7/09 Bold Predictions NFC (noah)

by Noah Pires July 09, 2019 1 Comment

7/09 Bold Predictions NFC (noah)

NFC NORTH

DETROIT LIONS

T.J. Hockenson (TE18, pick 148) finishes as a top-8 tight end.

This prediction stems from a comment on last week's video from Michael Thomas's long lost cousing, CantGuardOscar.

He made some good points, but I wanted to dig a bit deeper because as we all know, Jimmy Graham is one of the best tight ends of all time, which may have contributed to these lofty receiving percentages.

The last tight end of note who played under Darrell Bevell was Visanthe Shiancoe, and although his numbers weren't nearly as good as Jimmy G's, his usage inspires confidence in what we can expect out of Hockenson.

Just comparing their build/athleticism, both players are extremely similar, and T.J. has much higher draft capital attached to him (8th overall, Shiancoe was a third round selection heading into his second team when he was coached by Bevell). Because of this, along with the production we've seen out of Hock in college, I thought it would be a fair comparison to make.

As for Shiancoe's role in Minnesota's offense? Well, during his four years under DB he averaged a 14.2% receptions share, 14.6% of their receiving yards, and 21.7% of their touchdowns. Using last year's volume for the Lions, this would work out to a 53/561/5 receiving line, and considering David Njoku finished as the TE8 while putting up 56/639/4, these somewhat modest projections don't make it too far of a stretch for Hock to finish as a top-8 option.

Sure, Kenny G and Marvin Jones will eat up a lot of volume, but just two years ago, when both Jones and Tate topped 100 targets, Eric Ebron still commanded 85 looks, turning them into a 53/574/4 line. With how heavily tight ends are used in the RZ under Bevell (with Favre at QB, Shiancoe caught 11 TDs, all coming inside the 20 yardline), along with T.J. being an incredible pass catcher no matter where he is on the field, the sky's the limit, and honestly, I can't see his floor being much less than a TE1.

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Geronimo Allison finishes as a top 24 receiver.

Reports are surfacing that Allison will man the slot this upcoming season (when Adams isn't in that role), and with the rapport he's shown with Rodgers, in this offense, he could easily return WR2 value.

Just look at last year before he went down; in his first four games, he never fell below 60 receiving yards and was on pace for a 76/1,156/8 receiving line. Maybe this isn't sustainable, but keep in mind Randall Cobb was playing in 3/4 of those games and Davante Adams was still heavily utilized (112/1,140/12 pace for first four weeks, very similar to how he actually finished the season).

If that four game sample isn't enough to catch your eye, then let's take a look at his production (denoted as (targets) receptions/yards/touchdowns) in games where he topped a 70% snap share:

(7) 4/66/0

(6) 4/91/1

(5) 3/24/0

(8) 6/122/0

(3) 1/9/0

(8) 5/69/1

(6) 6/64/0

(4) 2/76/1

(11) 6/80/0

Using these numbers, his average receiving line was 6.44 targets for 4.11/66.78/0.33, or, for a full season, 103 targets and 66/1,068/5. Not too shabby, and considering Jimmy Graham is old and his replacement is a rookie, along with the Packers having zero depth at the position and Allison seemingly having a solidified role in the slot (Rodgers targeted the slot 126x last szn), he could easily work his way into the WR2 conversation this year.

 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Irv Smith Jr. outscores Kyle Rudolph in all formats.

To me, this situation is extremely similar to what we saw in Tampa Bay a few years back; they draft a young, athletic tight end (O.J. Howard) who will seemingly replace one who hasn't shown much during his time in the league (Cameron Brate), but soon after the selection, the team re-signs their former #1 to a lucrative deal which looks like it could push the recently drafted player back on the depth chart. I'm not falling for this again.

Sure, Kyle Rudolph was a heavily featured member of this passing game last year, amassing 82 targets, but so was Brate for the Bucs before O.J. arrived. In 2016, before Howard was selected, Brate saw 81 targets, caught eight TDs, and looked like he would be an integral part of this offense, especially in the redzone. Well, he still was, but he fell off a bit, putting up a 48/591/6 line during OH's rookie campaign, a decrease in every receiving category. I think we should expect much of the same from Rudolph, who, admittedly had a pretty solid season in 2018, putting up 64/634/4.

