1st and 10 Week 17

1st and 10 Week 17 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

“1st and 10″ is a weekly segment by Utter-Fantasy.com, getting fantasy insights from a knowledgeable person in the fantastic fantasy football community. With 10 questions each week, we will canvass some of the hot button topics to keep us all informed on the ever-changing NFL landscape and which may carry major fantasy football implications.

On Monday afternoon, approximately 12:00 Noon Central, I will post the latest segment in “1st & 10.”  If you enjoy it, let us know. If you have any fantasy football questions, really let us know.

 

Week 17-  July 11th, 2016

“1st and 10″ Week 17 Special Guest Writer- Jennifer Smith- senior writer for TheFantasyAuthority

Special thanks to Jennifer Smith and be sure to follow her on Twitter @FF_female920

 

Utter-Fantasy #1) The running back can be a hit-or-miss position. Of the 11 RBs selected early last year in fantasy football drafts, only one delivered on what people were hoping for, that would be Adrian Peterson. The disappointing group included Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy, Arian Foster, Melvin Gordon and Jamaal Charles. I believe, however, that the current top 10 RBs are safer picks in 2016, than the top 10 RBs were last year? Do you agree Jennifer?

Jennifer Smith TFA: Well, injuries were the main factor last year with many you mentioned and those concerns are still present in this year’s top 10 RBs (as they always will be due to the ground and pound of being a workhorse); however, I’m confident in those at the top compared with last season. Age and durability have been the main topics coming up, but also small sample size/experience (e.g. Elliot, D Johnson). The main things I look for in my RB1 are 1) opportunity/volume 2) consistency 3) injury/durability concerns. If you spend an early round pick on these guys, you want a return and a big one at that. Both Charles and Bell are coming off knee injuries, but their rehab seems to be going well and I have no concerns about their volume or consistency when healthy. Doug Martin and Mark Ingram are integral pieces in their offenses (and consistent), and Lacy dropped weight and seems primed for a bounce back. I am high on Lamar Miller’s talent on a run heavy Texans team (he’s my #5 RB) and David Johnson will have to prove that his performance at the end of the season was legit. His coaching staff seems confident that Chris Johnson and Ellington will be complements and D Johnson will get lion’s share of the carries.

Devonta Freeman and Ezekiel Elliot are probably the backs I have more concern about, only because we haven’t seen Elliot at a professional level and there is always adjustment there, even though he is clearly very talented and well-rounded. Will he actually get 280-300 carries as is speculated? I’m thinking it will be less than that, but plenty to make a fantasy impact. Freeman’s efficiency started to wane over the second half of last season and with Tevin Coleman healthy, he will see less touches (265 carries last season, 73 receptions). The volume will be there and he showed he can be the bell-cow, but his performance over first half of last season (4.5 YPC; 9 TDs in 6 games) may be inflating fantasy owner’s expectations for 2016. He actually fell out of my top 10 (#11).

 

Utter-Fantasy #2) We all know that WR Antonio Brown will likely have another stellar season in 2016, but the other offensive players are harder to predict. Please write a brief sentence on the following Pittsburgh players with regard to their likely success with QB Roethlisberger and overall impact in fantasy football for standard formatted leagues. WR Markus Wheaton-WR Sammy Coates-WR Darrius Heyward-Bey-TE Ladarius Green

Jennifer Smith TFA:

WR Markus Wheaton- He will come out of the gate at the WR2 position and was tied with Heath Miller last season for the 2nd most red zone targets (third overall targets). He was pretty unimpressive in beginning of season, but had 4 TDs in last 6 games and seemed to develop chemistry with Big Ben. If he doesn’t step up initially with M. Bryant out, he’ll open the door for Coates. With a late 8th round ADP currently, you could snag a WR2 for a WR3 price (which is where I expect him to land for most of fantasy season), but I would rather have guys like Marvin Jones, Crabtree, or Travis Benjamin at a similar price.

WR Sammy Coates- They’ll involve Coates in 3 wide sets and give him an opportunity to show what he can do after having a “tremendous” off-season. He has the most to gain from M Bryant’s absence, but won’t hit his numbers in 2016. Coates is a great late round flyer in redraft and best-ball/MFL10 leagues due to his upside and opportunity.

WR Darrius Heyward-Bey- I don’t see him as fantasy relevant, as he is lowest on the totem pole out of all these listed. He had an increased role at the beginning of last season, but then was much less involved once Bryant returned.

TE Ladarius Green –He has the most upside for me, due to Ben’s extensive use of TEs in the past; however, this was with veteran Heath Miller who he developed chemistry with over 11 seasons. Green has been in Antonio Gate’s shadow in San Diego and definitely has the athleticism and size to dominate in the position. In the 3 games Gates was out in beginning of last season, Green averaged 4.6 rec, 58 yards, 12.5 yard average, and scored in 2 out of 3 games. I have him ranked as the #8 TE for 2016.

