NFL Week 1 Preview – Here We Go!

Author: Steven Van Tassel (@SteveVT33)

Football is back! Things were looking bleak a few months ago when all sports were shut down, but the NBA, NHL and MLB are all playing right now and here comes the NFL! There will be fewer fans in the stands (if any at all in certain places), but football will be on your TV starting with Thursday Night Football between the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans. And Dynasty Owner is back for its second season, the first one with 12-team leagues, but still with real NFL salaries and a hard $110 million salary cap. To all of the returning Dynasty Owners, welcome back and thanks for playing again and reading this preview. For the new Dynasty Owners, thanks for joining us and let’s go over how we do this weekly preview article.

Every week of the regular season and playoffs, we’ll present a set of players at each position (QB, RB, WR, TE) who you should have as a Starter in your Dynasty Owner lineup as well as one player per position who should be on your Bench or Practice Squad. We won’t recommend a kicker to Start or Bench though (you’re welcome to all of the people who hate kickers in fantasy football, particularly Kyle Webster). These won’t be the obvious choices for Starters, like go ahead and start Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas and Travis Kelce (as if you weren’t going to do that already if you have them), but guys who might not be highly owned or who were drafted to be a backup. For the Bench or Practice Squad choices, we’ll find typical Starters who shouldn’t be in your Starting lineup for the week based on matchups or past performance against a team. It’ll be a little bit harder without pre-season games to review, but we need to proceed without the benefit of that information.

Finally, we will look at one Dynasty Owner game, our Match-up of the Week. For the Match-up of the Week, we will look at the overall projected score and then each team’s Starters and Bench to see how their current lineups are projected to produce. For the first week of the season, we have a special Match-Up of the Week planned.

All stats are based on the Standard Dynasty Owner scoring system as outlined in the updated Dynasty Owner Constitution. Standard Dynasty Owner scoring gives you .1 points for every yard rushing or receiving, .1 point for every 2 yards passing, 1 point per reception, 6 points for a rushing, receiving or passing touchdown and 2 points for a successful 2-point conversion (rushing, receiving, or passing). Interceptions or fumbles lost cost you 3 points, while a fumble that is recovered by the player’s team is a loss of only 1 point. Bonus points are available for 100-199 yards rushing (2 points), 200 yards rushing or receiving (6 points), 300-399 yards passing (1 point) and 400 yards passing (4 points). There is also a 3 point bonus for clutch scoring, which is a score that results in a lead change in the final two minutes of the 4th quarter or overtime. Kickoff and punt return touchdowns are worth 6 points for the player and kickoff and punt returns are worth 1 point for every 40 yards.

Standard Dynasty Owner scoring for kickers gives you 1 point for every extra point, while a missed extra point will cost you 1 point. It’s 2 points for a field goal of between 0 and 39 yards, 4 points for a field goal between 40 and 49 yards and 5 points for a field goal of 50 yards or longer. A missed field goal of between 0 and 39 yards will cost you 3 points, while a miss of 40 yards or more is a loss of 2 points.

For the purposes of this article, ADP and Dynasty Owner ownership statistics were current as of September 9th.

These Guys Should be Starters This Week

Usually, we look to see how my recommendations from the previous week worked out (Good, Bad or Just Ok), but seeing as this is Week 1, we don’t have a previous week to review. Instead, let’s take a look at how my 2019 season predictions at each position so everyone can judge whether or not to pay attention to these recommendations. There were no Week 1 or Week 17 predictions, so we just have 15 weeks of predictions.

