Following the 2021 NFL Draft, Lions fans understood what Brad Holmes was trying to do. Taking 3 linemen in rounds 1, 2, and 3 is not how you excite fans, but hitting a homerun on Amon-Ra St. Brown in the fourth allowed Holmes to gain the trust of the fan base. Sewell, McNeil, and St. Brown all showed that they will be good players for Detroit. This year, I’m expecting a heavy investment in the defense. Improvements need to be made at all three levels, and I suspect that our draft picks will reflect that. Let’s get into it.
Round 1, Pick 2 – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
The Detroit Lions need a pass-rusher. Whether it’s Aidan Hutchinson or Kayvon Thibodeaux, the Lions need one of them. Cementing the trenches has been clearly the priority of this staff. Getting a game-changing rusher will immediately relieve stress of Oruwariye and more importantly, Okudah. There is speculation that Thibodeaux may have some off-field issues, but I trust that Detroit will do their DD looking into that. After drafting Sewell last year, I’m sure that he himself knows Thibs enough to adequately assess his personality, along with having communication to Oregon’s coaching staff.
Round 1, Pick 32 – Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Dax Hill did not disappoint at Michigan, coming in as a 5 star recruit. Re-signing Tracy Walker III keeps not only a great player on the field, but a leader in the locker room. However, a second safety is needed alongside him. Will Harris was an exciting prospect, but Hill could be the game changer this defense needs. DeShon Elliot has recently been sign, which may move the need for a safety down the list of priorities, but with the league spreading the ball across the field, having 3 safeties on the field that can all tackle is an incredible advantage. Elliot is a phenomenal player when he is on the field; however, he has had injury issues over the course of his career. For a 1-year deal, Elliot coming in while Dax Hill develops is a benefit for both Hill and the Lions. Aaron Glenn showed an exceptional ability to coach up his DBs in New Orleans, and he will look to do the same here in Detroit.
Round 2, Pick 34 – George Pickens, WR, Georgia
George Pickens is an interesting prospect, as he could very well be taken in the first round, or fall until the late third round. What I like about Pickens is that he is a tall, perimeter receiver who will be great in the red zone. He has the ability to run the entire route tree, and pairing him with the Sun God gives the Lions real talent at receiver. As Dax Hill wouldn’t be expected to start day one, Pickens might not either. DJ Chark is on a one-year deal in Detroit, but also has injury concerns. Pickens has the ability to start day one, and he very well may, but at least he will have time to get the pace of the NFL down before he is expected to be a great receiver for this team.
Round 3, Pick 66 – Brian Asamoah, LB, Oklahoma
The Lions need LB depth, but Asamoah has the potential to be more than just depth. He has sideline-to-sideline playmaking ability. He isn’t a MIKE LB enforcer that many feel the Lions need, but I think speed is a pressing need for Detroit’s linebackers. Asamoah can play primarily in nickel packages and special teams, before contributing heavily in a near every-down role for this defense.
Round 3, Pick 97 – Josh Jobe, CB, Alabama
The cornerback class this year has quite the plethora of talent, and I believe Detroit could strike gold in the middle/late round. I have them taking Josh Jobe, who is a boundary corner that is not afraid to tackle. Coming from Alabama, he has experience playing against NFL talent wide receivers, both in games and practice. Jobe is noted as being aggressive, which may result in holding receivers down the field. The Detroit Lions have excellent defensive back coaches in Aaron Glenn and Aubrey Pleasant, so giving them a guy that has the tools to be great could be a recipe for success in this instance.
Round 5, Pick 177 – Justyn Ross, WR, Clemson
Unfortunate circumstances surrounding Ross have led him to drop from a possible first round pick to an extremely risky late round pick. Ross underwent surgery to repair his neck/spine, which caused him to miss the 2020 season. He best lines up as a Z or a big slot, which putting him next to the Sun God with Chark/Pickens on the opposite side would be extremely helpful for QB Jared Goff. Ross is a very smooth receiver who, if returns to 2019 form, could be the steal of the draft.
Round 6, Pick 181 – Lecitus Smith, IOL, Virginia Tech
Lecitus Smith is a former TE recruit at Virginia Tech that switched to guard in 2018. He’s a good athlete that is still relatively new to the position, but could be a project for this staff. Smith has a solid build, with great aggressiveness that could hopefully lead him to possibly starting on Detroit’s line in a few years. Regardless, as a depth piece, he will bring some upside to one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.
Round 6, Pick 217 – Neil Farrell Jr., IDL, LSU
Although the Lions invested heavily at the position last year, Farrell can come to the Lions and add pass rushing ability from defensive tackle. His run defense has been criticized, but developing into a 3-down player is not out of the question.
Round 7, Pick 234 – Zonovan Knight, RB, NC State
D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams need another body to take off some of their workload. Knight was NC State’s leading rusher all three seasons, and could immediately get reps in Detroit. He projects as a no.2 back and kick returner, which would make this pick an A+, barring that Knight doesn’t stay healthy or is atrocious. As long as he can stay on the field, Knight would be poised to be a great pick.
The 2022 NFL Draft is just two weeks away. The chaos of this offseason leads many to have no idea what to expect leading into the draft. In past 8 years, the #1 pick has been either a QB or an EDGE rusher. That trend looks to continue this year with an EDGE likely landing in Jacksonville. This year does differ from most with where QB prospects will land and how soon/late. Nonetheless, this mock is based off what each team’s subreddit wants and what I think is the correct pick. I have 0 intel on inside sources, nor did I take into account player/team meetings.
1. JAX – Aidan Hutchinson, EDGE, Michigan
Jacksonville tagging OT Cam Robinson leaves me to believe they’re going EDGE with the first overall pick. Hutchinson, Thibodeaux, or Walker are all considered options here, with Hutchinson being the popular choice. Aidan Hutchinson is a three-down defensive end that will be a star on the Jacksonville defensive line. The duo of Josh Allen and Aidan Hutchinson will terrorize the AFC South QBs for years to come.
2. DET – Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
Detroit is in an interesting spot because of the uncertainty of Houston’s choice. They similarly have to decide between Hutch, Thibs, or Walker. As a Lions fan, I believe it will come down to Hutch or Thibs, with Hutch being my preferred choice. I don’t believe you can go wrong with either of them. Sewell will play a significant part in researching the off-field personality of Thibodeaux, as they’re both Oregon alumni. Regardless, Head Coach Dan Campbell already expressed that he wants elite football guys and is less concerned with off the field issues.
3. HOU – Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
Sauce Gardner will be a plug-and-play corner for Houston. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Kyle Hamilton, Trevon Walker, Ikem Ekwonu, or Evan Neal here. The latter two would be more shocking, but overall Houston should go BPA. With serious defensive needs, grabbing the best corner in the draft will give an immediate boost to a defense that was in the ranked in the bottom-five of passing yards per attempt, passes over 40+ yards, and yards per reception.
4. NYJ – Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
The Jets have needs on both sides of the ball, but having an explosive pass-rusher will relieve some of the stress on the secondary. Alternative selections would be Sauce Gardner, Travon Walker, Drake London, Kyle Hamilton, or Garrett Wilson. With a deep WR class, I think the Jets will elect to grab a player that can bolster their defense.
