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QB: Philip Rivers, Dak Prescott
RB: David Johnson, Isaiah Crowell, Frank Gore
WR: T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Matthews, Brandon Marshall, Donte Moncrief, Cole Beasley, Ted Ginn, Kenny Stills
TE: Zach Ertz
PK: Sebastian Janikowski
TD: Seattle Seahawks
Make no mistake about it: this team is about strength at the running back position. And we think it will be a legitimate contender. Somewhere Marshall Faulk is smiling.
Nonetheless, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least mention the relative lack of strength at quarterback and receiver. These are usually survivable weaknesses, but we'd feel better if we knew you were committed to zealously scouring the waiver wire for this year's emergent players at QB and WR. Getting a breakout player at one or both of those positions would take your already-good team to the next level.
Players we particularly like on this team include Isaiah Crowell, Cole Beasley, Kenny Stills, and the Seahawks defense. 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 75 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With good inseason management, we think you have about a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs.
- With average inseason management, we think you have a 46 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 15 of 2015:David Johnson vs. PHI: 229 combined yards, 3 TD
Emmanuel Sanders vs. PIT: 181 receiving yards, 1 TD
Jordan Matthews vs. ARI: 159 receiving yards, 1 TD
Ted Ginn vs. NYG: 85 receiving yards, 2 TD
Philip Rivers vs. MIA: 311 passing yards, 3 TD
We have Philip Rivers rated #8 among quarterbacks, which makes him a viable starter if not an exciting one. Dak Prescott, our #13 quarterback, should be solid as a backup, but we're not sure if he can hold down the fort as a starter if circumstances force him to be one.Incidentally, these two have a pretty nice 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:
NYG | MIA | ARI | LAR | GB | OAK | SF | NE | KC | ATL | BUF | DAL | CLE | WAS | OAK | NYJRB Summary:
Nice work here. We like both your starting running backs, as our projections indicate that they give you a combined 6.1 point-per-game advantage over an average opponent in this league. Our projections have David Johnson ranked first and Isaiah Crowell ranked 11th.
We see Frank Gore as an average third running back.
We might suggest adding a bit more depth here. See the end of the report for some suggestions on who to pick up.WR Summary:
We see all your starters at receiver as below average. T.Y. Hilton is our 10th ranked WR, Emmanuel Sanders is #24, and we have Jordan Matthews 32nd.
Your bench looks good and should help offset the unexciting starting unit. Brandon Marshall should serve as a very solid fourth receiver. Donte Moncrief should be adequate at WR5.
Though some teams will probably be content to roster as few as five players here, it was not a bad idea to take a few extras because you're not particularly strong overall at the position. Of your remaining guys, we like Cole Beasley 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.TE Summary:
Zach Ertz should be above average as a starting tight end. We have him ranked fifth overall at the position. Given your league rules and the presence of Ertz, your decision to roll with just one tight end is a reasonable one.Kicker Summary:
Sebastian Janikowski, our 11th ranked kicker, is below average but probably adequate.Defense Summary:
We think the Seahawks are the #1 defense in the league, at about 0.8 points per game above average.
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 11 presents serious bye week issues for you: Isaiah Crowell, Frank Gore, T.Y. Hilton, and Kenny Stills are off.
- Week 8 presents moderate bye week issues: David Johnson, Brandon Marshall, and Donte Moncrief are not playing.
- Week 6 presents moderate bye week issues: Dak Prescott, Cole Beasley, Jordan Matthews, and Seattle Seahawks are not playing.
- In weeks 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 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: Paul Perkins (8), James White (9), Darren Sproles (10), Derrick Henry (8), Chris Thompson (5), Jamaal Charles (5), Jonathan Stewart (8), Shane Vereen (8), Mike Gillislee (9), Darren McFadden (), C.J. Prosise (6), LeGarrette Blount (7), DeAndre Washington (10), T.J. Yeldon (8), Thomas Rawls (6), Jalen Richard (10). WR: Kenny Britt (9), Robby Anderson (11), Donte Moncrief (8), Marvin Jones (7), Cole Beasley (6), Breshad Perriman (10), Kevin White (9), Chris Hogan (9), Marqise Lee (8), Kendall Wright (9), Ted Ginn (5), Devin Funchess (11), Marquise Goodwin (11), John Brown (10), Kenny Stills (1). TE: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here. PK: Cairo Santos (11), Dustin Hopkins (5), Adam Vinatieri (11), Caleb Sturgis (9), Sebastian Janikowski (10), Phil Dawson (8), Matt Prater (7), Blair Walsh (6), Chris Boswell (9), Brandon McManus (5). TD: we don't necessarily recommend any roster moves here.
