Archive for Player Analysis

Draft Day Bust Alert: Why The Saints’ Michael Thomas Is A Player We’re Avoiding For 2018

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Saints’ Michael Thomas appears to be among the favored wide receivers as we prepare for 2018 drafts.  However, is he really worth the early round draft day cost?  Should we be willing to use a second round pick to acquire him?

There are three distinct risks involved in making the selection:

 

1) Can he repeat his efficiency?
Last season Thomas turned 149 targets into 104 receptions, or a 69.80% completion rate.  Of the 30 players with at least 65 receptions, there were only nine players who were better (and the group averaged a 65.93% completion rate).  That may not seem like a big number, but a 66% completion rate would knock him down to 98 receptions.  Obviously that’s still a good mark, but what if he also gets a few less targets?

  • 140 targets at 66% completion = 92 receptions
  • 130 targets at 66% completion = 86 receptions

Any regression is going to have an impact and it needs to be monitored closely.

 

2) Where were the touchdowns?
Despite the heavy workload, Thomas managed to score just 5 TD on the season.  That’s obviously a concerning number, especially given his size (6’3” and 212 lbs.).  He did score 9 TD in his rookie season, so it’s possible it was just an aberration, though Drew Brees only threw for 23 TD last season.  He’s clearly on the downside of his career, so it isn’t a guarantee that he returns to the days of pushing 40 TD and this goes hand-in-hand with the third concern…

 

3) Will the Saints go with a running back heavy approach?
We started to see it last season:

  • Mark Ingram – 230 carries + 58 receptions
  • Alvin Kamara – 120 carries + 81 receptions

That’s nearly 500 touches from your two running backs, and considering they combined for 25 TD it’s easy to explain why Thomas failed to find the end zone often.  It’s also easy to envision it being a problem that continues.

 

Conclusion
This isn’t to say that Thomas isn’t going to be a productive player, but that seems like an awful lot of risk for a player who is nearly being selected in the first round (14.2 average ADP).  At that type of price you want to make sure you are going to get production, and it’s easy to envision him falling far short of the expectations.  If he slips to the bottom of the second round or early third round things are a little bit different, but at this price tag we’ll be passing.

Sources – ESPN, Fantasy Pros

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings:

Position
Date Updated
Quarterback07/02/18
Running Back07/10/18
Wide Receiver 07/16/18
Tight End--
Kicker--
Defense--

Bust Alert: Why We Wouldn’t Target Lamar Miller As A Fantasy Starter

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Texans’ Lamar Miller is just a year removed from a 1,073 yard campaign, and that came in just 14 games in 2016.  However he just never was able to get going last season, failing to average more than 3.9 yards/carry in any month and managing just 405 yards over the final eight games of the season.

Just to really hammer home the point, his season high was 75 yards (which came on October 1).  He only had two games all season where he topped 65 yards, and both of them came on October 8 or earlier.  It was a rough season all around, and the second time in the past three years where he failed to top 900 yards.  The last time you could argue that it was due to a lack of carries (872 yards on 194 carries), but last season he was 12th in the league with 238.

At least Miller was chipping in through the passing game in the early going, though there was a distinct split from when Deshaun Watson was on the field and when he wasn’t: Read more

Draft Day Decision: Which Vikings Wide Receiver (If Any) Is Worth Targeting?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last year fantasy owners were a little spoiled by the production of Minnesota’s wide receivers, as both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen put up solid numbers:

  • Stefon Diggs (14 games) – 64 receptions for 849 yards and 8 TD
  • Adam Thielen (16 games) – 91 receptions for 1,276 yards and 4 TD

With the team bringing in Kirk Cousins in the offseason the expectations and hype will only grow, but is there a chance that both ultimately fall far short of expectations?  There’s actually a lot of factors working against them: Read more

Deep League Sleeper: Could The Dolphins’ Kalen Ballage Emerge As The Lead Back?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It may have been surprising that the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round selection.  How ironic will it be if they ultimately used that selection to acquire his replacement?

The Dolphins used that fourth-round pick to select Arizona State University RB Kalen Ballage, who could potentially get an opportunity to rise to the lead back role before long.  That’s a bold statement, considering his less than impressive numbers while in college.  Just look at his four-year college career:

Year
Carries
Yards
Average
TD
2014421263.03
20151256535.24
20161265364.314
20171536574.36
Totals4461,9724.427
Read more

3 Potential Wide Receiver Busts Worth Avoiding (The Draft Day Cost Exceeds The Risk…)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

When you are selecting a player with your first few picks it’s alright to take a little bit of a risk, as long as it’s within reason.  If you completely whiff you are putting yourself in a hole that you may not be able to overcome.  Which wide receivers carry too much risk to warrant their current ADP?  Let’s take a look:

 

T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
Average ADP – 33.8 (WR13)

Hilton is coming off a disastrous 2017, turning 107 targets into 57 receptions, 966 yards and 4 TD.  It’s his second relatively poor year in the past three, both coinciding with time missed from Andrew Luck:

