2019 Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Analysis

Head coach- Doug Pederson

Offensive coaching philosophy- West Coast Offense/ short/intermediate passes

What to expect- Doug Pederson came from the Andy Reid coaching tree. As a player he was Brett Favre’s backup in Green Bay under Head Coach Mike Holmgren who also ran the West Coast Offense. Both Reid and Holmgren learned from former 49’ers great Bill Walsh. The West Coast Offense uses short/intermediate passes as a substitute for running. Pederson has indicated he wants to be more aggressive on offense in 2019. Expect more 4th down gambles, and more RPO’s run/pass options.

Quarterback- Super Bowl hero Nick Foles left in free agency. A career journeyman QB he found his calling in Philadelphia and became a legend in a city desperate for a title. He’ll never have to pay for a meal in the City of Brotherly Love again after his magical playoff run. The Eagles couldn’t afford to keep two QBs at the market price so Foles left for Jacksonville. Carson Wentz remains. Wentz seems legit. He was on a MVP pace until he hurt his knee in 2017. Last year he got off to a slow start- probably from trying to rush back to soon, but he’s healthy now. He seems poised for a big year. Unfortunately, there’s not much behind him so if he gets injured- the Eagles offense is in trouble.

Running Back- Philadelphia traded a late round pick to Chicago for the services of Jordan Howard. He’s a power runner. They’ll use him in the LeGarette Blount short yardage type of role. He should get all of the goal line touchdowns. Philly also used a high pick on rookie RB Miles Sanders. Sanders went to Penn State and backed up Saquan Barkley before proving himself in the Big 10. He’s not the runner Barkley is- well few are. He’s been sidelined with a hamstring issue which has caused him to miss valuable time learning the Eagles offense. This could slow his learning curve in 2019. Darren Sproles is a free agent as of now, but there are rumblings he wants to keep playing. Don’t be shocked if he avoids the hell that is training camp and signs later this summer. A trade for LeSean McCoy or Duke Johnson is also a possibility.

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- The prime weapon here is TE Zach Ertz. He had 116 catches for 1163 yards and 8 TDs. Ertz is Wentz’s favorite target in the red zone. He’s a matchup nightmare and provides a big target for the young QB. The Eagles also have young TE Dallas Goedert. He should see a bigger role on offense and eat into Ertz’s numbers. It might be the only time in history Eagles fans yell Go Dallas! At WR Alshon Jeffery mans one side. He’s a big WR, but lacks speed and has had a history of soft tissue injuries. On the other side the Eagles traded for speedster DeSean Jackson. Jackson returns to his original team. He was frustrated in Tampa and even new coach Bruce Arians and his deep passing philosophy couldn’t convince him to stay. Jackson is older now but can still take the top of the defense. Nelson Agholor is the slot WR, but he could lose time or be cut to rookie WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Whiteside had a good Spring and impressed coaches with his play.

Offensive Line- Excellent OT Lane Johnson and C Jason Kelce anchor this impressive line. OT Jason Peters is getting up there at 37 so Philly traded up and leapfrogged the Texans to take rookie OT Andre Dilliard. G Brandon Brooks made the pro bowl last year. Isaac Seumalo rounds out an excellent front 5.

Schedule-Okay -not great not horrible Atlanta Detroit, NY Giants Seattle all seem like good draws. Washington twice, Chicago, Minnesota, New England, and the NY Jets are much tougher

Bye- Week 10

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 Good NY Giants, at Washington, Dallas, at NY Giants Anytime you see the Giants defense on the docket you get a big smile as a fantasy owner. They’ve got nothing. The only concern is if the game gets out of hand and the Eagles let off the gas. Washington front 4 is legit and could be worrisome. Dallas also has a good defensive line capable of posing problems, but a shootout still seems likely with the Cowboys potent offense.

Sleeper- none

Undervalued- Carson Wentz

Overvalued-Zach Ertz. Jordan Howard

Bust- Miles Sanders, Alshon Jeffery

Bottom Line- The Eagles have one of the best offensive lines in football protecting one of the best young QBs. That’s usually a recipe for fantasy success. However, they like to spread the wealth in Philly and that’s not good for fantasy owners. Zach Ertz is the star here, but even he might see a decrease in production with Dallas Goedert being more involved. Carson Wentz should do well but the schedule makers didn’t do him any favors. That could cap his upside. Jordan Howard doesn’t seem like a good fit. He came from a similar offense in Chicago and that didn’t work out. He’ll be TD dependent. Alshon Jeffery is too slow to get a lot of yards after the catch. He’s also TD dependent and has a history of soft tissue injuries. If you’re going to place your bet on an Eagles player Zach Ertz and Carson Wentz are the guys to pick. Ertz’s price tag wont be cheap though. Wentz seems like a better bargain. As the 10th QB in Fantasy Pros ADP he has the talent to be a top 5 QB if things break right,. However, despite a good offensive line he has yet to make it through a season without hitting the injured reserve. If he can’t make it through unscathed again in 2019 there’s no Nick Foles anymore to save this offense. Everyone will take a huge hit.

2019 Atlanta Falcons Fantasy Analysis

Head coach- Dan Quinn

Offensive coaching philosophy- Balanced attack run & pass/ zone scheme with deep shots down the field

What to expect- Dirk Koetter takes over the offensive coordinator duties from Steve Sarkisian. Expect a balanced attack neither run or pass heavy. Deep shots taken down the field to Julio Jones mixed in with Devonta Freeman running behind a zone blocking scheme.

Quarterback- Matt Ryan had one of his best years- 4900 yards and 35 TDs. He should do well this year too- although history suggests otherwise. He seems to have a good year when fantasy owners don’t expect much of him, and when they do he seems to throw in a clunker. He has familiarity with Dirk Koetter’s offense- he might have even lobbied for Koetter to return. The transition shouldn’t be difficult and the Falcons are stacked on the offensive side of the ball. The only thing limiting him is points from rushing. Ryan is a statue with very limited mobility.

Running Back- The Falcons couldn’t afford both Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman so they let Tevin Coleman walk in free agency. His loss will be felt. He offered game breaking speed. They’re counting on Devonta Freeman to come through. He’s had several injury riddled seasons but enters this season healthy and he seems like he’s sitting on a big year. An improved offensive line should open more holes for him. He’ll garner the majority of the carries in a RBBC. The Falcons will probably use Ito Smith in Coleman’s old role. He’s 200 lbs dripping wet. Keep an eye on rookie Qadree Ollison. Ollison is the biggest RB Atlanta has. His comp from some scouts is Steelers RB James Conner/ former Falcons RB Michael Turner. He could vulture TDs if Atlanta wants to use him in short yardage. If anything happens to Freeman he’s probably the main beneficiary in what seems like a RBBC.

