Over/Under Blitz – Rookie Rundown Part 1

The NFL draft has finally passed us by. True to form, the NFL pulled out the stops, turning Arlington into a huge media circus. Just like a circus, the draft was big, flashy, exciting and you never knew what was going to happen next for these rookies. But now it’s time to get out our fine-toothed combs and dig through the confetti and banners to find out how this applies to our dynasty and redraft leagues.

To that end, the Redraft writing crew has come together to get down to brass tacks and give their takes on some of the most exciting first-year players, and whether or not they will exceed expectations.

Here’s who will be participating:

Mitch Lawson – (@DFF_MitchLawson)

Aaron Larson – (@aalarson)

Stephen Halupka – (@TheRealHalupka)

Nathan Coleman – (@JHawkChalk89)

JohnDiBari – (@dibari22)

Johnny Slokes – (@JohnnySlokes)

Matt Jones – (@MattJonesTFR)

Michael Stephenson – (@DFF_Mste)

Let’s get started:

Saquon Barkley: Over/Under 1,750 All-Purpose Yards?

Mitch Lawson – Over – Barkley lands in a great situation in New York and with his talent he’ll be able to get over that number.

Aaron Larson – Over – Barkley will be the workhorse in New York and is capable of playing all three downs. With Eli Manning and his receiving weapons, defenses won’t be able to stack the box to stop him.

Stephen Halupka – Under – Barkley will no doubt be the centerpiece of the Giants running game for sure and be a factor in the passing game, but don’t forget there is a ton of other playmakers on that Giants offense. 1,500 is certainly within the realm of possibility but 1,750 seems like a stretch.

Nathan Coleman –Over– Some might argue that the Giants have too many mouths to feed but I disagree. Barkley will have a full workload and the advantage of garbage time numbers when playing from behind which might be a frequent occurrence. Kareem Hunt surpasses the number last year even when Andy Reid forgot about him so Barkley should have no trouble in a Pat Shurmur offense.

John DiBari – Under – Zeke had one of the best all time landing spots for fantasy and his 1,900+ yards will be hard to top. Hunt was the beneficiary of a team that typically only features 3 players for fantasy and he had an injury on the depth chart ahead of him. Fournette went to a team with old-school coaches who picked a power back early with the intention of winning games with a brutal ground game coupled with a punishing defensive unit. But Barkley is going to a team with a legit top-3 wide receiver who will demand targets in Odell Beckham and we’re not even mentioning Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard. He’ll have a nice year, but there are too many mouths to feed for him to crack 1,750.

Johnny Slokes – Under – There is a lot of talent on the Giants offense, which means there is going to be a lot of mouths to feed. They are supposed to have a better offensive line and I think he will do well but 1,750 all-purpose yards is a lot to ask for.

Michael Stephenson – Under – The only positive for Barkley this season is his immense talent. Everything else is working against him. The offensive line in New York is ranked 26th in the league by Pro Football Focus. In 2017, Giants RBs combined for just under 2,000 all-purpose yards in a year mostly without Odell Beckham Jr and Sterling Shepard. It’s tough to see where Barkley would get 1,750 yards from in this offense.

Total Over: 3

Total Under: 4

Baker Mayfield: Over/Under 2,000 Passing Yards?

Mitch Lawson – Over – I can see Hue Jackson changing his tune on Tyrod Taylor if the Browns open up the season on a losing note. He can’t afford to suck again, and he’ll start Mayfield before Week 3, giving Baker just enough time to hit 2,000 yards.

Aaron Larson – Under – I think the Browns will stay true to their word and ride Tyrod Taylor as long as possible. There are plenty of offensive weapons in Cleveland, I just don’t think there will be enough games for him to get there by the time he’s handed the reigns.

Stephen Halupka – Under – If the Browns can be competitive with Tyrod Taylor at the helm, and that’s a big if, Mayfield might not see the field for at least half the 2018 season. He would need an incredible output to hit the 2,000-yard mark if he starts fewer than 8 games.

Nathan Coleman – Over – Baker Mayfield is one of the most pro-ready players from the draft and he happens to be the perfect age to play right away. The former Sooner is one of the most competitive quarterbacks you will find, he won’t be satisfied with holding a clipboard. Hue Jackson will have to try anything to not get fired and benching Tyrod for Mayfield will buy him a temporary pass.

John DiBari – Under – I love Mayfield more than my kids, but I think the Browns stick with Tyrod to open the year. I actually think he gets them off to a good start and puts the Browns in an awkward situation where they have to decide whether or not to bench Taylor with a 4-5 record after winning 1 game over the last 2 seasons. It’s a good problem to have, but I don’t think we see more than 7 or 8 starts from Mayfield.

Johnny Slokes – Over – Let’s pretend that Baker Mayfield doesn’t start until week 5. All he would have to do is average a little over 166 passing yards a game to reach 2,000 yards. Easy.

Michael Stephenson – Over – If any team are capable of benching their starter by week 6 it’s the Browns. Give Mayfield 10 starts and 2,000 yards is inevitable with the weapons at his disposal. I don’t think it is out of the question that he starts Week 1.

Total Over: 4

Total Under: 3

Derrius Guice: Over/Under 200 PPR Fantasy Points?

Mitch Lawson – Over –  Being a Running Back for Alex Smith is a recipe for success, but he’ll have to wrestle pass-catching duties away from Chris Thompson. He will, and he’ll be a fantasy stud in 2018.

Aaron Larson – Under – I don’t think Guice will be a big enough factor in the passing game to reach 200 PPR points, especially with a healthy Chris Thompson back as the primary receiving option out of the backfield.

Stephen Halupka – Under – Guice can certainly be impactful in the running game, but his passing game impact will be limited by Chris Thompson. He won’t be able to make up for his lack of passing game usage by his rushing output.

