Monday, 13 March 2017 00:00

Fantasy Film Projector: Christian McCaffrey

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Editor's note: This is the second installment of the Fantasy Film Projector series for 2017. The goal of the Fantasy Film Projector is to help you identify traits from college players that will translate to points for your fantasy team if you decide to draft them. It's not meant to be a predictor of NFL success since that largely depends on the team that drafts them, what their scheme is and what opportunity that player will have in the offense. When it comes to versatility among fantasy running backs, there might not be a better candidate than Stanford prospect Christian McCaffrey. Blending vision, agility, route running, catching ability and a hint of breakaway speed, McCaffrey brings a skill set ripe with fantasy potential if he lands with the right team. Overall, he's one of the more intriguing running backs in the 2017 class. What we know he can do McCaffrey was one of the most dynamic college players ever at Stanford. He showed competency as a kickoff returner and even broke Barry Sanders NCAA single-season record for all-purpose yardage (3,250) in the Pac-12 Championship game. He also displayed enough speed to break off long touchdown runs in the open field.…
In 2015, the Packers were missing something in their offense. The glaringly obvious fact was that Aaron Rodgers no longer had Jordy Nelson due to a knee injury. In addition, the Packers were missing a tight end that could run down the field. Richard Rodgers was not fast enough to expose holes in the defense. Receivers were unable to get open, resulting in short drives. They needed someone faster who could run routes. The Rams cut tight end Jared Cook before their relocation to Los Angeles. The Green Bay organization had been in consideration to trade for Cook, but now that he was a free agent, they set out to sign him. Cook inked a one-year, 3.6-million-dollar deal, which means the organization was committed, since they usually refrain from signing big name free agents. Green Bay tends to use the draft as a means to build their team. Richard Rodgers did a great job stepping up in 2015. Who could forget that instant-classic catch that was dubbed, “The Miracle in Motown”? The Packers still needed some depth though. Nelson was expected to lose some speed after his return, so it was necessary that they upgraded their speed elsewhere. The tight…
Thursday, 23 February 2017 00:00

Fantasy film projector: Jeremy McNichols

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On this edition of the Fantasy Film Projector, we discuss Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols and where his skill set fits into the NFL fantasy picture as a rookie in 2017. Background McNichols played 3 seasons at Boise State and recorded 55 total touchdowns combined rushing and receiving. His 2,255 all-purpose yards were the second-most in a season in Boise State history. A high volume RB, McNichols carried the ball 314 times in 2016, tied for fourth most among all NCAA FBS running backs. At 5'9, 212 lbs, McNichols is a bit undersized but plays strong, showing the desire to bull over defenders by initiating contact first. A lot of draftniks are worried about McNichols size and lack of elite athletic ability at the pro level, but by getting caught up in that, they miss the overall scope of McNichols' ability. The most intriguing aspect to McNichols game in terms of fantasy value is what he can do as a the receiver out of the backfield. McNichols has the cutting, vision and catching skill set reminiscent of players like Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman. His vision allows him to see lanes the after the catch and decisively move to…
Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:00

Rookie Profile: Leonard Fournette

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Player: Leonard Fournette Comparison: Adrian Peterson Best Fit: New York Jets Scouting Report Leonard Fournette’s name has circulated Draft circles since he was the No. 1 Recruit coming out of high school. He evolved from returning kickoffs with his elite speed and decisive cuts to an impact lead running back. Over his three seasons, Fournette averaged an absurd 6.2 yards per carry. When you think of LSU running backs, names like Spencer Ware and Kevin Faulk come up, but many LSU Tiger faithfuls who've watched the team for the past 50 years believe he's the best RB in school history. It goes beyond LSU greats because Fournette is a freak athlete at 6’1 and 230 lbs. He shouldn’t be able to run a 4.35 40-yard dash, top 20.5 mph, bench 315 lbs, squat 600 lbs., and this was all recorded during his high school career. Fournette was a track & field star in high school much like Ezekiel Elliott and Adrian Peterson. At that size, Leonard was able to beat sprinters on a regular basis. All of those peripherals form into a huge bruising back with the speed of a Bo Jackson or Herschel Walker. His running style is so…
Sunday, 19 February 2017 00:00