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- Julio Jones is absolutely maddening for fantasy owners. He’s one of, if not, the most talented WRs in the NFL, but for some reason doesn’t get a lot of TDs. He’s the Andre Johnson of this fantasy era. His unselfish team play is great for team chemistry, but not for fantasy stats. Still he’s one of the best WRs out there and warrants an early round pick. Calvin Ridley, a fellow Crmson Tide alum mans the other side. He’ll see a lot of single coverage with defenses focused on stopping Jones. It’s hard to believe he’ll repeat 10 TDs again. The law of averages should kick in and regression looks likely. Mohammed Sanu is the 3rd WR. Sanu is a big WR, but too slow to get a lot of yards after the catch. Austin Hooper is the tight end. He had 71 catches last year and head coach Dan Quinn thinks he’s just scratching the surface. We’ll see.

Offensive Line- Very Good Jake Mathews and Alex Mack anchor the line. They’re both all-pros. The Falcons were frustrated with their running attack and invested high draft picks in rookies Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary.. They also signed James Carpenter in free agency. They want to play more physical and these additions make this a stout unit capable of putting up a lot of points.

Schedule- Good Seattle, LA Rams, Tampa, Tennessee all look like favorable matchups. It never hurts playing half of your games in a dome with perfect weather conditions.

Bye- Week 9

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 Okay- NO, CAR, at SF, JACK All of these defenses are tough, but 3 of the 4 games are at home where the Falcons offense tends to come alive. This team is built to score points. It’s hard to believe anyone can completely shut them down at home. The game in SF could be problematic though. 49’ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is very familiar with Atlanta’s personnel as a former offensive coordinator and might know how to stop them. Other than that- they should do decent.

Sleeper- none

Undervalued- Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman

Overvalued- Calvin Ridley

Bust- none

Bottom Line- The Falcons should be one of the top offenses in the league. Upgrades to the offensive line should have a positive, domino effect throughout the offense including bigger running lanes for Devonta Freeman and a cleaner pocket for Matt Ryan. Freeman is finally healthy and seems like he’s sitting on a big year. The only worry is if Atlanta pulls him at the goal line for a bigger RB like rookie Qadree Ollison. Still he’s worth the risk costing only a 4th rd pick in the latest ADP data which seems like a bargain. Freeman can get points both rushing and catching passes. Julio Jones is also slightly undervalued. If he ever caught double digit TDs he’d be the perfect fantasy WR. He’s consistently ranked among the top Wr for receiving yards. Calvin Ridley, while talented doesn’t have the size or speed to be a #1 WR Expecting him to repeat his 10 TD performance seems unlikely.

2019 Pittsburgh Steelers Fantasy Analysis

Head coach- Mike Tomlin

Offensive coaching philosophy- Hurry up offense- up tempo, pass oriented focus- 11 personnel

What to expect- Randy Fichtner enters his 2nd year as offensive coordinator. He likes an up tempo offense, however, he is also known for his willingness to listen to his players opinions and adapt accordingly. He likes to spread the field by using 11 personnel. (Don’t worry i had to look it up too.) 11 personnel is basically 1 RB 1 TE and 3 WR.

Quarterback- Ben Roethlisberger had one of his best seasons passing for 5,129 yards and passing for 34 TDs. That said he’s 37 years old, and he’s never been the picture of perfect health. He usually misses a few games. Counting on Ben to last a full season seems overly optimistic. Also, while the locker room might benefit from the absence of both LeVeon Bell and Antonio Brown- the play on Sunday might not. Yes Bell never played in 2018, but he was still regarded as one of the best RBs in the league. Losing him permanently hurts. Losing Bell and Brown doesn’t help an offense no matter how you slice it- including the aforementioned QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Running Back- The LeVeon Bell distraction is finally in the rear view mirror. The Steelers were unwilling to pay Bell so he left for the Big Apple to play for the Jets. Time will tell how this unfolds. James Conner has big shoes to fill, but he did a good job last year. It '‘s hard not to root for Conner. His comeback from cancer was one of the feel good stories of the year. A local kid he was a game changer for fantasy owners last year- shifting the balance of power in most fantasy leagues. Whoever the fantasy analyst who recommended him last August 18th as a late round sleeper deserves a medal, cough cough, Mark Ringo cough cough on August 18th, 2018. That said he still missed 3 games with a injured ankle. The buzz I’m hearing is that the Steelers might prefer a RBBC so he doesn’t wear down. While Jaylen Samuel is still there, he admits he isn’t comfortable in pass blocking. The guy to watch out for is rookie Bennie Snell from Kentucky. Snell doesn’t seem like a special back. He’s too slow imo. However, scouts say he’s a try hard runner and he can break tackles. It wouldn’t shock me if the Steelers pull Conner from the goal line and put Snell in to muscle it in. If you’re looking for a handcuff- Snell is the guy to own. He can pass block, catch the ball out of the backfield, and be a bell cow back if needed.

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- Gone is Antonio Brown and he’ll be difficult to replace. Brown was a mainstay for the Steelers proving some scouts and analysts like myself wrong. He’s not the biggest or the fastest WR, but he might be the best. He felt disrespected by his teammates and the front office. Strictly from a team chemistry outlook- maybe it was time. If you think Juju Smith-Schuster and the other WR will naturally pick up Brown’s stats- think again. Brown is a dynamic WR. Smith-Schuster will have to prove he can be the #1 WR for a full season. Maybe he can, but a 2nd round pick for fantasy owners is a pretty lonely place to find out. Pittsburgh wants to use him in the slot. They think his size can give them an edge. That means more catches, but shorter routes and less yards. They’ll look to James Washington and Donte Moncrief to work the outside. Both have speed, Moncrief has more size and has more experience. Can he stay healthy? If he can - despite not being the WR Brown is - he can pile up good stats in a hurry up passing attack. Washington is more comfortable with the offense in his 2nd year. He should take a step forward. His body type is more of a RB though. WRs like that usually don’t become difference makers. We’ll see. At tight end Vance McDonald is on many analysts draft boards as a sleeper. Jesse James is gone so he’ll get more snaps. I’ll have to see it before I can go there.

Offensive Line- Excellent A clear strength- the Steelers have one of the best offensive lines in the league. Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro are all-pros. Alejandro Villanueva is very good at left tackle. Ramon Foster and Matt feller round out an excellent unit.

Schedule- OK not great-Cincinnati, Miami, and Arizona are good matchups. Cleveland, New England, NY Jets not so much. The Browns defense is very good. They’ll be tough to score on if healthy.

Bye- Week 7

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 OK not great at Ariz, Buf, at NY Jets, at Balt Arizona and Baltimore are decent matchups. The Jets front 7 is menacing with rookie Quinnen Williams coming on. He might be the best player in the 2019 draft when all is said and done. When all else fails just draft guys from Alabama and you should be okay. Buffalo has a young improving defense as well. Eh- the playoff schedule could be better- could be worse.

Sleeper- Donte Moncrief, Bennie Snell

Undervalued- none

Overvalued- Ben Roethlisberger

Bust- James Conner

Bottom Line- The days of drafting James Conner at the Dollar Store are long gone my friends. This year he’ll cost a pretty penny. He’s going in the 2nd round. That’s too rich for my blood. The whispers I’ve heard from those in the know of the Steelers organization are that Bennie Snell could be a TD vulture when Pittsburgh gets in the red zone. That would kill Conner’s value and 2nd round ADP. Jaylen Samuels is more of a gimmick player than a handcuff. Juju Smith-Schuster will also cost a 2nd round price tag in most drafts. He has a higher floor than Conner. I’m just not sure he has the ceiling that Brown did by running shorter routes from the slot. He’s known for size not speed. Moncrief can be had for cheap and he seems like a bargain. He has both size and speed- he just needs good health to put up stats.

