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Kansas City Chiefs

Fantasy Football Big Board Heading into Final Week of Preseason

Fantasy Football
August 30, 2017

The important part of the preseason games is finally behind us, and in just over a week the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots will open the 2017 regular season, although they’ll do so without Spencer Ware and Julian Edelman, respectively. Those two were casualties of meaningless preseason action, but that means their teammates have to fill the void, like Kareem Hunt and Brandin Cooks. 

If you had your draft at any point in the last three weeks and owned the No. 1 overall pick, you probably held your breath whenever David Johnson was on the field. Luckily, he escaped what little preseason action he saw without injury and can now focus on preparing for Week 1.

In addition to obvious rankings shifts related to injuries, you may notice some changes at running back and wide receiver, specifically in the RB2 and WR2 ranges. Those are the result of reassessing where players fit in and how I feel about teams going into the regular season compared to the start of preseason. Truthfully, I didn’t have a great grasp of every situation at the beginning of August but have learned more in the last few weeks.

This is the final preseason Big Board article, but I’ll continue to update rankings until the opening week of the regular season. You can bookmark this page to see the latest changes.

 

Note: All ADP data from Fantasy Football Calculator. All fantasy stats used to calculate finishes from FantasyPros. All advanced stats calculated using data from Pro Football Reference. All stats are based on points per reception (PPR) format.

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Kareem Hunt, Charcandrick West’s Fantasy Outlook After Spencer Ware’s Injury

Fantasy Football
August 26, 2017

Kareem Hunt and Charcandrick West have been vaulted to the top of fantasy football wish lists after Spencer Ware suffered LCL and PCL damage Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport

Ware was thrust into a starting role for the Kansas City Chiefs last season due to lingering knee problems for Jamaal Charles. He set career highs in starts (14), rushing attempts (214), rushing yards (921), receptions (33) and receiving yards (447) in 2016. 

Losing Ware leaves a heavy burden for the Chiefs offense to fill, though West has shown some potential when he’s been given a chance. The 26-year-old ran for 634 yards and four touchdowns on 160 carries in 2015. 

Becoming the primary backup last season, West didn’t fare as well. His yards per carry dipped from 4.0 in 2015 to 3.3 in 2016, and he only carried the ball 88 times. 

With that underwhelming showing still fresh in the mind of Chiefs coaches, it appears Hunt will have every opportunity to thrive after Andy Reid told reporters Saturday that the rookie will be “the next man up” with Ware down, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Teicher

Pro Football Focus graded Hunt’s 2016 season as the best among all college running backs with an overall grade of 94.9. The Toledo product ran for 1,475 yards and 10 touchdowns on 262 carries as a senior. 

PFF’s draft analysis team offered this scouting report for Hunt prior to the draft:

“Hunt is a well-rounded player who was highly productive in college. He’s one of the most elusive running backs in the draft class. Hunt’s balance stands out from the pack and is at his best when in the open field. His skill set fits best in a zone-heavy offense, but can run any concepts. Toledo got him more involved in the passing game in his final year and showed significant improvement.”

Since Alex Smith’s key to success is limiting turnovers and routinely checking down on his passes, Hunt should see plenty of throws come his way in addition to the featured rushing load.

If he can adjust to the speed of the NFL as a runner, fantasy owners could have a dynamic option on their hands.   

Read more Fantasy Football news on NerdyFootball.com

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Fantasy Football 2017: 2-Round Mock Draft, Top Team Names and League Names

Fantasy Football
August 12, 2017

Although the NFL preseason hardly matters, its commencing serves as a wake-up call for fantasy football players to begin draft preparation.

The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs kick off the 2017 campaign on Sept. 7. Until then, fantasy contestants must keep track of all league happenings and practice with mock drafts.

Some major news unfolded on Friday, when the NFL officially suspended Ezekiel Elliott for six games after concluding its domestic violence investigation. The fantasy fallout is hardly the important element of this story, but it will alter the first round.

He consequently dropped to No. 17 in Yahoo Sports’ rankings, so let’s use that as a baseline for this two-round mock draft, simulated for a 12-team league with standard scoring. Then let’s examine the updated early strategy for someone drawing the No. 3 selection.

         

 

 

 

 

Mock Draft

1.1: David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

1.2: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.3: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.4: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

1.5: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

1.6: LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

1.7: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1.8: Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

1.9: Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

1.10: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

1.11: Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

1.12: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

 

2.1: Jordan Howard, RB, Chicago Bears

2.2: Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins

2.3: DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans

2.4: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

2.5: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

2.6: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

2.7: T.Y Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

2.8: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

2.9: Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots

2.10: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

2.11: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Oakland Raiders

2.12: Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

         

 

 

 

 

Round 1 Pick: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio Brown joins David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell as an easy top-three choice in all formats.

