The Rookie WR Who Won't Play In 2022

We wish him a speedy recovery...

Leonard Fournette is leaning into the fat jokes...

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter:

  • Texans rookie WR John Metchie diagnosed with leukemia

  • Hot best ball summer: When and where to draft!

  • Coming to a satellite radio near you: Fantasy Life on Sirius XM

  • Kendall's Bets: 2 Divisional bets to make

  • Rankings Arbitrage: 2 undervalued WRs

  • It’s 7/25. Take it away, Peter Overzet…

Yesterday we received the sad news that Texans 2nd-round rookie WR John Metchie has been diagnosed with leukemia and will not play this season as he focuses on his recovery.

It's a devastating piece of news for the exciting young WR who was making great progress in his return from ACL surgery.

There is reason for optimism, though. Houston reporter John McClain shared some positives with the situation:

The Texans had traded up in the second round to nab the Alabama star 44th overall. Before tearing his ACL in the SEC championship game, Metchie racked up 96 catches for 1,142 yards and 8 TDs.

We wish him nothing but the best and a speedy recovery.

The Texans will now turn to veteran Brandin Cooks and promising second-year WR Nico Collins to carry the passing game. One of Chris Conley, Phillip Dorsett, or Chris Moore will likely see an expanded role in Metchie's absence.

Hot Best Ball Summer

We've covered a lot of best ball strategy this summer, but we've yet to discuss the best times (and places) to draft. Today, Professor Pete shares his secrets for when and where to draft...

When should you draft your best ball teams? If you’re a normal, well-adjusted person with a healthy work/life balance then the answer should be whenever the hell you want.

But if you’re a fantasy football grinder or an advantage player looking for any possible edges then I do have some thoughts for you on the optimal time to draft (and some fun places to do it, as well).

⏰ When is the best time to draft?

There are pros and cons to drafting both now and closer to the start of the season. Here is the case for both…

Drafting now: Before training camp and the preseason, we basically have no new information. All we know is what the teams did during Free Agency and during the draft. This allows us to take advantage of inefficiencies in ADP and stumble upon players at extreme values (think Darrell Henderson in the double-digit rounds last year before Cam Akers got hurt). If you wait to draft until the start of the season, you likely won’t be able to luckbox a huge ADP riser or a superteam.

Drafting later: As the offseason progresses, the ADP will get more and more efficient as we get more information about depth charts, injury timelines, and positional battles. Teams drafted closer to the start of the season score more points, which makes intuitive sense considering the information advantage. You will have far less “dead picks” when you draft closer to the season, but there will also be chances for extreme values.

If you really want to get into the weeds on the data for drafting early vs. late, I highly recommend this piece on Rotoviz, part of the Rotopass network, by Michael Dubner.

🥃 Late night drafting

My personal favorite time to draft is late at night.

On Underdog, you can ballpark the strength of a draft room based on how many drafters have badges, which signal experience level:

Underdog Badges

Anecdotally, I notice far more “badge bros” when I draft during the day than late at night. My thesis is that late at night, we are getting more casual drafters who have had a few cocktails and are winding down their evening with a little tipsy fun.

I have no way to actually prove this, but this is the (bedtime) story I’m telling myself.

Bonus - When not to draft: During my Best Ball Breakfast streams on Monday mornings where I draft a Best Ball Mania III team. The drafts are filled with the red badge brigade and they take all the WRs and my favorite players. Stay far away from those draft rooms. I’m not even kidding.

💪 On the stairmaster

Ok, this isn’t when to draft, but where to draft. This summer we formed the Underdog Cardio Club where a couple hundred of us pledged to drafting best ball teams while simultaneously doing some form of cardio.

Some people do Peloton, others do treadmill. My preferred machine was the stairmaster at the gym:

It really is a great hack to motivate yourself to workout. Having the distraction of making picks while exercising makes the time fly by. What’s better than burning some calories while drafting for a $2,000,000 top prize?

My preferred strategy for stairmaster drafting is throttling down the speed when I’m about to pick and cranking it back up after.

Pro tip: Make sure you have a towel with you to dry your hands before getting sweat all over your phone.

Join us on Underdog and start drafting from the beach or the stairmaster! First-time depositors get up to a $100 deposit match with promo code LIFE:


Join us this Sunday from 5-7 pm ET as we kick off Fantasy Life on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio!

Pete & Kendall will be LIVE throughout the summer, talking fantasy, answering your questions, and more!

Fantasy Watercooler

🏋️ Nick Chubb is a grown ass man. His squat bar is about to break in half.

🙏🏽 Can you trust Eli Mitchell this year? Read this before selecting the 49ers RB.

🔨 Does Adam Schefter deserve a bonk? I think we need to bonk him for this.

🤔 Who is the Bills starting slot WR? It might not be who you think.

🐾 What is the PUP list? It's different this year, so here's a quick explainer on how it works.

Kendall's Bets Header

Our Senior Analyst & Director of Social, Kendall Valenzuela, drops by to give us two of her favorite NFL bets on the board right now. Take it away, Kendall...

It’s been a long offseason, but we are in the home stretch. The NFL season kicks off in six weeks and training camps are finally underway. If you are sick of the lull, here are two bets that will (hopefully) push you through these next fews weeks.

