Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition. Will the Patriots involve Sony Michel more as a pass catcher? Why is FFI down on Odell Beckham? Which offenses will be most affected by new coordinators? And more.

Question 1

Any chance Sony Michel is used more as a receiver this year? I hear in camp he has been catching it well. My thought would be as a rookie he didn't have a good grasp of the complicated NE playbook. I could see him catching 30-40 balls and being a top-15 back.

David Kennedy (Steamburg, NY)

Michel catches it fine. I saw a couple of grabs at Georgia where he appeared he was a capable receiver. But I don’t think the Patriots will look to get him heavily involved in that capacity. They’re going to use multiple backs, and I think their philosophy is to have guys get good at their specific roles. I think we’ll see Michel and Damien Harris primarily running the ball, and James White and Rex Burkhead handling the bulk of the pass catching – those guys are both really effective coming out of the backfield. In the past 10 years, 10 running backs for the Patriots have run for over 600 yards in a season. Only one of those players has caught more than 14 passes.

2012Stevan Ridley1,26365112209.415
2016LeGarrette Blount1,16173818234.99
2010BenJarvus Green-Ellis1,008128513199.319
2018Sony Michel9317506141.134
2017Dion Lewis8963221410203.013
2013Stevan Ridley77310627135.535
2013LeGarrette Blount7722387125.039
2009Laurence Maroney75714999153.635
2015LeGarrette Blount7036437122.640
2011BenJarvus Green-Ellis667915911157.628

In the same 10 years, 11 running backs on this roster have caught 30-plus passes. Only two of those backs ran for more than 400 yards.

2018James White4258775112276.67
2016James White166605515161.726
2017James White171564293134.038
2014Shane Vereen391524475165.820
2013Shane Vereen208474274134.536
2012Danny Woodhead301404467156.724
2015James White56404106122.639
2009Kevin Faulk335373013118.642
2015Dion Lewis234363884122.243
2017Dion Lewis8963221410203.013
2017Rex Burkhead264302548129.839

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Question 2

Just wondering why you seem to be down on OBJ. I've seen several sites where he's 10 or so places higher.

Gary Vehar (Vienna, OH)

Odell Beckham is a great player. When he’s on, he’s as good as any wide receiver. But with the style of offense they run in Cleveland, I don’t think they’ll force the ball to him. I don’t think he’ll be heavily featured, where the offense is designed around jamming the ball to him regardless of double teams and matchups. I don’t see him being a DeAndre Hopkins or Davante Adams where he’s catching 40-plus percent of his team’s touchdown passes. Baker Mayfield is young, but he’s already shown an ability to spread things around. He threw 27 touchdowns last year, and nobody caught more than 4 of them. The previous year (at Oklahoma) he tossed 43 touchdowns, with nobody catching more than 8. So while I think Beckham will be a top-10 receiver, I don’t see him as even in the discussion with the top-5 guys right now.

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Question 3

Huge fan of Fantasy Index!! Thanks!! Every year there are good offenses that might have a coordinator leave or a head coaching change that adversely affects the offense. We saw that with Atlanta and it has taken a couple of years for their offense to start clicking again. Also, there are average offenses that may get a jumpstart by adding a great coordinator or offensive-minded head coach. Can you go over some of the coaching changes that will either positively affect or negatively affect an offense this year?

Frank Catalano (Houston, PA)

I’m not sure if Kliff Kingsbury will be a success or not, but with what he’s trying to do, Arizona should take a step forward. As poorly as that offense played last year, it really has nowhere to go but up. The Cardinals last year finished last in rushing, passing and scoring – first offense to do so since the 1977 Tampa Bay Bucs. The other offense that jumps to mind are the Vikings. Last year they used a pass-crazy approach. When John DeFilippo was their offensive coordinator, they were passing the heck out of it. They’ve got Kevin Stefanski in the OC role now, and it will be much more of a run-oriented system. With that in mind, I’m cooler than most on the Minnesota receivers – Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs – and I expect big numbers out of Dalvin Cook. Given the coordinator change, I would select Cook before running backs such as Todd Gurley and LeVeon Bell.

