2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Experts defend LeSean McCoy, Andrew Luck rankings
Our experts disagree on a lot. Today, we're looking at places they agree, and why they maybe shouldn't.
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We use Slack to communicate internally, and now we're going to use it to communicate with you guys. Every Wednesday, we're going to have our trio of Fantasy football experts — Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings — discuss (and maybe debate) their rankings. I'm trying to break them up where they agree this week.
chris.towers: Let's take a look at some of the trendier names from around the league as training camps close and preseason action heats up. Royce Freeman and Kerryon Johnson have over the last week or so. How high could you see yourselves moving those guys with more good preseason performances.
jamey.eisenberg: Oh boy, here we go. Two guys that I LOOOOOOOVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEE.
dave.richard: Jamey's moving them behind Gurley, ahead of Le'Veon.
jamey.eisenberg: I've already moved Freeman into my top 20, and Johnson is right behind him at No. 22. I can see Freeman going to No. 18 by this weekend, and Johnson could move into the top 20. Both are set up for a big year given their roles with their respective teams.
heath.cummings: I have Freeman at 19 now, and he could climb as high as 14 once I feel more comfortable the Broncos aren't going to do something silly to start the season. I've moved Kerryon up to 24th in non-PPR and it will be harder for me to move him too much higher. The combination (and roles) of Theo Riddick and LeGarrette Blount scare me more than Devontae Booker
jamey.eisenberg: You know what, I'm moving Freeman to No. 18 right now.
jamey.eisenberg: I don't want any part of McCoy, and he's only in my top 20 because of his potential volume IF he stays healthy. Good luck drafting him before Round 4 though because I expect a breakdown.
dave.richard: It's tempting to put Freeman into the third round mix — full-time Broncos running backs have a pretty good track record. Johnson makes me a little nervous — Riddick and Blount don't scare me, Heath, it's their coordinator insisting on using multiple backs that scares me. That could take Johnson off the field and cap his Fantasy upside. Injury concerns and a heavy workload at Auburn last year also keep me from ratcheting up the hype on Johnson.
jamey.eisenberg: Drake makes me nervous because, as our former colleague Joy Taylor used to say: "Dolphins gonna Dolphin." I can see the Dolphins screwing around with Drake's touches because of Frank Gore.
dave.richard: *whispers from behind a wall*: I still like Ronald Jones better than both Freeman and Kerryon.
jamey.eisenberg: *SCREAMS IN FRONT OF YOUR FACE*: You're crazy.
heath.cummings: Too bad Dirk Koetter likes Peyton Barber more than Ronald Jones.
dave.richard: If I had a dollar for every time Jamey called me crazy ... I'd have, like, $200
chris.towers: I want to circle back to McCoy for a minute, because I think he's interesting.
My thought with McCoy is: Yes, he may breakdown. He's a big risk. (There's also the looming potential of a suspension, though that seems less likely today than it did a few weeks ago).
How many backs would you expect to have more carries, if everyone stays healthy. Five? Seven?
How many backs would you expect to have more catches? Probably the same amount?
Isn't there top-10 upside there, even if the offense stinks?
jamey.eisenberg: Three new offensive linemen.
Potential for bad quarterback play.
dave.richard: Tell me Chris, is there calorie-free ice cream in this perfect universe you're living in?
heath.cummings: If he's healthy I'd guess he'll be top-6 in touches among running backs
jamey.eisenberg: He has toooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many carries and touches on that body.
heath.cummings: I have him 15th at RB and I don't like it. But he does have top-8 upside, that's undeniable. He also has a scary floor.
dave.richard: over 2,200 career carries and over 450 career receptions
chris.towers: Tooooooo many carries to be ranked as a top-10 guy, sure. Probably too many to be a top-15 guy. But we talk about this all of the time: Every single player becomes a value at some point. At RB20, isn't he there?
heath.cummings: Based on 16-game projections (that don't care about your fears), McCoy is 10th. One spot ahead of Alvin Kamara in non-PPR
One thing about the carry concerns ... he has all those carries because he's stayed healthy.
jamey.eisenberg: If he's there in Round 4, I'll take a chance. Otherwise, no thanks.
"Stayed" being the key word.
