Eli Grabanski’s Targets and Busts for 2019

Eli Grabanski breaks down some of his targets and busts for the 2019 NFL season

Recently, our writers here at QB List revealed their consensus top 200 rankings for 12 team PPR leagues. It was interesting to see which fantasy players I was personally high on in comparison to our staff, and which ones I was low on. Let’s take a peek at how a few of my rankings compare to the rest of our staff.


Players I Love


Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: (My Rank: 26, Staff Rank: 37)


Devonta Freeman has been the number one fantasy back in the past (2015). Tevin Coleman is gone to San Francisco. The Falcons drafted two offensive linemen in the 1st round in G Chris Lindstrom and T Kaleb McGary. Freeman has a great combination of talent and situation that makes him a strong bet to return to RB1 status.


Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos: (My Rank: 39, Staff Rank: 56)


I have done a recent “Going Deep” piece on Phillip Lindsay expressing my expectations for him this year and in a PPR format, I think he can be a strong play. The Broncos offense should be improved this season with the hiring of offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello and OL coach Mike Munchak, and will look to utilize Lindsay in a variety of ways to create mismatches.


Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals (My Rank: 51, Staff Rank: 76)


In PPR, I love Larry Fitzgerald this year. The Cardinals had one of the worst offenses last year and should only improve. Fitzgerald is one of the best WRs in history and in terms of target share was still clearly the head honcho in Arizona last year. With a new QB in Kyler Murray and a new Kliff Kingsbury offense that should run a ton of plays, I expect Larry Fitzgerald to be a big bounce-back candidate this year.


Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers (My Rank: 67, Staff Rank: 103)


Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, which means it’s worth monitoring anyone catching passes from him. Enter Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Behind Davante Adams, the competition is wide open for a #2 receiver to emerge. His primary competition is Geronimo Allison, but Valdes-Scantling has been impressive this offseason receiving praise from Aaron Rodgers. I’m in on this hype train.


Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos (My Rank: 71, Staff Rank: 123)


The Achilles injury is scaring a lot of people from Emmanuel Sanders this year. But in 12 games prior to the injury last year, Emmanuel Sanders was on pace for 94 catches for 1156 receiving yards and 5 receiving touchdowns. His 72.3 yards per game ranked top 20 in the NFL last year, yet because of the injury, he’s going as the 44th receiver off the board in PPR leagues. Still a top target in Denver, Sanders has a good shot to outperform his ADP this season.


Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins (My Rank: 103, Staff Rank: 142)


While Derrius Guice is an intriguing investment himself at his current ADP, Peterson has repeatedly defied the odds and should be involved in the Redskins offense again this year. Guice still has not been cleared for full-contact practice, rookie RB Bryce Love will miss most if not all the upcoming season with an ACL tear, and Chris Thompson is best suited for third-down/change of pace duties. If Guice misses time, Peterson could be a strong RB2 once again.


Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings (My Rank: 106, Staff Rank: 180)


Last season the Minnesota Vikings fired John DeFilippo primarily because he did not run the ball as much as head coach Mike Zimmer wanted. While I am a big Dalvin Cook fan, Cook has questions of whether his body can hold up for a full season. For these reasons, I plan on targeting Mattison pick 100+ or so in my fantasy drafts.


Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (My Rank: 109, Staff Rank: 250.62)


I believe it’s only a matter of time before Damien Williams loses the starting RB job in Kansas City, and one of Darwin Thompson or Carlos Hyde takes over. Thompson is an extremely talented rookie RB that fits the mold of an Andy Reid RB that is a legit dual-threat. For those concerned about Thompson’s size, Reid has also given lead-back duties to undersized backs in the past in Jamaal Charles and Brian Westbrook. All aboard this hype train.


Carlos Hyde, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (My Rank: 110, Staff Rank: 116)


Like I mentioned above when talking about Darwin Thompson, Carlos Hyde is the other guy that could potentially take over the backfield. While I don’t believe he’s as talented as Thompson, his experience could make him next in line for the Kansas City RB job. Rather than draft Damien Williams, I would personally plan on drafting both Thompson and Hyde in back-to-back rounds late to give myself a better shot at the massive upside that comes from running backs in Andy Reid‘s system.


Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals (My Rank: 125, Staff Rank: 171)


Edmonds is one of the most underrated handcuffs in fantasy football this year as the clear #2 to David Johnson in Kliff Kingsbury‘s new offense. Kingsbury has also been surprised by Edmonds pass-catching ability which could give Edmonds a more standalone value for fantasy purposes. As a late-round dart throw, I love Chase Edmonds.


Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (My Rank: 130, Staff Rank: 166)


Late in fantasy drafts, you want to take shots at upside. The Ravens first-round pick and cousin of Mr. Big Chest (otherwise known as Antonio Brown) has major upside to be a game-breaking WR with his speed on the field. With no established #1 receiver in Baltimore yet, he has a path to success like many of the successful rookie WRs have had in previous years.


