4. Titans RB Derrick Henry gets involved in the passing game in a real way?
5. Rams coach Sean McVay bails on the running back by committee and makes either Cam Akers or Darrell Henderson THE GUY?
6. 49ers WR Deebo Samuel isn’t THAT hurt?
7. Texans WR Will Fuller stays healthy all year?
8. Bengals WR A.J. Green is, you know, A.J. GREEN?
9. Rams TE Tyler Higbee really is the guy he was from Week 13 on who was the eighth-best player in all of fantasy football, scoring 107.2 points (Saints WR Michael Thomas scored 111.3 in that stretch)?
10. Ravens TE Mark Andrews, who got 98 targets in 15 games last year, also gets departed TE Hayden Hurst’s 39 targets from last year to have 137 targets, comparable to the 134 targets Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce got last year?
List 6: 10 blind résumés
(ADPs are as of Aug. 28)
1. Over the last 12 games of the 2019 season:
Quarterback A: 19.0 fantasy points per game, 19 Pass TDs, 217 rush yards, 18% off-target
Quarterback B: 18.0 fantasy points per game, 24 Pass TDs, 274 rush yards, 16% off-target
QB A is the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes, and QB B is … the Giants’ Daniel Jones (his only 12 games as the starter).
Matthew Berry says Daniel Jones is a legitimate QB1 in fantasy leagues heading into the 2020 NFL season.
2. In games they started last season:
Quarterback C: 16.8 fantasy points per game, 237 Pass YPG, 1.5 Pass TDs per game, 27.5 rush YPG
Quarterback D: 17.4 fantasy points per game, 250 Pass YPG, 1.6 Pass TDs per game, 11.4 rush YPG
QB C is the Jaguars’ Gardner Minshew II, and QB D is … the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.
3. Last eight games of last season:
Running Back E: 12.7 fantasy points per game, 179 rush yards, 285 receiving yards, 3 Total TDs
Running Back F: 13.0 fantasy points per game, 691 rush yards, 117 receiving yards, 2 Total TDs
RB E is the Browns’ Kareem Hunt, and RB F is the Browns’ Nick Chubb (starting when Hunt came back from suspension).
4. Last two seasons:
Running Back G: 20.1 touches per game, 4.54 YPC, 0.55 rush TDs per game, 2.0 receptions per game
Running Back H: 19.0 touches per game, 4.57 YPC, 0.60 rush TDs per game, 3.7 receptions per game
RB G is the Seahawks’ Chris Carson, RB H is the Vikings’ Dalvin Cook (both have missed some time with injury in that span: Carson three games, Cook seven games. Cook is going three rounds and 34 picks ahead of Carson at the moment).
5. Weeks 1 through 9 last season:
Wide Receiver I: 11.5 FPPG, 6.3 targets per game, 50 receiving YPG, 2020 ADP of WR28
Wide Receiver J: 11.4 FPPG, 7.4 targets per game, 54 receiving YPG, 2020 ADP of WR48
WR I is the Dolphins’ DeVante Parker, WR J is the Dolphins’ Preston Williams. Williams got hurt in Week 9. Mentioned this in list 3, but including it here again just to underline the point.
6. Last season:
Wide Receiver K: 15.4 FPPG, 4.9 receptions per game, 74.3 YPG, 2020 ADP of WR10
Wide Receiver L: 15.2 FPPG, 4.7 receptions per game, 79.1 YPG, 2020 ADP of WR31
WR K is the Cowboys’ Amari Cooper, WR L is the Cowboys’ Michael Gallup. I’ve made this point a lot, including earlier in this column but I don’t care. Gonna hammer it until people understand what they’re dealing with here in Gallup.
7. Last four seasons:
Wide Receiver M: 19.1 FPPG, 7.5 receptions per game, 87.5 YPG
Wide Receiver N: 19.5 FPPG, 6.4 receptions per game, 87.4 YPG
WR M is the Saints’ Michael Thomas, WR N is every other Saints WR combined in that span. This is a don’t get super excited for Emmanuel Sanders post. Thank you.
