Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. Which teams will put up the best passing and rushing numbers? Famous Jameis or Lamest Jameis? Does Travis Kelce's ankle merit a downgrade? Is Michael Thomas headed for a downward turn?

Question 1

I'm wondering which 5 teams will have the overall best offense this season? Which 5 teams will have the best passing game and which 5 teams will have the best running game?

John Wozniak (Lackawanna, NY)

Using standard scoring (6 for TDs, 1 for every 10 yards) I have six teams finishing with over 300 points of rushing production this year: Ravens, Seahawks, Saints, Patriots, Rams and Bills.

New Orleans1,93620.2314.6
New England2,00018.6311.4
LA Rams1,98417.8305.0
NY Giants1,88815.5281.9
Green Bay1,82413.0260.2
Kansas City1,76013.6257.6
LA Chargers1,71212.8248.0
San Francisco1,77610.4240.0
NY Jets1,68010.4230.4
Tampa Bay1,5208.6203.8

Top 5 passing teams (6 points for TDs, 1 for every 10 yards): Falcons, Colts, Kansas City, Rams and Saints.

Kansas City4,56036.8676.8
LA Rams4,56032.8652.8
New Orleans4,40033.3639.7
Green Bay4,38430.9623.7
LA Chargers4,40030.2621.4
Tampa Bay4,48028.8620.8
New England4,35227.8602.2
San Francisco4,35225.1585.9
NY Jets3,84022.4518.4
NY Giants3,71220.0491.2

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Question 2

Jameis Winston QB 16 last year QB 3 at this time. I saw the concerns of the turnovers and losing his job. However Fitzpatrick is gone and Arians is in with the same weapons. The upside still seems to be there with Winston or is it time to throw in the towel with Jameis? Kid is only 25.

Chris Winder (San Ramon, CA)

I like the weapons, and I like the ability of Bruce Arians to push the right buttons. It may all blow up on the launch pad, of course, with Winston’s troubling tendency to make too many mistakes. But to me, it makes a lot of sense to select Winston as your second quarterback. If he hits, he might put up top-5 numbers. If he flops, you could be able to cut him loose in October and still find some other serviceable quarterback to replace him as your No. 2.

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Question 3

Any reports on Kelce's ankle surgery. What are your estimates of extra targets if Hill misses 8-16 games? I have been thinking about him as a first round pick.

Bob McKinlay (Casselberry, FL)

I haven’t paid much attention to Kelce’s ankle. He was fine at the end of last season. He underwent what was called a cleanup surgery and said in March and April that he was coming along fine. I don’t see any reason to be concerned about his effectiveness or availability. I don’t, however, know that it’s possible for Kansas City to ask much more of him. He finished last year with 1,336 yards – 2nd-most ever for a tight end. He saw 150 targets last year. In NFL history, only two tight ends ever have had more passes thrown their way in a season (Zach Ertz and Tony Gonzalez).

2018Zach Ertz, Phil.1561161,16310.08
2008Tony Gonzalez, K.C.155961,05811.010
2007Tony Gonzalez, K.C.153991,17211.85
2018Travis Kelce, K.C.1501031,33613.010
2000Tony Gonzalez, K.C.150931,20312.99
2011Jimmy Graham, N.O.149991,31013.211
2004Tony Gonzalez, K.C.1481021,25812.37
2007Kellen Winslow, Clev.148821,10613.55
1994Ben Coates, N.E.148961,17412.27
2012Jason Witten, Dall.1471101,0399.53
2013Jimmy Graham, N.O.142861,21514.116
2007Jason Witten, Dall.141961,14511.97
1994Shannon Sharpe, Den.140871,01011.64
2005Antonio Gates, S.D.140891,10112.410
1995Ben Coates, N.E.1378491510.96
2018George Kittle, S.F.136881,37715.75
2012Jimmy Graham, N.O.1358598211.69
2009Tony Gonzalez, Atl.1348386710.56
2015Delanie Walker, Ten.133941,08811.66
2009Dallas Clark, Ind.1331001,10611.110
2016Kyle Rudolph, Min.1328384010.17
2014Rob Gronkowski, N.E.131821,12413.712

