September 1, 2019 by squish
Written by Gerry Leung
Gerry has dedicated his entire life to sports. From playing college baseball at Umass Amherst to working for the Boston Red Sox, baseball was always his passion. But his love for analytics and data helped him land a position at DraftKings this past year. Although he was known for his signature spinning jubilation Fortnite emote in the office, he was also a prominent DFS Player. With over $50,000 in winnings, Gerry took the step forward to seek a new career opportunity. Gerry will join Squish and The Nosebleeds in headlining weekly fantasy football content.
For those of you like me who hate drafting early and dealing with early retirement…Thank you Capt. Andrew Luck for your service, this article will fit you nicely. Most of you will likely have a draft either tonight or within the next few days. Below I will outline some key players I think could be league winners.
5. James Conner (RB6)
If we take a look at the Steelers offensive profile from the past 2 years, they’ve ranked 5th and 9th in Play Volume. Conner broke out last year in PPR formats as the RB3 from weeks 1 through 10 before being sidelined due to injuries. Through his first 8 games he averaged nearly 24 touches for 136 yards with 10 touchdowns. Graded as one of Pro Football Focuses top 10 running back’s in Elusiveness and broken tackles, Conner profiles as an elite bell cow back. The Steelers also have a long history of committing to a one running back offense. With all 5 Offensive line starters returning this year and a healthy James Conner, we could see him as a top 3 back. Don’t be afraid to reach for Conner in the early to mid-first round.
4. Dalvin Cook (RB8)
I regret trading away Dalvin Cook last year in my dynasty league with health concerns and Latavius Murray potentially eating goal line caries. However, this year is much different. The Vikings have 140 carries unaccounted for with Latavius Murray’s departure, revamped their offensive line with Bradbury and Kline, and brought in Gary Kubiak who is committed on a run first approach. Cooks biggest issue is his health and that was a big flag coming out of FSU. Durability remains his biggest concern for 2019. He finished his last 5 weeks strong last year with an average of 104 yards and 5.7 yards per carry while also flashing receiving upside. With the Vikings dominant defense and likely playing with positive game script, he remains an exciting player to watch this year. Barring any setback or injuries I can see cook being a top 6 RB when healthy. Also If you are lucky enough, getting Conner and Cook in the late first and early second is a steal. Both players should be going in the first rounds.
3. Tyler Lockett (WR15)
Although the Seahawks are one of the leagues run heaviest team, they have 142 missing targets from 2018 and multiple injuries at the receiver position. They will be heading into week 1 with a starting 3 WR set of likely Tyler Lockett and inexperienced receivers Gary Jennings, John Ursua. Lockett dominated the slot last year where he had 26 catches for 454 yards and 5 TDs. He finished the season with 57 catches, 965 yards and 10 touchdowns. Flashing elite vision and playmaking ability with special teams early in the year, Lockett is the closest comp. to Tyreek Hill. With Baldwin retiring you can lock Tyler in as the primary slot guy for 2019. While he is due for major touchdown regression, volume alone should give him a safe floor with upside as a top 10 WR. All signs are pointing in the right direction for Lockett who seems to be in a prime spot to breakout again this year. Lockett will usually hang around till the 4th round but the secret may be out on him.
2. Donte Moncrief (WR35)
I’ve been getting lots of Donte Moncrief this year and I’ve been reaching for him as early as the 8th There really isn’t anybody that I am super interested in those middle rounds from 5-8 especially at their current ADP. The one receiver who I think could finish with or even above some of those guys in the middle rounds in Moncrief. Revisiting the Steelers offense, though they did finish 5th and 9th in play volume, they also finished 1st and 6th in pass attempts the past 2 years. They rank 5th in the league with 226 missing targets sans Antonio Brown and Jesse James. If you combined Antonio’s and Jesse’s total yards that’s nearly 1700 yards to make up for. Even if Big Ben doesn’t throw for 5000 yards again, I expect Moncrieff to pick up a huge chunk of AB’s workload. Also fun fact here, my good friend Justin once made a Madden player named Donte Moncrief not knowing he was a real player. Also if you don’t know Moncrief, he runs 4.4 flat at 6’2” 220 lbs. He will also have a big quarterback upgrade from Brissett, Bortles, and Kessler to Roethlisberger. Also if you have been a loyal watcher of preseason, you would have seen that Moncrief was in on all of Big Ben’s snaps, solidifying his role on this team.
- Lamar Jackson (QB9)
We finish our 5 last minute Players to Target with Lamar Jackson. Jackson has been buzzing in training camp reports and has looked good so far in preseason. He finished as the QB8 in weeks 11-17 after replacing Flacco last year and showed massive rushing upside. His biggest concern is his passing as he finished last year with a 33% off target throw rate. He has a lot of room for growth and new OC Greg Roman may be able to help. Roman helped fellow mobile Quarterbacks in Tyrod Taylor and Collin Kaepernick to have career years. We could easily see 3000 passing yards and 1000 rushing yards out of Jackson with TD upside on both ends. With a full offseason, Jackson should be able to come out with confidence in an offense completely built to suit his talent. The Ravens also face the league’s easiest run schedule which should bode well for Jackson. If your top QB’s are gone by the first 10 rounds, look for Lamar Jackson as early as the 12th.
Hope this article helps with some of you last minute drafters out there. These are some guys that I am high on this year. Remember seasons aren’t won by the Draft. They’re won by in season management. Best of luck to everyone participating in drafts this week!