 

Utter-Fantasy #3) Most fantasy football prognosticators have a certain player(s) that they are higher on for the upcoming season than others might have them. I have DAL RB Zeke Elliott and SD WR Travis Benjamin higher than most. Who have you seen recently ranked perhaps too high, that you have reservations about?

Jennifer Smith TFA: Latavius Murray, Dion Lewis, and Devante Parker are the ones that I’ve seen creep up ranks this summer, perhaps too much. Murray’s YPC last season was unimpressive, but he was able to end the year as the #10 fantasy RB. The story this end result doesn’t show you is the weekly inconsistency and rollercoaster of production that he gave owners last season. He is currently ranked around #17-18 RB off the board and last season, he only bested this ranking in 6 games. The rest, he ranked #23 at best and #57 at worst. He’s ranked near guys like Forte, Anderson, Hyde, and D Murray (and above Gore, Gordon, Langford) and ADP in late 3rd round. This price is just too high for me given the issues mentioned and the addition of D Washington behind him (will probably steal mostly receiving touches, at least initially). I would rather have someone with more consistency for my RB2.

My concerns with Lewis are purely about durability. He has NEVER played a full season and is on the ever-mysterious NE Patriots which many downplay, but is a serious obstacle and frustration of many fantasy owners during season. I don’t question his talent one bit, but coming off another injury (ACL), I think drafting him at around #23 RB (near in ranking to J Hill, Stewart, Gore, D Murray, Landford, and Gordon) is too steep for me. My RB2 needs to be consistent and stable, and I just wouldn’t reach that high for someone with such high risk. FYI, I had the same mindset about Arian Foster last year and told others that even his lower ADP was too pricey. There’s a chance things turn out well for owners, but a higher likelihood of disappointment. Good best ball pick or RB3, but most likely someone is going to reach for him in your league. It won’t be me.

Devante Parker is a guy with upside and his performance at the end of last season after Rishad Matthews’ injury gave him the opportunity was impressive. I won’t argue the upside, as everyone saw how explosive he CAN be when he’s healthy and his fundamentals are sound. However, my concern is his ADP (6.10) and that he is flying off the board before guys like John Brown, Allen Hurns, Donte Moncrief, and Tyler Lockett. We have a limited sample of Parker and he has a nagging foot injury that he’s struggled with since college (missed time last season as well). There’s just not enough to justify a his increased ranking, in my eyes.

 

Utter-Fantasy #4)  In a follow up question, what player have you currently ranked higher than others, because you see them having a better 2016 NFL season than is expected?

Jennifer Smith TFA: I swear, I had him before he was mentioned in the last question but Travis Benjamin is a guy I really like this season. The Chargers offense will be improved this year with the return of Keenan Allen and better play by Melvin Gordon. Rivers ended 2015 as the #1 QB in completions (438) and pass attempts (662), so there’s plenty of targets for this deep threat player. Benjamin finished last season as the #28 fantasy WR, yet he is being ranked around #48 currently despite joining a better team and having a better QB. His ADP is in the ninth round right now, which is a steal for a WR2 across from Keenan Allen. Sign me up.

 

Utter-Fantasy #5) The fantasy football draft can be one of the best parts of any fantasy season. One of my favorite “best ball’ leagues actually drafts “twice”…once prior to the beginning of the NFL season, then at Week 8 of the NFL schedule. (Each team freezes 2 players from their existing roster, all other players are thrown back into the “available pot” and we re-draft.) It is very fun, and brings a new, exciting element to the league as everyone has practically a brand new team. Have you ever participated in a mid-season re-draft league, and if not, would you ever recommend it for a future league?

Jennifer Smith TFA: I actually haven’t participated in a league with a mid-season re-draft, but I’m always game for ways to make fantasy more fun. I like the excitement of getting a “second crack” at drafting, but I would imagine as an owner that is dominating or drafted well initially, the second draft could be un-welcomed or frustrating. The owner that drafted poorly or whose team is plagued with injuries, would be ecstatic. If you sign up for one of these leagues, you know the 2nd draft is coming and most likely you enjoy something different to spice things up mid-season. Personally, I might steer clear of doing a lot of these leagues due to preparation that I do for my drafts and that this might be a lot to manage mid-season. I can definitely see the appeal, especially if you’ve been in fantasy football for a while and are getting bored with regular formats.

 

Utter-Fantasy #6) Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan has put up consistent fantasy numbers year after year, ending 2015 as the #16 overall quarterback. A few years ago he was being evaluated as a top-tier quarterback, but opinions have varied since then. Do you have faith that Matty Ice will have a productive 2016 campaign? Where would you rank him amidst QBs? How early or late should owners be looking to draft him?