The Steelers window of fantasy stars is nearing an end. The Big 3 B’s of Ben, Bell ,and Brown are down to just one. At 37 years old does Ben have enough to make it through the season in one piece? If he does there are fantasy stats there for the taking in this up tempo passing offense. If Ben can’t stay healtthy can’t this entire offense takes a huge hit. Either youngster Mason Rudolph or Joshua Dobbs would take the reins- it’s doubtful either is the QB of the future- neither was an early round pick. Even if Ben can avoid the injury bug expecting the same results without Antonio Brown seems foolhardy. Despite the exceelent offensive line- this offense should take a step back in 2019.

2019 Los Angeles Rams Fantasy Analysis

Head coach- Sean McVay

Offensive coaching philosophy- Balanced, short passes, hurry up offense to dictate tempo

What to expect- McVay likes to use 3 WR sets. However he’s indicated possibly using more 2 RB sets after the Rams drafted Darrell Henderson. McVay also loves play action passes and giving what the defense gives him. If they stack the box to stop the run he’ll opt for a play action pass. If they lay back he’ll call a run. He likes to keep the formation the same and vary the plays from that same look- not giving the defense any tells- a trick he learned from Jon Gruden.

Quarterback- Jared Goff’s turnaround under McVay has been nothing short of incredible. It seems likes eons ago, but it’s only been 2 years since his rookie season under prior head coach Jeff Fisher. He looked lost like a deer in headlights. In fairness to coach Fisher many QBs look that way their rookie years. In 2019 Goff passed for 4688 yards and threw 32 TDs. He doesn’t offer much for rushing stats- he’s not very mobile. As good as he’s looked a Super Bowl hangover here is very possible. Health to key starters could affect Goff negatively in 2019.

Running Back- Only a few days ago the million dollar question for many analysts was where in the 1st round to draft Todd Gurley? Gurley has been a force since McVay took over the Rams. Note I said most- but NOT all and certainly NOT me.

On June 2nd Matthew Berry of ESPN tweeted: On this date back in 1925, Lou Gehrig got the start ahead of Wally Pipp and thus the “getting Wally Pipp-ed” expression was born. Who is your biggest concern for someone who could get “Wally Pipp-ed” in the NFL this season & go from starter to forgotten? I’ll start: LeSean McCoy. (note Matthew also mentioned Gurley farther down in his same tweet. Good job man.)

My response on June 2nd: That's easy- Todd Gurley. The Rams not only matched an offer to keep backup RB Malcolm Brown- they traded up in the draft to take RB Darrell Henderson. In the NFC Championship game that went to OT vs NO he had 4 rushing attempts. In a very close Super Bowl he only had 10.

On June 3rd Ian Rappaport tweeted Todd Gurley’s days as an every down bellcow RB are probably over.

Only then did the Fantasy experts hear the fire alarm and revise their expectations. Remember, the Rams signed Gurley to a record contract ($45 million in guarantees last year) & YET 1 year later they match on offer for backup RB Malcolm Brown AND traded up in the draft for rookie RB Darrell Henderson. Doesn’t that seem odd? I mean they’re paying the guy 45 million- you’d think if he was healthy they’d give him the rock all day, every day, and 100 times on Sunday. They already said they’re going to limit his touches this year. They don’t want him wearing down like last year. At best case Gurley is in a RBBC. At worst case he could end up on the PUP list or even worse than that play and get 5 rushes for 30 yds 12 rushes for 60 yds each week with lousy stats. The Rams offseason moves are telling. Gurley is a mid round gamble imo. No higher than #20 RB and maybe even worse than that.

So if Gurley goes down who do you place your bets on? The Rams traded up to take Rookie Darrell Henderson. They view him as their Alvin Kamara. He’s explosive, a little undersized at 208 lbs, but powerful for his size. He doesn’t just run by tacklers he can run through them too. It’s unlikely he gets a full workload even if Gurley goes down. He probably wouldn’t hold up, however he’s electric. He reminds me of RBs Chris Johnson and Dalvin Cook. Henderson has good hands too- so the 3rd down passing work should be mostly his. The other candidate is Malcolm Brown. (Note that CJ Anderson left in free agency for Detroit.) Brown has more size 225 lbs compared to Henderson 208 lbs. They like Brown’s all around game including special teams. He can be had late as of this writing (most analysts are on the Henderson bandwagon) and should get the goal line carries if Gurley goes down. I suspect if Gurley goes down it will still be a RBBC with Brown and Henderson. As of this writing July 9th, 2018 my best guess is a 50% RBBC with Gurley and Henderson. That’s the model the Saints used in Alvin Kamara’s rookie year with him and Mark Ingram.

Wide Receiver/Tight End- The Rams use 3 WR sets a lot and spread the stats out. That’s great in the real world, but not as great for fantasy owners. Last year Robert Woods had 86 receptions for 1219 yards with 6 TDs. Brandin Cooks had 80 catches for 1204 yards and 5 TDs. The hope is they put up similar numbers, but if Gurley isn’t the same player it hurts this offense. Cooper Kupp tore his knee late in the year. While many analysts seem bullish on him, I know from personal experience knee injuries are tough to recover from. I doubt Kupp can comeback and make an impact due to the demands of playing WR. Quick cuts, changing direction, starting and stopping, all of those aren’t good for knees. If you want a sleeper- Josh Reynolds seem like the guy who benefits the most if Kupp can’t go or suffers a setback. He’s thin, but has more size than Woods or Cooks and can be had much cheaper. McVay hasn’t used his TE’s much. He said he wants to get them more involved- we’ll see. Gerald Everett was a force in college. Scouting comps are Jordan Reed. He hurt his shoulder last year, but he’s healthy now and I think he has a shot of taking the next step and surprising a lot of folks.

Offensive Line- Below Average Andrew Whitworth is 38 and wants to give it another go. That’s the good news. The bad news is he’s probably the best linemen the Rams have. How much does he have left in the tank? Center John Sullivan wasn’t resigned and left guard Rodger Saffold left for Tennessee in free agency. Scouts say this line isn’t very athletic. They could get beat with a good pass rush. Goff better get the ball out quick. The Rams used their limited draft capital over the last few drafts to take some linemen with mid and late round picks. They’ll need some of those to pan out. If anything happens to Whitworth this offense takes another hit. Sooner or later enough bodyblows sends you to the canvas staring at the lights.

Schedule- OK not great- Tampa, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and Arizona twice is good- Chicago Cleveland, Carolina, Dallas, not so good.

Bye- Week 9

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 OK not great- vs Seattle, @Dallas, @San Francisco, Arizona Seattle and Arizona aren’t the worst matchups in the world. Dallas‘s line will be tough. If Nick Bosa can stay healthy the 49’ers pass rush could be a problem. How does that jewelry store jingle go? Oh yeah he went to Jared!

