Matthew on the NBC halftime show talking fantasy, what a time to be alive...
In today’s Fantasy Life Newsletter:
- What's up with the Raiders playing Josh Jacobs?
- Matthew's big announcement & 100 facts you need to know
- Who will lead the Broncos backfield in touches?
- Kendall's TE sleepers
- Fantasy Points: The most consistent & inconsistent players
- Linda's 2 players to avoid in drafts
- It’s 8/5. Take it away, Peter Overzet…
Do the Raiders not like Josh Jacobs?
It's rare for teams use their veteran starters in the first preseason game of the year and yet the Raiders played him on ten of the first eleven snaps in last night's Hall of Fame game.
Jacobs finished the night with a respectable line (5 carries for 30 yards), but left the entire fantasy world scratching their head on why he was out there at all.
After bringing in a new coaching staff this offseason, the Raiders elected not to pick up his fifth-year option and then drafted rookie Zamir White in the 4th round of the NFL draft.
White, by the way, looked pretty crisp last night:
Zamir White flashes some moves 👀
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders)
Aug 5, 2022
It's safe to wonder if Josh McDaniels and co. simply don't view Jacobs as part of their long term plans and prefer White and/or a full-blown committee situation with Kenyan Drake.
Regardless, it's time to start taking White seriously at the end of drafts and also worth pumping the brakes on Jacobs until we get some more data points.
You've been waiting for the news and now it's finally here:
Matthew will be joining the NBC Sports team and will host daily and weekly shows highlighting fantasy football across a variety of NBC shows and platforms.
If you were watching the game last night, you caught him on the field pregame and dishing out some analysis at halftime.
Check out Matthew's full announcement here on his new gig:
And even better, Matthew already has a bunch of content up on NBC Sports Edge, including his terrific 100 Facts To Know For The 2022 Season piece. Check it out here.
⚖️ 3 ways the Deshaun Watson suspension could play out. The 6-game suspension is very unlikely at this point.
💊 Aaron Rodgers admits to using drugs? I guess you can call it MVP fuel.
🐎 Who will lead the Broncos backfield? Ben Allbright has been charting the first team reps.
🐹 The new muscle hamster?? Move aside Doug Martin, there's a new hamster in town.
💰 Another WR gets paid. Congrats to Diontae Johnson on his two-year deal.
🖕 "Fantasy football doesn't mean a thing to me." You're not going to believe who said this.
🩲 Mr. Lamb, please put some clothes on. This outfit is a choice.
In this series, our contributors will share the sleepers that they're targeting in drafts. Today, Kendall hypes up two unheralded TEs...
💤 David Njoku (TE18; ADP 156.9)
I get it, we’ve all been waiting for some kind of David Njoku breakout season for a while now. The 2017 first-round pick agreed to a four-year extension worth up to $56.75 million with $28 million guaranteed back in May. Two departures made Njoku’s ceiling rise for 2022 – Austin Hooper going to the Tennessee Titans and Jarvis Landry landing with the New Orleans Saints. This really leaves the team with one other proven pass catcher in Amari Cooper.
We saw glimpses of what could be with Njoku, but of course, something to focus on recently is how the Browns’ quarterback situation could impact the offense. So far Deshaun Watson has only been suspended for six games, leaving Jacoby Brissett to steer the ship. An offensive drop-off is expected because of this QB situation, and if Watson is to miss even more time (the NFL is appealing), then expecting Njoku to be a sleeper would probably be wrong.
Brissett cleared 250 passing yards one time in five starts with the Dolphins last season and threw just five touchdowns. Gross. Last season Njoku averaged 13.2 yards per reception and making his case even better is head coach Kevin Stefanski who leads the league in 13 personnel usage in 2020 and 2021. Monitor the quarterback situation and act accordingly, but Njoku has all the pieces to be a difference maker this season.
💤 Albert Okwuegbunam (TE16; ADP 153.8)
Don’t let his name confuse you, Albert Okwuegbunam could be a big part of this Denver Broncos offense after they traded for Russell Wilson and sent TE Noah Fant to Seattle. I was someone that was worried about how Wilson would utilize his tight ends based on his time with the Seahawks, but on average from 2015-2021, he leaned on his No. 1 tight end as the third option in the passing game, per The Fan.
Okwuegbunam had 33 receptions for 330 yards and two touchdowns for Denver in his second NFL season. There have been reports that rookie Greg Dulcich could be fighting for the TE1 spot, but he missed two weeks of offseason training with a hamstring injury and is slowly being worked back into practice. Last season, Fant received 15 looks in the red zone (ninth among TEs), and that was with mediocre quarterback play – so we can expect that number to be raised with Wilson.
Overall we know that the Denver offense should thrive under their new QB, and we are betting on the departure of Fant to drive Okwuegbunam to success. He had the third-highest target rate per route run among TEs in the NFL last season (23%) and is a proven talent that just needs the volume to become a top tight end. With the unfortunate news that Tim Patrick will miss the 2022 season with an ACL injury, Okwuegbunam becomes even more enticing.