Jennifer Smith TFA: Yes, I do think that Matt Ryan will have an improved season compared to 2015 and I have him ranked currently at #13 , right between Romo and Dalton. Ryan ended in the top 10 fantasy QBs in 2012-2014, but his dud last season might be steering owners away in 2016, which is a mistake. Ryan seemed to have difficulty adjusting to OC Kyle Shanahan’s system and threw 16 interceptions (2nd highest in career) and only 21 TDs (worse than any of his past 6 seasons; only season he did worse was his rookie campaign). Julio is Julio, but he can’t do everything. Roddy White clearly did help Ryan’s play in 2015, but Atlanta hopes that Sanu will contribute more. I think Sanu will be better than White and having a decent (emphasis on decent, not good) WR2 to help reduce double coverage on Julio Jones can only help the offense. Add in the successful running tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and I think Ryan returns to form and ends the season just outside the top 10

 

Utter-Fantasy #7) Which team or teams that made the playoffs last season will suffer the biggest drop off and miss the tournament this year? Subsequently, which team could you see making the jump into relevance in 2016?

Jennifer Smith TFA: The Bengals may struggle in the AFC North division, as I think both the Steelers and the Ravens will have good 2016 seasons and, as already discussed, they have a depleted receiving corps heading into this season. As we all know as well, Dalton will have to step up his consistency in order to make the playoffs again this year. I know I might anger a bunch of fans here, but I think the Patriots might have a harder road this season to the playoffs than in many seasons past. The Jets missed playoffs by the skin of their teeth in 2015, Dolphins have some great upside, and Buffalo gets Sammy Watkins at full health and a dynamic quarterback in Tyrod Taylor.

I could see the Colts making a jump back into relevance this season with a healthy Andrew Luck. They improved their O-line and so can protect him better and I like their receiver corps of Hilton, Moncrief, and D Allen. Their run game is a little concerning, as if Gore goes down, there isn’t a lot of depth behind him. I could also see Cowboys having a big jump after a horrible 2015 season. They’ll need a healthy 16 games from Romo and Bryant, and for Elliot to hit the ground running (literally), but I could see them having a strong season. Their receiving corps isn’t very strong behind Bryant, however, so that’s something to keep in mind.

 

Utter-Fantasy #8) Of the following NFL players who had significant injuries in 2015, who concerns you the most for the upcoming season? RB LeVeon Bell… RB Jamaal Charles… TE Jimmy Graham… WR Jordy Nelson… WR Kevin White… WR Keenan Allen

Jennifer Smith TFA: I know many might say Kevin White (and I’m concerned somewhat, but more of his rookie performance and not injury), but I’m more concerned with Jimmy Graham. The reports out of Seattle about his recovery timeline have been mixed, some saying he will be ready Week 1 and others that he will start the season on the PUP/reserve list (costing him first 6 games of the season, a huge fantasy impact). As if this wasn’t enough, Graham was severely underutilized last season in Seattle after dominating in New Orleans. He had difficulty converting the few red zone targets he received (30% completion rate) and then tore his patellar tendon in week 12. This is considered one of the most serious injuries a player can face and his ability to bounce back is severely in question (see Victor Cruz). He concerns me most, followed by White.

 

Utter-Fantasy #9) Denver’s WR Demaryius Thomas had 14 TDs in 2013, 11 TDs in 2014 and only 6 TDs in 2015. Does his downward TD spiral continue in 2016, and what do you predict for his overall stats at the end of the upcoming season?

Jennifer Smith TFA: I think Thomas bounces back in 2016 and I anticipate a 10-12 TDs, 110 receptions for around 1375-1400 yards. DT had some distractions (contract, mother’s release from prison) during the 2015 season and has admitted that these distractions took away from his performance. Add in Manning’s struggles and moves at QB, and this temporary dip in production makes some sense. Despite the uncertainty at QB for 2016, DT is by far the most targeted receiver (overall and in the red zone) in Denver, and it isn’t close. He will continue to be an anchor of the offense and looked toward to lead the team in 2016.

 

Utter-Fantasy #10) The Cincinnati Bengals lost WRs Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu to free agency. TE Tyler Eifert is injured again and does not expect to be ready for Week 1. The Bengals signed WR Brandon LaFell and drafted WR Tyler Boyd, but did they do enough in free agency and the 2016 NFL Draft to replace their depleted receiving corps?

