George Banko

George Banko

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George and Scott Sergent discuss who they want to draft to their fantasy teams this season. They advise you to avoid certain rookies, find value in the later rounds and mention which quarterbacks to take.

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George welcomes Daniel Friedman, a dynasty fantasy football enthusiast. Friedman tells you how to build a great dynasty team by sharing his own experiences and strategies. They then talk about how to find your strengths as a fantasy football player, and end the pod with an overview of the current NFL culture and what the future may hold for the sport.

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Giana Pacinelli of the the Huffington Post and joins George Banko of to debate which receiver to draft, Randall Cobb or John Brown?

Opening statements

George: Randall Cobb is coming off a season where he scored his lowest touchdown total (4) since 2013. It was also the first time since that same season he failed to play in all 16 games. Here's why we can expect a bounce-back season from the seven-year Green Bay wide receiver.

Giana: John Brown was set to have a breakout year in 2016, following his first 1,000-yard season. Instead, Brown had a disappointing 39-517-2 stat line through 15 games. His struggles had a lot to do with his diagnosis of sickle cell and a cyst on his spine. With both injuries reportedly under control, expect a second-go at a breakout season for the Arizona Cardinals WR2despite his slow return from a quad injury he suffered in practice at the end of July.

Beginning arguments

George: John Brown is an electric player when healthy for sure. Still, there are some things about Cobb's situation that I love. For one, he plays in a pass-happy offense. The Packers threw the ball on 64 percent of plays last season, second only to the Baltimore Ravens. They might not pass THAT much in 2017, but Aaron Rodgers is what makes that offense go and will still throw plenty. Cobb had over 100 targets last season and didn't play in three games. He will have a lot of scoring opportunities based on the offense he plays in.

Giana: While Cobb has more years on Brown in the NFL and a top-tier QB to match, he's competing with the likes of Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams for targets. For Brown, more opportunity exists. Brown is playing second fiddle to Larry Fitzgerald, who is 34 this month. While there is no question Fitz is still a top receiver, his production value has faded down the stretch the past two seasons. In the second half of both 2015 and 2016 seasons, he scored double-digit fantasy points in a standard league only once. Alongside Fitz, Brown saw over 100 targets in both 2014 and 2015. As Fitz fades, the targets will reallocate to Brown. While there’s no doubt JJ Nelson, and perhaps Jerod Brown, will see some production value from it, this is the year Brown could rack up WR1 numbers as long as he can stay healthy.


George: While Brown will get a lot of big plays in the offense, I like Cobb's chances for consistency. He's been a reliable touchdown target, catching three scores in three games last postseason. While postseason games don't typically count for fantasy, coaches value them and Cobb's ability to perform in big moments will only lead to more targets in the offense this year. Davante Adams finally broke out in 2016, but it's likely he won’t have another 12-touchdown season with Cobb healthy. Cobb should rack up 2-3 more touchdowns this year without difficulty.

Giana: Yes, Brown had a disappointing 2016. But in reality, the Cardinals had a disappointing season overall, finishing 7-8-1. In the case of determining Brown’s value, it’s best to look at the Cardinals three-year average of 592 pass attempts and 416 rush attempts. Despite their unsatisfactory year, Cardinals are prolific in the passing game (ProFootballFocus ranks them #6 overall). Carson Palmer threw the third most TDs (21) on quick passes (aging suits him) and Fitz tied for second most receptions (63) from the slot. Although they struggle with the deep pass, efficiency is what will win them games. If Brown can increase his yards per route, the Cardinals passing game will be a brutal force in 2017. Another thing of note is that this off-season Brown added an extra 13 pounds of muscle to the chip on his shoulder, showing he’s ready to come back from an injury-ridden season to reinvigorate the offense.

George: Great points on the Cardinals passing attack, but I want to delve deeper into Cobb's reliability. With an average depth of target at six yards last season, Cobb won't score long touchdowns like Brown will, but he will make up for it with consistency. Cobb's catch rate of 71% (per playerprofiler) ranked 14th among wide receivers last season. He was reliable inside the 20-yard line, with 10 red zone receptions and we all know the Packers throw the ball a lot near the goal line. These numbers translated to 11.4 fantasy points per game. That's solid and consistent production for a WR2. Cobb might not score you 33 points in game like Brown could, but he won't be the reason you lose either.

