Deeper Notes From The NFL Draft (Fantasy Impacts and Strategy Affects) *2 of 2/All non-Arizona notes…
Going through my draft notes from the last few days, and after going through the team grade process and the Dynasty Rookie Draft foundation…here are a few key takeaways I’m talking about, contemplating, and/or putting into action (in no particular order):
-- People are going wild for David Montgomery, now of the Bears. They see him as…
(a) the guy draft/fantasy analysts pushed as high as the #1-2 RB prospect in the draft at one point/right before the draft started…he was beloved by analysts (while his draft stock sunk like a stone when NFL people looked deeper), and…
(b) the assumed guy the Bears will start Week 1 because they don’t even know that Mike Davis is on the team and what that means or who he is/what he’s capable of. They don’t think much of Tarik Cohen either. Which means Montgomery is ‘the guy’.
Montgomery is a weak prospect, and there’s a reason his draft stock fell so hard…and dumb Chicago thought they found a bargain – they found a slow, non-athletic running back that even NFL people didn’t want as they studied more.
If Montgomery is bound to disappoint, it means Mike Davis will be the split role lead back and Tarik Cohen’s importance grows bigger…Cohen is going to become a poor man’s Tyreek Hill, at a much cheaper price and labeled as an RB – he’s going to be a PPR RB1 in 2019. Mike Davis may be a non-PPR RB2. Montgomery will be forgotten in a few years – see my scouting report for a refresher on why. It’s an absolute joke that he had such a scouting push from the media.
-- Eli Manning is awful (these days), and Daniel Jones is an NFL backup talent at-best. The next 2-3-4 years are messed up for the NYG passing game. Stock down for Evan Engram.
I am a huge Engram fan for what he could do for fantasy but stuck with NYG’s mess…expectations have to be tempered.
Gronk gone. Engram stuck. O.J. Howard in an offense that doesn’t love the TE. Zach Ertz with Goedert behind him. Noah Fant landing weak. Travis Kelce with no Tyreek Hill…Kelce is one of the 3-5 overall top fantasy assets out there. All his competition is fading away.
There’s hope for Engram as the obvious ‘guy’. The Giants have a bunch of small WRs, and then the biggest, most open on every play option – Engram. Scared QBs tend not to want to throw over the middle to the TE, so I worry. Better in garbage time, though (like Engram late last season).
-- The Buffalo Bills have a good, near-great defense. They might be great if not for their awful offense putting too much pressure on them.
The already good/great defense (#2 in yards per game allowed in 2018 and 2nd lowest yards per passing attempt allowed) adds a franchise DT prospect in Ed Oliver to go with our top DT prospect from 2018, Harrison Phillips.
Part of the reason for their great defensive numbers is playing in the AFC East and facing NYJ and MIA 2x each per season.
The 2019 schedule may be the best for any reasonably good DST in 2019. Here’s Buffalo’s DST schedule by QB the first 14 weeks of 2019...
Darnold, Eli, Dalton, Brady, Mariota, BYE, Rosen, Wentz, Keenum/Haskins, Mayfield, Rosen, Flacco, Prescott, Lamar Jackson. Weeks 4/NE and Week 10/CLE as the only real bad spots…with a ton of great matchups otherwise.
Weeks 15-16 is Big Ben-Brady, and both likely in the cold (but on the road), which also helps the defense.
The Bills may be the great bargain DST to start 2019 with.
-- The Chiefs drafted Mecole Hardman as their hoped-for answer for likely-gone in 2019 (and may be cut and/or suspended forever) Tyreek Hill. It’s understandable given the last-second change of events in the Hill case. Hardman has some hopes but is hard to replace/replicate Tyreek.
I was surprised to see KC draft just one WR…and that it was Hardman (and not Parris Campbell), but then they grabbed three really neat UDFA WR prospects – some of my favorite WR sleepers from the 2019 draft class (who didn’t get drafted)…
Jamal Custis, Syracuse (a poor man’s Hakeem Butler).
Cody Thompson, Toledo (a poor man’s Chris Hogan).
Felton Davis, Michigan State (a poor man’s DeAndre Hopkins)
KC has a lot of rookie WR talent to wade through, but Hardman was a clear target of theirs. I didn’t have Hardman in my initial top 10 Dynasty Rookie Prospects for 2019, but after doing more research and pondering on it…I will be moving Hardman into my top 10 DRD prospects…updated later today.
How high? You’ll see on CFM soon…hold on to your seats for the move.
-- People are all excited about D.K. Metcalf in general, but then the Doug Baldwin retirement rumors got people even more worked up.
Consider two things…
1) Seattle barely throws the ball most games…rendering their WRs to WR2-3-4 statuses most weeks. How will Metcalf leap frog all the existing WRs and become a FF-star in this offense?
2) What if D.K. Metcalf is the bust some people fear? And what if Baldwin has to retire? You know who wins for 2019? David Moore – Russell Wilson’s favorite WR midseason 2018, when Baldwin was out.
Moore is selling for pennies…you should acquire/take a shot for the value.
…it’s still an underwhelming passing game.
-- Jalen Hurd and Deebo Samuel drafted…not good news for Trent Taylor, Richie James, Marquise Goodwin, or Dante Pettis.
The 49ers are overloaded with interesting WR talent. Who will standout for fantasy?
I still say the potential breakout star is Dante Pettis, if he can stay healthy – he’s the best WR of the lot.
Hurd is unique but still a raw WR talent. Deebo is a bit overrated, and a ‘hands’ underneath kinda guy. The game breaker, the potential NFL star is Pettis still. I’m a buyer as the price drops, but my full confidence from a few weeks ago is shaken a bit.
