Fantasy football week three: Five players to avoid

Week two was a little more interesting than week one of the NFL, but we’re still waiting for the breakout week with multiple big games from different players. Every week there’s boom and bust players and I’m here to tell you about five players to avoid for week three.

5. Jameis Winston (Tampa bay buccaneers)

The Bucs got the season off to a great start with a a very one-sided victory against the Chicago Bears. We didn’t get to see just how well Winston will do because of how well the defense played. It caused Tampa Bay to turn to more of a run game to chew the clock.

Now Winston and the Buccaneers travel to Minnesota to face a stout Vikings defense. Minnesota’s secondary has fared well against Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger in the first two weeks only allowing 15 and 17 fantasy points.

For the third time in as many weeks the Vikings defense faces a high powered offense but the difference is in the run game. The Tampa run game is sub par which will cause Winston will have to throw the ball much more. I would definitely stream a different quarterback in week three.

4. Lesean McCoy (Buffalo Bills)

Shady McCoy and the Bills offense had a rough time in week two against the Carolina Panthers. They held him to nine yards on 12 rushes and a mere three fantasy points. Now the Broncos are traveling to Buffalo and LeSean McCoy has to play against the toughest defense in the NFL.

The Broncos faced Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys last week and shut down that run game. They held last year’s rushing leader to 16 yards on 11 attempts. The Bills are centered around their run game so the volume will definitely be there for Shady, I’m just worried about his production.

After coming off of a wrist and groin injury, all signs point to sitting McCoy this week.

3. Demarco Murray (Tennessee Titans)

Fantasy football week three: Five players avoid

DeMarco Murray (George Walker IV/The Tennessean)

DeMarco Murray is having a rough start to the NFL season. He’s facing the injury bug already and is being outplayed by second year running back Derrick Henry. Now Murray has to play the Seattle defense which has held the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers in check through the first two weeks.

Yes Carlos Hyde did have 124 rushing yards last week, but he broke off a 61-yard run late in the game. Without that one run, he didn’t do anything special. The front seven of Seattle got more impressive this offseason with the addition of Sheldon Richardson.

Now DeMarco Murray is nursing a hamstring injury and the volume in games just isn’t there for him with only 21 carries in the first two weeks of the season. I would sit Murray and even play Derrick Henry over him this week.

2. Brandin Cooks (New England Patriots)

Brandin Cooks hasn’t had the most ideal start to the season. With Julian Edelman going down with a torn ACL, it caused everyone to turn to Brandin Cooks to replace him. But the cost that comes with that is now Cooks is getting more double teams and tougher matchups, and can’t line up in the slot as often.

Tom Brady also has a tendency of not choosing to rely on one receiver. Now him and Julian Edelman had played together for a long time so they developed great chemistry. But Brandin Cooks has to face the Houston defense who has only given up an average of ten fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Cooks is a flex play this week and should be sat with Chris Hogan this week.

1. Alshon Jeffery (Philadelphia eagles)

Alshon Jeffery finally clicked with Carson Wentz last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. He had seven receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown. This could be the start of something big for the Eagles and Jeffery but I think that this connection they have will come to a halt in week three.

The fierce Giants secondary is looking to prove something after the team started 0-2 and the best way to do that would be to revert back to their ways of defeating teams with their defense. The two players that will be targeted with the Eagles are Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz. Ertz will mainly be targeted by Landon Collins and the Giants safeties and linebackers while Alshon will be one on one with shut down corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Sit Alshon this week but be ready to insert him back into your lineup in week four.

 

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Amari Cooper fantasy

Is Amari Cooper a WR1 in fantasy football?

Amari Cooper is hands down one of the best receivers in the NFL today. In two years in the league, Cooper has over 1,000 yards in both seasons and has solidified his spot as Derek Carr’s top target. But the question still remains: is Amari Cooper a WR1 in fantasy football?

The case for Cooper

AC/DC has been one of the best quarterback and wide receiver duos for the last two years in the NFL. Cooper has been great for the Raiders but has been frustrating for fantasy owners. The good thing that comes with Cooper is his volume to start the season.

In the first two games of the season, Cooper has been targeted 18 times, including many looks in the red zone in the first two weeks of the season. The problem last season with Cooper was his lack of targets in the red zone, but it seems to have switched this year. Cooper seems to be getting the looks he deserves in the red zone this season.

