Fantasy Football Roundtable: 2019 First Quarter Edition

Mike Fanelli, Joshua Abbe, Nick Popio, Frank Ammirante, Connor Neal | October 2nd, 2019 

The 2019 NFL season is already a quarter of the way finished and fantasy owners’ are starting to realize their team is perfect. Whether your team is 0-4 or 4-0, you can’t get lazy and accept the record. Fantasy owners need to be active in trade talks, waiver wire adds, and reflect on what they did wrong during the draft. So what have we learned over the first quarter of the NFL season fantasy wise? The Scorecrow family is here to help with all that, putting together another roundtable giving you their opinions on five fantasy football questions. Be sure to follow all the writers on twitter and ask any questions you may have regarding their answers. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

Favorite Buy Low Player?

Mike Fanelli: Josh Jacobs

After a 24.3 fantasy point outing in his first career game, Jacobs put up back-to-back games with under 10 fantasy points and has scored 27.1 total fantasy points since week one. However, fantasy owners need to stay the course and hold onto Jacobs or buy him low. He is averaging five yards per carry, ranking fifth among running backs with at least 44 carries. In the coming weeks, the Raiders face either a weak run defense or a team that won’t blow them out of the water. Either way, it means Jacobs, who is averaging 15.5 rushing attempts her game, will get a heavy workload.

Josh Abbe: DeAndre Hopkins

Hopkins is currently ranked 31st in the NFL in receiving yards. You could say he’s having a rather slow start to the season. Over the last three weeks, he’s only managed a mere 49 yards per game and no touchdowns. He’s a perfect buy-low candidate with an owner overwhelmed with taking him in the first round. His upcoming schedule screams comeback with Atlanta, Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Oakland in the next four weeks. Grab him now!

Nick Popio: Andy Dalton

The Cincinnati gunslinger has been doing just that so far this season. In new coach Zac Taylor’s scheme, Dalton will likely be a pass-happy signal-caller for the rest of the year just like when Taylor was with the Rams in 2018. Not to mention that his top wideout, A.J. Green will be back sooner rather than later. The trio of Green, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Mixon is one of the best in the league. If you are in a super-flex league, buy low on Dalton now.

Frank Ammirante: Le’Veon Bell

Bell’s numbers are down due to the injury to Sam Darnold, but he’s still seeing a ton of volume (25.3 touches per game). Darnold should be back in a couple of weeks, which will allow for more running room and scoring opportunities. The Jets’ midseason schedule is filled with nice matchups from week nine on with matchups against the Dolphins twice, Giants, Redskins, Raiders, and Bengals. Try to trade for Bell now so that you can reap the rewards down the stretch.

Connor Neal: Stefon Diggs

Diggs has never been less productive then he’s been so far this season. That’s partly his fault as he’s had inconsistent hands, but most of the blame falls on the Vikings scheme change. The Vikings are 31st in the league in passing yards per game and third in rushing yards per game. They average only 13.8 yards more from passing than running. This will have to change and when it does, Diggs will seriously benefit from it.

Favorite Sell High Player?

Mike: Jordan Howard

This may seem like a “no duh” answer but you would be surprised how many fantasy owners chase points. Howard’s 32.5 fantasy points last week were 11.8 more than his total from the first three games combined. The 32.5 fantasy points was a career-high and the last time Howard scored more than 24.5 fantasy points was week 14 of the 2017 season. Despite his dominance against the Packers’ awful run defense, Howard only out-snapped Miles Sanders 33-22 and trails Sanders on snaps for the season by 26. The best-case scenario for Howard owners is this backfield remains a committee, worse case and more likely, Sanders takes over as the lead back by midseason. Find your league’s dumbest owner and trade him Howard now!

Josh: Todd Gurley

Gurley is now at the most opportune time to ship him off, just had a big game with two touchdowns and shown some production through the four weeks. Breakdown last week’s game and notice he only rushed the ball five times for 16 yards and on top of that caught seven balls for only 54 yards. With clearly sharing the load in L.A., it’s time to trade him away and get a nice return.

