As the mercury rises and we inch closer to the open of training camps, our resident fantasy football sickos, Brad Evans and Liz Loza, will profile their favorite booms/busts of every NFL team. Today’s topic: The Magnificent Art Monks.
In light of several additions on offense, many in the nation’s capital are excited about Washington’s potential impact in 2018. Who among Jay Gruden’s group has the most profit potential based on ADP this year?
Brad – PAUL RICHARDSON. In a semi-breakout campaign last season with Seattle, Richardson quickly developed into one of the game’s most feared downfield weapons. His tracking and adjustment skills allowed him to routinely conquer cornerbacks on explosive pass plays. It’s why Russell Wilson posted a terrific 104.3 passer rating when targeting No. 10. Richardson only enticed 15.2 percent of the targets share in ’17, but he ranked No. 21 in fantasy points per opportunity at his position.
Richardson mirrors teammate Josh Doctson in likely deployment terms, but he’s more refined across the board. If he can register 90-100 targets working in tandem with a passer, Alex Smith, who throws a better-than-advertised deep ball (No. 2 in deep-ball cmp% in ’17), he’ll lead investors well into the black at his 148.9 (WR53) ADP. If it all comes together, he could top out close to 65-1000-7.
Liz – JAMISON CROWDER. If Evans can’t quit Pryor, I can’t quit Crowder. Heading into 2017, I had BIG expectations for the sub-six-foot receiver. Unfortunately, a hip injury that turned into a cascade of other physical woes prevented the Duke product from building on his impressive 2016 campaign. (Though it is worth noting that Crowder finally found the end zone in Week 12 once his body recovered a bit and fellow short yardage target Chris Thompson exited the lineup.)
Over the final six weeks of the season, Crowder turned four end zone looks into three scores. That’s a pretty solid conversion rate. Assuming he can stay healthy, the 24-year-old figures to bounce back. Given the fact that his skill set aligns with Alex Smith’s further boosts his boom appeal. FF: 71-877-6
Conversely, what player at his current price point pulls a Terrelle Pryor and sinks investors to the Potomac bottom?
Liz – JOSH DOCTSON. With a catch rate of 44.9 percent (#99) and a target separation of 1.10 yards (#94), Doctson’s game is far from developed. Frankly, if he was going to put it together, it would have happened by now. Plus, Paul Richardson is better. And the Skins wouldn’t have added Simmie Cobbs, who is a raw-but-capable red zone target (6-foot-3 and 220 pounds) if they had the utmost confidence in Doctson.
Brad – JORDAN REED. The oft-injured tight end could be the patient in the classic game Operation. Concussions, knee sprains, chest contusions, thigh strains, AC joint separations, thumb swelling, a pedal fracture – in five professional seasons he’s lived in the infirmary. Heck, Ryan Mathews would call him “fragile.” However, when in uniform, he’s an efficient (career 75.9 catch%), over-the-middle monster who gashes defenses and moves chains, but can he realistically play 16 or even eight games?
Due to Reed’s disturbing medical history, his ADP sits at a heavily discounted 105.8 (TE11). That’s a fair value, especially when considering Smith’s fondness for tight ends, but selecting him limits roster flexibility, particularly in deeper formats. Any owner who picks him in 12-team or larger leagues almost certainly has to waste a bench spot on another TE. For that reason alone he’s not worth the risk.
Though he slipped in the NFL Draft, fantasy owners are firmly gripping the wheel of the Derrius Guice bandwagon. At his 38.6 ADP (RB20) is the rookie rusher OVERVALUED, UNDERVALUED or PROPERLY VALUED in .5 PPR?
Brad – OVERVALUED. To me, Guice is The Dave Matthews Band of fantasy running backs. This summer, die-hard fans will loyally follow the band (or man) around the country. Meanwhile, those in the opposite camp would vow to never purchase a ticket on the idea “all of their songs sound the same,” or in Guice’s case, “he’s too one-dimensional.” Place me in the latter group.
Don’t get me wrong, Guice, like with DMB, features beats in the catalogue I’m rather fond of. His LSU tape is impressive. He’s a battering ram between the tackles who blasts through arm tackles and occasionally drags defenders. By the eye test, he passes with flying colors. However, his secondary metrics really didn’t measure up last season. He forced a missed tackle only 18.1 percent of the time, ranked No. 29 in elusive rating and landed outside the top-50 in breakaway run percentage among Division I rushers. Discouraging.
With Chris Thompson fixed as Washington’s primary backfield receiver, Guice is largely TD dependent, an unattractive description when considering his top-40 ADP. To justify the early selection, investors need him to be Latavius Murray 2017 (945 total yards, 8 TDs, RB21). On my RB list, fellow rookies Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman and Ronald Jones rank higher.
Liz – PROPERLY VALUED. Chris Thompson is a pass-catching stud and Guice has limited experience as a receiver. So, it makes sense that his primary role be that of an early down banger and goal line gremlin. That’s fine. His opportunities will expand as the season unfolds. Plus, with a mobile QB like Smith under center there should be plenty of holes for Guice to exploit. He’s my RB18.
FF: 220 carries, 920 rushing yards, 6 rushing TDs