Sleeper- Josh Reynolds. Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson- I’m not a fan of Kupp this year or Gurley’s price tag. The risk is very real. If Gurley breaks down or is put on the PUP list Brown could get the most valuable carries on this offense. The ones going over the goal line from the one yard line. That said, Henderson is more explosive. While volume helps, we also have to consider talent. Henderson jumps off the screen when I watch him. This is the kind of pick that can win your league. Reynolds seems like a good sleeper too. If Kupp can’t make it back he should easily outperform his price tag on draft day.

Undervalued - Gerald Everett has the ability. He might surprise people this year, but there are a lot of mouths to feed on this offense. He’s a late round dart throw in the tight end position because of his talent.

Overvalued- Jared Goff- I don’t care what the name says on the jersey Gurley is not the same player he was two years ago and if the offensive line takes a step back it’s hard to see Goff living up to the #12 QB ranking on Fantasy Pros

Bust- Todd Gurley, Cooper Kupp- In a 12 team league- spending a the 1st or 2nd rd pick on Gurley makes him a bust. He’s got to make it to the 4th or 5th for me to even consider taking him and even then I’d probably prefer other players. He’ll most likely be long gone by then. There’s always at least one owner who only sees the player’s stats and not the player he is going forward. Those past stats don’t count in 2019 folks. Kupp I’m avoiding altogether. Let someone else draft a WR coming off major knee surgery late in 2018.

Bottom Line- The workhorse days of Todd Gurley appear to be over. There’s no cure for arthritis people and the offseason moves the Rams brass made are telling. The offensive line should take a step back this year. Both of these seem like red flags for Goff’s stock. Still it’s hard to bet totally against McVay. The turnaround he did with Goff after his rookie year was amazing. Josh Reynolds could be a sneaky pick on draft day if Kupp isn’t ready. He can be had very late. If you’re going to place your bets on a Rams player- Darrell Henderson seems like a good bet. He could be a league winner if things break right. He’s a better option than Todd Gurley because of a reduced price tag. He’s also healthy. Malcolm Brown could be a factor as well and he’ll be much cheaper. However, both still need the line to do well. That remains a concern.

2019 San Francisco 49'ers Fantasy Analysis

Head coach- Kyle Shanahan

Offensive coaching philosophy- Aggressive & balanced

What to expect- Kyle Shanahan is one of the more innovative offensive minds in the game. Last year was supposed to be the rebirth of the 49’ers playoff hopes, but his star QB was lost for the season. Fortunately for the 49’ers it happened early in 2018 so Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be fine for 2019. Shanahan, like his dad Mike, uses a zone run scheme. Through the run he likes to use play action passes and take deeper shots down the field.

Quarterback- Last year didn’t go like 49’ers brass had hoped when they acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. Garoppolo’s injury really dashed any hope of making the playoffs. The good news is he’s healthy now and because of the injury can be had for a cheap price of draft day. Garoppolo’s not very mobile, even less so now after knee surgery, but his quick release, good technique, and very good accuracy make him dangerous if given time. He knows the offense very well now after having to learn it on the fly in 2017. One anonymous NFL exec was asked if you had to pick one QB who could come out of nowhere and have a Pat Mahomes type of season in 2019 who would it be? His answer was Jimmy Garoppolo.

Running back- This looks like is a full blown RBBC. The 49’ers signed Tevin Coleman from Atlanta in free agency. Coleman knows Shanahan’s offense from Atlanta so the learning curve should be relatively easy. He’s an explosive playmaker, but will probably wear down if overused. And while he’s not the typical bigger, powerful short yardage RB, as of early June he looks like the guy who will get the rock when the 49’ers run it in from the 1 yard line. Also in the mix are Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida. Like Garoppolo McKinnon is also coming off a knee injury. His progress is slower because of the nature of his position- using his legs more to make quick cuts. It’s unlikely McKinnon has a big impact this year. It usually takes most running backs and wide receivers 2 years to recover from knee surgery. They will probably limit his plays- at least in the early part of the season. Breida is a change of pace back used for 3rd down situations.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The go to guy of this group is clearly TE George Kittle. Kittle has quickly established himself as one of the top TE’s in the league. 88 receptions on 1388 yards in 2018 despite starting QB Garoppolo being out for most of the year was simply incredible. His 5 TDs should go up. Teams will have to double him which opens things up for the other wide outs. There isn’t a prototype NFL#1 WR on this team. They have a bunch of #2 #3 WRs. Dante Pettis returns- he looks like a guy ready to take the next step. He started coming on late and with Kittle drawing added attention, he can benefit. Rookie Deebo Samuel looks like the slot WR. He is difficult to bring down, known for his tackle breaking ability. Samuel could also be used on gadget plays and runs. Marquise Goodwin has the speed to take the top off the defense, but unfortunately not the health to stay on the field. Shanahan hinted that Goodwin seems better suited as a complementary role with less snaps than as a primary weapon. The 49’ers also signed Jordan Matthews. Matthews might not even make the team. If he does, what he lacks in speed, he does have size and could see red zone looks if the defense focuses too much on Kittle. Keep track of training camp to see how things here unfold.

Offensive Line- Very Good Weston Richburg & Joe Staley are solid. McGlinchey made the all rookie team and will only get better. Mike Person adds versatility and Laken Tomlinson helps in run blocking rounding out a solid unit

Schedule- Very Good. Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Arizona, Green Bay are some of the foes- none are daunting. There could be some shootouts in 2019.

Bye- Week 4- This seems incredibly early and doesn’t help the 49’ers as injuries mount over the course of the year

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 OK @New Orleans, Atlanta, LA Rams, @ Seattle The Saints have a very underrated defense. Atlanta has talent, but they’ve suffered injuries. Can they stay on the field? Shanahan is very familiar with their personnel so he might be able to exploit them even if they can. The Rams Aaron Donald is always a concern, but they underperformed last year. Seattle’s Legion of Boom is long gone. There’s nothing there this team can’t handle.

Sleeper- Jimmy Garoppolo, Dante Pettis

Undervalued - George Kittle

Overvalued- Jerick McKinnon

Bust- none

Bottom Line- Fantasy owners are a fickle crowd my friend. Many only remember what have you done for me lately. George Kittle is the star everyone will gravitate toward, but if you believe in Kittle you should believe in Garoppolo too. Expecting Kittle to do well or as well again without Garoppolo seems unlikely. Many experts are in a wait and see mode on Garoppolo and are afraid to rank him too high. He has sleeper potential written all over him if he can stay healthy. If this offense takes off-like a top 10 offense- it will be more than just the George Kittle show. Dante Pettis seems like as good a bet as any. He’s a hard worker and was coming on late last year working with only backup QBs. With a gunslinger like Jimmy G he could be a bargain on draft day. The RB situation still seems murky, but Tevin Coleman is in the lead to be the most productive. To summarize, this team has a relatively easy schedule, they’re more comfortable in this offense as it’s year 3 in Kyle Shanahan’s tenure, and they have the firepower to do some damage. The price tag is right for several 49’ers. Fantasy owners who take a chance mining for 49’ers on draft day might just strike gold in 2019.

