2017 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Believe it or not, Zay Jones the top Bills receiver, Jared Goff and Rams look competent
There were a lot of disappointing performances in Week 2 of the preseason, but surprisingly Jared Goff wasn't one of them. Heath Cummings discusses the new-look Rams and other surprising developments.
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I spent a good part of last week analyzing the trades that went down the week before. I thought that would cover it, but the news doesn't stop in this league. The receiving corps in Buffalo got even thinner and we saw our first glance at the Rams with Sammy Watkins. These developments need to be discussed.
Of course, we also need to discuss some of the more dreadful performances we've seen this preseason. It's only been two weeks, but can we really ignore complete ineptitude? First we'll start with the recent news in Buffalo and Los Angeles.
It was one thing when Sammy Watkins left. At least then the Bills still had the veteran Boldin and Jordan Matthews to offer some stability. Then Matthews fractured his chest and Boldin decided to retire. Ouch!
The Bills are left with a mess of a receiving corps, led by the rookie Zay Jones. Jones has shown all kinds of potential in the preseason and has a college resume that shows he knows how to handle volume. In his final season at East Carolina he caught 158 passes for 1,746 yards.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Matthews is missing valuable time with Tyrod Taylor, but he should be healthy by Week 1 and he should be the first Bills' receiver drafted. Matthews has already experienced the growing pains that Jones will go through this season and should be a more reliable option.
While he's viewed as a disappointment, it's important to remember than Matthews had 152 catches and 16 touchdowns in his first two NFL seasons. His third year was a letdown, but he still has 1,000-yard and double-digit touchdown upside. It's really hard to imagine Jones approaching those numbers.
As long as Jones has an ADP after pick 120 overall, he's a fine upside play, but he shouldn't be drafted before the best receiver on the Bills.
"Jared Goff and the Rams offense look competent"
While there were some truly dreadful offensive performances in Week 2 of the preseason, and the Rams were surprisingly not one of them. Jared Goff completed 80 percent of his passes and averaged 8 yards per pass attempt. Todd Gurley ran for nearly 5 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. Cooper Kupp caught six passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
While new addition Sammy Watkins only caught two balls for 8 yards, it's clear that his addition makes this offense more formidable. Maybe more importantly, the Rams look like they have an offensive plan and some offensive creativity, which is a huge change from last season.
Verdict: Believe it.
You may not be drafting Goff in a standard league, but that doesn't make his performance irrelevant. It may mean we were too hasty in lowering Sammy Watkins in the rankings. It would definitely mean Todd Gurley should have more room to run.
I don't expect the Rams to suddenly turn into an offensive juggernaut, but respectability looks attainable. The Rams have a breakout candidate at receiver in Watkins and a bounce-back candidate at running back in Gurley. Kupp is looking more and more like an excellent sleeper. All of those players are fine values at their current ADP.
"Rex Burkhead is the best running back in New England"
We've already discussed this situation Mike Gillislee's hamstring issue continues to linger and you cannot make the club in the tub. Rex Burkhead shined in the passing game against the Texans and received seven carries as well., but
The Patriots had praised Burkhead's versatility earlier in camp and I mostly shrugged it off. It's too late for that now. While we're seeing his ADP climb, it's still nowhere close to Gillislee's, and that means Burkhead is a much better pick. He has No. 2 running back upside in this offense.
Verdict: Don't believe it.
Those seven carries of Burkhead's went for all of 20 yards. That's not how you lock down a job. While he has been impressive so far in camp, he's not done enough to make Gillislee (when healthy), James White or Dion Lewis irrelevant.
We jumped the gun naming Mike Gillislee the heir apparent to LeGarrette Blount, and we shouldn't do the same with Burkhead. It looks like no one will individually inherit the role and the Patriots running back situation will go back to being a mess. Burkhead is the best value of the group currently, but with all the hype he's getting that may change as soon as this weekend.
"I was too optimistic about Paul Perkins' opportunity in New York"
This is a tough pill to swallow. All summer Perkins has been drafted in Rounds 6-8 despite glowing reports out of New York and the fact the Giants added no legitimate competition. I was happy to draft him there and rank him among my top 20 running backs.
Through two weeks that looks foolish. Perkins has 12 yards on 11 preseason carries. That includes a 16-yard scamper from Monday night. While I don't blame Perkins for many of the failed runs (the offensive line has been an abomination), the factors working against him aren't likely to change once the games start counting. It's time to drop him down in my rankings.
Verdict: Believe it.
I dropped Perkins to 27 in my running back rankings and that's still higher than most. He's still the best back on the roster and I still expect him to lead the team in touches, but the offensive line doesn't look like they can block anyone.
Also, Shane Vereen is healthy and looks like he'll be the primary third down back which also limits Perkins' upside. He's still a fine pick in the eighth round and I'd rather have him than Terrance West or Jonathan Stewart, but his value has definitely taken a hit.
Blake Bortles' career took another downward turn in Week 2, and now there's a quarterback competition in Jacksonville. Bortles had a disappointing 2016, but he still produced Fantasy points. This summer he's been even worse, with reports of turnover-filled practices and Allen Robinson yelling at him for bad throws.
This is a disastrous turn of events for Bortles' career, the Jaguars team and Robinson's Fantasy value. You need to downgrade all of your Jaguars (yes even Leonard Fournette) in anticipation that this could be a long year in Jacksonville.
Verdict: Believe it.
Robinson was ranked as No. 2 receiver with upside. That upside was based on the year he had in 2015 and the idea that Bortles could bounce back in 2017. It's looking more and more like that upside does not exist.
Robinson doesn't need his quarterback to be great. We've seen that, but he's in a situation with an awful quarterback on a team that wants to run the ball. He needs to be downgraded into the low-end No. 2 receivers, and even there he may be miscast.
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