Giana: Agree with Cobb being a safe, consistent pick, but the opportunity for him to get his share of the targets still concerns me. I have no concerns on whether he can deliver, just if he can get the ball. While the sample size for Brown’s production is much thinner than Cobb’s, his consistency is still evident. In the three seasons of his career, he’s averaged a 56 catch percentage and 14 yards per reception. Brown excels at forcing safeties to play deep, opening up the middle of the field. And despite playing alongside Fitz and Michael Floyd, Brown saw 17 red-zone targets across 15 games in 2015. Even more inspiring is his handle of the ball, with just two turnovers on his career. I can’t stress it enough, there’s a major if in the health category that causes Brown’s ADP to suffer. Don’t overthink it – Brown is going to be a beast come September.

George: Agree with you on Cobb lacking targets, but the coaches have a lot of confidence in him as does Rodgers. Since 2012, Packer QB's have had a 116.2 rating when targeting Cobb, according to Pro Football Focus. Not only will he likely see more targets as mentioned earlier, he also has scoring upside. Rodgers has thrown for over 30 touchdowns per season and Carson Palmer has only accomplished that feat twice in his 13-year career. Those factors will lead to Cobb getting more targets in the end zone and his touchdown numbers should increase as a result.


Giana: I’ve danced around it a bunch in previous arguments, but here it is. Brown’s disappointing 2016 season was largely caused by the injuries he dealt with related to his sickle-cell trait. Brown claims he is “back to normal” and knows how to manage the trait. And since Denver has been known to heighten symptoms of the sickle cell trait (Tevin Coleman was unsure he could play in Denver last year) it’s important to note that the Broncos are not on the Cardinals schedule this season. This leaves little doubt that it would be a lingering concern into 2017.

Now, onto the quad injury Brown suffered at the end of July. While Brown was able to practice in team reps after a few days, he was incredibly slow to return to the field. It seemed Brown was not going to push himself to return until he felt ready, regardless of Coach Bruce Arians expressing that he was 'concerned' when Brown didn't return until the third preseason game. But when he did return, making a pair of touchdown catches, quarterback Carson Palmer had these positive words to say about his receiver through text: "Wide receiver's impact clear when he's on field — he just needs to be on the field."

Even with the slight uncertainty, Brown is not deserving of his current ADP – falling between the ninth and twelfth rounds in standard leagues. He is only one season removed from a 65-catch, 1,003-yard, seven-touchdown season. It’s hard to argue that stat-line and convince me he’s not worth more than a ninth-round pick. While that might be his ceiling, it doesn’t warrant him being the 44th wide out on the board. But if that's where he'll reside, don't settle or reach for Cobb — steal a starting wide receiver in the second half of your draft instead.

Closing arguments

George: With a strong postseason last year, Cobb will see more targets in 2017. He also has considerable touchdown upside given the quarterback he plays with. He's a great value at his current ADP and worth drafting as a WR2/3.

Giana: The 2016 season is not a benchmark for Brown’s potential. At 27 years old, he is still in his prime and will look to see more targets in 2017 in one of the league's top passing offenses. Brown has the potential to be the most productive receiver per-target this season. He’s an undervalued sleeper in his current ADP and is worthy of your WR2/3 slot.

Giana Pacinelli contributed to this article. She is the author 'Women in Fantasy Sports,' a series featured in the Huffington Post. She also contributes to 

Follow her on twitter @Gianaaaa 

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George and Scott Sergent give you the strategies to employ in your fantasy football draft through their Mock Drafts. Overall, it's important to focus on three major things when drafting in standard, redraft leagues and they cover all of them in this episode.

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On this episode, Scott Sergent joins the pod to talk about running back sleepers, injury worries to the Top 2 running backs in this year's drafts and which rookies have the best opportunity in 2017. They mention Danny Woodhead, Bilal Powell and Samaje Perine as some of their favorites.

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The Helpers are back and Scott Sergent, the video producer at Georgia Tech joins the pod to discuss prime bounce back and regression candidates at the quarterback position. They mention Eli Manning's touchdown regression probability and Sam Bradford's cakewalk schedule to start the season. They also talk Cam Newton's issues at wide receiver and why Matthew Stafford could be in for one of his best fantasy seasons yet.

