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Studs and Duds

Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 8 – Brandon Aiyuk and Devin Singletary

by RotoUnderworld, May 15, 2021

Look for offensive fit and/or a unique opportunity when evaluating a rookie’s fantasy outlook. Brandon Aiyuk’s game is similar to Deebo Samuel’s, and seeing that he would fit right into the 49ers offense helped raise him as “my guy.” Ultimately, Aiyuk caught short passes, shed tackles, drew Deep Targets, and received rushing carries in a multi-faceted role, like Samuel’s in 2019.

Devin Singletarys’s rookie year efficiency and production led me to believe he would be the lead back with rookie Zack Moss behind him. Honestly, I got carried away staking my claim into the next “great” fantasy PPR running back, trying to find another Alvin Kamara, and his ADP for 2020 was low enough for me to believe he would be a high-reward RB2.

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Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 7 – Mike Gesicki and D.J. Chark

by RotoUnderworld, May 11, 2021

The success of Mike Gesicki and other late-round tight ends last season confirmed the process of fading the average draft positions outside of the “Big Three.” Past Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Darren Waller, the Fantasy Points per Game differential between TE1’s will be within two to three points per game. Buying early into a small differential carries a heavy opportunity cost.

Quarterback play was a factor I did not consider enough when drafting wide receivers in 2020. I valued D.J. Chark over the likes of Will Fuller and Stefon Diggs. This was bad process, and my most fatal error. If a receiver like Chark can only attain quality targets in shallow ranges, it will be difficult for him to produce.

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Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 6 – Justin Jefferson and Darnell Mooney

by RotoUnderworld, May 8, 2021

We have to pay attention to more than just one narrative. 2020 was a perfect storm for Justin Jefferson. Overall talent, a position of need, an aging veteran teammate, a shifting offensive scheme, and a skeleton defense all made it possible for him to succeed. 

With both Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles playing the majority of snaps in eight games apiece, Darnell Mooney hit double-digit points in four of Trubisky’s games, while only hitting double digits in Foles’ games once. Meanwhile, Foles was attempting 1.4 more Deep Passes per game; they were just wildly inaccurate. 

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Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 5 – Jonathan Taylor and D.J. Chark

by RotoUnderworld, May 6, 2021

A big takeaway from last season was not to rely on the production of rookie running backs during the first half of the season. Before his explosion in Week 12, Jonathan Taylor saw a huge drop in value and looked like he would not live up the hype. Believing in rookies walking into a new team and taking over the lead back role within a few weeks of the season starting is lofty thinking.

After watching D.J. Chark dominate in 2019 to the tune of 14.9 (No. 19 among qualified wide receivers) Fantasy Points per Game after going undrafted in most leagues, he was a target for me heading into 2020. After a rookie campaign with zero starts and under 200 yards, this sophomore breakout made it look like Chark had adjusted to the NFL. Add to this the stability around him within the Jaguars, he seemed like the perfect WR2 for fantasy teams.

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Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 4 – Antonio Gibson and T.Y. Hilton

by RotoUnderworld, May 4, 2021

Although Antonio Gibson didn’t get many carries in college, made it count when he did, with an insane 11.2 (99th-percentile among qualified running backs) College YPC average. He ran a 4.39 (98th-percentile) 40-yard Dash, which outputted a 99th-percentile Speed Score. He was hitting the holes, making guys miss left and right, and popping off for breakaway runs. That’s why I hopped on the train.

Investing in any position well past the age apex is usually a dart throw. Regression and injuries are common. It’s also helpful to have an alpha profile if you want Philip Rivers to feed you the ball. T.Y. Hilton is 5-9 and 183-pounds, whilst former Rivers teammate Mike Williams is 6-4 and 218-pounds. Opportunity doesn’t equate to fantasy points. A player can have the receiver room all to himself, but if he doesn’t have the skills necessary to be an alpha, it won’t pan out.

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Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 3 – Cam Akers and Preston Williams

by RotoUnderworld, April 13, 2021

While I’m afraid the hype train will push his average draft position even higher, Cam Akers is currently being drafted at a reasonable 11.8 ADP per Underdog Fantasy. All of the running backs outside the first six or seven have warts. The top-5 potential of Akers paired with the expected usage makes him a prime target at the back end of the first or the top of the second round.

Taking Preston Williams’ first eight games and expecting him to continue that type of production was a fool’s errand. Plenty of factors change year to year; the Dolphins defense drastically improved, Williams was recovering from an ACL injury, and Miami drafted a new quarterback. Looking at the past for future production is inane; situations change for every team every season. 

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Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 2 – Will Fuller and Miles Sanders

by RotoUnderworld, March 19, 2021

If I were to take a lesson away from the process of drafting Will Fuller, it would be to target players in drafts where the ADP skews closer towards the bottom percentile outcome of a player. Especially when the ADP is driven down by narratives not based on numbers. Fuller’s injury proneness was and continues to be overrated in fantasy. Further, his Weekly Volatility had a strong chance of changing with De’Andre Hopkins no longer in Texas. When drafting outside of round three, it is beneficial to target the players with the highest ceilings and ignore their floors.

Where things went wrong was not in projecting Miles Sanders’ usage and skill, but in projecting the effectiveness of the Eagles offense. Philadelphia’s inability to generate offense as a result of Carson Wentz’s regression as a passer, and an oft-injured offensive, line stifled any hopes of Sanders reaching his RB1 ceiling. Unable to generate consistent offense, the team zapped Sanders’ upside. Facing negative Game Scripts, he scored only six (No. 25 among qualified running backs) Total Touchdowns all season.

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Studs and Duds 2020 – Volume 1 – James Robinson and Ian Thomas

by RotoUnderworld, February 24, 2021

James Robinson’s signing with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in the COVID year should never have gone unnoticed, especially given the rumor and innuendo that had been surrounding Leonard Fournette leading up to his eventual release. Regardless of how the rest of his career turns out, rising from the ashes of the undrafted to make a fantasy impact when given the chance will at least land him in the RotoUnderworld Fantasy Football Hall of Fame.

Though Ian Thomas has elite athleticism and upper-percentile weight-adjusted agility, two of the most predictive factors when looking for tight end breakouts, it’s always dangerous to overpay for potential relative to prior production or lack thereof. Despite the fact that his skill-set seemed to mesh well with that of incoming quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, his ADP remained manageable all summer, and I was convinced that this was the ultimate 2020 fantasy football value play.

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