  • QB: Good – 5 weeks (33%); Bad – 7 weeks (47%); Just Ok – 3 weeks (20%)
  • RB: Good – 7 weeks (47%); Bad – 6 weeks (40%); Just Ok – 2 weeks (13%)
  • WR: Good – 7 weeks (47%); Bad – 6 weeks (40%); Just Ok – 2 weeks (13%)
  • TE: Good – 5 weeks (33%); Bad – 7 weeks (47%); Just Ok – 3 weeks (20%)
  • All: Good – 24 weeks (40%); Bad – 26 weeks (43%); Just Ok – 10 weeks (17%)

Overall, an average performance in 2019 with two more Bad recommendations than Good ones. In addition to the overall stats, let the record show that there were two weeks with four Good recommendations (Week 3 with Jacoby Brissett, Frank Gore, Nelson Agholor and Greg Olsen and Week 13 with Mitchell Trubisky, Derrius Guice, Cole Beasley and Jack Doyle). Let’s get off to a good start in 2020 with four good recommendations of players who should be Starters this week.

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB – SF): In both games last year against Arizona, Jimmy G had over 40.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. In Week 9, he had 41.1 points and in Week 11, it was 46.9 points. It’s true that several 49ers WRs are banged up right now, but he had his best week of the 2019 season at home against Arizona in Week 11 with his #1 receiving option in George Kittle out injured. Please look at the numbers and don’t discount this recommendation based on my past presidency in the Jimmy Garoppolo Fan Club.

Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI): David Montgomery’s status for the season opening game versus Detroit is unknown, but he did suffer a groin injury back on August 26th and was expected to miss 2-4 weeks. If he is out or plays a limited number of snaps, that means more Tarik Cohen for the Bears. Cohen did well in two games against the Lions in 2019 (21.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points combined) with one receiving TD. However, Montgomery also caught a receiving TD in one of the games against the Lions last year and they allowed eight receiving TDs to RBs in total all season (tied with Houston for the most in the NFL in 2019). Cohen could even pick up more rushing attempts this week with Montgomery’s injury. Cohen is a definite starter this week in either one of your RB spots or at the FLEX position.

DeSean Jackson (WR – PHI): With Alshon Jeffery and first round draft pick Jalen Reagor likely out for the Eagles Week 1 game against the Redskins, DeSean Jackson becomes the top WR in Philadelphia. And boy did Jackson love playing Week 1 versus his old football team last year. He had 35.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in Week 1 (8 receptions, 154 yards, 2 receiving TDs) against them and could be in line for similar production in the 2020 season opener. He is only owned in 36% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but if you took a chance on Jackson and his $9.3 million salary, this is the week to put him in your Starting lineup and see if he’s still worth it.

Jordan Reed (TE – SF): After 65 games over six seasons in Washington before missing the entire 2019 season with concussion issues, Jordan Reed is now George Kittle’s backup in San Francisco. Reed will be reunited with Coach Kyle Shanahan who was his offensive coordinator in his rookie season in Washington, one in which he had 45 receptions for 499 yards and 3 TDs in just 9 games. Still, he’s a backup and only owned in 17% of Dynasty Owner leagues, why should Dynasty Owners go out and pick Reed up off the Free Agent Auction and insert him into their Starting Lineup or Bench? Answer: It’s all about the matchup against the Arizona Cardinals who had the worst defense in the NFL in 2019 against TEs. They allowed an average of 19.2 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per game to TEs last season. In Week 11, Kittle was out for the 49ers and Ross Dwelley scored 17.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (4 receptions, 14 yards, 2 TDs) against the Cardinals. Plus the 49ers receiving corps are banged up and Kittle has been promoting the idea of using all four 49ers TEs at once (https://www.nbcsports.com/bayarea/49ers/george-kittle-wants-49ers-run-four-tight-end-sets-jordan-reed). Even if they just run a lot of two TE sets, Reed will be on the field a lot in Week 1. Obviously, you start Kittle this week, but feel comfortable putting Reed in your lineup as well.

These Guys Should Be on the Bench (or Practice Squad) This Week

Now it’s time to look at how my Bench recommendations from the previous week worked out (Good, Bad or Just Ok), but again seeing as this is Week 1, we have to take a look at how my 2019 season predictions fared at each position. Everyone can judge whether or not to pay attention to these 2020 Bench recommendations based on my 2019 performance. There were no Week 1 or Week 17 predictions, so we just have 15 weeks of predictions.

