Dynasty Hot Route: Bengals Backs and Bucs Targets

The mission of this article is to make our in-house experts sizzle and bristle over the hot-button issues that face dynasty owners. Our experts make the entire route tree HOT as they address topics from the world of IDP, Devy, Start/sit, Non-PPR, PPR and everything in between. Try not to get burned by all the fiery YAC below! This is Dynasty Hot Routes!


Breakdown Corey Davis vs. Mike Williams

Joshua Johnson – Let’s start with everyone’s seemingly second fiddle Mike Williams. The Chargers have improved their offensive line and there are a bevy of weapons for Philip Rivers. While this should be a vote of confidence for their running game, their ugly RB depth chart (Branden Oliver, Kenneth Farrow, Andre Williams and Kenjon Barner) behind Melvin Gordon does not inspire any realistic level of fortitude or formidability. Sure Mike Williams is surrounded by competition, but the draft capital speaks louder than most things when it comes to snap share. That equals opportunity and while supposed WR1 Keenan Allen is effective when healthy, but he is hardly the latter. Williams will start the season another year removed from his scary neck injury, and his confidence level should boost his physicality and tenaciousness.

Corey Davis is a picturesque version of what every team wants at WR1. However, I don’t love the landing spot. Tennessee is a hungry young team and Davis will help them as the push for the playoffs (maybe even this season). But, outside of Delanie Walker who is going to protect Davis from double coverage? Davis could have a monster rookie year and his owners will start casting the mold for his Canton bust.

In 2018 or when Walker retires, Davis will have to prove week-to-week that he is a Hall of Fame talent and carry his team. I am not betting against the kid but his challenge is one of very extreme pressure and difficulty. I absolutely like Davis over Williams but it’s not the fast break slam dunk everyone is gleefully squawking about.

Shane Manila – All signs point to Corey Davis. He has the easier path to becoming the WR1 for his team. In fact, Davis is already the number 1 wide receiver on his team. He seemingly has less competition for targets. Every scouting report indicates that Davis is a complete receiver. To boot he also has the younger quarterback, so long term, it looks like a slam dunk for Davis.

But I’m going to go with Williams. Yes, Williams best comp is Laquon Treadwell on Playerprofiler.com, and everyone knows that Treadwell will never amount to anything after one entire season in the league. Brian and I disagree with that take, but I digress. Watching tape of Williams though it’s hard to shake the feeling that he’s still going to turn out to be a really good wide receiver. Mike Williams is taller, faster, better pedigreed and played much better competition in college than Davis.

His situation, though crowded at the moment, works itself out in short order. Antonio Gates is going to retire someday(right?). Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman aren’t much of a concern. The draft capital the Chargers spent on Williams also shows a level of concern with perpetually injured Keenan Allen. In another season Williams may be the number one target for the Chargers.  

Another factor to consider is Corey Davis worth the 1.01? I’m not sure he is. He is solid; he runs excellent routes, has decent hands. But everything else about him just seems a level above okay, not great. Considering that I can draft Williams at the 1.04 or later I’m of the mind that Williams is the guy I’ll be drafting.

Brian Hawkes – I think this debate is closer than many realize. Leave the Twitter hype out of it; there is no debating this:

  • Mike Williams has dominant tape versus top level, future NFL CBs
  • Mike Williams has confirmed WR1 measurables
  • Mike Williams hails from a program that has consistently delivered successful prospects to NFL teams

 

  • Corey Davis has dominant tape versus players who have no NFL future
  • Corey Davis has WR1 height/weight; speed/ burst measurables unknown due to injury
  • Corey Davis hails from a program that has produced gaudy production at the WR position that didn’t translate to immediate success in the NFL (Daniel Braverman)

Let’s be clear; I’m not saying Corey Davis is a bad prospect…. the dude was drafted 5th overall. I am saying, however, that there is more information on Mike Williams to make an informed decision about his future success.

Having said that, if forced with a choice between these two players – I’m taking Davis every time. The reason? Twitter hype! I’d take Davis and flip him for a proven commodity, plus draft capital.

Here’s why…and this officially qualifies as a “Hot Take”: The influx of youth the 2014 WR class brought to the top 24 WR market has left it saturated; The same guys finish in the top 24 year after year. I try to steer clear of overvaluing rookie WRs unless the target opportunity clearly indicates they have a chance at success. Davis and Williams appear to be in landing spots with 100-110 target ceilings. With “normal” efficiency, that’s not enough to make them a WR1 for your fantasy team; they’re likely WR2s.

Davis’ hype can get potentially net you a WR1 in a trade, and I’m certain he can get you a WR2 and picks.

Shaun Laibe – This is one of the toughest debates in rookie drafts this time of year. On the one hand, you have Corey Davis who has been the #1 overall pick in several dynasty drafts that I have seen so far. On the contrary, you have Mike Williams who has been pushed down draft boards, most often falling somewhere between 1.04 and 1.06. Each player has the talent and potential to become a WR1 down the road in fantasy, but only Davis holds that cost currently.