If, and when, Kyle's production takes a dip, Irv Smith will be there to benefit due to his superior athleticism which much better complements the other pieces in this offense. To keep this somewhat realistic, I don't think the margin will be large between the two by season's end, but Irv has a real shot at playing some snaps out of the slot this year which could bring immense value in PPR formats. He showed he could do this in college (4th most slot receptions for a TE in this class) while also being efficient with his opportunities (2.56 YPRR, first among TEs in class), and with no real third receiver on this depth chart, could secure a part-time role in this facet of the game.

CHICAGO BEARS

Tarik Cohen finishes outside the top 36 RBs in half PPR.

I had originally had him down for finishing outside the top-30, but it wasn't bold enough.

My reasoning behind this is simple, really. Look at how Cohen scores the majority of his points, and look at how he was impacted when he didn't get the volume necessary in the passing game. Heading into 2018, Matt Nagy was hyping up Jordan Howard's pass catching ability, and we saw that belief put on display over the first three weeks of the season when JH was actually thrown the ball. He amassed 11 targets over that span, topping Cohen's eight, and we can see just how much Tarik's production fell because of it.

There's another game in this split that was outside of the first three weeks which came later on in the season, but it just goes to show that it wasn't some sort of early-year fluke; it proves that when another back, one who can also be used on first and second down consistently, is is being used in the receiving game, Cohen falls off the map.

Just looking at weeks where he finished as a Top-24 RB, he averaged 5.9 receptions per contest, which paces out to 94.4 for the season. Bringing in Mike Davis and David Montgomery, both of which had > 70th percentile college target share as well as being able to be used on first and second downs as between the tackles runners, will only diminish Cohen's weekly consistency and volume in the passing game.

We saw Tarik thrive last year because of Howard's ineptitude to the tune of an RB13 finish (half PPR), but I expect a massive drop off in production because of his skillset and somewhat murky role in this offense. Along with the two other backs, their second round pick from 2018, Anthony Miller, will be entering the season at 100% after playing through a shoulder injury for the majority of last year. Miller will soak up a bunch of short targets, where Cohen derives much of his volume, since he will be the team's primary slot receiver, and a talented one at that.

In full PPR leagues, I still think Cohen is a valuable asset who can catch ~60 balls this season, but with two other backs who can be used on all three downs and not telegraph exactly what the offense is doing when they come onto the field, I see Cohen's role taking a step back this season to the point where he's not a trusted weekly start in half-ppr leagues.

    NFC EAST

    NEW YORK GIANTS

    Saquon Barkley finishes outside the top 5 RBs (standard and half PPR).

    I didn't want to push it and say he finishes outside the top 10 because even DJ managed to end the year as the RB9 in half PPR, but there are some warranted concerns surrounding Barkley.

    Most notably, the Giants' offense. It's no secret that they aren't a good unit and their QB situation is bottom five at best which brings pause to many considering Saquon at the 1.01. We all know he's an elite playmaker, but considering we saw David Johnson, a runningback with extremely similar size, athleticism, and production, fail at the hands of his offense, the situation Barkley finds himself in shouldn't be overlooked.

    Just take a glance at who is lining up behind center for the GMen to start 2019 in comparison to what Johnson was subjected to last year (I'm using Bradford's 2016 numbers because that was the last season he was healthy before 2018).

    With Manning not sparking drives downfield all that often, how many touchdowns can we come to expect out of Saquon.? Sure, TDs are a hard thing to predict since they're extremely random, but I'd feel a lot more confident betting on a guy to score if his team finds themselves in the redzone more than once per game.

    Just looking at how Barkley scored his tugs last season, just seven of his 15 came from inside the 10 yard line. That doesn't seem like a low percentage, but looking at other backs last season, 15 of Gurley's 21 came from inside the 10 and Kamara converted 13/18 from that distance. On top of this, 5/15 of SB's tuddies came from 50 yards out, and although he's an insane athlete with a skillset we haven't seen in a long, long time (generational?), we can't come to expect this many breakaway TDs year in and year out. Yes, he has the ability to do so, but that would be like expecting Tyler Lockett to consistently score double digit TDs because he's fast....it could happen, but are you banking on that? 

