Last week, we released our QBList Staff Consensus Rankings for the upcoming season. A few of our writers have already done some comparisons of their ranks to our consensus rankings. Now it’s my turn to look at how I differ from the rest of the staff. So here are five players I’m higher on and five I’m lower on:
Players I’m Higher On
Staff Rank: 36, My Rank: 25
I’m surprised to find myself higher on Kerryon Johnson than the rest of the staff. I think he’s set up to have quite the season. Theo Riddick had the most catches of any RB from 2014-2018. Guess who’s not on the Lions anymore? I know people are afraid of C.J. Anderson’s workload. But Johnson is going to easily get the most carries on this team while being the only receiving threat out of the backfield. Anderson may vulture a few touchdowns, but the catches Johnson is lined up for will easily make up for that. Matt Patricia wants to run the ball, and Johnson will be the primary beneficiary.
Staff Rank: 70, My Rank: 51
The 49ers offense is ripe for the pickings. Per numberFire, the 49ers last season had the largest discrepancy between their rushing output and rushing TDs. That number is going to regress this year. Tevin Coleman will likely get the goal-line work for the 49ers. I was never into Jerick McKinnon this year due to his ACL injury and it now appears he is likely to begin the season on the IR (which could mean he may not return at all). With McKinnon out, Coleman is the best receiving back option on the team. Also, Coleman had his best season under coach Kyle Shanahan. So, putting it all together, Coleman is walking into a solid situation. I also think Matt Breida is a nice pick at his current ADP as the backfield went from a three-back committee to only two backs.
Staff Rank: 62, My Rank: 47
I understand my colleagues on this one. Sony Michel has a history of knee injuries and was out for some of training camp after having surgery on that knee. But does no one else see the upside here? Michel was due for touchdown regression last year similarly to the 49ers backfield and we saw that come to fruition in the playoffs. There have also been reports that Michel has been catching a good amount of passes from Tom Brady in camp. James White will still be a factor in the passing game. But if you look at the games where Michel was healthy, White did not produce that much for fantasy. If Michel catches a few passes and gets the amazing Patriots goal-line back role, he is a wonderful pick at this price. Yes, injuries are the downside, but I guess I’m a bit more willing than my colleagues to take a chance on the upside.
Staff Rank: 89, My Rank: 65
I. Want. Miles. Sanders. Everywhere. If there is a Carlos Hyde/Nick Chubb like backfield this year, it’s the Eagles’ backfield. Jordan Howard is a mediocre runner who adds nothing to the passing game. Sanders has the do-it-all skill set that the Eagles have been looking for the past few seasons. Howie Roseman, one of the smartest GMs in the league, said that every part of the Eagles operation agreed on Sanders. The scouts, the coaching staff, the front office, and the analytics department. The Eagles have a top three (if not the best) offensive line, a loaded offense that will be in the lead often, and a smart play-caller. Oh, did I mention that per Sharp Football the Eagles have the 7th easiest rushing schedule this season! It all lines up for Sanders to be the league winner this year. It took the Browns until week 7 to trade Hyde and feature Chubb. Is anyone going to argue that Hugh Jackson is smarter than the Eagles? Doug Pederson and Roseman are going to feature Sanders early. Don’t tell me that Pederson loves to use a committee. He had to with the backs on the Eagles in the past. Pederson also ran Jamaal Charles and Spencer Ware into the ground while offensive coordinator with the Chiefs. Sanders just needs to get roughly what Jay Ajayi got while on the Eagles to make his owners happy.
Staff Rank: 131, My Rank: 102
This one is straight forward. The Steelers were the most pass-happy team last season. Ben Roethlisberger led the NFL in passing yards. The Steelers are losing the sixth-most targets because some blonde mustached man is now playing for the Raiders. I expect Donte Moncrief to win the battle for the second WR spot over James Washington. In the Steelers’ second preseason game, Moncrief played the second-most snaps (9) at WR with the rest of the first team. Only Juju Smith-Schuster played more. There have been reports of Washington barely fighting off Diontae Johnson, let alone beating out Moncrief. Moncrief also has a strong red-zone skillset (remember his Colts days). Moncrief is a nice way to get a cheap piece of the Steelers’ pass offense (I also think Vance McDonald is a nice target as well).
