The Poor QB Fantasy League

Inspired by the many Bad QB Fantasy leagues that came before us. Notably Grantland – RIP.

Poor QB Weekly Results

WeekWinner
1Glow – 118 pts behind Fitz’s 182 yds, 3 Int, 1 fumble, no TD game
2Chevy – 21 pts on Darnold’s 179 yd game
3Chevy – riding the Danold train – 102 pts
4Rhoby – 70 pts on Danny Dimes’ dismal 190 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT, & 2 sacks
5Jano – 95 pts on Wentz’s 2 INTs & 5 sacks and Haskins’ mid-week benching
6Glow – 126 pts (season high at the time) in a win for the Broncos
7Chevy – 180 pts (by far the season high) on Darnold’s absolute dumpster fire of a Week 7 game
Week by Week Standings

Chevy – I was torn between starting Nick Foles and Sam Darnold this week I’m glad I stuck to my guns and went with the miserable Jets. 120 yards, 0 Touchdowns, and 2 interceptions later and I’m fist pumping. That’s a collective 150 but let’s factor in these 6 sacks the Bills accomplished. That’s 180 points this week thanks to Mr. Darnold and his terrible ways. Last week the league topped a new weekly high. This week we’re at it again and this time the new weekly high is on my side! Chalk-up that W for me! 

Glow – Man! I thought for sure Week 7 would be a victory for Team Glow! 71 points based on Drew Lock’s 199 yd, 1 INT, 1 fumble, 2 sack, 0 TD game. Add in 30 points for Fitzmagic’s bye week benching and I was looking at 101 total points. That’s good enough to win most weeks! Alas, it was not to be as Sam Darnold put up the Poor QB League equivalent of Wilt the Stilt’s 100 point NBA game. There is always next week though. I’ll be sticking with Drew Lock until I see what sort of NFL debut Tua has. He’s a rookie but he is TUA. I’ll never be able to start him in this league if he performs anything like fellow rookie QB’s Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert. I’m not super optimistic for his Poor QB League chances.

Rhoby – Daniel Jones made his first start in Philadelphia last Thursday and had some shining moments! I am very grateful rushing yards don’t count for the QBs in this league. Jones’ 80-yard run (that ended in a way that rivals myself stumbling out of bars at last call) was the longest run by a QB since Marcus Mariota’s 87-yard TD run back in 2015. However, in true Poor QB fashion, DJ showed up for me when it mattered most, fumbling the ball and thus, sealing a close win for the Eagles. 
STAT LINE: 28-47 301 yds 1 TD 1 INT 1 fumble 4 sacks – 43 pts

Jano – I figured I wouldn’t fair too well this week considering both of my QBs were facing off against other NFC East teams and it turns out the same thing is happening in Week 8 with them flip flopping match ups. Dallas is so bad they made Kyle Allen look like Peyton Manning out there. He was only sacked twice, had 0 turnovers, and posted an impressive 111 passer rating. I’ll be rolling with Washington again in week 8 as they face off against the Giants. What’s my other option here? Start Carson Wentz against the Cowboys who are cutting players left and right? No thanks. Expect Carson to put up MVP type numbers this week.

Poor QB Concept

NFL passing records are dropping like flies these days. The new-ish rules have allowed quarterbacks to flourish like never before. Oh, what’s that? Mahomes throws for 60 TDs this year? Does Lamar Jackson run for 1500 yards? Did Drew Brees pass for 5500 yards? Big Whoop. Here is the revival of a 2020 twist, the Fantasy Football League where a bad quarterback is a good thing.

The Baseline Times believes that there is too much emphasis placed on the top tier quarterback play. Instead, we think that all quarterback play should be taken into consideration. Maybe the quarterback profession should even be taken down a peg or two. While standard fantasy football is fun, we’ll show you what a Bad Quarterback League can do with some friendly staff competition.

Thus, we have tried to encapsulate what it truly means to be a bad NFL QB (which is still no small feat). We will now play fantasy football with this data for our own amusement. Of course, things like poor on-field play are taken into account: turnovers, lack of production, even getting benched, etc. But the art of bad NFL quarterback play includes so much more than that. It includes things like: being a locker room cancer, undermining your coaches, alienating your teammates, making terrible off-field decisions, and embarrassing your team. So, provisions have been made for such off-field bad quarterbacking as well. See the rules below and follow along with your own league!

RULES

  • Draft two NFL teams using a snake-style draft. You draft the entire quarterback room for each team, not just the starter or an individual QB.
  • Each week, choose one team to start. Only this starting team will score on-field points.
  • Every QB on your roster is eligible for off-field points. That means whether or not you started a team or if the third-string QB goes on a bender you still get points for their off-field activities.
  • No head to head match-ups in this fantasy league. The total high score wins each week.

ON-FIELD POINTS:

  • Interception: 20 points
  • Fumble: 10 points
  • Sack: 5 points
  • No passing/rushing TDs in a game (by QBs on the roster): 30 points
  • Benched/replaced during a game (not due to injury): 50 points
  • Passing yards below 200: 1 point for each yard (i.e. 180 yards = 20 points).
  • 3 TDs (passing or rushing): -10 points
  • 4 TD’s (passing or rushing): -20 points
  • 5 TD’s (passing or rushing): -30 points
  • Passing yards in excess of 300: -1 point for each yard (i.e. 320 yards = -20 points)

OFF-FIELD POINTS:

  • Official “vote of confidence” from the coach: 10 points
  • Mid-week quarterback change (not-due to injury): 30 points
  • Whining about his coaching, defense, linemen, or receivers: 10 points
  • Teammate/coach calls him out: 10 points
  • Violation of normal team rules: 10 points
  • Practice/locker room fight: (verbal): 10 points (physical): 20 points
  • An altercation on sidelines goes viral: 30 points
  • Detained/questioned by police (non-protest/civil rights related): 20 points
  • Arrested (non-protest/civil rights related): 100 points
  • Anatomical pic goes viral: 100 points
  • Goes viral for dirty laundry getting called out (due to his own actions): 100 points
  • Suspended: 50 points per game
  • Violates the quarantine/COVID protocol: 50 points
  • Apologizes during interview/on social media: 20 points
  • Official apology press conference: 100 points

Baseline Times Poor QB Draft:

TeamPick 1Pick 1 StarterPick 2Pick 2 Starter
ChevyBearsTrubiskyJetsDarnold
RhobyJagsMinshewGiantsDanny Dimes
JanoWashingtonHaskins ChargersTaylor
GlowBroncosLockFinsFitzmagic

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Fantasy Football Tips: Gabe’s Faves and Fades – Week 4

Last week, I went 6-4-1 with my picks. Unfortunately, a few of my picks are performing better than I thought (at least in the last week). Brees ended up better than I expected thanks to Alvin Kamara taking passes out the backfield for chunk yards. Kenyan Drake was a massive disappointment scoring only 8 FP while Carson suffered a minor ankle injury for the push. CeeDee Lamb was a victim of the “too many mouths to feed” syndrome as Hockenson just straight up flopped. I am hoping that in Week 4 we watch teams with more stability on the field so that I continue to be on the winning column with my fantasy football tips.

QUARTERBACK

Joe Burrow – Burrow is getting better with each game after two close losses and a tie which means he is due for a win. Enter the Jaguars! Jacksonville is ranked 24th in allowing 271.3 pass yards and 16% more fantasy points on the road. – FAVE

Ryan Fitzpatrick – The magic man takes on the Seahawks in what could potentially be the game of the week in terms of passing yards. There is potential for Fitzmagic to be the highest scoring QB on the slate. Seattle is ranked 32nd in allowing 306.8 pass yards while ranked 31st in attempts allowed at 36.8. The Dolphins tend to pass a whopping 50% more when underdogs. I’d be surprised if Fitmagic didn’t surpass the 30 point fantasy mark. – FAVE

Justin Herbert – The Bucs defense is on the rise and only getting better. Making matters worse for Herbert is that defenses tend to disorient rookie QBs. Tampa is ranked 6th in TD’s allows (0.7) and limits opposing QB’s to 15% less pass attempts over their last 9 games. – FADE

RUNNING BACKS

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – This is my guy! I thoguht he was going to be taking a step back going up against a Baltimore Ravens defense on the road. Evidently, the Chiefs have other plans. Involving him in all facets of the run and passing game is making him game-script proof. KC rushes the ball 13% more when favored while the Pats allow 12% more fantasy points to backs on the road. CEH has 112 rec yards this season and i’d expect that to continueFAVE

Darrell Hendersen – THE NEW YORK GIANTS!!! Hendersen is making a good impression over the last two weeks, averaging 21 fantasy points. The Giants are a mess right now ranked 22nd in points allowed to backs. If we are following the game script, the Rams should be ahead early and often which means pounding the rock at will. – FAVE

