Burning Fantasy Football Questions for Every NFL Team

You've got questions and we've got answers! We dive into each team and tackle their most confusing fantasy football situation.

Fantasy football is a game of inches, and winning your league often comes down to a tiny detail. As we sit here in mid-July, we have far more questions than answers, but what fun are questions without answers? My mission is to address one of the most burning questions for all 32 teams in an effort to give you an early edge as you prepare for the best fantasy season of your life!

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Burning Fantasy Football Questions for Every NFL Team

Arizona Cardinals: Should We Expect Big Things From Marquise Brown?

No. Sure, the role is interesting, but come on. From not having a definitive timeline on Kyler Murray to the lack of complementary weapons to a schedule that features a late bye (thus maximizing the amount of time missed by Murray), including dates with the 49ers (Week 15) and Eagles (Week 17) during a critical spot on the fantasy calendar … how can you feel good about drafting Hollywood as anything more than a bye-week filler?

Colt McCoy entered the NFL the same night Tim Tebow did (yeah, he’s been around for a while), and yet, the next time he supports a pass catcher who produces 90 receiving yards and a touchdown in a game will be the first. He’s never done it.

So what is the realistic upside for Brown with McCoy starting, and just how much are you willing to bank on Murray rushing back to play for a team that figures to lose with regularity? Brown’s ADP feels manageable at the moment, but I’m not even close to getting sucked in.

Atlanta Falcons: How Does Desmond Ridder Impact the Value of the Young Playmakers on This Roster?

The Dirty Birds averaged roughly 10% more plays per game with Ridder starting last season than with Marcus Mariota, and with no need to design runs for him, simple math suggests that this is a good move for all involved.

Combine that with the natural growth that takes place with experience, along with the explosive potential of Bijan Robinson that was added during the draft, and this offense could be in scoring position much more often than a year ago (24th in yards per game).

Did you know that Kyle Pitts is TE10 in ppg since he entered the league (minimum 25 games played)? The discussion around him is that he has been some sort of massive disappointment, and I get it, but the fact is that this position is so weak that anyone involved as Pitts is can only be so bad.

When it comes to Drake London, the math is a little different due to the strength at the WR position, but he did earn at least eight targets in each of his final five games last season, and if those targets become more valuable in Year 2, there’s a relatively easy path to him producing WR2 numbers.

He’s behind Christian Watson in most ranks and ADPs, but he comes with a higher projected target share, a higher level of pedigree, and a quarterback with more NFL experience. Hmmm.

Both Pitts and London are being drafted at reasonable spots and are near locks to see the type of volume that gives them “blow their ADP out of the water” potential. I’m not entering drafts targeting either, but by no means am I avoiding them, and if my roster takes a certain form, either is an easy click to make.

Baltimore Ravens: Who Is the RB/WR To Target at Price in This Offense?

J.K. Dobbins is the RB/WR on this team that is by far the favorite of the industry, but considering he has 251 touches total over his two professional seasons, it’s tough to overlook the risk that is involved in using a fifth-round pick on him. Even if you’re willing to breeze past the health concerns, Todd Monken taking over play-calling duties is a red flag.

All signs point to this offense opening up a bit, and Dobbins has hauled in just 25 passes in his 23 career games, fueling my concern about his ceiling in a backfield that is going to be built around Lamar Jackson’s athletic ability.

If we are going to project more passing from this offense and we are dinging Dobbins for his lack of versatility, it stands to reason that one of their three receivers (Odell Beckham Jr., Zay Flowers, and Rashod Bateman) will emerge as a weekly Flex option.

Not one, not two, not three, but four Fast and Furious movies have been released since the last time Beckham Jr. caught more than six touchdown passes in a season, so while the name sparks excitement, let’s not get carried away. Bateman has missed over 44% of possible games thus far in his NFL career, and when he’s been on the field, we are looking at a player who has reached 60 receiving yards in just four of 19 contests.

That leaves us with rookie Flowers, a slot receiver with an encouraging athletic profile that scored once every 6.9 catches during his four seasons at Boston College. We are talking about picks outside of the top 100, and when we are in that range, not having yet seen a player fail on the professional stage holds value.

You’ve heard of Schrödinger’s cat? In Flowers, we have Soppe’s receiver: a receiver that has not yet proven to be an asset or a bust must be considered both until proven otherwise. As we stand here in the summer of 2023, that means Flowers has “fantasy asset” in his profile, and that makes him my favorite value of the RBs/WRs on this Ravens offense.

Buffalo Bills: What Should We Expect From James Cook in the Lead Role?

