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Many of us dynasty diehards are in the middle of rookie drafts or we have just completed them, here is a weekly article about the trends that are occurring on myfantasyleague.com fantasy football dukerookie drafts.  This the last part of a three-part series, because most leagues complete their rookie drafts before those long summer days that get filled with vacations, outside chores and activities.  As always, my thoughts get based on dynasty PPR leagues with sacks being worth 2.5 times that a tackle is worth.

Just right: Amari Cooper, Oakland wide receiver (average draft spot 1.02)

This is the safest pick in the rookie draft.  Cooper will get plenty of targets, runs crisp routes, and gets to rely on the second year gunslinger Derek Carr.  By playing against the strong offenses in the AFC West, the young receiver will probably be playing catch up for the immediate future in the league. Read More »

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While the NFL Draft is full of budding superstars, there are always skilled college players that did not play at the best schools or were apart of committees that go onto success at the next level.  I joshharperwant to discuss Fresno State wide receiver, Josh Harper, who had a somewhat disappointing 2014 season, perhaps because his former quarterback, Derek Carr, played his first year for the Raiders.  After reviewing three of his games against Nebraska, San José State, and Boise State, it seems that the wide out has the skill level to play in the NFL.  Here are my observations:

WR Josh Harper, Fresno State, 6’ 1” 191 lbs.

Cons: The receiver has a very slender build and suffered a lot of injuries during his college career.  There is not a lot of explosion to his game (this includes his 4.64 40 yard time at the NFL Combine), which was evident every time he got out leapt, especially on long passes.  Harper is not very precise on his route running and could only catch passes thrown to him waist-high or above.  As a run blocker, he was very inconsistent either sealing his man off or just fell down with little effort.  I see more of a possession receiver than a budding superstar. Read More »

In fantasy football, there are some new trends that I enjoy writing about: dynasty leagues, and individual defensive player leagues.  This weekly column will combine two of those by discussing two parkeryoung IDPs.  I will give my scouting thoughts on how they played a particular week.  Today I will be discussing Kansas City cornerback Ron Parker and Tennessee linebacker Avery Williamson.

CB-Ron Parker, KC- The former safety plays with tight physical coverage the majority of the time he is on the field.  Technically he is a fourth year player who spent time with the Raiders and Seahawks before settling in the starting lineup for the Chiefs.  He gets his hands all over the receivers within the first five yards.  There are times the defensive back likes to gamble with slower receivers, like Vincent Brown.  When he misjudged Brown’s quick area burst, Parker gave up a 15 yard gain.  This did not cause him to doubt himself as he continued to take those kind of chances the entire night.  You need to be mentally tough and a bit crazy to play on an island in the NFL.  The corner is a solid tackler, who plays good run support and is not afraid to throw a shoulder to knock the runner down. Read More »

In my weekly column, we take a long look at impact fantasy football rookies.  I compare their performance to date against my original expectations of them.  Let’s continue this 2014 version of the series by looking at one of the best quarterbacksderekcarr in the 2014 NFL Draft, Derek Carr.  I will look at some of his college production against his performance versus Kansas City to dissect his dynasty value.

These are my thoughts after watching him in college:  The young leader makes quick decisions with a strong-am but looked even better with the efforts of his impressive receiver, Davante Adams.  Carr has good ball placement, is mobile in the pocket avoiding pressure, and takes what the defense gives him by reading their coverage well.  Carr has good footwork, steps up on his passes to see the entire field well. He tends to go to the open receiver running underneath instead of pressing the ball down the field.   The signal caller has the necessary arm strength to make all the throws and plays like a leader out there.  Read More »

The NFL preseason is finally over.  Many younger and/or fringe players fought for roster spots on NFL and your fantasy football teams. We got slight glimpses into the thought pattern of some teams with how much or how little these athletes richardsonplayed and others we can only guess.  Here are my general thoughts about some of the more interesting younger players or free agents from the first half of their last preseason game.

Falcons vs. Jaguars

The Hard Knocks legend, rookie running back Devonta Freeman, may continue to get dressed down in team meetings and see the field third of the backs, but he continues to produce.  I love the way he gets small in the hole, shows a good burst, and runs tough between the tackles.  The former FSU runner scored a short yardage touchdown, makes clean catches in the passing game, and is working on his pass blocking.  Second year linebacker, Paul Worrilow, gets to the ball quickly with good vision and agility.  He also provides pressure in the passing game rushing the passer or can drop back into coverage.

