Thank you for offering JSN your wrist, but I don’t think he wants it…
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by NFFC:
3 WR injuries shake up the draft board
Buying/Selling ADP Movers: The Commanders are buzzy
JT trade rumors
Drafting from the 1.05: A WR stands out
It’s 8/24. Take it away, Peter Overzet
It’s not even September yet, but injuries have arrived. It’s the dark underbelly of the preseason and something we must account for in our drafting plans.
Here are three unfortunate WR injuries that recently popped up and actionable takeaways for how to handle them in drafts…
🚑️ Terry McLaurin (Week 1 in doubt)
The Commanders star WR sprained his toe against the Ravens on Monday and the reporting surrounding the injury has been all over the place.
Head Coach Ron Rivera said yesterday that McLaurin will be “off his feet for the next couple of days” and sources say that there is optimism that he will be ready for Week 1.
On the other hand, Rivera’s exact quote wasn’t exactly reassuring:
Ron Rivera on status of Terry McLaurin: "For the most part Terry's X-rays are negative and his MRI showed the same thing for the most part." Not gonna lie "the most part" gives me a bit of pause
— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS)
Aug 23, 2023
Other Twitter docs are not so bullish and think there’s a legitimate chance he misses, or is at least limited, for Week 1.
🤔 How to play it?
McLaurin currently goes near the 4-5 turn of drafts, but he should likely move down behind WRs like DeAndre Hopkins and Brandon Aiyuk, into the middle of the fifth round.
Losing some early season production isn’t the end of the world, but we also want to properly account for the new levels of risk here. You can make a legitimate case that Jahan Dotson deserves to go a round or so higher now.
I’d prefer to let someone else take the McLaurin plunge (unless I get a big discount) and target Dotson instead.
🚑️ Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Early season in doubt)
The Seahawks first-round pick suffered a wrist injury in Saturday’s preseason game against the Cowboys and underwent surgery yesterday to repair the fracture.
Take my eyes but not Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s wrist
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz)
Aug 22, 2023
🤔 How to play it?
This is a very big bummer for a player who had been dominating camp and the preseason.
The late-season breakout thesis is still very much intact, but fast starts are now off the table. The Seahawks have a bye in Week 5, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team play things cautiously with his return and let him rest up until Week 6.
Smith-Njigba is now sliding to the 6-7 turn of Underdog drafts, which seems like an appropriate downgrade.
DK Metcalf was already being aggressively drafted, but Tyler Lockett should certainly move up some:
JSN becomes a screaming target in home league drafts, though, where he is likely to fall even further. Grab him in the 8th or 9th, stash him, and thank us later.
🚑️ DJ Chark (Timeline TBD)
The Panthers veteran WR suffered a hamstring injury at Panthers practice yesterday:
Team spokesman says Panthers WR DJ Chark sustained a hamstring injury. A league source it's not considered serious.
— Joe Person (@josephperson)
Aug 23, 2023
🤔 How to play it?
This is a concerning setback for a 26-year-old who has struggled with injuries his entire career and missed 19 games over the past two seasons.
I’d put Chark on your “Do Not Draft” list until we get some more clarity on his timeline.
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How much should we be reacting to preseason ADP movement? Do we buy or sell players at their new prices? Take it away, Ian…
August is a helluva drug for fantasy football diehards.
Not only is draft season in the air, but training camp updates and preseason action give the masses high-level “adjust the ranks” ammunition that hasn’t been readily available for quite some time.
Of course, the second-by-second nature of social media and reactions, in general, can cause many an overreaction to news that maybe didn’t warrant such a large adjustment.
What follows is a look at some of the biggest movers in average draft position (ADP) from August 1 to the present day – and whether they are warranted.
📈 Riser: Commanders QB Sam Howell
ADP (August 1): 197.2
Howell not only locked up the Commanders’ QB1 job, but did so in style with 188-2-0 and 77-1-0 performances during the first two weeks of the preseason.
There’s reason for optimism behind Howell as both a real-life and fantasy QB.
The rising second-year signal-caller’s deep-ball goodness and 183-828-11 rushing line in his final season at North Carolina paint the picture of a fantasy-friendly QB, something he demonstrated at the NFL level with a QB7 finish in Week 18 last season.
Nobody is going to use a draft pick on Howell in traditional one-QB leagues, but he offers some legit upside as a LATE-round dart in best ball and Superflex formats.
I’ve preferred deploying a “first or last” strategy when drafting QBs in best ball due to the position flying off the board at a ridiculously fast rate, and Howell has been someone I’ve enjoyed stacking with Terry McLaurin and/or Jahan Dotson when possible.
I’m buying Howell’s rise up the ranks thanks to his proven fantasy-friendly skill-set and confirmation that he will start the season ahead of Jacoby Brissett.