I was ready to hate on Cook. Really, I was. I had my “this team’s top running back takes snaps under center” take all lined up. I had a laundry list of “Buffalo is ahead of the curve in devaluing the running back position” stats that all pointed to almost no upside here.

I had “evaluate the Bills offense” checked off my to-do list: in on the passing game, full fade on the run game, and move on. But then ADPs started rolling in, and Cook was … underappreciated?

He currently sits on the outside looking in at weekly fantasy starting lineups, and that feels a bit dramatic for a lead back in one of the league’s most potent offenses. Devin Singletary fell into over 1,000 total yards and six touchdowns for the second consecutive season in 2022, two years in which the Bills invested a top-three-round pick on a running back to take over for him.

Cook is now the unquestioned lead back, ranking atop a depth chart that features one-dimensional and/or uninspiring depth. I’m not telling you that you need to even buy Cook as a player, just the idea of his role in an offense that averages 4% more red-zone drives per game over the past three seasons than any other team in the NFL.

Look at the running backs outside the top 15, and you’ll notice that offensive upside alone and being in a position to score is rare. We are talking about Miles Sanders, Rachaad White, and AJ Dillon types. Are they more talented than Cook? Maybe. Is “talent” a category in fantasy football? Nope.

Cook averaged nearly 11 yards per catch during his collegiate career at Georgia, giving him access to a floor that backs in his ADP tier simply don’t have. So yeah, I’ve flip-flopped, and that’s OK. Don’t stay married to any one take, kids. And while you’re at it, feel free to spend a mid-round pick on Cook, especially if you passed on RBs early on.

Carolina Panthers: Can You Trust Miles Sanders in a New Situation?

“Trust” isn’t the word I’d use here, but he is just 26 years old and coming off of a season with over 1,300 total yards and 11 scores. Now, I am old enough to remember when he went through 2021 without scoring a single touchdown, and the fact that he is in a low-upside offense with a rookie quarterback isn’t inspiring. But a lack of touch competition makes him interesting at his ADP. Interesting. Yea, I like that word more than “trust.”

To the rookie quarterback thing. There’s no way Bryce Young puts Sanders in the favorable fantasy spots that Jalen Hurts did last season, but can Young do enough to help Sanders pay off his fringe RB2 price tag? I think so.

In 2021, Damien Harris averaged 13.7 half-PPR PPG in Mac Jones’ starts. That’s an isolated example, but Harris is an equally limited back, and Jones didn’t exactly light up the league … and yet, Harris’ role was substantial enough to make him a weekly option.

By no means am I entering a draft with the intent to draft Sanders, but rounds four to six are cluttered with risky options, and his clear path to 200-plus touches makes him a viable Flex option.

Chicago Bears: Should We Avoid All Exposure to This Backfield?

With both Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman going outside the top-100 picks, you could easily ignore this cloudy backfield, and I don’t think that’d be wrong. We know this offense is built around Justin Fields’ unique skill set, and that leaves little meat on the bone for any single back, let alone a backfield that could well be split down the middle.

That said, this is one of three backfields that I consider a “corner the market” opportunity. Along with the Chicago Bears, the Miami Dolphins and Washington Commanders have backfields like this: I’m not targeting any one RB from these backfields, but if I take the plunge on one of them, I want to hedge my bet with the secondary option. It’s a simple argument of inverse correlation.

If one player is bad or injured, it’s a boon for the stock of the other, and given that neither (in any of these instances) option is expensive, I’m willing to take the two-picks-for-one-role risk.

This is a takes business, so I won’t saddle the fence: give me Herbert (career: 5.0 yards per carry) as the Bears back to roster if you want to invest in only one of them.

Cincinnati Bengals: Can We Continue To Count on Joe Mixon?

Yep. To be honest, I don’t fully understand the skepticism here. Mixon isn’t old enough to worry about decline (turned 27 in July), has played at least 14 games in five of his six seasons, and is coming off of a year in which he had more catches (60) than he had ever had targets in a season prior.

Are drafters reading into the underwhelming 3.9 yards per carry last season? Are they worried about a fifth-round pick in Chase Brown? Are they worried about the Bengals ranking third in percentage of yards coming through the air last season?

I’ll address those concerns in order. Efficiency has never been a calling card for Mixon, and if you hopped off of drafting him in 2021 following a season in which he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry, you missed a career-high 16 touchdowns.

Brown was a star at Illinois last season, but there are pass protection question marks here, and he profiles more as a long-term option than an instant impact type.

The pass-first philosophy actually helped Mixon’s fantasy value a season ago, and considering that he’s never posted a sub-77% catch rate, there’s no real reason to think Mixon can’t repeat his receiving numbers from 2022.