-- As I considered might happen…you’re more worried about the Patriots’ TE situation than they are. They didn’t draft a tight end. In fact, they just traded Jacob Hollister to the Falcons.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is the obvious name to start Week 1, but do not rule out Matt LaCosse…as I’ve been chirping about some the past few months. It has to be LaCosse that was impressing enough for them to deal Hollister, no?
-- It’s one thing for the Rams to draft a talent like Darrell Henderson to help the backfield/Todd Gurley. That move alone is not what made me worry about Gurley for 2019 and beyond. It was the fact that the Rams pushed for Henderson, after matching the Lions offer sheet to restricted free agent Malcom Brown.
The Rams wouldn’t let Brown get away and paid a pretty penny for it -- and then added Henderson, paying a decent draft spot price. The Rams are all but telling us directly they are VERY concerned about Gurley.
Between the talent behind him and the Rams outright saying they are cutting back his workload, Gurley cannot be an auto-RB1 in fantasy rankings for the 2019 season or in dynasty startups…I think. I’d be scared to death if I owned him.
-- Three teams who didn’t really address the RB position in the draft, but I thought they would…
Atlanta has the Freeman-Ito combo, Freeman coming off an injury. They drafted slow, short yardage banger Qadree Ollison in the 5th-round. They’re all-in on Freeman-Ito…and Ito becomes undervalued, as a guy who may be left standing if Devonta is never right again.
Miami has Kenyan Drake as the starter…and limited Kalen Ballage. They drafted short-yardage dud/fullback Chandler Cox and added underwhelming UDFA Miles Gaskin. Kenyan Drake is a screaming value as the likely lead dog for Miami in 2019…not Ballage.
The Bucs have Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones as the names people look at – it’s totally overlooking the pure affinity Bruce Arians has for Andre Ellington. AE will be the 3rd-down back here, I would bet. Whether he can stay healthy enough is the question. Barber becomes a neat non-PPR bargain.
-- The Rams discussed throttling back Todd Gurley for months and backed that up by signing Malcolm Brown and drafting Darrell Henderson.
The Panthers said they needed to protect Christian McCaffrey from too many touches pre-draft, and they drafted quite possibly the worst RB in the draft – Jordan Scarlett. I don’t think Carolina is going to protect CMC (unless they fall out of the race later in the season).
McCaffrey is arguably the #1 RB for fantasy PPR now…ahead of Saquon Barkley (who will face 12 men in the box like David Johnson did last year and Gurley did in 2016).
-- Dallas can say they’ll get rookie Tony Pollard a bunch of touches/snaps, but they have been on record lying about that ‘secondary RB’ role/touch counts for years now.
First, Lance Dunbar was going to be a high-touch back for Ezekiel Elliott, and then it was Tavon Austin last year. It never really happens on the field…blame Jason Garrett, but you gotta love the Zeke touch count again in 2019.
-- I’m taking the Jace Sternberger to GB draft pick seriously for fantasy. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the top rookie TE producer in fantasy 2019, by virtue of Aaron Rodgers…as compared to Fant-Flacco.
We’ll see what the computer models project here in a few days. Long-term, I like Fant, but Sternberger may be fast money in 2019…like a fringe TE1 in the second half of the season.
-- Damien Harris is the plan ahead to replace James White, I suspect. White will get too much money in free agency by virtue of him being a Patriot (see: Shane Vereen and Dion Lewis). It also runs along the savvy theme of Belichick…cheap, talented, rotational backfield.
I wouldn’t want Michel or Harris for FF, for a heavy price tag…because it will be impossible to figure them out week-to-week. White in PPR 2019 will have value but it’s fading under the pressure of all the other talent…but White is still Brady’s guy out of the backfield in the passing game.
-- The Eagles drafting Miles Sanders is a clear sign they will rent Jordan Howard for this season and let him go to free agency after.
Will they keep Josh Adams? Maybe. I wish they wouldn’t, but they might just planning for 2020+. Adams is coming off another injury, so I think they’re looking past him as unreliable…even though he was their most reliable back in 2019.
I’ll stick by Adams, because he’s one of the 10 most talented RBs I watched perform last season…and I thought he was a top 2-3 RB prospect out of last year’s draft. I know for sure he’s a talent, and that will pay off somewhere down the line.
In 2020, if Howard goes and it’s Sanders and Adams…I’ll be all kinds of excited. I think Sanders will flop/be mediocre.
However, in general – run from the Eagles backfield. It’s more confusing, for fantasy, then what Belichick does. The purest RBBC in the league and they bring it every year.
-- One more Arizona item (kinda)…
I got the first reports of Kyler Murray going 1.01 in a regular scoring system (not 2QB/superflex) dynasty rookie draft. I’m telling you – the people are going to see what the analysts don’t. The FF-analysts are ranking him between #10-18 overall for rookie drafts now. The people are drafting him with a 1.06-1.09 average ADP, and he’s starting to get into the top five more and more on reports I’m seeing.
1.02-1.04 should do it to get him in most leagues right now, but with every week his ADP is going to rise. It’s just too obvious how he can score for FF…but the 1-2 punch is how weak the rest of the rookie draft is. No one cares much for Josh Jacobs, like they normally would the top RB. There’s more excitement chasing David Montgomery into the top 5 than satisfaction with Jacobs at the 1.01.
Heck, as everyday passes from the NFL Draft, it’s N’Keal Harry getting moved into the #1 ADP spot ahead of Josh Jacobs.
By week’s end the DRD ADP top five could/will be…
Harry-Jacobs-M.Sanders-Metcalf-Montgomery…with Murray, A.J. Brown, and Marquise Brown crashing the top 5 party on occasion.