NFL Hot Takes: August 23rd
Dan Malin breaks down all of whats hot in the news and gives us his sizzling takes on each and every situation around the NFL
Take Lamar Jackson In Any Superflex or Two-Quarterback Formats
And if you want an even sexier take, Jackson should be drafted in any four-point per passing touchdown league if you aren’t confident in your first quarterback taken. Jackson is really growing on me because he has the ability to do things like this:
That right there is what he does best. Is he the greatest passer? Hardly. I typically shy away from running quarterbacks because they are little more prone to injury (i.e. Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton ), but when these types stay healthy they pay big dividends. Jackson totaled just over 1,114 passing yards last season and five touchdowns in his seven starts (this is excluding his stats from games he didn’t start). But there’s room for improvement. He compensated with his legs with 695 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Now defenses will be keying in on him as best as they can, but don’t be surprised if the Ravens offense wears the opposing defense out. The list below contains the Baltimore Ravens time of possession when Jackson took over under center:
- Week 11 vs. CIN – 38:09
- Week 12 vs. OAK – 34:12
- Week 13 at ATL – 39:39
- Week 14 at KC – 31:27 (this was an overtime loss where the Chiefs possessed the ball for 37 minutes)
- Week 15 vs. TB – 37:10
- Week 16 at LAC – 31:25
- Week 17 vs. CLE – 38:30
So as you can see, the Ravens dominated time of possession once Jackson took over. This obviously takes its toll on the defense and it produced a 6-1 record for the Ravens down the stretch that eventually got the team into the playoffs. Now everything’s changed one year later as defenses have more tape to go off of, but Jackson is an elusive quarterback who won’t wow owners with his passing numbers, but he can go out and get 60-70 rushing yards and mix in some touchdowns as well. He’s a starting quarterback in any format where you start more than one.
Should You Take Miles Boykin Over Marquise Brown ?
Who could’ve been prepared for so much talk about the Ravens? I don’t know what it is about cousins Marquise and Antonio Brown , but their feet have both been in the headlines lately. For the former, it was at least because he was recovering from offseason foot surgery. So the Ravens have patiently and slowly been working him in and he made his preseason debut on Thursday night. He only caught three passes for 17 yards, but boy oh boy his quickness and route running were on full display. Miles Boykin was once again in the mix for another Ravens preseason game. He was only targeted twice, but he brought in one big catch for 44 yards. In terms of ADP, Brown is going really late and Boykin isn’t getting selected in a ton of drafts right now. Still, you should prioritize Brown over Boykin. He could be the WR1 in that offense even though they may not throw very much (as mentioned above). The Ravens will rely on these two and probably Willie Snead so there’s minimal competition for targets if and when the Ravens do entrust Lamar Jackson to throw the ball.
Derrius Guice Rising?
For what it’s worth, Guice is still considered a rookie after an injury ended his 2018 season last summer. So he enters a pretty loaded rookie class that includes Josh Jacobs , David Montgomery , Justice Hill, Darwin Thompson, and Devin Singletary . On Thursday night, Guice carried the ball 11 times for 44 yards. That’s a decent performance and he made some nice cuts, which is great to see from a player coming back from knee injury. Guice is a guy who has seen his ADP fall almost a full round over the last month according to Fantasy Football Calculator. However, with a solid showing in Washington’s dress rehearsal this could shake things up a bit. One thing that you should keep an eye on is Washington’s field surface. The Redskins are notorious for having a brutal field surface that gets even crappier in terrible weather and it just seems to tear up knees, ankles, and feet more than any other field in the NFL. So that’s a mild concern to carry with Guice, but if the reports from Washington’s camp remain positive then Guice is a guy you should have on your radar. Don’t forget that a year ago Guice was getting a lot of hype similar to what David Montgomery is getting now. Aggressive runs like this are what we like to see from mid-round running backs:
Daniel Jones Should Start Over Eli Manning
It won’t happen unfortunately. Nobody expects the Giants to do anything this year. Nobody expects Daniel Jones to have an impactful career, but yet he’s looked good enough in the preseason, which you have to take with a grain of salt. Everybody mocked and laughed at the Giants for drafting him so early and even Baker Mayfield was quoted (albeit out of context) questioning Jones’ college win-loss record. Eli was benched back in November of 2017 and even though it was fairly egregious to bench him at that point, the Giants went through with it. 2019 projects to be a year where Jones will ride the pine and soak in all the “wisdom” from Eli, if we can even call it that. But what good is your first-round pick if you don’t use him? Your first, second, and maybe even third and fourth rounders are expected to contribute right away. Quarterbacks get coddled all the time so just throw him in the deep end and see if he floats. On Thursday, in relief of Manning, he completed 9-of-11 pass attempts for 141 yards. Even after the game, the media attention was directed to Jones:
The media swarms the Giants’ star quarterback while another nearby player puts his shoes on. pic.twitter.com/BavFoglHFY— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) August 23, 2019
Yes, that’s Eli in the corner practicing his bunny ears. New York is a big market and the media won’t be quiet if Eli has a sluggish start behind a less-than-promising offensive line. There’s actual excitement and intrigue behind what Jones has done so far so hopefully he isn’t glued to the bench for too long.
Ezekiel Elliott Returning Soon?!
