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See you in those six oh one oh. Fancy, fancy. Welcome into the FINNESSEY Focus Football podcast presented by Geico. And today is a day, the first in a couple of weeks, it's Veliotes daily office here. Those are the normal course obvious here, but the bunker, someone right down the bunker, like apparently it's in demand nearby. So Kyle's been relegated to like a normalcy. But to my left for the first time this season is the great Mike Clay.
Good morning. What's going on?
Good morning. It's good to be here on the new set. I don't know. I'm like Ricky Bobby. I don't know. Do with my hands. Exactly. It's just a huge laptop here, of course. Yeah. I got my, you know, the desk. So a little bit of an adjustment, but it's good to come out of hibernation finally. You guys in person. It's great to have.
Great to have you here, Mike. And of course, Mike, you know, it's not like you haven't been busy. You just we just have had full capacity. We've been at maximum capacity for the first few weeks of the show. And we're going to have you on a ton during the season. But Mike has been busy with great content. He's got we'll actually get into your sort of perfect ideal draft board later on in the show. You've got your rankine's you, of course, turn out all the projections.
You are a big part of the fantasy marathon. So it's great to have you here today. But, Daniel, it's not the only first we have is if memory serves me correctly. And we started the show three weeks, four weeks ago. So it's not like we have that many shows under our belt.
I believe this is the first show that we've had where major fantasy news broke in the morning leading up to the show. Normally we have a script, we go to bed and we can plan accordingly and build graphics and have the great team involved get us ready.
But today we had some major news. So shall we get right into it? Free wine from U.S. News from the National Football League. This is the instant replay.
By the way, I told the Jags, just hold off on this news like they knew a weeks ago. I just said, wait till I'm on the focus. Oh, my gosh. And then we can and then we could talk about it. Mike Shifter, good to know.
OK, so I don't know if they're listening to the show live and we appreciate you.
Listen to us on YouTube, are watching us on YouTube and Twitter in the ESPN fantasy app, the ESPN app on occasion ESPN fantasy Facebook page. Make sure you check us out through any of those live mediums. And also, if you want to follow McLay on the Twitter, it's Mike Clay, NFL or ESPN McLay NFL playoffs. Sorry, apologies on that amendment. Yates', if you want some really boring tweets. But we had some major news this morning, Mike.
Yes, we did. The Jaguars announced that they have released Leonard Fournette, who of course, was the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Mean he he actually survives three seasons in Jacksonville, three full seasons for a guy that you took.
Fourth overall are running back. They also traded Jonathan Gockley over the weekend.
Yes. It's been a busy weekend in Jacksonville. Right. We're sensing a trend here.
You know, it's it's probably a little bit of a it's it's not a full on tank. And I hesitate to use that word because it just because players tilt to show up and compete and all that.
But let's talk about Leonard Fournette. Mike, he was released. What's your initial reaction to the value of first of all, what just what's your initial reaction to the story? Because it's kind of interesting.
Well, my initial reaction is I think Jacksonville will be picking first and next year's draft. That's my first thought with the trades he made this offseason. Like you said, you want to throw the word tank around. There's still a lot of guys on that roster going to work hard this season. But again, they've clearly, you know, sent their ship in one direction. They have a lot of young assets, a lot of draft picks. So I think that's the direction of that team.
My thought, first of all, is what does it mean for the value of the other backs in Jacksonville now? Right. How are we going to line these guys up? And I think there's a couple of things here. First of all, we've been kind of preaching, you know, I know we have fun with the late round flyers, right.
Columns. Almstead You brought that up, right? Yeah. Yeah. Speaking of the flyers down three one in the series, you know, we'll talk about the Eudi guy, but so let's. So I don't mean to cut you off there. So I call Almstead.
Right, exactly. That's a guy we've been talking about is, you know, possible insurance option if this were to happen or Fournette were to be traded or injured.
And I think if you took that that late flyer, you know, maybe that pays off a little bit. The problem here is, you know, I did my insurance running back rankings about a month ago. We published them at ESPN Plus and I ranked Almstead like twenty sixth because it's not really a great situation. Right? I mean, we saw Fournette struggle with efficiency last season, didn't score many touchdowns, super reliant on volume in that offense.
Now you have Chris Thompson, who I mean, we could talk all day about his health concerns that he's had in recent years, but it's also a guy that's been top 20 or running back and catches the past four seasons. Right. He's going to play a big role with Jay Gruden. Now, of course, they're calling the plays for that offense. He's going to be busy like Divino Zabo, who's a young back there. James Robinson is getting hype.
This has the look of a full on committee until at least one guy emerges. And that makes it tricky, obviously, in fantasy. Yeah.
For those that are less familiar with Reichle Almstead, I don't I don't blame them. He plays football at Temple in college. He was a fifth round pick in twenty eighteen. So he's been with the Jaguars for a couple of seasons, has been the guy that we have discussed, as you mentioned, the insurance policy to Leonard Fournette. But for all of Leonard Fournette faults, one thing he has been is he has been a workhorse for Jacksonville over the past couple of seasons.
I agree that like the value and quality of said to me is is tepid at the moment because I have a lot of questions. And let me start by saying this a few weeks ago in the podcast, I'll just own up to this. I thought that Leonard Fournette, based off how he was sliding precipitously and drafts, could represent a value in fantasy this year, because, again, for all the things he does not do well, one thing he does do well is play a lot, and that matters in fantasy football.
I was wrong. I mean, they cut wrong that dead wrong, they cut him and he's going to play for somebody else eventually. And so clearly, he's not going to be a value in fantasy football this year because we don't know where he's going to play. But like, I'm not super enthusiastic about requirements of some of the stuff that you talked about, Mike, and you laid out how it could be a committee. And also, like I could hear some reasonable stats about Rick Willumstad or, you know, Hero can't report here, there.
But ultimately, we are simultaneously saying Leonard Fournette is cut because he's not that good.
We can't also say, yeah, Reichle Arms, that's really, really good because he couldn't get carried away from Leonard Fournette. So I'm certainly very tepid on the outlook of this backfield right now.
But there are a lot more questions to this.
I wonder, like just because they cut Leonard Fournette. Yes, it's going to save them a bunch. It could potentially save them some money and we'll spare you the nitty gritty there.
But is it that crazy to assume that the Jaguars won't go look at other running backs? Because if I'm sitting there and I'm Doug Marone in a big part of this decision, as it has been reported by many people, is the coaching staff was just sort of sick of Leonard Fournette. And it's not like they're trying to get worse. So they were just sick of Leonard Fournette.
They may say, you know what, Devante Freeman, you probably weren't envisioning going to play for a team that could be in the mix for a first overall pick next year, but it may be his best option right now. And you know what happens every year around Labor Day, a bunch of running backs get moved. Carlos Hyde got traded last year and won for over a thousand yards. I think it's possible that Michael Armstead can be Pennsylvania's a starter right now.
And then three days from now, he's back to number two behind somebody.
I'm 100 percent with you. In fact, I was going to mention Carlos, because it's an excellent example of a situation where maybe a guy moves right before the start of the season and ends up with some value. And that could be the case for someone like Fournette. Could be someone like Freeman. It could be someone who's waived a week before the season and lands on a roster and ends up working his way up, I think like a Jordan Wilkins, who I love to talk about on the show.
