Welcome back for part two of our look at some of the fantasy plateaus the 2018 rookies will be trying to surpass. In part one we looked at five of the most prominent rookies heading into the 2018 season, and today we analyze five more.
Each player will be given a mark that our experts will weigh in on whether they will be Over or Under that mark.
Another look at who will be participating:
Johnny Slokes – (@JohnnySlokes)
Michael Stephenson – (@DFF_Mste)
Let’s keep it going with Tampa Bay’s newest rookie sensation, Ronald Jones.
Ronald Jones II: Over/Under 800 Yards Rushing
Mitch Lawson – Over – Although I think it will be close. Peyton Barber is a capable running back, and I don’t see Jones getting 3-down workload. He’s likely going to see around 200 carries, and he’ll hit that 800-yard mark if he can manage 4 YPC.
Aaron Larson – Over – This is the easiest one for me. He will be the starting running back from day one and will get every opportunity to carry the rock for Tampa. 800 yards is only 50 yards per game, easily attainable for the talented rookie.
Stephen Halupka – Over – I’m certainly optimistic that Jones will be the lead back in Tampa very quickly. He can do it all in both the receiving and running game, and the Tampa offense should be better in 2018. Jones has some Jamaal Charles to his game and should be able to hit the occasional home run this season.
Nathan Coleman – Over – Originally I was skeptical of Tampa’s selection of Jones, but for fantasy purposes, he could surprise a lot of folks. If good Jameis Winston shows himself then the Bucs are filled with playmakers that should stretch out the defense and open up ample opportunity for Jones to thrive.
John DiBari – Under – I think Jones is handed this job day 1, and I think he fails miserably. That aside, looking back at head coach Dirk Koetter’s history as a head coach, if his back has gotten 300+ carries, they’ve averaged 1,035 yards. That includes Doug Martin’s 1,400 yard tally in 2015. If we take that away, the average is 962 yards. Going back to Koetter’s time in Jacksonville, his lead backs averaged 1,534 yards. They were also Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor. Unless you think RoJo is at the same, or at least close to the talent level of peak Doug Martin, he shouldn’t come close to 1,000 yards. Is 800 yards attainable, yes, but I’m not buying the talent and will be leaning towards the under.
Johnny Slokes – Under – I think he will lose a lot more carries to Peyton Barber than people realize. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tampa brought in another back like DeMarco Murray or Orleans Darkwa . Maybe I don’t see what everyone else sees but to me Ronald Jones is a smaller rotational running back without receiving prowess.
Michael Stephenson – Under – I’m not sold on Ronald Jones as a talent, but I was impressed with how Peyton Barber ended the year in 2017, I can see this backfield being an equal share at best for RoJo which will make 800 yards a stretch.
Total Over: 4
Total Under: 3
Lamar Jackson : Over/Under 4 Starts in 2018?
Mitch Lawson – Under – If the Ravens had added the receivers they wanted (and needed) to, then he would start sooner. Baltimore will use this year to prepare Jackson, then trade Flacco in the 2019 offseason.
Aaron Larson – Under – Lamar Jackson is the future for the Ravens, but I think they do Joe Flacco the honor of letting him play out the season as the starter, and then move on from him next season. Flacco will do just enough to retain the starting job in 2018 and keep Jackson as a backup with a few specialty packages.
Stephen Halupka – Under – Unless there is a serious injury to both Joe Flacco and RG3, Jackson should be riding the pine until 2019. Jackson should be the starter in that season but needs some time to work on mechanics and footwork before taking the reigns in Baltimore.
Nathan Coleman – Under -If healthy, I believe Flacco channels his inner 2017 Alex Smith and has a resurgent year (by Flacco standards). Believe it or not, the Ravens skill positions are as talented as they have ever been with Flacco at the helm. Jackson may sit the entire year unless Joe goes down.
John DiBari – Under – We will not see Lamar Jackson start an NFL game until 2020.
Johnny Slokes – Under – Lamar Jackson likely doesn’t start any games unless Joe Flacco gets hurt or plays even worse than last year.
Michael Stephenson – Under – Similar to Sam Darnold’s situation behind Josh McCown I don’t see Jackson getting on the field barring a Flacco injury. Easy Under for me.
Total Over: 0
Total Under: 7
Christian Kirk : Over/Under 600 Yards receiving?
Mitch Lawson – Over – This will come down to what kind of role Kirk has in this offense with Fitzgerald on the team. But with the uninspiring WRs that make up the rest of the Cardinals corps? I’ll bet they find a way to utilize the rookie.
Aaron Larson – Over – Christian Kirk should immediately become the number two receiver behind Larry Legend in Arizona. If we do the math 600 yards is just over 37 yards per game, easily attainable for a receiver playing on a team that will find themselves trailing on the scoreboard most of the season.
Stephen Halupka – Over – There isn’t a lot ahead of Kirk in the Arizona passing game with only Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson expected to see more targets than Kirk. He has a real chance to be the third passing game option and with that, fantasy owners should expect at least 600 yards in 2018.
Nathan Coleman – Under – Kirk thrives in the slot and Larry Fitzgerald plays in the slot so CK will find himself manning the outside receiver spot. Kirk will find plenty of garbage time points, but the Cards offense is one of the least talented groups in the NFL outside DJ and Fitz.
