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Frankly, Sigmund, I Don't Give A Damn...
"I was really good at being a bad guy."
- Ric Flair
"[Bad guys]...they have all the fun!"
- Denzel Washington
"You truly don't care what people think."
- Sigmund Bloom
No, Sig, I don't care. And why should I? No one rents space in my head other than me.
There's not a ton of room around here, especially with the footballs, jazz albums, saxophones, and electric basses strewn everywhere. There's also that matter of the 17-foot great white shark breaching the ocean of game film reels. I think the footballs look like injured seals from below the surface.
I'm too far gone for couch sessions, Bloom.
That said, you all want me on that wall...you need me on that wall that gives you a fresh dose of dissent after taking a tour of the Footballguys' staff rankings this week after I updated mine. This week, let's target the players where I'm not part of the lovefest.
Where the Hate Is An Illusion
You can call me a hater, but the truth is that I'm simply lower on them than the FBG consensus and low enough to believe it matters to discuss it further. It's a list longer than 12, but many of these options are lower on my overall list but in line with the staff when looking at the positional rankings. In these cases, the variance is negotiable for me based on how your drafts are unfolding:
- Joe Mixon
- Nick Chubb
- Saquon Barkley
- Antonio Gibson
- Elijah Mitchell
- Travis Kelce
- Mark Andrews
- Trey Lance
There are others, but these are the prominent options. I don't have much of an argument against any of them going higher based on your build and strategy. In fact, I love most of these players in terms of football skills. The only one I don't is Mitchell, but he's in a great situation if he retains the starting role as expected. Lance's ranking is simply a cautious approach to the quarterback situation in San Francisco prior to training camp. If you read the Rookie Scouting Portfolio, you know I loved him as a prospect.
Now that we've weeded out the pretenders, let's get to the 12 left who made this year's "Dis List." Again, I don't really hate these players and I respect their games but compared to the consensus of our staff, I'm lower on them.
The Dis List
The list is formatted high-to-low according to PPR ADP and in most cases, from lowest to highest when judging the intensity of the Dis.
1. Dalvin Cook
My 12th-ranked back with only 1.3 fantasy points separating him from James Conner for 11th in my projections, Cook's talent gives him top-five upside at his position. However, there are about 15-20 backs you could say this about and the Vikings are transitioning away from a run-heavy offense.
Yes, there are reports that Cook will earn more usage as a receiver, even getting split to the slot. I'm not ready to proclaim him the Marshall Faulk of this generation just yet. While Cook has consistently earned between 49-54 targets, he's had only one 60-target year. Faulk had five seasons with over 70 targets, including a 100-target campaign in 1998, before joining the Rams.
Could the Vikings become Rams-like? While I love Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen and I like the potential of Irv Smith, Kurt Warner was a brilliant chef of a quarterback under center. Kirk Cousins is a good baker. There's a difference and that will translate to how high-flying this offense will be.
I'm game for Cook earning 60-65 targets and 500-550 yards, even if these career highs from 2019 happened when Diggs, Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph missed a combined eight games, and Irv Smith was a rookie. For Cook to make the statistical leap to my next tier, he'd have to generate at least 1,300 total yards, 55 catches, and 9 scores. The yardage will be there, the catches might, but he has three receiving scores in five NFL seasons.
He's close enough that the dis isn't strong, but there is too much of a gap between Cook and Conner's tier and the backs in the tier above to give Cook a goodwill bump up my board despite how much I like his skills. If injuries strike in August, I'll revise.
2. Aaron Jones
Another back I appreciate deeply as a football player, but I'm on the low end of the staff rankings. Because we're talking about the top of the draft, the spread in ranking has greater significance. For me, it's simple: Backs with a featured role or a role where there isn't a strong redundancy of skill on the depth chart earn higher marks.
Jones is the lead back in Green Bay. He's an excellent pass catcher and a solid pass protector. He's a good decision-maker between the tackles with big-play skills. A.J. Dillon is capable of being the lead back in Green Bay. He's an above-average pass catcher and good pass protector with more upside in pass pro than Jones. He's also a good decision-maker between the tackles with big-play skills.
Unless Dillon gets hurt, the Packers will split Jones and Dillons' workloads. The balance may not be the same as the Browns' split of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt but ultimately it will keep Jones on the low end of the RB1 tier, if not just outside it.
3. Michael Pittman
Pittman should earn 80 receptions, 1,000 yards, and 7-10 touchdowns but, people, just because Matt Ryan is a Colt does not make Pittman Julio Jones or Roddy White. Both Jones and White were immaculate route runners with five-tool versatility as receivers at a high level with each tool: releases, routes YAC, contested catch, and vertical skills. It doesn't even make him Calvin Ridley — a good young receiver a notch before Jones and White in the hands and releases department — who benefitted from Jones' presence.
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