Archive for Player Analysis

Third Year Receivers: Breakout or Bust: Are Devin Funchess or Brandon Coleman Worth Buying?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Third year receivers are generally seen as potential breakout candidates, but obviously they don’t all live up to the hype.  We’ll be taking a look at all of the third year receivers, as we try to determine who is worth grabbing and who should be ignored:

 

Devin Funchess – Carolina Panthers
There were high hopes for Devin Funchess after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft.  At the time of his selection Mike Maycock of NFL.com said:

“I don’t know if the Panthers plan to play Funchess inside or outside. It doesn’t matter. He’s a matchup nightmare.”

Unfortunately for Carolina that hasn’t been the case.  Over his first 31 NFL games he’s managed 54 receptions for 844 yards.  While he has proven capable of finding the end zone, with 9 TD, that’s simply not enough given his inefficiency: Read more

Draft Day Decision: Is The Returning Martavis Bryant Worth Selecting?

by Ray Kuhn

Buzz… At this time of year that fuels a lot of the fantasy football talk. We have young players looking to build on success from last season, players in new places as well as a fresh crop of rookies, but we can’t forget about Martavis Bryant despite the fact that the wide receiver was suspended for all of 2016.

As we entered 2016 there was that same word, “buzz”, surrounding Bryant. The wide receiver was coming off a season that saw him catch 50 passes for 765 yards and six touchdowns, including three 100-plus yard games, and expectations were high. Instead he was suspended for the entire season due to drug use, and now it is something that will be hanging over Bryant’s head moving forward.

However, by all indications he appears to headed in the right direction and will come back stronger. With Marcus Wheaton no longer calling Pittsburgh home, Bryant is currently slotted in as a starting receiver opposite Antonio Brown. Read more

Breakout Candidate: Could Marlon Mack Emerge As A Top 25 RB In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When we think about rookie running backs it’s the big names that fill the discussion.  Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon and Dalvin Cook are the players everyone is clamoring to acquire, but as your drafts progress don’t overlook the potential value of another rookie runner.  Drafted in the fourth round (143rd overall) out of South Florida, the Colts’ Marlon Mack has the potential to make a significant impact as soon as Week 1.

The current depth chart alone should tell us about his potential to produce immediately:

  1. Frank Gore
  2. Robert Turbin
  3. Josh Ferguson

Gore is now 34-years old, and sooner or later the production is going to stop.  As it is he averaged 3.9 yards per carry in ’16, breaking just 1 of his 263 carries for more than 20 yards.  That’s hardly a dynamic back, and one that isn’t going to help keep defenses honest.

Read more

Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Will Lamar Miller Be A RB2 Or One Of The Elite In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

There were high hopes for Lamar Miller, after he signed a 4 year, $26 million contract to leave Miami and head to Houston.  Finally he was set to be utilized as a lead back, something we never truly saw while he was playing for the Dolphins.

In that regard the move was successful, as Miller set a career high with 268 carries in just 14 games.  However the production wasn’t there, as he managed 1,073 yards.  The number may seem solid, but he averaged 4.0 yards per carry so he was hardly efficient with the ball in hands and was instead a product of a heavy workload and a lack of alternatives (Alfred Blue was the second most utilized runner, with 100 carries, but he too struggled with 4.2 yards per carry).

Miller, who caught 47 passes in his final season in Miami, turned 40 targets into 31 receptions and 188 yards (6.1 yards per reception.  Throw in 6 total touchdowns, and it’s hard to label it as anything but a disappointment. Read more

Breakout or Bust: Why Melvin Gordon Should Emerge As A RB1 In 2017

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last season the Chargers owned one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL.  You don’t need to look past the key numbers to figure that out:

  • Sacks Allowed – 49 (second most in NFL)
  • Yards Per Carry – 3.3 (second worst in NFL)

It shouldn’t be surprising that they attempted to make sweeping changes in the offseason, spending two of their first three draft picks on potential starters (Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney) and signing Russell Okung to replace King Dunlap.  How big of an impact these moves make remains to be seen, but any improvement should do wonders for incumbent starting running back Melvin Gordon.

