1st and 10 Week 18

1st and 10 Week 18 by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

“1st and 10″ is a weekly segment by Utter-Fantasy.com, getting fantasy football 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 ones might carry major fantasy football implications.

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

 

Week 18-  July 18th, 2016

“1st and 10″ Week 18 Special Guest Writer- GuestFFL.com’s Matt Dougherty

Special thanks to Matt and be sure to follow him @FFLSFantasy and  @QuestFFL

 

Utter-Fantasy #1) Here is a Dynasty Quarterback Ranking that I got off of a popular  fantasy football website. Please comment on what you do and don’t agree with, regarding to the QBs on this list and where each is ranked.

1. IND Andrew Luck
2. GB Aaron Rodgers
3. CAR Cam Newton
4. SEA Russell Wilson
5. OAK Derek Carr
6. TB Jameis Winston
7. JACK Blake Bortles
8. TENN Marcus Mariota
9. DET Matthew Stafford
10. SD Philip Rivers

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: The top 3 QB’s are interchangeable and I would not fault anyone for taking any one of them as the first QB off the board, but Newton would be my #1 QB.  45 total TD’s in 2015 and that was with Ted Ginn and Jericho Cotchery as his top weapons.  Now he has a healthy Kelvin Benjamin, a developing Devin Funchess and a chip on his shoulder after his Super Bowl performance and post game meltdown.

Luck would come in as a close second and is a major buy low candidate after an abysmal 2015 season.  Expect a big bounce back season in 2015 and I love the young weapons he has around him with Hilton, Moncrief and Dorsett.

Rodgers is Mr. Consistent and you can always pencil him for over 30 TD’s and has Jordy Nelson coming back from injury.  At 32 years old, I would take Newton and Luck over Rodgers.  

I don’t have any issues 4-8 as all 5 QB’s will be great #1 options for the next 10 years.  Although Carr scares me a bit after his 2nd half performance in 2015 and would feel better taking a couple of the guys like Mariota, Bortles and Winston over Carr. In the final 5 games in 2015, Carr had a QB rating of 71.1 with a 8 TD’s and 7 INT’s.  

I expect a huge season from Rivers.  Travis Benjamin is a great addition and will put up some good numbers in that offense.  With Keenan Allen returning from injury and Antonio Gates back for another season, Rivers will easily surpass 30 TD’s and is a reliable #1 QB.  At 34, his age keeps him down in the rankings.  

I have a huge problem with Stafford in the top 10. Post Megatron, there is no way I trust him as my #1 fantasy QB. Golden Tate and Marvin Jones do not inspire much confidence.  I would take guys like Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Andy Dalton, and even the oldies but goodies Drew Brees and Tom Brady, even with the suspension  over Stafford.  

 

Utter-Fantasy #2) Is Chip Kelly’s 1st year as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers doomed, if he is counting on either Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick to be his starting quarterback in 2016?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: Yes! I don’t expect either of them to be a long-term solution in SF and expect a musical chairs at QB this season.  In a tough NFC west, this should be a rebuilding season and a top 5 draft pick in 2017, where Kelly can grab his QB of the future.

 

Utter-Fantasy #3) In 2015 San Francisco, Minnesota and St. Louis were last in the NFL in passing -respectively. Can you make a case for 1 or more of these improving enough to stay out of the bottom 3 again in 2016?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: Minnesota will make a big move up those rankings. QB Teddy Bridgewater should continue to progress as a passer and I expect the coaching staff to open up the playbook for him this season.  I also love the weapons Minnesota is putting  around him.  Teams will continue to stack the box with AP still a stud and the addition of Treadwell, who will contribute immediately, will help the passing game.  Diggs and Rudolph should continue to improve as well.

As stated above, I see no hope in SF this year.  Kelly will run Hyde into the ground as there are virtually playmakers on the offensive side.  The same goes for the Rams, with a likely rookie starting QB.  It will be the Todd Gurley show.  Jared Goff is someone to stash on your roster in dynasty leagues, however.

 

Utter-Fantasy #4)  Preseason football is just a couple weeks away. What do you think is important for fantasy football owners to pay attention to, in the 4 preseason games?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: I try not to pay too much attention to pre-season numbers, especially when it comes to established players that you will be relying on as starters during the season.  Players will be rested and coaches will keep play calling close to the vest.  Pay attention to what kind of reps backups and rookies are getting in pre-season games, as this is a good indicator of where they may end up on the depth charts.

