NFL Hot Takes: August 30th
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
The Dolphins Should Not Trade Laremy Tunsil For Jadeveon Clowney
While most of this article will be dedicated to your fantasy football drafts this weekend. But there appears to be more traction regarding a Jadeveon Clowney trade happening and while Clowney might prefer the Seahawks or Eagles, it sounds like the Dolphins are a better trade partner for the Texans. And to be honest, Clowney likely won’t have any complaints about playing in South Beach and not having to pay state income taxes in Florida. But the Texans have a huge need at left tackle. If you’ve watched the Texans this preseason or if you follow Colby Conway on Twitter (@colbyrconway) you’ll know that Matt Kalil has been atrocious at left tackle. So Tunsil seems like a logical target for the Texans, but the Dolphins wouldn’t be doing themselves any favors by dealing Tunsil. Miami, like Houston, is weak at offensive line. Dealing Tunsil only makes them more weak at an already vulnerable position. How these two teams can’t work out a deal that sends some decent picks to Houston is beyond me. Kenyan Drake ’s name has been associated in these trade talks and Houston clearly has a need for a running back after Lamar Miller tore his ACL. Miami just acquired Josh Rosen in the offseason and they’d be making a concentrated effort to protect him less by dealing Tunsil.
Dede Westbrook Will Finish as a Top 24 Wide Receiver This Season
That means he would be a viable WR2 in 12-team team leagues. In 2018, Adam Humphries finished as the 24th-ranked receiver with 76 catches for 816 yards and five touchdowns. Last year Westbrook finished with 66 receptions for 717 yards and five touchdowns. So he was ten catches and 99 yards away from tying Humphries’ production. Exit Blake Bortles , enter Nick Foles . Foles is a much better quarterback than Bortles and Westbrook is primed for his third-year breakout. In last week’s third preseason game there was an effort to get Westbrook the ball going deep and Westbrook and Foles did connect for a touchdown in the first quarter. An improvement in catches, yardage, and touchdowns is in order. Westbrook is going as the 30th wide receiver off the board in PPR formats with a current ADP around round seven. So if you maybe miss out on Chris Godwin , Calvin Ridley , A.J. Green , or the Rams receivers then make sure you get shares of Westbrook who could provide a nice return in value if he stays healthy.
Studs That Will Mildly Bust… Starting With David Johnson
“Mildly” and “Hot Takes” aren’t normally mutually exclusive. This section comes with a lot of trepidation. However, one cannot simply remain silent anymore. There are some concerns amongst some players going in the elite rounds. Let’s start with David Johnson . Johnson’s ADP has him going in the middle of the first round, which you like to see. He hasn’t been the dominant force he was three years ago, but that’s because of a wrist injury in 2017 followed by a poorly coordinated offense in 2018 where he still totaled almost 1,400 all-purpose yards. In comes a new head coach and another rookie quarterback. Kyler Murray should immediately be an upgrade over Josh Rosen , but Murray has been less than impressive so far in the preseason. Add in the fact that the offensive line is awful and there are concerns for Johnson. Johnson should still get over 1,200 all-purpose yards but with his first-round ADP and after what we’ve seen in the preseason he may not return first-round value. Rather he may be more of a second or third round value. And that’s still fine. But I find myself avoiding Johnson in drafts more than I was a month ago. I’m not excited about how this offense has looked to start with a rookie quarterback. Now if you’ll allow me to play devil’s advocate to an extent: Cam Newton looked pretty bad in his rookie preseason debut and everyone remember the historic year he had en route to being the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011. The Cardinals will find themselves in garbage more often than not so that present opportunity for Murray, Johnson, and Co. to exceed my expectations.
Michael Thomas is Another Mild Bust
This one, I actually hope I’m wrong about. It feels dirty just typing it, it really does and I feel bad. He’s never had fewer than 92 catches in a season. He’s never had fewer than 1,100 receiving yards in a season. He has 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons. I get it. But he had 125 catches last season for over 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns. That’s awesome. But it seems almost like an anomaly though. Drew Brees threw it significantly less than ever before in his career. With less than 500 pass attempts he finished just shy of 4,000 passing yards in 2018. He was fortunate to at least finish with 32 touchdowns and a very high 6.5% touchdown rate. Drew Brees is now 40 and can’t sling it around like he used to. While Thomas will remain his top target (especially after getting a fat contract extension), maybe we shouldn’t expect a repeat performance of Thomas. Even if Brees throws the ball as much as he did, Thomas should still see 140 targets, but the touchdowns could regress as could the receiving yardage. Similar to Johnson, I think Thomas performs more like a Top 10 or Top 12 wideout rather than a Top 3 receiver. It still puts him in the realm of WR1, but there could be frustrating weeks with Thomas especially when the Saints are on the road.
