The Fantasy Scout
What are the odds the Vikings pay Dalvin Cook? Should they?
I think there’s a good chance they pay him. He isn’t trying to break the bank for it. He just wants his money but to keep playing. He is currently being paid as the 49th highest paid RB. He is a top 5 RB in the league. He needs to hold out. And, he is the engine of that offense. Alexander Mattison is a good backup, but he’s just that, a backup. They aren’t the same type of player. Mattison is a more bruising downhill runner. Cook is your all-around explosive 3 down back. Mattison struggles in the passing game as well. People only think they’re equal in talent because A) they don’t know football and B) they look alike. I expect Dalvin to get a 3 year, $40 million contract with $25 million guaranteed
Is Josh Jacobs a sell high? If so, what sort of return should I be looking for?
No. You’re not selling him. He’s one of the best pure runners in the league and is good for 1100 on the ground. His ceiling is much higher and that depends if he’s getting the passing work or not. Their signings tell us he is likely not getting that work, but the dream is that he does. As of now, he’s a high end RB2 with some weekly RB1 upside. He is 22 and getting better. You’re not selling him high.
Where is the best fit/s for Jamies Winston in 2021?
The best fit for Jameis is likely in New Orleans. I understand they claim left and right Taysom Hill is their guy, but I just don’t believe it. Winston will come in, learn the system, learn behind Brees and grow so much as a QB I think Payton will keep him there. There’s a real chance this happens. If it does, Jameis will be a top 8 QB for a long time. The Lasik surgery is a joke, but it shouldn’t be. If you’ve ever played football beyond HS you’ll know how fast things move and when you struggle to see, things are even harder.
What are the chances Derrius Guice puts it all together in 2020? Projected stat line?
There is optimism to believe that this is the year for Guice. Gibson is a gadget guy who gives that stale offense layers. Guice has been grinding all offseason and having an improved medical staff will do wonders for everyone on that team. Guice is likely the 3-down back they have wanted him to be since selecting him very high in the 2018 NFL draft. It would be hard to give a realistic projection because we don’t know for sure how good or bad that defense will be. That will be key for the offense's success.
Early 2020 projections –
238 carries, 1090 rush yards, TDs, 33 receptions, 242 yards, 2 TDs. Solid fantasy projection.
A good RB2 with RB1 upside.
Is Jalen Reagor the #1 rookie WR?
Yes and no. For me, Justin Jefferson is my WR1 for this rookie class. However this separation between the big 4 at the top is very minimal. I have Jefferson as my 1A and Reagor as my 1B. You can’t go wrong with any of the big 4 it more so depends on what you are looking for. As for this year, I think Jefferson has the clearest path to playing time and a significant role right away while Reagor, Lamb, and Jeudy have other WRs on the roster to compete with. Long term though, I prefer Reagor to Jefferson.
Is Gardner Minshew 2020s premiere late-round QB?
ABSOLUTELY! According to DLF, Minshew’s June ADP is 194 making him the QB 28. Minshew practiced all offseason and prepared last year to be the backup only to see Foles get hurt early on giving him an opportunity to start. Minshew started 14 games and finished as a back end QB2 last year. Now, after the team made no offseason QB moves, Minshew enters the 2020 season as the starting QB. The community seems to be split on Minshew this year and there is already some speculation that the Jaguars could be targeting Trevor Lawrence in next year's draft but I am of the thinking that Minshew is the guy. He showed tremendous accuracy last year and throws a fantastic deep ball. He showed very good chemistry with DJ Chark last year and I fully expect him to only get better. For a guy going so late in drafts he is absolutely a steal and I think he finishes as a high end QB2.
Who will have the better career? Jonathan Taylor or JK Dobbins?
I think JT has the better career between the two. The loss of HOF center Marshall Yanda this past offseason for BAL is massive and I think it will be very noticeable right away. On the other hand, JT plays behind the best offensive line in the NFL. Frank Reich has a very RB friendly system and JT is just as good as Saquon Barkley. JKD will always be competing with Lamar and another RB for touches. Both will have super careers but I think JT gets the slight edge for me.
Where do you expect Drew Lock to finish this season? As a QB1?