Another thing that will help out Cooper is the Raiders’ other weapons game. Opposing defenses have to worry about Marshawn Lynch and Michael Crabtree. Cooper isn’t in a position to be double teamed in the NFL today with the weapons surrounding him. Drawing single coverage should continue to increase his volume as well as production.

Amari Cooper fantasy

Photo from http://www.totalprosports.com

The case against cooper

A couple of problems come with Cooper. His drops have not only plagued him in his career, but to the start of this season.

In week 1 against the Titans, Cooper had some key drops in the red zone, which directly affected his targets in week 2. Carr decided to go to Michael Crabtree in week 2 because of Cooper’s red zone drops in week 1, and that led Crabtree to have three touchdowns against the Jets.

The other key problem that comes with Cooper is his schedule. The Raiders face a tough couple of weeks when they play against Washington, Denver, the Los Angeles Chargers and the Ravens. Those defenses will provide tough matchups for Cooper as each team has a very good secondary.

Schedule is always important in fantasy football in determining whether or not that player deserves a start that week. Cooper’s schedule is tough, but he is still a great player and should be started every week.

All in all with his problems, Amari Cooper is a low-end WR1 in all leagues this season.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Three waiver wire pickups after week one.

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

Now that the first week of the football season is over, fantasy teams saw key players go down like David Johnson and Allen Robinson. Now people must be wondering who the key pickups are after week one is concluded and I have three for you.

Allen Hurns

Allen Hurns hasn’t looked like himself since his magical 2015 season with over 1,000 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns. He dipped off dramatically last season and is looking for a bounceback year in 2017. Now he has an even better opportunity to do so with Allen Robinson going down with a season-ending torn ACL.

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

(Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

In 2015 Allen Hurns was not only a productive receiver but he was one of the league’s most efficient receivers. In terms of red zone receptions and touchdowns, Hurns ranked 16th and seventh respectively. A big red zone threat, and now without Robinson in the mix, Hurns may see the bulk of the red zone targets.

In the win against a stout Houston Texans defense week one, Hurns had three receptions for 42 yards. You never know what to expect with Blake Bortles but when he was at his best in 2015, Hurns benefitted in a big way. If Blake Bortles can produce like we all expected him to, then big things can happen for Allen Hurns.

Kerwynn Williams

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

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The toughest blow that happened in week one and maybe the toughest blow that could’ve happened all year was the injury to David Johnson. The Cardinals offense may struggle mightly with the loss of DJ. Next man up is Kerwynn Williams, and he has been with Arizona since 2014 but hasn’t seen too much of the field and there’s nothing to back up his production.

The good sign is how the Cardinals turned David Johnson into an every down, MVP caliber player. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Kerwynn Williams is as good as David Johnson, but he is in a position to succeed with Johnson sidelined for a extended amount of time.

Now the Cardinals aren’t particularly known for running the ball as they ranked 18th in rushing last season, but they beauty of Williams is how he can be utilized in both the rushing and passing game. David Johnson was a gifted pass catcher and rusher and if Kerwynn Williams can step up and take advantage of his opportunity, he’ll succeed.

Tarik Cohen

Fantasy football waiver wire: Three pickups after week one

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The best performance from week one might’ve came from the Chicago Bears running back. No I don’t mean Jordan Howard, I’m talking about Tarik Cohen.

With a combined 113 yards and a touchdown in his debut, Cohen looks like he’s here to stay in the NFL. I don’t think that he will take over Howard’s starting job right now, and if Jordan Howard keeps producing then there’s no reason why he should.

The North Carolina A&T product is in an unlucky situation behind the running back with the second highest rushing total from the 2016 season. With the Bears receiving corps getting thinner and thinner it looks like the Bears may use two running backs more often. T

arik Cohen made some noise against the Falcons week one and he should be on everyone’s fantasy radar from here on out.

 

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Unicorns of Love entered the EU LCS in 2015

A brief, heart-breaking history of Unicorns of Love

With the 2017 EU LCS Regional Qualifiers finished, Europe has chosen three teams to represent them at the League of Legends World Championships, and the Unicorns of Love is not one of them. This seems to be their destiny. UOL is always good enough to be a contender, but never good enough to be the champion. They have always had a shot at Worlds, but never reached it. They have made it into the gauntlet thrice, and lost out all three times. Here is a brief look at how the Unicorns got here, and why it is so heart-breaking.

