Bust Proof Players in 2020 Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano July 07, 2020 6 Comments

Bust Proof Players in 2020 Fantasy Football

Matt Ryan - QB, Atlanta Falcons
ADP - QB8 

For Atlanta, you can basically pencil in three things on a yearly basis.

Our defense is going to be trash.

Julio Jones is going to get his.

And so is Matt Ryan.

Especially while Dirk Koetter is our offensive coordinator.

He's been a QB1 in all four years under Koetter. The last time Ryan threw for fewer than 4000 yards was 10 years ago. In the four years with Koetter as their OC, Ryan has finished as QB9, QB7, QB12, and QB7, averaging 4,466 passing yards, 28 touchdowns, while the team has had the 3rd highest passing rate in the NFL, throwing the ball a whopping 40.5 times/game on average.

Again, bad defense, division primed for shootouts playing games in domes every week. This isn't news here, clockwork lite work. 

 

Davante Adams - WR, Green Bay Packers
ADP - WR2

Fantasy gamers are getting smarter. Adams is coming off of a "down-szn" because of the turf toe he suffered at the end of September that caused him to miss a bunch of time. Normally, people would drop him because of recency bias - but people are well aware of how good Adams is every time he's on the field with Rodgers.

If they brought in anything this off-season by way of passing weapons, I'd say, okay, it's possible that Adams takes a dip in targets by like 15-20. But my god did the Packers fuck this up like states that opened up clubs.

In 2018, Adams exploded - catching 111 balls on 169 targets, almost 1,400 yards and 13 touchdowns, in just 15 games.

In 2019, he missed 4 games with the turf toe, but his per game numbers were not far off of his 2018 numbers. 16 games would have had him at 169 targets, 111 receptions, wait what did he have in 2018 - 169 targets and 111 receptions? Word. And 1330 yards.

This team started off real slow - as did Adams. And I'll write that up to the new system under Matt LaFleur, if you watched at all - that whole offense looked clunky as shit over the first month of the season you can tell they didn't have it fully grasped yet, and unfortunately, when they started too, that's when Adams got hurt. BUT once he got back from his injury i mean....

 

Once the offense was comfortable, Adams was healthy again, good lawd.

It's the second year in the offensive system, that's usually when we see a bit uptick in efficiency as well for offenses.

Are we concerned about his health? PP got the dope new injury tool that is officially live. It's at the bottom of every player page - just scroll all the way down - it shows previous injuries - injury probability as well as fragility rating rank at each position - this IS SO important - im so glad that playerprofiler launched this tool, absolutely free to use - one of the most like looked over parts of fantasy football that will single-handedly help you become a better player is putting context behind injuries. Just saying "oh he'll be ready by training camp, he'll be ready by Week 1" like we have science on timetables for specific injuries like we have a 20-year sample size of ACL tears - so a beat reporter telling us that someone looks good in shorts should no impact how you view a player - now we have another awesome tool to look at here - if you go use it, go tweet and annoy Matt @podfather tell him you checked out the new injury tool and that I sent u.

Dr. Morse of the Fantasy Dr's - whose entire injury draft guide is available in the BDGE draft guide - says his risk is about 5/10 - but is still easily drafting him behind on Michael Thomas. 

With the Packers not bringing anything onto the roster by way of target competition I see no way Adams doesn't see 155+ targets and finishes inside the top 3 at WR this year in fantasy.

 

Robert Woods - WR, Los Angeles Rams
Current ADP: WR19 (Back 4th, Early 5th, later in SF)

Robert has been one the most under-appreciated fantasy players over the last three seasons in LA. Woods finished off another spectacular campaign in 2019, catching 90 of a team-high 140 targets for 1,134 yards and two touchdowns in only 15 games. What you love to see is that added boost on the ground, adding 115 rushing yards and a score. That’s back-to-back seasons averaging over a rush attempt/game, almost 10 rushing yards per and an extra score on the bottom-line. This part of Woods’ game isn’t going anywhere, so even without an elite 1400/1500-yard receiving season in his range of outcomes, Woods quietly flirts with it while staying under the radar because a piece of the pie is baked on the ground, methodically.

Couple other things to love here.

The way Robert Woods finished the season was nothing short of orgasmic, particularly when we put context behind the offense. While Cooper Kupp started off red-hot, the team made a shift in offensive philosophy following their Week 9 bye. Because the team was struggling to block up-front, they needed to add an extra TE into the mix otherwise Jared Goff might’ve been wearing an XFL uniform by December. This forced both Kupp and Woods to play outside roles at a far higher rate than they typically do, given the 12-personnel settings that are required of having two tight ends on the field. From Weeks 1-8, Cooper Kupp ran 75.3% of his routes from the slot, without recording a single game where he ran more routes from the outside than inside. Nor did Kupp have a single game where he ran more than 18 snaps outside. Week 9 bye hits. From Weeks 10-17, the same number of games, Kupp records 5 separate games in which he ran 21+ snaps on the outside and 3 games where he ran more snaps from the outside than the slot. His slot rate dropped from 75.3% to 57.8%. Over the last two seasons, Kupp’s YPRR figure hovers at an impressive 2.32 in the slot, dipping to 1.76 while outside. Kupp also played a whole 10% fewer snaps over the second half of the 2019 (85% -> 75%) season.