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Check out more predictive stats at Use the promo code 'Welcome' and receive the best predictive stats all at your fingertips for $9.99.

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One of the more predictable ways to determine opportunity is to look at coaching habits. By looking at how a coach decides which plays to run, you develop an understanding of what players will be valuable in an offense. This is especially true if a coach has been on a team for a long period of time and large sample sizes exist.

In this piece, we take a look at play calling and game script for the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2016 season and how those numbers might translate to 2017.

By looking at the overall number of plays ran and pass/run ratio, we should be able to come up with a reasonable projection for how players on the team might fare in the fantasy category this season.

How the Chiefs started in 2016

Kansas City was a little shaky coming out of the gate, starting off 2-2 with bad losses to Houston and Pittsburgh. They also needed one of the largest comebacks ever to put away the San Diego Chargers in Week 1.

During that four-game stretch, quarterback Alex Smith's arm served as the primary source of offense for KC. Smith passed on 69 percent of the team's snaps.

Smith's passing workload had a lot to do with the Chiefs playing two high-powered offenses in San Diego and Pittsburgh. The Chiefs were also playing from behind in 3 out of 4 of those games.

Overall, Smith finished as a QB3 in Week 1, QB32 in Week 2, and QB18 in Week 3. Not very consistent overall.

As for the running back spot, starter Spencer Ware recorded his highest carry total in Week 3 with 20 attempts against the Jets. Game script had a lot to do with Ware's volume in that game, as the Chiefs nursed a 17-3 advantage in the second half.

Spencer Ware finished as an RB3, RB21 and RB34 in that span.

Chiefs pick up steam

After the 2-2 start, the Chiefs rattled off five straight victories. Their success stemmed from a change in offensive philosophy and a softer schedule. Smith threw the ball less with 22, 24, 19, 38 and 31 pass attempts in that stretch. Smith also only recorded one game with 250 passing yards.

The Chiefs offense also played weaker defenses, scoring close to 30 points against Oakland, New Orleans and Indianapolis.

In the run game, Ware became the team's go-to option. He out-snapped Charcandrick West 40-8, 36-14, 26-42, 0-45, and 41-20 in that stretch. The only outlier games were when Ware sustained a concussion Week 8 and missed the second half followed by missing all of Week 9.

Rookie wide receiver Tyreek Hill also emerged as a key factor, doubling his snap count from 18 to 36 by Week 8 and contributing on special teams in a big way with two punt return touchdowns and one kickoff return for a score.

Closing out strong

The Chiefs were fantastic down the stretch, winning five of their last six games including tough victories against Atlanta, Oakland and Denver twice. Smith's throws per game hovered around the 25-28 mark with one or two outlier games. The passing attempts were similar to his Week 5-8 numbers.

Smith's passing yard totals were very close to the same almost every week and he averaged 238 yards per game during the stretch. He had no games deviating 30 yards + or - from that average, aside from one outlier game against Tennessee where he only threw for 163 yards.

Ware continued to assert himself as the lead back, out-snapping West 42-33, 38-11, 40-13, 36-21, 37-29 and he didn't play in the final game. His best finish came as an RB10 in Week 13 before he dropped off and failed to crack the Top 30 for the rest of the season.

Go for running backs and tight ends?

Andy Reid offenses in Kansas City haven't lent themselves to high value for the quarterback spot. He has consistently ranked low in pass plays per game and it hasn't impacted the Chiefs success at all. He's yet to record a losing season with this philosophy.

Year Team  Pass plays/game  Rank Chiefs record
2013 KC 34.8 20 11-5
2014 KC 30.8 28 9-7
2015 KC 30.3 29 11-5
2016 KC 34.1 25 12-4


This conservative passing approach has affected the wide receivers ability to have fantasy value. Here's how value shakes out at each position. Hint: This should give you pause if you're thinking about drafting Tyreek Hill.