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Question 4

I'm looking at a new league where tight ends get 1.5 PPR, so they have higher than normal value. Your unique league settings don't allow for this, how much should I adjust how you rank the TEs?

Rich Hornstein (Huntington Beach, CA)

There’s actually a backdoor way to do this. It can be done on our system. Go to our home page and click on “Your Stuff” (the blue tab in the upper right corner of the screen. Select “Edit Your Scoring Profiles” (it’s one of the choices on the right). Click on “Create a new Scoring System”. There will be a box on the screen that reads “Blank Scoring System”. Click on that, and drag down to “FFPC (12 teams)”. That will copy the supply/demand/scoring parameters for the FFPC scoring format, which includes an extra half point for tight ends. It’s not listed as such (you don’t have the option to change that extra half point to an extra third point or an extra 2.5 points). But it’s there. If you click on the rankings, you’ll see the tight ends are getting an extra half points for their catches. That should get you started. You’ll need to go into the supply/demand area (in the auction settings) and make sure you have the correct number of players at each position being selected.

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Question 5

I don’t understand Saquon Barkley as the consensus No. 1 overall pick. The Giants are going to be terrible this year. I know Barkley played well last year on a bad team, but I’m not willing to bet the No. 1 overall pick that he can do it again. I can easily see a scenario in which the Giants bench him late in a lost season just to keep him from getting beat up even more. He won’t be on any of my teams.

Paul Owers (Lake Worth, FL)

I don’t think Barkley is as strong as a typical No. 1 overall player. I’ve been playing this game for 33 years; in most of those seasons, there’s been a more coveted prospect at the top of draft boards. But Barkley definitely belongs in that top tier of running backs – he’s definitely in there with Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. And I’m not worried about the potential that the Giants will take him off the field in December out of fear he might get hurt. Every year we see players rested in Week 17, and sometimes you’ll see a player pulled in Week 16. I can’t remember a top-5, franchise-type player being rested by a non-playoff team before Week 17.

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Question 6

Due to conflicts with other league mates schedules, I have a re-draft, standard ppr league drafting this Friday (8/9)...my earliest ever. I've noticed you don't have the rookie RB's highly rated at this point. If you had to take one other than Josh Jacobs in my format, who would you roll with?

Jeff Carter (Franklin, TN)

Both Miles Sanders and David Montgomery * COULD * be good. I will be interested to see those guys in the preseason. But I think those guys are being selected way earlier than they should be. They’ll both be in committee situations. The track record for running backs selected in the second and third rounds isn’t very good. It’s hard for guys to come in and kick butt in their first year.

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Question 7

When doing mock drafts I'm trying to see what makes the most sense on the skill players. Where do you see the RB and WR depth ? Seems like the WRs seem to drop off after the 3rd round. Especially, if you are in a position where you pick a TE early. What do you see as the ideal sequence of skill players?

Bill Petilli (Harrison, NY)

I’ve got Travis Kelce high on my board. I just took him in the second round in a draft. I like that value. But if you go that route, you’re playing catch-up for the first half-dozen rounds. That is, if you don’t take Kelce or Ertz, you know you’ll be able to get a decent tight end value in the middle rounds. If you use an early pick on a tight end, you have to scramble to get those RB and WR spots filled. At running back, I see James White and Tarik Cohen as the most undervalued players (PPR scoring) in the top 30. At wide receiver, the differences in opinion should allow you to get some that you like the fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. I see a half dozen in my top 40 who are a lot lower on other people’s draft boards. Going into drafts, I’m confident I’ll be able to get some of those guys a round or two after where I think they should be chosen.

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Question 8

I've been offered a trade in a keeper league. I get George Kittle as a 6th round keeper in return for JuJu Smith-Schuster as a 3rd round keeper. It seems fair, but which end of the deal would you rather have??

MICHAEL WELLS (Good Thunder, MN)

Looks like a fair deal to me. On my board (PPR) I have JuJu as a top-10 pick overall. I think he’ll go in the late first or early second round. With Kittle, I think he’ll go in the fourth round. Would you rather use your third-round pick on an early second-rounder or your sixth-round pick on a fourth-rounder? Looks pretty similar. If you’re going make me pick just one, I would select JuJu.

