🤔 Who still needs help at RB?

37 days until the NFL Draft...

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“Vegas baby, Vegas!” — Alexander Mattison…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Hugo Boss:

  • Alexander Mattison signs with the Raiders: Who else still needs an RB?

  • The Passtronaut has a new home in San Francisco

  • What Now? BELIEVE!

  • It’s 3/19. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…

Monday was pretty quiet in the NFL news streets relative to last week, but one fairly big RB move did take place.

While Mattison is really good at jumping over people and supplied some quality fantasy performances as a handcuff to Dalvin Cook in the past, his run as the Vikings’ lead back didn’t go too well in 2023.

Mattison among 49 RBs with 90-plus carries:

  • PFF rush grade: 70.2 (39th)

  • Yards per carry: 3.9 (tied for 33rd)

  • Yards over expected per carry (Next-Gen Stats): -0.25 (35th)

  • Yards after contact per carry: 2.8 (tied for 33rd)

  • Missed tackles forced per carry: 0.21 (tied for 14th)

This is probably a net positive for Zamir White truthers. After all, we already knew the Raiders weren’t done adding to their backfield, so signing the NFL’s reigning leader in most rush attempts without a TD (180) doesn’t exactly profile as the world’s toughest competition.

Still, White really benefited from surprisingly positive game scripts during his four-game showcase down the stretch of 2023; it’s hardly a guarantee that some combination of Gardner Minshew and Aidan O’Connell manages to consistently put this offense in a position to overly lean on the run game again in the ever-tough AFC West.

That said: White should still be slotted in as the favorite for RB1 duties.

Give him credit for ranking ninth in yards after contact per carry (3.2) and 14th in rushing yards over expected per rush (+0.33) in 2023.

The rising third-year talent deserves to rise a bit higher from his current RB32 price tag over at Underdog Fantasy, but don’t get too carried away and (cue best Dennis Green expression) crown White’s ass as a top-24 option before we see what happens in a little over a month from now at the 2024 NFL Draft.

This brings up a fun additional question: What other backfields profile as the best remaining free agency landing spots?

Two specific situations stand out among the rest in terms of available opportunity and minimal progress in free agency thus far:

  • Dallas Cowboys: Jerruh and company did re-sign backup RB Rico Dowdle, but it’s more likely than not their 2024 starter isn’t on the roster yet. The loss of Tony Pollard leaves a whopping 307 vacated touches here — have you heard the Cowboys head team physician performed Texas RB Jonathon Brooks’ ACL surgery?

  • Los Angeles Chargers: With all due respect to Gus “The Bus” Edwards, it’d be surprising if Jim Harbaugh plans on giving him the majority of Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley’s vacated 345 opportunities. Michigan RB Blake Corum remains a logical addition in the middle rounds. Want to see his most ridiculously awesome run ever?

Of course, teams like the Panthers and Raiders could decide their relatively underwhelming returning options need upgrading, and there’s still time for cuts and trades to occur elsewhere.

Gotta love free agency szn! Speaking of …

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Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

🤔 A highlight-reel catch put him on the map…but will Ricky Pearsall have a fantasy impact as a rookie?

🔥 The new Texans uniforms are looking HOT. Hey everyone, come and see how good these look.

🧑‍🚀 The Passtronaut has a new home. It’s not the moon.

😬 Uh oh, the 49ers are in trouble. At least they didn’t illegally tamper.

👀 Kirk Cousins is rolling with No. 18. Kyle Pitts has thoughts.

🫡 Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch (neck) announced his retirement. Health over wealth.

😮 Malik Nabers THE WR1?! Smart people think it’s possible.

🏀 Filling out your March Madness Bracket? This thread might help.

✍️ Speaking of March Madness…projections are live for today’s First Four action.

What Now

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? Believe In Something

I’ve been preaching about the importance of recognizing our biases and weaknesses for weeks. And while I do mean everything I’ve said, there comes a time when we need to throw ourselves a bone. It’s the offseason, after all.

There will be plenty of time for lowered expectations and huge disappointments during regular-season football (for some of us more than others). For now, give yourselves a little wiggle room for hope!

Give yourself a little something to believe in!

Believe

🙏 Better Days

NFL trades can bust just like our fantasy trades. NFL first-rounders can bust just like our fantasy draft picks.

BUT… we’re going to open our hearts to believing in the possibility of better days to come.

Maybe the Steelers do have a way to unlock the potential of their starting QB in 2024. You’ll just have to decide which guy you think that’s going to be before you plant your flag in Pittsburgh’s offense. 

And it’s also very possible that the Bears’ 1.01 draft pick can turn their team around. Just like it did for the Panthers in 2023 (Bryce Young) or Jacksonville in 2021 (Trevor Lawrence), right? RIGHT?

It’s okay to believe in something.

🚀 Continued Success

Not everything has to be rooted in wishful thinking. There’s also room for success to continue.

Keenan Allen is coming off of his best season yet. Derrick Henry is showing very few signs of slowing down despite his age. And Gus Edwards scored 12 of 13 TDs from less than 5 yards out in Baltimore last year (Jamaal Williams 2022 vibes, anyone?).

Why can’t those successes theoretically continue?

And as we’ve all heard, the Chiefs are looking for their infamous three-peat. After their “not so pretty” 2023 showing (that still ended with the Lombardi), why couldn’t they find a way to do it all again?

Cheers to continued success!

🔁 Transferable Success 

If you’re going to have faith in anything this offseason, you should at the very least believe in the Space-Jam-magic of it all. I mean, Kirk Cousins could very well be the talent-filled, glowing basketball to the Falcons’ offense.

If he could support Justin Jefferson, why can’t he transfer that success to Atlanta? Maybe the only thing Drake London and Kyle Pitts need is a little touch of Captain Kirk under center to solve their offensive woes.

And maybe all we need… is to believe.

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