Players I Hate


Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (My Rank: 38, Staff Rank: 25)


If I had to bet all my money on just one player with a top 30 ADP that will fail to live up to expectations, I would easily choose Damien Williams. Williams has played five seasons and never had more than 50 carries in any of them. Last year was the first time he averaged over 4.0 YPC in a season. He’s purely reliant on his situation, and with a couple of decent running backs in Darwin Thompson and Carlos Hyde on the team, there’s a very good chance he loses his job all together.


Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals (My Rank: 66, Staff Rank: 48)


Boyd is one of the players I may regret putting on this list, but the Bengals have a brand new relatively inexperienced coaching staff this season as well as a depleted offensive line, which is why I’m low on most of their players. I see Boyd staying more stagnant this year with around 1000 yards once again, but fewer touchdowns (he had seven last year, but was only expected 3.5 based on his usage).


Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals (My Rank: 80, Staff Rank: 67)


While I think the Cardinals improve their offense this year, I’m not quite as high on Christian Kirk as the rest of our staff here at the QB List, as I believe that Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson will be the primary beneficiaries of Kingsbury’s new offense. Kirk won’t have a bad year per se, but I don’t think he truly breaks out until Larry Fitzgerald retires.


Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers (My Rank: 96, Staff Rank: 72)


Pettis seems to be going high as many people predict he’s going to build off the end of his rookie year. I’m not so convinced. The 49ers drafted a couple of pass catchers early in Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, and George Kittle will still be the #1 pass-catcher in San Francisco after last year’s breakout. And while it’s early in pre-season, he still has not secured a starting spot in the offense. Because of this, I find Pettis is a little too risky at his current ADP.


Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans (My Rank: 123, Staff Rank: 81)


I’ll start by saying I think Corey Davis is a very talented wide receiver. But in combination with talent, you need to be in a good situation. The Titans don’t have very strong QB play with Marcus Mariota or Ryan Tannehill. Delanie Walker returns this year to eat into Davis’s target share, and the Titans also drafted A.J. Brown in the 2nd round who should take away work. As the Titans have indicated that they are going to be a run-first team and utilize Derrick Henry heavily, I don’t think there’s much value in their pass catchers this year, outside of maybe Delanie Walker.


Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys (My Rank: 162, Staff Rank: 118)


The Dallas Cowboys passing game is not going to support a lot of receivers, with Dak Prescott averaging only 3625 passing yards per season in his first three years and never hitting the 4000-yard marker. With Amari Cooper slated to get a majority of the targets and yards in the passing game, Ezekiel Elliott showcasing impressive pass-catching abilities last year, and Jason Witten back in the mix there will not be enough to go around for Gallup.


Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans (My Rank: 182, Staff Rank: 98)


I understand why many people are tempted into taking Keke Coutee for a PPR league. He had a great first career game with 11 receptions for 109 yards on 15 targets in week four last year and finished his season with 28 receptions on 41 targets for 287 receiving yards in six games. If you extrapolate that out to a full season, that’s 74 receptions for 765 receiving yards on 109 targets, which is not terrible for a guy going late in fantasy drafts. But small sample sizes (6 games) can lead to poor conclusions. Takeaway the 11 receptions game, and does 17 receptions on 26 targets for 178 receiving yards in 5 games look very exciting to draft? Not to me. My other primary concern this year has to do with his competition. DeAndre Hopkins is the de facto #1 WR in Houston, Will Fuller will get his share of deep balls, and perhaps most concerning is the Texans trading for RB Duke Johnson who can play the short slot role very well himself and may eat into Keke’s piece of the pie. I’d much rather take a shot on a player with a clearer path to fantasy stardom than Keke later in drafts.


Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears (My Rank: 186, Staff Rank: 105)


Anthony Miller was an exciting dynasty prospect to me prior to the 2018 NFL season, but after seeing the Bears offense last season, I’m not very excited for Miller this upcoming year. Matt Nagy loves to spread the ball around too much, with five players receiving 50+ targets last year. Anthony Miller was 5th on the team in targets, and the Bears return all of their top targeted pass catchers (Allen Robinson, Tarik Cohen, Trey Burton, and Taylor Gabriel). Even if Miller moves up a spot or two in the pecking order, it won’t be enough work to help him reach his ceiling.


Donte Moncrief, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (My Rank: 190, Staff Rank: 131)


Moncrief is getting a little bit of love this offseason because he landed in a great situation where he could potentially be the #2 receiver in Pittsburgh with Antonio Brown gone. But Moncrief has been in great situations in the past, playing with Andrew Luck on the Colts for the first three years of his career (In Moncrief’s 4th season, Luck was injured), and having the opportunity to take over as the #1 WR in the Jacksonville Jaguars offense last season. He has only had one season in his career with more than 700 receiving yards, and even in a potentially great situation in Pittsburgh, it’s hard to see Moncrief be more than a WR3 with JuJu Smith-Schuster firmly ahead of him, and strong competition from Vance McDonald, James Washington, and Diontae Johnson who have much more upside than Moncrief. Late in drafts, I would rather take a chance on an unknown player than a proven mediocre one like Moncrief.


(Photo by Kevin French/Icon Sportswire)

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