(Utter-Fantasy: I like to see the 1st string O-Lines)

 

Utter-Fantasy #5) In 2015, TENN TE Delanie Walker had a league leading 94 receptions, while none of the other Titan receivers even topped 36 receptions ( H Douglas/ K Wright both had 36). WR Dorial Green-Beckham only had 32 catches in 2015. In his 2nd year, will QB Marcus Mariota be more successful in spreading the ball around to his offensive weapons? Also, what kind of receiving stats do you see TE D Walker, WR DGB, WR K Wright and Rishard Matthews ending the 2016 season with?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: Mariota will continue to develop as a passer and his passing stats should reflect this.  The addition of Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray will help open up the passing game for Tennessee and Mariota.  While I expect Walker to once again put up top 10 TE numbers, 94 catches will be tough to match with the weapons Tennessee has added and the development of WR’s like DGB.  DGB showed glimpses of the star that many think he will be the last half of 2015 with two 100 yard games out of the last 6.  1000 yards is not of the question for DGB.  Matthews and Wright could be a decent flex option in PPR leagues but their production will be inconsistent and their ceilings will be limited with the number of weapons Tennessee has.

 

Utter-Fantasy #6) Do you think a player like TB WR Mike Evans can dramatically improve his receiving abilities and concentration ( most drops in 2015 by a wide out), in only one off-season?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: I do and I expect Evans to have a huge year.  At only 22, and going into the magical 3rd year for a WR, I expect a big leap and Evans should not have a problem getting rid of the dropsies. With Winston continuing to develop and the Bucs also improving, I expect double digit TD’s and over 80 catches.

 

Utter-Fantasy #7) An NFL team may often have a terrible losing record, but still provide great players for fantasy football owners. The New Orleans Saints ( 7-9 in 2015) are a good example. Of the 14 defensive players selected in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL draft, who are you expecting to help fantasy football owners the most in leagues that score individual defensive players?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: If you are looking for immediate production, Joey Bosa of the Chargers should rack up the tackle total.  For long-term production, Jaylon Smith and Myles Jack are the players to own if you are willing to be patient and have the roster room available to wait for them to recover from significant injuries.

 

Utter-Fantasy #8) I have written that I thought Robert Griffin III could resurrect his career in 2016, if given the starting job in the preseason. However, looking at the upcoming NFL schedule, the Browns have 5 of their first 7 games on the road, and the 2 home games are against Baltimore and New England. A rough start will likely crush RG3’s fragile confidence, so I am back tracking on my earlier prediction. Good idea, based on the schedule?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: To go along with a fragile confidence, RG3 also has a very fragile body and I would be shocked if he makes it out of the first half alive. I would avoid him at all costs, especially with the price tag still a bit inflated with owners hoping he can replicate his rookie year performance.

 

Utter-Fantasy #9) I recently published an article entitled “10 Players Getting No Respect” and on that list was JACK QB Blake Bortles. A few of my readers, who’s comments I very much welcome, disagreed with Bortles being on the list. They feel like he is already getting all the respect that he deserves in rankings and mock drafts. Which side of this subject are you leaning and why?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty:  I need to see another year of production from Bortles before I can give him the proper respect that a QB coming off a 35 TD season deserves.  With Jacksonville playing from behind so much in 2015, his TD stats are a bit inflated and I expect those totals to regress some in 2016.  With Jacksonville loaded with young offensive talent in Robinson, Hurns and Thomas, Bortles is set up for long-term successes.  I just need to see one more season before I am completely sold.

 

Utter-Fantasy #10) As the commissioner of over 300 fantasy football leagues, many of which are “dynasty leagues”, what advice would give 1st year fantasy football owners starting in this type of formatted league?

GuestFFL.com Matt Dougherty: Study up!  Dynasty is a different animal than redraft leagues.  Review expert dynasty rankings, ADP and look at prior drafts on the site you are joining. Also, make sure you review the league scoring thoroughly before drafting.  PPR vs. non-PPR leagues are completely different drafting strategy.