  • QB: Good – 6 weeks (40%); Bad – 4 weeks (27%); Just Ok – 5 weeks (33%)
  • RB: Good – 5 weeks (33%); Bad – 6 weeks (40%); Just Ok – 4 weeks (27%)
  • WR: Good – 5 weeks (33%); Bad – 5 weeks (33%); Just Ok – 5 weeks (33%)
  • TE: Good – 9 weeks (60%); Bad – 4 weeks (27%); Just Ok – 2 weeks (13%)
  • All: Good – 25 weeks (42%); Bad – 19 weeks (32%); Just Ok – 16 weeks (27%)

My Bench predictions were a little better than my Starter predictions. Bench predictions for TEs were where I shined the most with 60% Good recommendations. Like my Starter recommendations, I also had two weeks with four Good Bench recommendations in 2019 (Week 7 with Kyler Murray, Kerryon Johnson, Terry McLaurin and Jared Cook and Week 12 with Aaron Rodgers, Josh Jacobs, Amari Cooper and Gerald Everett). Let’s see if we can get off to a good start in 2020 with four good recommendations of players who should be sitting on the Bench or hanging out with the Practice Squad this week.

Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB): Rodgers doesn’t really like playing at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. He’s played four games there since the stadium opened in 2016. In 2017, he broke his collarbone and the other three games haven’t been a whole lot better than that. He has averaged 14.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the three games he played at the stadium (not including 2017) with no more than 216 yards passing in a single game. He’s also had 1 TD pass twice and zero TD passes once. He did rush for a TD in 2016 when he scored 17.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. In 2018, it was 15.9 points and by last year, he was down to 9.5 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. He is only rostered in 34% of Dynasty Owner leagues, but to those owners with him on their team, leave him on the Bench or Practice Squad this week.

Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE): With an ADP of 60.2, Dynasty Owners drafted Hunt to either start in one of their RB slots or at least in the FLEX position. Hunt only played in eight games and in only two of them did he score less than 10.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Week 16 against the Ravens was one of them. Hunt got most of his Dynasty Owner fantasy points in the receiving game last year (71.5 of out 99.6 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). The Ravens were one of the best teams in the NFL last year at stopping RBs from catching the football, allowing only 60 receptions for 454 yards and 1 receiving TD by a RB. Even though it’s a new coach and offensive coordinator in Cleveland, the Ravens defense should be tough again this year, so leave Hunt on your Bench this week on the road against Baltimore.

Amari Cooper (WR – DAL): The Cowboys face the Rams on the road in their first game of the 2020 season with Cooper having missed four straight practices before practicing in full on Wednesday. That’s a series of bad things for Amari Cooper’s Dynasty Owners. As I’ve noted before, Cooper has been a Bench option playing on the road in his career as a Cowboy – averaging only 9.8 Dynasty Owner fantasy points in eight road games in 2019 and 8.4 Dynasty Owner fantasy points per road game in four road games for the Cowboys in 2018. He’s also playing against a top cornerback in Jalen Ramsey and back in Week 12 of the 2019 when he played against another top CB on the road (Stephen Gilmore of the Patriots), he was on the Bench These Guys list and got a Blutarsky (0.0 Dynasty Owner fantasy points). Ramsey also held him to 2.9 Dynasty Owner fantasy points (1 reception for 19 yards) in Week 15 last year. All of that means Cooper should be on your Dynasty Owner Bench (or Practice Squad if you’re stacked at WR) to start the 2020 season.

Evan Engram (TE – NYG): As the sixth TE off the board on average in Dynasty Owner drafts (ADP 84.3), you didn’t draft Engram to have him on your Bench. However, he’s also not going to be playing the Pittsburgh Steelers defense every week like he is in Week 1. Last year, the Steelers defense was tied for 24th place in receptions allowed to TEs and 29th in yards allowed. They did allow 8 receiving TDs to TEs, but two of them came in Week 2 against Seattle before they acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. In general, it’s probably a good idea to sit players going up against the Steelers defense, so get Engram out of your Starting lineup and on your Bench.

