We made it, we finally made it, the first week of NFL training camp is in the books! Already in mid-season form with the amount of content that will be dissected from these first 7-days of camp. Keep an eye on all of the content coming out from Razzball. Your favorite writers and contributors will present you with their perspective on the risers-and-fallers over the course of training camp. Make sure you take advantage of our 7-day Razzball trial to help prepare yourself for draft domination.  

Also, this time of year starts the beginning of the infamous camp-hype videos (CHV) that, sadly, have a weekly impact on ADP. Let me help perpetuate this by adding CHVs throughout my weekly previews. Enjoy!

Completed Previews: AFC NorthNFC North – NFC East Part INFC East Part II – AFC East Part I – AFC East Part II – NFC South Part I – NFC South Part II – AFC South Part I  – AFC South Part II

2019 projections referenced below are based on razzball.com 2019 projections managed and updated by our very own @RudyGamble . ADP, and strength of schedule referenced below are based on fantasypros.com consensus data.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals

QB Kyler Murray (Rookie)

2019 Outlook

  • Strength of Schedule at-a-glance
    • 2nd easiest overall strength of schedule for QBs
    • Juicy middle of the season (weeks 5-11), 6 out of 7 matchups are against fantasy defenses ranked in the top 10 easiest for opposing QBs
    • Only faces 3 fantasy defenses ranked in the top 10 hardest throughout the whole fantasy season. Week 2 @ BAL (#2), Week 7 @ NYG (#9), Week 13 vs LAR (#10)

We can only put so much stock in off-season strength of schedule rankings because by week 6 these list can look 100% different. Murray has an attractive strength of schedule, but use these pre-season rankings as a small tool on your belt during draft season. Kyler Murray brings a lot of controversy heading in to the season. A new head coach that has zero NFL coaching experience, a losing collegiate record, a rookie QB, and an offense line that ranked at the bottom in 2018. These are the risks associated with buying in to the Kyler Murray Hype. What are the positives? A mix of youthful talent and veteran players at the skill positions. The unknown of Kingsbury’s Offense will be an edge to start the season, going against coordinators that have never prepared to face his offense. Even Chip Kelley saw success in his first season in the big leagues, posting a 10-6 record after Philly went 4-12 the previous year. Not because the roster was extremely talent but because Chips offensive approach was new. KK is expected to run a fast paced offense that will run a high volume of plays. If they remain a NFL bottom dweller, we can project positive game scripts for the passing offense playing catch up the majority of the game. If they turn out to be more, we can assume Kingsbury/Murray will be working to some extent. Now for the real question,  at what price are we willing to place our bets? I’ve seen Murray drafted as early as the 6th round and as late as the 16th round. I recommend getting a piece of the Kyler Murray action but not as your QB1. I’m taking him as an upside lotto-ticket, my QB2 or 3 depending on format. Rudy projects Murray to finish the season as QB8 with 4,199 passing yards, 24.8 total TDs, and 479.5 rushing yards. His current ADP is 96 overall and QB11. I’m willing to pull the trigger if I’m able to get him in round 8 or later. 

RB David Johnson

2018 Recap

  • RB9
  • Played in all 16 games
  • Beat weekly projections 4 out of 16 games
  • 1 game over 100 yards rushing
  • 5.1 receptions per game on 4.8 targets per game
  • 3.6 yards per carry and 8.9 yards per reception
  • .63 TD rate
  • 15.4 fantasy points per game

2019

  • Strength of Schedule at-a-glance
    • 8th easiest overall strength of schedule for RBs
    • Rough start to the season (weeks 1-4), zero matchups against a fantasy defense ranked among the top 10 easiest for opposing RBs. Faces the #2 and #7 hardest fantasy defense, in weeks 2 and 3
    • Attractive mid-season matchups (week 5-11), only one matchup against a top 10 hardest fantasy defense and 4 matchups against fantasy defense ranked in the top 10 easiest

