Houston Makeover Vs Dallas Rookie Takes Over

Houston Makeover Vs Dallas Rookie Takes Over by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

The Preseason is winding down and we’re now a week away from the start of the season. You’re all deep into draft mode or have already completed your drafts. I have 2-3 drafts left, I can’t remember because I over committed this season. It’s like I’d rather spend all my free time on football than anything else. Not a bad thing, just means this is the time of year when my friends know I’m unavailable on Sundays (and Mondays.. and Thursdays..).

This week I want to focus on the Texas teams. I’ve been wanting to tackle the makeover in Houston and the hype in Dallas for a while now. Arguably, the Houston Texans have sustained the biggest overhaul this offseason. After the QB shuffle they had last season, they went for it with signing Brock Osweiler. They moved on from Arian Foster signing Lamar Miller, who’s been frustratingly under utilized in Miami. Finally, they picked up some talented rookies in WR Will Fuller & RB Tyler Ervin. Meanwhile in Dallas, we have the much hyped first round pick, crop top legend,  Ezekiell Elliott. We also have the sad reality that Tony Romo may need to consider retirement after sustaining another injury. Followed up the the new hype train of the rookie Dak Prescott.

Brocklobster Time

Osweiler is the shiny new QB the Texans have been looking for. Despite only having 8 career starts, he’s been in the league 4 years and been learning from under one of the greatest to ever play the game, Peyton Manning. If Manning’s attention to detail has rubbed off at all on Osweiller, you can bet that Brock will the be classic “student of the game”.  He’ll eager to learn and live up to the needs in Houston. It also helps having the incredible talent of DeAndre Hopkins as your #1 WR and the newly signed, seasoned vet in Lamar Miller behind you. Agree with all the hype or not, but you can not deny the fact this move does anything but help the offense in Houston. Let’s hope Brock is able to break the trend of QB uncertainty in Houston. I’m drafting Brock in 2 QB leagues as a late round pick, because why not? He’s throwing to Hopkins, can’t be that bad right?

QB Situation in Dallas

In the first few minutes of Tony Romo taking the field for his first preseason game, he goes down and stays down from a hard hit. We now know he suffered a stress fracture to his L1 vertebra and estimated return is 6-10 weeks. According to medical specialists this approximation could easily be shorter or longer. This recovery is highly symptomatic and monitored by pain the player is feeling. It is important to note this is his third back related injury. Running down his list of injuries really quick from 2008 to now: Broken pinkie, broken left collarbone, ruptured disk, two transverse process fractures, left collarbone (again), and now this. It would be sad to see Romo’s career end based on injury, but you can’t deny the thought of retirement has to be in his mind. How much more can his spine and body really take? Moving onto the Cowboys rookie Dak Prescott, who’s had a great showing this preseason. Defenses are significantly less intense in the preseason, so he has yet to be fully tested. He will get that test game 1 against  their #1 division opponent the NY Giants, upside being they’ll be at home. Am I drafting Prescott? Probably not, but I’ll be keeping an eye on his numbers to see if he’s a viable QB 2 option for 2 QB formats.

Which RB to Own  

Do you take the unproven, much hyped rookie? Or the under utilized seasoned vet? The Ezekiel Elliott vs Lamar Miller debate is an interesting one. There’s no doubt that Elliott is incredibly talented. However rookie RBs are risky. He could have an outstanding season or sustain a week 1 injury and you’ve now blown your first round pick. Elliott has already had a minor hamstring issue this off season and that’s enough to create a pause in your drafting him. Based on the beating RBs take I’m hesitant to take an untested rookie. I can agree he’s worth a late 1st round pick but I wouldn’t pick him over Todd Gurley or David Johnson.

Meanwhile you have Lamar Miller, who in many drafts is going right after or right before Elliott. Houston ran the most running plays last season of any NFL team. So you have no doubt Miller will be getting used early and often. The question: is he ready to be used this much? Is he conditioned and ready for that responsibility? Answer: I think so. He had struggled last season going unused and many chanted “Free Lamar Miller.” We know he’s talented because despite his low targets, he maximized each opportunity he had leading him to a top 10 finish last season. Miller is an obvious second round choice though I’d easily understand him going late in the first round.

Effects on Top WRs  

Now, how can we realistically expect the new QB situations in each camp effect their top wide receivers. I think both situations have a lot in common. Both QBs are brand new to their respective systems, while both have seasoned wide receivers that are very comfortable in their leading role. It’s really just a matter of the QBs not screwing it up. Prescott will likely be throwing frequently and quickly so it’s a good thing Bryant is getting back up to speed post injury and still has the hands to make brilliant catches. I do not see Bryant’s numbers going down. I see team meetings going like this:  “Dak your first job is: hand it off to Elliott. 2nd: throw the ball to Dez. That’s it. You have two jobs, don’t get fancy.”