2015

Unicorns of Love qualified for the EU LCS in 2015

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Unicorns of Love entered the LCS in 2015 by defeating Millenium in the 2015 Spring Promotion tournament. UOL was promoted, while Millenium was relegated. Their roster included Kiss “Vizicsacsi” Tamás top, Berk “Gilius” Demir jungle, Tristan “PowerOfEvil” Schrage mid, Pontus “Vardags” Dahlblom AD carry and Zdravets “Hylissang” Galabov support. After Millenium took a 2-0 lead, the Unicorns were able to reverse sweep the series, winning 3-2. This was the beginning of the Unicorns’ legacy as wildcards in the EU LCS.

Coming into the 2015 Spring Split, UOL replaced Gilius with a new jungler, Mateusz “Kikis” Szkudlarek. Kikis was known for his pocket picks in the jungle, such as Sion, Gnar or Shaco. In their debut split, UOL finished with a 9-9 record to secure fifth place and qualify for playoffs. PowerOfEvil was the only player in the league to be the weekly MVP more than once (weeks four and eight).

In Spring Playoffs, the Unicorns had to face fourth place, Gambit Gaming. UOL took them down 3-1, moving them into semifinals against number one seed SK Gaming. In a massive upset, UOL won that best-of-five 3-2. This win brought them to their first playoff finals within their first split, facing second seed Fnatic. The Unicorns took it all the way to five games, but fell short to finish in second place and tally 70 championship points.

UOL came into the 2015 Summer Split carrying momentum. They swapped Gilius back into the jungle role, while Kikis went to G2 (then Gamers2). In almost identical fashion, the Unicorns finished the split 9-9, but placed fourth. Gilius left the team going into playoffs, leaving Cho “H0R0” Jae-hwan as their starting jungler.

Summer Playoffs put UOL against Roccat first, who they defeated 3-2. The victory pushed them into an even tougher semifinals match-up versus an undefeated Fnatic. Getting skunked 3-0, UOL was forced into the third place match with H2K. A win here would send UOL to Worlds as Europe’s second seed, assuming Fnatic won in the finals. However, H2K crushed UOL in another 3-0, and Fnatic won the finals, sending UOL to their first EU LCS gauntlet.

Luckily, UOL’s 110 total championship points entitled them to a full bye in the Regional Qualifiers. Giants, Roccat and Origen would have to fight each other before meeting UOL in the final. Origen, a line-up that would go on to finish top four at the 2015 World Championships, made it to the gauntlet finals and took down UOL in a final 3-0. The Unicorns’ 2015 season would end there.

2016

Unicorns of Love replaced three starters for 2016

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

Coming into 2016, Unicorns of Love decided to replace three of their five starters. Danil “Diamondprox” Reshetnikov and Pierre “Steelback” Medjaldi signed as their jungler and AD carry, previously of Gambit. Hampus “Fox” Myhre stepped into the mid lane from SK Gaming. Vizicsacsi and Hylissang remained UOL’s top and support.

UOL went through the 2016 Spring Split like past splits. They finished with a 10-8 record, showing strength against teams below them and weakness against teams above them. Most of their problems revolved around the jungle position. Starting in week three, Diamondprox had to leave Europe, due to visa issues. UOL borrowed Millenium’s jungler, Charly “Djoko” Guillard, as a temporary replacement. In week four UOL brought in Rudy “Rudy” Beltran, an unknown player, who was replaced in week seven by ex-H2K Jean-Victor “Loulex” Burgevin. These jungle player rotations hindered UOL’s ability to compete against more stable rosters.

This inconsistency came to a head in the Spring Playoffs when fourth seed Origen defeated the Unicorns 3-0 in the quarterfinals. UOL’s split ended in fifth-sixth, granting only 10 championship points. It was a disappointing placement that demanded change for the Summer Split.

