jc21dallasgmail.com, rated by footballguys.com
Please note that rate-my-team is a PRESEASON tool. It is still functional as a demo, but the analysis is NOT updated to account for 2015 season-to-date happenings.
QB: Matthew Stafford, Tyrod Taylor
RB: Isaiah Crowell, Dalvin Cook, Joe Mixon, Mark Ingram, Doug Martin, Rob Kelley, Jonathan Stewart, Jamaal Williams
WR: Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Sammy Watkins, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Robby Anderson
TE: Jimmy Graham
TD: Buffalo Bills
In a competitive league, almost every team has a weakness. It's almost impossible to build a team that is strong at all three core positions (quarterback, running back and wide receiver). As you probably suspect, we perceive your weakness to be at the quarterback position. Of all the deficiencies to have though, this is usually the easiest one to mask.
Footballguys owner David Dodds even recommends you go into your draft with the goal of landing the top RBs and WRs while waiting to grab QBs late. Value-Based Drafting principles also suggest that teams constructed in this manner end up being strong. But for this team to reach it's full potential, you might need to have a quick trigger finger at the QB position and stay on the look out for good quarterback help. Last year Dak Prescott could be had very cheap in August, but ended up contributing to a lot of fantasy championships. In 2015 it was Blake Bortles; in 2014 it was Ben Roethlisberger; in 2013 it was Nick Foles. Quarterbacks like these can be found every year, and that could be the key to your team's success.
So although this team isn't perfect (few are), it should still be a strong contender.
Players we particularly like on this team include Sammy Watkins, Jimmy Graham, Tyrod Taylor, Dalvin Cook, Robby Anderson, Rob Kelley, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Joe Mixon, Doug Martin, and Jonathan Stewart. We have all these guys ranked ahead of where they are typically being drafted.Bottom line:
- With great inseason management, we think you have about a 99 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With good inseason management, we think you have about a 99 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With average inseason management, we think you have a 90 percent chance of making the playoffs.
In any event, we wish you the best of luck. Here's hoping all your weeks are like week 16 of 2016:Adam Thielen vs. GB: 202 receiving yards, 2 TD
Tyrod Taylor vs. MIA: 329 passing yards, 60 rushing yards, 3 TD
Sammy Watkins vs. MIA: 154 receiving yards, 1 TD
Mark Ingram vs. TB: 93 combined yards, 2 TD
Isaiah Crowell vs. SD: 58 combined yards, 2 TD
We have Matthew Stafford rated #15 among quarterbacks, so we're not even sold on him as a fantasy starter in your league. But #16-rated QB Tyrod Taylor provides you with another viable option. So while the position doesn't figure to be a strength, with shrewd management and a little luck you might end up with decent production at QBIncidentally, these two have a terrific combined schedule and a decent playoff schedule too. If you simply played the one with the better matchup each week, this is the schedule you'd face:
NYJ | CAR | ATL | ATL | CIN | NO | TB | OAK | GB | CLE | LAC | KC | NE | IND | MIA | NERB Summary:
We like Dalvin Cook as a second RB, but we consider your starting running backs, as a group, to be a little below par. Our projections have Isaiah Crowell ranked 12th and Cook ranked at #13.
Your bench looks good and should help offset the unexciting starting unit. Tough to do better than Joe Mixon at RB3; he's a likely flex starter. Mark Ingram will also be among the best RB4s in the league. Doug Martin looks great as a fifth running back.
Since you're strong at the position, you probably don't absolutely need to roster more than five players here. Of your remaining guys, we like Rob Kelley the best, but you should keep the one you think has the best chance of putting up starter numbers. The rest might be considered expendable if you find you need roster space elsewhere.
A quick note about the same-team Mixon/A.J. Green duo you've got here. Though the effect is probably negligible, this kind of pairing is likely to make your team more (not less) consistent than a comparable-scoring different-team pair. See this article (which was written before the 2008 season) for more discussion.WR Summary:
Nice work here. We like all your starting receivers, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 5.3 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Julio Jones is our second ranked WR, A.J. Green is #7, and we have Sammy Watkins 18th.
Your bench also looks good. Tough to do better than Stefon Diggs at WR4. Likewise, Adam Thielen should be excellent at WR5.
