💰 WRs holding out? In this economy?

Get the checkbook out, Jerry...

Fantasy Life Presented by Masterworks

We are under a month away from the first football game of the 2024 season

In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter presented by Masterworks:

  • CeeDee Lamb and Courtland Sutton are holdout candidates

  • Bengals TE Mike Gesicki propaganda is BACK

  • What Now? Be a Good Listener

  • It’s 7/2. Take it away, Ian Hartitz…

The Athletic Staff put together a great article on player contracts worth watching for on every NFL team. You should definitely read the whole story, but two situations seemed especially noteworthy considering these WRs look to be at risk of missing time during training camp.

And no, we’re not breaking down Brandon Aiyuk again. Not even if there’s a fire (okay, maybe then).

🤑 CeeDee Lamb wants to get PAID

Per The Athletic’s Jon Machota, Lamb’s deal should be done in the next month, but Machota also noted, “If not, don’t expect to see him in California for training camp. Zack Martin held out last year during camp and ultimately got what he wanted. The same could happen with Dallas’ No. 1 wide receiver.”

The People’s Insider Rickey added that Lamb will request to be traded if the Cowboys don’t offer him a new contract worth at least $32 million per year. For reference, that annual dollar amount would leave Lamb behind only Vikings WR Justin Jefferson ($35 million).

It’s hard to overstate Lamb’s importance to the NFL’s reigning top-ranked scoring offense. Nobody saw more total targets (179) in 2023, while the Cowboys also found a way to give their stud playmaker 14 carries on the ground (Lamb has lowkey always looked comfortable playing RB). Fantasy’s reigning overall WR1 just turned 25 in April and is presently projected to rack up a league-high 160 targets.

Yes, the Cowboys’ “All in” offseason approach hasn’t exactly resulted in many fireworks (with all due respect to old man Zeke).

Also yes, it’d be shocking if Jerry Jones and company don’t find a way to make their latest star No. 88 a very wealthy — and thus happy — man sooner rather than later. Here’s to hoping this seemingly inevitable outcome happens before any regular season games get impacted, otherwise fantasy managers looking to draft Fantasy Life’s consensus WR1 aren’t going to be too happy (read: they will be absolutely furious).

🫰 Courtland Sutton isn’t super pumped about his contract

Sutton’s deal has two years and $26.5 million remaining on it, but just $2 million is guaranteed. Per Nick Kosmider, Sutton believes he is due a raise — or at least more guaranteed security. The longtime Broncos WR was asked whether he would hold out during training camp to emphasize his desire for a new deal and responded, “We’ll see.”

The NFL's top-100 plays from last season are littered with absurd Sutton catches, as the 6'4", 216-pound alpha remains one of the game's best contested-catch artists. This skill helped Sutton rack up 10 TDs on just 90 targets, making him fantasy football's most TD-dependent WR (32% PPR points from TDs) among the position's top 50 producers from last season. While the list of receivers with the highest contested target rates in recent years implies that many are poor at creating separation in the first place, Sutton deserves a lot of credit for earning ESPN's 10th-best "Open Rate" among all qualified WRs in 2023.

Subtracting Jerry Jeudy from the equation seemingly cements Sutton as this offense's No. 1 pass-game option more than ever … if he’s around to find out what the Bo Nix experience is like. Should the Broncos get this situation figured out, the 28-year-old veteran will be poised to work as one of fantasy’s cheapest No. 1 WRs.

WRs projected for triple-digit targets without a top-48 positional ADP:

  • Sutton (WR49 ADP, 104 target projection)

  • Tyler Lockett (WR51, 102)

  • Josh Palmer (WR54, 101)

  • Jakobi Meyers (WR58, 105)

This uncertainty and trade murmurs throughout the offseason are seemingly key reasons why Sutton — fantasy’s reigning WR32 in half-PPR points per game — is as cheap as he is. Don’t be afraid to buy low-ish on Sean Payton’s clear-cut top pass-game option.

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Around the Watercooler (August 2022)

✈️ How early is too early to draft Breece Hall? Ian and Dwain break down the Jets.

✍️ Drafting from 1.01 this year? Your strategy to winning your draft.

🇺🇸 A new era in New England. Everything you need to know about the Pats in 2024.

👀 Could a Giants WR not named Malik Nabers provide some booms this year? Being fully healthy is a good start.

😬 Bills WR Keon Coleman was picked 33rd overall for a reason. But these comments don’t seem great!

🐅 Mike Gesicki is getting some love at Bengals camp. Just when I thought I was out…

🙅 Dez Bryant Jr. is already making some amazing plays. We’re getting old, man.

✍️ Does offensive line play ACTUALLY matter for fantasy football? Good stuff from Jared.

Cooterdoodle's What Now? Principles of Fantasy Football Be a good listener...

Drafts may not kick off for another few weeks, but it’s time to get plugged in. Cooterdoodle is here to keep our minds in check by asking the age-old, evergreen question: “What Now?”

😥 What Now? The Principles of Fantasy Football

Fantasy football is unpredictable and we’ve got to be ready to roll with the punches. So, we’re going to take a little inspiration from improvisation. 

3️⃣ Principle 3: Be a Good Listener

We have to take a page out of your elementary teacher’s playbook for this one, because I need you to turn on your listening ears, boys and girls!

If you want a chance at a championship, you’ll need to be a good listener.

👂 Listen to The Numbers

“Well that’s obvious, isn’t it?” No. No it’s not.

Every year we're warned about the pervasiveness of "Recency Bias". And let's face it, we’re all at least a little guilty of placing more emphasis on our most recent fantasy football experiences over the cold, hard facts.

Think about it … Sam LaPorta was a thrilling rookie to roster in 2023. So thrilling, you might want to chase the experience with another high-profile rookie TE. But statistically speaking, rookie TEs rarely finish inside the position’s top five. LaPorta is an exception to the rule, and the numbers would tell you that.

It’s not always easy to recognize when recency bias is kicking in. So be sure to keep yourself in check by listening to the numbers.

👂 Listen to Your League

This should be the gold standard, but many leaguemates’ cries for help often go unheard. But if you’re listening, you’ll be able to notice when:

  • They’re trying to reinvigorate the league with a fun, new idea. The guy trash-talking in the group chat, initiating side bets, and making videos for the league is just trying to show you that he cares. He wants to bring some fun back into the league. Maybe … I don't know … Watch the video?

  • They’re disgruntled and hoping for a discussion about rules. Look, changes don't need to be made every time someone’s unhappy with a rule. BUT listening and talking things out can go a long way towards keeping a league together. Trust me.

  • They’re in need of a trade that will address a weakness on their roster. Trades should help both parties. Ask your partner what they’re looking for and listen when they tell you. Have you ever sent a WR-heavy team a trade offer that would give them more WRs? Come on. Are you even listening?!

👂 Listen to Both Sides

The fantasy landscape is always in a state of flux. With new ideas and novel strategies up for discussion, here are a few sides you might find yourself considering this season:

  • Spend FAAB later vs. Blow FAAB early

  • Zero RB vs. Zero WR

  • Elite TE vs. Late-Round TE

  • Rookie Fever vs. Veterans

When it comes to fantasy strategies, the only true mistake you can make is refusing to listen to both sides. Counterarguments are imperative for staying “in the know”. So yes, you should stay informed about what options are on the table — all of them.

I don't care how certain you are that your side is the right side, you can’t make an educated decision without listening to both. So listen up, buttercup.

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