Its here, National Fantasy Football Draft weekend! My dance card this weekend is full. A keeper league draft Saturday morning, another draft pre-fight Saturday night. Sunday will find me waking up before the roosters for another draft before a relaxing live in person draft/pool party where I’ll likely be making my selections sitting in the pool with a stylish youreduckingright.com stein mug full with Angry Orchard (available for purchase here!: 16 Oz. Youre Ducking Right Stein Mug )
But before you get into your drafts, make sure you’ve read through our Fantasy Football Draft series. The series wrap up, with links to the positional breakdowns can be found here: FANTASY FORECAST RAP UP
Since those write ups came out there have been some tweaks, some changes, some injuries, and things you ought to know before you draft:
In Miami, Ryan Tannehill is out, Jay Cutler, from off the street, is in. Cutler does have experience under Coach Adam Gase’s system though. Armed with a trio of capable receivers, a high end tight end, and more than solid running game, Cutler is fully empowered to have a good season… but he’s still Jay Cutler.
For the second year in a row, Trevor Siemian has emerged as the starter in Denver. This doesn’t speak well of Paxton Lynch, the 2016 first round draft pick.
After a lot of off season talk about how polished Deshaun Watson looked coming from the Texans camp, it was Tom Savage who emerged to stake his claim as the Houston starter. Coach Bill O’Brien does have a history of waffling on his QB selections though, so if you take Savage, do so with one eye toward Watson, because you know O’Brien will have one of his on him.
Hue Jackson has seemingly been true to the thought process of the Browns starting QB job being an open competition. At different points of camp the QB1 spot has been manned by Cody Kessler, Brock Osweiler, and DaShone Kizer. As of right now, Hue has spun the bottle and is puckering up to smooch Kizer, but lets just say I don’t think that puts them in a committed relationship.
A job that had been thought to be wrapped up, at least for this year, was in Jacksonville where Blake Bortles was the presumptive starter. It didn’t take long for that job to open up, with veteran Chad Henne being the next logical man up. There has been a lot of talk about the Jaguars being a landing spot for Colin Kaepernick, but I think that is more wishful thinking from the Kaepernick supporters than it is an actual plan.
If the Jaguars plan on moving on from Bortles, it makes zero sense to let him step onto the field and chance getting hurt, which would put Jacksonville on the hook for $19 million in 2018. At this point I’d stay away from any of the options found in Florida pan handle country.
Two injury situations to keep an eye on are found in Indianapolis and Baltimore. Both Andrew Luck and Joe Flacco are expected to be available sometime either before the end of camp, or early in the season, but neither has a definitive time table.
RUNNING BACK NEWS:
I had previously noted that Ryan Matthews’ grasp on the starting gig in Philly was tentative. Well, lets just say you don’t have to worry about him getting white knuckled with his grip as he was cut early in training camp. At this time, he hasn’t signed with anyone (though he makes sense in Baltimore or Indianapolis, though he’s likely just waiting for an injury before making a choice). Matthews release moves former Patriot LeGarrette Blount into the starting position, but a name to keep an eye on is 2nd year pro Wendell Smallwood.
It should also be noted to not wait on Baltimore for Kenneth Dixon to come off his suspension as an injury has sidelined him for the year regardless. It looks like it is Terrance West’s job to lose, but expect a fairly decent sized dose of Danny Woodhead.
WIDE RECEIVERS ON THE MOVE:
The Bills made a couple of trades early in camp that signaled their desire to punt on this season, and build with future draft picks. As a result, Sammy Watkins was sent to Los Angles to be paired with former teammate Robert Woods. The Watkins/Woods pairing that was the starting duo last year for a lack luster Buffalo passing attack, is now the starting duo for a lack luster Rams passing attack.
Also, in their series of moves, the Bills acquired talented slot receiver Jordan Matthews from the Eagles. Matthews and rookie Zay Jones will likely be the starting group in Buffalo. The group was further hit with the retirement of Anquan Boldin.
I really thought Matthews would have a break out year running underneath the deep routes Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith would be running in Philly. With Matthews shipped out, that really raises my expectation of what tight end Zach Ertz may do this year.
On paper, Ruben Randle of the Chicago Bears seemed like a player who could emerge on a new team given the opportunity, unfortunately before he could emerge in the windy city, he was fell by injury and is not expected to return.
The Jets also find their receiver corps in a precarious position. With Brandon Marshall, and Eric Decker gone, it was expected that Quincy Enunwa would emerge as a viable fantasy receiver. Just a couple of days into camp though Enunwa went down and is out for the season. Currently sitting atop the depth chart in the Meadowlands are Robbie Anderson and Charone Peake….. yeah, I don’t know how the Jets plan on scoring points either.
TIGHT END MOVEMENT:
Just a few quick notes here. In New York, all reports have Austin Seferian Jenkins as having an outstanding training camp. ASJ has always been a talented, but troubled player. If he can keep his demons at bay, and concentrate on the field, there is certainly room for him to emerge as the Jets have pretty much no one else to throw it too. I fully expect to see a lot of 2 TE packages with ASJ and rookie Jordan Leggett, as they’re both better than any wide receiver on the Jets roster.
Additionally, I have had conversations regarding my ranking of Minnesota Viking tight end Kyle Rudolph. I understand the kind of year Rudolph had last year. And maybe he’s finally solidified himself after years of my drafting him waiting for his break out year, only to be disappointed. I personally have been burned by Rudolph’s nose not shining so bright before, but I understand the point of view of others who haven’t and just look at 2016 as his break out year, and not a fluke.
So there you have it. You’re now ready. Put in your pizza order, make sure to add some wings, grab your drinks, relax, and have a good time, its draft weekend!
You can find me on Twitter at @TopDucker