 

Next Week’s Guest….IPA’s Arthur Richardson

 

1ST AND 10 Week 17 WITH TFA’S JENNIFER SMITH
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

 

10 Players Getting No Respect

10 Players Getting No Respect by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

 

In less than a month, NFL fans will finally get to see some action when the 2016 preseason kicks off on Sunday, Aug. 7, in Canton, Ohio…the Green Bay Packers face the Indianapolis Colts in the Hall of Fame Game. Fantasy football fanatics are getting excited, and mock drafts and rankings are as abundant as campaign yard signs. Many people, including myself, have already participated in actually drafts, and are looking forward to more. With completed drafts, mock drafts and rankings, one can already get an idea who is expected to do well this upcoming season, and who is not.

This article showcases 10 NFL players that are currently getting little RESPECT from the NFL and fantasy community. They may end up being strong ‘sleepers” in 2016, so perhaps fantasy football owners should revisit their preconceived opinions on these players.

#1- WR Anquan Boldin– “Oo Baby…What you want”…if not this sure-handed receiver on your team, especially if you have young wide outs who need mentoring. Why this guy is still a free agent is a mystery to me. Like his former teammate WR Larry Fitzgerald, Boldin is the consummate professional. In 2014, Boldin was the #23 wide receiver in the NFL, and in 2015, he was #43. His stats for 2015 were better than MINN Stefon Diggs, PHIL Rishad Matthews, NE Danny Amendola and WASH DeSean Jackson (who all currently have jobs).

#2- WR Doug Baldwin– From Week 10 of 2015, to the end of the season, the only thing WR Doug Baldwin did was catch 60 passes for 848 yards and 13 touchdowns. He ended 2015 as the #7 among all NFL wide outs, but is currently having 24 wide receivers drafted before him. Nothing has changed in Seattle! TE Jimmy Graham is a shell of his early self, WR Tyler Lockett is emerging, but QB Russell Wilson trusts Baldwin.

#3- QB Blake Bortles– This Jacksonville leader quietly was the #3 quarterback for the 2015 NFL season, with 4428 passing yards, 310 rushing yards and 37 total touchdowns. You’d never know it, however, by the way the mock drafts are going. 10 quarterbacks are being selected before Bortles and in many standard league drafts Bortles can be stolen as late as Round 10.

#4- RB Chris Ivory– In the 2015 NFL Draft the Jaguars selected Alabama’s TJ Yeldon with their 2nd round pick. He was to be their workhorse and every down back for the future. The signing of RB Chris Ivory on March 10, 2016 to a three-year deal should give you a clue how they feel about Yeldon today. RB Chris Ivory is tough runner in the same mold as a Frank Gore, who wants the ball and wants to pound it for 4 quarters. In 2015 Ivory rushed for over 1000 yards as a Jet, and recorded 8 TDs. He is a massive upgrade over Yeldon, and his current RB ADP #26 is too low.

#5- WR Eric Decker– Even though the quarterback situation is currently unresolved, one has to assume that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to come to his senses, and sign with the team. It’s the only time in Fitz’s career that he’s ever had any success for crying out loud. When he does, Decker should be drafted with confidence in the top 15 wide outs for 2016, rather than #30 where his ADP is today. In 2015, Decker was the #11 wide receiver in the NFL with 1027 receiving yards and 12 touchdown receptions. (If Fitz never signs, drafting Decker at #30 may be actually too high)

#6- RB Rashad Jennings– When the Raiders decided to let Jennings go after the 2013 NFL season, I was excited for him to get a starting job with the Giants. On March 12, 2014, Jennings signed a four-year, $14 million contract with New York. But Tom Coughlin was the head coach, and it wasn’t until Week 14 that the numbskull Coughlin, let RB Jennings have more than 13 carries in one game. The Giants won that game 31-24 in Miami. Ben McAdoo is the new head coach, so it remains to be seen if Jennings can get enough carries consistently to be a running back fantasy owners can rely on, but the potential is definitely there.

#7- WR Kamar Aiken– If WR Breshad Perriman did not get injured (again), I wouldn’t be writing this, but Perriman did, so I am. If you believe that WR Mike Wallace still has plenty left in the gas tank, then you and I will have to agree to disagree. So for me, that leaves Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken as the primary receivers in Baltimore. (Wallace will get some targets, just not a lot) Smith will wear down even quicker than he did last year, and has a bye in Week 8. Expect Aiken’s numbers to be good for the 1st 7 weeks, and take off after that.