Can we move on now? Mixon is the running back version of Keenan Allen, another underappreciated veteran going in the fourth round whose risk-reward profile is more that of a third-rounder.

Cleveland Browns: How Should We Value Deshaun Watson?

Deshaun Watson drops back against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fantasy football managers have evaluated Watson perfectly: he’s a fringe weekly starter that comes with rare upside. At the time of this writing, he is coming off the board as QB9, the perfect spot to take a player with that profile. At that level of investment, you’ve locked in your weekly starter, but you haven’t spent so much in draft capital that you can’t pivot if this Cleveland Browns offense just doesn’t work out.

Watson’s 2022 was derailed with the suspension early on and weather issues when he finally did suit up, but we did catch glimpses down the stretch of the upside that makes him special. In his final two games, Watson had multiple passing touchdowns AND a 20-plus yard rush.

A quarterback who has versatility, a fine WR1, and secondary pieces that offer upside … what more could you ask for? In terms of opportunity cost, drafting Watson means passing on receivers with quarterback question marks or running backs with role questions. Why not?

With all of that in mind, do yourself a favor and draft Derek Carr at the very end of the draft. In Carr, you get a veteran with a reasonable floor, but you also get a quarterback that doesn’t have a real weather concern in the second half of the season.

Dallas Cowboys: Who Is the WR2 in This Offense, and How Valuable Is That Role?

The battle between Michael Gallup and Brandin Cooks is one that we will all be watching this preseason, but I’m not sure it matters. It’s clear that the fantasy community as a whole has labeled this as a non-question (Cooks is going 50-60 picks earlier), but given the fact that Cooks will be 30 in September and hasn’t scored more than six times since 2017, are we sure his ceiling is that high?

Fold in the fact that Gallup ended last season healthy and has been with this organization for five years … the odds of Cooks holding consistent weekly value seems like a long shot.

Mike McCarthy has made no bones about it this offseason: he wants to run the rock. His take is that this team didn’t run the ball enough last season, a season in which CeeDee Lamb was the only Cowboy with even 600 receiving yards. Go ahead and use Cooks or Gallup in DFS when the specific matchup gives you the green light, but assuming either establishes himself as a weekly asset is far too optimistic for my liking.

Detroit Lions: Could Jahmyr Gibbs Provide More Value Than Fellow Rookie Bijan Robinson?

Now we are talking! Gibbs enters an offense that led the league in RB fantasy points last season and owns the type of versatile profile that should translate to immediate production.

The thorn in his side is David Montgomery (over 200 carries and 230 touches in all four seasons in Chicago), a veteran back who possesses more of an early-season threat to Gibbs’ role than Atlanta Falcons second-year back Tyler Allgeier does to Robinson. But by the end of this season, I wouldn’t be shocked if Gibbs closes the gap and makes this a conversation with your fantasy title on the line.

Maybe this is thinking too hard, but the Lions are a different team indoors than they are outside, can we agree on that? Last season, Detroit racked up 32.0 PPG when playing with a roof over their heads (18.5 PPG in outdoor games), and that naturally raises the fantasy value of all involved pieces.

Why do I mention that? From Week 11-18, the Lions play four indoor games, and three of their four road games come indoors. If that trend continues to 2023 and this offense is scoring 30-plus points a night, the two-to-three-round discount you got on Gibbs in August has a good chance to land you a title in January!

Green Bay Packers: How Should We Balance the Idea of Regression With That of Growth Surrounding Christian Watson?

Analysts everywhere are divided on which side they fall on which matters more: a spike in volume or a dip in per target value. There is no expectation that Watson’s numbers down the stretch of last season can simply be extrapolated over the course of a full season, but the exact value of Jordan Love’s WR1 is a tough projection.

Watson’s current ADP puts him in a tier with other talented receivers with quarterback question marks (DJ Moore, Chris Godwin, Drake London, etc.). That’s the right tier for him, but the boom-bust nature of his skill set lands him on the back end of that tier, not the front end that he is currently being picked at.

Last season, under 30% of Watson’s routes came from the slot, the money spot where those cheap/easy points come from. The perimeter-centric role is one to target for upside, and I do believe we will see a few of those performances from Watson as a sophomore. But drafting him as a weekly starter isn’t something I’m comfortable doing.

Houston Texans: Is Anyone on This Roster a Weekly Starter in Standard Fantasy Leagues?

Pass. Dameon Pierce and Dalton Schultz are the two closest things this franchise can offer in terms of weekly fantasy options, but are you really confident in this offense generating enough scoring opportunities to lock either of them in?

