Dwight Howard

Brown vs The Board of Helmet Education Fantasy Mailbag

NFL Fantasy Football fans, friends, and family tend to throw ideas and questions my way. Some of them are pretty good, but there is not enough material to make an article out of them.

That’s why I’ll post an NFL fantasy mailbag out here from time to time. Here are some questions I received this week.

In case you missed it, here’s Part 1, 2, and 3 of this fantasy series.

1. Le’Veon Bell – even better with fresh legs? Or rusty as heck?

According to Jets-watchers (both of them!), Bell passes the eye test so far. He looks as quick and fluid as ever and has had no problems catching and holding on to the ball.

But two things worry me. Bell himself said he needs to take hits. He’s actually begging the Jets defense to hit him in practice. We’ll see if Gase takes the bait and puts Bell into a preseason game, but a lot of folks are wondering what happens when he takes that first big hit.

The other thing is the whole Adam Gase dynamic. He slipped and let someone hear him say he wasn’t happy the Jets signed Bell. It could be because Gase doesn’t like one player to be the focus of his offense. Gase is enamored with backup Ty Montgomery and is expected to give him regular touches.

All that said, I’m still taking Bell as the RB-5 or 6.

2. I’m traditionally a quarterbacks-late drafter, but I see Mahomes going in the second round a lot. Is he worth it?

The second round is too early. You need to get quality rushers and receivers first. But a quarterback who throws 50 touchdowns warrants thinking outside the box, especially in 6-point passing TD leagues.

Mahomes at the end of the third or anywhere in the fourth round makes more sense. But I can’t get mad at anybody scooping him up in the second. And that’s coming from someone who won a championship by streaming quarterbacks. 

3. Marcus Mariota is in a contract year. Does he turn a corner, step it up, rise and shine, go off…


Okay, Tennessee drafted a top-notch wide receiver and signed a decent slot guy in Adam Humphries. Delanie Walker is back. Mike Vrabel says they will run a passer-friendly offense and anyone playing for a job is worth watching.

But… Mariota has his fifth new offensive coordinator in five years and the new passer-friendly offense still features a power rusher with a career-high of 15 catches in a season.

I understand the optimism in Tennessee, but there’s a reason fans are wondering if Ryan Tannehill will be the starter in Week 1.

4. JuJu Smith-Schuster was the WR-9 playing opposite Antonio Brown. Time to draft Tyrell Williams?

JuJu also had a different coach, quarterback and running game. But yeah, I’m high on the Raiders offense in real life this season. An improved offensive line and Josh Jacobs will improve Derek Carr, too.

Don’t expect a WR-9 performance, but Tyrell Williams on your bench could prove to be a great pickup at his WR-49 (11th round) ADP. 

5. We had a “homer” in my draft who snagged four Kansas City players in the first four rounds. Thoughts?

As a Giants fan, the thought of drafting four Chiefs is enticing. But normally, I look for a more diverse array of teams on my roster for three reasons: bye weeks, bad weather, quarterback injury affects all.

6. Barkley- McCaffrey- Kamara- Elliott- Johnson- Bell- Chubb… sound right?

Sounds like a plan, with the caveat that a few elite wide receivers could be sprinkled in between. You can make an argument for any of the top three to go first and juggle the order of the others, too.

If you take Elliott, you probably want Tony Pollard later. But you might have to reach as Dallas reportedly plans to use Pollard alongside Elliott if he comes back. That has other teams looking for Pollard in late rounds, too.

7. Streaming defenses is my thing. Who do I start with?

If you’re drafting a defense, go for the Bills (against the Jets), Browns (Tennessee), Seahawks (Bengals), Eagles (Redskins) or Ravens (Miami). You might end up wanting to roster those defenses.

If you already drafted without taking a DST and want a true streamer in week 1, look for the Jets (against the Bills), Buccaneers (49ers), and the Lions (Arizona).

8. Let’s play Kiss One, Marry One, Kill One when it comes to Zeke, Melvin Gordon, and AJ Green’s Fantasy Outlook this year. Who do you got?

Gordon might sign before Elliott. The Chargers know Ekeler and Jackson can carry a few games, but they’ve never been asked to do more than that. If nothing else, Gordon helps get the Chargers into playoff territory by keeping the other two fresh. Only $1.2 million gets Gordon on the playing field.

Elliott wants more money than Todd Gurley. Jerry Jones sees the health questions that popped up after the Rams committed so much to their star. He also sees Tony Pollard effectively playing the role of Zeke in preseason. Jones might wait until he sees his rookie play a few regular-season games before considering whether to make a counter-offer.

Cincinnati has not provided a medical update on AJ Green since he tore ligaments in his ankle. We do know Green will miss opening day and we suspect he’ll miss several weeks. Then, we’ll have a 30-year-old wideout coming off foot and ankle injuries jumping into a new offense whose coach is determined to go younger. When he comes back, Green has the toughest route to eliteness.

9. It’s a sad day in the NFL with Luck gone now. Time to devalue the Colts fantasy players or draft them as is? Also, was Captain Andrew Luck’s @CaptAndrewLuck twitter one of the best?

Andrew Luck’s Twitter account is awesome. But there is reason to believe the young philosopher, Jacoby Brissett, is up to the challenge of keeping fans engaged. Go to @JBrissett12 and see if you don’t find yourself pondering all the important questions of life!

On the football field, Brissett has bigger shoes to fill. I will go on record here as stating that with a better offensive line, offensive scheme, and grasp on the playbook, Brissett will be a top-streaming quarterback by the Week 4 byes.

TY Hilton is still TY Hilton. Marlon Mack is still Marlon Mack. Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron are still Doyle and Ebron. Brissett is no longer the inexperienced quarterback signed at the last minute of 2017. Don’t ditch your Colts, and if any slide in an upcoming draft, grab them.

10. First came the blonde mustache, then frostbite feet, and now Brown vs the Board of Helmet Education, it seems like Antonio Brown is entering the Tyson Zone (bizarre!)… is he a complete stay away?

Absolutely not. If anyone can get the most out of a bunch of nut cases, it is Jon Gruden. Brown will be a top ten wide receiver in an improved offense.

11. My girlfriend calls me “Jack” because I remind her of the Matthew McConaughey character in “We Are Marshall.” What character might you be?

Nice job on subtly bragging about how you look like McConaughey.

I used to relate to “Rudy”. But since I started writing fantasy football columns, I think of myself as more as Adam Sandler in “The Longest Yard.”

That’s it for this week. If you have any NFL fantasy football questions, ask us on Facebook, Twitter (@FiveXV) or in the comments below. We’ll answer everything, even if your question doesn’t make the mailbag.

Pat Opperman NFL Fantasy Analyst, click here for more.

Archive @ Pat Opperman


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