Washington Football Backs – The back situation here is cloudy as they welcome the presumably pissed off Ravens to town. Gibson in particular has been disappointing after taking the head RB role. The Ravens are 5th ranked in rush TD’s (0.2) and allow 37% less fantasy points to RBs away. – FADE

WIDE RECEIVERS

Tyler Boyd – Makes sense to pair Boyd up with Burrow. Through 3 weeks he is the best slot receiver this season. Boyd has been targeted 20 times in the slot catching 17 balls. He is going up against DJ Hayden whom in which Boyd has the advantage. I can see him scoring between 15-18 fantasy points against the tanking Jags. – FAVE

Hunter Renfrow – Who? Yes Hunter Renfrow! He is basically the last man standing for a receiving corps dealing with injuries. Buffalo allows more passing attempts on the road, second most receiving yards, and the fourth most receptions. To add, Renfrow averages 17 fantasy points per game across 5 games in which his team is the underdog. Hoping this underrated picks bodes well for my fantasy football tips this week! – FAVE

Mike Williams – Read Justin Herbert – FADE

TIGHT ENDS

TJ Hockenson – I’m going back to the well with Hockenson after laying an egg vs. the Cards last week. Coming up are the Saints in Detroit who hemorrhage points to Tight Ends. Tonyan, Waller and Howard all scored above 13 fantasy points against the Saints this season. Furthermore, they are ranked 27th in yards allowed to the position (61.1) while giving up 54% more fantasy points to TE’s when favored. Lock him in. – FAVE

D/ST

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – We always target defenses against rookie quarterbacks and this is no exception. The Chargers are throwing 1.2 INT’s a game and we can expect them to get after Herbert for a few sacks in this one. – FAVE

See my previous Fantasy Football Tips below, and be sure to check back here next week for more FAVES and FADES!


Fantasy Football Picks: Gabe Lloyd’s Faves & Fades – Week 3

Fantasy Football Picks: Gabe Lloyd’s Faves & Fades – Week 2

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NFL Fantasy Football Picks: Gabe’s Faves & Fades – Week 3

Every week, you will get some insight into my “faves” and a recommendation on who to “fade”. Just remember, all the research and data in the world can not prepare you for the unexpected. You know, injuries, testing positive for COVID-19, suspensions – all that jazz. With that said, GOOD LUCK and here are my NFL Fantasy Football Picks for Week 3!

First off, can we all agree that Week 2 was an absolute disaster for Fantasy Football? Quarterback play was on point, but injuries decimated lineups everywhere, including my own. Hurts to admit it, but I went an abysmal 4-11 with my picks last week. Here’s to hoping we ALL rebound in Week 3.

QUARTERBACK

Kyler Murray – Just plug him in and let the good times roll. His rushing attempts are comparable to Lamar Jackson hence his 30.2 FP average through 2 games. Detroit is ranked 26th on both pass TD’s (2.1) and pass attempts (37.7). As a result, pairing him with Hopkins should be cake. Murray is probably the no-brainer for my NFL Fantasy Football Picks this week. – CHALK/FAVE

Dak Prescott – This game is going to be explosive so make sure to pair him with either one or two of his pass catchers. It is the highest rated game on the slate as two premier QBS (Wilson) will depend on the legs as much as the pass. Seattle is dead last in pass yards a game (285) as both Newton and Ryan crossed the 350 yard mark this season. Good news for Dak as he averages 25% more fantasy points against non-divisional opponents. – FAVE

Drew Brees – The end is either near or already here. It’s no secret that Brees home/road splits are damning, but asking him to do it without Michael Thomas makes it more difficult. The Packers defense is ranked 9th in pass TD’s (1) and 6th in pass yards (205) allowed. Playing at home as mentioned before should benefit Brees but his inability to go deep downfield is worrisome. I also expect Kamara to take over limiting Brees in the passing game – FADE

RUNNING BACKS

Kenyan Drake – We are once again attacking the Lions defense here. They have been abysmal this season both in the air and ground. The Lions allow 11% more rushing attempts and fantasy points to backs over their last 9. Drake is only averaging 12 fantasy points a game but this is a spot in which he take off. – FAVE

Chris Carson – Carson has been on a mini heater to start the season thanks in part to Wilson playing out of his mind. The difference so far has been his involvement in the passing game. He is officially a dual threat back and should be able to have himself a game vs the banged Cowboys. Carson also averages 18 fantasy points in high scoring games. – FAVE

Frank Gore – I hate to do this being a UM fan but you can’t rely on Gore this late in the game as he is averaging 3.35 FP over his last 12 games. Also anything JETS is toxic which is unfortunate for the OG who has been in the game for so long. – FADE

WIDE RECEIVER

D.K. Metcalf – Have you noticed the Seattle trend here? They are all in good spots vs the Cowboys. Metcalf is particular has a knack for converting deep balls with solid frame. My only concern is that he isn’t targeted enough. Nevertheless he has 90+ yards in both games this season with a TD in each. Dallas is ranked 27th in TD’s allowed (1.3) and allows 29% more fantasy points to wideouts on the road. – FAVE

CeeDee Lamb – Everyone is trying to trade for him in my league while I benched him the first two weeks. Why did I bench him, you ask? The Cowboys have too many mouths to feed. However, his arrow appears to be pointing up as he vultures Micheal Gallup’s production. Lamb is registering his first pro 100-yard receiving game on 6 receptions while getting the target 9 times. Granted, it came against Atlanta, who is a dumpster fire on defense, but still encouraging. Once again, targeting the Seahawks/Cowboys game gives me reason to believe he can possibly have his coming out party. – FAVE

New York Jets – Just fade all the skill players for the Jets. The incompetence of Adam Gase combined with snail like pace at which they play likely won’t win you any weeks this season. – FADE

TIGHT END

T.J. Hockenson – Tight ends vs Arizona continues this season with some qualifiers. I will point out that Kittle got injured in week 1 while Logan Thomas had Haskins as his Quarterback. Next, do you remember the Hockenson game from last season vs these cardinals? He finished 9-131-1 on nine targets good for 22 fantasy points. I’m not saying he will repeat that but its not out of the realm of possibility that he does. – FAVE

D/ST

Indianapolis Colts – The Jets are allowing 3 sacks a game while adding an interception for good measure. This team is just pure trash and can be attacked every week since Adams departure. – FAVE

See my previous NFL Fantasy Football Picks below, and be sure to check back here next week for more FAVES and FADES!


Fantasy Football Picks: Gabe Lloyd’s Faves & Fades – Week 2

Fantasy Football Picks: Gabe Lloyd’s Faves & Fades – Week 1

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Fantasy Football picks: Gabe Lloyd’s Faves & Fades – Week 1

The 2020 NFL Season is here.

Know what that means? Fantasy Football picks are here too!

As a three-time Fantasy Football champion on the way to (in DJ Khaled’s voice) another one, I am ready to share my expertise with you! Every week, check back here for Fantasy Football picks to help you thrive in your leagues.

Every week, you will get some insight on my “faves” and a recommendation on who to “fade”. Just remember, all the research and data in the world cannnot prepare you for the unexpected. You know, injuries, testing positive for COVID-19, suspensions – all that jazz. With that said, GOOD LUCK!

QUARTERBACKS

CAM NEWTON – No one knows what to expect from Cam Newton entering this season. However, you can expect mobile QB’s to give Miami fits. Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Josh Allen, and Carson Wentz averaged 27 Fantasy points against this unit. You could argue that he doesn’t have the chemistry down with his new wide-out core which could mean him making more plays with his feet. Miami also ranked 30th allowing 2.3 pass TD’s in their last nine games. – FAVE

MITCH TRUBISKY – This isn’t a name that most players would ever want to roster but hear me out. COVID-19 has canceled preseason games so going with familiarity could be the best-case scenario. He scored 19 and 24 fantasy points against Detroit’s 31st ranked (allows 290.6 pass yards) pass defense. Trubisky also averaged 9.5 pass yard per attempt and had no problem using his legs to make plays. Paying down for him could open tons of space to roster other studs. – FAVE

BAKER MAYFIELD – Mayfield averaged 15.5 fantasy points in two games against the Ravens last season. That’s hardly enough to win you any tournaments. Add in the fact that Baltimore allows fewer pass attempts at home and ranked 1st in TD’s allowed. If there is a spot for Mayfield to shine it would be passing to slot receivers which Baltimore is weakest. FADE

RUNNING BACKS

ANTONIO GIBSON – He could fly under the radar in week one due to all the stud backs in better match-ups. The case for Gibson is that his pricing is close to the minimum across DFS sites which is always a plus for running backs. The release of Adrian Peterson solidified him being on the field for a majority of the snaps no matter the game script. He should get around 15 touches and about 4 receptions in his debut. – FAVE

AARON JONES – Set it and forget it. Jones has owned the Vikings over the past 2 seasons. Jones topped the 100-yard rushing mark in both meetings and averaged 1.5 TD’s over that same span. Minnesota can’t stop the run to save their lives allowing 114.8 Rush yards over their last 9 games. CHALK CITY!! – FAVE