Here are the TE per game finishes for the top threat at the position on the five worst-scoring offenses in the league last season:

  • TE17 Greg Dulcich (Denver Broncos)
  • TE19 Jordan Akins (Houston Texans)
  • TE21 Tyler Conklin (New York Jets)
  • TE29 Chigoziem Okonkwo (Tennessee Titans)
  • TE36 Jelani Woods (Indianapolis Colts)

In reading those names, you can probably recall a week or two where they were viable, but – as you can see – counting on them weekly didn’t make much sense. You could argue that Schultz is a superior talent to any player on that list … so that gets you to what? TE13? No thanks. He’s currently being drafted ahead of Cole Kmet and Dalton Kincaid, both of whom play in an offense with far greater point-scoring potential.

As for Pierce, I can’t get over the signing of Devin Singletary. The former Bill is no world-beater, but he’s handled over 150 carries in all four of his seasons and has picked up 4.7 yards per carry on those 672 attempts. Pierce certainly runs hard and had his moments as a rookie, but he didn’t have a single game with more than 28 receiving yards and had one, count’em one, rushing score over the final two months of his 2022 season.

I was going to be down on Pierce prior to Singletary coming over, but now with committee potential on a terrible offense, I have a hard time seeing Pierce paying off his top-20 ADP at the position.

Indianapolis Colts: What Should We Expect From Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr. With Anthony Richardson Set To Start?

I understand that there was buyer’s remorse from those who invested in Jonathan Taylor last season, but does one poor season really undo two seasons of elite production? Not good production. Elite.

For his career, JT has scored 36 times in 43 games, and while the scoring equity might be limited with a rookie under center, an athletic QB that can threaten the perimeter should open up interior running lanes.

Combine that with the likelihood that Taylor soaks up plenty of targets as Richardson adjusts to the speed of the NFL game, and I have zero concerns about Taylor being a fine pick in the late first or early second round.

The Michael Pittman Jr. conversation is a little less straightforward. Last season, it required roughly 13 half-PPR PPG to be a top-20 receiver, and over the past decade, just four times has a receiver hit that number when seeing at least 10 games started by a rookie quarterback (2013 Vincent Jackson, 2020 Keenan Allen, 2020 Tyler Boyd, and 2021 Brandin Cooks).

Pittman isn’t being drafted as a top-20 receiver, but the fact that a top-20 season is a long shot speaks to the limited upside we are looking at. On the plus side, an average-depth-of-target (aDOT) bounce back for Pittman (down 29% in 2022 from 2021, thanks mainly to noodle-armed Matt Ryan) is very likely with the big arm of Richardson, but with that comes a (likely) dip in catch rate.

If you can grab Pittman as your WR4, I’m in. That price allows you to swallow the risk involved and embrace the small percentage chance that he clicks in a big way with Richardson on those downfield passes. In his ADP range, Diontae Johnson (similar situation but with a higher floor and a second-year QB), Brandon Aiyuk, and Tyler Lockett all look like better buys to me.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Who Is the WR1 in This Offense?

I said earlier that the WR2 role in Dallas might not matter because neither of the competitors is much on my radar, and while my answer (“doesn’t matter”) is the same here, it’s for the exact opposite reason.

Christian Kirk was the second most productive player from the slot last season, and his rapport with Trevor Lawrence was apparent from the get-go. I see no reason why that’ll change, so I’m penciling him in for a season that is within 10% of his 2022 performance.

Last season, Kirk averaged 13.0 half-PPR PPG while Zay Jones checked in at 11.1 PPG as the primary perimeter option in this upward-trending offense. That is the role into which I think Ridley steps, rendering Jones essentially useless and taking relatively little off of Kirk’s plate in the process.

So why is it that I have Ridley ranked ahead of Kirk? Last season, Jones out-targeted Kirk 15-13 in the end zone, but Kirk pulled in five of those targets to Jones’ three.

I view Ridley as a better high-point receiver than Jones, so I think the end zone target disparity swings even further in the direction of the perimeter receiver, and I have him improving on the catch rate that Jones produced last season.

I like both receivers to reach 1,000 yards, and whatever small edge Kirk will hold in reception total, I expect Ridley to overcome that difference in touchdown total.

Kansas City Chiefs: Is Patrick Mahomes Worth His Round 2 ADP?

I’m not sure that he is, but it’s more about my belief in Lamar Jackson some 20 picks later and me being ALL IN on Trevor Lawrence 40-plus picks later. Patrick Mahomes was amazing last season, that much we know. He set career-highs in passing yards (5,250), rushing yards (358), and rushing scores (four) while recording his second-best season in terms of passing touchdowns (41) … and finished as QB3 on a per-game basis. How crazy is that?

