Land Mines and Gold Mines, Part Two

Matt Price


Welcome to part two of Land Mines and Gold Mines. If you missed out on part one, you can find it here. This week we continue swinging that pickaxe seeking fantasy gold and looking to avoid players with the potential to blow up our teams in 2015 and beyond.

Let’s get into it!

Round Four Land Mine
Carlos Hyde, RB SF (current ADP 47 overall, RB15)

No team in recent memory has had a worse off-season than the San Francisco 49ers. The retirements of Justin Smith, Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, plus losing Dan Skuta in free agency have gutted the middle of a once mighty defense. The bleeding didn’t stop there, though. On the offensive side of the ball, the team lost former first round guard and running game road grader Mike Iupati to the division rival Arizona Cardinals and right tackle Anthony Davis to retirement.

All that combined with the loss of coach Jim Harbaugh points to a down year for the Niners. At his current ADP, I have a very uneasy feeling about Hyde in 2015 and for the foreseeable future and it seems I’m not alone. Reggie Bush was added in the offseason and you have to think he is going to get most of the passing down work. Two down running backs with little PPR upside are not players I generally want to spend a fourth round pick on and at this point that is exactly what Hyde is. The team also drafted Mike Davis, who from a talent standpoint, isn’t far off from Hyde. Kendall Hunter is also healthy again so there is competition for carries everywhere you look. If Hyde doesn’t play well out of the gate he could find himself in a full blown RBBC timeshare situation. The Niners also play in the toughest division in football with two games each against the Seahawks, Cardinals and St. Louis run defenses. For all of these reasons, I have Hyde on my “do not draft list” for 2015.

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Round Four Gold Mine
Ameer Abdullah, RB DET (current ADP 48 overall, RB16)

One of the perks of having your dynasty drafts early in the off-season is the rookie running back value to be had. Back in May, you could have had Abdullah in the seventh or eighth round of startup drafts but after his breakout week one preseason performance, you will have to spend a fourth round pick if you want to be sure he is on your roster. Sometimes he slips into the fifth, but I wouldn’t take my chances.

Joique Bell is still on the mend and is perhaps a bit undervalued now with the emergence of Abdullah. If he is on the field, it is likely Bell sees a significant amount of work on first and second downs as well as goal line opportunities. Despite these facts, Abdullah is the special sort of talent who forces coaches to tear up their game plans and go with the player making things happen on the field. Abdullah is a league winning type of player and I urge you to consider him anywhere around his current ADP.

Round Five Land Mine
Michael Floyd, WR ARI (current ADP 54 overall, WR31)

His hand should be recovered from a gruesome finger dislocation by week one of the regular season, but I have to think having your finger bones come through the skin on the palm of your hand is going to have some longer lasting effects on Floyd’s ability to catch the ball. This is total speculation on my part, but for a player I was never fond of, it’s just one more reason to avoid him. Ever since Larry Fitzgerald called out Floyd as a player who “Don’t Want It” when he missed three straight workouts, I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth. A player with a bad hand injury and without a huge drive to get better is one I don’t want on my fantasy team.

Round Five Gold Mine
Jarvis Landry, WR MIA (current ADP 51 overall, WR29)

As Ryan Tannehill’s only legitimate returning receiver, Landry should take another step forward in year two of Bill Lazor’s system. Detractors will point to low ADoT, new receivers and poor combine numbers as a reason to avoid Landry as a volume dependent player. Volume is going to be there though and you can’t simply ignore the chemistry between Tannehill and Landry on the field. Landry is Tannehill’s most trusted receiver and the new acquisitions are not going to change that. When the bullets are flying, Landry will be player Tannehill is looking for.

Over the last nine games of the 2014 season, Landry was on pace for 105 receptions as a part time player. In 2015 he will be a full time player, so don’t be shocked to see a 90+ reception year from the second year receiver. That kind of upside is something I want all day in my WR3 or flex spot. Look here for more of my thoughts on Jarvis Landry.

Round Six Land Mine
Alfred Morris, RB WAS (current ADP 61, RB20)

Refer back to what I said about Carlos Hyde except with a worse team around him. One of my favorite storylines every offseason goes something like this ”Alfred Morris looking to improve receiving abilities.”

It’s one of those stories we have read every off-season since he has been in the league. Don’t buy into it. It’s Morris’ lack of receiving ability that has kept him off the field on third downs during his career. In 2014, he was involved on third down plays just ten times with six of those being third and one situations. Additionally, his rushing attempts, yards, and yards per carry have all decreased in each of the last two seasons. How about competition? Roy Helu is gone, but the team added Matt Jones in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He is already a better pass catcher than Morris and is being mixed in with the first team. Through two preseason games, Jones has racked up 82 yards on only 13 carries (6.3 YPC) and could very well play himself into a bigger role than just the third down back.

Round Six Gold Mine
John Brown, WR ARI (current ADP 67, WR36)

Why take Michael Floyd in the fifth round when you can take Brown in the mid-late sixth? Last off-season there was a constant drumbeat of positive news surrounding third round pick John Brown. Those fantasy owners savvy enough to take him late in fantasy drafts now have a burgeoning star on their hands. He did disappear a bit down the stretch after quarterback Carson Palmer was lost to an ACL injury, but it’s to be expected when you downgrade to the likes of Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley and Logan Thomas.

Head Coach Bruce Arians has found his Arizona version of T.Y. Hilton. Arians has been true to his words when he said Brown will run the same routes both Hilton and Antonio Brown ran in his previous offenses. I’m not saying he is in the same class as those players, but I wouldn’t be shocked if John Brown is the receiver to own in Arizona by the end of the 2015 season and locked in as a low end WR2 with WR1 upside in any given week.

This exchange between Chris Wesseling and Sigmund Bloom describes Brown’s game perfectly.



matt price