Jennifer Smith TFA: It’s a strong no for me on this one. AJG can’t do it all himself and the injury to Eifert is a significant loss. Eifert represented the 3rd most targeted receiver overall and the 2nd most targeted player in the red zone. LaFell represents a fill-in and someone that could be fantasy relevant only because of volume/situation, not based on talent. Anyone that watched him last season couldn’t be overly impressed with his drops and completion percentage (50%), but the Bengals will look to him as WR2 as Boyd gets used in the slot. I was never very impressed with Sanu, so I think his loss hurts much less than Marvin Jones. He quietly had a solid 2015 season with a 65-816-4 line and was a consistent contributor across from Green, but left the Bengals to get more opportunities and leave Green’s shadow. Boyd will need to get his feet wet as a rookie and if Green gets injured, the Bengals will struggle significantly.

Next Week’s Guest….GuestFFL.com’s Matt Dougherty

1ST AND 10 WEEK 16 WITH RTFANTASYSPORTS
1st AND 10 Week 15 with Eric dewalt
1st AND 10 Week 14 With Jamie Black
1ST AND 10 WEEK 13 WITH DFF’s MICHAEL HUGHES

 

1st and 10 with DFF Week 6

1st and 10 with DFF Week 6 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

“1st and 10 with DFF” is a weekly segment of fantasy insights and a joint endeavor between the Dynasty Football Factory and Utter-Fantasy Football. We will canvass some of the hot button topics to keep us all informed on the ever-changing NFL landscape and which may carry major fantasy implications.

Michael Goins is the owner of Dynasty Football Factory, which is a website that you must visit daily, or you are missing out on great fantasy football, especially dynasty formatted fantasy football. Follow him on twitter @DynastyFFactory

 

On Monday afternoon, approximately 2:00 PM Central, I will post the latest segment in “1st & 10 with DFF.”  If you enjoy it, let us know. If you have any questions for Michael, really let us know.

 

Week 6-  April 18th, 2016

Special Guest Writer-Dynasty Football Factory’s Jeremy Funk. Be sure to follow Jeremy on Twitter @DFF_Deuce

 

Utter-Fantasy #1) Everyone has an opinion by now about the blockbuster trade made by the Rams with the Titans to get the #1 selection in the 2016 NFL Draft? What is yours?

DFF Response) Overall, I like this trade for both teams honestly.

LA: It tells me who the Rams will be drafting. Between the lines and largely missed by most media outlets, Hue Jackson, Jared Goff, and Adam Silver (NFL Network Analyst) are all linked directly to one another by the CAL program. After the Trade, Silver tweeted:

the Tweet image

This tells me Goff will undoubtedly be a Ram. Also, I think this opens an awesome window to buy some of the options in LA. Quick and Austin are likely to increase in value. Goff is a great talent and has been hailed by Matt Waldman as the best QB to come out as Luck. He will also be in a place where he can rely on arguably the best RB in the game and a defense that will control the game.

TEN: The Titans will now have the needed picks to add a good RT (probably Conklin), take some shots on skill positions, and add more talent to that Dick LeBeau defense. I think this is largely beneficial to QB Mariota. Going forward, I am nervous for Murray. With six picks in the top 50, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Henry or Dixon in a TEN jersey.

 

Utter-Fantasy #2)   Do you think the NFL does enough to prepare young athletes for fame and fortune, or could they do more to prevent disasters like Titus Young, Josh Gordon, Aldon Smith, Joseph Randle and Johnny Manziel from happening?

DFF Response) You are trying to get me to go on a rant, aren’t you!
Before I begin, I love the game of football enough to spend my free time writing about a game within a game. Please keep that in mind before tweeting me hate mail…

Personally, I struggle with a lot of mixed feelings about the ethics the NFL displays at times. To be frank, I don’t think the NFL cares. The tragedy of these young men is caused by clinical illness. However, they are seen through the eyes of business, which is in light of tickets, jersey sales, cost cutting.

For example, if we drug tested every single player on a random day, do you think we would have more players test positive? Yes, because the NFL has set a standard date for drug testing. Therefore, the players who are able to stop doing drugs for the month or so, to flush their systems, are able to pass the test. This biased sampling process causes two types of people to test positive: those who don’t care enough to known the testing rule and those suffering from a mental illness. The NFL then chooses to cut bait on them after they cannot stop, which leaves them to a life of mockery and often further addiction.

I do not want to paint the NFL as doing this on purpose, but I do want to present this narrative in a different light. By the addition of Fantasy Football, the NFL has gotten fans to also view the players as an owner does….. Another asset to our team.

“I don’t care if you are healthy, get on the field!  They are gonna cost me money!!”

I challenge you to see the difference between if I was quoting the thoughts of a NFL owner or something we have all thought in one way or another.

…. So in short, NO THEY DON’T and ABSOLUTELY!

(Utter-Fantasy Response- You won’t get “hate mail”, we all agree with you Jeremy!)