There is no denying that the Chiefs prefer to let Mahomes’ legs loose in the playoffs instead of the regular season, a trend that caps his upside in a way that neither Jalen Hurts nor Josh Allen have to worry about. As a passer, Mahomes’ yards per attempt spiked by 9.5% in his first season without Tyreek Hill, something that I believe will be tough to sustain.

The odds of you losing your league because you took Mahomes with your second pick appear to be low, and that’s comforting, but by swallowing some risk in waiting at least two more rounds to address the position, I think you have the potential to build a better all-around roster.

Los Angeles Chargers: Can Quentin Johnston Make an Instant Impact?

Quentin Johnston (1) carries the ball duirng minicamp at the Hoag Performance Center.

He can, but he needs more help than I believe his ADP suggests. Yes, Joshua Palmer saw over 100 targets and finished with 769 receiving yards last season as the WR3 in this offense, but that came in a season in which Mike Williams missed four games and Keenan Allen missed seven.

At the moment, Johnston is being picked 103rd overall, a spot that I would be comfortable with if we KNEW Williams and Allen would combine for 11 missed games … but we don’t, and both are currently healthy.

Deciding on Johnston is a roster structure thing. If you load up on receivers and are OK with waiting for an opportunity to present itself for the talented rookie, then by all means, go ahead and take him in the round seven-to-eight range. But if you only have two or three receivers on your roster entering the seventh round, I’d look for a player whose role is more well-defined entering the season (JuJu Smith-Schuster carries a safe role, and I love Jakobi Meyers).

More likely than me using this pick on Johnston is me grabbing a running back in one of the three backfields mentioned in the Bears writeup above as I try to corner the market on a specific backfield.

Los Angeles Rams: Is This the Year Cam Akers Pays Off for Fantasy Managers?

Talk about a frustrating player! Akers is a talented runner (2020 second-round pick) who has ended all three of his NFL seasons with upward trending volume … but he’s yet to pay off for fantasy managers.

To round out 2022, Akers racked up 63 carries and six catches over a three-game stretch, flashing the league-winning upside that we assign to him annually with a three-touchdown performance against the Broncos on Christmas.

Of course, he was barely a factor in this offense through November, resulting in plenty of managers cutting ties with him well before his strong stretch run. The market is labeling him as a fringe RB2 entering 2023, a price that makes plenty of sense.

Sony Michel and Kyren Williams are the primary threats to his touch count, but all signs point to Akers getting every chance to earn a workhorse role. That’s enough to have me sucked in again.

In essence, buying Akers is a way to bet on the health of Matthew Stafford. If this team has their starting quarterback for the majority of the season, Akers is going to pay off his price point.

Most of the RBs in his ADP range have serious QB question marks (Miles Sanders, Rachaad White, and James Conner), and none of them have the potential to lead an above-average scoring offense the way Stafford does.

If I’m being honest, I have yet to land an Akers share, and I don’t think that will change because of non-RBs that fly off the board in the round five-to-six range. This is generally where I am getting Trevor Lawrence, but if I don’t go with my favorite QB value of 2023, then it’s been a lot of James Conner and Diontae Johnson for me.

I will co-sign you drafting Akers in this range, but if you’re taking the plunge, do me a favor and write down “Patience” on a sheet of paper over your desk. Use it like the “Believe” poster in Ted Lasso. Look at it daily. Be about it. Abide by it.

Las Vegas Raiders: How Does Jimmy Garoppolo Taking Over Impact This Offense?

Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and A.J. Brown all put up monster numbers in 2022, and all three of them were playing with a new quarterback. Adams is the only one of them that will play with a new signal-caller again in 2023, but the point is simple: Great receivers have the ability to transcend QB play. So let’s move on, I have zero worries about Adams as an option at the round one-two turn.

Jacobs went for 100 total yards in the majority of his games last season and continued his upward-trending role in the passing game (his receiving yards have increased each season). He ran hot on the health front, playing a full season for the first time in his career and racking up 393 touches in the process.

Will all of that continue? No, no it won’t. But it doesn’t have to. He has run for 40 scores in 60 career games, and that rate should be reasonably safe regardless of who is under center.

Built into Jacobs’ ADP (RB8, 20th overall) is some regression in the efficiency department (4.9 yards per carry last season, 4.2 was his career rate through three seasons), and that’s fine.

The skeleton key here is the pass-catching, and considering that Garoppolo has completed 81.9% of passes when targeting his running backs over the past two seasons, I see no reason why Jacobs can’t again catch three-ish passes per game and be a solid RB1. Consider him a strong add in the late-second round for managers who landed one of the elite receivers.