So we'll obviously keep an eye on that.
But again, the point here really is don't overdraft like someone today immediately tweeted me and said, should I draft Almstead or DeAndre Swift? I mean, DeAndre Swift for sure.
I mean, don't want overreact here for now. I'm going to say and by the way, I just updated the projections, I'll be on the site once. We're not going to show, you know, Chris Thompson, you know, PPR leagues we're talking came in right around thirty eight or so in the projections. Armstead was like forty third. And you have like Zig, who could handle some carries way deeper in the rankings. So we're talking like, what, tenth, eleventh round.
Once you get Antonio Gibson, those insurance backs, that's kind of when you're thinking about these guys.
So another reality is that at the earliest for Leonard Fournette, we'll find out when he has a team by four p.m. on Tuesday. That's Eastern Time. It's Monday at 10:00 08. When you and I are speaking right now, there are a lot of people that will be drafted between now and 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. And if he gets claimed by a team and I'm casting that is like five percent likely and that might be overestimating it, then we would have some clarity by Tuesday at four p.m. More likely, he's going to hit the open market as a free agent.
And Mike, we don't know how quickly he'll find a new team, but for those that are drafting now and we'll continue to draft with him until he signs the new team, is there a one size fits all draft strategy with Leonard Fournette? Because I'll be honest with you. I have no idea what to do with them right now. Well, here's the thing. He was already falling, as we talked about, to, what, the fifth round at times round, you'd find him start to plummet in drafts.
And that's where I was. Right.
But that's when we were assuming, even though his efficiency was a concern, the offensive line was a concern. The you know, them scoring points was a concern. There was risk that he could get cut or traded.
He was still in that range. So it has to be later than that that you're taking him now, right. I mean, we were just banking on volume in that offense. So the the likelihood that he comes anywhere in the vicinity of last year's volume is out the door. Right. That he would need to land on on the right team and he would need multiple injuries at running back just to be in a position where they have to give him twenty touches again.
So that's not going to happen. So you have to kind of look at this as probably Carlos High last season is your best case scenario. So for me, I'm thinking double digit rounds. Like I'm thinking back in that Chris Thompson Armstead area. I just don't see a situation out there right now where he's going to go and be the clear cut starter with two weeks to the season, maybe Chicago, but then David Montgomery's back and, what, two weeks?
I mean, I like the I like to I mean, I tweeted this today and people are not happy about it, but Kansas City feels logical to me and that would probably be best case scenario. Mike Rowe.
Well, you know what? Can I defend myself for a second? Because I got riled up seeing the responses to Mike's tweet. People are saying, you know, why were they just drafted? Clyde Edwards, the player doesn't fit in that offense.
Let me just tell you something right now, Leonard Fournette at four point four million dollars of salary doesn't fit anywhere, not even Jacksonville.
OK, Leonard Fournette, a million bucks fits anywhere. He fits anywhere that Leonard Fournette feels like playing because if he's going to make a million dollars, it's going to be his choice where he winds up going.
So don't tell me that a guy that once went fourth overall and ran through college defenders for three seasons at LSU doesn't potentially fit behind an offense. It can do basically whatever it wants, whenever it wants it to be a really interesting double digit round. I don't have a draft tonight. If I did, that might be where I end up with Leonard Fournette. But just to recap it all. Not a single Jaguars running back, but right now we're making a draft priority, and for Leonard Fournette, you're going to have to wait.
BASKETT What's best case and what is best case scenario for Leonard Fournette, in your opinion, would be the best landing spot? I think it's I think it's Kansas City long term, because if anyone tell our struggles, which is possible, he's a rookie hero. No, really round rookie. I think that's probably his best shot because that offense is so good. So I would say that even though he may not start for a while.
OK, Daniel, real quick, does that impact D.J. Chakra, the passing game at all? Are you moving him up a little bit knowing that, like maybe they're a little less run heavy, maybe they throw the ball more, maybe they are worse off than they were, so they'll be even more garbage time now?
I think I think my thinking going into the year is going to be a pass. Heavy offense. We're already there.
The volume reliance, I was going to say the Jets four for Leonard Fournette because we're talking about Le'Veon Bell in the second. But I don't think they want to solve a headache by adding another headache. So keep an eye on that one.
Of course, we have more information on Leonard Fournette. We'll pass it along A.S.A.P. The Jets, the our story. And so Le'Veon Bell. And this is sort of this feels almost like soap opera stuff right now.
It's I mean, we haven't played a game. We haven't had a preseason game. So it's not like we're watching Le'Veon Bell with our own eyes day to day. But just a little timeline on some things that have happened with Le'Veon Bell.
So Le'Veon Bell signed a four year deal last offseason with the Jets. Adam Gase didn't take long for him to reportedly sour on Le'Veon Bell. Basically, the narrative was like, I didn't want him. This is not him speaking. But I'm saying the reported narrative was Le'Veon Bell was not a preferred target of Adam Gas's. It was more of an ownership and general manager decision. Of course, the Jets fired their general manager, Mike Cannon, not long after that.
So he was already down on the idea of signing Le'Veon Bell. This offseason, the Jets signed Frank or the ageless Frank Gore. They draft La Michael Pierron in the fourth round, which that is not as notable to me because teams draft mid round running backs all the time. But still, Frank Gore is a player. You don't sign up for the special teams, right? You sign him to give him a hundred fifty carries.
On Wednesday of this past week, Le'Veon Bell was pulled from an intra squad scrimmage due to a hamstring discomfort, according to Adam Gase.
Bell later, quote, tweeted one of the Jets reporters, Jets team reporters and basically said, ain't nothing wrong. My hamstrings, right. So Le'Veon Bell is taken to task. Basically, the idea that he's hurt, he also said it's tough to stay loose when you do a bunch of standing around. I need to practice to be great in games.
So there's been this back and forth.
Adam Gates eventually conceded to our Own Me that he did a, quote, poor job at managing Bell's work early last season.
And then yesterday during a scrimmage yesterday being Sunday, I felt like Le'Veon Bell was getting extra work, not just first team reps, but also some second team reps.
Mike, here's what I would just say is that this feels and I know that was a long winded description, but my point in describing it is that this is sort of traumatic now, right?
A coach and a running back at odds and you can throw the salary out the window because it's some costs you're paying him no matter what. All right. I'm starting to get really nervous about Le'Veon Bell. Recently, we had the opportunity to update our breakouts, Sleeper's busts, et cetera. And I made Le'Veon Bell my my bust amongst running backs and to define what a bust is, it's a guy that's being drafted as a starter but might finish well outside of being a starter this year.
And it's not a talent thing and it's a statue driven thing, even though there were some discouraging ones last year.
But I'm starting to get nervous. Like, would you be surprised if Le'Veon Bell is this year's David Johnson?
Not at all. How how could you be surprised by that at this point? I mean, come on, that's like being surprised that the Jags soured on and moved on from Leonard Fournette at this point, or I like the teams are there. So, you know, look, here's the thing, though. My opinion on Bell has probably changed a little bit right there. You know, just the tea leaves suggest more and more that even if he's there and he's the starter, his role will be smaller.