5. NYG – Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
The Giants need a RT and they’re in luck. I feel like this will be another Sewell situation where they may not expect him to drop to them, but he will. He’s going to be a great player in the NFL, and will hopefully rejuvenate a lackluster Saquon Barkley. I don’t think that Daniel Jones is the long-term answer for them at QB, but I don’t see an upgrade for them in this draft. Neal will have a long, successful career in New York.
6. CAR – Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
Ekwonu is the smart choice here in my opinion. The fun choice? QB Kenny Pickett. Matt Rhule and Pickett have familiarity with Pickett’s initial commitment to Temple, before deciding on Pitt. Rhule, prior to landing the Carolina job, was the head coach at Temple. With constant failures at QB, Carolina is a serious contender at drafting Pickett or Willis here. However, I don’t see how they can pass on Ekwonu, who would start at LT day one. Sam Darnold showed promise early last season, so giving him much needed protection might allow Darnold to reach his high potential.
7. NYG – Travon Walker, EDGE, Georgia
Travon Walker is a versatile defensive lineman that can be used in multiple fronts. The Giants have already invested into guys like Dexter Lawrence, Azeez Ojulari, and Leonard Williams. However, there are question marks surrounding whether Lawrence’s 5th-year option will be picked up, if Ojulari is a three-down player, and if Leonard Williams is someone that the Giants are looking to move in a trade. Regardless of these situations, Walker can come to New York and be an asset to this defense.
8. ATL – Kyle Hamilton, S, Notre Dame
Atlanta should be going BPA at this point. The board hasn’t fallen favorably, but Kyle Hamilton is a day one starter. He didn’t post elite combine numbers, but the film doesn’t lie. If one of the big 3 edges fall, I think Atlanta runs to the podium. Similarly, if one of Neal or Ekwonu fall, they do the same. This team will likely be drafting in the top three next year, so passing on Willis and Pickett is the best scenario.
9. SEA – Charles Cross, OT, Mississippi State
Seattle moving on from Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner may bring upon the dark ages for a team that has already struggled. I expect Pete Carroll to attempt to guide the rebuild in the right direction, but I do not see him sticking around after this year or the next. This roster needs help, but grabbing a solid tackle will kick start this rebuild. Drew Lock does have extremely valuable weapons in Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf, but it will come down to a matter of if he’s capable enough to get them the ball and if he has time to get them the ball. Cross will help the latter.
10. NYJ – Drake London, WR, USC
Drake London and Elijah Moore will be a top WR duo in this league in the coming years. This is a one-two punch that will help Zach Wilson immediately. London is a big target that has a basketball background. Without Elijah Moore, I would understand looking at Garrett Wilson or Jameson Williams, but London makes the most sense here.
11. WAS – Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
Washington adding Stingley to a young, talented defense could make them a top 5 unit. In a division that sees CeeDee Lamb and Devonta Smith twice a year, it would make sense for them to get a guy than can go toe-to-toe with the best. Washington is also a team that may be in the market for a rookie QB, with Malik Willis being a guy that I would want to see in a Commanders jersey. Other alternatives would be any of the remaining top WRs, and with Kyle Hamilton possibly falling, Washington would be a candidate to land him as well.
12. MIN – Andrew Booth Jr., CB, Clemson
Minnesota will pray that either Sauce Gardner or Stingley will fall to them, but I don’t see that happening barring trades. They will go next best corner, which will either be Andrew Booth Jr. or Trent McDuffie.
13. HOU – Jordan Davis, IDL, Georgia
In a division that sees Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor, getting a big body to disrupt them is important. Going Sauce Gardner on the outside and then coming back with Jordan Davis on the inside has the potential to make this Houston defense into a solid unit.
14. BAL – George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Baltimore will go best defensive lineman available, which leaves either Karlaftis or Devonte Wyatt. The Ravens did re-sign Calais Campbell, but the aging Pro-Bowler could be a positive mentor to Karlaftis and 2021 first round selection Jayson Oweh.
15. PHI – Devonte Wyatt, IDL, Georgia
Fletcher Cox re-signing to a one-year deal with Philly helps, but I think they go with Wyatt here now that Karlaftis is gone. I can see Baltimore selecting Wyatt, which would make Karlaftis a more preferred choice. Regardless, I believe Philly will look to improve their defensive line with one of their firsts.
16. NO – Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
Following the rumors that New Orleans wanted to jump LAC because they wanted an OT, Penning seems like the surefire pick. With both Pickett and Willis on the board, NO can wait until 19 if they decide to draft a QB.
17. LAC – Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
Much of LAC fans think the OT rumors are a smoke screen, because Jameson Williams would be elite for this offense. Keenan Allen still years of productivity left, as his style seems to hold up in this league longer than a speedster type does. Nonetheless, Josh Palmer has shown promise and with Jameson Williams, Justin Herbert will be a perennial top 5 QB. 4 WR sets, with the inclusion of Jalen Guyton, is a scary thought for defenses in the AFC West. Let’s obviously not forget about Austin Ekeler and new signee Gerald Everett, goodness. What a sight this would be.
18. PHI – Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State
This is a make it or break it year for Jalen Hurts. Drafting JJAW and Jalen Reagor have been absolute failures, but Devonta Smith and Garrett Wilson are can’t miss prospects. Pairing the two will give Philly two dynamic weapons that could be argued as top prospects in their respective classes.
19. NO – Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
New Orleans going with Kenny Pickett here would allow him to sit behind Jameis Winston for a few weeks to the whole year. He won’t have extreme expectations to come into the league and immediately perform. The Saints are entering the post-Sean Payton era by bringing in their next QB.
20. PIT – Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
Malik Willis going to Pittsburgh gives him the best chance to succeed in this league. They have weapons across their offense, a QB centric OC, and a veteran head coach. Willis has the ability to be a great QB, but he needs time to learn and develop as an NFL QB. Trubisky is a good enough QB to be a temporary solution to Pittsburgh’s need of a QB, while Willis develops into the long-term solution.
21. NE – Devin Lloyd, LB, Utah
Devin Lloyd falls into Bill Belichick’s lap and the AFC East will hate this. Lloyd is a versatile LB that can both rush the passer and drop back in coverage. Developing in the Belichick system will allow for Lloyd to continue doing what he does best, tackling behind the line of scrimmage.
22. GB – Treylon Burks, WR, Arkansas
Replacing Davante Adams is near impossible. If I was Green Bay, I would actually use both first round picks on receivers. Grabbing Burks here at #22 is great value as he is a physical freak. Big body receivers who run as fast as he does are hard to come by. Aaron Rodgers will be demanding weapons in this draft, and he will get a good one here.
23. ARZ – Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
Arizona can go in a multitude of ways here. Losing Chandler Jones significantly worsens Arizona’s pass rush. I would consider David Ojabo here, but with his injury, he will likely make it into the middle-late second round. McDuffie is a great athlete, which would add to a defense that has invested draft capital in guys like Byron Murphy Jr., Isaiah Simmons, and Zaven Collins.