After playing on the worst team in the NFL, and under a coaching regime that failed to creatively utilize DJ, David Johnson had the quietest top 10 RB finish out of all of the backs on that list. DJ is only two seasons removed from his #1 RB finish in 2016 and 1,239 yards on the ground paired with 879 receiving yards. Put David Johnson next to a dynamic QB like Kyler Murray, and in a fast-paced spread offense under Kingsbury, we can see why his ADP sits at 6th overall and RB5. Rudy has Johnson projected to finish 2019 as RB9, posting just under 1,000 yards rushing (909.1) and 460 receiving yards. No threat behind him in the backfield nor a suggestion of a committee from Kingsbury, along with Johnsons expected passing upside, it’s easy to buy in to Johnson as an RB1 this season. The question you need to answer, would you rather  grab one of the top 4 receivers going in this 1.5-1.10 range. The majority of drafts that I’ve completed this season, running backs go extremely fast. If he’s your guy then go ahead and grab him, he won’t be there for you on the way back in the 2nd round. 

WR Larry Fitzgerald

2018 Recap

  • WR25
  • Played all 16 games
  • Beat weekly projections 7 out of 16 games
  • 1 game over 100 yards receiving
  • 7.0 targets per game and T-WR19 in total targets (112)
  • 4.3 receptions per game and WR24 in total receptions (69)
  • 10.6 yards per reception and .38 TDs per game
  • 11.6 fantasy points per game

2019 Outlook

  • Strength of Schedule at-a-glance
    • 2nd easiest overall strength of schedule for WRs
    • Only faces 2 fantasy defenses ranked in the top 10 hardest the whole season

The age-less wonder that is Larry Fitzgerald returns for his 16th season. WR25-WR4-WR11-WR7 are Fitzy’s last 4 fantasy finishes. After a season with Josh Rosen, now being coined a 1st round bust, and one hit wonder Head Coach Steve Wilks, the opportunity for Fitzgerald to bounce back from his WR25 finish has life with Kyler Murray tossing the rock and KK as the head coach. Rudy’s projected WR30 finish is better than his current ADP of 97 overall / WR39. I’ve seen Fitzgerald go well in to 10th round and later which present a lot of value for us in that range. If KM & KK live up to the hype then the veteran will have his share of targets in this offense. Our projections have Fitz with 107.3 targets and 65 catches for 860 yards. It looks like Fitzy and Murray are starting on the right foot to begin training camp….

WR Christian Kirk

2018

  • WR58
  • Played 12 out of 16 games (missed last 4 games with broken foot)
  • Zero games over 100 yards receiving
  • 5.7 targets per game (68 total)
  • 3.6 receptions per game (43 total)
  • 13.7 yards per reception and .25 TDs per game
  • 10.3 fantasy points per game

2019 Outlook

See ARI WR strength of schedule breakdown under Larry Fitzgerald

Do we chalk Christian Kirk’s rookie season to Rosen and Wilks? Will we see a ‘Jeff Fisher -> Sean McCVay’ affect with the move to Kingsbury? Luckily for Kirk, KK’s offense is similar to the air-raid offense that he played in college, at Texas A&M. Kliff’s focus will be to get Kirk and Co. in space and allow them to operate under a spread attack. This 2018 2nd-round pick has the opportunity carved out in front of him, to finish the season as the leader in targets and yards among ARI WR’s. Rudy has Kirk projected to finish WR26, 7-spots ahead of the aging veteran Larry Fitzgerald. His current ADP sits at 79th overall and WR33. It’ll cost you a 4-5th round pick if you want to guarantee him on roster. I’ll go ahead and leave this here…

 

ARI Quick Hits: When you make your late round picks, 10th or later, you want to have a good mix of high-upside guys. Andy Isabella has Tyreek Hill-esque game breaking ability. The separation Andy will be able to create with this elite speed(4.31 40-yard dash) will be fun to watch, if he can stay on the field as a rookie. He presents us with a nice late-round lotto ticket, going 187th overall / WR64, in the 15th round. Look at the quickness and separation in theCHV below. Other Rookie WR, Hakeem Butler, finds himself towards the bottom of the receiving pecking order, behind Fitz-Kirk-Isabella. Rudy has Butler finishing 2019 as WR86 and nothing out of camp has moved the needle on him. I’m not sure what type of league you are legitimately drafting TE Ricky Seals-Jones, his is projected to 2019 finish is TE38. There are plenty of other offenses that present better TE investments. 

and more Andy Isabella hype…or is this a Kyler Murray hype video?