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Question 4

Does the 2019 Index offensive line ratings have a misprint? Your top rating is All Pro Candidate. David Bakhtiari isn’t just a candidate. He’s been an All Pro for three straight years, and was first-team All Pro last season. If you’re not aware, the writers only name one first team All Pro left tackle each year. He was it. The Index rates him as average? C’mon. I hope a correction is coming.

Joshua Johnson ()

Fair points. When comparing the 32 starters at each position, we put five different grades on those guys. We identify 2-3 at each position who are the best of the best. I don’t think Bakhtiari is in that group. As you point out, Bakhtiari last year was voted by writers as the top left tackle in the league. But note that at the same time, he wasn’t one of the six left tackles named to play in the Pro Bowl. By that measure, he comes in behind Tyron Smith, Terron Armstead, Trent Williams, Taylor Lewan, Alejandro Villanueva and Eric Fisher. Bakhtiari has been starting for six years, in fact, and has been named to the Pro Bowl only once. He plays for a team that’s allowed 53 and 51 sacks the last two years, and one that typically hasn’t run the ball all that well. In my opinion, he seems to be more of a top-10 tackle rather than a franchise guy. I believe he should be in the second group, along with guys like Williams, Villanueva, Armstead, Fisher, Jake Matthews, Joe Staley, Andrew Whitworth, Russell Okung and Donovan Smith. I would agree with you that it seems overly harsh to have him all the way down in the third group, though the same can be said of a few other guys – certainly Duane Brown and Jason Peters. Laremy Tunsil, Ronnie Stanley, and Charles Lee could be ready to move up. Greg Robinson played great for Cleveland in the second half of last year. Maybe the Giants get Nate Solder dialed in. If you limit yourself to calling not more than 10 tackles “above-average” then there’s definitely going to be some worthy players in that average group.

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Question 5

Dynasty trade offered to me: I send Guice for: 2020 1st, 2020 2nd, 2021 2nd, and 2021 3rd. Picks will most likely be low (rookie draft). PPR league. Small 10-team league. In this league you need unicorns to win. Is Guice a unicorn?

PAUL CHAWLA (Brookfield, WI)

I would take the draft picks. I don’t expect Guice to be much of a factor as a pass catcher, especially early in his career. With this being a PPR league, that really makes it an uphill battle for him. If you move Guice, there’s some chance you’ll find somebody on the waiver wire who’ll outperform him in this scoring system. Jalen Richard and Nyheim Hines, for example, might have been free agents in your league entering last year, and they both caught over 60 passes. Some chance you wind up kicking yourself, of course. Washington’s offensive line will be a lot better this year. (As poorly as Ereck Flowers played for the Giants, I like the idea of trying him as a pile-pushing guard – maybe he can be another D.J. Fluker.) But I think the odds of landing a unicorn are higher with those four draft picks.

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Question 6

Keeper league standard scoring. TD=6pts. Todd Gurley or JuJu Smith-Schuster?


They look pretty similar to me. Gurley is slightly higher on my overall board, but I wouldn’t be excited about taking on the risk of some kind of knee issue or reduced workload load. With it being a keeper league, you may want to give a little bit of weight to what you’d like to do a year from now. I’m pretty sure that in July of 2020, Smith-Schuster will be the far more valuable of the two. You may want to keep him to improve your position heading into next year.

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Question 7

I'm in a 12-team auction keeper league ($200 limit) where the top RBs go for upwards of $70 and the top 10 WRs go for over $40. I'm deciding between keeping Christian McCaffrey for $57 or Amari Cooper for $24. Any advice would be helpful.