Drew Lock on paper seems like he will be a QB1 but I think Lock will still have growing pains going into his first full season. I expect Lock to finish as a QB2, maybe even a high end QB2, but I think QB1 is hoping for a little too much. He has the weapons to do it though so it's not out of the realm of possibilities but I would temper expectations.
What will the Seahawks crowded backfield look like in 2020?
The Seahawks backfield is a murky one to say the least. Last season, Chris Carson encountered a fumbling issue that plagued him most of the season. Then in week 16 he left the game before halftime with a fractured hip (his second major injury since entering the league). Fellow teammate Rashaad Penny also had a season ending injury in week 14. Had Penny not gotten hurt, he was quickly beginning to take over the RB1 role. Penny looked excellent down the stretch and started to show why Seattle invested a first round pick in him.
Just last week, Seattle signed ex-Texans RB Carlos Hyde to a one year 4mil dollar contract. That is a lot of money to give a 'backup RB'. Money talks though and I do not expect this to be the Chris Carson show. Penny will more than likely begin the season on the PUP list and miss the first half of the season. Carson on the other hand is on track to be ready for week 1. Carson has yet to play a full 16 games since entering the NFL and has shown he is not the most durable player. In order to preserve his health, so he can utilize his aggressive running style, I expect the Seahawks to use Hyde quite a bit. The workload split with Hyde and Carson to start the season will be closer to 50/50 than Carson having a workhorse role. In addition to that, Penny will come back this season giving Seattle 3 viable starters competing for touches. (Deejay Dallas will be a ST player.)
Who is the RB to own in Denver? Lindsay or Gordon?
Back in March, the Denver Broncos signed Melvin Gordon to a two year 16mil dollar deal. For a team that really did not need to address the RB position this was a curious move to say the least. When we look a little deeper though, it is very clear that John Elway is giving Drew Lock everything he needs to be successful. I expect Gordon to be the lead guy in this backfield. He offers a much better 3 down skill set than Lindsay and Freeman do. Gordon excels in the open field with screen passes and dump offs which is what LAC ran a lot of with Gordon. Gordon will have a chance to finish as back end RB1 in this offense.
I do not think the signing of Gordon is a knock on Lindsay either. NFL teams are moving toward a more RBBC approach than in the past so Lindsay will certainly still be involved. If you are a Gordon owner, I think it a paramount to own Lindsay as well. Gordon has shown a tendency to get banged up from time to time and Lindsay will vault into a must start if Gordon were to miss. Gordon is the RB to own in Denver though. Royce Freeman has no current fantasy relevance unless he gets traded or there is an injury to Gordon or Lindsay.
What does Cam Newton’s recent signing mean for Stidham? Who do you expect to start?
With the signing of Cam Newton, the Patriots and staff has opened the door wide-open for the starting quarterback position. Both Newton and Stidham bring some different elements to the fight as Newton has the athletics and past track record while Stidham has familiarity of the system and less health concerns. I have a feeling Cam Newton will end up the starter if he’s back to full health leaving Stidham to spend another season as the backup. However, Newton does have some shoulder and foot concerns so keep Stidham stashed as a QB4 very high upside lotto ticket in case Stidham lands the gig for any of a variety of reasons during 2020. Especially for dynasty, Stidham is probably a very cheap dynasty buy similar to Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Herbert, Winston, etc.
Does Phillip Rivers have enough in the tank for one last run?
Based on the system of the offense with the Colts, Rivers may be in one of the best spots to make another run for the ring. That offensive line is the best blocking unit in front of him in quite a while. Combine that with a great rushing attack will allow Rivers to work in a manner similar to how the 49ers or Titans asked of their quarterbacks. Hilton, Campbell, Pittman, Doyle, along with the RBs will provide plenty of ways for him to attack through the air. If the offense does take the growth step from Brissett to Rivers, the defense probably will not have to sustain leads as much allowing a playoff run as a dark horse contender behind the Chiefs and Ravens.
Which high equity WR has a better chance to break out in 2020? N'Keal Harry or Parris Campbell?