Robby Anderson is an excellent depth pick, though you may not end up using him much.TE Summary:
Jimmy Graham should be above average as a starting tight end. We have him ranked fourth overall at the position. Given your league rules and the presence of Graham, your decision to roll with just one tight end is a reasonable one.Kicker Summary:
Don't forget to pick up a kicker before the season starts.Defense Summary:When you don't have an elite defense, one option is a committee approach. That is, try to get two cheap defenses whose schedules fit well together. Here are a few teams who we think may be available and whose schedules fit best with the Bills', along with the combined schedule that each would create: Bills + Jaguars = NYJ | CAR | DEN | NYJ | CIN | LAR | IND | OAK | NYJ | LAC | CLE | ARI | IND | IND | HOU | SF
Bills + Eagles = NYJ | CAR | DEN | LAC | ARI | CAR | TB | SF | NYJ | NO | LAC | CHI | SEA | LAR | MIA | NE
Bills + Buccaneers = NYJ | CAR | DEN | NYG | CIN | ARI | TB | CAR | NYJ | NYJ | LAC | KC | GB | IND | MIA | CAR
Is this a dynasty team? Click here to find out how it might look for 2018 season.
Schedule AnalysisGreen means GO (good matchup), red means STOP (bad matchup). Main starters highlighted At the bottom of the table, the Relative Strength row shows you how strong we project your team to be, relative to your usual strength, in that week. This accounts for byes and matchups.
- Please note that the Relative strength numbers above account for both byes and matchups.
- Remember that you might have starters on bye in a given week, but still have a high relative strength. This could occur because of favorable matchups, or it might be because you are projected to be missing less production than an average opponent will (your opponents have to deal with byes too).
- Week 6 presents serious bye week issues for you: Tyrod Taylor, Joe Mixon, A.J. Green, Jimmy Graham, and Buffalo Bills are off.
- Week 7 presents moderate bye week issues: Matthew Stafford is not playing.
- Week 9 presents moderate bye week issues: Dalvin Cook, Isaiah Crowell, Stefon Diggs, and Adam Thielen are not playing.
- Mark Ingram, Rob Kelley, and Julio Jones are out in week 5, but your opponent will likely have comparable issues with byes.
- In weeks 4, 8, 10, 11, and 12 you'll probably be better off than your opponent, as far as byes are concerned.
Potential Free AgentsListed in order of preference. We don't know exactly who is available in your league, but here is a list of players who might be available and could be upgrades over some of your depth players, listed in order of preference. Your players are listed in red for comparison. Players who might not mesh well with the bye weeks of your key players are grayed out.
QB: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. RB: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. WR: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. TE: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. PK: Dustin Hopkins (5), Sebastian Janikowski (10), Adam Vinatieri (11), Caleb Sturgis (10), Phil Dawson (8), Matt Prater (7), Blair Walsh (6), Chris Boswell (9), Brandon McManus (5), Graham Gano (11), Randy Bullock (6), Younghoe Koo (), Kai Forbath (9), Jason Myers (), Nick Folk (), Steve Hauschka (6), Aldrick Rosas (8), Chandler Catanzaro (11), Ryan Succop (8). TD: Baltimore Ravens (10), Philadelphia Eagles (10), Carolina Panthers (11), Pittsburgh Steelers (9), New York Giants (8), Cincinnati Bengals (6), Jacksonville Jaguars (8), Green Bay Packers (8), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1), Los Angeles Rams (8), Buffalo Bills (6).
Projections and Player Summaries
Matthew Stafford - Stafford is a franchise quarterback entering his prime years at age 29. While he hasn't reached the elite status many expected when he was drafted first overall in 2009, he has established himself as an above-average starter. After being labeled as injury prone early in his career, Stafford has proven incredibly durable and started every game over the past six seasons. He has also been consistently productive, throwing for 4,250+ yards in every season since 2011. In 2016, he threw for 4,327 passing yards (a slight increase over his 2015 total) but saw his touchdown passes decrease from 32 in 2016 to just 24 last season. Stafford has evolved over the past two seasons into a much more cerebral quarterback and drastically cut down his turnovers. He has just 12 interceptions in 25 starts since Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator midway through the 2015 season. Stafford has consistently thrown for 4,250 yards but his fantasy upside will hinge largely upon whether he can get back to throwing for 30+ touchdowns. His lack of top red zone options at receiver will make that a difficult task and could lead to Stafford again landing in the high-end QB2 range.