In the mid-season, Unicorns of Love brought in two Korean imports to play jungle and AD carry. Kang “Move” Min-su came into the EU LCS after most recently playing for Gravity in North America. Kim “Veritas” Kyoung-min had played for Vortex, a North American Challenger team. UOL also signed Fabian “Exileh” Schubert, a mid laner with history on several European Challenger teams. Riot also changed the EU LCS regular season to a best-of-two format.

These changes did not seem to affect Unicorns’ consistency much. If anything, it hindered their performance. UOL finished the regular season Summer Split in sixth place with a 6-5-7 record. This line-up was clearly better than tenth through seventh places, but also a step below first through fifth. The Unicorns would go into playoffs as underdogs.

Once there, UOL was able to take down third seed Giants 3-1. Moving into semifinals, UOL had to face an undefeated G2. The Unicorns lost 3-1, which sent them into their second third place match against H2K. Winning 3-1, H2K pushed UOL into the Regional Qualifiers for the second year in a row.

With only 50 championship points, Unicorns of Love found themselves in a difficult position. Giants, Fnatic and Splyce stood in their way of going to Worlds. UOL defeated Giants and Fnatic 3-0, propelling them forward into the gauntlet finals again. 2016 looked like UOL’s redemption. Sadly, Splyce took the series 3-2, keeping the Unicorns out of Worlds for another year.

2017

Unicorns of Love signed Xerxe and Samux for 2017

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

This third year has been Unicorns of Love’s third opportunity to go to Worlds. In an off-season full of roster swaps, UOL made some questionable changes. Bringing in European veterans in Spring 2016 did not bring the success they wanted. Korean imports in Summer 2016 was not fruitful, either. For Spring 2017, the Unicorns brought in two low-profile Europeans, Andrei “Xerxe” Dragomir and Samuel “Samux” Fernández Fort. Xerxe had played for Dark Passage in the TCL, but could not participate in the International Wildcard Qualifiers, due to his age. Samux had played once in the LCS in 2012, but was quickly relegated. He only played in the Challenger Series after that.

Riot further changed the EU LCS format to have two groups that play best-of-threes each week. This format seemed to suit UOL, as they finished the Spring Split in first place for Group B with an 11-2 record. Topping their group afforded UOL a first round bye in the playoffs. They were met by Group A’s second seed, Misfits, who the Unicorns defeated 3-1 to qualify for the finals. This was their first playoff finals over five EU LCS splits. They met defending champions G2 and lost 3-1. UOL was granted 70 championship points.

For the first time since entering the LCS, Unicorns of Love did not change their roster between splits. The team seemed confident coming into the Summer Split with Vizicsacsi, Xerxe, Exileh, Samux and Hylissang. But the summer regular season was slightly worse than spring, mostly due to problems surrounding Exileh and the mid lane. UOL put up a 9-4 record, placing second in Group B behind H2K, based on game score.

Quarterfinals did not look to be much of a problem, as the Unicorns would face Group A’s third seed, Misfits. Unfortunately, UOL could not take a single game, and lost 0-3, ending their playoff run earlier than expected. UOL’s 90 total championship points put them behind Misfits and Fnatic. Unicorns would go to their third straight regional gauntlet.

The Unicorns sat in the second notch of the Regional Qualifiers, after H2K versus Splyce, but before Fnatic. H2K took the victory over Splyce, which meant they could face UOL in a critical moment, once again. In a nail-biter series, H2K secured the 3-2 win, spoiling the Unicorns’ chances of representing Europe at Worlds this year.

2018

 

What will Unicorns of Love do in 2018?

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

What will Unicorns of Love do between now and the 2018 season? Every member of this roster has shown promise in 2017. Vizicsacsi and Hylissang have been with this team since their induction in 2015. Coach Fabian “Sheepy” Mallant and manager-mascot Romain Bigeard have been staples, as well. Xerxe and Samux have solidified themselves as LCS talents. Exileh may have had a rough Summer Split, but his high points are unquestionable.

Like splits past, Riot has already announced major changes to the EU LCS format for 2018. The LCS will be split into four domestic leagues with a greater league running parallel. UOL has claimed their slot in Berlin, as reported by ESPN, with Roccat and Schalke 04. The current two-group format has treated the Unicorns well during the regular season. Maybe this update will too.

