Latavius Murray - RB, New Orleans Saints
Current ADP: 88th Overall, RB32
Murray is going to sneak under the radar as one of the best picks in fantasy football this year, I truly believe that. He moves from Minnesota to the Saints in free agency, signing a four-year, $14.4 million deal. The contract is set up in a way so that Murray will be with the team through at least 2020.
With Mark Ingram in Baltimore, we have to ask, does Latavius simply slide right into that role? Most likely, yeah. We look at who they are as players. Both can contribute on all three downs. Both are 215lbs+, thicc backs. Both are great on the GL. Over the L4 seasons, Murray has averaged 0.52 rushing TDs/game. Ingram has averaged 0.54 rushing TDs/game. A wild ass stat I found, Murray is plenty good in the passing game and on 3rd downs, but Ingram has 5 receiving TDs in those four years, Murray, despite having a career 162 targets, 128 receptions, and 882 receiving yards has YET to score a receiving TD in the NFL.
Murray was an easy fade, had he gone to almost any team not named the Saints, but here we are. Murray is not only going to have standalone value and probably score between 7-8 rushing TDs, maybe we see him finally score a receiving TD which has to happen eventually. But if Kamara goes down... where are you drafting him? He's a top-12 pick most likely. He not only has standalone value, but is the single best handcuff in fantasy football.
Murray is an upright runner, and he's huge (6'2-223), but he runs a 4.43 40. He rarely got to put his breakaway homerun speed on display in Minnesota, they've been one of the worst run-blocking teams in the league the last few years, whereas we know the Saints have been absolutely elite - 1st, 2nd and 2nd in RBing per FO's L3 years running. So don't be surprised when Murray not only gets GL and 10z carries - Ingram has 25 GL carries and nearly 40 10zone carries over the L2 years - but if Murray breaks off of a couple of 40+ yard scoring tugs. It's coming.
Do we really expect Latavius to be a big drop-off from Ingram? I don't.
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Justice Hill - RB, Baltimore Ravens
Current ADP: 151, RB52
Well, while we're shitting on how replaceable a player Mark Ingram is, let's talk about his immediate competition this year - Justice Hill.
Look, I get it - Ingram is a good pass-catcher, but the Ravens are very likely going to use the MUCH more explosive Justice Hill in pass-catching situations.
Hill had the fastest 40-time of any RB at the combine this year. I'm shocked he fell out of the 3rd round this year. He test amongst the best backs, but also produced an extremely high-level in college. Right out of the gates, freshman year nearly 1200 YFS... Oh, and Chris Carson was also in that backfield. The next year? 300 touches 1650 YFS, 31 receptions, 16 TDs. You rarely have guys that have both production and testing to back it up fall this late.
Hill is a beast that will excel in a 10-15 touch role - which is what I see happening with Ingram, sooner rather than later. I think he'll excel with his speed, paired with Lamar Jackson under center. Give this guy a dozen or so touches a game, he's going to break some plays. There's not much to say about him right now as camp hasn't got underway, but he needs to be on your radar now.
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Geronimo Allison - WR, Green Bay Packers
Current ADP: 96 Overall, WR42
Is Geronimo Allison a great NFL wide receiver. I don't know. Probably not. Is he in the best situation a number two can be in? Very likely.
Allison was on his way to a big year in 2018. His statlines starting in Week 1:
At this point, he was on pace for a 110-76-1156-8 year. That's big, but it's the least surprising thing when you look at this chart. I went back and charted all of the fantasy WRs in GB since Rodgers took over as the QB, and their end of year numbers.
You'll see 2013 and 2017 weren't included because Rodgers was injured for the majority of those seasons. So, looking at this chart, then looking at Allison's pace - they're almost identical.
The question becomes, does Allison reclaim that role in the offense. He suffered a concussion and aggravated his hamstring in Week 4, which led to him missing Weeks 5-7, he returned in Week 8 to a split snap-share with MVS, getting about 50% of the snaps. After that game, he injured his groin and then had to undergo core muscle surgery landing him on the I.R. - seems obvious they rushed him back from the hamstring causing this secondary injury.
The problem with Allison missing time mid-year was that the WR group was still up for grabs, any time missed opens the door for the three new faces they added. It's not like Davante Adams where he misses time, but as soon as he steps back onto the field he's the guy again. Allison was a FA this offseason, GB tendered him, but other teams took an interest, tried to sign him then GB ended up paying more to keep him - tells you they like him and think he's going to contribute - which is exactly what we saw last year.
So, what I'm arguing here is moreso for you to keep an eye on the situation - when someone emerges as the WR2, they're going to produce. I say Allison here and not MVS because we already saw Allison in that role last year do it for a quarter of the season. When Allison went out, we saw MVS start really hot and then fall flat on his face over the entire 2H of the year. Starting Week 10 his yardage totals were: 44, 8, 3, 19, 19, 12, 75, 43. He was an 85-90% snap player in most of the games too. Not what you like to see. You have the opportunity to produce under Rodgers and just don't.