Dynasty Owner Matchup of the Week – New York’s Strongest vs. VIP Club Dub

It’s time for our first Dynasty Owner Match-up of the Week for the 2020 season. While all of the Week 1 Match-ups are compelling and worthy of previewing, there’s really only one team that has to be mentioned here and that’s 2019 Chase for the Ring winner Eddie Driscoll and New York’s Strongest. He’s still the only undefeated player in Dynasty Owner history (if you didn’t play in 2019, you don’t qualify for that honor) and while Eddie has more than one team, he helped put together a league of beta users from 2019 to see if he could knock off the “best of the best” in Dynasty Owner. Will Eddie continue his winning streak, or will Anthony Heuther and his VIP Club Dub squad be the first Dynasty Owner team to defeat New York’s Strongest? At first glance, based on the exclusive Dynasty Owner scoring projections for each team’s current lineup, we see that VIP Club Dub is favored to win by 15.1 points (143.8 to 128.7).

So how is VIP Club Dub predicted to take down the Champ so decisively?  Let’s look each team’s Starters:

New York’s Strongest has the advantage at RB with Barkley and Gordon over Ingram and David Johnson, but VIP Club Dub overwhelms Eddie at TE by having Travis Kelce over T.J. Hockenson. That advantage gives VIP Club Dub an overall 8.9 point lead from his Starters.

On to the Bench where, as a reminder for new players, Dynasty Owners get 20% of their Bench scoring added to their overall point total. Each team has the following players on their Bench right now.

VIP Club Dub has a significant advantage right now with the Bench scoring and is projected to outscore New York’s Strongest at every position. The 31.5 point margin equals an extra 6.3 Dynasty Owner fantasy points for VIP Club Dub.

The projections have VIP Club Dub as the winner of this week’s Match-up of the Week, but nothing is official until Monday Night Football is over. Check out the Tuesday recap article to see who actually won and if your team was good enough to make it on to the first Chase for the Ring Leaderboard of 2020.

Conclusion

Please read the preview article each week, maybe your team will be featured in the Matchup of the Week. Remember that there will be a recap article coming out every Tuesday and a preview article posted every Friday throughout the Dynasty Owner season. We will also have articles from Chris Wolf (@ckwolf21), Matt Morrison – The Jerk (@Dynastyjerk) and Jay Poundsee (@jaypoundsnfl) during the season as well. Follow all four of us plus Dynasty Owner (@Dynasty_Owner) on Twitter.

There will also be a weekly Tuesday Live YouTube podcast with the creator of Dynasty Owner and Dynasty Owner O.G. Paul Gabrail, Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer and Seth Kerechanin, the voice of Dynasty Owner. The podcast series with myself and Dynasty Owner CEO Tim Peffer will continue with weekly videos that will be posted on the Dynasty Owner channel on YouTube and other places (iTunes, Spotify, Spreaker). You can catch up with older videos and tutorials there as well. Tune in to learn more about Dynasty Owner, see how our predictions did and help you set your weekly lineup. Subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure to “Like” all of the videos to help promote them. Dynasty Owner is rapidly closing in on 500 subscribers on YouTube and thank you all for watching and listening. All of this great content is available to help you win your Dynasty Owner league and maybe become the winner of the 2020 Chase for the Ring!

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner

Roster Roundup – Round Eight: AFC West

Taking A Dive Into The Rosters From Around The League

Author: Chris Wolf

This time of year is typically the time when teams, trainers and agents hype up their players. We know how the world has changed in recent months and the NFL is no different in its approach to returning to “normalcy”. With the news of NFL staff and players testing positive for the Coronavirus, fantasy news is taking a backseat. As a result, fantasy players are missing out on the typical hyperbole surrounding pre-season roster news and notes.

In this series we will look at who’s who on rosters and how that may help in your drafts and early waivers.

Each week we will examine a division’s skill position current roster and predictive depth chart heading into training camp to see how that relates to their fantasy outlook.