24. DAL – Zion Johnson, IOL, Boston College
Dallas getting a stud lineman is very Dallas-like. Tyler Linderbaum is also another candidate to land in Dallas. Either way, getting an interior lineman is the likely pick.
25. BUF – Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
Elam might be the best press corner in the draft, landing on a team that has heavily invested into their defensive line in past drafts and signing Von Miller. Elam will be setup for success, as his issues with holding can be fixed by the coaching staff.
26. TEN – Kenyon Green, IOL, Texas A&M
Lots of mocks have them grabbing TE Trey McBride, but I think they go with Green or Linderbaum. A sleeper pick would be Chris Olave to pair with AJ Brown, but Green has the ability to play both guard positions, along with RT. His versatility is a trait that is too good to pass on.
27. TB – Perrion Winfrey, IDL, Oklahoma
Tampa can go in many different ways, but adding Winfrey to a defensive line that consists of mostly veterans will allow for the unit to remain fresh during the season.
28. GB – Tyler Linderbaum, IOL, Iowa
Linderbaum falling to GB gives them a tough decision, as they could take Olave here, or bolster their defense with Daxton Hill. However, Linderbaum has the potential to be a great center in this league, which reminds me much of the Frank Ragnow pick for Detroit. It’s not sexy, but it’s the best thing to do.
29. KC – Daxton Hill, S, Michigan
Not re-signing Tyrann Mathieu leaves me to believe that they are taking one of the top safeties here with one of their back-to-back picks. With glaring holes left by both Mathieu and Tyreek Hill, I would expect them to address both of those immediately in the draft.
30. KC – Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
Olave can come in a be a significant playmaker for a team that is losing probably the best playmaker in the league. By no means is he Tyreek Hill, but I think pairing him with Juju Smith-Schuster will allow this offense to not skip a beat.
31. CIN – Tyler Smith, IOL, Tulsa
Protect Joe Burrow at all costs. Offensive lineman here, please.
32. DET – Lewis Cine, S, Georgia
Lewis Cine is a physical safety that can bring the Lions’ secondary together. Nakobe Dean and George Pickens are guys that the Lions can also pick here, or at #34. I would not be shocked to see them wait on a WR until the middle of the draft, as bolstering the defense should be the single most important task this offseason.
Firstly, this is not discounting that Malik Willis (or Kenny Pickett) is or will be a bad QB in the NFL. In fact, I think that Malik Willis can be a top QB if he falls to a team with a proper coaching staff and with adequate weapons around him. He is an exciting prospect, but raw. He will be 23 years old in his first NFL game, and hasn’t really solidified himself as the QB1 in a draft class that lacks high-end talent in his position. In my opinion, he would be a fantastic 2nd-round project with incredible upside, however not worthy of the #2 pick.
The Detroit Lions have glaring holes in their defense. There is a desperate need for an elite pass-rusher. Unfortunately, this draft is missing a Bosa or Myles Garrett or Chase Young. Hutchinson/Thibodeaux/Walker are great but not elite talents. However, whether it be any of those three, the Lions will get a much needed improvement to their defense as compared to drafting a QB that may or may not be better than the one they have. If I thought that Kyle Hamilton was the next Ed Reed, then I would support him being drafted to the Lions, yet I don’t see that. An EDGE rusher is the only position the Lions can draft at #2 that will make sense.
Now, trading down makes the most sense. Loading up on draft capital in a class that lacks high-end talent but is deemed to have a pool of good talent is a fan’s wet dream. If the Lions move down, I would look for guys like S Kyle Hamilton, DT Jordan Davis, or EDGE Jermaine Johnson. I think all three of these guys will be day 1 starters for the Lions, while the organization also has more draft capital to build this team.
Malik Willis is a “We’re a QB away from being great” type pick. If he ends up in Pittsburgh or Washington, I think he’s going to be great. Pittsburgh has great weapons for him, and he can sit behind a serviceable Trubisky for a year or two. Washington traded for Carson Wentz who is nothing more than a bridge QB. They have a great defense, good weapons on offense, but are missing a QB to take them over the edge in an otherwise weak NFC East.
In the end, please stop mocking a QB to the Lions. If they do indeed draft Malik Willis, then I’ll tip my cap to the lazy bloggers, but he better be a top-5 QB for that not to be the beginning of the end of the Holmes/Campbell era.
Struggling to put up points early in the season? Frustrated with your early picks underperforming? Good new: it’s only week 5. Bad news: pressure is on.
Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold is playing outstanding football, which further shows how terrible Adam Gase is as a head coach. We should have expected this, but Darnold is playing at an elevated level. It helps that he has the best RB in football with Christian McCaffrey, but also allowing DJ Moore to show that he has the talent everyone expected him to have. In most leagues, Sam Darnold is a top 5 QB while being on the waiver-wire. If he’s free, grab him. Darnold is having a sneaky season being one of the most product fantasy QB’s in the league.
Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos
This will either work out incredibly, or horribly. In my opinion, Javonte was the RB2 in this year’s draft class behind Najee Harris. He has three-down back potential with his pass-pro, while also showcasing his receiving ability. Javonte has been utilized in the Denver offense quite a bit, almost matching Melvin Gordon. If Denver continues to struggle on offense, I would expect Javonte to play a more critical role being one of the most talented playmakers for the Broncos.
Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
With all of the noise surrounding Mike Williams, now is the perfect time to buy Keenan Allen. He is an aging receiver, yet on an explosive offense. He is a PPR owner’s dream receiver, as Herbert will feed him all year. It is frustrating to see red-zone passes being thrown to the TE’s and Williams, but when the game is on the line, the ball is going to be thrown to Keenan. Currently teetering the top 20 WR line, I expect him to end the season near or above the top 10 point with a great showing the rest of the season. Mike Williams is going to shine now, Keenan will shine for the rest of the season.
Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco 49ers*
I do not see Jimmy G taking another snap for the 49ers, ever. However, if San Francisco do decide to move on from him, it will likely be via trade. The most interesting place for him to go would be the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have a three-headed monster at receiver. Another possible move would be to the Washington Football Team. Either of these two teams give him some value this season, but for fantasy purposes, I would hope that you can find a more productive QB this season.
Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos
This is doubling down on my Javonte Williams take. Melvin Gordon has done fairly well, however, I feel like he does not have the same juice he had for the Chargers. He is a great early down back, but he does not bring the same dynamic that Javonte does. This offense is going to need playmakers with injuries to their receivers, which is why I think Javonte will become a more crucial part of this offense.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Recently sold Calvin Ridley because of how bad the Falcons are. I don’t know if it is Matt Ryan, Arthur Smith, or the fact that they drafted Kyle Pitts over Justin Fields. Imagine being a Falcons fan, knowing that you have a talented QB sitting behind Matt Ryan to develop. I would be a lot more optimistic about Ridley’s outlook this season, but I just don’t see it. Talent is there, but I’m not buying his team.
The Draft/Pass series will be going over every positional group, and I may even dabble into IDP. The positional rankings I will be using is FantasyPros so there will be a consistency throughout this, even though I do not totally agree with them. My opinion on each player is my own, and I would love to hear why you agree or disagree. THIS IS ALSO FOR 1 QB LEAGUES, NOT SUPERFLEX.