    One last thing I'd like to bring up concerning his touchdowns. 10/11 of his rushing scores came from either inside the five yard line or from 50+ yards away. If his long runs regress, and the Giants' offense doesn't get in close as often as they did last season (considering their top two wideouts are slot receivers and lost OBJ, it's not an unreasonable assumption), we could see a season from Saquon where he dips below double digit scores, and even if he catches 85 balls and compiles 1,700+ YFS, there are just too many other backs who can finish in that vicinity while finding paydirt more than 10 times. To name a few: Kamara, CMC, Zeke, Melvin Gordon, DJ, Mixon, hell, even if Nick Chubb catches just 35 balls his sheer volume in and around the goal line will more than make up for his lack of receiving production and could challenge Barkley by year's end.

    Now, I'm not saying to avoid the guy, I still think he's one of the safest picks you could make, but there should be some thought put into your top-four pick and not just assume we will see a carbon copy of what occurred last season.

      WASHINGTON REDSKINS

      Kelvin Harmon leads all Redskins' receivers in points and finishes as a top 36 wideout.

      The Redskins' weapons STINK. If Guice wasn't dealing with setbacks to his knee I'd be a little more confident in what they have in D.C., but because he's a bit of an unknown I'm not touching this offense.

      But, alas, we are here, making bold predictions, so I had to show my man Kelvin Harmon some love. Do I believe that this scenario has a .003% chance to play out? Not really, but I think Harmon can fit the Doctson role pretty seamlessly, and with Josh not showing a glimpse of anything positive through three years in the league and the Redskins not having any ties to him after this season, there's no reason for Kelv to not garner some looks this year. 

      I mean, the guy put up back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons in college and I'd be willing to bet if he ran five-tenths of a second faster in the forty he wouldn't have fallen outside the fourth round.

      To be honest, I have no evidence or facts to back up why this prediction could come to fruition. Logically, it would make sense for a rookie in Dwayne Haskins to lean on a receiver with Harmon's size and reliable hands, especially when there aren't many other receivers of note on the roster. He does have former teammate Terry McLaurin, and although he has much higher draft capital than Kelvin, I think Harmon has more of a defined role in this offense while Terry might be moved around the formation as more of a "weapon", if that makes sense. 

      PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

      Zach Ertz falls outside the top 5 tight ends heading into 2020.

      What exactly does this mean for 2019? Not much, I still firmly believe he finishes as a top-three tight end due to volume alone, but we may see signs of what Philly wants to do in the future with the implementation of Dallas Goedart.

      Last season, the Eagles used 2+ tight ends on 37% of their passing plays, and with news surfacing that the team plans to use both Goedart and Ertz at the same time more heavily, this will only further eat into Ertz's volume from last year. He did catch 116 balls and was targeted 156 times, so even if his volume dips 20% he'd be at 125 targets and 93 receptions. Again, no concerns about this year, but they may show glimpses of what's to come, especially with rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside being an animal in the redzone. Alshon is still in town, a player who saw 14 red zone looks in 13 games, and DeSean Jackson arrives, who Vegas has pegged for ~900 receiving yards (900.5 over/under), so they certainly have enough depth that would allow Wentz to look to other targets outside of Ertz who can bring value.

      What I see dropping in Ertz' game more than anything, though, are his TD numbers. Ertz has scored 16 touchdowns over these past two seasons, 15 of which came from inside the 20. Over that span, Ertz has seen the 4th most RZ targets in the league (44), trailing just Davante Adams (54), Travis Kelce (47), and Michael Thomas (45). Because basically all of his TDs stem from that volume inside the red area, if these numbers drop with the implementation of JJAW and Goedart, along with a healthy Alshon, so will Zach's TD ceiling. It's not like ZE has always been a massive TD threat, either. Through his first four seasons in the NFL he scored just 11 times despite being heavily targeted (89+ targets in 3/4 years). What was a major difference in these four szns compared to what has occurred over the past two? Their rushing attack. Philly has scored just 21 rushing touchdowns over the past two seasons, whereas when Ertz wasn't scoring regularly, they found the endzone on the ground 16, 15, 16, and 19 times. Now, after adding Jordan Howard and selecting Miles Sanders with their third round pick, we may see a more efficient and effective backfield to what we've come to expect in green and white, further capping Zach's likelihood of matching his 8 TD mark he accomplished over the past two years.

