Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: Can Josh Allen K-gun his way to elite numbers? How Kansas City will survive without Tyreek Hill. Making sense of the changing Patriots. Is Ronald Jones ready to break out? And will "superflex" rules take over fantasy leagues.
I will forgive Andy for discounting McCoy but why did you guys miss out on Buffalo running the no huddle K-gun offense? I mentioned Jim Kelly was consulted by the Bill's brass in prior comments on this site. But no mention of anything in your updates? I trust you guys but was let down. Now McCoy looks like the best KC RB and Allen is running the Jim Kelly K-gun. Your passing predictions for Allen look way off.
David Kennedy (Steamburg, NY)
I re-watched most of the Bills-Jets game this morning. I was surprised how good Buffalo looked. I got a different impression than what I had on Sunday, when there were 12 other games being played and I was seeing highlights. The Bills got shut out for three quarters on Sunday, with Allen throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown and losing 2 fumbles. He had another interception where he was save by a penalty away from the play. That’s the Josh Allen I expected. There will be a few of the knucklehead plays mixed in. He’s Nuke LaLoosh – the one guy in the league who might be able to throw it farther and harder than Patrick Mahomes, but a guy who doesn’t really know how to play quarterback. He completed 56 percent his last two years at Wyoming. But one game in, it’s clear Allen is a lot better than he was as a rookie, and they’re running a completely different kind of offense. On most plays, they’re lining him up in the shotgun, and he’s passing on the vast majority of plays. He’s taking some short completions, and he’s hitting on a lot of plays 10-20 yards downfield. They’re working mostly out of three wides, and Beasley and Brown are getting open. With some ill-timed mistakes, they didn’t score until the fourth quarter against the Jets, but I thought they were carrying the fight all along. I realize that the Jets lost C.J. Mosley for the fourth quarter, and that was key, but the Bills might have pulled this one out anyway. They put get together two nice drives in the fourth quarter when they needed them. Allen seems to be for real to me. I think he’s better than guys like Darnold, Mitchell Trubisky, Mariota and Jameis Winston. He’s more than just a lesser quarterback with good mobility to maybe make him a fantasy factor.
Your thoughts about the current Kansas City Chiefs wide out depth chart with Tyreek Hill being sidelined and the addition of DeAnthony Thomas?
Jim Polli (Quakertown, PA)
DeAnthony Thomas is a special teams player and a fourth or fifth receiver. I don’t think there’s any chance of him getting worked into the offense where you could ever count on him catching more than one pass in a game. Sammy Watkins is the clear No. 1, in my eyes. With Andy Reid, I think there’s some ability to draw up plays where they get the ball in the hands of their top guy. Jeremy Maclin was never a special receiver, but he caught 87 passes one year for Kansas City. They schemed him open. To me, it looks like Watkins is the guy who’s now in that role. Even before Hill got hurt (after 12 plays) it seemed like they were going Watkins’ way. That wasn’t the case last year, when Watkins was more of a decoy. Maybe things changed when Hill was away from the team for the entire offseason, with them not knowing if he was even going to play. So when Hill comes back, I would expect Watkins to catch more passes than Hill in the remaining games. With Hill, you’ve got the special ability to score every time he touches the ball. Demarcus Robinson is the third receiver in this offense. I don’t think they’ll use him a ton. He had some opportunities to play in this role last year (when Watkins was hurt) and it didn’t amount to much. He was on the field for over half of their plays for six games, and he caught 14 passes for 223 yards and 3 TDs in those games. He had more than 42 yards in only one of those games (when he caught an 89-yard touchdown against the Raiders). Robinson saw only 2 targets at Jacksonville, and they resulted in only 1 catch for no yards. Hill should miss 4-6 games, and I would expect Mecole Hardman will move into that role. He may score on a kick return or an end-around; he might be pretty similar to Hill in that regard. And maybe he gets behind everyone for a long touchdown at some point. But more commonly, he’ll probably be more of a lightly used decoy, similar to Robinson (and similar to how they used Chris Conley last year). Hardman saw only one pass last week, and it was incomplete.
Long, long time subscriber from pretty much the beginning. Your advice is always well reasoned and helpful. PPR league. I got James White as my second RB, as I suspect a lot of your subscribers did as well. How do you think the Antonio Brown acquisition by the Pats will impact White’s numbers? My son thinks they will improve as Brown will open up the field more, limit focus on White and create more scoring opportunities for White. Sounds nice, but what are your thoughts?
