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Don’t Discount Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman may be the most underrated back in football. He missed most of last year battling injuries and has fallen to the back of people’s minds. With Tevin Coleman out of the town and a full offseason to heal I think Devonta Freeman is primed for one of the best years of his career.  

Coming off a year where he only played two games after being hindered by a groin injury, Devonta Freeman is being criminally undervalued. He is currently the 18th RB off the board behind the likes of Aaron Jones, Marlon Mack and Kerryon Johnson. Those are some names that haven’t consistently produced at a high level that are being taken in front of a guy that has finished as an RB1. 

Freeman has consistently produced as a top 15 RB throughout his career and that was with Tevin Coleman cutting into his bottom line. Now Coleman is on the west coast fighting for carries with the 49ers and Devonta’s biggest threat is Ito Smith (I used the word “threat” very loosely here). He’s primed to finally be a full blown bell cow back. Bonus if you are in a PPR league- Freeman hasn’t had less than 30 receptions in a year (except for last year of course) and has had as many as 73. I’m not sure he will get to 73 again, but I think it’s a safe bet to say his floor is about 50 additional receptions added to his bell cow workload.

Even though sometimes it feels like he’s been in the league for forever- he is still in his prime and is only 27 years of age. Freeman is primed for a RB1 type season and I can see him being the steal of your fantasy drafts this year.  Agree or disagree let me know on Twitter @FootballBry15. Don’t forget to listen to Jet Set Fantasy Football podcast every week (rate, review, subscribe) to play along with some games, listen to some bad jokes and some less bad fantasy football thoughts. 

Saquon vs CMC- the Battle for the #1 Spot

I have to admit- I am selfishly writing this article. I recently found out in my longest standing redraft league that I will have the 1st pick in the draft this year. There’s a consensus quickly forming for the #1 overall pick in PPR leagues: Saquon Barkley seems to be the most popular pick to go off the board first. However, Christian McCaffery had himself a helluva season last year and I think he could make the case for best back this year (especially in PPR leagues). Let’s make a case for both guys to be the #1 pick and see who has the stronger argument. 

Saquon Barkley-  352 touches for 361.60 PPR Points last year

Saquon exploded onto the scene last year as well as anyone could have hoped for finishing as RB3 on the year. He only had one game under 10 pts and only 3 under 20 points all season. OBJ has been swapped out for Golden Tate (who is facing a 4 game suspension) and the other unproven weapons in the offense don’t strike fear in the hearts of defensive coordinators. How will Saquon perform being the primary focus of defenses week to week? I also think that if rookie QB Daniel Jones see any serious playing time this year that boosts Saquon more because they will most likely lean even heavier on the run game. 

The only other thing that scares me is the miniscule chance of a one year wonder.. We’ve seen guys throughout the years like Peyton Hillis, RGIII, Gary Barnidge, Trent Richardson and Jeremy Hill have one monster seasons then fall off the map. I’m not saying that’s where I think Saquon is heading- but I’m a big proponent of safety first in the early parts of the draft which may keep me away from Saquon at the first overall. 

Christian McCaffery- 343 touches for 380.5 PPR Points

CMC finished the fantasy season as the RB1- almost a full 20 points ahead of Saquon. CMC had 4 games under 20 points last year but ZERO under 10 (13.50 PPR points in week 1 was his season low). That is the kind of consistency I like to see out of my #1 pick. 

There have been some rumblings that Panther’s Head Coach Ron Rivera has wanted to scale back CMC’s plays- but not his touches. Not sure how that makes sense but that is the one concern I have for CMC. They don’t have a proven backup or change of pace back in Carolina and CMC looks like he is ready for a full workload by putting on a ton of muscle. The other concern is that we never really see a RB put back to back overall RB1 seasons. 

I’m not sure you can really go wrong with either of these guys as a the 1st pick of your draft. If I was a betting man (which I am) I would probably lean toward CMC as my first choice off the board. The chances of him repeating as the overall #1 are low, but the fact he had double digit scoring every single week last year is enough for me to take him when the draft clock starts ticking. 

Who are you taking to kickoff your fantasy drafts this year? Let me know on Twitter @FootballBry15. Don’t forget to listen to Jet Set Fantasy Football podcast every week (rate, review, subscribe) to play along with some games, listen to some bad jokes and some less bad fantasy football thoughts. 