      So, who could pass him in the rankings next season? Well, the two guys who are ahead of him right now, Kelce and Kittle, certainly look like locks, but there are a few other names. O.J. Howard is one of the most efficient players at the position in the league and plays for a team who wants to throw the ball and are without DJax and Adam Humphries, freeing up 179 looks, he could push Ertz outta there. Hunter Henry broke out during his rookie season and if he hadn't gotten hurt and missed all last season, I think people would be more in on him going into 2019, and if he hits that 6-8 TD mark, along with likely topping 600 receiving yards, he will have shown enough growth that could inspire confidence heading into 2020 while Ertz displays somewhat of a fall off. Evan Engram may lead the GMen in targets, and if Daniel Jones is thrown in and shows ANY promise, or just leans heavily on his tight end, EE's receiving ability could allow him to sneak past Ertz. Other guys who could challenge for that top-five spot: Eric Ebron if he gets a consistent role and proves that 14 TD campaign wasn't a fluke and is in fact, one of Luck's favorite targets; T.J. Hockenson is one of the best tight end prospects we have seen in recent years and if Bevell uses him as heavily as he did with Jimmy Graham, his upside could be on display as early as this year.

        DALLAS COWBOYS

        Dak Prescott wins MVP.

        Currently, Prescott's odds to win MVP are at +6600. With his new OC, addition of Amari Cooper, and the defense that backs him up, I believe he's a value at this price.

        Now, what exactly does Dak winning MVP do for fantasy football? Well, firstly, he'd still have to play much better than he did last season, which is reasonable when looking at his splits with and without Amari.

        If he hits those 25 passing scores, along with his handful of rushing scores he's converted each of his first three years in the league, he'd have a great chance at finishing inside the top five QBs by year's end. Last year, Watson passed for < 4,200 yards, threw for 26 tugs, and added 551 yards and five scores on the ground, good enough to finish as QB4. All of these marks, other than maybe the rushing yards, aren't that far of a stretch for Dak, especially with Zeke's uptick in the passing game, Michael Gallup having one year under his belt, Cooper having a full offseason to build chemistry, and Randall Cobb to fill the void left by Cole Beasley.

        If the Cowboys finish at 10-6 or even 11-5, Dak will have as good a chance as any to lead the MVP race, meaning you will not only cash out in real life, but you can also capitalize on a potential top-five QB in fantasy football, one who is currently being taken as the 14th QB off the board.

        NFC SOUTH

        ATLANTA FALCONS

        Julio Jones breaks Calvin Johnson's receiving yards record (1,964 in one season).

        Julio went for 1,677 this past year, and with Dirk Koetter coming in, I could easily see this number increasing. 

        This may seem unrealistic, but we saw last year just how much Tampa Bay threw the ball due to their lack of a rushing attack, leading to a Mike Evans 1,500 yard season, 200 more yards than he had ever put up in one year. With Devonta Freeman's injury history, if he happens to go down, the Falcons will rely heavily on their passing attack, making Julio a weekly threat to top 100 yards. Even looking at his 2018 numbers, Jones topped 100 yards 10 times and fell short of 82 on just four occasions. With Coleman now out of town, their backfield, behind Freeman, doesn't have a single proven asset, so if DF is limited in order to maintain his health, or God forbid suffers another injury, they could easily match/surpass their 65% passing ratio from last year.

        We all know how great of a receiver Jones is, so I'm not going to go too in depth on this one, but just look at a few teams they play this year: the Eagles, Colts, Texans, Rams, Seahawks, and 49ers. Sure, a couple are solid defenses, but they're also games which project to be high scoring, meaning more looks for Julio. On top of this, his six games against divisional opponents are always spots where JJ eats, as last year, he averaged a 7.33 / 102.83 / 0.33 receiving line.

        NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

        Michael Thomas finishes outside the top 10 receivers in 1/2 PPR.

        This honestly doesn't seem like that far of a stretch to me. Last year, Thomas finished as the WR6 in 1/2 PPR despite being targeted 147 times and posting an 85% catch percentage on his way to 125 receptions, a number which led the league. As his volume inevitably decreases with the addition of Jared Cook and an improving second year receiver in Tre'Quan Smith, along with the team taking a run-heavier approach to preserve Drew Brees (4th lowest pass percentage [51%] over the last eight weeks, the 4th lowest mark over that span), so will his overall production. His 85% catch percentage was an otherworldy, another mark that will fall, so if he regresses to his career average (77%, still elite), and his targets fall to 130 (8.125 targets/game, a 25% target share if the team matches their passing volume from 2018), it would translate to 100 receptions. Still a great total, yes, but the century mark is one which eight different receivers topped last year, so it's not as lofty of a goal as once imagined.