Matthew Stafford, LA Rams
Former Detroit Lions superstar Matthew Stafford begins the 2021-22 campaign in sunny Los Angeles after being traded earlier this year. Stafford takes over an offense that has far more weapons than his Detroit teams have had the past decade, even with the unfortunate loss of Cam Akers. With Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Van Jefferson, and Tyler Higbee all returning, the Rams drafted receivers Tutu Atwell in the 2nd round, Jacob Harris in the 4th, and Ben Skowronek in the 7th. Darrell Henderson will serve as the lead back with Akers going down (news broke as I was writing this) and the involvement of Xavier Jones will be certainly needed.
Stafford enters in on FantasyPros at #12. This criminally underrates what Stafford is capable of. He was the #15 in fantasy points despite only playing 100% snaps in only 12 games. This was also with a WR group consisting of Marvin Jones Jr., Quintez Cephus, Danny Amendola, and Marvin Hall. My selection of Stafford being here may be due to my own hometown bias, but Stafford was the life of the Lions for a long time and we are all excited to see what he will be able to do in LA and what this Rams team has to offer. His ADP should be much higher than it is. I would consider him a top 5 candidate for the 2021 season.
Daniel Jones, NY Giants
This will come as a shock and I will either look like a genius or an idiot for this take, but the Giants have the weapons to be a scary offense next year. It all comes down to Daniel Jones taking care of the football. He’s had 39 turnovers the past two years, but showed signs of improvement his sophomore season. Entering his third season, he now has Saquon Barkley returning at some point early in 2021 and a true WR1 in Kenny Golladay coming over from Detroit this offseason. The Giants drafted WR Kadarius Toney in the 1st round of the 2021 draft, but reports have come out stating that Toney will be a project WR and will make the biggest impact in the return game. His role as a receiver is not immediately pressing with Golladay, Shepard, Slayton, and TE Evan Engram being the target-men for Daniel Jones.
Daniel Jones comes in on FantasyPros as their #21 QB. In 14 games last season, he was ranked #24 on Sleeper, so a slight rise is not very controversial on FantasyPros, but I think Daniel Jones can crack the top 15 IF HE CAN TAKE CARE OF THE FOOTBALL. This strictly relies on Daniel Jones taking that step forward because I think this is his last chance to show that he deserved being the #6 overall draft pick and replacing Eli Manning. This is a make it or break it year for Daniel Jones, and I’m betting on him making it.
Trey Lance, SF 49ers
I’m going to say it, this situation reeks of Patrick Mahomes and KC when he was drafted. Cannon arm, viewed as a project, and had suitable weapons around him. With that said, I do not have Patrick Mahomes expectations. Trey Lance is coming from a good D-II program, but he has not played against D-I defenses. What Trey Lance has going for him though is Jimmy Garoppolo ahead of him on the depth chart, which will help him adjust to both the playbook and the speed of the NFL. The 49ers have two solid, young receivers in Deebo Samuel and Brandon Ayuik, along with one of the top TEs in the league with George Kittle. Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell were among the draft selections for San Francisco which will bolster the running back group that lost Jerrick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman. I would expect Sermon to take that RB1 spot sooner than Lance takes the QB1 spot, but having young talent that are progressing will help Lance become more comfortable in this offense.
Drafting Lance high is a gamble, because he could start Week 1 this season, or be held out until Week 1 next season. I think that he will find a middle ground there, with the likelihood of him getting a chance sooner rather than later if Jimmy G continues to regress. Trey Lance instantly makes this offense more polarizing, boosting the value of all receivers and Kittle. Lance’s ability to push the ball down field and throw sideline to sideline with zip on the ball makes Ayuik a target for fantasy owners as well. Trey Lance is not going to be a starter for your teams immediately, but he will be your starter heading into the playoffs and for years beyond.
Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
Kliff Kingsbury will not take Arizona to the next level. This has more to do with Coach Kingsbury than it has to do with Kyler Murray. I think Murray is a great QB and has shown that he is deserving of being a top QB drafted. However, I will not be biting at his current ADP. Arizona did no improve their running game, their offensive line consists of almost all new guys, and it seems as if it is only bringing in guys on their last leg i.e. James Conner, AJ Green, JJ Watt, and Rodney Hudson.
Kyler Murray was the #1 QB on Sleeper last season and comes in at #3 on FantasyPros this season. He has a top receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, but after that, I’m not a fan of this offense. If Kyler has to continue to run for his life, Arizona will be on a downward spiral. I do not like the lack of usage at their TE position. I hate their rushing game. Outside of Hopkins, Kyler has no true weapons. If Kyler slips and 5 QBs are taken before him, I would consider. Taking him after Mahomes and Allen is a risk that I am staying away from.
Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
The first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft has been compared to the likes of Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning. The talent is there, but Lawrence is missing what Luck and Manning had. In his rookie year, Luck had Reggie Wayne and rookie TY Hilton as targets. Peyton, although he had a terrible rookie year, had Marvin Harrison and Marshall Faulk. Jacksonville does not have any weapons that are comparable to what Luck and Manning had. Lawrence is going to be a great QB, but I would hold off in 2021 because I do not think Urban Meyer will last long as the head coach in Jacksonville.
Like I said, the talent is there. I just hate the situation, which is similar to Kyler Murray. Trevor Lawrence will be a great QB in this league, but I don’t believe that he will have the fantasy relevance this season for him to be one of the top players in his position to be taken. Do not rely on him to be your starter, but look for him as a backup because of his possible upside.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Jalen Hurts is at the helm of the Eagles after Carson Wentz’s departure to Indy. A major problem with the Eagles is that they have been missing a star receiver to help out Wentz and now Hurts. The addition of Jalen Raegor last season has been an improvement, but he is not the alpha that will bolster their offense. Drafting DeVonta Smith, however, will. The 2021 Heisman Trophy winner will be a great weapon for his former and current QB.
The issue at hand is that Hurts is currently QB11 on FantasyPros. Braking into QB1 territory for a guy with a new coach, new weapons, but most importantly, rumors swirling around Deshaun Watson. Drafting Hurts at his current ADP is an incredible risk considering that Watson is not off the table. Further, it seems as if negotiations have occurred between the Texans and Eagles, which shows that Hurts may not be Nick Sirianni’s guy. I would recommend fading Hurts this season, until it is determined that he will be the franchise guy in Philly for the years to come.
The standard format of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 (S)F, 1 K, and 1 DEF limits your league to one side of the ball for every game each week besides one. With Superflex becoming more and more popular each year, the QB position is the most important in both fantasy and the NFL. What is forgotten is that defenses win championships, but that is not the case in most fantasy leagues. IDP, or Individual Defensive Player, leagues create a whole new dynamic in FF. Yet, most leagues that incorporate IDP do not have their rosters setup for these defensive players to have real value, which defeats the purpose from transitioning from whole DEF to IDP.
