What an odd fantasy football year. By the end of the season there will likely be a single standout player at the 3 major positions in total points for PPR formats (Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey, and Michael Thomas). The quarterback position has true tiers after being streamed for years. Oddly, the majority of the top 10 finishers at the quarterback position likely won’t have been drafted in the top 10, meaning everyone who waited with the intention of streaming made it out unscathed. Even more strange, the running back position seems to have a far higher percentage of players that maintained health and value in comparison to the wide receiver position in rounds 1-3. Frankly, this never happens. This is all made even crazier by the waiver wire being bone dry. It truly has been unlike any season I can remember. We have often heard, or used, the mantra that seasons aren’t won on draft day, but I’m not sure that applies to 2019. After we all win some fantasy championships over the next few weeks, I’ll go into more detail on my thoughts in reviewing the season and how it effects the game moving forward.
This is all relevant to the rest of season rankings you see below. We have previously discussed how this year, more than any before, the players at back end of the rankings are flat and aren’t much different than ones on the waiver wire. I reiterate this point again not to tell you to go drop these guys, but to hammer home the idea that most players are expendable. For example, if your playoffs start next week and you need a win to get in, don’t be afraid to drop say… Devonta Freeman if you see a better one-week flex play out there. He has the Saints, Panthers, and 49ers in the next 3 weeks. If you think the Jets are going to score 30+ points again this week on the paltry Bengals and Robby Anderson is on your wire, then make the move.
Here are a few players I am higher on than the consensus FantasyPro rankings for the rest of the year:
Michael Thomas (#3) – Thomas hasn’t had less than 10 targets since week 4. He hasn’t had less than 89 yards since week 3, while going over 100 yards in 6 of 8 games in that same span. The Saints have very few additional pass game options and Thomas has only one poor matchup remaining. Thomas is on his way to setting the NFL single season reception record if he maintains this pace. He is consensus ranked behind 9 running backs and I simply don’t see how that is possible. This was one of bigger misses of the year for me. Thomas wasn’t a full fade I just didn’t notice what was right in front of all of us. The Saints have a very narrow target pool and this was evident since May.
Zach Ertz (#31) – The Eagles don’t have any other pass options, even when Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffrey return. Ertz has received 11+ targets, averaged over 10 receptions per game, and almost 100 yards per over the last 3 weeks. Ertz is going to get the Dolphins, Giants, Redskins, and Cowboys while the Eagles attempt to win the division. I mentioned that I believed there would be a clear-cut leader at each of the QB, RB, and WR positions at the end of the year in the lede. The only reason Travis Kelce doesn’t make it four positions is because Zach Ertz will maintain pace with him.
Calvin Ridley (#39) – This is a carryover player from last week. There is a real possibility that the Falcons shut down Julio Jones. It would stun me if he doesn’t miss this week at the bare minimum. While I don’t see that as a necessity for Ridley to maintain this value, it would make him a clear cut WR1 if Matt Ryan continues to play. The Falcons have a difficult rest of season pass defense schedule, but they will be trailing and in the dome.
Miles Sanders (#46) – Jordan Howard’s injury is a true mystery. He has been out for a month with a stinger. There seems to be more than the “regular” nerve damage in his case. He could get better tomorrow, he could be done for the year, it isn’t clear. What is clear is that the Eagles have played Sanders for 85% of snaps the last two weeks. I’ve been critical of Sanders abilities as a running back, but they drafted him to play at a time like this. He has serious pass catching chops, and one of the best defensive schedules you can ask for. You drafted Sanders for more than you have received, but he might come through when it really counts. Jay Ajayi averaged one yard per carry after removing his long run last week. He does not concern me.