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Fantasy Football Player Notes

2020 PPR Draft Rankings
Saquon Barkley Note
Saquon Barkley photo 2. Saquon Barkley RB - (vs . DAL)
After an extremely impressive rookie season, Barkley came back down to earth a bit in 2019, though 4.6 yards per carry behind that Giants offensive line is nothing to scoff at. Playing through injury was a clear net-negative to his overall numbers, and something he hopefully learned from. The biggest difference was breakaway runs of 15-plus yards, as Barkley rattled off 20 of them in his rookie season, but just nine of them in his sophomore season. With all the weapons in this offense, you have to wonder just how many targets Barkley will get, but trust me, the Giants are building their offense around him and not anyone else. If Daniel Jones can take a step forward in year two, it'll help open lanes for Barkley. It also doesn't hurt that they dramatically improved the offensive line this offseason.
14 weeks ago
Evan Engram Note
Evan Engram photo 69. Evan Engram TE - (vs . DAL)
Since coming into the league, Engram has been one of the most consistent tight ends in the league. Don't believe me? I've tracked all tight ends since the start of the 2000 season and Engram has posted TE1-type numbers in 58.8 percent of his games. The only players with higher percentages over that time are Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, and George Kittle. Engram hasn't had the upside of someone like Jimmy Graham or Tony Gonzalez, but he's been reliable. Now in an offense with more weapons than ever, will that continue? Even with most of them on the field last year, there was just one game where he saw less than seven targets (he still saw five). Do you know how many tight ends averaged more than even 6.5 targets last year? Six. Engram averaged 8.5 targets, so even if we knocked off a full 1.5 targets per game, he'd still be in elite territory. Injuries have added up, though, and he's missed 13 games over the last two years, which is why he doesn't belong in the elite conversation. You need a discount to take players like him. Fortunately, you're getting that, as he's the eighth tight end to come off draft boards in the seventh round.
14 weeks ago
Sterling Shepard Note
Sterling Shepard photo 95. Sterling Shepard WR - (vs . DAL)
In a season where he was dealing with injuries and a rookie quarterback, Shepard still posted WR2 or better numbers in 40 percent of his games, which ranked 33rd among wide receivers. Now, to be fair, the offense has changed, but it doesn't appear the new regime is very fond of Evan Engram, as evidenced by putting him on the trade block during the NFL Draft. Golden Tate is aging, and while Darius Slayton did flash at times, it was a relatively small sample size. It shouldn't shock anyone to see Shepard get 100-plus targets in 2020 and finish as a WR3, though you do have to wonder what his upside actually is with so many mouths to feed.
14 weeks ago
Darius Slayton Note
Darius Slayton photo 108. Darius Slayton WR - (vs . DAL)
Everyone wants the shiny new toy that just posted 740 yards and eight touchdowns on just 83 targets last year, as evidenced by his WR39 ADP. The issue is stability. With Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate in the mix, it's going to be very hard for Slayton to get consistent targets and be reliable in fantasy. Sure, he had multiple 120-yard, two-touchdown games last year, but you know what else he had... after those games? A game with three targets. Another game with two targets. Keep in mind that was while Evan Engram was out of the lineup. Slayton outproduced what everyone expected last year, being a fifth-round pick, but there's a real chance he's the No. 5 option in this passing attack when everyone is healthy. His average depth of target last year was 14.5 yards down the field, which ranked 10th in all of football. That further indicates a boom/bust player who's being taken as a low-end WR3/high-end WR4. If you want to believe in his ceiling, that's fine, but don't pay for it. He's in the WR4 territory and not as safe as Shepard or Tate. If someone misses time, we saw what he can do if promoted.
14 weeks ago
Daniel Jones Note
Daniel Jones photo 110. Daniel Jones QB - (vs . DAL)
Here's a fun fact: Jones had two of the top-10 single game performances by quarterbacks in 2019. Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson are the only two other quarterbacks who can say that. In fact, Jones had four games where he tallied 28-plus fantasy points, including three games over 30 points, something Philip Rivers has never done in his career. It wasn't all pretty, though. Outside of those four explosion games, Jones was a train wreck, finishing with 14.7 or fewer fantasy points in the eight other games he started. His matchups where he exploded were against the Washington Football team, Bucs, Jets, and Lions. That's a far cry from his start to the season in 2020 where he'll open the season against the Steelers, Bears, and 49ers. You're going to find him on waiver wires before long. In fact, he has one of the toughest schedules in the league, though the start is just brutal. What his 2019 season reminded me of was 2018 Mitch Trubisky. Don't believe me? The stats highlighted in The Primer: Draft Day Edition back that up. Now to be fair, Jones is under a new head coach, though Jason Garrett may not be a better play caller than Pat Shurmur. On top of that, Jones never got the luxury to play with Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton on the field at the same time. The upside is certainly there for Jones to take the leap into top-12 quarterback status, but the early schedule means you shouldn't draft him in 1QB leagues, unless you plan on platooning quarterbacks. In 2QB formats, he's the ideal solution, as he has job security, rushing upside, and his defense is horrendous.
14 weeks ago
Golden Tate Note
Golden Tate photo 121. Golden Tate WR - (vs . DAL)
I remember when Tate was just a young guy in the league trying to find a role in the Seahawks offense. Here we are, now entering his 11th season at 32 years old. As you can see from the Shepard paragraph, Tate was semi-consistent with his targets, but you also have to factor in where he played on the field. Both Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram missed time throughout the year, which should've led to more targets for Tate. He had them most of the time, but even more importantly, he produced when he played. He produced WR3 or better numbers in 81.8 percent of his games last year. You know who did that more often than him? Michael Thomas. That's it. It is a new offense and Barkley/Engram are healthy, so don't expect that anymore, but understand that there's likely a place for him in fantasy football, especially when you consider the state of the Giants defense that'll be among the league's worst. He's not sexy and won't finish as a top-24 receiver, but he can be a WR4 type that you plug in when you know the Giants will be throwing a ton.
14 weeks ago
Dion Lewis Note
Dion Lewis photo 277. Dion Lewis RB - (vs . DAL)
Lewis is highly unlikely to see significant touches so long as Saquon Barkley is healthy. Even if Barkley were to get injured, Lewis is now 29 years old and does not have the frame to take over every-down work. In other words, his best-case scenario is 10-12 touches with work in the passing game, and there are obstacles to reach that point. There's little reason to consider Lewis in your fantasy draft.
25 weeks ago
Devonta Freeman Note
Devonta Freeman photo 317. Devonta Freeman RB - (vs . DAL)
Wayne Gallman Note
Wayne Gallman photo 341. Wayne Gallman RB - (vs . DAL)
Graham Gano Note
Graham Gano photo 371. Graham Gano K - (vs . DAL)
New York Giants Note
New York Giants photo 373. New York Giants DST - (vs . DAL)
Dante Pettis Note
Dante Pettis photo 375. Dante Pettis WR - (vs . DAL)
Kaden Smith Note
Kaden Smith photo 399. Kaden Smith TE - (vs . DAL)
Rysen John Note
Rysen John photo 502. Rysen John WR,TE - (vs . DAL)
Corey Coleman Note
Corey Coleman photo 505. Corey Coleman WR - (vs . DAL)
Elijhaa Penny Note
Elijhaa Penny photo 514. Elijhaa Penny RB - (vs . DAL)
C.J. Board Note
C.J. Board photo 542. C.J. Board WR - (vs . DAL)
Levine Toilolo Note
Levine Toilolo photo 577. Levine Toilolo TE - (vs . DAL)