The 2016 NFL Draft is quickly approaching. During this time, the potential draftees are under a lot of pressure and scrutiny. One of the first to crack was former Western Kentucky tight end Tyler Higbee, who got arrested on April 10th and charged with second degree assault, second degree evading police, and alcohol intoxication. His agent has let it be known that Higbee defended his girlfriend from another male bar patron. That may or may not reason away a physical altercation, but disregarding the police’s authority and driving while intoxicated are not so easy to dismiss. However, I will focus the majority of this scouting report on his college film as I reviewed his 2015 games against Indiana, Miami (OH), and Marshall to get a better idea of what skills and attributes he brings to the next level. Here are my thoughts:
Tag Archives: Eric Ebron
This is an amazing time for dynasty fantasy football. We are beginning to get some rookie practice reports; all kinds of fantasy football drafts are underway which gives everyone a chance to put their money where their mouth is in respect to player evaluation and strategy. I joined a start-up league run by my buddy Stan Hyatt. It is a 12 teamer with 40 regular roster spots and five taxi squad spots (rookies only). The lineups are as follows: 1 QB, 2-3 RBs, 2-5 WRs, 1-3 TEs (need eight combined players out of RB/WR/TE spots), 1 K and on the defensive side 3-4 LBs, 3-4 DBs, 2-3 DLs with ten total defensive starters. It is PPR scoring for all positions, tackle heavy IDP scoring, 6 points for every touchdown, .1 points per 1 yard of offense (rushing and receiving), and .05 per yard of passing and/or returns. I was lucky enough to end up with my favorite roster spot, 10th overall in a straight snake format. You can find the league here: http://football24.myfantasyleague.com/2015/options?L=78307&O=17
11.04 TE Eric Ebron, Lions
This ultra-athletic tight end had a slow first year in the league. Ebron was the 13th tight end taken and is worth the pick here with upside alone. I’m a strong believer in taking chances on players that play on good offenses in dynasty startups as he may never come at a cheaper price.
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 played 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.
The witching hour is finally here. Preseason game three, the dress rehearsal for every NFL franchise and the most important game for fantasy football. The players get placed in real game scenarios and get game planned against. The only constant about the NFL is that it is always evolving and this week’s games are no different. I watched at least three-quarters to get the best idea about how these players would be used. Here are my observations:
Raiders vs Packers
The Al Davis era might be over in reality, but the legacy still lives on with recycled older players that might be over their heads along with a few young upstarts. Newly signed receiver James Jones runs crisp routes, creates separation, but is not in sync with Matt Schaub. I’m not sure any of the Raiders receivers are on the same page with their quarterback which might be a bigger problem sooner than later. MJD looked great on one of his carries where he broke a few arm tackles and showed some burst on a 40 yard touchdown run. Jones-Drew might have five more of those runs left in his body, but playing with this offense they might get used up quickly. The reason for optimism in Oakland is the play of their two young linebackers, Sio Moore and Khalil Mack. Moore applied inside pressure in both the run and pass games. His motor is unrelenting and he delivers punishment on every blow. He left the game with a strained neck which the backer can hopefully recover from quickly. Mack reads and recognizes immediately what the offense is trying to do. He picked off a screen pass and is constantly generating pressure in the running and passing games.
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 NFL 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:
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.
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 first week. My efforts concentrated on the younger players and/or new team additions. Here are some quick observations after watching the first half of each game:
There wasn’t much to write about the Texans as their dismal efforts stunk up the joint in their first preseason action. It wasn’t all their fault with Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, and Andre Johnson not playing. Houston’s number one draft pick, Jadeveon Clowney, did put on quite a show though. The converted outside linebacker looked lost in pass coverage and got beat for a touchdown in the first quarter (penalty nullified the play). Clowney raced off the line of scrimmage to get immediate pressure on the signal caller and blew up a gut shot run play with a five yard loss.
Since most of us are in the middle of rookie drafts or we have just completed them, I wanted to write a weekly article about the trends that are occurring on myfantasyleague.com fantasy football rookie drafts. This will be 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.
