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Jordy Nelson Injury Fantasy Impact
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FPC Draft Recap and Observations Drafting From 5th Pick

The Case For RB-RB, Starting Jamaal Charles + DeMarco Murray

Drafting from the 5th spot, pretty happy with this team acquired last night in the Footballguys Players Championship. PPR (1.5 for TE), start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB/WR/TE, 1 K, 1 DEF

Drafting from the 5th spot, pretty happy with this team acquired last night in the Footballguys Players Championship. PPR (1.5 for TE), start 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 RB/WR/TE, 1 K, 1 DEF

Last night I took part in the third of three leagues I signed up for in the Footballguys Players Championship (FPC) hosted by the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). I know, confusingly similar acronyms, but on the plus side, there is a $300,000 grand prize in the overall championship. Not that I expect to win the top prize among 7,500 teams, but I do expect to win at least one of these three leagues that awards $1,500 for first place. Two of three would be dandy.

In the previous two drafts, I had the 12th pick and the 2nd pick. This time the 5th pick, which is pretty good in my humble opinion. Here are some of my takes from the draft. Note for Draft Buddy customers, you can download each of the completed Draft Buddy files I used in these drafts so you can review the entire draft.

Let me start by saying that even though we have Adrian Peterson as the top RB on our board, I already got him in the draft where I had the second overall pick, so I felt perhaps I would diversify with this league. Leaving AP outside my Top 5 for this draft, I made a short list of Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy, Jamaal Charles and Rob Gronkowski for my first pick.

It turned out Julio Jones went 1.04 (I like it) leaving me Charles and Gronk to choose from. While many experts love Gronk in the first round, I’m not as much in that camp. I think it is doable. I think in this league in particular with 1.5 points-per-reception (PPR) for TE compared to 1 PPR for RB and WR, it makes sense mathematically, but I just don’t love taking a player first round in a spot where I only have to fill one starter.

Many experts are very much in support of the Upside Down drafting, or later called Zero-RB drafting methodology, forgoing RB in the first, even early rounds, for stud wide receivers instead and stockpiling middle round RB later. The first I read about it is from buddy Matt Waldman (2011), giving credit where credit is due. However, without getting into a lot of detail today, I disagree with that approach. I’ve always found a more balanced approach is best, RB-WR or WR-RB to open things up and leave you best set up to take advantage of players that unexpectedly fall in the draft, no matter what position they are.

First pick, I took Jamaal Charles.

When the second pick came around to me, DeMarco Murray – maybe Lamar Miller – were the only two RB remaining I really loved enough before seeing a big gap between them and the next group at RB. At WR, the current tier of Alshon Jeffery, Mike Evans, DeAndre Hopkins and even Brandin Cooks was deeper. If I took a WR, Miller might make it back to me. If I took Murray, one of those WR – or Jimmy Graham – was much more likely to make it back to me. So, I took Murray.

Third round, one pick away and a bit surprisingly, Graham and Jeffery were both available, thanks in part to Joseph Randle going 3.01. The team in the 4 spot took Graham, leaving me Jeffery.

After three rounds I’ve got two star running backs, and Alshon Jeffery. I’m happy with that. Lets keep in mind it is a PPR league and I really do want a strong WR corps, so I think given my early picks I have less need to stockpile middle round RB and more emphasis at wideout. Also, keeping in mind TE do earn 1.5 PPR so need to constantly assess where a good one can be had, preferably at good draft value. Two are already off the board, and likely more before the draft gets back to me in the 4th round.

From here, maybe I’ll make some quicker bullet points by round. You can see how my roster took shape in the image above, and again, Draft Buddy users can download my completed Draft Buddy from last night’s draft.

Rounds 1 and 2

  • Nothing too out of the ordinary Round 1. Owners in the 4th, 11th and 12th spots all started WR-WR. Interesting that Randall Cobb (2.02) didn’t really get downgraded at all for his shoulder injury. Surprise pick: Brandin Cooks (2.09) but even more surprising: Mark Ingram (2.03). I’ve never seen Ingram go that high. In that owner’s shoes I would have risked he would get back to me in the 3rd, but I don’t have a problem with it, as he may very well could have missed out on him by waiting.

