I used to be incensed by Collinsworth’s commentary, especially when the New York Giants were on Sunday Night Football because Big Blue blows in those kind of primetime games and Collinsworth just feasted on their famine. Smug. Smirkin’. Twisting the knife to no end.
But, I’ve got a soft spot for Pro Football Focus. It takes a Sabermetrics meets Moneyball meets well-that’s-just-like-your-opinion-man approach. I’m 100% sure PFF is the reason the Giants signed Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison this offseason.
Anyway, here are Cris’ picks along with his commentary, which isn’t as bad in text form as it is in TV broadcast…
1. Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
“To me, Taylor is Russell Wilson Light. He loves to throw the deep ball, and if he has Sammy Watkins healthy for a full season, that will be a dangerous combination.”
Russell Wilson Light. Wow. T-Mobile has some virginal cleats to fill. Seeing as Rex Ryan is basically the quarterback whisperer, I’m sure Taylor won’t be out of a job in the next 2 seasons.
“We’ve got a stat here at PFF called fantasy points per dropback that is one of our most critical numbers in terms of projecting future fantasy success, and last year Taylor ranked fourth in the NFL in that number. I’ll be thrilled to have him as my fantasy quarterback.”
THRILLED? I get it, Taylor way way outplayed his contract. Incredible bang for the ol’ buckaroo, but I’d pump the brakes here. Not a bad second QB pick, though.
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2. Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
“Dalton ranked third in [fantasy points per dropback] last year, behind only Newton and Wilson.”
The Red Rocket is a dumpster fire in the playoffs, but he’s pretty solid in the regular season. Still, I’d be concerned about Tyler Eifert’s fragile frame and A.J. Green flying solo as the only legit receiving threat.
3. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
“On a per-opportunity basis (carries and pass targets), Johnson was the most productive back in PPR leagues and second-most productive in standard leagues last season.”
Dude. (Sigh) I don’t know with this guy. You can’t deny his production last season, totaling 1,000 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns, but something doesn’t feel right about him or his situation.
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4. Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks
“All reports are that his broken ankle from last season has healed, meaning he should return to the form that saw him average a league-best 5.6 yards per carry and the No. 1 fantasy points per opportunity average in standard leagues as an undrafted rookie.”
That broken ankle has got me spooked. Bad juju.
5. Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants
“He is a back who can be so unspectacularly spectacular at any given moment — he’s not the flashiest, but he can really be productive… Of players with 150-plus carries last season, Jennings ranked eighth in fantasy points per opportunity.”
As a Giants fan, I’m flabbergasted by this pick. Sure, ‘Shad came on strong towards the end of 2015, but he’s only played one full season, which was last year, and that was because there were 800 other backs taking snaps. I’d love to see him peel off 1,000 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, but I will not be holding my breath.
6. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
“We don’t yet know how good new starting QB Brock Osweiler will be this season, but the Texans’ quarterback situation was always in flux last year, and Hopkins still managed to put up huge numbers.”
This is the one pick that I have zero doubts about. Nuk got lemons and made some Beyonce-level lemonade. Now that he’s got Paul Heyman’s henchman Brrrrrrrock Osweiler chuckin’ pigskin, Hopkins might break records.
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7. Devante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
“Parker will be assuming the Demaryius Thomas role in Miami, after [new head coach Adam] Gase had a ton of success not just with Thomas in Denver, but also with Chicago’s bigger receivers last year… We saw Gase make Bears QB Jay Cutler better last year, and I think he’ll do the same with Ryan Tannehill.”
Man. Pffft. I’ve read and heard so much hype about Parker that I’m a little sour on him. If he ends up putting up Demariyus numbers, I’ll slowly walk into the ocean and not stop.
8. Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears
“I’m doubling down with this pick… He is a raw route-runner… a big, athletic target who likes to play above the rim — exactly the type of receivers Jay Cutler loves to target.”
Without Gase, Cutler might suckler, but I’m betting on White breaking out. Still, he’s a big question mark and I don’t handle question marks well.
9. Coby Fleener, TE, New Orleans Saints
“…Fleener, a free-agent signing from the Colts this offseason, is the best red-zone threat available on the Saints’ roster right now. He’ll form a great complement to smaller outside receivers Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead as a big target who can work down the middle.”
This guy. Sort of crazy he didn’t excel with Luck, but he should see far better numbers with Brees. If ol’ man Ben Watson can put up career bests well into his 30s, Fleener should put up bests of his own. Will his production produce a fantasy title? Not so sure about that.
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10. Martellus Bennett, TE, New England Patriots
“With coverage being drawn to Gronk and Julian Edelman, Bennett is going to get a lot of one-on-one opportunities.”
The Black Unicorn was savage in his interview with ESPN alongside his brother Michael, but that kind of talk takes a walk once you’re a Patriot under Belichick and Brady. I don’t see him going the Chad Johnson route, but not sure he goes all Randy Moss either. All I know is Bennett will definitely talk smack about Brady post-Pats tenure, which should last about a year.