But my opinion hasn't changed in the sense that I'm not drafting him. Right.
I mean, I've been harping on this and I know we're going to get into this later, so I won't spend a lot of time on it. But, you know, once you get into around four or so where he's going around four or five, kind of on that board or defense, if you're in a 10 or 12 team league, there's a ton of good wide receivers like why are you wasting your time on these running backs?
Right. Especially someone like Le'Veon Bell, who maybe he's the backup to Frank Gore at some point, or at least that, you know, at least giving him 12 to 14 carries a game and then bells get nine or 10 and handling passing down work.
He's just not going to live up to that sort of ADP. And, sure, maybe he gets just full on benched at some point.
Maybe it's just a healthy scratch at some point later in the season, maybe at some point. Well, Michael Piran, once he's healthy, is the ankle injury. Maybe he takes on a larger, you know, larger share of the workload. Maybe they do sign Leonard Fournette or someone else. Right. A lot can still change here. I just with the amount of talent on the board, I don't see why you would waste your time ible at that round.
It just doesn't make sense to me. Yeah, I'm with you as well. I think it's just, you know, it's sort of, you know what like as best I can I'm keep my keep my keep. I'm staying away from Le'Veon Bell.
I think there's a chance, like I asked you the question so I could sort of make the statement like if this year it's Le'Veon Bell, week six, who doesn't play at all like David Johnson last year, I'd be like, OK, even if he starts strong out of the gate, like, wouldn't surprise. What do you got, Daniel, following that narrative?
If if there's even conversation about is this year's David Johnson, do you believe do either of you believe and I think I know the answer to this, that there is a Kenyan Drake esque player behind Le'Veon Bell the same way that David Johnson had that you would like for a jets running back?
No, I can't I can't go there with Michael Piran yet, especially since he's a little bit up to. Right. But yeah, I mean, but again, for him right now, they traded for Drake.
The Jets could perhaps trade for somebody with that surprise, anyone. They just tried to trade for Caleb because, you know, so it's it could certainly happen. Yeah. Yeah. A lot of there's a lot of possibilities. And keep in mind, too, it's already not a good offense. I mean, we're talking about our, I guess, offense. The last five seasons has been one of the worst in plays per game and fantasy points per game and touchdowns per game.
I mean, they have eleven carry his offenses have eleven carries inside the five yard line over the past three seasons.
Sure, there were six players that had more than that on their own last season. I mean, it's just not a good situation in the first place. And then you add all these other question marks and you're talking again about a top a top five round player right now in fantasy. No, thanks. But, you know, this does go back to sort of a not a classic debate.
It's not like we've like written books about it, but something that we as a as a Ranko, we as Rinker's are tasked with. Is that so right now? And I'm going to adjust this a little bit. I'll move them down. I've got Le'Veon Bell at RB sixteen. Everybody has in between RB sixteen and RB nineteen. I think there is a more likely chance than not like of the variety of outcome for Lady Umble. I think like him finishing in the top 20 back is not super surprising to me.
But unlike other players that I have in that range, like I don't see a scenario where other guys absent an injury like Chris Carson somewhere in a comparable tier, like I don't think Chris Carson is going to be a fiftieth ranked running back by the end of the season.
We're like Le'Veon Bell could also there are other players in that tier that, like Chris Carson, finishing is a top seven running back. What I mean, it would be a little bit surprising, but not altogether stunning. Le'Veon Bell Like, I don't see it.
I don't see top seven finish unless the rest of the dramatic struggles. So it's a little bit of a philosophical thing. Just because I have a player ranked higher than other guys, it does not necessarily mean that I am preferring that player in drafts. It just a matter of what I sort of need within my roster week to week.
One more running back story.
I think this one's really interesting myself. I mentioned that the Jaguars traded Yanagawa to the Vikings over the weekend. How do they do that?
How is their cap space available for that trade to be made?
It is so the Vikings and I like fantastic cap management. They've always done an excellent job of managing the cap in Minnesota and got quite. Also took a nearly five million dollar pay cut, which is just incredible for a guy. Wow, it's made four point seven million dollars.
And before you tell me that's a crap ton of money, I'm aware I'll never make four point seven million dollars in my life, but. Relative to his production and so many other players that are far inferior to him, Galloway has been one of the great values in football for the past four years.
He took a five million dollar packet, he really went out of Jacksonville, apparently, so he goes to Minnesota and you're saying to yourself, OK, he plays defensive end.
We don't draft those except for an IDP leaks.
But here's why it's important. Dalvin Cook, as we know, has negotiated with the Vikings quite a bit this offseason on an extension. If you go look at the cap sheet for Minnesota, as of right now, there is not a lot of space available.
But unlike other players like Travis Kalsi, who's negotiated an extension where the chiefs were able to keep his cap number the same because he was already at a fairly high number, he was not paid as much as he is making now, but he was still making a good amount of money. Dalvin Cook is making one point three dollars million this year and extension for Dalvin Cook. Unless they get super, super creative is almost assuredly going to increase Dalvin Cook's Kapner.
And you also got to be mindful of cash, right? You got to be mindful the fact that the salary cap might be one hundred seventy five million bucks next year.
Teams are being cautious right now with the way that they spend on the roster. So, Mike, this is why I bring this all up, is that if Dalvin Cook doesn't have a new deal, if I were a twenty five year old with an actor on my resume, other injuries on my resume at the most replaceable position in football.
Are you nervous about playing a full 16 game season without a contract? Because if I'm Dalvin Cook and in case anybody was uncertain, I am not I am very, very wary about playing a full 16 game season unless I get a new deal first.
Look, I'm with you. I totally get his concerns. We've again, we've seen the tea leaves. We've heard the rumors that he could sit or hold out. It's still a possibility. So what it really comes down to is when do we kind of take the plunge at this point? Right. I mean, it's obviously a tricky situation to fantasy. We've been through this a couple of years ago with Le'Veon Bell, who we were just talking about.
And I don't know about you, but the thing for me is, can I find insurance for him that will make me feel better about him at fifth overall.
That's basically the when you have to decide if you're if you get that five spot in your draft this weekend, you're like, oh, man, you know, I have to make that decision. Do I take Dalvin Cook? You kind of hope someone else does. Right. And you can take Alvin Kamara say at the fifth spot. But if not, you have to decide you go that direction or Michael Thomas and look if you want to take cook because of what we saw last season.
Right. He was when you know he was number one and rushing touchdowns for he was hurt. He was second McCaffrey in fantasy points. He was tremendous. Also obviously a great elite fantasy. And that could be a league winner if he plays out the season.
But here's the thing still, and this kind of surprises me still in the Mid Browns ninth, tenth round, you can get Alex Madison. Yeah. And he's one of the few guys I feel like we could say, all right, if Cook holds out, he's he's going to get fifteen plus maybe twenty carries. He can he can catch the football. He was tremendous last season.
He'd be like a top fifteen at Miami, top ten if he really gets the workload we expect. So look, he was he was really good last season. He was a third round draft pick. He still super young. I think he's a good football player. So that makes me feel better about coach. If I take him, I'm just going to prioritize Madison and I feel good about that spot.