Round 3

  • Joseph Randle (3.01) seems quite high given very recent news item about full-blown RBBC in Dallas, and Darren McFadden looked better than Randle in the last preseason game.
  • Not surprisingly, Greg Olsen, Travis Kelce (who I really like, but maybe not in this league since I already have Charles) and Martellus Bennett all went this round after Graham went.
  • First QB taken, Andrew Luck at 3.07. Still too early for me with all of the non-QB starter spots to fill.

Rounds 4 and 5

  • These rounds make me happy I went RB-RB to start. While there are certainly going to be some RB that pan out, you are still picking through many, “geez, I don’t know” options. Melvin Gordon (4.09) – maybe he hits, maybe he doesn’t. Todd Gurley (5.03) – seems really optimistic for this year. C.J. Spiller (5.11) – already sidelined, think very early bullish forecasts on Spiller are still causing him to get drafted high for my taste.
  • I took Davante Adams 4.08. Great offense, great QB, their best not injured WR right now. Definitely prefer to run with a less proven Adams in his situation than injured Emmanuel Sanders (4.04) or injured likely out Week 1, and doesn’t find the end zone much anyway, Julian Edelman (4.12).
  • My 5th round pick was a tough one. Jarvis Landry – high receptions but limited big plays and strong supporting cast to share with, good offense and QB – vs. Sammy Watkins – super talent, bad offense and QB. I said to my wife Sarah, “Bills WR?” to which she turned up her nose, and I knew she would do that so a bit of a leading question. It was more likely Watkins might make it back to me in the 6th round, so I took Landry, who I seem to like more than most.

Rounds 6 and 7

  • I was thinking Watkins obviously. Or Charles Johnson as a potential breakout candidate. I was thinking Arian Foster as I loved my start and at this point if he comes back in the Week 4-6 range, could be a huge boom to the bottom line. None made it to my 6.08 pick. Johnson actually went late-5th. Watkins was close, at 6.05.
  • In the meanwhile, Jason Witten and Kyle Rudolph both went, driving down the available good tight ends, and only one of the first four teams drafting after me had a TE at this point, so I added Delanie Walker (6.08).
  • Only QB I mentioned so far is Andrew Luck, but Aaron Rodgers also went in the 3rd, Ben Roethlisberger in the 6th, then Matt Ryan (7.01) and Drew Brees (7.04). Ultimately, this turned out to be one of the oddest order of QB I’ve seen drafted this year. Five QB are gone but Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning are still available? I would not normally take a QB this early but since no players were really standing out for me as must-haves, and Wilson looks like exceptional value, I tag Wilson.
  • Although Martavis Bryant getting drafted two spots later I may have strongly considered had I thought of him. He was down my cheatsheet given the most recent projection update.
  • More proof I’m glad I went RB early as Giovani Bernard and Danny Woodhead are getting drafted. I’d rather set my team apart at this stage with a Walker, Wilson, or regularly contributing WR, than be scraping together points from low-use RB who can be very good in short spurts but be tough to rely on them over the course of the season.

Rounds 8, 9 and 10

  • QB curiosity continued. Peyton went at 8.12, but Sam Bradford (9.03) and Teddy Bridgewater (9.07) went within spitting distance of him. Cam Newton still hasn’t been drafted and ultimately went QB16 at the top of the 14th round. Pretty baffling. Since I had Wilson I was determined to not spend very much at all on a second QB, but some great values there. All the more reason to not spend a 3rd round pick on Luck or Rodgers.
  • Still some good WR picks in here – Steve Smith, Roddy White (although getting a bit skeptical of him) – and RB picks are sketchy. LeGarrette Blount, who I’ve drafted numerous times already this year, could be good but could also be extremely frustrating to try to figure out what weeks to start him (after his suspension).
  • Given importance of the position and limited options with true upside, took Julius Thomas. He seems below the radar now since we haven’t heard much about him lately, but Jaguars offense seems to be clicking and JT appears in line to return Week 1.
  • At this point, I still only have 2 RB, so time to add some depth. DeMarco’s backup Ryan Mathews went 8.09 immediately after I took Thomas, so hitting on a starter at this point will be tough. Darren McFadden is available, every Cleveland RB is available. What if Arian Foster isn’t back as optimistically as recent news reports? What if he comes back and gets hurt again? I do think Alfred Blue is the clear guy to own over Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk, so I tag Blue who should start first part of the season and gives me time to work the waiver wire for other RB options to emerge.