Projections and Player Summaries
Dak Prescott - What a difference a year makes. Last season, it took an injury to Kellen Moore for Dak Prescott to see the field (following Tony Romo's injury) and most wondered how a developmental rookie would fare running a veteran-laden offense. We now know the answer as Prescott shocked everyone and turned in an All-Pro caliber season while returning the Cowboys to a top 5 offensive ranking. Prescott completed 67.8% of his passes for 3,667 yards, 23 touchdowns and a mere four interceptions. He also ran for 282 yards and SIX touchdowns and established himself as one of the promising young signal callers in the league. Expectations are sky high entering 2017, as the team returns largely intact particularly at receiver and running back. The right side of the offensive line underwent changes, but the line projects as elite yet again. It's hard to nitpick Prescott's rookie accomplishments, as he didn't suffer from the flaws scouts saw in his collegiate tape. As long as the key cogs (e.g., Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Ezekiel Elliott) remain healthy, Prescott will push for every week fantasy QB1 honors.
Philip Rivers - Despite another year with offensive line injuries, the loss of Danny Woodhead (ACL in Week 2) and a second straight season without Keenan Allen (ACL tear in Week 1), Rivers held it together and delivered a 33-touchdown season--one away from his career high. 2016's No. 8 fantasy passer got strong production from second-year option Tyrell Williams and additional support from free agent signee Travis Benjamin. The team's ability to incorporate rookie Hunter Henry into the offense helped the scheme become less predictable, especially in the red zone with two-tight end sets. Perhaps the greatest asset for Rivers was running back Melvin Gordon, who earned 41 receptions and was a steady enough force on the ground to keep the offense more balanced. Rivers has three years left on a five-year extension, so he is probably locked in as the Chargers' starter until he retires. He's one of the most consistent fantasy options at the position.
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.
Frank Gore - Frank Gore is the perfect example of how the position of running back should be played. He is technically sound, has outstanding vision and his anticipation is among the best in the game. Father time has tried to catch up to him, but Gore just won't let go. He is entering his 13th season at age 34 and the Colts are still relying on him to be their lead running back. He'll be in pursuit of his tenth 1,000-yard rushing season and should surpass 3,000 career carries before the calendar hits October. Gore has a career 4.4 yards per carry average but the last two years he has dropped below the 4.0 YPC mark, which suggests even he, is starting to wear down. The Colts primary running back still has fantasy value, unless he sees a rapid decline or suffers a multi-week injury. Expect the Colts to lean on him until he can't consistently produce. The alternative options in the running game are limited. Marlon Mack is a young rookie running back with promise, but it may take a few games or an entire season to earn an abundance of snaps and playing time. Veteran Robert Turbin is much more adept at playing the position, but his upside is limited. That leaves Gore to continue to be the Colts primary rushing threat. The potency of the Colts offense should be enough to sustain moderate fantasy production for Gore. There are several better fantasy options, but Gore's longevity, previous success and consistency make him someone to target as your third or even fourth option on your roster.
David Johnson - David Johnson is undeniably the man. Johnson's 2118 total yards and 20 touchdowns--including 80 receptions--are all the evidence anyone needs that he's a complete back. Johnson developed greater patience with all types of blocking that he wasn't as familiar with executing as a rookie. Because he's a great receiver, Johnson could see enough plays split from the formation that fans get more acquainted with backup Kerwynn Williams or see occasional running plays for veteran Chris Johnson. Even so, David Johnson is a healthy workhorse who has stated in February that he wants to earn 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in 2017. He has the ability and the role to achieve it. 2017 should be another season as one of the top five fantasy running backs.
Cole Beasley - Cole Beasley could switch places with Julian Edelman and lead the league in catches. The 6th year possession receiver may not be a 'starter' per se, but he's easily the 2nd most important piece of the Cowboys passing attack. Beasley's role has increased steadily and reached a crescendo last year in Dak Prescott's first season under center. The 5'8", 177-pounder plays fearlessly and has phenomenal hands (73% career catch rate), and is reasonably efficient in the red zone in spite of his size. While Beasley will never be a high-volume pass catcher in this offense, he is a critical component to maintaining Prescott's fantasy value in 2017 and beyond.