I’ve been planting my flag on Jakobi Meyers as a bargain, and I stand by it. He was a slot receiver in New England for each of the past four seasons, and I expect more of the same in Vegas. Gold! Garoppolo was among the most efficient slot passers in the game during his time in San Francisco, and if that trend continues, Meyers will have no issue paying off his ADP and potentially sneaking his way into your weekly lineup.

Miami Dolphins: How Should We Approach This Backfield?

See: Bears, Chicago. The only wrinkle here is that there are three backs vying for work and that the quarterback leading this juggernaut carries injury risk.

While I will be happy in any draft in which I get two of these three for my bench, my goal entering things is to grab DeVon Achane and Jeff Wilson Jr. That’s not to say 31-year-old Raheem Mostert isn’t on my radar should the draft work out that way, but his age and lack of receiving resume (67 catches in 65 career games) are enough for me to target the other two over him.

Minnesota Vikings: Is Alexander Mattison a Weekly Starter With Dalvin Cook Out of Town?

Barely. Mattison has walked right into the Cook role over the past four seasons when the star has missed time, but don’t mistake that to mean Mattison IS Cook when it comes to fantasy football value.

First of all, Cook is uncommonly good. Did you know that he has 1,100 rushing yards and 30 catches in each of the past four seasons? How about the fact that no other RB has hit those thresholds in even three of those seasons?

Now that we have that out of the way, Mattison has averaged under 4.0 yards per carry in consecutive seasons and has just 70 receptions in his 59 career games. Are we sure that is he any good, or are we just trying to buy the idea of Mattison and the lead role in a good offense?

It feels like more the ladder, so I’ll pass. If you want exposure to this backfield, I prefer the value that comes with speculating on Ty Chandler in the final round. When it comes to where Mattison is being drafted, I’d rather roll the dice on versatile backs like D’Andre Swift or Rachaad White.

New England Patriots: Can JuJu Smith-Schuster Produce Viable Fantasy Numbers on a Consistent Sasis?

Maybe, but it won’t be on my roster. Let’s make it simple; Smith-Schuster was not a top-35 fantasy receiver a season ago while running nearly 33 routes per game in a Patrick Mahomes-led offense that lacked an established receiver. Jakobi Meyers led all New England Patriots WRs in routes run last season (30.2 per game), so we are looking at a dip in both quantity of routes and quality of targets for a player who wasn’t a weekly factor to begin with.

It wouldn’t shock me if he had a few very useful PPR weeks as the number one pass catcher in this offense, but good luck nailing that pick. Go ahead and pick your favorite Ravens receiver instead in an effort to chase upside. Shoot, I mentioned Meyers earlier as a way to highlight the limited role for the WR1 in this offense … but give me Meyers in Vegas one round later than Smith-Schuster this season. Book it!

New Orleans Saints: How Does Derek Carr’s Arrival Impact Chris Olave?

There wasn’t much made about this pairing when it happened this offseason, but the puzzle pieces align better than you might think. From 2018-19, Carr’s aDOT was a microscopic 6.38 yards. Over the next two seasons, he gained comfort and moved that average up to 7.78 yards. And last season: 8.73 yards. Just how much more valuable are those downfield shots compared to the shorter throws for fantasy managers?

2020-22 fantasy points per attempt by aDOT:

  • Under 10 yards: 0.36 FP/Att
  • 10-15 yards: 0.48 FP/Att
  • Over 15 yards: 0.71 FP/Att

As a rookie, Olave ranked third among 80 qualified receivers by posting a 14.2-yard aDOT. The asking price for Olave (a fringe top-15 WR) is high, but, as is the case with a good steak, you get what you pay for, ya know?

New York Giants: Can a Receiver on This Roster Establish Himself as a Weekly Flex Option?

Rookie Jalin Hyatt is being drafted the highest of this cluttered receiver room … at 178th overall. Daniel Jones has seen his completion percentage increase each season, and he’s developing, but not nearly fast enough to think that any receiver on this roster should be relied on.

I’d argue that none of them even need to be drafted, as we are talking about a low-volume offense with two players (Saquon Barkley and Darren Waller) that figure to demand the majority of those looks. I’m more likely to break the fantasy analyst golden rule and select a defense (I love the runout for the Dolphins D/ST to open the season) before I’d waste mental energy in trying to split hairs among these fringe Giants receivers.

New York Jets: How Much Will Aaron Rodgers Accelerate the Growth of Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall?

Burning Fantasy Football Questions for Every NFL Team

He certainly will, plenty! Wilson was a viable fantasy receiver last season with horrid quarterback play, and Rodgers will be an improvement over that even if he repeats his 2022, one of the worst seasons of his career.