Regardless, the pink-and-white have made their mark on the EU LCS since joining in 2015. Despite falling short of Worlds year after year, UOL has cemented itself as a top contender in the regular season, playoffs and the gauntlet. European teams fear this organization as a competitor, because they know that UOL is destined for greatness. 2015 may not have been their year. 2016 may have been rocky. 2017 may have been heart-breaking. But who knows what 2018 may bring? Will falling short remain Unicorns of Love’s legacy, or will Love finally conquer?


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Is Jonathan Stewart a worthy fantasy player?

Jonathan Stewart fantasy football: A worthy running back?

The Carolina Panthers went from a 15-1 season with one of the league’s best rushing attacks to a putrid 6-10 season in which the running game was almost invisible. Now the Panthers made the interesting choice to draft Christian McCaffrey with the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft.

McCaffrey was put into a situation where there was already a workhorse back in Jonathan Stewart. Now the hype surrounds Christian McCaffrey but the question remains, is Jonathan Stewart a worthy fantasy running back?

Red Zone Work

Is Jonathan Stewart a worthy fantasy running back?

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The one advantage that Jonathan Stewart holds over Christian McCaffrey is his ability to work in the red zone, now that Mike Tolbert is gone and there is no real competition other than Cam Newton for red zone work. Christian McCaffrey will definitely help with the passing game in the red zone but if the Panthers are looking for a primary red zone running back, then Jonathan Stewart is the guy.

In fact last season, all nine of Jonathan Stewart’s rushing touchdowns came inside of the 20-yard line. Along with the fact that the Panthers want Cam Newton to throw the ball more than he has in his career, Jonathan Stewart should see most of the work inside of the 20-yard line which could lead to double digit touchdowns for the veteran.

Short Yardage Work

The Panthers won’t cut out Stewart’s workload altogether but it does seem more likely that Christian McCaffrey will be the feature running back in the Carolina offense. According to training camp and media reports, Jonathan Stewart’s carries will come in short yardage situations. Mainly he’ll be used in third and short situations while gaining some carries on first and second down to give McCaffrey a break while prolonging his career.

Now it is true that Jonathan Stewart hasn’t played a full season since 2011 when Deangelo Williams was still on the team and the dual running back scheme worked in Carolina. Now that Jonathan Stewart is out of his prime and there is a new primary back in Carolina, the Panthers will look to utilize Stewart to the best of his abilities to prolong his career.

Jonathan Stewart fantasy football value

Jonathan Stewart holds interesting fantasy value this upcoming season. While McCaffrey is clearly the lead back and the much better choice for your fantasy team, Stewart will still play an important role in Carolina’s offense this season. The Panthers have the 16th easiest schedule in the NFL this season and Stewart has the chance to stay healthy and take advantage of the opportunities given to him.

He should be owned in every league and is a quality flex play week one against the San Francisco 49ers. As the season progresses we’ll see how McCaffrey adapts to the work he’s given, but in the meantime Stewart is a quality fantasy running back and he should be started while he’s getting his reps.

 

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Fantasy football: Players to avoid Week 1.

Fantasy football: Three players to avoid in week 1

Finally! Football is almost here. We are two days away from football and that means we’re two days away from fantasy football as well. Now everyone knows that the most important part in fantasy football is selecting the right lineup each week. Here I have one quarterback, one running back and one wide receiver to avoid in week 1.

Quarterback: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Fantasy football: Three players avoid Week 1

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Matthew Stafford just got paid. But did he deserve it? Yes, he is a franchise quarterback for the Lions but he has yet to win a playoff game.

Stafford is coming off of his best season as a pro but we don’t know if it’ll translate into this season. I’m not saying that Matt Stafford is a bad quarterback this season for fantasy, I’d just stay away from him week one against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Cardinals pass defense is coming off of a big 2016 where they ranked fourth in the NFL, allowing 210 passing yards per game. Now the Cardinals come into 2017 with a healthy Tyrann Mathieu. The Cardinals did lose Tony Jefferson to free agency but replaced him with the veteran Antoine Bethea.

Stafford is pretty consistent both home and away so that doesn’t really make a difference, plus the Cardinals play just as well away as they do at home. With a healthy Arizona defense looking to prove something from last year, I’d avoid Matthew Stafford week one.

