😔 Trouble in Paradise (Denver)

I'm hurt dawg. Don't ask me if I'm alright...

FantasyLife Sponsored by Roster Watch

13 days until Chiefs-Lions…

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Rosterwatch:

  • Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy suffers a hamstring injury

  • It’s LOVE/HATE season: Who is Matthew all-in on?

  • Texans add another piece to their improved o-line

  • Rankings vs. ADP: Khalil Herbert and more

  • Drafting from the 1.06: To Kelce, or not to Kelce

  • It’s 8/25. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…

Another injury shook the fantasy football world to its core on Thursday, as Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy hurt his hamstring and was carted off the field.

Rapsheet’s update paints a somewhat cleaner picture than originally thought; either way, this could be an early-season IR situation or at least result in a few missed games.

Jeudy – AKA my favorite pick in the fourth round, ugh – joins Tim Patrick (Achilles) and KJ Hamler (pectoral, heart issue) as Broncos WRs who have already managed to suffer a severe injury before September.

This is why nobody should do their fantasy drafts before December.

Jokes aside, the potential early-season absence of Jeudy opens up a ton of newfound opportunities for both Courtland Sutton and Marvin Mims.

Sutton has struggled to replicate his 2019 magic (72/1,112/6) in recent seasons, undoubtedly at least partially because of a torn ACL in 2020.

Good news for Sutton: Training camp reviews paint the picture of someone moving far better than they were this time last year.

Of course, everyone tends to be in the best shape of their life this time of the year, and at the end of the day, Sutton has scored just four TDs in his last 33 games.

Presently priced as a low-end WR4: Sutton deserves a bump in the ranks thanks to his status as the lone healthy, proven WR in this offense; just don’t get too carried away about elevating him all the way into WR3 territory ahead of youthful upside options like Jahan Dotson and Jordan Addison. A small boost up into the position’s top-40 alongside fellow No. 1 WR (with question marks) Michael Pittman feels warranted.

And then there’s Mims, who earned some pretty rave reviews before the draft in The Fantasy Life Supermodel:

“Mims is at his best on deep crossing routes, a major source of his deep targets and yards after the catch. However, Mims is average as a YAC producer on underneath routes, often going down on first contact.

He could gobble up air yards as a deep threat in the NFL, but while the model likes Mims, he's unlikely to see much target volume at the pro level. A good fit for Mims might be as a slot WR asked to attack defenses downfield on seam routes and deep crossing concepts.

Dyami Brown was the last deep threat to score similarly in the model with third-round draft capital, which isn't a promising comp for Mims. However, second-rounders Christian Kirk and DJ Chark are also in the comp pool.”

Dwain McFarland

It’s easy to imagine Mims emerging as Russell Wilson’s Denver version of Tyler Lockett on those same sorts of deep crossers that the duo hooked up on so many times over the years.

Reminder: Sean Payton traded up for Mims back in April, and offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said he believes Mims could “for sure” step up in the WR room.

Mims already experienced a steep rise up the ranks after the Patrick injury, but now the WR64 in Underdog ADP again appears underpriced.

Don’t go too wild, although it’s fair to wonder if guys like Odell Beckham Jr. (WR50) and Romeo Doubs (WR51) really deserve to be going 30-plus picks ahead of the Broncos’ rookie talent.

Love Hate

A tradition unlike any other, Matthew Berry’s inaugural LOVE/HATE column signals the true start of the fantasy football season, and his 2023 season version is now live…

📚 Cramming for your Fantasy Draft this weekend?

Stop the hassle and WIN your Fantasy Draft with the Ultimate Draft Cheat Sheet!

Simple to use and— No preparation needed—- EXPERT Quality Results are guaranteed EVERY TIME - Only $9.99 at rosterwatch.com!

You’ve heard RosterWatch report LIVE from all the NFL training camps over the past few weeks on SiriusXM.

Now, all that's left to do is follow the 3 simple rules using the legendary RosterWatch cheat sheet!

That’s it – 3 rules, and an expert-quality draft is GUARANTEED.

It couldn't be easier!

FantasyLife Sponsored by Roster Watch

PLUS, with Rosterwatch's preseason special, buying now gets you access to Sports Injury Central’s premium 2023 NFL Preseason Injury Report for FREE, including expert injury analysis from former NFL team doctor Dr. David Chao

This revolutionary Ultimate Draft Cheat Sheet is the only tool you'll need this draft season (for only $9.99)!

FantasyLife Drafting from 1.06

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 1.06 with Jonathan.

So you’ve got the 1.06 in your upcoming draft? Not great, but not terrible either.

The bad news is you will miss out on the absolute top tier of fantasy options in the first round.

The good news is you are set up well to avoid getting buried by a run on one position during the draft, but let’s start with what to do in the early rounds.

🤔 The early rounds - To Kelce or not to Kelce?

The dilemma facing everyone with a middle-of-the-round draft slot is whether or not they are willing to take Chiefs TE Travis Kelce if he’s available when they are on the clock.

Kelce has been one of the most consistently dominant players for fantasy football for seven consecutive seasons and has been beating the age concerns for nearly a half decade already.

Over the past three regular seasons, Kelce has logged 33 separate weeks as a top 5 TE in full PPR scoring. That is an insane level of fantasy production that no other TE can even dream of matching.

On the other hand, he’s now 34 years old and is as expensive as he’s ever been in drafts. The problem with taking Kelce isn’t actually drafting Kelce, it’s who you have to pass on in order to take him.

This table shows the players who are generally available in the middle portions of rounds one through three courtesy of the Fantasy Life ADP Grid Tool.