If the future Hall of Famer is anything close to his MVP form of 2020-21, Wilson could well provide first-round value and be a league winner. Personally, I think he is being drafted closer to his ceiling than his mean, but he’s not a bad pick in the middle of Round 2.

Breece Hall’s recovery is a moving target, but yes, Rodgers should elevate the sophomore’s fantasy value if for no other reason than the fact that this team will be in position to score more often (26th in red zone drives per game last season).

Hall is currently being drafted as the RB10, the exact ranking of Aaron Jones on a per-game basis in the three seasons under Rodgers since AJ Dillon was drafted as the Robin to Jones’ Batman. Given that there is no real Robin in Gotham City these days, Hall should have no problem producing as an RB1 once he returns to full health.

Philadelphia Eagles: At Cost, Who Is the Most Valuable Running Back?

This is a tricky question with the wide-ranging ADPs:

  • 64th D’Andre Swift
  • 109th Rashaad Penny
  • 176th: Kenneth Gainwell

The idea of Swift is intoxicating, but I’ve typed that exact sentence in each of the past two summers. Despite elite efficiency, the Lions were comfortable giving Swift just 10.5 touches per game last season.

Now, just because Detroit thought that was a good idea doesn’t mean Philadelphia will, but the Eagles have a mobile quarterback that is going to soak up touches that Swift didn’t have to worry about last season.

As scary as counting on Swift is at that price, banking on Penny (he has appeared in 42 of a possible 82 games) is even more difficult. He’s been nothing short of phenomenal when on the field (5.7 yards per carry), but he averages less than one target per game, so the upside is a tough sell.

Enter Gainwell. He costs you almost nothing and has averaged 5.4 yards per touch thus far in his career. He has a firm grasp of this offense and, albeit in small doses, has proven himself a capable fantasy option. If you’re with me in being too risk-averse to consider Swift or Penny at their asking prices, then you’re building in some missed time and, thus, building in some increased usage pockets for Gainwell.

As a fantasy community, “We’ve Saved the Best for Last” in Kenny G.

(I’ll see myself out)

Pittsburgh Steelers: Who Stands To Gain the Most if Kenny Pickett Makes the Year 2 Jump?

Najee Harris is the touch leader since entering the league and has offered a pair of similar seasons despite sporadic quarterback play, so I think penciling him in for 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns is reasonably safe, independent of what Pickett does.

The answer here is George Pickens, who is going a full round after Diontae Johnson and a full round ahead of Pat Freiermuth.

There is no doubt that the Georgia product is the deep threat in this offense (14.8-yard aDOT, 44.7% greater than that of Johnson), so the fact that Pickett ranked 12th in aDOT during the second half of the season (first half of the season: 27th) is more than encouraging.

Pickens had 10 games last season with a 25-plus yard reception, a number that only three of the game’s premier playmakers topped (A.J. Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Jaylen Waddle).

Johnson will hold the higher mean projection most weeks, but with a quarterback still developing, give me the upside option over the “safe” one. Pickens is currently being drafted back-to-back with Treylon Burks, and while I think Burks holds similar upside as a prospect, there’s currently far less room for growth at the quarterback position in Tennessee.

If the fantasy community is right about Pickett experiencing the Year 2 bump, Pickens should make his way into the weekly WR3 conversation without much trouble.

San Francisco 49ers: Can Brock Purdy Sustain Three Pass Catchers for an Entire Season?

I don’t think so, and that is going to leave some fantasy managers in a tough spot with Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle all going in the first six rounds of early drafts. Samuel missed three of Purdy’s six regular season starts, but he failed to run more than 20 routes in two of his three games with Mr. Irrelevant under center. That’s simply not going to cut it.

Even with Samuel sitting half of those games, Kittle was held under 30 receiving yards in four of six Purdy starts. In the three games played with Samuel active and Purdy under center, Aiyuk saw a modest five targets per game (7.7 in the games Samuel sat).

I’m not actively targeting any of these pass catchers, but Aiyuk is the most tempting given the lower asking price (70th overall ADP, in the Diontae Johnson, Tyler Lockett and Marquise Brown tier of receiver).

Seattle Seahawks: How Much of an Impact Will the Rookies Have on the Incumbents?

Seattle brought in a pair of talented rookies to bolster their offensive depth, a nice move for their team but a pain for those of us trying to distribute weekly touches. Zach Charbonnet is a threat from the get-go to push Kenneth Walker III, while Jaxson Smith-Njigba proved in 2021 (95-1606-9) at Ohio State that he carries plenty of upside in his 6’1” frame.