TODD GURLEY – Considering his massive usage and knee issues on the RAMS last season, it gives me pause to use him in week 1. Matt Ryan is going have a huge passing game against the hapless Seahawks secondary but I expect Julio, Ridley, and possibly Hurst to pick up that yardage. The classic case of too many mouths to feed. FADE

WIDE RECEIVERS

HENRY RUGGS III – Carolina has one the worst secondaries in the league allowing 179.6 Rec Yards to wide receivers. The loss of Tyrell Williams propelled the rookie to number 1 on the depth chart. His speed and 10.9 yards after the catch (YAC) is going to cause all sorts of problems for fellow rookie corner Troy Pride Jr. He is also on the cheap end and could provide tons of savings spend on stud running backs. – FAVE

DJ CHARK JR. – The Jags are in tank mode. As a result of the Fournette trade, they have very few options on offense. It’s reasonable to believe that the Jags will be playing from behind most of the season which means (20%) more passing. Chark averages 16% more fantasy points against division rivals as the Colts allow 1.4 rec TD’s to wide receivers. The volume will be there all season for Chark so fire him up. – FAVE

DEVANTE PARKER – Two words, Stephon Gilmore. Expect him to follow Parker all over the field forcing Fitzpatrick to key in more on Preston Williams. FADE

TIGHT ENDS

GEORGE KITTLE – Simply put, roster him everywhere no matter whether he is chalk or not. Attacking Arizona with tight ends is a thing in fantasy as they are ranked dead last to the position. Not to mention, they allow 12% more passing attempts when away and 59.4 Rec Yards to Tight Ends.

DST

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS – It is always a good idea to attack rookie Quarterbacks entering the league. Joe Burrow could very well have a decent game in his debut but you should definitely expect mistakes. Chris Harris, Joey Bosa, and Melvin Ingram are going to feast on the Bengals putrid offensive line.

Week 1 – Good Luck!

These Fantasy Football picks are designed to give you a leg on up on the field. Listing chalky plays is easy but can be detrimental if they bust. Upside and sometimes being contrarian is what you look for to win big. Lastly, chasing big millionaire GPP’s in hopes of winning the top prize is a pipe dream. Instead, focus on single entry tourneys and 50/50 games to keep your bankroll healthy. No harm in entering big GPPs but always temper expectations.


Baseline Times NFL – Week 1 Staff Picks

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2017 NFL Fantasy: Top 15 Defense/Special Team Rankings

The D/ST position is often overlooked in fantasy football, and I think it’s because most of us just wish we didn’t have to deal with it. It can be so difficult to pick the right D/ST on any given week, let alone the entire season. The best advice I can give everyone is to just take it week by week. Unless you pull the trigger early and draft the Seahawks or Broncos, you’re most likely going to be playing the streaming game at some point during the season. I’ve been lucky enough to win 2 fantasy championships, and on both occasions, I streamed defenses throughout the season. At some points, I even committed a fantasy football sin and rostered multiple defenses at once. I was looking ahead to future match up and wanted to be ahead of the curve. Sometimes that’s the kind of crazy moves you have to make to get a small advantage. No matter what you do though, there’s going to be a point during the season where your defense will let you down. It’s part of the game. Don’t ever get too discouraged, or too over confident with your D/ST. Unpredictability is something you need to expect. With all that in mind, here are my top 15 defenses for the 2017 season.

15. Jacksonville Jaguars

This one is going to seem a bit out of place. At one point, one of the best defensive strategies was to stream whoever was facing the Jaguars that week. Their offense was garbage, and their defense wasn’t much better. The offense has improved significantly over the last couple of years, and this is the may be the year the defense finally puts it all together too. Last season, the Jaguars scored 75 fantasy points, forced only 13 turnovers, and allowed 25 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. So, after such a poor outing in 2016, why do I think the Jags are worthy of ranking? Well, despite the horrid stat line, Jacksonville is actually a very talented defensive unit. They added, even more, talent over the off season. Calais Campbell, AJ Bouye, and Barry Church were all brought in to help transform a defense that’s good on paper, into a defense that’s good on the field. They’ll be usable this season.

Where I’d draft them: 14th round. Draft them ahead of only your kicker.

14. Los Angeles Rams

Some of you might think I’m crazy for having the Rams on this list after last year, but I think I might even have them a little low. Last season, the Rams scored 72 fantasy points, forced 18 turnovers, and allowed 24.6 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. That’s less than stellar, but a lot has gone down since then. Head Coach, Jeff Fisher, and Defensive Coordinator, Greg Williams, are now gone, replaced by Sean McVay, and legendary Defensive Coordinator, Wade Phillips. With all due respect to McVay, Phillips is the reason I’m both excited, and optimistic. With him at the helm, the Rams will surely improve their horrid red zone defense, which allowed touchdowns at a 71% clip last year. Phillips is also likely to get the most out of Aaron Donald, and Robert Quinn, who are both elite pass rushers. Total it all up, and you get a defensive unit that’s going to catch some folks by surprise next season.

Where I’d draft them: 13th or 14th round. I see a big season coming, but they’re still a defense. Don’t draft early

13. Oakland Raiders

Man, am I going to rank any good defenses at any point? Don’t be fooled. Despite giving up 24.1 points per game, and only scoring 74 fantasy points last season, the Raiders forced a whopping 30 turnovers, per ESPN standard scoring. That was second to only the Atlanta Falcons, who forced 33. The Falcons didn’t make this list because they like to blow 28-3 leads at bad times. As for the Raiders, the ability to create that many turnovers are extremely appealing to any fantasy owner. They’ve improved their secondary a bit, and that should hopefully help them keep the yards and points allowed down. If Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack help bring the Raiders’ sack total up from the 25 they got last season, then Oakland might just live up to their potential.

Where I’d draft them: 13th or 14th round. The high number of turnovers is nice, but that can fluctuate year to year. Potential is there, but don’t draft them too high.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers

We finally get to a historically good defense. Last season, the Steelers scored 91 fantasy points, forced 23 turnovers, and allowed 20.4 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. It was business as usual for the “Steel Curtain” in 2016, and it should be more of the same this season. With the exception of the Patriots, Pittsburgh’s defense was able to smother their opponents, especially in the red zone, where teams only scored touchdowns on them 48% of the time. The Steelers have talent at every defensive position, and they’re hoping newly drafted rookie, TJ Watt, can eventually replace their long time defensive anchor James Harrison. They’ll be solid all season long.

Where I’d draft them: 13th round. We’re starting to get to more usable defenses now. Honestly, if you chose to stick with Pittsburgh all season long, they would help you more than they’d hurt you. Sometimes, that’s all you can really expect from your defense.

11. Philadelphia Eagles

A seriously underrated D/ST, in my opinion. Last season, the Eagles scored 127 fantasy points, forced 26 turnovers, and allowed 20.7 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. Defensively, the Eagles have one of the best lines in all of football. Their front four can cause havoc, but they need some help in the secondary, and their line backers aren’t exactly blowing people away. What really makes this unit desirable to fantasy owners is their special teams. A weapon like Darren Sproles can seriously turn a game around in the blink of an eye. All he needs is a punt and some room to work. They’re a solid defense, and they’re gonna give you a fair amount of extra points via their special teams.

Where I’d draft them: 13th round. I’m not sure if you’re starting to notice a pattern, but I don’t recommend taking any defense early. Not even one with such an upside on special teams.

10. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have been one of the league’s most dominant defenses for over a decade. Last season, they scored 118 fantasy points, forced 28 turnovers, and held teams to 20.1 points game, per ESPN standard scoring. It was a solid season, but despite finishing inside the top 10 in points per game, yards per game, and turnovers, you’d want the same defense we’d all grown accustomed to seeing. The Ravens noticed it too, and they addressed the issue over the off season. They used their first 4 picks in the NFL draft on defensive players, and also signed veteran free agents Brandon Carr, and Tony Jefferson. They should easily be a top 10 defense this year.

Where I’d draft them: 13th round. This is getting pretty redundant now, but virtually no defense is worthy of being taken early. The Ravens are no different

9. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers’ offense wasn’t the only ones suffering from a SuperBowl hangover last year. After an awesome 2015 season, their defense also took a step back in 2016. They scored 101 fantasy points, forced 27 turnovers, and allowed 25.1 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. It was obvious that Carolina’s defense missed Josh Norman. They ranked 29th in passing yards allowed and looked even worse than that when they had to defend Julio Jones. Their secondary is still going to be an issue, but their defensive line got even stronger with the additions of Julius Peppers, and Daeshaun Hall over the off season. Assuming that Luke Kuechly is back to 100%, the Panthers should resemble their 2015 form again this year.

