2015 Fantasy Rankings: Top 15 Tight Ends

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Tight end is always one of the toughest positions to plan for and fantasy owners lost one of the more dependable options for the first few weeks of the season as Antonio Gates was lost to suspension.  Of course there are plenty of high upside alternatives available, but the question is which risks are worth taking?  Let’s take a look:

  1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
  2. Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks
  3. Julius Thomas – Jacksonville Jaguars
  4. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers
  5. Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
  6. Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans
  7. Jordan Cameron – Miami Dolphins
  8. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs Read more

Bounce Back Candidate: Will C.J. Spiller Emerge As The “New” Reggie Bush In New Orleans?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Once upon a time the New Orleans Saints had a dynamic player in the backfield who was an absolute PPR monster.  While Reggie Bush isn’t quite the same player today, looking back at what he did over the first two years of his career is amazing, especially from a receiving perspective:

  • 2006 – 88 catches (119 targets), 742 yards, 2 TD
  • 2007 – 73 catches (99 targets), 417 yards, 2 TD

That 2007 season came in just 12 games, further showing just how good he was.  Sure he’s had better rushing seasons since (he only posted rushing totals of 565 and 581 over those seasons), but those years could set our expectations for the newly acquired C.J. Spiller. Read more

Sleeper Spotlight: Could Tevin Coleman Emerge As Atlanta’s Top RB?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Something clearly needed to be done regarding the Falcons running back situation.  The numbers their backs posted in 2014 told us that:

  • Steven Jackson – 707 yards and 6 TD (3.7 YPC)
  • Devonta Freeman – 248 yards and 1 TD (3.8 YPC)
  • Jacquizz Rodgers – 217 yards and 1 TD (3.7 YPC)

Gone is Jackson and Rodgers, which would’ve left Freeman and Antone Smith on the depth chart.  We say would’ve, because the team invested their third round pick on Tevin Coleman.  Considering how pedestrian Freeman looked in his rookie season and the fact that Smith is more of a change-of-pace back, you would think there’s an opportunity for Coleman to rise to the top of the depth chart almost immediately. Read more

Fantasy Fallout: Is It Finally Time For A Ladarius Green Breakout?

by Ray Lin

Draymond Green may not be the only Green to surprise this year and come through with big money fantasy production. With the shocking announcement of Antonio Gates’ 4 game PED suspension, the window of opportunity for Ladarius Green has swung wide open for the opening month of the NFL season.

If you recall my buzzy TE article from last Fall I highlighted Green as one of the Top 5 tight end prospects for fantasy football. He rated as the fastest out of those tight ends according to his 4.45 40-yard dash time (faster than Jordan Reed and fellow 2015 breakout candidate Zach Ertz). In fact, Green’s time is faster than both Keenan Allen (4.71) and rookie Melvin Gordon (4.52). Allen is known as more of a polished route-runner as opposed to straight burner, but it’s still noteworthy that Green could potentially be the second-fastest player on the field (Danny Woodhead is the only one who clocked faster, at 4.33), at least for the first month of the season. Read more

Offseason Loser: Why Jeremy Maclin’s Move To Kansas City Isn’t A Good Thing

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Jeremy Maclin is coming off a career year, setting career highs in receptions (85), yards (1,318) and yards per reception (15.5) while also tying his career high in TD (10).  There’s a good chance that he would have been labeled an offseason “loser” regardless of where he landed, outside of re-upping with Chip Kelly and Philadelphia.  Of course, it may not have gotten any worse than seeing him reunite with Andy Reid in Kansas City.

Remember Reid was Maclin’s coach for the first four years of his NFL career.  Over that span he averaged:

  • Receptions – 64.5
  • Yards – 863.75
  • Touchdowns – 6.5 Read more

Bust Alert: Why Sammy Watkins Is Likely To Disappoint In 2015

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We all know how impressive last season’s rookie wide receiver class was, with Odell Beckham Jr. leading the way.  Included in that group was the Bills’ Sammy Watkins, the fourth overall selection in 2014, who posted 65 receptions for 982 yards and 6 TD over his rookie season.  So we’d expect growth and development in Year 2, right?  Maybe watch him rise into borderline WR1 territory?  Not so fast, as there are a slew of obstacles working against him.

New Coaching Staff/New Faces
While the Bills have always been more of a run first team, the addition of LeSean McCoy this offseason should help make that an even more dominant split.  One of the elite running backs in the league, you know he’s going to be the centerpiece of the offense.