 

Los Angeles Rams

QB Jared Goff

2018 Recap

  • QB7
  • Started all 16 games
  • Beat weekly projections 8 out of 16 games
  • 34 TDs (2 RUSH) / 17 Turnovers (5 FUM)
  • 561 Pass Attempts (QB10)
  • 19.4 fantasy points per game

2019 Outlook

  • Strength of Schedule at-a-glance
    • 8th overall easiest strength of schedule for QBs
    • Sweet road to his week 9 bye (weeks 1-8), no matchup against a fantasy defense ranked among the top 10 hardest for opposing QBs. 6 out of the 8 matchups are against fantasy defenses ranked in the top 10 easiest 
    • Different story after his bye week (weeks 10-16), 4 out of 7 matchups are against top 10 hardest fantasy defenses for opposing WRs. Only one matchup against a top 10 easiest fantasy defense

No surprise, Jared Goff finished as a top 6 fantasy QB, coming from arguably the most dynamic NFL offenses. The Rams finished tied for 4th in explosive passing plays, as Zach highlights in his Targeting Explosive Offenses article. The big question in LA, what will be the impact of Todd Gurley’s arthritic knee? If anything this lends to LAR passing the ball more, which is a desirable outcome for Jared Goff’s fantasy value. Waiting on drafting a QB is one of the ‘tried and true’ strategies in fantasy football. In 2018, the difference between QB7 and QB14 was less than 30 fantasy points. Jared Goff sits right in the crosshairs of this late-round QB scope. He is currently drafted as the QB12 / 99 Overall, in the 8th round. Rudy has Goff finishing well above his current ADP, posting a QB5 finish in 2019. This is mainly due to an overall regression of the top-5 QB scoring group. If Gurley were to miss anytime or the Rams choose to ‘lighten’ the load over the course of the season, retaining Malcolm Brown and adding talented rookie RB Darrell Henderson through the draft will help provide enough stability for Goff and the passing game. I like the price for Goff heading in to re-draft season. 

RB Todd Gurley

2018 Recap

  • RB3
  • Played 14 games (missed the last two games of the season due to his knee)
  • Beat weekly projections 11 out of 14 games
  • 6 games over 100 yards rushing (1 over 200yds)
  • 4.2 receptions per game on 5.8 targets per game
  • 4.9 yards per carry and 9.8 yards per reception
  • 26.6 fantasy points per game

2019 Outlook

  • Strength of Schedule at-a-glance
    • 21st overall easiest strength of schedule for RBs
    • Might come out of the gates slow (weeks 1 & 2), with matchups against the #7 and #3 hardest fantasy defenses for opposing RBs
    • Tough stretch after his week 9 bye (weeks 10-16), 4 matchups against fantasy defense ranked in the top 10 hardest and only 1 matchup against a top 10 easiest

What is lost in this camp-hype video era? One of the toughest valuations for this draft season still remains, Todd Gurley III. The mysterious knee injury that wrapped up his 2018 season early was revealed to be the results of an arthritic knee. This has Gurley sidelined through training camp and most likely all pre season games. Will we see camp-hype videos push Henderson’s ADP through the roof? And cause Gurley to fall even further when no one gets to see him in the preseason? Out of sight – out of mind. Everything points to Gurley starting the season as the clear cut RB1 in this offense. If the Rams are determined to keep their season alive through February, they will need to figure out the best way to manage the longevity of Gurley’s knee over the course of the season. If Gurley plays a slightly reduced roll but is able to play a full 16 games, Gurley will continue to post RB1 numbers in this offense. I can’t see a rookie RB taking over this backfield, unless he just explodes in the pre-season and Gurley’s knee doesn’t function. It is a huge gamble taking Gurley, but if he is even 80% of 2018 Todd Gurley he would have still finished as RB6 and RB9 if he was only 70% of 2018 Todd Gurley. We are getting a discount on an elite league-winning RB in the 2nd/3rd rounds. His current price is RB9/15 OVR. Rudy projects him to finish as RB17, less than ~30 points from the projected RB7. I would not be surprised to see his ADP drop through preseason, unless a video comes out…oh wait…