James Morton (New Orleans, LA)
White caught 87 passes last year. I think that was influenced and helped along by the team being lean at wide receiver. Chris Hogan was never a guy you would want to draw up a lot of plays for. Edelman missed four games. Josh Gordon was there for half of the year. They have more options this year (if they can keep their guys on the field) with Edelman, Brown, Gordon and Dorsett. Though if we include tight ends, they lost Gronk and don’t have anyone else at that spot who’s a threat to fill that kind of a role. I expect White will not be featured on as many plays this year, turning him into more of a 65-catch running back. There will be some games where the catches 6-7 balls, but there will also be some where he’s hardly a factor. He doesn’t run much. But White is definitely a piece of that offense. Three years in a row, he’s caught at least 55 passes. The Patriots have gotten only five other such seasons in the last three years.
|PATRIOTS WITH 20 RECEPTIONS (last 3 yrs)|
Do you think the Superflex position will become the fantasy community mainstream norm in the not too distant future? Standard scoring use to be the norm for so many years and in recent years, almost all default scoring systems are now PPR. Even you guys finally made the switch to PPR scoring as the default in your most recent publication. Late-round QB strategy is not just an outlier draft strategy anymore. It seems everyone is doing it and they're being rewarded especially with the NFL switching to a pass heavy system and the QB position being close to 25 deep. I just completed my home league auction and the QBs are going dirt cheap. It just doesn't seem right. I'm having a hard time remembering when the last time the Index put a QB on the front cover. So it seems like the solution is to implement a Superflex position to effect the supply/demand curve. In my home league, we recently voted to switch to PPR scoring but the Superflex position got voted down. I believe that's because PPR has become mainstream so it was easy for them to accept but the Superflex is still a fringe idea. Hence why I ask from a gut level if you feel Superflex will follow the same path PPR did.
Cody Hager (Portland, OR)
It’s possible. I’m of the school of thought that fantasy rules need to be changed to make quarterbacks more valuable. Right now, with old school formats, it’s too appealing to grab 2-3 quarterbacks late, maybe make a few waiver moves, and cobble together adequate production. It’s the most important position, so it seems to make more sense to design the game so that about half of the players chosen in the first three rounds are quarterbacks. One way to do this is by requiring teams to start two quarterbacks. I hadn’t thought much about Superflex until reading this letter, but it seems to be another way to get to the same spot. The Superflex is the same as starting two quarterbacks, but gives fantasy owners the option of instead subbing in another position into that spot.
Peyton Barber? He's been dropped in a couple 12 team leagues with 2 flexes. He's ranked 66th with your projections and how my league is setup. Worth an add?
Chris Muschon (Dewitt, MI)
Ronald Jones seems to be taking over that backfield. Barber started the opener and played fine, carrying 8 times for 33 yards, but Jones looked a lot better. In the second half of that game, Jones carried 9 times for 68 yards, looking like the back the Bucs hoped they were getting when they picked him early in the second round a year ago. Barber carried only twice in the second half, for 10 yards. Bruce Arians says Barber is still the starter, but I don’t expect that will last long. If I were drafting today, no question I would select Jones before Barber. Working against both backs is the reality that Tampa Bay is a last-place team, and Arians historically tends to go pass crazy, forgetting about his running game. On the plus side, the old coach also has some history of being willing to lock in on one back as his primary runner, giving him a big workload. Most famously, Andre Ellington (a modestly sized third-down back) averaged 21 touches per game for Arizona in 2014 before predictably breaking down after 12 games. In this case, neither of the backs are good receivers, so I think they’ll continue to use Andy Richardson favorite Dare Ogunbowale in obvious passing situations.
The better season going forward: Dante Pettis, Kenny Stills or Anthony Miller? Need one, thanks.
Kevin Johnson (Rio Rancho, NM)
I would go with Stills. If Will Fuller or Keke Coutee gets hurt, then your cooking with Crisco, and both of those receivers have had a lot of problems staying healthy. With Miller, you’re handcuffing yourself to an erratic quarterback and a lesser situation. The Bears will finish with below-average passing numbers, and they’ll work in a lot of guys. Allen Robinson is their featured receiver, and then it’s a cast of thousands behind him – Burton, Gabriel and Patterson will be right there with Miller in a lot of weeks. The running backs (Cohen, Davis, Montgomery) caught 15 of their 26 completions last week. I haven’t seen any sign of Pettis winning that featured receiving role in San Francisco, and I’m not sure that whatever receiver winds up with that job (Deebo Samuel, perhaps) will put up good numbers. They seem to be running everything pretty strongly through George Kittle.