I know I always feel like asking a question like this is a little bit of an impossible task.
When you say you're going to prioritize him, are your priorities. I prioritizing it to the tune of like fifth round draft pick?
No, I would say around or two.
And look, if someone takes them big you to rebound as opposed to and look, if someone takes them too early, there's maybe there's another running back you could go after. Right. Maybe you take Tony Pollard then and Chase Edmunds. Right. You know, you could find other ways to navigate. Don't force it, but prioritize them a little bit.
This is not quite shades of on a twenty, seventeen, twenty eighteen when he sat out for the year because obviously Le'Veon had not showed up to camp, he was a franchise tag. This was a lot nastier of a history between the team and the player than Dalvin Cook in the Vikings. I'm just preparing myself to hear a lot more about this in the next 12 days. Thirteen days until the season begins. So keep in mind, I would just say this.
I have not yet done this, but I'm very tempted to push Dalvin Cook behind Derrick Henry and Clyde Edwards l'air in my running back ranked. Currently I have him fifth, I'm thinking and by the time you listen to this podcast, he may be RB seven for me. Just some context there. And I know that if he signs an extension tomorrow, it'll be, you know, five seconds of my life. I can't get back. But I'm at least considering the possibility of him going down to RB seven, which may not seem like much, Mike, but in the first round, you can't screw up your first run.
You just can't. Yeah, you can't win your draft in the first round usually, but you can lose it.
And Dalvin Cook is someone who makes you a little bit nervous. One more piece of news and might this one hits close to home.
Obviously our resident Eagles fan and I want to take a shout out for a quick moment before we get into this piece of news because of this Philadelphia thing. So we always have that. We we've been talking about the bucket of late round flyers.
So a very, very kind listener sent us here to the 060 A. a bucket of the Philadelphia Flyers. It's awesome. Very, very creative.
That's creative. Yeah. That was Gavin was the name. I'm sorry.
Caleb was the name of it. Caleb was the person who very kindly sent us a bucket.
So we now have a bucket of Latron flyers. Just next time we have one flyer, maybe like a Jalen rager. Yeah, maybe you put him in this meeting in Philadelphia. That's right. About so Jalen Reagor, of course, Mike, our Eagles and Flyers fan Jalen Rager on Sunday left the Eagles practice.
Was it a scrimmage? It was just a practice. It was. It was at the stadium. This was a lot of teams over the weekend sort of intensified things a little bit. He leaves and according to Tim McManus, expected to miss about four weeks with a slight tear in his labrum. The silver lining is there's no surgery, Mike.
So were you interested in drafting Jalen Reagor prior to this late round flyer?
I'm OK. I'm pointing at the bucket for the podcast listeners. Yeah, I'm late. Round guy, right. He was not my favorite guy in the draft process. I was really worried about what happened last season. I know he had about quarter play, of course, at TCU, but he had some issues of his own. So I was a little nervous. But again, still, I mean, if he plays ever down in this high scoring Eagles offense that survived and scored with basically nothing, that wide receiver based on what they were planning on having last season, I think he could have some value.
But I mean, right now the Eagles are right back where they were almost last season.
Yet you have Deshaun Jackson, but it's basically Arcega Whiteside and Greg Ward and Moltz. Two tight end sets and more Boston Scott now, I mean, it's like we're right back where we were in the final month last year. It's crazy, all the injuries piling up and that's just at wide receiver. So I still think Brager, if you want to take it, maybe in 12 teams Olympique or 10 teams, it's kind of borderline because you have a lot of high upside options in that area.
But for him right now, he's very borderline draftable because again, he's probably going to miss a week or two.
It's really I mean, and I don't think any. So are there any sort of fantasy implications, though, from this? Like does it impact does it make Dallas more valuable? Does it make DeSean Jackson does it move him from non draftable to late round flyer bucket? Or is this a story that maybe is more tied to just like that injury left for the Eagles?
I feel like it kind of there's a lot of it is because there's been a ton I mean, there and he lost 40 percent of their offensive line. There's injuries all over the place. Malik Jackson's hurt or not? Not Jackson. Brandon Brooks on defense a lot.
Yeah, Hargrave just came on hard on anyway.
There was out for probably a few weeks back issue. There's all kinds of unfortunately, he's been banged up. They're piling up. But yeah, I mean, look, again, I think that you could kind of point to that final month of last season. Right. So we saw we saw Myles Sanders targets double down the stretch last season. We saw Dallas Carter play more, although Zach Ertz did miss week seventeen. We saw Boston got those final four games at six plus targets in every game, maybe more to running backs sets out on the field.
So I think everyone can get moved up, you know, in our Week one rankings, maybe we move them all up a little bit. But I still think Dallas is a tight end to Sanders values about the same, even if we boost it up a little bit. Deshawn Jackson, I've always liked this a lot around flyers. OK, another guy in the bucket. Then when he got down, you have a question?
Yeah, it's a strategy question. Is Jalen Reagor the kind of guy now that understanding who should likely be out there you look and you would actually want to target more at the back into your drafts knowing that you have an IRR spot that he can immediately fill in to, and then you've got first pick of waivers as soon as the draft is over. Is that a strategy thing that you guys think about when you're looking at players towards the end of the draft, given that or is that does he not really fit that his upside is high enough for me to use a pick on him for that?
I think it's totally viable, especially in twelve team leagues.
I mean, if you have an IRS, you know that you take him with your last pick, you throw them in there like you said, and then who now who knows how things will change a couple of weeks later?
I mean, are we going to designate him as out right now? I don't know right now and into the IRS?
I believe he's doubtful right now. This is just a hypothetical.
Like if he were to get to that point where he's listed as out for OK, which that's probably something that will have to happen much closer to the season as the teams aren't required to give us any legitimate information until the first week of practice, which will be Wednesday of next week. So interesting thought, though, Daniel. I had not thought of it that way, but something to keep in mind for players that are banged up who may be eligible for the IRR.
Mike, your ultimate draft is coming in just a moment. But first, a word from you. Yes.
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All right, Mike, so recently you wrote a piece on ESPN Plus and the premise of this piece and you can fill in any details that I may miss is in a 12 team league, you sort of size up your ideal targets by wrapped in many rounds. It was a very specific player. In other rounds, it was more of just a general sort of type of player like star running back.
So what we are going to do is we are going to go through this process round by round and sort of highlight, again, all things being equal.
This is Mike Claeys, Perfect Target Round by round twelve Team League.
So we'll begin, Mike, with only one place to start, which is a first round pick in your ideal world. What is a first round pick look like in a twelve team league.
It's one point one, right. OK, you pick it out of hat, you get one point one or you logon to your draft 60 minutes before it hits the end and you get number one. Right? You get Christian McCaffrey right. We all want Christian McCaffrey.
But if you don't, I feel most comfortable really right now with the top four pick based on what we just talk about with Dalvin Cook. But assuming we think he plays really one of those top five running backs, that is the top tier you have McCaffrey and then really I'd probably if you you can always you can make the tiniest here you want, but say Christian McCaffrey first and Barkley or Zeke two or three and then Kamara and Dalvin Kokabee in the four and five slot.