I guess I will cut it off there for the commentary. While not an optimal high stakes, win the big overall prize strategy, I did handcuff Jamaal drafting Knile Davis in the 11th round. I feel good about the team, I might as well take out a little insurance on my top RB.

As usual, got sniped by a pick or two on a few guys, but its always going to feel that way. What I’ve learned is you can’t have every player you want, there are only so many roster spots available. I think I got some underrated, quality upside depth at decent value, and this team has a good shot to compete for the league championship, and maybe more!

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Preseason Week 3 Fantasy Football News and Notes

Is RB Arian Foster getting back on the field than originally expected? It seems like that might be the case, pushing Alfred Blue down the rankings and Foster back up.

Is RB Arian Foster getting back on the field than originally expected? It seems like that might be the case, pushing Alfred Blue down the rankings and Foster back up.

Here is a major news and notes recap since our last update plus the separate Jordy Nelson injury fantasy impact. The all important Preseason Week 3 starts tonight, and this is a heavy draft weekend. Our projections and rankings will be updated soon reflecting this latest news.

Arizona Cardinals

HC Bruce Arians is confident WR Michael Floyd will be ready to play Week 1 of the regular season. There is no timetable for his return.

Baltimore Ravens

WR Breshad Perriman is recovering very slowly. He’s falling into do not draft (in redraft) territory, not worth the risk.

Buffalo Bills

Tyrod Taylor seemed to win support for the starting QB job after the Bills last preseason game. It looks like all three could rotate in with the starters in the team’s third preseason game.

Denver Broncos

Ronnie Hillman moved ahead of Montee Ball for the backup job. If memory serves Hillman has impressed in preseason before only to falter later.

The Broncos cut K Connor Barth. We don’t even rank kickers at our website. I suppose we should, but kickers really just annoy me. At any rate, don’t draft Barth. Brandon McManus is the Broncos kicker.

Getting a little worried about Emmanuel Sanders status to open the season since he continues to miss practice and preseason games with a hamstring injury. We already have him down with an avoid icon in our rankings.

Green Bay Packers

We updated earlier this week for Jordy Nelson’s knee injury sidelining him for the season. Randall Cobb received a slight bump while Davante Adams really becomes a player to target. Andrew Luck would seem to now own the tiebreaker over Aaron Rodgers for top spot in our QB rankings.

In terms of picking the right WR3 on the Packers, that is up for debate. Ty Montgomery appears to be first in line, but Jeff Janis and Myles White are in the mix.

Houston Texans

Arian Foster rehab news is getting better, as the timetable for his return continues to shrink. The latest, a possible early season return in the range of Weeks 2 to 4, and based on the injury, he should be pretty much a full-go on return. That would mean we have Alfred Blue too high and Foster too low in our projections and rankings prior to the update accompanying this post.

New England Patriots

The Pats signed veteran WR Reggie Wayne, which was a signal maybe Brandon LaFell isn’t as healthy as the team would have hoped. Julian Edelman also recently revealed he might miss Week 1.

New York Giants

Tap the brakes on all the positive Victor Cruz rehab stories. He is dealing with inflammation in his calf and now looks to be eased back in to regular playing time, even though he remains confident he will play Week 1.

There is some noise of RB Andre Williams taking over as the primary back ahead of Rashad Jennings. Don’t really buy it, but the next preseason game hopefully sheds some light on the situation.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Signed QB Michael Vick, Bruce Gradkowski to IR.

Steelers get slapped with another suspension, and it is another big one. WR Martavis Bryant gets 4 games for substance abuse. He is appealing, so we are waiting to hear the outcome of that, but Markus Wheaton moves up and Bryant drops in anticipation of missing at least a couple of games.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

WR Mike Evans suffered a hamstring injury and the team is going to hold him out for the remainder of the preseason. It doesn’t appear overly serious but he wouldn’t be my first choice amongst similar ranked receivers in the same tier. Hamstring injuries can linger.

