“Off the Matt” Key Offseason Moves (Quarterback / Wide Receivers)
It is incredibly difficult to predict how a player will fit in with a new team. Don’t believe me? Let me ask you this, how did you feel about Brandon Marshall going to the Jets last season? I can’t think anyone out there would have predicted that he would rack up 1500 yards and post a career high in touchdowns.
While there were no elite quarterbacks or receivers to change teams this offseason, these players will have a huge impact on their new team and some of them will end up on your fantasy roster.
Brock Osweiler – Texans
First thing first, I need to address the mishandling of nicknames that I have heard thrown around for this guy. I could have lived with “Brocket Launcher,” and anything is better than “Brock Lobster.” The Broncos eventually settled on “The Brockweiler.” If you are looking to incorporate his name into the nickname it’s not terrible I guess. However, a true miscarriage of justice has taken place that Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) from The Twilight Saga wasn’t worked into it somehow. I don’t even know the exact name I was looking for, but when there is a such a strong resemblance it is a shame to waste it. Hopefully the Texans take advantage of this golden opportunity.
My initial reaction was to automatically dismiss Osweiler as a viable fantasy option at the quarterback position. After doing some digging, I have to admit that he has a chance. Last season, Hoyer, who has half the arm talent that Osweiler possesses manged to throw multiple touchdown passes in seven of the 11 games he played. Hoyer played a terrific five-week stretch from Week 4 to Week 8, in which he scored 17+ fantasy points in each game. My motto is: “if Hoyer can do it…”
If you aren’t sold on Osweiler’s talent look no further than his MNF performance against a tough Bengals defense. He completed 69% of his passes for 299 yards and a score.
69% is no laughing matter, and it certainly wasn’t a fluke when you take into consideration that he completed 61%+ of his passes in four of his final five starts. The accuracy is there. With throws like this, I don’t think his arm strength can be questioned either.
I am not a huge Bill O’Brien fan, but I do think he does a tremendous job with his quarterbacks. I anticipate that he will get the most from Osweiler’s talents. Having an elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins to throw the ball too certainly doesn’t hurt.
Robert Griffin III – Browns
Sports are funny. Just when every single person in the world counts a team or player out they occasionally rise from the ashes. The smoldering ashes I speak of are RGIII’s career and the Cleveland Browns franchise.
The Browns are advertising an open competition between Griffin, Josh McCown, and rookie Cody Kessler for the quarterback spot. Most believe that it is Griffin’s job to lose, which he has done before.
For me personally, the intrigue surrounding RGIII has worn off. He had a great rookie season. This was thanks in large part to being the perfect fit for a scheme that NFL defenses had not yet caught up to. Unfortunately for Griffin, the defense always finds a way to catch up. The read-option offense isn’t sneaking up on any defenses in 2016 and I don’t see him evolving, especially in Cleveland.
Marvin Jones – Lions
Jones signed a 40 million dollar contract to join the Lions this offseason. Not a bad haul for a guy who posted 65/816/4 last season. Keep in mind, these numbers were achieved being the second and sometimes third option in an offense that threw the ball fewer times than only six other teams in the league.
Jones comes to Detroit and will work in tandem with Golden Tate to try to fill the void left by the retired Calvin Johnson. I don’t see this situation being defined as a #1 and #2 receiver, but rather two guys who specialize in different things that will compliment each other. Tate will continue to work as the slot receiver, while Jones will do a good portion of his work outside of the numbers. Jones will likely see a career high in targets this season, which should translate into career high numbers. 1000 yards and six touchdowns is a reasonable expectation.
Mohamed Sanu – Falcons
Sanu is the classic case of a player who is much more valuable in the “real” game than he is in fantasy football. His career stats don’t dazzle the eye, but he does the little things that help a team win football games. First off, he is a mauling blocker that helped spring 10-15 yard runs into huge chunk plays. Secondly, he is a chain mover. Over half of his receptions last year resulted in first-downs. I think what Falcon’s fans will appreciate most about Sanu is how tough he is after the catch. Last season, he averaged 6.4 yards after the catch. To put that number in perspective former teammates A.J. Green and the previously mentioned Marvin Jones averaged 3.6 and 4.5. Another wrinkle that Sanu brings to the table is his trick-play versatility.
Happen to notice who this play came against? That is almost 60 yards dropped in a bucket.
Although there are many Falcons fans that think they overpaid for him, having a swiss-army-knife type player like Sanu can be quite valuable.