Rookie Profile: Deshaun Watson

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Player: Deshaun Watson - QB, Clemson Comparison: Ryan Tannehill Best Fit: Buffalo Bills If the Bills don’t sort out their contract situation with Tyrod Taylor, they would be wise to draft a quarterback early and preferably Watson. Watson’s arm strength paired with his deep ball touch and his rushing ability are reminiscent of Tyrod Taylor’s and would suit this Bills offense perfectly. With a solid offensive line, a stud No.1 wide receiver in Sammy Watkins and one of the best running backs in the league in Lesean McCoy, Buffalo’s offense is tailor-made for a rookie QB. Watson would be protected and have less pressure on his shoulders due to their rushing prowess, allowing the offense to move. This was the formula the Dallas Cowboys used to make Dak Prescott the Offensive Rookie of the Year and one that will be modelled by many teams in the near future. Watson had great success in college with a stud receiver in Mike Williams and this would give both Watson and Sammy Watkins great fantasy value while likely increasing Lesean McCoy’s workload also. Scouting Report Deshaun Watson could not have chosen a better time to turn in some of his greatest collegiate performances.…
Thursday, 28 July 2016 00:00

Are we sleeping on Phillip Dorsett?

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Want a chance to win hundreds of dollars weekly? Enter the Fantasy Football Helpers challenge here. The 2015 NFL Draft class was considered full of potential WR1 talent. Guys like Amari Cooper, Breshard Perriman, Nelson Agholor, Phillip Dorsett and Devante Parker were all among the top prospects selected in the first round. Aside from Cooper, every receiver on that list was fantasy irrelevant in their respective rookie seasons. Still, there's some reason to believe one of them could emerge as a greatly improved fantasy asset in 2016. One of the receivers we'll be examining from that list is Indianapolis Colts receiver Phillip Dorsett. Dorsett disappointed from a fantasy standpoint as a rookie and finished with just 18 receptions for 225 yards and one touchdown. Despite his low numbers, it's important to put his performance into context and decide if these are the types of numbers we'll continue to see from Dorsett or if greater things are on the horizon, and there's plenty of reason to believe the latter. Sidenote: It's always worth noting when a player gets drafted in the first round because it shows the team is invested that players success, at least for a few seasons. Often times,…
It’s always exhilarating when you draft a player who flew under the radar then watch him take off during the season—giving you bragging rights over all your friends. Each year, a running back seems to possess that mystical power. Ameer Abdullah looked like one of those players last season, until he struggled with fumbles. The Lions staff didn’t want him involved in the offense for any reason, ultimately leaving those once-excited fantasy owners with sour tastes in their mouths. But there’s always another guy to be intrigued by, and Baltimore Ravens rookie running back Kenneth Dixon possesses all those potential traits in a slightly different way than Abdullah did last year, which leads him into sleeper territory this season. An exciting player with very good quickness when changing direction, Dixon can elude defenders in ways few running backs in this draft class can. While he’s not an overwhelmingly powerful runner standing at 5′10, 215 lbs, he runs with a sense of toughness and decisiveness that can help him win 1-on-1 battles despite his lack of size. Also a gifted receiver, Dixon will be able to assert himself in the short passing game on screen passes and also has the ability…
Thursday, 23 June 2016 00:00

Can Josh Ferguson have fantasy value in 2016?

