Fantasy Football News Roundup: Raheem Mostert, Patrick Mahomes, Damien Williams, David Njoku
The best part about the growth of the fantasy sports industry is that player analysis has never been more accessible. In fact, we’re at the point where one of the most overlooked aspects of playing fantasy football is simply reading the news. Often, there is a lot to learn from what a coach or executive say, as well as the information that beat reporters share. Using this news to our advantage is one of the few ways fantasy players can create an edge for themselves. Here’s a summary of this week’s headlines.
Patrick Mahomes Is Rich
We all know Patrick Mahomes is the best player in football. Now he has the contract to prove it. Earlier this week the
Bears Chiefs QB agreed to a 10-year, $503 million extension with Kansas City. It’s a gargantuan sum of money with a plethora of fancy logistics that quite frankly aren’t worth getting into in a fantasy football article.
What this transaction does for fantasy is cement the reigning Super Bowl MVP as the QB1 in dynasty/superflex leagues moving forward. The Chiefs are a perfect situation for Mahomes, quite possibly the most talented quarterback we’ve ever seen. Andy Reid is the perfect play caller. Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Damien Williams form a dream supporting cast of veterans. The front office continues to add playmakers around their franchise star in recent drafts (Mecole Hardman, Clyde Edwards-Helaire).
There’s a real debate as to who should be QB1 in 2020 fantasy drafts, Mahomes or Lamar Jackson. For this blogger, it comes down to the idea that Jackson’s 9% TD-rate is bound to regress while Mahomes actually underperformed in the 2019 regular season.
|Player||2018 TD rate||2019 TD rate||FantasyPros ECR|
Damien Williams: The Ultimate Zero RB
The collective fantasy football world lost their minds when the Chiefs closed out Night 1 of the NFL Draft by selecting LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Yes, CEH is the perfect fit for Kansas City’s offense. Yes, his long-term outlook appears glorious. No, that does not mean Damien Williams is just going to conveniently go away. In fact, Chiefs RB coach Deland McCullough expects a “big jump” from Williams in 2020.
“Just listening to the way Damien spoke about himself and the things we’re doing and the things he’s going to do to improve, I think his maturation in this offense is going to be a big jump this year” were his exact words.
The 28-year-old finished the 2019 season on a tear, scoring eight touchdowns in the Chiefs’ final four games (playoffs included). Edwards-Helaire is an elite receiving threat, but so is DW. Would it be surprising if CEH took over control of the backfield by midseason? Of course not. It also wouldn’t be surprising if this remained a committee throughout 2020.
Williams will be a free agent after this season, and his departure would make Edwards-Helaire a first-round fantasy selection in 2021. The Chiefs aren’t phasing out Williams in 2020, though, and neither should fantasy players. Priced as the RB34 in our ECR, Williams is an ideal zero RB draft option.
Running backs are flying off draft boards earlier than ever. There has never been a better time to implement zero RB than the 2020 #FantasyFootball season
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) June 26, 2020
Raheem Mostert Wants Out
It feels as if I’ve written about the 49ers’ running backs every other week since this column was created back in May. Part of that is because Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman keep popping up in the news. The other reason is that unlocking the San Francisco backfield is one of the keys to the 2020 fantasy football season.
We know how valuable the position of “49ers running back” can be. When Mostert was treated as a featured back in the NFC Championship versus Green Bay, he totaled 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns. Yet for the entire offseason both backs have been affordably priced in our expert consensus rankings, with Mostert checking in at RB26 in and Coleman sitting at RB44. This made each of them a desirable target for fantasy players hoping to snag high-level RB play in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts.
Things might be changing as Mostert, the 28-year-old former UDFA, has requested a trade from the 49ers. He’s projected to earn $3 million this year, which his agent notes was negotiated under the premise of Mostert primarily playing special teams. Now he wants “Tevin Coleman money”, who is earning $4.5 million in 2020. This seems like a reasonable bump that San Francisco should pay, but the truth is Kyle Shannahan makes every running back he has look better – including 28-year-old UDFAs like Mostert.
For fake football purposes, nothing really changes until Mostert is either traded or given an extension. It’s hard to imagine him winding up in a better situation than the 49ers, so a trade will more than likely decrease his fantasy stock. On the flip side, if San Francisco gives him a new contract it shows they truly view him as the alpha in this backfield. As for Coleman, his value would obviously skyrocket in the event of a trade. Should Mostert remain with the NFC Champs then Coleman would simply remain an enticing zero RB target.
David Njoku Wants Out Too
Raheem Mostert isn’t the only unhappy NFL player these days. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that David Njoku wants out of Cleveland. This is understandable as the Browns gave Austin Hooper a four-year deal with $23 million guaranteed in free agency. While many of us view that signing as coach Kevin Stefanski wanting to utilize more 12 personnel, Njoku apparently wants to be somewhere with more opportunity.
NFL reporter Josina Anderson later tweeted the 2017 first-round pick remains a “big part” of the Browns’ plans for 2020. This furthers the notion that Cleveland wants to utilize two-TE sets this year. Following a 2018 breakout, Njoku broke this thumb early on last season and wound up missing 12 games. The Browns then brought in Hooper and used a fourth-round draft pick on Harrison Bryant.
These additions make Njoku an afterthought in re-draft leagues right now but there’s no dying this freak of an athlete would be interesting if given an opportunity elsewhere. Perhaps this makes him a sneaky buy-low candidate in dynasty formats. It often takes tight ends several years to come into their own as a pro.
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