Question: Which rookie drafted outside the top 25 rookie ADP will have a standout rookie year? @scolucas
Phil: I came to my conclusion pretty quickly: Gary Jennings, WR SEA. Lockett is truly the only established WR in Seattle and I think could take over the old “Doug Baldwin” role in 1-2 years. Jennings defines being a reliable “possession receiver” and could turn into a new favorite toy for Russell. Camp news on Jennings has been quiet so far, but I expect him to make a splash and a name for himself in the preseason.
Tristan: The two players I could see contributing in year 1 are Jalen Hurd and/or Ryquell Armstead. I have been a fan of Hurd for a while, I think that he has a chance to create some mismatches for SF, and could develop a nice role in that offense. He has some bust potential, but a high ceiling. I think Armstead would need to have Fournette miss time again, and I hate to try to project injuries, but it’s also hard to count on Fournette to stay healthy.
Michael: I’m going to reach way down into the deep here and go with Tony Pollard. He’s been growing on me lately and I grabbed him in all 4 of the startup drafts I did in July. Cowboys drafted him in the 4th at 6 ft 210 lbs with 4.5 speed. He was also a great receiver out of the backfield with 36+ targets in each of his last 2 seasons averaging 13 yards per catch. He was trapped behind a prolific college producer at Memphis and is now stuck behind a top 3 RB in the NFL but if Zeke holds out, watch for Pollard to make a name for himself. He’s got the size and skill set to be a 3-down back and has the RB2 upside if Zeke holds out or gets injured. And his player comp? Kenyan Drake! Y’all should know how I feel about #ChampagnePapi.
Matthew: I’m going to go deep here with Atlanta RB Qadree Ollison. At 6’1” 228, he provides a nice hammer to pair with an increasingly injury-prone Devonta Freeman. Atlanta should be a high powered squad with ample opportunities for a big back to vulture TDs. The dynasty community has largely overlooked the former Pitt RB. He can be had in the 4th round or even later of most dynasty rookie drafts. If I had to name a second option it would be my absolute favorite sleeper in this entire draft, Darwin Thompson.
Question: Name one player that should benefit the most from being on a new team or scheme changes? – Vinny from Brooklyn
Phil: Gary Kubiak is going to be Dalvin Cook’s best friend. With Minnesota moving towards a zone run blocking scheme, Cook should be the biggest beneficiary of this coaching change, in tandem with bringing in Rick Dennison his new OL coach. Kubiak’s system could highlight Cook as the top 5 RB we’ve been dying to see stay healthy the last 3 years.
Tristan: I think the obvious choice here is Chris Godwin. The reports coming out of Tampa have been nothing but glowing. The trouble with Godwin is that his price has subsequently skyrocketed. If I was going off the front page slightly, I would say Marquez Valdes-Scantling. He could develop a nice role in the Green Bay offense as the WR2.
Michael: I was the last one to answer this so it looks like Phil took my answer in Cook who I love but I’ll go with the most obvious answer here and go with OBJ DA GAWD. Can’t believe no one picked him but he checks all the boxes. He went from one of the worst and least accurate to one of the most accurate QBs in Baker. He is going to get fed targets because no one in that offense is even remotely close to his talent level. I just grabbed OBJ in the 1st round of my home league to stack with Baker and I can’t wait to see what he does. A 1400 yd+ and 15 TD season is well within the cards for one of the NFL’s most talented WRs.
Matthew: I’m going to focus on a player in a new city and say Nick Foles. If you play in a super-flex league he is one of the best values going. Very few players come with his job security and low-cost point. His familiarity with former Eagles QB Coach John DeFilippo, now the Jacksonville OC, should lead to a smooth transition for the former Super Bowl MVP. If he can continue to show the form he displayed for significant stretches of his time in Philly, Foles could be a league winner as a high-end QB2 in super-flex leagues.
Question: Which rookie QB not named Kyler Murray do you expect to have the most immediate impact in dynasty formats.
Phil: Call me crazy, but I’m a Drew Lock fan. He has the prototypical size and arm talent you want in a franchise quarterback can maneuver the pocket very well and has a beautiful deep ball. While Flacco will be the starter come week 1, I can see the Denver fan base wanting to see Lock in action if the Broncos start 2-5 or 1-6. Lock will need to work through his inconsistencies, relationship with the coaching staff, and his discipline to make careless errors if he has a chance of making an immediate impact. I think he will surprise us.
Tristan: I’m not a huge Dwayne Haskins fan, so I will go with Daniel Jones. I think we have seen what Eli Manning is at this stage in his career, and I think Case Keenum is currently a better QB, so therefore I think it is more likely that Jones gets named starter first. Couple that with the weapons that NYG has compared to Washington, and I think Jones can produce solid fantasy numbers.