The argument for Davis makes sense as he is the clear #1 guy in Tennessee. He also has a very talented QB in Marcus Mariota throwing him the ball. The part that a lot of the “experts” have left out is the fact that the Titans ran the ball a whopping 476 times in 2016, good enough for 4th most in the league. Look for that number to decrease a bit over time as Mariota becomes more comfortable airing it out, but the Titan’s identity will be that of a power running team. Davis might eventually be a fantasy stud, but I don’t see that happening for another 2-3 years.

That leaves us with Mike Williams as the guy I prefer to target in rookie drafts right now. Until proven otherwise, Keenan Allen is a liability for fantasy owners. Allen has burned us for two years in a row now. If you let it happen for a third consecutive year, that’s on you! If you own the #1.01 pick in your dynasty draft and you want to get the most value from your pick, try to trade down to around #1.04 and draft Williams. You will get the same potential plus a little something in return. What’s not to love?

John Orr – I’m always looking at WR early in my rookie drafts. The majority of my leagues you can start up to 6 of them. Having a stable of WRs has kept me in playoff contention. Every year we have the battle for top WR prospect. This year, Corey Davis battles Mike Williams. Both WRs enter the league on teams with bright QBs. Tennessee has a top notch offensive line, which will allow for more time for Marcus Marriotta to find Corey Davis.

The run game is also a win for Tennessee, which will also aid the young Corey Davis. Opposing defenses will not be able to worry about playing the pass strictly. Where Mike Williams wins is he will not be the number one WR in the offense. He will not have double teams. Mike Williams will benefit here as he will be able to get more throws because he will not be the focus of the defense. More one on one coverage will let him make more plays. In the red-zone Mike Williams is a huge target. That’s a significant help to his fantasy outlook.


In fantasy drafts, Davis is going ahead of Williams. If you feel you need a WR this year and need to move up to land one, Williams is your target. Much cheaper and you’ll get production. If you’re drafting in the 1.1 to 1,3 range, I’d be taking Davis.  

Breakdown the wild and wacky target shares for Jameis Winston and Bucs?

Joshua Johnson – I think the additions will make everyone’s targets more important and hopefully more efficient. One thing is for sure Winston should be near the top of the league in completion percentage. Winston threw 567 times last season. I think the Bucs will be a better so let’s knock that number down to 530. Mike Evans should see a slight downtick from 173 targets in 2016 to 150 this season but he could conceivably end up with more receptions than in 2016. That leaves 100 targets for Desean Jackson; we’ll say 75 each for O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin and 40 for Cameron Brate. That’s a total of 440 which leave 90 miscellaneous targets for the running backs, WR4/WR5 and TE3. Now, this isn’t a perfect picture I am painting here, but it certainly seems reasonable.

Emmett Kiernan – Mike Evans is a beast and will continue to be the bona fide number one. In his first few seasons, Jameis was forcing targets to him because there were limited receiving options. I expect him to be more efficient with higher quality targets. DeSean Jackson will slide into the number two role and benefit from the defenses focusing on Evans. Expect a limited role for Godwin in his rookie season, but to potentially take over for Jackson as a starter in the not so distant future. Adam Humphries will continue to get a few targets out of the slot, but his upside is very limited.

O.J. Howard may be utilized as a blocker more often than most Tight Ends but he will still have an impact in the passing game. Cameron Brate’s fantasy upside is very limited barring an injury to Howard, but I still expect him to steal some touchdowns. Doug Martin’s time in Tampa may be limited and he will not be much of a factor in the passing game even if he can earn some carries. Charles Sims is a much better receiver than runner but I am not sure how often he will be on the field. Rookie Jeremy McNichols has a chance to see a lot of playing time. If he can get in the rotation he will be yet another quality safety blanket for Winston.

Shane Manila – Mike Evans will still be the lead target on the Buccaneers. That said, he’s not going to approach 173 targets again in the near future. Evans had no one else on the Bucs roster that deserved to take targets from him last season. Now you add OJ Howard, who will take goal line targets, at least the targets that Cameron Brate doesn’t get. DeSean Jackson is going to take the deep throws.

Chris Godwin will take some of the intermediate targets initially and possibly some deep passes once Jackson retires or moves on. Almost forgot about Jeremy McNichols. The converted wide receiver is going to see targets out of the backfield as well. So I haven’t actually answered the question I suppose. Evans will still see 140-150 targets. Howard will score 10-15 touchdowns a season. DeSean Jackson is usable in best ball and Godwin will be hit or miss due to all the other firepower on offense.

Shaun Laibe – Outside of Mike Evans, the Tampa Bay target situation is a hot mess. Last season, Evans more than doubled the next highest targeted Buccaneer. I’m guessing these target shares come back to reality a bit, but he’s the unquestioned leader in that regard. Chris Godwin is generating a lot of buzz, but I’m not counting on him being very relevant this season. Desean Jackson is on the backend of his career and could top out around 80 targets or so. The running back situation is a nightmare as well.