Tyrod Taylor - Taylor enters his third year as a starter, but his situation is not firm. The Bills hesitated when it came to reworking his contract and didn't make a real long-term commitment to him when they did come to terms. He's going to have to fight for work with Cardale Jones, TJ Yates and rookie Nathan Peterman. If he can't separate from them, it'll be a bad look. If he does win the job, two things make that job tougher. One, his constantly injured and sub-average receiving corps and second, the run-first offense. The first the team is hoping will be improved by the addition of rookie Zay Jones, but replacing Sammy Watkins with Jordan Matthews is a huge downgrade for Taylor. The Bills have said they will still lean on the run and while they threw more than they ran - 474 attempts compared to 382 -but they are still below par for the rest of the NFL. That makes his lower touchdown total - 17 (23 if you count his rushing touchdowns) - more of an issue. Those factors combined makes Taylor unreliable most weeks.
Dalvin Cook - No rookie landed in a better spot than Dalvin Cook did this season. Cook goes to a well coached Vikings team that are strong on offense and defense and are accustomed to overcoming adversity. Cook cost the Vikings a 2nd Round pick but that was much cheaper than what the Jaguars paid for Fournette and both running backs have a similar skill set. Cook was projected to be a first round pick but fell to the Vikings and could have some extra motivation because of it. Cook has been dynamic for Florida State the last two years rushing for 1,691 and 1,765 yards respectfully with 19 rushing touchdowns each season. He also has the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield as he caught 33 passes in 2016 for 488 yards and a touchdown. Cook will improve the Vikings running game with his fresh legs this season and it will be interesting if his 40 total touchdowns during his last two years in college influences what he can do in his rookie season in the NFL. He knows how to find the end zone and chasing double digit touchdowns in his rookie season could be in the mix.
Isaiah Crowell - Crowell's 2016 season was underrated due to a lack of usage that was mostly out of his control. Because Cleveland was facing so many negative game scripts, Crowell only had 198 carries on the season, but those carries resulted in 952 yards, giving him a 4.8 yards per carry average. Crowell also quietly notched a career-high 40 receptions, cutting into the passing game work that many assumed would be reserved exclusively for Duke Johnson. If the team's offseason moves are to be believed, they certainly believe in Crowell. They added only a seventh-round draft pick at the position this offseason and tendered him as a second-round pick, which kept multiple reported suitors away. Crowell should continue to be a workhorse this year.
Mark Ingram - As sparingly as Mark Ingram has been used, it is somewhat surprising that in his seventh NFL season, he remains in New Orleans. It should not be a surprise that the team signed Adrian Peterson in April, which will again limit Ingram's carries. Ingram has two years remaining on the contract signed in March of 2015, with salaries of $3 Million this year and $4 Million next, but the guaranteed amounts expired last season. He had career highs last year with 1,043 yards rushing, 5.1 yards per rush and 10 total touchdowns including four on receptions. Even with those career highs, Ingram had only one game with 20 carries and topped 100 yards rushing only three times. The signing of Peterson, as well as the drafting of Alvin Kamara confirms that Ingram will again share snaps and carries. It is even conceivable that Peterson could have a larger role. Ingram has greatly improved as a receiver since early in his career. He was not used much in the passing game his first three seasons, but has averaged 48 receptions the past two seasons. Ingram's usage in the passing game could also be challenged in 2017. The Saints traded a 2018 second rounder and this year's 7th round pick to draft Kamara, who could fit in nicely in a receiving role.
Rob Kelley - Kelley led Washington with 168 carries for 704 yards (4.2 per carry) and six rushing touchdowns as a rookie last year. His play was adequate, but the reality is he benefited from a roster of flawed or one-dimensional competitors. Kelley can be functional as a full-time player, but he's better suited to a committee role. Rookie Samaje Perine should push for playing time if he can grasp pass protection. Until then, Kelley has a chance to parlay a strong camp into fantasy RB2 value.