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Question 9

Just got the order for Aug 26 draft. I'm at #5. Since Kelce is at a premium and Elliott may hold out, would you pick James Conner or Andre Hopkins at 5 and hope Kelce is there at 20?

Jim Furry (Myrtle Beach, SC)

August 26 is a long way off. No doubt you’ll be looking at things through a different lenses at that time. I expect Elliott will be signed, and the four running backs will be the first four players off the board. At No. 5, I don’t see a running back worthy of being in the discussion. I think you’re looking at five wide receivers or Kelce. Kelce is a tight end – a knuckle-ball position. I don’t think he’ll go in the first round. I’m not sure that he’ll make it to pick No. 20, but he might. I’m in a PPR draft right now; I skipped Kelce at 1.08 and was able to get him at 2.05 (with Zach Ertz going at 2.06). Hopkins is probably your pick, but I don’t see him as dramatically better than Adams, Thomas, Smith-Schuster and Tyreek Hill.

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Question 10

Dynasty league heavy TD scoring. I have Gurley and drafted Miles Sanders; who to keep? I have DJ Moore and drafted Anthony Miller; who to keep? I have Brett Maher and drafted Tavecchio; who to keep?

HOWIE FISHMAN (Hermosa Beach, CA)

Put me down for Gurley, Moore and Tavecchio. Gurley has the issues with his knee, but with the way he’s put the ball in the end zone, I would hang onto him and hope he’s got another good season left. Sanders is younger, with more long-term potential, but it could be years (if ever) before he claws his way into a featured, full-time type role.

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Question 11

What are the 3 defenses who improved the most in the offseason? What 3 lost the most talent?

Jim Backstrom (Henderson, NV)

I’ve got Andy’s defensive projections in front of me. He’s got three defenses declining by 8 sacks – Washington, Pittsburgh, Kansas City. He’s got Oakland with the most improved pass rush (16 sacks better, but mostly because they were so awful last year – just 13 sacks). He’s got four other defenses improving by 4-8 sacks: New England, Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Carolina.

New England30388
LA Chargers38413
NY Giants30333
San Francisco37403
LA Rams41432
NY Jets3938-1
Tampa Bay3836-2
New Orleans4945-5
Green Bay4439-5
Kansas City5244-8

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Question 12

What RB do you seeing as having the biggest breakout in 2019?

Nick Purkat (Fairfax, VA)

I’ve got my top 20 running backs in front of me. I see three who haven’t been in the top 20 before (PPR scoring): Damien Williams, Kerryon Johnson, Aaron Jones. And I think Dalvin Cook will have his first big year.

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Question 13

I'm in a 8-man league. 6 points for a touchdown of 1-9 yards 9 points 10-39 yards and 12 points for 40-99 yards. Those points double for running backs catching or throwing a touchdown or quarterbacks catching or running a touchdown. Do you know of any cheat sheet out there that's going to help me or am I on my own?

John Kelly ()

Our custom-rankings feature can handle those scoring parameters. It’s just a matter of you taking the 5-10 minutes to handle the setup. You just need to go the home page, click on “Your Stuff”, then click on “Edit Your Scoring Profiles”, then “Create a new Scoring System.” Once in there, you need to answer some questions, setting up the appropriate distances and scoring bonuses. You do have the one dimension that would be slightly problematic. In your league, a touchdown run is worth twice as much if its scored by a position other than running back. And a touchdown catch is worth twice as much if caught by a quarterback or running back. So you would need to create three different scoring profiles – one for QB, one for RB, and one for WR/TE. Each would create the appropriate player lists for each position, but there wouldn’t be an “overall” list with recommendations for ordering in the top 30. Inside our player database, each RB, WR and TE comes with one of 5 different scoring styles. If a player is a “1”, he’s a guy whose touchdowns should tend to be short ones around the goal line. A “2” is a slot receiver or tight end with average or below-average speed (not a deep threat). A “3” is an average wide receiver or a more mobile tight end. A “4” is a wide receiver with the speed to score long-range touchdowns but a player who also will score short touchdowns – will get some looks inside the red zone. A “5” is a deep threat type who doesn’t tend to be used much in the red zone – think DeSean Jackson. For each player type, there’s a matrix with a probability spread of touchdowns. The custom-rankings feature would be most useful with running backs (since guys like James White, Tarik Cohen and Alvin Kamara will catch touchdowns, and those scores will be worth twice as much as touchdown runs).

