Author Archives: Kevin Smedley

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Well that didn’t take long! Our first fantasy football conundrum is upon us before 30 teams even play a down. Le’Veon Bell has not reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign his $14.544M franchise tag, which will cost him around $850k per game missed. This is driving both fantasy owners and good old Mike Tomlin to focus on the next man up, who is James Conner, who we hope you Bell owners were able to roster.

The Steelers seem content waiting this out and not rescinding the tag or taking calls. This makes sense based on the fact that if Bell walks before entering free agency the Steelers would lose out on the compensatory pick in the 2019 draft, which would most likely be a 3rd. Bell also seems likely to return around week 10 to maintain that unrestricted free agency status entering the 2019 offseason.

What also seems destined is Bell wearing another uniform in 2019. Let’s take a look at the current CAP situations and who the squad thinks is the best destination. Per @FieldYates  here is the current top CAP friendly teams that could potentially acquire the rare talent that is Bell.

Stoner’s Pick: (SF 49ers)

@FantasyFBStoner : The Jerick McKinnon Era in San Francisco has ended before it even began. You heard it here first: He will never play a meaningful down for the 49ers. I understand they just signed him to a 4-year deal, but that means nothing. His salary for 2019 is very manageable, totaling $4.5m including bonuses, but that means nothing. Let me say it louder for those in the back: MCKINNON WILL NEVER PLAY A DOWN THAT MATTERS IN SAN FRAN.

The minimal cap hit ($1.5m) that will come from releasing McKinnon prior to the 2019 season makes him easier to cut, but there is another main reason his stay by The Bay will be short-lived. His name is Le’Veon Bell. Arguably, there is nobody in the history of football better suited for the things Kyle Shanahan likes to do on offense.

Shannahan.jpg

He is constantly lining running backs up in receiver positions, something no running back can do as well as Bell. There is so much pre-snap movement in Shanahan’s offense that running lanes open up simply because of defensive confusion, not just blocking schemes. Though an argument could be made that the success he has had in the power run game of the Steelers may not translate over to Shanahan’s outside-zone scheme, but this is utterly ridiculous.

Overall, Bell is the most talented player in the NFL. In 3 out of the last 4 season, he has easily surpassed 1200 rushing yards, 70 receptions, and 600 receiving yards. Additionally, he has 42 total touchdowns over 5 seasons. Not to mention, Bell is still only 26 years old, so (barring injury) there are plenty of years left in the tank. Last, but certain not least, there are few teams in the league that have the financial flexibility to pay Bell what he is worth and luckily for the 49ers, they are one of them.

After dipping their toes in the Khalil Mack waters, John Lynch and the 49ers need to cannonball in the Le’Veon Bell pool. He has the ability to beat a team in a multitude of ways and is the game-changer the 49ers need to truly fulfill their Quest For Six.

Chase’s Pick (NY Jets)

@GarageGuyChase :When you think of Lev, you think big, fast and popular. Kind of like a Jet plane. Jets are awesome and Lev Bell to the Jets would be even more awesome. The team has struggled to find a run game in years past. This move would allow a team that is ready to be a true contender in the AFC East to take a huge leap in the standings.

download (1).jpgWith Sam Darnold grabbing the starting job at QB, this would be the perfect time to add a weapon that could give the New England Patriots a run for their money and help progress a true rebuild in the Todd Boles era. Currently the Jets have $15,451,473 in cap space and we would more than likely see the release of 5 year running back Bilal Powell.

Fantasy Guy’s Pick (Indy Colts)

@fantasyguy93 I’m sure everyone has already heard, but Le’Veon Bell is good, and looking to get paid. The Steelers won’t do it, but someone else certainly will. One good landing spot for an elite RB1, with a high price tag, would be Indianapolis.

download (2).jpgAlthough the Colts franchise is headed by a “less than stable” owner in Jim Irsay, it sill remains a desirable location for Bell. The offense comes with a returning star in Andrew Luck, who can turn the team around immediately if he can get back to his normal self. There’s the always explosive T.Y. Hilton at WR, who can only benefit from Luck’s return, and an improved offensive line including the sixth overall pick, Quenton Nelson.

The Colts have a great mix of talented offensive weapons to put around Bell, if he chooses to play there. They also have what other teams don’t, which is cap space. The Steelers have made it perfectly clear that their opinion on Bell’s worth completely differs from that of Bell himself, or his agent, Adisa Bakari. They offered him $14M and he was asking for $17M. Based on how far apart the two sides are in this situation, it seems fair to assume that there’s little to no chance of him being a Steeler next season. The Colts have the roster space and the cap space to appease Bell, but will they be the ones to sign him to the historical contract he desires? We’ll see.