2019 Detroit Lions Fantasy Analysis

2019 Detroit Lions

Head Coach- Matt Patricia

Offensive Coaching Philosophy- Conservative- run focused

What to Expect: Matt Patricia enters his second year. Gone is offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who did a very good job. Replacing him is offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Bevell had prior stints as the offensive coordinator for Seattle and Minnesota. Bevell believes in physical, run focused attack that exerts their will on a defense. This philosophy is shared by head coach Matt Patricia which explains why Cooter wasn’t brought back. While Bevell prefers to run most of the time he will forever be known as the coach who called the ill fated pass late in Super Bowl 49 which Malcolm Butler intercepted Russell Wilson at the goal line. Ironically it was Patricia who was the defensive coordinator helping Bill Belichick against him that day. Now the two former adversaries will work together.

Quarterback- While Matthew Stafford is still the Lions QB, the good ole days of him chucking it all over the field are long gone. Stafford played 16 games last year but only had 3 games where he passed over 300 yards to with a pedestrian 21 TDs. Despite the Lions defense still being a work in progress, and you’d think they’d be forced to pass more on that fact alone, this is a team that wants to run the ball. That doesn’t bode well for fantasy owners. Stafford is not known for his running prowess which makes his fantasy outlook bleak this year. On a personal note his wife Kelly had brain surgery. If Matthew’s mind isn’t 100% on football this year- that’s why.

Running back- If you’re going to invest in a Lions player Kerryon Johnson is probably the best bet to do decent. Johnson should be the beneficiary of Bevell’s run focused attack. Last year he did well before a knee injury ended his season. Matt Patricia as already said he doesn’t want to overwork Johnson- so the Lions signed CJ Anderson from the Rams to join the RBBC. Anderson replaces LeGarrette Blount. He’s not as big as Blount, but he’s quicker and more versatile. If Kerryon gets hurt again- CJ’s stock skyrockets. Theo Riddick is also in the mix as a 3rd down option.

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- The receiving group is led by Kenny Golliday. Golliday appears to be on the verge of becoming an elite WR. Several former NFL WR’s who have watched him practice have been impressed with his talent including Chad Johnson, aka Ocho Cinco. Golliday is big and can fly creating mismatches for shorter cornerbacks on post patterns and in the red zone. The problem is he’s in a run heavy offense. That limits his upside. Opposite Golliday is Marvin Jones. Jones is the clear #2- Golden Tate was traded midseason last year. Jones isn’t big or fast- an NFL exec was quoted as saying he’s not someone you worry about game planning for. The 5 TDs in 8 games he played last year seems unsustainable. The Lions also signed former Patriot Danny Amendola to work the slot. Amendola has had a hard time staying on the field and at 33- it’s hard to expect much from him. In the draft the Lions took TE TJ Hockenson in the 1st round. Scouting comps have him as Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce. Hockenson helps the Lions both in the run game- he’s a very good blocker and in the air because of his size. He should steal some red zone looks from Golliday and Jones. With a Lions team that focuses on the run- it already hurts their limited upside.

Offensive Line- OK- They’re better at run blocking than pass blocking. This is a unit that wants to mash you. If it’s 3rd and long- Stafford could be in trouble. That’s the area they need to improve. Stafford was sacked 10 times last year in a game vs the Vikings. He’s a durable QB, but you can’t expect your starting QB to take that many hits and last a season. The Lions signed tight end Jesse James. James & TJ Hockenson should improve the run game. Both are very good blockers. TJ Lang retired due to injuries. He never lived up to the lofty contract Detroit paid for him in free agency.

Schedule- Tough The NFL didn’t help the Lions any. Dallas, LA Chargers, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver, not to mention Chicago and Minnesota twice each- all have strong defensive lines capable of putting heavy pressure on Stafford.

Bye- Week 5

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 Not Good @Minn, TB, @ Den, GB The Vikings sacked Stafford 10 times last season in 1 game. Playing in Minnesota and dealing with that deafening crowd noise doesn’t help. Denver has two of the NFL’s best pass rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Tampa Bay still has a long way to go on defense, but Ndamukong Suh will be motivated to play his former team.

Sleeper- CJ Anderson- This is a late round dart throw- nothing more. if anything happens to Kerryon Johnson CJ gets a major boost in a run first offense.

Undervalued - none

Overvalued- Kenny Golliday- Love his natural talent, but his upside is capped in this offense and TJ Hockenson should steal some red zone looks. Golliday’s current price tag as the #16 WR in Fantasy Pros ADP seems lofty with no room for profit.

Bust- Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones.

Bottom Line- Matthew Stafford still has plenty in the tank, but can the Lions protect him? Even if they can a run focused offense kills any chance of him making a major impact. Kenny Golliday is one of the leagues best young WR’s, but he will be TD dependent because the volume isn’t going to be there. Despite going off the board as the 45th WR that’s still too high for Marvin Jones. TJ Hockenson will be featured more in the red zone stealing targets from both Golliday and Jones. Kerryon Johnson is the best bet to do well, but even he has to share the rock with CJ Anderson. Add in a difficult schedule and, for the most part, the fantasy outlook for the Lions doesn’t look too promising. The silver lining- a late round dart throw on CJ Anderson could pay major dividends if Kerryon Johnson’s knee doesn’t hold up in a run heavy attack.

2019 Washington Redskins Fantasy Analysis

2019 Washington Redskins

Head Coach- Jay Gruden

Offensive Coaching Philosophy- Somewhat Aggressive

What to Expect- Jay Gruden likes to pass.  His team has ranked in the top dozen in passing most years. Losing veteran QB Alex Smith really crippled this team in 2018. Gruden also likes his QB to take deep shots down the field. He’s got a rookie QB with a rocket for an arm in Dwayne Haskins who can do that. The defense is pretty good. A wiser course of action might be to play conservatively to avoid turnovers. Whatever Gruden decides the pressure is on. Dan Snyder expects to win. If Washington struggles Jay might be joining his brother Jon out in Las Vegas next year. Place your bets.

 

Quarterback- Alex Smith’s horrific injury really derailed Washington’s season last year.  The club signed free agent Case Keenum who only made it one year in Denver before having GM John Elway ship him out of town.  In April Washington let the draft come to them and selected Ohio state QB Dwayne Haskins.  Haskins only has one year of experience, but it was a good year.  He threw 50 TDs in only 14 games!  Word is not everyone in Washington’s draft room was on board with this pick.  This was owner Daniel Snyder using his veto power.  My best guess is that Haskins probably starts the year as a backup, but one lousy outing by Keenum and Haskins will get the call. Haskins is a big guy and has a gun for an arm. One of his weaknesses is his lack of mobility. He’s a pocket passer- so don’t expect a lot of rushing stats to pad those fantasy scores.  Scouting comps I’ve seen are Drew Bledsoe and Joe Flacco.