So we're going to get more into the other running back options you would have if you get a late first round pick. We'll get into that in a second. But really, round one, if I can get a star running back, a workhorse running back, that's what I want.
And I don't mean to do this in the middle of the show, but I we're not currently seeing a return on our screen. So I don't know if the graphics are flashing.
So if they are on there. Really. Yeah, I don't know.
I wanted to see the players. You. There and you had basically the top tier running back, so in round one, Mike, all things being equal, you stress this, you stress this in your piece, is that you always want a running back, but especially this year, because the depth gets really nasty really soon.
And fantasy football, I believe you said maybe 16, running back 14.
We'll get into that in our round two. OK, so Ron, one stud running back, all things being equal. You want an ideal workhorse every single week. Set it and forget it.
Move forward around, too, because in round two, Mike, if you have a running back with your first pick, are you comfortable with a maybe a Julio Jones? I could be if I'm picking later in that round.
But again, the more drafts you do and you work through it and you do, makes you realize that you're you feel great if you start running back, running back. And there's 14 guys I feel super comfortable with. If you look at my rankings, you can see the top 14 guys, if I can pick in that, you know, the mid to late stages of round one. The good thing about that is I know I can get two of those guys.
If I pick, you know, early in the first and I get McCaffrey, I might not get two of those guys. They may not come back to me. Then I have to adjust my strategy.
And I'll be totally honest if I don't get two of those guys field, I'm probably waiting a long time.
And because as we're going to get to there's a ton of wide receiver depth, you can have your cake and eat it, too. That's kind of been what I've kind of applied to drafts this year.
You can get those two running backs and still end up loaded at wide receiver and perhaps tight end as well. So the guys I've really had my eyes on it, guys that I've had a lot and I've gotten in a lot of drafts. Kenyon Drake, RB nine on my board. Obviously, you played almost 80 percent of the snaps. And after the trade last season, a ton of volume got to transition tag. You know, we can kind of read the tea leaves there again to keep using that expression.
And also this offense could totally explode this season. It's very possible. Arizona is this year's Ravens. Last year, the Chiefs before former first overall pick Kyle Murray. It's very possible. So like that and Josh Jacobs, you know, I know there's been this debate about how much passing down work he will get. I do think that will increase this season. He was outstanding last season for top ten weeks, fourth best running back after initial contact.
And again, we do think the passing down work will go up at least a little bit. Also very good offensive line there, too. So those are my two favorite guys.
But honestly, like I said, there's 14 of them. I want two of them in the first two rounds if I can get them. Yeah, I'm really interesting. You may depend on what kind of league you play in if like if Lamar Jackson is a second round pick and if you've got both Kittel and Kelsey in the second round, then you may very well be able to snag two running backs if you're not one of the people taking those. Let's move forward to round three and we finally have our graphics so I can now reference this stuff.
We're all good. They're round three, Mike. So presuming you draft the running back with each of your first two picks, who is your round three target?
All right. Now, here's where we get into that. The start of that tier I was talking about before running back where I'm weary. Right. OK, here's your running back options when you get to round three.
Yep. Think about you have the top fourteen who we love. Right. And then you get to Melvin Gordon. Yeah. Todd Gurley, HENSHILWOOD injuries. James Connor, Chris Carson, who I like the most in this group. Yep. Used to have Leonard Fournette cross him off and Johnathan Taylor, who's obviously in a interesting situation in Indianapolis. Right. So I don't love it because here's the thing. Mike Evans has fallen around three.
I mean, come on like it easily. Be a top five fantasy wide receiver, certainly top ten. In fact, if he finishes top ten fantasy points per game this year, that'll be the fourth time in the past five seasons. I mean, the fact that he's falling to around three should just show you how much talent is available at that position. You also have Allen Robinson, Jay Moore, OPG, Amari Cooper. I'm sorry. I want those guys more than the running back options I just listed.
And it's not even close. I mean, those guys are in their prime anymore. Some of them guys are in timeshares. I want these wide receivers.
OK, that's really interesting to note. I think ultimately, Mike, in this sounds sort of rudimentary and fundamental, but fantasy football is a massive projection game. We are figuring things out every single week. Our goal is to take the most certain thing. And if what you're telling me is that there are very few certain things that running back, you get those in the first two rounds, Mike Evans is a certain thing, like he's a certain thing in fantasy football, right.
He is going to deliver. It may not be perfect every single week, but he's going to finish with a thousand yards. He's done it literally every season in his career, one and only two players to do that in the first six years of their career, along with Randy Moss.
So I understand where you're going with round three. You potentially have Mike Evans.
Let's go around for and who might you land who might be a target for you in round four?
Yeah, and this is when I when I was writing this column, I got a little arrogant because I'm like, if you don't have to receiver around for this year, you're just doing it wrong. Right?
Like, what are you doing? OK, because again Adam Thielen OK, Juju Smith, Schuster, Calvin Bradley Cooper Kupp, AJ Brown, Robert Woods, Karelin, Sutton. There are wide receivers. Yeah. Love them all running backs.
Le'Veon Bell, David Johnson, Devin Singletary, David Montgomery, DeAndre Smith.
One to watch. Two of those guys are hurt right now you know. I mean it's just I don't want that to. The wide receivers are so much better. Thielen is my favorite for sure. I think he's been undervalued all offseason. I think his value starting to go up a little bit is definitely trending up. Trending up. But you know pair of top ten fantasy seasons in 17 and 18. He was a little hurt last year. That's why he's values down.
But he was ninth in fantasy points per game, so. Obviously, Stefon Diggs is gone, he's going to be the clear workhorse will say at at wide receiver, so love Thielen at that spot. So two backs and two wide receivers. Three four rounds. How about round five here Mike. Five I think gives him options.
Right. It depends if maybe you took George Kittle right. Maybe you got a value, a tight end. So maybe you don't need Zach Ertz. But how about Tyler Lockett if we you know, we talk about another wide receiver. So I mentioned both of these guys. They're my two targets here. Lockette, you know, T.K. Metcalf is going before him quite often. And I think that's kind of a stretch. Lockett has been good. You know, he's been top sixteen and fantasy points per game each of the past two seasons.
He's been great, broke out last season, need eight touchdowns for you know, I'm a little more nervous than you are on it.
Just the target share was super volatile. The targets were volatile last year, right?
Yeah, well, he had that. I mean, he had what he was banged up, which is difficult task. I hear that like three weeks where he disappeared. And we all worry about like what's going on and they keep flying back to, you know, so I'm not as worried about that. So I like lock it all out there. Terry MacLaurin, Keenan Allen, all options, that wide receiver. But again, if you want to attack tight end here, you didn't take one yet.
I love Zach Ertz. I think you can get him in the sixth round. Sometimes his value is shockingly low for a guy that's been top four and targets, receptions, yards, fantasy points, four straight seasons in a super tight end friendly Doug Peterson offense. So like them, I'll tell you one thing. I'm going to hedge a little bit on the running backs, because this is a spot where sometimes I'll go after a guy, whether it's my flex or maybe I do need a second running back carmaker's Kareem Hunt.