Denver Broncos

HC: Vic Fangio

OC: Pat Shurmur

QB: Drew Lock, Jeff Driskel

RB: Melvin Gordon, Phillip Lindsay, Royce Freeman, Andrew Beck

WR: Cortland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, DaeSean Hamilton, Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler, Tyrie Cleveland

TE: Noah Fant, Nick Vannett, Albert Okwuegbunam, Jake Butt

This offense is very young. This defense is very experienced. If the two can come together, the Denver Broncos can make some noise in this division. Drew Lock flashed promise in his inaugural season as the Bronco’s signal-caller and brings excitement to this extremely young group. In his 5 career games, Lock posted 204 ypg in an offense that didn’t appear to be quite ready for him. His yards per attempt are sure to increase from 6.5 a clip and his 1.4 TD to 0.6 INT would extrapolate to 22.4/9.6 over a full season. That was without an improved offensive line and new weapons at RB, WR, and TE. Even though John Elway didn’t exactly give his then rookie a boost of confidence after going 4-1 to end the season, Lock is back as the starter and is in a fantastic position to prove that he was worth Denver’s no.42 overall pick in last year’s draft.

The running back position is deep and returns a good amount of game experience. Melvin Gordon is the new toy in Lock’s toy chest, and he should receive the bulk of the snaps. He is the best receiver in the backfield and after his notorious zero TD rookie season, he has scored at least eight rushing touchdowns over the last 4 years. If you listen to coach speak, Fangio designates both Gordon and Lindsay as equal starters, but reason would tell you the splits would favor the more productive Gordon. Lindsay is no slouch and he has flashed in his first two years in the league. In both years he ran for over 1,000 yards and recorded exactly 35 receptions in both years. The receptions may come down, but the yards don’t necessarily have to. This team wants to run the ball, but it has enough talent in the passing game to keep the defenses honest. It is within the realm of possibility that the team could support two 1,000-yard rushers in Gordon and Lindsay. The odd man out appears to be Royce Freeman. Freeman has seen more stacked boxes in the last two years than anyone else in football. He is a solid talent and a superior pass blocker to Lindsay so he may still have some value on your bench.

The 2020 draft was kind to Lock by granting him two dynamic receivers. Jerry Jeudy “fell” to pick number 15 where the Denver Broncos pounced and selected the best route runner to come out of college in years. Jeudy was running NFL caliber routes in Alabama embarrassing most of the competition along the way. He slots into the starting line up across from 2019 breakout Courtland Sutton. Sutton was near QB proof posting a 72/1112/6-line catching passes from the likes of Brandon Allen, Joe Flacco, and Drew Lock. After grading out as PFF’s #16 wide receiver, Sutton is a safe bet to lead this team once again in most receiving categories with a much-improved supporting cast around him.  DaeSean Hamilton (28rec/297yds/1TD) and Tim Patrick (16rec/218yds/0TD’s) return as rotational players in the group but the other rising rookie is KJ Hamler. Hamler’s second-round selection was overshadowed by Jeudy’s but do not let that dull the fact that he will be an important part of this offense. The Penn State product is a smaller statured player, but he is the definition of dynamic. He is a slippery route runner that can turn a defender around and then run past his teammates. Sutton and Jeudy will be the volume play but Hamler will take the lid off defenses. Noah Fant was a pre-draft darling this fantasy season. He will get the snaps to keep him on the field due to his above-average blocking and route running. He is not the most polished route runner where he takes some time getting out of his breaks, but he can run past 90% of the linebackers on any given Thursday, Sunday, or Monday. His upper-level speed for a TE will make him an intriguing fantasy TE play in 2020. His rookie line mate Albert Okwuegbunam is a sure-handed possession type receiving TE who has been used to get the sure completions instead of big explosive plays. His big frame will be a welcome addition for Lock when he needs to find his chain moving target.