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Question 14

I'm in a TD-only league. In the August 5 update, Tyreek Hill is at #10 on the overall rankings two behind Hopkins. In the WR rankings, Hill is #1. If you are trying to confuse me you're doing a great job. Question though, should Hill be in the top 5 overall?


Tyreek Hill is the No. 1 wide receiver in the TD-only format – slightly ahead of DeAndre Hopkins. Hill should appear ahead of Hopkins in both the receiver rankings and in the overall. I hadn’t noticed this, and you could of course fairly wonder why Hill was lower than Hopkins in the Monday product. For each player, there’s a project point total, and there’s also an adjuster number to account for the position he plays – his baseline number. With said numbers, the top 20 overall players would all be quarterbacks. When I am looking at numbers each week, I will sometimes change those baseline adjuster numbers (based on the expected production of players lower down at the position). With Hill, if you go back a few weeks, he wasn’t among my top 50 wide receivers. Typically on this exercise, I’m looking at the top 20-40 players at each position. When Hill got elevated a few weeks back, I didn’t notice that he was carrying a slightly outdated baseline number (28 instead of 26), lowing his overall projected value by 2 points. That didn’t happen with his overall score in the PPR and Standard projections. Apologies.

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Question 15

I have the chance to trade the 8th pick in the rookie draft for 2 different players (PPR league; able to keep players for up to 4 years). The first would trade the pick for Goff and the other would be for Dede Westbrook. What is your opinion on either trade or do you think I would be better served keeping the pick? If kept, how do you see the top 10-12 picks breaking down?

dan renzi (Moorestown, NJ)

I would make the trade for either one of those guys. With Goff, you would be locking in on a guy who’ll be a top-10 quarterback for most of the next four years. More risk with Dede Westbrook, but you might be getting him right at the start of a good four-year run. I would rather have Goff or Westbrook than whatever you can realistically expect to get with the 8th pick. The top 5 rookies at the RB-WR positions, I think, are Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery, Miles Sanders, Parris Campbell and DK Metcalf. I don’t think you would get any of those five. Maybe you get lucky and get Campbell, but I don’t think so. With the 8th pick, you more likely would be choosing between one of the two first-round tight ends, Kyler Murray (Goff is a much safer choice), or some other prospect RB-WR.

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Question 16

At this time of year we're always bombarded with 'breakout player' lists from everywhere. I was wondering if you could put together a list of Stone Cold Locks that you absolutely positively think WILL actually breakout in 2019, and NOT become the next fizzle-out Marc Boerigter. Some of the popular players as breakouts are DJ Moore, Tyler Boyd, Tevin Coleman, Ito Smith, Damien Williams, Tyler Lockett, Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Calvin Ridley, Keke Coutee, Derrius Guice, Dalvin Cook, O.J. Howard, Hunter Henry, Dede Westbrook, Sterling Shepard, , Pittsburgh's #2 WR, Christian Kirk, Chris Godwin, Dante Pettis, Marlon Mack.

Rob Dammers (Wellington, FL)

There are a lot of names there, and I can’t discuss them all. Ito Smith played in the Hall of Fame game, so he can be discussed. I’m not a big fan. He’s getting tossed around as one of the best handcuff running backs, and I don’t see it. To me, he looks like an ordinary No. 2 back – a smaller guy with a little wiggle and elusiveness. If Devonta Freeman misses a big chunk of action this year, I don’t think Smith will then start putting up top-15 numbers week in and week out. His role might not change all that much. In these even of a Freeman injury, I would expect the Falcons would stick with their tag-team approach, with Smith’s role perhaps not changing all that much. Brian Hill had a 100-yard game last year, and he played pretty well in Canton.

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