  • 2015 – 69 receptions, 1,124 yards and 5 TD
  • 2016 – 91 receptions, 1,448 yards and 6 TD
  • 2017 – 57 receptions, 966 yards and 4 TD Read more

2018 Quarterback Sleepers: Which Under-the-Radar Options Should You Target (Trubisky & More)

by Joe Delcorse

So what makes a sleeper? There are different grades of sleepers. Rather than trying to throw darts with a blind fold on and shooting the moon with my off hand I like to focus on the players drafted in the early middle rounds that have potential to really make a splash. A true sleeper is someone that is really just a roll of the dice, so if you are relying on you are already in trouble because chances are that sleeper is on everyone’s list by draft day.

Once the roster is set and you add your high upside sleepers then you look for the people who nobody is aware of, are selling short or are unaware of because of preparation. Position battles, injuries, age, experience and team cohesion all can create doubt on a player but volume and opportunity are the most important trends to monitor.

With that I leave you with three quarterback sleepers to consider: Read more

Old Face, New Place: Will The Newly Acquired Dion Lewis Be The Titans’ Top Fantasy RB?

by Ray Kuhn

Running backs for the New England Patriots get a bad name, at least from a fantasy perspective, but despite the roller coaster ride Dion Lewis was actually a pretty steady performer in 2017. We kept on waiting for Bill Belichick to phase him out and leave fantasy owners hanging, but instead Lewis gained 124 yards on the ground and had his best game of the season in Week 16.

This year he takes his talents to Tennessee where he replaces DeMarco Murray at least on the depth chart though not exactly when it comes to role. For the few fleeting days between Murray’s release and Lewis’ signing it appeared that Derrick Henry’s (pictured) value was going to go through the roof. Instead, while the incumbent should be at his most valuable in his third NFL season, Lewis, to me at least, is the back to own in the Titans’ backfield for 2018. Read more

2018 Sleeper: Could The Browns’ David Njoku Emerge As A TE1 By Year’s End?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Generally rookie tight ends need time to adjust to the NFL game.  Sure we get the exceptions to the rule (like Evan Engram in ’18), but more often than not no matter how much hype is bestowed upon him a rookie tight end will disappoint.  That was the case for the Browns’ David Njoku, who was selected 29th overall in the 2017 draft.  Of course that wasn’t all due to his own lack of development.

The Browns quarterback carousel was among the worst in the NFL last season, with Deshone Kizer, Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler combining to complete 54.4% of their passes with 15 TD vs. 28 INT.  The additions of Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield should rectify that situation, and in turn will help the offense as a whole.

There also is a lot of talent surrounding Njoku, which could allow him to be overlooked by opposing defenses.  Just look at the group of skill players suddenly assembled:

  • Wide Receivers – Josh Gordon, Jarvis Landry
  • Running Backs – Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde, Nick Chubb Read more

Old Face, New Place: Now In Oakland, Can Jordy Nelson Rediscover His Fantasy Appeal?

by Ray Kuhn

Is Jordy Nelson done? That is the question fantasy owners are asking themselves about the 33-year old wide receiver, and right now we don’t have a clear answer.

Nelson missed the 2015 season with a knee injury, but he didn’t miss a beat upon his return in 2016 catching 97 passes for 1,257 yards while teaming up with Aaron Rodgers and re-establishing himself as an early round draft pick. That brings us to 2017, which was just a complete and utter disappointment.

In Nelson’s defense he did appear in 15 games, so I wouldn’t chalk it up to a health issue. Based on the fact that Nelson was likely a WR1, owners were left with a big hole to fill and early round pick that was a bust.  Before we unfairly bash Nelson, let’s take a closer look. He caught 53 passes, so it’s not like he completely vanished from Green Bay’s offense, but it was his worst performance since appearing in 12 games in 2012 when he caught 49 balls. That year Nelson gained 745 yards through air, but in 2017 it dropped down to 482 yards. Read more

Change of Address: Now “The Man” In San Francisco, Is Jerick McKinnon Worth A 2nd Round Pick?

by Ray Kuhn

There might not be a player with more helium this draft season than Jerick McKinnon. All of the qualifications and signs for a player rising up draft boards are there, and if anything his draft stock might continue to climb as we get closer to September.  But should it?

Since they have opened up MFL 10s, there have been 1,427 drafts (at the time of this writing), and McKinnon has an ADP of 32.2. Before you begin to question drafting San Francisco’s new running back in the third round, I know I certainly did, consider the fact that he is currently the 17th running back coming off the board. Would you be hard pressed to find more than 16 running backs, likely a few less than that, to rank higher than McKinnon?

While we are alright with that ADP, remember that helium, there have been 822 drafts since May 1st, and in those drafts McKinnon has had an ADP of 25.5.  He has found himself being selected anywhere between the third pick and the 43rd pick in the draft.

Now, it’s decision time… Read more