Where I’d draft them: 13th round. Bounce back year should be coming. They’re going to be a solid option this season. The later you land them, the better value they’ll hold.

8. New York Giants

From a team that took a step back last season, to one that made a huge leap. The Giants went from a bottom 5 defense in 2015, to a top 5 defense last season. They scored 130 fantasy points, forced 25 turnovers, and allowed a 17.8 points points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. Last season was just a glimpse of the potential this Giants defense has. They were the only team that could slow down the Cowboys’ offense last season, and they’re looking to carry that’s over to this season. They lost Jonathan Hankins over the off season, but they added Dalvin Tomlinson through the draft to help improve the defense. I see another big year in store for the Giants.

Where I’d draft them: 12th or 13th round. I wouldn’t mind taking a chance one round earlier on a defense with the potential that the Giants have. Just don’t get too cute.

 7. Houston Texans

Now we’re getting into the really good defenses. Last season, Houston scored 102 fantasy points, forced 17 turnovers, and allowed 20.5 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. Despite losing JJ Watt for most of the season, the Texans led the NFL in total yards last year, and surprised most experts with their resilience. A returning Watt will no doubt provide a boost to an already strong Houston defense, and will keep them hovering around the top 5 all season long. I’d feel comfortable rolling them out as my defense every week.

Where I’d draft them: 12th round. I won’t go as far as calling them elite, but they’re in the next tier. I’d feel comfortable reaching for them a little bit sooner.

6. New England Patriots

From a strictly football standpoint, the Patriots probably have the best defense on this list. Last season, they scored 117 fantasy points, forced 23 turnovers, and allowed a league low 15.6 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. From a fantasy standpoint they’re a bit less dominant, but great nonetheless. What makes them so good is their ability to adapt to my style of play. The addition of Stephon Gilmore over the off season will only add to their versatility, and will have them around the top 5 in all defensive categories.

Where I’d draft them: 11th or 12th round. This is where I start to tolerate reaching for defenses you want. As long as you don’t go too crazy, the Patriots should hold good value all year long.

5. Arizona Cardinals

We’ve arrived at the top 5, and what a way to kick it off. On paper, the Cardinals might very well be the most talented defensive unit in the league. They’ve got elite talent at every important position. Last season, they scored 143 fantasy points, forced 28 turnovers, and allowed 22.6 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. They lost Calais Campbell to free agency, but brought in Carlos Dansby to boost the 2nd best run defense in the league last year. Add him to a core of Patrick Peterson, Chandler Jones, and Tyrann Mathieu, and it’s hard not to get excited about the Cardinals defense.

Where I’d draft them: 11th or 12th round. The Cardinals play in one of the most offensively challenged divisions in the league, the NFC West. Draft them and reap the benefits.

4. Minnesota Vikings

The Vinkings stared off hot last year, especially their defense. They allowed just 63 combined points during the first 5 games of the season, and got off to a 5-0 start. They scored 157 fantasy points, forced 27 turnovers, and allowed 19.2 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. Unfortunately for the Vikings, their offense didn’t match their defense, and they eventually became too much dead weight to carry. Things should be a bit different this year though . The Vikings added Latavius Murray through free agency, and drafted Dalvin Cook in the 2nd round of the NFL draft, so they should have way more ball control this year. That’s great news for the defense, and anyone who owns them.

Where I’d draft them: 11th or 12th round. It’s rare to see a defense get dragged down by their offense, but it’s a real possibility for the Vikings. If it wasn’t for that, they’d be ranked even higher. Regardless though, they’re going to have huge games, and a great season.

3. Seattle Seahawks

The top 3 defenses are pretty much interchangeable. It’s honestly all about preference. All three will be elite. We start off with the Seahawks. Last season, they scored 113 fantasy points, forced 19 turnovers, and allowed  18.3 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. They would’ve had an even better season, but they lost their anchor Earl Thomas halfway through the year.  Despite losing Thomas though, the Seahawks finished in the top 5 in points and yards allowed, and 3rd in sacks. With a healthy Thomas, and what should be a motivated Richard Sherman, the Seahawks should be locking teams down again this season.

Where I’d draft them: 11th round. They’re going to be elite all season long, and they also have the luxury of playing in the NFC West. If they stay healthy all year, they will challenge for the top spot in fantasy. They should be vintage the Seahawks this year.

2. Denver Broncos

This season is really going to show us a lot about the Denver defense. Last season, they scored 146 fantasy points, forced 27 turnovers, and allowed 18.6 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. They mostly looked like the same dominant defense that carried them to a SuperBowl the year before, but not against the run. Uncharacteristicly, the Broncos were 28th in the league against the run last season, and losing legendary Defensive Coordinator, Wade Phillips, won’t help improve that. Regardless, they still have Von Miller, and one of the best defensive units in the game so I’m not worried about them at all.

Where I’d draft them: 9th or 10th round. They should be one of the first 3 defenses to get drafted. If they can just improve their run defense a bit, they will defiantly be elite.

1. Kansas City Chiefs

You can agree or disagree, but in my opinion, the Chiefs are going to dominate the rest of the league defensively this year. Last season, they scored 140 fantasy points, forced 33 turnovers, and allowed 19.4 points per game, per ESPN standard scoring. All that virtually came without Derrick Johnson, and Justin Houston, who were injured most of the season. Their absence was felt though, as the Chiefs were in the bottom 10 in both yards allowed, and sacks. They lost Dontari Poe to free agency, but getting Johnson, and Houston back at 100% should be more than enough to end the season as the #1 fantasy defense.

Where I’d draft them: 10th round. I honestly couldn’t be mad if you decide to reach for them earlier. They’re going to be worth the pick, regardless of where you take them. Odds are they’ll go off at some point, and win you a couple of games. If I had my pick of any defense, I’d take them.

 

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Times NFL Contributor

 

 

Fantasy Impact: Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension

Oh boy. What a huge mess we’ve got in Dallas. The Cowboys’ most dominant offensive weapon, Ezekiel Elliott, has been suspended for 6 games by the NFL. I’m not going to sit here and put in my two cents on whether he should’ve been suspended or not. That’s irrelevant at this point. What I will do, however, is break down the impact that Elliot’s suspension will have on this fantasy season. Before I do though, I just want to say, that this incident is a perfect example of why you shouldn’t draft your fantasy team until a week before the season starts. I get it, you’re excited that fantasy is back, and you just want to have your team already, but look at what could happen. I’m sorry, but scratching the fantasy itch is hardly worth losing the most important player on your roster. We haven’t even played one game in the regular season yet, and all the Elliott owners are already scrambling to hold their teams together. The later you draft, the lower the odds are of an injury, or suspension, ruining your season before it even starts. Keep that in mind when selecting a draft date.

So where do Elliott owners go from here? This isn’t just any running back you’re losing. Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards last season, so hopefully, you took some sort of precaution when drafting him. Either Alfred Morris, who has a career average of 4.3 yards per rush attempt, or Darren McFadden, who has a career average of 4.2 yards per rush attempt, should’ve been a late draft pick for any Elliott owner. Even the recently signed Ronnie Hilman, could be worth something in Elliott’s absence. Dallas has the best offensive line in all of the football, and whoever gets the bulk of the carries behind that line, will certainly be a worth a starting spot. What if you didn’t take any of those players though? Well, then you need to hit the waiver wire and see what’s left. Remember that every single season, plenty of valuable players are left sitting on the waiver wire after the initial draft, and right before the regular season starts. Do some research, have a little faith, and take a shot on a player.

The other option you have, and the option I’d go with, is trying to pull off a trade before the season starts. You can try to include Elliott in the deal, but you have to understand that if you do, you’d be selling him for a fraction of his normal value. Nobody is going to pay you full price for a guy who’s going to miss multiple games, let alone 6 games. You can try to add another player to the deal to bring the value back up, but don’t go too crazy. The whole point of a trading is to make your team better not worse. I wish there was some sort of default advice that would cover all the Elliott owners, but unfortunately, there isn’t. If you’re in the unenviable position of owning Elliott right now, it’s not the end of the world. The season still hasn’t even started. Both times I won my league, I had to do it with basically nothing at my #1 RB position, so who’s to say you can’t win it with half a season of an elite RB. When Elliott comes back, whether it’s in week 8, or earlier, he’ll be fresh, and motivated. Patient Elliott owners will probably be handsomely rewarded at the end of the year.

If you haven’t drafted yet, and you’re still considering taking Elliott, do it. Just make sure you take one of his back ups too or draft another RB that can start for you until Elliot’s suspension is over. Odds are Jerry Jones, and the Cowboys, are going to use every single resource available to them in order to get this suspension thrown out. I don’t believe it’ll get thrown out, but I definitely anticipate it being reduced to at least 4 games. If it is reduced, I can still see Elliott going in the 1st round. He’s extremely talented, and his situation isn’t unlike LeVeon Bell’s situation last season. Bell was still going in the first round of some drafts, and when he returned, he looked every bit like a top 5 pick. This suspension sucks for Elliot owners, or anyone who was hoping to draft him, but remember that this is a fluid situation, that could change at any second. If you have Elliot, don’t panic, do your due diligence, and make the move that’s best for your team. Whether that means keeping him or dealing him. If you were hoping to own Elliott, don’t be scared off. Just understand that what you’re drafting now, isn’t what you would’ve been drafting a week ago.