 

Utter-Fantasy #3)  Remember the “Good ol’ Days” when TE Jimmy Graham was the #1 tight end in the NFL? In 2012 and 2013 he had a combined 26 touchdown receptions. I am currently participating in a DFF IDP Mock draft in which 14 tight ends were selected before TE Graham was taken in the 17th round (of the 30 round draft). Are fantasy football owners sleeping on TE Graham for the upcoming 2016 season?

DFF Response) No…..He should be lower than that, honestly.

I have not research this injury, specifically. However, I can name off more than four people that have had such a rare and significant injury (Torn Patellar Tendon). Victor Cruz, Ryan Williams, Morris Claiborne, Cadillac Williams….Jimmy Graham.

Here’s a quote from RB Ryan Williams to Victor Cruz: “Growing up I thought the worst injury you could have is the ACL. No, when you tear that patellar tendon and your kneecap shifts into your thigh, that’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy…… There’s no easy way to walk anyone through the process.”

Not only did these guys never produce a fantasy viable season again, NONE have returned to the field for starter snaps after their injury. However, this is only from my knowledge, so there is a lot of hope still. If Victor Cruz is able to come back, I will definitely reconsider my stance. Until then, Jimmy has retired in my opinion.

Here’s a great article that better describes the injury and its viability of return.
http://dynastyleaguefootball.com/2013/06/01/the-dynasty-doctor-6/

 

Utter-Fantasy #4) In 2014, Buffalo had the #2 defense in the NFL. In 2015, they had the #24 defense in the NFL. So how did HC Rex Ryan address his floundering defense in the off-season? He hired his brother Rob Ryan, who was fired as defensive coach in New Orleans following the team’s 47-14 loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 10. Under Ryan, The Saint’s defense ranked dead last in the NFL in both yards allowed and points allowed. Would you like to speculate how the Buffalo defense fares in 2016 under the Ryan brothers?

DFF Response) ***Sigh***

It’s bad business to partner yourself with family. Just like his dad, Rex continually proves to be a terrible head coach in the NFL. I can’t blame Rob for what happened in NOLA. The front office was selling everyone on with decent talent to make up for their mismanagement of the salary cap. If I remember correctly, most of them were on the defense. Rob will be a positions coach, so he won’t have much say in the in-game play calling… thank god. As far as Rex, he will be back to his coordinator position in no time.

To bring it back to fantasy, a decaying Rex Ryan defense is great…………. FOR SAMMY WATKINS!!!

 

Utter-Fantasy #5)  Arian Foster, Joique Bell, Ronnie Hillman, Pierre Thomas, Anthony Dixon, Bryce Brown, Bernard Pierce and Kendall Hunter. Are you surprised that any of these unsigned running backs are still available as free agents and if so, why?

DFF Response) Hillman is the one I am most confused by. He’s recent production was worthy of a contract. I think that is bad news for him. He is either seeking too much money or teams know something we don’t.

 

Utter-Fantasy #6) In 2015, KC QB Alex Smith was sacked the 6th most often in the NFL. The Chiefs’ O-Line was atrocious last year and they just lost T/G Jeff Allen and OT Donald Stephenson in free agency. If the Chiefs don’t come up big in the 2016 NFL Draft with help for their offensive line, I will drop KC skill position players substantially in my rankings. Will you?

DFF Response) Every push has an equal pull, right? If they don’t take O-line, then they will be adding talent to the skills or Defense. If its defense, I would say it helps the running game and keeps Maclin the same. However, I think they hurt everyone’s fantasy value if a skill player is drafted there.

In general, I would be selling all options in KC. If I am drafting and players are falling down the boards by 2-3 rounds, I would draft them.

 

Utter-Fantasy #7) Talk about winning and losing the “Takeaway/ Giveway” Battle…in 2015, the Carolina Panthers were #1 in the NFL with a plus 20 record in season turnovers and Dallas was dead last with negative 22. It’s hard to imagine Carolina successfully repeating with plus 20 again or Dallas being this bad again, but who do you think will come closest in 2016?

DFF Response) I thought about this for nearly 20 minutes. I think the odds are even, honestly. The answer lies in how the Defense is playing. I don’t know if Dallas can create turnovers and prevent them from falling behind. If Dallas can run the ball, they will commit a lot fewer turnovers. Carolina was great last season, but from what I have seen, Cam made a lot of throws that should be intercepted. However, their defense is good enough to create turnovers at will. I’m sorry, but I honestly can’t decide.

 

Utter-Fantasy #8) 2014 was the year of the amazing rookie wide receiver class. Will 2015 be considered the year of the amazing rookie running back class?