Typically I consider a breakout for WRs in two different ways. When they can become a top 12 receiver and when they crack the top 24 at the position. For this question, I am going to look at the second part. I love how Parris Campbell is looking to work from the slot this season and just put an article on him out. However, I believe for 2020, his chances will be down some if Jack Doyle, TY Hilton, and the RBs stay involved in the run game. Include to that problem that Rivers may take a second to develop a chemistry to utilize his talents. He is more of a bench stash and wait if an injury occurs. N’Keal Harry seems to have the easier path for a breakout with the only real threats for looks being an aging Edelman and James White. If looking for who to go with I would still lean Harry since he is staying in the same offense with a QB that already knows and trusts him. But the gap is close. I know Parris is crazy cheap as I sold off Hamler and a 22 3rd for the former rookie 1st rounder.
Where does Tyreek Hill fall in your dynasty WR rankings?
Tyreek’s name has been popping up a good bit lately as a possible candidate for the overall WR1 for 2020. He is attached to the best quarterback currently in the NFL and will be a major focal point alongside Kelce who is another year older. The other major players will be to CEH, Hardman, and Watkins who should not affect Tyreek’s production except to maybe improve it.
If Clyde Edwards-Helaire can come in and be used effectively in the offense, I could see it helping out Tyreek like it did when they had Kareem Hunt. All of his stats improved with Kareem in split versus him not playing. With that, his injury risks seems low based on what happened to his shoulder and only finding one hamstring concern in the past. Everything lines up where I see him as the WR2 for 2020 and WR3 for dynasty. MT is on top with Hopkins 2nd based on also being in a great system long-term. Followed behind him is Godwin WR4, DJ Moore WR5, and Adams WR6.
Will Damien Harris take over as the lead back for the Patriots at some point?
Harris was basically non-existent as a rookie as he was learning the system and dealing with the team depth chart at RB. Now he has a real chance of coming in strong and becoming the understudy to the top running back spot. Harris’s elusiveness and ability to catch passes were two high notes of his preseason from last year, and those qualities can possibly get him opportunities this year now. The first step will be beating out Burkhead and Bolden for gameday snaps which may happen now. Then it comes down to his skills compared to Sony Michel. Coming out of college, Michel was the better rated player looking at metrics and will be given the first chance. So unless Michel screws up or is hurt, I don’t see a big role for Harris. I will highly recommend acquiring the other half for the backfield if you own either player as the team looks like it will focus on running better to help out Stidham with play-action passes. They will be cheaper RB3 guys with RB2 upside if one guy can keep control.
What should we expect this year for Deshaun Watson without having Nuk?
Watson will still be a mid-QB1 for 2020. While the team did lose Hopkins, it now is running with Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks, Kenny Stills, Randall Cobb, David Johnson, Duke Johnson, and several tight ends. Kenny Stills especially is more of a sleeper guy who did fairly well when he just joined the team at the start of the season. DeShaun Watson will use his ability to work his guys open against defenses and accuracy to still pass around 4,000 yards. Combine that with his ability to run with the past two seasons having eighty plus runs and four hundred plus yards will also help out. The last possible factor is that the team defense did not change much so the team may end up needing the offense to keep them in games. Keep faith through this year and hope the 2021 loaded draft class of receivers and free agents can give some further help.
The Draft Director
Who would you rather have in redraft? Mark Andrews or Zach Ertz?
I’d take Mark Andrews first and here is why. Ertz has Goedert to compete with, and his role is only going to increase as Ertz ages, and the coaches develop more trust in him. Andrews on the other hand seems to be Lamar’s favorite target in the red zone as well as between the 20’s. Plus, there was the removal of Hayden Hurst, who had 39 targets in 2019. So we should see a volume increase for Andrews in 2020. Finally, Andrews had an incredible 15.6% TD rate last season which shows he could find success often in the red zone. Lamar trusts him, and he plays in one of the best scoring offenses in the league. I’ll take Andrews here and I currently have him ranked as my TE3.
Is Derrick Henry worthy of a top 5 fantasy pick?