WR Robert Woods

2018 Recap

  • WR11
  • Played all 16 gaes
  • Beat weekly projections 8 out of 16 games
  • 3 games over 100 yards receiving
  • 8.2 targets per game and WR13 in total targets (131)
  • 5.4 receptions per game and WR11 in total receptions (86)
  • 14.2 yards per reception and .44 TDs per game
  • 16.6 fantasy points per game

2019 Outlook

  • Strength of Schedule at-a-glance
    • 9th overall easiest strength of schedule for WRs
    • Smoking hot schedule leading up to his week 9 bye (weeks 1-8), not a single matchup against a fantasy defense ranked among the top 10 hardest. 4 of the 8 matchups are against defenses ranked in among the top 10 easiest for opposing WRs

For those of you that view Brandin Cooks as the WR1 in the offense, I begin this receiving core with Robert Woods. Woods finished ahead of Cooks in targets, receptions, yards, and TDs. Just because one plays the “x” receiver in an offense, it doesn’t guarantee a WR1 finish in production. His current ADP sits at 42 OVER / WR18, one spot behind his receiving-mate Brandin Cooks. Rudy has Woods finishing 2019 as WR13, which presents a lot of value at his current price in the middle of the 3rd round. This is 7-spots ahead of Cooks’ WR20 projection. In a potent offense, ranking t-4th in passing play explosiveness, buying in to Woods is not a bad idea. Robert had 8.1 targets per game to 7.4 for Cooks and 5.6 for Kupp in the three games they all started together.  

WR Brandin Cooks

2018 Recap

  • WR13
  • Played 15 games (missed 1 due to concussion)
  • Beat weekly projections 6 out of 15 games
  • 5 games over 100 yards receiving
  • 7.7 targets per game and WR17 in total targets (116)
  • 5.3 receptions per game and WR14 in total receptions (80)
  • 15.1 yards per reception and .4 TDs per game
  • 15.2 fantasy points per game

2019 Outlook

See LAR WR strength of schedule breakdown under Robert Woods

This Rams offense showed the ability to support two top fantasy receiving assets over the course of the season. The only thing preventing a higher ceiling for Cooks is the return of Cooper Kupp. Kupp will eat into the target share of both Cooks and Woods. Kupp missed 8 games in 2018, which freed up targets that funneled through Cooks and Woods the remainder of the season. Brandin Cooks is projected to finish as WR20 and is getting drafted 41 overall / WR17. You’ll have to pay a middle-third round pick to buy-in to this starting receiving core.  

WR Cooper Kupp

2018 Recap

  • WR50
  • Played 8 games (missed 8 games due to a torn ACL)
  • Beat weekly projections 5 out of 8 games
  • One game over 100 yards receiving
  • 6.9 targets per game
  • 5.0 receptions per game
  • 14.2 yards per reception and .75 TDs per game
  • 16.9 fantasy points per game

WR14 in fantasy points per game. Kupp would have finished with 270.4 if you project his fantasy points per game over the course of a whole 16 games. Good for WR10 in 2018, ahead of both Woods and Cooks. It’s a losing bet to think that Kupp will maintain his .75 TD rate. Rudy has Coops TD rate projected to fall to .43 TDs per game in 2019. Kupp is projected to finish behind Robert Woods and one spot ahead of Brandin Cooks for a WR19 finish. Compared to Cooks, Kupp is the better value at has current ADP of 48th overall / WR20 and is going a half round later.

LAR Quick Hits: Projected to finish as TE17, Gerald Everett is only a play in TE premium or extremely deep leagues. He is free at his current price of 262 overall. Even if Gerald’s role increases in 2019, at best, he is the 4th receiving option and 5th if you include Todd Gurley. If we assume Gurley misses over 40% of the season, then Henderson has the potential to pay off his current 6th round price. I believe Hendersons draft price is at his ceiling. If Gurley plays a minimum of 70% of the season then we will have overpaid for Henderson. It’s hard to imagine Henderson with enough opportunity between him and Malcolm Brown feeding off Gurley’s seconds. Henderson is projected to finish the season as RB36 and 144 overall. All of this hangs on Gurley and his knee. Keep an eye on the pre-season performances from Brown and Henderson to see who truly secures the backup spot. LA Rams DST is projected to finish the season as DST 4, but if you are here for fantasy advice then wait on drafting your defense.

Next Up: NFC West Part II – San Francisco 49ers + Seattle Seahawks

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