By: Kyle Richardson (Twitter: @krich1532)
Instant Reactions: What the Friday?
The biggest news of the day was the Ezekiel Elliot suspension. The Buffalo Bills jumped in and trumped that with a couple of major trades that included their top receiver, Sammy Watkins. As of now, the trade is Sammy Watkins and a sixth round pick to the Rams for EJ Gaines and a second round pick. On the surface, this trade looks great from a fantasy perspective. Jarrod Goff needs a weapon and he doesn’t have a top receiver. Sounds great right? Not to me. This is awful for Sammy Watkins and his fantasy owners. I would be willing to guess most owners have been paying for or treating Watkins as a top 10 WR. In 2014, he finished as WR27 and in 2015, he finished as WR20. We won’t even mention last season. How are we going to suddenly say Watkins is a top 20 receiver? He’s teaming up with a QB who played sparingly as a rookie last year, was awful in the process and to top it all off, he has to learn a new offense this year.
This does however, help Todd Gurley. Watkins is talented and even if I don’t think Goff can get him the ball, teams will still need to respect him. This will help to open the box a little more than what we saw last year, and if Gurley is as talented as we think, he could reward owners with a much needed bounce back campaign. Sell on Watkins, if anyone wants him and buy on Gurley.
Rams 2018 2nd
Eagles 2018 3rd
BIills 2018 6th
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) August 11, 2017
The Bills were not done there moved on to trading Ronald Darby to the Eagles for Jordan Matthews and a third round pick. As surprised as I was about the Watkins trade, I was even more surprised by this trade. Matthews has been discussed quite a bit this offseason as a bounce back candidate. After bringing in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, it was popular opinion Matthews was moving back to the slot, where he has more yards than any other receiver since 2014. Recently though, reports showed that Nelson Agholor was making strides in the slot and could unseat Matthews. I bought into the Matthews hype and though he was in for a big year. I really like him in Buffalo and think he is a perfect weapon for Tyrod Taylor, but the Bills now have three receivers that profile more as a slot option than outside.
So how will they line up? It will be interesting to see that offseason this year. I’m buying Matthews (with some hesitation) and Agholor as well. I think both have a much cleared path to targets and catches now. I am also inclined to bump up Jeffery and Smith as well. I am a little worried about LeSean McCoy however. I have lots of McCoy shares this year, so I’m hoping it’s not true. If the Bills do not have a true outside threat to stretch the field, will teams load the box more? I’m not sure if this will be as a dynamic an offense or not, so I will leave the verdict out on McCoy.
The first news that broke today ends up being the last I cover. The NFL has finally ruled and suspended Elliot for 6 games this year. From what I have seen so far, not too many people agree with that. Elliot has not been found guilty on any crimes, but it does appear he has been mixed up in some behavior that an NFL running back, or anyone at that, should be. Elliot will probably appeal and see a reduction to 4 games if you asked me to make a prediction. In dynasty formats, this doesn’t sway me in drafting him at all. In redraft leagues, especially those drafting before any news of an appeal comes out, I am staying away. I see him maybe falling into the second round. Someone in your league will love how much upside he could have for the rest of the season. I don’t want to wait on that upside. 6 weeks can be a long time and too big a hole to climb out of. If he makes it to the third round, and you already picked two studs, then maybe take a flier on him. Do not sell him in dynasty leagues. Pass on him in redraft and if you already own him, you need Darren McFadden or Alfred Morris.