Kansas City Chiefs

HC: Andy Reid

OC: Eric Bienemy

QB: Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne

RB: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Darwin Thompson, Anthony Sherman

WR: Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle, Marcus Kemp

TE: Travis Kelce, Nick Keizer, Ricky Seals-Jones, Deon Yelder

The Super Bowl champs return for another run at the title and still have a lot of kept cogs in place. On offense that specifically means all-world QB Patrick Mahomes, the elite TE Travis Kelce, and the self-proclaimed fastest man in the NFL-Tyreek Hill. Sprinkle in one of the best running backs in the 2020 draft and you have the makings of yet another elite Kansas City offense.

Mahomes struck gold in 2020 with his 10yr $450million salary to pave the way for many championship runs to come. Still only 24 years old and only 2 full years of experience under his belt, Mahomes is already in the conversation of greatness. Go back and look at his stats and you will see that he never really had a bad game. Sure, there were “okay” games in there but never a bad one. In his 31 career starts, he has amassed 9412 yards, 76 TD’s to just 19 INT’s. His adjusted completion percentage was good enough for 6th in 2019 and 5th in 2018 among QB’s that started at least 10 games. His overall passing grade (PFF) was 6th in 2019 and 2nd in 2018. To sum it up, 2018 was clearly his better statistical season (he also played 2.5 more games) but his 2019 efficiency rate was higher, and he just happened to lead his team to the championship podium.

The nearly Super Bowl MVP Damien Williams has decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19. In comes 1st round pick, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, the dynamic pass-catching running back out of national champion LSU. CEH garnered first-team All-ACC accolades after rushing for 1,414 yards and 16 TD’s during his breakout junior year. He will not kill you with straight-line speed evidenced by his 4.60 40 yd time, but he may make you miss in space thanks to his fantastic balance and footwork. His backfield mate, Darrel Williams is the better pass-blocking back and the more experienced of the two. He figures to work alongside CEH in the early parts of the season to allow the rookie time to acclimate to the NFL. Last year’s sleeper darling, Darwin Thompson was good enough to be active over LeSean McCoy in the Super Bowl as well as being kept as the third man in this backfield.

The freak himself, Tyreek Hill will enter this season a more rounded NFL receiver. Opposing teams now must defend more than just a straight-line burner, reportedly he spent the offseason with a receiving coach to work on the intricacies of the position. He seemed to adjust during the playoffs and gained steam as the final tournament wore on. The Texans did everything legal in football to Michael Jordan him out of the game plan with him coming away with 3 catches for 41 yards on four targets in the Divisional round. He followed that up next week with a

 7-67-2 TD’s performance against the Titans and then 9-105 in the Super Bowl. He suffered through multiple injuries in 2019 but did not have any off-field issues which was positive for the 26-year-old. He will give you more non-WR1 weeks than live up to his draft capital, but he is an elite weapon that can score as much as two WR’s in any given week.

Sammy Watkins is the number 2 WR and the 27-year-old former 1st rounder has had an interesting career. Entering his 7th season, he has flashed brilliance at times while playing for three different teams, but consistency has always eluded him. Not being “the no.1 guy” has assuredly helped but he works more into a receiving rotation in the WR corps and that may just be what suits him best. Mecole Hardman is the young dynamo speedster that was used as a situational mismatch in his rookie year. Like Hill early in his career, his game is built on speed and not volume. He is a true weapon in the return game as well as downfield evidenced by his 26-538-6 td stat line in 2019. Demarcus Robinson rounds out the top four receivers of this exciting group. Robinson had two solid games filling in for Hill last season and returns to the team on a 1 year $2.3million contract as a coaching staff’s favorite.

The actual number 1 receiving option in this offense is TE Travis Kelce. Out of the top four receivers mentioned, Kelce had 49% of the team’s target share when comparing the five of them. That is high volume for the tight end position. Kelce is a unicorn and his game changing ability has been demonstrated time and again as he always appears to come up big just when the chiefs need him. He is a sure-fire top 2 TE in the league and is not going anywhere with his 4 yr $57 million salary. There isn’t much behind him on the depth chart nor does there have to be for the way this offense operates. If Kelce is viewed as a number one receiver and not a $14 million TE, his Dynasty Owner salary becomes that much more palatable.