If You’re Dumb Enough to Watch the HoF Game (like me)- Here’s Who to Keep an Eye On

Football is finally here! It’s been 24 weeks since the Super Bowl and our last taste of professional football (don’t come at me with that AAF nonsense). The HoF game is this Thursday @ 8PM ET- although it’s a poor excuse for a football game I still need to get my fix. Since it’s a bonus preseason game don’t expect any big names to even bother suiting up- but here are some young players that are looking for a chance to make a name for themselves.

Falcons

Qadree Ollison- RB

The 5th round rookie was in a committee at Pitt but showed flashes as a good in between the tackles runner with an extra gear. Best case scenario for Ollison is he beats out Brian Hill and Kenjon Barner for the 3rd spot on the depth chart and maybe gets a chance at goal line carries. I think Q’adree is the most talented out of the backs mentioned above and maybe even better than Ito Smith. Ollison is one of the few guys you’ll see this week that might actually have a real role come September. 

Russell Gage- WR

Gage was an electric receiver/gadget player at LSU. He didn’t really make an impact his rookie year. He had 3 grabs for 36 yards in the preseason last year but didn’t make a real impact on the regular season stat sheet until late in the year. He’s just a depth guy but he might have a chance to ball out this preseason.   

Marcus Green- WR

Marcus Green was a bit of a surprise pick back in May. Small school and small in stature but an electric athlete- he is deep enough on the depth chart that he might get some quality time on the field this week. Let’s see how his athleticism translates to the NFL. 

Broncos

Juwan Winfree/Trinity Benson- WR

I put these two guys together because it’s the same story. They are both getting some hype early in camp so let’s see if they produce in Canton. The 6th rounder (Winfree) and UDFA (Benson) are vying for one of the last spots in the WR room so I think they will get a lot of time to fight it out. 

Kelvin McKnight-WR

The UDFA rookie from Samford stepped into the slot last week when Daesean Hamilton went down with a hamstring injury. He may not be the sexiest name out there but he might be one of the few players to actually have a chance to make a regular season impact that get real playing time this week. Let’s see what he can do in his first live game action.

Also if you’re a sucker like me and want to get some action on the game, my Hall of Fame lock of the week is the under (currently sitting at 34 points) the last 13 HoF games have averaged 33.7 points. You are welcome for the free money and in depth football analysis. Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @FootballBry15 and be sure to listen to Jet Set Fantasy Football every week wherever you listen to podcasts. 

Don’t Discount the Slot Receiver

Dec 30, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) reacts to the final moments of the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns game on the scoreboard after the Steelers defeated the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 16-13. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret- the NFL is a passing league. While flashy names like Antonio Brown, O’dell Beckham Jr and Mike Evans come to mind when you think top performers- the players hiding in the slot can often times become the players that help you win your fantasy league. 

I dove into wideout positioning with the help of The Quantum Edge WR/CB Matchup tool to see which of the top performing wide receivers from 2018 spent the majority of their time in the slot and I was surprised by the results (free plug for these guys because this article wouldn’t have happened without them- check out their Twitter @TheQuantEdge and their website www.TheQuantEdge.com). 

11 of the top 24 PPR WRs spent the majority of their time in the slot. Here’s how the list looks (as a bonus I’ve included last years ADP according to www.fantasyfootballcalculator.com):

WR 5- Adam Thielen (50% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR14)

WR 6- Tyreek Hill (46% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 9)

WR 8- Juju Smith-Schuster (59% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 18)

WR 9- Robert Woods (55% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 42)

WR 11- Keenan Allen (59% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 6)

WR 15- Tyler Boyd (73% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP Undrafted)

WR 18-Tyler Lockett (50% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 53)

WR 20- Emmanuel Sanders (56% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 23)

WR 21- Jarvis Landry (64% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 17)

WR 23- Julian Edelman (55% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP WR 29)

WR 24- Adam Humphries (83% of routes in the slot) (2018 ADP Undrafted)

It’s also a bonus to mention how many of these guys significantly outperformed their ADP. Remember- there’s value to be had in slot wideouts especially later in the draft. What do you think? Agree or disagree let me know on Twitter @FootballBry15. Don’t forget to listen to Jet Set Fantasy Football (rate, review subscribe) every week for stupid games and fantasy football discussion.