For IDP, I would highly recommend going 2 DL, 2 LB, 2 DB, and 3 FLEX. I mentioned above that leagues with IDP have bad setups because often I see leagues that only use 1-3 IDP players, which removes any value they have. The more players that are rostered, the less players on the waiver wire, which means the value of the rostered players is far more significant. For example, leagues that have their lineups set for just 3 FLEX IDP (12 team league) have about 60 players that are rostered. Going to Fantasy Pros, this leaves guys like Danielle Hunter, Shaq Barrett, Tyrann Mathieu, Chase Young, and Leighton Vander Esch potentially on the waiver wire. Trading for IDP isn’t going to be a winning strategy when guys like these aren’t rostered. When you use the format I suggested, you are starting 9 players, and maybe have 1-2 guys in each position on your bench. So lets say, on average, teams are rostering 13 defensive players. That is 156 defensive players being rostered, and Fantasy Pros only has 153 players in their rankings. It may seem like a lot, but it adds significant value to guys like Devin White and Roquan Smith.
There are many different formats for IDP scoring, so it is important for either you as the commissioner or you as the team owner to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your scoring system. The IDP Guys have a great article that highlights the amount of points each format rewards. Leagues that are tackle heavy will make the top LBs extremely valuable. Leagues that have QB hits and sacks being rewarded the most will have EDGE and DT players being the lead IDP targets. And obviously, pass defend, interceptions, and return yard bonuses will have DBs being most valuable. Creating a balance between the 3 scoring systems is difficult and may not be necessary. Whatever scoring your league has, it is important for you to grab the guys that the format best fits. For instance, my league sees LBs scoring the highest amongst all IDP due to being in a tackle heavy league. Devin White, Darius Leonard, and Roquan Smith are all significantly more valuable that guys like Myles Garrett, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, or any corner for that matter.
The same feeling you get when you see your WR catch a TD or your RB take off for a 30 yard run is the same feeling you will get when your DL get a sack or DB gets a pick. You will hate seeing your RB being tackled for a loss until you see it is your LB. You will be researching depth charts and looking at snap counts to find the diamond in the rough, which is much more likely than finding the diamond on the offensive side of the ball.
Give it a try, trust me. It is a refreshing take on fantasy football that you won’t be able to leave.
I stepped away from writing posts on this site because of how depressing it was to watch two children (Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn) run an already disaster organization further into the ground. My last post visited my thoughts on the Detroit Lions and I expressed that Matt Patricia and Bob Quinn should be fired immediately. It took a little over a month, but my wishes were finally granted. I could talk about how terrible the two were, but I would be repeating what you already know and feel. Let’s talk about Brad Holmes, Dan Campbell, moves they have made, and what I think about their draft selections.
Dan Campbell, Head Coach
Moving completely away from a ‘hard-nosed’ and ‘Patriot way’ clown, the Lions hired Dan Campbell as their head coach. As a former tight-end in the NFL (also played for Detroit), he does have experience being a head coach with his time as the interim head coach for the Miami Dolphins, along with his time recently in New Orleans as Sean Payton’s assistant. Lots of fans were really interested in former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, but I’m sure that almost everyone has come around on this guy. Dan Campbell understands Detroit and wants to be here. He has passion for not only the game, but our city. His press conferences are must-see TV, as every sentence he says could be a headline in the paper. Sure, he hasn’t coached a game for the Detroit Lions yet, but I am sipping the Kool-Aid because of Coach Campbell’s energy.
Brad Holmes, General Manager
Since 2016, the only picks that were key players for the Detroit Lions are Taylor Decker (’16, 1st round), Kenny Golladay (’17, 3rd round), Frank Ragnow (’18, 1st round), and TJ Hockenson (’19, 1st round). Other than that, you have picks like Jarrad Davis, Teez Tabor, Kerryon Johnson, Jahlani Tavai, and A’Shawn Robinson as guys that Quinn selected that have been complete busts for Detroit (Leaving out the 2020 draft because they deserve to play for an actual coach before I write them off). Now let’s talk about Brad Holmes.
Coming over from the Los Angeles Rams, Brad Holmes was their director of collegiate scouting. He has some responsibility with selections like Cooper Kupp, John Johnson, Troy Reeder, Gerald Everett, and Jordan Fuller (all non-first round selections). Since 2016, the Rams have not had a first round pick (where the selected Jared Goff), and have not had a losing record, along with an appearance to the Super Bowl in 2018. People who have worked with Brad Holmes had nothing but great things to say about him, which I was unable to find anyone saying things about Bob Quinn. The only thing I found was Bill Belichick saying that Bob Quinn did a “solid” job in New England. Brad Holmes is hopefully the opposite of Bob Quinn, in that he drafts with a brain. I don’t want him to feel like he is the smartest guy in the room (like taking Tavai in the 2nd round). After watching his first draft closely, I get a sense that he knows what he is doing, and I am able to drink the Kool-Aid for this hire as well.
Coordinators and Assistants
Leading the offense for the Lions is Anthony Lynn, former head-coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. Before that, he worked with the Jets, Cowboys, Jaguars, Browns, Broncos, and Bills as primarily their running backs coach. With the amount of 1,000 yard rushers that he has worked with, I am excited to see how DeAndre Swift will run in his offense. His assistants include Mark Brunell (QB Coach), Duce Staley (RB Coach), and Antwaan Randle El (WR Coach). All former players in the NFL that most fans are familiar with.
Defensively, Aaron Glenn comes to Detroit as their defensive coordinator. Another former player, Glenn was hired from New Orleans, where he served as their defensive backs coach. This should excite fans because of the players that he coached in New Orleans, which include Marshon Lattimore, Marcus Williams, and Janoris Jenkins. With Jeff Okudah, Amani Oruwariye, and Tracy Walker, it will be interesting to see how improved our defense will look next year with a new scheme.
The biggest trade was the Stafford deal, where the Lions received Jared Goff, a 2021 3rd round pick, a 2022 1st, and a 2023 1st. Though Stafford is an huge upgrade, one of those 1sts have to be for the Lions taking on Jared Goff’s insane contract. Regardless, the Lions are on the hook to pay Goff until there is an out after the 2022 season. Most people believe that the Lions will draft a QB next season after they have an expected down year.
Another deal that most people do not know is the trade for DT Michael Brockers from the Rams. Though the Lions did draft two DT in rounds 2 and 3 of the draft, Brockers will be both a leader in the locker room and will allow for our two rookies to learn and develop under him.
With Stafford leaving, we also watched Kenny Golladay sign to the New York Giants and Marvin Jones sign to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Justin Coleman, Desmond Trufant, Duron Harmon, and Danny Shelton are also no longer with the Detroit Lions. Most notably also is Matt Prater. The starting lineup for the Detroit Lions in 2021 will be very different than last year’s, and it will not be better talent wise.
On offense, the Lions added WR’s Breshad Perriman, Germino Allison, Tyrell Williams, RB Jamaal Williams, and most likely TE Darren Fells (deal not done as of 5/5/2021). On the flip side, the Lions acquired a few depth pieces on defense but did not make any real splashes in free agency. This is expected with a new regime that is probably trying to get our cap situation under control. I would expect that the following couple years result in a couple of paydays for major talent.