        On top of this, look at his first half of the year compared to his second half:

        The team began taking a run-heavier approach and Drew Brees showed signs of wear, impacting Thomas' upside. With Brees being another year older and bringing in Jared Cook, the volume MT saw last year will not be matched, and the Saints bringing in Latavius Murray to fill the void left by Mark Ingram is an indication that they want to lean heavily on the ground game.

        As for receivers who can finish ahead of Thomas? Here are just a few: Davante Adams, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, T.Y. Hilton, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Julian Edelman. Will they? Probably not, but these are all #1s (Diggs and Thielen are 1A & 1B) on their own teams who could easily match MT's volume next year.

        CAROLINA PANTHERS

        Curtis Samuel (wr39, 91 ovr) outscores D.J. Moore (wr24, 57 ovr).

        Curtis Samuel didn't get much run for most of the season as he first topped a 40% snap share in Week 12. At that point, Funchess was phased out of the offense and Samuel got to show how dominant of a player he is and not simply just a gadget weapon.

        Over the final stretch, from Week 12 on, Samuel was on pace to see 112 targets and amass a 59/840/5 receiving line. That doesn't sound all that great, but putting that into perspective, D.J. Moore was only on pace for 115 looks, making me believe this is more of a 1A 1B situation rather than Moore and Samuel forming a WR1 and WR2 duo. Also, considering each player is good in their own facet of the game means both will be used in their own specific roles, not taking away from eachothers' volume when deployed in certain positions. 

        When you look at how good Samuel was last year, it's honestly a bit surprising. Matt Harmon covered him in his Reception Perception, showing he was an elite receiver in creating separation and consistently getting open on any route asked of him.

        While Samuel is used all over the field, Moore is much more of a "playmaker", used in the short/intermediate game for his ability to create after the catch. In fact, he was the only receiver in the league to top 400 yards after the catch while not topping 1,020 receiving yards. 52.3% of D.J.'s receiving yards stemmed from what he could contribute after the catch, so heading into next year, I expect much of the same role for him, giving way to Samuel to produce in the deep game.

        We even saw glimpses of this last year, as even though Curtis played on 266 less snaps than Moore, CS had four more deep targets, just 51 less air yards, and surprisingly, had one more red zone target. He's getting highly valuable looks deep down the field and in the redzone, whereas Moore is left to create on his own, making Curt more of a safe bet in my eyes. Yes, D.J. is elite after the catch, a skillset he displayed throughout his time at Maryland and proved he could translate it to the next level, but I'd much rather a guy who will likely see a similar target total and get looks in areas of the field that bring immense value.

        We even saw a bit more consistency out of Samuel in 2018 despite his limited role, matching Moore's WR2 finishes with three and topping D.J.'s five top-36 finishes with seven of his own.

        Even though Moore lived up to his first round draft capital as a rookie, all Samuel has ever done when implemented into the offense was show he was well worth the high second round pick they spent on him a few years back. Now, being picked 34 picks after his Panther counterpart, he presents much of the same upside as Moore at a cheaper price while still having a realistic chance to outproduce #12.

        TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

        O.J. Howard finishes as the TE1 in all formats.

        Third year tight end, get ready!!!!!! Just kidding, I'm not using that as my argument. Instead, let's look at what he's done and the situation he finds himself in this year.

        Before messing up his foot/ankle towards the end of the year, Howard was on pace for a (77 target) 54/904/8 receiving line while having a donut in Week 4 against the Bears where he only ran six routes. If you want to take that game out of his projection, then his pace would've been (80 targets) 60/1,004/9. Considering he did this while sharing the field with DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, two guys who are no longer in Tampa but ate up 179 of the team's targets, it's all the more impressive. With this vacated volume, Howard should easily see over 100 looks in what will be another year in a high-powered offense, now led by Bruce Arians.