While There's Little Expectation Melvin Gordon Will Report Before the Start of the Season it does appear that there’s progress in Ezekiel Elliott ’s camp. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Cowboys offered Elliott a deal that would pay him more than Le’Veon Bell’s $13.5 million per year, but less than Todd Gurley ’s $14.375 million per year. If you account for the fact Texas has no state income taxes compared to California and New York/New Jersey, then Elliott’s in really good shape. There hasn’t been any news coming out of Elliott’s camp at this time, but this is the kind of progress that fantasy football players like to see. Keep in mind now would be a great time for Elliott to sign a deal if this is truly what the Cowboys are offering. He’s only 24 years old so he could be in for another big contract after this one. Or, you know, he could just holdout again three years into his next contract. But right now, this is some great developing news. Zeke’s ADP hasn’t fallen terribly, he’s still being taken in the first round. But this is the kind of news that should put him back in the discussion as the top overall pick in fantasy football drafts.
The Bills D/ST Will Be Top 5 After Week Three
The Bills were a D/ST that quietly pieced together some solid performances to finish off the year. They allowed an average of 19,5 points per game in that span, forced 12 turnovers (eight interceptions and four fumble recoveries) and they forced 11 sacks. They averaged 7.8 fantasy points per game over their last six games. That’s a serviceable D/ST for fantasy purposes. And to kick off the 2019 campaign they have matchups against the Jets and Giants (both games in the Meadowlands) and then a home game against Cincinnati. Neither of those offensive lines project to provide much protection. Buffalo’s first pick in April’s draft, Ed Oliver , is poised to be quite a disruption those first few games and the Bills defense should continue where they left off last Winter.
What’s Eating Jimmy Grapes?
No need to comment on the awful subtitle for this one, but about a week ago it was reported that Jimmy Garoppolo threw five straight interceptions in practice and that was followed up with an interception on his second pass attempt Monday night against the Broncos. He finished 1-for-6 for zero yards. YIKES. It’s really hard to know what Garoppolo can do. The 49ers traded for him two years ago and he helped the 49ers finish strong in 2017 with five straight wins in the games he started. In four of those games he threw for at least 290 yards, but he finished the 2017 campaign with just seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He went into 2018 with mixed expectations. A lot of “experts” weren’t that high on him because of his small sample size and unfortunately, he tore his ACL three games into the season. Suffice it to say, the jury is still out. Jimmy G has seen his ADP drop over the past month by nearly two full rounds (11th round to the 13th round) according to Fantasy Football Calculator. It’s not a hot take, it’s basically just a lukewarm take, but you should just avoid Garoppolo unless he falls to around the 13th-14th round. There are better high upside quarterbacks you can take a few rounds earlier like Jameis Winston , Ben Roethlisberger , Drew Brees , Cam Newton , and even Kyler Murray . There just isn’t too much excitement surrounding Jimmy’s sour grapes right now.
Draft Position Is Overrated
For whatever reason it feels like this has been the year to field the “I’m picking ______ in this particular league, who should I target or what should my strategy be?” This is a very broad question with endless possibilities. Unless there are keeper implications or you’re being offered certain picks to move back there is little to give a specific answer. Most times, the folks in the FA chat are going to default to telling you to go best player available (BPA). Every draft board is going to be different. If you’re picking first you’re likely taking Saquon Barkley , Christian McCaffrey , Alvin Kamara , or Ezekiel Elliott . If you’re picking in the back half of the first round you’re probably going BPA. You can approach the draft with a RB/RB, RB/WR, WR/WR approach, but maybe by some miraculous turn of events a stud falls to you and it alters your strategy. The best advice we can offer is to be ready to adapt. The start of your draft never wins your league. The players you draft in the mid-to-late rounds are the reasons you’ll win your league and keep in mind there are waivers and trades that you can work during the season. Your roster in December will look drastically different than August and September. Don’t sweat over the first four or five picks of your draft. You have plenty of tools here, the Mock Draft Army, and content coming out daily. Soak it all in and know that you have the final say for your team.
Dear NFL, Please Shorten the Preseason For More Fantasy Football
This may not be as much of a hot take as much as it is a rant. Stay with me. The third preseason game is generally the “dress rehearsal” game for all teams. When I was a younger lad you would generally see the first-team offense play into the second half. A few years ago that was scaled back to just first half action. Now in 2019, starters might get pulled midway through the second quarter. Thursday night had some interesting developments with your typical starters. It was a little odd to see Aaron Rodgers get the night off, but he’s a certain caliber player you don’t want risking injury in the preseason. However, guys like Derek Carr , Lamar Jackson , Aaron Jones , Julian Edelman , Josh Jacobs , Joe Mixon , etc. all did not appear in any capacity. UPDATE: In the case of the Packers and Raiders the benching of starters was due to unsafe field conditions. Thanks Winnipeg. From an objective standpoint, we all get it. You don’t want your best players getting hurt, which some teams couldn’t avoid on Thursday night. Look at just the Panthers and Patriots game; Cam Newton , Greg Little , Ben Watson, Damien Harris, and special teamer Brandon King all left with injuries. King’s injury appeared to be the worst of them all. Rashan Gary , Green Bay’s first round pick, had to be carted off the field. So while you like to see the best players take the field in the third preseason game, most teams are wising up and resting their stars. There’s absolutely no reason any starter will be around for the fourth game.
And with that comes the argument to extend the regular season and start it in August. Training camp and the preseason are all long enough as it is and players get hurt whether it’s in the meaningless preseason games or practice. Adding a game or two to the beginning of the season allows the NFL to take advantage of Labor Day Weekend and possibly the final Sunday of August. Or they can just cut down on preseason games and stick with a 16-game schedule. But everyone knows why they’re hesitant to cut down on preseason games: Money. But even if they add more regular season games, which has openly been discussed, that creates more revenue. Keep in mind the current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after the 2020 season and the NFL owners have proposed an 18-Game Schedule with certain positions capped at 16 games, save for quarterback and kicker. Now there are better reasons to expand to 18 games rather than just star players sitting in the third preseason game, but good luck getting me off this soap box.