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Times NFL Contributor 

 

 

Stop Drafting Adrian Peterson So Early

This offseason, the Saints made a somewhat unexpected splash in free agency. By signing Adrian Peterson to a two-year, $7 million deal, New Orleans added some impressive veteran depth to its backfield. It surely wasn’t Peterson’s first choice, but he found out pretty quickly that there weren’t a ton of teams actively seeking out 32-year-old RBs with injury problems and a checkered past off the field – even if that RB is a future Hall of Famer.

For many years, Peterson was at the height of his game. He’s a once-in-a-generation athlete, 16th All-Time in Rushing Yards, and won the MVP in 2012. He’s just two years removed from leading the league in rushing, so it’s not inconceivable that he could regain his otherworldly form that earned him the nickname “Purple Jesus” during his time in Minnesota, but that’s not likely.

 

 

According to FantasyPros, fantasy-footballers are grabbing AP at a nice spot in their drafts. Currently coming off the board at the 69th pick, Peterson is being taken in the 6th round by some of you. The sixth! He’s being drafted ahead of safer bets like Kelvin Benjamin, Stefon Diggs, Cam Newton, and Frank Gore, in addition to a ton of other players with much higher upside.

Don’t draft him that early. Here’s why:

The Saints pass more than nearly every team. 

This may be a surprise to some of you, but the Saints are a pass-first offense and receiving is hardly one of Peterson’s strengths. Last season, New Orleans threw the ball 63.44% of their offensive snaps – good for 5th most in the league. As long as Drew Brees is at the helm, the ball will spend more time in the air than in the hands of his backfield. That won’t change just because the front office brought in an aging superstar.

When the Saints do pass it to a running back, it’s incredibly unlikely that Peterson will be on the receiving end of Brees’ throws. Travaris Cadet is listed as the third back on the Saints’ depth chart, but he won’t be doing much running this season. Last year, Cadet had 4 rushes for 19 yards, but he corraled 40 of 54 targets for 281 yards. His role is likely to stay the same this year, which means Peterson won’t see the field on third downs.

Mark Ingram is better than Adrian Peterson. 

The number one reason All Day will continue his gradual descent into insignificance has nothing to do with Peterson himself.

Mark Ingram is going to make sure you forget that #28 is even on the roster. He makes Peterson’s presence redundant because everything that AP can do, Mark can do better. Ingram is in his prime, and he enters 2017 following a season where he tallied 1362 total yards and 10 touchdowns. His last season average of 5.1 yards-per-carry is higher than all but one of Peterson’s seasons. His 46 receptions on 58 targets are more than Peterson ever had.

Again, Mark Ingram will not have a better career than Adrian Peterson. Please do not think that’s what I’m implying, but Ingram at 27 is better than Peterson at 32.

Fantasy Takeaway: 

Adrian Peterson is a Mark Ingram insurance policy. Ingram will still continue to see the bulk of the workload, and he’ll have a much more productive fantasy season than Peterson. AP is an obvious handcuff, but should not be going in the 6th round.

It was a good signing by the Saints and a fine landing spot for Peterson. However, the only way Purple Jesus’ fantasy value is resurrected is if Ingram suffers a significant injury and doesn’t return.

 

Kory Schulte, Baseline Times

2017 NFL Fantasy: Top 15 TE Rankings

Now we’re getting into the thick of things. The tight end position is very crucial in fantasy football. Many times, it can be the deciding factor in a close match up. For example, if two teams are caught in the middle of an epic game, matching each other point for point, and each team has only a tight end left going into “Monday Night,” then the team with Gronk has the advantage over the team with Coby Fleener.

The big problem with tight ends is depth. The position is so barren, that after the top 6 or 7 are gone, you’re pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel. Sure, one of the guys you draft late might have a breakout year, like Tyler Eifert in 2015, but those are long odds. It’s so hard to predict which tight ends are going to score big on any given week, that some fantasy owners opt to stream tight ends throughout the season, rather than hold on to any specific one for the year.

So without any more delay, here’s my top 15 TEs for 2017. Pay close attention. It could be the difference between a championship season, and “there’s always next year.”

15. Charles Clay

We kick our rankings off with a guy that could be a solid streaming option throughout the year. Last season, Clay had  562 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, and a total of. 136.2 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. He did most of his damage during the fantasy playoffs. Between weeks 14-16, Clay scored 62.7 fantasy points. That’s not his typical output, but at least he’s shown he can score big at times. He’ll be worth streaming a couple of times.

Where I’d draft him: I wouldn’t. He’s a solid streaming option, but he’s not worth rostering. He’ll be in a new offense this season, and the possibility of seeing fewer snaps is a real one.

14. Antonio Gates

In his prime, Gates was a fixture in the upper echelon of TEs. Now in the twilight of his career though,  Gates is no longer an elite TE option. Last season, Gates had 548 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, and a total of 147.8 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. It all boils down to health for Gates. He’s got a QB that isn’t afraid to force the ball to his receivers, he’s just got to be on the field more. That’s easier said than done at this point tho.

Where I’d draft him: As late as possible. Gates is tricky. He’s going to have at least one monster game during the season, but it’ll be impossible to predict. If you do decide to draft him, keep a close watch on Hunter Henry. I never advocate handcuffing a TE, but Gates/Henry are an exception.

13. Jason Witten

Another guy who’s passed his prime, but can still contribute. Last season, Witten had 673 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns, and a total of 152.3 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Witten has the benefit of being in efficient offenses, having a solid QB, and he rarely misses games. This could finally be the season when his production dips significantly, but I’d have to see before I believe it.

Where I’d draft him: 13th round. He’s no longer going to produce like he once did, but he’s going to make sure you don’t get a zero from your TE. Sometimes that’s all you need to squeeze out a win.

12. Jack Doyle

I’m very excited about Jack Doyle. I plan on drafting him as my TE this season. Although, now that I’ve said that, someone in my league will probably draft him early, and try to trade him to me. Doyle was a revelation last season, totaling 584 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns, and 145.4 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. He wasn’t even the starter at the beginning of the season. This year, with a full off season to prepare, Doyle should be even better.

Where I’d draft him: 12th or 13th round. Now that Dwayne Allen has been traded to the Patriots, Doyle is the top TE for the Colts. The added snaps should make for a bigger fantasy season for Doyle. He’s a solid option, especially later on in drafts.

11. Eric Ebron

Ebron has the potential to be a top fantasy TE. The problem is, he’s had that potential ever since he entered the league in 2014, and has yet to fulfill it. Last season, Ebron had 711 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, and totaled 144.2 fantasy points. The reason Ebron keeps getting the benefit of the doubt is that we keep hoping one of these years everything will click, and he’ll become more productive. Here’s hoping for the best.

Where I’d draft him: 12th round. Matthew Stafford is a gun slinger. A QB like that can make a star out of a player like Ebron. Megatron’s shoes still haven’t been filled. Maybe this is the year Ebron fills them. Even if he doesn’t, he’ll be able to help you out during a few weeks of the season.

10. Kyle Rudolph

Some people will think I’m way too low on Rudolph, but I’ve never been much a believer in him. He had an amazing 2016 season, totaling 840 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, and 209 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. I won’t go too far and call his season a fluke, but I will say he massively over achieved. I expect him to come back down to Earth this season.

Where I’d draft him: 10th round. If he ends the season as the #2 scoring TE in fantasy again, I’ll look really dumb. Luckily, I have supreme confidence that lightning won’t strike twice for Rudolph. He is a legit TE option tho. Sam Bradford has always favored his TE’s, and I see that trend continuing this season. Just temper your expectations a bit.

9. Cameron Brate

The TE’s start getting a bit more efficient now that we’re in the top 10. When the Buccaneers released Austin Seferian-Jenkins 2 games into the 2016 season, I didn’t think they’d find such a suitable replacement, especially so quickly. However, Cameron Brate stepped up and had a breakout year. Last season, Brate had 660 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns, and a total of 171 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. The entire Tampa Bay offense is poised for a big season. That includes Brate.

Where I’d draft him: 8th round. With all the defensive attention Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson are going to attract this season, Brate should find himself open plenty. I see Jameis Winston throwing a lot of touchdowns this season, and Cameron Brate should be the recipient of a few of those. Potential steal in the later rounds.

8. Jimmy Graham

If Jimmy Graham is back to full speed, I could see him getting close to his old elite status. Last season, Graham had 923 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns, and totaled 189.3 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. The Seahawks could always use some help for Russell Wilson, and Graham gives him a big target to aim for in the red zone.