#8- RB James Starks– Guess who had more total yards in 2015 than RB’s DeMarco Murray, Jeremy Hill, Eddie Lacy and CJ Anderson? Since his name is in bold type, and right before the question, so please tell me that everyone got this right! In a back up role mind you, RB James Starks was the #23 running back for 2015, and he may be the best suited running back for the Packer offense. I am not saying draft Starks before Lacy, but he may be the #1 RB handcuff to have in fantasy football, and should be drafted before the 51st RB off the boards, where he is currently going.

#9- QB Brock Osweiler– It is not uncommon to see a back up quarterback, who is suddenly thrusted into the starting job late in the season, to fall flat on his face. It’s almost expected. He hasn’t worked with the 1st team all year afterall, and is facing NFL defenses in real games for the first time. But QB Brock Osweiler did not fall on his face. Of the 7 games that he started in the final games of the 2015 season, the Broncos won 5, and Osweiler was a big reason why. Fantasy football owners are sleeping on this guy, and with his weapons in Houston, he is a steal in the later rounds.

#10- Tim Hightower– RB Mark Ingram was drafted by the Saints in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and 2012 was the only year that he was able to play in all 16 games of a regular season. In 2013, Ingram only played in 11 games, in 2014 only 13, and in 2015 only 12 games. Last year when Ingram was out (again) with injuries, RB Tim Hightower stepped in and started the final 4 games. In that short span, Hightower racked up 456 total yards and 4 touchdowns. Hightower spent nearly four years out of the league before returning in strong fashion last year, and showed fresh legs and an eagerness to play football. Must add for Ingram owners.

(NOTE: CLEV RB Isaiah Crowell was #10, before his ill-advised instagram post. We’ll see how that one ends up playing out.)

Maybe I’ll be singing a different tune by Week 6 on some of these players, but this is what I think right now. If you disagree, “Break It to Me Gently”  (another great Aretha Franklin tune)…or not gently, I can take it!

 

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 Week 16

1st and 10 Week 16 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 2:00 PM 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 16-  Happy July of 4th, 2016

“1st and 10″ Week 16 Special Guest Writer- RTFantasySports

Be sure to follow RTFantasySports  @RTFantasyFball

 

Utter-Fantasy #1) I recently posted my preseason standard league rankings for running backs, broken down into Tiers. Looking at my top tiers for RBs, is there anyone you would disagree with or change?

Tier One RBs
1. RB LeVeon Bell PITT
2. RB Todd Gurley LAR
3. RB David Johnson ARI
4. RB Adrian Peterson MINN
5. RB Ezekiel Elliott

Tier Two RBs
6. RB Lamar Miller HOU
7. RB Doug Martin TB
8. RB Devonta Freeman ATL
9. RB Eddie Lacy GB
10. RB Jamal Charles KC
11. RB Jeremy Hill CINN
12. RB Matt Forte CHI
13. RB Thomas Rawls SEA
14. RB Mark Ingram N.O.
15. RB CJ Anderson DEN
16. RB Latavius Murray OAK

RTFantasySports Response: I disagree with Ezekiel Elliott joining Bell, Gurley, Johnson and AP in Tier #1. For me it is tough to put a rookie who hasn’t played a single down in the NFL, in my top 5 running backs. Could he finish top 5? Absolutely, but before the season starts I will be recommending that he is the #10-12 RB taken off the boards.

 

Utter-Fantasy #2) Does the loss of DE Malik Jackson and LB Danny Trevathan hurt Denver’s chances for being a top 3 defense in 2016?

RTFantasySports Response: The Broncos had the #1 defense in the NFL in 2015, (which in large part, helped Peyton get his second ring!) but Denver won’t even be top 3 defense in 2016.

 

Utter-Fantasy #3) Kansas City’s offense looks almost identical to the one they had in 2015. With Denver likely to struggle in the AFC West in 2016, will the Chiefs be kicking themselves for not getting some more dynamic weapons for QB Alex Smith?

RTFantasySports Response: KC needed upgrades on offense and didn’t really make any moves that I thought they would have. Despite this, I still see them winning the AFC West division.

 

Utter-Fantasy #4) In 2015, WASH RB Matt Jones had plenty of opportunities to shine, but except for one nice Week 2 performance, he was pretty dull all season. Despite this, he is currently being ranked as the #13 or #14 RB to take in 2016. Why do fantasy football authorities and owners think Jones is suddenly going to be great?