 

Running Back-The highest ranked fantasy RB in D.C. is Derrius Guice.  Guice was a star at LSU- some scouts had him ranked higher than Leonard Fournette which is telling.  Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL last summer which ended his 2018 before it started.  His offseason has been tough.  He’s had several surgeries because of complications- not a good sign and it usually takes two years for most athletes to feel close to 100% from a torn ACL. It sounds like Washington will manage Guice’s workload and keep him on a play count.  He’s a power back. A 1st and 2nd down guy. He doesn’t catch the ball much.  Last year Washington signed Adrian Peterson and he delivered for them.  He’s clearly not the same elite RB he was with Minnesota, but he can be serviceable.  Chris Thompson returns and should be healthier this year.  He was never healthy in 2018.  It was a mistake for Washington to play him to start the year instead of letting him heal.  Thompson is a receiving back, not a workhorse.  Expecting a repeat of 2017 stats is unrealistic.  The club drafted Bryce Love from Stanford.  Love is coming off his own torn ACL in December 2018. He shouldn’t be a factor in 2018. Best guess is a RBBC involving Guice, AP, and Thompson.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- Washington’s best receiving weapon is tight end, Jordan Reed.  Reed is a matchup nightmare who is too big for cornerbacks and too fast for linebackers to cover.  He’s also injury prone.  Last year was a down year for him. You should be able to draft him late so the price is right. He’s worth a shot on his talent alone.  The other tight end is Vernon Davis.  Davis is 35- expecting much at this stage is unrealistic.  At WR are:: Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and rookie Terry “I am” McLaurin (that’s a McLovin reference from the movie Superbad folks) .  Doctson has been a 1st round bust for Washington.  Injuries have sidelined him.  Washington didn’t pick up his 5th year option- he has a lot to prove to the staff this year.  McLaurin is a speedster.  He’ll have no problem developing chemistry with Haskins who was his college teammate at Ohio St. Paul Richardson is a shorter WR who can fly as well.  The dicey QB situation and Doctson’s health make this group risky to invest in.

 

Offensive Line- OK- UPDATE Trent Williams and Brandon Scherff are the anchors. They’re very good when healthy. This line has been decimated with injuries in the past.  Note that recent news is that Trent Williams is demanding to be released or traded over the way the team handled his medical issues. This is big news and needs to be monitored closely. Ereck Flowers is a former 1st round cast off from the Giants and Jacksonville.  I mean how bad are things when you’re taking retreads from the Giants & Jaguars lines? Washington can ill afford to lose their best lineman. If Williams leaves the grade drops from OK down to poor.

 

Schedule- Tough  The schedule makers did Washington no favors this year.  They have the Bears, @Vikings, New England, not to mention division rivals Philadelphia and Dallas twice.

Bye- Week 10

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17- OK - it’s not awful but it’s not great either @ Green Bay, vs Philadelphia, vs NY Giants, @ Dallas.   @Green Bay is do able if they can handle the cold weather.  The NY Giants D is nowhere close to posing a threat. Philadelphia and Dallas, however, could be problematic.  Their defensive lines are daunting. Good thing Washington signed Erick Flowers from free agency to be a starter- ugh!

 

Sleeper- none

Undervalued- TE Jordan Reed (Fantasy Pros #17 ranked TE) He’s worth a shot late.  The problem with Reed is injuries not talent.  However, a rookie QB most likely getting the call limits his upside.  Most QBs struggle their first year. 

Overvalued-  none

Bust- Derrius Guice (Fantasy Pros #26 ranked RB) 

 

Bottom Line- Despite Jay Gruden’s offensive mind (remember Sean McVay learned under him before going to the LA Rams) it doesn’t seem like he has the pieces to succeed this year.  Injuries to the line and key playmakers like Alex Smith, Derrius Guice, Josh Doctson, and Jordan Reed have derailed the offensive firepower.  Word is Gruden is on the hot seat this year.  Add in the pressure to start rookie QB Dwayne Haskins with one year of college experience and things could go south quickly.  Guice’s offseason recovery from knee surgery had complications.  Consider drafting him in 2020, but not in 2019.  He needs a healthy offseason to prepare and more volume to warrant his current mid round price tag. Jordan Reed is worth a shot because of the cheap price.  If the offensive line gets decimated with injuries again- it will be a long year.  Even if they manage to stay healthy. Ereck Flowers remains a weak link.  Mobility is not Haskins strength.  He needs a clean pocket to be successful.

2019 Tennessee Titans Fantasy Analysis

2019 Tennessee Titans

Head Coach- Mike Vrabel

Offensive Coaching Philosophy- Balanced

What to Expect- Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur left for Green Bay to be the head coach of Aaron Rodgers (hard to blame him) and the Titans stayed in house and promoted Arthur Smith.  Smith said he’ll stick with the same offense in order to make it easier for Marcus Mariota to develop.

 

Quarterback- This is a make or break year for Marcus Mariota.  That 2015 QB class of Jameis Winston followed by Mariota isn’t looking too good right now.  Mariota added muscle in the offseason to try and combat the injuries.  He’s been getting hit a lot and they took a toll on the young QB in 2018.  He’s currently the #27 ranked QB at Fantasy Pros.  I can’t say I blame them. The Colts and Jaguars defenses should be better this year and it’s not like this Titans offense was a juggernaut to start with.  The team signed former Miami QB Ryan Tannehill to be the backup. 

 

Running Back- It’s a two man crew- thunder and lightning.  Derrick Henry is the thunder and Lewis is the lightning.  The guy to own here is Henry, but he’s strictly a power runner.  He has less value in ppr leagues,  A good day for him is anything over 100 yards and a TD or two.  Lewis has a smaller build. He’s not meant to be a workhorse back- he’ll wear down.  He gets catches, but this offense isn’t potent like his former team- the Patriots. At the end of the day when it’s time to total your team’s fantasy score- touchdowns still matter. 

 

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- Former 1st round pick Corey Davis is their top WR but he hasn’t panned out like Tennessee had hoped when they selected him early in the 1st round.  He’s not fast enough to run by defenders. The Titans signed  Adam Humphries from Tampa Bay to be a slot WR.  Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe are also in the mix. In the draft Tennessee took WR AJ Brown.  TE Delanie Walker is getting up there at 34. No one here is the star the Titans desperately need to help Mariota reach his potential.

 

Offensive Line- OK-  They’re better at run blocking than pass blocking.  Conklin is a mauler, but he was hurt to start the year last year.  The Titans aren’t impressed with their former 1st round pick as they didn’t pick up his 5th year option.  Tennessee is best when it can keep the game close and play smashmouth football with Henry.  Then off of that they can use play action.  Unfortunately that’s not always possible,  If they fall behind, which is possible against rivals such as the Colts and Texans potent offenses,  their forced to pass which means it’s time for opposing defensive linemen to tee off on Mariota

Schedule- OK not great.  The Titans have some great draws with Tampa and Atlanta, but Cleveland, Jacksonville, & Denver could pose serious problems to their pass protection.

Bye- Week 11

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 Tough @Oakland, vs Houston, vs New Orleans, @ Houston.  Oakland is the only good matchup.  Facing JJ Watt and JaDeveon Clowney can be challenging.  The Saints defense is underrated.

 

Sleeper- none

Undervalued- none

Overvalued- Derrick Henry (#20th ranked RB at Fantasy Pros)

Bust- Corey Davis (#23rd ranked WR at Fantasy Pros.yet Mariota is the #27 ranked QB by the same rankers?)  How exactly is Davis going to get those catches and TDs to warrant a mid-round pick if Mariota has a lousy like many of the rankers are predicting?  There’s a disconnect there. I don’t see it.