DFF Response) 2015 is not even close to as dominant as the 2008 draft. Here are some of the names:
Darren McFadden
Jonathan Stewart
Felix Jones
Reshard Mendenhall
Chris Johnson (CJ2k)
Matt Forte
Ray Rice
Kevin Smith (Injury derailed)
Jamaal Charles
Steve Slaton
Peyton Hillis
Justin Forsett

We will be blessed if half as many of the guys in 2015 hit as well as this class. However, I truly believe 2017 is the next big influx of young talent at RB. Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself.

2017 Running Backs

(Utter-Fantasy Response- Great players in 2008, no doubt about it, but there can be more than one amazing rookie running back class.)

 

Utter-Fantasy #9) Last week one of my 1st & 10 questions from DFF addressed the Falcon’s urgency at wide receiver. Atlanta is also in dire need of multiple pass-rushers, having finished 2015 dead last in the NFL in sacks (19). Should the Falcon’s prioritize these concerns before selecting a wide out?

DFF Response) That was actually one of my questions, so I find it fitting to answer a rebuttal. I can answer strongly about one position and only speculate on the other.

The lack of sacks can be due to a number of reasons. A) The edge rush is ineffective. B) The DT position cannot provide the internal push to prevent the QB from stepping up in the pocket. C) Poor understanding or skill by linebackers and safeties allow for an exploitable weakness underneath.

Out of all those situations, I find it most likely due to the DT or LB weakness. However, I don’t want to make that judgment without watching the film, but with such a low sack total clearly shows a defensive need. They are also committed to a developing a defense, so it would not be surprising if the need elsewhere comes before a running mate for Julio.

 

Utter-Fantasy #10) There is so much spectacular wide receiver talent in the NFL, and I am still blown away that PITT WR Antonio Brown was the #1 wide out in the NFL for the second straight year. He can’t possibly make it 3 years in row… or can he?

DFF Response) Absolutely, he is in the prime of his career. He and Ben have a “Harrison-Manning esc” relationship. However, the dramatic falloff in production the few times Big Ben was injured has been troublesome. Ben being 34 makes me think that the end might be sneaking up on us quicker than we might hope.

 

Next week Utter-Fantasy will have 10 new questions for the Dynasty Football Factory

1st and 10 with DFF Week 5
1st AND 10 WITH DFF WEEK 4
1st and 10 with DFF Week 3
1st and 10 with DFF Week 2
1st and 10 with DFF Week 1

Houston Texans Team Profile 2016

Houston Texans Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

There have been four head coaches of the AFC South Division Houston Texans. Don Capers was the first, followed by Gary Kubiak, who was fired mid-season on December 6, 2013. ( He was replaced on an interim basis by defensive coordinator Wade Phillips for the last 3 games.) In the 2013 off-season, Bill O’Brien was hired to be the 4th Texans’ next head coach. O’Brien had previously served as the NE offensive coordinator under Bill Belichick. Heading into his 3rd season, O’Brien  serves as both the Texans’ head coach and offensive coordinator.

2016 Team Outlook–
In 2014, Houston’s 9-7 record didn’t come close to winning the AFC South Division, but in 2015, the Houston’s record of 9-7 did win the AFC South. The Indianapolis Colts couldn’t match their 2014 11-5 record, with QB Andrew Luck out most of the season, so Houston leaped on top. With question marks still at quarterback, it will be difficult for Houston to challenge a healthy Andrew Luck and the Colts. ( the Jacksonville Jaguars are an interesting sleeper team)

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

QB–
The Indianapolis Colts have only needed only 2 great quarterbacks playing for them since 1998 (Prior to QB Andrew Luck’s injury in 2015). Meanwhile the Texans have struggled with Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, TJ Yates, Brandon Weeden, Matt Schaub, Case Keenum, Matt Leinart, Sage Rosenfls, David Carr, Tony Banks and Dave Ragone! Texans owner Bob McNair has made to clear to the GM and head coach that he isn’t a fan of Hoyers. If there is a Week 1 starting quarterback in this NFL Draft, he probably won’t be there at Houston’s No. 22 overall. UPDATE: The Texans have signed former Bronco QB Brock Osweiler

RBs– Arian Foster has only played in 25 games over the past 3 years. Foster ruptured his Achilles tendon on October 25, 2015, in a loss to the Miami Dolphins. Two days later, Foster was placed on injured reserve. On January 14, 2016, the Houston Chronicle reported that the Texans would likely release Foster before the 2016 season. RB Alfred Blue played 14 games in 2015, ranking only 50th among NFL running backs. The top 5 running backs currently headed for the 2016 NFL Draft are 1. Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State, 2. Derrick Henry, Alabama, 3. Alex Collins, Arkansas, 4. Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech and 5. Devontae Booker, Utah. UPDATE: The Texans have signed former Dolphin RB Lamar Miller

WRs– DeAndre Hopkins, also known as “Nuk,” was drafted by the Texans in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He played college football at Clemson. You know that you have a great NFL offensive weapon, when he can put 1521 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions (ranking #6 wide receiver in the NFL) with 4 different quarterbacks in 2016. Houston selected two wide receivers back-to-back in the 2015 NFL Draft, WR 6’2″ Jaelen Strong in Round 3, and 6’0″ Keith Mumphery in the 5th Round.