I honestly do not see a format in which I’d be taking Derrick Henry as one of my top 5 picks. Let’s assume the format is very pro Derrick Henry and say 1 QB, .25 PPC, no PPR. I’m still taking CMC, Saquon, Zeke, Kamara and one of Mixon/Chubb/Cook over Henry. I think that shows Henry at his peak is the 8th overall pick for me. Henry is a very good player and will most likely be a top 12 RB. However, for Henry to find great success the Titans need to be leading in games to feed Henry with carries. If that doesn’t happen, he’ll see less carries. Plus Henry isn’t really used in the passing game so he won’t be getting many targets. I want my elite RB pick to be involved in all aspects of the game. Derrick Henry would not be a top 5 pick for me, in most leagues my 5th pick would be Mixon.
Who is the WR to own in Houston?
For 2020? I want to say Fuller. He has chemistry with Watson. He fits that offense well. We just can’t trust him to be healthy. It’s as simple as that. We know that when it comes to hamstring issues, its tough to shake and can become recurring. They are extremely common in speedy WRs like Fuller. Cooks is another guy that I like but more as a redraft player. His concussion history is problematic. There is little doubt about that. I don’t think you can expect anything from Cobb outside of WR3 numbers at best.
So to answer the question, I wouldn’t mind taking a flyer on both. They are going as WR41 (Cooks) and WR 51 (Fuller) in dynasty startups. All you need is for one of them to stay healthy. That could be asking a lot but we’ve seen Cooks pick up an offense really quickly (he did it in 3 locations already), and we’ve seen Fuller’s upside in this offense. Gun to my head, I think Fuller is the one to own due to his cheap price tag. Coverage will go towards Cooks in this offense and Fuller will be the guy who is facing off against the weaker competition most weeks.
Is 2020 Daniel Jones just 2019 Jameis Winston in disguise?
I mean would that be a bad thing? Jameis was a fantasy monster last year. I don’t think you’ll see that though. I’ve written a lot about Danny Dimes. I believe in his potential. I believe in his weapons. I think that we see a more controlled version of him as Garrett helps to hone in those talents. Look at Dak’s first year under Garrett. Look at Romo’s first year under Garrett. He knows how to place his QBs into positions that can help them benefit and grow. I think we can see another jump from him. Obviously the fumbles are a big issue. His INTs weren’t great but he was around Murray / Watson / Ryan in INT%. I think we see a lot more of a controlled offense and one that utilizes his rushing upside as well. We saw it during Dak’s rookie year in Dallas. Garrett could utilize the RPO with Danny’s athletic ability.
Who will have the best season for rookie WRs? Reagor? Jefferson? Jeudy? Lamb? Someone else?
This question is tough for multiple reasons. All of these guys landed in nice spots for them to excel long term but their short term viability will be a lot more difficult to gauge. Lamb is being placed into the best offense but he is surrounded by two amazingly talented WRs. While its certainly feasible he sees 100 targets, I wouldn’t quite count on it this year. I think Gallup’s connection with Dak and Amari’s playmaking ability to shine through and make it difficult for Lamb to produce the best numbers. Reagor still has to deal with both Alshon and DJax on the roster still plus he is in an offense that likes using two TEs so that makes it harder for him to see the field this year. That leaves Jeudy and Jefferson. Jeudy has lots of weapons around him that could help open up the one on one opportunities. Jefferson has the better QB throwing him the ball though. I think Jeudy might end up with the strongest Y1 production because his game matches the strengths of Lock. Lock struggled to get the ball deep to Sutton last year but did much better with his intermediate work. I think that’s a spot that Jeudy could excel in. Him seeing the #2 CBs will also help a ton. He should be on the field for 85-90% of the snaps from the jump. Jefferson will also be on the field a lot but he won’t be lined up in the slot like he was at LSU. He will have to deal with most #1CBs because Thielen will be in the slot with the easier matchup. While I think Jefferson/Lamb/Reagor have been long term outlooks, Jeudy will be the rookie WR who produces the most from this group.
Who would you rather have for 2020? Fournette or Gurley?