Doug Martin - Doug Martin will miss the first three weeks of the 2017 season due to a 2016 drug policy suspension. Of bigger concern is Martin's anemic 2.9 yards-per-carry last year, his third season of 3.7 yards-per-carry or less in the past four seasons. At 28 years old, Martin is exiting a running back's historical prime age-wise and Tampa Bay has a host of other viable backs. Jacquizz Rodgers is a functional two-way option, Charles Sims is a receiving maven, and Jeremy McNichols was drafted on Day 3 as a Boise State feature back like Doug Martin years ago. The Tampa Bay pass game projects as the dominant focal point of the offense. Martin will heed the opening three weeks and already profiled as a touchdown and volume-dependent option unlikely to log significant production as a receiver.
Joe Mixon - Mixon's off-the-field issues are well-publicized. To draft him in the second round with the potential P.R. nightmare it brings would seem to be an indicator that the team plans to integrate him right away. After all, why bring on the ridicule and headache if the player isn't going to contribute? On the field, Mixon isn't the bruiser that Jeremy Hill is or the dynamic, agile pass-catcher that Giovani Bernard is, but he provides the best all-around skill set on the team. With Hill and Bernard, defenses can more confidently guess what Cincinnati is going to do. But a player like Mixon brings an every-down skill set and allows the offense to play in many formations without substituting running backs. Mixon has looked dynamic throughout camp and appears to be on track to take over lead duties in the backfield for the regular season.
Jonathan Stewart - As he did in 2015 (242/989/6 rushing while seeing 21 targets for 16/99/1 receiving), Jonathan Stewart managed to appear in 13 games last season for the Panthers, piling up 218/824/9 rushing with 21 targets for 8/60/0 receiving to his credit - he was back below four yards a carry last season, averaging 3.8 yards per tote. Now 30 years old, Stewart has played nine seasons in the league, and the Panthers made a move in the first round of the 2017 draft to get younger at this key position. Rookie Christian McCaffrey figures to be the new starting running back, and he has three-down skills (having caught 99 receptions while at Stanford). Stewart likely has a role as the short yardage/goal line/change-of-pace back for the Panthers this year as he mentors the heir apparent, McCaffrey.
Jamaal Williams - A fourth round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Williams is a solid North-South runner who plays bigger than his size. He was a four year starter in college, and can carry a nice-sized load, but with Ty Montgomery in the lead back role, and the Packers not known for an abundance of run plays, Williams may not see the field much even if he locks the No. 2 back role over fellow rookie Aaron Jones. If Montgomery wears down, gets hurt or otherwise struggles, Williams will see some work though there's a good chance he will split time with Jones.
Stefon Diggs - Stefon Diggs had a solid season with an 84/903/3 statline on 112 targets (in 14 games). Diggs coming out party was in Week 2 against the Packers where he caught 9 of 11 targets for 182 yards and a touchdown. Look for the duo of Thielen and Diggs to pick up where they left off in 2016 and hopefully a third WR can step up this season with the departure of Cordarrelle Patterson.
A.J. Green - Green was having the best year of his career before tearing his ACL early in the team's 10th game of the season, and for a player of his caliber, that's saying something. Since Green's injury was on just the second play of the game, it seems fair to prorate his nine-game stats to put into perspective just how special a season he was having. He was pacing for career highs in targets (178), catches (117), and yards (1,714). Considering he was lobbying to play the last game of the year but was held out by management, Green's health should not be a question mark. He'll be among the favorites to lead the NFL in targets in 2017, health permitting.
Julio Jones - Julio Jones is in the prime years of his NFL career, as he proved in 2016 with an elite showing of 129 targets for 83/1,409/6 receiving (sixth-best fantasy wide receiver during 2016) over 14 games played. He did see a dip in targets during 2016 after handling a ridiculous 203 targets for 136/1,871/8 receiving during 2015. Jones is just 28 years old and has missed just three games over the last three seasons while going over 1,400 yards receiving in each of those campaigns (he had 163 targets for 104/1,593/6 receiving during 2014). He seems set to dominate the opposition again during 2017, even though the team is transitioning to a new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian. One quick medical note on Jones - he had surgery to repair a bunion on his foot that had been bothering him for years, according to Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network. A bunion is a bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. Rapoport reported that he was told the surgery will not affect Jones' availability for training camp.