Players I’m Lower On
Staff Rank: 27, My Rank: 37
This one surprised me a bit, like Kerryon Johnson. Seems the staff and I have flipped these two RBs. I really like Aaron Jones as a player. I had him in his rookie year and have been staunchly fighting for him to play over Jamaal Williams (or JAG Williams, amirite???). I think where the difference in rank arises is that I’m baking in the downside a little bit more. Coach Matt LaFleur has repeated time and time again that he thinks splitting the RB work is good for the offense. LaFleur put his money where is mouth is last season in Tennessee. Also, Jones has a clear injury history. He literally just returned to practice and played in his first preseason game last night. So while clearly, the upside is there, I am just a little lower because I see where it can fall apart as well.
Staff Rank: 46, My Rank: 76
So, I ranked Alshon Jeffery lower than any other staff member. I like Jeffery as a player, but I’m worried about his outlook for fantasy this year. Not only has Jeffery not had a 1000-yard season since 2014, but he also hasn’t even topped 843 yards. He needs TDs to make his fantasy living. I think that his TD and overall ceilings are capped this year. The Eagles added J.J Arcega-Whiteside in the draft and DeSean Jackson in free agency. Miles Sanders and Darren Sproles should catch passes out of the backfield. Dallas Goedert will be getting increased playing time and Nelson Agholor has been playing well in camp. I didn’t even bring up Zach Ertz yet. I usually hate the “too many mouths to feed” argument, but there is a lot here. Also, as I said in the Sanders blurb above, the Eagles will likely be playing from ahead a lot this year which will cap the passing workload. Jeffery will be the best Eagle WR to own, but I don’t believe he will return the fourth/fifth round value he is being drafted at.
Staff Rank: 39, My Rank: 49
I love watching Patrick Mahomes. I loved owning him in 2 leagues last year as well. I’m going to love having him as a 10th round keeper again this year. But, I just don’t love paying up for QBs early. Ever. This spot can be used for basically every QB as I have them all lower than the staff consensus. So, I have Mahomes at 49, but I won’t draft him there and probably never will.
Staff Rank: 55, My Rank: 71
Staff Rank: 59, My Rank: 73
I’m going to write these last two together as they share the same backfield. For David Montgomery, I was not his biggest fan coming out of college. He is not fast (only a 4.63 forty-yard dash which is 28th percentile for RBs) or the best athlete there is. Many will point to his broken tackles and broken tackle rate, which are both legitimately great. The issue is those numbers are inflated as he was met constantly close to the line of scrimmage due to not being quick enough to beat defenders to the line. Then he will break a tackle and another defender will already be on him. The reason broken tackles and broken tackle rate is important for fantasy is it allows the runner to gain extra yards. Montgomery just doesn’t have the speed to capitalize on all those tackles he breaks. He was a solid pass catcher in college though, which leads me to the other RB listed. Tarik Cohen is a fantastic pass-catching weapon out of the backfield. He is an extremely fun and exciting player to watch. I just do not prefer to draft RBs that only have a pass-catching role in offenses though. Due to the lack of a rushing floor, pass-catching backs have little consistency. It is tough to predict game flow and Cohen’s value week to week is dependent on it. Also, the Bears added Mike Davis, who quietly had a strong season in Seattle. Davis ran the ball 112 times and caught 34 passes. He has a three-down skill set (not saying he will have that role though). These three backs are likely to cannibalize each other’s workloads. They can all catch and run. You can argue they are all game script dependent. I just don’t think I could pull the trigger on Montgomery or Cohen at their respective ADPs.
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