I drafted Jaguars D/ST. With QB Foles out, is that a plus or a minus for keeping them? I also now have the Seattle D/ST, who I can play, waiting for the situation to play out. But with very limited league bench room, I feel the need to give up my second D/ST for a valuable flex player.
Donald Martin (Seattle, WA)
It’s a negative. Foles is better than Minshew. You want Foles under center, helping the Jaguars to more often get leads, creating more pass-rush opportunities. But I wouldn’t give up on them just yet. I would definitely prefer Jacksonville this week. Seattle is at Pittsburgh, where Roethlisberger doesn’t tend to take sacks. Jacksonville is playing Houston, where Deshaun Watson is operating behind a lesser line and tends to hold the ball. Watson took 6 sacks on Monday night, and a league-high 62 last year.
Which WR has better value for this year and for keeper value: John Brown, Hardman, or Metcalf?
DAVID KEETON (Arlington, TN)
Hardman is definitely 3rd, I think. The other two both looked strong on opening day. There was a rapport between Brown and Josh Allen in Buffalo. Metcalf looks very comfortable in Seattle.
A little confused about lack of excitement for Danny Amendola. Haven't seen him on waiver lists on websites. He got almost a third of Stafford's targets, went over a hundred yards (albeit aided by overtime), and scored a touchdown. You guys have him at 66th for receivers in the redrafter. I know he isn't Golden Tate, but isn't that his role this year?
Christopher Kepler (Makawao, HI)
It’s a four-man receiving group: Golladay, Jones, Amendola and Hockenson. It’s a last-place team (I don’t think the Lions can hang with Green Bay, Minnesota or Chicago). So he has to be viewed with that lens, I think. He’s going to catch some underneath balls, but there aren’t going to be many weeks where you can roll him out there with any realistic hope of harvesting good production. They were playing against one of the league’s worst pass defenses last week (with both cornerbacks sidelined). He got free against a busted coverage for a 47-yard touchdown, but take that one unlikely play away and he caught 6 for 51, which I think it a more typical Amendola game. Golladay and Jones have more downfield ability. I think we have him slotted about right. Keep in mind, however, that our Amendola projection includes an injury risk downgrade. He’s played 16 games only once in the last eight years, so I don’t think he’s as likely to play a full season. With most receivers, I project them to play all 16. With him, I shaved off a game, dropping him a few spots in the ranking. One out of 16 games, that’s like a 6 percent discount.
Do you think its time to handcuff your star players ? I drafted Dalvin Cook and I'm very tempted to pick up Alexander Mattison because I think Cook will not last 16 games.
Li Sing Khaw (Ayer Itam)
Definitely. Good idea. Running plays are ridiculously punishing. It’s really hard to stay healthy at that position. Makes a ton of sense to add handcuffs like Mattison, Jaylen Samuels, Tony Pollard and the like now, before the injuries occur and the price goes way, way up.
Can you expand a little more on your thoughts on the chiefs running game? Your comments and projections still seem to show Damien Williams as a very solid play. Top 15 in most scoring formats and even Top 5 in a TD only league this week. It seems that you are somewhat in the minority as other outlets go as far to say that this is McCoy's job going forward and Williams seems to fall in the "sit" category in virtually any start/sit question that I see. Their carries were virtually the same last week with McCoy being the more effective runner. Isn't it possible we see McCoy's role expand this week with more receptions too? This could further minimize William's role it would appear.
WILL SAYRE (Sacramento, CA)
I think Williams is still the starter for now, with McCoy being mixed in. I expect Williams will get more carries on Sunday, and they’ll continue to evaluate and adjust going forward. McCoy at some point might move into the starting lineup; that’s a possibility. Williams right now looks like a better pass catcher. He’s got really good hands (he was a third-down back in Miami), and he knows this offense better, since he’s been around longer. Williams caught all 6 of the passes thrown his way last week. In the regular season last year, he caught all but 1 of the 24 passes thrown his way. So that’s 29 of 30 when passing to Williams, which seems pretty good to me. If we’re playing PPR, I think that makes Williams definitely a better back than McCoy for Week 2.
Dumping Winston and need a week 2 QB moving forward replacement. 14 team 1 QB league. Brady and Prescott are available. Which should I target?
Cash Mitchell (Guilford, CT)
Agree with the move. They both look like big upgrades. With Prescott, you get some rushing production, and that offense looked good in Week 1. But to me, New England’s offense looks like it might be special. They’ve gone run-heavy in a lot of games the last two years, but with the weapons they’ve assembled, it looks like they might get back to more often aggressively throwing it around. Brady might average something along the lines of 280-290 passing yards per game, and I think 35-38 touchdowns could be in play.
