NFL wants points in any arena
August 18, 2015 3:02 AM
by Alan Berg
As the NFL changes so does fantasy football. In case you haven’t gotten the memo, over the past five seasons or so the league realized owners and fans love lots of yards and points.
With this in mind, the NFL has turned the league into a longer field version of Arena Football. Scrubs at quarterback have consistently thrown for 300-plus yards in a game.
Need an example? Here are a few: Kirk Cousins (twice), Austin Davis (twice), Geno Smith (twice), Mike Glennon (twice), Brian Hoyer (thrice), Mark Sanchez (thrice), Drew Stanton, Colt McCoy and Ryan Lindley! Those guys are clipboard holders at best.
When I was a kid it was amazing to throw for 300 yards. Fantasy football has shifted from a game dominated by running backs to a wide receiver world. Look no further than the explosion of Odell Beckham Jr., who won many team championships down the stretch.
For wide receivers we will look for anyone being drafted after 80th overall ADP, according to FantasyPros.com.
Nelson Agholor, PHI (No. 91; No. 38 WR): Sometimes a player comes along that is just a perfect fit for a team. When the Eagles drafted USC’s Agholor, rookie of the year immediately popped into my head. The thing about this wide receiver is he makes decisions quickly; along with athleticism it’s exactly what separates wide receivers from the pack in the NFL. Projection: 68-1114-9.
John Brown, ARZ (No. 99; No. 43 WR): John “Chuck” Brown is better than fellow Cardinal Michael Floyd. As soon as he got snaps in the Arizona offense he exploited defenses with his lighting fast speed. He made this impression last year with a bunch of dead bodies at quarterback. With a healthy Carson Palmer expect big things from this dynamo. Projection: 71-1089-8.
Eddie Royal, CHI (No. 126; No. 48 WR): Chicago rookie wideout Kevin White is out the first six weeks, possibly the season, with a stress fracture (as a Bears fan I called it before the draft – BUST – check the @GamingTodayNews Twitter account for proof). With him out Royal will reap the rewards. When he was a Denver Bronco, along with current Bears QB Jay Cutler, Royal caught 91 passes for 980 yards. The slot receiver was Cutler’s security blanket and with no Brandon Marshall and no 1st round rookie to toss the ball to, Cutler will cuddle up with his blankie again. Projection: 81-873-6.
Stevie Johnson, SD (No. 136; No. 51 WR): The thing about the former Buffalo Bills WR was his consistency. Until he missed four games in his last season in Buffalo and played with the mess of a 49ers offense, Johnson was an 80 catch wideout. Doesn’t it seem like he has been in the league forever? Truth is Johnson is only in his eighth year, and his first two seasons he played a total of 15 games and had 12 catches. He has a ton of ability and will be rejuvenated with Phillip Rivers tossing him the rock. Projection: 71-902-7.
Andrew Hawkins, CLE (No. 187; No. 66 WR): For my money, Hawkins is one of the best slot receivers in all of the NFL. It is not his fault that Brian Hoyer fell off a cliff and Johnny Manziel wasn’t ready for the next level. With Josh McCown there, yes, I know Josh McCown remembers the Browns offensive line is about as big an upgrade as you can get coming from Tampa Bay, Hawkins should see more targets. Plus who knows, now that Johnny is off the bottle and refocused maybe he can create some magic in Cleveland for a town that needs some. Point is, regardless who quarterbacks the Browns, Hawkins will be a solid off the bench contributor in deep PPR leagues. Projection: 73-971-5.
Fantasy Player Props
There is that word again fantasy, but they can’t shut this column down! Here are a couple of wide receivers.
Dez Bryant, DAL (Caesars or Station 7-1): With DeMarco Murray in Philadelphia and the Cowboys as angry as can be about the “drop” that probably cost them a victory over Green Bay in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, Dez is going to go off. I expect him and Atlanta’s Julio Jones to be going at it all year for the yardage lead. Let’s hope Dez can get you to the window and makes sure he catches everything this season.
Mike Evans, TB (Station 28-1): If you are looking for a longshot, look no further. Evans is a freak of nature, physically gifted to go up in the air and comedown with any mess Jameis Winston tosses up. Evans should take his game to another level this season. The Bucs don’t look to be very good on either side of the ball but if they can get in some shootouts Winston has the kind of arm to get Evans a couple 200 yard games.
Twitter NFL contest
Keep an eye on our @GamingTodayNews Twitter feed as we are working on an NFL Twitter contest for the upcoming season; more details coming soon.
Alan Berg has 10-plus years of experience at Las Vegas sports books and prior to moving to Las Vegas covered sports for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. Follow him on Twitter: @vegasberserker Email: ABerg@GamingToday.com.