 

Bottom Line-This team has no speed. Where is the speed to take the top off the defense? Defenses should be able to stack the box to stop Henry. All of their skill guys are just okay- no stars.  The Titans need Corey Davis to be a #1 WR but he’s a #2. AJ Brown, Adam Humphries are okay players but not gamebreakers.  The book is still out on Mariota.  Right now it’s hard to envision him having a great year.  How many weeks did he throw over 300 yards with a few tds?   And he gets banged up to boot.  The only guy that has shown glimpses is Derrick Henry, but he’s going way too high in drafts for me.  He doesn’t catch passes which limits his upside.  Plus, if the Titans fall behind they’ll have to abandon run and be forced to pass- not exactly their specialty. 

2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fantasy Analysis

2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Head Coach- Bruce Arians

Offensive Coaching Philosophy- Aggressive

What to Expect- Coach Arians motto is “no risk it no biscuit”.  He wants his QBs to put pressure on the defense by throwing it deep.  The tighter officiating favors this line of thinking.  If a defender breathes on a WR it’s a pass interference penalty.  The risks with this approach- long passes are lower percentage plays to complete and it subjects your QB to a lot of hits- any of which can knock him out.

Quarterback- I say the magic words, “Abracadabra” and Ryan “Fitzmagic” disappears.  Fitzpatrick is now in Miami which means this is Jameis Winston’s show- at least for 2019.  And as the saying goes the show must go on.  Winston can make some boneheaded throws which leads to a lot of interceptions.  I don’t know if he’ll ever be accurate enough to cut those down.  The good news is Tampa’s defense is not good.  The by-product of a shaky defense means Tampa will be passing a lot. There are garbage yards and touchdowns there for the taking.  God bless the prevent defense haha! They also play half their games in balmy Florida which usually has ideal conditions.  Winston has a legit shot to post very good fantasy numbers this year. 30 TDs and 4500 yards seems very possible, albeit with 20 interceptions.

Running Back- As of this writing in mid-May it’s Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones, but things could change. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Tampa pick up another RB after preseason cuts or via a trade. Peyton Barber was used more as a 1st and 2nd down back under former coach Dirk Koetter.  Ronald Jones struggled last year as a rookie.  Hopefully he’ll do better under a new coach.  Former Cardinals RB Andre Ellington is there in case Jones struggles, however he’s had a history of injuries.

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- This is the group to keep an eye on.  There should be a lot of garbage yards and catches in Tampa’s games.  Mike Evans is the #1 WR.  His size is a matchup nightmare in the red zone.  WR Chris Godwin returns.  Arians has mentioned he thinks Godwin could benefit from moving into the slot WR role vacated by Adam Humphries who left for Tennessee.  Tampa also lost Desean Jackson who went back to his old team Philadelphia.  Jackson’s loss could hurt.  Arians was hoping he’d stay as D-Jax can take the top off the defense.  Tampa will try and fill his void with Breshad Perriman.  Perriman, a former 1st round pick by Baltimore, was a bust mainly due to injuries.  At TE Tampa has OJ Howard and Cameron Brate.  Howard is one of the best young tight ends in the game.  He’s more talented than Brate who is no slouch at catching the ball either. 

Offensive Line- Good.  They’re better at pass blocking than run blocking, but even that will be tested with Arians, who likes his QB’s to throw deep, forcing the line to maintain their pass protection longer.

Schedule- Excellent  The only game where things could get ugly is week 13 @Jacksonville.  Every other game sets up as a high scoring video game contest.

Bye- Week 7

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 vs Indy, @Detroit, vs Houston, vs Atlanta.  All of those games look like potential shootouts. Two of them are in domes- no threat of wind or rain is a good thing.

 

Sleeper- none

Undervalued- Mike Evans (Fantasy Pro’s 8th ranked WR has the potential to be a top 5 WR when all is said and done)  Jameis Winston (Fantasy Pro’s 10th ranked QB).  He should be ahead of Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, and possibly even Drew Brees due to more passing volume.

Overvalued- none

Bust- none

 

Bottom Line- Tampa should have one of the higher scoring offenses in the league.  Despite the recent addition of Ndamukong Suh, their defense is shaky which will force them to pass a lot.  Losing Gerald McCoy doesn’t help. While most teams are running the clock out in the 4th Qtr the Buccaneers will likely be trailing, forcing them to keep throwing the ball.  Those catches and yards add up in garbage time.  Winston makes some throws that just make a head coach pull out his hair, but in fantasy he can rack up a lot of points.  His Fantasy Pros ranking is higher than expected, and yet he still could outperform it and be a top 6 QB when all is said and done. Mike Evans should have another good year and he has potential to be a top 5 WR.  If Tampa sticks with Barber, which is a big if, he should easily outperform his 47th ranked RB ranking.

2019 Seattle Seahawks Fantasy Analysis

2019 Seattle Seahawks

Head Coach- Pete Carroll

Offensive Coaching Philosophy- Conservative run heavy

What to Expect.  Pete Carroll hired Brian Schottenheimer as his offensive coordinator in 2018.   If that name sounds familiar it should.  He’s the son of longtime head coach Marty Schottenheimer (Cleveland, Washington, and San Diego) whose offensive philosophy is run the ball, don’t turn the ball over, and control the clock.  When Drew Brees played under him at San Diego “Marty Ball” turned the future HOF into a game manager.  It was Ladainian Tomlinson who racked up the yards and touchdowns, not Brees. 

 

Quarterback- Russell Wilson gave an ultimatum to Seattle brass this offseason, pay me or else.  They did.  Wilson is one of the most dynamic players in the game, but this offense is not good for QBs.  It’s too conservative.  From a real life perspective it’s okay to keep your QB from taking too many hits.  From a fantasy perspective it’s awful.  Wilson is being overdrafted by owners unfamiliar with Schottenheimer’s conservative  approach. Fantasy analysts are banking on a repeat of 35 TDs which seems unlikely.

 

Running Back- The benefactors of a conservative offense in Marty Ball or Brian Ball are the RBs.  The main guys are Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny.  I expect a RBBC. The word is it takes time for Penny  to learn an offense and feel comfortable. He thinks too much when he’s unsure and instead needs to react.  Carson knows the system better and he’s a very hard nosed runner.  Carroll loves guys like Carson, however, Seattle didn’t spend a first round pick to sit Penny on the bench so this is a full blown RBBC.  If anything happens to Carson- don’t expect Penny to take all the snaps.  As of now it looks like Bo Scarborough, the former Alabama RB, to fill in, but that could change.. .JD McKissic looks like the 3rd down back.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends-  Doug Baldwin never made it back to 100% from an injury riddled 2018.  Seattle made the difficult choice to cut him.  He was a fierce competitor who always played with a chip on his shoulder.  This is a huge loss for the Seahawks.  They’ll try to fill the void with Tyler Lockett, Jaron Brown, David Moore, and rookie DK Metcalf.  Lockett has the best chance to post numbers, but this is a run heavy offense.  He’s going way too high imo.  Brown has had injury issues and might be a salary cap casualty.  The guess is Moore is the likely candidate to replace Baldwin.  The word from scouts on the rookie Metcalf is he needs to develop his route running. In addition they mentioned the press thought more highly of him than NFL execs. There’s not much here folks fantasy wise- at least under this current run first coaching regime. 