RTFantasySports Response: I think Matt Jones ranked at 15/16 is where he should be, but I have seen him ranked as low as #25. He has upside because he is only entering his 2nd year in the NFL (Jones entered the 2015 Draft, after his junior season) and he is going to be given lots of opportunities immediately. RB Alfred Morris now plays for Dallas, leaving RB Chris Thompson as his only competition. Even then, Thompson is the favorite to operate as the Redskins’ passing-game specialist.

 

Utter-Fantasy #5) Kansas City, Detroit, LA Rams, Jacksonville and Seattle are projected to have the worst offensive lines for the upcoming season. Are there any players from these 5 teams that should be lowered in current rankings, because of the bad O-lines that are forecasted?

RTFantasySports Response: In my opinion, the entire Detroit offense is currently ranked too high, and I would recommend lowering all of the Lion’s skill position players. In 2015, Detroit had the worst yards per rush average in the NFL, and with the 4th worst projected O-Line for 2016, I don’t see their running game getting any better. I think HC Pete Carroll and the Seahawks will do the best with what they’ve got, over the other 4 teams on the list.

 

Utter-Fantasy #6) If the Patriots have to play the first 4 games of the 2016 NFL season without QB Tom Brady, how many games can New England win with QB Garoppolo under center, and mastermind HC Bill Belichick having 3 months to plan for it?

RTFantasySports Response: I actually have the Patriots going 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo as their quarterback. Their first game is in Arizona, and I don’t think they have a chance of winning that game, even if HC Bill Belichick had 6 months to plan for it. Their next 3 games are home games however, with Miami, Houston and Buffalo playing in New England. Worst case for 2016, the Pats start the season 2-2, which is manageable.

 

Utter-Fantasy #7) Newly acquired NYJ Matt Forte is a running back that I am higher on than most fantasy football owners. For the upcoming season, he is ranked as the #16 RB to take off the boards. I think that is far too low…is it for you?

RTFantasySports Response: I am with you on this! I too love Forte this year. I think he was a great acquisition for the Jets. I will go so far as to say that I feel RB Forte has the potential to be a top 7 RB in PPR leagues for 2016.

 

Utter-Fantasy #8) Like Matt Forte in Question #7, is there a player that you think will have a great season in 2016, but who is currently ranked pretty low and why do you think he will be successful?

RTFantasySports Response: SF RB Carlos Hyde would be that player. I think with a season under his belt, that the 49ers and new HC Chip Kelly are looking more stable and committed to the run. Like I pointed out with Matt Jones earlier, Hyde will be given lots of opportunities immediately. Even Carlos seems to be excited for the new offense…”Chip Kelly’s system will help showcase all my abilities…not just as a ball carrier, but also as a threat in the passing game.”

 

Utter-Fantasy #9) Of these 5 players who had spectacular 2015 seasons, which will be “least likely” to repeat their success in 2016 and why?

JACK QB Blake Bortles
KC WR Jeremy Maclin
WASH TE Jordan Reed
TB RB Doug Martin
HOU WR DeAndre Hopkins

RTFantasySports Response: In 2015, QB Blake Bortles was the #3 quarterback, but he was forced to throw a lot because the Jags were behind in every game. Jacksonville has vastly improved their defense, and have RB Chris Ivory to shore up their running attack. I still like QB Bortles, but he won’t end up as the #3 QB for 2016.

BONUS: I believe with WR DeAndre Hopkins’ talents and with a upgrade at the QB position with Brock Osweiler, that the sky’s the limit with the young wide out, and that he is “most likely” to repeat his success in 2016.

 

Utter-Fantasy #10) Fantasy football can be an emotional roller coaster throughout the season. I know of one guy who has broken two television sets due to a fantasy football setback such as a call reversed, a turnover or a TD negated by a penalty. Have you had any embarrassing tantrums that you do not mind sharing?

RTFantasySports Response: I do in fact… I once punched my wall with my fist because I lost a “Super Bowl” on a blocked punt. One lousy blocked punt cost me the title, so “I let my wall have it!”

Next week Utter-Fantasy will have 10 new questions to another knowledgeable person from our fantasy football community.

Next Week’s Guest….The Fantasy Authority’s Jennifer Smith!

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