Breakdown potential is high.
dave.richard: And I think we're really underselling the offense around him. It's UG-LY.
heath.cummings: Maybe even a worse offense than the Cardinals.
chris.towers: I'll take another stab at breaking through your consensus wall:
Why shouldn't Odell Beckham be ahead of DeAndre Hopkins? In non-PPR, Beckham has outscored Hopkins in three of the last four seasons. Every single time he's been healthy. Isn't this just recency bias?
dave.richard: *whispers from behind a wall*: I'm not sure Odell will be within 40 targets of Hopkins.
The Giants are changing, man. Big run game, big pass game. A lot of mouths to feed. Houston has the same issue but they don't have the prized bell cow of the 2018 draft in their backfield. I still see Hopkins getting more chances and finding the yardage to eclipse Beckham.
chris.towers: Funny you should mention that, Dave: In the games when Watson played with both Hopkins and Fuller, Hopkins averaged 9.4 targets He was at 12.7 otherwise.
You guys expect Watson and Fuller to be healthy, I assume.
heath.cummings: Beckham has been and is awesome. And he's done that with the same bad QB he'll have this year. Hopkins has done it with bad QBs too, but now he has a good one.
And I'd argue that Beckham's QB is worse now than he was three years ago.
dave.richard: Guess what? Beckham averaged zero targets per game in an offense with an outstanding run game because it's never happened!
chris.towers: Watson didn't actually throw the ball all that much. 30.2 pass attempts per game, none with more than 34. I think Eli's gonna throw the ball more than Deshaun, even if the latter stays healthy.
heath.cummings: I have Hopkins for 10 more targets than Beckham. 5 more catches. About 100 more yards. It's really close.
chris.towers: Alright, alright, alright. Let me try to break you guys up one more time:
Aren't we getting a bit over our skis with this Andrew Luck thing? Top-four unanimous ranking at QB? We haven't seen him attempt a deep pass in about 2 years. He looked good working the Alex Smith offense in preseason Game 1. But he's always been a QB who relies on his physical gifts to make the most out of every opportunity. How can you rank him that high when we don't even know if he's himself again?
And yes, I'll answer the first part: "He has No. 1 upside!"
heath.cummings: I would argue he's mostly been a QB who has ridden huge volume to great Fantasy production. I don't think the Colts defense is anywhere close to good and it doesn't look like they've solved their running game issues. I have Luck projected for 90 more passes than Wilson and 95 more than Cam.
I would like to have Wilson as my No. 2 QB also. But Brian Schottenheimer happened
dave.richard: Luck's accuracy seems back, which is more important than his deep passing attributes. His offensive line will protect him better than it has ever in his career thanks to the Colts' drafts of recent years. Indy's defense stinks and its run game is full of questions, forcing the team to throw more. His head coach/playcaller is a former quarterback who will undoubtedly call for passing in key situations. I am a wee bit concerned about the power in his throws to the sideline but we'll deal with that as the preseason goes on. He should throw his way to a top-5 finish in Fantasy.
chris.towers: We may see that as the preseason goes on. If we do, move him up. We haven't yet.
Newton and Wilson have been No. 1 overall QBs with their passing attempts. And they aren't coming off major injuries.
We're dropping LeSean McCoy 15 spots from where he finished last season because he may get hurt at some point in the indeterminate future, but Andrew Luck hasn't attempted a pass more than 5 yards down the field in like 18 months.
And I might be second on the Colts' depth chart at wide receiver when Week 1 gets here.
heath.cummings: Wilson was No. 1 with a career-high in attempts last year. Then Schottenheimer happened.
And I only drooped McCoy 5 spots
chris.towers: He attempted seven more passes than the year before.
heath.cummings: I don't think you realize how much Brian Schottenheimer hates the forward pass
chris.towers: He'd fit great with Andrew Luck.
heath.cummings: Or how much he hates running a lot of plays
chris.towers: Wilson was the No. 3 QB with 483 passing attempts in 2015, with 389 points. He would have been No. 1 last year with that point total — technically No. 2, behind himself.
heath.cummings: I will say, in 4-pt per pass TD leagues I would move Brees, Wilson, Cam and Watson ahead of Luck
You should draft Russell Wilson, Chris
chris.towers: I do. Often. You guys should, too.
Well, I can't sway you. You won't listen to reason. It's fine. I'm not mad.
We'll try again next week, with another round of preseason games finished. Maybe we'll finally see Luck attempt a pass past the first down markers.
So what sleepers should you snatch in your Fantasy Football draft? And which wide receivers do you need to jump all over? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Alvin Kamara's huge breakout last season and find out.
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