Doug Martin will be suspended for the first 4 games of this season leaving Charles Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Jeremy McNichols fighting it out for early season touches. I prefer McNichols out of this bunch. He is going in the mid to late 2nd round of rookie drafts, so the value is there. I could see a scenario where he completely supplants Martin as the full-time starter. OJ Howard and Cameron Brate owners are going to suffer from some highs and some lows in regards to target share. Until we get a better look of who Jameis prefers, I’m avoiding the Tampa tight end situation.

Brian Hawkes – Evans will likely concede some of his league leading 173 targets in 2016, but he’s still due for a healthy 150 targets or so. Adam Humphries 83 targets likely shift to Desean Jackson, and he potentially could see an additional 10-15… I’d guess D-Jax sees 100 targets and converts that into 60/1000/4. Rookie tight ends rarely make a fantasy impact, and as a result Brate/ Howard split an estimated 80 targets or so… which will lead to subpar fantasy results in ‘17 (but huge payoff in ‘18 for Howard). Godwin picks up the 40 target scraps and remains buried until injury creates opportunity.

John Orr – I can’t really add much more here. Some very sound thoughts here already. I believe Winston has his best season as a pro. Tampa will run more 12 personnel and I would love to see some wing action from them. With both OJ Howard and Cameron Brate playing at the same time the offense should have some fun matchups.

Mike Evans remains the focal point of this offense. I agree with my friends, the volume will be reduced, but he will get more catches this year. Desean Jackson will stretch the field for them and this will give OJ Howard space to move in under the coverage. Rookie TEs don’t typically come in and light the league on fire, but Howard is unique and will get plenty of opportunities. Both TEs will eat into each other’s catches but they with will make plays on those targets. I’m old school, love my double TE formations.  I get all worked up thinking about how I would play them. Going to be a fun offense to watch.

Godwin will be in the mix as well. Another mouth to feed. I’m with Brian, I can see about 40 targets for Godwin this season. So, to answers the question, Williams leads the pack with around 140-150 targets. Jackson comes in next between 90-100, I see Howard and Brate close to 100 combined targets. I am a big believer in this offense in 2017.

Explain the Bengals RB depth chart with Joe Mixon now added to the mix?

Joshua Johnson – I honestly believe the Bengals tried like heck to trade Jeremy Hill. However when you consider the depth of the 2017 and 2018 RB class a suitor did not present itself. Hill is not dead though his touches will be scaled back. The drafting of Mixon may be more indicative of the Bengals confidence in Gio Bernard returning to full health in 2017. That in itself is a loaded question and 2018 is a more likely scenario for Bernard to be closer to 100%. So essentially in 2017 Mixon is Bernard and that is an upgrade for Andy Dalton and company.

Hill will still see between the tackles and short yardage plunges. Hill could also be that fourth quarterback who eats clock and preserves the lead. Mixon will have a role but nothing bigger than he had at Oklahoma in 2016. Oh, and by the way Hill is a free agent in 2017.

Shaun Laibe – Like Josh said above, Jeremy Hill is clearly on his way out of Cincinnati one way or another. With that said, I still expect Marvin Lewis to use Hill in early down situations, at least to start the year. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I think Hill will lead all Bengals in carries in 2017. The ACL injury to Giovanni Bernard will delay his progress just enough to allow Hill to gain a stranglehold on the starter role while Mixon gets his feet wet in camp. As the season wears on and Hill averages about 3 yards per carry, I see Mixon taking over and never looking back. Bernard will probably still spell him on passing downs and in the red zone this year, but I fully expect Mixon to be the Bengals three down back in 2018.

Shane Manila – Finally an easy question. Joe Mixon is the RB1. Jeremy Hill, at least in 2017, will get short yardage and goal line work. Gio Bernard will start the season on the PUP. When Bernard returns, he’ll be mixed in here and there. This is Joe Mixon’s backfield; he’s a talented combination of what Hill and Bernard do. He’s a better runner and receiver than both Hill and Bernard, and I expect both to be looking for new teams come the end of this upcoming season.

Brian Hawkes – The Bengals don’t take the risk associated with drafting Joe Mixon unless they fully believe he’s worth it. Hill is an unrestricted free agent following the 2017 season, and Gio is coming off of an ACL. Also, if the Bengals strike gold with Mixon, Gio’s contract allows the Bengals to cut him and save $2.75 million in 2017 ($1.5 dead cap). Bottom line – Bengals ownership, scouts, and coaches don’t take the risk unless they intend to feed Mixon. They have significant motivation to set him up to be a successful football player… because if they don’t – they will face heavy criticism and potential lose their jobs.

John Orr – This is Joe Mixon’s job now. He can do the work of both Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard. Having a player who stays on the field for every down is ideal for both the Bengals and my fantasy teams. They will use him out of the backfield as he runs excellent routes, and feed him early on in the run game. If Joe Mixon produces as the Bengals expected when they drafted him, Gio will be expendable. Let’s be realistic on Hill; he was not getting results.

 

jjohnson

I am searching for the meaning of every bump on the pigskin. From leather helmets to a league with no point after attempts, I am researching with a wide shovel. -married/father/music fan/Raider Nation baby/deli meat enthusiast/three-cone extremist

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