Fantasy Football Q&A, 8/6/17: Blake Bortles vs. Picks and Draft Strategy
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

On this edition of Fantasy Football Q&A, Blake Bortles is bandied about revolving around picks and draft strategy. 

Welcome to Q&A. Today your fantasy football questions are getting answered. Make sure to keep the questions coming.

Note that I only play dynasty leagues, so my answers may sometimes be skewed in that direction. View the last fantasy football Q&A here.

Nobody in this trade really stands out to me, so I’m inclined to say side B for the picks. Kupp is third round pick of the Rams who appears to be fighting for targets behind Robert Woods and Tavon Austin. He put up impressive numbers in college, although it was in the FCS as opposed to the FBS. He has some potential, but isn’t a lock to be a relevant fantasy player.

Chad Hansen is a fourth round rookie with the Jets. He had a huge final year at Cal, but didn’t do a ton before that. He’s also fighting with Robby Anderson and Charone Peake amongst others for touches behind Quincy Enunwa. He’s intriguing, but nothing special.

Nelson had a pretty nice year with the Cardinals last year, with 568 yards and 6 TDs. But I’m not sure he’s going to build a lot on that. I think his ceiling is around 700 yards with seven or eight TDs per year. That’s good, but you can usually get more with a first round fantasy pick.

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Tarik Cohen is likely to be behind Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford on the depth chart. The fourth round pick has some potential, but I see a ceiling quite like a Shane Vereen style pass catching back. He’ll have some value in fantasy, but not worth the picks. He’s a little too one-dimensional.

Bortles is the final piece, and I’m not convinced that the Jaguars are committed to him long-term. He has potential, but the fact that he hasn’t improved since his rookie season is concerning. Selling low on a player isn’t a great strategy, but getting two picks for a mostly disappointing player isn’t a bad thing. I’m higher on him than most, but two picks is the safer option.

Ultimately, the picks have more value than any player in this trade. Side B is more valuable.

“In late first round PPR would you lean towards RB or WR? Specifically if you had choice between McCoy, Gordon, and Freeman, or Evans, AJ Green, And Jordy Nelson” – James McLoughlin

Late first round picks are tricky, since you never know exactly who is going to be there. But that’s half the fun of drafts. I would generally go with a running back, but there is one exception that should be noted. If one of Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, or Antonio Brown are still available, grab them. They probably won’t be, but if they’re still on the board they are simply too good to pass up.

But going under the relatively safe assumption those three aren’t going to be there, running back is the better option. It’s harder to find points at the RB position than it is at the WR position.

The NFL has become a pass first league, which makes fantasy points for running backs harder to come by. Teams are using short passes to get gains that would previously be collected by running backs.

So teams are passing less. This hurts RBs in another way too. A player can do a lot more on five receptions than five carries. A wide receiver really only needs to be involved on a small percentage of plays to make a fantasy impact, while a running back needs to be more involved.

Another reason fantasy relevant running backs are harder to find is that teams are more frequently shifting towards running back committees, rather than one lead back. This takes an already limited number of touches for running backs and divides it up even smaller. It is a smart strategy for real teams, but it can be killer for fantasy owners.

At the end of the day, you can find points at the wide receiver position later in drafts than you can at running back. Thus, get a running back early when you can still get a high end one.

Of the three running backs listed, Devonta Freeman is my number one. He’s posted back to back 1,000 yard seasons and makes enough of an impact in the pass game to help in PPR.

Melvin Gordon is very intriguing, but most of his value came on touchdowns last year, which are very hard to predict year to year. LeSean McCoy has a lot of miles on his legs, and when the wheels fall off it’s going to be bad. Both of them are good, but Freeman is the best and safest option.

For the record, if you go wide receiver, Mike Evans is my favorite of the three, but running back is the better call.

Is Ezekiel Elliott the slam dunk 1st overall pick? – Paul Edsen

This question comes form ESNY’s own Paul Edsen. Ezekiel Elliott is a great running back, and he is a slam dunk first overall pick, but only in standard leagues.

Elliott led the league in rushing as a rookie, which is obviously very difficult to do. He was rushing behind a great offensive line, but he’ll have a great line in front of him again this year, so that shouldn’t affect his fantasy stats.

Elliott averaged over 100 yards rushing per game last season, which is obviously very difficult to do. He doesn’t appear likely to lose many touches this season, and could build on his impressive year last year.

In PPR, Le’veon Bell is number one. He averaged more yards total from scrimmage than Elliott did last year, as well as collecting more receptions. Elliott could pass him in total yards, but I don’t see him coming close in receptions. More on these two in PPR is covered in the edition linked at the top of the article, and again here for convenience.

In best ball formats, I’m ignoring my advice from the previous question about grabbing a running back and picking up a top wide receiver, as they have more breakout potential, which is ideal for the best ball format. More on that is in this Q&A.

Ultimately, in standard formats, Elliott is the number one pick. In other formats, there are better options.

Thanks for reading, and keep the questions coming.


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