Fantasy 5: Don't move Elliott down draft boards ... yet
(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to improve your team.)
Winter is here. Yes, Game of Thrones is finally back. We even did a GoT-themed podcast on Friday. But I’m actually not referring to the standout HBO vehicle. Nope. I’m talking about fantasy draft season. It’s here and it’s time to starting build your draft board.
I’ll talk about my process in the coming weeks, but to get started, I suggest compiling an overall set of rankings. These can be your own, mine, our consensus rankings, or really any set that you compile.
Remember that rankings are always changing based on information. Here are five recent stories from the NFL that may impact your overall rankings.
1. Will Ezekiel Elliott get suspended?
The interwebs were abuzz Friday with more chatter about a possible suspension for the second-year standout following a quote from Adam Schefter that Elliott is potentially bracing for a suspension. Schefter was also careful to note that “the NFL has not made any final determinations” and “we don’t know how it will work out.” In other words, we still don’t know much of anything.
Unfortunately, the information has been misrepresented with some suggesting that a suspension is eminent. While there’s certainly some smoke here, we simply don’t know at this point whether that smoke will dissipate or turn into fire.
What we do know, however, is that Elliott hasn’t done a particularly good job of keeping his nose clean off the field. He was allegedly involved in an altercation a Dallas bar. The police were called to the scene where the accuser was extremely intoxicated and alleged Elliott punched him in the face. The details are still emerging, but reports suggest no arrests were made.
While it doesn’t sound like anything major took place, it’s yet another blip for Elliott. For fantasy purposes, he remains the No. 3 pick behind David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell, but those who are risk-averse may want to opt for Antonio Brown at the third pick.
2. David Johnson anticipates a bigger workload
Appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Johnson said “I feel like I can definitely get that 30 touches,” and noted that this wasn’t just carries. This echoes a comment from Bruce Arians back in March. The question we need to ask is can he actually touch the ball that much?
Johnson touched the ball 372 times last season, which averaged out to just over 23 times per game. An uptick of seven more touches would equate to 480 for the season. It’s unlikely he’ll see an uptick in his work as a receiver, as he was already the most heavily targeted back last season with 107 targets. Perhaps he could increase catch efficiency just slightly, but that would mean in the range of a catch more per game. That leaves 92 carries to get to 480, which is an addition 5.75 per game.
That’s a fairly significant uptick that would require the Cards to shift their play-calling tendencies to a more run-heavy approach. And in doing so, Johnson’s work as a receiver could decline, which would then require more carries to get to 30 per game. In other words, while 30 touches per game sounds great, the math doesn’t add up for Johnson. Beyond that, there’s also a significant toll that sort of workload takes on running backs, which certainly isn’t ideal from a long-term standpoint. Fantasy players can expect Johnson to see roughly the same touch volume this season with the change for a slight uptick. But the dramatic increase Johnson is suggesting isn’t likely to happen.
3. D’Onta Foreman arrested
The Texans rookie running back was arrested early Sunday morning on charges of possession of marijuana and unlawful carrying of a weapon. In a subsequent statement, Foreman’s attorney said the weapon was legally registered and that a passenger in the car was in possession of marijuana. He asserted that Foreman did not use the marijuana and would submit to a drug test.
With details still emerging, it’s too early to speculate on what kind of impact this will have on Foreman’s 2017 season. Though it should be noted that the NFL typically lets the legal process run its course before taking any action. Foreman rushed for over 2,000 yards in college last season, and has the potential to usurp some early-down work from Lamar Miller this season.
4. What can we expect from Dalvin Cook in Year 1?
There really isn’t an easy answer to this question at this point in time. The rookie second-rounder figures to be the lead back, but Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon will also get a share of the workload. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune wouldn’t rule out 300 touches for Cook this season, but that seems a bit too optimistic given the expected touch distribution. We currently have Cook projected for 234 touches this season.
5. Michael Floyd suspended for first four games
In an expected move, the NFL suspended Floyd for violating the substance abuse policy after the wide receiver tested positive for alcohol while on house arrest. Floyd claimed the result was the product of kombucha tea. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Floyd will be cut if he’s lying. Regardless, the suspension puts Floyd well behind Laquon Treadwell for No. 3 duties.
Three years ago, Floyd was one of the league’s ascending talents who appeared destined for future WR1 status. We can’t completely rule him out at just 27 years old, but his recent alcohol-related incidences suggest he may never surface as a viable fantasy option again. All games aside, we wish Floyd the best and hope to see him straighten out his life.