👀 3 Late-Round Vets to Target

The guys BEHIND the guys you need...

Fantasy Life Newsletter sponsored by Moby

One sec. Cashing in my paycheck to go place a bet on Skee-Ball at Dave & Buster’s.

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Moby:

  • 3 Vets Got a Post-Draft Bump

  • Javon Baker performs a miracle. Well, kinda…

  • What Now? Cooterdoodle let’s us know.

  • It’s 5/1. Take it away, Chris Allen…

Honestly, I’m still trying to make sense of the Michael Penix Jr. pick.

But that’s (partly) what this week is about. Assessing landing spots for the rookies and teasing out the fantasy implications is how we gain edges. But each team’s draft plans affect the guys already on the squad. And for a few of them, their late-round ADP on Underdog makes them worth a click as we kickoff best-ball season.

🐻 Roschon Johnson, Bears

On the surface, Roschon Johnson’s rookie season (561 scrimmage yards, 2 TDs, 6.8 PPR PPG) was a disappointment. However, over Chicago’s final six games last year, Johnson took over 88.0% of the team’s long-down-and-distance snaps with a 19.0% TPRR rate. And, critically, he played ahead of Khalil Herbert in short-yardage situations.

But we don’t care about the Bears’ ground game.

Rightfully, Chicago’s additions of Caleb Williams, Rome Odunze, and Keenan Allen are the main attractions at Soldier Field. Plus, there’s a historical aspect to Williams’ rookie campaign that will have every waiting for him to sling it.

But then there’s the play-calling aspect to consider. Shane Waldron (aka Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s ‘favorite’ OC) kept Geno Smith firing downfield in most scenarios, but Seattle’s pass-first tendencies trended the other direction when they got into scoring position.

  • 2023: -6.6% (red-zone PROE)

  • 2022: -1.0%

  • 2021: -0.3%

Undoubtedly, D’Andre Swift leads the Bears’ backfield. But he struggled in the same area Johnson excelled.

  • (short-yardage) Rushing Success Rate: 57.1% (Johnson), 37.5% (Swift)

  • Adjusted Yards after Contact per Rush: 2.0, 0.5

  • Forced Missed Tackle Rate: 14.3%, 12.5%

So, at RB55, a bet on Johnson gives you a cheap piece of what should be a potent offense in 2024.

🐏 Demarcus Robinson, Rams

Tyler Higbee tore his ACL during the Rams’ playoff loss to Detroit. Tutu Atwell has either been injured or unproductive. Meanwhile, at almost 30 years of age and on his third team, Demarcus Robinson is living his best life.

The former Chief had an 84.8% route rate down the stretch. His 31.0% air yard share was more than Cooper Kupp’s (19.4%), and Robinson beat out Puka Nacua in explosive play rate (27.0% to 23.3%). Assuming the Rams keep Matthew Stafford happy, Robinson’s path to targets at WR89 looks clear.

⚜ Juwan Johnson, Saints

Betting on TEs in high-powered offenses feels like a good bet. And a Derek Carr offense doesn’t give off ‘high-powered’ vibes. BUT, Carr had just two fewer finishes than Patrick Mahomes and more 300-yard passing games than Josh Allen.

I’m just saying.

New Orleans let Michael Thomas speak kindly and hold a knife elsewhere and Juwan Johnson was already challenging Taysom Hill for work after Johnson returned from injury. All things considered, Johnson heads into 2024 with a reliable role.

  • Route Rate: 63.5% (2nd amongst all NO pass-catchers)

  • Target Share: 14.9% (2nd)

  • TPRR: 21.1% (3rd)

  • Green-Zone Target Share: 15.8% (T-1st)

I’m with Pete on Rashid Shaheed’s post-draft upside. However, at TE23, Johnson is also worth a dart throw late in drafts.

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Watercooler

📝 Rookie WR landing spots. Biggest winners and losers from the draft.

😤 Boston Scott finds a new home. Giants fans can breathe easy now.

🤔 The Raiders add former Cowboy to the WR room. Let's see how this works.

👨‍🦽 Javon Baker wasn’t kidding about his effect on people in wheelchairs. It’s a miracle!

👋 Jacksonville release their deep-threat receiver. Where does he land?

😂 Keon Coleman gets his first look at the Bills’ facilities. Protect THIS man at all costs.

💪 Xavier Worthy commemorates his first-round draft spot. That’s one way to do it.

What Now? by Cooterdoodle

The fantasy football season might not officially kick off for a few months, we are NOT ready to unplug. Cooterdoodle is here to keep our minds in check by asking the age-old, evergreen question: “What Now?”

😥 What Now? New Toys, New Problems 

We’ve officially entered draft-grade territory! Questions of "How did each team do?" or "Who's going to be fantasy relevant?" are swirling around endlessly. In a post-draft landscape where many first-round rookies will be suiting up immediately, we need those answers.

No seriously. There are so many NFL teams ready for their new rookies to take the field. When you've got roster holes to fill like the Bears, Cardinals, Commanders, Vikings, Chiefs, Bil- 

OKAY. You get it. The NFL neeeeeded this draft.

While these levels of immediate usage are very exciting for fantasy purposes, there's a darker side to this moon.

Because with new toys… come new problems.

🌡️ Rookie Fever on the Rise

DOCTOR!! IS ANYONE HERE A DOCTOR?!

Our heart rates are elevated. Our palms have been sweaty since last Thursday. Doc, we've got a case of Rookie Fever!

Yes. Sure. Caleb Williams, Marvin Harrison Jr., & JJ McCarthy all find themselves in fruitful landing spots. But don't let any of the hype cloud your vision. We cannot forget about NFL veterans when it comes to fantasy. They've got a long-standing history at the top of the leaderboards - and for good reason.

As fun as Sam LaPorta, Tank Dell, and Puka Nacua were in 2023, they were the youthful exceptions to the rule.

Remember, rookies often take some time to heat up. 

I'm not saying you should avoid the 2024 draft class when you're on the clock, but you do need to recognize the signs of Rookie Fever when it hits. You don't want to end up in the fetal position by Week 3, because you skipped out on guys like Cooper Kupp and Mike Evans, do you?

🗣️ Acquiesce to ADP

Mock draft results, fantasy analysis, and player values are ever-changing. Sure, each one of us is helping to shift the tides, but if we’re being honest: it’s out of our hands

No one person can affect ADP shifts alone (believe me, I've tried). 

Because of the aforementioned bouts of Rookie Fever taking over, we are going to see the general public's excitement revealed through spiking ADPs all offseason long. Many new players will be soaring up the draft boards, taken earlier and earlier as we approach August. What can we do about it? Acquiesce. 

Just accept it. ADPs will rise with or without our approval. 

But we are in control of who we select during our draft. So as long as we recognize the spikes, we can avoid the trap of taking a shiny, new toy way too soon.

Cooterdoodle's Favorite Tweets (Aug 2022)
Fantasy Life Newsletter sponsored by Moby