Michael: I think most people here would go with Haskins and although I would take Haskins over Daniel Jones all day long in the long-term, I think that Jones will have a more immediate impact. And it comes down to 3 key factors. 1) Opportunity: Eli Manning has ranked 27th, 22nd, 25th in QBR for the last 3 seasons. There’s no way around the fact that he has been absolutely awful and proved he is not a winning QB despite having one of the most talented WRs to ever grace an NFL field. Whether you believe in Jones’ talent or not, it doesn’t matter because the organization clearly does; proven by them investing the 6th overall pick. They are going to give him the opportunity to play. 2) Talent: Most think that the Giants roster is devoid of talent but I don’t think that’s the case. They have the best RB in the NFL in Barkley, a top 4 talent at TE in Engram, and a decent mix of WRs who are effective in the intermediate part of the field which is what Jones will rely on heavily. That plus the improved OL means Giants quarterback has superior talent around him compared to Haskins. 3) Rushing Upside: Although not a prolific rusher like Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones rushed for over 1300 yards over his 3-year career at Duke. He runs a 4.81 40 and has an 84th-percentile burst score. Dudes definitely got some wheels. And if you look historically at the rookie QBs who have found success, having a rushing floor is a big part of the reason why (i.e. Cam, LJax, RGIII). Note: Wrote this before everyone anointed DJ as the GOAT after his first pre-season showing.
Matthew: As much as I would love to say, Daniel Jones, being the VP of the Daniel Jones fan club, I’m going to have to say, Dwayne Haskins. The Redskins QB finds himself attached to Jay Gruden who is coaching for his job. He will be far more inclined to insert the rookie if he feels his team needs a spark. One final note would be that Haskins finds himself behind a pair of signal-callers who have spent the bulk of their careers as backups. For his part, Jones has the luxury of playing behind a team legend and under a coach with a much longer leash from team ownership. Sherman will be far more inclined to protect his rookie at all costs. I feel that Jones has more long term upside than Haskins with his rushing ability, but Haskins will see the field earlier, and therefore make more of an immediate impact.
Question: Which team without a concrete and defined WR1 will have someone emerge as a potential top-12 WR?
Phil: Christian Kirk is the answer here. I know there are a lot of mouths to feed in AZ (DJ, Isabella, Fitz, Butler, Kevin White, RSJ, etc) but Kirk will emerge as Kyler’s go-to receiver and I can easily see him jumping into the WR1 discussion. The air-raid offense is a perfect match for Kirk’s explosive style of play. I’m not fully buying into AZ running 90+ plays a game, but even if they achieve 70, Kirk will have tons of touches and opportunities to emerge as a top 12 WR.
Tristan: I think several teams could fit into the category of “no defined WR1″ including Tennessee, Washington, NYG, NYJ, Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Miami. I will go with Tennessee, and Corey Davis having the breakout year that everyone is waiting for, with the major caveat of maintaining the health of Marcus Mariota. Davis certainly has the physical traits, but inconsistent QB play and a run-heavy offense have held him down. I think that he has a chance to make a third-year leap. A lot is riding on Mariota being a viable NFL QB, which some people would say is a big gamble, but I think he has a chance to do it if he can remain on the field.
Michael: I’m going to jump to the easiest option here and go with the Carolina Panthers. With Cam back into the action and looking good during camp, I am assuming that the injury his sustained last season was behind him. I think we are all quick to forget just how good Cam was last season before suffering his injury after week 8. Up until that point, Cam was a top 5 QB with Devin Funchess as his top WR. Now this season, he has my favorite sophomore WR in DJ Moore and one of my (and what appears to be every single other analysts’) top-ranked breakout candidates in Curtis Samuel. Breaking into the top 12 is quite a challenge but if it were easy, but this pair of WRs is about as good of a bet as any to jump into that mix in my opinion. Boyd and Lockett were another couple of options I thought about but given injury to Green, they’ve technically become the de facto WR1s on their respective teams so might not fit the criteria here. And my sleeper pick for this category is Spaghetti Anderson on the Jets.
Matthew: The San Francisco 49ers are my answer to this question. Kyle Shanahan is a proven offensive mind in the league and has a history of peppering his number one receiver with targets. I would expect Dante Pettis to enjoy a breakout sophomore campaign. Many in the dynasty seem to overlook just how much John Lynch gave up to move up in the 2nd round to draft Pettis. The former University of Washington star was a dynamic athlete with the ball in his hands all over the field. The presence of stud TE George Kittle will draw the bulk of defensive attention away from the second-year play maker. There are very few players with his upside which can be had at his current price.
Question: Which bottom 10 NFL offense from 2018 do you expect to be top 10 in 2019?