At the end of the day, I’ve downgraded all of the Seahawks to a point where I’m unlikely to end up with any of them. Counting on Geno Smith to repeat his outlier season, even with the surplus of options, simply isn’t realistic, and that means we are spreading lesser numbers across more players. Not ideal.

Walker embraced his lead role late last season (78 carries over the final three weeks), something that isn’t going to be available this season. He also benefited greatly from Smith’s efficiency, as he recorded not one, not two, but three multi-score games in a five-week stretch. Volume and scoring upside like that is great if you can project it to continue, but that’s the catch … we can’t.

JSN figures to put more pressure on Metcalf than Lockett, but I think both fall back a bit. Even in an outlier Smith season that saw no other Seahawk reach 500 receiving yards, neither Metcalf nor Lockett reached 1,100 yards. I don’t see the rookie overtaking either veteran receiver, and of the three of them, I prefer Lockett at cost, but I am not going out of my way to select any of them.

This wasn’t an explosive pass game last season, and if a third viable option results in a flatter target distribution, we are looking at three players who all need to score consistently to justify a spot in your lineup.

Oh, and did I mention that both games against the 49ers come in the second half of the season? The Seahawks, as a team, are a fade for me.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: How Far Should These WRs Fall With Tom Brady No Longer Under Center?

When Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask is the answer to your question, you’re probably asking the wrong question. And yet, here we are, with one of them taking over for the retired GOAT. in Tampa Bay and thus the responsibility of feeding both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Even with Brady under center last season, Evans disappointed in a big way prior to his Week 17 explosion against the Panthers, the fantasy football equivalent of the “if a tree falls in the woods, but no one is around, does it make a sound” conundrum.

Over the past three seasons, 42.5% of Evans’ fantasy points have come via the touchdown reception, a trait that is fine if you trust the quarterback … but we don’t, and that’s why his ADP is 1.5 rounds later than Godwin’s.

I’m not sure that is a wide enough gap. Counting on this offense to score consistently isn’t wise, but they will be trailing on a regular basis (projection: six wins), and that favors a receiver like Godwin, who can pile up the catches. Make no mistake about it, I’m in zero rush to get any piece of this passing game, but I enter drafts with Evans crossed off, while Godwin isn’t a full fade.

Tennessee Titans: Is Chigoziem Okonkwo the Answer to Those Waiting To Draft a TE?

He’s on the shortlist, yep! Okonkwo is a threat with the ball in his hands, a nice skill to have for an offense led by Ryan Tannehill (20th in aDOT over the past two seasons).

Of course, we are talking about a low-volume offense that is going to make weekly production tough to come by, but Okonkwo did have a 25-plus yard catch or a touchdown in four of six games to end last season.

That’s enough these days to put you on the TE1 radar. If you don’t attack the position early, waiting until the double-digit rounds to select a guy like Okonkwo is the way to go … just be ready to cycle through options as information presents itself.

Washington Commanders: Next to Terry McLaurin, Who Is the Next-Most Valuable Commander?

The answer to this question is going to be a running back, it’s just a matter of picking the right one. Above (in the Chicago Bears section), I spoke about my affinity for drafting multiple backs late from the same backfield and just letting things play out. That is very much the strategy I’d employ here, but if you’re looking for a single name, I’m talking myself into Brian Robinson Jr. over Antonio Gibson.

The departure of J.D. McKissic opens up a pass-catching role that is assumed to be Gibson’s, but let’s not forget that Robinson did haul in 35 passes in 14 games with Alabama in 2022.

I’m not arguing that he is the preferred pass-catching back to Gibson, I’m just saying that nine catches in 12 games last season may be a bit misleading. If Robinson can push for 1.5 to two catches per game, I think he’s not only the most valuable Commander back, I think he stands to provide your fantasy team with a very nice spark in the middle rounds.

Robinson overcame a ton during his rookie season and still managed to show better than Gibson in yards per carry both before and after contact. That’s a good starting point, and given the changes this team has made up front, there is significant growth potential on the ground in Year 2, growth that I’m not sure is in Gibson’s range of outcomes.

The other player in consideration here is Jahan Dotson. The pride of Penn State showed well last season by finding paydirt seven times, but his profile is fragile, to say the least. He tips the scales at 182 pounds, and yet, he scored once on every five receptions last season.

Over the past decade, receivers under 190 pounds average a score once every 13.9 catches … a rate that would have landed Dotson with 2.5 scores instead of seven. I think he’s a talented player, but one that comes with more risk than reward after a fortunate rookie season has him firmly among the first 100 players drafted.

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