It’s easy to overlook Gordon, two years removed from being selected in the first round of the draft (15th overall).  He’s struggled in production, ball security and simply staying healthy since arriving in the NFL, though improved blocking in front of him could help him in all three of those departments. Read more

Tight End Understudies: Are Martellus Bennett & Vernon Davis Worth Using In Week 13?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We already know that two of the top tight ends, Jordan Reed and Rob Gronkowski, are going to be sidelined for Week 13 (and in Gronkowski’s case he’s been lost for the season).  While you would think that their understudies will be worth utilizing, things aren’t quite that simple.  Let’s take a look:

 

Martellus Bennett – New England Patriots
Maybe a 100% Bennett would be extremely appealing, but he’s not as he’s battling through injuries to his ankle and shoulder.  That’s going to limit him, and it’s not like he’s been highly productive in recent weeks:

  • November 20 at San Francisco – 1 reception for 14 yards
  • November 27 at New York Jets – 3 receptions for 22 yards Read more

Sleeper Spotlight: Could Rex Burkhead Prove To Be A Viable Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Giovani Bernard lost for the season the focus has shifted solely on Jeremy Hill in the Cincinnati Bengals backfield.  That type of thinking would cause you to overlook Rex Burkhead, who figures to step in and assume the role vacated by Bernard.  The Bengals apparently believe that he’s capable of stepping up, as Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com recently wrote (click here for the entire article):

“All eyes are on Burkhead, Bernard’s good friend (and they’re all his good friend because Bernard is that kind of guy) because he’s the guy that is going to take his place as that jack-of-all-trades-third-down back that must catch run, catch, and block.

And there is enormous confidence in the 5-10, 214-pounds Burkhead. He’s an example of how deep the Bengals believe their roster is, a versatile sort promoted to slot receiver in the week between the 2014 regular-season finale and the Wild Card Game when Green couldn’t play with a concussion.” Read more

Stat of the Day: Why I’m Buying Larry Fitzgerald This Week

by Ray Kuhn

The first thing we need be aware of is the health of Larry Fitzgerald. For all of the young, and sometimes successful but more often streaky, receivers the Arizona Cardinals have on their depth chart, it is still Larry Fitzgerald who is the go to receiver for Carson Palmer.

Fitzgerald had some issues with his knee last week, and he gave fantasy owners a scare as he missed practice on Wednesday and having an MRI. The cause for concern was quickly put to rest as Fitzgerald returned to practice as a full participant without any real issues on Thursday.

It is easy to lose Fitzgerald in the shuffle of more explosive receivers, but his dependability and production should not be overlooked. Through nine games he is averaging just 10.1 yards per reception and he only has one game of more than 100 yards, but he has caught 68 passes (7.6) per game.  He has 5 TD and his average production in a PPR league is 17 points, without him even finding the end zone.  In all leagues, but especially PPR leagues, it is hard to argue with the production.  Read more

Deep League Diving: Is Houston’s Akeem Hunt Worth Stashing?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Most people probably didn’t think much of it when the Texans added running back Akeem Hunt off the practice squad.  Then injuries helped to force him into action during Week 10 and he immediately made an impact:

8 carries for 52 yards (6.5 yards/carry)

Undrafted out of Purdue last year, he actually dressed for seven games in ’15 and showed some explosiveness.  While he was given just 17 carries, he turned them into 96 yards (5.6 yards/carry).  Clearly he has explosiveness, as evidenced by his 4.36 second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day and as described by NFL.com prior to the draft:

Saw plenty of toss plays in an effort to get his blazing speed in space on the perimeter. Gets to his top speed quickly and can pull away from defenders who think they have angles on him. Dangerous after the catch. Read more

Fantasy Fallout: With Alshon Jeffrey Out, Which Chicago WR Is Worth Owning?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We learned yesterday that the Bears’ Alshon Jeffrey had been suspended for four games due to violating the NFL’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.  Of course, considering the way he had been performing you could argue that his absence isn’t much of a loss:

40 receptions, 630 yards, 1 TD

That’s an average of just 4.4 catches and 70 yards per game.  Neither of those numbers scream of an elite receiver, something that he was fully expected to be this season.  While he has been a target magnet the past three weeks (29 total), the numbers simply haven’t been there as he’s totaled 11 catches for 143 yards.

For fantasy owners maybe it’s a bit of an addition by subtraction.  No longer do we have to wrestle with the decision on if he should be started or not, and considering the performance that’s not a bad thing.  In redraft formats he can safely be dropped. Read more