Nick Marrongelle (Orwigsburg, PA)

I think those prices look about right. That is, I think that’s about what they’re worth. I’m not sure of the exact setup. (You would need to use the custom rankings tool to make sure everything is just right in terms of number of players and scoring specs.) But I checked the boiler plate version of PPR rankings, and it tells me that McCaffrey is “worth” $58 and Cooper is “worth” $26. So to keep either of those guys, you’re not crushing it. Nor are you walking into a big mistake. You would be holding serve, paying about what the guys are worth. Whether you keep one of them could be dictated by what the other owners are doing. If a bunch of other players are being protected with inflated salaries, then I would concluded that McCaffrey and Cooper aren’t actually worth those price tags – they would go for less on the open market. But if others have protected players who are great deals (perhaps a bunch of players are signed for $10-30 less than what they’re worth) then you could fairly assume that McCaffrey and Cooper are worth even more than those price tags.

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Question 8

When does the 2019 Fantasy Index Open start so we can rank our top players for each position?

Bruce Sadler (Lakeland, FL)

We’re just putting up the entry list now. It should be available before the end of the day. I’ll post an announcement on the front page of the website. Selections will be due before the start of the first full week of the preseason. I think that’s August 8, so about a month away.

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Question 9

What's your pulse on the Tyreek Hill saga right now? I listened to the condemning video and don't see how he plays this year or maybe ever again. But for some reason there is optimism of just a 4-game suspension. All evidence points to him breaking his kid’s arm.

David Kennedy (Steamburg, NY)

I don’t have any special insights on this. I don’t have access to all of the information, (most notably, what the league considers to be true). But the charges are serious and reports indicate the child was removed from the couple’s home. Hill pleaded guilty to separate domestic abuse charges back in 2014, leading him to being kicked off the Oklahoma State team. The NFL never punished Hill for that incident (it occurred before he was drafted) but now that they’re looking at him, that incident can be factored in. While there have been a few stories published poking around at the possibility of a lighter sentence, I will be surprised if he doesn’t get at least eight games, with mandatory counseling. And I’m not suggesting eight games is the most likely outcome. I think there’s a decent chance that he doesn’t play at all in 2019. Roger Goodell didn’t punish Ray Rice severely enough and got skewered for it.

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Question 10

I grabbed Michael Thomas three years ago as a relatively unknown, in a basic scoring league, and was very satisfied that he tallied over 1,100 yds. and 9 TDs as a rookie. After two more strong seasons (plus Brees nearing retirement) I'm unsure if he's still a worthy keeper as his value is probably due for a big drop. Do you see much chance that Thomas can improve on last year's numbers (especially in terms of TDs)? What do you think the Saints will do to retain him for 2020 once his rookie contract has expired?

Drew Paterson (Ferndale, WA)

Thomas is entering the final year of his contract. He’s scheduled to make only $1.1 million (making him maybe the league’s most underpaid player). The Saints are trying to sign him to an extension, and that should happen. Thomas has been toiling away for three years making modest money. It will be hard for him to say no to $15-plus million per year right now in hopes of getting a few more million is he’s willing to wait until next spring. That would involve taking on the risk of an injury and wondering whether the team might be able to lessen his bargaining position with a franchise tag. The two sides have been talking. I saw a blurb go by suggesting Thomas was trying to become the league’s highest-paid wide receiver. I don’t think that will happen. He would only see that kind of coin if he were unrestricted, with other teams bidding for his services. I don’t see the Saints giving him that kind of deal, given the way the negotiations are stacked in their favor. They can fairly argue that while Thomas has put up big numbers, some of that success can be attributed to Drew Brees and Sean Payton. I’m not sure that Thomas is one of the five best wide receivers in the league. He’s got below-average speed. But I digress. I would think he should put up similar kind of numbers for the next few years, and I would think you should keep him around. I don’t think he’ll ever become a super-elite scorer, because that’s not the way that offense tends to run. They spread things around in the red zone, and Thomas isn’t fast enough to hit on touchdowns from 30-plus yards. He’s not running many downfield routes. Over the last two years, he’s caught 14 of his team’s 56 touchdown passes. That’s 25 percent. If the Saints throw 32 touchdown passes this year, he should catch about 8 of them. That’s what he is. Over the last three years, 68 wide receivers have caught at least 100 passes. Seventeen of those players have caught a higher percentage of their team’s touchdown passes.

