Garret Price and Tyler Bodnard collaborate to celebrate the players we support on the “Hype Train.” We feel they are worthy of the hype. Those that we do not, well they have been chosen to ride our “Gripe Train.” We do not support the hype they are receiving, which has caused us to be much lower on the industry consensus. We hope that you enjoy it.
Tyler Bodnard: Slayton is another polarizing player that is commonly debated regularly on Twitter. Let me start this by saying that if Slayton had a 2nd round draft capital, instead of his 5th round capital, his ADP and the hype around him would be exponentially higher. As a matter of fact, his lack of draft capital may be the only legitimate knock on him. Slayton has the size, speed, and metric profile of a prototypical WR1.
- 6’2” tall
- 194 lbs
- 4.39s forty-yard dash
- 40.5” vertical and a
- 7.00s 3-cone drill
- has a 6’7” wingspan
- huge 10” hands
Despite only playing 14 games in his rookie campaign, Slayton had 48 receptions for 740 yards with 8 TDs, ranking him the fourth rookie WRs. Slayton is paired with a rookie QB, Daniel Jones, who performed better than most analysts could have ever predicted. As the season progressed, it became abundantly apparent that Slayton was becoming Daniel Jones’ go-to target in the passing game.
Many attribute Slayton’s success to the injuries sustained by Giants pass catchers last season, but I disagree. Over the last seven games of the season, Slayton was targeted 7.6 times per game (53 total targets). A great number despite leaving early with no catches during the Week 16 matchup versus Washington. Factoring in that Slayton missed most of a game, and I subtracted the two targets he received before his exit. Slayton closed out the season with 51 targets (8.5 per game) in his six complete games.
The Other Guys
Both Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate played six of those seven games. In those games, Shepard averaged 8.2, and Tate averaged 7.2 targets per game over that span. During the latter part of the season, as mentioned above, clearly indicate that Jones developed significant chemistry with Slayton.
Golden Tate turns 32 in August. His contract has a potential out at the end of this season. The further development of Slayton should lead to Tate’s release at the end of the 2020 campaign. Tate’s release would cement Slayton as the Giants X WR for the future. Slayton is cheaper to acquire in dynasty leagues than he should be and gives owners a legitimate shot at the next WR1 for the New York Giants.
Garret Price: Tyler did a great job covering Slayton, so I do not have much to add. The only other thing I will say is that this kid did all of this despite being banged up in the offseason of 2019. He didn’t get to build the type of chemistry that you would hope for in a rookie. With a year under his belt and more time with Jones, we have the WR1 of the future in New York.
GP: Last preseason, I was a big fan of McLaurin. However, even I had no clue how incredible this guy would be during the year. Despite missing two games, he put up 919 yards and seven touchdowns. The crazy part is he did that with several different quarterbacks, and none of them playing exceptionally well.
The skillset is there for F1 as an elite route runner and sub 4.4 speed. He even had one of the best corners in the game, Darius Slay, compliment him post-game as to what a problematic cover he was in his game against the Lions.
There were many rumors, but the Washington Football Team did not make any significant free-agent additions. They only added one significant guy via the draft in Antonio Gandy-Golden. All that said, he is a safe bet to lead the team in targets. I also expect those targets to go up because Washington ran the fewest plays last season due to ineffective and slow play. I expect Dwayne Haskins to be much better in his 2nd season. The new coaching staff should play more to his strengths.
So, if Terry McLaurin can stay healthy, what could we expect number wise? I project him with eight targets per game, which would translate to 83 catches 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns. Even if McLaurin does not hit quite those numbers, he could still easily be a low-end WR2 for your fantasy football team.
TB: If you are not aware of this kid’s skillset, please familiarize yourself by watching his rookie highlights below. Keep in mind that these highlights are from an undrafted rookie, and from a season in which he only played eight games!
Though Williams’s hands were thought to be inconsistent and his route running raw, he silenced most critics with what he was able to put on film during his 2019 rookie campaign. While there is still room for improvement in the young WR’s game, Williams proved that he was far better than evaluators had previously thought.
Although Williams’s metric profile leaves a bit to be desired, his film does not. For a big WR, 6’5″ and 218lbs, Preston Williams gets in and out of breaks exceptionally well and has elite body control. When he is unable to achieve a tremendous amount of separation, he overcomes it by exploiting his massive size advantage to win.
Williams was on pace to receive 120 targets as a rookie, before an ACL tear in week nine ended his season. Before his injury, it was abundantly clear that he was the superior pass-catcher on the Dolphins roster. In fact, it was not until his injury that both Gesicki and Parker broke out last year, which has caused both of their ADP to rise significantly.
During the first eight games of the season, with Preston Williams active, Parker had 52, and Gesicki had 31 targets. With Williams out for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season, Parker and Gesicki saw their targets increase to 76 (Parker) and 58 (Gesicki).
With the Dolphins drafting their franchise QB, Tua Tagovailoa, 5th overall in this past rookie draft, the future seems incredibly bright for Preston Williams and the other young Miami pass catchers. The only knock on Williams’s value is that he must overcome an ACL injury and may not be full strength by the start of the season.
Similarly, to his new QB, Williams will have to overcome the adversity associated with recovering from a severe injury. I would not be surprised if Tua and Preston forge a solid relationship this offseason since they both will spend a ton of time rehabilitating in the same facility with the Dolphins medical staff. Hopefully, the extended time together leads to increased chemistry on the field. If he can return to form, Preston Williams looks to be the feature WR1 of the Dolphins offense for the future. He can be acquired in most dynasty leagues for 2021 2nd round rookie pick.
