Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. Why Todd Gurley grades out higher than Ezekiel Elliott for this weekend. Are you ready for AAF fantasy football? A sample draft board for Week 19.
You were a huge help last week in setting my draft board for my 4-team, No-PPR fantasy draft. I had the second pick and, on your advice, threw all five of my potential keepers back into the draft to select Zeke Elliott. That one pick was a big reason why I finished first overall. So thank you very much. I’ve got it much tougher this week in the second round. Another 4-team draft -top two advance to the finals – but this time I have the last pick in every round. Not planning to keep anyone. When I read your analysis for this weekend’s games, it sure sounded as if you were cool on Todd Gurley, noting that he’s rusty, the Dallas D is a tough matchup and that CJ Anderson could steal some touches. So I was surprised to see you ranked Gurley ahead of Zeke, making him the top player on the custom draft board you showed me how to create last week. Gurley seems awfully risky as a first-round pick for the reasons you pointed out. Plus I think the Cowboys have a real chance to win. Can you shed a little more light on why you think Gurley should be ranked over Zeke this week?
Paul Owers (Lake Worth, FL)
Andy wrote up the capsules on the Rams and Cowboys (I did the other six teams). He is of the opinion that Elliott is miles better than Gurley, and that he’s not even sure he would select Gurley ahead of Alvin Kamara. So for those teams, you’re seeing Andy’s written words. But the actual stat projections are mine, and I think it’s a much more difficult call. I am willing to concede that Elliott should run for more yards. As Andy points out, Los Angeles allowed 5.1 yards per carry in the regular season. I remember Seattle going into that stadium and running for 273 yards. Elliott is getting plenty of carries. But he hasn’t been a prolific touchdown guy. The Cowboys have scored 15 rushing touchdowns, and Elliott has scored fewer than half of them – Dak Prescott has run for as many touchdowns as Elliott. Gurley sat out the final two weeks of the regular season and still finished the season with 12 more touchdowns. Sean McVay said something about being impressed by C.J. Anderson, but if Gurley’s knee is right physically (and I think it is), I expect he’ll be out there for 80 percent of the work at a minimum. While I think it’s an intriguing matchup, I still consider the Rams to the be the favorite to win it. On my board, I settled on both backs finishing with about 40 rushing yards. I think Elliott will run for about 20 more yards. But with Gurley having more potential to put the ball in the end zone, he winds up slightly higher on my overall board.
Are you going to cover the AAF?
David Woodworth (Atlanta, GA)
The Alliance of American Football starts play on February 9. A year later, there will be another similar spring league – version 2.0 of the XFL. Both leagues will have eight teams. These ventures make sense. There’s a huge appetite for football in this country, so reasonable to have some lesser-level games in the spring. Some fans will go out to watch. You put football games on television, and you’ll get some eyeballs. There are dollars to be captured. And there are plenty of good players out there who aren’t quite good enough to consistently stick on 53-man NFL rosters. Every August I see some impressive plays from guys who end up getting cut. But I’m not planning on investing much time in these leagues. At this point, I’m already working on the 2019 version of the magazine. We have a ton of different charts and tables that need to be prepared and analyzed, and it’s better for me at this point to focus on preparations for the 2019 NFL season, rather than trying to study the Birmingham Iron or Orlando Apollos.
Does the Fantasy Index Open count the playoffs or just the regular season stats?
Bruce Sadler (Lakeland, FL)
Just the regular season, and thanks for the nudge. We are working on scoring that competition. I am hopeful that we’ll crown a champion next week.
I’m drafting in an eight-team standard league that goes through the playoffs. It’s a continuation of the regular season and we get to freeze any player from our regular season roster). We pick 3rd round every round, and any player we freeze counts as our pick for 1 round, second round, etc. until we have no other freezes. I have the Fantasy Index postseason rankings, but would love your thoughts specifically on my team and strategy for this weekend! We plan to keep Kamara, Hill and Cooks for sure. We’re wondering whether we should also freeze Ware, Gronkowski or Watkins as well.
Josh Blain (Bardstown, KY)
Kamara and Hill are the 3rd and the 7th players on the board, so you keep them. Questions start at the 19th spot (your third keeper spot). Do you have a player who’s better than what you would draft there? I don’t think Cooks is quite good enough. He hasn’t been a reliable touchdown scorer, and there’s some chance the Rams come up short against Dallas. I’ve got Cooks as the 26th-best player on my board. I might instead opt for Spencer Ware, depending on his health. If we think Ware is close to full health, he could split time with Damien Williams. I’ve got Ware as the No. 13 player on my board, but that’s assuming he’s healthy and there using him a fair bit. If I were drafting right now, with the unknowns, I would probably just protect two players. Then you would have the ability to create value by selecting a kicker and quarterback in the third and fourth rounds. If you were to select Wil Lutz in the third round, for example, you’re probably getting about 15 more points than what you would get if you waited until the 7th round to select your kicker. And you might be able to get a very good quarterback in the 3rd or 4th round. On chart below, I’ve ranked the players 1 thru 64. This is eight teams each drafting eight players. I’m assuming each is drafting one QB, PK and D, so the No. 8 player at each of those spots is by definition worth nothing. Similarly, RBs 15 & 16 can be had for nothing, and so can WRs 22-24.
|JOSH BLAIN DRAFT BOARD|
|3||RB||NO||• Alvin Kamara||2.65||45.1||38.8|
|7||WR||KC||• Tyreek Hill||2.50||32.4||23.9|
|13||RB||KC||• Spencer Ware||2.50||20.4||14.1|
|26||WR||LAR||• Brandin Cooks||1.70||15.1||6.6|
|30||WR||KC||• Sammy Watkins||2.50||14.2||5.7|
|37||TE||NE||• Rob Gronkowski||1.80||11.3||2.8|