Las Vegas Raiders

HC: Jon Gruden

OC: Greg Olson

QB: Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota, Nathan Peterman

RB: Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Devontae Booker, Alec Ingold

WR: Henry Ruggs III, Hunter Renfrow, Bryan Edwards, Nelson Agholor, Zay Jones, Rico Gaffer

TE: Darren Waller, Foster Moreau, Jason Witten, Derek Carrier

Chucky is back and the black and silver have a different look to their passing game this year. Gruden is exceptional at scripting his plays and allowing the offensive momentum to stack series by series. The knock on him is in-game adjustments if something was to go completely awry. He and GM Mike Mayock went out and fortified their back-up QB position with former no.2 overall pick Marcus Mariota (currently on IR) and kept the great Nathan Peterman on the roster who is now serving as the direct back-up to Carr. Carr is not as conservative as he is efficient, especially since Gruden came to town. He is the epitome of a “Steady Eddie” QB that will not lose you many fantasy matchups, but he also won’t win you many either. He rarely misses any games (2 out of 96) he always hovers around 4,000 yards a season and recently right around 20 TD’s. He is a much better real-life QB rather than a fantasy one. Hopefully, you will not be relying on him for any other reason than a bye week.

For many, Josh Jacobs ($2.98m) was the number one back in the NFL draft last year. He did not have a bad year by any stretch, in his 13 games played he totaled 1150 yards and 7 TD’s. The mini let down was his use in the passing games tallying only 20 receptions. The Raiders claimed to want to get him more involved but the consistent addition of pass-catching backs to the roster makes you take pause. He is a clear bet to receive over 275 touches in both the run and pass game and is a locked-in solid starter for your team. His range of outcomes could place him anywhere in the RB5-RB14 range this year. Jalen Richard returns to his same expected role of a breather back that is used in the hurry-up as well and won’t add any stand-alone value as long as Jacobs is upright. Booker is the third back that is also in the third-down-back-mold that totaled 9 rushing yards in 16 games last year. Jacobs offers elite volume for your team and he should eat this year.

The Receiving corps got some upgrades this year and it’s something to be excited about. Ruggs was taken at #12 overall and Gruden’s selection of him would make Al Davis smile from ear to ear. Gruden covets speed at the Z position and Ruggs has speed to burn. He only logged 98 career catches in the crowded Alabama passing attack, but he did a lot with a little. His 4.27 speed will bring even more heat to the desert when Las Vegas opens Allegiant Stadium.  Lining up across from him will be fellow rookie Bryan Edwards ($1.17m) who is quickly becoming “Carr’s guy”. Edwards had a stellar four-year career at South Carolina while logging the third-most receptions in SEC history with 324. He is a sure-handed receiver with nice hands that do not allow the ball to come to his body. He impressed so much with his after the catch ability that he was also utilized in the screen game as well as getting backfield snaps in college.

Renfrow ($708k) had put together a nice rookie season with 49 grabs on 71 targets for 605yds and 4 TD’s. He is an ideal complement to the two rookies who will be starting outside and the three of them will make for an interesting trio to watch develop over the years. At TE, Darren Waller returns and looks to follow up on his 2019 Cinderella season. Waller hung 90 catches on 1145 yards on the season but with just 3 TD’s. He is an athletic freak out of GA Tech that took a few years to come around, but he finally popped in his age 26 season as the team’s number one target in the passing game. Joining him is the one-foot-in-the-broadcasting-booth veteran Jason Witten. Witten missed playing the game so much in 2018, he traded his toupee for a helmet and vacated his position calling games. He was knowingly brought in for his locker room leadership and we should all be spared of watching the once stud TE lumber around the field.