Kevin’s Pick (Houston Texans)

My thought is why not the Houston Texans. Pairing Bell with the electric young QB that is Deshaun Watson, and DeAndre Hopkins, that I wrote about here , would make for one of if not the most electric combo of QB/WR/RB in the NFL. The Texans could also front-load the guaranteed money to allow themselves time before signing Watson to the mega-deal he will demand if he can stay healthy. images (1).jpg

Look I know Lamar Miller is decent, but let’s be honest – he is nowhere close to the level of RB that Bell brings to an offense. Bell would provide the Texans with basically a WR2 in terms of target share, couple that with Nuk and Will Fuller V and the Texans are a hybrid TE away from having the potential to lead the league in offensive production, coupled with a solid defensive unit.

Here is exactly why Bell is basically a RB1 and WR2/TE1 combined, (courtesy of Pro Football Reference!

Rank Player Position Targets Catches Yards TD
1 Jarvis Landry WR 161 112 987 9
2 Larry Fitzgerald WR 161 109 1156 6
3 Michael Thomas WR 149 104 1245 5
4 Keenan Allen WR 159 102 1393 6
5 Antonio Brown WR 163 101 1533 9
6 DeAndre Hopkins WR 174 96 1378 13
7 Golden Tate WR 120 92 1003 5
8 Adam Thielen WR 142 91 1276 4
9 Julio Jones WR 148 88 1444 3
10 Le’Veon Bell RB 106 85 655 2
11 Travis Kelce TE 122 83 1038 8
12 D. Thomas (Den) WR 140 83 949 5
13 Alvin Kamara RB 100 81 826 5
14 Jack Doyle TE 108 80 690 4
15 C. McCaffrey RB 113 80 651 5
16 Doug Baldwin WR 116 75 991 8
17 A.J. Green WR 143 75 1078 8
18 Tyreek Hill WR 105 75 1183 7
19 Davante Adams WR 117 74 885 10
20 Zach Ertz TE 110 74 824 8

I mean honestly this guy had more catches in 2017 than Ertz, Adams, A.J. Green, or Baldwin! Those are WR1s and TE1 comps while maintaining workhorse rushing touches that separates him from the likes of Kamara and CMC in my opinion.

Where would you like to see Bell in 2019? Let us know!

2018 GGFS Pros Draft Board

Big thanks to everyone that drafted with us last night. Below on the “not-so-big” board you can see how things went down (Just Zoom In!)

The draft order and must follows are:

  1. @rotobuzzguy
  2. @Jordan_Gerald
  3. @kevin_smedley
  4. @lindseyyok
  5. @Chase_Holden
  6. @allinkind
  7. @md_1010xl
  8. @FantasyFBStoner
  9. @BrandonHerFFB
  10. @WRBolen
  11. @JoshHayesFS
  12. @MichaelFFlorio

FFGS Draft Board

Stayed tuned into the pod and the site to get updates on how this plays out.

Oh, and which squad do you like the most and why?

ADP Risers Wideouts!

With the NFL 2018 preseason underway it is time to find those best values to target in your fantasy drafts. This is the season of influx – with players dealing with not-so-well disclosed injuries and others making a name for themselves in camp and the preseason.Late summer is the time for average draft position (ADP) fluctuations which can make or break your draft.

Lets take a look at a couple recent draft risers that I think are worth monitoring in PPR Redraft leagues.

Anthony Miller – Chicago Bears

Miller was the 51st pick of the 2018 NFL Draft out of the University of Memphis, who the Bears traded up with the Patriots to secure. Standing 5’11” and 190 pounds Miller is of average stature, but he has the intangibles to make an immediate impact this season. During his tenure at Memphis, specifically 2016 and 2017 he topped 1,400 yards per season with an average over 15 yards per reception and had 14 and 18 touchdowns respectively. That is legitimate production regardless of conference.

Lets take a look at what he has done in Bears camp to date. Here is a tweet courtesy of @GBraggsJr that gives you a taste of his potential.

Whenever taking a rookie there is certainly risk. This guy is one bet I would take at his current ADP of the mid 13th round, which is music to my ears. If Miller does blow up and has an amazing preseason this is certain to rise into the late single digit rounds or higher. He is currently listed as WR3 on the Bears initial depth charts, behind Taylor Gabriel, but I have a feeling he will climb to the WR2 spot if he continues to do what he does.

Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns

The Browns made a ton of off-season additions to strengthen their roster. They traded a 2018 4th and 7th round picks to the Miami Dolphins to acquire the 25-year-old target monster. Following the trade the Browns went all in on Landry signing him to a five-year $75 million contract with $47 million guaranteed. I am willing to bet that phone call with his boy Odell Beckham Jr. was interesting, as his team is currently in negotiations with the Giants to lock up an even larger deal (more on that to come)!

The more recent news that is skyrocketing his ADP is the unknown surrounding the Josh Gordon situation, while he is in couseling for his well documented addiction issues. The trade of Corey Coleman to the Bills also impacts this as does the news of Antonio Callaway’s receent citation for weed possession.

On the flip side, I believe the hype around the “Hard Knocks” series could drive his ADP up above his value, considering the fact that Gordon will most likely return, Dez is rumored to be in discussions with the Browns, and Duke Johnson Jr. will always get his targets. Here is a taste of the hype couresty of @JzoSports:

Since July 30th, Juice’s ADP has risen from the mid-5th round to the mid-4th, couresy of Fantasy Insiders (big thanks to the Man @FantasyADHD !) This is a great tool for montoring ADP that can pay dividends for your draft preparations. My guess is that if you are drafting in a competitive league that drafts around the end of preseason this could rise to the 3rd dependant on the news surrounding Dez and Gordon.

Marquise Goodwin – San Fransisco 49ers

Goodwin is a potential target-monster in an offense constructed by Kyle Shanahan. This guy can absolutely fly – clocked at a 40 speed of 4.27 per his NFL Profile. He also showed chemistry with Jimmy G which we would expect to continue going into the 2018 season, after a full schedule of OTAs and camp. In March, the 9ers also signed him to 3-year $20.3M contract extension, which leads us to believe they have large plans for him.

Here is a breakdown of his stats with Jimmy G at the healm in a Kyle Shanahan offense  from week 12 of the 2017 season.

Week Tgt Rec Yds Yards/Rec TD
12 8 8 99 12.4 0
13 12 6 106 17.7 0
14 13 10 114 11.4 0
15 6 3 37 12.3 0
16 4 2 28 14 1
Average 8.6 5.8 76.8 13.6

Goodwin ADP has risen from the mid-8th to late-6th round over the last month. The expected target share of 8-10 targets/game support that jump. However, my concern is with the redzone shares and lack of TD volume with Garoppolo to-date. Goodwin is a freak athlete that I will be monitoring over the next few weeks. He has a high ceiling but also a low floor so this is one to watch over the remaining preseason.

That is a look at a few Wideouts we see climbing draft boards. Who are you targeting or watching closely as your drafts get closer to fruition?

Nuk’Em: The Case For DeAndre Hopkins

The 2018 Fantasy Season is finally almost here! If you take fantasy football seriously you are most likely already mock drafting and identifying those impact players that you really want on your squad this season. This posting is based on PPR scoring, leagues of 12 or greater, and having the guts to draft the players you see as differentiators!

When preparing for drafts I prefer to tier players at positions and then select per tier which players I see as targets. Targets are based on few variables such as volume, health/injury history, age, schedule, and raw athletic ability. Looking at the top tier Wide Receivers for the 2018 season, my top five include Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr, Keenan Allen and Michael Thomas.

I can hear all the “NO JULIO!?” chants as I write this and after rostering him in multiple leagues last season I am officially on team #NeverJulio despite his target monster status. The addition of Calvin Ridley coupled with Matt Ryan’s inability to get him the ball in the red-zone has me steering clear unless he falls considerably from his current ADP.

2018 PPR 12-Team Mock Scenario

Let’s say we had 1.04 pick with Lev Bell, Todd Gurley and David Johnson off the board. I would be considering Zeke Elliott, Antonio Brown, DeAndre Hopkins, and Saquon Barkley (no specific order there) going forward. In all honesty, I’m not a big fan of Elliott in PPR and his schedule this season. As a huge Giants fan, I even have reservations drafting Barkley this high with the new scheme and being a rookie. Not to mention playing in the harshest market in sports, the schedule, and the stupid signing of Jonathan Stewart to steal some goal-line work!

