last season and apparently
it worked as Jones has come to camp in great shape (5.3-percent
body fat). If he stays healthy, the Packers backfield will no
longer be an RBBC because Jones is easily the most talented back
on the roster. This is a man with a career 5.5 ypc and 13 touchdowns
in 24 games. He was just 35th in rushing attempts (133), averaging
11.1 per game. Expect the plodding Jamaal
Williams to see a reduced workload and Jones to reap the benefits.
If he sees an increase to 14 attempts per game over 16 games that
would be 224 carries x 5.5 ypc or 1,232 yards. That’s a huge number,
Fournette, Jacksonville - It wasn’t ALL Fournette’s
fault that he disappointed fantasy owners. With no passing game
to speak of, Fournette saw loaded boxes. In fact, according to
Sports Info Solutions, 79.7-percent of the time the Jaguars’ primary
back saw at least seven defenders in the box and 36.8-percent
of the time there were eight or more staring him down. The addition
of Nick Foles
(and OC John DeFilippo) should help loosen up the defense. “He's
going to be a major reason where our offense goes," said DeFilippo
a few weeks ago. Yes, he’s an injury risk having played 21 of
32 games over the first two season, but the upside is worth the
Kupp, L.A. Rams – Kupp was on his was to a 1,100-yard,
12-touchdown season before going down to injury and missing most
of the second-half of the season and all of the playoffs. He isn’t
speedy deep threat, but he is so important that without him Goff’s
production drastically dropped. With Kupp on the field Goff completed
71-percent of his passes and owned a 115 QB-rating. Without him,
Goff produced a 60-percent completion rate and 89 rating. Kupp’s
injury was late in the season, so he might not be ready for Week
1, but he should certainly be back for most of the season and
the fantasy playoffs and should come at a reasonable price because
of the risk that he won’t be ready right out of the box.
Fuller, Houston – The “other” wideout for the Texans,
Hopkins, Fuller has been very productive when on the field
Watson, it’s just he hasn’t been out there often enough. Fuller
played in parts of seven games last season (just 375 snaps) yet
posted 32 catches for 503 yards and four touchdowns. And he’s
only been on the field for 17 of the last 32 games since 2017.
But when he’s out there, he’s beating single coverage while the
rest of the defense worries about Hopkins. That trend will continue
if he can just avoid the injury bug.
Howard, Tampa Bay –Rob
Gronkowski is gone and if you don’t get Travis
Kelce or George Kittle or Zach
Ertz, what’s a fantasy owner to do? Not to worry. Howard is
ready to step up to the big time. He was already starting to show
us what he could do last season until injury struck (foot and
ankle issues sent him to the IR after Week 11). His quarterback,
Winston, called Howard "incredible" while predicting he'd make
his first Pro Bowl in 2019. It’s always good when your quarterback
has that kind of confidence. Evans and Godwin should occupy the
outside leaving the middle of the field for Howard to operate.
Howard should join the elite TE status this season after finishing
10th last year.
Engram, New York Giants – Who will pick up the slack
Beckham Jr. traded to Cleveland? One of the guys will surely
be Engram. Engram’s catches and yardage increased over 20-percent
from his rookie season despite playing in just 11 games. Now there
are 124 more targets available to be distributed between Engram,
Shepard and newcomer Golden