Ted Ginn - Ted Ginn signed a three-year $11 Million contract with New Orleans near the end of March this year. Ginn who caught 98 passes for 1,491 yards and 14 TDs over the past two seasons in Carolina remains in the NFC South. He has had a lot of success on deep routes, averaging 15.2 ypc the last two years. Coach Payton likes Ginn's speed and said that he can do some of the same things that Cooks provided to the offense the past two seasons
T.Y. Hilton - T.Y. Hilton increased his fantasy ranking in each of his first three years in the league (25, 19, 10). In 2015 Andrew Luck missed nine games due to various injuries, but Hilton still managed to finish in the Top 25 among fantasy wide receivers. In 2016 Hilton had a career best Top 5 finish, which was aided by a multiple-week injury to Donte Moncrief and subsequent lack of help from other receivers. As a result, Hilton had career highs in targets (155) receptions (91) and receiving yards (1,448). Moncrief is returning healthy in 2017 which will reduce Hilton's involvement on offense. He'll still be Luck's top target, but his production should go down with Moncrief's return. In five years, Hilton has never had less than five touchdowns in a season and he has only missed two games in his career. He's one of the most consistent receivers in the game and he has an elite quarterback who trusts his ability to get open regardless of coverage. Hilton can run the entire route tree and has shown success no matter where he lines up. He may not reach Top 5 status in 2017, but he's a solid WR2 who is capable of putting up WR1 numbers any given week.
Brandon Marshall - Brandon Marshall's career is remarkable. When he laces up his cleats this season for the Giants, it'll be his fifth NFL team. How many NFL players, at any position, have a credible case for the Hall of Fame and also played for five teams? Marshall has at least one 100+ reception season for four teams. He's notched eight 1,000-yard seasons. He's scored in double-digits in three of the last five years. When healthy and motivated, he's an unstoppable offensive force. That's the good news. The bad news is Marshall is 33 years old and is coming off a miserable season with the Jets (59 receptions for 788 yards and three touchdowns in 15 games), and he's signed to a one-year deal with the Giants. Marshall is used to being heavily targeted (125+ targets in nine of the last ten seasons) and will have to adjust to his new role as a complementary player. Ideally, Marshall will split WR2 duties with Sterling Shepard and be on the field much of the time in 3-WR sets. His skill set projects to age better than most, because he doesn't rely on breakaway speed. He wins battles with toughness and strength. Even if Marshall isn't targeted regularly, he'll be the Giants top red zone threat. Fantasy owners should take a flier on Marshall, but recognize his consistency won't be what we've become accustomed.
Jordan Matthews - Matthews is who we thought he was. In three seasons, Matthews has emerged as a good-but-not-great receiver. The 6'3", 212-pounder looks like Terrell Owens but plays like Wes Welker. Now he will be one of the primary receivers in Buffalo, a lower tier pass offense. His target load might be higher than it was going to be in Philadelphia, but it is difficult to see Matthews as a consistent fantasy starter getting on the Bills this late in the game.
Donte Moncrief - Donte Moncrief has the physical tools to be a fantasy mainstay, but toe and shoulder injuries have slowed his career development. He is expected to be 100% healthy at the start of training camp, where he will resume his role as the Colts complementary receiver behind T.Y. Hilton. Moncrief has 16 career touchdowns in 41 games, which means his rate of scoring in a game is nearly 40%. This is a contract year for Moncrief so you can bet he'll be focused on improving areas that need fine-tuned, like his yards per catch average. His shoulder injury kept him from being a threat after the catch, which resulted in a career low 10.2 yards per catch average. The 2016 season, which included only nine games, was a disappointment for those who expected more from the young receiver. He did manage to score 7 touchdowns in that time, which is impressive considering his injury restrictions. If Moncrief can finally escape the injury bug, and build on his potential, he could finish the season in the Top 25.
Emmanuel Sanders - During OTAs earlier this year, Emmanuel Sanders proclaimed that the Mike McCoy offense was "wide receiver heaven." Fantasy owners could feel heavenly if Sanders can produce like he did a couple of years ago. Over the last three years, Sanders has seen his fantasy ranking drop in standard scoring leagues (7th, 18th, 22nd). The McCoy offense is certainly going to be a pass happy system, and the Broncos should feature plenty of shotgun formations as they move the ball down the field with the passing game. Last year the Broncos had more 3-and-outs than any other team. It's difficult to maintain production when you're sipping Gatorade more than breaking a sweat. This year, expect McCoy's offense to have an element of danger due to the passing game. One of their primary weapons will be Sanders, and he's got the potential to finish as a top-15 fantasy receiver again. He's a valuable addition you can get in the seventh round on average.