Nathan Coleman – Over – During his tenure Jay Gruden has always tried to limit Chris Thompson’s touches due to his storied injury history. Last year he was forced to give CT extra touches (hyper-efficient) with injuries to Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine and of course, Thompson again visited the IR. Guice will be the next great all-purpose back in Washington since another “Headcase” in Clinton Portis retired.

John DiBari – Under – I think Chris Thompson gets hurt again at some point, because that’s what he does and among the remaining backs currently rostered, Guice is the best receiver. However, to get to 200 PPR points, Guice is going to need roughly 900 yards rushing, 20 receptions for another 250 yards and 11 total touchdowns. He could probably hit one or two of those numbers, but I don’t see a path for him to hit all 4 or greatly exceed any one of those numbers in a single category to make up the deficiencies in the other three.

Johnny Slokes – Under – Last year there were only 10 RBs to hit the 200 point threshold in PPR leagues, in 2016 there were 13 and in 2015 there were only 9. It’s a mark that a lot of backs don’t hit and is typically reserved for RB1s and I just don’t have Guice as an RB1 this year. I project him to play on a mediocre to average offense without a true #1 WR (sorry Josh Doctson truthers) and it’s a team led by Alex Smith. Sorry, I just don’t see it on a lousy offense and not to mention Chris Thompson stealing passing game work.

Michael Stephenson – Over – I love Guice landing in Washington, and 200 Fantasy points is a big ask, but he is more than capable. The offensive line is underrated thanks to a silly amount of injuries last season. Alex Smith is the king of the short pass and I can see Guice catching 40 passes on top of running the ball at least 200 times.

Total Over: 3

Total Under: 4

D.J. Moore: Over or Under 800 Receiving Yards?

Mitch Lawson – Under- Cam Newton is no Drew Brees when it comes to yardage. D.J. Moore might have success, but he’ll finish closer to 500-600 total yards.

Aaron Larson – Under – Only 10 pass catchers have ever had 800+ yard seasons in a Cam Newton led offense (and five of those are from Greg Olsen alone). Moore could be the number one wideout in Carolina, but I don’t think that translates into 800 yards.

Stephen Halupka – Under – Moore will certainly have an impact in his rookie season, but he’s still raw and will need time to develop chemistry with Cam. Expect some splash games from the rookie, but not 800 yards worth of production in his rookie campaign.

Nathan Coleman – Under – Rookie receivers rarely pan out in their first year for fantasy. Moore will be no exception especially considering he will have to rely on an inaccurate passer. D.J. will be the fourth receiving option especially with the emergence of C-Mac and the return of Newton’s favorite target Greg Olsen.

John DiBari – Over – I’m under the impression that D.J. Moore is significantly more talented than Devin Funchess. With that in mind, I’m also under the impression that Moore will be the #1 wide receiver on this team out to start the season. With Cam Newton under center, his #1 wideout has averaged 977 yards. If you remove Steve Smith’s monster 2011 (1,394 yards) the average is still 846 yards. I think Moore is among the most talented receivers Cam has had, and I think he hits 800 yards easily.

Johnny Slokes – Under – The top receiver for Carolina last year only had 111 targets and that was with Greg Olsen missing most of the year. With Olsen back, I expect him to resume his role and with how Funchess flourished last year, I just don’t see D.J. Moore getting a ton of targets. I just wrote an article projecting the Carolina Panthers and I had Moore at 81 targets for 51 receptions 581 yards and 4 TDs.

Michael Stephenson – Under – While I do think Moore is immediately the most talented WR in Carolina, I cannot see him commanding anywhere near enough targets alongside Funchess, McCaffrey, and Olsen. When Olsen eventually retires he should be a lock for 800 yards, but not in 2018.

Total Over: 1

Total Under: 6

Sam Darnold: Over/Under 2,000 Passing Yards?

Mitch Lawson – Under – Even if he does take over from McCown, the Jets have questionable weapons to throw to. I expect he takes over as the starter sometime after midseason but doesn’t hit 2,000 yards.

Aaron Larson – Over – Unlike Tyrod Taylor in Cleveland. I don’t believe the Jets will truly let McCown be the starter all season. I think Darnold will be the starter by week 4, giving him more than enough games to reach 2,000 yards, no matter who is catching passes from him.

Stephen Halupka – Under – This one will be close as there will be rumblings in New York for Darnold to play and play soon. Darnold has the talent to put together some really good performances in the back half of 2018, but he won’t see enough time to reach 2,000 yards.

Nathan Coleman – Under – Unless Josh McCown gets hurt(very possible) Darnold will probably sit out most of the season until late November. When he does start there will be plenty of garbage points to accrue as the Jets should plan on playing from behind often.

John DiBari – Under – This is easy. I don’t Darnold hits the field this year. Josh McCown will be the starter all year unless he gets injured. Even if Darnold takes the field, he’s a turnover machine.

Johnny Slokes – Over – The Jets are likely to be playing from behind and I expect Darnold to start right away. If he plays all 16 games, he only has to average 125 passing yards a game to reach 2,000 yards. Even with as little as the Bears threw the ball last year with Mitchell Trubisky, he had over 2,000 yards passing. 

Michael Stephenson – Under – I think it takes a McCown injury for him to see the field so it’s an auto-under for me.

Total Over: 2

Total Under: 5

That’s all for this edition of Over/Under Blitz. Look for Part Two tomorrow for more qualitative analysis of the 2018 rookie class.

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@DFF_MitchLawson / Writer, Editor & Analyst for @DFF_Redraft & @DFF_Dynasty. #DFFArmy #FantasyFootball. Canadian. Occasionally witty, stay tuned

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