Fantasy Watch List

Studs & Duds

The holiday weekend is almost to a close, but there is still plenty of fantasy football to cover, fantasy drafts to be had, and fantasy players to discuss. Always the questions to be asked once you drafted a player or your team; Did I find good value? Is there too much risk? Is this player a stud? Did I take him too early?

Well here are a few players that I’ll offer my answer on;

Studs (target these guys)

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Call me a believer and call him Matty Ice, but I like the Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan this season once again. Some folks may think his epic and career performance last season was nothing more of an anomaly than the norm, but I see it as his trend. Ryan posted career numbers in passing touchdowns (38), passing yards (4,944), completion percentage (69.9), and QB rating (117.13). Since 2012 he has passed for over 4,500 yards every season, his completion percentage has remained steady above 65 percent. Last year was a big year with a high touchdown volume and few turnovers (7 interceptions), so coming back with virtually all of the same pieces in place on offense, I expect similar results. He’s the number four quarterback going off the boards, where he belongs.

Jordan Reed

The Redskins tight end Jordan Reed is one of those risks and rewards picks this year. When he’s healthy, he’s as good as the best at his position, putting up fantasy numbers that rival the Patriots Rob Gronkowski. Last season from weeks 1 to 5 and then again from weeks 8 to 12, Reed was the No. 3 scoring fantasy tight end in the NFL. During these two spans the Redskins tight end totaled 81 targets, 59 receptions, 630 yards receiving, and 5 scores; extrapolated over 16 games that’s a line of 105-1120-9. If Reed is healthy this season, his upside is Gronk-like. Even with the risk, he’s worth the take around his mid-5th round ADP (according to FFC) and any later than that he’s a great value.

Duds (drafting too early)

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To again clarify, my definition of Dud is not a bust, but rather just under performing their current draft position. When I talk about the Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, the word bust is not a part of the conversation. Mariota has been steady since his arrival finishing the 2016 campaign as the No. 13 fantasy quarterback. This season the Titan’s signal caller has a few new toys; the addition of veteran wide receiver Eric Decker and rookie receiver Corey Davis. The thing fantasy owners need to remember, last season the Titans were 4th in the NFL with 476 rushing attempts, 3rd in the league in rushing yards per game, and threw the 5th fewest passes. This season the Titans may throw a little more, but their primary weapon is their run game. What I expect to see from Mariota is a lot of efficiency, not necessarily greater volume. On the other hand I see several other passers such as Jameis Winston, Kirk Cousins, and Ben Roethlisberger throwing the ball considerably more. Mariota is a QB1 in 10-12 team leagues, but his total numbers may leave him closer to his No.13 finish from last season, rather than his No.7 fantasy quarterback going off the board.

Russell Wilson

Another quarterback that I view in similar light to Mariota is the Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Again, it’s not so much what he does or doesn’t do, but it’s where he lands compared to other quarterbacks going off the board right after him. Wilson is being drafted as the No. 5 quarterback ahead of Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, and Andrew Luck. I have him as my No.12 fantasy quarterback this season, following a No.10 finish in 2016. Last year Wilson needed 546 passes, 63 more than his career high to post his number 10 finish; this is not something I expect to see him repeat. He’ll be efficient and could be easily be Top10, but I think other quarterbacks (the ones mentioned) are more likely to have the opportunity to post Top-10 fantasy numbers this season.

That’s My Take. ~David Ortega

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