📈 Riser: Packers WR Jayden Reed
ADP (August 1): 174.8
He’s expected to join Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in three-WR sets from day one if his preseason utilization is any indication.
There’s a chance Reed is really good at football! He earned Tier 2 treatment in the Fantasy Life Rookie WR Supermodel and solid reviews from The Athletic’s Dane Brugler in his ever-excellent “The Beast” draft guide:
At this stage of the draft, it’s hard enough to find a WR with a chance to work as one of the top-three target earners in their own offense – let alone one who might also be pretty, pretty, pretty good at the game.
Reed is one of the best late-round WR values in all of fantasy football even with this price bump. He, Donovan Peoples-Jones and DeVante Parker are my three favorite late-round WR darts of anyone going Round 14 or later.
📲 The Colts are fielding trade offers for Jonathan Taylor. Where could he land?
👋 A Jets WR retires. Nice of him to make room for more former Packers WRs.
📣 The Niners announce their QB2. And it’s not Trey Lance.
📺 Tonight, Ian & Dwain go ALL IN to win $250k. Two heads are better than one.
🔮 10 bold fantasy predictions. Ian brings the heat.
🤔 A rookie QB with a brand new suite of weapons. Is the ceiling the roof, or the floor?
👀 Which RB does Aaron Rodgers love more? Seems clear here.
🤏 These 2 Ravens players are too cheap. Keep drafting them.
🗺️ Want to plot out your drafts? Our ADP grid makes it easy.
We don’t always get to decide the order of everything in our lives — especially fantasy football draft order. But fear not, the Fantasy Life staff has you covered with an ongoing series covering strategy from every spot in the first round. Today’s draft position: The 1.05 with Matt LaMarca...
The No. 5 spot in fantasy drafts is a good one. You’re going to get a top-tier player in the first round, and there should be some appealing options on the board in the second.
There are also multiple different avenues for you to explore, so all sorts of different roster constructions are on the table.
Overall, it’s been one of my favorite draft slots so far this offseason.
Let’s dive into how I’m attacking the fifth pick in redraft formats…
🏆️ Start With the Last of the “Elite” Options
There’s a pretty clear consensus among the top five picks this season. Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase should be the 1.01 and 1.02, while Christian McCaffrey, Cooper Kupp, and Tyreek Hill should be the next three.
As the fifth person on the clock, that puts us in a really advantageous position. We don’t need to actually make a decision, but rather just scoop whatever player falls to us at No. 5.
Hill finished as the No. 2 receiver in PPR points last season, trailing only the consensus top pick in Jefferson. In terms of PPR points per game, he dips from No. 2 to No. 3.
It’s true that his fantasy numbers did wane down the stretch last year. He scored 15.7 PPR points or fewer in three straight games to end the season, which was well below his season average of 20.1.
Should that be any real cause for concern? I don’t think so.
Tua Tagovailoa didn’t suit up for two of those contests, and it’s clear he wasn’t the same player by the end of the season. He suffered at least two concussions, but when he was on the field, he displayed an excellent connection with Hill.
Through the first 16 weeks, Hill ranked second in the league with a gaudy 32.0% target share. He also finished fifth in air yards share and was the clear leader among high-volume receivers in targets per route run.
Basically, when Hill was on the field with Tagovailoa, he had a greater chance of being targeted than any other player in football.
Of course, we all know what Hill is capable of doing once he gets the ball in his hands:
Can't catch a @cheetah 🐆
The 5 longest touchdowns of Tyreek Hill's career!
— NFL (@NFL)
May 21, 2023
⚓️ Josh Jacobs as Anchor RB
In the second round, I’m likely looking to grab the best available receiver. Two players that stand out to me are Chris Olave and DeVonta Smith. Olave’s ADP is right around 20 across the industry, so there’s a chance he’s already off the board. However, Smith has a good probability of being available.
That figure will likely increase as we get closer to the start of the year, but the pre-draft rankings have a tremendous impact on where players get drafted.
Because Jacobs hasn’t gone until the middle or end of the third round, some people are going to be afraid to “reach” on him.
Don’t be one of those people.
Jacobs was the No. 3 running back in PPR scoring last year, trailing only McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler. He turned in his most efficient season as a runner, averaging 4.9 yards per attempt, and he caught at least 53 passes for the second straight year.
The Raiders “rewarded” Jacobs by placing the franchise tag on him, and after a brief holdout, he’s expected to suit up for the team’s first game of the year.
Make no mistake about it – this is a player who might’ve been a first-round pick if not for his contact situation.
Look, it's simple,
If a player I was high on moves in ADP:
You'll never believe how smart I was here's why, get comfortable
If a player I was low on moves up in ADP:
I was being prudent by not drafting a risky pick with incomplete info, ever think of that numbnuts?
— Patrick Kerrane (@PatKerrane)
Aug 22, 2023