Fantasy Football 2014: Training Camp Mailbag
Holy crap. Football.
After months on months of research, projections, articles, mocks (not finished yet), we finally have at least some sort of football. Training Camp is underway, and the endless retweets of beat reporter tweets are on the rise, which means fantasy ramifications are also on the horizon. So, with plenty of questions on the mind of fantasy owners, I figured I’d do the logical thing.
@aPfeiferRS Does Kendall Hunter going down have a big impact on Carlos Hyde’s value? Just in Dynasty/Keeper or also Re-draft?
— Greg Tompsett (@GregTompsett) July 28, 2014
I certainly believe so. Entering camp, the 49ers were already hinting towards the idea of Hyde seeing goal line work, despite being the number two or three back on the depth chart. Now, with Hunter out for the season, Hyde will see more snaps, especially with Marcus Lattimore suffering an elbow injury that will sideline him for at least a month. Hyde, a 230-pound banger, had 35 touchdowns in two seasons at Ohio State, and the scoring chances will be there for him, as the 49ers ranked 6th in rushing touchdown percentage (42%) and averaged 3.5 red zone scoring chances per game, the 10th-most in football. San Francisco also already stated that Frank Gore could see 50 less carries than last year, so Hyde’s stock is definitely up.
@aPfeiferRS A nice choice to have, but do you prefer Alshon Jeffrey or Antonio Brown as your WR1?
— Heath Capps (@HeathCapps) July 28, 2014
Very, very nice choice to have. If it’s a PPR league, I’m easily siding with Brown. Get this: Last year, Brown recorded at least five receptions in every single game, becoming the first player to ever haul in at least five balls for 50 yards in every game. And while Alshon may be known more for his vertical game, Brown was more than just a dink-and-dunk pass-catcher, posting the fourth-most vertical receptions (37). Meanwhile, Jeffery was scary good last year, but wasn’t as productive when Jay Cutler was under center, averaging five fantasy points, one reception and almost two targets per game fewer. He’ll still have to compete with targets from Brandon Marshall, while Brown could easily lead the NFL in targets, something Marshall has actually done over the last two seasons. Also, the Steelers offense may not be Chicago’s, but the hurry-up helps, as they scored 223 points from Week 9 on last year, 67 more than before the no-huddle. It’s close, but I’ll lean Brown. A bit safer, in my eyes.
@aPfeiferRS coming from a jets fan, how do you feel about Chris Johnson this year (for once he is on time for training camp)
— HUBBS (@hubbbbbs) July 28, 2014
Well, Chris Johnson is pretty high on Chris Johnson this year.
The former 2,000-yard rusher stated that he expects to hit that plateau this year. He won’t do it, but can he be a solid fantasy asset? I don’t see why not. Despite how “bad” he’s been over the years, he’s still been at least a top-15 fantasy back, and the Jets seem to favor him over Chris Ivory, who is already nursing a bad hamstring. I’ve talked about it before, but I think the biggest key to Johnson’s success is a fast start. He’s been a poor starter over the last three seasons, but Tennessee never had a running back to threaten him.
Over the last three years, Johnson only has two top-10 fantasy performances during the first six games of the year. If he starts off slow again, the Jets do have Ivory, who is more than capable of taking his place. Still, I think Johnson will be at least serviceable, but he just doesn’t have the vision, patience or big-play ability (45th out of 47th in YAC) that he once had.