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Franco Harris in 1983, John Henry Johnson in 1962 and John Riggins in 1984. Those three running backs all share one thing in common — they were the only RBs to rush for more than 1,000 yards after turning 33 years old. Frank Gore, the current starting running back for the Indianapolis Colts, is also 33 years old. If you're looking to draft Gore to your fantasy team this season at his more than reasonable ADP of RB26, keep in mind that while you're getting good value at that price, you're also wagering Gore will do something only three running backs in NFL history have done. Gore rushed for 967 yards last season and finished with six touchdowns. So while it's safe to say he hasn't completely lost his ability to produce, there's always a chance he drops off or at the very least needs to shoulder less of the workload. This creates a chance for someone else to enter the fray, and that someone in this case is current backup Josh Ferguson. Opportunity is definitely there for the undrafted back out of Illinois even aside from Gore's age. With Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, Trey Williams and Tyler Varga rounding…
Rookie running back Devontae Booker has been one of the more polarizing draft prospects at the position this offseason. But there's good reason to believe he could be fantasy relevant this season and maybe, just maybe, snatch the starting position away from current Denver back, C.J. Anderson. Anderson was handed the keys to Denver's offense last season after going on a tear at the end of the 2014 season, but he didn't exactly flourish in his new role. He finished the year with 720 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns to go along with 25 catches for 183 yards and zero receiving touchdowns. He ended up ranking 31st overall among running backs in fantasy points for standard scoring. Some argue Anderson's struggles were a result of injury, and they have some merit. Anderson battled foot injuries early in the season which slowed his progress. In each of his first 3 games, he didn't eclipse more than 30 yards rushing. To be fair, Anderson was saddled with tough matchups against daunting run defenses such as Baltimore, Kansas City, and Detroit to start the season. But if you want to be considered a true feature back in your offense, you have to…
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 00:00

James Conner: Finish him

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Player card Name: James Conner School: Pittsburgh Height: 6'2 Weight: 240 lbs Class: Junior Accolades: ACC Player of the Year (2014), led ACC in touchdowns Notable injuries: Sprained MCL (expected to miss entire 2015 season) Biggest strengths: Power, yards after contact, pass blocking, vision, balance Biggest weaknesses: Speed to the edge, high pad level runner Biggest questions: Can he catch the ball consistently? Is he too tall a runner for the NFL? View image | You remember 'Mortal Kombat?' A fighting video game back in the mid 1990s? You'd be beating up on your opponent to the point where you'd win the fight and the announcer would shout 'finish him!' then you'd launch into a sequence of button mashing on your controller in hopes of landing an array of punches and kicks to embarrass the person you're playing with. I know, it's definitely a guilty pleasure kind of video game. But finishing is an important part of playing running back at the NFL level too, and Pittsburgh Panthers running back James Conner finishes runs with a physicality that could make Shang Tsung say 'flawless victory.' Come on, let me have my fun with this. What he's done up until…
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:00

Dynasty prospect: Ezekiel Elliott

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The running back position requires an athlete to possess several traits for success. One of the crucial ones is competitive drive. The ability to initiate contact with defenders typically much bigger in size, keep your feet churning to break tackles and extend plays is key to turning a five yard gain into eight yards. This trait is even more crucial in short yardage situations where your team needs a few inches on the goal line for a touchdown or first down. One of the most promising prospects in this area is Ohio State junior Ezekiel Elliott, a running back that also possesses the athleticism and durability needed to excel at the pro level. Elliott was unveiled as the Buckeyes feature back for the first time in 2014, replacing current 49er Carlos Hyde. He flourished in coach Urban Meyer's revamped offense, a scheme that was a departure from his spread days in Florida. The attack focused more on inside zone blocking plays and power runs up the middle. While many hear 'zone blocking' and immediately equate it with running backs avoiding contact and seeking consistent three-to-four yard gains, that wasn't the case with Elliot. He was a physical runner that used…
Tuesday, 25 August 2015 00:00