As for DeAndre Hopkins, we know he can make beautiful music with any QB throwing to him. He had 192 targets and 111 receptions, for 11 TDs, behind only Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. Hopkins is an open and shut draft case. He’s young, talented, and will see a large volume in targets. Draft him, just do it.

The Back Ups  

The rookies and vets to keep an eye on are also draft worthy on both teams. In Houston you have the highly touted rookie Will Fuller, his deep speed has potential for numbers worthy of a late draft pick up. (Depth behind Fuller: WRs Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong.)
Terrance Williams on the other hand has seen marginal improvement season to season, and after Bryant’s foot injury last season, Williams did little to rise to the occasion.

(Depth behind Williams: Cole Beasley, Bryce Butler, Lucky Whitehead -Punt return opportunities)

Tyler Ervin is in a great position as the backup to Lamar Miller. Despite his smaller size he’s aggressive and highly athletic. His abilities in pass catching are a big help too. He leads his RB rookie class with 45 receptions from San Jose State. All making a great handcuff to Miller.

Alfred Morris has reportedly taken the lead over McFadden, and would be a worthy starting RB2 if Elliott gets hurt. He’s a must own handcuff for Elliott owners.

Check Your Draft Boards

When prepping for your draft be sure to take note of these players (if you haven’t already). Despite the hype and new situations surrounding a lot of them, there is no denying they’re worth owning. If you’re lucky enough to pick up Hopkins in a PPR format of Elliott second round in standard, know you’ve made a great draft pick. More importantly if you already own Miller and/or Elliott, be sure you’ve picked up their handcuff, because if I’ve learned anything from fantasy, it’s that anything, and I mean ANYTHING can happen. Happy Drafting!

Sam Holt

Follow Sam’s 2016 quest for another Dynasty Fantasy Football championships on twitter @SamanthaRHolt

Also by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt…”This is How We Dynasty Football”

and Fantasy Stock Drops From 2016 Draft by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

 

10 Players That Scare Me

10 Players That Scare Me by Utter-Fantasy Football Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

There are very few things that terrify me. Anyone that knows me has seen my artwork (clown paintings, zombies, etc), listened to me discuss the differences between Jeffery Dahmer and John Wayne Gayce (both serial killers, different modus operandi #obviously), or experienced me jumping out at them wearing a mask (I’m such a good friend). So what does scares me? Drafting a player who has a high likelihood for a bust. What’s more alarming than a wasted draft pick? Nothing!

Below I’ll discuss 10 players I think have a good chance of being a bust this next season. I’m nervous too guys, but don’t worry… I’ll hold your hand through this.

1) TE SEA Jimmy Graham- According to a recent study ( as referenced by ESPN’s own Stephania Bell), patellar tendon injuries are the toughest to come back from. Players lose their explosiveness and that’s not only terrifying, but sadly disappointing. Combine that with the fact that he has had little to no chemistry with QB Russell Wilson. Needless to say there are plenty of other offensive options in Seattle, and plenty of other tight end options for me to draft.

2) WR Vincent Jackson- Unless my previous rant about Jackson wasn’t clear before. ( i.e 2016 Fantasy Players Difficult to Predict ) I’d rather not draft him, than wake up late Sunday morning to realize my nightmare of accidentally starting him came true. His performance from last year gives me little to no hope, for a “comeback” or “breakout” season this year. So far, Jackson has yet to train in minicamp, per an undisclosed “minor injury”. I know Evans will again receive the majority of targets this season. I am afraid that too many people may still see Jackson as a solid WR2 in Tampa. For me, he’s more likely a WR3. Stay away… far away!

3) RB MIA Jay Ajayi- Only played 9 games in 2015. Only had 187 rushing yards on only 49 carries. I am nervous about all the “onlys”. Based on the Dolphins off season moves, I’m starting to feel that the Dolphin’s coaching staff  also has a lack of confidence in Ajayi. They selected RB Kenyan Drake in the 3rd round of the 2016 Draft, and they were on a mission to sign a top RB. Now they’ve officially signed RB Arian Foster, who’s injury prone history doesn’t bring me much confidence in him either. Miami’s desperate attempts to sign top a running back, after drafting one, tells me that they might prefer to roll the dice with someone other than Ajayi… Scary.

