When I’m putting together the previews for the year, I spend a lot of time looking at each team’s context. Where is this team headed, what does their offensive line look like, is the play calling going to change, who was added by free agency and the draft, who is coming back from injury, etc. Then, I build a case for how that team can be good and if I should invest my precious draft resources in that group.
Sometimes I hit on some value that gives me an early boost and sometimes I whiff like Javy Baez on a slider in the dirt. With Saquon Barkley, I think I somehow managed to be right about the team context but very wrong about the player himself. As I watched the Monday Night game between the Giants and the Falcons, I was struck by just how “right” I was. The Giants offense is an absolute mess. Eli can’t push the ball down the field and the offensive line is a bottom 5 unit. If it weren’t for the Bills, the Giants would be the laughingstock of NFL offenses right now. Saquon averaged a mere 3.1 ypc for a total of 43 yards - against the banged up Falcons - yikes!
But the Giants have little else, so add in a short TD, a meaningless 2-point conversion (which beat me in one league by 0.5), and 9 check-downs and he had a nice fantasy day. That made me pull up the rankings and confirm that, yes, Saquon is the #2 running back right now. Right on the context, wrong on the player. He’s amazing and one of those fun guys to have on your squad. So, to those of you that told me I was stupid for fading him - take your victory lap below.
As I worked through the rest of the rankings, I was surprised at how much more value Tarik Cohen has provided than Jordan Howard. I don’t have any Howard shares myself, but I fully endorsed his early round selection. Cohen was one of my favorite targets in any format with a reward for receptions, but I never expected him to deliver more value than Howard. Cohen is on pace for 77 catches, which is consistent with my preseason expectations / hopes for him. If you have Cohen, he’s returning RB2 value for a preseason flex price.
I never would have thought Adam Theilen would be the #1 WR 7 weeks in and I similarly slept on Emmanuel Sanders. Both are returning WR1 profits. I don’t have any shares of the Rams receivers and that makes me sad. Same goes for Tyreek Hill who is a lot of fun to watch. Investing in those offenses next year will be a priority, similar to my love of Saints and all things NFC South. I was too high on Allen Robinson II and discounted the value that Taylor Gabriel could bring to this offense. I still like Robinson a lot going forward.
My biggest mistake at the QB position this year was not grabbing a share of Patrick Mahomes, obviously, and it’s killing me every week to watch him put up big numbers. The second biggest mistake was investing heavily in Deshaun Watson who is so beat up he can’t even take an airplane flight and needs to take a bus to and from games. That’s not a good look, Houston. Mitchell Trubisky is slightly out performing where I had him ranked, which is great, and I’d like for those podcasts that called me a homer to issue an apology... (well, not really, I am a homer)
My best call of the preseason might have been fading Rob Gronkowski. Unfortunately, I only have one share of my #1 guy Travis Kelce and no shares of Zach Ertz. The winner in terms of value pick was probably George Kittle and I believe I had him appropriately ranked. Same goes for Trey Burton, who isn’t lighting the league on fire, but with his big week 7 is now looking like a safe TE1 start every week.
Overall, while I have some regrets for not getting in on the fun in some of these explosive offenses and new talent, it’s a good lesson to learn from. Keep that in mind for the 2019 drafts when we dive back into it.
What’s going on this week? Hit up the comments below or join the conversation on Twitter @gridironborn