After those assessments, we come to Brown vs. Hopkins. I love Brown and have rostered him as much as possible to date. Honestly, he is probably the safest play at this point, but safest plays do not usually win championships. I understand the argument that you DO NOT get cute in the first round. However, taking a guy that you believe will outperform the others is a rational move. So if this scenario unfolded I’d take Hopkins at 1.04 and here’s why.

Volume Regardless of QB Play

Hopkin’s Career Stats per Pro Football Reference:

Year Age Games Targets Rec Yds Y/R TD
2013 21 16 91 52 802 15.4 2
2014 22 16 127 76 1210 15.9 6
2015 23 16 192 111 1521 13.7 11
2016 24 16 151 78 954 12.2 4
2017 25 15 174 96 1378 14.4 13
Career 79 735 413 5865 14.2 36

Those are career averages of 147 targets, 83 receptions, 1173 yards and 7 Tds. Those are pretty solid numbers for a guy that is only 26 years old and has 5 NFL seasons under his belt. Oh, and you all have heard that phrase “There is nothing better than availability” right? Over the last five seasons he has missed just one game. That game was last season with a toe injury. The larger issue has been the rotation of sub-par talent at Quarterback for the Texans since drafting Hopkins.

Take a look at who has taken a meaningful snap during each season of Hopkins career.

Season Starter #2 #3(s)
2013 Matt Schaub Case Keenum N/A
2014 Ryan Fitzpatrick Case Keenum Ryan Mallett
2015 Bryan Hoyer Ryan Mallett T.J.Yates/Brandon Weeden
2016 Brock Osweiler Tom Savage N/A
2017 Tom Savage Deshaun Watson T.J.Yates

With the exception of Fitzpatrick, Hoyer (maybe), and the savior of the Houston Texans, Deshaun Watson they all SUCK! Watson definitely resurrected the Texans offense when he took over in Week 2 of last season. Unfortunately, every Watson owner from last season can still feel the fantasy production pain when he tore his ACL in practice. That was right after they went into Seattle and played one of my personal favorite regular season contests of the 2017 season. So we have a sample, albeit it could be considered small, of what expectations we can make for the Hopkins/Watson connection in 2018.

Watson to Hopkins 2017 Statistics

With Watson under center, let’s take a look at Hopkins outputs from Weeks 2 – 8.

Week Against Targets Catches Yards TDs PPR 
Week 2 Bengals 13 7 73 0 14.3
Week 3 Patriots 8 7 76 0 14.6
Week 4 Titans 12 10 107 1 26.7
Week 5 Chiefs 12 4 52 3 27.2
Week 6 Browns 4 2 19 1 9.9
Week 8 Hawks 11 8 224 1 36.4
Totals 60 38 551 6 129.1
Average 10 6.33 91.83 1 21.5

Ok sure, he didn’t have a great game against the Browns but he got in the end-zone. Sure, he didn’t get in the end-zone versus the Bengals or Patriots, but he did have 7 receptions for 70+ yards in both of those contest. This represents a super solid floor, something Julio lacked in my opinion last season. Hopkins ceiling with Watson running the offense is very high. It is just as high and potentially higher than that of Brown (also an opinion). So if we were to extrapolate these stats out over a 16 games season he would have a stat line of:

Targets Receptions Yards TDs PPR Points
160 101 1469 16 344.3

I do think this is high on touchdowns and I would project closer to 12-14 which would take his PPR total down 12-24 points. So lets now take a look at the top 10 fantasy wideouts from ESPN PPR leagues in 2017 and how he compares.

PLAYER   REC   YDS    TD   TARGETS PPR PTS
Antonio Brown 101 1533 9 162 310.3
DeAndre Hopkins 96 1378 13 175 309.8
Keenan Allen 102 1393 6 159 284.2
Larry Fitzgerald 109 1156 6 162 261.4
Jarvis Landry 112 987 9 160 260
Michael Thomas 104 1245 5 149 258.5
Julio Jones 88 1444 3 149 251.9
Tyreek Hill 75 1183 7 105 245.2
Adam Thielen 91 1276 4 143 239.7
A.J. Green 75 1078 8 145 226.8

Hopkins finished less than one point behind Brown last season!

I have absolutely zero problems with taking Antonio Brown over DeAndre Hopkins. However, I think based on the data we have gone over above, there is a legitimate chance that barring injury of either player that Hopkins can produce the stats to finish as the WR1 in the 2018 fantasy football season. You don’t usually win your league sticking to the status quo and this is one player that can put up the numbers you need from your first pick week in and week out.