Fantasy Football: 5 Headlines You WON’T See a Month From Now

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Extra! Extra! Here are a couple fantasy headlines you won’t be reading a month from now courtesy of our staff of writers. You can find our team contributing each week in our Hot Fire Fantasy Questions column where we highlight the hottest news and questions following up a week of NFL action. Happy first week of real NFL action!

Check out the latest podcast highlighting the latest fantasy news leading into Week 1.

Owners Pleased with Suspension Replacements

With suspensions to star RBs Ezekiel Elliott and Doug Martin slated to be served this season, many fantasy owners are turning to their respective depth charts to find a replacement. However, you are unlikely to get even value in these exchanges, or even 60 cents on the dollar.

Let’s start with Darren McFadden. Relegated to the bench last season, owners must look back to the 2015 season to find the last time Run DMC was a useful fantasy asset. However, the oft injured former razorback is not a shoo-in to perform well, or even be featured in Elliot’s absence. Not only have the Cowboys lost bodies along their offensive line in Ronald Leary and Doug Free, they also face a tough schedule to start 2017. The Cowboys’ first two opponents were top 5 in team defense in 2016 (NYG, @DEN), while the Cardinals and Rams in weeks 3 and 4 are no cake walk either. I also expect Alfred Morris to see some run in this backfield.

As for Jacquizz Rodgers in Tampa Bay, perspective is important when viewing his 2016 performances. The under-sized Rodgers was only pressed into action after starter Doug Martin and back-up RB Charles Sims succumbed to injury. The team was even willing to give Peyton Barber a chance. In 2017, Rodgers must still compete with Sims and Barber for touches. Even when he did receive the bulk of the work in 2016, Rodgers was largely underwhelming aside from his outbursts against the Panthers and 49ers, each of whom ranked in the bottom 10 defenses last year.

-Keaton Denlay (@KeatonDenlay)

Bortles Blossoms into Elite QB, Puts JAX Offense on His Back

Why, oh why, are the Jaguars still intent on rolling out the dumpster fire that is Blake Bortles? Two words: Leonard Fournette. JAX is sticking with the evil they know at QB because they plan to put the entirety of the offense on Fournette’s massive shoulders. Bortles will be awful yet again, and even if he did “blossom,” Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone will stick with their rookie RB and a ground-and-pound game plan.

-Matt Okada (@FantasySensei)

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Rookie RBs Paying Dividends in Fantasy Football

The world has gotten what I like to call “Ezekiel Elliott Fever”. And the only cure is more cow-bell…I mean, more rookie RBs. As of this writing, the top 5 rookie RBs (Fournette, McCaffrey, Cook, Hunt, and Mixon) are being drafted among the top 20 RBs overall. Last year, only 2 rookies made the top 20 (Elliott and Jordan Howard) and over the last 10 seasons the most rookies to finish as top 20 RBs is only 4. So, players are betting that this will be an historic season and that’s fine…except that they are ignoring proven performers to chase that upside.

I understand wanting the new shiny toy but not at the expense of proven fantasy assets. Looking at current ADP, 4 of 5 of those rookies are being drafted ahead of Carlos Hyde, Mark Ingram, Isaiah Crowell, and Lamar Miller. Every one of those backs was top 20 last season and finds themselves in an equal, if not better, position in 2017. Remember, Elliott was going into an ideal situation where he was running behind the best offensive line in the league and in an offense with other weapons. That cannot be said of any of this year’s class.

-Ryan Weisse (@TheFantasyFive)

Andy Lyons/ Getty Images

The Barfy Tight End is Repeating Itself in 2017

2016 was the year of the “Barfy Tight End”. The position highly disappointed as Travis Kelce led all tight ends in fantasy points. As I mention in lesson 1 of my “3 Lessons Learned from 2016″ article, Travis Kelce‘s total fantasy points were the lowest by any TE1 over the last 15 seasons. Clearly, what we saw out of the TE position in 2016 was a disappointing outlier compared to recent years. Another stat that will restore your faith in tight ends in 2017: the 2016 season was the worst season for the top 10 TEs in both standard and PPR formats since 2008.

There were plenty of injuries to some of the top tight ends in the game last season. This year, they are healthy and poised for a re-emergence in production. Also, there are quite a few new names in the tight end pool this season that could help inflate the value at the position. If you are afraid of a repeat of 2016, fear not, as there are plenty of talented TEs that could help you carry your fantasy teams in 2017.

-Nate Hamilton (@DomiNateFF)

Redskins Light the World on Fire with Historic Offense

As detailed recently in the Case against Kirk Cousins, I think we’ve preemptively crowned this Redskins offense as a world beater despite the fact there needs to be cohesion and chemistry displayed on the field. In my opinion, Cousins is due for regression in some of his efficiency metrics especially on down-the-field throws. According to our resident fantasy physical therapist Matthew Betz, Jordan Reed is one more concussion away from being completely done for his career. I also haven’t seen the same continuity in new OC Matt Cavanaugh’s system thus far in the preseason with a lack of synergy and explosiveness in the offense despite the addition of Terrelle Pryor. All in all, I think fantasy owners will be disappointed with their shares of ‘Skins a month from now. They will have to regrettably hold onto some of these players with so-called “ceilings” who honestly could be fringe starters in just a month.

-Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

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