All posts by Mike Fitkowsky

Quick Fantasy Draft Injury Primer

With one week remaining until the regular season arrives, your fantasy drafts should be taking place soon. Unfortunately for you, there has been a handful of recent injuries and injury updates that will affect your draft board. This makes things difficult for you, since trying to decide who will benefit from these injuries can be tough.

Luckily for you, I’ll be going through most of the fantasy relevant injuries over the course of this article. I will also give a quick insight into the fantasy impact of the injuries as well.

Let’s dig in. Continue reading Quick Fantasy Draft Injury Primer

Marshawn Lynch: Quick Fantasy Outlook

It’s hard not to root for someone as charismatic as Lynch. Between his entertaining press conferences, and unforgettable “Beast-Quake” runs, Lynch has secured a firm spot in the NFL fan’s heart. However, fantasy football deals in cold, hard stats. So, what can we expect from Lynch in terms of stats? Continue reading Marshawn Lynch: Quick Fantasy Outlook

3 Unsexy Draft Day Steals

Every year, it seems that there are a few players that all fantasy owners want on their teams. When a team inevitably takes one of these players, the chat usually lights up with plenty of owners congratulating you on your pick. The following players will not get nearly the same response from your league, but will help you beat them when it really counts. Here are three players that could be seen as unsexy picks on draft day that will no doubt help your fantasy football team this season.

Continue reading 3 Unsexy Draft Day Steals

The Impact of Jay Cutler in Miami

Once known for being the strong-armed, apathetic quarterback for the Chicago Bears, Jay Cutler recently inked a deal with the Miami Dolphins. He is set to earn $10 million this year, with an additional $3 million available in incentives.

This news is the result of Ryan Tannehill re-injuring his ACL in training camp. He had initially injured it in week 14 of the 2016 season. The news from Dolphins camp indicated that Tannehill will likely undergo surgery to repair the ACL and will be done for the season

So, now that you know all the facts, what does this mean for Cutler and the Dolphins?

(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The most obvious impact of the signing is the reunification of Cutler with head coach Adam Gase. He had served as the Bear’s offensive coordinator in 2015. During that season, Cutler completed 64.4% of his passes for 3600+ yards and 21 touchdowns, while throwing 11 interceptions that year.

Following 2015 Gase left Chicago for a head coaching position with the Miami Dolphins. During his first year with the Dolphins,  Gase cut Tannehill’s pass attempts severely. In doing so, he became a more efficient passer.  This is evidenced when you compare his 2016 output to the average of his previous 3 seasons.

GP Pass Att Comp. % Ya/att Yards TD Int
Prev. 3 Years 16 588 62.9 6.9 4056 25 13
2016 13 389 67.1 7.7 2995 19 12

While Tannehill’s volume stats show a clear decrease, efficiency metrics show a marked improvement. I suspect this is largely due to the renewed focus on the run game under Gase. This took pressure off Tannehill, and allowed him to play against defenses that had to respect the run.

So, what can you expect from Cutler in Gase’s offense? A good place to start is to look at his output when they had worked together previously.

GP Pass Att Comp %` Ya/Att Yards TD Int
2015 15 483 64.4 7.6 3659 21 11

This is fairly similar to what Tannehill was on course for in 2016. As a result, I feel that this may be end up being roughly his stat-line at the end of the 2017 season. In fantasy, Cutler put up 224 fantasy points in 2015. This is roughly the output of Eli Manning or Alex Smith in 2016. This means his fantasy impact will likely be limited to 2QB leagues.

However, while the statistics may be similar. These two quarterbacks could not be more different in their capabilities as passers.

(Getty Images)

Tannehill has struggled with the deep passing game over his career. This has led his coaches to operate their offenses with more short to intermediate passing. Meanwhile, Cutler has been gifted with one of the strongest arms in the NFL.  He is able to make throws that Tannehill is physically incapable of, which should open up the deep passing game.

With the change in quarterbacks, the preferred targets in the passing game will also change. Tannehill enjoys the safety of possession recievers (Jarvis Landry, Rishard Matthews).

Cutler, on the other hand, prefers to work the field by allowing big physical receivers dominate at the point of the catch (Alshon Jeffery/Brandon Marshall/Martellus Bennett).

What does this means for the Dolphins receivers? It may be as simple as simply comparing the heights and weights of each player. While it’s been a while since most of these guys were drafted, we will use their combine results to indicate who’s the fastest or best leaper of the bunch.