Year QB fantasy finish Highest RB finish Highest WR finish Highest TE finish
2013 QB13 RB1 WR45 TE40
2014 QB19 RB7 None in top 50 TE8
2015 QB16 RB32 WR17 TE8
2016 QB22 RB16 WR15 TE1


It would appear running backs and tight ends have the most value in Andy Reid's offense. There hasn't been a wide receiver inside the Top 15 range since Reid got to Kansas City.

Tight ends are a different story. Kelce ranked third in targets last season and sixth in 2015. Keep in mind, Brent Celek also had a Pro Bowl caliber season under Reid in 2009 and ranked 7th in targets that year. L.J. Smith was 11th in targets in 2006. So Reid has shown a tendency to get tight ends involved.

Year Team Run plays/game  Rank 
2013 KC 27.8 14
2014 KC 26.2 15
2015 KC 28.1 9
2016 KC 25.1 20


You'd think Reid's teams would be more run heavy but they aren't. Over the course of Reid's stint in Kansas City, the Chiefs ranked near the bottom in plays run per game among the 32 NFL teams. To put that in perspective, New Orleans ran 69 plays per game in 2016 to lead all teams. So Kansas City ran over 120 less plays than New Orleans did last season.

Despite that, running backs are still valuable because of the passing game. Reid likes to use running backs as receivers, as evidenced by the 82 targets doled out last season to running backs. In 2015, there were 75 between three running backs. Jamaal Charles was lethal in 2013 because of this alone.

Year Team Plays run per game Rank
2013 KC 65.2 13
2014 KC 60.1 29
2015 KC 61.1 25
2016 KC 61.1 28


So how do you apply this to your fantasy team?

Glad you asked. That answer lies in drafting for value at running back and valuing Travis Kelce as a TE1. Spencer Ware finished as an RB2 in standard scoring leagues (RB16) and was also an RB2 in PPR (RB16).

Look for Ware to be the top back out of the gate. Expect some solid RB2 weeks out of him, but don't draft him too high. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Ware is being drafted as an RB20.

Ware's ADP is a little high with Hunt lurking but there are plenty of question marks regarding the RB's being drafted around him like C.J. Anderson, Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin. Still, his team has a strong defensive foundation and a coach that likes to get RB's involved. He's safe. 

As for rookie backup Kareem Hunt, you'd be wise to draft him at his RB38 ADP. Hunt's elusiveness and ability to create yards after contact could land him the starter role at some point during the season.

Tough road in 2017

The Chiefs have a brutal schedule in 2017 and trail only Denver for the toughest slate in the league.

When it comes to game scripts, the Chiefs get New England Week 1, Philadelphia Week 2 and the improved Los Angeles Chargers Week 3. Three defenses with good pass rushers and potent offenses.

The Chiefs might have to throw more out of the gate and may struggle out of the gate like last year. Smith just isn't wired to throw for a ton of passing yards and is at his best when his attempts hover around 25-30.

Ware will also have his work cutout for him, but there is some passing upside due to Reid's style of getting running backs involved in the receiving game. 

Summing up Kansas City's approach

Kansas City plays a conservative style of offense and looks to grind games out with defense. Their only true playmaker is tight end Travis Kelce due to his size and speed after the catch. Tyreek Hill has potential, but wide receivers have been stifled in Reid's offense due to low passing volume.

Not much changed in the offseason for Kansas City to change this approach. Smith is still the quarterback, and their defense remains one of the best in the league on paper. With a now-healthy Justin Houston rushing the passer and safety Eric Berry at the helm, Kansas City should remain true to its identity.

Cornerback Marcus Peters is also coming off a solid season, and graded out the 11th best corner in the league according to Pro Football Focus.

Kelce, Ware and Hunt are the players you should be looking to draft. Ware isn't a great option given his ADP, but he will have good PPR value as a receiver. Hunt is a tremendous value.

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Mike Tagliere, lead NFL Writer for joins the pod to discuss why Ty Montgomery and Danny Woodhead's ADP's are too rich for his blood, why Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins could be on the verge of their biggest fantasy seasons yet and why Philip Rivers isn't likely to crack the Top 12 in fantasy points for quarterbacks in 2017.