I will go into a deeper dive on the picks individually in a separate post. However, I do want to say that I like what Detroit did in the draft. Sure, I would want to see Waddle, Smith, Parsons, or Fields in a Lions jersey because they would be the ‘sexy’ pick, rather than the ‘right’ pick in my mind. Sewell in the first is a blessing that not many fans will realize but soon will in a Quinton Nelson-esque way after he becomes a star. Building a top offensive line will allow Detroit to give Jared Goff a true chance, or draft a QB next year and not have a Joe Burrow situation where he is not protected. This pick was great long-term for the Lions, which is what they need.
The Detroit Lions took DT Levi Onwuzurike in the second round, and both DT Alim McNeil and CB Ifeatu Melifonwu in the third round. With Dan Campbell announcing that Detroit will be mostly in a 3 man front, this allows for a constant rotation of Brockers, Penisini, and the two rookies which will keep the defensive front fresh. Melifonwu’s tackling ability may allow him to see some time on the field as a nickel corner, which would help replace Justin Coleman’s role.
In the fourth round, Detroit selected Amon-Ra St. Brown, who also could see significant time due to the lack of talent that the current WR’s have shown. With all three of Detroit’s top targets gone (Amendola, Golladay, and Jones), I would expect to see St. Brown used in several sets on offense. The pick following Amon-Ra was LB Derrick Barnes, who is the type of player you would expect to catch Dan Campbell’s eye, a hard-nosed, pedal-to-the-metal type player. Barnes will most likely be primarily a special teams guy, until he develops into rotational EDGE/LB for the Lions.
With their last pick, the Lions selected RB Jermar Jefferson. I was surprised to see him last this long because I figured a team that was interested in a burner-type running back would grab him earlier, but Detroit was able to select him in the 7th. What this tells me is that they are moving on from Adrian Peterson, and probably Kerryon Johnson. Draft capital is important, but I think either Jefferson will return kicks for Detroit or serve as their RB3 behind Jamaal Williams.
Less talent, better coaching. That is what I am thinking. A quick look at the schedule, I would say that the Lions are a 3-5 win team. Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Denver are all POSSIBLE wins. The problem is that I would like for Detroit to be in the 1-3 range in next year’s draft to take Sam Howell or Spencer Rattler. Surely there will be a Joe Burrow/Zach Wilson type riser in next year’s class, but the Lions will take a QB next year. A three win season will end with the Lions taking a top QB and also using the other first to grab a WR or LB will also be in play. This season will be interesting for the Lions, but I would recommend to fans that if they expect to win, then not to watch. This is a full rebuild that will take 2-3 seasons, but I do believe that this organization has taken the correct steps in beginning the process.
Be sure to follow the page and comment below on your thoughts. The more interaction, the more I am motivated to push out content for people to call me an idiot for. Thanks for reading.
The ship carrying my support for Matt Patricia has sailed. Entering the 2020 season, most Lions fans knew he was on the hot seat. Currently holding a 10-25-1 record, Matt Patricia will be fired unless a magical force leads this team to at least a playoff win. Making it in as a wildcard is not enough at this point. I do believe that Patricia has matured as a head coach over his 3 years here in Detroit, but this team is on a downward spiral. Yesterday’s loss against an injured Saints team after being up 14-0 in the first shows the incompetence, lack of will, and simply horrendous display of football from the point of Golladay’s touchdown in the first quarter to the end of the game. I will say that 29 points should be enough to win. Allowing a 41-year-old QB to navigate a defense without his #1 receiver laughable. Latavius Murray and Alvin Kamara were picking up yards at will. The Saints defense generated 3 sacks, 7 QB hits, and an interception. Stafford threw for just over 200 yards against that Saints defense who were without both of their starting corners. The Lions offense looked atrocious, the defense even more so.
This leads to question whether this is a schematic issue or a management issue. To answer that, it’s both. This scheme does not work. The man coverage does not work. The lack of pressure the opposing QB does not work. The star player for the Lions is Jack Fox, the punter. The defensive line did not make the improvements I expected transitioning from last year to this year. The Lions are still not controlling the ball on offense. Their 3rd down efficiency is garbage. Their red zone efficiency is garbage. Every opponent has more 1st downs than the Lions. The Lions average over 6 penalties a game. Mitch Trubisky is not even a starter anymore and threw for 3 TD’s against the Lions in week 1. Actually looking back, he is actually 3-0 vs the Lions with 753 yards and 9 TD’s in his short career. The Lions’ lead back is Adrian Peterson, who signed with Detroit a week before their first game. Kerryon Johnson, 2nd round pick in 2018, is getting limited touches. DeAndre Swift, 2nd round pick in 2020, is getting limited touches. The Lions also drafted Ty Johnson and Jason Huntley. So with 4 picks spent on the position in the last 2 years, the Lions are using 35 year-old AP as their bell-cow back. Something isn’t adding up. Besides from week 1, as a collective, the Lions have not rushed for over 100 yards.
The passing attack hasn’t improved. This can be due to Kenny Golladay’s injury earlier in the season, however, Stafford has not thrown for over 300 yards in any of the games this year. Along with this, Stafford’s completion percentages from week 1 to week 4 are as followed: 57%, 60%, 70%, 54%. Clearly, there is an outlier. A 70% completion percentage against the Cardinals week 3, and well, they won that game. That was also the only game that Stafford didn’t throw a pick. Weird. I will say that Stafford is not the problem in my opinion. Stafford is a top QB in the NFL but is being held hostage by this disaster of a team.
My verdict for Matt Patricia is that he needs to be fired. There is no improvement. Darrell Bevell will most likely as the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. If 9-7 wasn’t good enough, then what is Bob Quinn thinking about Patricia’s 10-25-1 record?
As much as I have liked Quinn’s drafts, it does not make up for how long he has held onto Patricia for. Quinn said himself that 9-7 is not enough, but his buddy has not even come close to 9 wins. It is a disappointment. This team is built to be a contender. It has a QB, a few solid RB’s, an underrated WR in Golladay, a future star in Hockenson, and pieces that will hopefully come together on the offensive line. The defense has question marks. First, the defensive line has been added to, just lacks production. I have liked what I have seen from LB Jamie Collins, still not a fan of his ejection week 1. We can only hope that Okudah, Walker, and Tavai end up being foundational pieces that the next GM can build off of. Other than the Davis and Tabor picks, I have been satisfied with Quinn’s drafts. Would I have liked Ed Oliver over TJ, sure. I do believe that if Josh Allen dropped past the Jaguars last year, we would have selected him. At least, that is what I hoped he would have done.
My verdict of Bob Quinn is that he will be gone at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. The only way he survives is by firing Patricia this week and allows Bevell to showcase the talent this team has.
I’m in the belief that if you want someone fired, you should mention who you want to replace them. In saying so, I will be compiling a list of possible hires that Detroit will make, and who I believe will lead this team in the right direction. First, the GM position needs to be filled. There are a few names circulating, however, I was hoping that Bob Quinn would have been fired last year and be replaced with Ed Dobbs, the assistant GM for the Colts. Luckily, Dobbs remained in Indy, and unfortunately, Quinn remained in Detroit. I think Dobbs is the best case scenario for this team. Again, I will be making a separate article highlighting why I like Dobbs, while also adding a couple of other candidates.