 

Offensive Line- Poor-  They’re better at run blocking than pass blocking.  The left side is decent with Duane Brown and Mike Iupati.  It’s the right side that’s worrisome.  Neither Germain Ifedi or D.J. Fluker have lived up to their first round pedigree.  Fluker was a high pick by the Chiefs.  If Wilson is forced to pass he’ll have to scramble to buy time.  Fortunately that’s one of his strengths.

 

Schedule- Okay not great- Baltimore, Arizona, and Tampa are good matchups.  Cleveland and Minnesota not so much.

Bye- Week 11

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17 Okay @ LA Rams, @ Carolina, vs Arizona, vs SF There’s potential here for some high scoring games.  The Rams defense underperformed last year. Ndamukong Suh left for Tampa Bay in free agency, but Aaron Donald still causes havoc.  The 49’ers added Nick Bosa in the draft to solidify a strong defensive line.

 

Sleeper- none

Undervalued- none

Overvalued- none

Bust- QB Russell Wilson- (Fantasy Pros 6th ranked QB) is too high for a QB in a conservative offense like Seattle’s. Losing WR Doug Baldwin doesn’t help.  WR Tyler Lockett- (Fantasy Pros 24th ranked WR) same reason- conservative offense hurts his numbers.  He’s not a big WR hurting his red zone chances.

 

Bottom Line- It’s amazing what an offensive scheme can do to a player’s stats.  If Seattle ran a more aggressive offense like Arizona- Russell Wilson could put up monster numbers.  That’s not happening here.  He’s going way too high. WR Tyler Lockett looks like a bust for the same reason.  If you’ve got to pick a Seahawk- RB Chris Carson is the guy.   Fantasy Pros #20 RB ranking seems like fair value, but if anything happens to Rashaad Penny things could get real interesting. Carson really came on strong late last year with over 90 yards and 5 TDs in Seattle’s last four regular season games. 

2019 Arizona Cardinals Fantasy Analysis

Head Coach- Cliff Kingsbury

Offensive Coaching Philosophy- Aggressive

What to Expect- Kingsbury ran an Air Raid offense in college. It’s similar to the run and shoot the Houston Oilers ran with Warren Moon- 4 WRs and 1 RB.  It’s a spread offense out of the shotgun which uses all parts of the field- width and length.  It also entails getting the ball to RBs in the flat which should benefit David Johnson. The RPO (Read/pass option).is also a staple init and that takes advantage of Murray’s greatest strength- his speed.

 

Quarterback- Kyler Murray takes over for departed Josh Rosen.  Murray is a Russell Wilson clone.  He’s an electric playmaker with the ball in his hands and able to extend plays when the pocket breaks down. Just like Wilson he forces the defense to make a decision, come up to stop him or cover the receivers. His accuracy according to scouts is above average.  This scheme is a perfect fit for Murray’s talent.  The worries- he’s not the biggest guy in the world- both in height and build.  Of the two it’s the build that could be an issue.  He’s smaller and lighter than Wilson at about 5’10” 200 lbs. One hit could knock him out. Durability is an issue fantasy owners need to consider- both weekly and season long.  Most teams can’t absorb their starting QB being knocked out for one week and expect to win, much less for a lengthy period of time.  Behind Murray is Brett Hundley.  Hundley is not the escape artist Murray is.  If Murray goes down- the Cardinals offense will most likely take a huge hit.

 

Running Back- David Johnson is one of the most electrifying backs in the league.  He cuts on a dime and is excellent at catching passes. His soft hands plus his experience playing wide receiver in college gives him tremendous value- especially in ppr leagues.  Unfortunately the Cardinals offensive line is horrible.  The Air Raid offense should help Johnson- it can’t be any worse than last year under Mike McCoy.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight Ends- Expect a multiple receiver attack most of the time.  Larry Fitzgerald is the most well-known, however, he’s getting up there in age. Fitzgerald was never fast, but got by with great routes and his athleticism in the end zone.  He’s still a good red zone target, but Father Time is undefeated.  If you’re going to pick a Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk is the guy to place your bet on.  He had a decent year in 2018 despite the Cardinals offense being an absolute train wreck.  If Murray stays healthy, these two should develop a solid connection.  Chad Williams has yet to impress, Kevin White is not the same player he was out of college.  Leg injuries have slowed him down.  The Bears would not have cut their former first round pick if they thought he had anything left.  White simply can’t stay healthy.  The Cardinals added a pair of rookies in Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler.  Isabella is short 5’9”, but can fly.  Butler is 6’5” 227 lbs and is big red zone target.  Neither were thought of highly by a few scouting reports I read.  Remember too that four WR sets really divides the stats.  It’s always better when teams use more two WR sets- higher probability that your WR gets the reception.. At tight end Ricky Seals-Jones and Charles Clay will man the position when the Cardinals use a more traditional formation. Neither should be a factor in fantasy leagues.

 

Offensive Line- Poor.  This is one of the worst offensive lines in the league.  It’s hard to know how good Josh Rosen is because he was under constant pressure last year.  Nonetheless GM Steve Keim shipped him off to Miami one year after taking him in the 1st round. Keim is putting his job on the line by picking Murray. Murray’s greatest strength is his quickness and elusiveness.  He can cover up some of the holes here, but can he survive 16 games?

 

Schedule- Good    The Cardinals NFC West opponents have decent defenses, but nothing daunting like the Steel Curtain from the 70’s.  In addition, all of them can light up the scoreboard meaning there are some shootouts possible. The rest of the schedule looks favorable. 

Bye- Week 12

Playoff Schedule- weeks 14-17  OK- not great. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, @Seattle, @LA Rams.  The Browns defense is legit.  They could be problematic.  The Legion of Boom is no longer in Seattle, however the Seahawks signed Ziggy Ansah to help with the pass rush.  Aaron Donald is always a concern when playing the Rams.

 

Sleeper- Kyler Murray (current Fantasy Pros rank #22 QB)

Undervalued-  None

Overvalued- David Johnson (current Fantasy Pros rank #6 RB   # 8 player Overall).  DJ could do well, but #8 overall is too rich for my blood.

Bust- None

Bottom Line- It all comes down to QB Kyler Murray.  If you believe in his talent AND that he can stay healthy for 16 games then he offers more upside than most QB’s taken in the low 20 range.  His upside is vintage Russell Wilson with the rushing yards he’ll gain and the havoc he’ll create on broken plays- aka backyard football.  He’ll have to overcome a terrible offensive line and try to develop chemistry with his new teammates. If you grab Murray you MUST get another decent QB.  Prediction- he’ll do well, but I’m not sure he can stay healthy for the entire season. If he gets hurt- the whole offense takes a hit- none more so than the aforementioned Fantasy Pros #8 overall ranked player- RB David Johnson.