Sleeper desirability rankings for 2015

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This is the week. The third week in August, where the majority of you are polishing up your draft strategy for your fantasy football season. Keep in mind, it's not the first two picks that will make or break your fantasy season. It's the mid-to-late rounds where you select those 'red' players, as Redskins GM Scot McCloughan calls them. Your studs are 'greens' and your starters are reds. You want as many quality reds as possible, guys who won't explode for tons of points but you can still count on on a consistent basis. It's important to find several players with ADP's past the 7th or 8th round who score in the 6-12 point range every week. Every year there's a few late-round gems that turn the tide of a fantasy league, and here's a crop of players that have as good a chance as any to be quality reds this season. These are the two players we're coveting most in 2015. 'Tier 1 sleepers' Stevie Johnson, WR San Diego Chargers Why he's a sleeper: Johnson is still a talented receiver. He was buried in a deep hole that was the San Francisco 49ers run-first attack in 2014, headed by…
Wednesday, 22 July 2015 00:00

Fantasy sleeper: Cody Latimer

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Want to help yourself in fantasy this season and support our site at the same time? Sign up for FantasyPros Draft Wizard by clicking this link. Try out many other FantasyPros tools including their Draft Analyzer, Cheat Sheet creator, Draft Assistant and Auction Creator. All great options to help you win your league. Want to give daily fantasy leagues a try? Sign up for DraftKings here. A young, big-body receiver who'll be expected to step into a much bigger role in 2015, Broncos wideout Cody Latimer is creeping onto the fantasy radar as a potential dark horse. As part of a prolific offense headed by still-great-but-aging Peyton Manning, Latimer is giving off good value with an ADP of 172 overall according to Fantasypros. That means he's going later than guys like Terrance Williams, Pierre Garcon and Devante Parker. There's plenty of potential value to be had if fantasy owners take the leap and draft Latimer. As a 2014 second-round pick, Latimer got lost in the shuffle due to lack of snaps last season. He finished his rookie year with a paltry two catches for 23 yards and saw only 3.7 percent of the team's overall snaps, falling victim to the…
Love baseball? Love making $5,000 in a free contest? Sign up here. There is no other quarterback, or player for that matter, in the 2015 NFL Draft that has been inspected under the proverbial microscope by scouts and media members than Florida State redshirt sophomore Jameis Winston. Although Winston possesses talent that in my opinion puts him right up there with Andrew Luck and Teddy Bridgewater as elite quarterback prospects, his lack of maturity off the field have led to questions about whether or not Winston possess the mental makeup to be a franchise quarterback. Player: Jameis Winston School: Florida State University Position: Quarterback Height: 6'3" Weight: 230 lbs Class: RS Soph Position Rank: 1 Scouting Report From strictly an on-field evaluation you will be hard-pressed to find a quarterback that is more prepared to run an NFL offense than Winston. Standing at 6'4" around 230 lbs Winston possesses the ideal frame of an NFL quarterback. While Winston will never be placed in the same class athletically as RGIII, Cam Newton, or Andrew Luck, Winston possesses more than enough athletic ability to make plays on the boundary of a defense. Due to the experience in a pro-style system that Florida…
Wednesday, 22 April 2015 00:00

Prospect: RB Michael Dyer

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Sometimes the most interesting prospects are those who get lost in the shuffle due to issues off the field. Isaiah Crowell was a good example of that last season with Cleveland. Plus, if you look at the trends of good running backs going undrafted (Branden Oliver last season and Arian Foster in 2009) or late in the draft (Alfred Morris, Alfred Blue, Andre Williams) you'll find there's always fantasy value to be found in nearly every round of the draft. So you can't sleep on anybody. Let's take a look at a running back who may end up fitting all that criteria listed above and analyze how his skills could translate to the next level. That running back is Louisville product and former Auburn running back Michael Dyer. An undisclosed violation of team rules led him to being kicked off the Auburn Tigers in 2011, but Dyer left a mark while he was there. Dyer rushed for 1,093 yards on 182 carries and five touchdowns as a freshman in 2010 and helped the Auburn Tigers to a National Championship victory over the Oregon Ducks that same year. In that game, Dyer rushed for 143 yards on 22 carries and was…

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