This segment of fantasy insights is a joint endeavor between the Dynasty Football Factory and Utter Fantasy Football (www.utter-fantasy.com). This weekly segment is designed to canvass some of the hot button topics to keep us all informed on the ever-changing NFL landscape and which may carry major fantasy implications. If you aren’t already, be sure to follow Mr. Utter Fantasy Football himself, Doug Bowles @UtterFantasy.
DFF Asks – Which player metrics are the most important to you (and why) when evaluating incoming skill position rookies?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – Getting into the “metrics” of each rookie player is more work than I usually do to be honest. The #1 thing I want from incoming skill position rookies is a perfect health record. A player’s metrics mean almost nothing to me, if any player has history of college injuries. I will make note of a rookie quarterback’s touchdown-to-interception ratio and wide receivers with a respectable catch-to-drop ratio, but I don’t go into it deep. 40 times are important and I tend to shy away from rookie wide outs who are less than 180.34 cm (metric system). Nevertheless, this is the kind of extensive research that is particularly important in Dynasty league formats and something the knowledgable crackerjacks at the Dynasty Football Factory specialize in.
DFF Asks – List your top 3 Podcasts & a brief explanation as to why.
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – Podcasts are a fun way to get fantasy football information and new ones are being created all the time. I cannot say I have 3 favorites right now, but I prefer the ones that get to the point quickly and have a good pace to them. I listened one a few days ago and after 7 minutes, I was already bored. Hitting only two topics in 7 minutes didn’t do it for me. We all appreciate an entertaining host, a chuckle or two and a bit of controversy, but ultimately fantasy football owners want useful information with a microwave delivery.
DFF Asks – Is German wide receiver, Moritz Boehringer worth monitoring, or is he just another guy getting off-season hype, due to his European roots?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – I think MB is an exceptional athlete, while at the moment, who is getting off-season hype, but who really knows right now. The man impressed with a 40-yard dash: 4.43 seconds, a vertical: 39 inches, Broad jump: 10 feet, 11 inches, 20-yard Short shuttle: 4.10 seconds, 3-cone: 6.65 seconds and Bench: 17 reps of 225 pounds. The list of the top NFL “Busts” of all-time is filled with great athletes, so that doesn’t automatically translate into an NFL career. Track and field stars are obvious prospects for the NFL because of their world class speed, but their ‘wheels’ aren’t catching bullets from QB Matt Stafford. Boehringer has football experience from the German Football League, but the vast majority of defensive players that Boehringer faced in Germany would probably not even play college football in the United States. I would like to see him make a team though. On a similar note, the KC Chiefs just signed track and field star, Tautyvdas Kieras. The OLB prospect didn’t play football at Mississippi State, but stole the show during the Bulldogs’ Pro Day Thursday. Kieras stands 6’3/271 and registered a 35-inch vertical, 9-foot-8 broad jump and 24 reps on the bench press.
DFF Asks – How do you foresee Jayson Smith’s outlook in Rookie IDP drafts?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – An interesting segue from our last question, considering Smith’s ghastly Fiesta Bowl injury, which will likely have him dropping substantially in the upcoming 2016 NFL Draft. Jaylon Smith’s player metric’s might be awe-inspiring, but what matters to NFL teams right now (and in rookie IDP drafts) is the extent of his nerve damage in addition to rehabbing both is ACL & LCL. Once a surefire first-round pick, he is now only a 2nd day consideration. MINN RB Adrian Peterson proved better than anyone that coming back strong is achievable, so fantasy football owners will draft Smith, but not as a top 10 ILB.
DFF Asks – Who is the best fit (2016 rookies) for the WR openings in CIN, ATL, DET, LA and MIN?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – CIN– The Bengals lost 6’2 /198 lb. WR Marvin Jones to free agency, so 6’2/202lb. Josh Doctson and his “A.J. Green-like abilities” makes sense there.
ATL– The Falcon’s will have their compliment to WR Julio Jones for years to come, if they draft Notre Dame’s 6’0/186 lb.WR, Will Fuller. He is the most lethal deep-threat receiver in this draft class and offers a potential duo threat pairing with “Julio” that Atlanta sorely missed in 2015.
DET– Ohio State’s Michael Thomas displays an impressive combination of size and speed…sound like anyone that recently retired?
LA– Unless the Rams go in a different direction, for once, WR Corey Coleman is tailor-made for HC Jeff Fisher. Personally, I’d rather see the Rams draft a taller weapon, who also has speed, such as; 6’1/204 lb. WR, Braxton Miller or 6’1/197 lb. WR, Tyler Boyd.
MINN– The Vikings can’t use a deep threat, because QB Teddy Bridgewater has a weak arm. TB would be better served with a big and strong possession receiver, which 6’2″ Laquon Treadwell is.
DFF Asks – Outside of JuJu Smith, what 2017 rookie WRs should we be targeting/watching in next years NFL draft?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – Although the Detroit Lions never want to see another wide receiver named Mike Williams on a draft board, the rest of the NFL should be coveting this Clemson player in 2017. An injury in 2015 kept Williams out of the 2016 draft. I am also anxious to see what 6’5″ Texas A&M WR, Ricky Seals-Jones does in 2016 and how it effects his 2017 draft stock.
DFF Asks – What type of production do you expect from Coby Fleener?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – I am excited about TE Fleener (in 2016) and think that he is a guy that can be a quality later-round fantasy football draft pick. TE Ben Watson was the #8 tight end last season with 825 receiving yards and 6 TDs. I predict that Coby Fleener has an even better season than Watson did, with QB Drew Brees, in 2016.
DFF Asks – Does WR Charles Johnson ever re-capture the buzz he had in 2015?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – My immediate, gut response is “No”, because I tend to throw in the towel fast on players. I would never have thought, or guessed for example, that WR Michael Crabtree would be the #20 wide out at the end of 2015, or that WR Kenny Britt would play in all 16 games and finish #51. Johnson is still in Minnesota however, with QB Teddy Bridgewater (only 14 TD passes in 2015) and the Vikings are likely to draft a wide out, so my response is still “No.”
DFF Asks – Where do you see Arian Foster signing or where he should sign and how well do you see him performing in 2016?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – I wish he’d retire. He can’t stay healthy and will his uber-competitive nature allow him to be a back-up somewhere? If it can, I suppose Oakland could use him, or Washington. Maybe someone’s crystal ball shows him coming in like PITT RB, DeAngelo Williams did in 2015, but I doubt it. I won’t draft him in September, but would grab him off waivers later like everyone else, after someone’s unfortunate injury.
DFF Asks – What are your thoughts on the proposed expanded play-off structure? Will in have any impact on play-off bound teams who generally like to rest their players in weeks 17?
UTTER-FANTASY RESPONSE – The NFL seems to want to expand its playoff field from 12 teams to 14, which would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in television revenue. What’s not to like if you are an NFL owner? I also doubt football fans will mind seeing two extra games. As for teams who generally like to rest their players…coaches hate resting players, but do so to avoid getting crucified by fans, owners and the media. It also safeguards against potential late season injuries, which could impact their playoff success. Nevertheless, I think teams would be fine with everyone playing.