PlayerInd TDTm TDPct
DeAndre Hopkins286940.6%
Davante Adams359038.9%
Antonio Brown369737.1%
Dez Bryant144729.8%
Robby Anderson155328.3%
Larry Fitzgerald186428.1%
Odell Beckham196927.5%
Mike Evans259127.5%
Jordy Nelson238427.4%
Kenny Stills217727.3%
Michael Crabtree197027.1%
Stefon Diggs207526.7%
Tyreek Hill259526.3%
A.J. Green187025.7%
Adam Thielen187524.0%
Marvin Jones187524.0%
Devin Funchess167122.5%
Michael Thomas2310322.3%
JuJu Smith-Schuster146421.9%
Doug Baldwin209221.7%
Brandin Cooks209321.5%
Jarvis Landry178021.3%
Amari Cooper199320.4%
Sterling Shepard146920.3%
Mike Wallace84020.0%
Donte Moncrief126020.0%

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Question 11

I have a math question for you. I am in an auction league, $200 budget, where you can keep a maximum of 3 players at the prior year’s auction price. What are your thoughts on the best way to approach salary inflation for the remaining available player pool? Is it as simple as multiplying an “inflation factor” to the remaining available players 2019 auction value? My proposed inflation factor includes a function of the aggregate kept players keeper salaries and subtracting that number from their aggregate corresponding 2019 auction values. Curious to see what you come up with.

William D'allesandro (East Northport, NY)

I would start by assuming we were starting from scratch, with all players available. Figure out what the players are worth; then you can look at the existing contracts and identify which players to keep – which players provide the most value beyond what they’ll be paid. Those 36 keepers get removed from the pool, and so do their salaries. Then you have to restart the process and figure out what the remaining players are worth in your new world. Instead of spending $2,400 on 240 players (I’m assuming 20 per team), you’ll be spending something like $1,500 ($2,400 minus the keeper contracts) on 204 (240 minus the 36 keepers).

Of the 204, you need to parse out all of the players you think should go for the $1.00 minimum bid – most of the kickers and defenses, and the bottom 30-40 percent of the players at each of the other positions. Those $1 players get set aside, and we’re now looking at setting prices on perhaps 120 players that you feel should go for more than $1. For each, look at how much more productive you think they will be than the best player at their position that you think will go for $1.00. That is, perhaps you believe Gus Edwards will go for $1.00. You’ve got him projected to score 155 points. If you think LeSean McCoy will generate 165 points, then his relative production is 10 points. Follow that process for all 120 players, using a spreadsheet. Then add all of those relative values together. That’s the total amount of production you’re competing for. The total number of dollars that will be spent trying to capture those stats is $2,400 minus the keeper contracts minus the number of players who’ll be chosen (since each player must go for at least $1.00).

Those two numbers give us the fair price per point of production, and you can calculate the exact fair price for every player. For each of these 120 key players, his value is $1 (the starting bid) plus his bang-for-buck stat number multiplied by the value you created. If you’ve done the math correctly, the total of all players (including the keepers) will be exactly $2,400. For non-keeper leagues, we’ve got this system wired into the website; it can be accessed in the custom rankings area of the site. If you’re a regular, log in and click on “Your Stuff” (then use ‘edit scoring profiles’ to create dollar rankings for new scoring systems). If you bought the magazine on the website but haven’t yet purchased anything from us directly, click on the RESOURCES tab and pull down to ‘free-with-magazine content’ (you then use a password from the magazine to access the custom rankings feature).

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