Is There Hope For Ameer Abdullah To Post A Strong Sophomore Season?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Detroit Lions are primed to open 2016 with a similar depth chart at running back as they had a year ago, with some minor changes:

  • Stevan Ridley
  • Ameer Abdullah
  • Theo Riddick
  • Zach Zenner

All you really need to do is replace Ridley with Joique Bell and it’s identical.  Last year’s group hardly impressed, averaging 3.8 yards per carry, with Abdullah leading the way with 597 rushing yards.  Sure Riddick emerged as a pass catching option (80 receptions), but he averaged 3.1 YPC and is a third-down back at best.

So what makes us think that anything is going to be different?  We know Ridley isn’t the answer, so the onus will be on Abdullah and whether or not he’s capable of rebounding from his pedestrian rookie season. Read more

Sleeper Spotlight: Could The 49ers Vance McDonald Be 2016s Breakout Tight End?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Tight end has become a very deep position, so there’s little reason to reach for someone on draft day. There is also enough talent available that rolling the dice on a complete flier doesn’t make much sense, so why even discuss the 49ers’ Vance McDonald? At the very least he’s a player we should be monitoring off the waiver wire, as the potential is there for him to emerge as a Top 15 option.

When given a chance in the second half of the season he totaled 23 receptions for 281 yards and 3 TD. Those numbers aren’t going to blow you away, but simply replicating them over a course of 16 games means roughly 45 catches, 550 yards and 6 TD (to use round numbers).

Now what happens if he can take a step forward?

We all know the team’s receiving corps is lacking, especially with Anquan Boldin out of the picture, and with Chip Kelly now the head coach the offense should be extremely up tempo. That means more opportunities for everyone, and McDonald could easily operate as a a safety valve for whoever is under center. Read more

Draft Day Decision: Is Kevin White A Player Worth Targeting In The Middle Rounds?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

A first round pick (seventh overall) last year, it’s easy to forget about Kevin White after a stress fracture in his leg kept him off the field for the entire 2015 campaign.  That would obviously be a mistake.  He has the entire skill set teams look for from a wide receiver, as noted by NFL.com prior to the draft:

He’s not just a product of West Virginia’s system — he’s talented. White showed off 23 reps on the bench press and a blazing 4.35 40 at the combine, proving he has the top-end speed to go with the size and strength. White came into West Virginia with very limited confidence, according to team insiders, but when he left, he had realized his rare talent. White lacks the polish of Amari Cooper, but some teams already believe he has the best upside of any wide receiver in this draft.”

There could be some early bumps, given the missed time, but there’s little reason to believe that he’s not going to hit the ground running.  Skills are one thing, but will the opportunity also be there?  When we start looking at the depth chart, it certainly appears so. Read more

Draft Day Decision: Is Allen Robinson Really A Borderline First Round Pick?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

According to Allen Robinson’s current average ADP he is a borderline first round selection, with an average ADP of 15.5. Last year’s numbers do justify the selection:

80 receptions, 1,400 yards, 14 TD

The question is, is there really room for improvement? In fact, can we expect him to come reasonably close to that line in 2016?

First of all you have to wonder if he is going to get as many opportunities as he did a year ago. Remember last season their running game was poor, led by T.J. Yeldon’s 740 yards. Not only could the sophomore take a step forward in his development, but he will now be joined by free agent signee Chris Ivory in the backfield. Considering the money that Jacksonville handed the ex-New York Jet (5 years and $32 million), you know he’s going to play a fairly significant role. Read more

2016 Preseason Rankings: Top 15 Tight Ends

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Tight end has become a surprisingly deep position, with significant upside up and down the rankings.  Whether it’s veterans who are easily overlooked or high upside players (both in a new location or with new opportunity), it seems like it’s easy to find value at any point in your draft.  Who are the best players to target?  Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look:

  1. Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
  2. Jordan Reed – Washington Nationals
  3. Greg Olsen – Carolina Panthers
  4. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
  5. Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans
  6. Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints
  8. Ladarius Green – Pittsburgh Steelers Read more

Looking Into the Numbers: Miami Dolphins Edition (DeVante Parker’s Emergence & More)

by Ray Kuhn

Fantasy football ultimately is all about the numbers, though the NFL itself is about significantly more than that. That said we have come a long way in the past few years when it comes to equating numbers and statistics to what we see on the field and helping to predict and explain both past and future performance. As we inch closer to the kickoff of another NFL season, we’ll take a trip through the league and look at two statistics for each team and what it means from a fantasy perspective.