Where I’d draft him: 7th or 8th round. He’ll probably go much higher solely based on name recognition, but the earlier he’s taken, the bigger risk he is. I believe he’s still got the shot to be an elite fantasy TE, but just don’t reach for him too early.

7. Tyler Eifert

Eifert was one of fantasy football’s biggest breakout stars in 2015. 2016 however, was an injury plagued let down. Last season, Eifert had 394 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns, and totaled 189.3 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Assuming he’s healthy, Eifert should be back to his old efficient ways. The Bengals will be glad to get such a big weapon back.

Where I’d draft him: 7th round. If he’s healthy, he’s got elite potential. That’s proven to be a big “if” lately though. I like his chances, but not enough to burn an early pick on him.

6. Delanie Walker

Walker is one of the safest, and most consistent, TEs in fantasy. Last season, he had 800 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, and a total of 188.1 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. He’s been carrying the majority of the Titan’s receiving load for the last two seasons. This year he’ll get some help in the form of Eric Decker. I expect Walker to keep being consistent.

Where I’d draft him: 5th round. Not going to get many zeros or 1’s from Walker, he kicks off the portion of the rankings where you can start to reach for a TE. If being strong in that position is important to you, I wouldn’t mind reaching for Walker if you have to.

5. Greg Olsen

The TE’s really start getting good now. Last season, Olsen had 1073 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns, and 207.3 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Carolina was suffering from a SuperBowl hangover last season, and Olsen still managed to be dominant. Cam might not be 100% this season, but that shouldn’t slow Olsen down too much.

Where I’d draft him: 3rd or 4th round. Like I said above, Cam Newton probably won’t be fully healthy this season, but that might actually benefit Olsen. If Cam’s arm isn’t up for throwing deep, it could mean frequent dump offs to his running backs, and especially Olsen.

4. Jordan Reed

I really like Reed as a player. He’s got great hands, and he’s Kirk Cousin’s favorite red zone target. The only problem is he’s quite injury prone. Last season, Reed had 686 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns, and a total of 168.6 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. His season would’ve been even better had he not missed 5 games. That’s Reed’s whole career in a nutshell though. If he plays he’ll be great. Just be wary of his injury risk.

Where I’d draft him: 3rd round. This one is very tricky. If Reed was 100%, he would be a challenge for the top spot in these rankings. However, Reed is already a question mark to start the season. He’s got a toe injury and is seeking further opinions on it. He might be too good for you to pass up. If you do draft him though, for God’s sake, be smart and handcuff Vernon Davis to him. You’ll thank me later.

3. Rob Gronkowski

I’m saying it right now, Gronk’s days as the unrivaled #1 TE are over. I mean how many games does he have to miss before we brand him as injury prone? Last season, Gronk had 540 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns, and totaled just 97 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. He’s been one of my pet peeves for a couple of seasons now, I can’t tell you how sick I am of seeing him on the sidelines year after year with an injury.

Where I’d take him: 3rd round. He’s not playing all 16 games this season. Hell, he’s not even going to play the 13 games that most fantasy seasons consist of. Don’t burn an early pick on him, if you do, take Dwayne Allen too as insurance. You’re going to regret it if you don’t have some sort of back up plan in place.

2. Martellus Bennett

If I had more guts, he’d be #1 on this list. Last season, Bennett had 701 receiving yards, 7 touchdowns, and a total of 168.1 fantasy points, per week ESPN standard scoring. He’s going from Tom Brady to Aaron Rodgers, so it’s not crazy to think he’s due for an even bigger season. Bennett is the total package at TE, and Aaron Rodgers has always loved targeting his TE’s. This is going to be an amazing pairing.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd round. There’s too much talent out there to take many TEs before the 2nd round. I wouldn’t hate it if you took Bennett earlier though. He’s going to be consistently good all year long. Draft him and enjoy the move.

1. Travis Kelce

Here’s the new top TE in fantasy football. Last season, Kelce had 1,125 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, and a total of 223 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. He could use a few more touchdowns, but other than that, he’s great. I expect him to follow up his 2016 season with another top TE performance. The only one who I could see stopping that would be Martellus Bennett. Let’s just hope he’s done recording reality dating shows.

Where I’d draft him: 1st round. Like I said before, I don’t usually agree with taking a TE early, but Kelce is the one exception. Alex Smith loves throwing to the middle of the field, and that’s where Kelce operates. Plus, he’s got incredible speed, and agility, to add yards after any catch. He’s going to be the deciding factor in many fantasy games this season. If you get the chance to draft him, do it. He’s hands down your best option at this position.

 

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Times NFL Contributor

More 2017 Fantasy position rankings

2017 NFL Fantasy Football Top 15 QB Rankings
2017 NFL Fantasy Football Top 15 RB Rankings
2017 NFL Fantasy Football Top 15 WR Rankings

 

2017 NFL Fantasy: Top 15 WR Rankings

Wide receiver, my favorite position in fantasy football. Why is it my favorite position? Simply put, wide receivers are game changers, in more than one way. First off, they can turn any particular game around in one play. A perfectly executed screen play, or a good ol’ fashioned bomb down the side line from a QB, can mean up to 15 fantasy points in the blink of an eye, even more depending on your scoring format.

Second, a wide receiver can turn your entire season around if you acquire them via trade or waivers. In 2014, I was lucky enough to pick up both Odell Beckham Jr. and Kelvin Benjamin, through waivers before they were big names. They helped bring me home a fantasy championship that year, and I know I’m not the only one. Every year, a previously undervalued receiver finds himself in the top 10, in terms of fantasy scoring, and their owners reap the rewards all season long. To me, that’s what makes a position truly valuable.

Sure, a wide receiver’s value is directly tied to his QB, and in some scenarios, that’s not a good thing (every Browns wide receiver ever). Other times tho, a wide receiver is talented enough that it doesn’t matter who’s taking the snaps under center, they’re going to score regardless. I’m a strong believer in drafting wide receivers early and also taking flyers on wide receivers late. You never know what you might end up with. With all that being said, here are my top 15 wide receivers for the 2017 season.

15. Terrell Pryor

Coming into last season, I was skeptical of Pryor’s ability to adapt to playing wide receiver. I was even more skeptical of Pryor being fantasy relevant as a member of the Cleveland Browns. He proved all his skeptics, including me, wrong. Last season, Pryor had 1,007 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns, playing on one of the worst offenses in all of football. He totaled 213.4 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. This year he moves to Washington, who has a better offense, and who has a QB who isn’t afraid of slinging the ball.

Where I’d draft him: 4th or 5th round. If Pryor was able to put up points in a totally putrid offense, then just imagine what he’ll be able to do in Washington. I’m excited to see the results. They won’t all be huge games this year, but Pryor has the potential to win you a fee weeks.

14. Tyreek Hill

Some people might think this is a bit high for Hill, but I’m a believer in his talent. He’s got good hands and is perhaps the fastest wide receiver in the game right now. Last season, Hill had 593 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. He also added 267 rushing yards, 3 rushing touchdowns, and 3 return touchdowns. He totaled 217 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. This guy is super versatile. He’s going to rack up points in every single for way possible. A great football mind, like Andy Reid, will know exactly how to use him this season.

Where I’d draft him: 4th or 5th round. If Hill has the season I expect him to have, this might be the last year you can get him this cheap. That kind of talent usually tends to rise to the top. It’s only a matter of time before people start to notice. Draft Hill, and look like a genius!

13. Jarvis Landry

These ranks are for standard scoring. If they were for PPR scoring, Landry would be much higher. Last season, Landry had 1,136 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns,  and totaled 231.3 fantasy points, per ESPN scoring. The guy is a target’s machine. Sure, he could score a few more touchdowns to increase his value, but he’s still an extremely solid #2 WR option. Supposedly, Ryan Tannehill is going to become a good QB one of these days, and if that happens, Landry becomes even more valuable. Look for him to have a solid 2017 campaign.

Where I’d draft him: 4th round. There are more eye popping options out there, but there aren’t many more consistent options. Nobody loves 7’s and 8’s, but those scores won’t lose you any games, and those are the scores you can constantly rely on Landry for. Don’t get greedy! Take the sure points and be happy!

12. Amari Cooper

Cooper had a solid 2016 season. He had 1,153 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns, and totaled 232.3 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. So why did his season feel underwhelming? Simple. He has the talent, plays in a stacked offense, and has an elite QB. When all those stars line up, you have to produce a bit more than Cooper did. The good news is he’s probably due for an uptick in production. The bad news is, we all thought that last year too.

Where I’d draft him: 4th round. Call me a hater, but there’s just something about Cooper that makes me skeptical about his ability to be an elite wide receiving option. Derek Carr had an MVP worthy season last year, and Cooper still wasn’t an elite WR. Michael Crabtree is more of a touchdown maker, and I could see him stealing some more scores from Cooper this year.