The easy trend to predict was Buffalo’s Sammy Watkins and Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans get drafted one and two in almost every single draft. These receivers seem to be the safest bets based on talent and situation. I don’t feel there is much of a difference in value between them, so if you receive an offer to more from the 1.01 to the 1.02 for something that could improve your team, make the move. If there is any thing as a sure thing, it is those two this year.
Rankings about each position are great, but in the real world there aren’t drafts that are only quarterbacks, running backs, or linebackers, etc. I will do sort the top 44 fantasy relevant players within a two to four-year window. I will base my rankings on a points per reception format, four points per passing touchdown, 6 points for all other touchdowns, sacks worth two and a half times what a tackle is worth, and turnovers on offense minus two with plus two for the defense.
1.WR Mike Evans, Bucs– He has the size, speed, hands, and surrounding weapons to be the best fantasy season this year and can only grow in the offense. I think he will have a better pro career than his teammate Vincent Jackson.
2. WR Sammy Watkins, Bills- Watkins is the most elusive, quick-twitched receiver in this rookie class. Sure he is shorter than Evans, but he gets EJ Manuel throwing him the ball. Evans gets Josh McCown or Mike Glennon, hence the one spot differential in your rookie dynasty drafts.
The excitement generated by the draft weekend has come and gone. Now is the time to put in the hard work as your rookie fantasy drafts are upon us. My dynasty fantasy rankings get based on a three to four-year window, not their immediate impact. Talent and situation gets considered here. There are three tiers of prospects in this season’s tight end crop with immediate starters (tier one), talented but raw athletes (tier two), and good situations with crowded talent polls (tier three).
1. Eric Ebron, Lions- The most talented tight end fell into the lap of best passing offense. With Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush grabbing the defenses attention, Ebron will draw coverage from safeties that aren’t big enough to cover him or linebackers that are too slow to keep up with him. This is a win/win situation for teams that draft Ebron. In tight end premium leagues, he should be a top five selection in your rookie drafts.
As far as complete tight end prospects go, you can’t get better than North Carolina’s Eric Ebron. He is one of the most versatile players in his class. It would be easier to name the places I didn’t see him line up (quarterback and the five interior linemen spots) than where he did. The great thing about this tight end is that he fits every offensive scheme and will see the field immediately wherever he lands. Ebron impressed at the Combine measuring at 6’ 4” 250 lbs., and ran a quick 4.6 40 yard dash. To get a better idea of his skill set, I watched five of his 2013 games against Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke, Miami, and East Carolina to get a better feel of what he will bring to the NFL.
The tight end is a high energy, high effort player. He is the best run blocker in his class as he squares his shoulders, takes control of the defender, and seals the edge when he is lined up in the traditional tight end spot. Ebron is even better as a blocker after the ball is caught down the field by another receiver. He gets good leverage and keeps a good pad level to clear a lane. When he lined up in the backfield in shotgun situations, he excelled at opening up an initial hole on the line of scrimmage. The tight end is such a good athlete that he got used on a reverse sweep and looked like Percy Harvin running with the ball! He will work his way back to the quarterback to bail them out if he senses quick pressure and is a good special team player as well.
This year’s rookie class of tight ends isn’t the deepest class, but unlike most year’s this one has plenty of two-way traditional tight ends. Traditional tight ends tend to see the field a lot more as they are good at blocking and catching the ball, so they have use on every down. There is a good chance that two or three of these players will not see the field right away as sometimes tight ends struggle as they need to perform well in two worlds. This is a quick peak as to where I feel they compare against each other and this may change dramatically after the NFL Draft. To get more detailed insights, please read their individual scouting reports.
1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina
He is my favorite tight end of this class. Ebron has a big catch radius, great hands, and lines up all over the field. The tight end dealt with double teams his entire college career and was still highly productive. Even though he plays like a big receiver, Ebron can block well enough to stay on the field three downs. He could vault up to a dynasty TE1 this year.