8. Last season:
Tight End O: 1.81 FPTS per target, 7 end zone targets, 14.1 yds/reception
Tight End P: 1.86 FPTS per target, 9 end zone targets, 12.7 yds/reception
TE O is the Broncos’ Noah Fant, TE P is the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce. Only difference is targets, and I expect an increase in targets and a typical Year 2 leap for Fant.
9. Last season:
Tight End Q: 12.4 yds/reception, 9.8 rec yds/target, 7.2 YAC/reception
Tight End R: 12.5 yds/reception, 10.2 rec yds/target, 7.9 YAC/reception
TE Q is the 49ers’ George Kittle, TE R is the Titans’ Jonnu Smith. Both are efficient in the passing game on run-first offenses; now Smith doesn’t have Delanie Walker in front of him and is going as TE 20 if he’s even being drafted.
10. Last two seasons:
Player S: 16 games, 6.8 FPPG, 3 total TDs
Player T: 16 games, 5.9 FPPG, 2 total TDs
Player U: 16 games, 7.3 FPPG, 0 total TDs
Player S is the 2018 Jaguars D/ST [ADP of DEF1, finished DEF10], Player T is the 2019 Bears D/ST [ADP of DEF1, finished DEF16], Player U is the D/ST FACING the Bears in 2019. Kids, don’t take a defense before the second-to-last round in ESPN standard leagues. Just don’t do it. Play matchups.
List 7: 10 more fantasy team names (that I can print) from my Twitter followers
1. Fresh Prince of Helaire … (many submitters)
2. Helaire or High Water (@KSpreckelsJr)
3. Judge Jeudy (@SethLDow)
4. Person Woman Man Kamara TD (@j_s_stoef)
5. Tua-FINity and Beyond! (@WBizz1)
6. Half-Draked and a Kittle Drunk (@jesseghiorzi)
7. Jeudy’s In the Eye of the Beholder (@DLPSports)
8. Catalina Wine Mixon (@ACinDallas)
9. Hurd Immunity (@ACinDallas)
10. Reagor Bombs (@DLPSports)
Matthew Berry loves Chris Carson, who is the lead running back in one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL.
List 8: 10 unsexy guys who have no buzz and no one will go “ooh, good pick” when you draft them, but all will be very productive this year, will outperform ADP significantly and will help you win
1. Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff
2. Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson
3. Houston Texans RB David Johnson
4. Miami Dolphins RB Jordan Howard
5. Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods
6. Cincinnati Bengals WR Tyler Boyd
7. New England Patriots WR Julian Edelman
8. Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones Jr.
9. Indianapolis Colts TE Jack Doyle
10. Matthew Berry
List 9: 10 bold predictions for the 2020 fantasy season
Bold obviously means unlikely to happen but within the realm of possibility. The idea here is not to nail them but rather to give you some thoughts on players I feel strongly about this year.
1. Dak Prescott finishes as the No. 1 QB in fantasy.
My thinking: The second-best QB last year in total points and the QB with the most rushing touchdowns since he came into the NFL, he’s playing for a new deal in a fantasy-friendly offense, and he has three big-play wide receivers in Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb.
2. Buccaneers QB Tom Brady has the best statistical year of his career, which means doing better than in 2007 when he threw for 4,806 yards and 50 touchdowns.
My thinking: With arguably a better supporting cast than even 2007, a fantasy-friendly, offensive-minded coach, and defensive rules that make it much harder to defend the pass, Brady is set up for success. Determined to prove everyone wrong, he wants a massive season and will stay in to throw even in blowouts, and when they are in close he will check out of run plays for cheap touchdowns as well.
3. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, currently going as QB 16, finishes the year as a top five fantasy QB.
My thinking: Last time we saw him, in 2018, he was. The third-best QB in fantasy two years ago, this will be a pass-heavy offense with a lot of talented pass-catchers and a fully healthy Big Ben.
4. Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew, currently being drafted as QB 24 (and he’s being drafted in only 10% of ESPN leagues), finishes the year as a top 12 fantasy QB.
My thinking: Bad team that will need to throw a ton, Minshew is more mobile than he gets credit for. So he’ll add value with his legs and a pass-first, fantasy-friendly system. Jay Gruden (the Jaguars’ new offensive coordinator) has been an OC or head coach for eight full seasons. He has had a top 13 fantasy QB in five of them, with the other three being Andy Dalton’s rookie year and the two years in Washington he had to use at least three different QBs.
Embracing the fun spirit of fantasy sports, ESPN senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry and his unconventional cast of characters aim to make fantasy football players smarter and help them win their leagues. Watch the latest episode
5. Chargers RB Austin Ekeler, currently being drafted as RB13, in the third round, finishes the year as a top three fantasy RB.
My thinking: The second-best RB in fantasy for the four weeks Melvin Gordon was holding out last year, Ekeler returns to his heavy-usage ways all season long. The obvious receiving touchdown regression is made up for with Ekeler getting a large share of Gordon’s rushing scores (nine total TDs in 12 games last year) and an increase in volume.
6. Lions WR Marvin Jones Jr. (ADP: WR36, 98.3 overall) outscores fellow Lions WR Kenny Golladay (ADP: WR8, 29.4 overall).
My thinking: The last six games with Stafford (Weeks 3-9):
Golladay: 16.5 PPG, 7.2 targets per game (53.5% catch rate), 9 red zone targets
Jones: 18.8 PPG, 8 targets per game (68.8% catch rate), 10 red zone targets
7. Vikings WR Adam Thielen, currently being drafted in the fourth round, finishes as the No. 1 WR in fantasy.
My thinking: If he can just stay healthy. Over the past three years, when Stefon Diggs was off the field, Thielen was targeted on 25% of his routes. For his career, when seeing at least nine targets, he averages 22.8 fantasy points per game. Last year, Michael Thomas was WR1 averaging 23.4.
8. Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (ADP: WR32, 87.6 overall) outscores fellow Cowboys WR Amari Cooper (ADP: WR10, 32.6 overall).
My thinking: He almost did it last year on a per-game basis.
Cooper per game in 2019: 4.9 catches, 7.4 targets, 74.3 yards, 0.5 TDs, 15.4 FP
Gallup per game in 2019: 4.7 catches, 8.1 targets, 79.1 yards, 0.43 TDs, 15.2 FP
Now in his third year in the NFL, Gallup takes another huge step forward.
9. Marquise Brown, currently going as WR30 in the ninth round on ESPN, finishes the year as a top 10 WR.
Battling a lisfranc injury last season, Matthew Berry thinks that Marquise Brown can have a breakout year coming into 2020 healthy.
My thinking: The No. 1 WR in one of the best offenses in the NFL, in his six games with five-plus targets last year he averaged 15.5 points per game. I expect him to get more targets this year. I expect him to improve in his second year in the NFL. And last year, WR 10 averaged 15.93 PPG.
10. Mike Gesicki, currently going as TE15, finishes the year as a top five TE.
My thinking: The eighth-best TE in fantasy on a a PPG basis from Week 9 on last year, Gesicki enters his second year in the league as a talented player on what probably will be a pass-heavy team that has already seen two pass-catchers opt out for the season and has another (Preston Williams) coming back from a major surgery. I expect him to take a big leap forward this year.
List 10: 10 more great team names (that I can print) from Twitter
1. A Ruggs Life (@DLPSports)
2. LAMARvel Cinematic Universe (@mdmarder)
3. Just the Tua Us (@spm_ff)
4. Eleanor Higbees (@DrewHannis)
5. K1 Drake Sauce (@josh_algari)
6. One If By Lamb, Two If By CeeDee (@ambutter)
7. Sutton On The Dak of the Bay (@drummer_412)
8. Call of Jeudy (@npaige07)
9. Sutton To Believe In (@FFRabbitDad)
10. Charks With Freakin’ Lazard Beams (@Dan_Haas)