And so it begins … the five-month trek to Hard Rock Stadium
in Miami for Super Bowl LIV kicks off on Thursday night in Chicago
where the Bears host the Green Bay Packers. So let’s get started.
“Truth is the property of no individual but is the
treasure of all men.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
1) Quarterback injuries are overblown.
Over the past five seasons, there were 20.2 starting quarterbacks
who played at least 15-of-16 games (63-percent). Interestingly,
top-10 quarterbacks were even more reliable. Thirty-eight of 50
top-10 quarterbacks (based on points-per-game) qualified for the
list (76-percent). That’s a better rate than top running
backs where only 27-of-50 from the top-10 played 15-or-more (54-percent)
and wide receivers (36-of-50 or 72-percent). Don’t draft
your backup quarterback too early as that pick is better used
2) Last season was the year of wide receiver proliferation.
In 2018, 22 wide receivers produced totals within five fantasy
points of the league leader – Tyreek Hill (15.1 FPts/G).
Meanwhile, only seven running backs and four quarterbacks produced
within five points of their respective leaders – Todd Gurley
(22.1 FPts/G) and Patrick Mahomes (30.9 FPts/G). You can wait
on receivers, but not elite backs and passers. That doesn’t
mean taking a quarterback in the first round, just make sure you
have an elite one on your roster.
3) I believe three “Tier 3” running backs will crack
the top-10 this season.
The Packers’ Aaron Jones should finally get a chance to
be the full-time back in Green Bay and with the threat of Aaron Rodgers always foremost on a defensive coordinator’s mind,
it that gives Jones an opportunity to be a star. He’s averaged
5.5 ypc for two seasons and if he gets 250 attempts that becomes
1,375 yards. Chris Carson became a star in the second half of
last season (247-1,151-9) and that was while rushing just 15 times
in the first two games. Leonard Fournette is healthy and quicker
than last season and will be playing behind a competent quarterback
in Nick Foles. He should return to 2017 form (14.9 FPts/G).
4) Jacoby Brissett will improve on his 2017 performance.
Andrew Luck's replacement went 276-of-469 for 3,098 yards, 13
TDs and seven INTs in 2017. His offensive line is better. His defense
is a lot better so he won’t be forced to play from far behind
so often. He’s two years older, wiser, and has had all preseason
to prepare. FFToday projections have him at 3,785 yards, 23 TDs
and 13 INTs and along with his running ability is worth about 20
FPts/G. He’s not an everyday fantasy starter, but could be
used in combination with another quarterback.
"Half the lies they tell about me aren't true." - Yogi Berra
1) Future Hall of Fame Drew Brees is no longer a top quarterback.
While it is true he’s no longer the automatic 5,000-yard
guy he was from 2011-16, he should improve on last season’s
numbers (3,992-32-5) and return to the top-five. Last year, an
odd combination of blowouts and tough road games led to his lowest
yardage total since 2005. The 2019 schedule looks favorable for
Brees to post more “Brees-like” numbers. Just plan
to avoid the Sunday night game in Chicago (Josh Allen plays Miami
that week and Kyler Murray faces the Giants are viable options).
2) Mitchell Trubisky is start-worthy.
Don’t be fooled by his 22.6 FPts/G average. It was built
on monster three games. He scored 47 against Tampa Bay (six TD
passes), 38.8 against the Patriots and 37.6 versus Detroit. In
the other 11 games he averaged just 17.65 fantasy points. Do you
really want a starting quarterback who “wins” you
three games, but is no help in all the others? As an alternative
example, Philip Rivers has just three games below 17 points and
13 games above 19 points while averaging 21.5 FPts/G.
3) Chris Godwin will be a better value than Dede Westbrook this
Godwin is getting a lot of play and an ADP of 39.8 (16th wideout
off the board), but I think Westbrook (64.1) will be the better
fantasy option in 2019. Godwin is still the second option in Tampa
Bay, behind Mike Evans while Westbrook is the No. 1 guy in Jacksonville
and finally has an accurate quarterback throwing to him. So Westbrook’s
modest 66-717-5 should see at least a 25-percent increase. Godwin
(59-842-7) will also improve, but not by as much as “experts”
are claiming. Godwin will be sharing targets with Evans, O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate. The tight end duo has combined for double-digit
touchdown in both 2017 and 2018 and could produce as many as 15
touchdowns in 2019. Add in Evans’ 8.0 TDs per season over
the last five years and that doesn’t leave many for Godwin.
He might end up with 1,000 yards but fewer touchdowns.
4) Odell Beckham Jr. will produce enough to make his sixth-best
wide receiver ADP “fair market value.”
Sorry, no. Sure, Beckham (ADP 14.2) is a great talent, but he’s
not good at “sharing.” He was the undisputed star
in New York, but after the trade to Cleveland he’s now got
to share the ball with friend and talented wideout Jarvis Landry,
star running back Nick Chubb, tight end David Njoku and after
an eight-game suspension, 2017 Pro Bowler Kareem Hunt. He’s
also got to share the spotlight with quarterback Baker Mayfield.
That might not work with Beckham’s personal narrative of
“look at me, I need to be the center of attention.”
I prefer Tyreek Hill (14.3), Evans (20.0) and even Antonio Brown
(21.8) now that he’s back to football over Beckham.