Once the GM job gets filled, I think it’s most likely that they will grab someone from the organization they are coming from. In the Dobb’s scenario, I would like him to bring over Matt Eberflus, the defensive coordinator in Indy. The Colts have had one of the top defenses in the NFL that last few years, and grabbing two guys that contributed to that will be monumental for Detroit. Another name to keep in mind is Robert Saleh, who has been one of the leading candidates to land a head coaching gig following his run as the 49ers defensive coordinator.
If you have any names around the NFL that you think would be great takeover in Detroit, leave a comment, and I will add them to my list, which will be posted in the coming week. Detroit is off this next week, but will return October 18th to faceoff with the Jacksonville Jaguars. If all goes well this week, it will be Bevell’s first game as head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Trevor Lawrence has been one of the most well-known college football players since 2018, with many suggesting he is the most prolific QB prospect since Andrew Luck. He has led Clemson to two national championships, and his only loss was in this past year’s national title game. Before January 13, 2020, Lawrence was 29-0 as QB for the Tigers. The knock on Clemson is that the ACC is weak compared to the likes of the SEC. Regardless, Lawrence beat Alabama. He beat Notre Dame. He beat Ohio State. Only LSU has defeated the Lawrence led Tigers. At the basis of this, Trevor Lawrence is a winner.
Standing at 6’6, 220lbs, Trevor Lawrence has the frame that GM’s want in their QB. In 2018, Lawrence aired out 3,280 yards for 30 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. In 2019, Lawrence threw for 3,665 yards for 36 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and holding a 65.8 completion percentage. Pair that with 103 rushes for 563 yards and 9 touchdowns, Lawrence showed that he could have been the first overall draft pick in the 2020 draft. He topped every passing category in the ACC in 2019. 7th in Heisman voting in 2019. Back to back ACC championships. A 2018 National Champion. Scouts have been flaunting about Lawrence since he won the starting QB job at Clemson. As we look ahead to the 2020 season, I want to dive into what makes Trevor Lawrence so good.
Everyone wants their QB to have an absolute cannon, but that just isn’t always the case. You can have a guy that can air it out if need be, but is not always comfortable in doing so. Some guys are great at working off playaction to create miss-matches in the intermediate part of the field. Lots of guys find their success utilizing the short passing game and letting their receivers eat up yardage after the catch. Trevor Lawrence likes throwing the ball down the field. It’s almost like it’s his first read, and damn is he good at it.
Here we are against South Carolina late in the first quarter. A little bit of a slow start for the Clemson offense, but here they are blowing the top off a defense. Lawrence escapes a rush by now 49er Javon Kinlaw and delivers an absolute missile to his receiver, in stride, for a 65 yard touchdown.
Enter in the 2019 ACC championship game against Virginia. 1st quarter, 7-7 ball game, Lawrence getting pressure from his backside to deliver a strike down the field for a touchdown to start the onslaught.
Skip ahead to midway through the 3rd quarter, Lawrence darts the nail in the coffin on a deep toss to setup inside the goal-line.
As pleasing as it is to see a QB launch the ball down the field, delivering a strike with some serious velocity is just as beautiful. Here we have Clemson looking to end the half with a score. 2nd and 13 with 0:50 left on the board, Lawrence delivers a ball into the tightest of windows.
Seeing Lawrence roll to the left and throwing across his body with such fluidity and releasing with velocity is what separates himself from the pack.
Having the power to make throws is one thing, being able to be accurate is another. Lawrence has shown time and again that he can deliver the ball in the perfect spots for his receiver without the defender to make a play. I’ll just let these clips from his game against South Carolina in 2019 do the talking.
Those throws seem so easy for Lawrence, and maybe it is. South Carolina does not have the premier corners that the big-time schools have. But wait, Ohio State does. This first clip shows Lawrence’s ability to give his receiver a shot, without allowing the defenders to come up with an interception. The corner was able to force his route more towards the sideline so the receiver wouldn’t have the space to make the grab that he otherwise would.
Insert Jeffrey Okudah, the third pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, into the equation. He is a lock-down corner in terms of man-to-man coverage. Lawrence delivered the ball in a spot where only his receiver was able to make the grab in anticipation that Okudah would be on his back hip, which he was not.
Being a proficient passer is the number one duty to being a QB. Adding the threat of rushing creates an enormous amount of headaches for opposing defenses. Lawrence isn’t a Lamar Jackson type of runner, but he is very productive.
Back to the ACC Championship, early in the 1st quarter, Lawrence executes a read option that is crucial in forcing defenses to respect his rushing game. Here, a nice 15 yard carry gets him the first down.
South Carolina, early first quarter. Often times, you’ll see QB’s scramble out of the pocket to find a receiver and either force a throw or throw the ball out of bounce. Lawrence can’t locate an open receiver, sees open grass, and takes it inside the 5.
After watching Lawrence over the past two years, I rarely see him slide. He plays the game hard, which I can’t criticize. However, if I’m a GM, and I’m paying my QB millions of dollars, I do not want himself to take unnecessary hits. For example, his playoff game against OSU in 2019. 3rd and 2, Lawrence has the easy first down. Just slide.
With that said, he also gives himself a chance to make a play like this.
Trevor Lawrence vs Chase Young
Chase Young, now Washington Redskin (#2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft), had an opportunity to slow Lawrence down by attacking him from his blind side. Two plays in particular caught my attention. First, in the 1st quarter, Lawrence is faced with a 3rd and 10, already down by 10. In an attempt to make a play, Lawrence scrambles to his left, only to be met by Young.
Lawrence 1. Young 0. 3rd quarter, Clemson now up by 5. 1st and 10, Lawrence finds Young chasing and beats him around the edge for a nice pick up.
Here is when the money is made. Let me set the stage for you. Trevor Lawrence is 28-0 in his career. College Football semi-final vs #2 ranked Ohio State. 4th quarter, 3:06 left to go, down by 2. Lawrence sets up shop deep in his own territory at the 6 yard line. In Trevor Lawrence fashion, history ensues.
Trevor Lawrence is currently the favorite to be the first overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He has shown that he has all of the tools to be a starting QB in the league. What I will say is that I do not expect him to have a Heisman campaign in the fall. I would like to see him put up the same, if not better, numbers than he did last season. Preferably, less interceptions and more completions. However, as we will get into, I would not be surprised to see a guy break out next year and over take him in next year’s draft. Who that will be? Maybe one of the next few guys I will cover. If you made it this far, I thank you. I would appreciate if you would follow the blog and like us on Facebook.
I want to start by explaining what dynasty fantasy football is and how it will change your life. If you’re just now finding out about dynasty, then welcome. If you are a veteran, then feel free to skip past this section. Dynasty fantasy football is a league that works the same as regular fantasy football, except that you keep your team every year. You begin with one draft to fill your roster. After the first year, instead of re-drafting, you instead have a rookie draft (only rookies or rookies/free-agents). During the year, you can trade your future rookie picks for players (Team A trades 2021 1st round to Team B for Kenyan Drake). The draft order works similarly to the NFL where the worst team gets the first pick, and the champion gets the last pick. Deciding whether to commit to that year’s championship or letting go and trying to grab a top 4/5 pick in the draft is what makes or breaks teams. For example, last year I traded away my 1st and 2nd round picks for Allen Robinson and Mark Andrews to push towards the championship late in the season. I was knocked out in the first round of the playoffs and would have had the fifth pick in the draft and would have gotten one of the top 4 RB’s coming out. Things like that need to be considered. Very general description, if any more clarification is wanted, I would be happy to explain.
