NFL Pre-Season DraftKings Picks:
Friday 8/26 Slate
Entering week three of NFL preseason, we should fully expect starters to play at least one full half of football. In some cases, starters will venture into the third quarter of games. In this article I’ll hone in on each teams starting players for Fridays slate.
BUF @ WAS 6:30p
LeSean McCoy, RB – Shaping up to be the Bills workhorse back, we could see McCoy play the first half here.
Rob Kelley, RB – Matt Jones injury and lack of depth catapulted Kelley into a starting role this week. Making him an elite RB play for today’s slate. Would be wise to have major exposure.
NE @ CAR 6:30p
Martellus Bennett, TE – With Rob Gronkowski not expected to play, Bennett makes for an exceptional play Friday night.
Cam Newton, QB – Newton is expected to play into the third quarter of Fridays game, making him the chalk QB for this slate. This is not something you should try fading, use him with confidence today.
CLE @ TB 7:00p
Josh Gordon, WR – Gordon making his preseason debut today against the Buccaneers. Should be exciting to see if he’s still got it after all that grass he’s smoked.
Mike Evans, WR – Evans has been roasting the Browns secondary this week in joint practices. Would fully expect him to do the same Friday night. He is my top WR play for the slate.
PIT @ NO 7:00p
Eli Rogers, WR – Most won’t know this, but Rogers is expected to win the starting slot WR job for the Steelers. He’s the only play I can get behind from Pitt this week.
Brandin Cooks, WR – Cooks was a healthy scratch for last weeks game. Hoping that’s indication he will play a good deal today.
GB @ SF 9:00p
I do not expect Green Bay to play their starters for more than a few series in this game. That in mind, I think you can dial up GB D/ST this week against a leaky 49ers QB core.
Carlos Hyde, RB – Showing flashes of brilliance last season, I’m excited to see an extended look at Hyde Friday. Could see his re-draft ADP rise or fall, following this game.
Good luck this Friday!
Falcons running back coach Bobby Turner wants to decrease Devonta Freeman’s carries in 2016.
“It’s about growth,” Turner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Free had a good year, but I’m expecting even a better year. Well, you’re saying, how can it be better? It can be even better with less carries or less catches because I’d obviously like to get Tevin (Coleman) more involved and that also keeps Free fresher.”
That statement has created the wildfire effect on Freeman’s current ADP. Coachspeak, can misinform fantasy players and lead to painful fantasy decisions.
One thing that stands clear to me: When Devonta Freeman is not on the field, the Atlanta Falcons are not the same team. Although in a small sample size, Tevin Coleman was the dominant ball carrier week 11 and 12. He replaced Freeman who concussed early 1st quarter of week 11. Atlanta lost both games, and scored a combined 31 points. Coleman fumbled in each game, and clearly was a liability in pass pro. When running routes, Matt Ryan showed mistrust and often refused to look his direction.
In light of this, I wanted to take a look at why Free’s production fell off following his return week 13. I watched every single game, every single carry, and this is what I found.
Football is a game of trenches, and Atlanta was not winning. Negative plays did there part in dropping his YPC. Over the last 5 games the offensive line accounted for 24 negative plays netting minus 43 yards. Not seeming like a big deal, this lack of production dropped a 4.6 average to a 4.02. We should also note, Atlanta’s OL ranked 22nd in stuff rate (plays for zero gain).
Why does all of this matter you ask? Well quite simply I am trying to prove Freeman can attain a higher YPC average with better line play. The interior offensive line was key to Atlanta’s struggles. Newly signed center, Alex Mack reunites with OC Kyle Shanahan after their dominant days in Cleveland. “Alex is a three-time Pro Bowler and is an ideal scheme fit for our offense,” GM Thomas Dimitroff said. With this addition, the negative/stuffed plays should drop significantly. Clearly aiding in Freeman’s overall 2016 production.