When it comes to their 2020 outlook, I’d rather have Fournette than Gurley. It is going to be close. I see both as back end RB1 to high end RB2s. Fournette is in the final year of his contract. The Jags have shown they don’t plan on extending him. I can easily see them ride him into the ground this year before he walks. The one concern I do have is a midseason trade and how that will affect his productivity. Still we can expect some positive TD regression from him to balance out the loss of targets in the passing game. He finished as RB6 last year and I think he will his targets cut in half almost with the addition of Chris Thompson so I expect somewhere around RB10-13 for him this next year.
I’m still not completely sold on Gurley’s knee and body. He goes to a better offense than Fournette but Dirk Koetter’s system is really bad for RBs. Historically RBs just don’t get good production with him at the helm. Look at his first stint in ATL then his time in TB then last year again. I think there are just too many worries and question marks around Gurley to stick with him over Fournette. Gurley has a higher upside for sure and both are being drafted really late in start ups. They are RB18 and RB20 mainly due to age and wear and tear. I think Fournette will still be a fine RB next year on a better offense out there like Seattle. I like Fournette going forward.
Who is one RB we aren’t talking about right now that has a chance to be the RB1 for their team at some point this year?
With repeated back injuries it is tough to trust that David Johnson makes it through the year in perfect health and plays all 16 games. So with all that said Duke Johnson is flying in wayyy under the radar for a lot of fantasy players. The rest of the RB depth on that team is horrid. Duke can play both roles for this team. Duke is going 168th overall in ADP. That’s the 14th round. Players around him include Jeffrey, Boston Scott, DeeJay Dallas, etc. I’d rather take the risk that David Johnson gets hurt again and Duke comes in and gets 15 touches a game at RB. We have seen his explosiveness and if he can get consistent touches, he is going to return flex value at a minimum.
Will year 3 for DJ Chark be even better than last year?
Absolutely it will be better for Chark. He was destroying competition until he got injured for the final few weeks and ended up even missing time. Chark and Minshew already have that chemistry going for them. Minshew was incredibly effective at throwing the ball downfield last year and Chark’s speed and size make him the perfect target in this offense. Next thing to consider is the switch in offensive scheme. Jay Gruden has really utilized an alpha WR when he has had one. During his time in Cincy, AJ Green saw 30% of the targets under Gruden. Jay loves to take advantage of big fast WRs. Chark is very much in a similar mold and is the only real alpha on this team. He had a 21% TS last year and we should see that rise in this offense to 24-26%. That would give him around 130 targets on the year. He could sneak into the top 12. Add on that the Jags defense is even worse this upcoming year and that estimate of 560 pass attempts might be too low meaning more targets coming Chark’s way.
Dynasty Coach A
What should we expect from LeVeon Bell this year?
I’m expecting a low end rb1/high end rb2 season out of Bell. We saw him get the 11th most carries and 7th most targets in 2019, but he scored the 18th most ppg, because of a lack of efficiency. With all of the offseason additions to the Oline, and some added pieces to the receiving game to take some attention away from bell, I expect that efficiency to at least creep up. Bell is a vision rb that likes to look for the right hole. When he has time, he can be one of the best rbs in the game. RB 18 seems like his ultimate floor, assuming health.
Who or what is the biggest surprise move this offseason no one is talking about?
In this day of twitter and sleeper notifications, it’s hard to come up with a move that everyone isn’t/hasn’t talked about. That being said, I don’t think enough people have talked about the 49ers asking Jerrick Mckinnon to restructure his contract. He wasn’t guaranteed any money for this season, and could have been cut without a cap hit. Instead they asked him to restructure his contract, after being paid 16 mil the previous 2 seasons (without stepping foot on the field). Maybe the 49ers want to try to get SOMETHING out of that 16 mil, or maybe Shanahan still has major plans for Mckinnon. If his knee is right, which could be a big IF, then he will be a part of that offense.
Can Devante Parker continue his success from last year?
He had extreme efficiency in 2019, which is going to be hard to replicate. At the very least, I would expect his TD% to come down substantially. I could see him being a back end WR2.
Who will finish as the number 1 player in fantasy for 2020? CMC? Saquon? Someone else?
With the offense I am expecting Carolina to run this season, and how bad their defense will likely be, I am still expecting CMC to top the list. If I had to pick a dark horse candidate, I would say CEH (just because of the upside in that offense), but I don't really see him getting enough touches to make that happen.