Phil: I expect the Raiders to turn heads in 2019. They’ve completely overhauled their offensive weapons with the additions of Josh Jacobs, Antonion Brown, and Tyrell Williams and I believe any team that has AB lining up for them will see an immediate uptick in performance. Carr has another year under his belt with Gruden and by the looks of things on Hard Knocks, this is a make or break year for Gruden regardless of his contract. Dare I say, he’s on the hot seat.
Tristan: I am going to go out on a limb here slightly and say the New York Jets. A lot of this has to do with the addition of Le’Veon Bell, but some nice pieces around him can help contribute to a jump in offensive stats. The addition of Jamison Crowder in the slot and the development of Sam Darnold and TE Chris Herndon should provide the Jets with plenty of sources for fantasy production. If Robby Anderson can stay out of trouble, the Jets’ offense could be a sneaky productive unit.
Michael: My pick here goes to the Cincinnati Bengals. I think that Dalton was leading the offense through a pretty decent offensive showing last season before losing his top WR and then getting injured himself shortly thereafter. If we just look at the talent, the Bengals have the potential to be a top 10 offense with AJ Green, Joe Mixon and one of my favorite emerging young WRs in Tyler Boyd. Been a favorite target of mine as of late, especially with Green set to miss a few weeks. Tyler Eifert also appears to be healthy who adds a red-zone presence. I do recognize that the Bengals have been hit by the pre-season injury bug after losing Jonah Williams for the season and Green for a few weeks but once Green returns, this is one of the more talented skilled groups in the NFL. They are also their center Billy Price back who is going into his 2nd year after having an impressive rookie showing before going down to injury last season. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, I’m betting on Zac Taylor from the McVay coaching tree to come in and install a more progressive offensive scheme compared to years past. One that involves Mixon in the passing game which should improve the effectiveness of the offense as a whole. All in all, I think this is the year that Bengals finally take that leap forward and live up to what their talent indicates on paper.
Matthew: I’m going straight to the bottom and saying the Arizona Cardinals. In 2018 they were dead last in total yards at just 3,865 yards. That total was just shy of 3,000 less than league-leading K.C. Enter number 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, coach Kliff Kingsbury, and the air raid system. The Cardinals are going to move the ball this season. They boast an interesting cast of weapons across the entire offensive unit. One of the hallmarks of the Air-raid is speed between plays. This can often lead to quick 3-and-outs and stress the defensive side of the ball. However, if the Air-Raid is successfully implemented it will skyrocket Arizona’s offensive rankings.
Question: Are you buying into Jordan Reed being “back” 2019? He hasn’t been healthy or reliable since 2015.
Phil: I’m not, simply because he’s shown 0 ability to stay healthy these past 3 years. Every year we start to get a glimmer of hope that this is the year he stays healthy, but every year we end up in the same position. I’m not investing any shares in any Washington skill players right now until depth charts shake out and we know who is QB and who can be relied on to catch the ball. I was genuinely shocked to learn Reed is only 29 years old. Felt like he was approaching 34 or 35 based on how many years he’s been relevant in the fantasy community.
Tristan: I would love to buy Jordan Reed as being “back” in 2019, unfortunately, I can’t make myself do it. If he’s on my roster, I certainly would hold him; or if his owner drops/wants to sell for a cheap cost, I would be interested in buying. But I just have a hard time convincing myself that he will be a consistent fantasy TE in 2019, and certainly beyond. The weeks that he is healthy, he should produce, but if he is your only good option at TE, I think you need to invest in another starting-caliber option.
Michael: Jordan Reed has been a frequent late-round target of mine. This is the first offseason we’ve gone through where there has been no news of injury, “expected” recovery timeline or some combination thereof. And we’ve seen what his ceiling can be when he’s healthy. When healthy, Jordan Reed has a legit top 3 upside. The key is “when healthy”. But given the positive vibes that have been coming out of camp and his free cost at current ADP, I’m buying. The TE landscape is an absolute wasteland after the top 6 so I’m willing to throw a dart on someone who is still technically in the prime age for TE’s who has shown the TE1 upside on a team where his only competition for targets are a bunch of rookies and has-beens. There is no one else in that range that you can get who has the same upside as Reed. And even if he gets hurt and doesn’t finish the season, you’ll still be getting a top 10 performance for however long he lasts, which is more than I can say for anyone else in that range.
Matthew: I am buying into the fact that Jordan Reed is still a solid TE1 when he is on the field. He even led the team in targets in 2019 despite the time missed. He is one of the more unique talents at the position In the league and the only TE to outperform Gronk in his prime during a season. Reed should also be the primary target for his QBs out of the gate in 2019. Both McCoy & Keenum love to hit the underneath routes. If and when Haskins takes over Reed should provide a nice security blanket. Despite the good vibes coming out of D.C. I do not trust Reed to make it through a full season. I would love to pair him with a young high upside TE such as Gesicki, Fant, or Hockenson both in the short and long term. I would love to see what he can do with a full season but fool me once fool me twice applies in this case.
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