Join the Footballguys Daily Update
Start your morning with our roundup of the most important stories in football - with the fantasy insight you need to make league-winning decisions. Delivered straight to your inbox, 100% free.
The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.
Why not both?
Whoever said it's better to be lucky than good did not understand the value of the process. Being good generates luck.
The goal of this feature is to you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, but the fundamental mission is to get the process right. It's a rush to see the box score or highlights and claim you made the right calls. Without a sustainable process, success is ephemeral.
The Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).
My specialty is film analysis. I've been scouting the techniques, concepts, and physical skills of offensive skill talent as my business for nearly 20 years.
The Top 10 will give you fantasy-oriented insights rooted in football analysis that has made the Rookie Scouting Portfolio one of the two most purchased independent draft guides among NFL scouts. This is what SMU's Director of Recruiting Alex Brown has told me based on his weekly visits with scouts during his tenure in Dallas as well as his stints at Rice and Houston.
Sigmund Bloom's Waiver Wire piece, that's available Monday nights during the season, is also a good source of information to begin your week as a fantasy GM. Bloom and I are not always going to agree on players—he errs more often towards players who flash elite athletic ability, and I err more towards players who are more technically skilled and assignment-sound.
Straight, No Chaser: Week 2's Cliff's Notes
The early weeks of the NFL often deliver wild outcomes. From a film-based perspective, this has a lot to do with assignment breakdowns either on offense or defense.
This is the reality of free agent and rookie additions performing with new teammates and schemes for the first time — especially when injuries force a player into a lineup in the middle of a game. Players and coaches usually know who to pick on.
This leads to late-game collapses, surprising performers, and bewildering lows for players we expected to count on as weekly fantasy starters.
The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points as well as thoughts on players who should make a difference for you this year. I always provide bullet points for those lacking the time to see the tape examples and expanded commentary.
This Week's feature is split into two pages. You can find Part I at this link.
- J.K. Dobbins is on the Rise: If you traded for him during the past two weeks, congratulations, you are about to recoup a big profit. There's still time to get in on him, but you're going to have to pay the freight.
- Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, or Avery Williams? Cordarrelle Patterson is out for at least a few weeks. Can this trio sustain a viable rushing attack? Allgeier will get the first shot. It won't be Atlanta's best shot.
- Jalen Hurts and Trevor Lawrence Are Good Fantasy Plays, Thanks In Big Part to Their Schemes: If you can sell high on Lawrence in re-draft formats, it might be worth doing so. Hurts' value will be more sustainable.
- We Knew T.J. Hockenson Was Good, Does Jared Goff and the Lions' Staff Realize It? Featuring Hockenson as a weapon rather than a tight end might be a good idea. It was on Sunday.
- Fresh Fish: The Browns and Broncos' defensive fronts, and Marcus Mariota.
6. J.K. Dobbins Is On the Rise
Last week, I profiled Dobbins' return and noted that the early returns were promising. This week provides further confirmation and enough use in the passing game that I'm comfortable projecting him as the Ravens' lead back, and a potential top-15 fantasy producer at his position moving forward.
The reasons have to do with his talent and the scheme. Lamar Jackson's presence as a potential threat from sideline to sideline opens the field for everyone else in this offense.
Hill also suffered a foot injury during the game, although the prognosis is day-to-day, it adds further assurance to their utilization comparison that Hill is the complement to Dobbins. Although Hill is a little more explosive, Dobbins is a savvy receiver and you can tell that the Ravens trust him to work open as a receiver leaking from the backfield as well as handling green-zone targets of underrated difficulty.
As mentioned with Ronnie Stanley on the mend, this offensive line should only get better as the season progresses. Dobbins is beginning to find his timing as a runner.
Fantasy Advice: The Bills are the No.4 rush defense, even after the Ravens' game on Sunday. Even so, Dobbins scored twice against them. This should offer you optimism against the likes of Denver (5th), Cleveland (6th), Tampa (7th), and Cincinnati (3rd). The Giants, Saints, Panthers, Jaguars, Falcons, and Steelers are even more favorable matchups.
You may still have a shot at Dobbins via trade thanks to this schedule, his knee, and the perception that Lamar Jackson will severely restrict Dobbins' ceiling. He may not be a back who earns 18-20 touches a week, but I think the nature of his role will generate 12-17 touches of high impact in most games.
When Dobbins earned at least 30 snaps in a game during his rookie year, he generated between 11-16 touches. His snaps increased from 26 in Week 3 to 35 in Week 4. Expect him to maintain 30-40 snaps as his typical range of use.
7. Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, or Avery Williams? all of the Above? Or, None of the Above?
If you choose to chase one of the Falcons' reserves, especially Allgeier or Huntley, you may have 1-2 good weeks out of them before Cordarrelle Patterson returns sometime between Weeks 8-10. Just understand that Atlanta faces a trio of good run defenses in Tampa Bay, San Francisco, and Cincinnati for the next three weeks.
Cleveland is the No.6 defense against the run, even after Atlanta running through them, so isn't that promising?
Continue reading this content with a PRO subscription.
"Footballguys is the best premium
fantasy football only site on the planet."
Matthew Berry, NBC Sports EDGE