Fantasy Football Mailbag: Will Fantasy owners have Luck in 2018? Keepers and draft strategies?
Jamey Eisenberg answers your questions in his latest edition of #fantasymail, and he also looks at what to do about Colts quarterback Andrew Luck heading into this season.
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The last time Andrew Luck threw a live pass was Jan. 1, 2017. If my math is correct, May 16 will be 500 days since we've seen him throw a football in a competitive game.
While all the reports on his ailing right shoulder are going "exceptionally well," according to Colts coach Frank Reich in the Indianapolis Star, it's still concerning that he's not throwing yet. And it's making it harder to endorse him as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback for this season.
He's expected to start throwing in training camp, but with the quarterback position as deep as it's ever been for Fantasy owners, can you really trust him as a No. 1 option? I recently moved him down from No. 8 to No. 14 in my early 2018 rankings, and I'm hopeful he'll return into the top 10 when he's back on the field.
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But it might not be a bad idea to draft him as a No. 2 option instead with a mid- to late-round pick and just hope he can rebound to his pre-injury form. Luck was the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback in 2014 before a kidney laceration and then his shoulder problem started to slow him down.
You can pair Luck with someone safe like Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Jared Goff or Matt Ryan, and then your quarterback spot is covered in case Luck is once again limited. And if Luck blows up, which is what we all hope for, then you got a superstar with great value on Draft Day.
Inon CBS Sports, Luck went in Round 9 as the No. 7 quarterback off the board, which is too soon. He went ahead of Cam Newton, for example, which is a mistake as of now.
A healthy Luck would be great news for T.Y. Hilton, Jack Doyle and a potential sleeper like Chester Rogers, who should be the No. 2 receiver in Indianapolis this season. But we need to see Luck on the field and throwing the ball, and that hasn't happened in about 500 days.
The more time he misses, the harder it is to trust Luck as a starting Fantasy quarterback in 2018. And his shoulder saga will once again be one of the more popular storylines to follow in training camp.
As for this week's mailbag, it's pretty simple how you can submit your questions, which can be done on Twitter @jameyeisenberg and on my Facebook page. All you have to do is use the hashtag #fantasymail, and I'll be answering your questions throughout the offseason on keepers, dynasty leagues, rookie drafts and whatever you can think of to get ready for Draft Day.
So fire away whenever you want, and hopefully your question will make it here. I can't guarantee that we'll answer every question, but I'm going to try.
For this week, we're going to cover the following topics:
- Who are some backup quarterbacks to pair with Carson Wentz?
- What is Kenyan Drake's keeper value?
- What rookies beyond the elite guys will make an impact in 2018?
- Is Antonio Brown worth the No. 1 overall pick?
- Is Greg Olsen still a reliable tight end?
- How much money is too much for Ezekiel Elliott in an auction?
From Twitter ...
Much like Luck, there are several safe quarterbacks you can look for with late-round picks to pair with Wentz, especially if he's limited in training camp coming off last year's torn ACL. In a recent mock draft I did for another publication, some of the No. 2 quarterbacks selected in Round 14 or later of a 20-round draft included Ryan, Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, Stafford and Rivers. It's probably not a good idea to pair Wentz with Luck since neither could be 100 percent by Week 1. And the Colts and Eagles also have the same bye in Week 9. One fallback option for Wentz can always be just drafting Nick Foles with one of your last picks, and we saw last season that Foles can be quite successful when starting for the Eagles.
Of this group, the only player I would consider keeping is Drake, who will likely have an Average Draft Position toward the end of Round 3 or beginning of Round 4. Keep in mind that if every team keeps three players then you could be missing about 30 of the top players for this season, minus the rookies. That said, your draft position in the first round will determine if you are keeping anyone. If you are picking No. 1 overall after your "dumpster fire," you are throwing back everyone to draft Saquon Barkley. I would take Drake over all the other rookies, but you should try to gauge what players will be thrown back into the player pool and stack them up against Drake for this year.
OK, so let's remove the obvious running backs (Barkley, Derrius Guice, Rashaad Penny, Ronald Jones, Royce Freeman, Sony Michel, Nick Chubb and Kerryon Johnson) and receivers (D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley, Anthony Miller, Michael Gallup, Courtland Sutton, Christian Kirk and James Washington). And the only real tight ends of note are Mike Gesicki and Hayden Hurst.
At running back, the two guys I plan to target after the initial group are the pair of Colts in Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines, in that order. Wilkins should challenge Marlon Mack for the starting job this year, and Hines could be a valuable receiver out of the backfield in the mold of Duke Johnson. Mark Walton could eventually become a contributor for the Bengals, especially if they move on from Giovani Bernard next year. And Kalen Ballage will hopefully be No. 2 on the depth chart in Miami this season ahead of Frank Gore.
At receiver, the Jaguars (D.J. Chark) and Saints (Tre'Quan Smith) drafted guys who could become impact players, with Chark helping this year and Smith more of an option in 2019. The Packers also drafted three receivers who will fight for targets opposite Davante Adams in J'Mon Moore, Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Moore is the one with the most upside, so keep an eye on his progress this offseason. And DaeSean Hamilton is also worth monitoring since he and Sutton could be the starting receivers in Denver in 2019. I also like Antonio Callaway as a sleeper with tremendous upside in Cleveland if he can stay out of trouble.
Finally, two tight ends of note are Mark Andrews and Jordan Akins. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens use Hurst and Andrews, and don't be surprised if Andrews emerges as the No. 1 option. And Akins could be a surprise playmaker for the Texans right away.
I would not take Antonio Brown at that spot, but I can definitely see the allure, especially in a three-receiver league and if it's PPR. The talent at receiver drops off quick this season compared to running backs. So you might actually be better off starting your team with Brown and then taking someone like Doug Baldwin and Devonta Freeman with your next two picks in the Round 2-3 turn. The other option would be taking Todd Gurley with the first overall pick and then drafting Baldwin and Hilton. While Brown is proven and should have another outstanding season, Gurley was a monster in 2017 and should have another dominant campaign. One thing you can consider is trading down to the No. 3 or 4 spot and drafting Brown there, and then you can acquire an upgraded pick later in the draft.
Olsen will bounce back and should remain a reliable Fantasy tight end. He actually should be considered a second-tier option, just below the elite guys of Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. I like Olsen as the No. 5 tight end behind those three and Hunter Henry, but Olsen might fall on Draft Day because of the perceived notion he's no longer a significant contributor. Remember, last year he was limited to seven games because of a foot injury, but he's a candidate for 75 catches, 1,000 yards and six touchdowns, which are totals he's reached in two of the past three seasons. Olsen will likely fall past Round 6 in the majority of leagues, and he could end up as one of the best values on Draft Day this year.
From Facebook ...
It's painful to say that throwing back Elliott is the right move to make, but it has to be done here. You have two running backs who combine to cost $8 less, and the value for Howard is incredible. It's also incredible value for Thielen. You might be able to get Elliott back at a similar cost given the $100 budget, but it's doubtful any of the other three keeper options will come at their current price. And then you can keep Elliott for three more years if you want.
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