So, we just pulled our pants down to fornicate on Mr. Kupp. What did Robert Woods do over the second half of 2019? Woods was the WR6 in fantasy from Weeks 10-17, WHILE missing a game. He’s the WR3 in fantasy points per game over that span. Woods breaks out as the true alpha in Hollywood.

 

Given almost no upgrade to the Rams offensive line this offseason, I’m expecting to see LA’s offense operate like 2H 2019, not what we got spoiled with from September 2017 through October 2019.

I’m not a huge proponent of looking at TD rate to predict what kind of season a player has in store for the following year, but I mean, two touchdowns on 140 targets? Even Leonard Fournette is laughing.

That’s right, Woods scored two touchdowns on 140 targets – a 1.3% TD rate. Up to this point in his career, Woods has scored on 4.1% of the balls he’s hauled in, more than three times as often. Since he’s moved over to LA, that rate had been over 5.1% prior to 2019.

Since the year 2000, there have been 220 WRs that have seen 140 targets or more in a season. Robert Woods is 1-of-5 that brought in 2 TDs or fewer. Of the remaining four, they all scored at least 5 touchdowns in the following season (per RotoViz Game Screener App).

Without Brandin Cooks to muddy the pecking order, Woods is setup for another monster year in 2020 – if he comes even close to what he did over the second half of 2019, Woods kicks in the door and waves the 4-4 at any WR outside of the top-12. The same volume, a little more TD luck, I’ll roll Trees up and smoke him in the 5th round 10/7 days a weeks.

 

David Montgomery - RB, Chicago Bears
Current ADP: RB26

 

The Bears added literally nothing in their backfield. Not by way of FA, and not by way of the draft. The Bears actions echoed this statement from Bears GM Ryan Pace saying that David Montgomery can be the team's "featured back" and "carry a heavier load" in 2020.

This really lines up Montgomery to take almost all of the carries out of this backfield. He out-carried Tarik Cohen 242-64 last year. Cohen already played from outside of the backfield (slot, wide, inline) on 42.2% of his snaps. Taylor Gabriel is gone, probably means more slot for Cohen. The Cohen discussion stops here - it's literally Montgomery and no one else. Sheesh.

Montgomery was bad last year - but not AS bad as people probably think, considering that the CHI offensive line was BAD at RBing. No way around it.

Montgomery ranked 8th in the league in avoided tackles per PFF.

But going byke to the volume:

Montgomery was their entire backfield inside the RZ. Listen to this. He was top-10 in the NFL in carries inside-the-10, and #6 in GL carries. He saw 87.5% of Chicago's goal-line carries last year - only Leonard Fournette saw a higher rate of this team's GL carries (100%). 

They do bring in Nick Foles though - which I like for the skill players in this offense, Montgomery, Robinson and Anthony Miller. Foles is no game-changer, but I mean imagine being an opposing defense and preparing against Trubisky.... come one now.

So, Montgomery is going to get ridiculous volume. We've also seen rookie RBs struggle before, and then year two go bonkers - Melvin Gordon, Le'Veon Bell, it happens and there might be like three backs in the NFL with less competition in their backfield than Montgomery.

Do yourself a favor - draft Montgomery as the RB26 - throw him in your flex and do not watch him on your TV. 

 

Mark Andrews - TE, Baltimore Ravens

I think we can all agree that Mark Andrews was pretty good last year.

TE2 in standard leagues, 0.8 points away from being a top-3 TE in 0.5 ppr.

I need to show you guys something. And I debated not showing you guys because, I feel like some of you guys might have a heart attack. And I'm not sure if I could be charged with murder, or manslaughter or something but fuck it we got make sure all the dogs is eatin even the dead ones

 

Mark Andrews played on 41.4% of the team's snaps last year.  DAWG!!!!! 41.4%!!!! and the dude was the TE4 in fantasy. 

I get it, he scored 10 touchdowns on 64 catches - but if he becomes even close to a full-time player, getting near the play time that the Kelce's and Kittle's get - there's no reason he can't live in the same opportunity zone they do, seeing 120-135 targets/year, and I mean this year. 

His only competition for targets is Hollywood, and while y'all know i love Hollywood, we've never seen him do it, and he's an outside guy, Andrews down the seam and in the endzone. Hayden Hurst who played on 42% of the snaps and ran over 200 routes as well last year - Andrews only ran 295, is gone too, he was basically their #2 pass-catching TE. So while Boyle and whoever played more, to run-block, they weren't the pass-catchers.

Someone tweeted replying to one of my previous tweets and said "could be a decrease in efficiency and increase in volume type situation" and I said that's exactly what it's going to be - but that presents major upside for Andrews, because we know for sure only one of those is happening - the part about the volume, that's going up - if the volume skyrockets and he stays even 75% as efficient as he was last year - he's going to absolutely crush. I say this often, NFl is a 16-game sample size folks, people trying to predict which was efficiency is going to move in a sample that small, are fooling themselves. Andrews could keep this pace up, it could dip a bit - but i'll bet on the talent, the good coaching staff that I think will do the right thing with Andrews, Hurst being gone, I mean - no-brainer for me on Andrews being one of, if not the single best pick at TE in drafts this year.



Nick Ercolano
Nick Ercolano

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