preparation for what is to come fantasy football The season calls for difficult questions.
Which NFL teams are set for success? Which teams will have difficulties? Where can fantasy managers look for latent fantasy talent? Which brand stars could actually disappoint?
Throughout June I will be going through each NFL division and highlighting the most pressing fantasy question each team faces. Next up: the AFC East.
Will anyone emerge as a regular fantasy starter from the Bills’ revamped backfield?
With Devin Singletary (and its 200+ touches) is gone, there will inevitably be a regular producer. And his name is JamesCook. Dalvin’s little brother was second to the aforementioned singletary with 89 rushes and 21 grabs as a rookie. While Cook’s volume will no doubt increase sharply, it’s unlikely to double or surpass Singletary’s volume. At least not with Damien Harris enter the backfield.
Harris, who missed six regular season games last season with a hamstring injury, is expected to work on early downs and short yards. Although the 26-year-old is estimated to have nearly ten touches a week, he is not the Bills’ RB1. Buffalo invested a second-round pick in Cook, making him the third RB picked in April 2022. Conversely, the team signed Harris on a low-risk, one-year deal.
Additionally, Buffalo is not a run-first effort. The Bills have ranked fifth in passing percentage for the past three seasons. That works well for Cook, who excels as a pass catcher and whose receiving talents have been put to regular use in Georgia. The uptrend belongs to the second year RB, which is becoming a solid “dead zone” target for managers in PPR-friendly formats.
Bring away: While Cook may be unproven, he expects to lead the backcourt of a top-three offense and touches the ball 12 to 14 times a week. This makes it an RB3/Flex with an RB2 advantage.
Is Tua Tagovailoa Is it worth the risk to be your QB1?
Risk is an integral part of victory and Tua has an increased risk of injury. He also has one of the most dynamic reception duos in the league. Tyrek Hill And Jaylen Waddle combined for more than 3,000 receiving yards and 15 TDs last season. Both wideouts also landed in their positions in the top 10 fantasy producers. That performance obviously benefited their QB, who averaged the 10th most fantasy points per game among the qualified starters (17.8).
However, the averages lack context. Tua played 11 full games last season. He was among the top 12 fantasy QBs in six of those appearances and made the top five four times. On the other hand, Kirk cousins (who is classified similarly), posted nine top 12 fantasy finishes, but was only a top five producer twice all season. Cousins has had stamina throughout his career and has a better offensive line, but his ceiling just isn’t that high (though it’s getting closer with the addition of ). Jordan Addison).
Being seduced by the benefits of Tagovailoa makes perfect sense. And if the current ADP is any indication, managers needn’t reach for it, as he’s eliminated from the draft board in Round 10 of the 12-team leagues (about a round after Cousins). It’s safe to assume there are plenty of insurance policies, especially considering seven QBs averaged between 15.0 and 16.7 fantasy points per game last season.
Bring away: Tua’s perceived risk is anchored in his later-round ADP, making him an interesting value target for managers looking to participate in its upside potential. However, in order to rely on the 25-year-old for QB1 fantasy production, a high-end backup must be designed, e.g Aaron Rodgers to offset potential volatility.
�� fantasy debate ��
*IF* you were interested in waiting for QB in the redraft…which later round picks (all with similar ADPs) are you targeting? #fantasyfootball
– Liz Loza (@LizLoza_FF) June 16, 2023
will Rhamondre Stevenson be a reliable RB1 this season?
The saying “Never draft a Patriots running back” was clever…five years ago. New England’s backcourt has become more focused lately. Damien Harris was only one of the top 10 fantasy producers in 2021. Stevenson, who shone as a rookie while Harris was away and then took control of the backfield in his second season, was the RB13 overall in 2022. In fact, he became the first backfield in New England history to vacate 200 deaths and 50 grabs in a single season, while tallying 279 total touchdowns.
Injuries to Harris and Ty Montgomery has certainly increased Stevenson’s usage. However, with Harris no longer in the squad, Stevenson’s attacking attempts should remain robust. Even if Bill O’Brien gets creative with some pass catchers and Montgomery manages to stay sane, Stevenson will still be drawing nearly five looks a week like he did a year ago. Interestingly, RBs averaged 12.0 carries and 4.5 targets per match (Austin Ekeler, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Joe Mixon And Alvin Kamara) all landed in that position in the top 13 fantasy producers last season.
Bring away: Stevenson, who put in an impressive performance as a sophomore and lacks talent, expects to touch the ball 16 to 18 times a week, making him a low-end RB1 for fantasy purposes.
Is it reasonable to expect RB1 production? Breece Hall coming back from injury?
No. At least not until Halloween.
Hall had a solid start to his rookie season in 2022, managing two top-25 finishes in his first three games. And in early October, the Iowa State product came out. He averaged more than 20 touches per game, rushed for nearly 400 yards from scrimmage and reached the end zone three times from Weeks 4-6. However, a cruciate ligament rupture in week 7 canceled out his promotion to RB1.
While the 22-year-old’s rehab remains on track and the team are optimistic he’ll be there for the season opener, it’s important for fantasy managers to manage their expectations. A player’s return to sport is different from a player’s return to the desired level of performance. To avoid re-injury, Hall will likely return to offense. And with encounters earlier in the season against the Bills, Chiefs and Eagles, both his chances and efficiency could falter.
Bring away: Hall expects to return to a heavy workload, eventually handling the ball 18-20 times per game. But its volume and subsequent production will likely not peak until after the Jets bye in Week 7.
Follow Liz on Twitter: @LizLoza_FF