4) RB WASH Matt Jones– Jones can be summed up as: a missed opportunity. He strolled out Week 2 with an impressive showing: 19 carries for 123 yards and 2 touchdowns. After that however his numbers dropped off significantly. Jones proved better in the passing game, than as a hard-nose rusher. With Alfred Morris moving on and the addition of 7th round rookie Keith Marshall, could Jones be the only hope in the backfield? I don’t know, but I am petrified to take  that risk.

5) WR PITT Markus Wheaton- I’m a Steelers fan and I find myself going back and forth on whether or not I think Wheaton will have potential for a breakout with Bryant suspended, or get lost with Sammie Coates & Ladarius Green coming in hot for targets. Big Ben Roethlisberger talked him up prior to 2015, but is that enough to roster a draft spot? I’m not sure. My own indecisiveness about him is what scares me most here.

6) RB TB Doug Martin- Martin finished 2015 as the #3 overall RB. So what’s there to be shivering about? Well, in 2015 Martin was in a contract year. Can you trust that he’ll be as motivated and devoted this year? I trust no one! Haha, no seriously, I don’t see how he can stay on top with numbers like that. Charles Sims was quietly the #21 running back in 2015, so he stands to be a “menacing threat” towards Martin’s value. If I’m drafting DM, it’s with caution and picking up Sims as a handcuff.

7) WR DET Golden Tate-  Honestly, he has never been a true #1 on any team. Tate also regressed last season, but with Calvin Johnson’s retirement, you’d expect Tate to make a strong case as WR1 in 2016. Tate has historically had sporadic strong showings but never been a consistent threat. Certainly nothing close enough to warrant a WR1 position. I would not take him high…and scared that I would be passing up on someone with higher potential for consistent numbers (ex: Eric Decker). I’d be slightly less scared to end up with him in a mid draft pick.

8) WR CHI Alshon Jeffrey-  Alshon only played 9 games last season while dealing with multiple injuries and setbacks. The off season is a time to see improvement in guys coming back from injury. However…he skipped OTAs (scared face). WR Kevin White, who has a frightening ton of talent will finally be playing. Unfortunately, QB Jay Cutler is horribly inconsistent. Currently at ADP #9, I do not think I will be drafting Jeffrey over Mike Evans, but I would over Amari Cooper, Brandon Marshall, and Brandon Cooks.

9) WR CHI Kevin White- White is basically still a rookie, having missed last season due to a shin injury, leaving him unproven. In practice it’s been noted by multiple sources that despite his athleticism, he’s had cronic trouble with drops. I’d be fearful to draft him too early, especially knowing that Cutler is throwing him the ball. Eek!

10) RB ATL- Devonta Freeman- Falcons running backs coach Bobby Turner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he hopes to reduce Freeman’s carries while adding more to the offensive game plan for second-year running back Tevin Coleman. Blood-curdling news, because that can only mean the horrifying RBBC. Also spooky, Freeman was 9th last year with the most dropped passes.

Whew, that was intense. But we got through it. The unknown is what’s the most terrifying. Players coming back from injury, players on new teams, and incoming rookies all pose the possibility of throwing us off. Keep a watchful eye on the risky players in training camp and preseason. When drafting a risk, be sure to secure their back up as insurance. Draft with caution ladies and gentlemen… Beware….

Sam Holt

Follow Sam’s 2016 quest for another Dynasty Fantasy Football championships on twitter @SamanthaRHolt

Also by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt…”This is How We Dynasty Football”

and Fantasy Stock Drops From 2016 Draft by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

2016 Fantasy Players Difficult to Predict

2016 Fantasy Players Difficult to Predict by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

It’s time to take that leap of faith. You decide, he’s the guy for you. Is there the likelihood that he will completely let you down and break your heart? Yes! But the hopeless romantic in you takes the risk. What if he’s completely wonderful and surprises you week after week? You look at him and think, hey he’s got potential. He could be the one. So you take the plunge, and draft him.

OK maybe for you fantasy football is nothing like dating, but to me I see some similarities. Similar in the way that some of these players may end up being total disappointments. Don’t worry this article won’t be depressing. Then again, if some of you had a terrible season last year as a direct result from one of them, this might be a sore spot. So either get over it or if he seems sincere and apologizes for his previous mistakes, you may consider taking him back this year. It’s up to you.

The following are a list of 10 players who were difficult to predict last season and in some cases even harder to predict for the upcoming season. Let’s also pretend this list is random, because it’s just too difficult to rank 1-10.