Obviously, go get Taylor, CEH, Dobbins, Swift, Jeudy, and Lamb. Those guys are going to be the closest to sure-fire assets for dynasty teams. However, guys that will slip out of the first and get into the later rounds is what this is geared towards. Let’s get into it.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts
AP Photo/Kyusung Gong
The 34th pick in this year’s draft is not the most talented receiver in the class, but landed in one of the best situations any could have. Michael Pittman joins a Colts team that acquired QB Phillip Rivers after speculation of who will take the helm since the surprising retirement from Andrew Luck. Pittman led the Pac-12 in both receptions (101) and yards (1275) in 2019, while leading USC in yards in 2018 and 2019. With his 6’4, 223lb frame, Pittman had a staggering 18.5 yards per reception in 2018.
All that said, Pittman is setup to takeover at WR1 in the coming years for the Colts. TY Hilton is entering his 9th season, coming off back to back limited seasons in both 2018 and 2019 due to injuries. At 30 years old, Chris Ballard locked up a guy who would have went in the first in almost any other draft class. Overall, the Colts offense may surprise teams the next few years after creating a foundation behind Pittman, Taylor, and Nelson. Also not forgetting Paris Campbell, who was drafted last year. What I worry about is Indy’s QB situation. Regardless, whoever is brought in to take over for Phillip Rivers, Ballard has done a great job in providing weapons. Pittman is a long-term receiver that fantasy owners should lock up in their rookie drafts early.
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Redskins
Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal
Antonio Gibson has a chance to be an incredibly valuable asset to Dwayne Haskins and the Redskins. Gibson is listed as a RB, but doesn’t have the experience you would expect. In 2019, Gibson had 33 carries for 369 yards and 4 touchdowns. With limited carries, I still like what I see. Regardless, what makes Gibson so valuable is his versatility. To go along with his rushing stats, Gibson had 38 receptions for 735 yards and 8 touchdowns. Further, he had 23 kickoff returns for 645 yards and 1 touchdown. Gibson is a complete, do-it-all player that can push for a large role in the Redskins offense.
His situation also provides upside. Derrius Guice currently has the starting RB job, however, injuries are a concern after appearing in only 5 games in the last two seasons. That and having 35 year old Adrian Peterson as his backup makes the Washington’s runningback room all that more shaky. In saying that, I’m not forgetting about JD McKissic or Bryce Love. I see Gibson still as their RB3 because of McKissic being more of a utility player and not seeing Love being a vital option coming off an ACL tear in his last game at Stanford which has required surgery in both 2018 and 2019. Overall, I would expect to see Gibson get some limited but early action in 2019. If Guice goes down, Gibson has an opportunity to take over duties as their RB1.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Washington Redskins
Joining Gibson is the WR out of Liberty that has generated an abundance of hype by those who know who he is. Antonio Gandy-Golden (AGG) is a 6’4, 220lb monster on the outside. His stats in 2018 and 2019 are almost identical. In 2018, he had 71 receptions for 1,037 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2019, he had 79 receptions for 1,396 yards and 10 touchdowns. The production is there, however, the competition disparity compared to the likes of guys coming out of the SEC or Big-12 is evident. It’s not that much of a worry to me that he hasn’t played in the best conferences. AGG has the talent and the tools to be a contributing asset to the Redskins.
The Washington offense is going through almost a complete rebuild. Dwayne Haskins was drafted in 2019 as their new QB. Derrius Guice was drafted in 2018, but took his first snap at RB for the Redskins in 2019. Terry McLaurin broke out in his rookie season last year appearing to be their future WR1. The WR2 spot is still wide open. Steven Sims is the assumed guy for the spot currently, who is entering his second season as an UDFA. Kelvin Harmon is also a guy in his second year that is in the running. A lot of shifting and sorting is needed to take place for there to become a solidified WR2. In my opinion, I would imagine Harmon steps up into the WR2 role and AGG steps up into the WR3 role this year.
AJ Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
AJ Dillion is a 6’0, 247lb RB out of Boston College who has been extremely productive in his college career. As a freshman in 2017, Dillon carried the ball 300 times for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns. Insane numbers for any running back, especially for a freshman. In 2018, he appeared in only 10 games due to an ankle injury in late September. Regardless, Dillon accumulated 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns on 227 carries. Rounding out his college career, Dillon had 318 carries for 1,685 yards and 14 touchdowns. The major knock on his career at BC was his ability in the passing game. In his freshman year, Dillon had zero catches. In 2018, he had 8 receptions. In 2019, he had 13 receptions. Gradually, he did show signs of having an impact with his hands.
In terms of becoming an immediate impact, I don’t see it for 2020. Dillon is a long-term play. Teams are not tying themselves to RB’s unless they are absolutely necessary. Aaron Jones is coming off a great year, but I believe that Green Bay is showing that they are not committed to him by using a 2nd round pick on Dillon. If Jones is let go after the season, Dillon is in a great spot to take over. He has shown that he is an absolute workhorse. Giving him a year to learn the offense and freshen up his legs will give him the best opportunity at success.
Darrynton Evans, RB, Tennessee Titans
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
This is a guy that has me most excited, mainly because he is on my dynasty roster. Darrynton Evans landed in Tennessee that has a chance to get some legitimate playing time by taking 3rd down snaps away from Derrick Henry. Evans stepped up in his last two seasons at Appalachian State with a combined 433 carries for 2,667 yards and 25 touchdowns. Production in the rushing game, with his added ability in the passing game is what puts Evans in an ideal spot in taking a step towards being the head guy in Tennessee.
Derrick Henry is playing in 2020 off a franchise tag, and I don’t see a long-term deal being put together. Although I really like Evans, I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Titans let Henry go while either drafting or signing a guy to share snaps with Evans. If you are in a PPR league, Evans will be your guy. Especially in 12 or 14 team leagues, rostering guys likes Tarik Cohen and James White can be incredibly valuable. Evans can be a guy that isn’t your week to week starter, but if an injury or bye comes to your week, he can put up enough points to be a suitable starter.
Adam Trautman, TE, New Orleans Saints
An aging Jared Cook sets up Trautman to carve himself out a role in Sean Payton’s offense. Trautman won’t see significant playing time immediately, which is why I wouldn’t roster him on your team unless you have space for a flier. With the uncertainty at QB, I can’t lean one way or another on how I feel about Trautman’s situation.
Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
The departure of Melvin Gordon allowed Austin Ekeler to step into a larger role. He was able to handle the workload while putting up fantastic numbers. 2020 will show whether or not Ekeler will be Gordon’s replacement for LAC. If not, Kelley has a chance to takeover duties late in 2020 or early 2021. Kelley is worth a roster spot, but depending on Ekeler and Justin Jackson’s situations, I would not expect any impact in 2020.