There’s no safer wide receiver on the board than the Pittsburgh Steelers star, who has caught a combined 481 receptions over the past four seasons. Having notched double-digit touchdowns three years in a row, he doesn’t depend on point-per-reception scoring. Yet the stipulation gives him a Secretariat-sized lead over all other wideouts.

Investors should not fret Martavis Bryant’s return. When they shared the field for 11 games in 2015, Brown tallied 99 receptions, 1,311 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Playing alongside a deep threat opens up the field for Brown, who had 22 catches of 20 or more yards last season.

His target share dropped all the way to 26 percent in 2016, but the 29-year-old would have led or tied the NFL in receptions for the third straight year if not for sitting out Week 17 with playoff seeding solidified. 

Business is still booming for Brown, so don’t pass up a sure thing with pick No. 3.

        

 

 

 

 

Round 2 Pick: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Todd Gurley possesses a far lighter track record. Taken as an early first-round pick in 2015, the running back averaged a bleak 3.2 yards per carry and scored just six touchdowns last year. Don’t expect to buy a bounce-back campaign at a discount. 

On individual talent, the 23-year-old remains a premier rusher. The Los Angeles Rams’ NFL-worst offense dragged him down last season, but a horrible unit couldn’t prevent him from averaging 99.5 yards per game.

With the Jeff Fisher era finally over, perhaps the Rams will resemble a 21st century offense. New head coach Sean McVay oversaw Washington’s No. 3-ranked unit as the offensive coordinator last year. Filling that role for the Rams is Matt LaFleur, who helped turn the Atlanta Falcons offense into a juggernaut.

Only four backs received more handoffs than Gurley’s 278. While he will stay a focal point of the offense, McVay expressed the importance of establishing a better balance to ESPN.com’s Alden Gonzalez.

“When you have a special player like Todd, you want to continue to find ways to get him involved but also be mindful of, ‘What is that fine balance between him being at his best and not wearing him out?'” McVay said. “That is something that we’re continuing to find out.”

Per the Ventura County Star‘s Joe Curley, McVay spoke fondly his young star’s offseason progress:

The Rams found some much-needed help. On Friday, as confirmed via Twitter, they enhanced their passing game by acquiring Sammy Watkins from the Buffalo Bills:

Drafters should gladly exchange some touches for fewer stuffed boxes and more red-zone visits. Beside, there’s no threat of Gurley splitting carries, and his overall volume won’t suffer too much if the Rams stay on the field longer.

Marshawn Lynch plays for a far superior Oakland Raiders offensive line, but he’s eight years older and slated for a smaller workload. He also averaged 3.8 yards per rush when last seen, in 2015, so a second-round investment is too steep a gamble.

Rather than hoping the 2014 version of Beast Mode returns, let’s see whether the 2015 Gurley resurfaces. Although he comes with more risk (and reward) than the typical Round 2 selection, the high volume raises his floor enough to warrant the wager.

         

 

 

 

 

Team Names

  • Pickle Fitzpatrick
  • Les Kirk Cousins Dangereux
  • Any Pun on Dak Prescott (“Dak To the Future”) or Adam Thielen (“Hooked on a Thielen”)
  • King of Jaelen Strong Style
  • Jeremy Maclin, FBI
  • Doyle Rules
  • The Be Tajae Sharpes
  • The Gurley Show with Lacy and Jordan
  • Ajayi Another Day

Anyone searching online for a clever team name is missing the point. Where’s the fun in lifting someone else’s idea?

Picking “Gronky Kong” or “Demaryius Targaryen” is the equivalent to naming a child “John.” That’s fine, but don’t be surprised when other classmates have the same name. 

Puns on player names are often fun but not always necessary. Choosing one from a random internet list is like a getting a butterfly tattoo. Find something that’s meaningful to you, but don’t force it. 

Also on the avoid list: middle-school jokes and an actual NFL team name. At least make an effort.

        

 

 

 

 

League Names

  • The Goulden Company (only works for this author and fellow Goulds)
  • The Jeff Fisher League of Mediocrity
  • 12 Angry Men (try deeper leagues with diversity)
  • Dirty Dozen (shower on Sunday morning?)
  • A League of Their Own
  • A League Has No Name
  • A Song of Matty Ice and Fire (are the Game of Thrones references getting old yet?)
  • The Bullock Club

League names, meanwhile, are best reserved for inside jokes or generic group descriptions. Honestly, who even pays attention to the league’s title? This writer can’t recall the name of the intact league he joined back when Maurice Jones-Drew and Andre Johnson were first-round talents.

A league by any other name will still stink unless it consists of active and informed participants who understand that fantasy football is a fun diversion. Spend more energy on winning the league than naming it.

       

Note: All statistics obtained and calculated using data from Pro Football Reference.

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