Frank Gore – He’s a guy who on paper looks pretty darn good. He’s got opportunity and health on his side. However if you look at a chart of his points last season, it looks like the heart rate monitor of someone who’s been drinking red bull vodkas all night… Mess. Am I placing him in my RB1 spot? No… but if I’m picking him up, it’ll be as an RB 2 to someone with a far greater consistency rate. STEADY BOYFRIEND

Jamaal Charles – Ok guys, if he broke your heart last season don’t hold that against him, he wasn’t trying to get hurt. And if you didn’t handcuff this injury prone player that’s on you. Now if you handcuffed him with Knile Davis, I can empathize a little. As for this upcoming season, he is still a risk. Charles is clearly great when HEALTHY, but I’m nervous to take him as my first pick. If I do, I’m definitely picking up Charc-nado to handcuff. Or Ware.. Uhgg, madness. MY EX

Carlos Hyde – After a semi decent start it looked like Hyde was ready to go, but alas another injured RB. If I had to rank RBs right now, I would put him out of the top 15. He is the only 49er worth drafting and if he stays healthy, he could be great. Keep in mind he’s got a heavy workload with a tough schedule. SUMMER ROMANCE

Thomas Rawls – With Lynch’s retirement my first thought was Rawls is a must own. But with so many offensive options he could be on a short leash with Pete Carroll if he makes any mistakes. “Get back on the bench and keep Graham company!” STEADY BOYFRIEND

Rashad Jennings – The underwhelming starter had a measly 3 TDs this past season. He did have more rushing yards in 2015, than in seasons past, but that doesn’t win you games. And what’s the golden rule in fantasy? “You play to win the game!” thanks Herm Edwards. So don’t add Jennings, instead talk him up to the drunk guy at the draft to take him. BAD BLIND DATE

Vincent Jackson – I think Vincent Jackson hates me. Whenever I have played him, he’s been awful/ ineffective. Whenever I’ve benched him he’s had a big day. You sir, are frustrating. With the many options in Tampa, and one year older, it’s safe to say Jackson will be getting less targets this season. STOOD UP

Demaryius Thomas – Was and will remain unpredictable. This offense is dependent on who will be throwing the ball. I doubt Butt-Fumble will get the starting job, so preseason will be interesting who gets the job. Once that’s decided there’s still a bunch of available targets besides Thomas. So who knows….BOOTY CALL

Markus Wheaton – Mentioning him for two reasons; 1. With Bryant suspended he could be a legit WR2 in Pittsburgh, 2. I’m a Steelers fan, so yeah. Ben’s versatile and when he’s not passing to Brown, he’s creating volume in plays. Wheaton will be seeing targets, his floor is raised, and his ceiling?.. TBD…STEADY BOYFRIEND

Back field of San Diego – Yeah, just all of them. Melvin Gordon, a depressing bust last season, is coming back from a knee injury and will be eased back very slowly. Woodhead suffered an ankle injury in minicamp this week, was seen walking off the field, so hopefully nothing serious. Branden Oliver is coming back from a toe injury… Yeah not much confidence in this group. They also added Derek Watt, and though I’m biased because I’ve JJ in my IDP league, I’m sure anything Derek does has the potential to be awesome. CHEATER

Tyler Eifert – Some big games last season, amongst some sparse showings due to SO many targets in Cincinnati. What makes him most unpredictable is the time table for recovery from his ankle surgery. Estimated 3 months till he’s back to playing. However if I’ve learned anything from fantasy sports is never trust ankle injuries. Though the surgery is listed as “minimal”, anything that can weaken stability in the ankle is a bad sign. Plus they never rush a player back from that (and shouldn’t), because they can easily aggravate it. All that said, if he’s healthy in September, he’s a big-time playmaker. POSSIBLE HUSBAND MATERIAL

There you have it. I know there are many more unpredictables out there but I like to keep things simple. So draft at your own risk this season, and I’ll date at my own risk. Though with 4 leagues to manage and the Sunday Ticket, I’ll have no time for that nonsense.
Happy offseason to all!

Sam Holt

Follow Sam’s 2016 quest for another Dynasty Fantasy Football championships on twitter @SamanthaRHolt

Also by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt…”This is How We Dynasty Football”

and Fantasy Stock Drops From 2016 Draft by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt

Fantasy Stock Drops From 2016 Draft

Fantasy Stock Drops From 2016 Draft by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt


Push that afternoon meeting till tomorrow. Pass a beer, grab the chips. Plug in your headphones and log in. It’s Draft Day. Fantasy Fans all watch the draft in their own way. Some go all out, others wait for the highlights or 10 second delayed ESPN updates. How ever you watch, or don’t watch it, the Draft is an exciting night. For the players, dreams are made and crushed. For fantasy owners, it’s a whole list of shiny new players to mull and fight over. One of the most important parts of the draft, is figuring out who’s stock just dropped.

