Three Things That Jumped Out Of My First Wave of 2019 Draft Guide Studies…
My draft guide process is the same every year. Take an entire day to look over the 2018 season for one team – the data/numbers, go through my last year’s notes, check my scouting reports from college if needed, and look back at further back seasons/years on all the key to see their trends, etc. I just spend a day with that team researching and writing and adjusting projections.
It’s a fun time because we’re past the NFL Draft and the real preseason/training camps haven’t started…I get to just ruminate on one particular team all day – their schedule, the coaching staff, their trends, etc. I’m constantly looking at players and rosters daily all year, but this particular draft guide process I use the day for the entire team…to see what I might be missing, or I might have assumed wrongly, or find opportunity, or be re-introduced to something. So many ‘things’ can happen/be revealed to me with this process each day.
So many things…that I wanted to share a few of them that really caught my attention and I believe they are items that are critical for fantasy redraft/best ball/dynasty strategy – and I didn’t want to wait until mid-June for you to see it when the Draft Guide reports launch.
Three things concerning wide receivers…guys not going ranked as/seen as WR1’s but I think they might be in prime position to be and that helps shape draft strategy (if you buy into my thinking). Here they are in the order that really gripped me…
1) I wasn’t kidding about what I saw with Allen Robinson middle of last season…
If you were with me last season, I was a bit worried about Robinson the first couple of weeks of the 2018 season. I was so into the Chicago situation last year, ahead of the curve, on betting the team’s ‘over’ win total, and betting on Trubisky-Cohen-Gabriel…that I watched their games closer than any teams to start the season.
What I saw early on was Allen Robinson looking slow and ‘off’. Just not the ‘old’ Allen Robinson. I advised everyone to stay away for fantasy. A few weeks later I saw the turn in Robinson…like his legs were loosed, or maybe he just felt more comfortable, I don’t know…but I went wild for Robinson because his numbers were not great and people were losing faith through Weeks 6…and then he got hurt and missed a few games to make matters more confusing. But in Week 9, he went off for 6 catches, 133 yards and 2 scores and as the turn was happening – then Trubisky got hurt, and when Trubisky came back, then Robinson got dinged up. The magical thing I was seeing with ARob-Trubisky was just missing each other to fully connect. Robinson and Trubisky got back healthy and in sync late in the season…Robinson caught 6 passes for 85 yards in his final regular season game and then hit 10 catches for 143 yards and a TD in their playoff game.
Robinson was a top five NFL/FF wide receiver for a year with Bortles. Robinson was paid to be a #1 in Chicago. He was becoming that guy, but circumstances delayed it, muddied it, hid it from the masses. I think Robinson is a #1 WR, like on a DeAndre Hopkins or A.J. Green type level – the clear #1 and defenders can’t stop it because he’s just so good/precise.
This ‘hidden’ guy is trading as a WR3 on average in early redrafts/best ball? A potential #1 WR with an up-and-coming QB talent…with a bunch of mediocrity/non-threats to him on the WR depth chart around him (Anthony Miller and Riley Ridley are not even close…way overrated).
You’re buying a top guy, a near-for sure #1 WR/WR1 in 2019 for WR2.5-3.0 prices, are you kidding me? Plan your redrafts around getting him 4th-round/early 5th-round to be ahead of the crowd.
Buy him in dynasty – he’ll just turn 26 years old as the 2019 season starts. He’ll be Trubisky’s #1 for a few years ahead.
2) This might be the time where Tyler Lockett becomes that ‘next Antonio Brown(ish)’ WR prospect I talked about when he entered the NFL…
The year was 2015, the time…summer of 2015, post-NFL Draft. I implored you to do two things in the Dynasty Rookie Draft – base everything upon getting an FCS RB named ‘David Johnson’ and then, secondarily, try to land Tyler Lockett. Both were not 1st-round DRD prospects at the time…because, you know, ‘the experts’ are so smart.
We know how it went with David Johnson. But what about Tyler Lockett? We forget that he splashed as a WR2 as a rookie…a nice 1-2 punch with Doug Baldwin and top fantasy QB Russell Wilson. Then we had injuries and setbacks in 2016 and 2017…flashes of brilliance but then a sprained MCL, a broken foot…this story got derailed too often and we all moved on. Then came 2018… A full season played, 10 TDs…but low target counts…but an amazing 81.4% of his targets caught.
Lockett hasn’t fully ‘splashed’…just pockets of goodness, so it doesn’t seem like there’s a ‘next Antonio Brown’ hiding here.
The talent is there. He’s not just a deep ball guy only. He started showing bits/flashes of being a trusted #1-like WR in 2018, but the Seattle passing game was so low volume that he couldn’t become a fantasy stud. What he did with the targets he did get – arguably the most efficient WR in fantasy last year. Now, in 2018, Doug Baldwin is retired. His threat for targets are David Moore and D.K. Metcalf…and they are not like Baldwin/like #1 WRs. The ball is firmly in Lockett’s court and he’s close/comfortable with Russell Wilson.
This is the year…maybe.
Lockett should see a spike in targets with Baldwin gone, but you and I still worry about this sad passing game. Let me make this argument…
Here’s what MIGHT happen to launch Lockett as a WR1 in 2019 – the schedule is exponentially tougher for Seattle this year. Just in-division they have the Rams, but then SF-ARI have gone from Mullens-Rosen to Garoppolo-Kyler/Kingsbury. Seattle will not be able to three yards and a cloud of dust the 49ers or Cardinals. Outside the division they face several topflight QBs as well.
It could be, this season, that Seattle wants to run to nowhere with Chris Carson, but their opponents are going to do what has happened before with Seattle in recent years – make them abandon the run and cut Russell Wilson loose, unplanned/out of desperation -- and when Wilson is loose he’s a top 3 fantasy QB (or used to be) and his top look will be to Lockett…not Metcalf, not any sad TE they have, and not the RBs that much. Lockett is the #1 look for Wilson in the passing game that was #32 in attempts last year…maybe Seattle gets drawn into more shootouts with this 2019 killer schedule and Lockett’s targets double in 2019 (with no Baldwin)? From 4.4 per game to 8+?
What if Lockett just jumps his numbers by +25-50%? 5+ catches and 70+ yards per game with 10-12+ TDs?
Lockett’s ADP bumped with Baldwin’s retirement, but my pulse on things is – people don’t REALLY believe in him. He’s available…
He’s a bargain.
3) What’s the difference between Keenan Allen and Robert Woods anyway?
2018 Season numbers per game:
5.4 catches (8.1 targets), 76.2 rec. yards, 0.38 TDs, 9.8 yards rushing, .06 rush TD = Woods
6.1 catches, (9.5 targets), 74.8 rec. yards, 0.38 TDs, 4.7 yards rushing, .00 rush TD = Allen
2018 Fantasy scoring per game…
11.3 non-PPR, 14.0 half-PPR, 16.7 PPR = Woods
10.3 non-PPR, 13.4 half-PPR, 16.5 PPR = Allen
Current/2019 ADP ranges, WR ranks…
#40-50 overall, #16-20 ranked WR = Woods
#20-30 overall, #9-14 ranked WR = Allen
27.0 years old = Woods
27.0 years old = Allen (younger by 17 days)
Don’t say, “Well, Cooper Kupp was out!” Woods’s role and numbers changed when Kupp was out, but not necessarily for the better…a key guy (Kupp) who took attention away was gone and more coverage attention went on Woods.
I don’t like Keenan Allen in general. He’s not my jam. Even more so not my jam when I can get Robert Woods as a low-end WR2 versus Allen as a low-end WR1.