However, reports out of camp and from the hefe's mouth himself, Arod, have MVS having an excellent camp. MVS is a much better prospect coming out then Allison:
They're both tall, with good size and length, but MVS has elite speed. Despite Allison being in the league three years already he's only like half a year older then MVS, too. Camp reports have Adams and Allison as the 1-2, with MVS as the early favorite to take over as the WR3.
Allison hasn't proven durability, MVS hasn't proven consistency. ESB is a fun name to throw around given his hype as a prospect but he's behind these 3, Jake Kumrow will compete. I ultimately think Allison will win the 2, because he already did it last year, then didn't disappoint - so outlandish numbers as a rock-solid WR2 are there for the taking - There's also the rumors of him running more in the slot at practice but I feel like we've heard that about every one of the GB Wrs so far - though I think he would benefit the most as he's the least athletic and would have the hardest time consistently beating DBs.
he's risky of course, but we have time to see what's ahead for Allison.
Aaron Rodgers also due for a big uptick in TDs - 4.2% last year - career 6.5%.
Dak Prescott - QB, Dallas Cowboys
Current ADP: 129 Overall, QB16
In three NFL seasons, Dak has finished as the QB6, the QB9 and the QB12.
Dak has been quietly very good for fantasy. League-winning good? Definitely not. He hasn't shown the weekly consistency or upside for that to be the case. Until last year, and until more specifically, Amari Cooper came over from Oakland. Then things changed. In a major way.
First off, the Dallas offense threw the ball on nearly 57% of their plays in 2018. Nearly a 5% jump up from the year prior when they were at 52%, ranked 30th, and a year before that dead last passing on 51.3% of their plays. Through the first seven games of their season, before Cooper was on the field, Dak attempts 29 pass attempts/game, went over 30 just twice. From that point forward, Weeks 9-17, Dak averaged 35.6 passes/game, an increase of more than 6/game, including a game with a career-high 4 passing TDs AND a SEPERATE game with a career-high 455 passing yards. Prior to Cooper coming over, he had never thrown for more than 332 yards. Not only did he throw for 455, but 387 in another game. The only QBs in fantasy that were better than Dak once Cooper showed up were Mahomes, Big Ben and Matt Ryan.
Dak changed, and so did this offense, for the much better. And riding that mojo, with their new OC Kelle Moore who is a former QB - this is still going to be a run-first team, but they'll have a lot more passing plays going on here in Dallas. What will it take for Dak to be a "league-winner" - yeah I didn't just put that title for clickbait. To be a league-winning QB, especially in a 1QB league, you need to be top-3 at the position. And even that isn't league winning tbh, you need to be Patrick Mahomes last year. And even that isn't league winning - I lost in my only 1QB league I was in, and I owned Mahomes... like literally QBs don't fucking matter - play SuperFlex cool. Um... So,
Obviously, you need to throw the ball as a QB, too. So let's say Lamar hits the average of those rushing numbers, which is definitely on the low side of what we should project - that's 4.5 rushing TDs and 398.7 yards. The more you run for, the less you need to throw for to become an elite passer. Of those QBs, their average throwing numbers were: 4,319 passing yards - 34 Passing TDs - 9.8 INTs. Guess how many yards we have for Dak if we pace out those 9 games with Cooper - 4,387. The pass TDs were only around 25, but that's just an AVG, swayed by a 50TD season out of Patrick Mahomes.
I think Dak has a very realistic chance of finishing in the top-3 among fantasy QBs this year.
Dallas Goedert - TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Current ADP: 134 Overall, TE16
Goedert is just #goodatfootball. I know it, you know it, the Eagles know it.
There is no chance he doesn't get more snaps this year. We saw it down the stretch last year, it was already happening:
Goedert, to me, is almost like the Latavius Murray of tight ends. I think Goedert is going to be super involved in the RZ near the 10zone next year and will have a bunch of TDs. He had 4 as a rookie TE, playing 40% of the snaps, that's very good. Ertz had the single-most RZ targets (27) among tight ends last year, some of those will very well go over to Goedert.
The Eagles also ran out of 12 personnel (2 TEs) on 377 snaps, the 2nd most in the entire NFL last year. And in neutral game scripts (trailing or leading by 7 or fewer points) they were by far the leader in the NFL. Despite being the backup, Goedert actually has a decent baseline floor of playing time. That 58% snap rate we saw over the last month and a half of the season is the same rate we saw from Vance McDonald, Eric Ebron, O.J. Howard, Chris Herndon last year.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if Goedert scores 7-8 touchdowns this year. And guess what that means. For a fantasy TE - that's 7-8 TE1 weeks. Like Murray, he's the best handfucc in the league - if Ertz gets hurt - Goedert is a league-winner. This is a position that historically is one of the most injury prone. Ertz played all 16 last year, but missed multiple games in both 2017 and 2016... Just saying.
Lamar Jax/Kyler (sneaking up rapidly)
Christian Kirk - little earlier but thought I'd mention him.
Keke Coutee -
Let me know who I left off this list.