TEs–
Ryan Griffin, CJ Fiedorowicz and Garrett Graham all had minimal action in 2015. Griffin topped the group 251 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. There are talented free agents tight ends looking for new teams this year, including Dadarius Green, Dwayne Allen and Zach Miller, if Houston feels they are upgrades. 2016 Free Agents-

K–
former Texan place kickers Randy Bullock and Nick Novak (13 games in 2015) are both free agents this year.


DEF–
LE J.J. Watt earned his third Defensive Player of the Year award in the past four seasons. Despite this honor, the Houston defense took a few steps backwards in 2015, dropping from 6th top defense in 2014, to 8th in 2015. The Texans were a pedestrian 13th vs the run last season. Houston used their 1st two selections in the 2015 NFL Draft on 6’0″ CB Kevin Johnson and 6’4″ ILB Benardrick McKinney.


2016 Houston Fantasy Surprises–
Only the Panthers ( Week 2), the Dolphins ( Week 7), the Saints ( Week 12) and the Patriots ( Week 14) were able to slow down wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in 2016. His best game of the season came in Week 6 vs the Jaguars- 10 catches for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB Alfred Blue was moderately effective when given the opportunity, ending 2015 as the 40th running back in the NFL. In Week 3 vs Tampa Bay, he had 31 carries for 139 yards and 1 TD.


2016 Free Agents that Houston Needs to Address–
WR Nate Washington, K Nick Novak, P Shane Lechler, RB Chris Polk, RB Jonathan Grimes (RFA),OG Brandon Brooks, OT Chris Clark, DE Jared Crick, C Ben Jones, FS Quintin Demps, SS Eddie Pleasant (RFA), OLB John Simon (RFA)


2016 NFL Draft–
The immediate needs of Houston is at quarterback, running back, at safety and on their defensive line. The Texan’s first pick doesn’t comes until the 22nd selection of the first round.

Did You Know–
The name Texans has a long history in professional football. The Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City to become the Chiefs. The San Antonio Texans played one year in the Canadian Football League. The Houston Texans of the NFL began play roughly 25 years after the Houston Texans of the WFL left town.

Team Home Page: www.houstontexans.com

All team reports can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team Profiles- Houston Texans

Team Profiles- Houston Texans by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Bill O’Brien is the current head coach and offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans. This is his first head coaching job in the NFL. O’Brien has spent most of this coaching career at the college level, but was with the New England Patriots from 2007-2011. He served as a wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, and was promoted to offensive coordinator in February 2011. In 2012, he was hired by Penn State to take over a program that had just endured the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. O’Brien finished his first Texan season with a 9-7 record. O’Brien is an offensive minded coach, who has a solid defense, so the fit should work. 2014 was still a reflection of the team HC Gary Kubiak had built, so it will be interesting to see what changes O’Brien makes in 2015, to mold the team into his design.

2015 Team Outlook–
The AFC South has the Indianapolis Colts, and the other 3. Other than some question marks at the running back position, the Colts have all the pieces in place to easily lead the AFC South in wins again in 2015. The Texans meanwhile, have lots of pieces missing, so while the Colts are repeating, the Texans will be rebuilding. The other 2 teams, Jacksonville and Tennessee, only had 5 wins total between the two teams in 2014. Jacksonville is growing around a “just OK” quarterback in Blake Bortles, drafted in 2014, and Tennessee keeps drafting and plugging in a different QB, seemingly every year. The AFC South will finish in 2015, like it did in 2014. Colts winning the division, Houston in 2nd place, and the other 2 teams out of contention.

2015 Fantasy Outlook–

QB–
It’s almost unfair that the Colts have needed only 2 great quarterbacks playing for them since 1998, while the “other 3″ struggle to have just a competent QB on their roster…for any season. The “other 3″ are Houston, Tennessee and Jacksonville. Of the 3, only Jacksonville knows who their 2105 quarterback will be. The Texans have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum and Tom Savage listed on their roster, but last year the Texans traded for Ryan Mallett, and there are rumblings that the Texans want him to start in 2015. (It didn’t cost Houston much to get him from New England, only for a conditional 6th round pick.) Mallett is a free agent however, so Houston first has to re-sign him. UPDATE: Texans Acquired a 2016 seventh-round pick from the Jets in exchange for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sign former Brown QB Brian Hoyer. Re-signed QB Ryan Mallett.