Adam Thielen - Adam Thielen had a breakout year with 69/967/5 line on 92 targets. He finished the season as the 27th ranked wide receiver for fantasy and showed some great hands with only two drops last year. Thielen will remain an under rated player heading into the season and could be a useful pickup in the later rounds in fantasy drafts.
Sammy Watkins - Watkins is now a Ram, and while Tyrod Taylor isn't a huge fantasy value creator for wide receivers, Jared Goff has to be considered even more of a ceiling capper, especially because the Rams have a better supporting cast of targets. His value is down after the trade, and it will take a bit for ADP to adjust. His foot did look sound in the preseason opener and his injury risk should be considered lower than it was before we saw him.
Jimmy Graham - Graham's thigh injury was supposed to be a career-altering event, but he returned to the field Week 1 of 2016 and posted his best season in three years as fantasy football's No.2 tight end, including a career-best 14.2 yards per catch average. Almost as surprising as his return from injury has been his improvement as a blocker. He'll never be mistaken for Rob Gronkowski, but Graham has made enough strides that he could become a more versatile option. Russell Wilson was a top-3 fantasy quarterback in 2015 with 34 touchdowns, and he and Graham spent extra time in 2016 developing their on-field rapport. Look for the relationship to produce even more dividends in 2017 now that Wilson is healthy and the interior of the Seahawks offensive line appears stabilized. Expecting anything less than top-3 production from Graham as a fantasy tight end is risky proposition.
Player News (last 7 days)
"Our view" written by footballguys.com's Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom. Click here for all the news around the NFL, updated constantly.Vikings | Adam Thielen expected to play - Minnesota Vikings WR Adam Thielen (back) is expected to play in the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Jan. 21, despite being in plenty of pain due to a lower back ailment, according to multiple sources. Sun Jan 21, 08:52 AM [Link to story] Giants | Odell Beckham Jr. poised to shine? - New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. will thrive if Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur becomes the next head coach of the Giants as expected, according to WR Stefon Diggs, 'because Pat knows how to get people the ball.' Fri Jan 19, 10:27 PM [Link to story]
|Footballguys view: Beckham will thrive no matter who the Giants hire. We understand the logic here, but Beckham is a superstar and any coach that gets hired will know there's a mandate to get him the ball early and often.|
|Footballguys view: The police report states that Anderson was speeding, clocked at 105 mph in a 45 mph zone. He eluded police but eventually pulled over. In the back of the police car, Anderson allegedly threatened the arresting officer's family. This isn't the first time Anderson has had a run in with the law, as last year he was arrested at a music festival where he was charged with resisting arrest and obstructing justice.|
|Footballguys view: Thielen has been working through this back injury all week. Reports indicate that he'll be out there and get his normal workload of snaps against the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.|
|Footballguys view: If the Vikings are going to win this game, Thielen is one of the guys they have to have do well. We think he and Stefon Diggs match up well with the Eagles secondary, and predict them to have a very good weekend. Start them in your DFS leagues.|
|Footballguys view: Thielen should be good to go for Sunday night's tilt with the Vikings, but it would obviously be better if he was fully healthy going into the game.|
|Footballguys view: Martin probably shouldn't have been on the roster this year. The team paid him over five million non-guaranteed dollars despite being unavailable for the first three games. Even with the endorsement of the team, he was the same unexciting back that he had been recently, and Martin was outperformed by Peyton Barber down the stretch. Martin will have to fight to be a backup next year.|
|Footballguys view: Martin is set to count $6.75 million against the cap in 2018, but with zero remaining in dead money we won't see him back with the team. Entering free agency with so many question marks, we can't see a ton of teams lined up for the veteran back. The fact that it's a very strong draft class at running back this year doesn't bode well for Martin either.|
|Footballguys view: Ingram had some huge games during the season, but wasn't a big factor in the playoffs. He'll be an early-round pick in 2018 drafts after he helped fantasy teams to the playoffs and championship in 2017.|