In the Superflex SuperShow Podcast, John Hogue, James Koutoulas and Travis Rasmussen discuss news, rankings and strategy for fantasy football’s many alt-scoring systems: 2QB, TE Premium, Points Per Carry, Points Per Target, and above all else, SuperFlex!
Here, they are joined by DLF writer Bobby Koch to ask some key dynasty questions with training camps and preseason underway…
(This is part one of three.)
1. What training camp battle are you most interested in seeing play out?
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John: Using the term “interested” very loosely, I’m “interested” in seeing who emerges as the starting quarterback in Buffalo. Tyrod Taylor – the best Bills QB since Doug Flutie, and maybe even since Jim Kelly – upgraded his situation by going to Cleveland (you read that right). Mr. Six Interceptions in One Half, Nathan Peterman, is joined by free agent signing AJ McCarron and first-round pick Josh Allen. The plan was for Allen to sit and learn for a year-plus while McCarron starts and Peterman backs him up. Here’s the problem, though: McCarron looks dreadful. Peterman doesn’t look any better. Meanwhile, the raw, inexperienced rookie is progressing by the day.
This is “interesting” (for lack of a better term) because there will be some fantasy points to be had in the Buffalo offense – Kelvin Benjamin, Charles Clay, LeSean McCoy/my boy Chris Ivory, etc – if one of these QBs can actually unlock them. I was not a fan of Allen going into the draft, but I thought he landed in a decent situation where he could sit and there wouldn’t be any pressure to play him, and now I’m on the verge of doing a complete 180 as it starts to look like Allen might give the Bills the best chance to win, and to be fantasy relevant.
Travis: The Denver Broncos’ backfield. Let’s start with Royce Freeman (Current DLF SuperFlex ADP of RB21 at 5.04) first. He is currently being drafted as the first Denver running back, by a long shot, and he should be. Freeman is my boy! I really liked his profile and production coming out of college, and he landed in one of the best pre-draft landing spots. Devontae Booker (RB49 at 13.05) is his main competition for backfield touches, and he isn’t even close to having that starting job locked down.
Freeman was a beast in college at Oregon, accumulating 1,026 touches for 6,435 total yards and 64 total TDs. Some may express a concern about the wear and tear he’s already received in his career, but that shows me (along with his physical profile and athletic testing metrics) that he can handle a workhorse, three-down back workload and produce at a high level. Freeman was drafted this year at the beginning of the third round of the NFL draft to replace Booker, who was drafted at the end of the fourth round – two years ago – in 2016, and who has had chances to be the guy and has failed at doing so.
There are plenty of people out there who think Freeman isn’t a lock to get a shot at taking the job and that Booker is better than I think he is, but it’s pretty clearly black-and-white to me. Booker has received 253 carries over the last two years, a large enough sample size to kind of know what you have in a player, and he has a career YPC of 3.65. Could it take three, four, five weeks before Freeman really takes over the backfield? Sure. But he’ll be in the mix right away, and a good performance this pre-season could drastically shorten that window.
James: To no one’s surprise, the New England Patriots backfield is a source of great focus this off-season. With the loss of Dion Lewis to free agency, the free agency addition of Jeremy Hill, the impact of already-rostered players like Rex Burkhead and James White and the use of a first round pick on Sony Michel, it’s anyone’s guess as to how the Patriots’ backfield will play out this season. While Michel may have the first crack at majority playing time because of the draft capital invested in him, he did at one time have a problem holding onto the ball at Georgia, and fumbling is one thing Belichick won’t hesitate to bench a player for. Color me intrigued.
Bobby: How did I get here? I’m pretty sure I’m not a guest on this thing. Or have I really been slacking off that badly? Anyway, I would say the Titans backfield. I’ve heard all off-season that Dion Lewis is going to usurp Derrick Henry. I’ve been a big fan of Henry since he first came into the league and thought he just needed the right coach to bring out his talents. I’d be lying to say that Lewis and his elusiveness doesn’t worry me a bit, but I’m really rooting for Henry here. I hope I’m proven right.
2. Which quarterback has the most to gain or lose in training camp?
John: The player with the most to lose is Joe Flacco. His days in Baltimore are already numbered, and from here he slowly and inevitably drifts from “elite” status to a bridge starter for another team, to a backup and, ultimately, a radio talk show host whose show airs at 10pm locally. But that decline could be a year away… could. If Lamar Jackson wins the job in Baltimore as a rookie? Skip five spaces and warm up the microphone, as truck drivers can tune into “Flacco and the Whacko” on KBAL every night for their late night football fix, starting in 2019.
The player with the most to gain? Let’s dig deep and go with Taysom Hill. Drew Brees turns 40 just days before the NFC Championship game, a game in which it wouldn’t be an especially bold prediction to say the Saints are likely to play. It’s hard enough to bank on a 40-year-old football player to continue their career, but there’s a realistic scenario where the Saints win the Super Bowl and Brees rides off into the sunset, a la John Elway, and Peyton Manning.
If that happens, some lucky young QB inherits one of the best rosters in the league. Hill looks like the guy to lead the Saints into a new era, with his playmaking abilities, leadership, and that intangible “it factor.” The time is now to lay the groundwork by earning the trust of the New Orleans players, coaches, and fans.
Travis: This is where I’ll bring up the Arizona Cardinals. And no, I’m not talking about Josh Rosen. We all know Rosen is the QB of the future in Arizona, and he’ll get his time in the sun. This preseason is huge for Sam Bradford. He has the chance to cement his role as the starting quarterback for week one, lengthening his audition for other teams. His two-year deal is team-friendly and extremely cuttable after this season, and the chances of him being in Arizona in 2019 are slim-to-none.
If he can play well enough in training camp and preseason to keep his starting job, he’ll have the first portion of the 2018 season to prove to the league that he is capable of staying healthy for a decent stretch of games and that he is a good starting quarterback in this league. Sam Bradford’s career hinges on this preseason and early regular season.
James: Eli Manning has two won Super Bowl championships. With his pedigree and success, it’s difficult to justify pushing him aside from the organization that he did all this being a part of. The problem is it’s New York. Giants fans are not likely to hold onto the nostalgia of what was years ago when they see Odell Beckham Jr., Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and newly acquired Saquon Barkley running around the field, over and through would be tacklers using their elite size, speed and athleticism to dominate opposition defenders. Question is, can Eli be good enough to put these guys in a position to be the dominate playmakers they should be? If it’s more of the same from Manning (declining passing yards, touchdowns and QBR each of the past three seasons), the Giants may have to look for an upgrade to properly utilize these weapons.
Mason Rudolph stands to gain a great deal. He gets the benefit of learning from Big Ben for at least a season. If Rudolph proves he can handle being the next signal caller for the Steelers he may walk right into a prime spot, with an elite supporting cast and a primo situation.
Bobby: I’m going to say, Teddy Bridgewater. If he gets the chance to start some games in preseason and looks good, I could easily see another team trading for him especially if an injury to another QB were to happen. He was once viewed as a franchise-type QB and due to a horrific injury has seen his stock fall. If he shows any aptitude whatsoever, I think his career path will start trending in a positive direction again.
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