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The Fantasy Football Helpers are back after a brief hiatus and ready to talk important stats that lend themselves to consistently sound predictions for your fantasy team. Jody Smith, 26-year Fantasy Football Veteran and Senior Editor of joins the pod to discuss his methodology to identify good late-round draft picks. They then switch gears and talk high-volume receivers, discuss why Odell Beckham Jr. is in for a big year as well as why Larry Fitzgerald might be someone to avoid in 2017. They wrap it up comparing Amari Cooper's red zone struggles to Andre Johnson's. Lots of value here.

Follow Jody Smith @JodySmithNFL

Follow George Banko @gbankoFFHelpers

Check out more predictive stats at Use the promo code 'Welcome' and receive the best predictive stats all at your fingertips for $9.99.

Want to get your Mock Drafts started, visit and check out their Draft Wizard tool.

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In this article, we take a look at a player's potential to outperform their current ADP (average draft position) and assess the risks and potential rewards of drafting them. We look at opportunity stats including target share, average depth of target, receptions, receiving yards and touchdown rate. This is not an article that will tell you to draft a player or not. Rather, it's taking a look at predictive stats that can serve as a good indicator of what kind of numbers a player will give you if you draft him.

This article dissects Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews.

2016 season recap

Matthews entered 2016 playing for a team coming off a tumultuous offseason. The Eagles ousted coach Chip Kelly after missing the playoffs for a second straight season, and replaced him with Andy Reid disciple Doug Pederson. With a new staff, it looked like Matthews role as a slot receiver might've changed to more of an outside receiver. Pederson entertained the idea of moving Matthews from the slot to the outside, but he eventually moved him back, dubbing him the perfect 'slot receiver.' So it's safe to assume Matthews won't be used in any other way going forward.

Last season brought tremendous opportunity for Matthews in terms of targets. The Eagles arguably had the worst No. 1 and No. 2 receivers in the league, with underachieving Dorial Green-Beckham and drop-prone Nelson Agholor failing to generate more than a measly 800 receiving yards combined.

But despite his chances to be a focal point of the offense, Matthews failed to play up to his WR35 ADP in 2016 and finished at WR50 overall with just three touchdowns.

It's worth noting that Matthews missed two games with an ankle injury, and was marred by inconsistent quarterback play from rookie Carson Wentz down the stretch which hurt his touchdown value as well. Despite that, his opportunity through consistent targets has always made him a reliable option in fantasy dating back to his rookie season.


Year Targets Catches Yards Touchdowns Finish (standard)
2014 103 67 872 8 24
2015 128 85 997 8 19
2016 116 73 804 3 51


What he exactly did in 2016

If you owned Matthews last season, you were excited after Week 1 where he exploded out of the gate in a 7/114/1 effort against the decrepit Cleveland Browns defense. Matthews performance was good for a WR6 finish in standard leagues and would serve as the only time Matthews cracked the Top 15 in 2016. His 14 targets in that game also tied for a season high.

Through the first 5 weeks of 2016, Matthews averaged 9.7 fantasy points per game and scored 2/3rds of his touchdown output for the season in that span. His total fantasy output in that stretch ranked him 24th among wide receivers. This made him a WR2 caliber player overall in standard leagues for the first half of the season. 

But even though his start wasn't terrible, it was downhill from Weeks 5-10, as Matthews averaged just 7.3 fantasy points per game which ranked him 41st among receivers. From Weeks 10-16, he averaged just 5.0 points per game, good for WR63 overall.

 Jordan Mathews has the opportunity to exceed ADP expectations in 2017.


2017 outlook

Matthews is currently being drafted as a WR53, going slightly behind Tyrell Williams and Adam Thielen and slightly ahead of Kevin White and Josh Doctson. Williams and Thielen have upside but have only been productive for one season, while Doctson and White are two young wideouts who are essentially rookies due to their injury problems so far in their careers. While Matthews isn't a great player, he's proven to be more reliable year in and year out than those guys. But just how good can he be?


Weeks Games Average depth of target Target share PPR Points
1-9 8 10.4 24% 110.7
9-17 7 9.5 22% 75.5


Target share — A lot of Matthews' value hinges on how many targets he might lose to Philly's newest offseason additions at receiver. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith will assume the outside WR spots, and it's safe to assume Jeffery will command more targets than Agholor's 69 and DGB's 74. Looking at Matthews chart above from 2016, he saw WR1 level target share throughout the year, but with the additions of Jeffery and Smith and Jeffery being the clear No. 1, plus the continued involvement of Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles in the passing game, it's likely Matthews sees a drop in targets. Finishing with about 90-100 targets seems reasonable for him.