Player Height Weight 40 Time Vertical Leap
Jarvis Landry 5’11” 208 4.77 28.5″
Devante Parker 6’3″ 212 4.45 36.5″
Kenny Stills 6’1″ 196 4.38 33.5″
Leonte Carroo 6’1″ 215 4.50 35.5″
Julius Thomas 6’5″ 262 4.68 35.5

One name should stand out from that list, given what we know about Cutler: Devante Parker. He is simultaneously the biggest, highest leaping, and one of the fastest receivers on the team. Given what we know about Cutler, the natural conclusion is that Parker could be in for a big year.

I want to say that I haven’t been a big Parker fan throughout his career. He has been hyped at this time of year, since being drafted in 2015. After two years of underwhelming expectations, the time may finally be right to buy in.

If Parker fails to reach his potential in his 3rd season (in which receivers traditionally break out), Cutler’s presence could also help Julius Thomas. Cutler could end up using his big frame to out-muscle DB’s on 50/50 balls. In addition, Cutler’s arm strength will help get the ball to Stills in a way that Tannehill is just not capable of.

So, What Do We Think?

  • Cutler finishes around QB20, making him a low end QB2.
  • Hurts Jarvis Landry’s fantasy output
  • Helps Devante Parker, Kenny Stills, & Julius Thomas
  • Parker is a perfect receiver for Cutler
  • Dolphins will still run the ball often, limiting Cutler’s ceiling

 

3 Draft Day Mistakes To Avoid

It’s officially August. The end of summer, and the beginning of football season. For many, football season will begin as they watch half of a preseason game, before remembering how terrible preseason games are to watch. For others, the football season will begin with their annual fantasy draft.

Most drafts will take place in the final weeks of August, as the preseason concludes. This allows drafters to see NFL teams in action before deciding which players to add to their fantasy squad. This also helps to avoid the mistake of drafting players that are injured in preseason action.

Continue reading 3 Draft Day Mistakes To Avoid

Late Round QB’s To Target In 2017

For years, fantasy experts have been preaching the value of taking a late round QB in your fantasy draft. Those that drafted Matt Ryan last year (or picked him up off the waiver wire) can surely attest to this strategy panning out.

This is the year that this strategy reaches its peak. As of now, no quarterback has an ADP higher than 22 (Aaron Rodgers). With the devaluing of the quarterback position, which is still the highest scoring position by far, there is plenty of value to be had in your late round quarterbacks.

So, which of these sleeper quarterbacks should you look to invest in? Read on to find out. Continue reading Late Round QB’s To Target In 2017

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
D/ST D/ST

Standard rankers are Steve Halupka and Mike Fitkowsky.

PPR rankers are Steve Winant and Matt Jones

 

Rookie RB Analysis: Dalvin Cook

The departure of Adrian Peterson marked the ending of an era for the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson had served as the team’s identity and most valuable player for almost every season he was healthy. But after missing the majority of 2016, the Vikings realized that he was no longer what the team needed.

With NFL’s the continued shift towards a more pass-heavy league, and with Peterson being notoriously out of place in passing situations, the need for a change in offensive philosophy became clear.

Enter Dalvin Cook. Continue reading Rookie RB Analysis: Dalvin Cook

Rookie RB Analysis: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars

It seems like Leonard Fournette has been on the NFL’s radar since he stepped onto the turf at LSU. He entered the Tigers backfield as the top recruit in the nation, and leaves with that title more-or-less unchanged.

Fournette had the pleasure of hearing his name called fourth overall in the 2017 draft. That decision by the Jacksonville Jaguars earned the young man from New Orleans a cool $27 million over the course of the next four years, and made him the sixth highest paid rusher in the league.

This decision took place in the modern NFL. A league which, as many are eager to point out, doesn’t value the running back position. However, by ponying up a top ten salary for Fournette, the Jag’s have put their money with their mouth is. They are saying that they believe Fournette can be a top tier running back for at least the next four years.

So should we believe them? Continue reading Rookie RB Analysis: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars

2017 NFL Combine: Winners & Losers

Monday night, NFL teams and prospects alike made their way home from Indianapolis as the doors closed to the 2017 NFL Combine.  As the dust settles on Lucas Oil Stadium, several prospects will go home smiling, knowing that their performance has improved their draft stock, while others will go home worried that they just ruined their shot at being a day one or two pick in the draft.

Which players improved their stock? And which would have been better off not showing up? We’ll look at some winners and losers from the combine that could be fantasy relevant for your team in 2017. Continue reading 2017 NFL Combine: Winners & Losers