Running back: Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts

If anyone can beat Father Time, it’s Frank Gore. Gore showed that he still has some gas left in the tank after finishing as the No. 12 fantasy running back in standard leagues in 2016. Now he’s 34 and faces some real problems week 1. Andrew Luck is officially out so that means Scott Tolzien is under center for the Colts on Sunday.

Fantasy football: Three players avoid Week 1

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There’s a big problem right there. Now with Luck out, the Colts’ passing game is a lot weaker than it was last year. The Rams will stack the box and provide problems for Frank Gore and the Colts’ offensive line.

The Rams ranked 16th in the NFL last year in terms of yards given up per game and were 10th in yards per attempt given up.

The Rams also added Connor Barwin in the offseason which should help put pressure on opposing NFL offenses. Now Frank Gore does play a little bit better on the road, but with the fierce Rams defense and a backup quarterback leading the way, Frank Gore should be on your bench week 1.

Wide Receiver: Deandre Hopkins, Houston Texans

Deandre Hopkins fell off last year, and that’s an understatement. With Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage under center for the Texans last season, Hopkins saw his numbers dramatically decrease. Now Hopkins opens the season with Tom Savage under center full time and I don’t believe that is the solution to Hopkins’ problems.

Fantasy football: Three players avoid Week 1

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When Tom Savage played last season, Deandre Hopkins didn’t put up huge numbers. In fact, in three games he failed to catch a touchdown pass with Savage throwing to him. Hopkins has nearly identical stats away and home so the fact that this game will be played in Houston doesn’t make much of a difference.

The part that causes me to avoid Hopkins is the fact that he’ll be playing against one of the best young secondaries in the NFL. Both A.J Bouye and Jalen Ramsey have the chance to be lockdown corners this year and for that reason I’d wait to play Deandre Hopkins.

 

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Ezekiel Elliott fantasy football: Still worth a first round pick?

Ezekiel Elliott, the rookie phenomenon from 2016, is on track to miss the first six games of the NFL season due to a suspension. If you put that alongside his bye week in week six, Zeke won’t be able to return to action until week eight of the regular season. That’s a big loss for most fantasy owners, as he’ll be out for around three quarters of your fantasy regular season. The million dollar question is: Is Ezekiel Elliott still worth a first round pick?

The case for the first round: Some people still think that Zeke is worth the first round pick. He was the rushing leader from last season and when he returns he’ll be behind one of the best offensive lines in football. Elliott has proven to be a legitimate threat in this league and has cemented himself as a top five back in the NFL today.

The first round is the most important round in fantasy football but in every draft there will be players who bust and don’t live up to expectations. Zeke won’t be one of those players when he comes back. You know what you’re getting when you draft Ezekiel Elliott. You’ll get a stud running back who puts up 15+ fantasy points on a consistent basis.

Another reason why people think that Ezekiel Elliott is worth a first round pick is because of the rumors that his suspension will be reduced from six games. Elliott already filed for appeal and testified at his appeal hearing, and rumors say that we can expect a decision as soon as Monday.

If the appeal drags on, we could see Zeke suit up week one and maybe more but it looks like this appeal will be a short one. Zeke’s status doesn’t change if his suspension is only reduced one game but if he’s only suspended for two to four games, he’s worth a look in the first round for sure.

Ezekiel Elliott fantasy football

(Photo Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The case to wait in your draft: The better decision when it comes to Ezekiel Elliott is to wait until the third or fourth round in most drafts. If you wait on Zeke, you have the ability to pick up one stud running back and one stud receiver to have a good core for your team once the season starts.

The problem with Zeke’s suspension is you’ll have to handcuff Darren Mcfadden in your draft, and his ADP has now risen over the past two weeks and he’s a clear RB2 when Elliott isn’t on the field. McFadden had one of his best seasons as a pro when he was the lead back in Dallas rushing for over 1,000 yards and three touchdowns.

Once Zeke returns and you already have a first round running back, you’ll be in a prime position to win your fantasy championship. It won’t be hard to win your last few weeks of the regular seasons with two stud running backs and a stud receiver and once you get to the playoffs, you should be in a good position to win it all.

People are talking about not drafting Ezekiel Elliott altogether which is a mistake. The Cowboys have the ninth easiest schedule for running backs and a great offensive line in a run-heavy offense. Ezekiel Elliott should be on every team in your league but you should wait to take him if his six-game suspension holds up. If it is in fact reduced to two to four games, then taking him in the first round is more acceptable. The better option is still to wait until the third and reap the rewards.