Los Angeles Chargers

HC:  Anthony Lynn

OC: Shane Steichen

QB: Tyrod Taylor, Justin Herbert, Easton Stick

RB: Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley

WR: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Jaylen Guyton, KJ Hill, Joe Reed, Jason Moore

TE: Hunter Henry, Virgil Green, Stephen Anderson, Donald Parham

This team was built for defense and it shows on offense. Head Coach Anthony Lynn wants to run the ball in the worst way to set up the intermediate passing attack. They did make some changes on the offensive line, but the issue is these are a lot of “name guys” along the offensive front and their grades do not exactly spell production. Tyrod Taylor is a well-respected player that is a bargain as a QB2-3 at just $5.5million.  Although he is just a 2020 placeholder for Justin Herbert, Taylor offers solid rushing ability and an underrated deep ball touch. Herbert is the future leader of this franchise and it would probably do him best to learn for the entire season ala Mahomes and Alex Smith in 2017. Herbert is a big-armed guy that can also move when needed as evidenced by his 4.68 speed at 6’6” 236lbs. Herbert has elite arm talent but will need to clean up his fumbling issue that plagued him in his four years at Oregon.

This backfield timeshare will be interesting to watch unfold. As a fantasy community we view Austin Ekeler as the clear-cut starter, and he is being drafted as the workhorse back. But those closer to the situation, especially the beat writers are alluding to a much more three headed attack approach as opposed to a bellcow and two backups. Ekeler should absolutely be the more valuable back to have rostered especially for his ability to vacuum up almost any incoming pass. But I would not dismiss Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley from having a bigger role than what we are sensing. Jackson is one of those do-it-all guys that coaching staffs love and Kelley has been labeled as a “violent runner” by his defensive teammates. All three can play on passing downs but that’s where Ekeler shines. Hovering around 550 yards rushing for each of the last two years, he took a massive leap forward in 2019 going from 53 targets to 108 resulting in 92 catches for 993 yards and 8 TD’s. Those are WR1 numbers that you are getting from a running back.

Keenan Allen ($20m) returns with a chip on his shoulder in that he feels he is not viewed as elite by the public and media. He picked Twitter fights with more than one wide receiver striving to prove his point. Whether he is elite, or not Allen has put together a strong resume especially since returning from back to back injury plagued seasons. He has worn the “injury” tag for the last few years because he had two freak injuries in consecutive years (2015 lacerated kidney, 2016 torn ACL). Since then he has put together 3 straight campaigns averaging 6 touchdowns, 1263 yards, and 101 receptions while playing in every game. Those numbers are solid if not elite. Mike Williams ($4.9m) is the big bodied down field receiver just starting to come into his own. He has been dinged up, often carrying the questionable tag but he is a beast when he’s healthy. He hasn’t quite been a volume receiver as of yet and that doesn’t appear to change in 2020 but hopefully, he can return to his TD scoring ways of 2018 where he cashed in 43 receptions for 10 touchdowns. That success rate was surely due for regression, but it appears the regression gods went a bit too far by only granting him 2 touchdowns on 49 receptions. When going three wide, Allen will find his home in the slot opening the outside for second year player Jalen Guyton. Guyton ($540k) brings another dimension to the receiving trio by offering his 4.37 forty speed on the outside. Guyton was a former 4-star recruit that had two total targets and zero receptions in his rookie year. Joe Reed and KJ Hill are promising young talents with little fantasy value in this run first team.

Hunter Henry ($10.6m) will be playing under the franchise tag for the 2020 season and both sides have shown real interest in continuing their relationship after this year. The 25-year-old Henry is a fine tight end that has seen volume targets that have increased every year, but he has a hard time staying healthy. He has yet to play a complete season, but he claims this year is the best he’s felt so far.  His reception totals have gone from 36 to 45 to 55 in the last few seasons so there’s hope for a 50-60 catch season if the trend were to continue. Behind him is Virgil Green who is a fine #2 TE in real life football but offers zero fantasy appeal.

That wraps up our 8-part Roster Roundup series. We hope you enjoyed it! Now to enjoy some football!

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