Well, the new season is upon us. NFL teams and fantasy owners are finalizing their rosters. Lots of questions have now been answered and things have become more clear. With those answers in place, we can now look at whose stock went up / down and what this means for your team. I wish everyone the best of luck and may you this be the beginning of your quest for the championship!
DE, Carl Lawson, Cincinnati Bengals
This was position fantasy owners have been clamoring for and now their wish was granted. Lawson’s position has been switched from outside linebacker to defensive end. This boosts his value tremendously in the fantasy world. Last year he was used mostly as a backup and in sub packages and head coach Marvin Lewis, stated he would be used more in those packages this year. So why would a backup be a hot stock? Well, last season in that role he eight sacks and impressed the coaching staff enough to cut veteran Michael Johnson. While they did resign Johnson the next day at a lower cap number, it tells me that they envision Lawson as a starter. If he can give you eight sacks in a limited role, imagine what he can do as a full-time starter Investment Rating (5)
CB, Desmond King, Los Angeles Chargers
There was a lot of concern this offseason on if he would retain his status as a cornerback. I have monitored this closely all preseason and as of today, he will stay listed as a corner. Myfantasyleague.com just posted their final position updates on Monday and he wasn’t listed as a change. That’s absolutely great news for fantasy owners. Being listed as a corner and being used like a safety is pure gold, especially in position specific leagues. Why is this so important you ask? Well, King is one of the few corners that get used as a blitzer on a routine basis. Get sacks from your corner is a huge bonus. He had four sacks last season and just missed on a handful of others, to go with the seventy-six tackles (66 solos), five pass deflections and one interception he returned ninety yards for a touchdown. He also provides a bonus for those that play in leagues that score return yardage. Investment Rating (5)
LB, Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills
What a great situation for the rookie and the fantasy owners that drafted him. Edmunds is listed as the starting middle linebacker for the Bills, who statisticians are known to be generous in giving tackles. The Bills lack the weapons to be good offensively, which means the defense will be on the field more. In turn, this translates to more opportunities for Edmunds to make plays. He was a tackling machine in college and should continue to be that in the pros. Take into account that middle linebackers typically score the most points in fantasy and this sets Edmunds up to have a big rookie season. Investment Rating (4)
LB, Raekwon McMillan, Miami Dolphins
McMillan was hurt before he could even make one play as a rookie. He would miss the entire season and become lost in the pile. Out of sight and out of mind, most fantasy owners have forgotten about him, which is why he’s one of my favorite investments. He’s an absolute steal considering where he is currently being drafted. Some owners want to see him in action first and others just look over him. Which makes him a perfect buy low investment. He’s the starting middle linebacker for a Dolphin team that will struggle on offense. Just like with the Bills’ Edmunds, he will be on the field a lot and that should mean plenty of playmaking chances. Investment Rating (4)
DE, Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
After being miscast as a linebacker the past couple seasons, Jones has been switched back to defensive end. Fantasy owners rejoice aloud with this news as, the fantasy value of the NFL’s sack leader (17) from last season, now increases with this move. I expect more of the same from Jones, but now that he’s a defensive end, a position that is hard to get premium value, he jumps from a top 10-15 linebacker to a top 3 defensive end. Investment Rating (4)
Liquidate / Sell
LB, Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
This is a classic example of how cruel fantasy IDP can be. This also shows you that it’s not always the player but his position that holds the value. For the past couple seasons, fantasy owners have been begging for their sites to switch Mack from outside linebacker back to a defensive end. Finally, it seemed those prayers were answered by the fantasy gods when that switch was made. Ohhhhh how we rejoiced and were so happy, that we just couldn’t contain ourselves. But just like that, it was taken away, when after a lengthy holdout ended when he was traded to the Chicago Bears, who use the dreaded 3-4 scheme. Meaning Mack would be switched back to LB position. On Monday Myfantasyleague made that official. Tears of joy quickly turned in to tears of disgust and disappointment. While I truly believe that Mack will be just as good as ever and possibly even better, his position limits his value in fantasy from reaching max value. Depending on how your roster looks at LB and DE, will determine your value for him. Liquidation Rating (2)
SS, Quandre Diggs, Detroit Lions
This is another player, who fantasy owners feared a position change. This past Monday, that fear became a reality, as he was switched from cornerback to safety. Again it’s not always the player but the position that affects the value. He started out last season playing as a corner, but during the course of the season he was moved to safety, but in fantasy, most sites don’t change positions of players during the season. So you can see why he was so valuable. Listed as a corner but playing at safety, gave him a max value in fantasy. These are the types of players that are highly coveted in the fantasy world. He recorded fifty-five tackles, one sack, three interceptions, and nine pass deflections a year ago and should be around those numbers again. Liquidation Rating (3)
LB, Reuben Foster, San Francisco 49ers
Foster has become a headache with all his off the field issues. While he’s one of the most talented young stars in football, it’s just hard to count on his availability. He’s suspended for the first two games of the season and he’s lucky it’s only two. So if you hold onto him he eats up a roster spot until his return. If you can get a good offer for him, then I would trade him away and let him be some other owners problem. Shop him around and see what you can get, you might be surprised with a good offer. There are plenty of other viable options at linebacker, with way less baggage. Liquidation Rating (3)
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