All posts by Matt Jones

All Aboard The Post-Injury Hype Trains

This past week was supposed to be an exciting time for fantasy football owners. Drafts are in full swing and NFL stars were finally getting their chance to play more than just a drive or two. Preseason week 3 ended three fantasy relevant players’ seasons in a flash. Julian Edelman went down with a non-contact injury that turned into a torn ACL. Cameron Meredith was hit in his knee and tore multiple ligaments. Spencer Ware then went down with a torn PCL and is expected to miss the season. “Next man up” is the cliche for NFL teams. All of those players have backups that are now going to be more heavily involved than they would’ve been before the injuries occurred. The question is, do the backups slot directly into the injured player’s role and have the same value?

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Touchdown Dependency & Running Backs

Touchdown dependent seems to be one of the biggest insults you can lob at a fantasy player these days. The problem with throwing that term around is that it doesn’t give any context. What exactly qualifies a running back as “touchdown dependent”? Are there running backs that are touchdown dependent that we want anyway? Do running backs take a step back after being extremely touchdown dependent in a season or is that an indicator of future success.

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The Case for the Crow

If you aren’t talking about a round ball, Cleveland professional sports has been a joke throughout much of modern history (or at least that’s how it seems). That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a fantasy relevant player that I’m interested in from the Browns, though. As a site, we did a mock draft with some great contributors which you can find here. In that draft, I took Isaiah Crowell at 3.09 which made him the RB13. As the fourth round of the mock ended and we signed off, I was wishing that we were actually playing the league out because of the value I felt in getting him at that spot. My rankings have Crowell at RB7 in PPR formats.

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This or That: Wide Receivers Edition

As the calendar flips to August and you begin to research for your upcoming fantasy drafts, it’s important to go in with a plan. If you read my article last week, you know that I’m a fan of ZeroRB but that doesn’t mean that’s the only way I’ll draft. You have to let the draft come to you and see how the draft flows. Being able to exploit values that open up and avoid landmines throughout different parts of the draft will help you be successful. This week, I’m going to go through different parts of the draft and discuss who you should be avoiding based on ADP. The long and short is that some wide receivers are being drafted at their absolute ceiling and may disappoint at their price. It doesn’t mean that the wide receivers I mention below are complete busts and won’t have good weeks here and there.

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Why Zero RB Will Make a Comeback in 2017

In fantasy football, there are ebbs and flows to everything. We don’t have the luxury of 162 games or even an 81 game schedule with a plethora of data points to base our decisions. Small samples in a single season will always lead to higher variance, but the NFL has been around for long enough that we have a general idea of what to expect as a range of outcomes. The last two years have been fascinating from a variance perspective because the swing of what has happened to RBs and WRs is almost unheard of. 

In 2015, we saw the running back apocalypse. Only three of the twelve running backs drafted in the first two rounds exceeded their expected points based on ADP. More of the fantasy community became aware that running backs were too fragile to rely on in the early rounds and Shawn Siegele’s Zero RB strategy looked like a confirmed way to demolish every league. In that same year, wide receivers hit at an astonishing rate with six of the ten wide receivers drafted in the first two rounds exceeding their point expectations. The problem with both of those rates are that they just simply aren’t sustainable.

Fast forward a year to 2016 and the regression that took place on both ends made Zero RB seem like it wasn’t a viable strategy. Running backs drafted in the first five rounds had a success rate of over 56%. Wide receivers drafted in the first five rounds only had a success rate of 40% based on expected points and panic ensued. There will always be swings to these numbers but there are two questions; what makes Zero RB successful and can it be successful in 2017?

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DraftKings DFS Primer

You’ve probably seen the commercials and thought “I’m good at fantasy football, why not give DraftKings a shot?” The premise of NFL DFS is great because you get to pick new players every week so you aren’t as affected by injuries or depth chart changes. If you’re planning on making a deposit and playing DraftKings NFL contests this fall, though, there are a few things that you need to know to be successful.

101: The Basics

DraftKings’ scoring format is PPR, which means every catch a player records is worth a point plus the yardage they accrue. This opens up the player pool a bit more than a .5 PPR site like FanDuel because there are plenty of satellite backs that are involved in the passing game but don’t see much volume on the ground. It’s also important to target upside when drafting any of the skill positions with 300+ yard passing games and 100+ yard receiving or rushing games earning bonus points for your team. For example, Alex Smith might be a cheap option on a given week. But, the fact that he has only surpassed 300 yards in a game in 3-of-61 starts as a Kansas City Chief should be enough to limit your exposure to him regardless of price or match-up. Continue reading DraftKings DFS Primer

2017 Rankings Debut

They are finally here, our 2017 rankings for Standard and PPR leagues. We rank all starting QBs, 50 RBs, 60 WRs, 20 TEs and 20 DSTs for both Standard and PPR leagues. Check them out below.

Standard PPR
Quarterback Quarterback
Running Back Running Back
Wide Receiver Wide Receiver
Tight End Tight End

Standard rankers are Steve Halupka and Mike Fitkowsky.

PPR rankers are Steve Winant and Matt Jones


Is Ben Roethlisberger Worth Rostering in Season-Long Leagues?

It isn’t a secret that many people avoid playing Ben Roethlisberger on the road. The gap between his production at home and on the road is staggering over the past few years. Most people outright fade Roethlisberger in DFS when the Steelers are on the road. That’s obviously been a smart tactic since 2014 for DFS purposes. But it got me thinking about what, if anything, Roethlisberger’s road splits cost you in season-long leagues. In order to figure that out we need to unpack quite a bit. We’ll take a look at expected points based on ADP for quarterbacks, and then dive into some possibilities as to why Roethlisberger’s splits are the way they are.

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Fantasy Implications of Julian Edelman’s Extension

Before we examine the actual fantasy implications of the extension, let’s take a look at the extension itself to see what they feel about Julian Edelman’s value. Before the deal was signed, Edelman was set to make $3 million in base salary and become an unrestricted free agent in 2018. The bonuses in his contract would’ve pushed his cap hit up to $5.75 million. The deal he signed this week means that he won’t be eligible to be an unrestricted free agent until 2020. His cap hit over the next three years are as follows:

  • 2017: $7.4 million
  • 2018: $5.16 million
  • 2019: $4.66 milion

The front loaded structure of Edelman’s new contract makes them able to afford the splashy acquisition of Brandin Cooks. Cooks will only count $1.5 million against the cap in 2017 before it balloons up to $8.45 million in 2018. He is slated to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 barring any contract extensions. I don’t necessarily see a scenario where they don’t restructure Cooks’ contract before then, but that’s the cap situation as it stands today. Continue reading Fantasy Implications of Julian Edelman’s Extension

Tyreek Hill Won’t Be a Top 25 Wide Receiver in 2017

Since the news of Jeremy Maclin’s release, everyone has speculated on what will happen with the Kansas City offense. People are just automatically assuming that Tyreek Hill will emerge as a sure-fire fantasy stud. To be frank, I’m not buying it yet. In order to figure out what Hill is capable of, we need to start with a top-down approach. We’ll go through the Kansas City offense and Hill’s efficiency to see what’s possible for him. Continue reading Tyreek Hill Won’t Be a Top 25 Wide Receiver in 2017