        Howard showed insane efficiency in 2018, leading the position in fantasy points per target (2.51), fantasy points per pass route (0.66), yards per reception (16.6), and yards per target (11.8). It wasn't an outlier season either, showing that, even as a rookie, he could dominate whenever he was put on the field, leading all tight ends in air yards per target (7.3), yards per target (11.1), QB rating when targeted (132.7), fantasy points per route (0.61), and fantasy points per target (2.65). Yes, you could argue that these efficiency numbers were built off of his limited volume and once he sees more looks they will decrease, but guess who else you could say that for? Alvin Kamara and JuJu after their rookie seasons when they posted similarly uncanny efficiency. Their volume spiked in their second season, and although efficiency dropped, it was more than offset by sheer opportunity. Now, without a third receiver of consequence or a pass-catching back of note on an offense that should throw the ball upwards of 600 times, again, O.J. is almost a lock for 100+ targets.

        Let's say he gets 100 targets on the nose...waht could he do with this volume? Well, let's use his career numbers to take a look. With his 69.0% catch rate, that would turn into 69 receptions, and with a 16.6 average yards per catch, a mark which he posted in back-to-back seasons, this would project out to 1,145 yards. Now, for touchdowns, on 60 career receptions, he has caught 11 tuddies, or one ever 5.45 balls. With this rate, on 69 catches, this would work out to a little less than 12 scores. 69/1,145/12 may seem unattainable, but logically, in the context of the Buccaneers offense, one which will need to throw a ton due to their shit defense, and one which has a heap of available targets with the departure of DJax/Humphries, it isn't outside his range of outcomes. 

        NFC WEST

        SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

        Jalen Hurd leads the team in rushing touchdowns.

        The 49ers have quite the crowded backfield, yet none of them project to be dominant goal line threats. Both Breida and Coleman fall below the 22nd percentile for BMI and Jerick Mckinnon has never seen more than 33% of a team's red zone rushes or 15% of rushes inside the five. 

        Even last season, a year which Devonta Freeman battled with injuries, Coleman only saw five rushes inside the 5 yard line, turning them into -8 yards and zero scores. Matt Breida was the team's clear cut #1 after Mckinnon's injury and Hyde's departure, yet was only given 33% of the team's rushes inside the five in comparison to Alfred Morris' 44%.

        Sure, these other backs will score touchdowns from distances outside the five yardline this season, but with Hurd's size and ability he showed in college, it's not all too far off to think he could take over the goal-line back job as early as Week 1, a role which could net upwards of 5-6 touchdowns alone. Shanahan has shown an affinity to acquire versatile pieces, shown by his selections of Deebo Samuel and Dante Pettis, so taking Hurd in the 3rd round inspires confidence that he'll be used as much more than a slot receiver. I mean, who drafts a pure slot-receiver that runs a 4.7 with the third pick in the third round? Hopefully not the Niners, meaning he should have a much larger role than expected. 

        The guy earned the starting job over Alvin Kamara during his time at Tennessee, and even last year after moving full time to WR he scored three red zone touchdowns on the ground. Shanahan definitely sees the ability Hurd has and may try to keep his backfield healthy by using the bigger-framed Jalen as their goal line option, bringing JH immense value in best ball formats where he's going undrafted.

        SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

        D.K. Metcalf is the #1 scoring rookie wide receiver and tops 1,000 yards.

        Which rookie receivers have solidified roles in their offenses this year? I can only name a few: N'Keal Harry, A.J. Brown, and depending on injuries, Deebo Samuel and Marquise Brown. Other than them, and Metcalf, nobody inspires much confidence in being a consistent contributor in their first season.

        Now, why am I such a big fan of Metcalf? Other than his sheer size and athleticism, his strengths fit Russell Wilson's flawlessly. Despite RW's limited volume in 2018, he still attempted the fourth most deep balls in the league (74) and threw the most deep scores (15). With Lockett likely moving into the slot due to Baldwin's retirement, which frees up 16 deep looks, Metcalf will be the biggest threat on the outside and will likely become Wilson's favorite field stretcher since he's never had a receiver with a comparable frame who can do what Metcalf does. And what Metcalf does? He burns (bro).