New coach Rex Ryan believes in a ground and pound approach, and he definitely has the talent on defense to help support it.  As it is, here’s where the Jets’ offense ranked in rushing attempts during his time as head coach:

  • 2009 – 1st
  • 2010 – 2nd
  • 2011 – 16th
  • 2012 – 6th
  • 2013 – 5th
  • 2014 – 4th

This team is going to try and wear down opponents on the ground and shutting them down on defense.  Why risk making a mistake through the air?  As it is the team also added Charles Clay at tight end and Percy Harvin at wide receiver.  With a limited number of opportunities to go around and a crowded group needing to get looks, Watkins may have a tough time replicating his 128 targets from a year ago.

Poor Quarterback Play
The Bills are primed to open the season with a combination of EJ Manuel and Matt Cassell under center.  That hardly instills much confidence, simply by looking at the career completion percentage and yards/attempt from the two:

  • Cassell – 59.0% // 6.64
  • Manuel – 58.6% // 6.43

That’s poor, to say the least, and further helps to feed into the idea of focusing on LeSean McCoy and the rushing attack.

Conclusion
It’s easy to imagine fantasy owners buying into the hype of Watkins and ultimately overpaying to acquire him.  That’s not to say that there isn’t upside potential, but there are significant factors working against him and his production.

He currently has an average ADP of 46.0 and is coming off the board as the 19th wide receiver.  That’s not a terrible spot, but we simply can’t ignore the risk.  He certainly shouldn’t go any higher than that and fantasy owners may want to look in a different direction.

As of right now Latavius Murray is going in the same area of the draft (average ADP of 49.0) and you can get a similar upside wide receiver in Keenan Allen (average ADP of 55.7) in the following round.  That are gambles I’d rather take.

Sources – CBS Sports, Pro Football Reference, Fantasy Pros

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2015 Fantasy Rankings: Top 15 Quarterbacks

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Quarterback continues to be as deep as ever, making it tough to justify reaching for one of the elite (especially with questions hovering over some of the traditionally best options).  That’s not to say that we shouldn’t target one of the best options on draft day, it just means that we need to be smart about it.  Would anyone really be upset if they had to “settle” for a Matt Ryan or Matthew Stafford?

That’s a debate for another day, however, so let’s take a look at how our quarterback rankings currently look:

  1. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
  2. Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts
  3. Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
  4. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
  5. Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos
  6. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
  7. Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers Read more

Offseason Winner: Latavius Murray: Could He Actually Emerge As A RB1?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There had been rumblings that the Raiders were going to pursue DeMarco Murray this offseason. Whether they did and failed or it was pure speculation is irrelevant, because at the end of the day he’s not in Oakland. All the Raiders ended up adding this offseason was Trent Richardson and Roy Helu via free agency.

You would’ve thought that the team would’ve added a running back in a deep draft class. However, like free agency, that has come and gone and there was no addition.

Sure they can talk about a battle for the starting role, but is anyone buying?  Given the depth chart it’s certainly hard to imagine: Read more

Fantasy Fallout: NFL Draft Round 1: Who Is A Must Target & Who Can We Ignore?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The first round of the NFL Draft is in the books and there certainly were a few surprises, whether it was two running backs being selected (let alone coming in the first 15 picks) or the Colts adding another wide receiver to the mix.  What is the fallout from a fantasy perspective?  Let’s take a look at the skill players who were selected and see how they look for the coming season:

 

1) Jameis Winston – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Quarterback
Not a surprising pick, Winston should immediately step into the starting quarterback job and become a fantasy asset from Day 1.  He certainly has talent at wide receiver at his disposal, with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, as well as the developing Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end.  Sure we’d love to see another RB added to the mix (and maybe that comes on Day 2 or 3), but there’s potential in the three-headed monster of Doug Martin, Charles Sims & Bobby Rainey. Read more

2015 NFL Mock Draft (v7.0) – Pass Rushers Going Early & More

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

This is our seventh stab at projecting the 2015 NFL Draft, but there’s a lot of time and likely going to be a lot of things between now and draft day.  That’s why we are going to be updating this every two weeks for now, with more frequent updates as the draft gets closer.

With that in mind, let’s take a look:

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Jameis Winston – QB – Florida State
It’s obvious that the current Tampa Bay leadership doesn’t feel like Mike Glennon is going to be their long-term solution at QB.  When you have a chance to address the spot you do, so look for them to either select Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston with the top pick.  At this point it looks like Winston could be the preferred pick (after Mariota’s performance in the National Championship Game, but don’t be surprised if they flip-flop with almost every mock until the draft. Read more