 

Courtesy image courtesy of Ezekiel Elliott (Photo by:espn.com)

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Last-minute fantasy football draft reminders

The fantasy football season is so close we can almost taste it. We’re coming to a point when most people are ready to draft. Now many people have their own draft strategies that they think will put them in a position to win a championship, but there are things that everyone should do in their draft. Here are five things to remember when you’re drafting your team in fantasy football.

5.  Always take a kicker last: There’s no reason why you should take a kicker before the last round. Yes, there are some kickers who can put up big numbers but you can find those kickers week by week on the waiver wire based on matchups.

Matt Bryant can put up huge numbers for another year but why waste a spot on him when you can expand the depth on your bench. Even the top ten kickers aren’t worth a pick before a key bench player. Why take a kicker before the last round when you can get a sleeper and maybe he will turn into a Jordan Howard kind of guy who will end up winning you your fantasy football championship.

4. Running backs are key: Running backs have taken over the scene in fantasy football. If you have a top two pick then it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll have Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson.

The depth at the running back position is scarce this year. Players like Eddie Lacy will end up as your RB2 if you wait too long to take your running backs. There’s much more depth at wide receiver this year. You can pick up a player like Emmanuel Sanders in the seventh round and use him as your WR2 if necessary. In the end you won’t go wrong with taking a player like Julio Jones or Antonio Brown in the first round, but if you can land a stud running back then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take him.

Last minute fantasy football draft reminders

Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

3. Don’t take a quarterback too early: Unless you’re targeting a guy like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady early in your drafts, wait on a quarterback and reap the rewards. Why waste a mid-round pick on a guy like Big Ben when you could find your key flex spot or number two running back/wide receiver.

Take Andy Dalton as an example last season. He wasn’t taken early in fantasy drafts but he put up big numbers and finished the season as the fifth-ranked quarterback in fantasy football. Yes you read that right, fifth.

It would be easy to get a guy like Andy Dalton in the double digit rounds while you can stack more and more position players on your bench and prepare for injuries.

2. Don’t just draft your favorite player: Many people like to draft players in fantasy that they can root for while watching their favorite team. Don’t worry, it isn’t illegal for a Eagles fan to take Ezekiel Elliott if the price is right. Fantasy football and rooting for your favorite team are two very different things.

When drafting in fantasy football you must take the best available player. You shouldn’t pass on Ezekiel Elliott in the third round just because you’re an Eagles fan. I’m not saying it’s bad to take your favorite player, but make sure you take them at the right price.

1. Trust your instincts: The worst thing you can do in fantasy football is overthink your picks. That decision could make or break your fantasy season but the right thing to do is trust your gut and go with your first choice. There’s a lot to consider when making a pick in fantasy football but what you must do is either draft to the needs of your team or take the best available player.

Some of fantasy football is luck so you never know what’s going to happen, but I assure you that you’ll feel better with your gut choice.

 

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Number one fantasy receiver

Is Amari Cooper a number one fantasy receiver?

Having a steady number one wide receiver in fantasy football is very important. Especially in a year like this, may people are going to go with a running back in the first two rounds leaving the receivers thin for the rest of your draft. The important thing is having a good number one.

For the past two years that Amari Cooper has been in the league, he’s enjoyed two 1,000 yard seasons and two pro bowls. But he hasn’t put up amazing fantasy numbers during his time in Oakland. Cooper has finished as the number 24 running back and the number 15 ranked receiver. Given his talent and his connection with Derek Carr, those rankings should be much higher, so why isn’t Amari Cooper a better fantasy receiver?

Red zone struggles and drops- The biggest disappointment of Coopers season last year were his drops. He ranked in the bottom ten of the league with 20 drops, including two drops on four targets against the Lions and nine drops over the last six weeks. As for red zone struggles, Cooper saw three less red zone targets than teammate Seth Roberts. Yes, you read that right. Only eleven targets for a wide receiver with the talent that Cooper has is just unacceptable for fantasy reasons. The good sign about him though is how efficient he was on his eleven targets, converting five of them into touchdowns.