Matt Ryan is Next to Bust
As an Atlanta native (of three years), this won’t exactly endear me to the good people of Northern Georgia. In the three previous years with Dirk Koetter as his offensive coordinator, Ryan never threw for fewer than 4,500 yards and 26 touchdowns. 26 touchdowns still aren’t great, but Ryan has come a long way since then. After all he was named league MVP in 2016. But in two of the last four years, his touchdown percentage has been under 4.0%. In the other two years, it’s been over 5.5%. Depending on how much he’s throwing the ball that’s what separates a guy from throwing 26 touchdowns or 35 touchdowns. Currently, Ryan is the fifth quarterback off the board behind Mahomes, Rodgers, Watson, and Mayfield. The quarterbacks going after him? Carson Wentz , Jared Goff , Cam Newton , Jameis Winston , Drew Brees , Russell Wilson , and Tom Brady . Basically, if he’s going fifth there are a ton of big-name quarterbacks being drafted after him. You can still build on running back and wide receiver depth while waiting to take a quarterback later on. Whether it’s his inconsistent touchdown numbers or his ADP, you should be passing on Matt Ryan .
Is Demaryius Thomas Back?
Technically, yes. But don’t go overboard. Honestly, a majority of guys that play in the fourth preseason game are in danger of getting cut. This was a big step forward for Thomas who didn’t appear in any of the first three preseason games for New England. Thomas caught seven of his eight targets for 87 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Thomas likely makes the Patriots final 53-man roster, but keep in mind he’s behind Julian Edelman , Josh Gordon , Phillip Dorsett , and maybe even N’Keal Harry on the wide receivers’ depth chart. Additionally, James White is still employed by New England so as of right now Thomas has minimal fantasy value, but he’s worth flagging for updates and notifications on your waiver wire. Not too much of a hot take here, but some people are freaking out over Thomas’ performance. It’s time to calm some folks down.
Nyheim Hines Stock Should Be Rising
This is one that’s weighed on me ever since Andrew Luck surprisingly retired last weekend. If you think about game flow/game script then it should be in Hines’ favor. The Colts are without a doubt worse with Luck’s retirement. This hurts the values of Marlon Mack and T.Y. Hilton , but not as much as most are predicting. Hines averaged almost four receptions per game last year and if the Colts are trailing more in the third and fourth quarters then the game script calls for Hines over Mack. You shouldn’t expect big numbers for Hines in this case, but Hines can be had in rounds 12 and 13. And an injury to Mack, which we saw last year, opens the door for Hines. So it is a little bit baffling that Hines’ ADP is still so low. If you’ve got a draft this weekend, put Hines on your radar. If you’ve already drafted, maybe you drop your worst wide receiver and take a shot on Hines in a deeper league.
Dalvin Cook is a Top 5 Running Back in Fantasy in 2019
This, of course, requires him to stay healthy, but I’m finally drinking the company Kool-Aid or at least ingesting whatever Howard’s been hooked on for two years. But the number support the claim. The claim just assumes that Cook stays healthy for 16 games because even if he misses a couple of games he may not finish in the Top 5. And there’s elite company at the top with Barkley, McCaffrey, Kamara, Elliott, Bell, Johnson, Chubb, and Conner. But keep in mind, Elliott and Gordon are both still holding out. I’m actually getting a little nervous about Elliott because it’s mind-blowing he didn’t accept the Cowboys offer. But on 207 career rushes in two seasons, Cook has 969 yards. He could easily top 1,000 rushing yards and after the big run he broke in the third preseason game there’s plenty of talk regarding Cook. And to be honest, it’s not the hottest take to say he’s top five. And it would obviously take a crystal ball to foresee him staying healthy the whole season. But the offensive line has looked good enough so far and Cook looks healthy.