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!
Can you name three wide receivers that should reach 100+ receptions in 2017?
Joshua Johnson – Antonio Brown is a lock! Added weaponry be damned AB84 is a gosh darn superhero and don’t you forget it! Larry F’N Fitzgerald actually led the league in receptions last year. Did you know that? His 107 catches were achieved on fewer targets than AB, OBJ, Edelman, Jordy, Mike Evans and T.Y. Hilton received. He may be old but he is trustworthy, and more importantly, he is always focused on the task at hand! DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins is going to be the apple of all Fantasy player’s eyes. Rookie or Savage or whatever they just need to feed NUK! Get your Nuk cheer ready because it’s Nuk season come September!
Shaun Laibe – My three locks are Antonio Brown, Jarvis Landry, and Michael Thomas. Antonio Brown turns 29 years old on July 10th but has shown no signs of slowing down. Brown averaged 121 receptions over the last two seasons, so I expect he will pass 100+ catches this year with ease. Landry has been a PPR monster ever since he’s been in the league, averaging 96 receptions per year. The 4th year player has an excellent chance to eclipse the 100 receptions mark this year. Michael Thomas is my last pick here. With the departure of Brandin Cooks, Thomas became the clear favorite for targets. Thomas actually led all receivers in the league with a 76% catch percentage last season which led to 92 receptions. Without Cooks, Thomas should see more looks, which will get him over 100 receptions on the year.
Brian Hawkes – We saw a shift in pass distribution last year among NFL teams that resulted in only three players catching 100+ balls: Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Brown, and Odell Beckham. Of those three players, Brown and Beckham have watched their teams add quality depth/competition for targets (Brown: Bryant/Smith-Schuster, Beckham: Marshall/Engram). I’m sure we will see several pass catchers emerge with 100+ receptions in 2017, but predicting who that will be is a complete crapshoot. If I had to guess, I’d choose players from volume passing attacks with established roles: Larry Fitzgerald, Jordy Nelson, and Michael Thomas.
Can you Breakdown the expected target share among the Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers?
Joshua Johnson – DGB = Zero Targets! JMatt still has a distinct advantage in my eyes. He has familiarity with the team and offense, not to mention the trust of Carson Wentz. He is also a gritty slot man who can clean up in the intermediate passing game. The additional weapons will make it far easier for him to thrive, move the sticks, and lead the team in targets! Alshon Jeffery is one of those “jump out the gym freaks!” Yet, it took him a good 8-12 games as a rookie with Chicago to really get acclimated. He is older and wiser now, but a new system can look like gibberish until you grasp the whole of your responsibilities. His leaping ability will help the young slinger (Wentz) in the red zone and high-pressure situations but do not expect 120-150 targets. He could lead the team in TD receptions, however. Torrey Smith should lead the team in yards per catch, and if he does not, his signing will be a failure. Nelson Agholor is still an Eagle? Wait, what? Agholor is still an Eagle because he was a first round pick. He is also a ringing endorsement for the USC WR hate campaign. Injuries will have to happen for Agholor to see meaningful targets. That is truly the bottom line!
Shaun Laibe – Carson Wentz and the Eagles offense threw the ball over 600 times in 2016. They signed a few new weapons in free agency, most important being Alshon Jeffrey. Despite not having played a full season since 2014, Jeffrey has proven to have WR1 ability. He is the perfect player to pair with the developing Wentz. I expect Jeffrey to get the lion’s share of the targets in this offense, especially in the red zone. The other free agent signed this offseason was Torrey Smith. He should be in the starting line up across from Jeffrey. Jordan Matthews is expected to man the slot. Having regressed in his third year, Matthews should see less coverage and ultimately return to his 2015 form in which he caught 85 passes. Nelson Agholor, a former 1st round pick, finds himself fighting for a backup role with 4th and 5th round picks, Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson, respectively. Neither project to be starters, but both could see significant action if Jeffrey succumbs to an injury yet again.
Brian Hawkes – Frank Reich, the Eagles OC, has three years as an Offensive Coordinator on his resume. In those seasons, his offenses have produced an average of 617 attempts. Here is the breakdown for target distribution during his tenure:
2014 (SDC): 21% WR1, 17% TE1, 16% WR2, 16% WR3
2015 (SDC): 16% RB2, 13% WR1 (Injured), 13% TE1, 10% WR2
2016 (PHI): 19% WR1, 17% TE1, 12% WR2, 12% RB2
Taking this into consideration, I’d say the Eagles offense will likely produce only one quality WR for fantasy purposes (Jeffery), one RB (Sproles), and is very likely to produce a quality TE (Ertz). My target estimates are:
Jeffery 20% (120 targets)
Ertz 17% (105 targets)
Sproles 14% (85 targets)
Matthews 14% (85 targets)
Which rookie running back has the biggest bust potential amongst Leonard Fournette, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, and Dalvin Cook?
Joshua Johnson – Mixon! The bonehead factor is very real with this one. Cook has also had some run-ins with the law, but he is not on a team with Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones. I also worry about Mixon’s longevity once he is the clear-cut RB1. Jeremy Hill will likely be elsewhere next season, and the pressure will be on Mixon to put up or ship out. This is also all dependent on him having solid, safe and clean rookie season.
Shaun Laibe – I have to go with Dalvin Cook here. Cook was a highly regarded prospect until a poor performance at the combine dropped his stock to the 2nd round of the draft. I’m also nervous about the fact that he has already had three shoulder surgeries, one on the left shoulder and two on the right, before the age of 22. The Vikes signed Latavius Murray in the offseason. Murray is coming off of a very fine season with Oakland in 2016, rushing for 788 yards and 12 TDs. Still just 27 years old, I expect Murray to see plenty of early down reps. The forgotten man in Minnesota is Jerick McKinnon. He averaged nearly 5 yards per carry last season while catching 27 passes to boot. These roadblocks could keep Cook off the field until he proves he is an adequate pass blocker in the NFL.
Brian Hawkes – Let’s look at these four player situations, objectively, using 2016 stats:
Cincinnati had 547 RB touches (446 attempts + 101 RB targets)
Carolina had 523 RB touches (453 attempts + 70 RB targets)
Jacksonville had 500 RB touches (392 attempts + 108 RB targets)
Minnesota had 480 RB touches (380 attempts + 100 RB targets)
Now, we don’t have NFL points per touch efficiency for these players…but we do have their college scoring efficiency to refer to.
Mixon 1.42 points per touch
Cook 1.18 points per touch
Fournette 1.11 points per touch
McCaffrey 1.11 points per touch
I understand these stats may not translate to the next level, and we also do not know how touches will be distributed for these players based on depth chart competition…but, for the sake of simplicity, let’s just multiply the player efficiency by their opportunity and let the numbers tell the story:
Mixon’s potential is 777 points.
McCaffrey’s potential is 581 points.
Cook’s potential is 567 points.
Fournette’s potential is 555 points.
My answer for the player who is most likely to score the least points, or “bust,” is Leonard Fournette.