Kenny Stills - Last season saw Kenny Stills work mostly as an outside threat and we expect it to be the same this season. That means his production shouldn't be hit too hard by the arrival of Julius Thomas, or impacted by what goes to Jarvis Landry. He will battle for targets mostly with DeVante Parker, who didn't have the impact in 2016 that the Dolphins expected. Stills is a decent vertical threat and should be able to take advantage of the attention Landry Jones, and to an extent Parker and Julius Thomas, will get. On the plus side, Stills led the team in touchdowns and while his total was only nine, it's worth noting that no other receiver had half as many scores. Stills will never be the biggest producer of yards in this offense, especially not with the other options on the table, but he could provide some consistent yards each week.
Zach Ertz - It's time to stop expecting Zach Ertz to morph into the next elite fantasy producer. He's a good tight end. Perhaps even a very good tight end. But he's not elite, at least or fantasy purposes. His play has largely plateaued over the last two seasons; finishing TE10 and TE8, respectively. With just 13 touchdowns over four seasons, Ertz is more Jason Witten than Rob Gronkowski. However, he does offer legitimate value as a fantasy starter given the high floor. Ertz is sure-handed (74% catch rate last season) and oft-targeted (218 targets over the last two years). Ertz could sneak into the top 5 at the position if his TD tally jumps into the 6-8 range for a season, but that optionality is offset by the risk posed by the Eagles additions of receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.
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.Cardinals | Jordan Matthews visits desert - Free-agent WR Jordan Matthews (Bills) visited with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, March 16. Fri Mar 16, 08:21 PM [Link to story] Chargers | Bolts expected to add Caleb Sturgis - The Los Angeles Chargers are expected to sign free-agent PK Caleb Sturgis (Eagles), a source said Friday, March 16. They chose Sturgis over free-agent PK Sebastian Janikowski (Raiders). Fri Mar 16, 05:33 PM [Link to story] Jets | Isaiah Crowell officially joins Jets - Updating a previous report, free-agent RB Isaiah Crowell (Browns) officially signed with the New York Jets Thursday, March 15. Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but an earlier report stated it is a three-year deal worth $12 million. Thu Mar 15, 07:14 PM [Link to story] Eagles | Zach Ertz restructures - Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz restructured his contract Thursday, March 15, to create $5.407 million in salary cap space. He converted $7.21 million of his $8 million base salary into a fully guaranteed roster bonus. Thu Mar 15, 08:11 AM [Link to story] Lions | Detroit working on deal with Frank Gore - Free-agent RB Frank Gore (Colts) is close to reaching a contract agreement with Detroit Lions, according to a source. Wed Mar 14, 09:52 PM [Link to story] Jets | Isaiah Crowell financials - Updating a previous report, New York Jets RB Isaiah Crowell's deal is worth $12 million over three years, with $6 million guaranteed, according to a source. He has a cap hit of $2 million in 2018, then $5 million in both 2019 and 2020. The team could opt out of the deal after the 2018 season. Wed Mar 14, 04:19 PM [Link to story] Chargers | Sebastian Janikowski to visit Chargers - Oakland Raiders impending free-agent PK Sebastian Janikowski will visit the Los Angeles Chargers. Wed Mar 14, 10:49 AM [Link to story] Lions | Frank Gore set to visit Motor City - Free-agent RB Frank Gore (Colts) is scheduled to visit with the Detroit Lions later this week, according to NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala. Tue Mar 13, 10:45 PM [Link to story] Jets | Isaiah Crowell signing with Jets - Free-agent RB Isaiah Crowell (Browns) is signing a three-year deal with the New York Jets, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed. Tue Mar 13, 05:58 PM [Link to story]
|Footballguys view: Crowell never hit 1,000 yards rushing in four years with the Browns although he's been close. That mark may be difficult to hit in the Big Apple even though Crowell should be the leading ball-carrier. Crowell will split time with Bilal Powell and Eli McGuire in a RBBC for the Jets.|
|Footballguys view: We all know Moncrief has talent, it's just a matter of him staying healthy and getting an opportunity to produce. Health is up to him, but opportunities may be limited in Jacksonville with a jam-packed WR corps including guys like Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook and Keelan Cole. Allen Hurns is also there, but the team may be parting ways with him in the near future. Even if they do that, fantasy potential for a WR on this run-heavy team are not as ideal as other spots.|