Nick: Davante Adams

The elite pass catcher went off versus a depleted Eagles secondary but suffered an injury in the process. He banged up his toe, but reports seem to say it is not that serious. However, toe injuries tend to linger and that impact Adams getting off the line of scrimmage at the snap. If it’s not too late, try and deal Adams for something that can help your lineup.

Frank: Mark Ingram

Ingram is tearing it up so far this season, playing like an RB1 in a running back-friendly offense, where Lamar Jackson’s dual-threat opens up huge lanes. Ingram should continue to have a strong season, but he’s more of an RB2 than RB1 due to his lack of threat in the passing game. Ingram has also never surpassed 230 carries in a season, so his workload will likely be similar this season. If you can package Ingram with a WR3 type receiver to acquire a player like Le’Veon Bell, I would recommend pulling the trigger.

Connor: John Brown

Brown is finally showing the potential that made him a third-round pick several years ago. He’s averaging fifteen points per game and is currently WR19 on the season, thus far. If Brown continues his trend of productiveness it’ll be his best NFL season so far. However, Brown has never been a very reliable wide and with Josh Allen as his quarterback, he can’t be trusted.

Favorite to finish as the QB2 behind Patrick Mahomes?

Mike: Carson Wentz

This is a tough one, there are several good potential options here but I’ll make an argument for Wentz. He has scored 19.7 or more fantasy points in three of his four games this year, accounting for 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. The Eagles have a good offensive line and plenty of weapons for Wentz to throw to. Combine that with a bad defense, Wentz will have plenty of opportunity and need to throw and chase points. Combine that with a fairly easy end of season schedule (Dolphins, Redskins, Giants twice), Wentz has a very good shot to finish as the QB2 this year.

Josh: Deshaun Watson

Though two out of the four weeks were kind of rough, I still like Watson to finish as QB2 on the season. His ability to throw mixed with his rushing makes him a threat every week. He has six passing touchdowns so far on the season and three on the ground. Just shy of a thousand yards through four weeks and starts to play some pass friendly defenses on the upcoming schedule. Once he takes over the field and head coach Bill O’Brien maybe starts to call productive plays, Watson will have the ability to perform.

Nick: Jared Goff

The early odds on favorite to finish as QB2 behind Mahomes looked like Dak Prescott until he no-showed against New Orleans. So instead I will go with Goff. He obliterated the Bucs defense with 500+ yards on Sunday and has an above-average schedule ahead of him to finish right behind the likely MVP. He’s got several playmakers to get the ball to and an offensive line that can protect him. Those are good enough reasons for Goff to get the job done.

Frank: Lamar Jackson

Jackson’s running ability gives him a massive weekly upside. Even in games where he struggles through the air, he’s able to provide strong production. His dual-threat makes him a must start because even against strong secondaries, he will always be able to extend plays and pick up yardage on the ground. Jackson has a good chance at running for close to 1,000 yards and passing for 25+ touchdowns this season. The only quarterback that I’d take over him going forward is Mahomes.

Connor: Lamar Jackson

Rushing yards from your quarterback is critical for fantasy and no one runs more than Jackson. He is currently leading all quarterbacks in rushing and is twentieth in rushing out of all the players in the league. Jackson is on pace to pass for 4,440 yards and rush for another 952 yards. No quarterback in the history of the NFL has ever run for 950+ yards and passed for 4,000! Michael Vick’s 2006 season would be the closest example with him rushing for 1,039 yards and passing for 2,474. Jackson even has a chance to break that single-season rushing record for a quarterback set by Vick in that 2006 season, while nearly doubling his passing yards.

Rest of Season: Mark Andrews or Evan Engram?

Mike: Mark Andrews

The correct answer here is why not both? Engram is currently the TE1 while Andrews is the TE3. Debating these two is like splitting hairs. However, if forced to pick I will take Andrews because the Ravens lack proven weapons and he appears to be Lamar Jackson‘s go-to guy in the middle of the field and in the red zone. Engram’s fantasy points are slightly down with Daniel Jones throwing to him instead of Eli Manning. He is averaging 3.4 fewer fantasy points per game with the rookie on the field. Combine that with the return of Golden Tate and eventually Saquon Barkley, Engram’s ceiling isn’t as high as Andrews.

