Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Fantasy Football Fallers and Risers: WRs and TEs

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No need to explain this; it's a pretty simple exercise, and we've already covered the basics with QBs and RBs. Three fallers, three risers, from players that are going to be drafted anyway.

Wide Receivers - Fallers

1) Demaryius Thomas.
FBB's #2 ranked wideout has a magical combination of discouragement. First off, he got paid in the off-season, and that's never good news for getting every bit of fantasy goodness. Denver's gone to run-heaviness in an effort to be more playoff-potent, and to keep Peyton Manning's workload down. With the swap of Julius Thomas for Owen Daniels, the TE isn't going to stretch the field. He's still a WR1, but more along the 8 to 10 range, not 1 to 5.

2) T.Y. Hilton. Just too many weapons in Indy now, with credible threats all the way down to WR3 and WR4, and QB Andrew Luck is smart enough to spread the love. Hilton will get his, but it will be in fits and starts, with too many mouths to feed.

3) DeAndre Hopkins. Maybe I'm missing something, but why should the only WR of note in a run-first offense with one of the worst QB situations in the league... should just be as good as last year, when he delivered WR2 value? Maybe Andre Johnson, particularly in 2014, wasn't exactly motivated to destroy the world, but he's still better than Nate Washington or Cecil Shorts III. Hopkins is in for a world of double coverage and QBs who don't get him the ball. Avoid with all speed.

Wide Receivers - Risers

1) Alshon Jeffery.
Every year, you have to balance a fear of injury from a player who is otherwise just going to be a stud. This year, it's Jeffery, the top target for a Chicago team that will be down often, throwing it a lot, and, well, he's good. A top 5 season awaits.

2) Keenan Allen. So what's real -- the 1K / 8 TD rookie machine, or the 800 / 4 TD sophomore slumper? Let's go to Column C instead, where he puts it all together and goes to 1200 / 10. Why? Because Malcolm Floyd and Antonio Gates are old, Ladarius Green is too good at blocking to just go out on patterns all the time, and QB Philip Rivers will get him the ball. Remember, no Eddie Royal now, either, and while Stevie Johnson isn't horrible, he's not going to go as much as Royal did last year. Allen's going to be a target magnet.

3) Jeremy Maclin. We get it; Alex Smith stinks. But Maclin's a lot better than Dwayne Bowe, Andy Reid will scheme to get him looks all over the field, and Smith is tired of hearing how he doesn't have the sack to feed a WR. Maclin won't get to the 1,300 / 10 range that he saw last year in Philly, but 1,100 / 8 is completely possible, and for where you will get him, you'll be happy.

Tight Ends - Fallers

1) Jimmy Graham
. TE2 really fell off a cliff last year due to health, and now goes to a run-first offense with bad outdoor bad weather, instead of the pass-happy dome that was his domain. He probably doesn't slide past TE6 range, but he also does not make you very happy every week, and for where you would need to take him, he should.

2) Jason Witten. Beware the Name Brand. Witten is 33 now, has scored 5 TDs or less in three of the last four years, and projects more as a 600 / 4 matchup play, rather than a set and forget guy. He's still good, and the best the franchise has seen at his position, but Lance Dunbar and Cole Beasley will move the sticks a lot more on third down this year.

3) Kyle Rudolph. Career high in yardage: 493, two years ago. Career high in TDs: 9, same story. Last two years: 17 games played, 15 games missed, and in the games played, the meh-ish totals of 544 / 5. He's not getting drafted in many leagues, but any is too much, especially with the Vikings developing other weapons.

Tight Ends - Risers

1) Greg Olsen.
OK, it's chalk to go here with Kelvin Benjamin out, but Olsen might be the only fantasy relevant pass-catcher in Carolina this year, and will not disappoint with a very heavy target load. He's been good for 800+ yards and 6 TDs the last three years; pencil him in now for 1K and 8, and likely TE2 status when it's all said and done.

2) Julius Thomas. Kind of the TE equivalent of Maclin, in that everyone has smashed his draft value with the move... but Thomas is a TE, and going to get all kinds of security and red zone love from QB Blake Bortles. I realize the injury concerns are real here, but he's got 800 / 10 potential, and maybe even more than the latter number if things go well. It's not as if he went to a murderous division.

3) Delanie Walker. I've seen enough of Marcus Mariota this off-season to think he's going to turn the Titans into an actual NFL offense, and all of the love can't go to the wideouts. Walker's never going to be convinced for a guy with great hands, but he does damage when he does catch the ball, and he'll get consistent targets. Draft and smile.

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