Wentz also threw the ball 607 times last season, a number you have to figure will go down since Philadelphia added running back LeGarrette Blount to use in short-yardage situations and Doug Pederson's offense has a lot of parallels to Andy Reid's which hasn't always been the kindest to wide receivers in the past.

Catch rate — Matthews regressed slightly in 2016 after hauling in 62% of his targets but his 65% and 66% catch rate in his first two seasons shows he's a reliable target. You'd like to see that number hover closer to 70 percent since he's playing from the slot, but it's still more than serviceable.

In the red zone, Matthews caught 5 of his 10 total targets and scored all 3 of his touchdowns inside the opponents 20. Never a long touchdown threat, the vast majority of his touchdowns come on 10-20 yard receptions inside the red zone. If you want Matthews to return value, you're banking on the Eagles being in the red zone more often in 2017, which seems almost a sure thing given the improvements at running back at wide receiver.

Receptions — If Matthews catches 64% of 90 targets, we're looking at 71 catches which would put him right around Mike Wallace and Willie Snead territory. You'd like to see that number tick a bit higher since he's not a receiver that can make up for lack of touches with long plays after the catch. But with Jeffery, Smith, Ertz, Sproles and maybe even Nelson Agholor taking targets away, it's hard to see Matthews getting more than 90 targets.

Yards — Matthews 11.0 yards per catch in 2016 was far from amazing and put him in the same area as Mohamed Sanu and Eddie Royal. It was a far cry from his 13.0 per catch average during his rookie year, back when Mark Sanchez was seeing a majority of the snaps at quarterback and who Matthews arguably had the best chemistry with. He'll likely lose a few yards due this season due to less targets, but if he's healthy for an entire season unlike last year then his numbers shouldn't change much.

Touchdowns — This category will likely be the make or break for Matthews 2017 value. With less targets, he'll have to make up for a smaller amount of a receiving yards in the end zone. He's proven capable so far, with 8 touchdowns in his first two seasons. Touchdown rate tends to regress to the mean so it's likely Matthews scores 6-7 times in 2017. That feat is even more likely if Wentz becomes more competent in the red zone since the Eagles ranked 24th in red-zone efficiency last year.

Competition for snaps — Nelson Agholor has been moved into the slot position while Matthews recovers from knee tendinitis during minicamp and OTAs and has looked explosive there. It's definitely something to keep an eye on, as there have already been two reports that Agholor is starting to improve. It's not enough to consider dropping Matthews ADP even lower, especially considering how poorly Agholor has played in his first two seasons, but it's still something to watch for. If Agholor carries his momentum into training camp, then there could be potential for Matthews to lose snaps. The Eagles  invested a first-round pick in Agholor and he's only 24 years old, so there is still a chance he gets an opportunity to prove himself. 


It's likely Matthews can outperform his ADP, but it won't be by much. He is what he is at this point as a receiver and there's no reason to believe he becomes an explosive route runner or creates huge yardage after the catch. A slew of newer receivers will hurt his targets and a more balanced offensive attack will curb his touches as well.

A few extra touchdowns should make up for his lack of yards, which is a real possibility but harder to predict. If he scores 6 times in 2017, he'll finish with 117 fantasy points for the year when factoring in his receiving yard projection. That would make him a WR40 by 2016's standards and would exceed his 2017 ADP by about 10 spots.

Matthews doesn't have the upside of Tyrell Williams or Adam Thielen, but he's a nice value in your draft if you're looking to add some stability to your core of receivers and have already drafted some upside receivers to your roster.


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We believe Fantasy Football success comes down to two things — opportunity and talent. You will have Fantasy Football mastered once you understand how good a player is and how good of an opportunity he has to gain yards and score touchdowns. The thing is, you'll never master Fantasy Football. But you can get pretty darn good at it when you have even a slightly better understanding of opportunity and talent than the average Joe. That's what Fantasy Football Helpers is dedicated to doing.

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