By: Kyle Richardson (Twitter: @krich1532)
#TrendingNow: Hurry Up Week 1!
It’s weird how the preseason works for fantasy football owners. All season we sit around waiting for football to come back. Week 1 of the preseason gets here and even though we don’t think the preseason is real football, it’s something. Then two weeks later, we hate the preseason and just want it to go away. Fantasy football owners thought 2016 was a rough preseason, but 2017 has been worse. We just passed week 3 and there has already been more ACL tears than all of last preseason. As soon as we get to see our favorite players in action, someone gets hurt and we want them all off the field. We have several players trending up this week due to injuries, and even though we don’t like to see people hurt, we are in this to win fantasy football championships, and have to take advantage of these things.
#TrendingUp: Kevin White
The Cameron Meredith injury was my first big one of the offseason, so I do have to count myself as lucky so far. There weren’t very many players I was higher on for 2017 then Meredith. I was excited to see what he could put together for a full 16 games as a legit target. In his place, third year WR Kevin White will need to step up now. He hasn’t been healthy the last two seasons and he hasn’t produced much when on the field. Time for him to step up and produce like the first round pick he was. The Bears offense will run through Jordan Howard, which speaking of…
#TrendingDown: Jordan Howard
This one may surprise you a little bit. Jordan Howard is currently the 7th running back off the board with an ADP of 17.95. I’m not knocking Howard because of anything he has done, but things could get ugly with that Bears offense soon. Meredith is out, their top receiving options of Victor Cruz and Kevin White have past injury issues and the QB situation may not be clear for very long. If opposing defenses decide to key on the run and if there are any more injuries to the WR corps, Howard could be this year’s Todd Gurley. Draft with caution.
#TrendingUp: The Patriots WRs
I’m not going to point to a single WR here. The obvious choice here is Brandin Cooks. He becomes the undisputed WR1 now that Julian Edelman is out for the year, but Tom Brady and Bill Belichick love to spread the ball around so everyone will get a piece of the pie. Edelman saw 160 targets last year, now departed Martellus Bennett saw 73 and that slack will be picked up by someone. Add in the fact that Rob Gronkowski always has an injury concern, and that could make for a ton of production from several people. For several years’ fantasy football owners have pointed to the Patriots love of two tight end sets, but what if they decide to run wide open in 2017? More 3, 4 and 5 WR sets to throw the competition off? Keep an eye on Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, and Malcolm Mitchell.
#TrendingDown: Jeremy McNichols
McNichols was a popular rookie running back a couple months back. With the uncertainty in the Tampa Bay backfield, many people thought McNichols may have a chance to come in and be a fantasy asset right away, but for as high as the hype was, it’s come crashing down just as quick. Back in February, McNichols was the 8th rookie RB taken in dynasty drafts. He’s now outside the top 15 and may not even make the Tampa roster. Head coach Dirk Koetter made some telling comments after the Bucs 13-9 loss to the Browns. “He’s doing fine on special teams. He’s just making too many mistakes on offense. He had a protection error that led to a sack so I took him out at that point.” He’s going to get a heavy workload in the Bucs final preseason game to try and help his case, but even if he does enough to stick around, he won’t be helping many fantasy rosters right now. He’s clearly buried on the depth chart with no clear path to the top in sight.
#TrendingUp: Kareem Hunt
I had a lengthy Twitter debate a couple months back about my rookie rankings. People seemed to be shocked that I would take Hunt as high as 5 in rookie drafts. Well, the Hunt train has officially left the station and hopefully you did not miss it. He is going to be so good with Andy Reid and at this point, I would bump him to fourth in my rookie rankings behind Joe Mixon, Corey Davis and Christian McCaffrey. He’s agile, but built to gain those extra yards. He never had a fumble during his college career at Toledo and he’s now the lead back in an offense built for RBs to succeed. It’s too late now, but if you’ve been reading any of my stuff, hopefully you listened and grabbed Hunt before his value got ridiculous.
#TrendingDown: Jeremy Hill
Hill left last weekend’s game against the Redskins with an ankle injury, but it isn’t believed to be serious. At this time of the year though, any injury can be serious when you are fighting for playing time. Hill hasn’t really done anything this preseason to run away with the job, and Joe Mixon continues to look good. Add in the fact that Giovani Bernard will be ready to roll week 1, and Hill could be limited to goal line work. Hill is going to get his fair shot at TDs, but I don’t want to draft a guy based on his chances to just score TDs each week. At this point, Hill is turning into a waiver wire addition with Mixon and Bernard being the RBs to own in Cincinnati. If I couldn’t bring myself to own him when only Bernard was pushing him for touches, why in the world would I own him with the uber talented Mixon also in the mix now?