OK, those guys realize. Yeah, because the next few rounds get really ugly at running back. So acres of stocks on the rise with Darryl Henderson a little beat up. And Kareem Hunt has such a high floor and it's great insurance for Nick Chubb. So those are two guys I would consider here. But I'm still leaning wide receiver because it's so, so, so much value.
It's interesting how you mentioned Zach Ertz, maybe him being like a little bit underappreciated right now, which some of that I've made clear in this podcast, like not as a fantasy player necessarily, but just this is a real NFL player. I think he's become grossly underappreciated. I hope and believe he will get paid a massive extension soon from Philadelphia and probably right around with George Katelin and Travis Kelce here now making.
But, you know, you were saying about Ty Lockett, I like that three week stretch where things dipped precipitously and that has me and others a little bit weary about some of the things that he might do this year in twenty twenty. I think part of that's what Zach Ertz last year is that when the Eagles lost all those injuries, had all those injuries, early teams just said, all right, like remember the clip of Bill Belichick and Chad Ochocinco in preseason was like ten years ago and he was still with the Bengals.
And it was like Chad was like, oh, Bill, like, what? You're going to come? And he goes, Yeah, we got a coverage. It's called one double eighty five. And this was like a preseason game. So they're having fun with that. I feel like what happened last year was that when all those injuries took place, people are just like our defensive coordinator said, our strategy for this week is one double or triple eighty six.
And let's let Greg Ward or whoever else was playing wide receiver for the Eagles beat you last year and the clamps were put on Zach Ertz.
Enough for us to be like for people, not us, but for people to be like, man, Zach Ertz has Zach Ertz lost it a little bit.
And the answer is no, he hasn't lost it. And there was a show like a camera crew follow the team around all last season. So, of course, I watch that being an Eagles fan. And that's exactly what happened. They were trying to figure it out in the middle of the season because he had those couple of games where where he was double and triple teamed. Yeah.
And that's what gives me hope for him is the fact that they fought through that they adjusted and he was great. He was the number two fantasy tight end in the second half. And he missed week seventeen. Right? I mean, he was dominant down the stretch after that that brief, that brief issue in the middle of the season. So I feel I feel great about him there talking extension. He's still the guy in that offense. He's Carson Wentz, his favorite target, a great above average offense.
Love him. All right.
So round six, same thing as round five. You have a tight end and a wide receiver that you believe is good value here in round six.
Yeah, same thing. I think there's a lot of values at tight end so that we have a couple of guys listed at different tiers here. Again, maybe one or two. So maybe you go wide receiver here, maybe you went Lockard, maybe you go Darren Waller here. So Ty Hilton and Darren Waller are the two guys I have featured. Hilton, I think very much could be Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen in this offense. He plays inside and out.
He could do a lot of similar things. I think it's perfectly logical. I know he's thirty now, but I don't think we appreciate just how high his floor has been in fantasy. In fact, he has never finished a season in which he's played at least fourteen games, worst in twenty seventeen fantasy points. Twenty seventh is his fate is his worst case scenario so far in his career. And last season when he was healthy he was nineteen. So now he gets a quarterback upgrade obviously to develop ever.
So I like to buy him and I think he's of value in round six. Should be going around to Earth two earlier. And then Walter again, injections to the wide receiver room have people kind of down on him.
But I think we need to appreciate what he brought to the table. Top four, of course, and Snapp's routes, targets, receptions, yardage and fantasy points. Targets may go downfield, but touchdowns are going up one of the obvious touchdown regression to the mean candidates this season. Yeah, it was interesting because the touchdowns last year were low, but the end zone targets were also very low. So was it like is there some sort of. Since that Derek Carr feels towards Darren Waller in the red zone, or is it just one season because he only has a one season sample size of being what he has become?
That has like is that is it just a sample size error? And it's probably the latter based off what you said, round seven for you as a player that I think could be a great value based off my overall rankings, which is Callum Murray in the seventh round.
Now, I have found, Mike, that quarterback overall rankings are all over the board for us, like in our top 100. Like it seems like most people have Lamar Jackson somewhere around like twenty five ish. Patrick Mahomes not far behind him.
And then it's really tough to size up where quarterbacks go. So I've got Kyle Mercata Murray at forty fourth overall. I also am is my third ranked quarterback. So he would be in this case a great value. But he's a round seven target.
He is. He is. And that's where he's kind of slid into the end around six. So he's kind of on the borderline. OK, wrote this a few weeks ago, so he's kind of he's trending up the right direction more towards where you are, but you can get him later than where you have him ranked. So you're going to obviously be all over him. But here's the thing.
You know, two years ago, Patrick Mahomes was the first, you know, first round or first round pick entering his second year and exploded into the league MVP and a fantasy superstar last year, Lamar Jackson, same kind of thing. Now we Kyla Murray, who was again, the first overall pick last season and was QB eight as a rookie. I mean, we're holding these rookies to high bars now.
I mean, that's really good. You don't see that very often. It's not often a rookie quarterback is a top eight or top 10 or even top twelve. Fantasy quarterback Tyler Murray was. So there are three things I like here. First of all, year two, not only for him, but for Cliff Kingsbury and this Arizona offense, which was very high, high paced, fast paced last season. But they struggled a bit.
They be in the red zone.
Yeah, the defense never left a field, so they ended up with as many plays as we expected. But I think that changes this year. Number two is I'm told there was a trade in the off season. They got a good receiver. Do you hear about that?
Is it not familiar that Brock Andre Hopkins is on the Cardinals now that you tell the Cardinals to wait until the Jaguars to wait?
Wow. Right. Wow. Sorry. So, OK, so soon.
Yeah. So they who they acquired, you'll never believe me. So OK, got it. Even Johnson anyway.
So DeAndre Hopkins goes to to the Cardinals. OK. Yeah obviously that's a that's big news gents. And the third is what I just meant, you know he adds value with his legs. Yeah. That's huge in fantasy. And if he doesn't explode you're going to get a top ten fantasy quarterback. So Kyla Murray is is my quarterback target because of that high ceiling. The chance at that offense breaks out this season. If you don't feel comfortable with that, Sean Watson, Russell Wilson are available in this area.
Values if you don't like quarterbacks here, Jarvis Landry, Donte Johnson and Marvin Jones. By the way, last round I had Tyler Boyd, AJ Green will fooler as options as well. So again, we're still overwhelmed with wide receiver talent, these middle rounds.
And if you don't take running backs early and you're forcing yourself to take running backs in these middle rounds, you're going to be taken like Tarricone instead of Jarvis Landry or AJ Green, and you're not going to be happy with yourself.
Here's another one. Here's an interesting one around, because there's a player that I'm not totally sure that I am as excited about this maybe and I don't know that round eight is like an abundance of excitement for you. But Jamison Crowder is the headline target here. Mike, so we've had this conversation about the Jets wide receivers. They're so banged up right now. I mean, it's like Donte Moncrief and Donte Moncrief is being signed. Chris Hogan was recently signed.
And I wouldn't be surprised if Hogan's playing for them a lot in week one. Jamison Crowder versus Burchard. Perriman sort of feels like a ceiling floor debate, right?