Now lets get to the Tevin Coleman factor. Not only is Freeman the more reliable pass protector and receiving back (73 rec for 578 yards in 2015), he’s the superior red zone threat. Evident in his league leading 47 RZ attempts. Comparing the two backs inside the five, Free converted 5-of-11 runs into touchdowns. While upright and stiff, Coleman converted just 1-of-5. Tevin who was running gunner duties last season, averaged just below three touches a game while Freeman was the starter.
Bobby Turner’s words were, “keep Free fresher”. When factoring in what Freeman brings to the table, there’s one instance where Coleman’s playing time should increase. When Atlanta has a double digit lead, and wants to chew clock. This speaks to keeping their starter “FRESH”. Although based off Vegas odds, (Atlanta’s win total being 7 games) I don’t see this being a critical factor for Freeman owners.
Let’s not forget how good Freeman’s 2015 campaign was. As a Pro Bowler, in 14 full games he amassed 1,595 yards, 73 receptions and 14 touchdowns. That’s equivalent to 317 fantasy points or 22.64 FP/G! To give perspective, Le’Veon Bell’s marvelous 2014 season he averaged 23.15 FP/G.
Already showcasing his ceiling as the top RB last season. We can safely project Freeman’s carries to decline, but to think he falls off a fantasy cliff is absurd. MFL10 ADP data surely suggest the latter. As he is currently the 8th RB selected and 20th overall. We should thank our competitors and BUY Freeman while we still can. With a built in floor due to his passing game skills and red zone abilities, he’s one of the safest selections this season.
Projection: 257 att for 1,061 yards, 75 rec for 558 yards and 11 total touchdowns.
If you want to talk about video game numbers, look at Anderson’s final eight games of the season. I’m truly good at Madden, but I don’t know if my thumbs could post these monster stats.
When you look at all of this, C.J. combined for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns. IN 8 WEEKS!
If I’m trying to describe Anderson to you, he does it for me on a single play. Playoff game last year vs Indianapolis, late 3rd quarter 4th and 1 game on the line. C.J. had a defender in his grill immediately and should have been dropped for a five yards loss. Instead he makes a cut back and sheds the defender all in one fluent motion. He goes on to break not one tackle but two more and fights for the first down. When watching this, it shows how much he cares about winning for his team. A very unselfish talented kid, who is reminiscent of a 30 pound thicker Barry Sanders.
Here’s the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBzOSMCTKEI
If you’re not a film buff like me, I’d highly suggest watching at least a highlight tape of Anderson.
Highlight link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZSvOiWPFro
After crunching numbers and watching hours of game film on him, I still had a hard time figuring out his yearly projections. Simply not enough stats to formulate a base I felt comfortable with. To give me more depth perspective, I decided to dive deeper into Gary Kubiak’s history.
Kubiak has been in the NFL for over 20 years and has a knack for churning out stud RB’s. Last year he helped journey man Justin Forsett realize his true potential, posting a league best 5.38 yards per carry. In 2010 he had a guy named Arian Foster, who went off for 2,220 scrimmage yards and 18 overall touchdowns. That year Houston ranked third in the NFL averaging 386.6 total net yards per game rushing (127.6 ypg – third) and passing (259.0 ypg – fourth).
I believe the 2015 Denver Broncos and C.J. Anderson are comparable to the 2010 Houston Texans. When we look at them on paper its simple, the two teams have many similarities. Peyton Manning an aging QB who won’t be asked to win games this season, stats will reflect very similar to Matt Schaub in 2010. Somewhere in the lines of 365 completions for 4,400 yards and a couple dozen touchdowns. With dominant wide outs Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, and new comer Cody Latimer defenses will have to chose between two evils. Sell out on the run, get burned by DT, or pass protect and watch Anderson destroy you. Under Kubiak’s offense facing soft boxes and a favorable schedule we can expect C.J. to run wild like Foster did in 2010.
After toying with multiple stats, projecting the Broncos offense and having further knowledge of Kubiak’s scheme I have concluded the following projections:
Based off his fantasy points per game ( 23.1 fp/g ) C.J. projects to be my number one fantasy running back of the 2015 season. I’m optimistic I’ve opened eyes to what could be your winning ticket to fantasy stardom.