Talent on the roster- Amari Cooper is in an unfortunate position in Oakland being surrounded by Michaal Crabtree and Marshawn Lynch. The leading receiver in terms of targets in the redzone last year wasn’t Amari Cooper, it was Michale Crabtree. Now with Marshawn Lynch in the mix, Cooper’s touchdown number may take a hit another year. Along with Marshawn Lynch and Michale Crabtree, the Raiders acquired tight end Jared Cook, which is just another person who can take targets away from Amari Cooper. Yes I understand that michael Crabtree did have 83 receptions and over 1,00 yards last season but Michael Crabtree saw more volume and touchdowns in Oakland last season. But don’t get me wrong, I think there’s tons of upside that comes with Cooper.

Number one fantasy receiver

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Derek Carr connection- AC/DC is back at it for another season. Cooper has been Derek Carr’s number one target for the past two seasons and that bond seems to have only gotten stringer over the offseason. Derek Carr had stated on numerous occasions that he wants to get the ball into Coopers hands more this season and they’ve been working especially on the deep ball which showed in the last preseason game when Cooper hauled in a 31 yard pass in triple coverage.

High powered offense- The good thing about Cooper being on the Raiders is the high powered offense in Oakland. The Raiders have the ability to put up 40 points on any defense in the NFL and can do so on a weekly basis. Cooper can see a higher volume of targets this season as the run game evolves and the Raiders have to rely less and less on the passing game. There is a lot of opportunity for players on the raiders to score touchdowns and being that Cooper is the number one receiver he has the ability and opportunity for another 1,000 yard season and 7-10 touchdowns.

 

Some people may disagree that Cooper is a viable number one receiver in fantasy but believe it this year, Amari Cooper is a number one receiver and may just be in the top ten this season.

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Le'Veon Bell or David Johnson

Fantasy football number one pick: David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell?

The number one pick is both the best and the worst pick in fantasy football. You have the opportunity to pick the best of the bunch but pick carefully because it could end poorly for you. Take last year for example. If you took someone like Todd Gurley with the first overall pick, your season probably didn’t end up great. This year it’s a fairly easy decision, you either choose David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell. There’s a case to make for both of them.

Le'Veon Bell or David Johnson

David Johnson (Photo by:thelab.bleacherreport.com)

David Johnson- The Arizona Cardinals running back had a breakout season in 2016. With a total 20 touchdowns and over 2,000 yards from scrimmage, Johnson ended the season as the number one fantasy running back.

But should he be your number one pick? The Cardinals don’t have the hardest schedule in the league. In the first eight weeks they face the 49ers, Colts, Buccaneers and Eagles. All of which have sub par defenses in the NFL today especially in terms of defensive line.

Schedule isn’t much of a factor for David Johnson however, as he is the lead rusher on the team and is arguably the main receiver. Larry Fitzgerald is getting older and older and can’t keep up the production he’s had in the last couple of years.

Not only is David Johnson productive, but he’s also efficient. He was second in the NFL last year in terms of yards after contact with 486 and fifth in the league for running backs with only four drops.

David Johnson is coming off of a pretty big knee injury but the Cardinals have high hopes for their offensive line and Johnson should benefit from that immediately.

Le'Veon Bell or David Johnson

Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Le’Veon Bell- Le’Veon Bell is a frustrating player to own in fantasy football. He has off the field issues and a long injury history that has kept him off the field for long periods of time.

Last year Bell missed three games due to suspension and one due to rest by the team. Even with four missed games, Bell ended the season as the number five fantasy running back.

However, 42 out of his 231 points came in one week. Bell may be the best dual-threat running back in the game today and that goes a long way in the NFL. One cause for concern that comes with drafting Bell is his current contract situation.

According to media reports, Le’Veon Bell will report to the team before the first regular season game so there’s not too much concern that comes with that. The Steelers have the fourth easiest schedule in the NFL in 2017 and if the Steelers offense can remain healthy for an entire season then Bell is the clear cut number one overall pick.

 

At the end of the day you won’t go wrong taking either of these guys, but I believe that Le’Veon Bell is the right person to take at number one. Being the centerpiece of a high-powered offense and arguably the best dual threat back in the game, he’s in line for a huge year in Pittsburgh.

 

 

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