John DiBari – Under – Kirk was primarily used out of the slot in college. Guess what? Larry Fitzgerald predominantly plays out of the slot as well, so Kirk’s path is blocked by a hall of famer. He’s only got JJ Nelson, Chad Williams, and Brice Butler ahead of him on the depth chart for snaps on the outside, but he’d be expected to learn on the job. Combine that with Sam Bradford’s high likelihood of games lost to injury and either fellow rookie Josh Rosen learning on the job too or Mike Glennon just being himself, and you’re looking an uphill battle to get to 600 yards.
Johnny Slokes – Under – At first glance I say no. With Fitz still there hogging the slot, it puts Christian Kirk “out of position” on the outside. Also, if we throw in the fact that Arizona will likely have a rookie QB, I could see them limiting their passing attack. David Johnson is back and will have a massive workload as well.
Michael Stephenson – Under – It’s hard to project Kirk having much of an immediate impact as he is predominantly a slot receiver, and big Larry will see at least 120 targets this year. One to watch for 2019 but nothing more than a bit-part player in 2018.
Total Over: 3
Total Under: 4
Rashaad Penny: Over/Under 200 PPR Fantasy Points?
Mitch Lawson – Under – While Penny has plenty of talent, there are some pitfalls around him. Regardless of what the Seahawks say, they WILL have an open competition for carries, as always. Chris Carson and C.J. Prosise might not be elite, but they will challenge for work. Combine that with Seattle’s O-Line? I don’t know if he’ll hit 200 PPR points.
Aaron Larson – Over – Once again this just comes down the simple math for me. 200 points breaks down to 12.5 points game over 16 games. Seattle spent a first round pick on Penny, signaling that they intend to use him as the every down back. I think 200 PPR points is easily attainable for Penny.
Stephen Halupka – Under – We’ve all been fooled before trying to guess who the next running back star to come out of Seattle would be. Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, Chris Carson and even Mike Davis have teased fantasy owners over the last few seasons. Penny should get his touches early this season, but I’m not optimistic about any Seattle back until I’m proven wrong.
Nathan Coleman – Over – The pass/run ratio from last year’s team is unsustainable. Brian Schottenheimer loves to run the ball, and Pete Caroll has often ranted about his willingness to go back to running the ball more. A mobile quarterback like Wilson will amplify the effectiveness of Penny and let’s not underestimate Duane Brown anchoring the O-line with a full off-season under his belt.
John DiBari – Over – My initial feeling on this was to take the under. After I looked at the numbers, if (and that’s a HUGE if) the Seahawks are true to their word and use Penny as a true 3-down back, he’s got a real chance to crack 200 points. The last three seasons, the Seahawks combination of backs scored more than 200 points. If he is going to get a true feature back workload, there’s no reason to believe he can’t get to 200 points.
Johnny Slokes – Under – As I said before about Derrius Guice, for the past three years (at least) getting 200 points in a PPR league as an RB means you are a top 10 RB for the year (for the most part). That’s not going to be Penny. Anyone saying Rashaad Penny or Derrius Guice will have over 200 fantasy points is saying they will be a top 10 back. Not with that offensive line. The fact that he struggles with pass protection will take him off the field more than you would like.
Michael Stephenson – Under – In 2017, the Seahawks scored just four times on the ground all season, and 3 of those were scored by Russell Wilson. That means just one rushing touchdown by a running back in an entire season. RBs did not do much better in the passing game either, with just three receiving TDs across all backs. To hit 200 fantasy points Penny will need 8 TDs at the very least, and I just cannot see where these come from.
Total Over: 3
Total Under: 4
Josh Allen: Over/Under 200 Fantasy Points?
Mitch Lawson – Under – I just can’t see a scenario where Allen both A) Starts the whole season in Buffalo and B) Is in any way effective. The Bills shot themselves in the foot here.
Aaron Larson – Over – For better or worse, Allen is the future in Buffalo. He should take over the starting job sooner than later, and since Buffalo will likely spend plenty of time trailing on the scoreboard, Allen will have plenty of opportunities to air it out and rack up fantasy points.
Stephen Halupka – Under – Allen needs a lot of time to become an effective NFL starter. Even if he sees time in 2018, which he should, there is a real lack of weaponry for Allen in Buffalo and he shouldn’t be expected to be an effective starter as of yet.
Nathan Coleman – Under – I can’t imagine Allen starting from day one and the Bills offense is in shambles. Look for Allen to get a few starts towards the end of the season.
John DiBari – Under – I don’t think he starts the year under center and I believe there is a good chance he doesn’t see the field this year. Even if he does get under center at some point, he’s awful and ill-prepared to be an NFL quarterback at this point. Over the last decade, 200 fantasy points would have resulted in a finish as QB21. I’m willing to bet Allen never finishes higher than QB15 over the course of his career. 200 points and a low-end QB2 might be where we can expect to find him for the duration of his career. I doubt it comes close to happening this year though, as the Bills would be wise to keep him off the field for a year or two.
Johnny Slokes – Under – Who is he going to throw to? It doesn’t matter. I just don’t think he is that good. I see him as more of a project and there are going to be a lot of growing pains. I don’t see him as a mid QB2. I’m not sorry.
Michael Stephenson – Under – I’d have taken the under on 20 Fantasy points
Total Over: 1
Total Under: 6
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