👀 Anthony Richardson is Getting Healthier

16 days until the NFL Draft...

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Turns out the Moon is the only thing capable of covering the Sun (God)

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Underdog Fantasy:

  • Anthony Richardson (shoulder) seems to be progressing great

  • Potential holdout looming for Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb?

  • What Now? Watch out for those blind spots

  • It’s 4/9. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…

Ace ESPN Colts reporter Stephen Holder wrote a great story on rising second-year QB Anthony Richardson’s off-season training after his brief — yet electric — rookie season was cut short due to a sprained AC joint that required surgery.

A few highlights from the piece (you can read the whole thing here):

  • Richardson seems to be doing great in his recovery, but does remain on a pitch count — roughly 40 or so throws per day.

  • Colts GM Chris Ballard after watching Richardson workout: “I was like, 'my God,' I mean, you wouldn't know that he's still in rehab watching him play football."

  • Richardson enjoyed some Chick-fil-A for a snack after his workout. Man, that chicken absolutely slaps. The breakfast is underrated too. And their lemonade on a hot day? Truly elite stuff.

Okay, maybe the last note wasn’t overly important (editor’s note: definitely important).

ANYWAYS: For the Colts’ sake, Richardson better be close to 100% by Week 1, as the front office did very little throughout free agency in the way of upgrading the offense. Re-signing No. 1 WR Michael Pittman to a three-year, $70 million extension has largely been their only big-time offseason move to write home about at this point.

Of course, head coach Shane Steichen’s well-schemed offense didn’t look short on firepower when Richardson was on the field as a rookie. Last year’s No. 4 overall pick proved to be a fantasy godsend during his limited opportunities in 2023:

  • Week 1: 20.9 fantasy points (QB4)

  • Week 2: 17.7 in 18 snaps before suffering a concussion (QB19)

  • Week 4: 29.6 (QB2)

  • Week 5: 4.4 in 22 snaps before suffering a shoulder injury (QB28)

Overall, Richardson averaged a robust 0.73 fantasy points per dropback last season — the highest mark among all QBs with at least 75 dropbacks. Not bad for a guy who only started (checks notes) 13 total games during his collegiate career at Florida.

That said: The passing performance wasn’t pretty. Richardson ranked 45th in CPOE (-7.7%) among 49 qualified QBs. While his sub-60% completion rate isn’t a death blow considering guys like Jared Goff (54.6%), Andrew Luck (54.1%), Josh Allen (52.8%) and Jalen Hurts (52%) were all worse as rookies, it’s also not exactly ideal.

And yet, the Fantasy Life rankers seem to be mostly buying into the hype at the moment:

  • Dwain: QB6

  • Freedman: QB8

  • Ian: QB8

However, Richardson’s QB6 (pick 59.6) ADP over at Underdog Fantasy reflects the reality that there won’t exactly be an injury discount afforded to the 21-year-old talent. I (Ian) personally believe guys like Kyler Murray (QB10, pick 85.6) and Jayden Daniels (QB18, pick 129) present better value at cost due to their similar sky-high rushing upside and potential to operate from more lethal overall passing games in 2024.

Either way: Here’s to hoping Richardson continues to get healthier and resumes providing more exhilarating highlights next fall.

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Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

✍️ Who is the best TE in this year’s draft class? He could be the next Travis Kelce…

🏆 Awesome angle of yesterday’s eclipse. Well played.

👀 A threat to the rookie WR1 title? He has a case.

🫶 Turns out Patrick Mahomes can block. Dad mode: Activated. 

💀 Remember when Odell Beckham Jr. stared directly at the eclipse? Analytics.

🤣 There were a lot of good eclipse tweets yesterday. But one was objectively the best.

🫰 CeeDee Lamb isn’t expected to participate in voluntary spring workouts. Get that checkbook ready, Jerry.

📊 The best incoming 2024 WRs vs. press coverage. Very cool chart.

🤔 Bryce Young and his new No. 1 WR look happy. Comeback szn in the air?

Cooterdoodle's What Now? Fantasy Life Fantasy Football Scenarios are closer than they appear

The fantasy football season might be over, but 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? Blind Spots

Metaphorically speaking (unless you didn’t heed the eye-protection warnings yesterday) we need to check on our fantasy football blind spots. 

These are some areas that might get overlooked. If we can’t see clearly, it might lead to potential mistakes. So, if we’re going to tackle the offseason and prepare for the battles ahead… 

It’s time to check our blind spots.

😏 Fantasy Hubris

While the odds weren’t in your favor, plenty of you reading this won a championship(s) last year. You’ve won pride, money, and the respect of your peers. But mostly, you’ve won the right to trash talk and brag to the 11 losers in your group chat.

And while I’ll never shy away from sh*t talking, all that gloating does come with a price: It may cause a major blind spot. 

Think about it. If you’ve won, you’ve now got a sense of accomplishment and a little voice that says, “You could do it again.” 

But each year is a different beast. 

If you’re getting comfortable in your leagues, you’re going to get lazy. Don’t let a win distract you from the fact that we’ve got another championship to catch next season

Don’t let pride get in the way of preparation.

🤕 Old Wounds

You know the feeling: A player has a down year when you’ve finally decided to draft them. And now, because you’re bitter, you’re primed and ready to ignore any relevant data. You’re not feeling too flexible or forgiving…

Let’s say you’ve sat around and watched your friends draft Travis Kelce in the first round for years. And each time Kelce landed on the board, you laughed … only for them to later dominate the league with a 1,000-plus yard, double-digit TD-scoring player stashed into their TE slot. 

Cool. So you decide to take Kelce early in your 2023 draft. This time it’s YOUR turn. And well, Bada Bing Bada Boom: Wounded

But plenty of players have “down years” (and ADP shifts matter). Don’t write a player off for good unless you’ve looked at the data first. Then decide

Don’t let the pain of the past cloud your judgment.

🚩 Flag Plants

This one’s personal.

Note to self: Just because you planted your flag in a player and you benefited from it immensely all season long, doesn’t mean that your flag has to remain firmly planted forever. 

You can wiggle your little flag out of the dirt and move the goalposts a bit as information changes. It’s okay, I promise.

Things change in the offseason. Sometimes, something as simple as a player’s rising ADP can affect the level of ferocity in which you should defend their “draft no matter what” status. 

It’s okay to love Puka Nacua and Rashid Shaheed, but it’s also okay to use caution. There’s no need to blow up your draft just to get them on your team. You hear me, Cooter?? Even if it is fun to think about.

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