RBs– RB Arian Foster’s may have a reputation for being injured often, but for a running back who carries the ball as many times as he does, Foster actually plays a lot, and for most of every season. RB Foster missed half of 2013 due to a lingering back injury, but in the other 4 seasons since 2010, the workhorse has only missed a total of 6 games. Foster played 13 of the 16 regular season games in 2014, and ended the year as the #5 RB in the NFL. Foster totaled 1373 yards from scrimmage and scored 13 TDs. UPDATE: It didn’t take Foster long to get injured! Out at least 8 weeks of regular season. Alfred Blue, a 6’2″ 223 pound running back drafted by the Texans in the 2014 sixth round, is Foster’s back-up.

WRs– There aren’t many wide receivers who spend their entire career with one team, but WR Andre Johnson could be a guy that joins that elite group. Johnson was drafted by the Texans third overall in the 2003 NFL Draft, he is second all-time in NFL history in receiving yards per game trailing only Detroit’s Calvin Johnson. He holds nearly every Texans receiving record. The Texans have expressed a strong desire that Andre Johnson retire a Texan, and hopefully he does. 1st rounder in the 2013 draft, WR DeAndre Hopkins is now the #1 wide receiver in Houston and ended the past season as #14 among all WRs. The Texans have a lot of young wide receivers on their roster right now, and some of them have to step it in 2015, or Houston needs to find some new WRs that will. UPDATE: Texans release Andre Johnson, who then signed w/ Indy. Texans sign former Jag WR Cecil Shorts. With Houston’s 3rd pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they selected 6’2″ WR Jaelen Strong who will battle newly-signed WR Cecil Shorts for the starting position opposite WR DeAndre Hopkins.

TEs–
Like Green Bay, Baltimore and New England, Houston has always been an offense that has incorporated a big, sure-handed tight end into the play-calling. (TE Owen Daniels comes to mind.) The Texans have drafted a tight end in 3 of their last 5 NFL drafts. TE Garrett Graham, drafted in 2010, was the 49th ranked TE in the NFL in 2014, with only 197 yards and 1 TD. HC O’Brien might just be a guy who’s tight ends don’t play a significant role in any offense.

K–
Randy Bullock was selected by the Houston Texans in the fifth round of the 2002 NFL Draft, becoming the first kicker ever drafted by the team. In 2013, Bullock became the first NFL kicker since 1985 to have a field goal percentage less than 62 percent with at least 20 attempts. K Bullock rebounded in 2014, successfully hitting 30 of 35 field goals, including 6 out of 6 in Week 16.

DEF–
One of the biggest stories of the 2014 NFL season, was the dominating, week after week performance of J J Watt, AP’s Defensive Player of the Year. Watt became the first defensive lineman to score five touchdowns in a season in a season since 1944. Watt scored 3 TDs on offensive and 2 on defense. As a team, the Houston defense ranked #4 in the NFL for 2014. Only the 49ers and the Browns had more INTs. Unlike some teams who’s defense are being dismantled by free agency, most of Houston’s key defensive players will be returning for the 2015. UPDATE: Signed FS Rahim Moore and former Patriot NT Vince Wilfork.

2014 Houston Fantasy Surprises–
J J Watt’s 5 touchdowns. When Arian Foster plays, he averages 22.9 touches per game which is still the 4th-highest workload in the league. Andre Johnson only scoring 1 TD from Week One to Week 13, and only 3 total for 2014.

2015 Free Agents that Houston Needs to Address–
QB Ryan Mallett (re-signed)- OT Derek Newton (re-signed)- DE Ryan Pickett- OL Brooks Reed Signed w/ Atlanta)- CB Kareem Jackson (resigned)- S Kendrick Lewis (Signed w/ Baltimore)

2015 NFL Draft–
The immediate needs of Houston is at quarterback, corner back, and at wide receiver. The Texan’s first pick doesn’t comes until the 16th selection of the first round, so it’s unlikely they’ll address the QB position unless one of the top 3 QBs drops that far in the upcoming NFL Draft (QB), shoring up their secondary is a top priority for Houston (CB) and 3 of Houston’s last 4 drafted wide receivers have not turned out to be play-makers, so they may address this position again (WR). UPDATE: Houston’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- HOUSTON’S DRAFT

Did You Know–
JJ Watt’s contract made him the NFL’s highest paid non-quarterback player in the NFL? Prior to the start of the 2014 season, JJ Watt agreed to a six-year contract extension, worth $100 million, $31 million he received at signing and he will receive $21 million at the start of the 2016 season if he is still on the roster. He will be!

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team Home Page: www.houstontexans.com