Top 10 Stock Drops:

(These are my Top 10, argue with me or make up your own mind….I don’t care. Training has barely begun and we’re nowhere near preseason yet. So calm down, these will all probably change.)


1.    Ezekiel Elliott vs Darren McFadden

This feels like the obvious one. Last season the RB position was in constant shift. I know this from picking up Dunbar off waivers, and getting one good week out of him before his season ending injury. By adding Elliott you could argue the possibility of a RB by committee situation here. If that were the case I’d say McFadden will fall to the RB2 slot and Elliott will rise to the #1 position. The key with Elliott here is his versatility. I see him running all over the place and plummeting McFadden’s numbers. My only complaint here is the midriff jersey… Stop it. Pretty sure Goodell will happily fine him if he tries to get away with that.

2.    Derrick Henry vs DeMarco Murray
Well he’s the Heisman Trophy winner and all around stud athlete. Did you see his combine tape? 6’2” 247 lbs, this guy is a beast. Though Murray will undoubtedly be named the “#1” for week 1, I can see Henry taking a chunk out of Murray’s goal line opportunities. As the season plays out it will not be shocking if he takes over as the number 1.

3.    Laquon Treadwell vs Stefon Diggs & Charles Johnson
Does this mean Teddy finally has himself a reliable WR? I think so. Diggs and Johnson will be competing with Treadwell for WR 1 and 2 positions. Treadwell came back strong in his junior year from a gruesome leg injury. At 6’2” 210 lbs, Treadwell is a physical and dynamic play maker with great ball security. I think we could be seeing some exciting stuff from this guy.

4.    Carson Wentz vs Sam Bradford
This is a situation where training camp will be really interesting. Though the Eagles have said Bradford is their guy, I could see him fighting for his job in the preseason. Time will tell on who officially has the starting job.

5.    Jordan Howard vs Jeremy Langford
Disciplined, fundamentally strong, a great pick up for the Bears. Though these two serve different roles, Langford was a drop-o-opotamus last season, and will need get a handle on that to keep from sliding this season (see what I did there? “hands” Haha adorable).

6.    Paxton Lynch vs Mark Sanchez
Sanchez has been a place holder on the bench for a long time, that’s not likely to change with the addition of Lynch. The question isn’t if Lynch will be starting QB, it’s when will they make the announcement. I’m guessing mid training camp.

7.    C.J. Prosise vs Thomas Rawls
With Lynch’s retirement and Rawls obvious great season, prior to his injury last year, I couldn’t see how his numbers could be significantly affected. Enter C.J. Prosise. He’s a great receiving back, incredibly versatile, and will be used in multiple ways in Seattle. He will definitely be a threat to Rawls, and will be looking to take over Rawls #1 slot.

8.    Corey Coleman vs ALL THE BROWNS WRs
He’s a major upgrade to the current WR talent for Cleveland. HOWEVER, he has RGIII as his QB. Personally I always like to be optimistic for a young(ish) player coming back from injury. Anyone see that Bruce Willis movie Unbreakable? That’s how I picture RGIII, Mr. Glass. If he can stay healthy, then there’s a good possibility to see some big numbers from Coleman. Hopefully the two of them gel during training camp, because damn this kid is fast and talented.

9.    Kenyan Drake vs Jay Ajayi
The depth for Miami at running back can best be described as lack luster. With this add they get a boost. Drake has the potential to see a good amount of work. This will make Ajayi’s numbers slide. Drastically? Maybe. But that could also be a factor if they sign a veteran running back. Arian Foster rumors and talks are still swirling. If this happens you will most certainly see a drop for Ajayi.

10.    Paul Perkins vs Rashad Jennings (and the rest of the NYG RBs)
With the Addition of Perkins we’ll see a big competition for the 1 and 2 slot. Jennings is getting on the older side and has a history of injuries. Should that be a factor this season you could see Perkins gaining a significant role. Camp will be interesting with Orleans Darkwa, Bobby Rainey, and Andre Williams all be competing with Perkins. Too many possibilities to consider this a big slide, but mentionable for stashing purposes.

Bonus: Jared Goff vs Case Keenum
Short and sweet: Keenum wasn’t fantasy relevant, but Goff will be. So this can kind of be considered a slide.
There you have it. I feel like May is too soon to “predict the future” regarding some of these rookies. Training Camp and Pre Season can be riddled with injuries, free agent signings and cuts. So I’ll look to revise this list in August. Until then, I’m going to keep watching rookie highlight reels because it’s fun and I miss football.

Sam Holt

Follow Sam’s 2016 quest for another Dynasty Fantasy Football championships on twitter @SamanthaRHolt

Also by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Samantha Holt…”This is How We Dynasty Football”