PFF Fantasy Mailbag: Questions from preseason's dress-rehearsal week
The unofficial dress rehearsal of the 2017 NFL preseason is upon us, and fantasy players have just a few weeks left to wrap up their drafts and begin planning for Week 1.
The draft questions are still coming in hot — but the questions have also veered into the nitty gritty details of roster construction, which means the season is on the horizon. Below are some of the best questions received on Twitter this week for our mailbag.
Don’t forget: Our subscribers are using the rankings, real-time draft tools, and customized projections available with a PFF Edge or PFF Elite subscription. Our customizable draft-prep help is available to you when you need it.
#AskPFF I inadvertently drafted a backup QB with the same bye as my starter. Do you think Kizer is good enough to carry as my backup QB?
— Vijay Cruz (@TheOtherVCruz) August 23, 2017
There’s really no need to draft a backup quarterback in your typical 16-round draft. I’d say it’s virtually unnecessary to draft a backup unless your draft goes 18 rounds deep — or maybe even 20.
If you are in a 12-team league, and every team drafts two quarterbacks, that still leaves eight on the waiver wire. Is the No. 19 quarterback really all that much better than the No. 25 guy? Probably not.
At this point of the (pre)season, you’re much better off taking a flier on a high-upside guy who may or may not pan out. Consider this: Two years ago at this time, David Johnson was a final-round pick who ended up being a league winner. In his rookie season back in 2010, Rob Gronkowski was the same way. He ended up catching 10 touchdowns. Take the flier, not the backup quarterback.
Some of my favorite late-round fliers this year include (but are not limited to): Paul Richardson, James White, Jonathan Williams, Jamaal Williams, James Conner, Kenny Golladay, Cooper Kupp, and Mike Williams.
Most of these guys will be irrelevant in fantasy this year — but all could be big hits, and that’s really the only thing that matters.
As for DeShone Kizer, he has definitely shown promise this preseason, and he’s reportedly been named the starter, but if they aren’t in my top 12 (and he’s not), then I’m not taking him in a draft.
#AskPFF Is McCaffrey worth the 10-12th pick in full PPR leagues? I know it’s nuts… but he’s on ALL radars now
— Erik (@erikscandurra49) August 23, 2017
Christian McCaffrey is definitely flying up draft boards, and that will probably continue to happen after Thursday night’s preseason game, in which Cam Newton looked for McCaffrey on his very first pass. The Panthers also gave McCaffrey runs up the middle inside the 10, which bodes well for his touchdown potential.
With all that said, McCaffrey is still worth a late second-round pick, at best. That’s significantly higher than the fourth-round price tag he carried just a few weeks ago, but he’s worth no more than a late second to me. And that’s only in PPR leagues.
We have to remember that as good as McCaffrey has looked, he’ll still be splitting duties in 2017 with Jonathan Stewart. In fact, McCaffrey might not even lead the team in carries. Newton is also going to see his fair share of touches near the end zone.
McCaffrey is a risk with such a high draft pick, but the upside is tantalizing. But to answer your question — no, he’s definitely not worth a first-round pick. Yes, it’s nuts to even think about it.
#AskPFF in a PPR, Cooper or Cooks and is it unwise to pair Cooks and Edelman? Thanks
— Scott Porter (@Boomerseven) August 23, 2017
In a PPR league, Amari Cooper is ahead of Brandin Cooks. Cooper is a tail-end WR1, while Cooks is a middle-of-the-pack WR2. Both are great options, but Cooper is ahead of him in the rankings by a fair margin.
One thing to remember: Cooper is mostly contending with Michael Crabtree for targets. Cooks is dealing with Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, and a host of running backs. In a PPR setting, target share is massively important, and Cooper’s will be better than Cooks’.
As for rostering two players on the same team, that has always been a tricky one to figure out. Intuitively, it feels wrong. But at the same time, there’s really no reason to purposefully avoid it. If you have two guys ranked evenly, then sure, you can use it as a tiebreaker. But if one guy is ahead of another on your rankings, he doesn’t move lower just because you own his teammate.
The big caveat here is that the players in question need to be on a good team. In your case, Cooks and Edelman are both on the Patriots, who are regularly one of the highest-scoring teams in the league, and score consistently. I’d be much more hesitant to roster teammates on a more inconsistent team.
Why is Riddick being valued more than Abdullah? Lions OC said AA will be their feature back this season #AskPFF
— ChadGreen4Closer (@sho_nuff_kd) August 23, 2017
Abdullah is getting all the hype this offseason. By the sounds of it, he’ll be Detroit’s bell cow. Most people aren’t buying it, however, given that Riddick is so valuable through the air. You can legitimately make the case that Riddick is Detroit’s best wideout. Riddick’s receiving grade of 84.7 last year was the highest on the team. (Abdullah’s grade was second-highest, albeit in very limited snaps because of injury.)
Riddick was eighth among running backs with 62 targets last year — and he played in only 10 games. Extrapolated over a full season, that’s 99 targets, which would have been behind only David Johnson’s 107.
Both Riddick and Abdullah are primed to be viable flex options in your PPR leagues. And they have legitimate tail-end RB1 upside if the other gets injured.
@LoehnerNFL I have a draft in 2 days. Would you steer clear of Andrew Luck and TY Hilton, given Lucks “no timetable” to return? #AskPFF
— Michael Carman Jr. (@MikeCarmanJr) August 23, 2017
It’s time to start moving Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Donte Moncrief down in the rankings. Luck should move down to No. 6 among quarterbacks, while Hilton moves more to a tail-end WR1 position rather than a mid-tier WR1.
Moncrief goes from a stable flex option with WR2 upside to a worrisome flex option who might be better served on the bench until Luck returns. His upside remains, but it’s dormant until Luck returns.
Most signs point to Luck returning soon, but there are certainly red flags that he won’t be ready for the start of the season. It’s not time to sound the alarms, but you should be hedging your bets with these players a little.