ADP Grid

For the record, I think Kelce is a really strong selection in the middle of round one. He may not feel like the most exciting pick, but you know what is exciting? Beating your opponent by 15 points at the TE position while they are on their fifth streaming TE of the season.

With all that being said, Kelce isn’t actually my favorite pick in this range. With the importance of the WR position, I find it too difficult to pass on Cooper Kupp if he is available for me with the 1.06.

Kupp is already back at practice, so I’m not concerned about the hamstring injury. If both he and Matthew Stafford stay healthy, Kupp is the best candidate to challenge Justin Jefferson for the WR1 crown.

Drafting from the 1.06

🏈 Get you an RB who can do both (run and catch, that is)

After locking up an elite pass catcher in Round 1, it becomes a high priority for me to snag a true anchor RB before they are gone. Assuming some type of PPR scoring, I want that RB to be a guy who contributes heavily to both the rushing and passing attack for his offense.

The two primary targets who stand out to me are Tony Pollard in Round 2 and Rhamondre Stevenson in Round 3.

Starting Kupp-Pollard is a true dream from the 1.06. But dreams don’t always come true, so we have to be ready to pivot if Pollard doesn’t make it back. Based on the positions I want to target in the middle rounds, I want to come away from my first three picks with two WRs and a running back.

Assuming there aren’t any players who fall past ADP, my favorite RB/WR combos in the second and third rounds would be Pollard-Ridley or Waddle-Rhamondre. Pairing either of those sets of players with Cooper Kupp is definitely a start that I would be excited about.

Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

😃 Looking for a draft-day cheat sheet? Ian’s tiers help you avoid tears.

🔥 GREAT update on the reigning, defending, fantasy WR1 in PPR points per game. Keep drafting him, even if there’s a fire.

🎃 “Uncertain” for Week 1 doesn’t sound great. Scary times for Scary Terry.

🔑 Set yourself up for success in your keeper league. One player feels like a cheat code this season.

📈 Load management is never good in fantasy football land. Adjust the ranks.

📝 The 2023 NFL script has been leaked. WHO are they writing off?!

😮 Training camp highlights are a helluva drug. But seriously: This route was SICK.

😴 Sleeper RB in Los Angeles? The man is FREE in drafts.

📚 LEGENDARY RB scenarios for 2023. Great read from the legend Pat Kerrane.

😎 The 2023 best ball bro is a highly evolved species. Well done, Pete.

Fantasy Life Rankings vs. Underdog ADP

Average draft position (ADP) does a good job helping drafters not take someone too much earlier than needed, but every now and then, rankers will identify certain players that the public is so seemingly off on that they have no choice but to rank them well ahead of ADP. “Law and Order music”: Chris has their stories.

I’ve got a million-dollar idea for the fantasy football industry: an ADP Rosetta Stone.

Think about it.

Once we get into August, everyone’s drafting while using multiple platforms to build their squads. And with different scoring systems or formats, we’re almost talking separate languages when we refer to draft costs.

Depending on the site, even a 1.02-Kelce pick can seem somewhat defensible.

I’ll leave the Rosetta Stone idea to someone smarter than myself, but let’s talk about something better: how to leverage ADPs. The Fantasy Life crew has spent months honing their rankings, and after comparing them to some average draft prices, I’ve found some values and overpriced targets for the 2023 season.

Fantasy Life Rankings vs. Underdog ADP

✍️ Big Takeaways

I did a similar exercise in May using Dwain McFarland’s Top 150. I started with a 10,000-foot view of the market by looking at which positions he was higher on compared to the market. The results made sense, given the timeframe.

Offseason ADP

We didn’t know much about any offense back then. Other than where the rookies landed and a rough outlook projection based on draft capital or team fit, situations were still fluid.

The RB position was especially interesting, with multiple backfields up for grabs. However, after analyzing preseason data, our team better understands what we can expect once the regular season starts.

Preseason Certainty

In short, the last few weeks have been illuminating. Starting snaps and route participation rates have narrowed the range of outcomes for multiple rushing attacks. However, on the flip side, any mid or late-round WR could be worth a stash on your roster. Regardless, I’ve found three under and overvalued players we should target for spot starts or avoid unless they fall in drafts.

🐻 Khalil Herbert, RB - Bears

  • Consensus Rank: RB34

  • Overall ADP: RB35

Honestly, I overlooked Khalil Herbert over the offseason. I favored his backfield competition with D’Onta Foreman (RB54) and Roschon Johnson (RB58) joining the Bears. And it wasn’t just because of their reduced gap in ADP.

Herbert challenged David Montgomery for more touches in 2022. The former sixth-rounder garnered 30.6% of the team carries, with Montgomery leading the Bears at 39.3% after dominating the totes in ’21. However, even with the additional work, Herbert could only muster three top-24 finishes.

Justin Fields was too good. But Herbert’s peripherals were encouraging:

  • Yards after contact per attempt (min 100 attempts): 3rd

  • Forced missed tackle rate: 9th

  • Explosive run rate: 1st

So when I saw Foreman and Johnson added to the mix, I looked elsewhere when Herbert’s ADP approached. Foreman was fifth in yards after contact per attempt after the Christian McCaffrey trade. He also posted top-20 marks in forced missed tackles and explosive run rate. Given their similar skills, I expected a near-even split, but the preseason has proved me wrong:

While we should expect the Bears to rank higher than 32nd in pass rate over expected (PROE), Herbert should see more touches than in seasons past. With more clarity on Herbert’s role, his ninth-round ADP marks him as a clear RB3-4 candidate with RB2 upside as Chicago’s offense improves.

Cooterdoodle's Favorite Tweets
FantasyLife Sponsored by Roster Watch