Josh: Evan Engram

Engram is currently TE1 on the season and doesn’t look to slow down. Though he might still have some regression as the season goes on and defenses start to focus on the injury riddle offense, he could still perform for a while. New quarterback Daniel Jones at the helm brings a resurgence to the offense and returning Golden Tate from suspension, Sterling Shepard, and when Saquon Barkley comes back from injury Engram should be able to produce nicely with less pressure.

Nick: Mark Andrews

Andrews has built up a nice rapport with Lamar Jackson after just four games. His schedule is favorable for better numbers moving forward as well. Baltimore also doesn’t have a true WR1 on the roster which only adds to the opportunities for Andrews as he is clearly Jackson’s go to guy, both in the red zone and in the middle of the field.

Frank: Evan Engram

Engram is one of the most athletic tight ends in football, with unmatched speed and elite playmaking ability. Andrews is a great player, but the Ravens are a run-heavy offense, while the Giants will often be playing from behind. Engram has 37 targets on the season (9.25 per game) as the clear-cut number one option for the Giants. Andrews has 32 targets (eight per game), but he does not have the same big-play ability as Engram. Both are top-five options, but I have to go with Engram here.

Connor: Mark Andrews

It’s a tough decision to pick between the two. If I had to pick, I would pick Andrews solely because of the chemistry shown between Lamar Jackson and him. The Ravens have also proven that they’re sticking with Andrews over Hayden Hurst when they attempted to trade Hurst to the Jaguars in exchange for Jalen Ramsey. Andrews has also been more consistent thus far this season, only have one sub 13 point performance whereas Engram has had two sub 10 point performances. Engram is also in an offense with a newly appointed rookie quarterback and will soon compete for targets with Golden Tate who comes back this week.

Biggest Draft Regret?

Mike: Patrick Mahomes

I’ve always been one to wait on quarterbacks in a single quarterback league knowing I can get a value in the middle to late rounds or worse case stream the position. However, given how well Mahomes has played in his 20 career starts, I wish I had paid the price to draft him. Over those 20 games, Mahomes has scored under 20 fantasy points just four times while scoring 27 or more in half of those games. Normally waiting on a quarterback approach works but Mahomes is proving that rule isn’t ironclad.

Josh: Nick Chubb

I wished I had reached on Chubb more on drafts. He would fall to the second rounds and when drafting around the turn in most redrafts, I wouldn’t reach on him. He’s RB4 for the season so far and just had a career game scoring three touchdowns on 165 yards. I don’t see him stopping anytime soon either. The Browns are figuring out their offensive woes and Chubb isn’t one of them. He might be overpriced, but I’m willing to buy right now. On a side note, Kareem Hunt is nothing to worry about.

Nick: Saquon Barkley

The New York Giant star is missing from action due to an injury and that alone makes him a disappointment. Barkley could conceivably be out until week 12 after the Giants bye week. That is a worst-case scenario depending upon whether or not the staff wants to save their generational back for the future. While Christian McCaffrey is the top-scoring player in fantasy, Barkley is on the sideline.

Frank: David Montgomery

I had high hopes for Montgomery, reaching on him in the third round in both of my high-stakes leagues. He’s looked decent so far, but he’s not getting the kind of usage I was expecting coming into the season. Hopefully, head coach Matt Nagy starts to realize that he needs to feed the rookie going forward. I’d recommend hanging onto Montgomery because his value is low right now. However, he looks like an RB2 option at best for the rest of the season, due to his sporadic usage.

Connor: Dante Pettis

Aside from drafting Andrew Luck and Lamar Miller in my early drafts, I put too much faith into Pettis. It appeared as though Pettis was poised for a breakout season, but now it doesn’t seem as likely. I drafted Pettis over guys such as Delanie Walker, Larry Fitzgerald, Tyrell Williams, Courtland Sutton, Devin Singletary, and many others. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you had hoped.

In the end, our writers didn’t agree on much but different opinions are always good. Hopefully, this helps with your fantasy teams the rest of this season and be on the lookout for the next roundtable which should be out around week eight.

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