Like I think there's a higher ceiling with Parishad Perriman Jamison crowd probably is a higher floor. Had a reasonable overall finish last year. I think he was seventeen catches in week one. So it looked and it was like seventeen catches for ninety nine yards. Yeah.
So a good chunk of his production happened right out of the gates here.
Do you like Crowder this year. Like are you more optimistic and is it, is it because no one else is there to catch passes. Do you feel like touchdowns were not in his favor last year?
What's the appeal to you. Yeah, and this is that debate in fantasy. Do you take a guy that's just kind of a safe high floor guy that, you know, every week you throw in your flex or wide receiver three slot and get, you know, just help move your team along right now. Not a game breaker by any means. And and that's kind of what I wanted to talk about him in the middle ground. So. Seventy eight catches, six touchdowns last season, six touchdowns, actually a decent number for a guy.
That's a very small slot sort of target. But he finished wide receiver. Twenty six, I mean, and his rolls pretty much the same. They didn't make any drastic improvements. Perriman Minge. We'll see what they contribute. Chris Hernandes back fine, but there's still plenty for him to match his target share from last season. So I'm fine with him as a high floor target. By the way, if you wanna go higher ceiling a guy that actually has fallen since I wrote this and he was injured at the time, too, is DBO Samuell, who you can get in the eighth round now with a lot of twelve team drafts and he may play week one now you know we're not sure and keep an eye on that one.
But you're right, it's been discussed.
If he misses a few weeks that's fine in round eight. So I've been getting him in pretty much. All my recent drafts and in round eight, so I like him there as well. We're going to wrap up the rest of your values going round by round here with a couple of rounds combined.
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Only a participating marathon stations remember wherever you know, wherever you need to go, be safe. People Marathon are behind you all the way are. We are continuing along with Mike Claeys Perfect Draft Board. This is a 12 team league and you're sort of giving us your favorite targets round by round. And for a while we give you names. But rounds nine and ten, Mike, it's more sort of concept.
It's a kind of player that you are targeting.
And who is it? It is running back.
So. Right. So we talked at the top. Maybe you wait on that second running order, maybe you took it and now you're just looking at some depth, some high upside players.
This is where you can attack running back. And of course, we talk about your running back, sometimes the same kind of thing. Maybe just go receiver heavy, going to get a Kelsi or Kittel, and now you just want to go looking, go running back shopping. So this is where you can do that. I think there's a list of players that are interesting here, guys who have chance for a roll right out of the gate. Zach Moss, Darrell Henderson.
I'll talk about those two here more in a second. Matt Berita, Antonio Gibson, you can get those guys in this vicinity. Yeah.
And then there's your insurance options, right? Your your your potential league winners if the starter goes down. Latavius Murray in New Orleans saw that last season. Alex Madison, we talked about him earlier, Tony Poller, Chase Edmunds. OK, I think those are the featured guys in this area. My two favorites, of course, Zach Moss. I've been talking about him since a month or two before the draft. Love that guy. Second best after contact, second best forced miss tackle rate in this rookie class, in this rookie class as a size three down skill set for sure.
I think he's a better prospect than Devin Singletary.
And they were they were all third round picks. I mean, it's not like the pedigree's massively different. So like him a lot in the Darrell Henderson. You know, I've used a stat a bazillion times this offseason, his last two years of college, over three hundred and fifty, carries eight point nine yards per carry, which is ridiculous. So silly. I think both of those guys are fine targets. And Henderson speed up now, but he's supposed to be back for week one.
So keep an eye on that.
Daniel, what he got here? Yeah, quick question. Understanding that you're talking about Alexander Madison in this range, is this assuming that Dalvin Cook was your first round target and you grabbed Dalvin Cook? So he is now the guy that you want to share that backfield, or is this completely independent of? If you took Dalvin Cook in the first, you would still take Alexander Madison here in the ninth or 10th.
This is either way. In fact if I took Cook I'm probably, I'm probably moving Madison up around just like if I took Zeke, maybe I move Pollard up around.
OK, so no matter what, it doesn't matter. And I preach this all the time. It doesn't matter if you took a Zeke or a cook. You should still be targeting these kind of guys in this range because they could, you know, even if you're loaded at running back and if if the cook holds out and you have Madison, I mean, you just got yourself a borderline RB one that's sure.
Somebody you could trade. That's a guy you could start every single week. I mean, smart. Those are you know, those are excellent targets in this sort of stage of the draft. So I definitely think running back is the way to go in this this round. But I do want to mention Sterling Shepard, by the way, because if we're talking wide receivers in nine rounds, nine, ten, that's that's kind of the guy I'm looking at here.
There's been reports. Anything short of Vernon the other day I was just talking about that Shepard is pretty much cemented himself as the number one excellent in that offense. And there's a lot of Terry slingin hype and Evan Engram hype. And of course, Golden Tate is there and he's taken in the backfield. But Shepard, I mean, if you look at last season what he did, he missed some time with injury. But when he played, he was only one of six players in the NFL who was targeted at least six times in every game he played.
Him and Evan Engram are actually both on that list. And he was seventeenth in fantasy points those weeks. I mean, he was force fed the ball. He's our number one. This offense was a tenth and offense of touchdowns last season with none of their top guys playing a single game together. It's Owens and the Go No Games together.
Boy Scouts won't be the issue in New York. It's the points allowed part a little bit more concerned about that is that's actually good. That's good. That's good for families. That's what we want.
Let's move forward your last four sort of options here, Mike. In round eleven, you've got two players who play very different positions, but both pique your interest. Yes, indeed.
So, again, if you're looking at the tight end, our quarterback market here, two of my favorite guys are. Noah Fant at Tight End, so first round pick last season, he was 21 years old and was tight end 16 again, tight end 16 for a rookie. Yeah, great season. I mean, you just doesn't happen for rookie tight ends.
We talk about that all the time. So that was really good. He also had the fifth best yards per target by a first year, tight end since 2007. Why is that notable? Well, if you look at the list of those players, it's like fantasy star, fantasy star, fantasy star.
Eight of them are fantasy stars. The other two are Noah Fan and Chris Herndon. I mean, pretty pretty good sign, right?
Yeah. So like him a lot in the double digit rounds. I'm surprised he's going this late. And the other one is Tom Brady, who.
Although you know him. He's a new up and comer, the Bucks new quarterback. So like him, I think that you can still get him very late in drives. Now, our ATP, he goes a little earlier. You know, we obviously we obviously set the draft room ranks. And so we like him a little bit more than than, I would say, other sites. So if you have league mates coming in and they're using sheets that they made up on their own, they might have Tom Brady a little bit lower.
Right. So you might see him go a little earlier and ESPN drafts and ADP. But still, you can get him in the double digit rounds in most drafts, I think probably worth passing along to.
And I say this frequently on this podcast. There's a lot of name drafting and fantasy still, right? I mean, Todd Gurley is being drafted really, really high right now. Brady will be drafted high, I would think, and some people just based off name alone and players of that ilk.
So are that's 11, round 11. How about round 12 here, Mike?
It's my favorite round of Mike's entire draft. Really? How? Because I just love this player. I'm all in with Mike on this player.