        He isn't a WR who needs 75 catches to top 1,000 yards, as seen during his time at Ole Miss when he averaged 18.3 yards per reception. This mark likely won't continue at the next level, but we've seen a guy like Josh Gordon, who Metcalf is extremely similar to, average 17.4 YPR throughout his career, so it isn't out of the question that D.K. hovers around that 17.0 mark. If he matches this number, that means it would only require 59 receptions to top 1,000 yards, and considering there are 115 available targets from Mike Davis and Baldwin alone, along with the possibility that Wilson throws more than 427 times, his lowest total since 2013.

        While 1,000 yards may seem like a bit of a reach, finishing as the #1 rookie wideout isn't as he has a real shot at flirting with double digit scores. He's easily their biggest WR and without a real TE threat, he could be Wilson's go-to in the red zone. Would I be shocked if D.K. caught 55 of 85 targets for 1,000 yards and eight scores by season's end? Kinda, but it certainly isn't impossible.

        LOS ANGELES RAMS

        Jared Goff falls outside the top 20 QBs.

        With Kupp likely being limited, or at least below 100%, to begin 2019, along with the dip in production we saw out of Jared to end 2018, he could very well have a slow start to begin the year.

        Over their final fie games, Goff threw six tuddies and six picks, no bueno. It's even worse considering four of his six scores came in Week 16 against the 49ers. Even in his three playoff games, JG threw one or more touchdowns ONCE while throwing two interceptions. He was awful to end last year, and with Gurley being banged up and Kupp having tore his ACL not too far back, this offense may see some regression.

        Goff had the second most red zone attempts (101) in 2018, which brought a ton value, especially with having weapons peppered all over the field. Sure, Cooks and Woods show no signs of wear and are both extremely good receivers, but is that enough to make up for a limited TGIII and Kupp? It wasn't in 2018, and I'm not convinced that will change in 2019.

        Even if Kupp's knee does improve down the stretch, LA faces Dallas, Arizona, Baltimore, Chicago, and Seattle after their bye. These are all matchups Goff will likely struggle in even with Cooper at 100%, further lowering his ceiling and making him a fade during the fantasy playoffs.

        His price isn't all that high right now, and I think it's warranted because I'm not convinced that he's all that good of a real life quarterback, and from what we've seen, maybe isn't a viable fantasy contributor, either.

        ARIZONA CARDINALS

        Larry Fitzgerald (currently WR45, Pick 104) finishes as a top 20 WR in PPR.

        Everybody is all in on Christian Kirk, myself included, but nobody is talking up Fitz. Is he not in the same offense? Did he also not have to play with terrible QB play all 2018? If you're unsure about the answers to my two questions, the answer to both is yes. Yet, he's being completely written off due to his age even though he showed practically zero signs of wear in 2018. He wasn't great, but he ended the season as the WR26 in half PPR, a finish he's bound to improve upon with improved coaching and QB play.

        Kingsbury's said he wants to run over 90 plays per game....not gonna happen, but it should inspire some confidence. If he does want a high-paced offense, one that runs a ton of plays and keeps their defense off the field, then Fitz will play a massive role in the short/intermediate game acting as a safety blanket for Murray over the middle. Kirk and Isabella on the outside will help to spread and open up the field, along with DJ keeping defenses honest, allowing Larry room to operate out of the slot, a position he has perfected. Let us not forget he topped 100 receptions and finished as a top 12 receiver in three straight seasons before the 2018 debacle.

        Along with him being used in the slot, he should be their #1 option inside the 20. With no real tight end of consequence, and every receiver (other than Hakeem Butler, who is still fighting for the WR4 job in Arizona) standing under six feet tall, Fitz should have no issue continuing to dominate these highly-valuable looks, as he's amassed 34 red zone targets over the past two years despite the passing volume taking a major hit (only 50 RZ passes last year compared to 75 in 2017).

        With all this being said, not only do I think he has a real shot at being a top-20 receiver, I truly believe he may be the best value pick this season. WR45? Over the past four seasons, if you combine his finishes (WR26 + WR5 + WR12 + WR9), it would add up to WR52. This means nothing, really, but I guess it kinda shows just how high he's finished, and done so consistently. Right now, he's not even being picked at his floor, his ADP is in the basement.

           



          Noah Pires
          Noah Pires

          Author



          1 Response

          Sherrod Lawrence
          Sherrod Lawrence

          July 14, 2019

          Great write up! Tuddies reference cracked me up LOL. Keep up the good work.

          Leave a comment


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