Travis Benjamin – Chargers
I don’t know who the fastest player in the NFL is, but Travis Benjamin is the near the top of the list. I had hopes of him landing in a spot with a big-arm quarterback where 50+ yard receptions would be a regular occurrence.
Instead, he landed in San Diego playing with a quarterback who looks like he is heaving a shot put. Although it’s not pretty, Rivers has been one of the best in the game for the last 10 years. Last year, Benjamin played with three different quarterbacks. He won’t have to worry about that this year. Rivers has been an iron-man. He has played in all 16 games for 10 straight seasons. Although Rivers might not be the strong-armed quarterback I envisioned Benjamin linking up with, he cranks out the yardage and has turned mediocre talent into consistent fantasy producers. It will be interesting to see what he can do with Benjamin and his elite speed.
Rishard Matthews – Titans
The Titans are doing their best to surround Mariota with a strong supporting cast. They completely overhauled the backfield and added Matthews to the receiver group. In Miami, Matthews showed flashes of his potential. Last year, he was the hot waiver claim after his Week 2 performance of six receptions for 115 yards. He put a smile on the face of the owners who picked him when he erupted for 113 yards and two touchdowns the following week. He played in seven more games, before a rib injury cut his season short. Although he didn’t have any other big games, he was productive having over 50 yards receiving in five of those seven games.
The Titans offense has my interest peeked for this season. With Murray and Henry they should be pounding defenses. In the passing game, Delanie Walker will likely be the top target again. There is some buzz surrounding second year man Dorial Green-Beckham as a breakout candidate. Possession receiver Kendall Wright is still in the fold as well. Matthews will have a role on this team, but it is unlikely for him to make a fantasy impact.
Mike Wallace – Ravens
This is a perfect match. If Wallace doesn’t make it work in Baltimore, he isn’t going to make it work anywhere. His specialty has always been straight-line speed. Fortunately for him, one of Joe Flacco’s calling cards is the ability to throw the deep ball.
Torrey Smith, who has a similar skill-set to Wallace posted four consecutive seasons of 750+ yards, including a 1128-yard season in 2013. I don’t foresee Wallace having a season that big, but he is someone I wouldn’t mind taking a late-round gamble on.
Brandon LaFell – Bengals
What was wrong with Brandon LaFell last year? He looked lost running routes and then when he actually did get to the right spot he couldn’t make the play. Brady has made any receiver he has ever played with look good, but not even he could work his magic on LaFell last season.
Sometimes a change of scenery can make all the difference. LaFell will likely compete with rookie Tyler Boyd for a starting role thanks to the departure of Jones and Sanu. It is an explosive offense, but I don’t think there are enough footballs to go around to make LaFell anything more than a bye-week replacement.
Rueben Randle – Eagles
Randle was sneaky good in 2015 finishing the season with 797/8. At just 25 years old there is still time for improvement. Speaking of improvement, second year man Nelson Agholor will need to make a giant leap from year one to two if he wants to be on the field. If Randle can beat out Agholor and fellow free agent Chris Givens he could post a similar yardage total but I would anticipate the touchdown number to dip.
Check back next week when I take a look at the key moves at the running back and tight end position.
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts on Sunday May 22nd, 2016 from 7-9pm EST for this week’s episode of the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. We are a live call in radio show so we encourage callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Every week we will do a quick recap of Fr-Sat games, and a forecast of Monday through Thursday’s games.
Our guests this week are Lenny Melnick and Zak Sauer. Lenny Melnick is a fantasy baseball legend and a pioneer in the business. He is credited with starting the very first fantasy baseball show in 1993 along with Irwin Zwilling and Sandy Stolle. He also has a website which you can find at lennymelnickfantasysports.com where you can find all his work, and it is a great overall free community. Zak is a writer with majorleaguefantasysports.com, a co-host of our Saturday football shows starting June 4th, and the co-host of Sports Buffet’s radio show “Sports Talk” every Monday with Lou Landers.
“You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”
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Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly: Join Lou Landers and Kyle Amore live on Thursday May 19th, 2016 from 8-10pm EST for episode #14 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Weekly. This will run every Thursday as a live broadcast that will take live callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. Our Thursday night show will do some weekly recaps, player updates, and preview the coming week-end games.
Our guests this week are Hernan Batista and Bryan Luhrs. Bryan is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports, a writer with MLFS, and a key member of our organization. Hernan is a frequent guest on our radio shows and an owner in MLFB1 and MLFB2.
You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”