Today let’s take a look at the Miami Dolphins:

 

$1.5 Million: The Pay Cut Jordan Cameron Took to Remain on Miami

Cameron has talent and expectations, or at least in the past he did. Fantasy owners were optimistic entering his first season with Miami, but the results were not there. Previously one of the knocks against him was his inability to stay healthy, but that wasn’t what plagued him last season. Despite playing in all 16 games the performance wasn’t there as he posted 35 catches for 386 yards and 3 TD. Read more

Backfield Breakdown: Will Anyone Thrive In The Post-Marshawn Lynch Era?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Marshawn Lynch officially retiring, the Seahawks running back corps is certainly in flux.  That’s not to say that there isn’t upside and potential, because they are actually flush with running backs who could make an impact.  The question is who is going to step up and carry the load?  Let’s take a look:

 

Thomas Rawls
Entering his second season, Rawls actually led the Seahawks in rushing last year as he took 147 carries for 830 yards and 4 TD.  He had more than 6 carries in a game six times, and each time he thrived:

  • September 27 (vs. Chicago) – 16 carries for 104 yards
  • October 5 (vs. Detroit) – 17 carries for 48 yards
  • October 11 (at Cincinnati) – 23 carries for 169 yards and 1 TD
  • November 22 (vs. San Francisco) – 30 carries for 209 yards and 1 TD
  • November 29 (vs. Pittsburgh) – 21 carries for 81 yards and 1 TD
  • December 6 (at Minnesota) – 19 carries for 101 yards and 1 TD Read more

2016 Preseason Rankings: Top 40 Running Backs

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We are quickly moving away from the old fashioned “lead” running back, making a true three-down back in his prime so much more valuable.  Instead we are seeing most teams utilize a committee, with two or three backs sharing the opportunities.  Obviously, even in these situations, there is going to be a player who is more valuable.  Sometimes, though, it’s a little bit more complicated to identify.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how we currently view the running backs as we prepare for the 2016 season:

  1. Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams
  2. Le’Veon Bell – Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
  4. Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys
  5. Adrian Peterson – Minnesota Vikings
  6. Devonta Freeman – Atlanta Falcons
  7. Doug Martin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  8. Lamar Miller – Houston Texans Read more

With Arian Foster Now In Miami, Is Jay Ajayi An Even More Attractive Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There had been rumors seemingly the entire offseason that tied Arian Foster to the Miami Dolphins, but they finally came to fruition yesterday as he signed a one-year contract.  The question facing fantasy owners now is who will be the lead back in Miami?  Will it be Foster?  Will it be sophomore Jay Ajayi?

At this point it’s impossible to know for sure, though the signing of Foster will surely make Ajayi a more intriguing option on draft day.  Wait, what?  No it’s not a typo, as the more the focus shifts away from Ajayi the more valuable he will likely become.

Remember Foster will turn 30 prior to the start of the season and is working his way back from a torn Achilles.  That’s simply not a good combination and it is impossible to know if he is even capable of returning to the type of player he once was.  As it is he was averaging a meager 2.6 yards per carry in his four games last season and has only twice played a full 16 game season (the last time coming in 2012). Read more

Deep League Sleeper: Could Bruce Ellington Be The Top WR In San Francisco?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Anquan Boldin no longer in the mix, the San Francisco 49ers appear primed to open the season with Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton as their starting wide receivers.  That’s hardly an impressive duo and behind them there are arguably even more question marks.

Jerome Simpson?  He’s entering his seventh NFL season and owns a career high of 50 receptions (2011) and 726 yards (2013).

DeAndre Smelter?  An intriguing fourth round selection in 2015, he missed his entire rookie season due to injury.

Bruce Ellington…  Ellington could prove to be the name to watch as we enter 2016 and beyond. Read more