Our friends over at Fantasy Points did a deep dive looking at the most consistent and inconsistent players in the league. Today Jake Tribbey shares with us one interesting player from each bucket. Take it away, Jake...
〽️ Most Inconsistent: San Francisco Niners, George Kittle
George Kittle scored 37% of his fantasy points in just 2 games last season, while also failing to eclipse 8.0 fantasy points in 43% of his games. Kittle’s two best games (by both volume and production) came in Weeks 13 and 14. Deebo Samuel, the 49ers best offensive player, happened to miss Week 13, and entered Week 14 questionable, earning just 1 target. If we re-run Kittle’s numbers without those 2 games, his CV is 1.75, which would rank 37th of our 84 qualifiers at the flex positions. So, Kittle offered us roughly league-average consistency across the entire season, and game breaking upside (36.9 FPG) in the 2 games Deebo wasn’t healthy.
And this isn’t just a one-year outlier either. Deebo Samuel has sat out or played under 35% of the team’s snaps in 6 of Kittle’s 22 games over the past two seasons. Without Samuel, Kittle averages 20.3 FPG. With Samuel, that drops to just 12.6.
So, if Samuel’s current holdout turns into any missed games or a trade (which does seem unlikely), Kittle would have a chance to be a league-winner – even if the offense shifts more run-heavy with Trey Lance under center. But, in the event Samuel dawns a 49ers uniform this season, Kittle could be argued as being a bit overpriced with an early Round 5 ADP.
🔁 Most Consistent: Steelers WR, Diontae Johnson
If it hadn’t been for Cooper Kupp, I’m sure we’d be talking about Diontae Johnson’s impressive consistency a bit more; Johnson only ever seems to do two things – get hurt, or see double-digit targets. Over the last two seasons, Johnson has hit double-digit targets in 22 of the 28 games (79%) in which he earned a snap share of least 50%.
Over this span, he’s averaged 10.8 targets per game. For perspective, both numbers would lead all WRs over the past two seasons. And he’s exceeded 15.0 fantasy points 64% of the time (4th-most), and at least 11.5 fantasy points 89% of the time (most), while averaging 17.4 FPG (9th-most).
But this raises an important question: was Diontae just Big Ben’s guy? Or is he a high-end WR1 regardless of who is under center for Pittsburgh? I lean much more towards the latter. Johnson dominated on short-area routes, catching 81% of his passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Serious target volume (like what Johnson saw in 2021) is indicative of a surplus of talent, and it appears the Steelers wanted to ensure their most talented WR touched the ball as often as possible by peppering him with short area targets.
Even in the likely instance that Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett want to throw further down the field, their safety blanket will be the same as Roethlisberger’s – underneath throws to target hog Diontae Johnson. He’s one of my favorite picks at cost in all formats at WR21.
Click here to see the full list of the most consistent and inconsistent players last year. Fantasy Life readers get 10% off a Fantasy Points subscription with promo code LIFE.
We talk a lot about the players to target around here, but avoiding the landmine players is just as important. Avoiding players is rarely about the player themselves, it's all about the cost. Today, Linda shares two players he's avoiding in drafts right now…
❌ Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR30 on Underdog Fantasy)
Yes, ‘The Sun God’ won people leagues last season, but have y’all stopped to look at the offensive weapons the Lions were rolling out late last season? It’s no wonder he succeeded in a room with Kalif Raymond, Khadarel Hodge and Josh Reynolds.
St. Brown was third in targets in Detroit behind RB D’Andre Swift and TE TJ Hockenson from Weeks 1 through 12:
In that span, ARSB was the WR62 and averaged 7.6 PPG. Now the Lions have gone out and added FA WR DJ Chark and traded up in the draft for WR Jameson Williams.
What gives me the most pause heading into 2022 though is St. Brown’s ADP, WR30 on Underdog. He’s almost sure to get a Hard Knocks bump, too. There is a world where he’s the fourth target on this team and without the massive volume of targets any upside is diminished.
Players I’d rather have in his range: Elijah Moore and Adam Thielen, who are both ranked higher than St. Brown in the Fantasy Life Rankings.
❌ Dallas Goedert (TE8 on Underdog Fantasy)
It feels like we waited years for Goedert to be the TE in Philadelphia. Last season, the Eagles finally traded Zach Ertz to the Cardinals. After Ertz departed in Week 6, Goedert thrived, finishing the season as the TE6 and averaging 11.6 PPG. Goedert was the second target on his team and things were looking up.
The Eagles then traded for AJ Brown during the draft. Now Goedert is looking at being the third target behind DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown on a team that had the highest run play percentage in 2021.
At the TE position, we are looking for them to be the second target on their respective offense. Goedert is currently going as the TE8 in Underdog drafts with a 98.3 ADP.
Players I’d rather have in his range: Hockenson, Ertz and Cole Kmet