Washington Redskins

The relationship between QB Robert Griffin III and the Redskins organization is heading down a rocky road again. He got beat up in their last preseason game. It doesn’t matter to me where the blame lies, but hard to imagine he plays 16 games at this rate, and the upside we might have thought could return, appears to be gone. Moving down.

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Green Bay Packers Suffer Huge Loss Due to Jordy Nelson Injury

Results in Big Bump for WR Davante Adams

Another big name WR down and out. Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson appears to be lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Another big name WR down and out. Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson appears to be lost for the season with a torn ACL.

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson went down in the heap during the 1st quarter of the team’s 2nd preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and initial reports indicate that he will miss the entire 2015 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

The Packers leading wide receiver, Nelson is coming off a career year in 2014 during which he caught 98 passes for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns. Over the past four years, Nelson has appeared in 60 games, catching 300 passes for 4,841 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Nelson’s loss is a huge blow to the Packers offense as he is quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target as well as the team’s top deep threat and main option in the red zone.

If Nelson is lost for the year, Randall Cobb becomes the team’s main receiving threat at wide receiver with 2nd year player Davante Adams assuming Nelson’s position in the starting line-up. Jeff Janis and rookie Ty Mongtomery will battle for the 3rd receiver role with both players figuring seeing increased roles in the team’s offense.

Fantasy Football Impact

Whether or not you agree if Nelson should be rated amongst the elite wide receivers in the league, there is no arguing that he produces like one. There is little doubt that his absence from the Packers offense negatively impacts Rodgers in a significant manner since he loses both his top deep threat as well as the favorite red zone target.

With Nelson out of the line-up, Rodgers drops behind Andrew Luck to become our 2nd rated fantasy quarterback in 2015. While we still view him as being in the same tier as Luck, he is now positioned as a mid-tier 3rd round pick as opposed to his current ADP of 2.07 and Luck’s of 2.05.

At wide receiver, Randall Cobb becomes the Packers de facto number one wide receiver but the question is how high can you move up a 5’10”, 192 pound receiver in the fantasy rankings who mainly plays out of the slot when he is already ranked as a lower tier WR1?

While we would expect an uptick in Cobb’s targets which should result in a few more yards and maybe a touchdown or two, he isn’t going to be the main benefactor from Nelson’s injury. Cobb moves up from being a Tier 3 wide receiver to the 2nd tier where he is joined by the likes of Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green.

Receiving the biggest fantasy boost from Nelson’s injury is 2nd year player Davante Adams. The 2014 2nd round pick enjoyed a solid, albeit inconsistent, rookie season where his production fluctuated based on his role in the team’s game plan. There won’t be much doubt about his involvement in 2015.

Adams moves from being a low volume option to lower tier WR2 status as a player who should approach 1,000 receiving yards with 6-8 touchdowns. With glowing offseason and training camp reports about his progress, Adam now seems primed for a breakout campaign in 2015.

Moving into the 3rd wide receiver role will be either rookie 3rd round pick Ty Montgomery or 2014 7th round pick Jeff Janis. Both players are considered raw prospects at this point with Janis possessing similar physical characteristics to Nelson and Montgomery capable of working outside or in the slot at 6’0” and 221 pounds.

Since moving Adams into Nelson’s role, leaving Cobb’s role mainly untouched and sliding Janis into Adam’s role as the 3rd receiver while also utilizing him as a deep threat causes the least amount of disruption to the Packers offense, we expect that Janis will see more targets than Montgomery in 2015.

Whoever wins the 3rd wide receiver role becomes worthy of a late round pick.

Tight end Richard Rodgers, entering his 2nd year in the league as a 3rd round pick out of California, sees his fantasy value increase as a potential breakout candidate at tight end. While his previous upside seemed to be 400 yards and 4-5 touchdowns, he has the potential to become the team’s top threat in the red zone. He moves from being a mid-tier TE3 to a mid to upper tier TE2 with the potential for 600 yards and 6-8 touchdowns.

At running back, Eddie Lacy’s value moves up slightly since Nelson’s loss figures to see the Packers run the ball more in 2015. However, he remains behind both Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles.

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