NFL and fantasy football pundits alike should be discussing first round rookie quarterback, Blake Bortles.  The young signal caller showed maturity taking a sack when nothing was open and no safe passing lanes were present.  He is very mobile, sets his feet before he throws, but needs to improve his pocket presence.  For his detractors that question Bortles’ accuracy and arm-strength, look at his 45 yard rainbow that fellow rookie Marquise Lee caught for a 57 yard touchdown.  Receiver Cecil Shorts is still knocking off the rust for not playing the rest of the preseason due to injury.  The wide out creates separation with clean, crisp routes and a bit of wiggle.  Third year defensive end Alan Branch is stepping up his game, playing the Leo position at times.  He gets good penetration off the snap, and flows quickly down the line playing both the run and pass equally well. Read More »

Here it is, another week of NFL preseason games.  Hopefully your fantasy football players are more involved this week, so we might get a better idea about how each team will look like in the regular season.  It’s critical to keep up with the NFLvaccy changing landscape, because it gives you a jump on the waiver wire and possible trade scenarios.  My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or new team additions.  Here are some quick observations based on around the first three-quarters of each game:

Titans/Saints

The young superstar receiver, Brandin Cooks, who was so active the week before had a quiet game.  He did get behind the defense a few times, but only connected once.  The rookie catches the ball in stride and has great sideline awareness.  Khiry Robinson, the second year back, showed some versatility lining up in the backfield and out wide.  He has quick feet, can get small in the hole, but did not stand out during the game.  Taking advantage of the preseason is exactly what Ryan Griffin is doing. The current third string quarterback is showing more touch and connected deep downfield.  Defensive end Cameron Jordan continues to dominate the line of scrimmage, throwing offensive linemen around, so he can get make the play.  The ball hawk award should go to safety Kenny Vaccaro.  He plays physical, forcing fumbles, and attacking on blitzes going untouched to sack the opposition. Read More »

At dynasty blitz, I am watching each preseason game and let my readers known what I’m seeing.  The NFL landscape is very fluid, so please consider that this is only the beginning.  My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or new barrteam additions.  Here are some quick observations after watching the first half of each game:

Saints/Rams

New Orleans seems committed to running the ball a bit more.  Former first round pick, Mark Ingram, ran hard and powerfully, using a stiff-arm while looking more physical than he did at any time last season.  The back bounced off defenders and pulled out a rare spin move.  Backup rusher, Khiry Robinson, looked good in space, caught the ball well, and jumped over the line of scrimmage to score a short touchdown.  Training camp reports have been positive about second year quarterback Ryan Griffin.  The signal caller has a quick release, shows good pocket presence stepping up to get away from danger, but still needs work.  If you are looking for speed/quickness, Brandin Cooks is willing to answer the call.  The rookie offensive weapon returned punts, ran inside and outside routes taking a few hard shots in the middle of the field. Read More »

Since most of us are in the middle of rookie drafts or we have just completed them, I am continuing my three-part weekly series (heck if it gets even more reads, I might add a fourth part) discussing the trends that are occurring in hillmyfantasyleague.com fantasy football rookie drafts.  The first article got based on 75 rookie drafts completed, and now we are over 400 rookie-only drafts!  When a trend isn’t really changing like Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans get drafted one and two in almost every single draft, then I will discuss other players unless their draft position is changing dramatically.  As always, my thoughts get based on dynasty PPR leagues with sacks being worth 2.5 times that a tackle is worth.

Some of these next selections may not be exciting per se, but these trends are important to note.  WR Odell Beckham, Jr, who got drafted by the Giants, has on average been selected sixth overall in fantasy rookie drafts.  Some people feel he is too much of a Victor Cruz clone and he will struggle to play on the outside.  One assumes risk with this pick because of the way the New York offense struggled last season.  Beckham is a safe, but unspectacular pick in the middle of the first round of dynasty fantasy rookie drafts.  I envision him to hold WR3-4 value this season. Read More »

Re-print of my Senior Bowl articles, I hope these will help you during your rookie drafts.
Well the long Senior Bowl week is almost over.  Most of the NFL coaches and scouts have gone back to their team headquarters.  The team meetings, practices, press conferences, and hospital visits are over.  Now is the time to
play.  Whoborland really stood out in real game conditions? I will break down my thoughts from the press box in alphabetical order:
Antonio Andrews, RB
The running back runs well behind his pads and can be a very effective power rusher and receiver.  He was a volume back in college so he tends to start slowly and work himself into the game.  This might be an issue as I’m not sure if there is an NFL that would be willing to start him right away.  Andrews might not be worth more than a fantasy flier.
Chris Borland, LB WISC
The athletic linebacker was everywhere in the game.  He covers potential receivers tightly out of the backfield and is a very hard hitter.  For a stretch of two quarters it seemed like he was a part of every single tackle as he is always around the ball. His size means nothing to me as Borland can flow to the ball, disengage blockers and hit.  If you are in tackle heavy leagues, he might be a LB2 this season!

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This is a reprint of the fourth of a six part Senior Bowl series I did in January.  Hopefully this will be helpful as you are going thru your rookie and dynasty drafts.

As I am told, this will be the final day that the media can view practices. The players are back to shells and helmets mostly running plays at half speed.  Because there is not a lot more to gleam here, I will spend the majority of my time in thisgarop article reviewing and ranking these offensive players by their position.

