Fantasy 5: Are we overrating Andrew Luck as a fantasy option?
The Colts QB struggled in '15 and hasn't looked great in camp so far. Jeff Ratcliffe on that and RBs in Detroit and Buffalo.
Fantasy 5: Are we overrating Andrew Luck as a fantasy option?
Every weekday, the Fantasy 5 will take a look at the five most important NFL news stories for fantasy football players, giving you the advice you need to improve your team.
Yesterday was a big one in the fantasy industry, as FanDuel released Week 1 salaries. If you haven’t gotten in on DFS, we have a great opportunity for you to start and get a free subscription to Fantasy Gold in the process. Two birds. One stone.
We’ll talk DFS salaries in the coming weeks, but first, here are five things fantasy players need to know from Monday:
1. Is Andrew Luck overvalued?
Last season was one filled with fantasy disappointments, and Luck was certainly on that list. He was the first quarterback selected in many fantasy drafts, but managed to play just seven games and looked very shaky when he was on the field. To be fair, Luck was still a top-12 fantasy quarterback over the first nine weeks of the season, but that’s still a letdown given his lofty ADP. While there’s general optimism surrounding Luck entering this season, Colts beat reporter Stephen Holder has been “a bit underwhelmed” by Luck so far in camp. He clarified and said he isn’t concerned, but should fantasy drafters be worried about Luck?
Where Luck especially struggled last season was with holding the ball too long. Only five quarterbacks had a higher average time to throw than Luck’s 2.88 seconds last year, and only Tyrod Taylor held the ball for 2.6 seconds or more on a higher percentage of his dropbacks. When holding the ball for longer than 2.6 seconds, Luck completed just 46.1 percent of his passes. The only quarterbacks with a lower completion percentage when holding the ball that long were Colin Kaepernick and Nick Foles.
There’s certainly the chance that last year’s performance was an anomaly. But it could also be an indication of things to come. Luck comes with an enormous fantasy ceiling, but he showed last year that he has the potential to be a fantasy roller coaster with up and down weeks. Unless he proves that he can be more consistent and get the ball out faster, Luck is going to be overdrafted at his current ADP as the third quarterback being selected.
2. Buyer beware: Ameer Abdullah
We’re just a little over a week away from the anniversary of the day Ameer Abdullah went from an upstart running back out of Nebraska to one of the most hyped players of the 2015 fantasy draft season. “The play” was a 45-yard run against the Jets where Abdullah displayed nice burst and some nifty moves. Looking back through a 20-20 lens, the run was good, but not great. However, Twitter was immediately in an uproar, and some even compared Abdullah to Barry Sanders.
The regular season showed Abdullah to be anything but, as he forced missed tackles on just 11.3 percent of his touches and finished an abysmal 41st among running backs in fantasy scoring. Things may not get that much better this season, as the Lions will likely deploy a three-headed running backs committee with Theo Riddick handling much of the passing-down duties, and either Stevan Ridley or Zach Zenner operating as the big back.
On the Lions backfield, running backs coach David Walker said the team is focused on being efficient in the run game, but he said he doesn’t know if Detroit needs a 1,000-yard rusher. That’s not a sentiment that instills much confidence in Abdullah’s 2016 fantasy prospects. He’s currently the 30th running back off the board, and even that may end up being too much to invest in the second-year man.
[How much fantasy value will Riddick and the others siphon off of Abdullah? Take a spin with PFF’s new Draft Master tool to figure out the best approach, plus get recommendations on the players you should target in every round of your draft.]
3. Jace Amaro is worth monitoring.
Over the last three months, Amaro has gone from potential roster bubble candidate to training camp standout. Per the New York Post, Amaro is “making a lot of catches” and has stood out as a red-zone target. He has also worked on his catching technique in an attempt to mirror Brandon Marshall. Amaro struggled in his rookie season, catching just 38 passes for 345 yards and two scores. He then missed all of last season with a shoulder injury.
While it isn’t wise to peg Amaro as a breakout fantasy tight end, fantasy drafters should keep an eye on the third-year player throughout the preseason. He entered the NFL as an unpolished second-rounder with a basketball background who tested extremely well at the 2014 NFL combine. That sort of profile is very intriguing for fantasy purposes, as is Chan Gailey’s offense. At this point, Amaro is worth stashing in dynasty leagues, but he’s yet to crack the redraft fantasy radar.
4. Paxton Lynch gaining ground in Denver.
The Broncos quarterback competition remains wide open, and it appears rookie Paxton Lynch is gaining ground on Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian following strong performances in practice on Sunday and Monday. While there aren’t major fantasy implications here, Lynch offers the most upside of the three Denver options.
Lynch is a raw prospect who struggled in offseason practices, but has dual-threat ability and prototypical size for the position. With two lackluster options ahead of him, there’s still the chance Lynch wins the job in the preseason. Those in two quarterback formats will want to keep a close eye on this battle, as Lynch has fringe QB2 potential.
5. Reggie Bush not fantasy relevant.
It’s been an interesting offseason for the Bills running backs with Karlos Williams showing up to team activities overweight and then getting suspended for the first four games of the season, and rookie Jonathan Williams getting popped for DWI in mid-July. Perhaps to provide some stability to their backfield, the Bills signed veteran Reggie Bush to a one-year deal on Monday. Bush is coming off a torn MCL last season.
With Mike Gillislee the favorite to open the season as LeSean McCoy’s backup, Bush gives Buffalo a passing-down option who will also contribute as a returner. While the move has the potential to help the Bills, fantasy players aren’t going to get any fantasy value out of Bush. If McCoy were to go down, there are still plenty of horses in the Bills’ stable. Bush’s days as a fantasy asset are in the past.
Jeff Ratcliffe | Director of Fantasy
Jeff Ratcliffe is the Director of Fantasy at Pro Football Focus. He produces all of our projections and is 2016's second-most-accurate ranker in the fantasy industry. Jeff also is the host of our show on SiriusXM fantasy sports radio and is one of the main hosts of our Fantasy Slant podcast.