TB: For an RB, Dillon is an exceptional athletic specimen at 6’0” and 247lb. The Packers’ rookie is one of the most polarizing prospects to come out of the 2020 draft class. His combined testing and draft capital have many dynasty players drooling as they consider his upside. However, I have three major issues that have me completely off him.
His lateral agility is highly questionable. Many will reference his metrics when arguing in favor of him, but there is a reason that he avoided all scouting combine drills that were not purely linear. Dillon’s lack of short-area agility makes me believe that he is strictly a power back that is best suited for between the tackles runs and goal-line work.
Most of his production was due to sheer size and speed in the ACC at the college level. I do not believe this will translate at the next level due to the increase in the caliber of athlete that he will be facing.
Dillon does not possess the agility to consistently make defenders miss, instead relying on running through defenders or the use of his spin move to change direction. He is one dimensional in this regard. When you consider the lack of lateral agility in combination with poor technique when pressing the line of scrimmage, I have significant doubts that he will have success in the NFL as he did in college.
He has hands of stone and leaves much to be desired regarding the technique he uses to run vastly limited routes. He had only 21 catches on 31 targets, predominantly screen passes, in 3 years of college action. Many have argued that he has good hands but was not used in the passing game at Boston College. The bigger question is, why? It’s a “chicken or the egg” scenario. That poses the question, “did they not throw him the ball because they know that he cannot catch well, or was he unable to show his pass-catching ability because they didn’t throw him the ball”? Dillon had a catch rate of 67%. Most of the passes were uncontested screen passes, where he was able to lumber in and out of his breaks. I feel that the Boston College staff were well aware of his abilities used him accordingly.
Most importantly, is Aaron Jones. Jones is arguably one of the best and most explosive complete RBs in the NFL. Jones had 1084 yds despite only carrying the ball 236 times in 2019, and much of that production came when Devante Adams was out, and teams were focused on stopping the run. Unlike Dillon, Jones consistently makes defenders miss and has the quickness and agility to break runs outside when required. Jones also possesses one significant skillset that Dillon does not; he is an outstanding pass catcher. Jones not only catches the ball well out of the backfield but also has lined up as a WR and has made catches downfield. Even if Dillon is a better pass catcher than previously thought, there is almost a zero percent chance that he is as good as Jones and will be a threat to his usage in the Packers offense.
Dillon’s greatest asset is his size and linear speed. When considering that Jones seemingly has a stranglehold on the starting job in combination with his extremely elusive and versatile rushing skillset, it is hard to see Dillon as much more than a short-yardage/goal-line back for the Packers. I see Dillon as Jamaal Williams’ eventual replacement, and outside of vulturing the occasional touchdown, will not have an impact on Aaron Jones’ fantasy value.
TB: I must acknowledge that Ekeler far exceeded all expectations in relief of Melvin Gordon this past season. BUT, his production was predominantly as a receiver. Ekeler’s 2019 stat line, 557 yds and 3 TDs rushing and 92 receptions for 993 yds and 8 TDs receiving, clearly shows that Ekeler is much more of a 3rd down/receiving type rather than a feature/bell cow RB.
Another thing to consider before drafting or trading for Ekeler is the departure of Phillip Rivers. As Rivers aged, he has become more and more reliant on dump-off passes to his RBs. Over the past three seasons, Rivers has targeted his top two RBs an average of 126 times per season. Tyrod Taylor is much less prone to dump off to his RBs. In his only three seasons as a starter, Tyrod’s top two RBs from each season combined for only 175 receptions. That is an average of 58 receptions between the two. If this trend holds, Ekeler should expect a sharp reduction in his receptions from last season.
The New Guy
The Chargers also took Joshua Kelly in the 4th round to replace Melvin Gordon in this past year’s NFL draft. Ekeler’s diminutive size and lack of usage carrying the ball, likely to preserve his tiny frame and keep him healthy, suggest that they will continue to use a multitude of running backs rather than rely upon Ekeler alone to carry the load. This was recently confirmed by the Charger OC Shane Steichen when he said, “all three of [Ekeler, Jackson, and Kelley] are going to share the load.” For these reasons, I am off Austin Ekeler, given his current cost of acquisition.
GP: It is challenging to put Jefferson as my gripe player. Overall, I think he is a talented player that should have a good career as a Viking. However, his value is too inflated for my taste. When you hear people talk, they assume he will come in and take over the Diggs role. Many are expecting him to put up the same numbers. On paper, I get why people say that, but I have a few issues with that line of thinking.
Justin Jefferson is a rookie in a season that has already been greatly affected by COVID-19. Rookies are likely going to start slower than expected. The fantasies of having him be the co WR1 with Adam Thielen seem far fetched.
Both Thielen and Jefferson play most effectively out of the slot. Thielen played on the outside in 2019 after playing in the slot the two previous seasons. Similarly, Jefferson has played some outside, but he saw his playing time almost exclusively out of the slot 2020 season. Typically, the veteran gets to remain in his comfort zone. The rookie must adjust, so we will have to wait and see where Jefferson gets used in 11 personnel. Speaking of personnel groupings, the Vikings use a very high number of 12 personnel groupings. I would not be surprised if over 50% of the time, the Vikings use two tight end sets.
The last issue with a Jefferson breakout is how often Minnesota runs the football. 48% run in 2019 (4th highest percentage in 2019). Many other top rookie receivers like Reagor and CeeDee are on teams that run at or below 42%.
Overall, I think the kid has talent. I’m just not sure he has the raw talent and situation ever to be a true WR1 for fantasy football. While some will take him as a top-three rookie wideout, I am more comfortable in the 5-7 range.