Kendall's Bets - Ravens

💰 Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC North (+150)

There is no conversation that gets me in more spirited debates than the AFC North. So who will take home the crown? Baltimore has the shortest price at +150 and Cincinnati is behind them at +185. Cleveland sits at +300, and Pittsburgh has the longest odds at +900.

I lived in Cincinnati during the Bengals’ 2021 run and it’s hard to imagine the next few years where they are not contending. It’s sometimes forgotten that the Ravens were 8-3 with the best record in the AFC in Week 12. Their six-game losing streak to end the season was the longest under John Harbaugh and 2nd-longest in Ravens history.

It will inevitably come down to the Ravens and Bengals, and I think there will be a small regression from Cincinnati. The Bengals also have the third hardest schedule in the NFL, so that’s something to keep in mind too. Writing off Lamar Jackson is a mistake, and I think the Ravens bounce back.

💰 Arizona Cardinals over 3 Division Wins (+110)

You can find this on DraftKings under “division specials”. Kyler Murray just locked in a new extension through 2028 that made him the NFL's second-highest paid player on a per year basis. The NFC West took a sigh of relief when Russell Wilson departed for the Denver Broncos.

The question surrounding the Cardinals is if they can bounce back from a disappointing playoff exit and finally have everything come together. The Cardinals have three early division games. They play the Seahawks in Weeks 6 & 9 (which could be easy wins for Arizona), and they also play the Rams in Week 3.

Per Sharp Football Analysis, under Kliff Kingsbury the Cardinals are 15-7 over the first eight weeks of the season. That 67.4% win percentage ranks sixth among teams over the past three seasons. The Rams are obviously a much bigger task especially since their roster is loaded. San Francisco has gone 3-7 against Arizona ever since Kyle Shanahan arrived in 2017.

The underlying bet here is that the Cardinals will reverse their second-half drop off and cap off four division wins. Divisional matchups are sometimes unpredictable and produce some must-watch games and I think the Cardinals pull off more than three divisional wins in 2022.

Rankings Arbitrage Header

One edge we can get in our drafts is comparing the Fantasy Life ranks to default rankings on big platforms like ESPN and Sleeper. Today, Sam Wallace shares two value WRs you should be targeting in drafts.

The word “value” often gets thrown around in the fantasy community. Everyone talks about it. Everyone wants it. But in order for the word to be truly value-able (pardon the pun), it needs context.

We have a pair of objectively great rankers at Fantasy Life: Rob Waziak and Matthew Hill.

Waz has consistently been at or near the top of industry-wide rankings accuracy leaderboards since 2017. Hill consistently finishes in the top 20% in the FantasyPros In-Season Accuracy competition, including multiple Top 12 finishes and the accuracy title in 2018.

Compared to ESPN, these two rankers are high on a pair of WRs. If you play on ESPN, or any other major platform, you’ll notice the “in-house” ADP. Many of your league mates might lean on that as a crutch come draft day. Knowing this and following our rankers’ advice, can help exploit this dynamic to your own advantage.

(Note: You don’t have to draft these players at the Fantasy Life Rank; you can likely get them at a discount because of their suppressed ADP on ESPN)

Rankings Arbitrage - Sutton

Rashod Bateman (ESPN ADP - WR38; Fantasy Life Rank - WR24)

Based on his current ADP at ESPN, sophomore WR Rashod Bateman might be one of the best values in drafts. He’s stepping into the WR1 role for a Ravens’ offense that has ranked in the top 7 of scoring two of the last three years.

This offseason, Baltimore traded away former first-round WR Marquise Brown, who had a career target share of 24%, and there have been no real additions to the Raven's offense to replace him.

This puts Bateman, who also has Round 1 draft capital, a sterling college profile, and sub-4.4 speed in a prime position to succeed.

Injuries to the RB position and QB Lamar Jackson have forced the Ravens into a massive uptick in passing. 2021 appears to be an anomaly over Jackson’s three years as the starter.

  • 2021 - 36 passing attempts/game

  • 2020 - 25 passing attempts/game

  • 2019 - 27 passing attempts/game

It’s reasonable to expect fewer passing attempts this season compared to last, but I’m willing to bet Baltimore is more aggressive through the air than what we saw in 2019 and 2020.

Courtland Sutton (ESPN ADP - WR25; Fantasy Life Rank - WR16)

Even if you don’t enjoy his quirks, there’s no denying the upgrade QB Russell Wilson brings to the Broncos.

I believe Courtland Sutton is the clear WR1 for this team, and Hill does as well. He has him ranked at WR16, and the reality is Sutton could slide into WR1 territory if things fall his way. Sutton’s price of WR25 on ESPN offers a nice opportunity for value.

Sutton enjoyed a breakout year in 2019. He posted a line of 72/1,112/6 on 124 targets with a QB room of Joe Flacco, Drew Lock, and Brandon Allen. Wilson will be the best QB he’s had in his professional career.

Courtesy of PFF, Sutton ran 88% of his snaps from the outside last season. Among WRs with at least 60 targets, he was No. 1 in aDOT at 15.4. He was also only one of two WRs who saw 1,500+ air yards but finished with under 1,000 receiving yards.

Could Sutton become the next efficient deep threat for Wilson, similar to Tyler Lockett? It’s certainly possible.

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