11. Brandin Cooks

Okay, this one is going to sound odd, but Cooks is this high on the list because he’s a Patriot now. He’s also this low on the list because he’s a Patriot. Let me explain. Last season, Cooks had 1,173 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns, and totaled 246.3 fantasy points, per ESPN scoring. Those numbers came in an absolutely pass happy offense. Sure, Cooks plays with arguably the best QB in the history of football now, but it’s not an offense that’s built around him, and Tom Brady has never really been known for force feeding receivers not named Randy Moss, or Gronk.

Where I’d take him: 3rd or 4th round. Don’t fall for the hype. Cooks is going to have a great season, but some people are acting like he’s going to turn into Antonio Brown over night just because he plays with Tom Brady now. Don’t reach too early for him, and temper your expectations a bit, or you might be in for a letdown.

10. T.Y. Hilton

Another guy who could lay claim to “fastest wide receiver in the game.” Hilton is a legitimate home run threat every time he steps on the field. Last season, Hilton led the league with 1,448 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns, and 273.8 fantasy points, per ESPN scoring. He’s got a trigger happy QB in Andrew Luck, and enough help around him to keep opposing defenses honest.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd or 3rd round. If he falls to you in the third, consider yourself lucky and take him. Hilton is Andrew Luck’s favorite target, and if he can bump up his touchdown total just a little bit, he could be a top 5 fantasy wide receiver this year. Worth the price tag.

9. DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins’ struggles last season were directly related to his QB’s inability to get him the ball. He only had 954 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, and totaled 197.4 fantasy points, per ESPN scoring. Hopkins is poised to have a bounce back year. The QB situation in Huston still isn’t ideal, but getting rid of Brock Osweiler was addition by subtraction. Expect vintage Hopkins.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd round. If Hopkins had a halfway way decent QB He’d be way higher on this list. He has elite talent, but he still hasn’t mastered the art of throwing the ball to himself. Be happy if you get him, just know his QB’s might drive you a little crazy.

8. Michael Thomas

Thomas has been a hot name since the end of last season. He had 1,137 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns, and totaled 255.7 fantasy points per ESPN scoring. When Brandin Cooks was traded to New England, the hype doubled. Thomas is stepping into the role of Drew Brees’ #1 WR. The role has done justice for many over the years. Thomas should be great this year.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd round. Thomas has the potential to take fantasy football by storm this year. However, there’s always the possibility of a letdown. Shall I remind us all of Cordarrelle Patterson and the breakout season he was about to have right before he didn’t? His price tag is going to be steep. Just be sure you know what you’re buying.

7. A.J. Green

One of my favorite wide receivers in the league. Last season, Green had 964 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns, and totaled 186.4 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. He missed the last 5 games of the season, or his totals would’ve been higher. He’s good a solid QB in Andy Dalton, and elite talent. He’s a solid #1 WR option.

Where I’d draft him: 1st or 2nd round. Green has had a couple of injury issues over the last few seasons, but he remains one of the best wide receivers in all of football. The return of Tyler Eifert should help take some defensive pressure off of him. I see a bounce back year coming.

6. Dez Bryant

Another extremely talented wide receiver who had a down year. Bryant was plagued by injuries for most of 2016. He ended the season with 796 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns, and totaled 180 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. I hate giving Cowboy fans any hope, but I see a huge bounce back year for Bryant. He’s part of the reason I’m so high on Dak Prescott.

Where I’d draft him: 1st round. If some people in your league forget how good he is, and you get him in the 2nd, then you’re lucky. Bryant is an elite player in this league, and the fact that some people might have forgotten that is going to motivate him to prove it all over again. I hate the Cowboys, and I’d draft him.

5. Jordy Nelson

When you’re Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target, you get an automatic spot in the top 5. Last season, Nelson had 1,257 receiving yards, 14 touchdowns, and totaled 304.7 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. You can make an argument that Nelson wasn’t even back to full speed yet last season, and that’s what makes him so enticing.

Where I’d take him: 1st round. 14 touchdowns coming off a torn ACL? That’s impressive. He’s in an elite offense and is obviously a touchdown magnet, Nelson is well worth the early pick. Once upon a time, I  used to draft Jordy Nelson every year. Maybe it’s time for one last run together.

4. Mike Evans

Evans had a breakout year last season. He had 1,321 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns, and totaled 304.1 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Evans joined the ranks of the elite WR’s, and he’s poised to build on his career year. I’m excited to see what he and DeSean Jackson can do together.

Where I’d draft him: 1st round. Jameis Winston is going to have a career year, and it could mean an even bigger year for Mike Evans. He already proved last season that he’s a huge goal line target. Who’s to say he can’t build on that this year. I’d feel lucky to land him.

3. Odell Beckham Jr.

OBJ wants to be the top paid player in the league. I’m assuming if he wants that kind of money, he’s planning on balling out of his mind this year. Last season, Beckham had 1,367, 10 touchdowns, and totaled 296.6 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Those totals were low by OBJ standards. Expect a return to the super human Beckham this year.

Where I’d draft him: Top 5. Beckham is obviously Eli Manning’s favorite target. Now, with the arrival of Brandon Marshall, opposing defenses will no longer be able to lock in on OBJ. I expect some big plays from Beckham this season, and all the points that come along with those plays.

2. Antonio Brown

This is a toss up. Brown is a freakish talent, and he’s on arguably the best offense in all of football. Last season Brown had 1284 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns, and totaled 307.3 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Brown could’ve been #1 on this list, but his QB is more of an injury risk.

Where I’d draft him: Top 5. I couldn’t be mad if someone took Brown #1 overall. I get it. He’s so impressive, but if Ben Roethlisberger misses any games, for any reason, Brown becomes less valuable. Nonetheless, if he’s there, and you pass on him, you’ll probably regret it.

1. Julio Jones

It’s going to be Julio’s world this season, and we’re all just going to be living in it. Last season, Jones had 1,409 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns, and totaled 259.9 fantasy points. That’s a solid season for a wide receiver, but a down year for Jones. That, coupled with the disappointment of losing the SuperBowl, should be enough to push Jones to a career year.

Where I’d draft him: Top 3. It’s all just a gut call, but I honestly feel like Jones is going to be on a war path this year. He and Matt Ryan must feel embarrassed by the collapse, and I think they’re going to try to erase that memory by having frequent trips to the end zone. If he’s your top pick, you nailed it.

 

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Times NFL Contributor

ICYMI: More 2017 Fantasy position rankings

2017 NFL Fantasy Football Top 15 QB Rankings
2017 NFL Fantasy Football Top 15 RB Rankings

 

 

 

2017 NFL Fantasy: Top 15 RB Rankings

It’s time to rank running backs, arguably the most frustrating position in fantasy football. With the exception of a few players, the days of the “workhorse back” are gone, and what we’ve been left with is an annoyingly hard to predict “running back by committee” scenario. We’ve all been there, you’re player drives his team down the field, breaking off a couple of big runs in the process. Then when it’s time to punch in the touchdown for a big payoff, the back up running back, or in some cases, the “goal line back” comes in and steals it.

It’s flat out irritating, and unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common. In some cases, a fantasy owner is left in the unenviable position of having to burn a roster spot to draft two members of the same backfield. The New England Patriots and Cincinnati Bengals are the two teams that jump to mind immediately.

Barring injury, the Patriots are possibly the hardest team to predict, in terms of running back usage, but the Bengals aren’t far behind. From the days of the “Stevan Ridley or Shane Vereen games” in New England. To the more recent days of Cincinnati running backs, Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill, dipping into each other’s fantasy value, the running back position has transformed into a cluttered mess. A cluttered mess that I get to rank! So let’s get to it!

15. Matt Forte

Forte will turn 32 during the 2017 season, but a handful of backs, including Forte, have proven that age is just a number. He’s no longer the elite player he once was, but he’s still an effective option to have at the #2 RB position, or flex. Last season Forte totaled over 1000 yards from scrimmage. He rushed for 813 yards, and 7 touchdowns, while racking up 263 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown through the air. He scored a total of 183.6 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. If Collin Kaepernick finds himself starting for the New York Jets at any point this season, the added threat of a mobile QB could open up some more room for Forte to operate.

Where I’d draft him: 5th round. Forte is no longer the consistent scorer he once was. He’s also no longer on a proficient offense like he was in Chicago, but he’s going to have some pretty big games this season. It’s getting harder to predict when the big games will come nowadays, but the potential is still there.

14. Carlos Hyde

Carlos Hyde was a standout talent coming out of Ohio State, and, at times, he’s shown glimpses of amazing ability. Unfortunately, Hyde has also been injury prone during his 3 years as a pro. He tore his MCL in week 16 of last season, but not before rushing for 988 yards, 6 touchdowns, and scoring 192.1 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. If he can manage to stay on the field this season, new 49ers Head Coach, Kyle Shanahan might have a “workhorse back” on his hands. That’s proven to be a big “if” though.