And it's not a line. No, it's not. It was just. Did I did I miss the script? It's now we're now talking about T.J. Hawkinson. It is not. So it is Preston Williams groundswells.
When he played last season, remember, he was an undrafted wide receiver. Devante Parker was one of the breakout players in Fantasy last season. Well before Williams tore his ACL. He was out targeting Devante Parker and was thirty seventh and fantasy. And we're talking about a guy now. You can get in the 12th round. That was also a Miami offense that was really struggling. They changed quarterbacks a couple of times. It was a mess and he was still top 40 as an undrafted rookie.
All reports are he's healthy, he's ready to go. He's going to be a full time starter in that Dolphins offense, which should be a little bit better this season. So love Preston Williams, but you have other options. Maybe you don't like Williams, Robbie Anderson and Curtis Samuel and that new mat rule, Carolina offense. Perriman, who you talked about earlier to Sean Jackson, we talked about in Justin Jefferson, the rookie for Minnesota. So you have a lot of options there.
But Williams is a guy that I like the most round third around twelve, Preston Williams and good to see him back and healthy. His highlight reel is actually pretty fun to watch you go revisit it from the first half of last season around thirteen and bucket of late round flyer's fully activated right now. Give me a running back and a wide receiver that you think are particularly notable. Yeah, Parris Campbell and Damien Harris here. Now, I'll start with Campbell here.
I called him perhaps this year's great day to pick last year. A lot of speed, good, good spots to play a ton of snaps in his second season. He was he was hurt last season. But the guy is super fast, quick. He can run the ball, catch the ball playing the slot. I'm sure they'll move him around a lot. He can return a little bit. So I like him a lot. Is a breakout candidate.
You can get him like Harris is a little interesting because if you've been doing a lot of drafts recently and you're listening to this, you're probably thinking, well, I can't get him that late now. And that's probably true because his his value is on the rise. But it's kind of bouncing back and forth because there's Sony. Michel reports that he's not going to start the season than he is. Then he's the backup that he's getting first team reps.
So it's all over the place. But nonetheless, late rounds. Damien Harris, perhaps this year where he mostert that's what I called him on one of my recent articles, Good Size. You know, he's super reliable out snapped Josh Jacobs in his final. Yeah, I am a very good player. He can catch the football, too, which is important. So we always worry about that Patriots offense kind of the committee there, but he could get fifteen plus carries in week one.
He can get catch a couple of footballs, he could get goal line work. So I think Damian Harris Harris is a terrific value. All right.
Before we get to your final three round, which is your late latest of late rounds, a quick word from our friends via Daniel.
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All right, Daniel, well done. Let's bring it on hold, Mike, with your final target. Round fourteen through sixteen. What are you looking for here besides a defense and a kicker?
I'm looking for early winners. I'm looking for upside field that I really care about these final couple of rounds. I don't want any boring players here. So let's talk about a few of those.
Running back insurance options, OK, number one, we talked about a few of the top guys, but there's other options. There's always a lot of those in the final few rounds.
So Benny Snell, you know, he's a kind of a riser as of late. He seems to have locked down the number two job in Pittsburgh, high scoring offense, obviously, with Big Ben healthy. And, you know, if James Carter is obviously dealt with a lot of injury. So if Carter is an injury, Snell could be the next guy. That's a weekly starter at running back Daryl Williams, Gio Bernard, AJ Dillon, Carlos Hyde, Josh Kelly or Justin Jackson.
A lot of options the last couple of rounds. Speaking of Pittsburgh, Chase Claypole, another guy on the rise, right? You're seeing Eric Brown was tweeting about how they're going to dominate near the red zone. Well, look, the Steelers, I'm told they're good at drafting wide receivers. I mean, they hit a home run like every other year.
It's kind of crazy how good they've been at that. So he's a second round pick this season, like him for sure. Denzel Mims, Tee Higgins, Devin Devaney, discussion, all all fine options. And then one more I mentioned before, Chris Herndon. If you're looking for a sleeper at the tight end position, again, tight end nine after week five of his rookie season, he missed last season with the injuries, but the efficiency was so good.
So like him a lot.
Or Smith to Daniel, don't you love how Mike saved up all his scoops all off season for today? We learned that, A, the Jaguars decided to wait until today to release him so Mike could be on the show. That was great. I learned that DeAndre Hopkins got traded to the Cardinals. Yeah. Just now. He was told he passed along.
The Steelers are good at drafting wide receivers, which is fantastic. I also heard that Tom Brady is a new quarterback. I should keep an eye on coming this year. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, Mike really brought his A game today from that perspective. I do have a question actually about this, Mike. Do you have a draft strategy when you get to this round? And I noticed this in the article where it's like 14 through 16. If you're on ESPN, you have to draft a defensive kicker.
Do you keep that defensive kicker on your roster or will you immediately drop them just to pick up one of these other guys you're talking about just your strategy around that?
I almost always do that. In fact, I just did a draft where I was forced to take a defensive kicker and my plan was immediately to drop them and pick up. Right. While Armstead and the draft was yesterday. So that waivers aren't clear yet.
So I always do that because if someone gets hurt, you know. You know what I mean? I say this all the time. Like if you have the Ravens defense and I'm just going to let's just use that the Jaguars example. Let's pretend that didn't happen and Leonard Fournette gets hurt. You just have the Ravens defense right over Michael Almstead and Leonard Fournette gets surprisingly cut. You now have perhaps a flex option in RB two, and in some situations it's a higher ceiling player like a Chase Edmunds or one of these other guys that I just talked about like a G open after a Benny Snell likes to say James Connor gets injured or.
Yeah, you're Benny Snell. You have an RB two, perhaps so.
And then and then right before week one, just pick up a kicker defense. Right. You could stream those positions. It's not a big deal.
So especially I mean, every year it matters. But this year there is so many questions because we haven't I mean, look at how many teams are making moves right now.
We've seen like we're going to you know, kickers don't really matter as much a fantasy football, but reflective of how much uncertainty there is. There's all kinds of teams evaluating kickers right now. We'll have all sorts of positional battles that are going to be finished off this week because roster cuts are Saturday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. We'll have plenty to dive into that.
We've got a full week of shows ahead. Matthew Stafford will be back tomorrow. But we want to thank you so much for joining us.
That was a lot of fun. Yeah, that was fun. Good. Don't forget, at some point, it's good to have you back in the studio. We'll have plenty of McLay throughout the season. He's McLay NFL on Twitter. I'm at Felgate. He's at Daniel Dopp. We have got a loaded show tomorrow. I promise. I just don't know what it's loaded with. Probably like good content for Matthew and Stefania.
Yeah. Or content from Matthew. OK, you just take out the word good in front of that. Probably a little bit of us is a necessary qualifier for me, for my Daniel Kyle and everybody involved in the show. We are back tomorrow. Talk to you.
That piece out Matthew Berry, tmr on YouTube. You guys go ahead. Give me grief for being on SportsCenter for forty five seconds. Think you can do better than me? Because I don't think you jailbait jailbait eight. If you're terrible at hashtag improvs. I feel great. I feel great stuff. Your bell. Oh, don't let Barry convert. Secrets, but Daniel does make you have mediocre fantasy and by your own people realize that never style loyal.
I was the only.