It’s almost that time! The weather is at the brink of changing to Fall. We can now look forward to fire pits and keeping the windows open at night. When the weather changes, it automatically reminds me of football. It’s like the saying, “there’s something in the air.” We can likely all agree it’s true when it becomes football season. We are going to take a little trip around the league, take a look at all 32 teams and address one of the biggest questions about each team you need to be thinking about. After all, in terms of dynasty leagues, if you aren’t thinking about these things, you’re already behind!
Today, we’re taking a look at the AFC South.
Will there be a running game they can rely on?
When you draft a new quarterback, very seldom are they able to come into the NFL and take control. The running game needs to be there for Marcus Mariota to be efficient. Of course Mariota can scramble and tuck the ball and run on any play, but the Titans certainly don’t want to risk him getting hit on every play. The offensive playmakers are in place for Mariota to exceed as they have Kendall Wright, Delanie Walker and Dorial Green-Beckham. However, do they have any running game?
Bishop Sankey he was downright terrible last year. There are several fantasy analysts who still have some hope for him, however. When you look at his stat line from 2014, it shows 152 attempts for 575 yards on 3.8 yards per carry – that is not good. Sankey tied for 40th best in terms of yards per carry , as he was sandwiched in between Terrence West and Rashad Jennings.
The Titans finished 2014 with the 16th best running blocking offensive line – that is a good sign for things to come. A ranking like that doesn’t mean they are terrible, but they certainly have room to grow, which is perfect for this young team. The Titans drafted David Cobb and for good reason, too. The offense would have existed of an uninspiring group of Sankey, Dexter McClutster, Antonio Andrews and Jalston Fowler. There have been reports from ESPN and other various sites indicating David Cobb is expected to finish the season with more carries than any other running back on the team.
With a new quarterback and a new running back in town, look for the offense to be more relevant this season. There will be times where they run options and various other plays to keep the ball in Mariota’s hands, yet give other player makers a chance at the same time. This is offense won’t wow any one in 2015, but it’s on the rise and a good offense to start investing in for dynasty football purposes.
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Does Blake Bortles still have significant dynasty value?
At this point last season, Blake Bortles was considered to be the sure fire quarterback of the future for the Jags and a coveted asset in dynasty leagues. Sometimes players do get misplaced or even forgotten about when it comes to fantasy football and it looks like Bortles is one of those players. When you compare his ADP for January, you see he is ranked as the QB15 with players like Derek Carr ahead of him. Fast forward to August and he now ranks as the QB21. I was going to post notable quarterbacks ahead of Bortles, but realized it’s almost everyone including Carrr, Mariota and Jameis Winston.
The Jaguars have finally (and I mean finally) put some weapons around Bortles. He doesn’t have to rely on a glorified back up running back to help him in the run game. The Jaguars drafted T.J. Yeldon and scooped up Julius Thomas. If Yeldon pans out, Bortles will have a decent running game he can work with for years to come. He has a new young tight end that will be his safety net with Thomas as well. Allen Robinson is certainly the center of a tremendous amount of hype as well. There is certainly room for growth when it comes to Bortles – he was the most sacked quarterback in 2014. He will now know how to make quick deceive throws and he has real players around him.
With all this being said, I still don’t think Bortles will be a top ten quarterback this year. He is a perfect buy low in dynasty leagues, though. His value continues to move down and he is getting cheaper to buy. I’m looking to trade for him anywhere I can and believe you should, too.
Will the Colts run game make Andrew Luck throw less?
Andrew Luck dropped back 680 times in 2014 – one of the reasons he was the QB1 last year. The Colts didn’t want to rely on him quite so much, so they went after a running back with real talent and signed Frank Gore, who still has something left in the tank. The Colts could really use a player who can slow down the pace of the game and keep defenses honest. Josh Robinson is almost an exact duplicate of Gore and will be around for many years to come.
There was good and bad news for Luck owners when Frank Gore signed with the Colts. The bad news is Luck won’t drop about as much and shouldn’t be in the top three again for drop backs. The good news is his points per drop back will definitely go up. He finished fourth in PPDB at 0.56 compared to Aaron Rodgers who finished first with 0.63.
I believe Andrew Luck will throw less and actually have more fantasy points this season. The offense will now have a healthy Dwayne Allen and newly added Andre Johnson. The offense has so much talent all over the place, making it incredible to think of where they were when finishing in last place during the transition from Peyton Manning to Luck.
Look for Luck to continue his future Hall of Fame career and save his arm and body for later years in his career. There should be no reason to ever give up Luck in dynasty leagues for at least the next five years – he is just too valuable in his current state.
Is there anyone worth drafting besides DeAndre Hopkins?
Let’s face it, DeAndre Hopkins is leaps and bounds the best player on the offensive side of the ball for Houston. I really like Hopkins even more now that Brian Hoyer has been named the starting quarterback. When there is a playmaker on the field like Hopkins, Hoyer has shown in the past to hone into one player. Hoyer focused on Josh Gordon in 2013 and had a career year. I know Gordon is a different player then Hopkins, but there are some similarities as well.
The fact Arian Foster is out at the beginning of the season is huge to this offense. They could have played off play action and had some huge plays available. The fact defenses are not going to be concerned over Alfred Blue (or any other backs on the team) right now really hurt the receivers also.
Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts lll will battle out for the WR2 spot and it could really be a coin flip. Washington has the experience to help out this young corps and get them pointed in the right direction. As for Shorts, he has had numerous injuries and hasn’t been able to stay on the field. This offense is going downhill in a hurry. The faster they can get Foster back, the better it will be for every player on the field.
If you are starting up a dynasty league, I would draft Hopkins early and often. Foster is also a coveted asset if you’re in a “win now” scenario. For the rest of the players, I wouldn’t spend much time or effort dealing for them.