Where I’d draft him: 4th or 5th round. Carlos Hyde can definitely be frustrating to own at times. He can put up duds in favorable match ups, but he can also go over 100 yards rushing, and 2 touchdowns at any time. If you can pair him with a consistent RB #1, Hyde might just be what wins you a couple of games.

13. Leonard Fournette 

I’m excited about Fournette’s rookie season. His college career didn’t end the way he wanted it to. He had an injury plagued 2016 season and failed to get over 1000 yards rushing for the first time in his college career. I think Fournette will channel his disappointment, and bounce back with a great rookie campaign. The Jaguars’ backfield is a bit crowded with TJ Yeldon, and Chris Ivory also there, but I believe Fournette will separate himself more and more as the season goes on.

Where I’d draft him: 4th round. You might be able to get him later in some drafts but starting RB’s don’t usually last long. If Fournette is sitting there, pick him up. He should be in line for a big season.

12. Lamar Miller

I wasn’t big on Miller heading into last season, but he proved he can be valuable. Last year Miller rushed for 1,073, and 5 touchdowns. He also had 1 touchdown, and 188 receiving yards, for a total of 191.1 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. If DeShaun Watson ends up being the starting QB for the Texans, I can see Miller taking full advantage of the open running lanes his presence should create.

Where I’d take him: 3rd or 4th round. He has better value in the 4th round, but he might not last until then. Last season, the Texans weren’t exactly setting the world on fire on offense, but Miller still produced. He’s had a bit of an injury history too, but if healthy he could easily be a top 10 back.

11. Latavius Murray

Murray traded in his eye patch for a set of Viking horns, and I like the move. Last season Murray played in 14 games and managed to rush for 788 yards, and a staggering 12 touchdowns. He also added 264 yards through the air for a total of 208.2 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. The NFC north has historically been a run heavy division, and that could be great news for Murray owners.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd or 3rd round. The Vikings’ offensive line struggled last season, and Jerick McKinnon will certainly cut into some of his snaps, but I think Murray will still put up the numbers. He’s going to be a great #2 RB, and even a borderline #1 RB.

10. Todd Gurley

Todd Gurley. Todd, Todd, Todd. Unfortunately, Gurley didn’t live up to expectations last season rushing for only 885 yards, and 6 touchdowns. Gurly did add a new dimension to his game though, becoming a receiving threat for the Rams last season. He hauled in 43 receptions for 327 yards, and totaled 198.2 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. That’s a disappointing season for a guy that was taken top 5 overall in some drafts. He could bounce back, but I’d stay away.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd or 3rd round. The Rams didn’t exactly do much to inspire hope for the upcoming season. A repeat of last year is definitely a possibility for Gurly. The talent is there, but sadly that’s pretty much the only talent on the Rams’ roster, and the other team knows that too.

9. Marshawn Lynch

The return of “Beast Mode!” This might not go as great, but I’m being optimistic. The Raiders have a super talented offense, and if Lynch has anything left in the tank, he could put this team over the top. Lynch obviously didn’t play last season, and his 2015 season was injury plagued, so it’s been a while since we’ve really seen him play. It could backfire. But taking Lynch could also be crazy enough to pay off big.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd round. Like I said above, this could backfire on you. There’s a possibility that Lynch doesn’t have it anymore, and that he resembles former great Maurice Jones-Drew when he wore the Silver and Grey. If you’re a risk taker, Lynch could be your guy.

8. Jay Ajayi

I was a skeptic of Ajayi last season. I thought he’d eventually fizzle out, but he was a solid back all year. Last season Ajayi rushed for 1,272 yards, and 8 touchdowns, for 215.3 total fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Adam Gase likes sticking to one RB for the most part and entering the season that’ll be Ajayi. That makes him very valuable.

Where I’d draft him: 2nd round. Ajayi might have just been a one-year apparition, but if he follows up his 2016 season he could be a #1 RB, and even sneak into the top 5 by the end of the year. He had some game changing performances last season, and a few more could be coming this year.

7. Jordan Howard

I’m not a big fan of the Bear’s offense, but Howard is the exception. Last season he rushed for 1,313 yards, and 10 touchdowns. He also added 419 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns through the air, totaling 230.1 fantasy points, per ESPN scoring. The Bears are going to need to run the ball early and often to be able to win games this year, and that’s great news for Howard and his owners. I’m excited about his season.

Where I’d draft him: 1st or 2nd round. You could get lucky and get him in the 2nd round, but he’ll go in the 1st in most drafts. A starting RB who’s going to get a lot of volume. That’s music to any fantasy owner’s ears. Draft him early, and watch the points roll in.

6. Melvin Gordon

There’s a chance you got Melvin Gordon in the 3rd or 4th round last year. That won’t happen this year. Not after Gordon rushed for 997 yards, and 10 touchdowns, last season. He also added 419 yards, and 2 touchdowns through the air, totaling 250.6 fantasy points, per ESPN scoring. Danny Woodhead’s departure will only serve to keep Gordon’s touches healthy. He will be a #1 running back option this season for sure.

Where I’d draft him: 1st round. Melvin Gordon was a dual threat, and a touchdown machine last season. Sadly, his owner’s lost him in the playoffs. I see him picking right back up where he left off. Be happy if u get him.

5. LeSean McCoy

I was pretty low on “Shady” going into last season. I thought the hamstrings would be a bigger issue. They did bother him all season, but they didn’t stop him from rushing for 1,267 yards, and 13 touchdowns. He also had 356 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown, totaling 298.3 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. With his “elite” status still intact, McCoy will look to keep the train rolling. Another top 5 season is likely coming.

Where I’d draft him: 1st round. McCoy has been an elite fantasy option basically his whole career, and don’t see that changing this year. When you start drafting running backs in the 1st round, you might want to consider a handcuff, but McCoy is as solid as they come.

4. Devonta Freeman

I’ve never been a big believer in Freeman, but even I can’t deny the talent anymore. Last season he rushed for 1,079 yards, and 11 touchdowns. He added 462 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns, for a total of 284.1 fantasy points. All that came while sharing a substantial amount of carries with Tevin Coleman. Freeman missed the end of the SuperBowl, and I think he’s going to be out for blood this season. Making him a superb fantasy RB for all owner’s.

Where I’d take him: Top 10 overall. Freeman will likely still share carries with Coleman this season, but they both proved last year that there are enough carries in Atlanta to go around. Freeman will be a beast all season long. I strongly suggest drafting him.

3. Ezekiel Elliott

Elliot was a flashback to the glory days of fantasy running backs last season. The rookie rushed for a league leading 1,631 yards, and an amazing 15 touchdowns. He added 363 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown through the air, totaling 325.4 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. Eliott might face a suspension to start the season, but if your team can stay alive until he gets back, he’s worth it. I hate the Cowboys, but I’d be ecstatic to own Elliot.

Where I’d draft him: Top 10. Eliott is a once in a generation type talent like Adrian Peterson, and LaDainian Tomlinson, before him. If he’s there take him and be happy. The suspension might be an issue, but he’s still worth the pick, especially with that offensive line to run behind.

2. David Johnson

Last season I had the chance to draft either Johnson or Todd Gurley. I chose Gurly, and I regret it every single day! Last season Johnson rushed for 1,239 yards and scored a whopping 16 touchdowns. He added an impressive 879 receiving yards, and 4 touchdowns, for a total of 407.8 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. The Cardinals’ offense might be in store for a bounce back season, and that could just mean more scoring opportunities for Johnson. He’s well worth an early pick.

Where I’d draft him. Top 5. Johnson could have easily been #1 on this list, it’s honestly all about preference. Johnson is going to get the ball plenty in Arizona, and with his type of talent, that’s going to equal huge fantasy days. If I got the chance to draft Johnson, I’d right my wrong, and take him.

1. Le’Veon Bell

I owned Bell his rookie season, and I haven’t been able to land him since, but I wish I had. Despite missing 4 games last season, due to suspension, Bell rushed for 1,268 and 7 touchdowns. Always an elite receiving option, Bell added 616 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns, totaling 317.4 fantasy points, per ESPN standard scoring. This guy is the definition of a stud running back. Despite the awesome numbers last year, Bell could’ve actually scored even more had DeAngelo Williams not stolen a few scores.

Where I’d draft him: #1 overall. Elite running backs are an endangered species in fantasy football, and although they can be frustrating, the right one can be worth his weight in gold. I consider Bell to be the best running back in the league, and I consider him to be on the best offense in the league as well. All signs point to him being the top back in the game this season. I’d want him over any other running back.

Wesly Avendano
Baseline Times NFL Contributor

ICYMI: Check out Wesly’s top 15 Quarterback rankings here

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