TD-only league. Andrew Luck's retirement left me hurting at QB. All I have is Trubisky and Mariota. Would it be wise to add Minshew of Jac for 8 weeks. Would he be better than the other two?
JOHN BENNETT (Chino, CA)
I don’t have a lot of confidence in any of those three. I would like to see somebody better on the roster.
As always, FFI was indispensable in my draft preparation this year, but you seem far more bullish on Austin Hooper than the rest of the industry. He was ranked as TE #5 in your final preseason rankings. Why the love for him?
DARREN THORNE (Thornhill, ON)
I don’t understand why Hooper isn’t more highly regarded. They pass a ton. The Falcons averaged 309 passing yards last year, with 36 touchdowns, and I think the offense is going to be doing the same kind of things. Hooper is a heavily utilized check-down option in that offense. He caught 81 percent of the passes thrown his way last year, an all-time record for tight ends. He caught all 9 of the balls thrown his way in the opener at Minnesota. At worst, Hooper will catch 75 passes and 4 TDs.
I’m in a league where QBs get 6 points per TD and rushing bonus starts at 50 yards and 1 pt for every 10 thereafter. Passing bonus starts at 200 and 1 pt every 25 thereafter. I have Wentz and Lamar Jackson. Not sure which way to go this week and I presume all weeks following. Thanks for any advice.
Scott Wolinetz (Melville, NY)
I’m not sure exactly what to make of Jackson. They’ve added some wrinkles that will catch some defenses off guard. With Hollywood Brown (and some unorthodox plays) they’re going to hit on some long touchdowns. But there will be some weeks, I think, where they go ground and pound, passing for maybe 170 yards. They might have one of those games this week, with Arizona ranking last against the pass last year. With Carson Wentz also have a juicy matchup, I would roll with him for Week 2.
Going into pre-season, everyone predicted the Patriots were going to be a run-first team due to Gronk's retirement and a motley collection of receivers. Now, after adding A. Brown and J. Gordon, plus using receivers like Edelman, Dorsett, Burkhead and J. White to great effect in Week #1, the opposite looks true. What sort of value due you see now for their main "running" backs like Michel and Damien Harris?
Drew Paterson (Ferndale, WA)
Agreed. I don’t think that’s going to be the run-oriented offense we saw late last year. At least not every week. There will some games where they pound things out, I suppose, but there will be a lot of others where they attack defenses with their diverse group of pass catchers. Neither Michel nor Harris, I think, will be involved much as pass catchers. They’ve got two other running backs who are a lot better on those plays. Harris wasn’t active for the opener, but I imagine they’ll work him in before long. They’ll be playing in heat against an overmatched opponent this week; that could be a good spot to make him active and give him a half-dozen carries.
I have Leonard Fournette, David Montgomery, Ronnie Brown, and Kenyon Drake as running backs. I'm looking at FAs Dion Lewis, Carlos Hyde, C.J. Anderson, and Raheem Mostert as possible pick ups. Heard that Kenyon Drake wants to be traded. Would you stay with what I have?
Jim Furry (Myrtle Beach, SC)
There’s a Ronnie Brown typo in there. I’m not sure who that is. Malcolm Brown, perhaps. Miami once used a top-5 draft pick on a Ronnie Brown, but he hasn’t played since 2014. Probably safe to cut him loose at this point. Mostert will be sharing time with Matt Breida for the next month; he’s good enough to be rostered. Hyde looks like he’s going to lead Houston in rushing, but he’s not much of a factor. With Drake, you would be playing for the dumpoff receptions rather than the rushing production.
About streaming defenses. I have always done it and I’ve never seen any stats if we use y’all’s rankings every week when we choose our D, what are the odds of having a better year’s total. Because choosing a defense has got to be the toughest item to project. Any thoughts? In other words, is it just better to see who is playing the Dolphins?
Bob Phipps (Orlando, FL)
If you can get anybody playing Miami, that would be a good (though Ryan Fitzpatrick actually is one of the best at avoiding sacks). When Washington makes the switch to Dwayne Haskins, they’ll need to be part of the discussion. And Arizona will be up there most of the weeks, with Kyler Murray passing a ton behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Streaming defenses can be frustrating, but there’s definitely value to be added. If nothing else, it makes sense to stream away from the quarterbacks and teams that simply don’t dish up many sacks and interceptions. That tilts the odds in your favor.