Quarterbacks

1) Derek Carr, Fresno State
Carr is the most polished the quarterbacks.  He has good footwork, throws balanced, and got more comfortable hitting his receivers in stride as the week went along.  The signal caller has the necessary arm strength to make all the throws and plays like a leader out there.  He did nothing here to hurt himself and is probably going to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.  For us dynasty owners, I would not consider him until the late second or early third in fantasy rookie drafts.

2) Jimmy Garoppolo, East Illinois
Wow what a two week whirlwind, first the young quarterback had to learn a new system for the Shrine Game and was a replacement option for Alabama’s own AJ McCarron.  Garoppolo is not a terrific athlete, but he steps up in the pocket and throws accurately.  He gets better every day and should make a good developmental NFL and fantasy quarterback.

3) Tajh Boyd, Clemson
It was clear from the first practice on that Boyd got a lot of help from the talented skill players he got the chance to play with at Clemson.  He has a strong enough arm and good pocket awareness, but prefers to throw shorter passes.  Many people consider him as a Russell Wilson-lite.  I am not as convinced, but he is worth picking up for depth in dynasty leagues.

Running backs

1) Charles Sims, West Virginia
Sims was the most complete running back here in Mobile.  He has quick feet, good vision, and reads blocks well getting small in the hole.  The back looked fine in pass blocking drills and catches the ball cleanly.  Sims has a little wiggle to his game and was the most explosive back by far.  Depending on where he goes, Sims might be a late first round rookie draft back.

2) David Fluellen, Toledo
He is a more north and south runner than Sims, but has even better hands.  Fluellen reminds me a bit of Chicago Bears running back Michael Bush as he is a bigger back who tries to run like a smaller guy.  The back fights for extra yardage and has a burst once he clears the line of scrimmage.   I would be looking to add him to my dynasty squad in the middle to late second round of rookie drafts.

3) Antonio Andrews, Western Kentucky
If you like Bobby Rainey, this back is even better than he is. Andrews has good vision, steps up to take on pass rushers and does not give up on the block.  He is quicker than fast, has loose hips, and catches the ball well.  Owners that draft him will need to be patient as he might start as an RB4/returner to start his NFL carrier.  I’m not sure he is draftable in leagues that have rosters of under 25 players.

Wide receivers

1) Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt
Matthews is the best skill player at this game, by far, but hasn’t always played up to expectations.  He has exceptional quickness getting in an out of breaks, tracks the ball well in the air, and can contort to make difficult catches.  The receiver can be disrupted by physical corners that spend a little time in his head.  Matthews gets to the ball at its highest point and can make defenders miss him in the open field.  He catches the ball cleanly, usually in stride.  The wide out has good size at 6′ 2″ 209 lbs., but is not a huge receiver so he may slide down both NFL and dynasty rookie drafts into the late first or early second round.

2) Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin
He was the most technically sound receiver here, bar none.  The only time he didn’t catch the ball cleanly was on an onside kickoff drill.  Abbrederis is not the biggest guy here, nor is he the fastest, but he was magic finding open space and getting to the ball.  He makes plays in traffic with guys hung all over him.  I think he will be a better slot receiver, but he can play outside.  With all the talent at wide receiver, Abbrederis should have huge value in the second round of your rookie drafts.  He did suffer a knee injury and should be considered as questionable for the game on Saturday.

3) Robert Herron, Wyoming
The powerfully built wide out got better every single day.  He started off the practices slowly, but adjusted his technique and concentration to be pushing Abbrederis as the second best receiver in Mobile.  Herron has the foot speed and jukes to get a clean release off the line, regardless if he lines up in the slot or outside.  The receiver can start and stop on a dime while needing zero time to blast past defenders at full speed.  He catches everything with his hands in stride and finds a way to come down with contested passes.  His size at 5′ 8″ 193 lbs. isn’t ideal, but he could be a great WR2 in a pass happy offense.  He had a long touchdown catch in the back of the end zone early in today’s practice.  Herron needs to be scooped up in the second round of your rookie drafts.

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This is the third in a six part series covering the 2014 Senior Bowl and practices that occurred in January that could give you more insight for your rookie drafts.

This is day three, the last real practice with the most hitting and realistic conditions.  It was a lot colder than I expected for Alabama (27 degrees in the morning practice), but the players were ready to go and show off their new skills and seniorbowl2talents. Teamwork was more evident today. Even ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted about some of the impressions the players had made here in Alabama.  Here are my thoughts on the players Wednesday practices broken down in alphabetical order:

Antonio Andrews, RB W KY

The young back has soft hands and impressed me with a one-handed catch that he made off-balance.  He is a fighter when it came to pass blocking drills as he never gave up.  Andrews uses his quick feet, runs crisp routes gaining separation from his coverage, and carries the ball well inside.  He did not finish the practice, but he looked fine standing on the sidelines.
Jared Abbrederis, WR WISC
The receiver made a habit of confusing his coverage by starting a route to the inside and then crossing up to break outside.  I don’t think I saw him catch the ball with anything, but his hands, never letting it into his body.  Abbrederis shows good body control, catches the ball well in traffic, and moves well laterally.  Once again he was the best receiver in the North.

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